adventures of law mommy
Adventures in Vietnamese International Adoption and the Practice of Law in a medium size Midwestern City
Friday, October 31, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
What's Your Favorite Halloween Song?
I'm a little bored with my music right now. Kind of in a rut, listening to the same things over and over. (More so than usual, I mean.) (I tend to do that, listen to things over and over and over. This drives both my husband and my secretary insane.)
Lately, it's been a lot of an album from the mid-90s that I forgot about, and then remembered recently, and it's been on my Zune pretty much non-stop for a week. (The Refreshments album Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy.) Excellent tunes, but, having heard them on repeat for several days now, it's time to move on.
There's a new Nickelback song, Gotta Be Somebody which I like a lot. (Of course, Chad Kroeger could sing nursery rhymes in his shower and release it on CD and I would pay good money for it. What is it about that guy's voice that makes me all melty?)
I also like the new(ish) Pat Green single, Let Me.
(Neither of these videos appear to have been posted by the artists or their labels, nor were they posted by me. I'm just linking and expressing my undying love and devotion.) (To the artists, not the random people who posted the videos.)
But, what are YOU listening to?
And also, just for fun, what's your favorite song that reminds you of Halloween?
My favorite is a song by Richard Shindell called Are You Happy Now?, but, I cannot find a good version of it on Youtube, so, you'll just to take my word for it that it is the best Halloween break-up song ever. (I will post the lyrics at the bottom.) However, here's a link to AC DC's Hell's Bells, because it sounds all ominous and Halloween-y.
Now, give me yours.
Lyrics to Richard Shindell's, Are You Happy Now?
You took the toaster when you went
You never paid your half the rent
You took the spices from the rack
But you don’t have to put them back
Cause in your haste on Halloween
You left your camera on the bed
Where we played roles in black and white
You left a role of black and white
I set the timer and thought of you
And put the lense up to my head
I took a photograph for you
What comes out gray is really red
Are you happy now?
I smashed your pumpkin on the floor
The candle flickered at my feet
As goblins flew across the room
The children peered into the room
A cowboy shivered on the porch
As Cinderella checked her watch
A hobo waited in the street
An angel whispered, trick-or-treat
But what was I supposed to do
But to sit there in the dark?
I was amazed to think that you
Could take the candy with you too
Are you happy now?
I’ve sat all night and now it’s dawn
And I cannot believe my eyes
There’s garbage strewn across the lawn
Where we once stared up at the sky
And streams of paper fill the tree
That hovered over you and me
Shaving cream covers the car
That we picked up in Baltimore
Though I know it’s hard to tell
I hope that what’s-his-name treats you well
I still maintain that he’s a bum
But it’s your money – have some fun
And are you happy now?
You always asked why I had not
Written you a verse or two
Since that’s the one thing I regret
I dedicate this one to you
Are you happy now?
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
And you thought this election was ugly...
I have been having a lot of anxiety, as has, evidently, much of the country. I was also feeling kind of sad and depressed about how ugly this presidential election has gotten, and I was thinking that maybe this was some kind of new low in American history.
But, then I found this article from the Washington Post, whereupon I learned, in a most amusing way, that we've pretty much always been wretched during election seasons. Which actually makes me feel marginally better.
So, go and read about which President was accused of being a 'dandy', and which was accused of being 'slack jawed'...and then won't you wonder which President was accused of being drunk all the time? (Husband votes for Martin Van Buren, because this month's Beer Magazine says that Van Buren could close down a bar like nobody's business. Scandalous.)
Saturday, October 25, 2008
No I Don't Believe Them Now, They Speak A Different Language*
I had Lana evaluated by the ESL staff at our school district.
I made this request because, even though I think her comprehension of English is astonishing, considering that she has only been speaking it for 20 months, I am just a lawyer. I am not a linguist. And I wanted her to be given the services she needs if she needs them.
My first conversation with the ESL director went something like this:
Her: What other language do you speak?
