Monday, May 26, 2008

Please Join This Petition to Continue Adoptions in Vietnam

You can help us too! And its easy! Please send an email in your support of this campaign and contact your senator or congressperson to ask them for their support. Here is all the info from JCICS (The Joint Council on International Children's Services)

Joint Council is pleased to announce A Child's Right Campaign for Vietnam. Please join us on June 2nd by contacting Members of Congress and urging them to join the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs and sign their letter to Secretary Condoleezza Rice in support of the recommendations found in "A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam.”

A Pending Crisis

The U.S. Department of State has expressed concerns related to corruptive practices associated with intercountry adoption between the U.S. and Vietnam.
In response to their concerns, the Department of State will allow the functional closure of adoptions on September 1, 2008 and thereby end one of the most basic of human rights: the right to a safe, permanent and loving family.

Not only will those orphans eligible for adoption continue to suffer the detriments of orphanage life, so will thousands of other orphans and vulnerable children. This is because the service providers engaged in finding U.S. families for Vietnamese orphans also provide a myriad of services to the most vulnerable of children.

As a result, the end of intercountry adoption with Vietnam also brings the end of social services such as family preservation and counseling. It also marks the end of humanitarian services such as educational sponsorships, clean water programs and many health related initiatives.

End Corruption, Not a Child’s Right to a Family

While Joint Council shares in many of the Department of State’s concerns, we believe the solution is not the termination of adoption and elimination of a child’s right to a family. Joint Council, its Member Organizations, NGO’s including Ethica—a leading voice for ethical adoption, the Vietnamese government and Members of the United States Congress firmly believe that the solution is a rational child-centered approach designed to strengthen services, regulate providers and prosecute violators.

A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam

In response to the looming crisis facing the children of Vietnam, Joint Council today--May 21, 2008—initiates A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam. A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam proposes a series of rational recommendations that address the issues of abuse, protect the integrity of Vietnamese families and ensure the right of every child to a permanent, safe and loving family. The overriding goal of this campaign is very simple: to end corruption, but not a child’s right to a family.

As part of this campaign Joint Council delivered a letter to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA) Co-Chairs: Senator Mary Landrieu; Senator Norm Coleman; Congressman James Oberstar and Congresswoman Ginny Brown-
Waite requesting their immediate assistance. We have asked the CCA and all Members of Congress to support the recommendations found within A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam and to work with the Governments of the United States and Vietnam to ensure that an MOA is in place on September 1, 2008.

The Department of State has expressed intent to negotiate and implement a new MOA with the Government of Vietnam. Joint Council applauds the long-term goals of the Department of State, yet finds the short-term path unacceptable. It is clear that the intent is also to allow the current MOA to expire while seeking a new agreement sometime in the future. By all estimates, the Department of State’s current path would result in the functional elimination of services, including adoption, for two years or more!

Finding such a scenario intolerable, we ask for your immediate support of this Campaign. The following page details how you can help us avoid this pending crisis. Only with your active participation will the children of Vietnam have a right to join a permanent, safe and loving family through ethical, professional and legal adoption.

On behalf of the orphaned and vulnerable children of Vietnam, those of us who work to serve their needs and the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, we extend our sincere appreciation for your coming efforts.

How You Can Help

1.Today, please read A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam at www.jcics.org

2. Send an email in support of A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam to advocate@jcics.org.

    1. Send your email no later than May 30th.

Your email will be included in a petition to Congress.

3. On June 2nd, 3rd, or 4th, please contact your Congressional Representatives and Senators and ask them to support A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam.

a. Call both of your U.S. Senators and your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.

· You can find your Senators’ phone numbers and email address at www.senate.gov

· You can find your Representatives’ phone numbers and email address at www.house.gov

b. Include the following in your calls and emails.

· “I/we urge the Senator/Congressperson to join the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs and sign their letter to Secretary Condoleezza Rice in support of the recommendations found in Joint Council’s A Child’s Right Campaign for Vietnam.”

· If they have not heard about the Campaign, ask them to contact the Congressional Coalition for Adoption Institute at 202-544-8500 or Joint Council on International Children’s Services at 703-535-8045.

    1. Send an email to everyone you called.

· The e-mail is important, but the phone call should be placed first.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Great Speech from Steve Jobs

I thought I would share this video. It is an inspiring speech from Steve Jobs as he gets an honorary degree from Standford University. He talks about being adopted, doing what you love in life and how important that is and most touching to me, he talks about what he calls "connecting the dots backwards". I call it "everything happens for a reason". AKA if the bad things didn't happen to you in the past, you wouldn't be where you are today.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Never Give Up

Imagine what the world would be like if we all just "packed it up" in the face of adversity.

Don't know if there's a more appropriate slogan for me. . .


