Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Oooh Baby it's Cold...

...Inside!




I’ve only been in China for about 3 months and I have already experienced what feels like three different seasons. When we first arrived it was definitely summer.  Very hot and oh so humid. I hadn’t felt humidity like that in a long time. The tsunami hit nearby the first week we were here. So, lots of sun, clouds, rain. We’ve (as a society, not me, personally) gone from very, very, very  MICRO skirts/dresses/shorts to rain coats and umbrellas to long johns, scarves, gloves, heavy coats, boots.  I feel like we’ve already experienced summer, fall and winter. BUT it’s still autumn. I can only imagine what winter will be like. This season has hit us hard. It’s cold in our home. My loves have a hard time getting to and from the school bus stop. That ride on the scooter is a killer with to and fro harsh weather slapping their faces. To say hubby is discouraged is an understatement. So, we thought about it… and it’s either buy a car which is almost impossible for us while living in China. Or, move. So, we decided to move. Although we love our place and where we live, it is just not practical at all. We are planning to move to where some of the other expats live.  The bus drops them off right in front. It will make a huge difference when the weather really shows its might. Although it’s a 3 bedroom, the place is much smaller than our current one. Hey, it will make cleaning easier, I reckon.  It is still walking distance to the metro station and there’s a park right next to the condominium.  It will be much easier to take the dog for walks and play.  I will definitely miss the fantastic master suite that’s upstairs. But in all honesty, we rarely use it. I give it more use than anyone else in the family because I moved all my stuff to the wardrobe and just usually shower and get ready  there. There’s not much storage space in the new place. Think of it as a hotel suite. A 3 bedroom / 2 baths hotel suite. That’s exactly what it is. Complete with a front desk and bellboy cart. I guess the common areas are much fancier looking than where we are now. Oh well, the Munchkin has been asking to go sleep in the hotel lately. I don’t know what the deal is, but she wants to sleep in the hotel bed, and not her bed. I think that’s her way of saying she wants out of here. She might just get her wish. We went to see the new place with her and she was so excited. When we asked her if she wanted to live “here” she’d say “yeah! But Chloe is not here…” Chloe is her Weim. Like I say, and hate to admit it… home is where Chloe is. 

Can you say 'Hotel'??

Check out the toilet seat heater - score!





 Let's see... I hope everything works out for the best. Putting it in prayer.

Friday, October 12, 2012

One Off the Bucketlist

So today I did something I had always dreamed about doing. I volunteered at an orphanage. For 2 hours. And it added 20 years to my life. Some new wrinkles. Gray hairs. A migraine.

I am drained. I am numb. I am heart-broken. I am in love...




Thursday, October 11, 2012

Team Ivy



I have been following a love story since it started. It is one of the most amazing love stories ever. It is a story about a tiny little heart baby. She is the teeniest, sweetest, cutest little thing I've ever seen; I call her Jellybean. This Jellybean's mommy came all the way to China to take her home. The mommy knew that sweet Ivy Joy had a heart condition before, but wanted her anyway. Love story. This little lovie had surgery soon after being home. Oh, I was right there, following, reading along. This mommy, Mary, is the most positive, wise, gentle, patient, loving person I have encountered in a long time. You should have seen the amazing way she handled unimaginable moments of stress and gut-wrenching moments of not knowing if your baby will make it. Open heart surgery, my friends... on a teeny tiny little person. Mary all the while maintained such grace. Grace throughout the whole process and beyond.  Little Ivy is so loved by her mommy, her big sister Lexi and their whole family and by so many people, strangers even, like myself.


Little Ivy is having open heart surgery again. That is not easy to swallow.  To go through it all again. And on top of it all, the financial aspect of it.  Their insurance is completely depleted after so many procedures that this precious Jellybean had to endure.  Please read her story...

 Follow along... Join Team Ivy Joy... Help in any way you can. Spread the word...

SPREAD THE JOY...

A fellow blogger set up this amazing way to help this wonderful family. Please click here  (or on that cute little pink bean on the right of my blog)to find out how.  Buy this gorgeous t-shirt and send me a picture of yourself wearing it. I'd love to see that!!!

