Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! 2015 Year of our 5th Adoption

So, we start a new year.  This is the year we go back to China.  We are already planning what we need to do before going back.  We have more sales to add to Ebay.  We are selling bracelets.  I will post something soon about it, if you'd like to get one.  I might even add a list of posters.  Leave a comment if you are interested.  If you have to buy something from Amazon, please go through the links on this page.  We can get a small commission.  Any amount will help with the adoption.  We still have some bills to come.  After the Dossier goes to the agency, then we need to come up with fees in China and travel fees.  If Angie has it her way, we will probably turn around and put in for another child.

Tomorrow, I will start getting rid of stuff for our second yard sale.  It's times like this when you realize how much junk you have.  I plan to get rid of it.

Welcome to any new readers!  Feel free to comment, ask questions and/or share the site.  I write this to inform people about adoption and travel (mainly to China).

Luxury Goods. Why you should be careful buying them abroad.

I have talked about customs in a past blog, but it had more to do with movies.  I just wanted to send out a warning.  If you buy luxury items in China, keep the receipt if it is from a reputable company.  When you declare it, they will want to see it.  If it is like my visit, they will take it away no questions asked.  Well, maybe one:  Do you want to pay a fine or donate the items?  If you buy in a bargaining situation, be careful.  That is the stuff they are targeting.  More chances than not, it is a knockoff.  We just stay away from that kind of stuff.  It's not worth the hassle Customs will give you.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Siberian Tigers. Perusing the landscape of your adoptive Province

I am hoping we get to visit this park when we go pick up our daughter.  I have to find out what kind of sightseeing they do.  Our last agency planned a couple of outings per province.  I have added the link because the paper did not have Blogger on their list to share to.  Interesting story!

Wal-Mart in China. Big Box in an established City

In past blogs, I have talked about my expectations of and those were told to us.  You'd think we were going to a place that did not have running water or electricity.  China is a little more advanced than that.  Even western companies are flocking to this country.  Soon there will be a McDonald's on every corner.  As scary as that sounds, it's happening.  Pizza Hut, Papa Johns, Wal-Mart, Ikea.  They are all moving into China.

I would like to describe our first visit to a Wal-Mart.  In Beijing, they are there.  They were far outside of the area we were visiting.  In Jiangxi, we were able to visit Wal-Mart.  Angie was excited.  She wanted to see if the sales matched the ones at home.  Out group got into the bus at the hotel and drove to the center of the city.  In the middle is a big Memorial of the August 1 Nanchang Uprising.  We did not visit it, but our guide pointed out to us as we passed by.  At the far end is the Wal-Mart.

Due to the fact that it is in a city, they had to configure the store to the buildings that were there.  Most of the stores we have seen are multi-storied.  When you go in, the first floors are the check outs, produce and meat.  You take an escalator up to one of the upper floors.  This escalator was more like a moving sidewalk that let you bring your cart with you.  On the upper floors were the electronics, clothes, baby products, etc.  I was happy to find movies.  It was great to find movies that were current at a more reasonable price.  My joy was cut short on returning to America, where the Customs agent told me everything they sell in China is counterfeit.  I wonder if Wal-Mart knows they are selling counterfeit movies?

Angie went through the store getting Michelle clothes and things that she would need, like formula.  I looked around.  This first outing was to get things for the children.  Our guide gave us a certain amount of time and then it was time to check out.  On checking out, we saw that they had a KFC.  I don't think we got anything.

