Friday, May 28, 2010

What's Wrong With These People?

Clicking through various links from various adoption blogs I like led me to this story of a father diligently trying to do the legal footwork necessary to have custody of his daughter once she was born.  The mother, it seems was bent on adoption and moved around trying to avoid him and place the child without his consent.

Fiasco ensues and a judge rules he can't have custody because one of his papers, though filed on time, was not processed by the state in time to comply with state law.  Meanwhile the baby has been born and placed with a family.  People are up in arms about the mama, the actions of the state and the ruling of the judge.

What I want to know is what is WRONG with the adoptive parents?  Knowing that there is a daddy out there desperately working to comply with several states regulations so he can parent his baby, and they take the baby into their home as their forever child??? And the agency - they're still "facilitating" this?

This is the worst of what adoption can be.  Stealing babies to fill greedy arms.  Not thinking about what babies need most.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Old or Grown-up?

It's 9:40pm, both kids are finally asleep and Bill is out of town.  I have a desperate urge to reward myself with making it through the day by making brownies.  Instead, I'm going to bed.

You make the call: old or grown-up?

Monday, May 24, 2010

On Seeing Black Boys

For 6 short weeks, I actively looked at the world as the probable mama of an African American boy.  I'm amazed at how that lens changed the way the world looks to me.  That group of black boys on the corner at the bus stop?  Somebody's little sweeties on their way to school.  Those black "thugs" who continue to break into neighborhood houses? Somebody's baby boys who are struggling mightily.

Yeah, this is that media induced racist-fear issue we all carry.  We're so trained by the media to fear black teenagers (and men).

Now I find I'm checking out their haircuts, wondering what their mamas say about their low-rider pants, watching how they walk and talk with each other and evaluating who they're hanging with.  Flipping through radio stations a few days ago, I heard a woman passionately talking about the need for a change in education for black children, citing the fact that 60% of black boys will never graduate from high school.  And this thought goes through my head, "my boy will make it through college and then he'll be fine."

So this article really caught my attention today.  In Job Hunt, College Degree Can't Close the Racial Gap.

It turns out when you're black, being smart and working hard still isn't enough.  You still have to hide who you really are to get in the door.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

London Bridges

Rosie loves to sing.  She clearly intoned songs by 6 months (okay, actually it was the cheer my brother taught the kids for the New York Yankees, but it's sort of a song).  We put her in a choir she adores and, she spends most of the day filling our ears with her new songs.

One of my favorite things about little kids singing is how they work out the lyrics.  Words can be plain hard to understand when sung, and often the poetry of a song requires either unusual words or an unusual combination of words.

Yesterday at the grocery store, Rosie came out with this little ditty:

London bridges falling down, falling down, falling down.
London bridges falling down, my fair lady.
Take the key and knock them up, knock them up, knock them up.

At which point I was laughing so loud and so hard I could no longer hear her.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Better Living Through Chemicals

We had a house fire a few weeks back.  Just a small one.  In the oven.  It was exciting.

The night before I made yorkshire puddings (aka popovers) for dinner.  The recipe told me to put a cookie sheet under the muffin pans half full of oil. I complied but without really considering why, so I grabbed one of the flat ones instead of a sheet with sides.  Predictably, as the puddings rose, the oil oozed over the edges of the pans, off the cookie sheet and all over the bottom of the oven.

Putting off cleaning the nasty mess that was our oven, I went to bed without mentioning the spill to anyone.  My mom, who was visiting for the weekend, stirred up a batch of biscuits for a surprise breakfast. I'm pretty sure she was surprise to find flames engulfing them half way through baking.  A quick squirt with the kitchen fire extinguisher stopped the excitement, and a few hours of wide open windows and doors cleared the air. Now I had a really nasty mess to deal with.

In a moment of despair, I stopped at the Bartells and gave into the can of oven cleaning chemicals.  You know, the really stinky kind that has all sorts of warnings all over the entire can letting you know all the places it shouldn't go, and all the medical professionals you should consult if it touches your skin or mucus membranes. The kind the environmentalist have fits over. The kind I swore would *never* enter my home.

It took two coats and plenty of elbow grease (mostly from our housemate's elbow) but our oven is gorgeous.  Like new.  In fact, I'm pretty sure the stove was filthy when we bought the house because none of us can remember ever being able to see through the front window.  So better than new.  When I put my cakes in the oven, I see my own reflection in the door.  It is truly a thing of beauty.

