Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Blind Side-Movie Review




Considering how precious my night outs are you know that I pick my entertainment carefully. I was curious about this movie because of a review that I read in Adoptive Families Magazine last month.

All of their claims about adoption friendly language and treatment of the issues was 100% accurate. 

This is based on the book Blind Side by Michael Lewis. It is a true story about a young man, "Big Mike" taken into an initially informal foster care situation in Mississippi by a very wealthy and thoughtful family.

Among other things handled with care and insight was the depiction of Michael's biological mother and her inability to parent.  The film painted her as troubled, and compassionate. I particularly appreciated the final nod to her at the conclusion of the film when Mike, who now goes by Michael, explains the root of his resiliency.

I went on YouTube to see interviews with the real characters in the story, and was impressed by how well Sandra Bullock was cast as the spit fire outspoken designer who finds herself
changed by Michael, and not the other way around.

All of the characters undergo subtle and meaningful shifts in the film as they each discover their own potential.

An amazing endorsement of foster care, formal or not, and what could happen if all of our non parented youth, had such an opportunity.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Sosa Reaction/ A Girl Like Me (Video from 2005)


This video  (see below--I got carried away with the Sosa images) was posted on the Love Isn't Enough Website- in response to so many of the viewers not seeing a problem with Sammy Sosa's recent DRAMATIC intentional skin lightening.  [My own musings here, are directly inspired from there: Love Isn't Enough (formerly Antiracist Parent) website. I always have trouble posting their link here, but the address is: http://loveisntenough.com ]


A high school student recreated research done as evidence for the Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) where children of color were asked to chose which baby doll was "better" or "nicer"-the brown one, or the white one. 

In 2005, the results are not different then fifty years before:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqSFqnUFOns&feature=related 

For the entire seven minute long documentary you can You Tube "A Girl Like Me".


I read on an adoptive parent focused web page where the white parent was told it was normal for her African American child to want to be white like them. What disturbed me was not that a child would want to look like her parents, but that the assumption that this is normal from a developmental perspective was not separated from the implications this has for the parents in terms of the child's identity formation. Wanting to be white is not normal, wanting to look like your parents is.


When my Sammy saw these two pictures, he looked at them very carefully and finally said; "That's weird."

When I asked him what was weird he said; "He looks white there." I did not recreate the experiment with Sam by asking which picture he liked better-because I found myself anxious to not leave him alone in that moment. So, I agreed that it was weird, and followed up that it made my heart sad that this man did not love the way he looked before. Sam and I then agreed that he looked better as a brown skinned Dominican man.


This also brings to mind Sammy's noticing that MJ wasn't brown when he died. I wonder now if he isn't thinking that brown skinned people turn white when they get sick! That you lose all your color and turn white.


*A special shout to KJ for bringing this conversation up this morning in terms of the daycare/what does a princess look like/can she have brown hair?/bring on Princess Tiana please!

I will not let

the unpaid hospital bills interfere
with all that I manage so well financially-
like the mortgage, the childcare, the clothes that fit
growing bodies beautifully


the moments I lose patience and empty the refrigerator
on the floor to prove there are no more cheese sticks there
undermine all the times that I walk away and breathe
calling upon untapped reserves of calm

the fears of not spoiling them wrotten at the holidays
drown out my determination to maintain laughter, family, and
connection as the gifts the holidays afford-
time spent well is all they really want

the Will Not Lets wake me up tomorrow.
The Wills are a much easier troupe
to start a weekend with.
Will Write,
Will Laugh, 
Will Cope,
Will Discover that
we have all that we need.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

We are beginning a new tradition here today.
Not an original one I imagine
but new to us.

Black Friday is going to be devoted to celebrating
all things that are black which is brown.

[Economics aside-explained simply to Sam as
when a store is doing well they say they are
in the black.]

Black Friday is going to be a day where we list
everyone we know who is some part black
and who has contributed to making the world as we know it
a better and browner place to be.

Sam came up with Michael Jackson as the first on  his list.
To honor him we You Tubed him for half an hour.
The best most thought provoking find--the Jackson 5
on the Carol Burnett Show a long long time ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W62an6HrSww

Sam was laughing at her, while admiring the complementary colors
on their pant suits.
I was horrified picturing myself as Carol Burnett to their friends
a not so long time from now.

When I explained this new holiday to Sam,
to help me brainstorm other people we could
devote the day to his list was as follows;
Marcel, Me, and Uncle...

