Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Additional Blog

Come join me as we see how little Isaiah (our sponsored child) grows! I hope through pictures you can see how he changes - with a little bit of money it could change a child's life.

Remember the commericals as kids that Sally Struthers did - saying to donate to save a child. Growing up I always wondered if you donated did that money really go to that organization.

With Love Without Boundaries, the dollars you donate do go to help children in need.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A little goes along way....

With the money I won from my firm's volunteer of the year award, we are sponsoring a baby in China.

It will pay for his lip surgery, 5 months of specialized care in a cleft healing home, and 7 months of foster care.

Meet Isaiah. He is about 7 weeks old and is Henan Province.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Fun at Stone Mountain

One of the great things that has come out of our adoption is meeting other families that have adopted. Last Sunday, we went to Stone Mountain for their Christmas festival with Nic, Tim, and Zubin. We had a great time! I think Ricky has a secret crush on Nicole as he abandons me when we see each other.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Little Stinker

No I'm not talking about Poop..

I'm talking about Ricky.

Ricky is delayed in some cognition areas mostly due to speech. But we are beginning to make strides in these areas because he is finally starting to talk.

For many months, we have been going over colors.

He can sort his colors. We play with different color army men and he will sort them into different stacks.

I have been trying to teach him Red, Blue, Green, Black, White, Yellow.

He finally got it. I have a set of cards that teach colors. He got them right. At first I thought he was just guessing. So then I pulled out a toy that each bug is a different color. He got them right. I think he knows his colors.

The reason for the stinker - he LOVES to give you the wrong answer just to see what reaction he gets. I asked him what color was my jacket - he said Yellow (it was black). He smirked. I raised my eyebrows. He said Black. Then I said what color is Sissy's jacket. He said like Mama - black.

What a stinker!

He does this all the time with animal sounds. Pigs go meow, dogs go oink oink, cats go moo. He laughs hysterically when he does this.

He also now knows his shapes as well - square, circle, triangle, heart, and star!

Oh yeah, one more thing to make him laugh - for some reason he things the word butt (as in your behind) is funny. You say butt and he laughs till he drops on the floor!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Guardian Angel

I have a small brag about myself. Rarely I brag about myself.

Most of you know I do volunteer work for Love Without Boundaries.
I got an email from an adoption agency - I'm on their list for SN kids that are available. No we are not adopting again.
This email stated that a SN boy age 13 was aging out of the China adoption program. Once you turn 14 you cannot be adopted by Chinese law. Several times this agency tried to find a family. Twice a family said that they would adopt him. Twice it fell through. Now a third family stepped up and gave this boy his dream - a family. They had 4 weeks to complete this adoption. They have to be in China by mid Dec.
This special family was already adopting a SN girl. They got approved for this second adoption.
Except they had no funds to complete this adoption.

I saw he was in our LWB program. Well I sent a email to our medical director who sent an email to LWB board of directors. This family got an LWB grant.

Today I was this boy's guardian angel.

What a feeling.

I can make a difference.

When I started my work with LWB, I wanted to make a difference. My work with LWB is on the admin side - tracking donations. I didn't think I could see the difference I was making.

Well today I saw I can make a difference for children in China.

What a feeling.

Monday, November 16, 2009

My Soccer Star

I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Click on Picture to see it larger.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Book Review - Don't Call Me Mother

About a month ago, I sat down and read Elizabeth Elias's personal memoir "Don't Call Me Mother." Don't Call Me Mother is Elizabeth's personal journey of infertility and adoption of two children - a son from a domestic adoption and a daughter from China.

The first words out of my mouth was "Where was the this book when I needed it." I connected in so many ways to Elizabeth's journey through infertility then then through adoption. It was like I was re-living my journey as I read her words. I thought I was alone. Now I know I'm not. I thank Elizabeth for being so honest in feelings and writing them down for all to see. It is hard to admit to yourself and to others that you do not immediately love your adopted child. There is so much guilt involved over not loving your adopted child immediately.

This book is a must read for all potential adoptive parents. I read so much on the attachment issues of child to parent but this is really the first book that really talked from the heart of attachment issues of the parent to the child.

Thank you Elizabeth for letting me know and others know that we are not alone in this journey.

Personal Note:

Thankfully I'm past my post-adoption depression/attachment issues but it still haunts me. I wonder what harm I did to both Ricky and Emily during those the rough first year. I love you both very much and I cannot imagine my world, my life without both of them. Also thanks to the most wonderful husband in the world who rode the storm with me and didn't judge me as a I struggled to get through this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

All It Takes Is One Voice....

