Tuesday, May 27, 2008

China lifts one-child policy in earthquake region

The adoption world has been busy the last few weeks mobilizing around specific charities that are assisting with earthquake relief. Now, the NYTimes is reporting that China is lifting one-child policy in the earthquake region so that parents may choose to adopt children orphaned by the tragedy.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Arrived in Munich

I've arrived. It was a long couple of flights, and I'm very glad that i'm here. My allergies are definately better than they were, but still having issues with it all. Cross your fingers that I'm able to feel better soon... Meetings early so I'm hitting the sack. I'll update more tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Yes. We are all crazy, me especially. However ,the last month to six weeks since Mari passed away has been very hard for us. And so last week, after Gwenn came home from the hospital, Ella and I made the trip to the Humane Society and we now have Daisy (in the kleenex box - had to rip the top off to get her out on her first day) and Lily (on the right in Mimi's old bed). They are sweet sisters, who can be told apart through size (Daisy is bigger) and demeanor (Lily is a snugglebunny).

It's been great to have kitties back in the house, even ones who drag out every piece of cat food at four in the morning to bat it at you from underneath the door. So far they have experienced my room (not too exciting) - but will venture out to all bedrooms this weekend, while still having nights in the bathroom until next week.

Here's a great shot of my two old girls hanging out on the couch. (Mari is the big lump on the left, and Mimi on the right trying not to get caught being snuggly)

Loving the tube

Well, it's been a week and two days since the ng-tube has gone in. Today was weigh-in day with the pediatrician, and Gwenn has gained a whomping 3 pounds since last Monday. Now - keep in mind that she has gained only 2 pounds during the last two years, so this is a huge deal.

The ng-tube stays put, and will continue to be part of our lives. The alarm goes off only about 2-3 times per night right now, so I'm assuming that means that I'm getting better at setting the darn thing up, so Gwenn isn't rolling on it as much. Yay. However, it feels a bit like having an infant again - up at all times of the night. My sleep is not doing as well as G's weight.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Heading home

Well, we are heading home tonight and Gwenn will continue feeding through the ng-tube for at least 4-6 weeks, or until we hear that she has made significant weight gain and can remove it. If it turns out to be super long term, g-tube may be an option, but for now we'll just move forward... Keep on keepin' on...

So we'll do the feedings each night, and the tube stays in. She can go to school and gymnastics. And, we will have follow ups with the psychiatry unit at Children's, as well as the Feeding Therapists at Valley Medical.

The picture above is with Lambie, Gwenn's longest companion who is almost as much of a requirement as baba. Lambie has been to China and back two times, travelled all over the US, been thrown up on, peed on, and abused terribly. However, she has also been loved to pieces and is a nightly companion for the past 8 years. As Gwenn deals with things, so does Lambie.

Call us later tonight - we'll be home...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Well, day two is now past, and Gwenn is sleeping comfortably for another 12 hours of overnight feeding. She started out yesterday at 20.2 kg, and today at weigh-in was 20.1 kg. I'm not sure if this is normal. Tomorrow is the day that we are anticipating seeing a weight gain, so prayers from all are appreciated. If she doesn't gain, then they will start to investigate things in the metabolic range, as well as absorbtion issues...

We saw a feeding specialist today - I had never heard of that, nor of Feeding Therapy! Why, with all my reading, did I not stumble across it, I can't say. But Gwenn will qualify for feeding therapy. Children's tells us the best therapists are at Valley Medical in Renton, so I've already looked them up and will phone tomorrow for an appointment. It was very interesting watching the therapist work with Gwenn - I learned some new things today that hopefully will translate at home.

I'll update more in the morning - I'm tired and ready for bed....

Monday, May 12, 2008

At Children's

Well, Seattle Children's Hospital is a great organization. We arrived and got settled in quickly, and soon had met the resident, our attending, the nurses and the nutritionist. We had our lunch, and Gwenn is now has a ng-tube. This is a temporary tube up her nose and into her tummy that will feed her overnight. She has been a good sport most of the day, but is mad at me right now since I found her taking off the tape that holds the tube in place. It had to be replaced, and she had a small scolding by the nurse. The smiles that we saw earlier have now been replaced by scowls.

Gwenn has allowed a blanket over the bed to keep her warm, but not yet consented to getting under the covers. That would mean that she is staying.

So far she has run the batteries out of the Gameboy, and is currently working on bringing the DS to the same position. We have watched two horrendously bad movies that she forced me to watch (and wouldn't let me turn off when she got bored with it!) and more TV than I would like. We have had some great time reading together - I'm reading "Betsy and Tacy" - childhood favorites of mine. I've got to run - we are going to read more now. I'll update more tomorrow and let you know how the first night of feeding goes.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A time without quotation marks...

