Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy End of 2010

Near the end of pretty much anything I get emotional. We move, I cry, we end a year, I cry...a lot. I know we have so many memories of this past year that are wonderful. Parts of the year were rough no doubt. We found out about Matty's Chairi Malformation, I accepted and moved forward with the fact Tyler would be heading to a special needs classroom for preschool. At the start of this year, Matty wasn't even WALKING. That doesn't seem possible when I look at the overwhelming mobile, intense, active little man that he is now. Tyler was about to turn 2, and barely speaking. Today he climbed up on the bed and said, "What doin' Momma? Wanna go a Y?" (YMCA for swimming) As much as I enjoy the passing of the milestones, and each new phase, I could as easily smile as I could cry when he stands before the big boy potty and proudly pees straight in while smiling up at me in all his glory. I do enjoy each moment as much as I can. I work hard to remember that each passing moment is one I can never get back. Each detail and funny phrase or look will someday be missed even if right now it borders on fresh or a little sassy mouthed. I love their humor, their independence, and the self esteem that never falters. At the end of this year, over all, I am very proud. I am proud of myself and my husband. I'm proud of the toddlers we're raising into confident, humorous, sensitive, and caring young boys. I wish it would go slower, but it doesn't. I wish I could remember every SINGLE detail, but I know I can't. I could spend hours recording the little things I know that time will make me forget. Instead, I cozy up with my boys and enjoy watching them master eating ice cream with a spoon, or work their Dad over for a bite of chocolate. I love these days when there is nothing but time to enjoy my kids. Here's to 2011...365 more days laid out before me to watch my children, and my love for them...grow.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reckoning Day...

So you didn't all think I'd post that bomb of a blog two posts ago and never go back to it did you? Of course not!

Let me first say, I'm calmer now...a lot calmer, but still emotional. I want to thank the people who did send me e-mails in support, and tell the few people who tried to criticize anonymously...that's weak. I'm right here, I'm right out in the open, saying what I'm saying. I use my name, my kids names, and I link to this blog from other sites where people know me very well. If you don't feel strongly enough about something stand up and put your name next to it, don't say it. That's weak.

Next let me say the field seemed pretty split on this one. I got a few comments from adoptive mothers who didn't care for what I said, and I got a few comments from birth mother who didn't like what I said. I clearly didn't get comments from everyone who read the blog, but there MUST have been talk about it out there because the blog counts spiked through the roof. Regardless of how you ended up there, thanks for reading. Thanks for commenting, even if you didn't agree, and thanks for letting me know you supported me when you did.

Second, I want to assure all of you that know exactly why I posted this that you don't know. This has maybe a LITTLE to do with what you think it does, and much to do with things that I have shared with almost no one. (Although a few of the people who did stop to make contact with me about this post did get a small preview when I responded) This is my blog, and I'm allowed to feel how I feel, based on my life. So that's what I do. I'm not required to write here WHY I feel that way. Why I feel that way is to personal for even here. Maybe if *I* was anonymous I could write that all out. What I did expect was for the people that read here that do know me to understand there was a reason why I feel this way. Believe it had nearly ZERO to do with what anyone on-line said. So if you're patting yourself on the back, thinking you know me well enough to know exactly what this is about, and then you are judging me, you don't know me. You should know me well enough to know that I have reasons. I'm a patient and kind person. If you know that and believe it, then you know what it took for me to write that blog, and that I didn't get that worked up about what people that I don't know said on-line. That's all I'll say about that, and if you followed all the knows and don't knows in that paragraph, you get a gold star.

I will address the "all inclusive" nature of my post. THAT WAS A JOKE PEOPLE! I thought those of you that think you "know" me would get that. It's just about my trademark line isn't it? I don't like all inclusive phrases? People should learn to use a qualifier or two like some or many? One of my hugest pet peeves is being all included in ANY group, but especially in a group that gets a bad rap. Adoptive parents get a bad rap. We never provide updates, we go against our agreements, we're coercive, and we're conniving, we don't care about birth parents, we only want to steal babies. It's all inclusive, all day when it comes to describing adoptive parents and that never seems to change. So I did that the other way...again, if you KNOW me, you get that I was not talking about every birth parent that has walked the face of the earth here in that blog post. I'm not even sure I was talking about MANY birth parents, but I sure the hell was talking about some of them.

Next if you have an issue with what I write, why don't you try addressing it HERE...with me, instead of running to another group of people who will pat you on the back and tell you there there? Nothing was ever solved from only talking to people who agree with you. You can comment on any of my posts and give me a way to contact you. All comments come to me first for approval, so your contact information will not be public. Next time, feel free to message me. You might just get to know me. Thanks again to all the people who did. I didn't post a lot of your comments, but they were truly appreciated.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Catching up on me...

