The Heirloom Baby Questions Book
I made this book to send with the camera to the orphanage in China after I got my referral, and several other parents thought it was a good idea, so I am making more. The book starts with a blank page where you can place a color copy of one of your referral pictures, so they can be sure whose book it is, along with a place for her/his name in Chinese (copy referral papers, cut out the name and glue it on the correct line). There is an opening paragraph that explains the importance of any information that can be given to you and your child, and respectful acknowledgement that it may not be possible for them to answer all your questions. An English/Chinese letter is also enclosed which asks them to try to answer only the questions you have marked, as they are the most important to you. When I did this, I used a red pencil, and checked 20 questions in Chinese. In this way, there is the understanding that you value their time, and you are more likely to get the answers you seek, than if you send the book without the letter, or expect them to answer all 88 questions. If you have your child already, and the orphanage director has indicated that it is acceptable that you stay in touch, you could send the book to get answers to some remaining questions you have, or take the book back with you for heritage trips.
The questions deal with the abandonment and finding, including clothes, notes, persons involved, etc., health, the routine at the orphanage or foster home, the child's likes and dislikes, and 'firsts'. On the left of the two page spread are the questions in English, with lines under them for the translated answers. On the right, are the questions in Chinese and lines for the caregiver to write their answers. At this date, there are three grammatically correct versions: for a couple adopting a girl, a couple adopting a boy, and a single adopting a girl. Please be sure to include which version you need with your payment.
I think it is a good list of questions, and I hope that the special look of the book will make it harder for them to ignore or misplace it. Even if they are unable to answer the questions beforehand, I think it will be returned to you at Gotcha with the camera, and it is a handy list to have, since someone may be able to answer some questions at Gotcha or at the orphanage visit later. The fact that the answers will most likely be in the handwriting of someone who cared about your child is a wonderful bonus.
The book is sewn through the fold and reinforced to be really durable, and to open flat, and the page size is 8 1/2" x 7". The binding is hardback red imitation leather fabric for the cover and the gold stamped Chinese character for "Baby/Infant" embellishes the front cover. I think families that have these are acquiring an heirloom which will be treasured by their child and her/his children for years to come. I certainly cherish Lily's book, and know she will, too.
If you are seeing this ahead of time, and you think you want a book for your adoption, please don't wait until you get your referral to order it. Because I am a single mom with a full time job, you need to allow me at least three weeks to complete the production of your book. It may be finished sooner, but I do not want you to expect that to be the case. Though I will try to work faster if time is of the essence, I do not always have finished books on hand, and can't get to the post office every day. I consider a book to have been ordered when I have received the payment for it. In the past, I have gotten quite a few email messages that say "I want to order the book", but no payment or other information about the order comes and I am not sure if the parents are expecting me to initiate the transaction, send it with an invoice, or what; I am guessing that these parents are overwhelmed and very busy and just forget or loose the initial information, so from now on, if I get one of these vague orders, I will send a paypal invoice; if you have changed your mind and do not want the book after all, you do not have to pay.
The book costs $25.00 and media mail postage to US destinations is included in the price, which will add an estimated week of shipping time to the time you need to wait for the completed book to reach you. If you want the book to come sooner, you can pay an extra $5 for priority postage, which will cut about 5 days off the wait. If you want the book to come via priority mail, it is $30 for the increased postage cost, and cuts about a week off the wait. If time is crucial, I will be happy to rush the completion of your book and get it to the post office for priority mail in two to three days after I get the order, if you have paid $40.00 which covers the book, a '$10 rush' surcharge and the priority postage. I am also happy to send the book to other countries via USPS Global Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope for an additional $12 (estimated 4 to 7 days) for each $25 book ($37 total for a single book with about three weeks production turnaround time and postage), or a total of $47 for 'rush' service. You may purchase insurance for an additional $1.50 if you want, but I pack securely. I accept bank checks, personal checks and money orders sent to:
153 North Gaddis Street
Rossville, IN 46065-9435
I also have a PayPal account under the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org and can accept credit cards, e-checks or instant bank transfers for payment. To purchase online, you can go to https://www.paypal.com/ and click on the "send money" tab. List the item(s) you are ordering in the message section of the resulting payment page. Please be sure to let me know which version of the book you'd like, as it can be confusing to try to find old emails to cross reference that information after the fact. Also, please let me know if you have gotten your referral yet, and what your LID is.
A deluxe version of the book is also available and costs $55, with media mail shipping included to locations in the USA. Please add $5 for priority shipping in the USA and $12 for global priority to other countries. As with the Standard book, the wait times are the same, and you should allow at least three weeks for the production of your book, excluding shipping time. If you need it sooner, you may pay the $10 rush surcharge and I will get it in the mail in two to three days after the order has been received. It has the same text of questions, but is printed on slightly heavier, rich cream colored paper, and has a hard cover of Ming Gold silk moiré. The endsheets are red with an attractive custom stamped pattern comprised of the twelve Chinese zodiac animals, in colored and metallic inks. To add to the opulence further, a pair of 1/8" red satin ribbon bookmarks, finished with a beautiful Chinese jade bead, and a varying mix of other Chinese beads such as cloisonne, cinnabar, Chinese lamp glass, pearls, and blue and white porcelain beads gleam from the bottom of the book. This really is a gorgeous, luxurious book, worthy of any little emperor or empress.
If you have any questions still unanswered, don't hesitate to contact me. Please feel free to forward a link to this website to anyone you think might be interested, or to your DTC or referral group. Also, let me know if you would like to be added to my email list for notification when I have ebay auctions of "China Adoption" inspired journals, albums, scrapbook covers, and boxes. They will be handmade using gorgeous papers, silk fabrics, paper cuts, and wonderful beads; these items will be similar to the pieces you can see in the gallery section of this site, and starting prices will be very reasonable.
Thanks for your interest in my work, and congratulations on your upcoming adoption!