Sunday, August 31, 2008


No big plans for the holiday weekend, just hanging at home and relaxing. Haven't done a milestones post in a while so.....
  • We celebrated 3 months together as a family this past week.

  • Grace is now pulling herself up on everything now and is starting to master furniture cruising (she has the bruises to prove it).

  • We are now greeted every morning by Grace standing in her crib.

  • We have started getting unsolicited hugs and kisses this past week. Initially Grace wasn't super affectionate but this past week she seems to have turned a corner and we are loving it.

  • Grace has started rejecting her stage 2 baby food. We think the texture is too boring for her so we have moved up to stage 3. We have also started feeding her some of what we are eating at meals.

  • Grace will feed herself with a fork (if we put the food on it for her).

  • Grace has moved up to her 12 -18 month clothes.

And of course some pictures from this past week.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

11 months

Another busy week this past week. On Friday Grace turned 11 months old. Hard to believe that next month our baby will be a year old. Earlier in the week Grace had her 3 cousins ages 4, 7 and 11 sleep over. She just loves older kids so it was fun to see her interact with the big girls. This weekend was a little rough for Grace, she got a mosquito bite on her eyelid so her eye is all swollen. She also fell earlier in the week and has a bruise on her cheek so she looks a bit like she was on the losing end of a boxing match...poor baby. She also surprised us this week by greeting us in the morning standing in her crib.

Tomorrow would be the day that Jen would be restarting school if she was going back this year. We feel pretty fortunate that Jen is able to take the year off to spend with Grace. I am sure our mood would be a bit different tonight if Jen were going back. Some pics from our week below...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Daddy Time

This weekend was Jen's annual weekend at the beach with her friends from college. She took Grace up with her on Friday and she spent the night with the girls. I went up on Saturday morning to get Grace and keep her with me for the rest of the weekend. I think it was good for Jen to get a night away and it was good for me to have some time alone with Grace. I have to admit I was a bit nervous but still very much looking forward to having some daddy time with Grace. This would be the first time that I have been on my own with Grace all day and overnight. So I did what any guy would do in my situation, I called my mom. Well not really but we did go visit with her and one of my aunts that had not met Grace. The nighttime routine went really well (although we skipped the bath) and Grace slept through the night. Since I have been back to work Jen has been spending a lot more time with Grace during the day so I wasn't sure how she would take a change in her morning routine. Luckily it didn't seem to bother her. I do have a bit more respect for what Jen does every day while I am working. Taking care of Grace is a lot of work, by the time Jen got home the house was a complete mess and I was collapsed on the couch. Overall though it was a pretty good weekend. Some pics from the past week below...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Olympics News Negativity

After watching the Opening Ceremonies last week we were feeling very proud and happy for China. The opening ceremonies were an amazing accomplishment and they really were the coming out ceremonies for the Chinese people signifying that they have arrived.

Even though the Olympics are a sporting event politics always seems to creep its way in. I usually try to stay away from controversial topics on this blog but some of the articles I have been reading about the the games and Opening Ceremonies have been bothering me a bit. Mostly what bothers me is how the western media seems to always put a negative spin on most anything related to China.

The Fake Fireworks

If you watched the opening ceremony there was a flyover from Tiananmen Square to the Olympic Stadium with fireworks signifying the footsteps. It was stated in the broadcast that it was a cinematic device. It was pretty easy to tell that it was computer generated. Physically I don't think you could have filmed a sequence like that (not to mention logistical and safety concerns) so I don't know why such a big deal is being made of it. Many of our American movies and sporting events use animation for things that are too difficult to film. It was pretty obvious to me that it was CGI, not sure why the media is making it seem like they were trying to pull one over on us.

Lip Syncing

During the opening ceremonies it was pretty apparent that the cute little girl singing Ode to the Motherland was lip syncing. This is pretty common practice in large scale performances so we didn't give it a second thought. We have since learned that it was actually another little girl's voice that she was lip syncing over. I have heard two different spins on this story. One that he little girl's voice was not strong enough so the decided to use the vocals of another girl. Another spin was that the singer whose voice was used was not deemed cute enough by officials so the only used her voice. When reading this it reminded me a bit of our trip to China when one of our guides told us of her dreams to be a singer while in school but she was told that she could not be a singer because she had tiger(crooked) teeth and freckles. Much like the US, China puts a premium on beauty. I can remember not too long ago when a group called Milli Vanilli won a Grammy Award for a song they didn't sing. They are simply learning from the US entertainment industry.


