10 December 2008

All I want for Christmas...

This is the most beautiful package I can imagine getting for Christmas. This photo is of another adoptive family's baby girl who is with my agency. I just can't get over how they wrapped her up. I got permission to post her photo, and this little girl has made it back to her new home in the states. And she is a beauty.

Kyrgyzstan was a republic of Russia so you can see the Russian doll influence here. What I love about this photo is that they probably just grabbed a blanket to wrap her up in and set her down on another. It may be unknowingly artful.

Dear Santa, that is what I want for Christmas: Bring us a referral for baby o in the new year, pretty please.

I have to say that I have been a bit discouraged. Eric & I have been waiting over a year now & tick, tick, I am getting older. We are somewhere between #5 - #6 on the list for a girl. The numbers keep fluctuating due to the emotions of other adoptive parents switching programs because of the long wait. It can bump us backwards if they signed up with the agency before us.

I did hear some good news today, that the Ministry of Education has approved a new adoption committee in Tokmok. So things may start moving again in January.

I have been so busy with my business during the holidays I figure that I'll readdress my options in January with the new year. I have to say that I still am attached to Kyrgyzstan and have thought of the country and baby o every day.

OK so maybe there is a tiny part of me that is glad I am not traveling to Central Asia in the dead of winter. But I would have done it. Maybe I'd have gotten that Norma Kamali sleeping bag coat but I would have gone.
Happy Holidays......may your holidays be merry & bright!

I personally am looking forward to the New Year! ---Next year is the year, I can just feel it.

29 November 2008

Thankful Thanksgiving...

Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving always makes me reflective on what I am thankful for. I am thankful for my family & Eric's & my friends & all my extended family. ( Including friends) We spent Thanksgiving up at Eric's dads in gold country out in rural Placerville and enjoyed just slowing down, seeing family & of course eating.

We found this beautiful leave on our country walk. I love the way that the bugs have eaten through this leaf. Ahhhh nature!

I love this holiday because it involves family, friends and/or any combination of the above, it is a holiday that to me is very inclusive.

I wish baby o were here to meet everyone. I'm planning on checking in with my agency this next week to see what is really happening with this slow down once again. What a ride this international adoption is!

And so starts the holiday season. Warm wishes to ya all, and thanks for checking in! We thought we'd have at least met baby o by now but then again....life isn't always the way you would have planned it. Is it?

I guess I just need stay focused on what I am thankful for and keep on waiting......

06 November 2008


Barack Obama with his mother

I can only imagine what it feels like to be a proud parent. I have been a teacher and also had many young people work for me. I have been so proud of their accomplishments while under my wing.

What would it be like to see you child become President? Cross racial boundaries, inspire the young, empower others and create a loving family. Not to mention deal with other with such integrity.

I do know what it is like to be multi-racial. I do know that baby o will be muti-national. I do love that Barack Obama will represent our nation in the upcoming years. I am so happy. I am so proud. I love diversity.

Barack Obama has inspired the world. It is quite a time in the world. I am glad "baby o" will grow up with Obama as our President.

What if every child had the confidence to be who they wanted to be?

Do I hold hope for Obama's presidency.......I do. But getting there was more than half the battle.

President elect Barack Obama has already changed the world in many ways. I think baby o will be really happy too!

29 October 2008

It feels good to give & be involved!

I guess that is one of the reasons that ones' heart wants to parent? To give our precious baby o, ( who will come someday) love, support & to be involved in her life. The thing about giving, it seems to always give back in some form. I think giving opens the heart.

Speaking of giving.....lately as you know I have been very involved in our election for a certain Presidential candidate who starts with an O! I want our country to be a better place when baby o gets here. My gallery along with many of my artists & other jeweler friends participated in raising over $20k for Obama at the Fashioning Change show in San Francisco. It was incredible to be a conduit to help in what I feel is a life changing journey of Barack Obama (hopefully) to become our next president! (oooooh chills....) It was so exciting to see so many young people out at a presidential fundraiser. It was an incredible feeling to be part of and I am so looking forward to a change in our government. And what a good sign that the young people are inspired too!

A shot from Fashioning Change runway show featuring Ocelot Clothing & April Higashi
enamel jewelry.

As a jeweler, one aspect of my work is making wedding + commitment rings for my clients. I have been doing a lot of same-sex couples rings lately.

One day a month or so ago, a beautiful, thoughtful woman walked into my gallery and she was waiting for her partner to discuss rings. I said, "Are you marrying a man or a woman?" She had just married a woman and they would have there celebration party later. I love that I can ask that question, and I did so kind of matter of fact.

Turns out the three of us did a lot of work to find out what they wanted and I found them some unique & beautiful stones. When they received the quote, they felt very torn between spending the money on themselves as a sign of their commitment to each other or donating the money towards NO on Prop 8. No on Prop 8 is a proposition here in California which keeps the rights for ALL to marry.

