Little Bear is Here

We welcomed our newest family member into the world on Monday April 6th. Our adopted baby boy is perfect with chubby little cheeks, teeny tiny toes, and a head of short straight black hair. He makes little ‘shnurfling’ noises when he eats, his face gets all scrunchy before he poops, and he loves to kick his legs straight out and hold them up in the air for a stretch. He prefers to sleep tightly swaddled and looks at his mama, daddy, and big brother right in the eyes when awake. I feel as though I have loved him since the beginning of time.

Little Bear was born on a sunny Spring day, though he wouldn’t see the sun or the sky until a week later after spending time in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Anyone whose baby has been in NICU knows how challenging it is not to be able to be with your baby immediately and constantly after their arrival. We were luckily able to hold him two hours after he was born, and I stayed at the hospital the whole week he was there.

The first three days were hard, with Little Bear losing significant weight, struggling with jaundice and showing obvious signs of discomfort. I was in a daze of mesmerizing love for my new son, sadness for his suffering, fatigue from being constantly awake, and trying to get to understand the medical environment.

On day four, I found my voice, in part thanks to an inspiring mama who’s little boy had been in the NICU for three weeks, who encouraged me to listen to my baby and my inner wisdom. I started to ask lots of questions, listen to my intuition, and demand that I be able to meet my sons needs (I had to remind nurses constantly to call me when Little Bear woke up so that I could feed him, change his diaper, take his temperature, monitor his symptoms and so on). I took to sitting in the chair by his cot practically 24/7 because if the nurses tried to comfort him, change his diapers and so on, he would scream and fuss which would cause him to get high scores on their monitoring system. High scores meant an unhappy baby staying in hospital longer. When I met his needs on demand and really attuned to his patterns, his scores lowered, his temperature regulated, his fussing stopped, his screaming reduced, and he fed better and slept longer.  By the time we left the NICU, Little Bear had surpassed his birth weight, was eating like a champ, had a much lowered biliruben count, and now only cries when he’s having his diaper changed and even then we are learning how to time it so he’s relaxed.

While I felt frustrated by the NICU’s apparent disinterest in mama-baby bonding, I do recognize the hard work that the medical team does for babies who need a little extra help starting out in the world. Once they got used to my being there, the nurses and pediatricians started including me more in their procedures, explaining what they were doing and why and helping me work with their system for the best results. They never said a thing about my constant presence (though I did overhear them say about Little Bear and my inspiring mama-friend’s baby ‘those ones are easy, their moms come and do everything’), and by the time we left a week later one of the nurses said ‘thank you for all the work you’ve done, we truly appreciate it’.  I genuinely returned the gratitude.

Of course, I can’t write all this without acknowledging the amazingness of Mr. Hempleseed who was the world’s best husband and dad the last week, coming to the hospital whenever he wasn’t taking care of our toddler Sir Riel, running our house and garden, taking care of his business, or picking up groceries. Little Bear loves being in his daddy’s arms. We also had some great help from my mom, step dad, and friends. Really, everything I write in this blog is supported by a whole community of incredible people making the richness of my life possible. If I write as though it’s all about me, well, that’s because it’s my blog, dangit!

Now we are home. Our bigger family, our perfect family. When Little Bear woke up this morning, big brother Sir Riel heard the ‘shnurfling’ from his room and joined us in the family bed. As we all sat there snuggling, Little Bear in one arm, Sir Riel nooked into the other and Mr. Hempleseed cozied up along side, my heart nearly burst with joy. Then Sir Riel said ‘mama, you are the only girl in this family’. It’s true. Even our cat is a boy. At least we have the hens!

Our adoption journey has been full of twists and turns, and will continue to be full of learning. I like to think of the arrival of Little Bear as a happy ending to an early chapter in a very long, interesting, challenging, sometimes chaotic, whole-hearted, adventurous story of a lifetime.

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Baby on the way!

