Thursday, May 31, 2007

This Summer - Karolyn's Homeland Journey ( 1 )

Mom Lisa writes:

My daughter, who is 11, has left to visit Beijing and to attend Chinese School for 4 weeks. She was invited by our American friends who decided that their daughter should learn Mandarin. She will celebrate her 12th birthday while in China. Our friends are not Chinese nor have they adopted their daughter. They felt that Chinese was a necessary language for their daughter to learn.

I would like to provide a little background information on my daughter that may help some parents who may experience similar issues. My daughter was adopted in 1996. She was 15 months old. When she was six months old, she was left in front of an office building in the early morning in January. She was never in foster care and came directly into my arms from the orphanage. Her fear of being left again was major. If I took a shower she had to be with me in the bathroom and able to see me. If she did not see me, she would scream. I could not take out the garbage without holding her in one hand and the bag in the other. Constant routine without any variation for over three years reassured her that I would not leave her. She was glued to my hip. Even starting kindergarten was difficult because the change of routine was a major challenge for her. She insisted she was not Chinese, but Spanish, and refused to have anything to do with her heritage. The final break came when three girls in second grade said that she must have been a bad baby for her mother to give her up for adoption.

As her mother, I felt her pain. It was a very intense pain. It was a pain I tried to heal but could not and I asked for help from a professional. We worked on it for two years. There were times when I thought she would never be comfortable with her heritage. Then this past fall, she became a woman. She was prepared for it. However, eleven years old is young to start with cramps and all the other issues. Her body started to change and she was becoming interested in what she would look like when she grew up. She would point out Chinese women and ask if I thought she would look like them. In essence, she was really asking what her Chinese birth mother looked liked.

At this time, my daughter, also started Chinese language classes once a week. For the first time, I began to believe she was in touch with her roots. Then last month, our friends called and asked if she would like to fly to Beijing and go to Chinese school. This was my daughter's decision and her answer was "yes." So today, I put her on a non-stop flight (by herself) to Beijing. I do not know if she will make it through the entire four weeks, but that is not important. What is important to me is that she is trying. She has only spent one week away from home prior to this trip. She wants to have dual nationality. In addition, she would like to live in China someday and work there. My response is if that is what you would like to do, you can do it.

As a mother, I am so proud of her. I believe this trip may give her some of the pieces of the puzzle that make her who she is. With tears in my eyes, I watched the plane take off. It was a hard thing to do. But the excitement in her eyes and the joy in her voice whipped the tears. She has promised to email me and send pictures. As for her little sister who is 7, she is upset because she wanted to go also. The answer, of course, is that she needs to be a little bigger.

There is a very good book called The Family of Adoption by Joyce Maguire Pavao.
This book was especially helpful for me. It explains what some children are thinking but will not tell they parents.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Springtime in Central Park With Whitney!

Once again, Whitney is spending another beautiful spring day in Central Park. She loves all of the cherry blossoms, butterflies, and running barefoot through the grass. Whitney also enjoys showing her stuffed Lamb the wonderful flowers. The Lamb is a gift from her grandparents and was waiting in her crib when we came home from China last March. I had the very same stuffed Lamb when I was Whitney's age. Life is good!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monica and Nathan Are In China (3)--Nanchang!!!

And the pictures really speak for themselves this time! Monica and Nathan have their sweet Ella! They met her on Sunday, May 20th, in Nanchang, Jianxi Province. Ella is actually from the Ningdu SWI and is about 9 months old. And as you can see, she is absolutely adorable!!! You can tell from the pictures that Mommy and Daddy are over the moon.

And the final picture is of Gongzhan Wu, Gladney's China Program Director, who is in Nanchang with the families!

Congratulations to all!!!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Monica and Nathan Are In China (2) -- Beijing!

Monica writes:
Saturday, May 19th, 6 am Beijing time:


I forgot to tell you guys my favorite part of Thursday. We went to a tea tasting and got to try 5 different teas.

Yesterday we had a very long day. We met up with Rocky around 8:30 am and went to see the Spirit Way of the Ming Tombs, this is part of the approach to the tombs and is lined with 36 stone statues of officials, soldiers, animals and mythical beasts. We did not get to see the actual tomb, but we took a group photo in front of Mao's Elephant.

