Sunday, March 25, 2007

Are you up to the challenge?

This was a letter written by someone at Love without Bounderies. It was posted on my agency board and found it to be profound. These are all things that I have been planning for, expecting, and trying to learn how to recognize, foster, and resolve. I think that it is truly very difficult for most people to understand what institutionalized life would be like. But I think that Amy spells it out beautifully. The lives that our future children are living are not lives that we would ever desire for them, and would never expose them to if they were home with us. But it is the cold hard reality of their lives, and we must make every effort to understand their lives before us, and to actually respect where they have come from. It really is a hard knock life for them.
If you are adopting, it is your responsibility to educate yourself as if you were preparing for any other life changing moment. We must take to heart that by making the choice to adopt, and to adopt internationally that we are actually the chosen, and we must take that responsibility very seriously, and have a strategy of how you will handle what is ahead. This adoption is not about bringing home your "china doll", staying at the White Swan for your Red Couch photo op, or your Barbie that is given to you when you arrive. This is not about ladybugs & red threads.
This is as serious as it gets. For a lot of us this may be the most serious issue we deal with in our entire lives. I feel like I have one chance to do this right, and I will do whatever it takes to make sure I am prepared for the challenge. If it ends up no a challenge at all....that will just be the icing on the cake.
I personally have done a ton of reading(and will continue for a long time) I am trying to go to as many seminars as I can to educate me and help me be the best"adoptive" parent that I can be.
You are welcome to take this letter and copy it off of my blog.

Below is a letter from Amy Eldridge, from Love Without Boundaries, addressing the recent adoption disruptions and parental preparedness. If you are reading this, think about posting it on your site - a waiting parent who reads your blog may benefit from it.*****I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely wish there was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of institutional care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that there are just as many parents who are not online reading everything they can find on adoption as are.There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out there who have no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who head overseas to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is unresponsive, thin, unable to eat..and on and on and on. While adopting my son last month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to parents, and over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue whatsoever about the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things like, "she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle tone" (muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile" (pure grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I live China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not the case.I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their child's orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to memorize that for your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how many parents get all the way to China without ever reading about post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me.Babies in the NSN (non special needs) as well as the SN (special needs) path can have issues with attachment, motor skills, emotional issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC (Waiting Children China) list acknowledge that, while also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can have these same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the odds.I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as well as social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give information to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else think it won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to parents leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family was adopting from our foster care program, and when I told them that the child was DEEPLY attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for an hour or so then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a year! I tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose everything she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be sunny, happy, and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please remember the 72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see her spark, but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as well.I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read the "bad stuff", and so I do think that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are books galore out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when I was pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When Expecting", and I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and every time I would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't going to happen to me". Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an emergency C section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But at that point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the table, it was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have been prepared. I think adoption from China is very similar to giving is much more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now encourage every family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you are the family who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks autistic, what you have learned in the past will help you make the right decision for your family during those very emotional first few days.I have been called many times in the last few years by parents in China worried about their children. I agree that having a support network to help you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to China with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they are panicked upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I was handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our foundation often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware that sometimes there are children who have much more serious issues than originally reported..and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to China and then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious mental delays. I think everyone on both the China and international side would agree that it is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their reports, and no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that the majority of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional issues and would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad day for the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know is absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by their new parents for being "delayed".I think far too many people believe their child's life is going to begin the moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize it..a child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their experiences are shaping who they are. The vast majority of aunties that I have met in China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not the same as having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new parents call and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage would affect her at all", and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not contemplate life in an orphanage?Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every gadget known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as possible. Now Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens not only can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but she can talk to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he feels alone. How many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby in a crib 22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their baby, even if they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle in her crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate?Of course no one would do that..we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand, love continuously..and whether people want to recognize it or not, that is NOT the life of an orphan in an institution. ...even when the aunties are as good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers in for the night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties are working. One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly realized that it was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every child, to comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She said her heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely had many, many times where she cried without someone to comfort her.....and she told me that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter had such a deep seated fear of being out of her mom's sight.The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't equal mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north this past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8 layers of clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were swaddled so tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the orphanage and so the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What alternative did they have? It really was freezing there..I was cold in my wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2 layers on, with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they had to be immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle tone. But the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is given one of those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go back to their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by herself..she can't put weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also survived 10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up soon enough with parents to encourage her.To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can cause lower body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye contact is very sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I have learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they are fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want to ignore these issues in public forums.Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several times in person was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire". When the family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she was too much of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely was not what they expected. When they called their agency, they were told they had two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change their expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child, bring her to the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport to adopt her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was never once given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of the child and the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption and handed the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As horrible and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I still feel this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done in the absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long time for a family. I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of the child, instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially in those cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is permanently wrong with the child. Recently with another disruption, the agency I spoke with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new baby.Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was rejected has now been labelled "mentally challenged" even though the agency knew the child was really going to be okay.I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that babies can usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by continually trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By helping them be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the future. I love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's work..but I also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with their eyes open and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's sake.
Amy Eldridge,
Love Without Boundaries

