Thursday, January 25, 2007

More Paperwork!

Yes, yes indeed, I did just get off the phone with an agency rep. who said that because my HIV and Hep tests were not completed on the day the Dr signed the rest of the paperwork, they had expired and I have to get new ones. I can't get in to see the Dr until next Tuesday. Then it will take time for the results to get back & then time to get over to Beijing. ARRRGGH!!!!!
For anybody who ever doubts, adoption is not getting a child the easy way. There is far more work, and much less pleasant work involved in adopting than natural child production.
Hold on Acer, We're coming for you - really.

Things I've learned this week

Well, nothing too exciting on the adoption front this week, So I thought I'd recap some things that I've learned. I shall pass on my hard won wisdom so that you too may learn Grasshopper.
1) Diet Mountain Dew and keyboards are not compatible. As this was my second experiment along these lines, once on a PC and once on a Mac, I'd say that this incompatability goes across standard technological boundaries.
2) Cleaning keyboards with q-tips and safe cleaning agents doesn't necessarily mean that the keyboard will work once it's clean.
3) If you are trying to teach a small child not to grab things away from others, grabbing things away from her is counter-productive.
4) If it takes 2 people to work a restaurant soda machine, there's probably something wrong with you, not the machine.
5) A sense of humor is the best tool for keeping a friendship alive. Thank you Vicki, friend of 37 years.
6) Keys on your new keyboard are never spaced exactly the same way keys on your old keyboard were.
7) It is extremely good to have a husband with a great sense of humor, when something strikes you ROFL at midnight when you're both already in bed trying to sleep.

Monday, January 15, 2007

To all my fellow waiting parents

Most of you know about the Paula Zahn programs and issues the adoptive community hand with them. Part of the problem with the program was the research used to back up various people's points. We can only blame ourselves if the research out there doesn't express our lives and feelings, because we don't participate in the research. The following is a blatent plug for a research project that Bill & I participated in, and will answer questions again after we bring Acer home and after he's been home for a little while. This took 45 minutes on the phone and a half hour to fill out a paper questionairre; not really all that long. Abbie also periodically puts out a newsletter which also includes other research being done and talks about issues adoptive families may have.
contact AbbieGoldberg at
Or email her at

I am superman

Ok, not really but this site says I am. check it out yourself & tell me what you are.
Your results:
You are Superman

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

More Help for the house (and me)

just visited this site, seems pretty cool (and helpful)
I like sites like this where they can help you without demanding that you get yourself, or your house perfect first.

Ice is not Nice

It's the middle of January in Michigan. There is no snow on the ground. It has rained and rained and now the rain has frozen. This is not normal, I want snow. This ice is just odd.
Bill had no power at work today, a pole at the end of the street was sheared off about 10' from the top. Thank Heavens they have a generator to get the servers up and running and that they tested it a few weeks ago.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Quick thinking there sweetie

Just a funny to share.
This evening Bill was cooking dinner, bacon cheese burgers. When it came time for me to assemble my burger, I saw there were 3 strips of bacon and envisioned these lovely long strips sticking out of the end of the bun. I thought it would be nice to nibble them down to bun size & then start in on the rest of the burger. Then I looked back, there were only 2 now, and a much shorter one in my sweetie's hand.
At my look, Bill thought quickly, handed the shorter piece to me and said 'Here, I made it burger sized for you!'
That's my sweetie, always willing to share, and always quick witted.

Love you sweetie

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Okay, I was bad.

Well, I've promised myself that I wouldn't do too much shopping for Acer because we haven't gotten our seeking confirmation letter yet. (more than slightly unjustly paranoid we'll be turned down) and because I already have clothing from a friend and from my sister in law Kerry.
Today I broke that promise and hit the sales. I will say that boy's cothing is not nearly as cool/fun/colorful as girls clothing. I actually envy the clothes he'd be able to wear in China. They don't have these odd color restrictions on the sexes that the western world does. Even so I was able to get a whole bunch of stuff super super cheap. I even managed to get some orange cargo shorts and an extremely cool hawaiian style shirt w/orange rhinos. Of course I still got him things like mitties and a winter coat (not boring blue thank heavens, but black red & yellow and tiggers) I think I like those and the space ship jammies I was able to find in 3 different styles best.
Of course Bill had to give up some space in his T-Shirt closet (yes he has a whole closet for just his T-shirts.) It's just a precursor of things to come, he'll have to condense down to one closet once Acer comes home.
My mom had wanted to buy Acer some clothing for Christmas, so she kicked in to help pay for these, about what she would've paid for his gift if she'd bought it herself. So I wasn't wuite as bad.
My nephew Brandon (16) also gave Acer his Lego collection today 'As long as he doesn't eat them'. I think I'll need a toy box soon. I wonder if my old one is still in Mum's garage.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Another step in the process added