It has been nearly two years since I last wrote a blog post. Life happened. We moved to a farm out in the country, I got a new job with full(er) time hours, we changed course in our adoption journey, and Sir Riel turned into a full-fledged toddler.

At three and a half, Sir Riel is the same fiery feisty child, but now articulates himself with phrases like ‘you’re kidding me, I didn’t want my tower to crash, that’s unreasonable’ (all with a healthy dose of screaming, flopping, refusing, and defying). We have 23 chickens now and Sir Riel loves egg-collecting and ‘fluffing’ the hens (I’ll let you google that). He roams the acreage, playing in the dirt pile and riding his push-bike down the long driveway. Sometimes, just before I lose my cool about a button-pushing parenting moment, he’ll look at me and say ‘I love you mommy, you are beautiful’. Melt. Clever little one.

He’s going to be such a good big brother.

Yes! If all goes as planned, our family will be welcoming a new child into our lives in the coming weeks. Our child. Our baby! Sir Riel’s little sibling.

This baby, our baby, is not yet born. He or she is cradled in the warm, caring womb of a local woman, who I’ll call Birth Mom. Birth Mom has been on a journey of her own, one that has led to not feeling able to raise a child, and she has chosen us to bring baby home from the hospital. The story is complex, and there is so much to feel, do and say before baby comes in mid-April. We have an amazing community of friends and family, not enough hours in the day to share our story with everyone, and we know you have a lot of questions.

Here are some answers. If you have other questions, perhaps hold onto them for now, while this magic time of the adoption journey unfolds itself.

1) Wow, congratulations, how do you feel?

Wonderful! Overflowing with gratitude. Scared. Overwhelmed by what needs to happen before baby comes. Bursting with tears – of joy for our growing family, and of empathy for Birth Mom and her family. Honoured to be chosen. Nervous. Hopeful. Curious. Calm. Excited. In love. The works.

Read here if you want a reminder of why we want to adopt.

2) How did this adoption match get made? Weren’t you originally hoping to adopt from a country in Africa?

Let’s just say there have been a few turns and switchbacks on our adoption journey. In Spring 2013 we left our adoption agency to sign up with the Ministry of Children and Families to adopt a child in British Columbia. In September 2014, after upgrading our homestudy, taking more Adoption Education Program courses, and finalizing our application, we officially became waiting parents. But, a few months ago, the universe led us down an entirely different path. Basically, a friend of a friend said  ‘I remember you saying you were waiting to adopt, and I know someone whose family member is pregnant and does not feel she is in a position to raise the baby’. After re-registering with our original agency, we confirmed just a few days ago that Birth Mom has officially chosen us.

3) What do you know about baby?

Birth Mom worked really hard to have a healthy pregnancy and baby is showing all signs of being healthy. Baby is of mixed background, including Coast Salish heritage. We plan to honour our baby’s Birth Mom, birth culture, and self-identity.

For now, please don’t ask us questions about Birth Mom and Birth Dad. Their stories are their own, and we are respecting that.

3) What happens when baby is born?

Baby is due two weeks from writing this post. When Birth Mom is in labour, we will go to the hospital to be there when baby is born. I hope to nurse baby, and am working on re-lactating (I stopped nursing Sir Riel over a year ago) with the help of a doctor, lactation consultant, breast-pump, herbs, and domperidone. I’ll report more on that later, but check out this site for information on nursing adopted babies. We’ll bring baby home as soon as we can, and so will begin the sleepless nights and the beautiful process of bonding and attachment.

4) What does Sir Riel think of all this. Does he understand? How can I explain it to the children in my life?

Sir Riel knows he’s going to be a big brother. He says things like ‘when I have a baby sister (or brother), I’m going to love them and teach them how to crawl like this [gets down from dinner table and crawls like Mowgli in the Jungle Book]’. He’s spent time with some 6 – 12 month olds lately and is so sweet, giving gentle pats and kisses and making adorable ‘awww’ sounds. He has suggested names for the baby including ‘octopus’ and something I can only spell as ‘takpakatch’.

