Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happiest Halloween!

Last year, we had to "dress up" E in a virtual Cookie Monster costume to while away the time as we slogged along through the The Big Wait.  This year we had the time of our lives dressing her up right here in the flesh in our home.  What a difference a year makes.

I'm not really a Halloween person, or I haven't been since about the age of 10.  But I also wasn't a Wiggles person, an Elmo person, a motherly person, an amusement park person, or a person who likes to get sandy at the beach.  Now, I'm all of those things and more.  Well, OK, I still don't like to get sandy at the beach.

E has made everything in our lives so new and different.  She has given meaning to absolutely every little thing, every little moment, in a way that I just didn't know was possible.  I could barely sleep last night, I was so excited to dress her up and make all of those trick-or-treating books we've been reading come alive for her.

Baba and I kept looking at each other as we walked through the streets of our little neighborhood, just amazed at how much fun we were having because of how much fun she was having.  She would go up to the door with Baba and ring the bell.  Heaven forbid there was a dog barking, she'd turn squealing into Baba's legs.  When someone answered the door she'd say in her tiny little voice, "Tri-O-Treeeeeeee" followed up by a little "Tayn You!" and then:  "Next House!"  And off she'd go looking for "No Ruff Ruff Ruff!" and "More KEEEEY!"  (That's, NO DOG, MORE CANDY)  When we got back home, I was delighted to see that she was just as happy to give candy out to trick-or-treaters as she was to collect the loot herself. 

Tonight I'm sitting here amazed, like I do many nights when I think of our day with our daughter, and all of the wonderful ways in which our lives have turned upside down.  How could a silly holiday focused on candy and costumes feel so special?  Because of E.  Because we have this wonderful little package to share everything with, to see life in a new way through her beautiful eyes.

I'm talking too much, I know.  You just want pics so here they are.  Plus--as all parents out there know--it's time for us to go and raid the candy. 

Picking pumpkins!

Carving pumpkins!

The cutest Pumpkin!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Food for Thought

On Friday I had the opportunity to visit my alma mater, Simmons College, to attend a panel discussion:  "Transracial Adoption: Personal, Policy, and Practice Perspectives."  The discussion was filled with rich information, and was led by Margorie Margolies, an inspiring woman and great speaker.  The presentations included both research on and personal experiences with transracial adoption, and provided a lot of food for thought for my long ride home in traffic and beyond.  What identity am I projecting on to my daughter?  How will she see her own identity?  How do others here see her, and how will others in her birth country see her?  Lots of questions that don't have answers yet, but it was also good to hear the panel underscore a few points that I already knew:  the evolution of E's identity (and ours as a family) must be a fluid thing, and parenting an internationally adopted child requires a very different--and expanded--toolbox than that of a family created through biology.

It was upliting to hear some of the ways in which transracial adoption has progressed over the years, but it was also interesting to discover that some things haven't changed much at all.  "Is she from China?" was asked 20 years ago, and is still asked today on a trip to the supermarket.  But Ms. Margolies reminded us that people who ask questions and make comments are rarely trying to be hurtful.  I know that some people--myself included at times--are quick to snap at the lady at the checkout counter who is just trying to make conversation, or perhaps create an opening to share her own adoption story.

I learned a lot, had the chance to meet some considerably more experienced adoptive parents than I, and of course chimed in to share our adoption story (which was warmly received with lots of smiles).  Since I often look to the internet or books to inform myself about adoption related issues, it was nice to experience such a wealth of knowledge right here in my own backyard.

Fifteen years ago Simmons looked a lot different, I looked a lot different (yes, I was blond for a time), and adoption was only a dream I had.  It was nice to be back there today, dream realized,  participating in a discussion of the one thing that has become most important in this woman's life.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Fall Fun!

After a long transfusion day yesterday and climbing out from under piles of laundry, sand, mail, and dust bunnies from our vacation (post to come later), it was great to have some good New England fall fun today.  Of course it was freakishly warm (80) to be apple picking, so it didn't exactly feel like fall.  But the smell of ripe apples in the orchard and warm cider donuts at the farm stand definitely said, "Fall in New England" to me.

E was so excited to go apple picking.  Perhaps too excited, I thought.  We had pumped it up so much this week talking about it, pantomiming picking apples off imaginary trees, making our bedtime stories about apple picking that E was literally bouncing off the walls with excitement when it came time go to today.  The entire ride to the orchard--including a nasty bout of traffic on 95--she kept saying, "pick apple?  pick apple?" to the point that I asked P if maybe she somehow thought we were picking apples at an amusement park or at the beach or that the apples were really chocolate.  But, to my utter glee, when we arrived at the orchard and she saw what apple picking is with her own beautiful eyes, she was even more excited.

We rode a tractor to the orchard and E told us that she liked the tractor better than "mama blue car."  When we arrived at the orchard, she took off running into the trees and started picking apples (perfect twist and pull technique, I might add) faster than we could get out the Canon.  She proceeded to pick "tiny" E apples, throwing one into the bag, and eating another at the same time.

E giggled and laughed and danced to the bluegrass band and ate and had a great time.  It was beautiful to take it all in through her eyes, to watch her riding on her Baba's shoulders "up high" to pick the perfect apple, and to share this wonderful fall family tradition with our daughter.

Yesterday, considerably less fun than today, but at least we only had
two sticks!


She would not put down the apple for one second to smile for
a picture!

"Wow, this thing really IS quite delicious!"

See a theme here?  Every pic she's got an apple
in her mouth!

I love you, a bushel and a peck!
A bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!

Riding the tractor that she likes better than my car.

Pumpkin cutie!

Cute under the donut sign, but she did NOT like the cider donuts.

Hmmm....which pumpkin do I want to pick?

And, my favorite...E was the first person at the orchard to put a
pin near Liuzhou, Guangxi China!!!  Yay!