Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas In My Heart Comes to Life Part III

So it's the blog post on TRADITIONS!  Woohoo.  What are yours? 

I fully believe that everyone should have traditions.  I know sometimes one may have to alter previous traditions due to circumstances but one can still have traditions that bring out the spirit and magic of Christmas if only for a moment. 

If you stumbled on my blog and are an adoptive parent of an older child that triggers badly or escalates in negative behaviors around holidays, then I suggest tradition by the way of eliminating unnecessary stimulus...(e.g. millions of family, outings).  Maybe running away to a cabin where it's just the immediate family members with nothing but games and snow is the answer, who knows, but I truly believe that everyone deserves to find their moment of hope during this season. 

Traditions that make the Christmas holiday special for me:

1) drinking coffee or hot chocolate late at night by the lighted Christmas tree with all the other lights off and listening to Christmas music for a while.  It's been very relaxing and a great way to end the evening.

2) watching Christmas movies with family on the weekends.  Cheesy movies.  My current favorite one and one that I would recommend if you would like to incorporate warm fuzziness into your life is:  The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey.  Basic plot is two people, a boy and an old miser both who have lost much in the past come together under unusual circumstances and both of them receive a Christmas Miracle. 

3) going downtown and pretending to be madly in love.  Actually two Christmas seasons 10 and 11 years ago were magical downtown as both were filled with different guys I had a love interest in.  One flourished into a dating relationship under the lights and mistletoe, the other turned into a friendship that could have been were it not for the distance...That Christmas season though he did fly out to see me specifically.  Oh I love downtown.  It's also where I dance with friends by the little ice skating rink they put outside under the pretend Rockefeller square like tree and just act a Christmas fool.  I drink hot chocolate or coffee and a gingerbread man cookie.  Oh I love downtown. 

Did you notice that I said two love interests started during the Christmas season?  I know I'm single, but I have found memories of these guys and it did make the season magical makes no difference whether we made it down the aisle or not. 

4) Make cookies for the neighbors and deliver them

5) drive and see Christmas lights

6)Christmas Eve  talent show/pageant within our family gathering at my aunt's house...everyone must participate.

7) Wake up about 2 or 3am Christmas Eve and go outside in our Jammie's to find and stare at the Christmas Star...there is a star that shines bright that night I swear!

What are some of your Christmas traditions?  I've already started Tigger on the magic of downtown last weekend.
At one of the many decorated trees in downtown
The lighted tree on the side of the building and the ice skating rink they put outside

Just so much fun to be amongst the masses enjoying downtown in all it's lights

Grandpa showing Tigger the snowman family

So......What are your family traditions?  It seems as though my enjoyment of the season has scared away some of my readers from commenting...maybe I'm too "happy", however, I firmly believe that unless we partake in embracing hope, wonderment, and magic, then we are truly, truly living life without joy!!!! Make the most out of this season!

DannieA and Tigger

Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas In My Heart Comes to Life Part II

As promised, writing a little bit of my most memorable “Christmas In My Heart” Moment.

Summer was fading away. I was about to start work again as the school year was fast approaching. Excited about starting a new school year and yet a little disappointed that no child had been matched with me all summer long. A match had been made in early June, however, due to some circumstances beyond my control that match of a delightful 4 year old boy had fallen through.

The school year started and so began my work as an elementary school Speech/Language Therapist. Groups of mischievous boys and girls filled my days and oh the endless paperwork. Nothing made my heart more happy then my school children and yet this year nothing made my heart so longing for a little one as going back to work in the fall. A few weeks went by and soon the normal routine ensued.

Finally a phone call. A match. Another 4 year old yet this time it was a girl. It was exciting and since it was early October fantasies started popping up about possibly having a weekend visitation on Halloween weekend or if not hopefully for Thanksgiving! Details were exchanged, full disclosure, now all I had to do was wait for the visitation schedule. One week came, nothing. When it was almost two weeks, I called my social worker but we began playing phone tag. By the third week, I had a feeling something was off. Needless to say Halloween came and went and then my social worker informed me that there had been some glitches she hadn’t known about and it looked like there was already a relative attempting to gain custody of this child, and it seemed like the best course of action was to back out and wait again. November was already here and it was hard to keep up a thankful mood, I was highly disappointed. Of course I was very happy to hear that this girl had a relative that was fighting for her, but while I knew this was a good thing, my heart wasn’t quite in line with that thought yet. As Thanksgiving approached, I found myself dreading the month of December and I knew that it would be a very tough month to get through without a match.

Putting on a happy face, I went through Thanksgiving trying to avoid the questions of “aren’t you matched yet?” “there isn’t a child out there that needs a home”? however, the questions did come and doubt was well into my head. I ended up surviving Thanksgiving and wondering how I would survive the next month. My prayers were slightly disjointed as I prayed to be a home that a child would need yet I prayed that families wouldn’t have to go through trauma, then I just didn’t know what to pray for it was all so confusing. Christmas time looked bleak.

A mile down the road, my mother who had already started reading the new “Christmas In My Heart” book also was crying and praying to the Lord that with all the stories in these books about families finding each other and after reading the story of ‘The littlest Orphan’ was there not one child out there who could be our Christmas child? I later learned that she had specifically asked the Lord to just send her a sign that only she would know about if a child was meant to be in our family. Trying to get into the spirit, both my mom and I in our separate homes and with our separate thoughts put up the tree and sighed, after all sometimes a tree for one person and a dog could be lonely at times.

It was a typical windy cold night in southern California. I was on the way home trying to get there in time to change from work clothes to clothes suitable to attend a Christmas Concert. I made a stop to buy myself an expensive phone. That would at least keep me busy and entertained for a while when I received a phone call. It was my social worker. There was a baby that needed a home, and would I accept her? My social worker had limited information including the wrong age of the child, but in my heart I wondered, could this child be the one meant to come to my home? I quickly declined to buy the nifty expensive cell phone and got the bi-yearly upgrade instead to save money. I agreed to hear more information because while excited I was very nervous about the age…while I was open to newborns and infants, all I knew and was comfortable with were toddlers and preschoolers. As the information came together, the infant was actually younger than what was originally stated. For a moment panic set in, a baby? What do you do with one of those? They don’t talk or walk!

We agreed to set up one visit at the foster home before the scheduled day to take her home. I panicked that day after work on the way to the foster home. What if the baby cried, what if I couldn’t calm her down? Not only would my social worker be there, but the foster mother would probably be making mental notes about how un-motherly I really was. I remember seeing Christmas decorations at the home and my social worker waiting for me. Sending a quick prayer, I asked God to give me the miracle of being at ease with this 4-month old I hadn’t even seen. Walking in and sitting on the couch, I felt a sense of peace. When the foster mother came into the room with Tigger I was in awe. She placed her in my arms and all both of us did was stare at each other. Those eyes, those eyes looked and looked at me and I knew. We connected. Maybe not in that gushy “I’m so in love” way, but in a deep way as if we both knew we belonged there.

