Saturday, June 29, 2013

June was a ROLLER COASTER...

Have I really not posted since June 1st?!?!?! The first two weeks of June I was drowning in orders for Mami Love (not complaining, actually very excited about that). But then that on top of end of the school year parties, shows, presentations and saying goodbye to friends that are moving on to the next adventure...oh and packing for our European holiday (which we are currently on) didn't leave any time for blog updates. 

I hope to catch up on Holiday and share some of the moments from the last month and our vacation.

For now I will leave you a photo of Luka and his cousin Benthe on an actual roller coaster ride. This is the park we went to today.

Can you see in his face how much this boy loves roller coasters!

Blog with you soon....

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Happy 38th Birthday to Me

NOTE: Yes, this really took place months ago...but it will be on the right order on the blog...so if you receive updates my birthday is not in October. I am just really late posting these pics....oops.

What do sushi, donuts and Mexican food have in common? Well, they are three of my favorite things to eat and this lucky girl got to eat them for her birthday...YUMMY! My girlfriends surprised me with a sushi lunch on my birthday.

Then my boys (JJ, Luka & Sam) surprised me with a "donut cake" from Dunkin Donuts. My kids were just as excited to have a piece of cake as I was.
On Saturday night after my birthday we went to a local Mexican restaurant to celebrate. I love to drag out my birthday for as long as possible. Growing up we would take a week to celebrate it...why not, right? 

I was really looking forward to going to Mexicana Restoran in Barrio Italia. I had heard good things about it and wanted to go somewhere with a good vibe and delicious food.
The menu offered many choices.
Every tex-mex meal has to start off with chips and salsa. It is the tex-mex "right of passage." 
Since I am writing this months later I can't remember the name of my dish...maybe Tacos pastor. But it was delicious...chicken & pineapple...yes, I loved it.
We had a HUGE group to celebrate. I am lucky to have met all of these wonderful people in Chile. They are from all over the world. I love that part about being an expat. Most of my life I was surrounded my Cuban-Americans 99% of the time. For the last 8 years I met someone from a different place almost every day. This is truly a gift. I should have posted the photo of the "group" tequila shot, but it was too out of focus....ha ha ha...really it was.
My Australian chicas...Cathryne we miss you! She has since moved to another "posting." That is one the bad things about being an expat...you lose friends to other "posts" all the time. 

I had a great 38th Birthday and I am lucky to have celebrated it all week. But most of all I am lucky to have a wonderful husband, two amazing little boys and a life that keeps everything interesting...one adventure at a time. 




Saturday, June 01, 2013

Sharing Our Story

Moving to Chile has brought our family many new challenges such as dealing with the cold weather, everything being 10 times more expensive, drivers in Chile...don't even get me started (I need a post just how Chile is crazy, beautiful and frustrating all at the same time). But the most obvious and painful for me as mother has been seeing Luka singled out, on an almost daily basis.

Okay, 99% of the time people think they are being nice by coming up to Luka and telling him how "cute" he is or asking to take a photo (yes, this really happens)..but no people that is not cool! For the first couple of months it was amusing, but now Luka is TIRED of it. It has actually made him grow-up a little faster and stand up for himself.  He now knows how to respond to folks in Spanish, English & Dutch (but we don't really use the Dutch) to say things like..

- Please don't touch my hair
- Please don't kiss me, I don't even now you.
- I don't like it when strangers hug me.
- I am from Mozambique and I am adopted.

I don't get it Chile..I know there aren't many black folks walking around, but this country is very educated and you must know that black people exist and you don't have to treat them like unicorns if you come across one.

Okay, enough venting and going off on a tangent..the reason for my post.

We have accepted that life in Chile for Luka will be different, but what I was finding hard to swallow are the comments and general remarks of ignorance he hears at school. It is an international school so surely it would be different from Santiago once he stepped inside the school. But for some reason kids, a year into the school year, still feel the need to ask him, "Why are you black?" I really hate that question. There is not an answer. It feels completely offensive. Why are you white? Recently he has also been challenged about the race of his parents and saying they had to be black...like him.Then of course he hears comments about his hair or lack there of the times we have shaved his head, or silly things like being called "negro" at recess or worse. I know kids are going to be cruel. I can't change that.....

But what I could do is be proactive and be my son's advocate (luckily he is still only 6 and still likes mommy to be his champion). So I met with the school (they have actually been great and proactive since our meeting) and we came up with step one...educate the six kindergarten classes on what it means to be adopted. It seemed like the logical first step. I had done this with his own class on his adoption day, but it never occurred to me to visit all of the kindergarten classes.

So that is what we did this week (still have one more class next week). Luka and I have been visiting every K2 class and reading our favorite adoption book that tackles these questions:

- Why did my biological mother give me up for adoption?
- What is adoption?
- Why do we have different color skin?
- When did you start to love me?

The book is great. Then we also printed family photos of our friends that have also adopted and shared those adoption stories in the classes.

Through this journey we found out 2 other kids in K2 are adopted. We knew about one, but didn't know about the little girl from China. Luka especially enjoyed hearing her story first hand. It was similar to ours in that the family was living in China before and after the adoption.

I think it has been extremely therapeutic for Luka to share his story with his peers and been given this special opportunity to be the star for 20 minutes. It has also allowed him to confront many of the kids that unknowingly or on purpose said things to him during recess/school that hurt his feelings. It is his way of saying..."You want to know why...this is why."

The kids have been great....not as many questions as I thought...but our message is coming through and you can even see in some of the kid's faces the moment it "clicks."

As parent it is imperative we teach our children that families come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Whether it is an adoption, skin color, having a single parent, same-sex parents or mixed race family that makes that family unique our children need to know that is "normal" and in the end we are all families that love each other, the only thing that varies is the journey we took to get there.