My little Meme

July 18, 2007 at 10:12 pm 3 comments

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Margie over at Third Mom http://www.thirdmom.blogspot.com who is one cool mom, Amom, wisewoman, blogger and all-around good egg) responded to a meme and asked her readers who would also like to join in.  I’m taking this as a form of adult conversation and since that is a rarity in my life of late, I’m jumping at the chance.

 

1) You recently brought your absolutely adorable daughter Isabel into your family from Kyrgyzstan. What drew you to Kyrgyzstan?
When my husband and I decided on international adoption, our very next question was which agency were we most sure was ethical and then once we decided on our agency, we talked about the countries they represented.  Initially, my husband felt very intrigued with Romania or Ukrane because his family is from that area of the world.  But, Romania had long since stopped adoptions after the uncovering of the atrocities happening in their orphanages and Ukrane was not participating in adoptions at that time, we listened to what countries were facilitating adoptions.  Both Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan came up in discussion with our agency director.  I became quickly interested in central Asia I think because that idea of that part of the world, where it is neither the far east, nor eastern Europe, nor the middle East, but rather a meeting of all of those worlds, that it truly captured my imagination.  I felt very drawn to what I read about the countryside and people of Kyrgyzstan.  The Kyrgyz are a very gentle people.  It was what I read in everything about Kyrgyzstan.  Both of my trips to Kyrgyzstan confirmed this, but these are the things that pulled me to Kyrgyzstan.  We quickly proceeded to start our homestudy and dossier.  We never looked back.
2) Because you are an adoptive parent and an adoptee, you bring a unique perspective to discussion of adoption issues. What are some ways these experiences influences your thoughts about the other? For example, how has your adoptive parenting been influenced by being an adoptee, and vice versa?
That’s a question and a half!   I should mention that I am an adoptee in reunion for 18 years and at the time of my reunions with my parents, I was actively involved in adoption reform and activism.  I belonged to Alma, AAC,  and CUB and an was one of seven women who formed an women’s adoptee support group that met once a week for over two years.  So, coming from that, back then I had made two decisions:
1. I would never adopt
2. That after going through those years of reunion, support and activism, I was “done” with adoption being an issue in my life.
Wrong & Wrong

So, after going through years of thinking we would have one child and I was pretty much feeling ok with that, one day it occured to me that we *could* adopt.  It was just a concept.  I was only going to be comfortable in adopting a child who had no other chance to have a family and that was the determining factor in international adoption.  Kyrgyzstan has laws that protect the mother who has already signed relinquishment papers six months to change her mind.  The people in Kyrgyzstan also have an opporutnity to adopt the children who are in baby houses and orphanages.  I felt like I could be comfortable with that kind of process.  With my background, it wasn’t going to be alright with me to have a woman hand over her baby to me.  This is just speaking for myself and knowing what I could live with and what I couldn’t.  With what I know about Isabel’s mother’s choices and how she never wavered and with other things in the adoption papers that are only for Isabel to know, I am more than comfortable with her coming to our family, to be my daughter and for us to love her.   

In my parenting, I am very aware of a few things that I do and that I have done with Suzannah that come out of being an adoptee.  I believe that you should always responsive to who your child is.  What that means to me is, every child is born with intrinsic traits, strengths, weaknesses, and individual “stuff” for lack of a better word.  It is the job of a good parent to be looking for those, and coaxing them out, championing your child so that she may grow into the best person she can be while maintaining their individuality.  For a parent to impose their own baggage and expectations on a child is just about the worst way to parent a child.  So, with those ideas in mind, for me, this is especially true in raising a child who was not born to you.  I respond to every cry, smile, wimper and inquisitive look in a way that I feel is validating.  I feel that attachment parenting is especially important in adopted infants.  Down the line, I will always make her feelings important and I will look for feelings of loss and/or acting out but I will not assume every issue she has is adoption related.  I will tell her that she isn’t alone in her feelings and that I understand how she might be feeling about some of how she feels in being adopted.  I do have to defer to her and others on trans-racial adoption issues, but luckily we have the PACT camp not far from where we live and that is exciting. 

Also, now that I have adopted, and now am a blogger…I can honestly say that I am not ‘done’ with my adoption  issues.  Of course I’m not.  So, I’m back as activist, but not as much as I was because I’m older now and, well, I have these two amazing girls to raise.  I have joined PACT, bastard nation, Ethica, and the Evan B. Donaldson institute.  Full circle.  Never ending circle. 

