The Secret Life of Adopted Parents

Another Hatchett Job, adopt, adoptive family, adoptive parents, love, creative commonsI have never written much about our journey toward parenthood.  Hubby and I adopted our oldest son and then (surprise!) were suddenly blessed with a biological son, 17 months later.  I have always said that our youngest was proof that God had a sense of humor!  Doctors surely don’t know anything and I wouldn’t change our paths to get here even one little bit.

But, most people don’t really understand what it is to be a family put together by choice as much as by chance.   Once you adopt a child, you meet, find, get introduced to other adoptive families.  Pulling from several families and my own experiences, consider the following.

How many biological parents get asked these questions?

Which one is real? (referring to two children, one being biological and the other adopted and said in front of said children)

What IS he?  (referring to the bi-racial child of white parents.  To their credit, these parents would answer, “a little boy”  super slowly, as if the questioner was a total moron, which was usually the case)

Why are you so much taller than your brother?  (to a 6 foot 9 inch adopted child and his 5 foot 10 inch brother.)Another Hatchett Job, adopt, adoptive family, adoptive parents, love, creative commons

You’re a saint for taking on “other people’s problems” when who would want to do THAT???   (exclaimed upon learning that an adopted child was autistic and had learning disabilities, never mind that the parents were thrilled to have a child, ANY child to love)

Which one do you love more?  (Really, like that is really even an option)

Would you have kept him/her if you had known?  (referring to an ADHD adoptive child)

Will you accept a child who requires glasses?  (from the social worker to two obviously spectacled parents to be)

Why didn’t THEY (birthparents) want him/her?  Also:  Why didn’t his/her REAL family want him/her?  (honestly, they wanted this child desperately, but put his or her needs in front of their own and, by the way, my family is as REAL as it gets!)

Is he/she YOURS?  (to a transracial adoption family.  Like a lifetime of love and a court order ain’t good enough for the casual observer)

It’s so easy to have a child OVER THERE, they just give them away!  (in front of an Asian child who was transracially adopted)

Another Hatchett Job, everyone deserves a family, adopt, adoptive family, adoptive parents, love, creative commonsAnd this is only the tip of the iceberg!

So after 18 plus years of hearing this kind of well-meaning, but idiotic drivel, it was so refreshing to see an article on Huffington Post by Kathy Lynn Harris entitled, Dear Mom of an Adopted Child.  It begins:

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,

I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.

It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.

Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.

To read the full text, click here.

Ms. Harris touches an emotional chord as she demonstrates by example the loving gestures that a loving, waiting to adopt parent will go through on the painstaking journey to parenthood.  On a very visceral level, she gets it.

Another Hatchett Job, adopt, adoptive family, adoptive parents, love, creative commonsTo be an adoptive parent is to truly explore love to its logical conclusion, that love is everywhere and it doesn’t have to be my genetic progeny to encompass all of my hopes and dreams in this life.  Love is far more than biology.

Is there an adopted child in your family?  Tell us about him/her!  Both my younger brother and my eldest son are adopted, as are two cousins.  We love adoption!

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

I Want to Homeschool…Now What?

Right or Wrong? Creative Commons, Another Hatchett Job blog, homeschooling, education, learning, curriculum, questionsAt one point, every homeschool parent has asked him or herself this very question and the reply they usually receive sounds like *crickets*.
This can be very disconcerting when you find yourself surrounded by articles on various schooling or un-schooling methodologies, a myriad of curriculum choices, and lots of uncertainty. Fortunately, in the last several years, many experienced homeschool families have been posting informative articles online that can help new homeschoolers navigate this brave new educational world.

I truly wish that these resources had been more available when I was starting out with my two sons.  My youngest is graduating from high school thisAnother Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons year, and although we have tried public school, private school, and homeschool, and I am a certified teacher, I had all the same uncertainties that most new homeschool parents share.

Recently, I ran across a wonderful article entitled My Top 16 Tips for Beginning Homeschoolers on the Survival Mom blog.  This is exactly the kind of article that would have eased my fears and helped me to just jump right in.  I hope that you find it helpful, too.

