Thursday, March 23, 2017

Our Very Hungry Caterpillar

Much is made of Asher's belly, cheeks, and appetite, and rightly so.  And yet it may surprise you that there are times when he doesn't eat much.  Some of it is that we are finally transitioning from bottles to sippy cups, and he is resisting, so we have gone from two gallons of whole milk a week to far less.  And some of it is that he is finicky and stubborn, so if he doesn't get what he wants he
will hold out until he does; and when we hold the line and don't give in, neither does he.  But some of it is that he has seasons in which he just doesn't eat a lot. 

Ah, but then there are seasons in which he just doesn't stop eating.  He'll get a breakfast in as soon as he wakes up, mooch a second breakfast off workers or other kids at the Y if I take him first thing, and then pound some more food once we get home.  Forget breakfast-brunch-lunch; we're talking breakfast #1, breakfast #2, and breakfast #3. 

Not sure where all this food is going, but I'm sure it is fueling an impending growth spurt.  Time for new clothes...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Asher's Reading List

I love that Asher loves books.  Of course we read him his share of board books, books that make noises, and books where you can touch things of different textures.  But I have also sought to use reading time to grind through grown-up books that I want him to have exposure to.  Here's what we've gotten through so far, and I welcome suggestions for what's next.

The Book of Confessions
Minnie's Sacrifice
Things Fall Apart
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Langston Hughes

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Poetry Jam

It's well after Black History Month ended, but Asher and I finally got through The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.  860 poems in total, or about 25 a day since we started in early February.  (As you may know, some are quite short while others are longish.)

The anthology is organized chronologically, so it was interesting to see the progression of themes and styles play out over time.  it was also interesting to see that Asher went from resisting the book (because he wanted something more visual or tactile to interact with) to requesting the book (because it had become part of our bedtime routine).

Tomorrow I'll post more about Asher's readings and make a request for additional titles.  For now, let me just note here some of my favorite poems from this collection.

I, Too
The Ballad of Ozie Powell
The Bitter River
Ballad of the Man Who's Gone
Where Service is Needed
Signs of Spring
The Kids in School with Me

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

No Longer the Center of the Universe

Asher may be delayed in some aspects of his development but he is otherwise rounding into his "terrible two's" quite nicely, which is to say like a wrecking ball with an attitude.  Though we know better, we've all too often reinforced for him that tantrums do in fact work for getting him what he wants.  The orbit of the Huang family firmly revolves around him, between two weary parents and two doting older siblings, and this little boy who is just shy of two years old has no concept that it could be any other way.

Ah, but a new force is about to come that will throw his whole world off-kilter.  Jordan's arrival will rock Asher's world, in that he will learn that in fact he is not the center of the universe.  It's a good life lesson but will be a highly disruptive one.  I'm sure he will end up being a good big brother and that that will be an important part of who he becomes.  But in the meantime the fireworks should be spectacular.  I of course will be your intrepid reporter and paparazzi through it all.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Classes of 2027, 2029, 2037, and 2039

Take a look at this screenshot from a text exchange Amy and I had last week.  It captures the eye-popping reality that our youngest will not graduate from college until 2039. We have a lot of Tiger parenting and college savings to go!

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Huang Family Newsletter, February 2017

Asher is eating like a champ and learning more words.  Aaron got his purple belt.  Jada celebrated her 12th birthday and had an ice skating party with friends.

Amy and Lee are juggling work, kids, and chores, while getting the house ready for a fourth child.  They enjoyed a child-free 47-minute date night one evening this month.  !!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

More on Jordan

Following up on yesterday’s announcement, here’s some additional background on where we’re coming from and where we’re going.  As with a similar post two years ago when we were getting ready to meet Asher, this is in Q&A format.

1.    What the $#@! were you thinking?  Yeah, it’s where a lot of people start, so I figured I’d start here.  When we were deciding whether to adopt again 3-4 years ago, I felt I had to make room for not just one more kid but two (more in this in a minute).  So it was brewing all the way back then.  After my heart surgery last April, we began the process in earnest, and a few months later we had completed all the paperwork and were “in the pool” waiting for a match.  The match happened really quick this time, and here we are. 

