Friday, July 24, 2009


Is it wrong that I feel slightly jealous when I drop Duc off at daycare and he lays his head on her shoulder until I walk out the door?  Well, I do.  He’s such a flirt and he loves to flash his dimples and eyelashes at every cute blond or cute Asian chic he sees.  I am neither, in case you didn’t know.  He makes his preferences pretty known—a brunette who wants to hold him, he will ignore but a blonde that hates kids?  Yeah, that’s the one he wants.  And somehow, he makes even the toughest woman crack a smile.  He’s just that good.FTIA Reunion and Kris 065_edited-2 copy

Thank you for all your wonderful comments about my photos.  Really, I appreciate hearing the feedback and knowing when I am doing well.  I’ve reached the point where I have actually outgrown my camera.  It’s kind of bittersweet, really.  It’s sweet because I have finally reached my limits and I recognize that there are some pictures that I just can’t take due to my limited shutter speed and ISO.  Understanding why you need to upgrade is very different than just wanting to upgrade…or so I have been told.  But it is sad because I have learned so much from my camera and now I need to spend a little more money in order to grow.  Fortunately, I should be able to trade it in and since my camera is only a few months old (and there isn’t a mark on it.  I tell Duc that I love him, but I love my other baby also so he isn’t allowed to touch it) I should get a really good trade out of it.  FTIA Reunion and Kris 080_edited-1 copy

This is Duc’s new “up” gesture.  I think it makes him look like one of the zombies from MJ’s Thriller video.  Either way, it’s usually pretty effective since he usually is chasing after me when I see it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One More Day

Today is one more day together than we had a part121

Today is one more smile that I haven’t seen before009_edited-1 copy

Today is one more day of stories, hugs, and big kisses099_edited-1 copy

Sunday, July 19, 2009


First Kiss

FTIA Reunion and Kris 035_edited-1 copy Yesterday was my China agency’s annual picnic and although I still haven’t completed that adoption, Kris and I decided to make a day of it and see all the other families. I was at the registration table gathering our papers and I looked over and saw him in his first boy-girl lips-on-lips kiss with this little angel. Absolutely beautiful and just as spirited as my little man.

First Tattoo

FTIA Reunion and Kris 046_edited-1 First Lollipop

FTIA Reunion and Kris 018_edited-2First Butterfly (ok, this is more about me at this point)FTIA Reunion and Kris 040_edited-1 First time I ever asked a stranger if I could take her pictureFTIA Reunion and Kris 049_edited-1 copy I can not even tell you how much I love this photo. Because I didn’t want to look like a crazy woman I didn’t really have more than a second to adjust my aperture or shutter speed, but I still like it. I like it almost as much as the next photo…

Favorite photo of Auntie Krissy and Cousin CatherineFTIA Reunion and Kris 108_edited-2 copyYou can tell Catherine doesn’t feel very well, but I just love the comforting embrace that they are sharing. Kris and I started our journeys to our kids several years ago at nearly the same time. Although our path diverged somewhat last year, we were both able to bring home a child at nearly the same time. It’s been an amazing journey from single friends to single moms and I am so glad we met each other when we did.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Love and Healing


It’s been an incredibly difficult week.  Some of you know why and some of you don’t and for now that’s enough.  I just need to put some time and space between this week and my heart.  Duc’s Uncle Mike has also been going through some things so we decided to enjoy the low 70* weather and head to the beach for some sun and fun and food.  It did my heart good to see my two favorite guys playing and having fun.  Michael is also very interested in photography so we switched off taking the photos.

145194_edited-1 copyDuc is a very aggressive kisser which is why my face looks a little tight in this photo.  That, and lately those kisses have involved teeth.  And, yes, he did bite my cheek a bit in all of his excitement.

216First bite of s’mores.  After the first bite he started fighting me for mine.   It wasn’t pretty.

It was a very good day and I am so thankful.   

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sweet Surrender

Do you ever wonder what would happen if you just let go? Let go of all the things that limit you and keep you in the spot that you are living in. I think I am like most people. I define myself by who I am at this time. I’m not the same woman I was seven months ago, and I’m certainly not the same woman I was when I was at age twenty-seven or twenty-four years-old. I define myself by what I am—a mother, first and foremost, but I am also a daughter, a sister, a friend, a co-worker. I define myself by where I am in my life—a new mom preparing to embark on an exciting/scary new career path (part-time!), a woman that wants to return to school once the child(ren) start school. A homeowner. A job with projects slated through the end of this year. All these things root me to where I am.

