Our Journey to Adopt a Child

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Ethan is now officially an uncle. Little niece Lilly was born a couple of weeks ago, and is incredibly cute! Ethan has been very good with her, and it's fun to have a baby around. I'll try to get photos up when I can navigate the technology.

A game that Ethan and I play, which he is really good at is: "It's not impossible because..." It goes like this: the first person says something that sounds impossible, and the other person has to figure out a way it could be possible. Like: "No one can pick up a house with one hand". Sounds impossible, right? Nope -- not if the house is a toy. Or, "No one can run faster than a car". Impossible? Nope -- not if they're running on an airplane that's going faster than a car. You get the idea. Ethan is remarkably good at this game!

His after school says he's also great at Uno, switching seamlessly from being a boisterous, competitive player with the older kids, to a gentle, mentoring help with the younger kids. The teacher was just gushing with how much she loved Ethan. (This is something I get a lot, by the way.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Ethan got braces today. He was very excited, and he chose the purple bands. He looked a lot older with them on.

The last month has been very busy. In mid-October we went to Bermuda where I did a 2.5 mile ocean swim. In the last few weeks, Mark's mom went into the hospital for emergency surgery, and is recovering well.

This past Saturday, we went to dinner at Anastasia's house, where she made us a Russian/Kazakh dinner of lamb stew. (Anasatasia is the woman who took Ethan and me to the zoo in Almaty, and she just moved up to the Boston area.) L., also born in Kazakhstan, came to dinner with us as well, and Ethan enjoyed getting to know him better. They are quite adorable together, and at one point I just had to give L. a big hug because he reminds me so much of Ethan.

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Minute, Twilight

One night recently when Mark had to work late, Ethan and I watched the movie "Twilight". Two days later, Ethan came up to me in the morning as I was making breakfast, and said "Mom, can we talk about Twilight?" Of course. "You know when the doctor vampire told the people that the man was killed by the same animal, well, he was lying, wasn't he, because he knew it wasn't an animal, that it was another vampire." I was a bit blown away that not only had he reviewed the movie in his head, but also re-analyzed the sequence of events (when the scene plays, we the audience don't know the doctor is a good-vampire, and so naturally have no way of knowing he's lying, unless you go back and review the scene with the later knowledge -- pretty cool, huh?).

That same morning, my smart, energetic son managed to: put hair conditioner in his hair after I had wetted it once to tame some bed-head thereby requiring a second hair rinsing; reading a book backwards to make it more interesting; putting on his friend's pants because they were different; insisting on wearing his adult XXL school jacket (which he bought for $5 one evening when he was cold at a school picnic).

Ethan has also taken to doing renditions of movie scenes and experiences we have had. For example, after watching the movie Iron Man 2, he role-played one of the fights, first taking the bad-guy role (complete with his version of a Russian accent -- not bad!), then stepping a foot away and turning around to be Iron Man, falling to the ground. Or, after watching Arthur on TV, he took on the role of Mr. Ratburn the teacher, then several of the children's characters, using different voices for each. And, after taking Ethan to the local church one recent Sunday morning, he replayed the hour, complete with his taking roles as the minister giving a sermon with arms waving and as a deep a voice as he could manage, and the choir singing.

On a more serious note, we have a new game at the house called "One Minute". It started recently because Ethan has a habit of blurting out mean words, like saying "jerk". It's not very pleasant, and for a while I was responding that we would take away 10 minutes of screen time every time he said something that wasn't nice. The other morning he lost 40 minutes before I dropped him off at school, and during the day I realized that in the grand scheme of things, a) I'd much rather him say mean things than hit something, and b) I'd much rather he say them to us rather than to anyone else.

So, brilliant mama that I am, during the day I invented a game called "One Minute" which I explained to him on the way home, and he picked up immediately and even practiced. It goes like this: if he says something mean, and I say "one minute", he loses screen time unless within one minute he first apologizes, then explains what he was really upset about. This has turned out to be a wonderful window into what Ethan is actually feeling, and infinitely more pleasant than the mean words.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

3rd Grade, Retainer, and Webkinz

Ethan started 3rd grade yesterday. He is now older than more than half the kids in the school, and it suits him well. He continues to blossom when he is the "big kid on the block". This year there was a lot less anxiety the week before school -- not sure why, but it was a welcome relief.

Last night we watched an Arthur episode called "The Real Mr. Ratburn" which, appropriately, is about Arthur and his friends' first day of 3rd grade. Mark and I, at least, thought it was very funny, although it might have struck too close to home for Ethan (it's about how the kids compare their teacher to the others, and think he's a scary guy).