I really felt deeply and strongly that this issue concerned me too. I offered to donate $500 towards OUR cause, of my profit so they may possibly do both. Now mind you I did this because I felt truly compelled that this cause aligned with my inner beliefs of equality.

The commission when forward, the clients were so touched they sent me a wonderful gift certificate to my absolute favorite restaurant. Now I was even more emotionally touched.

But more than that I am so glad I had the opportunity to contribute to something I believe in! And my clients gave me an opportunity to see and be touched by their lives, their struggles and their hopes. I can only respond to what touches me and be myself.

I am so excited
ready to cry
(in joy or sadness)

for the outcome!

I'm still waiting for you baby o.....but in the meantime. I'm not sitting around!

p.s. please come soon.

04 October 2008

O !



What is the "O" for?

Well I haven't written much these days because I've been quite worried about this dear country of ours. The one I want to bring "baby o" into.

The election / the stock market / all the people losing their homes / the soldiers in Iraq...shall I go on.

As many of you fellow & future adoptive parents do, I read blogs about adoption in some of my free time. Now this issue has really gotten my goat! I won't say where I read it but it is on several adoptive mom's blogs.

Now one thing I can't understand is why do people who are PRO LIFE feel like they need others to live by their values. Why would they want our government to dictate what we do with our bodies? I am PRO CHOICE.

As a future adoptive parent, I'm glad I have alternative choices to creating a family. What if our government controlled our choice to adopt? How is that any different? Why should government play God?

I'm all for people having choices in their lives, and I guess what this blog post is about the biggest O, I can think of right now.


I am voting for Obama because I truly think he supports all kinds of people and encourages them to be critical thinkers in this world. I am all for it!!!

As a jeweler, lately I've been doing a lot of same-sex wedding bands. San Francisco leads the way in yet another issue I think that should be each person's choice. Marry who you love! I can tell you these same-sex couples are as diverse, excited, and committed as all the opposite-sex couples I make rings for. I love that they are getting to commit to their partners and their families with acknowledgment by their society. And some of them have adoptive kids and have been raising their kids for years. I personally have sometimes dreamed of being raised by two gay men. They would take me shopping at Barney's and brush my hair.

Hey we all have our story, our blended families, both from choice, fate, and chance!

So O is for...

my baby o

Oh let me make my own choices based on my values!

Opposite & same sex marriages

& the biggest, most important O right now....

O B A M A!

oh please!

06 September 2008

DNA...the family genes

Eric & I just returned from the moist flowery air of Honolulu, Hawaii where my father was born and raised. My grandparents were born there before Hawaii was officially a state. That makes me Yonsei (fourth) generation Japanese-American. My other half, from my mom's side, is 5/8 German & 1/8 French.

We stayed on the property my dad grew up on. My grandfather, Kennith Kameo Higashimachi had built a little studio on the lot of the main house, after his wife Hisa passed away in the 1960's. He lived into his 90's as a working artist, a prolific painter, world traveler and teacher.

My grandparents were born; him-1901, her-1902 and had an arranged marriage. Hisa was from Samari class and Kennith was from Farmer class. Not an ideal match for Hisa but she was the youngest of 11 children. By the time her parents got to arranging her marriage it was not such a big deal. She passed away before my parents were married so we never met her.

The little studio had not been cleaned out since Tu-tu, as we called him passed away 18 years ago. Eric & I had not intended to go to clean out the space, but upon waking up our first morning at 6am from jet lag...we looked at each other and said let's get this place in order! My mother and maybe father are thinking of retiring there, so this little project would be a great help. And besides there was something in me that needed to put new energy into this little place.

Although I knew my grandpa Tu-tu....when I saw him he was a man of few words. He'd often take me drawing but we would not talk much. He spoke English but felt more comfortable around Japanese. I think he was most comfortable when he had a pencil or brush in hand and didn't have to talk at all.

Cleaning out his stuff I learned more about him than I could have imagined; about his life and my DNA. As I looked through his dusty stuff, I thought about how much we had in common. We both appreciated art, travel, beautiful hand-writing, flower arranging, painting, and the process of documention. By the size of his body of work I know he had a serious dedication to his creativity and spent many hours a day in this process.

When I was a kid, upon returning from his travels from Las Vegas, he would stop and see us in Utah. A Keno man, he would hand my brother and I each a crisp new $100 bill. He was usually on his way out of the country. He'd say... "I'm going to travel to every country before I die."

In his studio there were many boxes of neatly tied bundles of sketches, documenting his travels, not to mention a lot of photos.

Just when I said to Eric, I don't think he made it to Africa, I opened a sketchbook and he was standing with the a pygmy tribe.

