Thursday, April 30, 2009


This beautiful face is the face of someone very very very special to the Rooneys. She is the daughter of "Coffeedoc and Coffeemom." Coffeemom is one of my favorite people out there in blogland. I first met her when we were able to meet, hug, play with the fabulous hair of, and take photos of their son Gabe, who was in Addis waiting to come home. Then I really started to read Coffeemoms blog, and I found myself challenged to live better, to give more of myself, to accept who I am (and the age I am and my wrinkles), and to listen more closely to what God might be whispering to me. I have printed a couple of Coffeemom's pieces and taped them to the door in my bathroom, to remind myself of these things.

Ted and I decided last year to jump on board the Children's Hope Chest child sponsorship program. We were excited to find out who our child would be, as we had already met a lot of the children at Kebebetsehay Orphanage. We kept wondering if our sponsored child would be one that we'd met, hugged, sat beside and held hands with.

Several weeks ago, we got the news of our sponsored child. I opened up the email and saw a face I didn't recognize. I just thought, "oh well, we'll get to know this one." A few days later, I was emailing with Coffeemom, and she sent me her newest photo of her girl. I scrolled down to the bottom of the email and saw the face of our sponsored child. Our Children's Hope Chest sponsored child is also Marta, Coffeemom's Marta.

I immediately yelled for Ted and burst into tears. I couldn't believe it. Of all the dozens and dozens of children that are being sponsored, we were matched with the child who would become the daughter of a woman I see as one of my life's mentors. Before the day was out, Coffeemom and I were on the phone, crying, and discussing what is 'coincidence', what is not, and how difficult it is to want to have all your chicks in the same nest, all together, safe and warm with you.

Marta is their daughter officially. They passed court a while back (if you haven't seen the video, seriously: go here and watch until the very end. This is, hands down, my favorite adoption video yet. fyi: "Buddybug" is Marta's brother, who she is waiting to meet) but are waiting now for one glitch to get cleared up so that Marta can come home to her safe nest. It's kind of a serious 'glitch."

Today, Becca has organized a fast/prayer. Would you join in? These things are always a mystery to me, but like Becca said, "I want to be a part of pleading with God to change this situation. This is what I can do. I have no other political or governmental power. This is it." I feel the same. This is all I can do. Could you join in too?

By the by, now that Marta is officially adopted, we will be matched with a new child...seriously curious about this one too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Littlest Dandy in the Sunshine!

Yep, this is exactly how I felt yesterday afternoon when I got the call from my friend Courtney with the news about their little guy:

celebrating the goodies at the Eagle Rock Trader Joe's last summer in California with Abe, Ted, and Jana.

After several back and forth phone calls for the next couple of hours, Stacie and I celebrated this Sweet Baby Jaynes with sparkling wine, via skype:

I've watched their referral video three times now. All us Rooneys couldn't be more excited for our friends Jason and Courtney. Click here to go say congratulations. You'll probably try to pinch their sweet cheeks through the computer--these guys are adorable.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Scythian! with video

I am working on a full report of Merlefest '09. On Saturday, we had a pretty mind-blowing experience with two other families...can't wait to share. And really, by saying "mind-blowing," I'm not exaggerating.

In the meantime, here was one of the highlights of the weekend: we discovered our new favorite band, Scythian. After hearing them at the dance-tent on our way to bed our first night, we decided to hear them every time they played in the next couple of days. This photo was taken at the "busking workshop," the hottest day of the festival, explaining why Abe is clad only in his diaper.

These guys are incredibly fun (and shh...but how cute is that drummer? deliciousness, I say). Go here to listen to their music. Our favorite is "Technocordian." Abe looooves this song. If these guys come to your town, do yourself a huge favor: take the kids and GO.

Here's a live version of the song. It starts out slow but amps up. We heard this performed at Merlefest with several hundred people outside on the side of a steep hill. Despite the heat, most everyone was on their feet and dancing.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Go. Go. Go.

Somehow, things continue to be rush-busy-rush-airplanes-busy-more airplanes. This has been the most frantic time of our lives since our wedding.

Positives in life right now:

Abe is singing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and his ABC's. He also repeats anything one might say. Anything. A couple of days ago, I heard him saying "beer run." We were out. We were discussing our plans for acquiring more.

The grass is green, green, green.

For the past three nights, we've been able to spend over an hour outside in the late evening with our neighbors and the four other kids on our block. It's felt like heaven.

We're all healthy.

Julie published this.

On Saturday, this happened.

I found a pair of J.Jill pants at Goodwill for $4.99 yesterday (despite our frantic pace, I squeeze in a Goodwill run...between the beer runs).

