Being Thankful with a Broken Heart

It is November, the month of being grateful. And I do have a lot to be thankful for. I will admit, I wrote this post more for me than anything else. Writing really is the best therapy.

***Trigger Warning***

It was my husbands families year for Thanksgiving, so we had our trip all planned to San Diego. We were going to get all the cousins together and have a fun, adventure filled week. One tradition they have is to go around the table, after everyone has eaten Thanksgiving Dinner, and say what they are grateful for. I’m sure a lot of people have this tradition, but the Bosens take this very seriously! I began preparing my speech at the beginning of the month because goodness, I have so much to be grateful for. My in-laws always have these amazing things to say and I wanted to be prepared.

I was ready.

  • Taelynn and her fabulous zeal for life. The happiness she brings when she walks in the room. Her sense of humor and sensitivity to others.
  • Tyce and his huge heart. How much he loves love. The excitement he shows when he sees his family. The way he paves his own path.
  • Matt for his hold on life. His strong willpower to provide for his family. The love and devotion he shows to me and the kids. His ability to forgive and love.
  • To Tyce’s birth family for the relationship with them that they have given us.
  • My parents and siblings and the close relationships I have with them. The fact that they can love me despite my flaws and set such great examples for me and my kids.
  • My in-laws and the fact that they welcomed me into their family so easily. That I can feel like part of the family when I am with them. For their hard work to build and keep relationships with everyone.
  • Our house that we are building and the many people that have helped make that possible.
  • My uncle for letting us live in his house rent free.
  • My friendships I have cultivated through the years.
  • The list goes on

BUT THEN, I was going to say how excited I was that we were going to have our BIG THREE making his or her way into our lives June 14, 2017.

At least, that is everything I wanted to say…BUT… because life is never predictable, I was only able to get out the generic response, “I am grateful for my kids and my husband.” The end.

But in those few seconds, so much was spinning through my mind.

Matt and I had been preparing an announcement. We had the nursery all designed, we were picking out our new car, because frankly three carseats don’t fit across the backseat of a Subaru. We were as ready as we could in the circumstance.

At 10 weeks to the day, the week before Thanksgiving, I knew something was wrong. It’s hard to explain the pain of a miscarriage to someone that has never gone through it. I had a miscarriage before Taelynn, but it was early enough along I didn’t have to go through the whole process of delivery. This time was a little different.

We went to the doctor to get an ultrasound, but I already knew. Before the doctor came in the room I could hear her tell the nurse that she couldn’t go in my room yet because she needed to get her emotions in check. It was oddly comforting to hear that because when she came in, in full doctor mode, I knew that she really did care. Taelynn and Tyce were so quiet during the ultrasound. It was like they could sense the pain in the room. Because my doctor stayed so professional, it helped me keep my emotions together. The last thing I wanted was to walk through the waiting room of people, with tears streaming down my face. She asked me if I had any questions, but of course my mind was blank. I chose to go home and deliver. I should have asked what to expect, but I didn’t.

Pain is an interesting thing. Because when you feel it emotionally, it somehow changes you physically. The hardest thing about it, is everyone expresses it differently. So comforting someone becomes a case by case basis. And because it’s “just” a miscarriage, and those are common, right? The full weight of the loss doesn’t register with outsiders unless they have gone through it as well. But for us, we knew this baby. We had hope for the future, names picked out, carseats in my shopping cart. I was already stressing about being a mom of three. How was I going to leave the house? How was I going to function? The worries were real. My love was real. This baby was real. It was mine. And now they are gone.

So now I am left going over every negative thought I had during my pregnancy and wondering if I would have been more positive, would that have changed the outcome. I know that isn’t logical, but maybe it is…

The miscarriage happened the same night I went to the doctors. It felt like I was going into labor, only worse because there is no hope through the pain. When someone says a miscarriage is like a heavy period, that is the understatement of a century. I thought I was bleeding to death. It took 5 hours of heavy contractions to pass what was left of my baby. And finally at 3 in the morning it was done. I didn’t even know what was happening. Matt and I were in to much shock to really process or make logical decisions. So now, part of me is flushed down a dirty toilet, because there is no guide to handle anything like this.

We debated whether or not to still go to California. If we didn’t have our kiddos we probably would have stayed home. But, we decided we still have them and we can’t put their lives on hold. They don’t understand what pain means yet, and I don’t want to introduce them to it, yet. So we put on our brave faces, pretended life was ok and we loaded the kids up and went on our way. Trying to avoid facing the reality we were in.

