How It’s Done Blog


Just another classical evening

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. […]

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 […]

LOA!

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!)

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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, […]

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 […]

Wyatt’s Big Day

Wyatt’s Big Day Originally uploaded by kjda I had a fabulous day with Wy. There was some suggestion, yesterday, that perhaps China hasn’t had a blanket flu-freakout, and that travel dates, for everyone who’s waiting on them, may come soon–and although I’m still hoping we’ll be heading out in June, I can be ok with SOME delay–just not infinite, or even indefinite, delay. It turns out that the combination of a little positive news and a beautiful day returned me […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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, […]

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 […]

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”. […]

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) […]

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

Adventures in Adoptoblogland

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. […]

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 […]