Saturday, October 29, 2005

Happy Land of Happy People

I hope our little girl is just as happy, creative, silly and musically gifted.


Thanks goes to the for the borrowed link.

It's official--we're pregnant

I couldn't pass up the chance to post our latest sonogram picture. There isn't much movement from our baby yet, but as you can see, she is darn smart, spelling already. We expect big things from this little one. The "doctor" is saying that we can expect to wait about 10 more months, at least, and we won't get our first glimpse of her for another 8 or 9 months, but we just had so share our joy with you all now.

Thanks go to for the link.

A Rose by Any Other Name

I know the day we hold our little girl is still months and months away, but believe it or not, before we travel, we have to have a name picked out for our little one.

As you can imagine, this has started a bit of a friendly war in the Hawkins' household.

Let's review what we have agreed upon at this date:

1. The name should be a girl name. Go figure.
2. Her last name will be Hawkins. Go figure.
3. We have decided to keep her Chinese name as her middle name. This name is, most likely, the one given to her by the orphanage, but we think it is important for her to have some connection to her heritage and her past. We will not know this name until we receive our referral packet, complete with pictures and a health exam.

Bret likes, and I mean he really likes it (and I am not kidding), the name Hannah Anna Hawkins. He think's it has a pretty sound. How am I supposed to have a serious conversation about the name of our daughter when my husband thinks Hannah Anna is a good option???? He also thought Hannah Barbara would be funny... what is a girl to do?

Names I like (and I don't want any feedback if you don't like them, but feel free to let us know the ones you like) (it's amazing to me how many people give you unsolicited opinions about names. I can say to a friend, "I like the name Grace," and for some reason, said friend feels the need to let me know that "she doesn't like that name and would never think of using it." Who asked you, anyway?)):

Gweneth (Gwen)
Lillian (Lily)

Now, don't those sound pretty. Anything is better than Hannah Anna.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Mr. Hawkins, please define "employed"

So we got our employment verification letters back from our respective employers. There are a couple of things worth noting about these letters. First off, Erin's letter from Brebeuf was, oh, let's call it roughly 1000 words. Now, the example we gave our employers read like this:

"Mr. Jeffrey Smith has been an employee of Mercury Marine Corporation since 9/27/97. He is a Senior Manager in the service department, overseeing all service requests. This is a full-time position. Mr. Smith's annual salary is $76,453."

This, as you will note, is under 50 words. Why the extra 950 words on Erin's letter? That's an excellent question. BECAUSE SHE PAYS THEM TO LOVE HER. I'm convinced of it. It's ridiculous. Do you know how many words I got from my employer? I don't have the letter in front of me, but it was approximately 10. And to make matters worse, when I called HR to request a letter verifying my employment, the HR guy said, "Ok, Mr. Hawkins...Your employment, you say? Is it Friday yet? Ok, you're still employed with us."

What the?!?! "still" ?!

Then to make matters worse, someone in our HR department couldn't figure out how to make a possessive out of "Hawkins" so it says things like "Mr. Hawkin's salary is pennies per week." It's enough to make my wife teary.

In any case, it's obvious who gets the love from their employer in this family. Me? I get a T-shirt and questions like "So, did you ever finish that teaching degree? That'll sure come in handy next semester... Did I say that out loud?"



Tuesday, October 25, 2005

To spank or not to spank--and other such fun questions

Well, we did it. We are officially complete with our home study, and the adoption process from here on out looks like one giant mound of paperwork.

Today was our last visit from our case study agency!! After a quick inspection of the home (even the baseboards were clean!), we answered about 100 questions ranging in topic from our childhoods to our discipline strategies. Bret, thankfully, refrained from using terms of endearment like "The Hammer" (see previous post if confused), so I was thankful.

Our home study case worker told us that she thought we were "darling." Let's say that together... D-A-R-L-I-N-G! According to my good friend Webster, darling is defined as: "1. a dearly loved person or 2. favorite." You know what you can call us... the poster couple for adoption, baby!

While we are excited to have all the psycho-social (emphasis on the psycho) finished, we are still knee deep in paperwork. I'll give you an example of the process:

Step 1: Bret and Erin obtain letter of employment from their prospective employers.
Step 2: Bret and Erin have the letters officially notarized.
Step 3: Bret and Erin send notarized letters to the Secretary of State's office in order for the notarized part to be "certified."
Step 4: Bret and Erin send notarized and certified letters to the Chinese Consulate in Chicago (and LA... we "get" to work with two different consulates because I grew up in sunny CA). Once at the Consulate, the notarized and certified letters are "authenticated," and the Consulate checks to make sure the secretary of state seal is official. (quick question: who has a stash of fake secretary of state seals...???)
Step 5: repeat entire process for like 40 different documents

As you can surmise, this process is best suited for the anal-retentive, hyper-organized, engineer type individual. Good thing I've got one of those handy.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Discovering the family tree (or shrub)

Since my wife has already opened the Pandora's Box which is my family tree a few posts prior, I thought I would add a link to my not so recently updated family tree site. You only have to hear the one about your great grandfather's parrot singing "Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me" while drinking a cup of coffee a couple of times before you think, "Gee, perhaps I should investigate my roots." So I started this project a couple of years ago, and while I think it's pretty accurate, it could use a little love. But here it is, if you're at all interested --

I also plan to delve into Erin's past at some point. Her family history includes a fascinating tenure at the New Llano Colony. Hopefully I'll get to do that soon...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ooh Eeeee Ooh Ah Ah...Ting Tang...Walla Walla Bing Bang

(If you don't get the title, please go here.)

