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.jpgūüéą”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.” -Zootopiaūüéą

 

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.

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The Reign of Tae

 

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My baby girl is ONE!!! It’s such a cliche to say I don’t know where the time went…BUT IT’S TRUE!!! I am a bubbly mess as I look back on her first year because I am just so proud and excited to see the little girl she is becoming. I am not worthy to be her mom!

Of course we had to celebrate her journey to a whole number! And so I created an invite fit for my fairy princess, sent the announcement throughout the land (aka to family) and began preparing for her highnesses royal banquet. After all, we do live under the Reign of Tae.

It was really fun preparing for this! I basically lived on pintrest and made Matt a little crazy, but I wanted it to be perfect for her. Yes, I know she won’t remember, but I will.

First step, PICTURES!!! I found her¬†crown on Love Crush Boutique¬†, her dress is from Gap¬†and her romper is from Screaming Owl.¬†¬†The balloon we got from Zurchers. And let me just say, helium is NOT CHEAP! I had this grand idea of a huge balloon in Tae’s¬†pictures, and I was so excited I never stopped to see how much it wIMG_7597ould cost until it was already blown up and I was standing at the cash register. Any other decorations I made from supplies I got at DI, Walmart or Target.

Taking pictures of a one year old is not an easy task. I kind of forced my mom and sister to come help me “reign in” the kids. So even though they had a million other things to do, they sacrificed their afternoon to help me get a few good shots. Tae was¬†not at all interested in getting her picture taken. This shot basically sums up how she responded to me trying to get her to pose for the camera.

She was taking her reign quite seriously throughout the photo session. She managed to dump a water bottle all over herself, stomp on and break her crown, chase a snake and give her momma a run for her money. My parents would say it was owed to me from my own childhood. But, for my lack of training, I am in love with how the pictures turned out! They¬†show off her personality to a “T.” Here is a sampling. Okay, more than a sampling.

I also have to share this hilarious meme one of my friends made from Tae’s picture. I mean, how awesome is that?! HAHAHAHAHA

The fun thing about making Taelynn’s birthday theme, “The Reign of Tae,” is the many possibilities. When I was in Kindergarten, each child had a day that they were spotlighted. We got to make a big poster about ourselves and present it to the class. I still have my poster somewhere, but on the top my mom put in big letters, “Aubree the Queen!” So it is really fun for me to do a similar theme for my oldest daughter. However, I didn’t want to make it the cliche pink and purple frilly event. I really liked the idea of being very whimsical and foresty. In my head, I see Tae as this grand leader whose presence helps flowers and animals thrive and grow. People flock to her because they love to be around her. (Is that cheesy enough for you?) So with that in mind, you can see where my thought process went as I created her celebration.

Matts parents flew in the night before and the four of us got to work making sure all the strawberries and pretzels were dipped, the decorations were finished, the banners made. Seriously, my in-laws are amazing. We didn’t get to bed until 2 in the morning. Then we all woke up early and started the baking. I will add, me and my MIL invented some pretty amazing frostings (peanut butter, strawberry and coconut).

We had the party at my Mimi and Papa’s house. My goal was to set up croquet outside and a¬†castle bounce house for the kids…BUT then it rained… so my vision didn’t quite go as planned, but it was still really pretty.

The Menu

  • BBQ Pork sliders
  • Strawberry Vinaigrette Salad with Candied Nuts
  • Red Jello
  • Chips
  • Watermelon
  • And of course Miss Piggies Pink Punch

For Dessert

  • Chocolate Covered Strawberries
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels
  • A Brownie with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting and a Blonde Oreo
  • A Yellow Cake Cupcake with a Strawberry Compote Buttercream and Fresh Strawberries
  • A Confetti Cake Cupcake with Coconut Chunk Buttercream

Everything tasted so delicious! I made way too much, but I am not a very good judge of quantities. Tae and Ty were obsessed with the jello!

The cake smash was probably the highlight of the event! Tae LOVES cake. I made a two layer confetti cake with buttercream frosting. She went as far as hugging the whole entire thing. Good thing I made cupcakes for everyone else. She ate nearly 1/3 of the cake before we finally forced it away. Tyce even got in on the action. He loved it up until Tae smeared his face with her frosting covered hand.

