Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Repost: "The Past is Not in the Past" from No Hands But Ours/A reflection of adoption

I have been trying to find the words this woman so eloquently and raw wrote to explain the story of children adopted and how they previous life is still a part of the present life. ALWAYS. If you have firends, family or aquantices touched by the beauty and messy of adoption PLEASE READ. This is so insightful.

An excerpt:

I think people see the happy, well-adjusted, beautiful child we have and assume she has left that painful part of her life behind her. I think people assume our hard days are behind us. Friends say things to me all the time like, “She’s not even the same child she was in China”, and “It’s like she doesn’t even remember her old life”, and “she’s just like any other kid now”. And in many ways, they are right. She has changed so much, and she is mostly happy and moving forward with her life and she is, in so many ways, like a typical 3 year old.

But in other ways, the they are wrong. She is the same child that she was in China. And she’s not just like any other kid. And she certainly remembers.

We see the scars of her past show up in our lives in subtle and not so subtle ways.

Another excerpt:

There are times when I can tell people think I am coddling her too much. And maybe I am. But I just don’t think it would be fair to try and parent her exactly the same as my other kids. She just didn’t have the same start in life as them. My sister had three premature babies. I remember she fed them different formula, adjusted their age for certain things, and cared for them differently than I cared for my full-term babies. They had a different start to their life and so they needed different things. So do kids from hard places. They sometimes need different things, different strategies. You just can’t expect them to fall in line with your family and do things the same way your other kids did. You can’t expect them to leave their past in the past. It is in their hearts. You have to make adjustments for them, for all they missed.

You have to allow them room to grieve.

And make no mistake, they all grieve. How could they not?

To read the full blog post both eloquent and raw please go to:

Thursday, August 28, 2014

One is Wonderful

Just one? A common response I get to the question I get asked when people want to know how may kiddos I have.
Most of the time it is simply a matter of numbers and nothing more.
What is tough is when I get the tone...something is wrong with that.

Some responses I have run into...

Don't you like children? That one I find rude and presumptious. Even if I didn't, why do you feel comfortable asking that? And I also If was someone who did not want to have kids does not mean I don't like them. Geez. Or actually maybe I am someone who doesn't. It is all okay.
Don't you worry about her being lonely? (Of course I do. Thanks for pointing out the obvious)
Why did you wait so long? It wasn't my choice. And for some people (a lot of peopple) you don't meet your significant other till after 30 or 35 or 40. Some people can't grasp that. I met my husband fairly young. But that sometimes has nothing to do with it. I could share my story that we tried to adopt for almost 7 years...oh wait do I need to share my personal life with you?

We all get awkward questions that whether intentional or not, thoughtless or not, they wound us. Deeply. Why aren't you married? Why don't you have a job? Why do you only have one child? Why do you have so many? Insert raspberry sound here...

Those who are not in your shoes are always ready to offer the old advice "Don't worry about, they did not mean anything." And sometimes BUT not always, they didn't or didn't think about what they were saying. However, it doesn't mean the knife wasn't sharp anyway. I still got cut. It is important not to care about the thoughts of others is some instances, but we are human. And protecting ourselves, intrepeting it correctly and framing it right is not always easy.

But before this blog gets to heavy or downtrodden I want to to frame the number "one." Because one is be wonderful.

For instance...

1. (Ha Ha, what a pun)
2. When you finally meet the one you have been hoping for (if in fact that is your path)and you ask/get asked that one wonderful question
3. That one moment when something becomes crystal clear
4. Having even just that one friend you can share the darkest parts of your heart and know they will still love you tomorrow.
5. Finding that one perfect word to describe a feeling or descriptor for a a sentence or idea you trying to convey in the blog post you are writing.
6. When you figure out one thing that could make someones day a little brighter
7. When you find that one correct answer to a math problem. Although that is why I hate math. Only one answer. Ooops.
7. When the doctor says you only have one more chemo or radiation treatment and you are responding well.
8. When you take the first step that one step that moves you forward when you have been standing still so long.
9. That winter is only one season of the four seasons in MN (Sorry Skiiers).
10.That after moving to a new program we got matched with our daughter in about one year (YEAH) after waiting six years.
11. One hug can heal
12. When you have the chance to focus on one thing at a time. (Wait, when does that happen)?
13. When you find the one shade of grey that will be perfect on your bedroom walls!
14. When you find that one moment when time stands still.
15. That there is only one you. That is pretty amazing (Okay random person out there give up your clone dream).
16. That there is one sun. Two, way too hot! Whew!

Now of couse all numbers have their pros and cons. I respect all numeric symbols and the roles the play. Like, Carrie here is six free latte's. Or no, you only get one more latte ever! That one, might be the one time I actually physically hurt someone.

