Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Hello....anyone out there still?

Wow...what a very remiss blogger I have been this past month.     Or two....

What could my excuse possibly be you ask?  Well I really don't have one except the busy bees were buzzing all over our household.  I had two or three posts "in the cue" but as time passed they seemed outdated and too much else had happened!  I honestly haven't had a free moment between holiday preparation, parties and social get-togethers to check other blogs, never mind post on my own! 

So here I sit with a month and a half of bloggy news and I just don't know where to begin!  So I'll begin where I left off and just fill you all in on all that we've been up to!

November brought my birthday and I turned another year older.  Finally....29, oh what a good age to be.  And yes....I am sticking with that lie age.  We had a nice family/friend celebration with one of my favorite meals, pizza and salad, after an afternoon at one of my favorite spots, the nature park.  Perfection!

Then we went to the D.C. area to visit family for Thanksgiving.  We had a fabulous time with Adam's brothers & families, his parents and some other family members! The adults had a grand time catching up and hanging out. And the kids all had soooo much fun together.  It was awesome to finally see Sammy Wei being welcomed as one of the bunch.   We had not only 1st cousins but 2nd as well which was great!  The older kiddos were just wonderful with the younger and the households, back yards and hotels were filled with laughter and joy! 
Here's the gang!  Aren't they all just precious!
 
While we were there we got to meet a long awaited arrival!  Acquaintances that have become fellow adoptive friends introduced us to their sweet daughter home from Korea in October!  Sammy loved the "baba" or baby and kept tickling her chin...
And December was a busy month with Hanukkah and Christmas and all the festivities that come with each holiday!  We visited Santa and his reindeer.  Simone giggled and laughed but Sammy wasn't sure about him!
 
Sammy has been busy "reading" his train book and he got all sort of train tracks and tables for the holidays!   He just looks so darn cute here!
 In mid-December Miss Simone was pinned as an official Daisy Scout!  Such a big girl thing to do and it certainly brought back memories of my years as a Girl Scout.   She has learned so much during the last 3 months in Girl Scouts and I look forward to the next year!

Santa also came to our house with special gifts for the kiddos! (Thank you, James & Melissa!)  What a special treat!!!

On sunny days we've been outside as much as possible.  Sammy has found his sandbox to be quite a favorite new hangout spot!
And after a VERY busy month we headed to Vermont for our annual Christmas visit with my family.  

While we were up there I got together with an old high school buddy!  Haven't seem him in quite a few years and it was awesome to chat and catch up with him! 
It was GREAT to see you Mike -let's not go 16 years without getting together again! 
And we end with the fashion statement that captures the essence of 2010...Sammy in my hat singing a little tune.  Love him!
 

As soon as I have a few more free moments I'll catch up on the Christmas festivities and the snow play!  Oh...and the trip home.  Yep, we traveled through "the blizzard", but made it home.  Lot's of stories still to share!

So if your out there still, I thank you!

And Happy Holidays to all!
J

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veteran's Day Parade

I love parades.  The marching bands, the cool cars and motorcycles, all the excitement and joy.  And I truly love parades that celebrate something as huge as Veteran's Day!  Since it was a lovely day and Sammy and I had no plans we figured it would be fun to head downtown and watch the parade.  So glad we did!  I did miss having my best girl with us but it was still a wonderful morning. 
Now Sammy Wei is ALL boy, I mean 150% and then some!  He loves anything that moves...firetrucks are tops on the list, cars are cool, airplanes and helicopters amaze him and horses make him giggle with glee.  So he was in boyhood heaven at this parade! 

We live in a small city so it's easy to navigate, there's plenty of parking and we easily found a great spot on the sidewalk with a great view of the parade! 
My sweet boy was so excited.  We sat right in front of the ladder firetruck and got to see the American Flag being hung from the ladder across the street.  
And a kind passerby offered to take our picture!
Loved the bands...they were all fantastic and Sammy danced in my arms for the whole parade!
And some "Vrmmmm Vrmmmmm's" according to Sammy!  He loved the noise the bikes made as they revved by....
AND...a helicopter flew over head a couple of times.  AND a jet, but I wasn't fast enough with the camera to capture that.  Let's just say some body was was rather awed by the overhead excitement!
Oh and then the military vehicles....more "Vroommm's" and "Rmmmmppp's".  At this point he sort of got the hang of it and was waving his little flag at everyone!
Then the horse drawn carriage came along and he really wanted to follow after them.
But the old fire truck kept him in place!
And this group of Veterans below were very cool to see go by.  I was standing next to the wives and they explained to me that these army vets were stationed together in Vietnam and reunited here for the parade after 40 years.  It was pretty amazing!
This was the American Flag hanging from the firetruck.  It was magnificent to see, waving in the wind...standing as a symbol of our freedom.  Freedom won by the brave men and women we got to pay tribute to on this day.

