Archive for June, 2008


If you are adopting from China, and use the word ‘China doll’ in reference to your future daughter, and don’t know what is wrong with that……  Please, please take this time in the ever lengthening wait to READ SOME BOOKS on transracial/transnational adoption. Please read blogs about being anti-racist, please read the perpectives of adult adoptees (even if you don’t like what they have to say, and want to dismiss them as ‘bitter’ or ‘angry’).  Please stop saying China doll, I mean really. Are you serious? Don’t objectify your kid with a label that you think is cute and endearing. It’s not.

 I’m just sayin’

Mara ~


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Squirt: Mama, can you make the bubbles come out of the machine?

Me: Sorry, but it doesn’t work anymore

Squirt: Well, I know, let’s fix it!

Me: I don’t know how.

Squirt: Maybe when grandpa is finished with the angels and heaven and comes back, he can fix it. You wanna do that mama?

Me: Oh honey, I wish grandpa could come back. But he’s dead honey. He’s not coming back. He’s in heaven forever.

Squirt: But mama…. who’s going to fix our stuff?

Me: <sniff> We’re just going to have to figure it out ourselves.

Squirt: <sigh> Let’s just buy a new bubble maker.

Mara ~ She still feels his loss too.

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“Where are you going?”, I asked Squirt as she was opening the back door.

“Nowhere, I’m just opening the door so we can see the fresh air”, she replies.

“Um, you don’t want to go outside and breathe the fresh air?”

“Nope, I’m just lookin!”


Me: Do you know why I love you so much?

Squirt: Because I am brilliant at knock knock jokes?

Me: Yes! You are very funny!

Squirt: According to my calcumations (read:calculations) I am funny!

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A member of the family suffers from mental illness.  I am very sympathetic, and it breaks my heart that she has gone through so much and is often in so much pain.


I have now been threatened by her. It makes me angry and defensive and I lose some of my empathy. I start thinking uncharitable thoughts. I’m tired of the mental energy it takes to navigate the minefield. I am concerned about my daughter and her access to her. I have needed to add boundaries that are explicit and non-negotiable. On one hand, I know I am protecting my daughter, on the other it must be devastating having access to one’s grandchild regulated so strictly.

I am tired of being accused of denying access to Squirt. I have never done that. But I can’t convince her. She is also sure I am poisoning my child’s mind against her own grandmother. I am not. My daughter has already suffered innumerable losses. She has lost her first family, her foster family, her country, her language, her culture. Gone. All of it. I would not inflict another loss on my child.  But, there is no convincing her. And in my rational mind I know that this is the mental illness speaking, all the paranoia,  yet I can’t help feeling like all my efforts to maintain contact are not being acknowledged. It hurts.

She hurts too. A lot. I know. But I’m losing my understanding. I wish she would get help. I want her to recover and heal. Sometimes I think too much has happened. I don’t know if I can ever have a relationship with her again, even though it is an illness that has made her act in this way. I feel guilty saying it, but I think I’m done.

I try to remember that there were good times between breakdowns, snide comments, threats and judgements. I am sorry that she lost her mother at eleven and her father was an alcoholic. I am sorry her brother has schizophrenia as well as global delays and is currently dying of cancer, I am sorry the whole family suffers mental illnes of varying degrees, I am sorry she was stuck for 25 years in an abusive marriage. But sometimes it’s just too hard to keep trying to walk the eggshell plank. Does that make me selfish? Or cold? It’s so hard not to take personally. I KNOW it’s not about me, but it FEELS like I am just being attacked continuously.

How long does one have to keep trying (it’s been almost 18yrs) before it’s enough? How long do I have to suffer the abuse of a woman that has no relationship with her children, threatens her granddaughter’s family, insults and demeans and hurts her own son for sport to see if she can make him bleed?  The lying, the manic purchasing, the twisted exchanges. When is it enough?

Then I start to feel like I am overreacting. Too much drama. Is she just lashing out? Is it just harmless? What if it isn’t? Then I feel guilty. What if she hurts herself? Is it me that would have sent her over the edge? How do I separate my feelings and figure out what to do next? I can’t make her get help. I’ve begged her to seek professional treatment, outside of the numerous medications she is on now. They aren’t working anymore, this latest display of venom and instability is freaking me out. “You’ve been warned” she says. Oh my. It has moved so beyond MIL ‘stuff’, and little family dramas… And I’m a little scared to see where it is going to end up.