 

I was used to my nephews, who barely poked at their cakes on theirIMG_7945 birthday, so I wasn’t expecting quite the mess. So we had to plop her right into the sink to try and clean her off a little. You have to admit, she is pretty, stinking cute!!

She was completely spoiled and had such a fun time playing with cousins after she opened gifts. Tyce was a little jealous, and as now taken possession of several of the presents she got.

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For party favors we saved up a bunch of baby food jars and spray painted the lids with gold and glitter spray pain. Matt and my FIL spent hours trying to get the sticky stuff off of the glass. I am pretty sure they used up a whole jar of peanut butter in the process. After the jars were all clean, we filled them up with homemade caramel that my mom made (this caramel is seriously so good, several people were drinking it! I won’t name names…but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t one of them…) We then gave everyone a jar of caramel and an apple to dip into it.

It may not have been exactly how I was imagining it. BUT It was so much fun and turned out perfectly. Taelynn loved the attention and the sugar. I guess I better start planning Tyce’s party so I don’t have to stay up until two in the morning the night before…

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAELYNN!!!!

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The Great Outdoors

I LOVE Memorial day weekend. Yes, it means a free day for the family, but it also means that thousands have died so that we could be together as a family. Memorial Day is a day to remember and ponder the true meaning of freedom and the cost that came with that word.

“Home of the FREE…because¬†of the BRAVE!”

My Papa is a Veteran of the Navy and he instilled in me a love for this country and the freedoms that I have been blessed with. Because of that Memorial Day weekend is a celebration for us. This year we chose to celebrate by truly appreciating the freedoms that we have been blessed with; a beautiful country and a forever family.

I have always wanted to be a more outdoorsy person, but because of severe hay fever and basically an allergy to air, I always ended up avoiding a lot of it. Well, I finally decided enough is enough.

Matt and I took our birthday money and¬†decided to buy hiking carrier back packs. Given, we decided this on friday morning and so we didn’t have anytime to order them before monday (Memorial Day). BUT everything was on sale for the holiday. So… I basically called every sports store within 50 miles to see what ones they carried. We finally found some at Back Country and just like that, we found our new obsession! They are seriously the comfiest back packs ever! We got the Deuter Kid Comfort II. ¬†It puts all the weight on your hips and my back won’t hurt at all after the hike is finished. It is seriously a game changer for us. ( I promise I’m not being paid for this)

We went on a “practice” hike, down the Bonneville¬†Shoreline, when Matt got home from work that night. From¬†that, we set the goal to go on a hike every week for the rest of the summer. So far, we are doing pretty good!

 

When Monday arrived we were all ready for our Memorial Day hike. We planned to meet my family at Brighton so we could go on a small hike around Silver Lake.

When we got there we were beyond surprised to run into our best friends the Marsdens! What are the chances that we would both go to the same place at the exact same time. Of course we all decided to join up and hike together.

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So far, we have only been on three hikes with our back packs, but every time we pull them out Tae and Ty start jumping up and down and smiling as wide as can be. They¬†LOVE being outside. It was chillier than we were anticipating, but it didn’t phase them one bit.

The hike was BEAUTIFUL, but we didn’t get to go up the mountain very high¬†because there was so much snow. So maybe it can’t be called a hike, but more of a nice excursion around the lake on a paved path.

IMG_4916 Tyce was trying so hard to stay awake. He would be smiling so big one minute and then completely collapse into a deep sleep the next. BUT as soon as he would realize he fell asleep, he would pop back up to enjoy the party again.

It was so much fun to spend the morning with friends and family and enjoy the simple pleasures of living in this beautiful state!

Of course you can’t truly celebrate this¬†National Holiday without a good family BBQ. So after the hike we raced back to my grandmas house for some good old fashioned Hamburgers and hot dogs (only gourmet because my grandparents always go above and beyond).

The poor kids didn’t get a moment to relax, but they had a blast with cousins. Between a bounce house and a game of croquet, I would say the day was a hit.

Plus, Tae was able to enjoy a few licks of whipped cream which is always a reason to celebrate in her mind.

