Sunday, January 31, 2010

A No Controversy Post

Yep that's right no controversy this week. Just a little update.

* I like to buy a book and provide a special snack for Sophie's class for Chinese holidays like the Moon Festival and Chinese New Year. Last year her class was small enough that I bought this for the class. This year the class was bigger so I went here and got this, this and this for her class. I got fortune cookies instead of almond cookies because I think there might be a kiddo with a nut allergy in her class ( I know they are not really Chinese...but kids LOVE them!) I also picked up a book for her class library. I hope her teacher and class enjoy the special book and treats!

* It snowed here yesterday to the tune of about 6-8 inches. Not a big deal in most parts of the country...but I will be lucky to get back to school by Wednesday. All three kids have had a blast playing in the snow. Personally I'm ready for spring!

* I went cotillion dress shopping with Hannah today. It is so hard to find any dresses for her that she likes and that fit her. She is so tall and skinny. The kids section is to "kiddish" for her and the juniors section dresses are too big.

* I need a girls weekend....baaaad! I need airline tickets to drop.

* Ben's X-b*x has died. Way too expensive to just replace. Way too much invested in games etc. not to find another one. His birthday is in February. Maybe his grandparents can kick in.

* Sophie is talking up a storm. Her vocabulary has exploded! She is using lots of "big" words and I'll be honest they sure sound funny coming out of her little mouth!

* There is nothing Sophie loves more than staying home with "my mom, my Hannah and my Ben" ( daddy always has to go to work)

Well thats it folks. Nothing exciting or controversial....this week.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Just Some Questions

Ok I am going to guess that this post will offend or be interpreted in the wrong way....and this is not my intention. I am Catholic. I was raised Catholic by parents who didn't bring us to church. My sister and I would go to Church on our own once we were in 3rd grade I guess. Our Church was around the corner from our house. Now I am not speaking for ALL Catholics, but as Catholics we tend not to be well versed in the Bible....and for many cradle Catholics not well versed in our own faith practices. So that is my disclaimer....if I offend you blame it on me being Catholic:)

If your motivation for adopting was was related to your faith....for example you were "called" to adopt.....or maybe attended a Stephen Chapman concert or your church called on its congregation to adopt....How are you going to explain that to your child?? "God chose us to be your forever Mommy and Daddy" may lead her to think that God "Took her away from birth mother" which can only lead to why would God do that? How are you going to avoid your child thinking that you rescued her?
We see this quote from the scriptures often on blog headers, usually just a small portion.
"Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, "Give them up!" and to the south, "Do not hold them back." Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth" Isaiah 43:5-6
I found this link easily by g00gling scriptures for adoption.
I am not challenging you faith or your call to adopt. I read a comment a few weeks back and a parent had something to the effect that her daughter becoming part of her forever family was "preordained". That is was God's doing, and then there was a really great respectful response....but I can't remember where I read it!!
I suppose even if I did tell Sophie that it was God's will that she came to be part of our family, she might ask why does God not let Chinese children stay with their birth families, or why didn't God stop her birth parents from leaving her, or why did God make her with a special need???
I remember during one Mass awhile back during the homily the priest touched on "why God lets bad things happen" and oddly his response was simple but it truly resonated with me....the priest shared that "that sometimes when bad things happen it gives us the opportunity to be more Christ like"
Just thought I would ask.....

Adoptee's rights

There are many powerful lines in this song. The one that struck me the most was....."I'm starting my life in Chapter 2"

Our children from China will not likely ever know their "roots". Maybe someday there maybe some kind of DNA data base for children who have been adopted to maybe be able to find their birth families....maybe.

Having said that I can't imagine knowing the information is out there and being denied access by the government. I get that it's a triad and the birth parents rights also need to be considered....but that should be some way to communicate, maybe between a liaison of some sort. Not all births are a result of an unwanted teenage pregnancy, unfortunately some are a result of violence. I do believe that adoptee's should have the right to seek information,and to have question answered if possible. It is a balance, but having the government say that one persons rights are more important than another's is not right.

