Look Who Dressed Herself

Thursday, May 27, 2010 1 comment
Plaid and stripes...nice.

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Rupturing Ear Drums at the Natatorium

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3 comments
Oliver and his "pet" fish Sushi chillin' at Chloe's swim lesson. This was one of the few moments when he wasn't screaming.

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Hair Accessorizing

Monday, May 24, 2010 3 comments
This is what happens when you are the little brother and you want to check out your sisters hair accessories with her.

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Relaxing & Eating

Thursday, May 20, 2010 No comments

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What Do You Think?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 1 comment
Is this a bit too much for Chloe's 6th birthday present? I mean, it is an automatic.

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Bringing the customers in

Monday, May 17, 2010 1 comment
We had a garage sale on Saturday. It's only been 4 years coming. I can't say it was a success--people in the NE seem to only be searching for furniture. Once that is sold you're done for. It didn't stop Chloe from trying to bring in more traffic. Isn't she cute? The sign says "Open".

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11 Months Old

Sunday, May 16, 2010 2 comments
How fast it goes. 11 months old today. There is still no sight of any incoming teeth, you love to babble all day long and sometimes screech/scream. Your pediatrician calls it "finding your voice". Most people would call it "irritating" to put it mildly.

You love to wave "hi" and "bye" and scurry around the house doing your army crawl. You love to cruise the furniture. You can say "mama", "hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii", "ba ba" (bottle), "bye bye", "no no no no" (or na na na na).

You love when Mommy sings to you. You think it is funny, which I am not sure if that is a commentary on my singing or not. Your favorite song is "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" and you love to open and close your hand like a twinkling star.

You are constantly on the move. You hate to sit still and be strapped into your high chair and car seat.

You just learned to clap and are such a silly little guy that I had to commemorate this age with a video.

Like Father, Like Daughter

Thursday, May 13, 2010 No comments
So these items in the video are the rage among the Elementary and Pre-K crowds. They have become such a distraction in Chloe's elementary school that some teacher's have banned them from being worn into class. They come in all shapes and the kids love to compare, stretch and eventually break them.

Chloe was admiring her collection today and taking them off her wrist one, by one (and she has 49) and describing them to me. For those of you who know Matt, you will get a kick out of how she describes the car band. Oh no, it's not just a car, it's a...well, you'll just have to watch to see.

Happy First Birthday Flash!!

Monday, May 10, 2010 No comments
You made it (without me throttling you)!!

Mother's Day

Saturday, May 08, 2010 No comments
Happy Mother's Day! We went to church and then Matt surprised me with lunch out at a local Mexican food restaurant.

Chloe got her face painted...

and Oliver got to eat tortillas...

Hope your Mother's Day is a happy one!

Five Years Ago...

we became a Forever Family in Guangzhou, P.R.C. It was Mother's Day in the U.S. and we officially became Mom & Dad to Chloe.

In the News

Friday, May 07, 2010 1 comment
You can see this article here.

Transracial adoptions: A 'feel good' act or no 'big deal'?
By Jessica Ravitz, CNN
May 6, 2010 4:26 p.m. EDT

(CNN) -- "White people adopt black kids to make themselves feel good... A black child needs black parents to raise it." "Maybe she adopted one because the blacks in the community wouldn't step forward and adopt?" "What's the big deal? If no white person ever adopted a black child, they'd be saying why don't white people adopt black children." "Who cares what race they are? A woman got a child, a child got a mother...it's BEAUTIFUL!!! And yes I am black...if it matters."

These impassioned comments and thousands more poured in earlier this week when CNN published a story on the stirred-up debate surrounding Sandra Bullock's recent adoption. A People magazine cover photo of the actress beaming at her newly adopted black infant son, and the discussions that have followed, clearly hit a nerve.

So when it comes to transracial adoptions in this country, where are we?

Stacey Bush is the white child of a black mother whose adoption sparked controversy and whose attitude forces people to think about the issue differently.

Stacey wouldn't change a thing about her life, which is saying a lot for a young woman who spent her early childhood being neglected and bounced through the foster-care system. That was before a drawn-out legal case ended in 1998, allowing a single black woman, Regina Bush -- the only mother Stacey had ever loved -- to become her forever mom.

