Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Problem Child

Do you have a "problem child"?  I do. And I am the problem.

During a brief Facebook conversation this morning with an awesome friend that I cherish (thank you, awesome friend), I was reminded that I am not as gentle, loving, caring or as motherly with one of my kids as I ought to be.  Which kid is irrelevant; they all deserve that kind of a mother.

Sanctus Real has a song called, Lead Me, that if you have never heard, you need to stop what you are doing and go listen to it, RIGHT NOW.  I am not kidding, I will wait....   It will give you a lump in your throat.  You know the one.  Or it will make you bawl like a three year old, like I did.  You know... the "ugly cry".  If it doesn't, come on over here and I will smack you in the back of he head for being emotionless.  Maybe that will make you cry.  Either way, the song will be "sniffling worthy". Disclaimer: You know I am just kidding about the smacking thing, right?  I would never do that to you. Unless you stole all my chocolate.  Or said mean things about Ronald Reagan.  Or hate tea.  But I digress...

The song's first verse is about the responsibility a husband has to his wife.  I was all ready to tattoo the words on Mr. Clean's forearm (with much self-righteousness) for him to read daily, when the second verse started.  To say I was humbled would be an understatement.  A puddle on the floor?  Probably a MUCH closer description.

I will not quote the entire song as you have already heard it (right? right?!), but this line was the one that was knee buckling, 

"Show me you're willing to fight, that I'm still the love of your life".  

First instinct, assign this to the hubby.  He is my best friend and the love of my life.  He has always been kind, loving, suportive and awesome.  But there are those days when you need a bit more as a wife.  Next, a brick to the head, when I could hear this plea come from my child.  That child.  To say that it applied to all of them initially would be dishonest.  It does apply to all of them, truly it does.  But for that one particular child it echoed from the mountain tops.

"Show me you're willing to fight..."

Are we?  Parenting is not supposed to be easy, we all know that, we all read the handbook.  But fight worthy?  I know I fight with my kids (because, some days I am, well... twelve years old), but am I willing to fight for my kids?

I do not mean the "momma bear" kind of fighting, which always seems to be about us anyway, but really fighting for them even when you want to sell them to the circus (please, no comments about how that is insensitive to circus folk, that was a fear of mine as a kid, although my kids would probably welcome it).

"...that I'm still the love of your life"

Kids are GREAT when they are new.  Then they grow and have opinions and start to talk and all that messy stuff.  Then they get hard.  Trust me, I have five of them and they are all hard some days. If your kid is still fresh from the cellophane and still "great", I will just smile knowingly.  Get back to me in a few years.  

Are we willing to let them know they are the loves of our life when they get hard?  When we want to pull our hair out or run away and join a rockabilly band (or is that just me?)?  When they do not feel like the loves of our lives anymore?  When it is no longer easy?

This was what I heard from that song.  And that one little face came to mind.  That little face needs me to prove to it that it is still one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Oh and Mr. Clean?  I have an appointment already made for you at the local tattoo parlor.  I promise, it will just "sting" a little.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yep... It's you. Not them.

I got indignant this morning.  With a five year old.  Simply stating that fact means that the five year old acted a little more mature than I did.  I hate when days start out this way.

Last night I went to a ladies' Bible study held at my church.  When it comes to a Bible study at our church we study... wait for it... the Bible.  Imagine that.  No fuzzy books on living well or putting your best foot forward.  Nope, just the Bible.  So, last night we were in Acts and we were challenged to think about how we compare ourselves/actions.  Do we compare them to others, thus finding a way to "rise above" as Saul did; finding faults in others to excuse our own sin, or do we measure ourselves again the King of Creation, the Holy God, as Paul strove to do?  It was extremely convicting.  So much so, that after I was "Saul like" this morning, I was pretty embarrassed about it.  Especially as I was sizing myself up against a five year old and using his "sins" to justify my own parenting faux pas.  Frankly, laying it all out on the table like that makes me look like quite the moron.

So, in about 20 minutes when the bus rolls up I have some humble pie to eat and a five year old from whom I need forgiveness.  I am so thankful that forgiveness is free, or I would have a lot of work to do...

Until later,
Crow eating Angel

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One Thought at a Time Please...

As a mother of five children I rarely have time to mutter a cohesive sentence, let alone ponder anything deeper than, say, the complex relationship between peanut butter and jelly.  But I have had a topic on my brain for the last few weeks.  It flits in and out as it pleases, and I haven't had much time to unravel it, but here it goes...

I think adopting trans-racially is easier than adopting a child that blends in perfectly to your family.  Did that just give you whiplash as you reread it, to make sure you read correctly?

