Wednesday, December 30, 2009

These pictures take my breath away!

It's a combination of the early morning sunlight, her expressions, the softness of her hair.... her face....

Thanks to my Uncle John for the pictures! He's got a great eye and a super camera. Actually my aunt has a camera that has a "beauty" option which erases most wrinkles and spots without blurring the picture. It's really incredible. Maybe one day I will get the guts to post those before and after beautification pictures of myself!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Having a daughter for Christmas

This was not Charlie’s first Christmas, but it was her first Christmas with us, her forever family.

I wonder what her mother is doing in Addis? And her brother. I hope they are OK. I have sent pictures and a letter to the address I have for her, but so far have heard nothing in response. I know that Ethiopians celebrate Christmas in January, and Charlie and I will send prayers across the globe on that day.

Back here in the USA, Christmas was joyful.

Much better(in my opinion) than before Charlie's arrival.

The Christmases the past few years have been decent, great, fun, and it’s always nice to spend time with family. But there was something missing. And this year she was not missing. She was very much a part of every moment of Christmas for me.

We made it to family after the snow storm of the decade. Three days late, but still made it safely. We spent our time between two relatives houses. Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch were fabulous. I made a special drink called a “Maple Buttery Kiss” on Christmas Eve that was yummy, or at least I thought so ;-) . My aunt set a beautiful table and the lasagna dinner was delicious.

All the cousins played together and Charlie had a blast. They all went down into the basement at one point, which is a huge basement, very long and perfect for riding toys (such as the motorcycle and car seen in pictures). It was like a small amusement park down there. Boy was it chaotic at moments! Chaotic but fun. Totally out of control. Charlie held her own, but was asleep by 8 PM and slept until 9 AM Christmas morning, that’s how exhausted she was.

Christmas morning we opened presents and for the first time in years, we kept it to a reasonable amount. It still took all day to open them, but at least the adults didn’t get or give many to each other, it was mostly about the kiddos this year. Then we ate and played all day. Perfect. My family embraced Charlie 150%, and she is now going through attention withdrawals because it’s back to just me and her. She loves the 21 person attention-fest that happens when we go home to visit!

This is the Holiday Wrap Up, since I’m not celebrating New Year’s Eve, to my knowledge. I hate NYE anyway, always have. It makes me sad. Sad and usually disappointed. So I’ve just stopped celebrating it, and now that it would cost even more with having a babysitter, it’s not worth it. I’ll just relax with Charlie at home and wish her the best 2010.

I do have pictures of other family and cousins, but have not yet gotten permission to post them.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Super happy with my Christmas gift!

Look at how awesome my (PINK) Canon Powershot is (thank you Santa!) click on pics for larger, better detailed shots.

(oh yea, and how pretty my daughter is....)

The "knock-knock-who's-there?-open-the-door-shut-the-door-do-it-again" game. Christmas Eve I put coils in her hair.

Snow... nom, nom, nom...

Ice tear, not from unhappiness but from the cold. If you only click on one, this is the one to click on.

Her cousins have a motorcycle and she took right to it. Rut-row.

Oh yea, back to the door game. This was Christmas Eve. I'll post Christmas tomorrow.

On another topic, I just wanted to point out that the "Airplanes crash when I travel" curse still continues. ON the day I flew to family, a plane in Jamaica crashed. On the day before I flew home, a mad bomber was taken down mid-air over Detroit. This continues the pattern. For years now I have noticed that planes go down when I go up. In a way, I take it as "insurance" that my own plane won't go down, based on statistics. However, if there comes a time when I'm traveling and there has not been an accident lately.... I'm going to assume it's my time.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Santa's Revenge:

On our flight home, when we were about to land, I shifted Charlie's position on my lap and all of a sudden I felt this warm gush.....

Since I was buckled in and not allowed to visit the restroom, I was trapped.

But a warm trapped. Which is better than a cold trapped. So I tried to look at the bright side. ANDDDDDD.... we didn't crash so that is always appreciated (Thank you, Gods!)

I guess Santa got me good for this!


He also got me a great camera and so as soon as I figure out how to upload the pics, I will post a few (hundred) of Charlie's first Christmas with the family. She had a wonderful, fun, overwhelming, playing, laughing, dancing, cousin-y, delicious, chaotic, and loved-filled Christmas. It was GREAT!

I hope all of your holidays were filled with joy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh Sweet Jeeezus How Good it is!!!!!!!!!!!