I would just like to say thank you to all the men and woman that have served and are serving our country. I feel truly honored that you would sacrifice so much for me and my family. cropped-twopeas-largefont2.jpg

The Importance of a Name

Choosing a name for our kids has been very important to Matt and I. We put a lot of thought into it, and make sure that there is a story behind it.

The day after we were sealed to Tyce, Matt was able to give him a fathers blessing in which he gave Tyce his official name that would be kept in the records of the church. Taelynn received her blessing in August, just a couple months after she was born. (I didn’t have a blog then, so you get to hear about both of our little miracles.)

The name we chose for Tyce is Tyce Mitchell Kabua Bosen. 

A lot of people have asked me where we came up with the name, so here is your answer. Since I was in elementary school Ty has always been my favorite boys name. I knew that my first boy was going to carry that name. When I think of the name, I think of power and culture. I also feel that it is a gentle, yet manly name. I could see a baby with that name and I could see an adult with that name. I didn’t want it to be Tyler or Tyson or any of the other names that could be shortened to Ty because that just wasn’t fitting. I just wanted Ty.

When I was living in Russia, one of the girls that I was living with was telling me about her friend Tyce. I had never heard that before and I really liked it! I still had the ability to say Ty, but it added some more… character. So I locked it into my name bank.

When Matt and I got married, I had three girls names and 3 boys names. I gave him full veto power if he didn’t like one, but to my surprise he only vetoed one of the names. It worked out though, because I wasn’t fully invested in the name he did veto. But, we did know that our first girl would be Taelynn and our first boy would be Tyce. I’ll explain her name in a little bit. So now that we knew their first names it came time to middle names.

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Originally, we had a different middle name picked out for Tyce. I won’t reveal it here, because I still want to use it in the future, and I want that person to be surprised when they find out our child is named after them. ūüôā BUT, when I was on the plane to Arkansas, I was sitting next to my dad, and he had a way about him that was making me feel so at peace. Here I was, in the most stress filled situation, and my dad was completely calm and supportive; knowing exactly what to say. He never questioned Matt or I, but instead, trusted our instinct and the spiritual promptings we had received. After we landed, my dad went to gather our luggage and I was standing back with Taelynn. I called up Matt and asked him what he thought about making Tyce’s middle name Mitchell (My dad’s name is Glade Mitchell). He said he loved it and that was that. The name Mitchell to us stands for hard work, integrity, love, trust, devotion and spiritual strength. Those are all things we hope for Tyce.

As we got closer and closer to the finalization day, I couldn’t help but feel like something was missing from Tyce’s name. It didn’t feel complete. I was talking to his birth mom one day and learned more about her last name Kabua.¬†The name Kabua comes from¬†Kabua the Great, renowned paramount chief. To date, the two RMI presidents (Republic of the Marshall Islands), are grandsons of Kabua the Great.¬†Well,¬†being part of a culture that loves genealogy, I thought this was really neat. So we gave Tyce the second middle name, Kabua, in honor of his birth mom. The name for us stands for love, sacrifice, family, culture and heritage. ¬†And just like that, his name felt complete.

We can’t forget my little Taelynn Fedelina.¬†When I was younger, I used to baby sit a little girl named Taelyn. It was such a fun time. She was the most ADORABLE baby, and I loved the responsibility of taking care of a baby. Her family was incredible and I only have happy memories when I think of the time we lived next to them. That name has always stayed with me because it was a time that I learned responsibility and I guess you could say, my motherly instinct came out.

BUT, what made it even more special is that it carried the name Lynn as part of it. My mother’s middle name is Lynn and she then gave me the middle name Lynn. So I guess you could say it is tradition. On top of that, my grandma’s name is Carolyn. Both my grandma and my mom are two of the most influential people in my life. From them I learned service, love, gratitude, friendship…you name a good quality and those two woman possess it.

But, while we are going off the importance of the name Lynn, we have to add Matt’s grandpa into the mix (because not everyone can be named after my family! hahaha!) Matt’s paternal grandpa is also named Lynn. Talk about packing meaning into a name.

