Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry, Merry Christmas!



From our home to yours....

Saturday, December 4, 2010

23 Months Old


In only one month, my sweet baby will be two years old. Sigh. How I'd love to freeze time and savor these sweet baby moments before they vanish into preschooler-hood.

Tessa is still my peanut, weighing in at just 21 lbs. She is small, but mighty. She wears size 18-24 month clothes, but only for the length. Leggings are the only pants I can find to fit my sweetness around the waist.

Language is lagging. We had her evaluated by Early On and they determined that she's at about a 10 month old level in speech. She qualifies for therapy 1-3 times per month. They felt her speech lag was probably due to the fact that she heard Mandarin for the first 7 months of her life. My mommy instincts told me otherwise, so I made an appointment to get her ears checked, even though she appears to hear just fine.

So, off to the pediatrician we went. The tympanogram revealed the problem...both ears flatlined, meaning she hears like she has her fingers in her ears all the time. Poor baby. :( The pediatrician wanted to try 3 weeks worth of sinus drops in an attempt to clear out the sinuses and drain the ear canal. Then, we'll go back and have her ears retested. If we get the same results, we'll be referred to an ENT, most likely for tubes. I'm hopeful that once (and if) she receives tubes in her ears, we'll get to hear more of her sweet voice and get a chance to listen to her talk!

Other than that, she is doing amazing. She still loves her mommy fiercely, and for that I thank God every day.

We love you Tessie-boo. :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Redirect...

If you're an adoptive parent, please read this article from an adoptee.

Your child may grow up to be a lot like me (and that's not such an awful thing)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fourth Best

Where's she from?
Taiwan, I say, leery of what's coming next.
She's SO lucky.

Sigh. I hear this entirely too frequently. And I KNOW people mean well. But really...IS she lucky?? Did she ask to be relinquished? Did she asked to be ripped from her foster mother after seven months and whisked away to a completely foreign land? Did she ask to be raised by white parents who know nothing about being Asian? No...she didn't.

I'd be doing all of my children a disservice if I didn't recognize that not only are they NOT lucky, but they landed in fourth best. First would have been birthfamily. Second would have been a family in their birth country. Third would've been an Asian family in another country. Fourth is us. Fourth.

Of course, I love my children and will always give them everything they need and deserve. But it is also my duty to educate those around me. My children were not saved, have no responsibility to feel grateful, and do NOT deserve to hear that they are "lucky" every time we're in public. We've come so far, yet we have so far left to go.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Fall






I love fall. The smells, the crisp air, the falling leaves, the colors...and of course apple cider and pumpkin donuts don't hurt either. :)

This past weekend we went to a local corn maze. It's amazingly large and we had a ball...ended up walking over 3 miles inside the corn! Now THAT'S a corn maze. Then we went to an orchard where the kids were able to play in a hay stack...we were hoping to pick apples, but turns out we missed apple picking season by two days. :( Oh well, we bought some honeycrisps and called it good.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Great Article...

I loved this article. It so very hits to the heart of adoption:

NY Times Article

Please do read the article. I especially liked this part:

"The miracle of adoption isn’t just the creation of a family from disparate, distant people. Adoption is a phoenix; a miracle that arises from the ashes of despair. A baby is abandoned, a family lost and a whole new world gained. Like nearly everything else, an adoptive family is born of both joy and pain."

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Busy, busy, busy!!






Wow, it's been a crazy couple of weeks. Last week, we went pony riding. :) Tessa learned how to climb up on my computer chair and send some emails. The big kids went back to school. Jake's in 3rd grade this year and Sara started kindergarten. And, mommy has 10 credit hours of social work classes. Yikes, I don't know HOW I'm going to keep up. So, updates to the blog may be even fewer than usual. If you still check in here from time to time, thanks a bunch! Happy Fall!

Monday, August 30, 2010

An Adoptive Mom's Letter for First Mom's

My friend Leceta wrote this about 13/14 years ago. This is good stuff.

http://www.comeunity.com/adoption/adopt/birthmothers.html

Saturday, August 28, 2010

A Good Watch...

Another good resource for transracial adoptive parents is the documentary entitled, Las Hijas. Adult adoptees from Colombia are interviewed. It gives a good feel for what it's like to be Latina (they are all women in film) in a white society.

http://www.big-ox-media.com/lashijas/

You can order it at the link above, or if you're local, you can borrow it from me.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Changes...

You might notice a few changes around here...first off, my blog list is changing. I'm adding many new blogs and dropping a few old ones. The new ones reflect my changing interests in adoption, mainly adoption ethics, adoptee voices, and transracial adoption.

In addition, I'm changing up some of terms I used to use. We will no longer celebrate "gotcha day" in our home. The term is a bit offensive, our children aren't things to be gathered and kept (gotten), after all. So, now we'll celebrate Jacob's Day, Sara's Day and Tessa's day.