Later, another couple and us decided to take a cab back to the store.  We did some more shopping.  We got things we forgot, like soda, juice, etc.  After checking out, we stopped by the KFC and got some sandwiches.  They were good, but a little spicy.  Funny thing is that each time we went, Angie would spend over $100 Yuan.  I would joke about it.  Of course, the exchange rate was like $8US to $1 Yuan.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Beijing's public transport adopts new fares on Sunday - CCTV News - English

Beijing's public transport adopts new fares on Sunday - CCTV News - English

So, the great price is gone.  It is now going up in price.  I'm guessing the price will still be reasonable versus taking the bus or cab.  It will probably be more expensive for the locals.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A wish for Christmas. Try to make a difference in others lives

It was a great Christmas.  I think over the years, we have learned about buying too many gifts.  I did not even ask for anything.  At 42, I feel I have what I want.  I'd rather see the happiness in the children.  The girls all got what they wanted and were satisfied.

I wish I were rich.  Not for the fact that it could buy me things.  I'd love to fly over to an orphanage and get all the children gifts.  Unfortunately, the orphanage would probably keep them when the children move on.  That happened in each of our adoptions.  With Michelle, they even asked for the clothes on her back.  We decided to keep them, but gave them other clothes in return  I would just love to have the money to make a difference in many kids lives.  I know I have done that for our children, but I want to do more.

I think another great idea would be to open some kind of foster/assistance house in a rural part of China.  We would take in children to give them what they would need prior to be adopting, while at the same time offering a place that can assist children of families that have gone to the cities to work.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sticker Shock: How Angie adds grey hairs to my head

So, Angie brought up our agency fee that will be coming up.  Unfortunately, they want it in the form of a check.  They do not take credit or Paypal.  We need to start coming up with that money.  I guess it was not as bad as I was expecting, but it is all part of adopting.  Everyone has set fees that they expect when it comes to there part.  After this, the next big payment will be for our travel and orphanage donations and fees.   Besides the fundraisers, we are also looking at low to no interest loans and grants.  Some grants do not take place until after the adoption.  I would think you would have to start the process before going.  Like I've said before, research everything before getting into adoption.  That way you can figure out the money that will be needed and how to come up with it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Weather in Harbin: Prepare for the Weather of your adoptive Province

I just checked the weather in Harbin, China.  They must be having a warm front.  Today's temperature is 7 F.  It looks like it will be in the teens.  I can't wait to visit to get my child, but I think it would be too cold.  If my children come, their mom will have them dressed like the boy in A Christmas Story.  At least I will not bring my ball cap and think it will keep my head warm.  Might have to bring the Chinese hat we bought the last time.  I think we will be going in the spring or early summer.  I don't know how the expiditing will work.

Now that the holidays are upon us, all things come to a halt.  Once the holidays pass, it is on to the next stop.  Chinese New Year is approaching.  During that holiday, the whole country takes the week off.  There will not be people processing and travel will be hard to come by.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Adopted Children dealing with peers

I read an article the other day.  The subject was a child who was adopted from China had committed suicide, due to bullying. With one daughter in middle school and the other approaching, I am worried they will have the same thing happen to them.  Kiersten has already told us about incidents, but they seemed to have stopped.  We are just going to sit them down and tell them that if any bullying happens, they need to let us know.  I know how it is growing up.  I can't say I really liked middle or high school.  My issues had more to do with being an introvert.  I know kids can be mean.  School officials are not always around when things happen.

Talking to Angie the other day, I find out that a teacher had caught some students making fun of my daughter and her friend.  Why can't kids just leave others alone?  Does it make them feel special to put others down?  I hope if it continues, my daughter will let us know.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

On the Move. The back and forth of paperwork

Our package is heading back.  Hopefully, that means it has been signed and is ready for the next stop.   Next is the Chinese consulate in Texas.  We have to hire a courier to bring the package to the consulate.  All of it comes at a cost.  The courier charges, the consulate charges, and Fed-Ex charges.  As of this morning (Sunday December 21st), the package is in Memphis, TN.  Funny, the package goes from northern Florida and has to go to a northern state before coming back down to Orlando, FL.  We should get the package in a day or so.  Angie may get the package out quick, but holidays might slow things down.

