I knew I wasn’t done with this blog. Not by a long shot.

But.

I didn’t know I needed it like this.

Life throws you curve balls. Good ones, bad ones, neutral ones. We got thrown some last summer, and it’s taken me till now to even consider talking about it in this sort of public forum.

I just left one of my favorite people in the world at the airport for her to travel back home. To Minnesota. Which is not my home any longer. I am sad about this, and also happy. I miss my Minnesota life, but am embracing my new Colorado one. I love being near my family, but miss my family I created when living far from home.

This is confusing, but I guess, so is life.

I just hope just two things.

I hope I left with love and,

I hope those I meet and befriend feel my love.

Life can be hard, life can be beautiful. But the one thing I know is that the one thing life will always hand you, is change.

It’s time to embrace it, time to accept it, and time to understand it.

 

Some thoughts.

Two daughters, one son, one husband and one wife. With this new gaggle of girls we have in our household, the issue of sexism has arisen more often than I thought it would. For better or for worse, it is an issue worth talking about. Not only for our family, but for our society as a whole.

Lately, I have found it quite interesting that when Kyle takes the 3 kiddos out on his lonesome, he gets asked, quite often, if he needs help. He then has to force a smile and politely say “no, thank you”. I often ponder when he comes home with these stories if I would be asked the same question. Is it the difference in our personalities? My laid back-ness and his more type-A-ness? Is he just more aware of the comments than I am? Or does he get these questions when he has all three kids because he is a male, whereas I am a mother so therefore I am more ‘equipped’ for the task? He often wonders if these women seriously think he’s less capable of managing three children only because he’s a man, or if he’s really holding Meadow upside down and not realizing it.

And on the flip side, when discussing the comment “throw like a girl” I get annoyed that the term is still in our American vernacular. I keep thinking that we are past that, but the fact that my 7-year-old son understands what the term means proves to me that we are far from it. Women, on a daily basis still get cat-calls and sexist remarks about their brain, their body, and who knows what else. Many women in this country are told in various ways that they are not strong enough, or smart enough as men.

Well, huh.

When contemplating these two issues while relaxing in the shower (while the hubster chases the kids around the house) the social studies teacher comes out in me. If you start thinking anthropologically and consider that for thousands, and I mean THOUSANDS of years if you were born a boy you would grow up with the expectation that you were to take care of the household through getting food, money, etc. Women, on the other hand took care of what the men could not, the kids, the cleaning and so forth. It’s understandable that a family structure couldn’t do everything themselves, they needed each other for help. So they created roles, and those roles began to define gender (hence the term “gender-roles”). I can see how it all got started in some cave: “Let’s make a deal, I’ll go find us some food if you can please keep our baby nourished and alive in this safe cave while I’m gone.” Obviously there are cultures out there where some of these expectations were reversed. But as a whole, most humans ever born in this world had very rigid set of expectations laid out for them because of they were a boy, or they were born a girl.

Now here we are, in the year 2014, and all of that has truly gone out the window. Except for the fact that science has not yet figured out a way for men to give birth (well, I don’t think they have) we now live in an American society where women have the opportunity to be the ones who “bring home the bacon” and the term “stay at home dad” is not an uncommon one.

We live in a beautiful time, people!

So why do we still have issues like the ones I stated above? Why is it always easier for the mother to gain custody of a child than a man? Why do men, in some areas of the workforce, get paid at a higher rate than their women counterparts?

I think it’s because our conversations concerning gender have become more negative.

People on both sides of the issue feel like they are being stereotyped and treated unfairly by others who believe differently than them. And typically, those are people of the opposite gender. I see through facebook, twitter, etc. people being passive aggressive about sexism issues. Many sit idly by watching internet memes that degrade the their own gender and privately get pissed off. This, my friends, is no way to make our country a better place.

Instead, I believe we need to have more open conversations about the gender roles, or should I say ‘lack of gender roles’ in our current American society. I believe we need to talk about this, and do it with utmost respect. To openly bring to light the sexism that we have in our American culture, and gracefully say, “Yep, that is wrong, and we should change it” without degrading or shaming the opposite gender is one way our society can shift towards a new understanding. If we can’t respectfully talk about it, how can we change it? We need all humans in our country on board with a new way of looking at gender. I think that discussion is underway, but may have gotten derailed a little too often due to the easy outlet of the passive aggressive Internet.

I am so thankful to now live in a world where being born a boy can mean so many things. It doesn’t confine my son to a life of hunting or building, or my daughters to a life of child-rearing and house cleaning. We live in a world of vast opportunity for everyone.

And I think, with some empathetic and respectful conversations, we may just get to a world where men are seen as respected and seen as equals in child rearing (and everything else) and women are respected and seen as equals in the workforce (and everything else).

Someday.🙂

***This post was written with the help of my thoughtful husband who does quite well at taking our kids out of the house without me.🙂

Over.

Below are two things that I wrote this week. The first was the statement that was read at the sentencing hearing for the person who killed our pup, Winter. The second was written to show my appreciation for our amazing community. God Bless you little Winter. You are missed.

This guy especially misses you.
This guy especially misses you.

***

Victim Statement-

Our life changes have been significant since the day Mr. Jensen entered our house and killed our pet and family member, Winter. First and foremost our safety has been compromised, so the comfort we have in our own home has shifted for the worse. We do not have the ease of living like we did prior to Mr. Jensen entering our home. Since that day we have spent well over $1000 to upgrade our security system, restricted our children from being outside if an adult is not with them, and we have been much more worried about letting our dog Inu go out to just be a dog. All of those things were never a worry in our mind prior to last year.

