Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 28, 2009
Watch out, world. Here she comes.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009
And what am I doing? Sitting here blogging. I need an intervention.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
I did not say "If you have those feelings, I will have failed." You did. I said, "If they cherish the fantasy of being found by them, I would most assuredly feel as though I have failed." I was speaking in the context of life-long dreams, ultimate ambitions, singular obsessions, not natural curiosity and interest. Of course they will wonder! But, if my daughters' whole adult life is wrapped around a consuming passion to be re-united with their biological family members, I will feel as though I've failed--particularly since, in their case, it will most likely prove impossible. It is my blog, and I'm going to be honest. My goal is for them to be comfortable with that aspect of their history, not DEFINED by it. There is a difference.
My husband and I talk often about their birthmothers and encourage them to include them in drawings of our family. We gave them their birthmother's names so that they would always have a piece of their past with them. I will not feel threatened by any future desire to search for them or other biological relatives; on the contrary, I will help them search. The comparison of me to the mother whose "heart would break" if her son searched is actually laughable. I've known adoptive moms like that--whose world would fall apart if their children searched--but it's not who I am. Regardless, I'm going to be o.k. I anticipate my daughters will know this about me; it is their emotional health I'm concerned about.
If you took the time to read my other posts about adoption you would have known that.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
*Three presents--The children each have three presents under the the tree. Three gifts, because the Christ child only had three gifts. The other day, Abby asked if they could have more than three (actually they get a Santa present, plus the TONS of gifts from extended family) since they had been very good this year, and I told her that as soon as they deserved more presents than Jesus, they could have more than He had. They laughed, "Awww, Mom, that will NEVER happen." My point exactly.
*This one developed just by chance. One year, I ran out of name tags. I wrap each child's gift in a certain wrapping paper (i.e. all of Ian's gifts are wrapped in the red ornament paper, Marina's in the green tree paper, etc.). I cut a little square of paper and adhere it to a poster next to their names. We don't have to spend time searching for the name on Christmas morning. We know at a glance whose is whose. This year, I'm keeping the decoder poster top secret. They don't know which paper is theirs. It has been fun hearing them discuss the possibilities, "I think mine is the purple Santa paper." "Maybe K has the snowmen paper." They will have much harder time guessing their gifts.
*Holiday hookie--I let the children stay home from school and do holiday baking. This is a tradition I grew up with. It was always a favorite, because any other time of year, my mother was a stickler for school attendance. I felt so special being at home when I wasn't sick.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
I put up my nativity last night on the back of the piano and sure enough, this morning the babies were drawn to it like moths to a flame. Nervous of their loitering and longing looks toward the delicate ceramic figures, I queried, "Hey, what are you two doing over there?"
Randy did not miss a beat, "Mommy, I'm teaching her about Jesus!"
Now, how's a mom going to argue with that?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
K is lamenting our "outdated family tree" as he put it. Funny, but those cutsie group ornaments are hard to find with eight (or say nine and ten) members. Because we have all the room we could want and 9 1/2 foot ceilings, we got an eight foot tree--our biggest tree ever. And it is beautiful! Still with six kiddos, throwing ornaments on in wild abandon, it didn't take long to decorate. Just as we were sitting down with hot cocoa to admire our handiwork, Randy's seat (a turned over ornament box) popped out from under him, making his cocoa into a fountain and soaking him through and through. Poor thing! He hardly knew what happened to him and he looked so funny with cocoa dripping from his face and hair--he even had a marshmallow clinging to his nose! We all busted out laughing. Kind of spoiled the quiet H*llmark holiday moment, but that's the way it goes at our house.
Friday, November 27, 2009
By: Abby-age 8
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Overall, it was a good show. It definitely left me with warm fuzzy feelings for the birthfamily and I was very happy for the adoptee. Of course, this is television, so we are seeing a "fairytale" adoption story--i.e. the birthparents stay together, get married, raise three other children, live the American dream, all the while never giving up hope of being re-united with their long-lost daughter. I think you would find that stories like theirs are pretty rare. They aren't going to tell you about the prostitute who had to be drug out of a crack house to sign her TPR, the eighth grade drop out who was being sexually abused by her uncle, the biological father who beat the mess out of his girlfriend and hit the road when he found out she was pregnant, or the dear old dad who was about to be incarcerated for 10 years. They aren't about to put that much "reality" in our reality t.v.
