Adoption and Parenting: Musing / Thruout

[Every Friday for the first two months of 2013, DWLA will feature a story from Barbara Shipka’s blog about her personal experiences with adoption and parenting.  We will sample a story from each of eight categories: 1) Before; 2) In Peru; 3) We’re Home; 4) 2 – 6 years old; 5) 6 – 12 years old; 6) 12 – 18 years old; 7) 18 + years old; 8) Musing / Thruout.  Barbara’s son Michael’s video was showcased in Gifts to the World.]

The Village in Peru

Lamasby Barbara Shipka

When we were in Peru and while the judges were on strike, I had this ‘brilliant’ idea that the two of us could take a trip to San Martin, the province where Michael’s tribe lived. It’s on the east side of the high Andes, on the way to the Amazon basin. It’s jungle called ‘The Cloud Forest.’

However, I learned that it was forbidden for Michael to leave the confines of Lima. And, even before I learned this detail, given the activity of the Sendaro Luminoso (The Shining Path) and coca trafficking in that area, even if we could go, it was very strongly discouraged.

I wanted to be able to tell him about his heritage. I could find almost nothing in LIma…except a map that showed his province. (Of course, today his village has a website!)

~~~~~~

When Michael was about twelve we took a winter vacation to Santa Fe to visit friends who live there.

One night several people joined us for dinner. As the conversation unfolded we learned that one of the people had actually been to Michael’s village! She had been on a two-week journey to that part of Peru as part of her shamanic training.

The next day we went to visit her. We spent time looking at all of the photos she had taken while she was in the region where his village is. And we paid special attention when she showed us photos of Michael’s village. She had gone there to visit and learn from the village shamans.

Then, as we were about to leave, she gave Michael several of her photos. What a gift!

~~~~~~

Will he go back someday? We don’t know. The thinking he shares with me is about knowing it’s a small village. Everyone knows everyone else. What would be the impact on his birth mother? Did she ever even return to the village? What if a visit exposed her history unfavorably? What would he really gain?

The real territory of pain for him is in not having…or ever being able to have…ANY information about who his father is/was.

[Photos gift of visitor, collage set on photo of the surrounding cloud forest, San Martin, Peru, 1999]

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Barbara is a single mom and was in her mid-forties when she adopted her son, Michael.  He was 10 weeks old at the time. Together, they spent many months navigating through the rather overwhelming legal processes for adoption in Peru.  Today, as a junior at the University of Minnesota, Michael is majoring in Native American Studies.

For much of her career, Barbara has been an executive leadership coach and organization effective consultant for Fortune 500 companies.  Another part of her career has been working in education and with non-governmental organizations in Europe, The Middle East, Africa, and The Caribbean.  Over the last twenty years, in addition to becoming a mother, she has also become an author and artist.  You can learn more at http://www.barbarashipka.com

These blog posts are snapshots from Barbara’s collection of stories about her experiences of their life together from March 1991 to today.  Visit her blog, Adoption and Parenting, to read more of her stories.  When you arrive, click on “Label” under “Home” where you see the tabs Recent…Date…LABEL…Author.  This will rearrange the stories into 8 categories:

Categories via 'Label'

Adoption and Parenting: 18+ years old

[Every Friday for the first two months of 2013, DWLA will feature a story from Barbara Shipka’s blog about her personal experiences with adoption and parenting.  We will sample a story from each of eight categories: 1) Before; 2) In Peru; 3) We’re Home; 4) 2 – 6 years old; 5) 6 – 12 years old; 6) 12 – 18 years old; 7) 18 + years old; 8) Musing / Thruout.  Barbara’s son Michael’s video was showcased in Gifts to the World.]

Thx! Luv, M.

full moonby Barbara Shipka

It rained all day yesterday (Saturday) and was completely cloudy into the evening. Past sunset. So I didn’t even consider trying to see the Biggest Full Moon of the year.

Around 9 pm my son, Michael, and one of his friends decided to go see ‘The Avengers’ (which I just learned had the largest opening weekend box office $$ take ever).

