Friday, February 24, 2006

Travel / Wait Tips Anyone?

Our adoption agency recently asked us if we would speak at their next travel meeting for adoptive parents waiting to go to China. They e-mailed some thoughts on topics to discuss and I thought, I'll put this out on the blog to see what everyone else thinks. Problem is although I have quality readers, I don't know that I have a large quantity of readers. I'm hoping this would help people who come to read my blog as well as our upcoming audience. Stephanie had these wonderful tips on her blog "Forks and Chopsticks" for dealing with the wait. I wondered if anyone could give me answers to the following questions...
What do you wish you had done or did do during the wait that helped you from going nuts?
What was the hardest part of the trip?
Things you took to China: Best, least necessary, wish you'd brought.
My travel group, AKA our "China Family" sent a list of their 'things to take' and I'll share that in an upcoming post.
Oh, and for those of you who haven't gone yet, what question(s) would you like answered?

News on Buttons? She is very Buddhist in her ways. I like to place a Cheerio on my nose and try to catch it in my mouth to amuse her at meal times. I often miss and it will land on my shirt or the floor. (I've never been accused of being athletic, coordinated, etc.) Well, the girl loves it whether it goes in my mouth or I miss it completely. She's along for the ride and gets a kick out of everything. Also, my husband is an awesome juggler, but she laughs more with my juggling which consists of throwing things in the air and trying unsuccessfully to catch them while sticking my tongue out and making generally funny noises. Oh boy do I love her and her laugh. It's the greatest sound in the world.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Head Performance / SAHM Bashing

Ok, I did tell you she liked to put things on her head, right? This is one of my favorite pictures of her. She finds great enjoyment in these tights except if you choose to put them on her legs.

Now to my next subject...On one of the morning shows today they had various women with differing opinions on the stay-at-home-mom. There was an author on who was telling women that they shouldn't be SAHM's for many reasons. One, the divorce rate is so high that what happens if you divorce and your standard of living plummets? Next was - if there are no moms in the workforce how do we get more benefits for working moms? Then - how do we teach our daugthers that we should work? Oh and why would some university want to give women degrees in law just to stay home with their children? There were other reasons but I was trying to get ready fast so my hubby could get to work and I could feed Buttons.

Now I understand these are all big questions and shouldn't be ignored, but do I need to feel guilty about one more thing? Staying home has its challenges but I think it also has its advantages. I feel blessed to be able to do it with Buttons right now. I've wanted a baby for so long I feel as though I don't want someone else to take the priveledge of raising her away from me. It can be very repetitive and there are things that I do to keep myself from being a mushbrain, but isn't this important work?

I also know that there are women who are doing it all and that's great for them, but this is my choice for my life right now. Yes I believe there is such a thing as a greater good, but how did this woman decide she knows what's right? It's an interesting discussion. I don't have all the answers, but at least I'm not pretending I do. Ok, I'll climb down off my Ivory Snow box now.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Knit Post #1

  Posted by Picasa
This is the hat I knit for my hubby as modeled by Buttons. She loves to put things on her head and then get pictures taken of herself. I knit this with Lionbrand Homespun in Harvest out of "The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns". I love this book. It's filled with classic patterns to make hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, sweaters, socks and vests. The great thing about it is you can make these items using any gauge (well, just about) from newborn to adult. I've been happy so far and I know I will use this book forever. I might even make Buttons a hat in her size! I must say I don't normally use Lionbrand since I'm a bit of a yarn snob, but my hubby (M.) can't handle wool and really likes soft, natural fabrics. So, this isn't natural, but it's soft and was actually pretty decent to use, plus the colors went with the new coat I gave him for his birthday. Yeah, that was several months ago and I'm just finishing this very easy hat. Ah, mamahood!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

"Acrobat" by Hu Yong Yi

After finding this on the blog Ruby is Coming, I decided I really like this picture. I hope you do too.

Music Makes the (Little) People Come Together

Today we went to a friends house for a folk singing event. There were five couples with five children under the age of 3. The women and children in the group get together for a play date once a week, so we decided to round up the hubbies as well. It was a hoot and a half. We sang such classics as "This Old Man", "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat". I did the "Hokey Pokey" with a couple of the other women and my hubby helped our daughter do the same. Once again, no big news flashes here, but I highly recommend getting some friends together to do this. We had a piano, a couple of guitars, various kid-friendly percussion instruments and a collective sense of humor. If you can't get your friends in on the fun, please do the "Hokey Pokey" in the privacy of your own home because, hey, that may just be what it's all about.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Sick, sick, sick

I have the best husband in the world. I've always known this, but the past couple weeks have made this fact even more obvious. My daughter and I have been sick with throat and chest ailments that have sent us to the doctor and pharmacy more times than I care to think about. Buttons almost went to the hospital per doctors orders. Scary stuff. We are all feeling better now...finally. (Ok, actually my hubby feels a bit sickly...poor guy.)

So, how do I know I got the best one? He stayed home from work at a time when it wasn't so great for him to be away. He didn't make me feel bad about being sick. He didn't break down and cry like I did on one of the last bad days and wonder if I'll ever feel well again. No, he was nurturing and kind and wonderful. He is so good to Buttons, it gets me teary.

