China Babies Adoption Research

China Babies Adoption Research
China Babies Adoption Research

Friday, August 24, 2007

Traveling families face pollution.

Traveling families face pollution.
Adoption Blogs

Posted By: grant in the China Adoption Blog at 06:22 AM. 334 words.
Categories: Current Events 2007

Faithful readers of this space will recall the tragic plight of the baiji, the Yangtze River dolphin, that isn't around any more to complain about the noise and bustle of modern industrial China. Before adopting son (son!) last year, we took a river cruise. It was gorgeous, memorable, gave an unforgettable perspective on both our Chinese kids' birthplaces, and really didn't help the creatures swimming beneath us at all. National Geographic reports on another Chinese river-dweller struggling to survive - the giant sturgeon, also known as the "underwater panda". It's not nearly as cute as the panda, and this typist would hesitate to suggest nibbling on caviar from fish farmed in the Yangtze's green waters, so prospects for sturgeon farms or nature reserves are pretty slim.

On the other hand, the country is working hard to clean things up before the Olympics, which means avoiding things like major extinction events if at all humanly possible. For those of us that breathe air, Beijing's subtract-a-million-cars experiment may or may not have been successful, which is not much of a surprise, given that most of the smog is from coal-burning factories and power plants, not cars. In that regard, at least, Beijing isn't really like L.A. at all. (In other regards, however, you'd be surprised at the similarities - cosmopolitan cities, fashion centers, large police forces....)

Mention of which brings us to the latest installment of Things To Worry About While Waiting For The Visas To Go Through (my least favorite show): this Info-war scenario that has been carefully graphed out and published up at Wired magazine. Because, as is becoming clearer every day, if America is going to plan another war, it's going to be against China. Which would be a tragedy of a whole other order than the disappearance of the giant sturgeon - and would affect our families and our kids a lot more intimately.

Chopsticks picked up in new China scare

Yahoo News
Wed Aug 22, 9:42 AM ET

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Beijing factory sold up to 100,000 pairs of disposable chopsticks a day without any form of disinfection, a newspaper said on Wednesday, the latest in a string of food and product safety scares.


Counterfeit, shoddy and dangerous products are widespread in China, whose exports have been rocked in recent months by a spate of safety scandals, ranging from pet food to medicine, tires, toothpaste and toys.

Officials raided the factory and seized about half a million pairs of disposable bamboo chopsticks and a packaging machine, the Beijing News said in a story headlined "Dirty Chopsticks."

The owner, identified only by his surname Wu, said he had sold the chopsticks for 0.04 yuan a pair and made an average of about 1,000 yuan ($130) a day.

Wu, who had no license to sell the goods, said he had sold 100,000 pairs a day when business was good.

China lacks the manpower to enforce food and drug safety regulations at home or for export. Imports are generally carefully scrutinized.

Shao Mingli, the country's food and drug watchdog chief, conceded that in recent years the safety situation had "indeed been relatively grim."

But in a posting on the central government's Web site (, Shao vowed it would take "about five years of hard work" to realize an "obvious turnaround" in management order and food and drug safety across the country.

"The number of cases of fake food and drug products and criminal activities will be effectively curbed," Shao said.

A lack of business ethics and a spiritual vacuum after China embraced economic reforms in the late 1970s have been blamed for unscrupulous business practices and corruption.

In Guangzhou, capital of booming Guangdong province in south China, Mayor Zhang Guangning vowed to bankrupt serious violators of food and product safety.

The Hong Kong owner of a Guangdong manufacturer at the centre of a recall of millions of Chinese-made toys by U.S. giant Mattel had committed suicide, according to Hong Kong media.

China has said the world should have faith in the "made-in-China" label and that a spate of product recalls has been unfair, biased and politically motivated.

"No country can guarantee their food to be 100 percent safe, but if one in 100 or even in 1,000 of our products has quality problems, we will deal with it seriously," Commerce Minister Bo Xilai said on Tuesday.