It's the 22nd today.  The package has arrived from the Secretary of State of Florida.  Now Angie will make some copies and prepare to ship to Texas.  This will be going to the Chinese Consulate.  They have things to certify.  They only accept packages from couriers.  Angie is using the service/person we used for the last adoption.  The consulate will be closed for a couple of days for Christmas.  We will not be rushing the package.  Next stop, Agency to China.  Yeah!!!!

Friday, December 19, 2014

How Teens deal with being adopted from China a documentary

Somewhere Between (Adoption Documentary)

A documentary that I would suggest and have shown my daughters is Somewhere Between.  It follows a group of teen adoptees and the issues they deal with in their lives.  My daughters liked it.  One of them actually would like to go back and try to find her parents.  In the documentary, one of the girls does that.  It also helps parents to see issues their child might go through or been going through.  I think our girls will go through it.  Hopefully, they will discuss those issues with us.  I am more than happy to discuss and even do research for them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

More Bad News. Fees, Fees, and More Fees. The dowside of adoption.

Today we found out that China has increased some its fees.  This happens during adoptions.  Especially if the value of the Yuan goes down as compared to the dollar.  We may not have an increase in all fees.  Sometimes, they grandfather in fees.  If you have started the process, you may not have to pay the increases.  When it rains it pours.  Hopefully, this will be all the bad news for this week.  At times like these, I wish we were already headed to China.  Angie also found out that the Chinese Embassy charges $15 to $20 a sheet to certify.  Not only that, but they will only take the paperwork from a courier that you have to hire.  I think her fee is $150.

Win Some, Lose Some. When your Heart is bigger than your Wallet

So today I received bad news.  I have been trying to get Angie to inquire about an 11 year old that is up for adoption.  She has been in the orphanage since birth.  I only wanted to try and give her a home.  Earlier in our adoption, Angie had requested two.  The agency sort of approved us, but called and said they did not think that China would allow it.  Recently, China has come out with new rules.  We thought this might be an opening for us.

Wrong.  Angie sent the email.  They replied that the one child we are interested in is going to take a lot of care and also, we don't make enough.  Funny thing is that the book I am reading talks about all the money issues surrounding adoptions and how it is perceived as being for the rich.  We are rich of heart, but not of wallet.   Maybe we will raise lots of money in the next couple of months and be able to set some aside for another child.  Knowing my wife, two to three years from now, we will be preparing for another.  I only wish we could have given this child a family.

Jiangxi: What life might have been like for my daughter.

In Jiangxi, our agency set up a visit to a village similar to the one our child could have come from.   Some of the people from the village allowed us to walk through their house and see the surroundings.  Granted, this was not near the orphanage.  That was about 1-2 hours away on country roads.  We had an option of visiting, but we did not think it would be fair to our child to take the same journey that she took the day before.  Had I had a chance to do it again, I would go.  The city was the only place we got to visit.  I'm sure one day, we will bring our daughter back to visit the area she came from.

The day we were to visit the village, one of the families decided not to go.  They were concerned about bird flu.  It did not bother us.  If we saw a bird walking crazy, we'd stay away from it.  We only saw a couple of chickens walking around.  They looked fine.

We loaded up in our bus and drove to the outskirts of the city.  At this point, it looked like a farming community.  There were brick houses and people walking around.  Some had bikes.  There were people selling meat hanging on hooks, on the side of the road.  Not a lot of vehicles were around. Where we got off the bus, there was another person selling meat.

We walked toward the houses.  Off to the left was a huge piece of land for farming.  On it where chickens and roosters.  There were many houses near the open land.  One of them was the bathroom.  By the looks of it, the families shared this bathroom.  We went through the house and looked at the rooms.  They had a kitchen, bedrooms and an eating area.

The kitchen had a wok built up like a stove, where the cooking was done.  It was heated by wood.  In the eating area, they had a table with food sitting on it.  The food was covered by a screen cover.  That was done to keep the bugs off the food.  Once we were done looking around, we walked outside and were offered a seat.  We talked with the people who lived there.  We asked questions and they graciously answered.  They also commented about our adoptions.

