Sunday, August 28, 2005

Unmistakably Uncool (Part 2): My clothes

Now, astute readers, I know you read Maureen's comment about my very cool shirt from the Cannoli Corner (in Ocean City, NJ) that says "don't bust my cannolis." I still own it. But that is the only piece of cool clothing I own. And, I can't glean any cool points for it, because I don't wear the shirt anymore. (It is stored away for that far-off day when I will use it to make a T-shirt quilt.)

I decided to write this little series about two weeks ago when I was tying on a brand-spanking new pair of Keds. I was laughing at myself. Look at you. You are STILL wearing Keds. Can't you just get with the times?

No, I say back to myself. Keds are so comfy. I love Keds. And penny loafers too. I'm stuck in the eighties, and I like it here.

Mind you, I don't just dress in the *style* of another decade, I wear apparel that was actually *purchased* in another decade. Like my "Williamsburg" T-shirt. I got it in 1989 or 1990. People, I put it on the other day and wore it around in public. It has been laundered so many times it is practically see-through. Of course, I didn't notice that until we were already in C'ville waiting for the guys at Firestone to finish working on the Civic.

But there's more. Not only is it old, and transparent, but this shirt is also LONG! Like mid-thigh length. WHO WEARS THAT STUFF ANYMORE? Me. And almost every other T-shirt I own is also way too big for me - which was cool IN THE EIGHTIES, but not now.

So, what about the rest of the wardrobe? Ummm... Let's just reiterate my point from the last segment of "Unmistakably:" the word "outfit" is not an appropriate description for anything I wear. (Unless a pair of elastic-waisted, black shorts, with an untucked, blue T-shirt can be considered an outfit. A walking bruise, maybe, but not an outfit.)

And don't even ask me about accessories. I have always felt self-conscious about wearing scarves or any sort of pin. I used to wear earrings. Then I just kept the same pair in for, like, a year. Finally, I quit wearing them at all. And hats? Abso-frieking-lutely not. Unless it's my Yankees cap... at an *Indians* game - very UNCOOL, folks!

I do, however, have several cool rings. Lovely ones, really. But I only wear rings on my ring fingers. With my left hand already permanently ring-laden, that only leaves my right. And I almost always reach for my class ring from Witt.... because the practical side of me doesn't want to wear around the "nice" stuff while I am cleaning poop off the TV and fishing scrunchies out of the toilet (both of which I have done in the last 3 days.)

So, if I haven't convinced you, then you can come over and see for yourself. Just make sure you come over after 11:00 a.m. Cuz, I am likely to still be in my jammies before then, which is, as you know.......

(I'll let you finish that statement.)


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Curioisity Killed the Kid

One of the hot topics amongst adoptive parents is how to deal with curious strangers. There are certainly differing views about the best method. Some parents are very frustrated with the intrusions, others just laugh it off or take it as an opportunity to educate people about adoption. I, personally, think it would be great fun to share with people about my experiences as an adoptive mom.

But it isn't all about me.

I read something, somewhere (and I'd give credit, if I could remember where) that made me think about this issue from the point of view of my children. It's been stewing in my mind for a while, and none of these situations have actually happened to me yet. So, you can comment as you see fit. But here are some of my thoughts about how kids might interpret comments from curious strangers.

"Is she adopted?" From what I have heard, this seems to be a question that a lot of parents encounter while out shopping, at a restaurant, etc. In most cases, this seems like a funny question since you'd only be asking if the child's ethnicity obviously didn't "match" that of his parents. So, in these cases, why bother asking, since the child probably IS adopted?

I said something like this when I first saw Angie at the library with her daughter. I think I said "is she from China?" It was an awkward question because I was already pretty sure of the answer. Yet, I asked because I wanted to talk to her about adoption, and I wanted to tell her that we were adopting. I just didn't know how to start the conversation. I now realize that my reasons for the conversation were not worth the intrusion or the potential damage to her child. (Angie, of course, was very gracious and helpful.)

What I have learned since that happened: first - it isn't necessary to tell every adoptive parent that I see that I am adopting too. And this also applies to curious strangers who might want to start up conversation with adoptive parents THEY see in order to tell them about their friend/relative who has adopted. We act like it is some novelty, when really, it isn't. It can be annoying to parents, or even exhausting - especially if they just want to be a family without interruption.

