Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Scenes from a library

We love going to the library. It's actually been one of my favorite places since I was a little girl. Someday, when I'm old, I want to work in a library, and be surrounded by books. I know it sounds crazy, but the library has always felt like a home away from home for me. I love reading! I love books! I wish I had time to read more, but with a full-time job and raising two little girls alone, I don't have enough time. Many of our playdates are held at the library such as the photo shows. The boy is one of Big Sister's best pals (Ian) and also featured is his new baby brother born last July.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Prayer for Mother

My mother is pictured the second to the right. She left this earth nearly 3 1/2 years ago, and I still think of her and miss her each day. The photos shows her enjoying a happy family reunion. Mom loved spending time with family and friends. She was, and continues to be an inspiration to me. I only wish she could have been here to meet my youngest daughter, and my sisters children as well. The prayer below is dedicated in her memory.

For a Mother who has died

Dear Lord, relying on your promises to us, I turn to you in trust that my mother is with you and that she is enjoying your loving embrace. You alone know how she loved the best she could and how she faithfully endured the struggles that she faced. You know the graces you gave her and you know the grace she was for me and for so many. For all the ways she truly loved the way you loved her, please reward her, Lord. May she enjoy the communion of all her family and friends who are with you.

Lord, I know my mother still loves us who are still here on earth. I ask you that you might listen to her fervent prayers for us. Help me to grow into a new and deeper relationship with my mother now, as I long for the day when we will both meet in your embrace - freed from all that might have hindered our relationship on earth, knowing and understanding everything we did not know or understand on this earth.

I ask you this with faith in the resurrection, trusting my mother's love, and desiring that she know my love for her. Amen.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Happy HALF BIRTHDAY Little Sister!

A few weeks ago, Little Sister turned 2 1/2. Here are some photos of our celebration. The amazing cupcakes were made by our local bakery. They taste as good as they look.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Book Recommendation

Most adoptive parents have an idealized image of their child's orphanage. They desperately want to believe that someone in China loved and cared for their child before adoption day. They may envision a favorite nanny who came to work each day, seeking out their future child, giving them kisses and kind words. When adoptive families receive their referrals, and join up with orphanage boards, they are often reassured that their child comes from a nice, clean, caring environment.

In March 2007, when I got my referral for Little Sister, I immediately joined the XXXX orphanage group so that I could find out more about the babies and be better prepared. I was given glowing reports that gave me temporary reassurance that all of the babies were "well cared for and healthy." You can only imagine my surprise then when Gotcha day rolls around, and I am given a terrified baby, one who intensely fears the night, and would scream for hours on end, accepting no form of comfort. I went into complete shock, not knowing or understanding what the problem was. Didn't my orphanage group reassure me that ALL of the babies were treated well. When I had my facilitator call the orphanage to find out what was wrong, the orphanage director sarcastically reported that my baby was, "spoiled by her nanny." For months following our stay in China, and our return home, life was hell. My child who came from a highly-regarded orphanage of loving and well-meaning nannies was jealous of her big sister, fearful at every turn, and full of rage. At one point, I wondered if she was mentally insane. I wrote my orphanage group several times, voicing my concerns, and was constantly told how "wonderful their daughters were adjusting." Finally, two other mothers with babies from the same orphanage, quietly came forward, emailing me on the sly, admitting that their babies were also severely traumatized.

Now, after delving into Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage, I finally have confirmation that my daughter was indeed maltreated by the nannies who took care of her in the XXXX orphanage. I had always suspected, but now I know the truth. Author, Kay Bratt, possibly a pen name, and her family spent a few years living in China. During that time, Kay volunteered at a local orphanage where she
witnessed first-hand cruel and careless treatment of Chinese orphans.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

"The babies' diet is appalling and equally atrocious for the other orphanage children. For breakfast, they have rice with greens mixed in. For lunch, they have greens with rice mixed in. For supper, it's rice and greens. It doesn't look that bad, but no one would want it for every meal. Clearly, they get sick of it because there are a few who spit it back out even though their hunger is evident. It appears to be an act of defiance, so we simple keep shoveling it in because we know they won't be allowed to eat again for several hours."