People who are in the NSN (non special needs) adoption process are required to sign a paper saying that they actually want to adopt the child referred to them by the CCAA. They are then issued a TA (travel approval).
The SN group hasn't had this step before, the TA would just show up, out of the blue so to speak because once a SN dossier was submitted, there was no real way to track where it was in the approval process. The CCAA has just added this step for the SN group too. I don't think it'll slow things down much at all, and it will definitely tell us where we are in the process!
Of course when you're as anxious as we are, every day counts.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

paperchasing my own tail (dog analogy)

Well I just spent 6 hours running around; notarizing an edited letter of petition of adopt, getting it and our homestudy addendum certified to say the the notaries were okay, and sending them and a return envelope to the Chinese Consulate where they can authenticate the papers and say that the certification saying that the notarization of our signitures is correct.
This is pre-emptive, we haven't actually been asked for these particular pieces yet, but just in case the SN dossier approval lady needs or wants them, we have them. Yeah us.

On the bonus for the day, our package to Acer arrived at the Agency yesterday. We sent a fisher price bouncing giggling elephant (very cool) and a disposable camera for the foster mother/SWI to take pictures. We also sent the coolest little photo album ever. It holds 24 pictures and each pictures holds 10 seconds of message you record.

I wrote out scripts for the members of our families and all those I could get a hold of recorded their bits. I simply translated the Mandarin into phonetic bits so that people introduced themselves and said I love you. I'm hoping that as his eyesight is nonexistant to horrible, these little bits of sound will really help prepare him.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Cleaning help you never knew you needed

For those of us who are un organized in our cleaning, who aren't sure how frequently one should clean out the fridge, there's hope. For those of us who don't like to clean, there's hope. For those of us who're so busy we don't know where to start, there's hope. For those of us who work, in or out of the home, there's hope. My sister-in-law told me about this website
There you can purchase a home cleaning planner for only $8 for the whole year. It's lovely, broken down into small daily items instead of big chores. For example, yesterday, instead of cleaning the whole fridge, I cleaned the middle shelf; instead of cleaning the whole bathroom, I cleaned the toilets. Over time, the whole bathroom is cleaned, mirrors are today, and I didn't spend a whole heck of alot of time in there on any particular day, The list also has entries like, pamper yourself, and work on a craft.
Some people try to clean their house before they start this, but really, you don't need to, your house will morph into clean as you work this. My husband and I share chores, so when there's something on the list that he does, he does it, if it's something I do, I do it. for example, yesterday vacuuming was on the list, so Bill pulled out the vacuum and went at it. Yeah us! clean toidies & floors in one day!

CNN, wishy washy at best oh well

I watched the show, which was a good thing because the TIVO recorded something else. Oddly enough Paula Zahn seemed extremely nervous and repeated several times that they had received THOUSANDS of emails. The two rebuttal speakers were calm and well spoken. One of the previous guests (Cenk) did say he was wrong while the other (roland) ranted on and on in his previous fashion. The third, a female, did not appear. The show appeared quickly thrown together, but at least they did a show on it. oh well.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Reply from CNN to my email

Here is what CNN sent out in reply to my negative feedback. Looks like this time they will actually have people who know what they're talking about.

Thanks very much for your email concerning the segment “China Tightens Foreign Adoption Regulations” that aired on Paula Zahn Now on Friday, January 5th. We value your feedback and want to make sure you have the information about our upcoming continued reports on this subject.