Fall in love with this baby like I have. Become a part of Jellybean's story; an amazing love story.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Around Town - Izumiya

The other day when I went to meet with Megan, I ventured out by myself. I took the metro to SIP, which is another side of town (where most expats live). I got off on the right station and took a cab to St@rbucks where I would meet her. Afterwards, I went to a market that sells many western products which you don't find in the local grocery stores.  Then, I did the same thing back home - cab, then metro. 


Today I did something different, again! I was pretty sure how to get there, but decided to take a cab just in case. I went to a mall/supermarket that was shown to us on one of the days that we were touring the city and getting to know our way around, but never went in. The name of the mall is Matro and it is beautiful. A friend had suggested I check out the Japanese supermarket, Izumiya, while we were having a funny/yucky conversation about supermarkets in China. So, I needed a couple of things today and decided to see for myself. And yup - it was the complete opposite of other markets in town. It was super neat and modern. So so so clean and shiny. It was organized. The staff was very helpful and friendly and well trained. I was so impressed. I was happy and actually found myself whistling through the aisles. Imagine a beautiful gourmet Japanese market, but the size of a supermarket (not a hypermarket though) and affordable too. The prices were very comparable to other markets'.  I had a lovely time. As I exited the market, I inadvertently wound up in the metro station. Score! For 3 Yuans, I took the beautiful metro 3 stops over to my street; walked 2 blocks and was home.

I'm starting to really like this place.






 The wines:




 I know, blurry... point and shoot on the iPhone trying not to get kicked out of the store ;)



 For Stella!






Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Overdue Ramblings...


We just had a week-long vacation. It was Mid-autumn festival and national day.  There were red lanterns adorning homes everywhere. The city looked so pretty. Everyone was home from school. We went to Shanghai one of the days.  It was pretty cool. We went with friends from work. We got to do a whole day of shopping. It was interesting because the metro left us in the underground market. Pretty cool. By underground, I mean, where the subway leaves you, there’s a market – not illegal stuff. ;) It was a lovely day. We got to have lunch at a Brazilian Churrascaria. I was so pumped. I was the only one who got the Rodizio. That means that they come around with skewers of meat over and over until you flip your little card that says “No Thanks”.  Too bad that the food wasn’t great.  I almost lost my semi new iPad there. Thank goodness I realized it within twenty minutes and they were saving it for us. My heart skipped a beat.

The week before vacation, I got to meet a lovely lady. She’s American and has been living here for a few years. She has two precious daughters. The oldest one joined us at St@rbucks.  This lady gave me her precious time so selflessly to answer any questions I had about adoption and life in Suzhou. It really is great to know that there are such giving people out there. I left that meeting knowing that some of the things I’ve dreamed about my whole life can actually be a reality here.  Thank you sweet Megan.

My little Munchkin is becoming more expressive now. She has been explicit in letting us know that she misses the family. And that she also misses Abu Dhabi and all the people she loves there.  She usually opens up even more as I’m getting her ready for bed.  The other night she told me “Mamae, I ‘lost’ all my family, and they ‘lost’ me.  And I ‘lost’ my baby cousin.” Took us a little bit to realize she means love and probably miss all together. So sweet and so sad. She asks for her baby cousin Stavros and for vovo’ and Tchi Bina (her grandma, and her aunt Sabrina) and sido (her Grandpa); then she goes down a list of uncles: Tchio Dinho, Tchi Staby, Tchio Dex, Tchio Binho… and then Leli and Abu and her cousin Karen… And randomly she comes and tells me she ‘lost’ someone else.  But overall, thank God, she’s very happy and active. Loves, loves, loves going to school. She really needs all the stimulation and activities. She gets home exhausted. I have to bathe and feed her fast in case she just crashes all of a sudden.

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it before but we’re not getting a car here. There are too many of those on the road and not enough parking spaces. Usually, people get ebikes here. And that’s what we did. So Luis takes Mila in it in the mornings to the bus stop. The School’s staff bus picks them up and brings them back, and they ride home. Now, although the ebike was really cute and fun, it was not really intended for two hefty westerners to ride in. So every time I sat on the little back seat, the tires would let out air from the extra weight and from the bumps. And the bumps were felt in a big way on my back-side.  And every. Single. Time. I rode that thing I giggled thinking of this:

 



So, really… for them to go to the bus stop or to anywhere solo, it was a good deal. But to ride as a family, it was not so great.

