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Happy Adoption Day Kyle & Owen!

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View from Hotel Montana 

(view out the windows from the Hotel Montana ~ January 31, 2005)


Our 6th Adoption Day ~ January 31, 2011

Dear Kyle and Owen,

Six years ago today we were with you in a hotel room in Haiti, spending our first night together as a family of four. You were tiny little babies, and you looked like this:



The Hotel Montana was a strange, complex place in so many ways – and it was, as well, a gorgeous oasis of a hotel in so many ways. I still grieve that it – such a very special place for us – is gone. I remember looking through the hotel windows, out at the views of Port au Prince, and letting my mind wander to a place that I hadn’t let it go prior to holding you two for the first time. But I was a Mama now, and I could let myself think it: ‘What would become of these two precious souls, who had roots in this island, but who were now my very own sons?’ Never could I have imagined that just a few short weeks later you’d look like this:


And even then, in my mind’s eye, I couldn’t have pictured you as the gorgeous, self-confident, stunning, show-stopping boys that you are today:

happy boys cereal at mormors kitchen

You are an amazing mix of so many things, you two. The good and the bad, the gifts and the flaws, the strengths and the weaknesses, the mind-boggling-amazing and the mind-boggling-awful, the sugar and the spice, I love it all. I love it all, I embrace it all, I feel the weight of it all, and I feel the light of it all. And while you are truly challenging to parent (your double-willfulness alone – let alone your double-bottomless-energy – is enough to drive your mama to the brink), the double-joy of you truly flies above all the many hurdles. Your story is so profound already, and –hopefully— we have only just begun on this journey that we’re on with you. Despite what hurdles are surely laid out along our path, the hope far outweighs the trepidation. And so, as I did six years ago, I continue to wonder: ‘What will become of you precious two?’ And I just marvel at how easy it has been for us to give you all that we have, and I marvel too at all the possibilities.

generations - the old and the new

Happy 6th Adoption Day Kyle & Owen! You are the two best things that we ever did with our lives. And you’ve made us happier, richer, and more full-of-life than you could possibly ever imagine! Thank you for adopting us.

Love, your Mama & Papi

Celebration of African Cultures 2011

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topSaturday we did our 4th annual day trip to Philly for the Celebration of African Cultures at the Penn Museum. This year we added a new twist: we went in early enough so that we had plenty of time to go out to lunch for an amazing Ethiopian feast before heading over to the event. It was an “All Africa” day— and it was a major highlight for all of us to get to go out for – as Kyle and Owen kept calling it – “African Food” for lunch. (And my oh my was it ever delicious!!! The folks at the tiny Ethiopian restaurant where we ate treated us like royalty, cooking us up a huge spread of food and then delighting in our obvious delight in it. There is really nothing like watching little kids gobble up your food and then tell you that they “LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!”… Kyle and Owen are really good at that!)

1Right now Kyle and Owen are really into the idea that their “ancestors” are from Africa. They talk about their “ancestors” a lot (Kyle especially seems particularly interested, and particularly in love with using the word “ancestors”). They talk about how they have “ancestors from two places: Haiti and Africa,” about how their “ancestors are the African people and the Haitian people,” about how they have “different ancestors than Mommy and Papi and Meera’s ancestors.” While we were eating lunch Kyle kept saying things to Braydon, Meera, and I such as, “Do you guys like our food?” and “Papi, you just love the food of me and Owen’s people, don’t you!?” and “Meera, this is me and Owen’s food from our people— your ancestors have different food.” Etc. (Owen was way too busy stuffing heavenly morsels of lamb and beef into his mouth to be concerned with such conversation!) At age six, they are now beginning to understand the basic lineage of their Haitian/French West Indian/Caribbean/African/West African descent. And they are clarifying who they are in the context of others who are similar to, and different from, them. It is amazing to watch their understanding unfold, and to see them really beginning to form their own identities as young black Haitian-American boys. And while it is fascinating (and amazing) to witness so intimately and closely, I am always mindful that this is a lot of hard work for them to do (and, in all honesty, a lot of hard work for us to try to guide them as best we can along their paths of identity development.) Our annual day at the Celebration of African Cultures has become such an important tradition for our family— not just for Kyle and Owen, but for all five of us.

