Thursday, September 29, 2011

Good Day

So Ping came home recently so very proud of herself that she "stayed on 'GREEN'" the whole day.  Her new teacher uses a colour system to determine how well behaved the kids are.  If they don't listen to the teacher, they get 'YELLOW', kind of like the Yellow Card or Red Card in Soccer, except with less diving and fake injuries (I'm looking at you the Italian Football team!).  Ping has gotten a couple of yellow cards, and maaaaaaybe one or two red cards for various reasons (eh, the other kid had it coming!)...  but today!  Today she was GREEN!  And that is a good thing.

And then as if things couldn't get better, we get our building approval!  YAY!  We can start with the construction on Lukais new room.  The dog even started helping out... yup, I figure all the holes he is digging in my backyard is the dog trying to help excavate for our new foundation.
We thought the construction would almost be done by now!
And then as if things couldn't get even better yet... I get this:
Hi Adrian and Roberta;

Here is some updated information on Wu Yan Bing.
His height is 93cm, weight: 13 kg, head circumference: 49 cm, chest circumference: 52cm, foot length: 15cm, teeth: 20.
He can control his bowel movements and urination. Last time I was told that he could control urine well.
He is still with the forster family.

Best regards
<adoption agency>
And then if THAT couldn't get any better, it was attached with THESE:

Now, I'm going to go out, and buy me a Lottery Ticket!  Cuz I'm feeling pretty lucky right about now!  Whooo-hoooo!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Dirty Bird Picnic

One last nice weekend before the cold comes here in Canada... so why not make the most of it?  This weekend, we all went for a walk along the river and had a nice Dirty Bird picnic on the grass.  This was the first time our children ever had a Dirty Bird picnic.  It was nice that all the kids could experience something for the 1st time together...  instead of the typical "We've all done this before.  Well, except Ping.  She hasn't don this." conversations which come up.  So, with grease dripping down our fingers, and gravy congealing in our stomachs, and coleslaw on our breath, we made our way down the rocks and along the river below... with the dog.

Almost the whole family... next time we go here, Lukai should be with us!

Beautiful falls right in the city

"I was making a silly pose, and my Dad said to stop. "

Half way to the "I'm too cool for lame pictures" look.

"But I LOVE having people take my picture!"

"Daaaaaaaad, why you haf to take my picture?"

"Oh no, take it again, I look bad... let me see, mmmm, no take it again."

Oh goodness don't fall... don't fall...

"... mmm, no, again.  Again.  Let me see?  No, again.  Oh wait!  That's great!"

"Am I cute if I do this?"

"Dad said to stay out of the water, how close can we get before he gets mad?"

"I have a stick!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Ming Bai

NOTE:  I originally posted this on No Hands But Ours (NHBO), but decided to post here as well for those who may not subscribe to NHBO.  Sorry if it is a repeat for some.

I love this word in Chinese:  明白, or, if you do not have Chinese fonts installed on your computer, it is "Ming bai".
Little Lukai whom will arrive in Canada on Nov 24th!
Now, why do I love it?  Because it means "to understand".  Or, to "see clearly".  Literally, I think it means something like "bright" (ming) and "white" (bai).  And obviously, "bright white" is something which is clear, or easy to see and understand... not cloudy or convoluted.

Ping:  Daddy, when Lukai come?
Me:  Well baby, Lukai is going to come home in November.  Your Mommy and big brother D are going to goto China, and bring Lukai home.
Ping:  I was in China!
Me:  Yup.
Ping:  And you and Mommy and K came and got me!
Me:  Yup.
Ping:  Just like Lukai?
Me:  Yup.  Mommy is going to go to China, and bring Lukai home, just like when we brought you home.  Ming bai?
Ping:  Ming bai.
Me:  Good.
Ping:  Daddy...
Me:  Yes?
Ping:  You shave?
Me:  Yes, I will shave for Lukai.
Ping:  Good.  Because you have to shave.
Me:  Ming bai.

