Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Letters to China

Today I am sending out a New Year card to the care-givers of FengHong and BingHui. We've already sent two letters (and a care package) to BingHui, and one to FengHong. It's always a risk sending things because we have no way of knowing if they arrive safely. There are services that will send a care package for us, assembling the package and guaranteeing delivery, but they are quite expensive. For instance, for the service to translate a letter and send a photo they charge $58.00. We are fortunate that we have Cheng here to translate for us. We are able to send photos and a letter for less than $1.00. The package we mailed previously, which contained a disposable camera, jeans and a blanket, cost $54 to mail to China. If I have the service put together that type of package for me in China it would cost over $200.00. Yikes! Today I am just mailing another letter with a recent photo. I also included our email address in the hopes that the foster mother or nannies might contact us directly. It would be nice to establish more of a relationship with our sons' care-givers. They could give us more input on their likes and dislikes and fears. We haven't even received any recent photos of BingHui. He probably changed a ton in the last year, and I hope we can recognize him. We did receive recent photos of FengHong at least. As we wait, we look at the photos all the time, bonding with our sons more everyday.

Monday, December 21, 2009


David and I have spent hours and hours and hours discussing what to do about the boys' names. First, we thought we would just keep their Chinese names. After all, it's a big part of their identity and heritage. But then we also want them to feel comfortable, and an American name might be easier for them in the long-run. It's not fun always having to correct people or have people stumble over your name constantly. In addition, having a new American name might be a nice transition, a way to signify that these children are our sons now. We even sent a letter to FengHong to ask him how he felt about having an American name. Then we sent an email to a man who has adopted eight times from China, and we asked him what he does about the children's names. He said that they do always give their adopted children a new name, but the middle name is their Chinese name. All the way to New York City, David and I hashed out various names. A month ago, we went out for our date night and brought a name-list with us. We quickly settled on Benjamin (Ben) for BingHui. It's close enough to his Chinese name that we thought it would be easy for him to adjust to the new name. However, even after we got the whole restaurant involved in the discussion, we couldn't come up with a decent American "F" name for FengHong. Frank was the only name we both could tolerate, but then we'd have Benjamin and Franklin. That is just too cutesy for us, naming our boys after one of our famous Presidents. Last night, Cheng (our exchange student) suggested we find a name that starts with a J, which sounds close to Jiang, FengHong's last name. Currently, David and I like the name Jackson (Jack). We can only hope that the boys LIKE their names, after we spent so much time trying to decide on the names. Sometimes children in China have already selected an English name for their English language class. If this is the case, then we might have to just go with their pre-selected name. In the meantime, we need to start getting used to calling them Ben and Jack, I guess. If we don't get used to their names ourselves, it will be difficult to feel natural about the name choices later. So, what's in a name? In this case, a whole lot of time, thought, and effort!