Internet, TV and HEAT ARE ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Man did I do the happy dance all over the house!

I woke up my neighbor and sang in her ear!

Ahhhh... life is good again. I had resigned myself to a dark, cold Christmas alone with Charlie but it looks like I MIGHT (pending no plane crashes) be able to be with my family for Christmas!

I got to drive around a bit today (to buy Chai of course) and every 30 feet a tree is down. It looks like a disaster area. Where is Obama to give us some funds??? There are utility trucks on every corner. Two lane roads are one lane, traffic lights are out, it's a bit eerie. But I'M FREE! FREE AS A BIRD! AND THAT BIRD WILL NEVER DIE-EAYYY-EAYYY!

Kind of sad that the Internet and TV can make me so happy. Or rather, the lack of reduce me to a heap of bored mess.

Here are some pics of the past days:

OUTSIDE:First day, it's still fun and beautiful....

End of first day, trees are starting to look sad.

Umm, yea, that's my driveway somewhere there...

This is still the first day, about 18 inches fell that day. We got another inch or two the next day.

This is the tree that fell against my house. Note how close it came to both breaking my window, and knocking down the cable wires. That would have meant no electric or Internet for even longer. Thank God for small (as in an inch) favors! Note my trusty saw hanging there in a moment of exhaustion.

This is the tree, or parts of it, after I pioneer woman'd it.


"Momma. Can't. Move." Actually, it was bedtime when I bundled her so much she could barely bend her arms.

I was so unprepared for this. I had:

- half a book of matches
- a flashlight with a dying battery

I did not have:
- boots or gloves for shoveling
- Charlie's coat, mittens and hat (locked up in her school)
- salt for the driveway

We survived though. Each match was revered. Each candle, pruned and nursed along.

Thank you, all of you, for writing me comments and getting me through this last day when I was really losing it. I could expound on all sorts of deep thoughts I've had over the past few days, such as how easily a terrorist group could bring a city to it's knees by knocking out the electrical plant and the water reservoir.... or how close we all are to living like animals and our "civilization" with it's "Internet" and "heat" is an oh-so-fragile illusion about to come crashing in at any moment... certainly by 2012 I'd say. But I"m not going to. Instead I'm going to spend the night doing electrical activity, such as dish washing, laundry, and maybe, just maybe, some TV. Tomorrow we leave, please pray for our flight. Frankly, we've had enough excitement for this Christmas season.

We hope you have a MERRY MERRY Christmas! And, of course, a joyous Festivus for the rest of us :-) Don't forget to "Air Your Grievances" and have a fun wrestle.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

SOS! Day 4 of no heat. Snowbound!

Subject: SOS! Day 4 of no heat. Snowbound!
Date: Sun, 20 Dec 2009 20:18:51 -0500

We've had no electric or heat for 4 days, snowed in, trapped. Send help.

Kidding about the help part, although if anyone can cut downed trees and plow roads go ahead and send them.

The inside of the house is 35 degrees and 60,000 people in my county have been without power in this snowstorm of the decade. We have over 18 inches of snow and we are in The South, so not prepared (can you tell I'm a Yankee transplant?)

I have 3 trees down on my property, 1 of which I chopped down with a flimsy little hand saw because it threatened to pull wires down. Pioneer woman!

Charlie is bundled like a chinese kid, with so many layers she can barely bend her arms. We are surviving thanks to the gas stove burners which help a little, and the 3 canine furnaces which help a lot. Other than being cold, the worst is the boredom... Its dark. No tv, no computer, no radio, no lights to read by.... I'm almost out of Chai. Things are getting desperate.

Seriopusly though, we are out of milk and down to canned goods as perishables have already perished.

I shoveled the driveway so I could charge the blackberry in my car and not die of carbon monoxide poisoning.

I hope this blackberry post works... Please excuse typos... Thumb typing is clumsy. I'll be back with pictures once the power comes back.

How are all of you?

Talk to me please, I'm bored out of my gourd! I may not be able to respond, but trust I am checking for comments every 5 minutes. Trust.

Update: plow came but left a sheet of ice. Since I'm on a hill I still can't leave the house! I saw the utility truck try to make it up our road, he was slipping and turned aroiund halfway up. Hey! Come back here! I need my internet! I think it's too dangerous to attempt, esp with a baby. Even if I got down, I'd never get back up...
Kiki, dani, singlepap, thanlks for your comments! They all made me smile. Kik I can't get out of the house to go to a friend's house. Dani, yes neighbors are pulling together.