We named the baby Tito. Matt came up with it. Our first baby we called baby T, so rather than calling this baby T2, we though Tito was a little more fitting. Ironically, I have a great cousin somewhere named Tito. I’ve always loved the name, but I thought it would be hard for people to say, so I took it off my baby list. Well, now I have my baby Tito. I had a strong feeling he was a boy. And, he was very much like his daddy because he LOVED fruits and veggies. Junk food made him super nauseous. Except Rice Krispies. Those were always ok!

IMG_8898.PNGMy awesome friend sent me an article entitled “A Woman’s Sacrifice,” by Kathryn Soper. I highly recommend this article to everyone. A line she said really stuck out to me. She wrote, “It wasn’t a waste.” I firmly believe this. I keep telling myself this over and over again, and most of you have probably gotten this response from me when asking if I am ok. It wasn’t a waste. The last two and a half months of my life, I got to be Tito’s guard and protector. Protecting him from the outside forces of the world. I gave him a body so that he can be resurrected one day. Mostly though, he has changed me for the better because I am no longer the Aubree I was. I have more love, more courage and more faith. And I couldn’t have become this person on my own.

All my babies have come to us through a rainbow. Taelynn was my first, coming shortly after my first miscarriage. Then Tyce, coming shortly after a failed adoption. So I have faith that my next rainbow baby is waiting patiently.

I remember a woman saying to my mom, several years ago, “If one of your kids dies it will be ok because you have three more!” It completely baffled me then, but even more now as I look at my two little rainbows that I get to raise and the two others that are close by. Each of them has a piece of my heart and together they make it whole.

Today, I am celebrating Tito. I can breathe a little more today and I am going to make it count. Every child deserves to be celebrated and Tito is no different.

I may not physically have my third little pea, but one day my pod will be full.

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Adoption Stigmas: A WAP attempt to talk about White Privilege and Transracial Adoption

“Is Matt okay with you adopting *that* kind of child?”

These are painful words to write. In fact, it’s taken me months to figure out how to talk about this topic and I probably still won’t get it right. I’ve gotten in many unintentional arguments with people I love because white privilege is a tough subject to talk about. Why? Because it involves emotion. I’m mostly going to focus on how White Privilege is involved in adoption, but this waves out to everyday living for a large portion of the world. So as you read this, I beg you to put emotion and preconceived notions aside and listen sincerely with the desire to learn.

IMG_9260.jpg🎈”When I was a kid I thought Zootopia was this perfect place. Where everyone got along and anyone could be anything. Turns out real life’s a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker. Real life is messy. We all have limitations. We all make mistakes. Which means hey, glass half-full we all have a lot in common. And the more we try to understand one another the more exceptional each of us will be. But we have to try. So, no matter what type of animal you are from the biggest elephant to our first fox.. I implore you… Try. Try to make the world a better place. Look inside yourself and recognize that change starts with you. It starts with me. It starts with all of us.” -Zootopia🎈

 

Since welcoming Tyce into our family, we have had an overwhelming number of people  make comments to us, acting as if we are unaware that Tyce has darker skin than us. It’s always “well meaning” people that think they somehow have this insight into what it means to be a Person of Color (any non-white person) because they have a friend or went to school with someone who was also a Person of Color. I get it. I grew up in a suburban white neighborhood. You can’t get much “whiter” than where I grew up. When I was six, I got a black Bitty Baby for Christmas, and I thought I was diverse. And let me tell you, I thought I understood and could empathize.

What is “White Privilege?”

I think it is important to first establish what the definition of White Privilege is. I’m not talking KKK or White Supremacists. I am talking an unseen power that white people are naturally born with. There are so many facets to this, but i’m going to stick with the very simple definition so I don’t lose you all.

 

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“White privilege is a term for societal privileges that benefit people identified as white in Western countries, beyond what is commonly experienced by non-white people under the same social, political, or economic circumstances.”

So, what does this mean? Let’s start with a disclaimer- I’ll be honest with you, when I was first told that I had white privilege, I took it really hard. But, then I took to education and did everything I could to learn about the WHY. Having white privilege doesn’t necessarily mean you  hate people of color. The term “white privilege” doesn’t even necessarily mean you think you are better than a person of color (although, I could get into a lot more definitions and examples of how this can subconsciously and consciously apply). BUT, now that you know the definition of white privilege, lets get into how it impacts your life as well as the lives of our brothers and sisters.

Let’s start with the first comment I included at the top of this blog:

“Is Matt okay with you adopting *that* kind of child?”

Oh, the stab this leaves in my heart. This “well meaning” person, and I am saying that because she genuinely did not see the hurt of this question, thought that she was showing concern and compassion for my very white husband. And this question in itself shows her systematic, unknown white privilege as well as racism in general. Sadly, this isn’t the first time we have received similar comments and questions.

