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We might just be obsessed with all things China these days…

Panda bear apparel. Chop stick dinners. Hot tea in my AUTHENTIC insulated glass commuter cup that a friend brought back for me after her travels there last summer. Noodle and rice bowls. Mandarin etymology. Books, books & more books: memoirs from Chinese authors, from Americans who’ve lived/studied in China, from Chinese girls adopted into American families, and more. We’re in full-on student mode, striving to download as much as we can (think: The Matrix) in preparation for our new arrival.

Experts encourage families to adopt the culture of adoptive children as much as the children themselves. We plan to champion our new child’s rich and fascinating heritage (Five thousand years of history, wow!) and embrace it, ourselves, as much as we expose them to their new, American culture.

I’ll confess I recently teared up watching Kung Fu Panda. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve Googled “Mulan” for must-have additions to the toy box. Most notably, I had to employ some serious self-restraint to keep from spontaneously kidnapping embracing our waitress during dinner at a local Chinese restaurant. (Obsess- to dominate or preoccupy the thoughts, feelings or desires of a person; beset, trouble or haunt persistently or abnormally… see: Mia White.)

On top of our foremost enthusiasm for meeting and bringing home our new child, we’re excited to visit a country and culture that we’ve fallen in love with. When we do travel to China, we hope to travel as a family of four {and then five} versus leaving our children at home. Friends who have gone before us in the adoption journey encouraged us to do this- if we can- as it aids in bonding and lightening what will likely be the single scariest day of our new child’s life. She/he will be handed over to strangers who look somewhat alien {and  surely acting like emotional buffoons (one of us, for sure)} and who don’t even speak the same language. Can you imagine? Having our other children with us will hopefully provide some comfort and possibly help transcend immediate language barriers. As we’ve observed in other travels, Childhood is a universal vernacular.  Plus, our children are quite gregarious by nature and fast friends with anyone they encounter.

According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, 2013 will be the Year of the Snake, meant for steady progress and attention to detail. We don’t  prescribe to astrology nor superstition, but we do respect the customs and traditions of a culture that will gift us with a new family member. We know that our fate lies securely in God’s hands and is not subject to chance.  He knows that with the arduous documentation and paper-pushing  adoption requires we would certainly be thankful for an extra measure of “steady progress and attention to detail”. All our hope is in Him.

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