Tonight’s Paula Zahn NOW will again address the new rules for foreign adoptions of Chinese children. The coverage will include a new report by CNN’s John Vause in Beijing, China. Paula will be joined by a number of guests to discuss the issue, including David Youtz, President of the Greater NY Chapter of “Families With Children From China”, and Ginny Gong, President of the “Organization of Chinese Americans”.

Again, thank you for taking the time to express your opinion, and please tune in for this follow up report.


CNN Public Information

CNN apologetic

We'll see. I've set the tivo.
Not sure what I'm referring to? Check the transcript a few entries below under 'Hoof in mouth disease'.
Here's what was posted on one of my adoption chat groups.

Here's the info, posted on another list, with permission to cross-post:

RE Paula Zahn Now Panel on China Adoption:

Here is an unexpected development: I received a call from a producer at the Paula Zahn Show last night. She was very contrite, noted that they had received MANY comments from adoptive parents expressing their anger and disappointment at Friday's panel. The producer asked many questions to be
sure they understood our community's views. She informed me that they had decided to run a new panel on China adoption"to redress the issue." - which will air tonight. (Paula Zahn Now AIRS: 8-9 p.m. ET on CNN)

We understand that they have invited new speakers, including someone from the Great Wall Adoption Agency, the president of the Organization of Chinese Americans (a national group with which FCC is forging ties), a Chinese journalist, and someone from FCC or another adoptive families organization.

Thank you to all of you who sent such articulate feedback to CNN over the weekend. You were heard!
- David Youtz at david.youtz@... President, FCCNY

50 years of international adoption

This was an interesting site I just found. I liked the article about the 13 year old girl.

Adopting Art

I think this is an idea that appeals to me because my mother used to check art out of the library. Pictures, sculptures, other items used to come visit our home for a short period of time while I was younger. combine that with our current adoption process and voila! we have a match.
You can 'adopt art', you have to write a letter to the artist & promise to care for the piece appropriately. A letter explaining why the particular piece you want appeals to you, what it says to you, how it touches you is usually needed. The artist then decides yes or no, you work out terms (usually shipping and framing) and then bring your piece home.

Here's the article

Visit the site

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hoof in mouth disease

This is a copy of the transcript of last night's Paula Zahn Now. I've edited out the other issues that were discussed, but if you want to see the whole transcript visit
This show really pissed off a lot of adoptive parents and their friends. It was supposed to bring out the racisim and intolerance that supposedly lurks below the surface. Well it really showed the ignorance and intolerance and racism the panel has. These people obviously did no research at all on the subject before opening mouth and inserting foot. Mind you, I think, that foot had obviously stepped in a pile of crap seconds before. The Rumor Queen has an excellent rebuttal at


...China Tightens Foreign Adoption Regulations

Aired January 5, 2007 - 20:00 ET
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And thank you all for joining us on this Friday night.
Across America, racism and intolerance lurk just below the surface. Every night, we're finding and talking about these hidden secrets, bringing them right out into the open...

And who actually is fit to adopt? China says, if you're fat or gay or single, you aren't. Should China get away with it?

ZAHN: Let's bring in tonight's "Out in the Open" panel, Cenk Uygur, a host of "The Young Turks" on the Air America Radio Network, Solangel Maldonado, an associate law professor at Seton Hall Law School, and Roland Martin, executive editor of "The Chicago Defender" newspaper, and host of "The Roland S. Martin Show."...

ZAHN: So how would you feel if someone told you you couldn't adopt a baby because you're not thin enough, not rich enough, nor attractive enough? We're bringing this story out in the open tonight because that's exactly what's about to happen when Americans try to adopt children from China, and some people say that is downright discriminatory. China is the most popular country Americans go to for foreign adoptions. Last year, nearly 6,500 Chinese children found parents right here in the U.S. John Vause is in Beijing tonight and he joins me live. So, John, what are some of these restrictions that are about to be put in place that we need to be aware of?