Shirts, hoodies, bags, post cards and stuff available at : Ladybug Landings

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Quiet Mother's Day

Today is a rough day for me. Today is the 8th Mother's Day without my mom - boy does that suck. And then on top of it, I am not a mom yet either and the outlook is unknown.

I have been off the blog for a little over a month now and I miss blogging, but have nothing real positive in the way of adoption news to report and since things have been real hectic at work, I have just "skipped it". So, now it's time to play blog catch up.

Here is what is happening on the adoption front:
As most of you know, the US and Vietnam are not renewing their agreement for international adoptions, so the program will be closing on September 1, 2008. According to the US Embassy in Vietnam's report on April 25, 2008: http://vietnam.usembassy.gov/adoption_warning0408.html and the US Embassy warning: http://vietnam.usembassy.gov/irreg_adoptions042508.html if we don't get a referral by Sept. 1, they are closing the door on us and all the other families who have been waiting all this time.

This news came on the heels of an AP article released April 24, 2008: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5glMEDDL7fjUBcTw6pZgpPq9nf-UQD908I2J01

In case of any changes, I have copied and pasted the details of the reports and the article and posted them here on my blog for reference, they are under the date they were released.

We are not sure if we would pursue another country adoption domestic or foreign if this one falls through. And we truly believe that we have a daughter in Vietnam, waiting for us to become her forever family. So we wait, and hope to hear some bit of good news every day.

Vietnamese law states that our agency cannot discuss whether or not there are babies/ children in the orphanages until they are paper ready, so we haven't heard anything, but remain optimistic that they must be working on getting orphans paper ready or something, rather than just stringing us along until the expiration date.

I am trying to remain hopeful and optimistic, it is hard.

I hope that I can look back at this article next Mother's Day and smile and hug our daughter and say, "Wow, I remember how tough that was! Glad its over now."

Another Corporate Rant

So, right on the heels of Comcast's customer service answering my complaints online, I run into another problem with Big Corporate to rant about!

My corporate victim today: Bank of America

If you have a Bank of America credit card and currently have it on autopay or wold like to place it on autopay, you had better read this carefully!

I wake up this morning and decide I'm gonna do some financial stuff and check my bills, etc. I check on my Bank of America credit card bill that I got in the amil Friday night, to see that it says I paid late. Oh no! How did that happen? I am meticulous about my bills!?

My payment was due on April 23 and it was posted on April 25. So there was a $39 late fee on my statement, which isn't even the worst of it: I currently have my entire balance on that card at a 0% promotional rate, which was now jacked up to 17.99%!!!!

BUT. . . BUT. . . BUT. . . I have this account set up with BankofAmerica.com on their monthly autopay! So wtf????

I call them to find out that their online service, which they call "autopay" is, and I quote: "technically a monthly recurring transaction". And since I set it up to pay on the 25th, it IS MY FAULT that the payment was late! Not to mention, that is a ridiculous penalty for being 2 days late, anyhow!

Now eventually, after about 45 minutes wasted on the phone, they fixed it for me, refunded my late fee and reverted back my promotional rates. But I had to go through 3 different people and suffer the anxiety the entire time, being blamed for this as my mistake and at first telling me that all of my promotional balances could not be reverted. Since I had made a recent transfer check transaction after my apr was switched to 17.99% and even though they continued sending me checks labeled 0% interest rate, just got one in the mail Friday night WITH THIS BILL!!!

Now I checked with them and my payment due date does not fall before the 25th for several months, so I don't have to worry about it for a while, but isn't the point of autopay, that it automatically pays it for you on or before the due date so that you don't have to worry about it every month? Sheesh!

I would hope that some bright financial mind at Bank of America (afterall it is a freakin' bank!) could see how this can be a problem and fixes their autopay system to actually BE an AUTO PAY system. AND find it in their good conscience to refund any fees paid by customers that didn't recognize this problem before, and set their accounts and their credit right.

I can't be the only one ever affected by this!? If I wasn't so careful and double checked all my bills anyways, I would have never noticed this until it was too late! It doesn't alert you to the fact that your payment will be made late when you sign up for this. I assumed the first time I set it up it paid on the 25th, because that was the date for that month!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Comcast Paid Attention to My Blog!

Not sure how many of my bog readers know what Twitter is? Twitter is a social media site that asks "What are you doing?" and gives you 140 characters to tell the online world "what's up". Well, maybe not the entire online world, but at least the followers in your Twitter Stream. But, if you are not actually on Twitter, it is hard to understand the Twitter community that you can develop. Most Twitterers know it is somewhat difficult to explain to a non-twitterer what exactly Twitter is. It can be many things to many people, 140 characters at a time. I have been active on Twitter since last December and I have made business contacts, learned quite a few interesting things via links posted, met quite a few friends, and promoted my business.

