Tuesday, March 31, 2015

No, they are not all related

I went to pick up Michelle after school today.  I walked up, after parking the car.  I see an Asian girl sitting on the bench.  My mind goes to wondering if she was adopted or has Asian parents.  I meet up with Michelle and we head back to the car.  As we are walking by the girl, I hear someone ask if that is her sister.

Amazing Find in my email. . .Elana's 2nd Birthday (with Pictures)

Elana and Michelle share the same birthday.  On this day, Michelle added her name to her cake.  Elana, on the other hand, was celebrating in China.  We arranged for her to get cake and a gift.  In addition to this, we also got pictures.  They were sent to us today.  I can see that she is eating some of her cake.  When Mia got hers, she was shown in front of the cake, but not eating it.  If Mia were in the same picture as Elana, her mouth would be closed and she would be pushing it away.  The cake she had looks good.  I will tell you, they are.  We got one on the last trip.

Same Company Different Tastes

One thing that I look forward to when we travel is tasting things from a new area.  I try to look things up on the computer to see what I should be looking for.  One day, I want to go to Philadelphia to try original cheese steak sandwiches.

In China, each province has its own way of cooking or specialty.  Cheng du has Sichuan oil.  They put it on just about everything.  Another specialty, that we did not get to try, was Hot Pot.  I am hoping to try it on this next visit.  That is what the Toilet Bowl restaurant specializes in.  As for Harbin, I have found a couple of places.  They even have Russian food.  I asked for suggestions, but got no reply.  I will have to do more research.

Another food item that is interesting in another country are things like chips and soda.  In America, they have certain flavors that appeal to this market.  In China, you might find Mango flavored Lays.  I must say were quite good.  They also have seaweed, cucumber and other flavors that appeal to the Asian market.  Sodas are another item that is different in China.  Sprite has a ginger and a mint flavor.  I have tried the mint flavor.  It tasted like mouthwash.  Mountain Dew was there, but it did not taste like it does in America.  I couldn't tell if it was less sugar or carbonation.  It did not taste the same.  Coke and Pepsi taste the same.  It will be interesting if there are some newer flavors to try.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ebay . . .Changing shipping after sale

We had a purchase from Singapore.  They are requesting that we change from priority to cheaper alternative.  We did not have him pay and looked into it.  You can't change the shipping.  I called Ebay and they said we will have to cancel the sale, relist and have the buyer buy it again.  We will just have to be careful that someone else does not buy it.  

Jurassic World . . . A blast from the past

I was watching the Walking Dead finale and the commercial for Jurassic World came on last night.  It brought me back to when Angie and I worked at a movie theater in Raleigh, NC.  The first Jurassic Park was coming to our theater.  We had arranged a movie promotion for Jurassic Park.  We built a life size opening to the park with a display, jungle cargo netting, etc.  Not only that, but we were able to secure tickets on Amtrak to Orlando and tickets to Universal Park, Orlando.  At this time, we had already made plans to go down to Orlando.  We got to visit the parks.  I was able to secure passes to Universal from the film company.

It was at this time that I decided to propose to Angie.  We both love movies.  I probably more than Angie.  We went to Planet Hollywood.  I guess I thought it would be a great place to propose.  As I look back now, it was kind of cheesy.  It did set our lives in motion.  We now live in Orlando.  We have not even been back to Planet Hollywood since.  Food was good, but it is a loud atmosphere.  I did like watching the movie clips.

I think this was also the trip that I found out that my father had died.  He did not even know that we were getting engaged.  I had not talked to him in a couple of months.  It was sort of like the Harry Chapin song Cats in the Cradle.  I feel that way even more with kids.

Like I said, this movie preview brought back memories.  Between the visuals and the music.

Too Good to Be True

Well, I listed what I could, but I should have read the fine print.  If I did, it probably would have said that you can not exceed the set limits.  I thought that since they were calling it a deal to add 1,000 sales without insertion fees that they would waive all limits.  I was wrong.  The system cut me off at 100.  25 sales and 75 postings.  Hopefully some will sell.  I have a 30 day listing.  That could increase the chances of a sale.  Time will tell.  Now I wait until Wednesday.  Then I can list again.

This week we will be waiting on further word about the Visas.  I have the next two days off.  I will be cleaning and gathering things for the yard sale.  Busy couple of weeks ahead.  Once the house is clean, I'll have to get the suitcases ready.  So much to do.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

It's in the mail. . . More good News!

Today, we received our approval from the US government.  They will be sending the information to the consulate in Guangzhou.  Once they receive, they will be sending the useful information needed for our Visa's.  This should take about a week.  We sent emailed it to our agency.  Now it on to the next step.  Also, for those interested, I have listed a bunch of posters on Ebay as Buy it Now.  We'll see if this sells some posters.