Lukai standing in his Foster Parents Yard

I love that Ping is able to see us as a family go though the adoption of our son Lukai.  It is amazing how many times she asks about her adoption, how she questions what happened, why we came, why she "had no Mommy" (her words!  Not mine!  Don't no one yell at me!), etc.  I also find it amazing that she thinks me shaving will help the adoption... mmmmm...

And we do our best to explain things on her level... but of course, they can only absorb and understand so much.  But watching us adopt Lukai... where SHE is on the inside now.  Where she sits at the table and listens to to us talk about Lukai while we eat, while we play, when we go to bed and pray for him... well, now... now she gets it.  Now there is a 明白 (ming bai) understanding that she could not see before.

This 明白 (ming bai) extends beyond just the actual act of adopting, and is starting to help bring bai-ness to other areas as well.  Lukai also has Spinabifida.  And like trying to explain adoption to a 4 year old, it was easier for them to understand it when they could see it.  Ping gets to see Spinabifida now from "the other side"... not the one with Spinabifida, but the one looking in.

Ping:  Lukai have an owie on his back?
Wife:  Yes.  (making muffins for diner)
Ping:  Like me?
Wife:  Yes.  Just like you.  (still making muffins)
Ping:  And his back is broken.
Wife:  No, not broken.  See, when he was in his Tummy Mommies tummy, part of his back is missing some bone.  Do you remember what that means?
(I love the way she keeps talking to Ping about these issues without turning them "into issues".  There is no "oh come sit over here and lets cry about this".  It kind of reminds me of when a child falls and scrapes their knee... if the Mommy looks shocked and starts screaming, well, then the child does as well.  But if the Mommy keeps calm, so too the child.)
Ping:  Ummmmmm... yes!
Wife:  Okay, well, when he came out, his Mommy loved him SO much that she had to get him to a Doctor to fix his back.  And they did.  Now, he is all better.
Ping:  Reeeeally?
Wife:  Really.
Ping:  Can I have a muffin?
Wife:  No.
Ping:  Reaaaaally?
Wife:  Really.
Ping:  But my back is broken!
Wife:  Your back is not broken, and you are not getting a muffin.
Ping:  Will Lukai have to go Doctor like me?
Wife:  Yes.  Yes he will.  But that is OK.  And you will be able to tell him all about it!
Ping:  Reaaaaaaally?!
Wife:  You really like "reaaaaally" dont'cha.
Ping:  *laughs*
Wife:  Can you help Lukai with the doctor when he comes?
Ping:  Mmmmmm... I think about it.  (I also love the fact that she is honest enough here to admit she will "think about it".  I was hoping for a "Yes!  I will take care of Lukai!", but that is still coming.  She will take care of her brother, she just may not know it yet, but she has that in her... I can see it.  She talks about teaching him how to "be not rude" and to "play nice")
Wife:  And are you excited for Lukai coming home?
Ping:  I think that maybe be OK.
Wife:  Oh good.
Ping:  Is my owie bigger?

I love that last question!  Sibling rivalry starting already!  The conversations really go on for much longer than that, but they start to get repetitive.  It is very interesting to see Ping work through her own life story by watching her brothers story unfold (granted there are differences.  Ping was in a wealthy 500+ child orphanage while Lukai is in Foster Care in a smaller/poorer city).  She can really see herself in it.  I kind of get now why people adopt more than 1 child (sometimes).

We waited 135 days for his LOA!  Uhg!

Originally, I thought 1 adoption and I'm done!  4 kids!  That's enough for any sane person!  Maybe a single adopted child is fine... because then adoption is the "normal" (goodness I hate that word) way child come into the home.  But for us, with 3 biological children, Ping was definitely aware of the difference... and I don't think she could connect her story to that of her siblings.  But she can do that now with Lukai.  And because she sees her other brothers and sister excited for Lukai before he even gets home... she is starting to understand she was loved before she got here and help connect her story to the siblings.  So that makes her story less scary.

And the fact that Lukai has Spinabifida as well... well, that makes her story even a little more less scary.