He was a prolific painter and studied at the Chicago Art Institute along with Georga O'Keffe. He had two very distinguishing styles, one traditional Sumi brush painting.

And the other, paintings of the Hawaii tropical flora and the sea.

Stacking his art and books into neat little piles, I saw a partial mirror to my own life. I saw similarities of what had been important to me and certain aesthetics I had naturally incorporated into my work. Organic forms, color, composition, mine were more abstract but we were both studying the subtle beauty and the balance in our art.

Does our DNA predetermine what we do and who we are? I wondered this while sorting through his stuff.

On the left is one of his flora paintings.

On the right is one of my painted enamel brooches.

And to my surprise he even dabbled in making some jewelery. Below are some Bakelite rings he carved. Notice the gold ring on the bottom left is a recent design of mine I currently have in my show case.

Each piece I found that mirrored me in some way was validating. I opened each box as if their might be gold inside. And to me there was.

In reflecting on my family DNA, I felt sad that I would not be able to hand this lineage down to baby o. Maybe that is why people have such an urge to have biological kids. So when they rummage through the family photos they too can find bits and pieces of them self. A line back in time that ties them to their families.

But then again, what if I would not have taken the trip to Hawaii to clean out Tutu's stuff, would it make any of my talents and interest any less important or true? Would I have even known how much we had in common. Is it chance anyway? And is the reason this was so important to me based on the memory of knowing him and having him in my life?

We will have to share with baby o the remarkable way one's genes come through no matter if you know your true biological family or not. We will share stories of where her talents might have come from. Think of all the great things I have inherited that I will never know the source.

In one of the boxes I found this amazing photo. I am assuming it is a family photo but of who? I will have to ask my dad to see if he knows.

Part of life is a mystery & no matter what we know, some of it is imagined or remembered through story and memories. And we all will have a story of how our lives have unfolded and who is our family. Biological or not.

22 August 2008

Pondering.... career + baby

With the adoption delay, I have been keeping myself busy with my work. And GIRL, have I been busy! I just did a show, The American Craft Show at Fort Mason in San Francisco selling my jewelry and whew what a lot of work.

Women friends of mine who have had their babies and are still running their business.... I AM WATCHING YOU CLOSELY. How is it possible to fit the new little one into an already busy life?

I'd love to hear from you mothers.... from both kinds....those who work & those who are raising their babies without following a career path. What do you love about your life? What do you miss? What can you share? And how do you do it all or why are you glad you don't do it all?

I know that babies just manage to fit into our lives, but some days I just wonder how it will all work out? After the weeks I've just had, staying home with 2 kids seems pretty relaxing. (in theory)

I'm still madly looking forward to meeting baby o....but some days I bet even when they are in your arms, you still wonder. How will it all turn out?

Well I'm off to Hawaii to ponder this question some more. Maybe the moist, flowery Hawaiian air will give me some insight. I know the last post I was laying in a hammock but really I didn't get enough.


***baby shoes above, brought to you by my beautiful & creative adopted niece Anu & her lovely, thoughtful mom Elaine. They are just back from a trip to visit Anu's birth land, Nepal. Anu is also excited to meet her cousin baby o...the next adopted member of our family. Anu is trying to guess baby o's future name.

I'll never tell.

We are all waiting for you baby o!

08 August 2008

Low Down on the Slow Down...

There has been a slow down with the adoptions from Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrg. government is putting in place new members on their adoption committee and that is changing the regulations or making them more strict. I don't want to post too many details because there is so much information out there & I'm not sure what is true and what is not. But what I do know is it taking sometime for things to fall into place and get the adoptions going on a regular track again. Our agency won't get any referrals until October and haven't had any this summer.

I also know is that 'baby o' will be coming much later than we expected. Now we think we may not travel on our first trip until early 2009. Which is when we had hoped to have her home. So I am a bit sad that we will wait longer.

Sometimes I forget we are even on this journey...although I think of her everyday, even though I have not meet her........ The sky always gives me comfort even on a gray day.

One place the sky is always so beautiful and filled with light is Santa Fe, New Mexico. We just returned from a long weekend to celebrate Eric's birthday and visit dear friends. They have a beautiful, restful home. So talk about slow down....well we did & it was just what we needed!

I always love the way the sky meets the land in Santa Fe. Just the sight of this beauty reminds me that life and relationship are a spiritual journey and this I must keep in mind while waiting for our baby o.
baby o will come when she is ready...

05 August 2008


We had our first Bay Area Kyrgyzstan Entourage BBQ last week. It was great to meet some of the other families in our area and share stories. There are 3 families in the Bay Area that have brought home babies...quickly turning into kids. And around 7 or 8 families waiting.......for our referrals.

Both Eric & I really enjoyed meeting everyone & starting this Kyrgy community. That is what I love about the Bay Area. You can always find someone to share in your hopes & dreams.

