Greetings!

We designed this site in order to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away and in order to communicate with other adoptive families from around the world.

When we first started researching this wonderful way to become a family we read everything we could get our hands on. Even though there are a lot of great books out there, nothing was as informative or touching as the blogs we found by adoptees, biological parents, and adoptive families. So we are writing this blog now in hopes of returning the favor. We hope that if you are dear to us you will enjoy keeping up with our adventures. If you are someone out there involved in a part of the adoption triad we hope you will find information and comfort here and provide us with some of your own!

If you would like to get in touch with us we can be reached at: becomingafamily@gmail.com
Feel free to stop by anytime. We're happy to share our family story.

Take care,
Brian and Rosemary

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Hero

I was reading a psychology essay several months ago that discussed how children begin to assume a great deal about who they are supposed to be by seeing who their parents admire.  This piece asserted that if athletes are the only men dad admires then his son may begin to understand that he needs to be athletic in order to really matter.  Of course, I am paraphrasing the ideas expressed but the concept did give me pause.  For the first time I found myself asking:  As a parent who are my heroes?  Perhaps even more importantly, as the mother of an international adoptee who are my heroes?  If all my heroes are white what does that tell my children?  These thoughts brought me to consider Asian people who I admired deeply.  I am blessed to have quite a list of, not only historical figures, but dear friends who have touched my life considerably.  

On this trip to Thailand I was given the opportunity to study the life of one of my personal heroes. A woman whose powerful legacy continues to grow even in her death.  When my grandparents first brought me to Thailand, Chiang Rai was still mourning the loss of Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother, Princess Srinakarindra, who passed away in 1995.  Despite coming from rural poverty and being orphaned at age 9 the Princess Mother, King Bhumibol's mother, worked hard to get an education and become a nurse. Her life story is like the plot of a movie. Orphaned girl, goes to a nursing school for the poor and wins a scholarship to study in America. While there she meets the young prince of Thailand at a reception for Thai students in America. He falls in love instantly and they end up marrying. Fortunately, Thailand doesn't have any rules against royalty marrying commoners! She eventually survived the loss of her husband and her eldest son both at very young ages. She raised wonderful children and was an advocate for healthcare, literacy, education and hard work. In an era of increasing plasticity, she was dedicated to simple beauty and loved flowers, nature, sewing and reading. You can find
 a full english language biography of her here.

How I came to be aware of The Princess Mother's work was through The Doi Tung Royal Villa where she 
built her dream home. It's about an hour's drive north of Chiang Rai and has the most beautiful gardens I've ever toured. The Royal Villa was built at Doi Tung for the Princess Mother to live in while she carried out her environmental and development work. On deciding to live there, Her Royal Highness told her private secretary, "If there is no Doi Tung Development Project, I will not have a house here." She was 100% dedicated to bettering the lives of her subjects, especially rural and tribal people. Her work on behalf of the tribal people of Thailand, who have gone either forgotten or abused by the general public, almost brings tears to my eyes. On this trip one of my kids at our home (all of our girls are AKHA) told me proudly that her mother now had a job for the first time ever. She had gotten work through Doi Tung Coffee which sells delicious locally grown, locally worked Thai coffee out of the northern province. Almost all of those employees are tribal people who have never had the ability to support themselves before. In different places around Thailand, I saw four Doi Tung Project shops selling the most beautiful Tribal made handicrafts. Yes, for anyone wondering, I shop a lot in Thailand. ;-) The Doi Tung Project workshop provides on the job training and steady work for many of these people who have never been given a chance.

All of these social justice programs came from the heart and mind of the Princess Mother of Thailand. She fought for a people group that I love dearly.  She believed that the world could be made better; so she made it better. Even now, almost 14 years after her death, every time I return to Thailand I see more Doi Tung shops, more people going to the gardens and tribal learning and awareness center, more coffee being sold, I hear of more AKHA with jobs. I cannot think of anyone whose life I would more want my children to know that I admired than H.R.H. The Princess Mother of Thailand, Princess Srinakarindra.

- Rosemary

3 comments:

blackbelt_oma said...

Thanks for visiting and lvg a comment! <3

Elizabeth said...

what a great legacy. I wonder if they ever will make a Thai movie about her. such an inspiring story.

on a whole other note.....thought you might like to know....

Sales of farm-direct Starbucks Muan Jai Blend coffee blend soared and the resulting increase in coffee purchase improved the life of hill tribe communities in Northern Thailand.
A three stage PR program helped position Starbucks in Thailand as a socially responsible brand, educate on Starbucks "Commitment to Origin" program to improve the life of coffee farmers and launch Starbucks Muan Jai in Thailand. In 2003, sales soared until the coffee was out of stock.
5% of Muan Jai Blend have been plugged into the development of water systems and provision of school materials for the Northern Thailand hill tribe coffee community as the origins of the Thai coffee. In 2004, Starbucks International purchased 10 times more of the farm-direct coffee from Northern Thailand than in the previous year.
The coffee is sourced in northern Thailand where the high quality arabica beans are farmed by the hill tribes in the districts of Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Sorn. The name of the coffee blend "Muan Jai" means "wholehearted happiness" in the northern Thai language Kum-Mueang -- one of the unique dialects still found in the country.
In the US, Asia Pacific coffees are Sumatra and Komodo Dragon.

oh and side note....that black apron coffee you and Brian loved the best is now available only in US grocery stores....and it was from Asia Pacific

Jen and Jeff said...

I can't wait to read about Princess Srinakarindra! What an amazing woman! I also have to comment on the Starbucks comment above. Very cool!