Thursday, November 29, 2007

5 month LIDversary


Have to start figuring out how to renew fingerprints etc. Sigh.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to...maybe


I am so composed right now that I am shocking myself.

I have a post that I've been keeping in drafts for a while, that is about the following topic. It's a little raw emotion-wise, and very personal. I wanted to think about it for a while before deciding to share it with the world.

But meanwhile, I have to say this.

One of my sisters just called me and told me she was pregnant. AND I'M NOT CRYING AND RAILING AT THE UNIVERSE.

That's what I usually do. In the bathroom.

And I'm not.

Don't get me wrong. I'm still emotional, but not omg-im-freaking-out emotional.

Maybe I'll have a breakdown later, when I'm at home.

We'll see.

Oh, and she confirmed that another sister is pregnant as well.


Oh, and it's my birthday. Great birthday present, no?

* BLI AYIN HARA BLI AYIN HARA BLI AYIN HARA - i.e. without the evil eye (Hebrew). I'm not jealous, and don't want to be "casting an evil eye" or whatnot. But I'm entitled to my feelings and need to talk about this somewhere. My mother doesn't even know this yet. And I can't talk to her about this, because she starts crying, and I can't handle that.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Time for some distractions

Okay, so I've got about two years to wait. What to do in the meantime?

I missed the deadline to complete my application to the college I wanted to attend (but because an old college did not send my transcript on time, not entirely my fault). So, I'm doing something else I've been wanting to do for a while: I've signed up for Amber Ludlow's photography class (I think there are a couple of spaces left - come join me!), as I would love to know what to do with the manual settings on my new camera. Plus I've always loved photography and have been told that I take good pictures, but my pictures are nowhere near the quality of Shelba's or grrlTravel's, and I'm very jealous.

I also spend time lusting after dreamily gazing at other people's kitchens online. I have got one terrible kitchen, and it just is very depressing to spend a lot of time there. I can't afford to replace it right now. Believe me, it needs to be completely replaced. No getting away with "refacing" and getting new countertops. Uh uh. It needs to be gutted to the studs, and the layout needs to change. I've got one of those houses where the previous owners were do-it-yourselfers who did NOT know how to do things properly. I've cleaned up after most of their jobs (replaced the bathrooms for one thing), but to do the kitchen properly I'm going to need a LOT of money. We have an adoption to pay for first though, so it will have to wait. (sob)

In the interim, I've discovered new kitchens to drool upon enjoy. I'm hoping to find some options I like so I can at least come up with an idea of what I want. Epicurious, one of my favorite websites, has a new section where they film celebrities in their kitchens. Check them out!

I was first lured in by a link to Isaac Mizrahi's kitchen. I've always found him entertaining, and he has such fresh design ideas that I thought it would be interesting. His kitchen is not actually that eye popping, but he's very funny and has great appliances (I'm not going to be able to afford any of them). Check out Isaac Mizrahi's kitchen.

After wiping off my keyboard (that ice cream looked good!), I went to the homepage and saw that there were two other kitchen tours.

I never heard of Colin Cowie until I got cable and saw commercials about him on WE or LifeTime or some other woman oriented channel. Apparently he's some sort of amazing party planner? He must be big in England or something. I love to have people over and frequently have many family members at my house, especially for the holidays, so I thought his kitchen would be interesting. But I have to say, looking at his kitchen will make you gasp, then cackle maniacally, because you know you will never be that insane. I will only mention one thing to you: 6 drawers of different sized ice cubes. No, I am not kidding. I was laughing so hard that I had to pause the video and start a blog post. Please go watch it.

I'm sure they'll be adding more celebrity video tours, but there was only one more, so I went to that one as well. Besides, the word "healthy" caught my eye. I've really been trying to improve my eating habits and diet, and am always interested in resources that will help me.

Gabrielle Reece (why is she a celebrity? Is she a tennis player or something?) was the only person who actually showed the contents of her fridge. I liked her immediately when she said "if I'm going to have sugar, I'd rather it be chocolate". A woman after my own heart! The rest of the video wasn't that fabulous, and really did not show much more than her fridge, but her dining room table is really cool, and I love her hand-made dishes. See Gabrielle's kitchen.