2.    Wait, “not just one more kid but two”?  As much as they constantly snipe at each other now, Aaron and Jada being close in age has been good for us and I think good for them.  So we hope it will be for Asher and Jordan. 

3.    Why African-American again?  To continue the line of thinking from the previous question, that logic is particularly true because we are parents of African-American children but we are not ourselves African-American, so as much as we have worked and will work to compensate for that deficiency (with a deep debt of gratitude to many dear friends who are helping us), we simply will not be able to convey to Asher and Jordan what it will be like for them to grow up, because our own growing up experience was not the same.  By having each other, Asher and Jordan may prove to be an invaluable support as they grow up together.   So that was a big factor in wanting to not just do one more adoption but two.

4.    This seems crazy; are you sure you’re doing the right thing?  Not at all.  We felt a deep sense of leading from God with Asher’s adoption.  Not that we ever felt certain, but at least we felt a nudge.  This time around, we simply don’t know.  This could be beautiful or disastrous. What we lean on is that while God sometimes gives us clear guidance, sometimes He doesn’t, and in those times we must go forward in faith doing what we think is right to do with as pure motives as possible, in the hopes that even if things go awry that good will come about. 

5.    How has the process been?  Logistically and emotionally, a roller coaster.  We are spent from all the highs and lows.  I am thankful to a dear friend and mentor of mine (thank you, David Brown!), who reminded me that “no matter how crazy the roller coaster, God built the track and He'll guide you back to sturdy ground.”  What a powerful and grounding word.  We will continue to bear ups and downs with no sense of what is next.  But I had forgotten, and am now challenged to remember, that we go by Him who knows the path and the destination. 

6.    What do the other kids think?  Jada is ecstatic that it’s now 3 girls and 3 boys in the family.  Aaron has been digging being a big brother and looks forward to being so for his baby sister.  Asher…is a wild card.  We dote on him so much, and so his world is about to get rocked as we shift our attention to the little one.  But we’re hoping that becoming a big brother will prove to be a significant part of his personal development.

7.    What do you know about baby Jordan?  Unlike Asher, she’s likely to be tiny.  Like Asher, based on what we know we have reason to have extra worries about potential immediate and long-term health complications.  As God continues to knit this baby in her birthmother’s womb, we pray for her health; and as God continues to prepare Amy and me to parent her, we pray for our ability to love and care for her no matter what. 

8.    How will you handle four kids?  Short answer is with a lot of help and by the grace of God.  But, honestly, every additional kid stresses our sanity, focus, time, and finances.  If we had stopped at two, which is where we were for several years, I have no doubt we could’ve given them an A+ level of parenting.  At four, with potentially some special needs in the mix, I’m thinking solid C+.  Most people, myself included, if given the choice between A+ parenting of two kids and C+ parenting of four kids, would pick two over four.  But I have come to realize that sometimes good enough is good enough, that all our kids will be just fine, and that if we can be a caring family to more kids than why wouldn’t we?  (You have no idea how profound and how difficult and how necessary this lesson has been for this Type-A over-achiever.)

9.    How can I help?  Glad you asked. ;)  We’re registered at Walmart and we also welcome any hand-me-down’s, particularly girl clothes from newborn to 9 months.  Given that we are re-entering the world of sleep deprivation, we also ask for a little slack if we are not as able to be as responsive as we’d like to be.

10. You guys are incredible…I could never do something like this, could I?  Yes you can, and yes you should!  Adoption is not easy but it is worth it.  To be sure, God has provided for Amy and me in abundance, whether material resources to bear the cost of adoption and parenting or a loving social network to lean on for support and wisdom.  But He has likely blessed you in these ways too.   I particularly wish for more Christians to adopt.  The Bible is clear about the exhortation to care for orphans, and the legal and metaphorical aspects of adoption are an important part of New Testament theology.  I never want to rebut someone offering kind words in my direction, but with all due respect, what Amy and I are doing shouldn’t be seen as unique and special, because there should be more people putting their faith into action by bringing children into their families through adoption.  Would that that someday become true, and what a wonderful blessing it will be for those families and what a wonderful witness it will be to the world.