One of the commentators for the opening ceremonies mentioned that the drummers were told to smile more during their performance as they were looking too intimidating. I have read articles about the 2008 drummers and other performers looking like soldiers. Then there was the skaters all circling the globe which I saw as the world coming together in harmony, peace and unity. Apparently it was seen a bit differently by some as a statement that China is ready to conquer the world. I think some people are still stuck in the old cold war mentality. Maybe I am just biased but I saw nothing intimidating at all, just a beautiful ceremony.


Sadly an American tourist was killed by a Chinese citizen over the weekend. The killer committed suicide so we will probably never know what really happened but it seems the guy may have been depressed and just snapped and attacked the nearest person. There were some that thought it may be an act of terrorism. Although domestic terrorists in China could care less about Americans, they are more focused on government human rights issues. There was also some initial speculation that the victim was targeted because he was the father of a US athlete or the murder was a statement to foreigners coming into China. This was simply a tragic random act of violence. I am going to venture a guess that incidents like this happen a lot less frequently in China than they do in the US given China's low crime rate.

Human Rights

It is no secret that China's human rights record is not very good. The media and many human rights groups have used the Olympics to remind us of China's history rather than focus on the positives. The big issues that seem to be brought up lately are the recent crackdown in Tibet, the lack of freedom of religion and the one-child policy. China has come a long way in the past 50 years but still has quite a ways to go. The general perception of the one child policy in China is that it is necessary, Chinese citizens know that there is a population issue that if not kept in control would cause greater issues. We did not bring up politics while in China but I did not get the sense that the people we did talk to were ready to revolt, they seem to realize that change takes time and are pretty content just living their lives. The one area we did notice the differences in our cultures was with censorship. Many websites in China are blocked including blogspot. But we, as well as I am sure many Chinese, found ways around it.

Money would be better spent elsewhere

One of the complaints we have heard about the Olympics is "wouldn't it have been better to spend the money helping their poor people". The opening ceremonies cost around $300 Billion and it is estimated that the total operating costs of the games will cost around $2.6 billion. That money probably would have been better used to feed the poor and orphans. But every country has poor and homeless people and that does not keep them from the opportunity of hosting the Olympic Games. I think China takes the view that this money is being spent in country providing jobs to people which overall will make life better for many Chinese. While we were in Beijing you could not turn around without seeing a construction crane for a new high rise being constructed. The beautification projects were well underway. Along the sides of every major highway there were flowers growing or in the process of being planted. It was pretty amazing, I have never seen anything like it here in the US. Hundreds of thousands of people are being employed because of these Olympic projects so I think an argument can be made that the money is going back to its citizens.

Underage Gymnasts

Another of the recent controversies is the charge that some of the gymnasts on the Chinese team are under 16 which is against the rules. This seemed to hit the press this week when the US girls' team only won the silver medal. I really don't know what the advantages are of being younger in gymnastics competition but it probably has to do with being lighter and easier to jump and tumble. The Chinese officials have provided passports to confirm that the girls are 16, but I guess it is possible that they could have been faked. I would think that if it was suspected that the girls were underage that would have been investigated before the competition. The US team was beaten by a better team, by continuing to complain about the ages after the fact just seems like being a sore loser. They won the silver, nothing wrong with that.

Spanish Basketball team

The last item that I wanted to bring up is the advertisement in a Spanish newspaper where their basketball team is shown pulling their eyes into a slanted position to mock the Chinese. A team spokesman has since come forward to say that it was an affectionate gesture and the meant no offense. I don't understand how this ad got through editors without anyone thinking that it could be offensive. Fortunately the media seems to have gotten it right with this one and is roasting the team for their bad judgement. This is something I would expect an elementary school kid to do toward an Asian kid on a playground. Not adults representing their country in the Olympic games. Sadly it is things like this that our daughters will have to deal with as they grow up. How can we expect children to respect other cultures when they see behavior like this from adults?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

by Sherrie Eldridge

I started reading this book before we left for China. I brought it with me with plans to read a bit on the plane but I was a little to wired to get through it. Now that we are back and completely settled in I have finally finished the book.

