Friday, June 30, 2006

I dream of baby

June 30, 2006

Every day as I enter the special time with my Heavenly Father, I am coming to him to ask for so many specific things for my unknown daughter. I often weep as I dialogue with Him about what I am feeling, or what I am supposing must be occuring in the heart of her parents. There are so many variables to consider, and knowing that if I were in their situation, I would have such tearing in my heart to consider what I should do.

I am only "unbroken" because of the response that is so clearly spoken to my heart by my loving God. He knows the details of my heart wrenching prayers before I even speak them. He knows me so intimately. As I reflect on all that I bring to Him, I realize over and over again, that if He knows me so intimately, that He also knows and treasures them so intimately. That my lack of knowledge is not His lack.

He brings me peace.

I long to hold you my sweet girl. But until I can.... He will... and he will do it so much deeper than I ever can.

I long to comfort your broken hearts, you who have to give this precious child, this child whom you bore in your belly for 9 months of uncertianty of the future, or the danger that lurks just around the corner. You who have been brave enough to love her to live. Thank you... and know that I pray for your comfort and your peace as you grieve. That you will know His love in ways that you so desperately need to. That you will fall in to His loving arms.

Thank you Father for the immensity of your love and your deep deep love and compassion.

Lord, I treasure your graciousness.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Legacy of an Adopted Child

Wish I could take credit for this poem, but found it while surfing... Going to collect poems like this for my daughter, so when she gets older she has a book of them to hopefully encourage and bless her.

Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother
Two different lives shaped to make you one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun
The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it
The first gave you a need for love, the second was there to give it
One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you a talent, the other gave you aim
One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried you tears
One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you.
Now, which of these two women, Are you the product of?
Both, my darling, Both, Just two different types of love.
---- Unknown

Monday, June 26, 2006

Medication List- A Resource from FOI

Medications Packing Guide

The following is a guide drawn from a document provided by Dr Susan McNair.
Associate Professor
Department of Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
University of Western Ontario London, ON

Dr. McNair adopted a daughter from China in December, 2000 and shortly after prepared a guide intended to help adopting families with the planning of medical supplies for the child and traveling adults. Dr. McNair intends that this guide serve as a starting point for discussion with your family physician and is not intended to substitute for advice provided by your own family physician.

For Infants

Gastrointestinal Problems
Prune Juice, Glycerin infant suppositories (Over the Counter)
Your baby is apt to become constipated with the change in formula, food, routine, etc. If your baby does not have a bowel movement for 2-3 days, try prunes or prune juice. Failing that, consider a glycerin suppository.
Gastrolyte Rehydration Powder (Over the Counter)

If your baby should develop vomiting or diarrhea and becomes dehydrated, this product (mixed with bottled water as per directions) will provide the appropriate fluid replacement.

Gravol (Dimenhydrinate) Liquid, Pediatric Gravol Suppositories (Over the Counter)
These may help if your baby has an upset stomach and requires an anti-nauseant. If the child will not take Gravol Liquid consider using the suppositories.

Skin and Hair

Canestan topical (Clotrimazole) Cream (Over the Counter)
This will help with yeast/fungus skin infections which are common on damp body areas, often over the diaper area. It usually appears as reddened areas of skin, often with little white dots or "satellite lesions".

Hydrocortisone Cream .5% (Over the Counter)
This will help with eczema (reddened/dry patches of skin). It can also be useful if the skin is irritated from insect bites, soaps or new clothing. Apply it a couple of times a day for a few days but avoid prolonged use as it can contribute to skin thinning in the affected area. Do not use on areas that are oozing or have pus evident.

Antibiotic Cream (Over the Counter and Prescription)
There are many brands (Polysporin, Bactroban, Fucidin, etc.). Use on any areas of the skin that show localized signs of early skin infection (redness, soreness, pus, etc.) If the reddened area is large or is spreading or there is a fever, seek medical help.

Nix (Permethrin) Dermal Cream (Over the Counter)
This is a topical scabicide (it kills scabies). Scabies is quite common among institutionalized Chinese infants. It is characterized by very small dots or "tracks" often around the waist and diaper area as well as the underarms, hands and feet. It is intensely itchy, especially at night. This cream is applied to all areas of the skin below the neck and on the scalp, temples, and forehead. It is then washed off 12 hours later. To prevent reinfestations, all clothing and bed linens used within 2 days prior to treatment should be machine washed in hot water and dried in the dryer for at least 20 minutes.

