Friday, August 31, 2007

Favorites

My friend Lucy "tagged" me to share my favorites!

Sound – My kids laughter
Late night snack – WW doesn't allow late night snacks!
Smell - Cinnamon
Color combination - Purple and Pink
Nut – Cashews
Time of the year - Fall
Author – Whoever writes in magazines (that is all I have time to read)
Vegetable - Corn
Male Actor - ?? (don't know any names- just prefer the big arm guys ;)
Flower – Stargazer Lily of course
Vacation spot – Disney World!
Pizza – Weight Watchers (my leader reads this :)
Sport to play - Basketball (I don't ever really play but I like to watch)
Subject in school – Math
TV channel – Don't watch very much so I guess whatever channel has Adoption Stories
Radio station - 104.7 The Fish
Holiday - Christmas-duh
Perfume - Obsession
Shoes – Tennis Shoes -comfortable ones
Candy – Anything sugar free (see pizza comments)
City to shop – Wherever they have the best Thrift Stores
Female actress – Julia Roberts (since everyone else says this)
Beauty products - what beauty products? Soap
Item to shop for – DEALS- I love a great deal!!

Ok, so I am supposed to tag 2 people. I tag Amy and Tina! Have a great long Labor Day weekend everyone!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

National China Holiday

I found this article to explain just one of the reasons we will be unable to travel in early October (even if we had our LOA/TA). The entire government shuts down that first week in October.

October 1, National Day of the People's Republic of China
From Sara Naumann,
"The People's Central Government of PRC is the only legal government to stand for all people of PRC. Our government is willing to establish diplomatic relationship with any foreign government that agrees to abide by the principles of equality, mutual benefit, mutual respect for territorial integrity..."
-Chairman Mao Zedong from the Announcement of the People's Central Government of PRC
The PRC's National Day was declared at three o'clock on October 1, 1949, in front of 300,000 people during a ceremony in Tian'anmen Squeare. Chairman Mao declared the founding of the People's Republic and waved the first five-star PRC flag.

In past times, the day was marked by large political gatherings and speeches, military parades, state banquets and the like. Since 2000, as China's economy developed, the national holiday lasts seven days and most workers are given time off to visit relatives and take time for traveling.

Traveling during National Holidays
With a week off, many Chinese travel domestically and internationally. Travel fares double and triple and advance bookings must be made weeks, even months ahead for international travel. Hoards of tour groups flock to the major tourist destinations of China, so you can forget having a quite moment to ponder how the Great Wall was built.

If you can avoid it, it's advisable not to travel domestically during the week around October 1st. The latest statistics released publicly are from 2000 but according to these, 59.82 million people traveled during National Day holidays that year. Over two-thirds of all hotel beds were booked in major tourist destinations such as Beijing and Shanghai. However, if you are in China, you'll find the weather is usually very nice, and after October 1, almost everything from shops and restaurants to the post office will be open for business.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Long School Days

I was hoping Travis was going to really like school since he is so smart. Well it turns out that each day is getting harder and harder for him. He always tells me "School is soooooo long, 2:30PM is a long long time." The poor kid has been in home daycare his whole life, so to him a whole day of school is a LONNNGG time. I think he enjoys the school part while he is there, it is just the fact of being out of his comfort zone for the whole day. Travis has the same PreK teacher that Caleb had, so I know he has a great teacher and school. I really hope he starts to feel better about school soon.

Caleb is doing fine this year in the big 2nd grade. No complaints so far which is good! He does have homework every night this year, so that is something we are getting used to. Caleb gets to start his Chess Club next week-which he really enjoys. And also he is now signed up for Boy Scouts this year. I think that is just the thing for my little outdoorsman!

Oh, here is an amazing skit that is incredible. Pictures ARE worth a thousand words. When you have a spare 5 minutes watch it all the way through as the ending is incredible! WOW!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day 76 of waiting

Well yesterday was a Monday, but nothing from China arrived. So we are hoping to maybe hear something next week. Since Monday is Labor Day, we will have to wait for Tuesday to see if a package is delivered. I am still holding out to hopefully get to travel the last week of October or first week in November. We will have to continue to wait and see.

Oh and Ellen got a smile out of little Frannie today! Ellen is unable to post from China, so she has been sending me her posts and pics and I upload them for her. So I get to be the FIRST one to see them!! Frannie is so tiny and cute!

Other news from my agency is that they received a new Waiting Child List today with 10 new kids on it. If you haven't found your child yet, go take a look!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Fun Weekend



Well we had another great summer time weekend here in the south. We spent Saturday at my sister's swimming and the boys had a great time. On Sunday we all went (including my nephew) to the Atlanta Zoo. We have not been to the zoo since Caleb was just a year old. We obviously picked an awesome time to go because hardly anyone else was there. We got there at 9:30am and we were done by 12:30pm. We were able to see and do everthing there in 3 hours without waiting in line to do anything. It was great! We weren't even hot since we got there so early. (Oh and yes you can see I stalked a little Chinese toddler and threw her picture in so I can imagine what my next trip to the zoo will be like.) The best part of the trip is a friend of mine gave me the FREE tickets to get in :) I just love FREE!! Thank you to my special friend.

