In Case You Missed It Edition! Volume 37

{photo credit: Etsy – click image for source – PS I would not be sad to hang this in my house}

I’ve found some links to posts that made me laugh, cry, think or at least raise an eyebrow. Please click the links and check out the posts. You may find something that rocks your world too.

Leave me some feedback in the form of comments below on what you liked, what you hated and what you’d like to see more of. I’m here to help you find the best of what is online.

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My Best Of…

Where is the Mommy War For the Motherless Child? from Rage Against the Minivan – Kristen says it like it is and I like it. –

When it comes to issues of motherhood, there is one issue I care about: some kids don’t have one. All of these petty wars about the choices of capable, loving mothers is just a lot of white noise to me, Quite honestly, I’m often astonished at the non-essential parenting issues I see moms getting their panties in a wad about. Particularly when there are so many kids in this world not being parented at all.

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Chardonnay, Pantyhose, and Other Advice From My Mother from Aunt Peaches (via Small Notebook’s link post) – Just good advice.

My favorites:

…on kids with weird names
Make a special effort to be nice to kids with weird names. It’s not their fault their parents are idiots.

…on teachers
Expect 20% of your teachers to be bad at their job. This does not mean they are bad people, it just means they chose the wrong profession. Why should you suffer for their mistake?Learn to spot them and avoid them. For the other 80%, treat them as though they are the most important person you will ever meet. They probably are.

Be sure to click over and leave a comment about your favorite or the best advice you got from your mother.

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Reason #73 Why We Need Curvy Yoga – Anna pretty much sums it up with this:

– well-meaning teachers who shame students because they haven’t thought through the meaning of their words.

If you teach anything, especially yoga, please read this post.

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If I Had A Million Dollars from Amy at Coffee and Sunshine (formerly Just A Titch). Click over to see how I’d spend mine and leave a comment about how you’d spend yours. I found it more difficult than I thought it would be.

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I Spy from Rosie Molinary. Have you ever wondered if the photo you are looking at and comparing yourself to has been digitally altered? Most likely it has and the biggest tell is in the hands. Go check out Rosie’s post for more details and images. The Ralph Lauren model? WTF? Also see: stop comparing yourself to models who don’t even look like their pictures.

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That is the In Case You Missed It Edition, folks.

Remember to click the links and leave some comments. This is a conversation, you know.

In Case You Missed Edition Archives -click it to see them all.

Things I’m Afraid To Tell You: My Thoughts On Adoption and Birth Mothers

As Mother’s Day draws nearer, I find myself getting unexpectedly weepy.

First off, now I’m a mom. A role I wasn’t sure I was ever going to have, certainly one I came to later in life. It’s all now really sinking in.

I’m someone’s mom.

Here’s the part where my experience is different from other mothers and where some deep sadness fills my heart.

In addition to being over the moon about our baby, I can’t help but think about Ruby’s birth mom. And how her loss has been the biggest gift we’ve ever received.

Our precious girl.

Talk about a double-edged sword. Someone else’s loss being your gain? Let’s not even talk about what the kids have lost. Totally does my head in.

A number of people have written so eloquently about what adoption has taught them , about how the adoptive parents (NOT the children) are the lucky ones and honoring their son’s birth mother, that I ask you grab your favorite beverage and read their posts. All these posts brought me to tears and made me want to add my thoughts about adoption and birth mothers which at this point are not very eloquent.

I do have to say that not all of our experiences are the same, however I feel a deep kinship with other adoptive parents. I wanted to highlight some of the ways adoption is heartbreakingly beautiful, with an emphasis on heartbreaking.

Since I’m having some trouble putting together my thoughts on adoption and birth mothers in an eloquent way, I’ll just list them in no particular order. I bring these topics up now because I’ve been an adoptive mama for a while now and believe it or not these have come up. In the spirit of transparency on the internet, many brave bloggers are sharing what they are afraid of. 

I do fear people are going to take offense to what I’m about to say. Some want to tell me our experience as mothers is exactly the same and while there are many commonalities, there are a few huge differences. Some will find out they’ve accidentally stepped on toes because they’ve been curious. Some will find my thoughts presumptuous. So be it.

I’m filing this post under: Things I’m Afraid To Tell You.

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While I do not know my daughter’s birth mother, we are connected and I am forever in her debt. Ruby is a gift. She’s changed me in totally wonderfully unexpected ways.

Sometimes I find myself sobbing because I missed the first nine months with Ruby. She was so well cared for which is a relief, however I ache for that lost time.

Please don’t ask to know the details of a birth mother’s circumstances – it isn’t your business. I am nosy by nature, so I get it. But really, not your (or my) business. It is an awkward moment for everyone involved. That story truly does belong to the adoptive child and when they are old enough may or may not wish to share those intimate details of their past with you.

I know I’ve already over-shared some of Ruby’s history with people because I have been caught off guard. I feel awful about this because it’s not my story to tell. If I’ve shared anything about this history, please do not share with anyone. If I haven’t, please don’t ask.

