Friday, February 27, 2009

please don't say...#4

When you discover that someone is planning to adopt a child, please don’t say…”At least you don’t have to get big and go through labor.”


Only one person has made reference to the above statement to me and the next person who does better watch out. I might have to get violent! For someone to enter the adoption process because it is “easier” then birthing a biological child is a load of crap. There are likely adoptive parents out there who actually think this, which would make me wonder if they know anything about the process at all.

Going through this process is one of the hardest things I have ever done and I’ve experienced some pretty difficult situations in my life. Granted our adoption experience thus far has been riddled with over-the-top frustration and difficulty while others often go more smoothly. At this point, I would take 48 hours of excruciating pain over a year of unbelievable stress. It is not my intent to minimize the pain and difficulty that occurs during childbirth or make this into a competition. I’m merely asking for some perspective.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

an obsession

I admit it. I have adoption obsessive compulsive disorder….AOCD. I obsessively check my email for updates from either agency…sometimes I think if I stare at my inbox for long enough I’ll get a new message. The first thing I do when I walk in the door at home is strain to check for the little red blinking light on my phone. And sometimes I’ll even check my home messages from work. I think about adoption all day long. It’s pathetic, I know.

The first step is admitting you have a problem. What’s the next one?!

Check out this post by Laura about AOCD.

Monday, February 23, 2009

did we get it wrong?

Seven years ago D and I made the decision to move to the States for him to go to grad school. This was a huge decision. My father had just passed away 6 months earlier and I couldn't imagine leaving my family. Plus, the whole idea of him changing his career so dramatically didn't seem to make much sense. But yet, I knew that it was right for us to go. I often make decisions intuitively. And this decision for both of us was all intuition, there wasn't a ton of logic in it.

After moving we faced challenge after challenge right from the beginning. From not finding an apartment for 2 months to challenges with obtaining driver's licenses and Social Security Numbers to cockroaches, we felt like we came up against walls time and time again. I so clearly remember the day D was at the grocery store and he couldn't find his favorite cereal (cereal is a big deal to D!). It was a day filled with much frustration and to then discover that the US didn't make this particular brand of cereal threw him over the edge. We can laugh about it now but at the time it was quite a big deal! Both D and I wondered if we had made the right decision to move. Did we get it wrong? Was all this frustration a sign? Making the decision to actually move was hard but in the end wasn't the hardest part. The hard part was the process of living in a different country.

I've been feeling the same way about our decision to adopt a child. Dealing with the infertility and looking at our options to have a family wasn't the hard part. I have enough friends that have walked this road ahead of me to have a different perspective. I started researching adoption options fairly quickly after our fertility investigations. But ever since we signed the adoption application form our process has been filled with drama. I do think that most adoptions are riddled with drama and frustration, however ours seems to have gone over the edge with issues. And after the latest set of problems I'm left wondering if we got it all wrong. Are all the barriers a sign?

Our time spent living in the States ended up being one of the most life giving experiences D and I have ever had. We grew in ways unimaginable. We made some unforgettable memories. That time...the good and the bad...shaped who we are today...and we wouldn't change any of it. (Well, maybe the cockroaches!).

My prayer is that our adoption experience in the end will be life giving and that the struggles along the way will only have proved to make us better parents. D and I have proven that we can advocate for ourselves. Perhaps this whole nightmare experience is preparing us for the ways we will need to advocate for our future child.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

cautiously optimistic

Thank you for all the kind words of support and thoughts and prayers. Keep it up...we still need it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

when love isn't enough

A while ago D happened to mention to a neighbor that we were in the process of adopting a child. The neighbor disclosed the fact that his parents have a child through international adoption. D alluded to some of the challenges of adoption and transracial parenting thinking our neighbor might be able to relate. However our neighbor responded with the classic “oh, just love ‘em and everything will be alright.” In my eyes this is the Sunday School answer to adoption related issues. D left that conversation slightly concerned for the adopted child in their family.

