Wednesday, July 3, 2013

He Ran His Legs Off (and His Lunch Out)

Our first family Scotia Bank Charity Challenge run was perfect! Like so many of our adventures, it began with unbridled enthusiasm and ended with an unfortunate tossing of cookies. (The figurative kind - I'll try to keep the barf description to a minimum).

Noah was all smiles at the start of the race. We had planned (or rather quietly hoped) that we could complete the 5km walk together: the three of us plus my amazing sister Georgia who came all the way from Nanaimo to run for adoption.

Noah, of course, would have none of it.

"It's a RACE! And I'm gonna WIN!"

And off he went, like a prize winning thoroughbred just sprung through the gates.

Kevin took the backpack, Georgia avoided eye contact, which left me to run after him through the crowd of several thousand runners.

Unfortunately, the concept of running in a straight line is pretty foreign to Noah. He hopped, sprinted, stopped without warning, and crawled (yes CRAWLED) around the course, picking up burst balloons and bird feathers to power him forward. I'll admit I broke a sweat keeping up as he squeaked past/nearly tripped everyone in his wake.

Good thing he had a lime green shirt on: "Excuse me! LEFFFFT! Runner coming through!" (Such a well mannered boy.)

Although the course was mapped as a 5km run, I'm certain if you added up all the circles, detours, and wrong turns we took, Noah could have finished in half the time. Which meant my 5 year old, who completed his run at just over 43 minutes, could very well be a runner in the making. (Proud momma moment? You betcha.)

Towards the end, fatigue set in, as did the Gatorade and water he gulped back at each of the three water stations. "I can't do it! Carry me!" he complained.

So I did... (for about six seconds.)

Thanks to the fans, he made it across the finish line. "GO NOAH! Go Noah!" They chanted.

"Mommy, how do they all know me?" He recalled later. "I must be famous! I'm amazing!"

And so you are, son. You earned your donations and did us proud. On the drive home, when we had to pulled over for you to 'decorate' the steps at the Jazz festival, I was still beaming.

Congrats on the first of many runs, son. Rest up!

PS: If you are inclined, we are gratefully accepting post-run donations in Noah's name. All donations are tax deductible and support the work done here at Adoptive Families Association of BC in support of adoption. Many thanks!  

Monday, May 27, 2013

On Friendship, Love, and Mothers

Today was supposed to be easy: Take son to school, do some work from home, head to yoga, bake a birthday cake for my husband, celebrate his birthday, call his sister because it's her birthday, too, take our son to Beavers and call it a day.

Instead, today has also become a sobering reminder of how lucky I am to have days like today.

I got word from a dear friend that her mother has lost her battle with cancer. She hung on longer than doctors expected. She had just welcomed her 9th grandchild two weeks before. But she will sadly miss her youngest daughter's wedding this summer.

I grew up with this friend. We met in high school. Our boyfriends were best friends. We grew up, went to university, and as fate would have it, ended up marrying the same guys we dated back in high school.

I gave a speech at her wedding and cried when she moved to Ireland. I cried more tears when she welcomed a son, and another, and finally a daughter.

Today I cry knowing she has lost her mother. So today, I do what little I can for my friend who is planning to fly home to be with her family. I cannot do much other than share a shoulder when she needs it and let her know that I am here.

Today I am just a friend who is hoping and waiting to help in whatever way she wants me to. Today I am reminded that grief is difficult for all of us, but unimaginably so when it involves your own mother. Much love to you, dear friend.

Thursday, May 16, 2013


This week I brought Noah along to complete my civic duty. He wanted to know all about voting (in particular whom I'd be voting for so he could broadcast their name to the entire polling station).

He was also curious about why we were voting in the first place.

"Why are you voting, Mama?"
"Every few years we need to choose a leader."
"What's a leader?"
"A leader is someone who makes important decisions for other people. So we might get a new leader, and we might keep the same lady."
"But I don't want a new Mommy!"

How sweet. At least he awknowledged my authority. I was almost proud.

As I'd told him before, "You're stuck with me, Noah! We're not voting for a new Mommy or Daddy."

Sorry kiddo. There are no recounts, no terms, and no re-election campaigns. I'm stuck with you and you're stuck with me. And politics aside, that was the perfect ending to election day.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day

Every Mother's Day, I'm extra thankful for the many incredible mothers in my life. There are the usual suspects... my Mom, whom I call every day and who (for better or worse!) is largely responsible for how this daughter of hers turned out. Then there are my grandmothers - one, called to heaven too early but who is still a big influence in my life, the other a usually gentle but occasionally spunky 94 year old. I think of my sisters in law, my mother in law... these mothers who raised or are raising some of the people I hold dearest in my life.

And then, ever year since his birth and adoption, and every day in between, there is Noah's birth mother. Although our adoption is closed, we remain connected to her.

This Mother's Day is no different, and we send up warm wishes and love and prayers that things are going well in her life and that she isn't worried or wondering too much about the son she placed years ago. He is loved. He is safe.