The other big event yesterday was that Erin and I got physicals from my doctor. Erin is sort of between primary care doctors right now, so to make the paperwork situation a little bit easier, she decided to see my doc. Now, you have to understand that this is the man who delivered me into the world, so he's known me for a while. I think he does a good job, but he does have his quirks. Most notably, he has hair implants that look a bit like a bundle of pipe cleaners affixed to the scalp. He made Erin a little nervous yesterday by making comments like, "Have you ever been hypnotized?" and "Did you know I had my prostate checked by a female one time? I didn't like that at all." Needless to say, he's a little odd, but he was kind enough to help us out with our paperwork.

Next step is immunizations... Nothing says "Vacation to China!" like shots for Yellow Fever and Malaria...


So you say your parents are pirates?

So the home study appointment was pretty non eventful, in my opinion. I realize that The Hammer feels somewhat differently, but I think she would agree that overall it went well. They ask about your childhood, what your likes and dislikes are, what your best and worst qualities are (best = my keen ability to smell a dessert food from 50 yards, worst = my inability to keep from saying something stupid during important interviews), and finally, what your parents do for a living. Now the problem lies in that during the entire interview, I'm thinking about what the worst possible answer to each question might be. This probably contributes to me saying dumb things, but here were some thoughts I had yesterday:

1. What does your father do for a living?
"He manages a highly successful local cock fighting ring."

2. What does your mother do for a living?
"Did you ever see 'Throw Momma From the Train' ?"

3. Do you have a room ready for your adopted child?
"Adopted child? I thought we were interviewing to sell Amway?!"

Sadly, I suspect that they hear more of these sorts of answers than any of us would care to admit. So I say all of this in rebuttal to my lovely wife's post below. See, honey? Referring to you as "The Hammer" isn't so bad?


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

You've seen Kill Bill... now, it's Kill Bret

We had our first home study interview today at our Adoption agency, and fun, fun, we have another 4 hour session next Tuesday in our home (yipppeee).

Bret was enchanting for most of the interview, but he did make one comment, and I about went through the roof. Fortunately, the lady thinks he is really funny, and she laughed it off, but I about DIED!!

Essentially, to make a long story short, the lady asked us how we viewed each other in relationship to parenting roles. I said something about partners, blah, blah, blah... and Bret said, are you ready for it (and keep in mind this is an interview for adoption)... He said, "well, I affectionately call Erin, 'The Hammer.'" Yes, that's right. The Hammer.

Now doesn't that sound motherly? Don't you want to cuddle up next to the Hammer and read a book?

We joke about how he'll be a pushover for our little Asian invasion princess, and I'll have to sweep in and be the meany (or the hammer). This little teasing we do is PRIVATE, and only understood in OUR context. Fortunately, like I said, the lady thought it was funny, was half in love with Bret, and totally understood his point upon explaination.

I hated every moment of it. What am I to do with this overgrown man child?

Thankfully, she said she thought we were perfect, so I guess all is well. The fun, of course, didn't stop there. We had to get 14 things notarized, get a complete physical, have 3 different blood tests, a urine test thingy, get money orders, and go to the post office to send everything certified.

Score. One tenth of the paperwork down... nine tenths to go.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Bret's Family Tree--spooooky :)

I just found these pics, and I thought I'd make them available to those who are interested. There are some fine looking, up-standing citizens pictured here, but there are a few rogues. Bret told me once that one of his former relatives only had one arm because he got in a fight in his youth. The sad part... he lost his other arm in an axe fight later in life. I think all genealogy information should have been disclosed prior to marriage.


Harvest Party Gone Wild

Last night was our first annual Hawkins Family Harvest Party. A few things to be noted:

1. There was a strict plan of attack and schedule, complete with pumpkin carving, Charlie Brown Halloween cartoons, haunted chili cookoff and a haunted hayride. We had just a FEW problems with said schedule: the hayride line was FOREVER, the Notre Dame v USC game won out over Charlie Brown, and the haunted chili cookoff started at 5 instead of 7. I would like it noted by all that it was not my fault about the chili. As proof, I have provided the link to the city of Brownsburg's own site:

Please note near the bottom the schedule of events. See. There. I told you so.

2. Needless to say, our good friends have good spirits, and we had a good time anyway. Good. There.

See attached pictures:

I have to admit, that I think my Math inspired pumpkin (which quickly became the engineer nerd pumpkin--ah, poor Bret) was waaaaay cool, especially his PI ears.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Paper Chase Begins

Well, we're less than a week into the adoption paperchase, and it is already a tad bit overwhelming. Today, we headed to the Hendrick's County Jail for fingerprinting and criminal history checks. I'm happy to report that I don't have an official alias and am felony free. Just in case you were wondering.