Quote of the Day


to rename or not to rename: that is the question

My friend Tina, adopting from Ethiopia this summer, asked me
. . . we are having a bit of a struggle with the whole name issue. Did you just think it through on your own or did you read something that advised the route you went with your kid's names?

I replied:
Regarding names: we thought it through on our own, so I don't have any resources for you there. I think what settled it for me was when I realized that my children, when grown, will not be Russian. They will be Americans with some strong ties to Russia. Your son will be an American with ties to Ethiopia, but not an Ethiopian. If he visits Ethiopia he will be an outsider. Names carry implications of cultural belonging. We chose to provide names that will match with their adult realities. Anyway, that was our thinking. I think you mentioned Biblical names -- that might be a nice compromise. Maybe a first name that is present in both cultures and his original name as his middle names.

. . . names carry implications of cultural belonging. . . .

My kids took no issue with their new names, accepting it as part of all the other newnesses. I do like that we have their Russian names as our private family snuggle names.

Now that you've got me thinking about it, I think this would make a good blog post.

and she said:
Thanks for the scoop on the names. We sure have gotten a ton of UNsolicited advice about this. Our gut feeling is/was to keep the name he comes with. But we haven't been able to 100% feel comfortable with doing so. Yet changing doesn't feel right either. Brian and I are not usually the kind that listen to advice much, but on this we are soliciting a little input now. The unsolicited advice has all said "change it, blend in, too hard to say, etc" with one exception, a therapist friend that was adamant about the importance of keeping the name. She did like the snuggle name idea that I told her you guys use. And she like keeping the original but having a related nickname that was easier to say. We have pretty much decided not to decide yet. But to meet him first. With a short list of names we both like in the back of our minds, in case changing does become the plan.

and your thoughts are . . .


:: After I got this post all ready, I noticed that Brandie over at Our Adoption Journey has also recently posted on this.

I used to have a mind; now I have small children

I'm getting a little worried. Today I was searching and searching for the telephone; (I had just had it, where did it go?) I wanted to pay some bills by phone. I had the pile of bills, the credit card, and needed the phone. The person I was on hold for finally answered. Well duh!!! The phone was on my shoulder, under my ear.

Well duh!

Later this afternoon I got out of the car and was about to lock it when I noticed that a car nearby had its engine going. None of the cars were occupied, so I thought I better check my ignition. Yup. Keys in, car running.

I need a spa day.

:: this post is included in the carnival of super-mommies hosted at The Adventures of Super Mommy


tag cloud

I fixed the tag cloud so that if you click on, for example, "kids' pics" you would get all the posts with kid pictures in them on one screen. (Basically, I set it back to how it used to be before I tried the Table of Contents widget, which presented a list of posts, but not the posts themselves).

So if you want to all the posts with a certain tag, and not other posts, click on one of the words in the tag cloud.

omat: one month ago today

One month ago today, this blog was launched (any posts showing from before that date were moved over from the old blog). Already the blog has had over 2,000 visitors, many of them lurkers. So to celebrate the blog's one month birthday, I invite you to de-lurk and let us know who you are and why you read this blog, and share one other blog that you enjoy.

ayat: a year ago today

A year ago today we left Khabarovsk to return home and await our court date. At the time we left, we were hoping for a 6-8 week wait. It was four months. I'm rather glad I didn't know this at the time. Khabarovsk is in Far East Russia, so we flew on Asiana via Seoul. The best connecting flight involved a lengthy layover, so Asiana put us up at a nice hotel and transported us to and fro. We got in in the evening and had a nice walk-about and then had time the next morning to see the city before our late afternoon flight home.
all spiffed up and ready for spring

We had been in Khabarovsk right after (during) the last snow and right before the big all-city spring clean-up, so the city we saw was gray and frumpy and grimy and with her hair in curlers. Seoul, on the other hand, was a cute young thing, all spiffed up and ready for spring.

We were ready for Seoul.

:: this post was entered in Scribbet's Write-Away contest
:: this post was included in the Carnival of Cities


ayat: a year ago today

A year ago today, we received the official referral for our daughter, signed our intent-to-adopt papers (at which time we had to determine their names), and visited the children for the last time until August.

. . . adoption is not for the faint of heart . . .

The first picture in this series is the entrance to the notary's office. There was a huge line-up, but apparently we had an appointment. Our translator knocked on the door and we went straight in. A huge collective grumble from the weary waiters followed us through the doorway. After our traveling companions, Elle and CS, signed their papers and we had signed ours -- in duplicate as we were adopting two children -- the notary said farewell and wished us good luck in navigating the hallway. Apparently appointments are not the norm and we were seen as queue-jumpers. It was a bit embarrassing.

We got to see the children in the afternoon. We took clothes and presents and played and wept when we left. The children were told that we were their new mama and papa and they rejoiced and were glad. Andy, as you can see in the pics, glued himself to us. When we left they cried out "Dasvedayna Mama y Papa." I carried their voices in my heart for the next four months as we waited for permission to return.

We had traveled to Khabarovsk on only the referral of our son, hoping and praying for our daughter, but not having any assurances. We got the referral for her the day before we left. She is the sunshine and light of our family life. I get a little shaky thinking how close we came to not being blessed with her referral. Adoption is not for the faint of heart.