Friday, January 22, 2010

There is LOTs Going On In My Pretty Little Head:)

Here are just a few things bouncing around my head....

  • It is Friday and I am excited to go learn how to use my CM software that I bought...umm like 2 years ago!
  • Yoli has me rethinking sending Sophie to Chinese School to learn Mandarin. See her comment on my last post.
  • I suck at teaching my children to sleep on their own. Ben and Hannah didn't torture me as badly as Sophie has....but they didn't stop waking me up in the middle of the night until they turned 4 years old.
  • I am now sleeping on the trundle bed in Sophie's room. She cried for 30 minutes with me 6 inches away from her. I confess that I was exhausted and my reaction was not my proudest parenting moment.
  • I really really need her to sleep all night in her own bed. She really really needs to sleep all night in her own bed.
  • I ordered a weighted blanket. We are waiting for it to be delivered and are calling it "the magic mermaid sleeping blanket"
  • Apparently the biggest thing going on in my life right now is Sophie not sleeping.
  • Oh wait....I have a famous ex-boyfriend. No I will not kiss and tell....unless drinks are involved, a fire is burning in the firepit, and everyone listening is sworn to secrecy and laughter:) If you want to know what he looked like when I dated him you can LOOK here.
  • I have started back to the gym. I waited for everyone who started on January 1st to give up.
  • I bought a wii f1t....I was laughing so hard at sophie playing the soccer game I thought I was going to pee my pants. She is one funny kid!!
  • I really want to go visit her but the flights are so dang expensive.
and last but not least....

Sunday, January 17, 2010

You Can't Buy Chinese Culture

You can't buy culture. Chinese culture is changing every day. You can't get it at Chinese school on Saturday's or Chinese dance classes on Thursday's after school. You can't get it by celebrating the Moon Festival, Chinese New Year or even by eating "authentic" Chinese food once a week with chopsticks. The fact of the matter is unless you are Chinese you can't teach your child Chinese culture. Freakin' Fantastic! Now what?!?!?!

This is what we do...... We have incorporated the Moon Festival, and Chinese New Year into the many different holidays and traditions that we celebrate since getting married. We attend our local Chinese association events which are usually part of Chinese holiday celebrations. I am hoping to enroll Sophie in Chinese dance classes next year. ( we have decided not to enroll her in Chinese language school. Read this account of an adoptee's experience with Chinese school when she was younger). I am trying to get some recipes that are from Datong to at least make those a part of our holiday dinners. But the bottom line is that when she is with other Chinese kids, who have Chinese parents, and have grown up in Chinese families.... she really won't be any better off if we didn't do much about Chinese culture to begin with. By making the effort we are giving her an opportunity to get to know some easily accessible parts of Chinese culture....and I suppose these are the ones I can write a checks for.

Wonder Girls

This is a video for a all girls group Wonder Girls from South Korea. They recently opened for the Jonas Brothers in the United States. They can be heard in every club in Shanghai and are trying to break into the US market. Granted this song has the potential to drive you insane. Can't wait to show it to Sophie and Hannah:)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

What Will She Find....

Technology has made the world a very small place. Many of you who stop here to visit don't live in NC and have never met me IRL (in real life), yet I come to you for advice, post pics for you to see and share my thoughts. It is a small little world we live in.

When talking with some other Moms with girls from China we have had chats about what information they will be able to seek out on their own. G00gle is a powerful tool. You can have the computer in your family room friends, but when she is at a friends house or you are busy she will have access to the internet one way or the other. Here are a few links and images that I found thinking like a 13 year old.

For these links I just put in China Abandoned Girls and only looked at the first page.

