African Children: The Hottest Accessory For Rich White Women

Brian and I had no idea when moving to Beverly Hills how in-style we would be as adoptive parents.

Lately (aside from the park where everyone thinks he is a criminal), Brian has been mistaken for either an actor or a professional athlete – even with tourists coming up and snapping pictures of him.
He’d like to think it is his good looks…. but we quickly realized it is when he is out with Samuel that is triggering these cases of mistaken identity. (I, however, have only been mistaken for the babysitter….)

International and transracial adoptions are quickly sweeping over Hollywood.
Angelina Jolie, Katherine Heigl, and Madonna all recently adopted internationally.

Ethiopian adoptions doubled following Angelina Jolie’s adoption of her daughter.

So what is the harm in being inspired by celebrity adoptions? I guess nothing if you’re doing it for the right reasons.

Some people have argued that through this process all of the people doing it to be fashionable would be weeded out because it is so long and strenuous. I completely disagree.

If you have enough money, most of the adoption can be taken care of through your attorney with little to no fuss from the prospective adoptive parents.  Also, the waiting isn’t nearly as demanding if you’re not waiting for something your heart is aching for….and certain countries the wait is much less.

A good example of a “bad” adoption is Casey Johnson. She was the heiress of the J&J brand, and adopted a little girl from Kazakhstan. She originally tried to adopt from Cambodia (“inspired” by Angelina Jolie) but the country actually turned her away (hmm…) However, after another celebrity friend introduced her to her baby from Kazakhstan she was again inspired to adopt. This time the country let her go through.  Her daughter soon after adoption was quickly taken away from her, and went to live with her grandparents (Casey’s parents). Casey’s mother was afraid for the little girl’s safety living with her adopted mother. Casey was a drug addict and a complete train-wreck.  She ended up losing her life due to poor lifestyle choices.

In areas like Beverly Hills where it is important to someone’s wellbeing to be on trend, it would not be uncommon for such an outlandish objective.

The big concern is what happens when, like all fads, this one fades? Or, like in the case of Casey Johnson, the person is not fit to raise a child.

And adoption is becoming such a trend it is also blowing up in predominantly white churches across the nation.

I was talking to a friend that was questioning some of the motives of the people at the church she goes to, when it comes to international adoption.

She was complaining about suddenly being bombarded with “however-million-orphans minus one” videos, t-shirts, and other propaganda that either glorifies the parents or tries to push for international adoptions as a means to save a life.

**I personally, know people who have used that line in their videos and I think their motives were great for adopting, so please don’t be offended if you’re reading this**

I hope that any potential adoptive parents know:
if you’re doing this for any other reason that wanting a child in your family, you are in for a big wake-up call.

It is something almost anyone can do, but it doesn’t mean everyone should do it.

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Sissy Boy….

Every father’s nightmare….

I think that is the fear behind boys having “girls’ toys”

Brian is not one of those dads, thank you Jesus.

I remember when i was in Ghana, one of the other volunteers was an adoptive parent, that had also been a foster parent for many years. Due to the lack of electricity and technology in the village we were staying at we had some pretty long deep conversations with our group and night.

She was telling us about a boy that was taken away from his birth mother by the state. The little boy loved pink rain boots, the mother would never let him wear them in fear of him becoming gay. This was completely unrelated to why her parental rights were temporarily taken-away, but it was sad. The little boy went into my fellow volunteer’s home and got to wear his pink boots every day for a few glorious months. He felt like a million dollars wearing those shoes and they gave him confidence that every little boy should have. Then he was sent back to live with his mother. I’m sure the boots were taken away.

We will never know what happened to him, but it was a great lesson for me on how to parent my children. Aram came out as every testosterone-driven man’s dream (aside from his strange obsession with Lady Gaga)…Samuel is more like me. He loves things that are colorful and sparkle. Part of it is from his culture in Ethiopia, but really that is just who he is. He likes looking at pretty things.

We let the boys pick out their toothbrushes, and Aram picked Lightning Mcqueen (not surprising), and Samuel picked Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.” This was a tough one for Brian…I’m not really sure why, but he sucked it up and now I think he enjoys seeing Ariel’s colorful head in our bathroom every morning. I know it is definitely refreshing to have more of my favorite Disney characters in this house.

Nuttier than a Fruitcake

That is me. And that is why I gave my blog a new look.

I’ve decided since my previous post on race how truly irritated I am.

There is a group on Yahoo for parents of children adopted from Ethiopia. The group is so large it is maelstrom of nonsense. When I first joined we were looking into adoption. The group single-handedly made me put my adoption on hold and almost scared me out of doing it forever. Not because of the scary truths of adoption, but because of the weirdos that do adopt! The posts were awful, and any time anyone that made sense tried to post back they would be brutally chewed up and spit out all over the forum walls. Oh, I shudder at the thought.