This morning, Ethan and I went to Dunkin' Donuts for breakfast. I asked Ethan if it was because he liked the food, or because he sees people there. My little social guy answered that it's because he runs into people there. Today we saw Lindsey, his after school teacher, and a work friend of mine named Dave who often works there using the internet.

In the continuing trend of odd, but mostly healthy food preferences, Ethan likes to order coffee with milk, and just the egg from the egg sandwich (or two eggs today). Apparently, Ethan is the only one to order just the egg (no bread, no cheese, etc), because the cashiers were completely baffled how to ring it up when he first started ordering them. But, also apparently, we do it so often that they've now trained their cashiers how to ring us up (ring something else up that costs 99 cents, like cream cheese side, and then go tell the guy making sandwiches to just give us the eggs).

We finally got Ethan a computer recently -- a little, inexpensive laptop. It has a learning curve, and Ethan has gotten frustrated. Meanwhile, we did go to the WebKinz site and "adopted" a pet. It was a bit strange to be sitting next to Ethan as we "adopted" an animal.

Ethan's pregnant older sister Jen came over to visit during the weekend, and it seems to bring up a bunch of adoption issues with Ethan. In the morning, he wanted to play being a baby, although he did ask before we did whether he was an adopted baby, or came out of my tummy. I asked him which he wanted to pretend, and he said 'adopted'. He then played baby, and grew up through the progression to toddler in about 5-10 minutes.

We've also gotten some, "You're not my real mom", "You're my step mom", and "I wish I had other parents". The last doesn't phase me, as I felt the same way growing up, but the first two can get me down sometimes. I realize that it's good he feels comfortable enough to tell us this, and that he doesn't feel that way most of the time, but I do wish (unrealistically) that he'd be happy all of the time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

God and Indiana Jones

As I was making my tea this morning, Ethan was chattering away. He was explaining to me that the movies 'Indiana Jones' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean' were analogous in how they handled violence and humor. Not in exactly those words, but I was struck, as I often am with Ethan, at how good he is with analogies.

Ethan also thinks a lot about things. Lately he has been declaring that he doesn't believe in God. We don't argue it either way with him -- we feel it's important for him to come to his own conclusions. We point out that most people believe that God created life.

Today Ethan explained that God couldn't have created people because obviously cave men came before God. His evidence: God wears robes, and cave men lived before robes were invented, so God had to come after cave men. You have to admire the logic! And also his astute observation that God usually is depicted wearing robes that were invented after cave men.

Ethan also pointed out that Joseph was Jesus's step dad.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Summer Rain

It's been a busy summer. Ethan went to the town's summer camp most of the time, and we went up to NH last weekend with a bunch of other families. As usual, Ethan is much happier during the summer. We've gone swimming at the pond, had lots of ice cream, and enjoyed the sunny weather. The last couple of days it's finally been raining, and I've taken Ethan to go swimming at the indoor pool where he could blow off some steam and show off all he's learned in the swim lessons at camp.

Next week Ethan will get round one of his braces installed by the orthodontist. The week after that he starts third (!) grade. The time is just whizzing by.

Friday, July 09, 2010

SC and NC, & Hawk for Dinner

Last month we took a trip down to North Carolina to visit big brother Alec, and then drove down to South Carolina to visit Grandma Dee. Alec, Kate and Otis are living in Chapel Hill. They steered us to a great roadside BBQ place, and a cafe with some of the best coffee we've ever had. Ethan spent hours playing in the hotel pool. In South Carolina Ethan tried out the neighbor's tree swing, and helped pull a few weeds from the front walk.

Our kitchen table is right beside a bay window overlooking our back yard and the bird feeder. Tonight at dinner Ethan spotted a red-tailed hawk who landed in a tree, looking for his own dinner at the bird feeder. We got to watch the hawk for about 10 minutes. Very cool!

Ethan has been going to summer school (um, I mean reading camp) for the last couple of weeks. This morning when I was dropping him off, he asked me if I wished I had been pregnant. "No", I told him honestly. "Why not?", he asked. "Because it's heavy and uncomfortable," I said. "Oh, you mean it would be hard to run" he wisely observed. But I added, "I wish I could have had you in my tummy, because I love you and would have liked you close to me." And with that he was saying high to the kids who were already there.

We'll see big sister Jen, who is pregnant, this weekend.