Another Knock on the door of Opportunity

Angie found another place that we might be able to raise some funds for the adoption.  A Chick fil a in the area is doing a fun day and they allow charities to raise funds.  We will be working in conjunction with Reece's Rainbow, so they will allow us to set up.  We will bring out blankets and bracelets.  In addition to that, we are gathering items from Reece's Rainbow to pass out or/and sell for charity funds.  If you are trying to raise money for an adoption, you just have to look around.  Opportunities are out there.  If they call for a charity, link up with one that might assist with your adoption.  Special need groups exist for children that have special needs.  If your child is healthy, look for a charity that works with orphanages.

So, this week end will be dedicated to getting ready for that day and our big yard sale.  Lots to do.  We should be getting word soon about our paperwork.  Visa's and travel are next.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Age is catching up with me

This week, I graduated to Bi focals.  About two years ago, the doctor said I was going to need them soon, due to age, I guess.  A couple of weeks ago, I was trying to read a book.  I had my glasses on.  I could not see the letters on the page.  I had to remove my glasses to see the words.  I finally understood what the doctor was talking about.  When I went in for my checkup, I said I think I need them now.  She asked my age and agreed.  Getting used to them has been a slight challenge.  At first, I was hit with waves of dizziness.  The dizziness seems to be going away.  I like the glasses.  For what I had to pay, I should.  Luckily, I have a flexible spending account at work.

Opportunity Knocks

Ebay sent us an email the other day.  It give us the opportunity to list up to 1,000 items without charging a listing fee.  This is great, I think.  I still have to check the fee structure, but this comes at the right time.  With around 2 months to go, I'd love to sell as many posters as we can.  We might even list other items to see if they would sell.  The listing is for 30 days.  I have until Sunday to finalize those listings.  The current bidding has only coughed up one bid out of 15 listings.  We have watchers on a couple.  I just wish they would just go and buy them.  I don't know what they are waiting on.  I'm not going to lower the bid.  So, you know what I will be doing this weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

It's a Girl a Documentary

I watched a documentary on Netflix the other day.  I examined how those three words are taken in India and China.  After seeing it, I am thankful for the mothers of my daughters.  From this documentary, some mothers do not place their children in a safe place.  Some just kill their daughters.  Another issue that was brought up was human trafficking,  Healthy girls are being kidnapped so that families will have a daught for their son to marry.  The more people ask me, Don't you want a boy?  I feel like saying what's wrong with daughters?  We are not raising our daughters with a feeling that they will take care of us in our old age.  That is our responsibility to save for.  Whatever happens in my old age is my responsibility.  I hope that we plan well for it.  I only hope that my daughters go out into the world and get a great education.  After that, I hope they make the most of their lives.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Time to Eat Crow

Funny saying.  I had to look it up to make sure it was what I wanted to say.  My wife and mother will probably say that I have to do this a lot.  I speak about something and then what I am talking about turns out to be wrong or I just did not wait long enough.  I placed my fundraiser in my break room about a week ago.  This week I added posters.  Today, I moved the sheets down to see if that would change things.  Low and behold, two people have already approached me to buy bracelets and give a donation.  So, I humbly will eat a big thing of crow for saying that people would not donate.  Maybe we will get more, but time tell.  We will be happy with anything we get.

If you want me to continue eating crow, I challenge anyone who reads this to donate $3.00 to Reece's Rainbow.  As far as I can tell, I don't know if I really have people reading my blog.  I have numbers to prove it, but I have never had one comment.  Prove me wrong donate $3.00!

All joking aside, thanks for continuing to come back to our blog and reading my crazy rants and hopefully helpful information.

Clarification of a Past Comment I Made

I want to go back to a comment I made the other day about my co-workers giving money to the homeless man that sleeps outside our building before even giving me anything.  I don't want people to think I am some kind of elitist garbage.  I have my reasons.  First and foremost, I have been approached outside my building by some homeless people.  They all had the same story about a car being broke down or needing money to get a bus ticket.  These stories were not different.  It was the same story.  They get mad if you say you do not have money.  I don't carry cash.  If I did, I would spend it on junk food or soda.  When I say I don't have it, I don't carry it.

My next reason came from an incident when I was in college.  I was working in a movie theater.  Our bank was close to the theater and we tended to walk to get our change and deposits.  I know it sounds dangerous and sets up a pattern, but I was young and following the manager.  It was not a pattern that I liked.  It was the middle of the day.  We were walking by two homeless gentlemen.  I am guessing the more experienced one was giving pointer to the less experienced one.  He was going on that he did not have to work and that he made more money holding a sign on the side of the road.