I'm still thinking about the issue with the Non-Mom category. I'm suprised at this day in age that we still need to educate people about the facts that a mom is a mom, is a mom. How parenthood occurs is regardless. Whether adoption, foster care, grandparents or step parents - we are all parenting.

Yesterday I was trading email with Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. His first reaction when I emailed him on this was "you have friggen got to be kidding!" Unfortunately, I wasn't. The Adoption Institute does amazing work in educating policy makers, research, and outreach about adoption (and foster) related issues.

Thankfully, Adam's response was: "I'm on it." But why do we have to "be on it"? While the apology from Teleflora was good, especially considering tens of thousands of pissed off parents were tying up their phone lines two days before Mothers Day and not ordering flowers... But why, in the apology, when they tell us that the founders are adoptive parents do they call it out as "adoptive" parents? Are they really parents who have adopted? Why the quotation marks at all? Why can't be be just "parents"? What is it that someone wants to prove?

The days of some natural heirarchy of people who are somehow better than I am because they have reproduced, or have more children, is long gone. I actually consider myself a little higher on the evoluationary scale just for being smart enough to know that my children were waiting for me - without my womb and ovaries getting involved.

Sure, bio kids are fantastic. All kids are. But lets not discriminate based on which womb they were born to, how they joined their family.

Tomorrow is Mothers Day - a day that I look forward to all year. It blends (blessedly) into the rest of the year, with breakfast, getting dressed and enjoying our day - whether at church or weeding the yard. But in the 8 years since becoming a mom, I also take time to thank the first mother - the ones that each of my daughters were born to. They made a frightful decision in China, opted not to take the easy way out (or maybe they couldn't) - but thankfully they chose abandonment in a public location, which would lead to an orphanage and possibly adoption by a family that loves them. The alternative frightens me - with child trafficking and selling of children running unchecked in China, and ignored by authorities.

So - to all the moms, birth moms, first moms, second or third moms, adoptive moms, grandmoms, stepmoms and all others who fill the role of mom - THANK YOU! The world is better for your efforts, and our children will be too. Happy Moms Day.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Thank You

Well, apology email in hand from Teleflora, the major sponsor of the "Fav Mom" contest. Here is what it says:

Thank you for contacting Teleflora to share your thoughts about the "Teleflora
presents America's Favorite Mom" program. In response to your concerns, Teleflora
is immediately changing the name of our "Non-Mom" category to "Adopting Moms."
After closer examination, we can see how this may have been offensive to moms
who have adopted children -- moms who are indeed real moms to their children in
every sense of the word. In fact, many of us at Teleflora are "adopting" parents
ourselves, including our president and owner. The essence of this category still
focuses on a grandparent, neighbor, step mom, or mom to adopted or foster
children, each one raising and loving a child.This show of insensitivity on our
part was in no way intended and wedeeply apologize for any concern or distress
we may have caused. It was always our intent to salute and celebrate all moms.In
closing, all of us at Teleflora would like to offer our sincerestbest wishes to
all the many women throughout the world who have worked so hard and given so
much to earn the name "Mom."Sincerely,The America's Favorite Mom Team

Hooray for Non-Moms!

Well, in the past 10 minutes the website for the contest has changed. Instead of a Non-Mom category, it is appropriately titled "The Adopting Mom". Next year, let's just skip the category entirely, since a mom is a mom, and actually focus on a great "non-mom" sector - those fantastic women (and men) who serve as mentors, leaders, Big Sisters, social workers, teachers and more - impacting our children every day.
Thanks TODAYShow and NBC. However - if someone had half a brain in going through the writing, editing, legal approval and other steps, this should have been avoided. How did this get past so many eyes without thinking that this might be an issue? Heaven sakes - Al Roker - where were you?? You are an adoptive parent, and I shudder to think that you would be a Non-Dad without causing pause!

Non-Mom's Keep on Blogging!!!

Well, I love the adoption world. Thanks to all of the other Non-Moms out there who are blogging about this. Happy Everyday to these parents who do a great job with their children everyday!




















































Insulting: Today Show's Non-Mom

Ok. It has been a long time since I've been so riled up over lack of political correctness when it comes to how adoptive families are treated. Today - I'm riled up.

The Today Show is running a contest for "America's Favorite Mom". They had a number of categories, like Soccer Mom, Military Mom - and todays least favorite - The Non-Mom. The Non-Mom - defined by some producer who had no clue as being grandparents, step-parent or mom of adopted children.