And when I speak of having one kid know that I love big families too. I always dreamed about big families when I was a kid. Way cool. So are small families. So are all families. Whether your family is a group of friends. You and your partner in crime. You and your entire school bus. You rock.

But this one door is the one God opened for me at this time. This is the one X marks the spot, the place I am to stand chin up.

This is one beautiful little person He has entrusted to our care. Myla was the one for us and we were the ones (I know two) for her.

This one gift is glorious, is precious and is just what we needed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Myla's Mama Bear

Sometimes I forget what my family looks like. Okay maybe that sounded dumb. I hope you can see what I mean. Or maybe that is just I am used to my family. A short brunette, a tall blond, a sweet and saucy little girl all of us with heritage that includes that of Bohemian, French, German, Swedish and Chinese.

But there have been times as I am living daily life that I run into people that see us and stop. And sometimes stare.

Like the little Hmong girl at the farmers market. She stared at me, then Myla, then me, then Myla. You're white. She is Asian. You're white. She is Asian. I get that she is trying to figure it out and I smile at her.

When I am at a busy playground and meet someone new and they look for which kid is mine. Suprise!

I completely get curiosity. I understand someone trying to figure it out. I am a person who likes to figure things out myself.

But when you get that "could this be negative/is this hurtful/uncomfortable to my daughter" feeling. Mama bear is at a stance.

Here is a time when that was the case...

We were up at a playground up north (That is what we Minnesotans say when we go even further up north in this state, maybe we should say north, north or heading to bear country)staying at a lake resort and my little one is playing with a gaggle of little girls ranging ages 5-9 (Myla is 2 and a half). They are all giggling, having a great time which is fun to see, and happen to be all blond. Now, anytime Myla sees girls a bit older, as gets comfortable she moves into a state of being enamored. Thrilled to watch and be near them. My little girl is so curious and open.

Myla had been coming to the playground with us for days now. And I had noticed this one little girl over these few days would stare at Myla. A lot. A lot. She was also definitely the leader of the pack. They interacted a little Myla. Age was a factor of course.

But one day this young girl walked up to me and said "What is wrong with her nose?" At first I thought “Oh, no she has massive boogers crusted on or did she scrap or hurt it?”
Then I answer outloud, "Oh she must have something on it." The little girl says "No, I mean why it is so flat?" Her face had a slightly disapproving scrunch to it. I thought of a million ways to answer in about 3 seconds to choose. Internally my responses varying depending on which emotional thoughts welled up and I let take over... “Oh she is just curious.” to “There isn't anything wrong with her nose what's wrong with yours?” The first sounding calm the latter a bit upset. Okay very upset.

I carefully chose... "Well actually that is just the shape of her nose. Nothing wrong."
I thought leaving it simple was best. Now about 5 seconds after, I thought about "She is Chinese...God made her that way..."
Maybe I could have been more complete. But I don't know.

Now, the question that was posed to me could have come from many places. Hopefully, a place of curiosity. And the thing is I could handle it. Although I did get a little upset inside. No one wants their child to be judged. At this age Myla I am not sure fully understands or the many ways to interpret it. Thank goodness.
But this good practice. How will I handle it when Myla does understand possible implied meanings? How will I help her respond in a way she honors herself, and her own comfort level? There will be many questions about many things I am sure to expect this.

Sometimes I forget that people do not work, live or operate in places with people who look different then themselves. Being in education and particular institutions I have worked at, I have been blessed to be around diversity.

It is a balance. Respecting curiosity, educating, hoping for good intentions, being prepared for intentions that are not. And how do I best prepare myself, my family, my daughter? A lot to ponder, pray and learn.

Please don't simply think wow, that mom she is too sensitive. Or, I am sure she mean nothing and stop at that. You could be right. But please understand I am just being a mom. I want my daughter to feel good about who she is. She shouldn't feel any other way. She is wonderful. Perfectly imperfect just like everyone else. I am just sharing the waters I am just beginning to tread as a mom that has a daughter who does not look like herself. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Our Family looks like exactly how it is supposed to. God designed it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Oh, Sweet Summer...Goodbye Wicked Winter

Grass is green? Check. Temperature has reached above 60? Check. Humidity? Oh yeah and yuk. Crab Apples bloomed? Check.
Ahhhh. Thank you summer for finally arriving.

This declaration of gratitude comes for many reasons. A long winter. Lots of snow shoveling. And mostly because of the germ friends we made and wish we hadn't. Let me see if I can get this out in one breath or typing frenzy:
Sinus infections, Pnuemonia, Pnuemonia (Yep, that was twice on purpose) mutant respitory infections (A few were scary), sore throats, mutiple fevers, vomiting and drum roll please MONO! And we are only a family of three. You could say we perservered, built up our immunity learned the beautiful art of sharing. But really glass half full? Not applicable. Just glad we survived.

