Why Don’t They Learn?

April 22nd, 2013

hot stoveI am so very frustrated with my seventeen-year-old son. Ever since we adopted him nine years ago, he pulls the same stunt a dozen times a school year. He lies, says he doesn't have homework, ends up with multiple missing assignments which he must then make up, and digs himself a deep dark hole of no TV, no Playstation, and no friends while he catches up. In nine years, he has had only two or three real holiday breaks from school because he usually has to spend all that time catching up. We've tried counseling, heavy structure, essays to help him connect with the feelings that drive this behavior, meetings with teachers, positive rewards when he stays caught up, and negative consequences… [more]

Teenage Denial

May 16th, 2011

teenAs scary as that moment was, the thought of being adopted into a stranger’s home to be my “forever family” sounded pathetic, as if I needed a family or anyone else for that matter. Several times I was asked if I wanted to be eligible for adoption and every time a confidently said no. The same questions were asked when family members expressed interest in adopting my younger brothers, but given the familiarity with our foster home and the benefits that the state offered once we aged out of foster care I convinced them that adoption wasn’t necessary for any of us. Despite how difficult it was for my brothers and I to maneuver through college the thought of wanting a family was… [more]

Boyfriends!!

March 27th, 2011

romantic_proposal My seventeen-year-old daughter has a boyfriend. This isn't one of the many "boyfriends" she had when she was in junior high, the kinds of boys who came and went from her life as quickly as a bag of M&Ms disappears from my house. I didn't care for too many of the boys that my daughter liked during this period, and honestly, I was worried about her choices and what these kinds of boys meant for her self concept--and I think poor self concept is an issue that plagues many older adoptees. Her first boyfriend turned out to be a real creep, and after they "broke up" (after being together all of three days), he and his friends taunted her, and made her life… [more]

Getting Needs Met

February 7th, 2011

photoI just finished a book for my book club tonight—the book is Janusz Bardach’s Man is Wolf to Man: Surviving the Gulag. It is a powerful book about so many things, and I am really looking forward to our discussion. (An interesting note about Bardach is that after the war he came to the U.S. and worked as a plastic surgeon. He developed a surgical procedure for dealing with cleft palates, the Bardach palatoplasty, a procedure still in use today--so all of those international adoptees who undergo surgeries to fix their cleft palate can thank this man.) Before he was to come here, however, he lived in Poland, and during WWII he was sent to the Soviet gulag. His… [more]

The Stuff That Matters

February 3rd, 2011

828567_galeria_krakowskaLast November I was at an adoption support group meeting and one of the moms was doing respite care for a family who had adopted a ten-year-old from Ethiopia.  This little girl had not been in the United States for very long and both she and her new parents were struggling in their new lives together.  The girl was not violent, per se, but she was prone to fits of crying--almost to hysteria--so I was told. This little girl’s predicament reminded me so clearly of my own daughter’s adjustment period ten years ago.  During the first six months of her time here, she would periodically find herself so overwhelmed with her environment that she would collapse into a puddle of tears.  Of course… [more]

Dear Teacher,

January 30th, 2011

898946_depressed I was hoping for a minute of your time because there are some things that I would like to share with you about my daughter.  I know that there are a lot of demands on your time and that you have curricular standards to meet, but this won't take long. Please be sensitive to my daughter.  School is not her strong suit.  She spent her first seven years living on the margins in a country in the developing world.  Because English is not her first language, she still struggles with the nuances of the language even five years later.  Her penmanship is not like the other kids’ because she didn’t spend hours and hours coloring with crayons.  Because she never learned those fine… [more]

Every Silver Lining Has a Cloud

January 13th, 2011

cloudsMonday morning I blogged about waking up to a beautiful layer of snow that covered our city.  I wrote about my children having the day off school to frolic and play (the Eskimo way) and I told the story of my older daughter who had just arrived from India, and how she erroneously believed that she would find snow at her new house in the United States even though it was late May when she arrived. It was lovely how I described snow days as being gifts from God.  I get all warm and cozy just thinking about it.... So here it is three days later and I'm not feeling so warm and generous about the weather anymore. Tuesday morning--Snow Day #2--my son opens the… [more]

The Fist

January 2nd, 2011

sleepingYears ago I taught at a preschool.  Every year there were "those kids"--you know, the ones who did not understand the concept of sharing, the ones who were incredibly impulsive , the ones who took out their frustration by hitting or screaming at the other kids and me, the ones who were unable to sit still...In short, these were the ones who drove me and every other teacher crazy.  The director of the school maintained that the best way to deal with these kinds of children was to "catch them while they were good".  So for every correction I made, or disciplinary measure I had to inflict, I tried to balance it with two positive ones. In addition to that approach, I came… [more]

Unfair

March 17th, 2010

1217979_v-house"Unfair" is a word commonly used in our house.  It is unfair that one sissy  has a green headband, it is unfair that Meg has 4 American Girl dolls, it is unfair that your peach and I'm brown.  Sometimes unfair is a silly little thing, and sometimes it is not. This time my heart is screaming unfair.  The latest change in our house is unfair to my two biological kids, yet this change has also improved our home life dramatically. To back-track here.  Our home-life has been hell for the past few months, with some improvements here and there.  Basically after intense counseling two of our daughters may start medication very soon.  One with ADHD medication, as attachment disorder apparently mirrors ADHD and so… [more]

Review On The Movie Trailer For “Orphan”

July 6th, 2009

Yes, you read that right. I am reviewing the movie trailer, not the movie. Why? Because I will never see this movie, so I cannot comment or review it. The movie is billed as a horror movie and I'm hoping this will keep people away from the actual movie. The trailer is damaging enough to the adoption community. The trailer, which I'll call the world's LONGEST commercial, was on the other night during the new show The Philanthropist that my husband likes. My hubby didn't hit the fast forward quick enough (was there life before DVRs?) and we started to watch commercials. This one hit us like a ton of bricks. Hubby actually started to forward it, because he had no desire to see it… [more]