Wednesday, July 28, 2010

When parents haven't done their research...

Sigh, I am presently in conversation with two families that have  come home recently and have totally unrealistic expectations  (to smile and be friendly at relatives, like your new brother and sister, be perfect and loving).  These children, adopted from two different countries have issues that all abandoned children have.  To expect them not to be angry, frustrated, scared, and full of defenses is unrealistic. These two families are taking the children's behaviors as personal assaults and can not see the big picture, of a child in a strange country, scared, doesn't speak the language to ask questions or express fears, totally in culture shock and doesn't quite understand what is happening to them.

My heart breaks for the children.  I have written many emails explaining this is normal, sent articles, even emails of other parents going through the same thing and coming out on the other side saying it was all worth it.

I have offered several suggestions  where to seek help, if all else fails we will be a respite home for one or both until suitable families can be found.

I am feeling the hurt and confusion of these children.  Why don't parents do their homework BEFORE they adopt so they can understand what they are getting into?  It is mind boggling that they expect these children to smile and be grateful...  I am speechless.

I will continue to try and advocate for the child as best I can, and hope the parents make the right choices...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Tally

Just want to do a sort of roll call of my life...  Let me see, one husband somewhat used, 5 daughters of varying ages, 4 bunnies- three girls and one boy, one purchased three rescued, one Beta fish rescued, one house owned by bank, two very worn out mini vans, 4,500 dust bunnies at last count, a handful of spiders, one ladybug which means we'll be adopting again, (The only time I see lady bugs is just before an adoption starts), 3 sets of stairs which are perfect for up & down playing, a garden in progress (the progress will be continuous), and a slightly worn out me trying to look youthful for her 40th High School reunion this weekend...

Yup, that's everything, check, check and double check, it is all here.  Good, now I can go to bed and have a good night's sleep.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hello, my birthday was a great success.  I tend not to have a groups of friends, rather individuals, so at this party few knew each other, the common denominator was me.  Everyone enjoyed meeting each other and making new friends,  I love it when that happens!

I had kids over to fit the various ages in the house...  I discovered during the party that my newest adopted daughter was not participating with the girls she was familiar with and her older sister.  Instead she hid.  Her head remained down as she 'appeared' to be concentrating on doing crafts all night.  Hmmmm

I spoke with her about that and said if she wants to learn English she must take a risk and speak to people.
She said that she has nothing to say...  Oh I know where this conversation is going and if I continue it, it will be a losing battle.  So I told her that she and I will have a 10 minute conversation, with full sentences every day starting TODAY.  Ad we did, and she squirmed a lot.   But the more we do it, the easier it should become.

Well, it turns out I won't have to fight for the twins this year to get a 'gifted' education.  Two openings came up for the International magnet school.  I am thrilled, this place is a new campus and teaches and look at what they study!  This was their curriclum from last year.
Areas of exploration for each continent are geographical location, climate, landforms, language, history, fun facts and daily life (including holidays, celebrations, traditions, schooling, family, and etiquette).
And they study all of the above in each country in the world. So you can see why I am so excited, talk about an amazing opportunity! This is exactly what I wanted for them. The school only goes to 5th grade unfortunately, but at least they will have one year.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I started writing this post on the 23rd, and I lapsed into the 24th because it's just after midnight, read as if it is Friday night the 23rd.

Back to the doctors this morning.  My daughter came and showed me her palms which had tiny red bumps on them and itched, and she showed me the inside of her lower lip which also had bumps... and the sore throat was still there.  The 24 hour incubation period for strep proved to be negative, thank you.  So what is all this?  Well, the doctor concluded it was Kawasaki. No medicine for it, it just has to run its course.  Is it contagious? Yup, but only when there is a fever.  Since she already had a fever for two days, everybody was exposed so that is that.

Tonight I had a date, yes, we really got it together to do it. Of course it would not have happened without the pushing and prodding of my friend who we 'double dated' with.  The food was wonderful, the conversation was satisfying, truly a very pleasant night.  For a while I was transposed to a different place.  And my dh surprised me and was very entertaining all evening.  Guess he needed a break too and didn't realize it.