Sometimes I get wound up in all these details, all these pieces that I use to define who I am. But what can happen when I let it all go and remember that the only things that matter aren’t ‘things’? Duc. Me. That is what matters. When you let go and let God really use you, take you where he wants you an amazing thing happens. There is a joy to be had in the sweet, sweet surrender. Sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning I found a peace that can only come from a battle worn place. I keep thinking that I should have more faith, know more, lead with my head and not my heart—but I’m human. And I’m me. And change does not come easy. I had to do some growing and stretching in ways that I don’t like, but I am better for it. So I gave up the fight—the struggle between what I define as right or wrong for our lives. But did I really lose? Somehow, I don’t think I did.

046_edited-1 copyI love this photo of my dad and my niece. Obviously I don’t have memories of my father from when I was this age, but I can only imagine it looked something like this. I love that he looks so dark next to the lily white skin of my niece. I am surprised sometimes to see the pieces of us in her. She may have the face of her paternal uncle, but she has my coloring and has the little hands so common in my family. Did I mention she also has ONE auricular pit—Duc and I both have bilateral pitting. I love that my son has the same hereditary, genetic anomaly that members of my family also share.

012_edited-1 copyDid I mention that I picked up my new lens yesterday? Oh, yes, I am in heaven! I have my first session this week and I am so looking forwarding to giving my new lens a work out (the above photo was taken with a 50 mm, but the one above it was with my new lens. I just love the clarity and detail!).

I owe a big thank you to all of you who prayed for me. I certainly felt it and I am so thankful that in this strange world of e-friends that you care enough for us to want the best for us. Thank you.

Thursday, July 9, 2009


As you may have figured out, I am working through some things. My coping skills haven’t changed much over the years—prayer and music. My brain and heart have been turning themselves inside out the last few days. They just can not line up, but things have been getting clearer. I have my first paying photo shoot next week and it is going to be a lot of fun. I don’t think you would ever believe me if I told you what kind of photography we are doing:) If you email me I will tell you all about it. The person I am photographing told several people, and they told several people and it looks like I will have about FIVE sessions coming up. Wow, talk about taking the guess work out of it! I guess I can finally let that issue go.

The other…hasn’t been as easy. So I pray. And I kiss my son and count my blessings.

Tonight as we were driving home I turned on the radio and the answer came to me in a song. It’s from the new U2 CD (which I recently purchased), but I had never heard the song before.

I know a girl who's like the sea
I watch her changing every day for me
Oh yeah

One day she's still, the next she swells
You can hear the universe in her sea shells
Oh yeah

No, no line on the horizon, no line

I know a girl with a hole in her heart
She said infinity is a great place to start

She said "Time is irrelevant, it's not linear"
Then she put her tongue in my ear

No, no line on the horizon, no line
No, no line
No, no line on the horizon, no line
No, no line
The songs in your head are now on my mind
You put me on pause
I'm trying to rewind and replay
Every night I have the same dream
I'm hatching some plot, scheming some scheme

And it suddenly became clear. There is no line on the horizon. There is no line in the sand. No line I can’t cross or something or someone holding me back. I looked at what I believe, what I believe to my core—a belief I hold so dear that I am naming my business after this philosophy. The break through I needed was in front of me. It’s still scary, but my faith is renewed. The truth is that none of us know what tomorrow holds for us tomorrow. To be happy you have to live for the moment—EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. OF. THEM. As the song said, time is irrelevant and infinity is a great place to start. Start from what I know and work towards what I don’t.

Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


I hate that my mind is so smart and my heart is so stupid

I hate that my children’s lives were so tainted with fear and loss

I hate that my children entered my life when I was so afraid

I hate that I am not always as brave as I think I am

I hate that after 1187 days I still long for my daughter as much as the first day

I hate that I have no roadmap to my life…but I love that I no longer wonder when my life will begin

I hate that the sight of a tutu reduces me to aching tears

I love the twinkle in my son’s eyes…I will do almost anything to see his eyes glitter and hear his beautiful laugh

I love that I can love my son so desperately that it still causes my heart to ache

I love that he still brings tears of absolute joy to my eyes…somedays more than others

I love that he still gets clingy and all he wants is mama

I love that when he wakes up at night crying it is my name he says

I love that he is teaching me to be brave

I love that he has taught me so much about love and courage

I love where my life is going…no matter how scary

001_edited-1 copy

Sunday, July 5, 2009


021_edited-1 The pictures says it all, does it not?

