Archive for October, 2006

The White Gloves Come Off

So, did I mention the old Home Study has commenced? Yes, that’s right. The nice lady is a licensed, clinical social worker interviews you, and comes to your house and decides whether or not you get a stamp of approval to adopt a baby. That lady. It all started last week.
We have four visits to get through. One down and three to go. The first three, we meet with her in her office. One with the two of us to convince her that we have an Ozzie and Harriet kind of marriage and existence. (and not an Ozzie and Sharon kind of relationship) Two others where she meets with us individually so that she can find discrepancies in our stories and rat each other out. “You told us that you do NOT regularly have Baby Gap Attacks but your husband was all too willing to state otherwise. Do you or do you not go to Baby Gap when you tell your family that you’re just going out to run errands? I want the TRUTH…” I digress. To be honest, no one can handle the truth when it comes to clothing little Zannie. The fourth and final meeting is the dreaded home visit. Yes, she comes and sees our house. Good lord. That’s what I think every time I face it. Oh, and it’s going to be November 18th. For those of you who know me, you are already laughing. You are thinking, “Let the cleaning begin” I tend to be a compulsive neat-freak. I also like to have a company-ready, seasonally decorated home pretty much at any given time. So, a home visit would not be a problem were it not for other nameless people who live with me. My husband joked, “Should Zannie and I hole up in a hotel for a week before she comes to inspect?” He was joking. I thought it was a good idea.

Anyway, the social worker assured us that it wasn’t the white glove inspection and that she just needs to see that we have room for a child and that we have made provisions for one. She SAYS that, but I know better. Basically, it’s still the white glove inspection, it’s got to be. I mean, if I were her, I’d be looking for cracks in the sidewalk. I’d be looking in our medicine cabinets and anything else I could sneak a peak at. So, I have until the 18th to meet my cleanliness standards. The pragmatic side of me is just hoping to get through this without permanently pissing off my family. Too much. Anyway, that’s the progress in that part of our world. Oh. Also, we’re going to name our daughter Isabel. My stomach flips just typing that. Isabel. I’d like you to meet my daughters. Our youngest is named Isabel. Geeze, I am so over the moon in general. I was actually mid-shopping-for-Zannie today when it occurred to me that I could buy something for Isabel. It was like the day we set up the crib again. I just about passed out with sheer joy. I was getting Zannie some socks and I saw the cutest long-sleeved shirt with a crocheted bunny with button eyes on it. I went completely marshmallow. It was so awesome. When you spend a time thinking and trying to accept that you’ll never experience something that you wanted more than anything, and then you are told that, wait, no, we made a mistake, you DO get to experience that….you basically have moments of swoonage. Hurry, sweet Isabel. Fly here to us with your gossamer wings. We are so ready to love you. Bring on the white gloves.

October 27, 2006 at 11:11 pm 1 comment

My Blogroll Runneth Over

The blogosphere, now that I’ve entered it, has become a new fascination for me. One blog leads to another and on it goes. Two I am enjoying immensely are:

The naked ovary thenakedovary.typepad.com/
and
The Thin Pink Line manuela.blogs.com

The first is absolutely hysterical. She has recently adopted Maya from China and tales from the battlefield of our little friend infertility.

The second was brought to my attention in an email I received and I am so glad I did. She is a lovely woman going through hell right now after losing a pregnancy late in gestation after much infertility woes. Also, she is adopted and so she and I have those share those two interesting walks of life in common and writes eloquently and hysterically. She loves shoes and her shoes and legs are all over the site which is reason enough to visit.

Also, thank you to any and all of you out there blogging. I believe that speaking the truth as you see it is powerful and blogging is a great way to do it. There are so many of you out there who are so willing to expose your own personal hell and pain and I always feel to empowered and honored to read it. Thank you to anyone reading my blog.

