Posts

Showing posts from 2007

...and they don't even like football

Image
1 new family next door + 1 large television set + 0 curtains =












One more step down

We are still waiting for the Dong Nai officials to complete their end of our paperwork, but the US Embassy has been moving ahead on their end. For those of you who don't obsessively keep up with the state of adoptions in Vietnam, you have missed quite a roller coaster ride. Sadly, some agencies who work in Vietnam are more concerned with their own bottom line than with the well-being of the children who come into their care or the prospective adoptive parents who hire them. As a result, the US Embassy felt it was necessary to investigate the status of more than a few of the children for whom visas were applied, and even denied some, causing the parents to have to leave Vietnam without their children. In order to avoid future occurrences of this scenario, new regulations have been put in place. Parents need to apply for the child's visa before they travel and the adoption occurs. This way, if there is anything questionable about the situation, all parties involved know be…

We have new pictures...

Image
although I'm not sure it makes the wait any easier.

Reader Question

I just noticed that Jena had asked me a question in a comment on my post about obedience. As I was writing my reply to here, I thought maybe others would be interested in my answer as well. Here it is:

I just noticed your comment on my blog, sorry it it's been a while since you asked your question! There are a couple of things we do to encourage first time obedience. One tactic I use regularly, and probably works best for grade school age and up, is that if the child doesn't respond cheerfully and right away to a request, a second job will be added. Pretty quickly the child learns that it would have been easier to just do the initial request in the first place. Doing the request immediately, but with a poor attitude also merits an extra job. We are also training them all to respond with, Yes, Mommy or Yes, Daddy (or something along those lines) when we call them. If they are in the middle of doing something it is entirely acceptable for a child to respond, Yes, Mommy, …

Please pray!

We still have no provincial approval. We are now at 9 months of waiting for something that by Vietnamese law is supposed to take two to four months. According to our agency, there is nothing wrong with our paperwork, just that the provincial officials don't see the need to move quickly. (Well, we're long past quickly, now we're just talking movement.) In the meantime a little boy heads quickly toward his second birthday, still living in an orphanage, still waiting to have surgery to correct his cleft palate. We are not the only family. I believe there are three other families whose files have gone past the average time for approval. Please pray with us that the officials will be moved to approve the files of these children. I believe that only divine intervention will cause these officials to act.

And now for something completely different...

Image
This is Mr. Adventure Guy. He was a gift to TM for his birthday. Mr. Adventure Guy came equipped with two outfits, an ATV, and a bicycle. TM loves Mr. Adventure Guy very much, and wouldn't let anyone touch him for the first couple of days. But, then, after the newness wore off, I started finding Mr. Adventure Guy in unexpected places. The first time, I looked into the front hall and discovered Mr. Adventure Guy riding his ATV across the carpet, without any clothes, but, since he is a responsible adventurer, he was wearing his helmet. It became seriously amusing to me as to where he would turn up next, and I started taking pictures of him.


The next time, I found Mr. Adventure Guy, was when I was walking down the upstairs hallway. A hot tub of sorts had been thoughtfully made for him and he was relaxing after his hard day of ATV riding. Now for those of you who may wonder at the explicit photos of Mr. Adventure Guy, I want to reassure you that he is also modest. No skinny …

Compliance or Obedience?

A couple of weeks ago, while watching us have a short battle with TM about him wearing his coat, a friend made the comment about how this must be shock because all of our other children are so compliant. This has started me thinking about the meanings of compliance and obedience and why, as a society, we rarely ever talk about child rearing and obedience in the same breath.