Another great highlight to my weekend was finally seeing Frannie with her forever family! Ellen is in China now with little Frannie and they are doing well. Go check out her Gotcha Day photos on her blog. I can't wait for our big day to come soon as well.



Oh and here I wanted to test out Blogger's new video uploading so I will be able to use it when we are in China on Gotcha Day ourselves. The big dive:
video

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Caution-Tear Jerker

I just watched this video link from Amy's blog. Oh my what a powerful song for the adoption world. Everyone involved in any way with adoption can certainly relate to this song and video. I will never know Shelby's mom, I will never know her heartache, I will never know how much she cried, I will never know her feelings, and most of all I will never be able to thank her for giving me this wonderful gift-the gift of Shelby's life! Here is the video, click here to cry.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The Not-so-Rosy Part

I thought I would share a very important post from the Rumor Queen a few months ago:

There are still no rumors, so I’d like to take this opportunity to talk a little about expectations.
I’ve read blogs of people who are home and who are miserable. I’ve read about recent disruptions. And I’ve read posts from people on various groups and blogs that talk about their new child as if they really think the child hates them, and some of them sound like they are starting to hate their child. So I feel I need to talk a little bit about what happens when you finally get this screaming little baby placed in your arms.

This is not a newborn. It’s a child who already has a personality, one that you get to try to figure out. It’s a child who has been ripped from all she knows: the people who have cared for her and kept her alive, and the language she has been able to understand even if she couldn’t speak it. The food she is used to. The other kids. Her schedule. Her crib. Her cribmate.

It’s all gone, and she’s with these people she’s never seen before and she can’t understand what is being said and the food is different. Scared and grieving does not even begin to describe things. Some babies just completely shut down and appear to be autistic, but after three or four days they start coming around and you begin to see the real child. It can take weeks (or months) for the grieving to stop, but after several days you should begin to see little pieces of their personality. Some children have different survival mechanisms and you’ll immediately see a little bubbly personality, this does not mean there is no grief, it could just mean that their survival instincts are telling them to be cute and lovable.

We all know this transition to a family is for the best in the long run, but all the child knows is how they feel right now, and they are scared and mad and grieving. Some move through it faster than others. Some seem to move through it in China and then backtrack once they are home. Some show their bubbly personality in China and then show the grief in America (or whatever country they are going to).

When you are in China they still hear Chinese in the restaurants and out on the street. And they still get some Chinese food. And the unique smells of China are still there. But once you are home everything familiar to them is gone. By then you’ve probably switched them to American formula, they likely aren’t getting congee every morning now that it’s not on a buffet anymore, you probably can’t make steamed eggs exactly like they were in China. The smells are different, and no one is speaking Chinese anymore.

They might be able to keep their minds off of that during the day, when they are active and there is much to keep them occupied. But when their mind starts quieting down to go to sleep it all comes back, and there is still grief. So some babies just don’t go to sleep. Combine this with jet lag and it’s really not fun.

There will also be control issues that come up. Even with a 9 or 10 month old baby, they will try to gain control of something, anything, so they don’t feel so out of control. Maybe you can let them have it in some instances, but in others you’ll need to make sure you remain in control. Follow your instincts on this one - they need boundaries in order to feel safe, but letting them have some little piece of control may also help them. How do you know when it’s best to give in and when it’s best to be the parent? You just fly by the seat of your pants and hope you get it right.

My point here is that you have been waiting for this child for a really long time. But she knows nothing about you. She is scared and will act in ways you cannot currently imagine that a little 15 or 20 pound baby could possibly act.

I can remember getting so upset with my big girl when she was a toddler and into everything. I’d just pick her up and take her outside and put her in her swing and push her in it for a really long time. Before long we were both laughing and having fun. It worked for us.

Sometimes, when she was into everything, I’d load her up and take her to the park with a few toys and put a blanket down on the ground and then let her play that way. She only had the handful of toys I brought, and all I had to do was make sure she didn’t put rocks or bugs or anything in her mouth (because of her sensory issues she wouldn’t touch such things with her hands, but she had no problems picking them up in her mouth). She never wanted to wander far from me when we were in public, so this worked out well since I didn’t have to worry about her running off.

So many times I just realized we were into a pattern of her doing something and me correcting her, and I just needed to do something to break the pattern. I also put her in her highchair with fingerfoods and rolled the highchair into the bathroom and took a shower. We put a clear shower curtain up so she could see me and so I could keep an eye on her.

My big girl was terrified of being alone. Even today, unless she is asleep she is rarely in a room by herself. But when we were first home with her, before I went back to work, this meant she and I were together 24 hours a day, every single day (she slept in our room, too, back then). Once my husband was home she expected us to all stay in the same room together, and for those first months, she ran the show when it came to things like that.