October 27, 2006 at 10:37 pm 1 comment

The Wisdom of Spongebob

On a much lighter note, the following conversation occurred in my living room:

Zannie: Can I watch Spongebob Squarepants on tv?
Me: No
Zannie: You don’t like Spongebob?
Me: No, it’s just that I don’t think that it really teaches you anything.
Zannie: And you only want me to watch things that teach me something?
Me: (feeling smug and like a superior parent) Yes, that’s right.
Zannie: But Mommy, it does teach you something!
It teaches you how to be annoying.

October 27, 2006 at 10:12 pm 1 comment

Step to the back of the queue, Madge

So it seems Madonna set off this week to Africa in a humanitarian effort, bringing financial aid to orphans in Malawi. She also filed papers in court, petitioning to adopt a child. The child is living in the orphanage due to the recent death of his mother and his father is unable to financially care for him. “If we didn’t send David away to the orphanage we would have buried him,” his father is reported saying.

And while it is crucial and admirable for those with privileged and high-prifile lives to step up and give back on a global scale (particularly to AIDS-ravaged and impoverished nations of Africa), Madonna might have done a little homework before she left home. According to multiple news reports, Malawi’s laws do not allow international adoption unless the parents live in the country for a year, during which time social welfare workers investigate their ability to care for a child. Malawian officials had indicated earlier that adoption regulations would be eased for Madonna and her husband Guy Ritchie.

Eased? I would call that side-stepping. Abandoning. Making it all go away in the name of celebrity. It seems to me that this might be taking ‘ugly American’ to a whole new level. How much arrogance can you possess to pop into a country and throw money at the government and then expect that you can leave with a child? Let’s assume for a minute that Madonna has been going through all the proper channels in California and doing a homestudy and filling out papers and waiting and wading through all the red tape that is part and parcel to international adoption. Let’s just work on the idea that she did all the right things on this end. Except that why didn’t someone let her in on the fact that Malawi doesn’t allow for foreign nationals to adopt their orphans without living there first for at least a year? Which leads me to believe that there is no way that she sat down and filled out a single form.

If she were trying to upgrade her image, this doesn’t do it for me. What it looks like and smells like is baby-selling plain and simple. Money and fame bumps you to the head of the line and it gets entire nations to ‘ease’ their laws regarding their own. It’s bad enough that international adoption already can sound like a commodity issue when discussing it without Madonna going into a country without even the infrastructure to allow adoptions by foreign nationals. Why didn’t she go to other African nations that have begun to allow adoptions? If it was going to be this visible, she should have had to do what all other adoptive parents have to do. Wait, fret, fill out papers, and wait some more. Is it too easy a shot to throw in the label ‘Material Girl’ right about now? I couldn’t resist.

October 14, 2006 at 2:30 pm 1 comment

Photos of Kyrgyzstan

More Flickr photos tagged with kirgizistan-kyrgysztan

October 8, 2006 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

Issues, issues everywhere.

Ok, so I haven’t been so attentive. I’m sorry. My friend Helen has practically disowned me over my not blogging for the past week. I’m just a tad busy, not to mention I have issues. Ok, I know we’re all busy and we all have issues. Helen has posted so much on HER blog recently, that it just puts me to shame. It’s hard to keep up.

But seriously, I have had a few issues recently. And I should probably mention here as it is totally relevant that I myself am adopted. I’ve been surprised to find myself a bit caught up in a whirlwind of emotions over the online course I am taking which is part of our home study. I have hit a stand still because the concepts, ideas and guided illustrations have resulted in an existential fly in the ointment.

Here’s what happened. The course is designed to get the adoptive parent out of their own world, and into the international orphan’s world. Each chapter is dedicated to an aspect of the child’s life and getting you to imagine and decipher what it must be like to be her/him. The overall message is wonderful and created to get you to be thinking ahead to how you will parent your child.

It starts out soft and ramps up on the emotional volume chapter by chapter. If you’ve ever seen the movie “This is Spinal Tap” , right now, I’m at 11.

