Showing posts from 2011

The house at the end of the rainbow - my first Waldorf birthday (tears and all)

It was Leah's school birthday a while ago - and quite a build up to an event I did not even know existed until I joined Waldorf.  Leah was getting more wriggly and restless and excited as the big day approached. I assumed it was the prospect of a pink chocolate cake (yes, it's possible - ask me!)with loads of smarties and jellytots that got her all hyped - little did I know!

A school birthday, I was told, is when each child receives a little gift from her classmates - self made of course or "found" (during the last 3 terms with about a birthday a week, we diligently crafted away for the first two birthdays, and then came to heavily rely on the  "found" part, which stretched to found in cupboards, drawers and even found amongst our very own toys).

So now it was our turn to present the cake and carry home the golden basket of self made or found little treasures. I dutifully dropped child and cake off at the normal time and was told to come back at 11:45 for …

The Power of Anger

I found myself confronted with a lot of anger recently - mainly from Leah, who is in the process of negotiating the tricky transformation from mummy -centered sweet baby-girl to her new preteen 6 year old self - and of course her little sister copies her any chance she gets. In the last couple of days, I ve been shouted at more times I care to count,  have been told to go away, to leave her alone and die (go to heaven and become an angel). I ve been cut with imaginary knives, fired at by spiderman's fists and kicked out of my  house to go and live in the forest (with the other witches).

Bath time at the end of the day was like negotiating a mine field after a whole week of sleep deprivation:  from undressing, to brushing teeth, to washing, to getting out of the bath and putting cream on - there was always something I totally blew. And subsequently got shouted at for.  Sometimes I ignorede the outbursts and simply got on with bath time. At other times I resorted to terrible threat… don't know what it's like not to be adopted.....

In  the movie "And then she found me"  the adopted sister (helen hunt) says to her brother, who is the biological son of their parents:
You don't know what it's like to be adopted.
The brother simply replies:
And you don't know what it's like not to be adopted....

At the time I saw the movie, I somehow liked the answer but did not understand it's implications. Now, years later, as I am reading through the posts on our FB group about "trans racial adoption/fostering" - I find a deeper truth in it.

Ever since I have started talking to adoptees, I have been feeling uneasy and sad about the fact that my  life choice to adopt rather than to procreate, which was made out of a whole hearted "yes" to life and it's many possible roads and pathways, seems to be at the root of so much heart ache, despair and pain - for adopted children.

I am wondering if this seemingly "negative" side to adoption might be one of the reasons that to…

Different shades of Love

Shape of my love

When I started my journey as your mother, I had no idea what it would be like. I never really thought about it much either, as I was convinced, love would rush to my side and help me through all the difficult bits, from the moment you were first placed in my arms.

That was not so.

Instead of having this serene experience, where mother- love would take over my body and soul and turn me into the- mother-I-was-meant-to-be, all I could feel in that moment  was insecurity and, above all, sheer panic. There were moments in the first weeks of your lives with me, where self-doubt and despair seemed all there was left of my feelings and I feared I could never be the mother you deserved.

But quietly in the background my love for you  grew, like a seed hidden underground, unnoticed and unrecognisable, but its final shape the knowlege it already carries deep within.

My love for you grew silently at first,  from the moment I conceived you as a possibility, to the earth shatte…

Happiness runs in circular motion - life is like a little boat upon the sea

Happiness runs in a circular motion
Life is like a little boat upon the sea
Everything is part of everything anyway,
and you can have it all
if you let yourself be

This is a sweet little yoga meditation that I learned years ago on a Kundalini retreat. It has a childlike magic to it, that automatically lifts my spirit, whenever I sing it  to you or just think about it.

Since my last post was all about Leah and how I came to love her, this one is for you Kala, my strong and beautiful child, my little goddess of destruction, and about your special magic.

Kala -

I can't say I chose that name, because, what really happened:  it came along with you. You chose it like you chose me as your mother and us as your family at the precise moment you were ready to start your life with us.