I also have noticed that the signs have evolved over time.  They once said Will work for food or money.  Now they just say Down on my luck, please give, God Bless You!.  I wonder what happened to the work part.  Down in Orlando, we tend to attract all kinds of con artists, pedophiles, etc.  I once saw a woman, man and baby(in a stroller), in the middle of an intersection with a sign.  It was the middle of the summer and it was hot.  The cherry on top was that they were both smoking.  I guess they were using the child for compassion donations, but where do you think they were going to spend the money?  That is anybodies guess.

Finally, I have not delved to much in my past.  My father once hit bottom.  He asked for help from me.  I was in high school and working for my college money.  He told me that if I let him borrow $100, he would give double back to me.  From what I have written, do you think I ever saw that money?

I know that I might sound hypocritical, since we are asking for donations, but I have tried to give something in return.  I don't really want a handout.

Funny, I had to add this.  I was leaving the library the other day and I was approached by an older lady riding a kids dirt bike.  She started saying, "Sir?".  Before shoe could go into her spiel, I said "I don't have any cash on me".  She stopped coming my way and went to the next mark.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A thought for the day and other things

I don't usually talk about movies on this blog, unless it concerns adoption or adoption related issues.  I had thought about doing a separate blog for movies.  When I see sneak previews I am around people that do it all the time.  I can't stand to listen to them.  Half the time, they are wrong.  I went to see Get Hard last night.  If you want  a funny adult comedy, this is your movie.  I laughed through most of this movie.  I probably even missed some of the jokes.  I will need to watch it a second time.  Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart make a great comedic team.  When it starts, go see it.  Just leave the kids at home.  It is R for a reason.

Enough of that.  I got new glasses yesterday.  Due to my advanced age of 42, I now need Bi Focal glasses.  I got all the bells and whistles on them.  Thank goodness for Medical Reimbursement at work.  I will have to get used to them.  I can see better, but I feel dizzy wearing them.  I hope that feeling goes away.

Had a good day with Ebay.  Sold a couple and have a bid on a newly listed poster.  I wish I could put that this is for an adoption on every listing.  We will have to settle with putting it on the invoice.  We got a message about one of our sales.  A person bought The Wizard of Oz two months ago.  This week, they send us a message that the poster tube and poster were damaged.  Luckily, the post office allows 60 to file a claim.  We don't even know if they want their money back.  Another good practice that will be added will be to state that if you have damage please let us know within 15 or so days.  Two months?  If it had happened to me, I would have sent an email that day.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Week End Results and a fun filled Week

The results are in.  We did not lose money on our fundraiser.  We were able to squeak out some extra money.  The yard sale was more profitable, but we tried.  With fundraising you have to do all you can do.  The Ebay sales were better.  The next line of posters look promising.  I did hit my limit.  So, I was only able to list about 15 posters.  

Work fundraising is not happening.  By not happening, I mean, I placed up fliers in the break room and have waited for someone to ask, call, email or visit my cube.  None has happened.  If you think it is because people have not seen it, that would be wrong.  I talked to someone and he said "Oh yeah, I saw your display".  No mention of I'd like one of those bracelets.  One coworker did say she will talk to me on payday.  I'm not going to hold my breath.  I am trying one last thing.  I placed a display with posters and am asking $5.  I don't think that is too much.  Time will tell.  If you want to know, I think my co-workers would rather give to the homeless guy that sleeps outside our building than to me.  

It's spring break for the girls.  I am hoping they will help their mom gather things for the yard sale.  We have time.  We will probably do it in a couple of weeks.  Not on Easter weekend.  I just want to clear out the house.  We might receive some news this week or next.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Midweekend Report

The good news is we have made  back the money it took to join this sale.  I don't think we made much more.  Hoping tomorrow is a better day.  No posters sold.  Guess people don't care for them.  I am going to hang one or two tomorrow and see if that attracts attention.  I hope some sell.  It took forever to wrap them with rubberbands.  We'll be ready for the yardsale.

My day was spent taking pictures of remaining posters and running back and forth to the sale to give Angie things or pick up bored daughters.  It has been a hot day.  I saw pictures from up north.  The people in those pictures are dressed for cold weather.  I wish some of that cold air would come down here.  Stay tuned for day 2 news.

