Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sophie My Peanut

Sophie (in the middle) with her Xiaonan SWI 'Cousins'
June 22, 2007
Wuhan, Hubei
We knew Sophie was petite when we were united with her. At 18 months she was the oldest in our group at 18 months of age. The other two little girls were 10 months old. Sophie was, by far, much smaller. Oh, how cute!...
...but maybe not.
For the past several months I had begun to become slightly concerned about Sophie's obvious lack of growth since we adopted her in June of 2007. So much that I had been know to weigh and measure her daily at various times over the past few months. I even asked Neil if he thought she was a Little Person, to which he said, "Oh, no...she is just petite."
Today Sophie had her 3 Year Old Checkup/Well Visit. Her pediatrician charted her weight and height and informed me that Sophie is not on the charts (- 3% for height/*almost* 3% for weight). Her 1st 2 year old molar is just beginning to come in. Her hair has grown only about 1" in the past 1 year & 7 months.
She had been at 0% for height at her 2 Year Old Checkup.
So, she really isn't 'curving' on the growth chart.
Our Pediatrician (whom I LOVE!) is cautiously concerned. Sophie is to have a 'Bone Scan' - whatever the heck that is.
The good Doc said that maybe Sophie's age is incorrect. Well, it might not be exact (after all, they are all pretty much guestimates), but not by more than a week, I believe. She remarked that if Sophie were 2 years old then she would be in the 50% range. Well, for Sophie to be 2 years old that would mean that we would have received her referral one month before she was born, and that when we adopted her in June 2007 she would have been just 6 months old. Now 6 months seems awfully young for a child to be walking steadily and talking! In addition, although the kid is smart as a whip ("scary smart," as Neil says!), I really don't know many 2 year olds who speak in 7-8 word sentences, carry on a conversation, color within the lines, dress and undress themselves, count to 20, say the alphabet, know their colors, yada, yada, yada.
Sophie is 3. And she is tiny.
So bone scan we will have. Follow up appointment with the Doc in 6 months. If no 'curve' then on to a Pediatric Endocrinologist. The Doc's concern is growth hormone deficiency.
I google this.
Bad idea.
I join yet another Yahoo group.
I get a headache. Two Advil...say prayers to my Lord who I KNOW loves Sophie.
And I go to bed.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Chinese New Year!

Happy Chinese New Year ~ Xin Nian Yu Kuai ~ Gung Hay Fat Choy!
Today marks the year 4707 on the Chinese Calendar. The year of the Ox - Ji Chou 己丑.
Our plans for the day include watching the Series Premiere of Olivia the Pig on Nickelodeon before heading off to Preschool. At Preschool Livie is sharing the book Dragon Dance with her classmates. She is also giving each of her school friends a goody bag with Chinese items such as chopsticks and Chinese candy.
Later this afternoon, after picking up The Bigs from school, we will head home to quickly change and then head out to our annual FCC South Florida Chinese New Year Celebration down on Miami Beach. I will be sure to post photos later this evening.
From our family to yours, may this is a joyous day for you all!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Quick Synopsis Of A Weekend

Friday night Neil and I decided to go to a local Italian Restaurant which has been in business for years, and has an excellent reputation. Well, let me remind you that we live in South Florida, known for The Beach, Flamingos and Retirees! The restaurant in question is also across the street from a large....and I do mean LARGE...retirement community of about 60,000 people (yes, you read that number correctly! LOL). Evidently Friday night is a big deal at this particular restaurant, as they have a live band (band members have a median age of about 75) who entertain patrons with songs from The Big Band Era. While it definitely wasn't what we were expecting, I have to admit we had a BLAST!

I hadn't expected a bloggie moment, so I hadn't taken my camera (big mistake!). The photo of the restaurant (below) was taken with my cell phone. At any rate, what a dinner it was!

Saturday morning had us at Chris' flag football game (his team won!). I'll try to upload photos later since I took a different camera with me and haven't uploaded those photos yet.

