Friday, November 11, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like...

Christmas? Yes, I know it's early. Perhaps you won't read the rest of this because it's not even Thanksgiving, for Pete's sake. Yet, for some reason I'm ready to start decking the halls, singing carols and making cookies. I've been sick all week, which is the reason for my lapse in posting since coughing and lack of sleep makes for terrible blog posts.

However, being sick does make you take stock and also provides time for knitting. After the tragedy in Joplin, a friend asked the people in our knitting group if we would be interested in donating Christmas ornaments to a family she knows in Joplin who lost their home and all of their possessions. Many of us are making or donating items to send to them as well as extra so they can give some ornaments to others.

If I lost my home, I would certainly be grateful that my family and I were healthy and ok. Would I miss my furniture or pots and pans? Maybe a little, but the treasured photos and the homemade Christmas ornaments Z made would be missed most. So, while I can't give the families in Joplin their ornaments, I can at least give them a homemade ornament from us. Z and I have been making reindeer out of clothes pins and decorating foam Christmas trees, Gingerbread people and houses with glitter and I've been making these addictive little hats out of leftover yarn from other projects.

Part of the reason I've started to do Christmas early is the fact that Z and I are in a Christmas show and we'll be busy. We're going to have family visiting and sharing Christmas with us starting on Thanksgiving. I want to get everything ready, so we'll really get the joy of the season. The other reason I'm starting early is I'm so very thankful for all that I have and I'm hoping to give a little Christmas to someone else this year who may need their spirit lifted.

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Sunday, November 06, 2011

Assumptions, Calculations and Categories

Yesterday, we hung out with friends in a lazy Saturday kind of way. We decided to go to a local vegetarian Indian restaurant for their dinner buffet. There were six of us at a table and the place filled up nicely. When I was coming back from the buffet, I saw what I would assume was an Indian American woman holding a child with fairly light skin and blonde hair. My brain went to work trying to figure out their exact relationship. Ha! I caught myself doing something that I read in people's eyes constantly. Although it's not such a unique sight in our area, I do notice sometimes that people will look at me, then look at Z, then look at me again like they're trying to do a math equation. "One European(?) American woman + one Chinese(?) American girl = mother+daughter?"

So here I was, somehow thinking I was "above" all that needing to work out relationship equations, but in my head I was doing the math. I tried to give the woman a generic "hi, how are you" kind of smile, but I imagine she also knows the look of a brain in calculation mode.

When I sat down at our table, I noticed that there was what I assumed was an Indian American man with what I thought was the same fair skinned, blonde haired girl sitting kitty-corner from us at a table across the aisle. Then, the woman I had seen earlier came out of the restroom with the actual girl I had seen. They were twins! My brain was happy to figure out that multiplication equation. I forced myself not to look, but in the back of my head, I was still working on it.

I saw Z look over at the table and then she turned around and said "well, one thing is for sure...I know they were adopted." Hmmm. Surely it was a teaching moment, but what could I say without the family at the other table hearing our discussion? Adoption is a wonderful thing, but trying to understand someone's family dynamic is unnecessary. A family built on love is a family, period. So, I told Z that their family may or may not have been made by adoption and it's something that can happen with any family, but we don't always know the answer. We could certainly make our guesses, but in the end it doesn't matter. They were there enjoying each other's company, eating amazing food and those girls looked loved.

In the end, it all added up to family.

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Saturday, November 05, 2011


I find weekends to be the most difficult posts to write since we're usually quite busy. So, for today we have an update in a list format.

Reading: Working my way through the Game of Thrones series.
Acting: Z and I are in a Christmas show together at our local theater.
Eating: Asian pears from our local CSA. (Trying to avoid the Halloween candy.)
Watching: American Horror Story, wishing Frances Conroy was featured more often.
Listening: The new Feist cd Metals and the soundtrack to The Book of Mormon.
Knitting: A sock yarn baby hat and a vest for me.
Drinking: Coffee from a French press. Mmmm.
Wearing: Sadly, my winter coat.

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Friday, November 04, 2011

Naturally Real

For those of you who are adoptive parents, you may know this post's business just by its title.

I'm currently a stay-at-home mom and yes, sometimes I have the TV on to keep me company during the day. A couple of days ago, one of the women from The Talk was telling the story of a woman who stole money from her child's school to pay for IVF treatments because she wanted another child and couldn't afford it. So, the woman on the show continued with the story, incredulous that a woman who "had one natural child" had the nerve to steal money to try and have another one. Well. There it is. "Natural." That became the story for me.*

Z is Chinese-American and Mike and I are not. So, we rarely get asked the "is she your natural/real child" question. People already "know" their answer to this stupid question. My answer would be "yes, she is very natural and she is most certainly real and she is my child". What is the opposite of natural and real? Yeah, no children are unnatural or unreal. I promise you that her cries in the night, hugs during the day, or the way she loves watermelon is no figment of our imagination.