As with most parents, we seem to get lost in our children. We forget to take care of Momma. Momma makes the house "go" and a broken Momma isn't good for anyone. So here is a little post about how I've started taking care of Momma. First I decided that I did need to do some elimination dieting. I realized that yes, it was a PIA. Yes, it was more expensive on the food budget, but YES, it was what I needed. The bottom line for me was that if any one else in my household needed an elimination diet on even the small chance it might help them with something...even something minor, I would do why wasn't I doing it for me? Why wasn't I doing it when I knew it had the potential to help my significant chronic illness in a major way? So I'm doing it. I started Oct 17th and I'm pleased to report that I've followed a very strict Gluten Free diet, with a slightly less strict, but still "eliminated" Dairy Free and Sugar Free Diet. I practiced that till the day before Thanksgiving when my name came up on the waiting list at the "local" (hour away) Functional Medicine Dr, and I was able to get in with him. He also eliminated Corn from my diet and asked me to consider Soy as well. I'm considering soy, and finishing all the corn containing, but otherwise gluten free items I have in short order that I might also eat Corn Free. He talked with me a lot. He made a lot of sense, and I liked his thought process and patient relationship process a lot. He started me on a pro-biotic, some liquid supplements, and some medical food. Medical food supplements taste like chalk. They say on the outside that that "shake mix" is flavored like Chocolate Orange, but it's really Chalk flavored. I'm currently slurping down a large shake that is has fruit smoothie mix, blueberries, tart cherry juice, and a big scoop of chalk. Now I'm stuck with a large glass of chalk to drink because I mixed it with so many things it made a huge glass. This is expensive chalk though, so I'm drinking it, but I won't make this mistake again.

Over all...I'm feeling better. I've made some progress in coming of some pain meds, and immune modification drugs. I no longer take injectable medications, or Vicoden. I have reduced my Tylenol to 1X per day instead of twice. I'm back down to 5MG of Prednisone instead of 40. I'm going to stick to this for the next month until I see him again, and then we'll talk about coming off the Prednisone and maybe reducing some of Advil doses. I'm still sore in the AM, and in the evening as I get ready for bed. Warm baths and showers help. I want to get off all this junk, but more importantly, I wanted to find a Doctor who believed I could get better. He really does. He said so many things that were spot on about my medical history starting when I was very young...all things I had not mentioned in my medical history. Quite amazing.

My immune system did not become this damaged overnight. It will not repair overnight either. We may have a long road in pin pointing all the things that are preventing my immune system from functioning correctly, but we will. I can walk a long road if I see a light at the end, and I have a light.

I'll update you all when I think of it, but send me a message if you have any questions.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I can't possibly understand...

This might become one hell of a blog post. If you're overly sensitive about adoption issues...I really just suggest you skip it. My rant.

I'm know a lot of people in the adoption world. A lot of adoptive parents, a lot of adoptees and a lot of birth parents. One thing that I read over and over, and it just burns the hair off my butt is how adoptive parents can just never know what it's like to be a birth parent. How we can never know or understand their pain. You know what...they're right. I don't understand who, what or why they made the choices they made. I don't understand that at all. What I DO understand is as follows:

I understand what it's like to be a Mom. I know what it's like to lay in the dark, so in love with my children that I'm near panic attacks that something will ever happen and they won't be with me.

I understand that I would lay on a railroad track with an oncoming train if that's what it took to provide for my children. I know without a doubt I would research every avenue, event, and illegal activity I could possibly do if that's what it took to be with my children. I know I would eat beans and rice and drink water if that's what it took to put some food on their plate.

I know the hardships of being a mother. I know the challenges. Believe I know the tough times. We are not wealthy. We basically live pay check to pay check with plenty of debt in there just like the rest of America. I know what I'm willing to do just so I can bring at least one more child into our home. I know what I'll give up, and the the things I'm willing to let my other children sacrifice so we have the funds to bring another child home.

I know the joys of motherhood. I know them like a drug addict might know their drug of choice. I know I need my daily hit of my children. Their laughter, their fun, their spaz out sessions where nothing goes right. I need them.

So they are right. I do not understand what could happen in my life that I would ever place a child for adoption...not when I know what my children bring to my life. The majority of birth mothers are not young innocent women with their first pregnancy. They are mothers already. They are parents who know what raising a child takes. They make the choices they make because they do not wish to parent again, and they are right...I 100% do not understand that. Being a mother means they also know they have options, resources and assistance they can lean on. Being a mother means they also know what being a mother feels like. In giving up the hard parts, they are saying the amazing moments aren't worth it. That they can't find a way to do it. That is very sad. I do not understand that. I never could.

I also understand this. When an expectant mother is at a cross roads with a pregnancy, weighing each of her options carefully. Parenting, Abortion, Adoption. An unplanned pregnancy did not PUT her at those cross roads. That's a fact. Her life was not sunshine and roses and an unplanned pregnancy was this explosion that put her into a downward spiral. That pregnancy did not all the sudden make her wonderful loving supportive family 100% disappear. That pregnancy did not suddenly make a perfectly happy, stable life so out of whack there was no way to parent. That life was already in the downward spiral. That life was already unstable. The pregnancy and placement didn't do that.

Birth mothers need to get counseling not just for the fact that they placed a child, but also for the fact that their life was in a place that they felt that was best. That pregnancy was not a rock out of know where that knocked her otherwise perfect life off course. Something that she had no idea could happen. Unplanned is a great phrase, but when we're realistic, lack of planning was what really caused the pregnancy. Birth Control is wonderfully reliable. In the end, I'm sure placing a child is very hard, and very emotional, but the anger toward adoptive parents, and adoption agencies and the lashing out about how we can never understand is entirely misplaced. What should really be addressed is what the heck happened in their life that they made that choice. What led them to a place where they ended up with a a pregnancy they had no support for? Why were they emotionally in a place where parenting did not seem do-able? I think it's easier to blame other people. To wallow in your feeling about what happened when in reality, what happened is only a symptom of what was going on in that life. Look at the life, not the symptom.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Preschool Assessment

