Take me to, to the other side…

After the responses I received from yesterday’s posts (off line, FB messages and on the post) I thought I better remind my fantastic followers that I also live over on the other side of this is hard a great deal of the time.

Things I am grateful for as a single mom:

1. Cuddles, huggles, night night needs, pile ups, spooning, and movie nights in my bed.

2. Planning vacations wherever we want to go, and asking whoever we want to come with us.

3. Cooking for kids, and leftovers for me works just fine.

4. We only need a little car.

5. Immense pride when my kids do well, which is very often because this  highly functioning, loving, with it parent is absolutely enough and my kids are doing beautifully in this family of three.

6. How easy it is for people to accept offers to help.

7. During my journey to Sam, and birthing Marcel I was able to choose the people I knew could handle all of the mess and the joy with the most ease and skill. Having that lifetime connection with them.

8. When the pediatrician says things like; “Catherine I have no concerns whatsoever about these kids, or your ability to raise them as a single parent. In fact, you really do a bang up job and it shows in so many ways…” And then the next day when another doctor says; “Go home and tell your husband…” and I say; “I don’t have one, but if I did I probably wouldn’t share that with him anyway.” And he balks and says; “Oh I’m sorry.” And I look at him like he has multi-colored slime all over him, and say; “Why? I’m not. I choose to do this on my own, and I’m doing beautifully.”

9. Dancing to All the single ladies in the kitchen, cranked up super high at least four times in a row with the boys, pointing to our rings while swishing the rest of us-and feeling like it is some kind of ridiculously meaningful ritual.

10. Being able to listen to the lowered voices of the wives/partners who admit in secret that they; “sometimes wish they could change places with me…and didn’t have to  worry about their husbands/partners who are not employed/taking care of themselves/unreliable/cheating/not present as parents/glued to the television. Realizing hard is just hard.

Things I’m grateful for as a transracial mom:

1. My entire white mind world was turned inside out, and the new version is 6000% better and improving daily.

2. The strength and beauty that comes from living in the margins.

3. Opportunities to advocate for children (and families) of color  (mine and others). A new found voice  to talk about bias and education for starters.  Learning the difference between speaking for someone, and speaking of that which I notice is a systemic inequity that starts with my own stuff is a hugely satisfying part of that work and path.

4. The new families that are in my life because we are all parenting in the hue.

5. Buying as many of the Black Barbie and other dolls as I can from the Toys R Us so that they identify the need and increase their inventory.

6. Giving those dolls away.

7. The friendship with my son’s donor and the possibility of a deepening relationship with Sam’s first family.

8. Feeling uncomfortable on a cellular level when I realize everyone in the restaurant is white, and choosing to go somewhere else instead.  Sam agreeing that is a good idea. Discovering three mixed/ families of color at the following restaurant, and learning that one of them knows us from the blog.

9. The incredible support and connection of the adoption community in real and ether time.

10. Sam. Marcel.

My beauties/ All rights reserved 2011 MamaCandtheboys

Final day to register for Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2011 (and more)

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2011

The Interview Project is open to any blogger

  1. who writes at least occasionally about adoption,
  2. is interested in meeting a fellow writer with different views and experiences, and
  3. wants to welcome someone into their own online space.

Everyone who registers by October 28 will be paired with another adoption blogger. You will have two weeks to get to know their blog and send them some questions by email. On November 17, you’ll post the interview on your blog and your partner will post their interview of you.

For more information please click here.

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I have also been contacted by the Dave Thomas Foundation who asked me to post a link to this video about research on their child-centered recruitment model   http://bit.ly/tjuQWh . Here is an excerpt from the press release:

Child-focused recruitment is a model used by DTFA’s signature program, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK), which provides local adoption agencies with grants to hire dedicated adoption recruiters who spend 100 percent of their job focused on finding waiting children forever homes.  The study found older children and children with mental health disorders achieved even higher rates of adoption, providing new hope to the many children who enter foster care and often languish for years or “age out” of foster care altogether without the support of permanent, loving families.

If you experience with WWK or the DTF that you’d like to share here please do. I have to say the message on the video was very engaging to me.

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I am in the middle of several “I wonder how I will write about this…” life moments at once.  I am going to Sam’s school today to meet with a team of staff to talk about success. I am going to leave it there. That line between blogger, mother, and recorder of a life that is not mine gets rather blurry sometimes. In this case I will tell you that being a teacher and an advocate for your own child in the district that you work is complex.

I have some other exciting news professionally that I can’t reveal just yet, but suffice it to say that doors seem to be flying open in corridors all around me. We are doing important work out there, and it is being noticed. Have you seen that too? Share some of your success to start the weekend off right? Then go sign up for the Interview Project!

line up

line up with Roy/ Mama C and the Boys 2011

Last night our friend Roy gave Sam a line up for picture day.

I still fret and wonder about what his birth mother will infer when she looks at the school picture each year.

I want her to approve of his style, smile, hair, and overall presence.

I want to reassure her that he is loved, beyond fine, healthy, thriving,  fashionable, provided for, self confident, and happy.

I want her to look at his picture and know that she made the right choice.

A nice line up isn’t going to have that effect on her.

I’d do anything I could if I thought it might.

Of course my job is to know that she did.

How making a hard decision became/becomes the mother in me.

