Monday, February 27, 2012

Stop Speaking Chinese to him!

NOTE:  English version of QQ can be downloaded here...

Co-Worker:  Your chinese, is getting good.
Me:  Thanks.  I've been practicing.
Co-Worker:  You speak chinese with your kids?
Me:  Yup, as often as I can.
Co-Worker:  And they can understand you?
Me:  Well, hard to say.  Even when my real chinese friends talk to Bing in Chinese, he doesn't answer often.  But we've kind of created our own version of Chinese.
Co-Worker:  But he understands you.  So that's good!
Me:  Not according to my wife.  She keeps telling me to "stop speaking chinese" with Bing.  She thinks it is slowing down him learning english.  I didn't not spend 4 years learning chinese to not speak it every chance I can!
Co-Worker:  Oh, so you speak Chinese with other co-workers then?
Me:  Ummmm, no.
Co-Worker:  With the 14 year old Chinese Cashiers at T&T?
Me:  Ummmm, no.
Co-Worker:  With the other children at Chinese school on the weekends?
Me:  Ummmm, no.
Co-Worker:  So who DO you speak Chinese with?
Me:  Mostly, Bing.  And uh, in my head I speak a lot of Chinese.  You know, to myself.
Co-Worker:  Un-huh.  So you spent 4 years learning Chinese NOT to speak it.
Me:  Actually, I use my Chinese a lot speaking to Bings Foster Family.
Co-Worker:  Really?
Me:  Yea, I've got the Foster Mom, Big Brother, Big Sister and even the Little Sister on QQ.
Co-Worker:  QQ?
Me:  Yea, QQ.
Co-Worker:  You are more Chinese than me.
Me:  But you are Chinese.
Co-Worker:  Yea, but I don't QQ.

Not my image, linked from:

Aaaah, QQ!  Got to LOVE it!

For those who do not know what QQ is... let me try to explain it to you.
It is like Facebook, Windows Messenger, Skype, Twitter, and a few other "things" all wrapped up in one!

And it is HUGE!  It has about 800 MILLION users.  It is bigger than FaceBook.

But, it is all Chinese.

This QQ tool, is what I use to communicate with people back in China.

You can share photos, Video Chat, Voice Chat, Instant Message.  You can post micro blogs (i.e.: Twitter), and you have a QZone (i.e.: Facebook), friends lists, gah!

Supports Cell phones (iPhones, Andriods, even BlackBerries), and other mobile type devices.  You can basically plug your social media right into your cortex!  It is AWESOME!

But then, it is also so very Chinese!  You get points for doing stuff online, you can 'LEVEL UP', earn Experience Points by playing online games and such... oh gosh!  It is almost too much to think about!  And so very much fun!

If you are wanting to communicate with people in China - I'm telling ya, QQ is the way to go!

No firewall issues.
No VPN access required.

But knowing Chinese *would* help.

For the brave, you can grab QQ from: .
Also, you *CAN* find it in the Apple App Store (Version 2 just came out, but I think the App store is still on 1.4 or 1.6 or something like that.

For the little less brave... I'l in the process of creating a QQ Help Page (if I ever get it done) which I will host here on Forever Family, and it will hopefully be able to help people in getting QQ setup - IF THEY NEED IT.

Of course, Skype works fine from most of China, so QQ may not be required.  And a cool tool to find out if your (or any website) can be seen from China is: .

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Trust and Pretty Shoes

NOTE:  I originally posted this on No Hands But Ours (NHBO), but decided to post here as well for those who may not subscribe to NHBO.  Sorry if it is a repeat for some.

Trust is a funny thing.  You kind of don't notice it, until it is gone... or was never there.

I think the sword and shield is the universal symbol for
"I don't trust you yet!"
Me:  Okay Ping, we have to run into my work for a second, then we will go home.
Ping:  Okay.  Can I see where you work?
Me:  Of course.  Here we are...
Ping:  Oooooh, you have a lot of computer.
Me:  Yes, yes I do.
Co-Worker:  Hello, you must be Ping!
Ping:  How you know my name?
Co-Worker:  Because your Daddy has told me all about you.
Ping:  What?!  Are you joking me?
Me:  I talk about you all the time.  I tell everyone how beautiful you are, and how nice...
Ping:  I KNOW you are joking me!
Me:  No really, I do.
Ping:  Uuuungh.  Daaaaaad!
Me:  Okay, Ping, this is Daddy's friend Miss Y.
Co-Worker:  You have very pretty shoes.
Ping:  WhaaaAAAAaaaat?
Co-Worker:  I like your shoes.
Me:  Miss Y has a bit of a shoe problem.  She has a whole drawer full of shoes!
Co-Worker:  WHAT?!  I DO NOT!
Ping:  What?  You joking me again?
Me:  Nope, look in the bottom drawer of her filing cabinet.
Ping:  *looks at drawer*  That is a big drawer.
Me:  Yes it is.  And it is FULL of shoes!
Ping:  *looks at Miss Y*  Do you has shoes in dere?
Co-Worker:  No.  No I do not.
Me:  Hey!  You can't lie to a little child!
Ping:  My Daddy is joking me.  Right?
Co-Worker:  Right.  You are so smart!
Me:  Hey!  Don't tell her I'm lying!  You want my daughter to think I'm lying to her?!
Ping:  *thinks hard, looks at me, looks at Miss Y*  You got shoes?
Co-Worker:  No.
Ping:  Daddy joking me, I know'd it!
Me:  *siiiiigh*

