Adopting Devils

Ouchie, Ouchie

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010 | Connecting the Dots | 4 Comments

Rory is mortally wounded several dozen times a day. Rarely do ten minutes go by before the refrain begins: OUCHIE! OUCHIE! I know, I know that this is more of exactly what I blogged about two days ago. I know this is Rory, who just wants as much of me as she can get, and a true wound is an excellent way to get my full attention. But oh, it is getting old. And hard on Wyatt, giver of all wounds and injuries. “WALLET HIT ME! WALLET HURT ME!”

I blogged a while ago that I’d decided to always believe her and oh man, did it backfire. I often don’t see, and I’ve been erring on the side of believing her, but getting suspicious. Here’s what happens (I’ve been sneakily watching them around doorways): she puts herself in Wyatt’s way. If he is spinning, she is right there where he will whack her. If he IS kicking her–the annoying poking kind, which still isn’t ok–she’ll position herself even closer and start to yell. This morning I watched as he gave up a chair she wanted to her (rare) and then, when she didn’t take it right away (because she was on the floor, hoping that I would respond with massive sympathy to the fact that Wyatt took her chair), left, then came back with the clear intent of sitting down. She got up then, ran for the chair, ran into him (not hard) and flung herself to the ground. “WALLET HIT ME! HE HURT ME! HE HIT MY EYE!”

Well, no, YOU hurt you (and not much, either).

I know this isn’t some massive conscious plot on her part. I know she doesn’t actually think, well, I’ll just lay here and scream until Mommy comes over and does the whole, oh, poor baby bit. I do. But it’s a real problem, and one I’m struggling with for a lot of reasons. For one thing, we do this, oh, four or five times an hour when we’re home. Seriously.

For another, again as I’ve said before, she has no speed in between OH MY GOD I’VE SAWED MY ARM OFF AND I AM BLEEDING BUCKETS and WYATT’S FINGER BRUSHED ME IN PASSING AND THEN HE GIGGLED. She is the boy who cried wolf, and I never ever believe her anymore–which Wyatt then takes advantage of, because it’s not like he never hits her, he does. (She hits him, too.) Plus, she doesn’t get anything when she really needs it. I really, truly can’t tell the difference between actual hurt and the kind that, if she realizes I’m in the shower, will go away in a heartbeat. She’s that good.

So she loses, I lose, and Wyatt loses–no one is coming out well in this little game. And I don’t know what to do. I’ve tried pouring on the sympathy, on the theory that in some sense she’s always hurt–meaning that she always needs me. But sympathy isn’t enough; it has to involve punishing Wyatt too, and it has to be big, and long, and drawn out–which doesn’t work three minutes before we have to leave for school. Plus, to be honest, I HATE THIS. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for whiners, especially when they’re requiring “fairness”, and I know she’s physically as tough as nails. I’ve seen her fall four feet onto a concrete step, get up, brush it off and smile–if she’s desperate to get back to the playground, and if there’s no possible argument that someone else did it. (You should see her when she thinks I did it–as in, I leaned over her and the string from my hoodie hit her in the face, as it did yesterday. The outrage. The confusion. How to both get Mommy to punish herself and give Rory big time hugs and snugs and poor babies?)

And yet I know that the universe has scarcely been fair to Rory. I don’t exactly blame her for trying to get some justice now. Well, I do blame her, but I get it.

Let’s just say I cannot WAIT for this phase to end.

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That Limited, Rare, Desirable Commodity: Me.

Sunday, March 28th, 2010 | Connecting the Dots | 5 Comments

Cross-posted at No Hands But Ours (a great site to find information and community for “special needs” China adoption).

It has been a rough trip, these last six or seven months, and there were times when I thought I’d never look at Rory and feel just unadulterated happiness. I thought I’d always see the shadow of the things I had trouble with–the way her arrival changed our family, the way it affected my relationship with the other kids, the fear I had that letting her fully into the family would somehow weaken the bonds I already had. There were a lot of things that helped: time, watching this little pumpkin struggle with leaving her foster family, and suddenly realizing that what seemed like sheer deviltry was Rory struggling in a different way, and watching a friend bring home a child Rory’s age, and–another realization–figuring out that adopting a three-year-old meant both making the adjustments you would for a baby, and making totally different adjustments. Not, unfortunately, making fewer adjustments–which I think is honestly what we’d thought.  In other words, this was totally new and it was ok for it to be hard.

