Chinese New Year

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					                                         Director’s Message

                  Welcome to the new and improved Wasatch International Adoption
                  Newsletter. We hope you like the new format we are now using,
                  and also hope this newsletter will be informative, fun and
                  interesting to read. The new format will be something like this:

      A monthly Director’s Message
      Country Information
          o China
          o Guatemala
          o Haiti
          o Kazakhstan
          o Vietnam
      Important Updates
      Reader’s Comments

The decision to use this new format was made in order to keep all of our adopting
families up to date with new information regarding the country the are adopting from
as well as to provide information to any families who may be considering
international adoption, and to be sure all of our families can see pictures and read
updates of families who have received referrals of children or who are traveling to
foreign and exotic places to pick up their babies. And, we would absolutely love to
publish comments, articles or information from any of you who subscribe to this
newsletter. If you would like to be a contributor to the newsletter, you can e-mail
your contributions to

Because nothing ever stays the same, WIA is sad to announce that our Post
Placement Specialist, Amy Shaw, will be leaving at the end of January, and Shannon
Cox, our wonderful Haiti program director left us the last of December. Both of these
wonderful ladies have contributed much to WIA, and we will truly miss them. Amy
has been with us for such a long time, and has probably talked with every one of our
families who have brought children home over the years. Amy adopted a darling little
girl from Bulgaria, and understands so well the emotions and feelings of adoptive
parents. We will truly miss her smiling face and sweet presence. Shannon has been
such a great asset to WIA – she speaks fluent Spanish and has been a key person in
promoting both our Guatemala and Haiti program. Shannon adopted a beautiful little
boy from Haiti a while ago, and has a great passion for children everywhere. We are
grateful to have been able to work with these two women and will really miss both of
                                                               Shannon Cox
                     Amy Shaw                             Haiti Program Director
             Post Placement Specialist

However, we have added a great new staff member, Miriam Storey, who will be
taking over as the Post Placement Specialist, and will also be assisting us with Hague
accreditation. Miriam is married to a Justice Court Judge (that will keep us on the
straight and narrow) and she is a Mom to 5 children and one granddaughter. In the
past she worked for Intermountain Health Care, but fortunately she now works for
WIA and we are thrilled to have her with us! Another great addition to WIA is Randy
Mitchell. Randy is our technical specialist and he knows everything there is to know
about computers. He is the one we all turn to when we want a new form created,
help with our computer when it’s acting up, and all of that other “computer stuff”
that we don’t know much about. Randy is a student at Weber State University and is
majoring in Supply Chain Management (Logistics). He will graduate in a 2008, but
we have already told him he will have to look for a part time job in his field because
we can never let him go! We know change is always inevitable, but feel lucky to have
had Amy and Shannon with us for such a long time, and know that Miriam and
Randy will be a great asset to the agency.

                Miriam Storey                              Randy Mitchell
          Post Placement Specialist                  Technical Support Specialist

As you read through the new format for our newsletter, I hope you enjoy the things
we have included. And, remember, if you would like to contribute an article or an
item of interest, we would be more than thrilled to add your comments. Happy
reading, and thank you for being a subscriber!

Country Updates and Information

Our Waiting Children’s List is here from CCAA and we have both girls and boys – if
you are interested in adopting a special needs child please email Kathy Junk at

Happy Chinese New Year – the Year of the Pig!! Many of you might wonder just
exactly when Chinese New Year will be this year. It’s a bit complicated, but here is
how the date for Chinese New Year is calculated. Chinese New Year is based on the
lunar calendar and starts with the New Moon on the first day of the new year and
ends on the full moon 15 days later. The 15th day of the new year is called the
Lantern Festival, which is celebrated at night with – you guessed it – lantern displays
and children carrying lanterns in a parade. When does it start this year? February
18th is the first day of the Chinese New Year.

The Chinese calendar is based on a combination of lunar and solar movements. The
lunar cycle is about 29.5 days. In order to “catch up” with the solar calendar the
Chinese insert an extra month once every few years – seven years out of a 19 year
cycle. This is the same as adding an extra day on leap year. This is why, according to
the solar calendar, the Chinese New Year falls on a different date each year.

New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are celebrated as a family affair, a time of
reunion and thanksgiving. The celebration was traditionally highlighted with a
religious ceremony given in honor of Heaven and Earth, the gods of the household
and the family and the family ancestors.

