National Adoption Awareness month: it's complicated

Here we are, about smack in the middle of National Adoption Awareness month. If you are not in the adoption world, you might not be aware that it's also a time when there can be heated debates between different parties involved in adoption who use this time to air opposing perspectives.

Before we were an adoptive family, I could not have dreamed there could be so many opinions on adoption. You either get adoption, or you don't, right?

But as with any issue, there are a myriad of opinions about this subject. Adoption is....complicated. You have your "adoption is child abuse" folks. Countered by "adoption is the biggest miracle there is" people. There are those who have infertility issues who often had not previously considered adoption for their family. They are often at odds with preferential adopters who intentionally chose adoption.

There are those that hate agencies and consider it a form of child trafficking. And others who uphold the works of agencies. Some absolutely decry interracial adoption, denouncing the practice that removes children from their birth country and culture. And others who feel that having a home is the most important factor, and if a home is not available in their country, why not another?

And let's not forget the foster care (U.S.A.) vs. international adoption debate.

All that, and we haven't even yet talked about adoption's specific players---first family, adoptee and adoptive family.

Complicated, right? There is no one truth about adoption. Everyone's experience with it is uniquely their own, though it may mirror other's experiences at times.

That's why it's so critical for anyone touched by adoption to hear a wide variety of viewpoints. Specifically, adoptive parents can gain great insight by listening to adoptees and their first family's experiences.

Those opinions may not be comfortable for us. It would be much easier to just read things that affirm our personal beliefs about adoption. But it's vital for adoptive parents to understand that this adoption journey belongs to more than just us. Adoption is something we chose. For the adoptee, adoption is something that happened to them without their control. I don't believe they are victims, but they definitely bear the brunt of dealing with the choices that other people made for them.

While adoption brought the joy of children to our lives, it also is born of a tragic heart-shattering loss of our children's first families. Adoptees process and accept that loss on a spectrum. And there is no right or wrong on that spectrum. All viewpoints are valid and important. Check out #flipthescript to get more viewpoints from adoptees who are taking a stand on National Adoption Awareness month, and making sure their voices are heard.

Another important viewpoint is that of the first families. Regardless of the circumstances that led to our children's adoption, they ARE their first families. That connection will always live inside them and can we know our children fully if we do not know their first family? So, the stories and experiences of first families that we can read and explore can go a great way in helping us to help our children.

OK. Soap box rant over.

Here's some of my favorite reads so far this month:


Asian and multicultural dolls for kids

Hi all.

Just a quick note. I recently learned about this great company called Pattycake Doll Company, that specializes in dolls that aren't...mainstream.

You know, boy dolls. Asian dolls. Multicultural dolls.

I haven't purchased from this company so I can't vouch for the quality. But I know that hunting down dolls of color can be a challenge.  In our house we only have one doll set, the Plan Toy Doll House Asian Family. I think it's important to have dolls that reflect a variety of faces and cultures, but our boys tend to prefer animals at this point.

Here's the link to Pattycake's Asian dolls page: http://www.pattycakedoll.com/asian_dolls

Have you ordered from Pattycake before?


Big Brother is 4!

(Finally getting around to posting this....Little Man turned 4 in July!)

Dear Little Man,

The kids were all gathered around party table as I put the candles into the chocolate cupcake topped with purple frosting.




As I prepared to light the candles, The Man says, "you ARE going to put one more on, right". Ack! I still couldn't get it into my brain. You are 4 now!

Four years old!

생일 축하합니다! 

We filled the hallway with balloons again this year, so you would wake up and know it was your special day. We were going to put them in your bedroom this year instead of the hallway, but you've taken to getting up in the middle of the night and we didn't want to scare you if your room was filled with balloons.

For breakfast, a big chocolate birthday doughnut. With sprinkles of course. You LOVE sprinkles.

We had quite a few birthday celebrations for you. Our little family celebrated on your actual birthday. Then a small party at your school the next day. And then the big shindig over the weekend. A gymnastics party! It was lots of fun and you had a blast running with all your pals at one of your favorite places to play.

Here's some things that you do and like at this age:

Pink and purple still reign as the colors of choice.

You love silky short soccer outfits. You want to wear them everyday, to bed and to school. We often have to wash the outfits at night so you can wear them days in a row.

You are a very talented gymnast! We put you in classes six-months ago and you have been promoted three times already! You are now in a class with 5-6 year olds and you can do everything they can do easily. The teachers are very excited about your progress and the team coach says they are keeping an eye on you. I am partially thrilled by this, partially terrified. I know what a commitment competitive gymnastics is, and I also don't want to be one of those crazy gym moms who lives and dies by what skills their children can do. You absolutely love gymnastics and we are enjoying watching you explore this sport.

You love snap hair clips. You like to wear them in your hair all the time. You found some pink and purple ones at Tar.get and begged us to get them for you. They are one of your favorite possessions.

One of your front teeth has turned gray. This makes me so sad! We were playing in the living room and you crashed, slamming your teeth into the floor. Three weeks later, your tooth started to turn gray. :( The dentist says it's going to stay that way until you lose your baby teeth. You don't like the gray tooth and each night try to brush it away.

You can ride a two-wheeled bike without training wheels! We got the bike at the beginning of the summer. You were outgrowing your balance bike and were very ready for a new one. The pink one at the shop was too big for you. You settled for a cool black and red one and picked out a baby blue flugel horn to jazz it up.

You are very shy in new situations, but have shown great improvement in being brave and doing things although you are nervous.

Change is still difficult for you. We have to approach transitions during the day with lots of warning, as well as big things that are upcoming during the week. You are slowly (slowly) becoming more able to deal with these things. But usually change or transition results in tantrums.

Speaking of tantrums, you are still in the tantrum phase. Massively.

Your favorite holiday is Christmas, because you love Christmas lights. Your favorite TV show is Magic Schoolbus. Your favorite thing to wear is your Johnny Cash shirt and silky sports shorts. Your favorite drink is lemonade.

Arts and crafts are your thing. And baking. You and I do these things together a lot! You ask to do artwork every day. You are very precise about how you do things. You have been very into printed tapes lately and spend a long time wrapping up construction paper with tape to make "packages".

You know how to write your first and last names. You know all your upper and lower case letters and numbers through 25.

Your love of music is still really strong. You enjoy a wide array of genres. Currently your favorite is "Girls Generation", an all-girl band from Korea. You also adore Johnny Cash. And other favorites include LMFAO, PSY, and the soundtrack from Frozen. You don't really dance to music much. You actually study it, and will tell us what instruments you hear, or what the words say.

This year, you danced in public for the first time. We were at a community festival and there was a band playing. Your friends started dancing and you eventually joined in too. Up to this point, dancing was only done at home, with the lights out by the light of glow sticks. You had a great time. It's great to see you expanding your comfort zone.

Your grasp of language is amazing. You often ask "how do you say it" when you want to know the proper terminology for something. And then you remember it! One saying of yours that completely cracks us up, and you usually say incorrectly though, it to refer to tornado drills as "tomato drillos". You call all drills a "drillo". Not sure where you got that from, but we adore it.

And finally, you are a great big brother! It's been hard for you, for sure. But you are fiercely protective of your little brother and starting to want to include him when you play instead of play alone. You like to teach him new words. And especially like to encourage him to do naughty things.

You are growing up very fast, my dear. Hard to believe that we just have one more year before you begin kindergarten! Looking forward to seeing what this year brings.