…and for those of you not “down with the lingo,” that’s “Prospective Adoptive Parent.” And this part of my story is one of the reasons I went blog-silent for a solid quarter of this year.
I’ve written before about how involved we’ve gotten with our church’s Hispanic ministry. I’ve mentioned my now-very-close friend Reina a number of times, and that she escaped February’s house fire out a second story window while 6 1/2 months pregnant. Well, for months before the fire I was driving Reina to her pre-natal appointments and helping with paperwork and with understanding the insurance system here in our state. ‘Cause it’s daunting even when you’re used to living here. Completely overwhelming when you speak another language, haven’t been here long, weren’t planning on a pregnancy, and reside squarely in the working-to-survive class.
Then add a house fire and the loss of every dollar and every identifying document you own, two and a half months before your due date.
“Vulnerable” doesn’t begin to describe it. For nearly a month after the fire, she was so stressed out that the only thing she could keep down was bananas and a little bit of water. Read the rest of this entry
The boys are huge fans of the You Wouldn’t Want to… book series.
For those of you who have some how MISSED these gems, they include such greats as You Wouldn’t Want to Be a World War II Pilot: Air Battles You Might Not Survive (currently on our shelf), You Wouldn’t Want to Be an 18th Century Convict: A Trip to Australia You’d Rather Not Take (No offense to my Australian readers – ie. Von.), and You Wouldn’t Want to Be Mary Queen of Scots: A Ruler Who Really Lost Her Head.
Check your local library. They’re awesome. Especially for boys.
But anyway. Fred and I – but especially I, ’cause I’m prone to such things as extensive geneological researching, and also spend nearly all my time with said children — have been very conscious of the fact that giving them a thorough connection to their own roots is very important.
And that that means doing some extra research. Because their roots are not our roots (though they’re welcome to partake in all our Euro-straight-to-U.S.-American fun-and-games, of course!)
So we’ve read about Guatemala, TRAVELED back to Guatemala, read about the Maya, CLIMBED their pyramids, studied Spanish… I’m still looking for a socially acceptable way of asking some of the Latino men I know just what it is that they’re wearing that smells so good, so I can buy it to put on the boys (who frequently smell like sweat and “tootle”)… but I digress… Read the rest of this entry
Less than a week till Christmas, and we got to celebrate last night with the crew who are helping me legitimize the “Mamacita” in my moniker – our church’s Hispanic Ministry. I had so much fun at the last big parties in June and in August, it seemed high time to host one at our house (many thanks to Fred for helping me pull it off!). So I prepared my best attempts at Roast Pork, Spanish Rice, Baked Plantains – and a nod to my own ancestry with some Wassel that was clearly a foreign concept to the group, but oh well – and we were off and running. Or eating, rather. Read the rest of this entry
It’s still early Fall, but we can tell this is the school year to start the in-depth conversations with the boys about discussing their race with others.
They know about race, have been able to rattle off from the age of three that they’re Latino; that their ancestors and Fred’s and mine came from different places on the globe (even before they really understood what “ancestors” were); and that that’s why our skin and hair and eyes are different colors. As we’ve studied different countries of the world, they’ve learned that people in different regions look different, eat different foods, have different customs, but also have many global similarities.
But how to “explain themselves?” No, we haven’t covered that yet. Read the rest of this entry
When Kim and I were passing through immigration in Guatemala City Airport, we were forced to choose one of two lines: “Central Americans” or “Foreigners.” While the two of us have spent a week of nights discussing how international adoption displaces children from their native culture and family, in this moment, choosing the Foreigners line, I felt an overwhelming sense of the reality of that separation for our kids.
It didn’t seem quite right. Our boys know they are from Guatemala. We read them books about Guatemala and show them videos of Guatemala on YouTube. Their original U.S. visas declared them “Guatemaltecos.” They proudly tell their classmates they are from Guatemala and that they are both Guatemalans and Americans. They should be standing in the Central Americans line.
I felt like telling the boys, “You know, you guys ought to be standing over there. This is your country too.” Read the rest of this entry
Want to introduce you all to one of my favorite new people, Reina.
I met her last November when I was in the throes of total intimidation at even coming to our church’s Hispanic group. Many weeks, she was the only other woman there, so we bonded pretty quickly. At that time, though, she spoke no English, and I spoke very little Spanish, Read the rest of this entry
It was another cultural learning experience for me this weekend as Nancy and I threw the Hispanic Ministry’s first baby shower. Nancy is married to Mario, the ministry leader, but like me, she’s a “Gringa” – frequently the only other one there on Sunday nights. So, yes, we’ve sorta bonded. Read the rest of this entry
The boys and I picked up a couple friends from the Hispanic group we’re in on Sunday nights and took them hiking at Patapsco Valley State Park, this afternoon. And besides being an excellent friendship-builder, this afternoon also proved to be one of expanding our Spanish by immersion.
Stand-out words of the day: former slur terms that are now used as national identification slang (often with pride) by the various people of Central America.
Happy to share. Read the rest of this entry
Our copy of the U.S. Census 2010 arrived today, and true to claim, it took me less than 10 minutes to fill out. For any of you who haven’t received yours yet and are curious, you can see all the questions on the form on the U.S. Census website.
The most interesting thing (and it’s pretty straightforward, so nothing really enthralling) was that there are two separate Race/People Group questions – #8 and #9. I guess I didn’t pay attention to that last time, just checked “White,” “White” (oh so very pale) and moved on. Hadn’t even met Fred yet, last time.
But this time, answering for our whole family, I actually had to stop and think how I wanted to fill out the latter question. Read the rest of this entry
Been home for a week and a half, and for some reason this trip has thrown me into “reverse-culture shock” unlike any other I’ve been on. Maybe it’s the kids – going from CIPI to my own five year olds who can read, write, and explain the Louisiana Purchase in-detail. That we have so much stuff here, after spending one day with no running water there. Or that I was working alone most days, so I’m “debriefing” myself as I talk about my experience with everyone else who asks.
Or maybe it’s something else. Don’t know. But at any rate, I’ve been struggling with a bout of something like “survivor’s guilt.” I went, I played with some kids who have nearly nothing, and then I came back to my very-comfortable life here in the U.S. Meanwhile those same kids are heading into another week of only basic physical needs being met. Read the rest of this entry