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Two of the loves of my life

Here is Jack and Katie, the little apples of my eye. There mom is my oldest dearest friend, more like a sister than a friend. She has blessed me with these two adorable little monkey's. I spent last week with them while they were on spring break. Their mom is having their 3rd child(little Meggie) and has been put on bedrest. As we can all imagine trying to run your entire household, and take care of a 3 & 5 year old from the comfort of your bed is pretty freaking challenging. So Aunt J came to help, and am headed back in just about 10 days. It was non-stop for 5 days, but worth every minute of it when you hear the giggles, the I love you's, and just the sparkle in their little eyes. We saw Disney on Ice(a must see...if you are under the age of 7) We had playdates with Jack's friends(not everyone has well behaved children) Slurpee runs, and a lot of camping out with Mommy to help keep her company.

There were some funny moments as well that might make them think twice about having Aunt J come back to help. The dog(Molly) ate an entire bowl of mashed potatos, and macaroni and cheese in one sitting, and then an entire stick of butter in another. I was given a pardon on this one, as they know I am only use to a dog that is about 20 inches high, and not one that can stand on her hind legs and help herself to whatever tasty treats Aunt J leaves out on the counter. I have now become the apple of Molly's eye, she can't wait for me to return. Then Miss Katie whom I refer to as the "perfect child" was put down for her nap(mind you without crying) and while I did check on her at one point during the 2 hours she was in her room(where she was found to be sound asleep) When I heard that she was awake, and went in to retrieve the cute little pickle, this is what I found!!

Yes, she had found a magic marker, and had gone hog crazy with it. Fortunately for me, and for her room she had spent most of her time working on her body art. It was everywhere, feet(top and bottom) hands, belly, diaper, obviously she looks like a coal miner with that face, and most of her shins were covered as well. She did make it to the dresser, the shutters, and a picture frame, but with luck, and a baby wipe that all came off.
We all had a good laugh, and "the perfect child" has been renamed "The Gremlin"
Yes, I was pardoned again, and told that this was really good practice for all the things my little gremlin would be getting into.

I hate that there is a medical reason that I am having to spend a great deal of time with them, but must say that I love seeing them, love spending time with them, and enjoy every minute with them. We will all look back, and laugh when it is all said and done and we bring home the new little one. So by July I will have 3 little apples.

Some more items I have available

For your friends with babies on
the way. I have one for the little
prince's on their way too. In blue.
$25 Black or White 100% cotton

The little ballerinas in your life
will love this t-shirt. I have it
in White, Mauve, Yellow
$18 100% cotton

These little mono alligator clips
have become my most popular
item. I have the above colors
available, and can do a single
intial. $10 for the set.

I'm Baaaaaaack

Celebrating the year of the dog, or for all of the golden
pigs being born this year. $22.50 each. Black or White

Large 3 inch Mono ponies.
$10 Single intial.

Large Poly Shopping bags, great
for the beach or for your grocery
$12.50 with Monogram, or family

Business is great, and thank you to everyone that has ordered. I hope you have received your items, and are enjoying them as much as I enjoyed making them for you. If you have any cute pictures of your little ones in their zodiac shirts, and are willing to let me post them, I would love to have them. I love doing these shirts, it really is one of my favorite items.

I have a few new things to add to the site, but this was all this post would take, so I will add some additional photos.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Happy St. Paddy's day

Happy St. Paddy's Day....tomorrow. I am getting ready to head out of town, and I knew I would not have time to update tomorrow. So hopefully you are getting out the green beer, the corned beef, and cabbage and are headed for a festive day of green, the Irish, and leprechauns.

Just wanted to make sure that you are aware that you can email me to order anything from Pink Polka Dotz. I am still working on a website, I have an ETSY store under construction, and so I will shamelessly have to hawk my goods here until I have both of those up and running. Bear with me until I all of this business stuff ironed is not my forte-I am left handed for goodness sakes, I am a creative one, not a business one. I have a paypal account so it is very easy to order and pay. If you are wanting a different font, or want to choose different thread colors that is very easy to do as well. You just have to let me know.

I am off to KC again, my dear friend who is pregnant with her 3 rd child(sweet little Meggie) was just put on full bed rest, and has a 3 & 5 year old on spring break next week. So Aunt J is coming to rescue the troops and have a more peaceful week at home while mom is going crazy in bed. 2 weeks down 17 weeks to go. I then will go back in April as her father(who lives with her family) needs to have surgery, and that will be difficult when there really isn't anyone to even take him to the hospital. So I again will head off to play Florance Nightingale for 2 weeks in April. So I apologize as updates will be few and far between.

Thanks again to all of the nice people who have been so supportive of this new business. I have had a great response from blogger land thus far. It always is surprising when someone emails me to place an order, but it sure makes me giddy.

Cheers, and make sure you have something green tomorrow....I would hate to have to pinch ya!

