Friday, July 29, 2016

Personal Political Thoughts

My last post was intended as a more fair, less biased post about my political views. Clearly, I have a bias, and fairly clearly as well there is a candidate who I don't think is well suited for the diplomatic needs of the job of president.

But most people assume that when I against "him" I am for "her."

This is really the first time I have posted my political opinions on my blog, as I generally prefer to keep it about my family.

There are two big and two little candidates that I am aware of in the 2016 election. Here are my quick opinions of each.

Republican- Trump. I was trying to find the right word for him last night, and decided on caustic. He is everything in the definition and more. His words divide people. His words are sharp and bitter. I am not exaggerating when I say that I am afraid of what harm it could do to our nation if he is elected.

Democrat- Clinton. I am excited that there is finally a female nominee, as I think it is sad it has taken our nation this long to give a female the chance. My political views are closer to her than to Trump's even if I liked him. However, I do agree with many people that I don't trust her. Of the two big ones, I think she is better qualified for the job, and generally I think that the areas where she had to be dishonest have come from her climb and clamber to where she is. Bottom line, if I was in a swing state, or a state where it was really on the fence where the electoral votes would go, I would vote for her just to contribute to "not him."

Libertarian- Johnson. I know some Republican friends who are voting Johnson, and I don't mind that, as it is "not him." Personally, libertarians believe too much in the good of people. When I read their stance, it sounds like if we just get government out of the way, people will be free to do things better. I don't mind the sentiment, I just doubt it. People might talk about doing better without government, but I think things will fall apart if the government backs off that much.

Green- Stein. Green party and the Democratic party aren't too far apart, but on the ways they differ, I find I support Green. Add to that in this election the fact that I don't trust Clinton, I think Trump is acidic, and since Libertarians trust the general population too much, I think that she is the right choice for me this year. As a bonus, if Clinton gets elected, and Grace asks if I voted for the first woman president, I can say, "No, but I did vote for another woman that year."

Will she win, probably not, and then I do hope Clinton can win more people than Trump.


Hiring Committee, A Public Service Announcement

Congratulations, if you are a citizen of the United States reading this, you have just been added to our nation's hiring committee. It is now your job to help decide the right candidate for the job.

Now, as you look at the list of applicants, some of you might think, "I don't like any of them." Unfortunately, that has nothing to do with it. These are the candidates to choose from. You are not a useful part of our hiring committee if you just throw your hands up in the air and refuse to choose. We need someone in a leadership position, it is kind of an important job, and deciding not to participate doesn't help get a new leader there.

As a reminder, this is choosing someone for a job. It doesn't really matter if you like them. It matters if you think that they are the best equipped to do the job that will be opening in the near future.

Their personal religious views should not be relevant except in how they conduct themselves and interact with others. For example, if they follow the imaginary Narcissist religion that as a tenant of their religion they cut in front of everyone, take all of the supplies, and generally make everyone else refuse to work with them due to their high levels of self centered-ness... then their religion could also be relevant.

Important things to look at could be things like what is on their resume, what past work experience do they bring to the job? Do they have any past experiences that could help them on their new job? If they aren't very educated about a topic, are they willing to read and learn more about it? Has your politician of choice ever worked in politics before, for example?

Another thing to consider is temperament. You want your candidate to be someone who will work well in a crisis, as this job is a four year contract, and some problems will likely arise during that time. Is your candidate likely to assess the situation, calmly consider the best options, consult with others and decide the right course of action? Or is your candidate more likely to get angry, act on impulse, post something on twitter, and do whatever they think is best?

How well do you think they will work with others, both with the other nations, and with the people around them in power? Do they strike you as someone willing to compromise, work together towards the greater good of the nation, or do they seem to have trouble working with others?

Where do you see the nation after four years with your choice? Is there more peace? More prosperity and unity? Are we getting along well with the other nations? Or is there more unrest, more protests, and another nation ticked off at us because of something our president has said or done?

Over the next few months the candidates will be doing their best to convince you they are the best person for the job. They are allowed to make use of all media sources, including the internet and TV ads to try to sway you to their side. Remember that everything you see is not necessarily the truth- because politicians do tend to lie. The positive and negative ads are designed to get you to choose the candidate, but they are not reporting unbiased facts. Dig a little deeper, and find the truth yourself before deciding what to believe.

Their internet presence can be used in your decision, such as what they have posted on Twitter before, or youtube videos of things they have said or done.

They will also be having several interviews, also known as debates, to help you decide which one will do better in that job- not who you like better- but who will be the more effective leader. You are not required to see the interviews/debates... but it will likely help you make the best informed decision you can. These are available for your viewing pleasure on September 26th, October 9, and October 19th.

If you do watch, I have some hiring advice for you. Don't pay 100% of attention to their policies and how closely their opinions match yours, though of course you can keep it in mind as you decide who to hire. But also watch for how they conduct themselves, the words they use to answer the questions, and the way that they treat the other candidates.

In this important job search, in which you get to be on the hiring committee, part of what you are looking for is for someone who can talk with other leaders, of other governments, even governments with opinions different than ours. Hopefully we can find a leader who will be able to express and represent the opinions of the United States in a calm, respectful way that could possibly persuade them, and hopefully not offend anyone. 

Last, but definitely not least, after careful consideration of all these things and watching your candidate during the interviews, you have to go out and let the government know what your decision is for who to hire. They will not receive any telepathic votes. Tweets against the person you don't want don't count. Nothing you click on the computer for who you pick counts... you actually have to physically go somewhere on the day. If you haven't registered yet, you have till October 24th to do that.