Now meet some of the Kyrgy kids:
Dylan, now 10 months old and back just a few months. Son of Ivy & Bill.
On the left with the wine....Suzanne our gracious host, waiting to bring home her Matilda,
trip #2 soon to come for her. Right Ivy & Dylan.
Suzanna & Isabel (sisters) daughters of Tina & Art.
Suzanna is a great big sister to Issy....what a sweet pair they were.

And Jack the little blond Russian-Kyrgy boy sharing with Issy...they are both 2 and
Me getting a baby fix with Dylan.

And last but not least....the beautiful colors of the Kyrgy feast.

02 July 2008

My Nest

Our agency has received our dossier and it is now out of our hands. So time to nest.........

What does that mean?

-Reading blogs, and that can mean over doing it too. I just hit a new jack pot from ladybug's blog site. That gal, Lisa, has everyone on there that has/or is adopting from Kyrgyzstan. And I thought I was a prime time reader. I love when you find a new blog & they have already gotten your blog linked. This means: I'm not the only one watching all your cute little kids grow up and come home.

-Reading my daily yahoo Kyrgyzstan digest. This yahoo group is just great! Today I got special advise on what kind of formula to use and how to transition your baby from the baby house. That kind of stuff and more tiny tidbits to keep my self occupied & yes informed. I can't wait till we have a big reunion when we all have our Central Asia babies home. Everyone has been so supportive & great. BIG HUG & WARM THANKS!!!

-Making NEW work. I've started some drawings for new work for my jewelry. I have a goal to make a new body of work before baby o comes. I started last week, it was quite a heat wave, so instead of using this precious time in my studio, I laid on my couch reading Steppe Magazine, a georgious, designy, panorama of Central Asia.( did I say pricey?) I was absorbed by the beautiful photos & my god the contrast of daily life. My favorite story was about the Aral Sea and how the fisher men pray for REALLY cold winters. Why? So the ice would freeze 1.5 meters. Why? So that the ice will be strong enough to bring their camel on the outing to pull the fish out. Otherwise they have to do it themselves.

.... miles of white ice/bundled fishermen/camels with frost on their hair / a sled with hay for the camel / flounder laying on the ice.

Ok, well I'm on step #1 for new work, empty one's self out and fill with new things of interest. Well Central Asia seems to be on my mind so I'll start here.

- My Vow: I vow to edit my Wedding Celebration photos. We got married on the Winter Solstice of 2006 at SF City Hall with our mom's. (top secret mission)*wink. Then six months later had a big Wedding Celebration on the Summer Solstice '07. A truly amazing day of my life! Now one year later....I need to crack open those 700 photos and edit them and put a book together. Now or never right? A shot I like below: me & Sophia, the little red beauty.
- Save $: Well I'm proud to say; that me, Ms. Self-Employed Artist, I have only $10k left to save for the adoption. (So visualize ring sales.) Sigh....it was only at the beginning of this year I was wondering: How in the he"ck" or "ll" does one pay this much money for an adoption? Imagine a goal, it it will come....well I had to work hard for it but still it came & it can be found in savings account!! (pat..pat..pat on my back) OK thanks to Eric too, he helped pay all our mortgages so I could focus on saving. Give the job to the woman to save for ze baby! The man can pay for the nest!

-Build Baby's O's Nest: Well I'm getting to that. I wish I didn't like well designed things. I'm lusting for the Stokke Crib in walnut. I don't want the whole set but it's cool that it can evolve up to a small child's bed. (remember when one use to lust for boys or a new dress) But I'm refraining until the coffers are full. Well I have bought a few items of clothing for her & I did get a load of hand me downs, one being this snuggy little baby carrier from my friend Angelina (all hand dyed) that I tested it out with Yuko my favorite cat. (practice baby Yuko weighs 10 lbs so it's almost an actual simulation) She liked it. See what she has to put up with?
- And last: Enjoy my summer with Eric, our friends & family + of course & the cats.......Happy 4th everyone!

-Oh 2 more things...Tina gave me permission to Sleep In, which I am uh doing a bit anyhow.
-& very last- Sending Good Thoughts of Strength out to Barack Obama. It has been a very long 8 years. I'd love baby o to come in with Obama!

26 June 2008

A trip to Sacramento + our DOSSIER is DONE!

Does this look like a drive through the countryside in Italy? I wish!!! I just held it to the window while I was driving through the beautiful farmland on my exciting journey to Sacramento.

I had hoped to take the train to Sacramento, I had wanted to pretend I was taking a European vacation with my friend Catty, carrying some top secret documents, but she got a last minute job. So a new plan surfaced. Eric's dad & step mom offered to drive down for the certifying celebration and take me to lunch at Zocolo, an upscale Mexican joint. Thanks Jim & Judy! So since my illusions were changing. I just did the simplest thing. I drove. Seeing that gas is $4.69 a gallon. I guess the whole round trip cost me right around $500.