Vaseline, etc. (Over the Counter)
Do not forget to take along a good preparation for your baby's bottom at the time of diaper changes. I favour Vaseline – others favour Zinc Oxide.


Children's Acetaminophen Drops or Syrup (Over the Counter)
This is most often sold as Tylenol but cheaper and equally effective brands are available. This is useful if your infant is fussy or running a fever over 38.5 c. Use a dose calculation of 10 to 15 milligrams per kilogram per dose. Some physicians recommend Motrin or children's Advil as an alternative.

Cough and Cold Preparations (Over the Counter)
Talk to your family physician about choices of preparations and about the proper dose for a child of your baby's age. It is not unusual for an infant moving out of the orphanage setting to get the "sniffles". However, if your child begins to have difficulty breathing and has a high temperature, you should seek medical attention.
Saline Nose Drops, Nasal Aspirator (Over the Counter)

If your baby is nasally congested it may be helpful to place one drop into each nostril with a dropper before the baby tries to sleep or feed. You may also find it helpful to then suction the nostrils once with a nasal aspirator.

Antibiotics (Prescription)
Take along a supply of an antibiotic. Some suggestions include Amoxil (Amoxicillin) or Zithromax (Azithromycin) or Septra (Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole). These can be useful for ear infections and chest infections. Some antibiotics come premixed while some come as a powder and require mixing with sterile water (ask the pharmacist to give you a little bottle of the required amount of sterile water). Ask your doctor to write dosage requirements based on weight. You should talk to your doctor before you leave about conditions under which she/he would feel comfortable that you begin an antibiotic (eg. fever, irritable and pulling at her ear, etc.) Of course, if your child has a high fever, is lethargic, etc. seek medical attention. Don't forget to ensure that the pharmacist has included a calibrated syringe to allow you easy measurement of the required amount of antibiotic.

Digital Rectal Thermometer (Over the Counter)
Place your infant on her tummy across your knees, place a little Vaseline on the end of the thermometer and insert the thermometer a couple of centimeters into your infant's rectum. If your child's temperature is over 38.5 C, and particularly if the infant is irritable or lethargic, or refuses to eat and drink, etc, seek medical advice.

For Adults

First, remember to pack all of your prescription medications into your carry-on bag. If you have a number of prescription medications with you (and particularly if these include narcotics) I suggest having your family physician provide you with a signed note listing these medications and stating that you require them for medical purposes.

Ensure that you have arranged medical health insurance while out of Canada.
Purchase a couple of sterile syringes in case you require an injection while in China. They are inexpensive, available at the pharmacy and worth the effort.
Many of the preparations packed for your daughter may also be useful for yourself (eg. Gastrolyte oral rehydration powder, antibiotic ointment, anti-yeast/fungal cream, etc). In addition, you may wish to consider the following:
Adult Acetaminophen (Over the Counter)
Most often sold as Tylenol. Useful for headaches, muscle aches and fever.
Adult Gravol (Dimenhydrinate) (Over the Counter)

If you develop gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea and vomiting, this could be very useful. If your symptoms persist despite the Gravol, seek medical advice.
Antibiotics (Prescription)

Talk to your physician about taking an antibiotic to combat a respiratory tract infection - common on these trips. Discuss with your physician the symptoms which would necessitate starting the antibiotic (eg. symptoms of a presumed bacterial bronchitis, pneumonia or sinusitis). A suggestion includes Zithromax (Azithromycin), which tends to be well tolerated, and is safe for individuals with a penicillin allergy.

In addition I strongly suggest taking along a five-day supply of Ciprofloxacin in case you develop infectious diarrhea. Talk to your doctor more about this.
Imodium (Loperamide Hydrochloride) (Prescription)

This is an anti-diarrhea medication used in addition to oral Rehydration for the symptomatic control of acute diarrhea. It comes in tablet form and could be a real asset if you find yourself so infected!

Things to PACK- TIPS

From a couple different blogs(forgot to save the link, they posted these items as part of "THE LIST"....

