Archive for January, 2007

Ok, here’s the thing…

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I read blogs lately a lot, most of them written by someone in the adoption triad. I’m reminded by these writings several important things when it comes to adoption and has solidified many of my own stances and beliefs regarding adoption. The main things I’m reminded of are that adoption is borne of imperfection and loss. I mean, let’s stop, as a society, putting a pretty bow on it and calling it a gift. The abandonment of girls in China, the extreme poverty of peoples across the world, and in our own country, there is a great deal of pressure put on young women who are in a certain socio-economic situation to relinquish their babies. I have experienced my own great feelings of sadness, confusion and persistent emptiness all stemming from adoption. It’s real, and it goes on and on. If that weren’t so, my reunion would have been a piece of cake and I’d have this terrific relationship with my first mother, which I do not. Also, the losses surrounding adoption are chronic and everlasting. Becoming an adoptive parent has not only left me unchanged in my belief that there needs to be sweeping ethics reform and acknowledgment of those losses within the adoption community and outside of it as well. So now what? What do I do now? As a girl who was once very active in the adoption reform movement in my 20’s, part of me wants to say, “Shhhh…don’t tell anyone I’m adopting.” And if someone does find out, particularly all you lovely adoption bloggers out there, I feel like saying, “I’ll be good! I promise! I’ll do all the right things and take her back to her country every year and speak her language and cook her country’s cuisine and we’ll learn to make beautiful felt rugs”… and anything else I can think of. Just don’t hate me ’cause I’m adopting. See, that’s the adoptee in me. Don’t reject me! I’m ok! Really I am!

But I am. I’m adopting. And you know what? I’m SO SO SO SO SO SO glad I am. There it is. I’ve said it. Hmmm. No thunderbolt yet.

So, the thing is, how do I, and therefore we as a society and global community reconcile adoption? On a microcosm, how do I reconcile being adoptee and adoptive mother? How do I navigate myself so that I “reflect the change I want to see in the world”? By standing up and lending a small but distinct voice in the adoption world. I can stand up for myself by declaring that closed adoption was a tough road for all involved. My adoption didn’t at all serve my first parents. They were promised that they would be able to go on and ‘pretend like it didn’t happen and lead normal lives.’ It left them hurt and confused and with wounds and they both live lives that reflect those wounds. I can stand up in particular for my first mother who, in response to her experiences during her pregnancy and relinquishment of me, forged her own armor which she feels she must wear for the rest of her life. She is aware that it protects her from hurt, but that also it is bondage and barrier.

Most of all, the change I want and must reflect is in my parenting my daughter whom I have yet to meet. So, yes. I will cook her country’s cuisine, learn to craft felt like they do in her country of origin and buy beautiful things on our trips there. By honoring her place of birth, I honor her and her first mother and family. And while I’m doing so, it’s still not enough. Because orphanages aren’t simply filled with children whose parents have died and need homes. No, there are children around the world who are in orphanages because of poverty, hunger, politics and other countless reasons. THAT is the change that I must be a part of, and ultimately must be a part of adoption reform. Yes, it’s that global. So, simultaneously I am adopting and ultimately working toward eradicating the need for people across the world to feel as though they must relinquish their babies and children. There is so much work to do. Our foster care system is broken. The western world has too much to eat and so much of the rest of the world is starving. Where do we begin? It begins with me. In my own adoption stuff and in adopting my daughter – it starts with me. And while I can’t solve much in the way of the world’s problems, I can do what I know to be true and right. Love is a great beginning, but my daughter is going to need so much more than that and I’m so OK with that. That’s my job. That’s what every adopted child needs. She will reflect the kind of parenting that I very much needed. These are the things I can do. That’s the thing. Yeah. That’s what I wanted to say.

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January 23, 2007 at 10:07 am 10 comments

Adoption – an incomplete thought

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I have a post, rather more likely a series of posts that have been percolating. They are probably in the vein of my earlier post “Issues, issues everywhere” regarding adoption and how it affected me in my life growing up and how it affects me today as an adult adoptee, 18 years in reunion who is about to adopt her own child. It’s a lot to sink my teeth into. So, I am going to attempt to go into the various and sundry topics regarding adoption that weave in and out of my life. You other adoption bloggers, adoptees, first mothers and adoptive mothers alike, are truly waking up a few sleeping giants in my little head. I bow to your greatness because you are so willing to be honest and vulnerable. I have so much yet to learn. I suppose this is merely a preamble. I must figure out which voice to bring forth. More tomorrow.

January 22, 2007 at 12:25 am 1 comment

Sooooo unfair

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I have this little ritual. On fridays, I pick up Zannie from kindergarten and depending on her mood and hunger level, we do one of a few favorite things. We either go have a ‘soshi’ lunch and then have someone over for a playdate, or we go to the park, or we go and get ice cream and go home and watch finding nemo. Yesterday, it was the ice cream scenario. (ok, really it’s frozen yogurt but I don’t mention that little fact. Sidenote: Yes Helen, I know about the dangers of soft serv….)

Anyway, we got home with the fro yo, put on the movie and laid on the couch and I pulled out my crisp, brand new People magazine. I know….I Know….call me what you will. It’s a cheap, guilty pleasure. I leafed through it while we watched nemo, which amazingly I still am not tired of (I was like, Woah! and you were like Woah! and it was like woooooaahhhhh)
Then, a small piece on little miss naughty bits. Naturally, they are following Britney Spears’ love life now that she’s single. It mentions a new guy, Vegas and partying. THEN, it mentions something that made me bolt up on the couch. “By 1:30 a.m. when he and Spears headed back to the couple’s $40,000 a night Sky Villa Resort…” and then blah, blah, blah….