Following the football game Neil took off with Chris for Tampa and the NFL Experience.

Later in the afternoon Lindsay, Livie, Sophie and I all headed off to Chinese Cultural Classes. This was Lindsay's first time joining us, and she had a blast with her little sisters!

Sunday morning is reserved for worshipping God and spending time with our brothers and sisters at Church. Neil and Chris came home later in the afternoon after what they tell me was a wonderful time.
It was a fun and packed weekend. Hope you all had a great weekend too!


Monday, January 19, 2009

Tough Topics

I was recently reading some posts on Rumor Queen, and I came across a post referencing the writings of an Adult Adoptee from China. Seemingly her Chinese name is Tai Dong Huai and she was adopted by a Caucasian family (American? Canadian? I am not sure.) when she was a bit older (maybe around 5?). She is apparently in her early 20's. Let me say that this young lady is clearly a very gifted writer, and I think she has a bright future ahead of her in regards to her literature. Evidently she is currently working on a book to be titled, "I Come From Where I've Never Been." Such a profound title.

Rumor Queen shared the links to some of her writings, and I read through a few. The following is one of Tai Dong Huai's short stories that really took my breath away. I suppose it hit home for me since I have a teenaged daughter (Lindsay, bio), and I also have two daughters adopted from China (Olivia & Sophie). It really made me think 'down the road' a bit to when Livie and Sophie are teens themselves. It also made me think about all the little girls I know who came to their families via China adoption. This story could be the story of any one of these little girls.

That makes me cry. This is the 'ugly part' about International Adoption. This is the reality of thinking beyond the paperchase. Beyond the referral. Beyond the packing list. Beyond the White Swan. This is what lies down the road as we parent our children adopted from China.

I hope I am up to the task.

I hope I am helpful to my girls. An encouragement. Their defender. A great listener.

I hope I don't screw up.

