Monday, May 28, 2012

And so it begins......

Who am I kidding writing this blog post? I can barely keep my eyes open. A boating afternoon in 94 degree heat, barbeque at Aunt Jill’s house, and finally, blessedly, taking a seat in the air conditioning, and we’re all passed out in front of a cartoon. Tom’s parent’s pontoon was a great start to the summer!

This week was Eli’s birthday. He wasn’t in a hurry ten years ago while I waited two weeks past my due date, and nothing’s changed. This unhurried mentality remains. Most mornings, on our way out the door, I say “Eli shoes,” and Eli automatically replies “Mom don’t rush me!” He thrives in the simplicity of no set agenda, and loves being home, doing his own thing.

Raising a child so content without a schedule is the opposite of his sister. Sidney feeds on a set schedule of social interaction. We decided to keep her in a few hours of daycare a week. We see stability in her sensory issues as a result. It’s helping her maintain her understanding of appropriate behavior. Two hours playing with her friends mean I don’t see the typical behaviors associated with sensory kids. Less picking at her brother (if you have a sensory kid, you understand what I mean by picking), less floundering and a higher degree of focus (going from one activity to the next without ever really settling down), less scratching, and generally a contented girl. 

As a mom, I know she needs this interaction to help her function. Take away her sensory issues, and you still have a child that thrives in highly structured schedules. Isn’t it practical to think a child whose sole existence, the first 16 months, revolved around rigorous schedules, remains? But, for some reason, it wasn’t easy for mom to accept this conclusion. As her mother, I want to help situations work through conventional means or staying home with mom. But, as adoptive parents we know conventional parenting doesn’t work to heal our children’s emotional wounds. So, despite my desire to have her here all the time, the six hours she spends in daycare are what’s best for her. 

OK, I’m off to continue creating the black angry bird. It’s Eli’s birthday cake. I always tell myself, I’m getting a store bought cake. Then I look at the price for a cake mix and start thinking about how “easy” it will be to make a cake. The next thing I know I’m wrist deep in black food coloring. 

And since today’s Memorial Day, I want to take a moment to say thank you to our country’s fallen soldiers for your sacrifice.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Just because I love to blog, and I can't resist this mug (Eli you narrowly escaped my camera) or technology, I'm trying out the app for blogging!

Monday, May 14, 2012

May 14th

 I’m looking at my laptop screen. It makes the world seems incredibly small. A scrapbook is sitting in front of the Chenzhou orphanage staff.  Our page is inside the book, as well as many other adopted kids from Sidney’s orphanage.  A family traveled, generously offering to put this book together. It was a privilege to send updated photos of Sidney with Eli, as well as photos which unintentionally showed close-ups of her hands. I want them to see her hands were treated, but most importantly, I wanted the page to reflect the transformation from the tough little cookie we met in Changsha to a happy, carefree child.  

So, while I look on my computer and see the smiles, my mind also drifts to the city of Chenzhou. Four years ago today, a small girl, estimated at 6 weeks old was found in the outpatient department of Chenzhou Hospital No. 3. A security guard named Ningxia found the tiny bundle dressed in a warm coat and pants with a bag of pampers. This tiny possibly premature baby was very ill. After the police were called, and exhausted a search for the person who left her, she was taken to the Chenzhou Children’s Welfare Institute. 

I don’t ever forget the date she was found. It’s the only connection I have between our family and her birth family. What circumstances lead to their actions? We will never know. At least not in this life. We can guess. An ice storm took place the month prior. Lacking the infrastructure to assist it’s people, many suffered in the aftermath. At an estimated 6 weeks old, we know someone struggled with this decision. It’s impossible for me to imagine the desperation a person must feel. Yet, I will never judge the actions of a person facing societal pressures I a person can’t contemplate living in a society of vast resources.  

I know the same God that orchestrated the forming of our family also watches over the people in her birth family. I pray they don’t lack what they need on a daily basis to survive, and they have an overwhelming sense all is very, very well with their beautiful little girl.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

All Things Medical

We visited the orthopedic clinic and recieved excellent news. No surgery for the time being!!! Her joints still have good mobility, and there’s no tethering of scar tissue on the hand which received syndactyly reconstruction in January 2010. So, we go back in another 6 months and monitor the situation as she grows. I was happy to learn this information but doubly pleased after we received a phone call as we were pulling into the town where the clinic is located.
Killing time waiting to eat lunch with Aunt Jill.

“Mrs. J. (I have to insert that I hate being called Mrs. J. I'm Cara, do you hear me? Cara!), there’s been an emergency, and the hand surgeon isn’t able to meet with you today.” This is the part where you can insert steam emerging from my ears. It’s nobody’s fault, and I was my sweet self, but really? Tom took the day off work, and Eli was out of school. Knowing we are almost 1 ½ hours away, the nurse let us know we could see the hand surgeons fellow. And I learned fellow doesn’t mean her man. Sorry, I thought it was funny. I’m embarrassed to say I had to google the term. 

While Tom and I were elated, and Sidney did wonderfully, I think Eli finally came to grips with his sister’s condition.  He’s 10. There’s a huge difference in his understanding between now and the last time she had surgery. Some of his fear was derived from our relatively normal existence. It’s not until we go to the doctor or someone asks about her physical condition that he remembers there’s something completely unique about his sister. 
Further proof I exist.

Last night, we talked about our role as Sidney’s family and God’s role in our lives. Sidney was put into our hands for a reason. It’s our job to love her as a sister, but it’s also our job to make sure she receives care. He was finally old enough to introduce concepts about the lack of medical care in China. It’s very possible, she wouldn’t have been able to use her hands into adulthood.  It’s easier to think of our ability to treat her as a blessing. I let him know this sometimes isn’t easy for anyone, including myself. But, after a day of a normal schedule, he is back to himself. This indicates, he’s standing at his Lego table, attempting to reinact another battle. 

Speaking of Battles, I’m reading the Hunger Games. This is very unlike anything I ever read. Yes, I have a masters degree in business, but I don’t typically read anything that makes me think too hard. This is making me think and expanding me outside my comfort zone. That’s good. I’m excited to finished the second book and continue into the third. Tom never reads, and he hasn’t put it down in days.
OK, I hear the pitter patter of little feet which should be in bed.