This may ruffle feathers a bit and I get that.  I only can talk about what I have experienced, and again I have not taken the time to sit down and write a dissertation on this subject.  Just remember... peanut butter and jelly.  Okay, now that I have the disclaimer out of the way, I will let you into the vast space in my head that holds the millions of thoughts that float around simultaneously.

You do not know this yet, as it has been AGES since I have checked in, but I am working very part time right now as a parent trainer for our county's department of children and youth.  The county contracts me to supervise visits between children in foster care and their parents, provide training to said parents in an effort to prepare them for reunification, and offer a support to the parents.  Right now I have only one case.  My client has two children who are vastly different in their skin tones and at the last visit we got into the discussion of race and perception.  Hang on while I hop back up that rabbit trail and get back on track...

Anyway, this discussion had me reflect back to other conversations I have had with friends who have adopted and friends and family who are adopted.  Some were trans-racial (or whatever the right "PC" word is right now) and some were not.  You will never doubt that there is a story behind my two youngest sons.  You may not know the story upon meeting us, but it is extremely obvious that there is one.

A recurring theme I hear from people my age that are adopted and from friends who adopted a child who blends in (looks wise) is, "When did you find out you were adopted?  When do we tell our child that they were adopted?"  In our house, it is not an issue, as my five year old can tell you all about the day he was adopted and some of his life before that amazing day last January.  My baby however, is clueless.

We brought home our youngest son at three days old as a foster baby and he has never spent a day away from us or home since.  A year ago we adopted him and while we celebrated, he concentrated on playing with my necklace.  In his world, it was barely a blip on the radar screen.  His sippy cup had more meaning to him that day.  But there will never be a day when he will not know that there is a story to unravel.  My baby boy has beautiful caramel toned skin.  My skin is about the shade of a piece of printer paper and just about as blinding after a long winter.

Because of this obvious daily reminder that we are not matching salt and pepper shakers in my family, there is always room for conversation.  I remember one day my now five year old told me that his skin was "brown" and mine was "blank" (see? "printer paper").  I got a giggle out of it and it started a great chat about why, and how cool that it was that so many tones can make up one family.  My three older kids who are all biologically linked to Mr. Clean and I, also talk openly about adoption and fostering and all the parts that make up our world.  It is natural, because it is who we are.  But what of our story was different?

Suppose we adopted children who easily could be mistaken for sharing our genes?  Perhaps they were too young to remember being adopted and had no older siblings to tell them about it?  Would it be easy to slip into family life and avoid the topic altogether (whether intentionally or unintentionally)?  I know that happened to my peers and perhaps it was simply due to "the times", but some of them found out about their adoptions in very jarring ways.  

We will never have that question.  We will never have to decide on the right timing to have the "adoption talk". I also find it easier to talk about my boys' ethnic heritage, as their Caribbean tones greet me with each sweet smile.  It just, "is".  Their adoptions are a fact of our lives and a celebrated daily acknowledgement, simply due to the obvious differences.  And please know that I am not ignoring all the other topics that my boys may want to discuss in regard to their skin tones, I am only talking about the joy of having a transparent adoption.

And, I also know families who have always talked openly about adoption to their children who could be exact little replicas of their adoptive parents.  They made the conscious effort to make it a natural part of their world and conversations, even though it may never come up otherwise (you would not believe the "conversation starters" that perfect strangers in the grocery store think they have a right to throw out there to you).  But I know more who would rather sweep it under the rug and talk about it, "later".

I am so thankful that "later" is not an option for us.  Our adoption reality is all over our faces.  Although the big cheesy smile may have given it away already.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

So, Here We Are. Now What?

A million moons ago I somehow lost my RSS feeder. It was low on my priority list to try and find it again. You know, with raising children and being a fabulous wife and all. Little things like that. So today, for some unknown reason, I was inspired to find it again and see what was happening in the blog world. Boy, are you all quiet!

Many of the blogs I used to read daily are gone. Others are not updated often, some are still active. I tried to catch up the best I could after being gone for so long. Then there was the question of my own blog. The last entry was in February. Gulp.

I love to write. I have loved it as long as I can remember. As a child I had a writing desk in my room stacked with pens and paper, notebooks and stationary. I wrote all the time. Today, I have my laptop. I rarely write anymore and I miss it. So maybe it is time to dust off the blog, crack my knuckles and get back to it. I am not sure if any of the three people that used to faithfully follow this blog are even around anymore, but regardless, I will start again.


Friday, February 5, 2010

The Adoption Happy Dance

There IS light at the end of the foster journey. It is the big train called adoption and we have climbed on board. Again!

Last Wednesday, to everyone's joy, Eazy became legally part of our crazy clan, forever. Life is good...