Monthly Archives: April 2011

Letting Go

All is quiet. That’s uncommon around here, especially during soccer-track-and-field-lacrosse season.

There is something in the quiet that feels good. It is peace, a restful energy from being centered and “still.”

I am sitting in the quiet, all by myself. I am not moving around in or outside the house attending to the never-ending list of what needs to be attended to.

I’ve given myself the day off. Yep.

Giving myself permission was the first step, the biggest step. The second step was letting go of the guilt I felt about being idle. That took hours and a few phone calls from close girlfriends who know me better than I know myself sometimes, encouraging me to “let it go.” After all, idleness is unheard of unless I’m sick or sleeping. Idleness is a foreign concept to me.

I was out of coffee, so I drove to the local Starbucks in my pajamas this morning (praying I wouldn’t see anyone I knew; I didn’t. Whew!). My kids were floored.

I snuggled back into bed with my coffee and read—something not related to what I teach. Hours later I dressed and took the younger two kids shopping for my Aubry’s upcoming trip. I said “yes” to whatever they wanted. (My kiddos should have asked for more…). They were speechless, which is saying something for my younger two.

I dropped them off and went for an hour-long massage, at the recommendation of one of my friends (thanks Kell). The masseuse had to wake me up. That’s telling, eh?

All is quiet and the need to “do” has been silenced, if only for a day.  It feels refreshing. (I might do it again for Mother’s Day.) Why don’t you try it?

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When Hate Hits

I really didn’t think I would be so deeply affected; after all we discuss bias, stereotyping, prejudice, and racism fairly often in this family. I also teach a class on transracial parenting to waiting and adoptive parents several times each month. A large section of that class addresses the position from which white parents parent—that of “whiteness,” of privilege, of having little to no life experience of overt racism directed their way.

Mark and I scheduled an early “date night” out. More of an educational evening for transracial parents, if you will… We planned on attending the workshop “When Hate Hits You: Dealing with Anti-Asian Sentiment,” put on by the Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), “the oldest and largest Asian American civil rights organization in theUnited States.  The JACL monitors and responds to issues that enhance or threaten the civil and human rights of all Americans and implements strategies to effect positive social change, particularly to the Asian Pacific American community.”

The workshop began with a brief overview of the Asian American history. I recalled much of the history, having studied it in high school and college. Although I had been bothered about what had happened, I was removed from the events. Now, years later, I sat with my husband revisiting this history from a different perspective—that of a parent of Asian daughters.  

The material in the PowerPoint presentation was not what I would describe as graphic, but the images, words and stories that were shared were powerful, eliciting alarm from me. Tears followed and I struggled to swallow them in the room full of mostly Asian adults. I was choking down the hot paralyzing fear I had for my daughters.

It was pointed out that recessions and economic turndowns are often the catalysts that cause people to scapegoat others. People find themselves unemployed and they look for someone to blame. Such was the case of Vincent Chin, a watershed case for the Asian American community. We are witnessing this again, with the push for sweeping illegal immigration reform, primarily targeted at Hispanics (the race profile that encompasses my youngest).

Even though I have been educating my kids about bias, stereotyping, prejudice, and racism, preparing them for the injuries that will likely happen, I can not control what and when the incident(s) will happen. The workshop also underscored that I have a great deal more educating to do with my kids and with the parents I work with. 

I liken arming your child to deal with racism to preparing them to drive. You send your child to drivers ed and you also spend countless hours with them, talking about the myriad of responsibilities related to driving. But, don’t forget; there’s “the other guy.” The unknown person and you never know where he’s going to come from, if he will cross the center line or run a red light and crash into your child, harming them, or worse. We parents need to keep talking about that “other guy.” …And praying he never shows up.

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Filed under Adopted Teens, Adoption Issues, Growing Tweens & Teens, Identity, Multiracial Families, Politics, Racial Identity, The International Mom

A Thank You Note

To My Kids’ Teachers, Faculty and Staff:

I want to go on record as giving profound thanks to the many educators, faculty and staff who have had, have and will have my kids throughout their lifetimes. I know a number of you read my blog. You know who you are. :)

I know I have thanked you countless times for what you give to my kids and also to us, but “Thank you!” seems so inadequate at times. My kids have not only learned  how to learn (and enjoy doing it), but far above and beyond—about how the world and its people function socially, politically, and physically. How to give and do it with purpose and joy.

I want to thank you all for your passion for teaching (“Math is FUN!”) and for focusing on the whole child. You challenge my kids and help them discover what their capabilities are. You teach them to how to think “outside the box” and look for solutions, and how to collaborate with others. How to do what needs doing, and with compassion.

I also want to thank you for embracing and supporting with us as we have become us—an internationally-blended  multiracial family—and understanding that adoption must be considered and included within the context of teaching, school and life. Doing so has helped my kids (and us) feel very confident and proud of who they and who we are.

The African proverb said it well, “It takes a village.” It does indeed and I’m thrilled that you are part of my kids’ and our village.

So, once again, from one grateful mama,

Thank you!

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