When we approached the adoption of our daughter from China in 2009 I had dreams. I had dreams of sitting with this beautiful little girl at Chinese cultural events, dressed in red silk, participating in event with other adoptive families or the Nashville Chinese community. You know, dreams? That's not WHY we adopted. But, I knew from the BEGINNING that if I was not willing to share her birth culture with her and in turn with our entire family, then I was really approaching this whole thing from the wrong angle.
Arriving home, I won't say my dreams were dashed, but they definitely were put on simmer (really, stuck in the freezer) until I could rally enough to engage. I came home with layers of sickness. Smog related asthma that left me on an inhaler for 3 months, multiple infections due to our stays at the children's hospital. Oh yeah, 3 surgeries and speech therapy the first year home. And, did I mention, I lost my mother during that time? You can see why joining the local Families with Children from China was sort of low on our priority list.
Eventually, it did rise and found its way to the top and that's how I found myself the President of the local chapter. Two years after our adoption we attended our first event and the following fall I joined the board. I wish I could say I was begged to be on the board due to my enormous talents but the reality is...no one else would do it. It was me, a woman who was going on year 5 as the President and another mom going on year 3.
Let. Me. Be. Clear. Nashville has a huge adoption community. Add that to the large community of adoptive parents in the surrounding counties and you really have a large group of people. Hundreds of families. So, why were only 3 families willing to serve? I can list 10 reasons and I can list none. Because at the end of the day one thing and one thing only matters. My kid.
I promised her. I promised myself. And, I promised the Chinese government. She will have access to her culture for as long as she wants it. When she reaches a point developmentally when she says enough, I will say okay (not really). Then, we will go down to the big event. Chinese New Year.
There is so much more to say on this subject and as I wrap up my time on the FCC board, I will write more. But for now, do yourself and your child a favor. Find a Chinese New Year event near you and attend.
(Above, the Moon in traditional Chinese dance costume.)
Every February for the last three years, our Saturdays have been devoted to one thing and one thing only. Chinese New Year. The mom to one Chinese kid, it is part of my job to give the Moon the opportunity to experience and participate in the culture of her birth. Almost four years ago we enrolled her in Chinese dance and it has become a very important part of our lives. Every Saturday from August until May she dons a leo and leggings and we meet her Chinese dance teacher and about 10 other little girls (a healthy mix of adopted children and children who live here with parents who have come to the US for work). They practice one dance and one dance only for the entire year in preparation for area Chinese New Year performances - thus our entire month of February (or three weekends most closely following CNY) being devoted to this holiday.
If you live in the Nashville area, here is a guide for celebrating Chinese New Year. The dates below are specific to this year, however, these are annual events, so file the article or links for future reference! Unfortunately, you'll notice that many of these events are on the same day, so choose wisely!
CAAN (Chinese Arts Alliance Nashville - http://www.chineseartsalliance.org/) CAAN offers two organization specific events: Chinese New Year 10-Course Banquet at Lucky Bamboo open to all for $85 per person (January 31, 2016) is CAAN's big fundraiser for the year but they also offer a FREE event! Their Dragon Park celebration will be held in conjunction with Dores to China (Saturday, February 6, 2016). The Dragon Park event is a lovely (but usually cold) day that also includes vendors, food trucks and more. Visit their website for information.
GNCA (Greater Nashville Chinese Association - http://gncamembers.com/) Though not open only to GNCA members, this is typically a member-only Chinese event largely attended by Nashville's Chinese (and adoption) community. With dinner and 2-hours of wonderful Chinese performances, this is a fantastic cultural event if you are looking for something beyond the Lion Dance and drumming. (Saturday, February 6, 2016)
Global Education Center Birthday Bash (http://www.globaleducationcenter.org) An Annual event, if you would like to make the evening a global event, check this out. Dancers and performers from many traditions and cultures from around the world, the GEC is a big hit and open to the entire community. (Saturday, February 6, 2016)
Discovery Center Murfreesboro. Sunday, February 7. 1:00PM to 5:00PM.
Join us as we bring in the Year of the Monkey! Chinese art, music, history, dance & more!
