Sunday, August 29, 2010

Two Years This Week

Miss Emily and I celebrate Gotcha Day/Forever Family Day this week. Where did that two years go? As a noted bumper sticker says, "Jump in. Buckle up, and Hang on!" They were not kidding!

No lie. I'm pondering IF our anniversary is Sept. 1st or Sept. 2nd. I'd put my hand on a stack of Bibles that it's the 1st, but I've sent out soooo many birthday cards to folks/friends who have b'days this very week....that all of a sudden I'm havin' a brain freeze. I TRULY believe it's the first...but geesh. Just the little tad of self-doubt...I felt I HAD to confess.

Some folks call it "Mommy Brain". Not sure if I qualify but I jest not when I say I took out my calculator at the doctor's office this summer so I could generate my current age for his sign in records. Hello?

I tell folks that's just a sign of a brain too full. Not to fear. I'm good.

Amazing. Two years. I was playing around the other day when I said to a friend, "I am actually someone's mother? Go figure." I guess it's cuz I waited so late in life to get on the stick and finally fulfill the dream of adopting a little girl from China. It had long since been listed in my prayer journal -- adopting. Seems like one day the veil lifted, my heart responded, and the ball got rolling.

The wait was agonizing. I felt very isolated from other adoptive parents who filed paperwork and 6 months later they traveled. It wasn't THEIR fault...the feelings I felt. It just was what it was. I'm sure they faced other challenges (unlike me) long before they filed their paperwork: failed marriages, infertility, miscarriages -- things like that.

But boy oh boy, did the Lord bless me with just the perfect little girl:
Mei Xia Ying ("May Shy Ying")
Precious. Witty. Devoted. Responsible. Sweet.

When writing a sentence with her spelling words last year and learning about the "qu" relationship, she wrote this: I never quit trying.

I had her re-write it on an index card (after I blew my nose and wiped my eyes) and posted it in the dining room hutch right up there with 1/4 inch of dust and a quote from Churchill: "Never, never, never give up."

Emily has persevered. She has endured. She has overcome so much in her 9 short years on this earth.
The braveness and courage in her spirit and silly laughter overwhelms me.

Happy Two Years, Sweetie from the most fortunate mommy on the planet.

Oh....and the song AT LAST...that plays on my blog (thank you Rina) - would you believe THE day I adopted Emily, the day I met her...THAT VERY SONG was playing in a 'not quite ventilated enough' elevator in Guangzhou, China. I heard it in my hotel earlier in the day that my life changed forever.
I just thought I'd share that, as Forrest Gump would say, "...for no particular reason".

Friday, August 27, 2010

Someone Posted on Rumor Queen Their Opinion about "Wo ai ni Mommy" - airing on PBS Tues. Night

I was very fortunate to attend the premiere of "Wo ai ni Mommy" at the Asian film festival in San Francisco today. I wanted to report back my opinions and maybe answer any questions those you of who might have the opportunity to view the film in the future may have. I approached the adoptive mother of the film, Donna and the director after the viewing and was able to catch a few conversations from other theater people (scouts?) who wanted the director Stephanie to contact them about showing her film. So it just may be coming to a theater near you even before the PBS showing.

Any who... The question RQ posted on her blog was about bringing children to this film. My personal opinion on this would be no. The film is very well done, very poignant, but very honest. The girl in the film was in a foster home for some years and a major portion of the film focuses on this topic and how Faith adjusts after the adoption. I feel her transition was very smooth and "normal" (if there is such a thing) but she does grieve and it is sad to watch. I do not think the movie will in any way scare or harm children... but I think each parent should view it first and decide if it is relevant to your child at this time. Faith, the subject of the film, was adopted at (I believe) 8 - so she can communicate her feelings very well. For those of you in RQ land who adopted NSN and were referred a child under 2 you will really enjoy watching the movie, but may not relate it to your child as they probably do not have specific memories of China and a China family.

That being said - you will get a stroll down memory lane as the bits in Guangzhou are all to familiar. They stayed at the White Swan and the director followed them through part of the medical exam and showed the island a bit here and there. We really had fun recognizing things in the China portion of the film.