2a 2b

3a 3b

4a 4b

“Just Like My Brothers”

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M coloring book

Meera loves to color. She colors for long stretches of time, multiple times, every day. Recently Braydon bought her what is now one of her absolute most prized possessions: a “Princess Coloring Book!” It is thick and full of pages and pages of princess scenes to be colored. Meera loves it and spends hours and hours carefully coloring on the pages. She also loves to have someone sit with her and color with her. This usually involves her directing every detail: which page to color, precisely which parts should be colored and which left uncolored, and exactly which color each thing to be colored should be colored. A few days ago I sat with her to color in the Princess Book. She chose the pages in the photo above. She handed me crayons, one by one, chosen carefully by her, and told me exactly which parts of each image to color. First she had me color the right side page—with a brown crayon she had me color the princess’s skin; black for her hair; pink (Meera’s favorite color by far!) for the dress. Then she had me color the left side page—peach for the princess’s skin; yellow for her hair; purple (Meera’s second favorite color) for her dress. She was very pleased with how it came out and marveled in it for quite some time. Finally, after studying the finished product, smiling ear to ear, she announced to me, pointing to the first princess, “She’s brown! Just like my brothers!” I said, “Yes! You’re right! She sure is!” And that was that.

“Saving” “Orphans”

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a recent photo from K & O's orphanage

I have been so out-straight lately. It isn’t even fathomable how over-extended and overwhelmed and over-done I am. My mind is spinning from one thing to the next faster than I can keep track of. School (for K & O, and for me) is in full gear. Life is moving at a fast pace. But through it all, lately, I’ve had this thread of consciousness about an adoption-related topic that I’ve been wanting to blog about. My title would be: “Saving” “Orphans.” But the topic is so huge, and I’ve been so crazy-busy, that –despite the fact that I’ve already composed the blog post in my mind about ten times– I just haven’t found the gumption to write it all out. And then today, on another blog, I read a post that speaks to much of my own thoughts on the matter. So, go check it out if you’re interested. Here’s the link (click).

“The Seat Not Taken” by John Edgar Wideman

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Today my mother-in-law/Braydon’s mother sent to us this (below) New York Times editorial from yesterday. I thought I’d post this today as it speaks to something that Braydon and I talk a lot about: the reality that although we’re raising cute-verging-on-drop-dead-gorgeous, charismatic-charming-cheerful, bright-possibly-brilliant, Gap-HannaAndersson-Patagonia-Keen-wearing, Waldorf-educated, well-traveled, foodie-fun-loving black boys… they will grow up to be black men. And all that entails. This is something we’ve posted about in the past (for example, here), and something we talk about at home on a very regular basis. Cute little black boys do grow up to be black men. The question is not ‘what will happen in the future?’ so much as ‘how will we prepare them for it?’


October 6, 2010

The Seat Not Taken

AT least twice a week I ride Amtrak’s high-speed Acela train from my home in New York City to my teaching job in Providence, R.I. The route passes through a region of the country populated by, statistics tell us, a significant segment of its most educated, affluent, sophisticated and enlightened citizens.
Over the last four years, excluding summers, I have conducted a casual sociological experiment in which I am both participant and observer. It’s a survey I began not because I had some specific point to prove by gathering data to support it, but because I couldn’t avoid becoming aware of an obvious, disquieting truth.
Almost invariably, after I have hustled aboard early and occupied one half of a vacant double seat in the usually crowded quiet car, the empty place next to me will remain empty for the entire trip.
I’m a man of color, one of the few on the train and often the only one in the quiet car, and I’ve concluded that color explains a lot about my experience. Unless the car is nearly full, color will determine, even if it doesn’t exactly clarify, why 9 times out of 10 people will shun a free seat if it means sitting beside me.
Giving them and myself the benefit of the doubt, I can rule out excessive body odor or bad breath; a hateful, intimidating scowl; hip-hop clothing; or a hideous deformity as possible objections to my person. Considering also the cost of an Acela ticket, the fact that I display no visible indications of religious preference and, finally, the numerous external signs of middle-class membership I share with the majority of the passengers, color appears to be a sufficient reason for the behavior I have recorded.
Of course, I’m not registering a complaint about the privilege, conferred upon me by color, to enjoy the luxury of an extra seat to myself. I relish the opportunity to spread out, savor the privacy and quiet and work or gaze at the scenic New England woods and coast. It’s a particularly appealing perk if I compare the train to air travel or any other mode of transportation, besides walking or bicycling, for negotiating the mercilessly congested Northeast Corridor. Still, in the year 2010, with an African-descended, brown president in the White House and a nation confidently asserting its passage into a postracial era, it strikes me as odd to ride beside a vacant seat, just about every time I embark on a three-hour journey each way, from home to work and back.
I admit I look forward to the moment when other passengers, searching for a good seat, or any seat at all on the busiest days, stop anxiously prowling the quiet-car aisle, the moment when they have all settled elsewhere, including the ones who willfully blinded themselves to the open seat beside me or were unconvinced of its availability when they passed by. I savor that precise moment when the train sighs and begins to glide away from Penn or Providence Station, and I’m able to say to myself, with relative assurance, that the vacant place beside me is free, free at last, or at least free until the next station. I can relax, prop open my briefcase or rest papers, snacks or my arm in the unoccupied seat.
But the very pleasing moment of anticipation casts a shadow, because I can’t accept the bounty of an extra seat without remembering why it’s empty, without wondering if its emptiness isn’t something quite sad. And quite dangerous, also, if left unexamined. Posters in the train, the station, the subway warn: if you see something, say something.
John Edgar Wideman is a professor of Africana studies and literary arts at Brown and the author, most recently, of “Briefs.”