We get to spend the weekend with Abe's "Pappy" (my dad) and my sister and niece at Merlefest in North Carolina. I blogged about it waaaay back in the beginning days of this blog. I think it may have been my third post. I'm trying to be okay with the very long journey there, starting with a 6 am flight in the morning...and with the news my sister just broke to me that the heater in the RV we've rented is broken. It gets down to 40 degrees at night.

I will not be a baby, I will not be a baby, I will not be a baby... sitting on stage with Emmylou Harris and Linda Rondstat ought to make it better, right?

Ya'll have a fantastic weekend. Merlefest pics to come in a few days.
Abe and Mezmur, Saturday April 18th

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Abe's Here-and-Now

The past few days have been rush-rush-rush busy for us. Last night, I was reminded about the wonderfulness of the "here and now" that comes with having a toddler in the family. Ted was painting. I was doing laundry/packing. Both of us were running around the place while Abe was happily "cooking" with his small skillet and plastic shovel. He's trailing me wherever I go, which isn't unusual. He sits down on the bottom step of the stairway, holds out one hand towards me, and says, "Mom! Hand. Come."

I hesitate for a second. I look at him, thinking about the mounds of work that still need to get done before I can go to bed. But Abe never breaks his stare, keeps his hand stretched out, and says, "Come." So I do.

As I move towards him to sit down, he scooches over to make room for me, smile on his face. I say, "What do you want to do?" Then we sing the alphabet song, his favorite. When it's over, this happens:

Abe leans over and puts his head on my lap, sticks his thumb in his mouth, and says, "Thank you." No kidding. So sweet...until: he lets out a long, deep, rumbling fart, the kind that smells like sulfur, the kind you would expect to hear from the drunk Otis after he'd fallen off his bar-stool. He looks up at me, raises one eyebrow, and smiles through the thumb still in his mouth.

I so love this boy, smelly farts and all.

How Abe entertains himself while his parents work:

Julie has a way with words. I love that she recently described Abe as "Seretonin in a pair of stride-rites." We are so lucky.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


On a positive note after the outpouring of negative L.A. energy, look who came and took our bees Sunday. What a fascinating process it was to watch Stephen get all decked out in protective bee-keeper garb to take down this hive, while Ted stood two feet away with craziness swarming about him, never once managing to get stung. It made me crazy-nervous. Abe and I watched from the window.

I know it may be hard to tell in the picture, but I so love that Abe's face is smeared with chocolate from Julie's chocolate chip cookies that she sent with Stephen. As he said, they're like chocolate bars with a little flour thrown in. Just the way we like 'em.

Oh, and Abe really likes humus. This is what happens when I let him loose on the container.

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Parking-spot Thief

Just realized how ready I am to get out of Los Angeles after this experience, just a half hour ago.

I needed to mail two packages, so I went with Abe to our local post office. There are five spots there in a tiny lot, but all were taken. I pulled around behind the building, turned around to head out to look for street parking, but noticed a woman coming out of the p.o., so I decided to wait and get her spot. I gave her plenty of room to get out, turned my blinker on, and rolled down my window so I could signal to people that I was waiting for her spot. Any L.A. driver knows that if someone is waiting in a parking lot with their blinker on, that they're taking the next available spot.

The woman gets in her car and right as I see her brake lights come on, a guy in a rotor-rooter-type service truck pulls into this tiny lot and locks eyes with me. I point at the lady who is trying to pull out, and he just stares back. It's as stale-mate. No one can move. He refuses to back out of the parking lot, and he's blocked the woman in.

After realizing he's simply an a-hole who isn't going to move, I never lose my lock on his eyes, but peel out of the parking lot.

I end up having to park in the neighborhood behind the post office, walking with a heavy toddler back to get in the looooong line to mail these packages. The parking-space thief is three people ahead of me. The Tyra Banks Show is playing in the waiting area. Abe is getting more and more squirmy in my arms. I lose feeling in my left arm, the side I'm holding him on.

Parking-space-thief makes it to a window close to where we're standing in line, close enough to us that he can easily hear anything I say, and I am so mad at this point that I have this conversation with Abe, who is whining about being stuck in this line listening to Tyra Banks prattle on about nothing:

"Oh, I know, sweetie, but it's not my fault. You see that man standing right there? The one in the blue striped shirt standing at a window where we should be standing right now? Yeah, he's the impolite one who took our parking spot. I know you're feeling impatient now. I am too, but if he hadn't been so selfish as to take the spot from a woman with a toddler, then we'd be where he is right now, wouldn't we? Instead, we had to park several blocks away and walk all the way here all because that man right there was being a jerk."

I don't like the passive-aggressive person I am becoming here. Los Angeles can do that to a person though. It's time to get back to Oregon.

