Thursday, May 31, 2012

Back to educating

Since blog is sooo not about ME, let's move on:)

I decided to address something I have touched on before but it happens and blessed parents of older treasures sometimes are clueless as to how to handle it.

Childish behaviors--

As in when around others, acting very immature

Saying inappropriate things

Making goofy faces at my camera
(I warned Chloe this pic was going on here---)

Trying to get attention

Butting in

Being rude

With our teen treasures we have seen this over and over. Even recently. 

Scenario was-Chase said something that very rude and insulting to me. And he smiled while saying it.

So why do they do this and how to handle it?

Why-- well, my belief is that they never got this at the orphanage or as a child when this behavior normally would have been dealt with.  And it wasn't dealt with or learned back then so it resurfaces as our children "grow" in our families.

And often it happens over and over- it seems to be harder to teach at this older age than back when it should have been learned. But it's our job to plug away at this to get them where they need to be.

Often it's hard not to get mad at having to go over these things many times, or that they look 15-16-17 and act like a 5-6-7 year old. But as I often say- age is but a number- react to the behavior, not the number.

So here's what I do that works--

I take them aside if I can, right away. I do not try to embarrass them, but I call them on the behavior asap. Not in anger. But in question-- "why did you behave, say, do this?"

And often you get the blank look. No answer. Do not get frustrated. That's typical.  Just move on.  Ask them "Did they realize that was not acceptable?  Or if you know they knew "You knew this was not acceptable?"  Again, an answer is good, but not required.

 We then do something that is HUGE in getting our teens to see what the issue is-- we role play. We literally show them the behavior, how they presented it. And why it was wrong- how it came across. And then we show them how they SHOULD have handled the situation, conversation, what ever the issue was.  

Because often this "gets in" when talking does not. They are teens. When you start saying "This is what you did, it was wrong, why did you do it, what were you thinking, why did you act like a 5 year old, what is wrong with you, you know better, etc.  THIS is what your teen heard---- "This is what you did, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda, yadda. " YEP, you become Charl*e Brown's teacher. And they don't hear a thing you are trying to get into this precious teen treasure.

So when you role play the situation, this often holds them with you, and also requires less English to comprehend, thus "keeping" them with you and your lesson much longer. And getting across to them for them to learn.

Then when they do it again (and they will) you can pull them aside and say "remember when we talked about this and I showed you how to do it differently? Do that now or go to your room and come back when you can do it." WILL WORK.  It makes them own the behavior.  

One of the hardest things with a tougher teen adoption is getting them to own their behaviors because most of the time there is very little "owning" of any behaviors in an orphanage. Basically if they stay out of the way, don't create a fuss, they are not getting anytime of basic parental instruction, which is where they would learn how to behave in situations. No guidance along with a different culture and cultural acceptances cause us to have to teach/reteach these things.

Try not to become upset, because when we go there we react in anger and when we get angry our kids often shut down. Then NOTHING gets in. Not-one-thing. So we have gained NO ground, no teaching, no progress.

How did I handle Chase insulting me? First, it took me a whole day to address it without anger. Even then I had to really push myself not to be angry. Because he not only insulted me but he also smiled while doing it. Yep.  Smiled. This is something we have also seen with our teen treasures, smiling at inappropriate times, often when in trouble. We *believe* this comes from embarrassment.  Not totally sure. 

But it's I-N-F-U-R-I-A-T-I-N-G.  Can you picture it? Talking to your child about something they did wrong as they stand there grinning?  I mean, if you ever wanted to really "knock some sense into them"(not hitting any kids here ever MOM) it would be then.

So when Chase did this, I told him the next day "What you said to me about XYW, (and I said exactly what he said, how he said it and was smiling meanly like he did)  it was wrong. You owe me an apology. And when you are being mean to someone like you were to me, smiling when you do it makes it 10 times worse, it means you are enjoying being MEAN. And if that's how you act in school and with other kids you will not have/ keep friends."  

That's it. What this did? It made him OWN the behavior, and it gave him food for thought. Even if he thought he "bested" me, good ol' mom, who he probably can justify something I did to deserve his insult, he WILL think about the "you will not have/keep friends." Because our kids want to fit in. They want to have friends. And to have that they must become equipped with skills to gain and maintain friendships.

And as time goes by you can get your teen treasures to learn, they will "get" what you are teaching them.  I can now tell Chloe "You're being rude" or "that's unacceptable" even "stop it NOW" and most of the time it will stop her.  

 We found when she came home she believed every time we tried to correct her on anything she thought we were "yelling" at her. Not actually YELLING but that she was IN TROUBLE. Yelling was the term she used.Kinda like she still "opens" the TV or the lights:))

And I would say to her "You are not in trouble, I am trying to teach you the right way to do something, not even raising our voices. This is when we realized how much better role playing went. Because as soon as she thought we were "yelling" she shut down. Nothing got in. So the behaviors did not improve. And we were frustrated.

Now, we joke when she says "Are you yelling at me?"  (yeah, she asks, she's comfortable enough to do that now) and I am comfortable enough to say "No but if you want me to I CAN YELL so you know what yelling is?" And she quickly says "No."

This falls under "Attention at orphanage is bad, attention means you are in TROUBLE." Because the older kids are mostly left to their own devices, no guidance, unless they really are in big trouble for something. It creates this "shut down" attitude in our teens.

