Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Me and the Police

I know this may come as a complete and total shock to anyone reading this... but sometimes, I have issues with those in Law Enforcement. Well, to be more precise, I don't have an issue with them... but they seem to have an issue with me.

Future Wife: Are you speeding?
Younger Me: Nope.
Future Wife: Why did you get pulled over then?
Younger Me: I'm not sure. I'm sure we will find out soon enough.
Policeman: License and registration please.
Younger Me: Sure.
Policeman: Do you know why I pulled you over?
Younger Me: Because of my dashing good looks?
Policeman: No, because there is reason to believe you are driving a stolen vehicle.

I look at my car (man, I wish I had a picture of it!)... a rusted out 1976 Plymouth Horizon. Floor boards had rusted though so bad, that when we drove though a puddle water splashed up on the INSIDE of the car. There was no muffler really to speak of. And the whole car was held together with duct tape and chicken wire.

Younger Me: Officer Sir, if I were to steal a car, I would have stolen something nicer than a 1976 Plymouth Horizon.
Policeman: Son, get out of the car and spread 'em...

For the next 45 minutes, I'm standing in the freezing rain on a cold Winnipeg Autumn evening... while some police officer is sitting in his nice warm cruiser watching me freeze. I tried to re-enter my car, which cause the officer to jump out and almost shoot me...

On the flip side, my beautiful wife and her sister got pulled over for:
1) speeding
2) not wearing seat belts
3) having the wrong plates on the vehicle
4) not having the insurance/liscence on the vehicle
5) having the children not in thier seats (it was a cargo van)
And THEY got off with just a "warning". GAH! If that was me, the cop would have shot me for SURE!

OH! Shooting me! That reminds me of another time...

Policeman: Open the door!
Much Younger Me: Uh, why are there police men running up to the house...
Older Brother: And why do they have their guns drawn?

... uuummmmm, you know what, I'm gonna finish that story AFTER our adoption is complete. :-)

Getting on topic... recently, we had to get our criminal reports done... like... 3 times... because *SOMETHING* always got forgotten in the report.

But dealing with the police with our adoption has been different. Everyone at the station has been super helpful, and even though the paper work has not gone as "smoothly" as one would like, the police seem genuinely interested in getting our adoption completed as quickly and painlessly as possible.

I'm sure that these police officers who are just "doing their jobs" don't understand that they are actually helping bring a "missing child home".

I've heard it said before that it "takes a village to raise a child"... in the world of adoption, it "takes a city of government workers to work though all the red tape to allow you to bring a child home"... or something.

So, to all the unsung heroes of adoption... Yeeeeees, to you the Social Workers, the Criminal Report Checkers, to the Finger Printer Taker Guy at the RCMP Office and yes... even you, you crazy little Guy Who Stamps My Paper at The Chinese Embassy before Sending it to the Laywers* - this post is for you - Thank You**.

* == Laywers are not included in the list of people to thank... nor is AirCanada... blood thirsty leeches***!
** == See, cup 1/2 full kind of guy - I'm not freaking out that we've lost like 3 weeks due to this paper work bungle! Not. Freaking. Out.
*** == if my Blog dissapears soon, its because the laywers**** sued me for something...
**** == I'm only kidding, the laywers are great*****.
***** == I still think AirCanada shouldn't charge FULL FREAKING FARE for a 2+ year old.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jason Upton's Adoption Story

The link above is a great video of an Adopted person telling his story.  If you are unfamiliar with Jason Uptons Christian music, some of it is amazing!  I wore our one of his praise CDs from non-stop rotation.

Anyway, the link takes you to another blog who originally posted the video.  For those who may be too lazy to actually click on a link, I've also embedded the YouTube video below (at least, I HOPE I embedded it... my firewall blocks YouTube, so I'm guessing that it worked).

Its the CRAZIES who are Thankful!

I like to think that I'm a pretty Happy Go Lucky kind of guy.
I mean, I like to think of myself as a "cup 1/2 full" kind of guy (unless you are drinking from it, then it is 1/2 empty).
See the good in everyone.
Look on the bright side of things.
Find the silver lining in the cloud.
You know, all that kind of good stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I have my bad days like everyone... okay, well, maybe not EVERYONE. I have one friend Rhonda, who I don't think EVER has a bad day. Drives me NUTS! I just wanna scream... Its like, "C'mon! Can't you just have 1 bad day?". *siiigh* Oh, and my good friend Bobby - always happy! Always. Crazy. And everything works out for him too! He is one of those guys that if his car broke down on him on the way to Church, a new Lexus would fall from the heavens with the keys in the ignition and Megan Fox in the passenger seat! Goodness that guy bugs me too! You know what! They ALL drive me nuts! Happy people! BAH!!!

