Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's Goin On

Many people have asked the basics....you know So What's Going On? Do You Know When You'll Travel? How Long Do You Have to Be There? Do You Know if You Are Getting a Boy or a Girl? WHAT? You don't want to read about my book reviews, my Pa Jun recipe experiment, or my ranting about more paperwork and homestudy updates??
ok so...I'll take a moment to answer the most asked question I get:
WHEN WILL YOU TRAVEL?
Well it's anyone's guess really, but the estimate is next Spring or early Summer of 2011. This could be wishful thinking or it could be way overestimated. Anything can happen in International Adoption but that is a partially educated guess.
HOW LONG DO YOU HAVE TO BE THERE?
We are required to be there for 3 days. Since it is such a loooonnng flight (close to 20 hours I believe, maybe 30 with connections?) and seems a waste to go all that way and turn around 3 days later, and we would like to really see our future son's birth country, we'll stay for a week.
DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE GETTING A BOY OR A GIRL? CAN YOU REQUEST?
You can request the gender. Girls take longer, as for whatever reason more families request a girl. We left our request "open to either gender". Nine times out of ten this will mean you will be given a boy.
HOW OLD WILL YOUR BABY BE?
He will be around 6-9 months when we receive his picture and information. We will then wait for our Travel Call. He will be around 9-12 months at the time we bring him home.
ARE THE BABIES IN ORPHANAGES?
As I understand it, the majority of babies are with Foster families. This is very good for attachment, but can be very tough on them as far as grieving. The foster family will of course be the only family they've known and certainly they've come to know and love them as such. It will show they can form loving bonds with a singular caregiver. It will show them they can trust someone. But when they are taken away from them and handed to these strange smelling, funny looking, foreign sounding people that will be his parents, it will be very hard on him.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF STEPHEN KING'S LATEST, "UNDER THE DOME"?
Ok, no one has asked me this. But like many of my other thoughts, I'll tell you anyway. This 1100 page brick of a book has a huge cast of characters, many of whom at only 100 pages into it I cannot keep straight. I love the concept that a giant invisible dome has dropped down on a stereotypically King-esque town of Maine. I even like King's B-movie dialogue from time to time. But it's just too long. I didn't even want to take it up to the cottage for beach reading because I didn't want the extra weight in my suitcase. Does he really think this much diarrhea of the mouth is necessary? I actually want to write him a letter I am so annoyed with the length of this book. Great idea (even if The Simpsons already did it), great typical King prose (sometimes it's so bad it's good), and excellent apocalyptic/horror/sci-fi theme. It just needs to be cut in half. I keep going back to Tracy Chevalier's "Remarkable Creatures" (excellent) and finished Julie Kenner's "Carpe Demon" (silly, fun, great beach book) in between. I'll keep at it but only because of my compulsive I Must Finish This Book way of thinking.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Exploring Your Child To-Be’s Culture – Through Food Of Course

I have been reading about Korean culture and flipping dreamily through Korean cookbooks. My eyes linger over glossy photos of glassine noodles and bright orange carrot, spicy crunchy kimchi, pancakes and vegetables and egg-topped everything. The Koreans have known for a long time what I’ve only learned in the past few years: everything is better when topped with egg!

I have cooked a lot of Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese. I have cooked and eaten a lot of authentic Chinese food. I’ve experimented with loads of Indian dishes and some Cambodian. I have never cooked anything Korean!

There is a large Korean population in Kazakhstan so as a result we had some amazing Korean noodle and salad dishes while we were there for Bek. But that is about my limited experience with Korean food…

So tonight I experimented with Pa Jun, or Korean pancakes. These are not unlike our zucchini fritter or potato pancakes. However they are loaded with green onion (typically) and dipped into a savory but slightly sweet soy sauce, which then makes them very Korean. After reading several different recipes I realized the fillings can vary and was probably a way to use up what you have. Green onions seem to be the only constant.

First make the dipping sauce: 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 3 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1.5 tsp sugar, a sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Set aside.

