slide show

Monday, April 28, 2008

More videos!

We are a lucky family today and got more new video clips of the babies!
I am AMAZED that I am surprised that they are actually growing! But time passes and babies grow.

First of all... the Little Man is CRAWLING! He is 8 months old, and this shouldn't surprise me but strangely it does. And it makes me feel so so good to know that developmentally he is on track and has fabulous "baby tricks" just like he should. He looks a little bigger and fuller and fatter, AND we spotted 2 baby teeth poking out in the bottom!

Sunburn is growing too, and the first thing I noticed is her face seems to be filling out and her cheeks are getting fatter. She is not crawling but on the verge. She gets up on her hands and knees and "squirms" to get where she wants to go. She is definitely moving around, but I wouldn't call it crawling just yet. She is wearing a very frilly and pretty pink dress and looks sweet as can be.

But it seems we do have a little sibling rivalry on our hands already! In the video clip the two of them are together on some mats with some baby rattles. The Little Man keeps stealing the toys away from Sunburn! He can obviously get from place to place more easily than she can, and he takes away the rattles from her again and again. Eventually she has to cry to get the nanny's help to get her stuff back. I just giggle when I see this part. It so reminds me of our home already and how fabulously they'll get along here. This is they type of stuff we deal with day in and day out with all the kids already!

Side by side, the Little Man is definitely bigger than she is. They both look strong and healthy. I've watched the new video again and again. All the kids gathered around and we watched it together. They are getting so excited to to see the babies some day too. Maybe tomorrow it will hit me that they are growing up in pictures, and we're not there to see it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

VN adoption program closes

It's official-
The Vietnamese government announced today that it will close it's adoption program to US citizens effective September 1, 2008. Cases, like ours, that have already received referrals, will be allowed to finished. (That is if the US gov't will allow them to finish.)
Actually, this new announcement doesn't affect us too much since we already have our referrals for Sunburn and the Little Man. but there are scores of other families, with thousands of dollars and months of tears invested in this process that will have to walk away empty handed.
The US gov't followed this announcement with several announcements of it's own, all justifying it's childish and less than honest actions. Included in the US rebuttal is this statement that does affect our case-

"Vietnamese officials have prevented the U.S. Government from conducting independent field inquiries into the status of children identified in I-600 petitions. We continue robust efforts to resolve this issue. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict when we can complete the field inquiries in areas which are still closed to our staff. "

What they of course fail to mention is that the US govt is breaking Vietnamese law and their own contracts/agreements by the way they are conducting these investigations, thus the reason that the VN won't cooperate. Are the VN suppose to turn a blind eye to illegal activity? They/US officials literally walked in to a hospital unannounced and in disguise and demand to see patient records. Or go to orphanages, again unannounced and with out translators, in the middle of the night demanding to see records! You can't get away with that here in the US, and it's against the law in VN too! These bullying tactics have cost many orphans the chance at being united with loving families.

I'm not in a good mood today... sorry.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

US gov't looking for religion?

Just to give all a little update on the block problem of Tu Du Hospital/HCMC situation (PS-If this doesn't make sense, don't worry. It's VERY tough to follow unless you're in the thick of it.)

We (adoption agencies, US senators, adoptive parents) are still gathering information getting and very mixed messages. The US gov't will not comment on/discuss/issue a public statemnt/answer questions about/or give slarification to agencies or adoptive parents. According to several sources (including a State Senator, the Vietnamese director of adoptions, Dr.Long, and even 2 of the top US gov't officials in Vietnam) there is NO "blockage" of adoptions in HCMC or of the Tu Du hospital. However, the families that were were originally sent the now infamous "block letters" from the US govt are STILL no closer to adopting their babies and have heard nothing about their cases. They are unable to get any updates or have any communication with the US officials that sent the letters. And the US govt continues to issue these "block letters" to all people who are are submitting their I-600 application for babies born in Tu Du hospital. Just yesterday 3 more families received the letter saying the province is still blocked even though officials are saying it no longer is blocked. By my calculations this is now at least 12 babies. Go figure! Nothing makes sense!

So it is obvious that there are still problems. We also heard there is a Catholic nun that runs the obstetrics unit in the Tu Du hospital. When the US gov't comes to conduct their investigation, she is never there. Why such interest in a nun? I haven't a clue! You know, when when I started hearing the part about the nun, it just reminded me of a bad Lifetime TV mini-series! I have NO idea why the USCIS would be so focused on a nun, except that it seems to be the most recent thing that the USCIS is going to focus on to make this process hell. It really would be funny at this point if it weren't for 12 babies are languishing in orphanages for months.

Reportedly there is a meeting with US and Vietnamese gov't officials in HCMC this week to try and settle thier differences. Hopefully this be the start of resolving the problem, but the proof is in the puddin' and only time will tell.

We still have not filed our I-600 application. But if all goes well, we hope to week after next. Vietnamese officials have put much of the paperwork on hold so that they can concentrate their efforts on solving the problems. At least the Vietnamese gov't is trying to resolve the problem. Cant' say the same for the US gov't that just keeps adding one road block after another.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Care Packages!