But the real issue, as I said before, isn't how parents take it. It's how the kids take it. Consider what a kid might think, using my family as an example:

1. Boo and Bug might think: Why does she get all of the attention? I must not be as important since I wasn't adopted.

2. Bao might think: mom and dad told me that I belong in this family. Why do people keep asking if I was adopted and not about how Bug and Boo came to our family? There must be something wrong with being adopted. I don't really fit in this family.

3. Bao might think: mom and dad tell me that being Chinese is something to be proud of. But it makes me stick out - people ask if I'm adopted because I don't look like the rest of my family. Why do people bug me about being adopted so much? I wish I wasn't Chinese, then everyone would leave us alone.

"Are your other kids yours?" Answer: "they're all mine." Think about how a kid would process that! If they hear it enough, maybe Boo and Bug will start to think they have some high position by nature of being my biological children. And what would Bao think? Those kinds of words tend to reinforce a belief that she doesn't belong in our family. (I'm not really her daughter... etc.)

If a distinction ***NEEDS*** to be made, this isn't the way to do it. You can refer to children as biological or adopted. But - for the record - if you are a curious stranger, then the distinction does not need to be made. So, for the sake of the kids, don't ask.

"Where are her real parents?" Answer: "You're looking at them." (I REALLY sit up with her at night while she is puking. I REALLY deal with all of her tantrums. I REALLY bathe her and make sure she is fed. Here... pinch me... I'M REAL!) But for Bao, again, hearing that reinforces the "I don't belong" mentality.

Maybe what the stranger wanted to know was "Where are her birth parents?" Or, "where are her Chinese parents?" When Bao gets older, I see myself deferring to her for the answer. If she doesn't feel like telling a stranger her story, then that's the end of the conversation.

I think of children of divorcees in this situation. If there were some characteristic that identified them as such, would people ask them the details about which parent they live with or their relationship with their step-parents? Maybe, I suppose. But would those kids really want to answer? I'm guessing, no. And maybe Bao will be one of those kids who doesn't mind talking about her birthparents. But maybe she won't. And if that's the case, the questions might make her very uncomforable.

"Are they really sisters?" This probably will happen a lot less frequently with our family, unless we adopt another one from China. The answer is: "Yes." (We are a family. They are siblings. That makes them sisters.) Kids who hear this might question the relationships that their parents are trying to reinforce. It is another question that leads kids to feeling alienated in their own families, or like something is "wrong" with their family.

If the inquirer wants to know if the children were born to the same parents, then they might try stating it that way. But, I would challenge the inquirer to look at any other family in the grocery store and ask themselves if they are willing to approach the parent and say, "Excuse me, but I was just wondering if your two daughters were born to the same parents." They might not get a favorable reaction (cough, cough!) And that is because it's a personal question, that isn't any of their business. (Do I have to make the final connection here?)

These are just the common questions that I have heard adoptive parents struggling with. I don't imagine that any of my readers are the curious stranger types. But, I posted this in hopes that maybe someone will stumble upon this and learn (like I did.... I admit that I have made similar mistakes, not thinking about how the children would interpret my comments.)

I guess the moral of the story is, if you are a curious stranger, it is probably safest for the children if you just keep pushing your shopping cart.


Good stuff I'm jazzed about

1. Kelly and Danny agreed to watch the kids while we are in China. They told us last night at church and I made a complete fool of myself, hugging them and jumping around. They were our first choice, and they will be awesome. I am so, so, so, so, excited.

2. The sunflower that Ms. Boo planted is about to bloom. I am glad it made it this far. She was so excited about seeing it flower.

3. We sent our visa applications to the travel agent. That makes me feel like stuff is progressing.

4. Diane is awesome. She just keeps giving me more helpful information about KunMing and Chinese culture.

5. I am not nervous or stressed about our trip, which is probably about a month away. I like calm.

6. I got all of Mr. Bug's old clothes out of the dresser in the nursery and replaced them with the stuff we are getting for Ms. Bao. I also got all the clothes that the kids have outgrown, and I have been storing under the crib, and packed them up for storage.

7. Yesterday the kids and I had one of those times when we were all together goofing around. We ended up repeating a rhyme about it that I made up as we sat there. It seems to have turned into a little ritual. I like it because the rhyme is about all three of my babies.

8. The play clay recipe from the "boredom busters" book I have has been very well received by the kids. They keep getting it out and playing, contentedly.

9. Tomorrow is a scrapbooking night. I like scrapbooking, obviously, but I am really looking forward to hanging out with the ladies.