I started with shredded vegetables of carrot, zucchini and yellow squash. My parents just gave us a boat load of the latter two from their garden and it seemed a good way to use them. I threw all three into the food processor w/ the shredder blade. I chopped one large clove of garlic and sliced 3 green onions. In a large bowl I beat 2 eggs until frothy, added flour, maybe about a cup to a cup and a half. I added about a cup of cold

water. You really

just want a loose-ish batter, thicker than crepe batter but not quite as thick as traditional pancakes. But I think this can also vary depending on preference. Throw in your veggies, maybe a good handful of each, say ¼ to 1/3 cup of each? You could use chopped bits of leftover meat or shrimp or tofu too. Salt & pepper. Mix all until blended, but as with any batter, don’t over-mix. If time allows let the batter rest, if not move on. Heat 1-2 tsp of vegetable oil in a nonstick pan. Use a measuring cup to scoop up the batter, in maybe 1/3 cup increments; drop into hot pan and smooth it around; fry until edges start to brown and set, about 2 minutes. Flip and press down, fry another 2+ minutes.

Fill the pancake with kimchi, the requisite spicy cabbage condiment. Drizzle a good tablespoon of the sauce on the pancake, or dip in w/ each bite! Pick up like a taco. Have napkin handy. Enjoy savory, spicy, slightly eggy goodness!

Next I might try putting the kimchi in the batter, and topping with strips of cooked egg and julienne smoked tofu. I’m thinking chopped shrimp and green onion would be delish too! If you

try them, let me know how they came out!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Just When I Thought It Was Safe...

















...To put down my pen, pencil and organizational folders....
I have found out we have to do a Homestudy Update. I've known this for some time actually, I just didn't know what it meant. I THOUGHT it meant our social worker would open up an electronic copy of our last homestudy, do a FIND on the word RUSSIA, and then do a REPLACE on the word KOREA. She'd hit Save and Print. She's assemble all other paperwork we did for our homestudy. Then we'd pay a few hundred bucks and submit it to the fine people of Seoul. I'd be free of paper cuts and blistered fingers and we'd sail off into the sunset with our new baby.
Sadly, as you might have guessed, this is not what a Homestudy Update means. It means much much more.
This will be my FOURTH round of adoption paperwork. And I know most of you already know what I'm about to say but I'll just say it anyway, We only have ONE CHILD!!! Four rounds of paperwork, one child. GAWD I could just lay on the floor and kick and scream and have a full blown tantrum right now.
I guess I should explain. And maybe if I type it all out like this it will help me too. So, our homestudy, which is a portfolio about us of sorts, containing everything from criminal background checks, FBI fingerprints, medical reports, psychological assessments, water and fire inspections of our home, employment letters, personal references, CPR certifications, financial statements and oh let's not forget BMV driving records, because apparently you need to be a good driver to be a good parent. Although regular procreating folks don't need to prove that. But where was I? Our homestudy, which is required for ALL adoptions whether Russia, Korea or even domestic, was written for Russia in 2009. It's technically good, for Russia, in Ohio for two years. Korea wants the homestudy to be a year or less old. As did Russia and I think probably most countries. Why say it's good for two years if it's really not? Oh I don't know, I suppose it's like that goat cheese I just bought that says it's good until August, when clearly by the smell of it it's not. SO...that whole list of things I mentioned up there, has to be re-done. We will pay half the cost of a full homestudy, in addition to repaying whatever the fee is for said items. For instance, FBI background check and fingerprints? $180. Already paid it once, even though we didn't use 'em, and now have to pay it again. Because like that goat cheese in the back of my fridge drawer I also wasted my money on, it's EXPIRED.
I will take deep cleansing breaths. I will tell myself this is all part of a sublime intricate grand plan of the universe. There are no accidents and the timing will work out exactly as it should so that the child that is meant to be ours, will be. I will savor the paperwork as part of the process, part of my labor. Ok, savor might not be the right word. But I will at least acknowledge both good and bad as part of the required process. Nothing worth having comes easy. Right. Repeat.
I think I need to cook something before I blow a gasket! Something therapeutic and time consuming. homemade Pierogis... or oh! maybe Julia Child's hand whipped mayonnaise with some fresh sliced tomato and avocado...see, I am feeling better already! I know, I'm an emotional eater and fully aware of that. But that is another post. I'm off to the grocery store and post office to mail off our Child Abuse Registry Reports.