Now... having 5 children roaming my house in about 50 sleeps... that makes MY story a whole lot MORE scary.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lost in Translation

Chinese Co-Worker (CCW):  How come the room is dark?
Me:  So I can practice Chinese!
CCW:  Huh?
Me:  Ke yi kai .... uh, light?
CCW:  Aaaah, 可以开灯?
Me:  Yes!  That!  Exactly what I was saying.  Can I turn on the lights.
CCW:  It is actually "can I open the lights".
Me:  What?  Why would you OPEN the lights?  That makes no sense.
CCW:  Why would you "turn" the light?  Or, "on" the light?  Are you standing on it?
Me:  Listen now, I'm the native speaking English person around here.  Even if what I say isn't gooder than what you think it is that I should be saying, I'm still right.  Because, well, I'm the native speaker!  How do you like 'dem apples!
CCW:  You know, I studied English for over 12 years in school.  How much English did you study?
Me:  Uh, well, ummm... none.  But that's because I'm a native speaker!  I don't have to "study" it.  I just know it!
British Co-Worker (BCW):  Blimey!  Did you perchance happen ta catch the Rugby game last night?  The Canadian team played the Tongan team right out of the park!  There were some spectacular tries in the contest!
Me:  Whaaaaat?!
BCW:  Yea, it was totally ace!  Fortunately there wasn't any aggro after the pubs shut.
Me:  English!  Speak English man!
BCW:  Wha' da bloody hell is this tosser blathering on about?
CCW:  I have no idea.  Oh hey, can you turn on the light please?
BCW:  Cheerio.

Shortly after that conversation, I was still mulling over the differences between ON and OPEN'ing the light.  I suppose, that OPEN is the more correct term.

Hearkening back to my days as an Electrical Engineer Technologist, I remembered that electricity does in-fact "flow" ... and in that, by OPENing the light, you are allowing the electricity to flow to the light.  The light switch is like a dam being opened and closed.

And ON is a positional verb... noun... adjective... adverb?!  adnoun?!!?!... word type thingy.  Maybe I should have studied English in school.  But a car can be ON the road.  A box can be ON the table.  I can be ON my chair.  I can even be ON to something... hmmmmm... ON.  Funny how we use it.

As for TURNing, I can TURN left, I can TURN right.  I can TURN down the volume, or TURN up the volume.  In either case, TURNing is changing a direction... or course... or state?

But to TURN ON the light...  hmmmm...

No, I can't say it is wrong, mostly because it has been drilled into my head that THIS is the way we say/do things.  My light is TURNed ON.  But it is neither ON something, nor has it's location been changed.  State?  Maybe... I guess the light was previously OFF.  OFF... why is my light OFF?  If it was OFF, maybe it FELL OFF the wall, and I need to put it back ON the wall.  ARGGGH!  Now I'm confused!

The light ON or OFF could describe the physical location... and then OPEN or CLOSEd could describe the electrical state of the light.  This would be both accurate and easy to understand.

Sooooo, I guess my co-worker was right!  DANG IT!  I hate that!

Oh, wait!  WAIT!!!  :-) In terms of circuitry, circuits are either OPENed (ie: non-closed loop, meaning no power flows which means the device is OFF) or CLOSEd (ie:  closed loop, meaning power can flow and device is ON).  So, if my LIGHT circuit was OPEN, then NO POWER could FLOW and the light would be OFF!  Er, CLOSED?  Uhhhh... DARK!  My light would be DARK!  BUT, if I CLOSED the light circuit, then electricity could flow and the light could TURN ON!  Or, OPEN!  errrr... uh... it could be BRIGHT!  Either way, I have to OPEN the switch to CLOSE the circuit so that the light can TURN ON.

*siiiiigh*  I'm so confused.  Where was I?  Oh, right.  So my co-worker WAS still wrong!

I'm sure that there are a million things I do which to me makes sense to me, like turning on a light,  These are just ingrained things I've learned from my up bringing, past experiences and family, etc.  Our adopted children may have very different views on such things.  I'm sure my daughter watches me every day going "I just don't understand him at all."