10. Paul and I have had a chance to sit and talk after dinner every night this week. Neither of us planned it (sadly) but I think I might suggest that we make it a habit.

11. Several folks have been contacting me via e-mail with a lot encouraging words and shared excitement... and even footage of Chris Farley (I think that's his name) dancing around like - well - like Chris Farley.

12. My son sings and it is cute.

13. I had enough foresight to mark down the leaf collection dates when I read them yesterday. We have had too many dead patches in our grass because we have left huge piles of leaves on the lawn all winter - all because we didn't know when the leaves were supposed to be collected.

14. Green tea.

15. Ms. Bao is coming!!!

16. My friend Jenny is having a baby in September.

17. The weather is beautiful. Warm enough, but not humid. Windows have been open all week.

18. Tomatoes are currently being harvested from our back yard.

19. I am reading, and enjoying it.

20. Warren has been up and around. His blood vessels are constricting a bit, but so far no stroke. (As of Sunday's update from Heather.)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Do I look like I'm four?

Okay. Our VCR died. We can live without it, so no complaints from me.

But we have kinda been shopping around for a replacement. I would like to get a VCR/DVD player so we can play the old videos, but start buying the longer lasting DVD's. Additionally, I would like to transfer all of our home made videos to DVD as well.

This in mind, I took a trip to hhgregg last night. They had one on sale for a good price, but it wasn't clear from the ad whether it could record to DVD. I found about 20 of them, all in their boxes, piled on the sales floor. I read every side of the box but found nothing stating that it recorded to DVD. Just to make sure, I asked. "No," said the saleperson, "but I can show you the ones that do." Whatever, I'm thinking. "Sure," I reply.

He leads me around to a shelf where they have about 6 models, all with the descriptive feature tag prominently displayed. We have "Sony" he says, pointing to a device with a big "SONY" sign on it. We have this "Toshiba," pointing to another with a big "Toshiba."

The pointing is the trick. It gets me to actually look at the machine - as if getting a good, long look at it will clarify which one I should buy. But there isn't really all that much to keep my attention, so I direct my eyes to the Toshiba's feature tag. DVD records to DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and CD-RAM formats, I read.

"This one records to DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and CD-RAM formats," he says.

Turning my head, I look at him. Do I look like I am four? I think. Does he think I can't read? Does he know that *I* know that he just read that to me? Does he really think that I am going to buy a $287 piece of electronics after coming in to look at one on sale for $87?

"Goodbye." I said.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Unmistakably Uncool (Part 1): My Purse

I know I am uncool. But, just in case there was any doubt, it was confirmed the last time I went to a bridal shower. One of the "games" involved having your purse weighed when you arrived. After everyone was situated, the hostesses awarded prizes to the women with the heaviest and the lightest purses. Mine weighed in at 4.5 pounds. I tied for the heaviest purse.

My purse is big and brown. It looks something like this, only not as, well, cool. It is so big that I have carried my Bible around in it. My normal one, not a compact. There is nothing particularly uncool about brown, of course. Except that this is the only purse I use. So my purse is often unmatched to my outfit. Apparently, there are women out there who move all of their stuff into a new purse every day just so it will match their outfit. (I guess this is easier to do if you don't have 4.5 pounds of stuff in your purse.)

This would all make a lot more sense, I suppose, if I ever wore anything that could be considered an "outfit." But since this installment of "Unmistakably" is about my purse, that thought is probably best left for another post.

My purse holds a lot of stuff, but nothing that is cool. My purse contains: the organizer for my grocery coupons, complete with coupons; check book; cards - all the punch cards for different stores, library cards, insurance cards; membership cards, etc.; calendar; recent JoAnn ads and coupons, in case I get a chance to pop in some time; the kids medical histories/shot records (because I would never remember to put them in my purse when we go to the doc, so I just leave them in there. I tell myself that it's really a good idea since we might need them in case of an emergency...) chapstick (both mine and the kids'.) I have even been known to keep my used footies from the shoe store in my purse. I certainly don't need them in my dresser drawer, but it always seems like a big waste to get rid of them when they are perfectly good to be used again... and I'll need them when I am, where? At the shoe store... carrying what? My purse.

But my purse is uncool for what you won't find in it too: almost never a pen. almost never a pad to write notes on. and never, ever a cell phone - despite the little pocket in the front designed especially for that.