Today was Ty's assessment for special needs preschool. The first 20 minutes while various teachers are playing with Ty and I'm talking with the lead teacher about the program and she tells me over and over about how we won't have any answers today and it needs to be a team meeting with the school psychologist etc (doesn't happen till Jan) until we know if he qualifies etc. By the end of 1.25 hours she's saying. "I don't see any reason why he wouldn't qualify." Well no shit. Sing your tune lady. I think it's pretty easy to see after you are around Ty and I for a while that Ty has needs. I'm not an indulgent mother who never disciplines her kids, and waits on them hand and foot so they don't talk and have tantrums. I DO indulge, but I will lower the boom when I have to. Yes, I will take playdoh away when he's eating it. (she asked I'm an idiot and just let him sit and eat a can of playdoh?) It however is hard to take the entire outside away from him (and Matty) when he's eating dirt. You know? He's an awesome kid. I can tell you his strengths and his quirks and his NEEDS. I can talk your sensory talk, and your "preferred activity" lingo because I don't do this as "a" job. I walk this road everyday lady. But she was nice. Really. She was clearly a great teacher and she realized pretty quick I knew what I wanted and what Tyler needed. By the end our EI therapist (who I invited to advocate for Tyler) was telling her how blessed a complex kid like Tyler was to have me as a mother, and I was bawling. I hate that. I hate it when others think I'm a saint for doing it. I don't do it for them, or anyone else, or care for one second if they think Tyler's life is so "full" because I'm his mom and I enrich his life in every way I can...of course I do that. I think it makes me cry because I want to believe that EVERY mother does that. I don't feel like I do enough, and I want to believe I'm the norm, not the amazing exception. Take your special needs kids to the playground. To me that isn't rocket science. It's not easy, but he's a kid. I don't care if he eats the mulch and everyone stares...he needs to go on the damn swings just like every other kid.

So Ty should start preschool in January right after his birthday. The people seem nice, but I'm just not sure what we'll do with ourselves while he's in school. We'll have no EI appointments? Crazy thought. Maybe Matty and I will just do a lot of grocery shopping.

They did however say how cute he was a million times, tell me that he had the most beautiful eyelashes ever, and say how they wanted to put him in their pocket. Our EI therapist laughed and said, "He sure is cute...I'm not sure on the pocket thing though. Maybe sometimes." and I added, "Yeah until he turns into the Tasmanian Devil." Judging Tyler by his eyelashes is about as smart as trusting him with a bucket of cookies because he tells you it's OK.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Adoption Resolutions

November is National Adoption Month. This month there will be abundance of blog posts about adoption facts, and etiquette, what not to say to adoptive parents. Happens every year, all this readily available education and yet, people are still dumb. They are ignorant and rude. They care only about satisfying their own curiosity on how my family came to be. I'm thankful that my children are still too small to understand, but I know that in a matter of years I'll not only be talking with my children about their adoption story, but about how the stupidity of others impacts them. Not only will there be questions about how they are adopted, how they are black with white parents and where they are from, but there will be the all important questions about their "real" Mom and Dad (or just Mom and Dad, but not referring to Mike and I), the questions about how much they cost, why their "Mom" gave them away, and if/when she is able to come back and take them from us. Yes, people are dumb. I've found too many people to talk first and think much, much later, if at all about the feelings of the children and people involved in the personal questions they ask. So this November, I invite adoptive parents everywhere to make their Adoption Resolutions. Here are mine:

My sons are brothers. (Period)
My sons are MY sons. I am right here, I have not given them away. I don't need to come back because I'm already here. (Period, I will not engage these people to teach them proper adoption language.)
I am real. My husband Mike? Also real.
I did not pay for my children. Paying for children is illegal.
My children are black and I am white. This happened because God makes people who are all different colors, not just one color.

Finally and most important, I WILL say calmly and sanely: "I do not discuss the details of my children's adoption with anyone but our close family. There is a lot of adoption information on-line if you are interested in researching adoption."

Lastly, these answers are OK. They do not mean I am not proud of my sons, or their adoption and their story. They do not mean that I hide from the truth. They mean I have respect for my family, our story and how we share it. They mean that I can acknowledge that it is not *MY* job to educate everyone. My only job is my children. They will come first. Until they tell me otherwise, I will respect their privacy and that includes their story. It is not mine. It is theirs.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Funny for today...

My kids have become major Sesame Street fans all the sudden. They have Elmo's name down, and "Cookie" (nohm, nohm! Cookie!), and Ernie. The rest...not so much. We have a giant coloring book that we use almost every day that has all the characters on the front and before we start, they always name the ones they know, and then I help with the ones they don't. Like most kids, they don't really care about the actual reality of the situation, and things they can't say yet, so they have started assigning names to the other people of things they can say. Zoe is of course "star" because she wears jewelry with stars on them. Big Bird is just "bid" (bird in Tyler speak). Oscar the grouch? Well they have named him Momma. It's partially MY fault in that Matty was pointing to him asking me "Momma? Momma?" wanting to know his name, and I burst out laughing saying, "His name is NOT Momma! That's Oscar and he stinks and is grouchy!" So then of course Tyler had to point to him and say, "MOMMA! Momma ewwwww! Yucky!" and laughed. Repeat 100 times between the two of them. It stuck. I am now Oscar the Grouch. Hysterical.

Friday, October 29, 2010


Here's to the end of a fairly productive week.