I am an adoptive mom work in progress. I am always reading and learning and trying my hardest to do everything I can to be the best mom I can to my three amazing kids. I'm currently reading, "Outsiders Within, Writing on Transracial Adoption." And, I just finished, "Inside Transracial Adoption." Both books are very good, and if you're a transracial adoptive parent, I urge you to read these books.

I have so much more to learn, but I feel like I have come a long way. I have learned a lot from my social work classes and other blogs from adoptive parents and transracial adoptees. I will continue to read, read, read and absorb all I can. I owe it to my kids.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Adoption Loss

Sometimes, it's incredibly easy for us as adoptive parents to glorify adoption and all that it is. But the reality is, adoption is an act created from a very, very difficult circumstance. Our children have suffered a great loss, one that no amount of bandaids, ointment, hugs or kisses can heal.

Sometimes, love is NOT enough.

I've been reading a blog of a young woman adopted from Taiwan. She has searched and found her first family in Taiwan and spent three months overseas with them. She loves her adoptive family, but writes a blog to help adoptive parents understand her perspective.

I'll warn you, parts of it are hard to read. But I think we owe it to our children to open our minds to some of the darker aspects of adoption.

Here's the blog:
http://sisterheping.wordpress.com/


Please read it, and let me know what you think. I'd love to dialogue more with adoptive parents about this.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Year Ago...



One year ago my life changed for the better. One year ago our family grew by one big heart. One year ago the little soul I never knew was missing from my life was placed into my arms...she grabbed a hold of my heart and I hope she never lets go.

I feel so blessed. Three amazing kids. Three amazing personalities. Three beautiful faces. I am blessed.

Tessa Mei has put the icing on the cake, the cherry on top of what was already a very good life. We all adore her and can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. She is a gift, a Godsend, a true angel from above. We love you Tessa...happy Tessa day.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weekend in Chicago






We spent the weekend in Chicago, with hopes to attend the Dragon Boat Festival. Well, unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and the festival was canceled due to flooding in the park. Still, we managed to have an interesting weekend anyway.

Friday we arrived and checked out Shedd Aquarium. Todd and I had been years ago, but it was the first time for the kids. Unfortunately, it was terribly HOT, and the aquarium was absolutely PACKED. I mean PACKED. So much so that you really couldn't even seen the aquariums, much less move. We'll have to try that another time I think...so the kids can enjoy it more.

After the aquarium we ventured into Chicago and found Las Tablas...an awesome Colombian restaurant. We were so excited...there are virtually no Colombian restaurants anywhere near where we live, so we were salivating just thinking about it. It was a super popular restaurant...so popular that the wait was 2 hours for a table. Well, our little ones couldn't wait that long, but the restaurant was super kind and let us get an order to go. So, we enjoyed an Colombian picnic in our hotel room complete with empanadas, arepa & chorizo, and plantain and beans and rice. Yum, yum, yum!!

Saturday after finding out that the Dragon Boat Festival was canceled, we headed over to Chinatown to explore. We had a BALL shopping in the little shops and feasted on some delicious Chinese pastries. My favorite were the red bean moon cakes...the rest of the family thought I was nuts. :)

For lunch, we met five other families that had adopted from Taiwan! We met Lisa and her beautiful family (Destination Taiwan blog) and Sarah and her family (My Little Lantern blog) and Katie and her family (Around the World to Danny blog). It was so neat to finally meet these wonderful families in person and to see our beautiful Taiwanese kids together. :)

After lunch we headed to Millennium Park to play in the fountains and to see the bean sculpture. Unfortunately, it was still burning hot outside, and CROWDED, and at the fountain we had two mishaps. Sara fell and cut her foot, then Tessa fell and I could actually HEAR her head hit the concrete. Scared me to death!! So we hightailed it out of there and spent a nice peaceful evening at the hotel.

All in all, the trip was worth it to meet the other families. We're glad we went...and hope to meet other adoptive families in the future!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Where have we been???






Sheesh, summer is FLYING by. I've been a bad blogger, but I do have an excuse. I had a 20 page paper due for the writing class I'm taking this summer. Whew, that was a doozie, but now it's done, thank goodness.

Well, otherwise, we've just been enjoying the summer and our wonderful kids. Yesterday, we went to our annual Colombian Connections fiesta down state. It's so fun to see all the beautiful Colombian kids and boy, is our group growing! There were many, many new kids and babies there this year, including our Tessa (okay, she's not Colombian, but hey, she's part of our American/Colombian/Taiwanese family). :)

Of course, being the wonderful mommy I am, I totally forgot my camera. You'll just have to trust me that it was loads of fun.

One of the best things we did this year was buy a pool! It's an above ground, nothing fancy, but definitely fun for all of us to swim in. We've really, really enjoyed having it. And while we're incredibly lucky to live in an area full of lakes and beautiful beaches, it's SO hard to lug all the kids and all their gear to the beach...especially sweet Tess who's not a huge fan of sand. Ha! So, hanging at home by the pool has been great for our family.