Now, I must go back to what I supposed to be doing...making my menus and shopping list for yet another "3 day Yom Tov", i.e. two days of a Jewish holiday followed or preceded by the Sabbath.

I know most of you are, like, "What? The High Holy Days were over yesterday". Not true! The wonderful holiday of Sukkos/Sukkot is upon us this Wednesday night. This is a joyful holiday (we're done with the fasting for a few months at least), where in the time the Temple was built we would make a pilgrimage to the Temple to celebrate the harvest. We can't do that any more (it's still the most popular holiday to visit Israel though), but we still have special prayers and remember the protection G-d gave us during our exodus from Egypt. One of the most visible mitzvas that we do over the holiday is to dwell in sukkot, temporary booths.

You got that right. Now that it's officially fall, we move out of our house into a temporary structure that my husband and father-in-law are building on our deck...and it doesn't even have a roof. Unless you consider branches or bamboo mats a roof. For 8-9 days, we eat in the sukkah and spend most of our time there. My husband even sleeps out there. I stay inside where it's warm, and there are no cats.

So...I who enjoy cooking must dream up menus for 6-7 festive meals. It's actually harder when we have fewer guests, as I hate serving leftovers and have a hard time cooking for just two. Plus, as mentioned before, I'm trying to eat more healthfully, so it's a bit of a challenge to not splurge on some fabulous traditional foods. And they're all going to be meat meals, as my current kitchen just does not allow me to do large dairy meals gracefully. Have I mentioned that I need a new kitchen?

I must go back to my menus now, as I have to get at least some advance cooking done today.

There's a whole lot more to the holiday; I've just given you a very small taste. More information about Sukkot can be found on Aish (they even has an Asian style holiday menu), Wikipedia, and the OU's website.

I was inspired to start a cooking blog, where I will probably post as infrequently as I post here. But I eventually hope to be able to feature dramatically shot pictures of my food (courtesy of my photography class. heh.). Come visit me at PinkDevoraCooks.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy New Year!

Jewish stuff at ChaiSpace!

My best wishes to everyone for Peace, Prosperity, Blessings and Health.

May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Now THAT'S a dossier picture

As seen in the August 20th edition of Crain's NY Business:
Gotham gigs

Brooklyn shutterbug

HOOKED ON BROOKLYN Kathryn Kirk didn't expect to stay long when she became staff photographer for Brooklyn Borough President Howard Golden in 1989. "I was thinking two years, max," she says. She photographed Jackie Kennedy Onassis on one of her first assignments. "Every time I go out, I meet someone intriguing." Her salary was $51,494 last year.

DARKROOM DELIVERANCE Until Marty Markowitz took office in 2002, Ms. Kirk developed her photos in a darkroom at Borough Hall. "It was slower but one of the more relaxing parts of the job," she says. "Now, everyone wants everything right away."

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT When Bill Clinton visited Borough Hall in 1992, "he walked across the room ... and introduced himself," Ms. Kirk says. "[At our next encounter], I said, `We've met before,' and he said, `I remember.' " He then declared, "I want my picture with the photographer lady." The single mom included that photo with her adoption applications and now raises Elena, 8, and Paloma, 2.

Of course, I'm not sure Bill Clinton is the person I would want in my dossier photo...but he is a former President...Hm.

Oh, and our dossier is now officially logged in for two entire months.


Friday, August 03, 2007


I have a friend who went through several years of infertility (complete with several mid-term miscarriages). When stupid ignorant nosy people would ask her bluntly how many children she had, one of her responses was "they're on back order".

I never had the guts to do that, and, quite frankly, the question would take me by surprise half the time and I would just be stammering and turning red. (Over the past few years I've learned to anticipate these questions, except for one memorable episode a couple of years ago when I was registering for college.)

But now, considering the tremendous backlog of dossiers in China, I think that "my children are onbackorder" is completely legitimate.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thinking about airline miles

My husband and I have never gotten credit cards with airline miles. We've always used cards that give us cash rebates of 1%-5%. Our favorite card for a while was Discover Card, but now we're loving our Chase Rewards cards (5% back on gas purchases!). Courtesy of our recent trips to Israel, we each have several thousand air miles with British Airways and Continental, respectively.