We told him that this baby is going to come from a different mummy’s belly (tummy mummy) to which he responded ‘that sounds good’.

You can tell your children that Sir Riel is going to get a little sister or brother soon. This baby will come from another mummy, and she will always be baby’s tummy mummy. We will be baby’s forever family. If they ask why the baby’s tummy mummy isn’t taking care of baby, you can say ‘because she felt it was best for baby to be raised by their forever family’.

5) Wow, there’s not much time before baby is born. What can we do to help?

Thanks for asking! We kept most of Sir Riel’s baby stuff. There are a few items we are looking for: newborn clothing, a side-sleeper/co-sleeper, glass bottles, and a bouncy chair (or two).

The three very best ways you can help us are:

– Send love and strong healthy energy to birth mom and baby. Whether you pray, practice reiki, sing to the Creator, meditate, or send messages in dreams, Birth Mom and baby need all the love and support we can give them.

– Send love and energy to the waiting family (that’s me! and Mr. Hempleseed and Sir Riel).

– Donate to our Hunter Family Adoption Fund. When the Universe amazingly connected us to Birth Mom, it also brought us an unexpected $12,000 adoption fee. This pays for lifelong support for Birth Mom, and our legal and social work fees. There are also travel and re-lactation consultation costs, and Mr. Hempleseed will be taking time off work (I am very fortunate to have coverage from my employer). It seems odd to be fundraising for a baby, but with two weeks to go we don’t have time for a baby shower, nor need for many baby things, so if you are interested in contributing to our growing family, this really is the best way. Every little bit helps. We would be eternally grateful!

6) Is this adoption %100 certain?

Adoption is never certain. Things can change. Birth Mom or Birth Dad can change their minds and have a certain period of time after baby is born to do so. We are sending all sorts of prayers, love and energy to Birth Mom and baby and the way we see it, no matter what happens, there’s more love in the world for it.

What we do know is that we are 100% committed. To growing our family. To loving this baby. To honouring Birth Mom. To raising our children so they have a strong sense of identity and feeling of belonging in the world. To educating those around us about adoption. To advocating for our children and their future. We are all in.

I do truly hope to share more about our adoption adventure, so stay tuned for more!

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Lessons from our adoption home study

I attended a West African Drum and Dance retreat this weekend. I danced. I drummed. I sang. On the second night, as I lay in bed, body exhausted from a full day of movement and learning, I listened. Listened to the sound of the distant drumming. The doundounba and its solid constant bass rhythm, the kenkeni holding everything in time, the sangban connecting the three doundouns together in a perfect pulse. I could here the djembes playing accompanying parts while a Djembe-fola told a story of his people. I could even hear the foot steps of barefoot dancers. I heard each part of the rhythm on its own and all of them together. I opened the window of my cabin in the woods to hear better, to let the music wash over me and my family as we slept. It was then that I realized there was no drumming – everyone had gone to bed. The rhythm was in my head, in my body, in my breath, in my heart beat.

From the left: Kenkeni, Sangban, Doundounba. Photo Credit www.oneworlddance.com

From the left: Kenkeni, Sangban, Doundounba. Photo Credit http://www.oneworlddance.com

When you are immersed in something, it starts to feel like you are breathing what you are studying. That’s how I felt at the dance and drum retreat, and it is how I have felt during our adoption home-study process.

We are at the end of our home-study process. We’ve had about 8 visits with a social worker who I’ll call Ms. Purple – she always had at least 3 purples on her – purple earrings, pants, scarves, shoes, sweaters, pens, binders, bags – lots and lots of purple. And not the various shades of purple like lavender, eggplant, mauve or dark pink – just straight up colour-wheel purple. I like purple.

purple-just-too-awesome

Without writing a thesis about the home-study (we already had to do that for our home-study preparation documents), here are ten things I learned in the homestudy about adoption.

