I wanted to make you aware of a link I've added on the side (scroll down to "Other Interesting Links"). It's getting pretty "full" over there, especially after combining two sidebars into one, and I don't want a good link to get lost in the crowd. For those of you who have also adopted previously from China, or have a friend/family member who has adopted from China and you'd like to understand more about the culture as it pertains to abandonment and adoptions, you need to know about Brian Stuy and Research-China.org. Brian is a China AP. I've linked to his blog, but from there you can also go to his website. The blog has all kinds of educational nuggets about China (like "Why Girls Are Abandoned in China," and "The Other Mother," about our babies' foster mothers). Brian has done more research regarding China adoptions than anyone else I've heard about. I don't always agree with everything he says, but he provides much-needed information and services. We used him to track down our daughter's finding ad for us; a service he provides for a reasonable fee (a "finding ad," is a classified ad which must be placed in a newspaper, for each baby found before the child becomes eligible for adoption. This offers birth family an opportunity to come forward. Sometimes the ads include photos of the child at a very young age, which can be an important keepsake for both parent and child. Something to include in a lifebook or to save for the child when she's older, as it may be one of only a few links to her life in China. Ours was a text only ad unfortunately, but we received a blown up copy of the ad itself, which was translated for us, and a copy of the front page of the newspaper it appeared in). He has also visited many provinces and finding sites and taken photographs for families, which can be purchased on his site. His blog and website are great resources. Check it out if you're interested. I don't believe he has worked in all of China's provinces, and his services are limited to China only (not VN). There are other sites and organizations providing similar services, such as China Born Kids, but I've only personally used Brian. If any of you have had good experiences with China Born Kids, or others to share, let me know and I'll post those links.
BTW- Thank you for the birthday wishes! I had a great day. I got the bunny slippers I've had my eye on, and I say getting old is worth it if bunny slippers are involved. We went to a theme park over the weekend and had a lot of fun. My 7 y.o. daughter wanted me to ride a roller coaster with her, which isn't exactly a "kiddie ride," but it's pretty tame and very kid friendly. Two of my older sons, Mike (15) and Ev (13), wanted to ride too, which I thought was odd. This particular ride is sooo not scary, and at their ages, it's all about the thrill factor. What I was forgetting is that a teenage boy's whole reason for getting out of bed every day is to cause embarrassment to his mother (and also to look at pretty girls, but mostly the first thing...). We got on the ride, right up front, with my daughter next to me, and Mike and Ev right behind us. Almost as soon as it took off, they started screaming (and I mean blood-curdling, horror movie, I'm-being-murdered types of screams), "AAAAWWWWW! MMOMMMMMY, I'M SCAAAAAAAARED, MOMMY! AAAAHHHHWWWWWWWW, MOMMMMY, PLEASE, GOD HELLLLP US! AAAWWWWWW! I CAN'T DO THIS! I WANNA GET OFFFFF, MAW-HAW-HAWMMY! Complete with fake sobbing and everything. It was so incredibly embarrassing, that I couldn't help being impressed by their level of commitment and the quality of their performances. They kept it up through the whole ride. I was embarrassed to be associated with such complete imbeciles. but kind of proud for giving birth to such funny imbeciles at the same time. I laughed so hard, I couldn't breathe. Evan also resorted to his usual tactics of walking directly behind me, doing something really silly and stupid (you know- like spazzy dancing, trying to look like an escapee from the state hospital, or walking around with crossed eyes... that kind of thing), to further the embarrassment for poor old mom. They made sure it was a birthday to remember. Gosh, I love those dorks! They keep me laughing or screaming- one or the other- all the time.