It was an interesting visit.  It gave us an idea of how our children could have lived or how their parents lived.  It also gave us a view of how you can live with less.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Research your Locations. You can't tour if you don't know it exists

Before we go to adopt, I like to research the provinces we are going to.  I like to look at the history and look for places to visit.  I also like to see what cuisine is their specialty.  Chengdu specializes in Sichuan cuisine.  Believe me, if you are not used to spicy, be warned.  They put Sichuan oil on everything.

In Jiangxi, I learned about the Nanchang Massacre during World War II.  I did not learn about it in school.  They have also done a couple of movies based on it.  Flowers of War is a movie that has Christian Bale as a man stuck in the middle of the massacre.  It is directed by Yimou Zhang.  I found it to be a good movie.  When it came to the Oscars, they said it was a Chinese propaganda film.  I did not see it that way.  What about US war movies?  Aren't they US propaganda films?  Some of them even won Oscars.     Another great movie is John Rabe.  It centers around John Rabe's attempt to save people from atrocities of war.

When researching Harbin, I discovered that the Japanese had their own death camps.  The book Unit 731: Japan's Secret Biological Warfare in WWII by Peter Williams and David Wallace gives details about what happened.  I found it shocking that after all that happened, the US granted immunity to the people involved.  We didn't learn that in school.  I did find out that they do have a museum in Harbin that you can visit.

I think it is important to learn the history of the areas we are visiting.  Not only does it provide places to visit, it give me information I can pass on to my daughters so they may do their own research.  That is my hope.  They may not care to do so.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Ship with Care. Protecting your Souvenirs from Shrinkage

International adoption is a special trip.  We loved to buy things from the provinces that our daughters came from.  Believe me, it is hard to find special things.  Most shops will sell the same things.  It's like going on a cruise to the islands.  All those shops look a like.  We tend to gravitate towards hand made items.  When packing to fly to your next destination, be careful.

We like to use TSA approved locks for our luggage.  When we pack, we try to bring valuables on the plane with us.  On one of our trips, another family had a bunch of souvenirs in their luggage.  When they got to the next location, their things had been stolen from the bags.  They might have even had locks.  Just take this advice, be careful.  It happens.  It has not happened to us, but we have been lucky.

Wi-Fi access on Vacation. The high price of contacting the family abroad

Wi-Fi has become a great way to stay in touch when you are out of town.  On our first outing, we did not seek out an Internet Cafe until Guangzhou.  On the island, they had a coffee shop that gave free internet.  Believe me, it is better to find something like this than pay hotel rates.  One time we did try it.  It was .75 a minute.  Well the access was like going through dial up.  We paid 6.00 for 10 minutes of access.  Three of that was waiting on the site to come up.  Back to the coffee shop.  We bought a drink and sat down at a computer.

On the second trip, we found an internet shop in a small mall next to the hotel.  They had reasonable rates.  The people that ran it were really friendly.  One thing that I did notice was that a lot of the people were playing games on the computers.  While Angie was going through email, we watched people play games.

Finally, the last trip saw us bringing our miny computer.  We found access at some of the hotels.  We were able to Skype with our daughters everyday.  Skype is a great way to contact people over the computer.  Sometimes it glitches, but it kept us in touch with our family.  I will reiterate, some sites are not available in China.  If you have a blog or want to Facebook, you may hit a firewall.  China does ban certain sites.  I think Twitter would be another site.

