Monday, June 30, 2008

What was I saying? I forgot . . .

Miss I: I lost my ID.
Momma: Your "I.D.?"
Miss I: (hesitating) Not the card with your picture on it. The thing that comes out your mouth when you talk.
Momma: Idea?
Miss I: Yeah. I lost my idea.

Later in the day
Miss I: I wish my mouth was on the top of my head.
Momma: Why?
Miss I: So I wouldn't lose my ideas.
Momma: Before they came out your mouth?
Miss I: Yeah. I wish my mouth was just on my brain.

(Little Bun suggests that it's a good thing her mouth isn't on her brain: ease of eating and time for "the filter")

Saturday, June 28, 2008


We received a tremendous gift from Ethiopia.
I can't share how, or what was in the letter -- that belongs to my daughter. But I can tell you that that letter was accompanied by pictures of some of the most beautiful people I'd ever seen: one with eyes like my daughter, one with dimples like my daughter, another with her deep warm skin tone, ample evidence that she will be as tall as her pediatrician guesses she will be. I can tell you, too, that her birthdate was confirmed and we were given a time. We now know who was with her when she was born.
Miss I did not understand the magnitude of this gift, though she enjoyed the pictures and knows I am delighted. She will be raised always with access to this information and those pictures (one of which will be hung on our family picture wall). She won't know what it is like to grow up not knowing whether anyone in this world looks like her, cocks her head just so. She won't have a hard search. She won't wonder if her extended Ethiopian family wants to know her or if they will welcome her (however awkward the language and cultural divides will make that) . . . and for that I am so very grateful.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


On the way back from a short vacation, apropos of nothing:
Miss I: Daddy, someday can we have a day where we have this music [the Cranberries] all day and for dinner -- have dessert for dinner?

Then later, she "reads" a letter she's found (this isn't quite what it says!):
"Dear Ethiopian child, you are lucky that you havin' a new family. Love. The End."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Money, Money, Money

I'm so sorry I haven't returned to this sooner. A herniated cervical disk has made typing painful (true story -- since my daughter knows it has stopped me from blogging, she tells people I "can't work because of her broken computer disk.")

The other things that has kept me from addressing this with the seriousness it requires are daily life with my daughter and the seriousness it requires itself.

We adopted because we wanted another child, wanted Little Bun to grow up with a sibling or siblings. That decision preceded a program or country decision. I've written about our ill-fated efforts at domestic adoption (the burning building post, which bizarrely, has grown legs, and I find it all over the internet!). Briefly, this was our first realization that some (most?) relinquishments were not *necessary* in the way that I had imagined them to be. We chose to proceed with an adoption from Ethiopia in part in response to that and in part in response to Little Bun's need for some predictable outcome. He suffered the uncertainty far worse than his parents for a time.

Our decision to pursue adoption from Ethiopia, then, started out with the desire for another child, *followed by* our desire to make that adoption as ethical and necessary as possible. We chose Ethiopia because we needed to believe that it could not/should not have been another way for our child. Given HIV, high maternal death rates due to complicated pregnancies and deliveries (on the decrease, thank God, in just the last two years), malnutrition, extreme poverty . . . we would be able to tell our child that it could not have been another way (we thought). That is, the problems were far more complex than a handful of money could solve, even for one child. The cost of one adoption could not replace a child's lost parents, reduce the stigma of having an HIV positive parent or a single mother in a culture far less amenable to such an arrangement than ours, could not fix medical conditions we were open to or access to medical or lifelong care that could be provided here etc. In the coming months children may be relinquished due to a lack of drinkable water, certainly because of a lack of basic nourishment. I worry, as I had before we received our referral for dd, that a child's relinquishment may the a permanent solution to a temporary problem, as I've seen often now in domestic adoption. But then I also know that our child came to us clearly dehydrated, malnourished, failing to thrive, and a few sicknesses resolving, but very clearly loved. Her story is clearer cut than many, but not as clear cut as we imagined. Would even a fraction of the money it cost us to adopt her have allowed her to stay in some part of her family of origin? Perhaps. But there were elements of her relinquishment that money simply could not solve.

If we had been adopting principally to "help," we would have been surprised to be struck by the feeling that the help -- the relinquishment option -- might have led to the relinquishment itself. I have even heard from families who adopted Waiting Children that this does not resolve all ethical dilemmas. But the reality is that as ambivalent as I am about relinquishment, and as ambivalent as we are here at the Bloom household about some aspects of our daughter's story, we know that here at Chez Bloom she is thriving just as her first family had intended.