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Fedelina, this name came to me shortly before I gave birth. I knew that Taelynn was already named after my mom and my paternal grandma, but it didn’t feel right leaving out the third most influential person in my life, my Grandma Esther, my maternal grandmother. She grew up catholic and as such, has several names. I tried to memorize them once, but I don’t fully remember all of them (she didn’t remember all of them right away either, so I feel a little better). One of her middle names is Frieda. However,¬†my grandma is Spanish, so if you were to say Freida in spanish it would be Fedelina. How beautiful is that?! So of course, it had to be. So, Tae may hate us when she has to fill in the little bubbles to write her name on tests in the future, but I feel like it will all be worth it. Those names stand for courage, love, charity, honesty, virtue, devotion, love, hard work, perseverance, a little bit of stubbornness but most of all family. (I kind of sound like I am checking off the Young Woman’s theme…)

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I don’t think there is anything more powerful¬†than watching all these strong influential men in your life, standing around your child in a wall of protection, giving a blessing to my most precious gifts. Both times I have been able to experience this with my children my heart has burst, as I feel at peace that my kids will always be protected and watched over. I don’t know if all of you men know the gentle power you have. I sincerely thank you, for honoring your priesthood and using it to bless and protect my children.

Matt gives the most beautiful blessings, and I am so glad that I have friends and family members that were smart enough to record them. I can’t wait to let Taelynn and Tyce listen to them in the future. As a mom, there is something so heart warming about listening to your husband, the father of your children,¬†talk to God and ask our Heavenly Father to grant these blessings on our babies. What is more attractive than a father that loves his children beyond comprehension?!

I felt like I was in the movie, The Lion King, after the blessing was finished. Matt lifts our children in the air, presenting them to the ward, and you can hear a rumble of happiness and “awe’s.” You can bet that puts a proud smile on my face.

Of course a celebration isn’t the same without food, so afterwards we went to our house and served up our take on Cafe Rio salads. (Anyone that knows me, is that even a surprise?)

Blessing days are my happy days! Family, Food and Perfect Babies! Thank you all for helping us celebrate our wonderful children!

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Families can be Together Forever

“Families can be together FOREVER, through Heavenly Fathers Plan. I always want to be with my own family, and the LORD has shown me how I can.”

The day that made all other days have very little meaning. When Matt and I got married and sealed in the temple it was exciting and beautiful! But, we agreed, the day we got sealed to Tyce put that day to shame. There is something so magical and spiritual about being sealed to a child. It is completely different from birthing children. NOW,  that isn’t to down play the importance and magic of biological children. The day we had Taelynn, I thought my heart would burst. But, I didn’t have the panic and urgent feeling with Taelynn, because I already had the peace that she was sealed to us for eternity. Well…technically I didn’t even know I felt the peace until I felt the urgent longing that I experienced with Tyce. (Any of you other adoptive parents out there, feel free to help me figure out a better way of describing that feeling! I can’t find the right words to emphasize the importance.)

I know not everyone readying this is LDS, but just so you know, we believe that you can be sealed to your family after death. Death isn’t the end. When we get married in the LDS temple our biological children are automatically born in the covenant or sealed to us, but when we adopt, we get to go back and seal that child to our family so that our spirits are sealed for eternity.

***Get ready for picture overload***

 

April 16, 2016 – This day felt like an eternity away. In Utah, there is a law that you have to wait 6 months to finalize an adoption. That means that we couldn’t get sealed to Tyce in the temple or even have his baby blessing until he was “legally” ours.

The 6 month wait felt like an eternity. But, let’s be real here, it was closer to 7 months because of court dates. We knew it was going to be hard and that the adversary would be fighting against us, but goodness, even with that foresight, it was a painful fight. Satan knew exactly what would cause us the most stress and anxiety and he hit it right in the bullseye. But, despite all of that, WE MADE IT!

The night before, we had the beautiful experience of going through the temple with my cousin, Kaela, for her first time. It was such a perfect way to bring the peace for the rest of the weekend. Plus, it was perfect because that meant she could be apart of Tyce’s sealing the next day.

Matt and I woke up early on Saturday and started getting everything packed up. There was a feeling of peace circulating the house. Just thinking of it now, feels my heart with this eternal happiness. The babies woke up and were so happy. We got them dressed in their whites and they looked like little angels.

