Sunday, March 28, 2010
Sounds good huh? A cool road trip...grand idea, just grand. Well, it sounded so anyway when this fab little trip was all being planned in our heads.
You may say, "Now Jen, you sound a bit sarcastic when you say that".
And you know what...you would be correct!
Somehow, someway, Adam and I decided a road trip to visit family and friends in Florida would be a great idea for Spring break. It's only a 10 hour drive after all, and we've done it quite a few times with Simone. So here we go, pack it up, hit the road, ya'll.
Two adults, two kiddos and two dogs....
Yep I realized too late just how outnumbered Adam and I were.
But I digress. The point is, the whole "road trip" idea was way outa our league and we just didn't realize it until it was too late.
It all started out going well. We get the car loaded with food, suitcases, car games. We toss in the two panting dogs (now drugged and hopefully soon sleeping), the kids get buckled in (unfortunately Not drugged...) and we are off.
45 Minutes into the trip I utter the fatal words we've all been guilty of speaking....
"This is going well- better than I expected really. This is going to be a fun road trip".
Oh ya, if only I had known....
About 10 minutes later the baby woke up screaming, the Sponge B*b episode Simone was enjoying ended, and the so called "Natural Relaxer" drugs we used on the dogs has worn off. And I'm hungry. And we have nine flippin hours left in this fun little"road trip".
Flash forward a few hours...I've got baby puke inside my shirt, Oliver is close to a legit heart attack he's panting so hard, Simone still hasn't gotten a new movie put in and is protesting this quite loudly. And I am still hungry. And I smell. Bad.
So I'm sorta regretting my words from a few hours ago and yet still I have to go on and say, "Well Adam, it really can't get much worse, right?".
Oh evil gods of sarcasm.....
Because Sammy decided at that moment, to ummmm.....well.....to poop. Stinky, stinky stuff too, which we usually can get him to do in another more desirable area. Like the toilet. But flying down the interstate well, there was just no other option. Did I mention how it stunk? Up the whole van? Bad?
Now he's screaming again, Simone's waking up and she's hungry now, the dogs are both panting and the car stinks. On the positive side, I'm no longer hungry, but only cause I stink so bad it's spoiled my appetite.
So naturally I have to ask..."Hey Adam, how much longer till we get to Clearwater?"
To which he replies "About five hours, give or take". Oh for the love of Pete! So not the response I wanted to hear.
Did it get any better, you ask?
Nope. But we made it there in just over 12 hours (yep, a 10 hour trip in 12 hours, not too shabby) and once we finally got there things improved quickly. After a nice night sleep, a nice hot shower and some good breakfast we were all ready for our mini vacation.
Once time allows I should have some photos to share. We've been hitting every pool and playground in the county it seems and now we are all relaxing while listening to the rain. Nice.
Oh, and just so you know...Simone, Sammy and I will be flying back. This road trip stuff is for the birds!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
It was in a hotel elevator area on the other side of the world that I first met my beautiful daughter. Five years of amazing love and growth and togetherness. Five years I would not have traded for...well...all the tea in China, ha ha!
I still remember the moment when we first glimpsed our daughter, face full of tears and misery. What a difference five years have made! Her face on this special morning is full of smiles, sunshine and sweetness!
Does she remember that day? No, not really. Does she remember her birth country and all she left behind? No, not really. Does she understand the significance of today, how important and special it is to us? Again, not really. But still we will celebrate! Of course we do, because it is one of the most special days of my life- one of the most important moments of my very being...becoming a first time Mom. In a hotel waiting area in a country half way around the world....
Below is a photo of the Center of Adoption Affairs. What an intimidating looking building, to handle such life changing affairs!
Below is the indoor garden area of The White Swan Hotel....a hotel well known by Chinese adoptive families! We so enjoyed our time spent there and cherish the memories of the bonds formed while staying there.
And a family photo, outside a Buddhist Temple.
So Happy Five Year Forever Family Day, my sweet and wonderful daughter! Even though it feels like yesterday that I met you, you've been in my heart forever!
A link to last years post is below.
