Monthly Archives: August 2007

Open Adoption, Open Heart, And Needing More

I’ve had this post in my head for quite a while now. It’s existed in parts, none of them very well-expressed or complete in form, but I’m tired of it rattling in my head, and weighing so heavily in my heart, that I’m setting it free. In doing so perhaps there will be some relief, some comfort in just “speaking” it, or, if I’m really lucky, some guidance and comfort from those that understand — no matter which side of it they come from. Read on.  But pour yourself something cold to drink, you’ll be here awhile.

As folks hanging here for any length of time know, we’re in an open adoption with Maeve’s birthmother. Well, maybe I should tweak, for now, my description of it to call it a semi-open adoption in that our connection is through the adoption agency, through letters and photos, and an annual visit at an agency picnic. When we first began this journey, just even having this amount of contact was, for us, considered open. Not because it’s all we wanted, but because in Thomas’ own adoption, the dearth of detail is so real, the sealed records and blacked out information are the walls we face, he faces.

So meeting Maeve’s first mother, holding her, talking with her, sharing stories and details with her — it was like an adoption floodgate had opened. It was so wonderfully different than anything we’d known, so opposite of the closed adoption in our lives, the simplest way to describe it was open. Light had been let in, like fresh Spring air blowing through a newly opened window after a long winter of hatches battened down.

When I think of Thomas’ adoption, my mind conjures up stacks of paper, yellowed and dusty, banded together with elastics, placed in the corner of a Catholic Charities basement in Ohio, next to other stacks pointlessly detailing the lives of other babies born that month, that year. I see them being guarded by some governmental rule, by legislators not left dealing with the effects of decisions to keep my husband’s life — and myriad other lives — stacked tidy in a box somewhere. They’ve moved on to their next cause, and my husband’s story, his complete story not winnowed by Sharpie marker gone wild, sits somewhere. Seemingly forgotten, with no one to care about it.

But it’s not so. Someone does care. Someone hasn’t forgotten. And as the wife of someone whose origins, whose story of his very own life, are kept so mysterious and tucked away, I care. Deeply.

And this is why, when we began our own adoption journey, openness was a light leading us forward.

When we were selected by B. to parent Maeve, we learned her selection of our agency had to do with its focus on open adoptions. A few days after we were placed — while Thomas, Maeve and I remained in her birthstate waiting for legalities — we all sat down together, meeting for the first time. The emotions were so high. It was like nothing I’ve ever been close to before — or since.

We hugged. We talked. We were all nervous. We were all pleasant. We were all there for the good of Maeve. We were all humans joined by the force of this little life before us. The scope of it all was not lost on me. As I sat in the same room as the woman who just a few days earlier shared with Maeve the single-most intimate experience I can imagine — the birth of a daughter by her mother, I tried to take freeze frame images in mind. I knew that The Future Maeve wouldn’t be able to piece together that day in any tangible way other than what those of us there could share with her. I tried so hard to remember, amid my own emotional roller coaster, to pry my eyes open from the ride and just watch, for her. Just remember the images, the movements, the words shared, I told myself.

It was in that first visit that a role I hadn’t really thought about before, had come to be. I needed to be there to preserve whatever I could for her until one day she takes the information, the relationship I hoped to forge with her first mom, and forge ahead herself, her own heart and vision leading her.

Considering the enormity of the day, the joy and sadness, and all the nuances needing considering, the day’s overall tone in my mind is recorded as gentle, as special, with a genuine goodness to it. Because despite fears and nerves and complexities, and because a little new life deserved it, we had all come together.

Yet there is something I would change about that day. 

At the time, we just went along with the minimum required by our agency, letters and photos monthly until one year, then letters and photos yearly until age 18, and visits at the agency’s annual picnic. While the idea of photos and letters suddenly didn’t feel like enough at the time of our actual placement, everything was so incredibly emotional and new, and it seemed like there would be plenty of time for us all to move forward together and get to know each other through our letters and visits, and open our relationship more as time passed. After all, just days earlier, at the time of placement, we were told that B. wasn’t sure if she was ready to meet us. When we learned she wanted to meet, that afternoon’s event became my focus, wanting it to go well, wanting to be able to get across all the things I felt and wanted to share, despite being frazzled and overtired and human.

My biggest regret. I would have written out our full names, our address, our telephone numbers and email addresses and put them into B.’s hands myself. If she wasn’t ready to do anything with them then, well, at least I knew she had them should she become ready.

