Kai and Coronavirus

I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, but wasn’t ready to share it yet. Here it is:

Last night I heard Kai playing a game by himself. It sounded like he was a newscaster.

“And so, the Coronavirus came from China. It all started when people were eating bats. The president of China should have done a better job and told the people of China that they could not eat animals that have viruses, but he did not, and now people are sick.”

He goes on to read a “letter” from China.

Dear United States,

We are so sorry we started to eat bats. We hope we can still see you again.

From, China

My heart sank. We all know that children are sponges and take in everything around them, but I thought that I had done a decent job presenting the narrative for this first grader about the virus. Well, I know that this absolutely did NOT come from me…

I started thinking about what he must be feeling and thinking about this formidable disease coming from his own country of origin. It must be overwhelming to a kid who is already struggling with all issues adoption and China related. It gave a possible explanation for several out of the blue major melt downs and lots of tears that have happened over the last few weeks (as if we needed ANOTHER possible reason).

I asked him where he heard about the bats. He told me that he learned it at school. After hearing awful stories about what other Chinese adoptees (and other Chinese Americans) in the United States have had to deal with for the last few weeks, I thought I had been diligent in questioning him and looking for red flags, but I missed this.

He never brought it up in our discussions about the virus or when we have prayed for our world. It just came out as he was playing by himself, as it frequently does for children who are trying to work out complicated thoughts and feelings.

At least I know now, and we can continue discussing the world situation in a different way. What I want him to hear in this house is a love for the beautiful country, the rich culture, and the people of his birth. Covid-19 is a horrible disease, full stop. Horrible for the people of China, horrible for the people in the U.S., and horrible for almost every country in between. Never has it been more apparent that we are all global citizens. We will certainly continue having that conversation in this house.

(I’m going to share another post about Kai that I wrote several months ago. This guy is deep thinker and able to express complex emotions. Although I consider this to be a tremendous strength, it doesn’t mean it is easy…)

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Isolated

Well, a required time of complete isolation seems like a good time to pick up the blog again.

Why did I stop a year ago? There are a lot of answers to that. Life is busy, but it always has been. I think the main answer is that my kids are just older now. There are fewer opportunities to write about the cute and sweet things that they do and more and more chances that I will be overstepping their own needs for privacy if I write about them.

Still, when I look back at the things that I blogged about, I am so glad. So many precious memories are recorded. Perhaps there is a happy medium where I can write a bit while still trying to afford my kids their own autonomy over their lives and stories. I will try to find that balance.

Right now marks day 16 that we have been in “Social Isolation” due to the Coronavirus. We are so fortunate that we are able to isolate in the mountains and have been able to watch spring literally springing forth day by day.

Everyone in this house is handling the isolation with various degrees of acceptance. I have always been curious about what our life would be like if we homeschooled. If you have read my blog at all you know that for the entire season of fall I continually wish that I was homeschooling. Well, here is my chance. It isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

We have fantastic teachers who are working so hard during this time to teach from a distance. That is fantastic. All of the technology that is keeping us connected to teachers and classmates has been fantastic. What is not fantastic is the amount of work we have had. This seems to vary a lot between the people that I know, but we have had a LOT of work. We are filling complete school days and then some. I feel a bit stressed during the school day because someone needs me EVERY MINUTE OF THE DAY! That hasn’t been my experience in a number of years and I realize that I slightly miss having just a little bit of quiet time built into my day. Maybe we will get there.

I definitely love having more time with all of the kids. I have been able to see first hand how they handle different academic challenges that come their way, and it has actually been fascinating to me to see the things that are difficult that I wouldn’t expect based on their personalities. It is definitely challenging me to figure them out on another level.

We have also had our share of complete break downs. Possibly a few of them were mine. I’m trying to encourage everyone to give each other a measure of grace as we all handle our many feelings about life right now.

Everyone misses “normal” life. We miss our extended family, our church, our school, our friends, our grocery store, all of it. We aren’t unique in that, I know. That makes most everybody.

