November 24, 2011

We Give Thanks

casual, relaxed, and oh so good.
minus the football.
we have much to be thankful for. 

 we give thanks for happy children.
 we give thanks for our wa family and good food.
 we give thanks that E was home safely.
 we give thanks that Jeff carved the turkey
with such vigor and enthusiasm.

November 22, 2011

Outline of My Book

How to Survive When Your Husband Is On the Other Side of the World While You Paint, Clean, and Move Things Into Your New House and Take Care of Everything Else in Your Busy Life
by Laura Faye

Dedication: For my Eric who I love, and also his company who I am mad at for sending him away at such a crazy time

Chapter 1: Prioritize
First things first. And dishes and mopping do not come first. Obviously.

Chapter 2: How to Dress
Pick one outfit. Wear it 4 days in a row. Use the excuse that you are painting, but you know it means less laundry for you to do.

Chapter 3: Ship Your Children Off
But not too far. Just for lots of play dates in the afternoons and on Saturdays. You still need them at night for cuddles and to make you laugh and smile.

Chapter 4: Accept Help
Even when you feel bad because a friend spends way longer than expected helping you move a bookshelf or when the sweet sister missionaries show up on your doorstep to do service and pack up most of your books. No guilt. It's ok.

Chapter 5: Write Love Letters
To your husband of course. gushy ones. In the form of email because it gets there faster. Though his response may not be any faster.

Chapter 6: Proper Language
Do not let your first curse word be because that smoke detector starts beeping in the night. Or because the sink stops draining. Or the toilet is broken. 

Chapter 7: Boost the Economy
By pumping your money into the fast food industry.

Chapter 8: In All Seriousness
Do not stop praying. You are strong. You have support. Life is good.

Acknowledgments: A big thank you to all those kind people who watched my kids, offered to help, brought me cinnamon rolls, or who I just knew I could call if I needed anything. I wouldn't be alive and in one piece after these two weeks if it weren't for you. And I would like to acknowledge the fact that my boys have been so helpful and wonderful the entire time, even though they missed their daddy almost as much as I did.    

November 18, 2011

First Snow

A nice dusting on our streets,
a wet treat for happy mouths,
a pleasant ending to a long day of more painting and moving.

November 16, 2011


Think about when a woman has a biological child.
Before the child has even been born,
the attachment process has begun.
Mother and child feel connected and love.
Once the child is born,
the mom cares for the baby by
holding, gazing, playing with, and singing to the baby
and so bonds are strengthened.
As the mom meets the baby's needs by
feeding, keeping warm, changing diapers, and comforting
the baby learns to trust her.
As humans, we are relational beings.
Relationships are at the center of our lives.
Research shows
our relationships and attachment experiences
even shape our brain development.
The attachment cycle
as noted by Dr. Vera Fahlberg
begins with needs (for example, baby hungry)
which leads to arousal (baby cries)
which leads to the need met (caregiver feeds baby)
which leads to relaxation (ahh, tranquility).
And then you start again.
And if the cycle works this way
attachment and trust happen
and the baby develops normally.
This stage is especially critical
during the first year or two of life.
If the cycle is continuously interrupted,
it leads to
disorganized attachment.

Now our experience
in adopting two young children.
We were facing disorganized attachment
which showed itself in different ways for each child.
There was avoidance, shutting down,
not sure how to act or who to go to around people,
acting out, anger, clingyness, etc.
The other tricky part of this whole thing
is that while the child needs to attach to the parents,
the parents also need to attach to the child.
Attachment is probably at the center of most of the
challenges of adoption.
Yes, when we first met the boys we felt something for them
and we knew they were to be in our family,
but real attachment takes time and effort.
We spent time together and frequently reassured them
that they could come to us when they needed something,
that we were forever parents,
and that they could trust us because
we knew what we were doing.
(yeah, maybe we didn't know everything,
but it was important that they heard and understood
that we knew how to take care of them)
Attachment came differently for each child
and at different rates.
Some walls were built up so strongly
it was hard to break through.
I actually just think it was very, very recently
(almost 4 years later)
that we've noticed and felt the biggest difference.
It took time and consistency,
but there were some things,
especially at the beginning,
that we tried and they helped.
The power of touch
can not be overlooked
throughout the attachment process.
We would hug, carry, and hold.
We rubbed backs and put lotion on arms and feet.
The most interesting thing though
was "playing baby" with them.
It actually started naturally with the boys initiating the play
and then became something regular we did.
First, they were the babies
and I would take turns
holding them and feeding them
out of a water bottle.
I tried to keep eye contact with them as I held them.
Soon the play evolved
and they were babies crawling on the ground around me
coming to me when they needed to be "fed" from their bottle.
Later on, they "learned to walk" and "said their first words".
When we played,
I followed their lead
and I found it fascinating
that their play naturally followed the stages of development.
Eventually, when they were ready,
they didn't need to play baby anymore.

Attachment really is at the center
of all the pieces of adoption.
(I could say much more, but no time this morning . . .)
We have been far, far from perfect along the way
and so we've learned an incredible amount.

November 14, 2011

Adoption Language

It takes away some of the awkwardness
when you know how to talk about adoption.