"China strongly opposes (some countries) extending individual economic and trade problems, and thus conducting trade protection," Bo said in a report on the ministry's Web site (

In the latest in a series of tit-for-tat measures, China has accused the United States of exporting substandard soybean shipments to China and requested "effective measures" be taken.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Source: US Dept. of State


FY2006 FY2005
1 6,493 - CHINA (Mainland) 7,906 - CHINA (Mainland)
2 4,135 -GUATEMALA 4,639 - RUSSIA
3 3,706 - RUSSIA 3,783 - GUATEMALA
4 1,376 - S. KOREA 1,630 - S. KOREA
5 732 - ETHIOPIA 821 - UKRAINE
7 460 - UKRAINE 441 - ETHIOPIA
8 353 - LIBERIA 323 - INDIA
10 320 - INDIA 271 - PHILIPPINES
11 309 - HAITI 234 - HAITI
13 187 - CHINA (Taiwan Born) 141 - CHINA (Taiwan Born)
14 163 - VIETNAM 88 - MEXICO
15 70 - MEXICO 73 - POLAND
16 67 - POLAND 72 - THAILAND
17 66 - BRAZIL 66 - BRAZIL
18 66 - NEPAL 65 - NIGERIA
19 62 - NIGERIA 63 - JAMAICA
20 56 - THAILAND 62 - NEPAL

World Total for Fiscal Years

2006 - 20,679
2005 - 22,728
2004 - 22,884
2003 - 21,616
2002 - 20,099
2001 - 19,237
2000 - 17,718
1999 - 16,363
1998 - 15,774
1997 - 12,743
1996 - 10,641
1995 - 8,987
1994 - 8,333
1993 - 7,377
1992 - 6,472
1991 - 8,481
1990 - 7,093

Adopted Chinese children return to their roots

Source: 2007-08-20 20:48:11 Print

BEIJING, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- Thirty Chinese children adopted by North American families have returned to China "to search for their roots".

The children aged 12 to 18 joined a summer camp with a theme of "Embracing China, Feeling Beijing", which was sponsored by the China Centre of Adoption Affairs (CCAA) and specially designed for Chinese children adopted by foreign families.

Most of the children -- one from Canada and the rest from the United States -- had lived abroad for more than a decade and were returning for the first time, said Lu Ying, the CCAA director.

The ten-day camp includes lessons in Chinese history, culture and art, a day with Beijing families and visits to scenic spots, historical sites and Beijing Olympics venues.

"We believe it's very important for adopted teenagers like us to come back to China to see first hand our birth land and people. It builds our pride in this great country and in ourselves," said Natalie Cecere, who was born in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, in 1991and was adopted by a Massachusetts couple in 1992.

"My parents taught me to be proud of who I am and of my birth country," said Cecere at the camp's opening ceremony.

"In a time when the foes of inter-country adoption like to highlight the negative experiences of a few, I submit to you that these 30 Chinese-born children are the true face of inter-country adoption," said Charles Johnson, adoption service director of the U.S. National Council For Adoption (NCFA), who assisted in camp enrolment.

Lu, who organized the adoptions, said she was gratified the children were healthy and happy.

A non-governmental organization entrusted by the government to organize inter-country adoptions, the CCAA had helped thousands of Chinese orphans find foreign parents since it was established 11 years ago, Lu said.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Global adoption an answer

This article rings true for me as well. When we were looking into adoption we first investigated domestic adoption, and after two years of what seemed like hell, we finally decided to adopt overseas.

I have always considered it sad that our domestic (US) adoption system is so screwed up that it is an easier process to adopt from China than it is from our own country.

By Rich Davis (Contact)
Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Paul Mlinar of Wadesville, Ind., once was attacked by a grizzly bear while vacationing in Alaska.

He tells people the experience wasn't as painful as the adoption battle he and his wife, Claudia, faced.

The biological mother of Luke, the baby boy they brought into their hearts and home in 1997, had second thoughts, took them to court and won visitation rights. But when Luke was 2, she stopped coming to see him.

It was stressful for everyone involved, so when the Mlinars decided to adopt a second child they went to China to get Olivia.

Today, the couple disagree on domestic adoption, with Claudia suggesting their experience was the exception to the rule.

But stories such as theirs — along with movies, highly publicized court cases such as Baby Jessica and TV shows such as "Desperate Housewives" that depict domestic adoption as full of risks — have made international adoption a popular option for some Americans.

The Mlinars' experience is one of several personal stories featured in an hour-long radio documentary — "Internationally Born, Indiana Raised" — airing at 6 p.m. Sunday on WNIN-FM 83.3.

It was produced by Erin Gibson of Evansville in conjunction with WSIU Public Radio in Carbondale, Ill., as part of her masters research project at Southern Illinois University.

Gibson, who will teach journalism this fall at the University of Southern Indiana, says she and her husband, John, a radio announcer at WIKY-FM 104.1, hope to adopt a child.