The Michigan lawsuit was filed when a county agency cited concerns about "cultural issues" in an attempt to keep the pair apart. Regina Bush's adoption of Stacey's biracial half-sister had already been completed, without challenge, and Bush says she wanted to keep the girls together. (As a matter of full disclosure, this CNN writer's late father represented Regina Bush in the case.)

At 21, Stacey is thriving in college, well on her way to becoming an early-childhood educator and seamlessly moving between worlds. In one day, she might braid the hair of black friends, address faculty at Central Michigan University where she is on a partial multicultural scholarship, and then go salsa dancing with her Latina sorority sisters.

"People are sometimes startled. 'She's white, but she doesn't seem white,'" she says with a laugh. "I can relate to everyone. I like being exposed to everything. ... Seeing me, hearing me -- it doesn't matter what color you're raised just as long as someone loves you."

Forty percent of children adopted domestically and internationally by Americans are a different race or culture from their adoptive parents, according to a 2007 National Survey of Adoptive Parents, the most recent study of its kind conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Legislation passed by Congress in 1994 and 1996 prohibits agencies getting federal help from discriminating against would-be parents based on race or national origin.

How adoptive parents have approached transracial adoptions has changed with time, says Chuck Johnson, acting chief executive of the National Council for Adoption.

"In the old days, meaning the '70s and '80s, there was this notion that these parents need to be colorblind. This sounds wonderful, but by being colorblind you're denying they're of a different race and culture," Johnson says. "Families that are successful are those that acknowledge race. ... It's not a curse. It's not an impossible feat. They just need to work harder to give a child a sense of self-identity."

It may be ideal and less complicated to match children available for adoption with same-race, same-culture families, says Johnson, who advocates that children be raised in their own countries whenever possible, too.

"But timeliness is of the utmost importance," he says. "It's better to find permanency and a loving home."

The latest figures show that there are 463,000 American kids in the foster-care system, of which 123,000 are available for adoption, Johnson says. Of those, he says, 30 percent are black, 39 percent are white, 21 percent are Hispanic and the rest are of other origins.

Seventy-three percent of official adoptions -- including those arranged through foster care, private domestic arrangements and internationally -- are done by whites, according to the 2007 survey of adoptive parents. But that doesn't account for informal arrangements, when relatives take in other family members' children, which is much more common in the black community, says Toni Oliver, vice-president elect of the National Association of Black Social Workers. She says the black community takes in "more children than the whole foster care system does," although Johnson adds that often these arrangements don't have the safeguards and protections legal adoptions provide.

When handled well, transracial adoption is "a very positive thing," says Rita Simon, who has been studying these adoptions for 30 years and has written 65 books, including "Adoption, Race & Identity: From Infancy to Young Adulthood."

"But love is not enough," said Simon, a professor of justice and public policy at American University in Washington. "You really have to make some changes in your life if you adopt a child of another race."

In the case of a white parent adopting a black child, that might mean living in an integrated neighborhood, having pictures in the home of black heroes, seeking out other families in similar situations, attending a black church and finding role models or godparents who are black. The same need to integrate a child's culture applies across the board, whether parents are adopting from Asia, Central America or elsewhere.

"It helps make our society more integrated," said Simon, who has five biracial grandchildren. "Race becomes less important and other kinds of identity issues become more important."

Bill Barry and his wife, Joan Jacobson, adopted two boys as newborns. Willie, 17, is biracial and Alex, 15, is black. Race never mattered to the white couple when they set out to adopt, after it became clear they wouldn't be able to bear children on their own.

"We simply wanted a healthy newborn," Barry says. "We didn't care about race, didn't care about sex, and we knew we wanted them locally."

Had the family uprooted to white suburbia, he suspects, the journey might have been more challenging. As it is, the kids go to public schools in Baltimore, Maryland, live in a multiracial and multicultural environment and grew up in a house where pictures of Paul Robeson and Rosa Parks hung on the walls. But Barry says he and his wife didn't "go way overboard." The white pair didn't, for example, suddenly start celebrating Kwanzaa.

"My wife is Jewish, though not so practicing, and we did Christmas and Hanukkah. Double the presents -- they quickly celebrated that," he says. "Kids are always trying to figure out their identity and who they are, and race is just part of it."

That may be true, but the National Association of Black Social Workers has long argued for keeping black children in black homes. About 40 years ago, the association released a four-page position paper on transracial adoption in which it went so far as to call such adoptions "genocide" -- and that word choice has dogged the organization ever since.