So what else is going on around here? Lots:) Picnic for Memorial Day and I swear I got food poisoning or something 'cause I barfed all Monday evening/night:( Realized I have barfed more in this new house than I did in 12 years at the old one- OIY.

Went to a birthday party for the teens friend and had a campfire, roasted marshmallows and the kiddos swam for the first time of this year. 

Had our first Youth Sunday at church with Paisley, who voluntarily READ up front (see her, she's behind the cross) in Chinese. We were so proud of her. The others read in other  languages, but she read the most:)  She did wonderful.

Got an extra kid (mom DO NOT have a hissy fit) she is actually a former foster kiddo of my aunt who left the system then found out she was pregnant 
and had no where to go. (See where I get my heart for those in need??- this is one of my "moms") I did have to explain to our kids she was only here for a few days,while aunt is away on a trip--- these kids here seem to have this crazy idea when anyone comes with a suitcase they are here for good. What's with that already??

Spending time getting to know the newbie, Miss Paisley. Gosh, is she funny.  Loves to sing. Loud:)  She's full of life, she's a total joy to us.  She is loving Chinese speaking with her new sibs, I laughed when she went to take her evening medicine and couldn't get the lid off, Chloe said to her "Wait, wait, let your BIG SISTER help you:)"
Then this morning Paisley said something in Chinese and Chloe said "Speak English" and when she spoke Chinese again Chloe went behind the fridge, looked at me and rolled her eyes. Yup, sisters, they are.

This weekend will be interesting- the teens, sans Paisley, will go to Teen Retreat with our Youth group from church, they leave tonight till Sun afternoon. This will be a lesson for Paisley, because she told Chloe to tell me she wanted to go, but she didn't come and ask ME. 

 So she will not be going. I feel it's too soon to send her off overnight anyway, and I want her to have some time with us without the teens. It should help her figure us out a little better when left on her own, but also with the understanding her sibs will be coming back shortly:)

That's our week in review. Blessings abound.  Giving thanks to our Lord for each and every day, each step we make with our treasures, for each and every child we have be blessed with and all that we have.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Here's mom

Ron's mom
Hope you read the original post FAST because one of the "moms" asked me to unpost it. She didn't want anyone's feelings to be hurt and although I thought I handled it without doing so I respect her opinion and request.

So suffice to say I had a tough childhood, found  my mothering in more than one place and feel blessed to have experience that helps my adopted teen treasures.  I understand their fears. 

I enjoy having "moms" and have a great time with them all. Each gives me special things- one keeps me in line, one worries about me and tells me to take care of myself to be able to take care of all these kiddos, one understands my heart for children- regardless of how they came to me. 

I left up the pic of Ron's mom, she is a wonderful mom who gave me the wonderful man I call hubby.  She deserves credit- lots of it 'cause he is great:)) 

So there really is a Mom, more so "moms" that exist. (Love you moms-- see I CAN listen and behave once in awhile)  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A girl's life

It's mostly girls here today, since Chloe's friend Hannah spent the night and we sent Chance off to her house to stay the night with Hannah's bro.

Dad and Chase went to help a church member move and we are all heading out later for a cookout/birthday party as well. 

But for this morning/afternoon it was all about the girls:) Miss Kitty is getting her one tooth in, almost all the way in now. She's so proud. She had a solo in a concert this week, she did great. It wasn't long but fun with her whole grade singing.

Chloe was disappointed that the 8th grade party was voted as an Aloha party, aka sloppy wear dance. She was sooo hyped about getting a new dress for this dance and now it's gonna be shorts and tee shirts. I told her she just had to wait till prom. She was NOT amused by that. 2 whole years away, a LIFETIME to her. Ha ha.

We had an interesting thing happen Friday. When the kids came home from school they called out for me to come to the driveway. I wondered what the  issue was. Well,  a stupid bird made her nest in our driveway.  

The kids were all concerned she would get her nest and 2 pretty eggs run over. So first they tried to put something around the nest and momma bird was NOT happy at all.  So then they put just a board in front of it so we would know it was there. That was a no go too. She wouldn't sit on the nest. We thought she was going to abandon it. Chloe was so upset she offered to "sit on the eggs for her."

 Although that seemed quite interesting- as I could just picture Chloe squatted down in the driveway and the neighbors being 100% sure their new neighbors were insane, I told her that would not work.

So when they decided she really wasn't called a "stupid bird" yeah mom that's what I said "What a stupid bird "and called grandma to get the correct name of this bird and she told them to leave it alone momma birdie came back. 

What's Paisley up to?  Learning the ropes, our schedule, how we do things.  We gave the kids each a day for dish duty and hers was Thursday. Like the others she went and did them, no complaints.  Chloe made sure she knew where everything was but she did just fine. 

She was happy today when I got the decal for her cup, special ordered-- so now she has a cup just like everyone else, with her name and that she can use each day.

The girls had noodles for breakfast, then rice and corn for lunch.  They wanted Hannah to enjoy some typical Chinese fare, as well as it being their favorite foods. 

Paisley's tastes run very similar to the other teens, hot is good, spicy is good, although she doesn't like as many fruits as the others. She is not fond of apples or pineapple, where the other teens love all fruits. She willingly eats whatever I cook, I guess she sees there's no arguing about that when we have supper together every evening and all eat what is made.