In general, society paints a rosy picture of adoption. The loss and abandonment felt by adoptees is rarely acknowledged. Instead adoptee’s are told that they are “so lucky” to have been adopted into such a great family. And everything might actually look rosy from the outside, kids will adjust and learn appropriate behaviour and as humans we’re pretty good at repressing feelings, but I believe that every child who was adopted experiences profound loss.

I have yet to read Nancy Verrier’s book, The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. I’m not quite ready. I definitely understand the premise of the primal wound as I have read some articles on the concept. And I feel fortunate to have come across this truth prior to adopting a child so that I am able to better understand straight from the beginning what an impact the separation of infant and mother can have on a child…even a newborn baby. An understanding of the primal wound in our future child will allow me to empathize with their experience and feelings from day one. The feelings of loss, abandonment, and trauma of separation that even an infant experiences. All the love and care in the world isn’t enough to erase this wound. It must be acknowledged and each child must be allowed the freedom to feel and express these emotions and feelings.

I read a really good article from the Quantum Parenting site about the primal wound (there are some other great articles on this site). It is an important concept for anyone remotely connected to adoption to understand. And someday soon I’ll actually read the book.

What is the Primal Wound? Understanding the Trauma of Infant-Maternal Separation

Throughout the generations of routine obstetrical, hospital, and adoption practice in this county, the assumption has always been, “Why would the separation from its mother affect a newborn baby?” But with the advent in the last twenty years of pre- and perinatal research, we now have astounding findings about what a fetus experiences in the womb, what a strong connection it has with the mother long before birth, and how intelligent, aware and remembering a newborn is. Many researchers now feel the more appropriate question to be, “Why wouldn’t the separation from the mother to whom he/she was connected for nine months affect an infant?”

“Many doctors and psychologists now understand that bonding doesn’t begin at birth, but is a continuum of physiological, psychological, and spiritual events which begin in utero and continue throughout the postnatal bonding period. When this natural evolution is interrupted by a postnatal separation from the biological mother, the resultant experience of abandonment and loss is indelibly imprinted upon the unconscious minds of these children, causing that which I call the primal wound.” So writes Nancy Verrier in her book, The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child (1993). Continue reading…

Friday, February 6, 2009

i need your help

I think I am about to go crazy in this waiting period! We were set up by our agency to think that our waiting time would be very quick. Well, that of course depends on what your definition of quick is. I know that many times this agency places children within a couple of months. Even though we haven't been waiting a really long time yet, I'm still struggling. When you are given certain expectations it is hard to let them go.

First off, I am very aware of all the ethical dilemmas associated with newborn adoptions and I wouldn't agree to a quick unethical situation. I am simply wondering how I am going to survive this wait...this unknown period of time. It is so hard to live in the unknown. The unknown where you have no control. Totally sucks.

This is where I need your help. How would you survive a waiting period in the land of unknown? What would you do with your head and hands? I would love to just hibernate until it is all over but that doesn't seem possible (although it is cold enough here to give hibernating a reasonable try!). I need some suggestions on how to get through this time. I even need you lurkers to provide some strategies! All ideas and suggestions are welcome.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

uber amazing blogs

A long while back Thanksgivingmom acknowledged my blog with an Uber Amazing Blog award. (Thanks TG!). Before I followed the rules and passed on the acknowledgement I wanted to spend a bit more time in the blogging world to become more familiar with the blogs I was reading. But now it’s time to make mention of some uber amazing blogs.

Here are the official rules: The “uber amazing blog” is a blog award given to sites who...
- inspire you
- make you smile and laugh
- or maybe give you amazing information
- a great read
- has an amazing design
- and any other reason you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of the award are:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least five blogs (can be more) that are uber amazing
3. Let them know that they have received this uber amazing award by commenting on their blog
4. Share the love by linking to this post and the person you received the award from

So in no particular order, I nominate...

Heather at Production Not Reproduction – This is one of the first adoption related blogs I came across while doing a search for information, and is definitely one of my favorites. I have learned much from Heather and her thoughtful approach to adoptive parenting.