I don't post much about faith and religion because really I believe it is your own personal choice. How you get to God is your road to travel. That said, I will come out and say that Bill and I are an interfaith couple (Bill is Catholic, and I'm Jewish) raising our kids Jewish. Add the interracial mix of our family and it becomes an interesting road.

I don't know if it is because we live in the South, but I feel the contant pressure of Christianity. It is everywhere. I know some Christians will say we are taking God out of everything but I think everyone including myself needs to face the facts that our country is diverse and we need to try to respect all religions. We can learn from everything.

I have become a little less tolerant this pressure. It bothers me that at Emily's school (a public school) that have a Holiday Program (they don't call it Christmas Program) that they sing Silent Night and O'Bethleham. I think Frosty the Snowman is okay. She read a book last year called the Best Christmas Pagaent Ever which had a lot of references to Jesus in it. I kept my mouth shut.

That said, last year, Emily's elementary school PE teacher tried to start an Early PE Club which would start at 7:30 am. The PE Club was suppose to be an exercise club but if you read the pamphlet you sooned learned that the exercise was only a little part of the club - the rest would be talking about Bible and Character Building. There would be prayer. Whose Prayer, Whose Religion - of course the Teacher's. Let's not forgot the healthy breakfast they were serving - Chicken Biscuits.

My silent objections could not be silent anymore. This was a school club sponsored by a school teacher endorsing one religion over another. I took issue with it. It is against the law to have a school endorsement of prayer. I struggled over if I should say something. I didn't want Emily to be singled. We also feared retribution. But I could not live in fear when I felt that this was so wrong.

So I contacted the Principal who would look into the matter. I was the only one who complained about this club. No surprise there - we are probably one of very few non-chrisitian families. The school hemmed and hawed. Not sure what to do. I ended up getting the Anti-Defamation League involved. They wrote a cease letter to the school superintendent. Eventually it was decided that this club would only be a PE club. The club went on and Emily joined and had a great time.

This year, I waited to see what would happen. There are ways to have a religious club in school - it cannot be teacher involved. And at elementary school, it is really hard to have a club without teacher involvement. Another way would to have a local church sponsor the club before school - they would have to pay rent for the facilities. I wanted to see if this club would start up again.

It has but it is still just a PE Club. I cannot believe that one voice stopped this.

One voice, my voice.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Vocal Ricky

Ricky is so much more vocal than he was a month ago.
Not that we understand much he says. I take that back.
Bill and I call it Ricky speak. We can understand some thing in context.

His favorite new phrase - Mama Car?
He also asks Is that Mine? Everytime I put something in the shopping cart - he asks is that Mine???

Oh yeah also Hammmmbaga everytime we pass a McDonalds or Burger King. Kid eats out too much!!

Friday, October 02, 2009

You can do It - Help Change a Life of an Orphan!

In January 2008, I adopted my son, Ricky from China. Ricky was born with a cleft lip and palate.

In the United States, this is not considered a life threatening medical need. However, in China, babies die from it due to the inability to feed appropriately and high risk of infection.

Luckily Ricky received lip surgery in China when he was 7 months old (most US children receive this surgery within the first 2 months) and is currently thriving at home with us.

I volunteer for an organization called Love Without Boundaries which provides the most loving and compassionate help possible to orphaned and impoverished children in China. We provide humanitarian aid in five key are as: Education, Foster Care, Healing Homes, Medical and Orphanage Assistance.

Currently there is a baby in need of help. Please consider a small donation (any amount is accepted) to help change the life of this little boy:


To see more on what LWB does please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bBIEF-j7Jc&feature=channel_page

Friday, September 25, 2009

Moving on Up!

We are moving onto the letter T with Ricky!

He has made so much progress in the last month with his p's and b's that we are now on the T's!!

I'm so proud of him. I cannot imagine how hard it is for him.

Go Ricky!!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Long Time Update

Sorry it has been a while since I have updated. Crazy life we now live.
Emily is back at school - 4th grade. She started on July 30th. Total craziness on that date. She also started back at the Liberty Flames Girls Academy Soccer team. She is on the Under 11 team - she is playing up by one year as she is only 9. She is making some real improvements. We have been taking her to extra foot skills practice every Sunday with her Coach. She absolutely loves Soccer and I hope she keeps it up. Yes mommy wants her to have a scholarship to a college - no pressure Em! Just kidding I just want her to love it.

Ricky is still my little tornado in action. He is in this new phase in which Mommy is his sunshine, his everything. I get the best affection from him. He loves me and I can say I love him too. I took us falling in love together.

