Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SEARCH: putting an older child for adoption in ontario

NOTE:  This is a bit of a soap box type post - and I don't know how to deal with the "other side" of adoption without sounding like a complete {BEEP}.  I hope this post resonates with the love and respect I have for all people going though adoption, be it welcoming someone into their family, or helping make someone's family "more complete" by choosing life and adoption over other choices.

Sooooooo... ummmmm... I really donno what to say about that title.
The other day, I was obsession over the blog stats, as I tend to do every now and again.
It makes me feel you.  You know, like "Oh, look!  3 people read my blog today!", or "Yay!  Someone left a comment!  Okay, calm down, don't get too excited.  I wanna reply.  But I can't.  I'll look desperate.  Okay.  Just wait... don't... comment back... OH I GOTTA say something!?!?!"
Of course sometimes it has the opposite effect... you know... liiiike, "How come no one is reading my blog?!  No one likes me!!!"

... ummmm... okay... never mind all that above.

The point I'm TRYING to get to, is that some of the stats which are generated is how people come to my blog.  For example, I can see that right now, people have found our blog through the following web sites:
  • http://shirlee-mccoy.blogspot.com/
  • http://raudenbushfamily.blogspot.com/
  • http://bygracewearesix.blogspot.com/
  • http://nohandscurrentinfo.blogspot.com/

I can see that people have found us through Google Seach, as well as Yahoo Search and Bing/MS Live/MSN, using the following terms:
  • berzenji blog
  • forever family ping
  • china adoption older chlid
  • zhongshan orphanage

These things make sense... however, people have also found us through some more interesting searches... such as:
  • why is she always yelling at me?
  • catch a gernade for you (this one comes up A LOT, it's CRAZY how many times this comes up)
  • putting an older child for adoption in ontario

What?!  What was that last one?  Putting an older child for adoption in ontario?

At first I was like, wow... someone is missing the point.  I mean, we're here to get children adopted, not "put them up" for adoption.
Then, thankfully, wisdom kicked in.
That is EXACTLY the point.
I've always assumed that our blog here was to help:
  • advocate for adoption
  • bridge the gap between those adopting and those who don't understand adoption
  • be a safe place for people to start conversations within their family about adoption
  • to show that adoption can work and is beautiful

But maybe it should be bigger than that.

How many times have I said that our Ping was loved by her birth parents, and that is WHY she was put up for adoption.  If she was unloved, there would have been easier, safer ways to deal with the pregnancy.  How many times have I said that adoption is beautiful and wonderful.  But at the same time, full of loss and change.

How could I focus so heavily on "my side" of adoption and totally miss what was happening on the "other side" of the fence?

So, to any of you who may be here, not because you are adopting IN to your family, but maybe have made the bravest decision to go though the other side of adoption - and help find a loving wonderful home for you child - thank you.  Thank you for giving birth to a precious loved one who will help make a family more complete.  Thank you for not giving up during what ever it is you may be going through.  Thank you for choosing life over other options.

May you find in these pages, a picture of love, family, and a small glimpse of the kind of future you are helping to provide for you child.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Can I Be Proud?

So there are only a couple weeks left of Chinese School this year... we are getting to crunch time.  Each week the laoshi (teacher) has been testing each of the students to see where they how, how much they learned, and if they can move onto the next grade... there ain't No Child Left Behind Policy at Chinese School let me tell you!

G and Ping Chinese School
These are the events of this last Saturday's Chinese School, and why I'm so proud...

Me:  So the girls have been practicing really hard these last couple of weeks.
Laoshi:  Oh, dat good.  If dey keep Chinese learning over summer, den maybe they can move onto next year.  If not, then they should stay here.
Me:  Well, we are going to be working with them over the summer.  And we have a great tutor who is going to come during the summer months to help as well.
Laoshi:  Oh, dat is good.

... the class trundles on pretty much without event... until the testing starts...

Me:  Okay girls, the laoshi is going to come around with the papers, she is going to point at stuff on the paper, and ask you to say it in Chinese.  Even if you can't understand what she is asking, just say the Chinese word she is pointing to... okay?
G:  Okay!
Ping:  WHAT?!  WHAT YOU SAY?!  LOOK!  I'm colouring!!!
Me:  Yes Ping, that is beautiful.  Do you know what to do when the teacher asks you something?
Ping: Hmmmmmmm... I donno about that.  I think ... LOOK!  PURPLE FEET!  I coloured dis purple.  And this.  And ALLLLLL this!
Me:  Yes, lovely.  Focus!  Oh snap, here comes the teacher...

... the teacher takes G off to the side, and sits down with the sheets of paper.
I can hear the exchange.

Laoshi:  Zhe shi shen ma?
G:  Liang ge li.

Laoshi looks up a little surprise...