New Black Hair & Skin Product Endorsements

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Note: I have no connection, whatsoever, to any of the companies which produce the products I rave about here. They have no idea who I am and I receive nothing from them.

Well, now that it is officially fall (we’ve had our first cold snap these past few days), I feel compelled to rave about some new hair and skin products that we’ve been using here at the J-M homestead. We’re lucky to live in a climate where at least in the summertime it is humid enough that we get one season “off,” but for the other three seasons, we’ve got to stay on top of it. I’m sure we’re not alone in this reality: with back-to-school comes back-to-getting-serious-again-about-K&O’s-hair-and-skin. As soon as our pool closes for the season (which is right around when school starts), we go into full gear with hair-damage-repair around here. And as soon as those fall winds blow in, we hunker down with the skin-lotion-routines again. I’m always on the lookout for great products for K & O, and I blog only very rarely about it (click here for my only big post), so you can trust me when I say: if I’m blogging about it, we must love it. So, with no further ado, here are our top three latest greatest faves:

  1. Dr. Miracle’s Stimulating Moisturizing Gro Oil. Let me tell you, this stuff is awesome. We’ve been using it once a week, after our “deep clean routine.” K, O, and M all love a good bath and they take lots of them all week long. But on Sunday nights we do long soaking baths for all three kids, including serious scrubbing and bubbling and heavy duty cleansing. We wash K & O’s hair at least twice and then do a heavy conditioner that we leave in for as long as possible before rinsing out. And then (after clipping 30 fingernails and 30 toenails and cleaning 6 little ears with Q-tips and –for K & O– heavy lotion from head to toe) we do a leave-in oil treatment. We’ve tried a bunch of oils over the years. Right now, this Dr. Miracle’s Stimulating Moisturizing Gro Oil is our favorite. It has a tingling sensation on the scalp that the boys love (I mean, they love love love it!). It makes their hair smell good all week long (even if we wash once or twice in between, which we almost always do). And– best of all– it works miracles (seriously! this “Dr. Miracle” is a miracle!). In a relatively very short amount of time post-pool-closing, K & O’s locs are looking good. If I do say so myself: healthy, shiny, bouncy, vibrant. No kidding. This stuff is seriously a miracle! LOVE IT!!
  2. Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil Nourishing Sheen Spray. K & O love to use a daily sheen spray. They always have. And, while I don’t think it is necessary at all, I have to admit that it does make their hair look really good! So, I indulge them in their love-affair with the sheen spray each morning. For at least three years now they’ve been excitedly calling it “car wash!” when their hair gets immersed in the cloud of mist from the can. They are now old enough to be trusted to spray each others hair somewhat responsibly (most days), so I’ve been letting them take turns spraying the sheen spray on each other (photo at top). Over time we’ve tried a few brands and I must say, this one is our favorite so far. The fragrance is not overwhelming, the mist is very light, there appears to be virtually no ‘build up’ over the course of the week, and the results are great: their hair looks nice and shiny all day long. Really good!
  3. c. Booth Tahitian Monoi Dry Oil Spray by Delicious Brands LLC. This is a a very sheer pump-spray oil that goes on light right onto the skin. We’ve been using this on K & O’s faces each day before school, instead of a cream lotion. It is just enough to give their faces the moisture that they need, without a heavy or greasy look/feel. And it smells wonderful. The boys love to use this and much prefer it to lotion on their faces. A little goes a long way (we’ve been working on the same bottle for a few weeks now and we’ve still only gone through half the bottle). Just one or two sprays per face, then a quick spread-it-around-and-rub-it-in, is all we need for all-day-healthy-looking faces. It makes their skin glow like scrumptious-looking caramel. Really. I could go on and on raving, but I’ll leave it at that.