One last thing.  If you can not find a cafe or internet place, look for places that offer a deal for access.  An example would be a vendor requesting a purchase of $5 or more to gain access.  It's worth it.  Some hotels think it is gold and sell it that way.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Mia's favorite song. Wa$$up - BANG BANG official MV

Bang Bang and other funny things my 5 year old does

Mia is our 5 year old.  When we adopted her, we were told she may or may not be able to see.  Well she has some sight.  She runs around the house and does not bump into things.  She even can use an Ipad.  One thing she loves is music.  Of course, I have shared my international likes with her.  One of her favorites is a Korean group called Wa$$up.  They perform a song Bang Bang (see Bang Bang post for video).  Every time she gets into my car she requests Bang Bang.  Bang Bang is not in Angie's car.  She does not ask for it there.  She evens sings some of the lyrics.

She is still learning to talk and eat.  When we got her at 3, she was more like a baby.  Now she is more like a 3 year old.  Some of the things she comes up with to say is funny.  This morning she started saying Those are not Pumpkins! She loves changing words around.  For potatoes, she says popatoes.  I will say, we are very happy to have her as our daughter.

The other day I was talking to Mia.  I was asking her something and she answers me "Big bowl of No!".  Later that day, I was asking her about dinner and she goes "Change the track".  She has a music player and she likes us to change her songs, but this time I think she was telling my to change what I was saying.

Mia likes her stuffed animals.  Lately, she has started taking them and shoving them into her face.  She then proceeds to start screaming.  The animals are attacking her face.

Running into adoptive families Everywhere we go

During our vacation, we were walking around and saw a family with a daughter that looked exactly like Michelle, only smaller.  This seems to happen to us a lot.  We go places and we see other families who have adopted from China.  Angie runs into the mother and asks about her daughter.  It turns out her daughter is the same age as Michelle and she comes from the same Province.  Also, we might have been on the same plane to pick up our daughters.  The mother did not remember the name of the orphanage.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

New Book: Adoption Nation

On vacation, I started reading Adoption Nation by Adam Pertman.  It has been an interesting book.  It breaks down the history of adoption and gives interesting information.  I know this is not much, but I am only two chapters in.  I will update as I can form a better opinion.  So far, so good.

I just finished a chapter that dealt with the skyrocketing cost of adoption and domestic adoptions.  It explained laws from the states and how they vary.  It also went into adoption from the birth mothers.  The laws in the states vary for a mother changing her mind and what a family can pay for.  Mainly they can pay for hospital stays and lodging.  The states do not want it to add up to buying a baby.  I think these kind of adoptions can leave a family open for fraud.  There laws do not seem to protect families from that.  It also mentioned father rights.

I have finally read about the international arena.  The next chapter deals with the rise of international adoption in many countries and the need for the Hague Convention.  At the time of writing, the Hague had been created, but the big countries had not signed on to it.  The Hague Convention was created to protect children from being kidnapped and sold illegally.  The US and China now have accepted it.  It has added some extra steps to the adoption process.  For the most part, I am all for it.  I would hate to adopt a child and then find out that they were taken from their family.  I want my girls to find their parents one day, if they can.

The next couple of chapters deal with more domestic issues.  There is a chapter about infertility and adoption.  Then there is a chapter about birth parents.  Over history, there was always a stigma placed on women who get pregnant without being married.  Those women fell victim to unscrupulous people that were not looking out for the interest of the women, but trying to get to child for adoption purposes.  Another chapter dealt with fathers of these women.  They were not always a part of these decisions.  These are all things we thought about when deciding between domestic and international adoption.

Chapter 6 goes into international adoption.  It talks about the fall of communism and the rush to adopt out children.  These are things we researched.  We tried to find out things that went along with adopting from other countries.  Why are children being abandoned?  What issues might be going on with parents that can be passed on to the children?  What kind of adoption structure exists?  China fit our needs.  Most of the children are abandoned due to the one child policy.  Alcoholism is not a big factor.  There policies are pretty much set in stone.  We did not have to worry about going over to China and having officials ask for more money or requiring us to come back.  The chapter also talks about information the agencies give about the children.  We have not had any real big surprises.  Issues that have come up should be expected.  These children have been in an orphanage.  They do not get attention round the clock.  There are a lot more kids then workers to hold them.  As they get older, they learn to survive.