Me: (Missing her point entirely) - French. And some Japanese, but, I can't read it.
Her: You're speaking French and Japanese at home?
Her: (silence for a few seconds) - You speak English at home with Lana?
Me: Of course.
Her: Why would you think Lana needs ESL services?
Me: We adopted her from Vietnam last year. She spoke only Vietnamese until after her fourth birthday.
Her: Oh. Does she speak Vietnamese with you now?
Me: No. But, she's only been speaking English since about March of 2007. For the first two months she was with us, well, it was very difficult.
Her: I see. You're concerned she needs extra tutoring to assist her in becoming more fluent?
Me: Exactly. I mean, I understand everything she says, but, I'm her mother.
Her: I will have one of our teachers evaluate her next week.
I was happy with this answer.
So, then I got a call from the ESL teacher who had evaluated Lana.
Her#2: This is Ms. B________ from S_____ Schools. I'm calling because I evaluated your daughter regarding her ESL needs.
Me: Thank you for calling.
Her#2: You know, most children adopted as infants from other countries have no retention of the language of the country they were adopted from.
Me: (Silent annoyance as I think, 'Did you even READ her FILE??')
Her#2: It's just that I've never had an adoptive parent ask for this service.
Me: (Trying to keep snotty and bitchy out of my voice) - Lana wasn't adopted as an infant. We adopted her when she was 4. She spoke only Vietnamese until last year.
Her#2: That's amazing. Lana comprehension and fluency is testing out at the same level as a native speaker. She doesn't need any ESL services.
Me: That's good news. I mean, I thought she was understanding everything, I guess I just wanted verification.
Her#2: Are you sure she spoke Vietnamese before?
Me: Yes, I'm sure. I mean, I only know about 30 words, so, communication for the first several months was really, really hard. I pretty much only understood that she either needed to pee or that she wanted the cat to go away. But, she was speaking Vietnamese when she came to us.
Her#2: Hm....Lana denies any knowledge of any language other than English. She denies that she ever spoke Vietnamese.
Me: I see. I have some video of her speaking Vietnamese. Maybe I should show them to her. Thank you for taking the time to talk to her.
Her#2: You're welcome. You may want to ask for her to be evaluated by the speech therapist next year for her speech impediment, but, it may work itself out.
So, I hung up the phone feeling both relieved and slightly concerned. I am relieved that her fluency and comprehension are what I have believed them to be for some time now. I am concerned that she denies that she ever spoke Vietnamese.
On the other hand, she doesn't so much deny that she spoke Vietnamese to us, it's more that she separates time in her head by saying, "When I spoke Vietnam, I did this" or "When I spoke Vietnam, I had a different mommy." It may be that she was not ready to let the stranger, the unknown ESL teacher, in on the details of her past....
Anyone think I should be worried about this?
*Barenaked Ladies, Hello City
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Baby, You're the Best*
I do believe my Husband deserves some kind of Super Husband Award for what he did yesterday.
Allow me to sing his praises:
Yesterday, I had a Ladies' Night Out with some of my Girlfriends. I went straight from work to the restaurant, where I had miso soup and salad with ginger dressing and teriyaki scallops and a glass of plum wine with a side of awesome conversation. (Although we sat at one of those tables where you sit on the floor on tatami mats, only at this restaurant, you dangle your feet into a hole beneath the table, and, honestly, all of us had our feet fall asleep by the end of the meal. I don't recommend this kind of seating arrangement.)
Anyway, I had forgotten that TODAY is the day that our cleaning lady comes. And you know, that on the day BEFORE the cleaning lady comes is the day that you have to clean up all of your crap so that the cleaning lady can actually CLEAN.**
So, when I came home last night at 9:15, Husband had, in fact, remembered that the cleaning lady was coming, and had somehow managed to do all of the following: declutter the house, take the kids to dinner, AND take the kids to a cub scout meeting (one of the big ones, a whole pack meeting, which is not something that I have ever been able to do because being with that many 7 to 12 year old boys in one place makes me hyperventilate.)
