Translate this site:

Friday, March 31, 2006

And real life interrupts

I thought I was going to have longer than I'm going to have... so I'm going to turn anon posting off. Sorry guys. I'll try to turn it on one evening as well, so the evening crew can have a shot at it, too. But, probably not this evening. It looks like the rumors we got were that they are working on June in the matching room, and a couple of people speaking up that their agency is sticking to some version of 10 or 12 months max for a wait.

Rumor Comment Thread

I'm going to open up anon posting for a couple of hours. Any rumors you want to post? Feel free to post them on this thread. Something else you want to talk about? Do it in the thread below, please.

Free for All

Anon posting is open. The other thread is for rumors, this one is for whatever else you want to talk about. Just a few guidelines: 1. No discussion about religion. Not even to tell me you're glad I'm not allowing it. Nothing. Please. 2. Be nice. 3. Let's keep discussions to China and adoption. Please don't talk about other people (see rule number 2)


I think I've figured out the annoying pop-up ad. I think it's from Bravenet, so once we are done with this poll I won't use them again. I'm sure someone is offering a free poll without popups. Or I hope so, anyway. But, the above picture is where the poll is for now. Before I start scenarios lets look at where we are now. May 26 - 30 was mailed on March 24th. Late May to Late March - that's 10 months. There are rumors that we're looking at referrals before the end of the month since the last one was so small. But, I'm just going to assume they will send some out before they break for the May Holiday - maybe it will come in two batches, maybe one... but I'm going to figure it as coming at the end of April. And, because I'm working on a best case scenario, I'm going to assume they do about two weeks and make it through the 10th. That will put the wait at 11 months for those with a June 1st LID. And then I'm going to assume they can do 3 weeks the next month, and based on our poll this three weeks is about the same size as the previous two weeks, so they should be able to easily do this if they managed two weeks the time before. This would take us to July 1st and would be mailed the first week of June (they have a holiday in May, so referrals may come five weeks after the last batch). Those with a June 11th referral will have waited almost one year. If they can manage that, then that puts us onto the next poll. As you can see - it looks like July and August are smaller... and then September is a lot smaller. If they can then go back to whole months, they'll stay at one year. I can be even more positive and say that unless they have plans for how to handle the large months of October and November, they may even need to do a little catch up work during July, August, and September so they can fall behind a little again during October and November. When the next referrals come out, we should be able to look at the June LID poll and get a very good idea of how the following referrals are going to look. So, if they can do two weeks in this next batch, then it is very likely that the "not beyond 12 months" thing is right. If they can't, then we'll look at what they managed and see where that might take us. We finally have detailed poll numbers ahead of time, so for the first time we can actually do that... this next batch. Added later: It is possible that they don't get through two weeks this time and still manage to keep it under 12 months. Remember, they may start doing more per month in the coming months as the Hunan situation dies down. My scenario counts on them doing about the same amount of dossiers every month, and it is highly possible they'll start doing more per month in the coming months as the orphanages complete their internal audits and start sending more paperwork again.

Another email

As much as I wish I was getting an email from the CCAA telling me how it's going to be, that's just not the case. Sorry. If you really really really trust your agency, then go with what they say. (But, my guess is that if most of you really really really trusted what they were telling you, you wouldn't be stalking a rumor blog.) I got another email, stressing that these are things as this person knows them. It was pointed out that answers from the CCAA depend upon who you talk to and upon who you are and what your relationship with them is. This is why agencies sometimes give conflicting information. My emailer feels good about the 12 month information, but does want to stress that sometimes even information you get straight from the CCAA turns out to not be the case. I will say that I was given a lot of details about how this person came to their conclusions. And I feel pretty good about it as well, based on that. However, I've done some math, and it looks like the CCAA is going to have to really kick it into high gear to accomplish this... I'll run through some scenarios in a later post and we can talk about how they might go about making this happen. So, I'm going to go on record as saying that just from the emails with this person - I like and trust them. I would enjoy the opportunity to buy them dinner and have a nice long talk with them. Preferably somewhere in China, of course. :) As for whether to believe the 12 month thing.. we also have a few agencies sticking with the 12 month time frame, and I've recently seen somone say that their agency had extended their wait out past 12 months and then pulled it back to 12 months (insinuating they also got some similar information from the CCAA about not wanting to go past 12 months). As to the question about why I said what I did about birthmothers... I called it a major point because I could write about this at length, but I was just hitting the high spots and that's a pretty high spot. And this is something that a lot of people don't think about. I guess my actual major point would be to not give your child any absolutes, because we just don't know. There are some Koreans out there who were told all of their lives the standard reasons, but who grew up to discover it was something completely different. One in particular sticks out in my mind, her birthmother wasn't married and had an alcohol problem - that is why the baby was placed in the orphanage. It had absolutely nothing to do with the war. After being told the "war" stuff all of her life, the child (a young adult when she found her b-mom and got this information) had a lot of trouble coming to terms with this, and was angry with her a-parents for telling her something as fact that they didn't know as fact. So, with my child, we'll talk about many of the possibilities, but I will be clear that we just don't know for sure. I will even tell her that the things in her records may not be true - I've seen too many cases of a finding spot not being the actual finding spot, or of there being a note that isn't listed, or of a note being listed but it was fabricated. There are a few things I do know - I know that her nanny at the orphanage loved her because I saw that with my own eyes. The things I am sure of I will make clear that I'm sure of.... everything else will be "your records say", and I'll occasionally be clear that some people have found that those records are not very accurate. And, as for reasons for her abandonment... the answer is "I don't know". We can talk about possible reasons, but we just don't know. Based on the area my daughter is from, I'd say there is probably about a 65% chance her abandonment was due to the one child policy and a 35% chance it was something else (the same reasons children in the US are placed for adoption, basically). But even that is up for debate, as it's possible her birthmom (or birthfather, or birth grandmother, or whoever did the actual act) got on a train and travelled a few hours to do the actual abandoning. Her birthmother/birthfamily may not have even been from that area. No way of knowing. Okay - next post will be some scenarios.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Wooo HOOO. An answer

Remember this email, and my question? I got an answer. And, once again, to the person who emailed, I thank you so very much for your response - Xie xie. The answer is that the CCAA does not intend to get beyond 12 months. The 6 month mark didn't work well for them, they feel they can work the most effectively in the 8 to 12 month range. I just want to type that again. They have no intention of going past 12 months.
As for the move, apparently the majority of the move has taken place. They are still working on it, it is not complete. As far as the Hunan situation, it was pointed out that anytime a bureaucracy inside of the Chinese Government gets a spotlight from the international community there is a lot of reshuffling and a lot of attention is paid to future work for a while. It was felt that this is a key piece of the recent slowdown. As far as orphanages closing due to a shortage of children, it was stressed that overall this is not the case. There may be a few SWI's with fewer children, but others are having to do major expansion. Some of the variables that are playing into this were discussed - I'll save that for another post. Most of it I was aware of, but it was really good to hear it from someone who has had their feet on the ground there. The major thing to remember is that when you talk to your child about the one child policy, just know that there is a good chance that the birthmom was an unwed mother and that the one child policy had nothing to do with his/her abandonment. The email was closed with another paragraph about the wait times. Pointing out that 12 months should be the maximum wait we'd see and that it would probably settle at 10 months once the Hunan situation has faded and the move is complete and they get more children's files coming in. So, how do I feel about the idea that we will likely get our referral in September, and not sometime next year?

