June 18, 2015

Actual News! Asia’s Adoption!

Filed under: Our Work — Adam Heine @ 3:40 PM

Some admin stuff first: obviously this blog is not being maintained much (as seen from the date of the previous post, approximately 1.6 years ago — the content of that post is pretty ironic). I will still update this blog when there is major news to report like this, but:

(1) Posts from this blog will not always go straight to Facebook or Twitter. If that’s how you follow this blog, might I suggest the subscription link or the RSS feed in the sidebar over there. Then you’ll know when there’s a post.

(2) Minor news tends to come over Facebook. Follow me there if you’re interested (but you’ll also need to be interested in quotes from our kids, updates about the game I’m working on, and whatever other nonsense I choose to share).

(3) We are still writing our newsletter every three months. There’s a link in the sidebar for that too.

To the post! As I said, it’s ironic that the last post, dated Oct 2013, describes hope about Asia’s adoption. Fast forward more than a year and a half, and we have finally met with the adoption board. Cindy, Asia, and I flew to Bangkok (Asia’s first ever plane ride, which she handled great — she also enjoyed the taxi and skytrain, until it got way past her bedtime and she started to melt). We hung out at the adoption center for a few hours, along with several other prospective adopters.

There were about twenty other couples there with their soon-to-be-adopted children. For most couples, they had just met their child a few days before meeting with the board. We had gotten special permission to have Asia in our home years ago (and thank goodness we did; I can’t imagine meeting Asia for the first time when she was seven!). Meeting with the board is mostly a formality, since they already have all of our information. They use the time to get to know us, to see how the child is taking to us, and to ask any questions they still have from the papers we’ve given them.

They expressed a minor concern about our finances (although I think this was due to a misunderstanding — thanks to Torment, we have enough to be comfortable — but anyway they said yes, so *shrug*), but otherwise they were pretty happy meeting us. Asia was a little shy at first, but once she got talking, she was quite happy to tell them ALL about the airplane and the taxi and the skytrain and the special lunch we were going to have after and the donut she had for breakfast (yeah, they made a comment about that too ;-). The board just smiled and laughed.

After talking with them for about twenty to thirty minutes, they said we were a good home for Asia — a very good home, one of the board members added, which made us feel good. I mean, we think we’re a good home for these kids, but it’s nice to know it looks that way from the outside too.

We still need to wait another six months before things are final. Standard procedure is a six-month home study after board approval. A social worker will come to visit our house every two months to see how Asia’s doing. For us, this is also just a formality, since Asia has been in our home for over four years now. But they gotta do what they gotta do.

Apparently, we were also suppose to have taken an adoptive parents’ course in Bangkok last April, but nobody told us about it. So we may have to wait for next year’s course before the adoption is really final (we’re not sure whether they’ll finalize it without the course or not yet). Though the board did say that, having so many kids already for so long, we probably already know everything the course could teach us. “Maybe you could speak!” one joked.

“Yeah,” I said, trying to hide my instinctive terror. “Maybe we could.”


October 16, 2013

In Which I Come to America

Filed under: Personal — Adam Heine @ 7:20 PM

I will be in San Diego from Nov 8 to Nov 13. I’ll be at Coast Vineyard that Sunday. So if you want to see me, chat, catch up, buy me a lunch you owe me (surely at least one of you owes me a lunch, right?), then those are the dates to do it.*

I hope to be hanging out in some generally public space after church on Sunday, but I don’t know where yet; I don’t know where would be most convenient for folks and I don’t have transportation (apparently my license expired a year ago, who knew?). If you can help me out with those last two things (i.e. a place where people can find me/hang out and/or getting me there), you’re my new friend. Come talk to me.

This is the first time I’ve gone back in three years, and the first time I’ve gone alone. Usually Cindy handles all the “hang out with people” details. This should be interesting.

* If you wanted to see Cindy or other members of my family, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disappoint you. It’s just me.

UPDATE (8:20 PM, Thai time): It looks like my expired license is not a problem. From the CA DMV’s website: “California does recognize a valid driver license that is issued by a foreign jurisdiction (country, state, territory) of which the license holder is a resident.”

Thanks, Mom! You’re my new old friend!

August 15, 2013

Family Vacation to Mae Ping National Park

Filed under: Our Work,Personal,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 3:10 PM

It was actually almost a month ago that we took our family on vacation. But hey, it’s hard to upload a whole bunch of pictures, pick some for you to look at, and then write something about it! Sorry about that. But I do have like 50 pictures for you to look at, if you want.