"You know what I mean" is the sentence most frequently heard when I have corrected people to say "biological child". Yes, I know what you mean, but it turns out that what you intended comes off as ignorant or hurtful. I know in this world of political correctness people sometimes feel like they are walking on eggshells, but language is very powerful and people should know they could be hurting someone by using it. If someone continues to use hurtful language, they should at least they know the possible damage it could cause.

Well, November is National Adoption Month and I think sometimes adoption comes off as second best and not natural. We all need to be aware that our words are powerful. Anyone whose life has been enriched with adoption should help spread the word about the good language of adoption. There are many ways to grow a family and as long as there is love and healthy relationships, then it is best and supernatural. Let's celebrate adoption!

*Sara Gilbert is also on the show and I was a bit surprised she didn't speak up about it since her older sister and brother are both adopted.

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Thursday, November 03, 2011

Thankful Thursday

Keeping up with a blog has never been easy, so having themes sometimes helps. Wordless Wednesdays and Thankful Thursdays are pretty helpful to keep me going, especially for a whole month. It's easy to find subject matter for a Thankful Thursday and it's a good reminder to think about the blessings in my life.

Today (and every day), I'm thankful for Mike.

I've known Mike since I was 17. We've been married since I was 24. We moved away from our family shortly after we married and then moved to the west coast from the mid-west and now we're on the east coast. Together, we've attended weddings and funerals and celebrated many births. We've been through infertility treatments, miscarriages and the really painful death of a parent.

Then there's the day to day stuff. Mike has supported me in my endeavors to do community theater and he is Superman around the house. There is nothing he won't do to help. He's also one of the most patient people I've ever known. He's smart, funny, naughty and nice. He knows me and he still loves me. We've been lucky enough to grow together instead of apart.

I knew he would be a wonderful father, so when we were having trouble growing our family I worried that he would never get the chance. However, once we decided on adoption, I knew I would get to see Mike be the amazing dad he has turned out to be. On the very first day we met Z, we took her back to our room and I watched Mike hold her in his arms and slowly move back and forth to soothe her. As wonderful as it was for us, it was an incredibly difficult day for her and yet, she let go in his arms and went into a sweet and peaceful sleep. It was beautiful and I still tear up thinking about that moment when he became her father.

In China, Mike was her rock. She clung to him while she was very unsure about me. In the hotel room she really only wanted him at first. As difficult as it was for me (and for him since he had to feed her, dress her and bathe her until she trusted me), I knew that once we came back to the States, Mike would go back to work and I would get the chance to spend my entire day with her. She found her love for me too and Mike was happy for us.

Recently, he took over coaching her soccer team when her coach was unable to continue helping. He was wonderful with her and the other kids. It was great to watch them out on the field, working together for a goal. The goal to spend quality time together as a family. I never thought I would be so happy to be a soccer mom. I'm thankful to Mike and Z for giving that to me.

I could go on and on, but on this day, I'm thanking my lucky stars for my best friend, my parenting partner, my love, my Mike. Thanks, Honey.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Wordless Wednesday.
(An oldie, but a goody.)

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Happy National Adoption Month and NaBloPoMo!

I have no idea if there is anyone still reading my blog. My outlets tend to be social networking sites, but it's NaBloPoMo along with National Adoption Month, so I thought I'd try and get back on track.

Z just turned 7 and for the first time is in school for the whole day. There are things she loves about first grade, but she has asked me on many occasions to home school her because she misses me so much. No, I'm not really contemplating home schooling. However, I miss her too and wish she came home earlier. I look at her and sometimes can't believe I was lucky enough to become her mother.

You've heard this before from many people, but I'm truly astonished she's already 7 since I can remember so vividly holding her in my arms for the first time back in July of 2005. Memories come flooding back to me as I watch her do her homework, write thank you notes for her birthday gifts, and read to me. For the longest time, Z needed "pinky time" with our pinkies to sooth her and I don't remember when she stopped, but sometimes I now ask her to give me pinky time and she happily cooperates.

Sleep. Just something else I remember well. Well, when she was younger we didn't get much. We used to take turns going to bed with her in our room and then we finally made the switch to putting her in her own bed and then we were still constantly having to check on her to keep her calm. Once she was in her big bed, we found it helpful to have a small mattress with a sleeping bag in our room to help when she would get up in the middle of the night. It seems just having a place in our room made her feel better. We are now at the point where she pretty much sleeps through the night with very few night terrors. The only remnant is the night light we keep on until we go to bed, which we shut off when we check on her, so if she wakes up, she knows we've checked on her and we're in our room. Mike and I would often repeat the mantra "check-on-me, check-on-me, check-on-me" to get us through the tough nights.

Z is amazing. Mike and I had a rare date night recently and on the way back home we talked about how everything we went through to have a child led us to her. I never wanted to have two miscarriages, but I also can't imagine life without Z in it. Adoption may not have been the first way we pursued a family, but it has truly been a gift and I can't imagine our family another way. I am also thankful to Z's birth parents for all they have given to Z. We'll never know how much is nature/nurture, but she's a great person and we couldn't have had Z without them.

So, Happy National Adoption Month and Happy NaBloPoMo everyone. I hope to see you here everyday in November. We'll see.......

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