Laoshi:  Zhe shi shen ma?
G:  Yi gu wan jiu xiou.

Laoshi snaps her head up and looks right at me.  I just smile, and shrug my shoulders.  G was nailing it!  She was even getting the tones correct and everything.

Laoshi:  Zhe shi shen ma?
G:  San ge bu wa wa.
Laoshi:  Yes!  Perfect!  How you do so good?!
G:  I donno.  *shrug*

They burn through the rest of the test.  Then the teacher turns to me...

Laoshi:  Who taught her this?
Me:  I did.
Laoshi:  No no.  The Chinese.  *obviously thinking I did not understand her question*  Who taught her these words.
Me:  Uh, I did.
Laoshi:  You?
Me:  Yup.
Laoshi:  Wow.  She did perfect.  She did so good.  And you taught her?
Me:  Yes, I taught her.
Laoshi:  Thank you.

Then the laoshi did the same test with Ping, and she did great too.  I was so proud!  My little babies!  Despite the odds... despite not being "Chinese" or having native speaking Chinese parents, my little girls are actually doing it.  Now, are they tops in the class?  No, not at all.  Are they given a lot of grace because they are stuck with some "da bi zi" for a parent trying to teach them chinese... yes.  Yes they are.  But they are in there trying!  I'm so proud of them.

On our way out of the class, the laoshi grabbed me one more time...

Laoshi:  She did so good. *motioning to G*
Me:  Yea, we practice a lot at home, and they know the words.  They just get lost during the class because there is so much Chinese, and everyone is talking pretty fast.
Laoshi:  You must practice so many hours with them.  And she only be here, 4 months?  I'm going to talk to my boss.  See if we can get her a special prize for how much she learned!
Me:  Hey!  Hear that baby!  You might get a special prize for how well you are doing in Chinese school!
G:  Really?!  A prize?!  WOW!
Me:  Yea, ummm... I guess we'll leave now.

I'm so proud of my babies!  :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Oh No, they are just like me!

Waiting at midnight for StarCraft II to be released...
Son #2 (D):  Daddy!  DAD!!!
Me:  What?  Is something wrong?
D:  No.  I just need to know how to say something.
Me:  Oh, sure.  What are you trying to say?
D:  Your mother has a smooth forehead.
Me:  Your mother has a what?
D:  It's Klingon!
Me:  Yes, I know that.  It's also a pretty big insult in the Klingon language.
D:  Yea!  I know!  Look at this website!  Its called the Klingon Learning Institute.
Me:  Aaaaaah... memories.  Yes, when I was young, I used to goto that web site to learn how to speak Klingon.  I had a couple of guys in College who could speak it better than me though... good times.

... begin wavy flash back ...

Wife:  I'm so scared for our kids.
Me:  What?  Why?!  We're great parents!
Wife:  You promise you won't get mad?
Me:  Of course not.  What's wrong with the kids.
Wife:  Well, I'm afraid... oh never mind.
Me:  No no, tell me... what's wrong.
Wife:  Well, I'm afraid our kids are going to grow up to be geeks!
Me:  Oh, I see.  And this is MY fault?!

... end flash back ...

Me:  Huh... I guess it IS my fault.
D:  What is your fault Dad?
Me:  Oh nothing.  Go practice your Klingon.

Fighting over the StarCraft II game on the way home...
I love the fact that children study us parents.  We don't always know that they do.  But as much as we study them, they are studying us.  Sometimes, this is a good thing.  Sometimes, it causes them to want to learn Klingon.

Now I am more than happy to take the credit when our children display good behavior.  In fact, I would say that they learned their empathy, love, compassion, patience, long suffering, were learned by watching me.  I'm also pretty sure that all the bad behaviors are learned from their mother.  :-)

I was overwhelmed with geekish pride that my boy wanted to learn an Alien Language.  But at the same time, I was horrified that I apparently really WAS turning my children in to geeks!

What is going to come of my girls?!  Are they going to grow up enjoying Star Wars, Star Trek, Paintball, Computer Programming, String Theory, Physics and literary works by Hofsteader?!?!  Oh my!
Are they all doomed to be like me?
I can see their teen years unfolding now...
Some Greasy Boy (SGB):  Hey baby!  How YOU doing?
Ping:  Are you talking to me?  Ewwwww...
SGB:  Wanna come back to my place and see my car?
Ping:  Uh, no.
SGB:  Come to the football game?  I'm the star quarter back!
Ping:  Nah.
SGB:  Ummm, want to see my new AMD Bulldozer based computer system with 1333MHz overclocked RAM with 7-7-7-9 timings and a overclocked 2.2Ghz Hyper Transport Bus?!
Ping:  WHAT?!  Yes I DO!
SGB:  And then maybe after that we can watch the original Stargate Series!
Ping:  I think you are my soul mate!