I see people who are talking about how happy their child is going to be to finally get a family. And that just isn’t the way it works. I see a lot of people setting themselves up for problems by having expectations that just aren’t very likely to happen.

Please, take this time to read about attachment. Not just attachment issues, but attachment in general - how attachment happens, red flags that attachment may not be happening, and ideas for how to foster attachment.

Also read about sensory issues and other things that may pop up in post-institutionalized babies and children. Please understand that if you have the “What to expect the first year” book that your 10 month old baby may not be doing what your book says a four month old baby should be doing. This is completely normal, and most children catch up at an amazing speed. The rule of thumb I’ve always heard is that babies develop one month for every three months they are institutionalized - so a nine month old baby will have the developmental skills of a three month old, an 18 month old baby may only have the developmental skills of a 6 month old. If they are in foster care or a HTS orphanage then they will likely be farther along.

Understand that your child may have been strapped into a potty chair for hours a day, and laid in the crib for most of the rest of the day. Of course they are not going to have the developmental skills appropriate for their age.

Understand that your baby may have been gravity fed and may have never learned how to suck. She may not be capable of drinking from a normal bottle. You may spend months just getting her to the point that she can suck from a bottle - and those sucking muscles are important before she can learn to talk, it’s all related.

And please understand that this is why Half the Sky is my favorite charity. If your child is from a Half the Sky orphanage then the odds are that they will be very close to being on target developmentally, and that they will not have sensory issues. There are still a lot of other things that can pop up, but these two things should be on target.

I’m not saying the first couple of months are going to be all bad. There will be wonderful moments, too. But I am hoping to get the point across that you need to be prepared for some difficult times. No matter how frustrated you are, at least you know what is going on. It’s your job to comfort this child when she is scared and grieving and screaming her little head off from 11:00 at night until 4:00 in the morning almost non stop. It’s your job to make her (or him) feel safe and loved. And that is not always an easy thing to do!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Learning more and more

Everyone talks about the "WAIT" during adoption. You spend alot of time doing stuff (paperwork, ect), then you just sit and wait until you are told to do more stuff. So you really do the hurry and wait scenario over and over during the adoption process. So what have we been doing during the Wait. Well we have been trying to educate ourselves and our children on different things that we think we will need to know for Shelby's arrival. To start with we have purchased a few videos for us all to watch. Our favorite one is Big Bird in China. This is a terrific DVD. If you have kids, then you need to get this video for them (and you) to watch. The boys really enjoy it. Also we have been trying to learn a little bit of Chinese, so I also bought this Jade DVD to watch. It isn't as entertaining as Big Bird, but it does teach Chinese. The kids and have also started to learn some sign language . We have the Baby Einstein video to help us with that. I must say that Travis has picked up all the words on the video and he has only watched it a couple of times. I am told that a little bit of signing can go a long way for helping your child communicate quickly with you, which eases some of the language frustrations early on.










I am also trying to learn all I can about Shelby's special needs as well. I just bought the Cleft Palate book and it is very informative. I also have included pics of some of the other books that I have read over the past few months. My favorite one has been The Lost Daughters of China. I also just ordered the Sibling Rivalry book that was recommended by the Rumor Queen. I will let you know how that one turns out. The Toddler Adoption book is also very good if you are considering a toddler, then I would certainly recommend this book.



Oh, everyone should buy the National Geographic China's Lost Girls video. You can watch it yourself with your kids, then be sure to pass it along to all your extended family members to view. This is a great documentary on the process of adopting from China.


So as you can see we have been very busy trying to educate ourselves. I suppose this is one of the good things about the WAIT, you have plenty of time to get in some extra education!










Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What is in the name?

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Well we have had a few people who haven't known us very long ask about Shelby's name and why we chose it. I say that only the people who haven't known us very long, because I have been referring to a Shelby baby for as long as I can remember. I first heard the name Shelby years ago when I worked in daycare. I kept a beautiful smart little girl who definately had a mind of her own- her name was Shelby. I fell in love with the little girl and her name! Later the name became more popular after the release of Steel Magnolias. Also my favorite singer of all time, Reba McEntire, named her child Shelby. So I knew this name must be special!


Now for the freaky part...Eleven years ago I met my friend Shelly at work. Well since her name was so close to my favorite name ever, I just started calling her Shelby instead :) The weird part is that Shelly happens to be Asian and adopted from Thailand. She is the first person I had ever met that was adopted. So I guess she is considered my "Token Adopted Friend" (ha-just kiddin). Shelly is a great friend and I am sure to look to her for advice on raising Shelby and some of the issues adoptees face today. Anyway, once Shelly became pregnant I even tried to convince her to name her daughter Shelby (haha). I just knew there was an Asian baby named Shelby somewhere in my future. Here is a picture of Shelly and her husband Burl, along with her 2 daughters- Leah and Erin. (the name Shelby wasn't meant for her daughters :)