So, throwing it back at ya!—  Do you have a beautiful black child’s hair and skin to care for? If yes, what are your current faves?

“Or whoever he is”

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Our little Thursday-Heather-teaches-late-night has quickly developed into a ritual where we go to our local pizza place (affectionately called “Sal’s” after the name of the man who makes pizza, although the place is not called Sal’s).  We love the pizza there, and our family has always been welcomed. In fact, they still have two years of our Christmas cards on their wall (note, there is only one other family on there as well). Which, while could be indicative of something else, is still quite a positive statement.

Our ritual goes like this:  we get in the car, head on down to Sal’s (about 5 min away), park and go in.  We sit in the same booth, order the same beverages (M: water, O: Root Beer, K: Ginger Ale B: draft lager).  Following my lead, all three kids like putting on extra oregano, Parmesan and hot peppers (too funny to see that!).  We hang out and have a nice time and everyone does great.  It probably helps that over the bar there is a little TV playing sports….   :)

Last night when we were leaving, we passed by the pick up area and I accidentally bumped into an older man picking up their pizza.  Not bad, just a little bump.  The man and I excused our selves, but Kyle and Owen really needed to know what happened.

O/K:  “What happened?

Me:  “Oh, nothing really, I just bumped that man there – sorry again!”

The man:  “I’m sorry too (then to Owen and Kyle) – I just bumped your dad a little.” Then a bit of a pause from him and some embarrassed confusion… “er, well, or whoever he is.”

Owen:  “He’s my Papi!”

And off we went.

The thing to me that’s so very interesting about this little interaction is that his first assumption was that I am the boys’ dad.  It was only after he processed for a moment that he thought to question that. Of course, that’s the way it should be – but it’s often the other way around.

People tell us regularly that the boys look like us.  Clearly they don’t mean their skin or facial structure – they mean something less tangible.

And that’s pretty cool.

A calm sea; currents run deep

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Kyle is a sweet boy.  He is our poet, our author, our teller of stories.  Our boy of wondering what will happen, of “what if” and making sense of the big questions: God, inequality, the meaning of war, peace, Earthquakes, death and Jesus. Even in his quests, he is beyond solid. His physical presence is something felt. Moving him is like moving a mountain. There is balance and equanimity in his every emotional motion, every wonderment. His teachers call him the center of the class, and there is a reason why.

He is a calm sea. Gentle currents.

Sailors know to respect the ocean. That although beautiful, the ocean has an undeniable strength and power that is often overlooked and misunderstood. Mountain climbers know the tallest mountains have the greatest landslides. The most mud cascades down when disturbed at the core. And you can disturb the core with a single misstep.

During the boys’ rest hour today, I took Meera out for a quick errand, while Margie finished the day. I popped her in the car, and off we went. We stopped at the store on the way home – the whole trip was about 45 minutes total; maybe less.

Heather had class tonight, so I made dinner, let the threesome (illicitly) watch a little mid-week clifford-the-big-red-dog and curious-george and then we went up stairs, Meera and Kyle had a bath (Owen elected to fore-go the bath to play with the knights) and we played. Kyle was acting a little strange, but when I asked him, he told me he was excited about ice staking lessons on Friday. Then I narrated a bit from Treasure Island.  Both boys were enthralled. It was a nice night.