I KNOW. He is SuperGuy. He needs a cape.
If I weren't already married to him, I would totally want him to be my boyfriend.
*Carly Simon, Nobody Does It Better
**I am a terrible housekeeper. I know this about myself. Which is why we have a housekeeper that comes twice a month. I love her, and I feel like having her help helps us to make our house feel more like home and less like a cluttered mess. (Incidentally, E~ at Ordinary Time had a really interesting post last week about the difference between and housekeeping and homemaking. It's worth a read.)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
What Good Is My Wisdom When There Are No Words To Say*
I was going to talk about music today, and also how my resolution to stick to the WW program was going (so far, so good), but, then I read this, and, um...yeah. After reading that, anything I have to say seems absurdly petty and meaningless.
So, if you have the time, please go read Her Bad Mother today. (Actually, you should probably read Her Bad Mother whenever she writes anything, because she writes so amazingly well of such difficult topics.)
*Gov't Mule, I Shall Return
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The O is for Ohio, Idiot
I swore I wasn't going to get political on my blog.
I am all for civil discourse and agreements to disagree.
I am hopeful that the next eight years will be better than the last eight years.
But, when Idiot Radio Talking Heads start making up absolute and ridiculous lies about EITHER candidate, I get ticked.
We have enough to worry about in this election talking about ACTUAL ISSUES. (Like the WAR in Iraq, and WHERE IS OSAMA BIN LADEN? and WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO THE ECONOMY?)
So, please. LISTEN TO ME. I am only going to say this once.
OBAMA DID NOT CREATE A NEW OBAMA FLAG.
The flag he is standing in front of is the FLAG OF THE GREAT STATE OF OHIO. O~H~I~O. (And all those Ohio State grads out there are now sing-songing "oh" "aich" "eye" "oh" and waiving their arms over their heads. You have to. It's an obligation and a compulsion from which you cannot escape.)
Anyway, the flag has been the flag for our state since 1902. It is NOT a flag created by the Obama campaign, Obama is not that kind of crazy maniacal egomaniac and I wish people would stop talking ridiculousness about it and get back to discussing actual issues.
Monday, October 20, 2008
It is that flower that you took the time to smell, It is the power that you know you got as well*
I have done some difficult things in my life.
Getting through the first (and second) (and third) years of law school with a sleepless baby at home, for example.
Passing the bar exam (with a sleepless toddler at home).
Leaving behind everything I knew and getting on a plane with $600 in my purse to go start a job in country where I didn't speak the language, or even READ the language.
Adopting a four-year-old from the other side of the planet who had already known two other mothers.
These have all been hard, difficult, challenging things.
And I feel like I did them pretty well.
So, I do not understand why it is so hard for me to make my body do the thing that I want it to do.
Which is, become smaller.
This body...is making me tired. And sad. And I feel defeated and unattractive and not sexy and not pretty. And while I hate that those things are important to me - they are.
(I strive for brutal honesty, and this is the brutally honest bottom line.)
And the thing is, I don't think that I have REALLY committed myself to do what is necessary to at least find out if I can be successful in this endeavor, and I cannot figure out why committing to do what is necessary in this particular thing is so very hard, when I have done much harder things?
It is clear that exercise alone is not enough for me to lose weight. (I exercised like a crazy person for the first 5 months of this year and I have gained weight.)
It is clear to me that doing Weight Watchers in the half-committed way that I have been doing it is not enough for me to lose weight.
I want to know, categorically, that there IS something I can do to lose weight. (Aside from, flying to Vietnam and having crippling anxiety for 3 weeks about whether or not an adoption was going to be approved or not, which is the last time this body lost any weight. (Although I did lose 10 pounds that way, I don't think that's something I want to do again.)
