Friday, December 29, 2006

Additional stress

The UPS package containing our passports, travel visas, and airplane tickets was delivered to different person living in in a different apartment building with a completely different address. I had asked that this package be sent to my work address, of course.

Fortunately, some kind soul called us up and gave us the package.

-- Dan

Thursday, December 28, 2006

One week to go -- YIKES!

Yesterday, I set up a going away party for the night before we leave. The flight's at 3pm; leaving plenty of time to recover from the hangover, hopefully.

Today, I woke up realizing that that party is in one week, and that we will be on an airplane a week from tomorrow.

The panic has officially commenced.

For the first time in a long time, I'm actually concerned about whether I have enough time to pack. Our agency assured us that the hotel laundry service is great and we don't need to bring more than a week's worth of clothes, but...

The apartment is still a mess, there's no time to practice our Mandarin, and I've already thought about three different client events that will take place while I'm away, so I have to draft the advance materials now. Yikes indeed.

The party, for those who missed the email, is at Druids, 736 10th Ave (between 50th and 51st Streets), at 6:30pm Thursday January 4.

Our flight leaves Newark Airport at 3pm the next day.

We're bringing our laptop to watch a few dvds during the 15 hour flight. Recommendations are welcome.

-- Dan

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just call her C.J.


As some of you may know, Dan and I have been back and forth on the name. But after much deliberation, we decided we didn't want to relegate the name given to Cha Jiao by the orphanage to a middle name, as is often decided by adoptive parents. Cha Jiao, which means "lovely/sweet tea," is a pretty name, and according to Chinese friends and acquaintances we've consulted, the use of the character for tea (Cha) in a name is somewhat unusual. [However, she comes from Jiangxi, a province known for its tea, so her name may not be so uncommon there.]

In the end, we came to see that her given name, as with any name, is part of her identity. So we will preserve her given name. That said, we also felt it important that the name reflect that she will now be a part of our family so will be giving her Dan's last name too. Since we are using Dan's last name, we moved her surname to be her middle name.

Thus, her name will officially be Cha Jiao Ling Klotz, but rest easy: she will be known by the shorter and easier C.J. Klotz. -- Meg

Friday, December 08, 2006

Where we're going: the pre-pick up itinerary

So sorry for the delay in writing. There hasn't been a lot to report on--a lot of frustration with travel agents unable to figure out how we can visit the area where our daughter is from.

As we wrote earlier, Meg and I wanted to spend a few days traveling around the Shangrao area in Jiangxi province, documenting and photographing and exploring.

After reaching out six different ways, we finally found a tour operator in Toronto who will arrange for a guide to travel with us. The itinerary is far from final but would look something like this:

(Day 0): Travel to Nanchang, stay at Nanchang hotel

Day 1: Meet guide, travel to Shangrao, see Longhushan (on the way, stay at Shangrao hotel

Day 2: Sightsee in Shangrao, stay at Shangrao hotel

Day 3: Drive to Jingdezhen, sightsee in Jingdezhen (seeing this site and this site, perhaps), stay at Jingdezhen hotel

Day 4: Drive to Nanchang, see Lushan on the way, stay at Nanchang hotel and meet up with adoption group

We're also going to visit our friends Grace and Sammy in Taipei, I think.

And, for those wondering, we should be hearing on the actual travel dates real soon. Like, maybe Monday!


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Much to be thankful for

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. None of the pressures and tensions that come with other holidays. A day when you can kick back with family and/or friends and eat comfort food. What could be better?

This year, however, it's more than that. This year has been a difficult one for Dan and me -- stuck in limbo as we waited for the referral on the adoption to come through and my mother's death in August -- but now that Cha Jiao has entered our lives, I realize how fortunate I am -- to have health, family and friends, other comforts of daily living that I take for granted. Thinking of Cha Jiao, I feel incredibly fortunate and am transported, uplifted, gleeful -- a frame of mind I highly recommend.