Which it was.

But we got there. Therefore all should be right and all things in the world should be of a happy rightness, except when they’re not. But now that we’re all in good shape–rolling along as a family, thinking more about speech therapy and soccer than about bonding and adjusting–I just want to be there. But not Rory–she wants to revel in it. Which means that every time I kiss her or love her up, she follows me around, touching me, leaning on me, every gesture asking for more. I try, I do. It’s not like I put out limits–sorry, only six hugs a day for you!–it’s just that I lose patience. I am not by nature a person of great snuggliness, and I am a person of a natural business, and I just–look, if I walk into the bedroom to put a book on the nightstand and then turn around and trip over you, I’m going to be frustrated, ok? I am not that interesting. You do not have to follow me quite that closely!

Then I feel like the dysfunctional boyfriend–oh, no, I only love you if you don’t call me. I draw her in, she asks for more, I push her away.

I know–I should grow up, and give a little, huh? I swear I do. But her well seems so bottomless just now. That’s a sad fact that makes me want to fill it, but I don’t know how much I’ve got. Today I sat down, and she sat on my lap, or curled next to me, for a solid hour and twenty minutes, patting me very gently, snuggling my arm, twisting my earrings. I tried to think of it as like nursing a baby–I certainly put in these kinds of hours under the other three–and that helped, some. But Rory didn’t get up until I got up, and I know she was disappointed. I know Rory loves me, and her new family, but  some new mother would have had it in her to just let Rory soak and bask in her love and physical affection. Instead, poor Rory got this used-up model, happier wiping counters and baking cookies than pinned in under a child that really needs a snuggle. I’m going to do what I can to give her this. I just don’t think even the very most I can give–even when I, as a friend said to me recently, “put on my big girl pants” and do the right thing–is going to be as much as she needs.

Today I found myself setting boundaries. I love you, I said, so very much, but I’m not going to snuggle just now. And then–I love you, but I need this much space (as demonstrated with hands) just for me—because she was hovering, not snuggling, but as close as she could possibly be, and with hands out, fingering my magazine, touching my drink.

How awful is that, really? I love you, but snuggle time is over? I love you, but you need to be farther away from me now? I feel bad just writing it. Horrible. But I am who I am, and I can snuggle for a while, and then stop, or I can snuggle reluctantly until I just can’t take it any more, and all patience for the day is gone. I know she needs me. I know she needs this physical affection. I am trying.

I don’t think I realized how tough it would sometimes be to try.

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Love, that Thing That We Talk About

Monday, March 22nd, 2010 | Connecting the Dots | 6 Comments

It’s been a long time since I visited the “do you love her yet” question.

I’ve loved very few people on sight. Most of my friends turned out to be better after you got to know them some (which, in some cases, means I didn’t like them at all until later, when I did). I didn’t fall in love with Rob when we first met. In fact, it wasn’t until about 2 years later that I looked at him, strewn across a low chair in the 60′s mod lounge of our law school, one of a group of people planning how best to get as drunk as possible during this, our final year before “real life” (which actually turned out to be a totally inaccurate description of working as a young associate at a law firm, but I digress, again) and–I just realized I’m still in the middle of this sentence–I looked at him, and realized, whoa, that’s it. Him.

It was unfortunate that I’d just broken up with his roommate at the time, but otherwise, it worked out pretty well, as have all of those friendships. I’d even go so far as to say that people I did like instantly mostly did not work out so well. I’m lazy, and I fall easily for the kind of charm which results in 300 Facebook friends and hey, sorry, no time to talk. So, so sum up: love which develops slowly has been the best kind. I wouldn’t say I loved my original three kids at the moment they were yanked, ripped or (in one happy case) squirted out of my body, either. I mean, given that description, you can see why not.

So I should have KNOWN that I wouldn’t love Rory right off. No one would read the above an accuse me of not really loving my husband, or of letting my deep resentment for what having three kids did to my innards and outards interfere permanently with my affection for Sam, Lily or Wyatt. But in adoption-blog-land–oh, adoption-blog-land, the many and myriad ways you’ve messed up my head–instant love is the default. It’s the way to go. “We just met our Tippi, and she’s doing great!” “We just couldn’t love her more, and it’s only been thirty minutes!” “We’re just dripping with love for this snugglebug!”