Should our  list include people who do not have brown skin
but who feel like they do in a way to you?

Sam ponders this and says; Yes because that would include
you, and all the other people who love me too.
And Michael Jackson at the end of his life.
But not Santa because he is really not black.

I rattle off a few obvious additions to the list
all of which Sam heartily agrees to.
Sam's birth mother and father, Marcel's donor.
Obama, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin,
Tiger Woods, Serena, and the new Disney Princess Tiana.
These being the most often occurring
and recent additions to the family lexicon.

If you're done Mom can I go now?

I nod and smile, as I jot it all down.

Waiting there watching me write Sam
the collaborator-son says,
Add this at the end mom;
Happy Black Day, and I love you.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Le Jour de Merci Donnant

Marcel just woke up in this photo.
He is so smushy vulnerable cuddley then.

So often I picture them at thirteen and ten and feel wildly appreciative of moments like these. When they want to cuddle. When I am still the one who knows what I am talking about. When the outside world hasn't taken over as the giver of the truth. When a hurt is still curable with a kiss.

Yesterday when I was fixing lunch and the boys were watching the trees being pruned right outside the window, Sam looked at Marcel and said; "You know what Marcel?"
"What Sam?" his adoring companion asked.
"I really love you."
"I really love you too beautiful Sam."

I am writing more then I ever have, and it is still not enough.
I am making connections with something I can now call- my readers-something I dreamed about saying once. I go about my day as a writer who is observing, and not the observer who might write about this one day. 

I feel more patience with them, and me.

I am thriving in my commitment to parent two children of color
with a hope born more deeply this day then the day before it-that my conscientiousness is purposeful. That my purpose is changing things for the better.

We are surrounded by so much love and support.

My eyes are closing as I write, but I couldn't go to sleep tonight without saying thank you for joining me here between the chaos and the consistency.
 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Book Review: Blended Nation


Recently many of my readers here, have been contacting me by email to introduce themselves and share how their stories resonate with mine.  "I look forward to all the ways in which you find a way to approach the intersection of race and parenting.." wrote a woman, who like myself is an adoptive parent of a child of color. That readers are writing to me is a source of great joy. That those of you who are writing continue to identify race, parenting, honesty, my voice and my experience as an adoptive parent as the reasons you return-emboldens and nourishes me.

The other night I became the audience member and reader to many of these same critical intersecting points on a much larger stage. Blended Nation: Portraits and Interviews of Mixed-Race America by Mike Tauber and Pamela Singh is a collective photographic and transcribed exploration of what it means to identify as mixed race in twenty-first century America. (You can see my earlier reference and the link to the NPR interview on this book under the November entry Blended Nation-Marcel Style.) As you may recall from a few weeks back, I was so struck by the short piece I heard on NPR with Mr. Tauber that I wrote to him to thank him for putting this work into the collective conversation and asked him if I could review and share his work here. He answered me within the day, and sent the book in two. 

I was pulled in from the cover, and felt instantly as if I just arrived at a family reunion with hundreds of kindred voices that all welcomed me in-even when what they had to say was not easy to hear. Take for example the words of Timothy Meril.  Adopted,  Puerto Rican, and Iranian, and in middle school, his portrait exudes self assurances and self doubt simultaneously. The sepia tones reflect his skin and the bark of the tree-that I trust and hope he will one day be as strong as-and provide a lush container for his honesty; "I'm not black and I'm not white and I just try to fit in... My parents and family love me, but they don't understand all the issues I deal with."  I feel a future Sammy and Marcel in his words, and in his world. And, I see our family over and over in the pages of this hefty, smooth, and visually stunning event. Interracial families, mixed race marriages, adoption, one part this and four parts that, and so many photos of radiant gorgeous people with curly black hair. Our family is the norm over and over again.

In last month's Adoptive Families Magazine, there was a story by a now grown woman, Deborah Jiang Stein, who used to pour over the photos in the National Geographic Magazine every month as a child desperate to find a picture of someone who looked like her. Her adoptive parents did not at the time have the background information necessary to help her discover what her ethnicity was (part Greek, Tiawanese-American, Latina and more).  Her essay came to mind as I looked in the eyes of the confident LaTanya Spann who is black, white and Asian. LaTanya talks about her choice in college of joining either the Asian, white or black sorority, and her decision to join a Latina-founded multi-cultural sorority instead. The difference in options for her, and Ms. Stein are epic. The book offers this perspective, and all of the possibility that shift engendered by the younger generation presents. At the same time, you are invited in, to the work of the parents that came before them, and the struggles of the peers that have not found their way to her flushed out decision.