About five minutes after he left, he sent the following text: “Big Moon out right now!”

How very sweet and thoughtful! A recognition and affirmation of my interests.

I sent a text back: “Thx! Luv, M.” Immediately after that, I grabbed my camera and went outside.

Not my best photo, for sure. But I love it as a reminder of how such a sweet moment is shared…Michael, the Moon, me. It seems that the clouds decided to part for us/me and our/my desire to see the Big Moon.

Shortly after that, the clouds returned…until now. It’s Sunday evening now and the sun has just emerged for the first time in a couple of days.

BTW, Michael thought the movie was ‘epic.’

I thought the moon was ‘epic.’

Lovely when Life offers us such sweet and effortless experiences of win/win!

[Photo by Barbara, Minneapolis, Minnesota, May 5, 2012]

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Barbara is a single mom and was in her mid-forties when she adopted her son, Michael.  He was 10 weeks old at the time. Together, they spent many months navigating through the rather overwhelming legal processes for adoption in Peru.  Today, as a junior at the University of Minnesota, Michael is majoring in Native American Studies.

For much of her career, Barbara has been an executive leadership coach and organization effective consultant for Fortune 500 companies.  Another part of her career has been working in education and with non-governmental organizations in Europe, The Middle East, Africa, and The Caribbean.  Over the last twenty years, in addition to becoming a mother, she has also become an author and artist.  You can learn more at http://www.barbarashipka.com

These blog posts are snapshots from Barbara’s collection of stories about her experiences of their life together from March 1991 to today.  Visit her blog, Adoption and Parenting, to read more of her stories.  When you arrive, click on “Label” under “Home” where you see the tabs Recent…Date…LABEL…Author.  This will rearrange the stories into 8 categories:

Categories via 'Label'

Adoption and Parenting: 12 – 18 years old

[Every Friday for the first two months of 2013, DWLA will feature a story from Barbara Shipka’s blog about her personal experiences with adoption and parenting.  We will sample a story from each of eight categories: 1) Before; 2) In Peru; 3) We’re Home; 4) 2 – 6 years old; 5) 6 – 12 years old; 6) 12 – 18 years old; 7) 18 + years old; 8) Musing / Thruout.  Barbara’s son Michael’s video was showcased in Gifts to the World.]

Which Box to Check?

Marching Band2

by Barbara Shipka

his·pan·ic/hiˈspanik/
— adjective: relating to, characteristic of, or derived from Spain or Spanish-speaking countries
— noun: ( US ) a person of Latin-American or Spanish descent living in the US
usage: This is the word most generally used in the US to refer to people of Latin American or Spanish ancestry — from the World English Dictionary

Somehow, for me, that definition doesn’t seem to fit very well for someone who is really Native American… But the US government has no category for Native Americans born in South America.

My son is from a small intact tribe of people who have lived in the Cloud Forest on the east (Amazon) side of the Andes for at least 500 years. Their tribal language is still their first language. More…

He doesn’t speak Spanish. Tried studying it but hated it! (Any connection to it being the language of the oppressor? Mom wonders…) He switched to Japanese and loved it…including a high school summer in Japan.

All through school we struggled with which box to check…

____ Hispanic

____ Native American

____ Other

None really fit.

But, he’s decided to let it go. These days he checks Hispanic…

[Photo by Barbara, High School Marching Band, Minneapolis, 2008]

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Barbara is a single mom and was in her mid-forties when she adopted her son, Michael.  He was 10 weeks old at the time. Together, they spent many months navigating through the rather overwhelming legal processes for adoption in Peru.  Today, as a junior at the University of Minnesota, Michael is majoring in Native American Studies.