Remember I had such a hard time attaching to him. There are still moments in which I still wonder who he is. Things are so much better than what they were a year ago. For us adoption was not all sunshine and roses. It was a process and still very much a process I work on.

For those struggling, please take a look at this article - http://www.rainbowkids.com/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=536. She speaks of everything I went through.

Ricky is starting Preschool on Sept 8th at the local elementary school. The is a special education preschool that focuses on speech. Ricky's speech is very slow to come although we think we are starting to see some minor improvement. I hope preschool puts the lightbulb in his head!

I will leave you with some pictures.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Help Bring Ellis Home

From one my fabulous ladies from an adoption board I belong to is raising funds to bring home her beautiful daughter Ellis home. There are some wonderful prizes to be won but best of all you will be helping unite a mother with her daughter.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

In Memphis...

We didn't get to see Panda's in China (remember it rained cold sleety rain everyday in China). This one was close up and personal. Ricky at the Memphis Children's Museum.

Emmy and Ricky at the entrance to the Zoo. If you are ever in Memphis they have one of the best zoo's.

Bill took Emily to a Braves game. Look at her hat. She is a Red Sox fan to spite Mommy's Yankees!

At the elementary school playground.

Always moving. Try to catch me!

Who says these slides are for big kids! My little daredevil

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Love Without Boundaries

I proudly volunteer for LWB (http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/). I give about 10 hours of my time a week working for the medical team.

It is a truely an inspiring organization. LWB is a virtual foundation, meaning that we have no main office. We have over 150 volunteers, who work off of their home computers. They help us find supporters, write reports to sponsors, arrange surgeries, check on the programs, etc. We have daily communication with our staff in China, through email and skype, and then we make trips to China as well to check on the children’s progress ourselves.

If you are looking to help a child, please consider donating to LWB.

To learn more about LWB, please see this online interview with Amy Eldridge - LWB's founder.


Here is LWB's blog - http://www.lifeofgiving.blogspot.com/

You can follow them on Twitter - http://twitter.com/chinalwb

Facebook - http://apps.facebook.com/causes/51591

Friday, June 12, 2009


ahh if she only knew what pictures I post of her! She would kill ME!

Happy 9th Birthday Emmy Girl!

Emily is such a beautiful girl inside and out. Love you lots my baby girl!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Yeah Momma!

This is what I get greeted to every morning when I go wake up my little monster during the week.

I finally really think we have tipped the over to the good side of the adoption. Just life. It is a new life, a better life because of Ricky.

Something that is not talked about alot but needs more attention is post adoption depression. I wish people would talk about it more as I have learned it is more common.

I had it bad - really bad. I hid it from everyone because this was suppose to be a happy moment in our lives. It was hard not to love a boy who all that wanted was to be loved. There was a lot of guilt and anger.

Eventually I grew to love Ricky. He is something special and I'm lucky to be his mom.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Update on the Kids

Things have just been really crazy and I cannot seem to catch up on alot of things!

Update on Ricky

Ricky has been with us for almost 16 months. That is a magic number as that is how long he was in China. In some ways it is hard to believe it has been 16 months, in other ways it seems like he has been with us forever.

He is still eating like a horse. He eats more than Emily. Sometimes Bill and I just sit back and wonder where the heck he puts it. He does turn away food when he isn't hungry anymore so we are still just feeding him. He is a whopping 28 lbs. He has grown taller (not sure how much). He is still in the same size diapers that we brought him home in. The kid has not butt. Mostly he is wearing 24 months clothes (32 months old).

As far as attachment to us I think we are now past any concerns that typically come with adopted institutionalized children. Not to say that I'm still not looking for signs. Ricky is a very friendly child - would go to anyone. I was a bit concerned about this. But now, he has definitely shown that is afraid of strangers. His parent of choice is usually me which for me is weird since I was the one who had the most difficult time attaching to him.

He absolutely adores his big sister, Emily. They have the mutual admiration society going on between the them. He mimics everything she does - the good and the bad. He is absolutely the best thing we did for Emily. To see them laugh and play together gives me so much joy - I can cry and sometimes do.

All the struggles were worth it. We still struggle adjusting to our new life. I won't lie - I miss our old life - it was much easier. But I don't regret it at all. In a few years, I suspect we will hopefully be back at easier life - although I suspect Ricky will be keeping us on our toes.

As far as developmentally - motor skill wise he is past his peers. Speech wise - well we are behind. Way behind. I was upset on how slow our progress has been. But we are trying to put this in perspective. Ricky came home not talking, not babbling, not saying anything in Chinese.

