Samuel Jerome and Richnightder

Samuel Jerome and Richnightder
Our boys in Haiti

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Sarcasm and lead balloons

Over dinner tonight we were discussing how some ignorant people don't like people who are different from themselves.  Some people don't like black people because it is different than their own skin and fear often causes people to react with anger and resentment.  So as this convo was progressing, I jokingly looked at Madison and told her, "Honey, It's finally time for me to tell you; you're black!"  She of course responded in her usual dry humourous way and said, "Oh my God, I am?"  Marc and I started laughing, but not Thomas.

Thomas got angry.  Very angry.

What he said next made us all stop and look at him in wonder...and a little confusion.

Thomas told us not to laugh since it was mean to make fun of people because of their skin color.  Then he said very calmly, "She's not black, she's white."  This made us all laugh again since of course, Madison is black.  While she is bi-racial, her birthmom Angela is white and her birthfather, Darryl is black, her mocha colored skin causes the world to perceive her as black.  Obviously though, Thomas never got this memo.

He always thought of her as white.  Just an interesting observation from a member of our family.  While we just see her as our daughter, white, brown, polka-dot, whatever, we have always acknowledged that the world views her as a beautiful, young black girl.  So in our family of 6 it would seem that Thomas sees Richnigther and Jerome as well as himself as black and Marc, myself and Madison as white.  Weird how ones view of people, images, skin tones and perceptions can be very different even within one family. 

Then again, it could be that Marc and I are just terribly sarcastic and Thomas has labored under the delusion of our sarcasm since his birth.  I suppose now that he is aware that  his one and only sister is black, maybe he'll love her a little more.  Nah, Madison and Thomas are truly real brothers and sisters since they have a love hate relationship that I hope never ends.  Ah, family dinner time.  What could ever be more entertaining....and enlightening?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Going to the dogs

Kitty and Bunny, our 11 month old Rottweilers have both now earned their Canine Good Citizen's titles. This is a big feat, for both them and us. It's a lot of work and along the way, we've made some cool new friends thru the Bismarck Kennel Club. I have also now learned how to do ring steward duties, gate steward duties and table steward stuff at AKC shows all the while feeling completely inferior and incompetent. Nuff said about that.

Anyhow, on Monday we head back to dog class to get their pictures taken and bring their AKC papers so their new titles can be added. See this is big stuff. Now we work forward towards getting their Companion Dog title (CD) which is really tough to get and after that, I would like to do therapy dog work with them. I did that in the past with our previous Rottweilers and I enjoyed it very much and it gave people a chance to see that not all Rottweilers are flesh-eating baby killers.

Richnigthder is outside riding my horse, Tommy. This kid is fearless and an over-achiever. He is riding Tommy bareback and trying to take him over some low jumps. So far, he's stayed on, but if he falls off, he's wearing a helmet, so it's all good....mostly. I'm heading outside now to kick the kid off my horse, throw on the English saddle and go on a slow, solitary ride. Just the horse, me, the sunshine and the hawks over head for company! Later!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm down with the Orlando trip, just saying

Neener, neener, neener, I'm going on an all chick get-away in Orlando next March. I've met Sarah from Green Bay before, but have yet to meet Corey in real life. I initially met these gals by following their blogs and have come to consider them friends, and muy fun friends at that.

We have things in common, like kids, homeschool, adoption from Haiti and other interesting topics. Most importantly we don't take ourselves too seriously. Besides, who else would understand that I am excited about taking my HUMONGOUS purple jug that's sole purpose is to conceal liquor. For God's sake, I feel like I am revisiting my sorority days and am all giddy about hanging with the cool girls by the pool and totally snarking about others. Ahhhh, good times for sure.

So for my dear friends who are happening mama's you should seriously consider joining me in Orlando, March 4-7. Lodging in rented villas will cost about $170 a person and food and beverages will be divied up. Come on girls, you know who you are and seriously need to come too.

Have purple jug and posters of hot cabana boys....will travel!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Adoption Etiquette

I've been following a gal's blog for several months now. She has several children by birth and brought home 2 kids from Haiti post EQ. She has disrupted both of her new children's adoptions for un-specified reason, other than to say they acted in angry, violent and possibly sexual ways.

Being the shy, soft-spoken person that I am, I left her a comment on her blog sharing my view that she was totally unprepared to add children to her family thru adoption. She did post on her blog that she was suprised that the new kids did not show gratefulness or appreciativeness for being 'saved.' I tried to educate her, kindly, and thought that maybe, just maybe she had seen the error of her ways and mis-guided feelings. She acknowledged that she was un-prepared and only thought RAD was from drug or alcohol babies. She even wrote that she thought she needed to save these kids from the horrors of living as a Restavec. Hell, anyone who knows about Haiti knows the life of a Restavec is miserable at best and deadly at its worst. But to adopt a child to save them is wrong.

Adoption should always be motivated by the fact that the adoptive parents have love in abundance to share. Adoptive parents also realize that often the love they pour out to their new children isn't always reciprocated and if it is, it is sometimes masked by pain and previous traumatic behavior. It is also good to realize that in trans-racial and international adoption, the children often DO NOT physically resemble their new parents. If you don't like the constant public attention and dumb-ass questions, then you better think twice about adoption. I stand by my previous assertion that this other gal went into this with all the wrong motivation and without ANY agency guidance.