The question is, considering the long wait for a referral, what's the best way to go about collecting miles? And on which airline, or group of airlines, should we choose to do so? We're going to want to choose an airline with a direct flight from Newark, JFK, or LGA. I absolutely, positively will do anything I can (short of spending over $3000) to travel business class. Is it easier to purchase economy tickets and use miles for a free upgrade? I think Johnny did that but his blog is gone. Yoohoo...Johnny...any input? You always had the best advice!

I would appreciate anyone's input. I've never paid yearly fees for a credit card in the past, but may consider doing so for these purposes. I can also beg-bribe-plead with my boss to let me use his AMEX Gold Card miles, if possible. I have a corporate credit card on his account, so I should be able to access them, assuming that he has enough miles on the account at that point.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

And a LID too!

This was totally unexpected, as I had decided it was going to take a very long time until we got our LID. The fact that I was away for a while, then came back to work and am trying desperately to catch up, probably distracted me.

So yes, we've got a LID.

Are you ready?


Changed your mind yet?

Ok, ok.

Drumroll please!

JUNE 29TH, 2007

Let the countdown begin! 3 weeks down already!

(Let's just hope that it isn't 3 years before referral)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Oh, and yeah WE'RE DTC!

I will probably be flamed for not reporting this earlier ; ) but we were DTC on June 23rd!

We were slightly busy then, which is why I forgot to post it. My baby sister got married in Israel at the end of June, so I was very, very busy and was going without good Internet access for over two weeks.

So, yay, we're DTC*! Woohoo and all that!

We already got our "brown envelope" a while ago, so we're not waiting for that milestone.

Now what? Considering that we may have a two year or longer wait, I'm not going to start a nursery** or something. I also don't think it's healthy to read blogs obsessively for several hours a week for the next two years. I have 470 blogs in my Bloglines account and I can barely keep up. I need something productive to occupy my time. I would love to undertake some house renovations, but we've got adoption expenses to save up for!

So I'm going to go back to college, a college that offers online distance learning and self-study/mentoring courses. It's embarrassing that I still haven't finished my Bachelor's degree, and I'm well into my 30s. My husband not only has a Bachelor's from a nearly-Ivy-League institution, but he also has his first Master's, and credits towards a second Master's. Since I can transfer a lot of credits from my old college, I can finish my degree within two years, while taking my time and not taking on too much of a course load that will affect work hours while leaving me time to complete assignments and study.

Wish me luck.

* DTC = Date To China, i.e. the date one's agency sends the dossier to the CCAA in China. Eventually we'll get our LID, the date that we were Logged In to the CCAA, but I don't expect to get that for a while.

** But I may, MAY peruse a baby furniture catalog. Maybe. I'll keep you updated.

I just broke into a cold sweat. I can shop for baby furniture for a legitimate reason. Um, wow.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Must watch documentary

(Quick note: We should be DTC very soon. Yes, it took way too long, but I'm happy that the papwerwork is done!)

After reading about this documentary video on Harlow's Monkey, I ordered it through our local inter-library system.

First Person Plural is an amazing and incredibly touching story, and should be required watching for parents adopting internationally. Parents adopting domestically should probably watch this as well.

For those of you who haven't seen it: In short, it's a documentary about and by Deann Borshay Liam, a woman who was adopted from Korea at an older age (about 9 years old, I think) by a couple from California.

Reflections on the video (caution: spoilers):

This video illustrates how important it is for you to help your internationally adopted child be as comfortable as possible with their native culture, and to learn the language as much as possible. It's heartbreaking to watch Deann, aka Ok Chin, meet with her birthmother and to have to communicate via an interpreter, as Deann knows very little Korean. After meeting her Korean family two or three times, she decides that she needs to have both her families in the same room, and flies to Korea with her American adoptive parents. I just watched the scene where her two mothers meet, and was absoutely heartbroken (and sobbing like a baby). Her American mother was very brave to do this, and I absolutely commend her for trying hard to understand Deann's new reality. It was also heartbreaking to watch Deann's Korean mother hold Deann's hand and tell her, basically: I gave birth to you, but I'm not your mother. (She wasn't pushing her away, just stating a fact). She then said "My heart aches".