When we met again 10 months later at the first picnic after placement with Maeve, I sat on a blanket, nervous and fearful that B. might, in the last moments before traveling to us, need to stay away, to pass on this second meeting since placement. She was late, and as the minutes ticked by, I wrestled with my hopes and expectations, reminding myself that really I am just a third party in all this. I can work to make her feel welcome and wanted in our lives, I can follow through and get Maeve there for B. should she decide to join us — but her walking into the park that day? That had to be up to her.

A weight lifted from me when I saw her in the distance. She waved a gentle “hiya” wave, like she was meeting someone in a crowd and wanted to get their attention, a casual someone or other she’d met for lunch the week before. It was a strange and unexpected sense of famliarity I felt toward B. Like seeing a good friend after a long time. It’s a strange juxtaposition, knowing someone a short time and not that well, yet feeling an intimacy toward them usually reserved for family and longtime friends. It’s a connection both simultaneously shallow and deep — the brevity of the relationship contrasted with the depth of its emotion, commitment, connection and love. Lots of history in a little period of history.

During that visit, I asked if I’d been sending too many photos with my letters, if my writings were too detailed, too specific, too much — or not enough. (When I write B., my words come from the deepest part of me that loves this child and the woman sharing her with me. I try to share everything about Maeve that I would desperately want to know if I wasn’t in her life every day. I share everything I think her hurting mama heart might need to know. They are handwritten and many, many pages, trying to best capture on paper the living, breathing existence that is our litle girl and the life she is living. Paper doesn’t do the reality justice, but, oh, how I try.)

Her answer to my queries? She’s enjoying the letters and their detail, and laughed at me worrying so much. And as for “too many photos”? She said, and notice the quote marks, “There can never be too many.”

I was so happy to hear her say that about the baby before us. To me, it was a statement on where she stood, on her connection to Maeve. Something I could share with Maeve one day. Something B. herself could share with Maeve one day.

As for B. writing to Maeve or us, she sent a letter a few months after B. was born and placed — and it’s a most-beautiful sentiment and something so dear to us. But it’s the only letter we’ve received. She’s mentioned writing again, mentioned getting photos and a letter together. But nothing has come.

This summer was the second agency picnic since we were placed with Maeve. A few months before, I learned through the social worker that serves as the link between us, that B. was excited for the picnic and would be bringing additional family members. Thrilled doesn’t adequately describe how I felt.

We extended, via letter, the formal invite as the agency encourages, and in that letter I also expressed our desire to increase contact, to open our relationship, to let additional light shine in. While I explained we wanted to share telephone numbers, addresses, emails and increased real-life visits in her state or ours, I made clear that, should she agree, we could proceed at her pace toward any degree of openness she desired. In asking her to consider it, I explained that if she didn’t want to change the openness at this time, we would honor her wishes.

Weeks later as the picnic neared and no offical rsvp rolled in, I began to worry: Had I scared B. away? Attempts to reach her with the social worker conduit were unsuccessful.

The picnic came. This time I was determined not to sit on the picnic blanket, stomach in knots, worried whether she would join us. Since Maeve was older now and able to partake in some of the park and picnic activities, we made sure various social workers and agency staffers knew where we were in the park should B. come. Maeve had her first face painting (on her leg), she played with other children in a volleyball pit, watched the band in awe, looked in on some older children and their families playing soccer, she walked around like she owned the place, petting a dog that passed her by and nibbling lunch and enjoying time with us at our picnic spot.

Was my head on a swivel the entire time? Yes. Did I mistake other women with similar body type and hair — from a distance and in between the trees — hoping it was her? Yes. Did she come? No.

This was in June — just a few months after her sharing with the social worker how excited she was to come. I’ve since sent her a letter again expressing that if she isn’t interested in or ready for additional contact, then we respect her wishes, but me asking for additional contact was never meant to lose the contact we already had. (Of course, it’s just been two months since the picnic.) I included in the letter the information I wish I’d given her the first time we met. Address, phone numbers, emails, all the details a Sharpie marker can wreak havoc on.

Between our history with Thomas’ adoption and our love for Maeve’s first mom, I find myself in a position where all I can do is wait. Wait and continue to follow through with the commitment we made, but all the while I don’t know what B. is thinking. I don’t know how to reach her (and I don’t mean literally). I have to reconcile with the fact she may not want additional contact at this time — I cringe, because I know that qualifier is necessary for me just to type that statement.

