Whether you are already home with your child(ren) from Taiwan, waiting for your child(ren) to come home from Taiwan, or awaiting a referral from Taiwan, you're in the right place!!!

TAIWAN R.O.C.ks was a dream in 2010, and a reality in 2011! In 2010, Jules left a comment on Lisa C.'s blog, which Tiffanie responded to, which turned into an e-mail chain with the addition of Lisa R. That e-mail chain was all about a reunion for Taiwan families. Four blogging Mamas who each have a child born in Taiwan turned that circle of comments and e-mails into this. . .TAIWAN R.O.C.ks (Reuniting Our Children for Kinship and Support).

If you missed the first event, be sure not to miss the SECOND ANNUAL TAIWAN R.O.C.ks Event!!! Hope to see you there. Mark your calendars!


July 27th-29th, 2012 in CHICAGO!!

Your Taiwan R.O.C.ks Team,

Lisa C. (Tyler's Mom) - 2012 Team Lead
Jules (Hayden's Mom)

Lisa R. (Paige's Mom)
Tiffanie (Gracyn's Mom)


Monday, August 22, 2011

ROCks Reflections by Sarah

When thinking about what Taiwan R.O.C.ks means to me, I get a little weepy. Well, people who have already met me in person know that it doesn’t take much to flood my eyes with tears and get the mascara running. [Jules, I really didn’t mean to make you cry at Saturday night’s dinner! The idea of writing a wish for my daughter and releasing it on a balloon just got to me. How does one think of just a few sentences to put on a note card for all of the things we wish for our child?] Through the occasional tears on the keyboard, I’d like to tell you why this reunion is important for me, and why I think it’s important for my daughter’s identity as a Taiwanese American adoptee.

While waiting to be matched with our daughter, I read everything I could about other Taiwan adoption journeys… especially everything I could about adopting from the baby home where our child would live. I wanted to read about how the children were cared for, what the referral rate was like lately, how quickly were families going through court, where were families staying in Taiwan, and what were they doing to learn more about this beautiful place and the friendly people there. Because of my interest, hobby, OBSESSION… whatever you what to call it, I learned a lot about Taiwan and “met” a lot of people online. I fawned over their referral photos and checked their bogs to see if they got their monthly updates yet. I really hate to admit that I selfishly cried over one family’s beautiful referral photos. I had been waiting longer than our timeline projected, got a little nutsy, and it even turned to jealousy. I’m quite ashamed to admit that, but I’m trying to be real here about how I felt at that time. And then… one night… checking my email over and over and over praying that I’d get e-mail from our adoption coordinator… it came! Our referral email with info and photos of the biggest blessing I’ve ever been granted, a teeny tiny preemie in Taiwan, and we fell in love.

When our somewhat monthly updates came, I savored each and every photo. But, something else was even better than photos. Some families saw my child in Taiwan before I had ever seen her in person. A few saw her through a window and watched her for me. One friend saw my little Ching-Ling even before our referral and told me later that my daughter was the tiniest baby she had ever seen, no bigger than a ruler. I still cry when I think of yet another mama telling me that she got to hold my daughter for 20-30 minutes, and that my daughter shared at least a thousand facial expressions with her. These were my confirmation at my child was doing well and she was being loved. These mamas are special to me because they knew my daughter even before I did. I treasure the descriptions that they’ve shared with me.

I connected with a lot of Taiwan adoptive families even before I became a mother. Meeting these people in person makes the special connection that we have even more real. Most people in one’s ring of family and local friends don’t understand the fear that you had at AIT wondering what if something is wrong with your paperwork that won’t allow you to bring home your child. Only a few will understand how you feel when yet another person at Walmart asks, “Where is he from? How much did she cost? Can’t you have your own?” and all of the other comments that you’d really not like to deal with when the kids are asking for candy in the check-out line. It’s freeing to feel normal, surrounded by people that GET YOU and have had similar life experiences.

 

And then… there’s my little lantern. My Hannah, the little light of life. Here’s how I see Taiwan R.O.C.ks for my daughter. This reunion allows her to see that there are a whole bunch of kids just like her. They lived in Taiwan under many different circumstances where they were not able to be parented by their first parents. They were all adopted, most now living in multiracial families, and all will have losses in their life because of the situations that they were born into. By spending time together, they can make friends, feel like they fit in with a group of other families that look like theirs, and look forward to seeing other Taiwanese American adoptees year after year at this event.