We actually knew very little about where we were going. Cindy managed to find the number of a “resort” (really just a couple of houses and rooms rented out by the German-Thai couple who own them). We’d heard there was a lake and a waterfall and houseboats. We figured at the very least, so long as we had a place to sleep (and a swimming pool, they said) most of our kids would be happy.

I can’t call it a failure, because it was so much fun. But it was nothing like what we expected.

So, there was a lake, but when we got there, it looked like this:

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I drove “near” the bridge and Cindy started screaming at me not to drive over it (I wasn’t going to, but it was fun freaking Cindy out). We walked over it and found a bunch of day-trippers having a tailgate/swim party in what was left of the lake (they had, apparently, driven over the bridge).

Ten minutes later it started pouring rain.

I saw it coming, but there wasn’t much I could do, and some of my kids had run down to the “lake,” so I couldn’t leave them anyway. We got soaked, then one of the day-trippers loaded us in their truck bed and drove us back to our truck.

The next stop (we figured) was a waterfall we’d seen signs for. It sounded cool, so we followed the signs. It took a while to get to where the road ended. In front of a dirt track through the jungle was a sign that said the waterfall was only 12 km ahead.

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“Really? Is this the way?”

“There’s nowhere else it could be. Anyway, maybe the road’s paved farther on.”

It was not. It took us nearly an hour to drive those 12 km, going up and down steep ditches, across more rickety bridges, nearly getting stuck a couple of times, praying it wouldn’t rain again (which would for sure get us stuck), wrecking our truck’s bumper, and trying hard not to think about how isolated we were and what would happen if we did get stuck.

And what do you know, we made it.

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Of course there was no waterfall, but the pool where it used to be was super pretty, and the kids had a great time swimming. I even got a rare picture of Lu actually doing something.

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Then we did some other stuff (went home, got dinner, swam in the pool, slept, etc), and in the morning we checked out and went to a cave.

The cave was actually what we expected (well, what I expected at least). Caves here aren’t like they are in the States. In the States, caves are kind of sacred. You don’t touch them. You only go in with a certified tour guide. You never go off the path. You are never unattended or alone.

Caves in Thailand are sacred, too, but in a different way. They fill the thing with shrines and stairs and lights. And because it’s Thailand, nobody cares if you go in alone or what.

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So there’s the short version of our trip. Thanks for reading.

July 9, 2013

Life at Home

Filed under: Our Work,Parenting — Adam Heine @ 1:46 PM

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. This job has got me pretty busy.

On the plus side, it means we’ve had the funds to, for example, increase Da’s pay for the first time since she started working for us. She’s pretty excited about that. Heck, I’m excited about that. I feel terrible that we haven’t been able to do that for her until now. She more than deserves it.

The boys are all at school now, along with Pan, Lu, and Sarah. They’re doing really well. Even those I was afraid would have trouble in a long-term, sit-still-or-get-in-trouble kind of setting are doing really well. Nathan, in particular, is trying really hard to be on his best behavior, and he’s EXCELLING at it.

So the house is much quieter — mostly. It’s just me, Anica, and Asia most days, and while Asia is usually content to swing outside or play on the piano, Anica wants my attention.

ALL of my attention.

It makes it harder for me to get stuff done, but mostly I don’t mind. Not only do I get a ridiculous amount of FB/Twitter material from her, but look how cute she is on the throne she made for herself:

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Yeah, I’m screwed.

May 14, 2013

First Day of School

Filed under: Parenting,Personal,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 7:36 AM

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In Thailand, school starts in May. So today is the first day of school for all but our oldest girls.

And for the three youngest boys — Josiah, Nathan, and Isaac — it’s the first day of school EVER. Since Cindy teaches English at their school two days a week, that means it’s just me with Anica and Asia a lot more now.

What’s weighing on my mind the most is Isaac. We’ve sent lots of kids to school, but Isaac is our firstborn. One of us has always been with him for nearly all of his life. We had planned to homeschool him. Really, we had planned to homeschool all of them, but Thailand’s Ministry of Education won’t let us homeschool foster kids. And as Isaac saw his brothers going to school, he smiled at us and said, “I get to go next year with Nathan and Josiah, right!”

What am I supposed to say to that?

It’s a good decision. I know it is. But whereas you see six ridiculously cute kids in school uniform, I see my worst fears come to life.

At least I still got Anica, right? RIGHT?

March 8, 2013

What I’ve Been Doing Instead of Blogging…

Filed under: Geekery,Personal — Adam Heine @ 5:37 PM

I let almost a month go by without blogging? Sorry! I’ve been a bit busy with that job I mentioned a while ago.

