I don’t know about snow, I kind of like snow. It’s so pretty, although I do miss getting outside to play with the kids. It’s winter I an DONE with: cold, germs, sickness, cabin fever. That means the snow has to go. However, I'm not in charge. So, I'll enjoy tomorrows snowfall....a little grudgingly!
YAY, no more suffering from Blog Envy (well, I'll still suffer, but it won't be as acute now). I've figured out how to change the template on my blog. All it took was some time, and with my sick kids in bed and my dear husband out to dinner with doctors, I finally HAD some time. My sinuses hurt to bad to read, so messing with my blog was the mindless task of choice tonight! It was fun. I'm not sure I'm in love with the results, but it works for now. I like it better than the previous template!
Although.....fellow bloggers, do you have trouble uploading pictures? Blogs without pictures are just no fun. I'd add pictures, but I can't get them to upload but once in a blue moon. What's the deal? And how do you all get that nice square mini-picture of yourselves inside your "About Me" box??? I have to figure that out next! I'm working on it. Meanwhile, enjoy the lotus blossoms. It seemed appropriate!
It’s been a fun week here- a little of everything: lion dances, black eyes, bad coughs, nightmares, vomit, fevers, walking casts, sleepless nights. We haven’t had any stitches yet, so maybe today?
Last Sunday we went to the Boston Children’s Museum for their annual Chinese New Year celebration. It was fun, but within the first five minutes we were there, Chloe was playing on something and she stopped while the steel rod kept going. That resulted in a really nice black eye. Thankfully, she recovered quickly, but she also had a cold that was coming on fast and furious. We enjoyed the festivities as much as possible. Chloe was TERRIFIED of the lion dance and Scot had to take her out, but they both really enjoyed the Chinese Dulcimer Orchestra. There were several other fun things there to celebrate Chinese New Year, but they were for older kids mostly. It was a fun tradition though. We are excited to vist again soon. Coming in May they have an exhibit all about a child’s life in China. We won’t miss that! In June, they have a Dragon Boat festival. Hopefully, Chloe will enjoy that more than dragon dancing.
When we left the museum, that’s when it all began. Literally. Chloe couldn’t sleep on the way home because she was coughing so much, by Monday evening she was running a fever of 102, and by Wednesday she was on an antibiotic that didn’t particularly help much (although it probably cleared up her ear infection, she remained miserable all week between her fever and cough). Sawyer would cough mostly at night, but that interrupted sleep was causing him to have really bad nightmares or to wake up completely freaking out in a coughing fit. But, during the day, he was good. It worked out ok, because we all napped every day last week. It was really nice, however, it did not prevent me from getting sick as I had hoped it would. Now I am headed off to the doctors for what is most surely a sinus infection. SO not fun.
As for adoption news, our finalized home study should be arriving to us in the mail any day now. When it gets here, i will promptly make an appointment at USCIS (Customs and Immigration) and apply for our I-171-H. That SHOULD take about a week. We’ll see. We’re really in the home stretch now though! I’m praying that we will be DTC (Dossier to China) by St. Patrick’s Day. If not then, then Easter at the latest!!!
That is where our home study has disappeared into- the black hole. And, I am beyond concerned at this point. Not that it won’t be recovered- my social worker has the original copy, but that we’ve lost a week while no one realized it was missing!!!!! My social worker e-mailed me earlier this week to say that her boss had trouble using our Children’s Hope Social worker’s e-mail address. I assumed that she had already reviewed the home study and was trying to send it to CHI for final review- this was exciting news to me in that it only seemed to have taken her one day to do that! Well, I didn’t hear anything for a day or so, so I called Ardie (the boss over at Adoptive Families for Children, our home study agency). She mentioned that she hadn’t even received the home study from Alison, our social worker, yet. WHAT????? I almost fell over! Alison had said it would be e-mailed out to Ardie this past Monday for sure!!!!! So, I sent out an e-mail to Alison asking if she had heard anything from Ardie about our home study being passed along. She replied that she had not, but that it might take a couple of days and she would let me know when she heard anything. Hmmmmmm......no mention of not having sent it yet.
So...I e-mailed Alison again last night. I have to resist the notion that I am badgering, because something seems wrong here. Alison told me it was sent. Ardie never got it, and CHI has never seen it. So........what’s going on???? Meanwhile, another week rolls past!THIS is what adoptive parents mean about when they talk about the stress of the paper chase! It is stressful at points like this.