I need more comments please, I'm already done reading those three.

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Hotmail: Trusted email with Microsoft's powerful SPAM protection. Sign up now.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Secret to Happiness

I used to facilitate several therapy groups (addicts and alcoholics in early recovery) and on occassion I would catch the members' attention by claiming to know "THE" secret to happiness. Once everyone was quietly attentive, I'd share. It was simple, but not easy: "Do the next right thing". Groans would erupt. But wait, let me finish, I'd say. If one does the next right thing in every moment, it leads to amazing contentment. It's just not an easy way of life to sustain.

My theory was that doing "bad" things, no matter how small (i.e. leaving no sheets on the roll of toilet paper for the next poor sap who sits down) eats away at one's self esteem, one little chip at a time. Sometimes even subconsciously, without one realizing it. This creates the belief that one is "not a good person" and bad people don't deserve to be happy. Plus the world ends up being a negative place and generally sucks.

Conversely, if one changes the roll in anticipation of the next person, the "next right thing" to do in that case, the opposite happens... one starts believing one is a "good" person, and that feels.. well... GOOD. Do enough of these small right things in a row, like for weeks, and all of a sudden one realizes: 'Hey. I'm HAPPY DAMN IT."

I've actually done the next right thing for a few months at a time and it really works. Take it from me, a person who generally languishes in a borderline depression since 1985. Now, a day or two won't do it, it has to become a way of life. But it works.

From the article "How To Get Really Happy" by Julia Allison:

"We’re all too quick to “postpone the intense self-examination and decision-making necessary to create a life of enjoyment.” What do we do instead? Distract ourselves with the idea that more money (or losing weight, or getting married) will make us happy.

So what’s the fastest way to really—really—figure out what makes you a happy camper?

Start a list. (Groan) I know, I know. Another list, just what you need. But seriously. You make excruciatingly detailed lists for the grocery store, the IRS, and your wedding. The least you could do is write down a few things that led directly to joy on your part. None of this “the end justifies the means” stuff (you’re not allowed to write anything that “might one day” make you happy. It has to create contentment right then and there.)

And stop with the big things. “My apartment” is too … vague. “My boyfriend” is too general. What about your apartment makes you happy? The way the light streams through the windows at 7:30 a.m.? The fact that you can’t hear your neighbors—ever? Your tiny little balcony, on which you fell asleep last Saturday night, on a blanket, because no chairs fit out there? That’s the sort of thing you should write down.

If you get stuck, think of this very cheesy reminder—Maria in The Sound of Music, singing about “her favorite things.” It seems a bit juvenile, but I promise, as you write down the silly little pieces of life that truly make you happy, I bet you’ll realize you’re happier than you think. And as you do, you’ll begin to notice that happiness is a choiceand it’s a positive feedback loop. As you choose to see the little things that bring you joy, you’ll start to see more of them, which will in turn, make you happier.

I remember reading somewhere that “happiness requires cultivation.” Take the time to cultivate your happiness. After all, what could be more important than that?"

I guess the secret to happiness is doing the next right thing, and an attitude of gratitude for what you already have.

In the spirit of self examination, here are a few things that bring me joy:

- Seeing Charlie wake up (her rosy cheeks, her smile, her bright eyes, her chirpy voice)

- Lying in bed with my three dogs, one behind my back, one with her muzzle fitted onto my side, one by my feet.

- Cooking something I think is turning out great.

- Having a free afternoon with nothing to do but read or waste time on the Internet.

- Watching Charlie form new words (the perfect "circle" of her lips when she says "no-no-nose" and points her chubby forefinger to smoosh her nose.)

- Christmas morning!

What is one of your joyful moments? Why don't you share one thing here and see if you can spread it. I may get some ideas from you.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Most Beautiful Veggie in the Wolrd?

This is called a "chou Romanesco" and supposedly tastes like a cross between a broccoli and Brussels sprout with a hint of cauliflower. My childhood nightmare! but I might actually enjoy it now.

It was genetically engineered. Here is an article about it and other "fractal foods".

What has this got to do with adoption? Nothing. I just thought is was the most interesting vegetable I'd ever seen so I thought I'd share.