We launched a Kickstarter for our game two days ago (I’ll explain in a second) and raised over $2,000,000 in two days! It’s been pretty amazing, and we still have 28 days to go. Here’s some more information:

So first, Kickstarter is a funding platform for any kind of creative project. You pledge money to projects that you want to see happen, because most of them won’t happen without your help. If the project doesn’t meet its goal, then they don’t take your money (which is why we say “pledge” instead of “pay” or “donate”). You can learn more here.

Our game is called Torment: Tides of Numenera. It’s a computer role-playing game and a successor to Planescape: Torment (the one I worked on waaaaay back in the day). Both are kind of niche games, which is why we’re funding it through Kickstarter instead of, say, pitching it to a big game publisher.

Our minimum funding required to make the game was $900,000. We hit that goal in six hours (!), and now are hoping for even more to make an even bigger and better game, one that’s worthy of the Torment name.

What this means for me is a job, one where I can do something I love, support my family, and work from home so I can still be with my family. It’s kind of the perfect storm. (Incidentally, I’m still trying to sell a novel, and we still very much need and appreciate your regular support — the storm’s not that perfect).

What this means for you — if you enjoy CRPGs, or have ever heard of Planescape: Torment, or you just like me and want to help this thing succeed — is you can go to the Kickstarter page and pledge something to help the game. Or if you have any gaming friends, you can spread the word.

It feels a little mercenary posting this here, but I wanted you to know what I was doing, and I wanted to give you the opportunity to help out if you wanted to (just like every other time we ask for money). Next week I’ll post some kid pics my dad took, and it’ll be all good 🙂

February 12, 2013

Family Pictures

Filed under: Our Work,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 4:29 PM

You might have seen a couple of these on Facebook. These pictures were taken with the skill and epic patience of our friend Kevin Landwer-Johan.

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January 31, 2013

Gamers, We Make Them Too

Filed under: Geekery,Personal,Pictures — Adam Heine @ 2:56 PM

Lutiya, Cindy, and Adam playing Settlers.

Isaac tries to beat Uncle Matt at Khet.

Josiah watches Cindy, Joel, and Isaac play Dominion.

Josiah hustles Uncle Matt at chess.

January 22, 2013

Geniuses, We Make Them

Filed under: Pictures — Adam Heine @ 8:13 PM

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Yup, that’s Anica and Sam playing chess. The boys all know how to play, and a couple of them are actually pretty good at it. Anica knows you start with 16 pieces on the first two rows, but otherwise she kinda makes up her own rules.

Aw, but look how cute she is when she does it.

I bet she’ll be able to beat them by the time she’s four, though.

January 16, 2013

God-Given Work

Filed under: Our Work,Personal,Religion — Adam Heine @ 4:24 PM

A couple weeks ago, Cindy mentioned I got some paid writing work. What’s going on is I’m writing and designing a successor to the computer game I helped make 14 years ago. I’m SO excited. But what’s really exciting about this gig is how God brought it about. Let me explain.

A few months ago, we were especially low on funds. Normally, missionaries in this position have to go fundraising. And we were going to go fundraising, because God’s given us a pretty sizable network of online friends, many of whom would gladly help us if we asked.

At the same time, God has always taken care of us. In the past 8 years(!), we’ve only asked for money twice, and both times were very much: “We’re going to do this whether we get support or not. But if you’ve got a heart to help, here’s your chance.” (And even then, it was only because a bunch of people were like, “You better tell me when you move to Thailand/build a house!”)

So I was praying about our funds and I basically told God I wanted him to do something amazing, to provide for us.  I understood if he wanted to provide via this ridiculously awesome network he’d given us, but I wanted to give him space to do something more . . . miraculous than that.

I gave him a month (being the amount of time I thought we could last without extra cash). If nothing happened in that time, and our next deposit from Coast wasn’t unusually large, I would go to the blogs, Twitter, and Facebook to give you guys a chance to help.

The month went by. Some things happened (we got a significant discount for one of our kids’ schools, for example), but nothing hit the target number we needed to reach.

Then THE DAY I HAD MARKED AS OUR DEADLINE, I got an e-mail from a friend I used to work with asking if I wanted to write for this new game. For actual money.

I might have danced that day.

Does this mean we don’t have to worry about money anymore? Heck no, but it definitely helps and has the potential to continue helping down the road. Mostly, though, it reminds me that we serve a God who takes care of the people he calls out to do stuff.

I mean, I know missionaries who go back to their home country every year or two to raise money, and sometimes I wonder if we should be doing that. But I think that’s just the path God called them to. I would be terrible at it, and I’m pretty sure it would be terrible for my family. I like this path, and I’m thankful for the reminders that God really did put me on it in the first place.

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