I have, actually, spent the last 3 months or so carrying around a cool purse. Technically, it is an organizer. I knew I wouldn't need all my "stuff" with me when I went, sans kids, to NYC for my sister's graduation. And I knew I wouldn't want to lug my purse around the city. So, I bought the organizer. It looked very cool.

I hate it.

Now that I am back to my normal life, I keep finding myself at the store needing that gift card that has $6.48 left on it, and I don't have it, because it's in the big, brown beauty. Or I go grocery shopping, and I forget to bring my coupons with me. With B3, I never had to remember! And my two pairs of prescription glasses along with my keys barely fit in the organizer without it looking like it is going to explode at any minute.

So, uncool as it may be, I am switching back to my beloved, and uncool, B3. At this point in my life, having my coupons with me when I want them is far more important than looking cool.

Not that I ever did...


Friday, August 19, 2005

Please Pray

My BFF from my teenage years, whom I introduced you to here, has just e-mailed me with some terrible news. Her husband, Warren, has suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. He did well in surgery, but from what I understand, they say he is now likely to have a stroke. Please pray for Warren's healing. And, not that she'll read this any time soon, but, Heather, know that I am praying for both of you.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Trying to make an update sound like new info

Well, we have sent our acceptance letter to our agency, and they sent it (with those of the other three families in our travel group) to China on Tuesday of last week. They say it takes between 1 and 4 weeks (and probably more like 4) to get travel approvals issued for our children. And the US Consulate will not make appointments for us without those travel approvals. So, we are waiting. Our agency is estimating that we will leave in late September and return in October. There is also a Chinese holiday in the beginning of October, so we will have to see how that plays in too.

In the mean time, I have been chatting with Diane. For those of you that don't know, Diane graduated with me from Witt. It's funny, when I found out that Ms. Bao was in Kunming, I kept thinking, "that sounds so familiar." I thought maybe I knew someone else who has a daughter adopted from there. But, no one did. What I'd forgotten was that Diane was in Kunming for 1 1/2 years of her 3 year stay in China. It's been a while since I chatted with Diane. In fact, I haven't really been in contact with her since she was in China. (So, maybe I did recognize the location after all.) She is a wealth of information for us about the area and customs etc. She has even volunteered to write a description of the city for us to put in Bethany's scrapbook. She is an awesome blessing.

I just sent Diane a letter to translate so that we can enclose it with a care package for Bao. We want to send her some pictures of our family, so maybe she can become familiar with our faces before we get there. Also, we are sending a disposable camera. We are hoping that the orphanage director will take a few shots of Bao with her nanny and her friends and bring it with her when we get Bao. Our agency says it is about 50/50 whether we will get any pics, but it is worth a try. Diane even volunteered to contact some folks that she keeps in touch with in Kunming to see if any of them are able to actually go take the pictures. How cool is that?

We have decided to finance the rest of the adoption with the mother of all checks from our credit card company. It was either that or dip into the home equity credit line. But the credit card has a 0% finance charge that is long enough (we think) for us to be able to pay it off. My desire was to not go into debt over this, but it just hasn't worked out that way. The super fantastico part is that our only other debt is the mortgage, and with Paul's new job and a tax return, we are hoping to have all the adoption stuff paid off in the next year.

In the mean time, the ladies at church are all asking about a baby shower and stuff like that. Specifically, April had asked when I wanted a shower. So, I gave April a list of stuff we need for Bao while we are in China, and I figured that they would just get stuff off that list for the baby shower. But, what I think has happened, is that her Sunday School class has just taken it upon themselves to take care of the stuff on the list. When she came up to me on Sunday she said they had all but three things covered, and I could expect to start receiving items any time. Confused, I just asked, "when is the shower?"

"Shower? I don't know. I think someone else is taking care of that" was April's response. I feel like a total heel. Maybe I should just write "MOOCH" on my forehead. Who needs a shower after getting all of that stuff?

As much as I feel like a dork, I must say, my church ROCKS!

That's it for now, people.


Monday, August 15, 2005


My apologies for leading y'all astray. My prediction about the outcome of the PGA Championship was incorrect.

Phil won today, not yesterday.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

So, Your friend is adopting...

A do/don't list for folks with friends who are adopting. These are not necessarily based on my own experiences or reactions, but on the collective experiences of some adoptive parents I have been in contact with.