Plus I have nothing new for today.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ten Ways to Cause a Tantrum when None is Warranted

From Parents

As parents, we’ve all seen it, our baby slumped and snoozing in their car seat. Head lolling at an unnatural angle and mouth agape. You think, “Aw. Poor thing. They must be so uncomfortable.” You want to fix it. In fact, as their mom (or dad) you are compelled to fix it. You lift their head gently from the side, trying to find the “tipping point” between front and back and side to side. You think you’ve got it. Ahhhh…the head is balanced. Success. Then they wake up and the screaming commences.

The point is, everyday our children are happy. We just don’t know it. So we continue on our quest to make their lives more pleasurable, more comfortable, “happier.” We shift, move, change, sanitize, anticipate and assist them with the hope of making their world a better place. And what do we get for it? Banchee screams and a migraine for our efforts.
The best advice I ever got as a parent and what I'd like to pass on to others: NEVER make a happy baby happier.

And at all costs, avoid the following 10 most common ways parents cause tantrums in otherwise peaceful and content babies or toddlers:

1. Moving your child from the car into the house so they can have a more comfortable nap. Unless you have a kid who is a guaranteed "transferer" let them sleep even if you have to sit in the car with them in the driveway. Or worst case, move the entire carseat with your sleeping child.

2. Changing your child out of a wet diaper in the middle of the night. If the wet diaper doesn't wake them, you shouldn't either!

3. Adding to a picture they're working on...just to make it "prettier" (or neater, or color IN the lines). Step away from the crayons.

4. Paying for expensive seats to a live kids show and insisting they watch every last second of it. Paying for the seats won't affect your kid's happiness one way or the other. Making them sit through the whole show (plus intermission!) - long beyond their attention span to justify the cost will. It's ok to leave.

5. Adding salt, cheese or ketchup to food without asking.

6. Holding onto a baby's pacifier (lovey, favorite blankie, whatever) and insisting you need to take it home to wash it if it's fallen on the ground before returning it. A little dirt never hurt anyone. Abide by the 5 second rule (or stretch it out if need be) and give the precious object back.

7. Fixing their shirt.

8. Brushing their hair.

9. Popping a puzzle piece into place even though your child has been struggling to finish the pretty picture. This could definitely become a "no good deed/puzzle piece goes unpunished" moment.

10. Seeing your pre-school daughter prance out of her room in an outfit worthy of a circus performer and proclaiming, "why don't you wear that nice outfit I BOUGHT YOU." This is tantrum kindling for sure.

I agree with most of these, except brushing her hair. That has to be done, and always brings on a tantrum. There are few things I can do to alleviate the tantrum, especially when I'm alone and only have 2 hands a 3 braids going. DO you agree with all of them? Do you have any to add to the list? Enlighten me!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If you have a black daughter, there's something you need to know...

I try to be very careful with the foods I feed Charlie. We are not perfect, sometimes we slip, but for the most part she gets a pretty healthy diet. I have read that African-American girls tend to physically mature faster than Caucasian girls (not sure why that is) and one theory is the hormones in cow's milk. So I'm spending the couple extra dollars to buy the organic, hormone-free milk. Also, it's better for the cow's life.

Here is an NPR article we all need to be aware of if we have adopted girls of African descent. This article says that breast cancer strikes black girls younger than other races. Why? They don't know. My guess is the hormones again. Whenever we mess with nature, we create monsters eventually.
Click here to read it.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I put a pee soaked girl on Santa's lap.... does that put me in the "bad" column?

After checking the website to make sure we arrived on time, Charlie and I stood in line excitedly to see Santa at 12:59 PM yesterday.

At 1:00 PM, a somewhat bitchy elf came by and strung a rope up right in front of us. "Santa's going to lunch. He'll be back at 2:00".

Harumph! He could stand to miss a few meals, imo.

I said something about how they should mention that on the hours listed, so people don't plan to come with small kids right then, and the "elf" (I use that term kindly) retorted that it was right there on the sign. "The sign that is pointed away from everyone in line?" I asked, "Because it's not on the website which is where people who are deciding when to come would look."

Score. But no joy in that. We took off to waste an hour at Build-a-Bear, which was fun. I changed Charlie at one point.

45 minutes later, hair disheveled, dress stained, and cheeks tear stained (not from seeing Santa but from not being allowed to eat ice off the mall floor) we headed back to Santa's area.... only to see a doubly long line around the corner.


Oh well, it's Charlie's first Christmas with me and so we must do what every other parent does and force her to sit with Santa. We got in line. We waited. We fidgeted. We cried. We peed. A lot.