So I felt just a tad insecurish about the whole this kid has to pee all the time and she’s constantly screaming and she hits the other kids and when-is-she-going-home thing.

I think it comes down to how you use the word love. I was kind of going with the “would you leap in front of a speeding train to push this person out of its path” definition, and I kept coming up short. Well, no, I kept thinking. I love life, and trains are messy, and I really want to stick around with all these other people. I over-thought it constantly. It couldn’t just be love, it had to be these Sophie’s choice style scenarios. Nothing else would do.

But I have yet to be called upon to jump in front of a train for anyone I love. What’s harder, I find, is the kind of love that allows you to push a train–a small wooden one, say–around the tracks for half-an-hour when you would much rather be doing anything else. I didn’t have much of that kind of love this summer, either. But here’s what I can do. I can help Rory get dressed, at 6:55 in the morning, even though she can dress herself, and I have not yet had coffee. And I can do it without being sarcastic or unpleasant about it, and even manage a kiss or two most mornings.

I am not a morning person. It has taken me years to get to the point where I can handle human interaction before 11 a.m. And this–this is unnecessary, frivolous interaction of a kind that doesn’t get anyone out the door any faster. Plus, as I said, it’s pre-coffee. But I can do it. Have, for months. I don’t know what love is. For now, this is going to have to do.

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Still Not There.

Saturday, August 29th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | 7 Comments

I’m still waiting for the day when life just feels normal. Last night I dreamed that one of our neighbors covered the slopes of their yard with snow somehow, and I walked down the road with Rory, Wy, Lily and Sam and we just happened to stumble across it. It would be Rory’s first time playing in the snow, and I wanted to see her reaction, but she’d wandered off, and somehow we were surrounded by hundreds of families, all with Chinese daughters about Rory’s size and with her haircut, all happily playing in the show. I was reduced to searching for the shirt I knew Rory was wearing, but still, I couldn’t find her anywhere. I kept searching, trying to wathc Lily and Wyatt, who were looking for her too. Finally I found a silent child playing in the sand, wearing disheveled clothes–somehow I knew that they’d just been put on, traded with another kid. I thought it was her. I wasn’t sure, though, and she wouldn’t talk to me, and I just stood there, looking at her. Had I found her, or not?

Then I woke up.

I don’t think we need a professional to sort that dream out. Gosh, what could possibly be on my mind?

Two things struck me lately. One was on the blog of a net friend home just a couple of days (she’s password protected, so I won’t link). Her husband said something like “it doesn’t feel like home, with her here. It feels like we’re still at the hotel.” That resonated for me…i think some part of me feels like we’re on an extended playdate, and the kid just won’t go home. I like the kid fine, and she’s adjusting to us better every day, but she’s not set in our ways and I’m responsible for her.

When we’re with other people and I hug or kiss her, it feels so artificial–like I’m putting on a show, to say look, I love this one too! Really I hug and kiss her plenty at home, but I notice it more with an audience. And she just…bugs me. She’s not unobtrusive. If she’s running through the house, as she mostly is, she’s stomping madly. If she’s talking, she’s yelling. If she’s getting a drink of water, she’s slamming drawers and announcing it at the top of her lungs. ANd she’s omnipresent. If we have another family over, she can only play with the other kids for a very limited amount of time. Then it’s back to me, touching me, sitting near me, asking for the food off my plate and a drink of my drink. Or even just looking at a book (something only she could do loudly) on the couch–I have to think, why isn’t she with the others? Do I need to do something? Does she feel left out? Does this mean she won’t succeed at school or that no one will EVER ask her for a playdate and she will be forever glued to my side? (I know that it really means she wants to make sure I’m still there, and that she gets tired of the effort of interacting, especially with kids who come and go–something that never would have happened in her foster home).

I don’t hate either of us anymore. I’m rolling along with life, but I am tired of this half-way emotional state of mine, and the way it affects the way I am with the other kids. Will I do a workbook with Lily? No, because it means Rory will be right up there with a book of her own–or no, just because I’m so tired of them, of all of them, of putting them in the car and getting them out of the car and just plain talking to them. Read to Wyatt? No. Play cards with him? No. I’ve removed myself from them so much because I don’t want to interact with Rory any more than I already do–which really feels like quite a lot. I’m not happy about that, it’s not the way I want to be–but I don’t want to referee every spat, or insist that Rory take only her turn at cards, or play by the rules. I can’t interact with them easily anymore, and my temper is so short, that not doing it at all seems like the best course of action.