Please don’t make assumptions about birth mothers. There is no typical story. There is no archetype. They are women just like us, making difficult choices. And for god’s sake, please don’t make comments about how “some” people are “breeding” and are “crackheads” who just irresponsibly give birth multiple times.

Really? sounds like right-wing anti-woman propaganda from the 80s. 

Just stop it.

For all we know, the woman standing next to us in line at the grocery store has an adoption story. For some, it is a secret. I imagine, a painful one. Even without your judgement.

Please don’t judge birth mothers. They may or may not have different life styles than us.  Comments about how you could never give up a child aren’t helpful either. Under certain circumstances, we’d all make tough choices to hopefully better the life of our child.

Please don’t say adoptive parents are lucky or saintly for adopting a child – we really are the lucky ones. We are the ones gaining a child to love.

Please don’t give parenting advice until you are also parenting an adoptive child – some things are just different when you are starting your life from a loss. Also, we lean toward Attachment Parenting and would probably be parenting this way even with a biological child.

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What are you afraid to tell people? Please share in the comments or write a post of your own and link back.

Please know that comment kindness is greatly appreciated.

Thanks to EZ at Creature Comforts for the challenge. And Jess for getting it all started.

Happy Birthday To Me: Our Adoption Is {Finally} Final!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you have figured out by now – adoption takes a long time. We started our process September 11, 2008 and yesterday Ruby officially became Ruby and a citizen of the United States.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.

Our experience during this final piece of the adoption was full of paperwork and crowded waiting room visits, but it all came together yesterday when we met with the judge in his chambers.

The bailiff held the baby and let her play with her radio while Jed and I spoke to the judge and signed papers. Ruby’s fan club of court house ladies waited outside the judge’s office.

In the end, we’re officially a family.

Finally.

Happy Birthday to me.

Catching Up with Alicia Herrera of Spirit House Designs + a GIVEAWAY!

Last November I interviewed my fellow public school teacher, adoptive mom (to be), and owner of Spirit House Designs, Alicia Herreraas part of my Featured Teacher Series.

Here’s a snap shot of our conversation recently.

What is happening in your adoption?

We are now 27 months into our adoption pregnancy.  After the initial flurry of paperwork, classes, and home study, we have been more or less waiting.  And, because all of the legal documents tent to be valid only for a year, we have renewed all of our paperwork once, too.

We are pretty much at the “top” of the list for getting an important phone call- the one where we are matched with our child.  After we are matched, it will be another 4-8 months while we go through the court system. We hope to have a toddler at home this time next year!

What’s changed since last year?

One big change has happened since this time last year.

The program that we were in (Thailand) basically slowed to a stop. International adoption is dicey in that the process can take so long that policy changes happen mid-process.  We were advised by our adoption agency to switch countries if we were wishing to complete an adoption in the next couple of years (yes!).

Adoptive parent requirements vary from country to country and, initially, we had not been married long enough to consider a few other options.  Those options were suddenly open to us, including a very good program with a small children’s home in Taiwan.

Having to change countries is a big fear for adoptive parents because of time and money lost. It can be heartbreaking to essentially “start over”.   We had to face that fear this year and it was hard for us.   More waiting, more money, still no guarantees.  We took a deep breath, crossed our fingers, and reapplied in Taiwan.

Are are you still raising money to fund your adoption through Spirit House Designs? 

 Reapplying meant redoing a lot of paperwork (again!) and repaying fees.  In addition, the program in Taiwan is also about $7,000 more, by design, than Thailand. We expect to spend about $35,000 by the time we are finished, which is roughly a teacher’s take-home salary for one year.  It is amazing to consider!

What’s new at Spirit House Designs?

Oooh. The thing that I am loving the most this year are the silk art scarves.  They have been individually painted, dyed, and then shaped by hand.  I added little specks of light and color to make each one unique.  They look great and feel luxurious.  I put up a tutorial on the blog that shows my favorite way to wear them as scarves, but they are versatile enough to be worn as a shawl, too.

They are such a pleasure to make. Working with silk is filled with meditative moments.  Mixing color, paying attention to the fiber’s response, moving slowly, being open to what each piece wants to become… all of these things are done with intention and love.  I believe that this attitude is what makes each item beautiful and what pleases the wearer. There is no substitution for heart.

I also have the next batch of nuno felted scarves, flowers, huipil cushions, as well as some gifty felted soap, all of which can be seen first at the open studio at the house on November 19th.

Where is your work available?

I will be showing at the Davis Art Center Holiday Sale and the Davis Gift Mart the first weekend in December.  This should be a fun holiday season of sharing both textiles and adoption excitement updates with everybody.

I will also be having a Spirit House studio presale on November 19th, for those who are unable to make the Davis Art Center Sale.  From 10 AM-2 PM, the studio will be open and items will be available for purchase.

The studio sale is by invitation only, but all are very welcome.

{For an invitation, simply submit a comment of interest}.

All of the profits from the presale go directly toward our adoption fund.

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Alicia has generously donated a silk scarf to the readers of Teacher Goes Back To School.

To enter to win – please leave a comment about what color palette interests you most: warm tones or cool tones.