Something I've now seen three times

Someone left a comment that said:
Our agency contacted us and told us they'd been in touch with CCAA who said they were very aware of the heartache caused by the small batch that just went out. CCAA told our agency referrals will come out when they have finished them, NOT in a month (end of April). Now who knows whether this means in 3 1/2 weeks (since that's less than a month, right?) or sooner. We are just planning for the end of April and anything before that will be just awesome. Our LID is 5/31, and we weren't told how far the next batch will cover, sorry.
This is the third time I've heard this - that they will not necessarily wait another month to get the next batch out. I'm not letting myself get too excited about this just yet, but it's something I'm keeping an eye out for.

Positive Negative Neutral

I understand that there are people who are upset by negative news. And that's a pretty natural thing - to be upset by something that's not what you wanted to hear. We've all had our fair share of that in the past several months. My intention is not to be negative or positive. It's just to report what's floating around and analyze it. Yes, there are days I'm not dealing well with the news and I rant and rave some... and there are days I am dealing with it better and I try to stay neutral and just report and analyze. I am human, after all. Some agencies are telling their people the wait will not go past 12 months. Other agencies are telling their people the wait could go as far out as 18 months. Both cannot be right. So, do I believe my agency and ignore all of the others? No, I dig to see if I can figure out what the truth of the matter is. I haven't figured that out yet, but I'm hoping to. If the truth of the matter is the former, then that will be a good thing (would have seemed bad 6 months ago, but now it would be great). If it is the latter then that will be a horrible thing. But, whichever is right, does not make me negative or positive, just means that I'm reporting on what I've found out. If something is bad I may point out that it sucks. If a rumor looks good I may be cautiously optimistic. But, I'm not going to try to make something look worse than it is or better than it is. I'm not going to blow sunshine up your skirt to make you feel better. I'm going to report what I'm hearing and try my best to make sense of it. Don't get the message confused with the messenger. We're all in this together, hopefully together we can figure some of this out, so we can figure out how to plan the next year of our life.

More news via email

UPDATE: Someone emailed me the blog address of one of the 5/27 people without a referral. ---- Apparently there are some May 27th people without a referral. Their agency checked into it and was told the CCAA wasn't able to do everyone through the 30th. Again we hear that this is because of the number of paper ready children available to be matched. The agency asked for a timeframe, the answer was "the referrals will be made when they are ready". The agency representative was also reminded by the CCAA that because of the Hunan trial and the press surrounding it they are being extra vigilant to screen paperwork to make sure that all children are truly eligible for adoption. It was stated this is a big reason the number of paperwork ready children has slowed so much in the past several months.

Anecdotal Information

In the past week I've gotten emails from three people who have recently been in China, and who talked with their facilitators quite a bit. All three tell stories of orphanages that are being closed because there are no babies. Or, in one case, two orphanages being combined into one and being set up specifically for special needs, since most babies being abandoned are special needs babies. There are numbers given - how this orphanage used to have around 200 babies and now has about a dozen and most of those children are in foster care. The facilitators also talked about domestic adoptions, and stated that many of the babies are now adopted to local families. The information basically backs up what we are being told - that fewer babies are being abandoned and that domestic adoption is picking up. And, honestly, this is wonderful news. Truly it is. It only sucks if you're in the pipeline hoping to adopt a child. But, now to anylyze the information. As to the orphanages closing, I believe that while this may be the case in some areas of the country, there are other areas of the country where prosperity hasn't quite taken hold and this is not the case. I know that people who have recently been to my daughter's orphanage have seen a lot of babies. So, I do think we need to be aware that (especially in the cities) abandonment is down... but there are areas of the country that, while it very well might be down, there are apparently still a whole lot of babies who are abandoned. Perhaps this means the CCAA needs to change things around - orphanages that were sending paperwork will no longer be sending paperwork, and orphanages that did not in the past need to start. And, if we can believe the rumor from last fall, they started that process sometime around August of last year.

Adoption Tax Credit

I've seen this posted a couple of times recently, and I'd like bring it up here as well. There is a bill that has been in process for a while that would increase the adoption tax credit to $15,000. At one point I'd heard that it had gotten stuck in Ways and Means, meaning that if your congress person happens to be on the Ways and Means committee, then you especially should be writing a letter. This link talks about the bill and gives links for contacting your representative and senators. I'd like to remind you that something that is snail mailed is equal to about ten people emailing, and something that is faxed is equal to about five people emailing. So, if you can, then please choose to smail mail or fax a letter instead of email. But, if email is the best you can manage, then that would be great, too.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

June Poll

The June Poll is up. I couldn't get through the whole month by grouping in two's, so I decided to group it in three's and get into July a bit.

A very informative email

To the person who sent me this email, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for it. All I will say about the person who sent it, is that they are in a position to know what they are talking about. And, I'm doing some major paraphrasing here, not using any exact quotes. The major point of the email is that the CCAA makes forecasts of how many baby dossiers they will need from the orphanages well ahead of time (which makes sense, as the babies who will be adopted internationally have to have different documentation from the very beginning than those who will not). They base this on previous years, and on the cycles of when there are more and when there are less, also based on previous years. Apparently the CCAA underestimated the surge of dossiers that came in late May, and that is the major reason for this five days worth of LID's. And yes, part of me is still saying, "but they knew about those dossiers since last May, and many of the babies referred are younger than a year old.. couldn't someone have maybe re-adjusted those figures???" But then, maybe they did adjust the figures, but didn't do it until August, and maybe they have lots of dossiers coming two months from now and THAT is when we'll see a huge surge of referrals. But I really must try not to jump to completely unsubstantiated conclusions like that. Back to the email. The next major point of the email is that the move does seem to be taking up a lot of the CCAA's time. No time frame on when the move will be complete - but the furniture and computers have already been moved, and the staff are already working out of the new offices. The emailer also had questions about what was left to do, but apparently the staff is still working at it. And, the biggest point of all, that makes me feel so much better, is that this person (who should know these things) says that they are not seeing or hearing anything that would point to an intentional slowdown. They did say that this does not mean it isn't so, just that they thought they'd have caught some whiff of it if that was the case, and they have not. So, again, to the person who emailed me, thank you very much for the information. Anything else you want to send my way will also be greatly appreciated. I have questions, of course. But, I'll just ask one. You aren't obligated to answer, I thank you for the information you sent. But, here is my question: Does the CCAA still believe the wait will only go out to 12 months? Many agencies are still saying the CCAA told them last year the wait would go up to the 10 to 12 month mark, and they (the agencies) are adamantly sticking to that number because the CCAA has not told them anything different. Do we have a reason to be hopeful that this is the case?

For Karen - more analysis

I did some theorizing about cut-offs based on the June database numbers on this post. I’m not very happy with those numbers though, and you're heading in a different direction with your thought processes anyway, so here goes: If June Database shows May 31st at 86 and the Rumored actual May 31st is 400 then the June Database is around 21.5% of actual (and just for the record, this is a pretty big if) If they are doing 1100'ish referrals a month, then that would be (by the June database numbers) about 230 referrals a month. Going down the month that way means the first cutoff is June 6th, the next cut off is June 20th, and when we get to July 8th we’re at 229 so that would probably be the next cut off. It is important to remember we are basing this on three variables that we are not sure of.
  1. That there are 400 dossiers for May 31st
  2. That they are referring 13,000 / 12 dossiers per month
  3. That the June numbers are an accurate cross section of the actual dossiers in China
Just to show how flawed this could be: The June numbers show 566 dossiers, and if we are basing a month at 1100, then the total June numbers are about half of what they can do, not 21.5%. I actually trust our poll numbers more, but we just don’t have them that broken down. I suppose I could put one up – I can only do 10 questions, so I’d need to group some dates together, but could count on weekends being skipped (there were none logged in on weekend days on the June Database).