The name I had in mind for you,  before I knew you, was Lili.

Somehow I must have expected a Lili, a delicate little fairy flower, angelic and almost insubstantial.

A picture that self destructed the moment …

The random moments when love happens

I often remember the moment , when I first held you in my arms:

my heart beating a thousand beats a minute, my mind spinning with the many new emotions of this one moment, which would change my life forever;

in that first second, when I tried to take you in all at once, searching your tiny, sleeping face for something familiar, that would spark off the firework of  love that I had anticipated so many times in the days and weeks waiting for your arrival,in that split second  I realised, everything was different from what I had thought it would be.

And as I was forced  to drop all my expectations, judgements and assumptions, I started to understand that my love for you - like any force of nature -  would make it's appearance on it's own terms. I could not build or model it on any previous experience and literally had to start from scratch together with you.

The wiser part of me  knew without a doubt that it was there and as much a part of me as my breath and my heartbeat - but…

Parenting 1 Ohhhh 1

Being an older mother has it's advantages. Firstly I don't feel I am missing out on life, while sitting at home on my couch with my two little ones  softly snoring in their beds. In fact, having the "I don't have a babysitter" excuse is one of the great incentives of parenthood.

Compared to young parents, like my own parents were, I also feel I have, through my many years of gathering life experiences, ideas and opinions, gained a slightly  more mature - dare I say wise - approach to most every day issues when it comes to raising my kids. I have thought about  most things before they even come up and have a smug - ask me anything!! - attitude to most parenting questions.

That was before my kids could talk in full sentences.

 I recently realised that the game has changed. Where as only a week ago, I could approach tantrums and sleep problems in a methodical yet loving and patient way (weeell - mostly...)  and come out of the experience shining brightly - there ar…

I'd rather have my own....

This is a common statement made by people in order to shut down a subject they feel uncomfortable with: Adoption. I recently  heard it from a woman, who, at 45, desperate for a child and single, is now considering going through all sorts of financial, emotionall and physical strain in order to have the experience of giving birth. 

Did it bother me, like it used to only a couple of months ago? Strangely it did not. Believe it or not, I simply offered my phone number in case  things did not work out as she hoped and she'd like some insight into adoption...

As I was scrolling through my older posts I noticed that somewhere along the way my focus shifted from advocating and talking about all things adoption - and the many why's and how's  and all the weird things I have encountered being and adoptive mother -  to more general issues (and race and color of course).

This for some reason makes me strangely happy as I realise that a subtle shift happened: in my mind my children …

Mummy, I don't want to grow up...

my friends daughter told her not so long ago. When she asked her why, the sad answer was:
Because I don't want to be a nanny....

For the first time it really sunk in, what our - dark skinned and adopted  - children are exposed to growing up in this country. If seen through their eyes, our privileged lifestyle becomes a scary reality:  White people drive cars and live in big houses, people who look like them beg on street corners,  have to walk everywhere and the lucky ones with  jobs are nannies or cleaners.

Of course I was never blind to these sad facts in the past. But cushioned by my sheltered upbringing and a heart felt but somewhat blue-eyed vision of a future for my children, where race would not matter , reality never hit me like this before.

For the first time in a long time, I am lost. Lost for words,  that can make sense where there is clearly no good reason behind a bad situation. It is only a matter of time, when Leah will start asking more pertinent questions. In h…

Gnome building without fear.... the Waldorf experience and me

Leah recently changed schools. Not a big deal as such. Only she went from the more conventional relatively low parent-involvement-system  of the German Kindergarden (believe me it is v e r y low key  compared to what I know now!) to a brave new world of group weaving mornings,  craft making weekends and parent teacher evenings with compulsory sing-a-longs.

How on earth did this come about???

