Monthly Archives: February 2011

Chocolate Sentiments

Well… I succumbed. There’s been a chocolate bar on top of my desk for more than a week. I silently told myself I wouldn’t eat the bar until I froze it because, you know, chocolate tastes even better frozen. I think the reason chocolate tastes better frozen is that it lasts longer on your palate, coating your taste buds in yummy heavenly velvetiness or something like that.

The bar taunted sentimental me with its commemorative over-wrap. You see, the bar was from Holden’s 100 Day Dinner, as in the one hundred day countdown before graduation. Ugh.

In order to eat the bar, I had to open it. And I discovered the serving size was perfect: One Senior with 100 Days until Graduation. It was one of the best chocolate bars I’d ever eaten (aside from not being frozen) because it had 100% of the recommended daily values of hard work, enthusiasm, fun, love, memories, and family and friends.

Savoring the fading rich taste, I read: Dedicated student given love, teaching and guidance by parents, family, teachers, and friends. I guess that summed a lot of it up. Holden’s well-prepared, ready—to graduate, to leave our nest and move forward into the next stage of life, college.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Growing Tweens & Teens, Rite of Passage, The International Mom

A Lesson in Racism

When parenting a transracial family, you quickly discover that it is best to embrace all ethnicities, races and cultures, not to just focus on those of your child (children for us). Focusing only on those of your kids, in a way, separates them from each other, calling too much attention to differences and possibly making the child uncomfortable. **As a note, we all should be working on this and I’m not directing this post to whites only

Just as important is the fact that by embracing everyone, you model to your child an expansive perspective. Sometimes it is very hard to embrace everyone, but as a parent whose family is woven of three races, it is imperative that I do. I must find the “love.” Trust me…

I experienced a prime example this morning. Without me going into what happened, I can say that nothing merited the explosion of hate-filled profanity-laced words lobbed at me. The fact that they were preceded by “white” and “honky-ass” underscored the racist intent. Was I uncomfortable? You bet. Miserably.

I did attempt to calmly talk, to diffuse the (read: VERY LIBERALLY used here) gentleman and his female companion, but they were off and ranting like…well, a storm of epic proportions. And when the woman got going, there was no stopping her. I wasn’t going to be intimidated, of course, but I wasn’t going to engage either. And I think that is what made them even more hateful towards me. In fact, they are probably still at it.

So on top of all of this, my Asian daughter was sitting in the car. I had stopped to meet Holden and give him my gas card. He was driving “on fumes.” (He began to open his mouth, but I gave him the “don’t” wave. Holden was very shaken up over this.) Fortunately Josi was hidden from their view, because I have to believe that as vile as they were, they would have started in on her. The barrage was that bad and, sorry folks, this mom isn’t going to let that happen in her presence. Ever.

So upon pulling out and driving away from the gas station, I turned to Josi, “Did you hear any of that?”

“How could I not? Why did they act like that? You didn’t do anything.”

Shaking from the adrenaline, I answered, “Racism, sweetie.”

“How do you know it was racism?”

“Because they pulled my race into their foul words, time and time again, using it as a qualifier. The only thing I did wrong was that I am white.”

I know my daughters and son will experience racism. I know that whites can be targets as well. Today only reminded me of how hate can simmer just below the surface for some, ready to boil over in a rage of verbal abuse that can quickly lead to deadly violence if encouraged.

When things happen I often ask myself, “Why?”  How can I grow or change? What can I do? What lesson did I take away? We talk about racism a lot, but the time has come to step up our game, seeking out more examples of history and situations to discuss and role play. Although we talked more about this event throughout the day, I’m sure we will be discussing it tonight over dinner.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Multicultural Families, The International Mom

Beware of Romance

Valentine’s Day is next week and, in the convoluted way that I process information and life, the recent onslaught of Hallmark commercials got me thinking about my kids: how I love them and how I have learned through years of parenting, specifically adoptive parenting, to let the romance go. You with me?

I know, I know… Alarm! Or maybe just a big cavernous yawn from those of you reading this and wondering, “You, too?”

Well, hold on a minute. I’m not talking about my love for the big guy (my husband). What I’m talking about is my mother love and how it is perceived by many—tied to their romantic perceptions about adoption, adoptive parenting and everything related (i.e., saving a child, rescuing a child, parenting someone else’s child). That’s a whole lot of “related.”

Merriam-Webster defines romantic as “the imaginative or emotional appeal of what is heroic, adventurous, remote, mysterious, or idealized.” I’d say that, based on the countless number of experiences I’ve had, many do romanticize adoption and/or adoptive parenting. I am seen as a hero (I’m not), a special person (ditto), or a saint (definitely not). All of these romantic perceptions used to bother me, get my dander up. However, now I let the romance go.  I just say, “Thank you.” Or smile. Time has given me the gifts of perspective, wisdom and distance.

As a family, and in smaller conversations, we have discussed how we are seen by the outside world, often romanticized as being special or enlightened. We know the truth. Romance? We choose to not to.

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Filed under Adoptive Mom's Perspective, Epiphiany, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, The International Mom