 Options for Extra Entries:

Subscribe to Teacher Goes Back to School via Email & Confirm Subscription (upper right hand corner) and then leave a blog comment telling me you subscribed. If you already are a subscriber, leave a comment letting us know.

Subscribe to Spirit House Designs via Email & Confirm Subscription (upper right hand corner) and then leave a blog comment telling Alicia you subscribed. If you already are a subscriber, leave a comment letting us know.

“Like” Teacher Goes Back to School on Facebook and then leave a blog comment to confirm. If you already like TGBTS, leave a comment letting us know.

“Like” Spirit House Designs on Facebook and then leave a blog comment to confirm.If you already like Spirit House Designs, leave a comment letting us know.

Tweet this post or share it on Facebook and then leave a blog comment to confirm.

Who is eligible to win?

Anyone with a valid e-mail and a U.S. mailing address is eligible.

When do I find out if I am the winner?

The contest is open from November 13, 2011 until midnight PST on Friday, November 18, 2011. The winner will be announced on November 19th at the Presale. {Need not be present to win.}

You will have 2 weeks to e-mail us back with your home address so we can mail the prize.

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

Thank you to all who entered.

Reflection: Our First Month With Ruby

Yesterday during my day long cryfest  yoga retreat, I had some time to reflect on my first month of parenthood.

The Good:

Ruby’s laugh – honestly I’ve never hear a sound that makes me happier.

Ruby’s smile.

Her lips.

Her cheeks.

The look on her face first thing when she wakes up – like she’s been waiting for this moment her whole life.

Baby babble: mommomomomomomomom

The clapping.

Licking books.

Giving me a book over and over to read again and again {current favorites: Good Night Gorilla, The Foot Book, I Am A Bunny, and Brown Bear, Brown Bear.}

Pounding the table at meal time for MORE. NOW. PLEASE.

Her high level of enthusiasm for baths.

Pulling herself up using your pant legs and hugging our knees.

Tiny baby feet.

Her Mongolian spot.

Constantly being reminded what needs attention in this moment – sweeping under the bird-cage, turning off the electronics, closing all the drawers – mostly a cuddle with mama.

The Bad:

Worry much? Friends, I am a worrier by nature and since we’ve invited our little nugget into our house I’ve turned the worry dial up to 11 on many a nights. Holy crap – nothing is too small or too big.

The disrupted sleep. The baby sleeps great, but between the worry and the moving, kicking, flopping etc I barely get a wink.

The lack of yoga class. People, yoga at home is awesome, but the community of others? underrated when you haven’t spoken to anyone higher than your knee in a long while.

My body hurts – between the worry, the contortionist sleeping, the picking up and walking around with 17 extra pounds – mama needs a massage STAT!

The Ugly:

One more than one occasion I asked if I needed to brush my hair before I left home. {the answer is always yes. I know, I know}.

The kitchen floor under her high chair.

The front of all her clothes by mid-day. Drool much?

Diapers are disgusting. That is all.

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Thank you for being there for us this first crazy month. We feel so loved and well taken care of. We’re starting to get out and about more and having visitors more regularly, so if you see us around or want to make a date – give us a shout out.

XO.

The Final Countdown: One Week Til Ruby.

I keep resisting the urge to dwell on all the “lasts” I’ll be having this week. The last Sunday morning yoga class with Michelle before Ruby {so grounding}. The last Duran Duran concert with Jeannie before Ruby {true story, going tonight!}. The last drink at the Shady Lady before Ruby {uh, I guess I need to still make this plan}…

You get the picture.

Next Monday our life changes forever.

We finally meet this little one.

The last few weeks I’ve been feeling really excited and ready to get the Ruby show on the road already – a mix of anxiety and anticipation with a side of exhaustion. Is this what pregnancy is like the last few weeks?

We travel this week.

Try not to be jealous of our crazy trip {or at least what we think our trip will look like}.

We fly to Taiwan late Friday night, experience what I’m sure will be the most excellent Saturday of my life whilst on the plane and land in Taipei early Sunday morning.

Monday morning we hop the high-speed rail and finally go pick up the Rubes{!!!}.

By Monday evening our new little family returns to Taipei.

Tuesday morning we bring Ruby with us for the paperwork Olympics.

Sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday night when we fly out, we pick up our completed paperwork.

As for the rest of our trip, we’re going to let it unfold. We’ll be sure to take lots of pictures.

How do you deal with anticipation?

Adoption Update: We Travel in Six Weeks!

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Much to our amazement, we got THE CALL yesterday morning telling us we’ll be traveling to Taiwan in about six weeks. This wasn’t just surprising because we’ve been on the receiving end of so much bad news surrounding our adoption, it is surprising because we were expecting to travel at the end of the calendar year.

So. Many. Changes.

So. Many. Emotions.

I’m thinking this is our first lesson in parenthood – plans, shmans.

If you’d like to help us prepare for welcoming our girl home, please read the following links. Rosie has done an absolutely brilliant job at getting to the point of what we’ll be needing from you all in the coming months.

Dear Friends And Family

We Are Family

18 Ways to Love The New Family or Family Member In Your Life