Photo Gallery

Below are a selection of photos and files that we wish to share as we progress through the adoption process. Of course we will have many more photos to share once we get home with the new baby - you know proud parents and baby photos!

For updated photos we have created a blog where we will be posting reports of our daily adventures with Maggie.

Sandy & Hector's Adoption Journey Blog

Children's Bridge Chinese News Year Party

Children's Bridge GTA Lunar New Year party was on Feb. 4th in Richmond Hill. Happy Year of the Dog!! Hector, Sandy, Hector's mother and sister-in-law, Filomena, all lent a helping hand! Sandy's mom and sister also enjoyed the festivities as well as our Mandarin teacher, Maryanne. We were a bit of a gang. It was a lot of hard work preparing, and trying to get those red packet lanterns to turn out just right - but it was all worth it on the day. (We figure about 70 laterns were created by the kids and their hard-working parents!) There were wonderful performances (Stephanie - Donna and Avery's little girl, was a great dancer!) And of course the highlight of the day was the lion dance - wow - the performers were amazing! We cannot wait until we can share this special holiday with our little one next year! Xin Nian Hao!!

Note: Some of the photos were taken from the Children's Bridge website as we were too busy to take more of our own!

Click here to download a PDF of the instructions to make your own New Year Lantern.


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FCC Chinese News Year Party & Dinner

We attended the annual FCC (Families with Children from China) Chinese New Year celebration with friends. It was a lot of fun. The dinner was fantastic and had a huge turnout. We joined FCC a while back but this was our first event that we attended. We went with friends who adopted through Open Arms. They told us the summer FCC picnic is really great as well.


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Children's Bridge Holiday Party 2005

We were asked to help out at this year's Children's Bridge Holiday party and we eagerly agreed. We were tasked with the wrapping of the presents but until they arrived and rapidly filled our dining room I don't think we had any idea what that would entail! Additional volunteers were quickly recruited - Sandy's mum wrapped over 75 presents herself. Hector's mum got into the act to help finish them off before the big day and Hector Sr. delivered them. The party was a big success with lots of crafts games and of course a surprise appearance by Santa Claus who took time to talk to all the kids and hand out the presents.

We both really enjoy helping out at events such as this as it helps to pass the time while we wait for our referral and lets us get to know the other families. It is also a great excuse to see all the little boys and girls. They're all so cute! Thanks to all the hard work by the organizers and volunteers for making this such a great event.


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Haunted Halloween 2005

Not related to our adoption at all, but Halloween is a big day at our house and this year we went all-out! The tombstones were made out of styrofoam insulation, carved and then painted to resemble stone. My brother and sister-in-law (the werewolf and gypsy) came by to help out. Sandy was done up as a witch and I was in my Uruk-Hai costume from the Lord of the Rings. We had a lot of fun and gave out candy to at least 200 kids who came by, maybe more. We might have to tone it done a bit until our daughter is ready to help out. I wonder if they have any costumes from Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride" in 24 months!!!

Click here to view a 6 min. video we did of the evening. Woooo, scarry! (Quicktime 4.5 MB)


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OK, so it might be considered silly but since the summer have we have become totally obsessed with the giant pandas at the San Diego Zoo - in particullar the baby panda born on August 2, 2005! The zoo's web-site has a panda-cam set up where you can view surveilence video in real time of the mother and cub in their den. There are also videos of the cub's weekly examinatins by the veternary staff. It is amazing how fast the cub has grown in just 9 short weeks as of this posting. Here are some favorite screenshots taken from the web-cam.

UPDATE! The cub has a name! After tallying more than 70,000 votes, San Diego Zoo officials announced the name chosen through an online naming poll: Su Lin (sue-lynn) which means "a little bit of something very cute" in Chinese.


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Also related to pandas is the wonderful children's book we found called "Zen Shorts" by Jon J. Muth. It has beautiful illustrations and the text teaches important life lessons without being preachy.