Wow. What a choice that poor woman had to make. If you want to see something that gives you a little insight into what a birthmother has to go through, and also see an illustration of what may happen when an international adoptee meets a birth parent (and their biological family - Ok Chin has 5 Korean siblings), First Person Plural is a must-see.

This is something that I'm adding to my wish list and have to make sure to pull out and watch every one in a while, just to remind myself why it's so important to work on cultural knowledge and language with my adopted children.

I'm not as articulate or insightful as Harlow's Monkey. I suggest you read the rest of her post. And keep an eye out for Deann Borshay's upcoming new film, Precious Objects of Desire.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

In Response to "Rick"

Dear Rick (see comment on previous post),

Since you did not identify yourself with an email address or a blog, I'm assuming that you meant to just bring up a subject and will probably not follow up. If you do, I'm open to a dialogue.

Anyways, my short response to you is: What Jewish kids languishing in Russian orphanages?

What Jewish kids are available for adoption in the first place?

Answer: few. Most are special needs, which is not my first choice. Many are older, again, not my first choice.

In addition, the general Russian adoption system was in disarray when we initially started our adoption process. I don't know how much it's improved since. I needed something more certain.

My Orthodox friends and I who are adopting/have adopted are all subject to questions such as this. Yet when we looked for Jewish children to adopt, they were nowhere to be found, unless, again, they were special needs. I think that if so many Jewish children or babies were available for adoption, there would be a public campaign for them to be adopted, and it wouldn't take long before they were all in wonderful Jewish homes.

If you happen to know otherwise, please feel free to contact me again. I know quite a few people who would be very interested.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Thinking about reality

I have two sisters who live in Israel, so I don't get to seem them very often. They flew in recently in honor of yet another's sister's wedding. (Yes, the wedding was gorgeous. We had a wonderful time. Thank you.)

Since I have more room than most of my family members (odd how not having kids in a 4 bedroom house makes things pretty spacious), tons of toys, and wireless Internet, they hung out at my house for the majority of the time they were here. I didn't mind, as they usually made me supper as well (bonus!).

One sister called me at work one day, and asks me whether I can babysit for her son that night, as she wants to go visit a friend in another city for a few hours. Yes, that would include putting my nephew to bed at my house, and she would then come back at midnight or so and sleep over.

Panic set in immediately. Wait! Considering the fact that this kid lives in Israel and I haven't seen him for months, I don't know his routine! Does he still take a bottle? What goes in the bottle, and at what temperature? What songs does she sing him before he goes to sleep? Does he need a nightlight? Do I have to leave the door open? And what if she doesn't get back before I go to sleep? I don't have a baby monitor and what if I don't hear him crying? What am I going to do if he starts crying hysterically for his mother? HELP!

I mean, I used to babysit a LOT, but my teen years are very much in the past, and I am totally out of practice. Plus I get a little, um, detail oriented sometimes.

Then, reality hit.

I'm lucky that I can even ask these questions. When we adopt from China, we'll be lucky to know anything about the baby's routine, plus we'll be complete strangers who are taking care of her suddenly, and have to put her to bed at night. If I can't handle my nephew, how in the world am I going to handle my Chinese baby?

I'm pleased to report that everything went smoothly that night. Some tears, but they didn't last long.

And I totally need a baby monitor.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Can't believe I didn't mention this! We have relatives adopting from China!

Right before I went to Montreal and met Mortimer's Mom, I got an email from someone who had answered an agency question I had posted several months before on APC. She had just put two and two together, and realized that she was my husband's second cousin! We've never met her and her husband (I think it's our second cousin through my husband's grandmother's third husband...whatever), but now we definitely will. And, of course, she and her husband are also adopting from China.

How cool is THAT? I thought we would be the only ones in the family, and was gently breaking the news to our mutual grandparents etc...and she and her husband were a year ahead of us!

So guess where our newfound relatives are now?

I'll give you a minute.


Yes. They're in China. They received their daughter, G., today! I'm so excited for them! Their daughter is gorgeous, and very well behaved! We'll see how long that keeps up ;).

So, I am tremendously thrilled, and am motivated to get that last piece of paper for our dossier. Ah! Can't wait until they get home. I wish them my heartfelt congratulations.