JOHN VAUSE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Paula, the Chinese government says these new measures are all about finding better homes for Chinese orphans, so as of this coming May, all foreigners, not just Americans, but anyone from overseas wanting to adopt a Chinese orphan must meet some of these following criteria. They must not be morbidly obese, in other words, a body mass index of over 40, they must not have facial deformities, they must not take antidepressants. On the other side of the equation, they must have a net worth of $80,000 or more. They must earn over $30,000 a year. They must also be, this is one of the biggest changes, they also must be a man and a woman who have, in fact, been married for at least two years, aged between 30 and 50. So in other words, no singles.
In the past, China was one of the few countries in the world who would allow singles to adopt kids. They've never allowed gay adoption but they have allowed singles in limited numbers to adopt kids but it seems that will be changing as well, Paula.
ZAHN: So what is the Chinese government officially saying about this, and why they want to institute these changes?
VAUSE: Well, the Chinese government is making no apologies for the new criteria. An official that we spoke to Friday told us in part, Quote, "Our job is to help the homeless children find warm families, rather than just children for childless families."
At the same time we're insisting there's been no change to the actual adoption policy. They're just introducing a preference system, because quite simply, there are so many foreigners who want to come here that they just outnumber the orphans who are available for adoption, and there are lengthy waiting periods for foreigners wanting Chinese kids. They can wait for a year, in many cases sometimes more, Paula.

ZAHN: John Vause, thanks so much for the update.

Joining me now, an attorney Sondra Solovay, an author of "Tipping the Scales of Justice: Fighting Weight-Based Discrimination." She also has a new book coming out later this year. Welcome back.

Some of these rules, I think, are a little bit easier for us to swallow than others. I think some people think it's probably pretty justified that prospective parents have enough money to care for a children, but what about weight restrictions, what about facial deformities, and how that could compromise someone's ability to adopt?
SONDRA SOLOVAY, AUTHOR, "TIPPING THE SCALES OF JUSTICE": These restrictions are definitely troubling. I certainly empathize with the difficult decision of figuring out which adoptive family is going to be the best for a child and the children we're most concerned about. But you simply can't tell by looking at someone if they're going to be a good adoptive parent. We don't have to rent "Mommy Dearest" to remember that a pretty face doesn't mean a pretty family. And certainly you can't tell the amount of love a parent has in their heart by looking at the number on their bathroom scale.
ZAHN: But on the flipside of all this, doesn't china have the right to create whatever rules it wants to, no matter how unpalatable some of them might seem?
SOLOVAY: Sure, they have the right, they have the obligation to do what they think is best to look out for their children. That's absolutely true. It's an interesting point as well, because some of these agencies that are in the U.S. are going to be in quite a predicament, caught between two different rules, rules in the United States prohibiting them from discriminating based on disability, based on weight, based on marital status and the restrictions that China imposed so it's difficult for the agencies, too, but I think we need to bring our attention back to the children and the idea is to find the children the best, most loving homes they can, and those homes don't come in a particular weight limit or a particular size. In fact, we have this idea, I suppose, of a traditional home. But when children come from China to the U.S., many will be placed in homes that are going to be mixed race or mixed ethnicity anyway. These aren't traditional homes and it's the diversity in the U.S. that makes those families understand that they have the same rights as any other family.
ZAHN: How many angry calls are you taking from prospective parents out there about these new regulations?
SOLOVAY: I expect my office is going to be absolutely flooded with calls not only from parents, but from the agencies themselves, wondering about their rights and responsibilities. For example, in San Francisco, you can't discriminate based on weight, so an agency in San Francisco is going to have a difficult time walking that line.
ZAHN: Well, Sondra Solovay, we're going to leave that there and get more reaction now. Thank you for your time. From our panel.
SOLOVAY: Thank you.
ZAHN: One more time. Cenk Uygur, Roland Martin, Solangel Maldonado.

