Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankful

I have so many reasons to be thankful this year. Two years ago I had just begun the dossier prep once again and the process was even more arduous than the previous year. Last year, I had a referral for a BIG, beautiful boy and I had finally hit the point where I was miserable from waiting. I was rather patient, really I was. I didn’t stress over it until I learned that our travel was being pushed out and they weren’t sure when we would travel. At that point (around Thanksgiving) I was quite miserable so this Thanksgiving feels remarkably blessed. So, I thought I would spell out what I am thankful for.



A-adoption. Do I need to say more?



B-Becky Fawcett from HelpUsAdopt.org for all she did to make this year so memorable. She gave us a sizeable grant that helped create our family and chose us to tell our story nationally on The Today Show. (see the media tab above if interested in watching our video).



C-Canon. Yep, I love ‘em.



D-Duc. What did you think I was going to write?



E-Early bed times



F-Friends and Family. Thank God.



G-Good times.



H-Health. I love the times that we are healthy and long for it when we aren’t.



I-Icky hands. Seriously, it is gross, but I love it when he reaches for me with food covered fingers.



J-Jerri. AKA Aunt Jerri.



K-Kristen and Catherine for giving us extended family that get it. They truly do.



L-Love



M-My mother.



N-Nap time. For both of us.



O-Oh no! I love it when I hear those words out of his mouth.



P-Pancakes. Honestly, this kid can put them away.



Q-Quiet time. We both need it from time to time.



R-Running naked. Not me. Him. There is a pure joy when he scurries away from me sans diaper and runs shrieking with joy down the hallway with his arms up like you would see among runners crossing the finish line.



S-Spring Rolls. I ate way too many for T-day



T-Time. I cherish the moments we spend together.



U-Unbelievable moments.



V-Vietnam. Forever.



W-Wa-wa. I love to listen to my son ask for water. It makes my heart smile.



X-XOXO



Y-YMCA. I don’t get to visit as often as I want, but when I do I enjoy it and enjoy playing b-ball with my boy.



Z-Zoo time.



And now for some Thanksgiving Day photos!

IMG_0501 These are bar chairs. I have to hike myself up to get up on them and yet he will pull himself all the way up in no time at all.

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IMG_0565 Oh my, I ate way too many spring rolls. Thankfully they are healthy.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

A boy’s life

IMG_0175 Last week I visited Wal-Mart (a rarity for good reason) and a woman working at the store sneered at him.  So he sneered back and it looked something like this.

IMG_0181 Waiting for the pancakes to finish cooking.

IMG_0190 Playtime in the window.

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IMG_0212 And, yes, he is giving you the bird.

IMG_0216 Subway.  Despite the face he is making he did eat ALL the ham on his sandwich.

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Lowe’s.  Checking out the overhead fans.

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IMG_0292 It was a very good day.

A is for Adoption

video

Yesterday was National Adoption Day and while I forgot it and did not commemorate it in any way, I did take note of adoption. Actually, it has been on my mind a lot lately since we are coming up on nearly a year as a family. Suddenly, everywhere I look I can see adoption. Just this week I had a photo shoot with an adult trans-racial adoptee, today at Lowe's I met a woman who had two domestically adopted children, and while scouting areas for future I was at an abandoned build site and ran into some people while there. The gentleman asked Duc's ethnicity and I told him he was bi-racial (Vietnamese/Chinese--long story that I haven't gotten around to posting). The man, who appeared to be in late 40s or early, mid-50s volunteered that he was adopted from Korea at age 5.

In my own neighborhood I am surrounded my adoption. My next door neighbor, now a woman in her late 80s has 2 children adopted domestically. A lesbian couple down the road have at least one domestically adopted child, the married couple down the road and the the divorced woman living in the condos a stone's throw away all have adopted children.