Now, it should be noted that I consider myself fairly well-read and talked-out regarding my own life in terms of being adopted. I was adopted at birth, was raised in a family with parents and a brother who was also adopted and adoption was talked about from as far back as I can remember. I felt that I could talk to my parents about it and my mom didn’t deliver the typical statements of the era like, “Being adopted means you’re special.” (Which any adoptee I’ve ever met hates hearing) She told me of what it was like when she first saw me and how much she and my dad and brother loved me. Growing up, I had periods of feeling lost and missing a certain strength. At times, I knew that being adopted meant that I was different from not only other kids, but from the family I was growing up in. That was the elephant in the room that no one was willing to admit or talk about. When I displayed traits and differences in my personality that I knew and my mother knew had come from within me, and not passed down from her, it created a gap. At times, the gap was massive. Looking back, I can see now that when my mom was having a hard time relating to me, it would turn to criticism, passive/aggressive teasing, hurtful words, being shamed, being told that I was wrong. I had a hurt that I couldn’t name or describe or explain. I think I was only in fourth grade when I would say to my mom, “I don’t even know who I am.” I was often sad on my birthday and thought that if I tried really hard, my birthparents would know that I was thinking of them. My mom always told me that if I wanted to, that when the time was right for me that she would support me in finding my birthparents. She told me the few facts that she had. My birthparents were in high school, very smart and weren’t ready to be parents. I could accept that, even at a young age. Here’s what I couldn’t accept: (and it took me a LONG time to come up with the language for this but now that I’m all growed up and also a mom, I have figured it out) What I couldn’t accept and still have a hard time with is that my parents let their own issues remain larger than recognizing that I had my own issues. What that means in English is that they couldn’t look past their own insecurities over having adopted kids in order to deal with mine. Feeling like you have to be like your parents is hard enough when you ARE genetically linked with someone. I mean, my mom would fill out my medical history at the doctor’s office like I HAD one. She would put in her and my dad’s histories. Diabetes: no. Arthritis: no. I mean, I was 9 years old and telling my mom that she could probably go ahead and leave that blank.

Blank. That’s part of who you are when you’re adopted with little to no history. And all of this is why I gave no hesitation in feeling like I absolutely will be a good adoptive mom. I remember acting out when I was feeling like I couldn’t be myself, even if I didn’t know who that was. I have read all the books. I have lived it. Also, I am reunited with both sides of my birth family which is enormously rewarding and fulfilling and I will go into detail another time.

So, all of this brings me to how working on this course brought me to all of these unexpected feelings. After a guided imagery exercise of how it must be to be taken from all that you have ever known, without any language to explain how you are feeling and facing the expectations of others, I grew anxious. This week I haven’t slept so well. I wake with a feeling of general anxiety. I am remembering difficult moments of my own childhood. I am feeling things that I thought were dealt with years ago. In a way, I’m glad. If I can get this in touch with those feelings, as uncomfortable as they are to revisit, it can only serve to help my daughter when I bring her home and for as long as I am alive. I owe that to her. I forgive my parents for not knowing how to deal with my adoption issues. But I cannot forgive myself if it doesn’t end with them. I know what it means to listen to Zannie. I have learned to anticipate what she may be feeling in a given situation. I know that you cannot love your child too much and that my ultimate goal is to let her go into the world armed with tools and confidence. I cannot wait to do that with our second daughter. It is already hard for me that she comes with a past that is a wound. That she will be different from me isn’t hard for me at all. I truly embrace it. I will do my best to walk the line of affirming her ethnicity and culture of origin while not forcing her adopted status on everything we do and talk about. I will not assume anything about her until it is what she shows me. I must be armed with what I know about being adopted without imposing it on her. It is a tall order, but I feel I am equal to the task. I am honored at the opportunity.

October 6, 2006 at 9:18 pm 7 comments


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