This Mother's Day, new thoughts are swirling for a woman I know and love who is making an incredible plan for her baby.

Happy first Mother's Day, Momma to be. Whatever course your plan takes, I am here with you in celebration and love.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Transracial in Training

In my AFABC bubble, I often forget that average Joe's impressions and ideas about adoption can be very different than my own.  This weekend, standing across from the 3rd baseline, I got chatting with one of the other parents. The usual question of "how many kids do you have?" is easy enough to answer. For the moment, we have one. 

But this parent asked "so does Noah have siblings?" and for this question, I had to weigh how I would answer. Because YES Noah does have siblings, but NO, I don't want to talk about his birth family and how choices, circumstances, and fate led each child to a different family to be raised in. 

At work, and at adoption events, or when Noah feels like talking, we love this conversation. But sometimes we don't want to share it all.... at least, not on the edge of the baseball diamond, and not when I haven't done more than exchange first names and dutifully greeted a hyper labradoodle. 

Often strangers get a Coles Notes version. I say "yes Noah is the youngest" and sometimes share that he sees his half brother who lives with his adoptive family about an hour away. That inevitably leads to "OH! So Noah is adopted?" and further questions - typically of genuine interest, or because they, too have an adoption connection they'd like to share. 

This weekend, the parent's voice dropped to a whisper even the labradoodle might have trouble hearing. "Oh, are you going to tell Noah he's adopted?"

Textbook teachable adoption moment on the sidelines? You bet!

I smiled at question and laughed a little, "Well, it would be a little hard to explain his brother if we didn't!" to which the parent conceded "Oh, yah, I guess." I ventured a little further, since the mood was still chatty, "The general feeling these days is that the sooner kids know the better. Then it's normal and part of life from day one." 

The inning ended and the conversation ran its course. I was really grateful for the "practice run" at this conversation. Up until now, our adoptive family hasn't been a visible one. We are two pasty Anglo-Irish parents with a freckled face little boy. Soon we'll be welcoming a second child, and this adoption will be transracial. 

No more luxury of deciding when or if to talk about adoption... it's going to be part of our daily life whenever anyone decides to ask how the four of us came to be a family. I'm grateful for the 'training run' and the honour and privilege of being trusted with another incredible gift. So when we're back on the baseball field next summer, I'll know exactly what to say. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A New Face and Family Fun Ahead!

After much behind-the-scenes excitement, I am thrilled to introduce the new Adoption Support Coordinator for Vancouver/Coastal. Please drop a line to Randy Simpson or give him a call at 604-320-7330 ext 105 or toll free across BC at 1-866-900-7330 ext 105. Randy's an adoptive dad with a great sense of humour, a forgiveable affinity for science fiction, and an eagerness to get to know more people in the adoption community!

For my part, I'm not heading far, and I will be back as Adoption Support Coordinator full time next spring. Randy is filling in while I complete some project work on our new website and plan to begin parental leave in mid-summer.

I'll continue posting (hopefully more regularly) as my family adventures continue... in the meantime please help Randy feel welcome! I'm still reachable at until early July.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


From the time he was tiny, we've told him over and over how loved he is. How much we adore and cherish him. What an honour it is to be his parents. We curled up together and read his favourite book, Love You Forever.

But even our little one needs reassurances. We all do. Which is a good reminder for adoptive parents.

Last week Noah had his usual tuck-in, followed by his routine re-emergence from his bedroom. Typically the excuse for late-night roaming is "I need more water" or "You didn't tuck me in quite right".

It had gotten to the point where I've declared "If you're not bleeding, and nothing is on fire, you can stay in bed!" (Which worked until a few weeks ago when his chapped lip cracked and he declared triumphantly "MOMMA I'M BLEEDING! CAN I GET UP NOW?")

Last week was different. He didn't come out for water or an extra tuck-in. He needed reassurances.

"Momma, there's something I've been meaning to ask you," (this at 8pm from my articulate 5 year old who had just escaped from his room for the third time that night).

"Okay, ONE last question, then it's bed time." I winked at him.

"Well, it's really important. I've been thinking about it for a long time now when I go to bed."

"Okay, Noah. What is it?"

"Are you glad you adopted me?"

A thousand thoughts raced through my head. He was serious. He genuinely needed to hear that we were glad he had joined our family. For the thousandth time.

I answered his question. With a tackling bear hug, a thousand kisses (which he promptly "wiped IN" instead of wiping off) and a dozen affirmations "Of COURSE! YES! We love you infinity!"

His smile said it all ... our usually confident little man just needed to hear and be reassured that he was wanted and his place in our family was secure.

It's a good reminder. Even if our children don't voice their thoughts about adoption, they are thinking about it. Late at night after we tuck them in. They wonder, they imagine, and if we're lucky, they bring those concerns to light.

So reassure your little ones. And your big ones, who might be reluctant to ask and may pretend not to care.  

Dear Noah,

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always
As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

- Robert Munsch (adoptive parent).