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

An update to the clarification

Someone emailed me saying that she was told that part of the current slowdown is that all of the orphanages are now supposed to be doing their own evaluation to make sure they don't have any practices that could be seen as questionable. While this is going on, presumably, paperwork is greatly slowed down. Someone else let me know there is a meeting with all of the orphanages next month, perhaps that is related? I think this is good news. Yes, we all know that part of the problem is that there were more dossiers... but when you combine that with the fact that it looks like less referrals are being made every month, it's getting really bad. So, a reason that sounds like this might be more of a short term thing is certainly a good thing.

Another clarification

I believe some people are saying that I think the CCAA is deliberately slowing down. I don't know why they have slowed down, I've just put facts out that show that it looks like they are doing less per month than they were. I don't think I've tried to say why it is slower - I've speculated some, sorry if it's come off as more than speculation. So, for the record, I do not know why. The three things that make the most sense are:
  • The Hunan situation because it took people away from their regular jobs
  • The Hunan situation because they were unhappy with the publicity and are trying to downplay adoption right now
  • There are less paper ready babies
  • They are trying to phase things out before the Olympics and figure if people stop sending dossiers in right now and the wait for those from the past couple of months is at two years then they won't be adopting many babies out during the Olympics, which is what we've been hearing for years is what will happen.
At this point, the best news for those waiting would be if the first is the truth of the matter. As that means that at some point things will speed back up. I truly hope it is not the last... but it's floating around out there enough that I figured I'd stick it in here, as it apparently is something that a lot of people are worried about right now. I do want to give the CCAA the benefit of the doubt. I truly do. I have a feeling that *if* there is an intentional slowdown that it's something that came down to them from higher up and they have no choice in the matter. But, for right now, my thinking is that it is not intentional. I'm hoping it is not intentional. If I were pressed to come up with what I truly think... I'd probably say it's a combination of the first and third points.

Referrals per LID Month

I've seen speculation that the CCAA isn't really sending out the same amount of referrals every month. The theory goes, that we used to have pages and pages of people posting their referrals to APC, and now there aren't anywhere near as many as there used to be. In early February I posted this chart, showing the stats from this page. Here are the raw numbers for the past two years (excluding May 2005 referrals, which apparently (hopefully) needs more time for people to submit their info) May-03 . . 18 Jun-03 . . 14 Jul-03 . . 26 Aug-03 . . 32 Sep-03 . . 19 Oct-03 . . 22 Nov-03 . . 21 Dec-03 . . 25 Jan-04 . . 19 Feb-04 . . 22 Mar-04 . . 24 Apr-04 . . 36 May-04 . . 14 Jun-04 . . 14 Jul-04 . . 45 Aug-04 . . 29 Sep-04 . . 28 Oct-04 . . 33 Nov-04 . . 23 Dec-04 . . 21 Jan-05 . . 20 Feb-05 . . 18 Mar-05 . . 33 Apr-05 . . 33 Once again - we know that the CCAA did more than 33 referrals of people with an April LID. We are looking at ratios and percentages here.. not actual numbers. Okay, I did this, thought it meant they weren't doing more, published it, and then immediately pulled it when I realized what this really means. January was the last full month. February was a half month - meaning it took two months to do almost as many LID's as the previous month. March took 2 months to get through, meaning they did a little more per month, but still no where near what they had been doing in a month. And April - well, we have to divide that April number by 3. Also, remember that on some of those smaller months that you're seeing in '03 and '04 that there were some months that they did a month and a half at a time. So on those small months, they were doing more than that in a month. May is showing as 8. If we think that maybe that's the first batch of referrals... it's even smaller. I'll hold off a bit before including May in the figures. It really does look like they are doing less referrals per month than they have been. And think about it - referrals started arriving yesterday. We saw one post to APC. The first day of referrals used to have from a half dozen to a dozen posts - with many more to follow the next day. I haven't seen any yet today. Again - I would really like to see some quarterly numbers from the State Department.

Two pieces of information I would really like to have

1. Does anyone know for sure what days the CCAA will be closed for the May Day celebrations? Sometimes they close for a whole week, but I've heard from one source that they will only be closed for two days this year. 2. I would lovelovelovelove to get some numbers from the State Department showing how many Visa's they've processed so far this year for babies from China to the U.S. They normally only put this information out at the end of the year... I wonder if there is anyway to get a quarterly number from them? And yes, there are other things I'd also like to know (like when we'll get our referral), but these two are things that I think I might actually have a shot at finding out. Maybe. Anyone with info, feel free to email me or leave a comment. Anon posting is still turned off. It will be turned back on for periods of time here and there, but it's not right now.