I know Sammy didn't understand why we were there, but the joy he got from the experience was just wonderful.  As he gets older he'll learn the why's of it, just as Simone is now.

So Thank You to all of our Veterans and all of those in service now.  (My Dad and brother included!!!!)
J

Saturday, November 6, 2010

ADOPTION = LOVE

I recently found in my jewelry box one of those bracelets that were popular a few years back, you know...like those "Livestrong" ones, but this one was for adoption and says "ADOPTION = LOVE" on it.  So I've been wearing it again. Proudly.

But it's also got me thinking about adoption and love and the bonds that are formed through adoption. 
More to the point I've been pondering the question - does adoption automatically equal love?   Just because we actively seek these children to adopt do we just automatically love them, bond with them?  Or is it a love and bond formed over time?  And even more, does love and bonding necessarily go together and grow together on the same scale, with the same intensity and at the same time?
  
I guess a comment a friend made got me thinking.  She said something along the lines of *Dad's don't bond with the baby the way Mom does because they don't carry it inside and feel it grow.  They don't get those 9 months of feeling the movement, the kicks.  They just don't have the same bonds and connection...the same immediate love for the baby*.

This is a good friend and I probably could have opened a discussion...but I was rather speechless.  (I know, I know...these speechless moments-so odd!)  I just wasn't sure where this feeling of offense was coming from and what point I would have been trying to make.
  
And of course I've been mulling it over now, questioning that bond between mother and child - parent and child really.  When does attachment, bonding and love begin?  And where does it begin...in the womb or in the heart?
 
Do I not get to love my adopted child as much, with as much emotion simply because she/he did not "grow" inside of me?  Am I required or expected to work harder at those bonds of love because I've only known my child post birth?  And what gives a child of birth a better bond with their parents, their mother...My children have learned loss and learned how it felt trust again at a very young age...doesn't that mean something?  Doesn't that show how deep our love and our bond truly is?

Now I am not saying I fell head over heels in love and immediately bonded with my children the moment our eyes met.  No, not exactly...I mean I loved them, deeply, but yes I didn't have that complete connection we now so easily share.  But the implication that those bonds were not there at all, that I didn't have a some kind of love- well that's not true, nor is it fair. 

Maybe they didn't grow in my belly, but I had years of desperate wanting of them, months of waiting to see what they would look like and then months more of looking at photograph of my baby waiting across an ocean.   I had oodles of dreams of holding each of them and I definitely had such intense longings to smell, touch and cuddle them.  I knew every inch of their skin and hair and eyes (well that I could see in a picture) and was only lacking the feel of them in my arms.  When I met each of them it was emotional and scary and the need to connect was not one of wanting but of necessity.  We had to get to know each other through language barriers and fear of the unknown.  And they had to trust us, these strangers that had come into their lives.  And once home the connections made daily with each of my children were amazing.  Some days I found new reasons to love them and some days we found new ways to bond.  And some days we did both.
  
Oh yes, I had plenty of time to bond and love them, just not in womb...but in my heart. 


So does adoption = love?
For me it certainly does.
J


I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.

For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.
--- Unknown Author ---

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

So why adoption?

You ever get asked that?
Okay, okay....how many times have you been asked that, in one form or another?


For adoptive parents it's a fairly common question.  Whether asked by a family member, an old friend, a new one or a complete stranger it's always a question that makes me pause and causes that seldom seen "speechlessness" with me.


Why the pause, you ask?
Well, to me it's a question within a question.  I mean- it's too broad, too loaded and sometimes too personal.


