Saturday, May 24, 2008

Expectations Vs. Reality

On May 23rd, I was about half-way through the day before I realized that it was on that day, two years ago, that we got Maya's referral. It's amazing how the time has flown.

On that day 2 years ago I made some assumptions about Maya's personality based on her adorable referral picture. She looked calm and peaceful and I imagined our future daughter as a quieting influence in our home and the child who I'd probably have to ask to speak up because her sweet little voice would be so timid and shy. For some reason phrases in her paperwork such as "active and restless" and "bangs toys against crib", didn't sway me a bit in my sure knowledge of this little girl's personality. If I'd had a crystal ball to see into the future, I think the picture above would have matched my perception of the calm, serene child we'd be adopting.

The reality is that this picture is much closer to the true Maya we've come to know and love. Although I admit I was quite fond of the image I'd had in my mind, we absolutely adore the loud, boisterous, energetic person who has joined our family and we wouldn't change her for the world. My expectation didn't match reality and I'm so glad.

I've had that same thought many times in regard to our 3 older children as well. There are things about each one of them that had I been given the option, I probably wouldn't have chosen and we'd be the poorer for it. When we were in the early stages of our adoption, a neighbor asked why we'd choose to adopt since we already had biological kids. He said, "With you own kids, at least you know what you're getting." I couldn't disagree more. Adam, Madeline, and Abby are so different from each other. Each one of them has surprised me numerous times. They've surprised me with talents I wouldn't have guessed they'd possess and challenges I wouldn't have guessed they'd need to face.

When I start thinking about expectations, I'm reminded about how many of the things I worried about in connection with little Maya have never come to pass. I expected her to be delayed. She wasn't. I expected her to have issues attaching to us. She didn't. I expected that I'd need to parent her a little bit differently than the other children. I haven't.

I'll admit there are some things I didn't expect to be big issues that are looming fairly large, but such is life. It's a leap of faith to give birth to children and it's a leap of faith to adopt. We love this "active and restless" girl just the way she is. She is her own perfectly made spirit and we're thankful we get to be a part of her life.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Adam Turns 14, etc.

I can hardly believe that Adam is FOURTEEN! How could that possibly be right? Admittedly, he's looking and sounding 14. I've mistaken him for Lyle several times when I hear him talking downstairs. I've told him he needs to shave more than once and he's now taller and bigger than his dear old mom. He's been a pretty nice teenager so far and his sisters think he's great.
Adam got a fancy nerf tag game from Abby and Maya and enjoyed a lasagna dinner.

I have to do some explaining with this picture! When Adam turned four years old, he got a "big boy" bed. To go along with the big boy bed, I made him a new quilt. I used patches of denim that I'd cut from old pairs of jeans, mixed with different plaids. We gave it to him on his birthday and he was SO upset! He yelled, "I don't want a blanket made from Dad's old pants! And I don't think blankets should have POCKETS!" He could not be swayed.
Lyle had the great idea of hiding candy in a few of the pockets. Once Adam found the candy, he decided he REALLY loved his blanket and asked if it could have MORE pockets! Well, ten years later his poor blanket was looking very well-used and worn. So, I created another jeans quilt for his 14th birthday and Lyle put some candy (and Home Depot gift cards) in the pockets. Here Adam is crawling around on the blanket, sniffing for candy!

Adam's been on the junior high track team and runs the 800 and mile. He's done great and we've been so proud of him. But his first meet, unfortunately, didn't go as he would have liked. He had just finished the first lap of the 800 and was going right by the bleachers when he was tripped by the runner behind him. Adam got a pretty severe case of road rash on his face and side and shoulder. He'd been in third place so it was pretty disappointing. In his handsome track photo you can still see where he's healing up on his face. At the next race he got third in the 800 (they only do one heat so there are usually about 20 people in each of his races) and got 6th in the mile. At the next race he got 5th in the 800 but improved his time to 2:38. His time in the mile also improved and he got 5:58. Go Adam!