... two weeks later while having breakfast ...
Ping:  Mommy, Daddy joked me.
Wife:  What?
Ping:  He say, his friend have shoes in drawer.  But I know'd he joking me.
Me:  Ungh, its Miss Y at work.  She has a drawer FULL of shoes, but she won't admit it to Ping.  So Ping thinks I'm lying to her.

... a while later ...
*ring* *ring* *ring*
Me:  Hello, you've reached the Yeti at work.
Wife:  Hey, we're just passing by and Big D needs the bathroom, can you let us in?
Me:  Yea sure.  Is Ping there?
Wife:  Yea, why?
Me:  I want her to come in and see Miss Y's shoes.
Wife:  ... really?
Me:  Yes!  She can't continue to think I'm lying to her!
Wife:  ... really?!
Me:  Okay, Miss Y, Ping is coming in a couple minutes.  I need you to show her your shoes, because she thinks I'm lying to her...  and that is not good.  We don't need more attachment issues.
Co-Worker:  Oh fine.  I'll show her.
*Ping comes bounding in*
Me:  Hey baby, look, do you remember Miss Y?
Ping:  Yes!  You don't have any shoes in your drawer!
Co-Worker:  That's right!  I have no shoes in my drawer!
Me:  What?!  No shoes?!  Ping, just go open the drawer, you will SEE them all!
Ping:  Daaaaaad, stop joking me.  I go see Mom now.  Bye.

... a few weeks later ...
Me:  Hey Miss Y.
Co-Worker:  Hey, oh, hi Ping!
Ping:  Hi.  Do you have shoes yet?
Co-Worker:  How do you remember that?
Me:  It is very important to her.  You know, because she thinks I'm lying and all that.
Co-Worker:  Okay, Ping, come here.  Look.  *she cracks open her drawer a little*
I'ts like in some cheesy movie where Pandora's box is opened - light comes streaming out of the drawer, illuminating both the girls faces...
Co-Worker:  Shhhhhhhh!
Me:  I told you I wasn't joking you.
Ping:  Can I see all your shoe?
Co-Worker:  Sure.
And the two girls spent the next 1/2 hour reviewing all 30 pairs of shoes, in the drawer, hidden under the desk, and behind the computers...

See, trust takes time.  Love, you can't rush it, but you can help it along... maybe, after all, I know a thing or two about da ladies.  You can buy flowers, bring chocolates, stand out in the rain holding a ghetto blaster above your head while playing Extereme's "More Than Words" outside your beloved's window... ghetto blaster... no, it is a real word.  It was something for playing music.  Kind of like an iPod.  But bigger.  A LOT bigger.  Yes, it was portable.  You could put it on your shoulder.  No, not your pocket.  Yes, it had batteries.  About 12 D-Cells.  What's a D-Cell?!  Oh c'mon!  I'm not THAT old.  Where was I?

Oh yea, but back to trust, how do you help advance it?  How can you build it?  I'm not sure.  I mean, I can be as steadfast in my love, and as trust-worthy as one can possibly be... but trust is really out of my hands.

See, with the shoes, I was tell the bang on 100% truth.
Ping, just simply did not want to believe me.
There was nothing I could do to change her mind.

In love, in attachment, I could have read any number of books... okay, I could have had my WIFE read any number of books, and there would bee different ways to address love and attachment.  I'm sure there are ways to try to encourage the growth of trust as well... but I haven't read anything on it... or, my wife hasn't read anything on it and told me all about it.

But what can you do for trust?  I had thought of pointing out every trust worthy thing I did in a day...

  • Hey Ping, remember when you were on the stairs, and I did NOT push you down them!?  Yea, see, I'm trust worthy!
  • Ping, remember when you came home from school, and were banging on the door to let you in?  Yea, I totally let you in.  I didn't have to.  But you can trust me.  I opened the door.
  • I TOTALLY didn't eat your Skittles!  Your Mom did.
  • Remember when I said you were driving me crazy?!  Well, look!  I'm CRAZY!

Maybe that's a bad idea.  Maybe trust is just something that grows with time.  I can't force it.  Goodness knows I want to.  But each day, she trusts me more and more.  I'll just keep bring trust worthy, and maybe she will eventually believe me... you know, over some total stranger that she just met like Miss Y.

