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http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/adoption-agencys-bankruptcy-devastates-families/article1217223/

Mara – no mei mei for squirt…

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I was able to say goodbye to my uncle Bernie tonight. That was nice. And I loved hearing about the memories others shared of him. They were things I had forgotten, so they are even more precious now. I am going to write them down so I don’t forget again.

That ridiculous ratty straw hat he wore as he cruised the lake on his pontoon boat. His chuckle. I don’t have the words for his chuckle, but I can hear it in my head. It’s something I will always remember.  God, he was funny. So funny. His humorous deflection and rejection of anything that was for ‘old’ people. His love of fine brandy.

My aunt was truly the love of his life, and they read a love letter she had written to him on their 50th wedding anniversary…  It was beautiful.  He’s waiting for her, I know it. And my aunt…  I love her so much and I admire how in her broken heart she is so strong. And even though she’s waiting to be with him again, she is going to keep living. She’s amazing.

So Bernie’s with his parent’s and his sister and I can see him sitting beside dad and Tom with a little  ‘allo allo’ and sharing a beer.

Mara~ that makes me smile

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Death

My uncle B died this evening. I didn’t get to say goodbye. I hate that. I hate saying goodbye too, but not being able to is worse somehow. I drove all the way in to town, parked the vehicle, and walked up to the hospital doors. As soon as I opened the doors and I smelled that hospital smell I was done. Even though it has been almost two years when I was walking in those doors daily, often more than once a day, to sit in hospice with my dad. Almost two years and I still can’t walk through the doors……..

I wasn’t able to collect myself. And really, it’s not about me. My aunt and cousins did not need to see me still unable to contain the grief I feel about losing my dad. Most days I make it through just fine. But I just could not physically take the steps to go in. I came home and watched tennis, the French Open is on at Roland Garos. I love the red clay, la terre battue.  And why does it seem people I love die during tennis majors? I watched Roger Federer win the US Open on a Sunday afternoon.  And then I held my dad as the sun was coming up the next day and he was dying.

I was going to try again tomorrow.

I ran out of tomorrows.

I am  happy you aren’t in pain anymore B., and you know I loved you. Cancer is a bitch. Really it is. You were funny and a hard worker. And your kids love you and your grandkids are going to miss you so much. M. will be okay, we’ll take care of her. And could you say hi to Dad for me, you know how much I miss him.  The heartbreaking thing is I know what your kids are going through because they lost a dad they loved fiercely too. I’m glad I have many happy memories of you. Sauna’s at camp, bringing firewood to mom’s, sneaking a sip of beer, reliving what it’s like to have Ukranian/Polish/Russian parents, and laughing. Lots of laughter. Thank you. 

Mara ~ I thought I’d have another tomorrow…

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I love doing therapeutic foster care. Even when I feel like I want to pull out my hair with three teenage boys visiting the house, I love it. Sometimes though the minutae slips away and I am angry at people and the damage they have done to their children. Angry. And I know we all have demons and some parents have lived impossible lives themselves. And I’m usually good at living in the moment, and dealing with whatever comes up. And it’s just not my job to judge. Still, sometimes I feel angry.

Children should never have legs broken by their parents, or be so severely neglected that their developmental delays may never be overcome.  And drugs and alcohol and all the following ramifications. And abuse of all types, and neglect, and pain and hurt. And an education system that treats kids like they need special ed, or a medical profession that medicates everything, in the exact same way. And the stigma of foster care. It’s really too much.

And the kids? They’re awesome. They really are. Resilient and strong and broken and amazing. Really. You should all be in awe. And humbled.  And I want to pick up the broken pieces and tape it all up until it’s good as new.  But I can’t. I’ll help though. And my house is here when foster parents need a little break, and my house is safe. It’s not much of a house, but there is food and laughter. And a Wii.

So hug your kids if you have them. And know that we are part of many families in our lives and biology isn’t everything….  It’s a huge part of who you are and where you came from but it’s not everything.

And love? It is the most amazing thing. We have an infinite capacity.

Mara ~ whose ‘kids’ are giving her more than she could ever give them.

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Trust me, it hurts. A lot. Like swallowing a thousand razor blades in a mouthful of drool, and it leaves you choking and a little panicked by it all. So anyway, tons of meds and some AWESOME, GODSENT mouthwash, and I have moved beyond the insanity and the creeping anxiety everytime I felt the need to swallow. It made me freak out a little when the walk-in doctor asked if the doctors in the emergency department had even looked in my mouth the previous day….  Hmmm thanks emerg!

Now onto a subject that is just exhausting me! And I’m white! And privileged in ways I am sure I have not yet acknowledged! And I’m heterosexual! And I’m middle class! Did I mention I am white? And I live in Canada!  

 ENOUGH with the slant eye gesture! Es tu Miley? Es tu Miley?

mileycyrusasianmockingppw7

Now I could start the whole southern-God-fearing-trailerpark-cousin-marrying-idiot-parent analogies, but  that would be uncalled for. And I would only gain a moment of satisfaction until the self-loathing would creep in. So I rise above.

So, it’s the racist ‘chink eye’ gesture again. Dude, my Chinese daughter does not need to see that shit from a Disney Billion Dollar Empire. And can I once again say how incredibly sick I am of the non-apology? (See here).  And that poor Asian guy in the picture, just coming to realize that his friends are a bunch of racists. Sigh.  

