Thursday, June 30, 2011

Our Daughter!

Um. I was supposed to get the call tomorrow. And based on that information this VERY organized girl decided to zip into Boston to pick up her husband's passport to literally kill time. On the way home I get a call from CCAI and I answer and it is Beth E on the other line. I say to her "is this THE call??" and she laughs and says "yes, we decided to surprise everyone and call tonight!" OMG I was so not ready!!!! I had a fancy dancy call sheet ready at home and wanted to video the whole thing but I was sweaty and in my gym clothes in the CAR or as we say here "ca". So I put her on speaker and got some little details and then asked if we could call back when we got home so I could video the call. So here are the important details...and I think more pictures will come tomorrow!

Her Chinese name is Song Xiao Yin. She is in the city of Yangxi in the Guangdong Province in southern China. She was born 9/27/10 so she is 9 months old. her name means dawn and bed of grass. Song is her last name and a front runner for her middle name.

We are not entirely sure of her full name yet. Stay tuned!

Love. Love. Love!


I woke with a start around 6:00 am this morning having just wrangled myself from an awful dream. I had a dream that we got our referral and the way they sent the referral was via snail mail in a giant binder with everyone in your travel groups referral. So I get this huge binder and start madly flipping through to my section and when I find it there are no pictures. I keep scanning and scanning the pages for a picture and can't find one so I start reading the information. I immediately find out that our referral spontaneously burst into flames when it reached CCAI so they lost all her pictures. Our daughter's name was "Cassie" so there's the "c" part I was hoping for but she was born in September 2000 so she was nearly 11. She had bounced from foster care to foster care and had been referred 4 other times but they were all denied. Finally at the end of a long two pages of information I couldn't believe I was reading, there was a small faint picture that seemingly had partially survived the fire. And she looked like this:

Now that's a bad dream.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Agency Weekly Update

It is amazing how painful the silence is when it is your LID swirling around in the rumor bowl. My agency does weekly updates on Wednesday and today they posted on their internal website that matches were indeed complete but that they don't know when to expect them.

So what does that mean? 

Beats me.

Tomorrow?? Friday?? 

Please, please, just don't make me wait it out over the holiday weekend. I beg of you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Well I asked and I received. We awoke to rumors this morning and they are of the JUICY variety. Tasty, delicious, juicy rumors that are saying matches have been mailed and that they go through July 6, 2006!!! We are LID 7/6/06. And if this is true it is ironic b/c 5 years ago today my dossier left my agency in Colorado to fly east to China. How wonderful if my match was flying west to CCAI exactly 5 years later.

So it seems the stork may be in the air, as soon as I hear confirmation, I'll post it here!

**6/29 8:00 am UPDATE** Boy it sure seems that all the other times a rumor leaked matches were already mailed, we saw them landing in Europe before now. I was waiting for the our agency said they have a package on the way  rumor to show up yesterday or how about a referrals have landed in Europe rumor this morning?? Nothing but crickets!! Arrrggg. It is 2 pm in Europe already so if something was going to show up today, we would have heard about it already. Boo hoo!

Monday, June 27, 2011

End of June is FINALLY here!

With all the snow we had this winter we are finally of school for summer! Our last day was Friday so it hasn't felt like V.A.C.A.T.I.O.N until today! And thankfully mother nature cooperated. We spent the day swimming, sunning and of course grabbing an ice cream at every chance!

and yes, we are hanging in there. It is the LAST week of June and we hope to be up next for a referral. This time last month we had rumors already actively swirling around the globe. So we are crossing our fingers that rumors start and that July 6th is in.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Why did I wear mascara?

I knew enough not to wear my contact lenses because they itch when I cry but somehow I didn't have the same forethought when putting on my eye makeup this morning.

At 11:00 am I walked into a building I hadn't been in since the summer of 1987 when I attended a dance there with all my classmates after graduating from 8th grade. The boys were all in sports coats, ties and white pants and the girls were in a bevy of Laura Ashley dresses with tiny flowered prints and poofy sleeves. I am sure we were a sight to see.

But today I walked in to to say goodbye to a friend from that time in my life and while we kept in occasional touch over the years, time, place, and circumstance had separated us for most of the past few decades.

The service was lovely. The slide show was difficult. Baird was 37, would have been 38 this coming August. He left behind an adoring sister and a heartbroken mother. As a parent and a sister, so much of today was unbearable. I stood there with many of our classmates as we tried to digest this incredible loss. We were part of a tight-knit group of 40 kids who spent the K-8 years growing, bonding and finding out who each of us was. And sadly, this is our second loss from this group. We had to say goodbye to another dear friend 8 years ago. Phoebe was thirty, about to get engaged. Diagnosed with non-smokers lung cancer and succumbed to the disease 6 short months later. I can't even let my mind think about the life she has missed out on.

