Uncategorized

out with a whimper

I suppose it’s strange to say I’m proud of myself for doing something as simple as writing or posting something everyday for 31 days, but I am.  I’d love to sum up the experience in some profound, meaningful way.  Wrap it up with a neat tidy bow of lessons learned.  And I have learned some lessons.  I’ve learned that even when you think you have nothing to say you probably actually do.  I’ve learned that talking into an empty room is intimidating but doable.

I’ve learned that having something tangible you have to do everyday makes it easier to handle your baby being in the hospital on the other side of the world.

Mostly I’ve realized how fast the days go by.  How much Thane changes everyday.  I don’t allow myself to think that way about K very often, because that hurts too bad.  But I know it’s true with him as well.

Today we took a little dragon to the party at Daddy’s work.  Lots of people on his work campus put candy outside their offices and the kids of the employees can collect their treats while ignoring the absolutely awful fall weather we’re having.  Stupid rain.

I think Thane’s favorite part was actually just having halls and halls to run in.  He loves to run.  N tried to explain how the whole candy thing worked but Thane never really got it.  He would either take candy out of the bowl and put it on the floor or he would take a piece N had put into his cauldron and place it back with the stash he was supposed to be taking it from.  We laughed so hard.  Of course he got ooed and awed over, in part because he really is a cute little dragon, but mostly I think because he was among the littlest there.  And humans in miniature are always adorable.

And I watched the people with the older children and I thought that will be us soon.  And part of me doesn’t want it to be.  Part of me wants him to stay little forever, well not forever but for a few more years.  Last year Nate and I kept saying things like “next year Thane will be home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.” and this year we’re saying it about K.  I want our little family together.  I want the waiting to be over.

Time to go to bed.  My little dragon has been waking up lots these days, must be the firebreathing.  Or possible the teeth.  Probably the teeth.

DSC_0983

{{His wings were tired so we took the elevator.}}

personal growth

a promise to myself

Ten years ago Nate and I started dating, and started talking about adoption. Life has gone according to plan, except where it hasn’t. There are things so much better than I imagined and there have been losses that will never stop hurting. It’s so easy in the FB/online world to think people’s lives are picture perfect. And no one’s life is. But this is the only one I’m going to get so today I’m trying to learn to just let go of the past, hold on to the present, and breathe love into every minute.

I’m not good at that.  I want to fix the past, observe the present and I don’t want to risk getting hurt by loving too much.  But I’m trying.  I really am.

DSC_0871

Uncategorized

perfection: enemy of the good

A few years ago I went through something personally and it changed me, and not in a good way.  I became more afraid, less willing to take risks, more aware of “danger”.  It changed me in good ways as well but those are harder to see (aren’t they always?)  I’ve been slowly trying to reclaim those fearless parts of the person I was.  Jumping in without testing the water more often.  Because I miss that part of me.  The part of me that just tried something in case it worked, and then didn’t care when it didn’t.

And sometimes, oftentimes, things do work out.  Sometimes not planning is freeing.  Sometimes not looking for the perfect helps you find the good.  And the good is often good enough.  Perfect isn’t always attainable and in my quest for it sometimes I miss out on the good that I have.

So we played in the leaves and took pictures not at the wide open park I wanted to find, but on the median between some commercial buildings and a street.  And the sun wasn’t shining like I hoped for, instead it was the brief grey moment between rain showers.  But we had fun, we had a blast.  And I got some precious pictures of my little boy.

It was good.

DSC_0907

adoption related mushiness

twenty three pictures

Dear Thane:

During our wait for you the best part of each month was getting update pictures.  We must have stared at each set for hours, taking in each expression you made, marveling at each glimpse into your personality. Memorizing each freeze framed moment of your life that we were given.  Twenty three pictures, that’s how many we have of you during those first seven and a half months of your life. I cherish each and every one.  Even the silly ones and the startled-looking ones and the one where you’re giving us the finger (seriously.)

Then you came home and each time you make one of those little expressions that I know so, so, well from your pictures I feel my heart do a little happy dance.  Freeze framed moments now seen in real life. Love.

This little expression on the right was one of my favorites of you, your eyes so big, your eyebrows raised, taking it all in in the way you do.  We thought you looked so curious and alert and interested in life.  And you are.  You love new experiences and new places, you’re beyond observant of the world around you.  We love that about you.

So today when we took you out to play in the leaves and take some pictures of your first fall here in the pacific northwest and I somehow caught that same little expression on your face, just grown up a little, I remembered that first time we saw that look of yours and it made me smile.

We’re so proud of the way you look at life, keep it up baby boy.