Now I find myself wondering what else in the kitchen would glow with the happy spray of chemicals.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

More on Museums

In the course of our school year, the kids and I have visited quite a few museums.  I've noticed that some are just a vast wash of white people and some attract a great mix of races. I wonder what it is about them that draws certain people.  Is it the subject, the advertising, the hours, the outreach programs?

Here's my current classifications:

The "mixed" ones
Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center aka Maritime Museum
Seattle Bug Safari
Northwest African American Museum

The "white" ones
Pacific Science Center
Museum of Flight
Woodland Park Zoo
Seattle Police Museum

Ones we've not seen or it's been ages
Wing Luke Museum
Burke Museum
Frye Art Museum
Science Fiction Museum

What do you think about the idea of grouping museums this way?  Do you notice the same attendance on racial lines? Would you put the museums in the same groups as I do?  Any favorites that I missed?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Come On, Think About IT

I'm currently sitting and writing during Rosie's girl scout meeting, which is lead by volunteers.

One of them really gets under my skin.  She's the one white leader and she's loud and dominates most everything that goes on instead of making space for the women of color to lead.  I have a laundry list of insensitive things she's done and said over the course of the girl scout season. And yes, I've given feedback to the volunteer coordinator.

But what she just said totally pissed me off.  The group was talking about their middle names, which led to conversation about ideas for baby names.  Someone asked Rosie what her new baby was going to be named.  She explained the mama had changed her mind.  The leader looked Rosie right in the eye and said, "well it's good that baby gets to stay with it's mama."

REALLY?  You're really going to look a 6 year old adoptee in the eye and tell her that?  REALLY? 
Cuz in case you didn't notice, she didn't get to. And yes, it bothers her.


Guess what Rosie's reaction was?  Her head dropped instantly down in deep concentration of her project, and she dropped out of the conversation. Said leader didn't seem to notice the change at all. I personally spent a few minutes swearing out in the hallway.

Any ideas how I should handle this?  Do I talk to the leader?  The volunteer coordinator? What would you say to your child about it?

Our White Day

One of my stated goals as a parent of a mixed race family is to have my children in mixed race situations and environments 50% of the time.

Here's today.

Fridays exist as field trip day in our greater home school plan. We started out the morning at the Pacific Science Center.  Somehow the Science Center is dominated by white people (the staff is largely white and usually most of the families there are white).  In the sea of school groups that arrived shortly after we did (gack!), a few of the parent chaperones presented as people of color as did a small percentage of the children in the groups. Mostly we spent our morning in an ocean of white.

After lunch we headed to the local toy store.  It's called Retroactive Kids.  Bill and I were laughing about the name, because you gotta figure this is going to be a white owned, white dominated place.  Who else, besides white folks, looks back fondly at the early part of the century and longs to recreate what we had back then? Oh, and their store hours are 10-5:30, thus available (I'm guessing) primarily to stay-at-home moms - a hallmark of class privilege and value.  True to name, everyone in the store was white.  To give the store credit, they did carry non-white baby dolls and Playmobil figures.

Girl Scouts comes at 5pm with pretty much a 50/50 mix of girls of color and white girls. A 2 hour oasis in a day of white.

My score today: Rosie will spend 2 of her 12 waking hours in a mixed race environment (16%).  Theo will spend 12 of 12 hours in a white world.

I have a long ways to go.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Yellow Rage

From ResistRacim blog.  I loved the strong words, strong thoughts and strong women in this.  I'll be proud if I raise up my girl as powerful and expressive as they.

(language alert - depending on the swearing policy in your home, you may want to watch this without kids in earshot)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Homeschooling Mama

My children definitely get a ton of learning out of homeschooling, but I have to say, most days seem pretty self-indulgent to me.  Today's a great example.  In the kitchen right now I have brewing:
- kombucha
- yogurt
- cake and cupcakes
- miso
- nettle tea

Look how much fun I get to have in the course of a day and call it education for my kids!

She Changed Her Mind

Last week, the mama that we were matched with for our adoption changed her mind.  She chose to keep her baby, in adoption-speak, chose to parent her baby.

Honestly, our family is thrilled for her.  This was definitely one of those grey area adoptions.  We would much rather give her a million dollars than take her baby if only we had that kind of money to share.

So we're back in the pool, waiting for a new match.