NOT the parents and other Olympic moments

Watching the Olympics am I?

Of course I am!

Team USA is thrilling me from the moment they paraded into Maracanã Stadium through the days that have followed so far. We have enjoyed all the USA triumphs thus far especially the ones where we celebrate the Olympic-sized achievements of the wives of swim coaches, Chicago Bears’ linemen and the fiancé of Miss California 2010.

Don’t hate.

You have to give credit where credit is due and hurray for media and social media to remind us all of that…never mind the actual YEARS, blood, sweat and tears that the actual medalists contributed to their own personal achievements.

Take note, Michael Phelps’ unprecedented 19th Olympic gold medal achievement was included because what is good for the goose is equally so for the gander. Just ask Katinka Hosszu and Corey Cogdell.

But it’s all part of the Olympic-sized dripping grama that are Olympic stories…right Al Trautwig? I get it though. Simone Biles’ personal story is almost as remarkable as she is on the gym floor…almost. Then again, as a mother whose family was created by birth and adoption, I would argue that Simone’s parents adopting her as a very small child is really not the most remarkable thing about her; I mean, have you been watching her performance in these games that you have been commenting on, Mr. Trautwig? Or have you been too busy deleting your snark on social media that is forever in spite of your hitting delete? Dude, it’s forever.

As always, I maintain that there is more than one way to make a family. My family circus is but one example of that truth. Ron and Nellie Biles’ is yet another example. Our families, as any other family out there, are truly remarkable for all the love, all the talent, all the unique qualities that make our families our families. Adoptions is but a very small part of who we are, but it is not the most interesting thing about our families…not ever. We are their parents, their moms and dads and they are our children. We are the ones who have walked the floors with them for so many sleepless, tear-filled nights. We are the ones who have held their hair back while they puked and rubbed their backs while singing lullabies. We are the ones who helped with the homework, read all the stories, cleaned up all the poop and puke and snot and who have sat through all the episodes of Calliou. We are the ones who smiled and waved while fighting back the tears as they entered their kindergarten classrooms and walked across the stage at graduation. We are the ones who scrimped and scraped and sacrificed for all the dance classes, the cheer camps, the sports’ clinics and have sat in all the bleachers cheering until we had no more voice left to cheer with. These humans, who call us mom and dad, even if we didn’t grow them inside our own bodies are our own, our children and we are absolutely, positively their mom and dad and some sportscaster known for his play by play of the New York Knicks and the New York Rangers and his Emmy Award for Outstanding Edited Sports Specials is ever going to take that away from us because honestly, Mr. Trautwig, that unique resumé does not ever qualify you to define what makes a mom a mom, or a dad a dad, or a family a family, much less to offer play by play expertise on Olympic caliber gymnastics. Perhaps you should hush now and let Nastia Liukin speak.


This is one Olympic moment I approve of. Thank you, Pita Taufatofua, thank you very much!

it’s in his dna

With adolescence comes the need to figure out yourself…who you are…do you fit in. Normal. Completely normal. Yes, even for the most well adjusted child raised with all the love. Perfectly normal.

And so we enter this phase of this favorite son’s life which leads to some very interesting conversations lately. Some answers are easy thanks to his own NICU records mom was privy to. Some, but not all. Why is his brown hair so fine and curly and so damn unruly? Will he go bald like Dad? His biological mother was Russian but what about his biological father? He looks in the mirror and although he knows he is our son and his sisters’ brother, he is not certain where the face that looks back at him comes from. He wants answers and he is not willing to wait four more years to see if he can get those answers; because odds are high he likely won’t get those questions answered by the ones who made him.

Answers to some questions are here, in his DNA. Answers he will likely discover in a couple of months. Answers that with his mom and his dad, he looks forward to discovering.

And you thought the sex talk with kids was hard.