I made a winter jacket for Tyler out of a wool sweater and matching hat. Then the next day, I found a pattern to do exactly that after I had spent the whole previous day winging a pattern. It came out cute but a little small. I have another really heavy wool sweater that I'll make the next one out of now that I really know how much extra room you need to leave. The finished one needs buttons or snaps still, so hopefully I'll get to that this weekend.

I did laundry. Yes, that IS an accomplishment. It kept me fairly caught up on a task that I have an on again off again relationship with. Usually off.

I made a burp cloth for my new niece Aaliyah. It has two apples embroidered on it and says "A is for APPLE" under that.

We used up our leftovers! This is always a major event when we aren't throwing away our leftovers. We didn't eat out at all this week!

I used some cloth diapers. I can pretty easily say we are Part-time cloth diapering now. I wash about a load of them every couple days, so we're using some at least. Anything is better than full time sposies!

I stuck to this diet more or less. I would guess that for the last 17 days I have been about 98% successful with Gluten free, and maybe 75% successful with sugar free, and then somewhere in between those numbers with the Dairy. I think the big part of the dairy is milk for me. I am really enjoying my soy milk though, and I'm totally hooked on these gluten free bagels I found...but they have milk powder in them. Might have to find another kind. I can really feel my swelling diminishing, and I've been able to cut back on my pain medication and immune suppressant injections as well.

What I didn't get done:
I need to go through all the clothes in the upstairs bedrooms and bring the totes down to store on our new shelves in the garage. When those rooms are cleared out, I need to reorganize them and get some storage for the boys toys that are up there. Big Brother, Big Sister is coming Nov 19th.

I did not clean out the cabinets over the TV so we could more the components up there. Right now the components are in the cabinets under the TV, but those are cabinets the boys can reach, so I'd rather put their stuff in there if we can.

I did not go to the Social Security Office to apply for Matty's SS#. I need to do that soon, and I need to get all the rest of his paperwork to our local adoption agency so they can close out his file. Then next time we adopt they will have all his paperwork and it will be that much easier to update our home study.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

I never imagined what would matter...

Ever since I met Mike we've always played this little game. Did you ever imagine? and insert little things that our "growing up" self never would have imagined, or wished for, but which in the end, are a dream come true. One of my favorites was while I was taking a bath with a little baby Tyler and asked Mike if he could dump in more olive oil. He carted out the big jug of olive oil and stood beside the tub and said, "How much? A couple of glugs?" That was certainly a "we never imagined" moment. Another would be when we "lube" the kiddos up after baths now, we use coconut oil. They LOVE it, and it's good for them, so they eat it while we spread it all over their hair and body. It's gotten a little extreme though where we have to basically battle with their little greased down bodies to get the bucket of coconut oil away from them. We have frequent discussions about not eating too much "yummy" because it needs to go on your tummy too! Never imagined that. Love it though.

I never imagined the gut wrenching nausea that could grip me at the thought of not having these two. Of losing them, or of them somehow finding their way to another persons home instead of ours when they were babies. It's like PTSD for an event that never even happened. On Oprah the other day there was a family on. More correctly just a mother and father. The mother was hit from behind by an 18 wheeler and all 3 of their children were killed. I sat there dumbfounded, crying, trying to shake the remote the right way so I could change the channel. I couldn't even watch. I know these bad things happen, but I just couldn't even process their palpable grief. They said the only thing that got them through was a pact they made with each other that when they would lay down at night, neither one would sneak off and kill themselves. That is about what it would take. I could get through for Mike, but if he didn't make me...I'm not sure. It's amazing how these little people come into our hearts, they push all our buttons, they make us rip our hair out and wish we could pluck off all our own eyebrows hair by hair, but in the next breath the very thought of trying to live without's unthinkable.

Like many mothers and fathers out there, I'm sure that no one could love their children with the intensity that I love mine. No one. Just like every other parent that feels just like me. But rationally I know that other parents love their kids in the same all consuming I love mine. So I just put this out there, because I actually let this thought pass my head about once or a 100 times a day. When you are ready to yell, ready to put them in TO, ready to...whatever. Does it MATTER? Does it really matter, or does it only matter right now?

The boys like to help Mike make dinner. I think this is excellent training for them on how men do a lot of domestic work. While Mike makes dinner, they will typically wash a dish or a cup. For the entire 30 or more minutes. One item. The other night Mike (after a long day at work) had enough and told them they needed to shut the water off. I (yelling from the living room, because I wasn't about to get off the couch...wheel of fortune was on) said, "Why? It won't be long till you miss the times when they would play in the sink while you made dinner. You can't get that back when they're 16!" He turned the water back on and gave them both a scrub brush and a cup.

Later that night he thanked me. A little water? Not a big deal. Sure we're Americans and taking it for granted and all that, was water. Yes, we were wasteful, but was it worth making them cry, or do you just pay the minimally higher water and sewer bill knowing that you have one plate that is sparkling clean and two very, very happy little helpers? Eventually we'll teach them about not wasting water and all that, but for right now? They are 1 and 2, and cooking with their Daddy. Know what matters, and what only matters right now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

When it's not a triangle...

The three "sides" of adoption are the Birth Mother/Parents, the Adoptee, and the Adoptive Parent(s). This is often called the "Triad" and depicted and thought of as a triangle with equal sides. Unfortunately for both my sons, we don't have our promised triangle. We have more of a line. Our third corner in each triangle seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. We keep our side of things going, for the most part, and would welcome a return to our triangle shape, but for now, we're a pretty comfortable line.