Five days later, driving in the wind back to my home with a baby in the backseat, I sang….loudly! There was Christmas music on the radio and I felt like singing. I also was a nervous wreck and thought every car, semi-truck, and tumbleweed were out to get me. Miraculously nothing did.

As evening approached, some of my family came over to help situate us. As I was taking it all in, the clothes everywhere, bottles being sanitized, humidifier bought in a moment of panic due to Tigger having a runny nose, toys, washcloths, I noticed my Christmas tree. Someone had slipped an ornament on it “baby’s first Christmas” and in that instant I knew, I knew that a Christmas miracle had happened. God had seen me fit to give a child a home. My mother knew too. You see, she had asked God for a private sign. Tigger’s name upon arrival was a name that my mother had used for her doll she had growing up. She loved that doll with all her might. When Tigger came home, we all knew…..she was the Christmas child that I had been longing for.

If you have a memorable "Christmas In Your Heart" moment (doesn't have to be child related) please share.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas In My Heart Comes to Life Part I

This weekend has been quite exhausting, yet I did want to continue my tradition of writing in the evenings even after a long Holiday weekend.

Wrapping up National Adoption Awareness Month

While we still have two more days in the month of November, I was looking at the calendar and the activities listed for the remaining two days and both activities are a great pre-cursor to my next topic, so will honor the last couple of days in this post. The activities included to keep in our thoughts those families with adoptions pending from foster care and also to donate and give this Christmas to the children still in waiting mode.

Pending adoptions or basically being in a pre-adoptive home, but not finalized is a very emotional place to be in. Children still aren’t “yours” and the older a child is, I’m assuming they also know that anything could “go wrong” and some children outright expect things to go wrong. Parents of children that “should” end up in their home forever are often agonizing and wondering when all the paperwork, visits, and anxiousness will finally be over. Children may end up feeling these emotions from the parents and sometimes act out, some are fearful, some are grieving and rejoicing and it’s just a very hard time to be in. I applaud families that stay strong after years of dealing with a particular case at times. I was really having to pray and give it up to God and the process was ‘only’ 11 months from placement to finalization, so for these families, please pause a moment and send up prayers for peace and the knowledge that they are where they need to be at this time even if this time is a time of intense emotion.

Holiday time must be very hard on waiting children. The only child I have to gauge this by is through a student of mine who currently is in foster care and will probably be there through the Christmas holidays. I know she hopes she will see family, however, I know she is sad that she won’t be spending it with her mother. I can only imagine what it feels like for a foster child that isn’t reunifying anytime soon or at all and is considered a waiting child for a new family. If you can budget some money, I urge you to work with your state or county’s social services and find a child that your family can give a present to. It does NOT cure the pain of this child by a long shot, however, in this season where hope is most alive, it may just give a child some glimmer of hope and/or happiness that otherwise may not have been there.

“Christmas In My Heart” comes to life Part I

This last half of my post will be part of a 3-part post on Christmas and how much this time of the year means to me….and hopefully through my amateur writing, some bit of magic of the season can come to life where you live and with your family.

Christmas In My Heart* is actually a book series that is in it’s 19th year of publication. That means that the first book came out when I was 13 years old. Christmas has never been the same since! Author Joe Wheeler* compiled some short Christmas stories and put them together in a book….maybe about 10 or 12 short stories in the first book. My mother is one that believed that parents should read to their children and even though I was 13 and not interested, my mother took the time to read me a story…actually I take that back, read to my father and I a story each night. Something about these stories just touched my heart in a way that nothing could. They were happy, they were sad, they were about children rich and poor, they were about the little things that made Christmas magical and about the little things that made Christmas reverent, almost as if you could reach up and touch God in the face. Every year since then, the mad dash in late November to the Adventist Bookstore (A Christian Bookstore) to check and see that another book had been published with yet a different collection of stories. These books made our family close…even in my late teenage years where I’d rather be anywhere but with family, I would make an exception to either stay home and read them myself alongside my mother or to hear my mother read (even if I appeared to be indifferent).

Of course these books always have a tender story about a child finding a home for Christmas or reuniting with a loved one…those are always the best. Of course a cynic can say “oh well, that’s a fairy tale” or a realist could say “adoption is never that easy” or “I’m sure the parents then had to deal with attachment issues”. My answer would be ‘of course nothing is ALWAYS happily ever after’ and of course ‘adoption is never that simple’ however, this is Christmas. Something about Christmas just makes it ok and fine to have hope and look at things through the magic and wonderment of the good in this world. Even if that hope, that glimmer of hope lasted for A DAY, it would have been worth it. If you are a believer, you know that this is the season where you can feel God the closest, if you’re not a believer but celebrate Christmas anyways, St. Nicholas aka Santa Claus is a tribute to kindness and to ‘do good unto others in time of need’. I can’t explain it, but the wonderment, the magic, the hopefulness, the kind, and good rise to the top. Why not celebrate this.

Of course people in my real life circle know that I believe in Jesus and celebrate this through a Christian lens, however, some are also puzzled at my announcements that I believe in Santa Claus. I mean really a Christian doesn’t believe in Santa Claus do they? I say why not? Santa Claus is kindness. While yes Santa is not necessarily the same as the St. Nicholas’ that began this tale and tradition, I urge you to look past the commercialism, look past the hubbub and flurry of it all, peel the layers back and look at what transpires. Giving. Simple. As. That. And giving is a good thing, no a great thing. As long as there is kindness in the world there is a God and there is a Santa Claus! Think beyond telling children that Santa Claus brings them gifts, I’m all for telling kids the truth that parents are the ones that buy them the Christmas gifts, but I also believe in hope and dreaming and making kids believe that Santa confers with parents.

Feeling in the spirit of Christmas yet? I hope so. As I said this is the first in a three part posting. Part II will be my own real life short story of Christmas In My Heart (hint: remember Tigger came to me in December before Christmas) and Part III will be about traditions and how to really make Christmas special in your family. I also hope that in part III you will leave a comment about the ways your family celebrates Christmas or what traditions you hope to incorporate into Christmas.

No bah humbugs here. I fully embrace the season and I hope that in your heart you do too. If you are one of those that didn’t grow up with Christmas tradition, was taught that celebrating it was wrong, or think that it is so much about commercialism that you don’t feel like partaking, I hope that you’ll come back to my blog and at least consider the possibilities.

With Christmas cheer,

DannieA and Tigger
*Christmas In My Heart books 1-19 can be purchased at amazon if your curiosity was at all peaked. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Morning After

Are you guys 'stuffed' yet?  If you are anything like our family, we completely have a tendency to overeat.  We cook like we are going to feed an army and usually have tons of leftovers. 

This year was different in that we only stayed until around 7pm as it's Tigger's bedtime and she doesn't do well if her schedule isn't followed.  That being said, she had a blast.  She ate a lot of food, she ran around the house trying to keep up with older cousins, and she was her unique self.  She only likes certain people, and will not give you the time of day unless she feels like it, so sometimes she would ignore certain relatives, and sometimes she was friendly as if everyone was BF F's. 

