Cliff and shifts

If you want to jump off a cliff with a hang glider and skis and report out to the audience that the ensuing avalanche almost killed you, be my guest. Actually, in this case I was the guest at the Branff film festival on Monday. Beautifully filmed, thrilling tales of personal challenges of the extreme mountain and sea variety.

Yes,  I cried my eyes out when two young men were finally back in their mama’s arms after 60 days at on the Tasman sea in a kayak built for two. If  Sam or Marcel ever has a cockamamie idea like that… I was thinking while wiping my eyes with my arm.

If you take the films selected as representational of the people who are most like to LAUNCH into the thrill seeking category,  my kids have nothing to attempt to fear in the great outdoors.  There was not one person of color, (or a woman) in the seven films presented that night. Many well off, and well sponsored white men bungy jumping, “skurfing”, mad road biking, and paddling through sharks and high seas. There was the occasional indigenous person with an ice pick in the Himalayas but at that point in the night, I had lost interest. Not seeing my children, or myself represented in over two hours of “award-winning” films was disengaging.

I seethed over economics and lack of exposure and modeling in the world of outdoor adventuring. I wanted to know where the videos from people like Outdoor Afro were being shown, because that is the festival I want to go to next time.

My great ah-has from all this discomfort: a) thankfully I will never be a white man in “need of extreme gravity” and b) that doesn’t mean others aren’t and c)it took six years but my personal entertainment consciousness has shifted dramatically as the result of my parenting transracially.

Out here in the blogosphere we talk a lot about our parenting shifts, our curriculum needs, the resources we seek. But what about how you, as transracial parents choose to entertain yourselves? Have you noticed yourself becoming in practice more of an adult consumer of color- someone who wants to support businesses, musicians, films, books, and the like that represent, engage, educate and speak to your parenting in the hue too?  When do you notice your shifts?  Where is your balance?

Speaking of entertainment for my Cumberland County Maine readers there is a show at Bowdoin College tonight, featuring this virtuoso alumni, and mentor and good friend Hassan Muhammad from 7:00-8:00, doing solo piano to raise money for Haiti. We’ll be there in pajamas for the first half at least. His myspace is here, but thought you’d like this too.

Help Bring Keanan Home from Haiti

January 22, 2010 Keanan is on his way to the U.S. tonight. Thank you to all who offered their support. We send you our best wishes for a smooth transition for all of you.

A fellow adoptive parent who I met through writing circles was in Haiti visiting her adoptive son to be (two and a half years in the process) when the earth quake struck. Her story, and what we can do to help bring him home now, and not in three more years.

Excerpt from her blog: I am home from Haiti, safe and relieved. So many stories to tell, but right now we are mobilizing our energy towards trying to get our son home, too. It was extremely difficult to leave him in Haiti under the current situation. We are hearing rumors that there may be an option for getting him home under humanitarian parole. I know a lot of you are reading this blog and offering help. THIS IS HOW YOU CAN HELP. If this smacks of desperation, it’s because we are desperate. We want to get him home. Watching the news since I’ve been home has made me even more aware of how bad things are over there. I am grateful to be home, but very upset to have left our son there.

Edwidge Danticat Reads Her Haiti Stories (You Tube)

Thank you to fellow She Writes (SW) writer Sayantani DasGupta for sharing this video link with the SW family. It brought Eddie’s mother back into my kitchen, hearing the lyrical French in the introduction alone.

It felt like an important way to help all of us connect with the strength and life force of Haiti.

UPDATE: For updates on our Eddie’s family, and ways to help please see the post below. Thank you. Donate here. Continue reading “Edwidge Danticat Reads Her Haiti Stories (You Tube)”

A Haiti Relief Request from Our Edwige*

Update from Eddie: She has launched to consolidate help efforts and queries.

Dear World,

I wanted to take a moment to plea with you to help my family and the relief efforts in Haiti.

This tragedy has devastated my family and shocked the entire world. Please help.

My family in Haiti and so many others need water, food, shelter, and basic first aid.
Please forward this to anyone and everyone you know who would like to help.

Donate here.

Please $1 would make a difference.

Info on texting to help HAITI relief efforts.

Thank you,


l’union fait la force

*Edwige, our Eddie, is as many of you know our nanny-sister-daughter- mother, our rock star.  She can also be found here.

Hands On Diaster Relief

I have also been asked to let my readers know about the organization HODR and  the volunteer work they are doing in Haiti. They had over 400 volunteer inquiries yesterday. My friend Elizabeth who lives in NYC has volunteered with them in Haiti and has been asked to try to share their message in the ether.


And finally  for our adoptive children in particular who may be over hearing pieces of the Haiti story unfolding. A reminder that so many of our children have incorporated into their own birth story, (from fact not fiction in most cases) the idea that a tragedy, or extreme poverty factored into their adoption story or plan. So like all loss this story can trigger feelings of fear, anxiety and the like. I bring this up as a parent who sees this play itself out in many ways. It was Sam who asked so many questions last night about what is happening in Haiti that brought this to my attention.   Uncle and I were talking about the story carefully, I thought. Hours later Sam had many questions about families there, and the children.  Sam has a personal connection through Eddie which intensified his immediate connection. He asked if her mom was there and who was there. But the edges that were up for him were familiar in other ways too.

UPDATE from Eddie

Thank you from Eddie to all who have sent prayers, love and concern. Her family is continuing to hear news from various family members in Port Au Prince. Her mother shared one loss with Eddie, and the good news that her maternal grandparents, and great uncle have been contacted. The latter nearly escaping a falling building. Her family is in the process of relocating several cousins to an area about 75 miles from the capital called Fond de Blancs where many of her family members now live.  Relocating the rest of the family will be expensive, and I have asked Eddie if we can participate in fund raising efforts as her extended family. Her father’s parents have survived, but his family has suffered many losses.  Learn more here.