I told the kids Chinese speaking is fine but they need to let Paisley come to ME and ask things, they must encourage her to do that. And they have, as well as telling her exactly how to ask:)  

Just to confirm that I am her parent, she can ask me things and not rely totally on Chloe, Chance or Chase. I do notice they often correct her in English so I am aware of what they are telling her. 

I'm very proud of them, they have handled helping her so well.  Welcomed her completely but also aren't hindering her bonding and adjust to us as parents, they are actually very supportive of her respecting us as her parents, even a bit PUSHY about it:)  

I can't imagine where they got that?  Mom don't bother to call

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The name game

Gosh, another long post. Sorry (mom) but I do promise (mom) there is no announcement of another child at the end to spare anyone (mom) any concern. (MOM)
Although if you make it to the end there's some neat news there but don't skip to the end (MOM)

About names and renaming children--

Our children's names in China stated when spoken to someone "I am an orphan"  That was their last name (used first as is done in China)  then their 2nd and 3rd names would be the name they go  by.

I will use Kat's name as an example.  

Min An Tong

Min- of the people (orphan)  
An - serene
Tong- child

So her foster mother called her "Tong Tong" as a pet name, very common for people who love them to do this in China.

Basically calling her "child, child"

So when it came to adopting and renaming, even the teenagers, we picked a name.  We made SURE the name had good meaning.  It's VERY important to Chinese people, the name meaning.

Dad wanted to name Chloe "Raina."  I was "okay" with it, not lovin' it when I heard (honestly) God say "Chloe."  And I was a bit surprised but said to dad "How about Chloe? I think God is telling me Chloe."  And looked up the meaning and it was--- blooming, like a flower.

Seemed PERFECT.  And it is.  As for middle names, she has her Chinese name the way Americans would say it--- Chloe LuYun Min (our last name)  The Lu Yun would be separate in China but here for the sake of not having 3 middle names, we combine it. (Chinese people will argue this changes the name meaning but it doesn't HERE)

Now when the boys happened along Chloe deeply wanted them to have "Ch" names.  And we really felt we found Chance "by chance" which happens to mean "Victory" the same as my name:))))

He also has Chance LuKai Min (our last name) as his name.

Chase we "chased for" to get him home. Name meaning is "hunted, tracked down"  Also perfect:)

Paisley's name we picked.  Her name is very special, it's meaning is a fabric that combines together threads to make a beautiful pattern. Her Chinese name is her middle name and then she has the name from first family because she WAS this name, she lived as this name. Even for a short time.  

Our goal is to make her feel very special and chosen to come to our family.  NOT to wipe out her past, or any of our children's pasts. They existed. We have to show them it was OKAY to be who they were.  And she is very happy to be called Paisley. I can't imagine NOT picking her name then have her ask WHY we didn't care enough to pick a special name for her, like we did the others! OIY.

The problem with keeping Chinese names for first names is this--

They are all but impossible for most average Americans to pronounce correctly. Almost all of them look one way and sound completely different 

It points out the differences of our children, makes them feel "weird" and foreign to other teens- not what they need when they want to fit in so badly here

Many names given in China are not given in love for the child, some are even insults- a child with a smaller leg may get assigned the name for "short leg" 

We feel as their parents, it's our DUTY to give them a name that will fit in our society.  I know many people say to me- ohh I feel odd renaming a teenager.  DON'T.  Give them the gift of your LOVE and desire for them to be a part of your family.  

And of course, if your child wants to be called by their Chinese name, respect that. Use it.  Ours use their Chinese names with one another. More and more they are using their new names though.  They seem to prefer that.  Every now and then I call them by the Chinese "pet" name (Chance's would be Kai Kai) and it's said with LOVE.  They laugh  when I do that. But they know I love them and have the right to call them that:)

How do our children see their names---

Kat loves her name. She lights up when the dude at the Chinese restaurant calls her "Tong Tong" with just the right tone on it:)))  Does she want to be called Tong Tong by us? NO.  She even has a song she sings, "My name is Kat, my hair is black."  She made the song up. She loves her name, which  means pure, but was chosen in honor my very special Grandma Kitty.

Chloe likes that her name means blooming.  She is a teen so often she will ask can she be called Chicago (I tell her that's taken) or Penelope.  And we laugh.  She really likes her name and is proud of it. She's now saving Penelope for her own daughter's name:)

Chance is so happy he has an American name.  He has questioned why we kept his other name.  And we explained because it's who he was, but not as an insult his name used to be. His name (MIN) means of the people, in China that means -- ORPHAN---- but here, to us, it means they are "of their people.  We do not know birth family, they are of the Chinese people.  NOT taken as an insult but an honor.

For him this was harder to accept. I don't know exactly why but Chance came to us saying his name and something else. When I asked him what the "extra" meant, he told me this--- I have no parents.  I asked him why he said that and was told by him that he HAD to say it in China.  I swear to you, my heart broke that day. I told him I NEVER wanted to hear him add that to his name (Chinese or American name) again. That he DID have parents, and I was one of them and I never wanted to hear that again. EVER. He saw my "momma bear love" for him that day.

Chance's time in China was not happy. He was tormented and put down for having learning difficulties. He was denied food. Hit by teachers. Made fun of by ADULTS. Told he was worthless.  My son suffered deep, lasting wounds there.

