On Raising a Strong Woman..

August 24th, 2009

I just checked on my two napping sweethearts and came down here to snag just one more brownie (a product of our baking creations from Saturday’s kitchen adventures); I’ve just settled in to check my online haunts one last time before submitting to the list of endless household chores at my fingertips. I’ve had a post on issues related to race in the context of a family brewing a bit in my head and recent recollections of a few past conversations got the proverbial ball rolling. Well, that and Bear’s drawing from this afternoon, but more on that at a later date—that’s another post entirely. We are a family of now two-point-five races (counting our pending Ethiopian adoption). Three of us are white--really, really white. We… [more]

You’re gonna do WHAT to that kid?

June 8th, 2007

This thought process started here. Rockystring/©2007SHBenoiton International adoptive parents' desire to bring as much birth culture as possible into the life of their children is nobel and respectful, but no matter how much you strive to duplicate native foods, celebrate important holidays or practice ancient dance in traditional dress, you can't help but be missing most of the basic of basics your kids would be have been experiencing. Although I can't pass on subtle differences between Cambodian parenting and the more American way of doing things, I can point out some things I've noticed over the years I've lived in Seychelles to illustrate the wide range of variation in attitudes, styles and methods that parenting takes in different places. For example, babies here are always… [more]

Different Ideas About Babies

June 8th, 2007

Cjbed/©2005SFlam As international adoptive parents, we're all well aware that our children are growing up differently than they would in their countries of birth. They're learning a different language, dressing differently, becoming accustomed to foods they well might otherwise never have come across in a lifetime, and learning to turn their noses up at things that might have been considered tasty treats ... fried spiders and frog-on-a-stick come to mind. They dress according to trends and climates they would not have experienced, listen to music that may not have been available, travel on eight-lane freeways and fly in planes. One thing you may not realize, however, is that the list of differences is longer and more subtle than… [more]

Fessing up

May 10th, 2007
Categories: Shreds of Threads

I've been called to task, and must fess up ... I owe a reporter from the New York Post an apology. It seems that in my haste to leap in a direction that would put my too substantial bulk between another media slam on the Angelina Jolie adoption fracas and my readers, I went all sloppy with my work. Not only was I so enthused about posting a response to what I thought was a response to my response that I completely missed the fact that the story I took to be recent was actually four months old, I also jumped to the conclusion that my opinion had originally been solicited because I'd been misquoted all over the place not long before. According the the the reporter, Kathianne Boniello… [more]

Advocating for Adoption in Seychelles

March 7th, 2007

A while back, I won a $150 gift certificate from Adoptionshop.com for coming up with some greeting card copy. I don't think the cards are ready, but they did send me the virtual gift cert, so I did what anyone would do ... I went shopping. Cruising around the adoptionshop was fun, but being out of the ritual of regular shopping has me thinking that there's not much I can't live without, so I didn't find anything I needed to have. What I did find, however, was an idea. Those colored wristbands the rest of the world has been wearing for a while to tout various causes are just beginning to appear here in Seychelles, so still have a bit of cachet and give off that insider appeal many like. People… [more]

CNN World Report: The Benoitons

February 3rd, 2007

Since almost no one in the US was able to catch my family's appearance on CNN last weekend, I've downloaded a clip of our segment. It's not the greatest quality, but viewable. Please forgive the music, but I couldn't figure out how to do it without, and you can still hear the audio. My kids look adorable, of course. Me? Well, I'm reminded why it is for the last 25 years or so I've much preferred doing radio. This was a repackaged bit from a thirty-minute program aired locally on adoption issues in Seychelles…

The World is BIG today

January 13th, 2007
Categories: Seychelles

I have no idea when I'll be able to publish this blog post, as Seychelles has lost its Internet connection ... again ... and word has it that this outage is likely to last a while. Ack! If someone had told me a few years ago that I would be driven to distraction by a disruption in global communication caused by a January storm in Austria, I most certainly would have wondered what in the heck they were talking about, and would never have guessed how much of my life would be tied to and impacted by such events. I mean, really! Austria? January? What does anyone expect, other than foul weather, snow, wind, freezing temps and the like? It's Europe, facryinoutloud, and that part… [more]

A New Ambassador? Part 2

November 22nd, 2006
Categories: Ex-Pat Life

We used to be invited aboard most of the ships that stopped here for R&R, giving their crew some fun in the sun that wasn't shining on an unfriendly country in the Persian Gulf. Since 9/11, however, shipboard parties have been few and far between, unfortunately. Fully understanding the importance of heightened security, we've not complained, but were very happy to hear that we were to once again be welcomed aboard. Imagine my chagrin when I learned that ONLY US citizens were invited, meaning that my husband, and virtually every other spouse of an American in Seychelles, was basically chopped liver. Apparently, however, the powers that be down in Port Louis caught on to the fact that the only Americans Mr. New Guy would be meeting would be those he already knows… [more]

A New Ambassador?

November 22nd, 2006
Categories: Ex-Pat Life

Life as an American ex-pat can leave one feeling more than a bit out of the loop, and under-appreciated by good old Uncle Sam. I understand that many will think those of us who've opted out of life on American soil don't deserve much in the way of yankee perks, but we are entitled to certain things, most of which many of us never bother asking for. One thing citizens abroad count on, however, is an embassy to process paperwork ... passport renewals and stuff like that. Unfortunately, the embassy in Seychelles closed shortly after I moved here. (I was assured at the time that it was a State Department cost-cutting measure, not a personal affront, but I haven't really recovered.) Seychelles was incorporated into the embassy in Mauritius, but opened… [more]

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Fitri!

October 24th, 2006

Since most of my experience with the celebration that ends Ramadan comes from time spent happily in Malaysia, it's the Bahasa Malay version of the traditional Eid ul-Fitr salutation, "Happy Feast of the Breaking of the Fast" that comes to my mind. Selamat Hari Raya! In our alphabet's rendition of the Arabic, it's "Eid saeed" or "Eid Mubarak", but no matter, it's the greeting du jour in Muslim communities all over the world right now. For Muslims, Eid ul-Fitr is a joyful celebration of the achievement of enhanced piety. It is a day of forgiveness, moral victory and peace, of congregation, fellowship, brotherhood and unity. Muslims are not only celebrating the end of fasting, but thanking God for the help… [more]