We got Tyce a tea leaf Lei in honor of his birth family. I love them with all my heart and it didn’t feel right unless we made sure they were a part of this day. He made the best faces when the leaves would touch his face. Tae was a little jealous and kept trying to put it around her neck or in her mouth…

My mom met us at the Provo City Center Temple, so she could help us take care of the kids while Matt and I got everything in order. We walked into the temple together and temple workers greeted us with such excitement! They all knew us by name and eagerly welcomed us inside.

We wanted the ceremony to be very intimate and so we just had our close family come, and it worked out perfectly. I don’t want to go into much more detail than this, because it was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life. Nothing I write will give justice to the feelings of joy and peace that we felt. I will say, that when my mom and the temple sisters brought Tyce and Taelynn up to me and Matt, nothing could hold back the happy tears that fell from my face, as I began to understand the true meaning of Christ’s love. I looked at the faces of each of the people that sacrificed so much to be there with us, and I knew that this was my heaven.

We walked out of the temple doors a forever family. What excitement we felt,  to see our loving family waiting for us. It truly is like walking through the gates of heaven. It was a true blessing that our family could make this experience as big of a deal physically, as it was to us in every other aspect. We will forever appreciate that.

***FUNNY SIDE NOTE- My mom was with the kids the whole time we were in the temple. They have a nursery area for families that are being sealed. Well, the temple sealer called down to have her bring up the kids, so she was racing to change their diapers. As she was changing Tyce’s diaper he decided it was the perfect time to see how far he could pee, and low and  behold, he made it all the way to his face, getting it in his eyes, mouth and every other crack and cranny. Let it be known, he hasn’t peed on any of us since he was a month old.  My mom decided not to tell any of us until after the ceremony, which means Matt and I got our fair share of pee kisses.

At this point, the kids were beyond exhausted. They had already skipped two naps, yet somehow were as happy as could be. BUT, as you look through all the pictures and see Ty’s head down, just know, he is fast asleep. Nothing we did could keep that kid awake. He didn’t even get jostled when we would move him around and put him in different positions for pictures. There were a few moments he would randomly wake up and give us a few perfect, happy smiles, and then two seconds later his eyes would roll back and he would fall asleep again. It was impossible not to die laughing.

 

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There is a reason I have always tag Tyce’s pictures with the hashtag #thejourneyofty (The Journey of Ty). He is on quite the journey, touching lives along the way. So many people have had a hand in bringing him home to us. My eyes are pouring, right now, as I think back on the last 7 months. I think of my parents who dropped everything when I called them that beautiful Sunday in September, without any warning, to tell them that our baby boy was being born right then. Right away, my dad jumped online to look at plane tickets for us and canceled all of his plans for the week so that he could fly to Arkansas with me so that I wasn’t alone. My Aunt Dana, who was so excited, she picked us up from the airport in Kansas City, and took me shopping for baby clothes, and then drove us the 6 hours to Little Rock and back. Matt’s mom, who came and spent a week and a half with me and the kids in the NICU, after my dad and Matt had to go home, and then helping me fly home. And then of course to so many of you who donated help to us after we encountered some unexpected costs. Some of you I barely knew, but I think and pray for you all daily. Thank you for being so in-tune with the spirit and answering our prayers so that we could get home. You all have a special place in my heart. And this is just a few of the people that are apart of Tyce’s Journey. Really, that doesn’t even brush the surface. Tyce’s Journey has been a remarkable one. I can’t express the appreciation I have to you all for believing in him and in us.

After the temple, my parents took everyone to Los Hermanos in celebration. Because let’s be honest, nothing says celebration like one of their fresh (virgin) Pina Coladas. It was so much fun to sit and visit with everyone. What a blessing it is to call these people my family. The legacy that they have paved makes me want to be a better person. Their example, love and compassion brings me to my knees. Family to me, isn’t just bodies to take up space, but spirits that come together to mold us as individuals. I am so lucky to be a part of a group of people that holds family above all.

Thank you everyone that helped make this day unforgettable. I can’t say enough how truly blessed we feel. What a reaffirming testimony that, “families can be together forever.” I’m sure glad I get to spend forever with this bunch.

