First Words

June 29, 2011

    Sky knew one word when she joined our family: Hello.  And she could say it perfectly.  If you handed her a phone, or anything even resembling a phone, she'd put it up her her ear and say very clearly, "Hello".  That went away a little bit while she adjusted to English and is starting to make a come back.  Her other first words are enana and no.  No is a pretty common first word for toddlers because it's what they hear all the time- no, don't touch, no, take that out of your mouth, no, no no, as Sky says.
  But we have a good story about the other word, enana.  It's how you say "That's bad" in Marshallese and we use it quite a bit.  About three weeks ago we were feeding Sky and she pushed her plate off her tray.  D and I were in the kitchen making our meal and we both looked up and said "Enana!" at the same time.  Sky looked at the plate of food on the floor (upside down, of course) and said, "Enana?"  exactly as we had and with the question inflection.  It was so cute!  D burst out laughing right there and I wanted to too but at the time I was more worried about the plate dropped on the floor on purpose.   We've been laughing about it ever since and it's become one of my favorite Sky stories.

We're Getting Better At This!

June 27, 2011

  Sky has a cold.  For any of you who have been parents longer than a few months, you know that this isn't really a big deal.  D and I didn't know that when Sky got her first cold right after we got to the US.  We didn't know that it was a cold at first- Oh my God, does she actually have TB?!  Nope, just a cold.  And we didn't know what to do.  We didn't know to, as D calls it, suck her brains or to give her ibuprofen when she caughs, or to baby her that little bit that she needs when she feels yucky. 
  We didn't know any of it and we had a terrible time dealing with that first cold.  We were up all night because Sky was up all night.  D was ready to rush her to the ER for TB and meningitis and anything else that you can think of.  We both felt awful because we knew she felt bad and we couldn't help her. 
  Now, when Sky came home from preschool with a runny nose, we headed out to buy tissues and some more ibuprofen and made sure we knew where the brain-sucking bulb was.  When Sky was a big crabby pants all weekend, we knew that it was because of the cold (and teething, that terrible monster!) and not because she was having attachment issues.
  When we first brought Sky to the US, D and I joked about getting T-shirts made that said "We're New at This". I'm think we could probably put the shirts away about now. I'm sure we'll want them again soon, but for now, I'm pretty proud of us.  I know we've only been doing this for four months but we're getting better at it every day.

An International International Adoption

June 24, 2011

  How do you raise a child in two cultures?  That's a big question for me right now.  Sky is Marshallese and we don't want to take that away from her.  I'm aware that in adopting her to raise in an American home, we inherently changed her culture, but she was in the RMI International adoption program from birth and as such, could have been matched with a family living in the US.  Is living in the Marshall Islands better?  D and I always thought it would be.  Here, she can hear her birth language, can learn it and through that can learn about her culture and communicate with her birth family. 
 On the other hand,  she lives in an American home.  She eats American food, listens to American music, and is being raised in an American way.  Will this make her less Marshallese and more American?  Probably, unfortunately.  Sometimes, I think the best we can hope for is that she won't reject her birth culture, like some of the adoptees here have.  The majority of Marshallese employees here on Kwaj work in unskilled positions and live on Ebeye, an island commonly called the "Slum of the Pacific".  That doesn't inspire cultural pride. 
  Will it be enough to try and teach her the language?  To encourage friendships with other Marshallese children?  To buy her Marshallese dresses and play her Marshallese music?  And even if we do all that, will she see herself as Marshallese and will she be accepted by the Marshallese as one of them?  
I don't know but I think in teaching her the language and introducing her to other Marshallese children we  can give her the opportunity to decide for herself when she can, rather than make the decision for her.

Photos from the Weekend

June 22, 2011

 Napping with Mama

More Ponytail Pictures

June 20, 2011

I tried my hand (and Sky's hair) at the crown-of-ponytails I've seen on other kids over the weekend.  It came out pretty well and stayed in all day, but it took a while to put in and I'm not sure I want to fight that battle on a regular basis.

Superman was Adopted!

