Monday, February 23, 2009

Friends are Friends Forever...And WHY Did My Spacing Between Paragraphs NOT Show Up Below?

The Three Amigas, Kourtney, Emily, and Kristen, were all together last Friday night. We have extremely tight social schedules (strategic throat clearing...) so at the last minute we put it all together and hooked up to know...chicken nuggets. It's on the express menu and comes with my absolute fave: iced tea.
In other words, "What cha'll doin' tonight?" were the 4 little words that brought us all together in an atmosphere of fine dining. See how much we dressed up? Speak for myself. They don't look bad but I was attired like an Afghan in mourning: mostly in black clothing & comfortable shoes. Seems to be the norm these days.
Kourtney and Kristen (a.k.a. 'Horsie' & 'Monkey") are sisters. They have a younger sibling named Keri - but she's out and about the country making tennis history. A real player. Actually the whole family is good at tennis. Guess who talked ME into picking up the sport late(r) in life? Yup.
You guessed it. Mom is K.K. = Karen. Dad is a J Word. Go figure. Jeff or Jeff-fu for those who know him well. This couple was brave enough to sign off on my China papers as guardians for Miss Emily WAAAAAYYYY back in 2005-ish before Emily was even on the scene. That's how precious they are. Super Teacher and Salesman Extraordinaire. That's them.
Anyhoo, Kourtney and Kristen are not only adorable, they're bright. Emily cherishes time with them. So...we all hooked up for a Friday night dinner at a local chicken hangout sorta place. I pulled out the ole camera, turned it on, only to have it shut off immediately. BATTERY. Phooey. Kristen whipped her's out, and voila. The pic above.
After we ate, the K & K Sisters came over and hooked up a computer that dear friend Kim-the-Marathoner (I'm not worthy to walk with you!) got "a hold of" for me. In just a few minutes they had that computer humming, ripped a CD to it, and loaded Emily's learning software games. It's amazing what young, techno savvy folks can do these days in less than 5.66 minutes. Before Friday, I'd never even HEARD of ripping a CD. Now...I'm a pro. Just gimme a disc.
Thanks, ya'll, for your help. What cha doin' Friday night?! Kidding.
Filling in the gaps of what we did over the weekend & posting a photo. Gotta jump at the chance when I have it.
We've got (like anyone cares):
- a 2 liter bottle of orange water in the kitchen window made from red & yellow food coloring
(to teach about color blends)
- a corn-on-the-cob holder with seeds from Ayi Cookie's yard that we hope will sprout
- part of a sweet potato soaking in water to see the roots emerge
- newly planted trees in the backyard (Some are just mere sticks. I didn't know whether to plant them or pick my teeth with them.)
Better run. Got someone calling mommy over and over. Mercy. I might be slow, but I'm not deaf!
The Rippin' Queen.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Hey Anne B.....Here's Some Pictures for Ya -- At Your Request...Ha!! We LOVE YOU.

"Singing in the Rain"? Nope. But Singing Nonetheless.

Em is in love with the movie, "Singing in the Rain". She likes musicals and dance movies -- OLD ONES. She totally enjoys "White Christmas" with Bing (lotsa dancin' and singin'), too.
YES. I am checkin' into some type of dance class for her. She already attends a children's choir.

Not the Lennon Sisters...Singing at CNY

I personally think Emily loves to perform.

Not bad for a somewhat shy girl.

Sweetie Pies Listening to Entertianment at CNY

Is it me...or do you just wanna snatch them all up and kiss them? Oh my. So precious, huh?

I'm posting little pics...but doing so b/c folks have asked for pictures. Badda boom. Badda bing. Pictures. :)

Dragon Dancing at CNY. Em's the Middle Red Dressed One - With Charming Accessory of a Name Tag.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Vicki and Emily During Craft Time at CNY -- and YES. I Need My Roots "Done"!!

Emily, Anna, and Mia - Dressed in Silk

I had written in a previous post that Em's dress is blue. That's the "next size up one" that I also bought while in China. I marvel at my own use of the King's English. Next size up one. Hmmmm.
Oh well. I'm not the king.

