So so very brave (countdown check in)

So so very much is up for my family this week, this month.

Because he is my son, and I really want and need to protect him,  I am only going to share that this is much harder than I expected. But what the hell did I expect?

Adoptive+parenting ain’t for sissies.

Suffice it to say that it is hard.

Suffice it to say that when research says that an infant’s emotional life is far richer and deeper than we previously understood, I believe them.

Because this six year old is full of big feelings, and those feelings began over six years ago in a hospital room. Over six years ago when her Mama love, her laugh, her smell, and her beautiful singing voice were all that he knew.

Then thirty-six hours later–and all that was her was gone.

Replaced by my new mama awkward and is-this-the-way-a-baby-works-loving. By my unknown smell, then timid laugh, and wildly out of tune sing song voice singing none of the songs he’d been hearing for the last however many months since those precious ears were hearing her. And with each hour he missed her more, as I became more and more the Mama me–but was still, of course–me.

And he cried a lot when he realized he wasn’t getting the first Mama back.

And now I’m asking him to go back to that moment in time, but this time with open arms, a smile on his face,  a good looking line up, and a button down shirt?

I’m asking him to manage all of that wordless grief, and turn it in to anticipation and ease and excitement?

Last night he let me know, in other wordless ways that that was not what he had in mind. It ended with a lot of hugs, and sobbing and shaking. The twenty minutes in between are for only the three of us to talk about.

And the counselor we’re breaking in tomorrow.

I reached out for help last night, after I got him and Marcel to sleep in my arms.

That help came in many forms.

When my adult, transracial, adopted male friend who has lived an open adoption all his life-asked if I felt like I could ask the birth mother to send some reassurance in some form that she was looking forward to seeing him too--I felt the waves parting in my heart.

I asked seconds later  in a text if she could leave him such a message–because all my reassurances that she was excited too-weren’t cutting it. She wrote right back:

“I’ll send him a video message to your email after work tonight.”

I thanked her, and then asked if she would please include how much she was looking forward to meeting Marcel too…

Of course.

When I think of him being tossed upside down  and back and forth-on the roller coaster upside down thing over and over again this afternoon, with a huge smile on his face–it suddenly all makes sense. For an instant the outside world, was even more out of whack than the inside one.

Man my kid is brave. And I don’t even know the half of it.

Race, ethnicity and place: A conversation considering all things

Summer Sam/ Mama C and the Boys 2010

I’m excited to launch something a little different here at Mama C that will hopefully invite my lurkers, and my steadfast contributors alike to join. For months, well more like years now, I have been thinking about how living in 86% White/ 6.4% Black or African American/ 3.0 Asian/2.4% Biracial identified/.5 American Indian/Alaska Native/ .5 Native Hawaiin/Other Pacific Islander and / 1.0 Other race/ Portland, Maine can and will impact my children.*  Bottom line: as a TRA and biological parent is it in my children’s best interest all things considered to stay here?  I’ve read John Riable’s writing on the subject, memoirs by TRA adult adoptees, like Black Baby, White Hands: A View from the crib and recently crumpled in a heap a few times over, when this post by a very dear friend who left Portland, Maine with her transracial family made me wonder it all all over again.  She is at peace with her decision, another friend said after reading the post. That was it. Peace. That’s what I want too. Peace with my own decision, as the head of the household to raise my family, here. Continue reading “Race, ethnicity and place: A conversation considering all things”

We’re rockin’ it alright

The fam-damily/ Mama C and the Boys

On the humorous front:

Sam was writing a thank you card to his PE (gym)  teacher, and concentrating very hard on his words;

Dear Mr. L, Thanks for teaching me PE. Love Sam

When he read it out loud-upon successful completion-his brother says; Sam why did he need to teach you how to pee? You already knew how to do that!

+++

On the way to Sam’s  closing ceremony (read: trophy hand out in less that five minutes. Which will be the shortest awards ceremony we will ever get to attend) Marcel hollers to the car next to us; “Oh YEAH we are rockin’ it now!” If we had a car radio, that might be understandable. He was just feeling the moment… Continue reading “We’re rockin’ it alright”

Out takes: a retrospective

Marcel and Mama/ Mama C and the Boys
Earlier.../ Mama C and the Boys
oh dear/ MamaCandtheBoys
That was only 3 years ago?/ Mama C and the Boys