Do you homeschool?  When did you decide to begin?  We homeschooled off and on throughout our journey.

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Why Kids Don’t Play Outside Any More

Another Hatchett Job, outdoor play, nature, kids, family, homeschoolI am not sure exactly when it happened, but the entire world has changed.  Kids simply don’t play outside anymore and it’s a crying shame!

Perhaps parents are working more hours and aren’t home to supervise latchkey kids.  Perhaps video games and movies on demand are so much more common than they should be.  Perhaps the increase in global news coverage and communications has convinced parents that there is a pedophile lurking around every corner.  Perhaps we are too lazy to go outside ourselves and then our children follow our lead. Perhaps our lifestyles are overly scheduled and the only time that a kid gets to touch the grass is at an organized sporting event, and then that grass is manicured and sprayed to be perfect turf.

Perhaps we should just GO OUTSIDE!  

Kids need free play time outside in order to help to stimulate their sensory nervous system.  And, believe it or not, this stimulation also leads to a sense of calm in ADD and ADHD kids.  Kids need to run and play and swing and spin and roll and get dirty, sweaty, and stinky.  Looking at images formed in the clouds and laughing and dreaming while laying in the grass are not wasted times for a kid (or an adult), it’s all part of who we are meant to be…connected to the Earth, our home.

In generations past, children had chores to do, sometimes inside the house, often in the barn or yard.  After chores could come fun–swimming in a creek, traipsing around the woods, building Another Hatchett Job, kids playing outside, nature, kids, homeschool, family, creative commonsforts, playing chase or tag, etc.  This allowed kids to burn off excess energy, be connected to the dark/light cycles and seasonal weather changes that we experience.  It made them healthier, hardier folks who tended to understand the world around themselves in a more meaningful way.

I recently ran across a wonderful article by Angela Hanscom that explores what has happened to eliminate outdoor play from our children’s lives.  She begins with a tale of a trip outside with children,

The third grade classroom that was visiting our nature center for the day consisted of mostly boys–rowdy, loud and rambunctious boys. As we started out into the woods, the children spoke loudly to each other in anticipation of what was to come. After playing a quick game and explaining the ground rules, it was time for free play. As soon as the children realized they had the freedom to explore and build in the woods, something funny happened – they got really quiet. They dispersed and many of them started working together to build a large teepee.

Nothing gives me more pleasure then to see children contentedly building a structure using branches and logs out in the woodland. That is, until fear kicked in and everyone’s pulse increased a few notches at the shrill cry of alarm.

Another Hatchett Job, kids playing outside, family, kids, nature, homeschool“Put the sticks, DOWN!”

The article goes on to explain some of the many sensory inputs that children receive from outside free play and why they seek out and find certain ones at certain times in their lives.  It’s a great read and I hope that you will take a few moments and check out the full article here.

I love trail riding and playing in my tiny garden.  What is your favorite outdoor activity as an adult?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

The Chicken Zone….

Disclaimer:  I thought I would have this posted about two weeks ago.  Unfortunately, life took over and, alas, I did not.

As I teased earlier this week on Facebook, yesterday, I drove over to a neighboring town to receive an order of 120 pounds of very cold, bagged, chicken breasts.  People, that is A LOT of chicken!  Three waxed, cardboard cartons worth, sitting on plastic in the back seat, to be exact.

So, why on Earth did I have 12o pounds of said chicken pieces in the car with me?  Because, according to Zaycon Foods, they are, “100 % natural chicken with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients.”  It was also only $1.99 a pound and that is a really good deal for my area.  I can occasionally get chicken breasts at this price, but it is the cheapo, frozen, injected with salt water stuff in the bags at a big box store.  Certainly not hormone and additive free.

Plus, I love seeing my shelves and freezer full of good, healthy meals ready to be eaten!  Real food is a good thing.

I first learned about Zaycon and their wonderful chicken from the blog One Hundred Dollars a Month.  I used her referral code to sign in and set up a free account.  I read her articles on how she dealt with a huge box of chicken breasts when she got them home.  And, then, I, quite tentatively, ordered a 40 pound case of chicken.

