How It’s Done Blog


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) […]

Rory, Still a Little Dubious

My bad tonight–letting all four kids take ice cream in the car. Not cones, cups, and in Lily and Sam’s case, more like milkshakes (FriendZs, to be exact). I don’t usually even let them EAT in the car. But circs prevailed in a not particularly interesting way, and the ice cream was successfully eaten, until (you knew there was an until, right?)… Rory announced that she was done. At this point we were at the hockey rink picking up Sam, […]

Markers.

I can’t tell you how many, many, many times I have told Rory not to write on anything with markers other than paper. Not furniture. Not the car. Not her face. Not her brother. Not Sam’s toys. Not her own toys, although I’m a little more tolerant of that. NOT ANYTHING. I have even hauled her around the house pointing at things. Don’t write on the. Don’t write on that. Is this something you write on? No. There has been […]

I Did the Right Thing

A few posts ago, I talked about how I’d decided not to write a letter to Rory’s new teacher singling her out in any way. I felt confident–and underneath it, I felt certain that said new teacher, and new assistant teacher, would already have a pretty full scoop. After all, our last year had been unusual. And it had ended with what I saw as a pretty negative assessment of Rory from one teacher in particular, who said she couldn’t […]

When Things Refuse to Stay the Same

Last week, Rory’s beloved babysitter, who is pregnant with her third, was put on bed rest. From Rory’s point of view, she disappeared with no warning–I was traveling, and it was all we could do to get all the kids and their needs covered, let alone get Rory over to see her Heather. We explained, of course we did, but Rory was bit suspicious and very clearly thrown off course. She liked all the activities that filled in for Heather, […]

Truly Friends Forever

Most of us had friends as kids that we promised, with mixed results, to love forever—but what must a friend from your orphanage, from your foster home, from your past mean to a kid? We adopted Rory at nearly four, and from the first, she’s been asking for “Bethany.” As often as she cried for her foster mother and father, and maybe even more often, she cries over Bethany. She wants to see her. She lingers over the pictures we […]

It’s the First Day of School for the Adopted Kid!

First Day of School #2! Today was Rory’s second “First Day of School.” There’s a new head teacher in Rory’s classroom this year; one who appears to have certain fairly defined expectations for how things will go. Last week, she invited each student to come in to meet her, bringing something to show her—a book, she suggested, or something important—and to see the changes in the classroom. We adopted 4-year-old Rory last summer, and she brought, as she will always […]

One Year

One year. Actually, one year and 2 months. I didn’t think a year meant that much, once we hit that year. I’m just not feeling the milestone, I said. This is still hard, it still doesn’t feel worthy of some sort of “this-is-how-we-were-meant-to-be” record. I suspect that maybe isn’t my style, anyway…that this is how we are will always be what’s important to me… But thatsnnot my point. We’ve hit our stride, I feel–as I said a few days ago, […]

Stride.

We have hit our stride. Rory has been home for almost 14 months, and it’s time to call it good. And oh, it is such a relief. The past year been like hitting my head against a wall, in that it’s so much better now that it’s stopped. I’ve never, ever been so glad that a year was over, and I would repeat sixth grade before I’d live through the first six months again. Of course, we had our beautiful […]

And We Thought Our Trip to China was Bad

Imagine if we’d had to leave without Rory. It just happened, to this family. Here, in a nutshell, is the United States’ new plan for China adoptions: 1. Complete masses of paperwork. Travel to China. Adopt and become responsible for child. 2. Have child tested for TB. 3. If child tests positive for TB, stay in China for 2-6 months, as child will not be allowed to travel to the US, but is no longer the responsibility of anyone in […]

Re-entry: Not Pretty

Some of my publishable thoughts on arriving home: Whoa. We got in at 11:00 night before last and the kids were up until 3. We hauled them through yesterday, even taking Sam and Lily to a tennis lesson and getting the boys a haircut–and put them to bed at a relatively normal time (when Rob and I were nearly asleep standing) but at 1:30 the first of them–Rory–appeared. And this is where the fact that they all sleep in the […]

The Red Couch

What is wrong with that child, you ask? What are you people doing to her? Well, it’s like this. If Rory has one single, stand-out, non-endearing trait, it is (and this is SO PETTY) that she pretty much has to go potty every single solitary second of every day. Is she nervous? Unable to complete, shall we say, with relative strangers? Does she have a UTI? Dunno. Doesn’t, in the context of getting out of China, matter. But there it […]

Shamian Island: The Home Stretch

Shamian Island is best described as the place the British took over, back when tea and opium were in constant traffic across the sea, and although I am sure there was razing and looting involved in its creation, the result is extraordinarily pleasant. Shady verandas. Palm trees. Wide park-like walkways. Few cars. We are staying at the White Swan. It used to be right next to the consulate, so everyone stayed here. Now it’s right next to an entire cottage […]

A Day in Fuzhou

So we’ve agreed: Fuzhou, not set up for tourists. On the other hand, we are seeing a real China city, and not just one like Beijing that’s sort of set up to show itself off in the same way that Manhattan is–there are clearly tons of Chinese tourists–although once we let the guide start taking us places, we saw Western tourists too. I can tell you that Fuzhou-ers, rightly, do NOT go out between noon and three. I don’t know […]

So. Tired.

The real trouble with the whole quarantine thing is that it sucked a lot of the adventure right out of us. We’re tired. We’ve eaten a lot of things we might not otherwise have eaten. We’ve hung out together. We’ve talked to people. We’ve been stared at. And now we are ready to resume our normally scheduled programming, but we still have a week of travel to go. Rory is adjusting well. She kind of collapsed today and took an […]

We are one sleepy family–what a day. Rory came to the hotel with three women she’d never met before today, and no one from her foster home. When we came in she was wailing–in English–I want to go home! I knelt down and started whispering in her ear–I knew her foster mother had told her that this was ok, that she could go with us and we would take good care of her, and she let me pick her up, […]

The Pringle Fairy

If asked, I can state with confidence that the maximum number of days one family should spend pretty much cooped up a room together is…6. Not seven. Seven seems to be just that much too much. But we are getting there. They just took our temperature for the last time. We just had our temperatures taken for the last time. We ate our last lunch. We filled out a form that even had a box for “comments about our stay”. […]

And…We’re Off.

We are ready. Ready, as in, weighed suitcases sitting in the hallway. My mom asleep already. Me, popping one last movie onto my iPhone and gathering a few last cords and ends. Three excited kids asleep in their room (miraculously, no reappearances!) knowing that the next time they sleep in there, there will be four. (Gulp.) I do plan to blog while we travel–there should be plenty of pictures and lots to tell. We’ll be in Beijing until Sunday 6/21. […]

Paper Dolls in Action

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 […]

49 Drops of Poop, and Progress

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 […]