A second life change happened the moment we stepped into our home and found our small ten-pound puppy murdered. At the time our children were 2 and 5 years old. Together they witnessed the discovery of our dog bloody and unmoving, as well as their mother become highly emotional and distraught. The tears that were shed by our children that evening will never be forgotten, and the innocence that left them never be returned.

Lastly, I want to note that it is not only my house and my family that have been affected. Our neighborhood as a whole, the one that we live in as well as Mr. Jensen has lost it’s feeling of safety as well. The discussions I have with my neighbors gives me a feeling of sadness that I didn’t have prior to May of 2013.

We hope that Mr. Jensen can spend a significant amount of time in a place where he can get help for both his chemical issues as well as anger. I hope Mr. Jensen spends time in the near future actively trying to become a kinder and more productive person. I hope he tries to find ways to give back to the neighborhood and community that he has made to feel unsafe. I hope Mr. Jensen stays away from animals, and figures out what it was that was in him which made him want to hurt so many dogs. Most of all, right now I hope he gets an ample amount of time to work on all of these things so to make him a better person and one who can successfully join society again.

***

Thank you, Northfield.

For these past 17 months we have been living in a sad limbo. In May of 2013 three families lives changed forever when Matthew Jensen broke into their houses and killed and injured their family pets. Yesterday, on October 22 he was finally sentenced to up to 57 months in prison.
57 months. It doesn’t bring back our pups. It doesn’t bring back our feeling of safety. It doesn’t bring back all the innocence and love that we lost. But it gives us a little relief, as well as a hope for a brighter future.
This past year and a half we have grieved and cried for our pets. Through that grieving and sadness I feel like there has been a blanket of support surrounding us from people in the Northfield community. I am writing today to say thank you. Thank you for being there and listening to our grief. Thank you for standing up for us and our families, and thank you for being our support when we needed it most.
I am not surprised by the love and care that we were shown these past 17 months. This community gave to us through social media, the news, our amazing local law enforcement support as well as discussions on the streets and in our neighborhoods.  People have been there for us and I will forever be thankful.
I do believe that there are still discussions that need to be had concerning this case: mostly surrounding drugs and our children’s access to them. But, no matter how far I think we still have to go, I want to thank you, Northfield. Thank you for stepping up and helping out your community members. Because of you we are one step closer to feeling safe here yet again.

Meadow, Part 1.

Meadow Rayne Carson, born July 5 at 10:39pm at 7lbs 3 oz by Mama N in San Antonio, Texas. Meadow entered into our family on July 7th almost exactly 48 hours after she was born.

So, what in the world happened?

Well, you’ll get the general jist if you read my previous blog here, but if you want the honest truth I (and Kyle) have had it in our heads that we may want three kiddos ever since the failed Nepal/Rwanda adoptions. The final straw was our ten-year anniversary in Mexico where we decided that if we do it we need to do it now or now at all.

I’m not getting any younger, you know.

After making the final decision in October to go ahead with our second domestic adoption we began on our homestudy paperwork. We got everything together by December/January and then our profile was ready to be shown to prospective birthmothers in February. We waited for a while but were finally asked to be shown to a birth momma in March. She passed us up, and then so did three more. By May, we were getting a little down trodden and wondering if I needed to redo our profile. I kept saying that if we weren’t matched and with a baby by the time our homestudy expired, then that was it, we would stay a happy family of four.

In that time though, we were given opportunities for many more birth moms than who we were actually shown to. We said no to at least seven or eight different situations/birth moms, which broke our hearts every single time. The situations consisted mostly of too many unknowns, possible birth defects, and mental illness within the birth family. Oh, and one was twins. Yah, THAT wasn’t going to happen.

I write about this part of the process because although it is not one I talk about often, it was HARD. I mean, part of the reason we chose to adopt a baby is because we wanted to give a home to a child who needed one. And those babies, whom we said no to, needed one. Saying no to these various babies and birth mommas was not something either Kyle or I did lightly, but we did it because we know ourselves, we know our limits, and we know our personalities. I wish I could say that we were strong enough, stable enough, GOOD enough, but we just aren’t. I guess I’m okay with that, but it’s also something that tugs at my heart more often than you think.

Okay, I’m really okay with that because it brought us here. To her.

In the beginning of June we were asked if we wanted to be shown to another birth mother. After looking through her paperwork, Kyle and I both agreed that she looked amazing. Educated, in good health, and married to the birth father. After waiting a week to find out whether or not she picked us (and I snooped and found out that she was also looking at profiles of some other pretty stellar adoptive parents) I got the call on my last day of being at school. The social worker from Heart to Heart called me and told me that Mama N picked us. We were ecstatic!

Terrified, but ecstatic.

We were told that she was due on July 20, but was going to be induced on July 14. We happily made plans and Kyle worked on River’s new room (we are changing our play room into River’s room) and thought we would have everything good and ready by the time we had to leave town to go down to Texas to meet our baby girl.

Bah ha ha! Right!

So on the night of River’s birthday “party” (where we minivaned him and a few friends up to Stages Theater to see a play “The Wiz” and have some yummy dinner) we got the call. Mama N was in labor and would probably have the baby before midnight. We were told that we needed to get to Texas asap, so with the help of grandparents and friends, we got all of our stuff together and left the next morning at 6am.

That was one week ago today.

So here we are. Currently on a plane from San Antonio, Texas to Buffalo, New York where we will trek on up to the Adirondacks with family and friends for the next two weeks. I can’t believe how much has transpired in the past week… it was such a whirlwind.

That, my friends, will have to be explained at a later date. Gotta go make a bottle!