How It’s Done Blog

A Solid Guess on Travel Dates

Here’s what I think: I think we’ll head out around 6/11. Here’s the tentative schedule I’ve planned for us: Day 1: leave Day 2: Arrive Beijing Days 3-4: Sightsee in Beijing. Lily tries to throw Wyatt off Great Wall. International incident narrowly averted. Day 5: Fly to Fuzhou City Days 6-9 Get used to Rory, one way or another. Day 10 Fly to Guangzhou Days 11-13 Various appointments Day 14 Fly home. I may have the whole date line mixed […]

Well, We Totally Look Alike In Our Bike Helmets

This past weekend, we rode in the always fantastic local “Tour de Taste) (pictured a few posts down). 6 miles, 6 stops for food. Who couldn’t appreciate a ride like that? One stop had some very tasty grilled cheese sandwiches and an amazing tabboleh salad (and that is so not something I would usually eat, seeing as how it had neither bacon nor chocolate in it, and I can’t even spell it). They were also promoting their own farm products […]

A Wee Bit of Trouble Concentrating

I am having just a wee bit of trouble getting anything done. Anything, that is, besides dicking around on the internet preparing to go to China. Much lies in between us and China, as it happens. Including Seattle and my sister-in-law’s wedding, Lily’s birthday, a photo shoot for Family Fun magazine, and some pretty substantial housework. Among the things I could have accomplished today, it’s worth including: ordering bow ties, arranging a larger propane tank, packing up assorted outgrown clothing, […]


Rory is loud. I have written about this before, but I feel that I cannot possibly have really conveyed what I meant by loud. When I say Rory is loud, I mean LOUD. I mean loud at every single thing she does in nearly every moment of the day. Loud and vigorous. When Rory says “I love you,” she shouts it and then barrels into you at full speed, and at that moment, she’s irresistible. And the she stomps loudly […]

Sometimes there’s nothing to control

It looks like things are still moving in China-adoption land, flu or no flu. And so it looks like we will likely be trotting along on our planned schedule. One advantage to not being able to do something at the first possible minute is that it’s more likely to fall in with your schedule. Not that it has, yet, and aliens could always invade at the last minute, causing the whole thing to go up in smoke in an Independence […]

When it is hot, be hot.

To decide to have a child is to decide to allow your heart to go walking around outside your body. Wyatt’s TMO teachers presented us with that sentiment on Mother’s day, as their idea of a festive mother’s day apparently involves making one cry (they also offer handprints, and that poem about how the handprint won’t be this small for long—oh, and checkbook covers, which I quite appreciate.) Let me just say that the decision to adopt a child—now that, […]

Things I CAN Do

Here is a list of the things I CAN do today: Keep drafting my next freelance pitch. Pack the kids’ carry-on bags for our flight to Seattle (6 hours!) Pack clothes for the Seattle trip. Buy suitcases for ditto, plus China trip. (We have three suitcases, two of the small black rolly kind (one with a hole in it) and one of the giant purple nearly impossible to keep under weight kind. I plan to acquire a pair of medium […]

Travel Approval, New Job, Great Day

We just got our travel approval from China–and I just became the kids’ media reviewer for Double X (part of Slate). A double good news whammy. FAQS: When do you travel? We won’t know until Monday, because of the Dragon Boat festival. I would be more resentful, but I happen to love dragon boats! I’d guess we’ll be gone the second half of June. What’s this job thing? I’ll be doing all the kids’ media reviews for doubleX. It’s a […]

Explanations, Nouns and Stages

Did someone say all growth is painful? Rory is gaining nouns and verbs in leaps and bounds. She’s still hard to understand, but she can say so many more things and she wants to say so many more things. Her favorite teacher told me she was a little disturbed, because she’s actually having more trouble understanding Rory lately–but I’ve already figured that out. For a long time, I think Rory would have some complex thought (for a four- or five-year-old) […]

Mother’s Day Cards and Chores

Guess who is the only child to just come in every day and empty her lunchbox out without direction? Rory. Guess who remembers to do her morning chore without being asked? Rory. Guess who jumped up and got the crayons when I reminded them that Mother’s Day boxes were being mailed tomorrow? Rory. She is so alert to any opportunity to please. Not just me, either. Wasn’t I so nice, Wyatt, she asks if she gets him a cup for […]

Blowing Off Birth Order: Great Result, Bad Plan

When we adopted Rory, almost two years ago now, she was 3 1/2, 6 months older than our youngest, Wyatt. All of our other kids were biological kids (Sam was 7 and Lily 5), and Rory was our first (and only) foray into adoption. We “adopted out of birth order,” and as I remember it, the decision process went something like this: our social worker, Kathleen, a big, comfortable woman with shorn white hair and a confident, rolling walk, had […]

The Preface: I Love My [Kid/Mom/Family] But …

Do you do the preface? As in, “I love my kids, but?” Or, maybe more relevantly, “I love [my adopted child], but?” Dawn at Create a Family and the bloggers of The Adopted Ones were talking, recently, about that twinge of disloyalty that comes when we decide to really dish about our families. It works both ways: “I love my mom, but” is coming, and it’s probably come out of your own mouth, too. The question is, do adoptive parents—and […]

You Wan, Soon to Join the Family

You Wan Originally uploaded by kjda KJ Dell’Antonia sent from my iPhone Here she is! Some know, and plenty don’t, that we’ve been working on adopting a little girl from China since February of 2008. (Details? look here). If there are extreme adventures in parenting, this has to be one of them. Because this is Number four, right here. Don’t be fooled by appearances–she’s three years old. This is an old picture, and we’re waiting, now, for an “update”–which could […]

Is That How You Do It?

