Wednesday, January 28, 2015

#MicroblogMondays - Being open to discuss adoption with our kids

Parenting an adopted child must be pretty similar to parenting a child from my womb, but sometimes I wonder if I make the right choices by talking about adoption so openly.  It is very obvious that my child is Asian.  Since we both have big smiles, brown hair and round faces, I guess that some people guess that I had a previous relationship with an Asian man when they see us together.  When I was in Jamaica, the locals intimated that I might have created Sofie on a previous visit.  Also at airports, people have asked if her father was Asian  (My answer - "Well, probably, but it is hard to know").

When I meet new people in my personal & professional life and talk about our family, I do mention that Sofie is from China because I think it is so cool that we are a Chinese-American-Norwegian family.   I love being international by association.  I think it is cool that she will speak English, Norwegian, Mandarin, and Spanish because of our unique positioning in the world.  I feel like she is a citizen of the world, more than I could ever be - despite my travels, adventurous cooking/eating adventures ("Hello, Durian") and attempts over the years to be fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Norwegian, and Mandarin and smattering of Arabic, Russian and French.

Also, the process of doing adoption was so challenging, I want to open the conversation to any potential people who are thinking about it - openly or in the dark.  Mentioning adoption definitely has opened some interesting conversations with people who are ashamed to talk about infertility openly - you know, the talk about the fear of never having a child, the frustration with all the medical procedures & hormones, spouses being uncomfortable with adoption, bonding with the child, the difficulty of national and international adoption, costs, family reaction, surrogacy, etc.

We have also been very open with Sofie about her being from China.  She openly identifies with other people who "look like her" and seeks them out today.  To try to bridge the gaps, we tell her stories about what happened in China when we met her.  We also talk about the assimilation process (at a very high level since she is only 5).  This spring, she and I have started taking Mandarin at the local Asian Community Center, so we have a direct link with the Chinese community and its customs.  Of course we also have Asian expat friends, but I worry that we will not expose her enough to her culture and someday she will resent us for her not being 'Asian enough'.  Also, I worry about her feeling 'different' with her peers because they all look like their moms and dads.

I am not sure how the open speech about it will affect Sofie in the future.  We will need to figure out how to deal with the abandonment issues as they come.  Even now, we talk about how her foster family loved her so much that they wanted her to come to the US.

We used to be a melting pot in the US where race didn't matter, but now we seem to embrace the differences with their own 'flavor'.  Is my active parenting enough to keep the flavor but take the edge off the bitterness?  Time will tell.

What are you doing with your local or international adoption as your kids are growing up?  When are they really ready to talk about their roots & work on it?  Did you get counselors or was open communication and love enough?  Has it come up multiple times?

Don't know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out here.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

#MicroBlogMondays - How obnoxious am I???

Somehow I became THAT mom.  You know the one.  She is always talking about how amazing her son or daughter is and forcefully shoving a picture or video of the little angel in your face. From the moment we were matched, I changed into a new person, and I assumed that EVERYONE would want to know about my joy, my happiness, my baby.

Knowing how annoying THAT person can be, I try not to tell more than one story about her at a time, but I still marvel that she is part of my family and my world.  I can't stop.  

People claim they like it. Do I trust them???  

Honestly, I have the most beautiful, smart, athletic, amazing daughter in the whole world. She is a natural swimmer, amazing ice skater, dancer, singer, songwriter, and performer.  She learned to do cartwheels when she was 4 by herself...  She pitches like a boy twice her age, swings a golf club like a professional, and has been able to swing across monkey bar rings since she was 3.  How many kids are like that?

She has been asking for pixie dust ("real pixie dust, Mommy. I want to fly outside my dreams") and a tuba (10x bigger than her) for years.

She was doing addition and subtraction at the table when she was 3.  We didn't start reading with her until this year (because of the learning English thing), and she has been a total whiz.  She gets it.

People walk up to us off the street or at restaurants or at the mall to tell us how beautiful she is.  It hasn't been a one time thing.  Does everyone experience this?

She has a posse of people who follow her around at the grocery store giving her treats (they work there & are her personal friends?).  I had never heard of such a thing.

She is fearless and walks up to all kinds of kids (ages 2-18) and even adults playing with kids to ask if she can play with them.  I was the biggest wuss ever.  I still am. 

I don't know if I can stop talking about her. She is totally awesome from her sunny (mostly) personality, infinite energy (think the universe or the sun), and playful, creative nature.  

I guess the world just has to accept us for who we are.  And I am in love and gushing about my girl.

Don't know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out here.

Monday, January 12, 2015

#MicroBlogMondays - Inaugural Flight

The inaugural flight ... Headed to Grandma's house.

I am so proud of my creation. Sofie added the propellers. Feeling awesome.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

#MicroBlogMondays - Back to life, Back to Reality

My 2 weeks of vacation is over, and a whole new year has started.  It has been a good run.  My daughter has been delighted that I am home all the time, and she has attached to me like it used to be before I went back to work after adopting her.  She wants to be with me all the time, wants to sit on my lap all the time, and has been the best snuggler ever. I love it.  I would love for it to stay this way, but as I head into the new year with a new job, I will struggle to have the work/life balance to maintain the close bond.  I don't think it is something she consciously chooses, but my husband is my rock and house-husband.  He will take her to school, pick her up, do after school activities with her, and be there while I am not.

I am looking forward into getting into a normal routine again.  It will be good to have a rigorous schedule filled with challenges and fun.  I am working to strengthen my local network of friends, remember to take "me time", and make sure I have the resources and support available to live a balanced life.

Happy New Year!

Don't know what #MicroblogMondays is? Check it out here.