I discovered her wet stockings when we were next in line to sit on Santa's lap. It was 3:00 PM.

Now I ask you..... after all this, would YOU have gotten out of line to change her???

I think not.

So enjoy this photo, knowing Santa is wondering: "Is her butt really warm or is that wetness?"

Does that put me in the "bad" column? Will I be getting coal this year??? Yikes! Sorry Santa!

Her dress rose up, and I couldn't fix it because she was JUST about to start crying. They had to snap the picture right then, or miss it. So this is what we got for her first Santa experience! I think showing Charlie her personalized Santa video helped prepare her, she was definitely not as scared as some of the kids in line. And to see some hilarious Santa with crying kids photos, go here. It makes me really wonder why we do this to our kids??

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Didn't Think Anyone Would Believe Me...

... so I video taped Charlie's bedtime routine. I wouldn't believe it myself if I wasn't watching it happen every night. This is what she does. Goodnight kisses to all, then she walks herself to her crib and I put her in. Blankets are tucked and once that door is closed she sleeps through the night. She is amazing!

The first time she did this was when her grand-parents were visiting, and when I came back out into the living room their jaws were still on the floor! I took full credit: "See what an awesome parent I am?" I said, "That's what she always does." (Yea, right! She'd never done it before... and I know I'm lucky as all get out. I've read so many books and heard stories about kids who had awful night time and parents who are exhausted.)

How could she possibly top this?

Next thing you know, she'll be doing a triple sachow back handspring into her crib!

(Ok, the video wouldn't load for some weird reason... now I KNOW nobody will believe me!!)

In the interest of honesty and transparency, this was not the first time I attempted to catch this on tape. The first night, Charlie slipped and fell after kissing Opa. The second night, she didn't want to kiss Opa and stayed in Babcia's lap. The third night... well, it was getting a bit ridiculous trying to catch her doing a flawless good night routine for the camera. Remember those Saturday Night Live skits where the actors would crack themselves up and try to hide it? Yea... um-hmmm... check out my mom when Charlie doesn't immediately go into her normal routine.... Then check out how the camera starts shaking. I almost peed my pants from trying not to crack up.

I'm telling you, my family is totally normal.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hair, Glorious Hair!

Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for bees
A nest for birds
There ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my...

Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
Flow it, show it
Long as God can grow it
My hair

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratty, matty
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Oh say can you see
My eyes if you can
Then my hair's too short!"

I'm celebrating because I found the MOST AWESOME hair care website. Not only can you order cheap barrettes, ballies, beads (flowers, hearts, ponies, stars) head bands, snaps, and on and on.... but you can ALSO order hair care PRODUCTS. And not only THAT, but there are ALSO VIDEOS on how to do COILS, CORNROWS, TWISTS, BOX BRAIDS, FLAT TWISTS, CRISS CROSS CORN ROWS, PIGGY BACK PIG TAILS and stuff I've never heard of!

Go here to have fun, and learn tons!

So I tried out the TWISTS and the COILS doing what the lady in the video teaches and it works beautifully! Now, cornrows I'm going to need more practice. My fingers are just NOT that agile yet. But every day I'm getting better. Charlie is allowing me to play with her hair for about 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes after dinner. We have worked up to this. She definitely is just tolerating it, but she likes seeing the result in the mirror when I'm done.

Today, her African-American day care teacher COMPLIMENTED ME on her "Coolio style" hair do!!! What a compliment :-)

What I did was I separated her head into 9 equal quadrants and put a pigtail in each quadrant. Then I braided each pigtail with conditioner and left them overnight. In the morning I took out the braids and Charlie ended up with 9 fountains of curls! It was funny and cute.

What are some good hair sites you've found? I know about Happy Girl Hair and Tightly Curly, both good sites with great info. I'd like to find some others. In particular, I'd like to watch a teaching video for Bantu Knots.

Thanks and go check out these sites! They are great. Thank God for the Internet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

5 Days of Straight Sleep... but not for adopters.

I read this article about a study being conducted, or a new program actually, at a hospital in Toronto (why are the Canadians so far ahead of the U.S. when it comes to family and parenting??) where they are trying to reduce the severity of post-partum depression by having birth mothers stay for 5 extra days at the hospital. The nurses help a lot and the moms get to sleep. The thinking is that sleep deprivation has a lot to do with post-partum depression, so by having mothers who are at "high risk" stay at the hospital and sleep the severity of PPD will be less. Or avoided completely.