In all this state of happiness can you believe that I actually didn't take one stupid picture at all yesterday?  That's quite bizarre of me; the picture taking queen.  In fact, not many people took pictures, most were just sitting around, relaxing and conversing as if we don't see each other the whole year.  It was nice warm family fun. 

Now I'm taking some time to write during nap time.  We did spend the night at grandpa and grandma's last night which means Tigger mostly slept in my bed....I think she thinks that it's too cold at their house to sleep by herself.  This morning, Tigger and I were awakened by Christmas music and Tigger had a full conversation with me at 8am, however, I have no idea what she said, but it was full of finger pointing, exclamations, and vocal intonation, so I'm assuming she was telling me something important.  Grandma tried to get Tigger in the Christmas spirit by having her help decorate the Christmas tree, however, Tigger isn't at that "excitement" age yet, however, I did hear her imitate "tree" and "Santa Claus" so we're off to a good start. 

Hiding in the storage box way more interesting than getting dressed for Thanksgiving Dinner

The morning after....Apparently Santa Claus is working early as well this year...??????

Decorating tree with Grandma

Telling grandma's dog to go away because she wanted to read in peace.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I hope you all are with family, eating a lot of good food and enjoying Thanksgiving day to the maximum.  Even if your families are a bit different and sometimes you don't understand each other, take time to celebrate their [and your] uniqueness.  Life is short and we are never guaranteed tomorrow.  God bless you on this day!


DannieA and Tigger

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Tribute to the History of Single Parent Adoptions

Source: Viola W. Bernard Papers, Archives and Special Collections, Augustus C. Long Library, Columbia UniversityIt's National Adoption Awareness Month in case you haven't noticed.  Of course while most people blog and state pretty quotes (and I love them too) some places/blog posts are more hesitant to be overly promoting single parent adoptions and the comments thereafter are usually very spicy in nature.  Seeing some of the comments it inspired me to go digging around for a brief history if any about when single parent adoptions became more accepted.  I found an interesting site called the Adoption History Project and it has little narratives about different aspects related to adoption in general.  I found some of the narratives quite fascinating...fascinating enough to visit my local library to check out books related to some of these topics. 

I don't agree with the last paragraph, quite possibly because my experience with social services was top notch, however, I found the narrative fascinating.  Read about single parent adoption history here

*Disclaimer* While the Internet is a wealth of information, I still advocate one researching on deeper level if one finds an area of interest.  This may involve reading books that may not be the most interesting, but it's a far better way of getting more accurate information.  These tidbits of online information I feel are just a spring board into a pool of knowledge.

Source: Viola W. Bernard Papers, Archives and Special  Collections, Augustus C. Long Library, Columbia University
(LA county training for prospective single parents in the 60s)

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Sobering Facts about Adoption from Foster Care

Lenght of stay in U.S. foster careImage via Wikipedia
Howdy folks! 

This weekend was an obvious weekend full of joy for my family and I am still over the moon.  Let's face it, unless I do decide to do this whole journey over again, for a while (at least 6 months) I'm free of social worker visits, of having to report every bump, bruise, and cut with my heart pounding wildly, and of course no more asking permission for everything including trimming hair and giving OTC medicine.  Yes folks until a child is pronounced yours, permission needs to be granted for many things...it is more flexible after the termination of parental rights because then I only need permission from my social worker and not everyone under the moon, but that's a blog post for another time!  I can also post pictures if I so choose to!  Woohoo...although I'll probably start being a little bit more protective and selective with that after the initial excitement comes down to the everyday living! 

Tonight, I did want to mention the sad side of foster care adoption.  Before the hearings started on Saturday, the deputy director spoke about the facts and data from our county.  This past year to date our county has granted 536 adoptions.  Wow...let's repeat that again 536 adoptions.  While yes this is great that these kids do not linger in foster care forever, the sobering fact remains that there were at least 536 termination of parental rights done sometime in the last year or two.  To me, that's a sobering fact.  Parents couldn't get it together, sometimes some didn't outright care, sometimes life just really got in the way.  That just blows me away. 

And where do we start to help?  Obviously the first goal of foster care is reunification, so do we help then?  or is this something that should really be in our heads when we mentor, teach, or come in contact with kids?  In our county we have some bad stuff due to drugs.  Should our efforts be more focused on really hammering out the facts to kids that being addicted to drugs or getting involved with people that do drugs can have lasting and lingering effects much more than what has been previously taught? (e.g. previous education focuses solely on drugs ruining you, drifting you and your parents apart, and possibly hindering your road to college), do we educate everyone to take care of each other and to be more willing to help your fellow man (or woman)?  or do we idly sit by because obviously everyone has to have consequences for their choices? 

I certainly don't know the answer and after reading an article about a man in Ohio throwing his girlfriend's baby out of the 3rd story balcony and then flinging the baby against a wall to ensure the baby was dead I guess sometimes evil will just still be in this world no matter how much we try to prevent it.  I guess that although I love Tigger very much, I wish that parents would be able to keep it together for their kids and not have to suffer the ultimate consequence...536...wow.  Here's hoping that we can help the next generation make good choices and diminish the trauma that innocent children sometimes suffer.
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Sunday, November 21, 2010

We are Finalized!

Saturday morning was a blur.....Friday night I couldn't sleep....neither could Tigger apparently.   Of course she decided to get the sniffles and start teething badly and I just couldn't sleep. 

We got to the courthouse at 8am.  There was breakfast for all, Tigger received a build-a-bear, a stuffed bunny, and some toys from the county.  I received a picture frame with the date on it, a digital camera, and they had books on adoption that were free to us.  I did take a few!
In their own voices--I think that's the title, but it's a book about transracial adoptees, should be great reading.
Toddler Adoption (the Weaver's Craft)--Always wanted to read, but never bought it.
A child's journey through placement--seems like a decent book.
Adoption: A parent's guide--nice chapters dealing with different adoption topics and how to have conversations with your child about it--in age appropriate terms from preschool through teenage years. 

Then they made the announcement that the hearings would be starting.  We were assigned to Courtroom #1.  We were the 4th family that was called.  My family which consisted of my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my two cousins (which are basically like my brothers) came.  We also didn't realize that an acquaintance from the church was the deputy director for children's services in my county and when he saw us, he told us he wanted to come into the courtroom with us for my hearing.  When I went in, I had to go in front with Tigger.  I was sworn in and asked a few questions.  Then I had to sign the document and then the judge signed the document and pronounced us family!  Since it was National Adoption Day, the county brought a professional photographer and so I will get my picture with the judge when I get the paperwork from Saturday's adoption hearing. 

