Sunday, August 26, 2007

Two families in Thailand

Just a quick note: Two families working with Holt (our adoption agency) are in Thailand this week meeting their kids. I'm so excited for them, and think of them often and what an amazing time it must be. Jess and Jen are keeping a great blog of their trip - be sure to check it out.

-Robin

Arts and Crafts of Thailand

I found a really interesting book at the library that I enjoyed reading. "Arts and Crafts of Thailand" (by William Warren, no longer in print) not only had wonderful photographs of traditional arts, but also very in-depth information about the history and cultural significance of many of Thailand's crafts and the symbolism they are imbued with. There's a Thai history book I keep borrowing from the library and returning unread because it's a little daunting (I will finish if before we bring home our little one!), but in this book the history kind of sneaks up on you in interesting bits.

The chapter I found the most interesting was the final one, which examined "Theater and Other Diversions". This chapter had info on games the Thai have played for centuries (including a kite-flying competition that pits a very large and powerful "male" kite against a smaller but more maneuverable "female" one) , and some of the unusual musical instruments that have been used in Thai music. I also was interested to learn a lot about khon, the rituals and dancing performed by actors in elaborate masks and costumes. The storyline of the performance is based on the Hindu stories of Ramakian. Ramakian is such an interesting story, I think I'll save it for another post, perhaps when the snow is flying and we have nothing new to report.

-Robin

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Where's Thailand?

It's very easy for Robin and I to assume that everyone we know knows as much as we now do about Thailand. Truth is, most people don't know much about Thailand. One of the most common questions is "where is it?"
View Larger Map

Well, it's about as far away from Wisconsin you can get without getting on a rocket...8459 miles as the crow flies (it will be more than that on a plane).

The easiest way to describe where it is, without a map, is south of China and west of Vietnam (two points of reference many people may be familiar with).

Which leads me to think that it might be a good idea to have a cheat sheet in my pocket when I leave the house so I can easily show people where it is.

I don't think it's odd or inconsiderate for people to not know this kind of thing. I've read other adoption stories where I had to bring out a map to find out where some couples are adopting from.

I consider it part of the adventure of adoption to make the world a little smaller for everyone.

I'm particularly happy when people ask me a lot of questions about adoption and Thailand. Inevitably they'll say, "I"m sorry, do you mind me asking all of these questions?", to which I reply, "Are you kidding??...keep 'em coming!"

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sriwittayapaknam School

There's a private school in Thailand with a wonderful website. Their site includes tons of information on their school's curriculum and daily/weekly activities. There is also lots of information about Thai culture, from dress and food to holidays and etiquette. From what I can tell, some parts of the website are designed by students, with their own words and photographs.

-Robin

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Adoption Journal

I ordered an adoption baby book several weeks ago. I did some research online to find one I liked. I found surprisingly few options, but I think the one I got will be very nice. I like the graphics, and it's very open-ended. It would be appropriate for almost any adoption scenario I can think of. Domestic or international, infant or older child. Pages have lots of space to let parents write in the child's story. Pages include:
  • The Story of Your Adoption (Why we chose to adopt, How we found you, and Our hopes and dreams for you)
  • People who helped us find you
  • Waiting (Plans and preparations we made)
  • The Match! (How we found out, and How we celebrated)
  • Our Journey to You
  • Our Very First Meeting
The second half of the book is "Your First Year With Us", and has a page for each month of "memorable Moments and Milestones". There's pages to record the celebration of the first Adoption Day and the first Birthday.There's a nice family tree that is very adaptable to any family situation, and a second tree to for birth family information, or to decorate in honor of the child's birth family/country.

The only pages in the book that will not apply to us are in the "Firsts and Favorites" section, where there's space to record first word and the date of the first step. We'll adapt it to our situation. We'll keep a more extensive scrap book with all of the adoption information for our child, but this should be a nice little summary.

-Robin

Seeking Thailand

Robin and I find ourselves seeking out anything we can find related to Thailand. Recently, we discovered an Asian grocery where there are a lot of Thai products. It's exciting for us. We embrace the notion of being a Thai-American family.

At the Wisconsin State Fair this weekend, we found a whole booth dedicated to Thai products. We were excited to find it and explore. We're not sure how authentic it was, but it was fun to look around.

We're thinking a lot about coming to Thailand early before the adoption or staying longer after the adoption. I hope we can work that out. It would be a great experience.

-Kyle

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Parenting practice

If you've been wondering where we've been the last several weeks, we have a good excuse. We just sent home an exchange student from China. Kelly spent three weeks with us. There is a lot to say about her visit, but you can read more of the details here.

Going from zero to teenager overnight was a good experience for us. The whole experience showed us what we might expect in the future in terms of the amount of time children require from you. Sure, it took a lot of our time...but we LOVED it.

Hosting an exchange student is certainly a far cry from raising your own children, but it's closer than what we had experienced before.

Kelly is a wonderful young lady and was a great fit for our family. She was adventurous. We fed her many different types of food. She didn't like it all, but she always tried...which is everything. She was apprehensive when we put her in a kayak on Lake Michigan, but she did it anyway. Her openness to new experiences was inspiring.

Robin and I hoped she was enjoying herself and our company. Our efforts were validated in many ways, but the easiest way to demonstrate for you is in the picture she drew for us (shown above). It shows her "Happy Family". She drew it herself at night while we were sleeping, with an amazing attention to detail. It melted our hearts.

It was sad to see her go, but we will continue to communicate with her and we feel confident we will see her again someday.

So, our attention now returns to preparing the house for our new family member from Thailand. There's little new to report on the adoption since our last post. The waiting game continues.

You can expect to start hearing from us more often on the blog.

-Kyle