Thursday, October 25, 2007

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." When my daughter and her friends asked if they could have their mothers be their mentors for the project, they weren't given a flat-out "no", but were strongly dissuaded from considering the idea. It seems, in the wisdom of the Girl Scouts, that it would put too much strain on an already strained relationship and that the mothers might be tempted to do too much of the work. It just wouldn't work.

After the meeting, where other questions or comments the girls had were either ignored or shut-down, the three girls approached the leader of the workshop. My daughter assures me they were polite and respectful as they voiced their concerns about some of the views expressed. This is what M reports having said, "We don't mean to be rude, but we would like you to rethink your position on mothers as mentors. We all get along with our mothers. They are homemakers, raise children, and homeschool us. They are our role models and we want them to be our mentors. We think you should rethink the stereo-typical way that you portray the relationship between mothers and daughters." At this point, as she's telling me, I'm feeling rather sniffy and thinking I should get a tissue. I am so proud of her for standing up for her beliefs and am so thrilled that she could tell me about it.

As an aside, I'm sure you're wondering why my daughters are still in Girl Scouts if I have such issues with them. It's because I love the troop they're in and the adults who lead it. The adult who attended the meeting was just as upset as the girls were.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

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 such as, "I'm going to go play at a friend's house." J, as he ran inside, couldn't decide whether he should be grabbing the car keys to rush to the ER, or to send D a message to just open his eye lid. In the meantime, the flushing had done it's job, and sight had been restored. D was still complaining that it hurt and we were a bit mystified, because we couldn't see anything in the eye. We were mystified that is, until A walked in and informed us that D had been playing with some ornmental hot peppers; opening them up and lining all the seeds along his fingers and hands. I can only imagine how much that stung to wipe all that hot pepper oil into his eye. And what's the moral of the story? That ornamental peppers look great in a pot on the porch, but don't forget to give all members of the family warnings about breaking them open and inserting them into one's eye.

Monday, October 15, 2007

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?

Monday, October 08, 2007

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 problem in multiple ways. First, it lessens the number of children requiring care. Three children will fit in our friends' home much easier than five. It could possibly lessen the trauma that TM will experience, and having a big brother and sister along will at least be distracting. We will have two pairs of extra hands for carrying, entertaining, and various other sherpa-like duties. M and B are old enough (14 and 12) to remember the trip. They are both excellent travellers and both are adventurous eaters. Plus, they are both excellent company and can be very entertaining. M, exhibiting her oldest daughter traits, has already started planning, down to details such as what will be going on the IPod.

There are only two negatives to the whole plan. The first is that it will obviously cost more money. But, hey, at this point it's only money, right? The other downside is that we can't take everyone. A in particular is feeling that life isn't very fair right now. But, she's only 9 and she's got time for other trips in the future. (Still, it was very sad to have her break down sobbing when she heard the news.)

I'm feeling much more at peace about travelling since we made this decision. Having come to this point I can say I'm ready...really, really ready...to get that call that we have provincial approval.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

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 adopt
  • That I fantasized about children being left on our doorstep to raise
  • That I wanted to adopt when I was an adult

Four things I've learned since then:

  • Adoption involves incredible joy and incredible loss
  • It's not the "easier" way to have a child join a family
  • Attachment is hard work...and that attachment goes both ways
  • Love is a choice first and an emotion second

Four things that are hard about adoption:

  • Being at the mercy of governments and bureaucracies
  • That other people don't see my family the same way I do
  • Missing out on the early years of my child's life
  • Not instantly falling in love with my child

Four ways my adopted child has surprised me:

  • How quickly he learned English
  • His unwillingness (or inability?) to talk about his life in Vietnam
  • How much I would melt when he gave me the first real hug
  • How close TM and D would become

Four things I wish everyone knew about adoption:

  • Not all players in the adoption game have the best interest of the children in mind. There are unethical agencies out there....prospective adoptive parents need to do their research.
  • I am the lucky one, not the child
  • That boys are just as desirable as girls
  • Intercountry adoption is the last best choice for a child. Other avenues should be pursued that seek to maintain family and country ties.
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