So after my boys, I figured that Shelby wasn't going to be part of our family names. Even though I would always say that I was one day going to get my own Shelby baby, I just didn't know how that was ever going to be possible. Well obviously, God had a plan! Once CJ and I were fortunate enough to embark on this adoption journey, we started talking about names. CJ automatically assumed that we would name our daughter Shelby. I actually wasn't so sure since Shelby had always been this mythical person in my dreams. After looking through all the baby name books, nothing seemed to fit. It finally occured to me that Shelby wasn't just a dream anymore, she was REAL. She had only lived in my dreams before and now finally God was making this dream come true :)

Now for her middle name. We have chosen to give our children a middle name that is significant to someone special in our lives. Caleb has his father and grandfather's middle name. Travis has his great grandfather's middle name. So now Shelby will have my sister, her aunt's, middle name- Ann. She will also be keeping her original given name by the orphanage-Fuhong. So there you have it...MISS SHELBY ANN FUHONG STRAIGHT! What a great name!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One day closer

For those of you who don't know, Mondays are big days in SN adoption world. Packages from China are usually mailed out to agencys on Thursdays, which then arrive here in the US on Mondays. Yesterday the package to my agency had Ellen's TA (Travel Approval) in it! Yeah!! Ellen is going to get Frannie on Thursday. Ellen has been a great friend and support buddy for me through this process. When the official letter (LOI) for Shelby was sent over to China it was in the same package as Frannie's and Ally's. So this means that we are next! We are getting closer and closer to Shelby each day. Boy is the wait hard, but it is very exciting to get to see the journey unfold from others. I finally was able to see little Ally in person Friday night. It was amazing to see her finally "for real". Lucy was kind enough to let me just sit and watch (stalk) her. She is a beautiful baby. Ally is only a few weeks older than Shelby, so it was a great way to visualize what Shelby will look like and how big (or little) she will be when we finally get to see her. I came home and the first thing I told CJ is that "We are getting a baby!" When you think of a 2 year old, you typically think of an independent tyrant running around. Well to see Ally you truly see how tiny these little girls are and how much they still need "babying". So now I can't wait to finally meet Frannie in just a few weeks. I am looking forward to following Ellen's blog everyday while they are in China. Hopefully, we won't have to wait too much longer to finally make this trip of a lifetime ourselves.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Weekend Recap

We had a pretty busy weekend but it was fun filled. We started Saturday off at Chuck E. Cheese for Daniel's birthday party. As you can see, all 3 of my boys just love that place.
Then yesterday we went to church and I had nursery duty at the 8am and 11am services, which meant that I got to play with babies-yeah! Some of the babies have the famous "seperation anxiety" that all little ones experience. I thought about how in the world will I ever be able to leave Shelby in the nursery?! I would love to hear from BTDT moms as to how long it took for you to finally feel comfortable leaving your newly adopted child in a nursery for an hour or so. I suppose I will spend time in Shelby's classroom for a while until she is comfortable. Who knows how long that will take, but hopefully she will not completely freak out on me the first time I leave her.

Shelby will be going to Mrs. Carol's house once I go back to work. Carol has had Caleb since he was 2, and Travis since he was 2 months old. Shelby will go with me everyday to pick up Travis from Carol's house-so I hope she will slowly get used to Carol before I have to go back to work. I know it won't be all peaches and cream, but I am very comfortable with the care she will get from Carol so that should make it a little easier. I will get 8 weeks off and 2 of that will be spent in China. So hopefully Shelby will be settled in by the time I go back to work. BTW-I love my job so that helps as well :)

Yesterday was the first kickoff for the new Awana school year at church. This year I am not in the classroom (yeah) but I am the Sparks Secretary doing all the bookkeeping. Not that I do not enjoy working with the kids, but it is a very demanding position to be a leader and plan your curriculum every week. So hopefully this year won't be as stressful especially considering that Shelby will be home in a few months.


We wrapped up the weekend at another birthday party, this one was for Miss Leah. Leah turned the big 2 years old. I also had the priviledge of holding Leah's new baby sister, Erin. Nothing better than holding a 5 day old baby! (and of course since she is an Asian baby girl it made it even better :) Happy Birthday Leah and Welcome to the world little Erin!

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Share your story

I wanted to take a minute to really thank one of my new friends that has really been a part of our journey to Shelby. Her name is Tina Evans. I have only met her ONE time, but oh what the timing was for that one time meeting. See Tina is married to Dave Evans who is a friend of the Chapman's. I had seen Dave a couple of times at First Fridays, so I was aware of who he was. But I had never met his wife.

Well it was back in April and I was actively searching the Waiting Child lists on various agencies websites religiously everyday, and also researching a lot about different kinds of special needs. I had really been researching cleft lip/palate extensively since I felt that my next child would have this special need. I had been bringing home different articles and such for CJ about cleft kids as well since I felt such a strong pull towards this special need. CJ was getting more and more comfortable that this was something we could handle. Well it was a Friday, and I found out that CHI was about to release their next big list of Waiting Children. I quickly faxed in the early review request and I was very hopeful that our daughter would be on that list.

