Sunday, September 29, 2013

What NOT to say to adoptive parents

I feel as if I've visited this topic before, but it's worth repeating. I've made a handy dandy list of things NOT to say to an adoptive parent. If you utter these words to an adoptive parent, this is what will happen to you: We will blog about you ('s happening right now!) We will forget that you make an excellent holiday cheese ball, wished us happy birthday that one time, or let us borrow a Kleenex when our kid had chocolate running down their face. You will forever be known as the idiot that asked that. Adoptive parents are like this sisterhood of families that have beat the odds. We stick together. We have this crazy support group. I am part of an adoption forum that has over 1,000 members. We chat, we meet face to face when possible, we swap stories daily about "You won't believe what my cousin's next door neighbor said about my son". Anyway, the list.
Please print this out and carry it in your pocket for future reference.
1- How much did he cost? Lets just put it this asking me that is exactly like me asking you how much your lady parts hurt after giving birth to your child. It's private, personal, and just plain rude. Is adoption unnecessarily expensive? Yes. Would I pay every penny again in a heartbeat? Yes. In the International adoption scene, I considered it ransom. But my kid is not a car. He did not come with a price tag. My response to this question? He was free. It was the shipping and handling that was out of this world.
2- Do you know anything about his REAL mom? Yes. She is 5'8 and has dark brown hair, green eyes. She loves to cook, play ridiculous games on her iPhone and read books. I look at her everyday in the mirror. Last time I checked real moms clean up vomit, fight their way through homework, wipe butts, noses and whatever else needs wiping. We cook, we clean, we hug, we kiss. We stay up late and do it all again the next day. Like Coca-Cola, I'm the real thing baby.
3- Now that you've adopted, you know what's going to happen right? You're going to get pregnant! I thought about making this #1 because it is so vile. But I'm lazy in the cut/paste department. My favorite time this statement was made to me was at my OB/GYN office. BY MY DOCTOR!!! We had been through the fertility junk with her. Then we stopped and decided to adopt. A year later, I told her we were pursuing adoption. Then she uttered those fatal words. I almost fell off the table. You've learned to smile and nod when the friends, family, neighbors, church people say this. But a fertility doctor??? Come on. Finalizing an adoption doesn't make my ovaries kick into hyper drive. Everyone know a friends, sister's aunt that this happened to. I get it. Some people get pregnant after they adopt. Some don't. Why say it? Just why?
4- They are sooo lucky to have been adopted by you!! First, luck had nothing to do with it. Adoption for me, was and is a very spiritual experience. It's the most tangible way I've ever seen God work in my life. To chalk it up to luck is somewhat cheapening the experience. You get lucky when you find a dollar on the street. Luck and adoption should never grace the same sentence. I have always liked this Chinese parable: An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break."While Charlie and Jack were being knitted together by God in their birth mother's wombs, they were being set apart for our family. Chance had nothing to do with it. Furthermore, my kids were not "saved" by me. They didn't escape a life full of despair when I came onto the scene. From the beginning, God knew these boys would destroy every piece of furniture in my house, make me get grey hair and turn my life completely upside down in the most miraculous way.
5- Do you ever wish you could have had children of your own? This one is pretty self explanatory. If these children are not my own, could someone else take over the dirty, sticky parts? I'll just be the fun aunt.

The list could go on: Why did his mom give him away? How could she give away such a sweet boy? What are you going to tell him when he asks about being adopted? What if he wants to find his birth mother? It's amazing that your kids look like you when they're not! When you think you've heard it all...someone asks "Which one of your kids cost more?" (True story....) And you are amazed all over again. I think the best guide to keep in mind when talking to adoptive parents is this: Not all families are made the same way. That doesn't make me less "real" or my kids not my own. I don't need to give birth to have a baby. I'm not lucky, my kids aren't lucky, we are a family rooted in the same stuff your family is rooted in: unending love, overflowing joy and strict bedtime rules. You can't put a price tag on that, so please don't ask. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Advice please Mamas!