I also feel that they heightened the drama on the part of the adoptee. It is important to remember that--while she was glad to meet her biological parents--prior to the cameras showing up, she had not searched for them on her own. Even though her dad had encouraged her to! It was clear to me that adoption was no big, bad boogie man hanging out in her past and shadowing her present, but a fact about herself that she was on good terms with. Sure she was curious, but had she never learned any more about her adoption story, she would have been o.k. with that. I found this very comforting.
I am disturbed by the title "Find My Family" and the multiple references to biological parents/siblings as "YOUR family," "YOUR daughter," etc. The people who raised her and the brothers and sisters she grew up with are her family! In this show, I felt the adoptive parents were being treated like glorified babysitters. Especially when the host commented, that "It is every adopted child's dream to be found." What?! For starters, my girls are not "lost." They are right where they were placed (by an almighty people Placer)--in a family, loved and cared for. We are in closed adoptions--not by our choice--it is simply the way it is. Now, I regret that my daughters will have very little information about their biological backgrounds and that building relationships with their birthparents was not possible, but if they reach adulthood cherishing a fantasy of being "found" by them, I will most assuredly feel that we have failed. I would have to see more episodes; perhaps they would have devoted more time and attention to the adoptive parents had the adoptee been younger. I would choose, "The Missing Piece" or "Back to Beginnings" or "Roots" (wait as second--that's taken!) or something to that affect as a more appropriate title. The title demonstrates that the narrow definition of 'family' as individuals who are genetically linked to you is still alive and well within our culture. A supposition that, as members of the adoption triad, we should continue to work towards changing.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Encouragement- I'm standing at the bathroom mirror when Randy walks in.
Randy: Mommy, what you doin'?
Me: Oh, I'm trying to make myself presentable.
Randy: But you are just so cuuuuuuuute!
Correction-As we are driving out of the W*llm*rt parking lot we must stop and let the traffic filing out of our local plant pass. There is a homeless man "camped" at the stop sign. It is the last moments of light before the sun sets.
Randy: Mommy. There is a man there. He is sitting in the dark. In the night. His clothes are dirty. He is not walking. He does not have a car.
You can tell the wheels in his head are turning. He cannot fathom why someone is alone at night beside the road. I feel certain he is about to bust lose with a hundred questions: Why is he there? Where is his house? How did he get here? Where is his family? Questions I will evade as best I can and blunder through the rest. I feel mild irritation at this man. Another bum who has to be standing at a corner where I have to stop. I know it is horrible, but I'm keeping this blog honest--ugly, unloving, selfish thoughts and all. I clicked the automatic locks and hoped something else would catch my child's attention. This whole time, I have not said a word; I knew he was perplexed, but I wasn't going to volunteer any information. Little did I imagine, Randy would draw his own--wiser, better, truer--conclusions.
Randy: That man is not filthy. He is...he is...lost.
Monday, November 16, 2009
I am wearing...work-out clothes. Went back to aerobics after a two week absence. It felt great to exercise again, but I'll probably be soar tomorrow.
She is five years old, too. What have we come to?
More daybooks at http://www.thesimplewomansdaybook.blogspot.com/
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Al*n J*ckson sings a song, "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow," that contains these lines.
I think that about sums up my parents, when it comes to the master and I adding to our family. The lessons I learned on their knees and at their breast--lessons about love and strength, redemption and family, sacrifice and significance--have indeed influenced my desire and decision to give birth to and adopt children, as well as provided me with emotional resources and values to care for them.
But they, "worry cause they never thought I'd ever really take it this far." And that's not only with adoption. On the day we found out that I was carrying a girl, my mom exclaimed, "Great! You have a boy and girl now, so you can stop!" It just made perfect sense to her. Over the years I've tried to explore their concerns and fears about our ever expanding family.
*worry over finances--Will we be able to support them? Where would we live? How will we live? By far, the number one issue.
*concern over my long term ability to cope--Why do I pursue a life that in many ways is such hard work? Will I crack under the strain leaving them with 3...4...5...6... children to raise?
*concern over limited resources--can we give each individual child the love and attention they deserve?