So anyway that Friday evening, Caleb was performing (clogging) at a school Fall Festival that was in another city and a real pain to drive to on a Friday night. But we went anyway for the sake of the "team". While we were there, I quickly spotted 2 Chinese children running around. Those of us who are adopting can spot them a mile away ;) I tracked them to their parents, and saw that it was Dave Evans! So CJ and I walked up to him and started talking to them about our plans for adoption, etc, etc. He was very nice and then Tina came over and we were introduced. We started explaining that we were going the Special Needs route and that we were just waiting to find our child on a list. Dave then told us that there youngest daughter was SN with a cleft palate. What are the odds?! Tina went on to explain a little bit about their daughter's special need and how managable it was.

They gave us great encouragement about our decision to go the SN route. Tina also said that their agency, CHI, was about to release a new big list of kids the next week. I could only laugh as this was the agency I had just finished telling CJ about that I was so excited about them getting a new list the next week. Tina had great things to say about her agency, and then she said that she liked them so much that they were adopting again! Tina and Dave had just sent their LOI in for their son Matthew who was found off of their agency's previous list. We were very excited for them and thanked them for being so nice to share their stories about their cleft affected daughter and now their new son. Tina was very personable and she said that if I ever had any questions about cleft, waiting children, adoption, etc, that she would be glad to speak to me. Little did she know just how soon I would take her up on her offer.

The very next week, 3 days after our encounter with the Evans, I found Shelby! She was not with CHI, but she was with Hope for Children. I found Shelby directly because another new friend, Heather, had shared her story with me earlier and I was simply following their journey to China to get Lily. (Another piece of the red thread- I will share later) Anyway, after finding Shelby and learning about her special needs, I knew I needed to talk to someone with experience- TINA!

Here I was really hoping to speak to a person I had only met for 15 minutes 3 days prior about alot of personal information about her own daughter. Whew, that is a lot to ask of someone! After a quick phone call to Susan- I had her phone number. Tina, as she promised, was more than happy to talk to me about Shelby. This was just the start of Tina's willingless to help guide me through the adoption of a cleft affected child.

So my point in this story, is for you to SHARE your story with others. You may have no idea who you will touch simply by sharing your adoption journey and story with others. I am sure that Heather and Kim and Susan and Tina had no idea at the time that they were truly a part of our red thread to Shelby. So thank you, thank you, thank you, to everyone of you who has the courage to share their story!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

3rd Friday is tomorrow night

Just wanted to let everyone know that the 3rd Friday meeting for waiting/adopted families is tomorrow night. FYI that this meeting is open to domestic and all countries adopting (not just China). Two families that just got back from China with their children are expected to be there. Little Ally is one of them (she is a child that was on the same waiting child list as Shelby)! Here are the details for anyone interested in attending:

East side gathering for waiting families!
Ron and Kim Vance will be hosting a monthly adoption open house at their home on the third Friday of each month, which will be for adopting families (single and two-parent), waiting families and anyone else considering adopting. The next Third Friday meeting will be on Friday, August 17th, at 7:30pm, and light refreshments will be served. Child care is provided. Dress is very casual! Please help us spread the word to anyone you think might be interested in attending. For details, please contact Kim Vance, 770-962-2073. Their address is 1700 Presidents Drive, Lawrenceville, GA 30043 or call 678-575-0635

Isn't she a cutie pie!


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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Day 63 of waiting

Well not much to report today as we are still just waiting. We are on day 63 of waiting for our LOA to arrive. The average wait time is about 90 days, so we are 2/3 of the way there! Once we get our LOA, then we wait again for our TA. The TA usually comes about 3 weeks after LOA. So basically you usually get on a plane about 6 weeks after you receive your LOA. I am really hoping all this happens on the "normal" schedule, but you never know. Dealing with a foreign government agency (or any govt agency for that matter) you really don't have any control over the situation. So we sit and wait and pray! We are really hoping to go the last week of October through the first week of November. So please continue to keep us in your prayers. Thank you to everyone who has been supporting us through this life changing journey.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."- Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Dos & Don'ts for Family & Friends

Here was an interesting article I found at a4everfamily.org about attachment issues and how to explain to your family and friends:

Dos & Don’ts for Family & Friends

Do
1. Offer household help (running errands, preparing meals that can go right from the freezer to the oven, etc.) so the mother can spend more time holding the child.
2. Trust the mother's instincts. Even a first time mother may notice subtle symptoms that well-meaning family and friends attribute to "normal" behavior.
3. Accept that attachment issues are difficult for anyone outside of the mother to see and understand.
4. Be supportive even if you think everything looks fine to you.
5. Allow the parents to be the center of the baby's world. One grandfather, when greeting his grandson, immediately turns him back to his mom and says positive statements about his good mommy.
6. Tell the baby every time you see him what a good/loving/safe mommy he has.
7. When the parents need someone to care for the baby for a night out, offer to babysit in the child's home. (After the child has been home for a substantial period of time.)
8. As hard as it may be for you, abide by the requests of the parents. Even if the baby looks like he really wants to be with Grandma, for example, he needs to have a strong attachment to his parents first. Something as simple as passing the baby from one person to another or allowing others, even grandparents, to hold a baby who is not "attached" can make the attachment process that much longer and harder. Some parents have had to refrain from seeing certain family members or friends because they did not respect the parents' requests.
9. Accept that parenting children who are at-risk for or who suffer from attachment issues goes against traditional parenting methods and beliefs. Parenting methods that work for many children can be detrimental to a child with attachment issues.
10. Remember that there is often a honeymoon period after the child arrives. Many babies do not show signs of grief, distress, or anxiety until months after they come home. If the parents are taking precautions, they are smart and should be commended and supported!