So, I finally realized that because the group was so big it led to this crazy pandemonium. Too many conflicting views of the world and how to live it- (even how to speak)…..

I was recently invited into a “secret” facebook group about adoption. At first I forgot I was in it, but then i started paying attention and asking questions in my “secret” group of other mothers that I couldn’t ask the outside world. What happened? Major backlash. Why? The same problem…..too many conflicting views (but it didn’t help the woman attacking me was borderline psychotic)…. I don’t think I’m insensitive to people, but I definitely am insensitive to politically correct nonsense that some people hold so dear. I appreciated that people were defending me, but I still left.

If you’re scared to ask questions about observations in the world in a correct forum- you’re never going to get your answer. I think the lack of knowledge about people is what creates the segregation we see in our society today.

What does Oprah say? “If you know better, you do better”- that is what I’m trying to do. Ask uncomfortable questions that can be answered and discuss them. It may not be pretty, but the outcome is worth it.I stated very boldly in my post, we can’t pretend racism doesn’t exist, but we can talk through the nonsense of race to get past it.I think the problem with those crazy PC people is that by saying everything correct we are pretending that there is no divide, and it only makes it worse. Lack of expression of faith or personal beliefs is also something I cannot stand about the crazy PCers. We are not robots, stop trying to make us act like them.

So, I left the group immediately to stop the nonsense at it’s early stage. Other people I know are still in it and probably find it useful (as well as the yahoo group, there are even good resources on there)…..just not for me.

Basically, I’m left now with a new state of crazy. I finally 100% realize I will not please anyone in any specific demographic. People are going to disapprove of you no matter what and you will never get 100% approval from any 1 group. So, you better believe in what you’re saying.

I am not racially sensitive, I’m just not. Maybe it is because between the two of us, Brian and I are very racially diverse- We make up 10 countries and four continents (Asia,Europe, South America, Australia (random!), and with Samuel we make five with Africa, and if you count the fact that we are North Americans, that makes six! So, I find it insignificant….also, I do experience racist comments all the time. Being in Los Angeles and an inconspicuous half-Armenian, I’ll get direct comments about my ethnicity from people who find my heritage “gross”- or say we are all “criminals” it goes on and on. I even told someone once I was Armenian and they immediately tried to make me feel good by saying, “you don’t look or act like them, they are weird!” It reminded me of when people say Samuel doesn’t look “African”- I’ll also get the other end and have Armenian people segregate me because they say I don’t look it or speak the language, and i must be lying.

I’ve just learned that when you start mixing things up people are going to be confused and say things about what they don’t know. It will be insensitive, and frankly, stupid. Using words like “gross” isn’t ever appropriate, but something in their life experience made them believe that. The only thing you can do is show them that it is untrue. Getting mad doesn’t really help changing people’s opinions. Saying extremely intentional and hurtful things to someone is never okay, but when someone asks a question about something they don’t understand and it comes out insensitive- I think that is good. I think the best part of the civil rights movement was the commentary going back and forth. The complete ignorance that was one-sided was exposed for what it was, and it allowed things to move forward. When we look back at the videos of that time (or even of bigotry in the 1980s) it is almost laughable at how stupid people were. The truth is, those open forums that we are watching from the past were helping us realize this.

So, I’m exposing myself as a complete nut, today. I’m going to do things that make people uncomfortable. I’m going to expose my ignorance in a well-intentioned, but probably insensitive way. If you don’t like what you see, tell me! I’m not going to stop what I’m doing, but I’ll learn!….and if you’re uncomfortable- good. This is coming from the girl who breastfeeds her almost school-aged children in public. Craziness ahead.

Visit to the Homestudy Agency!

Since we were in Northern California- we had an opportunity to actually visit our homestudy agency!

Angel’s Haven Outreach is on top of my list for homestudy agencies.

It was originally run by a wonderful woman named Sherry, who had the opportunity to retire this past year. Now another wonderful woman, Cara, is running the show and is doing a beautiful job!


Cara on the very right. Samuel LOVED her. I have no idea why I'm slouching like.

Race Face

Ah race, the importance of this biologically nonexistent, but socially very real noun, will annoy me for the rest of my life.

So, here is my rant. Forgive my grammatical insensitivity. This is my blog and I’m too lazy to follow the rules…..

I think it is important to acknowledge the injustice and prejudice people have experienced in this country. Even though race does not exist people still were murdered because of it. People tortured and killed other people for something that doesn’t exist. Does anyone else see the problem?

I have a hard time disregarding race, because so many people lost their lives trying to fight for their freedom. At the same time, I don’t think we can be free until we stop our ignorance to what is truth and what is myth.