On the other hand, I was also struck by something our pediatrician said about another adoptive family. She has a graceful way of providing advice by describing it as something she’s seen others struggle with, or do, and she mentioned an adoptive parent with a few adopted kids, from a tougher background, and the way the parent felt she had to jump on every little thing, including things she’d probably let slide from her bio kids–because she didn’t know where they came from, or where it would lead. And I thought–yes! There’s a legitimate reason why every second word out of my mouth to Rory is no. If Lily gets her own pop tart one Saturday morning without asking, I know it won’t lead to her taking six pop tarts a day every time I’m not looking. If Wyatt pushes the dog out of the way a little roughly, I know it’s a one-off, not the start of a pattern of beating the dog with sticks. I don’t know that with Rory. So it’s actually fair to chastize her more than the others–more than fair, it’s the right thing to do–but it doesn’t feel fair. I think it makes it hard for me to bond, too, because it’s all I feel like I can say, and because everything could be a harbringer of something else, or a sign of a problem. Nothing’s just a cigar, so to speak.

So that helped, some.

Another net friend, about to travel to adopt in 8 days, asked me a day or so ago if I wished I hadn’t done this. What I mostly wish is that she–and I–wouldn’t ask that question. It seems so big, and it’s unnecessary. I have come to see that every moment of discouragement doesn’t mean things are horrible. Some days are good. Some days are not. Some days are in between. Asking myself–Do I love her yet? Do I wish we hadn’t done this? Is just keeping me in a tough place. Right now, Wyatt and Lily are systematically emptying some boxes of their art projects that have been sitting there for months, waiting for me to sort them and throw some away, or not. I’m angry at me, that they’re still there. I’m angry at them, for dumping them out and I know they won’t be able to clear it up by themselves. I’m cross that I’m sitting here writing instead of encouraging them to do something more productive, and that the fact that they’re now about to go outside to gather yet another “rock collection” fills me with a sense of doom. And none of that means that things aren’t ok.

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Paper Dolls in Action

Friday, June 12th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | Comments Off

RIght now Rory, Lily, Wyatt and Sam are jumping off the Great Wall on their way to tennis lessons. Or something. It’s a little unclear…

No, Rory didn’t make a surprise appearance. She’s represented by a cardboard paper doll wearing magnetic clothing and played by Lily’s friend Kate.

We’ve gone through a lot of ramifications with China travel lately. Wyatt took a bad fall off a swing and came up sobbing “I don’t want to go to China, I want to stay with Grandpa…” appropo of nothing. Lily had a similar moment when she discovered she’d be missing her last gymnastics class, although at least that one made more sense. Only Sam remains steadfast… And Wyatt responded to a question from a friend yesterday: Yes, we are going to China to get my sister. “And then is she coming to live with you?” “No.”

Umm…

I think this has just taken too long. Mostly, they’re enthusiastic. Mostly, they’re thrilled. But we’ve talked about this, and planned it, and done things for it, and bought things for it, for so long now that to them it must seem like it’s already happened twelve times over. I’m looking forward to the trip. Now, as it gets closer, I too and beginning to be able to look forward to coming back.

Do you know the moment, when you’re pregnant, when something reminds you that pretty soon, life will go on–only with a baby? I had that, last week. We were biking in Fairlee, eating at the Whippy Dip and then going back for ice cream–something we only do during the summer, which has just barely started–and I realized: we’ll be back. We’ll be biking in Fairlee and eating at the Whippy Dip. And Rory (finally officially named: Lorelei Rebecca Ying-Bao Seelig) will be here.

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49 Drops of Poop, and Progress

Friday, May 29th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | Comments Off

This afternoon and evening I:
Cleaned, badly and frantically, 49 drops plus one pile of dog poop in the ten minute interval between when I discovered the poop, and when I had to leave the house with the kids in order to deliver Sam and Lily to their ballet recital rehearsal. (Expect pics tomorrow!) Just fyi, in case you were thinking of getting a dog (and ours are house trained, this is unusual, but still) each and every drop had to be cleaned individually. Off the carpet. With a paper towel. And then Rob had to do it again when he got home, because my effort was necessarily cursory.