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***I need to express my love and gratitude to both Emma Matheson Photography and Kurns Photography. Emma had taken our family pictures the week before we adopted Tyce. When she found out we had another addition, she immediately volunteered to take new family pictures for us with our handsome little guy. AND THEN, the wonderful Courtney Kurns volunteered to help take pictures for us at the temple, right after getting arm surgery, so we would have pictures to commemorate this day. I love you both and am in love with my forever keep sakes you gave me! Thank you! 

Picture Credits:

Emma Matheson Photography

Kurns Photography

 

We’re Finally Finalized! The newest Bosen

There are very few reasons going to court is a good thing. My car accident last year… not so much! Yet, April 13, 2016 will be forever marked as the day I looked forward to appearing in court, because it meant that Tyce is¬†legally my son.

I was so full of emotion yesterday that I had to wait until today to be able to express the gratitude and love I feel in my heart. My mom worded it perfectly:

Who said you can’t have a fantabulous sunshiny day when it’s raining? Today a judge bound all of the bazillions of heartstrings that I’ve had wrapped around my little peanut, to an official, legal document! Tyce is not just tied to my heart for eternity, but LEGALLY my grandson! I love you, Aubree, Matthew, Tae, and Tyce!¬†¬†‚Ä™#‚Äéadoptionrocks‚Ĩ¬†‚Ä™#‚Äéthejourneyofty‚Ĩ¬†‚Ä™#‚Äéthereignoftae‚Ĩ¬†‚Ä™#‚Äéfamiliesareforever‚Ĩ¬†‚̧

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I’ve been waiting for so long to get my picture with the Judge!! My kids may be looking in different directions and Tyce’s drool may be slowly dripping down my shirt, BUT This is exactly what I wanted.¬†

All morning, Tyce was giggles and smiles. He woke up earlier than normal and just wanted me to cuddle with him. He kept looking up at my face and stroking my cheek. It was like he knew it was a big day. Taelynn on the other hand, was my somber queen. It was like she could feel the intensity and impact that this day would bring. During the whole court proceeding my normally busy bee sat on my moms lap and quietly waited.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but finalizing an adoption was a really neat¬†experience! I felt like I was doing Mock Trial all over again, except it was real, and I wasn’t trying to put someone in jail. My awesome mom came to celebrate with us and help us watch Taelynn. We¬†met our Lawyer,¬†K. Paul MacArthur from MHM Law Offices, at the Provo court house. I didn’t know I could like lawyers until I met Paul MacArthur. He brought us into the court room and we went and sat up front in the defendant chairs.

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Our wonderful Attorney, K. Paul MacArthur from MHM Law Offices

We talked for a little bit and he gave us some of the questions he would be asking us. Then, the Bailiff walked in¬†and¬†said, “All rise for the Honorable Judge David Mortensen.” And in walks our judge with his fancy black robe.

Matt and I each got our own microphones to answer the questions. I went first and was asked questions along the lines of, “When did you get married? When is your birthday? When was Tyce under your custody? Why did we want to adopt?… ect.”¬†¬†Then it was ¬†Matts turn. He was asked, “Do you agree with everything your wife said?” :/¬†really? haha

At this point, Judge Mortensen declared us fit to be parents legally and lawfully to Tyce. He said that they used to have him stamp the legal documents to make it official, which made it really dramatic, but now it is all electronic so he just has to click a button. BUT for our benefit, when he clicked the button he yelled out, “BOOM!” He then gave us a document with the Fourth District Court Seal, where he had written out his thoughts on adoption. I will keep this document forever. In one part he quoted a book entitled The Soul of Adoption, by Catherine E. Polman, saying:

“Adoption is an exquisite grafting of humankind. For both the birth and adoptive parents it is a defining transition, a deliberate lunge beyond childbearing. For the child it is permanent relocation accompanied by the hope of increased opportunity…Successful participants learn to comprehend the needs of everyone involved and afford those individuals freedom to choose and grow in ways consistent with their unique personalities and talents. Boundless and unwavering love can develop. “

I love this because my family has been grafted like an Olive tree. My family tree now includes branches grafted into the trunk making it bigger and stronger. It may not have all grown from one seed, but the new additions work with the old and grow from each other. However, they cannot grow strong and tall and straight without proper care and love and devotion. But just like any tree, the branches are all different shapes and sizes. (Thank you for letting me get cheesy for a moment).

