Tag Archives: zoe

Happy 1st Birthday/Tol, Baby!

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Happy 1st Birthday/Tol, Baby!, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Don’t you love the look on her face?
She’s watching a bird fly overhead.
(She’s wearing the hanbok sent with her from her Korean foster mother.)

We spent this Saturday with family celebrating birthdays. Both Zoe and her cousin, J, were born on May 16 – 12 years apart. We celebrated her first birthday with a Tol Party. We had a few friends and family over for a mid-day barbeque. it was great fun. Even the birthday girl laughed her way through the three hour party until she finally sat still and decided maybe she did, indeed, want to take a nap. (Although it was only a 30 minute one much to my chagrin. *I* was tired and we had not only the clean up but then our nephews party that night too!)

We had a gluten-free affair (minus the cake which we got at the Korean bakery). We served jap chae (Korean sweet potato starch noodles) that I made (thus gluten-free), kal bi (Korean BBQ Short Ribs), Korean chicken wings, kim chi (2 varieties – one spicy radish and the other a cool kelp noodle salad), fresh fruit (strawberries, pears, oranges, mandarins, apples, etc) and plenty of rice cakes (about 12 different varieties).

For Zoe’s toljabee (a ceremony where the child is escorted about a table by their father to select two items that represent their future), she chose a plastic knife which means she will be a warrior (think modern day courageous person) and a good chef. She also chose the money (indicating wealth). My husband was a tad disappointed. He had stacked the odds in hopes that she would select something to indicate that she would be a scholar by placing not only a book (although, I later pointed out that he had used my Moleskin sketchbook which would mean that she would become an artist…LOL) but he also placed a ruler on the table (mathematics/science/architecture, etc) as well. While the ceremony was fun, we both know that we just want her to be happy, healthy and whole.

Some people think that I was sad to not have a bite of her birthday cake, but really, I didn’t want it nor do I need it. I’m happy to report that since starting my mindful eating and joining the gym, I’ve dropped two pant sizes. Not too shabby, but I’m not stopping here. My intent is to live a healthier, fuller, more active life. Weight loss, while fabulous and totally necessary for me, is the secondary objective. Having a long life with Zoe during which we can have a million adventures is my primary goal. Next year, I hope to be able to run a 5K. I don’t quite know how I shall train for it with a baby in tow, but I’ll figure something out. If I can’t run it, then she and I will definitely walk it together. We could probably walk that 5k this year… hmm… maybe I will have to figure out the running part. Any tips, people? All ideas welcome!

We hope you are all having a wonderful mid-May and finding ways to celebrate yourselves and each day as well. Seek out an adventure – cook something new! What are your taste buds craving?

Right now… I think I’ll make some three bean salad and chomp on some mini-cucumbers with homemade garlic hummus. Life is good. Don’t you think?

Happy Gluten-Free Life and Adventures, everyone!
-Kate

She’s here! An Open Letter to Our Daughter

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She’s here!, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Dear Sweet Zoe,

As I write this I am waiting to hear the date/time of your flight to us. I’m so overwhelmed by the tons of emotions – excitement, anxiety, joy, elation, relief, concern for you and your foster mom, gratitude for Carol who will be escorting you, confusion about what lies ahead of us as a family, and an unbelievable amount of love. I also have thoughts racing around in my head that make me wonder about your trip, your thoughts, your losses, your needs and what you will ask about these days when you are older and we talk together. Oh, life is a wondrous and glorious thing. It is something that will amaze you and give you joy. It is something that challenges us all through it’s ups and downs, but remains is some strange way, consistent with love and light.

Your dad and I dreamed of you for years before this process ever began. There was never a moment in our partnership that we didn’t talk about adopting when we could. You were never an afterthought, not a result of what could not have been; but rather you have always been exactly what we hope for – what COULD BE! You have been you. In that basic sense, the basic tenets of agreeing as a soul to become who you are in this lifetime is all that we have ever hoped. You. As you are. Nothing more, nothing less.

We talked for weeks, months and even years about what name you would have. We didn’t worry about the name – we wanted a name that would fit you. When we chose the name Zoe, it was as though there was no longer a need for discussion or debate. It was you. We were satisfied. So why did we chose Zoe?

Zoe means life.
It is the beginning of all things.
Even though we come in to life alone, we do not do so by ourselves.
YOU are loved by the many people who have been touched by your life.
The washing of our lives upon the shores and over the shoulders and backs of each other is what makes us who we are.
Life is like the waves on the ocean.
They begin beyond our vision and never cease.
Some days they rise high over our heads
and some days they gently rock and splash at our toes.
We as humanity gather together at the shore for play, for sustenance and in moments of awe.
We share in the gifts of life together.
We celebrate, we mourn, we learn and we grow.
We ride out the waves as they are given to us.
We are altered by the movements of the ocean around us and molded by not only the waves, but our reactions to them.
Life is beautiful.

Some people may think that we have named you Zoe because you are the gift of life in to our lives.
But really, you are so much more than that.

You are the gift of life, not for us,
but rather from your wonderful, strong birth mother.
She gave you strength and courage.
She gave you the chance to live and seize the moments of Life around you.
She granted you the dreams and the possibilities.
She knows the beauty of Life.
She knows the beauty of You.

And then those dreams and possibilities were supported and nurtured by your omma.
She cared for you as you learned about our world and comfort.
She rocked you, sang to you, danced with you,
watched you crawling, heard you laughing and comforted you.
Your omma knows the beauty of Life.
She knows the beauty of You.

And your Dad and I?
We wish to give those dreams wings.
We wish to give you the music of life.
We wish to carry on with you like waves on an ocean.
Another pair to love Life and You.
To support your dreams and Life.
We know the beauty of Life.
We know the beauty of You.

And that is why we chose to name you Zoe.
The name means Life.
It is You.
And we are honored to know and love You.

Welcome Home, Little Girl.
With all our hearts, we love you so –
-Your Mom & Dad