Don't
1. Assume an infant is too young to suffer from emotional issues related to attachment. Babies are not immune.
2. Underestimate a new mother's instincts that something isn't right.
3. Judge the mother's parenting abilities. What looks like spoiling or coddling may be exactly what the child needs to overcome a serious attachment disorder. Parenting methods that work for many children can be detrimental to a child with attachment issues.
4. Make excuses for the child's behaviors or try to make the mother feel better by calling certain behaviors "normal". For example, many children who suffer from attachment issues may be labeled strong-willed by well-meaning family members. While being strong-willed can be seen as a positive personality trait, this type of behavior in an attachment-impaired child may signify problems.
5. Accuse the mother of being overly sensitive or neurotic. She is in a position to see subtle symptoms as no one else can.
6. Take it personally if asked to step back so the parents can help their child heal and form a healthy and secure attachment. You may be asked not to hold the baby for more than a minute. This is not meant to hurt you. It is meant to help prove to the baby who his mommy and daddy are. Up until now the child's experience has been that mommies are replaceable. Allowing people to hold the baby before he has accepted his forever mommy and daddy are can be detrimental to the attachment process.
7. Put your own timeframes on how long attachment should take. One mother was hurt when she was chastised by a relative who couldn't understand...after all, the baby had been home six months. It could take weeks, months, even years. Every child is different.
8. Offer traditional parenting advice. Some well-meaning family members will tell a new mother not to pick the baby up every time he cries because it will spoil him. A child who is at-risk or who suffers from attachment issues must be picked up every single time he cries. He needs consistent reinforcement that this mommy/daddy will always take care of him and always keep him safe.
9. Fall into the appearance trap. Some babies/toddlers with attachment issues can put on a great show to those outside of the mother/father. What you see is not always a true picture of the child. Even babies as young as 6-months-old are capable of “putting on a good face” in public.
10. Lose hope. With the right kind of parenting and therapy, a child with attachment issues can learn to trust and have healthy relationships. But it does take a lot of work and a good understanding of what these children need.

Monday, August 13, 2007

1st Day of School

Well, today was the big first day of school for the boys. Caleb is starting 2nd grade and Travis is going to Pre-K for the first time. Travis has always been in home daycare, so this is going to be something completely new for him to be in a classroom everyday. He is pretty tough, so I am not too worried about him ;) They were both very excited this morning getting ready. I thought I would share some of their conversations this morning.


C asked me: Mom, is this the way the high schoolers where their backback? I want to look like a high schooler.

T talking to C: Is this where I put my blanket in my backpack?
C: Yes, but you need to fold your blanket first.
T: But I don't know how to fold it?
C: Here I will teach you how, because everyday after your nap you will need to fold it up.
(They spend a good 5 minutes on the folding lesson)
T: Ok, is this good? Do I put it in this pocket?
C: Yes, that is good. Now don't forget to get your blanket and bear for naptime ONLY. You have to keep them in your bag until nap.

Have I told you what great brothers these boys are?! I just love it when they are being nice to each other. Granted they have their moments, but they are really great together. I am really hoping that Shelby fits right in the mix of them. I think they have a lot more brotherly advice to give, so now they just need a little sister to give it to!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Angel out there

I know there is an angel out there who has been sponsoring Shelby in foster care. I would absolutely LOVE to be able to thank you personally. My email is cjstraight@bellsouth.net if you would like to contact me directly. Thank you!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Not Pregnant

I went to the Mt. Paran Consignment Sale last night and it was a great sale. I finally was able to get my sit and stand stroller that I have been looking for for only $25-DEAL! I could have probably shopped for an hour or two since they had so much stuff, but I only went for the stroller and didn't need to hang out with all the pregnant women any longer than necessary ;)

You see the reason I was at the sale early is because it was open in this advanced time frame for pregnant women. The advertisement was nice enough to also include "or adopting mothers" in their preview offer. So this is why I was able to get in as I am classified "adopting". This was the first time I think that I was really bothered by the fact that I am not pregnant. Now don't get me wrong, as I have no desire to go back to being all fat and pregnant again (as you can see from the pic ;). But I do miss the physical anticipation that everyone around you knows that you have a child on the way. When I was pregnant, I was asked just about everyday the infamous "When are you due?". Other women (and even some men) would inquire about how it was going, how I was feeling, is it boy or a girl, what am I doing to prepare, etc. This was the nice part about being pregnant. Everyone around you was able to share in the excitement of having a child. Well-you don't get that when you are adopting :(