I believe that we are mothered by many in this lifetime.  One of my many mamas is this lake.  I have been coming there since I was around seven if my memory serves me. I just spent my first 24 hours alone there in 7 years. I would swim out to that float, and meditate. This is the very place I made my decision to begin the adoption process. It is where I filled out the first series of applications seven years ago. On a whim last week I wrote to the owner  and asked if the cabin was open from noon to noon the next day.  She wrote back; “It’s yours. No charge. Enjoy.” Continue reading “How making a hard decision became/becomes the mother in me.”

All the single mamas doo do dooo do. All the single mamas…

Let's give it up for my single Mama!

I just want to say thank you to the single mamas who have been reaching out to me so much recently. My single mother badge of honor is one I don’t take out often enough and polish up and wear here.

As my donations continue to come in, with sweet consistency and love, it always floors me when one of those little paypal notices has the name of one my known, or soon to be known single mamas attached to it.  Because face it–money is tight everywhere–and even if you have it now–it takes time to donate–and to do so–it to be putting it in my children’s mouths (and rental cars and hotel beds) and not yours. We are a generous lot.

A great reminder about that came in this email I received last night, after I sent a thank you to a woman, who we will all “J” who had made a contribution yesterday. In it she reminded me, that this was not the first time we had connected;

 I don’t know if you remember me, but we connected a couple of years ago on a SMC Adoption Yahoo group. I was in the thinking/wishing stage of adoption then, and you reached out to me and were so kind, encouraging, and inspirational. You sent me some books, and a diaper bag with a fleece baby blanket inside. It was such a gesture of faith, that someone believed I would become a mom, even when I was having a hard time believing it myself. I subscribed to your blog then, and have been enjoying it since.
So, fast forward to August, 2011….my daughter  is about to turn 8 months old, I brought her home this past December. I still can’t believe it sometimes. I read your blog for so many reasons, and connect with so much of what you write about. Recently you posted a picture of Sam when he was newborn, and I realized that he was wrapped in that same fleece baby blanket that I wrapped my daughter in. It hit me then, that you give so much, and I wanted to give something back. The donation is small,  but it comes from the heart.
I just got goose bumps all over again. So to all the single mamas out there today, I want to say thank you for your prayers, your emails, your cards, your well wishes, the sharing of my link on your facebook pages, the links on your blogs and all the other ways you are supporting this single mama, and Sam’s first single mama too.
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Of course you don’t have to be single to donate. I am $305.00 away from my goal. I have ten days to reach it, and I know I will, because you all rock the world.

Watching a video from Sam’s first/birth mom (and a litle Leo love)

It was only 17 seconds long.

The video I received in the email from Sam’s first mom, Tea.*

That was all it took.

Her words:

Hi there. I hear you are nervous. About what? I can’t wait to meet you and your brother. See, I am wearing your necklace that you sent me. I am the one who should be nervous. I love you.

And then she blew a kiss.

Continue reading “Watching a video from Sam’s first/birth mom (and a litle Leo love)”

Sammy Saturday: on amps and birthmoms

Trying out amps at the store and lost in thought/ Mama C and the Boys

Me: Why do you like to play the bass with an amp?*

Sam: Because it is really fun when you crank it up all the way to 100.

Me: What do you think about when you play music?

Sam: I get in my mode. I am thinking about going to play the bass loud. I’m good at music  not speaking about it.

Me: Sam, what is one thing you are wondering about our trip West in two weeks?

Sam: I am wondering if Tea is going to like me or not.

Me: What do you think the answer is to that?

Sam: Yes.

Me: Why?

Sam: Because she has always loved me.

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Two weeks to go. And we’re only $400.00 from our goal, which I am certain we’re going to reach. We were buying snacks for our carry on bags today. Thank you to the most recent contribution of $25.00 from Ms. C. C. of Maine. Feeling tremendous support and confidence from all of you! I had a dream that I woke to a contribution from Sandra Bullock for $10,000. The universe clearly has big plans for us! THANK YOU SANDRA and all!

* For being so big and brave in the world, Sam earned his first amp. It’s a 40 watt machine I gather. And was fabricated some time in 1970 near as I can tell. It’s plenty loud for us.

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.

Naming and claiming and prepping us all (Reunion update)

Six and half years ago/ Mama C and the Boys

I include the picture above to remind me, and Sam one day if he reads this blog, just how much he will have changed since his first mom last saw him. In the posts leading up to our visit, I’ll continue to include pictures of the first time we met. He was a few weeks old here.

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We were looking at a slideshow of the hotel that we are going to be staying in next month when we visit Sam’s birth family when the following conversation happened:

Me: Maybe Tea and the kids would like to come swimming?

Sam: Do they swim as well as I do?

Me: I don’t know. We’ll find out. You’re an amazing swimmer. Continue reading “Naming and claiming and prepping us all (Reunion update)”

Open Adoption Roundtable #26: Talking about siblings in adoption

Brothers brothers brothers/Mama C and the Boys 2011

Because we are beginning to talk more and more about our upcoming trip to the West Coast to meet Sam’s first mom, siblings, and grandparents this Open Adoption Roundtable jumped out at me.

…talk about siblings in open adoption. It may be that birth parents are parenting older or younger siblings…What words do we use to talk about that? How do we frame it? What questions or issues have come up?

In our house, Sammy has known about his siblings, since before he could talk. He met them at the hospital before his first mom was discharged, and before he was placed into my strong and shaking arms, by her stronger and shaking arms!  He has seen many of the group shots from that day. We also have family portraits all over the house of her and her older children updated annually. Continue reading “Open Adoption Roundtable #26: Talking about siblings in adoption”