Posts Tagged ‘Adoption’

*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.  

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*The following is a guest blog post by Stacie Hrabe, mother of two girls adopted from China. 

I first heard about Chinese adoption in the early to mid 90’s (before I was married or knew my husband) looking at the referral photo of a co-workers niece I knew instantly in my heart that I would some day adopt from China.

Ten years later my husband and I set out on the journey to start a family.  We realized that we would not be able to conceive (without IVF) on our own and after a few attempts we made the decision to adopt.  Chinese adoption had stuck in my mind and heart for those ten years, knowing eventually that we would find our child there but not knowing in what way it was to happen.  I am such an emotional decision maker, but this time I wanted to make sure that our decision was a rational one, as well, so I set forth on many months of research and due diligence into the different adoption programs both International and Domestic.  In all cases China seemed the most stable but most importantly I could not get China out of mind.

Long story short- the power of the Red Thread is unstoppable.  We were meant to be the parents of these two amazing girls. Zoey, our first, was adopted at 14 months old in the non special needs program (after a 2 year wait).  She is now 6. Violet was adopted last month at 30 months old in the minor special needs program after less than a year wait.

It was inn January of 2011 that I felt the tug of the Red Thread, once again.  I knew that I had left a piece of my heart in China and it was time to go back to find that missing piece. We chose to be matched rather than choose from a waiting child list because I wanted it to be a process that was completely out of my hands as I am someone who tends to overthink everything!   We had been unsure up until this moment as to whether we would adopt again but the feeling of “now or never” was so overwhelming that we jumped right in knowing that our daughter was waiting for us to come.

Celebrating Zoey and Violet and their Chinese heritage has become a way of life.  It is interwoven into our daily lives through festivals , celebrations and customs we take part in.  It is present in the Mandarin lessons, calligraphy, Chinese watercolor painting and the food we cook.  It is present in the school we chose that celebrates all countries and customs and welcomes Zoey to share hers from her first country.  It is present in the art and decorating we choose for our house and the friends that we seek out who share our daughter’s heritage.  We are excited to join a family culture camp in the next few years once Violet is old enough and look forward to many trips back to China, the country that has given us so much!

Every Tuesday, we feature a new family whose lives have been touched by adoption. If you would like to contribute by sharing your story, please e-mail amy@ajpanda.com. 

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I wanted to take a minute today and highlight one of the great books we have here at AJ Panda. The adoption process is long and complicated and nothing can help calm your nerves more than advice and stories from others who have already gone through the process.  While AJ Panda offers a large selection of books on Chinese adoption, culture and language, there is one that everyone seems to always love. A Passage to the Heart: Writings from Families with Children from China comes highly recommended for waiting families. It is a collection of 100 articles and stories regarding all aspects of adopting from China. It includes personal accounts from adoptive parents about both the joys of adoption and the challenges of parenthood.

One customer review on our site described it as “a compilation of stories related to the adoption process and experience; some of the stories are difficult and gut-wrenching and some are joyful and heart-warming. This balance in perspective helped prepare us for the many emotions and experiences that we encountered during our adoption process.”

No matter what step you are at in the adoption process or if you are just starting to explore adoption, AJ Panda has great resources for you. Or if you have already adopted, we have many great children’s books to help your little one learn about and celebrate their culture.

A Passage to the Heart

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AJ Panda has teamed up with The Alliance for Children Foundation (the Foundation) to give away one of our Mini La Baby Asian Dolls! This is one of our most popular dolls, made by Berenguer. The doll is wearing an adorable outfit with a matching animal-themed blanket. She is scented with baby powder and has a soft body with vinyl hands and head. Each doll measures 11″ tall.

To enter, go to http://www.afcfoundation.org/ and click on the picture of our doll. All you have to provide is your name and email address and wait for them to notify you when you win! A donation is not required to enter the contest, but all donations are greatly appreciated and help provide basic needs to orphan children world wide.

Good luck!

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A note from our founder

The start of AJ Panda can be traced back to November 2, 2006. That is the day I was handed a picture with the faces of two beautiful Chinese girls, who two months later would become my adopted twin daughters. While in China to complete the adoption process I was moved and inspired by the experience. People were beyond friendly and willing to forge bonds based on our common connections, and the history and tradition of my daughter’s birth country was awe-inspiring. I knew from that trip forward that our family would be committed to learning about China and celebrating its rich traditions and culture. Knowing I was not alone in this passion, AJ Panda was started to help both my family and others learn about and celebrate Chinese culture.

I am often asked about the meaning of our company name… AJ Panda. The initials, A and J, are a tribute to my daughters, AnMei and JiaLi. And since panda bears are a national symbol of China, Panda was chosen to honor China, who honored and blessed my family by allowing us to be the proud parents of two amazing daughters.

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AJ Panda is a site dedicated to helping families celebrate Chinese culture and traditions. It is our goal that anyone who is interested in Chinese history, customs, and culture, can come to AJPanda.com and find what they are looking for. We are primarily dedicated to families who have adopted from China and want to be a one-stop resource for adoption information, Chinese gifts, and information on China, especially holidays and festivals.

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