I’m just waiting to hear back from Alison today, and I will make some phone calls as well. I don’t want to go into the weekend wondering who is working on my home study- or not.
In the meanwhile, I have been correcting our medical documents. Good thing I followed up with a phone call on those- both offices said the reports got buried under piles of paperwork and, essentially, forgotten. So, not only did they mess up the paperwork to begin with (which was only partially their fault, but also due to a misleading form), but they then nearly lost it. Thankfully, both offices were appropriately apologetic which helped to temper my frustration. How can they be so callous about such IMPORTANT paperwork- especially since I made it CLEAR how important it was. So, Chloe and I will spend the morning running all over southern NH to pick this stuff up this morning while Sawyer is in school.
I’ll post any news on our lost home study when I know what the deal is. Our social worker is so nice and soft-spoken, so I don’t want to be a pain, but at the same time, this is just discouraging!!!
As some of you may know, China has seen it's worst winter weather in about 30 years recently, and it has affected so many orphans and families trying to get to China to pick up their new children. What many of you may not know is that China's orphanages are NOT heated. Babies are swaddled in wicker baskets with 5 layers of clothing and then several blankets for warmth. (It's no surprise that these babies are developmentally delayed when they are adopted- not because of biological reasons, but from lack of opportunity to MOVE!) The picture above was taken just this past week by a family in China to adopt their daughter. They had the amazing opportunity to visit their daughter's orphanage, and they were just SHOCKED to realize there was no heat at all! It's less than 30 degrees outside! (As a side note, this family has been repeatedly stranded during their 2 week trip due to the weather.)
Anyway, Half the Sky is an organization that was created in order to enrich the lives and enhance the prospects for orphaned children in China. They establish and operate infant nurture and preschool programs, provide personalized learning for older children and establish loving permanent family care and guidance for children with disabilities. It is their goal to ensure that every orphaned child has a caring adult in her life and a chance at a bright future.
They do not generally provide any medical care, food, supplies, etc....many other charities do, but they have maintained their focus on providing loving care and enrichment to orphaned children. In this case they are making an exception. Read the letter I have posted below from the director for all the info. If you can help at all, it will truly save the lives of many orphans!
Welfare institutions in south and central China are having the hardest
time dealing with the weather disaster. This part of the country is
simply not equipped to deal with extreme cold or heavy snow and ice. The
most common critical problems are power outages, lack of safe drinking and
cooking water, lack of fuel, diapers and public transportation. In many
places where buses have stopped running, our Half the Sky nannies have
been walking hours (in one case, 4 hours) along icy roads to get to the
children. As conditions worsen, our nannies and teachers are remaining at
the institutions day and night. They have given up the idea of going home
to their own families for the holidays. They need quilts. They need warm
clothing. They need coal, water, disposable diapers and food.
Here are the reports I have thus far, while in-flight. I will send more
soon. Where you don’t see a report, either all is well or I don’t yet
have information. I will tell you when we’ve heard from everyone. We’ve
also given all the directors an emergency number to call when/if the
Hunan Province –
Chenzhou has had no electricity or water for six days. They are relying
on coal for heat and cooking. The supermarkets and banks are closed.
Staff is using personal money for baby food, diapers, coal and water.
Costs are rising due to shortages. They have a natural well which,
thankfully, is not frozen. Even the older children are helping to fetch
water. They have perhaps six days of food remaining. The local
government is overwhelmed by the disaster and is unable to help much.
Shaoyang has seen heavy snow every day for 20 days. There is sufficient
water and, for the moment, there is power, so the children are warm.
However, 5 of 6 power poles have been downed by weather. Only one stands
and the institution fears it will fall as well, leaving them without
electricity. Much of the rest of the city is already dark. Children and
caregivers continue to work and play together. High school students are
cramming for exams and trying to ignore the cold. Everyone prays that the
power pole will continue to stand.
Yueyang also has no electricity. The one functioning power generator is
being used in the children’s dormitory. They are relying on coal heat but
the price has tripled in recent days. They are running out of food and
have applied to the local Bureau of Civil Affairs for funds to buy more.
