Samantha has a few darker skinned dolls. The only thing she's ever voiced at age three, about the way Chris (shown below) looks is to say "Mom, me and Chris both have brown eyes, we are twins!"

That's ma' girl.

A few days ago we had some friends over and all of Samantha's baby dolls were out. Chris happens to be the only one with dark skin.  S's Friend did NOT want to play with Chris. It made me a little sad. I was feeling protective over our brown doll.  It certainly foreshadows my sensitivity in the future when the odd kids out may be our sweet Habesha bebes.

Of course, 3-year-old Friend might not have wanted to hold Chris because he was also the only boy doll and didn't have pink on. Or maybe she wanted a doll who's eyes closed and opened and his didn't. I'm starting to realize when it comes to these interactions, there isn't always a slight where it feels like there is. But even so, I found myself cradling this lifeless brown baby tenderly and wishing Friend would play with him. I dunno what any of this means; maybe I am wondering if all us White folks all took the time to help our children see and be around people of color, it wouldn't be so different

As for me and my house, we tend to pour on the multiculturalism lately. Until I was a prospective adoptive parent, I didn't notice how many protagonists and central characters in books and movies are caucasian. I am trying my darndest to correct this imbalance.

At the library sometimes one has to go out of one's way to find books depicting families from other races and cultures, but when you put forth a little effort, there is a goldmine. Here is a list of our favorites so far:

Dancing in the Wings

Fire on the Mountain by Jane Kurtz

He's Got the Whole World in His Hands by Kadir Nelson

Whoever You Are (Reading Rainbow Books)

Almost Anything by Helen Oxenbury

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom (Caldecott Honor Book)

Ming Lo Moves the Mountain

Any Fairy Tale illustrated by Rachel Isadora

Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons

Whose Knees are These?

The Great Dog Wash

Three Names of Me

Hannah is My Name

How I Was Adopted by Joanna Cole

Eating the Rainbow

Yafi's Family: an Ethiopian boy's journey of love, loss and adoption

One Hen

Mama Panya's Pancakes

Africa Is Not A Country

Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales

My Name Is Yoon by Ezra Jack Keats

Ellington Was Not a Street

Please, Puppy, Please

E Is for Ethiopia

Kofi and His Magic

Oh, What a Busy Day

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters

Four Feet, Two Sandals

Beatrice's Goat

Something Beautiful

White mama is making baby steps. Have any good book suggestions?



Foreword: I wrote this several weeks ago and didn't post because I was feeling a bit too vulnerable. I think I feel ok about it now.

Most days adoption is an exciting adventure. it feels great. Some days the grief and loss it represents is so dense it's hard to breathe.

Our children needing families because theirs can't care for them for any number of unfair and tragic reasons; children who won't learn to dance, speak, sing
like other children from their country because we bring them here.

Children who will be raised by a couple of nice but seriously Caucasian 30-year-olds in Whitey Whiteville, USA. Children who lose the voice of the women who carried them for nine months. They will not be raised by their mothers. This is truly agonizing for me.

And then there's me. pitiful, ungrateful me. The other night a friend came through my door with her creamy dreamy new-new-newborn. I was embarrassed to find that in front of a dozen other people tears sprang unwelcome to my eyes and poured down my cheeks as I held this bundle of happy smells, warmth and peace. There was no where to turn, people saw me start crying for no other reason than because I was holding a baby.

I love newborns. I don't know if there will ever be a newborn in our family again. This is so physically painful to me that I want to steal them for fraction of a second.   Then I become a sane person again. I know I am a horrible person for even thinking this way because lots of would-be mothers don't ever have babies in their lives and I had two already. I am selfish.

I mourn a tiny bit every time someone close to me gets pregnant. I am jealous of women that have 3, 4, 5, 6 kids. I stare at expectant mothers in stores and at church who are walking around, talking, eating, functioning. I can't believe they look so good. They have smiles on their faces and chase after their other kids.

Part of me wants to be one of those girls who says "We got pregnant on the first try." Or "I feel so good pregnant. I wish I could feel like this all the time."

I'd settle for "I did not think I was going to die during my pregnancy."

Potential loss of potential future biological children. Can you grieve for someone that doesn't necessarily exist?  If you can, should you when you have two gorgeous children and are going to add two more amazing kids in a relatively short amount of time?  I mean, I have an awesome family and it is just going to get better.

My hurt sounds so ridiculous to me and yet... here I am. And on another note: why is adoption such a weird thing to talk about semantically?

Why do people refer to Samantha and Cookie as our "real" or "natural" children when comparing them with their future siblings? No, I know why they do. They don't know the right words. But still, I cringe.

Yes, they are real. I have not imagined them. Natural, yes in that, they have no artificial limbs or organs, and I rarely feed them high fructose corn syrup for lunch.

But they both came here through fertility treatments AND arrived with epidurally-enhanced
c sections in hospitals. According to many, that is about as unnatural as it gets.