-Lots of clothes for the baby (kids are messy eaters – plan for at least 2-3 shirts /day)
- Some Canadian diapers. The Chinese ones are fine for the day, but the Canadian ones are more absorbent and better for overnight + the plane ride home
- Baby carrier (we had a sling and a Bjorn and used both)
- Small gift bags and tissue paper (was handy for gifts for guides + other people in our group…birthdays, thank-yous etc.). This is completely separate from the ‘group gifts’ that will be organized for your group.
- The exact amount of underwear (this is personal thing. Getting laundry done is easy, but I don’t like sending out my undies, nor do I like washing them in the sink)
- bar of laundry soap (Even if you do laundry, you can’t keep up with the kid’s mess. I washed some of her stuff in the sink)
- Baby meds We didn’t use anything but Advil/Dimetapp, but other people made use of our baby Gravol, Pedialyte, Tempra etc. Lots of people ran out, so bring larger size bottles.
- Laptop and webcam. This was essential for communicating with folks back home, and of course, blogging. Interestingly, the computer’s most frequent use was for downloading photos. We downloaded ours every day (as insurance so we didn’t lose any + had space on the card in the camera), and at least 5 or 6 other families in our group borrowed our computer to do the same thing and burn their photos on to a CD. Face it – you will be trapped in your room for afternoon nap for about 2 hours every day – you might as well do email….
- Thank-you notes. We brought a box and this came in handy for the guides, and other unexpected situations.
- Layers. Bring a couple light sweaters. The planes are freezing and the A/C in the hotels can get pretty chilly too. Especially bring sweaters for the baby – they are used to being bundled up.
- Feeding gear. We brought 2 bottles with disposable liners (this was perfect) + 6 nipples (not enough) + a plastic container that holds formula for 3 feedings (a MUST have) + a thermos (another MUST have). Would have liked to have a few more nipples because it takes a while to get the size of the hole just right. We completely trashed 3 (hole too big) and then had to do more washing than I would have liked.
- Gear to clean the feeding gear. I had packed the Cheerios/Baby MumMums in a square Tupperware container and this turned out to be a Godsend. It became our ‘sink’ for washing and sterilizing bottle stuff. Don’t forget dish soap!
- Cheerios (Nutrios actually) and Baby MumMum crackers. Both were a huge hit.
- Immodium (‘nuff said)
- Ziploc bags All 3 sizes. They are a traveler’s best friend!

*** forgot to add the 2 most important things (aside from Ziplocs)
#1 travel size Kleenex (LOTS) Toilet paper is not widely available
#2 Purell (2-3 small bottles because 1 will always be missing)

Things I wish we’d packed:

- Flashlight (it is hard to find stuff in the middle of the night when your kid is screaming but you don’t want to turn on the lights for fear of fully waking her up)
- A little bit of Canadian formula
- $USD in $20s (useful for tips for bus drivers and guides. All we had were $1s and $100s…you can see the problem there)
- More hot weather clothes, especially shirts (i.e. cool max running-type stuff). We underestimated the heat. If you are in southern China you will sweat like you have never sweated before. Bring breathable everything, and lots of shirts so you can change a couple times a day.
- More Canadiana stuff to give away…We had pins, pencils etc, but often wished we had something slightly more high-end.
- More bibs – we only had 2 and since one was always AWOL in our room somewhere, a couple extra would have been nice.
- More baby spoons. We took 3 and lost 2 of them. Charlotte, of course, refused to use them, but they are a great distraction during the meal.

Things we could have left at home:

-Traveler’s cheques. They are a pain to cash. I would bring more USD and use the bank machines there for the rest. OK – maybe bring some as emergency back-up – but they really are a pain.
- Peanut butter and other snacks (take some stuff for on the plane, but that is all you really need. There are lots of corner stores + the hotels all have shops to buy snacks. This is not a 3rd world country. Snack foods are readily available if you are in a big city.
- Work out stuff (Was I nuts to think that I would have time to go to the gym in the hotel? Yes, I was)
- All long-sleeved shirts (it is so friggin’ hot these are unnecessary)
- Jeans (again, never took them out of the suitcase because it was too hot)

Things we didn’t use but other people did:

- Sippy cups (Charlotte had never seen one and had no idea how to use one. NOW – other people found them quite useful. Probably a good idea to bring one)
- Gravol (adult)
- Feeding bowl with lid (Since Charlotte hated congee and all things runny, we never used it)

Things I wish we’d done before we left:
- Call VISA (yep, we forgot to do this and they tracked us down in Beijing to ask what the heck was going on. Luckily we spoke to them before they cut us off…)

Gear to get when you are there:

- A phone card. It is the cheapest way to make local and long distance calls. Our guide got these for us.
- Baby formula + extra to bring back (we brought one can, but I’m wishing we had more….)
- A stroller (why pack it when you can buy?

