Saturday, October 17, 2009

Second Day in Taiwan (Part 2)

After our tour of The Grand Hotel, we finally got to meet and greet Cara and the members of the Chung Yi orphanage.

We arrived at the orphanage at 2 pm. It was such a busy morning that our driver Mr. Yeh took us directly to Chung Yi. However, we did not bring our donations, since we thought we were going back to the hotel prior to our Chung Yi appointment. So, Mr. Yeh took Yvette back to the hotel, and I stayed to meet the Chung Yi workers.

The woman who greeted me was Elsa Lin, who is a social worker and overseeing our adoption of Cara. She was very polite and friendly and made us completely feel at ease, as it was an emotional experience. While I waited for Yvette, I met the other caregivers and social workers who work with Cara. I got to ask a bunch of questions about Cara, her behaviors, her history and any information that we needed to be aware of. They brought Cara in so I could interact with her. They also taught me some tricks on how to get her attention and went over some words that she knows.

About 40 minutes later, Yvette arrived with our donations for Chung Yi. We then had our official meeting. We went over a bunch of paperwork, and received a bunch of gifts from Chung Yi. They gave us two diaper bags, formula, a bunch of diapers, medication for her cold and some rice crackers. They also gave us a wonderful scrapbook of photos of Cara from her time at Chung Yi and a medical history book. We were also so happy that Chung Yi gave us a stamp with Cara's Chinese name, Shu-Jhen Ciou.

The social workers were also happy with our donations, which made us feel thankful. We know that the items we brought will benefit Chung Yi and the children there.

We are so thankful and appreciative of the caregivers and social workers at Chung Yi. From how they interacted with Cara, we could see how much love and kindness they have given to Cara (Shu-Jhen). We can also see through Cara all the hard work and patience that they have with her. They made us feel very comfortable and safe through this whole process.

I want to thank the following people of Chung Yi:

1. XUE, Hui-Ting

2. ZHANG, Ying-Zhi

3. CHEN, Xiang-Lan

4. LI, Bo-Xuan

5. WANG, Ruo-Han

6. LIN, Qiu-Lin

7. WANG, Zi-Yi

8. LIN, Elsa

I will always feel indebted to the caregivers and the social workers for helping us to build our family.

This online blog is a tribute to them for all their sacrifices and for their assistance in helping pairing children with loving families.

Chung Yi will always be a part of our family and within our hearts.

James Y. Kurokawa

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Second Day in Taiwan

Our second day in Taiwan, Tuesday Oct. 13, started off meeting the Eagle Family from Florida. They are another family working with the Gladney Center for Adoption and they adopted a baby boy named Evan.

Our morning was busy with three places we visited.

The first attraction was the National Palace Museum. This Museum contained artifacts from Chiang-Kai Shek. Apparently, at the end of his life, he settled in Taiwan, and brought tons of Chinese artifacts from mainland China. The Chinese are supposedly not happy that one of their leaders took all their artifacts to Taiwan.

Outside of the National Palace Museum

The next destination was the Martyr's Shrine. The shrine commemorates the soldiers who have died defending the country. The highlight of the shrine is the changing of the guard. Amazingly, the soldiers march in unison and stand guard at the shrine. Once in position, they never move. Wow!

Changing of the guard

Guard at Martyr's Shrine

Our third destination was the Grand Hotel. The hotel is massive and very elegant in design. There are photos in the lobby of famous people who have stayed in the Grand Hotel.

Grand Hotel

Eagle Family and Kurokawa Family

Dragon sculpture and wishing pool

Be back soon.

James "Kimo" Kurokawa

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Our first day in Taiwan

After almost 23 hours of non-stop traveling, we arrived in Taipei at around 10 pm. By the time we got through customs and met up with our driver, Mr. Yeh, we got to the Agora Garden Hotel around 11:30 pm.

It was about 1 am before we finally slept in a nice bed.

On Monday morning, we ate breakfast at the Agora and went out to explore the shops, stores and nearby landmarks. The area around the Agora is in a business district and is filled with shoppers and tourists. A few blocks away is the Taipei Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world. It has been overcast so it has been hard to see the top of the Tower itself.

In the afternoon, our driver, Mr. Shin, took us to the Chaing Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and Handicraft Center. The Memorial Center was huge and we watched the changing of the guard at the memorial shrine.

How did we get here?

Hello readers. This is our first real entry into our blog. The purpose of this blog is to record our journey of adopting a child from Taiwan. We started our adoption journey in 2007, which involved lots of research online. We first had to choose which country would be the best for us. We took into consideration the wait time for a referral, the length of stay within the country and the price for each country.

In January 2008, we chose Commonwealth Adoptions to assist us with adopting with Taiwan. By May 2008, we completed all of our applications and homestudy. In June 2008, we completed our fingerprinting with the Dept of Homeland Security/Immigrations Dept.

Everything was going as scheduled, until we received an email that Commonwealth was shutting down their operations on July 31, 2008. Needless to say, we were very emotionally, despondent and searching for answers as to how and why this happened. After about a month of waiting, we were notified that our case would be transferred to Gladney. Our agent, Lindsay Hatcher, was so helpful in making our transition and ensuring that everything that we already submitted would be given to the Chung Yi orphanage.

In February 2009, Lindsay contacted us with a referral, including photos and a medical file on our future daughter, Shu-Jhen Ciou.

Within about 13 months from our initial application submission in January 2008, we received a referral. We were with Gladney about 7 months till we received the referral. I feel we are very fortunate because we anticipated receiving a referral on or around Fall 2009 or later.

As of this writing we are in Taiwan, awaiting our meeting with the Chung Yi Orphanage and with our future daughter, Shu-Jhen Ciou.

Our title of our blog, "Our Choice, Our Destiny", refers to our agency, Gladney. We were fortunate enough for Gladney to have offered Shu-Jhen to us. Their belief in us as adoptive parents meant so much.

Upon Shu-Jhen's citizenship as an American citizen, we have given her the name of Cara Alaina Shu-Jhen Ciou Kurokawa. We felt it was important to keep her original Taiwanese name because we do not want her to forget who she is and where she was born.

Till next time.

James "Kimo" Kurokawa

Monday, October 5, 2009

Welcome to our Blog!

Hello! This is James and Yvette Kurokawa. It is our first time blogging, and we are still learning as we go.

Check back for more later.