Mei-Ling at A Shadow Between Two Worlds – Reading Mei-Ling’s posts about transracial adoption has been informative and stretching. I appreciate her honesty and realness in what she is going through and how adoption has impacted her life.

Paula at Heart, Mind and Seoul – I have read through most of Paula’s archives which are rich with personal and honest reflections that are helpful to those of us who are navigating the world of transracial adoption. Paula was away from the blogging world for a bit but I’m so glad she’s back!

Thanksgivingmom at I Should Really Be Working – When putting this list together I realized it wasn’t complete without her. I know I should likely pass the award on to someone else but I can’t help but acknowledge TG. I love and appreciate her honest musings about life as a firstmom. I have become much more aware of the birthparent perspective which is so valuable to me. Too often this voice is shut out in adoption.

I think I will be a better adoptive mom because of all of you! Thanks for speaking so passionately and honestly from your side of the triad and helping to inform the others.

I do read other non-adoption blogs too, so the uber amazing blog award also goes to:

Patty at – I typically follow a strict diet regime (no gluten, dairy, or refined sugar) and finding Patty’s blog was a huge relief and provided a big breath of fresh air to my baking. She’s got oodles of healthy baking recipes so even if you eat all foods (lucky you!) but want to take a crack at using very healthy ingredients etc. you’ll find some yummy stuff on her site. This is one of my favorites!

To all my Uber Amazing Blog Award recipients...keep those posts coming!

Monday, February 2, 2009

one-dimensional blogging

Disclaimer: This post does not refer to any particular blog that I read but rather musings about blogging in general and my desire to know the whole of people and not just certain parts.

Blogging can be an outlet. A place for people to discuss, vent, praise, and process about life. The trouble with blogging about a specific topic is that the blog tends to become one-dimensional. As the reader you are only allowed a glimpse into that one part of a person’s life. Yet as humans we are much more complex than what is often posted on a blog.

Many blogs dedicated to adoption are this way, one-sided, and some even help to perpetuate the myths in adoption. Some blogging adoptees are seen as angry and bitter, blogging adoptive parents are clueless to the issues their children face and wrapped up in their own joy in having a child long waited for, and firstparents are in constant grief and “just can’t get over it.” I truly believe that this is only part of each of their stories and there is so much more to each person who blogs about adoption. So often I wish I could jump through the computer screen and share a coffee with a particular blog author. I’d love to chat about the whole of life and how adoption fits into who they are. Certainly adoption plays a large role in each life on the triad but that can’t be it, there must be more to what shapes a person. I regularly follow a few adoptee and firstmother blogs and I have learned so much from them and their experiences which will only make me a better adoptive parent. But I’d love to learn more, be a part of the rest of their lives where adoption isn’t always the focus and get to see the whole picture.

When I share some of the struggles adoptees and firstmothers blog about, people often comment that only the disgruntled ones blog and those who have adjusted well don’t. I don’t fully believe this. I agree that people who aren’t necessarily introspective or looking for an outlet to work through major life issues won’t blog. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that those who do have hard things to say about adoption are totally off their rocker. It doesn’t mean that all adoptee’s who share hard truths are bitter and hate their adoptive parents. I’d be concerned if adoptee’s didn’t have hard things to say because let’s face it, adoption is hard. Conversely, if an adoptee is all sunshine and roses and doesn’t acknowledge any of the loss and abandonment I’d also be concerned.

I must admit that sometimes after reading a particularly hard post about adoption I wonder if there is any hope for me as a prospective adoptive parent. But then I have to remember that this is about learning and growing while always having the big picture in mind. It’s about all the dimensions in life.

All of this to say that I love blogging and learning about adoption in this way, but sometimes I wish that blogs didn’t always depict only the hard truths in adoption but that each triad member also shared the rest of life. The blessing and the loss that happens in all of our lives. And this is my reminder to keep it balanced.