Archive for July, 2012

Did you know that in traditional Chinese culture, it is customary to give gifts when you visit someone’s home?  It’s known as a visiting gift.  You thank your hosts for inviting you and having you in their home with a gift. These types of Chinese gifts should be useful for everyone.  Here are some ideas as well as some things NOT to give for gifts.

Let’s start with what not to gift.

Avoid these colors: Green, black white. Green implies unfaithfulness, specifically a wife being unfaithful. Black and white are associated with funerals.

No Clocks. They symbolize death and the end a relationship.

Pass the Towels.  Towels are used in funerals. Even for a housewarming, avoid giving towels. It just makes people sad.

Four.  The Chinese word for four sounds like their word for death.  It’s best to avoid the number 4 altogether.

So what type of Chinese gifts make good visiting gifts? Let’s see if we can find some good ones for you.

Chinese Tea TrayIt’s beautiful and functional. There are no associations with death or bad luck. It’s also something everyone can use.

Antique Finish Chinese Landscape Scroll. Beautiful and perfect for a blank wall, everyone will enjoy looking at this scroll.

Traditional visiting gifts can be food. Just make sure it’s not cheese. Chinese people are lactose intolerant. Fruits, especially oranges are safe. Oranges are actually good luck. A fruit basket is a great idea.

These are just a few ideas for now. If you have other ideas, share them with us!

Read Full Post »

*The following is a guest blog post by Chris Tracy, father of three whose youngest, Ellen Christine (Ellie) was adopted from China and brought home to the United States in March. 

I would like to introduce myself, my name is Chris, my wife, Julie and I, recently returned from China earlier this year in March, with the newest addition to our family, Ellen Christine (Ellie).  Ellie, who is two years old was welcomed by big brother and sister; Summer 15 and Wyatt 13.  It seems like such a long time ago in which we started the process to adopt.  Ellie was in the waiting child program, so our wait was relatively short, just 14 months.    She has quickly become such a fixture in our family, I can’t imagine a time in which she wasn’t with us.  Our lives have definitely changed since adopting Ellie, I would have to say all for the better.

As soon as Julie and I, met Ellie, we instantly fell in love with her.  I know some people don’t think it’s possible to fall in love so easily, but I was in love with her as soon as I saw her picture.  Our time in China was exciting, however, Ellie had a bad cold and we were unable to get out and see all of the sights we had planned.  We were able to visit the Terra Cotta warriors and other sights in Ellie’s home province, Shaanxi.  One of the things Julie and I were both fascinated with was the architecture.  To think some of the buildings were over a thousand years old and still standing, what an accomplishment.

Once we arrived home, we were met by family and friends at the airport.  Ellie, who wasn’t real comfortable around strangers, immediately went to our son and oldest daughter.  I think it was because she had seen pictures of ourfamily we had provided her orphanage.  They immediately took to one another, brothers and sisters in arms, so to speak.  Upon our arrival home, I took a picture of the three of them playing on Ellie’s bedroom floor with my IPhone, just a spur of the moment picture, it remains one of my favorites.

While recovering from jetlag and readjusting to our time zone, we remained at our home for about two weeks, just trying to get settled in as a new family.  Once we recovered, we began taking Ellie to all the places we like to visit as a family.  Trips to the park, local shopping centers, all the places a family goes when they’re ready to venture out and show off their newest addition.  People are drawn to Ellie and ask all kinds of questions about where she is from and her heritage.  We’re proud of her and tell everyone we meet about our adventure in China.

Earlier this year, we celebrated the Chinese New Year at two separate events.  We were excited because we were very close to going to China to get Ellie.  I can’t even imagine what next year’s celebration will be like with Ellie.  Hopefully, we will be in anticipation of travelling to China again, as we have started the process to adopt another little girl. As we move forward, we will be relying on our faith, family and friends, to help us bring our fourth child home.

Learn more about the Tracy family and the latest on their adoption process by visiting their family blog, Hopeful Hearts Waiting Arms.  

Read Full Post »