I see this book as a tool for Sammy, Marcel and I to have many necessary conversations in the future. When Eddie, our Haitian superhero former nanny and now weekly dinner guest rock star was here the other night she said, having Marcel as a brother is going to provide opportunities for Sammy that he wouldn't necessary have otherwise. And, having Sammy as a brother will do the same for Marcel.  This book is offers me a little crystal ball moment into that map she sees ahead of them. The stories in the book, and the dare you to turn that page until you see my soul photos included should be the anchor text for all families who aim to parent children of any background fully in this century. It's like having extended family sitting on the couch who just showed up when you were at a loss for words and need their help to explain what it means to be human, today.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Say Uncle

While they are downstairs playing soccer
after watching football and explaining endzones
and replays
I am stealing a moment of thanks.

Sam's eyes say it all really.
What more could I add?
He made those cupcakes today with Eddie
to honor the man who is Super Uncle Man.

Crab cakes, roasted brussel sprouts, quinois, and cupcakes are on the menu tonight.

Flavored with admiration, appreciation, joy, humor
and love for our downstairs Uncle.
Sailor Uncle.
Football watching Uncle.
Throw me on the couch Uncle.
He likes to play rough Uncle.
T.V. will rot your brain Uncle.
Motorcycle Diner Uncle.

Don't tell him that I had a bad day at school Uncle.

I may not have a dad, but I have an Uncle Uncle.

We love you.

Thank you for giving us this chance
to celebrate
all that you do

Uncle.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

National Adoption Day

Almost five years ago 
I woke up at 2:45am and shot up in bed
as if someone had just banged a gong 
an inch from my head.

Close. 

Sam had just been born,
nearly a thousand miles away-

and less then two minutes
before. 

Only I didn't know-know  that then.

And yet, I knew it too. 
I tell Sam his cries reached me all that way away.
And told me to wake up-since my motherhood
had been born today. 

And a girl needs a few hours to get ready for that! 

About three hours later, the other gong struck- 
the phone.

Rang. 

And that is when I answered the most important 
phone call of my life-
at 5:30 am.

Hello?

Catherine, this is Beth from MAPS...

Yes?!?

The birth mother gave birth to a healthy and big baby two hours ago.
And she wants you to call her now.

Now? She wants to talk to me? She changed her mind about
having a closed adoption?

Yes.

OK. I have to scream now OK?

Yes.

(scream) How is he? How is she? Where are they?
What do I say? When can I go to him? Is he fine?
How big is he?
Phone number? OK .
I have to make some calls and buy the airplane tickets

and...

Catherine?

Yes???

Take a deep breath. Go get a pen and paper.
Call me back in a few minutes OK?


And I did. And I still have the piece of notebook paper
with the number of the hospital,

and his weight, (8 lbs 15 oz.) and every little thing
I needed to know to get myself from that moment
to the one where my son would be in my arms.


I'll leave out the part about the storm system
forming over the great lakes, and the west coast,
and how they would collide over
every airport in the U.S. for the next thirty some hours.


I ran around the apartment and screamed a lot-
which is Sam's favorite part of this story.

Then I called her.

And she called him "Fatso" and sounded so beautiful
and tired and urgent. I could hear him whimpering

and as he likes to say, telling me to hurry
up and grab him up.
And all she wanted to know was
when I would arrive.

I can not begin to imagine the landscape of the
inside of her heart that she battled through to
make that request.

Our adoption journey began before this moment,
and continues into each keystroke here.

But for today, as I type and cry and type
I am thinking of all of you who are waiting for the call.


Maybe it is a real call.

Maybe a call in your heart to consider adoption.

Maybe it is a call towards foster parenting.

Maybe it is a call to heal a part of you, and
celebrate all of you.

Happy Adoption Day.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Night Fly

These days I feel like that actor in the movie The Fly.

At first it was just a hair or two poking out
in odd places.




Then he starts to notice
something has gone funny with his eyes.


His genes have fused with a common housefly.

He can not go back.
He is a changed man.

Like the scientist, I have fused with a black child,
a black woman, a black man, and been teleported here
in my new knowing, in my old body.

I used to wonder as a kid what I looked like to a fly.
A mosaic human form coming towards it's

compound eyes.

That’s what you have when you parent.

Magnified to nearly 360 degree vision
at all times
when you are also parenting a child of color.

as a must be as good as complex aka
see me as the uber mama single mother

On alert.