To start, some definitions...

compliance n. 1. the act or process of complying to a desire, demand, or proposal or to coercion 2. a disposition to yield to others

obedience n. submissive to the restraint or command of authority

As a parent, I would much rather have an obedient child than a compliant child. Why? It is because obedience involves a conscious decision, while compliance is an unconscience character trait. To me, a compliant child is one who has no inner strength; a child who is so used to giving in to others that it is not a decision, but a habit; a child who has no sense of what true authority is, and is i…

National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month. If you are considering adoption, the Cry of the Orphan website, put together by Family Life Today, Focus on the Family, and Shaohannah's Hope is a good place to get started. But as much as I like these organizations and pray that all children who genuinely need homes will find them, I believe there is a glaring omission. The subject of ethics in adoption and the need to do research on an agency is either non-existent or too minimal. Here is the letter I wrote to the above organizations:

To Whom It May Concern,

I am an adoptive parent and strongly support your efforts on behalf of the orphans of the world. I am writing because of what I see as a glaring omission in your campaign. That is the issue of ethics in adoption. I am sure you are not unaware of the crimes committed against children and families in the name of adoption. Cambodia has closed because of it and Guatemala is well on the way. Vietnam was closed for 2 ½ years, but has re…

Peace

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippian 4: 6-7

On the whole, I have been quite peaceful (especially for me) about K's whole adoption. There have been bumps along the way...last Friday for instance...but they have been rare. This process has taken at least twice as long as TM's, but I was far more anxious during TM's shorter process. Since I am a world-class worrier by nature (my personal motto seems to be "Jump to the worst-case senario first"), I have surprised myself by my reletive equilibrium. This sense of peace I can attribute only to God. All along I have felt this adoption orchestrated by Him; it is in His control.

It doesn't hurt, that 6 children keep me pretty busy and leave not so much time for obsessing. Plus, there are oth…

Tired

I'm tired. Tired of waiting for some government official in a country halfway around the world to finally push K's file around and approve it. We've been waiting for 8 months and I'm done. I want to bring my baby home.

My daughter made me cry

M. is at the beginning stages of working on her gold award for Girl Scouts. As part of the requirements, she had to attend a preparation workshop at the district office. The short synopsis of that meeting is that it was a bust...frustrating and uninformative. It seems (in my humble opinion) that much of Girl Scouts has accepted society's view of adolescent girls. This is the view which says that teenagers are only interested in what's "hip", that things have to be dumbed down to get them interested, and that they are incapable of taking on adult-sized projects. This is not the case with the young women I know (my daughter included.) In fact, they can smell pandering a mile away and have no patience with it what so ever.

But back to the poor excuse for a workshop...to help them with the gold award, each girl must find a mentor. It was suggested to the scouts that they should probably look for a young woman in her 20's, who has a full-time job and is "with it.&…

Words you don't want to hear...

It has been pretty uneventful around here, not that I'm complaining, mind you. But there are events that happen which make one appreciate ordinary-ness. Such as the one that happened this afternoon. I'm standing in the kitchen working on dinner, when D comes in from outside screaming that he has something in his eye. I'm elbow-deep in dough, so I send B in to help D wash whatever it is out. I continue making dinner until I hear, "I can't see! It hurts! I can't see!" being screamed from the bathroom. I knew that great quantities of blood make me drop what I'm doing and run, but now I know that potential blindness also fits into that category. D still had an intact eyeball, so I was able to calm my initial panic. While I was flushing D's eye with water, I sent B out to get his father. In B's typical under-reacting way, B told his father that I wanted him inside because D couldn't see, in a tone of voice that one would use for a statement suc…

Passports!

I guess that the passport processing offices are not as backlogged as they used to be. I was shocked to receive both M's and B's passports in the mail on Saturday. That was a week turn around time, though we did have them expedited. Had I known things were moving so quickly now, I might have saved myself the extra money and done regular service. Oh well, the important thing is that we have them...so we can get that call now...really, I'm ready anytime...just a few gifts to buy...it won't take me long to do the shopping. Did I mention we can are ready to get a call anytime now?

