4.12.2014

A few things to check out

I'd love to sit down and write out a nice long post. But the entire household is asleep (including the dog) and I'm savoring this little bit of quiet time!

Wanted to share these adoption related things that I've run across. Thought some of you might find them interesting.

Adoptionland: From Orphans to Activists
This Kindle e-book is available right now on Amazon for free. It's normally $9.99. I'm an Amazon Prime member so I'm not sure if it's free to everyone right now, or how long this will be available.
Ever wondered what it’s like to be adopted? This anthology begins with personal accounts and then shifts to a bird’s eye view on adoption from domestic, intercountry and transracial adoptees who are now adoptee rights activists. Along with adopted people, this collection also includes the voices of mothers and a father from the Baby Scoop Era, a modern-day mother who almost lost her child to adoption, and ends with the experience of an adoption investigator from Against Child Trafficking. These stories are usually abandoned by the very industry that professes to work for the “best interest of children,” “child protection,” and for families. However, according to adopted people who were scattered across nations as children, these represent typical human rights issues that have been ignored for too long. For many years, adopted people have just dealt with such matters alone, not knowing that all of us—as a community—have a great deal in common. 
I read through a bit of it. It's likely going to be uncomfortable reading for many adoptive parents as many contributors to the book do not have a favorable view of adoption. However, I do believe their concerns are important to hear and understand, and in many cases completely valid.

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Finding Seoul - Trailer from John Sanvidge on Vimeo.

"Finding Seoul" was released recently. Prices are reduced this weekend, with a "rental" at $2.99, and purchase/download of the video for $7.99. Here's how the movie is described on the Finding Seoul website:

Finding Seoul follows one individual as he attempts to find his birth parents. John Sanvidge was raised in upstate New York and brought up in an Irish and Italian household with his two siblings, who are also adopted. During his journey, he visits with his adoptive family to help them understand why he’s made the decision to look now and travels to Seoul, South Korea all in an attempt to reconnect with a world he doesn't understand.

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We are loving these Korean-English books we found on Amazon! They have a ton of different varieties like sports, jobs, numbers, vegetables, etc. Super fun for us all to read and learn with!

The quantities are limited right now, but they say they will restock soon.

Here's a link to the search.



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For Milwaukee area adoptive families, you might want to check out these classes at UW-Milwaukee this summer! Korean language and culture classes for 6-8th graders and 9-12th grade students.

http://www4.uwm.edu/sce/course.cfm?id=28217



Happy weekend!!

4.03.2014

What was missing: deciding to have two kids

Brothers. © Cheese Curds and Kimchi
We picked up Little Man from school and loaded him into his car seat. Just an average Tuesday, with the exception that The Man was joining us for the pick-up.

Little Man chatted about his day and munched on his snack. Little Brother was saying "mamamama" which means food in Korean. I watched as The Man adjusted his rear-view to see the boys in the backseat and I saw his eyes get a bit teary. He looked long and hard at the Dynamic Duo and then turned to me.

"This is the first time they've both been in the car," he smiled. "It's a strange feeling of completeness."

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As most of you readers know, decisions don't come easily for The Man and I. We over think them. Belabor them. Turn them around  and around until we are turned around.

Our decision to expand our family was no different. Before Little Man had come home we talked about having two children. After Little Man was home, we weren't sure about that at all. We loved having him and being a family, but the longer we waited, the more we questioned whether we were cut out to be a two-kid family. (Hell, there were days we wondered if we were cut out to be a one-kid family?!)

We told ourselves all of the reasons that we shouldn't do it: Little Man was getting very self sufficient; he was finally potty trained; we dreaded going through the grieving process with another child; we are getting pretty old to be starting with a baby again (we are tired all the time already!!); we are finally comfortable with our family dynamics; Little Man is a LOT of kid....can we handle another? can we afford to raise two kids? and do we really want to be outnumbered??