Then we had lunch at my aunt's house...it was a mouth watering lunch by the way!  Then we went home to crash!  Today was filled with picture taking and making sure I had what I needed in order to finish up Tigger's room.  Our photo session took longer than I thought it would (just the viewing of pictures and purchasing) so now I'm just waiting til tomorrow to get the final touches on the walls done and move in her furniture that is in my room. 

It's been a great weekend.  Nerve-wracking and joyful at the same time.  I'll leave you with a couple of pictures from our day today.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The use of "Adoption" as a qualifier and/or adjective

Tonight I've been thinking about the subject of the "qualifier".  You know, the phrase "the adoptive child of the Smiths" "This is my son John, he was adopted".   In one of the online forums I frequent there was a rather lively thread dealing with people's feelings on this topic.  Some people have noted that very often in obituaries, you will read that Mrs. Smith was survived by her son and adoptive daughter (or her adoptive children etc.).  In the media, if a crime happens and the person happened to be an adopted individual, that little tidbit of information is splashed on the front page.

Two camps emerged from this thread.....one camp was adamant that the qualifier term "adoptive" isn't necessary and gets irked by all that.  The other camp was more iffy, not necessarily saying using the word "adoptive" is necessary, but that it is a fact of life and the more we hear about children that were adopted into families the more normalized adoption becomes which in turn helps diminish the secrecy and shame that being adopted used to conjure.

Let me try to sift through many of the comments and bring out the main points and see if there are any merits to either of the two camps making their points on the thread.

Media--  Is it necessary for magazines and tabloids to always name celebrity's children as adopted children?  For example one of the celebrities mentioned was Tom Cruise.  Is it necessary to put in the caption "Tom Cruise at a baseball game with his adoptive kids"?  What about this scenario...remember in the Spring the woman Tori Hensen that returned a newly adopted 7year old back to Russia?  I remember on some blogs and forums, single parents everywhere were smacking their heads because now people were talking about how single women shouldn't adopt because they can't handle parenting...so what do you think? 

I personally think the former scenario is unnecessary because it's almost like the point is redundant...Tom Cruise is out at a baseball game with his kids...is it really necessary to use the phrase adoptive kids?  If people live in the states, they probably know that Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman did adopt kids...sheesh even I knew that and I'm not up on pop culture!  In the latter example...I'm kinda glad the media took off with it.  Why? Because I do feel that many people are not very well prepared to deal with attachment issues and while this case was not a positive news item, I'm hoping that it did spark some interest in learning about attachment and what behavioral problems there can be due to neglect and/or living in an orphanage prior to living in a home and having to deal with not only a culture change, but a whole new set of rules that are in place in order to live in a family setting. 

Everyday Life--What about introducing your kids to people as your adoptive kids?  What about blogging about adoption?  What about educating people in the store or school when it comes to adoption? 

Speaking for myself, I walk a fine line between the two.  In real life, I just refer to my Tigger as my daughter.  If I'm engaged in a relationship and we're talking and sharing, I will say that Tigger came to me by adoption and use that time to talk positively about each aspect of adoption, however, as a previous post stated, when out in public I don't owe anyone an explanation and most of the time I'll come up with something to say and just pretend that adoption is not part of the equation.  This is funny to me, because I always come up with ideas to put here on my blog and I do write about adoption and different aspects of it.  I do see the point that we as parents should not ignore adoption and/or it's issues and that the more we talk about it, talk about the ethics, and talk about the way both state and private agencies can improve or have improved.  I do believe this is great because it keeps adoption information out there and as one person said in the above thread..." the more you talk about it, the more normal it becomes".  And having adoption seen as a normal way of growing your family is always a good thing as it ensures your child won't be seen as a second class citizen. 

Obituaries--This is where we see many qualifiers...."survived by adopted _____".  Some parents don't think it's right and say "why can't it just say daughter, not adopted daughter". 

I do agree with this.  If I write my own obituary, you can bet I'm not putting Tigger down as my adoptive daughter, I am going to put her as my surviving daughter and that's it.  (if life goes according to plan)  Someone also mentioned that it may be necessary to write them this way because they may be archiving for future family trees...actually for genealogy purposes.  This was one thing I was going to research and look online for, but life got in the way.  I have no idea if obituaries are the place to read up on when doing genealogy, however, if tracing a bloodline and/or health history, you do need the distinction because in genealogy, adopted people are marked differently because they can't be a source for medical hx. 

50+ years ago, single unwed mothers were shipped off to maternity homes and their children were placed for adoption and all adoptions were closed.  With adoption awareness and focus to this issue, I do think our society has come far in it's attitudes regarding adoption.  Adoption is no longer the shameful secret and we celebrate adoption....for our relatives, because of our friends, or for oneself.  Could this have been possible without all the extra attention to adopted kid?  I'm not sure.  Again I do believe it's a thin line we walk and I hope that Tigger grows up to be proud of who she is....all of her history, not just from when she came to my home. 

I open this discussion up to the readers.  What do you think?  Is the qualifier "Adoption" used too often and only for bad purposes or do you feel that talking about your family, how you became a family and doing extra things like blogging about adoption in all it's glory (including the bad) is helping adoption become the norm  a way to counteract how adoption was viewed a few decades ago?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's been 11 months and 2 days

While I know it's not the year anniversary of Tigger's placement yet, December I know will be filled of posts having to do with Christmas and actual memories instead of zombie like days/nights, so I'd like to dedicate this post to my own musings of the past year. 

This was taken Dec. 2nd I believe.....about 2 days before I received a call saying I'd been matched with Tigger.  Over the next week, I had full disclosure, decided to accept the match sight unseen, visitation at Tigger's foster home which was the first time I saw her, and because I never expected I would get matched with an infant (remember I mentioned having two failed matches before Tigger in a previous post?  they were both 4 year old kids so I just assumed preschool age) my parents and I ran to Babies R Us and Baby Depot in a frantic daze trying to pick up what I needed.  Last December was a frantic month filled with both Tigger getting used to a new house and my crazy self, as well as I was um walking in a daze sometimes frantic because I was sure I'd fail as a mom to an infant. 

I 'knew' in my head that motherhood would change my life but wasn't truly prepared for some of the changes.  I'm going to count down the 10 things I was completely unprepared for.

10:  I'd become even more of an emotional mess during 'tender moments' than before.  (e.g. I love "Les Miserables"...now I can't hear the song 'Castle on a Cloud' without crying, I'll cry during TV shows if it's a happy or sad ending)  Gag me, how sentimental

9:  Laundry!  Seriously?  How much laundry can a baby make?  Apparently a mountain load.  Wow! 

8:  I never knew I had a witch (just substitute one letter) side of me until I became all mama bearish

7:  Bedtime!  I'm not ashamed to admit I've gone to bed exhausted by 7:30pm some nights. 

6:  I never knew the extent of mommy wars until I had a child....oh boy!  If I hear one more comment about when I'm going to get rid of the bottle, when Tigger will be in her own room instead of sleeping with me, and about letting my child suck her finger like a paci I think I might commit murder...please see #8.