More Speculation

This is long. You know those puzzles where you are given three pieces of information and expected to figure out 14 pieces of information from those three? I'm great at those. If you don't want to follow along on my explanations, just hit the bold parts and then read on below the second bold. The rest is just the explanation of how I came to those points. ----------------------------- I kind of remember a statement back when quota's were instituted in 2001, that once things started expiring it caused a lot of extra work for the CCAA, and that they intended to get the wait below 10 months and keep it there. As I've said before, they obviously aren't as concerned about this anymore. After all, when the April/May/June dossiers arrived in huge numbers they were logged in, so the CCAA knew about them at the time. It's not like the matching room didn't know about them until they got to them. So, they've known for a while this was going to create a slowdown. One would think that if they were going to put another quota into place they'd have done it last fall. Most agencies are still saying that the wait is expected to go to 12 months. A few are warning of 18 month waits, but most of the big ones are sticking in the 12 to 14 month range. If it takes three months to get through June (and I'm seeing a lot of people who say that their agency says it is going to), then we're at 12 months at that point. Aren't we? Does that mean they have a plan for how to go back to whole months after June? According to our poll numbers, while June does look a good bit bigger than the following months.. it's not three times as big. If they are going to be able to do July in one month, then June should only take a month and a half to get through. But, I don't think any of us are counting on them getting through June in two batches. If it takes three months to get through June, then July will take right at two months. Want to see the math? 208 / 3 = 69.33 144 / 69.33 = 2.08 And before ya'll start saying "oh, they can do way more than 69 matches in a month". Please remember that we are talking about a percentage of the actual amount the CCAA has. I'll say it again, we are hoping that our poll gives an accurate cross section - the numbers don't matter, only the ratios matter. Don't get hung up no the numbers. (maybe I should make this a disclaimer that gets stuck onto any analysis I do?) Anyway, back to the point. And this is a big point. There are no months until you get to December that are close to being a third the size of June... and the odds are that December and later are not that small, but the people who are LID in those months aren't stalking a rumor blog like the people who are closer to their referral are. Do you understand the significance of this? Let me say it again. If it takes three months to get through June, then unless the CCAA has something up their sleeve, we are stuck at half months probably at least through December or January, maybe longer. (In other words, until we reach the point that dossiers do start diminishing, and I'm just now seeing a lot of people talking about jumping ship to another country... in the past week I personally know of almost a dozen people who were in the dossier process for China who are now deciding on a different country). That was point number one. Here is point number two: In late 2004 a family had the opportunity to spend a couple of days with someone who works in the matching room at the CCAA. He told them that on average he matched 175 to 200 families per month, and there were 8 people who worked in his department. Well, 8 times 175 is 1400 and 8 times 200 is 1600. That would put the yearly number at between 16,800 and 19,200. I have every reason to believe this person. She blogged about it at the time, it's not something she is just now coming up with. Are we to believe that they were matching that many in 2004 and now can only match 13,000? I know they are saying that they are getting less paperwork for babies, but that is a LOT less paperwork. Not only that, but in 2004 the U.S. adopted 7,044 babies from China. Are there 10,000 babies being adopted to other countries? That's huge. So, point number two is that it appears the CCAA is matching less people now than they were in 2004, in spite of the fact that more people are submitting dossiers. My guess is still that the CCAA is heading for one of these scenarios:
  • They know they will soon have more babies available (from new orphanages maybe?) and will be able to keep the wait from extending past 12 to 14 months. (this goes against the Dutch statement, BTW)
  • They are hoping that the increased wait times become their own "quota" and stop the massive influx of new dossiers. This would mean they have no problems with the wait from LID to referral approaching 2 years before the wait can start to go down again.
We have been told that they are working on bringing more orphanages into the international program. If we are to believe the Dutch statement (and I see no reason to not believe them), then for some reason this isn't happening and they don't expect to be able to bring anymore babies into the program than are already there. But, if they take 3 months to do June and 2 months to do subsequent months, then it looks like this (this is for referrals going out at the very end of the listed month): Referral Month...LID's Dated 2006 April.......June 2006 May.........June 2006 June........June 2006 July........July 2006 August......July 2006 September...August 2006 October.....August 2006 November....September 2006 December....September 2007 January.....October 2007 February....October 2007 March.......November 2007 April.......November 2007 May.........December 2007 June........December 2007 July........January 2007 August......January This would mean that the end of January people would wait 18 months. I am desperately hoping that they have some plan to keep this from happening. My biggest hope right now rests on the fact that most of the big agencies are still telling their people they expect the wait to stop somewhere in the 12 to 14 month range. With a September LID, at this point my biggest hope is that we are home before Christmas. That isn't looking so good.

XingYe SWI Guangxi

I've looked into this one before with no luck. And now this page is showing it as a new orphanage. I do think some new ones are coming on board, just not as quickly as some of us had hoped.

CCAA update

So much for that theory.

Monday, March 27, 2006

June 3rd Rumor

From what I can tell, the rumor is that they have matched through June 3rd. Not that they have mailed through June 3rd. Which really doesn't make any sense to me. But, part of my speculation for why they haven't changed the site yet was that maybe they are about to release another batch and they will just change it once. I have absolutely no basis for thinking this.. it's just speculation. The fact remains that I haven't seen or heard about any referrals received today that are past 5/30... so anything having to do with June 3rd has to be a future tense thing.

More review room info

Someone with a September 16th LID has been asked for more information.

Travel approvals next week

One agency has let their people know that they expect TA's next week. I am thrilled to see the TA timeline picking up a little speed.

Referrals are arriving

Referrals are arriving at some agencies today. Which again begs the question – why the CCAA hasn’t updated their site yet. Congratulations to those families receiving referrals today!

Once you’ve calmed down a bit (and emailed and called everyone you know), your next step will be to go here and find your daughter’s (or son’s) orphanage group. Once you join the group you’ll be able to get feedback from others about the health and development of the babies from that orphanage. You’ll also likely be able to see pictures of the orphanage, and you may even luck out and see your child in pictures of those who’ve recently visited the orphanage.

And, please, if your child’s orphanage is not listed on the RCC links, let me know. We're still looking to see if new orphanages are being added.

Looking at the numbers again

Let's visit this again. I don't think they can be getting a steady 2,000 every month, since we show such a difference in the months on the poll. Maybe they took last year and divided by 12 and gave the average? Or, maybe they gave the biggest month? I mean, if June was 2,000, then that means that July was about 1,440 and August was about 1,600. So, maybe some of those months can be more than just half months? I'm really trying to find some positives in this. But it's not easy.
Meanwhile, if they mailed the latest batch Thursday or Friday, then why is the CCAA site not updated yet? It's Monday night in China.

From the Netherlands

I'm quoting here:
The Dutch adoption organization Wereldkinderen visited CCAA and BLAS recently. They were told that at this moment CCAA received a 2000 adoption applications monthly. This amount is much more than the 13.000 children they have available for International adoption per year. The number of 13.000 children per year will remain stable for now, but will shrink in the next years as more and more children are adopted by Chinese families due to economic growth. At this moment children adopted by Chinese families exceeds already the number of International adoptions. The CCAA policy is, conform the Hague convention/agreement, that adoption within China is preferred over International adoption. As CCAA has to deal with a growing number of application and the number of children available for International adoption is stable the waiting time will be longer. At this moment the waiting time is 11 months CCAA expects it to be longer over time.
I don't have a link for backup on this one, this is reported by an individual. It would appear this means we can expect the half months to continue.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Finally, some good numbers

The CCAA first started their website notices on 11/29. At that time we were told that they'd completed the review of May, meaning they were working on June. No way to know if they had been working on June for a while or if they were just getting started. They (officially) completed June on 1/19. So, at least 51 days. They (offically) completed July on 3/6. 46 days. They (officially) completed August on 3/24. 18 days. So, if nothing else, we can hope that they get through August matches twice as fast as they do the July matches.


I've put links to calendars for 2005 and 2006 in the sidebar. Here are May and June 2005. They are doing the 26th through the 30th (inclusive) this time, right? Five days. And, as you can see from the calendar, this includes three business days. And, when we look at the June numbers below, we do indeed see there are no LID's for the 28th or 29th. I know this is not news to many out there... but I've seen people say it's three days, five days, and six days. I just wanted to get a good look at it.

Final Extended Poll Numbers

Here are the final results from the poll. Before I get started with my math, a little history:
The January 23rd referrals covered from 4/26 through 5/13 The February 27th referrals covered from 5/14 through 5/25 The next batch will cover from 5/26 through 5/30
So, I'm going to figure that it has taken three months to do May. Yes, it will be the fourth month that they finish them.. but they did some of April during that first month. So, for the sake of my next logical conclusions, lets just say three months. I'm guessing (based on the number of late May people) that June is probably close to the same size as May, maybe slightly smaller. After all, 67 times 3 is 201, close enough to the June numbers to say they are probably close to the same size. (yes, it could be that I need to figure it at *3.5, because the numbers for the 31st are so big in which case June would be smaller than May... or it could be that I need to figure it at less than three because they were so occupied with recreating the lost referrals in which case June would be bigger than May)
It looks like July and August are a little smaller than June. So, if past performance continues, then I'd say that it will take 3 months to get through June and then two months to get through July and two months to get through August. That means it's not looking so good for September folks. I can't even bring myself to type it out. I'm hoping (for some illogical reason) that past performance does not continue.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Explanation of how poll data is extrapolated

