Required ESL Screening: Mom Really Might Know Best


My youngest just graduated from kindergarten. Come September, he’ll ride a bus, he’ll carry a lunchbox, he’ll have a pencil case. And so in preparation for all of that, we took him to the “big kid” school to register. I was given the usual forms–proof of immunization, emergency contact list, permission to access the internet, […]

What I Thought I Knew about Hep B


If you’d asked me seven years ago, right before we adopted our beautiful daughter, if I knew anything about Hep B, I’d have said sure. It’s a virus. It has something to do with the liver. What else do you need to know? As it turned out, our daughter’s case taught us that there was […]

I Was Almost on NPR


It was 2 weeks ago and I’d just dropped my son off for afternoon kindergarten. On the radio, a woman with some title that I fail to remember was saying how important it is for children adopted from other countries to have ties to that culture, how crucial it is that their parents make every […]

Hepatitis B: It’s an Easy Special Need…Except When It’s Not

If you ever check out special needs adoption forums, one of the most commonly asked questions, certainly in the top 5, goes something like this: Which special needs are EASY? It’s an honest question and one that parents who’ve experienced raising children with different special needs have tried to answer. I’ve jumped in many times […]

Family Medical History: How Much Do You Want to Know?


I have a great-grandmother, Verna, who lived to 103 years old. She tended her garden and lived in her own home until the very end, passing peacefully in her sleep. Verna is a shining star on my family medical history. My own father had debilitating arthritis as a child, as did a great uncle. Autoimmune […]

Language: Could he have kept the Mandarin?


We met our son just a few month’s shy of his fourth birthday. He spoke clearly (clearly enough for us to understand many of his basic phrases), he had no speech impediments and was a good communicator. Our guide in his province said, “He speaks well and knows very much.” At home in the United […]

Out of the Sketch Pads of Babes

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This is the night we’ve waited for! KICK! Always a treat we have in store KICK! We love each other more and more… KICK With every family night…. I’ll spare you the rest. My teenagers would turn 10 shades of red if you happened to look into our windows on a Sunday night and see […]

The sincerest form of flattery……Or will the real XiXi please step forward?


When we adopted our nearly 4-year-old son, it felt completely natural and right for him to copy the sibling closest to him in age, his 6 year-old sister. He needed a tour guide to escort him through his new life and she was mostly happy to fill that role. What I didn’t realize was that […]

A Mother is Only as Happy as……

Her saddest child. I don’t know who said it, but dang it if it isn’t true. When all 5 of my children are happy (not necessarily ecstatic about life, but you know, content and satisfied), it’s fairly easy for me to follow suit. Life is good. But when one of those 5 precious souls is […]

Big Sister: Family Within the Orphanage


While we waited to travel for our almost-four-year-old son, XiXi, I worried. He had not spent most of his life in foster care, as we’d been told, but was in the orphanage, an orphanage with a reputation for secrecy, deception, and at times even outright cruelty. At night, I wondered how damaged this child might […]