Some travel plans

No, not THOSE travel plans (you know where we go to Vietnam), but plans related to them. For a while we have been wondering about the arrangements we would need to make for the five children we were leaving at home. Very close friends of ours offered to watch them. (In fact we had taken care of their children while they were in China last month.) But, that would give them 10 children, 14 and under, with one of those children recently home from China. In order to make room for the 5 extras, some common space would have been needed to be used for sleeping space. I know they were genuine in thier offer, but we somehow felt those of us in Vietnam with the grieving toddler and traumatized 5 year old would be having the better time.

But, we a have a solution. I wish I could take credit for the brilliance of it, but the credit has to go to the above-mentioned friend. So, the answer to our child care conundrum is that we will be taking M and B to Vietnam as well as TM. This solves our…

Four Things

Mary at Ethiopia Adoption Blog had a four things meme that I thought I would jump in on. So....

Four Things About Adoption

Four things I thought about adoption when I was a child:

That adoption was a normal way to build a family (I had adopted cousins)That I wished my parents would adoptThat I fantasized about children being left on our doorstep to raiseThat I wanted to adopt when I was an adultFour things I've learned since then:Adoption involves incredible joy and incredible lossIt's not the "easier" way to have a child join a familyAttachment is hard work...and that attachment goes both waysLove is a choice first and an emotion secondFour things that are hard about adoption:Being at the mercy of governments and bureaucraciesThat other people don't see my family the same way I doMissing out on the early years of my child's lifeNot instantly falling in love with my childFour ways my adopted child has surprised me:How quickly he learned EnglishHis unwillingness …

Books that make us weep...

[J]

It's an endless source of amusement to our kids that both E. and I are capable of bawling as we read them certain books. E. just finished reading aloud The Last Battle, the final Narnia book, tonight (to A. and P., this time), and that final chapter did her in. Somehow, she struggled to the end, gulping back the tears, but it wasn't easy. I would've been no better, having done the same thing. I've also been reduced to tears reading aloud from the final chapter of The Lord of the Rings. And both E. and I are nearly incapable of reading aloud from The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey (a wonderful picture book). The only way we can get through it is to read tag team.

I think that as I get older, I find myself more emotionally vulnerable (?) to stories. In certain literature classes that I teach, there have been times when I've nearly broken down in tears reading aloud to the class. This has happened with passages from King Lear, poems by Dylan Thomas (an…

But it not

One of the fascinating things about adopting a child who already has language is observing the switch from birth language to second language. TM was pretty functionally fluent in English by the time he was home four months. (I'm still not sure he is completely fluent, even at this point, anything that is a lot of just language...books without a lot of pictures for example...still seems to go over his head. But he is only 4 1/2.) Anyway, the process, while astounding, is not without some quirks. For TM at least, he will latch on to a certain phrase and use it over and over and over and over. And over and over until I am convinced that if I hear that phrase one more time my head will explode. It's not that he just goes around saying these phrases like a verbal tic, but more as a device to sort and categorize all the information coming at him. Then, once he has it out of his system, that certain phrase will disappear, never to be heard again.

His first repetitive phrase w…

I just wanted the drain unclogged

Image
You have probably noticed that we call our home the "Big Ugly House". It was built in 1896 and was always big, but not always ugly. Over the years, there have been owners with questionable taste and an inflated sense of remodelling abilities who have left it with areas that, really, the only way to describe them is ugly. Well, ugly and often of questionable structural integrity. The masking tape holding the (live) electrical wires together gives a good sense of what we are up against.
In one of the bathrooms (not the ugliest, but in the running) the sink had recently been used to change the turtle's water which caused a few too many wood chips to go down the drain. So the drain became clogged. Blithely thinking that this would be a simple task, surely no more than a half an hour at the outside, I asked J. if he could clean out the trap and unclog the drain. Silly me! One thing led to another and it wasn't very long before the drain was empty. Well, empty and no longer…

He's not a baby anymore!