What's not to trust?!

But in the end, I know it is hard for her to trust, it is hard for anyone to trust who has been hurt before - sometimes a "wounded" perspective makes it hard to see how people may love you.  So am I going to worry about it?  Nah.  Will it hurt when I can see it plain as day that she doesn't trust me?  Yup.

But then I'll choose to see past that, to adjust MY perspective to see where she can and will be able to trust me.

Like when she gets scared at night, and calls out "Daddy, I'm scared of the dark!" - trusting that I will make it better.  I just remembered, before I started this post, she was crying about the dark saying she was scared... a great opportunity to help her confront her fears head on, and help her over come them, to build that bridge of trust between us... or, I may have simply told her something along the lines of "suck it up, you're fine!  Get back to bed."  

Hmmmm... and I wonder why we have trust issues... just... can't... figure it out...

Monday, February 13, 2012

For the Dads on the Fence

Every now and again, I feel compelled to talk to the Dads out there.  The new Dads, the old Dads, the soon to be Dads, and even the 'WhoooMyGoshHowDidThisHappenToMe' Dad.  We sometimes, bless our little souls, feel inadequate to be a father.  Kind of lost in the parental landscape dominated by Moms.
Bing with a couple friends, 2 lovely little girls who are ADORABLE!

Yes sir, right from the 1st time we got pregnant, my wife had books like 'What to Expect When You Are Expecting'... and it was a thick book!  It talked about about the baby stages of development, the zygote stage, the embryonic stage, the platypus stage.  It talked about changes in the mothers body, mood swings, things to look forward too, and stories of joy and happiness!

I got a similar book, except it was really just a hand written note by a fellow father which simply read "Crazy.  Expect Crazy."

With Adoption, all the books are about attachment, and disorders, and getting in touch with ones feelings and emotional connections to your child and bonding... stuff.  These type things fall distinctly in the realm of the womanly way of dealing with things.  If these books were written by Men, for Men, they would be that same as that hand written note from my fellow father all those years ago... "Crazy.  Expect Crazy."

Then, when the kids get a little older, there are Mom and Tots play groups, Coffee Breaks for Moms, Moms Group at Church and so on and so on.  All these wonderful ways to build a healthy relationship between Mom and child.  A very woman dominated society in raising the children.

Men do have something similar... except that we leave the children at home with the moms, and we go play golf.

Yes, society has done a wonderful job of isolating us men AWAY from the process of "children".  There is little encouragement (except for our wives BEGGING us to actually be active participants in the process) for us to get involved with the pregnancy, early years or emotional side of adoption.  And when we DO try to get engaged, we feel that we are invading the Mothers Turf.

I remember one time that I went to the Neo-Nazi-BreastFeeding-Womans-Group... er, La Leche League, and I think EVERY woman there wanted to kill me for being a man (including my own wife).  It's a wonderful group though, seriously, which helps new Moms learn how to breast feed.  Look ladies, if I could lactate, I would have!  It's not my fault I don't have Mammary Glands!  Us Dads are reduced to spectators in the child rearing process more than we would like!

Well enough of it!  So I figured it was about time someone stood up for us DADs, and found us some good role models!!!  So what better place to turn than the Bible...  Lets look at some Dad role models in the Bible to encourage us DADs in our quest to be better Fathers and Husbands!

Adam (Genesis and referenced in many other books of the Bible as well)   
  • Key to Fame:  1st Dad in the Bible... well, except for God.
  • Outstanding Parental Achievement:  ... um, fathered most of man kind.
  • Results of Parenting:  One of his children killed 25% of the worlds population (Cain + Able, Gen. 4)
Okay, maybe NOT the best example... let me find another one...

Abraham (Genesis 22)
  • Key to Fame:  Considered the father of Israel.  Still had game into his 90s!
  • Outstanding Parental Achievement:  Had 2 sons.  Many descendants, countless as the stars in the sky.
  • Results of Parenting:  Almost sacrificed one of his sons on an alter.  Kicked his other son (and his mother) out of the house at the tender age of 4(ish).  The descendants of both sons are still at war to this day.
Ummmm... moving on!

Noah (Genesis)
  • Key to Fame:  Built a big boat.
  • Outstanding Parental Achievement:  With his sons and daughter in laws, they re-populated the earth.
  • Results of Parenting:  After getting off the boat, and being stuck for 40 days and 40 nights with his kids, he immediately got drunk and passed out (Genesis 9:20~24).
David (Samuel, wrote many books in the bible as well)
  • Key to Fame:  Killed the giant Goliath.  King of Isreal (or at least most of what is Isreal today, Judah and, oh just go ask Pastor B about it later).  Was noted as having a 'Heart after God's own' (bad husband and friend though... seriously, had one of his best friends hand deliver his death sentence to his commanding officer).
  • Outstanding Parental Achievement:  Had some kids.  
  • Results of Parenting:  One of his kids tried to kill him.  David wound up having his kid killed in a battle over the throne.  There might have been something about some woman and adultery and such...
Okay, you know what.  Forget it.  I'm just gonna skip on over this all and wrap this up before I get into more trouble.