5:  I never knew children's songs could get embedded in your brain and drive you bonkers after a while...seriously I love the Laurie Berkner Band and so does my Tigger (thank you Mompetition for your giveaways that made this CD and DVD possible in my home) however, if my brain keeps spitting out "We are the Dinosaurs" when I'm trying to write a speech report, my work is going to suffer.

4:  Grandparents!  I never knew Grandparents could melt so easily and become wrapped around a child's finger to the point that then boundaries have to be set. LOL...Grandfathers especially think they are funny (e.g. tonight we had dinner at grandma and grandpa's and my dad gets all proud and says 'look what I taught her" ....grandpa--"Wassssup" Tigger--"Wassssup"...ok seriously dad, not really wanting her to sound like that old Budweiser commercial!)

3:  I never ever thought I would de-prioritize my job...don't get me wrong, I do my job, and I do the best I can in the time that I have, but I used to stay late....think the whole world would stop if I wasn't at work running my speech therapy groups and all that.  Now my job is great, but once I'm done, I'm done.  And I also know that even if I have to be out, if God forbid I die, well guess what, people may miss me for a day or so, but life will go on and yes work will survive without me....but Tigger may not, so she is the top priority hands down and I have no guilt. 

2:  The house....oh my house, my beautiful bachelorette house that I had set up looking like it was a model home...I never thought I would take time to play with Tigger over picking up clutter right away and yeah I've been guilty of leaving the sink full of dishes overnight....gag me.  (don't tell my mom, she will have a heart attack), yeah I  never thought my house would look like Toys R Us threw up on it.  I was never going to impulsively buy toys for Tigger....self control  you know :)

But you know the kicker and the one thing I was very unprepared for was

1:  The worry!  I never thought that I would be wracked with worry for my child the way that I am.  Is she ok?  Does she look uncomfortable?  Worry about what could happen!  Worry that I am a single parent and mortality is more real....praying that God grants me life until Tigger is at least 18 years old if not more.  Worry that she may fall for peer pressure ...I never thought worry could keep me up, be a nasty thought in the back of my mind always, and would be a constant friend that I don't think is leaving anytime soon.  It does make me glad that I do have a belief system and that prayer helps calm me down, but this my friends is what I never was adequately prepared for...and this was the one thing that scared me more than anything else.

As we move towards Saturday and finalization, I think about the last 11 months and 5 days.  (will be 5 days on Saturday lol) It's been a year and I can only hope that I keep growing, learning and getting better at this parenting thing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What movies have you seen that have an adoption theme (National Awareness Month day 16)?

So today's little activity in the month of November is to watch an adoption themed movie....I thought I'd share a few I liked.

1.  Martian Child--I like this movie because it is an older child adoption...one through foster care.  While critics didn't really care for the movie because it was "too slow" I thought it did a great portrayal of the fact that bonding and attachment doesn't happen overnight and that it can be an ongoing struggle.  That is very real and most often glossed over in films. 

2.  Two films....short documentaries that I have blogged about before on PBS POV programming.  Deanne Borshay films her search for answers about her family back in Korea and her struggle to reconcile the secrecy regarding the details of her adoption [made to take on another identity and shipped off to the US under another name] and in the end making peace with all the pieces in her life.  these stores go in order

First Person Plural can be watched here
In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee can be watched here

I love these films because I love 'drama'.  I like 'real' types of films.  I'm not interested in a happy ending per say, I enjoy the more somber tone.  If you do like movies that end in 'happy endings' then I did also enjoy watching "The Blind Side"...it stops at the proverbial 'happy ending' however, it's a nice non-fiction story and does also bring awareness to some issues that abound in our own backyards so to speak. 

I hope you'll think about indulging my request to watch these films...I may be slightly biased, but I feel that these films are pretty good about showing real emotion in various aspects of adoption.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The reality of how I see it (National Adoption Awareness Month)

I was in line at the local grocery store.  Two women behind us were just commenting about Tigger and how cute she is...I smile and agree because well ya know, she is cute.  The great thing about where we live is that people will automatically assume a child is yours biologically and they also know when your child is biracial.  It's nothing sinister, it's just where I live, most people are in interracial or intercultural marriages so we're an interesting town.  Well these ladies were interested in my Tigger because the lady has a grandson that resembles her and then started talking to me about biracial children and how gorgeous they are.  I nod and agree...again, I'm slightly biased. 

Then they ask the question "was she very light skinned when she was born?"  To which I answered 'yes' and didn't elaborate.  First of all, I'd seen a newborn picture so I wasn't lying, second of all these are strangers so they don't automatically need to know that we are an adoptive family, and third I don't use the word "adopted" as an adjective in front of the noun child (or daughter)....Tigger is my daughter period.  Do we have other complexities that she and I will deal with in the future?  YES.  Do we look the same?  (well ironically we do look similar in some ways) that's debatable, Do we love each other?  YES.  Do I need to qualify the fact that she was adopted to everyone we meet?  um NO...

Yes this is adoption awareness month, yes I'm more than happy to blog about my journey, but the truth of the matter is that she's my daughter and that's all one needs to know.  A person asked me when did I have a kid...I answered and said it happened last year....another  person that  just happened to know my situation quickly made a point to say that I was lying because I didn't "have" her....I rolled my eyes and pleaded "semantics"...who cares?  Maybe they were trying to spare me from whispers of "that loose woman"...I don't care...if a stranger wants to brand me with "slut"  well let's just say I've made peace with that a long time ago. 

In adoption awareness...there are different types of awareness for different people and their perspectives...birthmothers, adoptees, and adoptive parents.  My point for me in my view as an adoptive parent is that being aware means that you know that don't treat my child as a second class citizen.  Be prepared to get slapped if you even insinuate that Tigger isn't "real", "my own", or ask when I'm going to "have my own".  Don't go there.  Ever.  Tigger was my FIRST choice and foster/adopt was my FIRST choice. 

If you read this blog and aren't quite sure about what is real and what is a myth when it comes to adoption...I encourage you to research and search out what is true and what is not.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Haircuts, Plans, and Chaos Oh My!

That's right, it's been a full weekend.  So I will put this blog post in three categories

Haircuts:  My mom got her hair cut today, it looks great.  It was just a trim.  I got my haircut today....if you know me in real life, you know this means I did something drastic....yup that's right, I have short, short hair now that I can spike but still some layering in front for snazzy styling...I just got tired of looking like the bag lady with my medium cut hair.  Tigger takes up most of my time in the mornings and while I have great hair, I don't have a lot of time to spend on it, so I told the hairstylist to cut it all off but with some length in the front for quick styling purposes.  I totally told her I was dealing with a 15 month old and needed an easy cut while still maintaining style and she said, 'I have an idea' and there ya go.  So still getting used to it, but can't wait til tomorrow morning to play with the hair.  Tigger received her first haircut today.  Nothing quite drastic, but her hair did need to be even.  She still has the baby hair mixed in with her awesome hair growing in now, so she has needed a cut to even things out.  She looks fabulous as always and we are all ready for finalization on Saturday the 20th now.