He has had 2 surgeries to repair his palate and ear tubes. If we say April 2008 (his first surgery) was ground zero for us. That would make him about 13 months old speech wise. Ricky is babbling ALOT more and trying to talk. It is what it is . We are giving him tools to help him but it is just very slow.

Ricky is going in for surgery on Thursday for another set of tubes in the ears (our 3rd set in year) plus a sedated hearing test. Hopefully we can find out if he has any hearing loss. He hasn't passed a hearing test since being home. He is just below normal.

Update on Emily
Emily is doing well. She is going through some adjustment struggles in having a sibling. Ricky likes to follow her around so I think this is starting to grow on her nerves a bit. She has locked herself in her room on more than one occassion.

Emily passed all her CRCT tests in school which allows her to pass 3rd grade. Passed is probably an understatement. Word has it on the street - she got one of the highest scores in 3rd grade.
She keeps forgetting her agenda at school so I cannot confirm that.

She is excelling at creative writing. Some of the stuff she writes, you would never know she is only 8.

We are finishing up our 1st year in Academy Soccer. We are deciding if we want her to move up with the current set of girls she plays with. They are a year older than she is. I think she gets overshadowed because of her age. She is good for her age but I'm not sure if she that good that she should play up.

Update of Me

At the end of April, I started volunteering for Love withoutBoundaries which is a volunteer organization to help orphans in China. I'm officially the child information coordinator for the medical program. I get to see a lot and it pulls at my heartstrings that there are so many SN children without families. I wish I could adopt them all. Bill would kill me even if I mentioned another one at this stage of our life. So my way of helping is out is helping LWB. If you are looking to support a charity, please look into Love without Boundaries. They are doing some amazing work. It is entirely a volunteer organization.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Bad Blogger

Wow it has been a while.

So very very busy.

Will update soon.

But I will leave you with a picture..

Thursday, March 05, 2009

On its way....

I created a photobook album using Shutterfly for Ricky's 1st year with us.

I finally got around to sending 2 books to his orphanage in Fuling. One is for the orphanage and one is for his foster parents. I have no idea if his foster parents will get the book. I have heard that it is unlikely as the orphanage doesn't like for us to connect with the foster parents. But I have to try. I have to tell Ricky I tried. On the back of the book, I put our address and name. Right now the books are in China on their way to the orphanage.

There are not many pieces of the Ricky's early life I can put together for him.

We have 7 photos of him - 1 finding ad when he was 4 months old, 3 original referral pictures, 2 update pictures, and one picture I found on the Fuling parent website when he was recoverying from lip surgery. Thats it in 17 months time.

Only time will tell if this works. I want his foster parents to know that he is happy and well cared for.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bringing More to Life

Do you ever feel like you are not doing enough to help others? This has been on my mind lately. I feel like I should be doing something more with my life. My job isn't meaningful - it pays for us to live - but it doesn't give me great joy. I do like my job but I think I need something else - meaningful. When I was a teenager, I volunteered alot for our local hospital. I pulled over 4000 hours of volunteer time. I loved it.

The problem is that I don't have time. Between work, the kids and family life, I barely have time to take a shower.

I have been thinking about ways I can help - start some sort of help for cleft children in China, volunteer at a local hospital or something else. Not sure what or when I will have time. My absolute dream would be go to China and spend time at the Starfish Cleft Home.

In the meantime, we sponsor a little boy at Philip Hayden. His English name is Will. He has a cleft lip and palate just like our Ricky. I wish I could bring him home. Isn't he a cutie? He is just a bit older than Ricky.

I also have donated our White Swan Barbie Doll to Kreuer Family fundraiser so that they can bring their sweet daughter home who also has a cleft lip and palate.

These are just little things I'm doing to give back but there is more to be done.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


I was going through some photo's from our vacation.
This has to be one of the best pictures.
Number 1 reason why we adopted. You are looking at it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Good Reasons to Celebrate

Ricky has been with us for 1 year.
I made a photo album of his first year home. Come take a look!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Wow almost a year a home

Today we are celebrating with our family, Ricky's arrival to our family. Some families call it Gotcha ya day, we are calling it family day.

This afternoon, the family is coming over to go a local chinese restauarant for Ricky's favorite food - steamed dumplings. We had them last week, and I think I never saw a happier child. Ricky gets very excited about food and does this amazing laugh when he gets good he likes to eat.

Our official family day isn't for a couple of days. I will save pictures and a formal update of Ricky happenings then.