Well, what a great idea! Although I'm not sure 5 days is enough....

At least someone, somewhere, is trying to do something to help.

Now, what about us adoptive moms? Are we not sleep deprived??

Click here to read the whole article.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

One reason I'm still single...

My parents and friends are frequently asking me why I don't get online and find myself a hubby. There are several reasons, some deep seated, some just due to laziness and being tired of the whole emailing 100 people and finding no one.

Maybe I will get back on the dating scene.... at some point. But then I see something like this and I think: "Hmm.... maybe not just yet...."

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I'm the only black person in my family

Sometimes I worry about these issues.

Things are pretty easy now, while Charlie is little and the bigger questions have not yet been realized.

But I think about her teenager-hood. How trying that time can be for every teen, let alone a trans-racially adopted one. When I mention my concerns, some people tell me I'll MAKE it an issue if I acknowledge it. If I ignore it, Charlie won't feel "out of place" being the only black person in our family. I don't think that's true. I think it IS an issue and if I DON'T acknowledge it I will not allow Charlie to feel safe enough to talk about it with me when it comes up. I think some people are still thinking color blindness is the way to go, but that discounts and un-validates the person of color's experience. It's easy to be color blind when you are white. You can go all month without thinking about it.

Try being color blind when you are black. Impossible. Where are the "black skin tone" band-aids? Did you get pulled over because you were speeding or because you are black? Did you get hired to fill a quota or because you were the best one for the job? Hundreds of reminders every day that you are not in the majority race.

I spent 4 years at a Master's level studying social work, oppression, racism.... I have read SO MUCH on this topic. In my everyday work I see the effects of racism all the time. For a white person who has not really studied these issues to tell me I should not "make it an issue" or I will "make it worse" is just not aware of what it's like to be a minority (not to mention insulting my education on the matter). Not that I am an expert on being black, obviously, being white and privileged, but at least I realize there is a deficit in my experience. I'm aware of institutional racism. I'm aware that growing up in a white family might really confuse a black person as far as their identity. I hope not, but at least I am aware that it MIGHT. I'm going to be watching and as ready as I can be for when Charlie has questions and feelings about this. I'm not going to pretend she is white and go about our lives as though nothing about her race would ever come up. Me asking Charlie her thoughts and feelings on this issue will not MAKE her have these issues. If I were not single, I would adopt another black child so Charlie could at least see her own skin tone around the table at family gatherings. (I would adopt again for other reasons as well, I'm just saying the child would be black for that reason.)

Here is a trailer of a movie at the Toronto film festival. If it comes to my area I so want to see it.

The official film description:

With white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adopted brothers — one mixed-race and one Korean—Brooklyn teen Avery grew up in a unique and loving Jewish household. But when her curiosity about her African-American roots grows, she decides to contact her birth mother. This choice propels Avery into her own complicated exploration of race, identity, and family that threatens to distance her from the parents she’s always known. She begins staying away from home, starts skipping school, and risks losing her shot at the college track career she had always dreamed of. But when Avery decides to pick up the pieces of her life and make sense of her identity, the results are inspiring. OFF AND RUNNING follows Avery to the brink of adulthood, exploring the strength of family bonds and the lengths people must go to become themselves.

Read more:

Here is the film's official site.

Parents, how are you planning on handling these issues? Have you given it a lot of thought, or are you waiting for the day it comes up?

I would LOVE to post some comments from transracial adoptees who grew up in white families and how they felt about these issues. If any of you are reading, please comment and educate us.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Christmas Magic: Your kids will be mesmerized...

My cousin, Kiki, turned me on to this link. It's a video of Santa talking to your child. It's very personalized, from a picture of your child, to his/her positive achievements, gift wishes, location, hair color and name. So once you input all the info, it's pretty fun to watch! And best of all, it's 100% FREE!

Charlie watched her Santa video with excitement and I could feel her little heart beating under her shirt and see the wonder in her eyes. Even though she has no idea who Santa is, she knew enough to realize he is magic! I video taped her the second and third time she watched (I never remember to video the first time, ugh), and each time she was enthralled. Her little eyes were opened so wide!

Click here to watch the Santa video and see if you want to make one for your child. There are different age ranges: toddler, tween, good kid, bad kid, etc so you can pick your category (I wonder what the "bad kid" category is and if anyone actually picks that!)

