Dragons and Snakes

Chinese New Year

Xin nian kuai le! Happy Chinese New Year! A week ago today, we rang in the Year of the Snake (oh joy) with our kiddos. I hung up our paper lanterns, decorated the table with Lunar New Year plates and cups from Pottery Barn Kids (check your nearest store now or the website…items are on […]



Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we have faced with our 4-year-old daughter is helping her find a new way to self-soothe. One crucial piece of information that her caretakers failed to tell us on adoption day was that Grace (and presumably all the babies in her orphanage) sucked on a scrap of cloth in […]

Identity Crisis

Brown Family_0044

Last night, my husband and I joined about 180 folks from our city of Birmingham to view the documentary Somewhere in Between, a film that follows four Chinese girls adopted into American families. The movie articulates their challenges with feeling neither completely Chinese, nor totally American. The girls, now in their teens, conclude that they […]

Let’s Talk Communication

One of the most common questions we are asked about the adoption of our older child is whether she spoke any English when we brought her home and/or how we’ve dealt with the language barrier. There are many ways to communicate in those first days, weeks, and months. From playing charades (which didn’t work so […]

Between a Fork and a Chopstick


That’s where I find myself. Between a fork and a chopstick. And that’s where I come to you today asking for some momma advice. I love the way these boys eat. ok in truth….I could do without the slurping…..gag but other than that I have no problem with it. But here’s where I am stuck… […]

Keeping the Past in the Present


“It is kind of almost like a pseudo-open adoption,” the adoption professional said to me as I shared with her about our reunion with our 12-year-old son’s foster family. Absence may not have made their hearts grow stronger—I don’t think the love could be much stronger than it already was—but absence definitely made the hearts […]

Fresh Starts

There’s something about fall that renews my mind and soul. The crisp air that blows in at sunset, the comfort of Starbuck’s pumpkin spice lattes, the anticipation of new activities and routines. I was that dork in college who loved buying new school books at the beginning of the semester. Unmarked pages, unbattered notebooks, unused pens. It’s that […]

The Myth of the “New Normal”


That’s what it feels like to me. A myth. “New” normal? Normal? Whaaa? I’m completely unfamiliar with that word at the moment. The feeling of being normal is elusive to me. Does “the new normal” really even exist? I wonder this because I cannot, for the life of me, find it. Nothing about our life […]

The Surgery That Wasn’t

At 1:45 p.m. Tuesday, August 21, I was preparing trying to prepare for surgery #14, which was scheduled for the following day, Wednesday, August 22. Yes, that is not a typo. Fourteen surgeries since we brought Li’l Miss home and waited during her six-hour, open-heart surgery on September 30, 2008. Tomorrow was to be the […]

Spread Your Wings… But Don’t Fly Too Far

Caroline's locker

On Monday, Caroline (our adopted 13-year-old) will experience her first day of middle school. While she’s admitted to being nervous once before, she now seems confident and ready. She’s decorated her locker, memorized her schedule, and organized her school supplies. We’re fortunate to be carpooling with another family (who incidentally has an adopted daughter Caroline’s […]