Monday, August 20, 2007

Experiencing China, Embracing Beijing: CCAA Summer Camp

There are exciting camp updates! Go to for full coverage and many more photos. Gongzhan Wu and other chaperones have been journaling daily and the campers have already been featured in one of China's well renowned newspapers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Experiencing China Embracing Beijing: Summer CCAA Camp 2007

As some of you may already know, the CCAA has, for the first time ever, invited Chinese adoptees to China for a Camp experience. CCAA is covering all in-country costs and has prepared an amazing itinerary for everyone involved. Campers and Chaperones embarked on their pioneer trip to Beijing on August 13th. All were welcomed warmly as they stepped off the plane into China.

CCAA has designated three English-speaking staff to be tutors, each leading a camp group of 10. They have also arranged 3 tour guides to take care all travel necessities, including rooms, meals, transportations, etc. They've even arranged a pediatrician from New Century International Children's Hospital to stay in the hotel who will be available available 24 hours a day.
We will be posting information regarding the trip as it unfolds so stay tuned. Visit for full coverage!
14 of the 30 campers

Adoption Education Program

Recently, Erik Shumar, a Ph.D. student at Columbia University's School of Social Work, was contracted by the Gladney Center for Adoption to offer additional adoption education services at Gladney. Beginning in September, these particular services will be offered at Gladney’s New York office and be available to any Gladney family who has adopted or is in the process of adopting a Chinese child from Gladney and considers themselves geographically close enough to attend program events.

Concurrent with these services, Mr. Shumar is conducting a research project to evaluate the effectiveness of the program and interpret any benefit it may provide towards a child's development of a positive identity. For the purposes of this research, Mr. Shumar is looking for both parents and children who plan to take part in adoption education services AND those who will not participate in the program, but are still willing to take part in the study. Your assistance will help to make this adoption education program the best it can be. Many families have already taken advantage of this opportunity, but there is still room for any other interested families.

* Monthly children's playgroups
* Real-time advice site
* Podcasts and Blog Spots
* Culture classes
* Book club
* Adoption movies
* Special guest speakers
* Mentorship program

If you are a Gladney family who has adopted or is in the process of adopting a Chinese child from Gladney and are interested in taking part in the adoption education program or at least filling out a survey to help advance the field of international adoption, please contact Mr. Shumar at Also visit for more information and for a weekly educational column.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Back to Zhenjiang ( 4 ) - Sightseeing in Zhenjiang

Zhenjiang (4) – Sightseeing

By Mitchell Senft

We then checked in the lovely but thin-walled International Hotel, made appropriate arrangements, freshened and then was taken to the Golden Temple(?), a temple in a park by the river. It is in a new park along the river, a sort of cornice, with high rises along or going up along its far side -- urban renewal, except the temple was closed. So we headed out to an early dinner at the Mickey D's on the main shopping drag on which the hotel was located. Lily said, and proved, that my beloved DVDs were on the side streets off the main drag (which was essentially all retail). Two FF2s (at least one in English; second one an accident), a boxed set of relatively low-res Bond films (English with Chinese subtitles), Ocean's 13 and Pan's Labyrinth -- for a hopping 100 yuan. (Got the second FF2 by discombobulating the woman in charge making her show us that the advertised disc was actually in the package and that it was in English.) The main drag was certainly adequate, no hick town thing. Zhenjiang has grown up these past ten years. It's a popping little city now. Then home to sleep -- while Shayna stayed up with FF2, which was still awesome, she advised.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Maggie Horowitz wins Award!

Maggie Horowitz, a China adoptee, just won the Popularity Award in the World Ballet Competition in Orlando! Before that, she won Bronze in the Youth America Grand Prix.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Back to Zhenjiang ( 3 ) - The Finding Place

Meeting Ms. Chen, who found Baby Shayna

Shyana Meeting Ms. Cheng in Zhenjiang

Standing at the tree, where Baby Shayna was found.

Mrs. Zhang then led us to a community center to which baby Shayna was taken after being found. (Or it may be not the same one but the one for the area.) While speaking to someone there, Ms. Zhang apparently determined that the then-director, who then (as required by law) took baby Shayna to the police station, still lived nearby; she was called, rushed over, then led the group, except for Shayna and me, to where she was found.

