Wednesday, September 21, 2016

For Our Future Child

Dear Son/Daughter,

You have one set of parents that gave you life and we are the set that will show you how to live it.

We hope that you grow to understand that we did everything for you.

We are proud of our successes
as well as our failures.

We stayed open to everything, as a lesson is always there to be learned.
We hope that you learn that too.

It is our goal to show you the essence of life and build character.

I wish that you learn to
dance in the rain, sing in the shower.

I hope you see the world like us and
taste cuisine from all walks of life.

Always laugh and giggle wholehearted and
cry if you must.

You are Beautiful and Handsome
Funny and Kind
Creative and Intelligent

Never let fear block your blessings and dreams
Keep your passion close to your heart.

Never turn your back on children and the elderly.
Know that they will be your wisdom and strength.

Respect and protect nature, your body and those you love.

Don't forget, family aren't friends, but friends can be close like family.

Forgiveness has to be practiced so that it can come naturally.

This is our wish for you.

Love Mom and Dad

Friday, September 16, 2016

How to Have Fun with a Host Student

Ever thought of hosting an exchange student? It was the best month Hubby and I have had in a long time. We planned a ton of activities each weekend that allowed us to view our neighborhood, and city. It was great seeing the sparkle in the student’s eye when she saw something that her home country doesn’t have. For example, we took her to a drive-in movie theater. They have movie theaters in China, but she has never seen a drive-in other than in American movies. Her eyes sparkled to see rows of cars, bbq grills and large screens.

So if you have decided to open your doors to a student, please do so. It will a life altering experience. Try this ideas on for size to give the student a taste of your corner of your country.

1. Ask the student what she does on her day off. This will give you an idea of how she spends her time. You will find out if she is a home-body or a social butterfly. You will also get to see if you over-planned her free time or under-planned her free time. 

2. Ask her what she does not like to do. This simple question can come loaded with responses so grab some paper. We were pleasantly surprised that our student does not like sports of any kind. Her school scheduled sport related things so we figured she would be enjoy those type of activities. She grumbled each time she had to follow the school's plan.  We were glad that we took those activities off the list. 

3. Ask if she is shy. Being shy can put a damper on what you do with a student. No need to take her to a crafting party with 15 ladies that will quiz her about her home country when a quiet theater fits the bill. 

4. Do home country/city-related activities. Many 1st and 2nd world countries are advanced enough in technology. If she is coming from China or Japan, you might be surprised at their technology and how this effects the activities you planned. Do things that we take for granted or even considered old fashioned. Movies and music in the park, making ice cream in a ice cream maker, Trampoline park, indoor water parks and even put-put golfing can be unique to people around the world. 

5. Eating can be an activity. Think about a taco, hamburger, frozen yogurt and salad bar. Many countries around the world do not have the concept of buying a "plain" item and allowing you to fill it up with as main goodies as you want. It's a two for one. 

6. Everyday activities can be different. Don't forget to include her into your weekly shopping trips. My student learned a new word, "errands" one Saturday as I traveled from the farmer's market, grocery store, drug store and then a thrift store. She loved the farmer's market as it reminded her of home. And the thrift store deserved a full explanation as this concept was new to her. She walked out the store with a purse, toy and camera.

7. Pictures last a lifetime. Students are busy taking pictures, but dont forget to take her camera and get her in the action. She will be glad to have the memory. Also, ask her to show you pictures of her life. Her camera is also filled with her hometown, favorite meals, best friends being silly and parents caught in the action. 

I hope you take the moment to consider hosting an exchange student. The first time I was an exchange student, I was 14 years old. It was the first of many times, but unique in it's own right. Make a difference today!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

5 Things to Do Before Beginning the Adoption Process

If you have ever thought of adopting a baby or child, take a moment to run these thoughts through your mind. Grab some paper and jot down notes if you need to. I suggest that you revisit these questions more than once. This rocky, long, emotional road is full of ups and downs and your answers could change.

Disclaimer: Just my two cents on what one must ponder when considering adoption. I am not an expert of the adoption process, but questions similar to these, among many others, were asked of us by a therapist that specializes in reproductive therapy. Yup, that's a thing!

1. Review your relationship/marriage. If you are adopting because you want more children, make sure that you and your spouse are spending enough quality time together, working on you. Make sure you are enjoying the ups and downs of life together before adding another child to the mix. If you are adopting after discovering infertility, take the time to acknowledge what you use to enjoy before you began trying for children. The goal is to make sure that the relationship is just as strong as it was from the begin or stronger. No need to add a little one to your craziness if its negative craziness. 

2. Analyze your heart's pain levels. Not everyone has a scary, drawn-out, emotional roller coaster of a time when adopting a child, but some people do. You have to know what sets your heart off. Then discuss this with your partner. You may find that you have common triggers, or polar opposites that can support the differences. I am a planner and very organized. I refused to purchase gender specific clothing, bedding and even gear because I don't want to have to return it if we lose the match of a particular gendered baby. The pain of having a constant reminder is more than my heart can take. 

3. Divide and Conquer. Not everyone you know is deserving of a play-by-play description of your adoption process. It is not an easy process to understand and will require for you to re-explain many aspects constantly. Dividing your family and friends into a few categories will cut down on repetitiveness and allow you to savor the moments as they come. : "Inform First", "Inform if need be" "Inform when we see then" "Inform one and the rest is taken care of." The last category involves that special person that can't keep a secret and will tell everyone the news, good or bad. Everyone has one. Do this early in the process and be prepared to move people around!

4. Figure out how to relieve your stress or have fun. The adoption process can suck the joy out of having a child. Make sure you know what you like to do to have fun and relieve your stress. Encourage your spouse to remind himself, seek out and even try something new. Once you both know what you need to relax, put it into action when it is time. A clear head makes better decisions. Do what you can to clear your head. 

5. Selfishness is the poison in the pot. No one can be selfish in the process of adoption. There are way too many people to appease. Birth parents have their needs, adoptive parents have their ideas, and the social workers, and lawyers have their requirements. And do not forget the laws of the state(s), which have to be taken into consideration. Then the most important one is to consider is the child/baby and making sure every need is met. Hubby and I began this process with a long list of "We're not gonna..." and now that list is down to three items. We quickly learned that being selfish and immature was not going to get us anywhere.

I hope these 5 quick tips will help you to begin the bumpy adoption road. Remember that these are just suggestions and you might think of other items to review before adopting. Leave me a note of what you and your partner needed to do before adopting.