He will openly say he is "AMERICAN" and we tell him he is Chinese American.  He prefers ALL things here. I can only hope the teachers and kids who picked on this precious treasure in China are now feeling BAD that Chance got "the American dream" and they didn't --I'll ask God to forgive my spitefulness right here and now:((

Here's the only glitch we had, when we went to China and told Chase his new name. He was NOT thrilled. Because we quickly learned a word sounding like "Cheese" in Chinese meant "mad face" (I find that soooo interesting now)  And he thought that was what we were naming him.  But when explained to him and he came home and saw other boys named "Chase" he is very happy with his name now.  

I do believe he would be highly insulted if we took his Chinese name away completely, of the 3 teens they call him his Chinese name the most often, most likely because he's bossy to them and acts like he did in China with them.

All of the children embrace their American, chosen-by-us, names.  They understand we went to the trouble to pick names with good meanings, not something any American child even worries about. But to ours, it's very important to know what the name means. To be able to explain why we chose the name, so they are proud to carry the new name. But to keep the Chinese name as a part of their name because we honor who they were. We ACCEPT them as is. Their past is theirs. 

We don't look to wipe out our children's past. This is why the old name is a part of the new, close enough as a second name to be used if they desire.  We look to help them accept that they were who they were and find peace in that, but to also give them the best and most wonderful start here they can have as a chosen son or daughter within our family.  This is very important to us in renaming our children.

And we don't forget the laughter we have had over names. When Chloe got enough English to figure out we have a pretty long and Polish last name she had to write she said "No, no sank you".  Uhh, yeah.  Ya gotta take it. Even Paisley laughed when she saw the last name- those girls:)

And Kat, she said her name was Kat-rin  Monkey.  I assure you that long Polish name is NOT Monkey but it sounded close to her:)

Also of note -- when I took Kat along on trip to adopt Chloe we visited the wonderful foster family Kat calls her grandma and grandpa. We were calling her "Tong Tong" around them- and foster mother very quickly INSISTED we and they call her "KAT".  Wasn't easy for them to say, but they called her that.  Grandma (foster mom) was offended we would call her by her orphan name and WANTED her called by OUR chosen name.  It was very clearly important to her and we complied.

There it is:))

Hope you are still awake- ha ha.

If you are then you gotta know, She called me MOM:)) On her own!   The teens have prompted Paisley, prodded, pushed and insisted.  It's HARD to do for a teen. BUT important because if they don't it gets really awkward when the child stands there waiting for you to say "Do you need something?"  And they will do this. To AVOID calling you MOM.  

The longer that goes on the harder/less likely they are to ever call you mom and dad too. NOT GOOD.  It's so much easier to get them to start out calling you mom or dad.

And today I am "mom".  The best word I heard all day:)

Monday, May 21, 2012

I'm sorry

I'm sorry.  I had no idea. So-many-people.  GASP.  Living with "Bubbas". Thinking they were alone. Ohh. You are soooo not alone.  I don't wish for anyone to have a Bubba. Nope. I didn't want anyone to "get" my post. 

I'm very sad that people do. They live this.  I tried to get back to everyone who e-mailed. If I missed you please feel free to email me at

I will do all I can to help anyone who asks. I do not have a magic pill, I soooo wish I did. If I did I'd hand it out for free, trust me, I would.

Our "Bubba" wanted to get it. Accepted God in his heart, is in weekly counseling with our youth pastor, someone he already trusts:)  He is taking some supplemental vitamins recommended.  I don't know what of those things, if all, one, two?? did "IT" for him but his behavior has been downright pleasant. He's not scary anymore. He's happier. It's a huge relief and something I want for everyone with a Bubba.

Now for an update on our new one. Miss Paisley arrived and is doing wonderfully. Hit it off right away with our kids. They were a bit surprised by how tiny she is, she is in fact 14. No doubt about the age. And I've already told her to say "Good things come in little packages" because no one believes she is 14.  Till you start to get to know her.

Then it's obvious she is bright, she is fun, she is a teen:)  Funny enough Chance has taken his role as "big brother" very seriously, and he has clearly "taken her under his wing."  He helped her tour the house, they ran into dad in the garage and he told her "Say Hi to dad-- we see mom, we see dad, you say hi mom, hi dad, always."  He cracks me up.

He does always say to us "Hi mom, Hi dad. How was your day?" He's such an easy going guy. He was impressed new sister was so polite to him, apparently his other siblings are rude as the day is long to their brother. Poor guy.  Now if we can just get him to stop calling her "That girl." He's not good with names but has been told he can call her Paisley, her Chinese name or sister, but NOT "that girl." OIY.

We had a busy weekend, and she handled it well.  We got lots of things accomplished today-enrolled in school, doctor stuff, legal stuff.  She's going to go to school starting tomorrow just to hang out with Chloe and Chance, to meet people she will go to school with in the fall, and get to know the teachers.

Since Chloe and Chance will move on to High School  in the fall and Paisley will stay in Middle School this is good timing for her to just get her feet "wet" with school.

So far she is blending right in, doing what I expected, finding her place within the kids and being happy to have kids her age, teens that speak Chinese, doggies to love on and she hasn't run screaming from my singing in the mornings.

