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Your questions answered – part 1

May 18, 2009

Thanks so much everyone for leaving such interesting questions on my last post! I’m going to answer the first six questions today and the other questions on a separate post. Here goes…

The first question came from Dawn over at She is Too Fond of Books. Dawn asked: I’d love to hear a little about your daughter’s adoption. Did you go to China? How old was she when she came into your family? Have you read Marian Henley’s THE SHINIEST JEWEL about her international adoption experience?

In July of 2007, I got on a plane along with my husband Joe and daughter Leah (who is our biological child) and headed to China to adopt a little girl. Her name was Yi Mei and she lived in the southwestern province of Guangxi. She was 9 months old. She had spent the first four months of her life in an orphanage and then lived with a foster family for her remaining time in China.

Unlike Korea, the Chinese government requires you to travel to China to finalize the adoption of a Chinese baby. Six weeks prior, we had received a referral for a little girl through our adoption agency. Along with medical records and two photographs, we were given two days to decide whether or not we would except the referral. Once we did, it took another couple weeks to receive travel approval and to find out when our appointment at the US consulate (where the adoption is finalized) in Guangzhou would be.

Maya Yi MeiHere is one of the referral photos we received. How could you say no to that face!! 

Funny story – we received a photo of Yi Mei in early June of 2007. Knowing that we would have to travel to China sometime late July/early August, I felt pretty confident that I would be home to receive the highly anticipated Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on July 21st. I even special ordered it to be delivered to my home that day. I figured it would give me plenty of reading material while on the long flight to China. Guess when we left for China? July 20th. I kid you not.

Maya Yi Mei is now a happy, beautiful 2 1/2 year old and we feel so blessed to have her.  

Yes Dawn, I did read The Shiniest Jewel and really enjoyed it. You can see my review from last year here.

Oh, and even though my husband claims that I snore, I think he’s lying…

Softdrink over at Fizzy Thoughts asked this one: Traveling? I didn’t know you liked to travel. So….where all have you traveled? If you could go one place you have never been, where would it be? And if you could return to one place you have visited, which would you choose?

Hmmm, great question! Yes, I absolutely love to travel! If I had endless amounts of cash I’d be on one plane after another seeing the world! Where are some great places I’ve been? Well, I’ve visited my sister three times in Hawaii (in fact, the first time I ever flew with my daughter Leah was when she was six months old on a ten hour flight from NJ to Honolulu). I’ve been to Florida numerous times, San Francisco, San Diego and Palm Desert years ago. Traveled twice to Denver and once to Vail for work. Even stayed at The Peabody in Memphis (you know, where the ducks swim in the lobby fountain)! Have been to Montreal a bunch of times, Toronto and Quebec City. Went to Cancun for spring break when I was eighteen and got to visit Chichen Itza which was cool. Even spent some time out by the pool in Jamaica a few years ago. Obviously mainland China, but also took a few trips to Hong Kong to visit family. Hong Kong is where my husband grew up.

One glaring omission to my list of travels is Europe. I’ve always wanted to go, but have yet had the chance. So to answer you question of where I would like to go where I’ve never been, then I’d probably have to say Paris. You know, just because it’s PARIS!! Where would I go back? Actually I’ve vacationed on Martha’s Vineyard twice (last time about six years ago) and would LOVE to visit again. It’s such a beautiful and unique island.

Booking Mama Julie asked a hard one: How has being a mother changed your life the most?

Julie, I have to say that you have me pretty stumped. I came up with a response, typed it all up neatly and then promptly DELETED it because it just didn’t feel right. To be honest, I don’t really know how motherhood has changed my life in the most significant way. Made me more tired, sure. More satisfied, yes. Given me more heartburn, definitely. I don’t really remember what it was like NOT having kids. All I know is that I sure am glad to have them.

Jenn of Jenn’s Bookshelf also came up with a hard question: How has having cancer changed your outlook on life?

We all like to hear the standard answer to a question like that. You know, that it has made you appreciate the little things in life. Or maybe that you are able to have a better perspective on what is truly important. And these are true. Having cancer makes you look at things differently. But it also pisses you off. Two weeks before my routine mammogram, my mother died of cancer at Sloan Kettering in New York City. Which means I was pretty mad that she lost her battle with cancer, after having survived breast cancer for thirteen years and was even madder to find out that I had cancer too.

So now I find myself determined to kick this disease to the curb. How do I plan on doing this? Well, for starters, by joining the Army of Women as soon as I’m completely finished with my treatments. By reminding women to GET A MAMMOGRAM. By raising money for breast cancer. By doing what I can so that my daughters don’t get breast cancer.

So how’s my outlook? Pretty darn happy that I’m alive. Pretty damn mad that 1 in 8 women will have to go through what I have. To have bodies forever changed by cancer. To always wonder if it will come back. To have had to say the words “I have cancer.”