So wherever you are today, reach out to the people you love. Especially the people you've been meaning to reconnect with. Say I love you when you think it. Say thank you when you feel it. Hold people dear to you close.

And for me, my dearest friend who spends most of her time working all over this great big world is coming home in July and I cannot wait to hug her.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


It is a bit surreal after all this time to think about the fact that my dossier has moved to the matching room. When we started this whole process 5+ years ago I was so good about documenting all the steps we would go through here on this blog. But so much time has passed and so much wonderful life has happened that I find myself glazing over the fact that our dossier is. in. the. matching. room!  If you are one of my friends jumping up and down with me right now and you find yourself thinking what the hell is the matching room? This post is for you....

In the spring of 2006 I spent 10 weeks gathering every piece of information about our family and every member in it. Medical documents, financial documents, pictures of us and our home, testimonial letters from friends, and of course the all encompassing homestudy. Once everything was gathered, notarized, certified by the State of Massachusetts, and authenticated by the Chinese consulate, it became our dossier and was sent to our adoption agency for translation. CCAI received it on June 22, 2006, translated it and mailed it off to the CCAA in China on June 28th. The CCAA logged us in on July 6, 2006 and then our beloved dossier sat.

And sat.

A year or so later, we were informed our dossier had been through the review room and there were no issues with our file. And then it sat again once more. This time for years and years. It is probably dusty now don't you think? It's been sitting in a room like this for YEARS.

But when the CCAA gets close to matching your LID (login date) they move your dossier into the MATCHING ROOM. It is likely transported like this, with lots of other dossiers.

At the same time, orphanage directors prepare little dossiers for the children in their care who are ready for adoption. Each month the CCAA sits down in this room, at these desks to match children with parents.

From what I understand, the CCAA first tries to match orphanages with agencies based on numbers. For instance if Orphanage 1 has 6 children and Agency B has 6 families with the same LID, the CCAA official will put that orphanage with that agency group. Sometimes agencies with a large number of families with similar LIDs will be matched with a grouping of orphanages.

Once orphanages are matched with agencies, parents are then matched with the children. This is where all that paperwork comes into play. The CCAA matching officials will read your dossier, learn a little about you and your family, and try to match you with a baby they think will fold well into your family. The photo below shows people busy at work matching.

So right now, someone in China could be reading about our family of four and thinking about which baby might love being the little sister to SweetPea and Buddy. But here's the fly in that ointment, our dossier is a snapshot in time. The pictures they are looking at show a 4 year old little girl and a 3 year old boy. So much has changed but we have not been required to send updated photos or information to China.

And the horror of horrors, the CCAA thinks I am blonde. 
 (when my son recently saw a picture of me from that time, he said with a frown on his face, "mommy, that color hair wasn't the greatest for you." Ha! Even he knows I looked silly!)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Easy Week Night Dinner

Here in the Northeast, school still isn't out. Yes, I know we are edging into late June but we're still packing lunches each morning and doing homework at night. And because of all the snow we got this Winter, we have had 4 days tacked on to the end of our school year so the kids are not out until Friday June 25th! If you are a parent, you know the end of the year is busy, busy, busy so it helps to have some easy week night dinners the whole family can enjoy.

One of our favorites is a grilled Panini brimming with all sorts of goodies. Layered with taleggio cheese, prosciutto, spinach, peaches, and drizzled with honey, the salty sweet flavor of this very sophisticated grilled cheese is heavenly. Brush the cibatta bread with extra virgin olive oil and grill in your panini press until the cheese is melted, the spinach is wilted and the bread is browned. 

Now that summer is approaching, this pressed sandwich could be tweeked to include the season's freshest produce. I'd love to hear what you do with your summer paninis!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Today's program is brought to you by the letter C.

I've got the letter C on my mind lately because C is the first letter of the name we've chosen for our newest daughter. I also have cupcakes on my mind. Why, I do not know. But considering I had the opportunity to bring a dessert to a group dinner last night, I figured I'd make a go of a cupcake that has been dancing around in my head.

Coconut Cardamom Cupcakes 
(lots of C's up there, no?)

The cupcake itself is a vanilla coconut cake batter and the frosting is a standard cream cheese (more C's) frosting infused with cardamom.
But I decided to fill the cupcakes with a little surprise in the center.
The filling is a Saffron Cream. A sweet pastry cream with a twist.

The cupcake batter baked up really well and I cut holes in the centers in which to pipe in the saffron cream. 