Plans:  Well next weekend our family has plans.  Saturday morning is finalization.  Then we are all eating lunch at my aunt's house to celebrate....a late lunch I think.  Of course since we will be all nice and done, Sunday will be our family's official family portrait day...we already have an appointment.  My plans are for my parents, myself, and Tigger to have a family portrait, then my parents and Tigger, and then myself and Tigger in a variety of poses...we'll see if I can choose easily between pictures.  I have such a hard time usually...I love 'em all.  So very busy weekend next weekend.

Chaos:  Well this could go in the 'plans' part, but considering my guest bedroom (soon-to-be Tigger's big girl room) is a mess, I'm officially calling it 'chaos'.  My dad came over today and tore down the guest bed I still had in Tigger's bedroom.  Tomorrow he is taking it to my parent's house and we are cleaning the carpet and moving my drawers I moved in there back into my room.  Then I can start decorating the walls and putting the new furniture I have for her (in the garage) in the room and by next weekend, the crib is going in and the room will actually look like it's her room now.  But for right now, my upstairs is complete chaos. 

And that friends, was my weekend!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tiredness abounds

I did a ton of housework yesterday to make up for the fact that I've been tired by 8pm every night this week after unprecedented tantrums from Tigger.  Well when we went to bed after a fun day....yes fun because we were both home, I fell asleep shortly after her 7pm bedtime....hmmmmm  hence my blog post didn't make it until this morning since I usually blog between 8 and 9pm....hmmmmmm

This weekend, I am glad to announce that I will finally work on Tigger's actual bedroom (yes she still sleeps in my room lol) and I will be taking down the guest bed, and working on her walls with the border and decals I bought to match her theme.  I went and bought a lamp, wall decorations, a throw rug for the room, now all I need is a toy box and we're good to go.  The only sad thing is that I'm not sure I'll be so excited when her bed isn't in my room anymore....*tear*  oh well, I'm still hoping for little pattering of feet in the middle of the night to come next to mama.  They do grow up fast.  Might as well enjoy their neediness as well for as long as it lasts.  :) 

Of to work after a holiday on a Thursday no less.  We were supposed to have today off due to budget cuts, but our district is giving back all of our budget cut days (otherwise known as furloughs) back so we don't have today off anymore. Good news is we get a bigger paycheck next month and a retroactive check in the middle of next month for the Oct./Nov. checks that were less money.  I humbly proclaim that we have been blessed.  People like my mother still are working under furloughs or shortened hours.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Holiday Tomorrow!

I love it when I have a holiday that comes up nowadays.  That means Tigger and I spend the whole day together.  Yay!  That's also why I'm up late....maybe will pay for it tomorrow morning, but I'm hoping Tigger will sleep in a little since she hates getting up at 5am with me anyways. 

My plans are to work more on her baby book.  The county gave me a great one.  It's more of a life book so it's a baby book specific to adoption so now that I received her packet with all her information in it, I can fill in parts of the biological family tree and do more of that as well as catching up a couple of new skills she's attained. Then we're getting together with grandma to go shopping.  Grandma wants to find an outfit suitable for court in 10 DAYS!  Yes 10 more days and we are officially finalized after 11 months and 5 days of being home. 

All this nice stuff really counteracts the silliness I heard today.  Today was the day someone asked that mother of all stupid questions...."so are you thinking of having your own child later on in life?"  And so I answered "I do have my own child, I consider Tigger to be my own child"  (I was really thinking of answering with "you mean as opposed to the alien that lives in my house?" but then was trying not to be too nasty.  Of course I got the" um no you know what I mean, biological....blah blah blah blah blah.  I actually wanted to say that I had "fixed" myself but then that would have been a lie (and then who knows, I'd probably offend humanity by admitting to tieing my tubes AND using the terminology of a Vet procedure on a dog/cat in a flip manner....can't win I tell ya)  Just another reminder that the comparisons between biological and adopted children are alive and well.  Yuck.  Well too bad people, I'm here, and my *itch is kicking in alive and well.  Watch out for momma bear, she'll eat you for dinner!!!!!

This Is Who We Are...Nothing More, Nothing Less

I decided to break protocol and add a post in the middle of my day because I ran into this picture and it just struck me as to how sweet it looks.  This is everything Tigger and I stand for.  WE are family and when I look at this picture I see a complete family.  It's everything to me and there's nothing missing. 

Lately this month as I've surfed the net, it amazes me how much some people are quick to post comments that without marriage one is not complete...that you still end up alone and that's not what life is about.  I still whole heartedly agree that a 2-parent home is the ideal, however, my life is complete (sorry Christian bloggers am I allowed to say that without guilt? :-/  well sorry, I just did :-o ).  God is my guiding light and my days are filled with happiness (even if tantrums occur and I'm tired by 8pm).  This picture reminds me of the things that matter in life and I'm happy and a little guilty on the pride thing to say that THIS is my family and I love it.  Nothing more, nothing less. 

I love you my little Tigger.  Mommy can't wait to come get you today!  It's early release and we have a holiday tomorrow. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

National Adoption Month (day 9)

So today's little activity consisted of getting together with different people of the triad, and I thought, hmmm good topic for a blog post.  Does anyone know what the 'triad' means in adoption land?  anyone?  (don't all raise your hand at once now)

Triad:  people from all sides of adoption 1) Birth/Natural/First Parents 2) Adoptive Parents and 3) Adoptees. 

Now how on earth do you mingle with all of these people?  Well I've roamed and have gotten acquainted with members of the Triad on adoption.com  It's been one of the online places where most people can come together and respect each other and listen to each other.  Why is it important to hear all sides?  In order to be better informed and it gives you a glimpse of what others may go through as well.  Sometimes more often than not First parents are vilified or ignored, Adoptees get their voices squelched because they should just 'be grateful' and Adoptive parents sometimes get more nosey people around them then they ever thought possible....it's good to come together and support all sides.  It also can make one aware of what legislation is in the works to make sure adoptions are ethical and that any changes made are for the best concerning all parties. 

Sift and read different sides of things...it's good food for thought  (taken from blisstree: top adoption blogs)
Adoptive Parents:
Production, not Reproduction
Overwhelmed with Joy
Salsa in China

Natural Mothers:
I Should Really be Working
Not Mother
The Chronicles of Munchkinland

Harlows Monkey
Heart Mind and Seoul
Adopt This!

Yeah some blogs are easy to read, others not, but each has something one can take away and use it as stepping stones for conversation and meditation on thoughts from other sides. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Tantrums and Eating like it's going out of style

I've been trying to think of something worthwhile and witty to write about but my mind is zapped from energy.  Tonight I had to veg out on the couch in order to gain my energy back before writing this little post and going to bed. 