Obviously it's been awhile since I posted anything and I'm kind of jumping around a bit! A couple of weekends ago Abby went to a birthday party at our local Skateland. Lyle was working and Adam was at a Boy Scout gun camp of some sort, so I took all three girls. I even rented skates so that I could skate with Maya. Maya thought the skates were wonderful for about 10 minutes and then she abruptly decided she was done. I was surprised because she was really good at it! I think the loud music was a bit much for her. Or maybe it was that she saw someone putting birthday cake on the table.

The other day I was making dinner and I heard talking and giggling outside. I peeked out the window and saw Adam and Madeline lying on the hammock on the back porch, just relaxing and talking about their day. I snuck around the house to get their picture. It's not a great photograph, but I love the moment.

May 16th- Maya feeding the koi at one of her favorite places, Clear Creek Nursery. Not long after this photo was taken, she wandered off and caused quite a panic. All of the workers were on their walkie talkies trying to locate "the 2 year-old in the orange shirt". Finally she was found heading up the hill to a waterfall. When I reminded her that she's not supposed to leave Mom, she sighed and said, "yeah, I just forgot."
May 17th- I spent my birthday attending parades! Madeline was in the Armed Forces Parade in Bremerton this morning and then in the Viking Fest Parade this afternoon in Poulsbo. it was 84 degrees which is an all-out scorcher for Western Washington and we all were feeling pretty wilted!
Maya and Abby were good parade attendees, but Maya was definitely maxed out with one parade (who wouldn't be?). I dropped her off with Adam (Lyle was at work) before we went for parade #2.

Beautiful Madeline on the float before the Viking Fest Parade. She was with the 6 other children from the Sound of Music Choir. She plays Louisa and she had her "My Favorite Things" solo right when they were going by us. It's kind of funny that Madeline's singing voice sounds different to me when we're away from home. I think I'm just so accustomed to hearing her singing around the house, that I hardly even notice it. Today she sounded so beautiful and I heard numerous people comment on her lovely voice. We were very proud of her.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fashion Statement

I struggle with fashion. I really do. I would venture to guess that this does not come as a shock to anyone who knows me. While most of the time I don't think I embarrass my children too much, I will admit that I don't have a knack for shoes, clothing, purses, jewelry, and hairstyles. I don't change purses to match outfits (I actually only own 1 purse and when it's broken or hopelessly out of style I'll replace it) and I have enough fingers to count every item in my jewelry lineup. I don't have a single bottle of nail polish, perfume makes me sneeze, and I don't love the mall. Obviously I'm missing some womanly gene. So, you might imagine my surprise when I recently was informed via the newspaper that Lyle and I have jumped onto the bandwagon of the hottest new trend.

A columnist in Pittsburgh says:
Call me cynical, but since when did Asian children become "must have" fashion accessories for upper middle-class Americans? Along with Calloway golf clubs and season tickets to football games, paying $30,000 to $40,000 to adopt an exotic baby is suddenly viewed as the most chic purchase this side of a pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps.

Seriously, this is what someone is putting in print. For the record, I've never heard of Manolo Blahnik pumps and wouldn't know a Blahnik if it kicked me in the shin. The cost of adoption that he's quoting is inaccurate and I can't help but bristle significantly when one of my children is referred to as a "chic purchase". I don't doubt that somewhere along the line someone has adopted for the wrong reasons. I would venture to guess though that the number of people who have conceived children for the wrong reasons greatly outnumbers those who are willing to go through numerous homestudies, reams of paperwork, background checks, and months or years of waiting to adopt a child only to love them as a trendy accessory.

The author ends his article by saying:
If people really wanted to adopt children because of a desire to become parents, they'd just adopt babies, not fashion statements.

Really, words escape me. And the irony of the whole thing is that Maya would object to my denial of her fashion statement status, because as the photo proves, she clearly IS a fashion statement. I guess what we're saying is up for debate.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Out of the Closet

Our closet gymnast has gone public! Today was Maya's first "Mom and Me" gymnastics class and she had a ball. Obviously the 3 different bars of varying heights were a big hit with our little monkey girl. One mom was amazed that this was Maya's first class. She said, "Wow! This is the first time she's tried this?" I told her no, Maya gets lots of practice in our closet.
I'm sure it was great for her to be free of hangers, clothes hampers, etc.

Not only were there bars, there was a balance beam....

a springboard.....

a new friend, also adopted from China....


Maya's joy is full