Sunday, November 29, 2009

Jammin' with the Band

Steven LOVES music and anything related to it. His favorite instrument is the guitar, and he pretends that just about everything is a guitar--his popper, a blanket, a rattle. . . My sister Lauren and her husband, Robert, gave Steven a guitar as a thank you gift for being their ring bearer, and he plays it all the time. I picked it out very carefully--there are some songs that I definately do not want to hear over and over and over again. His guitar plays "real" music, like the Beetles. I can handle that :)

Playing the Popper is Serious Business

A Camera Tripod Makes the Best Microphone

Getting Nanny and Sissy Involved

Having Fun While Looking So Serious

One-Socked Sissy on the Drums

The highlight of his band practice had to be when he had Nanny, Grandpa Hal, and Great Grandpa ready to go and yelled "One, Two, Three, Four!" before they started playing. I wish I had been there to see it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

So Much to be Thankful For

On Sunday, Steven turned two, and I spent a good portion of the day thinking of Auntie E and what it was like for her two years ago. We had no idea that our son was being born as we celebrated Thanksgiving that day, but I know the day was drastically different for her.

I've talked to her about that day before, and it was interesting to hear some of the details she remembers. She was in labor for a long time, and she kept insisting that something was wrong. The doctors ignored her for several hours before deciding that something was wrong. She remembers being terrified as they sped her away for an emergency c-section. She also remembers how upset she was that she was missing Thanksgiving dinner and how she later regretted throwing away the food her family brought her in a little fit :)

She also remembers that everytime she visited Steven in the NICU/nursery, he had his eyes closed. She said all she wanted was to see his eyes before she left, and on her last day there, he opened his eyes for her. It was so important to her to be able to look him in the eyes, and even now, she loves pictures that are close ups of his eyes.

I later learned that the little blue bear he brought home from the NICU was not standard issue. Auntie E went to the gift shop and picked out the bear and bought it for him. I've always loved how it has his little information tag on it (which included both his last name and hers and no one thought to black it out). It's one of the few things we have from his time in the hospital, and the only thing we had from her to him.

Yes, I thought about her all day, and I thank God for her continually. I thank Him for the amazing gift she gave us when she chose us to parent the child that she knew she couldn't. I thank Him for giving us the adoption we prayed for--a semi open/open adoption with the birthfamily within easy driving distance but not in the same town, a relationship like an aunt or uncle that we see once or twice a year.

I also thank God for the continued contact we have with her, and I sincerely thank Him for her calling Steven on his birthday to twll him that she loves him. And I thank Him that my little two year old ended the call by telling his birthmother that he loves her too.

What more could I ask for?

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

We had a little party tonight to celebrate Steven's 2nd birthday. Grandpa Hal and Nanny and Great Grandpa were all in town to help him celebrate, and as you can see in the pictures, he had a great time!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Showing Off His Tux!

Yep, I think he's ready for the wedding!

Making Cookies

I decided to make cookies with Steven for the first time, and you can see how excited he is, even though he didn't completely understand what we were doing. We put them into nice little balls, but as you can see, he decided to make one big ball. He was quite proud of himself too!


The End Result

Evidence of a Little Thief!

Yummy Yum!

Daddy's Truck!!

Mark works for a company that delas with trash and recycling, and his company picks up our trash. Whenever I hear the truck, Steven and I run to the window to watch. Since neither of us is a morning person, we don't get to see it too often. However, now that they are doing leaf pickup, we get to watch.

Steven LOVES trucks, and all trucks are now "Daddy's truck!" (even pick up trucks!). This week we were watching the trucks pick up our leaves, and Steven started yelling instructions to them out the window. They obviously couldn't hear him, but that didn't stop him. It was definitely one of the highlights of his day.

We also got to see them picking up the trash, and on a whim, I grabbed Steven and his little trash truck (identical to the one outside) and ran to catch up with the truck. We said hi to the driver and explained our connection, and the driver honked the horn for Steven.

It was a big day for Steven and trucks--we also saw two garbage/yard waste trucks while we were out, and we stalked them. They waved for us to go around them, but I shook my head no. I explained what we were doing to the one in our neighborhood. I don't think that people without little boys understand the value of free entertainment!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

So Much to Think About. . .

My English 101 students are writing a paper right now on two pieces of literature about the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. One is a New York Times article by a (white) Civil Rights activist, and the other is a poem by a black poet. They are comparing and contrasting the two, and it has a lot of us thinking about race issues.

The majority of my students do not know the race of my children, and I've taught these pieces for years, but this is the first time I've taught them since the adoptions. It definitely makes it more person, and therefore more difficult, to read.

We also talked about race in church this morning and how we live in such a diverse area, yet most of the churches in our area do not reflect this. Our pastor mentioned something that my dad has said in the past, and it is painfully true: Sundays are the most segregated day of the week.

We've been conscious of this since we first started looking into transracial/international adoption close to 8 years ago, and it is one of the reasons we don't feel comfortable ever moving back to the area that we grew up in. We knew that by adopted kids of a different race we were eliminating that opportunity.

We also were painfully aware of the relative lack of diversity (especially of visible minorities) in the church we attended here for many years, so when we started looking for a new church, this was one of our key requirements. The first church we went to for an extended period of time was better, but we left because of theological reasons. There was an African-American church we were really interested in, but they didn't have childcare for those under two, and that would have been a nightmare.

The church that we have now chosen and are getting ready to join is the most diverse we've found in the area. Our kids are not the only black ones in the nursery, and there are black families, not just moms and kids. We are really excited about that, but the pastor was so true in saying that we weren't diverse enough (not just in race, but also in age, background, social-economic status, etc.).

We were challenged to pray for God to grow our church and make it more diverse, and this involves asking Him to show us what He wants us to do. It doesn't just happen; we have to work very intentionally to change it. He pointed out that Heaven will not be segregated like we are in churches (and in life in general) today. I left with a lot to ponder, especially as I am reading my students' papers tonight.

Here is a copy of the poem that we are studying. When I read it aloud to my students, the room was so silent you could have heard the proverbial pin drop.

Ballad of Birmingham
by Dudley Randall

(On the bombing of a church in Birmingham, Alabama, 1963)

"Mother dear, may I go downtown
Instead of out to play,
And march the streets of Birmingham
In a Freedom March today?"

"No, baby, no, you may not go,
For the dogs are fierce and wild,
And clubs and hoses, guns and jails
Aren't good for a little child."

"But, mother, I won't be alone.
Other children will go with me,
And march the streets of Birmingham
To make our country free."

"No baby, no, you may not go
For I fear those guns will fire.
But you may go to church instead
And sing in the children's choir."

She has combed and brushed her night-dark hair,
And bathed rose petal sweet,
And drawn white gloves on her small brown hands,
And white shoes on her feet.

The mother smiled to know that her child
Was in the sacred place,
But that smile was the last smile
To come upon her face.

For when she heard the explosion,
Her eyes grew wet and wild.
She raced through the streets of Birmingham
Calling for her child.

She clawed through bits of glass and brick,
Then lifted out a shoe.
"O, here's the shoe my baby wore,
But, baby, where are you?"