Inconsistent contact is hard. Painful even. And Maeve is only two. So right now the pain is for me and Thomas to bear. As talks with Maeve about B. occur in our home, as she points to B. in the photo album from their last visit and says her name, as she sees B. holding her and playing with her in these photos, I wonder what she’s thinking. She looks intently, proud to name the cast of characters in a very real-life situation. The possibility of contact broken breaks my heart.

Desperately wanting contact and conversations and to make more memories — wanting all of this for the child that we share with B., so that one day Maeve doesn’t face the life-sized question marks that her dad faces — and not knowing when and if a response will find its way to us? It’s almost too much to bear.

Yet it’s all countered with knowing that B. has to be ready, has to want it too. This isn’t my shot to call. She’s a primary player in this. It’s her story, too.

I do know I must keep on keeping on. I will continue to write, continue to document in pictures the life her daughter is living,  continue to remember B.’s birthday, holidays, Mother’s Day.

For Maeve. For B. For the commitment we made. For the next time we are all together. For the possibility of it all.

Still, though, having the contact, relishing in it, and then wondering when it next will appear is more difficult than I would have predicted a few years ago, sitting clean-faced and shiny-shoed in an office opposite a social worker. I would have blindly reasoned then that at least that contact is worlds more than what Thomas has. And I would have reasoned that somehow that would be enough. Oh, how wrong I would have been.

Don’t misunderstand: I’m grateful for what we do have. The letter, the visits we’ve had so far, the photos of it all, the records of Maeve’s birth, the meeting with B.’s siblings. I am. Yet, it’s not enough. Not consistent enough. Not enough for the whole of us, the whole of our family. The family of which she is such an important part.

Whether it’s the unknowns of intermittent contact or the biting coolness of a Sharpie marker in a third-party’s hand — darkness in adoption takes its toll.

Anyone from any angle able to shed light on the darkness?

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Filed under Adoption, Birth parents, Children, Closed Adoption, Discussing Adoption, Love, Maeve, Open Adoption, Parental surrenders, Parenting, Promises, Relationships, Still learning, The Call

Adoption: Employee benefits

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal discusses how increasing numbers of companies are stepping up with adoption benefits, or increasing the adoption benefits they already offer, including longer paid time off or increased reimbursement of adoption expenses.

The article contrasts the bump up in benefits for some with the increasing amount of red tape and restrictions in international adoptions. So, while those adopting overseas now may have a bit more time to spend bonding with their child before heading back to work, it’s more difficult to prepare for the time away from the office, since the restrictions are tighter and more complex, and many waits are longer.

Still, most interesting to me is the increased awareness of adoption and the need for employee flexibility and benefits — issues the article does address, including facts like this: 20 percent of companies offer adoption benefits, up four percent from 2003, according to a study this year of 590 human resource managers.

Good news, but still lots of work to do.

(Oh, and while you’re already surfing the WSJ, here’s an article on the best at-home lead tests for checking up on your children’s toys — and whether they are as accurate as  they could be.)

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Filed under Adoption, Adoption leave, Family Leave, Paid Adoption Leave, Parenting, The Call, Toy Safety, Work

Decaf next time?

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Can hardly sit still and don’t really know why that is, thoughts moving through my mind faster than I can make them into words for you here, I’m trying to figure out why that is but as soon as I think I have the answer I forget what I was trying to think of, isn’t it silly how that happens, as Maeve would say, silly mommy, she would laugh and I would laugh and there would be lots of laughing and maybe even some tickling and falling to the floor but right now I can’t think of much else other than the fact that I can’t sit still and focus and I don’t know why that could be, by the way today Maeve received a cute tea set for her birthday from a friend in my local adoption group whose daughter turned two a couple weeks before Maeve did, they came by and the girls played outside and inside and even got pulled in the big red wagon and collected rocks from the driveway and had orange juice popsicles on a hot, sunny day, and then when daddy came home tonight he helped open the tea set and showed Maeve how to set it up, cute in itself dontchya think, a big strong daddy sitting down to tea and showing Maeve how to pour and stir and use a pink saucer, she watched every move he made and I watched both of them silly happy at how cute it was and before we knew it we were all having an impromptu tea party, our very first ever, and Maeve was pouring tea for both of us and sometimes into the little bowls and onto the saucers too and then she’d just turn the tea kettle over and rest it in her lap while she drank from the teacup but that’s ok because it was only her first tea party after all and a girl’s gotta learn, and hey, wait a minute, I think I just figured out why I can’t sit still, it must be the 183 cups of tea Maeve poured for me tonight, because by the end of the “teapahty!” we were all just smiling and sipping and smiling and sipping and maybe, just maybe …

I sipped too much.