Being Armenian and having the majority of my great-great family members murdered in an ethnic cleansing, helps me realize the understanding behind racism…..it is trying to divide humankind in a very negative way. The dictionary backs me up on this:
race –
noun-
each of the major divisions of humankind

I think it might be human nature to what to categorize everything, but the truth is that we just don’t need to with this.

Biologically, race does not exist. Everyone keeps hearing that, but it is true. Relative chimpanzees are more genetically variable than any two humans on the planet (the common fruit fly is extremely more variable than that!)….. Clearly, we can see a lot of differences in ourselves than two relative chimps, but that has nothing to do with “race.”

I remember watching this video in my first Anthropology class. It is a great description of what our differences  really mean:

I’ve heard a lot of African American opponents of transracial adoption say that white families adopting black children is “racial genocide”- The ignorance in that statement aggravates me to no end.

With us we have a double whammy. We have to be conscious of the fact that Samuel is, indeed, an African American (in the truest sense of the word)…but he also was born 100% Ethiopian. It is very important to us to embrace Ethiopian culture not just for his sake, but for ours. So, any time you take away a child from their birth country you are in some way going to be killing what would have been. You are also creating something extremely important. The true future of this world.

If people are so determined to keep their races then they should curse down the Wright brothers and Howard Hughs.

Air Travel is making our world much more accessible and much less isolated. “The Island of the Redheads” isolation can’t exist in the world we live in today…..Because of this we are seeing proportionately less fair features on people. It is only common sense that if there is no isolation in this world our whole world will essentially become a big redheaded island……..We will all start having similar features, with all races in some sense dying out, with hopefully less diseases (because of such a wide range in the gene pool)…We may end up biologically stronger- and better looking!- Look at those royals, all those years of inbreeding didn’t help too much in the looks department.

Ethiopian and Armenian Easter!!!

I’m back tracking a little, but we had a GREAT Easter!

On Saturday night we attended an Ethiopian Easter service in Oakland, California.

My grandma and cousin decided to join us.

Trying to be as multicultural as possible, we decided to go with Chinese food for dinner before the service:

Grammy feeding Samuel

Lori enjoying a random drink we decided to order

When we got to the church everyone was dressed in their white clothes (including Samuel, Lori, Grammy, and me) It was so much fun. Everyone was unsurprisingly kind.

We took off our shoes and entered a beautiful church with amazing wood ceilings.  It was packed, but the church is very hospitable to obvious guests and even though some people were standing outside the sanctuary, they demanded they we come inside- and they made room for us. Due to the limited space Grammy happily was separated from us with Samuel. She has a way of completely immersing herself in her surrounds. The Ethiopian people sitting next to her kept looking over in adoration of her and Samuel and her spirit.

Grammy and Samuel

The ceremony started with women dressed in white singing hymns and walking down the isle. I kind woman next to me was translating the meaning of the songs.

Then the men came out and the drumming started! The music picked up and the women made these fun noises (sounds like “lalalalala”. I always wondered why they did that and someone told my grandma, but she forgot what they said! Here is a video and the women make that same noise. The drum is also in it…..(it took me forever to find it, so I hope you watch!)

….. Good luck clapping to the beat- it doesn’t work like that to these songs. The clapping still confuses me- it is totally beyond me when to do it.

Samuel was clapping and singing along in Amharic. The only one in our group that could!

They brought out their prayer canes and began dancing with them.

Unfortunately by this point it was 9PM and we needed to get the boys back to bed. So we had to go outside and put our shoes back on 🙂


Samuel kept fixing my shawl like that and telling me how pretty I was

our odd group leaving

Next year we will probably leave the kids home and stay until 3AM like the rest of the people there.

Easter morning was so much fun, but I already posted about that.

After we went to church my aunt, uncle, sister, her husband, and their kids all came to my parents’ house.

aunt Sharon, my sister, and her new baby

Uncle Bob and Brian

The kids played in the sandbox and we had a great time outside, followed by a very satisfying dinner.

my niece, Jessie, my boys, my sister's boys, and me

my mom and my nephew, Bobby

my sister, Ali, and Brian

my dad and the boys

the twins

On Monday morning we went over to Grammy’s house for bishi! That is an Armenian breakfast treat. It is a little like a sopapilla (only better), with no cinnamon or sugar….and we serve it with honey.

My cousin Bryan and his kids were there, and so was my cousin Lori- we brought my niece, Jessie with us.

The master bishi-maker at work

Bryan and Lori

BISHI!

And that was my Ethiopian-Armenian Easter……

Easter News

Random fact about this Easter that I thought was interesting!

I received this in an e-mail from a friend at the Ethiopian church we attend:

“Also, especially enjoy this Easter  as the Western and Eastern calendars have again mystically converged and so we are uniquely sharing the holiday together across the whole world.  This only happens a few times every century!  “