Anyone that knows me though, knows that I think ahead. I fully believe in mentally exploring all potential future scenarios, worst case to best case until I'm a quivering, shaking mess. This would clearly be no exception. I can't help but fear that despite what we've done, and the contact we've maintained (us sending letters and pictures) that the lack of response from birth parents will be emotionally blamed on us. Either by the birth parents when/if contact is initiated as the kids get older, or by the boys if they have a hard time dealing with their loss. I can't help but feel that in this new era of open adoption where birth parents are guided into a choice they are not educated about, that we are all creating a new generation of adoptees who will not have lost their birth families once, but twice. Who will be forced to face down not only their own placement for adoption, but their emotional abandonment by their birth families. I can't imagine how my children will feel when they know that their birth parents had options for full and open communication and in Matty's case 1 guaranteed visit per year, and they haven't bothered to make that effort.

I think either of their birth families could have stretched their lives and finances to care for another child. That was not why my boys were placed. My boys were placed because their birth parents could not emotionally raise another child. They chose not to parent. Perhaps with that knowledge, we should not be surprised that they have not maintained communication. That they have not asked for their visits or sent pictures so my sons could have pictures of the people that look like them.

I'm so angry.

My sons were first emotionally placed by their birth families, and now they have been emotionally abandoned by them as well. No one should make promises they can't keep to children. Open adoption is not for a birth parent only if they need it. Open Adoption is for the child, the teen, the young adult and adult adoptee. I realize it is not easy for their birth families. It's not easy for me either. I do it for my children. I can't imagine a better reason.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whole suck...

Dear Whole Foods,

People who like to eat healthy do not necessarily have only one child. Just because we are green and/or organic does not mean that we are also hyper conscious of the earths population numbers and are limiting our family to one child. We may have multiple children. Just because we shop at your store does not mean that we are so wealthy we must have left our kids home with the Nanny. We do not have a Nanny.
I am raising the next generation of Whole Foods shoppers here. Children of hippie, organic loving, green living parents will typically grow into adults with many of the same ideals. These children will have jobs. It behooves you to WANT me to have more than one kid.

Help me, help you! Get some double shopping carts or I swear, I'll shop for my organic shit at Shaws.


Mother of two kids who BOTH need to be in the shopping cart.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We may not have it all together...

but together we have it all.

Long before we had children I found a small stone wall hanging with this painted on it. I picked it up and knew I was buying it. I didn't look at the price. I didn't care. It needed to come home with me, because it was US. It completely and fully describes my husband and I in a mere sentence. We don't have all our ducks in a row, but we have a HERD of know? As our family has grown, it becomes more and more true. We remind ourselves of it, and I think I read that plaque several times a week. I'm currently working on vinyl letter that will go on our living room wall that will have the same quote. What would you rather have? Everything in it's place, or more everything? I vote more everything. More kids, more fun, more love, more laughs...and a huge pile of laundry. The reality is, in this house, it will likely not EVER be both. We will not have it all together, because we are way to busy having it all. If at any point we DO have it all together, or even close to that...well clearly I will have failed in my mission to create a family of 12.

Matty was napping this morning and Ty and I were tooting around the house working on laundry and in general just killing time. I ran into the bathroom to pee, while Ty was busy weighing himself on the scale. He insists on keeping the scale in the kitchen so he can weigh himself each time he passes it. He jumps on, yells, "Twenty! YEAH!" They both weigh in the twenties so that's what he's use to hearing...and of course we have taught them to cheer at their weights. I figure the days where he can weigh himself in the kitchen AND cheer about it are fairly numbered in the grand scheme of his life, so I let him have at it.

So while I'm peeing, he peeks around the corner at me in the bathroom (yes, I use the bathroom with the door open...I have a 17 month old and a 2.5 year old.) and wrinkles up his nose at me, then clomps over in his rain boots, drags his stool over to the light switch, climbs up, switches on the fan, and hops down. He pats me in the knee and says, "Otay? Otay Momma?" Okay Ty. Then he stands patiently RIGHT BESIDE me waiting for me to finish so he can flush the potty for me. I'm not sure if he's the world best bathroom attendant or the world's worst. In any case, I haven't flushed the potty in months.

Well I hear I guess I better go check that out.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Token Child?

As we begin to settle into a routine with two children and I'm able to get out and about more, well...I'm not satisfied. I want to continue. Yes, life threw us a little bump in our planning with two boys who were closer together than we planned. Seeing them play each day tells me they were exactly what was meant to be for our family. Exactly. For OUR family. So those of you with kids further apart, don't feel like you are missing out on anything. I'm sure you have exactly what you are supposed to have for your family. But for these kiddos, for this family? They are perfection.

