Friday, November 30, 2007

Adoption is not all sunshine and roses

After waiting months or even years for the baby of your dreams, many parents are faced with the reality of adopting a baby with 'special' needs. I don't mean physical deformaties, but rather professional help dealing with past trauma in their early lives.

Trauma includes, but is not limited to:

-Abandonment by birth parent

-Time spent in an orphanage



-Inability to have a consistent caregiver

Adopting a child is always a leap of faith. We read some of the attachment books before our referral and hear the horror stories, yet always believe deep inside that it could never happen to us. It does happen more than we like to believe. As I have mentioned it an earlier post, it happened to me.

My daughter has been home for six months now. It took me exactly this long to realize that her controlling behavior, insecurities, in ability to make prolonged eye contact and frequent temper tantrums were due to post trauma resulting in minor attachment issues. Little Sister (LS) has a problem learning to trust! She desperately wants to be loved, but goes about handling the situation in a non-productive way.

No one told me what was wrong with Little Sister. I had to do extensive research on my own to figure things out. Now, with the help of online support groups, therapy and Early Intervention, I feel confident that in time, she will heal. Having this child has been overwhelming at times especially parenting her by myself. DH and I have a commuter marriage. He works out of state. I also have another daughter to care for. Being alone with two kids, one with problems has been intense and emotionally draining.

For months, I kept asking myself why God chose to give this child to me. I didn't know! I finally realize that he gave her to me because I will save her. She needs someone strong enough to fight for her. That's me! It took me awhile to reach the point where I even wanted to fight for her, but I'm here now and that's all that matters.

With God's grace, we will get through these difficult times.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wednesday's Reflection

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.

~Marion C. Garretty

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

One of my favorites...

From the first time, I heard it, Landslide has been one of my all-time favorite songs. It's one of those songs that I feel a connection with. Have you ever felt that way about a song? I like this song so much that I have both versions (Stevie Nicks and the Dixie Chicks) recorded so that I can hear them whenever I like! Which version do you'all like best?

Here are the lyrics:


I took my love and I took it down
I climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky
What is love
Can the child within my heart rise above
Can I sail thru the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life

Well, I've been afraid of changing 'cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older too

Well, I've been afraid of changing 'cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older
I'm getting older, too
Well I'm getting older too

So, take this love and take it down
Year and if you climb a mountain and ya turn around
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well the landslide brought me down
And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills
Well maybe
Well maybe
Well maybe the landslide will bring you down

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Led Me to Adoption

When friends, acquaintances and family first heard that I was adopting four years ago, they often asked many questions. People still occasionally ask questions or hint around that they would like to better understand why some families chose adoption. Today, I will give some answers that reflect my personal feelings:




To some extent; never tried invitro or had invasive surgery


I believe that God planted the idea of adoption in my head when I was a little girl. My parents had several friends who had adopted children. It just seemed natural to me. In fact, my Barbie dolls always had both bio and adopted children.


When my first marriage ended at the age of 30, I had planned to adopt a child on my own when I could financially afford it. My sister brought me home an article about Chinese adoption. At that time, they accepted single women, starting at the age of 35. It seemed a perfect solution! (China has since changed their rules. Singles can no longer adopt!)


Not at all! The moment your child is placed in your arms, you instantly become Mommy. It is very real!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

My Blog Sisters

Dear Readers,

I have graciously accepted an invitation to participate in a blog exchange, A Continual Happiness. If you aren't familiar with this concept, it's one blog with several contributors, each sharing personal anecdotes, humor and advice through their postings. I would like to thank the ladies who invited me and encourage everyone to check us out at the web address below. You can also click on the link to the left of this page.

One can never have too much HAPPINESS!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This Year I'm Grateful For...

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to sit down and remind ourselves of all the things we are thankful for. It's easy to be stressed out and only see the negative side of life, but God doesn't want us to live that way. He loves us and wants us to be happy so here are some things we can all be happy about this year:



*Nature's beauty


*Entertainment (TV, Movies, Sports, etc.)

*Food on our table

*Good health


*A working car

*Cell phones (for safety)

*God's unconditional love

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wednesday's Reflection

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardners who make our souls blossom."-Marcel Proust

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Mom in Real Time

Last night was the first night in six months that I went out all by myself! The girls' dad, seeing how stressed out I am, volunteered to babysit while I went to a movie. The film, Dan in Real Life, was very entertaining. It features Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche. Without giving away too much of the synopsis, the movie was about a widower with three daughters who goes 'home' for a holiday / family reunion and winds us falling for his brother's new girlfriend. The plot had a good dose of humor, just what the doctor ordered for my first night out!

Sitting in the almost empty theatre (there was one other woman watching the film) was joyous as I could watch the film entirely with no interruption or outside noise. I kept looking at my watch every now and then to check the time. Not because I wanted to rush home or worried about the kids, but because time seemed different to me. Being alone feels different than being Mommy on kid time. The minutes seemed to last longer. When I returned home an hour and forty-five minutes later, my children were happy, fed and seemed glad to see me. Little Sister was extremely affectionate even, not a gift I am granted by her every day. I went to bed last night feeling a little more relaxed, with the realization that every mother needs and deserves time alone. If we don't take care of ourselves, who will?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dreaming of Christmas with my girls

Yesterday afternoon, we put up our Christmas tree and decorated it with the ornaments that we have been collecting over the years. Next, I put on Big Sister's favorite Christmas CD (Here Comes Santa Claus: A Family Christmas - Volume 1) and we spent some time just playing. Together, we bundled up with hats and scarves to keep our bodies warm against the cold, snowy afternoon and climbed into our magical horse-drawn sleigh which happily carried us to Papa's house. When we arrived, we were greeted with piping hot mugs of cocoa overflowing with marshmellows and of course, home-made cookies. There always has to be cookies! We greeted each other with hugs and kisses and exchanged pretend gifts. It was a lovely afternoon! The trip cost nothing but our time was precious!

