Oh, right. The *other* thing that's been going on in our lives is that we've adopted a kid. We started the process of international adoption from China last February (2015), aiming to travel to China in May of 2016, right after the end of the spring semester. We managed to hit that perfectly; we travelled in May the week that my wife finished finals.
The paperwork process is long and annoying. I may post about it sometime. It involved background checks and lots of getting verification of the previous layer.
Early in the process last year, the adoption agency we were working with started a program bringing kids from China who were in danger of aging out of the adoption system and bringing them to the US for three weeks. We were part of the way through our initial paperwork, so when the social worker was at our house, we talked about that program. They had a couple of kids still without host homes, so at that point we decided to sign up. It was a way to try out parenting and help the program, without the commitment to keep the kid.
Not surprisingly, one of the things that can happen (and they hope happens) in the hosting program is that the hosting parents fall in love with *that* kid, and decide to adopt them. We definitely did that. We wanted to answer three questions with the hosting. 1) Are we capable of being parents? 2) Do we want to be? 3) Do we want to be parents to *that* kid? By the end of the three weeks, we knew the answers to all three questions was YES. So once the kid had headed back to China, we formally requested to be able to adopt him specifically, then continued the rest of the paperwork.
One of the things my wife and I did as preparation for the trip and
for adopting a Chinese child who didn't speak english was to take a
year of beginning Mandarin. Here I'm taking one of our exams in the
second semester. One of the dialogs was all about location words. So
the dialog is about the computer that is ON the desk, and the dog that
is UNDER the desk. The teacher had props for the dialog, which I
thought was hilarious.
We flew out of Lexington to head to China for the adoption. Our
flight was early enough in the morning that we got a hotel room with
shuttle service to the airport. Here are our suitcases, ready to go
to the airport for the big trip.
A nice, auspicious sunrise on our initial climbout.
The adoption took place in the province of Jinan, China. My wife,
kid, and me at the big central park in Jinan City. The sculpture in
the background is reminiscent of the Mandarin character for the name
of the city.
There will be more posts about our trip and about raising a kid, but I wanted to get the topic out there.