‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Your Questions Answered

Here they are! The answers to your burning questions! Actually, only two lurkers wrote. Everyone else is one of my longtime blogger buddies - and I'm even more grateful for you today!

Kristina P. asked "I've been curious to hear if it's harder to adopt as a single woman? " I had heard it was from adoption boards and chatrooms, but I didn't find it difficult in the least. My SW did want to make sure I had a nice support network, and the Russian judge queried me about being single. I thankfully got her to laugh by asking if she knew any available single Russian men in the vicinity. Other than that, I didn't run into any problems, or even many questions!

Torina asked "Ooh! Fun! My question is, how do you work and home/unschool? I am not questioning you in a negative way, just in a way of hmmm, I wonder how I can do this, too, way. Also, have you seen any progression in your foster care journey? As to unschooling, it has proven easier than when I sent her to school! My schedule changes every month, so that means our home learning does, too. I guess the best way to explain is to talk about what we are doing this month:

Me: up at 6am for shower & last minute house cleaning
7:30am Leave for work.
7:45-10am teach
10:10am home, wake up Anastasia
10:30-12:30 learning may or may not happen
12:30-2:30pm teach
2:40: home: learning may happen from 2:40pm on.
10:10am or thereabouts, begrudgingly gets up
May do any of the following: read, knit, bake, create a lego sculpture, organize her room, work on her scrapbook, make an online movie with her imac, create soundtracks (cool imac thing), paint, do science experiments from one of her cool chemistry or physics books, build a snowfort, do math problems online, watch Planet Earth and then quiz me (she loves doing this), cut her hair (lol), play with the dogs outside in the yard...you get the picture.
10:30-12:30, she will do some of these things with me.
Then from 12:30-2:30 she is home alone. Being 16, she has that luxury. I am 3 minutes away by car, and have my phone with me at all times, but she has only called me once all year when I was at work, when she had a migraine. I came home right away.
After school hours, she will go in search of kids in the neighborhood to play in the snow. She loves snow. I have to remind her to come in!

After Feb 5th, I have four weeks off, and we are already planning what to do. During weeks I do not work, we usually go into Boston for the day, or visit friends, or find things to do locally. Some things we've done during my time off: gone camping, visited relatives, take the dogs to the beach & build winter sandcastles, go museum-hopping, go antiqueing (she hated it), go on mystery rides (see where the car ends up), visit the library, the local wolf sanctuary (yes, there is one!), go on a scavenger hunt, etc, etc.

Hope this gives you an idea! We live very spontaneously, which would not work for everyone. I like that my schedule changes so often. Life is never boring that way!

As for fostering. ....grrr..... I still cannot reach the woman in charge at DSS. Her line rings non-stop on weekends and after 5pm weekdays, and then is busy non-stop from 8am-5pm weekdays. It is infuriating. As for the Ariella fostering situation, I'll be answering that below....

Diana asked "Have you heard more about being able to parent baby Ariella?" Get ready to be shocked. I heard from my friend J yesterday that N, the mom, moved home again, and both Ariella and her sister are out of emergency foster care and back in the home. Yup. You heard right. They were returned to the parents who consistently leave them home alone and do not feed them or show them any nurturing at all. I give up. The SW didn't even have the decency to call me and let me know.

Ashley asks "I'm a lurker- I may follow now that you know I'm here...Have you a favourite Shakespeare play? Yes! "The Winter's Tale." I know it's not his best work in many ways, but the story of redemption and forgiveness makes it incredibly powerful to me. And the magical story of a statue coming back to life doesn't hurt either!

hippymummy has asked "Brilliant idea! Here's one...The camp that you run each summer, could you tell me about this? As an English mum we don't have summer camps here....."
Well, I started it twenty years ago, with just me and a group of twelve students. I now have a staff of about sixteen and enrollment capped at about 120 last year. Children aged 6-18 come and participate in a number of month-long programs, all culminating in Shakespeare performances at the end. We have an outdoor stage at a simply magical location on the ocean, surrounded by willow trees and a two-hundred year old lighthouse. I look forward to the summer all year long, even though it means a sixty hour work week for me!

MimiX asked " I like reading about your daughters journey from Russia. Like her, I was adopted from Russia and I am interested in hearing about other adoption stories. Actually, I have thought of a question. It is random, but is your daughter fluent in Russian? Are you?"
Anastasia is still fluent, though she is starting to forget a few words here and there. The three girls who were adopted at the same time as she was from the orphanage have all lost their Russian entirely. I fought to keep Anastasia fluent. I think speaking to her sister every few weeks helps to keep her current with it. As for me, I have never been fluent but could speak what I'd call "kindergarten Russian" when I adopted her. Translation : I could make myself understood, but was not very articulate! I can still speak very basic Russian, but I understand it much better than I speak it.

And finally, brenkachicka asked "If you could only give one piece of advice to a mom with an adopted from foster care at 13 months three year old who clearly shows signs of RAD but cannot find any professionals who believe her, and does not get any kind of therapy, what would that advice be? "
Wow. What an amazing question. First I would tell her to trust what her gut is telling her. Of course a mom will know better than the professionals if her child has RAD. Then I would simply tell her to act "as if". If your child did indeed have RAD, what would you do? Then do those things: co-sleeping, lots of intense attachment parenting, allow regression, love unconditionally, and everything else I mention in this post. For me, keeping myself completely available to her is the most important choice I've made. No matter how frustrating it gets, I make sure I drop whatever I'm doing when she needs face time, cuddles, rocking or what have you. I know I can't do that forever, but for now I know it's right.


  1. Thanks for answering my question! I can't believe they allowed the baby back into the home.

  2. Anonymous6:41 PM

    hey! it's heather- you know i read, but didn't get to this until now. sorry i missed asking you a question. i will next time! or i can now, if you wish. :) you rule, keri.

  3. I love your school days with Anastasia. I can see how she would get more out of them than school. There is so much wasted time in school.

  4. Pak Karamu visiting your blog

  5. thanks Keri, sounds like fun! i think one of the biggest problems we have here is that the way we're taught it, it's sooo stale and boring. I was an intelligent girl at school but even i couldn't get my head around it until i went and saw the play during half term. I'm sure that if we'd had an opportunity like the camp that you run then Shakespeare would've been much more interesting to us too.
    As for that poor little baby and her sister, i can't believe that kids treated like this would keep on being returned to their parents time and again. Are they waiting for them to become another statistic? Perish the thought, bless them both and I'll pray that they're kept safe and well and live in the place that will be the very best for them xXx

  6. Anonymous4:39 PM

    here are mine, if you want them: if you sould change one thing about american public education, what would it be? second: are there russian cultural things you get to do with your daughter out your way? in the city? (sidenote- there's a really active russian club here - russian is a language choice and taught grades 7-12- and they do lots. i should tell you or give you the website.) love heather


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