Our HTS nannies have been walking for hours to get to work, often slipping
on the ice, “even though they try to be cautious.”
Xiangtan has had snow for the past 10 days. The main water pipe is
“broken again.” There is no water for cooking right now but they do have
electricity, coal and blankets. They are still able to buy food but
prices have gone way up. Not all of the HTS nannies can get to work every
day. They are keeping the programs going as well as they can and make
sure that at least five nurturing nannies are there with the babies every
day, along with the institution’s caregivers.
Jiangsu Province –
Changzhou has seen some heavy snows but the director reports that the
children are fine. The director says that he’s doing his best to ensure
that the children do not suffer. Public transportation is crippled by the
snow and HTS nannies and teachers are waiting for hours to catch a bus for
home or even walking home in the snowy dark.
Nanjing reports no problems at all despite the heavy snows. I tried to
fly into Nanjing yesterday but it was not possible.
Anhui Province -
Chuzhou has both water and power. Only public transportation has failed.
HTS nannies and teachers are walking to work. They are leaving home extra
early to be there for the children.
Guangxi Province –
Guilin has two broken HTS heater/air conditioners in the Infant Nurture
rooms and they’ve asked us to replace. The rooms are very, very cold.
They ask for more soft matting for the floors and also snow boots for our
HTS nannies who’ve been slipping and falling in the ice and snow as they
come to work. They are so ill-equipped to handle severe weather.
Jiangxi Province –
Fuzhou lost power for a few days but now it is back to normal. The snow
stopped a couple of days ago but now is falling again. The directors and
HTS staff have gathered all the children into one big room to keep them
warm. They’ve bought New Years clothes for the children and will have a
party no matter how bad the weather. This year, however, the foster
parents will stay home to keep the children safe. The institution has
enough food and water. They want us to focus on those in more serious
trouble and ask us please not to worry.
Jiujiang says they’ve never faced such bitter weather. They desperately
need disposable diapers. Washable diapers cannot be dried. They need
warm clothes, shoes, gloves hats quilts and warm mats for the floors.
They need medicine for infant coughs and colds.
Hubei Province –
Wuhan suffers heavy snows but they still have power. Heaters are working
but there is no water for bathing. The local community has offered to
take children in for the Chinese New Year and the institution feels this
may be the best decision to keep them safe.
Huangshi reports that the freeze is so severe that all heater/air
conditioners have stopped functioning. They need quilts and warm clothes
for the children. They need disposable diapers. Several HTS nannies have
fallen on the ice on their way to work and they need medicine to treat
cuts and bruises.
Gathering these reports together makes me think about how careful we have
always been at Half the Sky to maintain our focus on nurture and education
programs. Ours is not a medical or relief organization. There are many
wonderful groups who do that work. Probably the primary reason we’ve been
able to accomplish so much and reach so many children is because we’ve
maintained our focus on our core mission -- providing nurturing care for
children who’ve lost their families..
But a moment like this really cannot be ignored. The tragedy of Hurricane
Katrina in the US taught us that no matter how wealthy a country might be,
its vulnerable citizens (old, poor, ill, and orphaned children) are the
ones who suffer most when disaster strikes. Even as China seems to be
entering the first world, a disaster like this is quite simply crippling.
We know that orphaned children will be among those who suffer the damage
I say this because I think we should break one of Half the Sky’s rules
and, if there are sufficient funds raised in the Little Mouse Emergency
Fund, we should offer relief (water, food, diapers, quilts, clothing) to
any orphanage where children need help. Let’s see how this goes. If
people are as generous as I think they might be, we will work with the
provincial Bureaus of Civil Affairs in every hard-hit community, and offer
assistance to all welfare institutions where there is need.
Please lend a hand, however you can. You can donate to the Little Mouse
Emergency Fund by calling us in the US at +1-510-525-3377 or in Asia at
+852- 2520-5266 or by visiting us at www.halfthesky. org. Once there, you
can click on “Donate Now”
http://give. halfthesky. org/prostores/ servlet/Categori es?category= Direct+Contribut ions
or go to http://www.halfthes ky.org/help/ docs/usdonation- orderform. pdf to
download a form to mail or fax. Donations are tax-deductible in US,
Canada and Hong Kong.
Please forward this message and tell your friends and family.
I will be back with an update very, very soon.
Half the Sky Foundation