Had a fight with Rob. (As usual, this consisted of him saying something to piss me off, then me yelling briefly, then slamming things around while he sulked, the yelling some more while he sulked, then finally making peace while he sulked. Our fights are a lot of work for me.)

Finally emptied 7 boxes of stuff I’d ordered and had sent to us in, um, March, that had been sitting in the hallway, two of which were large enough to put all four children in, and still have room for what I’d actually ordered, minus the packaging. (Those two were three fans and a comforter.) Were the boxes the subject of the fight?

Kinda. The subject was me saying I thought I wanted to build some cabinets in the same hallway, but wasn’t going to because I didn’t like the carpenter I’d talked to (among other things, he was a heavy smoker and reeked, and I could just see him smoking in the driveway. Apparently I will vote for a smoker for President but won’t allow one to build me shelves. Incidentally that was a major compromise for me, because the thing is, although I like the occasional cigarette–as in, every two years or so–as a habit it’s just dumb. No gettin’ around it. Poor judgment. But I digress…)

Rob: Let us not build any cabinets until we finish all the other stuff we have started around here. (For we you can read “you”, meaning, of course, me.)

What stuff, you’re totally wrong, I know the house isn’t finished but how will it ever get finished, blah blah blah blah ok there are some things like that but I am still pissed at you and the door to the closet where i want to build cabinets is broken and I can’t get to the recycling and blah blah.

Rob: I can fix that.

Me: No, it is broken, it will never be fixed, nothing will ever look finished, you are right, it doesn’t look right, even when I’m done it doesn’t look right, it will never, ever look like Tanya’s house, never.

Sulking on both sides. Banging on mine. I begin to clean. Rob begins to fix the closet door in the hallway with the boxes. I open the boxes. I empty them all. Most of them are things for Rory or for the trip to China.

Gee, what unfinished project do you think is bothering us?

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Sometimes there’s nothing to control

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009 | Adopting Devils | 2 Comments

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 Day-like fashion (now, there’s a fun way to watch movies. We all live in a dream world? But how would that affect my adoption? Aliens live among us as immigrant citizens? What if some of them are in charge of my adoption? Didn’t work so well with “I Am Legend” last night–in fact, I couldn’t watch.)
I had, actually a productive day by my newly reduced standards, and lessened my obsessing on the internet level by at least three-quarters. All that has to happen now is our travel approval. If it happens anytime this month, we’re good. It’s time to stop with the thinking–and get back to the doing.
And do I ever have things to do! Before we can travel, there’s the little matter of my sister-in-law getting married. In Seattle. And getting the garden in. And spring cleaning (it’s May, that’s spring here). And getting enough pitches and otherwise out there that I can be gone for three weeks without witnessing the collapse of my career.

But in case you’re doing what I like to do, and just noodling around looking to see who’s out there doing what, I thought I’d take a minute to post a little nothing. And now I’m off to unpack Rory’s new comforter!

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A Solid Guess on Travel Dates

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 | Adopting Devils | Comments Off

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 up, but I think we arrive home pretty much at the exact same time we left.

I’ve been told to be flexible. I think we can handle that, since flexible tends to be pretty much the definition of our travel plans. We’re looking for a little luxury and good tours for those days in Beijing, and planning on letting whatever happens in Fuzhou City happen. (‘Cause what happens in Fuzhou City stays in Fuzhou City. I’m pretty sure that’s their slogan.)

We had plenty of conflicting advice about her name. I popped it up as a question on a board, and the thinking was divided equally into “she’ll adjust and be happy that you gave her a family name” and “you’re a racist, overly-Westernized white devil to even think about changing her name, and btw you used the phrase ‘going off the reservation’ in another post and that’s grossly insensitive too.”

Let’s just say not everyone on the “boards” is fully literate. (For those of you just joining us, our daughter’s name, as given to her in China, not by us, when she was 2 months old, is…Rebecca.)

And the irony of all of this was only highlighted by a piece in today’s Slate: What’s Up with Chinese People Having English Names? An american writer with a chinese name is mocked by his chinese peers for being so out of it as to still be using his original moniker.