Sooo… we traded it in. We went from this:

 

 

 

To this:

 

 

 

 

Now my bumbum is much happier. We take long rides and the weather is just perfect!  Autumn here starts early (or when it’s supposed to, actually!) We have conversations while riding, it’s awesome. Couldn’t do that on the other one.

So, we’ve been to the local park twice with our great friends. The first day was a game day. It was cool. They do this every month. And then we went again this Sunday, but this time it was just a picnic. Mila and I went on the ebike and Luis and Chloe went on the skateboard. So much fun. Brides everywhere! Mila thinks they’re princesses. So cute. She’s actually shy around them. Go figure. I guess she’s intimidated. It’s so funny.  This park is just amazing. I felt like it was a dream.  Oh, I almost forgot, the first time we went, there was a goat there. The coolest goat I’ve ever seen.  Mila played with it non-stop. It would even take grass from her hand. It only nibbled her finger once, a little bit.

We also had a bbq at a friend’s house.  They’re the couple we know from Al Ain. Their house is really cool.  Mila’s first Suzhou friend was there, Lester. I had fun with his mommy. She baked THEEE best pumpkin pie. Well, it was really pumpkin cheesecake. To! Die! For!!!! Mila’s teacher was there too. Mila was so happy to see her.

Anyway, I’m rambling. More pix coming soon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

China

We got to Shanghai late at night.  We still had to check Chloe in for a week’s quarantine. So that took a bit long. We were just happy to see that she was fine. Scared, terrified… but fine. We also had to change money. We had Dirhams. No bank at the airport changed Dirhams. Oh boy. No problem, tomorrow. At this point, I’m outside the gate with Mila. We met other teachers that were arriving with us.  There was a family who was on the same flight with us and also lived in Al Ain, but we never met. Jen, Dave and cute, sweet Lester.  Jen is a teacher working in the same school now. Mila’s first friend in China is Lester. This is the beginning of their love/not so much relationship.  So, we are fitting two families of 3 and all of our lives’ belongings plus one more teacher and the driver into a tiny van.  Oh boy, strollers on top of us, luggage, cranky children, long drive, very very late at night, cranky parents, bumpy roads, no carseats, no seatbelts… Bleh! No fun…
We finally arrived in Suzhou at around 2 a.m. and checked into the Noah hotel in SND (Suzhou New District). Showers all around and bed to end the first day of the rest of our lives. 
Breakfast was good. A bit different, but we’re used to different. Mila and I were adventurous in our selections. We tried many things. Fried rice, noodles, etc… but I also had my usual coffee and eggs, and BACON!  Luis tried to change money E! VE! RY! WHERE! to no avail. No one changes Dirhams here. We’re stuck. Good thing that the school gave all new teachers a small advance of their salary so that held us through.
We rested the first day and met the new teachers.  The first week was basically trying to catch up on rest, checking out the neighborhood and city. We took a tour of the school, looked for housing, met with the principal and his family, went out to eat with the whole group. Beer every time we get together; fun, and a nice change – basically a way to relax and know that this is something that although serious and professional, can also be enjoyable and laid back. We were showed how to use the metro and the bus. We went almost everywhere as a group in one of the school buses.  It was nice to go the SIP (Suzhou Industrial Park – part of town where most expats live) and check out markets and restaurants which carry familiar items and foods.  The principal hosted a bar-b-q at his compound’s pool and we got to meet the rest of the staff who are already working in the school.  It was nice to see familiar faces and people we already knew from Al Ain – Geoff and Coree and their boys.
We finally found our place and started to get settled after a week and a half in the hotel. We chose a place that is central and we got familiar with the area while staying at the hotel. It’s within walking-distance. We have 2 small markets, a Starbucks, 2 gyms, Subway (food), Franco Papa (bakery/coffee shop), subway station, Gymboree, pet shop & grooming, hair salon where Luis gets his hair cut, banks … all within a five minute WALK from our apt.  This city is very walker/bike friendly. Lots and lots of e-bikes in a designated lane.
The place is pretty cool and modern. I really like it. We are on the top floor, so we have a big outside terrace that we want to convert into a garden. But for now we have an inflatable pool there for Mila. She loves it.  I’ve had to  clean the place A LOT and still haven’t quite finished. But, I’m getting there. I cleaned thoroughly everything that we use and lightly the things/ areas that we don’t yet. But little by little I’m getting it all cleaned and disinfected. Rentals come furnished here so that takes the burden off of having to buy everything. We only had to buy our kitchenware and personal things like towels and sheets, etc… But in true Lu and Luis style, we had to ditch some things that are not our taste like some curtains and a bed or two. Nothing lkea doesn’t solve.
A trip, okay two, to Wuxi (another city) where lKEA is located and we got some knick-knacks for the house.  We were so happy to be in lKEA! Oh my word.  Well, the first trip…… we wanted to be adventurous and maybe save some cash by not hiring a car. We decided we wanted to go by train. We had to take a taxi to the train station and then a taxi from the train station there to lKEA. The train station is pretty much the same as any other in the world. But the train… oh my… it was like an airplane.  The seats, the attendants, everything. Very very cool. 
Everywhere we go people look at us. They are mostly interested though in Mila. Blondish, curly hair; big blue eyes. They stop, stare, smile, laugh, and some try to talk to us in Mandarin and even touch Mila’s hair.  Many, many, many pictures.  We just smile and tell Mila to say Ni hao.  We expected this already. We knew it would happen. I think after countless blogs I’ve read of American families coming to China to adopt and their experiences, I knew what to expect. Also, I truly believe that living in the UAE was very much a cultural stepping stone for us. For Mila also. She’s used to it. And she’s very friendly. Too friendly. We’ve had to coach her on “stranger danger” a lot here. Since we’re always surrounded by friends and family everywhere we go, she thinks people here are part of her entourage also. Because you know, the world revolves around this tiny person. She’s getting it though.
After a week in quarantine, Luis went back to Shanghai to pick Chloe up. She was so happy. I was happy too. I had been worried about her. I told Luis almost every day to call and check on her.  But Mila was truly the happiest one of us. It was as if she knew that with Chloe here, we were home.  Her demeanor completely changed from being “away on a trip” to being “home” once she was reunited with her beloved friend and companion.
We’ve been in China for a little over a month now. We have many adventures to document. So keep checking back regularly.  

