Ruby Bridges

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Norman Rockwell’s famous painting of 6 year old Ruby Bridges

When I heard Ruby Bridges was going to be speaking in our area, I decided right away that Addis & I would be going.

It was at a venue 1 1/2 away, so I pulled her out of school. We arrived at 2:15 & waited outside online until 6:00.  Addis was a champion! Not a single complaint! And she listened to the talk intently. I am so pleased that Addis had the opportunity to meet Ruby Bridges & get her book signed. She showed the book to her class the next day.

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Ruby Bridges

During the talk, I posted what Ruby Bridges was saying, as closely as I could:

                                        She thought she was going to college

She thought the school was sooo much nicer than her previous school

The second day the crowds doubled. When her mother saw it on tv, she thought, “oh God what have I done? “

As a 6 yr old she could see Separate was not Equal

She could see her teacher looked like them. But soon realized she wasn’t them.

2 schools were chosen to integrate, & they were schools in the most racist parts of town

She says all of her neighbors walked behind the marshall’s car everyday, escorting her for support

Sitting in the class room She could hear kids yelling at her

She saw only marshals on the playground & thought there were no kids there.

She couldn’t go to the cafeteria because of threats to poison or hang her.

She thought all the kids were in the cafeteria & she’d have to go there to make friends.

Teachers quit their job

They thought she wasn’t eating because she was worried, but it was because she was throwing out her lunch hoping she could go to the cafeteria.

She just wanted to make friends. She was so disappointed.

The worst part of first grade was the loneliness

There were white patents who wanted to send their kids to school with her…but they lost their jobs, crosses burned on their lawns, threats to their lives & safety.

Children who were sent to go to school with her were kept away by the principal

Her teacher would confront the principal about breaking th law.

A little boy told her “my mom said not to play with you because you’re a n***er”

That’s when she understood what was happening.

He hurt her feelings, she just wanted someone to play with.

She works in schools every day & listens to their stories of being bullied.

She said a little girl told her she gave her the courage to be brave when something bad happened to her

My story is bigger than me, I’m just a vehicle

I feel responsibility to explain racism to children. Which is hard, because there’s no sense to it.

Racism takes away children’s clean heart

I cannot judge a person by looking at them, I have to know them. Dr MLK taught us that

We are responsible for what we see unfolding before us today.

I still can’t really understand it. What we see unfolding in front of us, what is it about?

They didn’t see a child, they saw what they were losing, change. Is that the case today?

If so, we’re losing, there will never be a place with no race.

We don’t have the luxury to trust & love only people who look like us.

I’m speaking to you as a mom who’s lost the most precious thing, a child, to murder.

We are being separated. There is a them and us. It’s good & evil & looks like me and you.

Good will win. My message is to come together, I want you on my team, we have to fight the evil.

Kids: you can change the world.

Asset the civil rights museum, there was a wall of all the freedom riders, & they were all different, black white Asian Hispanic. How did we get here?

I’m just as upset as most of you at what is happening now.

I hope that what I say inspires You to think about how we can make the world better. We can’t afford to lose another child.

Norman Rockwell, he didn’t know what to do. So he stepped away from what he knew and he painted it. It inspires us to ask “what can I do”

If I’m not shouting it from the mountains, I’ll be whispering it to every child. We have to end this.

Racism is a grown up disease.

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#rubybridges

#rubybridges2015

 

Anniversary

Three years.

Wow. What the heck were we doing all those years before? I can barely remember not having Her.

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Three years ago:

  • I had just returned from Ethiopia after meeting my little girl
  • Although the wait for our Embassey appointment wasn’t terribly long, it sure felt that way.
  • My neighbor had a baby shower for me. I wore a pillow under my shirt.
  • We were finishing up getting that little room ready. Straw colored walls, Pink & green trim, princess blanket (which has always been her favorite), cute pictures on the walls, shelves full of books.
  • Jet lag. Seriously, I didn’t see it coming, it took a long time to recover from!
  • Pictures, pictures, pictures. I couldn’t stop looking at them!

