Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Preview

We opened gifts at our house this Saturday because we're going out of town this week. Bryan and I were up until 1:30 a.m. assembling the new train table. As we were finishing, Bryan said, "Now I know why my parents were always so tired on Christmas." Yes, we are just now figuring this out. I anticipate many sleep-deprived Christmas days for years to come, until the kids are old enough to request gifts that do not need complicated assembly. Of course, by then we will probably be waiting up for them to come home...

The late night effort was SO worth it though! I held the kids at bay until Bryan had the video camera ready. They walked in, saw the train table and raced straight for it without a word. Alex soon discovered stockings, candy, and presents, though Sam remained happily in Train Heaven for most of the morning.

Alex and I had been talking a lot about the song, "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" which she has requested as her bedtime song for the past few weeks. I also explained to her that good kids get presents, toys, and candy - while "bad" kids get coal, which is like rocks and isn't much fun. When she saw the presents she said, "I was GOOD!" and "I did not pout!" and "I did not get rocks!"

Sam's fun was interrupted by a much needed bath, to his dismay. He did get to keep his Tootsie Pop in the bathtub though, which was a good receptacle for the copious amounts of green drool.

I am loving Christmas with a 1- and 3-year old! It is so easy to make them happy. And fun to see the innocent, surprised happy expressions. I'm glad we get to do it again in another week or so.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Just" adopt

I really enjoyed this article by Sarah Kelly. It's about the well-intended phrase tossed out by so many people who don't know what else to say when confronted with infertility - "You can always just adopt."

Not sure if the link above will work - and don't want to violate any copyright laws but here are some excerpts -

"Which is why you cannot tell someone to “just adopt.” As if there were anything “just” about it. It’s not like, “Hmm, what should I do today? Oh, I know! I’d love to fill out 500 government forms! I’ll just do that today! And then I’ll just schedule multiple visits with social workers, request letters of reference, declarations of good health, a complete financial inventory—I’ll lay bare every aspect of my life that can be summarized on paper. And then I’ll just have everything notarized. In triplicate.”

The complicated process aside, before making a new map for your life and choosing to adopt, you need to go as far as you feel comfortable going with treatment, mourn not being pregnant, and say goodbye to the future you assumed you’d have.

I liked the last paragraph too:

After everything my husband and I went through in our quest for the “miracle of life,” I know now what the real miracle is. Through everything—through miles and oceans and air and time and loss and grief and healing and acceptance and love—we found a way to our son and he found his way to us.

Kudos to you, Sarah Kelly - lots of heads are nodding in agreement and appreciation for what you put into words.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

bizarre, and sad

So, I'm in my office working away and the sound of a helicopter circling barely registers, but keeps intruding on my consciousness. Eventually a co-worker sends out an e-mail: there's a news helicopter and the Credit Union (across the street, visible from my office window) is surrounded by fire trucks and security. What's up?

Turns out a construction worker was buried in 8 feet of dirt when a trench collapsed on him. Heavy equipment was brought in to rescue him but they were unable to reach him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

I can hear the news helicopter again, sitting here at my desk on a sunny cold December day. A day just like any other day - for us - but for one man, his last day. May he rest in peace.

Friday, December 7, 2007

little faces haunting me

In the midst of the Christmas season, with all the shopping and the lights and the cheery music, I am haunted today by two images which have reached around the world to me. It would be easy to forget them, and in prior years I probably would have been able to, at least with more ease than I can now. The needs of the world are overwhelming, and it becomes too hard to think about them all the time. But this year, these two images are lingering in my mind.

The first is a picture of several children at an orphanage in South Korea. The picture was taken recently by an adult Korean adoptee who writes for the NY Times Relative Choices blog ( She was adopted at age 3 and grew up in the US. Seeing these kids, she wrote, "Looking at those children I could not help but think: I got out."

As great as it is that we were able to adopt Alex and Sam, in slightly different circumstances they could easily have ended up exactly where these children are. They could be the kids in that picture.

The second image is a black and white photo of a baby in a North Korean orphanage, sent to us by Holt International. They have been supporting orphans in North Korea for about 5 years, but this year, due to flooding on top of famine, hundreds of children are starving - and dying in terrible numbers. There is no heat in the orphanages; children are huddling together for warmth. Milk is so scarce that staff workers are grinding rice and grain into powder for "formula." After recently reading about the conditions in post-war South Korea in the 1950s, it strikes me that after all this time things are just as bad in the North--even worse, because they are cut off from many sources of aid that were available in the South. Once again - if Sam or Alex had been born just a little north of where they were - they could be the ones in these photos. The thought brings tears to my eyes.

There is normally little opportunity to send aid from the US to North Korea, due to government policies and other factors. I hope Holt will collect a lot of donations for its North Korea program (see As for us - how could we say no?