Summer Recap cont'd.

Uuuugh… arriving ‘home’ was a bit of a disaster.  The plane rides were pretty uneventful.  But technically, we had no place to stay.  Ha! We had made arrangements, but there was a misunderstanding. Long story short, we ended up staying in our old place. That in itself was WEIRD. It’s our home, but it’s not. It had our stuff mixed with someone else’s stuff and it was just, again, weird. So in Miami, we stayed in our old place which is not our place anymore. In Al Ain, we stayed in our old place which is not our place anymore. So, at this point we’re homeless. Really.
We made the best of it. We treated the place as we were guests while making ourselves as comfortable as possible in order to rest and regroup and get ready for the huge change that was about to take place. The upside to the whole thing is that we got to stay with our Chloe and to spend lots of time with our beloved Ana and Marina.
We arrived before Ramadan was over and it was extremely hot; sooo, not much going out during the day.  Not that the jet lag allowed us to anyway.  We tied some loose ends, got together with our friends Joey and Stella and did some much needed last minute shopping.  Our 5 boxes of whatever was leftover of our belongings got shipped. Chloe’s paperwork was also done. Sigh… and finally we were ready.
Now, because this time we were traveling with Chloe, we had to make alternative arrangements for the ride from Al Ain to Dubai (airport).  Thankfully, our amazing friends Stella and Joey were right there – bright and early to save us give us a ride.
I have to say, leaving the UAE was hard. I was really starting to feel like that’s where we wanted to be for a few more years. Great connections. I was even getting really used to the heat. As much as one could get used to 47 degrees Celsius (117 Fahrenheit).  I will forever hold that place and its people in my heart. I will always miss our dear friends greatly. Mila will always remember it as her first home.  I know that when I look back, I will immediately feel melancholic and a longing to return.
Our years in the UAE were years of learning, of growth. They were years of being very close to each other and learning to be a family on our own.   It was wonderful to host family and friends who came to visit. We had visits from my mom and aunt; Josie & Dave; our friends Javier & Susana and family; and Jesse and Betty. And thankfully, the yearly visits from Mami and Papi which made living away from family bearable year after year. We are so thankful to have had such loving guests to make us feel cared for and loved. Thank you everyone.
Farewell Al Ain; Abu Dhabi; Dubai…