Afraid to miss anything.
A nuance.
A gesture.
A look.
or a looked over.

Ready to alight
on a misspoke word
and rewrite
the intention

of the old man at the store who calls
your child boy

knowing

there is nothing artificial
about the way that conjures up the ceramic
outstretched arms and white gloved
of the black faced stable hand
from the story you read in high school
and didn’t understand-

until your outspoken homosexual English teacher
explained to you
what being a bigot meant.

This is how I spend a few hours on a Friday night alone
unwinding from parent teacher conferences
staff meetings
pre school pot lucks and a
birthday party
all in the last three days-

I confide in you as I
try to unwrap my hairy

leg from
over my wing

and land.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Color Recognition 101

It is the one color Sam can not identify.
Last October, spring and now.
This is the only color that escapes his otherwise
perfect
color recognition skills.
Brown.
I look at the assessment
and blink.
Parent teacher conference
in mid swing until:

Brown?

Numbers, no problem.
Ovals, triangles, squares
covered.
Motor skills off the charts.
Hand washing-
needs some attention.

Listening to messages is on the up and up,
and we're making great choices in how we
talk to our friends.

It's just, well the brown.

After bath tonight I asked him, what color I was wearing.

Brown he says.

And what color is your beautiful and deeply moisturized skin babe?

Black he says.

I see a creamy brown on your hands, and a creamy peach
on your palms I say, making little circles on his open hand
in mine.

No mom. I am black.

Like my eyebrows? I ask.

And mine he says.

So, then Sam, what does brown look like?

Like me-and you-and Marcel-don't argue with me mom.
I know what I am talking about.

Color identification skills, are clearly in the eye of the
beholder and the being held.

Tighter.

Map out for me what has happened
at just shy of five so that a richly deep brown skinned
child when asked to identify the color brown

says

I don't know what color that is.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Gobble never looked so good!

video

From book reviews to poor quality shameless kid cuteness with a holiday theme. How much farther can I fall in your eyes dear reader? Since Sam spontaneously burst out into this little ditty over his night-night snack I couldn't resist the opportunity to tape it. He was so thrilled that I found the box with last year's Thanksgiving art relics he began to recite every song on the topic he could recall. I am so pleased I kept what looked to an untrained eye as simply a stuffed brown lunch bag with construction paper protrusions shaped like legs and a beak.

Tomorrow I have Sam's fall "parent conference" with his preschool teachers. This is happening the same week that I will host parent teacher conferences with my students and their parents. It is such a good reminder as a teacher, to be on the other side of the information receiving end. I have zero concerns about Sam's progress as a preschooler--let's hope I am not given any reason to rethink this. Was I trying to butter them up, by presenting Shades of People to his teachers this morning? Will I become that mom? They read the book four times in his class today, by the way. And all the kids loved it.

I am working on a poem about migration--their migration towards me in the middle of the night, and the early morning. The more I write here, the more I am writing in my head, upon waking, while doing dishes, exhaling. The energy and support the blog provides me, in this abstract way is intangible. I must say that I feel a connection with my readership, known and unknown that is so nourishing to me as a mother, a writer, an adoptive parent, and all the other nuances of me that are allowed to float almost effortlessly to the surface here. What a perfect post to focus on my gratitude: thank you.

If you are a returning reader, and would be willing to join the list of followers over there, I'd appreciate that. Or send me an email at mamacandtheboys@gmail.com and introduce yourself. It is such a boost for me to hear from folks who are enjoying the blog, the work I do, and the perspective I have on this life we're living.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shades of People : Book Review



How fitting with all my focus on shades this week that this book should come into my hands. Special thanks to Kirsten Cappy and Curious City for hosting the multicultural book fair where I came in contact with this book today.

***

Have you noticed that people come in many different shades? Not colors exactly, but shades.
These are the opening words from the beaming photographic montage of preschool to early elementary aged faces on the pages of the luscious and diverse new children’s book by Shelley Rotner and Shelia Kelley. Like Karen Katz’s The Colors of Us, Rotner and Kelley succeed in presenting a fresh approach to the message that all children are remarkable, and that; “Our skin is just our covering, like wrapping paper.” When I first held this book in my hands bathed by the warm light from the pages of this "It's a Small World After All" like photographic celebration, I felt as if a void in our family's library had just been magically filled.