But Oliver, the vice-president-elect, says when that position was written decades ago, blacks were being discounted as adoptive parents, not being given the same resources to help keep families together and thereby prevent the need for child placements, and that agencies weren't recruiting families within the community. By speaking strongly, the organization helped jolt the system -- although more still needs to be done, she says.

The preference, Oliver says, remains that kids be placed in same-race households whenever possible. And if it isn't possible, or if a birth parent selects an adoptive family of a different race, then those adopting must be educated to understand "the impact of race and racism on the country, their family and the child in particular," she says.

"There is a negative impact that children and families are going to experience based on race," she says. "The idea that race doesn't matter is not true. We would like it to be true, but it's not."

Regina and Stacey Bush have faced challenges along the way. They've received their share of stares and under-the-breath comments like, "What's this world coming to." When a young Stacey once started climbing into the van to join her family at an Arby's restaurant, patrons came running to grab her, yelling that she was going into the wrong car. The girl was given detention at school, accused of lying because she called a young black boy her little brother, which he was. At a movie theater one time, someone called the police because they feared Stacey had been abducted.

Regina says she got attacks from both sides.

"White babies were a precious commodity. 'Blacks can't take care of white children,'" she remembers hearing. "And blacks were outraged" because there are so many black children in the system who need homes, and "they didn't understand why a black woman wouldn't adopt one of her own."

But she says she simply wanted to keep Stacey and her half-sister in the same home and give them a loving family, together.

Stacey says that upbringing taught her to embrace all people.

"It gave me so much opportunity to talk to so many different people. There were no limitations. I stood up for a lot of things, and it made me break peoples' mind-sets," she says. "We're accountable for each other as brothers and sisters. We need to look out for each other because at the end of the day we're all human beings."

The Bug Hunter

Thursday, May 06, 2010 No comments

Seriously, I'm not over-exaggerating, Chloe could find a bug crawling on a bleacher a football field away. I don't worry about her eyesight. She was assisting me in the yard yesterday and in a matter of a few seconds she found a spider (which I never could see), a pill/doodlebug, a moth and a caterpillar. I never take notice of bugs, except for the occassional slug I may find while digging in the soil and the annoying wood bees that try to eat our shed every spring.

Chloe was so thrilled with the caterpillar that she ceased any help she was giving to feed and play with it. She named it "Leafy". I think he was eyeing my Impatiens and Chloe kept trying to feed him the leaves off my Geranium. "Don't encourage it!" I kept telling her.

We are on a mission this morning to find Leafy once again. If anyone can find it, I am certain it's Chloe.

Note: From what Chloe and I can surmise is Leafy is a cabbageworm or a clover worm caterpillar.

Still Toothless

Tuesday, May 04, 2010 1 comment

Happy Birthday to Me!

Monday, May 03, 2010 3 comments
It's my birthday today and the hubs got me a really cool present....

How Does Your Garden Grow

Sunday, May 02, 2010 No comments
It's hot. So hot that it feels like August today...and I am not complaining. I like it! Everyone is outside walking or working in their yards and sweating. AHHHH!

We took full advantage of the warm weather to get some planting done and to get the vegetable garden in for the summer. Chloe helped me pick out the veggies we will grow this year--
  • CHERRY TOMATOES (because they go squish in Chloe's mouth)
  • BROCCOLI (b/c Chloe likes broccoli with ranch dressing)
  • JALAPENO PEPPERS (for Daddy)
  • PEAS (she didn't say why, she just likes the plants I guess)
I learned a valuable lesson last year---no heirloom tomatoes for the garden. I have to select the disease resistant, modern varieties due to the small size of our garden. Last year our heirloom tomatoes did not produce much and I had to pull them out at the peak of the growing season because of blight.

The garden looks a little different this year than last. I added a netting fence around the raised beds to keep one dog named Flash out. He was very upset to learn that this is NOT his digging area. Lets hope it keeps him out and he doesn't crash or chew through it.

We still have other plantings to do in the yard. The nursery did not have a lot of plants in yet because it is usually much, much cooler here. As a general rule, summer planting doesn't begin until after Mother's Day in our area because freezing temperatures can occur until early May. Luckily, the warm weather looks like it will be staying through next weekend, which takes us past the window of a chance of frost.