My son will be thirteen-years old, this August. He was delivered into our family via adoption, from Russia. When we brought him home, he was just eleven-months old. Over the years, he’s not been one to speak much about being an adoptee; he’s somewhat quiet regarding the topic.
As an international adoptee myself, I don’t press the matter. My son knows that we carry an open-door policy on the matter of adoption discussion. In other words, there’s never a bad time to ask a question, and there’s never a bad question to ask. As his mother, I want my son to know that he is safe to explore his feelings and emotions with his family. I want him to understand that, in our home, transparency is held as top priority. It’s important for my son to feel safe as he enters into his teen years: safe to discuss his adoption story, openly and honestly.
The sun is setting as I write these words. Blue ocean kissed by a blush colored sky. A new moon sits, alone, without the company of stars.
On this night…
I sit quietly, taking in the rustling of the breeze through palm trees. The distant sounds of frogs singing their goodnights.
I want to embrace every sound, every color, every movement, as night approaches; as light gives way to dark. I want to feel God’s rhythm. I want to trust in the returning of dawn.
I’m learning to release the beliefs in this life that once kept me tethered. Perhaps, the most confining of these beliefs was the one that placed a large amount of importance on what others might think of me.
I’ve spent a good part of my life in work that goes hand-in-hand with public critique and opinion: television ratings and rankings, book reviews, and feedback down to the color of my blouse. It’s part of the territory.
I’ve been told that I’m too humble with my words; that my writing needs more sex appeal and less God appeal. I’ve been judged, by some, for being an adoptee who has also adopted. And, judged, by others, for writing books that express a beauty in adoption. I’ve been celebrated for my writing, and I’ve been castigated. I’ve learned a lot about life, through the experiences of both.
If you could have your perfect day, what would it look like? Would your day be filled with the rush of business matters, making phone calls, or ticking away at that to-do list? Would you disappear from sight and take to binging on social media?
What would you do?
I pose this question to myself, as well, as we welcome in the month of June. Summer is upon us; kids are getting out of school and I sense the excitement of an expansion in time. The days are longer, and I even get a break from filling school lunch boxes in the early morning hours! This, alone, fills me with an anticipation equivalent to that of flying off to some tropical island! There’s just something about the summer months and the marvelous thought of slowing down.
Difficult to place.
These are the three words that social workers used to describe me while in the care of the United Kingdom’s foster care system. In other words, these three little words equaled one giant judgement about my worth. The social worker assigned to my case believed that finding a family for a child like me would be, yes, difficult.
I was seen as “illegitimate” and “ethnic” within the system. My foster papers described me as the “extra-marital daughter” of a woman who indulged in an affair with a “dark man.” Adding, “The child is dark, like her father.”
May is National Foster Care Month. As a former foster child, as well as an international adoptee, I’m often asked about my nationality. In other words, people are curious as to where I originated, what my heritage is and to whom I once belonged.
Believe me, I have been — in my lifetime — ultra curious about these things, as well. In fact, the journey of discovery has taken me along paths to unknown destinations, and to unknown parts of myself.
The experience of seeking out adoption truth is like putting together a puzzle with vital pieces missing. Empty holes. Empty spaces. Those hollow places in the heart; caverns created by loss.
How much are we willing to sacrifice in an effort to put back the pieces of a shattered-self? What are we willing to risk? How can we revive the dormant parts of who we once were, as adoptees, prior to being removed from our first lives?
I study the effect of media on children and families and recently finished a study on the effect of the superhero and princess culture on children. If you have ever been around a preschool child, you know that both superheroes and princesses are very popular with this age group. In fact, many children this age say that they would like to be a superhero or a princess when they grow up. I’ve pondered on how being a superhero or a princess might relate to our royal identity and what this might mean for the way we see ourselves in an eternal light.
I love a hug, and recently I read an adorable children’s book that expresses all the many different types of hugs there are in this great, big, wonderful world.
Bear Hug, by Caroline B. Cooney is a delightful journey into the many ways we can give hugs and receive hugs.
A little bit about the author: Caroline has created over ninety Young Adult novels in many genres, and her books have sold over fifteen million copies. Bear Hug is based on a verse that Caroline wrote for her own children, who are now grown.
I was planning to write to you from Africa this week, only, God had other plans. It’s a long story, really, so I’ll try and break it down into one, simple paragraph. Here goes!
I was booked on a flight to Johannesburg, South Africa, leaving on Thursday, March 23rd. While connecting through Atlanta, all of that changed. On two consecutive nights, my flights were bumped. To make matters more interesting, the airline could not get my family on another Johannesburg bound flight until the next Monday or Tuesday, which put us some five days behind on an already tight Spring Break schedule. How could we keep this holiday moving forward?
I adore reading with my seven-year old daughter, and I cherish any opportunity to explore books with her that share the central beliefs of our Christian faith. Recently, I had the pleasure of reading a book by Danielle Hitchen called, Bible Basics: A Baby Believer Counting Primer. (Catechesis Books, 2016)
Although this book might be considered a “young read” for my advancing 1st grader, I still found my daughter captivated by it’s beauty and simplicity. Counting from 1-10, children can explore clearly presented scriptural truths as they delight in twenty pages of colorful and inviting illustrations, by Jessica Blanchard. My daughter, especially, enjoyed reading about the 8 Beatitudes. The floral illustrations, in this section, caught her eye and sparked lively conversation about what it means to be merciful and peaceful children of God.