Lily, after a massive tantrum episode, chose to sleep last night on the small loveseat on the landing outside the kids’ room. (Long story short, she refused to make her lunch for school during the time Rob allotted for that duty, and then lost it when bedtime arrived and lunch was not made. And then some.) Rory couldn’t take it. We kept hearing the “bang” of the door to their room (which slams when the windows are open) and the […]

Impossible! Improbable! Ridiculous! (but true?)

You Wan lives in a foster home in China–and I found her. As in, I found the foster home, online. I found pictures of her. I found out more about her than I ever thought I’d know at all, let alone before we went to China to get her. Chalk it up to the magic of Google. Wan’s file has been in China since 2007, when someone, somewhere, declared her ready for adoption. The latest information we had dated back […]

My Little Praise Junkie

“Was I so nice to get Wyatt his lunch box?” “Did I throw that ball just great?” “Is this paper airplane so awesome?” Rory wants approval. Specifically, she wants my approval, and I’m torn. On the one hand, I buy my Parenting on Track guru’s take on praise: kids should learn to value what they think of their accomplishments, not just what we think. She suggests we turn questions like that back on the asker: “Do you think you were […]


Rebecca!, originally uploaded by kjda. Here she is! And in yet another amazing coincidence–Lily owns that sweater. It’s an Oshkosh B’Gosh by way of Target, but it’s unmistakeable. We got an update tonight, and the word is that yes–I did, via googling and link following and Yahoo Groups, find our little needle in the big ‘Net haystack. I’m thinking I should have bought a lottery ticket, too! More importantly, she’s on track in every way, and we know it. We’ve […]

The Birthday that’s Family Day

It’s Sam’s tenth birthday! It was a spectacular one…about which, more, with photos, anon. It’s also Rory’s “family day,” and that’s what I want to talk about. For “family day,” we did nothing. Not that Sam would mind. He wouldn’t, not at all. But I am not, and never have been, sure how to mark the day when Rory both lost and gained her family. I did say something–to her, and to everyone, about it (just to point it out, […]

Mushy Happiness in General

A few days ago I found Rob noodling around on the Internet (what did we do with ourselves ten years ago?) looking at, of all things, artificial ice. We’d been talking, looking at pictures of Rebecca, telling the usual end-of-the-day stories…him talking about how funny Wyatt was during tooth brushing, me describing the day’s drop off and pick up adventures. And now he was looking at…ice. As in, synthetic hockey rinks. Really. Who knew? There were pictures–a big ole suburban […]

AAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! (The GIrl Who Cried Wolf. Convincingly.)

Startled? Me too. This afternoon, I was working in the garden. Rory and Wyatt were playing in the playhouse, a couple hundred feet away or so. I heard a slam. I heard Rory yell angrily at Wyatt. And then I heard her take a deep breath and start to scream. AAAAAAGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!! AAAGGGHH! AAAGGGHH! AAAGGGHH! And I thought, oh, gosh, that’s it. This is the one time that she’s really hurt. She sounds different, doesn’t she? She’s hurt. What happened? I […]

Big Stuff Afoot!

Wow. So, none of what I planned to get done this afternoon got done, although, oddly, I cleaned part of the vegetable garden. Because, what with packing for Texas, finishing Rebecca’s dvd and package, finishing a pitch for my conference next week, doing a new post for the NHPR site I just started writing for, finishing the article for Parenting I wanted to have done before we left Friday…well, clearly what I really needed to do was work in the […]

I Do What I Do Because I Know What You Do, That You Do That You Do So Well

Something has changed. To hear me blog for the past couple of days, you would think we were right back where we were two years ago ( well, maybe not THAT bad). There’s an excellent reason for that. In my head, I have been reliving that awful, wonderful summer. I’m working on a book about how Rory and adoption and China among themselves kicked my sorry control-freak ass and left me the better for it. I have a fantastic agent; […]

I Should Be Happy. Should I Be Happy?

One of the perils of visiting my folks is that the radio station they favor plays a lot of Carpenters. That has obvious issues, of course, but one of the biggest is that even the very happiest Carpenter song, what with the whole sad story of Karen Carpenter, the nostalgia factor, my lost youth–makes me feel sad. And since it’s not a specific kind of sadness, I just apply it to whatever I’ve got going on that I could possibly […]

I Do What I Do Because I Know What You Do, That You Do That You Do So Well

Something has changed. To hear me blog for the past couple of days, you would think we were right back where we were two years ago ( well, maybe not THAT bad). There’s an excellent reason for that. In my head, I have been reliving that awful, wonderful summer. I’m working on a book about how Rory and adoption and China among themselves kicked my sorry control-freak ass and left me the better for it. I have a fantastic agent; […]