“waiting child”

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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    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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    Impossible! Improbable! Ridiculous! (but true?)

    Monday, March 30th, 2009 | Adopting Devils | 2 Comments

    china-sun

    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 to 2006–hooray, we know she was quite a normal, healthy size for a one-year-old! Since she’s three now, I think we can be forgiven for being a bit…curious. And when I’m curious, I google.

    I googled her province. I googled adoption groups from her province. I googled “update” “Adoption” “china” “How long”. You name it, I googled it. I didn’t get a whole lot of work done…but I found a small Yahoo group, of lovely people who’d traveled to Wan’s city and brought home kids of their own. All agreed that yes, they’d had updates–and yes, we needed one!

    One had a blog, and that blog led to another blog, and so on (they’re like eating Tings, aren’t they?). And one of the blogs had a teeny tiny little link to a teeny tiny little foster home in this teeny tiny (ok, not so much) province. And there was this picture. Of a girl, clutching a crayon. Same tugged up nostril as Wan. Same look of fierce determination. Same….je ne sais quoi.

    I know. I thought it too. I had to be kidding, that I would find this needle in a haystack when, realistically, the vast majority of the needles aren’t even in the haystack (because if you think the average Chinese foster home has a website, well…suffice it to say, nope. And even if they did, they’d be in Chinese, right? Right.)

    I didn’t even bookmark it. Which meant that a week later, when I really, really just wanted to see that picture again, I had to roll through most of the google/yahoo/blog process all over again. But there it was. And above it, there was a link. “About the kids.”

    Reader, I clicked it.

    And there was the determined girl. I clicked again. Birthday–match. Date of arrival in foster care–match. Same scar, same lip, same nose, same province, same city…

    At some point, it became less likely that there would be two children with all of those things in common than that I would find the child we’d been matched with on the website of an American-run foster home in China. I’m no statistician, but I’m pretty sure the numbers are on our side.

    Here’s the thing: we can’t check. Adoption regulations forbid direct contact between orphanages or foster care and prospective adoptive parents. I called our agency, absolutely. She’s checking. She’s checking.

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