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Filed under Adoption, Children, Firsts, For fun, Friends, Gifts, Husbands, Maeve

Beach Baby

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Ride, surfer girl, ride …

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“Look mom-meee! Maeve has … ‘Gobbles’!”

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Silly, sandy Maevey and Mommy toes

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Filed under Adoption, Maeve

On Girls, Dolls and Self-Esteem

So very, very sad. As I watched this (thanks to Dawn for the video reefer), I fought back tears to hear these girls describe how something so fundamental as their skin color directly correlates to the value — or lack thereof — they place on themselves as human beings. Now, I’m not oblivious to the ridiculously horrid way advertising, society and the culture within which our children are being raised affect their very sense of self. It’s just that seeing it, in such a black and white form (literally), is a five-minute, startling reminder of the hugeness of it all.

No little girl should ever feel she is less than another simply because she was born in her own special skin. She shouldn’t consider herself the “bad” doll or resort to adding bleach to bathwater in an attempt to attain beauty, status or happiness.

As Maeve’s mother, I’m forever charged with working to ensure she doesn’t learn to think, believe or hurt this way. (Because, by the way, I absolutely believe such thinking is a learned behavior.) Maeve needs to know she is beautiful inside and out, just like Ruby and Ariana and Madison and — well, you get the idea.

But how?

During a time of early imaginative play, many young girls innately connect with a doll. One they bestow their love and attention to, nurturing it, sleeping alongside it, talking and hugging it, feeding and changing it. Relating to it in the only ways they know how. Doesn’t it then make sense that the emotional connection to a doll that actually resembles their own features, skin color and hair type will one day translate positively into how they care for themselves?

No? Well, let’s give them porcelain-white dolls with icy blue eyes and blonde ringlets to pet and love and call pretty — and tell me that doesn’t send the alarming message that only these girls are the kinds worthy of love.

Dawn’s words resonated with me — that taking the seemingly simple matter of a childhood doll so seriously is not an overreaction. If you think so, heed Judy’s advice and read White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. Then come back here and please explain how today’s stark selection of realistic and ethnic dolls isn’t problematic. I believe that for a little girl like mine, the doll in her arms — and all that she naturally learns from it — can seriously impact how she views herself, the world and her place in it.

Interestingly, I watched this video today just before taking on the tedious task of tackling the 10,000 pieces of mail that arrived while we were in Nags Head. The mail chore — and my mindset — were unexpectedly brightened when I stumbled onto the children’s catalog, Magic Cabin. Completely unfamiliar to me, I was soon engrossed in its colorful, handdrawn pages, relishing in many of the “simpler” toys and activities of my own childhood.

Launched in 1989 solely as a doll company by a stay-at-home mom, its motto is “Childhood’s Purest Treasures.” It notes the words “batteries not included” never appear in its catalog because its items are “kid-powered.” From origami lanterns, tin tea sets (yes, tin!), teepees, wooden cash registers and alphabet wallcards, to flower presses, science and nature kits, crafts and candle-dipping, theater pencils and yo-yo dolls. (I hadn’t thought of my own beloved yo-yo doll until seeing the photo, with its countless circle scraps of fabric forming floppy arms and legs. Ah, the memories!)

And then … I stumbled into the doll section. Specifically, the Magic Cabin Dolls collection.

Now, not all of the company’s doll offerings are as ethnically varied as they could be. But the Magic Cabin Doll can be selected in such myriad shades and combinations as blush skin/blue eyes/blonde hair or mocha skin/brown eyes/brunette hair or brown skin/black eyes/black hair. I would like to see its girl dolls not be limited to long “flowing” hair — only its boy dolls have the shorter “mop of mohair curls.” (Oh, I smell a letter to the company in the making: “You are so close folks, so close.”)

For the really handy sewing types, make your own doll but buy the cotton skin from them in, as they say, “all the colors of humankind” — fair, blush, golden, mocha and brown — as well as doll hair in two textures and nine colors: blonde, golden, sandy, auburn, cinnamon, light brown, brown, brunette and black. 

Progress indeed. Now, if only the mass-market corporate behemoths carried as many options so all children — no matter economics or geography — were presented the world, quite literally, on a shelf.

