The Miracle of Adoption

I n-e-e-d to apologize to the  woman who was courageous enough to visit my infertility group and talk to us about adopting her daughter from the People’s Republic of China. She was my first exposure to international adoption. I thought there was no way I could still be trying to crack infertility when I was THIRTY! Thirty being the minimum age requirement for a Chinese adoption.

When she lovingly told us that she thought her daughter looked like her, I was certain that she was crackers. I even went home to my mom and relayed the story of this delusional woman. I felt that  she was trying to rearrange history into a story where she did not have a daughter of another race. And truthfully, I don’t know what she was doing but now I know about the adoption phenomenon of “claiming”. Where an adoptive family finds similarities between themselves and the adoptee and “claim” them as their own.

My family needed only a single photo of my daughter to begin the process themselves. My grandmother decided she resembled my dad and my mother in law was certain she looked just like her eldest son-both provided photographic evidence. The truth ten years later is that my daughter resembles her birth parents and my husband and I.

My daughter loves words like me but she has her dad’s fun-loving sense of humour. This weekend she nicknamed him “loafer”. Which is funny because he has been producing baguettes in one way or another for about ten years. In turn, he nicknamed her, “Rufus” because she roofs her soccer ball on a pretty regular basis these days.  It fun watching our eleven year old unfold before our eyes. She still likes us but she’s testing the waters of independence and launching her own character.

Who needs World Peace? We need Sisterhood

Like those hippies who want world peace, I want world sisterhood. If women united on a grand scale, that would be as close to invincibility as the world could come. That sounds very cotton candy, dreamy right?  Imagine what could be if women worldwide organized.

Now lets not muddy up our peaceful thoughts with any further ranting and raving-enjoy the Scissor Sisters with me.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H5I6y1Qvz0&ob=av2e

I really would prefer that video be embedded. Its not. It would be inappropriate to fuss about perfection in a post desirous of  peace and harmony, wouldn’t it?

What a good nights sleep will get ya.

I blame the great nights sleep for what happened.

I woke, showered, applied make up,  dressed, packed lunches, put the kids on the bus and made a Tim stop before I turned my van towards work.   I was right on time and I was feeling fantastic.  After all  it’s not every day all of those things take place in the same morning.

And then it happened. I drove past the bus stop of the most adorable, dark-haired, caramel skinned eight year old girl. Grinning from ear to ear, I waved at her and she smiled back.  My hand snapped back and I pulled it close to my chest.

What the hell am I doing?

I drive past this little girl every day, what’s the big deal? She looks like my daughter and she catches my eye day after day. She is an unsupervised minor child standing alone each day at a corner light pole on a busy street.  I stand with my kids at their stop and scowl at anyone who passes. I refuse to let my kids stand alone at their creepy bus stop wedged between store loading docks and an abandoned auto wrecker. If someone actually waved at them, I would be forced to assume they were a stalker. Hell, I barely  tolerate the current school bus driver.

What is wrong with the school board making bus stops with their map instead of their heads? What is wrong with my head? In our previous home the bus driver picked them up at the front door. However,the trade-off is that  at our current home the girls can run around the neighbourhood, ringing the door bells of the neighbourhood kids. They take jaunts to the local playground and corner store without their parents if they want. These are the joys of small town living.

A waterfall of emotions and thoughts are attached to this little girl I pass each morning, Bus Stop Girl.  I have issues of race, colour, childhood and mothering that are all tangled up in a mess I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to unravel. Bus Stop Girl moved into our neighbourhood weeks after I signed the agreement to sell our home. Should I have toughed it out a little longer?  I notice Bus Stop Girl’s parents have listed their home for sale less than two years after moving in. I wonder if they’ve had the same sort of misgivings about this small town as I have.  I wonder if things are harder when you are not attached to white parents that have been members of the community for forty years.

On the other side of town, we have another dark-skinned girl like my daughter. Her family moved in a few years ago. Should we reach out to them? Is there something we could do to make life here softer? Much as I would like my white community to colour up, I can’t go running around making pals in town on the basis of their colour. It doesn’t work like that. It sucks since my daughters have no one in their community other than each other to look to.   I have had someone outright tell me that they were grateful for their child to play with mine because they knew no one else of colour. I was uncomfortable with that. It’s not the basis of a lasting relationship. Yet I would be pleased beyond words for my kids to have a friend of colour, any colour at all.

Initially, a decade ago I  found the conspicuousness of  my daughters thrilling. I was so pleased to be a mom and I had no wish to blend in. But years of experience as a family that stands out, has left me jaded. Each day as they grow older, I have to deal with their growing independence. They stand out  even on a street corner here in this small, friendly town where I grew up, married  and hoped to raise a family and it makes me anxious.

When the girls are apart from me, they enjoy the inconspicuity that comes from not having a blonde tag along. They ride the bus each morning and melt into the diversity of their large city school. Our oldest is especially pleased to have the opportunity to align herself with other Chinese children. Which is curious, and a story for another day.

Not these 725 words, or ten years of thoughts, or moving neighbourhoods, churches and friends, nor hundreds of books and tens of seminars, none of these things have unraveled the knotty, addled mess in my brain but I guess, a good nights sleep, a sunny day and a beautiful girl are enough to make me forget it.

Sisters in the News

These sisters are in big trouble. The Costa Concordia ran aground when her partying crew steered her recklessly in January. Now her sister ship, the Costa Allegra had an engine room fire which resulted in her drifting in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Somalia.

Costa Allegra

I’m not a big fan of cruising, it will never be on my bucket list but I hope things begin to look up for these sisters.  The company says they had a team of  Navy Seals on board to protect against pirate attacks. I feel certain that they are really hired to protect the captain. You know, so someone doesn’t toss him overboard when the entire ship loses power and  drifts along with the ocean current. This is why I can’t cruise, my control “issues” would lead me to lead a mutiny.

 

I’m reading…

I haven’t been writing much but I’ve read lots.  Food and travel are ideal for a non-fiction lover like myself, and these books combine both.

Last year, I read “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry” by Kathleen Flinn. I loved her tale of emptying her savings account to attend Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in France when she lost her job. How brave!

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

When I discovered Kathleen had written another book, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, it pushed past the usual backlog of reading I have sitting at my bedside. I dove into it; I found it an inspiring and easy read, one that tolerated interruptions well.

Kathleen is writing about food again but not the cordon bleu sort. Once she returned the States, she is struck by American eating habits. She found herself gawking at fellow shoppers grocery carts. After living overseas, her habits had changed to suit the tiny kitchens, refrigerators and freezers she had in England and France. Kathleen is stunned to find  that people who have such a huge variety to choose from and few limitations on space would choose so many highly processed foods. A quick chat with a grocery cart offender, leads Kathleen to suspect that many people simply do not have basic cooking skills. She goes on to develop a project where she finds volunteers to submit to an evaluation of their kitchen cupboards and cooking skills in exchange for cooking lessons. The book is divided into lessons and the students become the books characters. I didn’t particularly warm up to all the characters but the emotional ties these people had with food and family and how that affected their daily meals/health/relationships was compelling. There is something for everyone in this book, beginners and accomplished cooks.  My family is probably wishing I would read this again as it inspired some good meals and definitely gave me a kick in the butt to waste less food. There is no excuse not to read it, I found it in the library :)