The community center to which the baby (Shayna) was brought after being found.

The auto mechanic "shop" inside the courtyard outside of which was tree where the baby was found. To the extent that there is a food stand (left side of photo), it wasn't there in '96, when the baby was found.
Rewind: One of the records viewed at the orphanage, which we apparently had not previously received, apparently gave the prior history, as it were: found (at a garage or not; more below), taken to the community center, then police, then the orphanage.

Shayna was very creped out by the idea of seeing the spot where she was found so we stayed back with the driver while everyone else walked on, about a three minute walk from the community center. (Shayna felt unready to see the spot and had been worried for a few days about meeting her past. She wanted to wait till the next time she was in Zhenjiang to see the spot.)

The area was I supposed working class, more or less, with, typically, must action and busyness on the street, lined with street -level businesses. We got into the van for the a/c. The driver assumed we wanted to be driven after the women. I corrected him, he parked and we then had a Chinese-style fender bender. A van backed into us in the course of making a K turn (in reverse!) and the driver disregarded our driver's honk. Much scratching around the van's taillight two teeny marks on our minivan -- like two very little scratches. The drivers argued and reached a financial resolution i.e. our driver received a satisfactory payment. My car should have only such little scratches.

Lily later told us that the drill is that the drivers would try and work out a resolution between themselves. If not possible, the police would be called who would then determine who was at fault, determine an appropriate sum and fine the guilty driver as well.

When Donna came back and told us that it was all cool and OK, Shayna changed her mind and we all went back to the scene. Adjacent to the tree is a new i.e. post-finding -- refreshment kiosk. Behind that, though, was a small courtyard, along the left side of which was a... garage, an auto service operation. While unimpressive now, ten years ago it must have been significant. Personally, though, I'm, well, intrigued by the idea of a baby being left at such a location....

Friday, August 03, 2007

Back to Zhengjiang 10 Years After ( 2 ) - The Zhengjiang SWI

The relevant page of the book of doptees including the four Zhenjiang girls in our group.

Zhenjiang (2) – The Zhenjiang Social Welfare Service Center

By Mitchell Senft

The Zhenjiang Social Welfare Service Center of which Shayna was cared for in its orphanage division, as it were, at its prior facility, since torn down for urban renewal. (We did not go there. The babies were brought to us in Nanjing in 1997 because operations were being transferred to the facility which we toured today.)
Shayana with Former Director Mr. Ji

Ms. Zhang, the then and now caregiver

We met with, exchanged gifts with one of the girls' caretakers, Ms. Zhang, still with the orphanage, its current director, and with the 97 director, now apparently the #2 for the entire center. We were greeted in a sort of director’s meeting-type room with a welcome Wang Jiang-Lu banner. We were shown records, some we had, some not, as well as the relevant page from what seemed to be the big book of adoptee, which had all four girls identified as well as a fifth. Donna gave them the printouts of the numerous photos of Denise and the one of Julia.

We had a brief tour of the orphanage, now with a lot more or a higher percentage of seriously special needs kids. I should say it was special needs heavy among the babies and infants, far less so among the older kids. Obviously the reason were told no photos or recording, although same was allowed in the private rooms, where we met and was served lunch. We said our goodbyes.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Back to Zhengjiang 10 Year Later ( 1 ) - Train Ride

Donna and Shayna on the train from Shanghai to Zhenjiang

Zhenjiang (1) – Train Ride
By Mitchell Senft

I almost even recognized the train station on arrival. (This after confirming the three subsequent nights at the Galaxy, which involved, apparently, a wake up call to Zoe, who did not sound very awake at all at 0700.Her agency had made the arrangements including paying in advance.)

Great train ride, once we learn the hard way that we had reserved seats (the passenger in whose seat we were occupying literally pointed it out to us). Train was new, clean, fast, with at least one non-flushing toilet. Food was a beverage cart, not a pot of tea carried by army personnel or people dressed liked army personnel (aged memory fails on this point). Met at the station by Lily, the guide/interpreter whose agency was retained on our behalf by George Wu and from there directly to the hired vehicle and the ride to...