On the bright side, we did sell 3 posters.  It is a few, but they sold for a decent amount.  Tomorrow, I have to pick posters that will sell.  It is getting harder to do.  I think it is easier to pick the ones that will not sell.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Big Weekend Ahead

I woke up this morning and the Internet was down, my adoption book was gone (loan period was up and it disappears from the Kindle), and I have tons to do.  I have to get the posters ready for the sale this weekend.  I am watching Ebay, hoping for more than 2 sales.  After the Ebay sale is over, I have to pick what will go next.  I have an idea of what will sell, but it is not as easy as that.  I have placed posters that I thought should have garnered some attention, but only had 3 people look at it.  That is pretty pitiful.  Sometimes I place a poster and it has 30 to 40 looks, but no buyers.  It is not like I am asking for $100 per poster.  I have been placing them lower than I wanted to.  You never know.

Tomorrow we will be attending a sale in Orlando.  Hopefully, people will buy some of our things.  By we I am Angie and the older girls.  I will man the central office with Mia.  If posters sell, I can roll more.  That is what I am hoping for.  I will also be keeping my fingers crossed for Ebay.  Time is running out.  I still have to write the book report for the missing adoption book.  This week started Spring Break for the girls.  Lots going on.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Yuntai Garden . . .Then and Now (Now with Pictures)

I was looking for things to do when we go back to China.  One place I found was Yuntai Garden.  We had visited this garden when we went to get Qin Qin.  It is a huge garden in Guangzhou.  As I have said before, every province in China has a huge park/garden.  On the visit, China was celebrating 60 years of rule.  The park was decked out in extra displays.

Guangzhou in the summer is hot.  We were there in September.  The day we went to the park, it was hot and humid.  Sweat was dripping from our heads.  Our group formed at the gate as our guide paid for the admission.  Then, we proceeded to walk the park.  In addition to the extra displays, they have lots of flowers, trees and sculptures.

Off to the right of the entrance, I remember a sign about a sky lift going to some mountain.  We did not have the luck to ride these.  Our attention was on the park.  When you walk in, there is a water fountain going down the center of the garden.  On both sides are stairs.  We did not go this way.  We headed to the right and did a circle around the park.

At one point, the kids got to play with some sculptures of the zodiac.  Like most of our excursions during this trip, Qin Qin stayed with our guide.  Mainly because she was the only person she could speak with, since she did not know English and we did not know Mandarin.

Later in the day, we saw a water park area.  It was mainly water shooting out of the ground.  We told Michelle and Kayla to stay out of it.  We did not want them to get wet or to get the water in their mouth.  At this time, we had little control of Qin Qin.  She jumped right in there.

Getting back to the cable car rides.  I was looking up the park the other day.  I wanted to see where this car led to.  It leads to Baiyun Mountain.  I think this will be a place of interest on our next visit.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Update . . .Homeland Security Responds

Homeland Security has sent us a letter to let us know that they received our request.  I asked Angie how long this will take.  She said it takes about 10 days to process.  Once that is done, the paperwork will go to Guangzhou.  Then it will be time to set up our Visas.  Things are moving right along.  

I placed a fundraiser at work.  My hope was that people would be making a trail to my desk or lighting up my phone wanting to help.  Of course, this is the real world.  No one has even commented on it.  I was talking to a co worker about getting approved for Elana.  He tells me he saw my flyer.  That was not followed by I'd like to get one of those bracelets.  This is why I hate fundraising.  Too many groups are doing it and no one really cares.  Or they might care, but are not interested in assisting.  So much for that baby shower I was hoping for.  Funny thing is, they did have a baby shower for a male co worker who's wife was having a baby.  Guess my adoption is not the same to these people.  

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Bargaining a skill that must be honed!

As China quickly approaches, Angie is honing her bargaining skills.  Some yard workers came around the other day to see if they could do some cutting and trimming.  We had a palm tree that had died in our yard.  The HOA's (Home Owner Association, for those that do not know what one is, it is a group of neighbors that tell the neighborhood how to keep your yard and house.  This is done in the belief that it will keep home values high.  They are not always successful.  Also, you have to pay fees for common areas to be kept up.  These people do not know how to handle money) yard crew had already taken out the trees across from our house.  But, since they are in our yard, they are our responsibility.  So, Angie went into bargaining mode.  I think the offer was $125 to trim a tree.  Angie was able to add in the palm tree and get them down to $75.  The next day, they were asking if anything else needed to be done around the house.  She told them that we did not have the money due to the adoption, but after we might.  I think she is already plotting on how to bargain them down.  I'm glad she likes to do it.  It is too exhausting for me.  I just stand off to the side and let her do her thing.  The people selling usually turn to me for assistance.  I just throw up my hands and say talk to her, can't help you.