"Stillwater, a giant panda has suddenly appeared in Addy, Michael, and Karl's backyard. But he isn't your average panda. As the children get to know him, they soon learn that he tells them most amazing stories. Each of these stories within the main story is a very short, centuries-old Zen tale that relates personally to each child. In his artwork, Jon alternates between his brilliant watercolors for the scenes of the children and the panda, to monochromatic, spontaneous Chinese-style ink and brush illustrations for the Zen stories."

Twelve Girls Band Live at Casino Rama - October 7, 2005

The Twelve Girls Band is an amazing musical group from China that are rapidly gaining popularity across the globe. They magically blend traditional Chinese music with classical, folk, and contemporary music along with electronic keyboards and percussion. The band is made up of, you guessed it, 12 classically trained women musicians that perform on traditional Chinese instruments, including the zither-like gu zheng with as many as 25 strings; a squared-off hammered dulcimer called a yang qin; the erhu, which is a two-string violin; the four-stringed pipa lute; and the bamboo dizi and vertical xiao flutes.

The band is currently on a North American tour and on Thursday, October 7 & Friday, October 8 were scheduled to Play Casino Rama in Orillia north of Toronto. We really enjoy their music and so were very lucky to hear about the concert quite literally at the last minute. It was a wonderful concert with lots of solos from each of the girls. We hope to use some of their music as the soundtrack to our adoption trip video.

For more info on the band see their official website, www.twelvegirlsband.com. You can get the 2 most recent releases, "Romantic Energy" and "Eastern Energy", at Chapters.ca They both contain a music CD along with a short DVD of song videos and concert footage. You could also try a Chinese DVD/music store of the kind found in Asian malls such as the Pacific Mall in Markham. They would have lots of their earlier releases along with concert DVDs. Watch for pirate copies as quality can vary greatly. We found ours at a small Asian mall here in Brampton.

Click here to view a sample music video of the song "Ruten" off of their latest CD. (Quicktime 3.9 MB)


Mid-Autumn Moon Festival - September 17, 2005

The Chinese Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a traditionally held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar when the full moon is at its maximum brightness for the entire year. It is a holiday for members of a family to get together and celebrate with dances, feasting and moon gazing. Not to mention mooncakes. We took in the festivities at the Toronto Chinese Cultural Centre in Markham. It was very popular with many adoption families in attendance.

We were able to meet up with our Mandarin tutor, Maryanne, who explained some of the customs to us. After dark the children had a lantern parade with the dragon dancers. Sandy just had to get a light-up "Hello Kitty" lantern!


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Children's Bridge GTA Picnic - August 13, 2005

The annual CB picnic for the GTA region was held on Saturday, Aug. 13 at Richmond Green Park in Richmond Hill. At last count, although there seemed to be some last minuite arrivals, there were 42 families with 80 adults and 53 kids for a total of 120 hotdogs! Although the weather had been rainy the day before it cleared up in time for the picnic. There was lots of fun for the kids and adults too with a craft table, puppet show, clown and games. We met up with another family from our adoption group: Margo, Bill & their son Liam. It was great to meet and have a chance to chat. Next year we will have a very differant experience at the picnic - chasing around a fter a little one of our own!


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Preparing the Baby's Room

During the long wait to referral we have been busy preparing the baby's room so that everything is all ready for when we come home. (No last-minute painting/decorating the night before we are to travel!) We had already painted the room a light yellow but have now added the pink and violet on the lower half of the walls. The violet is a semi-gloss paint that is supposed to be scrubable for when there are dirty hand-prints or crayon marks. I like to think we're thinking ahead! The ladybugs are painted on using a stencil. We will be getting a crib and changing table from Sandy's brother and sister-in-law.


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Personal Photo Pages for China Dossier

We were required to prepare a number of photos for our dossier that would be sent to China. We did up three pages: one on our families, one on our home and another on fun leisure-time activites. They were put together with simple captions. One thing we did though was to include a Chinese character on each page as part of the title, just in case all of the captions would not be translated. There was some anxiety prior to finalizing the pages to make sure we got the characters right.



Click on any of the thumbnails above to download the full size PDFs.


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