More to come

Travel Tips To China- MONEY

As I find tips that we hope to use, and collect from other soruces I will post them under the appropriate TIPS section as both a resource for us and anyone else preparing to travel...

Money tips
* Money beltS- Yes, plural. Have each person in your party carry some of the money, so that if the unthinkable happens, you don't lose it all.

* Convert money in your own country if at all possible. Holidays in China etc. can pose some real issues.

*Get NEW, CRISP USD for the gift for the orphanage and shopping. Older and used looking bills are not always accepted.

* You really can’t exchange Yuan once you are out of China, so you must either spend it all or convert it back before you leave.

* If you want to convert Yuan you only get USD in exchange.

* An important one: in order to exchange more than 500Yuan, you need a receipt showing when/where you converted it in the first place. Future travelers: keep at least one of the currency exchange receipts from your hotel/bank and take it with you to the airport.

More to come...

When Love Takes You In

I have been surfing other adoption blogs and heard this song by Steven Curtis Chapman. SCC is a huge advocate of international adoption, he and his wife have adopted a few children this way. This song was inspried by those experiences.

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream
Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in
And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be
When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever
cause this love to lose its hold
When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in

When Love Takes You In
By Steven Curtis Chapman

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Love, Trees, and the Gazebo Saga

The week has flown by, filled with much study at work, for various topics, camp is FAST approaching. Had some fun and ordered a couple of magical effects that I want to use at camp when I am speaking. The theme is "Thirsty for God". There is a cool effect where you take an empty crushed pop can, and in front of the spectators eyes it restores itself to be unbent and then full, and you pour out the pop. I think it will be a great opener to start the theme off on(provided it gets delivered in time and I have the time to actually practice it)!

That was the fun part of the week, fought with anchoring the gazebo to the cement pad, after 4 attempts and 3 different methods my basic mind set is now... "if it blows away, FINE!!!". The next back yard challenge is getting grass growing where mud now blooms. Not likely gonna happen til late fall since summer is full with ministry. The good thing is it keeps me busy and from focussing too much on wait times.

I have been enjoying the "all about olivia" blog as they are now in China and have gotten their little girl. Reading the stories as they happen makes it more real,and fills the gap until we get to write that story for ourselves.

Waiting for the dvd I ordered to arrive, hopefully get a chance to watch it before Camp hits full gear.

Worked on my bonsai trees today. Here is one of them...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Post Father's Day Reflections

There is certainly a different feeliing and emotional connection for me to "this day" as contrasted to Cara when Mothers Day came by in May.

Cara commented that she very much felt like a mom(in waiting) and so there was an air of celebrating and connection to Moms Day for her. It seems that for women, adopting or pregnant, that at the moment of conception(when it happens naturally...well you know how that works...or adopted, when you are logged in and waiting) they consider themselves to be "Mom". Cara kids that with her, in light of the wait times for adopting, that it is world's longest gestation period that she is in! :)

For Dad's, I wonder how different it is. For me personally, I am ready to be Dad, but the "gestation time" is different for me in light of adopting. If we were having a child through natural child birth, I would consider myself Dad at the time conception was known. but now, it doesn't "feel" like I am yet. Expectant father....for sure...the thought rarely leaves my mind and heart these days, I think when we get the picture of her, THAT will be the time, for me, when I see and feel more in that role.

We had a wonderful focus on fathers in our church service. We had 4 families dedicating their children to the Lord. Two of the families it was through adoption, one local, another international (they have 3 in their quiver that way). Wonderful time.

Then our Senior Pastor talked about the glue that binds us together, and Fathers got a container of Krazy Glue as a gift.

