Saturday, June 26, 2010

holes and holiness

Being Mom to Ryan is inevitably different than being Mom to Mia and to Faith.

Ryan is a boy. A very active, energetic boy. Some might say, 'a handful' ;)

Ryan looks different that me, so people often look at us different and ask different questions of us.

Ryan is four- curious, adventurous- and four.

I have learned so much from Ryan. I've learned about love, patience, anger, sadness, and healing. I've learned about teaching boys to pee standing up, reading books about trucks and tractors, play fighting with sticks, and have learned some crazy karate and dance moves. I love his laughter, his big smile, and his pure joyful spirit.

Ultimately- as with all human stories- I find that our story is one of brokenness and wholeness- of holes and holiness.

Last week we were at a beach in Corpus Christi when a group gathered next to us. About twenty Filipino people gathered- families laughing, playing, enjoying vacation. The women sat in a group of chairs laughing and talking, the men sat in the back watching
and sharing. The kids played in the sand, building castles and digging.

Watching this community my heart ached for Ryan. I ached for the loss of his Filipino culture, that he will never have a mom whose face looks like his, who makes lumpia and chicken adobo, and serves fish for regular family meals. Who laughs and sings in Tagalog and dances traditional Filipino dance.

The reality is that as much as we try to ensure he knows the Filipino culture, he will never know it as he would being raised in it.

Now, I know this is not the future he would have seen in the Philippines. Born in an area of extreme poverty, and brought to an orphanage at 5 days old- this family is not the family he could have ever
experienced there. I know the gift of his life here. I know the gift he is to our family.
But that does not take away the holes.

As we journey together, Mama and son, I hope I can recognize the holes, while also living fully into the holy joy of loving relationship.

That's what family is about- right?

We are all full of holes and holiness.


  1. You are such a great mom. That little boy has the most infectious smile ever...just like you. Speaking from someone who has never met my biological father, I can tell you that my relationship with my dad now is one that surpasses all holes. I know that with the love that I see in your family, Ryan will feel the same. Great post!

  2. How very lucky Ryan is to have such a special family. That should make up for all the heritage he would have had in my opinion. Cheers to you and your family. Doris Mote, RCC

  3. Wow. So well said Amanda. This makes me want to reopen mine and Margo's discussion of adoption, a topic we long ago elected to put aside until our sons were, say, in their thirties. :-)

    Several weeks ago Margo was out of town and I had both boys (ages 10 and 13) to myself. After a particularly difficult afternoon of juggling my work with their play (read: fighting) I lost my temper. It happens, I'm ashamed to say. An hour later, at bedtime, my youngest and I had a heart-to-heart about our poor behavior and he articulated exactly what I was feeling. It went something like this, almost verbatim:

    "Dad, I know I am very lucky to have this great house and a good school and all my sports and other stuff, and I'm lucky that I have a mom and dad and big brother and lots and lots of friends. But sometimes I feel like something is missing, and I know I shouldn't think that because I have so many things. But, but ... sometimes there is a hole, just a big hole, in my life."

    I think the hole that he was feeling referred to the leakage of good energy that I had allowed by losing my calm. When I dropped my guard it was like a whoosh of bad energy had swept into the house.

    So I guess all of our kids have holes that need filling and fixing and then refilling, day to day, year to year. And in some ways Ryan's hole, although it might never be filled with his indigenous heritage, it will be filled with a treasure of perspective that kids like mine might never fully have, e.g., a genuine connectedness and appreciation that bridges contrasting worlds (economics, geography, ethnicity) because of parents who chose him personally to love and to care for.

    Your blog reminds me of something Father Joe told me when I asked him to baptize my non-Catholic sons. He agreed to do it, but then he said it wasn't necessary. He explained that my sons were already being baptized every day by the good energy and good examples that Margo and I provided them. (Or, at least, attempt to provide them.)

    Ryan is wildly blessed in this same sort of good energy and, in return, he will no doubt become a blessing to others. On and on the blessings will flow, generation to generation, an exponential gift set in motion by the selflessness of you and Kyle. The world is a much better place for it.

  4. So many times I have heard 'what a lucky little boy Ryan is to be added to this wonderful family', but in reality it is 'what a lucky FAMILY to have this wonderful little boy come to join them'. We are all the recipients of Ryan's joy----his giggle and laugh (where his eyes totally disappear) and his curious energy that is unending. I remember anxiously awaiting him to come to Maui so he could see dark skinned people and would feel so 'at home'. But the fact of the matter is----he didn't even notice them. HIS family is all white, blonde and he loves them like no other. He wants to do exactly what his sisters do, he looks up to his daddy and he adores his mother----who could ask for more? When he becomes of age and wants to know where he came from-----take him to the PI and show him around. I don't have a doubt in the world that he will know his home is with his sisters, mother and father. I see no holes at the moment (except for the morons who are cashiers at Target and the grocery store who ask stupid questions) but I think you are doing a wonderful job of educating them.

    I see far more holiness than holes in Ryan's life--and I don't think he could even name a 'hole' in his life. He's a happy, healthy, loving joy in the lives of so many. Bless you and Kyle for adding so much love to our lives.