The documentary touches on several Evansville stories, including:

n Sonya Lawton, a Korean War orphan adopted by an Evansville couple in 1958. Her father had served in Korea and told his wife about the orphans he saw, many of them fathered by American GIs.

n David Miller, an Evansville attorney who in the 1980s — after publicity about Mexican and Brazilian children he and his wife adopted — was besieged by requests for him to arrange Brazilian adoptions.

n Molly Fowler, a 4-year-old from Guatemala, adopted by Lydia and Anthony Fowler. You'll hear Molly greet her baby sister Maggie (from China) at Evansville Regional Airport.

The program examines why some parents choose international over domestic adoption, documents the history of international adoption in Evansville (beginning in the 1950s with Korean orphans) and explores how families honor the birth cultures of their children.

One segment visits a weekly Chinese culture class for children at Families Thru International Adoption, an East Side agency licensed in six states and involved in more than 2,500 adoptions.

It is estimated that more than 22,000 overseas children were adopted by Americans in 2005, with the percentage of international adoptions more than doubling between 1990 and 2000, from 6 to 14 percent.

Erin Gibson says while some couples are able to adopt American-born children relatively quickly, many wait for years, which can be stressful for a couple in their 30s and 40s who realize they are unable to have a biological child.

International adoption, while not simple, typically takes less time. But it can be expensive (about the price of a new car).

The bottom line, says Gibson, is that you "adopt because you want to be a parent, not because you're sympathetic."

The program refers listeners to a Web site where they can find photographs, adoption articles, streaming audio and other resources. A link to the Web site will be available at after the documentary airs.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Kai with Bootie Feet - New Picures

Just posted some cute pictures of our son Kai with "bootie feet"

Hope you enjoy.

Click here to see the full gallery.

China Adoption Referral and Age Graphs

Graphs of Referral Waiting Time and Age at Referral

Note: This work was compiled by Ralph Stirling,

Families adopting children from China submit data on their adoptions, which are analyzed weekly. These charts show the dossier-to-China (DTC) to referral waiting time, the referral to travel waiting time, and the age of children at referral for twelve month's worth of referrals. The individual blue '+' marks on the charts represent individual children. The heavy red line in each chart represents a fourteen-day moving average of the same points. The vertical scale of each chart is intended to allow all "normal" times to show. Occasionally, a few referrals will not be within this normal range, and will not be shown on the graph. A notation at the bottom of the graph will indicate how many referrals are not shown on that chart.

The left-hand three graphs are plotted by DTC date. The middle three graphs are plotted by referral date, which may help you visualize the current trends. Since the "matching room" of the China Center for Adoption Affairs seems to do most of its work during the last month before referral, the trends based on referral date may be more significant than those viewed from the DTC-based charts.

The right-hand three graphs are a summary of the previous 12 months of referrals in histogram form. A histogram is just a chart of the "spread" in the data. You can see how many referrals fell into a particular range of waiting time, travel time, or child's age.

Historical Graphs

Referral Rate

Many readers of this page have observed that referrals don't seem to come at a uniform rate. There will be a flurry of happy referral announcements to the APC list ( a-parents-china email list), followed by a lull during which the next expectant group of parents gets increasingly anxious. To help see this more clearly, the next graph shows the number of referrals per week for the entire period covered by the database. Obviously, only the CCAA would be able to say just how they determine when to issue batches of referrals, and I am not in contact with them. Feel free to attempt your own correlation between the graph and Chinese holidays, world events, phase of the moon, or other significant factors.

Referral and Age Tables - 3 Aug 2007
12mo 12mo 12mo 2wk
avg most sample avg
common size
dtc to referral (days): 473 282 92 558
ref to travel (days): 49 52 87 48
age at referral (mo.s): 10 8 92 12

The "12mo avg" column is the mean of the data set for the twelve months preceding the most recent referral, and the "12mo most common" column is the mode of weekly averages for this same set of data. Because new referrals cause year-old ones to drop out of the calculations, the sample size may fluctuate up or down depending on whether or not there were more referrals this week than there were 53 weeks ago. The "2wk avg" column is the mean for the most recent two weeks of referrals.