I’m really glad I adopted, for so many reasons.

3) Taking Kyrgyzstan out of the running (because I’m guessing it would top the list), where would you go and what would you do for your dream vacation?

Oh, this one I already know.  I’ve thought of it many times.  I’d like to rent a house in the countryside in France for the entire summer.  You invite only your most fun friends to come and visit for a week here or there.  This vacation isn’t filled with activities.  In the morning you take a swim or a walk.  Then we all walk into a village where you get your day’s bread, cheese, produce, etc.  and then maybe eat lunch or walk back to the  house.  You take a nap with your daughters.  Then, around 4 or 5 we all start cooking and then we eat our dinner.  There is no tv and so we read or walk into town and listen to music.  I would love something very simple and beautiful like that where being very close with my family taking part in simple pleasures were the most important things.

4) Like many of the friends I’ve made online, I know primarily through discussions of adoption. But what else makes you tick? What are your artistic and creative outlets?

I was raised amongst artists and so a lot of that rubbed off on me.  I love for my home to feel inviting from the minute you walk up to the front door.  I like my home to feel rustic, open, welcoming and light.  I am by trade, a cook.  I worked as a baker and pastry chef for many years and that is still something that is very important in my life.  Nothing makes me happier than to bring a delicious and warming meal to the table for people I love.  I am interested in buying my groceries at farmer’s markets, I try to cook with organics as much as possible and what is in season.  For a dear friend’s birthday last night I made a dinner of roasted leg of lamb, a salad of baby greens with heirloom beans and tomatoes, roasted rosemary potatoes and plum almond upside-down cake with vanilla ice cream. I also love to garden both flowers and vegetables.  I also dabble in knitting, needlework and mosaic.

5) When my husband and I adopted our second child, our daughter, someone told me the saying “one is fun, two is ten.” And in our case, it seemed to apply, LOL! Are you experiencing an exponential increase in your level of parenting activity now that your second daughter is with you? Do you get any sleep (asked tongue in cheek after reading “When Co-Sleeping Goes Wrong . . .”

That is so funny!!  You know, the only thing that has truly increased to beyong capacity is the laundry.  It’s everywhere…the dirty, the clean, the in-between.  The baskets are overflowing.  Suzannah is very interested in changing her clothes often to reflect her mood or if she wants to give a ‘performance’ (which is often)  Isabel is going through a couple of outfits a day with all the spit-up and other bodily functions.  So, if I don’t do multiple loads every day, It’ll take over the house.  Other than that, I feel pretty in charge of the chaos.  We’ll see if that still holds true when Isabel starts walking!

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Entry filed under: adoptees, Adoption, Adoption Blog, Adoption Ethics, birth mothers, Daughters, first mothers, Friends, International Adoption, Isabel, Kyrgyzstan, Motherhood, Zannie.

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Margie  |  July 19, 2007 at 5:50 am

    I love each and every one of these answers – but some I love even more:

    “I believe that you should always responsive to who your child is. ” YES YES YES

    YOU. COOK. LAMB. Omigosh, I love lamb – lamb is party food in my family – and no one cooks it anymore. That’s one of the reasons I love Indian and Middle Eastern food – lamb is always on the menu!

    And I love your idea of vacation, and would love to do the same. When we were in Korea in 2001, we visited a retreat temple called Hwaamsa in the mountains near the coast – beautiful. My dream would be a week there, hiking in the mountains, reading in the tea house all afternoon, meditating with the monks. Perfect!!

    Thanks for playing!!

    Reply
  • 2. justenjoyhim  |  July 19, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    Oh wow, you’re a great cook; I’m domestically impaired. You love southern France; I LOVE SOUTHERN FRANCE!!

    What a team!!! 😀

    Fun meme!!

    Reply
  • 3. justenjoyhim  |  July 19, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    P.S. I did my foreign study in college in Aix-en-Provence about a million years ago. Haven’t been able to go back since then but I lurved it. sooooo beautiful.

    What a great dream vacation. ahhhhhhhhhh . . . .

    Only — can we come for the whole summer? I promise Frank will help with the dishes and me?

    Well, I’ll just veg. 😀

    Reply

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