The information from the June DTC group is information from the June DTC group, it is not official CCAA numbers. Only the CCAA has the actual numbers, and they aren't sharing. The information posted comes from those who are members of the June group AND who submitted their info. It may or may not be an accurate cross section of the group. Those numbers might represent 10% of what the CCAA actually has. They may represent half. They may represent 80%. We don't know. But, we do know that IF it is a representative cross section of what the CCAA has, then we can make certain assumptions based on what has already happened. And that is what I was doing. The biggest variables that might make those assumptions incorrect would be if:
1. They spent a lot of time recreating dossiers last month and will be able to do more in the coming months. 2. This is not an accurate cross section and is weighted heavy on some time periods and light on others.
If you'll remember this poll, I tried to dissect the month somewhat to see which sections were big and which were small. If we want to make a comparison of my poll vs the June numbers we get: June Numbers 5/26 - 6/3........38% 6/4 - 6/12........17% 6/13 - 6/21......21% 6/22 - 6/30.....24% My Poll 5/26 - 6/3........43% 6/4 - 6/12........15% 6/13 - 6/21......21% 6/22 - 6/30.....22% So, if we use the numbers from my poll, and IF the numbers from my poll are evenly distributed so that the numbers for 5/26-5/30 are greater than they were for the June numbers.... then they'll get through June just a tad faster. We have a whole lot of "if's". All we are doing is estimating based on the available data, and the available data could be flawed.

The June Chart

I posted a while back that someone sent me a pdf file that the June site had put together. I'm not going to make the whole thing public, but I've put this together to the right, just showing the totals for each day. It does appear that 5/31 and 6/3 are both a good bit bigger than the other days. It also appears that if they can do (according to this) around 75 at a time, then next month will only be 5/31, and the next month will be lucky to get through June 3rd, the next month through June 8th, then through June 15th, then maybe they could do a huge batch and get through the 20th, and then the next month could maybe get through the 23rd, and then the next month through the 28th, then just right at 7/8. So, another eight months to get to 7/8. If this chart is a fair representation of LID's. Unless they could have done more, but just not all of the 31st, so they stopped where they could give a cut off. Maybe they could have done, say 135... then that would mean next month will go through 6/3, then the next month through 6/13, then through 6/21, then through 6/28, then through at least 7/8 (that would take about half of what they could do, so they'd get a good bit farther than the 8th as long as there isn't another huge day). So, in that instance, another five months to complete June. Both are depressing.

On Spain's site

Now this is interesting. Spain is asking them for a forecast of what is going to happen with the timeline. I hope they get an answer. Spain also has a note up saying:
Although it has not been confirmed officially by the Chinese Center, circulates with always greater insistences the date of the 30 of May as date of cut of the next allocations, allocations that with much probability will leave the CCAA the week that comes.

Friday, March 24, 2006

More bad news

Someone from a medium sized agency in the U.S. has been told the wait could be up to 18 months for them, with a November LID.

Some new info, maybe

Someone emailed me some info they got from their agency (described as one of the smaller agencies) This letter tells is that there are no waiting babies, they will be referring them as they become available. (I'm assuming this means paper ready babies, we pretty much already knew this). It also states that the CCAA is very unhappy about the Hunan scandal and that it would be best to back off for a while and let the CCAA settle it and get past it. (back off? not sure how we can be any more backed off... unless this was a way for the agency to let their people know it's not the right climate for them to be asking questions) And, the most important thing that I think this letter tells us, is that there will be a meeting with reps of all of the orphanages in early April, and that there is hope we will know more after this meeting.

Perhaps I didn't make myself clear

We are not here to debate religion. I've deleted the most inflammatory comments and turned anon posting off.

More thoughts, more rumors

Rumors first:
  • A large agency has apparently told their people that April referrals will include May 31 and POSSIBLY some of June.
  • Spain has told some people they should withdraw their dossier and go elsewhere, saying China could take well over 12 months.
And now some thoughts. The may be a bit disjointed, but here goes: The CCAA will take a short vacation for the May Day celebrations. I'm guessing the next referrals will go out before they leave. I haven't seen enough rumors that look legitimate about lesser health issues. The rumors I'm starting to see more and more of include problems if both parents have a health issue, longer wait times after cancer, closer scrutiny if a parent weighs more than 300 pounds - that kind of thing. Oh, and the wheelchair fiasco. There was a problem a while back where an agency turned someone down who had diabetes plus one other minor health issue, saying they couldn't have two health problems IIRC... but that seemed to be a rule for the agency and not CCAA. I really hope ya'll don't try to start a religious war. It is not my intention to have a policy of deleting comments, and so far have only deleted a handful of spam comments... but if I see a religious war break out then I will change that policy. Think about it, if God picked out this child just for you, then that means that God created a situation where another family couldn't keep the child... how do you think your child is going to feel about that? You might want to tone down the "God has just the right child for me" stuff, as that's not going to play out so well to your child once they are older. I'm not asking for comments or arguments about this - it's just the way it is. Don't try to explain it. The more I think about it, the more I have to wonder about what is going on politically in Beijing. All of the news stories with the focus on Hunan, they all stated how many children were adopted from China to the U.S. last year. Some of them estimated how many children had been adopted over the last ten years. China has always tried to downplay that number. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if someone in another branch of government in China hasn't given the CCAA orders to not let that number be as high this year. The coincidence of the teeny tiny 3 day month right after all of the press... it just seems like too much of a coincidence. Yes, I think the brunt of the slowdown is probably a combination of less paper ready babies and more parent dossiers... but I'm thinking that the lousy showing this month may have more to do with the Hunan thing than we think. And, lastly, please remember that the anonymous comments that are posted here are just that: anonymous comments. Don't take them as gospel. Even when I post a rundown of the rumors I'm seeing, it just means I'm posting a rundown of the rumors - the fact that I've posted about it does not make it true. If there is something I believe, I'll tell you. It will be obvious. If I just post the rumor, then that's what it is... a rumor. Let's not get too carried away with the rumors. Most people are posting what their agency has said, or what someone on their DTC board has said, and that is wonderful. But there are going to be people out there who either 1) have bad information or 2) are yanking our chain. It's okay - usually if you ignore the latter then they'll get bored and go away... so don't try to engage them.

Some thoughts

First - August is now officially out of the review room. Yeah, I know - some of you aren't impressed... but congrats to the August people who can breathe just a little bit easier now. Second, yes, there are ads up there. I asked a geek friend last week what I'd need in order to have a better way to handle comments, a better way to track who's coming and how, and a better way to do several other things. Turns out it's going to take between 15 and 20 dollars a month. So, we'll see how much the ads bring in and see if we can come up with a better forum for us to talk. As for the "our facilitator told us if we are going to adopt again to do it quickly as it may end soon"... I gotta tell you that those rumors have surfaced on and off for years. Yes, eventually it will probably be true, but I just don't think we can listen to those rumors too much right now. I have also been reminded again of the Swedish report that those with a March 2006 DTC should expect a wait of from 14 to 18 months. If this is true, then I don't think any of us should count on the CCAA speeding up. I'm not going to touch the "first world second world" thing. And next, a little history lesson. Back in 2001 the wait was extending (nothing near this wait just yet, they always managed to do way more than 3 bsns days last time) and rumors started surfacing that a quota was going to be instituted. We had the rumors for about two months and then the word came down officially that November 2001 would be the last "non-quota" month. November was huge, and then December and subsequent months were teeny. All this really did was move the wait - you had to wait before you could submit your dossier, and agencies had waiting lists. Anyway, by the time those end of November people got their referrals the wait was something like 14 months. Then the CCAA started doubling up on months (they could do this, because the months were teensy), and the wait started coming back down. Then there was SARS, and it went back up, and then when SARS was over it went back down (rapidly). This time we are not seeing rumors of a quota, and the wait is even longer now than it was back then (when the quota was put in place). We are seeing some rumors that they are going to tighten down on requirements though, so maybe that's what they are going to do this time to slow things down? I honestly don't know... it's just that this time is worse than it was in 2001, and in 2001 they did something about it, and as of now, I'm not seeing that they are going to do anything about it. That means that either they know they can fix this without a quota, or they are working on something we just don't know about yet. Added later: To get an idea of what the wait has been in the past in relation to what it is doing now, you can go here.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