So it worked, $410 dollars later Greg, acting for the State of California had certified all my documents and put a gold seal on each and every one. Now how much more official can you get? They seem officially bored there at the notary department. When I had returned they had checked out both our websites and asked me all sorts of questions about Eric's work. I think the guy secretly wanted to weld steel. So I'm glad to know where my $410 are going....but I got my gold seals and baby o will thank me for these. EUREKA! Well as for Sacramento, that side of town by the capitol was actually really nice. I liked the old houses, the warm weather and people lingering around at outside cafes. It sure wasn't' Italy, but I did enjoy putting all the paperwork today in the mail, overnight of course, with a traxing number. My work is done!

Now to update my paper pregnant time line.

19 June 2008

Good News / Bad News (but mostly good news)

I went to my homestudy adoption agency yesterday in San Francisco to pick up the last pile of notarized paperwork. Yeah!

Last (I hoped) to San Francisco City Hall, to pick up copies of my marriage certificates. You know the ones that were suppose to come by mail weeks ago.

Well surprise, June 18th was the first official day for same sex marriages! So lots of action and marriages happening in the rotunda. I can't tell you what a sense of joy it brought me to see just about every combination of folks getting married. Families in tow, hugging & talking photos. I felt so honored to attended. (uninvited) to witness this day. I have a strong sense of justice and this just made me feel good. That families could be blended in whatever form felt right for them.

Last summer, I had a couple in my gallery I was making rings for. They had their two kids with them. I asked them if these were their updated wedding rings. No, they were both divorced and had found each other after they both had had kids with their first partner. The woman turned to me and said; "We are a blended family!" She was so comfortable with her answer and it made perfect sense to me. I have now thought about that comment a lot. There are a lot of blended families out there. And when you adopt, you are a blended family.

Oh and as for the marriages certs! GOT 'EM! After they were in my hot little hands, I enjoyed the marriages of several couples and soaked in a day of equality!

Well and the bad news is, today I was looking though my newly notarized paperwork AAAAAAHHHHH............... one document is still missing.

The good news is, the agency is fed-xing it to me tomorrow. (fingers crossed)
Soon to Sacramento.

So mostly good news and a treat to be at under the dome at San Francisco's City Hall on June 18, 2008! ...maybe a historic day for many of us who want to expand our families.

17 June 2008

Maybe I should start to pray?

Well it seems like the baby referrals are coming in slower the past months in general. I keep saying that I am fine waiting for fall or when the right time comes but you know what? I'm getting nervous & antsy... that baby o won't come? I guess everyone goes through this. All I know is that I am babying my cat Yuko more so I guess I am getting more ready to be a mom.

The good news is, my blog friend Suzanne B, also adopting from Kyrgyzstan, and fellow Bay Area gal, got her referral and she is probably on a flight back after meeting her little "melon". I am so happy for her, and a bit more encouraged that this might actually happen. Her blog is closed to outside readers but her little girl is so cute. (encouraged again)

I have been waiting to get our notarized marriage certificate, and just found out that SF city hall canceled my order for my marriage certificates. Yes that's right, they just decided that I didn't need it and didn't tell me. So here I am waiting, waiting, waiting and it never would have come. I am going right over there tomorrow and getting them in a day....then off to Sacramento for the state certification by train next week. I'll surely post a huge HURRAH, when the dossier is finally off. It should by middle of next week! Fingers crossed I can actually get it in a day + pick up the final paperwork from the first agency. God I hope everything is really in order when I arrive in Sacramento. I'm ready for the actual waiting phase. tap, tap, tap.....which I can't lie, has already begun. Even Eric runs up to my computer to see new baby photos of newly arrived adoptive kids. I think even he is getting more ready to be a dad!

Also (above) my saint that is watching out for baby o, eric & me is now backed by some gorgeous Central Asian Ikat fabric from Uzbekistan. Which I know is not Kyrgyzstan but as I said I am enjoying learning more about that side of the world in general and I LOVE textiles, craft and beautiful things hand made. Just wait for my new jewelry work, influenced by Central Asia; the land of extremes.

Oh I feel a bit better, maybe she will come. Maybe we all pray in different ways.

31 May 2008

Kyrgyz. Film: Beshkimpir, The Adopted Son

We have been very interested in knowing more about Kyrgyzstan traditions and way of life. Eric found this movie, Beshkimpir- The Adopted Son, which we just watched. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festivals as one of the first contemporary Kyrgyz. films. Ironically it is about a family in a small village in Kyrgyzstan who can not have children and feel that a childless home is no way to live. They adopt a baby who they wish to bring the family luck. We really enjoyed the film's simple story and a small glimpse into the country. Maybe some would think the film slow. I found it beautiful and if you are adopting from this country, well worth it! We rented it on Net Flicks.

