Monday, May 25, 2009

Viva Ava!

Oh me, oh my, we are the proud parents of this most glorious and resilient little girl.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I'm off to pick up my best friend from the airport. She's swooping back into town to host, along with some other fine females, a baby shower. For me! I can't believe it.

Here is Kalimba loving on Tulip.

Holy smokes Ava! You are going to be eaten by your Godmother if you don't watch yourself.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wrestling: Get in the Ring

We've spent the last 48 hours here at our house thinking and talking and reading and writing about the major flap online brought about by EJ Graff's article on

The topic of Graff's argument—the tentacles of corruption—is urgent and powerful and rightfully provocative. I also think it's undercut at every turn by bad reporting and a dangerous amount of rumor-mongering. She was granted a very public, powerful pulpit. I wish she'd treated the subject with greater professionalism. Here is her piece:
(*I also wish people would stop assuming that Graff is a man in their comments on message boards. Women exist in the world of journalism too. Just saying!)

Dr. Jane Aronson, Founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans, who's been in the IA trenches for over 20 years, weighed in on Graff's now widely circulated crie de coeur. She's pissed, and worried that this will deter prospective adoptive parents who may have given safe and loving homes to orphaned children who need and deserve safe and loving homes.

The NY Times asked various experts to weigh in on Madonna's attempts to adopt a second chid from Malawi, and speak more broadly on the subject of IA. Very persuasive and varied voices coming at the topic from all angles. Blissfully they try not to linger too long on Madonna herself.

My most favorite blogger Julie—photographer extraordinaire, exceptional friend of dogs, deep and powerful thinker, reader, and writer—had some thoughts on Graff's piece that she posted on Her work there led one woman to question the credibility of her own adoption and led another to recount a troubling story that deserves investigation. Julie manages to hold a deep belief in the great possibility of an honorable international adoption in one hand while insisting on the need for transparency and accountability in the other. She's my hero.

After all this wrestling, a break was in order. So I sifted through the precious package of books a beloved friend sent me last week. And here is what the Pops read to me before I went to sleep last night:
Grace for President

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

My Boo

*And Tulip back when she was just a pup squeak!

Papa Dog Woofs

—I’m anxious about raising a black child. I’ve been trying to immerse myself in the canon of information pertaining to transracial adoption. Trying really hard to educate myself about what Ava's needs might be and how we can best prepare and be race-conscious without being overconscious, and not "colorblind" either. I’m struck by the notion that even with the best of intentions and resources and gobs of love there will always be something I can’t truly understand. What is it like to grow up black in America?

Let me start by saying I believe my wife and I will make great parents. We are both deeply sensitive and caring people. And while I have to leave the room when the ASPCA commercials with the Sarah Mclachlan song come on and I may have teared up (fine broke out in a full sob) during a viewing of My Dog Skip, I also like to think I have quiet reserves of strength. I think that same piece of me that can’t bear to watch defenseless animals suffer or be lonely is the one that bolsters me in a crisis. It will enable me to give everything I have to this little girl, whom I don’t yet know, but who is nevertheless a being in need of nurturing and love. And who is going to be my daughter.

That being said, I bristle already at the notion that she’ll face discrimination in her life. That she may not always be afforded the same assumptions I was in school. That she may face marginalization by her peers or teachers or potential employers. I have started questioning whether I live in the right community. Is it diverse enough? Will she feel comfortable here? Who will be her role models of color?

Her foundation of loving herself and being proud of who she is will start with us. It won’t end there, but we’re determined to make sure she’s strong and humble and kind and generous and that she always feels LOVED. Then it’s up to us to put ourselves out there for her sake. To expand our own community and face whatever possible discomfort as we walk through the world as a family of color. Her life is going to teach us as much about who we are as we can hope to teach her. I feel incredibly fortunate.

Recently I was discussing parenting with a friend. He shared with me the notion, purportedly from a Japanese monk he admired, that it’s important to move away from the idea of ownership when it comes to children. Every person is a unique soul. Our role as parents is to nurture that soul, that being, until they leave our charge and then continue to be a source of strength for them when needed. I think this sounds wise. And I think allowing the room to think this way will prevent my ego from taking any hardship our daughter endures too personally while also allowing her triumphs to shine in their own grandeur. Her life won't have to be a reflection of me being the #1 Dad (ah, the musings of the never-been-a-parent). Even now as she sits in her crib in Ethiopia she’s started her own journey. We’ll try and be the best guides we can be from here on out.

I now return you to Mama Dog.—