The first pictures we saw of Addis she looked stunned & worried. When we met her, her expression was flat. In fact, she had that flat look to her eyes until she had been home for about 6 weeks.

First dayThis picture is from the first daw we met her.

 

$2.13/hr

I had read an article once about how to be happy. Most of it I don’t remember. But one thing always stuck with me.

Leave a good tip.

It said that if you leave a few extra bucks, you’ll soon forget… but it can make someone’s day. In fact it can change their entire work shift, and They will remember. 

So I try to do so.

Today I came across this video, & it gave me goosebumps. Who wouldn’t want to do this?? (or, for that matter, who wouldn’t want to be the server?)

http://www.upworthy.com/a-gesture-of-kindness-is-a-big-deal-its-an-even-bigger-deal-when-you-know-how-bad-their-pay-is

Door # 2

It is the 2 year anniversary of meeting our Princess. *sigh*
We ARE so lucky. To have Her. That she is smart & healthy. That our adoption was smooth, uneventful, & (relatively) quick. I could go on & on (& will at some point).

Besides all of that, I feel like a gained a world that I wasn’t even aware of. How bored must I have been pre-Addis? Now I am aware & a part of a richer world. A world where, at the playground, I can start up a conversation with a random mom & get hair care tips instead of being by myself. A community (online & for real) who is ready to offer me support & a standing playdate. A deeper, richer interest in civil & human rights. I don’t know, maybe those things were already available Before.

I also discovered Ethiopian food. Oh man, was I missing out! And Ethiopian names. It makes me wish I had them to consider back when my Bios were born. And black children. Did you ever notice how gorgeous they tend to be? Tell me you don’t occasionally feel a little bad for a mom with pale, colorless kids? (not that Ponyboy & Jasmine weren’t beautiful babies) And let’s not discount that whole Going To Africa thing. We got a perfect baby AND a trip to Ethiopia – BINGO!

Seriously, Addis is the perfect addition to our family. But besides just having Her, I feel we’ve been enriched is so many ways!

Karma, are you listening?

I was taking a nap. The little girl down the street came by, all excited, & said I needed to come out & meet the new girl. She was also 4.

Or so the story goes.

Yes, I do “remember” the meeting. I think. Maybe. Actually, sometimes when an event gets a “story” I think the story eventually takes over until the story IS the memory. Added to that, there is a picture from when we were 4 or 5 (or 6?) facing each other, holding hands, & smiling. I know it isn’t from that first day, but it is what I picture of it. …I’m getting off-course…

We’ve gone through periods when we didn’t communicate much, and living 2,500 miles apart the last 20 years hasn’t helped. But she still, after 36 years, is still who wears the label of Best Friend. I have a few really good friends. Friends who I can confide in, friends who I can call for anything, friends who have seen me at my worst & think it makes a great story! But how many Best Friends does one get in life? Two? Three if you’re reeeeally lucky?

I hope there’s such a thing as Karma, because Karma has some explaining to do. My friend’s childhood left a lot to be desired. That’s her story to tell, not mine, so I won’t get into it…but believe me when I say she was missing out on some sunshine. And, her adult-hood hasn’t been what you’d call spectacular either. If there’s  a short stick to be grabbed, consider it her’s. Besides the multitude of obstacles & BS thrown her way, it has also been up to Her to keep her family afloat. She’s the sole bread-winner of the family. She spent years working 2 jobs to do it. And, when finally afforded an opportunity to improve her lot, it gave way after she worked her ass off to get it. Her husband is disabled, with a very painful disease which has robbed her family of a “normal” life.

And yet, she still plays the part of being a Ray of Sunshine to others. When my mom was dying, she sent no less than 4 cards to my parents. And months later she sent my dad a letter which he appreciated. When my family had a reunion last summer, I jokingly told her that I assumed she would be there….and she was. It wasn’t easy for her to pull off, it meant leaving her disabled husband for a week & driving hundreds of miles…and, she was unemployed. She goes out of her way to make people laugh, even if it’s at her expense. She cares for people that no one else cares about, and acts as an advocate on their behalf. She mails people handwritten notes, or maybe donuts, just to improve their day. How she keeps it up is beyond my understanding.