Every day we have choices. Should I wear the red shirt or the blue? Should I have that second bowl of ice cream or eat an apple? Just I start/add to my family?

Every day we are faced with choices, some pretty minor but some are life changing. As a child I second guessed every thing I did. I would analyze every little action and in my mind I would replay every little conversation and worry whether I had inadvertently offended someone or embarrassed myself. I was wasting so much energy on inconsequential things. When I was 15 years old I spent a good part of that summer in Hong Kong living with a family, but essentially living on my own. I made all my own decisions and they were the right decisions. I made a conscious decision from then on not to look back and wonder. Not to feel guilty about this or that. No more self doubt. Becoming an RN and having people’s lives depending on me and my decisions certainly enforced my new convictions.

I’ve been very fortunate to not be plagued with many self doubts as an adult. I’ve been able to look at all my major and most of my minor decisions and appreciate that they were the best decisions for me or my family. That’s not to say that I didn’t struggle through some of them. Duc is a perfectly good example of this. I had MAJOR doubts the entire time. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t excited, but it was a huge decision and it no longer impacted just me.

There are, however, a couple of exceptions (aren’t there always?). I find myself on the cusp of making a couple of decisions in my life—some big that would greatly impact Duc and me and others that pertain more to matters of the heart and where my life passions lie. Fortunately there is no rush on any of these decisions and I can take the better part of this year and even next to decide what I want to do. In some ways that is good, but it also allows me way too much time ruminate my decision. You can bet I will let you know.

I appreciate the support for the photography—both on here and private messages. It’s very scary, but Kris is right. I will never feel ready enough to do this. NEVER. But sometimes you need a push, and I just got a push in the form of an email. A friend of mine is also starting her own business—jewelry. Her stuff is awesome. Her sister is a graphic artist and edits photos and creates logos. She has worked with some really famous people and done some really well known stuff. And she volunteered an exchange of services—I’ll take photos of her daughter and she will give me a logo. Holy crap, I’m going to have my first job!


And since we are talking about choices…why the heck are people so RUDE these days? Kelli and I took the boys to the children’s museum and I was kind of horrified by how rude people were. Any time you saw FAMILY RESTROOMS you could bet on seeing a line of single adult people—not families. Not a child anywhere in sight. Kelli and I were in line with CRANKY, TEETHING, POOPY babies and do you think any of them even attempted an apologetic smile as they stepped in and out of the family bathrooms? Not a chance. Lazy asses. It wasn’t just the bathrooms…there were a number of things that I thought were a little rude. Of course, I was pretty tired so I may have been unjustifiably irritated.005_edited-1 Do you recognize the dude in the back? Yep, it’s Darth Vader. Kelli and I were lining up with the photos for our photo with Darth when this happened008_edited-1Yep, tears. It totally freaked him out. Hopefully Kelli got some good photos!

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 4, 1999~Remembrance~

030_edited-1 Ten years and two weeks ago I moved to my beloved city. I loved my city from the first time I walked the streets of downtown.

I loved the diversity and knowing I lived in a city that boasted of citizens who were royalty in their home countries, whose families included exiled peace leaders, and those who had fled genocide and war. I loved that they felt free to share their stories.

I loved that we all lived so peacefully together—all colors and creeds—it made no difference.

I loved the seemingly colorblind utopia that I had found.

On July 4, 1999, I learned that the fringes are never colorblind. On the edges of my idyllic community resided a hate that lived deep. As a white, mostly middle-class American, that is something that rarely touches me. But there it was; it erupted and spilled into my beautiful home. On the steps of the Korean Methodist Church, just blocks from my own church, shots rang out and a beautiful Korean man fell dead.

I remember that shock so clearly. I couldn’t understand, couldn’t comprehend, how or why someone would do something so horrible. The tragedy didn’t end here. The gunman in our midst continued on his deadly path shooting every black, Jew and Asian he saw. By the time the weekend was over, two men lay dead and nine were recovering from gunshot wounds.

The thing that initially puzzled me the most was, why here? Of all the places, of all the cities that embrace diversity and culture, why did the gunman have to be a resident here? Why did he choose to move here and try to spread his hatred?

