Saturday, July 25, 2009

Call me Amy

Emmy had a new friend at school, Owen, and he is from Texas.

After playing with him all day, Emmy came home, exasperated, explaining that Owen was calling her "Amy" all day long even though she told him a hundred times her name is Emmy.

Monday, July 20, 2009


I was telling another adoptive Mom about what happened with Marin yesterday. She said "Let me tell you a story about my Mother."

"My Mother visited this morning and was all bummed about. I asked her why. She had been thinking about the baby she lost over 40 yeasrs ago. So here is my 75 year old Mom who has 8 kids, an army of grandkids, a house on the beach, a host of friends, is in good health, travels all over, and has enjoyed a wonderful life. But every now and then she gets gripped in a moment of sadness about the baby she lost. "

The point is there are sometimes holes in our hearts that cannot be filled. Not by new parents, not by America, not by time. Our job is to help Marin understand it is OK to feel what she is feeling, there is no shame in it, and to understand that feeling may stay with her throughout her life.

Give us strength.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Poor Marin

This is sad story. You need two pieces of back information first.

1. There is a boy named Eyob in Ethiopia who is about 10 yrs old and quite sick because he was born with Spina Bifida. A family we know sponsors Eyob and brings us up to date on him from time to time.
2. I recently accumulated enough frequent flyer miles to take the four of us to Addis for free, and I am trying to convince Colleen that we should all do a homeland visit during April school vacation in 2010. Colleen is concerned it is too soon and will create too many emotions for Marin.

Fast forward to yesterday, we are all in the car and Marin starts asking questions about Eyob. We're having a nice conversation about Eyob and Ethiopia and I decide this is a good time to ask Marin if she is ready to visit Ethiopia "Not to stay, but just for a few sleepovers and them fly back to America". Marin was very excited and started talking about all the people she wanted to see, including Eyob, and using the few Amharic words she remembers. I looked at Colleen as if to say "and you were concerned about what??"

Suddenly, Marin fell silent and her face was expressionless. Then she burst into inconsolable wailing. " I miss my mommy. I want my mommy. I miss her so much." Whoa. We thought we were way beyond this. We had to stop the car and hug and rock Marin to calm her down. I think this is a new definition of powerlessness. When we have invested almost 3 years of bonding with a great kid, only to find out that when the chips are down, it is still her African mother that she will call out for, even when we are sitting beside her in the same car. We were heartbroken for her.

Emmy had a nightmare

Emmy woke up crying and calling for Colleen. Colleen rushed to Emmy's bed to see what was wrong.

Emmy - I had a bad dream
Colleen - What was it ?
Emmy - Where's Daddy? I need to see Daddy.
Colleen - Daddy's in the shower. Why do you need to see Daddy?
Emmy - In my dream Daddy died. I need to see him.
Colleen - Emmy, can you hear the water running? Daddy is in the shower
Emmy - No Mama. I need to see him right now.

So Colleen relents and carries Emmy into the bathroom to see me. Emmy suddenly breaks into this huge grin, which Colleen thought was an expression of relief. Emmy looked at Colleen and said "Mama. I tricked you into letting me see Daddy naked."

I'm telling you, this kid is going to be impossible when she gets older.

Emmy Ninja

Emmy and I were lying on my bed on our backs reading a book. Suddenly, Emmy asked me if I wanted to see her new karate move. Before I could answer, she was standing on the bed beside me as I laid on my back. She said "Ready Daddy?" And I thought to myself "she weighs less then 35 pounds, how much can this hurt?" So I said OK.

Emmy tucked her right elbow tight into her body and held her right wrist tightly so her right elbow was firmly locked. Then she jumped and did a flying landing with the point of her elbow jammed into my ribs. It hurt so bad I swore she broke one of my ribs. After catching my breath I asked "Emmy, where did you learn that?" She replied "The boys at school taught me. Want to see it again Daddy?"

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Ants Marching

You know how wet it has been lately. It has caused some big black ants to migrate into our house. I staked out a lot of ant traps over the weekend.

So this morning Marin and I are at the breakfast table and I spied an ant scurrying across the kitchen floor and I stomped on it.

Marin - What was that?

Me - An ant.

Marin - Did you kill him?

Me - Yes

Marin - Are we gonna eat it?

Me - Did you eat bugs in Africa?

Marin - Yes

Me - How did you eat them?

Marin - Cook them in a pan until they go pop like popcorn

Me - Did you like them

Marin - No. They don't taste good inside me.

Me - Then why did you eat them?

Marin - I was hungry.

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get to the bottom of all her stories. So many divergent situations bring up a memory that takes is down a trail and I learn something new. I just hope I always remember to ask Marin questions instead of shutting down the conversation.