But what really twists my cork is what she just wrote on her blog in response to me. I paraphrase here, but she wrote that I could not walk in her shoes since all of my kids are adopted and she had to protect her birth children from her newly adopted Haitian kids. HELLLLOOOOO, does she not think I would protect my oldest two kids in the event that my little boys were acting out towards them????? I suppose since all my kids are adopted, means that I can allow them to be victimized by the newest two Laurie kids??!!

So in an effort to spread adoption etiquette to one gal who had no business complicating those two kids' lives by being unprepared for their arrival into her family, I share this deep thought: Regardless of the fact that all 4 of my children are adopted, I would protect them from harm in the same tenacious way that I would if they had been born to me. Can you sense I am screaming here????????

I also take offense at the comment she wrote in which she feels God used her as a tool to bring those kids here to the United States so that she could lead them to their forever mama. WHAT??? Maybe God expected you to step up to the plate, prepare, be knowledgeable and have a support system in place for the worst case scenario. Yes I do understand that there are in deed some situations in which finding a new family is the best solution for a child, however gut-wrenching it may be, but to have them home for 6-7 months and be dissolusioned because they added chaos and undesirable behavior is ignorant. I don't know anyone who would not seek all avenues of therapy and support, to include residential treatment to prevent a disruption. Yet I get the sense from her blog that she was just overwhelmed and frustrated because her new kids had some abusive backgrounds and brought that behavior with them. There appears to be a lot she did not think thru.

Oh this is a good statement she made. "After sacrificing for two years" get them home....! Excuse me? Who hasn't sacrificed to bring their kids home? The tears, gained weight, sleepless nights, anxiety, fear, frustration, finacial costs, yet we all did it and have been rewarded with the kids we desperatly wanted. Some people have had kids come home with really, really challenging behavior that is shocking, yet they haven't run right to court to dissolve the relationship. Some have put years into therapies, cried until there were no tears left and done a selfless act of finding a new home to ensure all their children's include their other adopted children too.

So I have vented and yet I don't feel any better. I do stand in judgement on this as I am greatly offended to know that she doesn't think my adopted children deserve the same level of protection as would a birth child. Maybe she is just tongue-twisted and things come out wrong, but I am still bugged to know she brought those kids home from Haiti and resented the fact they had baggage.

I'll end on this note of advice. Adding new kids to the family thru birth or adoption changes the status quo. Normal as it was once known, will never be again. Instead, a new normal takes its place. It takes time to shake out, but normal is a relative state of mind. A new normal does make itself apparant and life goes on. Is adoption easy, HELL NO! Would I change a thing? Well if I had a magic wand I would wipe the slate clean for my little boys and let them have come to me from loving, non traumatic situations, but then, they wouldn't have been available for adoption and to be my God given children. I guess since I lack a magic wand, I'd say I wouldn't change a thing and thank God for all 4 of my beautiful, lively, funny kids....even though they are adopted. And that last bit was written with a GREAT amount of sarcasm!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010


My nephew, Ryan riding with Madison.

Jerome, on a 'chilly' summer day! D.O.R.K :)

My nephew, Ryan who is almost 23 year old spent 4 days with us last week. He is taking a sabaticcal of sorts and is traveling around the U.S. on Greyhound so that he can get an authentic feel for our country and its people. Boy oh boy, is he getting an experience traveling by bus.

I recognize he is a grown man, but when I heard his stories of traveling from Portland to L.A. to Houston and then up to us in Bismarck, I almost passed out from fear. So far he has sat next to white supremacists, gangsta's to include Bloods and Crips, drug smugglers and completely drunk, vomiting people. YUM, sounds like fun to me....N.O.T!!!! He is keeping a journal and recording his experiences. He already has quite an array of stories and I think this has been an experience of a lifetime for him.

When we saw him on the bus here yesterday afternoon, I was so sad I cried. We all stood next to the bus, waving and blowing kisses. OK, well I blew kisses, Marc not so much. In fact, Marc assured me that blowing kisses to Ryan pretty much assured him getting his ass kicked all the way to Billings by the drug runners already on the bus. Yeah, I'm a totally cool auntie!

Ryan rode one of our horses for the first time yesterday and did really well. Madison rode along side for moral support and it was cool to see the cousins side-by-side. about a month ago when Madison's birthmom, Angela was here, it warmed my heart to see the two of them riding side-by-side. They have so many similar mannerisms that to see it with my own eyes always makes me smile.

In other news, the Laurie clan is planning on visiting the Watkins crew in October. We are anxiously awaiting our fun weekend with another family that gets us and our craziness. Plus, Thomas totally digs their daughter and thinks she is the cat's meow....purrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Our little boys were creche mates at the orphanage and enjoy seeing each other. My boys are already dancing around singing about playing with Peterson and Adlerson. Two months and we'll be living it up in Polson, Montana!!

Some of you have heard me talk about Jerome and his unique personality. Seriously, this kid is the happiest, easiest going kid God ever made. I have been reaching out and seeking info on Jerome's little quirk and the info I am getting is really astonishing. I will share it fully in an upcoming post, but for now, just know that Marc and I completely support Jerome and will do what we can to ensure his life-long happiness. For those of you in the loop, Madison just may have her wish come true....someday in the future. Just keeping checking back to see what I'm talking about and until then just know that we are eternally grateful that God gave us our sweetest little soul, named Jerome. He is a treasure, as are all my kids. And no, it is nothing bad at all, just slightly kooky and different. All in all, a perfect fit for our family!