...and I forgot to mention the $48 parking ticket I got last week at a meter that was broken. A woman standing on the sidewalk when it happened told me when I got back to my car that she saw the parking attendant fix the meter and immediately write me a ticket. I left an angry message saying that I was refusing to pay. A few days after that, a friend here in town told me that she got a parking ticket while parked in her own driveway. No joke. She asked if she could stow away with us back to Portland.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Doe Ray Me Mob

"Flash Mob" pillowfights, etc. tend to annoy me. For some reason though, this one reduced me to sobs. Ted walks into the room to ask me something, and I'm staring at the computer, with headphones on, crying. He watched it too and fought back tears. As he said, "They're just celebrating life." Thanks Becca for finding this.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Gotcha Day" considerations...edited

I just found this article today in Adoptive Families magazine online. It's something to consider. Whenever this many adult adoptees have something to say on a certain matter, it's important to listen:

Get Rid of "Gotcha"

by Karen Moline

I could hear the whine coming closer and closer, until I could stand it no longer.

"Gotcha!" I said in triumph. Another mosquito swatted to oblivion.

"Gotcha" is my typical response when I've squashed a bug, caught a ball just before it would have rolled under the sofa, or managed to reach a roll of toilet paper on the top shelf at the store. It's a silly, slangy word.

As such, it's the last word I'd think to use if someone asked me to describe my feelings on the day, in a tiny orphanage off a dirt road outside of Da Nang, when I saw my child for the first time.

I find the use of "gotcha" to describe the act of adoption both astonishing and offensive. Aside from being parent-centered ("C'mere, little orphan, I gotcha now!") it smacks of acquiring a possession, not welcoming a new person into your life.

Yet many adoptive parents have elevated this casual word into shorthand for "The Day I Got You." This past year, one parent went further:

The word smacks of acquiring a possession, not welcoming a new person into your life.

Margaret Schwartz declared September 15, 2005, the first International Gotcha Day, a day to celebrate adoption.

This was bound to happen, as "gotcha" has become thoroughly entrenched in adoption-speak: There are "Journey to Gotcha" blogs, and "Happy Gotcha Day" cards, banners, keychains—even crowns—available for sale on the Internet. At last Google, there were 2,480,004 hits for "Gotcha Day." Curious, I clicked on "Noah's Gotcha Day."

Noah is a cat.

It didn't surprise me to find that adoptees have a slightly different feeling about all these gushing gotchas. Eight-year-old Becca Lampman, who was adopted from China, said, "It sounds weird to say that—call it ‘Adoption Day' instead." Her 17-year-old sister, Elena, adopted from Romania, agreed: "I wouldn't like hearing ‘Gotcha Day' used in my family. To me, it sounds like someone snatched you away from your birth family, or almost like you are a prize that was has a gloating, ha-ha tone to it."

"We celebrate my Adoption Day, and I like that," she added. "Being adopted is worth celebrating, and ‘Adoption Day' is respectful sounding."

Adult adoptee Hanna Sofia Jung Johansson pointedly asked, "What is being celebrated [on Gotcha Day]? Parenthood and the new family, I guess. But do adoptive parents acknowledge their child's losses at the same time? ‘Gotcha' for parents means ‘lost-ya' for children who have been separated from familiar faces, smells, and surroundings."

Another adult adoptee, Eun Mi Young, is equally blunt. "While endearing to adoptive parents, ‘Gotcha' is downright disrespectful to adoptees," she says. "What does this term imply? We use it when we grab someone who is running from us, or when we save someone from something, or when we're playing a game. We shouldn't use it for an event that recalls the loss of culture, country, and birthparents."

I ran this concept past Margaret Schwartz, founder of International Gotcha Day, and she conceded that perhaps "Gotcha" wasn't the best word. "I wanted to raise awareness with the general public about the joys of adoption," she told me, "and I'm open to changing the name of the event."

Why not simply call it "Adoption Day" or "Family Day," or, if there are already kids at home, "Siblings Day"? Why commodify and demean adoptees—and ourselves—by using a silly, slangy term to describe the day we became complete families?

Save "gotcha" for mosquitoes.

KAREN MOLINE is a novelist, journalist, and ghostwriter. She lives in New York City with her son, Emmanuel Thanh Sang, adopted from Da Nang, Viet Nam, in August 2001.

My question is what other adoptive families call the day you met your children for the first time. I wouldn't mind calling it "Family Day" except that I've never liked the notion that a unit of people must have offspring to be a family. At our first adoption seminar, a woman made me sob by making the point to me that Ted and I, together, just the two of us, are a family. Period. We are each other's family, whether we had kids or not. So to say, "Now we are family because we have a child" doesn't feel right to me.


Sunday, April 5, 2009


I heard tonight perhaps the sweetest sound so far in my life: my son starting to sing along to the lullabies I've been singing to him for over a year.

We've been swamped with work lately, hence the lack of posts.