P.S. I know that someone is going to bring this up, so I'll head it off now: No, these relatives are not religious Jews, and most likely will not be religious, as her husband is not even Jewish in the first place. But this is cool nonetheless.

P.P.S. No, no blog link. It's password protected. And since I neglected to mention that I have a blog, I don't want to identify her and her family before I let her know that I have one.

P.P.S.S. This is so friggin' cool.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


You read it right. That last all important form is HERE. It took about 2 months after fingerprinting.

You'd think I'd be happy that this ever-so-crucial document had finally arrived. But no. I was more...confused...than anything else. You see, a couple of weeks ago, the idea of switching countries due to the ever increasing wait times in China became very attractive to me, and I was VERY seriously considering switching to Vietnam. I think I actually researched Vietnam before China when we started this whole process, but the country was closed at the time. I really thought we should switch to Vietnam and adopt a boy (faster than adopting a girl), come home, then submit our paperwork to China for a girl, and put up with the long wait (if it still existed, as I'm expecting a dropoff in applications due to the revised rules) while at least having one child at home.

Our co-religionists have lots of kids. LOTS. My boss has 12. No, than is not a typo. He has 12 kids. I'm the oldest of six. The average number of children per family in our neighborhood is probably five. My friends always said they could see me sitting at my family's Shabbos table, presiding with my husband over our family of 13. My response was that I'd be happy with about five or six.

So now my husband and I are on the "north side" of thirty five, and are possibly looking at a two year wait for our first child, and I really don't want to wait that long! I've already been waiting for 11 years!

But, Vietnam's program does not seem to be incredibly stable, and choosing an agency seems to be even more complex than China. And, ironically, the wait time at some of the more reputable agencies is getting longer (gee, does that sound familiar?).

So, China it remains. Gotta send off that last batch of papers, and I think a largish check (eek), and pray for a LID that is in the near future. Woohoo!


On another note, how nasty is it to have to go for the yearly checkup at the good 'ol OB/GYN? I think I need to switch doctors. I think he's the baby mill doctor. Every time I go in there, there are at least 3 other women there who are pregnant, or who just had babies. There was a delay before the doctor saw me, and I could not find anything to read. Every single magazine was a baby or parenting magazine, which I can't stand reading right now, as it just reminds me how much longer I have to wait before my baby is here. Think about it. Some of the other ladies there could potentially have two babies before I get my first. I was relieved when I went into the exam room and finally found an O*p*rah magazine.

Plus, the doctor didn't smile at me even ONCE. I think he disagrees with my decision to discontinue fertility treatment. At least he didn't warn me that my clock was ticking (like I don't know that) and that I should get myself to Cornell pronto. I've decided that I've had enough, and I am no longer putting myself through the pain.

I can't wait to stalk back in there with my Chinese baby. Heh.

Thank G-d I only have to go there once a year.


Hubby and I went on vacation recently, and visited a small Orthodox Jewish community over the weekend. I had a funny feeling before I went there, and, sure enough, when I told a local resident that befriended us that we were adopting from China, she grinned and said: Really? Cuz a local Orthodox Jewish couple also adopted from China. Nice. But, as usual, I could not meet them. They're in Israel for the year.

And so continue my attempts to meet other OJ couples who have adopted from China. I know about three, have seen another one in a restaurant, and have now heard about a fifth. But I just can't seem to actually meet them! I have met and befriended couples who have adopted domestically, and from Korea, Guatemala, and Columbia. But not China. Weird.


Anyone else watching PBS' China From The Inside? Quite fascinating, and the scenery's gorgeous. It's horrifying how little independence most women have, but I'm glad to see that it's changing. I was even more horrified to hear that 150,000 women a year commit suicide in China, most of them between the ages of about 15-35. If a rural woman's fate is to leave her parent's home and serve the needs of their in laws and new husband for the rest of her life, that can be really depressing.

Check out the article about the gender inequality in China. By 2020, they're expecting that 40 million men will not be able to find a wife. THAT is going to be a problem.

Yo, yo. It's national delurking month. I've been leaving comments all over the place. Delurk, people. Tell me about yourself!