Obviously the Chinese government is making it clear it wants to be more selective will prospective parents, it wants to place these children in the best family environment it can. Isn't that justified?
MALDONADO: Absolutely. I think we all know that China is a sovereign country. It has the right to place whatever restrictions on foreigners who are seeking to adopt their children that it wants. And adoption is really about supply and demand, and the reality is that there are many more Americans, many more Westerners seeking to adopt children from China than there are children available so the Chinese government can decide to do whatever it wants.
MARTIN: OK, why? What's the big deal with Chinese children? Enlighten me, please, help me out.
ZAHN: You understand this better than anybody. Why don't we see more Americans adopting black foster children?
MARTIN: That's my point. What's the big deal with Chinese children? Why the infatuation?
ZAHN: You think it's something with the color of their skin? Is that what you're driving at?
MARTIN: Maybe they think they can adopt a smart kid that is going to grow up to be a doctor? I don't know. They need to realize that's called training, not just inherent, it will happen when they're born. Angel, help me out.
MALDONADO: Absolutely. This is something I've been looking into for a long time. Americans have this love affair with girls from China. There is this belief, this perception, irrational as it might be that if you adopt a little girl from China, she's going to be intelligent, she's going to be more lovable.
MARTIN: Like the porcelain doll.
MALDONADO: We definitely see that idea of the beautiful Chinese little girl, as compared to do, they really want to adopt a black boy.
ZAHN: What difference does it make if the prospective parent has a facial deformity and the prospective parent weighs 70 more pounds than the scale says they should weigh.
UYGUR: I love the idea of them weighing people. All right. So you know, first of all, okay, so gay parents are out. That's a clear rule, but then also Dennis Hastert's out because he's way too fat. They put him on the scale, sorry. But I'd probably be out. I don't know, maybe I'd have to go on an exercise regimen, to do the body mass indexes they pinch you in all of these different places.
ZAHN: You can fake it, suck it in.
UYGUR: Not me.
MARTIN: Paula, you raise the question - China, first of all, they do have the right to do it, but the flipside is what is the infatuation by Americans and other foreigners when it comes to adopting Chinese children? That is a real issue there, and why do we avoid other children and not just -- children who are here in America, who are looking for homes, and who just like Chinese orphans want a nice place to live.
ZAHN: But realistically, how are you ever going to change that bias?
UYGUR: I think a lot of people are looking for Muslim children these days.
ZAHN: Yeah, right.
UYGUR: Because we started the Iraq war and there's so many orphans. I'm sure they're getting a lot of Iraqi children, right? No, of course, they think it's cute and they're smart and it's really dumb, actually, of course. Roland's right, it's all in the training and it's a shame because all over the world there's other kids that need to be adopted especially in Africa, but for once, the celebrities are doing the right thing there trying to foster that.
MARTIN: Call the queen of Africa, Angelina Jolie. She can hook you up.
MALDONADO: I think what we need to do is we need to break down some of the misconceptions. For example, people believe if they're adopting a child from China, the child is going to be healthier than a child they adopt in the United States and that is just not true. Even if the child is born ...
ZAHN: It defies logic. The quality of the medical care many of these kids have suffered through the first several months of life.
MARTIN: What also ignores logic is that China is having an explosion when it comes to obesity as well so maybe they should start their own million pound challenge like we started in Chicago to deal with Chinese folks who don't want to have overweight kids.
ZAHN: What are some of the other assumptions you think people in America make about the native intelligence of children based on whether you're Hispanic - We had a guest on the other night when you were with us suggesting that Hispanic parents don't take education as seriously as some other sets of our population. There's a very complicated picture here.
UYGUR: And America is changing and some of the assumptions are going to change because of that. What really happens isn't of course that Asians are smarter. Immigrant families foster a culture where they work hard and emphasize education so Jewish families went through that, Asian families went through that. But now Eastern European families are coming and doing the same thing and African families are coming and doing the same thing. So I can't wait for 10, 20 years down the line, everybody's like I've got to have an African child. Because they're all geniuses.
MARTIN: Remember, those are learned traits that you learn based upon how you have been raised.
UYGUR: Of course.
MARTIN: You are simply not born, hey that, kid will have a great work ethic because they were born to an immigrant family. It simply doesn't work that way because you got some lazy immigrant families. What do you think the assumptions Americans make about kids of Asian descent even here in America, they'll work hard, they'll own their store someday.
UYGUR: They'll be brilliant.
ZAHN: All right. Hispanic ...
MALDONADO: Well the idea about Hispanic kids, it's sort of mixed. I think the stereotypes about Hispanic kids are both positive and negative. They believe that Hispanic kids are likely to work harder than black kids, but they also believe that they're not going to be as intelligent as Asian kids.
ZAHN: Muslim kids.
UYGUR: They're going to grow up to be violent. Who is adopting a Muslim kid? Has anyone adopted a Muslim kid in the last 20 years in America?
MARTIN: You've got somebody sitting there saying, keep the Muslim kid out of chemistry class. Keep them away.
ZAHN: How about black kids? Do you think the average American out there makes the assumption they'll be lazy and never make it through high school?
MARTIN: I think they probably assume they're going to sing for them like Jay Z and play like in the NBC.
ZAHN: Anybody would love to have Jay Z's career.
MARTIN: I'd rather have Bob Johnson's. He's a billionaire and Jay Z isn't.
ZAHN: Thank you, Roland Martin, Solangel Maldonado. Thank you, all. Appreciate your time.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Post Holidays