It's not looking good

Multiple agencies are now informing their clients of a 5/30 cut off date. There are a few 5/31 rumors still floating around, but it's really looking more like 5/30. I'm sure I'll have something to say about this at some point, but right now... not so much. Let's turn this post into "rumors only" for comments. Feel free to keep venting on any of the previous threads. I don't know what else may come in at this point, but just in case.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Rumor Rundown

I almost don't have the heart to do this.. but here goes.
  • GWCA has apparently notified their October LID's that they are now in the review room, and that GWCA's best guess is that they'll get their referral in September or October. This would seem to conflict with the CCAA getting out less than a week of referrals a month. Wouldn't it?
  • GWCA is also apparently expecting some of June, just not sure how much of June.
  • Someone on one of the Spain boards is claiming that their agency told them that the cut-off for Spain is May 30th but for the U.S. is June 10th. This would seem to go against past precedents, but it sounds good for the U.S. families who would be included. Sucks for the Spanish families though.
  • I'm seeing several agencies who are saying the slow down as more to do with the Hunan situation than is being admitted to, and that things should start speeding up a bit now that the trial is over.
  • Bethany confirmed cut off of 5/31.
  • Another agency says referrals will be mailed at the first of next week.
  • There is also a rumor that the 5/31 LID's number over 400. What are the odds that an agency who can only refer three business days of LID's in a whole month could log in 400 dossiers in a single day? Not too good, I would think.
Once again, we have conflicting info. One agency has told their people that the CCAA is not sure of a cut-off yet, and anyone who is giving a number is just giving the latest estimate. I think I'm going to go with this one. Part of me is secretly hoping that the CCAA hopes to stop the rumors, and thus hopes that if they put out really bogus info that we'll stop paying attention to the rumors, and that this is the first month for "way out of bounds" bogus info. Or maybe it's the second month... and the "half of June" rumors last month were really the first month of bogus info. I doubt it, but it's a secret hope. So there you go.

And now I have a few things to say

First, to the poster who said that referrals stopped in 2003 because of negative posts on APC - that's balderdash. Things stopped because of SARS, not because of a post on APC. Second, I have this great fear that when some of you have an 8 year old kid who comes to you distraught over their beginnings, you're going to look at them and say "life's not fair, get over it, it won't help anything at all for you to cry about it". Please - if you learn nothing else, learn that if someone is having a feeling then it is a valid feeling for them. Just because you can't understand, it doesn't mean it is an invalid feeling, it just means you don't understand it. I've posted many times that my emotions go up and down through all of this. Today I am numb. No tears, no frustration, just numb. Tomorrow I may be so mad I can't see straight. Or I may reach a place of calmness with it. But right now... nothing. Maybe that's because I refuse to believe one way or the other until it hits the CCAA site.. maybe it's just because I'm numb. I don't know. But you know what? When I'm feeling "okay" with the wait, I'm not going to chastise someone who isn't okay with it. I've had my days of being pissed off at the CCAA. Yes, pissed off at them, even though they gave me one of the greatest things in my life, my daughter. I think they are being horribly rude in not giving some kind of timeframe right now. No, they do not owe it to us, but it would still be common courtesy, I think. If the CCAA could have posted three months ago "April and May were very large months, and we'd like to prepare you that it could possibly take three months to get through each month. June and subsequent months were a bit smaller so we hope to be able to go back to half months when we get to them" - then we'd be able to tell our places of employment something, instead of "we could travel anytime between August of this year and February of next year.. or maybe later, I don't know". Especially when we originally told them it would probably be sometime in May or June when we travelled. It is kind of important to let our employers know when we'll be taking an extended period of time off - they need to be able to make plans. As I said, common courtesy. The posts about those who are childless going to the front of the line are a bit disconcerting. I mean, I could say I have a child who was originally told (during the homestudy process last year) that she'd have her little sister in time for us to go swimming with her this year and now that isn't going to happen and how do you explain that to a small child? Do you think those with small children should go first so the children aren't disappointed? No, I don't either. We all wait in line (well, except for those of Chinese ancestry). As for all of the rest of the venting - I have no problem with it. I do think though, that perhaps in the future I should create two posts on days like this - one for rumors and one for venting. That way people who are only interested in the rumors can hit the rumor post, and everyone else can vent away on the other. No need for anyone to apologize for venting up a storm today - we'll see about maybe re-arranging things in the future if we have days like today. I'll let you know what I come up with for a solution when/if I come up with something that seems workable.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

More Review room fodder

Someone with a September 7th LID was contacted by the CCAA for more information.

Rumors rumors rumors rumors

  • Someone in Canada with a 7/7 LID was told by their agency that they were "guessing" they would get their referral in early July.
  • Several people with June 2nd LID's have been told they are in the next batch.
  • People with 6/10 LID's from one agency were told there is a 50/50 chance they could be next.
  • Someone from Spain posted that two agencies are now stating the 5/30 number and she wasn't looking at it as a rumor, but as fact.
Once again, the rumors are all over the place. I haven't seen any real numbers I actually believe yet.

Flimsy rumor

This sounds a bit dubious, but the story goes that someone from the UK who doesn't know their LID has friends in China, and the friends in China contacted the CCAA to find out their LID. The CCAA apparently reported the family has an early September LID and that they should expect their referral in July. Couple of questions here... one, why would their agency have not told them their LID to start with, and two, why would the CCAA tell this to just anyone who called them up and asked them about it? And lastly - don't the rest of you have an idea that the CCAA doesn't know how far they will get until they get there? If so, how could they possibly know how far they will be in July? As much as I'd love to be able to think we may be able to get our referral in July, I'm not giving this one a lot of weight. UPDATE: Seems this one is credible after all - see comments.


First, with the depressing news coming out of Spain, let's look at May. For 6 days of LID's there are 46, and 46 divided by .19 is 242 - meaning that if this 6 days kept up that rate for the whole month then our poll would have likely shown around 242 people for the month of May. Not sure about my math? Okay, divide 242 by 31 days in the month and then multiply by 6. Close enough? Anyway, if the assumption that May was evenly spread out is correct (and I'm not so sure it is) then that means that May must have been a LOT bigger than the other months. Which would be good, as that would (theoretically) mean that it won't take as long to get through them. But then, they did manage to do more than 6 days at a time for the rest of May, so I'm kind of doubting the rest of May was as big as the end of May. If ya'll will remember, when we did the poll by half months, all of the first halves were smaller than the second halves. My next step was to say, if they are going to do (based on our chart) 40 per month (since they aren't doing the 31st if Spain is right), then to extrapolate referrals based on that. But, this means that it will take them more than three months to get through June, and 2.8 months to get through July... I'm not going to keep going. That's just too depressing and can't possibly be right. Can Spain be right? Is there anyone out there who knows the LID dates for Spain? Maybe their next LID isn't until 6/15 or 6/20 or so, so they are just letting their 5/30 people know they will be the only ones getting referrals this time?