Page after page of dynamically arranged photographs present children of every background tenderly engaged with peers and blended family of all shades. The variety of the size and arrangement of the photos add to the allure. My personal favorites being the side by side museum like 10" x12" size portraits. All the photographs give our children a place to see themselves over and over again in charming sun drenched moments.

The minimal text is powerful in it’s brevity with lines like; “Even in the same family there can be many shades.” As a backdrop to that line is a spread of photographs showing blended families of all kinds that look like the pages of the Adoptive Families Magazine photo albums. All kids will see themselves here with dynamic confidence-whatever skin they are in!

I did not hesitate to buy a copy for my sons’ preschool for the spelled out message of inclusion, acceptance and diversity. There are so many teachable moments included-like the thoughtful photograph of a young African-American boy holding a paint brush creating a self portrait. Under his photo appears the line; “It’s hard to get the right shade when I paint." Shades of People is a living palette that all children can see themselves as the perfect shade of "gold", "almond", "tan" or "cream".

Having such an emotionally satisying visual and narrative experience the reader will not be surprised to discover that Kelley has a background spanning thirty years as a clinical psychologist, while Rotner published her photography in National Geographic Magazine and the like. This is a dynamic work that I trust will become a mainstay in the homes and schools of our blended families for years to come. In the words of a multi racial two year old and his brother while overlaying their hands on photos of the childrens hands in the sand on the end page; "I am there and there and there and there." Indeed.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Mother of Another Color*

If I am not a Black Mother
and I am not a mother to white children
does that make me grey?

Or would a Grey Mommy
connote a mother of a certain age range
that I may be approaching
in strands, but am not there yet.

A Mocha Mommy is a support group
for stay at home mothers of color
so that does not describe me either,
though it certainly describes an aspiration
to be at home all day and write about
the mocha mom in me.

Chameleon Mom
might be closer to the truth
with all the colors I wear
navigating from here-our blended family home
Out into the so-much-to-explain in the world out there.

Explain to the educator how
a mother
of a child of color surrounded in a room
of white teachers
may not feel as at ease
understood
or seen
as the well intentioned
intentional gathering might think
she should.

Explain to the manager of the grocery store
that although he may offer me
a hundred hair care options
it is my children's hair for whom I inquire.
Handing him the bottle of Mixed Chicks Shampoo**
I tell him that I would appreciate it if this product
could be carried too.
And not on an end cap, I add.
End cap feels like an afterthought to me- wouldn't you agree?

Explain the heaviness in my breath
as my morning feet slide
into the soft green slippers
with the semi mushed pom-poms.
That I have been turned inside out
from the birth of my first born son
grabbed up and into my arms
in a hospital in North Carolina
as I sat precariously on the edge of her bed
on the edge of instant motherhood
on the edge of other motherhood
on the edge of our son's thirty-six hour life

and shed.

My understanding
or lack there of.

Being a mother of any
color.


*Dedicated to Our E, who brought me much needed blog clarity and kudos last night. Thank you.

** Mixed Chicks hair products-link to come--check them out on the web

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I am not a Black Mother

The following is an attempt to give voice to a feeling I have been working out. It is not a manifesto. Far from it. It is more a reaction to an essay I read on the Love Isn't Enough blog (see below for the link to that blog--the essay is the one called "Aint I A Mommy" by Deesha Philyaw that appears a few down from my poem if you go to the "home" link there.) which talks about the inheritance black mothers share with each other.

A wildly informative and historically rich article that has me thinking about how parents of students of color might feel about having their children in schools where there are so few teachers of color.

And then of course I went in a zillion other directions in my head. Lots of questions. I ended up back where I wanted to start from: I want to be Michelle Obama in my next life. She got to be a guest on Sesame Street talking about gardening.

***

I'm not a black mother

but I'm the mother of two brown skinned children
will that make them less black because of me-
as if our colors blend together in an outcome pot.

Will that make them less black because of me
who doesn't share generations of oppressed cellular memory
who wears brown clothing almost exclusively as if
that will erase the oppressor link to my family genetically

Who wears brown clothing almost exclusively
Because of what I’m not-a mother not born of generations
of having to care for other people's children like it or not
like the woman who raised my mother as her own

Because of what I'm not as a mother of brown skinned children
going to accept or let their teachers and peers forget
my children see themselves on the pages at story time each day
and know the story about ignorance that already kept one friend away

My children put themselves in the story every single day
coached now to answer because I look like the president
when he was asked why he looked like the brownie in his friend’s lunch
I am not a black mother who would not have been taken by surprise