Something I like to call the far side of miserable swept through our humble abode the last two weeks! Let's see...Simone and Adam got nasty colds which they passed along to us, which led to Sammy getting an ear infection, oh and in the midst....Simone caught a stomach flu. My oh my...what a time!
By Friday we were all appearing hale and hardy.... when Adam and I (oh yep, BOTH of us!) got some very miserable bug all weekend, complete with fever and body ache (did I say ache...really it was much more like body torture)...which all together came down to "the far side of miserable" for our usually merry household! Even the doggies seemed to feel the strain of it all!
Posting, and even taking photos, became an impossibility. So here I sit with just a few random photos to share. Not even any good stories, well.... none you'd really care to hear anyway!
Since the weather has been warmer, Sammy and I have been spending time on the back porch. He has learned quickly how to climb the picnic table to play with toys or eat a snack!
Oh swing set, you are so close...and yet so very very far!
He tried so hard to walk all the way.
And last is a cute video I took. Please excuse the messy counters...i took this in the middle of either preparing or cleaning up dinner. And the mop was dry...no chemicals yet! Sammy just loves to mimic people and sweeping/mopping are his favs! But, Simone aways gets a wet mop on cleaning days to "help" me clean, so he's taking her job from her... I love her response to him doing it though!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
One year ago today I was sitting in Florida when Adam called to tell me we had a referral! Oh, I would have to wait two more nights to celebrate with my family, but I was still so happy!
What a year it has been. Eight months would pass before we would finally get to hold our Wei-Che, our Samuel, our son. Long months of watching him grow. Months filled with the hopes and dreams of his coming into our family. He was half way around the world...so very far from us.
One year ago today this was the first photograph I saw...
And I fell in love! If I had only known how much deeper I would fall for this wonderful and amazing little guy...
Happy Referral day!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Or a bit of both?
Is racism really just a form of bullying? And when do words, or gestures, cross that line and become a form of racism? And is racism born from ignorance? Okay, last question....how do we prepare our children for either, or both?
I grew up in an Irish/Italian family where even though I didn't look exactly like my extended family I blended well enough. My neighborhood and friends were of the same color and ethnic background. I never dealt with racism as a child, or even young adult. It wasn't until I married that I first dealt with racism. Until a person hears my name-if they hear it- there is no way of them knowing my religion, and even then it's really just a guess. And yes it has happened when my name has been heard...that type of racism. But even so, my religion is my choice- something I can keep private if I choose. My children cannot keep their racial identities secret. It is written all over their faces.
I had allowed myself to believe, maybe falsely, that we lived in a bubble here in our town. We haven't (prior to a few weeks ago) been subjected to any comments about our family. Instead of hearing "Are those kids yours?" we hear things like "What beautiful children you have". Simone has not experienced any teasing in school. And her school is very multi-cultural which is one of the very things I like about it! Sure, when we travel, and in previous places we have lived, I've heard the inappropriate comments- never racist, just ignorant.
So as the story goes, this bubble I had thought was surrounding us burst recently and I am now left asking what more I need to do to prepare my children when it inevitably happens to them and they are old enough to understand.
I was with just Sammy when this happened and I'm glad that Simone was not present. Partly because it was the first time I've dealt with this regarding my children and their racial identity and partly because I'm not sure if I handled it in a way the way I really wanted to....in a way that truly showed my angst. I don't feel that I defended my child in the best way, and for that I am sorry.
So here is what happened:
I was with my Aunt, my close friend and Sammy at a Home Show at the convention center. We were walking around looking at the booths when I noticed a group of three teenagers that kept looking in our direction. Something was off, you know that feeling you get...but I didn't understand yet. I just happened to look back over when I saw the boy in the group "doing Chinese eyes" ...you know the gesture. And the girls looking back at us and laughing. Laughing. It was so weird, I couldn't grasp that they were doing this to us. My first feeling was anger, because I have Asian children, right. But then I realized they were making fun of my baby. A baby for crying out loud, and mine to boot! We were about 15 feet away and all I could do was say "Oh my gosh...are you kidding me" in the most incredulous voice I could muster.
