Thursday, March 25, 2010


IMG_4136 copy This is definitely one of my favorite photos from the last few weeks:) I can’t believe how serious and how grown up he looks. Makes me slightly sad and happy simultaneously if that makes sense.

I’ve been enjoying some time off the web. No blogging. No reading blogs or websites or even reading photography sites. I’ve been reading, trying to keep my house clean, enjoying every SINGLE minute with my son and I’m re-discovering HULU. And to my Canadian readers I would just like to say I LOVE your shows! I started with Regenerist and stumbled across Being Erica. You know, of course, that I am going to love B.E. How could I not? She has my name (and it is spelled correctly!), born the same year, graduated at the same time, similar interests (writing), fell in love with her best friend (a dude, just so we are clear), single, etc.

If you aren’t familiar with it, the premise is of a single 32 year-old woman who has the worst day ever and winds up in the ER with anaphylactic reaction. A mysterious therapist arrives and she agrees to begin therapy because she doesn’t like where life has lead her and she blames it on a series of missteps and regrets in her life. She makes a list of EVERY single thing she regrets and through the series when various stressors arise her therapist forces her to examine and relive these experiences and re-write what she would have done. It’s a cross between Sex & the City, Quantum Leap and a few other shows and I absolutely LOVE it. I am addicted.

This clip is supposed to be circa 1995, several years pre-Brit Brit.

It’s been rather thought provoking and I’ve begun wondering, do I have any regrets? If I had to take stock of my life, what decisions do I wish I had made differently?

To be honest, that’s how I do most of my decision making. Before I cast my final vote I always contemplate whether I will regret not moving forward with it later. I picture myself in my final days reviewing my life and taking stock, will this be a decision I will regret not making. It is too easy for me to say no, it is much more difficult to be brave.

As I write this I realize this post is going in an entirely different direction than I had planned. Instead of reflecting back on my regrets I am remembering those few acts of bravery. Those moments where I moved ahead knowing I never wanted to think of what I may have missed.

In late 2007 I made the decision to begin a second adoption not even a year after submitting a dossier to China. I was afraid. I was afraid of the finances, I was afraid of going through the heartache again, and to a certain degree I was afraid of trying to raise a boy by myself. I knew nothing about boys (still don’t), but somehow I had this overwhelming feeling it was right.IMG_4239

Two years ago yesterday I finally completed my dossier for Vietnam The local CIS lost my paperwork several times and instead of taking 4-6 weeks as it does for most, it took about 12 weeks. Those of you reading this that were adopting at the same time can remember the stress of completing an adoption from Vietnam in 2008. My agency sent my paperwork to San Fran to have the necessary stamps from the Vietnamese embassy. What should have taken 1-2 weeks once again took much longer than anticipated. Finally, 4 weeks later I got the email from my agency that my dossier was completed and would be sent to Vietnam the following day and my fees were now due. The very next day news broke that the MOU would not be renewed.

I remember reading the news and my heart sunk. My dossier was being sent and I had to send off every cent I had, including the money I had saved towards my China adoption (which at the time seemed like a surer bet). It was a gamble. I don’t remember the night as well now, but I think there were a couple of tears. A whole lot of tossing and turning. And prayer. Lots and lots of prayer. The only thing that gave me any comfort was not every wanting to look back and wonder if I made the right decision.IMG_4153

Obviously, you know how it turned out. I was on the line until the very end. On August 29th I received a message from my agency telling me that VN was releasing some of the referrals because the VN’ese were tired of dealing with the US and their rules when they could refer to another country that would send parents much faster. On September 1st my agency did quick, brief email telling me that I was in and they would call in a few days.

Now, back to Being Erica. I’ve been thinking about regrets a lot lately. Until now I really haven’t had any although I feel like I am on precipice of one and I am trying to figure out what to do and how to get me on the right path. When I shared this with a friend today she seemed surprised that I had no regrets. She explained that she had quite a few, and like the fictional Erica, there were things she would have liked to have done differently. IMG_4242

I explained that not having regrets was not the same as living an ideal life. I’ve had LOT of heartaches. A lot of things that I wished at the time had turned out differently. There have been hard times in my life that I did not bring on myself and I tried everything I could to get out of them, but sometimes you have to go through tough times to appreciate what awaits you on the other side. And let me tell ‘ya, life has been very sweet lately, wouldn’t you agree?