Referral Numbers by DTC Month

Feb-96 1
May-96 14
Jun-96 30
Jul-96 13
Aug-96 4
Sep-96 11
Oct-96 28
Nov-96 33
Dec-96 46
Jan-97 32
Feb-97 42
Mar-97 29
Apr-97 39
May-97 44
Jun-97 34
Jul-97 37
Aug-97 44
Sep-97 44
Oct-97 37
Nov-97 26
Dec-97 21
Jan-98 22
Feb-98 30
Mar-98 41
Apr-98 25
May-98 27
Jun-98 25
Jul-98 45
Aug-98 68
Sep-98 72
Oct-98 36
Nov-98 59
Dec-98 77
Jan-99 73
Feb-99 72
Mar-99 86
Apr-99 84
May-99 88
Jun-99 64
Jul-99 95
Aug-99 119
Sep-99 117
Oct-99 80
Nov-99 82
Dec-99 77
Jan-00 82
Feb-00 78
Mar-00 112
Apr-00 102
May-00 71
Jun-00 81
Jul-00 78
Aug-00 101
Sep-00 77
Oct-00 79
Nov-00 77
Dec-00 94
Jan-01 94
Feb-01 33
Mar-01 65
Apr-01 85
May-01 65
Jun-01 55
Jul-01 73
Aug-01 52
Sep-01 59
Oct-01 63
Nov-01 155
Dec-01 23
Jan-02 37
Feb-02 63
Mar-02 62
Apr-02 25
May-02 15
Jun-02 20
Jul-02 15
Aug-02 19
Sep-02 26
Oct-02 19
Nov-02 29
Dec-02 11
Jan-03 25
Feb-03 23
Mar-03 24
Apr-03 15
May-03 18
Jun-03 16
Jul-03 26
Aug-03 32
Sep-03 19
Oct-03 23
Nov-03 21
Dec-03 26
Jan-04 21
Feb-04 23
Mar-04 25
Apr-04 37
May-04 17
Jun-04 17
Jul-04 47
Aug-04 34
Sep-04 30
Oct-04 36
Nov-04 24
Dec-04 23
Jan-05 24
Feb-05 23
Mar-05 38
Apr-05 44
May-05 36
Jun-05 30
Jul-05 28
Aug-05 31
Sep-05 18
Oct-05 12
Nov-05 3
Dec-05 1
Nov-06 1

NOTE: There may have been a few referrals for DTC's more recent than those shown here, but if they were unusually short waits due to unusual circumstances, they have not been included in the tabulations, including the table above.

Validity of the Statistics
The DTC date is subject to an uncertainty of about +/- 3 weeks, since many agencies do not tell clients when the dossier is actually delivered to the China Center for Adoption Affairs, the Chinese government agency responsible for adoption processing. Dossiers have sometimes spent weeks in the hands of an agency facilitator in China before being delivered to the CCAA. It also seems to be pretty clear that the CCAA "batches" dossiers, processing a batch over a period of time and then mailing all the referrals for the batch at once. These factors make it difficult to make predictions about time of referral from the statistics.

Another factor is that the APC list ( a-parents-china email list) represents a small subset of the total number of parents adopting from China, but the majority of the data in this database. This data is probably not uniformly distributed through all agencies either. There is some evidence that the CCAA processes dossiers agency by agency, so when there is a lull of referrals to APC subscribers, there may be many others receiving referrals that do not make it into this data, and when a flurry of referrals are posted to the APC list there may be other groups experiencing a slowdown. To get an idea of the degree this data represents the entire group of American adoptive parents, we have compared the number of referrals in our database per year with the number of orphan visas issued by the US State Department in China each year (Federal Fiscal year, Oct 1 - Sept 31). For simplicity, we assume one month referral to travel delay in determining which referrals go in which fiscal year (since many families never add travel date to their data).

Year Total
Visas APC
Data Percentage
FY97 3597 191 5.3%
FY98 4206 753 17.9%
FY99 4101 776 18.9%
FY00 5053 931 18.4%
FY01 4681 719 15.4%
FY02 5053 790 15.6%
FY03 6859 672 9.8%
FY04 7044 360 5.1%
FY05 7906 291 3.6%

Keep these things in mind when attempting to draw conclusions from the graphs and tables.

What You Can Do To Help
If you have received a referral of a child from China, please fill out the form at so your information can become part of the statistics.

If you have questions or comments about the graphs or tables, please send them to Ralph Stirling,

Monday, August 20, 2007

The not-so-rosy part

This is an older blog entry (around Nov. 2006) but still has some great words of wisdom from a mom who has 'been there, done that'.

Source: The not-so-rosy part

There are still no rumors, so I’d like to take this opportunity to talk a little about expectations.

I’ve read blogs of people who are home and who are miserable.

I’ve read about recent disruptions.