As I said, we're finally adjusting to I'm ready to get going again. Build this family while we have any semblance of a young couple who can handle all these young kids. As is typical for me, I'm all over the map. Foster Care, international, domestic, special needs. I have to research them all. This time around I took a really strong look at international. An adoption from Africa really is in my heart, and I think we WILL do it someday. I'm not sure if now is the right time for that. Some of the programs I've looked at seem shaky at best, and one closed while I was in the process of finding an agency who would work with us for that country. In the process of researching several African Countries, I also came across several blogs of people who were adopting or have adopted from African. Uganda, Ethiopia, Rwanda, etc. I am struck by the make-up of some families who have chosen this path to African adoption. I'm more than struck honestly...I'm upset. Large families of 5, 6, 8 biological children. All white. In the middle of Idaho or some other place with less than zero diversity if that's possible. A blog filled with pictures of family and friends, and one lone face of color. Their token adopted child from Africa. The child God called them to adopt to complete their family. Now their family is complete...with their one black child surrounded by a sea of white faces. Really? That's what God wanted for that child? They wanted the child to be ripped from their home country and moved to a place where no one looked like them, or understood any of their culture? I guess I can't question God, but I WILL question their interpretation of what they think God wanted. Yes, African children need help. Yes, they live in poverty. Yes, many of them die young because they lack basic health care. That is very sad. I completely agree all of that, and it tears at my very heart. What the children are NOT lacking is culture, community, and heritage. Traditions. A feeling of belonging, even if it's only with other homeless children all in the same place as you. There is a feeling of community, even as there is nothing to share. To take all of that from a child? Really the only things they have ever "had" in their seems quite selfish when you know you can not provide those things for them. You know you have no plans to adopt another child that they could share their culture with. You know you have no plans to move to a more diverse area where the child could see and be friends with other people and children who at least look like them.


I parent two black children.

Everyday I judge myself on my ability to provide for them the things they lost when I adopted them. Diversity. African American role models and peers. Culture. I can not replace all that they lost when they left a black family, and joined ours...I know that. But I certainly will do all I can to nurture who they are as a person. They are a black person. I can't understand that with complete certainty. I can empathize, encourage, and love them. I can provide for them siblings who WILL understand exactly how they feel. Who will get it. I can make every attempt to expose them to the culture they would have if their birth parents had parented. I can find and reinforce positive black role models for my children. What I won't do is isolate them in a sea of white like a cute little black doll that I took because I wanted it. I do not have token black children I rescued from Africa. Even if we adopt from Africa, that is not what my children will be. They will be my children...who happen to be black, which bares with it a responsibility to respect that they inherently may need more effort than a biological or even a white adopted child would need from me. They need a lifelong commitment to expose and try to rebuild to all the things they have lost because I am white. If I can't give that commitment to them, I shouldn't be adopting black children.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I am Machine.

Sometimes I still dream of perfect children. You know the ones we all dream of before we have children, while we still know everything about parenting? I still think of those children sometimes. How I would dress them, the places we would go, how I would never need to yell because rationalizing with an 18 month old always works. How they would follow me in a neat little row like ducks through a parking lot.
Sometimes, I miss those kids, but the reality is...they are so boring. They are not challenging, or mentally stimulating. They are not kids, they are (to borrow a phrase from a friend) Stepford Children. There are days a Stepford child sounds great. A well oiled robot that just runs, even when Mommy has a cold and pees when she has coughing fits. A life that has kids into the car and on our way without tears and tantrums. I've realized my children are not robots, my life is not a machine, but somewhere deep inside, I am.

If you ask me how I do it, I won't have an answer. I can't even answer my husband when he asks. I don't know. There is a machine inside me. It does what it needs to even when my brain goes on auto pilot. It prioritizes, process and completes tasks that were never even in my imagination till I woke up and had two special needs kiddos. That machine can make two grilled cheese while emptying roomba, attempting to rationalize with a speech delayed 2.5 year old, and empty the dishwasher all at once. That machine can hand pluck loose fur from a dogs butt while I use the bathroom because that kind of multi-tasking SAVES TIME. That machine is smart. I have no idea where it came from.

I was ready to be a Mom. I know that now. I was maybe naive and soft, but I was ready. Good thing because every single day I end up in a place that I never could have dreamed. I did not look forward to watching a toddler pee in the potty by using the toilet seat as a back board. I didn't ever, ever imagine urine every where would make me laugh.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things Cruise Along...Kids Get Bigger...

I wish for more babies. It seems an endless cycle. I'm like a child that bores of a puppy once it's no longer cute. Okay...not bored...not that...just...complacent. No one NEEDS ME. Not in the primal way. I think my kids could gladly make it a whole day and scrounge for food if they needed to. They certainly seem happy enough to roam the garden and eat tomatoes that I haven't yet cut up, or to grab a kitchen chair and drag it over so they can eat an apple. Tyler will even pull Roomba to the middle of the carpet and start her up. What do they need me for? The occasional dirty diaper that they could careless if I changed anyway? I need babies damn it. Little tiny babies that cry in need of a burp and a bottle warmed just so. Little bitty with legs all frogged up inside a sleeper gown, and tiny, itsy bitsy eyes that will pop awake if I even think about moving when they are sleeping on my chest. The last thing that slept on my chest was a 25 pound Corgi and he snores like a lumber jack. I want to SWADDLE things and make little burritos out of a sleeping baby and a stretchy blanket. I want a little tiny nose almost hidden by a huge pacifier. I want little match sized fingers topped by razor blades ready to tear my face to shreds if I don't rock them just right. I want that. Really.

Instead I got a job. Just weekends at the farm up the street to help them out in their farm store during the apple harvest. I love this farm and spend a lot of time there with the boys anyway, so why not? If I want more babies, that means more money in one way or another. Lots more money most likely, so I guess instead of all the little tiny things I wish were in my home, I'll focus on all the BIG things that have to get done before we can get the little things. Which is actually quite opposite of the way most things work. We need house stuff done, and bills paid off, and to build our savings back up a little more. We need a lot of house stuff done. I don't know if it will ALL happen before we think about adding on to the family again, but some of it needs to. We at least need to figure out the answers to what we're doing with the house before we add on to the family. I would like to rip down the single story part and replace it with a 2 story part. Whether that's feasible financially or not, we'll have to see. I could be quite happy here if we did that though!

