Who we are

Here’s the cast of our story: I’m a 37-year-old American (from Oregon), living in the Czech Republic. I used to be a freelance newspaper journalist. Then, I spent a couple of years helping organize the anti-war movement in the Czech Republic. Now, I am mostly a homeschooling mama, although I make herbal medicines and teach English-as-a-second-language on the side. I have a writing habit that I have to let run wild from time to time. I like to live in rhythm with nature and strive to make my household more self-sufficient. I’m also legally blind, which I usually remember at least once every two days.

My husband is Dušan. He is a surveyor and he claims to be cynical and not care about the world, but he secretly contributes to Greenpeace. Czech men are generally known for drinking a lot of beer, watching a lot of TV and being unhelpful at home. Dusan is the opposite. His friends sometimes laugh at him because he has the same five beers around for half a year. He got rid of our TV and he makes jam, concocts homemade yogurt and does the laundry. I couldn’t do 90 percent of what I do best without his moral support and his knack for holding down a steady job.

Our darling little girl is Hana Shaye. We adopted her when she was almost three months old. Now, she is a joyful handful at four years old. She attends preschool twice a week and does homeschooling with me three mornings a week. She also helps with one English class each week, visits a club for Romani kids and sings in the International Choir of Prague’s preschool group. She is officially bilingual now, clearly differentiating between Czech and English. She can read basic three letter words but prefers to take a break from reading an explore numbers and sensory experiences now. She knows her own mind and stands by her opinions. She can throw a world-class two-hour-long tantrum when the need arises and can still grasp complex ideas about the folly of modern society as soon as she is done.

We adopted our sweet little boy Marik Rye in 2011, just before he turned 10 months old. He is now demonstrably three. He talks constantly, hugs a lot and teases his sister mercilessly, clearly making up for all the abuse she subjected him to when he was too little to hit back. He still has a set of lungs to put Austrian yodelers to shame. He is sweet-natured kid most of the time but not above using his ear-splitting screech as a weapon when he is denied his utterly reasonable desires. He is learning to draw and sing his first songs and slowly mastering the art of putting on one’s own clothes.

We also have Ember, my 20-year-old niece from Oregon, who is studying preschool education at Charles University in Czech and trombone at the Music Conservatory. She often passes exams that half of her Czech classmates can’t pass, even though Czech is a second language to her. None of us understand how she does it. She also plays trombone in an orchestra. As we are her only family here, she visits on weekends, helps out and encourages me to bake coffee cake. She is a great source of joy and laughter. She has recently brought the children’s preschool teacher, Tomas, into the family as her ultra-polite, Sunday-dinner-cooking, child-charming, all-around-perfect boyfriend.

I'm three and I now totally grasp the idea that this is "My Cake".

I’m three and I now totally grasp the idea that this is “My Cake”.


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Faye
    Aug 04, 2010 @ 16:34:06

    Love to hear about Shaye, what a lovely name!


  2. Shannon
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 21:39:07

    I saw your blog from a post of yours on adoption.com. I have loved reading your blog! You have a very eloquent way with words! I hope you are blessed with your second child soon!


  3. sarahandbryan11
    Dec 28, 2011 @ 04:38:30

    I also found your blog from adoption.com! I love how newsy it is. I hope you update soon! My grandmother’s parents were born in the Czech Republic. I’ve been there twice and would love to go again. My husband and I were just approved to adopt and I can’t wait for a phonecall! I’d love to share my blog web address with you… maybe I’ll pm you on adoption.com?


    • ariefarnam
      Jan 25, 2012 @ 15:29:59

      Hi, now that I do have two, I don’t have much time for adoption.com any more. 🙂 🙂 :I think that is the reason why that site and so many others are so heavy on the hopefuls rather than the already-haves. We’re all surviving. But if you pm me I should get it in my email, I hope, or message me here.


  4. Tereza
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 22:39:07

    I just got your message. I’m the author of romarights.blogspot.com. Just started reading your blog. We will connect soon!!! Very glad you wrote me. – Tereza


    • ariefarnam
      Jan 25, 2012 @ 15:31:46

      Hi Tereza, I’m glad to see you are still around. I was wondering, considering that you hadn’t updated in awhile. I did the same thing but I did have a really good excuse, i.e. new baby. Are you planning to continue?


  5. Tereza
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 16:38:50

    Hello back! I have been so busy with life… Yes, I plan to continue the blog. What’s your email? Mine is warpblog@gmail.com. Let’s connect.


  6. Tereza
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 16:39:52

    By the way, I’m Czech & I live in OREGON!!! Coincidence?


  7. Arie Farnam
    Feb 24, 2012 @ 21:17:34

    No way! It’s like we’re alter-egos. 🙂 I’ll email you.


  8. Annmarie
    Jun 08, 2012 @ 12:11:06

    just reading our blog and omg!
    I am scottish living in australia and dealing with cultural issues as I go through day to day with my two foster kids
    I have mr m now 4 in our long term care noticeable to everyone because he is beautiful coffee coloured sudanese australian mix with mad scottish carers (parents as we think of ourselveles) and we are milk bottle white and we also have care fo for now of little miss who is 21 months of nonsense and half australian half asian. Mr m is struggling with visual impairment and you do that as a parent wow can i shake your hand.! Also love prague though I visited it in the the early 90’s it must have changed!


  9. Cyndy
    Aug 19, 2012 @ 13:04:25

    Thank you for your well-written, engaging blog. I am contemplating adopting from Bulgaria and would like to email you off-site — how do we arrange? Thanks!


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