The sacrifice to the ancestors, the most vital of all the rituals, united the living
members with those who had passed away. Departed relatives are remembered with
great respect because they were responsible for laying the foundations for the
fortune and glory of the family.

The presence of the ancestors is acknowledged on New Year’s Eve with a dinner
arranged for them at the family banquet table. The spirits of the ancestors, together
with the living, celebrate the onset of the New Year as one great community. The
communal feast called “surrounding the stove, or weilu. It symbolizes family unity
and honors the past and present generations.

Each year is designated by one of the 12 animals. This system is very practical. A
child does not have to learn a new answer to the questions “How old are you?” each
new year. Old people often lose track of their age because they are rarely asked
about their present age. Everyone just has to remember that he or she was born in
the Year of the Dog or whatever year they were born under. Since this is the Year of
the Pig, the age of anyone who was born in the Year of the Pig is now 0, 12, 24, 36,
48, 60, 72, 84 or 96 years old.

Chinese New Year Celebrations in Utah

The first celebration for Chinese New Year will be held on Saturday, February 17th at
the Salt Lake City main library auditorium located at 200 East 500 South. There will
be a Dragon Dance, Chinese music, singing, and cultural displays. This event is free
and we encourage all families living in Utah to be part of the fun!

The second celebration for Chinese New Year will be held on Saturday, February
24th, ay 6:30 through 9:30 pm at the Taylorsville High School Auditorium. This
school is located at 5225 S. Redwood Road, Taylorsville. There will be Chinese music,
dancing, singing, and a cultural display. Lt. Governor Gary Herbert and other Utah
VIP’s will be attending and will make some remarks. The cost for this event is $2.00
per person.
We are wishing all of you a very Happy Chinese New Year and hope the New Year
brings you good fortune, good luck, and great happiness.

Utah Website Links for Great Information

Chinese Association of Science and Technology – This organization helps organize
many Chinese community activities in the Salt Lake City area. You can access this
site on the internet at

Website for the Utah Chinese New Year celebration –

***Note to those living outside the state of Utah – please send us information
from your state about upcoming events or great websites to visit. We would love to
post any and all information you can give us!! Please contact Miriam Storey at if you ever have any information you would like us to include in
this newsletter.

Referrals from China

This month we are profiling Barbara, who just received a referral for a beautiful little
5 year old girl named Zhu Lan. This little girl is from an orphanage in Beijing, and all
of the 6 referrals we received were from this Province. Barbara hopes to be traveling
to China very soon so she can bring her new daughter home. We all agree that this
child is just darling and I am sure that you will agree!

We also have several families traveling in February to pick up children. Two families
have invited all of you to come along with them on their adoption journey in China
by reading their blogs. The link to their blogs are:

Rockwell Family - – User name: elainea - Password:

Powell Family - – User name: powell5 – Password –

We hope you enjoy following these families while they are finally picking up their
little girls! Have Fun!
If any of you are interested in learning more about adopting from China, please
contact Kathy Junk. Her email address is

And, here is a darling picture that we just couldn’t help but include in this newsletter.
This is a picture of Lily Chessler. The picture was so beautiful we HAD to use it –
don’t you agree!!

New China Restrictions

As most of you are aware, officials at the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA)
met in December of last year and issued new restrictions for those who would like to
adopt from China. A list of these restrictions can be found on our China FAQ page.
You can access this information on this link - We
realize this may impact some who were considering adopting from this country. The
deadline for dossier submission under the old rules is May 1st. All dossiers from
adopting parents who do not meet these new guidelines must be submitted and
reach China before April 30th. If any of you are concerned about these new
regulations, please call us to discuss your concerns.

If you would like to know more about adopting from China, please email Kathy Junk


Things are moving great in Guatemala. Babies are coming home all of the time and
families are thrilled and happy when the process is over so they can kiss and cuddle
these little ones and tuck them safely in bed each night. We are still accepting
applications for this adoption program, but the window is closing fast. If you are
thinking about adopting from Guatemala, don’t procrastinate another minute but get
your application submitted and get started right away. There is a lot of on-going
discussion regarding the pending closure of Guatemala and discussion about how to
resolve this situation, but unfortunately things are continuing to move in that
direction and unless something changes drastically very soon, this close down will
happen. It’s very unfortunate for everyone – the families who want to adopt from
Guatemala and the babies and children living there, will never find the safety and
love that a permanent home could provide for them. We will continue to keep you
updated regarding Guatemala and the Hague problem.