Who had mono? Ah,that would be me. My nickname became miss mono mama. Getting mono as an adult is no joke. There are no words... tonsils the size of golf balls. Searing throat pain,no sleep (nope I just was tired...pain did not let me sleep) and completely becoming a waste of space. Oh and the jokes. Those were awesome. Isn't that the kissing disease...snicker, snicker. Hee hee, ehemm. I think I would pay someone a hundred bucks to not hear that one e-v-e-r a-g-a-i-n. Just to be clear and defend my honor most people exposed to the EB virus don't get mono or are asymptamatic. It is just us run down, step throat individuals who can catch it; even by sipping on the same can of diet coke. I was told less than 3% of adults have a chance of getting it. Boy did I feel special to fall into those odds like a large heavy boulder. So s-p-e-c-i-a-l. That's me. Those of you who know me... it is safe to be around me now. :)

After all this whinning and sarcasm I hope you are not completely annoyed. I certainly learned a few things or had them come fuller to light.
Though our bodies are amazing things, we need to be kind to them. I needed to be kinder to mine. Yes, go to bed at 8:30 once and awhile. Lame but so effective. Drink a heck of lot of water all the time. While sick, I read about how this one thing prevents so much and helps your body heal. I read about re-wiring my diet. My husband has always been a healthy eater. I make sure Myla consumes healthy nutritonally dense foods. I need to do so too. Having just coffee and waiting till 2:00 in the afternoon to eat is just plain dumb. I have been a dumby.

Being healthy is a beautiful thing. After a season of so much sickness and watching my daughter struggle because of her anatomy (she was born with cleft lip/palate and has serious sinus issues) I am more detemined to feed her what she needs to fight off germs and have a strong immune system.
I need to become a good example of healthy eating for her, for me. And having the good health to enjoy the moments and minutes and years to come with my husband and beautiful daughter. And if recreating how I eat and take of myself gives me that? How can I not try? It would be a shame if I didn't. Wish me luck. Cause I have bad habits. And I am stubborn. :)

Wishing you warm summer days and healthy ones at that.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Two Firsts and A Second....Part One

Again, I have let too much time pass between blogs! I promise to be better...really.
Oh and Happy Chinese New Year!

Perhaps the title should be three firsts and a second.
So what do I mean by this silly cryptic title?

We celebrated our first Christmas as a family, our first birthday with Myla which she turned two!
I cannot believe how fast she is growing and changing as a person.

It was tricky trying to find a way to have her expereince Christmas and the true meaning inspite of the present palooza and celebrating her birth as well.

We spent Christmas eve at my in-laws with cousins and she had a blast. She got the hang of opening those shiny packages but got bored with it eventually yet enjoyed mostly watching everyone else and playing with her cousins.
Christmas Day began with her birthday celebration with just the three of us. We taped streamers outside her door and I made a pennant hung outside her room. She seemed excited but did not know what for (the streamers stayed for weeks)

We had a birthday breakfast complete with waffles and straweberries. We then moved onto gift opening. We pruchased for her a toy kitchen from IKEA and then placed other presents on top to disguise it a bit. She promptly moved the presents out her way without opening any so she could get to that kitchen! We are hoping to have a little chef on our hands being the foodies we are. Perhaps it is too soon to dream of crepes and french toast? Eh?

Later that day we headed to my side of the family and Myla enjoyed her new shopping cart courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa P. My mom thoughtfully bought a doll remsembling what she called mini Myla but everytime we tried to put her in the shopping cart she promptly removed her and put her stuffed animal puppy in instead. Got to love that girl. Puppies are awesome.

A special first Chritmas.

The more I think maybe the title should be two firsts and second celebrating two times. No, too confusing.
We celebrated with family (her birthday) once at Cheeky Monkey... a tasty breakfast place (bistro by night...their words)for eggs, pancakes and later another celebration with the cousins. Jared and I got a bit carried away making fruit spring rolls and potstickers from scratch but the tastiness expereince was well worth it. We made smoothies for dessert (Myla's fav)and Grandma Mickie delievered on another favorite: Egg Foo Young!

Much to celebrate and thankful for those we have in our lives to celebrate with.

But I am also glad before the craziness ensued I had time for reflection. But it is not as if I made time, it came over me like a tidal wave off and on for days.

I thought about our first Christmas without our sweet puppy Spunkers and all the Christmas celebrations we had with her. Bittersweet.
I thought a lot about Myla's birth mother and the women who cared for her the first thirteen months of her life.
The tears were plenty. How I wished for even a moment I could speak to them and say thank you. Thank you for giving her life, thank for caring for her. That she is a gift to us and is doing well...thriving with her curious and tenacious sprirt.