Image
We just received our quarterly update on K. The lip repair looks pretty good and the report says he is eating and drinking better as a result. I knew he would look different after surgery, but the combination of surgery and a haircut makes him seem almost like a different child at first glance. He has learned to walk and evidently loves to play where there are a lot of children. That is a good thing, considering where he's coming home to.

I have to admit that each quarterly report becomes a little more difficult. There are huge milestones we are missing... parts of his past we can't ever back up and regain. It has been 9 months since we first saw K's picture. With TM, 9 months after we first saw his picture, we were in Vietnam meeting the real boy. Sometimes I can't even bear to think that we have at least 3 1/2 to 4 months before we can hold K. But, we are now at the point that we could realistically being to think that we will have the provincial approval we are wait…

14 months

Both Mrs. Broccoli Guy and Law Mommy have posted recently about how they and their new children are faring. (I feel particularly connected to these women since we all used the same agency, all adopted the same age of child, and were all waiting together to bring our children home.) It makes me realize that I haven't written about TM in a while. TM has been home for about 14 months now. His...and my...adjustment continues. I find this to be a difficult thing to write about. TM has made so much progress in the last year. When I look back on last summer it hardly seems it is the same child that I am thinking of. In so many ways, he behaves completely age-appropriately in all areas of life. But...(you knew it was coming)...there are still some things that don't seem quite right. My compulsive reading on all things adoption and attachment related never stops, so here's what I've found. TM's oddities seem to match the behaviors of people suffering from traum…

The children who fight over kale

I sometimes feel as though I live in an alternate universe. At dinner tonight, there was great discussion from the nine children about how much kale they got to serve themselves and wondered if there would be enough for seconds. Really. I wish I could take credit for raising incredibly adventurous eaters, but two facts stop me. First, three of them are guests and I have had very little input into their eating habits. Second, this wasn't your average kale. These were kale chips which are really just a salt and oil delivery system. They are incredibly yummy. Here's how I make them so you can begin your own adventure with kale:

Wash as much kale as you are going to eat. (I use two bunches and never have leftovers.) Rip it into largish size pieces...potato chip size. Place them in a mixing bowl and mix well with olive oil...I don't have an amount, just until they are all coated. Place the pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 1…

And then there were nine...

children that is, living in our home for the next fifteen days. Good friends of ours leave tomorrow for China to bring home their new 4 year old son. Two of their children are going with them and we are watching the other three. We spent the weekend making bed and dresser space for everyone and did a general tidying-up. Nine children in one home brings its own chaos and I didn't want to start already behind. I've gone to the store and have stocked-up on lots of food so no one will go hungry...at least for a few days. We'll spend tomorrow settling everyone in and organizing school stuff to be ready for our first official day of school on Thursday. So that gives us (temporarily) two 14 year olds, a 12 year old, an 11 year old, a 9 year old, a 7 year old, a 6 year old, a nearly 5 year old, and a 4 year old. They are all great friends, so it should actually be a pretty fun 2 weeks.

Bad Dreams

I know the wait is starting to get to me when I begin having bad dreams. The other night I had a really disturbing dream about K. I'll spare you the gruesome details, but suffice it to say it was one morning where I was glad to get out of bed. Our next quarterly update will be coming out this month and it will be a relief to see the pictures of K's repaired lip and that he is doing well. I'm choosing to believe my bad dream was not prophetic but merely the over anxious workings of my brain.

Bye, Bye Froggies

The family pet tally is now down by 7 frogs. But, before you break out the tissues, let me assure you that they are well and happy. At least they were well and happy at 8:15 this morning. That was when M. released them back into the pond where she had scooped them up as tadpoles and brought them home. This is the second time we've had the opportunity to watch the transformation process and it remains miraculous. Bullfrog tadpoles are quite large, but by the time they metamorphose into frogs they are pretty little...so 7 of them can fit into a 10 gallon tank. But they grow and the bullfrogs were running out of room. There was also the whole issue of feeding them. They enjoy live food. M. started out feeding them crickets, but that was getting expensive and causing her to run to the pet store every few days because crickets don't live all that long even if they haven't been fed to a frog. So she turned to meal worms. This explains why 1000 mealworms were delivered…