10. Adoption is complex. It is about children. It is about every child deserving a forever family. It is about children having ‘tummy-mummy’s’ and ‘heart-moms’.  It is about parents and parenting. It is about poverty. It is about systemic social injustice. It is about choice and lack of choice. It is about endless unconditional love. It is about sadness, trauma, fear, joy, happiness, hope and healing all at once.

9. Adoption involves grief and loss. No matter how you look at it, there is grief and loss in adoption. A child who loses their birth parents. Parents who lose their birth children. Adoptive parents who lose the experience of being pregnant and raising a child from conception and birth. Children who lose their cultural identities.

8. Grief and loss are normal and healthy. Our job as adoptive parents is not to take away grief and loss from our children, but to provide an environment of support, compassion, and love in which our children can comfortably and safely grieve – all throughout their lives.

7. Just like in pregnancy and birth, anything can happen. You can hope, pray, ask and do everything the ‘experts’ tell you to do, and surprises still happen. Developmental delays. Malnourishment. Slow attachment and bonding. Post-placement depression. Adoption interruptions and complications. And, just like in pregnancy and birth…MOST of the time the story has a happy ending. Knowing what all the possible risks are helps prepare us to be ready for whatever…and whoever…comes into our lives.

6. Openness in adoption is ideal. Helping children connect to their roots, their culture, their birth place, and birth family can help children develop a healthy solid identity. Throughout their lives, adopted children may want varying degrees of openness, and it is important to let them know that you support them as they develop their self-awareness and write their life-story.

5. I am a white privileged descendant of European colonizers. To be a mom to children of Metis and African descent means to understand my role as a white descendant of the colonizers who oppressed indigenous people on my home continent and the home continent of my adopted child. It means decolonizing my mind and exploring and reflecting on how systemic racism and white-privilege will impact my children, my family, and our individual and collective identities. That might just end up becoming a whole blog post sooner or later.

4. I need you. Bringing a child home from another country will have many similarities to bringing a child into the world through birth. I will need to be ready to ask for support from our friends and family to help my family adjust and transition. Sir Riel will be adjusting to being a big brother. Mom and Dad will be adjusting to being parents of TWO demanding little people. The biggest difference is that our adopted child will not have been bonded with us since birth. We will be starting the bonding process after our child has potentially experienced weeks, months or even years of not having their basic needs for nourishment, physical affection or love met. We’ll need lots of time to focus on bonding our little family together and we’ll need the support and love of our community during this time.

3. Sir Riel is awesome. Okay, so this isn’t really related to the homestudy. But how can I not fit in a little blurb about our perfect little wizard munchkin? And it is kind of related. Talking about our parenting philosophy, our plans for helping Sir Riel adjust to being a big brother, and all other manner of parenting talk with our home-study social worker, has really confirmed how much I love parenting – MOTHERING – already. And specifically mothering Sir Riel. He is a fiery little person who is either exploding with happiness or screaming in frustration and there’s not much in between except for when he’s sleeping (not sure where he got his flare for drama…). And while this is completely exhausting and mind-boggling, it is also incredibly life-affirming. So much zest in such a little body!

2. There is ancestral wisdom. Okay, so I got this from that course I recently posted about ‘Creative Goal Setting’. We talked about how life is energy and people are energy. We talked about how people pass energy onto other people through our DNA and also through stories, interactions, magic, and memory. In that course, I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful adopted woman who told me that while her adoptive parents are devout catholics, she found herself drawn to the ancient wisdom of the Goddess from a young age. When, as an adult, she met her birth-parents she discovered where this ‘ancestral wisdom’ came from! She is ‘just like’ her birth father. For me this is a reminder that both my adopted child and my biological child more than just ‘my children’ – they are a complex manifestation of all that has come before them, as am I.

1. I want to adopt.  After nearly three months of ‘studying’ all the potential challenges, risks and responsibilities of adoption, I only feel more committed to this journey. Just like I can hear the music in my breathing and my heart beat – I feel the need to be an adoptive mother in the deepest parts of my self.  That deep place is the same place from which I felt the need to conceive and give birth to Sir Riel. The same place from which all my dreams, passions, and visions have come from. The yearning to adopt is part of who I am. Adoption is part of my wholeness.