So much has hapened this last year. How can I put it all into words? Well that is part two of this post. But don't be suprised if there is a post of another color in between. I have alot on my mind these days. Ever seen Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? Foreshadowing of next post or post to come perhaps...

Until then, Take Care. Hug someone you think needs it. Live big. Eat chocolate.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Snow, Snow, Snow...

Snow, Snow, Snow...

Snow...It won't be long before we'll all be there with snow
Snow...I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow

I would like to replace those three words with Bugger, bugger, bugger. I have been watching to much of BBC shows. Can you tell?
Hopefully in my arrogrance I have not typed extrememly profane words on my blog forever archived by the library of congress.

But I thought it appropriate in this moment to quote that lovely song from White Christmas.
Can you beleive I made it through most of my life without seeing it? Well until my husband changed that. He was horrfied when I told him this once upon a time.
It is not that I despise winter, well by February I kind of do. It is more about getting around and shoveling. But I suppose I should be thankful for the car I have in which to get around and the health to shovel. It is pretty to see the streets after a new snowfall with that sparkle. I love visitng my friends home this time of year... I call it the Chritmas house (That is a nod to your decorating prowess S and G) And yes I do love Christmas lights and decorations; oh and snuggling in with a warm blanket. Let's not forget I do love wearing mittens. I don't know exactly why but I do....

Okay. Eh hm. And that five minutes have now passed.

Is it too early to dream of spring: peonies, thunderstorms, and birds chirping?

Friday, November 22, 2013

One Year Ago This Month

I recently realized with alarm that it had been several months since my last post. I made a promise to myself that if I were to start this thing called blogging I would be consistent. But alas I come to terms with the fact I almost never doing anything consistently besides of course drink coffee. Did I mention I drink lots of coffee?

There have been several times in which I wanted to let my thoughts tumble down into the clicks of the keyboard but when I would return to my blog, I would see the last post. A difficult time when we had to say goodbye to our puppy and I then would get lost in missing her and reminiscing.

But this time I decided especially because it is November, I will put my thoughts together and type an entry of significant importance to me.

One year ago this month we call November, my life changed.

I saw the first pictures of my daughter.

Her sweet face, smile and those mischievous clever eyes.
One year ago this month my husband and I became parents. Now, it was actually several months later that we brought her home but in our hearts, we committed to becoming her parents.

And it was a whirlwind month. I remember my husband having to travel to Chicago for work and wishing he was physically beside me as he and I began to get our heads wrapped around what was unfolding before us. Because of course, I went into typical Carrie mode attempting to figure out, plan and do everything that I thought needed to be done...all at once. And of course accomplishing nothing. Which led to my panic attack in the middle of Barnes and Noble. I remember that moment thinking...Gee my head is spinning, that loud rapid breathing is mine, oh crap I need to sit down before I fall over and pass out, take out a bookshelf or that person next to me just trying to pick out a pick unbeknowest that the chick next to them was about to unravel.

But you see, even though we waited almost seven years for this moment (seven years of up and down, hopeful and feeling hopeless) I still felt and asked myself, am I ready?

Will I be a good mom? Jared I had no doubt we be a great dad.
But what if I couldn't be the mom she needed? What if I did not have the answers or tools needed to be good parent?

Here is the thing I came to realize...are any of us really prepared for motherhood? Do any of us have it all figured out before we hold our child for the first time? I am guessing no. And I had so many questions regarding the loss she was about to experience. The loss of saying good bye to the women who had cared for her during her first year of life.
How would I help her grieve, then get used to us, to feel safe again, to feel loved when everything, I mean everything in her life was about to change. The faces of her caregivers she saw every day. Her friends in the orphanage she slept, smiled at cried with and played alongside of. The food she ate. The scenery she saw day in and out. The voices she became accustomed to and the language they spoke. And the surgeries she would be facing. How would I be able to do all this?

I couldn't really. All I could really do was love her. But I know realize that was the best thing I could do. Through each stage of getting to know us, eventually trusting us, feeling safe with us and now loving us. She has no choice but to take it a day at a time. Why should I not approach this the same way? And trust God would be there too in the thick of it with us?

I do not need to be Super-woman or Super-Mom. I need to be reminded of this daily. Because we put this burden on ourselves. Why? I am not exactly sure. These are the kinds of lessons I am learning. I will make mistakes as a mom.
All the time. I need to humble enough to ask for help. Ask God for his guidance for he will not leave me. It is okay to cry when I do fail. But try again.

Myla most of all needs us to LOVE her. And what a privilege that is. Everyday little by little I am learning what that means.

November, you will always have a place in heart.