 All is GOOD. God is so GOOD. This is such a blessing.

I feel sorry that her first family didn't get the chance I am getting with her:(  My joy is another woman's heartache:( I'm so sorry about that.  It seems wrong to have someone else hurting over our blessing. I just hope R and S can find peace about this precious treasure, that they were her stepping stone and their role in her life was VERY special.  

We're all enjoying getting to know her.  We love her already. It's odd but comforting that she seems to be one of "our kids" so quickly. But she does.

She's a teen treasure, of that we have NO doubt:)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Adopting Older

It's gonna be a long post so get your tea or coffee ready, maybe a snack even, take a pee and settle in.

Disclaimer- I am NOT calling children animals (MOM) 

Just imagine you hear about these 2 precious and different cats- like Bengal cats-ohhh pretty. Now, you may have had a kitten or 2 in your life, sweet little things with claws.  That grew up and you had to de- claw, or send kitty outside, or get kitty enough toys for him or her to behave and stop shredding momma's couch.You even have little sweet tabby "Wilma" now.  And she'd love a playmate or two.  So you've got experience, right?

But you hear about this cool sounding duo of cats and think-- hummm, I want them.  And you know they will be gone on Monday and this is Saturday so you gotta act fast.  You plan and think of all the ways these kitties will fit in your life.  You might even, if you are a believer-- ask God to help you make the decision and may feel He is saying 'Yes, take the kitties." Because He made all things big and small and wants us to LOVE, right?  So we can't be going about this wrong.

So kitties comes home from the pet shop. At first kitties are quiet, don't do much.  You don't know kitties very well so you give kitties lots of room, lots of treats, lots of leeway to learn about the home and the others who live there.

And after a bit you really start to notice something.  Kitty #1 seems to be more easy going than Kitty #2.  Fred (Kitty #1) and Bubba (Kitty #2) are very different.  Even though they are the same breed.  You think, humm, odd. Now Fred, he seems real laid back and you are starting to really get what he is all about.  Where his favorite spot to sleep is. His favorite toy.  Where he likes to be petted.

But Bubba, well, he seems a bit harder to "get."  Bubba does things to puzzle you.  Bubba acts like he is starving and steals Fred's food.  Bubba goes after Fred and even Wilma who was already home even though you give Bubba lots of love and attention and food.  You even take Bubba to kitty day care with others just like him and think it will make him feel better to be with other kitties just like him. You go out of your way to make him feel special and loved.

Bubba isn't doing better but you feel bad for Bubba and you give him even more food and maybe more hours at kitty daycare. Thinking it will help Bubba and of course, you didn't bring Bubba home for him to be unhappy but you are really feeling clueless as to what is wrong with Bubba.

So as Bubba becomes more sullen, kitty daycare workers start to wonder what you are doing with Bubba. I mean, Bubba "seems" okay at kitty daycare and he purrs and plays nicely so why when you show up to get him does he start hissing?  What are YOU doing to Bubba?? They wonder.  

You think maybe Bubba misses Miss Sara who worked at the pet shop so you try to reach her and she tells Bubba there's no going back, the pet shop closed down. So he better be thankful he got to come home with you and be good, he was LUCKY you chose him.  Now Bubba feels even MORE lost. 

And what does Bubba do then?   Well, Bubba  is still going after Fred and Wilma, and added in he has started to "lie in wait" for you.  And he attacks you when you least expect it. Even with all the extra TLC you are giving him, he continues along this path and his outbursts are even worse.  You wonder what Bubba's issues are but you are so tired of breaking up cat fights that Bubba starts, Bubba pooping on your bed,  being attacked for doing everything you can think of for Bubba but other cat owners are SURE it HAS to be something you are doing wrong.  All the while you are being scratched and tore up by Bubba who you vowed to give a good home and love forever.

You start to wonder. Is this fair to Fred and Wilma? How much do you ask them to tolerate of Bubba? Why can't Bubba GET that you want to like him and will care for him just as much as the others?  Why does Bubba not get this?  Why?  What are you supposed to do?  The pet shop is gone. No answers at that door.  No one else seems to know what to do with Bubba and they just shake their heads and say "Just love him more."  And you try, you truly do.

Months go by,  now your home has become a battle ground. You ask Bubba nicely to use the litter pan.  You have fresh and lovely litter in there at all times. And Bubba poops on your bed. Over and over. He will not listen. He seems so incredibly unhappy and you feel so incredibly overwhelmed and sad. You feel lost in what to do for Bubba.

Bubba continues to see everything you do for Fred and Wilma as favoring them and makes everyone in the house PAY for anything he sees as "him being wronged."  As someone else getting more than him.  

Wilma is a crying mess. She is scared to come out of her room.  Fred is sad.  He doesn't understand why Bubba doesn't like this new and wonderful home, with plenty of food and love, treats and clean litter.  He just hangs his head in frustration.  He "gets" what it's all about here, WHY CAN'T BUBBA?  

Everyone tip toes around Bubba trying not to upset him but he is walking misery.  He snarls at everyone. He hisses. He runs off and you don't know, do you go after him or wait him out?  Will he come back? Is it terrible to wish he wouldn't, you wonder?