In fact, there are many times where I feel like I'm telling Ping to TURN ON the light and she is trying desperately to tell me that it is already OPEN.
Maybe I my love/parenting "language" was different than what
she was used to.
Thankfully, my kids are smarter than me.  They must have caught onto this ages ago.  Because Ping, now every morning, crawls into our bed, and snuggles up with me.  Wraps my arm around her, and then goes back to sleep.  That kind of father/daughter closeness was lost in translation when we first met.  But I'm so glad that she is starting to understand what I'm trying to say... and I'm enjoying trying to figure her out too.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Oooooh, 1 day before my b-day!  The 6th would have made it
the BEST birthday present EVER!
That's the number.
Not 133.
And 134 is RIGHT out... unless proceeding to 135.
Not 136.
That is how many days until we got our LOA in hand.
It was issued at 132 days.
The sign from last post, it works!

Wife getting the email that the LOA arrived.  Yes, totally legit,
not a staged photo at ALL!  K just *happened* to be there,
with a camera... and... uh, it was on... and ready to go...
so he took the picture because... uh... he likes taking pictures
of his mom reading emails!  Yea!  That's it!  TOTALLY the
real reaction there from the wife!
Now, what dose 135 days mean coming to an end mean?
Well... it means:
  • the wife might go 24 hours without crying
  • the wife might go 24 hours without ordering anything from the Shopping Channel
  • the humane society will have to find some other poor sucker to finish adopting all 450 dogs and 700+ cats in their care
  • and, we are 135 days closer to bringing Lukai home

Now, what has happened in those 135 days while we were waiting?
Well... the following has happened:
  • my wife is now mentioned by name on the Shopping Channel
  • I have started a petition with the CRTC to REMOVE the Shopping Channel from the Basic Cable Package
  • my wife has cried for 42 days straight
  • my parents booked a trip to come visit us for Christmas
  • my wife has called our adoption agency over 17 times re: our LOA
Signing the LSC.

What have I learned during the 135 day wait? 
Well... I have learned the following:
  • the CRTC requires at least 500 signatures before they will review a petition to remove a channel from its programming
  • that having a dog, a cat and 2 birds all under one roof can make fore some interesting times
  • the humane society has a "frequent buyer" program
Sooo yea, there you have it folks!  Thanks for all those who stood with us in prayer and waiting.  We've got the LOA, about to put it back in the mail and starting plans for the wife and D to goto China Nov 12 ~ 24th to bring Lukai home!  YAY! 

There just aren't enough emoticons to express our joy and happiness!  :-)

If you are wanting to stay happy, you should stop reading now... :-)

Some sad facts about Adoption and 135 days...
  • a child is born every 8 seconds, which means 10800 children are born every day, which means 1,458,000 children were born in the 135 days while we were waiting for our LOA
  • 6,000,000 children die of starvation every year, which means 2,220,000 children have died from starvation alone while we waited for our LOA
  • 762,000 MORE children die in 135 days than those who are born
  • there are still roughly 147,000,000 children waiting for adoption
  • if one child could be adopted every hour, it would still take 6,125,000  days to adopt all the children who currently need families
  • if one child could be adopted every minute, it would still take 102,100 days to adopt all the children who currently need families
  • yet, it would only take 26,045 days for all the children needing a family to die of starvation
How can our hearts not be moved to try to change this?!  Our joy is a stark contrast to the reality which so many people are facing in the world today.  So when people ask, "Why are you so excited about a simple LOA?" ... this is why, because our son is not going to be one of the 147 MILLION orphans for any longer.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Passing the Time with PhotoShop

Oh look, apparently Lukai wants an LOA as well... and new pants.

Someone started a thread on an adoption forum where they photo shopped their child with a sign asking for an LOA... so now, I'm adding to that.  :-)

Yeeeeess, waiting makes you do strange things.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Sooooo... yea, it has been a little quiet lately around here.
What's that you ask?
Oh, why?
Ummm... 125+ days waiting.
That is why.

I've tried blogging this past week... but everything sounded so bitter and angst-y that none of it was post worthy.  I don't think there was anything to take away from those posts which would have helped anyone.

So I've been scouring my mind trying to find something, ANYTHING, happy this week... I'm still thinking.