Apparently AFTH is the agency saying they "are expecting referrals for June". Can someone else with AFTH maybe let us know what LID dates this agency has in June? That way we'll know if this is two rumors from two different agencies or one rumor that got worded so it sounded like two rumors.

From Spain

Spain is telling their people the next cutoff will be May 30th.

Talk about misleading

Apparently the agency that is expecting all of June, is hoping for all of their June LID's. And they only have one. June 9th. So, it looks like we can possibly hope they will do through June 9th. Since no one is giving the agency name of the original rumor, I suppose it's possible that we're talking about two agencies... but it's sounding like the people with both of these rumors are talking about the same agency. In order to really figure out if this is the same agency, I really need to know the agency (or agencies). If you want to tell me the agency and ask that I not divulge it, then I won't. I'll just say "one of the big agencies", or "one of the lesser known agencies"... something along those lines.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Daily rundown of rumors

These seem to be the major points today:
  • TA's arrived today for some families from the most recent referrals.
  • Most rumors seem to agree referrals will go out at the very end of this month or the very beginning of next month.
  • One agency is expecting all of June in the next batch. We don't know which agency. If anyone out there wants to clue me in on which agency, it would be much appreciated. Until then, I'm not giving this one a lot of hope.
As for how things are done - TA's do not always come before referrals, they usually do, but it's not a given. There have been times in the past that referrals have come before TA's. I was told in the past that there are two different departments responsible for TA's and matching - they aren't done by the same people. No way to know for sure, but when we did this the last time our agency actually talked to us about stuff and they detailed who did what. Of course, the CCAA has restructured since then, so maybe it's changed. This page details the different departments, but doesn't say which one does TA's.

3-d life interfering with my online life

Some work stuff is rearing it's head today and is going to keep me away from the computer for most of the day. Just in case we start hearing rumors, let's put them all as comments on this thread until I can get to them this evening to try to do a concise rundown of them. If anyone wants to be more detailed about something via email, be sure to tell me which anon you were (by time), so I don't count it as a rumor that came in twice. See ya'll tonight.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wow - thanks to all of you!

When I first started this blog it was mostly a place for me to have a log of the rumors and a place to work through them to figure what is a good rumor and what is a not-very-likely rumor, with the secondary reason being it would be a way for me to think out loud about adoption related stuff. When we did this last time, by the time it was close to our referral I had a good idea of who gave out reliable rumors and who gave out rarely-accurate rumors. This time, it seems to be random. Until this past month Spain was always right... and then they weren't. So, I'm trying to make some sense of the rumors. If it's possible. I had no idea it would get this big.. or that when the site would go down there would be so many people missing it. I love that we have enough people to do semi-reliable polls and to give meaningful info. I love that when I don't know something that one of ya'll can email me with the specifics of what is going on... it really does help so much in putting it all together. Connecting the dots. So - thanks to all of you. Maybe together we can figure things out. Or, if not, we can at least stay busy trying.

Friday, March 17, 2006

A Funny

Watching Comedy Central... female stand up comic, talking about how her dad says inappropriate things and thinks he's funny. He said "Hey, what's the matter Megan, can't get pregnant because your husband has a low sperm count?" And she says "Gee, I don't know.. Doesn't taste like it".

DTC Group Memberships

On January 12th I put together the spreadsheet to the left, showing DTC group numbers. I realize now that I completely screwed up the % of average. Multiply it by ten and you've got the right number. I just looked at the groups and created the spreadsheet shown below. If someone can let me know the numbers for March and June that would be great - most groups are set up so that you can see how many members they have whether you are a member or not, but those two won't let you look at anything at all if you aren't a member. So, anyone who's a member of one of those groups, go to the home page and look in the left hand column, second box down, Group Information, number of members. So, what does this tell me? First, I think the theory that the closer you get to that group's referral the more people the group aquires is accurate - July and August and September have all taken on a lot more people. The earlier months have remained fairly stable, with the exception of April, which seems to have really blossomed. We must remember that most people seem to be a member of two or three groups. So, we really can't analyze May through August without the month of June - I would love to be able to compare it to the poll, but without June, we really can't. Also, it is important to know that June has made it really hard for new members to join, so many of the June people are joining the July group - further throwing the numbers off. In other words, we may not really be able to glean much from this.

Last month, a recap

Here is a recap of the main rumors from last month:
  • Feb 16 - rumor that TA's were on their way
  • Feb 17 - rumor to expect referrals on 2/28 (and TA's arrived at some agencies)
  • Feb 21 - Spain expected referals through early June, another agency expected them through 5/30
  • Feb 22 - AHH site reported that referrals would be through 5/26
  • Feb 24 - we were pretty sure the cutoff would be between 5/25 and 5/30
  • Feb 26 - CCAA's website showed the cut off as through 5/25
So, if last month is any indication, we should start seeing some rumors on Monday. Not saying they will be right, just saying we should start seeing them.


You'd think they could have reworded it, instead of using my exact words. Seems kind of strange to go on someone else's sight and see something you've written. I mean, it's not like it was creative thought or anything, but still kind of jarring.

And we're back... I think

Blogger had a file server go down, and all blogs on that file server were unavailable for viewing or posting. Not sure how long it will be back up, but it seems to be up, for now. There's not really any rumors or news to report - if it had to go down, probably a good time for it. As for the blogger team, go here to see what they did to the last file server that caused problems. I'm thinking this latest defective one should be really nervous about right now.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

More on the Hunan stuff, good news this time

The Washington Post has another article up, this time saying that no babies adopted to the US were "improperly adopted". So, those with babies from Hunan can breathe a little easier now. Or at least those in the US can breathe a little easier. I'm sure this isn't the end of the story, but it's still good news.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

LID Poll

Just a reminder that if you have not yet entered your LID in the poll to the right, please do so. At 600 entries I'm tempted to start analyzing, but we had a lot more June and July people in the last poll than we have in this one, so I'd really like to give it another couple of days and let everyone mosey back over and enter their LID before I start with the analysis.

GW Lost referrals

The GW lost referrals are on their way. Apparently what is on the way is what CCAA could scrap together, not the originals... but still, they are supposed to be on the way.

