Monday, February 26, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

I read a beautifully written book this weekend that I encourage you to read when you have the opportunity. I should add that this is a "major chic book" (Shawn's words).

Written in the style of a memoir, it is narrated by 80-year-old Lily Yi as she looks back on her life. Her story begins in 1828 in her village of Puwei in southwestern China. Her father is a hardworking, respected farmer. As in all traditional Chinese families, sons are revered and daughters are seen as temporary obligations, to be passed on to other families at the time of marriage. Even at age 5, Lily, the third daughter in a family of five children, understands her position.

But everything changes on the day the village diviner arrives to help her mother choose a propitious date for Lily and her cousin to begin having their feet bound. The diviner declares that Lily is no ordinary child. A special matchmaker announces that Lily's feet have particularly high arches and, if properly bound, could be shaped into golden lilies -- those highly coveted tiny, perfect feet that might be their key to prosperity. "Fate -- in the form of your daughter -- has brought you an opportunity," the matchmaker says. "If Mother does her job properly, this insignificant girl could marry into a family in Tongkou." Thus in one day, Lily's position in her family changes -- she remains a commodity, but one that now needs to be nurtured so that the family can realize her full value.

Later the matchmaker also suggests to Lily's mother a laotung match for her daughter, a relationship with a girl from the best village in the county. She is the same age as Lily, and their friendship is meant to last a lifetime, being perhaps even more profound than marriage itself. This match would signal to her future family that Lily is not only a woman with perfect golden lilies but also one who has proved her loyalty. When Lily meets her laotung, Snow Flower, she is given a fan with a secret message written in nu shu script inside.

The book reveals to us the horrors of foot binding (foot bent back, bones broken and reshaped), a young girl's innocent dreams of life in a new home mingled with fears of being married off to a stranger, and the obsession with bearing sons. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a thoughtfully written, heart-breaking story.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Because We Have No Shame...

Another fun thing we did this weekend has been on Daddy's "to do" list for quite some time...yep, he used a precious child as an excuse to go to Chucky Cheese. Luckily, Leah enjoyed it just as much as daddy did...and the pizza's not half bad.

Ahh...heck...why not...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year!

We celebrated the Chinese New Year (Year of the Pig), which began on February 18 this weekend with some other wonderful local families that have adopted from China through our agency, CCAI. Leah wore on of many beautiful traditional outfits we got while in China (Mama can't wait to go fill up a suitcase of more of those dresses and shoes the next time we go back). Here's a few pictures from the festivities:

First we have to roll the lent off before we can go....

The Party...

And the After Party...

Chinese New Year:

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happiness Times Two

The characters for "magpie" literally mean "birds of happiness". A picture of two magpies facing each other stands for double happiness. The call of the magpie foretells the arrival of a guest, good news, or good fortune.

This weekend, we mailed off the paperwork we have been compiling since before Thanksgiving. The majority of our dossier to adopt from China is complete and we are now waiting on formal permission from the U.S. Government Immigration department to adopt a foreign born child. We expect the USCIS I-71 H form to arrive mid-March and then we will finalize our dossier by sending it to local, state and federal officials to authenticate. Our dossier will most likely arrive in China after being translated into mandarin in late April and the long wait for Leah's mei-mei (meaning: little sister, pronounced May-May) begins.

The wait time to adopt once you are logged in is currently 14-16 months, but we anticipate our actual wait to be approximately two years. It's crazy to think it could take that long or even longer, but anyone who's adopted internationally knows that the actual day you get your child is a constantly moving target and it takes a lot of patience, faith and determination to get to that day.

We are excited to add to our family again and know it will all be worth it...just like the wait for Leah was...boy, was it ever. In the meantime, we will find great joy in watching Miss Leah continue to shine and grow and appreciate each and every single day.

Friday, February 9, 2007

The Trend Continues

Our new Friday night entertainment...I couldn't help but post a few more pics of this little cheeseball.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Camera Shy No More

I have taken roughly 2,000 pictures of Leah since we got her 10 months ago and only a handful have been decent enough to show anyone...mainly because she never looked my way when I took the shot or it was one of those lovely fuzzy motion pictures. I understand though, having never seen a camera before we got her at 10 months old, she completely did not get drift of this new world of paparazzi, so I've been patient, hoping this day would come. And boy, did it ever.

This past week, I have a different child on my that now loves to "cheese" any chance she can get, all she has to see is the camera and Bam! She's grinning from ear to the point of "Whoa...that's a whole lot of cheesin' going on...simmer down now!" One day we will have a happy medium, but in the meantime, it's providing a lot of laughter in our house. These are the latest pictures from my recent photo sessions...