Right now I need to get a grip...on laundry and a bunch of other things that are right here and right now. How we always have so much laundry, I'll never be able to figure out. I think my children contribute, but honestly I don't ever seem to run out of their clothes. Mike always needs clothes so the majority MUST be his...but he swears he's going to wash all his work clothes himself. I don't think that ever really happens though. I wonder how many loads of laundry I would have to do per day to stay caught know once I catch up. I would think if I did a load of laundry a day that would be enough. It seems so simple! One load per day for a family of 4 and we wouldn't have mountains build up. But it does. It always does. Ugg...

Fun for today: Mike in the living room with both boys.

Mike: Tyler, don't take your clothes off.
Tyler: Jargoning away and I can't understand anything about it. He might be saying something about ice cream...or the dogs?
Mike: Tyler! I asked you to leave your clothes on!
Tyler: Help! Dadda, Help!
Mike: No, I won't help you take your pants off. I've asked you to leave your clothes on.
Tyler: Help? Dadda? Momma? Help?

I go in. He's down to a diaper. Matty is running into the wall cause he has Ty's shirt over his face. That's my life.

Friday, September 3, 2010

and then there was Earl...

So we take our first vacation in several years that didn't involve driving somewhere to pick up a baby, or to finalize an adoption, or celebrate a holiday...just V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. Awesome. We're on the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia and we had planned nothing more than fishing with the boys, putting out a couple of crab pots to see if we could catch any, and a whole lot of playing in the sand. I think it's perfection when you have a 16 month old and a 2.5 year old. Then hurricane Earl had to show up so we spent 3 perfectly fine days worrying about a hurricane that in the end, didn't even give us any rain. Oh well. We did a little fishing, and caught 5 crabs, 3 of which we kept and cooked up. One was soft shell even...pretty neat-o.

Over all, it's been a perfect place. We can look out the window or hang out on the screen porch and the boys have a plethora of things to see on or near the water. Boat! Boat! Bird! Bird Momma! Bye bye Boat! Bye bye! Bye bye Bird! Needless to say, the boats, birds, and "Dewey's" (dogs) that they see never fail to entertain them.

Dewey, our corgi is actually here on vacation with us, while the two big dogs are at home with a dog walker. We weren't supposed to have any dogs with us, but Dewey pulled a fast one and almost died in the two weeks before vacation and was touch and go (to put it nicely) right until the car ride down here. I'm pleased to say he's doing fabulous now and our biggest concern is keeping him out of the Bay because he really wants to go swimming, but he can't...he has a bunch of staples in his stomach from an emergency surgery 4 days before we left. We are glad he is here and doing well though!

Matty is having an amazing vacation, but he looks like hell. The mosquitoes LOVE Matty...they always have. He's one of those kids that can walk from the house to the car and come in with 5 big bites that all swell up into welts. Right now he has one 2 on his forehead, one on his cheek, one under his eye and big one on the end of his nose. It swelled his little nose up and turned it red. Looks like he's been drinking. His back, arms and legs are covered with them. The coconut oil seems to help them a little. I don't know what to do. I can't bathe him in mosquito repellent everyday! All those chemicals can't be good for him either.

Tyler's speech has really blossomed in just the week we've been here. He turned to us both the other day and in his toddler drawl said, "ya-wan-doe-dow-a-beach?" We were very impressed! He starts playgroup when we get back, and I'm excited for how that will challenge and improve his social skills. He should have a one-on-one for the first few weeks at playgroup anyway.

Yesterday we went for a drive and happened on a dollar store that had swords. Tyler HAD to have one, and so we got two. They were called Robot Swords, and light up and make a noise like a robot booting up, but it ends with a cha-ching! It sounds like a robot playing the slots or something. We have heard nothing else for 24 hours. They are currently on the top shelf in the closet. We're hoping they will forget when they wake from their naps!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And then there were two...

Please stop. Look back. Notice my last posting. Tyler's last outing as a single child, and my last blog post in over a year...coincidence? Not even a little bit.

So who wants a quick catch up? Let's see...

Matthew Malachi Isaiah: Matty came home. We started Early Intervention immediately. At 3 months old he was at a newborn level in almost all evaluated areas. We worked our butts off...Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Neurology, Orthopedist, MRI's, hearing tests, feeding specialists, hypertonia. This year was straight out with specialist appointments, and doing PT with Matty, at times, 5X a day. As of 2 hours ago, Matty tested out of EI with average scores between 15 and 18 months old. He's almost 16 months. He was pronounced (through tears) by his therapist, to be a "Rock Star"...well...of course!

Matty is an amazing little boy. He's completely different than his brother. He's really funny, and very sweet. He's my little Stewie Griffin lately though! Mommy, Momma, Mama, Amy, Mom, MOM, MAMA, MOMMY!, AMY!, MOMMY!...he will NOT be denied. Typically once I answer him he will then smile and maybe point to a tomato and say, Yummy! (then move to the next tomato and do it all over again...we have a lot of tomato plants too!) He's a great eater, very laid back, gives lots of hugs and many, many kisses each day. He loves to swim and is fairly certain in his own little head that he knows how to do so...underwater. He spend as much time in the water as possible trying to prove he can (he can't)...He loves animals, bugs, airplanes, and motorcycles. He's a lot of fun, and a pretty typical 16 month old. He needs to do everything his big brother is doing, including climbing to the top of the couch. He is the most amazing mimic I've ever seen and he will certainly be the child that is in the back seat repeating the naughty words Daddy says while driving! We finalized Matty's adoption in July, just short of a year after he came home.

