Wednesday, June 30, 2010

heritage: ignore or integrate?

all of you have your pet peeves, things that annoy you, rub you the wrong way- am i right? well, i have them too. no, i'm not going to bore you naming all of them (ha! might be kinda long if i really sit down to think about it), but i want to talk about something i do have an issue with- this isn't a pet peeve, but something i believe is paramount:

my daughter's heritage.

what's my beef with it? well, i have no beef with her heritage. but i find myself considerably upset by APs that ignore or minimize the importance of their child's culture. it's terribly disconcerting to me. i read a varied and many websites (AP/adult adoptee/birthmom's, etc) and i can't tell you how often i find a family that has just jetted off that aircraft home from *insert country* and is encouraging their child to wave his or her proverbial american flag with as much enthusiasm as a world war 2 veteran. no offense, (i'm typing in hyperbole here), but after watching "daughter from danang" it has become even more visible, tangible, apparent- that cultural immersion (as much as that is possible this side of the pond) is imperative for IA children.

and that we shouldn't "wait" for them to express an interest or fool ourselves into believing that a lack of questioning means a lack of interest.

we are, after all, their parents.

would you wait until your child was inquisitive about school to send them? would you wait until they asked about God before sharing your faith with them?

we are their first teachers. their guides. and, by adopting them, as i've said before- we haven't only adopted our child, but (quite literally) their country- a past, a culture, a language, a heritage- and all the things that come with that. it no longer belongs only to our children, but to us.

E, G, and I are not an "american" family, but an american- chinese family (or, chinese-american family). my daughter is a chinese american. her heritage comes first. by no choice of hers, she is now an american citizen. but, only second to being a citizen of china and chinese by birthright.

we plan to make tremendous sacrifices in this family to help our daughter embrace her first culture and come to terms with being both chinese and american. not only do we plan to introduce chinese language into her curriculum (whether that be at a local chinese school or through private tutoring, and i should have clarified we will be taking the classes with her), but we're already putting money aside (what excruciatingly little we have) for a return trip to her homeland next summer.

because she is worth it.

i don't care if i dig my whole of debt to china, i will never ignore the reality of who she is, or pretend that just because she isn't bringing the topic up, it is not of chief importance (to her, and to us). will we follow her lead? in almost everything, of course- especially when it comes to her past. but we won't ever stop working to give her what is rightfully hers. in every way that we can.
beyond the FCC events (incredibly grateful for those) and the books and the decorations we make or put out for chinese holidays.

as Wendy said in the comments, we will fall short, of this i am sure. i am certain we already have in many ways.

but we'll never stop trying.

Monday, June 28, 2010

rough starts, beautiful endings- weekend(s) in review

last saturday. our favorite pizza joint. since school has ended, and E has grown accustomed to naps, we've introduced them into her at home schedule. this day (2 saturday's ago), she'd missed one and was pretty hungry. the food at our fave pizza place (local) took a little while to arrive.

she does grumpy pretty well.
(and don't ask about the bows. lately, she wants bows in her hair).

so much for that tomboy :O)

she warmed up once she could "sit by mama"
and had some pizza in her tummy.

2 sunday's ago. drivin' mamas car.

this past saturday night. i'd worked all day and came
home to her first bump on the head. saturday is
"big bed" night, she gets to sleep with us for
10 minutes or so before she's back in her toddler bed.
here we are reading a fave book "Give Me Grace",
she calls it the "monday tuesday" book.

a cherished gift from a good friend.

hammin' up the injury

a nature walk, at her
request, no less!

some cherished blooms she carried home
given to her by baba

this dragonfly seemed to invite me to photograph it.
kept bobbing it's head up and down like..
"take another. come on".

i used my macro lens, so had to get very close for these.
maybe the 150% humidity was keeping him still?

is it me or does he have a cute smile?

ditto on this butterfly. they always fly away.
not today.
paused and posed.

cardinal's nest (we did see the bird... he didn't hang
around for a mug shot)

leaves of many sorts

time to head home...

i could do this every day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

she really was our "little" girl

i mean, i knew she was little when we first met her....

the red couch with baba, sept 2009

but honestly? until i grab 2 photos taken 9 months apart,
it's hard to appreciate how much she's grown
(except when i'm carrying her upstairs)

is it just me?
or is my little girl all gone?

nah. she's still my little one.
she just... looks bigger is all.

maybe i should cut back on all that broccoli.
(as she says, it makes her strong- no
reverse psychology needed here)


rent it, buy it.
just make sure you see it.

(thanks to a commenter, you can view the entire film here:
You T*be)

i have no words- the film speaks for itself.
in a language i was not expecting.

Monday, June 21, 2010

for you, from me

i've discarded the unnecessary drafts
the letterhead and formal stanzas

give me the alphabet of long glances
the faultless diction of love's second chances;

hold me pen and fold me paper
airplane me across the state line, a feathered prayer

ink me in the curve of your spine
tattoo the wings and sketch me in flight

Sunday, June 20, 2010

today, she asked to walk

so, baba made that happen :O)

(i should clarify for those that commented, there was a time we believed
with bracing from hip to feet, special walkers, etc that she may walk.
after 3 P.T. evals and months in therapy, it was determined
that in fact she won't walk, due to a multitude of factors
with her legs/hips/feet. we are working on creating a "stander" for her
that she can actually kneel on - with back support- so she
can function at her actual height- it's a huge work in progress. she
has trouble standing even in a stander- the contractures in
her feet are significant. what i do know is- walking or not-
there is nothing that will stop this brilliant, vibrant little girl
i get to call my daughter- she's got a wealth of determination
and just the right attitude!).

bye bye baby, baby bye bye

the old site is gone. it's official. the only access that exists to that wonderful place where my story unfolded with all of you is my own. i'll keep it so that i can one day make a book out of some of those pages, for her, maybe. maybe for me. what a strange good-bye. it will take some time getting used to this new place.

it's father's day. no idea what our plans are. we had a full and fun day yesterday though, pics coming soon.

hope you guys are all having a fantastic weekend. happy father's day to all the dad's out there, especially Freedom Master and my dad :O)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

i give you...............

freedom master


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

i think i found it

pardon the constant face lifts. it took an email from a good friend for me to understand i could just (!) change the background color of this freaking new blog. i didn't want any patterns, but after all that searching for just a simple, modest medium- i gave up.

turns out "simple" was under "simple".

shall i bow as i walk off stage with the Techtard Award?

Monday, June 14, 2010

you want some ice too mama?

i'm often a bit dumbfounded by how much E's temperament and likes/dislikes mirror my own. and most were present pretty much from those first weeks together, so it isn't like she learned this from me, you know?

ones that stand out right now: she is totally content to play on her own. i was the same. she's cuddly and affectionate. she whines. i was such a whiner. i didn't melt down or tantrum, just whined. she's identical. her shyness, her quiet nature (until she gets to know you)- again, that's me. and her dad too.

and now? well, she loves ice as much as i do- so much in fact you can bargain with it like it's candy.

i know. bad habit. but come on! we get our way so often!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

conversation with E

at chinese culture camp

after a morning at Chinese culture camp...

mom: wo ai ni, E.

E: no i no speak chinese.

mom: you don't want to speak chinese?

E: no i don't want it.

mom: how come sweet pea?

E: because. i want to speak home.