 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Summer Recap

Wow what day is it? I know it’s probably Monday, maybe 3 ish a.m. local time. Mila has been up since 1:50 a.m.  We went to dinner last night with the group of newcomer teachers, their families, and the principal and his family. It was really interesting but Little Miss Thing slept the whole time. I don’t know what kind of crazy schedule she’s on, but it’s no surprise that she’s way off. 
Let’s see… It all started with our spontaneous move. We got rid of 90% of the things we owned in the UAE. She watched all the items that made up her room, her home, her life… been taken away.  School ended and with that all the activities that she was used to. Not to mention her beloved friends and teachers.  Then we hop on a plane or 2 to get to Miami to see the family (Dubai – London – Miami). She was so excited and really looking forward to it. We were too. We were excited to meet the newest member of the family, my delicious nephew Stavros.  He’s tooo cute for words. I’m so proud of my brother. He’s such a good daddy. Mila enjoyed the baby’s company. She’s so funny. She got to hang out with her “twin cousin” and had a blast doing girl stuff.  My mom and dad had picked us up from the airport and then we surprised Mami and Papi (Abu and Leli).  Luis made sure that his grandma (Alela) knew so that she wouldn’t “estirar las patas” (stretch her legs, meaning croak of a heart attack). 
We spent the first week pretty much jet-lagged and seeing some family.  



Then… we had a surprise planned for her... Her Leli and Abu planned a weekend in Orlando so we can take her to Dis.ney Wo.r.ld. She had no idea what she was in for. She had so much fun and couldn’t believe she was in Mi.Ckey and Min.nie’s house.  She would cry every time a ride that she loved would end.  I think her all-time favorite was It’s a Small World. We really enjoyed the time there and got reminded of just how wonderful that place is. And how cool to look at our daughter’s little face as she took all of this in.


We were able to see a lot of friends and family, but of course, it’s nearly impossible to see everyone.  We had the joy to celebrate our 6-year anniversary the night before we left. Alela wanted to make sure we celebrated with them since we won’t be there. Tio David and Titi Mary made a delicious dinner and they got a cake.  It was also a farewell party of course. Just the family. Intimate and lovely.
As usual, little Miss got spoiled by our friends and family. Got gifts from everyone. She got the traditional Crocs from her auntie Jenny. Vovo’ and Sidoh spoiled her rotten also with many gifts and toys. Leli had bought her some beautiful dresses. Her “Beddy” and Jesse got her 2 beautiful winter coats for our next winter in our new “home”.  Really amazing and generous people.
We got to stay in our old apartment and it was really nice and weird at the same time. It’s as if nothing had happened (the past 3 years) and all of a sudden we have a 3 year old running around. Surreal.  My brother let us borrow his bikes and Luis bought a kid seat and would just take her around Surfside. She absolutely loved it. We went to the pool, the beach, the park, had a photoshoot. It was an amazing, rushed, crazy, awesome 3 weeks vacation.
And then… it was time to leave. And start the 24 hour trek back “home” to then just keep on going 2 days later to our new “home”.

To be continued…




Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer

We've been in Miami for the past 3 weeks. But, the time has come to say goodbye. We've had a great time and also anxious moments. Trying to see everyone and making sure we don't leave anyone out - but still... We've inadvertedly left a few loved ones out. It's just not enough time to do everything. And, of course, while we're on vacation, everyone's working.
Well, while here, we've had the pleasure of doing a photoshoot with the talented and lovely Natalie Atick from https://www.facebook.com/NatalieAtickPhotography. We've gone to D!sney W0rld and it was Mila's first time. Pictures to come next post.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The End of One Chapter and Beginning of Another…

















Or is it a book? Our UAE story has ended. We are sad that it has.  We have made many wonderful friendships and learned a lot from living there. My daughter’s whole life has been there. Her first steps were taken there. Heck, her first taste of solid foods was there. Ok, really, her first sip of plain water was taken there; first dip in the ocean, first school day, first teacher… many firsts. My last year living there was the best thus far. I really felt like I finally ‘lived’ and ‘belonged’ there. Our amazing friends were always supportive and loving. But this last year, I started working and making my own connections. I saw ourselves living there for many more years. But, as they say all good things must come to an end. Sort of! 