I highly recommend this book for anyone waiting for a child from China. I only wish I had read this book before I adopted Little Sister. It may have helped me better understand why she was so fearful and moody. I eventually figured it out, but it was huge adjustment for us both.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chart Crazy

Little Sister started off with one potty chart. Now, she has three more charts, one for whining, one for her tantrums, and one for calming herself down. Why all the charts you may be asking? Well, it could have something to do with the fact that I am a teacher, and teachers are notorious for loving charts. The main reason however is because I simply can't stand the whining anymore. The combination of being "2" and having a speech delay creates a monotonous series of daily whining in Little Sister's world. I tried time-outs, and they simply don't work. They stop the behavior for a few minutes, but they don't change it. She still whines so now I've decided to try to catch her being good, and work hard for the reward which happens to be a sticker each time she gets through a day without exhibiting 'bad' behavior.

Today, my little darling earned four stickers. One for each of her charts. Yeh, she didn't whine today! No whining means no tantrums! Hurray! I can end my day with happy satisfaction knowing that some progress was made. Let's hope that tomorrow is another winning day for Shugs and I.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Favorite Things

Following the lead of my beautiful daughters, I have decided to share a list of things I adore and don't particularly care for these days. Here they are:

Ashley's Favorites

1. Starbuck's hot chocolate with a pump of peppermint
2. M&M peanuts
3. Waking up in the morning before my kids
4. Spring, Summer, and Fall (hate winter)
5. Curling up with a good book
6. Going to the movies
7. Shopping
8. Getting a massage
9. Blogging
10. My kids

Things I Don't Like:

1) Aggressive drivers
2) Being late
3) When our home is a mess
4) Potty training (necessary, but not fun!)
5) The dark days of winter
6) When people ask me if my daughters are "real sisters"
7) Snakes, lizards, mice
8) Extreme temperatures
9) Kids who try to cut ahead of mine in line
10)When my kids are whining or fighting

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Big Sister's Favorite Things

Big Sister will be six in a few weeks. Yikes! Where did my baby go? Wasn't it only yesterday that I first held her, and brought her home from China? Now, she's in kindergarten, going to sleep unders, and solving math problems. Actually, Big Sister has been solving math problems since she was three. Here are more of her favorite things.

Big Sister's Favorites:

1) Math
2) Disney Princesses
3) Watching T.V.
4) Her sister
5) Dressing up in play clothes
6) Gymnastics
7) Barbie
8) Play dates
9) Cookies (especially from our local bakery)
10) Mommy

Big Sister Doesn't Like:

1) Most vegetables
2) Scary Stuffy (witches, clowns, ghosts, etc.)
3) Bugs
4) Getting her hair washed
5) Liam (a little boy in her class)
6) Sister grabbing things out of her hand
7) Bugs
8) Making her bed
9) bugs
10) Being too hot

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Blog Spotlight

Today, I was contacted by Adoptive Families, and notified that they like my blog, and are posting it under one of their "favorites." How cool is that? Just when I thought no one was reading, something spectacular happened. Thank you Adoptive Families, you truly made my day. I love your magazine, and feel extremely honored to be recognized.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Little Sister's Favorite Things

Little Sister will officially turn 2 1/2 on October 12th. We are going to celebrate her half birthday this coming weekend. In honor of the event, I am updating her list of favorite things. Preferences do change over time, especially when you are TWO.

Favorite Things

1) Thomas the Train
2) Choo Choos of any kind
3) Cookie Monster
4) Cookies (especially from our local bakery)
5) Going to play school every day (a.k.a. Montessori)
6) Yogurt, especially banana yogurt
7) Mac & Cheese
8) Baths, especially bubble baths
9) Wearing her blue pajamas
10) Momma

In case you are wondering, here are 10 things LS hates:

1) Vegetables of every kind
2) Pooping on the potty (not the most pleasant subject)
3) Having her hair washed
4) When her whining doesn't work
5) Time-outs
6) Being without her blankie
7) Getting her hands dirty
8) Scary stuff (like puppets or clowns)
9) Sharing her toys
10) Sharing Momma