Photo by Shanna Hullender Photography

"Adopting one child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will change."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Ugly - The Toxicology Report II

My mother and I had taken the kids shopping for church shoes that day. It was a busy hectic time at the mall as there were a lot of people doing their back school shopping. I had three hyper kids and I needed my mother's help and opinion.

The kids all came to me with one pair of decent but clunky pair of athletic shoes. Since the kids were in DFCS custody, they obviously had a clothing allowance. I, however, was unfamiliar with it except that it was on a reimbursement basis only. I didn't know what, if any, stipulations were on their allowance.

We headed to the mall and I bought each of the boys a pair of boat shoes. I purchased some white T-strap Keds for Zippy. I felt she needed the black, brown, and white dress shoes but we would have to suffice with the Keds as they were the most practical and she could also wear them with shorts. I did find a pair of the cutest polka dot tennis shoes ever for Zippy. I was overwhelmed at just the thought of necessities that the kids needed but darn it, they were so cute. My mom also loved the polka dot shoes and insisted on how Zippy had to have them! So there that day, I purchased a total of 4 pairs of shoes, two backpacks, and a dress all while not sure if I would be reimbursed or not. Please keep in mind that the rug had just been pulled out from under me with the notice of my lay off. Every purchase I made from the time I got notice of my lay off came under close scruntity by me. I even felt uneasy about pulling into a gas station purchasing a cup a coffee knowing all too well that I could have saved money by brewing my own at home!

That day at the mall, my mother bought my niece a pair of shoes. That would be my only niece, my brother and SIL's daughter. The one that I had bought two pairs of shoes a few months earlier. The one for which I had purchased 15 summer outfits. The one that I had spent over $2500 painting and outfitting her room with a new bedroom suite and Pottery Barn Kids decor. The one that I paid for and chauffeured back and forth to dance class every Thursday night. The one that my mother shopped for like crazy.

I didn't set out that day thinking or hoping my mom would buy something for my kids. But it did hurt me that here on our first outing together that she bought for my niece that needed NOTHING while there we shopped with my POOR FOSTER KID looking foster children.

So after we left the mall, we delivered those shoes to my niece and that is how we landed in my brother's living room that day.

On their console table was about 5 packs of Disney Princess gummies. Zippy saw them and kept asking me for one. I would ask my niece if she could have one only to have my niece pitch a fit. I kept trying to distract Zippy away from the gummies but time and time again she kept looking, putting her hand on them, etc. It became quite apparent that my SIL wasn't going to offer a pack to Zippy either. I was fuming. Finally, I had enough of it and told Zippy she could have them while my niece raged on. After I had been so generous to my niece, my SIL could not reciprocate and give my kid a pack of $0.25 gummies? My mom was hot too. Keep in mind this was all going on while my SIL questioned me in front of the kids about their race specifically wanting to know if they all had the same dad, what parent was what race and so on.

Boy did my niece ever pitch a big ole nasty fit. My SIL never seized the opportunity to use this as a teachable moment about sharing. Finally, I had enough and we didn't need their gummies either. The gummies had not been opened by the time we made it to the door and down the side walk. I told Zippy we would stop at the store and get her some candy. So I took the gummy pack and turned around and threw them to my SIL that was standing on her front porch with my niece. At that time, my SIL started to console my niece by saying "It's okay, she gave them back to you."

Since I am putting this out here for everyone to read, I think it is only fair to mention that I have discussed my hurt feeling about that shopping trip with my mother. She has apologized and told me that in hindsight she feels that she was in the wrong that day.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Ugly - The Toxicology Report I

Once upon a time, I thought my family was "normal." WRONG, but hey that is what I get for "thinking!" My mother's family was very small and close knit, especially when my grandparents were alive. I have one uncle and aunt and their two kids (cousins) on that side of the family. We all lived within a few miles of each other. I have one brother that is 8 years older than me. Growing we up, we were not close due to the age difference but when I moved back from Nashville in 2003, we began to grow very close. We celebrated birthdays, holidays and milestones together. All was great!

My brother, L, married a gal from the Philippines in 1993. If you have the stereotypical imagine of a quiet, subservient Asian lady in mind, then please toss it out right now! Instead, my sister-in-law (SIL) is loud, opinionated, materialistic and down right offensive. Even still, we accepted and embraced her. After all, isn't that what family is suppose to do?

So in July 2009 after Billy and I decided we would accept placement of our children, I obviously shared the news with my brother. I even shared with him the answer to the million dollar question: "What are they?"

I was hesitant to tell my brother that my children are African American, American Indian, Caucasian and Hispanic. I made him promise on his life that he would not tell her. Yep, I'm talking about my very brown, Filipino, heavy accent, broken English speaking SIL! To this day, she is the only person that I know that does not know the truth. While I am not ashamed of my children's heritage, I knew telling my SIL the truth would be like handing an assassin a loaded gun.

The very first (possibly the second time she met my kids), she kept talking about them being "Mexican" in front of them. She wanted to know what parent was what and so forth. I only told the partial truth because maternal instincts told me that I had to protect my children. So, I lied.

There in my brother's living room, a few things I have learned in life reaffirmed themselves:

1. Some people are as clear as gloss
2. Gut instincts are rarely wrong
3. Live life with little regret

To be continued...