You see, it comes down to the fact that I never am sure what folks are really asking. 
Do they mean why did I adopt these children or why did I adopt internationally vs domestically?  Are they asking if I am infertile or the status of my fertility, or are they asking if I just think it's cool to "save" children from orphanages around the world? 
And there are differences even within the person who is asking...an old friend who is just surprised maybe because it never came up when you knew each other before.  Or a newer friend over a glass of wine or cup of coffee.  Maybe a fellow blog buddy or adoptive parent, just comparing stories.  Or possibly somebody on FB who "knows somebody who is thinking about adopting as well".  Family members may have asked back then, back when we started the process, but know better now. 


Oh and then the strangers....well some are just plain nosy and some are in the process and of course some are deciding whether to adopt or not.  I've had other soccer moms, classmate parents and parents at birthday parties ask a form of the question.  Perhaps a curious birth mother or another adult adoptee, looking for some insight from the other side of adoption.
.
But each time I am stumped as to an answer to give...
because the answer is more complex than the question.  "Where do you want me to start" I often think  "and how personal do you want me to get".  Besides, is it really any one's business or right to know...?
Also, how much are they willing to hear - all the sad details leading up to our choices, the hell of the wait for each of my babes, both leading to the joy that has come from those original choices.   How do you put those emotions, those feelings and memories into an answer for such a question?


Or do they just want the short and sweet version, maybe the "becasue God led us to" or the "we couldn't have any so we did this" version?  Then I wonder if in those simple answers if we're doing justice to our story, our journey, to adoption.             
And I have to think not. 


So for now I will answer your question with the only answer I can give....
Simply because

J

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Spooktacular Weekend

Halloween night was so much fun this year with my two sweetpeas! 
Last year we totally missed it because we were in Taiwan, which was okay...I mean I'd give up 10000 Halloweens for this fellow.  But it certainly made this year all that more special. 
We had a great afternoon with a party at a friends house and then off to another neighborhood for trick or treating with some other pals! 

So we had Princess Jasmine and a puppy dog in costume this year!
 Below is Simone with "Bubba"...
 And the four tricksters!

 Look at this big girl...doesn't even wait for Mama anymore!
 At least I still have Sammy...for now anyway!
 He caught on real quick and went to quite a few houses to trick or treat as well!


And the weekend was busy all around since we also had the Fall Festival at Simone's school.

We call this the "too cool for the playground" look.
 This would be called "leaf fun".  The kids played in this pile of leaves for about a half hour!
 Sweet girl....
 Sammy laughing as he "throws" leaves on Simone's pal!

 And what Halloween would be complete without a trip to Boo at the Zoo?  Well not ours, not this year!  Here's Simone dressed up for it last weekend.    She made a pretty little Jasmine!
 Sammy was not too sure about the costume thing and really just wanted to see if the bears were out!
 Bestest pals!
 I think the zoo was a lot of fun, but also a bit tiring!  Too....exhausted....to take....off...mask.....zzzzzzzzz

And one final photo of my cutest little puppy!

Hope you all had a spooktacular weekend as well!
J

Friday, October 29, 2010

Wild Thing

There is a creature found only in these parts.  A creature so wild and so silly few have dared to capture it.  He goes by many names, this wild thing, like Sammy, WieChe and Sam Bam..he's even been referred to as "the little sumo".

Very difficult to catch, this wild thing can lead in chases lasting for hours.  Once caught he quickly becomes
quiet and almost docile, easily giving hugs and cuddles.  But all too soon he is off, sure of foot and fast as the wind...leading another chase.

And to capture on film, this wild thing in action, has proven almost impossible.  But I have dared to live with this creature in his own habitat and to be the first to get his silly antics on video.  As you will see below, I believe I have succeeded!

And yes, he obviously has a partner in crime!  Another wild thing has been located in the same habitat, although she appears a bit older and slightly more mature.  Yet I still believe she is the so called "ring leader".


video


Happy Friday and Happy Halloween!
J

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Last year....

Last year one of those "life changing moments" occurred. 
Last year on this very day I officially met my son, my WeiChe, for the first time. 