40K.
A night.

I kept thinking, “think of what good that money could go toward.” Our adoption is going to total something close to that. Obviously, the money is hers and she earned that (cough, cough). But, come on…40 grand??? Oy! The starving children! The aged! The homeless! Tsunami vicitms! New Orleans! It makes me crazy. Hey Brit! Kick me down a little green love. Stay home for just ONE night, and donate the money to someone who is trying to accomplish something good in the world. I know, I know…she owes me nothing. It’s just so unfair.

Man. They better not charge her for the mini-bar.

January 20, 2007 at 10:56 am 4 comments

The phone is not my friend

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Ever since finishing my dossier and sending it off to our agency with kisses that Zannie and I blew into the envelope, I realize and am fully in ‘wait’ mode. This is not good for me. I have given over control and for me that is an unnatural state of being.

Right now, we are still number four on the list of waiting families. What has fueled on my feelings is finding out that the coordinator is in-country at the orphanages right now. Referrals will be coming I think! It is exciting to think of all our paperwork in Kyrgyzstan, being reviewed and translated.

I have a mental list of things to bring to Kyrgyzstan to give to the children and to the orphanage. Small, lightweight things are what I’m thinking are best. Socks, kids tylenol, fleece hats, shoe laces, nail clippers, small packs of markers, stickers. The orphanages are so in need of basic care items. Also, their winters are so cold. One thing I am going to make to bring to the children on the second trip are small loveys. They will probably be like the twinkle baby, but not nearly as neatly finished. I’m going to take 14 inch squares of flannel, and in one of the corners, make a little doll’s face. If I’m really industrious, I’ll edge them in something really soft like satin. We’ll see. If any of you out there are feeling moved to contribute to my care packages, please e-mail me privately and I will bring whatever is donated to the orphanage when I go.

So, while I wait and keep the cordless phone with me wherever I go, I clean my house, cook cozy meals while it’s so cold and bide my time. I’m watching my daughter grow before my eyes it seems. She is so beautiful and kind. She will be a great big sister. So, all three of us wait and dream.

January 19, 2007 at 11:32 am 6 comments

Emotional velcro

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Reading on others’ blogs about bonding with your baby and remembering my first months with Zannie, I have been thinking a lot about attachment and how it will go this time around. There is more to consider and prepare for with my second daughter and so I am doing my homework. I’ve been reviewing products that have anything to do with helping babies feel close and secure with mama. I’m really into the idea of getting a sling so that I walk in the house and have her actually joined at my hip. We can walk to the school and get Zannie when she is done for the day at kindergarten. I can look right at her little face all the time. (Note to self, strengthen core…more tae bo, more exercise ball)
I bought a sling when Zannie was born but she wanted nothing to do with it. She never wanted to be lying down. I had to hold her upright no matter what and the sling never quite created the right position for her. But, five years later there are so many different brands and types of slings, I just know we’ll find one. I’m going to hold off on buying one until I can try them out with her and let her pick the right one.

The other thing I found is sooo cute. It’s called a twinkle baby.Twinkle Baby They are a small, star shaped flannel or plush doll with a sweet, sleepy face. You sleep with it next to you and it picks up your scent and then you put it with the baby when you put her to sleep or if she needs comforting. I think this will be an excellent tool for us. I intend to create lots of ways of loving her up and giving her the message that I’m not going away.

I’d love to hear what other suggestions and experiences you have for attachment in adoption.

January 10, 2007 at 6:29 pm 7 comments

Hi Ho, it’s off to Kyrg we go!

So, emboldened by my agency’s director that he has consulted with the embassy in Washington that adoptions are not being halted or delayed, today I sent off my dossier. The cool part is that a family who are adopting from Kyrgyzstan through our agency is going to hand carry our dossier over there and deliver it personally to the adoptions people. How great is that?! I ran around like a mad woman yesterday getting the doctor’s letters for my husband and me as well as our daughter. I filled out our visa applications, and along with the good conduct letters from the sheriff, sent it all on its merry way. What an awesome feeling. Now comes the real waiting. Our work here is done.

If I start thinking about a child being in an orphanage without a mama and daddy and a safe home, and us ready for a child to come to our waiting arms, I start to get mopey and sad and frustrated and impatient. I would do anything to be able to start sending her pictures of us and something soft to hold until we get there.

Do not fret Isabel, we are coming. We will not give up.

January 9, 2007 at 10:27 am 2 comments

Rollercoaster Day

We received the aforementioned I-171H letter. Sorry I’m not sounding more excited. I was excited when I opened it, and my husband and daughter were excited too. But then, I cranked up the computer to tell my Yahoo adoption group. Lo, what I found there brought me down a notch. There are rumblings from my other Kyrg adoption buddies that adoptions are being put on hold. In other words, our government giveth, and theirs taketh away. I know, I know, it’s probably temporary and I have to hang on and have a little faith and all those things.

Kyrgyzstan is going through huge governmental change and upheaval. They have just created a constitution and there is only an acting prime minister at the moment. From what I gather, this is the reason that has been given regarding the hold. But, I haven’t spoken with our director yet, and will TRY not to jump off the pier until I get solid word on how it impacts our adoption.

Man. We got to be really happy for about five minutes.

January 6, 2007 at 10:05 pm 2 comments

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