We either need a schedule or...

that machine used by the Cat in the Hat when he cleans up the house at the end of the book. The beginning of summer is so wonderful. The schoolbooks are put away and huge amounts of free time stretch out before us. There is nowhere anyone has to be except for frequent trips to the beach. But I find it all becomes too much by the end of August. The free time that seemed so glorious in June is starting to feel a touch burdensome. Here in late August, the main occupation of Thing One and Thing Two, oops, I mean TM and D, seems to be creating messes. This is not to say that no messes were made in June, it's just that their scope has broadened. Neither want to actually play with something so much as just remove it from its container. To keep any sort of order I find myself following along behind them reminding them to put away what they got out. If I want to go and do other things, such as freeze the 25 pounds of blueberries we picked last weekend, I am greeted with chaos of unbelievab…

How do you do it!?!

This is a question I've been asked a lot recently. It's a question that always leaves me baffled as to how to respond. The snarky response which my evil twin would love to give someday is, "Well, it's because I'm a superior mother and my children must be more pleasant to be around than yours." Just asking the question does in some way imply this answer. There must be something intrinsically better about me to be able to raise and homeschool 6 children and still wear clothing that matches and is clean. But I can never use that response because it's just too rude and, well, it's not true. I lose my patience, forget things even though they're written on the calendar, and more often than I like to admit, children (or I) run out of clean underwear. My children, in my humble opinion, are bright, but no one has learned to read excessively early or begged to begin learning calculus. And, as far as behavior goes, they are a pretty average bunch. There are …

What we did on our summer vacation....

Image
Painting.....










Reading....









Kayaking....






Sand sculpture (it's a penguin sunning himself, of course).....






Sparklers......








Walking on the beach.....

THANK YOU, Aunt G. & Uncle W.!

To TV or not TV

A recent thread on a bulletin board I am on has me pondering the following question: Is it hypocritical to say one's family is TV-free and yet either still own a set or watch videos and DVDs? My gut says no, but I'm a little fuzzy as to why I have that feeling. If I write down my reasoning, maybe I can stop having arguments with myself and be able to focus on other things.(You know, like all those children running around my house.)


We have not always been a TV-free family. (Note: For the sake of argument, I will consider being TV-free as not watching commercial or cable television. This is different from being monitor-free... i.e. no screen-related activities of any kind.... [Sort of like vegetarian vs. vegan....] ) Our oldest two children have certainly watched their share of PBS shows in their younger days, and J. and I once had shows that we enjoyed watching most nights of the week. (Back in the days of "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine…

In for the Long Haul

Well, it seems I was correct in my estimation that we wouldn't travel until at least January. K.'s province is moving even slower than usual and the timelines have changed to expect at least 9 months between dossier submission to travel. We knew going into this that it wasn't going to be a fast process, but never in my wildest dreams did I think I would have to start worrying about whether Tet would be an issue in travelling. On the positive side....warming-up in Vietnam while everyone else struggles to keep warm during typically brutal January weather sounds lovely....then there are the post-Christmas sales for gift buying....yeah, well, there's two items on the positive side.

We did find out that K. only had his lip repaired. But we also learned a new piece of information in that the doctor reported that his palate was not too bad, so he didn't want to repair it at the same time. I'll take this as good news; we had no idea about the extent of clefting in …

Update on K

We have had some news about our newest son, K. The biggest piece of information is that he had surgery to correct his lip the second week of June. He was in the hospital for 5 days and is now back at the care center, eating and sleeping normally. A confusing aspect of the report is that is says his palate was also corrected. I suppose this is possible, but in all my research, I have only heard of the lip and palate being repaired separately. I am so glad that he came through the surgery without any problems. It means that we won't necessarily be looking at surgery immediately upon bringing him home. But, it also breaks my heart that we weren't there to hold him as he recovered.