Voting day is November 8th. NOVEMBER EIGHTH.  Write that down somewhere. Go vote.

In 2017, we will have a new person in the job of president. Their decisions will affect the entire country. Their decisions can lead to war, can lead to new rules, and/ or can lead us in a good direction. You, United States citizen, have an opportunity every four years to get to help choose who gets to make these big decisions, and I hope you choose well, for the sake of the whole country.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Adoption's Lingering Effects

Most days, I don't think about the fact that Grace was adopted. She is my daughter. I get her to school, take her to gymnastics, feed her, help brush her teeth at night, do her hair, and care for her in countless other ways, like every mom does. A part of me loves when I talk about my daughter to people who have never met her and never seen her, because then I don't get any adoption questions, just regular questions about preschool, or gymnastics.

Most days, I don't think she thinks about it either. She calls us Mama and Dad, knows that Remington is her brother, and refers to all of the extended family members exactly the same way that he does. She calls it "my room" and "our house" and is not an ounce a lesser citizen than Remington. She knows Remington grew inside me, and she grew inside someone else, that he was born in our house and she was born in Ghana and we brought her home. She knows about the orphanage, but hasn't gotten to questions about her birth mother yet, or why she didn't stay with her. I am following the wisdom of books on the topic, where we answer her questions, but don't over provide information. When she asks, we will answer, but we don't bring it up.

There are a few lingering effects seen on a day to day basis. The biggest one is food. I don't think she could explain it, but she gets very, extremely, distressed when she is hungry, and food isn't immediately provided. This goes way beyond hangry. This is Grace screaming at me that she wants to go to the restaurant, as I am literally driving to the restaurant, but just not there yet. "I want to eat at the restaurant NOW!" kind of a thing. When she sees other people eating, and she isn't, again, she gets frustrated. This particular kind isn't a mad scream, but a stare down at their food, standing right in front of them, clearly hoping to be offered some. Most people actually do offer her some at that point, and I usually don't say no, because it is a lot easier to let her eat her desired object than have a fit. Sometimes, we do have to pull her away, and she isn't happy about it.

Drives home from preschool were another time that she was clearly experiencing mental distress over wanting lunch, and not having it immediately, and I would deal with screaming, kicking and tantrums on our somewhat of a drive home (preschool is about 20-25 minutes away, long story). So, as strange as it seems, I instituted lunch snacks, for my own sanity. I would always provide a medium healthy thing (applesauce packets, veggie chips, kind of a thing) to eat on the drive from preschool to home, and it made it so the ride home was pleasant instead of grumpy.

I saw another instance of what I think is a lingering adoption affect at my sister in law's when I was apparently paying too much attention to my niece, and Grace started to cry. When I brought her in the other room to talk to her, that's what she told me about why she was crying. Remington, on the other hand, was totally fine.

But the biggest thing, in my mind, that is hard about having adopted her instead of giving birth to her is the chunk of time that we missed out on. This was especially hard today as we were watching baby Remington videos, and little Grace videos, and then Grace asked, "What about baby Grace videos?" We talked about how we watched little Grace videos... but she was older when she came home, so we don't have many. I told her we have some from when we visited her in Ghana. So we watched those... but too few. We took a ton... but we were only there for a week, and every single one was taken the only place we could be with her... i.e. on the ground, in the parking lot of the orphanage.

I cannot even put into words how sad I am that I don't have a video or a picture of the day that Grace was born. I don't have a picture of her first smile, her first roll over, and I have no idea how she learned to crawl. I don't have those cute pictures of her at each month old. I barely have any pictures of her before our Ghana trip, and that was after her first birthday. I have two, literally two, pictures of her at 10 months old, when we got the referral. I have a few from the day she legally became our daughter (just before 1), and only because God was good enough to miraculously make it so that THE DAY we became her legal parents, our coordinator (from Oklahoma) happened to be visiting her orphanage in Ghana. She took a few pictures, and we are thankful for them, because otherwise that would be yet another moment we don't have. I suppose we have her passport photo too, but even that was after 1. So yeah, no monthly pictures for our sweet Grace.

I am so thankful for her, I am so thankful of our times together, I am so thankful for all the memories and time I have had with her, and I know that there are families out there (my heroes) who adopt kids significantly older than Grace, but I am confident they miss the days, months, and years that they didn't have their child too.

If I had three wishes, one of them would be for those years back, to be able to have her from day 1, shoot, I would love for her to grow inside me instead, so that I could have felt her little kicks inside me too. But only if I had three... because I also would need one for her to be 100% healthy, and not have the different health problems she has to deal with.

Honestly though... as strange as it is, and I have no proof... I think her medical problems are why we were able to become this sweet girl's parents. I believe that her birth mother may not have felt equipped to take care of her health needs, or pay for her health needs, and did the best thing she could think of. True or not, somewhere in our paperwork was also that another couple wanted her... till they found out about her problems.

You know... I should wish that her birth mother decided to keep her. I know that she might not have some of her issues if she could have just lived with the family that gave birth to her, live in a country where everyone looks like her... but I don't.

Selfishly, I want my spit-fire daughter. This girl who made me a mother, something I longed for. The girl who makes me laugh and smile and who has a passion for life that I just adore. I am very thankful for Grace, and even though it means I don't have those moments, pictures or videos, I am thankful I have the girl.