I was dumbstruck and speechless, something again I am not proud of...I wish more than anything I had something so smart to say. When my friends heard my exclamation and I explained... well they were ready to confront the kids. But I didn't think that it would really solve anything, and I wasn't sure what we could say. If I confront them and get angry it just isn't showing Sammy the right way to handle this. And even though he is too young to understand, I try to look at each experience as practice for the next time for both my kids benefit and my own. Should I have confronted the parents? Again, what would I say? I was really in a state of disbelief and by the time I had regained my brain and thought it through- the kids were gone.
Okay, maybe this "incident" was minor, but it still was offensive to me and hurt to see that my children will deal with things like this. It was painful to experience, I really felt like it was done to me, maybe because it was done to a baby, an adorable little innocent baby! MY baby...
And naturally when I got home I used this experience to have a talk with Simone. Stumbling across my words I relayed the story and told her how it made me feel. I asked how she felt and she said that was too bad they were bullies. I said "why do you say they are bullies, what makes them a bully?" She explained to me that when you pick on a person because of how they look or something about them that they can't change it's being a bully and it is not nice. I asked her what I could have said to them. She told me to use my "I's", as in "I feel very sad when you pick on me (or my baby) because of how he looks. You are not being nice and I do not like it". And then she explained "It's much better to use your I's than your hands, Mom. It wouldn't have been okay to hit them". Ahhh, good to know....
We talked some more, but I'm not sure of how much she understands. I am very glad to know her school works on bullying tactics and that obviously she gets it on some level. But when it is aimed at her, what will she do, how will she react? Will she have the skills at hand to handle it the right way? And what is the right way? I know with her, and Sammy, I have a lot of preparing and role playing to do in the future. I have plenty of "adoption" books on our shelves, but I've realized I need to expand into deeper context. And I need to educate myself much more.
So my question to all my bloggy world friends...what would you have done or said? Has this happened to you, and how did you handle it?
I’d love to hear any comments and suggestions or stories you might have!
Until next time,
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
See it's like this, last night as I was reading Simone the book "I Love You Like Crazy Cakes" she asked me what the Mommy in the book did, as in work. Not sure where this was going I asked what she thought she did. Simone wasn't too sure...maybe she sold chocolates or something.
Then she said, with a sigh "I guess I won't be able to adopt any babies when I am grown up".
Naturally I asked "why not?" thinking this was about adoption, wondering where this would lead...ya know, the whole "where do babies come from" discussion flashing through my brain!
But she said "Because, I'll be too busy being a doctor all day, and where will I put my children when I'm helping people?'
Ohhh, I see.
Okay, so I say "Well, I am so glad you've made such an admirable career choice at such a young age. But....Dr. B is a Mommy and she works helping people. Perhaps you will be able to do both as well."
To which she replies "Yes, but after being a Doctor all day I'll have to work in the library, and you know how kids are in the library. Remember when we went the other day- we were loud. They won't like me bringing my children while I'm the worker."
Wow, two careers choices in one night. But I must wonder why she thinks she can either have a career or be a Mom. I wonder if my choices have led her to think that she can have only one or the other. Sure I'm not a "working Mom" at this point, but I have done both and we have plenty of friends that do both.
So I got to thinking about all this. And I remember now what I wanted to be when I grew up. My "career choice"? Well~ I wanted to be a Mom.
Yep, just a Mom, preferably living on a farm with lots of animals (to love, not to eat) and married to Ken. Yes, Barbie's main squeeze was my choice of spouse. Can't you just picture him in bib overalls mucking out a stall? Well I sure could.
As we all know, life didn't turn out exactly like that, but I had a career and will again once my babies are just a bit older. And for now I am doing exactly what I wanted, being a Mom (minus the farm and the fake hubby).
So now that I've had time to think this all through...
I am grateful we live in a Country where my daughter and myself do have the freedom to choose where our lives take us, the careers we want to embark on - be it Doctor, Librarian, Mom, Farmer.... or all of the above! With hard work and determination my daughter can do anything she wants! And I know my sweet girl will find the right path for her in her own time, and for now I just want her to be a kid! We can work out the rest as we go...
Monday, March 1, 2010
And of course we always have some great family and friends that are willing companions!
Cuddling with Auntie JoJo!