Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy 6th Gotcha Day Sweet Elias James...

To celebrate his Gotcha Day, here is a video of the day we met Elias... April 13, 2009

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A Lao Tong for Aimee?

Wow, it has been such a long time since i have posted on this blog. But i have something really wonderful that i have decided to do for my daughter and i thought i would share it.
I just finished the book Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It was a wonderful book that brought my imagination back in time to the ancient world of China. The book focuses on woman and their lives in the "inner realm" which means, inside their home caring for the lives of their men and mother-in-laws, attending to their every need. If you have not read this book, i highly recommend it. It is a beautiful picture of the condition of women in China and how they thrived and carried on their culture in the midst of much suffering.

If you don't understand why we China adoptive moms predominantly have daughters, you really need only to read this book to realize that this pandemic of disrespect and abandonment began hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago through the culture of the orient. And in this book we begin to realize that though woman were often seen in their world as equal with dogs, they had a way of surviving and thriving into their own. 

The preface of the book is focused on the concept of a Lao Tong. This is translated in our language to mean "old same". Two best friends who have all the similarities that China sees as necessary to be "sisters" from another family. These girls were paired as "old-sames" in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives.  They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their windows to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Meant to be together....for ten thousand years.

This is a sweet concept that to be honest i cannot relate. To me, the concept of a BFF in reality is a bit foreign. I do have many wonderful "besties" that i love and adore and I know we will be my friends forever and hopefully spend eternity with in heaven one day. But i never had a best friend growing up. And today my best friend, hands down is my husband. He is the one who knows me best, relates to me best, loves me most. I would rather spend a night with him than anyone because our conversations just flow like we are one. He loves me in a way i never thought i could know, being the child of a single mom with no father in my life. And I have never had a girlfriend to even compare to that level of friendship. But i do know that many women in the world do value their girl friendships as equal to, sometimes even above those of their spouses. They have a connection to one another that i cannot relate to. It is deep and honest and almost chemical in nature. I just happen to be one of the weird ones i guess.

And i do not want my daughters to necessarily be the way i am. I mean i do want them to have a marital relationship that goes as deep as mine. I want them to know that their is no friend like your husband and spend their young life looking for that man...NEVER settling. But i also want them to know what it is to have girlfriends and relate to them in the manner that this book describes. That deep, honest, almost chemical friendship. 

So, to make a long story long, i have a great idea for those of us moms out their who have Chinese daughters. Let's connect them as Lao Tongs!  First let me explain how this friendship is and how it can work. We would need to begin this great process at around the age of 6 or 7. We need to find our daughters one other girl of about the same age, also from China. These girls would begin their friendship the same way this friendship began in the book. We can acquire a fan and have the girls begin by writing simple messages to one another on it and send it back and forth. How wonderful it will be for them to then perhaps once per year if it is not too far to bring them together to meet and spend time together. Living here in New Jersey i think of how exciting an NYC China Town jaunt could be for them; eating dim sum and sipping Chinese tea. 

Over the years hopefully their friendship will grow and blossom into something deep and beautiful together. To be at the place where one day as these girls are getting ready for their wedding day and their lao tong can be there by their side, truly knowing so much about them and seeing them off into their future as a wife, mom, and woman of faith...THIS would be magical to watch.

I think this would be a beautiful way to not only create for them a friendship like i mentioned above, but to also instill some of their beautiful culture in their lives and hearts. 

Lao Tongs..."old sames" for Ten Thousand years...isn't it a beautiful concept?! I hope to make this happen for Aimee one day. Something just for her. Something she can keep close to her heart as she grows and becomes a beautiful and amazing Chinese woman.

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Tooth

Ok so i have to share the hilarious story of my tangled web of lies i have weaved....

The other evening Juli lost a tooth at AWANA. She put it under her pillow but i forgot. YES, I, the horrible mother forgot to be the tooth fairy.

Well the next morning Juli wakes up and says, "Mom the tooth fairy didn't come!" I must have looked shocked and I cannot tell if she knew i was caught or not but i immediately jumped to a lie and here it is. "Oh no, maybe she was on vacation!" And as she was getting dressed this is what i did. I wrote a note with my left hand that said, "Dear Juli, I am Samantha, your tooth fairy's cousin. She is away in Switzerland. She will visit you later. Love, Sam" Pathetic, I know. But i folded it up and sneaked into her room and put it in her shoe when she wasn't looking.

At breakfast she didn't bring it up so i thought maybe she had me figured out. But then when we got to school for drop off she says to me, (And this is how she read the note) "Mom i got a note in my shoe from my cousin Samantha's tooth fairy. She said that mine is in Switzerland and she will come tonight." Well at that moment i realized how ridiculous the whole thing was and just burst out laughing. I asked, "Are you sure you didn't dream that?"

So, to complete my tangled web i went to the store and bought Swiss Miss Cocoa Mix, Swiss Chocolate and a block of Swiss Cheese. I left these along with $3 under her pillow and a note that said, "Dear Juli, So sorry i was away in Switzerland working when you left me your tooth. Here are some treats i brought you from the land of the Swiss. Hope you like them. Thanks for the tooth. Love Mrs. T" I think it was the most unusual gift she has ever gotten. Eric said she loved the cheese and the next morning she was cracking up telling me all about it as she drank hot cocoa for breakfast.

Just another day in the wacky life of the Kobys. Hope you enjoyed the story.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Home with a cold...

So this is a blah day. My little 2 have colds and one even has a fever, it is rainy and gray outside, and i can hear the train blowing in the distance as people commute to their jobs this morning. Don't get me wrong, i love the rain...I mean LOVE it. And so the question sparks, what exactly will this day accomplish? Not much maybe, but this post is a rarity and i am enjoying the muse of the moment.