The other part of the update states that he is now crawling (very fast...he will fit right in with the other boys in the house) and is beginning to pull to a stand. He likes attention and smiles when people talk to him. This was all two months ago, so who knows what he is doing now.

We are now a…

She Came Back!

Last week B. and A. were at church camp. We all drove them up last Sunday, then had dinner and came home. We had spent a lot of time telling TM what was happening and how they both would come home in a week. How much he believed us is up for grabs. It was a fairly miserable week for those of us left at home. TM had not one, not two, but three great, big, noisy fits, one of which lasted for an hour and twenty minutes. I'm sure the whole thing felt a little too familiar... parents taking a child (or in this case children) to an unfamiliar place with a lot of other children and then just leaving. From TM's point of view, he had no experience that told him they would return. Well, we survived the week, more or less in one piece, and J. went up Saturday morning to bring them home. About lunch time they arrived home and A. was the first one in the door. TM happened to be standing across the room when she walked in and luckily I happened to catch the whole scene. TM sees A…

Just Because it Makes me Laugh

The prize for signing-up for our library's summer reading game was headbands with alien heads on springs. (It's a space theme this summer, so not entirely random.) The littles had a lot of fun with them. Especially TM and D, who made-up a new game...

Toga! Toga!

Image
Our family has been involved in an history co-op for the past seven years. Each year we cover an era of history and the six mothers take turns teaching. (Although this year was wonderful in that a couple of the older children/young adults [one never quite knows what to call 14 year olds, especially if one doesn't believe in ther term "teenager"] took on quite a few of the classes.) Since we do the eras chronologically, this past year we have been covering Ancient Rome. The highlight of each year is the feast we have to celebrate the end of the school year. Everyone dresses in costumes of the period we had been studying and we try to fix food that is an approximation of what would have been served. (There was great rejoicing when the renaissance rolled around and we could serve chocolate and tomatoes.) Often the children provide the entertainment with some sort of readers' theater. This year we had the (very) abridged version of the Aenead, with Aeneas' crew made …

A Tale of Two Treehouses

Image
We have a treehouse in our backyard. J. and some of the children built it over the course of two summers. They designed it together, poured the concrete footings together, and garbage-picked some of the materials together. It has been played in pretty constantly since it was built...although I feel a lot better about it since the railings went up. And, it looks like a kid's treehouse.
A month or two ago, some builders started work in the backyard across the alley from us. As we watched the progress of what they were building (from the vantage point of our treehouse, of course), we realized that it was also a treehouse. To use the term "treehouse" for both structures doesn't seem quite right. It is the same feeling I get when I have to use the word "dog" to describe both a chihuahua and a great Dane....same general animal, but a completely different breed. We watched in wonder as the treehouse was constructed. Well, wonder doesn't quite describe the emot…

Home for 10 months

I realize it has been a while since I have updated everyone on how TM is doing. The short answer is incredibly well. His language ability is equivalent to D's (with his pronounciation being, perhaps, a little better.) Every so often we run across a word that he has to ask the meaning of....but then he's only four. He has amazing physical ability. He loves riding anything with wheels, and rides them well. We fully expect him to learn to ride his bike without training wheels this summer. (This does cause D some jealousy, having just recently conquered riding the tricycle.) One of the most amazing parts of TM's development has been watching his drawing skills develop. When he first came home, it was pretty obvious that he had never really had the opportunity to color and draw. His first attempts at coloring looked very similar to something an 18 month old might do....just scribbling. He had no idea of what the lines in coloring books were for or any concept of representationa…

Thank you, thank you very much

Thanks to Mrs. Broccoli Guy for awarding me a Thinking Blogger award. It's kind of cool to know someone other than my immediate family reads this blog.

