Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

fun with friends! (and Bubbie!)

We had such a great weekend!

We were lucky enough to have Bubbie come for a little visit! We kept her moving the whole time! These kids sure love their Bubbie, and the time they get to spend with her! I'm quite certain she was exhausted by the time she left! Nice relaxing weekend eh Bubbie?!!

Friday night was a nice quiet, well as quiet as our house gets, Shabbot dinner...and we read lots of new books that Bubbie brought.

Saturday, Jud was golfing in the morning so Bubbie and I met my fabulous friend Jodie (aka Tommy and Allison's Mom!) and two of her incredible kids at the urban Ecology Center for a little picnic and lots of laughs!

Here's a peek at the craziness that ensues when we get all these kids together! It was like a cheese race, minus the cheese!

Bubbie said afterwards that she really wanted to run down the hill with cue to encourage crazy un-bubbie like behavior in the future:)

Then we had a really nice, and surprisingly quiet walk!

Then later in the day, Caroline was off for her first Temple youth group get together! She is definitely enjoying the taste of independence!

While Caroline was out, we had dinner with this ridiculously cute family! Even Bubbie couldn't keep her hands off the cuteness!!!

Can't blame her really, the boy is almost edible he's so darn cute!

Jud wanted in on the love! (I think the wait is starting to get to him too)

And the lovely Quinn, after telling me, "you know, you waste a lot of energy in this house" helped the kids build a new contraption. Oh Quinn, how I love you so!

Today was Yom Kippur so we kept the kids out of school. We had a nice family day at home. The kids rotated playing and lying around, while Jud helped me catch up on all of the stuff I've been falling behind know, laundry, cleaning that sort of thing.

Then we all went to services this afternoon.

I wish Bubbie could have stayed so she could have gone to Temple with us today because I'm sure seeing Jack "choking" in his tie because he couldn't breathe, would have brought back great memories of Jud as a child! Some things never change!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Follow up

What Jud wrote about in the last post is exactly what the two of us have been discussing lately. There is still so much to be said, and questions I have for you fellow bloggers about how to handle certain situations, so while it's out there I felt like we should delve into it a little deeper.

Like I said, these are things that Jud and I have been going over and over. The same thoughts that have been going through my head repeatedly for the past four years.

So, grab a beverage and get cozy, this may take awhile.

First of all, I know our family stands out. Often times I feel like we draw attention every where we go. Restaurants, grocery stores, even the playground, people notice us. I get that. We're different. And we have four of the most gorgeous kids on the planet, so I forgive people for staring. But it's when the innocent looks turn into stares and the comments start flowing that we are put on guard and usually left feeling uneasy.

Oy the comments!

Sometimes they're totally innocent, just curious. Sometimes maybe inquisitive because they themselves are considering adoption. Other times they're just down right nosey and inappropriate.

Many have a tendency to ruffle both of our we're trying to figure out why, and just what to do about it.

First, before I go any further I just want to say that I think, no, I feel that adoption is an amazing and profound experience. It has changed my life forever. Not only because it has brought this beautiful light into my life, but because it has opened my eyes to the fact that the world is more than just me, my family, my community, my country. There is so much more. And because of adoption, I feel like I am a part of that something more.

Looking back to when we started the process to adopt the first time, I can see that I myself was quite naive to how the whole scenario of inter-racial, international adoption, would play out. I simply thought that, we wanted more children. There were children who needed families. We would embrace a child into our family as if they were our own.

Too simple.

I know that now.

There is so much more to it than that.

Because of this, because of my feeling for adoption, because of all that I've learned along the way, I would be more than happy to talk any one's ear off about adoption, about the process, heck I'll even talk about the cost if they want, but and it's a big but, not in front of my kids!

That has to be one of my biggest hot buttons.

So, getting back to the comments. What's appropriate, what's not, and just what do we do about it?

Here is a sampler of the comments and how I typically respond. Please share how you would respond or any thoughts in the comments. Really. I'm curious how other families handle these things. I know we are not alone in this!

Just a few of the things that Emma has heard strangers say. Many times.

"they're all yours?" (while staring, sometimes even pointing at Emma)

-Yes, Emma is well aware of the fact that she did not grow in my tummy, that is a fact that we could not nor ever would want to try to hide. But to have it constantly thrown in her face, usually with a judgmental tone, at 4 years old is just not right. I simply say "yes." and try to corral the kids into moving in the opposite direction of the commenter...doesn't often work, there are usually follow up questions. All I really want to say is "please just stop." But I don't. I stand there getting ticked at myself for getting cornered. Again.

"That's your daughter? Where did she come from?"

-I'm always surprised by this one, pretty ballsy don't you think? But even though I think it's rather rude, and intrusive, I still always answer, "Yes. Ethiopia."

"but they (looking at the other 3) are all yours?" (implying I gave birth to them I guess) I've actually been so fed up with this one, that I do very firmly say, "they're all mine." When they start to say, "no, I mean.." I quickly say, "I know. They're all mine." I usually feel like a total bitch afterwards. But this one gets me.

Then there are the quite intrusive ones.

"Were you not able to have kids of your own?"

-Which I have to say, if I wasn't, is that something that I would want to discuss with a stranger? But I don't say that.

"Did you think of adopting here, there are so many kids here?"

-This one really annoys me too. What I always want to say is, yes, have you? But again, of course I don't. The fact is, there is nothing simple about adoption. We think, we agonize at every turn about every decision. Those who go into the adoption ring don't do so blindly. There are reasons. We have reasons. We choose the path.

Then there are those well meaning, but just don't sit right ones...I usually try not to respond to these ones simply because I haven't figured out how to yet.