Still to this day my dad will lament that I "have ALL these children." He says 'all' as though it is not a good thing. To which I will respond, "O.K. Daddy, I'll have the kids line up and you can choose which one we should get rid of." He will chuckle. He knows I've got him there.
When my older sister could not carry children, it made perfect "sense" to my parents that they adopt. But when I the middle daughter with three borned children in tow come up with the hair-brain scheme to fly around the world and adopt a baby from Russia it was quite a different matter. They had new and old worries mixed and compounded by two daughters in the adoption process at the same time:
*worries over finances!!! When I told my dad what it was going to cost for Marina's adoption, I thought he was going to have a stroke.
*fear they wouldn't love an adopted child like they did a birth grandchild
*worse fear--they would bond with the child and he/she would be taken back (my sister was trying to adopt through the foster system.)
*worry about the child's medical diagnosis and prognosis
*a sense of awkwardness trying to explain our reasoning to their friends, co-workers, and extended family when they themselves do not understand it
*concern for their daughters' heartbreak if the whole thing did not work out.
Time cured or made them face those fears. I know each of them--all of which are fairly valid--stems from a sincere love and concern for me and my family, so I don't let it hurt my feelings. Love covers a multitude of sins. I don't know how I would feel or react if I doubted that or believed they came from selfish motives--which may be your case, Debbie. I listen with respect and try to hear what they are saying. They are my parents and I honor their opinion, even if, in the end, we must make a different decision. And I must say they have done splendidly despite their misgivings--it just takes them a little while to come around. They love their adopted grand-daughters every bit as much as their birth grand-children. If anything, they are more protective and tender towards them.
All that to say:
Yes, my parents opinion is important to me. No, my parents have not always approved of our decision to expand our family--either by birth or adoption. Yes, in the end, we did adopt/have more children despite that. Yes! Thankfully, they did accept these children. And--purely hypothetically--should we sit down one day and say, "Mom, Dad, we're flying to Uganda to adopt two children from Am*ni Baby House," I won't expect them to like it. They will share all the reasons we shouldn't do it. They will blush in their Sunday school class as they tell their friends the news. They will worry that they will not be able to accept a black child. They will be concerned for the children's health. They will worry about them growing up in a white family in a still very prejudiced south. They will want to know how much it is going to "set us back." They will be convinced that their middle daughter is insane for having EIGHT children and they will wonder if I will ever stop. BUT, they will ask for prayers on our behalf from that same Sunday School class, they will become champions of equal rights, they will keep the other children so I can take the babies to check-ups, Mom will find "the cutest" outfits for them, Daddy will secretly slip us cash, and when we step off the plane, they will be the first ones to hold them.
At least, I'm betting they will. ;0)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Marina: "Me? Smile? Seriously?"
Randy: "Will it never end??!!"
Cara: "I feel certain they are plotting against me."
K sporting his dazed and confused look
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Outside My Window...chili breeze, but clear and very beautiful
I am thinking...I am one of the most blessed people in the world.
I am thankful for...times when I remember the above.
From the kitchen...not much. We've been in revival this weekend, and we have taken most of our meals at the church building.
I am wearing...striped shirt and blue jeans.
I am creating...still not many creative endeavors beyond the daycare.
I am going...to eat dinner with a friend Thursday night. Looking forward to it.
I am reading...honoring my promise not to begin another book until the daycare opened. The daycare must open soon.
I am hoping...that Women of Faith trip will be a blessing to our church. It is not until April, but I have been put in charge and I'm starting to get nervous. I have to get 25 women to the conference or the church has to eat the tickets. I have eleven signed up. Anyone want to join us?
I am hearing...baby crying her "final protest before I succumb" cry.
One of my favorite things...being with other Christians and feeling that sweet Spirit--knowing heaven will be like that--only a million times better.
Around the house...a little tidier thanks to my mom and mother-in-law's efforts, as well as my this-has-gone-on-too-long breakdown over the bathroom. I stayed up till 11 last night scouring it.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...some family is coming in to help us paint the daycare tomorrow night, the aforementioned dinner date, and who knows what all?
A picture thought I'm sharing:
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Tick-Tock (recycled dinosaur costume from years ago)
My man Pan
Tiger Lilly (Is she not the cutest thing you have ever seen?!)