After I topped the cupcakes with the cardamom cream cheese frosting I sprinkled some toasted coconut on top to add some color.

They were delicious!

Vanilla Coconut Cupcakes with a Saffron Cream filling and a Cardamom Cream Cheese Frosting


  1. 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  2. 1 tablespoon baking powder
  3. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  4. 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  5. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  6. 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  7. 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  8. 1 cup granulated sugar
  9. 4 large eggs, separated

Saffron Cream

  1. 1 cup milk
  2. 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  3. Large pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
  4. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. 1/4 cup cornstarch
  6. Pinch of salt
  7. 4 large egg yolks
  8. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. 3/4 pound cream cheese, softened
  2. 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  3. 3 cups confectioners' sugar 
  4. 3/4 tsp ground decorticated cardamom 
  5. 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut or unsweetened coconut flakes

    1. MAKE THE CAKE: Preheat the oven to 250°. Line your cupcake tin with papers. In a medium bowl, whisk the cake flour with the baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the coconut milk with the vanilla and coconut extracts.
    2. In a bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar until fluffy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well between additions. With the machine at low speed, add the dry ingredients in 4 batches, alternating with the coconut-milk mixture.
    3. In a large bowl, using clean beaters, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. With the machine on, gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of granulated sugar until the egg whites are thick and glossy. Scrape the beaten whites into the cake batter and fold until just combined.
    4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly pressed. Transfer the cakes to a rack and let cool to room temperature.
    5. MEANWHILE, MAKE THE SAFFRON CREAM: In a medium saucepan, combine the milk, coconut milk and saffron and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Whisk in the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in half of the hot saffron milk. Scrape the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking, until the saffron cream is thickened and just comes to a simmer, 4 minutes. Transfer the cream to a heatproof bowl and stir in the butter. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate.
    6. MAKE THE FROSTING: In a medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the cream cheese with the butter until smooth. Add the confectioners' sugar and cardamom and beat well. Fill a pastry bag with a decorating tip of your choice and tefrigerate until chilled but still pipeable, about 10 minutes.
    7. Using a corer or a small serrated knife, cut holes into the cupcakes but do not go all the way through. Discard most of filling from hole but keep the top. Using a piping bag and a large tip, fill cupcakes with saffron cream. Place top of cake piece over hole to hide filling. 
    8. Pipe frosting onto cupcake. Less is more with this b/c of the cardamom flavor in the frosting. No need to go over board with the frosting.
    Make Ahead The unfrosted cake can be wrapped in plastic and kept at room temperature overnight, or frozen for up to 1 week. The frosted cake can be refrigerated, covered, overnight. Serve at room temperature or lightly chilled.
    *Recipe adapted from Tyler Brown and Food & Wine.  

Friday, June 10, 2011


Last night, just as I was about to leave for my quilting class, I got an email from CCAI telling me that in a few hours my pre-placement packet would be ready for downloading from their website!!! Whooopieeee!!  Just the word placement directed at me is a thrill.

When I got home from the class, I downloaded the pdf and read through all the material. It was basically a thorough outline of all the steps we will go through between referral and travel.

And in other good news, the quilt is nearly done. I am piecing together all the rows and then next Thursday at class we will sew the rows together to finish the top of the quilt. I'll post a picture in the quilt section of the blog asap!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Projections are out and they look GOOD!

Each month, a few days after referrals are mailed, RQ does a post about when we might see the next batch of matches and then makes some projections based on history of how big or small the batch may be. She's often right but in last month's case she was wildly wrong in a good way. But even so, those of us 5 years in, hang onto any piece of information regardless of how speculative it might be. In just a few cases the CCAA has not even gotten to her worst case scenario so that is always a possibility. That was what happened in April.

Her projections came out today and here is her little box:

So what does all this mean? As China started doing fewer and fewer matches each month, RQ kept having to downsize the typical batch size. So Spring of 2008 we thought they were doing really small batches only to learn a few years later the batches would get even smaller. So Spring2008Small is a bigger estimated size than Spr 2010, and Wntr 2011. It seems that in nearly any scenario, we are next. And just typing that made my heart race so fast I got lightheaded.

But if China does the same size batch they did this time around at the end of June, they will get to about July 22nd. When I tell you that, if that happens, you will hear screaming from CO to the East Coast and everywhere in between. As I mentioned in my last post, I have been waiting all these years with some wonderful people whom I've grown very attached to and the thought of some of us not traveling together breaks my heart. So if all you readers out there could cross your fingers and say a little wish for us, wish that the CCAA gets to 7/22/06 next time.

A huge collective wish just might make it happen.