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17 posts from October 2005

October 20, 2005

Bad Kitty!

Don't let her adorable face fool you. This is a bad kitty!

She let herself into Gwen's room last night by jumping at the door knob and opening it! Then she got in Gwen's crib and meowed and turned up her feline charm and woke the little sleeping baby up!


Did Gwen cry? No way! She PLAYED with kitty and got all wide awake! Mommy tossed bad kitty out of Gwen's room and tried to get Gwen back to sleep but that didn't happen until 5:00 AM since Bad Kitty was meowing in the hall to be let back into Baby's room for more fun!

Bad, Bad, BAD Kitty! (but we love her anyway)

October 18, 2005

South Bay China Moms (past, present and future!)

Many thanks to Mary-Mia for this picture! We had a wonderful time this morning and it was super fun to get to meet, in person (at last!), the people we've chatted with on the MSN Site and various blogs for many months!

Pictured are: Top row (left to right) Sandra, Kristin, Liz (holding Sydney), Jeff (holding Suzanne), Lisa (holding Kelly), me (holding Gwen). Bottom row (left to right): Tracey, Mary-Mia

Our Agency: US Asian Affairs


We used US Asian Affairs for both of our adoptions.

Since they performed a pretty important role in our life, I thought it was only fair that we say a few nice things about them.

First of all, they're not actually an "agency" in the true sense of the word. They're a China Facilitator. They only do China. And they do China with amazing efficiency and have for more than 10 years.

You won't find them online. They seem to not be interested in advertising on the internet. And it doesn't seem to hurt their business at all! If you read the book "The Lost Daughters of China", you might be interested to know that the author used USAA. I hope I'm not giving away a big secret by saying that "Max" in Karin's book is really "Norman", above.

They're competitively priced - actually less expensive than most of the large agencies. More importantly, though, I really believe in my heart that their efficiency saved us many months of waiting for our precious Gwendolyn. Our process from date of application to Gotcha day was exactly 11 months. They're based in Los Angeles but families from all over the USA use them. They did all of the dossier authentication for us and they're very much experts at it. We collected our documents and mailed them to USAA and they took care of everything. Even the "tricky" stuff (my husband wasn't born in the USA). They're also brilliant when it comes to the way they assist during our time in China. Honestly, I can't say enough good things about this part of their service.


The "China Team" (left) is simply amazing! We only had to remember to bring the baby to our appointments. Everything else was handled for us! 

You don't know how valuable this part of their service is until you read about other people's experiences. There were no glitches or unpleasant surprises. All the paperwork was perfect and we were never delayed at any of the government offices in China. On top of that, they're the most friendly people I've ever met. Philip and Martin took care of us during Gwen's adoption and Sarah took care of us during Maddy's adoption (we love you, Sarah!!).

If you want more information about USAA, you can contact them by phone. Please tell them that Donna referred you. Since 2004, we've referred more than 21 families to USAA (that we personally know of). Please post a comment or email us and let us know if you decide to use them. It'll be fun to follow you on your journey!

US Asian Affairs
539 E. Garvey Ave
Monterey Park, CA 91755
(626) 288-2220

But, in all fairness, I should warn you that if you're looking for lots of cozy hand-holding during the months leading up to your referral (while you're still here in the USA), you won't get it from USAA. They don't publish newsletters or call families when delays are expected. It's just not their way and this could drive you crazy! But you'll have some really good company during your wait and I'm happy to answer any questions I can to help you too!

If you're a current or former client of USAA, there is a online forum you can join. Please email me if you're interested in the URL.  You'll get tons of support there too!

October 17, 2005

USAA Family Blogs

These are some of the families with blogs who used (or are using) - US Asian Affairs. 

A Single Step
Adding Addie
Amazing Grace
Baby Girl Bainbridge
Bronze Drum
China Adventures
Double Happiness
Dragonfly Diaries
Dub Brown's Family
Eleanor Grace
From Here to There…
Isabella's Journey
Jemma Makes Three
Jinx Linx
Katie Blog
Macy Day
Mager Madness
Maggie Lin Chen
Maggie Makes Four
mak and jack
Meet Maxine
Million Miles to Mia
MIrchandani Family Adopts Angelina Dongqiao
Mission to macie
Now We are 4

Payne Family Adventures
Playdate: Notes from the trenches
Samantha Blog
Searching for Sophie
Smith Family's Adventures
The Taming of Tenley
Virginia's Blog
Waiting for Sophie
Wee Sit Baby
Whitemarsh Cronicle

The Year of the Green Wooden Rooster

If you used USAA and you want me to list your blog, please post your blog URL in the comments.  If you'd like to have your blog removed from this list, please email me at donnat@gmail.com.

October 16, 2005

Gwendolyn meets Benjamin

Our good friends, Chris and Phyllis, and their 21 month old son, Benjamin, came to visit us today. This was Gwen's first attempt at being a hostess to another toddler on her own turf. For the post part, the visit was friendly and (thankfully) bloodless. Everyone shared as best a toddler could. First, Gwen wanted whatever Benjamin was touching. Once she had it, she was no longer interested in it. Then she decided to be overly generous and give everything to him. In the picture to the left, she's giving him one of her coveted "not-a-toy" toys: The baby powder.

Here they are looking adorable and sharing the toy gumball machine. This was a rare photo since both children are actually looking at us. I think the "What kind of freak are you?" look on their faces was due to the antics of Andrew who was making insane monkey noises.

We experimented with various camera lenses and snapped plenty of photos that will end up in the recycle bin. Thank goodness we're not paying $0.33 each for film developing and printing! But it's also a bit sad that some of these duds won't end up in albums. Some are very interesting! I'll share a few....

This one could be from the baby album of Tim (The Tool Man) Taylor's neighbor, Mr Wilson. To the untrained eye, it's a child of anbiguous gender being knocked in the forehead by a disembodied fist. But look closer and you'll see that it's just Gwen being fed some very yummy Trader Joe's Vanilla Bean yogurt by her Daddy. Yummmm!

We'll just call this one "Mommy Dearest".

(I have no memory of what I'm doing here. Saluting? Scratching? Performing the 2nd step of the baby heimlich? We'll just never know.)

We learned about three new things that Gwen loves today:

  1. Strawberry flavored milk
  2. Raisins (thanks for sharing, Benjamin!)
  3. And, Uncle Chris who never got tired of flipping her upside down even after the 60th time!

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