Wow!  Was I even impressed!  Each breast is about twice the size of the anemic looking ones we got at the local grocers, so we promptly cut them in half and put them in labelled ziplock bags with 6 portions (worked out to 3 whole breasts) in each bag and froze them.  Hubby cut the breasts in half and pulled off a few remnants of skin, but the chicken was clean and nice.  I think we got 19 meals worth frozen from that original case (plus the meal we ate that night) that we ate over the next few months.  We enjoyed it grilled, fried, baked, in soups, casseroles, you name it.

The price was right and it was better quality than we could get locally.

Problem was, we ran out before they ran their next sale in our area.  So, this time, we were fortunate enough to have been able to put back some money in anticipation of the sale that was this week, so we decided to order…more than one case.  We finally decided that two cases would, in all likelihood allow us to make it to the next planned sale in our area.  Plus, I like to pressure can foods to use later, so a case to can up would be handy.  Ultimately, we purchased 3 cases, for an unprecedented (to our family, anyway) 120 pounds of meat to all be picked up on a single day.

In preparation, hubby and I asked the kids what their favorite chicken meals were, looked up a few new ones that looked worth trying, and pulled out some tried and true recipes.  As we have gotten into a bit of a cooking rut of repeating meals lately, I decided that instead of plain chicken in bags, we would try and make as many as possible into “freezer meals” or packets with everything needed to get to cooking a particular dish.

At this point, we ate one delicious meal of a balsamic chicken that my Mom made last night and put up 29 other meals into the freezer.  I won’t post recipes here, because until we try them all, I don’t want to accidentally recommend something that doesn’t work out quite as planned.  We also poached 15 breasts and put them into the fridge to shred tonight when they weren’t boiling hot.  We also gleaned off 6 quarts of chicken stock to use in soups later.  That looks like about 35 meals total (with a generous serving of chicken per person) for 6 large apetites out of 120 pounds of chicken.

We started off wondering if we would have enough recipes for variety.  We ended up with no more than 2 of any one recipe, a few singles, and none left over for canning.  You could have knocked me over with a feather to not have any left to can up!

For the record, I didn’t take enough pictures of the process this time.  And not everything packet is a complete meal, but we did manage the following:

1 packet of chunks for chicken fried rice

2 packets of chunks for chicken teriyaki

1 packet of chunks for chicken korma

Shredded chicken for

Taco meals

Enchiladas with green sauce

Tamale pie

2  Baked chicken parmigiana

Serving size pieces packaged for

Fried chicken

BBQ chicken sandwiches

Buffalo chicken sandwiches

Lemon Pepper chicken salads

2 Southwest Chicken Dinner ( 1 pot meal)

Chicken Fajita wraps

Quick Chicken Posole

Greek Chicken in Yogurt marinade

Chicken Marengo (1 pot meal)

Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Italian Chicken in marinade.

After we verify that everything turned out great for this freezer meal, chicken edition, we will share recipes either here or in an inexpensive e-book.  Most are available online to try if you really can’t wait.

I encourage everyone to try Zaycon Foods.  Here is my referral code.  I will receive exactly $1 off of a future order if you set up an account and make your first purchase.  At that point, you will get your own referral code to use to share with others.  If you use my code, thank you.  If not, I still really want you to try some of this great chicken!  It’s easier on the budget than you think and it ‘s good quality.

Edited to add:  we have been using these meals for about two weeks now and they have all been fantastic!  It’s been nice not to think about dinner other than to thaw it in advance and toss it in the crockpot!

Have you ever put up large quantities of meats?  What are YOUR tips?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Technical Colleges: A Solid Choice For Higher Education

Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons, alphabet, homeschool

As a homeschooling mama, my long range view is ever toward my children’s futures. I want to make decisions to allow my sons to utilize their potential and achieve their goals and dreams. But, as the years creep closer to the day when I will no longer be my children’s primary educator, I am faced with deciding what avenues of later education I should encourage my son’s to pursue (knowing all the while that the ultimate decision is really not mine).