So, WHY* point all this out?  

Only to remind us DADs, that no matter HOW hard parenting looks...
No matter how SCARED we are about having kids...
... about Adoption.
... about pregnancy.
... about making mistakes.
... about being a bad Father.
... about feeling inadequate.
... about all those things and SO many more we are unable to articulate except though far off stares, the odd guttural grunting and cooking some meat on the bar-b-q as "protein based therapy"...

... is the simple truth that if THOSE guys up there, Adam, Abraham, Noah, David, YOUR Dad, MY DAD, or any other Man who has stood in the place of a father figure which may have been missing in your life...

IF they can do it.  Then by the good graces of God, YOU and I can do it.

So lets stop being sidelined, stand up, and have the courage, strength and "lacking of common sense" that is required to thinking being a Dad is a good idea, and rush headlong into this Father-hood thing with all that is within us!

Even if all you can muster up today, is "You know, maybe we could consider adoption", I'm sure it would mean the world to your wife... and you just never know where that father hood journey might lead you...

... hopefully not to an alter trying to sacrifice one of your children though.  That would be bad.  Although, when they hit about 2 years old... totally understandable.

* == IF any of that Biblical information caught you off guard, go head on over to your local bible based church, and maybe find out what you've been missing!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dreams Can Come True

Happy Grammy Day!  Or something... I donno... seems like in China, they have a celebration everyday, for something.  So to get in touch with my children's Culture, I'm having a Happy Grammy Day party!  So far, it is me, Facebook, and NBC Grammy coverage!  

And since I'm absolutely sucking at getting posts up lately, I figured 'Hey, why not just post some of my Facebook conversations about the Grammys'

... okay, even now, it doesn't seem like a good idea.  But 2 minutes when I started this, it did.

Friend:  The former American Idol girls, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson are beyond incredible!! Pursue your dreams!
Me:  I want someone to make me a ham sandwich... one day... oh one day.
Friend:  That can be arranged : )
Me:  You think?! Cuz its been 35 years... and I was starting to think maybe it would never come true for me! All those tears wasted on my pillow... *siiigh*
Friend:  Sometimes dreams take time, hang in there ; P 
Me:  *looks at the sleeping wife* Yes, sometimes they do come true... *pokes the wife* ... but apparently, not tonight. Maybe tomorrow... *wife mumbles something about 'getting my own darned sandwich'* ... or the next day.

I have dreams!
Dreams are a funny thing aren't they.  Set them too high, you might be disappointed.  Set them too low, and you never will full fill what you are capable of.  And some of us, don't even know what dreams we have yet.  

I'm still pretty sure that neither of my adopted kids were dreaming of ME.  Maybe they dreamed of having a family, maybe not.  Maybe they were happy where they were.
Love the baby pictures!  So cute, not crying... lovely!
I got some great pictures from Bings Foster Family this past week.  I mean, REALLY good pictures.  Some even from when he was young-young... like a baby young.  Which is amazing!  Because we have none of these kinds of pictures for Ping.

But in the midst of me thumbing through all these pictures, it dawned on me "Hey, he was happy!".
Foster Family and Bing had many outings, this seems to be
a Disney-esque type park
He looked like he was having a blast with his Foster Family.  And I think they thought they would have him forever.  I don't know how this will come across, but I was almost sad that he was happy, and that the foster family was so great... I guess no matter how hard I try NOT to compare our son's new life against he old, I still do.  And I REALLY want to feel like his new life is better...  dose that make me a bad parent? 

But I guess, the system works.  Bing goes up for International Adoption, and he gets adopted.  Now, the Foster Family has Fostered another Little Girl.  So that means that 2 children now have families instead of one.

This is a good thing... I guess... but still, I'm not sure that Bing was really "dreaming" of me.  I think he was having a pretty good time in China with his Foster Family.

Now, before that sounds all mellow dramatic and sad, I go back to "and some of us, don't even know what dreams we have yet."  I do believe our family is a dream-come-true for Bing (in a humble way).  Not that we were the ONLY dream.  I believe a great many families could have been a 'dream-come-true' for Bing, including his Foster Family.  But he is our dream come true as well.  And one day, when he looks back on his life, I hope that he can look back and say "Yes, all my dreams have come true."  Hopefully, some of those dreams will be because he was our son.

Oh, and a big shout out to my Fake-Brother-In-Law, whom he and his wife have begun the Adoption Journey as well!!!  YAY!  More dreams coming true!