First, let me say that I debated about whether or not to used real names and photos. I discussed this with my family and we decided to use pseudonyms in case the kids decide some years from now that they prefer not to have their real names used in these stories. Regarding photos, everyone agreed that it would be fine. If we change our minds, you’ll notice a lot of deleted photos replaced by free online clipart.
The children’s pseudonyms grew out of a need to discuss the children in front of the children when they were younger (based upon their favorite foods at the time — which included rhubarb and eggplant — no lie). So, instead of asking to give so-and-so a bath, for example, a request that typically incited a riot in our home, we used these pseudonyms. Until they figured us out. Now, I use them here.
All posts involving the children, in case you are wondering, have been discussed and approved by them.
I, the narrator, am LakeMom, or Paula. I am a 40-something, closer to 50-something than 30-something, former theatre major-then-Lutheran pastor turned stay-at-home mom slash homeschooler slash writer slash lover of all fiber arts.
I am married to HotNerd, a 40-something Software Engineer, who, from day one, has embraced all that fatherhood entails — from dirty diapers upon entering the door after work to mid-night vomit clean-up to afternoons at the park and rap sessions in the evening. He’s a Lego fiend. He’s a nerd. And I adore him.
Before we were married, HotNerd and I discussed adoption at length, largely because of my issues that arose during my childhood. Shortly after marriage, we learned that we might never conceive a biological child (an erroneous diagnosis, we later discovered). We attempted to adopt domestically but ran into many a snafu. After two years, we decided to adopt internationally and wanted to choose a country with a waiting list of children needing parents. A colleague of mine, another Lutheran pastor, suggested Haiti, explaining that (at that time) there were about 250,000 – 500,000 children whose parents could not care for children (broad numbers, I know, but it’s hard to get exact details in Haiti. This is out of a population of 7-8 million) and only about 200-300 adoptions a year. There is so much more to this story, especially as our views of the adoption system have evolved. Please peruse the sub category adoption under the parenting tab above to learn more.
Rhubarb was born in Haiti in 2000. Her biological brother, Eggplant, center, was born in 2001. They joined our family through adoption in 2003.
It must be said in any post (or blog) about adoption from Haiti that we did not adopt for religious reasons. There is a whole other post here (see adoption). The assumption is typically that if you adopt from Haiti, you are doing it to “save” a child. We are not trying to save anybody. We just wanted children.
Rhubarb plays the stereotypical part of the first-born child to a tee. She is responsible and clever and maybe a bit bossy at times — but she whips us into shape. She is known around here for her ability to will babies to sleep and animals into submission. She played the violin for many years, something that is currently taking a back seat to dance. Rhubarb is a kinesthetic learner (a “label” to be sure, but one that has helped us a lot). She reads a ton and writes incessantly, dances and had dabbled in track. Now close to graduating from high school, she is looking into a career in Nursing or in becoming a Nurse Practitioner.
Eggplant was born in 2001. He has been a builder and an engineer since the first day he experienced electricity. Shortly after he came home, he successfully changed the batteries in one of his toys (the kind you have to open with a screwdriver). His brain just works that way. He plays a variety of instruments by ear, has a beautiful singing voice, runs track, and is obsessed with cars. He is a visual-spatial, right-brained learner who has been known to sleep with his Lego creations in his hands.
Blueberry joined our family by birth in 2004, just 11 months after Rhubarb and Eggplant came home. Blueberry gets her pseudonym from her voracious appetite for fruits and vegetables. For a long time, that, along with breastmilk, was all she ate (I’d love to chalk this up to great parenting, but it has nothing to do with parenting — trust me — the child ingested a lot of chocolate in utero). It’s a good thing too because she has Celiac Disease, but due to her chosen diet, has never suffered any growth issues from it. At the tender age of two, Blueberry, always an old soul, announced that she was going to be a doctor when she grows up. She is obsessed with medicine (though she only tolerates the building blocks of non-medical science that promise to lead up to a medical degree).
Blueberry has been a very verbal child from the beginning who processes everything verbally, even when this means ratting herself out. Blueberry is also a right-brained learner, like her brother, but of a different ilk.