When they announce they are adopting:
DO: Share your excitement (assuming you are excited. If not, a kind word of affirmation is lovely.)
DON'T: Share adoption horror stories. (The aforementioned lack of logic in such comments aside, these words are inappropriate because they are just unkind. I liken it to women who share their birthing horror stories with pregnant women - especially those who are expecting their first child... why do we do this, ladies???)
DO: Follow whatever the prevailing baby shower ettiquette is. If a biological child would get one, then the adopted child should get one too.
DON'T: Ask about the couple's ability to conceive, or whether older children are "theirs." (If you don't know the couple well enough to know the answers already, then you don't need to know.)
DO: Feel comfortable to talk about pregnancy. (Some women feel guilty talking about their pregnancies around women who are adopting and may be infertile. Though I have read of at least one adoptive mom who advises the opposite, I can't figure out what reason an adoptive, and even infertile, mother would have to NOT share in the happiness of someone else. Easy for me to say, I suppose, since it hasn't happened to me. But, if the adoptive mom can't handle hearing about someone's pregnancy, then I am guessing she has some unresolved issues related to her fertility and, IMHO, needs to deal with that before the adoption is completed. Though the case can be made that pregnant moms who talk incessantly about their babies are annoying, said mom should also realize that there might be other moms in the room who would like to talk about their babies just as much.)

While they are waiting:
DO: Make time to listen to "expectant" parents who might want to talk, but don't have regular exams, ultrasound photos, or enlarging bellies as conversation starters.
DON'T: Offer advice about how to handle adoption situations. (Chances are, the adoptive couple has done a whole lot more research/thinking about adoption than you have. Not only do you risk making yourself look silly, but you also risk offending the couple.)
DO: Read up on adoption issues or (assuming international adoption) the country they are adopting from. Share what you know and let them know you are interested in hearing their thoughts.
DON'T: Ask how much it costs. (Unless you are a very close friend with a desire to help defray the cost, or you are considering adoption for yourself, this information is useless to you... and the couple may get the message that you think they are buying a child.)

When the adoption nears completion:
DO: Ask how you can help the couple during the transition. (Mow the lawn or get the mail if they will travel to bring the child home. Plan to make a meal after the child is home. Parents who are traveling may need help preparing for travel. Parents with court dates to attend may need a babysitter for their other kids, etc.)
DO: Be prepared for whatever information you may learn about the specific child. (The name may sound silly to you, or the child's appearance may not be what you were "expecting." The important thing is not to dampen the excitement by saying something, well, dumb....)

When the child comes home: (I could probably add more to this in a few months, but these are what come to mind:)
DO: Offer to help in specific ways. (Jet-lag is a problem for parents returning from China, I know. Offer to help out in some way while parents rest.)
DON'T: Assume you will get to see the child right away. (The transition can be traumatic for the child. Parents may want to limit the number of new faces/places that the child has to take in.)
DO: Be prepared for children in orphanage care to be lagging, developmentally. (People who understand this will be able to support adoptive parents, instead of criticizing them for "babying" or being overprotective.)
DON'T: Assume that the child is grateful for being adopted. (They may be really angry about it... or develop those feelings as they get older.)
DO: Treat the child like every other member of their family.
DON'T: Refer to the child as adopted unless the "adopted" part is necessary information. (Necessary (and ususally stuff that very few people would need to discuss) would be: The medical records from before the adoption are very sketchy. Unnecessary would be: That is her adopted daughter.)

This is just a short list. A lot of other things are coming to mind, especially regarding the way people respond to transracial families. But, I think that is going to have to be the subject of another post. Besides it's 2:30 in the morning. I need to go to bed. And I hope you all enjoy watching Phil win the PGA Championship today. I will be loving every minute of CBS (!!!!) coverage. Go Phil!


Monday, August 08, 2005

A break from adoption talk

The following is important advice for anyone that owns a refrigerator:

If you wake up one morning, and notice that the milk in your cereal isn't very cold, and the frozen waffles aren't very frozen, please complete the following checklist before calling a repairman:

1. Check that the refrigerator is plugged in.
2. Check that the fuse/circuit to the refrigerator is not blown.
3. Check that the outlet still works, by plugging in another appliance.
4. Check that the refrigerator's "0n" switch is in the "on" position.

If you have not checked all of these things, you risk paying a repairman $40 for absolutely no good reason.