Well, we made it through the holidays without Acer. We didn't want to, we had to as the Chinese Gov't hasn't said come get him yet. It would have been great to be able to celebrate his Birthday, Christmas, New year's with him, it would have been the icing on the cake. If you haven't listened to the words of the Merry christmas video song yet, Please do so, it really explains our longings and emotional state.
We weren't totally childless over the Holidays, Alex was here from Wed. thru Monday the 1st and Nephew Brandon was here from Thurs. thru New years Eve. We had a good holiday and hearing them playing on the computer or whatever did chase away some of my melancholy.
I did manage to finally get people to record their little scripts into the phot album we got for Acer. It's pretty cool, has 10 seconds of recording for each of the 24 pictures. I hope to finish with Mum and James tonight & send it, the disposable camera, and the toy we bought him off to our agency so they can send it to China.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Rumors of referrals

There is a large group of adoptive parents to be who anxiously await every rumor of referrals, we're part of that group even though we don't think we'll be part of this very next referral group.
It appears that The CCAA staff sent out referrals and that the West Coast has in fact received theirs already. In doing math derived from various sources, I've figured that we should hear in Mid-Feb. at the earliest.
I would love to receive our referral for Acer, it would just ease my mind so much. Although I don't believe God would have lead us on this path if we weren't to get approved, I still worry. It would be a nightmare. We've already had Acer in our hearts so long, 5 months, since we made our decision to go ahead.
So I check the rumor mill and fret and wonder.

The not so Rosy part - by the Rumor Queen

Sometimes I think that people who are emotionally supporting us may actually have higher expectations about how instantly we'll become a family to our little guy than we do. He has a family right now, a foster family he's lived with since he was found over 2 years ago. We love him, and he will be our family, but it will take some mourning on his part before we're accepted as his family.

The not-so-rosy part
There are still no rumors, so I’d like to take this opportunity to talk a little about expectations.

I’ve read blogs of people who are home and who are miserable.

I’ve read about recent disruptions.

And I’ve read posts from people on various groups and blogs that talk about their new child as if they really think the child hates them, and some of them sound like they are starting to hate their child.

So I feel I need to talk a little bit about what happens when you finally get this screaming little baby placed in your arms.

This is not a newborn. It’s a child who already has a personality, one that you get to try to figure out. It’s a child who has been ripped from all she knows: the people who have cared for her and kept her alive, and the language she has been able to understand even if she couldn’t speak it. The food she is used to. The other kids. Her schedule. Her crib. Her cribmate.

It’s all gone, and she’s with these people she’s never seen before and she can’t understand what is being said and the food is different. Scared and grieving does not even begin to describe things. Some babies just completely shut down and appear to be autistic, but after three or four days they start coming around and you begin to see the real child. It can take weeks (or months) for the grieving to stop, but after several days you should begin to see little pieces of their personality. Some children have different survival mechanisms and you’ll immediately see a little bubbly personality, this does not mean there is no grief, it could just mean that their survival instincts are telling them to be cute and lovable.

We all know this transition to a family is for the best in the long run, but all the child knows is how they feel right now, and they are scared and mad and grieving. Some move through it faster than others. Some seem to move through it in China and then backtrack once they are home. Some show their bubbly personality in China and then show the grief in America (or whatever country they are going to).

When you are in China they still hear Chinese in the restaurants and out on the street. And they still get some Chinese food. And the unique smells of China are still there.

But once you are home everything familiar to them is gone. By then you’ve probably switched them to American formula, they likely aren’t getting congee every morning now that it’s not on a buffet anymore, you probably can’t make steamed eggs exactly like they were in China. The smells are different, and no one is speaking Chinese anymore.

