Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Karate Kid Demo Weekend

It was a Karate Kid Demo weekend!

The karate school had made arrangements with a local movie theater to do demos throughout this past weekend.    Along with the demo team, Sifu made arrangements for other students - children & adults, to join in.   Our children don't just learn karate with each other, they have also developed friendships.  The adults are also very friendly.  The school really is a place for people to support each other.

Sifu spent just about the entire weekend at the movie theater.  The students & parent supporters were there for more than just the demo.  We hung out for almost the whole day.  In fact, Saturday a bunch of us went for lunch at the Thai/Japanese restaurant next to the theater.

I took almost 400 pictures from Friday night & Saturday.  Can you imagine how many more I'd have taken if I were able to be there Sunday?  (Unfortunately, I woke up sick as a dog Sunday morning.)  I was able to allow Erin to attend because her hero Brittany agreed to watch over her.  That is one teen who I don't want to meet in a lit alley let alone a dark alley!

Erin & her hero Brittany

And how cool is it that a few of our friends were able to pop in!  Thanks Minouche, Delfim & Yasmin! Erin was thrilled to see you guys!

Erin on TV!!

Last Wednesday, June 9th was a great day for Erin.  Not only was it the last day of school, but she was also on tv.  Her karate school was doing demos this past weekend at a local movie theater for the opening of The Karate Kid. 

We had to be at the school by 6:25 in the morning.  I needed coffee! I still don't know how it got made! Waking Erin up wasn't easy.  You've heard it before "5 more minutes.  Please."  I gave her too much time because I needed to put my makeup on.  Sifu had mentioned that the news reporter might interview a few parents.  There wasn't a woman there without a full face on.

As soon as we walked in, Erin was directed to her spot in the back.  I was so disappointed because being as tiny as she is, there was no way anyone would see her.  It worked out fine.  There were a few segments being done as teasers for the upcoming movie.  Sifu ended up moving Erin to the front for the 2nd segment.  She had chosen Erin to be one of 4 children spotlighted for board breaking - something she loves to do.  In fact when they did a quick run through, Erin was so excited that she didn't wait for the complete instructions & just broke the boards.  She showed a bit more patience when they did the actual broadcast. 

The cameraman must have liked something about Erin because he followed her around for a good part of the demo.  I asked Sifu later on if she had any input on this.  She told me that she wasn't allowed to make suggestions beyond the board breaking.  Wow!

We got to the school at 6:30 and stayed until they ended the segment teasers.  There were a lot of students - mostly younger children and a few adults.  Of course there were many parents who came to watch their children and support the school.  It was a great morning!

One of the families TIVOd the show & made up CDs for us.  We viewed the segments but I can't wait to upload the video so our family & friends can also view it. 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

2nd Grade Ends

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The end of 2nd grade.  Oh my!

The time has gone by so fast.  It was only yesterday that I got The Call.  Then we were blessed to have a sweet 10 month old baby given to us forevermore.  The day came when she started preschool, & I cried as I left her with strangers for the very first time.  Those same strangers who helped give Erin the skills to enter school & start her life.  I remember her fear (and mine too!) starting over at her new school as a first grader.  And I remember how she just marched in on the first day of 2nd grade as if she owned the school.  Her principal, the amazing & wonderful Mr. Sawyer smiled at her & gave her his usual "Good morning Mini Me!"  The same greeting he has always given her.

And now the end has come.  Mr. Sawyer has left our school.  And Erin is no longer a 2nd grader.  She is going into 3rd grade at the end of summer vacation.  I really love the school we've chosen for Erin.  ICSAB is a great place for us. 

Not working since April has been a good thing for my health.  Even more so it's been great for Erin.  Just think of it.  Had I still been working, I wouldn't have captured these pics.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Big Step

Monday night while Erin & I were snuggling in for the evening, Erin asked me a question that knocked my socks off.  After years of insisting her adoption journey pictures remain private, she asked if she could take her photo album to school so she could share them with her teacher & classmates.  Even David was shocked.

Tuesday morning before we left for school, Erin went to get her photo album & carried it to the car.  I decided that rather than allow Erin to do this on her own, I would go in to the class with her.  This way if there were questions that she didn't have the answers to, I could help.  What a great idea.  While Erin wanted to share the pics, she was shy about telling her story.   As soon as the children sat down, Erin got shy & hid behind me.  She asked me to help tell the story & show her pics.  And so it began . . .

I started out by asking if anyone noticed that Erin & I don't look alike.  Lots of laughter.  Then I mentioned that Erin doesn't look like her daddy either.  This I told the students was because Erin is adopted & comes from China.  I asked the children if they knew the meaning of the word adopted.  Some of the children raised their hands.  The answers were interesting:  "When a person has a baby but doesn't want it, they give it away."  or "When a person has a baby but can't take care of it, they give it away."  Pretty hard to hear but pretty close to the truth.  I explained that Erin is from China where they have a one child policy & that some people don't necessarily have the ability to keep the baby or may not want the baby.  I also made sure to tell them that we don't know the exact reason that the birth mother gives up a child.

We showed them many of Erin's pictures.  Face it we have about 300 from 2 weeks & some are too private to share.  Erin allowed me to show pictures from the orphanage & she explained herself that not all of the children were adopted at the same time.

I showed the room where families wait until the babies arrive.  They got to see pics of the first time I held Erin & that David held Erin.  We showed them our first family photo.  And then it happened.  One of the boys asked if Erin was adopted legally.  Holy cow! How & why does a 7 year old know about illegal adoptions!?  Thankfully the next pictures were of me signing the paperwork accepting responsibility for Erin & of the adoption being completed LEGALLY in China.  I turned to Erin & very clearly explained that all of this paperwork made it so that she was our daughter forever & no one could take her from us.  The children were thrilled to know it also. 

To make it all a little lighter in tone & atmosphere, I showed them pics we took at the Chen Family Temple (I think that's what it's called.) & the artwork in the lobby of the White Swan hotel.  The students & teacher were amazed by the beauty of it all.  The next set of pictures I showed were of the rooms we went to for the baby's physicals.  The scale & eye chart amazed everyone - especially since here in the US our eye chart is a big E & in China it was a hand facing in different directions.  The children asked if Erin & the other babies understood what was happening.  It was almost like those dumb questions people ask "So did she use chopsticks?  Did she speak Chinese?"  The difference is that the children were truly trying to understand so I asked them if their younger siblings spoke or understood everything.  It was so easy for them to get that concept.

They got to see pics of the birthday party a few of us threw for one of the babies (Ashley G.) because she turned 1 while we were in China.  They were amazed that the birthday cake didn't have some cartoon character & wasn't all sweet & gooey like they are here in the US.

Finally we showed them the Red Couch photos.  Erin very proudly pointed out where both she & her friend Julianna were.  The kids loved it! Her teacher was blown away by how Erin handled everything because she remembered that last year Erin wouldn't even mention Chinese New Year.

I ended by thanking the children & their teacher.  I explained that they must all be very special since Erin has never shared these things with anyone outside the family & her China group. 

That night in karate when all of the parents were asked if there were any yellow striped to be awared, I raised my hand.  (The yellow stripes are awarded by parents when a child does something extraordinary.)  When asked why Erin should be given a stripe, I explained to Sifu Helana that karate has given Erin, among other things, confidence in herself.  I awarded her the yellow stripe for confidence & having the strength to share her pictures & story for the first time.

No.  I didn't take any pictures at school.  I was worried that it might turn out negatively for Erin & wanted to concentrate on  her needs.

Erin, your mama & dad are so proud of you & we are honored to be your parents.  Forever.