Where was I? Oh right... I'm Happy and Thankful!

Sometimes it can be really hard to be Thankful... honestly, I think sometimes we have to be CRAZY to be Thankful!

Me: *looking at the bank account* Oh snap.
Bad Me: You know, this whole "adoption" thing is kinda expensive. Like... really freakishly expensive.
Me: Yea, I know.
Bad Me: Dosn't that tick you OFF!
Me: Yea, kinda.
Bad Me: Kinda?! There are 147 MILLION orphans in the world - all you want to do is help 1, and someone wants to charge you thousands of dollars!
Me: Hey, you know what, that is crazy!
Bad Me: Thats right! Its CRAZY!
Me: They shouldn't do that! Thats CRAZY! Stupid regulations!
Good Me: Maybe you should be thankful instead of getting all upset.
Me: What? Be thankful for what?! That this is going to cost us a LOT of money, so I have to work TONNES(1) of overtime to pay for it all?!
Good Me: You could be thankful that you HAVE a job where you can work the over time to help pay for the adoption. Or you could just be thankful that you have a job at all.
Me: Okay, fine. I'm thankful that I have a job. But I'm still upset that this is SO HARD to adopt when these children need homes.
Good Me: Why don't you be thankful that you are adopting a beautiful child into your family, and not focus on the paper work.
Me: Okay... fine. So I'm thankful that I've got a job. I'm thankful that I am able to adopt a child. But, but... do you remember what the last adoption was like! I mean, you weren't the one getting yelled at in Mandarin every day!
Good Me: Why don't you just be thankful that your beautiful daughter will even talk to you.
Me: Grrrrr... fine. I'll be thankful for the job, for being able to pay for the adoption, for adding to the family, even for my daughter yelling at me.
Good Me: See! Don't you feel better now.
Me: You know what... no. This is still hard! And I haven't even gotten into the all the other krump(2) we've gotta work though for our "Special Needs" now.
Good Me: I know. Hey, you should ask God how hard adoption was for him. But there are some other things you can be thankful for.
Me: Oh yea, like what?
Good Me: Well, women with poor taste in men. With-out that, you would still be a bachelor!
Me: You know, for a "good conscience", sometimes you can be really mean.
Good Me: And you should be...
Me: Thankful for that too?
Good Me: My work here is done.

There are always two choices when life throws something unpleasant at you.
You can get mad, rage against the injustice* in life and hold onto bitterness, anger, resentment, etc.
Or, you can be one of the crazies. And goodness knows, there is enough krump in the adoption process to make anyone jaded (even the crazies like Bobby and Rhonda)...

As for me, I'm happy to be a crazy. I want to focus on what God has given me, and simply walk steadfastly though the trials of life, holding onto love, joy, peace, goodness, faith... and yes... even holding onto crazy, er, thankfullness. :-)

(1) Totally not a made up word - simply the proper spelling of TON (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tonnes) - welcome to Canada eh!

(2) Totally a made up word. Based loosely off CRUMP (which means "to explode heavily" (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/crump)), except rooted in a metaphorical term for issues which seem to "explode heavily" into your life, if you want them or not.

* == There is definitely a time to rage against the injustices of this world - but it probably is going to be a time that you won't like, and for something which you don't want to do. :-)

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Special Needs Report

So, we got asked by our Social Worker to provide a supplemental report on the Special Needs we were OK with. This report is being requested by the Ontario Government (not our Social Worker), and I think it is to ensure "we" understand "what we are getting into" in regards to the Special Needs.

The report is to contain:
  • What the special need is
  • What the special need means to us
  • What the effects will be
  • What our experiences are with the special need
  • etc...
In our report we cover the following special needs:
  • Albinism
  • Mobility Problems
  • Cleft Palate / Cleft Lip
  • Heart Defects
  • Missing Digits
  • Facial Deformities
  • Birthmarks / Port Wine Stains
  • Club Foot
  • Limb Length Differences
  • Mild Spina Bifida
  • Ocular Motor Nerve Paralysis
  • Visual Impairment
  • Hepatitis B
  • Other Minor or Correctable Handicaps
If any of these Special Needs are on your list, feel free to view our report on our Special Needs Report page.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Parental Disappointment

Doctor:  Congratulations!  You've got a son!
Me:  Wow!  A son!
Wife:  Oh look at him!  He is beautiful!
Me:  He sure is!  Handsome!  Rugged!  He is going to be a star Athlete!
Wife:  He can be anything he wants to be...
Me:  So long as he is Athletic!  And rough and rugged like his Dad!
Wife:  Ummmm... I don't think you are as rough and rugged as you think you are...