On a happier note, however, we have lots and lots of families who have progressed
to PGN and are just waiting for approval. It won’t be long before we will see several
more children coming home to their new families. Congratulations, everyone, whose
dossiers are being reviewed by PGN – it won’t be much longer now until you will get
the great news that you are finished!! Hooray! We have so many babies that have
been assigned to families – at least 22 babies just lately. What a wonderful program
this is!

If any of you are interested in learning more about adopting from Guatemala, please
contact Kathy Junk. Her email address is

Did you know there are approximately one million orphaned or abandoned children in
Haiti? This country is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere and
these children are absolutely desperate for a home. The adoption process in Haiti is
very much a roller coaster ride for families who are trying to bring these children
home. It is a country full of political strife and poverty, and the children are the ones
that seem to suffer most from the constant upheaval in this country. WIA has many
families in the adoption process in Haiti, and all of these families are frustrated and
tired of waiting for the Haitian government to finish the adoption process and let
their children come home. So often we wonder why governments make this so
difficult. Obviously there are children who need families, and obviously there are
willing and loving families who want to give these children a home. Why is there
such a long wait at this time and why doesn’t the Haitian government make this
process easier. I wish I had the answers to these questions, but I don’t. However, I
can say that all of these children – every single one of them - are innocent, sweet,
and want to have a family. They are so ready to be taken care of and loved and
protected. Every one of these children deserve this, but unfortunately only a very
few will ever have this chance to feel the love of a family. I know that all of you want
your kid’s home, and you want them home now. However, please just grit your teeth
and hang on until this happens. Remember why you began this process to begin
with, think of your child’s little face and eyes that long for you, and don’t ever give
up. Your adoption will be finished – perhaps not as quickly as you want it to be, but
it will happen. I pray for those babies every night and know you do also. Let’s also
pray that things move faster. And, remember, when you finally get these children all
of this will fade away and you will have done a wonderful thing for one of the
children in this poor country. They are worth everything!

If you are interested in learning more about adopting from Haiti, please email Kathy
Junk at


Hmmmm, what can we say about this program………we can say that this country has
wonderful people, beautiful children, and because it is bordered by China very
beautiful Asian children living there – and because in the past there was a large
Soviet population there Kazakhstan has very blond and blue eyed Caucasian children
living there. Both of these ethnic groups are available, and adoptive parents can
choose between either ethnicity. For many people who no longer qualify to adopt
from China but would still like to adopt an Asian child, Kazakhstan might be the
program for you! And, for those families who would like to adopt a Caucasian child,
this is nearly the only Eastern European country that has very young Caucasian
children available.

That being said, the process in Kazakhstan is very slow at this time, and officials
checking dossier documents are very picky and very specific in what is submitted by
adopting parents. Everything is taking much longer at the Embassy and things
seemed to be a bit stalled at this point. The good news is, this country has not closed
their doors to adoption, assures us they are still open, and they are still willing to
process dossiers and issue referrals for children.

WIA continues to accept applications from families who want to adopt from
Kazakhstan. However, families must know that if this is the country they want to
adopt from they must be flexible and willing to provide the documents required by
the Kazakhstan Embassy if and when they are asked for additional documentation.
This is not a country for the faint of heart or the easily stressed person. However,
the children that we have brought home are beautiful, and they seem to do very well
after placement.

If you are interested in learning more about adoptions from Kazakhstan, please get
in touch with Dianne Squires. Her email address is


We are pleased to announce that WIA received our license to work in Vietnam the
first part of December of 2006, and we are now recruiting adoptive families for this
program. Although this is a new adoption option for our families, WIA worked in this
beautiful country in the past for quite a few years until the Vietnam government
suspended adoptions 5 years ago. Now that we are licensed to work in this country
once more we are very excited and happy to be back once again.

