Families Thru International Adoption -- Newsletter -- International Footsteps -- January 2004
By Kate Boyd
We hope everyone is off to a wonderful start to 2004. We are very excited with the progress the China Program has made in the past year. The program continues to grow and we are excited to be working with such wonderful families all over the country and world. If you have not already done so, we would encourage you to join the Yahoo Group set up specifically for China families. With families from all different places this has been a wonderful resource to really get to know one another. Many families have found extra support to get through the paperwork and the wait to referral. We are also excited that families who have already traveled and brought home their children have stayed active in the group, offering invaluable support and suggestions. To join the China Yahoo Group, send a blank email to email@example.com.
The CCAA has made wonderful progress in the past several months to reduce the wait times between dossier submission and referral. We recently received referrals for families who submitted their dossier in April 2003, so the current wait time for referrals has decreased to approximately 8-9 months. Travel is still around 6-8 weeks after families return their referral acceptances.
The CCAA continues to remind us that they are paying close attention to the details they are requesting to be in the dossier. For those families working on paperwork, just a friendly reminder to pay close attention to your Dossier Guide and make sure information matches exactly between dossier documents. The China Team is ready and waiting to assist with any questions or concerns.
We hope everyone is planning for the Chinese New Year. This is a wonderful time to celebrate new beginnings and plan for exciting times to come.
Happy Chinese New Year!
By Joshua Cheng
The Chinese calendar is based the movement of the moon. The start of the New Year begins anywhere from late January to mid-February. Each year is named after an animal. There are twelve animals. 2004 is the year of monkey. The origin of the Chinese New Year is itself centuries old, in fact, too old to actually be traced except for legends.
Preparations tend to begin days from the date of the Chinese New Year. Even though the living standard in China has greatly improved in recent years, parents still buy their children new clothes for the New Year as a tradition. A clean-up drive gets under way before the New Year, when Chinese houses are cleaned from top to bottom, to sweep away any traces of bad luck. Children are expected to help their parents on the clean-up.
Since food is such an important part of the Chinese culture, the New Year Eve dinner is usually a feast of food. Seafood, especially fish which means surplus for the coming year, meat, and poultries that have been preserved in the winter are served. After dinner, strong tea will be served to cut off the greasiness. Family members and friends will sit up for the night playing cards or board games, or watching TV. All the TV channels are filled with New Year celebration shows. In north China, female family members and children are supposed to start making dumplings after dinner while watching TV. The dumplings will be served after the countdown of the New Year. People normally go to bed around 2:00 or 3:00 am. Even children have the pleasure to stay with their parents as long as they can keep their eyes open.
Another big deal for children and adults is fireworks. We probably should say "was" for people living in the big cities because fireworks have been banned in those cities. In the old days, at 12:00 am on New Year Eve, fireworks would light up the city sky and the sounds would be loud enough to scar away any evils. The street would be covered with a thick layer of firework residues.
When the New Year finally comes, people, especially children, will dress up with new clothes and visit relatives and friends. The visitors always bring gifts with them. The Chinese like to send fruits, Chinese wines, tea, or nutritional and health products as gifts in the New Year. But children will receive toys. Children may also receive money from their grandparents or older relatives, which is the well known red pocket money. Exchanging gifts at the same time is not a tradition. But if somebody visits you during the New Year, you are expected to pay a visit to that person or family in the next couple of days, with gifts for sure. As an influence of Confucianism, people will express their gratitude for the visit and gifts but will not open a wrapped gift when the visitors are present.
Remember the Chinese philosophy: everything can be "Yang" (positive) or "Yin" (negative). While the celebration is a positive part of the New Years, a negative part is that the Guangzhou Consulate will be closed from January 22nd to 26th and CCAA will be closed from January 22nd to 28th.
Hunan Foster Care Update!
By Renee Thweatt-Smith
We are also thrilled to be able to help children in China and want to do even more in 2004. Separate from the adoption process, we are excited about the philanthropic progress of the Hunan Foster Care. This is a wonderful time for you to resolve to help children - the Hunan Foster Care is a wonderful way to do just that!
The Hunan Foster Care Program was developed to help children in China at the most critical time of their life-the very first year. This is the third year FTIA has sponsored the Hunan Foster Care Program and we are so excited about the possibilities this program has! We have been able to grow from serving 25 children during our first year to serving over 200 children, with 50 children in foster homes at any given time. Eventually we want to serve hundreds and hundreds of children in China.
To date we have served 211 children through the Hunan Foster Care Program. Of these 211, 151 have been adopted internationally and 1 was adopted domestically. Our goal is to serve hundreds more to give them the very best start in life they can possibly have. We cannot accomplish that goal without the help of people like you who continue to give and support these children.
For the year 2003, the Hunan Foster Care Program incurred expenses of $34,051.29. FTIA has directly sponsored administrative costs of $8,084.14. Of the remaining $25,967.15 in annual expenses, family sponsorship has raised $12,005.00. We are very excited at the generosity of our donors, however there continues to be a considerable deficit between the monies raised for this program and the monies needed to continue to make it a success. As we are approaching the beginning of our fourth year, we want the Hunan Foster Care Program to keep growing, but more importantly we want the Hunan Foster Care Program to continue! Please, please, please help us to make this possible.
Thanks so much.