Tomorrow I become one year older. I'm not sure how I am to feel about that.  We are having some people over for a BBQ. Most do not know it's my birthday. I really just enjoy having friends around, sometimes it can be lonely when you are too busy and caught up with taking care of the family to reach out to others for a break.  As we left tonight, all 5 of my daughters were sitting around the craft table making presents. I had told them when they asked me what I wanted, was that they could buy something, but if they could make something from their heart it would mean so much to me. I can't wait to see what they created!

I noticed something interesting about my new daughter today.  When she spoke Chinese to my other daughter her face lit up, and I saw expressions I have never seen on her before.  Even though they speak Chinese all the time, she was relaying information that was funny, and her expressions were amazing, she twinkled.  I had received another sales call from a Chinese woman and I gave it to my daughter who listened, spoke a few words, listened again, it seems the woman was putting on the hard sell and my daughter couldn't get a word in edgewise.  Finally the call was over and I asked her, what was going on THIS time.  Well she had so much to say and not enough English words, so she told my other daughter in Chinese what happened then she told me in English.  Talk about a three way translation!  Apparently they are opening a new business in a near by big city with a big party on Sunday and we were invited to this special opening.  We needed a password to get in, it would be the last four digits of our phone number.  And when my daughter asked what the address was, she couldn't understand the woman because the woman's accent was Hong Kongese! So I guess we can't go, darn!  My daughter also asked this woman how she had gotten my cell phone number, and she said the computer just spits out numbers and they call them...  Guess there's no escaping modern technology.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A quick post for tonight

I took my daughter to the doctor today to check out her sore throat. While we were waiting she showed me a huge red welt on her leg, it was a bug bite that she had been scratching.

The doctor comes in and measures her. In 4 months or so she has gained 8 pounds and grown two and one quarter inches, and half a shoe size!  I asked the doctor, can this be considered something normal that can happen, or is this a "wow"?  She said, "This is a WOW."  OK, will I be having a basket ball player on my hands in a few years...?  I guess I will have to wait and see.

The doctor took a throat culture and the quick test was negative for strep, so we're waiting for the 24 hour  result tomorrow morning. My daughter asked why her throat hurt and I explained that her throat on one side had a lump that was red and swollen.  Just to show you how little life she has experienced, she pointed to her red swollen bug bite, and asked did she sleep with her mouth open and a bug flew in and stung her throat.  She was really worried.  I and the doctor had to reassure her that that did NOT happen and could never happen.  Her throat hurt for a different reason.

Went to the lake today with all the girls and the twins swam and the other 3 built amazing forts and waterways and had a great time.  As we left my two new daughters were having water fights with their water bottles.  Oh before that they were running around trying to step on each others shadow.

More tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My poor daughter who is deaf came home from school today with a 101.3 fever, a swollen tonsil and a nasty red ear.  The school called so dh went to pick her up but the school is an hour and 10 minutes away.  So my poor daughter had to wait and then have the car ride home.  By the time she got in the door she was crying she didn't feel so well.  I took her up to bed, lay her down and rubbed her back for about a half hour, she then said she wanted to sleep so I came down stairs.  Interesting this illness, I feel awful that she is sick, but the up side is I get to show her what a Mother does and is.  It's a great opportunity to understand what the warm fuzzies are...  She woke up once, I feed her some fruit, two mini roll up sandwiches, a cookie and a cup of hot water and then she went back to bed but not before I gave her something for her fever and her sore throat.  For her to eat so very little when 4 helpings are standard, it means she really is sick. No school tomorrow. Hey that means i don't have to get up at 6:00 am!  But I'm sure I'll probably be up a few times with my daughter.