Mrs. Purple says she has no doubt our home-study report will be approved and we’ll move on to the next stage of adoption. We have a long way to go. We need to develop our adoption ‘dossier’. We need to choose the country from which we’ll adopt. We need to send our dossier to that country. And then we need to wait. I may not experience pregnancy again, but this will be a very long gestation period.

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If you like rainbows and dippies, you’ll like this post. Or, creative goal setting to take down babylon.

I recently took a course called ‘Constructing Change Through Creative Goal Setting” at the University of Victoria. An inspiring and insightful instructor – Maggi, a strong tall graceful woman with a singing voice and a great wide laugh – led the learners through a series of explorations….

Of our inner determination, our deepest held beliefs, our values and our visions.

What do you want? she asked

What do you have? she sang

What is getting in your way? she probed

We, the learners – the future seekers, the meaning makerss…oh, we answered as though awakening to our dreams.

Everywhere I go, here I am. A kind faced man with that witty sense of humour that only a good Irishman can have, reminded us of this truth. Everywhere I go, here I am. No matter where I go, I’ll want to go further. No matter what greatness I achieve, I will always wonder ‘what more’, ‘what next’, ‘what else’?  What if the goal was to stay. Not rush ahead, not look around the next corner, not step up a rung on the ladder or go that further mile. Just stay. Bask in the arrival.

Maggi took us to the ‘neutral zone’. That place we end up after we get to where we were trying to go. Now what? All this time you’ve been trying to get here, and now you’ve arrived. You suddenly discover that everything you are, your whole identity, was wrapped up in the long, curving muddy trek to your destination.

Now, in that quiet glade of soft green grass, surrounded by a swaying forest of your success, it suddenly feels lonely. I’ve arrived. I’m here. I’m done. It’s quiet, and still, and peaceful.

Quick! Get up! Turn the wheel. Look around the corner. What now? You leap out of the glade, push through the forest, and rush headfirst into the future.

What if we stayed in the glade?  What if we breathed in that stillness. Swayed to the silence. Listened to the trees. What if we offered gratitude to the moon for rising every night. Sat with our children, our mothers, our people and told stories of our ancestors. What if we cherished our bodies for delivering us this far, massaged our feet, achy from dancing.  Here I am. Everywhere I go. I am here.

So, what do you want? What do you have? What is getting in your way?

Maggi quoted a wise teacher who said ‘those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours’. Stop listening to the doubtful voices, yours and others. Honour where you are now. Trust your intuition.  Access your somatic memory, invite your deep knowing. Observe how you feel in your body and in your soul. Breathe your truth. Accept your wholeness.

Now.

What do you want? She asked.

I want to raise my son to be conscious and creative. I want be a mother to my beautiful adopted baby. I want to be enabled and empowered. I want to grow my own food and harvest wild nettles. I want to dance with abandon. I want to cultivate community. I want to decolonize my mind. I want to dismantle Babylon.

What do you have? She sang.

I have a conscious and creative son.
I am a mother to my beautiful adopted somewhere-out-there baby.
I am empowered and so are you!
My cupboard is full of dried nettles I picked at sunset with my love.
There is asparagus, rhubarb, mint, kale, spinach, parsley, mizuna, and borage exploding in the garden. My feet are hardened and my body aches wonderfully from barefoot dancing.
I am surrounded by the friendship and support of a brilliant community.
I am slowly peeling away the colonization of my mind and

Babylon. Is. Falling.

What is getting in your way? She probed.

The coast is clear. The path is wide. The way is open. There is absolutely positively perfectly magically nothing in your way.