The expense of the last three costumes counter balance the economy of the first two. I had to go to the party store and make painful purchases--even though it nearly killed me to spend money on costumes as simple as Peter Pan and Tiger Lilly. Finding a perfectly good Pan costume in Goodw*ll this morning only poured salt in the wounds. Oh, well, I simply did not have the time this year to sew them all.
And this is the first year K did not dress up. I'm pretty sad about that. Where was the Pixie dust to protect him from growing up?
Friday, October 23, 2009
The proposed class action suit accuses the company of lying to consumers not only in stocking the toys in a separate, whistle-less section of the gift shop, but also in cleverly concealing the offending mouthpiece located at the base of the flashlight. Unsuspecting moms, steered children past sirens, bull horns, and snap whips to flashlights, deceitfully nestled between toothbrushes and themed underpants, only to be horrified once the plastic came off. Too late for remedy.
"It is MY flashlight. It is for to make the light. And here, it is a whistle. I blow it loud and louder," testified a three year old of his new Th*mas flashlight.
His parents were considerably less thrilled. They grimly agree, "someone should pay."
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Try the three questions.
1. What happened today that made you laugh?
2. What was the best thing you ate today?
3. Who did you help?
I don't exactly remember where I picked these up, but I've been using them for over two years now, and they certainly help get the ball rolling around the supper table in the evenings. For instance, tonight I learned that Ian helped an unlucky classmate clean up a dropped lunch tray, Marina caught the giggles on the playground and almost couldn't stop, and Abby found the cafeteria's mashed potatoes "excellent," but the chicken nuggets decidedly lacking. Good stuff. And, as an added bonus, I've found the children now anticipate my nightly inquisition and actively look for someone to help during the day--reason enough for me to keep asking.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
I am going...to turn in my application to the state this week.
The bluest eyes in Texas.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
*If you wonder why my posts are few and far between, something has gone wrong with the computer. It takes forever to type on a website. You have to peck S-L-O-W-L-Y. Otherwise, the cursor just blinks at you. Getting a post up on blogger is painfully slow. I don't do slow.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Lord, grant that they will always find such pleasure in the simple things of life.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
This morning, as we waited on the stoop for Abby and K to locate their Bibles, Ian--lost in thought--turned Cara's stroller around in the opposite direction from church. When they emerged I laughed at Ian as I brought her around and started off,
"You silly goose! Where do you think we're going this morning? Church is that way!"
He looked across the street and pointed.
"Nah. That is the church building. We are the church."
We've taught him well.
Friday, September 18, 2009
The incident had all but slipped my mind, until Wednesday night. I was discussing with the children's mission class about passports, what they were, and why missionaries needed them. I asked the class if any of them had passports. We have two children from Mexico and I mentioned that Marina had two passports. A Russian one and an American one. I smiled at Marina. She did not smile back.
When we got home I had the other children ready for bed and asked Marina to bring a piece of paper and some crayons from the art cabinet. I asked her to draw a picture of her family. She took her dear sweet time, savoring this unexpected reprieve from bedtime. She drew grass and a flower and clouds and then started on the people. She chatted as she drew,
"I'm drawing Abby first because she let me play in her room today...and you have a mouth Mommy, and TEETH...I'm drawing Daddy with two legs, because it is day time. Before he takes his fake leg off..." This was taking longer than I bargained for, but it was fun, and she was enjoying herself immensely. She drew the stick figures, and I added names above each head. As she finished up K and Ian, I began to second guess myself. As I looked at her drawing I thought:
She has drawn our family. The page is full. Complete. It is a good drawing, and she is happy. Why say anything to change it? No one else belongs there! Is it really so important that I bring painful stuff up? Just hug her, post her picture on the fridge and send her to bed. This hurts, and I don't like it.
I said, "Marina, someone is missing from your picture. How about you draw your birthmother?"
Instantly she stiffened. She looked at me with eyes that seemed to be waiting for a trap to spring.
I tried again, "Could you draw your birthmother?"
"I don't know." She shrugged.
"Well, just try, o.k.?"
"There isn't room." The voice that sparkled with enthusiasm seconds before was dull and lifeless. Maybe this was a bad idea. A really bad idea.