We know someone who lives in Saigon and has agreed to take care packages to Sunburn and Little Man! It is not protocol for care packages to be delivered, so we are getting so VERY lucky to even attempt this special delivery. We hope the sweet babies can receive them!

See those cute striped t-shirts? Not only are they super adorable, but they are super soft too! And I even got them on sale at Baby Gap for $7 each! His navy shirt is 1 size bigger than hers.

We noticed on the videos of the babies, that the orphanage uses cloth diapers. A little unusual because all the orphanages in VietNam that we have heard of don't use ANY diapers at all. In the video we received of Thu Duc Orphanage, we only saw babies dressed in a shirt/top only. Then the nannies pin the bottom of the shirt to the top of the diaper so it doesn't pull up. All this diapering and fastening with 1 pin only! Pretty ingenious! So originally the two t-shirts had snaps at the crotch. I cut and hemmed the bottom of the shirts.
Also included in the care packages are photo albums with pictures of our home and head shots of each of us, teethers, baby rattles and a small musical toy for each crib. I picked out each item very carefully hope to provide some stimulation in what looked like a very stark and sterile environment. I could have filled the care packages up to the brim and then some. But we decided to fill them up with hundreds of kisses lots and lots of good wishes to come home quickly!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

We received updated heights and weights of the babies yesterday.
For my family... keep in mind that Asian babies tend to be smaller overall in comparison to Caucasian babies. And I've gotten pretty good and converting all the measurements from grams to lbs and cm to inches!
Sunburn continues to be a tiny little munchkin and now weighs 13 1/2 lbs. and is 24" long at 7 1/2 months. (Consider that my youngest child weighed almost 1o lbs. and was 22 inches at birth.) Her weight has leveled out at approx. the 5th percentile.
Little Man, weighs 15 1/2 pounds and is 27" long at 8 months. He out weighs Sunburn by 2 pounds. He continues to be at the 50th percentile for his weight.
They are both gaining weight exactly as we would hope and are happy with their progress.
God has ansered my nightly prayers that their tummies be full. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

DC trip update

I got news that the trip to DC to meet with Dick has obviously been postponed. But it has not been canceled. Last week there was a USCIS policy change regarding DNA testing, (not for the better either!) and it went into effect retroactively even though the USCIS has yet to make ANY public statement about it. It has everyone scrambling.

But if we do get an official date to go to DC or any information, we'll keep you posted here.

New pictures!

We received a wonderful surprise this afternoon. We got new pictures of the babies, Sunburn and Little Man. Sorry, I still can't post "whole" pictures of them until they become ours. When I first looked at the new pictures I immediately thought both babies looked so much bigger! But then when I looked again, they were still laying in their cribs just like when we saw them for the very first time, and it made me think of how many things they should be doing at their age... sitting up, and banging toys together, and bearing weight on their legs, and... and... and... So of course we are so happy to get the photos, but there are so many mixed emotions, excitement, fear, longing, joy, anger, and surprise all wrapped up together.

The first picture is Sunburn. Have you ever seen such beautiful full lips! It's a lucky characteristic of the Vietnamese. And American women are paying how much $ to get stuff injected into their own lips??!! She is now 7 1/2 months old.

And the bottom picture if our Little Man. Yes, that's him holding his own bottle. I guess no one else will do it! Such is the life of an institutionalized orphan. He is now 8 months old.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tu Du Maternity Hospital

The babies we were referred were both born at the Tu Du maternity hospital in HCMC, Vietnam. I thought this portion of an article and photos were very interesting as it pertains to them.

Vietnam's abandoned children
Tony Birtley in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The gap between rich and poor is widening and Vietnam has one of the highest rates of abortion in the world.

Of those mothers that continue with their pregnancies, more and more are having to give up their babies after they are born.

The maternity unit at Tu Du hospital sees almost 200 births a day. In the maternity unit of Ho Chi Minh City’s Tu Du hospital there is a daily logjam of women waiting to give birth.

With space at a premium, some women even wait two to a bed.

With almost 200 births a day - nearly 66,000 a year - the hospital's maternity unit is one of the busiest in Asia.

And now even more couples than normal are choosing to have a baby.

to the Chinese lunar calendar this is the year of the Golden Fire Pig, an extremely auspicious time to produce a child which happens every 600 years.

"The sheer scale of it is unbelievable," remarked Dr Jane Hirst a visiting registrar from Australia. "But considering the scale of the birth load they are very professional."

The hospital's four birthing sections are in operation around the clock. For non-private patients there are no epidurals and no pain killers.

But despite this most women hardly utter a sound during childbirth.

Tough they may be, but the mothers faced with giving up their newborn child are often overcome with grief.

Of every 100 births at the hospital, an average of three are given up for adoption doctors say.

Nguyen Van Trung, director of Ho Chi Minh City's Tam Binh orphanage says there are many factors driving mothers to take the painful decision to give up their babies.

"The reasons are economic, the consequences of the war, some children have diseases, some mothers are too poor," he says.

Many come from the countryside and have to give the baby away because they have no means to look after it.
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