Big prize for the first person who correctly guesses which of these we failed to do this morning.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Some general thoughts about adoption

I was thinking about something that someone said to us not too long after we "introduced" them to Ms. Bao. They commented that she is so fortunate. I think I know what I think about that, but we are about to find out whether I am able to express it.

First, I want to express that I think I understand why someone might say that. Assuming that no one else would have adopted Bao, our refusal to do so would mean that she would grow up in an orphanage. She'd have no parents to advocate for her, and the odds are pretty good that she wouldn't have a chance at a higher education. She would almost certainly be at the bottom of the social ladder. Earning a living would be difficult. Life, in general, would be hard and maybe very sad for her.

And, one might, if they were arrogant enough :), interpret the "fortunate" comment as some sort of nod of approval to our parenting abilities. (Perhaps the speaker was just trying to give me and Paul a compliment.) But, if that is true, then Ms. Boo and Mr. Bug are just as fortunate. And people never seem to say that about them.... So I don't think our parenting is the reason people consider Bao fortunate.

Most certainly, the former scenario is the reason for saying Bao is fortunate. But...

My concern is for what happens in the mind of a child who is told (by me or others) that she is fortunate. Children have a way of translating "fortunate" into things like "undeserving." If she was fortunate that we adopted her, will she begin to feel like she is indebted to us? I hope not.

And one could, as Bao someday might, point out the obvious. Being abandoned by your birthparents and having to muddle through the emotions of that is a decidedly UNfortunate thing. A child who hears "you are so fortunate" is being told to be grateful, and is never given permission to say, "what happened to me stinks, and I don't like it." I, personally, think that she should be allowed to say that, if that is how she feels. I hope no one ever brushes her feelings under the rug of "you are so fortunate."

Yet to be discussed, however, is the meaning that a lot of Christians have in mind when they think along the "she's so fortunate" lines. As I have mentioned before, many Christian folks like to say that Bao's adoption is a good thing, because we can raise her to "know the Lord" or something akin to that. This kind of thinking bothers me on several levels.

First: Some people seem to talk about the events in an adopted child's life and that child's adoption as if the two are causally linked. This is the only way I can explain why people, after hearing that we are adopting, feel it is necessary to share the story about their cousin's best friend's brother who adopted a child that ended up dying of cancer, or who ran away from home at seven and never returned.

Without getting into the special emotional needs of adopted children, I think that these assumed causal links are ridiculous. There are no guarantees that my biological children will not do the same things. And, THERE IS NO GUARANTEE THAT MY ADOPTED DAUGHTER WILL COME TO KNOW THE LORD! Most Christians I know are willing to concede that their children may or MAY NOT follow their Christian upbringing when they are adults. Yet people seem to take great comfort in knowing that Bao will be saved because of living in our home.

And I know why they think this (I think.) Because "those children will never hear the gospel if they stay in China."

That kind of comment makes me want to say, "what in the world kind of God are you serving who doesn't know how to get his Word out in China?" God knows how to spread the gospel in China. Not only does he KNOW how, but HE'S ALREADY DOING IT. It isn't too hard to figure out that the Church is alive and well in China - and even growing. And it isn't too far a stretch to think that, in light of the Scriptural command to care for widows and orphans, a lot of Chinese Christians might just decide that orphanages are the perfect places to minister. Yea, verily I say unto you, our agency currently supports an orphanage run by a CHRISTIAN IN CHINA!!!

I think I probably sound mad right now. I am not. But I will sum up.

1. Words have meanings that we sometimes don't think about. I want Bao to have permission to grieve the stinky beginning of her life. So, I don't ever envision myself telling her that she is fortunate that we adopted her. And I really hope that others don't tell her that either.

2. Sometimes people make silly assumptions that they haven't really thought through. And sometimes they are predicated upon an unconscious belief that God CAN'T do something. I feel the need to point that out when I hear it. And getting a Chinese baby saved is not our motive for adopting. We realize that salvation is not within our power, for ANY of our children.

We want Bao because we want another baby. And there are babies out there who don't have a mom and dad, so we are willing to make one of them ours.

We get to raise three beautiful children that God chose especially for us. WE are the fortunate ones.

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Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Just a few formalities...

We are going to the pediatrician this evening to hear what he has to say about Ms. Bao's medical info (in part) but mostly to see if he will prescribe some meds to take with us in case she needs them while we are in China.

I spoke to someone at our agency yesterday and asked them to clarify if Bao is in foster care. They think she is not. This is good and bad. Good because it means that she will not have formed an attachment to a family that will have to be broken (for perhaps the second time in her life.) Bad, for, well, obvious reasons.

