Wednesday, August 04, 2010

She is 5

Today, my sweet baby girl turns 5. Not only is today her birthday, it is also her first full day of wearing glasses. She is so proud. Glasses are totally big girl, you know. So, in honor of both the birthday and the glasses, I give you the lyrics to a beautiful song, In My Daughter's Eyes:


In my daughter's eyes

I am a hero. I am strong and wise.

And I know no fear.

But the truth is plain to see

She was sent to rescue me.

I see who I want to be

In my daughter's eyes.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Truth About Our Family

Lately there have been a lot of horror stories in the news involving adopted children. Some people only ever hear the bad stories about adoptions, so the Joint Council on International Children's Services has asked that all adoptive families share the truth about international adoption. Today, hundreds of adoptive parents will be blogging about the truth of their adoptions. So, here is our truth:

I am a single mom by choice. Both of my daughters were born to other women and became my children through adoption. Adoption is a complicated issue. It always, in every case, begins with a loss. My daughters lost their birth families. They lost their birth country. They lost their care-givers. They lost their first language. Somewhere in China, two women lost their beautiful, sweet, innocent babies. How and why aren't really the point. The point is, at the beginning of every adoption story is the story of loss. My children are not my children because it was "meant to be". They are not mine because "God wanted it this way". My daughters are my daughters because out of a really bad situation, we were able to create something wonderful. Out of the heartache and fear of losing everything, my girls were able to gain a new family.

My girls were fairly young when they were adopted. OBaby, at just shy of 11 months, only understood that suddenly, nothing in her world was the same any more. Because she was so young, she was able to easily make the transition to a new care-giver – me. I say easily, but it is never really easy. We had weeks and weeks of sleepless nights spent crying (her, mostly). But she did adjust. And she bonded to me and to our family. And now, she is very surely my daughter, and I am her mommy. The thing she loves best is being with her "whole family" – Mommy, sister, grandparents, aunts, uncle, cousins. At seven, she does understand that she has another family in China. We talk about them sometimes. But mostly, we just live our lives together – just like any other family.

YBaby's adjustment was harder. She was 19 months old, and very attached to her primary care-giver. I know she slept with her (very common in China) and I suspect she was taken from her while she was asleep. She just work up one morning and her "MaMa" was gone. Although she doesn't seem to have a memory of this that she can articulate, the fear is obviously still there – the fear that Mommy might disappear in the night. She has been with me now for over 3 years, and yet she still can't go to sleep at night unless she is touching me – not just sleeping in my bed, but actually touching me. She's improving, though. She no longer wakes up hysterical if I'm not still in bed beside her. She's learned to come look for Mommy. And yet, she still has those moments of fear. Like the other day when her class went on a field trip and she asked me, "Will I never see you again?" She's still not 100% sure that we are forever. And as much as I would love to be able to tell her that MaMas never go away, how can I when she has already lived the truth?

In addition to being my daughters, OBaby and YBaby are sisters. And they ARE sisters. Genetic bonds or not, these two little girls are sisters the same as my sisters and I are. They love each other. They annoy the heck out of each other. They laugh and fight and cry together – just like any other sisters.

The truth of our family is that my daughters joined this family through adoption. That unique start will always make us a little different. We will always have issues to deal with that birth families might not. But the rest of our truth is that we live our lives everyday just like any other family. We go to work and to school. I help O with her homework, and Y sings the weather song to us. The girls fight over Barbies and laugh over Phineas and Ferb – just like any other sisters. They leave their junk all over the house and I get mad. Sometimes I say, "Can anyone actually hear my voice?" – just like every other mom.

We live, we laugh, we love. We are a normal American family. And that, my friends, is THE TRUTH.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Happy Family Day, Ying-a-Bing!

Three years ago, Ying became our baby. My, how she has changed! We love you, baby!


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Adoption Ends in Nightmare - Baby Was Sold

Alyssa is a one year old Pakistani girl. Her parents sold her to a man to be placed for adoption. An unsuspecting American woman went to Pakistan to adopt her. After more than 6 weeks together (in Pakistan), Alyssa's new mom learned the ugly truth. Alyssa was taken from her and sent to a Pakistani orphanage, along with 2 other little girls also taken from American parents who had no idea the girls had been sold to the "adoption facilitator". Alyssa's fate has yet to be determined. She may spend the rest of her childhood in an orphanage with no one to love her. Or, she may be returned to her birth parents who will then be able to sell her again - this time no one knows who they will sell her to.
And all the while, her American mother is fighting for the chance to give Alyssa the life she deserves. One with a warm bed, clean clothes, food to eat, and a mommy to hold her tight. She has lost over $35,000 to an unscrupulous agency (ADOPTION ARK! BEWARE!), but she hasn't lost hope. The adoption community is trying to help anyway we can - donating money for an attorney to fight for Alyssa or just getting the word out about what is happening to these beautiful babies.

It's just not right.

To learn more about Alyssa's story, click here. To follow her mother's fight to be reunited with Alyssa on FaceBook, click here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Breakfast with an old friend


We went to a Breakfast with Santa party on Saturday. The girls had a wonderful time talking to Santa and playing with friends. You can't get anything past Olivia, though. After she sat on Santa's lap, she whispered in my ear, "Mommy, is Santa really (our good friend) Dave?" I asked her why she would think that. "Because, he has Dave's face and his voice." Good thing she knows that Santa has helpers all over the world. And how cool is it that our buddy Dave just so happens to be one?