At this point you have "hit the line."  What line?  Well, the invisible line we all have.  Of what we can and can not tolerate.  And you tell Bubba, "You gotta shape up.  There's no going back.  I can not force you to stop this behavior, but if you do not I can not allow you to have free rein in MY HOUSE. You can not run MY HOME."  So Bubba goes to the spare bedroom where Bubba is told, "You will get fed, you will have litter, use it.  When you listen and show me you are ready to handle life in this home, in this family, then we'll talk."  And it takes DAYS, Bubba cries. Bubba whines. Bubba sleeps a lot, refuses to look at you when you take him food.  BUT then, one day when you take Bubba his lunch, he goes over and uses the litter pan, to show you he will.

And as time goes on Bubba starts to "get" that you mean it.  And he decides you really aren't sending him back to the pet store, or off to another home.  So after much thinking Bubba settles down.  He accepts that he is loved the  same as Fred.  He still has some issues of jealousy, of anger, but they are less and less. His anger is controllable and he doesn't have to poop on your bed to "show you" anymore.

Now you feel somewhat relieved but also as if you have gone through a wringer washer. TWICE. Or even 3 times. You are drained. Fred and Wilma still don't completely trust Bubba and are whiny. You've lost many friends and family that don't want to hear about Bubba and his issues anymore, who think it must be something you did/are doing to him.

You work with the pieces of your broken up family and eventually everyone does settle down.  You find a new "normal" -- different from before but still okay, even good.  And Bubba, well, his issues become "manageable" because you know when they are coming and see it and are able to head him off.  You are thankful Bubba seems to be on the right road. 

 But really you are NEVER the same after what Bubba has put you through.

Here's why I wrote this---- some people don't understand what day to day life can possibly be with an older treasure and are so unprepared for this type of chaos or living.  It's TOUGH.  It's draining.  (Again, not calling children animals, it was the best story line I could come up with to illustrate my point)

The adoption "system" has things  going on that are not being addressed. I am by NO means an expert but I call things like I see them-

Some things I see over and over that are NOT working with older child Chinese adoption---

Agencies NOT preparing families for older child issues.  They have to "man up."  Older child behaviors, how personality factors into a child's adoption as well as orphanage verses foster care, past history, genetics, and if a child truly wants to be adopted or not need to be addressed.   

 EDUCATION-- I can not stress this enough. I don't care if you have NO CHILDREN- I feel any family CAN parent an adopted Chinese teen successfully  even if you have never parented. You CAN. 

 BUT you MUST be totally prepared for what you may get. Behaviors brought on by trauma because your older child is traumatized. I don't care if they spent 7 years or 7 days in the orphanage, if they have foster care verses orphanage care. If their birth parents died or abandoned them.  THEY ARE TRAUMATIZED children.

My BEST recommendation is to read like mad, to take therapeutic foster care training (we did this) to ASK people who have BTDT (mom it means Been There -Done That) to be there for you, to guide you, to tell you what to expect. And yes, every child is different. BUT be prepared for the WORST case. Then if you do get an easy one you will be that much more educated and capable- how can that be wrong?

It's possible to become a CASA worker, to volunteer to work with kids in foster care to be their advocate. Big Brothers/ Big sister. You'll see kids who react to feeling different for not having a mom or a dad, the struggles, behaviors you may not have ever seen even if you do have experience raising bio children.

Older children are NOT being prepared for what being adopted means. We are not host families. They are not getting everything handed to them and hitting the "family lottery." It's WORK. It's hard.  They must want to be adopted and do the work to become part of a family that behaves in a totally foreign way and expects them to mold to many of those behaviors. They are not coming here to teach us how to be orphans. They are coming to be adopted in a family and learn to become a family member.

Children NEED to be listened to.  When they say "I don't want to be adopted" it should NOT become about the $$, or someone else deciding it's best for the child.  Forcing a child to come to a family they don't really want, and it could take a good YEAR of struggle with communication and trust to even LEARN this is how child felt, it's BAD.  

And how do you really know if they want to be adopted?  They will do as they are told, "say you want to be adopted."  But then they come here and they don't want anything to do with this "family."  THEN WHAT?  One of the biggest hurdles is them WANTING to have a family.  Why would they even TRY to be a part of our family if they didn't really want us to begin with??  No motivation= no trying. I don't KNOW how to fix this issue as it's really up to the orphanage to be honest for the child's sake.

Older Chinese children are very culturally CHINESE.  (No duh, huh?)  When we *think* we are helping them feel better by giving them immediate access to many avenues of Chinese culture in our homes, we are hindering their adjustment.  They often will take all we give them of China, friends, calls, movies, music, church, and gravitate to it, therefore denying they are now Chinese AMERICANS (aka part of our family).  They must, to "make it" here become AMERICAN.  

They must learn the culture, language, what is expected of them as our child.  Families need to know it's OKAY to take a large portion of Chinese contact from their child to allow them to get to know child/ child to not be able to "hide" in that contact or dream about that contact taking them back to China.  And if you do allow contact it be a positive good thing, but monitored and understood by child that if negative behaviors result from this contact then contact goes away UNTIL negative behaviors stop. However long that takes. Not a set time of "grounding" because this does not work. It has to be till the behavior changes for them to "get it."