My thoughts are on Aimee. I think of the difference in her since we first met in that poor, gloomy little room in South Central China. The weather today for some reason reminds me of that part of the world. When she was carried into the room, i was not expecting it. I remember looking at her and actually it taking a moment to register that it was her. She was thin, and had an expression of confusion on her face. She wouldn't let me touch her. I had to coax her to pay attention to me by feeding her fries. She stared at Juli quite a bit. It was obvious that Juli made her feel at least a tiny bit more comfortable.

Finally she was handed to me. At that moment life changed forever. The screaming began. It never stopped, no matter how many fries i gave her. She was angry, sad, scared.

So when i see her this morning sitting on the couch with her Dora blanket, in her cozy jammies, watching a movie happily even though she is sick, I can't help but remember those times. Things are far from perfect now. I mean she still is not the most cuddly kid you will ever meet. But she is comfortable. She is joyful most of the time. She is at home here. And so much of that is thanks to her siblings. Because when i just had no more patience to give with the struggle of bonding, they just kept loving her, smiling at her, hugging her (too much probably) and accepting her. For that i am eternally grateful.

I thought i would post 2 pictures of Aimee. One from the first day we met. And one more recent. Her Christmas picture for this year. She has changed so much she is almost unrecognizable. And only God can do that. He sets the lonely in families. Even when we think we will never know normal again, things get better. Your sense of normal just morphs into something different than you had expected. And now there is one less orphan in the world...

Aimee on the day we met...

Aimee now...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Gotcha Day for Elias James...

‎2 Years Ago today Elias James came out of a life of loneliness and entered what many orphaned children around the globe would call an unthinkable dream.
We became Elias' forever family on April 14th 2009.
He has changed our entire perspective on life, bringing joy and tons of laughter into everyday. God has given us the gift of sunshine in Elias' sweet being. I am so incredibly honored to be his Mommy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

America World Seminar....

I will be holding an America World Adoption Seminar this Saturday at 11am.
Grace Community Church
2839 Route 94
Washingtonville, NY 10992

I would love for you to stop by if you are interested in hearing what God says about adoption or if you have been thinking about it at all. Or perhaps you have adopted with America World, live in the area and want to testify to how good God is when he calls us to adopt.

And let me know if you would like more information on America World Adoption. I would love to tell you more about who we are and how God is working.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Let's bond, shall we...

I want to take a moment to talk about something that a lot of adoptive parents struggle with and many are afraid to admit. Bonding issues. I have had them with all 3 of my kids. All in completely different ways. And I am at the point where I have accepted that I just take a while. Having said that, while I am going through it, i still feel shame and guilt.

Bonding is different for everyone. I hear stories of so many moms who, whether by birth or adoption, fall madly in love with their children the moment they are in their arms and never have an issue. Take Mary Beth Chapman for example. In her book Choosing to See, she talks about that very thing, while discussing another topic completely.
"I saw it. The second she was placed in my arms, I would have fought to the death to protect her. I loved her with everything inside of me."

Now, let me clarify something. I have never felt love so strong as I do for my children. I too, would die to protect them. But for me in the beginning, I had to become familiar with who it was I was protecting. Who it was that I traveled the spanse of the globe to claim and name as my own and protect forever. God had designed that each of my children would be mine from the moment the universe was created. He knew each of us as Kobys and he would bring us together in this destiny that is our story. But He also knew that it would take me a little while to bond.

It was a decision i had to make at first. As Aimee was plopped into my arms in that stuffy little smoke filled office in the far reaches of south central China, screaming bloody murder and clawing to get away from me as she watched her foster father leave forever, I had to make a decision. "I will love this child. No matter what we go through together, in the end it will make us stronger. It will make us mother and daughter. Forever." I at times had to remind myself of that. Eric had to remind me of that as she (and I) continued to cry for the duration of our trip, overwhelmed by the stress of so many factors. But we would get there. That even though things seem a bit off balance for me now, they will one day just click. And there we will be. Her and I....truly bonded forever.

I remember the moment it happened with Elias most clearly. To be honest it was when we were in China. When I left, I loved him. I knew he was my son. He made me laugh and smile more than any little boy on this earth. He was yummy to hug and sweet to rock to sleep at night. But when I saw him on ichat, so far from me, so out of my reach, I realized at that moment that I loved him madly. Did you get that? I REALIZED it. I had had those feelings all along. But they just clicked at that moment. It was like a light bulb went off in my head and God said to me, "See Heather, I told you. I made every hair on his head and when I did I knew you were the mommy he needed. No one else could love him that much. Right there. You see it? That much...You love him that much. Take it in, let it warm you to the core."

And you know what?! Today is that day for me with Aimee. My light bulb went off and there we were. She and I, and it was beautiful.

Sometimes we need to just be honest with ourselves. Everyone is different and our feelings and struggles are all legitimate. It doesn't make you less of a mother because you struggle. Heck if that were true we'd all be done for.

We also need to remember that love is not just a feeling. My mother always used to remind me that love is a responsibility. It is work, and tears, and defeat. But it is also play, and joy, and triumph. And those are things we need to remind ourselves of. Those are the things that make great memories. And those are the things that allow us to be honest in times of struggle.

I am so proud of where God is bringing me as a mom with my family. If it weren't for him we surely wouldn't be where we are now. And we do have far to go. I have a son in Haiti as far as I am concerned and I know God is concerned. But for some reason he has us at this place. In an untraditional set up. Me loving him from afar, but still able to care for him through the love of others. That is the way it must be for now. But I will not stop until we are where he wants us to be. Because our journey ends when we die. My pastor said that once, and I have never forgotten. We don't get to retire from being his hands and feet. We must press on, no matter how we feel or hurt, or tire.

And that is the story of us. And my story for today as I enjoy my light bulb moment.