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

NFL's Most Fanatic Family

A friend of mine and his family have been selected as finalists in the NFL's Most Fanatic Family contest. The prize is a trip to the Super Bowl. I really think they deserve to win because they are Browns fans, and anyone who can cheer for the Browns is truly fanatical! If you have a minute to go vote, they are the Vetalice family in Group A (the Browns fans). Thanks!
http://callingallfamilies.com/

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Phone Call That Change The World


Ok, so it changed my world. Six years ago today I got a phone call that I had been dreaming about for over 4 years. "You have a daughter," she said. "Her name is Pan Chun An and she was born February 9th in Gaozhou City in Guangdong province." My daughter. My baby. My Olivia.

Today, she is a healthy, happy, smart, crazy, fun 6.5 year old who loves pretending she is a pop star or that her little sister is a super model. She can spell turkey and pumpkin (can you tell they are doing holiday words?) and read One Fish Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish all by herself. She got her first trophy last night for being a Pop Warner cheerleader (pictures tomorrow!) and scored 2 baskets during her evaluation to play Upward basketball. She is everything good and wonderful and perfect about being a little girl. And the best part is, she's all mine. I love her to pieces, and then I love up the pieces. My Pan Chun An. My OBaby. My girl.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Y Baby is officially a School Girl






















Today is YBaby's second day of school. She went to preschool Monday for the first time. She was so excited to go that she didn't even hesitate when it was time for Mommy to leave. I got a quick "bye" as she raced off to see what great adventure was in store for her. Today, she is supposed to get to ride the bus home. All by herself. My baby. On a school bus. Alone. She is thrilled. Me, not so much. Sigh. Guess she's not really a baby any more.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Halloween 2009

I got to spend Halloween afternoon with all of these beautiful princesses. Have you ever seen a cuter bunch of friends?

This is Princess Aurora - the princess with an attitude. Yes, she is way too cool.

And here we have the Butterfly Princess. She is as sweet as she is cute.

Any wonder why we now have enough chocolate to feed a small army? Girls this cute collect major loot!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Remembering

William Thomas Carr. Born Billy Franklin Anderson in Johnson City, TN on October 23, 1971. Died September 10, 1998 in Virginia Beach, VA. Despite a rough start, the last few years of his life were filled with love and happiness. There should have been so much more to this story, and so many more people to remember it.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Loud and Proud







OBaby loves, loves, loves being a cheerleader. And, she is good at it. She is always the loud one. Surprised? Not really. YBaby loves it, too. Who says you have to be 5 to cheer?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grandma!!!!!!!!!!!!

We hope you have a great day. We're glad we got to see you dance at the state fair. We had a terrific day. See -




Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tweaked

Yeah, that is OBaby's new word. Last night we were talking about "movie magic" (how they make things that didn't really happen look like they happened). She said, "Oh, yeah, they took a picture of him jumping, then tweaked it a little to make it look like he jumped over the whole pool." Um, yeah, they did, but how did she know tweaked?

"I just thought it seemed like the right word."


All I can say is that I sincerely hope her first grade teacher is up for the challenge.

Monday, August 03, 2009

New TB Testing Keeping Kids, not TB, out of the US

The USCIS (Immigration) and the Center for Disease Control have enacted new regulation for the testing of TB in immigrant populations. While the desire to protect US citizens from being exposed to TB is certainly a need, there has been an unintended consequence to the new regulation. Children legally adopted by US citizens are being denied their visas. One of these children is the newly adopted daughter of my coworker who is in Ethiopia right now, trying to figure out how to bring his child home. She does NOT have TB, but she must be tested, and the test results take at least 6 weeks. She had been legally adopted before her parents were told she would need to be tested. So now, they are the legal parents of a child who cannot enter the US. They are with her now, and naturally do not want to have to leave her, but at the same time, they will eventually have to return to the US because they have to work and they have a 2 year old son (also from Ethiopia) waiting at home.

All medical evidence indicates that children AT LEAST up to age 7 are NOT contagious, EVEN if they have active TB AND after 2-4 weeks of treatment NO ONE is contagious. The new regulations do not apply to citizen children who live abroad, even if they live in TB epidemic areas. Also there are no rules to prevent someone with active TB from entering the US on a tourist visa. Please consider signing the petition below. It only takes a couple of minutes and while it may not affect you personally, it is affecting my friend and his family.- Please feel free to forward this on- the more people who voice their concerns the more likely to get a solution that protects both the child and the country.

Build Families, Not Barriers Petition

Thursday, July 16, 2009

2-4-6-8







Who do we think's really great? OBABY! The cheerleader. She is going to try cheering for Pop Warner football this year. Of course, she knows nothing about football and really doesn't care to learn, but she loves the idea of being a cheerleader. And why not? She gets to wear a really cute uniform and have treats at every practice. We'll see what happens when she has to actually practice and be there for the games. Oh, God. That means I have to be there for the games. Football games. Played outside. By little boys. In northern Indiana. Ug. Mommy is sooooo not going to love this. But hey, she does look cute in the uniform!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Where's My Sister?

That's all I'm hearing right now. OBaby is visiting with Grandma and Grandpa for 4 more days, and YBaby is missing her like crazy. (Ok, so Mommy misses her like crazy, too. but YBaby keeps asking, "Where's my sister?") We are ready for her to come home, and I don't think we are going to want her to go away again for a long, long time!

We miss you, O!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Word to the Wise

If you have a spare iron, don't ever store it on the top shelf of a closet. And if you do, make sure the cord is securely wrapped around it so that no one can accidently pull the iron off the shelf and onto one's head. And if that happens, don't ask a 6 year old to look at the injury and tell you what she sees.

"Your hair is all bloody and there is a hole in your head."

I'm just sayin'.

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