The greatest gift we can ever give our children is our time!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Friday Top 5


1) Barbie toy computer

2) Diego Explorer Kit (Fancy Etch-a-Sketch)

3) Jewelry

4) Baby doll

5) Stroller


1) Leapster

2) Balloon Lagoon Game

3) Candyland

4) Puzzles

5) Online computer games

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Love Letter to My Daughter

Dear Little One,

I am sorry for all your early losses, the biological family who tried for two months to keep you, but couldn't, the time you spent in the understaffed, inadequate orphanage, hungry and unloved, and mostly for the fact, that I couldn't come sooner to be your mommy and spare you all the pain you endured.

The good news is that you are home now, safe and loved! Never again will you face loneliness or hunger. You have a large, extended (American) family who loves you. We are here to take care of you. We will help you all we can. In time, you are going to be the happiest of little girls.



Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday's Reflection

There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.

~Hodding Carter, Jr.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Busy, Busy Week!

We had a very busy, yet highly productive week here. Little Sister (LS) was readopted on Wednesday morning in a Chicago courthouse. Now, we will wait 4-6 months for her IL birth certificate to come through. Then, we can get her a social security card and obtain permanent citizenship here in the U.S. The procedure was expensive ($1,000), but relatively quick and easy. During the week, our social worker also finished the six-month post-placement report as required by China, and Early Intervention finally came to our house to evaluate LS. The good news is that we qualified for services! I am very excited because I believe in their program and really need help with LS's frequent temper tantrums.

The assessment outcomes revealed that LS is a very bright little girl. Cognitively, she is exactly where a 19-20 month old baby should be. Her speech is delayed which is to be expected since she has only been living in the U.S. for a short time, but they feel that speech therapy would help with her behavior problems. As I mentioned in an earlier post, LS exhibited strong behavioral problems in China. She did not sleep more than 3-5 hours each night and only napped approximately 30 minutes each day, foregoing sleep in place of screaming. When I tell people that she screamed, they don't really understand. It's not a baby crying out of grief scream. It was a 'my body's on fire' scream, one that would last for 4-5 hours!!

Our pediatrician quickly helped me solve the sleeping problem and LS now sleeps 12-13 hours each night with a 2-3 hour nap during the day. No problem there! Yet still, we have screaming, anger, rage and frequent temper tantrums. The stuff that those attachment books warn you about, but you never think it will happen to you.
Well folks, it happened to me! My baby girl is hurting deep inside and we are finally getting help!!

The E.I. team was very nice and professional during their assessment. The are committed to helping us heal LS so that she can have the quality of life that her family desires her to have. Adopting our babies is only the first step. The goal is for them to grow up loved, happy and successful! Some babies need a little early intervention to help them get there and move on from the difficult traumas of their early life.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Build-A-Bear Bearthday Party

Yesterday, Big Sister celebrated her fifth birthday with 8 of her girlfriends at a local Build-A-Bear store. The girls seemed to have a great time choosing their bears, selecting a special T-shirt, fluffing their Teddies with stuffing and playing games with the event host. Everything went fine until the end, when it was time to go and the store manager realized that she sent Big Sister's gifts home with another little birthday girl. BS started crying!! Thankfully, they contacted the other child's parents and her gifts were returned a few hours later.

Mistakes do happen, but overall, it was a nice party!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Birthday Girl Then and Now



Saturday, November 3, 2007

Happy Birthday Love Bird

Dear Little One,

Today, as you turn five, I want to tell you again how much I adore you. From the moment we first met, I fell in love with your beauty and sweetness. You are such a loving person, happy and kind; certainly one of the best things that has ever happened to me in my entire life. I am so proud to be your mommy.

Each day you entertain me with your stories, songs and hugs. I cherish every piece of artwork that you bring home from preschool. I also love taking you and your sister to the park and playing Leapster on our special mother-daughter nights when you get to stay up a little bit longer than your usual bedtime.

The first five years have been filled with so much fun watching you grow into the big girl you are now. Have a wonderful birthday and know that mommy always love you.

Happy 5th Birthday!



Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday Update:


Since our six month adoption anniversary is approaching, our social worker visited our home today to obtain some information for her report. She wanted to know what kinds of foods Little Sister (LS) is eating, how she appeared on adoption day, her eating habits and overall temperment. Compared to the stress of the first homestudy visit, this one was a breeze.


According to my secret source (a.k.a. the "Rumor Queen"), it's looking like the cut-off for referrals will be around December 8th. This date is for people logged in 12/8/2005. Packages should start arriving this weekend. Congratulations to all those who have waited so long.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Cold Season is Among Us

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the average child below the age of two will get between eight and ten colds a year, possibly more depending on whether or not they are in daycare. Our pediatrician tells us that children need this exposure to build their immunity. Okay, I understand that part, but where does it say that Mommy needs to share most of these colds with their kids? You would think by my age, 39 forever, that my immunity would be exceedingly well-built, yet, right along with my daughters, I am coughing, sneezing and feeling their illnesses at least every one.

Here's what I'm doing to protect myself:

*Taking a daily multi vitamin, plus extra "C"

*Washing my hands frequently

*Getting enough sleep (6-8 hours each night)

What else can I do? If any other moms have advice, please let me know? I would love to hear how you ward off common colds.