I will first say that this is not a feel good book, it brings up a lot of topics that will be uncomfortable for adoptive parents. It is a fairly controversial book. It tends to be a bit biased and dwells on the negative aspects of adoption. If you read any of the online reviews of the book many adoptees claim to fail to relate to many of the "things" that the book discusses. I guess the rule of thumb when reading it is don't freak out and think that your child is going to have all of these negative feelings about their adoption. But, I want to try to get a balanced perspective on things so I believe that reading about the possible negative aspects of adoption is worthwhile. After all, the book is written by an adoptee whose experiences and feeling can't just be discounted.

Some of the "things" that the book discusses are loss, grief, and fear of abandonment. The book discusses each of these and gives examples of how the adoptee may experience them. The book then goes on to give examples on how parents can support and help their children work through these feelings.

The book seems to focus a bit more on domestic adoption rather than international adoption. Many of the "things" with domestic adoption need to be handled differently for international adoptions. The author was adopted domestically in the 1940s so she is writing from her own experiences. Adoption is dealt with a lot differently/thoughtfully these days so hopefully our children will have an easier time resolving any issues they are feeling.

Overall I felt the book was a worthwhile read. There are sections of the book that can really make you see things from an adoptee's perspective in ways I had not previously considered. The suggestions on "What Parents Can Do" at the end of each chapter is a worthwhile reference for introducing conversations that may uncomfortable for our children to bring up. Even if our daughter never feels any of these "things" I feel better prepared knowing where her feelings may be coming from.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Unless you have been living under a rock for the past year or so you probably know that the 2008 Beijing Olympics started on Friday. I have never been a huge fan of the traditional Olympic sports but we were really looking forward to them this year having recently traveled to Beijing. We were especially looking forward to the opening ceremonies and they didn't disappoint. We went out for Chinese food Friday night and then came home to watch the coverage of the opening ceremonies. The scale of the show was just awe-inspiring. But with a reported $300 million dollar budget that is what you get. It was really fun to see some of the places that we saw just a few months ago, before we had Grace. Really seems like a lifetime ago. We have even caught a couple of the sporting events over the past few days. The cool thing is now we get to root for two countries.

We had a pretty busy weekend otherwise. Parties and catching up with old below.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Guess it had to happen eventually

Jen had her first awkward interaction today with a stranger asking personal questions about our family. We usually get a lot of attention when we go anywhere with Grace and most people probably just assume a caucasian couple with and asian baby, she must be adopted. But until today nobody has asked. I guess things get a little more complicated when just one of us is out with Grace as our spouse could be Asian. So today Jen is at the doctor's office (not Grace's regular doctor) and heads up to the went something like this:

Receptionist: Can I ask you a question?

Jen: (Thinking: this is gonna go downhill fast) Yes

Receptionist: Is she yours?

Jen: Yes, she is mine (hoping the converation will end here)

Receptionist: Oh, is her father Asian?

Jen: No (again hoping this will end the conversation)

Receptionist: Oh, is she (whispers) "adopted" ?

Jen: Yes, But she is ours.

Receptionist: Oh, of course........

The whole whispering the word "adopted" is what really bothers us. Grace being adopted is not something to be ashamed of that needs to be whispered. It is not like we are (or could) hide her adoption from her. Whisper it and maybe she won't know that she is adopted. I also don't get why some people think they have the right to ask personal questions of strangers. It is one thing for someone considering adoption to ask questions about the process, etc. But to ask just a stranger personal questions just because you are nosey is a little over the line.

But I really can't stay angry about anything for too long when I have this to come home to....and "Yes, she is ours".

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Movin' too fast

Gracie and the summer that is. Summer is halfway over and the days are just flying by. Grace is crawling room to room now and it is getting hard to keep up with her. Turn your back for a second and she is half-way across the next room. She has added a little quirk to her crawl where she lifts one of her feet up and puts it flat on the floor and does a hybrid crawl - butt scooch. I think our floors are rough on her knees so she has developed this to compensate. It really is too cute.

Grace had her second round of vaccinations this week. She seems to have tolerated them pretty well. Last round she had a little fever, but she was fine this time around. Jen and Grace also met up this week with a few of the moms from our travel group. The visited the Peabody Essex Museum and toured the Yin Yu Tang house.

Just a couple pics of Grace from the week....