I was still young when that occurred and for a while I was able to compartmentalize the event and say it was an isolated event. He was an outsider with an agenda. But as time passed and I was drawn into the Asian community, especially the Korean community, my illusions of calm were shattered.

There was always unrest on the fringes. The Korean man I dated often told me of the times he would go to the lake and have racist comments yelled at him. How, when he drove to neighboring cities, he was pulled over without provocation. His friends were quick to share similar stories—each different and horrible.

I would like to withdrawal into my white, American, mostly-middle class life and believe once again that these are isolated events. But I know better now. I’m aware now.

When I look at my son’s face, I don’t see a Vietnamese face or an Asian face, I see the face of my son. I see his perfect golden skin, the dimples that he flashes too easily, and his deep brown eyes that sometimes flash a hint of blue.

As a parent of an Asian child I can not pretend that hatred does not exist. I saw it ten years ago, I experienced it five years ago with a boyfriend and I have seen it already with my son. Ignorance and stupidity are not good excuses for racism and yet I find myself excusing certain people’s behavior because they are redneck, hillbilly trash. I explain it away because I want to keep the peace—at work and with my sister’s in-laws. But when does that racist stupidity mutate into the hatred that we experienced? What is the catalyst?

It has been ten years since that horrible day and I have thought of that event every 4th of July since. This year, it almost slipped by, the year that it should have mattered most to me. None the less, I stand as a witness to the brutality and hate of that day. Two strangers, both outsiders to our little city, both gone in a weekend. I never knew either one—victim or killer—but in the two weeks that we resided in the same city our paths might have crossed a number of times.

This weekend thoughts of that day are never far from my mind. This 4th of July I plan to hold my son close, pray that God protect him, and pray for the day when no parent has to worry about their child’s safety because of the color of their skin.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I have nothing creative to say about a blog post

049_edited-1 copyI love this photo. I know I say that a lot any more, but some pictures tell more of a story than others and this one definitely tells a story. Duc loves to run and it is usually in the opposite direction of me, or in this case, Oma. Don’t be concerned, Duc doesn’t mind being held this way at all. In many ways he prefers it because he is able to see the ground. Many times when I am holding him he will lurch forward in much the same way just he can watch my feet.

I don’t post all my favorite photos on here because I am still concerned about people ripping them from my blog. I can only hope that people are respectful of other people’s work, and especially recognize that collecting photos of other people’s children is really not cool.

I do display my photos at work and my co-workers and the hundreds of people that work in my company often view Duc as “their” child since they got to see our story on the “Today Show”. There are many requests for photo viewing, which I happily oblige. And something interesting has happened as a result…people have begun asking if I would take photos of them or their children. It was something that came as a surprise, but it indulges my love of art and photography. Now, however, I feel like I really need to know and understand photography more. I have been doing a lot of research, reading, and of course, practice. I’ve been fortunately to know a few professional photographers and have been picking their brains for advice over the last few months.

I don’t know what, if anything, will come of this, but I feel a responsibility to take good photos for my friends and co-workers. I’m trying to get as much practice and research done this summer before committing to going further with this. (Why does it feel so scary to put this out on the public domain like this?)

I have reserved a new lens that I will be picking up next weekend and I am going to do my best to save for a couple of other pieces that I think I will need. Because I prefer natural light photography I need to be looking at upgrading my camera at some point. No rush, just enjoying learning and getting as much experience as I can over the next year while I decide how if I want to proceed with this.


I dreamed last night that I received my referral from China. Over the months and years that I have waited, the dreams of my daughter have changed quite a bit. From a little round-faced girl with dark bobbed hair, to a twelve year-old girl, to a child with a heart defect—my nights and my daydreams have been filled with visions of this child. Last night it was different, very different. My China girl was actually a China boy. Yep, another boy. Not only that, he was about the same age as Duc. I love my son like no one else, but the thought of having another boy the same age actually gave me a cold chill. But, over the last few years I have learned that God often sees things differently that we see things. The big picture that I often can not comprehend at the time sometimes becomes so much clearer after the days and weeks melt away. Time, in this sense, is on my side.

For whatever reason, this time of the month often brings up thoughts of my China girl (I still believe it will be a girl despite the dream!). This month marks twenty-nine months since logging in with China. It seems like an impossible number, but here we sit. Again, no rush, just enjoying my son and getting as much experience as I can. He has been a great teacher.160_edited-1 copy


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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