The choices were easier in centuries past. Poorer families could continue on with subsistence farming on their Lord’s property or perhaps be lucky enough to be sold into an apprenticeship to learn a trade. There were no wages during the time of apprenticeship, but a solid career awaited at the end of training. Richer families became scientists, poets, or just rich hangers on at various Courts. They could also manage their lands and go hunting, perhaps taking some of the poorer subsistence farmers along as guides for the day. There were no middle classes to speak of.

It would have been much easier to choose a path in those days, but the options were (especially for the poorer families) somewhat grim. Now, we have a plethora of options available to our youth, but we tend to only recognize one, the four year college education.

Please go to Molly Green Magazine to read the entire article.

Does your community have a Technical College?  Do you plan to utilize it?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Log Cabin Lessons

Another Hatchett Job blog, log cabin, log cabins, log homes, homestead, dovetail corners

The Purdy Cabin, circa 1984. Photo by Eddie Hatchett

Summer of 1984 was a busy time for our family.  My parents, John and Judy Purdy, had purchased land about an hour outside of Atlanta, and were breaking ground on their dream home.  I had just finished my Junior year in high school and we were making our big transition over the summer.

Visit Molly Green Magazine to discover more of our family adventure.

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

 

Whew! A Finish!

Another Hatchett Job, embroidery, scrap quilt, quilt label, modern quilt, wedding quilt, quilting

Embroidery by Judy Purdy; photo by Jan Hatchett

It has been a whirlwind month.  About two weeks before the big day, my baby brother announced that he was getting married!  Since we had already met and fell in love with our new family member, and my new sister-in-love, we were very excited, but under the gun for the wedding gift.  As quilters, we like to make, you guessed it, quilts and it was going to be very, very tough to get one made in two weeks for the wedding.

Another Hatchett Job, wedding quilt label, quilting, scrap quilt,

Center block of the quilt holds the label.

And, honestly, we didn’t make it.  Even after Mom and I sat at the dining room table with two sewing machines and sewed like fiends, we didn’t make the deadline.  They were married on February 4th and we gifted them with their quilt on February 22nd, after they had come down to celebrate my brother’s birthday with us.  We put the last stitch in it on February 19th and washed and dried it on the following day.  Not too bad, all things considering.

I may have been a little gung-ho to get this done (out of fear of it languishing around for years, unfinished), as Dad dubbed our work area as “Jan’s sweat shop.”  Ahem.  Nuff said.

As the bride didn’t indicate any favorite colors and we couldn’t be too bold and ask outright (it would ruin the surprise), we took an “anything goes” palette of scraps in all colors.  I used an “organic, improvisational, modern” approach.  I have since learned that those terms mean, essentially, “wonky, but cool.”  In order to save time, we densely quilted the blocks onto the batting as we made them, adding the backing on separately.

Another Hatchett Job, wedding quilt, scrap quilt, frugal gift, machine quilt, modern quilt

Completed quilt top.

It was an interesting way to finish a quilt and it was quite efficient in some ways.  In retrospect, I would have added backing to each block and joined them Quilt as You Go style with sashing strips.   My sewing machine just couldn’t handle the stress of sewing through the intersections and the free arm was just short enough to prevent me from quilting the back on “in the ditch” as originally planned.  Hence, we tied the back on, Appalachian style.

It does kind of work as I tend to quilt my quilts and my Mom tends to tie hers.  This one is a unique hybrid of both techniques.

But, I wish the quilting went through to the back.  Live and learn.  It was quick and simple.  I love the end result.

And the best part is that my brother and his gorgeous wife love it, too!

Another Hatchett Job, wedding quilt, newlyweds, quilting, machine quilting, scrappy quilt

And this is why it was all worth it! Ain’t they cute???

The worst part was wanting to tell this quilt’s story, the new technique and all while I was making it and knowing that it would blow the surprise if someone told them what we were working on.  I am horrible at the discretion part of this gifting stuff!

What are you working on lately?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett