It's about 105 degrees these days, so we spent Saturday outside playing in the water and Tess and Jujube underwent a right of passage... the slip-n-slide. They started with diapers, but ultimately the diapers came off, 'cause after all, what's cuter than naked babies running around in the water and sun?! The bigger kiddos played int he pool while T&J were fascinated with the sprinkler water squirting, trying to get a drink while keeping their balance. Livy, with the goggles, ultimately taught each baby to lay on his/her tummy while she pushed them down the slide. They had so much fun, both Livy and the babies!!! I spared you from the close-ups.
I showed my girlfriend the pics last night, and she was amazed that Tess has so little "junk in her trunk!" I think this is most typical of Asians and Tess's petite frame. And there are some pics where you can still spot her large birthmark across her butt. It's called a Mongolian Spot and pretty common in Asian populations. Looks like a big ol' bruise, and I've known mama's that carry a note in their diaper bag from their pediatrician that promise that they are NOT abusing their child. Jujube has one too, but it's smaller and less noticeable. They'll probably fade with time.
So how are the bigger kiddos doing with having the babies in the family? We get this question a lot! (It's always second after, "Are they twins?") We couldn't have hoped for more, and Papa and I often remark that this is one of the best things about our adoption, watching our older kiddos show different sides of their personality, like compassion, nurturing, giving, selflessness. Not that they didn't have these traits all along, but having T&J around has just brought it out to the surface. Sunny is still our linear first born who loves nothing more than to take charge and often encourages us to have date nights after the little ones are in bed... mostly so she has an excuse to exercise her authority. Livy, as she came out of the womb, is one of the most compassionate people I know. Through our adoption experience, she decided to start saving her money so that she can go in the summer time when she is in high school, and volunteer in orphanages in SE Asia or Africa. She wants to be a pediatric occupational therapist! She loves nothing more that to get on the floor with the babies and play, and dance, and coddle them when they are hurt. Often I have to remind her who is that mama! Surprisingly, Patch, who is 10 and a boy's boy, has shown the most change. He's become very selfless and motherly. He is so so proud of T&J and loves to carry them around and help me. Which came in handy at 6:00am this morning after a late night dinner party. Patch said, can I take Jujube and go play in his bed room? Lucky mama! Boo seems to have had the hardest transition. At 6 years old now, he's the only one that has never been around babies. He really wants to play with them, but doesn't really know how. At one moment he expects Jujube to play baseball in the back yard and in the next he's excitedly roaring in Jujube's face and can't understand why the baby is a little scared of him. It's getting better though.
And something now that I've now had wrestling around in my head for a week or so...
We actively pursue the Vietnamese community, restaurants, cultural events, grocery shopping. They are always curious about the babies and ask questions. And when we do this, we are still surprised that the Vietnamese community does not recognize Tess as Vietnamese. In fact the urge us that she is not Vietnamese, at least in part, reminding us that both the French and American occupied the area for a long while, and giving us other theories why Tess is not Vietnamese to them. In fact, we've always assumed that Tess was Cambodian in part. She has darker skin, a smaller frame, and huge dark eyes. But out of curiosity and a desire to help Tess know all she can about herself, we decided to have Tess genetically tested. It was pretty affordable and only a cheek swab. The results don't actually show where your from, but tell where in the world DNA like yours is found and at what probability. The results were nothing we had even even thought about much less guessed! It confirmed that Tess is most likely bi-racial, (Is that the proper term? Not sure what PC these days!) Very surprisingly, she doesn't have a drop of Cambodian blood in her! It most surely looks like her birth mother was Vietnamese. But some one else in her recent geneitc-past (father?) was a race that we never expected! We assume it was her birth father rather than a grandparent due to the very high probability of the test results, 98-70% of the first 11 of 20 genetic markers were all from this 1 specific race/culture/part of the world. Now, I must tell you that I've been wrestling with what is her private information, and what I can share. I feel comfortable sharing that she is bi-racial and even the specifics, but not so comfortable putting in print the details. With family that I've shared, no one has even come close to guessing what races she is a mixture of. Not even close. I've never even heard of another person with this mix. And now that I've started studying this new culture, things make more sense, Tess's dark gorgeous skin tone, her curls, her big eyes. If I teased you more than you think fair, drop me a note and I'll share specifics, but there's just something that stops me from writing it in a blog. But I'm sharing this with you adoption mamas wondering if any of you have considered or done genetic testing on your adopted child? Would you ever do it? We didn't even consider doing the test on Jujube. His physical attributes are so stereotypical Vietnamese/Asian, we had not doubt of his roots. But with Tess, and the Vietnamese community questioning her authenticity, we thought she'd want to know more about her identity. So needless to say, I have a whole 'nother culture I'm trying to learn about and don't really know where to start or what to do with this info. This is what my mind wrestles with these days. Any advice is appreciated.
We'll I'd better be off to my day... getting 8 people ready for church and out the door on time.