Lighthousegal’s Scrap Shack

October 18, 2010

Another year, yet the memories are still fresh

Filed under: adoption, China, parenting — Mayhem Mama @ 10:36 am

Anyone who follows this blog (all 5 of you), know that this time of year is when each month is marked and celebrated with something having to do with China and adoptions.

The 5 of this month marked JB’s 9th birthday.  Last weekend we celebrated with 5 very close friends of hers, for 15 hours, over night, with energy enough to support a small city, and screaming – lots and lots of screaming.  Did you know little girls that age not only eat their body-weight in food, but they can also chew, swallow and scream all at the same time?  8 years ago,  DH and I celebrated her 1st birthday, though separated from her by 1/2 the world.   It was a bittersweet celebration.  We celebrated that someone gave her life.  We celebrated our impending parenthood.  But we mourned as well.  We mourned that she did not have someone to hold her and cuddle her on her special day.  We mourned that our joy was at the cost of the most precious bond – that of first mother and child.   But we knew that we would celebrate each future birthday fully and thankfully.

Today, the 18th, marks not only my father’s birthday, but also the day that we boarded a plane 8 years ago.   This was the day that we headed to China for the first time.

We arrived at our local airport at some horrifically early, the sun was not even up, I did not know there was a world out there, my body does not recognize anything resembling vertical movement, do my eyes even open, hour of the day.  We had to arrive so early because it was only a year post 9/11 and security delays could be huge.  You know what?

At that hour of the morning –

there are no lines at baggage check-in,

there are no lines in security,

THERE IS NO ONE AT THE AIRPORT!!!!!!

And so started one of the most emotionally charged, amazing trips of my life.

 

October 4, 2010

I have been thinking….

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mayhem Mama @ 10:15 pm

For those of you who know me in real life, you all know that could be very dangerous!

But seriously, I have been thinking about this blog for several weeks.  I have been carefully reading other blogs, adoption related and about other topics.  I have felt for a long time that this blog lacked focus  or organization.  Now that the girls are getting older, I also am concerned about their privacy.

So I have come to a very hard decision.  I am going to make this blog private – that is if I can remember what the password was that I set up in the first place!  If anyone does remember it, could you please e-mail it to me so I can make sure that I am using the right one?!  I will continue to use this blog to update family and friends regarding the girls and how our family is doing.  If you want to continue following this blog, please contact me about getting the password.

That being said, I have decided to venture out with a couple of new blogs.

Please be patient as I build the new blogs.  I will be sure to let you know where you can find me!

May 12, 2010

Oh the Drama!

Filed under: Kid stories, Uncategorized — Mayhem Mama @ 7:13 pm

The girls wanted to go outside and play with a little boy, TM, from down the street while I finished dinner.  I can see them from the kitchen window, so I have no problem with it.  I turn around from mixing biscuits and look out the window and realize that I now have 7 little bodies swarming over our swing set.  Everyone is laughing, some hanging upside down, others playing with a whiffle ball and bat. 

A few minutes later I hear the front doorbell ring.  I go to answer it and find no one at the door, but TM grinned at me said JB had done it.  About that time she came around the corner and informed me that something bad had happened, one of the other little boys was no longer her friend and he had gone home and even left his bicycle at our house.  In response to my inquiry of why there was a lost friendship JB drags me into the house and stammers around and finally tells me that they were playing a game and that EN lost the game and went home.  Something just did not sound right.  I asked some further questions about this “game”.  Well, I got enough out of her to understand that they were hitting each other with the bats and whoever got hit twice lost the game.  That was enough for me.  I would have gone home after getting hit, too!  Finally I asked the zinger question – who thought up this game?  Yep, just as thought, my impulse control challenged child, JB.   I asked who else was playing this game.  Thankfully there were 4 children who showed some sense!  Sorry to all the mothers of sons out there, but I was not at all surprised to find out that 2 of the 3 involved were boys. 

So now what do I do?  JB needs to learn that she cannot beat up on her guests.  I instruct her to tell all the other children that they need to go home and then she needs to walk down to EN’s house with her daddy and apologize for hitting him.  I give her this information in the privacy of our living room.  She immediately tears up, folds her hands in front of her in a pleading fashion, and begs, literally begs, to be spanked instead of having to go out and tell her friends that they need to go home.  It was all I could do to keep a straight face.  I stood firm, though, and insisted that the other kids go home and she had to tell them.  After that, the apology was no big deal!  She came home riding on her daddy’s shoulders and giggling.  At least one thing I did made an impression.