When we adopt these teens become Chinese Americans, like it or not. It's something they have to accept to get a family.  They already HAVE the Chinese part down pat. They need TIME to get the AMERICAN part and them clinging to the Chinese part does NOT foster healthy and positive bonding/blending into a family.  Even 2 and 3 years home we limit our children as to their Chinese cultural contacts.  We would not ever be able to take the Chinese out of them if we DID want to (we don't)

  It's not to say we do not respect their culture. We celebrate Chinese holidays, our home is decorated in a very Asian manner, we cook Chinese, our children speak Chinese.  We totally respect their roots and want them to be proud of who they are.They are not LOSING being Chinese, they are adding being American to being Chinese.  Being part of our family gives them the offer to take the best of both worlds if they want to. That's what we emphasize to our children OFTEN.

 As far as Chinese/born contacts we have 2 kinds reactions of Chinese people to our family.

1. Those who "get us" -- they understand our love, commitment and how we truly take these children into our hearts and homes as our own.  We would die for any of our kids, including the adopted ones-- we see them as no different.

2. Those who follow traditional Chinese belief that orphans are worthless. That you should only have 1 child to give that child everything, that we can't possibly love so many children.  

Number 1's are few. We love them. 

 Number 2's- they are not good.  We do not waste time on them. WHY? Because they will tell our children "Ohh you so lucky to be adopted" (which means to them-- you are worthless orphan who was our charity case)
When our kids struggle, they tell them to "suck it up, how dare you dislike people who adopted you"  (which means to them-- your feelings are unimportant, you aren't loved as much as the other children and our kids don't have the right to be unhappy.) 

The type of interaction with Number 2's damages our children, erodes their confidence and hinders their bonding to us.

Adopting 2 children at once, one older, one younger, even 2 older and one with a difficult personality is NOT a good thing.  You all know me, I want to see every child possible have a family.  For sure. And I am NOT saying it can't be done.  It can.  But so often the reports do not give enough info to determine if you will get 2 easy going kids. I do not recommend it to anyone. And I don't care what anyone thinks of that either.  It's my honest opinion.

 When your child is "slapped in the face" daily with "new sister or brother" adopted same time as them making it and they are struggling, you've cooked a recipe for anger, resentment, alienation and hurt that they are "odd man out" in your family. NOT GOOD.

 I'm also going to add here, DO NOT sent one parent to adopt older child.  If at all possible, do not ever send dad to adopt teen girl, mom to adopt teen boy without someone else with them, mom with a brother, dad with an aunt.  It's a set up for one parent to get off on the wrong foot and often the damage/mistrust can not be repaired with an older treasure.

Also gonna add that deciding to adopt because a child will age out, we know what this means for child. We have teens who faced this. But families need to really be prepared  to adopt an older child and what that means.  NOT reacting to a time limit said child has left. It's too important  for the best for the CHILD as well as the entire family for an adoption of a teen to be made as a snap decision.

People thinking that disruption is a swear word. Re home sounds nicer, but it means the same thing.  No one ever adopts (at least I have never heard of anyone) who adopted to rehome the child.  It's like gettin' married to get divorced.  Just plain silly.  But sometimes it does happen. And a struggling and desperate family should have  choices when faced with a child who is not able to make it in their family. There should be options for families that include support, breaks, and rehoming to decent homes.

Agencies need to step up here.  Less push to get older children adopted then nothing once there are issues. A base of families willing to accept a child needing rehomed and understanding/help if it would come to that choice for a family would be HUGE.  An agency should never dump people once the adoption is over, it's just wrong.

Most of all I suggest you prepare your heart, prepare your mind, prepare your children if you already have kiddos at home.  Go over what behaviors new teen might have and what is expected of children already living in the home.  Make it real. Prepare your hearts that one parent may have a long wait for child to trust, speak and be comfortable with them.  Dad here patiently waited for Chloe to come around for over a YEAR. If this is going to be an issue/ intolerable for either parent this happens to, you NEED to know this ahead of time.  KNOW the family strengths and weaknesses.

Have phone numbers of  BTDT support parents,  pastor, social worker, Chinese interpreter and local crisis center and USE them in that order as needed. Join support groups that are supportive, NOT slam you for sharing the tough. Slamming people for the tough is like pretending it isn't happening. And it is. It's very real. It's very hard. Sometimes you just need to hear someone else HAS walked through this, had stood firm because is can be the hardest parenting you have ever done. It's a tough JOB-- tougher still when it seems they hate you:(

 And most of all because I do believe in God, His power, His will, His call to care for the orphans---- prayer. Follow God's WILL (not ours) in what He wants you to do, the child HE chooses for your family  IF He is calling you to adopt. Because God does NOT make mistakes then I believe you SHOULD LISTEN.  He knows your heart. He loves you, the orphans, your family, He will not send you more than you can handle NO MATTER THE OUTCOME. 

There are MANY teen treasures out there that DO want and deserve to get a family-- a family prepared  for all the joy, fun, hardship, entertainment, attachment, love, and acceptance of them no matter what that means, including if it means loving them enough to see your family is not their forever answer.  

Now, if anyone has gotten through ALL of this, I have a little news for you as a reward:)

We have been led by God to accept a child from another family. She is 14 and Chinese, of course.  Paisley will be joining us soon. 

She was adopted recently and has not adjusted well. We deeply respect her first family for caring enough about her to see this and realize for her to move forward she needed a new family. 