Kathy at Bermuda Onion and Trish from Hey Lady! asked kind of the same question: How do you manage to do so much – be a mom, read, blog, attend to your medical needs? How do you balance everything: reading, blogging, twittering and other online stuff withfamily, parenting, being with your husband, etc?

OK, here’s my confession. I balance everything with lots of HELP!! Let me explain. I’ve been a stay at home mom since Leah was born seven years ago. Up until last year, I took care of most things in the home. Cooked, cleaned, laundry, child-care, etc. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last September and was getting ready for my first surgery, I knew I would not be able to physically keep up with all of the household duties AND take care of a two year old at home all day while my oldest was in elementary school. So that’s when we started getting HELP. We hired a cleaning lady to come in once every two weeks to clean the house. Then we hired a nanny five mornings a week to play with Maya while I got better. We even had people making us meals when I wasn’t feeling up to it. Between the three surgeries and all the chemotherapy, I’ve been lucky to have help along the way.

What does this mean? Well, when I was feeling lousy after a chemo treatment or surgery, it meant I could lay in bed to recuperate. When I feel better, it means that I have my mornings free to grab a coffee at a local shop, grocery shop by myself, have lunch with a friend or read a book. Add to the fact that Maya naps for about an hour and a half AFTER the nanny leaves means that I’ve got some free time on my hands. That plus I write most of my reviews after the kiddos go nighty-night. So you see, I can only juggle all this stuff since I am incredibly lucky to have lots of people around me helping out all the time.

Oh, a book related question! Amy from My Friend Amy asked: What one book have your read this year that you would recommend to everyone?

I just got done reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I haven’t written my review yet, but have to say this was one powerful, touching read that I think appeals on so many levels. I would highly recommend it.

I’ll be back in a few days to answer some more of your questions. Thanks for playing along!

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19 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2009 3:33 pm

    Thanks for your honest answers. Just to let you know, I had my annual mammogram in January.

  2. May 18, 2009 3:47 pm

    I didn’t mean to stump you! I would have a difficult time with that one too! It’s without a doubt the most life-changing event but it’s so hard to articulate what it means. Or at least it is for me because I’m not good with expressing myself in writing.

  3. May 18, 2009 4:04 pm

    Clearly your answers are all straight from the heart – I read them just like you were sitting talking to us over a cup of coffee!

    That baby pic of Maya is too sweet! What an adventure you had! I’m sure all the helping hands you have now (friends and neighbors) were happy to help you prep for your baby girl in such a short time!

    p.s. I had my mammogram last month!

  4. May 18, 2009 4:29 pm

    You did such a good job answering the questions, Stephanie! I especially like your answer about how cancer has changed you. Very insightful! Can’t wait to meet you in a few weeks. 🙂

  5. May 18, 2009 6:26 pm

    Wow, I really enjoyed reading your answers. You are truly an amazing person! Your strength and honesty come through in every response.

  6. May 18, 2009 7:31 pm

    This has been such a pleasure to read. I fully enjoyed getting to know you in a personal way. Your honesty is refreshing. I so very much look forward to meeting you in person at BEA.

  7. May 18, 2009 7:48 pm

    Stephanie, Thank you so much for this post. I am a subscriber of your blog and I enjoy reading what you have to say, even if I just lurk and not comment. I am glad I got to know a little more about you!

  8. May 18, 2009 8:43 pm

    Loved reading your responses to the questions. I look forward to your next round!!

  9. May 18, 2009 9:31 pm

    Thank you for taking the time to answer all of our questions! Can’t wait to meet you in a few weeks!!

  10. May 18, 2009 9:32 pm

    Thanks for your honest and thoughtful answers. I look forward to meeting you, you seem like such a wonderful person!

  11. May 18, 2009 9:33 pm

    I loved reading this Stephanie! 🙂

  12. May 18, 2009 10:37 pm

    We’re opposite travellers. I’ve been to Europe three times, but never to Asia. And most of my US travels have been along the west coast and to Hawaii (although there have been a few trips to NY). And I’d choose London over Paris any day (although I realize that puts me in the minority)!

    Thanks for the Q&A session!

  13. May 20, 2009 10:37 am

    I really enjoyed reading your answers to these questions. Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us. Oh, and yes you should definitely go to Paris someday! 🙂

  14. May 21, 2009 5:43 am

    This was really fun to read! I love these types of posts and enjoyed getting to know you better this way. And you’re right.. how could anyone say no to that precious little face??

  15. June 3, 2009 9:59 am

    I just read The Help as well…AMAZING! I enjoyed reading your answers!

  16. June 5, 2009 4:37 pm

    Wow girl, you are such an inspiration! I really enjoyed reading more about you 🙂

  17. abdullah permalink
    April 11, 2010 8:01 am

    my mother ill last five months case tumour in the gallbladder extention in the liver plz tell me the treatment

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  1. Your questions answered – part 2 « Stephanie’s Written Word

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