Lets see here...

Waiting.  Stalled.  No one knows why.  Our adoption agency has said "I asked CCAA last week, your dossier had been passed to the Department for LSC.  I will follow this next week." - there are no flags, or notices, or anything "wrong" with our file... it just has stopped.  No new information coming.  That message sounded hopeful from the agency, until I remember that news was from Aug 4th.  Generally the LSC arrives in 1 to 3 weeks.  Uhhhhmmm.  Oh well.  I guess we just keep waiting.

Home Renovations?  
Waiting.  Stalled.  City of Ottawa rejected sections of our building plans.  Fun weekend of talking with architects/engineers and contracts to get stuff fixed.  Sooooo, yea, resubmitted the paper work, and now... like our adoption... we wait.

Family is doing well?  
Weeeeeell, the wife's grandfather just passed away.  And because we have the home renovations and adoption, we don't have the money to send her waaaay back out to Alberta for the funeral.  Massive guilt for not going?  Check!  Family probably gonna be mad?  Check!  Maybe.  So far its been good.  I'm just waiting for the emotions to really kick into high gear during the funeral.

So here I sit... sick, dizzy, waiting for everything and in the back of my head I hear my own voice just screaming "Can't something go right for me today?!  Just.  One.  Flipping.  Thing.  Go.  Right."


Then I notice some updates on Facebook and I'm reminded of the weekend that was.  We had some good friends over, and they had updated some pictures from the weekend in their Facebook album titled 'Fun Stuff'.  What a great reminder.  We had some good friends over on the weekend for some canoeing, camp fire, s'mores and music.  It was a really nice distraction from waiting for ... well... everything.  :-)

J looks "distinguished",
 even with s'mores smushed in his beard

The kids are adorable

Ping finally has a  (Chinese) role model who doesn't  scare her

K + Y, teenagers, what can ya do?

Only posting this picture of K because Y said he looks "Hot".
Then she said "No WAIT!  TELL HIM THAT!  POST this Picture!" ...
Well, maybe it was "DON'T tell him", and "DON'T post".
So hard to remember being so OLD and all.  Oh well.

Even a midst this fun wonderful weekend with friends, I could have decided to focus on the fact that my son kicked me out of the canoe because I was "too fat and will make it sink".

I could focus on the fact that I got called OLD many times... every grey hair on my head and in my beard counted (J pointed out that it will make me look 'distinguished' ... but I don't WANT to be distinguished yet!).

I could even focus on the fact that Lukai was not here to share this weekend with us... but he could have been had the paperwork not stalled 125+ days ago!  Not that I'm counting.  :-)

Yes, even during the good times, we can become so distracted with waiting for Lukai that we can miss the wonderful life happenings all around us.

Its a tough balance to reach.  I mean, I just want Lukai home.  And that is a pretty all consuming thought.  Wanting him home is not a bad thing... is it?  I guess it *could* be a bad thing if it causes me to miss the quality moments with the other children and wife.

You would think that the poor minimum wage government working in China pushing the adoption paperwork could find at least a couple of minutes during their 16 hour work day to finish our documents and get us home with Lukai?  :-)

It's gonna be OK though.  Find your happy place.  Aaaand, I'm OK.  We're gonna be OK.  We're gonna be just FINE.

*ring* *ring* *ring*
Me:  Hello?
Wife:  Can I go to Pensilvania?
Me:  Wha?!
Wife:  There are other adoptive families there.  I wan't to go visit them to distract myself.
Me:  So you want to leave the country.
Wife:  What?  I have a passport!
Me:  Let me just check the email...
Wife:  Why?  There is nothing in the email.
Me:  Why did they send you their address already?
Wife:  They did?
Me:  And a map to their place?
Wife:  I didn't say "yes" yet.
Me:  Un-huh.

We're gonna be FINE.  We're gonna be just ...

*ring* *ring* *ring*
Wife:  No one likes me!  No one wants me to come!
Me:  Wha?!
Wife:  Well I said I would come... and no one is free this weekend!

I'm gonna be fine.

... the wife... I'm not so sure.