Little Eagles 10-Year Celebration. I do not have a link for this but on Saturday, February 13, 2016 at Father Ryan High School, Shiaolu McClaren will showcase her Little Eagles Dance Academy. If you would like more information, contact me via the contact form and I'll keep you in the loop as details unfold. (Saturday, February 13, 2016)
Asian New Year Festival. Vanderbilt Asian American Student Association. I have not attended this event and know little about it beyond what I picked up from the event page. But, it looks great! Here is the info: Join us as we ring in the Lunar New Year through a grand night filled with beautiful music, cultural dances, and meaningful stories. This year's theme JOURNEYS is a celebration of every individual’s journey, told through performance arts and a retelling of The Monkey King (Saturday, February 13, 2016)
FCC (Families with Children from China - www.fccmidtn.org) Each year the FCC puts on a Chinese New Year dinner specifically for the Chinese (and Asian) adoption community. Filled with food, fun and fellowship, it is a good time for all. (Saturday, February 20, 2016)
Nashville Lantern Festival (http://lantern.westnest.net/). An initiative from the Hillsboro cluster PTOs, this looks like an evening food and crafts followed by a lantern parade. I have not personally attended this event but see it pop up each year. If you go, be sure to let me know how it is! (Monday, February 22, 2016)
If you are a family touched by adoption, please consider sharing Chinese culture with your child by attending at least one of these events!
Well, you can see from my last post that I have become a little frustrated with the wait for a new addition to our family. The though of a little girl seemed very real and nearly 2 years ago when we began this process but now seems more out of reach.
I want to let those of you know that are reading my blog that I did speak with my China coordinator from CHI and had a great conversation with her. I want to be clear that I realize that from where the agencies sit and really from where the parents sit, there is not a best way or most fair way to handle things like the WC program. Each agency has its own policies and some seem even less fair than they one we have.
I can tell you that due to new CCAA regulations requiring families to submit dossiers for waiting children within a specific time period and due to CHI's current Hague accreditation status, that it seems that non CIS approved families will not be allowed to apply for WC and families who cannot complete the dossier within the specified time period will not be able to apply. So...this takes care of much of the problem....for now.
For me, I am personally working on being more upbeat and positive and as the house is taking shape and moving more in the direction that I would like for it to go, perhaps we will begin working on a nursery soon and be prepared when our referral comes. Until then, please keep us - especially Noah who is waiting for a sister - in your thoughts during this long wait.
I am so frustrated right now. In fact, it is beyond words, but I'll try. Our agency has made what it feels is the best decision on how to handle its waiting children files and I support them in their decision - for the most part. They have responded to their clients wishes and over the last year have amended the WC process to be what they deem to be the most fair. I have supported this knowing how hard it is to please everyone.
But! I just visited the blog of one of the families traveling right now to pick up their daughter. I immediately recognized the little girl as one we applied for last Spring....A YEAR AGO. I was curious as to why it took them so long to get their LOA and TA (the paperwork giving them an official referral and travel approval). The family was picked to review the file and accepted the little girl last April and could not get it together to submit their dossier until October! It took them 6 months to put together their paperwork and all they can say is they are procrastinators. How many of us were logged in and ready to go then?
Unbelievable is all I can say. So, this little girl has lived an additional year with a foster family that she has been bonding with and will now be ripped away from to go live with her "forever family."
I'm very frustrated right now and will be calling our agency on Monday to discuss this with them. I never had a problem with them allowing non logged in families to apply for these kids...until now. I just naturally assumed that a non LID family would really hustle to get an LID so they could be united with the child that they have been waiting for.
I'm just so frustrated by this. The thing is, for the most part I have understood that adoption sucks. Really. It is frustrating and their are long waits and the children end up being the ones to suffer the most in so many ways both before and after the adoption. But, really. This is just too much.
All I can do now is hope and pray for this little one and hope that this situation does not continue to happen.
Please keep all of the orphans in the world in mind in your hopes and prayers. They deserve so much more.
Not much going on. We are wrapping up our CIS update. It is taking me forever. I have decided that I am decidedly unorganized now when it comes to paperwork since staying home with Noah. It is funny. I could not stand to have a paper out of place when I had my own office. I was incredibly together. Now that I am at home....calendar's, clocks, papers, they mean nothing to me. I have got to get it together!
So, all I have left is to pick up the green form today, get it to our SW tomorrow, pick up the homestudy, and overnight it to CIS with a request for a free one time extension. Then, we are still in the game.
As far as kids go, we are still light years away from a traditional referral, we are continuing to watch our agency's special needs list and still considering Ethiopia. Please keep us in our thoughts as we await the gift of a new child into our home.
I’m Dana Croy and I am a modern day mama. Balancing family and work is not always easy (not to mention a little self-care). Though being Mama to two fantastic kiddos is a huge part of my life, that was not always the case. I wear many other hats and invite to sit down and find harmony with me.