My favorite part is when a younger boy goes to help Beshkempir court a girl he has fallen for. After this little guy has done his job in retrieving the girl for Beshkempir and the couple ride away on his bicycle, the little boy will have to walk back to town. A tiny little mule walks by with two other small boys on its' back. The two boys barely fit. You hear yelling, probably the little boy asking; can he get a ride? They two boys yell back "no it's too crowded." Not listening at all, the little boy flings himself on the mule and the three on the smallest mule you ever seen, ride off the frame of the film. This moment is actually just a few seconds but is so charming.....the film is filled with little simple happenings of a slower paced life.


The film is a simple story treating universal issues of growing up in a rural landscape. It depicts several Kyrgyz customs - including the ceremony of placing a baby in a cradle (biseke salu), the funerary ceremony and the engagement ceremony. The ceremonies depict several ethnic Kyrgyz artifacts, like the tekemet rugs of the region, the kigiz felt carpets and the Kyrgyz cradle or besik.

The storytelling is simple and direct, and the plentiful visuals of nature and village life is complemented by soundtrack recordings of accentuated village sounds and the sounds of nature. The film is shot in black and white, occasionally interspersed with color sequences. The color sequences typically depict colorful focal themes like the girl Aynura, colorful Tekemet rugs, or a hoopoe (a kind of bird).

Most of the shooting took place on location in the village of Bar-Boulak in Kyrgyzstan.

12 May 2008

Finishing our dossier

Today I am working on my final paper work packet for the government of Kyrgyzstan. Yeah!

Kyrgyzstan had closed down for a few weeks, but apparently it is open again. I was not too worried but will share with you that International Adoption is NOT an easy process. It seems as if the bureaucracy is what stands in the way of more adoptions happening. Apparently the Adoption Minister resigned. We do not know more about this other than they seem to be scrutinizing adoptions more carefully, probably because there is so much interest in their country. On one hand I do think it is good that the babies are monitored to go to good homes and be legitimate relinquishments from the birth parents, but there has to be an easier way for these children to find adoptive parents. I am part of a few online blogs and there are SO many people out there who would love to take in a child but the cost and the strict requirements stand in their way. I have also meet some people who have and/or are adopting. They have stuck out all the paperwork, waiting, changes and have a whole broad of internationally adopted kids. They AMAZE me!

Eric & I are getting more excited and we are #9 on the list. The agency gets between 2-4 referrals a month, both boys and girls. I keep my blog updated on a post called "Paper Pregnant....Time line" if you want to check in to see if we have more news. And I am sure to post more as the time gets closer. Basically we are just waiting. So we are still still expecting our first trip to be in September of 2008 and to return in November to pick her up. (hopefully this is the way it will go, but one never knows....)

I am just mildly exploring staying in the country between trip 1 & 2 to visit the baby house and give myself a sabbatical from my life here. That would probably be 2 months away from my life here. Right now I am craving a space to make new work and expand, and well could it be in Kyrgyzstan in a small apartment while I visit my baby to be? I have been told that one can get a modest apartment for $100/mo. I am sure it is not in the luxurious American standards. But that really might be fine. A chance to help at the baby house, draw and write in the afternoon, and send emails, and explore? Well I don't speak Russian so this could be challenging? And no one has attempted this before in the adoption community. I am deeply curious and interested to know more about this great country, culture and this place where baby o will always be from. I feel like our adoption from Central Asia is opening up the other side of the world to us.

Like I said just a thought....but who knows where that leads? Adoption was just a thought too....but we are totally committed to this journey.

18 April 2008


Today is the day...I'm officially 40! I'm off to the Wilbur hot springs for a loooooong weekend with Eric.
More about this day,this age & this doll later!
Warm thanks for all the birthday wishes!
Special thanks to Suzanne B & Tina from my Kyrgy yahoo group for dinner out last night at oola. Great Kyrgy conversation & stories. Cheers continued friendship to share our stories of Kyrgyzstan and our children & children to be. It's going to be an exciting year! *Tina* made me this great doll for my birthday. I love her and so will baby o!

25 March 2008

Mama Hope and Miss Madina from Kazakhstan

Well people have certainly been generous to us in our adoption journey. Last week Miss Madina & her lovely mom Hope have donated just gobs of clothes and goodies for our little central Asian girl to come. The extra clothes we will bring and donate to the baby house when we go. This is just great, we are so appreciative of all the hand me downs and it feels good to see STUFF being passed along.

Pretty darn beautiful little girl eh? We thought, wow, maybe we should switch countries and then got ahold of ourselves. Of coarse if you are adopting or thinking of adopting or just watching a friend adopt you wonder. Will she be a beautiful baby? Don't tell me it isn't a worry. I know it's a totally real fear out there and I also know how hard I have seen people fall so hopelessly in love when their referral comes.....so we wait. Maybe life just gives you what you need and one of the things with adoption, you have to let go of some of that control and "hope" that the perfect one for you lands in your nest for you to love.

