NatGeo presents The Most Typical Human 2011

If you were to combine all of the character traits of the world's 7 billion people, what would be the typical profile for mankind? NatGeo knows.

The most typical human:

– is a 28-year-old, right handed man

– makes less than $12,000 per year, has a cell phone, but no bank account

– is Han Chinese

Of course, this won't be the most typical human for long. As trends and populations shift, the most typical human in twenty years will likely be younger, perhaps female, and Indian. Pretty fascinating, huh? NatGeo has even more details in this great video:

The Future of China

This is a really interesting (and lengthy) video look at the recent history of China and the evolution that is taking place throughout every aspect of Chinese culture. The perspective is uniquely Chinese – culturally proud, aspirational, and full of hope for what the future holds.

From the outside, it is easy to see areas where China could improve. From the inside, it's impossible to overlook the evolution that has taken place since the 1990s. It's important to keep both perspectives in mind, as both are correct.

The video accurately relates the perspective we found during our trip last fall. It recognizes that more work can and should be done to evolve the freedoms and opportunities for China's people, while maintaining the cultural hallmarks that are so uniquely Chinese.

You read it here first… probably

As you may know, nearly all of the social media websites that we use in the USA are blocked or have vastly limited access from China.

Facebook? Blocked.

Twitter? Blocked.

YouTube? Blocked.

And so on.

With that in mind, I spent a little time this morning researching exactly how we can post new blog entries and status updates this summer. Despite the restrictions, I think we can stay pretty well connected.

Long story short, if all goes according to Plan A (or Plan B!), our blogs will be a good way to keep track of all the details.

More updates to follow later this summer. 🙂

Congress approves extension, expansion of Adoption Tax Credit

Tucked deep inside the Health Care Reform bill signed into law by President Obama is a temporary extension and expansion of the Adoption Tax Credit originally enacted by President Bush in 2001. This increase applies to both non-special needs adoptions and special needs adoptions.

This is great news for families already seeking to adopt as well as those families that may be considering adoption as it will help defer some of the the costs of adoption, which can run as high as $40,000.00.

Specifically, the provisions contained in the health care bill include:

  • The current adoption tax credit has been extended until the end of 2011;
  • The value of the adoption tax credit has been increased from $12,170 to $13,170.
  • The increase is “retroactive,” meaning that any adoption occurring after January 1, 2010 is eligible for this higher credit.
  • The credit is now refundable. This means that even families that owe zero taxes can receive the full tax credit in the form of a tax refund to help with their adoption-related expenses.
  • The full text of the amended language begins on page 903 of the Health Care Reform Bill (PDF).

    Another year of patience

    Today begins the Year of the Ox and – with it – another reminder that we are about to enter year three of our adoption saga. What was supposed to be a six to ten month wait has turned into our own version of Chinese Democracy, the G&R album that took fourteen years to make. As you well know, the wait has been excruciating for both of us.

    But in many ways, today represents a new hope. We would be blessed to learn that our daughter was to be born under my own Chinese sign – the Ox.

    The Ox is the sign of prosperity through fortitude and hard work. This powerful sign is a born leader, being quite dependable and possessing an innate ability to achieve great things. As one might guess, such people are dependable, calm, and modest. Like their animal namesake, the Ox is unswervingly patient, tireless in their work, and capable of enduring any amount of hardship without complaint.

    Ox people need peace and quiet to work through their ideas, and when they have set their mind on something it is hard for them to be convinced otherwise. An Ox person has a very logical mind and is extremely systematic in whatever they do, though they have a tremendous imagination and an unparalleled appreciation for beauty. These people speak little but are extremely intelligent. When necessary, they are articulate and eloquent.

    People born under the influence of the Ox are kind, caring souls, logical, positive, filled with common sense and with their feet firmly planted on the ground. Security is their main preoccupation in life, and they are prepared to toil long and hard in order to provide a warm, comfortable and stable nest for themselves and their families. Strong-minded, stubborn, individualistic, the majority are highly intelligent individuals who don't take kindly to being told what to do.

    The Ox works hard, patiently, and methodically, with original intelligence and reflective thought. These people enjoy helping others. Behind this tenacious, laboring, and self-sacrificing exterior lies an active mind.

    These people are always welcome because of their honesty and patience. They are reputed to be the most beautiful of face in the zodiac. They have many friends, who appreciate the fact that the Ox people are wary of new trends, although every now and then they can be encouraged to try something new. People born in the year of the Ox make wonderful parents and teachers of children.

    So… wherever and whenever you are, little girl, your mother and father are thinking of you… and we can't wait to bring you home.

    Water purification project for Chinese orphanages

    Children's advocacy group A Child's Right will be headed to China in May to work with the state run China Center of Adoption Affairs on a project to install water purification systems at nine orphanages.

    Once installed, each water system will make 360 gallons of clean water per hour, 24/7/365. With the water system, each orphanage will receive five years worth of spare parts, supplies, and water testing kits.

    If you're looking for a great outreach project, please consider A Child's Right's China Water program and their efforts to provide clean water to 3,000+ children.

    Happy New Year

    One of the wonderful aspects of adopting internationally is discovering a whole new culture. For us – this is our first Chinese New Year.

    While we don't exactly have all the traditions just right yet, we were together (reunion) and celebrated with fireworks. Today, Merrin's wearing red and we made a stop at the alter of St Jimmy. Not a bad start for first timers!

    Happy New Year!