Emily and Buddies at Airport to Welcome Home Another Chinese Sister

Emily at Chinese New Year Celebration - with a somewhat forced smile!!

Emily and Some of Her Chinese New Year Posse

Friday, February 13, 2009

"When's My Birthday?"

Not the typical question a 7 y/0 asks her mother, huh?

Within the adoption world, it's a bittersweet topic b/c folks are never quite sure of their child's REAL birthday. Orphanage personnel & medical staff assign birth dates. Sounds cold. I know.

Sometimes - I doubt often - in China children are found with notes attached/pinned to their clothing. These notes might give a birth date b/c Chinese people -- as a general sorta rule -- are superstitious. (Just yesterday I had a Wong friend telling me about nickels being given out in envelopes at Chinese burials. Round is good. Number 5 is good. So I'm told from someone in the know.) Numbers & colors mean a LOT regarding their symbolism, and if the child should happen to have a lucky date for a birth date, then the birth parent could likely want to pass that on. (Eight is a lucky number...thus the Olympics in Beijing starting on 8/8/08 -- probably at 8:00 p.m. I don't know.)

BUT it's against the law in China to abandon a child, and if a birth parent reveals the true birth date, they could be found out-- maybe easily if it involves a newborn baby. (?? In a country w/that many millions of people...?? Not sure.) That family could be tracked down b/c officials do take photos of the babies/children & place a Finding Ad in the local paper to attempt to find the child's family. Newspapers are filled with these photos, and adoptive parents can hire a U.S. business to track down their child's Finding Ad photo from the newspaper. Go figure.

Back to, "When's my birthday?".

Well, it's the question that I was asked a few days ago.

"March 16th", I replied.

"A looooong way off??", Emily ponders aloud as she waves her hand and arm across the horizon.

"No. Actually it's getting close."

If you know anything about child development, then you realize that time and distance don't mean much to younger children. So, Em doesn't grasp the concept of how close/far away her celebration is. She's been to a few birthday parties and seems quite pleased that she'll be the center of attention and folks will sing Happy Birthday to her. She wants to go skating -- on skates "with circles" (roller skates as opposed to ice skates). We'll sure get that in somewhere along the way.

Speaking of singing...I manage to be held hostage as Emily plans her song and dance routines for anyone/critter/stuffed animal in the room. I hold a flea comb in my hand and talk excitedly into the wooden handle shouting out, "Boys and for your entertainment and pleasure....EMILY will now sing and dance for you!!!!" (wild applause)

She comes out from behind a chest of drawers and begins singing repetitively about Puddin', Peanut, or Skipper Dog -- while dancing a tad off beat. She was on this kick a while back singing about how Puddin' wanted to come into my bedroom but the door was shut. Well, she opened the door, placed him inside my room, and shut the door. (This really happened one morning.) She's got some little ditty about "open door...Puddin'...meow". It's pretty funny.

Then, when I try to call her back on-stage again, she tells me not to call her Emily. She wants to be called Lilly. I suspect that alias comes from her Leap Frog learning dvd with Lilly the Frog. Uh huh.

She adores the song from 1965 tv version of Cinderella, "It's possible. For a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage. It's possible. Things are happening everyday." So cute when she says "pun-kin" and la, la's over harder words like "golden carriage". And if she's got an audience of folks piled into a van, she really cranks up the volume. Not bad for a somewhat shy girl.

This weekend we celebrate Chinese New Year with the local folks who also have adopted from China. It takes place after our Chinese Cultural School activities. Emily gets to wear the little blue, silkish dress I bought for her while we were in Guangzhou. I'll be sure to take a picture or two. "Cong Hei Fat Choi/Gung Hey Fat Choi" (various ways to say Happy New Year in Chinese)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Myah (a.k.a. "Chew Vee" per Emily) Holding Em's Card with Butterflies and Birds

Emily sent Myah a little Get Well card back a while ago. As you can see from the pic, she drew 2 butterflies: the big one is Em, the little one is Myah. Same goes for the 2 birdies you see.

Amazing how their lives have stayed connected though both were transplanted to the U.S. from 16,000-ish miles away.