Trying to keep my tone light, "Sure there is! You can draw her right here next to you."
Seeing that I was not going to let it go, she reluctantly picked up a crayon and added another head to the picture. I was relieved to see that the figure did not look different than the other, smiling heads. If she had drawn something morbid or grotesque, I'm not sure what I would have done. Probably would have called it quits and started searching for a therapist on the spot. I asked Marina if she remembered her birthmother' name. She said she didn't--even though we've told her on several occasions that she has her birthmother's name. I wrote 'Marina' above the head, and to differentiate between the two Marina's, added her last name. By this time, the master had gotten the other children to bed and joined us in the living area. I suggested she give her birthmother some hair. She picked up a yellow crayon and I said, "Yes, I think she might have blond hair like you." She glared at me, put down the yellow crayon and exchanged it for brown. She colored in long brown hair. But then she proceeded to color her hair, mine, and Abby's brown and Cara's orange, so I'm not sure that had any significance. She gave the boys sprigs and then let Daddy tease her about not giving him any hair. Her smile came out again and she relaxed. "Daddy, you don't have any hair!"
I made several suggestions trying to get her to explore what her birthmother might look like, but she resisted this, and I had to let it drop. When the picture was finished the second time, I pulled her into my lap and brought out the infamous bag of rice. I reminded her of the conversation and I asked her why she had punched the picture of the lady. She said she didn't remember hitting the rice. And maybe she didn't. This is a child who, if over-stimulated, stressed, or physically tired (at this point, she was most likely all three) cannot remember her own name. I wasn't getting where I wanted to with this line of questioning. I dropped the rice bag, swung her in a cradle hold, took a deep breath and sailed in:
"Marina, I know you may feel sad and confused when you think about your birthmother. It is o.k. to feel sad. But I hope you will not be angry with her. She couldn't take care of a baby. Any baby. She was sick. Not like when you get a cold sick, but very, very sick. You needed someone to take care of you and she just couldn't give you what you needed. She hoped you would be adopted. And you were! God gave you to us to be our little girl and we love you very much."
So I am crying now, and tears are standing in Marina's eyes. I know I said some other things about trying to meet her birthmother when we were in Russia and telling her how sorry I was that we didn't have a picture but knowing her birthmother must have been very beautiful because she is so beautiful....Maybe she needed to hear my ramblings, and maybe she didn't. But I needed to say it.
Anyway, we did finally kiss her and send her off to bed. She went calmly and quietly, but just as she reached her bedroom, I thought I heard her make a faint noise. Was it a sob? The master went to check on her. I felt emotionally spent and talked out. He stopped at her door and listened. She was laying in her bed weeping. Heart-broken, gut-wrenching sobs. Children should not have to cry like that. They shouldn't. Ever. Outside the room he cried with her for a few moments, but when he went in to comfort her, she tried to dry it up and hide that she had been crying. She's hurting, but she is not letting us in. It's as though....as though she is trying to be strong for us. Is that possible?
Perhaps it was enough to cry? The tears may have been the release she needed for now. Or did I only dredge up my daughter's sorrow unnecessarily? How can I know if I am doing the right thing?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Ian: Look Marina, that woman is Russian. referring to the WaterM*id Rice Lady. Who, is clearly not Russian, but I think is supposed to represent a genie. She is a cartoon figure with bouffant hair, Asian styled eyes, and balloon pants. These pants do look an awful lot like the pants the male Russian folk dancers wear in some pictures we have in Marina's baby book. I'm guessing it was the pants that led Ian to say that.
Marina: No, she isn't. If Ian had said, 'The sky is blue,' Marina would have answered the same way.
Ian: Yes, she is. voice changing to taunting, sing-song I bet she is your Russian mommy.
