Just when I think I have the hang of this parenting gig, my daughter throws in something new. She does something completely out of character. She enters a new phase. She develops a new taste – or stops liking what she’s loved for as long as we both can remember. Crazy kids. Growing up and developing. Don’t they know they’re supposed to stay the same so I can get on with my life? Why do they have to keep things interesting like that? When she was a baby and toddler, I found myself running to the What to Expect… books. But now that she’s older, I’ve been missing those old books. I need advice. Yes, there are countless parenting books out there – and that’s been part of my problem. So many choices, so many styles. I’ve...
Lunar New Year: Whatever Last night we attended Dillon International’s Lunar New Year event. We’ve gone to our adoption agency’s annual fundraiser every year since we began our adoption process – yes, we even went before Piper came home. We’re dorks. One of the highlights is the procession of children dressed in their traditional costumes from their native homeland. To commemorate the Year of the Dragon this year, the children walked in carrying a balloon dragon. As we were “backstage” getting ready for the procession, Piper wondered aloud to her friend who would get to wear the papier-mâché dragon head. She said it would probably be “our teacher.” Because she had been running around like a banshee, I...
The Christmas decorations may be packed away, but for kids adopted from China, the next two weeks hold special meaning. Lunar New Year – also known as Chinese New Year – is the longest and most important celebration for millions around the world. And for children from China, it’s their special time to celebrate their culture and homeland. There’s no official handbook on how far parents of internationally adopted children are supposed to go to celebrate our kid’s birth culture, but marking Chinese New Year is usually one of those times for those of us with children from Asia. This year is the Year of the Dragon and it begins on January 23. When our daughter was a baby we went all out. I cooked several traditional Chinese New Year’s dishes,...
When you’re a new mom, it seems you’re pelted with parenting advice from every angle. I remember flying back from China – a horrific experience I like to call “my labor and delivery.” It was a 15-hour flight and around hour 10, my quiet-up-til-then baby girl started crying and just wouldn’t stop. We tried everything – we changed her diaper, gave her a bottle, held her, rocked her, walked her up and down the aisle. Nothing worked. Not even looking at “the other baby” in the mirror – a trick that always made her happy. She was just upset. And everyone knows how much fun it is to have a crying baby on a plane. The only cold comfort I had was that there were a dozen other babies on that plane as well, many who had...
After a lifetime of trying to make New Year’s Eve “happen,” I finally gave up. As a kid, I spent many a "Rockin’ New Year’s Eve" planted in front of the TV watching Dick Clark in Times Square. At the time, I didn’t think I wanted to be there…but I was pretty sure I didn’t want to be in my living room either. But when you’re 10, you really don’t lead a glamorous party life. At least I didn’t. But I was certain that I would when I grew up. I was wrong. When I was young and single, New Year’s Eve parties never seemed to live up to the hype. I realized we all pin so many hopes on New Year’s Eve, the poor holiday can never fulfill those dreams. It’s supposed to be some magical night, but we...
Today is my daughter’s birthday. She’s six this year. And for the fifth year in a row, today and tomorrow are, at times, bittersweet for me. In our home, today is known as “the most wonderful day of the year.” Because she’s a kid, my daughter naturally loves her birthday. She has literally been counting down the days until today. I honestly think it’s helped her improve her math skills. I’ve had to do some pretty quick ciphering lately to keep up with her. To make a December birthday something special in the middle of Christmas mania I made her a has a “birthday tree.” It’s a pink feather boa number a friend gave me the Christmas before we went to China. I decorated it with pink and purple ornaments and we...
He kept looking at me – eyeing me from that stupid shelf. At first I ignored him. I rushed past him, pretending not to see him. But over time, he wore me down with that literal come hither stare. I’m talking, of course, about The Elf on the Shelf. And the “shelf” I’m referring to is the end cap at Target. I'd resisted his advances…until yesterday. Now he’s sitting there. On my shelf, with – I swear – a smug expression on his face. In the battle of wills, he won. Yes, I caved. I am the proud owner of an Elf on the Shelf. And I should start calling him her because he’s wearing a skirt and is now a girl. More on that later. I resisted as long as I could. You may recall my post from last year. I miss that girl....
When did packing my child’s lunch become a craft project? It all started with those dang giant cookie cutters. Sandwiches started showing up at her school shaped like big hearts or flowers or butterflies. Which made my child’s little triangle sandwiches look sad. And she was sad. Well...there were comments. So I caved. I bought a butterfly cookie cutter. And then a flower. But that’s not enough anymore. Now, websites are popping up with “easy” ways to make my child’s lunch “fun.” Most of them are based on Japanese Bento boxes. And most of them do not look easy to me. Three Little Pigs…bunnies…fruit kabobs. Aren't those lunches gorgeous? And overwhelming? This is not my idea of “fun.” Or...
I love November. It’s such a humble month. We’re just coming off the sugar high of October and gearing up for December’s wild ride. November is like an afternoon by the fire, reflecting on everything we have and wrapping up in a blanket of blessings. Maybe that’s why November is National Adoption Month – what better time for adoptive parents to think back and give thanks to everyone who helped them build their family? So in that spirit, I’d like to take a moment and thank those who made my dream come true: Piper’s birth mother, whoever and wherever you are: Six years ago, you made the most difficult decision a mother can make – you literally walked away from your one-day-old baby girl. Thank you for your sacrifice. Your daughter...
One day, not that long ago, I remember sitting in my doctor’s office and telling her that my husband and I had decided to have a baby. She started asking me a few questions and I noticed that she casually placed a sticker on my chart. It read, “AMA.” I was working for a hospital at the time so I immediately wondered, “American Medical Association?” I’m not a doctor, so there wasn’t any reason to flag me as a fellow member of her “association.” And I wasn’t leaving the hospital “Against Medical Advice” – I was still sitting in the exam room in a paper gown, pleasantly answering her questions. What on earth could “AMA” mean on my chart? So I asked her. Yep, I had to go there. And she...
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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