(31 for 21:10)
Jada was the only child for four years. Throughout these four years, we really poured out attention, love and she really thrived on that. She was the sole apple of our eyes, the child we loved the most. These four years were all about developing a strong bond between three of us, teaching her things that she had not learned in first four years of her life and basically, loving the heck out of her. I would not trade those four years for anything in world. I truly believe that those four years were essential in developing the family we are today.
The only real concern I had in bringing a new child home was how Jada would feel and if she would see this as a threat to her place in this family. I would imagine many moms feel the same way, especially those who had one child for long period of time. We talked with her often about Tiana, about what life might be like, and we included her in preparing for Tiana's arrival. All throughout the waiting for Tiana, she was excited, impatient for her to come, daydreaming about what sister bond she would have with her, reminding me to do this and that for Tiana and so on. I was thrilled she was completely on board but I knew when Tiana is here, it might be very different from what she envisioned.
First two weeks with Tiana was actually amazing for Jada. Thankfully, Tiana is such a mellow baby and made it very easy for Jada to be really involved, or for me to give Jada oodles of attention! There were no real concerns until Tiana got pneumonia. It was then when Jada realized that sometimes, I need to give Tiana more attention than her and same would be true vice versa. There were a couple of days when Jada felt sad, withdrawn and in her own words "I feel lonely because I am on your lap less.". (aww) As soon Tiana got better, things slowly went back to our normal and Jada quickly readjusted into a happy child who is happy about her new baby sister.
My two little girls are truly two peas in a pod. Jada enjoys loving the heck out of Tiana and Tiana's face lights up when Jada They absolutely love each other and for that I am very grateful and blessed.
Jada's Own Words: I love Tiana. Daddy, mommy, me and Tiana are family. I am very happy. Tiana is very happy and Tiana loves me very much. She is my new sister.
(31 for 21:5)
Time really flies and this weekend, I've been really feeling nostalgic, so I looked at some old pictures from back when we first brought Jada home. I thought it would be neat to show what she looked like the first day we met her and what she looks like today! Same goes for Tiana, of course!
We first met Jada on August 31st of 2009. She was 3.5 year old and FULL OF SPUNK! She's still very vibrant today and I cannot believe how much we've gotten through in past four years to reach to this point! I am fully in love with who she has become and am looking forward to see what she does with her life. She is my firstborn, my first love as a mom.
We first met Tiana on May 28th of 2013. She was 6 months old and a total heart breaker! Look at her face! We just totally melt when we first saw her and held her in our arms. She is very mellow, very "go with the flow" type of person and continues to be today! She makes so many cute faces and she does things that just makes us laugh! She's definitely the one who really made us slow down, appreciate what we have and enjoy each single moment as a family. She is my second born, and I am amazed at how much I can love another child but she fully captured my heart!
How did I get so blessed? I would not trade them both for anything in the world and look forward to see what the future brings for all of us! <3
(This is entry # 3 of 31 for 21 Challenge)
It's Tiana's morning nap time! So, I have approximately an hour to blog, read, reply, and so on! :) This morning, I'll like to talk about people's comments about our family. This was inspired by a conversation I had with someone yesterday. Even though we cannot really be bothered by how people feel or think about our family (unless it's positive, of course!), I think it is important to share a little bit of our experience and what it sounded like from our perspective. You might've said some of those things and did not realize how insensitive it may be but everybody could learn something new everyday.
Our Multicultural Family
I love my family. I truly do. I love them because of who each of them are. Each one of them are amazing. Our culture, our history, our race are all big parts of who we are and we all celebrate each other in many different ways. That is extremely important. But what is also extremely important is who we are as individuals, to our core, our unique personalities and identities that make us uniquely us. That is important for people to understand, that although we are seen as this and that, we are a family and we love each other because we are James, Rose, Jada and Tiana.
"Oh! Your husband is black? Wow..."
"Once you go black, you don't go back! Ha!" (Stupid.)
"I think it is nice that Jada looks like James, so people won't think she is adopted."
"Tiana looks sorta white, so that's nice for you!" (What?!?!?!)
"You should adopt a white child to even things out!"
We adopt because this is how we want to create our family. If we could get pregnant naturally, we would be thrilled but this does not change the fact that we would continue to adopt children. This is the natural choice for us. Adopting our children has been nothing but a blessing and we would never choose to build our family any other way. We want children and we have two. This is really what is the most important.
"Aw, why not get your own?" (Jada and Tiana are my own, thankyouverymuch.)
"So, you can't get pregnant?" (This is assuming adoption is our second choice. Regardless if we can or can't get pregnant is none of your business. Be happy for us regardless.)
"I couldn't do it. It is so nice you could but I prefer to have my own." (Insensitive.)
"I heard they usually end up with this or that."
"Poor James, I bet he would've loved to have his own?" (Um. Yeah, blame it on the mom.)
Our beautiful Jada Rose. She's an extremely strong survivor who beat many odds and proven many people wrong. She's spunky, full of life, has a big heart and whoever met her, fell in love with her. She is truly special and I am not just saying this because she is mine. She truly is. We adopted her when she was almost 4 years old. Past four years has been nothing but a wonderful adventure with her!
"Couldn't you find a baby? That'll be easier."
"You missed four years. You couldn't possibly bond in the same way with a baby."