This picture taking ritual appears to happen in the mornings, when an older brother is sleeping. Feels like a lifetime since this morning, let alone the moment captured above. There will be a day, when a post of some merit will appear here again. Until then, dear reader I am inflicting the picture drawer on you. Hope it was worth a pause, a sigh, and an Uh-huh. The boys have been taking up a lot of space in the world these days. In remarkable ways. In hard ways. In good ways. In how-do-I-have-this-conversation-for-the 1,000th-time ways. In please just fall asleep ways. In how did you burrow down deeper into my heart ways. In raise my head up to the ceiling and ask for patience ways…

Morning with Marcel take 2/ MamaCandtheBoys

Book winners & Adoption Constellation subscription giveaway

Thanks to everyone who left a comment, and/or an answer to the question; What I’d like to read an adoption book about. on my Adoption Nation book review post. I hope the publishers are listening! Many folks asked for resources, and many of you may have them, so please check back and read the comments, and add a link or suggestion if you have the time.

My two winners were Anne from Alaska, and Jess in Australia. (Then the pub tells me we can’t ship to Australia! So Jess, I’ll be sending that one on my own, so hold tight your winter reading will arrive!) In corresponding with Anne about the win, we discovered we are leading semi parallel lives in the single mama sibling co-parenting department. What a hoot. You can go see for yourself in her blog three little birds.

Today I am  offering Mama C readers a chance to win a ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION to The Adoption Constellation Quarterly.

In order to enter you’ll need to do one or two of three things:

1) Sign up to receive Mama C and the Boys automatically to your email using the subscription button on my sidebar ->, and leave a comment saying how happy you are you did!

2) tweet, fb, email, blog, or carrier pigeon about the competition mentioning The Adoption Constellation and @MamaCandtheBoys, and leave me a comment telling me which one you did, leaving a link if possible.

3) leave a comment answering the following question; “If I could read an article about one thing of CRITICAL importance to me as a member of the adoption constellation¹ it would be; __________________” in the comments section of this post. The magazine provides a forum for all voices in the constellation, so please spread the word, and the opportunity to win.

If you are not sure how to approach that, and want some inspiration, download your free copy of the first issue of the magazine here, and find out. Then come back and write a comment. You’ll get a free entry if you tell me what your favorite article was in that issue, and why!

Already a subscriber? GREAT! So tell me about that in the comments, and then enter to win a copy for your local library, or your workplace, or your step brother.

Up to TWO entries per person will be accepted. Winner’s name will be chosen in the old fashion name in a bucket, picked by Sam and Marcel on or around May 1st.

In full disclosure, I am a writer for the magazine, love the magazine, and am paying every penny of the subscription cost as my contribution to a project I deeply believe in.

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¹ From the editor; “The adoption community extends much further than the triad of birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents and we believe the term adoption constellation reflects this.”

How does your TRA brain work NOW?

The Mama C teacher look/Mama C and the Boys

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I have grown in the last seven years (Sam is 6.5) not just as a mom, but as a TRA (transracial adoptive) parent.

If I had never adopted Sam, never entered into an open adoption relationship, never waited on the edge wondering what the text response from his first mom was going to be when I suggested (last week, post to come) that we come for a visit in the next year or so, I would not be this mom. I would not be this me. Continue reading “How does your TRA brain work NOW?”

Intermission: Imagined and real musings on what we see

Intermission with Hassan/ Mama C and the Boys

We made it through five magnificent songs.

***

I managed to sit still long enough to make it to the intermission.

I see giant white boards with musical lines on the walls, and markers calling Marcel’s name.

We’re in a big recital/classroom on a college campus filled with college kids to see my friend Hassan play piano.

The same friend who stopped by the night before to invite me to the show. Who came by to hug on me, my brother and mom  during his forty-eight hour visit back to Maine.

***

The friend who went to this college, graduated with honors, and is a nationally known jazz pianist. The one who looks like you, is taller than an oak tree, and speaks as softly as the brook on the edge of a path he and you are following wherever it will take you.

***

The pianist is brown. Everyone has come to listen to him. He is captivating, talented, and within my reach. He is a Black man who adores me. I will grow up and be a Black man too.

***

As a transracial adoptive parent: a  forty-five minute drive to expose them to twenty minutes of completely extraordinary normal is part of my unspoken agreement with his first mom, with their future. This is the investment: twenty minutes that could create exponential reverberations in terms of possibility in their lives.

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Thank you to Bowdoin for flying Hassan here (from Cincinnati) to play the show to raise money for the Haitian Student Alliance. Bowdoin college where Sam’s grandfather went to college. Bowdoin College where John Brown Russwurm, a Jamaican native graduated in 1824, the first Black man to graduate from Bowdoin. The third Black man to graduate from a college in the United States.