Then we countered with all of the reasons that we should: we want Little Man to know the joy (and sometimes strife) of having a sibling; we don't want him to be alone after we die; we want him to have a confidant, built-in friend (hopefully), and someone who has come to our family with the same background. Some of our fondest childhood memories are with our siblings. And when we picture ourselves five years down the road, we could see ourselves as a family of four. (Or five...but we won't go into that now...)

I'm not saying that we didn't want a second child. We just weren't absolutely positive about it. It seems like semantics, but really, they are two very different things. I seem to run into a lot of people who are 100% sure they want another child. I wanted to be 100% sure too. I mean, it's a huge decision and you'd better know for sure that you are ready!

Each time we returned to the "should we or shouldn't we?" question, I was hoping for some epiphany that would help me feel confident in our decision. But that AHA moment never came and instead, we spent months and months rehashing the same things.

Finally, we just had to make a decision. I was getting close to aging out of the Korean adoption program, so it was now or never. We filed the paperwork, feeling about 65% sure that we wanted another child, and hoping we'd grow to feel 100% sure as the adoption progressed.

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Well, you know the rest of the story. Obviously we kept going, and obviously, we are completely thrilled to be parents again. As our time neared to bring Little Brother home, we absolutely could not wait to get him here. We were ready to be a family of four.

Looking back now, I think we really wanted another child but our doubts and worries kept us from recognizing that. And now that he's here, I finally understand why we kept returning to the to the one-child-or-two debate.

Something was missing from our lives. More specifically, someone was missing.

And now he's not. He's right here with us.

And the The Man put it perfectly.

It's finally a feeling of completeness.

3.21.2014

One week

Time passes when you are having fun. Or expanding your family. Take your pick.

In our case, today marks one week since we arrived bleary-eyed from Seoul and started living life as a family of four. I can hardly believe how quickly everything is going by!

In fact, it went so quickly that a week had passed before we managed to get the whole gang into a photo.

We are adjusting well here. Dare I say, great? I'm not being pessimistic here, but still very much in the watch and see category. But really, things are good.

Little Man continues to amaze us. He's a patient brother which is perhaps one of the biggest surprises for us because patience is not one of his strengths. We are so proud of him! After the initial first few days where he had a huge emotional let downs after being without us for a week, he started to return to his normal self. We've had an occasional freak out but no more than you'd expect from a regular three-year-old.

Most of the time he's happy to share toys with his little brother, and he's starting to figure out that he can make Little Brother laugh by making funny noises or faces at him. He has told his classmates that Little Brother is from Korea and that he calls him "Boo Boo".

The most challenging part for Little Man is having to share mommy and daddy time. He's a very attention-centric child (I guess most only children would be) and usually has an attentive two-person audience in all he does. Now, he's learning that mom and dad have to split their time and this isn't working well for him. One would think he'd hold that against the reason our time is split, his new brother, but amazingly, he doesn't. He is creative and finds lots of ways to regain our attention.

Each day we are getting to know Little Brother better and better. He's a fairly mellow kid with an easy going temperment. And he's a snuggler. Yay for me!! Right now he's fairly comfortable with either of us, but seems to feel a little more secure with me. However, The Man is quickly gaining ground by being the silly guy, and Little Brother loves silliness.

He has a short little cackle that bursts out when he is amused. It sounds exactly like a tiny terradactyl. I'm 99.9% positive this is how they sounded. He's starting to loosen up though and has let loose a few belly laughs. He finds sneezing incredibly funny.

He also has a crazy amazing throwing arm. I'm sure you are thinking, yeah, right. The kid can throw. But seriously. This. Kid. Can. Throw. I'm fairly certain he has a future in baseball. Or will win a butt load of prizes at the carnival. He has incredible aim, and we are becoming masters in our ninja-like ability to block flying objects.

He also has a smile that will melt your heart. Loves to say "yayayaya" over and over. Hums little tunes to himself when he's playing. Likes to follow his big brother around. And wakes up with a smile.

Yep, things are going pretty well around here.