(Although K-Mart this month is releasing a new collection of ethnic dolls, a search on its website provided little results. Press accounts indicate the move seemingly was motivated by the success of Dora — to this I ask, exactly how many years has this girl been exploring and we’re just now seeing the light? But still. Baby steps, I suppose. K-Mart does carry the American Girl collection, which offers a Just Like You line and the Bitty Baby, which comes in several skin-tone shades. Thing is, most of these dolls cost a not-very-attainable $90. Now, if ethnic dolls were the norm rather than the exception, I’d think shelves in stores everywhere would be stocked with such dolls in various price points so all children could love a little one more like them.)

Choosing to think outside the blonde-hair-blue-eyed box when buying a doll may mean driving further for an adequate selection or conducting time-consuming online searches for that perfect doll. For me, it would be a gorgeous little mocha face, tightly curled brown ringlets and eyes the color of dark olives.

Every little girl should feel worthy because every little girl is worthy. The little girls we now cradle and hug will soon become unsure teenagers with the world and all its options ahead of them. And one day, these girls will become women, making choices, finding their own way and even raising children of their own.

So, forego convenience and encourage diversity in today’s toys.

The esteem of our daughters — and our daughters’ daughters — may depend on it.

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Filed under Adoption, Beauty, Body image, Children, Growing up, Making a difference, Parenting, Products, Racism, Self-image

Outer Banks … Inner Jab

There’s that line in a Jewel song about being sensitive and wanting to stay that way. I remind myself of that chorus if ever I feel like someone has intentionally poked and twisted sharp and hurtful words into me, my heart, my soul. As difficult as it can be when this happens — for me, it’s especially so in the moment when my response is lost, mired somewhere in disbelief — I remind myself of that song. My skin is most definitely not thick. But really, I’d not want it any other way. I’d rather be sensitive — the opposite just isn’t an attractive option.

Where am I going with this? Well, having just returned from a fabulous extended-family vacation in the warm and sunny Outer Banks, I’d like to get one less-than-fabulous thing off my chest before returning to my regularly scheduled programming — which, by the way, includes some recollections of a terrific time in Nags Head with Maevey Gravy and family.

But first, bear with me a bit about a funny comment directed to me during the vacation. Definitely not of the ha-ha variety, this comment was said to me by a child. An innocent-enough comment from a child’s mouth.

So this isn’t about anger or how I should have or could have responded. It’s more about how, as an adoptive mom, sometimes everyday situations are not so everyday. How this little one’s comment really got me thinking. Me. You know, as an adoptive mother.

One evening Maeve had a meltdown. During dinner she didn’t want to sit correctly in her chair. After kneeling a while, she began to try to stand and eat. Thomas and I repeatedly corrected her and she broke into tears. Hysterical tears. We brought her to our room so as not to disrupt the others finishing their meal and tried to calm her. It was a most unusual breakdown on her part — clearly something specific was bothering her. (Turns out the reason behind her suffering actually was directly related to her not being able to sit. Oh, just read on.)

A few of the children (there were seven of Maeve’s cousins at the vacation house) followed us into our room as we cared for a very upset Maeve. During the crying, I had her lay on the bed so I could check her diaper. She wanted none of it, pushing me away from the waistband of her shorts, bawling until her face was inflamed and nose was running uncontrollably. As Tom and I each tried to calm her, one of the cousins who had followed to see what was wrong with Maeve, touched my arm to get my attention and, after asking why Maeve was upset, flatly stated — and I can still hear the voice in my mind —  “You never should have adopted her.”

In the middle of all that screaming I’m sure I actually heard silence.

Pure silence.

I was stunned. Where was that coming from? Why would they say that? My thoughts ran the gamut from it being a personal attack on my parenting ability to one on my daughter herself:

Was it meant to say that because I couldn’t tame this two-year-old’s tantrum I wasn’t fit as a mom? I ran it through my head again.

You never should have adopted her.

Was it because Maeve was so upset and acting out so loudly with tears, sobs and anger that somehow she wasn’t fit to be here, to be part of the family? Again, it ran through my head.

You never should have adopted her.

No matter where I placed the emphasis, the sentence didn’t — still doesn’t — get any better. Despite it not improving with varied intonation and pronounciation, I reminded my wounded self the comment has come from a child.

No I wasn’t angry. Hurt, sure. But the more I thought about that exchange — my response, by the way, was “Why would you say that?” — I realized my feelings weren’t ultimately about the child commentor and their stinging words. Most of that sting is frustration that sometimes, for an adoptive parent, the very act of parenting can be different than others’.

