Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Letter to my Little Man on His 3rd Birthday

Oh My Precious Little Love Bug,

I cannot believe your third birthday is already here. It has been such a joyous three years with you. It seems that just yesterday we received the phone call that you would be born in just a few hours and instantaneously switched gears from being “Wes and Diana” to “Mommy and Daddy.” As soon as I could catch my breath from the excitement of that completely unexpected phone call, I immediately bowed my head and prayed some of the most fervent prayers of my life. Instantly, my prayers became those of a mother. Within hours of that phone call, you were safely born. And within 36 hours of your birth, we found ourselves sitting in the a hospital waiting room, for hours on end, wringing our hands and waiting to hear if you would be our precious son.

When it was finally time, we stepped onto to the elevator and headed down to the nursery. After a lot of security checks, I looked through the nursery windows at all the little babies wondering which one was my son. They were all beautiful babies. While I starred in wonder at the babies, my hand gently touching the window, our social worker chatted with the charge nurse while our hearts pounded in our chests. She returned after a few moments, but to us it felt like an eternity. They called us back to a tiny room behind the nursery. Daddy and I (along with three social workers and two nurses) waited for you in a room that was probably only 6 feet by 6 feet. We were crowded and it felt like we had an audience for what would be one of the most intimate moments in our life. And then they wheeled you in. All 5 pounds of you. You were calmly resting and wearing hospital-issued baby t-shirt that was WAY too big. Instantly, I thought you were the most beautiful of God’s creations. The nurse gently picked you up and placed you in my arms and tears gently rolled down my cheeks. Within moments you opened your eyes. It was as if those eyes of yours belonged to someone so much older. They looked right through us, to our hearts. You, Payton, were the unexpected blessing that we had prayed for. We were so in love with you then and still are.

After our nine days of travel and hotel living in two different states, we finally arrived home as a family of three. That very night we sat down on the floor of your nursery and read to you from Max Lucado’s children’s book, Just In Case You Ever Wonder. I don’t think I have ever wept so hard with such happy tears. As we read to you, our tiny babe, it was hard for me to imagine you being old enough to understand this simple little book. But now you, no longer a baby but a tiny tot weighing in at a whopping 26 pounds, do understand. And, as Lucado wrote in his book “You’re bigger now, and you do more things.” I love watching you master new talents and grow stronger and become the little man God created you to be. Over the last few months you have grownup so quickly. You started preschool, moved into your “big boy bed,” worked on potty training and have a vocabulary that could rival an 5th grader (seriously). It truly is incredible to me how much you have grown. You are an avid breakfast-bar (brekbawrs, as you call them) eater, a jumping enthusiast, a gifted dancer, a budding musician, a Spanish learner, a snuggler, an awesome little brother and soon-to-be big brother, an expert on all things Thomas and CARS, a grammer-correcter (is that correct?), an animal lover, a jump-in-every-mud-puddle kind of spirit, sensitive to other’s emotions, an artist, and my favorite, you are still a mama’s boy through and through. Nothing can make my heart sing like walking in the front door from work and having you run to me, leap it to my arms, and squeal, “Mommy’s HOME! I missed you so much, Mommy!” And then you squeeze my neck oh so tight and give me the most precious kisses. Oh Payton, please know that no matter how old you are, my arms will always ache to hold you and comfort you. “Because as you grow and change, somethings will always be the same. I’ll always love you. I’ll always hug you. … And I want you to that… just in case you ever wonder.”

Patey Kite, it is hard for me to imagine any other child of mine embodying my personality and heart the way that you do. We may not share the same DNA, but son, your attitude, your compassion, your boldness, your temper, your love, your passion, your loyalty, your emphasis on perfection, and your spirit are all so closely connected to mine that there is no doubt you are my son. Maybe your brothers will one day replicate some of these traits too, or maybe not, but you seem to have inherited my strengths and my weaknesses. God certainly knew what he was doing when he connected our families. I pray that you will learn to use all of these traits to bless those around you.

Payton, I love you to the moon and back,


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Great Post!

I read a lot of adoption blogs. Probably more than I should, but the reality is that most of my local friends are SAHMs or only have bio kids, with the exception of one or two. I love them all dearly, but it is really hard to explain to someone just what it is like to parent that broken heart of a child that was adopted at an older age. Parenting is parenting, but it takes on an additional layer when you and your child don't exactly know each other's histories. Anyhow, I look to some of the blogs just to know I am not the only one out there walking this walk. There are others. But last nite I read a blog post that was so amazingly spot-on for our current phase of life that it brought tears to my eyes. I even woke up my husband to read it. And he said, "that's us." I know. So if you know us or our kids, please take a moment to read Jen Hatmaker's post. She uses just the right words. Our "after the airport" life looks a little different than her family's experiences, but it is also very much the same. Thank you, Jen Hatmaker, for putting into words the experiences that I just cannot.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I hate that word.

Unfortunately, we have heard that word too much lately. A word so loaded that I cannot even say it... or write it. My husband and son heard it from the mouth of a county employee at the dump two weeks ago... and we even heard a few days ago from the people in the hotel room next to ours while we were on vacation. When I hear it, I cannot describe how I feel. I want to cry. yell. punch. educate. protect. And all at the same time. I have always hated hearing it because I knew the history behind that word. But now it is really personal and I cannot stand it. The N word.