We climbed The Great Wall, at least part of it, Nathan was amazing and went much further up than most of us. Mao said that you are not a hero until you have climbed the Great Wall. Well now most of our group are HEROES!

We went to the Jade factory and Cloisonne Factory. The Jade factory was a little dangerous, let's just say we pulled out the old credit card. They showed us how to tell real jade from the fake and we saw how they cut, carved, polished the jade. We also learned there are several different colors of jade in addition to the many shades of green we think of, white and purple. To the Chinese people Jade is as valuable as diamonds. There is a tradition of the Mother giving her daughter a jade bangle (bracelet) on her wedding day. This bangle is passed down from generation to generation. So you now see my need to pull out the old credit card :). The Cloisonne Factory was also very interesting to see how delicate and time consuming the work is. I did good there and only spent some of the money we brought. But I am now thinking that it would have been great to buy more as Christmas gifts.

Last night was the acrobat show and that was amazing and beautiful. I know these young girls and boys go through a very tough training and I can not imagine how they do it.

Today is a slower day, we have the Forbidden City, Tiannamen Men Square, A Hutong tour, boat ride lunch, silk factory (better leave the card at the room) and the Peking Duck dinner.

Oh and the food is getting better and better. Not completely sure what all I ate yesterday but it was yummy. Nathan really enjoyed the fish even if the head was still on it. Plus we had move veggie options so that was nice.

We really are having a lovely time!

photos: group in front of Mao's Elephant, Nathan's view from the Great Wall, and from the acrobat show.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Monica and Nathan Are In China (1) - -Beijing!

Monica and Nathan have traveled from Houston to meet their daughter Ella this Sunday! She is waiting for them in Ningdu, Jianxi, and they will meet her in Nanchang, the provincial capital of Jianxi. First they are doing a three day pre-trip in Beijing. Monica writes:


The weather is perfect here! Sunny, with a great breeze to keep it feeling cool. Today we saw or should I say ran through the Temple of Heaven and The Summer Palace. Each time I would stop to take a picture the group would get so far ahead I was running to catch up. I think I took a million photos of roof lines and buildings so I was doing a good bit of running. I would have loved to have been able to spend more time at The Summer Palace because I know we missed seeing so much.

Lunch today was interesting. Rocky took us to a place that while you eat people perform dances or play music up on a stage. Nathan really enjoyed the rabbit!!

Attached are photos of Rocky, Gladney's long-time Beijing facilitator, the girls dancing at lunch, and the group in front of the Temple of Heaven!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chloe Turns 2 On Mother's Day!!!

Chloe turned two on May 13, which was Mother's Day this year! What a great day for both Chloe and her mom, Cathy!

As you can see in the pictures, Chloe's moods can range from playful to baseball fashion queen to cuddly!!

Whitney Has Fun In Central Park, And Going Out For Mother's Day!!!

Whitney sure has fun in Central Park! We go almost every day and Whitney's favorite activity is visiting the animals at the zoo. Whitney also enjoys riding on the carousel, visiting Turtle Pond, playing on the swings, collecting leaves, twigs, and pebbles, and running barefoot in the grass. Life is good!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day!!!

We at the Gladney blog wish everyone a very happy Mother's Day 2007!! For those who are just home with their babies recently, this is a very special Mother's Day. Even those of us who've had children for a while still love this special day with our families!

And for those who are still waiting for your precious babes, please know that we totally can relate to and understand the challenge of this wait and how hard days like today can be as you ache to hold your baby. We hope that by next Mother's Day all of our families will be united!!

Finally,we think of the birthmothers on this day also and thank them for the incredible gift of life they have given us.

Happy Mother's Day!

The Gladney Blog Editing Team

Monday, May 07, 2007

Eliza Li Is A Super Model!! And A Trapeze Artist!!!

Click http://www, for a great video of Gladney's newest super model!

Eliza Li is 6, and was adopted from China in November 2001.
Eliza attends Kindergarten at the Jewish Community Center in West Orange, NJ.
Eliza helped out by modeling at the JCC Spring Fashion Show to raise money for the JCC Early Childhood Department.

Good work Eliza!!!

And here is a video from a School Birthday Party last November of Miss Eliza on a trapeze?

So will it be the circus or the runway for her??