I have to get my mindset ready also.  If you go into a place that bargains, you have to be prepared.  As I have said, I am the passive one in these situations.  When we go into a business (bargaining shops tend to be multiple stalls in one building), the sales people will focus in on you in a heart beat.  They are like sharks to blood.  If they see you bleed(spend any money), they will be upon you.  I try to walk down the center of the aisles and use side glances to look.  Interest in anything will get you ten minutes of hard selling.  If I see something I like, I keep on walking.  Then I group up with Angie and give her details.  At this point, she can formulate her strategy.  I love it when I have a child to push in a stroller.  The tend to run distraction.  Only the most trained salespeople can pick up what I am doing.  Believe me, they are highly trained.  If you ever go, go to a yard sale or flea market and try to talk down the people from their set prices.  It's a start, but you won't know pressure until you are in China trying to buy something for a lower price.

Luck of the Irish

Well, we had a bunch of poster sales end yesterday.  It was a vast improvement over my failed free shipping experiment.  Hopefully, the buying will continue.  We are also preparing for our big sale on Saturday.  All these opportunities are opening at the right time.  I only wish the Reece's Rainbow fund would grow.  Hope everyone had a great St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Finished The Complete Book of International Adoption

I finished this book the other day.  It was a really good book.  For us, it was look seeing the written version of what we had already lived through three times.  I really did not find anything new.  I would suggest that if you are looking into International Adoption.  This book gives you the play by play of what you will go through.  I thing people should educate themselves before adopting foreign or domestic.  This will keep the surprises at bay.  At our stage, it would be better if they would grandfather us in or teach/hold a meeting with prospective adoptive families.

We contacted the agency and they said that they make all families do the book report.  They hope that everyone will learn something new.  They did say we could watch and documentary and review it.  That might be an option.  I am just ready to get this part done.

Oppurtunity Knocks

We are planning for this big yard sale.  Yard sales are probably going to net you the least amount of money.  Most people think they are doing you a favor if they take your things.  They are not going to be offering high amounts of money.  Yesterday, I was looking on Facebook and a business near our house is advertising a big sale that people can bring their things to sale for a small fee.  This is great.  We can try and sell posters, blankets, candles and other items.  We might even make a good amount of money.  Well, that's the thought.  Wish us luck.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ebay . . . Buy it Now option

I had a person writing about what my BIN would be?  What?  It stands for Buy it Now.  It would have been great if I had placed it on the poster.  But, due to the fact that it already had a bid, I could not add BIN.  For future notice, if you sell something and you want this feature, add before it gets a bid.  I think my problem is that it was a poster that I might have doubted would sell.  Learned another thing.

If the person who bid is the person who is requesting the BIN, they can cancel their bid and you can add the BIN.  That is what happened.  He asked our price, I checked to see what this poster was selling for (around 17.00), and made an offer of 20.00.  He accepted.  Another concern I have after getting a request like this is how much could it go for?  I checked under the sold for this poster and think I got a decent price.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Ebay. . .Price can be a big Deterrent

Another failed plan.  I listed Shawshank at $400 and then $200.  No buyers.  I did have 20 looks, but no watchers.  I saw that another had sold for $499 by a poster company.  Sad thing is, those companies get their posters from people like me and mark them up for a better sale.  I had one do that to me.  He claimed he could not go as high as I asked.  He ended up with 30 posters for $700.  I did see where he was able to sell some of them for a higher price.  I still think I got a better amount then he wanted to pay.  You have to watch out for dealers.  They will lowball you and sell it for a huge markup.  I'm talking baseball card, comic, art dealers, etc.  Just be careful if you go this route.  They prey upon people "just trying to get rid of stuff".

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cheng Du Lap Child

When we adopted Mia, we expected that she may want to be held on the way back to America.  We even had to get her a seat.  If we knew now what we did not know then, we could have passed her off as a baby.  Mia had become close to us during our stay in China.  She loved to be held, mainly by me.

On the way home, I had hoped that she would want to sit with Angie some.  She was not going to have it.  During the flight, she stayed glued to my chest.  At one point, we were able to pry her off and lay her down on some open seats next to Angie.  When she woke, it was right back to daddy.  Angie finally figured it out.  Mia probably had male caregivers.  The females fed and changed her diapers.  At this point, she started making me change her more often.  It is not fun changing a child in an airplane bathroom.

We did not have any problem until we were on our last flight home.  On this flight, the stewardess noticed that Mia was in Angie's lap.  She informed us that she needed to be in her own seat.  We tried to explain to her about Mia, but she would have none of that.  Kicking and screaming, we had to place her in the seat next to Angie.  As we descended, Angie moved her back to her lap.  This calmed Mia down.

As we approach this next adoption, I only wonder what to expect from Elana.  From the picture, she looks like a healthy toddler.  When we see her in person, she might be the size Mia was.  She will also be on a plane for the second flight of her life.  Without being able to see, who knows how it will affect her.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Dad is a Liar - Emotional Commercial

Check this commercial out and try not to shed a tear.

