Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Three steps forward this time!

All along, we've been going two steps forward and then one step back with John. He will make fabulous progress and seem happy, and then he will suddenly get into one of his "moods" and reject us all. He might sulk for two days, refusing to eat, just because I told him that his next reading book needs to be in English. He'll stomp around the house saying that he's never going to learn English, and that's that. Why did we take him from China anyway??
But this week, I'll go so far as to say we took at least 3 steps forward!! A few months ago, at my request, John translated a letter from English into Chinese for an adoptive parent (I met in a yahoo group) to send to her waiting child. He labored over it for days, and he was thrilled to receive $10 from the parents. Then this weekend, we finally took the translation business idea to a new level. John not only translated, but actually composed, a few letters to waiting children (all older children) from himself to them. He told about his fears prior to adoption, and how he worked through them, and how wonderful his life is with a family. I spent hours at John's side, helping him get his Chinese thoughts into English (he writes the letters in both languages). We just had lots of quality, constructive time together, working on these letters. Yesterday, John spent nearly an hour watching a video of a little girl (12 years old) who will be adopted soon, before he wrote her a letter. And he's making money!!! Wow! Making money of his own has really boosted John's confidence and self-worth. The fact that writing about adoption experiences is therapeutic for him, is an added bonus. Yesterday, John built his first website, and I happily paid for the domain and hosting fees. http://adoptionletterstranslate.angelfire.com/index.html
Yes, John, I believe in your business. Yes, John, I will do all I can to help you be successful. And, yes, my son, I am proud of you. No matter what. All the time. Dare I hope for 1/2 a step back this time, and four steps forward?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Top Ten Things I Learned Adopting a Teenager

10. All teens think their parents are stupid. Eye-rolling is universal.
9. All teens think everyone else has it better. In the adoption circles, this is, "Mommy shopping."
8.  Public schools are just NOT prepared/equipped to school internationally adopted teen children
7.Teens are not grateful. Not foreign exchange-students, not foster children, not adopted children and not bio children. Get over it.
6. Block all international telephone calling. (We had a $700 phone bill from hotel in Guangzhou)
5. Internet must be 100% monitored AT ALL TIMES. Teens can bypass any and all kidsafe software.
4. All teens want to sleep all day and stay up all night. I won't get over this one.
3. Teens want you to show them affection, just not in public. A pat on the head works wonders
2. 80% of parenting a teen is just being there, 100% of the time
1. Sharing a weekly activity together goes a long way in building relationships. I run 5k races with them, take martial arts with them, and attend every game/event.
1. Don't do anything the first week that you are not prepared to do forever! See post on http://petersadoption2.blogspot.com
1. Siblings fight. I can't prevent it or stop it, and I still don't understand it.