Friday, March 09, 2007

In case anyone is wondering...we really are adopting

Hey, went to the mailbox today, and low and behold there was our BROWN ENVELOPE!!!
What a nice reminder that we really are adopting, and someone other than us actually knows this tiny tidbit of information. I have been wondering for 6 months what it looks like, and never expecting to actually get my hands on one.
I really did not expect to receive this.
It does feel good, because I actually do feel like someone else is aware that we are adopting, and it is not a figment of my imagination. WOW our dossier actually arrived!!! Yeah!

It was dated September 18, 2006 Two days before our LID.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Here are some more cute things!!

How cute is this little t-shirt? I am telling you that I think this is so cute, and I hope my cyber shower person is as excited as I am about this little shirt.

This little ballerina shirt is pretty cute too! This new job is so awesome, it offers such immediate gratification. It always looks so much cuter than I ever expect. This is one of those things. Thought it would be cute, but can't stand how cute I think the finished product actually is.
These are some packaged ponytail holders.
These are great bags that would be perfect for grocery shopping(very strong) or taking to the beach(waterproof)

Anyway, just wanted to share some of the latest creations. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Okay, so here are a few of the things I have been working on as of late. These are personalized beach towels. They are a great size for the pool or the beach. 30X60. I have them in hot pink, royal blue, turquoise, bright yellow, kelly green stripe. I think they are the perfect birthday present for just about anyone...everyone needs a beach towel. Everyone that has bought these from me requested the bold block font, and as you can see it looks really good in all caps too(can't do if it is a long name) I think these are really great for kids birthday presents.
These are the two Chinese zodiac t-shirt/onesies I did. You can see one is for the year of the pig(I think that pig is too cute) and the other one is for a little girl that is the Rooster. I can't decide which one I think is cuter, I just think they are adorable, and can't wait to see my little one in hers.
I have white, pale yellow, and mauve long sleeve t-shirts in a variety of sizes(12-18mths-4T) I primarily have black in the onesie style, but have a few t-shirts as well.
These are 100% cotton. It is hard to tell in the pictures, but the stitching is extensive with these designs, they each have over 18,000 stitches. The pictures really don't do it justice.

This was a birthday gift I did for a friend, and I think it turned out really cute. I have a few of these sets if it strikes your fancy.

These are just a few of the key fobs I have done. I have a big variety of ribbon that I will preview once I have the opportunity to take some more pictures.

I just received some Chinese character in the last few days, and I have not had an opportunity to get anything done with them. I will work on those this week. If you have any great ideas please don't hesitate to share. I can use all the good ideas I can get.
I can't believe the response from people already. I was not prepared for the fact that I would have already had so many requests, and purchases. So I am slowly getting up to speed, and trying to get the business end of this all taken care of.

If you have any interest in something posted just send me an email, and I will be happy to talk about pricing, sizes, fonts, or other ideas that you have to incorporate into something you are wanting.
I will try and add some more things in the next couple of days.

Didn't realize it had been so long!!!

I know, I know, I won't act like I have some amazing excuse for the lag in posting.
But I have had a lot going on lately.
So no excuses, I will just get right to it!

I went to Houston to pick up my MIL and her 2 dogs(Shadow & Banjo) and they came to stay with us for 2 weeks. I have the best MIL of anyone I know. She is so nice, she is friendly, helpful, fun, loves to shop, and actually loves me, and is very excited about the baby!! She was a world of help while she was here, and we only wish she could have stayed a bit longer. She will be back late in the summer to help me start the nursery.
Shadow & Banjo
Both dogs adjusted very well to our house. They loved running up and down the stairs, and back and forth chasing the squirrels in our backyard. Shadow doesn't really travel well, and seems to suffer a little motion sickness while in the she threw up both directions-yuck!! But overall the travel was fine, and a good time had by all.
By the time I took them back home, we had been together for a total of 3 weeks, and she and I had bought pretty much everything there was to buy....some very serious shoppy shoppy went on during those 3 weeks.
I am a very lucky girl to have such a great MIL!!
Yes that is Mike Modano!
While my MIL was here we took her to a Stars game. Now I am not a big sports fan. But I must tell you what happens when I take in a hockey game. I just go crazy, I never sit down. I love hockey, I love the Stars(I loved them better when we still had Darrian Hatcher, and Eddie Balfour) but it is so exciting, so fun, and there is just nothing better when a good legal hockey fight breaks out, and sticks are flying. I really like it when there is a foul, and they stick the player in the naughty box...they should have the naughty box for every sport.
Anyway, we had great seats, great food, and a great time.
The Stars beat the Mighty Ducks 4-0
D & his mom. I don't love this picture of either of them, as it does not do them MIL is extremely attractive...she is 75 and has less wrinkles than I do!! Yes, D always smirks in pictures(that is why the CCAA will refer us the smirky baby, to match the passport picture he submitted)
I have a secret fantasy....I so want to drive the Zamboni at the hockey game. I have no idea why, but it looks so fun, and they use to have this cannon on there that shot out t-shirts to the crowd...I would really love to do that.
Okay, I have another post to follow to stay tuned, I will have it up in just a little bit, and you are going to be excited, it is really, really, good. So go have a cup of coffee, read the Sun paper, and come back and see me this afternoon!!