Ebay Week End update

I just checked the sales and no bids.  One promising sign is that I have a lot of watchers.  But, watchers do not always translate into bidders.  I see it as a psychology of bidding.  They watch until the last minute and then bid.  That is unless someone gives in and puts in a bid.  I'd like to think this, but I have seen many bids with watches end with no sales.  I'm hoping for some.  I'm at a point where all I can go is guess on whether a poster will sale or not.  I might think Speed was a great movie and will sale and no one bids on it.  We'll see.  Hoping for some sales.  We are running out of time.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Airfare. . .Got some Spare Air miles?

We started looking at what our airfare is going to cost.  It looks like $1,100 to $1,800.  This is depending on which airlines we take.  There is a site called MKI Travel or MKI Group Travel.  I found them through Facebook.  They work with missionaries and adoptive families.  They say they work with a lot of the airlines.  They might be able to give us a better deal.  We'll see.  I will keep you updated.  If anyone has some spare air miles they'd like to donate, please let me know.

Don't worry about gifting them.  I talked to Angie.  It seems the airlines are on to people doing that.  They charge a percentage of every mile transferred.  These companies are so worried about losing money.  It seems Delta might offer adoption fares.  But knowing the airlines, it will be like 10% off the ticket or a complementary bag of peanuts.

Hurry up and Wait to Slow down and Rush to Finish!

We have left the period of Hurry up and Wait!  Now we are hoping for Slow down, but need to rush to the finish.  Things are looking better for sales this week on Ebay.  No bids, but a lot of watches.  Hopefully those will translate into bids.  The package went back to the agency and on to China.  We got some kind of verification from Homeland Security about our I-800A request.  The house is moving at a snails pace.  We are trying to get things together for the big yard sale.  I need to start the Spotify countdown.  I told you that things approach quickly.  Now we are investigating airfare.  I looked at the weather in Harbin for June.  It is near 80 F during the day and 59 F at night.  We may need some warm clothes.  July seems like a month to stay away from Harbin.  It is their rainy season. Still getting pictures done of the posters.  I think I am near 75% of them.  Wish I could list more in a month.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I-800A Application for Determination of Suitability to Adopt a Child from a Convention Country

I came home last night and Angie was busy plugging away at her computer.  My daughters were cooking up a dessert and a mess in the kitchen.  When Angie gets her mind fixed on something, all else disappears.  She managed to get all the forms and had me sign my part.  Then it was off to Fed-Ex.

The purpose was to apply or continue the process for our I-800A.  I looked it up to see the purpose of this form (  It is "for adjudicating the eligibility and suitability of the applicant(s) to adopt a child who habitually resides in a Hague Adoption Convention country."  

Next up is the DS-260 Immigrant Visa Application.  I'm sure they all have fees.  The reason you have to wait on these is because they want detailed information about the child you will be bringing back to the country.  When we get off the plane, the Customs agent will open a package and the information must meet the child you bring back.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ebay. . .Miserable Week and New Listing For upcoming Week

We had a bad week.  We only sold a couple of posters.  My experiment with shipping was a failure.  I have added a new list of posters.  So, if you like them bid on them or share with your friends.

The Crew
Shawshank Redemption
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
3,000 Miles from Graceland
Escape from LA
Mars Attacks!
LA Confidential
You've Got Mail
A Simple Plan
Star Wars
Batman Returns
Dumb and Dumber
Dancer in the Dark
Remember the Titans
Leaving Las Vegas
Apt Pupil
Austin Powers
Patch Adams
What Dreams May Come
Toy Story
Saving Private Ryan

Picking up Speed

We were at a dead stall, then we received word that our LOA was being sent and they China had approved us.  Today, we hit the ground running.  The agency called.  They got the paperwork today.  They sent us the forms to sign.  Angie dropped everything to get things ready and the paperwork went out tonight.  This happens, but maybe not this fast.  We have to get cracking.  I am getting ready to list more posters on Ebay.  I will try to list tomorrow.  If you'd like to assist you can check out our Ebay sales, give something to Reece's Rainbow or buy something from Amazon using the link on the page.

I am almost done with the book Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang.  Good book.  It's more adult oriented than the TV show.  Tomorrow March 10, they are showing an episode where Eddie makes a friend with a Chinese child who was adopted.

I have to update this update.  The agency sent our paperwork from China.  I found out that when we sign this paperwork, it will go back to the agency.  From there, on to China.  This is our acceptance.  Then we start the Travel Arrangements.  At this point, we need to get Visa's to go to China and bring a child home.  

