Friday, December 31, 2010

The Best Christmas Gift of All

It happened. It finally happened. And when I heard the news yesterday, I had chills. Tears welled up in my eyes and I thought, "Oh my God, yes yes yes!"

Anya has a family. Anya has a mama and papa coming for her. Anya's life will be saved.

Thank you God for answering my prayer. (And thank you imaginary Santa for granting my Christmas wish.)

[Need to wrap up 2010 with a last minute tax deductible contribution? Donate to Anya's grant fund and help bring her family to her.]

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dear Imaginary Santa,

geronimoRemember when I was a little girl and I still believed in you? I wanted things like a Geronimo doll and plastic horses for him to ride. I wanted a Hess truck with lights that really worked. I wanted Legos so I could build my own house with many staircases and secret rooms. I wanted a Magic 8 ball so that I could know the answers to all the important questions in my childish mind.

You gave it all to me, and despite the ugliness that lived with us, Christmas morning always turned out ok. But then I found out the truth... that you are not real. Christmas lists and letters are useless now.

It doesn’t matter anyway, Santa, because the things I want now cannot be bought. Like wisdom. I want perfect wisdom, to always know the right thing to do and say. I want to be filled with patience and gentleness. I want to be a great wife and mother, and a great writer.

But if only one wish of mine could be granted this Christmas, I’d ask for a mama and papa for Anya. She is a little girl with Down syndrome who lives in the orphanage where my daughters came from. Anya turns four this coming Tuesday the 14th. Anya’s time in the baby house is up.


Anya is not your typical child with Ds. Her need for support is higher than that. She is desperate for love, attention, and intervention. Anya is a child that will die young in a mental institution.

anyasmile1When I was there, I stole a few minutes with Anya. I held her in my arms. Anya took my hands and clapped them together over and over, making up her own game. Anya stared into my eyes as if no one had ever looked lovingly at her before. From then on, Anya would try to come to me when she saw me, but they would never let me hold her again.

I wished I could tell Anya that someone was coming for her, that a mama and papa would come to save her from her fate. I wished I could tell her that somebody loves her, and that I could promise her she will not die an orphan in a lonely box crib.

I wished you were real Santa so that you could give Anya a family for Christmas this year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What Can't I Do Online?

I can shop, read the news, make friends, pay a bill, support a cause, take a class, pick out a new daughter, defend my beliefs, earn a living, advocate for people with Down syndrome, spill my guts...

Wait... not that last one. Not so much anymore. I have written about this before and it has only gotten worse for me since then. My silence is choking me.

I can’t tell you how I feel about my step-daughter yanking my heart out and stomping on it, again.

I can’t tell you how I feel about my boss giving away my job.

I can’t tell you how I feel about the hard parts of adoption.

I can’t tell you how I lost my faith, or if I have for sure found it again.

And even if I could tell you about these things... there isn’t the time. The reality of it is that I spend most of my day filling mouths and wiping butts. I don’t even have time to tell you all the things I can’t tell you. It is probably better that way for now.

Maybe I can’t find the time because I am not ready to deal with the repercussions of honest writing. But then I ask myself, what is the sense of having a personal blog if I can’t talk about what is on my mind and staining my heart?

All right, all right then... I’ll tell you about one thing that has been bothering me. People tell me all the time that if only they had more room in their house, or more money in their bank account, that they would adopt.

That isn’t why you aren’t doing it. You aren’t doing it because it is a sacrifice of time, a huge forever commitment of your emotional, mental, and bodily resources. And you are scared... scared that the child might turn out to be full of problems, medical issues, or low functioning.

Children are freedom thieves. They enslave us with their needs. Our own darlings are worth the forbearances because they are so beautiful and talented, not to mention we know they come from good stock. But other children? Children whose mothers may have smoked crack while they were forming? Children with congenital birth defects? Children who may not know how to love you back?

Hell no, there just isn’t the space in your house for that.

Anyway, being bitchy about it isn’t going to change your mind. So I will tell you a secret, adopted kids are fascinating. And they teach you that love equals action.

And I will tell you another secret. It is ok with me if you don’t want one. You don’t need to explain.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Child I Like Best

Parents are not supposed to love one child more than another, or so I have been told. At least they shouldn’t admit to it anyway.

But I can’t help it. There’s love and then there’s love. I have five children now and I love them all. I mother them all equally. I discipline them fairly and consistently. I treat them all the same. But one of them is more endearing than the others.

In truth, I think this happens quite often in families (though most parents are smart enough to follow the “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule on this topic). Maybe for you it is your oldest, the one who has been around the longest and had that early time as the only child. Or perhaps it is your baby, who will always be your sweet baby. Maybe it is your only boy, or your only girl.

When the French say “I love you”, they say “Je t’aime” and when they say “I like you”, they say Je t’aime bien”. Their word for love is the same as their word for like, and when they emphasize love by adding the word “well” to it, it becomes like. So maybe what I really meant to say up above is that there is love and then there is like.

One of my children is very very likeable. This child has a great unintended sense of humor. This child is thoughtful and sweet. This child is bright and engaging. This child is beautiful and smells delicious. This child is very able to express love and affection. On the flip side, this child is rarely annoying, contrary, or miserable. Lacking difficult-to-deal-with characteristics goes a long way.

It doesn’t really matter if it is ok or not for me to like this child more than the others... it doesn’t matter if it makes me an imperfect mother. It is what it is.