-M & D

for the blog - delete later12

Uncategorized

picture post: cutie

In unrelated news Thane has decided that rain is pretty much the funniest thing ever thought of.  We walk outside in it and he starts laughing and doesn’t stop until we get in the car.  I guess we brought him home to the right state after all.  I had my doubts in January when it was bitter cold and our furnace went out four days after he came to the US.

I’m curious to see how long this stage lasts, because we have another six months or so of laughter if nothing changes.  Not that I’m complaining.

DSC_0583

DSC_0570

{{Pictures from August}}

riven - our lost referral

fragile

We live in a beautiful part of the world.  Even with our rain and our mist I love it here.  I didn’t always.  Actually, I still don’t always.  But mostly I do.  Still I don’t know if it feels like “home”.  But then again I’m not sure anywhere feels like home.  I was born in MT, moved to TX when I was two, moved to CO when I was 21 and now I’ve lived in WA as long as I lived in CO.  So what place would I call home?

“We are reaching for the future, we are reaching for the past. And no matter what we have we reach for more.  We are desperate to discover, what is just beyond our grasp, but maybe that’s what heaven is for.” – Carolyn Arends

That’s a song from my past, I listen to it and I’m right back there.  I love it still.  Because sometimes there’s this aching for something that feels like it will never go away, and I think that’s the part of my soul that is the spark of Divine Light  that is the Breath of God that is given to each of us.  That spark that desperately wants to be reconnected with the Whole.  With the Fire.  And that’s not going to happen until heaven.  So there is a pulling, a yearning, a desire for completeness that isn’t going to happen here.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our first referral, the baby who died.  I wonder if he’s in heaven with his Mother or if she’s still here on earth.  I ask God to tell my Grandma Thelma to hold him and introduce him to D, his little would-be cousin and to C, his would-be uncle.  I imagine my husband’s beloved grandma fighting with Grandma Thelma over whose turn it is to hold him.  I imagine them meeting members of his family, his own grandma maybe, so there are three of them fighting over him. I doubt this view of heaven is a theological correct one but I don’t really care.  I think heaven is a bit outside a human’s mind to grasp anyway so any picture we come up with isn’t likely to be accurate.  So I’ll hold to mine for now.

Life seems so fragile to me lately.

DSC_0260

the hood of mother, transracial families

growing up

Thane  has a pretty great dad.  Great as in patient and involved and just an all around amazing guy.  He does this thing with Thane where when he’s  giving him instructions on something  (like not banging the screwdriver against the mirror let’s say) where he gets down at eye level, talks to him gently and then asks Thane to say “yes Dad” to show he understands.  Which comes out a bit more like “yaa daa” and is perfectly adorable.

Then, while taking his bath a few days ago my husband told him not to do something, I can’t remember what, probably not flood the bathroom for the fourth time this week.  And our kid, our sweet adorable  almost 17 month old looks up at him, morphed into a 13 year old before our eyes and replied in a sarcastic tone “yeah yeah.”

Awesome.

DSC_0702

In other news, at Lowes today a lady tried to catch Thane as he ran down the aisle with the intention of returning him to his mother.  Who of course was actually just a few yards away at the time.  So that was funny.  She was a bit flustered when I said he actually went with me.  Which was pretty obvious at that point anyway as he ran away from her and towards me.

DSC_0689

The kid is pretty friendly in public, he smiles and waves like no ones business.  Unless you come within four feet and then God help you because he turns into a screeching banshee.  I kind of feel like I need a sign or something to let people know that because the poor things are just utterly charmed by him and then it all goes south so quickly.  I’m glad he has his boundaries, but hopefully the volume on them will get turned down at some point.

DSC_0706

His language went crazy while we were in CO.  I’m not sure if it was reaching a certain age or the amount of people around or if the conversation was just more interesting (I’m going with the last guess myself.)  All of a sudden he’s more willing to repeat things and I’m loving the ability to actually ask for things instead of playing twenty questions all the time.  Favorites this week are: laundry room, raspberry, and teddy bear (one of our nicknames for him.)  I love when we’re driving around I’ll just go down a list of words for him to try to say.   Context is amusing too.  Like the time his daddy asked him at dinner if he wanted more chicken and he replied “cluck cluck.” Which, yeah, guess that makes sense.

DSC_0709

transracial families

why do you ask?? (and why I wish they wouldn’t)

((Note added Oct 2015: It’s been three years since I wrote this post. I’ve learned a lot since then. But since wordpress keeps suggesting people read this one I’m going to add a link to a newer post that adds a broader view of my take on these things:https://wondermentetc.com/2014/01/22/the-story-that-didnt-start-with-me-birth-adoption-and-honoring-their-story/))

For some reason being a different color than my kid makes people think they can ask me any number of personal questions about him and his history.  I’m not sure why that is.  It’s like the force field of awesomeness that is us when we’re together renders other people’s politeness protocol inoperable.   Or something like that.

