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Heart of my Heart

I’m not sure if most of you know, but last year I adopted a little girl from China. I’d always wanted to adopt. I think it came mostly from knowing I had something (a family) and I could offer it someone who didn’t have something (a family). I could be their someone. A place, a home, a person to spend Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving, and Easter with. Always. When I think about how some people don’t have that, it breaks my heart. I came from a family where I was the youngest of 5, so I don’t know what it’s like, but I can imagine it would be like a black hole. Empty. Scary. And so it was extremely important that when I got married, I wanted my husband to know that I desired to adopt. I just had no idea that would take me across the world. Fate is so hilarious sometimes.

This little girl was sort of picked for us. The day I called in to the agency to ask about a sibling group was the day the family who had her on hold for six months, had given her file back. They weren’t going to move forward. I was asked if I’d be interested. Sure. They forwarded me her file. I remember reading the special need: Down Syndrome and repaired heart. Granted I’d never been around someone with Down Syndrome, but after pondering if this was something we could take on, my family said, YES! And here she is. Home for almost a year.

Adoptions are vastly different from one another. One family can have a wonderful, fairy tale experience, and one can cry daily, asking why they brought this in their lives. The disruption can destroy families in some cases. It’s not for the faint of heart. There is so much trauma. Specifically, international adoptions carry with them the layer of living in an institution for all their lives. Transitioning to a family is HUGE. Depending on the orphanage, there could even be abuse. We got lucky. So very lucky.

Before we left on that 20 hour trip to China, I asked my husband, “Do you think it’s going to feel like we’re babysitting her?” I mean, come on…we’ve never met her and they just hand her off to you and say sign here and here. What connection do you have? As if asking how this is going to weigh on you, consider her. It’s ripping her from all she knows–a culture, a dialect, routine, food….what person would love any of this?

As I looked around the table at my kids today, my eyes settled on this new face–this tiny life that floated into our lives through a roll of pictures on a laptop and a sketchy medical record. I was in awe of how much love my heart had for her. How although she did not come from me biologically, she is completely entangled with every fiber of love I feel for her. She is no different from my other children. I might have flown to China to get her, but somehow she always held a place in my heart.

The day we met her, she looked into my eyes, threw her arm around my neck, and called me mama. Her tiny lips kiss my cheeks several times a day like that first week we met her, and she is constantly astounding me with how brilliant she is. I cannot imagine life without her.

 

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Time moves on

Long time no blog, huh? I’ve been a bit busy. I got back from China! That was huge. I gained a wonderful little being. That was humongous. Now my nest is getting ready to be scattered, again. Drats, that college!

China was busy. And scary. I’d say 1% spoke broken English. That is if you could find her/him. We were on our own most of the time (2 weeks). Which made eating almost impossible. Menus were mostly in Chinese, and we are not the gambling type, seeing that chicken feet were a favorite by many and squid flavored potato chips were at every convenience store. My husband lost 10 pounds and I lost about 6. I lived on Coke and the doughnut and fried egg they gave me each morning. Oh, and Coke at lunch and dinner. Hence only the 6 pounds lost. You are told NOT to drink the water. Brush your teeth with bottled water and not to eat the vegetables. Hmmm….that left watermelon and rice with noodles. I don’t want to see another speck of rice for quite some time.

Our newest family member is amazing. Upon our first meeting, she clung to me and hasn’t changed her mind that I’ll do as her new momma. What a brave little girl. She left all she knows, a language she understood, all-you-can eat rice and noodles, and came to America with a strange woman and her husband to try her tastebuds on mashed potatoes and applesauce. Both of which she despises. Sigh. So I make her rice and noodles anytime she wants. She truly inspires me with how quickly she is adapting. 🙂

My two…yes, two boys leave for college next week. *sniff, sniff* I know they need to go, need to spread their wings. However, I’ll be left to look at their empty rooms and remember all the nonsense and shenanigans they pulled during our time together. Stop me now!! I don’t think I can go and make the exit scene at the dorm rooms, again. I might be busy that day they have to go. LOL

On a more exciting topic…I am about to release my next book. I. AM. So. Excited!! I just read the latest review for it. I get such a high off of reading what someone thinks of my books. Provided they are justifiable. I can’t say too much for the trolls out there. Everybody has a pooper, right? Anyway, so my next book comes out August 23rd! Eep. It’s a summer fling-type one. I got it in right under the ‘summer’ wire. I do hope everyone who reads it likes it. As with all my books, I fall in love with each of the characters. It’s so difficult to choose which I like best.