What biological parent on that same vacation would ever be told, while their child cries, “You never should have had her.”

It just wouldn’t happen. Ever.

I hope that as time passes, as the kids in both of our extended families grow alongside Maeve, they learn that she’s just like any of them. Nothing more, nothing less. She’s just another cousin. Her adoption isn’t something that should surround her, envelop her, making her a present-tense case of “She is adopted.”

Of course, this two-year-old’s meltdown had nothing to do with her being adopted or with us adopting her. It’s just something a two-year-old girl (who happens to have been adopted) did. Period.

As much as I hope in my travels, writings, relationships and conversations, to help others — including our families — better understand adoption, open adoption especially, and the importance of embracing Maeve’s story and history, I hope they simultaneously realize that while she has a special story that must be respected, she is also, quite simply, just one of them. Another child in the family acting like any other child in the family has acted. In this case, her adoption backstory isn’t necessary.

This isn’t to say that during the vacation I didn’t welcome adoption topics, adoption questions, should they come my way. (Anyone visiting me here for anytime at all knows that talking about adoption is of the utmost importance to me.) Several other cousins of Maeve’s asked adoption-related questions. One asked if her “real mom had named her.” (Ouch on the use of “real,” but still, a question I gladly answered.) Another not present for this last question asked, on an entirely different day, why we didn’t name her. I wasn’t sure what they meant until I realized they thought Maeve was the name given her by her birth mother. In both cases, I used the random questions while splashing about in the pool or digging in the sand to explain. I explained that her birth mother hadn’t given her a name because she told us she specifically wanted us to choose it. I also explained that her birth mother also liked the first and middle names we ultimately chose and their meanings, all very intentional on our part.

Through the conversations I tried to share, to enlighten, to explain while not using the exchanges as a pulpit. I simply answered nonchalantly and honestly. Matter-of-factly. After all these are just the facts surrounding Maeve’s adoption and in sharing them that way with the children, I hope they come to see her adoption as just that. Just another fact about Maeve.

But it’s not a context for which all things Maeve must be defined or a filter through which all things Maeve must be viewed. After all, she’s just one of the kids. She’s … simply … family.

When we finally did calm her and wrestle that diaper off of Maeve, we found a particularly nasty rash — one brought on, we figure, by the frequent use of swim diapers, the sand, the ocean saltwater and the pool chlorine. When I saw her skin broken open and oozing, my heart felt a twinge of guilt as I recalled the moments before when Thomas and I told her she must sit at the table.

Seems sitting was simply too painful. When we immediately put her in a bath in the hopes of soothing her skin — she would only bathe on all fours. That’s how raw her tush was.

Hmpf. Raw. Much like the comment that bruised my heart.

Sure, both will heal. But neither were necessary.

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Filed under Adoption, Birth parents, Children, Diapers, Discussing Adoption, Family, Growing up, Maeve, Open Adoption, Parenting, Someone else said

Well, okay then …

Went out tonight for a family dinner at a funky Mexican eatery a few towns over. Afterwards, we strolled through the posh little downtown, looking in shop windows, enjoying the people-watching, and dropping in some children’s shops to peruse the goods. (This actually is the town Tom and I met in when we both worked for the same retailer while in college. He joked how, tonight, 15 years later, we’re now walking in that same town but the locales that pique our interest are so very different as the only shops we ever enter are the child-centric ones. Rrrright. Oh, how times change.)

Froo-froo and quaint, people-watching and all, we were enjoying our stroll. After dinner we walked around the corner for some cookies-n-cream italian-ice goodness. A bubble machine outside the storefront was a major entertainment factor for Maeve. Aaaah, a sweet little evening with our little family.

Except for …

the random little boy who walked right up to Maeve in her stroller, grabbed a corkscrew curl from atop her head — and yanked!  (We had slowed down when we saw him approach because he clearly was heading for Maeve. We thought he was going to lean in and say hello.)

I think I actually gasped. Maeve Just. Looked. Confused. (The little protective parent hairs on the back of my neck were at full attention.) Thomas and I were completely taken off-guard, sharing “What the heck just happened?” and “What the heck do we do?” looks back and forth.

I rubbed Maeve’s head and we walked away, a little faster then we had approached.

Well, it was a semi-idyllic evening anyway.

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Filed under Family, Parenting, Weirdness