For much of her career, Barbara has been an executive leadership coach and organization effective consultant for Fortune 500 companies.  Another part of her career has been working in education and with non-governmental organizations in Europe, The Middle East, Africa, and The Caribbean.  Over the last twenty years, in addition to becoming a mother, she has also become an author and artist.  You can learn more at http://www.barbarashipka.com

These blog posts are snapshots from Barbara’s collection of stories about her experiences of their life together from March 1991 to today.  Visit her blog, Adoption and Parenting, to read more of her stories.  When you arrive, click on “Label” under “Home” where you see the tabs Recent…Date…LABEL…Author.  This will rearrange the stories into 8 categories:

Categories via 'Label'

Adoption and Parenting: 6 – 12 years old

[Every Friday for the first two months of 2013, DWLA will feature a story from Barbara Shipka’s blog about her personal experiences with adoption and parenting.  We will sample a story from each of eight categories: 1) Before; 2) In Peru; 3) We’re Home; 4) 2 – 6 years old; 5) 6 – 12 years old; 6) 12 – 18 years old; 7) 18 + years old; 8) Musing / Thruout.  Barbara’s son Michael’s video was showcased in Gifts to the World.]

Appreciating Magnificence

big horn sheep3

by Barbara Shipka

We had been on a winter road trip and had just left Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where we spent Christmas 2001. We even found arestaurant that served both rack of lamb and pizza for Christmas Eve dinner!

Now we were heading east and south toward home. It was a beautiful blue-sky day with the sun shining on the new snow that had fallen during the night. Windless…several inches of snow sat atop fence posts and the occasional mailbox.
I was breathless in awe at the rugged, articulated beauty of these mountains! Perhaps the most spectacular I had ever seen!

As we drove along, I wanted to share recognition of this abundant beauty with Michael. He was about 10 at the time. He sat in the backseat, occupying himself listening to The Chronicles of Narnia on tape and reading along. As a result, he wasn’t looking out the window so I asked him to pause the tape and said, “Michael! Just look at how incredibly beautiful these mountains are.”

His response? “Mom, we have been looking at mountains every day since we left home! You know what I think? These mountains are just more rocks with snow on them!”

Wow! That these glorious giants might be seen as “just more rocks with snow on them” had NEVER occurred to me…

I mused for some time after that. I wondered what brings me to having experiences of some physical places which are so compelling that I am moved emotionally by their magnificence. And I wondered whether there was something I could/should do to bring Michael to a “place” of appreciation.

This led me to reflecting on how often during this trip he had shown appreciation. For example, there was the farm we visited where he named the sheep the “Baa-Baa Crew,” the early morning sun, the mist and the flocks of birds over The Great Salt Lake, the mountain goat we stopped to watch as he stood right on the road, the bison grazing in the Black Hills…and I noticed his theme of animals. He was so appreciative in these situations, in fact, that each time he didn’t want to leave. I also reflected on how much he loves our dog, Bibi, and how well he had taken care of her throughout this trip. All of these years later, we are fortunate that Bibi is still a member of our family! (Addenda: Bibi left us at 17 years old on Sunday, March 27, 2011.)

So…I finished my musing with appreciation for Michael in general and, in specific, I was appreciating that he was able to accurately give me a glimpse into his honest experience at that moment. I was also appreciating that we are different and that we see the world in different ways. Magnificent!

Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder!

[Photo by Barbara, Big Horn Sheep, Banff, Alberta, 2011]

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Barbara is a single mom and was in her mid-forties when she adopted her son, Michael.  He was 10 weeks old at the time. Together, they spent many months navigating through the rather overwhelming legal processes for adoption in Peru.  Today, as a junior at the University of Minnesota, Michael is majoring in Native American Studies.

For much of her career, Barbara has been an executive leadership coach and organization effective consultant for Fortune 500 companies.  Another part of her career has been working in education and with non-governmental organizations in Europe, The Middle East, Africa, and The Caribbean.  Over the last twenty years, in addition to becoming a mother, she has also become an author and artist.  You can learn more at http://www.barbarashipka.com

These blog posts are snapshots from Barbara’s collection of stories about her experiences of their life together from March 1991 to today.  Visit her blog, Adoption and Parenting, to read more of her stories.  When you arrive, click on “Label” under “Home” where you see the tabs Recent…Date…LABEL…Author.  This will rearrange the stories into 8 categories:

Categories via 'Label'

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