Occasionally I will be out around town and I will get a knowing look from another parent and I can see it in their eyes, an unspoken understanding. Something about the way they look at their child or squeeze their shoulder, and I know, they get it. We are all connected.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Berta the Beast

I’ve felt rather apathetic lately. With my photography, with my work, with my personal appearance. There is nothing wrong at home—Duc and I are as happy (and healthy!) as we have ever been, but something has been off for a while. It wasn’t something I could really put my finger on, no immediate causative agent, but the tide has finally begun to change. Such small things have given way to some significant changes and life, although good before, is beginning to taste even richer.



I’ve known for a while I needed to upgrade my camera. I was planning on waiting until my next tax return since I knew I would be able to take advantage of the tax credit, but I honestly couldn’t wait any longer. This has been a big cause of my frustration—I was limited. I had taken my poor little camera as far as I could go. In the last week there have been some things that made me realize I need to upgrade and upgrade NOW. So, I blew the dust off some money I had stashed years ago and used my mad money. And it was worth every single penny.



While I did not win the contest I mentioned in my last post, I did win the free Pro SmugMug account so I will now be able to link this gallery to my photography site and set my prices directly on SmugMug. Honestly, this is an incredible prize and this was yet another reason for me to realize I needed to get my butt in gear. The only thing holding me back (besides outgrowing my camera) was me.



I have been a mother for nearly a year now and while I have LOVED nearly every single minute of it, I know that pieces of me were disappearing, namely the feeling of being a woman. I have been devoted completely and entirely to him and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but I stopped doing my hair, putting on my lipstick and began wearing far more elastic waist pants than I ever would have imagined. So, slowly and gradually I am trying to add pieces back in that make me look good and feel better about myself.



So, life is good and getting better.



And here are some photos I took with Berta (the name of my new camera). These photos are completely untouched—this camera absolutely blow my socks off.

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IMG_0047 A little mini-session with my youngest niece.

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IMG_0094 Saige gets really involved with her TV shows.IMG_0120

Duc and Opa sharing a story.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Begging for your vote!

Ok, normally I consider myself above begging, but not today!  I just learned this evening that I am one of 10 finalists that have the opportunity to win free photography website customization AND an online professional gallery to show my clients their photos.  I hope you will consider voting for me.  You can vote here.  My name is Erica and I am listed as #5. 

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Last week my mother was over helping out. It wasn’t even 7 pm, but we were all spent and piled on one end of the couch. Duc lay between us, his head in my lap and his feet in her’s. We began to have a conversation that we have had several times before in a number of different variations. Usually it begins wih “can you believe this almost didn’t happened?” with a knowing look in Duc’s direction. No, I can’t imagine never knowing or loving him I often say. My life was good before. I really didn’t feel anything was missing. Until I met him.



This time the conversation began from her perspective. “I would have been ok with not having children or grandchildren. I wouldn’t have known what I was missing. But after you girls arrived and the grandchildren arrived…well, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”



She continued, “Your life was fine before Duc, but look at how much joy he has brought this family. He is such a happy, cheerful child. He hasn’t had any attachment issues so far, he bonded easily and quickly with you and is such a joy to be around. I wonder if the other families we traveled with feel the same way we do. I sure hope so.”



As she spoke my eyes teared up and when I opened my mouth to speak my voice cracked with emotion. I began blubbering huge achy tears as I told her that I am grateful to be his mother every single day. He has made me that happy. Even on the days where I feel extremely challenged I still go to bed grateful that I got to be the one he challenged.



I think about how close I came to not being his mother—both the extrinsic and intrinsic factors that almost lead to…well, not this. I thought about how afraid I was to become a mother, especially a single mother, and especially to a son whose gender feels so foreign from my own. I thought about all the external obstacles—money and delays with my dossier. And I thought of the biggest obstacle of all—my faith. Struggling with how I could believe I would receive a referral when so many others had been waiting far longer than I had. I am a big fan of fair and making things as fair as possible and this wasn’t fair. Knowing the day my son was born and where, but marching ever closer to September without knowing if our match would ever come to fruition. 066 copy copy

When I heard other parents say it, I never understood how the love could grow deeper and more intensely the longer you mothered your child. I thought love was just love, until I met Duc. I finally understood that my love for him is like a well watered plant. It grows bigger and the roots spread further and deeper with each passing day and week.