When Heather got home we were all thrilled to see her. It was just about time for bed, but Kyle jumped into her arms and broke down crying. A deep, deep, animal cry, penetrating and hard. A core cry – something below the surface moving and sliding the plates of the earth like so many puzzle pieces.

He was so angry that I had left him at home, not told him where I was going and had taken Meera. He was so deeply angry that he would not let me touch him, or come near him. His anger was so strong that when Owen came over to check on him, Kyle mistook him for me, lashed out with his arm and hit Owen in the mouth.  He was so hurt, he ran away from me over and over. After his guttural cries subsided a bit he was able to articulate:

“You left me here and didn’t tell me where you were going”

“Papi has never done that before”  “He always takes me”

“You love Meera more than me” “You meant to do that to me, you meant to hurt me”

“You left me on purpose.”

“You left me. You left me. You left me.”

He did settle down. He did recover. After he was able to deeply breathe and be ok, Heather held him, I held him. I whispered in his ear that he is my boy, that I will always love him, that I will always come back.  That I was so deeply sorry to have left him. That I would never do that again (and mean it). That it was ok for him to be mad, Papi can handle that. That he is a good boy, my boy, my special boy and I love him.

He is who his is because of where he comes from. He was adopted. He was in an orphanage as a baby. Those parts of him are real and always will be. Those experiences impact who he is and how he needs to be loved. And I, and we all, have to always be aware of that.

He’s asleep now. With his twin brother.

A calm sea; with currents below the surface always there.

All Kyle.

Field Notes from an Adoptive Mother: “Enjoying Your Summer?”

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notes from an adoptive mother

One day recently, at the very tail end of the summer, I took all three kids to McDonalds for lunch as a special treat for behaving (relatively) well while running errands with me that morning. We were there right at noon, in the midst of the lunch rush, and the place was packed. There were three lines leading to three registers that were all jam-packed-full and we were in the middle line. I was holding Meera on my hip and I had Kyle and Owen standing right close with  me (I had threatened them, before we even got out of the car, that if they were to even think about running off into the playspace before I was done ordering our food then we would leave immediately… so they were sticking real close). Upon settling in for the long wait in line, I pretty quickly noticed that a woman in the line to our left was staring at us unabashedly. People always stare at us (in fairness, I should say, "people often stare at us," but in truth, it usually feels like always), so we are accustomed to that, but this woman was going above and beyond. I try to ignore this kind of thing, but she was standing literally less than three feet away from us, just gawking, so it was virtually impossible.  Owen got up on his tippy toes, pulled my head closer to his, and whispered in my ear: "That lady right there is STARING at us." In such situations I tend  to either blow it off entirely, or to try to nip it in the bud by pointedly taking a moment to look right directly at the person, give them a huge big ‘ole smile, and then keep on with our business. This usually does it and the person quickly and awkwardly smiles back (or blatantly doesn’t), and then, either way, feels self-conscious enough to quit staring. So, I nodded at Owen, whispered, "Yeah, I know!" and then did my deliberate ‘kill-’em-with-kindness-mind-your-own-business’-smile at her. With this woman, though, it had the opposite effect, and instead of looking away, in response to my smile she took a step closer to us, looked right down at the boys, and said, "Are you two boys enjoying your summer?"

She seemed like a really nice woman. I get vibes, and I pride myself in having good intuition at reading people. My immediate sense was that she was a well-meaning, sweet person who self-identified as "Liberal" (capital ‘L; she was wearing an organic-cotton-looking t-shirt with a nature print silk-screened onto it and her accessories and shoes  and hair cut were screaming ‘funky’/’hip’/’green’ etc., etc., etc…..  just trust me: she was looking very "I voted-for-Obama-and-I-recycle-and-I-LOVE-DIVERSITY"-ish. Don’t get me wrong: most of the people we associate with are these types, and I myself voted for Obama, recycle, and love diversity too…  this is no slam against her whatsoever). She looked like she was about my mom’s age and reminded me of many people that we know and love. My initial thought was, ‘She’s just trying to be super friendly and act super supportive of our inter-racial adoptive family’…. and honestly, at that point, I was thinking, ‘she’s probably about to tell me that her grandchildren are bi-racial or something.’ This happens sometimes, and as awkward as it can be, I actually like those sorts of interactions with people because –quite frankly– they feel a lot better than some other (less kind) ones, and I’ve come to believe that it is best to just be up front about it all whenever humanly possible. It turned out, though, that this interaction was not going where I thought it was going.