This is the beginning of a new adventure. We got an amazing offer to live in China! It’s unbelievable how things happen. We weren’t looking to live in China. We were, however, contemplating the possibility of adopting from China. And here we are. We are excited to think of what the future holds. I can’t help to think that we’re supposed to live in China so that we can share that with our future daughter; so that when she asks about her birth country, we can tell her firsthand from our own experience. That is so exciting to me! 


So here we are, the summer before the big move. In Miami. In transit. On hold.
We arrived on the 5th and are curing our jetlag. We’ve had the opportunity to see some of our family members, and one very special one – my beautiful nephew. He’s four months old and full of scrumptiousness!!!

Please keep checking in often. I will post more soon.

xo

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tips on Supporting Adoptive Families

I really like how Megan from Millions of Miles tells it like it is on this blog post. People don't realize what it means to the Adoptive Family when their comments are negative or how their support is so appreciated.  Thanks for taking the time to read this. 
Also, we have gotten many questions, all of which we'll answer in the next post. 

With Love,

Lu


Supporting Adoptive Families
taken from:  http://www.millionsofmiles.com/2012/02/supporting-adoptive-families.html

February 04, 2012

originally posted on August 20, 2010

Having been through both the adoption experience and the child birth experience, I found that all kinds of people know how to take care of you after you give birth, but hardly anyone knows the right things to do when you bring home your adopted child. Most people also don't know how to respond appropriately when you tell them that you are adopting in the first place. This is meant to be a guide for the friends and families of adoptive families in the praying/planning/dreaming phase as well as families in process and newly home. Link it up, cut and paste, email it out to your family. I will say all the things to your family that you are afraid to say or maybe that you yourself don't even know that you need yet! (I don't mind being the heavy!)



1. When your loved one comes to you with the news that they are planning to adopt:
•Do not say, "Oh, don't give up trying for 'your own'" or "Don't you want to have one of 'your own' instead? Adoption is not something people enter into lightly. And prospective adoptive families already do consider this child that they do not even know as 'their own'. By saying this to an adoptive family, it insinuates that you will not be accepting their new addition as your 'own' grandchild/niece/nephew/etc. Also- many families that consider adoption have been through long periods of time dealing with infertility and adoption may be a very emotional decision. It signifies the end of one dream and the beginning of a new dream. Supporters need to be very sensitive to this and be positive!

•Share your concerns about the finances of adoption, but do it in a non-judgemental way. Yes, adoption is expensive. But you need to understand that there are grants, fundraisers, and ways to aquire the money. So instead of looking at the people who want to adopt and saying, "Oh my gosh- you are so poor, you will never be able to afford this!" say something like, "I know that this will be expensive, how can we help you plan a fundraiser?"

•Do not recall in gory detail every terrible adoption story you've ever heard. This is the equivalent of telling a pregnant woman that her baby will be born with 12 arms and she will be in labor for 3 weeks and her boobs will fall all the way down to the ground after breastfeeding. Just don't do it.

•If the family is adopting internationally, do not condescendingly talk about how there are so many kids here in America who need home. Each person needs to do what feels right for their family. Sometimes that means adopting domestically, and sometimes that means going international. Either way, a child who needs a home and a family will get one. Focus on that fact and leave your personal opinions about which you think is best to yourself. Remember- they are BOTH awesome (and BOTH necessary!)

2. Once families are in process:
•Check in with the adoptive family's (from here on out called A.F.) emotions! Adoption can be a very emotional process. There are days where you are in the dumps and days when you want to celebrate. Give the A.F. the space to talk about their feelings and their frustrations. When they call super excited and say, "I got my I-171h", pretend like you know what they are talking about and jump up and down and throw a party.

• Throw a baby shower just as if the A.F. was pregnant. Make a big stinkin' deal over the mom to be. Obviously, don't play the how big is your belly game. But do everything else the same!

•Support A.F. fundraisers. They need your help! Better yet- host a fundraising dinner, pancake breakfast, auction, raffle, etc. to help the family raise the money to bring their child home.

•If there are other children already in the A.F. offer to babysit them leading up to traveling so that mom and dad get a few last dates in before the new addition.

•If the adoption is international, educate yourself about the child's birth country.

•If the adopted child will be of a different race, educate yourself about transracial families by reading articles, books, etc. Just googling transracial families will bring up a wealth of information. Also (and no one should do this anyway!) do NOT make derogatory comments about the child's race, birth country, or culture.