They might be able to keep their minds off of that during the day, when they are active and there is much to keep them occupied. But when their mind starts quieting down to go to sleep it all comes back, and there is still grief. So some babies just don’t go to sleep. Combine this with jet lag and it’s really not fun.

There will also be control issues that come up. Even with a 9 or 10 month old baby, they will try to gain control of something, anything, so they don’t feel so out of control. Maybe you can let them have it in some instances, but in others you’ll need to make sure you remain in control. Follow your instincts on this one - they need boundaries in order to feel safe, but letting them have some little piece of control may also help them. How do you know when it’s best to give in and when it’s best to be the parent? You just fly by the seat of your pants and hope you get it right.

My point here is that you have been waiting for this child for a really long time. But she knows nothing about you. She is scared and will act in ways you cannot currently imagine that a little 15 or 20 pound baby could possibly act.

I can remember getting so upset with my big girl when she was a toddler and into everything. I’d just pick her up and take her outside and put her in her swing and push her in it for a really long time. Before long we were both laughing and having fun. It worked for us.

Sometimes, when she was into everything, I’d load her up and take her to the park with a few toys and put a blanket down on the ground and then let her play that way. She only had the handful of toys I brought, and all I had to do was make sure she didn’t put rocks or bugs or anything in her mouth (because of her sensory issues she wouldn’t touch such things with her hands, but she had no problems picking them up in her mouth). She never wanted to wander far from me when we were in public, so this worked out well since I didn’t have to worry about her running off.

So many times I just realized we were into a pattern of her doing something and me correcting her, and I just needed to do something to break the pattern.

I also put her in her highchair with fingerfoods and rolled the highchair into the bathroom and took a shower. We put a clear shower curtain up so she could see me and so I could keep an eye on her.

My big girl was terrified of being alone. Even today, unless she is asleep she is rarely in a room by herself. But when we were first home with her, before I went back to work, this meant she and I were together 24 hours a day, every single day (she slept in our room, too, back then). Once my husband was home she expected us to all stay in the same room together, and for those first months, she ran the show when it came to things like that.

I see people who are talking about how happy their child is going to be to finally get a family. And that just isn’t the way it works. I see a lot of people setting themselves up for problems by having expectations that just aren’t very likely to happen.

Please, take this time to read about attachment. Not just attachment issues, but attachment in general - how attachment happens, red flags that attachment may not be happening, and ideas for how to foster attachment.

Also read about sensory issues and other things that may pop up in post-institutionalized babies and children. Please understand that if you have the “What to expect the first year” book that your 10 month old baby may not be doing what your book says a four month old baby should be doing. This is completely normal, and most children catch up at an amazing speed. The rule of thumb I’ve always heard is that babies develop one month for every three months they are institutionalized - so a nine month old baby will have the developmental skills of a three month old, an 18 month old baby may only have the developmental skills of a 6 month old. If they are in foster care or a HTS orphanage then they will likely be farther along.

Understand that your child may have been strapped into a potty chair for hours a day, and laid in the crib for most of the rest of the day. Of course they are not going to have the developmental skills appropriate for their age.

Understand that your baby may have been gravity fed and may have never learned how to suck. She may not be capable of drinking from a normal bottle. You may spend months just getting her to the point that she can suck from a bottle - and those sucking muscles are important before she can learn to talk, it’s all related.

And please understand that this is why Half the Sky is my favorite charity. If your child is from a Half the Sky orphanage then the odds are that they will be very close to being on target developmentally, and that they will not have sensory issues. There are still a lot of other things that can pop up, but these two things should be on target.

I’m not saying the first couple of months are going to be all bad. There will be wonderful moments, too. But I am hoping to get the point across that you need to be prepared for some difficult times. No matter how frustrated you are, at least you know what is going on. It’s your job to comfort this child when she is scared and grieving and screaming her little head off from 11:00 at night until 4:00 in the morning almost non stop. It’s your job to make her (or him) feel safe and loved. And that is not always an easy thing to do

Monday, January 01, 2007

Another Video - Merry Christmas

This is a song that we have both taken to recently. It's by Third Day, it's called Merry Christmas, and this was found on YouTube. Hopefully, this one will not get stopped by some peoples content filters.