And I’ve read posts from people on various groups and blogs that talk about their new child as if they really think the child hates them, and some of them sound like they are starting to hate their child.

So I feel I need to talk a little bit about what happens when you finally get this screaming little baby placed in your arms.

This is not a newborn. It’s a child who already has a personality, one that you get to try to figure out. It’s a child who has been ripped from all she knows: the people who have cared for her and kept her alive, and the language she has been able to understand even if she couldn’t speak it. The food she is used to. The other kids. Her schedule. Her crib. Her cribmate.

It’s all gone, and she’s with these people she’s never seen before and she can’t understand what is being said and the food is different. Scared and grieving does not even begin to describe things. Some babies just completely shut down and appear to be autistic, but after three or four days they start coming around and you begin to see the real child. It can take weeks (or months) for the grieving to stop, but after several days you should begin to see little pieces of their personality. Some children have different survival mechanisms and you’ll immediately see a little bubbly personality, this does not mean there is no grief, it could just mean that their survival instincts are telling them to be cute and lovable.

We all know this transition to a family is for the best in the long run, but all the child knows is how they feel right now, and they are scared and mad and grieving. Some move through it faster than others. Some seem to move through it in China and then backtrack once they are home. Some show their bubbly personality in China and then show the grief in America (or whatever country they are going to).

When you are in China they still hear Chinese in the restaurants and out on the street. And they still get some Chinese food. And the unique smells of China are still there.

But once you are home everything familiar to them is gone. By then you’ve probably switched them to American formula, they likely aren’t getting congee every morning now that it’s not on a buffet anymore, you probably can’t make steamed eggs exactly like they were in China. The smells are different, and no one is speaking Chinese anymore.

They might be able to keep their minds off of that during the day, when they are active and there is much to keep them occupied. But when their mind starts quieting down to go to sleep it all comes back, and there is still grief. So some babies just don’t go to sleep. Combine this with jet lag and it’s really not fun.

There will also be control issues that come up. Even with a 9 or 10 month old baby, they will try to gain control of something, anything, so they don’t feel so out of control. Maybe you can let them have it in some instances, but in others you’ll need to make sure you remain in control. Follow your instincts on this one - they need boundaries in order to feel safe, but letting them have some little piece of control may also help them. How do you know when it’s best to give in and when it’s best to be the parent? You just fly by the seat of your pants and hope you get it right.

My point here is that you have been waiting for this child for a really long time. But she knows nothing about you. She is scared and will act in ways you cannot currently imagine that a little 15 or 20 pound baby could possibly act.

I can remember getting so upset with my big girl when she was a toddler and into everything. I’d just pick her up and take her outside and put her in her swing and push her in it for a really long time. Before long we were both laughing and having fun. It worked for us.

Sometimes, when she was into everything, I’d load her up and take her to the park with a few toys and put a blanket down on the ground and then let her play that way. She only had the handful of toys I brought, and all I had to do was make sure she didn’t put rocks or bugs or anything in her mouth (because of her sensory issues she wouldn’t touch such things with her hands, but she had no problems picking them up in her mouth). She never wanted to wander far from me when we were in public, so this worked out well since I didn’t have to worry about her running off.

So many times I just realized we were into a pattern of her doing something and me correcting her, and I just needed to do something to break the pattern.

I also put her in her highchair with fingerfoods and rolled the highchair into the bathroom and took a shower. We put a clear shower curtain up so she could see me and so I could keep an eye on her.

My big girl was terrified of being alone. Even today, unless she is asleep she is rarely in a room by herself. But when we were first home with her, before I went back to work, this meant she and I were together 24 hours a day, every single day (she slept in our room, too, back then). Once my husband was home she expected us to all stay in the same room together, and for those first months, she ran the show when it came to things like that.

I see people who are talking about how happy their child is going to be to finally get a family. And that just isn’t the way it works. I see a lot of people setting themselves up for problems by having expectations that just aren’t very likely to happen.

Please, take this time to read about attachment. Not just attachment issues, but attachment in general - how attachment happens, red flags that attachment may not be happening, and ideas for how to foster attachment.

Also read about sensory issues and other things that may pop up in post-institutionalized babies and children. Please understand that if you have the “What to expect the first year” book that your 10 month old baby may not be doing what your book says a four month old baby should be doing. This is completely normal, and most children catch up at an amazing speed. The rule of thumb I’ve always heard is that babies develop one month for every three months they are institutionalized - so a nine month old baby will have the developmental skills of a three month old, an 18 month old baby may only have the developmental skills of a 6 month old. If they are in foster care or a HTS orphanage then they will likely be farther along.

