Small steps...Taiwan journey

Small steps...Taiwan journey


This is the story of our lives, especially concerning adopting 3 siblings from Taiwan.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

education-winterberry part 1

Our journey with the kids and educational options went a different direction than I expected. I home schooled my two older kids for 10 years, but by the end of the first summer (2012) with our 3 little ones, it had become clear that different options needed to be found.
 That first fall, Matthew went to a half-day kindergarten at our neighborhood school.  Our school district does full day kindergarten, but I insisted that Matthew being home that last half of the day was important for all of us.  And so it was.
Mei-Mei and Hunter participated in a parent co-op preschool (Joy school) which was just perfect for their needs...moms and friends that we knew well, my participation periodically.

At the end of that school year, I wasn't feeling terribly confident about the school meeting Matthew's needs in first grade, mainly because I have a looser definition of what a 6 year old boy needs to be able to do (positive and negative).  So, we did a search of charters in Anchorage, and found a Waldorf charter that looked really good. Charter schools sometimes lose students in 7th and 8th grade because kids go back to neighborhood schools for sports or other reasons. In our case, there were spots open at Winterberry for the two older grades, and since Sam was in 7th grade, he got in. Matthew and Mei-Mei came in as siblings.

(Maypole celebration 2015)

We've now been at Winterberry for 2 1/2 years, and the journey has been like many journeys: hard, wonderful, filled with love and learning.  For me, as an adoptive parent of child with trauma in their background, the best thing about a Waldorf education is the goal is to educate head, hands, and heart....not just head.  What that has translated to in our family is that my children are deeply loved by their teachers.  Great effort has been made to understand them, their needs, their challenges, but most of all, their strengths.  There is an amazing emphasis on the childrens' strengths that I find unusual in a school setting.  
(back to school haircuts, 2015)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Since we've had the kids (going on 2 1/2 years now), we haven't traveled outside of Alaska. It's expensive to leave and with 5 kids instead of 2, well...that's obvious, right? But July 2014 was my parents 50th anniversary, so a great vacation was planned.

We six kids with our spouses and collective 25 grandkids (minus a few with conflicts) all went to Emerald Isle, North Carolina the second week of September. It was hugely memorable and just a blast for the littles to meet cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents for the first time. Add to that, the beauty and fun of the ocean and you have a magical experience.

Friday, August 16, 2013

family pictures

An old family friend took some pictures for us at one of our favorite spots-Beluga Point...they reflect the current obsession with sticks of all shapes and sizes.  and show some of the beauties of Alaska!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

dipnetting at the kenai in alaska

A HUGE part of summer here is fishing for salmon and this week, it's dipnetting. big huge net, limit of 35 fish, which can happen fairly quickly if you hit it just right.
Tom took Emma, Sam and Zhong-Lin...gorgeous day!

catch the fish, bonk the fish...

play in the water

kiss the fish, thank you fish!

Friday, July 5, 2013

independence day

photo from
It's been cool and a very different experience introducing the kids to American holidays. We've gone to the AK Chinese Association events like the Dragon Festival recently (which, in AK, is nothing like it was in Taiwan), and as with all bicultural "tries," it takes work. It reminds me of being raised by a Swedish mother in the U.S...we all love the colors blue and yellow (colors of the Swedish flag) and Swedish Christmas decorations, but our connection to the country is tenuous at best.

I was so bogged down during the winter holidays that I just couldn't write about our experience with Thanksgiving and Christmas.

But July of my very favorites! My dad is an American history lover and passed on that love to me. I hope for them to feel a gratitude for our country, the miracle that it exists, the founders who sacrificed, the God who oversaw its creation.

Begin with food! baked oatmeal with vanilla yogurt and berries...a hit (candles and singing happy birthday helped)

We found some great picture books that introduce Independence Day:

and one on George Washington that includes God's hand in the work of this country:

We made a flag cake for the BBQ planned for later in the day. They loved helping with that.

went to a was blustery and cloudy, but kites were a hit!

For future years, this is another favorite with individual bios on the signers of the Declaration with beautiful woodcut illustrations.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


What do you say after one year?? Easier in some ways, harder in others. In the beginning, feeding and clothing people was enough. Now, emotions and relationships and family function are the priority. For example, our focus for the summer is limited to family work daily and scriptures. That's what will fit on my emotional plate.

I can say that three is WAY different than I anticipated. When I lie on my bed with just one, or take a walk or go to the store, it is a true pleasure. One child doesn’t demand attention, clamor for more or fair or whatever is the flavor of the day. But, I am reassured that it will eventually calm down, so say parents of kids close in age. Is it true??

At the end of the day, I am hopeful that we can have a home that will foster growth and happiness, love and blossoming into who they are meant to be.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

my right arm

i've been without my right arm for a week now...and as i expected, it's been somewhat painful. But hopefully, we can pull ourselves together and function!

Emma left on a six week trip to visit my sister and her family in England and got a bonus trip to France with my parents who met there many years ago. It seemed like a chance we just couldn't pass broaden horizons, practice a teeny bit of french and see some family.

So, she's gone and so is her special brand of care for the littles. She has the ability to calm things down and just make it all right.