Archive for August, 2011

August 24, 2011

Unanswered Prayers

9 months ago we received the devastating news that there was a very high chance A would never be able to achieve a pregnancy.  12 IUIs and 2 IVFs of a 2 year quest had come to an end.  Our prayers unanswered.

It was surreal to go back to the campus that houses the RE’s office.  The last time I was there, A had just completed her embryo transfer for IVF #2.  We held hands encompassed in a hopeful energy and our heads swirled with dreams. 

This time my heart was much heavier.  I was there to seek out information for a family member on their alcohol detox and treatment program (it’s a large research hospital).  Its been a tumultuous couple months and I find the timing to be rather ironic.  I can actually say I’m thankful that we aren’t expecting a newborn right now.

There is some grace in unanswered prayers.

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August 24, 2011

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August 19, 2011

Do you talk to your kids about race?

This article has a great (eye-opening) explanation of why you should.

“Kids as young as six months judge others based on skin color.”

“It was no surprise that in a liberal city like Austin, every parent was a welcoming multiculturalist, embracing diversity. But according to Vittrup’s entry surveys, hardly any of these white parents had ever talked to their children directly about race. They might have asserted vague principles—like “Everybody’s equal” or “God made all of us” or “Under the skin, we’re all the same”—but they’d almost never called attention to racial differences.

They wanted their children to grow up colorblind. But Vittrup’s first test of the kids revealed they weren’t colorblind at all. Asked how many white people are mean, these children commonly answered, “Almost none.” Asked how many blacks are mean, many answered, “Some,” or “A lot.” Even kids who attended diverse schools answered the questions this way.

More disturbing, Vittrup also asked all the kids a very blunt question: “Do your parents like black people?” Fourteen percent said outright, “No, my parents don’t like black people”; 38 percent of the kids answered, “I don’t know.” In this supposed race-free vacuum being created by parents, kids were left to improvise their own conclusions—many of which would be abhorrent to their parents.”

Wow.  A group of liberal, open-minded, non-racist parents – probably a lot like many of you – and more than half of their children answered that their parents didn’t like black people or they didn’t know. 

Colorblindness does not work.  Even just placing your child in a diverse environment does not work.  What works is having the conversation – early and often.  It’s okay to acknowledge that people look different.  It’s okay to acknowledge that people sound different and act different.  And its important to talk about what those differences do and do not mean.

I know it can feel uncomfortable and you may be unsure of exactly what to say.  Here’s a tip for getting the conversation started: use books!

These are a couple we are loving in our house right now (click pic for the amazon link):

A fun book with engaging pictures and a clear message!

The Sesame Street gang are my kids’ BFFs – I like this book for using familiar and well-loved friends to introduce a new message.

 

August 17, 2011

Q&A on the Q&A

Thanks for the great comments on the last post. I really appreciated reading your thoughts and questions.

Meegs asked: Does having these exchanges make it harder for you to hope for an adoption outcome? Or, maybe I’m jumping here, are you hoping for adoption or reunification? … I’m just very curious about how your and their relationship with BM changes your feelings about the ultimate outcome. If adoption does occur, will there be a continued relationship with BM?

Great question. The biggie of course is: am I hoping for adoption or reunification?  I used to think about this all the time.  My mind would run in circles of: I love those kids to death and losing them would be like losing my breath.  Its been so long now.  The girls don’t know any other life.  Sprout has come such a long way.  I want to see them grow, and learn, and walk down the aisle.  I want them forever.  But I’m a foster parent and I believe in my role as such.  I believe in change.  I believe in reunification.  I believe that there is power in roots, culture, and skin color. I believe that no matter how wonderful the adoptive parents are, there would be a loss. 

It would go around and around and around.  Hope for adoption would creep into my heart and then the guilt would flood it.  The answer that brings me the most peace is: Thank God I’m not the one to decide. 

I have faith that they will end up where they are meant to – pros and cons on either side. 

And so when I’m doing a good job keeping myself in that balance, the notes do nothing but help.  I’ve always known that she was a good person.  Most parents with children in foster care are.  So I’ve always known that her inability to get herself well and get her children back (thus far) is nothing short of a tragedy.  The respect I have for her comes from a place of empathy and I’m relieved to be able to share a bit of that through our exchanges. 

If they are reunited, I’m so glad to have this meager foundation on which I could maybe build more of a relationship – to be a support, and an ally, and keep my connection to my (our) wonderful children.  Same goes for if they are adopted.  I don’t know what the continued relationship would look like (it would be up to us and BM to work out), but I’m hoping that there is one.  And in the off-chance that there isn’t, I’m consciously pulling together every picture, note and drawing now…every last bit of BM for when the kids are older and come asking.  Because I have no doubt they will and I would do anything to mitigate that loss.

Erathora asked: I remember you saying awhile back that you weren’t sure if bio-mom knew that you were two foster moms. (NOT your decision.) I am wondering how that has changed with the journal, and if there has been any reaction to it.

This is the question of the hour! When I was writing the first note, it took me so long to figure out how to sign it (before this structured journal, I would just send notes “from the kids”).  I chickened out and didn’t sign it at all!  Then I just followed her lead and signed my first name on all the following.  I’m thinking about adding in A’s name one of these days, thus ending all speculation.  Frankly, I don’t know what’s stopping me.  But really, if it were a bet, I’d put some good money on her already knowing.  Her notes always refer to “you guys” and Sprout sure as heck isn’t talking about any dads…