And as simple as that, the expectations were set.  Yes, I had two wonderful boys - at least one of them would wind up being interested in Sports or some kind of Physical activity.  Right!  Right?

Wife:  Sooooo, football?  Hockey?
Me:  Are you kidding me?  Do you know how much those sports cost!  Think cheap... soccer... baseball... the European sports.
Wife:  Alright, well, there is a baseball league in the nearest town.  Only 40$ a kid.
Me:  Perfect!  Lets go!

It wasn't long into the 1st practice that I could see my dreams of having an Athletic son started to fade.

K waiting for his turn to bat
Wife:  What is he doing?
Me:  Huh?  Who?
Wife:  Our son.
Me:  AAAaah, yes, number 14 playing the out field!  He is doing great!  Look at him run and catch the ball!  Amazing!
Wife:  That's not our son.
Me:  I'm pretending it is.  I don't think his parents are around.  WAY TO GO NUMBER 14!!! YEAAAAA!!! WHOOOOOOO!
Wife:  Look at your son.  Over there.  By the 1st base.  What is he doing?
Me:  Oh.  Right.  Um, he is taking the orange cone pylon, and filling it up with sand.  Then, he pulls the cone up, and laughs as the sand pyramid crumbles down.
Wife:  Aaaah, well... that would explain why the cone is almost at second base.  But look at how happy he is!
Wife:  Oh look!  He's waving at you!  Isn't be beautiful!  He is so happy!
Me:  Shhhh!  Don't wave back!  Others will know he is ours!

Maybe baseball just wasn't his "thing".... there are other sports right?  Enter son #2...
D (son #2) - my chance at redemption?
Wife:  What is he doing?
Me:  Our son, he's leading the offensive charge!  Look at him out there - number 14!
Wife:  Isn't that the same kid from baseball?
Me:  Yea, isn't he great?  Way to go number 14!
Wife:  Oh look!  There is our son!
Me:  *siiiiigh*  Yea.  He's uh... he's chasing the butter fly.
Wife:  Oh he looks so happy!
Me:  Son, case the ball!  The soccer ball!  Not the butter fly!
Wife:  He's waving at you!  Look how proud he is!
Me:  The BALL!!!  GET THE BALL!  Oh, look... great... he is coming this way.
D:  Look Mom!  I pick you flowers!
Wife:  Oh I LOVE you baby!
Me:  Okay, D, now you're here... listen to me... you are playing soccer!  You run!  You run hard!  And you KICK that ball hard!  Now, go get it!
D:  Okay Daddy!
Wife:  Oh look at him run!  He is so fast!  Oh, whats he doing?  Why is he shaking?
Me:  *Ungh*  He thinks he is Mega Man.
Wife:  Mega who?
Me:  Mega man.  From his video game.  He is "charging" his shot.  Look at his pose... leg lifted back in the air, arms up, head down... shaking.  In the Mega Man game, you hold the "shoot" button down for a few seconds and Mega Man strikes that same pose, and starts to shake... the longer you hold the button, the stronger the shot will be... he is charging his shot.
Wife:  Oh look!  Someone just took the ball away.
Me:  *siiiigh*
Wife:  I'm so proud of you baby!
D Mega Man-ing it
Now thankfully, our little G is quite the soccer player!  Yup, our eldest daughter is my little striker.  She can rack up 5 or 6 goals in a game.  You should see her hustle out there!  She is chasing down girls waaaay bigger than her, muscling them off the ball... amazing!
G looking cute, but she will eat you alive on the pitch!
It's funny how as a parent, I put so many of my expectations on my children.  And they really were my expectations.  And when my beautiful children did not reach my expectations - when they "failed" - I was some how... disappointed in them.

The funniest part of it all though, is that my children never failed.  I did.

They simply excelled in ways which I was too blinded to see.  Yes, they were having fun, and that is great.  But forget the sports all together.  I was so blinded by my own thoughts on who my children should be, that I missed who they were!