We have made the decision to approach this adoption program cautiously until we
have made our first 5 placements. We want to be sure that things are working
smoothly and the process is stable before allowing great numbers of families in the
program. Vietnam is a huge country and at this point we work only in the Phu Tho
Province. Last April, with the help of Trang and Kein, we established a relationship
with the Director of a wonderful orphanage located in a small village in this Province.
The Orphanage Director is a very dedicated man, and tries hard to do the very best
he can for the children placed under his care. When visiting this orphanage we were
very impressed with the care given to the babies, and were also impressed with the
fact that these little babies spent the day on woven mats on the floor. Remember,
it’s very warm in Vietnam, and by being on the floor these babies were not only
cooler than if they had been placed in a crib, but were learning to roll over, support
themselves on their hands and knees, crawl around and explore, and develop in a
more normal fashion than many children get to do if residing in an orphanage. In
many orphanages children spend hours each day in cribs, walkers, swings and
bouncy chairs and are not given an opportunity to develop the upper body strength
babies need or the chance to explore their environment. We felt this orphanage had
a positive approach to the care of these babies. The caretaker to child ration was
also very good – about 3 babies for each caretaker. All in all, we were very
impressed with the orphanage and the orphanage Director.

Our Vietnam facilitator, Le Kieu Trang (we call her Trang and her name is actually
pronounced “Chang”) and her husband, Do Chi Kien (we call him Kien), were born
and raised in Hanoi. They have been married for 5 years and have a beautiful little
daughter named Do Le Bao Han whom they call So. Both Trang and Kien are thrilled
to be working in this field of adoption and they are looking forward to seeing WIA’s
very first family come to Vietnam soon to finish up their adoption. At the present we
still have openings for families or single women who would like to be a part of this
first group of families going through this process. Trang and Kien promise to take
great care of each family they work with, and I can promise you that if you choose to
adopt from Vietnam the staff at Wasatch will do everything possible to make this the
best experience ever for you! Here is a picture of Trang, Kien and baby So!

Important Updates
Hague Accreditation

Wasatch has submitted our application to COA in order to become Hague accredited.
We expect to be hearing from COA in the next few weeks and we’ll be busily working
towards accreditation the rest of 2007. We will post regular updates on our journey
though this accreditation process.

Parent Education Meetings for Utah Clients

We are pleased to tell you that we have a schedule for our parent education
meetings for the entire year. The meetings are held at the Weber State University
Davis Campus, begin at 10:00 a.m. and finish up by 12:30 p.m., and we have a
great pot luck snack during the meeting. The subjects discussed in each class are
listed below and when completing 5 classes, parents adopting from Hague countries
will fulfill their parent training obligation outlined by the Department of State as well
as WIA requirements. These classes are a lot of fun, and the people attending make
great friends with the other adoptive parents and often stay in touch long after the
adoption has been completed. Everyone is welcome, even it you are not a WIA
family, and we encourage you to take the time to attend these really great meetings.
And, don’t forget to come to our annual picnic – it’s also lots of fun and a great place
to meet other adoptive parents and their children. More details to follow on that
later, but mark your calendars!

Schedule of Parent Education Classes
Wasatch International Adoptions

January 13
• After the baby is home – Baby Shock!

March 10th
• The Children, the Country and the Orphanage

May 5th
• Effects of Long Term Institutionalization of Children
o Grief and Loss
o Attachment
o Developmental Delays
o Sensory Development

July 28th – Annual Picnic

September 15th
• Effects of Long Term Institutionalization on Children (Continued)
o Post Traumatic Stress
o Brain Development
o Hyper-Activity and Hypo-Activity
o Adopting the Older Child
o Special Needs Children

November 3rd
• Multi-Cultural and Trans-Racial Families
• Post Adoption Issues
• Coping with Delays and Difficulties While You Wait for your Child

Minnesota Branch Office Update

Our Minnesota office is busy with clients and it’s great to have this addition to our
agency. We want to let people who are living in the Midwest or Southern part of the
United States know that we have a fabulous office in Minneapolis, and Charles Wong,
the Director of our branch office, would be happy to assist you with an adoption from
any of the countries we work with. We hope you won’t forget that this office is open
and operating under full steam.

Utah State Re-licensing

WIA was visited by state regulators in January in order to re-license – something
that is required of all agencies each year. We want all of you to know we were given
top marks by the state of Utah and once again, as in the past, we will be providing
our usual great service to clients in the year 2007.

In Conclusion………

To all those who receive this newsletter – I hope you like the new format and I hope
you have enjoyed this first revised newsletter. I would so like to see comments from
adopting parents or others who take the time to read through the information we
send out. We will continue to do our best to provide all the information we possibly
can with each newsletter. We appreciate you all and are grateful for your dedication
to the children of the world.

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