Monday, May 2, 2011

Book #56: No Biking in the House Without a Helmet

No Biking in the House Without a HelmetTitle: No Biking in the House Without a Helmet
Author: Melissa Fay Greene

I see myself in the beginning of Melissa Fay Greene's memoir. She's a mom of four children who are getting older by the second, and she's not ready to give up the idea of herself as a mom to little ones. After an unexpected pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage, she and her husband decide to "just look into" international adoption. A few months later, Jesse joined their family, and they were complete. Then a few years later, Helen came from Ethiopia, followed by Fisseha, Daniel and Yosef. Greene (author of There is No Me Without You, the story of Haregewoin Teferra, a woman who helped with the AIDS crisis in Ethiopia by opening her home to children whose parents had succumbed to the illness) writes hysterically and honestly about her family's journey of adopting five kids. She's a great writer, and also very open about struggling with things like porn when she has four teenage boys in the house.

I'm fully aware that I'm about to have five kids myself, which in my mind moves our family from just on the bigger side of average to really big, and that people probably think I'm weird. There was one family I went to elementary school with when I was growing up and when I learned that they had five kids, my reaction was something like "what is wrong with you guys?" So I've always been a little skeptical of the motives of large families. I wondered about Greene too-- why does she want all these kids? But as she tells her story, it doesn't feel like she's trying to attract attention to herself or trying to fill up an empty place inside of her. Instead, it's a combination of seeing a need where she and her family can help and just liking kids. I hope that my motivations are as pure and that I remain open to go where my family needs me.

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