  • I missed the fact that both my boys were excelling in music!
  • I missed the fact that our 2nd born son was invited to a Robot conference in US (where only Government, Military and Universities were allowed to attend) because he was so knowledgeable on the subject at the tender age of 6!
  • I missed the fact that our eldest son preached at church when he was like 5!
  • I missed the fact that our eldest daughter raised ~200$ for Haiti children instead of getting gifts at her birthday!
  • I missed the fact that they were beautiful, and loving, and amazing children that any parent would want!

K preaching at church
D posing for a picture at the Robo-Conference
I ran the risk of missing all the wonderful things that my children were accomplishing because I was so fixated on what I wanted them to be... instead of noticing who they really were.

And I wonder... how much of that do we put on our children without knowing it?  We expect our children to be perfect - to have no special needs.  And why?  Because of what we think our children should be?

For the sake of our families, may we never "pass by" a child simply because we are too scared, or too blinded to see beyond the physical.

To that beautiful little girl who is in a wheel chair, or a little boy who has Hepatitis B, may we never let our limitations limit what our children can be.

And may our eyes focus not on who they are not - but may they be forever focused on who they truly are.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

[Lord] grant me patience...

Wife: We are TOTALLY gonna do this adoption better!
Me: Oh yea, totally. I mean, we're totally going to ... uh... how are we going to do it better?
Wife: We are going to be more organized!
Me: Un-huh...
Wife: And we are going to be patient!
Me: Yes!
Wife: And we are not going to freak out when things go wrong!
Me: YES!
Wife: And when we want to scream and cry and rip off some stupid minimum wage making government official because they forgot to double stamp our police report - we will NOT freak out!
Me: YEEES!!! You go girl!
Wife: We will NOT be the ones to break down and cry! To rage against the paper work to fight the system!
Me: No Ma'am! Not US!
Wife: We will be diligent and get our paper work done before it is asked of us, that way when our social worker asks "Do you have this paperwork done?", we can say yes, and give it to her!
Me: Ye... errr... So, you would not be mad if... saaaaaay, my Doctor hasn't released my medical forms yet?
Wife: Oh no. Not at all. Because we have lots of time!
Me: Oh good! ha ha. Good.
... awkward silence...
Wife: Why do you ask?
Me: Oh its nothing.
Wife: What happened.
Me: Weeeeeeell, my Doctor hasn't sent in my medical forms yet.
Wife: Why? Why not? Why wouldn't she have sent them in yet?! How come?! WHY!?!? They were supposed to be in last week! Why isn't it done yet?! What did you DO?!?!
Me: Nothing. Its just... you know... she is on vacation.
Wife: WHAT?!?!?! THAT IS TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE! When is she getting back??!?!?!!?
Me: Oh, uh... next week.
Wife: Well thats not too bad. We'll have it in be the end of the week then.
Me: Baby, its Monday. Next week. You know, like 7 days away... and then she needs to review the records before sending them in. So, they might be done in two weeks.
Wife: WHAT?!?!?! OH C'MON! This is TOTALLY unacceptable! Call them back! Tell them this is for an adoption!
Me: I did.
Me: Oh no, the minimum wage receptionist sounded very concerned.
Wife: I'm calling them right now! RIGHT NOW!!! BECAUSE THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! *sob*
Me: I'm so glad you are taking this better than the 1st adoption.

... fast forward a few days ...

Me: So, the medical forms are back. It's all good now!
Wife: I'm so proud of us! We TOTALLY didn't freak out there. We're doing this adoption SO much better! I feel like... you know, anything can happen, and we will be OK with it. Nothing can phase us.
Me: Yup. We're like a rock. Solid.
Wife: Un-huh.
Me: Yeeeeah, so even if something funny happened, like you know... the police forgetting to get us our "list of occurrences" when they did our blue form we wouldn't freak out.
Me: Me? No.
Wife: Well WHO would LOOOOOSE our letters of occurences? Huh? Why would be THAT foolish?! And dis-organized!
Me: Well, uh, you actually did the police forms. Sooo...
Me: No, its, um... your fault that YOU lost our lette...
Wife: DO YOU KNOW THAT I DO EVERY DAY?!?! You try doing what I do! See how much YOU remember! (carry on the whole "I'm doing everything while you just sit around and write on your blog" speech)
Me: (some time later) Okay, look, I just got off the phone with the police, apparently THEY forgot to complete the form...
Wife: (chatter-chatter-chatter) ... oh, well, good. So you can just go get the missing form.
Me: Yea. Um, but I have to go to our Adoption Workers place, pick up the original incomplete forms, return them to the police station, along with the original receipts.

... fast forward a couple more days ...