Don't you just hate those sales calls that come in at the most inconvenient times?  Well here I am driving along with my newer adopted daughter and my cell phone rings...  Now that's unusual because very few people have my number, only family, and a couple of friends.  So I thought there might be an emergency, I answered.  "Heelo"...Hello?"  I couldn't quite understand what was being said.  "Hello?"  Then I heard, I handed the phone to my daughter and said, "You take it, it's in Chinese..."  She took the phone and spoke for at least 6 minutes and then hung up.  I asked , "WHO was that?!"  She was laughing and trying to find the right English words.  It turns out I got a sales call from SHANGHAI !!!  They wanted me to go the the museum there and see all the exhibits that had been donated by certain citizens?  She wasn't quite sure how to explain it.  Then the person asked who was she talking to, my daughter answered, so she asked to speak to me.  My daughter said, "She doesn't speak Chinese."  A gasp of disbelief came from her and she demanded, "How can you speak Chinese if your Mother cannot?"  "I'm adopted,"  "But your Mother has to speak Chinese if you do."  My daughter said again, "I am adopted."  "Oh."  She then do believe this?  "If I call this number again, can I reach you?"  How in Heaven's name did this person from Shanghai get my phone number?  We are still shaking our heads over that one.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh my, it has been 5 days since I last posted.  Just when I have a bit of free time, it is always late in the evening and I need to go to bed.  That is what has happened again tonight.  We had a huge drill at the fire house with three other firehouses, police, CERT, Health officers & etc.  We studied and then drilled what to do in a mass casualty.  How to triage in 10 seconds, color code them and move to the next.  Very interesting.  That made me come home an hour late.  And what do I find?  One of my twins still awake.  SO I cuddled with her a bit until she became sleepy.  I fed the rabbits, wait until you see the new one..that makes four!  And returned some important emails, and now it's midnight and I need to get up at 6:00 because my daughter is still in summer school.  She came home a little different from her camp.  I will share more tomorrow.

A new issue/attitude has come forth with my oldest daughter, again I'll fill you in tomorrow.

I must go to bed, I am fading.. Oh and I wrote an email to the reporter who was researching my daughter's parents and told him that my daughter was ready to have a DNA test if he could get one from the man who claims to be her Father,,,(and probably is.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

As promised here is that camp photo.

This picture was after an almost 2 hour drive and in 90+ heat. 

I called yesterday and they said she was doing fine. I told them to let her know I called and that I miss her. I explained she didn't know what a Mother was for and she needed to know that. I also wondered if she wasn't sure that we might not come back. She went off with no problem because it was just like China, being shifted here and there, you can't care because if you did you would be upset and disappointed all the time. I want her to know the the caring stays and doesn't go away.

I would like this summer to be a growing one for the girls.  My deaf daughter has school and camp, my other four are singing in a concert friday, and on Jan 30th they are doing a Junior Park Ranger course where they will be accredited with patch and hat at this National Park when they finish.  My oldest is too old to go, but it will be a fantastic experience for the others, and it's free! My oldest will go back to sewing classes.
I want to plan a few more adventures before the summer finishes.

Going back to Saturday, my children experienced a 'life' lesson. Our neighbor down the street is where we buy our organic eggs from.  She is also a friend and in the fire department with me.  Her family has owned the farm for 4 generations.  I want my children to learn what being a good neighbor is and giving back.  Her 31 year old niece, who I have met, was killed in a car accident.  The memorial service was held on the farm under tents. My whole family of seven went there to help set up, serve and clean up the reception. I think over 200 people showed up. They saw so many people arriving with food, helping in every way they could, and people caring.  I asked them what they thought about the day, and they said it was sad, and they were glad they could help when asked.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Compare - then and now...

Finally, I am here but as soon as I had hoped.  The other day I spent about an hour and a half filling out an application for a job. I came back to it tonight to finish it and somehow hit a button that took me I don't know where, and now I can't get back to it or find it although I had saved it in the system of the hospital I was applying to.  So for the last 2 hours I have been searching a way to try and find it, sigh, it is frustrating.

Oh WOW, I just retrieved it YAHOOOOO.

