I give up. Even though she’s only six, I have to admit it: my daughter is a nerd. I’ve tried to raise a cool kid, but she just refuses to follow my teachings. Case in point: she loves to read and most of the time has her nose in a book. She has become quite adept at walking down the stairs while reading – despite our warnings that she might fall. She’s been known to walk from her room to the car without taking her eyes off of her book. Once in the car, she refuses to listen to the radio and if I have it on will often ask me to turn it of or down. The only time she said, “Ohmygosh! I love this song! Turn it up!” was when Ke$ha came on but she said it while, yes, reading a book in the backseat. Ke$ha? Really? Exhibit B: Her favorite TV...
We went to the circus today and it really is the greatest show on earth. All the clichés apply – there’s something for everyone going on, all the time! It's a…why, it’s a three-ring circus! We went an hour early and got to participate in the pre-show, which was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it. Piper danced with clowns, watched Kelly Ann the elephant paint a lovely painting and even did a little Kung Fu with the Shaolin Warriors. The show itself is amazing. I held my breath during the lion and tiger act. I couldn’t tell if the cats wanted to play with the Courageous Alexander or maul him when they would growl and lunge at him. Either way, he is courageous and the animals are mesmerizing. You can tell he really trusts them and...
My daughter is six and therefore knows everything. Just ask her. She’ll tell you. Rather, if you tell her something, she’ll say, “I already knew that.” For example, when I told her the circus was coming to town next month, she said, “I knew that.” I asked her how she knew that and she replied, as always, “I was born knowing that.” She’s so smart, I really don’t know why we bother with school. I asked her – since she’s so smart – what she was looking forward to the most. In case you don’t know everything, she’s looking forward to seeing the tigers the most. And the clowns. Personally, I’m a little creeped out by clowns, but I’ll put on a brave face for my daughter. Then again, she...
Eight years ago, during one of our homestudies, our caseworker asked me what worried me the most about becoming a mom. I remember I told her that I was most concerned about the times when our daughter would be hurt or sad and I couldn’t do anything about it to make her feel better. We talked about that for a few minutes – about how that would happen throughout my daughter’s life, from the bumps and bruises of childhood to the emotional pains of adolescence and beyond. And we agreed that often there really would be nothing I could do about it other than hold her, comfort her and just be there for her. I think one of us added that those would be the times that she would grow and that might be more painful for me as her mother. After that, my caseworker...
The other night when we were having dinner at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants, one of the staff came over to talk with us like she always does. And she spoke to my daughter in Mandarin – just a few simple phrases, nothing too complicated. And as usual, my chatty, outgoing daughter turned quiet and shy, avoiding eye contact and giving – at most – one-word answers or nodding her head. I’ve noticed she gets shy around Asians – whether they speak to her or not. With other adults, it’s all I can do to keep her from talking and sometimes hugging them, so the difference in behavior is striking. I asked my daughter if she gets nervous around Chinese people because she’s uncomfortable speaking Chinese with them. She nodded and...
Last weekend, my sweet husband wanted to make a “quick trip” to the Brookside Herb Festival. All he wanted to do was pick up a particular kind of tomato plant our daughter loves and we can grow in our garden and actually eat before the birds and squirrels do. But our daughter had other plans. She wanted to “shop and maybe get something to eat.” I guess she thought the Herb Festival was Utica Square. I really can’t blame her. Since she was a tiny baby in a stroller we’ve made an annual pilgrimage to the various herb festivals in the area. We shop for new plants and herbs for our garden. And yes, we often get something to eat. And our favorite – the Sand Springs Herbal Affair – is tomorrow, April 21. We can’t wait....
They say there’s no use crying over spilt milk, but I’m not so sure anymore. At least in some cases – like when milk has literally been spilled. By your child. And I’m not saying literally cry about it, but I am saying that maybe – just maybe – you could make some kind of a deal about it. I’ve been one of those moms who's tried not to make a big deal when my daughter makes natural mistakes. Especially when she was little – that’s to be expected and that’s how children learn. But now that she’s older, she seems to be going through a “spilling phase.” I’ve read that at six, children become clumsy and awkward – maybe all over again or for the first time. Children who never had trouble,...
If you listen to This American Life on NPR, you’re probably aware of the recent bruhaha over a show that aired in January called “Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory.” The story was an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s acclaimed one-man show, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs,” in which Daisey talks about visiting a factory in China that makes iPhones and iPads. The January broadcast detailed horrific conditions in an Apple factory called Foxconn in Shenzhen, China. The show literally – and I do mean literally – stopped me in my tracks that day when Mike Daisey described meeting a couple of underage factory workers – a 13-year-old girl and her friend who was 12. I immediately thought of my daughter. Could that have been...
We’ve long suspected our daughter was in a foster home during her first eight months in China. Even though her orphanage director said she spent all that time in the orphanage, all of the evidence pointed to a foster family. She was remarkably healthy – and heavy – when we adopted her. In fact, she weighed at least two pounds more than the other babies in our group – most of whom were the same age by a few days. She was more than just a big, healthy baby – she appeared to have been very, very well cared for – the other babies were cared for, but not to this extent. And then there were the photos. While we were waiting, several other adoptive families visited our daughter’s orphanage and took photos of every single baby. Piper was not...
I recently read an article that China is going to ban giving surnames to children that will signal their orphan status. When a child is abandoned in China and taken to an orphanage, the director gives them their name. For example, our daughter was at the Yujiang orphanage and for many years, children were given the surname of “Yu” to indicate their orphanage. Other children are named for where they were abandoned and still others are given the surname “Guo” or “Dang” to indicate they are in the care of the “State” or “Party.” Surprisingly, our daughter’s orphanage director was way ahead of his time back in 2005 and had stopped the practice of giving the children in his care the surname of Yu. Yu is not a...
About This Blog
When Karen Szabo adopted her daughter Piper from China back in 2006, she didn't know she was also adopting a new passion for and interest in adoption and international adoption issues. But ever since she wrapped her arms around her sweet little girl, she's been drawn to adoption-related stories - and formed a few opinions along the way. She'll share these and write about her own experiences as an adoptive mom - and just an ordinary mom.
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