So, no big new flash here, just a happy thought at the end of the long days journey out of Sickville. Oh, and the social worker comes tomorrow for our 6 month post-placement interview after having rescheduled like 3 times and I barely have a voice. How does the house look? Not too bad. It definitely looks like we have a 16 month-old daughter living with us, which I suppose is how it's supposed to look.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Family Resemblance

I've heard from several people now that my daughter and I look alike. I find that a bit odd and yet strangley understandable. My daughter was born in China to Chinese birthparents. She has beautiful black hair with just a hint of red to it. Her eyes are large, beautiful, almond shaped black pearls. The bridge between her nose is wide and flat and I love it because it wrinkles when she's really happy and smiling. (Maylee Beezir means "beautiful nose" in Chinese). Her skin is golden, like the tan I always wished for every summer growing up. Her face is heart shaped with round rosy cheeks, a cute chin and rosy, full lips. I, on the other hand have very pale skin with pink undertones, blue eyes, an oblong shape and blond wavy hair. My nose is certainly not ugly, but would never be described as a button nose. My lips are small and my skin can be blotchy sometimes. So, the differences are evident, right?

Shortly after we brought Buttons home, I held her and we looked into a mirror and I was surprised she didn't look like me or I didn't look like her. Now, the social worker told us when we were doing our home study to remember our daughter wouldn't look like us and I thought she was a bit wacky or maybe she had to say this just in case someone is delusional. But after I watched this child, held her, fed her, soothed her, laughed with her, she became such a part of me that something inside of me that goes beyond rational thinking really expected the reflection to be different. Now, don't get me wrong. I am glad she looks like she does and it would be odd for me to look different than I do, but when I looked at her, she seemed familiar like an aunt or a grandmother. I knew any child who came into our home would be loved and would be family, but I didn't know I would have these thoughts. Somehow they comforted me a bit, though. I guess before we adopted I had some worries or pre-conceptions about seeing my child as always looking different than me. In my rational space, I know she does. However, I see her as such a part of me now that when I look at her I see the expressions of myself, my husband and some of our relatives.

This makes me think back to when I was reading Yahoo groups during our wait. There was a man who made the comment that he "sometimes forgets his daughters are Chinese". People were very upset with him and there was a heated discussion about this comment. Well, I don't know exactly what he was thinking, but maybe it's something like the thoughts going through my head. I think in this world we categorize people for whatever reason and in general the categories of "family" and "looks different from me" don't usually connect. In my case, these categories are very happily linked now and it makes me hopeful that I can do more cross referencing and maybe knock out a few more categories. I won't forget that my daughter is a Chinese American, but I must say that seeing a familiarity in her helps me to understand we are all family.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Why don't you just adopt?

I read one of my fave blogs, The Naked Ovary ,and she inspired me to explore this topic. It's the question many struggling with infertility hear and despise. The thing is, when I was going through IVF and our 2 miscarriages, I wanted to have a baby but I was also looking to be pregnant. I wanted the "whole package", the common experience and yes, the pain. I was so focused on getting pregnant, that sometimes I wasn't always thinking about the ending. It's kind of like when you're planning your wedding, you aren't neccessarily thinking about who's going to write the mortgage check .

During this process, there was much advice (assvice) given to me such as "you should just relax", "you know, I bet you'd get pregnant if you guys just got drunk and f*#@ed" and the infamous "why don't you just adopt". Well, I'm pretty relaxed and I'm ok with having a few drinks and sex has never been a problem for me or him, so whatever. However, the people that told me to "just adopt" had not been blessed by adoption themselves, but were only able to have bio kids. What the hell do they know? Now, I do realize this sounds mean. I understand that people generally have good intentions, but I also want to educate people about the question "why don't you just adopt". I'm also not speaking of everyone who talked to us about adoption. I'm really not that mean, but I'm trying to be honest here.

Adoption is big. It's not something you "just" do. I had always had the thought in the back of my mind to adopt. In 7th grade I designed a house for myself and I thought there would either be a man in my life or a child brought into my life via adoption. I envisioned this child to have dark hair and darker skin than myself and come into my life when the child was older. I just remembered blogs ARE cool.

Of course after I married and we began trying to conceive, pregnancy became everything for a while and then it became too much. The waiting, the let down, the procedures, the drugs, the extreme (fleeting) highs and the lower lows. Why don't you just adopt? I hated that question because when I started thinking of it very seriously, I didn't want it to be my "second choice", I wanted it to be a different choice. I wanted it to be separate.

Here's the good is separate but comparable. The journey for Buttons was much like a pregnancy. Instead of OB appointments we had homestudies, INS fingerprinting, and many trips to the Notary Public. The wait? Oh yeah, we had that in spades. Baby showers? Many! The labor? I consider our trip to China and back to be our labor and delivery. We were all exhausted when we came home.

So now, I get to talk with other people who have adopted about this magical experience. I'm amazed with my daughter. I'm in love with my daughter, head over heels, giddy love. I want her to know I chose adoption, it wasn't my second choice. I came late to the party, but I'm so glad I finally made it since it's even better than I expected. (More work than I expected, too.)

In her blog Karen says it better than I can (entitled "Getting edumacated in adoption"), but I'll try and address something she wrote about...mourning pregnancy. It's a difficult issue for me. Would I know Buttons if I hadn't had 2 miscarriages? I can't be glad of the miscarriages, but I couldn't be happier about Buttons. So, I see them as different entities. I can be sad about the loss of those children and still be exhuberant about my sweet daughter. Those two feelings can survive together, which I wondered about when we were thinking about adoption.

I haven't completely given up the thought of trying to get pregnant again, but I mostly think about whether (or when) we'll go back to China for our second child. Pregnancy and adoption are separate to me, and while the thought of a successful pregnancy is very powerful, the reality of my daughter and my love for her is bigger than anything and for that I am truly thankful.