As soon as she said, "Are you two boys enjoying your summer?" Owen looked right up at her and said, "Yes, we are enjoying our summer! Are you enjoying your summer?" She was exuberantly delighted with him and responded right away, "Oh! Why, yes! I am, thank you! What good manners you have talking so nicely with a grown-up!" It was semi-condescending, but I was getting really close to the register at this point and was starting to get distracted by what to order. I then heard her say, "So what have you boys been doing out here?" Out here??? Kyle and Owen were slightly confused, but Owen said, "We’ve been shopping." "Oh," she said, "how nice for you!" (She then looked right at me and winked, and I really started to feel like something was not totally clear here).  Trying to do friendly reciprocation, Kyle  said to her, "So, what have you been doing here?"  "Oh!," she laughed, tossing her head back with delight, "Well, you see, I live here! Just like this nice lady here!" (motioning toward me). At this point the boys were lost in translation  (as was I), and surely all three of our facial expressions showed it. Still, she went on, "It must be nice for you two boys to be out here. How long are you two here for?" At this point the boys were completely disoriented. They looked up at me with bewildered looks. I looked down at them, my mind spinning fast, trying to get a grip on what she was talking about, searching for an understanding as to what was going on. And then it clicked: something that I had not yet encountered and had never really thought of—  but I knew  instantly that I was right— it pounded through my brain— she thinks they are Fresh Air Fund kids.

Ugh. I looked up from them, and across to her. Before I could speak she said to me, "They’re from the city, right? I am such a supporter of these kinds of programs! Kudos to you!!!" I felt my face flush. My mind was rushing. Meera was squirming in my arm. The McDonalds guy at the register was telling me it was my turn to order. Owen and Kyle were looking up at me, completely and totally confused with blank faces. The woman was looking me right in the eyes with her huge dramatically approving smile. And I felt like everyone within ear shot (which was easily a dozen people) were watching and listening to this whole scene unfold.

I looked at the guy at the register and said, as clearly and as loudly as possible, "My two sons will each have a Happy Meal please. My son Kyle wants chicken nuggets, french fries, and chocolate milk. My son Owen wants chicken nuggets, apples, and chocolate milk…." and I proceeded to place the rest of our order. I’m sure my voice was trembling. I know I was breaking out in a sweat. I had no idea how I should be handling the situation. This was one that I hadn’t seen coming.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see that the lady was shocked at the revelation that they were my sons. She was blushing bright red and avoiding any and all eye contact.

While we waited for our order I whispered something to the boys about how she "thought we were from the city" and she was "very confused" or something like that. (They have no idea what the Fresh Air Fund is, nor do they need to learn about it in this context.) And then we were off to playing in the indoor playground and eating Happy Meals. They were entirely unfazed. But then again, they are just barely six. It won’t be long until they ‘get it’ more. And indeed, they are ‘getting it’ more and more all the time.

I watched them in the McDonald’s playspace with a perfect spectrum of earth-tone-colored kids. This particular McDonalds draws a very racially diverse group, and that day — like the other handful of times we’ve been there — it appeared that most skin tones were represented. That is, after all, one of the primary reasons I take us there. The boys made friends fast and a wild game of tag quickly got going. But as I looked around I was reminded that although there were lots of families represented there, even one with a black dad and a white mom and two beautiful bi-racial kids, there was not one other that actually looked like us.

And so it goes, as us, out there in the field of real life.

Celebration of African Cultures 2010

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Kyle flaunts his moves in the center of the Hip-Hop circle!