But we are also grieving. During this time apart, we lost one of our closest family friends, Ryan, due to cancer. Having to cope with such a huge loss without being able to grieve in community has been incredibly hard. All we want to do is to be with them right now, and we can’t. Zoom is fantastic for so many things, but it is a difficult medium for funerals. And it definitely cannot replace hugs.

So, we are sad. So deeply sad.

Also, we are anxious. This is a terrible time for those of us with anxiety. Kaitlyn was 4 sessions in with her lovely new therapist working on debilitating anxiety when we had to begin isolating. My heart has hurt for her as I can completely identify with everything she was already feeling.

So, we are anxious.

And every single day I am reminded how fortunate we are. It is a privilege to be able to socially isolate, and so many people would love to be able to protect their families in this way who are not able to. I am ultra-aware of our privilege here, and I know it cannot be overstated. We are safe at home, and we are fortunate. And we have had time to pray together every single day for our world.

So, we keep on praying.

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Fabulous February- Part 2

Our February adventures continued.

The girls got to attend their first Daddy-Daughter dance with girl scouts this year. They were beside themselves with anticipation. Kaitlyn had a special dress that she had saved since Christmas.

They all had a fantastic night together, and according to reports, Hannah never left the dance floor. I know they had a night they will never forget.

Kaitlyn and Drew also both participated in their school talent show.

Drew has been disappointed in himself each year that he has not participated, and this was his final chance. A few days before the event, he came up with an act from Hamilton with one of his good friends. Drew can tend to be more on the shy side when speaking in public, so this was a big stretch for him. He really enjoyed himself, however, and was great fun to watch.

Kaitlyn and her friends decided to do another dance routine.

So much fun. They loved every minute, and so did I!

 

 

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Fabulous February -Part 1

We had so many events in February that I could hardly catch my breath to post about them!

First of all, for one of my favorite nights of 2019 so far, we celebrated Chinese New Year with great friends. Being able to see Kai and his foster brother from China, Evan, together always brings tears to my eyes. 

Always fun to pull out the China silks.

 We made dumplings and had a great Chinese food feast.

We did sparklers and made a good bit of noise.

It was a truly magnificent way to spend this holiday, with these treasured friends!

For dessert, we had these guys from the Asian market. Kai took one bite and with big eyes said, “I remember this taste from China!!” That is the first time that has ever happened!

Being in a Mandarin immersion program, Chinese New Year was well celebrated at school as well as home. I am so glad that these two can feel a part of their native culture, and that they have such a wonderful program encouraging their love for China each and every day.

The following week, Kai lost his first tooth. (If you ask him he will tell you that I YANKED it out. He exaggerates 😉 ). He worried about it for days leading up to the event, cried and cried when I pulled it out, and then he was thrilled.

A few days later, Kai turned seven! He celebrated with a party of his friends and a party with his family.

A few weeks before his party, Kai told us that he was getting married at his party. It quickly became apparent that he was entirely serious about this. He told us that he had proposed to her at school, she said yes, so he brought her a necklace that she was wearing every day.

He had all of the details planned. He wanted to set up the wedding at his party, then they would go to the beach for their honeymoon, and then they would live in the basement.

He did say that we would have to do cake and presents first though because another girl friend didn’t believe in getting married in kindergarten, so she refused to come to the wedding. He didn’t want her to miss the party, so decided this plan could work for everyone. He thought of everything.

It took a bit serious conversation for me to convince him that he wasn’t quite ready for such a serious step, and maybe a race car theme might be a better fit for his birthday party this year. He was disappointed at first, but thoroughly enjoyed his day of scavenger hunts, playing cars, building a race-car, and sledding in the pine straw outside.

Hopefully we can push off a wedding until at least 3rd or 4th grade.

 

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Happy New Year!

I know that technically this is January 1, but I’m counting it as the 18th blog for 2018.

Happy New Year! We loved ringing in the new year with some of our most special friends, and we are looking forward to all the adventures ahead!

2013 and 2018

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