Our next kids will get to our family through adoption. It will be kind of obvious since we won't look alike.I
don't want people to feel like they can't talk about it or ask about it, but dangit, those kids are our real, natural children, we are their parents, Cookie and Samantha will be their big brother and sister. Period.

How do you teach people gently and lovingly to not ask about their "real family?" (They aren't even here yet, maybe not even conceived and I am asked often. I can take it, but what about a 4-year-old who overhears a person on the street say "What happened to his real family?")

"Biological" or "Birth" or "first family" works if one feels the need to discuss it. Our kids will have two families that love them, us, and their birth families.

Some days adoption is awesome. Some days it is a mess of complicated emotions and words and thoughts.

Hubs holds the sweetest perspective of all: that if it weren't for my crappy uterus, ovaries and my good friend hyperemesis gravidarum, we might not be in search of the other kids that will complete our family. He is actually grateful that God "reminded" us that we are supposed to adopt.

Most days I am grateful too. But some days, I get a bit weepy over other peoples' newborns and the months I will not get to be in our future childrens' lives. I will completely and utterly miss out their fleeting, precious infanthood. And their birth mothers will miss out on their whole lives. And the kids will miss them.

It just sucks sometimes. All that mess and all that loss.



Not thankful for: winter coming
Am thankful for: the food that comes with Autumn, and field trips to procure such foods

We went to Tougas Farm again this year and had a wonderful time with friends.

We start off on a tractor ride around the farm



What a fun bunch!

Then cute scruffy farm boy explains how to properly pick apples (twist, don't yank)


Then pick away!




Dont' forget to munch...



or chat it up with farm machinery


or dig in the dirt and find sticks (of course)



Fall in New England and with babies is kinda dreamy. Go ahead, be jealous.



So my meal planning isn't going so well.

First of all, I grossly over estimated how much I need to be cooking. Every night we have leftovers, sometimes they last for more than one night. Then, there was a night we went out on a date and made the kids something basic like scrambled eggs and potatoes really quickly, and then there was a church BBQ where we didn't make anything, and another night we had dinner at Grandma's.... So even though it's been 9 days, I've only made 4 of the meals on the list.

I will just not be making 22 dinners a month.

What is working: I have been picking from my list. I've been good about buying ingredients based on meals from the list. That's nice.

Favorite meal so far was the Non-heart-Attack-Inducing New England Clam Chowder

Recipe adapted to be lower than normal fat and caloric content as per Hubs's participation in a family Biggest Loser contest going on until Thanksgiving. It was really really good!

Note: I never measure so these are estimates

2.5 lbs potatoes peeled cubed

1/2 lb carrots, chopped

3/4 onion finely chopped

5ish stalks of celery chopped

1 garlic clove, minced
1.5 tsp dill

4 6.5 oz cans of clams

1a) Chop chop chop all your veggies. Preferably while children is napping.

1) Heat 5 qt soup pot with 3 tbps olive oil on medium, saute onions until almost transluscent. Add garlic and celery and stir on occasion.

2) Turn on Sesame Street since your kids aren't napping and are already crying after all the chopping

3) Add the rest of the veggies and open up the cans of clams. Careful not to let the clams out, pour the juice over the veggies. If the liquid is not enough to barely cover the veggies, add a tiny bit more water. Do not put in too much liquid. You are going to add milk later and there is nothing worse than too much runny soup in clam chowder. Hence the chowder part.

4)Simmer in clam broth until everyone is soft. I dunno, 25 minutes? I never pay attention to these things.

5) Give kids fruit roll ups and sippy cups.

6) Turn heat to medium low. Add lots of pepper, salt if you need it- though the clam broth should be pretty salty by itself. Add clams and 1 cup whole milk.

7) When heated thoroughly (6 or 7 more minutes), serve with crusty bread and enjoy!

Note: I did not create a thicker base by doing the whisk-butter-with-flour technique. This version that omits it is faster and I didn't want to use butter. If you want this to be the real version, use cream and butter and don't be shy about it.


This is what we did this afternoon: A photo essay

(ok let's face it, I can't do photo essays. I always have to say something. Still. I try.)

These little babies are empty. Waiting to be filled with stuff on the table behind them.

Each of these piles is in triplicate. Each of the three documents in each pile must be signed by Andrew and myself in front of a notary. Theresa, our notary got teary-eyed with support and love when she heard what she was doing today. Very sweet.Photobucket


After a few hours (one hour turned into 2 with a basic-beyond-basic scrap-booking/photo album creating time suck) the folders were filled.

Photobucket Photobucket

Hubs, who stayed up until 1am last night preparing all these documents and our afternoon insisted I be in the shots. He deserved that much.

And Bobby attested it would be in our agency's hands by 10:30am. Bobby, you have no idea how hard it was to let 6 1/2 months of work go. Thanks for taking care of us today!
3 lbs of paperwork...

While Hubs collected his things so we could step out of his office for a celebretory sandwich, I gloried in the spectacular view from the 24th floor of the Prudential Center in Boston.

And as we said goodbye to all the paper chasing, I couldn't help but notice that the skies were beginning to clear.