Me: Okay, well, I picked up the original Police forms from our social worker again. And I've just gotta write up an couple letters explaining what happened, and then drop them off again at the Police station.
Wife: Good. We are doing SO great still! Totally not freaking out!
Me: Nope. Oh, and I need your passport again.
Wife: Huh. Uh, what.... why?
Me: Ah, something about proving our identity again and blah blah blah...
Wife: Okay. Okay! Ohhhhhhh kay. Breath. Its not that bad. So, how long will this paper work take to complete?
Me: You mean, to complete it again? The police forms, which we've already done twice now? Not to mention the 4 trips to the Finger Printing* place... that paper work?
Wife: Yes. That paper work.
Me: Well, uh... they said it should be less than two months.
Me: Yea. Oh, good news tho! Our "draft" report is done! So once we get this paper work back, we are GOOD to go!
Wife: Okay. Thats. Um. Thats. Great! Really! We. Are. Doing. Sooooooooooo... great.
Me: Yeaaaaah, great.
Wife: What?
Me: Oh? What? Nothing!
Wife: WHAT?
Me: Ah, well, its just ah... when I was with the adoption worker... she needs... you know, some more... information from us.
Wife: More. Information.
Me: Yea. But you know. Its nothing big. Just uh. We need to take all the special needs we said we were OK with, and... well... write a 1 page essay on each.
Wife: WWWWWWHHHHHHHAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?!?!?!?!?!? OH MOTH[BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP]ING SON OF A [BEEEEEEEEEEP]!!!! Thats not in the Official Paper Work! WHY?! WWhhhhaaaaayyyyy?!?!
Me: We're the 2nd family in Ontario to EVER have to do it.
Wife: WHaaaaaaaAAATTTT?!!?
Me: Yea, something about the Government wanting to "make sure we know what we're getting into".
Wife: BUT!! BUT! Its NOT on the list!
Me: Yea, I know. I mean, we COULD send in our paper work without it... but then 2 months later, they might reject our paper work and we'll be back here at square one... You okay? I'm sure other families adopting special needs will have to do the same. (pause) Seriously, you OK?
Wife: Boy... you know... I prayed for patience... God is REEEEEAAAAAALY pushing it, ya know?! God is REAAAALY pushing it!
Me: I'll make sure I pass that along to God when I'm talking to him.

* == the Wife's finger prints would not work on the digital finger printer (something about having her finger prints erased when she was an Assassin working for the KGB), so they had to "ink" them. We were THEN told the inking would take up to 9 months. At that point, the wife starting going daily to the finger printing place getting each finger printing tech to try to take her prints (they used sand paper on her fingers, they tried soaking her hands in warm water, etc, etc, etc)... in the end, they wound up getting a good enough set of digital prints.

Berzenji Forever Family Day!

Yes sir, 1 year ago today, we finally met our daughter face to face.

Today, was our 1st annual Forever Family Day!

We had pancakes with chocolate chips, strawberries and raspberries. We had bacon and syrup and whipped cream! MMmhhhh! So good!

Getting ready to head off to school - the pancakes made us late!  :-)
 I don't think they minded!
 Oh, and there was something-something about a new beautiful daughter who 1 year ago today, stepped out of a back room filled with bright colourfull chairs, wearing a pale yellow fur coat, and stepped right into our hearts...

She quietly looked at Roberta, and said "ma ma", then turned to me, and in the most beautiful voice I've ever heard... said "stay away from me you big fat YETI!" and started to cry!

Okay, maybe she DIDN'T say EXACTLY that...

But she did win over our hearts that day. Actually, she won over our hearts 5 months before that when we first saw her picture and read her profile. Or to be even more precise, 5 years ago, when she was born, she became the answer to a question which we didn't even know our family was asking.

Look how tall she has gotten in the last year!  We marked her height when we got her referral (Jade 3.5), then when she got home 5 months later (Jade 4).  Hopefully the markers can be seen in the photo.

And now, 1 year being home with us... it is nothing short of a miracle to see her with her siblings, and how she is thriving in every way!

I love you Baby! Happy Family Day!

Friday, November 12, 2010

1 Year Gone... (Meet Ya Day Video)

November 11th, 2009... last year, we were on an airplane - headed to China to get our new daughter!

Over the past year, we've had ups and downs.
Good days and bad.
We've had wonderful moments with friends and family where they have loved our Ping, and we've had moments when people just didn't.

Has adoption been what I expected? Hmmmm...

Not really. I mean, the obvious things are there. We adopted a wonderful beautiful girl from China. So, you know, THAT was what we expected.