Enough about me, to the children and life. Let me see, what should I catch you up on..  Well, yesterday we all drove an hour and 45 minutes to drop my deaf daughter off at camp. We arrived, got out of the car and my daughter and I went on ahead to register.  All around us as we walked were different license plates from different states. This camp isn't for just the kids that go to her school. It is for any deaf child in the US.
After we got her registered we walked to he cabin and helped her make her bed. She will share the cabin with 11 other girls.  She just keeps grinning from ear to ear, she is so excited. I had told her all the cool things she'd be doing, like archery, over night camping, first aid, learning about nature and science, and of course swimming.  I don't think she knew then how much fun she will have. She met one of her counselors who seemed very nice.  The night before I spent hours over a three page letter to help the staff understand who my daughter is, where she comes from and her limited life experience.  This was important to keep her safe and so she could have the best possibles experiences at camp. I was careful to remind them that she was a foreigner and did not read English and had limited American Signs. I also reviewed her issues and behavior patterns so that she would be better understood.

After we finished making up her bed the counselor told her to get into her bathing suit it was time to swim. We waited for her to change, then said our good byes (I have a picture that I'll post tomorrow) and she was off.  We were concerned that perhaps this was too soon for her, but we thought how much Sign she would pick up, new friends that she would make, and be exposed to appropriate social behaviors. The camp is only a week long.  I miss her and wonder how she is doing. I will try calling tomorrow to check in.

And no, my other children are not going.  There was not enough scholarships available. But I was able to receive scholarships for the other 4 to sing together.  There is a 2 week course, 5 days a week, one and a half hours chorus class.  It is being taught by the chorus teacher of a high school who sets the bar very high.  The ages are from 9-18, and there are 28 children in the class. Their last class they perform in a concert.  Some of the music they're doing are Mozart's Alleluia, singing in Latin, another song singing in Zulu, and a variety of other songs, some will be a cappella and one sung in a round.

Having all four do it together is another way to further the bonding.  My new adopted daughter loves it. She said the Latin and Zulu was easy, but the English was hard - go figure.  I love it when they all practice at home, it brings tears to my eyes.

I did speak with the Deaf school regarding the curriculum for my daughter this Sept.  They agreed to have me meet with the teachers to discuss the curriculum and for me to 'educate' them about my daughter.  i.e. the usual, she's a foreigner, learns differently, etc.  I plan to get right in there specifically request what she should be taught.

AND the school will be sending a teacher to our house for about two weeks to teach everyone Sign Language.  They have a grant, so it will not cost us anything. I am excited.

My other daughter seems to be falling into a funk.  I really need to find some friends/social activities for her. I had to first finish the schooling issues and camp things for my deaf daughter. Now I can focus on her. Patty, send Ellie!

The twins received a summer math packet at the end of school and one finished it that day, and the other soon after that. Within 2 weeks in June they finished the library reading challenge. They are now into the 5th, 7th and 8th grade reading lists and going strong. One twin took out 20 books from the library and will practically finish them by the due date. They read constantly, every where. Now I know this is a great problem to have but, I have seen them turning inward, and losing their social skills.  They become so consumed by the book they're reading that that has become their reality.  SO I have had to put a limit on their reading. They often will read up to 6-8 hours a day! I will be kidnapping them to take their minds elsewhere every few days.  But I need a plan first.. Oh, more work to do.
There are a few more stories to share but this has gotten long enough.  Tomorrow I'll share pictures and more...

Monday, July 12, 2010


I will write this evening to catch up on the time off.  I don't mean to disappoint by not writing each day.  The past several days have just been a bit busy.

But I WILL share some good news right now. After all the emails, meetings and phone calls I have done on my daughter's behalf to have her given the appropriate lessons to learn English...  I had a phone call today, from the lawyer assigned to me, that the US Government, Department of Education, is filing a case against my school system claiming that my daughter's Title VI Rights have been violated!!!  And so the process begins....

I will write more tonight.

