Sunday, June 26, 2011


Picking our references was pretty easy.  We picked four people who are very dear to us, who have known us for a long time in different capacities, and who can vouch for our ability to be good parents despite our quirks.  We also picked these people because they can write well, adhere to timelines, and follow directions.  Our references were P’s current boss, my former boss, P’s best friend since childhood, and my sister.
The only person who caused an initial problem was sister Sue.
Sue:  By the way, how long can it be?
Me:  A page.
Sue (loud):  What?!!?  Do you HEAR what you are asking me?  I can’t write about my SISTER and BROTHER-IN-LAW in one page!
Me:  (filing nails) OK, well, it has to be.  Or, a little over a page.
Sue (louder):  I’m over THREE pages already!  I mean, P is like my BROTHER!!!  And, us, I mean, you are my SISTER!
Me:  I understand that.  That’s why we asked you.  But P and I are not that complex, really.
Sue:  But you are going to be the BEST parents and I have to make sure they know that!
Me:  Well, you need to say it in fewer words because IT HAS TO BE TRANSLATED INTO CHINESE.
Sue:  Hm.  Good point.
Hers was the only reference I read; a copy handed to me on white bond, about 6 days short of the week deadline I gave her.  It clocked in at around 2 pages, probably 10pt font.  The translators will cry when they see it because of the length and inability to translate “Celtics”.  I cried when I read the touching words that she wrote about her big sister and “brother.”

Saturday, June 25, 2011

P drives a van

I am getting much more experience being an assistant notary / paralegal / courier / proofreader than being a parent.  But in order to be an adoptive parent, you need to be all of these things, too.  Today was a great example of this.

P and I each have to get notarized letters from our employers saying that we really do work for them.  Our agency even provides a template letter.  Easy peasy, right?  Not so fast.

Our template letter has a fake header for GLC Van Lines.  The letter says that John Doe has been working at GLC Van Lines since blah, blah, blah.  I give a hard copy of the template to P to bring to his HR.  It's covered with sticky notes and a cover page explaining what needs to be done.  We also send along an electronic version, just to make things even easier.  If only I got assignments that are so simple!

P comes home with the letter and it goes on the stack of papers that are ready for the courier (me) to bring to Beacon Hill.  It's on his company's letterhead and looks so nice and official.  Except it says that P works at GLC Van Lines!  What?!  Back to HR...

Sunday, June 19, 2011


She has a name!

After too much coffee over too many baby name books, we settled on a name.  We worked on our lists separately, and then compared them later.  Turns out, we both had the very uncommon name Emmilene on our lists!

We tooled around with different spellings, and pretty quickly settled on Emmilene because we want to spell it the way we want it to be pronounced.

Being the brilliant guy that he is, P suggested that we google the name to make sure that there are no current porn stars or ax murderers with the same name.  So, we googled the name (in different spellings) and here's what we found:
We were in no way were meaning to name our daughter after this book--we had already picked the name when we saw this.  Still, we found it interesting that it is a story were the heroine is an orphan (both of her parents were deceased).  She ends up happy and wealthy from inheriting a castle.  I don't think our Emmilene will inherit a castle, but I hope she will be a happy heroine!

Monday, June 13, 2011

More Pictures!

At the end of the day today at work, I checked my Yahoo email, and look who was there:

I nearly fainted.  Right now we are keeping things on the down-low so that people find out about the adoption in the correct order (family, friends, co-workers, then all of the rest of the world).  So, when I gasped out loud and started to half laugh/half hyperventillate, my officemate must have wondered what in the world was going on.  I eat a lot at work, so she might have thought I was choking on a cherry pit or something.  Then I kept clicking...

Here she is giving a speech:

Look at the wacky half pjs/half dress outfit:

"Someone pick me up!"

As any waiting parent knows, getting new pictures is like your lifeline.  It powers you through the madness of paperwork, writing checks, worrying how your child is, and missing her even though you have never met her.

It was striking to see how big she has gotten since the first photos we saw of her.  It's happy and sad all at the same time.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Birthday to P!

We celebrated P's birthday by filling out CORI background check and child abuse clearance forms all day.  It's so crazy how every single state has a different way of obtaining a child abuse clearance.  The forms are different, some have fees, some need to be notarized, some have to come from us while others have to come from our agency.  It's crazy!  By the end of the day, we had all of it done and mailed off!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Home Study Begins

We finally selected Good Hope Adoption and Family Services to be our home study agency and had our first visit today.  We picked them in part because they have an excellent social worker who has the time to start our home study and complete it in 30 days (assuming there are no issues obtaining clearances), but also because I got such a good feeling after talking to Karen, the agency Director.  I just clicked with her, and felt like they are really on our team.

The one issue is that the agency is located on Cape Cod.  While I love the Cape and went to my grandparents' house in West Yarmouth for one blissful week ever summer growing up, I am not looking forward to fighting the traffic for too many Saturday meetings in June.  In addition, Cape Cod = fried seafood as far as P is concerned, so I fear we'll be indulging quite a bit for the next few weeks.  Up until now, adopting has been the best weight loss plan I've ever been on.  No sleep, no time to cook, no time to eat anything but a saltine.

The first home study visit went swimmingly.  Our social worker, Mary Ellen, is softspoken and sweet.  She knows the regs, but she's warm and fuzzy, too.  Each of us left with a huge to-do list.

Knowing all of the work that lies ahead, we took some time to stroll Main Street in Chatham in the drizzle, talking about bringing our daughter here next summer.  And, of course, no Cape day is complete without a huge plate of fried seafood from Cooke's!

Friday, June 10, 2011


We were nervous about being Pre-Approved to adopt Yiquan because we did not know how CCCWA would react to my having thalassemia intermedia. 

To us and the agency, my thalassemia is nothing but a plus.  It in no way compromises my ability to be an awesome parent.  In fact, it makes us better parents of a child with thalassemia because we already know all about it.  We didn't have to research it for one second.  While thalassemia intermedia is very different than thalassemia major, we definitely know what it is like to live with a chronic illness.

I know what it feels to grow up feeling “different” and having a rare disorder. 
I’ve dealt with the complications. 
I’ve taken Desferal and stuck myself with a needle every night. 
I drank down Exjade. 
I’ve been in the MRI doing countless breath holds for the Ferriscan. 
I’ve sat in the hospital and had a transfusion. 
I’ve had labs done hundreds of times. 
I know that the most important thing about living with thal is compliance:  to your transfusion regimen, to chelation, and to all of your treatments and tests. 
The same way my family has always been a great support to me, I will do the same for my daughter.
The Cooley's Anemia Foundation supports patients with thalassemia.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


Today we received our Pre-Approval letter to adopt Liu Yiquan!!  It's a small step, but a big relief.