As a result, I'm supposed to nominate five other blogs that make me think. The first is The Green Family. I admire the way Kim is able to act out her faith and she often says something that I find myself pondering over. Next comes Mommylife. Barbara writes about on a broad spectrum of topics and is always gracious and logical in her arguments. Thirdly, Amy at Amy's Humble Musings can always be counted on to be funny or thought provoking...or (often) both. My newest find is Jess at Making Home. She has many, many thought-provoking posts. Finally, I want to put in a plug for Mrs. Broccoli Guy's newest endeavor, Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity. It is brand-new, but there are already three very excellent posts touching on ethics in Vietnamese adoptions.

LWB Cleft Nutrition Video

Since K. is cleft-affected, I have a soft-spot for cleft children. This video is about the needs of cleft children in China, but the information transfers well to Vietnam.

So many topics, so little time

I can't quite decide what to post about...there are so many choices. I could tell you about all the furniture that has suddenly landed in our living room, or our venture in vermicomposting (that's composting worms, if you were wondering), or I could tell you about being stalked in the grocery store. Or perhaps I should say a little about all three, since part of the problem is I don't have enough to say about any single topic to make a decent entry.

The furniture is from J's mother's house which we are hopeful will sell at the end of the month. (That is, if everyone can agree on what we pay for, what we don't pay for, what we fix, what we don't fix, etc.) The moving van arrived yesterday with our share of the larger items. Some of the pieces we have made room for, but not all. I think I was a great source of amusement to the three moving guys. They would bring in something...it was wrapped so well I could never tell what it was...and ask where I wante…

Q. When is a Family not a Family?

A. When the family has more than 4 members.

Evidently I've been feeling a little crotchety lately, but there are a couple of things that are always guaranteed to tick me off. One is children being hurt as a result of adults' actions (see my previous post); another is when groups or organizations decide what constitutes the "correct" family size. Before I go on, I will admit that we have chosen to have a larger than average family, and do not expect special accomodation as a result. But I do expect clarity in language...don't say one thing when you mean another. When someone says "family" I take that to mean two adults and all of their children. I do not take it to mean 2 adults and 2 children. That is not my family, nor is it many other families that I know. How are we expected to choose which children to leave home? Draw straws?

The two areas that seem to have the most egregious offenders are contests and museum membership/entry prices. The most recent c…

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing - Edmund Burke

There has been a lot of discussion on various Vietnam adoption list serves over whether there is an ethical crisis in Vietnam or not. Obviously, I believe there is since I don't think the title of this post is over the top. Some thoughts...

I am very concerned about some of the things I have been reading in regards to adoption from Vietnam. I do feel for all the PAP's (prospective adoptive parents, for those of you not up on your adoption jargon.) out there who are trying to navigate the world of adoption. I remember how shocked and discouraged (still am...and hope I never cease to be) I was when I would read stories of the sordid underbelly that exists whenever large sums of money and children are combined. (For an example of how sordid, go to http://www.fleasbiting.blogspot.com/ )I do not see a frenzy over ethics occuring. In fact, I see just the opposite. Over and over I read requests asking which agencies have the fastest referrals and travel. But for those of us v…

This is for you, Patty...or Oliver!, Revisited

I meant to write this post three weeks ago, but between trips to the doctor for pnuemonia (TM), nearly broken finger (M), strep throat (P), and stomach flu (everyone), I have been a little preoccupied.

I promised my friend, Patty, that I would discuss the educational benefits of what we have come to call the "Oliver! Curriculum". Since Oliver! became all-consuming to our family for much of the month of March and left very little time for much else (we managed eating and sleeping...laundy didn't make the cut), I thought I would take a look at what our "learning outcomes" were as a result. So join me as I translate the musical Oliver! into education-eze.

Language Arts:
Listened to the unabridged recording of Oliver Twist by Charles DickensDiscussed Charles Dickens -- where and when he lived, who his contemporaries were, and how he wrote his novels (He was paid by the word for those who are interested.)Memorized lines for Oliver!Compared and contrasted the novel, O…