Could somebody please shut those crickets up?

Okay, okay, I realize it’s been a long time. But we might be having company, so everybody who’s still here be on their best behavior, OK?

As a reward for your patience, here’s one of the photo montage clips from the DVD we put together in the beginning of 2005. Fortunately, technology has progressed to the point where we can post it, without clobbering the quality entirely, and without using up our monthly bandwidth allotment.

This is “Now We Are Three” and shows some significant events during the adoption process. As a further reward for your patience, here’s the “director’s commentary.”

The opening newspaper advertisement for Adoptions From the Heart is a scan of the ad that started us on the road to international adoption.

The picture of the house exterior was taken the first day we looked at this house. The pictures of Lauri and me at the front door were taken immediately after the closing. Yes, I’m wearing a PDA on my belt. Yes, I’m a dork.

The story of referral day was described in the August 4, 2004 entry.

Inside the FedEx envelope I’m holding is the letter of acceptance. I don’t know why we didn’t bother to take a picture of the address side.

The hip hammock picture is described in the August 22, 2004 entry. The bear has since been named “Ophelia the test pilot bear.”

The construction fence with the “China–please watch your step” sign: did I mention that, in July, we had contractors in to fill in the underground oil tank? And that it turned out the tank had leaked? And that, until they were able to get the equipment in to remove the tank, we had this gargantuan hole in our front yard?

And here’s the story regarding the Desheng SWI photos. Prior to our traveling, we contacted Adele Hall at about sending a care package to Alex at the SWI. Adele’s service, by the way, was incredible. Included in the package was a disposable camera with a letter to the SWI staff requesting that they use the camera to take pictures of Alex and her friends, and to bring it to the Civil Affairs Office on the day we were to receive Alex.

On Gotcha Day, the camera was nowhere to be seen. We were prepared for this to happen, and although we were disappointed, we figured we simply weren’t meant to have pictures from Alex’s early life.

The next morning, when the adoptions were being finalized, several parents were handed items that had been brought by the SWI workers. The camera was pressed into my hands. The good news was that it appeared all 36 pictures had been taken. The bad news was that the body of the camera was wrapped at one end with black electrical tape.

My greatest fear was that someone had dropped the camera and performed a quick field repair. But what were the odds the film had been exposed and ruined? I told Lauri that we’d gotten the camera, but I didn’t tell her about its condition. I figured our best bet would be to hang onto it until we got to Guangzhou, where our chances of finding a camera shop which would understand my concerns would be the best. I hoped that they’d be able to salvage the pictures.

On our last night in Guangzhou, I took the camera to a photo shop and handed it over. As I did, I finally took a close look. The electrical tape had been used solely to affix a label to the camera, so the SWI workers would know who to deliver it to.

An hour later, the prints were ready. You can see some of the results here.

The final scrolling title is a line from “To Alexandra, on her first birthday,” the August 20, 2004 entry.