Heretofore, I had only half attended their words; I instantly snapped to attention. I'd never heard any of the birth children tease, question, or ridicule Marina's status in the family and the direction of Ian's comment alarmed me. They fight, but with honest, above-the-belt punches--things so silly I usually laugh, "You're fighting over that?!" To me, because of my own sensitivity and insecurity, this jab belonged in an entirely different category. I thought, "Oh, no! Has he said these ugly things before, when I haven't been around?" In the next instant, I also remembered how as a child, I tormented my younger sister (both of us born to our parents as full biological siblings) with tales of Mom and Dad finding her in a basket on the front porch. I can still hear my own taunting, sing-song voice, "You're not my real sis-ter...You're not my real sis-ter." Inwardly, I breathed a sigh of relief. Most likely this was a new take on normal brother/sister stuff-not adoption related at all-at least on Ian's part. Nevertheless, I couldn't let his statement go unchallenged, though I wish now I had waited and heard Marina's response.
Me: firmly No. Marina only has one Mommy. Who is that?
Unison: looking guiltily at me and answering reluctantly You. They didn't realize I was listening.
Me: repeating words I have said a million times. Yes, I am Marina's mommy. Marina grew in another lady's tummy--her birthmother--but I am her mommy forever. Looking sharply at Ian. Just like I'm your forever mommy. Adding briskly to signal this conversation was C-L-O-S-E-D Now, get that rice put up and finish setting the table.
I turn back to the pot on the stove. The children turn toward the pantry. It is clear from their hushed tones that they think I am no longer able to hear them.
Marina: Ian, let me see that bag.
Marina: louder hushed tones Ian!
Marina: whining Let me have it!
Ian: Why do you want the rice?
Marina: I am going to punch it.
My back was to them, but I hear Ian hand her the bag and she hits the rice bag with a balled up fist. It's amazing it didn't bust all over the floor.
Ian: suppressed giggle You punched her! You can tell he did not see this coming from his little sister and is highly amused. They have gone from being arch enemies to best buds--also typical.
Marina: triumph mixed with bitterness. Yeah. I punched that Russian momma.
As I'm sure you have guessed, this is not the end of the story, but this entry grows long. Follow-up post to come.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Outside My Window..."And the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down in rushing, rising rivulets..."
I am thinking...that if I had as many prospective clients, as I have prospective employees, I would be all set for a successful daycare. I've heard from an awful lot of stay-at-home moms calling to see if I'm hiring yet. Um, no. Businesses generally need income before they can manage out-go. I usually ask these ladies if they have experience in childcare or teaching, to which they respond, "Well no....but I have kids," or "I've babysat alot." *sigh* Running a good early childhood classroom is a whole different ballgame from "baby sitting," and being a mom does not necessarily mean that you are cut out for childcare. Believe it or not, folks, managing a classroom and caring for large groups of small children takes skill and special gifts. It's not a job that "just anybody" can do--or at least, not do well. Listening to the radio this afternoon, I heard the statistics for the shortfall of registered nurses in this country and thought, "I should have made that my major instead of early childhood education." Not only would I be in demand and most likely have my choice of positions, no one would tell me, "I've been to a hospital, so I think I could work as a nurse," or "I've taken care of a sick person before. That's nursing, right?"
I am thankful for...my Chi iron. After four months of chi-lessness, I broke down and bought a replacement on Friday. My little sister had a shower this weekend in our hometown, and I just couldn't face a room full of old friends and relatives with THE POOF. It really is a shallow, vain thing to be thankful for, but I am. I can't help it.
From the kitchen...This rainy, cooler weather has put us in a soup mood. Large pots of potato soup and gumbo, should feed our crew for the better part of the week.
I am wearing...2009 VBS shirt and black capri pants.
I am creating...slings! I made a beautiful pouch style sling this weekend for my sister and nephew (I wish I had gotten a picture!), and I've had a request for a ring sling from a new friend.
I am reading...Parting the Waters by Jeanie Damoff (I read a little and ponder and pray. Read some more and ponder and pray. Not a story you can just plow through), Have A New Kid by Friday (I must not need new kids, because I'm not getting much out of this one), and The Mysterious Benedict Society (kid's bedtime book that has me hooked. It is excellent!)
I am hoping...for a good return on all the hard work and money that is going in to fixing up the daycare.
I am hearing...the master munching popcorn as he reads Princes of Ireland.
One of my favorite things...Have I mentioned my Chi iron?
Around the house...Cara is cruising, Randy's language is exploding, Marina is learning to keep a cleaner room, Ian is lovin' some guinea pigs, Abby continues to experiment with new hairdo's, and K has added songwriting to his list of accomplishments.