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just check the box…

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The other day the forms arrived.  You know the ones…they are being mailed to every house in the US and if the media is to believed they are even more important than my vote every four years.  IMG_4003

I, like so many Americans, am a blend of different nationalities that resulted in the uber-white American that I am.  My last name is Irish, but the majority of my family on both sides is traced back to Scotland.  There is also a dash or German and a pinch of English thrown in for good measure.  My son, like me is also a blend, but where we differ is that I have absolutely no idea about his ethnicity.  I adopted him from the country of Vietnam.  He has a very Asian face, but not a face that looks like those of his countrymen.  Many Asians ask me “what kind of Asian is he?” and those that don’t ask guess he is Chinese or Chinese-Korean.  IMG_4037

I teasingly tell my son that he is Samoan.  What you may not be able to tell from pictures is that he is quite broad shouldered.  Although his height and weight at his last check-up were right at the 50th percentile on the American charts, He has been wearing 2T tops for a while, but not because his shirts are getting short.  His shoulders are just so wide that trying to pull his shirts off over his head is like peeling a sausage casing off the sausage.   Physically he does not fit the typical “Asian” build that so many Americans and Asians attribute to most Asians.  Every time I see Kelli and Aiden I HAVE to pick up Aiden at least once for a weight comparison.  While they are about the same height, Duc is 3-4 lbs heavier, but he is not overweight.  He is exceptionally strong.  He can lift more than his own weight and has been able to do this since I met him at 7 months old.  He can do chin-ups and he doesn’t make it look hard.  Last weekend I visited my sister and we did some grocery shopping.  I was having trouble carrying my bags into the house, but my mom was busy holding a baby, my sister had her bags so I told them to send Duc out to help. They laughed thinking I was being silly, but I wasn’t.  He came out and grabbed a bag and hauled it into the house.     IMG_3918

For the 2010 census I am going to check multiple boxes.  This decade he will be Chinese, Vietnamese (both choices actually reflect a person’s nationality and not so much their actual race or ethnicity.  The gov’t really needs to spring for a cultural anthropologist at some point)and I am debating a write in Hmong (he looks most like Hmong in my opinion).  The next time I check the boxes he will be nearly 12 years-old and he may look completely different by then.  By then I may have more information about his heritage or DNA genealogy will have improved.  Until then I am checking boxes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


I think the last few days have been the most fun I have had with Duc in a very long time. I’m not saying we don’t usually have fun, but the last few days have been exceptional. No time outs, no *major* meltdowns—just lots of giggles and orneriness.IMG_3141 copy2

Yesterday I had to make a trip to Indy for my nearly yearly visit to Homeland Security for yet another fingerprint appointment. I was beginning to sweat it a bit. Last summer I completed the homestudy update when Duc and I had our 6 month post-placement visit. Then I left it…after the almost baby girl event in July I just couldn’t. It made me too sad and slightly ill to even try to pull it together. In September I had a panicked thinking that I was expiring that month. Well, I was an idiot. My fingerprints expired, but the 171H was still current. Finally, on January 2nd with exactly 3 weeks left I sent it off with a kiss and a hope that this might be the end of it.

The last time I visited the USCIS office Duc was still a hope & and a prayer away and I had no idea if I would see either baby. This time I dragged Duc along for the road trip and we had a wonderful time together. The whole time they rolled my fingerpinrts he kept up a running dialogue and waved and chit-chatted with all the others there. He never ceases to amaze me. After our appointment we went to my favorite Vietnamese restaurant. I just couldn’t pass it up since I was so close, but unfortunately Duc had a meltdown while we were eating and once the noodles and meatballs began flying through the air it was suddenly time to get the heck out of there. Actually, I think the noodles were still in the air when the owner swooped in with a big, wet towel to wipe up the mess. I apologized repeatedly, but assured me his 3 kids did the same thing. IMG_3150 copy

The highlight of the day was actually much later in the day. We didn’t get back to town until the witching hour—the hour I refer to when he gets a bit manic because he’s so tired and it is too close to bedtime—and I still needed to go grocery shopping. He was whiney until I put him down to help push the cart. He loved it! We started racing through the aisles and then he began running ahead to pick up groceries—he grabbed an armful of ramen noodles (and, no, I don’t usually buy them because of the sodium levels), canned soups, potato chips (of course, he has a bit of obsession with them which is why we don’t have any in the house. Ever. Especially since both of us could eat our way through a bag pretty quick). At one point he ran ahead and I was having trouble seeing him. By the time I located him he was in one of the six yogurt cooler doors pulling down his favorite yogurt brand and flavors. Honestly, watching him run through the store and shop made me realize he really pays attention to everything we do.