Afterward, the Judge was gracious enough to let us take some pictures with him to mark this historic day for us. And just like that, Tyce is legally a Bosen.

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Tyce Mitchell Kabua Bosen

 

To celebrate, we went to the BYU Creamery for some Ice cream. We were a little notty and let our kiddos have a bite because it was a special day. Taelynn may have gotten a little carried away…. Tyce on the other hand, not a fan!

 

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***A special thanks to MHM Law Offices. They were the most honest, helpful, caring people and I am so glad we got to work with them.

 

Adoption Stigma: “Savior” Mentality and Types of Adoptions

“I do not intend to be rude, but since you put yourself out here, I have a question. If the fact that some children are in need of parents is what made you interested in adoption, why did you choose infant adoption, when there is no shortage of parents for newborns?”

I received this¬†question about adoption, and rather than answering back privately, I thought this was the perfect time to talk about infant adoptions versus adopting older children. I would like to say, “Thank you,” to the person that asked, because I think this is one of the big stigmas about adoption that needs to be broken. Keep in mind, everyone’s story is different, so I can only share my perspective. But, I did call on some friends for help, to help me find words for all of these emotions in my heart.

***DISCLAIMER*** I do NOT recommend asking anyone else this question. I opened up this blog so that people could ask me questions like this, BECAUSE  I want to shed some light on what adoption really means. So, I am totally ok with this! But, it can be perceived as a very offensive question. It is very personal to each and every person. 

Why adoption is for MY family

First, I would like to address the first part of the question. In the “Our Story” section of the blog, I talk about my Uncle telling my family about some kids in Romania, living in an orphanage, that needed families. I was in Elementary school at the time. This was not my first encounter with adoption, BUT the first time I had the impression that I wanted to adopt.

As I got older, and continued to think about adoption, I learned that there are several different ways to adopt. Infant adoption, foster to adopt, foster for reunification, International adoption, adoption with an agency, private adoption, transracial adoption, special needs adoption, open adoption, closed adoption, the list goes on. I researched a ton. But not just how to adopt. I researched the sociology behind it, the psychology behind it. I did a lot of self evaluation and wrote out my 10 +  year plans. Most importantly I prayed about it. (Realize that this is my side of the story, not my husbands. He had his own journey).

Now, not everyone believes in God or spiritual promptings, but I do. Our whole adoption journey was completely dependent on Heavenly Father and his plan he had in store for us. If he would have directed us to Foster to adopt, we would have. BUT he knew where our son was and he led us to him. I believe everyone is directed to where their children are.

“It is not about finding¬†A¬†child. It is about finding¬†THE¬†child that was meant to be in my family.” ¬†-My good friend, Carly Thompson

As I also mentioned in the “Our Story” section,¬†the reason we started the adoption process when we did,¬†is because we had an opportunity presented before us to possibly adopt the baby of a family friend. That baby was never ours, but we truly believe that situation was placed before us so that we could be ready for our son. If we would not have prepared for that baby, we would not have been able to adopt our son. That was a true act of God.

We firmly believe that Tyce was always supposed to be in our family. It wasn’t chance. He is our son. He and Taelynn were meant to be siblings and grow and learn from each other.

Infant Adoption Vs. Adopting Older Children. 

Now, to answer the question more logistically. All kinds of adoptions require different abilities from the adopting parents. This is really hard for me to put into words, so I have a friend, Kaitlyn Phillips, from an adoption group, that is helping me out a little. She said,

“Adopting an infant and adopting an older child are not interchangeable. They are very¬†different experiences, and¬†each come with their own unique set of challenges and blessings.”

Whatever route you decide to take in building your family, you have to be prepared for the challenges that come with each situation. I would add, this also includes building your family through giving birth.