I've been very nostalgic this week remembering the time leading up to today.  I remember the days right before travel, thinking of all of the "lasts"---last time with only one child in the car, last time saying "my child" instead of "my children", last time getting only one youngster off to sleepyland, last moments to have only one babe to cuddle and love, last sleepless night waiting with anxiety for the day to travel-soon to be many sleepless nights of a different kind -  and last relaxing shower.... for a while anyway.  And still I can't imagine going back to not having Sammy Wei in our lives, can't remember what that was like - however did we do without him? 

Last year our family of three landed in Taipei full of all of the hopes & dreams and fears & nervousness of soon to be parents...even the second time around.  We landed in a country with such friendly people, amazing sights and smells and with a city full of bustling activity - a country so beautiful that we immediately fell in love with it.

Last year we drove over two hours to a very loving Foster Mother's home in a small city in Taiwan to finally hold our son and take him into our family.  It was a huge day for us all and for me it was filled with mixed emotions - as were many days to follow.  As excited and happy as we were, poor WeiChe was being ripped from the only Mom he knew.  To us the day meant a new addition, much eagerly awaited and with us so ready to love him.  For him it was another day of loss, a new day of confusion and fear. 

And now, a year later, I look at my darling son as he "reads" a book about Choo Choo's and smiles at me with glee every time he turns the page.  I hear his sweet voice calling for me..."Mama Mamaaa" ...whenever I leave the room, or come back in!  I see the delight in his eyes when it's time to meet JieJie at the bus stop and his excitement at the end of day when Dada finally gets home and he can run into his arms for one of his extra huge hugs.
I am amazed at all he has accomplished, all he has learned and all of the changes I've seen over the last year.  Some because he's just getting older...but some because he's felt more and more connected and comfortable with us.   And I have learned to slow down and appreciate all of these changes and accomplishments and have been enjoying all aspects of having Sammy in our lives!

And one thing we always have done with Simone is recap that very first day and week that we met --- and of course I'll be doing the same with Sammy.   What a truly incredible week of memories we made once we met Sammy Wei.  Looking over the photos I am remembering how chubby and babyish he was the day we met him and those emotions come flooding back!  What a blessing we received last year....

Below is the first moment we saw WeiChe....Oh how sweet he looked and what an amazing feeling to finally be able to hold him. 
And the photos below are the first moments together.  Yep, tears are streaming as I type...




 Back at the hotel....
We were all just falling in love with this little dumpling!

 Finally...me and my children!
 And the four of us!  All very tired after a busy day at the zoo...
 Oh what a sweet baby!  Loved these glimpses of the happy boy he really is!
And look at all the chunk! 
So many memories have been made in the year since we met Sammy and there are so many yet to be made!  Life is busier and happier and crazier and more hilarious since we met this fellow last year....

Last year lives were forever changed.  For our family it was changed for the better...in more ways than we ever imagined possible! 

Happy Family Day my sweet dumpling....
J

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Catch up...!

I feel like I've been neglecting my blog these days...and part of me says "oh well....you just have too much else to do"  but that other voice is saying "boo hoo".  Because I really enjoy blogging and sharing the tid-bits of our life with my bloggy world pals!
So today it's simply "catch up" and I think I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Well, okay.  It is ME after all...I'll talk you through our latest days just a bit.....

Sammy has his own sense of fashion.  He refused to take his swim trunks off his head almost the whole day.

And he does love to "help" with the laundry....
Oh--- he just looks so big here! 
And he made a big furry friend at the zoo last week.  I've never seen the bears up this close, but this fellow was swimming and splashing right at the window!  Sammy was in heaven!
He liked the Macaw statue as well.  But not so crazy about the real birds...they were very loud and he was not impressed!

And my sweet girl!  We went to a nature center near our house last week and she brought her "field journal" to make notes and drawings in!
We found a cave.
And walked the nature trails.  It was a wonderful family day!
Peek-a-boo!
Awwwww......my two dumplings!
And my climber.  He has no fear folks....none! 
And you know whats funny?  He was having a blast and was laughing and talking...but the moment the camera comes out he is "Mr. Serious"!

Love my sleepy head. 
Here's my "Daisy Scout"!  She is really enjoying girl scouts and loves to wear her uniform!
Sunny fall days...perfect for filling the bird feeders!  What a helper he is!


So that's a bit of catch up on what we've been up to! 

More to post soon I am sure....
J