Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
On Monday morning, Elfe and I got up bright and early to go to a free children's musical event at the New England Conservatory, near Symphony Hall in Boston. While we were there, we ran into a little boy Elfe played soccer with two years ago, with his mom and younger sister. After the event was over we grabbed an early lunch, and then on our way back to the train station to go home we ran into the boy and his family again, also coming from an early lunch at another restaurant in the area. We took the kids over to the reflecting pool at the Christian Science center, to run off some energy on the grass and the giant plaza around the pool. It was a gorgeous day, and the boy's mom suggested that we walk the short distance over to the Boston Marathon finish line to see the later waves of runners coming in. I was tired from waking up early, and I don't like crowds, and I knew the elite Ethiopian runners would already be long gone at that point, and all I really wanted to do was go home and take a nap...
We didn't go.
- This week I am very thankful that my borderline anti-social tendencies and extreme dislike of crowds kept us away from the scene of a tragedy.
- I am also very thankful that as far as I can tell right now, no one I know personally was among the victims.
- Finally, I am thankful that last year I overcame my aversion to crowds to watch S run the marathon for the very first time in the 20 years I've lived in Boston. Having seen it last year, I now understand why so many people consider the Boston Marathon so special...and why no one will take that away from the city and the people who are devoted to the Marathon. I predict 2014 will be the biggest Boston marathon ever!
Hope you and all your loved ones are safe.
Thursday, April 11, 2013
Less than half way through April, and I've already let some darkness back into the month...
This week it has been SO hard to motivate myself to get anything done, and so far this month I've done absolutely nothing to de-clutter or to lose weight. I think it may have something to do with not opening up the curtains during the day like I said I would...
So, back to work. The curtains are open, I'm sitting down to get some work done, and I'm ready to feel light, light, light as a feather!
How are you letting the light in today?
Labels: Theme of the month
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Friday, April 5, 2013
The conversation started, innocently enough, in the car.
Elfe and I were driving around doing Saturday morning errands when she spotted a giant red, white, and blue sign on someone's lawn. She asked me what it said.
I told her that it had a name on it, the name of a man who wanted us to vote for him.
She got all indignant - "We already voted for Barack Obama, the voting time is over!"
I explained that this voting was for something else, that the man whose name was on the sign wanted to be a Senator, to represent Massachusetts in Washington, DC.
Then I explained more that the reason we were having this special election is because when Barack Obama became President for the second time, he asked one of our Senators from Massachusetts to do a special job for him called Secretary of State, so now we needed to pick a new Senator.
Then of course, she wanted to know what the Secretary of State job was all about.
So I told her that the Secretary of State makes sure that the United States has good relationships with all the other countries in the world, that the person in that job goes around meeting with other important government people from other countries.
And then I had what seemed at the time like the brilliant idea of giving her a concrete example of another part of the job of Secretary of State...
Remember when I came to Ethiopia and there was the day that all the kids and all the new mommies and daddies went together in Mulat's big van to the special building, and we waited for a long time in the room with the little play area where you played, and then they finally called our name and we went up the stairs with Sr. Tirhas and talked to the lady at the window and then we all went back to Horizon House?
Yes, she remembered that.
Well, that's called the US Embassy and there are embassies like that in lots of countries all over the world and the Secretary of State is the boss of all the embassies.
So then she wanted to know what else happens at an embassy.
Well, when Ethiopian people want to come to the United States, they have to go to the embassy and get the special stamp in their passport - just like after we talked to the lady at the window, you got that special stamp in your passport so you could come with me to the United States, and I had to get a special stamp in my passport from the Ethiopian embassy here in the US so I could go to Ethiopia.
Then she wanted to know why we hadn't used our passports for anything recently, even though we go to lots of different places, so I explained that we didn't need a passport to go to any of the places we've been to since we got back from Ethiopia.
And then, who knows why, I said "But if we did go somewhere that we need a passport for, I would get you a new passport because now you're a United States citizen and you need a United States passport."
So I said it again, a little more slowly and a little more carefully.
"I'm not an Ethiopian citizen any more? I'm a United States citizen? Why?"
She wasn't angry or upset about it, just caught off-guard by this new piece of information...this new revelation of something she didn't really know she had had until she understood that she had lost it.
Just like I was caught off-guard by watching, in the rear-view mirror, as my five-year-old demonstrated that she was perfectly capable of understanding the concept of citizenship as well as understanding that it was something that could be lost.
I'm not sure why I was caught off-guard...I've spent enough time reading and learning from adult adoptees to know that many of them experience the change in their citizenship that comes with adoption as a loss...and it's not like I haven't had conversations like this before with Elfe. There was the time when a conversation about all the different religions in the world led to her understanding that what we've always called "your special day at the church" meant that she was now a different religion than the one she was born into - or as she pretty succinctly put it "You changed my religion?!?!?!"
So, yeah...I shouldn't have been surprised. But it still always amazes me how much she can understand at such a young age.
At least the religion conversation happened in our living room, not in the car.
The citizenship conversation took up most of the rest of our driving-around time...I explained to her that the change in her citizenship was the rule in this situation; that if she was going to live here in the United States with me, it was better for her to be a US citizen so she could vote herself when she grew up and have access to all sorts of other benefits that she wouldn't have if she weren't a citizen; and I told her that when she grew up, if she wanted to change back to being an Ethiopian citizen, that I would help her any way I could to do that if it was possible.
I know that sounds like a lot to explain to a five-year-old, but the truth is that these types of conversations are actually one of the adoptive parenting jobs that I feel I'm good at. I think Elfe is good at them too, and I'm glad we're having these conversations sooner rather than later. I think that the earlier she can process these losses and include them in her understanding of what it means to be adopted, the easier things will be for her as she gets older.
Anyone with older kids want to give me a heads-up about what the next conversation will be about?