Friday, June 21, 2013


"Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other"
Kate turned 6 a few days ago.  She had a great birthday and got some fun "typical" 6-year old presents (dress up outfit, La La Loopsy, etc).  But there was one present I was especially excited to give her.  One present I had been waiting over a year to give her.

In April of 2012, I entered and won a giveaway on my friend Kelly's blog!!!  One of the items I won was a charm necklace from  Jiayin Designs.  We were just beginning our adoption journey at the time and I immediately knew which charm I wanted.  The "Big Sister" charm.

She is so excited to be a big sister.

Not as excited as I am to watch her be a big sister.

I'm not sure there is a better thing in the world to be than a sister.

I'm not sure there is a better thing in the world to have than a sister.

I think that everyone should have a sister.

I am so lucky.  I have three sisters (and a brother).  I am a little sister, and I am a big sister.  I am #2 of 5 siblings (first 4 are girls).  And, I am a sister-in-law.

Those of you that know me well know that my sisters and I are incredibly close.  Except for one sister, we all live within a few miles of each other. We talk almost daily, we get together with our kids multiple times a week, and we just basically love each other to death.  We are practically inseparable.

I know it is not like this for all sisters. Sometimes people ask me how it is that we are so close. How it is that we never fought or never really competed with each other.  I don't really have the answer to that question, but I have some hunches.

I think it helped that we grew up watching my mom and my aunt model one of the most loving sister relationships you have ever seen.  My mom adores her sister.  My aunt adores my mom.  They cry every.single.time they see each other and they cry every.single.time. they leave each other.

I think it also helped that my sister, Kathleen, was born first.  She set the example for the rest of us.  She has taken care of me since the day I was born.  In every way you can imagine, she has always looked out for me....and she still does.  So in turn, that made me want to do the same for my younger sister, Amy, and she for our youngest sister, Megan, and Megan for John, our brother.

Because we all get along so well, I hear people say things to me a lot along the lines of "you have the perfect family".  Well, of course, that is NOT true.  NO family is perfect.  What I always say, is that we are not a "perfect" family, we are a "happy" family.  We are close because we work SO HARD at it.  My sisters and I put each other first EVERY DAY.  We put getting together with family above all else.  We communicate with each other.  We make time for each other.  We love each other.

And we accept each other.

When Rob and I decided way back when that we would consider adopting I had no idea what anyone would think.  Shortly after we decided to think about it, I was out with my sisters for one of our monthly "sisters nights out".  I had NEVER said anything about adoption to any of my sisters.  I remember saying to my sisters that night, "Ok guys, I have to tell you something, and it is going to sound crazy".  Before I could finish my older sister, Kathleen, interrupted me and said, "Oh my god you are going to adopt a Chinese baby".  I KID YOU NOT.  I said to her, "what in the world would make you say that?".  And she answered, "because you are always drooling over little Chinese girls".

See, a sister knows you better than you know yourself.

I do not know how I would have made it through this adoption without my sisters.

Actually, I do not know how I would have made it through my life without my sisters, and brother.

I would NOT be where I am today without them.  

And the day I married Rob I gained another sister.  My sister-in-law, Kim, has become like a sister to me.  I adore her.  She is quite possibly one of the kindest people you could ever meet.  I am so lucky to have her in my life.  

To all my sisters:  thank you.  Thank you for everything you do for  me every day.  Thank you for always being there.  Thank you for always loving me, and always supporting me.  Thank you for being there for me through this adoption journey.

And thank you for inspiring me to travel across the world to make sure that two more  little girls will know what it means to have one of the greatest blessings this life has to offer:  a sister.

“Sister. She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. 


  1. I always wanted a sister, but never got to have one. I've always been jealous of that relationship that I see other women have, including the ones with my own duahgters. It is beautiful indeed!
    I'm SO happy for your girls!

  2. Thanks for sharing about your amazing family and can't wait to see your daughters together as sisters! Many blessings to you beautiful family, Cathy

  3. Moe, well said! Sisters are an amazing gift and you & your sisters are so wonderful to each other. I had Mackenzie read this too. I feel that she is that kind of sister to our other 3 girls. She is setting a great, loving example for them to follow. I hope they grow up to "to love each other to death" and be present in each other's lives forever!

  4. I found this blog through my own lovely sister I-Shien Shiao, and it is a truly inspirational and emotional story that I love! Thank you so much for what you are doing. I am so proud of you and your family for being able to make such courageous decisions with such grace. I'll be thinking of your family and your newest addition, Vivian. I too, was the little Mei Mei in my own family so Vivian and I have that in common :)

    There is a song that I really enjoyed when I was younger and it has still stuck in my mind! The song is called "Ni Wa Wa." The song is about a clay doll that may not be real but has a family who loves her! The lyrics features words for body parts and family (nose, mouth, mother, father, love.) Here is a link to the song, lyrics, and pinyin associated:

    When you get back into the US, there are plenty of Chinese supermarkets that you can explore with Vivian! I loved/STILL LOVE doing this with my family - these really connected me with my Taiwanese culture (i.e. street foods, night markets.) I especially loved all the little candies and still eat them today! This would help Vivian feel more "at home."

    Also, when Vivian gets a little older, you may want to explore some Sunday "Chinese Schools" in the area. In Gainesville, at Oak Hall, Sundays were filled with Asian children and families! They would teach Chinese language classes but most importantly culture classes (crafting, singing, learning instruments)! I learned so many things at Chinese school and also gained many Oriental friends.

    If I can think of any more tips I will definitely let you know :)

    I am very hopeful for your family and your newest addition - Vivian. One of my favorite girl cousins is actually named Vivian, so the name is very fitting for a very adorable Chinese girl :)

    Much love and prayers your way,
    Kristina Shiao