I truly hope & pray that good things are coming her way. If anyone deserved it, it is her. And I hope she knows that she is one of my favorite people.

Karma, don’t be a Bitch.

these pics are Her’s…I don’t think she’ll mind!

Call the 1 800 #

Have you ever called a company to complain? Probably! I try to remember to call when I’ve been exceptionally pleased as well. I have a very good friend who has a really crappy job. She is (& has been for a long time!) over-worked & under-appreciated. She is a nurse working very long hours at a bad nursing home. The following was posted by her on Facebook:

For the counter to the bitching about my work, here is an account of a VERY true story. Tuesday, I come in and my patient with alzheimers and a fractured femur, with not his original knee or hip is trying to get on the toilet himself. I go in and assist him. While we are in the bathroom he is annoyed, because he just doesnt get why I wont let him do this stuff by himself. I speak to him, as I alwa…ys do, we come out and as I shut the door I see a man standing by the end of the mans bed that I have never seen before. He says “Can we videotape what you just did?” I say “well, I think its kind of a violation of his rights to film him using the bathroom.” He responds, “I mean what you just said in there” I was like “what did I say?” He says “I have NEVER seen anyone talk to my father like that here before.” Now I am so confused. He continues on to say, “I think that the way I just heard you in there with him should set the standard for how the people here are  treated” I say, “Thank you, but I dont think I did or said anything out of the ordinary, I just try to think, what if he were my dad.” He continues with praise, I say flippantly, “wow, can you tell my boss, I dont think she likes me very much, but I dont care, what matters is that YOU and your father do” He says “well, I know my dad does, he talks all the time about the ‘Gal with the ponytail’, so I guess thats you” Then he says he wont tell my boss, he is going to email Dave (the administrator of the whole hell hole), he made sure he got my name off my badge. Curious to see if he does, I know the son in law was in last night and he mentioned the whole exchange to me, but I am curious to see that if Dave does get an email, if anyone SHARES that fact with me.

She’s got a lot of (valid) complaints about her job, I’ve told her maybe she is there because someone there NEEDS her. I REALLY hope he sends that email!

(this was so touching that i really wanted to share it)

Adoption is not a “consolation prize”

I had been planning on adopting…..well, my entire life. First it was Chinese orphans. Then, when communism fell, it was Romania. Finally, as an adult starting an actual family (as opposed to the imaginary one), I researched many countries & US foster care over the years.

During that time we had Jasmine. She appeared (unannounced!) almost 2 years into our marriage. A few years later, I figured I didn’t need to sleep ever again & we got Ponyboy. What were we doing during that 13 year gap between Ponyboy & Addis? Well, honestly, if we were better planners that gap would have been closer! But there were no other bio children because I was pretty sure that would make adopting less likely.

When we finally put “Plan Addis” into action, we were excited. Our kids were excited. My family (but maybe not my in-laws) were aware long before that we would be adopting, & looked forward to it (even if they didn’t quite believe it would happen). We told people we were on the adoption path, with mixed reviews. Mostly people told us that was great, some people warned us of everything that could go wrong, and some had tons of questions.

One day I got this odd comment:

“I’ve been praying that you would get pregnant!”

….uhm, thanks? Seriously, Don’t! Stop! That will de-rail our plan!

That is when it occurred to me that people outside our family must assume we were experiencing infertility. I paid closer attention to those questions. Yeah, that was it. They thought that we had this decade-long gap due to infertility & finally gave up to try adopting.

No! Not us! We were CHOOSING “choice B”!

Since entering this post-adoption world, I’ve discovered our choice is similar to many many others. I’d guess that about a third or more of adoptive families I know, both in the real world & on the internet, CHOSE to adopt as “choice A”.

I can’t imagine my family without Addis. I can’t imagine thinking she’s a second choice. I wish there were a campaign enlightening people that Adoption Is Not A Consolation Prize!