An article about the dying rooms

BBC News

How Chinese Girls Come to be abandoned-A Research Article

Not including the numerous blogs that have posted

Thousands of images that will break your heart

This is just a small sampling of what is out there for our girls to find. I wanted to write this post because I think our adoption community is currently wrapped up in who is the "mommy". Most would agree....Mommy is the one that is going to have to explain abandonment and what that means.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Treading lightly

Lots and lots of talk in blog land about "gotcha" and the documentary "Adopted". Nothing I like more than lots of educated and heartfelt discussions. Being a parent is challenging. These have been some of MY observations.

  • Families that celebrate Gotcha day are not going to suddenly stop celebrating gotcha day.
  • It seems that many of the families that DO NOT celebrate Gotcha day have bio kids.
  • A movie will not change your mind about Gotcha day
  • A movie can change how you look and evaluate adoption.
  • You cannot turn Gotcha day into a birth story.....sorry you just can't do it, her life started long before that day.
  • Parenting is not for wimps, fairy godmothers, or ladybugs.
  • Saying that you will stop celebrating Gotcha day when your child tells you they don't want to celebrate it anymore puts lots of pressure on your may not think so right now, but when your teenager has to choose between friends and football or Gotcha day dinner, she will choose dinner so she doesn't hurt your feelings....she knows how much it means to you.
  • It is important to recognize that adoption is selfish..."I wanted to be a mom", "I wanted a daughter" etc. Not necessarily selfish in a mean and rotten way...but if the sentence starts with "I" friends it is about you....
  • I love hearing/seeing all sides of a discussion. I don't agree with all sides, and many of you don't agree with me...which is ok friends. It keeps things interesting and if a blog post can challenge me to be a better is all good.
Parenting is a journey, an uphill trek, a slippery slope. We can do the best we can, then try to do better.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Have I really told her she was adopted....

Ummm nope. I am not sure I have even said "adopted", I have told Sophie that she was born in China, that she lived for sometime with the man holding her (foster father) in one picture and then with her friends at the SWI in China. I have told her that Mommy and Daddy went to China to bring her home etc. I have started telling her that she grew in her birth mothers tummy...she has no frame of reference for one I know is pregnant. She looks at me like I have lost my mind...."Mama food goes in your tummy not babies"..... God help me.

Here is a great post that discusses if we have really told our children that they were adopted. Thanks Malinda!!

has posted about Gotcha day and about some kids adoption books that miss the mark. If you are looking for a great book that talks about" the night you were born" here is a great book. "On the Night You Were Born"....I love love love this book. There is no Mommy or Daddy in this book it is all about the baby, and the wind, the stars and animals. Love it.

"On the night you were born, the moon smiled with such wonder that the stars peeked in to see you and the night wind whispered,..."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How will she know she is adopted....

I remember when we first decided to adopt from China. We were talking to Ben and Hannah about it and Ben asked "how will she know she is adopted, she is probably going to look like me" Part of the reason why he said that is that we have an Asian background. My Mom is Indonesian, and I am guessing that people have asked Ben "what are you??" I often got the same questions growing up. Of course we explained to Ben that she would know she was adopted because she would not likely look like us and we of course would talk about it with her......

Fast forward four years and I find myself scared sh*tless that Sophie is going to "remember the day she figured out she was adopted" All the pictures taken with the cameras I sent to China are in a small photo album that Sophie keeps in her book box. We look at it together and talk about her foster father, where she used to live in China and her "friends" in the pictures. We talk about how we came to China and brought her home with us to NC, I have shown her videos of the first moments that we met in China and she has very little interest in sitting and watching. All my friends and family are done being pregnant so the chances of that providing an opportunity to talk about how she grew in her birth mothers tummy are slim. I think that I am doing it right....we don't talk about her adoption a ton, but allow it to come up easily in conversation.

This is the stuff I think about when Sophie wakes me up in the middle of the night.....

Interesting and helpful post

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thank you....

Thank you for all of your prayers and helpful comments. I spoke with Sophie's attachment therapist, he suggested putting her back in our room. I am "modifying" that a little and just letting her get in our bed with one of us instead of setting up her bed again in our room. Once she settles in again I am going to try sleeping on the trundle in her room or moving her from our bed after she falls asleep. That worked before the stress of going back to school kicked in. I love the long breaks, but it seems that it is really hard for Sophie to get back into the routine of going back to school.

Thanks guys rock!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


We have struggled and struggled with getting a good nights sleep for some time. We have good stretches, and I actually feel human. Sophie has slept in our room since coming home from China. About a month and a half ago, I felt attachment wise and healthy sleeping wise it was time for her to move in to her own room. Things were going pretty good for awhile. I really thought we finally were going to sleep. Then Christmas break rolled around and towards the end of break she was waking up twice a night. I told her that if she stayed in her bed all night she would get one loves stickers the way Sophie loves stickers:) And that kind of helped. I also added that if it was dark out that she could not come in my room....well all that got me was her crying outside my door. *sigh* Since returning back to school she is a wreck and waking up 2-3 times a night crying wanting "mama" , before when she was waking up she wasn't crying. She is not having night terrors, I think she is waking up and I am not there ( I snuggle her until she is off to sleep....I know I know). I have tried to help her to go to sleep on her own....but she cries and just will not stay in her room. No matter what I do. Her cry has changed from a flat out freaking out panic cry, to a mild panicky cry for Mama. I have tried bringing her back to bed, kissing her and telling her good night, and leaving. Only to have her jump out of the bed as soon as I walk out of the room. Seriously I could bring her back and put her back in her bed until the sun comes up. I need help people. I need sleep. Sophie needs to sleep.

I should add that we have ALWAYS struggled with getting her down for a nap. Usually I throw her in the car and bring her home and put her in bed once she falls asleep. Over break I laid down with her a couple times and noticed that she was holding her breath and making a little noise when she let her breath out....she is holding her breath so she won't fall asleep!!! When I tell her to stop she usually does, but SHE IS HOLDING HER BREATH SO SHE WON"T FALL ASLEEP!! I asked her teacher about this today, and she said that she "makes a noise" when it is time to sleep....she usually stops when the teacher asks her to, then sleeps about 30 minutes.


Friday, January 1, 2010


I have been lazy about getting this post up...I got it up on FB on time but not here so here is a little update.

I have TWO teenagers now! Hannah turned 13 years old on December 27th! In case you don't know Hannah here are a few things about my teenage girl.

* She never takes a bad picture. Seriously she is one photogenic chica.

* She likes being home. I suspect she will go to college right up the road.

* She is just b*tchy enough not to be a doormat, and still be a sweet girl.

* She is smart and works hard for her grades.

* Teachers looooove Hannah.

* She loves dogs...every kind of dog.

* She is tall and skinny.

* She loooooves chocolate.

* She has her Dad wrapped around her little finger.

* She still likes to snuggle.

* She loves pink and green.

* She is a fashionista.

* She is a good girl and makes us proud to be her Mom and Dad!

The cake!
Outside Carlo's

For Hannah's birthday we decided to make a "pilgrimage" to Carlo's Bakery in Hoboken New Jersey. Hannah and I love to crawl in to my bed and watch the Cake B0ss. I ordered a cake for Hannah's birthday in her favorite colors of course! My Iph*ne said that it would take us 8 hours or so to get there. Apparently Iph0ne does not have an app for the jersey turnpike! TEN hours later we arrived at our hotel! The next day we headed to the bakery only to find a huge line out the door. I am happy to say that the line moved pretty fast. I got Hannah's cake and some cupcakes for some friends back in NC. My Mom bought some yummy "lobster claws" and let me tell you, they were delicious! We don't have any Italian bakery's here where we live....just as well because I do loooove some Italian pastries!! It was a whirlwind of a trip but worth having to sit on the Jersey turnpike. It was a birthday that Hannah will never forget!

Hannah, cousins Lillian and Helen with Buddy the Cake B0ss!

Hannah and Buddy

Hannah with Buddy's sister Grace, cousins Lillian and Helen