Tuesday, May 10, 2011


i'm terrible about celebrations .... i admit it. probably one of the worst things i do.

having children has helped with that .... let's face it .... they won't LET you forget their birthdays! for which i am very grateful.  doesn't mean i don't groan because of it .... but i am grateful.  and the joy on their faces at these special times is really precious.

as adoptive parents, we have heaps of other precious anniversaries and celebrations.
  • the day we got the call
  • the day we met our child
  • the day we brought them home
  • JJ gets a scooter on
    his 4th birthday.
  • the day that the courts "legally" make us their parents
and this is where i fall down ... and must admit, often feel guilty.  these dates just fade into the background  and don't mean that much to me.  i apologise in advance to my american readers, but i can't stand the term "gotcha day" .... it really just strikes the wrong chord for me and says to me, "i've stolen you and taken you .... gotcha!" .... ugh.  that one sends shivers through me.

i have heaps of friends here in Australia that make a really big deal about the court date .... go in and appear before the judge, get a picture, etc., etc.  and that's great .... but for me it seems really unimportant.  these kids have always been ours in our hearts.  what's the big deal over the state determining that they can legally be ours?  not to mention the confusing message it sends to our kids when they think they are already ours, have been using our names .... huh?  who's this person who thinks that they can say it's ok?

all that being said .... that doesn't stop me from feeling guilty.  i wonder if i am wrong and not honouring my child the way i should.   i try to balance it out .... it's so easy to feel guilt as a parent.   by celebrating all these special moments am i actually watering down the value of our relationship and the story that brought us together?  

Raymie's 6th ... growing up
way too fast!

in the same way, by only celebrating or focusing on those moments that make these children "ours" am i distancing myself and them from the heritage and history that is a main undercurrent of their existence? what does that say about how i value or appreciate the things that make them preciously pinoy?  if i am making a big deal over these celebrations, then shouldn't i be making a bigger deal about homeland visits, engaging in the local filipino community, eating filipino food and embracing the filipino way?

i don't think there is any right answer .... i know what is right for us.  each of us has a unique set of life experiences ... and all our interactions get filtered through a particular pair of rose coloured glasses to see if they fit in our lives and families.  and we have to follow that ... gleaning what works for us and letting the rest go.

Lea's 8th birthday

in our family, we acknowledge the day that we met our children ... usually by a prayer of thanksgiving for our family at the dinner table and a discussion of how cool our family is and blessed we are to have each other.  but more importantly, i rejoice when my son who struggles to share his heart and emotions comes up and says he wants a mummy cuddle and just silently snuggles in my lap.  my heart smiles when my darling daughter happily talks to me about her birth mum and the struggles that she has with that.  and when my baby bunso boy just walks up to me and smiles in his ever so "i'm hot" way and says, "you are one cool mum" my heart sings.  these are the things that make us a family.  not a first meeting (when quite frankly they would have been terrified of the white people talking funny).  not when some person behind a bench says that we deserve to be a family (that rejoicing is more that we are done with the system than with any stamp that the state might put on our ability to parent).

we are a family because we grow together, learn together, love together.  we are a family because of the experiences that bond us together.  may i treasure those .... and celebrate those.

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