A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week...finish last online course to renew my childcare director's license, and fill out application for a private tutor (hey, options are a good thing.)
A picture thought I'm sharing:
Hmmm, what can I get into up here?
Enjoy more daybooks here.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
1. How much did it cost? By far the most frequent. If it is someone who is asking because they are seriously considering adoption themselves, I will honor this question with a straightforward monetary amount. If not, I keep things pretty vague, "Our international adoption was rather expensive." or "Not very much." Depending on which adoption they are asking about. I really feel I need to come up with something better, especially since Marina is old enough to understand what is being talked about. I don't like people discussing her as though she were a cut of meat. I've thought, "Not as much as your Escalade." Or, "Just a few dollars more than your new swimming pool." But that was Ethyl talking, and so far, I've been able to keep her at bay.
2. Just this week someone at church asked us, "Does she [Marina] remember her life in the orphanage?" And we've been asked that before. This is a tough one. No. And Yes. No, Marina does not have specific memories of her first 13 months of life, i.e., "I remember when...." Judging from her verbal development, I would be shocked if Marina' s first true "memories" date before the age of four--three and a half at the earliest. Prior to that, her brain did not possess the linguistic capabilities required to store them for retrieval. But I believe in some part of her brain, expressed usually as primal emotions, those experiences do still affect her. Example: She immediately takes to grey haired older ladies, particularly if they are in lab coats/hospital scrubs. Once, when I was taking the older children to an eye doctor appointment, she ran to a nurse (probably in her mid-sixties) and hugged her, smiling, and looking in her eyes. For Marina, that's HUGE. For a moment, I thought my child had been body snatched, and then it hit me. The nurse reminded her of the orphanage doctor. Not that Marina could have told me that, or understood why she instantly liked and trusted this stranger, but I honestly believe it to be the case. When we were visiting the orphanage, the doctor was the only one Marina would smile for and follow with her eyes when she was in the room. She would even reach out for her, and the doctor always spoke sweetly to her in a sing-song voice. None of the other caregivers that came and went did that. I believe the doctor may have been her one source of adult/infant exchange from her first year and on some level Marina was attached to her.
She as other "buried" memories from orphanage life that are not so pleasant, but I won't go into that.
3. Concerning Cara: Is she mixed? or What is she mixed with? These type of questions regarding Cara's racial background peaked around 4-5 months of age and were always from AA women. I guess they are just more aware of color? And are not shy about asking? Haven't had one in a while, though at church the other day someone was remarking on her big brown eyes and asked if we knew What her parents looked like? I got the feeling it was a backward way of asking if she was white or not. Anyway, I told her yes, "We know exactly what her parents look like. Her father is a good looking bald man age 35 with a prosthetic leg and her mother is a 5 ft. 4 in. brunette who could stand to lose 15 pounds."
This summer when we took Cara down to the agency to show her off, the director kept commenting about "how light she was." She said that when Cara was a little baby, she had almost looked bi-racial African American (is this why she drew attention from the AA ladies at the grocery store?), but now she could "pass as white." The way she said it was as though she thought that we should be pleased about this. Now this lady is not a prejudiced person--they place children of all races and mixed races with parents of all races and mixed races--and she relates so well with the different groups. I've witnessed that myself. It makes me wonder if she thought we were relieved that her skin tone had lightened up? We didn't--and still don't--care. We hadn't even noticed. Should we have? Did she mean that Cara will have an easier time in life if she can, "pass for white?"--in the sense that she won't stand out from the rest of her family? I don't want her to have to "pass" for anything. Along those same lines, a relative recently made the comment that Cara's looks were changing, and then she said, "She doesn't even look Hispanic any more." I didn't know how to take that. Was she just making a statement of fact--as she saw it--or insinuating that "not looking Hispanic" was a good thing?
4. And just for grins, the question that makes me chuckle every time: Does she talk Russian? and Does she understand Spanish? Seriously people, THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I've been laid up for two days. I don't have time for an injury. But the good news is that I'll have loads more sympathy for the master. Never again will I tell him, "Why don't you use your crutches?" or "How come you don't just hop?" when he has his prosthetic off in the evenings. Crutches are horrible awkward devices of torture, and hopping is exhausting and--in this house--dangerous.