This past week was Cha Jiao's first birthday. I've posted a couple of photos of the guest of honor, the so-called "fridge shots":

We lit a cupcake or two and I hoped that wherever she is she's enjoying herself and being loved and well cared for. (Little does she know of her fan club on the other side of the planet!)

I thought also of her birth parents and my heart went out to them. I hope they were able to get through the day and particularly the following one, when Cha Jiao was found at the Bureau of Civil Affairs.

I am thankful for many things today but especially that Cha Jiao has come into Dan's and my lives. Happy Turkey Day, everyone!

-- Meg

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving, and an update on the name game

Tomorrow we're hosting Thanksgiving, 12 people at the table, and you can bet that the name question will be discussed and debated a bit.

We're trying to figure out just how much to invest in the name that the orphanage staff gave Cha Jiao. If she has been called that for the first year of her life, do we honor that or move on to something more Americanized? Complicating matters is that the name is in itself an unusual name in Mandarin, and we're trying to figure out more on the meaning. In China, you see, names are invested with a lot of meaning and context, moreso than in the US.

Suggestions in the comment section are welcome, which despite our best intentions is still making folks sign up with blogger first. Any complaints about this practice should be directed at our friend who works for Google.

Oh, and those 12 people (10 guests) will be at our apartment. We're feeding 12 for dinner, and then my sister and her husband and their two kids join us for dessert. That will be one crowded apartment. Should be fun, although clean-up will be a challenge. But that's why I volunteered to do the cooking... -- Dan

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Just in case you were interested

The Rumor Queen writes a blog that tracks all the rumors swirling around Chinese adoptions. When the next referrals are coming, when the next batch of parents are travelling, how China's rules evolve, etc.

She wrote yesterday on what really happens when families pick up a strange little toddler on one side of the world and then transport her to the other side of the world. You can read her entry here. -- Dan

Quick note on comments

Just figured out how to allow anyone to make a comment without registering. Sorry for the inconvenience. Also figured out how to make titles for these entries. This blogging thing is not as easy as it looks. And now, back to the photos. -- Dan

Women xiao hai (Our little one)

Many thanks to all those who have emailed or posted a comment already. Above is another photo that came with Cha Jiao's dossier, and below is one taken just yesterday. Seeing the photo as she looks NOW has made the adoption -- which has taken two years -- much more real to me.

On the whole name game issue: we haven't decided yet whether to retain Ling Cha Jiao's name or modify/Americanize her name somehow. A clarification: in Chinese culture, the surname or family name (in our baby's case, Ling) precedes the given name (Cha Jiao). Except that Cha Jiao's surname is not her family name, but one given to her by her orphanage.

Looking forward to sharing more information as we get it. -- Meg

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Tremendous news

The Chinese Center for Adoption Affairs has matched us to charming little girl from Shangrao, an industrial city in the northeast of Jiangxi province province (see map).

She was born in November 2005, and showed up at the gates of the Bureau of Civil Affairs in Shangrao the next day. The orphanage there named her Ling Cha Jiao: Cha means tea and Jiao means lovely or sweet; we don't know what Ling means yet but it is the surname that the orphanage gives to all babies in its care. She has spent time in foster care, outside of the orphanage, which is great.

We will leave for China at the end of December or early January.

Shangrao is near old and historically important Taoist temples and porcelain kilns dating back 1500 years. Sanqingshan, just north of Shangrao, is quite lovely.

When we travel, we will spend five to seven days in Nanchang, the capital of Jiangxi province, which is located near Lake Poyang, the largest in China. Endangered white-naped cranes spend their winters in Lake Poyang and we hope to see them during our visit.

We want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank everyone for all the support we've received over the past five years. We have not had an easy time by far, but have been comforted by the amazing amount of love from our family and friends. It is a joy to be able to share our good news.

We will be maintaining this blog for the next few months (and maybe beyond) so we can update everyone and, most importantly, post photos during our trip. Hopefully, you will be entertained.

PS: We thought that doing a little sightseeing in Jiangxi before we picked up our daughter would logistically make sense and would enable us to show and tell her what her birthplace looked like (with all the photos that we take, of course). So if you know of any China travel guides, please pass them along!