June 19, 2011

This shirt not only looks great on Sky, it helps another family bring home their adopted son:

Doritos for Pigtails

June 17, 2011

Sky's ponytails

  Marshallese moms do their daughter's hair in tight elaborate ponytails, forming crowns around their heads or pulling them up into soft porcupine spikes.  Until the other day, we didn't know the trick to how they got their daughters to sit still long enough to put in those ponytails but then, someone at the Roi airport showed us how.  He handed Sky some Doritos and she stood there patiently while he did her hair into four little ponytails.
  I tried it the other morning (yup, Doritos right after breakfast) and  it worked like a charm- 2 Dorito's got me two adorable ponytails.

Number Two?

June 15, 2011

  Yup, we're already talking about Number Two.  We definitely want another daughter for several reasons: it's tough being an only child; we may not always live here in the Marshalls and we want
Sky to have someone like her she can talk to if we head back to the US; and Sky would probably end up spoiled if she were the only one.  We'd like the girls to be close enough in age that they can talk to each other but Sky needs to be the oldest and probably by at least a year.  
 The adoption process for Sky took about five months, from first contact with the agency to court date.  Part of that was waiting to move into our house so that the homestudy could be completed and waiting for our documentation and then two months waiting for our court date.  Because we've done this before we have all our documentation together and there wouldn't be any waiting on the homestudy this time.  So, if we go by the timeline for the first adoption, we would get matched with our second daughter the first time we met with the adoption authorities and would have a court date 2-3 months after that.  Theoretically, we could have another daughter by Christmas.
  And originally, that's what we'd decided to do, do all the adopting and adjusting in one fell swoop, but after thinking about it some, I'm not so sure anymore.  Sky was only with her birth mother for four months and then her aunt for 10 months.  She's settling in beautifully with us but I want her to have time with just us, where she's the center of attention and knows it.
  Also, one of the reasons we've decided to live here in the Marshalls is the opportunity to travel, especially around the Pacific, Asia and South East Asia.  We'd been discussing taking Sky on a trip to New Zealand next year, just renting a campervan for a few weeks and hitting the road and if we adopted Number Two right away, we'd have to put that on hold.  I think that even if Sky didn't remember the trip, it would be good to have the pictures for her to see something that was just hers, something special that she did with just us.
  And reason number three, I'm not sure I'm ready to work one and a half jobs again so soon, especially with the extra stress of two kids.  I have really enjoyed staying home with Sky- it's given us a chance to really attach and to let her feel comfortable in her new home, but D and I have barely seen each other, since he goes to work at 6AM and I don't get home from work until 7PM.  It's been hard.  We'd have to do that again, while juggling Sky and a new daughter, and I think that might be too much.
  So, while we already have a name picked out and have figured out where the crib would fit in our room, we're going to hold on looking for Number Two for now and enjoy some more time as a family of three.

The Start of Something New?

June 14, 2011

Hi All,
Recently a friend encouraged me to start using the blog to share more than just photos, to use it to tell people more about our lives and to help record Sky's life. She's a pretty smart friend so I'm going to to give it a try. For those of you who just visit the site for pictures of that adorable baby, don't worry, I'll keep putting those up too!
Thanks for following,

Our New Jogging Stroller

June 12, 2011

A friend sold us this Baby Jogger stroller and I love it! Sky thinks it's pretty great too and climbs right into it for our morning runs.

A Weekend Up on Roi

June 10, 2011

We spent Memorial weekend up on Roi but only remembered to take a few pictures. Here's the highlights:

 Sky and A in the lagoon

An Afternoon at Emon Beach

June 8, 2011

One super-cool girl, ready for the beach

Do You See? Do You See Why We can't Have Nice Things?

June 6, 2011

Sky demonstrates the point with Daddy's computer and Mama's knicknacks

Fun with Food

June 4, 2011

Mashed potatoes go up your nose...

and yogurt goes everywhere else!

Sky's Bike

June 3, 2011

Sky's bike arrived on Kwaj today, shipped all the way here from Kansas.  She'd tried it once or twice at D's folk house but didn't want much to do with it there.  Maybe she's been paying attention to all the bikes here because she hopped right on hers as soon as it was unpacked.

Daddy and Sky

June 2, 2011

This girl loves her daddy and she has his heart!

Cooking With Sky

June 1, 2011

Welcome to Cooking with Sky!

Now, make sure you use a sharp knife and cut the onions just like this...
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