Now I can add to that list: resolved an issue I had with my Comcast Cable service.

Here's how it happened:

A couple weeks ago, one of my Twitter Buds posted a tweet complaining about an issue they were having with their Comcast cable service. And my reply was something like: "Oh don't even get me started with Comcast! I had such a nightmare with them, I have Dish now!"

The next morning, I check my replies (@'s on Twitter) and see a message from @ComcastCares: "I am sorry we created a bad perception for you. Hopefully we will be able to win you back for more services."

I thought, "
Hmmm. . . that is nice in a stalker sort of way!"

I know that there are many Twitter related website tools out there that do different things, such as Tweet Scan that allows you to see who is twittering about any certain keyword or keyword phrases, so I wasn't too alarmed; but left it alone.

Then, on April 30, 2008, I read this article from Media Post:
All A-Twitter About Comcast’s Twitter Guy This article is written by Catharine P. Taylor and focuses on Frank Eliason (aka @comcastcares on Twitter). He’s the guy now appointed by Comcast to communicate with those who complain about their Comcast service on Twitter, and a day in his life is one filled with tweets issued by BlackBerries, RSS feeds that alert him to the latest Internet outages, and sometimes being the canary in the Comcast coal mine. A recent problem in the Chicago area became immediately apparent to Eliason by monitoring Twitter, and he believes he knew about it before Comcast staff closer to the situation did.

According to Taylor's article on Social Media Insider "The fact that Eliason’s job even exists illustrates the serendipity required for most companies to get with the social networking program today." Evidently this whole Comcast Twitter thing emerged when Tech Crunch's Michael Arrington complained about his Comcast service issues on Twitter. Eliason saw his posts, and Comcast soon dispatched a team to Arrington’s house to fix his Internet connection. It was, Eliason says, a turning point, but not in quite the way you’d think. Sure, Arrington’s experience with Eliason turned into a lengthy post on TechCrunch, but what seems to have interested Eliason more is how his Twitter followers rallied around him when some said that Comcast had only helped Arrington because he was an influential blogger with a large following. No, his supporters said, he’d helped out many other people too. Comcastcares was forming relationships.

So that evening, I decided to try this theory out for myself. Would Comcast care about little old me? I sent Eliason a message on Twitter, asking if could read my blog rant about the issues I had with Comcast's tech support and customer service last year that caused me to switch to satellite. I sent him the link to the post here on my personal blog. I let him know, as posted on my blog that the purposes behind my rant were #1 to vent my frustrations and #2 the hope that one day someone in an exec level or marketing level position with Comcast could one day read it and see what they put a customer through. I also let him know that I wanted nothing monetarily out of it, since I am contracted with Dish now, but what I did want was to ensure no one had to go through what my husband and I did! I added in the positive points about Comcast: I still enjoy their fast internet service and never had a problem with the actual TV service connection, channels or reception for the TV service, and I added that this was not an attack on him personally. (This took a few tweets at 140 characters or less each.) Mr. Eliason replied with his email address and asked me to email him my account info so that he could share my story. A few days later, I received a call from Comcast's Broward County Customer Service management with an apology, a contact # if I ever wanted to return to Comcast Cable (at a discount), and an offer for a significant reduction on my current bill for putting up with the problems we endured.

Not bad, huh? So, I thank Comcast for actually caring and for being there (at least now) to fix my situation as well as many others'.

Follow me on Twitter and find out what the "Tweet" is going on!?!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Snorkeling in the Keys!




I had such an awesome, relaxing and invigorating day with my friend Amanda and my new friend (thru Amanda), Tino. We went down to Key Largo and out on a snorkel boat from John Pennekamp Park. $30 bucks a piece got us about 3 hours of fun in the Florida sun! (Well it was a little over cast, but still really beautiful out.) Not too hot and a nice breeze.

The boat took us out to one of their many local spots, called Grecian Rocks. The aquamarine water looked just amazing from above and below the surface! Grecian Rocks is about a mile long stretch of reef that is teeming with beautiful sea creatures!


The highlight for Amanda and I was the turtle. It was the first time either of us actually spotted one in the Keys (first time at all for me!) and he was a pretty big sucker! There were schools of huge parrot fish and I spotted the biggest Baracuda I have ever seen! I think he was close to 4 feet long! Hopefully I got a good pic of him!

I haven't developed my film yet, all these pics are from Amanda's underwater digital camera. Pretty cool, huh? I will add mine soon!

Some other people on the boat spotted a ray and a 4 foot bull shark. Kinda glad I missed that one!

We ended the day with a late lunch and drinks at Sundowners.

A pretty perfect day!

Oh, and if you are wondering where Myke is?? Home because he has watched Jaws one too many times! : )