Poetry Friday: Luci Shaw

Flathead Lake, Montana
“Christ plays in ten thousand places” –G. M. Hopkins

Lying here on the short grass, I am
a bowl for sunlight.

Silence. A bee. The lip of water
over stones. The swish and slap, hollow

under the dock. Down-shore
a man sawing wood.

Christ in the sunshine laughing
through the green translucent wings

of maple seeds. A bird
resting its song on two notes.

~Luci Shaw

Luci Shaw is one my favorite poets. Her images delight and surprise me and her poems often teach me or, better yet, remind me of truths I once knew but had forgotten.

The poetry round-up is over at a wrung sponge.

ayat: a year ago today

A year ago today we were visiting our children for the second time. For some reason I don't recall, we didn't take pictures.

help, I need somebody

The blog is not displaying properly in IE (surprise surprise) and I can't figure out what I need to tweak. If anyone good at coding (maybe someone whose blogname is a palindrome, she who basically taught me blogging about a year ago) would care to take a peek that would be great.


Also, if you are seeing anything other than a left wide column full of posts and a variety of widebars and sidebars on the right, please let me know. It would be nice to know what browser you are using.

Of course, if y'all switched to Firefox you'd be happier, smarter, and better-looking and I wouldn't have to tweak my blog. Okay, I made that up about happier, smarter, and better-looking. But your internet time will be faster, more secure, and easier.


ayat: a year ago today

A year ago today we met our children and came home quite smitten. The orphanage itself is the first picture in this set, followed by My Gift and I about to walk through the door, down the long well-lit hallway and into the groupa room.

. . . pressed their little noses against the window and gazed longingly . . .

We saw Dandy sitting on the floor, looking very much as he did in his referral picture from the previous May. We walked around a greeted all the children. I was saying hello to one cute little boy when our facilitator mentioned that she was the little girl that we might be able to get a referral for.

For the first part of our visit we interacted with all the children and they were delighted to pose for our pictures and show us their things. During the second part, the other children played in an other room (well, not played actually, more like pressed their little noses against the window and gazed longingly at us). You can get a peek at them in the background of the last pic in this series. It is the first Chandler family photo, though the children didn't know it at the time.


ayat: a year ago today

A year ago I was posting the news of the day from Khabarovsk as we waited to go meet our children. We toodled about the city and time passed very slowly.

Today, one year later, we spent the day cleaning the playroom and visiting Grandpa, reading books and watching Pinocchio after dinner. Time no longer passes slowly.

Widget Wednesday: useless and amusing


yat: years ago today

Thirteen years ago today I married the nicest man. We had a lovely small ceremony on a Sunday afternoon in my parents' living room, marrying in front of the fireplace with our parents as our attendants. My sister and brother provided the music and our reception was a wonderful open house at home. It was old-fashion, peaceful, and low-stress.

a perfect wedding

The morning of the wedding, my family went to church and I stayed home. I picked flowers from the garden and made the posies for us to wear or carry. We hired a portrait (not wedding falderal) photographer to come for one hour and take portraits. We did not photograph the wedding, but had it video-taped. Tonight we will share that video with our children and look at our albums.

It was a perfect wedding. I only wish I had invited a few more people; we kept the guest list too short.

One year ago we celebrated our anniversary in Russia as we waited to meet our children. We started with snow and then more doctor visits and a strange lunch and then ended the day eating at The Ruskie where we were seated near the large table of highly decorated military officials and another table full of black-suited sun-glass wearing men with gold filed (that's not a typo for filled; I really mean filed, as in pointy, all pointy) teeth and small black satchels hand-cuffed to their wrists. We were prepared to duck at anytime.


such a lovely morning

The children were very busy in their playroom this morning making something, I didn't know what, but it involved a lot of paper and paste.

Later, while sitting on the porch, they asked me if I was ready. Well sure, ready for what?

tree, cloud, sun, rainbow

They started singing Happy Birthday and presented me with the gifts they had been making all morning: little scraps of paper adorned with odd bits of broken toys etc. But they had each draw me a picture. A real picture, in that one could identify the parts (tree, cloud, sun, rainbow). Prior to this, their pictures had been blobs of color, requiring much translation.

It isn't my birthday today; I just applied the greetings retroactively.

edited to add that we had such a nice morning, making applesauce and just enjoying one another, that we forgot to go to school. Whoops!

"The Adoption Decision: 15 Things You Want to Know Before Adopting"

This book is not out until later this summer, so you'll just have to wait. We were interviewed for the book and when I last saw the the draft-in-progress, we were in it. Rather exciting to be included in a book.

. . . Rather exciting to be included in a book.. . .

To tide you over, you can go read From Russia With Love, a "[n]ews-feature about the history of Russian adoption and the current state of adoptions from Russia to the United States. Published in "Prologue," the magazine for subscribers to the Seattle Repertory Theatre, Winter 2007." We were interviewed for, and included in, that article too. The link this takes you to is part of Laura Christianson's useful and informative Exploring Adoption blog.

ayat: a year ago today

I was posting about our adventures exploring Khabarovsk as we waited to meet our children. The first pic here shows the meat section of the local grocery store. See the big wood stumps? The cows walk themselves in and are slain and dismembered right there on the spot. How does one sanitize a butcher's block anyhow?