When asked why he looked like the brownie in his friend’s lunch
I break a little here seeing that confusion reflected in his eyes
then I imagine not too long from now
the seventy million people who identified as other on the 2000 census

Collectively surrounding my children with theirs
because of what we are determined to be
color aware aware aware and open as we can see
when what we're not won't matter so much

To you, them, or me.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Love Isn't Enough


I want to call folks attention to this blog, about parenting and race, previously know as Antiracist Parent. They have a new name, and many articles, insights that will be of interest to many of my readers. And they just posted my piece "Crazy Hair Day" (you read it here first, and then in Hip Mama Magazine) on their blog! So check them out! The founder, Carmen Van Kerchove's bio is below.

The link will be posted under the publication links shortly. Meanwhile you can do a search of "Antiracist parent" to get connected to the site. Thanks.

About The Founder

Carmen Van Kerckhove is co-founder and president of New Demographic, a diversity education firm. Her perspectives on race and diversity have been featured on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, USA Today, and The New York Times.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Blended Nation-Marcel Syle


Part one of a three part series on multi-racial North Americans on NPR this morning caught my attention. Well what little of it there is to be caught during the morning on the weekend.

Between screeches, requests, whines and kerplunks I caught the interview with the authors of the book Blended Nation (see link below). This is the blurb form NPR's blog:

"The husband-and-wife team of photographer Mike Tauber and co-producer Pamela Singh were intrigued by the post-Sept. 11 climate of anxiety and racism. Years later, the election of a bi-racial president would bring the topic of racial identity to the forefront of national conversation. Tune into the series to learn more. On Sunday's show, Hansen will also speak with Cheryl Quintana Leader, one of the subjects in the book, who is part Caucasian, Mexican, and Aztec Indian. See more photos on Mike Tauber's Web site."

* Over 70 million people identified themselves as multiracial in the 2000 census.
* That number is growing
* This number is growing with the growing number of multi-racial marriages and the offspring of these marriages/partnerships.

All of this inspired the above photo of Marcel.

I imagine the book would be a great one for our family to look through and see people who look like us.

And people who don't, but who do at the same time.

***
Update: Review of the book to come soon. Mr. Tauber has graciously agreed to send me the book, so that I may review it here. He replied that;
"There are several people in the book that are adopted by parents of another race." And he said how cute Marcel is.

He sent these updated links:

Not sure if you saw the updated NPR page: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120209980

Also, we were on the Today Show in late September: http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/33056542#33056542

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Family Day and then some

Four years ago today
surrounded by our nearest and dearest
we filled the improvised chambers
of the probate court
at the Children's Museum
to hear Sam's-first-middle and last name
decreed with judicious officiousness.


Finally.
Finalized.
Same name.
Delivered.

Same name.
Yours.
Mine.
Ours in the eyes of the state.*

Looking down at your name all balanced out as it is-
On the Adoption Decree
one place where we now look so exactly alike.
Good thing type ink mostly comes in black.

To honor and remember
we went to the park the three of us.
And baby Dexter.
Marcel's baby doll-
the one I gave Sam
to help him get used to the idea
of an imminent Marcel
is now Marcel's my-baby-doll-Dexter
a reminder that family every day is about who we bring
into the fold
when we need them.

Who is there for us to love.

For dinner Sam came up with the menu:
baked beans and cake.
Then we invited upstairs Sarah and Jay,
and downstairs Uncle too.
For a potluck and a toast.
Sam invited one more friend who he thought
would want to celebrate impromptu.

Happy Adoption Month
to those who have cause to celebrate,
and to those who are rocking
their delicate and huge dreams in the wait.


* In the back drop of last week's Marriage Equality loss in Maine we acknowledge the privilege and meaning of a shared name. Co-adoption without the legal rights of marriage is just not the same. Discrimination is discrimination. Love is love.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Nothing Unusual About Us

Whackadoozle Mom
Hand Me Down Lion
and Darth Maul Sammy
last night.

A holiday where skin color
blends in or is not immediately
obvious because of masks and the like
is strangely welcomed.

Even though we had to adjust Darth's coloring
in order to create the desired effect
it worked without much ado about why.

Even though the kids in the neighborhood
knew we were just visiting-
guests of Sam's adoring godmother and significant other
in surfer pink and wigged attire-
our combined freak show
blended right in.

Something we rarely
achieve the other three sixty four.

Something I never considered
as a young hobo-witch-or cat
knocking with anticipation at another
and another and another white
person's door.