Hannah has been hesitant to talk about her adoption experience at this age. It may come from a lack of vocabulary at age three and a half, or she may not realize these wounds or want to expose them quite yet. We’re working on this, and I hope that she will open up with time as we bring up adoption topics in everyday life and as her expressive vocabulary grows so she can tell me how she feels when she’s ready to. We’re making progress by talking about “the baby house,” and she likes to name and look at photos of the other children that lived at the baby house with her in Taiwan. Now that she’s actually met several children in person as a preschooler that she lived with as an infant, Hannah readily includes them in our conversations about the baby house and what children she knows that are Taiwanese American just like her. When we’d meet kids at Taiwan R.O.C.ks that lived in Hannah’s baby house I would pick her up and whisper into her ear, “That’s Becky. She’s a little older than you, but she lived at the baby house with you in Taiwan.” Then I’d watch my daughter’s face for understanding. It’s like a little light goes on inside and you can see it in her expression. She gets it. Becky’s just like her. “And then she come home to her mommy and daddy?” “Yes, baby. And then she came home to live with her forever mommy and daddy.”

 

There’s this duo, Allie and Hannah. We’ve blessed that we get to visit with Allie and her family with play-dates about every other month. We don’t live very close, but close enough that we can arrange day long play-dates. Allie is determined, so stinkin’ smart, and has a huge vocabulary to tell you what she wants, when she wants, how she wants it, and in what color. Hannah is pretty shy, very slow to warm up to new people, is a follower, likes to play dress up, is warm, loving, likes to be silly like her Daddy, and loooooooves her Allie. To quote Hannah last month, “I miss Allie. She’s my friend. I love her.” Allie loves Hannah right back, and calls Hannah, “MY TAIWAN SISTER” and doesn’t want to share Hannah with her brothers. The girls had a fabulous time together at Taiwan R.O.C.ks! We had sticker and play-doh parties in Miss Lora and Allie’s room, the girls splashed at the water park together, and played chase around tables and hid under tables in a hotel ballroom with a group of preschoolers for over an hour. These unplanned play times were pure joy. It was so easy just to sit back and let them play, or get really involved with helping the really little ones peel stickers off of sticker sheets! Hannah had her first sleepover at Taiwan R.O.C.ks, as well. I gave in when Hannah said, “I want to sleep with Allie,” and Allie’s mommy was pleased with the idea of a slumber party in her room.

 

I asked my husband Kevin if he had anything that he’s like to say about Taiwan R.O.C.ks, and he replied, “No, I’m not good at stuff like that.” But… this man I love is sure good with little kids! I have to share this example that had me tickled. Hannah wanted to look around the hotel and I wanted her out of my hair for a little bit. I told Daddy that he could take the girls for a walk, and could get them a snack. After checking with the mamas to make sure that snacks were okay and they had no food allergies, Kevin was released into the hotel with three little girls at his side. Twenty minutes later he returns with three little girls licking three HUGE ICE CREAM CONES! Only a daddy would choose to manage three nicely dressed little girls with drippy sticky ice cream cones in a nice hotel! He had little girls crawling over him all weekend, giving shoulder rides and lots of hugs. Kevin was in his element. It’s a good thing that Taiwan R.O.C.ks is only planned for once a year. If we spent more time together, my husband might want four kids instead of one or two!

 

We’ve been blessed to meet so many Taiwan adoptive families, and I hope to see you again AND meet more of you next year in Chicago!

Sarah
Mom to Hannah & awaiting #2
Find Sarah blogging at My Little Lantern

3 comments:

  1. I am bawling as I read this Sarah! It is so true that we can get each other! I could have written alot of what you did here! And your hubby also had at least one little boy climbing on him that was so in awe of him. Noah saw this picture and clapped! Your hubby really brought pure joy to Noah in the time and attention he gave to him especially when his own daddy was unable to be with us. Thank you for sharing your heart here with this post and for your families kindness to my sweet Panda Boy. I look forward to getting to know your famliy better as the years go by.

    Blessings,
    Tami Sisemore

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  2. You've got me doubly excited to try to make it to Chicago next year!

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  3. Beautiful Sarah. I am so happy to have met you, and you have written the words above that are so true. I, just like you, had a new "hobby/obsession" while we waited those long couple years. I can relate to everything you said above and that is what is beautiful. If we feel that way as parents, I know my daughter will feel this way as we continue this family reunion.

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