Friday, October 30, 2015

A Poem for My Daughter

Into this world newly born
Seperated mother and child by belief, culture and circumstance
The end of something monumnetal just as you begin this life
A loss no one should endure
One with many mothers
I know this, God never lifted his gaze from you
You were never alone though I am sure the loneliness you felt was so deep
You were brought into the fold of what would be a temporary space
Meeting many brothers and sisters in your same place
Small survivors with hope in your eyes
brave not by choice
you have endured so much in your short life

We waited for you across the ocean divide
You again were about to face goodbyes
Farewells to your little brothers and sisters
The women who cared for you each and every day
Knowing there would be tears for everythig big, small again was lost
and nothing was the same, all new
Your story has so many parts and pieces broken, mended and redeemed.
Strong and brave and beautiful you
I prayed for her, for me, for you for the forming of our family
I see you. My heart sees all that came before I held you.
I acknowledge and honor your life before me. I respect your story, more lived than in just one lifetime
No one has fought harder than the orphan
You became my daughter and I your mother. He has entrusted to me you, tender vivacious beautiful girl
I love you with every piece of me.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

"Mama, Don't be Mad at Me!"

Last night at midnight this post started to form in my head. I need some type of dictation app so I don't loose my prose mojo.
So let us see what I can remember that slipped of my tounges mind so easily last night.

"Mama don't be mad at me" is just one of the statements of proclamation that come from my daughters lips lately. And at Target last night I got ambushed by all the many with of course, an audience. I will get to that in just a moment. But first, it seems that anytime my husband and I attempt address, hold accountable, teach or correct a behavior with our daughter we are greeted with "Don't me mad at me" along with crossed arms and a pouty lip so big that you could set the kitchen sink on it. I tend to get this response more often than my hubby. I am guessing this is typical? I am hoping for a resounding YES in the heads of my mother readers.

But recently these declarations have been increasing...exponentially. The other day while multi-tasking and saying no to a request for candy I heard from her "You will never be my friend." WHAT? She did not say it with a mean tone it was almost a casual sing-song. Yep my feelings were hurt. I paused for a moment and in my head thought..."That was not nice" and "Well I am her parent and not really her friend." I paused again for another moment. I asked her to repeat to me what she had just said and (my daughter does go to speech therapy and I wanted to ensure I heard it right) my request was done calmly without defensiveness....well maybe. She looked at me and shrugged her shoulders. I said to her, "Well I am not sure if that was the nicest thing to say but yes I am your mama first and I hope someday we will be friend." Some of you might be thinking uh, she is three Carrie. I know, I know. I tackled it in the moment the best way I thought I could.

Now this bring me to our Target outing. There are other proclamations but I can't list them all without going on and on but this is what happened.
We had just gone to the restroom and it was getting close to dinner so I gave in to a treat from Starbucks located inside the store. She b-lined it to the counter and as I truly think about it, she was unaware she had cut in line. I got down to her level and said "Honey, we cut in line. We need to wait our turn."
The unraveling began. In a string of stings she began "No, mama you hurt my feelings, Don't be made at me, You not listen" along with stomping over to a table and sitting down. And it did not end there. As I approcahed her and tried to hold her accountable yet state, "Yes I AM listening, tell Mama but you need to calm down and behave like the big girl I know you are." Faster than the speed of light out came her pointer finger and the words..."Don't you ever make me sad again".

WHAT? You can imagine what ensued. I was telling her to talk to mama kindly, more pouting on her part and so on. All of this going on while of course to older ladies staring in disapproval and one of the presumed husbands just laughing outloud. After I said "We will sit here until you are ready to try again and ask with kindess and listen to Mama." The standoff began an about 10 minutes went by and she caved. During this time I said I loved her and I need her to listen. She finally asked in her chipmunk voice..."Mama please may I have my treat?" She asked for the money, gave it to the cashier and thank her for the treat.

She is definately three going on thirteen. While some of her behaviors I'd like to work with I am also so proud of her speaking her voice and defending her personhood and feelings. But as a mom, how do I navigate this? I want to do what it is right.

I think to myself...

I am not your friend, I am your mom. I hope someday when you are an adult we will be friends.
I always want you to tell me when your feelings are hurt and when you don't feel understood.
I want you to respect your family, other people and yourself with your words and actions.

But you are just three. I pray I will learn how to teach you, guide you and support to the best of my ability as you become who you are meant to be, and not be completely grey for it.

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Little Girl in Beijing

I texted this post in the middle of the night when I could not sleep. I have debated if I should post this. But here I go.

