Monthly Archives: March 2011

So What

In our family you never know what’s going to be up for discussion. Any topic is fair game, so Mark and I have learned to be ready to field questions and comments on anything from oral sex to how long farts linger (Aubry’s choice of word) to other varied and interesting observations.

Trust me; we long ago dropped any pretense of being shocked and chose to embrace the openness. In the process we’ve learned a great deal and on occasion laughed so hard we’ve cried. I believe that our kids have learned to speak their minds and express some fascinating perspectives.

The other night we were treated to a number of trailers while we waited for our movie to begin. I’ve simply found it surprising that the movie industry inserts trailers that aren’t necessarily the same rating as the movie you are preparing to watch with your kiddos (hint!).

On came a trailer for Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Even as clipped as the trailer was, the sexual overtone was evident. The younger kids missed the innuendo.

Josi didn’t; I could see she was uncomfortable. She shared her discomfort the way most girls her age would, “I think he’s ugly.” (Referring to Mr. Pitt.)  Note: Mama strongly disagrees with her daughter.

And Holden? Well, he planted himself of the couch with his popcorn and offered a resounding, “She’s sooooo HOT!” (Referring to, of course, Ms. Jolie.) Note: Dad very strongly agrees.

Aubry said “Why do people think they’re so special with their kids?”

That was the unexpected.

I didn’t know she knew about the Jolie-Pitt clan. Mark and I don’t discuss or follow celebrities.

“How do you know about their family, hon?”

“I don’t remember, Mama. But, what’s the big deal?”

“Ahhhh… You mean because some of their kids were adopted?”

“Yes. So what… What’s the big deal?”

Oh, my. Out of the mouth of my babe.

“Honey, there are some people who can’t get their heads around a family made up of more than one race or understand why adults adopt a child, especially a child of another race.”

 “It’s not a big deal. They’re like us.”

Indeed they are.  Aubry’s comment made me think of the countless times I’ve been told by well-intentioned people that we are “just like the Jolie-Pitts.”  There are a few differences though: we created our family earlier, we have gazillions of less income, and we are of no interest to the paparazzi.

I really love her perspective that although we are a multiracial family we’re not a big deal. We’re just a  regular kinda family. (Smile.)


Filed under Growing Tweens & Teens, In the News, International Adoption, Multicultural Families, Multiracial Families, The International Mom

Be Present

Sometimes a hug isn’t enough. Sometimes love isn’t either.

After asking permission to come up to the sacred spot (another story), I climbed into the top bunk to find my sobbing, sniffling, very sad daughter wrapped up in her blankies and surrounded by her collection of stuffed animals and one of our (her) boy kitties. The heat emitting from her fetal position indicated just how upset she was.

She lifted that beautiful face up as soon as she found the emotional control to do so and mumbled through the snot and tears, “I’m sad.” And the sobbing began all over again.

I asked, “Can I hold you, baby?”

With barely a nod, she scootched over to me to deposit her head face down in my lap. I began to rub her back and could feel her calm.

“Can you talk?” I asked softly.

Not yet—the sobbing started all over again. And I sat, quiet, rubbing her back, playing in her long silky dark tresses.

“Do you want me to help you? Can I ask some questions?”

A barely perceptible nod gave me the opening to converse.

We had a long quiet conversation, mostly me in the beginning with her slowly joining in as her sobs lessoned. She flipped over and faced me, engaging me with eyes dark from emotion, bombarding my heart and soul again and again. Deepening the connection.

And we talked: about how hard she feels it is to be Chinese and Asian, how she believes people assume things because she is Asian, how she feels about being Asian, and what she thinks of the Chinese.

Those perceptions are her truths and it made me ache. It is my job, as best as I can do being a white parent, to empower her to feel good about who she is. It is a challanging task.

We bantered ideas and played “What if?” for some time.

I thought she was “good place” so I began to move away with the intent of making dinner.

“Mama, don’t leave me.”

Although it had been close to an hour, I stayed and we talked of China and her story. I watched the last vestiges of sadness leave her face and body and felt lighter myself.

A mother dislikes nothing more than to see her child suffer in any way. Sometimes, as a transracial adoptive parent, it is difficult to help the child when they are sad, grieving or angry about not being white.

Sometimes a hug isn’t enough. Sometimes love isn’t either. But patience, compassion, and listening actively with your entire being can make the difference. Be present for your child. They need you.


Filed under Adoption Issues, Adoptive Mom's Perspective, China, Claiming, Growing Tweens & Teens, Identity, International Adoption, Racial Identity, The International Mom

A Wake-Up Call

Sometimes life really stuns you.

It so happens that someone we know (my husband knows very well) lost a daughter in a tragic auto accident.

The family, as you can imagine, is devastated.

Mark and I are having a hard time shaking it off, because it’s just too close. Perhaps because Holden leaves for college in August or more likely because the daughter was only a year older than him and away at her first year of college, on her way to a vacation destination with her friends during her spring break.

Many of you already know that it is difficult to let your child grow up and away (for me, at least…). The thought of “forever” is unimaginable.

This young adult’s sudden death serves to remind us that we mustn’t forget that each day is a gift, that life is fragile, precious and always hangs in the balance. We must:

  • Be present in and savor the moments.
  • Take the time to listen actively.
  •  Show those we love how we feel.
  •  Seek to bring joy into life.
  •  Admit when we’re wrong and apologize/ask for forgiveness.
  •  Go to bed with issues addressed and resolved.
  •  Say, “I love you!” each and every day.

If you’re a praying person, please hold this family in your hearts. Thank you.

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