Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Mike: (pumping himself up to get some schoolwork done, singing with gusto...) "I believe I can fly..."
Jadon: (laughing) "No, Daddy, you can't fly!"
Mike: (continuing with the song) "I believe I can touch the sky..."
Jadon: "No! Daddy, you can't touch the sky. It's too high!" (This is followed by extended giggling at the foolishness of his father and numerous recountings of his father's ridiculous claims to other family members.)
Current favorite expressions/terms:
"Wanna play cars?"
"I think so."
"I think not."
"Skitta-dinky-dink" (in reference to his favorite pre-naptime song)
"Un! Deux! Trois! . . ."
"You like ... ?"
"Inukshuk!" (I consider this one a pretty good sign that our Ethiopian boys are fairly acclimated to Canadian culture!)
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Each of these news stories is unique. But, of course, they all have one thing in common. Each highlights an adoption case gone bad.
I can't deny any of these stories.
However, I can throw my two cents into the mix. I find the media's propensity to accentuate negative portrayals of adoption to be indicative of ignorance and sensationalism, rather than insight and realism. By focusing on aberrational stories, rather than the actual experiences of the vast majority of those affected by adoption, the media skews public perception of adoption and contributes to the stigmatization of adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents. In this way, adoption involvement makes one less "normal," pitiable, undesirable, or somehow unable to truly measure up. In other words, there is an asterisk beside this kind of family formation.
I wish it wasn't that way.
In meeting new people, I wish I didn't have to try to figure out how to respond to the recurrent questioning centering around which of my children "are adopted" and which are "really mine." (By the way, I prefer to speak of our boys who were adopted. In the past. It's done. In differentiating the manner in which our children joined the Tapper family, I speak of our children "by adoption" and our child "by birth." I understand that most questions are motivated by a somewhat benign curiosity, and I often try to share openly. However, the apparent need for differentiation is somewhat awkward. I mean, when was the last time you spontaneously asked a mother, as her children played nearby, whether her deliveries were natural, medicated, or cesarean?)
I wish that the first question people ask about the adoption process would not involve the issue of finances. (Yes, adoption processes can be expensive. Yes, the large sums of money within the "adoption industry" do raise compelling ethical issues. However, I believe that, too often, people are scared off by these controversies or total dollar figures, when they really should be exploring how adoption or orphan care might be something that they might be involved in. I talk dollars, and people make excuses.)
I wish I could speak about potential challenges my boys face without people automatically attributing concerns to their adopted status, or, alternatively, that I could explore, with others, issues related to potential harms in their early life without conversational partners dismissing such ideas as unnecessary concerns for our loving family. (The idea of adopted children being second-class, "damaged goods" is repulsive to me. The idea that adopted children may have special needs, necessitating that those around them speak hope and healing into their lives, is foundational to our family's child-rearing approach.)
I could probably go on, but I'll just try to summarize.
Ultimately, what I want to say is this: There is probably some portion of your understanding of adoption or adoptees or adoptive families that has been based on misinformation or a skewed social construction based on limited information. It's this way for me, too. I'm still learning.
I just ask that you don't take everything you hear as the be-all-and-end-all of how things work. That you stop and think before you speak in ways that might devalue another. That you actively seek, beyond the sensationalized stories, to understand the rich realities of so many.
These are my boys by adoption. Here's the news from our family: We wouldn't have it any other way.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Besides scoring some goals -- on a surface that doesn't slip and slide :), I have also exhibited the proper technique for throwing a football, served as pitcher and batting coach, and demonstrated a perfect cartwheel. Last night, after supper, the whole family enjoyed some backyard playtime. Ethan and Andrew were quite keen on practicing their baseball skills. After the kids had turns fielding and batting, Mike suggested that I take my turn at the "plate." After thoroughly impressing the boys by smacking a ball onto the rooftop (That is impressive, considering it is a sponge ball and a sponge bat!), it was also fun to hear my hubby repeatedly say, "I forgot about Mommy's sweet swing!"
Bring it on, boys!
"I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep,
but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine.
I don't want enough God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant.
I want ecstacy, not transformation.
I want warmth of the womb, not new birth.
I want a bound of Eternal in a paper sack.
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please."
"When someone has been given much, much will be required in return." --Luke 12:48 NLT
"Evil is not just where blood has been spilled. Evil is in the self-absorbed human heart." --Ravi Zacharias
"But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don't take yourself too seriously--take God seriously." --Micah 6:8 MSG
"Heal my heart and make it clean.
Open up my eyes to the things unseen.
Show me how to love like you have loved me.
Break my heart for what breaks yours.
Everything I am for your Kingdom's cause,
As I walk from earth into Eternity." --Hillsong United's "Hosanna"
"As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world's interest in me has also died. . . . we have been transformed into a new creation." --Galatians 6:14-15 NLT
Monday, April 12, 2010
"Jadon's coloring in the lines! Jadon's coloring in the lines! Jadon's coloring in the lines!"
Saturday, April 10, 2010
A friend at the dinner tonight said, "I just love watching your family. The kids just seem so bonded." That comment warms my heart. I think it's true, too. And quite amazing. Four kids. From three continents. Who have been together all of six months. Learning to love. Teaching love.
Yeah, it was a good day.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Of course, after all the excitement of the signing up process, Andrew, Ethan, and Abby wanted to know what Jadon was going to do. I suggested that Jadon had a very important part to play as well. Four sets of eyes stared at me attentively.
"Jadon is the biggest cheerleader of all!" I said.
And immediately, Jadon began to jump, clap, and shout "Yeah!" I think he'll do just fine!
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Thursday, April 1, 2010
While some within Christianity have avoided symbolism, recognizing the impossibility of ever fully representing the fullness of God, I find myself drawn to these attempts to open the windows of my mind and heart to truth far greater that anything I could ever really understand. I have several items that serve as icons in this way for me.
Near the beginning of our adoption process (that seems so long ago!), our family made bracelets with three beads. They represent Romans 12:12 for us. The colored bead symbolizes joyfulness in hope, the black bead symbolizes patience in affliction, and the clear bead symbolizes faithfulness in prayer. I have been wearing my bracelet for over two years. There are times when I find myself fingering a particular bead (perhaps inadvertently at first), and I am brought into connection with my God who provides hope, strength, comfort, and perfect love.
Another icon for me is a small silver bell necklace. It was given to me by a friend from our church in Maine. For me, it represents many things: the love of the giver (causing me to rejoice and reminding me to pray for her), the particular community of believers from which it came (causing me to be thankful and to pray for that local church), and the life of the Spirit. You see, whenever I wear it, this tiny silver bell jingles ever so lightly and beautifully as I move throughout my day. I find myself continually rejuvenated with the knowledge of the Spirit's presence--moving, working, making new and beautiful creation, in and through my day, my life, my world.
Quite a while ago, Abby was doing some crafty projects involving paper, scissors, glitter glue, etc. After a while, she came to me with a plain white piece of paper and asked me to cut it into "just a cross." As I reached for the paper and scissors, I asked her what she wanted to do with the cross.
"Hang it on my bed so that I think of Jesus when I wake up in the morning."
We Tappers need our simple icons.