How much is too much for a Kindergartner? What exactly does his teacher expect? What is really normal for my kid to know at this point? Is it realistic for him to know 50 sight words by the end of this 12 weeks? Am I being unreasonable? Making excuses? Being a whinny mommy? Do I just need to push through and stay consistent in the current nightly homework torture?
Every night we have a small homework assignment and a book to read. On Thursday we pick a book out of the four read and do a little book report on it (mostly pictures on his end). That seems a little much, but it's not unrealistic. We just end up working a little through the weekend to give him two nights off during the week.
But then the sight words. Also known as the flashcards from Hell. The part of the night that almost makes my son cry every night. It makes me into a mean mom. I see his frustration when asked for the eight time to sound out the word "it".
Now, I lay 12 words out on the table. I say "Show me the word "it" Poof. He does it. I say show me the word "Green" bam. No problems. But stack those suckers up and ask him "What does this say?" and the flopping, flailing, and amnesia starts.
This is the kid that remembers directions 30 miles away from home. Knows north and south, east and west on highways from here to his grandparents house 3 hours away. Remembers every conversation, promise, schedule. Remembers that I have a promised chocolate bar in my bag. Is so observant it's ridiculous. Today in church he pointed out to his teacher that there was a kid that didn't belong in the class because everyone that was suppose to be in his class has a "Z" in their bar code and he had a different letter (yes, our church bar codes kids, add your own creepy comment __here___)  Can recall names, titles, movie lines, when we last ate tilapia for dinner. But can't say the word "It" after five weeks of flashcards. 
What is the disconnect? What am I doing wrong?
Is it a speech thing? A confidence thing? Side note: He is going to speech 2x a week at school. And has been receiving speech therapy since about 3 1/2.
Does anyone else out there think that this is too much? 5 weeks into school and my son (who has only been speaking ANY language, yet alone English, for two short years) gets an "N" on his progress report because he can't recall 50% of his sight words? What happened to "learning" in Kindergarten?
Am I being unreasonable? Is this normal? Has it just not clicked with him yet? Does every Kindergartner go through this learning curve? Help me out.
I just think about future reading assignments and it makes me want to throw up. Advice is much needed and appreciated....

Sunday, September 15, 2013

People in glass onion dome cathedrals.....

adjective: exceptional
unusual; not typical.
"crimes of exceptional callousness and cruelty"
synonyms:unusual, uncommon, abnormal, atypical, extraordinary, out of the ordinary, rare, unprecedented, unexpected, surprising;
informalfreaky, something else
"the drought was exceptional"
There has been a lot of talk about Putin's letter in the New York Times directed towards Americans following President Obama's speech calling Americans "exceptional" when it comes to our role in shaping the World.
You can read it HERE word for word or HERE if you prefer an experts "annotated" (fact checked) version. The latter may be for you if you admit to reading such articles as "Nine Questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask". Which I'll be the first to admit, I was all over. Think of Max Fisher, writer for the Washington Post as the guy writing "Current Events for Dummies" in short editorial form. Count me in.
I am NOT up on current events, I couldn't find Syria on a map and I'll be the first to admit, I find politics, well, tiresome. I only un-friend two kinds of people on Facebook. Ones that cuss word to regular word ratio is greater than 3-1 and people that yammer on and on about politics. It just wears me out.
However, something about Putin's letter just rubbed me the wrong way. People are saying he didn't write it. I don't care if he wrote it or one of his speech writers. His name is on the paper. He is taking credit for it. So in my eyes, he wrote it.
So back to the wrong way-rubbing. I have a personal problem with Putin and everything he stands for. Get ready for the rant. (I would like to apologize for the political un-correctness that's about to come your way)
I hate the fact that he says things like this in his speech to Americans "There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal" THIS from a man who started his career as a KGB officer, persecutes gays, doesn't allow peaceful demonstrations, allows orphans to languish and die in his care. Some may say that this has nothing to do with Syria, America thinking that we are "exceptional" or anything to do with war or NATO. To that I say you're probably right. But I just can't get past it. This coming from a man that blew Georgia and Chechnya to smithereens without even so much as a "let's look into it" from the UN. Hmmmm....People in glass onion dome cathedrals....
I say you are playing with fire Mr. Putin because Americans are exceptional. Are we perfect? No. Do we need to step into every political situation with guns blazing? No. But my friend, former Senator Jim DeMint responded to Mr. Putin. Dripping with sarcasm and bravery. Please read it HERE. It's so good it makes me want to jump up and cheer.
He explains our exceptional-ism in a clear and conscience way "“America is an exceptional nation—that is, one like no other, not just now but in history—because it is dedicated to the universal principle of human liberty,” DeMint wrote. “This is grounded in the truth that all men—not just Americans—are created equal and endowed with inalienable rights by their Creator. As a British admirer of America, G.K. Chesterton, once put it: ‘America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed.’ We are, in other words, not a nation based on ethnicity, but on beliefs, and not coincidentally, that is why we attract people of all ethnicities and they become proud Americans.”
Then he goes on to say "We understand, however, that in Russia today, the rule of law is easily ignored and that you’ve managed to remain in complete power since 2000, even though your country’s original constitution supposedly limited you to two consecutive terms,” DeMint continued. “You may want to devote your attention to such topics in future writings.”
Ok, well that was just mean. Mean but true. People in glass onion dome cathedrals.....
Then he enclosed some light reading by Matthew Spalding called "Why is America Exceptional". You can read it HERE for extra credit. 
Ok, you can un-friend me now or take me off your blog roll. I'm sure I've annoyed the snot out of you. But when I see injustice I want to fight. I guess that's what makes me exceptional. :)