My pre-Waldorf self  lived blissfully unaware in the belief that parent involvement  really meant delivering my child to school more or less washed and dressed and if I really wanted to shine I included a healthy non sugary snack and a change of clothes into her school bag.  Heck, I even made time for the 15 minute parent teacher chat once a term and prepared a bowl of popcorn for the yearly Christmas party.

Little did I know what lay in store for me when I decided on a whim that princess Leah might benefit from a change of schools. As so often in life, from the moment a vague feeling expands in…

To all the single ladies .... and mothers...

Not for the first time I find myself in awe of single-motherdom and its daily mind boggling challenges. Ladies I don't know how you do it.

Two days into my week of  single motherhood  - (yes Alan is away for a couple of days) I realise once again I am not cut out for this monumental achievement in multitasking, managing, organising and developing superhuman qualities all in one days work (and I have great and capable help!!!)

It all started out well enough with me smugly packing lunchboxes and school bags and laying out multi layered little outfits inspired by "iafrica- 7-day- weather-forecast" the evening BEFORE ( having temporarily lost the morning privilege of shouting last minute instructions to Alan from the sanctuary of my bathroom).

 I then calmly set my alarm for six oh ten and go to bed at a civil time expecting a good night's rest and a smooth and efficient start to the day.

At around midnight Leah comes crawling into my bed, demanding a drink of water an…

Baby Jesus and The Easter Bunny

With the recent Easter celebrations I found myself once again confronted with the moral dilemma of where to draw the line between creating a little fairy tale bubble for my kids and  - really - lying to them. It is one thing to tell them about the Easter Bunny hopping about in our garden at night hiding chocolate eggs - creating a little fun and excitement and get away with it. But it's a whole different ball game to stand up to an interrogation practise the FBI would be proud of.

How tall exactly is the Easter bunny?
Where does he live?
Where does he get the eggs from?
Does he know Santa?
(that's just the top 4)

... and things become even more dicey when the little mind goes into worry overdrive

Will he get into my window?
Where is he now?
Why is he only coming out when it's dark (the dark is a big worry at the moment...)?

I am not good at making things up, it's probably my German upbringing - never tell a lie (at least not one that can be dismantled within seconds..…

Something to think about while we are on the subject:

Why is it important for a so called healthy racial identity to identify with your "black" heritage rather than with the other parts of your genetic cocktail, i.e. asian, chilean, german, whatever?
Isn't it strange that most people would consider a german/african child with light brown skin calling herself white a case for a therapist,whereas we would consider it healthy if she would call herself black?

Hope to get answers from you, Precious, Cynde, anyone?

A Black Man in The White House - Something the world can be proud of?

I am amazed at all the different reactions I got  here on my blog, in personal emails or speaking to people about my feelings towards race labellling.

Thank you all for participating and offering opinions! At the same time I am a little frustrated with how my - adimittedly slightly long winded - point of view gets reduced to a reluctance  to call my children black because I have an issue with their race or skin color (???). I accept that most people still think in traditional categories of black and white and I do not automatically see it as an insult to my girls if someone refers to them as black - depending of course on the context.

But why is it so difficult to accept for some of you that I simply want to move forward and away from labels that have historically been used to suppress and humiliate people (or set "white" people apart as superior) and into a future where we see race and color as something as individual and natural as eye color or hair color. Something you …

What's wrong with calling my children black?

Precious comments on my post about "the race issue"  that she does not understand the reluctance to "describe ourselves as black or white" as she sees it simply as a fact of life, pretty much like describing a person as a man or a woman. She also adds that many people who have written to her - adopted by families with a different ethnic background - feel that it is mainly the "white" community who shows a reluctance to call their "black" kids black and instead emphasises that color does not matter whereas they feel it does.  (If there were more cases of cross cultural adoption where the parents are "black" and the children "white" we might have a different perspective altogether but as it is we do not have the privilege of another side here).

I have been thinking about this over the past week and as much as I see her point and want to come around to it for the sake of my children ( if this is what it's going to come down …