By Tai Dong Huai
You don’t know why, but you refuse to allow anyone to touch your ankles. Not the shoe salesman at Macy’s, not the nurse at school, not even your Aunt Rachel who presents you with a thin gold ankle bracelet which you put, untouched, in your jewelry box. You avoid all boots, most shoes, sneakers. You would be content to suffer the most wicked New England winter in no more than split-toe socks and flip-flops. Then one hot day in August, something happens. Along with your adoptive mom, you visit her ex-college roommate who lives in Larchmont, New York. Her name is Linda, she’s a recent divorcee, and she has a son who, at sixteen, is two years older than you. You’ve seen his picture on a Christmas card. When you meet, he’s handsome and funny and it’s summer and who’s to say? “Hot enough to deep-fry a turkey,” Linda says just before she suggests you all go swimming at her new country club. “It’s one of the perks of having a blood-thirsty divorce lawyer,” she smiles.You’ve known about this possibility and you’ve hoped for it. You’ve worn your one-piece swimsuit under you t-shirt and cut-offs. You’ve brought a towel, an eco-friendly one, the one made from organic terry cotton. And you’ve packed sun block – Bull Frog SPF 45 – even though you never, ever burn, hoping he might ask to rub some on your back.The pool water is as clear as those pictures you’ve seen of the Caribbean Sea near Curaçao. The area around the pool, as well as the pool itself, is surprisingly uncrowded. A life guard sits above it all, and somewhere close by a Beach Boys CD plays “Fun, Fun, Fun.” And while normally you might feel some disdain for these privileged few, today you are accepting because today there is music and a bright sun and a good-looking boy. You’re standing in water four feet deep. You’re adoptive mom, back by the Pepsi machine, is calling to you. “Did you bring any change?” she wants to know. And before you can answer, before you can call to her to look in the ladybug purse in your straw bag, it happens. This boy – Chandler – this boy who has gently teased you all afternoon, swims up behind without your being aware. He moves rapidly under water, and before you are sure what’s happening, he maneuvers between your slightly parted legs and playfully lifts you up and out of the water. Instinctively, your mouth opens and your hands wrap around the top of his head. Your knees cling just above his ribs, and he squeezes your ankles beneath his armpits.Someone gleefully shouts, “Chicken fight!”And just before you scream, the lifeguard -- standing straight up in her chair -- points at you and blows her whistle. Later that day, as you ride north on the Merritt Parkway, your adoptive mom says, “Come on. It’s not the end of the civilized world.”And you say, “I peed on him.”“What?” your mom says.“Right on his shoulders. All across the back of his neck.”After a moment hesitation your mom says, “You were in the water. He probably didn’t even notice.”But you know he noticed. By the warmth. By the odor so close. By the way he unceremoniously dumped you backward after you screamed. “What is it with me?” you ask.Your mom says nothing for a second, and then she lets out a puff of air. You are familiar with this gesture. It’s the same one she used just before explaining your period. The same one you heard prior to being told that you, unlike your cousins, were not Catholic. “I guess I should have told you this before,” she says. “When you were in the orphanage there was this – what would you call it? – this ‘practice’ they had.” She looks directly at you and says, “There were so many of you and so few caregivers.” Her eyes back on the road, she continues. “Three times a day they would put those of you who couldn’t walk onto potty chairs. Regular wooden chairs, actually, with a hole cut in the seat and a pot underneath it. You were kept from falling off by straps tightly fastened around your ankles.”“How do you know this?” you ask.“You know me,” she smiles. “I researched.” The smile fades. “You still had the marks on your ankles for five months after we brought you home.”“Why would they do that?” you ask.“In the interest of time,” she says. “They trained you all to relieve yourselves simultaneously.”“But how?” you ask.“Like Pavlov’s dogs,” she tells you. “They blew a whistle.”You both ride in silence. You glance down at your ankles, and for a moment you think you see them. Dark leather straps with glinting metal buckles. But no. It’s only shadows cast by the sun as it sets behind so many seemingly identical trees.You almost laugh. And then a bud of hope begins to grow. You look over at your mom, so protective, so naive. And you think that tonight, once you are both home safely with your adoptive dad pouring wine and boiling spaghetti, that you might try on that ankle bracelet.
About the Author:
Tai Dong Huai was born in Taizhou, China. Fiction has appeared, or is scheduled, in elimae, Hobart, rumble, Underground Voices, Wigleaf, Word Riot, and other terrific places. "Ankles" is from a collection in progress, I Come From Where I've Never Been.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wow. I haven't updated my blog since December 31st! Oh my. Well, my apologies to everyone in bloggie-land! Life has a way of getting busy, and before you know it you're thinking, "Hmmm...I don't think I have updated my blog in a while!" Ooops! So, in an attempt to bring everyone at least somewhat up-to-date on the doings of my family in the past 2 1/2 weeks, I will share with you all some photos of recent 'doings' from our family (presented in random order, as is the case with my mind these days!):

Chris at the Franchise Convention on Miami Beach...posing with his ultimate hero, the main character from the xBox Game, Halo.

Livie (2nd from the right) and Sophie (4th from the right) at Chinese Cultural Classes.

Our group from the FCC-South Florida group, who participate in the Chinese Cultural Classes.

Livie and Sophie sharin' some lovin'!

The beginning of our official potty training! Sophie sportin' her JoJo BIG GIRL PANTIES!

Livie eating some yummy Chinese food at the Franchise Convention!

Livie and Sophie hanging out at the Convention.

Lindsay and one of her BFF's, Madison, at the Sunset Tan Booth at the Convention.

A glimpse of our booth (LA Sunset Tan) at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
Since the Holidays wrapped up, we have been super busy with School, work and life. Throw into the mix Neil's Franchise Show for our biz, and life has traveled at 55 mph at least!
We hope all has been going well for all of our friends and family, and that 2009 blesses you all with tremendous joy and happiness!