Thankfully we live in an area that’s pretty hands-off and live-and-let-live so we haven’t encountered any open hostility towards our families makeup.  I’m grateful for that and I love where we live.  And beyond that the overwhelming number of interactions we have with people are positive.  I’ve been told I have a beautiful family many times and every time it makes my heart go all mushy.

But I’ve still had multiple people ask at grocery stores, etc things like “what happened to his family?” or “why is he an orphan?”

And I don’t think people mean to be insensitive, they just forget that they aren’t asking about the first ten minutes of a movie they walked in late on, they’re talking about a real child’s story.  A story that has lots of feelings and pain and lots of things that shouldn’t happen that did.  I mean most people wouldn’t appreciate being accosted while picking out a jar of tomato sauce and asked about the most painful page in their personal history but for some reason because it’s a child they think it’s okay to ask me in front of him.

For the record, I don’t think it is.  Just because my child needed a second family doesn’t mean the whole world gets a free pass to know the story leading up to that.

I have a bunch of go-to responses for questions I don’t want to answer.  The first is a simple “Excuse me?”  By asking them to repeat what they said I buy myself a little time to think through what I want to say.  I also like “Why do you ask?” for the same reasons.

Another easy  way I’ve found to handle it is to answer the question I want to answer and not the question I was asked.  So in the case of someone asking what happened to his family I might say “You know there are children without families and families without children.  And sometimes we find each other.  My husband and I just feel so lucky that he’s in our life.  He’s an amazing human being and such a fun age too.  Do you have any kids/grandkids?  Oh how nice…”  If I  talk fast and long enough people forget they asked me I think.  If pressed I will say “We’re keeping his story private, it’s his story and I think he has the right to have it just be his until and if he decides to share it.”

One day I’m going to get up the guts to respond by giving them a great big hug and asking when I can come over for dinner.  You know, because obviously they consider us Best Friends Forever and all.

It’s a hard balance to strike I think.  I don’t want him to grow up thinking that his adoption or where he was born is this big bad secret.  So, if asked nicely, I will happily tell people where he was born.  I will also add in where I was born and then probably ask where they were born.  Just to make things even.  But if they ask me where he’s “from” I just give the name of our town and say we all live there together.  And when people ask me if he’s adopted I will smile and say “I’m his adoptive mother, yes”.” Or “He joined our family through adoption, yes.”

I wish though that more people realized that they aren’t the first or second or third person to ask that, they’re one of the endless chorus of people asking us to define our relationship.   And that can get weary I think.  Not so much on me, but on my child.  He shouldn’t have to constantly hear questioned his position in our family.

Here’s what I wish I could say to the world:  if you’re out and about and you run into a family that looks like mine it would be amazing if you would just  treat us like everybody else, and if that means you smile or ignore us I’m good with either.  And if I catch you staring just a little too long at us don’t look away and pretend you weren’t.  Just smile and tell me what a great son I have (or how very well his vocal cords work as the case may be *ahem*.)  And if you aren’t sure how a group goes together maybe just assume they’re a family.  If they end up being the babysitter or a nanny oh well.  And, if all else fails, call me my child’s “Person”.  That works too.

oct 24

oct 24.2

adoption related seriousness

half a lifetime

Sometime in September we passed a little milestone in our life together.  Half of his life.  Half of his life has now been spent with us.   Seven and a half months apart, seven and a half months together. The first half of his life went much slower for me than the second half.  Funny how that works.

DSC_0827

Having him with us is the sun and the moon and the stars and everything wonderful.  We are so lucky to be his parents.  To go from watching him grow up in pictures to watching him grow up in front of us is a treasure.  I can still remember the ache of missing him and the thrill of first holding him.  There was a time I thought our dream of adopting had died, and it still surprises me sometimes that we have a baby.  That he’s really here, with us.  That this little family of ours where no one shares a bloodline somehow all stumbled into each other, met each other, have each other.

DSC_0822

I think of the people who questioned if we would regret not trying to have biological children and I can happily say we haven’t. Not for one second.  This is the path I was meant to be on.  This is the type of mother I want to be.  I still don’t quite understand where God’s will and destiny and man’s choices intersect.  I’m not sure why some babies get the luxury of growing up with their first families and why others need second ones.  Why some are giving so much much and others so little.

But this I know.  I love my son with every bone in my body.  And I’m going to cherish every moment I’m given with him.

DSC_0817