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!!!!)

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I recently found in my jewelry box one of those bracelets that were popular a few years back, you 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 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.

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, 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 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


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!

And one final photo of my cutest little puppy!

Hope you all had a spooktacular weekend as well!