One of the next chapters deals with special needs.  In addition to physical ailments, children that have not been adopted by a certain age are classified as special needs.  The author goes on to talk about adopting special needs in and out of country.  He even touches on a woman who has the same ailment as my wife.  This woman was able to adopt children.

The last two chapters were kind of a blur.  The author gives an explanation about the cost of adoption and what is causing it to increase.  He touches on adopting outside of ones race.  I can interject something that he did not.  When we were foster parents, we took in many different races of children.  We once had a child of American Indian descent.  She was taken from us with three days.  The reason is that the American Indians have a deal with the government that only American Indians can foster or/and adopt children from tribe members.  Another time, we took in some African American children.  We did not have any issue with it.  We may have even adopted one of them(they were sisters).  We had them for many months.  Near the end of the time they were with us, they started to get questioned and made fun of because they did not have African American parents.  Kids can be cruel.

One thing that he brings up that I liked was that insurance companies should offer some kind of coverage/subsidy for adoption.  As parents that can not conceive children, we are never going to need coverage for pregnancy.  Some companies do offer reimbursement.  Two of the companies I worked for had that option.  My current employer does not.

The author does bring up money near the end.  It can be both a help to the situation and it can be a hindrance.  It creates issues like only rich parents being able to adopt healthy babies, while poorer parents are pushed toward children with special needs.  I agree with that.  I do not know how they would fix the situation.  I also learned that selling children is only a misdemeanor in the US.  He talked about one guy who was caught doing so.  He got three years in prison.  This was because he committed fraud by lying to adoptive parents.

I found this book to be very insightful.  He touches on most of the things we have learned or thought over the processes we have been through.  It was great to see he was not preachy, like the last book I read.  Instead of trying to dissuade international adoption, he gives the reader things that they should be considering when going this route.

Perceptions. How People from other Countries deal with Ignorance

The other day Angie was getting food at a buffet.  The person serving looked like they were from another country.  The person serving bacon was trying to unclump some bacon that had stuck together.  The lady in front of Angie told the woman she could just serve the whole thing to her because she was going to tell her it was not enough.  The woman continued to separate the bacon.  She gave the woman two pieces of bacon.  The woman turns to Angie and goes "I guess she doesn't understand English!".  After the woman had left, the woman serving turned to Angie and says in perfect English, "Good Morning, would you like some extra bacon?"

That really irritates me when people do that.  I think that if my daughter was in the same situation, they would do the same thing to her just on her appearance.   She would either do the same thing or just cuss them out.  She could do just like the man on The Karate Kid remake, where the boy asks the man something in Chinese and he says that he is from Detroit.

I'm Back! ! ! On to the next step.

So I'm back.  Been a great week of rest.  While we were gone, we got out fingerprint approval.  It's on to the Secretary of State of Florida for signatures.  They will authentic our package.  It will be in the mail by Monday.  Also while we were gone, we discovered that a teacher has a problem with our adoption.  Can you believe that?  This person discussed it with Angie's parents.  I guess she thought her almighty words would convince us not to adopt.  Guess she would be really upset if she found out we might adopt two if we can.

During our vacation, we talked to a woman about our adoptions.  She broke down in tears for what we were doing.  I like these kind of discussions.  At least she understands what we are trying to do.  Angie found out that our chance of adopting two might have increased.  Not only that, but the child we are considering has a grant available.  This child is 11 years old.  I think she will fit in nicely with our family.  We still have to talk to the agency and let the girls know.  I'll have to keep you up to date when more info is available.