In the United States, people tend to view names and identities as absolute things—which explains why I agonized over deciding on an English name—but in China, identities are more amorphous. My friend Sophie flits amongst her Chinese name, English name, MSN screen name, nicknames she uses with her friends, and diminutives that her parents call her. “They’re all me,” she says. “A name is just a dai hao.” Dai hao, or code name, can also refer to a stock’s ticker symbol.

Our decision–well, our partial decision? We’re calling her Rory. As for her formal name, we’re still working that out. I’m a big fan of nicknames, but Rob thinks her official first name ought to be: Rory. So: Rory Claire adjusted-and-yet-not-quite-finalized-chinese-name, or Lorelei Rebecca chinese-name, or possibly Rebecca Rose chinese-name or Rebecca Claire chinese-name who is just called Rory. Or maybe something else. But called Rory. It’s already on her shoe cubby.

Now we just have to get Lily some speech therapy before Wowy comes home.

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I Should Be Happy. Should I Be Happy?

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 | Adopting Devils | 3 Comments

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 be sad about.

And right now I am sad about Rebecca.

When I think about what lies ahead for her, I grieve for her. I can’t believe I’m going to be part of it. I look at Wyatt, and I imagine someone telling him that something wonderful is going to happen to him–that he should be happy, that he should be excited. I imagine them using word he doesn’t fully understand, and I imagine him trusting the person, and feeling that excitement.

And then I imagine him being taken away.

It’s hard to even write that without crying. In fact, I have to turn it around now–to apply it to Rebecca, to say yes, but she’s always been told this would happen, she can’t feel about her foster family the way Wyatt feels about us, that because she’s being prepared, that because in the end it’s “for the best”, it somehow isn’t the same thing.

But I suspect that it is. And even knowing the obvious–that she cannot stay with her foster family, that her future will be better here, that she will grow to love us–I am not happy. I want her. I am thrilled to have her, along with nervous and all the rest–but I cannot truly want this for her. What I want for her, she can’t have.

Wyatt wants a cookie. Rebecca is sleeping right now. I know she loves cookies, too.

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Big Stuff Afoot!

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 | Adopting Devils, Travel to China! | 5 Comments

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 garden. Because we have LOA. (What the hell is that? See the previous post, please!)

But I digress (an excellent alternative title for this blog, btw).

Now we can plan. Now we can count. Here’s my secret plan: We’re in Seattle for Aliza’s wedding until May 27. I want to fly from there. It’s easier. It shaves 4 hours off our trip. It combines the craziness, and why not do that? It’s really reasonable, date-wise. Our agency won’t want to go for it. It’s going to make them nervous–too much planning too far ahead. I plan to spring it on them later. Rob I’m going to spring it on later tonight. He took all my mad sudden planning today very well (possibly because he was on his way out to play a last round of paddle tennis before the weather gets too warm to play, and don’t ask me to explain how that can be, because I can’t.) I do think it’s a good idea.

But–on to the most important subject tonight: Rebecca’s name. Now, Rebecca. A very good name, in fact. Solid. American. I like it. We’ll keep it. But we didn’t give it to her. And we do like naming. So we have some strong contenders for a middle or first name, and then we’ll see how it shakes out. I never, ever tell names beforehand, because the minute you do, someone says “Oh, I had a dog called that!” or “That was the name of the kid in third grade that everyone picked on!”.

But I’m going to do it now anyway. Here are the leading contenders:

  • Rebecca Rose, called “Rory”
  • Rebecca Claire
  • Audrey Rebecca
  • Rebecca Jade
  • Rebecca Elizabeth
  • Margaret Rebecca
  • Rebecca Skye (I suspect Rob’s just humoring me by leaving this one on)
  • Lucy Rebecca (much as I like this one, I think it’s out. Too many Lucy’s around already, plus it sounds like Lily. Ok, out.
  • We’re also adding a character to her Chinese name, but since I can’t type the characters and you can’t read them (neither can I) I will just leave them out, because that one has to both sound good and have the right meaning. I’ll get back to you.

    Really, I have to go do something else. Seriously.

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    LOA!

    Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | 1 Comment

    Ok, nobody but another China adopting parent will know what that means. Suffice it to say it’s big news. It means our paperwork has been through the mill. There are no questions, there are no issues, and now we are just waiting for our permission to travel–which is a pretty standard and predictable process.

    This was fast. This is good. (This is real!)