Monday, July 5, 2010

She may drive me crazy, and frustrate the hell out of me but I will admit, she has a keen wit...  Yesterday I introduced  my deaf daughter and my other new daughter to a friend of mine.  My deaf daughter immediately signed "I'm Chinese, she's not, she's American,"  pointing at my other daughter. I signed, "What?"  She signed. "Yes I am Chinese she's just American."
How funny is that?  Then tonight at the dinner table I handed dh change from the other night, she handed her hand out as if she deserved it.  So dh gave her a high 5.  She signed , "No. I should have it." Dh shook  his head with a "I don't think so" look on his face.  She then signed, "When you are old and frail, who's going to help you then?  Not me?"  I burst out laughing and everyone said, "What, what did she say."
So I translated and everyone went into hysterics, and the look dh gave my daughter was priceless!

To those that gave me leads to help my daughter develop abstract thinking, 'Mom to 8' and 'skyblue59', I am very grateful and I will follow up on them.

You know how things come in matter what it is?  Well, I've had 2 out of the three today. My oldest daughter had a friend over, and she has the same birthday as I do, then someone wrote to look at this very special little girl that needs adopting and HER birthdate was the same. So I'm now waiting for number three, so I'll just put it out there. Anyone's birthday on July 24th?

Never mind, I just found the 3rd July 24th, although it wasn't a birthday, but it was the start of a special science/history camp. So, you see, things do come in threes.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I am now waiting to hear from the US Dept. of Education if they think my daughter's Title 6 Rights have been violated. I wait with baited breath.

 I have needed to write a note (sometimes long) every day of my daughter's summer school. They just don't seem to 'get it'. They forget that she is from China and she doesn't English, American Sign and is only on a 1st - 2nd grade level in everything. Yet they still continue to give her 5th grade work, which she doesn't understand. I have yet to hear from them... I had to ask them to give her homework. She doesn't have a work or responsibility ethic and it's very important that she works on these. Well, they sent home Place Value Words for math, in English and in numbers, she did not understand any of it. My dh and I decided to test her. We came up with the conclusion that she doesn't have any abstract thinking. She could add and subtract even numbers, single digits only, but she couldn't do odd numbers. This now makes sense when you add up all the other behaviors that she has shown. Anyone have suggestions on training or exercises to teach abstract thinking? This is a whole area I am not prepared for, I haven't done any any research in this area. I foresee at least 30+ hours I will need to do on the is subject to get her the appropriate training that she will need. Without abstract thinking her choices in life will be slim. I think we need some testing to be done once she knows more sign.

 An example of the '3 year old in a 12 year old body'. A friend's neighbor gave her a Betta fish because they were moving and couldn't take it with them. She called me and asked if one of my girls would like it. I thought it would be a good start for my deaf daughter to learn responsibility and how to follow a routine. So we sat down, and I explained and demonstrated everything about feeding, cleaning, and what a Betta fish was. I had her write notes, in Chinese, but she wasn't able to put the thoughts down, like clean the tank once a week. She could not grasp taking what she hears and writing it in her own words. (Yet another area to look into). I explained the fish is very sensitive and over-feeding, or the wrong temperature of the water, or too much movement could make the fish sick and die. So after some time I had her repeat to me what I had explained. She did seem to understand. We carried the tank up to her room and found a place for it. Speed ahead 3 hours, she's getting ready for bed, I walk in and she is chasing the fish around the tank with the net! I sign, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" She signs. "I don't know." Again I ask, and she signs the same. This went on for about 3 minutes. I sign, "Yes you do, now tell me why you had the net in the fish tank?" Well, it turns out she was trying to catch it to play with it! I removed the tank from her room, I can't trust her. I explained that all the years she was in the orphanage she didn't learn about having responsibilities, right from wrong and many life lessons and she has a lot to learn. I said that I'm sorry I did not have patience with her, but it is sometimes hard for me to remember that she was a little girl inside but was a 12 years old on the outside. I told her I would try harder to be more patient, and asked her (for the 100th time) to remember to ask before doing anything so that she could learn to do things correctly. Big sigh...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Our holiday

The first encounter with sand and the ocean

Sheer Joy

Can't get enough of that ocean...

Even at night time they wanted to be there

But then again, too much of a good thing can wear you out.

And guess who is always left to pack everything up...?