Monday, May 10, 2010

Fake right shoot left

So there is Emmy, warming up for her pre-K soccer game. The opposing coach is in his own goal letting his players warm up on him. Naturally, he is playing very soft, letting everything go in, as he should with players this age.

Emmy makes her way down to his end of the field and asks if she can score in him. He says "Sure!" but something about Emmy must have rubbed him the wrong way because he suddenly decides to play like its the Olympics. Emmy comes in with the ball on her right foot and the coach sells out right, I mean lays right out horizonally. Emmy shifts the ball to her left foot, and toe flips the ball into the upper left corner, making the guy look like a fool. He turns bright red and being sold out by a little girl. It gets worse.

Emmy falls to the ground, holding her belly laughing, and starts yelling at no one in particular "Oh my God, did you see me fake that guy out? That was so hilarious." The parents in the lawn chairs were all asking each other "Did you see what that little girl just did?"

At this point it was getting embarrassing for me. Thanks goodness most of the crowd don't know we're Emmy's parents.

Thursday, May 6, 2010


So there we are, tucking the kids into bed, having our 'calming down' conversations to get the kids into the right frame of mind to go to sleep.

Marin: Daddy, what do you want from me?
Me: Marin, I want you to be nice and love me forever like I will love you forever.
Marin: Mama, what do you want from me?
Colleen: Marin, I want you to be nice and love me forever like I will love you forever.
Marin: Emmy, what do you want from me?
Emmy: I want you to be super mean to me and always push all of my buttons all the time.

Monday, May 3, 2010

One Moon Ethiopia

Last weekend we attended and participated in an exhibit of artwork created by the children of adoptive parents from Ethiopia. About 15 families from southern ME and NH participated, and all the kids had a total blast.

On the ride home, it got me thinking.

What is it about these 15 families that motivates us to seek each other out, gravitate toward each other, and in some cases, cling to each other? The surface answer is we have a common bond, children from Ethiopia, and that is obviously a part of the answer because we probably would not even know each other if not for that.

But this phenomenon runs deeper. We seem to be building, or striving to build, something deeper and enduring. A permanent community of sorts. A legacy for our children so they will have roots after we are gone.

We sense, on some level, that our children do not, and perhaps will not, have the deepness of roots we thought they would have in America. That even in our biological families, there is transracial undercurrent that anyone other than the parent(s) cannot fully appreciate. But other adoptive parents do understand and can shed light on solutions. Our kids feel comfortable being with the other kids that have experienced substantially similar life trajectories. The kids are approaching an age now where they can compare notes and begin to explore unanswered questions for themselves. Having good relationships with their fellow Eth orphans helps get them through this.

I'll close with one cute example. This weekend we saw a little girl that shared a dorm room with our girls at the orphanage in Addis. They have had no contact at all in almost 3 years. They looked across the beach, recognized each other, ran to each other, gave each other a long embrace, and played together the entire day as though they had never been apart.

Only these kids know what they left behind. Only these kids know what it took to survive that. Luckily, the parents get it, and the parents know it is these kids that are the support network our kids are going to need feel connected, supported, and affirmed into adulthood.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Showing early promise

Today was opening day of spring soccer.

Marin plays in the 2-3 grade bracket. Her team lost 3-1, but Marin had a decent game and scored her teams' only goal.

Emmy plays in the pre-K league. She probably should be in the first grade league. Today Emmy scored six goals in the first five minutes of the game. The opposing coach and I talked it over, decided the field sloped in a direction that favored Emmy's team (it really did - it's a crummy field), and switched goals so Emmy would have to score uphill. No problem. Three more goals in the next five minutes. I sent Emmy to the bench so other kids could touch the ball.

When Emmy returned to the game, we were leading something like 10-1. I told Emmy "No more goals for you, you wait for one of your team to get to the goal with you and pass it to her". Emmy responded with a cheerful "OK, Daddy."

Emmy takes the ball, zip zip zip, and is at the other goal waiting for someone on her team to catch up. She turned around and yelled "Hurry up and I'll shoot it to you and you can score a goal." And she did - about a dozen times. It was just ridiculous. Thankfully, all the parents knew I was doing everything I could to take the attention off Emmy, but it just wasn't working.

It is really exciting to watch her play.