Last week Tigger decided it was time to walk.  This week she's decided to start tantrums...and it's for everything: before eating...usually she waits until I cut and arrange everything, but not since Friday, bath time is fine, but getting her out of the bathtub is now a major event full of not so safe movements from her and major screaming and kicking, and when changing clothes which results in major tries to kick mommy. 

So these last 4 days have been tough and draining.  I talk to her about transitions, keep the routine constant, I do not let her kick me (which then starts another crying meltdown because her feelings are hurt that I am not letting her get away with it) and we are getting through it one day at a time.  Oh and did I mention she is eating like I don't feed her?  My mom even asked me if I feed her and if I'm sure the daycare feeds her.  Then I saw her eating at the restaurant when I met some friends of mine yesterday at brunch and she was eating like she hadn't eaten breakfast a couple of hours before....tonight, she ate A LOT of food!  I'm wondering if all this is due to an upcoming growth spurt or something (one can hope...since it's been night and day from last week)

Separation anxiety is in full swing as well.  I will look at the positive of this and say that at least this proves we have bonded, however, I'm still tired at the end of the day.  Here's hoping it gets better :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poison Control, Time Change, and Teething

So Friday I promised you all a new post every evening from Sun-Fri.  Well if the title of this post says anything, it means that it has been a tiring weekend and all I want to do is sleep. 

Saturday at church, while I was teaching Tigger's class....my mom noticed (she comes when I teach to sit with Tigger) that Tigger opened a pack of flower seeds and ATE the whole thing, paper from the packet and all.  Now why are there seed packets in the birth - 2 y/o room?  It's part of our curriculum....when we sing about seeds growing and being God's helpers, the toddlers (and babies helped by their parents) bring up the packet of seeds in their kid's basket up to the front to "plant" them....mainly just put them in a planter.  Well since some plants are actually toxic, my mom rushed out Tigger and called poison control to make sure the brand of seeds were not poisonous.  While there was no record, we were under strict orders to observe and make sure she was acting normal. 

Acting normal....I think that's not happening....ever since Tigger started walking last weekend, she's been more tired, crankier, and is trying to find her new normal.  Add that to nasty gum swelling as teething is in full force?  That makes for a draining evening trying to get her changed and into pajamas. 

Who the heck invented this time change?  It's horrible and it affects kids!  Hopefully by Tuesday we're both in the hang of this new time change, but man it made for a super wake up this morning, followed by numerous meltdowns due to being tired. 

Hopefully tomorrow's post will be much more enticing!  And that folks, was our weekend. 

Friday, November 5, 2010

Organizing this blog II

My first post about organizing this blog involved changing the background and adding some more stuff as well as committing to write frequently. 

This post is just to inform that this will be my blog's schedule of events
Sunday-Friday there will be at least one new post, most likely written in the evenings as my work schedule has changed as of today and my free time that I had will go away except for Friday which will have a post in the morning as I have more time on Late Start Fridays. 

Saturday will be a day of no blogging. 

Enjoy and come back to read....comment if you like, I'm human and sometimes needy like that.  Most of all...enjoy the weekend. 

Parking Lot Mommy Guilt

Not me, but let's be honest I too committed the same "sin" as the other two mommies bawling their eyes out in the daycare/preschool parking lot today. 

This would NOT have happened I believe if our daycare/preschool didn't do the worst splitting up of the Halloween happenings at the school.  Last Friday was Halloween.  The school was having a Carnival and didn't want the kids in costumes...Fine, I'm not an avid Halloween fan, I do the Harvest festivals/Trunk or Treat at church and I love that for at least 6 years of a child's life the costumes are cutesy and not ugly or sexyfied (is that even a word?) yet.  I'm not into celebrating Halloween in what most people do, for religious reasons...so I don't decorate outside, I don't go to 'adult' Halloween parties <gag me> and while I did do this with friends during college, I don't watch Halloween type movies in the month of October.  I'd like to keep my house without too much spiritual warfare...I do however, compromise on the fall stuff like pumpkin patches and fall festivals at the church, and do things like pass out candy and dress up my dog and child....yes I did say DOG as well. 

But then the daycare/preschool did something that was stupid.  They said that the following Friday, (today) then the kids could wear their costumes and the school would have a costume parade.  Um HELLO!  It's been a week since Halloween....you expect tired working moms/dads to remember the distinction?  For me and my family it's November, we're in full force of my favorite Holiday Thanksgiving!  I am always very sad that it gets skipped over for Christmas stuff in the stores.  Thanksgiving is my favorite Holiday, I love it, I love having a moment of THANKS.  This year is the first Thanksgiving with Tigger (she came to me in December of last year) and this year we will finalize the adoption on National Adoption Day which is the weekend before Thanksgiving....hello, Halloween and costumes?  not so much on my mind. 

Well when I got to the school and saw some of the older kids in their costumes, I totally groaned at having forgotten.  However, Tigger is 15 months old, she was happy to go play with her peers and gave the stare down to the other kids in costumes since she doesn't like things out of the norm...I really don't think she minded (at least not this year, and maybe not ever as once she turns two I'm switching her to my church's preschool which starts at 2 year olds and I don't think they do much for um Harvest )

Apparently two other moms forgot and their children were much older.  I think they looked 4 years old.  Of course the children start bawling, I mean blubbering because of course now they realized what happened and the sins of their mothers: the forgotten costume.  Well no mother wants to see their child cry out of disappointment so of course once they dropped off their kids and when I was coming back to my car, I see not one but TWO moms crying their eyes out.  Can we say guilt and heartache for causing your child's obvious disappointment?  That's what happens when you split up two things that should happen on the day of Halloween instead of the two week thing.  Oiy let's face it gals, fellow moms....everything is our fault.  And .We. Always. Feel. Guilty. About.  It. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Day 4 (National Adoption Day Calendar of Events)

Well as I look at the calendar of events, I noticed today's little blurb was about committing at least a year to sponsor a child in another country. 

Well this will be an easy blog post....I already have a child that I sponsor.  His name is Michael and he is 8 years old.  His birthday is coming up in December and he lives in Columbia.  I sponsor him through Compassion International. 

Before any of you think I'm a saint or something, (first of all I'm really not, I just used a um strong word tonight after spilling baby Robitussin all over my pants while trying to get the 2ml in the syringe and Tigger just gave me a look that said 'busted') let's think about why it's important to support kids in their countries and in their families. 
1) It helps them stick together.  Truly.  We all know that in other countries, parents with many children that live in poverty will sometimes take a child to an orphanage not because they don't want them, but because they want their kids to eat.  This way, the organization helps with food and depending on the organization, education and/or spiritual education as well.  The end result is that while a family may still be in poverty, children are being fed and the family can stay together.  