Thank you Hope & Madina (+papa Andy who was away for the visit.) We also found that we had another thing in common besides adopted kids from Central Asia. Amongst the chatting over babies and Central Asia, across the room, I spotted an art object from an artist we both happen to know and collect... Alma Allen, and I have to mention his dynamic partner Nancy. Alma creates just the most odd & beautiful sculptures. How nice to have things in common. This just keeps getting better.

Also thanks Madina for pouring me at least 20 cups of your imaginary tea. It was DELICIOUS!

*Warm thanks to sister Chris, Phil & Eden + Llisa, Mark, Lucia, Marin & Sonia for their GREAT and GENEROUS goodies for baby o. ***This is like Christmas*** Makes both Eric & I really excited that this is actually happening soon.

Looking forward to being parents!

15 March 2008

Our TRIBE...calling all Aunties & Uncles!

So here is our tribe....

This is a photo from our Wedding Celebration which was last June '07, around the Summer Solstice. We got married in San Francisco's City Hall on the Winter Solstice 12.22.06 with our mom's as our witnesses. We had our celebration party six months later. No we did not have our party on the tracks, we had a little adventure walking down to the railroad tracks while our tables were being set up for dinner. We liked this industrial backdrop for our cast of characters. The weather was superb, everyone was in good but genuine social form!!! A perfect day and so much fun! I for one thought that having the official ceremony and the party separately was perfect for us. The guy in the orange turban is the security guard next door.We were all forming into position waiting for the photographer when he ran up along the r.r. tracks carrying the bright yellow ladder. The colors of the orange turban and yellow ladder were unexpected and made everyone burst into laughter. Of course we invited him in for the photo. See the shadow of our dear friend Jaymie on the ladder in the photo?

So this adoption, to include baby o, into our tribe has got me thinking. Families are spread out all over the country, and some people in our lives, we wish were family anyhow. Just how many people does it take to raise a baby. I say a WHOLE TRIBE.

My good friend Angelina had her son, Jacobi, a year and a half ago. She had a hard labor which put her back in the hospital a few days after she brought baby Jacobi home. I had just returned from Brazil and Eric & I went over to stay with her NEWBORN so that papa Oliver could get some rest. Family flowed in and out of the apartment and back and forth to the hospital. Music was being played, the baby passed & cooed over. Food filled the kitchen table. We were all on shifts. Eric & I even spent a few nights with baby Jaco sandwiched in between us to care for him through the night. While this story unfolded under unfortunate circumstances for Angelina, both in being away from her new one, and also having to recover, we felt so privileged that we could help and be part of their lives. It was a precious moment that usually only new parents have. I felt my strong protective hormones kicking in seeing this little six pound being breathing between us and hoping for Angelina to get better. Which today by the way, Angelina is fine, a great mama and makes a beautiful clothing line, Ocelot, and Jaco spends his time running all around her studio and is growing like a weed.

Another story about family by extension; My dad grew up in Oahu, Hawaii. I will always remember visiting over there when I was six years old and calling every person I was introduced to as Auntie & Uncle. Now how can this be when my dad is an only child?

Our talented friends Craig & Cathy, parents to Zane, live part time in Hawaii and everyone is Auntie & Uncle to Zane, even the mailman is Uncle. Zane, now five this week, seems to be raised knowing that a whole community is raising him. No they are not hippies, but open to the influence of their creative & intelligent friends. I think this is great and I'm signing up people to be Aunties & Uncles either genetic or not, to be part of our community and baby o's life. No obligation required, only a desire to share yourselves.

Grandma Carla is already signed up for some Saturdays so I can be at my gallery. We are all making room for this exciting transition. We want to be inclusive with this new part of our family.

We also feel fortunate that we are starting to meet many families in the Bay Area who have adopted children and may I say...they have been just great to us! Your lucky when you adopt, your definition of family is asked to be reconsidered and you must leave the blood lines behind.

In Hawaii they have a word for extended families which is also part of Hawaiian culture. 'ohana' means family in an extended sense of the term including blood-related, adoptive or intentional. And 'hanai' means adopted family...here is a great story about hanai.