Brand new to the world. A helpless miracle. Given a death sentence. Today I read about a little baby girl. Newly born left face down in a floor toilet pipe in Beijing China. I cried when I saw her picture. And I cried harder when I saw the floor toilet. I had forgotten what they looked liked. I tried to sit at my desk and not crawl right out of my skin. My heart horrified yet grateful she was rescued. I try not to judge the woman who put her there. Women who live there face what I would never have to. Maybe someone else forced her or it was another person. Perhaps she was unmarried. I know this is a culture that puts women in situations they should never have to even comprehend. I wish she could have been placed outside a hospital or even a restaurant...somewhere she could be found? I wish this women never felt she had to do this.
I turn my thoughts back to this baby girl. To be disposed of in such a way based on gender...on how that society devalues girls. My heart again hurts. I don't know what to do with this. God as your child, tell me what to me act. Bring forth a path, perhaps a calling. I don't want this to be a moment of discomfort that passes. Let it lead to something. I crawl into my daughters bed. Born in China. Born with cleft lip and palate. I think of that little newborn girl again. I know she exists in a society with the odds stacked against her. But I pray, I hope. Let her live, thrive and find a family. Let her dance. Let her laugh. Let her smile. Let her hold hear head high. Let her LIVE. Let her fully embrace she is fearfully and wonderfully made. Let her live.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Where I Once Was...

Where I Once Was...

It has been AGES since I have published a post. I must confess that I have written and begun to write many posts but either did not finish my thoughts or was afraid to vulnerable. But what is what life without sharing your thoughts and being vulnerable to an extent?

Not to long ago I had two separate encounters just hours apart. Below, I will finish what I began and share my thoughts of these two interactions that in my heart I cannot accept as simply coincidental...

Today I ran into two women. Women like me. We have a shared experience one in past and for them the present;existing in the same space, the long season where I was only three years ago. I have promised myself I will not forget that long, long season. It is part of my story. I have not yet made complete peace with all of it but I know I will in time. But I WILL remember. It was painful but I am who I am because of it. I hope with a little more perceptive, a more openess and awareness in my perceptions, more kinder more tender.

These kind wonderful women, living life, giving of themselves, working hard but having a part of themselves lost. A part of themselves in pain, lonely in their sadness of what had not come to be as they had hoped for... and desperately trying not to be. Trying to live out their lives and find joy though deep within an ache in their hearts waiting for something they desired...a child. I remember that both womean were staring at several forks in the road. Do I go down the road of adoption, infertility treatments, or beginning picturing their life as a family of two: Husband and wife? And yes, you are a family if is just husband and wife (and maybe a puppy too).Please don't let any ones rhetoric or logical and limiting definitions tell you different.

As I wrote these words several songs come to mind. Not surprising. Ever heard lyrics to a song that just matched your heart?

There were so many things I wanted to say. But I tried mostly to listen. People often gave me advice with good intention and full of suggestion but I remember that mostly I just wanted them to listen not simplify, normalize or pass over.
I wanted in those moments to acknowledge them and their story. And to say, if the moment was right, that they are not alone as a woman who holds on to hope and sometimes can't, that their purpose will be fully realized not beholden to any circumstance.

I used to cringe when people said it will be alright. How did they know? I find myself saying it to my daughter a lot. But I beginning to realize what it really means, what it should mean. It is going to be alright doesn't mean I can fix it but my maker will make things All Right. Right the wrong. Bring beauty from the ashes. Work all things for our good and not let the brokenness be US. Redemption. Restoration. New beginnings.


Sara Groves
I can tell by your eyes that you're not getting any sleep
And you try to rise above it but feel you're sinking in too deep
Ohh, ohh, I believe, I believe that...

It's going to be alright, it's going to be alright
I believe, you'll outlive this pain in your heart
And you'll gain such a strength from what is tearing you apart
Ohh ohh, I believe, I believe that...

It's going to be alright, it's going to be alright
When some time has past us and the story can be told
It will mirror the strength and the courage of your soul
Ohh, ohh, I believe, I believe

I believe
I believe

And I did not come here to offer you clich├ęs
And I will not pretend to know of all your pain
Just when you cannot then I will hold out faith for you

It's going to be alright
It's going to be alright

[Incomprehensible] All Right
It's going to be alright

I believe, I believe
I believe, I believe, I believe

I believe, I believe
I believe, I believe, I believe

I believe, you're gonna be alright
I believe that I'm gonna be alright
I believe that we're gonna be alright
I believe

I can tell by your eyes that you're not getting any sleep
And I know how you've tried but you're sinking in too deep
I believe, I believe, I believe
I believe

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.