Perhaps it is for all these reasons that I find my heart seizing up as I try to picture my life without Duc. Before meeting him it would have been infinitely easier, but now? For me, knowing him for one day was to love him the rest of my days.



I hope I never have to live a day without him in my life. The very thought causes such intense feelings of grief and anxiety I can hardly stand to consider what my life would be like. Maybe that’s because the events that lead to our family were such traumatic times, for both of us. Or perhaps it is a reflection on my own childhood and all the early losses or near losses I suffered. Or, maybe it is simply being a mother. Perhaps my feelings are like so many unspoken rules of motherhood and until you get your entrance ticket stamped you can never understand.



So, I hold my baby every chance I get. Since he has been sick he has been falling asleep much earlier in the evening than he normally does. I’ve carried him in from the car asleep, picked him up off my feet or his blankey a sleep. Instead of putting him down in bed and getting on with my evening, I hold him. I watch his little face relax in a mask of sleep and I savor every minute.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Morning Traditions

Apparently we’ve been sick.  I say apparently because I thought we were sick, but then we got sicker and I felt like those earlier times were the good ‘ole days.  We are both on antibiotics now (first time we’ve ever been on them at the same time) and we are finally feeling better.  There were so many things I wanted to post about that I was never able to sit down and type up my thoughts.  Too tired, too sick, little one sleeping in the crook of my arm or nestled into my armpit.  Not a whole lot of “me” time.

Today we were able to return to some traditions.  I love traditions and I look forward to implementing more as Duc gets older and as we (hopefully) gain a sister. 

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012 Bringing blankey into the kitchen while he waits for the pancakes to cook.

017 This would be one of his begging expressions.

041 So, so close. 

045 copy Success!  Did I mention that Duc loves to dip his food?  I figured this out when we were on vacation last month and he dipped a corn dog in chocolate pudding!  So, so gross.  At least applesauce is healthy.

052 Happy boy.

055 copy Yum.

056 copy This would be the charming new talent that Opa taught him on vacation.  “See food!”  He mushes it up and then tries to stick his tongue out with the food still sticking.  Somedays he is more successful than others.    

Monday, November 2, 2009

038

I remember reading an article that a woman had written about keeping her bedroom, the room she shared with her spouse, kid-free. I remember thinking “how hard can it be?” Now I wonder “why bother?”



When Duc first came home I thought I should keep a space for myself, as if I would lose myself as a woman if I let him take over my space. Before he came home I used to worry about forgetting him in the car or leaving him at daycare after getting off of work.



Funny thing is, I didn’t lose myself in motherhood. I gave myself up freely. And I haven’t left him in the car or forgotten him anywhere. I’m happy when I am with him and I miss him when he is gone. He has left his dirty fingerprints all over my house and all over my soul. He is the best medicine I could have ever hoped for.



Yesterday I didn’t get off work until 7 am when I was supposed to get off at 3 am. I hadn’t slept in over 24hrs, and this was after several nights of fitful sleep. When I finally woke up yesterday I felt like hell. I was beyond grumpy and my whole body hurt. Mom returned Duc around 4:30 pm and the little things began to upset me to the point that I actually thought I was going to cry. I excused myself so I could spend a couple of minutes of quiet time in my room. I looked around my bedroom and the evidence of him was everywhere. A clean sock stuck to my bedspread (I had found it stuck to my butt on the inside of my pants the day before), a pacifier on the floor, a wayward toy tucked into one of my shoes and within a few minutes I heard a little giggle and a rustling at the door.



He wasn’t trying to make me feel better. He just did. And I don’t mind the little fingerprints or the trail of toddler debris that he left throughout my room. 389

Sunday, November 1, 2009

And on his 500th day…

Duc discovered the word NO.  To be clear, this is actually his impersonation of a kid in his daycare class.  It absolutely cracks me up!

The wind up...

the delivery

 

And a little video tutorial and how we say NO.

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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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