08 March 2008

Paper Pregnant...Time line

10 . 01 . 07 Sign up with our home study agency
02 . 12 . 08 Turn in all paperwork for home study
02 . 13 . 08 Mail in application for Kyrgyzstan Agency
02 . 19 . 08 Paperwork mailed to San Francisco CIS
02 . 22 . 08 Paperwork confirmed arrival to SF CIS
02 . 25 . 08 Home study finished!
02 . 27 . 08 ON THE LIST #16 ,including 3 families with referrals waiting to travel
03 . 01 . 08 Working on dossier for Kyrgyzstan Government; told to notarize in May.
03 . 18 . 08 Finger printing appointment
03 . 24. 08 #12 ON THE LIST
04 . 01 . 08 In our mailbox today; yeah our I-171H all approved!
05 . 04 . 08 Just check in with the agency....#9 on the list + hoping all reopens soon in Kyrgz.
05 . 06 . 08 News that the embassy is open again.
06 . 25 . 08 Dossier officially state certified.
06 . 26 . 08 Dossier is out of my hands on it's way to be translated! I think we are #8 ON THE LIST.
08 . 2008 Slow down on the adoption, we will not travel until at least Winter.
10.04.08 Number #5-7 on the list, 2 families on hold in front of us...hence the sliding number.

still expecting....Maybe a referral for baby o in September 08...
06 . 26 . 08 update: well, maybe later....referrals have been slower...so maybe October? November?
10.04.08 Probably Dec - Feb?

So there you have it, we are 7cm paper pregnant. I couldn't find the ruler in inches but you get the picture. I thought I'd post our time line and update as we know more. Unlike a pregnancy it can go slower or suddenly faster. Now you know what I've been doing.....paperwork and research. I can say one thing, I'm having more fun waiting to adopt that waiting to get pregnant.

01 March 2008

Kyrgyzstan....where & why?

I have heard Kyrgyzstan referred to as the wild west. This was only after we decided to adopt from there but it kind of has that adventure ring to it. I think they meant that in relationship to Kazakhstan, which is considered the wealthiest of the Central Asian countries because of their natural resources. Kyrgyzstan is considered the Alps of Central Asia, being about 75% mountains. Well there it is on the map. The little blue country sandwiched between Kazakhstan and China, bordering Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It is a small country, I read it is the size of South Dakota. Central Asia is comprised of five independent republics: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan. So the "stans", but not all of them. It is for many of us the other side of the world. It will take us around 23 hours with stopovers to get there from Californ-i-a.

I always said that if we could just adopt from Japan I'd do it in a heart beat. Our exploration of adopting from Japan was, it is very difficult and super pricey. We also did not find the folks except for two very nice women, Eryn and Nancy, very open about sharing their experiences. I know that adoption is not common in Japan and not talked about so maybe the extended community reflects their wishes? We did find one agency, thanks to Hope, who did have a new program. This was all towards the end when we had almost picked Kyrgyzstan. We were rejected after they examined our photo for a week ...was it personal or really my husband's age. (47) Or was it fate?

Asia was always CENTRAL on the adoption scope although for a brief time we entertained domestic. For me I was more interested in a connection to somewhere in Asia. So after we finally decided on Vietnam their government and ours started and continue to clash. I have heard actual stories of people that are having difficulties getting their baby back to the U.S. and that it is unstable for now. We were sad to leave our great Bay Area Adoptive Vietnamese families behind. They had all been so kind. So again, researching another country......we then were reminded about Kyrgyzstan.

I was at the bookstore getting some books on Vietnam when this beautiful book titled, Kyrgyzstan leapt off the shelf. Beautiful people and traditional costume in Kyrgyzstan. Wow I was intrigued and truly taken by the beauty. For those of you who know me you will know BEAUTY might just be near the top of the list of things that drive me. Also I would have to add community to be big on the list which includes family and friends. So later that night instead of reading my books on Vietnam I started researching Kyrgyzstan and also returned to my original thought of Kazakhstan too after meeting Madina, child of Hope & Andy, possibly one of the cutest little girls from Kazakhstan.

Let's just say the instability of Vietnam adoption, beautiful culture that it is and having to stay in Kazakhstan for 2 months, us both being self-employed. Seeing and reading about the people of Kyrgyzstan and well the The Tien Shan Mountains kind of sealed the deal for me. More beauty, I'm a Japanese-German- French American raised in Utah. The mountains called out to me. I am a mountain girl of mixed heritage. Suddenly my first pick of Japan seemed to rigid and pure. Kyrgyzstan it is.

For those of you who are just starting your adoption journey or folks that have not adopted.....International Adoption is not like a pick chart of selecting just ANY country that might catch your fancy. There are many guidelines, most strict, set by each country or the agency, from age, weight, number of years married, who will consider single women, etc. Age gets hard after 45 to adopt an infant, and for years married they like to see 3-5 years and well I can tell you that I did not meet Korea's weight requirements. And if you know me I'm TALL not fat.

So as some of my other adoptive community friends say.....once you pick your country you can't imagine adopting from anywhere else.....KYRGYZSTAN IT IS!!! I do have a backup plan in case this small country runs out of babies but let's not talk about that yet...I have my trip to the Tien Shan mountains and baby o waiting for me.