Tyler David: Tyler has, for the most part, really enjoyed being a big brother. We had some transitional time when Matty was first trying to get around where Ty really struggled with his brother being in his space. Matty had high muscle tone, so he was walking pretty well by 10 months old. Size-wise, Ty was still much bigger than Matty then and sometimes he would put Matty right over onto his head. Thankfully, we passed that stage and now Ty can see that Matty is fun to play with...although that does seem to still include putting Matty onto his head at times. In January 2010, Ty was almost 2, we had him evaluated for a speech delay, which we were pretty much expecting since some of his biological sibling had speech delays. He tested into Early Intervention with Speech, and some oral sensory challenges. I was totally floored when they mentioned Sensory stuff, especially oral. Perhaps the fact that he had been chewing his way out of his wood crib should have clued me in. Amazing how a parent can turn a blind eye to her child challenges and see only perfection :) Eight months into EI, Tyler's therapy now includes and OT, and MA Ed. (Masters in Education therapist) three times per week. He's making progress and learning new words at a surprising level. We've added behavioral challenges to his therapy plan. He is just a kid that will throw you for a loop at every turn. In Mom's eyes...he's still perfection.

We still have three dogs, although Dewey is currently at the vet. He was signed in for "Supportive Care"...that is actually what they wrote on his paperwork. I'd like that. I want to be signed in somewhere for a few days of "Supportive Care" ! He actually has pancreatitis, and after about 5 days of doing really well, he stopped eating again and was looking like death warmed over. Give we leave for vacation in a week, we thought we better send him away so he could make a full recovery. We were worried about him getting dehydrated too. I wish two things regarding my dogs. 1) That if they HAVE to get sick they could get sick for less than $1,000. That never seems to happen. 2) If they HAVE to get sick, could they at least get sick with something that we can get an answer on how it happened and how to prevent it? Okay...once when Dudley was sick we were finally able to pinpoint why (he had eaten both a Frisbee AND a rope toy) but typically it's a line like, "Well, we think it's this, and that could have been caused by this, this, thingabob, or stress..." Stress...they always throw that in there, and I'm convinced it's to make you feel you stressed out your pet, made them sick and now you're even a little upset that they are costing you thousands? Well you suck as a pet owner. I feel like telling the vet...they wouldn't feel stressed if they stopped eating the kids dirty diapers! Then I wouldn't have to scream at them! ... These dogs can't understand basic commands by boy are their brains smart enough to figure out how to open the trash can and get trash, the TIED bags in the recycling to get cans, or the pantry and a rubber maid to get to their food. Selective intelligence I think.

Let's see...the past year.

Well we had a little chicken episode. I guess it was more than an episode since it started back in March and is just now ending. It all started with me deciding I wanted to raise chickens for eggs. Great idea right? Except anyone that knows me, knows my intense level of ADD when I have a project. As soon as it's started, I am no longer interested and I start something else. Mike had a valid concern that he would soon have a back yard flock of chickens to care for, feed and collect eggs from each day. He wasn't interested in that. We compromised when I did some research and found out about Cornish Meat chickens. We would raise them a mere 8 weeks, pay someone to butcher them, then put them in the freezer. That way it was a finite commitment. So I ordered 25 little fluff balls from a hatchery and all was going well till I bought another 12 from the grain store. 25 + 12 +1 freebie "exotic" the hatchery sent = 38 chickens. 38 chickens who grow very fast, eat a LOT and poop to match their rate of intake. They didn't last in the house long. They soon moved to the garage, then out to the shed. But I loved it, and so did Ty. Ty LOVED his chickens...feeding them, tossing out corn...all that. So we raised them for 12 weeks, and then...we actually processed them ourselves. That part wasn't easy, but honestly, it wasn't hard either. I'll spare the details for this post though... Anyway, Mike agreed that I could raise layers, so we bought some at the grain store and we were loving it. To make a long (and emotional) story short, our neighbors reported us. Not the neighbors that live next door or even anywhere on our street kind of neighbors...all those people loved our chickens...the people that own (but do not live in) the duplex next door reported the chickens. They...suck. So the chickens have to go. I'll be working to change the chicken laws in Amesbury, but for right now, we had to say goodbye. Nothing like watching your 2.5 year old wave good bye and yell, "Bye bye shicen" while standing in the drive way as his chickens drive off to new homes. Heartbreaking I tell you.

Mike and I have been doing really well. Both of us are plugging along health wise, and Mike's recent testing on his heart function has been amazing. Mike has started riding his bike more, back and forth to work, and for longer rides on the weekends. This weekend he will do his first 1/2 Century (50 miles)...he is really enjoying it, and I even have a bike now too. Most weekends we'll put the kids in the trailer and ride to the farm to get our CSA share instead of driving. The kids like the ride, but hate their helmets with a passion.

I'm sure there are a million things I'm forgetting from the past year, but this is a long enough post for now I think...

As always, I'll try to be here more ;)