So, this week, I am committing, and I will be REPORTING on that commitment (which might make this blog incredibly boring for the next 7 days - sorry) to follow the WW program to a T. Religiously. All the water. All the veggies. All the fruit. Counting points precisely and sticking to the points allotment.
If the scale is stuck next Monday morning at exactly the place it was this morning (and has been stuck for 5 months now)...well, I'm not sure what steps I will take then.
But, I need to know that something can make that number move...
And I need ENCOURAGEMENT.
So, wish me luck.
And send me low-point delicious recipe ideas, if you have them.
*Nelly Furtado, Forca
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Mind Boggles
I'm not sure why I even bothered to click on a link that was titled something like,
"Eva Longoria Parker discusses her new rounder figure."
But, I did. And I am so regretting it.
At which point, I wanted to walk into my conference room and throw myself off the ledge of our 22nd floor office, because, evidently, right now, a person who is a SIZE ZERO can be described as "round".
I am desperate, DESPERATE, to get back down a SIZE 10. A TEN. All of the walking and hula-hooping and points counting I have been trying so hard to do, I just REALLY, REALLY want to be a size 10 again.
Generally speaking, I look at the photos of myself from back when I was a 10, and I think, "I had a really nice body at that size, and that's the size I would like to be." (A size I have not seen since before Gabe was born, but, it's my goal.)
Now, I'm scratching my head and wondering how the hell one would describe a person who is a size 10 if a person who is size 0 (seriously? A Zero?) is "round".
Off to go bang my head against a wall for a while. (How many calories do you think I could burn that way?)
Monday, October 13, 2008
Just Another Manic Monday
Random notes for a Monday morning...
1. Friday night was a beautiful night. A gorgeous night, in fact. The moon was bright and mostly full and the air was just slightly chilly and not yet cold, it was a perfect night for walking through a corn maze. Unfortunately, a corn maze (or, as Husband likes to call them, a "maize maze") is an incredibly lousy place to discover one has food poisoning. Really, really bad. The maize maze was also 35 minutes from home. It was a very long drive home. By Saturday morning, I asked Husband to "take the weasel that was eating my intestines out of my abdomen and run it over with the car. Repeatedly." Can you believe he didn't comply with that request for his beloved?
2. Last night I watched Season 1, Episode 1 of Heroes. WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME HOW GOOD THIS SHOW WAS? Okay, so, actually, probably several of you have told me, repeatedly, that this show is really, really good. I'm not sure I believed you. But, last night, insomnia plus Netflix "instant watch" feature = new addiction for Lawmommy.
3. I'm curious why my children have school on Columbus Day (which is fine, because it means I can come into my office and get some work done on a day that the banks and courts are closed, so, hopefully, a lot of uninterrupted work will get done today), but, why they DON'T have school two days next week, during which there are no holidays and no parent teacher conferences?
4. It is difficult to get into one's parking garage when the man who may or may not be the next President is speaking at the convention center across the street from said parking garage. However, a lot of policemen on horses will show up and mill around, and also a lot of very serious looking people in dark suits, which is interesting, but, frankly, a little smelly. (The horses, not the people in dark suits. And it's not so much the horses that are smelly...it's, the, uh, byproducts of the horses.). On the whole, I am glad to see so many people interested in the political process, but, I am worried about getting OUT of my parking garage and my commute home today.
5. Does anyone who has ever visited the amusement park mecca of Sandusky, Ohio have any strong opinions vis a vis, the several indoor water parks available in that city? I.e. which one would be the best one for an 8 year old, and almost 6 year old, and their parents?
That's all for now.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Photo help? Please?
I know that there are some of you out there who know MUCH more about photography and scrapbooking than I do.
(Suffice it to say that I know next to nothing about these topics.)
Anyway, I received an email from our agency that Lana's annual report is due in their office on December 19, and we're instructed to send 5 to 10 photos mounted on 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper.
Here's what I want to know:
Is there a website/company that would allow me to put together a collage of photos in an 8.5 x 11 size and have it printed?