Other Highlights from the last week:

  • Duc has begun potty training and without going into detail I’ll just say he has successfully been using the bathroom.
  • He turned to me on Sunday and with his finger pointing at me said, “Stop it!” Too funny!
  • Tonight, for the first since he entered my life, let me wash the dinner dishes after eating. While in the same room. While he was awake. Without whining, hitting me or throwing things. He stood next to me while I washed and he played with the bubbles in the sink. We had water everywhere, but it was so worth it!
  • He’s really helpful around the house now.
  • In the morning after we are both dressed we go to the living room and I put both of our socks on. Once done, he gathers up our shoes and brings them back to me. He even picks out my shoes based on what he has seen me wearing recently. He even releases the velcro on our shoes so I can get them on both of our feet.
  • He carries in groceries from the car to the door, from the door to the kitchen and helps upack them. Yeah, he’s getting too big a big boy.
  • He especially loves to carry the massive packages of TP that I buy (I hate buying it so I buy in bulk)
  • He puts his laundry away.
  • He reminds me to hang up our coats (which until this week never happened because I was always chasing after him)
  • He blows his nose by himself and throws his kleenex away.
  • He brushes him own teeth.
  • He asks for soap during his bath and he scrubs himself down.
  • He puts his toys away...somedays:)
  • He picks up ice cubes that fly out of our crazy ice chute and throws them away.
  • He has his bottom 2 year molars and the top ones have broken through.
  • He is growing like a weed and is now wearing 18-24 month pants and 2T shirts (this kid has massive shoulders)
  • He loves to run.
  • He insists on using chop sticks every time we have noodles, we eat at an Asian restaurant or he sees me use mine. And sometimes he can actually pick up the food and eat with them. I need to buy him some of the baby chop sticks they have at some of the specialty stores. chopsticks

A few weeks ago I was driving us home from school and work and I glanced in the back seat. For the narrowest of seconds I really thought I was looking at a 5-7 year-old boy. He is growing so quickly and for the first time since he bounded into my life, I'm not fighting it. I'm enjoying every minute of it and I am just amazed at the difference a day makes. On Saturday he could pull the doors in the house shut, but could never lock them or open them up again. On Sunday, he could. IMG_3844 copy

On Saturday we went to the park to play. Last summer and fall we played there a lot, but I always got a lot of looks from the other parents since i allowed him to go down big slides by himself. Yeah, he was tiny and barely a year old, but his physical abilities are amazing! On Saturday he was once again the youngest and smallest in the park, but not the least coordinate. He climbed the steps all by himself holding the hand rail. He climbed all the way to the top and went down the tall slide all by himself. I even heard other parents and grandparents pointing him out to their kids talking about the little boy that went down the big slide by himself.

I realize this post is really more for me than any on you. I've gotten pretty lazy about journaling and it was easier to grab my computer than focus on pen and paper. I hope you will allow a little latitude as I have really been blown away by him lately. I always look forward to picking him up from daycare, but lately it is all I can do not to pick him up early or put him to bed late. I just can't wait to spend time with him again!

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Conversations with my son

IMG_3807 copy A conversation with my son from this weekend:

Me: Are you a big boy or a little boy?

Duc: Big boy!

Me: Are you sure?

Duc: (quite coyly) Maybe…

This boy kills me. He is such a rascal and yet a charmer. It’s an evil combination and I suspect it won’t be too long before I’m fielding phone calls from little girls in his class.

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A conversation this evening as he brushed his teeth:

Me: Duc, where is your hair? (Duc pointed to his hair)

Me: Duc, point to your nose. (Duc pointed)

Me: Duc, where is your eye? (Duc pointed to his eye).

And on and on I went reviewing his anatomy above the neck. He doesn’t know the rest of his anatomy so well so we started reviewing it.

Me: Duc, where is your boo? (this is his pet name for some of his, uh, anatomy.)

Duc grabbed my breasts.

Yeah, not exactly what I was referring to.

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I’m trying some new photo styles out. Ya’ll know I normally love bright, saturated colors…I even created a photo setting on my camera to increase the color in my photos. I love photos that look vivid and very vibrant, but I thought I would try some new things out. What do you all think?


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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