Something Good Happened

As it turns out, the hairs on the back of my neck weren’t standing up without reason…

We have another child.

Someone sent us a note, we prayed, Mr. Anonymous replied, we studied some papers, and then we all took a plane flight.

Now, we’re all home!

For the sake of the blog, I’m going to call him Jet.

Jet is older than Doc and Birdie but younger than Bea.

And he fits perfectly.

We have a lot to be thankful for this November.  God’s been so generous.

I probably won’t stop to write before then, so happy Thanksgiving, friends!

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Anticipation

Ever get the feeling that something incredibly remarkable and fabulously amazing is about to happen?

Me, too.

It’s like sensing that you’ll come home to a fat bouquet of delicious-smelling flowers.  Or just KNOWING that you’ll be the eleventh caller to the radio station to win those sold-out concert tickets.

But better.

It kind of swirls around in the back of your life like the sunshine about to burst out from behind a cast-iron sky.

Something’s about to happen.

And it’s going to be better than imagination can conjure.

Here’s hoping the same for you!

Quilt It Up

September was the month of quilts.

My goal for the charity auction is reached, and it feels fabulous!

Here’s the damage:

minky floral (2)

This one is made out of supple and fluffy minky fabric with a satin back.  It’s small enough to be a car blanket, but it’s batted inside, so it has a nice weight, too.

minky owl quilt (1)

This one is similar to the one above except (a) I can’t seem to take a worthy picture of it, and (b) it’s about double the size (so no batting for this one lest it feel too much like a mattress).

stripes and blocks quilt

I’m in love with this strips and blocks one!  To me it says, “BOY!” without balloon-y cartoons or realistic grenades.  It’s just happy and simple.

teal and brown quilt (2)

This teal and brown one has kind of a chic country girl vibe, but—for the life of me—I am horrible at photographing it in a worthy way.  The back has yellow rickrack sewn into the binding for a cheerful surprise.

pink and orange floral quilt (1)

If colors were actual affection, pink and orange would be a child’s squeal with delight and a cozy hug.  There’s a satin ribbon tag stitched into the edge because all my babies loved the tags on their blankets (it’s nice for hanging up, too).  This one is large and light; it could transition easily to a princess cape in a couple of years.

doll quilt (2)

Finally, a doll quilt that I don’t intend to send to auction.  I imagine this will become part of Birdie’s Christmas loot because that girl loves to mama her dolls.  It’s only about a yard long by a couple of feet wide… a good size for three-year-old hands to practice swaddling.

They aren’t much, but they are something!

Now, after I whip out some yellow polka-dotted bunting for a friend’s shower, my faithful sewing machine is going on her annual “vacation” (a.k.a. cleaning at the repair shop).  At this point, I think we could use some time apart… distance makes the heart grow fonder and all that.

As September slips into October, here’s to a super-productive, back-into-the-swing-of-things, crack-out-the-Christmas-ideas, deep-clean-the-house, bake-some-goodies autumn joy!

Hugs!

Summer, Farms, and Quilts

Two things:

First, a couple of weeks ago, we were all piled in the car doing errands when Bea piped up that she wants to have a farm when she’s grown.  Mr. Anonymous asked what she’d have on it, and she replied, “Oh, I’d like a dog and a horse and some sheep.”

Of course, Birdie then says that SHE’D like a farm someday.  “I want a kitty an’ a piggy an’ a sheeps.”

Not to be outdone by his sisters, Doc then declared that he, too, will have a farm.

“What would be on your farm, Doc?” we asked.

He knew immediately.  “I want a puppy and a kitty and a train and a bus annnnnnnnd… a twuck.”

Ack, he kills me!  Now that the “twins” are three, I feel like everything is happening at light speed with them.  When Bea turned three, I embraced the constant and rapid change… but now… let’s just say I’ve grown nostalgic in my old age.

I know I’m not alone in noticing the sudden switch from ‘toddlers’ to ‘kids’.  We’ve started to receive comments like, “Oh, your babies have grown too much!  Time for another one!”  Typically, I shrug and smile.  Really, what am I going to say?

Wow, though.  They really are fantastic children, and the love I feel for them sometimes makes my ribs ache.  We’re so, so blessed.  If you’re a mom, I’m sure you know the feeling.

Second, my charity quilt progress has been slow but steady.  I finished two more, but one of them is going to a friend’s expected little girl (so I can’t show it to you—her details are on it).

So!  Here is the third one!  This was my sketch and some “compass” fabric that was designed for the Boy Scouts of America.

compass quilt (1)

Here’s the finished result.

compass quilt (2)

And the back is all national parks of the United States.

compass quilt (6)

Granted, it’s not much to write about, but I like how the arrows give it some east/west movement.

That’s a touch of our August.  I’m ignoring the start of school as long as possible, but last week I cleaned out the kids’ closets from tip to floor, took a startling amount of stuff to the Goodwill, and am going to a much-anticipated BBQ tomorrow.  Summer has had wings this year, but hopefully, there are still a few more thrills left of it.

Personally, I’m thinking s’mores.

Love to you!

Jump Around!

Can July be any nicer?

Really, it’s a wonderful-licious sort of month.

Here’s what’s been happening at the Anonymous home:

Polka grew up!  She got in the last of her adult feathers and FLEW AWAY!  Did you see that coming?  We didn’t, but Mr. Anonymous and I are pretty relieved (ducks can live up to twenty years!) and very happy for her.  She learned how to roost, self-feed, hide from predators, and swim… and fly.  She’ll be fine; she wanted her freedom!

Doc has come across a new favorite toy.  Now, while nothing can take the place of a ball, this comes close.  He spotted this set at a garage sale last week and hasn’t left it alone since it’s been sterilized.  Here’s how he left them set up the other day before going outside to play.

favorite toy

He drops each character off at their own stop, kicks off the “mean” passengers, remembers everyone’s job that they are off to, and then picks everyone up in the reverse order to deliver them to their homes.  Here’s the magic of this toy: he will play with it for HOURS.  This is my child that has to jump to count to ten, walks around while “reading” a book, and that has been caught multiple times swinging from the living room curtains.  As one of his great-grandmothers put it, “I’ve never seen him so engrossed in anything.”

And speaking of Doc’s kinetic needs, Mr. Anonymous purchased a twelve-foot trampoline (with net!) for the backyard.  When Doc’s outside, he’s flying around on it.  When he’s inside, he’s got his bus.  The girls like the trampoline, too.  Bea most enjoys laying on it and reading.  Birdie pretends it’s a home in which she can entertain Bea and Doc.  The three of them have required some strange moratoriums be set on the space: no sport balls (Doc), no shade umbrellas (Bea), and no tea sets (Birdie).

My “quiet” time indoors has been spent finishing these.

purple quilt

yellow wheels

yellow wheel

They’re both toddler size and are for a charity auction earlier next year; there are between two and four quilts to add.  Progress has been slow, but I’m motivated to have them done before Christmas prep starts.  Side note: someone mentioned last week that Christmas was getting close, and I almost knocked them flat.  Stop rushing everything!  (Hmmm… that sounds hostile.  I’m usually pretty even keel; I promise.)

But that’s what I’ve got for today.  Guests will be here in less than twenty minutes, and Bea is leaving for a baking date, so I’m done here!

Revel in the day!  It’s a good one!

What To Say About Adoption

The last several days, I’ve been mulling over some bizarre and unsettling views of adoption that have made me stop and think.  There is such a mystery to it that I can’t seem to wrap my mind around… but people have questions—mostly well intentioned questions—that they honestly want answers to.

I can engage that.

But what has come out of all this is that I realized a lot people have NO IDEA how to ask about adoption.  Adoption is more common than what society believes.  For a long time, it was treated as taboo—to the point where plenty of adopted children didn’t know they had been adopted!  In the spirit of wanting to educate and perhaps give newly adoptive parents a way to appreciate the hearts of their well-intentioned friends, here are some actual questions I have personally been asked.

1.        “So where did you get them?”

This question is the sort that you can ask if you are inquiring about a great pair of jeans your friend is wearing.  Because jeans are just stuff.  People aren’t stuff; they’re souls.  Instead, ask:  “Were you children born locally, or did you have to travel to bring them home?”

2.        “So what is she anyway?” (This is in regards to ethnicity.)

If you’ve ever heard this one, you probably heard a rather terse parent reply, “A baby.”  It’s hard to imagine someone approaching you at the water cooler and asking, “So what are you anyway?”  That’s awkward.  If you are really burning to know what ancestry a child has, be sure you’d be willing to answer this question from a stranger yourself: “Do you know what her heritage is?  She has such a beautiful nose/face shape/chin/etc.”

3.        “So what’s wrong with him that his real parents didn’t want him?”

First, there doesn’t have to be a good reason for a biological parent to stop parenting (and even if it IS a good reason, it’s just not anyone else’s business).  The child is a victim—not a problem.  Second, a biological parent isn’t a ‘real’ parent or the ‘old’ parent… they are a biological one.  A ‘real’ parent chooses to love and nurture their child unconditionally in the face of health problems, anxiety, and heartache.  This question is purely and completely offensive.  In every way.  Every.  Way.  There is no better way to ask this question.  Don’t ask it.

4.        “How much did he cost anyway?”

Slavery is fittingly illegal in the United States.  It is unlawful to purchase another human being… and it’s reprehensible.  Adopted children are not purchased.  This question gives the sense that an adoptive parent is the sort of person that deals in human trafficking.  Legal fees can indeed be expensive; the average cost of a domestic adoption is about equivalent to giving birth without medical insurance in a hospital.  The best way to ask this question: don’t.

5.       “Does she know she’s adopted?”

If she doesn’t, did you just spill the beans?  Because that’s not cool.  If you are the bestest and closest of friends with the person you are asking, you probably know this answer already!  If you’re not this person’s dearest kindred spirit, it’s just not your place to ask.  If for some reason (you’re a nosy great aunt or a gossipy neighbor) you MUST ask, this is the only possible way to avoid permanently ruining your relationship with this person forever: “What’s her favorite part of her birthstory?”

6.        “Do you know who his daddy is?”

Odds are, yes.  Lawyers are very thorough professionals who make it their business to get the answer to this.  Even if a specific birthfather hasn’t been fingered, there is a definite short list that implicates all the men who have been served by the court to terminate their parental rights.  All of this information has been documented and sealed by the court at an adoption’s finalization hearing.  So you don’t need to ask this question!  Whew!  Isn’t that a relief?

7.        “Were they abusing him or what?”

Here’s the horrible truth that most of us already know… bad people have kids, too.  That means that there are real, live, good adults walking this earth that did not have a happy childhood.  And they don’t want to share their baggage with the checker at the grocery store or their cousin’s new girlfriend.  It’s tragedy they don’t want to spread around.  So if you ask this question, more than likely, their adoptive parents will give you a stern stare and change the subject because this is not something you share with others; ugliness isn’t what you want associated with your child.  The child is happy and home; focus on that.

8.        “Do you ever talk to her real mother?”

Many birthparents have some contact with adoptive parents (especially domestic adoptions).  Birthparents who make the decision to terminate their parental rights in order to give their child the life she deserves are LOVING parents.  They are not heartless or abandoning their child.  They simply cannot provide the life they feel their child deserves.  So they make a plan and give their child the best possible family.  Because they care, they wonder how the child is doing, hope for the child’s future, and are naturally curious about the child—more frequently than one might imagine.  Birthparents and adoptive parents do a cautious dance to assure that everyone is emotionally okay and that the child’s life is steady and full of love.  This is a long answer all to say that it is likely that there is some form of contact between the two households.  But why would that be public information?  It’s a cautious dance!  Just let them get through it without distractions.

9.        “When did you get her?”

In our culture, the most common form of adoption that is discussed is animal adoption.  Strange when you think about it, but there it is.  It is understandable to talk about “getting” a puppy… but not so much a baby.  Try asking this way:  “When did she come home?”

10.    “That’s great that you adopted!  I never could.”

REALLY?!  Why?  Are you done raising children?  Do you deeply enjoy the experience of pregnancy?  Do you have a problem with orphans?  This statement is so perplexing.  If you are trying to show your support for adoption and haven’t thought through your words yet, perhaps this is what you were hoping to convey: “Adoption is a such a wonderful way to grow a family.”

11.    “Do you have any natural children?”

Could you define ‘natural’?  Are the artificial ones an option now?  Are you wondering if all of this parent’s children are adopted?  This might be what you mean to ask:  “Are all of your children adopted?”  or “Do you have any biological children?”

12.    “How is he adjusting?” (This is in regards to an older child.)

Is the child in the room?  How well would you adjust to a whole new life?  This question is fiddly, isn’t it?  You’re trying to be supportive and maybe be that listening ear for the parent.  That’s your intent, right?  So how about this question instead: “How are YOU adjusting to the growth of your happy family?”

13.    “She is adopted.”

Obviously, this isn’t a question.  This is a statement said a thousand times, but it’s on this list for two reasons.  First, why is this often mentioned?  Does this child have little asterisk by their name that shows that, hey, this one came from somewhere else?  Second, adoptions are long and usually accompanied by pricey lawyer fees and emotional stress… then finalization day happens.  The skies part; birds sing; it’s the end of a journey and the start of a new day.  Simply, it’s magical.  And it makes the trials fade to the past tense.  So when it absolutely MUST be said, say this: “She WAS adopted.”

There you have it.

I’m surprised by the number of people mournfully who tell me, “We just can’t adopt.  We’re too old/big of a family now/broke/sick/etc.”  Let me respond with this:  IT’S OKAY!  Not everyone is going to adopt a child.  The greatest thing you can do for adoption is show your support!  Hand down clothes to a growing family, make a big deal when a child comes home, PRAY for a child to go to just the right family, treat the child like a regular member of their family, and maybe offer to baby-sit in a few months!  Adoption is how God Himself has chosen to grow His family.  Support adoption, and you’re standing behind a respectable principle.

Now go have an awesome day!

6June2013 Jude the Obscure (3)

Children are brutally honest.  Emphasis on the ‘brutal’ part.

And women are notoriously critical of themselves (see the whole Dove phenomenon sweeping the web right now).

Last weekend, Bea labored over some cards for each family member.  Each one had mini photos of the person, their name at the top, and a ‘profile’ she had penned.  This is what mine said:

Mama

Mama is wonderful.

She always has a kind word for everyone.

She can make anyone feel better,

and she can make a really good meal!

 

Honestly, I was thunderstruck.

Of all my children, she is the one of whom I am most critical.  And, yes, I’ve been consciously struggling lately to not criticize, but does that really make up for all these years of constant correction?  If anything, her sweet words were galvanizing.  “If this is how she sees me,” I thought, “there’s no way I’m going to give her a reason to think otherwise!”

So my children are making me better every day.

And that’s painfully great.

Next topic:

Two weeks ago, a mother walked into school and asked, “Does anyone want a duck?”  Inside an old milk crate was a tiny, two-day-old duckling.

“Why does it need a home?” I asked with a smile.

The mom shook her head sadly and shrugged.  “We don’t have the space for her.  I just don’t want to have to wring her neck.”

Can you guess what happened next?

I made a quick call, and fifteen minutes later, Mr. Anonymous showed up with our own milk crate and a quick kiss for me.

“Love you!  See you at home!” were the words he tossed over his shoulder on the way out the door.

This is Polka Duck.

6June13 duck (1)

We’ve raised wild Mallards before and given them a wild release to a local lake, but Polka came imprinted to people, so it looks as if she may need to stay.

But that’s okay.  The kids are enamored by her, and Mr. Anonymous is soft towards her, too.  What’s not to like about a duck anyway?

Next subject:

I’ve been stitching a bit lately… small quilts that I can talk about more another time, but here is a preview.

quilt circle quilt

 

Last subject for today:

SUMMER!!

Right now, this little vase of loveliness is bursting my studio with fragrance.

6June2013 roses in the studio (5)

The radiant sunshine, the wafting of lavender, the creamy pleasure of homemade ice cream, the marvelously light sky late into the evening… I love it all!  (Imagine me clapping wildly, sea lion style, here).  I love wearing dresses or skirts EVERY DAY.  I love the feel of sockless toes.  I love the hum of fat bumble bees.  I love the squeals of joy from the little Anonymouses as they race around the sprinkler.  I love sleeping just under a sheet instead of a stack of quilts.  I love delicious, drippy stone fruit from the market.  I love going to garage sales early on Saturday mornings.  I love entertaining other families and not worrying about school in the morning.

I L-O-V-E love it!

So enjoy some sunshine and take some time to do something totally unimportant.  Happy day to you!

Another May, Another Day

What month is it?

I can usually keep my days straight, but this little blog is getting away from me.  I used to feel a small tug of guilt that I hadn’t updated the thing in a while… now my goal is to just get something down once a month.  Anything over that is gravy.  Do I sound like an underachiever yet?  That’s okay with me.

What is so strange to me is that I write so many articles that never get posted.  On Mother’s Day, I outlined a full diatribe about birthmothers, adoption, and my own birth experience with Bea… all while cleaning the kitchen.  Bea had another birthday, and I mentally scripted a long reminisce of her babyhood and childhood—Mr. Anonymous and I were up late decorating the house for her birthday party.  But my laptop isn’t handy when I’m standing on the dining room table trying to hang streamers from the chandelier.  The garden is bursting with luscious roses, giant bearded irises, scent-drenched lilacs, enormous peonies, and riotous clematis, but when I’m weeding, I’m not typing.  I’m teaching a sewing class in twenty minutes, and my desk is stacked with quilt blocks and fabrics (and a small beading project), so there isn’t really time to write about that either.  Mr. Anonymous is adding another bedroom onto the house (the man is a machine, seriously), and that’s totally newsworthy, but I’m not going to get into that right now either!

So what’s on my mind?  What’s been bustin’ my chops that last week, waking me up multiple times in the night?

I need another girl name.

No, we’re not expecting right now… but here’s the thing: Bea has been ardently praying for another sibling (and, for the record, that’s how Doc and Birdie came to be a part of our family, so don’t roll your eyes).  Birdie has joined in, too.  That’s the sort of thing we take seriously around here.  God hears the prayers of children.

Names are a big deal.  I’ve had a life-long preoccupation with them, so the naming of my own wee ones is done with a lot of thought… and since I’m blessedly not a single parent, Mr. Anonymous has to feel pretty passionate about them as well.

We like to keep a name for each gender in the back pocket, and we’ve got a solid one for a boy.

But inspiration for another daughter…

*sigh*  It’ll happen.  It always does.  And it’ll be perfect.

Today, though, it’s making me crazy.

That’s it.  That’s the only fly in the ointment.  Otherwise, our life is all cherries and sunshine!  Birdie and Doc are the best of friends, the ladies love sharing their room, Bea is almost done with school for the year (give a cheer!), Doc has learned how to ride his two-wheel bike, Bea has become self-motivated to master French, Birdie truly believes that we will never abandon her (big win there!), and life is chock-full of wonderful people in our lives.  Our world is a good place.

I hope yours is, too!

Double Anniversary

Yesterday, marked three years since a friend called in hysterics, confessing that she said we’d adopt a baby.  That started the journey to Doc becoming an Anonymous.

And Birdie came home five short months ago today!

When I began this blog in 2009, I never dreamed that I would have three children by 2013.

It’s just plain wonderful how God’s plans are better than we could ever imagine.

And on that quick note, I’m off to pack, pack, pack.  We leave on vacation, as the kids would say, in just “two more sleeps”!

IF they can sleep!  We’re silly excited around here!

Doc has a new bow tie (by request), the twins have new seatbelt strap covers and full amuse-me-in-the-car kits for a more comfortable ride, Bea has an entire BAG of new books to read, and I just finished stitching a dress for a gala we’ll be attending while away.  Mr. Anonymous has all his favorite road trip food to enjoy.  It’s going to be a GREAT time!