"She's so lucky"

-I know what they mean, because of the life that we are able to give her, but really, what's lucky about being taken from your country, your heritage, from your birth family not because you weren't loved or that you weren't wanted but because they couldn't feed you? In all reality we are the lucky ones. To have been born where we were, to not ever have to worry about feeding our children, to be able to watch all of our children grow and thrive. Yes, we are the lucky ones.

"Oh what a wonderful thing you're doing"

-This one always strikes a chord, and I'm not totally sure why. It is a wonderful thing, and I'm proud of us. I'm proud of our family. But we didn't set out to save a child. That's not what it's about.

I struggle with how to respond to many of these comments because I can see that the person making them just doesn't get it. They don't get the big picture. I find myself wanting to reply to many comments with some snide remark, and I don't because really, I can picture my mom in the grocery store asking some other woman with her children the same sorts of questions. Not trying to be rude or intrusive, just curious. I realize that unless people see and feel the effects of poverty and famine around the world, it's just not something they think about. They don't have a reason to.

So I could get up on my soap box and tell them about all that I've learned about Ethiopia, the people, the culture, the drought, the hunger, the lack of clean water, the disease, about how they could help... but is that right? Really, I'm asking. Should I feel an obligation to be an advocate? Be the voice for those whose voices are not being heard? Can I go on ignoring comments because I just don't want to deal with it? Is it my responsibility to educate people about what is happening around the world? The information is out there isn't it? For whatever reason people choose to turn the other way. Could I get them to get it even if I tried? Would it make any difference?

The thing is, I want to do all these things. I want to be an advocate. I want to be that voice. But in a way that is not making an example of my family. Does that make sense? I don't want to be nice and put on a smile every time I get a rude comment about my front of my children. I don't like feeling like my family is a teaching case.

Adoption did change my life. If Emma weren't in our lives, I wouldn't feel the connection that I do to Ethiopia. I wouldn't think about wanting to make a difference because I feel I owe it to her birth family. Without adoption my eyes would not have been opened. As much as I want to encourage other people to think about the world outside their community, I think I need to find a way to do it while preserving my family's story and keeping certain things private.

Is that possible?

Is there a way to turn the focus of the questions and comments? Or do I have to learn to stear clear of all old ladies in the grocery store?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Have you ever wanted to say. . .

This is a guest post. Again. I tell you this right off for two reasons: First becuse I don't want to confuse anyone and have you think that your usual blogger has lost some of her style, wit, charm, etc. And also because I want to make sure that if you are critical of this post, you know who to direct it at. . . .

I'm sure we all get them: The innocous comment by a friend, family member or neighbor. They range from the ever popular "You are doing such a good thing! (by adopting)" to "How lucky she is that you brought her here from Africa".

They touch on my deepest thoughts and feelings relating to adoption. The incredible mix of love, protectiveness and anxiety I feel about my daughter. The sadness I feel for the poverty in Ethiopia and the sacrifice her birth family made. The happiness I feel as she has grown and settled in to our family. The questions I will have for years about what comes from nature vs. nurture.

I'm just still not sure how to respond to many of these comments. Often I take the easy way out. Smile, nod, make some vacuous comment about how much our daughter has given to our family. How blessed we are by her place in our lives.

I want to say "stop". It's not about "doing a good thing". We all need to wake up and realize that there are children that don't have enough to eat. There are families without water, heat and light in the twenty-first century. We will not solve this one child at a time. I want to tell them to learn about and support AHOPE. To think about the poverty in Africa, South America, Asia. And not to stop thinking about it because it feels 'too big'.

It is big. But it will only get better one person at a time. We need to say 'enough'. We need to talk about it. We need to make this a world where families in poorer countries don't need to make this awful choice.

But how can we on a micro level, make a macro change? I don't know the answer to this, but some of the strongest people in history have begun change with simple acts. And out of simple acts, they have begun to change their worlds.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Yes, the boy is really THAT funny!

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Well, once again things are beyond crazy at our house.

The house is coming along, the basement should be done by next week so I can finally get all of the kids stuff out of boxes...the home study update is just about complete, our social worker is coming over tomorrow to see the new house and collect all of the papers I've been running around town chasing after! Even amidst the craziness, I think we're all starting to feel more settled.

Last week marked the beginning of the new school year!

The kids all seem to be loving it so far. Well, one day Emma did plant her feet firmly on the ground and say, "no. I'm not going." Jack has had a few tears every morning, and Sam has already asked, "how many more days until school is done?" So, I guess maybe not everyone loves it. Caroline really and truly does though. I know it's a bit early for predictions, but I really think that this school is going to be a much better fit for them!

In other news... Jud was just promoted to the President of M&I Equipment Finance Co. It's really exciting news and I'm just so proud of him! His dedication and hard work have paid off! He's amazing and I know he'll do a great job!

Even with all of the stress at work, Juds been so awesome about pitching in with house stuff too. Probably more than his fair share actually. I've been going through weird phases lately, where I just don't feel like doing anything...not yard work, not painting, not cleaning, not organizing, not even blogging! These, with the exception of cleaning, are things that I really enjoy doing...but I've just felt blah. And rather than get annoyed by my mood swings and general blahness, Jud has been incredibly sweet and loving. He calls during the day just to ask how I'm feeling or how my day's going. Most nights he still makes dinner when he gets home from work! And if that's not enough, he's been motoring through projects around the house. Pretty much makes me look like a total slacker!

Yesterday the two of us took a road trip to La Crosse for a wedding. It was about a four hour drive so we had lots of time to talk and catch up with each other, something we rarely get the opportunity to do these days. It was wonderful. We really had a great time at the wedding too. Jud even danced! Something he does not usually do willingly! It felt great to have some fun time together, but we are both exhausted today, we're getting too old for those late nights!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009