Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Fostering character.

Just in case you don't follow my family blog and aren't friends with me on Facebook, I wanted to share with you a post that went up on my newest blog.  I know, crazy.

It was written by Bethany Gillespie and is called "fostering character".  Bethany's parents fostered a lot of children in their home as she grew up and she talks about how this shaped her.  You can check out her post here.

One of the reasons that I wanted to share this is because one of our hopes in being a family of both biological and adopted children was to expand the minds and hearts of our children by bringing the world into our home.  Reading Bethany's words encouraged my heart that this hope may become a reality.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

For the love of cold.

For the first few years after Nate came home, he had a significant aversion to all things cold.  He didn't want his foods or drinks to be cold, continually asked if his shower was going to be cold, and looked like he was going to die if the weather was cold.

We always joked that his body was simply made for Africa.

Well, it's been four years and that sweet boy has finally embraced a little chilliness in his life...


Gotta love a week of more than a foot of snow!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Identity.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what it means for Nate to be not just African American, but Rwandese.  It's not exactly a new thought.  I've always been aware of the fact that he will grow up with this interesting mix of cultures that he will have one foot in...a transracial family living in a predominately white community, African America, and Rwandese.

We all struggle with identity from time to time even when we don't have all the extra issues that come with an international adoption.  I can't imagine what it might feel like for him one day.  And as a mom, I think about this a lot.  It surfaces at times and for different reasons.  Recently, it surfaced for me in the area of sports.

We have kinda joked over the years that Nate needs to learn how to play basketball because people are just going to assume that he can play since he is black.  You know it's true.  I mean, we live in Jayhawk country...he must play.  But I was thinking the other day about when we take him back to Rwanda someday.  How is he going to relate to the other boys there?  He will look the same, but dress differently.  He will have the same origin, but talk differently.  He won't be able to use words to communicate with them.  And yet, there will be this connection...

Well, I can tell you one thing, and that's that there aren't going to be any basketball courts around.  He won't be able to pick up a ball and shoot some hoops as a way to relate.  Playing basketball may help him with his identity here in the US, but it won't do him any favors in Rwanda.  But I'll tell you what he would be able to do anywhere with any kid in Rwanda...play soccer.  It is everywhere there.  And it is also here.

I've avoided soccer with our kids because it can get so intense so quickly here, but I think we are going to make an exception for Nate this fall.

So much of parenting is about equipping our children.  Giving them the skills to go out into the world.  And while soccer may not seem like it provides some of the life skills he may need as a grown man, I do feel like it may give him some skills that will help him identify with his roots as a Rwandan.  And if I could give him that...well, it is worth braving the crazy soccer culture in the US to do it.