And it brings up all these feelings in me. Why am I never enough? Why can’t I make her get the assistance she needs before she alienates the one person she has left in her life?  Why isn’t what I do ever enough? But, that’s my shit and has nothing to do with her. I just want to scream “You’re f*cking CRAYZEE!!!”, into the phone. Ya. Not my finest hour.

Mental illness. She’s a bitch. 

Mara~ so what would you do?



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Today was probably not the best day to go to church, with all the dad honouring stuff and such. I wanted to go to feel hopeful and uplifted, and I was just sad. It didn’t bring me hope, it just reminded me of what I’ve lost. Seems a few of the recent happenings in my life have revolved around loss. I write a lot about loss. The loss of my dad, the loss of adoption, Squirt’s loss of her first family, The Guy’s loss of meaningful connections, the loss of what could have been when someone has a member of the family with serious mental health issues etc. So anything that happens that magnifies loss in my life has been very hard to deal with the last few months.

This is my first father’s day without my dad. We were never really into the accolades, but he knew I loved him. Fiercely. Still.

And as Squirt gave her Baba a signed card, a gift of sunscreen(lol), and a lunch of favourite pierogies and brownies, it made me miss my dad even more. She would have made him a card. She can now say happy father’s day and really understand what it means to honour someone important in your life. She gets it. But, it’s too late. And that makes me sad that she’s suffered yet another loss.

Dad, I remember when I came home all drunk and thought I did such a great job sneaking into my room without anyone discovering my little secret….  The next morning it took me a while to figure out why you would wake me up at 6am and make me clean the horse barn (stinky and made me vomit a few times in my hung over state) and vaccuum the WHOLE house (OMG it was so LOUD) and stack firewood (all the bending and lifting left me dizzy and lightheaded). Yeah, that was your kind of discipline. No yelling, no lectures, no arguing, no recriminations, no tattling to mom…  just some natural consequences.  And some puke. Good times.

I remember you crying when you saw us come off the plane from China with Squirt. I remember the bottle of champagne that you bought when The Guy and I bought the house, it’s still in the liquor cabinet. I’ll probably never open it.  I remember you being here when we received the referral for Squirt from the agency and how you were here to see the pictures load up on the computer screen (OMG is dialup ever SsssLLLLOOOOWWWW). I remember all the times we spent together renovating all the different places I’ve lived. You always gave really selflessly. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to do that. I constantly measure people up to you. It’s happening a lot, especially with family now. And nobody measures up. Ever. They didn’t when you were alive either, but now that you’re gone I feel the weight of it so much more. The hole is so much bigger, because the space you left is too big to be filled.

So, I miss you. I’m glad you’re not in pain anymore. I hope wherever you are that it’s happy. I hope you were right, when you told me 2 days before you died that “It’s okay, it’s just a change of address hon.”  Well could ya move in next door? That’d be sweet.  I love you and I thank God every day that I had you. And that you showed me about unconditional love. Take care. See you again someday. Luv….

Mara ~ trying to navigate my fisrt Father’s Day without my dad

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If this does not break your heart… I just don’t know what will.

I remember reading something Julia said once about loneliness.  It went something along the lines of “I’m a KAD, I KNOW loneliness”.  It made me sad. It was like her light, her faith, her friends, her second adoptive family, could not fill that hole, no matter how wonderful they were. And because Julia was adopted, because there are no ‘open records’, she died. No blood relatives, no bone marrow matches. No matches, no transplant, no life.  I’m so sorry Julia.  I hope she’s filled up wherever she is.

I’m grateful Julia opened herself up to us, all of us. Whether it was to her fellow adoptees, adoptive parents or anyone else who cared to listen.  I’m glad she spoke in a voice that opened my heart to let me learn about her life. Thanks Julia, Squirt and I are forever in your debt.

Mara ~ if you are of Asian descent or even if you are not, please register with your local bone marrow registry. You could save a life. Maybe it would have saved Julia’s.

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Squirt: Knock knock.

Me: Who’s there?

Squirt: Patch.

Me: Patch who?

Squirt: Lemon flavoured pumpkin poo fuzzy belly button!

Me: ha? ha?

Squirt: Mama, I SO SO FUNNY!

Mara ~ why is ‘poo’ and ‘fart’ and ‘booger so freakin hilarious when you are four?

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