Newest Adoption Book. . .Great for people Considering Adoption

This book is a good book.  It is for people who have not been through the process of International Adoption.  When reading it, it feels like a rerun.  It is a play by play of what we have done three times before.  I'm almost done, but I can't say whether I have learned anything new.  I guess when it comes to learning about other countries practices, maybe.  All the other experiences are the same.  I do like that she is not judgemental like others.  She still goes on to say that if you are considering adopting an older child you should do it from the US, because it is basically free and she explains that it is a myth that older children in orphanages will not have issues, like Reactive Attachment Disorder.  That might be true.  What kind of life will a child in another country receive if they are not adopted?  Will a foster child in America get a college education, if they want it?  Does the state pay for it whether they are adopted or not?  I don't think children in China would receive that benefit.  I will say both sets of children will learn to game the system.  It's called survival.  

I like the book, but I have lived it.  She does have one are about what to bring.  She says to bring diapers, baby rash cream, etc.  I would have to add to that.  If you bring creams and lotions, make sure it will be accepted by airport security.  When in China, we had a big, new tube of baby rash cream.  They took it from us.  It had to be a mini size.  You do have to think about what security in your country and the adoptive country will allow.  Also, they have stores in China.  You can get your baby supplies there and at a fraction of the cost.  

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ebay. . . .Questioning if are posters are authentic

We got an email today.  Someone was questioning if our posters were authentic or fakes.  I decided to add this disclaimer:  My wife and I have worked from 1990 to 1999 for the United Aritists Movie Corporation.  We worked for Mission Valley Cinemas and the Imperial Cinemas in Raleigh/Cary, North Carolina.  Every poster we sale is from the movie corporations that sent them to the theaters.  Some are single sided and some are double sided.   Single and double sided were used in the theaters.  Single sided posters work great with no-lighted frames.  If lighted, double sided posters are preferred.  A singe sided poster would look washed out in a lighted poster frame.    I hope that will help.  They thought because I keep selling Shawshank that I might be creating them.  I wish I had what they originally sent me.  I think I had 50 to 100.  Oh well!

Adding shipping into the sales did not work.  We had very few sales this week.  I might just do that for posters that I will list at a higher price.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

What do you mean is she adopted!

We were out today.  We saw another couple, a white couple, with an Asian child.  Usually, we will smile and they will do the same when they see our daughters.  This couple saw our children, but they had no recognition what so ever to our shared experience.  We see that a lot.  There are people out there that don't even acknowledge that they have an adopted child.  It's like they are from the Penguins of Madagascar. While waving their hands: "You do not see our Asian child".  " We are not the same or did not share the same experience".  "Walk along, nothing to see here".  I think if you mentioned that the child was Asian, they would tell us she was white.  Like I said, we see this.  In the beginning of our process, we listened to parents getting upset about the whole thing.  I understand asking of certain questions, but it's a little hard to hide the fact that our child is Asian and we are white.  As you can tell from this blog, I like to talk about it.  I want to share it with everyone.  I love my daughters and their culture.

New Sister Elana

Today, Mia keeps asking about her sister.  She keeps saying China.  We have to tell her that we will be going soon.  I asked her where she was going to sleep.  She says, her room.  I can't wait.  The rest of her sisters are happy also.  Michelle wishes we could go now.  It is going to come quick enough.  We are not even half ready.  I was hoping I had posted posters that would sell, but only have one bid on a Crow poster.  I did list another Shawshank.  But, I am coming to an end on those.  I have raised the asking price to $400.  We'll see if we get a nibble.

In a couple of weeks, we are going to have a massive yard sale.  I'll try to take pictures.  I want to make up a display showing posters to show people.  Maybe we can ask for a $10 donation for a poster.  There are certain posters that I have a big lot of that have not sold on Ebay.  Back to taking pictures of posters.  Halfway through the collection.

Friday, March 6, 2015

LOA . . not LOL or LMFAO. . .Letter of Approval!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Today started out like any other day.  I was at work and had sent an email to Angie to find out if she had called in an appointment to have my eyes checked.  She sent it back with:  LOA.  My first thought was that she was using some kind of texting shorthand like Laugh Out Loud.  Then it hit me, well sort of.  This was the next step we were waiting on.  I was thinking Logged on . . .whatever A meant.  I called her.  Of course her response was, "You have been through 3 other adoptions and don't know what LOA stands for."

It seems we are passed the translation stage.  They went from there to review and have approved our adoption.  Elana is officially our child.  LOA stands for Letter of Acceptance.  It is in the soft stage.  China will send the official paperwork to the agency and they will send it to us.  At this point, we will say we accept and the paperwork goes to the US government.  Once logged, they will send us our confirmation which will go back to the agency and on to China.  Then Travel Approval.