When he looks in the mirror, we want our son to know himself. It’s hard to face the world when you don’t know where your face came from.—Adoptive Parent

outshines the morning sun

In a few days I will FINALLY be the mother of only one teenager! Words can’t describe the flood of relief that comes with that statement. Of course having four adult children trying to do adulting kinds of things brings a whole new set of worries because I’ve been there and yes, done that…and that…and that…and that too.The attempt to restrain myself sometimes is so damn hard. I hope these grown children of mine will come to realize this. I’m sure that they will. I did.

Meanwhile, I am enjoying this young teenaged son of mine. When he smiles at me and talks to me I indeed do come undone. Look at him, my son!

That hair though!

Okay, not everything can be perfect at this age.

Still there are moments where I find my heart so full when he is sharing with me his thoughts, feelings and observations.

My son!

Pride is not the word I’m looking for.

Confession: I was listening to the Hamilton soundtrack before I sat down to write this.

Lately I am more than aware of the man this son of mine is becoming. I literally have never, ever known someone who is so kind and so fair to all. When he was but a one pound baby fighting as only micro preemies fight, I was aware how strong his heart was thenas I am always cognizant of with every mighty, tiny baby I care for. But lately I am all the more aware of just how mighty his heart is.


He makes me want to try harder to be a better person…a person like him, my son. How lucky I am to bask in his warm presence that, yes, outshines the morning sun. Added bonus, he calls me mom.

That hair though!

our sacred exchange

Today being National Adoption Day, we pause to give thanks for the son who completed this family circus and for those who stood along side us nearly 14 years ago…supporting us, encouraging us, holding us up especially when it was hard because, in the beginning, it was hard in so many ways. Today we celebrate our family and every other family created and completed thanks to adoption.

We look at adoption as a very sacred exchange. It was not done lightly on either side. I would dedicate my life to this child. – Jamie Lee Curtis,


poolside chatter

Sometimes the most challenging conversations with your child are the times when you are least expecting it. On a long drive down Highway 17 as the sun is setting, the kid is going to ask questions about sex…because you driving down a twisty, winding mountain highway is not nearly challenging enough. Or when you are gripping tightly to the steering wheel while driving up Interstate 5 in a windstorm it will be the perfect time to ask why their grandmother, your Mommy Dearest, never calls or writes or visits. So it would follow that while you are lounging by a hotel pool, your son will float up to you and pose a question that is guaranteed to make you sweat…not because it is over 100º even as the sun is setting…not because you are experiencing your usual round of hot flashes that come without warning and literally leave your hair and clothing soaked…if only! Nope. He floats up to the edge the pool where you are lounging, smiles and…

Hey Mom, I was wondering…do you think my biological parents loved me?


So begins one of those hard conversations, the ones that make you sweat. Still I can’t shy away because this is Daniel discovering his story. He already knows our story of when he completed our family circus and it is a great story; he’s the first one to tell you that. But as he begins to discover who he is, as all children do as they grow up, part of that self-discovery includes his story before he joined this circus.

Do you think that they loved me?

So , taking a deep breath, I tell him yes. Because I was his nurse the day that he was born, I am privy to some of the more intimate details of his parents and his biological mother’s pregnancy.

Yes, son. I am absolutely certain that your biological parents loved you so much while they were pregnant with you.

Big tears fill his eyes as he slowly sucks in his breath. I hold myself back from reaching out to hold him tight. I wait. I wait to let him guide this narrative like I have learned too many times the hard way to do with the hard conversations with all of my kids. He exhales then meets my eyes.

But I was so, so tiny and so, so sick and they were afraid so they asked for someone to be brave for me like you and Dad. Right?


But they did love me?


He looks away discreetly wiping away the tears then looks back at me and smiles widely.

I’m glad that they loved me.

Me too, son.

Then he reaches out to hug me, hug me so very tight. Now I’m the one fighting back the big tears filling my eyes. I know that I was brave enough to be his mommy when he was so, so tiny and so, so sick in the NICU; but god help me, I need to even braver for conversations like this because I am certain that there will be more to come. I’m thinking that for now, I will avoid drives on mountain highways with him alone in the car…for now.