I looked for this at Walgreens.com, but, they only offer this service on an 11x14 sheet, which is not what I need...(and Walgreens is pretty much the only photo printing service I have used.)
Maybe such a thing is not possible. I just thought it would look nicer than my own pathetic and useless ability to mount photos attractively...
Thursday, October 09, 2008
My Husband Hates the Last Post So Let's Talk About Something Else
Evidently Husband is not a fan of my prior post. So, let's move on to something else.
Although, based on a few comments and emails, I think I may have sounded overly harsh or judgmental about the prior topic. So, before I move on, I will say - I absolutely support women doing what women need to do to be sexually empowered and satisfied. So, if you are waxing your hoo-ha for your own benefit, please, by all means, carry-on and more power to you. (If, however, you are doing something painful to your body (be it waxing your hoo-ha or anything else) because SOMEONE ELSE has asked you to, I say, you have every right to demand that your significant other go wax his dangly bits before he asks you to do the same, and, quite frankly, to go tell him or her not to make painful requests of your private parts.)
As for me, I think that I will keep the wax above my waist. Above my neck...truthfully, the waxing of my eyebrows shall continue every 4 weeks or so, and that's pretty much going to be the extent of the hot wax that encounters any parts of Lawmommy.
I feel totally overwhelmed by just about everything right now. Spelling words. The financial crisis. Soccer practice. Trying to plan a three day weekend for my family. Trying to plan a birthday party.
I feel like there is this gigantic time suck, sucking away my day, and I feel like every evening is a race to get the kids fed, homeworked, and in bed at a reasonable hour, and then I am exhausted yet cannot sleep. Husband needs to fall asleep by 10:00 because he has to get up at 5:45, and I since I don't generally get up until 2 hours after him (because I stay home to put the kids on the bus at 8:40), I am not ready to fall asleep at 10:00, but, it would be nice to have a 10 minute uninterrupted conversation with him.
Last night I actually felt like cooking, and I wanted to make both dinner for last night, and also something to put in the crock pot for today's dinner, and I was trying to make Boeuf Bourguignon in one pot and Chicken Korma in the other, and, while I succeeded, I forgot to the start the rice for the chicken, and I was very hot and sticky and annoyed by the time Husband and Gabe got home from soccer practice at 7:30. (The upside of this is that I do have a crock pot full of red wine and beef yummy goodness in the slow cooker waiting for me at home, and I did eventually remember to start the rice and the Chicken Korma was just fine.) (The downside being that we didn't eat until almost 8:00 last night. And then it was a rush to get the kids in bed, who demanded a snack even though they had just eaten.)
(And, no, if you are wondering, neither of my kids will eat Chicken Korma or Boeuf Bourguignon and this means that they eat plain pieces of meat, plucked from the stew and RINSED OF any tasty residue, plain rice or noodles, and plain broccoli or cauliflower from the microwave, pretty much every night because neither of them will eat a damn thing in my entire cooking repertoire, and, frankly, it's starting to get old, this "keep some of the meat completely plain and without seasoning or sauce because the kids are insane and won't eat anything unless it is completely separate from all other things".) (To be honest, Lana would probably eat most of these things if she wasn't following her older brother's bad example. Go ahead and tell me this picky eater situation is my fault, I probably should have forced him to eat things that were mixed in with other things long ago. But, the fact is, I didn't, and I don't know how to undo it. Also...part of this might be genetic, as my grandfather, as much as well all loved him, was the EXACT SAME WAY about food.)
I'm not sure how this post went from the subject of the "time suck" to cooking...
Anyway, the time suck is sucking me in, until 10:00 or so, at which time I watch tv or read a book until I feel sleepy, and then I try to fall asleep and then I start worrying about things like the mortgage mess and the entire country of Iceland being on the brink of bankruptcy and the fact that at the courthouse yesterday morning a guy who greatly resembled the unabomber stood up, in a public forum, pointed his gnarly finger at me and said, "SHAME ON YOU." And walked out. Leaving me flustered and freaked out and trying to figure out what it was, precisely, that I was supposed to be ashamed of, all the while trying to continue to do the thing that I was in the middle of doing in a public forum in the courthouse in the first place. (As near as I can determine, the thing the man wanted me to be ashamed of was representing a bank, I think.)
