Friday, May 17, 2013

Life happens...

When I first started my blog years ago, after having several blogs about life in Haiti, I decided not to make it about one specific place.  You see at that time, Haiti was all we lived...we dreamed, and we pined for Haiti when we were not there...but there was always something about Africa and specifically Sudan, and  DRC that had our attention.  It was like a memory, but we had not been there so, we had not experienced it. We had not read, learned and actually had such a vague idea of where in Africa there were on the map we went to the computer to look it up.
That was then and this is now....not only do we have an idea of where they are on the map, we have been to DRC and we have the privilege of raising two beautiful littles, born to the country that haunted our thoughts, and invaded our hearts, pushing a space right up beside Haiti.

So morphing my adoption blog of www.carryme.ca and Carry Me To Kinshasa, back into Life Happens was a good fit. Because in my world as intentional as we need to be about some things...life happens.

Lately we had some struggles around Mother's Day. Now don't get me wrong, I get it, but all you moms adopting older children, Mother's Day is a reminder of loss. So that emotional, ripping a hole in your chest, waiting for the kiddos to come home, another holiday reminder that are not home...and you think once they come home, it will be all warm and fuzzy. Wrong.

Many firsts are exciting and pictures are snapped and family celebrations are full of laughter, everyone saying, it is so great to have them here this year. New traditions are started, old traditions are remembered and taught; some quite abstract and some quite silly, but family memories are treasured.
All of these times are Kodak moments...if you don't know Kodak, you might be way younger than me....
All of these times are shared with family and friends
All of these times are celebrated in a fresh and new way
All of these times come with baggage...and that is the sad part about adoption that we rarely talk about.

Adoption is a an amazing journey over thick and thin, dicey and sure, crooked and straight, and connection and loss. Adoption happens because there was a loss. Adoption happens internationally because of circumstances that each of see on TV but rarely have experienced. That is until you have to walk through tough memories, rock a grieving child, explain why things are the way they are, and see the hurt through their eyes.

It has been almost a week since Mother's Day and our littles had the flu, so to say it was not celebrated was an understatement. It is hard to see your kids sick and the day was not as I planned LOL. I did get George's Breaded Almond Chicken for take out, and if anyone cares, my dying meal will be Georges' Almond Chicken. It rates up there with Vanilla Lattes, Chocolate, Pringles and of course Kettle Corn. I regress...back to kids..

So we have chatted and decided to plant a beautiful tall Sequoia Cedar in our yard. Now they will grow to 40 feet so finding the spot has been a cause of debate among the parents. We now have a plan, we went for a walk, we have made a plan, that each year for Mother's Day we will plant annuals, that way we can pick new ones every year, and remember a mom that was loving and kind, a mom that tried her best in a country labelled the worst country to be a mother in. Reference In the report it states Finland was the best...so sad it hurts my heart. Two countries in our home represented, one as the best, and one as the worst. What irony.

So before you get high hopes that Mother's Day is all about you, and you are going to be so thankful to have your children home...take a moment and remember...before they come home to you, they were saying goodbye to everything they have ever known, and whether they are scared, hungry and not cared for, it is still all they knew.

Some adoption books say don't tell your child their mother loved them, because it will teach them, love equals abandonment or rejection. I don't believe it, love never equals abandonment or rejection, that is circumstance.  Love equals, I never planned for life to be this hard, I need help, I need to keep my children, safe, free from war, poverty, disease and hurts that they cant understand as children. Love is pure and no matter how you call it, love hurts at one time or another, but love picks up where love left off...and that is where we came in. Thankfully we serve a God who can orchestrate across oceans, for one mom to love the other mom, with fierce protection and no jealously as to being replaced as the daily mom, that one mom, can protect memories, and reach out without fear of not being the "real mom".  We are in this together, because I know in my heart that as I pray for a family in Kin, and they pray for us a family, we are doubly blessed. Uniquely created and interwoven...as a family.
From my book ..Carry Me to Kinshasa dedication:
I cannot fathom the agony of your decision, your strength and your love, but I can fathom the depth of our gift.

I leave pondering the thoughts of family, and the incredible ways families are made.

.PS: Amazon also carries the book













Saturday, May 11, 2013


HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY 


Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,



I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.



It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.



Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.



Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.



Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.

Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.

Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?

I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.

I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.

I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.

I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.

Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.

I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.

And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.

And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.

I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.

I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.

And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.

I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.

I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months.

I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.

I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.

I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on.

I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?

I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.

I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around.

But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.



I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.



I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.



I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.



I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.



Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.



I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.



And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.



And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.



I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.



I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.



And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.



I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.



I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months.



I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.



I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.



I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on.



I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?



I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.



I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around.



But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.



Kathy Lynn Harris

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Please excuse the gap in posts.

So as some of you may know the internet is a crazy place. Recently I found out my blog was linked to a *porn** site in the Netherlands. After a dozen plus emails, it was decided the only way to have them stop linking the site is to slow down traffic. So I had to stop posting. Now nothing was being shared with the freaks but the users of the *porn* site, would be redirected to the next url. Mine....

So after working with blogger, and wondering why I was getting 86 hits a day for my blog from the Netherlands, it was discovered.

Thankfully it had nothing to do with my site, my pics, just random computer generated url redirects. Learn something new everyday.

So we will be back up and running.


Please

check out this link...helping kids go to camp... My girls are going to help as a way to help other kids in DRC. It is fabulous!




Blessings, Colleen ...this link is safe just in case you are wondering...this is not spam. c