The actual "gotcha day" footage is very raw and very real... and there was not a dry eye in the house. I think the film was extremely well done. It was equal parts honest, sad, funny, inspiring, and made you think. I adopted a 4 year old just 7 months ago and literally you could have just hung my face and DD face on Donna and Faith. We had the exact same conversations, struggles, and triumphs. Faith is a little spit fire and can totally speak for herself - there was no doubt about that. I know there was some concern as to invading Faith's privacy and how she might feel about this in the future. I obviously can not speak to that - but I can say I did not feel like she was exploited in any way. The director became a member of this family and you can sense the love and affection through the lens. Not only that but Faith would have spoken up for herself is she wanted it to stop, of that I am sure!

All in all I think it is a very accurate picture of "older child" adoption. The film neither over romanticized it nor made it seem impossible. I can appreciate the entire piece on a very personal level - so my take may obviously differ from others. But I for one would love to send out a huge thank you to Stephanie, Donna and most of all Faith for allowing me a brief peek into their experience. I think it will serve as a great tool for families considering adopting an older child as well as those of us who went through the same exact thing and can see similarities.

Great job!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If, IF you're interested in older child adoptions from China, you've gotta put this PBS documentary on your calendar. Clicking the link will allow you to see a tiny preview of what the show is about.

Geesh. One of the opening shots shows places I immediately recognize as familiar to my trip of meeting my daughter.

I think I'm correct in saying that this mom and her family used my adoption agency. The mom, Donna, is a member of an Adopt Older Kids Yahoo group - of which I'm a member. All that means is we post questions, comments, experiences about our lives. I depended on these folks full force while I was actually in China.

Also, seems like this little girl's adoption and Emily's were in the same time range.

Anyhoo, just putting it "out there" if anyone is interested.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

French Braiding and Hand Holding: Em, Dona, Elsie

We were all getting ready to go into the pavilion to meet up with Samm - Emily's "China cousin" as we call him. He was adopted at the same time as Emily, and his parents - Sherrie and Dick - were travel mates and confidantes. More on that wonderful reunion in a future post.

Children's Museum Time

Emily Enjoying Mission Friends at Church with her Leader

This young, married missions teacher (...and yes I babysat her when she was a young "tween") gave this beautiful scarf to Emily -- because she was amongst the well behaved in class that evening. (I'm SURE there were many deserving was just Em's night!")Em "won" it. It's a token from Nepal, and it's special to us. This darling young woman has a heart for missions and has traveled abroad on humanitarian trips to help others. What a great influence and role model.

Stopping Along the Way at a Fish Hatchery

The "teacher" in me sees EVERY opportunity as a LEARNING opportunity to build background knowledge and vocabulary....via fun learning experiences (no matter how inconsequential some of them might actually seem to be). I've had folks "STOP" the car for all kinds of sights on the side of the road, interstate, or country path: Amish folks selling fruits and veggies, Queen Ann's Lace flowers, Monarch butterflies, signs with barbershop poles (We read the children's story Uncle Jed's Barbershop a few weeks back.), monuments, popular 1940's ice cream joints...the list goes on and on. So does the excitement of learning...and all while magical memories are being made.

Yup. That's a Real Panda...and Nope. It's Not China.

"Miss Dona-On-The-Train" Reading to Em

While we were out looking around America during June and July, we stopped by for a visit Dona's house. Her mom, Elsie was there, too. She was/is icing on the cake Oh my. Too much fun. Lots of singing, chatting, sightseeing, bonding. Great memories were made. I plan to tell more about this adventure in the near future. No time to type these days -- to give it justice. Living life to the fullest....discovering rose quartz crystals, eating at little diners out in the middle of the country on some town square, touching petrified wood, visiting libraries all over the place...and snuggling up for a cozy read right then and there. Nanny Carol came over the other night and we headed out to a drive in eatery...a modern version of old timey car hopping. This was another "first" for Emily -- as was her visit to a Baskin Robbins ice cream shop. We've been to a laundromat to see exactly what the place really is (and rode a 25cent ride on mildly jolting toy horse while there) and peeked into a tiny barber shop that was closed -- but had 2 rat terrier guard dogs snarling in the window. So many explorations. So much wonder. Such a delight.

Em at a Swim Party