At this point, we will have 90 days to go get her.  It is now time to go into overdrive.  We have to get things out of the house, raise money, sell posters, etc.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Finally finished Chapter 1. . .Quick overview or welcome to adoption

It was an interesting chapter.  The author goes into the types of adoption without denigrating one over the other.  I think that is good.  I have had issues, but those form our way of thinking about adoption.  I can say been there done that.  All children need a loving home.  She talked a lot about In vitro Fertilization and the end had a bunch of remarks from people she interviewed.  I can safely say that I skimmed through those.  I feel no connection to those people.  Even if we had wanted to go that route, we do not have the money to waste on a treatment that is not guaranteed to work.  I've heard of people the keep trying after the first time has failed.  It was never a concern with us.  She does talk about reluctance of one partner, but I think we were both on the same page.  Just a little nervous at first.  I was nervous about going to a country I have never been to and being handed a baby who would depend on us for her needs.

Now I am a pro at this.  Well, sort of.  This time it will be a blind baby.  I'm guessing she is going to be scared until she gets used to our voices.  There may be a lot of crying in the beginning.  

Doppelganger . . .Another Chapter in the unfinished Film

To add some drama to this film, I would add a doppelganger.  During this newest adoption, this person could  be hired for a position that the character, that loosely based on me, wanted.  This person could be slightly like me, but not as bright, but has the ability to appeal to others and make them think he knows what he is doing.  He would sort of be like Foresst Gump.  He would have that down homesy appeal but the look of someone who could not quite handle the job he has.  Then the hero of the tale needs to think how is he going to get around this, while at the same time preparing for an adoption.  There could also be a comedic aspect to this new character.  Our hero can see his inept ways, but everyone else only sees greatness.  This would further increase the tension.

Once the adoption happens, it will clear the smoke.  The main character will see there is more important things in his life then a job.  He may still think of a way around the situation, but not let it bother him so much.  While this is happening, the doppelganger will do something that reveals that he is not as great as everyone had hoped.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Another Day. . .No News

It's been another day with no news.  It makes you want to email or call and find out if they have heard anything.  I know that if they did, they would not hold it back.  Left early to use up vacation time.  Spent the day mowing and taking pictures of posters.  I will do the same on Friday.  Maybe within a week or two I will have all posters in a file on the computer.  That will make selling them easier.  It also gives me a visual idea of what will sell and what will not.  Kiersten said she might try to sell some to teachers.  I'll have to think about that one.  She is a natural born seller.  She should probably go into sales.  This is what waiting feels like.  You just want the time to rush by, but when it gets here, you want it to slow down.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

First Week of March. New list of posters for sale, updated with list Ending soon.

Ends in about 2 days.  No bids.  Great posters.  Money goes to a good cause.

Feel free to cut and paste this address.  It will bring you to our Ebay sales.  I have 25 more poster,  maybe not 25.  More like 21 and 4 sets of buttons.  No one has put down a bid.  All original prices.  Shipping included in cost.  If you are out of US, it will cost extra.  Remember, all money will go towards Elana's adoption fund.

What Dreams May Come
Batman Returns
Benny and Joon
Disney's Tarzan
Austin Powers
Son of Sam
Disney's Hercules
Toy Story
Toy Story buttons
Nightmare Before Christmas buttons
Planet of the Apes
Planet of the Apes buttons
Star Trek VI
Dumb and Dumber
The Crow
Patch Adams
12 Monkeys
Saving Private Ryan
Far and Away

Visiting the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King (Now with Pictures)

At the address of 867 Jiefang North Road, Yuexiu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China sits the Mausoleum of the Nanyue King.  It is the 2,000 year old tomb of the Nanyue King Zhao Mo.  For more specifics, look him up.  I got to visit this site.  What I had heard from others, the Marriott was going to be built on this site.  When they started excavating the dirt, they discovered the tomb.  At this point, they could not build here.  They moved a little further down.

On some days, Angie and the girls would get tired and take a daytime rest.  I could not sit around when there was daylight.  I decided to go over to the Museum and see what it was.  The first try, I did not bring enough money.  I had to go back and get more money.  Once in, I started to look at the artifacts that were on display.  I actually did more that look.  I took pictures, so that Angie and Kayla would be able to see it.  The building had multiple levels.

At the top, there is a door that leads outside to the back of the building.  A walkway takes you to another building.  Actually, it is an excavation site.  It has been preserved so that people can walk in and see how they had buried the king.  I think it was still a work in progress.  There were still scaffolding and other barriers.  I found it to be an interesting visit.  It is good to see that the Chinese preserve historical sites from their past.

I was glad I went alone.  I could see Kayla getting bored really quick.  Not only that, but she might have touch something that should not be touched.