So I suppose that is what had me a little sad last night thinking about Shelby. This wait is getting harder and harder. I guess this is a little like being pregnant considering that you usually hear first time pregnant women complaining about being sick and all that just in the first trimester. Well the experienced moms always think in the back of their mind (Honey, if you think this is bad, just wait until the last trimester!). Well some of us only think it-others say it out loud ;) So I guess I am finally in my last trimester of the wait for Shelby. It is getting very hard to be patient. I want to go get my daughter NOW. I told CJ last night that I want her now. He was quick to remind me that God is taking care of her while we cannot be with her. That was something I needed to hear right at that moment. God is taking care of her while we are not with her and I must trust that He will watch over her and keep her safe. I sooooo want to be with her right now. This last trimester is going to be one of the hardest "pregnancies" EVER!

"May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight. And let the angels bring you the kisses that I send to you each night. " --Unknown

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Come Out of Lurker World

We went to White Water yesterday and had a great time! It was hot but the water was cool. We even continued our play dates into the evening and were joined by Cindy and the triplets. It was a terrific day spent with friends and cooling off.


Ok, now Shelby's website has had over 5000 hits-which is great for my first website :) BUT, hardly anyone ever comments on here. Today is the day to come out of lurker world and post a simple message that you were here. All you need to do is click at the end of this post on comments and click on anonymous user-then post a quick note that you were here and your name and maybe a brief description of "who" you are. If you are a registered user then you just log in and post. And thank you btw to those of you who do post regularly-as I really enjoy reading them! But today is the day to come out and post to just let me know that someone is out there reading about my baby girl :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Foster family update

I received another email from Misty at China-Babies yesterday. Their services are wonderful! Here is what she said in the email:

Hi Donna,
The older girl in the pictures with the foster parents is their birth daughter. The little child with them is Ning Fu Long, another child that they are fostering. It is my understanding that her best friend is another girl from the orphanage that is being fostered by that other woman. I have requested more specific info on this so I will let you know if we find that out.

Regarding surgeries, Shelby had her lip surgery on April 28th, 2006. She was admitted to the hospital on April 25th, 2006 and stayed there until May 8th, 2006. Her lip was repaired. The surgery went very well. Her palate was not repaired at that time. They were advised to have it repaired in two years. Her doctor was Dong Hao. Her palate is not severe so it does not affect her eating. The orphanage asked if you would prefer she has the palate corrected in China. They know that families often prefer it to be done in the States, but if you want them to do it before you arrive, they will try to have it done. Please let me know what you prefer so I can pass that info back to the orphanage.

Well of course I don't want them to operate on my child without me! So I have asked her to reply to them that we will have her palate repair done here with US. It is so nice to hear "from" Shelby even though she is on the other side of the world. A huge thanks again to Misty.
I am going to take off this afternoon to spend the day with the boys before they are off to school on Monday. We are going to White Water with Lori and the kids. Figures that we pick the hottest day of the year to go. Oh well, we should definately be able to cool off there!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

20 Things To Know

Twenty Things I Wish Adoptive Parents Knew
Twenty Things I Wish Adoptive Parents Knew(an excerpt from the book by Sherri S Herrie Eldridge)
1. I suffered a profound loss before I was adopted. You are not responsible.
2. I need to be taught that I have special needs arising from adoption loss, of which I need not be ashamed.
3. If I don't grieve my loss, my ability to receive love from you and others will be hindered.
4. My unresolved grief may surface in anger toward you.
5. I need your help in grieving my loss. Teach me to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption and then validate them.
6. Just because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean I don't think about them.
7. I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family
8. I need to know the truth about my conception, birth, and family history, no matter how painful the details my be.
9. I am afraid I was given away by my birth mother because I was a bad baby. I need you to help me dump my toxic shame.
10. I am afraid you will abandon me.
11. I may appear more whole than I actually am. I need your help to uncover the parts of myself that I keep hidden, so I can integrate all the elements of my identity.
12. I need to gain a sense of personal power.
13. Please don't say I look or act just like you. I need you to acknowledge and celebrate our differences.
14. Let me be my own person but don't let me cut myself off from you.
15. Please respect my privacy regarding my adoption. Don't tell other people without my consent.
16. Birthdays may be difficult for me.
17. Not knowing my full medical history can be distressing at times.
18. I am afraid I will be too much for you to handle.
19. When I act out my fears in obnoxious ways, please hang in therewith me, and respond wisely
20. Even if I decide to search for my birth family, I will always want you to be my parents.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Letter to Shelby-from F&B

Great so now after looking at Sheridan's Gotcha Day photos and getting all teary eyed, Betty brought me a very special letter this morning that Frank wrote (Betty typed) for Shelby. Nothing like starting the week off crying at work ;) How sweet is that for Frank and Betty to already be thinking about Shelby and sharing their thoughts. Frank and Betty are definately 2 very special people and certainly have a special place in our hearts and lives. I know Shelby will come to love them just as much as we do! With their permission, here is the letter written to Shelby:

This is for Shelby Ann:

We are Frank and Betty and we will live next door to you. We are happy, at last, that we are close to getting a little girl. We have six boys already … two sons, two grandsons and two “next door grandsons – Caleb and Travis”. As you can see, we will be especially thrilled to have a little girl also!