Now for the formalities: I have hidden the comments on the previous post because my computer is messed up and is not allowing me to delete comments. I just need to ask y'all to leave names that aren't yours out of your comments) unless they have already been revealed by their owner.) That way we can respect each others' privacy. Thanks.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Mixed Emotions

Well, I am back in the blogosphere. There have been a lot of things I have considered writing about but, except for the last post,* have kept quiet. My list of things to write about is growing, but I have decided to develop those ideas in another place.

Yet there are still things to post here. Mostly (and probably for a long while) the topic will be adoption, both in the personal and the general sense. But related issues would include: relationships, racism, the meaning of culture and how cultural heritage is established, and maybe a thing or two about China. I think in the next few months I will often wax educational on you. You have been warned.

But for now, I think I would simply like to update you. This is a "what's going on and how I feel about it" post.

What's going on is we have received Ms. Bao's official paperwork (AKA referral.) It is a pile of stuff written in Chinese, with a few pages of translation. These few little papers evoke quite a bit of emotion. And the emotions run the gamut.

First there are the pictures. The child is beautiful. BEfriekingYOUTEEFUL. Looking at the pictures makes me feel excited and happy but also impatient... because I want to hold her and love on her right now.

On the front of the referral is a little space labelled "Child's name," followed by three Chinese characters. Wu is her surname. I don't know weather I should laugh or cry at that name. It is, of course, completely made up. A real kid with a fake surname - the name that is supposed to tell you what family she belongs with. A lost child with the name Wu should be returned to the Wu family! But for Ms. Bao, the Wu family consists of all the other kids admitted to her orphanage that year. They're all Wus. It's a big family of siblings with no mom or dad to be found.

The referral goes on to give a bunch of medical and developmental information. Her thorax is "normal," her fontanel is "not closed," her heart rate is "120/minute." Blood tests, immunizations, X-rays...

And then, three lines about how "this child" came to be admitted to the orphanage.

I am hesitating: first, because I can't see through my tears to type this, and second, because I don't know if I should.

She was admitted to the orphanage on January 9. There is one minor detail given about how she was found. Her birthday was estimated, which tells me that she didn't have a note attached to her. (And as much as I hate the overuse of the word "precious," I think it fits here:) A precious baby was born, and no one knows any details.

Since before they could even understand, I have sat with Ms. Boo and MMr. Bug and told them all the details of their birth story: when I went to the hospital, what the weather was like, what I said to them when I first saw them, what happened when they went to the nursery, the specifics of our snuggling times and on and on and on....

For Bao - three lines. And maybe that is why I don't want to share the exact words with you all... because it's all I will have to tell her, and maybe I want what little there is to be just between us.

So, in light of this, there are parts of the referral that are oddly positive, to me. Like the bevy of boxes on a list of developmental milestones that are unchecked. I look at all the things she hasn't done yet, and sort of hope that she waits until we can see it. I want to be her "noticer," because I will remember for her.

And, of course there are the things that would make anyone smile: "she laughs with joy when she is being teased....when she sees food she wants to eat it" (yes, this is definitely one of my children...) "likes to be held by people....when she is hungry or wet diaper or someone pass by her but didn't hold her she will cry." I really like that last one because it tells me that despite all the things that have happened to her, she hasn't become passive or turned inward. And then, there is her "most favorite activity: like to be held and sit in a little rocky chair." Oh, little BABY, come on home with ME!

So, that is my girl. And that's a little bit of how I feel.

And everyone is asking what happens next, and when we will go to China. So, by way of update:

We have to take Bao's medical info to the pediatrician and get is input as if we think it matters because we are keeping this child no matter what. Then we send in our "acceptance" letter to the officials in China. They issue travel approvals for Bao (and the other girls in the group from our agency.) We expect to travel in mid- to late September, but the date of our travel will not be finalized until our agency has made appointments for us at the US Consulate.

In the mean time we will be getting visas, completing paperwork, and collecting various items for the trip to China. It's a lot of stuff on my mind and I am a bit overwhelmed, though not stressed (yet.) For those reading this who are the praying sort, I covet your prayers.

Over and out.

*The previous post is not one of those things that I have necessarily been wanting to write about, but it reveals one of the topics I'd like to write about. And, it may help you get to know me better... if you want.

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