Understand that your child may have been strapped into a potty chair for hours a day, and laid in the crib for most of the rest of the day. Of course they are not going to have the developmental skills appropriate for their age.

Understand that your baby may have been gravity fed and may have never learned how to suck. She may not be capable of drinking from a normal bottle. You may spend months just getting her to the point that she can suck from a bottle - and those sucking muscles are important before she can learn to talk, it’s all related.

And please understand that this is why Half the Sky is my favorite charity. If your child is from a Half the Sky orphanage then the odds are that they will be very close to being on target developmentally, and that they will not have sensory issues. There are still a lot of other things that can pop up, but these two things should be on target.

I’m not saying the first couple of months are going to be all bad. There will be wonderful moments, too. But I am hoping to get the point across that you need to be prepared for some difficult times. No matter how frustrated you are, at least you know what is going on. It’s your job to comfort this child when she is scared and grieving and screaming her little head off from 11:00 at night until 4:00 in the morning almost non stop. It’s your job to make her (or him) feel safe and loved. And that is not always an easy thing to do.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cami Mei's Journey

This is an excerpt from a forum post from one of our families currently in China. I am reposting it because it gives a vivid look into what life is like over there, and the level of awareness (or lack of in sme cases) regarding international adoption in the Chinese culture. Sherri has excellent visuals!

Wherever we were, a crowd gathered. We must be very interesting to look at. I don't know what it is. Often people see the baby and then look at Mark or I (whoever is holding her) and then they look around to see where the Asian parent is. When they don't see one, their confusion is obvious. Adoption is WAY down on the list of possibilities. I think it's so odd that the Chinese people do not immediately understand that we are here adopting. And it's even more strange that they do not seem to know much about adoption or have any idea of the number of orphans in their country or where they all might be or come from. They are puzzled, and they remain puzzled even if we try to explain.

A conversation today went: Asian woman: You have baby.
Me: Yes, I do (beaming)
Asian woman: Is she a Chinese baby?
Me: Yes
Asian: Where she come from
Me: Jiangxi Provience
Asian: Oh....spicy baby
Me: (laughter)
Asian: Why you have Chinese baby?
Me: I adopted her
Asian: From where?
Me: Here in China, We've had her only one week
Asian: Okay, see you later.

or, the other way the story goes is an older woman might strike up a conversation and end up saying, "My daughter has a baby girl. Do you want her too"?

Anyway, our understanding of the adoption process and more importantly, of the needs of these children is much greater than the people living right among them.

China is a hard place. People work very hard. They hold themselves to very high standards no matter what job they do. There is a woman in the hotel who meets us everytime we get off on our floor and says, "Fifteenth Floor please". And when she sees us coming she runs to push the elevator door open button so that maybe we don't even have to wait for the elevator. That's just one example. It seems like people here are thankful to have work and they take pride in whatever their job is.

The poverty surrounds everything. The difference between the rich and poor is like day and night. Today we saw alot of the wealthy Chinese out shopping or having a family day. We went into a department store with many different designer brands. It had 8 floors. We only saw a couple floors. But they were beautiful. The first floor was only makeup from every Paris and New York designer you can imagine. All the decor and displays are gorgeous.

However, just getting through the crowds is pretty hard. Probably harder because I was carrying a 25 pound baby and trying to keep a group of 6 together. The rhythm of this culture is so fast paced. I can't begin to describe the mass of people that are everywhere we turn. The shopping trip was exhausting for me and I was glad we only planned to be out half the day. Then on the way back our taxi driver about ran over a man with only one leg pulling a suitcase across a busy street. Life doesn't get much harder than that! Life just seems hard here and if you have a strike against you, a handicap, or a low start in life, as in an orphanage..... you just don't have a chance at all. I'm ashamed to admit that I feel worn out and I'm in a beautiful
5 star hotel. I think tomorrow we might have a free day and not plan a big outing.

There are two more things we want to do....visit a temple and also visit a museum that has items that are specialties of all the different provinces. This trip has gone by so quickly. I can't believe we'll be home by the end of the week. We are so thankful to everyone who helped us along the way to Cami. And we will be forever thankful for the blessing she is already in our life.

Look at the new photos today (Folder August 19) to see how she has charmed her tough big brother!!! LOL! I love it! More to come. Sherri