She made it all the way to the top.

That teeny little pink dot at the top of the rope is Addie in her gymnastics class yesterday.  Every Freshman’s  gym class nightmare is not a problem at all for her.  She went right up and was the only one in her class to do so.  She constantly amazes me with her abilities and talents.  She also figured out the pool/spa remote this week (which I have never been able to do as it is ridiculously and unnecessarily complicated, even Don says so) because she thought the pool was too cold and decided it should be a toasty 104 degrees.  We only discovered it because there was steam coming off the pool yesterday morning.  I can’t wait to see the gas bill.

When we first met Addie we were rather taken with the dignity and courage this little ten-month-old baby had.  She settled in with us so bravely.  She really looked at us like, “This is it now?”  Her adaptability was astonishing.  She was forced to and became a survivor very early in her life.  She isn’t so good with adaptability these days.  In fact changes of any kind, even to something she enjoys, send her over the edge.  She had to make so many huge changes in her early life I can understand why she might be over it.  She is the first kid I have ever known that when asked to do something will look at you calmly and say, “No.”  We often disintegrate into huge emotional battles when we ask her to do something.  I won’t even talk about trying to get her to bed at night or getting her to school in the mornings.  Let’s suffice it to say if you had to do it for even one day you would understand why I went to Portland.

As much as I  can empathize I will never understand what it feels like to be her and to be adopted.  She speaks about her Chinese Mom and wishes she could meet her but she does not want to go to China or learn Chinese. (She says she doesn’t have a Chinese Dad and when I told her everyone had a Dad she responded, “India doesn’t, she has two Moms.” I didn’t think it was the right time to talk about sperm donors so I just let it go.)

My Addie

We are working with a therapist who specializes in adoption issues.  She was adopted herself as well as having adopted a child from China.  I may not understand how Addie feels but this woman does and she is helping Addie develop her own “Lifebook” and understand who she is and why she feels the way she does.  She will also help Don and I with the changes we need to make. Well, Mostly Don since I am already pretty perfect.

I’m fairly certain if we can climb this “mountain o’troubles” we will be fine.  Addie is the strongest most determined person I know.  In fact, all Don and I really
need to do is hold the rope and she could climb it by herself.

A Very Scary Halloween

Halloween in our new neighborhood is fabulous. We live on a dark hill, so we only had one trick or treater. Compared to the 2,000 or so that demanded candy or “else” from us in Toluca Lake, it is a most welcome change. The other good part is, a few blocks away there is a street blocked off to traffic where everyone who is anyone trick or treats. Sofie decided she wanted to go back to the Toluca Lake madness for the night, so we sent her off in her borderline slutty Red Queen costume to join her old friends. Don and I took the cutest witch in the world down to the big Halloween street for some free stuff. Addie was a little shy at first, but when I told her we would go home and not get candy if she didn’t say thank you, she suddenly became the Chinese embassador to the U.N. She asked if they had Halloween in China, and when we told her no she chalked that up to one more in the plus column for the US. It was such a great time. I felt like I was really a part of a neighborhood. It felt safe, wholesome, fun and I was proud we brought Addie here and that she was an American citizen. Then something really scary happened. It was in a front yard about half way down the street, semi-hidden in the light. I couldn’t make it out at first. It was a sign with some words on it… and then it came into focus: TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK 2010. Usually a sign like that would make me angry, or I would ignore it, but then I actually started to cry. Take our country back from whom? Me? Others who believe like me? Anyone who doesn’t believe like you? Does that mean when you get it back, and you probably will make great strides in that direction today, it isn’t mine anymore? You see, even when people were in control of our government that I didn’t agree with, in fact loathed and dispised, I never though it wasn’t my country, I didn’t assume it belonged to those in power. I thought that through the democratic process those people had been elected and were doing their jobs to the best of their ability, even if I thought they sucked. So stop it, please. I am so tired of this divisiveness, of this hate and fear and name calling. This country belongs to all of us and if we can’t find a way to work together we do not deserve to live here. I do think this is the greatest country in the world. When our plane touched down on the tarmac at LAX from China, Addie instantly became an American citizen. I’m proud of that. I was not so happy that George Bush was president at the time and it’s his signature on the citizenship papers, but nevertheless, it doesn’t matter who signed the papers, the outcome is the same. Get it?

So, I am off to vote now. Yes, I still get to vote and I will even still be able to vote if you GET YOUR COUNTRY BACK. Because that is how we do it here. Now let’s try to play nice with each other no matter what the outcome. o.k? If not, I may have to take my family and move to China.