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PS – This was my assignment for the course. It seemed fitting to make a blog post out of it.
PPS – We are nearly done the home-study portion of our adoption process. We’ve had about 8 visits with an adoption social worker who comes to our home for 2-3 hours every few weeks and we talk about everything form how we were raised, our parenting philosophy, our spiritual orientations, and the impacts of loss and trauma on abandoned children. I am working on writing a blog post that will tell the story of our home-study experience, so stay tuned.
PPPS – Sir Riel is one and a half years old and says ‘bye bye babbit’ (rabbit) and ‘mo pees’ (more please) and ‘aw-hum asser’ (awesome asher) and  ‘NOOOOOOOOOOO’, and ‘moom!’ (moon) among about 70 other words and expressions. He’s the kid who runs towards moving vehicles when you ask him to come hold your hand. The kid who tips his bowl upside down to eat oatmeal off his highchair tray. The kid who looks at you with a sly grin on his face when you ask ‘what are you up to?’. No nook gets un-explored, no item gets left right side up, and no moment is quiet when the little revolutionary wizard is awake. Here’s to toddler mayhem!

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Meet my locks.

Meet my dreadlocks. They are one year old this month. My mom hates them. My son thinks they are fun (to pull on). Me, well, most days I love them and some days I just want to cut them off and burn them, which would make my mother a very happy woman.

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Photo: One year old dreads.

I started my dreadlocks when Sir Riel was 4 months old. It was an uncomfortable and sometimes painful process – a few multiple hour sessions with Mariah backcombing, twisting, rolling, tugging, and needling my hair into multiple fuzzy ropes. I’d sit there on the floor cross-legged, nursing my son when he needed it, cuddling him, and trying not to pinch him when Mariah pulled too hard! So, why go through all the pain for a head of messy permanent-bad-hair-day dreadlocks?

Hair is a big deal. Every single person I know has an emotional relationship with their hair of one degree or another. We cut, dye, style and obsess about our hair being too curly or too straight, too light or too dark, too thick or thin. I know women who keep their hair long because that’s how their boyfriends like it, and other’s who keep their hair short in defiance of their religion. I know men who shave their head once a year and then let it grow all year long until the next shave. Some people keep their hair covered at all times, others never cut it. Hair is impacted by religion, gender, culture, fashion, health, and more. Hair is a big deal.

I have an emotional relationship with my hair just like everyone else. My hair has been a big part of my life for a long time, and I could probably write my life story from the perspective of my hair. But this blog post isn’t about my hair’s life story, it is about my dreadlocks so here are ten reasons I have them:

10.  I want to go back to my government job with dreadlocks. I love my job at the Office to Combat Trafficking in Persons. My job is all about educating people about human trafficking and helping the province find ways to protect trafficked persons. In fact, today is my LAST DAY OF MATERNITY LEAVE before going back to my job tomorrow and I am SO EXCITED to go ‘back to work’ (like these last 16 months of parenting a baby have been a holiday or something). Well, not many ‘white gals’ have dreadlocks in government and I thought it might be fun to stir things up a little.

9. I like the funny looks people give me. Dreadlocks come with a certain stereotype and people definitely give me the ‘what is with your hair’ or ‘I don’t trust you’ looks from time to time.  I’m that smiley girl who greets everyone walking down the street and am used to a warm reception. At first it was alarming when people treated me differently. What? Really? People actually judge me that harshly because of my hair? Wow. But now I see it as an important reminder of what I want to try very hard NOT to do: judge people for their appearance, or for that matter, judge people at all.

8. They are an expression of my non-conformity. I don’t believe in trying to fit into any box and I certainly don’t believe in changing my appearance to meet some external societal ideal or expectation. Our culture is constantly throwing information at women to tell us that our teeth need to be whiter, our hair softer, our eye lashes longer, our waist thinner, our clothes newer, and our lips shinier. My hair lets the world know, and more importantly serves as a daily reminder to me, that I don’t believe in all that bullshit.

7. They make me smarter.  Dreadlocks are like wireless internet, they connect you to all the cosmic knowledge of the universe. Okay, just kidding. But they definitely don’t make me any less smart or hard-working, contrary to common stereotyping, and I suppose I’m out to prove that.