I'm starting to "get" the Christmas awe that parents seem to have when watching their kids at this time of year. I didn't really, before. I mean, I knew intellectually that parents got a kick out of watching their kids open presents and get excited. But I didn't really understand in my heart, how it feels, when you see your kid's face lit up in delight, awe, joy. The first time Charlie watched the Santa video, I got a clue on how wonderful that feels.... to watch your child see Santa for the first time.

I haven't felt this excited for Christmas for years. Since I was little actually.

Then we opened the first day of the Advent calender and she was surprised and delighted there was a piece of chocolate behind the window. She wanted to open and close the window over and over.

What is your favorite part of the holidays, as far as watching your kids, that is?

PS Happy Birthday to my Aunt and Uncle. We love you lots!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Fake Baby. Yikes!

Last night I had to make the oh-so-difficult decision between “Transgendered and Pregnant” and “My Fake Baby”. Do you ever have those kind of agonizing decisions to make? Well, I do, almost every night. Life is tough without Tivo.

After switching back and forth for a few minutes, the decision was made: “My Fake Baby.”

Have you SEEN this show??? It’s on the BBC channel.

It’s about women who collect the “reborn” babies, and treat them like real children. The “reborn” dolls look very life like, and some of them breathe, or wiggle. Some have beating hearts. All have tiny veins, soft angora hair, and incredibly baby-like skin (some are mottled, such as the newborns and some have that porcelain pore-less yet downy skin), all have the heft and weight of real babies. One of the womens' grandson had moved across the world and she was so stuck on him, so fixated, that she gave the doll maker pictures of him. On her “delivery day” (yes, they called it that), the day she picked up the doll, she said: “Now, nobody can ever take him away again.” She wrapped him up in blankies and tucked him safely into the car seat (a more expensive brand than mine, mind you, for an inanimate object) while driving off in tears of gratitude. It was sad how obsessed and hurt this woman was, but also highly creepy that a doll could replace her grandson.

Here is a clip you can watch.

One doll maker shows off her wares at this website Check out how realistic the dolls look. Does anyone think Kennedy Rose is a little scary looking? One thing that creeps me out is that she has pages called “The Labor room” and “Adopted Babies Nursery”. She says “new mommies name the baby”. She writes “I have enjoyed receiving many sweet thank you’s and letters from the forever mummies that have adopted my babies.” It’s all over the top with not being in reality. I wonder if it psychologically hurts the women who buy these dolls as “replacements” for miscarriages or the death of a baby. I mean, it would kind of delay grief, wouldn’t it? If the woman is just collecting the way I collect books, that’s one thing… but to take these dolls out in strollers and bask in the attention of “being a new mom” (as Harry’s grand mom says) is weird. Isn’t it??? It goes without saying: THIS IS NOT ADOPTION. This is buying a doll. For exorbitant prices.


Human kind.

If you are interested in buying a reborn doll, or making your own, you can buy them on Ebay, or buy the kits to make them yourself from here

Which shows are your secret voyeuristic indulgences? Please tell me! I might be missing something good!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I can't believe it. Speechless.

Due to lack of time and news, I have nothing to report for today. So instead, check out some of the fun links on the right and waste some time. Orrrrrr, check out this CUTE CUTE CUTE adoption story!!! The pictures won't fit and I'm not sure how to get them to fit, so you'll have to use the link. Believe me, you won't be disappointed :-) especially those of you interested in adoptive breast feeding ;-)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Elmo dress

Here is Charlie in her Elmo dress, which I think is so cute.

Thank you Ebay! This dress was $0.25!

My one tip of the day for those of you who are waiting... when it comes time for showers, don't ask for any clothes. In fact, you might want to ask for diapers and wipes instead. You will get clothes, there is no need to buy them on Ebay or anywhere else! I had no idea and so I bought a bunch of Ebay clothes for very cheap a few weeks before travel (as the nesting/freak out instinct kicked in), and then received beautiful new clothes at my showers. Charlie has so many clothes I never have to do laundry if I don't want to. Of course, it's nice to have brand new clothes and some of them are so super cute I do put her in them for special occasions. On the other hand, I spend about $75.00 every 2 weeks on diapers and wipes. So if I had to do it over, I would register for diapers and wipes of all sizes! Or, if you are having more than one shower (like a friends and family one and then a work one) maybe ask for diapers and wipes to be the theme at one of them.

Just my little tip of the day.