Changing Dollars into Yuan

I'm getting some feedback on this, so let me clarify a few things. Yes, we had to wait a long time while the people did all of the paperwork, and had extra people sign off on it, and all of that. But there were rarely any lines. At most we may have had to wait on one or two people, but most of the time we made it a point to do it when there were people at the counter of the hotel just standing there waiting to help someone. My DH even went down one evening to do it while the baby and I were in the room, because we realized we'd need some the next day and oftentimes the lobby was busy in the mornings with people checking out. So, yes, it did take 15 minutes a few times, but that was without standing in line. That's just how long it took them to do it. The problem with the White Swan is that they only exchange money during certain hours, the rest of the time they send you next door to the bank. This was not a pleasant experience. We were treated as if we were trying to pawn off bad money. In the end they exchanged it, but we were not treated very nicely at all. We will avoid going to that bank next time if we can help it. The point of yesterdays rant was that much of the Chinese way of doing things is terribly inefficient, and I think it would be helpful if the CCAA had one of those companies that streamlines things to come in and help them streamline their system. Maybe they have already done that, I don't know... it was just an idea, based on other things I saw in China. Take for instance what you have to do in a department store. The salesperson writes up what you want to buy and then keeps it, you find the cashier (usually a long ways from where you are, sometimes on a different floor than the one you are on), stand in line until it's your turn at the window, then show her your three part form(s) and you pay her. She stamps the forms and hands two of them back to you. You go back to the original salesperson (often she is with someone else so there is yet another wait) and give her the forms. She keeps one, and gives you the other one, and then gives you the items you just bought. Each salesperson has a small area they can sell in. So, sometimes you have forms from four or five salespeople, after you pay the cashier you have to go find them all to get your stuff. I realize I'm being a typical American and saying that our way is better and I know there is a lot more to it than that. I realize that in China the people that handle the money get paid a lot more than those that don't handle money, so it doesn't make sense to put cash registers out and let just anyone take money from people. I was also told by our guide that when someone exchanges money, if they don't do it exactly right, and if the money turns out to be counterfeit, that it comes out of their pay. So, I also understand why they took so much time making sure the money was good. Yes, this is all a difference in cultures. And I'm not saying their way is bad. It's just different, and in my American eyes, often not very efficient. But it also seems that efficiency is one of those things that is important to Americans and not so important to the Chinese. So while I'm bellyaching about how incredibly slow the CCAA seems to be going with everything (logging in dossiers, revewing dossiers, matching dossiers, getting Travel Approvals out), I just pointed out that maybe they could go faster if they streamlined things. Perhaps that was bad form. But, it was not meant to be a slam towards China... just a pointing out of the differences.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Technical Stuff

  • Some people had trouble seeing how to view the stats on the poll - I changed the font of the link to red and made it a bit bigger.
  • If you don't have a Blogger ID you don't have to post as Anonymous. You have three choices - Blogger ID, Anonymous, or Other... you can click the "Other" and then type in any name and URL you want (you don't have to type in a URL if you don't want, you just have the option if you want to). If you want to post as Anonymous that's fine, but some apparently weren't aware you could check the "other" button, so now you know.

From AHH

Someone with a 10/9 LID was told by their agency (AHH) that they still expected them to receive their referral in July or August.

Extended LID Poll

The new poll is up and already has 150 entries. This poll goes out to February of 2006.

LID Poll results

Here are the results. I'm going to put another one up that groups it by month and see what that one looks like. As for analysis on this one - I think we can be pretty sure that the first part of the next couple of months aren't as big as the last half of each month. Also, July isn't as big as June on the poll, and we had a ton of hits coming from the July board... so I think we can probably say that July isn't as big as June in reality. As for the drop off for August and September, I'd love to think that they are that much smaller, but I think a combination of the fact that those DTC groups did not have the link posted, AND people that far out may not be searching for rumors as much as the closer groups are.. I think that means we may not necessarily be able to make that assumption. We'll see how those months look in comparison to even later months in the next poll. Give me a few minutes and it will be up.

LID slowdown?

Is there a slowdown in people receiving their LID's right now? There seems to be a rumor floating that the person who logs Dossiers in has been out for a little while. Person? There is one person who logs in dossiers? Assuming the almost 10,000 adoptions a year thing is true, and remembering there are almost four weeks a year they don't work, that would be 208 a week, or 41 a day. So, yeah, I guess that could be a one person job. In an eight hour day that would be 5 an hour. I don't know how much paperwork is involved in the log-in process, but the way the Chinese government likes to overdo things on the paperwork, I'm guessing it could easily take 12 minutes to do it. Seriously, how many copies of that form do they really have to have when they exchange money for you? It takes them fifteen minutes and three people to exchange 100 dollars into yuan. They have to have three people look at it and mark on it and hold it up to the light and feel of it and smell it. And they all end up signing off on it, and there is that form you have to fill out that has three or four parts to it, and they have to mark down your passport number and information... just to change money. Okay, so it doesn't always take fifteen minutes - but on three occasions it did. Most of the rest of the time it took between five and ten minutes. And that is after you've stood in line. It was really ridiculous for it to take that long. And for you to have to fill out as much information about yourself as we had to. We weren't opening an account, we just wanted to exchange money! I'll stop ranting now. Wouldn't it be nice if the CCAA would hire a firm that comes in and helps you streamline things? Don't they understand that if it takes you two years to finish your adoption instead of one year, that it means you'll have one less year of your life to spend with your child? It means your child will lose their parent one year earlier in their life... and that could mean the difference in them having their parents alive for their wedding or not... or in them having their parents alive for the birth of their child or not. And as for the slowdown in travel approvals... that just seems almost criminal, to make the babies that are waiting in the cribs wait a month longer before they have a loving family. Making the parents wait is one thing, but once matches have been made I think they should make it a top priority to get the parents to the babies ASAP. There are people who've been waiting for more than 6 months for TA who are on the SN track. That should never happen. Back in 2002 and 2003, many people got their TA's back 10 days after the acceptances were sent back, and they travelled less than a month after referral. Now most people are waiting two months to travel. Those poor babies, waiting in their cribs, crying when they are hungry and having to wait until the next feeding time instead of having a family who will feed them when they are hungry instead of on schedule. Babies who need to be held and loved and played with. Babies who are kept alive but not stimulated. Laying in their cribs or tied into their potty chairs or propped up in a walker, waiting on the CCAA to send a piece of paper so their parents can come get them. Gee, I'm not bitchy today, am I? The wait is really getting to me. I know the CCAA does a good job. I know they had extra responsibilities piled on them last year and that has slowed things down considerably. And, that apparently coincided with a lot of extra parent dossiers coming in at the same time that less baby dossiers were coming in (because less babies are being abandoned, which is a GREAT thing). I get that.. but I am very frustrated that they can't get TA's out in a timely manner. That bothers me a LOT more than the wait to referral. Also, would it be so hard for the CCAA to give an estimate? If they think things are going to remain at half months, would it be so hard for them to make a note of that on their site? Or, if they are pretty sure they'll be able to go back to whole months in the near future, maybe they could let us know that on their site? It's really easy for them to post updates and news items now.. why can't they let us know a rough idea of how they think things are going to go in the next few months? Is it possible that they don't know? Maybe that's it, they don't have any idea how much paperwork will arrive for the babies until it arrives, so they couldn't give an estimate even if they wanted to.

Monday, March 13, 2006

LID Poll

I'm seeing a ton of hits coming from the June and July groups, with most coming from the July group. I'm not seeing hits from the August or September groups. So, on top of the fact that there should be more June and July people because those people are closer to their referral... we also have it being weighted by the address here being posted to those groups but not the latter groups. So, the only thing I'm sure of at this point is that the first half of July is less than the second half of July... and the first half of August has less than the second half of August. Today has been another record setting day - with another couple of hours to go we're at 3,062 hits from 1,562 different computers... and 1,021 of them were returning visitors. With that many visitors I'd hope we can get 800 votes. So, if you are new, please record your LID in the poll to the right. We are trying to get an idea of the size of the groups in relation to each other. If your LID is past September we'll try to cover you later - the poll has a place for 10 slots.