Whoa, Edgar!

Edgar’s love affair with horses began young, and it was serious from the start.  His best stuffed friends are, of course, Dream Horse and his blushing bride, Wife.  And he is an ardent fan of PBS’s The Saddle Club.  He’s been known to partake happily in a pony ride or two; and when he sees his beloved horses at the zoo, he nuzzles them with his cheek in a way that reveals nothing short of a soul connection.

It seemed obvious that at some point he would need horseback riding lessons; but most inquiries resulted in the same conclusion–not until he’s at least five years old.   At nearly four and a mere 32.2. pounds, it seemed as though pony rides and inanimate horses would have to suffice for at least another year or more.

But then we learned of Ponies to Go (www.poniestogo.com).  Brief half-hour lessons that include riding and grooming the horse complete with all the safety protocols a parent would expect are available for the four-and-up set.  The teacher is amazing, and the horse of choice, Indy, is a champ in every way.  Edgar’s first lesson yesterday included basic commands–“Walk on!” and “Whoa!” and an introduction to the use of the reins.  The teacher also checked for his balance, posture, and hand/eye coordination all the while talking to him about what he was doing. 

I’ll leave it the photos below to tell the rest of the tale.




We’ll be back next week!


Brain Food

We do try our best to purchase and feed our children food that is good for their bodies (Cheez-Its and fruit snacks notwithstanding).  So on a trip to food heaven (also known as Whole Foods), we picked up a bag of these snacks.


Look at them!  The word “soy” is in their name!  They are low fat! They’re organic!  And they don’t have gluten (which, I’m sure if I knew what it was, I would say is very, very bad).  In short, they seemed to be a reasonable purchase for our snacking boys.

So, yesterday when Edgar, who will try anything once and likes nearly everything he eats, asked for a snack, I thought, “Time to grab those Soy Crisps.  He’ll love them.”  I opened the bag, and what did I see? 


Oh, yes . . . You saw right.  And, yes, they look exactly like what you think they look like.

So, I thought, well, if Edgar notices what I’ve given him (and I surmised that this would be a very big if), it’s not very likely he’ll make the connection to a human brain.  I mean, the boys have a medical kit with a model, but it was my understanding he just saw that as a puzzle to put together and/or a projectile to throw at his brother. 

I was wrong.

“Here, Edgar, a snack for you,” said the mother as she held her breath.

“Thank you, Mommy.  Oh, look . . . a little cup of brains!”

Chomp!  Chomp!

Happy Eating!

Letter to the Editor: “Orphan”

This Letter to the Editor appeared in today’s edition of our local paper. 

“Orphan doesn’t represent real adoption stories”

As an avid filmgoer, teacher of literature, and adoptive parent, I feel compelled to share with you a few thoughts on the film Orphan, which was released on Friday, 24 July 2009.  This film, based on its initial and unfortunate trailer as well as the summaries readily available in print and online, has been heavily criticized—particularly by adoption advocates and adoptive parents; and much of the criticism is justified.  But some perspective may be in order.

 The premise of the film, which is classified as horror, involves a grieving couple who have lost a biological child and make the decision to adopt.  They are drawn to a nine-year-old girl named Esther who, according to one review, is “not what she seems,” which is, of course, code that the young girl is violent and dangerous.  And thus the formulaic horror story can begin.

 Adoption advocates and adoptive parents first became aware of and alarmed by this film when the trailer, which aired briefly before it was changed in response to the criticism, asked the question:  Is it possible to love an adopted child as much as your own?  To the producers’ credit, they changed the language; however, the fact that it was released in the first place should remind us all that there is still much work that needs to be done in terms of promoting positive adoption language.  A child who joins his/her family through adoption is that family’s own child—no exceptions.

 Criticism continued to mount when people felt that this film might turn people away from adoption, especially the adoption of older children, or cause people to stereotype children who have been adopted.  Quite frankly, I do not think this film has or will have nearly as much power as this.  It is a horror film and most likely a mediocre one at best.  And while it’s certainly wise to watch for and address any repercussions, I don’t think it’s necessary to anticipate such a grave result. 

 We have all read books and seen films that utilize unfortunate stereotypes in the name of plot development, so-called entertainment, and a quick sale—but these are not the books and films that people turn to again and again; they are not the works that affect people’s lives.  It is the works that debunk myths and smash stereotypes that have the power to effect change.  Orphan is not that film.  For some, it may be worth the price of admission; for many, it won’t.  But something tells me that if someone is looking to more fully understand adoption and to see what it truly looks like, they are not going to turn to this film. 

Samantha Hines

What Your Favorite Page Reveals

We are fairly devout fans of the inimitable Dr. Seuss, and The Cat in the Hat is a particular favorite. 

This morning, while painting their latest masterpieces, Oscar and Edgar listened to everyone’s pal Frazier Crane (aka Kelsey Grammer) read this classic of children’s literature.

Oscar mentioned–as it is part of his summer reading assignment–that his favorite page is when the Cat in the Hat comes in at the end of the story to clean up his mess then tips his hat–the Cat’s most civilized moment in the book to be sure.


Edgar then identified his favorite page, stating, “That looks like fun!  I want to do THAT!”


Yin and yang; half-full and half-empty; tomato and tom-ah-to–Oscar and Edgar.   Same home, same parental devotion–and here we are.  Vive la difference!  I think we’re in for a fascinating ride!

Introducing Clare

It is with very the very generous permission of Clare’s mother that I introduce you to this beautiful girl.  She is Edgar’s full biological sibling who was adopted by a wonderful family who lives less than an hour away from us.   At six years old, she is becoming quite the young lady–in love with nature and eager to explore. 

Our children’s adoption stories are filled with details and opportunities as unique as they are.  We are grateful for the time we are able to spend with Clare and her family and know that these visits will be a very important part of Edgar’s journey. 




Serving Suggestion

Edgar is an eager sous chef and loves to accompany me into the kitchen to help prepare whatever inspired culinary creation is on the menu.  The other night he looked at the photo on the front of the pasta box and asked if that was indeed what we were having. 


As the photo depicted above clearly includes something that looks like fresh herbs and fresh vegetables, I explained to Edgar that, in fact, no, this would not be our version of dinner–that this was a mere “serving suggestion” that the makers of the pasta put on the front of the box, that it was supposed to get the creative juices of the cook well, cooking.  I let him know that we would be enjoying Barilla’s fabulous marinara sauce, the preparation of which  is perfectly matched to my unfortunate skill level.

He seemed happy enough with that.

About ten minutes into dinner, Edgar decided to unveil his own “serving suggestion” of Barilla’s Mezzi Rigatoni. 


Now that is the image that should be on the front of the box!

Article in “Adoptive Families” Magazine

Below is a link to the article that was recently published in Adoptive Families magazine.  Adoption, like most journeys in life, is filled with bumps along the way–sometimes the bumps are small, and sometimes they can break your heart in a way that cannot be described.  But at the end of the day, if you can come out on the other side of the pain and anger, glean a lesson from a loss you’ve endured, and accept it as part of your life’s journey and your life’s lessons, then perhaps this helps to explain why it had to happen the way it did–perhaps.

One of my favorite quotes, and one that I turn to again and again, is  “It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.”

Adversity is unavoidable.  Learning from it is a choice.  Here’s to peace from knowledge borne of experience.