EB, meanwhile, wants to accompany her sister and dad down to EN’s house.  We talk about how she would feel if she needed to make an apology and JB wanted to tag along.  She said she would feel awful.  She said she would be embarrassed.  But she really wanted to go with JB and daddy.  Staying home with me, I guess, is pretty boring.  Plus I think there was a disconnect between how she would feel and what her sister might feel – or maybe not.  Maybe that was the whole point of wanting to go along.  So we had a round of dramatic tears at the injustice of it all.  I am not sure I am going to survive puberty in this household, what with one girl beating up the boys and the other one turning on the tears at a moment’s notice.  Please pray for me!!!!!

May 9, 2010

Mother’s Day Pain

Filed under: adoption, parenting, Uncategorized — Mayhem Mama @ 7:32 am

This is a post that has been rambling around in my heart for a long time – like years.   I am not sure if I can actually put into a cohesive post everything that needs to be said, but I will try.

Mother’s Day has a long and varied history from celebrating female goddesses in ancient cultures, to religious significance, to the very commercialized and popular American holiday.  In the beginning of the modern American tradition, the holiday was built on the pain of mothers who had lost their children in the Civil War.  It was a way to gather mothers in protest of the war.  After the war the mother’s day concept was used to try to heal the wounds of the war.  Then it became a commercial explosion – one that does a pretty good job of marginalizing a big portion of the population.  I am not saying that mothers do not need to be recognized and honored for all they do for their children.  They fully deserve this day of honor and rest.  But there are still a lot of women who curl into themselves during this holiday, quietly suffering and fervently praying the day would just end. 

I was part of that number not long ago.  My womb was empty, my heart was filled with love to give to a child, and my arms ached.  I would intentionally not go home to visit my mom until after Mass because I did not want to admit that I did not go to church on Mother’s Day.  Watching all the moms walk in with their children, many sporting corsage, then having to sit while all the mothers stood for the special Mother’s Day blessing caused actual physical pain in my stomach.  I was filled with anger at my broken body that could not carry a child, anger towards God who placed this desire for motherhood in my heart by was not showing me how to fill it.  I was angry at myself for not letting go of these emotions – for the selfish feelings of hurt and anger, for the resentment that I felt towards these women who had been blessed with children but continuously complained about the weight they gained or the sleepless nights because of a child teething.   Did they have no concept of the vastness of their blessings?  Did they not understand that there are those of us who submit to humiliating and painful tests and procedures to have that one chance to feel a child move within our womb, to watch the wonderment in our spouse’s face as he feels his child kick for the first time?  Do they not understand how our ears crave to hear that precious heartbeat and our eyes to see the shadowy image of feet, hands, and spine on an ultrasound screen?  Those other moms, the ones who complain, have succumbed to the selfishness of our society.  They do not see their fertility as a gift from God, they see it and the stresses and strains of motherhood as an inconvenience, something that is keeping them from doing what they want to do. 

During that time in my life God did place some very precious women in my life – mothers who rejoiced in their motherhood.  Yes, they complained about a long stretch of sleepless nights, but they complained with joy.  They recognized how honored they were to be blessed by God.  Their complaints were nothing more than stating a reality of how tired they were and the very human need to vent.  These were women who allowed me to be part of their pregnancies and the lives of their children. These were mothers who taught me how to be a mother in today’s world.  They allowed me to be a mother figure to their children, and it counteracted a lot of the bitterness that had found a home in my soul.   These were women who recognized my pain, who listened to what I needed to heal, and they walked with me, sometimes carrying me, through the shadows and nightmares of infertility.

I am now a mother.  I stand tall when they ask the mothers to stand for the blessing, but I stand not only for me, but also for 2 other women.  I don’t stand alone because I did not become a mother on my own.  The joy I now feel at Mother’s Day is built on the pain of someone else – the first mothers of my children.  I do not know the exact circumstances that resulted in that mother/child relationship being disconnected.  I do know that I have been given the honor to raise these children.  I also recognize that I have a responsibility to those First Mothers – to never forget their pain, to teach my children that their First Mothers deserve honor and respect.  As I stood in church on Sunday and received that blessing on behalf of myself and those two other moms, I wondered how many First Moms were sitting in the congregation, harboring their own anger and pain, some of it possibly directed at me since my children are obviously adopted and I am a visible reminder of children no longer in their arms.  How many First Mothers did not feel they had a right to stand up and receive that mother’s blessing?  I cannot know their pain, their emotions.  But I do know that I respect them in so many ways – for giving birth, for living with and through the pain of relinquishment – at times relinquishment not of their choice.  I respect the women who speak out for ethical adoption reform and work tirelessly to help other women.  I honor the women who live silently with their pain and loss.  But mostly, I honor them because they are moms.