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    Just another classical evening

    Friday, April 10th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | Comments Off

    Tonight Sam and Lily were back in Mandarin class. Rob drew the short straw, so he came home with grumpy Wyatt to put him to bed (I can tell he’s peeved, because he’s on the upstairs computer, not the downstairs), while me and my laptop hung out at the Dartmouth arts building (nice view of the green, comfy chairs, excellent wireless). As I lingered, responding to email, syncing calendars, etc., a student came in to practice on the grand piano.

    So I have live classical music to blog to.

    Oh–and wondering about the picture? It’s an EXTREME close up of a really super cute pic of the kids holding Rebecca’s picture. I’ll fix it later. I had a jpg sizing issue, obviously.

    Knowing Rob never reads this, I can safely say that Dartmouth might just offer more than NYC–because we can use it. In NYC, we’d be fighting to get our kids into a production of the nutcracker, or chinese classes. We’d skip the plays and such because after all, they’ll always be there. And as far as I know, free classical piano music while you dick around on your computer isn’t even offered.

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    Adventures in Adoptoblogland

    Thursday, April 9th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots | 2 Comments

    I got an impulsive email from Guoji Familia this morning–she, Cupcake, Spark and her #2 son were heading our way! We met up at the Montshire, and hung for the morning. It was great to meet up “IRL”, but I’m finding the whole thing inspires me to talk in what I think of as “blogher” talk…lots of exclamation points and references to the ‘net.

    We had a good time, and bonded over plenty–adoption, of course, kids the same ages, yadda. Meanwhile I could see Cupcake, home just since September, first hand. I have nothing profound to say about that, other than that she was adorable, I wanted to squeeze her, and it gave me a little insight into both how great–and how difficult–this is going to be. Making no bones about it, I am not sure Wyatt is going to like this. I think the whole first few months, if not longer, is going to be one big choice-making adventure–am I paying attention to Rebecca, or am I paying attention to Wyatt?

    It’s funny, because when the process started, one of our friends suggested that she wasn’t sure this was going to be a good choice for Lily. Who was just about the same age as Wyatt at that point, and having a difficult time with everything. Just like he is now. Anything I suggest, he says “no.” I don’t wanna go to the bookstore and eat a cupcake. I don’t wanna go to the Montshire. I don’t wanna read a book. Unless it’s Mariocart, he’s not interested. And yet, and yet, he’s passionately attached to me at the hip. He just doesn’t want to wear anything I want him to wear or do anything I want him to do.

    Put that way, it all sounds more like classic ambivalence over getting more independent than anything else…which makes it feel a little more manageable, and more like Rebecca will just be another twist in it, not a horrible complicating factor. You just manage, I guess–I don’t just guess, I know. My friend will soon be coping with a 3-year-old home new this summer and the still adjusting Cupcake, and while I’m sure she’s got her worries, I look at it and think well, you manage. You do what you do. It works out. It will be fine.

    And I think the same of us, but knowing–and I do know–that we have our doubters, makes me 1) want it all to be perfect and 2) not want to admit, even a little bit, that, for a little while, this may not contribute to the utter perfection of life that generally belongs to our children. But maybe it won’t. It is not all going to be a bowl of cherries the whole time. It’s just not.

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    Rebecca!

    Monday, April 6th, 2009 | Adopting Devils | 3 Comments

    Rebecca!

    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 spent the evening working on a book of pictures that I’ll be getting out in the morning–the family, the house, her bed–illustrated by Sam, Lily and Wyatt in various fantastical ways.

    I think maybe Wyatt thinks it is time we talked about something else. I can understand that…and we have a lot to absorb, too. I think I’ll sleep well tonight!
    KJ Dell’Antonia
    sent from my iPhone

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    You Wan, Soon to Join the Family

    Monday, March 30th, 2009 | Adopting Devils | Comments Off




    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 include a picture taken last week, updated measurements and health information, and a whole host of other things (one of our questions is whether she has a nickname). Or it could be another brief medical report from anytime between now and then. Whatever it is, we want it.

    Meanwhile, Lily has the pictures. Sam and Wyatt have copies, too. Should you run into one of them on the street, expect to be regaled. Lily would love to tell you about “my girl that I’m getting from China this summer.”

    You Wan was described in our paperwork as “spirited.” I think that may be a good thing (although I also suspect it’s the equivalent of calling an apartment “cozy”).

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