There's a folklore within the Chinese adoption world that a red thread runs through the relationships and actions of many involved within the process. The theme is that the thread may tangle and turn...but it will never break. It appears there is a red thread connection with Emily, Myah, and Bree.

Our families did not travel to China at the same time to adopt so we weren't in the same travel group to form a friendship through that channel; however, we strategically (?) all brought our girls home to the U.S. within a 3-week time frame. We met via our Yahoo Group (not very active) and adoption agency connections (Rina and I used the same agency). The girls were all from the same Social Welfare Institute (orphanage). I had spoken with others who had adopted from this same SWI in Meizhou. Very FEW adoptions have ever taken place from there -- overall. I was told that only 1 child was adopted from Meizhou SWI in all of 2007. I don't have facts to back that up, but still...not a lot of movement of children from there.

Why you ask? Possibly several reasons but who knows? Uncertainty regarding children's special needs? Lack of staff to prepare extensive paperwork? Limited computer resources to allow files to be accessed online? Difficulty in getting children 'paper ready'? We don't know.

But I DO know first-hand that Emily (Mei Xia Ying) was well loved and cared for at the orphanage. I am forever indebted to those who worked with our girls to see that they could find forever homes, and we are just thankful OUR girls grabbed hold of the red thread that came their way when it did.

As for Emily, Myah, and Bree -- there have been tangles and turns, but as Ecclesiastes says, "A three-fold cord is not easily broken." Amen.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why I CANNOT Get More Pics on to the Blog...

FYI. I've had issues all along getting pics to post on the blog. Seems like it should be pretty simple, right? Wrong.

I've even had 2 "JEAN-YUS-SEZ" (geniuses) over at different times to help me. Seems like the computer won't "read" the camera connection OR that when pics DO show up, there is no way to save them. The function is not offered.

One of the techno gurus, Donna-on-the-Train (as Emily calls her), showed me how to open up a new folder, yadda, yadda. BUT...there again. Issues incurred.

SO -- if anyone would like to stop by and give me YOUR opinion of what to do, great. I do NOT want to start going to sites like Picassa and saving them. Too much sugar for a dime. (Of course you might advise..."but at least you'd get your pics on the blog, dummy". I want to take a photo directly from the camera, to the computer, save it on the jump drive, and post it.

Shouldn't be that hard.

Should it? No whining. I promise.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Emily is Wearing the Necklace Myah Got for Her in China.

Yep. Little Miss Kindergartner, Emily, is wearing the necklace Rina's family bought for her in China. Myah has one, too, and so does Bree (their other China 'sister' adopted from the same orphanage). They were all adopted w/in 3 weeks of each other.
Rina posted that she has the necklace w/her in Ohio at the hospital.
Tracy -- Time for Bree to wear hers -- don't you think?
The Chinese writing is interpreted as "Friends Forever". Rina chose black jade to represent the darkness of struggle these girls were leaving behind. The silver represents the light of their futures.
It's been a tough, tough week for our friends in the hospital...but we're thinking of the day all three girls meet and go to Disney World together -- to celebrate being reunited on American soil.

Picture of Emily & Myah in China -- Pray On!!

Here's a picture of Emily and her China "sister", Myah. I've posted a link to Myah's blog regarding the current experiences to address her medical issues. Rina is not posting to the world EVERYthing that is going on...or even the specifics of Myah's situation. This is out of respect to her daughter, but it is only natural that people will be extremely curious. We totally understand that. Rina did post this in the comments section of her blog:
Thanks for all the prayers...I run to the computer and read your comments when I feel I do not have strength..I am sure you all understand that we choose not to put all of Myah's medical issues out on blog..For 2 reasons..1-...our boys, ages 5,6,and 8 read this blog and I dont think they are mentally able to process all the information 2-...I do not want to deface my daughter within our community...I need to protect her..after all this is not my story but hers..I am simply journaling and recording MY journey..But it is safe for all to know that she does have 1 kidney...and having said that there are complications that are associated..Your love and concern goes deep and we are so proud to have all of you in our corner...xoxoxoRina
February 4, 2009 9:03 AM

So, maybe this will help you wrap your brain around what all might be going on. Honestly, the suture photo says a lot PLUS nearly 10ish hours of surgery.