The point is -- and it's taken me so long to get to it! -- that we were motivated first to parent another child, and once we were so motivated, we focused on our accountability to that child, especially when s/he reached adulthood. If I feel that I cannot say with certainty that it *could not have been another way* I know we are as close to that as possible, and when I see Little Bun and Miss I with their arms around one another, I delight in the fact that in the here and now, it IS this way.
Sster at Boomerific is safe and dry, as are her husband and baby. But she has not been able to return to their house yet after the flooding in Cedar Rapids. Reports from those who have been able to return and those who have surveyed damage have not been promising for household objects, though some businesses say it isn't so bad as they expected.
Certainly, things can be replaced over time, but with a little guy and an academic career . . . some of those things will need to be replaced rather sooner than later. They will be setting up a Target registry and perhaps an Amazon one as well. If only particular editions could be replaced complete with margin notes . . .

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Update on the attitude

After much tantrumming, Miss I went to bed with the right half of her hair braided and the left loose.
I can't wait to see what people say tomorrow.
Scenes from our weekend:

Little Bun: (trying to enhance sister's anticipation) Miss I, you've only been to New York twice.
Miss I: Well, you've NEVER been to Ethiopia.

After a good long tantrum,
Momma: Are you tired?
Miss I: (with eye roll) You guessed it.

At the Queen of Sheba:
Miss I: Ummmm, I want chicken nuggets and fries.
Miss I: (after some yummy lamb) I . . . Am . . . Ethiopian.

In the restroom, after I denied her the opportunity to ride a camel at the zoo, pants still around her ankles,
Miss I: Momma, I will LIKE you if you let me ride a camel. No? I think I will NOT like you if you don't . . . No? I think I will HATE you if you don't let me. Momma, if you don't let me, I will KILL you. (she didn't).

In the car, two hours after bedtime,
Miss I: Nobody is kind to me, nobody loves me, nobody holds me, nobody rocks me, and . . . ummmmmm . . . I hate you all.

Everytime anyone said "no" in public, to draw attention and sympathy to her plight:
Miss I: Mommy, OWWWWWW.

I love preschool.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Miss I gave words to her ambivalence this morning. She first asked me to tell her again what happened to her first mother, and then asked, "Do you think that's sad?" I told her that I do. Very sad. I am sad for her and I am sad for her first mother, who doesn't have the joy of seeing her bloom and grow.
"But are you happy with me?" she asked, deep in thought. I am, I said, and it is okay to feel both things.
She seemed relieved for the moment.
I think it has something to do with our two year anniversary.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mo-Lisa's Smile

As you know, Little Bun refers to the child for whom we wait as "Moses." Miss I has said "Moses" and "she" in the same sentence, believing we are awaiting a girl.
"Moses isn't a very good name for a girl," I said, to which Miss I replied brightly "Then we'll name her Mo-Lisa." We've all taken to the name Mo-Lisa.
Yesterday at BigChainBookstore, Miss I declared "Look! It's Mo-Lisa!" We all turned, to see Mona Lisa smiling at us from the cover of book.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Starvation Spreads in Ethiopia

Little Bun has just learned that relief organizations need at least 50 million dollars to address the spreading famine in Ethiopia. He has promised to give all of his allowance (he wants me to tell you that he had saved it for a new DS game) if "grown-ups will match his donation."

He has $48.

I'm taking him up on the deal and donating to UNICEF.

Family Portrait in Fabric

Especially for my textile-artist reader and the Gardener family:
This is Little Bun's family portrait quilt square.

Friday, June 06, 2008

German Biblical Theme Park:
Good idea, hoax or another sign of the apocalypse?

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I owe you all (or perhaps myself) a post, but my neck is killing me. Since it's literally painful to blog right now (if I owe you a phone call, this is also why I have not called -- it hurts to hold the phone up to my ear).

Remember when I told you about couch-moving incident? I'm sure I told you -- we bought an old, reupholstered Victorian couch from Craig's list, without thinking about how we would move it up the steps and into the house. It was ten o'clock at night when we tried to move it. It started to rain. Dh insisted that I just "try harder." I did, we got it in, and the next day I couldn't lift my arms.

He thinks this is why I ruptured the disc between C6 and C7, which we just discovered this week after months of agony. I don't think so. I'll let him keep believing it, though, since he says he'll never forgive himself, which means he has been carrying the laundry upstairs and scrubbing the kitchen. I think it is the result of years of wear and tear including sports injuries and arthritis, and one little girl repeatedly turning my head so I will "wook" at her -- but don't tell any of them that.

I do want to respond to the question posed in my last post, and I also want to address another ethical issue: the contribution the promise of openness (whether in domestic adoption or international) may make to relinquishments that might otherwise not have happened. I'm trying to find a way to treat this issue without sounding as if I support closed adoption or the denial of original birth certificates to adoptees -- I am in favor of neither of these things. Until the next time the naproxen works . . .