You have got to be kidding me! I get the idea - but why not feature folks like teachers, social workers, Big Sisters, or other Mentors? But to determine that an adoptive mom (or even a step-mom) is not parenting??? That we aren't parents, but relegated to a non-mom position is insane!

Now, the last time I checked, my daughters birth certificate listed me as the mother, not the non-mother. And I'm not planning on celebrating Non-Mom day on Sunday, nor have my girls been busy with Non-Mom's Day gifts for me at school. All I can think is that some producer or their assistant must have been on crack the day they figured this out.

Needless to say, the adoption worlds right now are up in arms. It's all I'm reading about on the forums. NBC, the show, the sponsors of the show - all have their phone lines CLOGGED (and rightfully so) with families who are upset.

If you want to share in contacting folks, you can contact the following:

America's Favorite Mom Facebook page
America’s Favorite Mom – email: info@americasfavoritemom.com
America’s Favorite Mom – phone: 800-225-7435
Today Show – email: today@msnbc.com
Today Show – story ideas: (212) 664-4249 (like about the idiot who decided adoptive parents aren’t moms…)
Redbook – Letters to the Editors go to: redbook@hearst.com
Redbook – Letters to the Editor in Chief: redbooked@hearst.com
Redbook- Contact by Phone: 1-800-888-0008
USAA - PR Agency for Media Relations: 210-498-0940
Kraft – Head Office: 1-847-646-2000
Teleflora – call: 1-800-835-3356
Teleflora – email to press contact: fposell@teleflora.com

As well as some local links:
tips@komo4news.com (an affiliate)
KenSchram@komo4news.com (if anything deserves a Scrammie, this is it)
newstips@king5.com (competition never hurt)

A colleague blogged about this, and did a great job of putting thoughts into words. Thanks, Chris, for your thoughts or insights.

So, the next question that has concerned me is over the children who watch this who are adopted. Since their mom's are classified as "non-moms" are they "non-children"? Having dealt with neurological and attachment issues, it seems that this could cause some issues...

Needless to say, it was thoughtless and fairly stupid. The question is now - how will they manage this, and deal with the hundreds of thousands of households with moms and kids who are real, live moms and kids...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Adoption Shutdowns signaling revolution?

In an interesting article published in the Washington Independent, one of my favorite adoption spokesman, Adam Pertman, talks about the changes with adoption. From programs shutting down, to changes in requirements - it is nothing short of a soft revolution occuring. Read it for yourself!


After Gwenn's check and weigh-in yesterday, it was agreed that we would voluntarily admit Gwenn to Children's Hospital on Monday. She will be fed via a feeding tube, and in all likelihood have a feeding tube (g-tube) implanted on Tuesday or Wednesday. We'll also take advantage to of being there to ensure that the food issue is one of calories, and not a metabolic issue, we'll have a psych consult, see a dermatologist to confirm the neuro-dermatitis that has plagued Gwenn for the past year - and try to deal with the most pressing issues.

I'll keep updates posted as to how Gwenn is doing and what is going on.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New report of child slavery in China

Yahoo! reported last week on the latest investigation in China of child slavery. In a recent raid in Guangdong Province, hundreds of children were rescused from factories where they were being treated as virtual slaves.

I think it's interesting to consider that while these children were working unpaid for years at a time, what the economic considerations were for their parents to submit their children to such a life. Was this better than where they were? Were the economic needs of their parents so severe that selling their child was the only option?

Child slavery, child trafficking and infant abandonment all stem from one place in China - the one child policy. However, let's not think that this is a situation that is unique to China. Child trafficking and slavery, is occuring all over the world. While the press is focused on China due to changes in adoption laws, and the upcoming Olympics, we need to remember that this is not a Chinese issue, but rather a WW issue.

That being said, the attention is on China. I look forward to seeing how Beijing will respond to this latest round of press, and what steps will be taken within the country to put an end to trafficking of children.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Medical Updates...

Well, our functional MRI has been cancelled. Gwenn's braces apparently will cause too much interferance. Why they didn't on the MRI, I'm not sure...

In addition, she developed a stunningly gross ulcer in her mouth - not sure if it was a result of her new braces wires or not. Regardless, it was a great week of not eating, weight loss, doctor trips and more until it was correctly diagnosed. So now the wire on the braces is gone, she is on antibiotics, and starting to heal well. I'm so glad about that!

Cookie Monster on NPR

Thanks to LLA at Bad Fortune Cookie for sharing this NPR interview with Cookie Monster. I'd also like to say thank for the tortilla recipe.