In other news, Tessa turned 18 months old on the 4th! I can't believe it. How did she get that old? No...seriously? I'm finding her babyhood is just flying by...probably because we're so busy with three kids now. She is now 31" tall (40th percentile) and 19 1/2 lbs. Poor baby, she fell right off the charts for her weight. But, the doctor didn't seem concerned. She'll just be a petite little thing all her life. She is learning so much right now. She runs like crazy all of a sudden. She is doing a lot more pretend play (holds two stuffed animals and makes them "talk" to each other), she likes to help clean (throws stuff away), and she is learning more words now. She says mama, dada, ball, book, up, good girl, thank you, and is making attempts at many more words. She wears size 3 diapers and size 12-18 month clothes.

Here's a few random pics of late. Next weekend we are going to the Dragon Boat Races in Chicago...we are SO excited to meet up with other Taiwanese adoptive families!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And so summer begins!


We are in our second week of no school here, and so far we've had lots of fun. Waterpark one day, ice cream lots of days, pool another day, and baseball and t-ball in between. Tomorrow I have a sitter coming for the day. She is going to come every Wednesday for six hours through the summer months, mainly so mommy can get some "me" time and get some shopping and errands done. I admit, I'm really nervous about leaving Tessa all day. We've had sitters twice since Tessa has been home from Taiwan, but they were after Tessa had gone to bed for the night. I'm sure it'll be easier on her than mommy. :)

Anyway, here's a picture of my three...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Spring Fun






We've had a busy spring in this household of ours. :) 'Course, three kids will do that to you I suppose. :)

Jake's class had this fun poetry coffee/tea. It was great..each kid dressed like a beatnik and read two of their poems. Then, to show our appreciation the parents snapped fingers instead of clapped. Too cool...here's Jake with two of his buddies.

Another fun project this spring was to raise caterpillars into butterflies. I think Todd and I enjoyed this almost as much as the kids. It was very interesting to see the actual transformation up close.

I'll try to keep this blog updated better...bad blogger!! :)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Baseball/T-Ball Season






Jake and Sara have started up baseball and t-ball, respectively. So far, neither of my kids is crazy mad about it, but agree to continue. Tessa continues to grow and change daily. She's become quite the spitfire. We adore her passion. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My sweet Sara...


A friend (thanks Cindy!) took this picture of Sara at a birthday party last weekend and I just love it of my girl. :) She's growing up SO fast.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm walking!

 



(See more posts below...I was having posting issues today!)
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My sweet girl...15 months old

 
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Lovin' her car

 
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Sara...looking cute

 
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15 months appointment

Well, last week Tessa had her 15 month appointment. (Yup, I'm behind on blogging.) She is doing really well. She weighs 18 lbs., 15 oz, and is 30.5 inches tall. Less than 5th percentile for weight and 50% for height. That's 3 inches taller than her 12 month appointment, so I'm guessing one of them was measured wrong! :)

She is walking well now. A bit wobbly, but boy is she determined. The day we went to the doctor's office, I was explaining to the nurse that she couldn't stand up from a sit without holding onto something. She must not have been happy with me reporting that she couldn't do that, because that afternoon she worked and worked on it and perfected it by the next day. :)

The talking is coming. I think she is trying to say, "thank you." It actually sounds nothing like thank you, but she makes the same two syllables at the appropriate times. :) She's also trying to say, "good girl." :) She says uh oh and mama and dada. Oh, and meow. :)

Jake and Sara are doing wonderfully. They both had fabulous conferences and I am so proud of them. They are signing up for t-ball/baseball this spring. Should be fun. :)

Here are some pics from the yard yesterday (Jake was at school) and one of Tessa in action. :) (OK, I'm having issues posting pictures for some reason, so I'll post them separately above.)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tessi at the Park



My friend Holly (Kladder Adventure in my blog list) took these too cute pics of Tess at the park yesterday...so cute I had to share! :) Thanks Holly!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Workin' on Walkin'



It's been way too long since I've posted. Our world was a bit unblogable in March though, first having to bury grandpa, and then a solid week with the stomach flu (it hit 3 out of the 5 of us).

But, it's a new month, and things are looking up. The weather here has been simply AMAZING. Today and yesterday it hit 78 degrees! That just doesn't happen around here this time of year, so we are taking FULL advantage of it. We had a great playdate at the park today with fellow adoptive moms and kids and then tonight Todd and I took the kids for a long hike in the woods...very fun.

Tessa is doing so well. It's so hard to imagine life without her now, and I sure don't want to. She is so amazing, and so sweet, and I feel so lucky to have her. She is not growing a whole lot, she weighs just under 19 lbs still. But, she's learning to walk now, and her personality comes out more and more everyday. She's still my "velcro" baby, and wants to be on my hip more than down practicing her walking.

Here's some recent pics of Tess. :)