Anyway, so because of these thoughts, I have trouble falling asleep, and when I finally do fall asleep I have strange dreams. (For example, recently I had a dream that our adoption agency called us and said that they had found a biological brother of Lana's who was 10 years old, and that we would have to adopt him or they would take Lana away from us and give her to a family who was willing to take both of them, and I was all, "BUT I DON'T WANNA ANOTHER CHILD! I JUST WANT TO KEEP THE TWO I HAVE," and there was wailing and gnashing of teeth and I woke up in a cold sweat.)
I have no idea where I'm going with this. See, wouldn't you rather I just blither on about beaver waxing and not the real stuff in my life?
I'm sorry. This is probably the MOST. BORING. POST. EVER.
Forgive me. I'll try to come up with something better tomorrow.
Monday, October 06, 2008
Are You Muff Enough?
(Warning: This post is probably not work safe, and it's probably inappropriate for children.)
I was doing some research. (And by "research" I mean, "sitting in a chair at my friend Jen's salon, reading Marie Claire and Glamour while she highlighted my hair".) And, what I discovered from this research is that, evidently, "Brazilian waxing" has become extremely popular in some parts of the
And I thought, 'has this become so pervasive that there are women for whom NOT getting a Brazilian is avant-garde'?
Color me skeptical.
Another article discussed the practice with some OB-GYNs who said that they were having more instances of women calling up, thinking they had contracted some kind of disease, when, in fact, they had an ingrown hair. Or twelve. (Think about that. Think about a bunch of ingrown hairs in, er, that area. OUCH!)
The result of this "research" was that I was cringing and crossing my legs protectively.
Because, what we are talking about is, essentially, covering one's "down there" with piping hot wax, and then letting a near stranger RIP THE HOT WAX from one's body in a violent manner, so as to RIP ALL OF THE HAIR AWAY.
ALL OF IT.
Look, I spend a great deal of time in the summer by our pool, so, I'm not talking about "taking a little off the sides" or some minor "yard work" so that one can hang out in a bathing suit for hours at a time without revealing whether or not the carpet matches the drapes.
I'm taking about hot, melted wax in very private crevices and ripping away so much hair that one might be confused with an eleven year old girl. Which, um, I think is pretty creepy.
Also, not to over-share or anything (heck, I'm already talking about pubic hair, it's pretty likely that I've already stumbled into the realm of over-sharing), we are talking about a part of the anatomy to which I have an extreme attachment. A part of my anatomy which, with the exception of the time I pushed a whole human being through it (after which it informed me that if I expected it to perform in the manner to which I was accustomed to it performing that I would have to promise to NEVER, EVER do that to it again), I have only allowed to be, frankly, pampered and treated nicely. So, I really cannot imagine anyone giving me a good enough reason to have this intimate wax torture performed, save, you know, some kind of life saving surgical procedure.
Anyway, I decided to do some more "research", and by research in this case, I mean, "emailing some of my girlfriends and asking them to ask their husbands if Brazilian waxing is creepy or sexy, and then emailing the one single male guy I know well enough to ask that question to, and compiling their answers in a totally non-scientific way."
And the results of this data mining have been very interesting.
Some men indicated that, as long as they didn't find any other man parts down there that they would just be happy to have 10 minutes alone with their wife's lady bits regardless.
Some men indicated that they would happily navigate through a forest if it meant they were going to, uh, get some.
One man definitely felt it was sexy, especially on Jennifer Aniston in The Break Up. (I've never seen this movie, so, I cannot attest to the sexiness or lack thereof this scene. Except that Jennifer Aniston would probably be sexy in a parka and ratty old long johns, so, I don't know that anyone is surprised that she would be sexy with a, uh, stark naked cooter.)
