January, 11 Months Ago


I started 2016 with the covers pulled over my head. We had cancelled our New Year's Day Open House (the thing with the Mennonite donuts) due to the lack of cooktop and total emotional bankruptcy. I wanted to crawl in a hole and all my (6) kids wanted to do was fight and complain. On January 3rd it snowed.

The good news: the big boys were no longer sleeping in a laundry room. In fact, the Sister's house has 6 bedrooms which means that almost everyone shares with at least one person. Sam has the smallest bedroom on his own and Truly's room is split down the middle with the other side of it as a sewing room. There is a spare room with a tiny closet-turned-bathroom and 5 windows wrapped around the corner. Everyone has proper beds and doors that close. The boys have a bathroom with old linoleum that they often pee on when not paying attention and are forced to scrub down weekly on their own. The only time I go in there is to check on the latter.There is a yard, but more importantly a basketball court and a century old city park facing the house across the street. I can yell at them to come in from the front porch. There are so many closets.

The Sisters kept excellent care of the things they could control and ignored what they could not. They loved the colour pink and used it liberally on all the walls. We dubbed it a Holy Pink because the shade, while pale, was so piercing it took four coats of the good kind of Sherwin-Williams to cover it up. There is a project in every room. I lie. There are several projects in every room. We bought new appliances. After the initial rush of friends and contractors, we slowed to what we could manage mostly on our own. Our friend Cameron rebuilt the railing on the second floor. It had been knee high and now it stands at Sam's chest. I began to hang pictures in feverish earnest. Paul has an office in what the Sisters used as a Chapel. The Stained Glass window of the chalice is shrouded by a giant computer monitor.

There is a basement for the children and also for the occasional water intrusion and mildewed carpet. There is no garage or outside storage, so the back yard looks like a tent village for broken tools, our rusting BBQ, and Truly's fairy house trappings. The fireplace is out of commission until we can get someone to come service it (I'm not so stoked on fire anyway, so that's okay). The people that bought our blue house decided to stay where they were for a while longer and soon the rental listing pops up across my screen like an insult to our well-intentioned sale.

Everyone knows we moved. And they all know to where. They are so happy for us. They saw us bleeding out of the old house and literally jump for joy when they see us coming down the stairs of the new house. Our old neighbor, the Trimet driver, gets misty eyed when she grasps my hands and says, "this was supposed to be this way".

We are happy, too– If happy looks like drawn faces and easy tears. It is all so good and all so hard.




  1. Imagine my surprise when an old favourite blog popped up with a new post on my blog roll yesterday! I did a double take, and then smiled with joy. So glad to see you back.


  2. Something told me to click over here today. I’m so glad I did. You’ve really inspired me not to take the easy way in a situation in my life. I’m adopted and your story reaffirms the fierce, gutsy (my parents were older, white and adopted two black babies in a very white town) unconditional love my parents have for me. I hope you will find time to write more.


  3. It’s been a long time! We moved 4 kids (one in utero) and ourselves into a new-to-us 1963 house which had been with the same owners for 40 years. Four years later, the projects are slowing down. The bedrooms and bathrooms are small, but it’s not like that’s where we hang out. The kitchen is what our friend calls a “TV dinner kitchen”– we actually cook, so that will need to be remedied some day. But it’s a good place for a family– sounds like that’s what you have too. Hang in there!!!


  4. I was just thinking about you the other day, and here you are! I’m very happy to read your excellent, thoughtful writing again.


  5. Hard confronted you over and over, but you did the right things to respond. You are an inspiration and I used quotes from your blog to inspire a friend who adopted a different race child and faced people who asked why. Your words helped in the tough times, he and his wife have two very blond children and their biological daughter has taught many people that her “chocolate colored” brother is as much of a brother as the blond. Love is getting them by daily and you helped with that. Sorry that by trying to do the right thing by your children you hurt yourself. Sometimes doing everything right gets so confused that it doesn’t work out the way you thought it would. Looking forward to the family picture at the new house.


  6. So glad I opened up my dusty old computer today. I have missed your “voice” and I’m so happy to see an update on your family.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s