Miley says her actions were taken out of context. I have a tidy little sum running on whether she knows what that actually means. All she has to do is provide said context. And poor Miley, she was just trying to make ‘goofy faces’. Because, you know, those asians are really goofy looking. How can she be expected to control herself?  And the kicker is that she can’t believe SHE is being targetted for being a racist when God has a plan for her and the evil media are just trying to get hits on their websites or copies of trashmags sold, and her fans know her heart, and she’s really just a young, silly girl. Wow. It sucks to be the victim doesn’t it Miley? Because of course how could some slant eye ever understand anything about being marginalized, being discriminated against or having to watch some un-taught child do the equivalent of calling you the n-word? Because that gesture is exactly the same thing. The. Exact.Same.Thing.  And please don’t argue, because as a whitey you (and me) do NOT get to tell people of colour what is and is not racist. You just don’t.

And now I’d like to hate-on so called allies. You know who you are. You are the white parents of children of colour who don’t want your children to see racism behind every tree. You don’t want your child to run away with a ‘victimhood’ mentality, or to be ‘oversensitive’, or to walk around being constantly ‘offended’.  You say you’ll be there ‘if’ they encounter racism. IF?!  What you are teaching them is that YOU are insensitive! YOU are sending them the message that being one of ‘those’ people is not desirable. Of course your child never mentions anything about being the victim of racism…. because you, the parents, are racist. And the zipper is stuck on your white privilege bag. And it’s hard, but you have to be willing to learn, to unpack and do better. Your children deserve it. The gesture is not in good fun, the gesture perpetuates the beliefs of a racist society. If you are not Asian you do not know what it’s like to be Asian. If you are not adopted, you will never know how it feels to be adopted. These are not things we should teach our children to let ‘roll off their backs’. We need our children to know that we know it’s wrong and we will not let them navigate through a racist world without us having their back. And working actively to dismantle a power structure that refuses to fundamentally acknowledge and accept our children. Our children of colour. Yes, sometimes I hate my fellow adoptive parents. We can be so fucking clueless.

And once again the way to apologize is to say “I’m sorry. I’ll do better” and then sit down and shut up. A little hint in case you are having trouble formulating an apology, never, ever use the word “if”. Never.

Mara ~ I think I’m back 🙂

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Alive

She made it back to her condo. The police have checked on her and they say she seems okay. She does not answer the phone and has not contacted anyone. She is not paying some bills. Looks like power of attorney aquisition is imminent so maybe we’ll have a better idea what is going on then. The saga continues. We have not been able to contact her about her dog, and to let her know she died in the apartment and had to be removed, so we have no idea what she knows or if it even matters in her mental state. We don’t know if she has a job. Though with the hospitalization and basicly falling off the face of the earth I would imagine not….

Mara ~ thanking God for small gifts

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Tears and closure

I went to a funeral today. It was the first one I could force myself to go to since my dad died. My dad did not want a funeral, or a service or anything. We had a small family gathering two weeks after he died and that was that.  As I was sitting in the church my grandparents built when they came to Canada from Denmark, the church where my dad was baptized, and where Tom’s service was taking place, I couldn’t stop crying. Good thing I was at a funeral.

I loved Tom. He was one of those perpetual people you have in your life. He grew up with my dad in a little rural community that housed the largest settling of Danish people in Canada. I don’t ever remember not knowing him. I played with his children, in highschool I may have smoked pot with his daughter at some party. And he was just part of that world backdrop you have growing up where people are your friends and they feel like they will always be there, even if you didn’t see them for a year.

Tom died of massive head injuries following a motor vehicle accident. It was sudden and unexpected for a 73 yr old. He had five children, 10 grandchildren and a whole community that loved him.  And he was one more piece of my dad that I lost.  He would come out to my mom’s after dad died and tell mom to put him to work. He was awesome.  He took adventures on his own, and travelled North America extensively and on the cheap (and I mean really cheap). He camped under the Florida Keys stars, drove the entire Alaskan highway, canoed and skiied and kayaked. What a beautiful free spirit. And one of the hardest working people I have ever had the privelege of knowing.

As I sat in that tiny church that I love so much, with such a meaningful history to my family, I watched the whole community crowd in. There was no standing room left. We were packed in like sardines in a bursting can. People were standing outside. And it was a tribute to the kind of person Tom was. It was perfect. For him. I also had the sudden realization as I was sitting there that it was not something my dad would have wanted. But sitting there with all the people dad grew up with, I could cry with them. I could mourn my dad in the community that raised him up to be an amazing man, and I could cry for Tom who was also a product of that great place.

My dad didn’t want to be buried, he had things he wanted done with his ashes. And we respected his wishes. Of course we did. But there was a little part of me, as I walked to the cemetery next door that wishes I could have had that physical place to visit my dad. We had a family plot, my grandparents were buried there, and all the people of my grandparents generation. I love cemeteries. And I am madly in love with that cemetery.  I said hi to Nanny and Papa as I walked by their headstones. I still miss them, but in that wistful, immature way one has when loss occurs before we can fully appreciate the extent of what is no longer. The way I miss my dad is much more intense.

As I walked into the church I noticed Tom’s youngest daughter cradling her two little girls. I saw her swollen eyes, and look of shock in her eyes. It took what little restraint I had not to run to her. I did bend down, give her a hug and say “I am so sorry. It is so hard to lose your dad. It’s just hard.” She looked up at me and for one second we shared that understanding that comes when someone can truly share your grief.  “Yes it is..Yeah….”.  It’s not really a club we want to belong to, but we do. We both had fantastic dads, and we are both very grateful in our heartbreak. 

Mara ~  So Tom, could you say hi to Dad? I dunno if he was expecting you so soon, but I’m sure he’s happy to see a familiar face. You rest in peace Tom, you are well loved.

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