But, generally speaking, the men whose opinions I got seemed neither here nor there on the subject. Certainly, there was no great consensus of belief that when they have the opportunity to get naked with their significant other that said significant other should be hairless.
So, I'm wondering why women are putting themselves through the torture of this procedure when men, generally speaking, are evidently quite happy to visit that area, regardless of whether or not it looks like a naked mole rat?
Here's another thing that I SUSPECT men already know. Adult women have hair on their 'down there'. Why would we perpetuate a myth that we DON'T? Why perpetuate a myth that it's okay for grown women to look like 11 year old girls?
And one more thing (because I have heard this bandied about as a reason why women are getting Brazilians): if one's jeans are cut so low that one needs to wax all of one's hair off, ONE'S JEANS ARE TOO LOW. Seriously. The general public does NOT want to see your public bone.
PS – in light of all the political posting these days, I thought about calling this post "In Defense of (My) Bush". I decided not to go there, but, y'all can appreciate the humor in that post title, right? Right??
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine...
This evening I was having dinner with my family at a smallish chain restaurant that all four of us like.
Lana surprised me by reaching over to my plate and taking one of my shrimp. (And no, we were not at Red Lobster. Ever since the great Red Lobster Debacle of 1993, Husband has not set foot in a Red Lobster.)
Where was I?
Oh, Lana reached over and took a shrimp from my plate, put it in her mouth (uh...tail and all) and ate it.
"I like this," she announced.
Husband and I stared at her, a bit dumbfounded.
Lana loved shrimp when we were with her in Vietnam. And, for a short time afterward. LOVED them.
Then, inexplicably and without warning, she refused to eat them. For a long time she offered no explanation for this. And then, one day, months ago, she said, "I no eat that no more. I ate that when I spoke Vietnam. I no speak Vietnam, I no eat those things."
And while this made me sad, I didn't know what to do. It's not like shrimp is something I feed to my other child, well, ever. So, I stopped putting shrimp on her plate and replaced it with other things - chicken and pork and salmon. She didn't complain.
But today, she put that shrimp in her mouth and ate it happily. And I'm not sure what to make of it.
I watched her, sitting across the table from me, in the booth, leaning into Husband's arm. She said something very funny (although I cannot recall what it was exactly), we all laughed and she cuddled into him.
For a moment, I was awestruck, looking at this beautiful, beautiful child - this child who once loved shrimp, and then didn't anymore, because it reminded her of a place or a time before, that was too painful or confusing to think about.
To think that we had traveled to the other side of the planet, and arrived at an orphanage on a rainy afternoon, to meet a child we knew almost nothing about...and 20 months later, to find that she fits into our lives, into the crook of my husband's arm, into the spaces of my life that I didn't know were empty...
Truly, what are the odds?
What are the odds that people who are truly meant to be together will find their way to each other? It's almost a little like arranged marriage, isn't it? To be handed a packet of information and a picture and a list of instructions. You will get on a plane. You will meet this stranger. You will love them and live with them forever.
Is the human capacity for love so boundless that we can find love under such a pretense?
I think it might be. And maybe there is something greater going on. Maybe we are drawn to those we are meant to have in our lives by something bigger than ourselves.
For a long time, when I looked at Lana, I knew, somehow, that I loved her, that I was choosing to love her.
Love can be a choice that you make, and I was choosing to love this child.
But, I am not able to remember, at what point, I stopped choosing to love her, and found that I had no more choice in the matter. I love this little girl. It's no longer a choice I am making but simply the be all, end all - I love this little girl. Against all odds, against language and culture and blood ties that do not bind - I love this child.
I could not love her more than if it were my blood pumping in the heart in her chest.
And I am weirdly relieved, that, for whatever reason, she is ready to eat those things again, that remind her of Vietnam, and not feel bad about it.
*Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), Casablanca, 1942