•Offer to keep siblings, pets and housesit for the A.F. when they are traveling.

3. Once families are home:

•All the same rules apply as when you bring a baby home from the hospital. Bring food, offer to coordinate meals and food dropoffs for church groups. Come over and clean. Wash clothes and put away laundry. Wash dishes. Do not believe the A.F. when they say they do not need help. THEY DO!

•Respect the A.F's rules regarding holding their new addition. Many families may wish to not have any outsiders (this includes Grandma!) holding their child so that this child who has been with many caregivers can learn who mom and dad are. A.F's do not do this to hurt your feelings. They are only doing what they feel is best for their new child. Do not make them feel bad about this.

•Also- sometimes to foster attachment in our adopted kiddos, the parent's don't want to leave them with a sitter or family member for a long period of time after coming home. Understand that this is not because the family member or sitter is not trusted or loved. It is just to help give the new child the right sense of family and permanance.

•Offer to run the carpool, run errands, cut the grass, babysit the siblings, pick up items at the grocery. New moms are notoriously sleep deprived- even if this is the 10th child they've adopted. Drop over a huge cup of Starbucks. Say hello at the door with said cup of coffee and leave.

•Give gift cards for takeout and pizza- so that long after the food welcome wagon has stopped coming, the family can still eat without having to cook! Seriously- who wants to cook when you've been up all night with a crying baby?

•Even though the A.F. did not give birth, families who are bringing home new children will be exhausted from long nights in the hospital (domestic adoption), long flights or a week or two in a foreign land with a new child who has most likely been screaming non-stop or acting out because the child has no idea what is happening to them. Give the A.F. the forum to share how ragged they are. Do not judge them. Every single part is not going to be perfect. Let them get how hard it all is off their chest without feeling guilty about it.

•Watch for post adoption depression. It is a real thing. Just because a woman isn't flooded with pregnancy hormones, doesn't mean that she can't develop depression. There is a lot of leadup going into an adoption and sometimes the reality is tough and can lead to lots of emotional ugliness. Be supportive.

•Do not expect adoptive parents to be "super parents". I find that there is a huge stigma that adoptive families should have it all together because they "paid a lot" for their children. All families are on a learning curve- no matter how they got their children. Do not be quick to dispense advice if you've never adopted a child (because parenting an adopted child in the early days is a lot different than a biological child), but be quick to say, "How can I help?"- Then be willing to actually help!

•Most of all, share in the joy that comes with bringing a new child into the family!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chicken Pox and Other Ramblings

Our Munchkin finally caught the varicella virus. I knew it was a matter of time. There are so many kiddos in our school who have it. It started about two days ago. It doesn't seem to be too bad. I just put calamine lotion all over her after a shower. Anyway I hope it doesn't get worse. She's had a fever which I'm treating with Calpol - like Tylenol.

I'm preparing another adoption related post. It will be up soon.

This weekend we had a very special treat. We got to see and hang out with one of my favorite people ever. My dear friend Joe. He's a dj in Miami (the best in the world and I'm not being biased.) :) Well, apparently the whole world knows he's that good because he got booked to play in Dubai. Yay! I finally got to see him here, the other side of the world. Our amazing life- saver friend stayed with Mila while we ventured out. We never really go out here like this. But we had to, just had to. Gotta support our peeps. It was amazing, especially that it was shared with my hubby. Now it's the two of us who think highly of my friend ;)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

It's Been Three Years...

... THREE years that my little lovie entered this world. Three years ago she made us parents; and we've been on a great ride ever since.
We love you like there's no tomorrow, my sassy little Munchkin.







Thursday, April 12, 2012

Decisions...

It is so hard to choose an agency! We were originally going with one which was very well recommended, but they're not currently accepting new applications. So, after months of communicating with them, we have to start searching again. It's hard because you do your research and some agencies get really nasty ratings. We don't know how to decipher what is accurate and what is just bad experience.
I communicated with a director of one agency last night. It was such a pleasant interaction. But, I can't get my hopes high just yet. I would love to hear personal opinions.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Humbled

We are so humbled with the overwhelming love and support we are receiving. Thank you for the beautiful comments and words of encouragement. We really appreciate it.

xo

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Announcement

We are overjoyed to announce that:

We're growing our little family...











Through adoption.


Please follow us on our journey.


Luciana, Luis, and Mila