Yesterday we went into Philadelphia for the Celebration of African Cultures at the Penn Museum. This was our third year going. It has become such a great annual tradition for our family. Kyle and Owen are starting to understand some basics of their ancestry. They understand that they are Haitian-American, first and foremost, and they are starting to understand the bigger picture of what it means to be African-American and part of the Haitian and African diaspora. This was the first year since we started going to the Celebration of African Cultures that the boys began asking what the word “culture” really means. We had some big discussions about that. Recently I can feel us moving into new realms with their curiosity, inquisitiveness, and questioning regarding more complex questions of race, ethnicity, heritage, lineage, and the larger social world. I anticipate lots and lots of big conversations in the years to come. Going to the Celebration of African Cultures each year — even at these young ages — is one of the (so many) ways we are conscientiously trying our darnedest to lay down a strong foundation for our boys. We feel a heavy burden, as white parents raising black sons. We are grateful for every opportunity that we can grasp on this journey. Yesterday was a great day for us. Highlights~~ Kyle and Owen participated in two workshops–  first an African Dance Workshop and then a Hip-Hop Dance Workshop (both were awesome!); the boys made fast friends with some cool kids (always so amazing how quickly kids can become tight!); and the “Stilt Man” (K & O’s name for him) — a big hit with the boys — returned again this year in the Grand Finale Show. Meera was not thrilled about the whole event, but she tolerated it well with very little fussing (albeit not much enthusiasm either), and the boys’ enthusiasm more than made up for her lack-thereof.


Adoption Day 2010

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Last year we spent our Adoption Day in NYC; the Statue of Liberty was the main event (click here and here). That was so great. It was hard to think of something great enough to hold up to that. But we did. We planned our perfect 2010 Adoption Day and it turned out even better than perfect. 
First stop Chinatown…
…for lunch, of course…
…those soup dumplings at Joe’s Shanghai have got to be some of the best edibles on the entire planet… we go crazy for these things!!!…
…dessert on the street = tea and tapioca ball drinks and shakes… as has always been our Chinatown tradition…
…this trip was K & O’s first time riding the NYC subway… it did not disappoint!… subway = major high of the trip…
…including listening to/watching the subway street musicians…
…but the big event of the day… was… K & O’s first Broadway show!!!…
…The Lion King… absolutely astoundingly amazingly amazing beyond belief!!!… the boys were mesmerized for every minute of the entire three hours. What an incredible gift to ourselves those four tickets were!…
…after the show… hot dogs for K & O from street vendors in Times Square…3 separate vendors that is… (photo above = the first of three hot dogs each for K & O)… those crazy-eating boys!
Our Adoption Day is so special to us. It was a great big huge great day.
Once again, this year, a huge THANK YOU to MorMor — and this year MorFar too — for spending the day at home with Meera so that we could be footloose and fancy free in the big city!

3rd Annual ‘Haiti Christmas Party’

Posted by | BAMBINOS, CONSPICUOUS | No Comments

Yesterday was our 3rd Annual Christmas Party for our group of Pennsylvania-area family friends who have adopted from Haiti (click here for last year). There is just nothing like our twice-yearly get togethers with our fellow Haitian-American family friends. This gathering has become a major part of our Christmas Season and it has become a tradition that is, for us, absolutely invaluable. This is truly a top highlight of the year for K & O. They had been anticipating this day since our summer reunion, and had been counting down the days for the past couple of weeks. They were in heaven, absolute heaven!, with this party in full swing yesterday. And when I say ‘full swing,’ I mean FULL SWING. When these kids all get together, these kids can party! The full house was rocking and rolling (almost literally) with spirits through the roof. 60 people (38 of which were kids) gathered; 80 hot dogs consumed; 75 Capri Suns drank; 2 lamps broken; countless mini candy canes devoured; dozens of ornaments created (thanks Miller family!!!); unknown quantities of rice & beans, mac & cheese, chips & dip, Christmas cookies, and all sorts of other goodies enjoyed (thanks everyone!). It is good. Really good. The fellowship we share is incredibly special. We are so grateful for this group of friends and the bonds that bind us.

Haiti Reunion Weekend

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The first year we went to the Haiti Reunion we tented for the weekend with the boys (Meera was not even a glimmer in our eyes!). It was awesome. And we planned to always do that. And then –surprise surprise!– came Little Miss! Last year, given that she was just a few weeks old, we stayed in a hotel nearby the campground where the reunion was being held. It worked out great — and made it feel like a real little vaca weekend away. This year we opted for the same hotel again… because we still feel like we’re not ready to tent yet with a 13 month old, and because the hotel was so fun last year. We arrived Friday afternoon in time for swimming in the hotel pool. The boys and Braydon went out to dinner that night while I fed Meera and put her to bed. And then, of course, we spent the entire day Saturday at the reunion. On Sunday we hung out at the hotel and pool until check-out at noon. We had a fabulous time for the whole weekend.