"Couldn't you just find a child who is only Deaf. Not with all those problems?"
"Wow, I don't know anybody who could do it. Kudos to you." (IN FRONT OF JADA!)
"If you had her earlier, she wouldn't have this or that."
Our beautiful Tiana Joy. She is the newest bundle of joy and we are still learning more about her every single day. She's very laid back, very joyful, loves to be cuddled and she would never say no to any attention! She brings so much gentleness to our family and she really taught us to slow down, enjoy each single moment and just be together as a family. We've only had her for two months now but it's been nothing but amazing and we look forward to more!
"Finally, a baby! Aww, this is so special for you!" (Jada is very special too.)
"Down Syndrome? I guess this means you'll never have an empty nest!" (Hello? In what century do you live in?)
"Native and Korean? She doesn't look like it!" (Disrespectful to her and her people.)
"Why would you make your life harder? She'll be so much work."
"Her birth parents must be evil." (You do not know the story. And come on?)
So this wraps the long blog! I know this probably is a hot button topic for some of you but I thought it was important to share so you can understand it from the other perspective. I promise there will be more happy blogs coming up! :) Til then!
What tough 6 days it has been! Every few months, we go through this phase of Jada not sleeping well, eating less, constantly moving around, not listening (more than the usual) and talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk every second, minute, hour of the day along with constantly tapping our shoulder, legs, arms, head, etc... You get the picture.
Jada does have ADHD: hyperactivity. She takes medicine for it. She is on a behavioral program. She does really well most of the time. I find her to be responsible, obedient, gentle and kind most of the time. But...
When she goes through this phase, I want to pull my hair out and scream! I have to give myself "time outs" and tell myself "it is not her fault, it is ADHD, it is not her fault, it is ADHD" over and over again. It works... most of the time. I cannot imagine how this is for Jada though. It must be frustrating for her not to be able to sleep, to sit still, to think, to successfully complete an activity and so on.
I guess her body goes through changes every few months and it takes time for her to adjust. It could be changes in her life. It could be chemical imbalance. It could be that she is growing and the medicine has to be adjusted. Whatever it is, I take comfort in knowing it is not permanent. This happens approximately twice a year at different months and at different length of times.
Our mantra for the meanwhile... This, too, shall pass.
Often people say, "Oh, you did such a good job with Jada! She wouldn't be where she is if it was not for you guys!" but the truth? If Jada wasn't a fighter, she would not be where she is today. From the day she was born, she fought to not only survive, but to truly shine. It is her own zest for life, her own inner strength and the drive to do better that brought her to where she is. Sure, we gave her opportunities, tools and plenty of love but if she didn't have that drive, she would just simply exist.
She was born under 2 pounds with a long list of health problems. She had a heart defect, she was not able to eat, she was underweight, she had low muscle tone, she was barely breathing on her own, and the placenta was all dried up, meaning she was developing in the womb with minimal nutrition. She had a heart surgery, G-Tube inserted, and not able to leave the hospital for months. She had all those odds against her and guess what? She lived.
First two years of her life was tough. She was neglected to point where she was only 12 pounds when she was two years old. She was severely malnourished and at this point in her life, all she could do was stare at a wall all day long and not move. She was not able to sit up, roll, crawl or walk. She had no words. But guess what? She lived.
Next two years of her life, she moved from foster home to foster home. Although she did not have a stable, loving home where she could truly begin to develop loving relationships, she slowly gained weight (through g-tube), began to move around and learned how to communicate her needs through behaviour. She also began to smile, to cry, to get angry, to scream in excitement and to engage in various of activities. Guess what? She didn't only live but began to thrive.
At age of 3 years and 10 months, she met us. Her new mommy and daddy. Her forever family. When she first came home, she was able to show moods, to gesture, to sit up, roll, crawl and walk (in her own special way!) but she still had to learn how to eat, how to communicate through ASL, how to go to bathroom, and most important of all, how to be in a loving relationship. There was not a single day where she did not want to learn. There was not a single moment wasted. She was on the go and really wanted to utilize every opportunity to do more, to be better, to learn. Every single day, every single situation, every single moment, she wanted to understand. This is all her. Every single day, she learned a new sign or two. In matter of weeks, she was potty trained. In matter of months, she was able to eat full meals and slowly became independent from G-Tube. In a year, she truly began to bond with us, to trust us and finally, she knew how to love. Guess what? She thrived.
Today, she's an amazing 7 (going 16) little girl with same zest for life. She's a mommy's girl through and through. She's a gifted artist. She's a loyal friend. She is compassionate, loving, creative, hilarious and wise beyond her years. She loves anything pink. She loves glitter. She has a journal she writes and draws in everyday. She loves to help us cook. She especially loves to clean and keep things organized (you will never see her bedroom messy). She talks non-stop about our trip to USVI last year. She wants to travel to Mexico, Cuba, Kenya and Florida soon. Her favorite classes are art, computer, social science, health and most important part of her day in school is recess. She misses her grandma who "lives with God and does not limp anymore" very much. One day, she would like to be a chef, to marry someone like daddy or marry her best friend, Jaelyn, have two kids ("I am not as crazy as mommy who wants 5 kids" she says), and she wants to buy a house next to mommy and daddy's.
She is definitely a survivor.