It will not affect our adopting Phoebe. Paisley is an extra treasure God has sent our way, unexpected but no less welcomed into our hearts and family.

We ask for prayer for her first family, for her and adjustment for all to go smoothly.

Some of what I addressed above are issues that first mom very openly has shared herself,  but not all apply to her or any of our family but are taken from other families I have helped, been in contact with and /or are my own personal opinions.

Comments to this post are welcomed:)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to ALL Mommas!!

As a little girl I asked God to give me -----

the gift of being a mother.

Now a mother-- all right, mother of MANY.

 Be careful of what you ask God for. 

He ANSWERS prayer:)

PS.  Thanks God,you're the BEST.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Poor Cam.   He's hurtin'.  On Sunday when he was playing at the neighbor's their little Jack Russel terror ( yes, mom I know it's terrier but we call him TERROR, Terrorist, Terrible, etc.) bit him in the leg.

So we cleaned the cut and it looks okay. BUT---- Tuesday he came home from school not feeling so well.  Fever, vomiting.  All day yesterday fever, aches, moans many of those, since he is male and vomiting.  

So when the fever remained today I decided it was time to call the doctor. It seems he has a virus and it has nothing to do with the doggie terrorist biting him but I'm glad I took him and don't have to worry he is not going to make it due to some weird doggie germ disease running rampant in his body.

Since he was there they decided to update his shots (much to his dismay) and do a physical.  Can't say I was too surprised to learn he is another son of mine who is color blind. Yep, all my fault. Or can I say, my father's fault.  As he was color blind and I am a carrier of the gene.

Jay and Brandon are also color blind and we found this out at about the age Camden is now.  3 out of 5 of my birthed sons, must be a pretty strong gene? I suspected Cam had this because I have seen some pretty wild looking outfits he has put together. 

And thought it might be more than just boy laziness of grabbing whatever is clean. or even not clean, I mean is that a requirement for boys, seems not  

I was just happy he had on some clean socks when they went to weigh him.  Pheww. No points for bad mothering on me today.  He's 5 ft 1/2 inches and 87 lbs. Now, you gotta laugh when the (fairly new)  doctor came in and she said "He's not Chinese?" Ummmm, no.  He's got red hair?  She didn't realize I HAD any kids that weren't adopted and Chinese- ha, ha, ha.

I did notice that he did not utter one word to the doctor.  Not a sound. Not a peep. Not even a tiny moan. No complaints. Yet, we weren't even out the door of the office and he was whining that his arms hurt from the shots?  That he was hungry?  REALLY.  Seriously?

 Like I mean I heard "I'm hot, I'm cold, I can't sleep, I was almost asleep, shut the dog up, I can't reach my cup, my legs hurt, my head hurts, I'm dizzy" and some mumbo jumbo delirium when his fever got up there EVER SINCE TUESDAY.  The boy doesn't shut up. (Yeah mom, he takes after me, I get it) Did you notice how happy he is in the pictures?? 

He was also freaking out because it is Science Fair week at school (my all time fave- NOT) and he is required to participate.  So even sick last evening we managed to make slime.  And we dropped it off today. Not before I wondered who figured out that putting a little water in some borax and a little water and food coloring in some glue and then mix the 2 and get SLIME, I mean, who sits around figuring this stuff out? And why couldn't it be me, gettin' rich from some simple ingredient SLIME?  

Any hoo I wanted to treat Cam's fever and mouth with fever reducer and some pretty duct tape. (NO, mom I didn't- I just gave him the fever reducer)

I mean what kind of NURSE would do that?  Not this one. Nope.

 Especially on Nurse's Day??

Happy Nurses Day anyway:))  Don't forget to give your favorite nurse a hug today. 
 No gifts of duct tape necessary. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

How do I love thee

Apparently it's through Hot Sauce.  What? You didn't know that?  Really?  

According to Chance, it sure is!  That's what he declared when he saw the bottle of hot sauce I bought when I got groceries last week.  I figured it was getting tiring buying the little bottles to see them go empty within a week.  

Yeah, a week. Chance, more than anyone puts hot sauce on EVERYTHING.  So a bottle of the sauce doesn't last long.  When he saw that big ol' bottle he said "Whoa, you see that hot sauce? I think how big hot sauce how much love I am from mom. Right mom?"  And I wasn't going to ruin him feelin' the love, no way. So I said "Of course Chance."

It's funny how our teens equate hot sauce with how much they are  LOVED.  I'm thinking it would be fun to get a BULK sized bottle, you know, like those 7 lb can of ravioli that no one else buys but US?  . So if I could just find me a big 'ol jug of hot sauce then Chance would surely feel loved forever, right? 

I don't know if he could handle all that love:)

Twin sis Chloe has been busy lately, girl's got some amazing talent of paper folding.  Hearts, puffy stars, boats, frogs, all kinds of stuff out of the smallest pieces of paper.  Don't know how she does it but she's quiet and busy making her little paper jewels:)

The kiddos were all busy this weekend, car wash for the church youth, bowling for Kat with a friend, we planted flowers and mowed, Chase started a small garden.  

Lots of good fun and productive work-- we love looking at the flowers all neatly planted and growing.  Now if we can just convince Chase to stop watering everything to death?

That's a recap of our weekend, how many of you were out and planting your flowers or gardens this weekend?