However, there were some things we (I) did not expect...
I did not expect to be yelled at in Chinese as much as I have been.
I did not expect our daughter to "hold onto" her orphanage life as much as she did.
I did not expect problems in the Kindergarten class (or at least not the KIND of problems as we've had).
I did not expect to have to work so hard to have Ping like me.
I did not expect to have to cut my hair... or shave... just to get her to give me a kiss.
I did not expect to be starting this all again in less than 1 year home.
I did not expect our daughter G to be such a great Big Sister! She really stepped up her game!
I did not expect Ping to hug so strongly.
I did not expect Ping to cuddle up in bed with us almost every night for 10 months straight.
I did not expect to fall in love so quickly with this beautiful little girl.

And there were some things we (I) did expect, which turned out different... but the one prevailing thought thought this all is... it is good.

It has been an exciting and wonderful year! And as we look towards the next year, it is only going to be even better!

To ask myself the question above again, "has adoption been what I expected?", I would have to answer No *.
But it has been exactly what we (I) needed.

* == Its been different/better than expected, we were expecting much more behavior problems.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Video Link to our Orphan Sunday

Adoption Day Video

The link above is a link to the recording of the Church service where we celebrating "Remembrance" - and although we typically remember the veterans of our military (which we did), we also took some time to remember those who sometimes have no voice of their own - the orphans of the world.

The adoption stuff kicks off some where around the 16:30 minute mark!

And talk about the beginning of a "movement" - I understand that the church has received hundreds of people from all over the world contacting them to (hopefully) find out more about adoption and starting a Forever Family of their own, or just finding out how they can support those whom they can!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Orphan Sunday - We're Sharing!

Just a quick shout out - this Sunday is Orphan Sunday (http://www.orphansunday.org/) and our church The Life Centre (http://www.lifecentre.org/) is going to be dedicating part of this Sunday (Nov 7th) to the Adoption Movement.  If you happen to be in the Ottawa area - and are looking for a good way to celebrate Orphan Sunday - feel free to come and check it out!  It should be a good time!  There's gonna be some cool stuff going on (I mean, me and the wife are sharing with some other families which have adopted).

2214 Innes Rd
Ottawa, ON K1B 4C4


Thursday, November 4, 2010

Don't you worry about: Behavior

People also seem to be worried about our desire to adopt because of "behavior" issues.  It is as if they assume children adopted will behave badly, while biological children will behave gooder.  I've even had one well meaning person ask me "Why would you want to adopt, you already have 3 wonderful children, and you want to risk wrecking that by adopting?"  Now, I know what they meant, but the "risk" had nothing to do about adoption - and everything to do with just adding another child to the mix.

Wife:  So, we need to take two cars into Church today.
Me:  Oh, why?  Do you have to stay in town for something?
Wife:  No, G invited 3 of her friends, and they all want to come to the party.
Me:  Aaaah, I see.  Okay.  Well, two cars it is.
Wife:  Great, you can drive the girls, and I'll take the boys.
Me:  Why don't you take the girls, and I'll go with the boys?
Wife:  Oh... ah... its... a... because you can get ready quicker in the morning!  Yea!  Thats it!  And you would have more to children to pick up.  The boys only have 1 friend coming.
Me:  Oh, ok.  No problem then.
Wife:  Love you!
Me: *thinking* ... hmmmm... whats this feeling of impending doom for I wonder...

So I stacked G, and Ping into the van, and went and picked up adorable little girls #1 (ADG1).

ADG1:  HI G!!!
G:  Hey!
ADG1:  hehehehe... Hi Ping.
Ping:  This is your house?
ADG1:  Yea.
Ping:  It close to my house.
ADG1:  Yea, it's as close as my BUTT!
Ping:  BUTT!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA!!! Daddy, DADDY, she say "butt"!

Ping and ADG1 apparently, sit together on the Bus ride to school every day.  And as they talked about "butt" and other such things, they eventually broke out into a laughing match.  Yes, they wanted to see who could laugh the loudest and the longest.  Which would be fine... except that ADG1 would do it only when Ping tried to speak.  Naturally, Ping started getting annoyed, because she wanted to talk to G + ADG1... but every time Ping opened her mouth, ADG1 started screaming!  In fact, I saw A LOT of what Ping has learned lately (which I don't like), coming from this ADG1.  Word for word... including the "what-ever" every time you ask them to do something... 

Me:  Oh, we don't way "whatever" or "butts" in our family.  Okay?
Ping:  Okay Daddy!

