Wednesday, February 10, 2016

6

Conleigh came home 6 years ago on her third birthday.  I cannot look at any of these pictures with out hearing her raspy little voice and laugh and cry.  I also cannot look at any of these pictures without thinking about how horrible the earthquake was and how crazy those days were.

Such a peanut at the time who had gone through a lot in her little life.  I will always been so proud of her simply because of her story.

First night with us, on the hotel bed, the day we picked her up in Miami.

First snow

First days home with Kenson

First birthday at home

First Easter

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Nine!

Conleigh is nine!  Honestly, I think I've seen her grow so much this past year.  I wish I could put her blossoming maturity into words but I'm not quite sure I can.  The other day, she dressed Kai all by herself, without being asked, and was so proud of herself because she knew she had done a big kid task.  There was so much in that moment that made me realize how she has just grown up.

Her three wishes were a Ken doll, a doughnut cake, and eating at Pizza Hut with friends.  She had such a good time with her friends.  It was so fun to watch her let her guard down and just enjoy the friendships, to hear them giggle and talk through the whole meal.  She came home gushing that it was the best birthday ever.  

Birthday day French toast so we could sing to her on her day.
She actually ended up having no school due to the snow so she quickly asserted
that she was going to wear her pajamas all day because "it's my birthday!"

Playing with her new Ken doll
Kenson was playing too but shhh...don't tell.
He'd be mortified if anyone knew.
Seriously, don't tell him you saw the picture.

Crazy girls talking on the phone

The doughnut cake

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Invisibility

From Chaitra Wirta-Leiker @Beyond Words Psychological Services:
"Speaking as an adoptee, adoptive parent, and psychologist - here is what I often say to foster/adoptive parents in my workshops:
"I want you to think of something very personal and close to your heart, something you don't share with many people. 

And I want you to imagine that when you walked into this room today, everyone knew "that thing" about you. 

They knew just from looking at you. 

And not only did they know, but they felt that this gave them the right to ask you questions about it, and tell you how to feel or what to think about it, even if they had never experienced it in the way you had.
And this happens over and over and over again, every place you go...How would you feel? What would you want to say? What would you wish for?"
Now you have an idea of what it's like to be a transracial adoptee.  Let this sink in.  Let this guide your interactions to be more compassionate."
As a mom, I struggle with knowing how much to share about my kids.  I tend towards being an open boundaries type person.  I tend towards believing that things hidden in the darkness often only oppress us and weigh us down, that there is light and freedom in truth telling.  

But where do my kids' stories fit into that?  I want them to be proud of who they are and sure of their stories.  I want them to not be ashamed or feel less than.  I want others to recognize that adoption is a beautiful, hard, messy, beautiful thing.  Yet, those things cannot happen at the expense of my kids' privacy and identities.  I would never want my children to be known mostly as "adopted from Haiti" or as "former orphans." 
 Even if people don't see that as the defining characteristics of my kids, there are still moments where people invite themselves into my kids' space with questions about their birth families, about their histories, about the why's and why nots.  I don't think anyone means harm; they are mostly just curious and interested in my kids.  
Questions and conversations aside, my kids, simply because their skin colors do not match mine, are instantly recognizable as different, as having a part of them, a very personal part of them, that is unique and special.  There is no escaping that everyone knows they were adopted.  And while I would never want my kids to hide any part of their story, I can certainly understand why there will be moments when they just want to be invisible.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Just Another Afternoon with Zeke-Ten Fingers are Overrated


"Mom!  Look at my carrot!  It's so skinny!"
Don't need ten fingers to use a vegetable peeler, as evidenced by the piles on the floor.

Don't Need Ten...to have super handwriting!
I think this might be Zeke's first letter.
I'll let you all decipher the invented spelling.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Whiplash

It's funny how parenting will give you whiplash.  Earlier this week, on Tuesday, I was so proud of my three big kids.  Two days of no school often means bickering and fighting among the three of them.  So on Tuesday, day number two, I was so pleased to hear them showing concern for each other and a selfless love.  It started when we went to Walmart and Conleigh wanted to spend some money in her piggy bank on a candy bar, money that she had forgotten she had already spent.  With no money to spend, she pouted a bit and was out of sorts.  As we headed out to the car, Kenson quickly told her she could sit in the front sit, something he only did because he knew she was upset.  Then while shopping, I told Conleigh to grab a bag of chips to have with our lunch.  She rushed to find the Lays Plain Potato Chips because those are her favorites.  As she circled the display with those in hand, she asked if we could get Doritos too which happen to be Kenson's favorite.  I told her that we were just getting one bag and she decided to swap out the Lays for Doritos.  Later that day, Conleigh headed to a friends and Kai was napping so Zeke and Kenson headed out to sled, sharing our one sled.  They were using our backyard which is slightly sloped but pretty small, especially when you consider the fence.  Kenson ended up sledding into the fence, hitting his face right on the pole.   After lengthy consolation, I managed to convince him not to give up on sledding and suggested they try in a different spot.  Kenson told Zeke that they could try a new spot and he and Zeke headed that way.  As they walked away, I overheard Zeke, who had been sledding the whole time Kenson and I were talking, telling Kenson that he could go first and have a whole bunch of turns since he had missed sledding because he got hurt.  It's rare that in parenting you get multiple occasions to see your kids being tender with each other.  Guess that was just setting me up for this Thursday when I heard them playing Simon Says in the back of the van, including the direction "Simon Says eat your boogers."

Friday, January 15, 2016

Soul Stuff

"We were minutes into lunch, saying our hellos, figuring out our favorite Mexican dish to order, and then she asked me.

“How is your soul?”
It was said in a way kind of like you would ask someone “how is your family?” or “how is your new job?” only there was so much more to it. It was a beeline to my heart. In a cut the crap, not interested in meaningless small talk, let’s choose to be real here and now kind of way. It was gorgeous. "
Gosh, I love that question, written by my friend, Kimberly.   
"How is your soul?"
If ever there were a question to ask our friends, that's it.  And if ever there were a question that, when asked, had the ability to make us feel bathed in love, that's it.  It's just too good of a question not to share.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Noun, Verb, or Both?

It's been a poop week at our house.  Not sure why.  Just so you know it's also been a week that's spoke to my love languages ie the love of words.  Ever wondered why you cannot use dung as a verb?  As in when your mom asks what your brother is doing downstairs, why you cannot reply "He's dunging."  And lucky me!  I hit the gold mine when a few days later, one of my kids who has been dealing with constipation issues told me they were going to the bathroom to stool.  Poop and it's synonyms...not as interchangeable as you'd think.