6. Dreads are easier. Make no mistake, maintaining clean healthy dreads is hard work, but a lot of things about having dreadlocks is easier. I wash them once a month or so with Dr. Bronner’s soap, and I never have to worry too much about how to style my hair.

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Photo: My dreads shortly after they were ‘born’ January 2012.

5. Dreadlocks make great dancing hair. I do a lot of West African Dance which involves a lot of big movements and long locks accentuate the moves. I know it sounds silly. It’s a little like shaving your body so you swim faster or growing your thumb nail long so you can play the guitar without a pick. People really do that.

4. Dreadlocks are fun! And fun is good for you. I have a serious job. I take parenting seriously. I read serious books. I have serious conversations with serious people about things like the state of the world, indigenous rights, violence against women, and food security. So, imagine how great it is to look in the mirror every time I go to the bathroom and, zow, there’s a little explosion of fun seeing my locks flying in all their directions.

3. They help me stand up to my insecurities. I say I’m a non-conformist and yet I sometimes succumb to those nasty ‘I’m not good enough, thin enough, beautiful enough’ thoughts that wiggle their way into my head. My dreadlocks force me to let go of my insecurities by saying ‘you can either accept me or get rid of me’. I want to lovingly accept myself for who I am inside and out, not hide myself or diminish myself by trying to be something I’m not.

2. I like them. I like having dreadlocks. I like how they look (most of the time). That seems a good enough reason to have them, doesn’t it?  

1. They remind me to be true to myself. My dreadlocks remind me to stick to my instincts and my dreams, even if other people don’t approve or understand. When I see myself in the mirror I am reminded to be my authentic self, to be genuinely me, even as who I am and how I express myself shifts and changes over time.

So there you have it. 10 reasons why I have dreadlocks.

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Photo: Me with dreadlocks when I was 19 years old, taken in Kenya.

Mr. Hempleseed and I will be going to the first weekend of our Adoption Education Program this weekend. I received the outline of the two days and we’ll be covering topics such as adoptive vs. biological parenting, openness in adoption, special needs of adopted children, trans-racial adoption, building resilience in children, and sibling issues in adoption. I am looking forward to this learning journey and I know it will give me lots of think (and write!) about.

Locks of Love,

Mamaputu

 

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Twenty Thirteen

It is the first day of 2013. I went for a run, and we ate our traditional ‘first delicious meal’ of the year – roasted free-range chicken smothered in beer and persian spice.

2012 was a year of discoveries and reflections. Watching and witnessing my little Sir Riel discover the world has given me the joy of re-discovering life’s brilliance through a child’s innocent and and inquisitive eyes. Learning to crawl then walk, babble then talk, feeling the seasons shifting, tasting foods, hearing sounds, experimenting with boundaries, growing, learning to love, expressing emotions, – Sir Riel is soaking up the human experience like a sponge and I am reminded every day of all there is to be grateful for.

 

Lessons of 2012:

– Parenting is hard! Being a baby is hard! That’s okay. Just keep swimming.
– Compost is awesome! A good life is one that experiences the full range of human emotions – our capacity to feel sad, happy and everything in between is what makes our lives so rich. So when things are hard, sad, frustrating, challenging, think of it as compost. Roll around in it. Cover yourself in it. Rejoice knowing that it is from this raw filth that everything grows.
– Sauerkraut is easy to make! I followed this recipe: Beet and Cabbage Kraut
– New Ipods with fun apps = happiness.
– Sir Riel sleeps best when we have parties. We should have parties all the time.
– It’s worth talking to the band after a show. Check out our newest musician friend and business partner Taj Weekes.
– Vitamin B12 shots make me feel zingy, must get one before I go back to work!

Hopes and ‘resolutions’ for 2013:

– Back to work after 15 months of maternity leave – revel in the moments I have with my boy and enjoy the time where I get to be an adult again!
– Start and complete our Adoption Homestudy.
– Roll in the compost every so often, and the rest of the time take moments to smell the flowers.
– Continue to oppose the Enbridge Pipeline and speak out about Indigenous People’s (and everyone else’s) rights to an intact and healthy environment. More on this to come. Check out the Idle No More movement. 