Well, I’m off to get that last minute school shopping done. Everyone has that one kid, right? The one that constantly reminds me they have nothing on their supply list and school starts Monday. Yeah, yeah. I have three days, don’t I? Oh, how I hate the supply aisles at Wal-Mart and Target. It’s worse than a BOGO at the shoe store. People grabbing glue sticks like Elmer’s is going on strike. And binders that cost a fraction of my car payment lining the shelves. Come on! It’s a binder, people. Three rings. Why is it like ten bucks? And why does every teacher in the free world need two for their class? Don’t get me started on backpacks. Yes, my oldest son has reminded me that he’s had the same one for the past five years. What can I say? That thing has kept its shape and still zips. Well, kind of. I’ll get him a new one. But have you seen the prices? Forty dollars? And that’s a cheap one. Seriously? Times that by like six. It takes a bite out of the old wallet.

Enough of my school supply rant. I mean, is my kid really going to blow their nose through three boxes of tissues? And use 200 Clorox wipes? I think not. Anyway, happy back to school! Let the good times roll for all the moms who can drop their kids and go back home and take it easy. Your summer of ‘Mom, I’m bored’ has officially come to another close.

Cheers!

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Types of Torture

Eight? Yes, exactly eight. Hey, I’m not bragging. I don’t find joy in making that call. Asking for someone to puncture my gums, all the while I’m paying out of pocket for the horrid sensation…the staring at their mask for hours, the cold and agonizing sprits of water spraying all over my damaged gums, and the whacky suction straw. Yet, this is what I did today. For 1 1/2 hours, strapped underneath a paper bib while blood was smeared on it. I imagined them crying inside…my teeth and gums, while each stab came harder and harder, scaling as they termed it. And the whole time I’m thinking, and this is why I won’t come for another eight. 

Unfortunately I have to return. They found a cavity…or two. I’m suddenly on a plan for return visits. Luckily I came home and found my chocolate Easter bunny and that made my gums feel a whole lot better. 🙂

So big news on the adoption front, for those following or who care…China approved our dossier. It was like passing a final exam. I spent all summer on this humongous scavenger hunt for things they wanted, such as physicals of me, my husband, my children, even my dogs needed paperwork submitted! We had to even see a shrink and be listed as ‘not crazy’. We needed a fire exit strategy for the home, proof of locks on the cabinets, fingerprints done not once but twice, and a state and federal clearance. Having a child naturally doesn’t come close to this. After gathering all of this junk, I had to ran them to get state sealed in Richmond…then authenticated in Washington, D.C. because, you know that traveling notary that followed me around everywhere getting everything signed wasn’t enough. So anyway, China liked what they saw and said yes! Travel should be some time in June (fingers crossed). She turns 5 in July. I’m hoping to get her before her birthday. I did some painting on her room tonight. I know I’m going to forget something. So far I’ve thought about socks. I don’t have any of those. Oh, and shoes. Basically because I have no idea of her size. This is something I’ll pick up in China.

I feel like this week went by fast. Faster than today when I sat in the dentist chair. I have no concrete plans for the weekend. My son wants me to volunteer at school Saturday for a triathlon. Um…this involves getting up at 4:30 a.m. And I’m not even the one who is doing the running. I’m not feeling wonderful about this. Probably won’t happen. Whatever it is I’ll make it fun. Have a great one, everyone! And try to floss. That is what I took away from my waterboarding session today. Floss, floss, floss. I told her I did. She gave me that look. Okay, so I do…seldom. It probably wouldn’t have saved me the blood shed on my bib of shame, anyway. The hygienist must’ve been a wronged person in another life. And evidently she thought it was my gums that wronged her.