Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Nov. 28

The latest word is that the adoption agency, CCAI, is trying very hard to arrange our China appointments and corresponding travel arrangements so that we will leave Dec. 7 and be home before Christmas. But, those arrangements may not be completed until late this week or even next Monday, Dec. 4!

We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Malia Info

November 23, 2006

Here's information about Malia, named Yong Xiao Fang by the orphanage. This report is dated Sept. 6, just recently translated and sent from the orphanage to Jeff and Valerie:

A few excerpts:

After she entered our orphanage, she was brought to the designated hospital to have a physical examination. The doctor determined that her birthday was December 17, 2005.

Physical Development:

Yong Xiao Fang has a small and exquisite body. She has a pair of round eyes and a tiny mouth.


Yong Xiao Fang is ... very healthy. ... She likes to listen to people talking. She likes even more when people talk to her. When she sees a person playing with her or hears someone calling her name, she will look at you with a broad and sweet smile. ... Yong Xiao Fang is a healthy, lively and good child. We all like her. We hope that she will find a family very soon, and have a happy and joyous life.

Unofficial word is that our travel dates are likely to be Dec. 8-23.


Rob and Susie

Saturday, November 18, 2006

China Travel Planning

November 20, 2006


We left the Sioux Falls home of Jeff and Valerie Hinkle Thursday morning(11/16), bound for Denver and a China-planning weekend with Jeff and Valerie Easterling. Highlight was a stop in NE Nebraska in Wayne, home town of Las Vegas friends Carolyn and Budd Bornhoft. We had been near here a year ago, but not stopped, so I vowed that next time ... . We called Budd for a coffee shop recommendation and he confirmed that a coffee shop/bakery we had seen on Main Street was the place to go. Turned out also to be a nice place for an early lunch.

Spent the night in Ogallala, NE, just over into the Mountain Time Zone and about 240 miles from Denver. En route to Denver the next morning we happened by this county courthouse in Sterling, CO, and then got to Jeff and Valerie's house in Highlands Ranch just after noon.

The Chinese Children Adoption International agency in Denver has a facility where classes and activities are held for parents and children. Our timing was good because there was a Fri. evening class on travel to China. Got a lot of good information on what to take and what to expect. The instructor, Jean, a Director at the agency, has two Chinese-American daughters and she mentioned that she would be doing a class session Sat. morning on life after adoption -- issues that arise as your daughter grows in awareness and begins to ask the hard questions, such as Who are my parents?, Why did they put me in an orphanage?, ...

Her presentation was "Conversations with Mae." Mae was adopted at age 7 mos. in 1996, group 24 for the agency. We are in group 1080. Groups typically are the adoptive parents and traveling companions of about eight children, so you can see the volume of adoptions that this agency has handled in 10 years. At any rate, Jean gave a touching account of Mae's discovery and thinking about her origins.

This past summer was a highlight in that Mae was selected to go to China and dance in a celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the agency. While there she asked to visit her orphanage and it turned out a visit could be arranged. Obviously, such a visit was loaded with good and bad possibilities for Mae and Jean. It worked out beautifully. Mae saw that she came from a nice place and nice people -- by chance she met the nanny who cared for her 10 years ago. (Pictures from Malia's orphanage show a pleasant room with three cribs, usually double occupancy, and a nanny's bed.) She even saw the park where she had been abandoned and felt good that it looked like a safe place! Mae came home inspired to do something for the children in the orphanage and what she came up with was a letter to relatives and friends asking that instead of sending her presents for her next birthday, they should send money for the orphanage instead. If I recall correctly, she raised around $500 which was matched by the agency, so she accomplished quite a lot. A remarkable story. We're really glad we were here for these two sessions. We're charged up and ready to head for China.

For much more on Malia and the Chinese adoption process, see Valerie and Jeff's blog:

Incidentally, we thought our travel group would be mostly Denver parents. Turns out that no one else in the group is from Denver.

Representing the Jeff E. household is Tucker, their golden retriever, shown here, actually, in our house last Christmas. Thought he needed some pub. He's great with kids, but he'd better get ready for big changes in the near future.

Anyhow, it was a great whirlwind family trip -- three family stops, 2353 miles in nine days. We'll keep you informed as the China trip is scheduled and happens.


Rob and Susie

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Birthday Surprise

Nov. 14, 2006

Tuesday, we arrive in Sioux Falls in late morning, then rendezvous with Valerie at a Dollar store where we buy balloons. Jeff manages a Shopko store in SF and Valerie has been in cahoots with store personnel to keep an eye on Jeff so that we will know where to find him when we get there. It all works well and Susie greets Jeff with balloons, hugs, kisses, and tears. Oh, just prior to this Susie had called Jeff to wish him a happy birthday "from Oklahoma" -- Jeff knew we were, or had been there -- so that helped set him up. Here's a picture of Mom and Son in front of Jeff's store.

We'll be here through tomorrow, then depart Th. en route to Denver.

Rob and Susie