Hmmm, Ping actually stopped saying "butt" and "whatever" when I asked her to.  What a good daughter, way to go Ping!  It was (thankfully) a quick drive to adorable little girls #2 house...

ADG2:  Hey G!  Hey Ping!
G:  Hey!  Come sit by me!
ADG2:  Okay!  Oh.  Hi.  Let me tell you about ...

... it was unfortunately a 15 minute drive to the next girls house ...

ADG2: ... and thats why she said No!

Yes, ADG2 talked the whole way... non-stop.
So now, I have Ping getting mad, because ADG1 is STILL screaming every time Ping tries to talk (and thinking its funny).
ADG1 is driving me nuts (who I've corrected many times already in the van - but keeps coming up with "variations" of what she is doing wrong, ala the: "but you didn't say I couldn't scream at the window" excuse.
ADG2 is talking at the top of her lungs to be louder than ADG1.
And poor G is just trying to have them all to get along.

We wind up at adorable little girls #3 house...

Me:  Okay, G, lets go get ADG #3.
G:  Okay!
Ping:  I come!
Me:  No, sorry Ping.  You are waaaay in the back of the van.  We will be right back.
Ping:  I want to come!
Me:  Sorry baby.
Ping:  You not nice!

By this time, we had been in the van for about 30 minutes.  And poor Ping has been getting yelled at by ADG1 every time she opens her mouth.  Pings patience is getting pretty thin.  At this point, I'm wondering ... how did my wife talk me into driving 5 girls all under the age of 6 to church while she is having a relaxing cup of coffee at the breakfast table...

Anyway, ADG3 gets into the van - and the chaos continues.

Don't get me wrong.  The girls were all having a good time.  It was just utter Chaos!

I don't think Ping does well with Chaos.  It seems to work her up into a frenzy which she then starts to behave poorly.

45 minutes later, we are at church and I'm signing the girls into the Sunday school party.  It is at THIS time my wife decides to show up and take the credit...

Kids Pastor:  Oh look!  G, you brought like 3 friends!  Thats wonderful!
Wife:  Yea, well, you know, they wanted to come, so I figured we should bring 'em!
Kids Pastor:  Oh you are such a wonderful person!
Me:  Hey!  Wait a second!  I'm the one that ...
Wife:  Go hang up the coats?  Great, thanks.

Now, I mentioned the boys had "1 friend" coming.  Well, it turns out that this "1 friend" ended up like, fracturing his ankle in one of the games at the party.  Oh, not good.  But, more importantly, my wife handed him off to ME and I had to take the broken kid home to his parents.

After dropping him off at the door with his father, and explaining the story as best I could, I returned to the van to the 5 girls all under the age of 6 to hear Ping crying and yelling at them.

The moment I open the door ADG1 + 2 start with the "Ping is being mean to us" song and dance.  It is a dance I've been hearing all morning from these two, and it has never been the case.  Yes, Ping maybe got mad at them, but it was always upon provocation.

Me:  What did Ping do?
ADG1+2:  She yelled at us!
Me:  Un-huh.  And what did you do, that made her yell?
ADG1+2:  Oh, noooothing. *little angle wings and halos appearing out of no where*
Me:  Un-huh.  I'm not buying that.  Ping, what happened?
Ping:  They were no nice to me.
Me:  Hmmm.  Interesting.  G, what happened?
G:  I don't know.
Me:  Yes baby, you do.  It just happened, and you were sitting right there the whole time.
ADG2:  We didn't do nothing!  *halo slipping a little to the left*
ADG1:  Yea!  Nothing!  Ping just got mad.
Me:  G?
ADG1+2:  She is mean!
Me:  I didn't ask you girls, now, be quiet.
G:  *long pause*  Well, ADG1 + 2 were not talking nice to Ping.  They were saying mean things to her.

Aaaaah!  There is my daughter!

Ping was rightfully upset after that.  She reminded me that she did not like ADG1, or 2, for the rest of the ride home.  She even said she didn't like G anymore... or me... or anyone...

I guess there are a few things noted here...

  1. even biological children can be pains in the butt, and can have behavior issues
  2. adopted children can have behavior issues, some specific to adoption
  3. raising an adopted child isn't any "harder" than a biological one, you just have 'different' issues
  4. adorable cute girls 1 + 2, really, were not that adorable
  5. never let your wife talk you into taking 5 girls under the age of 6 for extended road trips
  6. our daughter G is wiling to stand up for her sister - even if her friends are going to be mad at her

I think that last point there, thats the one to pay attention to.