There are a few things that we will require from you…Visitation – Every day if possible – We must have our “Shelby fix”. “Skeezes” (squeezes) – We realize it will take awhile to get to know each other. However, Caleb and Travis were very good at giving “skeezes”…Travis more so than Caleb. But we do manage to get in at least one per visit. If it’s OK with you, we can certainly use more!

Treats – We always have a variety of treats to offer (with Mom and Dad’s permission). If there is something special you like to eat, we’ll be sure to try to have it in the goody bowl. When Travis was little, he had his special pillow (2 phone books) that needed to be added to his chair so he could reach the table. “Baddy (Betty)” could always handle that.

Toys - We have our own special toy box for Caleb and Travis. At times, the floor is covered. But, we will probably have to come up with some “girl” toys to add to these.

Yard Work – Your brothers have their own special gloves and tools for yard work at our house. Yard work consists of digging for worms to give the goldfish. Caleb is OK without gloves. However, Travis does NOT handle worms without his own special gloves. We’re not too sure if little girls like to dig for worms, but it won’t take long to find out.

Fishing – Since Caleb could barely talk and walk, he has been a very good fishing partner for me. If you decide this is something you like, we will be happy to teach you how to fish too. Travis likes to play with the bait and is not as patient as Caleb at catching fish.

We have been blessed with having Caleb and Travis live next door. We’ve been able to watch them grow since birth and be a part of their lives. We certainly look forward to you being a part of our lives as well. You’ll have a multitude of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and most importantly a new Dad, Mom and brothers to love and care for you.

We hope you’ll be able to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in your new Georgia home!

Thanks to Donna and C.J. for sharing their most prized possessions (Caleb and Travis) with us. And again, we look forward to you becoming an important part of our life as well.


With Love,
Frank and Betty

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Mommy Shopping

During my blog reading tonight, I found a very interesting article about adopted children "mommy shopping". Click here to read it. I pray that Shelby will know that I was meant to be her mommy and that I am not going anywhere :)

Friday, August 3, 2007

First Friday August

Well the boys and I made it out to the Chapman's tonight for First Friday. We were 1 of the 3 families there tonight! Can you believe that was all that attended tonight?! Weird, but it was niceto sit and chat with the Chapman's, another family that has been home for only 4 months with their daughter, and another waiting family. We talked about various subjects and a little about the big move that First Friday is going to be experiencing in October. Everyone needs to come next month to get all the good info! It was a pleasant relaxed evening spent with adoption buddies :)

August Stork Arrived

The August stork arrived yesterday for all the families that were logged in from November 15-21, 2005. Yes, I said 2005! These are for NSN (non-special needs) families that had an LID of 11/15/05-11/21/05. So as you can see they have waiting a long long time to finally see their baby's face. Congratulations to all of them. Here are a few of their links to new families:
To China for Love
Waiting for LandreeJukanovich
Jiejie and Meimei
Winding Vines
Alyssa Brooke
Baby Berwick
Becky Singleton Blog
Burke Family
The Ost Family

We are off to First Friday tonight at the Chapman's, Yeah! I can't explain what it means to me to be able to go and socialize with other adoptive (ing) parents. I guess it is just one of those things that unless you've been there, you have no idea. Kind of like being a mom in general. There is no way to explain to someone what it feels like and means to be a mom, unless you are talking to another mom. Living in the "adoption world" now has really opened my eyes to a whole new level of life and celebrations. I am so grateful to the Chapmans for hosting this once a month meeting that has truly changed my life :)

Thursday, August 2, 2007

More pictures received from China Babies

Misty at China Babies came through big time with more pictures of Shelby and her foster family! This is the information that I have been waiting on to see Shelby in her everyday life in China. Here are a few to share with everyone. Anyone who has a waiting child, I would HIGHLY recommend using Misty to get this valuable information for your child to have in the future. Not to mention the piece of mind for the waiting family :)

Approved for the GA Adoption Grant

WOOHOO! I received our approval today for the one time Georgia Adoption $2K reimbursement today!! This is great news for a broke family ;) We are very thankful to CCAI for telling us about this wonderful benefit offered to GA special needs adoption families. The only "catch" to the reimbursement is that it must be applied for and approved BEFORE you travel to China. Luckily we were made aware of this opportunity-and we seized it!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hand-me-Down Heaven

Everyone knows how cheap I am- Oh I mean frugal! So I just love free stuff. So here is just a glimpse at the generosity from my cousin Rhonda. I have also been blessed by my friends Cindy and Chris with their awesome donations to the Shelby Clothing Closet Foundation! I am so glad Autumn, Abigail, Emma, and Emily are growing rapidly ;) Thank you!!