For me, we were not in a position to adopt an older child or to get certified as a foster parent. I like how Kaitlyn put it,

“I don’t think a person should “just” adopt an older child because they want to adopt. If a couple is adopting an older child, they need to be in a position emotionally, spiritually, and physically to care for, parent, and be a good fit for an older child.”

The same goes for an infant adoption. BUT that does not mean that being prepared for one makes you prepared for the other.

An older child that is looking for a family has different needs than an infant being adopted. I see so many amazing parents that have adopted older children. Some of the skills that they have blow me away. ¬†They were meant to be parents to those children and those children were meant to be in their family. I can’t even begin to imagine the emotional roller coaster¬†that so many of these kids go through, in their search for their forever family. ¬†They need parents that can give them the attention and support to heal and grow.

Unfortunately, I would not have had the right amount of attention or emotional stability to give an older child and a newborn.

Yes, There are so many older children looking for families. BUT, that can’t be your only reason to adopt an older child. You need to be prepared for what that entails. Otherwise, you will not be successful as a parent. This leads me to the “Savior Mentality.”

The “Savior” Mentality¬†

THIS IS IMPORTANT! (It is such a strong opinion I have, I dare to claim it as a FACT.)

When you adopt, you are not the child’s “Savior.” You are their parent. I didn’t “save” my son, and if he ever feels like he “owes” me because I¬†adopted him, I will truly feel like I have failed as a parent.

Although, Taelynn and Tyce will always be free to try and repay me for the sleepless nights, the several ounces of spit up I have caught in my eye, mouth, bra and who knows where else…I JOKE!!! My point is, I am their mom. I expect the same respect and love from them that any mother should hope to receive from their kids.

I didn’t choose to build my family through adoption because I wanted to “save” children. I am not God. This misconception makes me so sad.¬†I chose to adopt because I knew that I had a child out there that I had to find.

I am often told things along the line of, “Tyce is so lucky that you adopted him.” “You are so amazing to take on that child.” “wow, I couldn’t do that.” ¬†I know you mean well, and I thank you for that. But, would you ever go up to me and say those things about Taelynn? Maybe you would, but up until this point no one has given me praise because I conceived her. WHICH IS HOW IT SHOULD BE! At least in my book.

In a way, I guess you could say we were all saved. Heavenly Father had his hand in this whole experience. And my family was “saved” because we all get to be together. My kids personally “save” me everyday. I don’t know what my life would be without them. BUT Matt and I didn’t do the saving.

To summarize-¬†Matt, Taelynn and Tyce are my family. I get to carry the proud title of “Mom.” Being a mom gives me so much happiness. We all build our families in different ways and adoption just happened to be in the plans for us. We were led to Tyce. If you believe in destiny, I guess this would be the best description of it.

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Thank you all so much for reading my ramblings. I hope I could answer this question with justice. You are free to send me questions as well, and I will answer them in the best of my ability.

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And so it begins…

Here I am, mother to the Wonder Twins, jumping on the band wagon and starting a blog. I am awful at remembering to write in my journal (so much so, that I bought a one line a day journal and still forget), BUT I get so many questions that I thought this would be the best way to share our story and keep our record of my perfect little kiddos.

What should you expect? Laughter, tears, the good, the bad, and the snotty noses. This is going to be my online sanctuary. I’m not getting paid for this, so you can all know that everything I say is from my own mouth. So all you fellow moms out there, let’s share this journey of motherhood together.TwoPeas-LargeFont

 

I need to give credit where it is due. When I was in Arkansas, picking up Tyce, my mom called me with this fabulous idea that I needed to have a blog. She had the name ready and everything; “Two Peas from Different Pods.”It is perfect, because these two munchkins were meant to be partners in crime. I loved the idea, but put it off because…life… That is until I discovered the wonderful Megan Hargraves. She is the one that designed our¬†logo. Isn’t it the cutest?! After seeing her work, I knew this project had to happen. Then my brother comes in. He drew the picture of my babies at the top of this post. He does it on HIS PHONE!!!! My friend Maddy was gracious enough to help me set up the blog itself. I am surrounded by talent and so I hope this blog does it justice.
Logo Design: Paradigm Design        
Photo Credit: Ethan Jones  
 Blog Design: Maddy Low (Low Designs)
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