Did Ping get mad (at everyone)?  Sure.  Was it because she was adopted - No.  It is because she had an annoying biological child screaming in her face for 30 minutes, it is because she was getting picked on, talked meanly to, etc.  Any child would get upset over that.

Did adopting make our children less "wonderful"?  No.  Not at all.  If anything, it is helping teach us all how to be a better family... including G, who despite her gentile nature, and her desire never to hurt anyones feelings, grew a little more wonderful this Sunday as she stood up for her sister in the midst of peer pressure.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't you worry about: Speech/Language

Another question I get asked is if we are worried about "language" issues with our adopted child... 
And really, no.  
I know some parents try like mad to learn the native language of their children - and this is good... I think.
But really, the kids pick the language up super fast.
Now, by all means, learn as much of their language as you can - because it will make the 1st few weeks easier.  Even if you can only learn simple terms like "hungry", "tired" and such.

... rewind a few years ...

Wife:  So, we got a call from the school today.
Me:  Oh yea?  What did our (biological) son do?
Wife:  They think he might need speech therapy.
Me:  Really?  Wow.  Uh, why.
Wife:  Really?  Why?  Here... K, say Hi to your Daddy.
K:  Wabbi wai!  Wabbi way wub you!
Me:  He nailed you!
Wife:  You are such a moron.

... fast forward a few years ...

Wife:  So, we got another call from the school.
Me:  Oh yea?  What did our 2nd (biological) son D do?
Wife:  He needs therapy...
Me:  Not my fault.
Wife:  Speech therapy...
Me:  Oh, yea, well, I can see that.  I still can't understand what hes saying.
D:  Pffffbth snazzle wubble! hehehehehehehehe!!!!
Me:  HAhahaha!!!  I love it when he does his "Tasmanian Devil" thing!
Wife:  ... you moron.

... fast forward a few MORE years ...

Wife:  So, I think G is gonna need speech therapy too.
Me:  Why, did the school call about our (biological) daughter?
Wife:  No, but she is having a hard time with her S's and a few other letters.
Me:  Alright, well, lets get her assessed.  I guess we shouldn't be surprised.  Her (biological) brothers all needed speech therapy as well.
Wife:  And we were both in speech therapy when we were their age.
Me:  What?  No way.  I wasn't in speech therapy.
Wife:  Did you ever wonder why your Mom went to Kindergaten with you when you started school?
Me:  Yea, she couldn't bear to leave me alone.
Wife:  Oh my gosh.  It's because the teacher couldn't understand you!
Me:  Whaaaaat?  No way.  If I was in "Speech Therapy" I would have known about it.
Wife:  *siiigh*   Remember that "special" class you had to take in grades 2,3 and 4?
Me:  Un-huh.  The one with me and the girl with MS.
Wife: ... un-huh... and what were you doing in that class?
Me:  ... I was practicing English.  You know, making the right sounds and su... oooooooooh!  What THE?!  I was in SPEECH THERAPY!!!
Wife:  You are such a moron.
Me:  Hey boys!  Guess what!  Daddy was in SPEECH therapy too when I was your age!
Boys:  Waahbba!!!  Snaaz AWFEOMEEE!!!

Now, as it turned out, she has NOT needed speech therapy yet - but it is close.  And though this, I learned a few things:

  1. girls talk... a lot.  This talking can help them over come their speech deficiencies by the sheer virtue of the number of words they speak and practice
  2. boys don't talk a lot.  We generally grunt.
  3. speech therapy is apparently... genetic.
  4. my work benefits only cover $500 a year for speech therapy
  5. the speech therapist will charge you 120$ an hour WHILE you have work coverage
  6. the speech therapist will charge you a mere 30$ an hour when your coverage runs out
  7. speech therapists are akin to thieves and dentists
  8. I have over 1500$ of coverage for ... uh... "male supplements"
  9. the average age and sex of our Health Coverage bargaining committee was 55 and Male
  10. numbers 4, 8 and 9 above seem to be related

But what I find SO funny, in a sad sort of way, is that my only child thus far, who has NOT needed speech therapy, and who probably NEVER WILL need speech therapy, is my little Ping!

Yes'ir, my adopted Chinese Daughter has the BEST articulation in the family!

So, do I worry about speech and language issues?
Not at all.

But it is not because of the information contained above, and the fact that Ping has great articulation.

I don't worry about Speech and Language issues because I love my daughter.  Even before she came home with us, I loved her.  And there is nothing she can do to make me love her any less...

... come to think of it, she might have loved me MORE if she could NOT understand me.