Mother’s Day, it should be such a simple day.  But the reality is that it is not a simple day,  just as being a mother is not simply feeding and dressing a child.  I still feel an ache on Mother’s Day – the ache of a dream child who will never be born.  Some people will say that I have not “resolved” my feelings or “come to terms” with my infertility.  That is not it at all.  I learned years ago that pregnancy does not equal motherhood.  I learned that motherhood is listening, teaching, mentoring, but above all, loving and accepting.  I ache because I mourn a dream of what could have been.  But I am firmly rooted in what is – children who call me mama, who run to me when they have a boo-boo or their feelings get hurt, children who I help navigate murky moral waters, children who I was created to mother.  God knew that these children would need a second mom.  In a perfect world that He controls all women who want children would have babies, and all women who had babies would have all the tools they need to raise them, and that all babies would live in healthy, happy homes with their original families.  But God gave us free will.  He knew that the result of the free will He has given us results in children who cannot always live with their first parents.  So God molds some of us to be parents in another way.  He carves holes in our hearts the shape of the children who He knows need a place to fit.  A perfect solution in an imperfect world.  Happy Mother’s Day to all women who influence children to be better than the world around them.

May 6, 2010

GRRRRRRR

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mayhem Mama @ 9:11 am

A blogger buddy of mine is an avid follower of The Biggest Loser.  Me, not so much, but mostly because I have my own weight issues and don’t need to watch seomeone else’s, nor do I like to sweat an, unless they are extremely attractive men who can sweat with style, I don’t like to watch others sweat either.  So needless to say, I don’t watch it.  But I have heard of one of the main trainers – Jillian Michals.  So anyway – my buddy posted about about an article about Jillian Michals that really ticked me off. 

My friend was upset about the selfishness of the statement ” I can’t handle doing that to my body,” Michaels told the new issue of Women’s Health magazine.” when talking about getting pregnant.  While I do think that it is an incredibly distorted view of the results of pregnancy, especially when there are so many women out there that would give their eye teeth to have the honor of bearing a child, that was not what made me go “GRRRRR”.   The entire statement was – “I’m going to adopt. I can’t handle doing that to my body,” Michaels told the new issue of Women’s Health magazine. “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.” 

OK, you don’t adopt because you don’t want to ruin your body image – that is one of the most selfish motivations for adoption.  What are you going to finally tell that child – “I wanted to have a kid, but I wanted you without the discomfort and work that comes with pregnancy and getting my body body back in shape after your birth, so I decided to allow another woman to do that and then take you for my own.”  I will agree that many of us who adopt do so out of selfish motivations – we want to be parents.  We may choose adoption because of infertility issues.  Some may choose adoption as their first choice for building a family for a varity of child based reasons, such as there are children in this world who do not have a family with whom they can live because they are truly orphans, or their first family has been ripped apart beyond repair for some reason and parenting children who are in the world and at risk is more important than bearing a child.  But to say that I don’t want to ruin my body – um, nope, not a valid reason in my book. 

But the part that got me really up in arms was the second part of her comment, “Also, when you rescue something, it’s like rescuing a part of yourself.”  OK, now you have brought out the Mama Bear in me.  First of all, a child is not a “something”.  Second, adoption is not about rescuing. It infuriates me when I hear how all these children “need to be saved, so I am going to adopt one”. The only reason to adopt is because you want this child to be part of your family. There are plenty of people out there who choose to adopt because that is their first choice for a multitude of very good reasons. But the saviour mentality is NOT one of them. There are so many studies and adoptee reports of how damaging that “rescue” mindset is to the adopted person. Yes, I was one of those people who would have given anything to be pregnant, but once I moved beyond pregnancy envy to actually looking at the long term picture of a family for life I realized that all my experiences were God’s way of making me ready for my girls. I tell them all the time that God created JB and EB shaped holes in my heart. They were not created for my family, I was created to be theirs.  When are we as a society going to stop viewing children as “things” and start respecting them as precious people we have been gifted with to rear, cherish, and teach (yes, I mean teach about respect, discipline, work ethics, etc) and who hold the future of our planet and society in their small hands?

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