Oh thats not good.  My work as a father is not done.  I still have a long way to go with my kids.  But hopefully at the end of my career as a father, my children will be able to look back on many wonderful things I taught them, even if I'm never aware of what those things are.

All the teaching, preaching, talking, yelling and such I do to help "teach" my children how to behave, or how to be polite well adjusted members of society is probably useless in comparison to what they learn simply by watching me.  I think with our adopted children (especially those who are older children), this is even more true.  They are being dropped into our lives unable to speak our language, without years of history being our children... all they can do at times IS watch us.  Hopefully while watching us, they will learn that they can trust us, and eventually love us.
Old picture, but you can see there is a history of my child trying to stab me with pointy thing...
When Ping came home with us, she was smart enough to hear what we were saying, and understand it.  But she was also wise enough not to trust what we said until she saw us live it out.  There was this gap between saying "I love you", and getting it at a head level, versus being told "I love you" and truly grasping it at a heart level.  I think the heart level becomes established when our children can actually SEE us living out what we say with our words.  I think Ping finally understood that I loved her, not when I told her for the 1000th time, but when I simply scooped her up in my arms instead of getting mad at her when she attacked me with the pointy stick.  Or when I let her curl up in my lap and cry after she tried to push me down the stairs...

Now, I have to go, teach my son how to insult an alien from the one of the Neutral system in their native tongue, and let him know just how proud I am of him.  All while making sure he doesn't tell his Mother what I'm teaching him...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

I Love it when a Plan comes Together...

Previously I had posted about getting old, and making sure that I've got lots of kids, so that at least ONE of them might take care of me when I'm weak and feeble.

Little did I know that day would come so soon...

Totally unrelated picture to the story...
See, I hurt my arm trying to fix part of our roof... stupid roof!  I know what you are thinking, how did SOMEONE as rough and rugged as I, get injured fixing a roof?!  Well, I'll tell you how.  There was a wild pack of Timber Wolves who attacked our small community.  They snatched a child and started running of with it!  So I chased down the pack of angry hungry Timber Wolves and wrestled the child from the jowls of their alpha male and fought off the whole pack (all withOUT being wrapped in bacon).  Unfortunately, while hiking the 247 kilometers back to town, a family of Mountain Lions hunting for food tracked us down.  Again, I had to wrestle bare handed the lioness to the ground in an epic struggle of man versus beast!  Upon actually returning to town, I discovered that somewhere over the course of the 2 week long rescue mission where I saved a whole school full of children from a radio-active slug which mutated into SlugZilla, I had apparently pulled my left shoulder muscle.

One of the dragons I had to fight to rescue the children... what?  I didn't mention the dragons?!

Point is, I couldn't even pull on my own shirt this morning.  Luckily, Ping was upstairs playing and I was able to ask her to come help Daddy put on his shirt.  I just needed SOMEONE to pull the head part over my head.  I'm sure to watch from the outside, it was probably hilarious to watch as Ping struggled to slip the hole over my head all while I'm trying my best to laugh though the pain.  I think wrestling the Timber Wolves hurt less than putting my shirt on.  After that, I asked her to help put on my socks... I mean, they love wrestling with me and pulling my socks off and then running away... so why not help put them ON for a change.

She picked up my first sock and said "Ewwwww, stinky!"  Threw it at me and ran away.


So, I'm not sure if my plan is really working out well... but she DID help me put my shirt on.  So I think that is a step in the right direction.  I love it when a plan comes together.  :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ask A Yeti: Conflict Resolution and Big Sticks

Dear Yeti,
So many women on this board speak about their longing to adopt a second, third, ? fourth child. You have so many and are already talking about adopting again. Do you have any advice for the women on the board who are hoping to knock the sense, whoops, I meant get their loving husbands to agree to adopt again??
yours truly,still hopeful (he has not said no yet!!)
Still Hopeful,

Still Hopeful,

Sorry for the slow reply, the Yak Internet service has been especially slow this week for some reason.  I blame the Yaks.  

As for knocking some sense into the other parental unit in your family, that is a tough one.  I'm not sure how you could do that, you know, without the help of a large stick.  

Unfortunately, the large stick approach can not change the heart of your husband.  I think about the only thing you can do, is make sure your husband knows your desire to adopt again (but not be pushy about it - men hate being "pushed/nagged"), and pray for his heart to change.  Men find children scary.  We find our wifes understandable.  On a good day, we might feel that we have at least a slight grasp as to what is going on in our family.  We doubt our parenting at times.  And men hate - HATE to feel powerless, lost, confused or wrong.  Or at least, most of the Yetis I have met have been like this.