We are in the Second Round of adoption paperwork. We are filling out medical forms, criminal record checks, writing autobiographies, drawing family maps, and doing some reflection on our childhoods. It is a lot of work, and very insightful. As part of an 11 page multiple choice questionnaire I had to check the boxes that best describe my childhood (pre-teen years). I checked happy, stubborn, self-confident, friendly, hyperactive, rebellious, outgoing, curious and thoughtful. I did not check the boxes for obedient, shy, compliant, or calm. Hmmm, I wonder why Sir Riel is so inquisitive!

Well, I wanted to get a post in on the first day of the year, and I did.

Hugs to all,

MamaPutu

 

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SweetnSavory Popcorn with Nutritional Yeast

This is my first recipe. blog. post. ever.

So, first I’ll tell you a little bit about my philosophy on recipes. Because yes, I have a philosophy on recipes.

I’m a ‘little of this, dash of that’ kind of gal when it comes to cooking and baking. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I followed a recipe exactly. And I don’t just substitute an ingredient sometimes or use a little less sugar than is recommended. Most of time it could be said that I significantly alter the recipe. Up until recently, I didn’t even own a set of measuring cups. I’ll be honest and say that this has, on occasion, resulted in epic kitchen disasters. Most of the time though, the benefits outweigh the ‘well, at least we can compost it’ moments.

Some of the benefits of getting creative with recipes include:

  • You don’t have to run to the grocery store for that one missing ingredient when your kid just went down for a nap after an hour of rubbing his back and singing Baby Beluga over and over again and this is the only hour in your day where you’ll be able to have the oven on since said kid just figured out how to open the oven door but you haven’t bought a safety latch yet.
  • You can use up those random bits in the fridge and pantry that would otherwise remain those random bits in the fridge and pantry for so long that eventually your dad will come over and say ‘hey, maybe you should clean your fridge out sometime’.
  • You can call the recipe your own because you so significantly altered its chemistry that its flavor and composition deserve an entirely different title (for example coconut sesame cookies might become chocolate chip oatmeal puffs with coconut sesame sprinkles).  This makes you a chef!

When I post recipes, you’ll be offered options and encouraged to tailor the recipe to your dietary needs, pantry supplies, kitchen scraps and ‘recipe philosophy’!

Okay, so this brings me to my first. ever. recipe. blog. post. I figured I’d start simple.

Sweet and Savoury Popcorn with nutritional yeast.

This popcorn recipe is a multi-tasker. It satisfies snack cravings while providing the health benefits of coconut oil and nutritional yeast.

What you’ll need:

  • Some popcorn! I use about ¾ – 1 cup of kernels for two people. Please make from scratch, microwaves are so out of style in this DIY world.
  • Two or so tablespoons of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (one of my favorite bloggers HybridRastaMama is a huge fan of coconut oil so I’ll leave it to her to tell you why this stuff is so mmmmmgood: Benefits of Coconut Oil, by HybridRastaMama)
  • Two to three teaspoons of Maple Syrup (you could also use Agave Syrup, Honey or any other liquid sweetener)
  • If you’re a butter person, a teaspoon or two of butter
  • ¼ cup of nutritional yeast (High in protein, B vitamins, and fibre)
  • A dash of salt.

Place the extra virgin coconut oil, the maple syrup and the butter in a small saucepan on low, stirring occasionally, until it liquefies and mixes. Keep warm until the popcorn is ready.

Make your popcorn!

Once the popcorn is ready, place half of it in your bowl(s) and drizzle half the liquid oil mix over it. Then add half of the nutritional yeast. Stir. Then add the rest of your popcorn, drizzle the rest of the oil mix, and add the rest of the nutritional yeast. Add a dash of sea salt, stir, grab a napkin, and enjoy!

(PS – Sorry no pictures, I hope to add photos to my blog posts soon!)

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