It’s easy to come up with the snarky remarks to make light of a horribly awkward situation, such as “by *that* kind of child do you mean adorable and perfect in every way, yes! Yes, Matt was okay with that.” But there comes a time when we have to face reality.

Reading it back, it may seem obvious to many of you why this question is inappropriate. So what about some these comments:

“Was his adoption cheaper because he isn’t white?”

“His family must have been poor.”

“What if he grows up to be violent?”

“Why would you adopt a brown baby when so many white babies need families?”

“Are you worried that when he gets older he will have a hard time getting dates?”

“Wow, you are so amazing for adopting a child that looks different than you.”

You guys, I can’t even bring myself to type all of the comments that I am forcing myself to remember. I have tears pouring down my face as I think of my little boy and the confused world he is going to have to learn to live in. I have a pretty strong armor when it comes to hearing these things, but then I realize one day my son is going to grow up and he is going to understand the comments that people say to me at the grocery store. And one day I am not going to be able to be his voice.

Now, I posted some very negative comments I received, but I want to dive a little deeper and show how this issue can be super subtle.

One of the most common arguments I see against White Privilege is:

“I know white people that struggle just as much as any black person.”

No.

It’s true, there are white people that live in poorer areas and there are people of color that live in rich neighborhoods. But, that is missing the point.

Let’s take my friend who lives in Utah with her husband who is Hispanic. One day they were driving along and got pulled over for a traffic violation. Her husband was asked if he had proof of citizenship…. Now, I’ve been pulled over a few times and every time I get asked for my drivers license and my insurance. I’ve never been asked to give proof of citizenship.

I have another friend who has a black son that just entered Junior High. I saw a post of hers on Facebook recently asking where she can find bright, non-threatening beanies for her son to wear during the winter because she is scared to let him put his hood up as he walks to school in the cold. Comments from other moms with black sons of similar ages were all commenting about how they got beanies that look like frogs and other juvenile characters in an attempt to make their children look childlike and non-threatening… Not once, growing up, did I ever have to think about these kinds of things for myself or my brothers.

That is white privilege.

White privilege is the ability to go about your day and not have to worry about small things like being suspicious while buying your cereal, or whether or not you’re going to get a job interview because your name isn’t a “white” name.

A few years ago, I would have argued with people that told me these things happen. They’re being “too sensitive” right? But then I saw it happen. And then I saw it happen again. And then I adopted my son who is a different color than me and I saw my own white privilege come out when I experienced shock at the first comments I received. And then I realized how much white privilege I have because I had assumed people were being too sensitive because I had never experienced it.

It hurts. It hurts a lot to admit. It hurts even more to accept. But then, it feels freeing to acknowledge and fight for change.

What that means for transracial adoptions

So, what does white privilege have to do with adoption, specifically transracial adoption? Matt and I stepped into the adoption world extremely quickly. In fact, it was more like a dive. I didn’t have time nor did I realize how much I still needed to educate myself. Basically, I did everything backwards from how I wish I did it. So for my friends that are looking and in the process to adopt, here are some things I wish I would have known about transracial adoptions.

First, I wish I would have understood the importance of social mirrors. Mirrors are the people and customs that represent where your child is from and who they are.

We have been so blessed to find many people in our area who have adopted Marshallese children. It is a huge blessing to be able to introduce Tyce to people that come from the same culture and heritage as him. I still feel like it’s not enough, but it’s a start.

Second, If you are considering adopting transracially, make sure you do your research and learn what cultural barriers your area will have on your child. This is a good point in the adoption process to put your future child first, and decide if you are in the right position to meet the needs that your child of color will have that as a white person you never experienced.

Third, color blindness is not a thing, and it is more harmful than good. Our country went through a “phase” where it was proper “not to see color.” And by pretending color didn’t exist, we pretended racism and bigotry didn’t exist. And that is a problem. It is okay to acknowledge that cruelty exists in the world. It is ok to recognize in yourself how you can improve and show love. Action is how we improve the world and our society. Action is what will make a difference. ACTION is what I urge everyone to take to unite our world, our families, and our nation.

Why am I talking about this?

I recently heard someone say,

“If a white person were to stick up for a Person of Color being treated unfairly, treatment is more likely to change for the better. If a Person of Color were to stand up for another Person of Color, treatment is less likely to change. So a white person can use their privilege to help others.”

I am not the expert on this topic. I am still learning about it myself. But, I vow to keep learning and trying because it is worth it. I barely hit the surface, but for now, this is what I have.

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***If you have any questions or concerns about this please message me! I am continually learning and would love to get perspective from everyone.

***If you are starting the learning process yourself, please message me! I would love to point you in the direction to more resources that I have found helpful.