I can relate to the Krazy aspect as I seek to not become unglued during the wait time ;)

Hmmm, "bonds skin instantly..." you know what...when MY true Fathers Day comes, there will be NO glue required to help me BOND. I think I will save this Bottle of glue, bring it to China, and throw it over the Great Wall the moment I see my Daughter :)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Latest Resource

Snagged this on Ebay. The description of the story is,"At the start of the 21st century, Chinese society still lagged behind the rest of the world in its attitude towards women. Sadly, this has lead to an enormous amount of female babies being aborted, orphaned, or simply abandoned. Orphanages overflow with young girls, and many American couples looking to adopt have travelled to China to help alleviate the problem. This documentary takes a trip with some of the families hoping to adopt a child in China, while also casting a critical eye over the accepted mores of the country."

All I have to say is..."Bring on the Kleenex!"

Actually I have more to say... I was in Edmonton this week for a conference, and in down time went to Chapters(please Oh please let us get one in Grande Prairie!!!). I was disappointed in the lack of resources for adopting parents. There was one book on post adoption depression, and it was a book with flimsy content, more speculations than facts...and then a small hard cover book with some cute, and some meaningful one sentence answers to "I chose you because...". That was it. C'mon Chapters, you can do better than that!

Amazon has some good resources, if you know titles to look for, and getting some of those book used, is NOT a bad thing, it is just a shame in mainstream book shops there aren't better resources available.

Oh well, off to check out Amazon and find some more resources!!

Check back for the tearful review of the movie...coming soon! :)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Far Away (My poem to my adopted daughter)

Far Away

I love you and I have loved you before you were born,
And I miss you, you’ve been far away for far too long.

I keep dreaming you'll be with me,
I will not stop trying, I will not give up,
Until I see you face to face,
Wash away your tears of pain with my tears of love and joy.
You’ve been far away for far too long.

I need you to hear me say, “I love you, I miss you.” Do you hear that even now?
Far away, far away, but in the closest part of my heart.
My heart aches to have you close and love you.
You’ve been far away for far too long.

One day there will be no distance, there will be no doubt,
And in your heart you will know you are wanted, needed, loved and cherished.
And the pain and loss you now feel will be far away, far away.
You’ve been far away, far away, for far too long.

I love you.
I have loved you before you were born,
And I miss you.
You’ve been far away for far too long.

June 2006 Randy Burtis

Thursday, June 08, 2006

To Name or not to Name...that is the question!

In looking at other blogs, as well as talking with other parents, there seems to be 2 schools of thought, one larger than the other, but both interesting,nevertheless.

Many adopting parents have already named their child. So too have parents who are having children through natural child birth.

Then there are some adopting parents, as well as some parents having children through natural child birth, who have NOT named their child.

We are in this later camp. Yes we have a list of names(it gets longer all the time). We know the gender will be a female, but at this point we are waiting til we see the referral picture, feeling that when we see her, a name will become clear.

Would love to hear from you how you came to name YOUR child, or why you are chosing to wait before naming them. So please feel free to post comments and share YOUR name game adventure :) !

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Our first post on our blog. Welcome to all who purposefully or by accident end up here :). Both Cara and myself will be adding posts as time progresses, it will become apparent who is typing what after you have read one of each of our writing styles :). Randy is writing this one.

Here is a snapshot of the dates that have been significant in our journey to adopt our little gift from China.
Oct 2005-Made the offical decision to adopt from China and begin the process.
Nov 2005 We picked FOI as our Facilitator after hearing NOTHING but amazing reviews of what they do and how they do it.
Jan 2006 Took the International Adoption Worshop.
Feb-Mar 2006 Got the paper work started and the home study done.
May 12 2006 DTC(Documents to China).
May 19 2005 LID(Login Date).

When we first began we were told the wait time would likely be one year from the START of the entire process. The reality is that it is around 14 months from LID, and it is speculation at this point. This has been the biggest fustration and disappointment. We have been blessed in how smooth the process has gone, how quickly we got forms back, how efficient the Alberta Government has been in getting our Home Study approved etc., now is the dreaded wait we have heard about :( .

Now is the time to work on getting projects done, getting all the future paperwork in hand and ready to launch(sponsorship, immigration, Canadian citizenship, medical etc. etc.) The stack of paper already involved is larger than our daughter will be when we get her!

We are excited about the destination of this journey, and there has been many blessings already in people we have met, in seeing others adoption stories played out through reading their websites and blogs, getting the quarterly newsletters from FOI with stories and pictures of families who have just returned with their children, and the excitement of knowing at the end of this road, at the end of the waiting is our gift. We can't wait!!