I know that no matter where my family moves or where my children go to school, there will be people who are not kind to them for some reason. I know that racism, bigotry, prejudice and hate are sins that permeate through all countries, all regions, all cities and counties. We cannot escape it. But can we change it? I would like to believe it is possible. Of course, as a trans-racial family we get questions that are inappropriate and stares that linger a little too long, but these encounters I am about to share are simply wrong and racist. There is no other way to put it.

These are two experiences just from this summer:

The Dump:

My husband made his Saturday morning run to our local dump and took my oldest son along with him in the truck. As he was unloading, the lady in the car in front of him was blaring some loud, older-genre country music. The dump employee, a middle-aged white man, commented on her music to my husband. Wes responded, "well, you know, it takes all kinds to make the world go 'round." To which the man replied, "well, I'll tell you what doesn't make the world go 'round. Rap music. It is just a bunch of n-words yellin. It is the most n-word-ified s--- I have ever heard. They can keep their music." My son was sitting in the back seat. I am praying he did not hear any of this. My husband was stunned. I don't know what he said to the man, but he called the county office and complained the following Monday. I honestly doubt the man was seriously reprimanded, because he was working at the dump again two weekends later. When I posted something about this encounter on my facebook page, I received various feedback. Some people were angry and others just said that they were sorry, because it must really hurt us to hear these things. I appreciate their kind words, but the reason I share these stories and what I hope people will take away from this is that these issues our not OUR (as in my family) issues because we choose to build our family this way. I hope they can see this as their problem too. This problem of racism/homophobia/bigotry is much bigger than our small encounters. We cannot stand idly by and listen as others tell jokes grounded in racial stereotypes or prejudice or homophobia and remain silent. This is not just *our* problem! It is every one's problem. Until more people stand up, say something, nothing will change.

Another story from our vacation:

It was our last day in Virginia Beach. The kids had a blast. We had a blast. As we were walking up from the beach to our hotel room we notice we have new neighbors in the hotel room next to ours. They were LOUD. In the amount of time it took us to get our key card and open the door, we heard these neighbors say the F-word at least four times and the N-word at least three times. I was livid. I knew my boys heard. I don't know how much they understood of the comments coming from next door, but Bunte understood enough to ask me why they wanted to hurt our feelings. Wes immediately called the front desk (resisting his immediate urge to punch the guy in the face) and complained. They appropriately called our hotel neighbors and told them that if they could not stop, they would be asked to leave. The man's daughter hung up the phone and repeated the conversation to her father. He was mad. He continued yelling that it was his right to say what he wanted to say and he did not give a s--- about how these n-words felt because his great-grandfather owned slaves and he would to if they had not changed the laws. We called back to the front desk to complain. We did not hear a peep for the rest of our stay (and noticed a police officer in the lobby). But once again, I thought about how my boys will feel when the same scenario presents itself when they are teenagers. Will they be able to keep their cool? I know I sure had a hard time refraining from knocking on his door and saying exactly how I felt (although I could tell the man was probably drunk and that was not a safe decision for my family.) Will I be able to be the example they need? Will I have taught them enough to handle this situation without me? I worry about these things and pray for guidance daily.

We have always known that racism is, unfortunately, alive and well in our community, but lately it seems these blatant encounters with it are becoming too frequent, even to the point that we have considered moving. Some of the things I have seen and heard I cannot share on here because they happened in an educational setting and I have a strict, self-imposed non-discussion policy to protect my professional career. But what I can say is that the blatant racism in our community makes me anxious. My oldest started kindergarten two weeks ago. I won't be there to protect him from the words of his classmates over the years. My prayer for him is that he has strength and wisdom to educate and inform when he feels offended. My prayer is that we are teaching him to embrace diversity and he will act on those teachings modeled after a Man who challenged stereotypes and loved those that mainstream society did not. A God that only spoke of love instead of hate.

Next time someone shares a joke with you with negative racial/socio-economic/homophobic undertones or stereotypes, will you say something?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What? Another Boy???? (I told you so ;)

Ever since we decided to start building our family, I thought we would end up with five boys. I don't really know why I thought this would happen, but just did. Well, when we found out I was pregnant, I was shocked. When they told us it was a girl at 12 weeks, I was stunned. So much for my theory. However, I was not totally convinced that this baby was a girl. Yesterday we had our "big ultrasound" and, sure enough, it is a BOY! We are on our way to a basketball team of boys! Crazy as it sounds, I was so excited to know I'll have another boy. I love my boys and I am kind a tough mama, so it suits me well. I was most thrilled to know that everything looked okay (except they never got a good look at his spine so I get to have another ultrasound at 24 weeks. I told baby boy he did a good job... just uncooperative enough to get us another ultrasound ;).

My big belly that just keeps growing. It measure at 22 weeks and baby boy is measuring around 21 and I am technically 20. I am hoping this means my due date is sooner than anticipated!!!!!
Yes, he is definitely a BOY!

This picture is my absolute favorite!!!! He was asleep for most of the u/s so she pushed on him a bit to get him to wake up and cooperate. When he finally did wake up he looked right at us and stuck out his tongue. Now this little man is starting to have the attitude it takes to be a part of this family! So cute!