So adoption is about the scarriest thing we can encounter.  Can we provide for our expanding family financially, emotionally, etc...  Will we contine to be a good father?  Are we barely holding on now?!

So why spend a whole paragraph expanding on our insecurities?  Only to say, if those are the reasons your husband may be doubting adoption - then you might need to give him very subtle loving encouragement that he CAN in fact adopt again, and that he CAN in fact be a great father to 1 more child, and that the family CAN in fact survive and thrive!  Essentially, remove and address his fears/concerns without attacking or nagging.

Now, if he is stalling for a reason NOT listed above, then he is fair game to attack with a large stick.
If you DO use the large stick approach (which is my personal favorite solution to "conflict resolution") to help resolve the conflict, there may be some unwanted consequences.  Apparently, the Child and Family services frown upon spanking, and beating people with large sticks is right out.  Fortunately, we are dealing with a husband and Child and Family services may not really care if a husband gets it... so I guess the big stick option is still on the table.

Good luck,

The Yeti

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Travel Buddy / Ontario Approval

So we got our Ontario Approval!  Yay!  One step closer to bringing Lukai home.
Can you see the pictures of Lukai in the background?
But that one step closer awoken a fear of mine...  See, my wife is still planning on going to China *alone*.  And although we have hand many many discussions on this matter, I'm pretty sure I've lost this argument already.  Much like every.  other.  argument.  ever.  In all of our 14 years of marriage... I'm still waiting to win one.  I'm due... eventually. So she will go.  And I will stay home and watch the kids.  And hopefully Marg, Nancy, Yang (or Yangs Mother in Law - I'm not picky), Jeni, Ping, Susan, Sharlene or someone, will take pity on my children and send food... but THAT is not the fear I'm talking about today.

So, before I loose myself in a pool of self pity and want for a new stereo system, let me expound on the whole "wife going to China alone" bit.

Let me list a few of the issues/thoughts/worries/hopes I have to when my wife travels to China by herself.

My wife is likely to:

  • get lost
  • not understand the culture
  • get overwhelmed with everything that has to happen in China re: adoption (it is very stressful)
  • get sick
  • Lukai could get sick
  • D (who may travel with her) could get sick
  • D could get lost
  • D could refuse to eat anything in China
  • my wife could accidently offend someone in China and be deported
  • arrested (oh wait, maybe that was the fear if I went to China)
  • sold into the hands of some rich Russian Oil Barron

Now, I'm not saying which of those were the fears, and which ones were the hopes... but surfice it to say that I am worried about my wife travelling alone to China to complete our adoption of Lukai.

I mean, this is the same woman who:

  • punched a little old granny in the back of the head at the circus because the little old granny complained that our eldest son was blocker her view
  • driven off highway overpasses while talking not realizing that she was off the road and barreling down a grassy embankment until the screaming in the car stopped
  • who thought it was a good idea to let a homeless man take her out for breakfast when he was a wanted sex offender
  • who lost her niece in Zellers because she was looking at a blender (granted her sister (ie: the mother) was there and was also distracted by said blender)
  • who once got lost driving from IKEA home - a route she takes quite often - and got so MAD she pulled the car over and yelled at it "WELL IF YOU DON'T WANT TO TAKE ME HOME, THEN WE WILL JUST SIT HERE UNTIL YOU CHANGE YOUR MIND!"  Which in and of itself doesn't sound all that weird until you factor in that she was yelling at the car.

So yes, I worry, and yes, she needs help...

Now there have been people who have offered to go with her to China.  But most of these people are single, or not parents, or young, or just looking for an adventure or something.  They are not necessarily the right kind of person to go and actually be a help mate.

What she needs is someone who can be a support, but not demanding.
Someone who understands the needs of a child, but not feel the need to bond with that child*.
Someone who can travel well, yet be content to not leave a hotel room if the need arises.
Someone who can understand adoption and the messiness of it at times, and not try to clean it up.

Its not easy adopting.  And being in a foreign country, with foreign laws, with foreign languages, with the stresses of having a grieving child thrust into your life - and you theirs is really not easy.  Let me state that again, just in case I was not subtle enough... it is not easy.

Can the wife do this on her own?  Absolutely.  I trust that she can.
Should she have to do it on her own?  No.  I wish we had the funds and support to allow us both to go.
Is there someone out there who could maybe help her?  I'm sure there is...

Do I hope someone steps up and offers to travel with my wife to China to complete the adoption?  For the sake of our new child, yes.  Because being adopted is traumatic enough - however, being stuck with a Calgarian woman who is a little crazy around the edges and having to watch her get sold into the hands of that rich Russian Oil Barron is probably just a little too much for our new son to endure...  but then again, kids are a lot stronger than we give 'em credit for... maybe it would be OK after all.

* == Bonding has to be between parent and child, not parents-friend and child.