Say No To:                Say Yes To:
"real parents"             "birthparents"
"real siblings"             "biological siblings"
"give up"                    "adoption plan was made"
"adopted child"          "your (my) child"
"put up for                  "join the family"
"not the real parents"   "adoptive parents"

Most people who adopt
are pretty open to answering some questions about it.
It's not rude to be curious or have questions,
but there are better ways to ask.
Once, I got the questions,
in front of the boys even,
"Why didn't the real parents want to keep them?
Didn't they love them?"
Not the best way to pose the question . . .
It's much better just to ask to hear about their adoption story.
Around here, we don't get offended
when people ask questions,
we know most people are well meaning,
but being aware of adoption language
can help a conversation feel positive.

November 13, 2011


What's your
initial reaction
when you hear
open adoption?

I'm curious what you think.

I've been thinking a lot about this one.
It's been on my mind these last few months.
My thoughts get stirred up anew
everytime the boys mention their birthparents,
we update our adoption profile on,
or I dive into an adoption conversation with someone.

At the beginning of our adoption process,
a big part of me
did NOT LIKE talking to the boys about their birthparents.
I got a sick feeling every time I had to explain something to them.
I was mad at their birthparents
for hurting and causing so many problems for these little boys,
but mostly I was jealous.
I wanted to be THE mom.
Not them.
I felt a stab when Kacin cried out at night for "mom".
Which mom did he mean?
I wanted it to be me.
I may have even wanted the boys to forget their birthparents
and cling to us.
Only us.

And then
I recieved
some revelation and some understanding.
I read again a special priesthood blessing I had when I was younger
that instructed me that "the children that would come into my home
would esteem me highly as their eternal mother".
I am not the mom that brought them into this world
or the first who fell in love with their eyes and little hands.
But that's OK
because I am their forever mom.
My boys will always wonder about, talk about, and love
their birthmom.
But that does not lessen the love I share with my boys
or devalue my role as mother.
There's a place for both of us.
Then it hit me,
one day while doing laundry,
we are all children of our Heavenly Father.
Which means that these children we carry for 9 months,
birth, legally adopt, become stepmom's of, or adopt in our hearts
are God's children
that he entrusts to us.
We are all caring for HIS.
So does it really matter how they came to be in our lives?

Everyone I have recently spoken with about open adoption
has expressed fear--
Fear that the child would leave
and search out their birthparents.
Fear that they would have a relationship with their birthparents.
Fear that the birthparents would kidnap the child.

I believe that replacing that fear with peace
comes only through openness.
We often fear what we don't know.
Maybe that doesn't mean a relationship with birthparents today.
Or maybe it does.
For us, openness means
talking about what we know of the boys birthfamily,
answering questions,
sharing their story,
helping them remember and record their memories and feelings.
And then just being willing to consider
that there will probably be a time
later on in life
when it is safe and beneficial
to have contact with their birthparents.
I believe openness in adoption brings healing and peace.

Adoption Awareness

"adoption is
you're a getting a family"

surprisingly, there are
many misconceptions and
negative feelings about adoption.
and many people who feel uncomfortable
talking about adoption.
I worry that I talk about it too much
but Kacin reassured me that he thinks
we don't talk about it that much.
I'm taking his word for it
and since November is
National Adoption Awareness month
I figure this is a good time to record
my thoughts and experience
with adoption.

I'll try to post throughout the week.

I wish you a very Happy Adoption month!

November 11, 2011

Our Eighth

Sandwiched between buying a house and E's big trip to China,
was the day that officially marked 8 years of marriage.
With fake smiles, well that's not really even a smile from Eric,
we snapped a picture to mark the day.
Not that we weren't happy to be celebrating the big 8,
we were just exhausted
from a long day of painting and working at the new house,
as well as staying on top of everything else in our full lives.
No other gifts or celebration this year.
We did manage to get take-out Thai food for lunch,
But hey, 
it actually was a great way
to celebrate our marriage because
really there's no one else
I'd rather have next to me covered in paint splatters,
with sore hands and arms,
and holding me when I cry after realizing
I just painted two walls of a room the wrong yellow.

Happy anniversary, E! 

November 3, 2011

Inside their Fort

When I came downstairs this morning,
I found them like this
in the fort they made with daddy last night.
It is such a rarity around here
to find two boys calm and quiet,
And to see Kacin choosing to read.
I quickly grabbed my camera
and snuck a few pictures
until I was caught.

November 2, 2011


From the land of Narnia,
I present to you
High King Peter
And Prince Caspian

We made it to the ward Trunk or Treat on Saturday.
On Halloween, we made our homemade rootbeer

and then we were off to a yummy dinner at the Stocks house.
We Trick or Treated down their street then ours.
Eric proudly displayed our jack o lanterns on the porch:
the cyclops, the owl, and the car

Eric and I have been so busy
that we didn't have time to plan our own costumes.
But we received a big treat on Halloween--
we closed on our house!!

It has been a 3 and a half month short sale process
but we now have a home here in Washington!
We are painting and cleaning
and slowly moving in.
More pictures and details will come soon.