We found out that China has changed some of the rules for post adoptions also.  A couple of years ago, they placed  rule that all families adopting had to agree to a number of post placement reports.  We had to do one at 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, 4 years and 5 years.  Possibly 6, I can't remember.  All of these had to be done through a social worker.  The new rule is that 4-6, or something like that, can now be written by the parents and sent to the agency, who will forward to China.  That will help some.  We are happy to share the progress of the children with China.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Small Break: Didn't want to Leave my Audience Hanging

I have been posting a lot lately.  The reason is because I am going to take a slight break.  I should return around the 15th.  I still have lots to talk about.  I still have visits and pictures in China to share.  I have more music.  We hope to have an update about the adoption.  Right now, we are waiting on the fingerprints.  Feel free to leave comments.  Let me know what you would like to see more of or less of.  Thanks for continuing to come back to this blog and I hope the information that I am providing is informative and entertaining.  Please share the link to the blog with friends and family.

So, no comments.  I guess I am doing something right.  I am still getting readers.  If for any reason you want to ask anything, by all means do so.  I will keep on writing.  This helps keep my brain thinking and hopefully my writing is improving as I go along.

Best version of Do You Want To Build A Snowman!

Korean Version of Let It Go (from "Frozen"). Really good!

Frozen Fever. Frozen from around the world

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that Disney's Frozen has taken the world by storm.  At the same time, we know the province that our child is located at.  She lives in Harbin, China.  This is a city in the province of Heilongjiang.  This province border Russia.  Every year they do an Ice and Snow Festival.  I read that it can go to -35.0 C(-31.0 F).  I do not think we will get to go during the winter.  It may be more like spring.  Researching, I am looking forward to going there to experience the culture.

Getting back to the movie Frozen.  My daughters loved this movie.  I like some of the music, but I must confess, I still have not sat down to watch it.  Early on, I heard a version of Let it Go by Demi Lovato.  I did not like it.  I guess it's the way she sings it.  I prefer the one by Idina Menzel.  I keep up with Asian music through Facebook.  It's the only way I can find out if artists are releasing music.  One day they did a post of a K-Pop singer doing the song.  This lead to many Korean artists to do the same thing.  I guess it was a competition to see who could sing it the best.

The version I liked was by a singer named Hyolyn.  By the looks of it, she was the artist Disney commissioned to do the song for Korea.  I will attach the version and judge for yourself.  Another artist, name Park Ji Min who is a part of 15&, did a version of Do you Want toBuild a Snowman.  Her version is in English.  I was impressed with the way she started sounding like a child and then transitioned into a more mature sounding voice.  If you like it, share it.  I think these artists are very good.  Many people, I'm included, do not like hearing things that are not in thier language.  Since I started adopting, my tastes have changed.  I only wish they'd come to this country.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Center

When we found out we were going to Chengdu for our adoption, I looked it up on the internet.  I found out that they were home to a Panda research center.  We guessed that the adoption agencey would set up a visit to there.  We were correct.  It was one of the few areas we did get to visit in Chengdu.

On the day of the visit, we loaded up in our van for the ride to the center.  On the way there, we got to see areas that had been affected by one of the earthquakes.  I believe it was the 2008 earthquake.  I also saw people selling dogs by the side of the road.  They were medium sized and in crates.  I'd like to think they were selling them as pets, but I doubt it.

At the center, we waited for our guide to take care of the tickets.  We went in and explored.  This park was much nicer than the zoo.  The pandas have wide open areas to roam and just hang out.  They also have areas that they can go during inclemite weather.  The walkways in the park are kept in good condion.  A lot of them are lined by bamboo trees.

The younger pandas have an area that they call the Panda Kindergarten.  When I saw them hanging in a tree, it looked like little stuffed animals.  In addition to the regular Pandas, they also had red pandas, some peacocks, and various other birds.  They do offer people the chance to hold a panda, but it was expensive and the agency did not even ask us if we'd be interested.  I guess if we had asked, they would have set it up.

At the end of the tour, they had a pond that had birds, ducks, turtles, etc.  Kayla kept trying to get there attention.  All in all, it was a fun experience.  They do treat their pandas well here.