Tuesday, May 27, 2008


I wrote last week about the tragic death of Maria Sue Chapman. Her father, Christian singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman, has just released a video of his new song "Cinderella." It's a beautiful song about treasuring moments with our children, made even more poignant with the news of Maria's passing.

Be sure to keep watching after the song is over for his story about how the song was inspired by Maria and her sister Stevey Joy.

(Warning: If you're at work and haven't seen this, you might want to wait until later, unless you have a private office and a big wad of tissues).

Now go dance with your daughters.

One reason we adore Dora

Too much gloom and doom here lately, so I'll tell you a story.

We were on board a flight to Nashville a couple of weeks ago and I broke out a new deck of "Go Fish" cards to amuse the 2-year-old.

"Eight!" Ting Ting said, holding up a card.

"That's right! That's an 8," I said. Then, looking for a way to keep the game interesting, I added, "Can you count the fish on that card?"

She bent her head down over the tray table and began saying something as she pointed to each fish, but it didn't sound like counting to me. I leaned closer just in time to hear her finish with "Siete, ocho!"

No, I didn't teach her to count in Spanish. Neither did her day care provider. Did you?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Then and now

Ting Ting, April 2007:

Ting Ting, April 2008:

Friday, May 23, 2008

No words

This is Maria Sue Chapman, 5-year-old daughter of Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth. She was killed Wednesday when she was struck by a vehicle in the driveway of their home. Compounding the tragedy was the fact that her teenaged brother was driving the car. It's simply too awful for words.

Many people were following this story all day, from fans of the singer to parents of children of all ages. But those of you who haven't adopted children might not be familiar with the Chapman family's strong support of international adoption. The Chapmans adopted three daughters from China and set up a foundation, Shaohanna's Hope, to help Christian families fund adoptions. According to the singer's website, more than 1,700 families have received grants in the five years the fund has been in operation.

Lance and I decided in the fall of 2004 that we wanted to adopt a daughter and began preparing our application. I went to Target one Saturday afternoon in November, not realizing it was Adoption Awareness Month, and innocently picked up a sweet little book called "Shaoey and Dot." It was a children's story about a baby found abandoned in China, taken to an orphanage and adopted by a family. The baby is accompanied by a ladybug, Dot, who tried to explain what was happening to Shaoey, telling her, in part:

"But, then, there's a cry that's the saddest of all.
In fact, it's unlike any other.
It comes from a deep, empty place in your heart
That can only be filled by a mother.

And after today, I will never again
Hear that sad song coming from you . . . "

The book was written by Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman.

I began crying, right there in Target. I bought the book. To this day I can't read that passage without tearing up.

Ting Ting has shelves full of books now. Some of them are about adoption, some are about China and some are about green eggs or brown bears. But Shaoey and Dot will always officially be The Very First Book I Ever Bought Specifically for my Daughter.

I said there were no words, but I seem to have written quite a few. You can visit a special blog the family set up in memory of Maria if you want to learn more or offer condolences.

But just in case you don't go, I wanted to share this video that's posted there:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Chinese wanting to adopt quake orphans?

I've been wondering about the children in orphanages in China, but the earthquake has created thousands more orphans. According to this article, the Chinese people are reaching out to bring these children into their homes. The story also talks about attitudes that previously kept the domestic adoption rate in China low. It's an interesting read.

Friday, May 16, 2008


My heart has been breaking all week as I read the stories of the death and devastation in China.

Every day brings reports of more horrors, from the hundreds found dead in the rubble of schools or apartment buildings to the individual tragedies, such as those told in today's newspaper by my colleague, Evan Osnos. The ramifications of China's one-child policy have only added to the tragedy as parents and grandparents are left with no one to carry on the family name or to care for them in their old age.

Ting Ting is from a city called Yueyang, in the northern part of Hunan province, far from the epicenter of the earthquake. But Sichuan province is home to many social welfare institutes caring for other babies and children waiting for families. Our friend the Rumor Queen has been collecting information on those children and institutions; so far we've seen no major loss of life there, but information is not yet available on many of the SWIs closest to the epicenter. Some of the institutions have had to evacuate the children and need supplies like formula and diapers; some have lost their water supply or power.

China is a very old, beautiful, proud country that gave our family its greatest gift, and now the people there need our help. Please remember them in your prayers.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

As I sat down to take a couple of minutes to wish everyone a Happy Mother's Day, I found out through another blog that Teleflora apparently considers me a "non-Mom" -- or at least they did before all the angry phone calls and emails. Sheesh. Good for them I was too busy the last couple of days playing with my 2-year-old (who keeps throwing her arms around me and exclaiming happily, "MY mama!") to add my voice to the angry chorus. Instead, I'm simply going to do what I had planned to do today and post a link to this beautiful Mother's Day column.

Happy Mother's Day to all.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Sunday afternoon in the park

It was a little chilly last weekend, but we went to the park anyway. We were really tired of being cooped up inside!

Even though we had to wear jackets, it was worth it.

Ting Ting spent most of her time climbing fake rock walls and going down slides taller than me. I don't have photos of that, though, because I was too busy helping Lance supervise her so she wouldn't fall and crack her head open just because she insisted: "I do it MYSELF."

(Don't tell her that Daddy was holding her in this photo).