2) It keeps them tied to their roots/country.  While adoption is great and wonderful and I can't imagine my life without Tigger, it really truly should only be the last resort.  When keeping a family together through some help/sponsorship a child doesn't have to lose his/her culture (going back a little to the Transracial theme from yesterday)

3)As cheesy as it sounds, it keeps you connected to humanity.  (cue music "We are the World")  People are capable of great things.  Yes I'm truly the optimist.  And people with more "push"/help in life can do great things.  If one is a Christian, then helping others is an automatic mandate, so this obviously is a way to do that.  If one isn't a Christian, it still keeps you connected to humanity and keeps us open to help people in need. 

If this post makes you think about possibly helping out a child in another country, research organizations.  Make sure they are reputable and that the money truly goes to the child, or at least that they fully disclose the %age of money going directly to the child vs. other things.  Try to find people who are sponsoring children and if they like their organization or not.  I like Compassion because my child actually writes to me more than once a year.  My parents use another organization and their child only writes once a year.  Check it out, try it for a year. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

catch up on blogging (National Adoption Month)

As I mentioned earlier, Tigger became ill and so yesterday was spent making her feel better and involved sick day from work and daycare as well as much cuddling and hugging. 

Yesterday I was going to blog about Transracial adoption....didn't get a chance to.  Not sure that my thoughts ever materialized but I'm also the person that if I don't write down everything that is in my brain when I think of it, sometimes it never happens.  So here is my pathetic attempt to write down some ideas that I had and put them together here. 

First of all, what is Transracial adoption?  A basic definition is as follows:  Transracial adoption is the placement of infants and children of one race with parents of another race.  I am completely like an infant in this area of knowledge as I haven't been at this for too long.  After all Tigger is only a year old and cute to boot so some of the more complex issues probably will not surface until later on in life.  While the most common family of transracial adoption happens to be black children in Caucasian families and Asian children with Caucasian families, there are other combinations.  Even Tigger and I are unique as Tigger is multiracial and then got stuck with a loud Cuban family as well so I'm sure we're a fun combo and not the norm.  I was thinking out loud the other day (apparently to myself as I don't have a spouse) that with all the information there is for transracial adoptive families...stuff like honoring culture, incorporating culture into your life, fighting racism head on, there is no neat little check box for children like Tigger that definitely have two or three cultures/race aspects to deal with...I mean what does it all mean?  will this really affect our life?  do I incorporate all 3 races in order to fulfill some expectation either  my own or the adoption world or PACT?  It's a lot to think about and sometimes a lot to ponder. 

In all honesty sometimes I get overwhelmed thinking about it; mainly all the ways in which I can royally screw up my kid.  So what do I do?  Do I bust out the Asian dinner one day while listening to Gospel music and the Beach boys?  Does that earn my 3 check marks of incorporating culture?  Do I ignore and just rely on conversation just naturally flowing?  I asked this question with my online support buddies and got the best and simplest answer.  Are you ready for it? Love your kid, incorporate toys/dolls that resemble her, and build her up by telling her how beautiful she is....oh well that's easy...of course the harder part may come later or maybe not, but in adoption it's just another piece of the puzzle, another part of the spider web that combines into a beautiful design. 

I hope I do my daughter justice.  I hope that my actions and words will naturally build up her self esteem and give her the sense of confidence everyone should have.  I want her to be proud of who she is....all of it (even the part of belonging now to a Cuban family as well), I hope we don't run into situations that I've heard about from my buddies online (horrible racism), but if we do, I hope for grace and candor and a spirit of not backing down...why? because I believe we are all worthy of respect, I believe we are all God's children, and I believe that Transracial families are a beautiful reminder of how wonderful differences can be. 

For better thoughts than mine, please visit a couple of these blogs that I read: 
A nickles worth of common sense
Adoption Talk

And some articles /websites related to educating about Transracial adoption:
14 ways to focus on culture
5 ways to talk to your kids about racism
Talking to Young Children about Race

Life interrupted :)

I had some great blogging ideas/themes running in my head Monday night to write about on Tuesday, but then Tigger got sick.  So took a break from blogging and just took a sick day with my child yesterday and did all the Dr. appts., running for medicine, voting with a sick toddler thrown over one shoulder while trying to vote with my other hand the right way....ha ha ha

So best laid plans fizzled and it just goes to show children, no matter where they came from, no matter what your passion is....they always come first! 

And that my friends is a great reminder to not let passions, electronics, media, and other junk come between parenting...I mean the real nitty gritty parenting!  Everyone will live if you don't blog, get on facebook, or take a day off from work. 

Thank goodness it was only a sinus infection....life is now back to normal

Monday, November 1, 2010

And on an exciting note!

Yes three entries in one day....it may not get this exciting in a while. 

My blog entry yesterday "Journey to Tigger" was featured in the choiceMoms website on the choice moms profile. 
That's kind of exciting.

Day 1: National Adoption Month (read an adoption related book)

While I may not follow all topics while blogging this month, I think I can blog about this activity on the calendar.  I've written about about adoption related book or rather gave my opinion about them here and here.  However, since the day calls to read a new book, I thought I'd give my impressions of one that I'm currently reading at the moment. 

The book is called "Choosing to SEE".  This is written by Mary Beth Chapman and not only does it have the adoption aspect (she and her husband adopted their younger 3 children from China) but it's a book that is written about her perspective on life, her life.  She goes into her personality, how sometimes she just clashed with her very well known husband, Christian Contemporary Artist Steven Curtis Chapman, her struggle with depression, her hesitancy to become an adoptive parent, all the way through the tragic accident that claimed her youngest daughter's life and the profound impact it had on her family.  To be fair, I have not finished reading this book (I"m about three chapters away) however, I have found it to be an easy read and a deeply moving book dealing with loss and hope. 

While adoption is just a part of the book, I would highly recommend it be part of your reading list. 

Halloween and new skills

Tigger is her own individual.  She will not cave in to toddler peer pressure, she doesn't care if others are walking, she will do her own thing when she is ready.  After some false hope two weekends ago, Tigger went back to crawling or doing the 007 walk (it's the name I give babies cruising fast along the wall looking like spies).  Out of nowhere on Friday she ran....yes ran 15 steps to my dad (he picks her up from daycare on Fridays).  Since then, it's been walking here, walking there, what happens if we go fast, falling here, getting up and running everywhere.  Oh my.  Of course this made for a great Halloween.  I put her costume on and voila, there was Tigger walking and running in her Halloween costume that actually was a "Tigger" costume.  We then went to our church's Trunk or Treat event and she had an absolute blast.  I made her hold my hand though as I had visions of her smacking her face on the concrete cracking her teeth and face, but a fun time was had by all.  I'm sure many church folk were laughing at us as Tigger was running and dragging me along from activity to activity.  Picking her up resulted in a very unhappy Tigger, so running alongside my toddler was what needed to happen.  Grandma and Grandpa were there with video camera in hand so I'm sure we looked like silly people oohing and aahhhing over "walking". 

On a side note, since she is walking, she's also discovered doors and door handles.  This morning that led to discovering how to open the door to the bathroom....hm guess it's time to either keep visual at all time or make sure the toilet lids are baby proofed.