Rina did her extensive homework before adopting Myah. She's a smart cookie and no case you've not noticed. Uh hum. She did not go into all this below.

When anyone adopts from a foreign country, let this be understood: It's a leap of faith. (Heck. Parenting ANY child -- biological or adopted -- is this! Wouldn't you agree?) But with an international adoption from some countries w/health care sometimes under par from that of the U.S., prospective adoptive parents (PAP's) can only hope (and pray) that medical information being given is accurate in order to make their own decisions regarding if/how they can address this child's needs: physical, mental, emotional. Is critical information being withheld in order to make the opportunity for this child to be adopted and receive medical care in another country? Are there unknown issues not addressed in the file b/c that country's medical staff does not recognize they exist? Was a surgery completed in that country? Was it successful? Could that surgery have made the child's health situation even worse (ex. botched things up)?

These are questions many PAP's have to answer when considering the referral of a child with medical complications of ANY kind; however, every adoptive parent is basically on the same playing field. Parents of babies & children w/no special needs noted don't know much either. All they have to go on is the scant info found printed on a grainy file scanned from an orphanage, to the official office in that country, to an adoption agency in the U.S., to OUR computers.

As an adoptive mom told me once, "When I met my child, all I got was a sick little baby and a dirty diaper." Nothing else to go on.

It's surreal to say the least when considering the adoption of a child with known medical issues.

You begin to feel like you hold the fate of these children's futures in your own hands. I often said I felt guilty for not considering some children with particular special needs b/c of many reasons: money to address the medical issues, being single, not being able to take off work for multiple surgeries, the list goes on and on. Yet, someone else might consider those special needs as something they could address in their family. And vice versa. I readily opted for some special needs that others would not.

Going thru this process of international adoption causes a tremendous rush of emotions at various times.

I was walking w/my friend Kim one Saturday last August and talking about the upcoming trip to China. Out of the blue I started one big "ugly crying" jag. I'm talking slobbering, spitting, wiping my nose on my shirt, blubbering, uncontrollable crying -- crying out loud -- saying, "I should've done more. I should've started earlier in life doing this - adopting. I should've done more. I should've done more." Not to be overly dramatic but looking back it reminds me of the ending of Schindler's List (the movie) where Schindler was sorry for any pretense of complacency that he'd felt in his life regarding the suffering of others. But time was up for that season of saving concentration camp detainees. Case closed.

There will always be hurting people who need help. I realize that. I just was feeling so strongly for the 'least amongst us' whose fates seemed to hang on a photograph being passed around the world.

Today, however, my heart is joined with Myah and Rina and her family and what they are enduring. It sure does place the menial incidentals of life totally in perspective for me.

I ramble. Forgive.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nuthin' Much to Say While Myah and Rina are Going Thru Their Experiences...

Rina's posts are almost too much. I can't really find the words to be humorous, informative, or anything -- for that matter -- on a blog.

Continue to remember them in your prayers.
Thanks so much.

Oh...and Rina...MANY people around the country have linked their blog to yours. People know what is going on, and they care. Just thought you needed to know that.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Please Pray for Myah - Emily's China "Sister".

This little girl was adopted 2 weeks before Emily. Myah's mom, Rina, spoke to the orphanage director when she received/met Myah in Guangzhou, China. Rina asked about Emily (Mei Xia Ying) who was still at the orphanage and 'waiting'. The director said that Emily was so upset over Myah leaving the orphanage that she simply could not even say goodbye to her. There are pictures on this blog of Emily and Myah playing together in the grass.

Last night as I was putting Emily to bed and we were praying, we prayed for Myah. Em could relate to the hospital b/c she's been for 2 surgeries recently. Emily placed her hand on her stomach...saying something to the effect that she remembered when Myah had been in a hospital in China. She was very clear in communicating that Myah had been bandaged up and brought back to the orphanage in China.

Amazing -- the challenging path that these little girls have traveled, Emily, Myah, and Bree, from the pink building where they lived in Meizhou - Guangdong Province - People's Republic of China.

We ask that today you remember Myah in your prayers.