Hope your day is the anniversary of something fantastic… and if it’s not, do something today that will be worth remembering next April 2nd.  Happy day to you!

March Musings

Sometimes I wonder: is it okay that I frequently post awesome, cute stuff my kids do because it makes me just so happy?

Or does that seem self-aggrandizing or somehow arrogant?

Or does the fact that this blog is anonymous remove all taint of that?

Or is it fine that I want to post about the darlingness of my children because, hey, I’m the author here and proud of my kids?

My.

I am decisive.

*snort and chuckle*

Moving forward then…

During Sunday services, Birdie began to frantically tap me on the arm.  She’s recently potty-trained, so any alarm makes me think we need to rush to the facilities.

I looked down at her intent face and raised my eyebrows.

“Mama!” she gasped.  “I WUHF YOU!”

Birdie had never said “I love you” unprompted until then, and—quite honestly—it took a moment to register what she had just uttered.

Her heart-on-the-sleeve eyes searched mine with a worried expression.

I did the only thing I could think of in the face of such concern.  I kissed her soundly on the head while burying her in a bear hug.

Finally, she pulled back, revealing a magnificent smile.  “Good,” she whispered and went back to singing.

Yes, people.  That IS what adoption is all about.  Giving a child the life of not only being loved—but a life where she can feel safe enough to love back.

Hasn’t God done that for us?  He adopted me as a Christian to be His own child, and now I can love myself and others because I know what real love is.

In similar news, Doc is as wildly protective now of Birdie as he is of Bea—which is saying something!  That boy is fierce!

He asked if he could grow a mustache about a month ago.

Our response?  Go for it.

Several times a day, he’ll seek out a mirror and gently finger above his upper lip and frown.  Bea has begun to fashion paper ones for him to wear depending on his outfit.  Today was blue in a gaucho style.

Bea and Birdie are now sharing a room.  We had a young lady living with us for six months, but she recently moved into a new place with some friends.  Birdie had been in our room (the Mr.’s and mine) since coming home, but on the four month anniversary of her arrival, she got the lower bunk in the “Girl Room”.  There was a fair deal of decorating and arranging and deciding whose space was whose.

Oh, the excitement!

The Mr. and I were slightly apprehensive that perhaps the move would be bumpy.  After all, the girls are so very different in personalities and, um, tidiness—but things have gone beautifully!

Bea is enjoying having a sister to dress in the mornings, and Birdie is strongly opinionated with Bea’s wardrobe.  It’s an unusual dynamic, but both girls are happy, so we don’t interfere.

And, truly, they are precious together!  They plan all sorts of little adventures for Doc (playing ‘roller coaster’ or ‘pioneers’ or acting out the role of Michael from ‘Mary Poppins’), and he retreats to his basketball net when it becomes too much for his masculine sensibilities.

My best friend (aside from Mr. Anonymous) is to be proposed to in next couple weeks.  I am giddy for her, and it’s a nice secret to keep.  Their wedding is either going to be absolutely massive or an elopement to a tropical place.  It should be interesting.

And then there’s the dog… who refuses to be completely housebroken, who requires constant attention, who plays aggressively with the little ones, who will happily snatch food off of their chairs while they are eating… most of the time, I would absolutely refuse to return a dog to a rescue organization—but I’m wavering with this dog in this circumstance.

She’s young.  And, of course, we knew that when we got her.  She’s feisty.  We suspected that.  What we did NOT expect was to adopt another child within two weeks of bringing the dog home.

And does that make an enormous difference?

I’m beginning to think it does.

*Eyeroll*  One day, I’m ready to take the dog back; the next, Mr. Anonymous is.  But we have yet to agree at the exact same moment during the rescue organization’s business hours.  We’ll see what the next few weeks bring.

And that’s enough for now!  A vacation is on the horizon, so I’m sure I’ll post again beforehand.  The anticipation is deliciously exciting!

Enjoy your last whiff of winter; spring is ready to debut!