Friday, January 29, 2010

haiti and adoption

I just read this great article "adopting a child from Haiti" and how this is not the best emotional knee jerk answer to the grave situation in this country. Totally agree.

I also noted on the side bar of the website a link to this article about sending breast milk to Haiti as a way to help. I LOVE that and would absolutely do it if I could.

Lastly, the other day while in the grocery store with baby T a woman stopped me to ask if he was from Haiti...what the heck?! Please people, think!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

turning 30 what?

Somehow it happened again. I just turned another year older. The big 3-5. This is the year after which fertility dramatically decreases and potential complications in pregnancy dramatically increase.

Is this the official end of my ticking clock?

To hell with the clock!

This year marks the beginning for me. The start of a brand new exciting chapter in life. Screw declining fertility rates and pregnancy complications...I am the mother of an exceptional little boy and this is what brings me life and joy! Although my experience of infertility and the adoption process will always color my vision, I won't look back...only forward.

I anticipate a year of healing, the rebuilding of hope, and absolute joy.

This isn't quite how I planned it but life is good and I am a yummy mummy at 35!

And onward I march towards 40 which means a birthday celebration in New York City with a dear friend of mine! Bring it on!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

one special christmas gift

Baby T received many special gifts this Christmas, the most striking being this beautiful Noah's Ark complete with animals 2 by 2 that D's dad made.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

please don't say...#5

Most of the time when we encounter strangers T and I get big smiles and "he's SO cute!" So far no one has made really inconsiderate comments about our family.

However, the comment we have heard over and over is...

"I always wanted a black baby."

I am extremely irritated by this statement and my return reply is always "then you should have married a black man."

I did not pick T off the shelves of Zellers, choosing a black baby because of the novelty that it is. We thought long and hard about being open to different races when choosing to build our family through adoption. The fact that we are a transracial family changes each of our lives in very significant ways. D and I need to be extremely intentional in how we parent and will not be able to take certain things for granted that families of the same color do.

I think what irritates me the most when people tell me they always wanted a black baby is that they will never look at our family in 4 years and say they always wanted a black toddler, or in 14 years and they always wanted a black teenager, or that they always wanted a black son-in-law. Let's face it, in general, black babies are cuter then white babies and this is by far the reason people make the above statement.

Yes, he is absolutely adorable. But please don't tell me you always wanted a black baby, which in a round about way implies that he is an accessory, a novelty, and belittles our intentional decisions on how to build our family.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

on maternity leave

Last year in June I got a new dream job. Since we didn't know when the adoption would happen I applied for this job thinking that I needed to stop putting my life on hold hoping for a child soon. This job is perfect for me in so many different ways but a real advantage for the future is that it is part-time.

Then in September we were chosen by J to parent her son T! However since I had only been working at my new job for 3 months I was only allowed to take a short leave of absence to go get him and once we got back home I needed to go back to work right away. In Canada the labor law states that you need to have been working at a job for at least 7 months to take any extended leave of absence. So D and I have both worked part-time for the last 4 months. It was hard to leave my boys at home in the morning but once I got to work I did great (remember, this is my dream job!). And the last few months have allowed D to bond with T in ways he otherwise wouldn't have.

And now my 7 months of work is up and this is the first official month of my maternity leave. Yay! In Canada we get a paid one year maternity leave with each child -- technically the year is broken down to 17 weeks of maternity and 37 weeks of parental leave. The maternity leave must be taken by the mom and the parental leave can be taken by either parent or shared, etc.

Because T entered our family through adoption I am only eligible for the parental leave. The maternity leave portion of the year is saved for women who have birthed a child. Bah! I view this as discrimination but then what do I know! This law has been fought in British Columbia by adoption advocates but to no avail.

Oh well. In the end I am glad for the next 37 weeks (9 months) off with my precious son.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

oa roundtable - open adoption commitments

The Open Adoption Roundtable is a series of occasional writing prompts about open adoption. It's designed to showcase the diversity of thought and experience in the open adoption community. Click here to link to what other bloggers are writing about this topic.

Call them resolutions, commitments, changes, or choices--
how will you be proactive in the area of open adoption in 2010?

I don't like New Year's resolutions. They are typically made to be broken. And something seems so unintentional about making commitments for betterment at only one time of the year. I think making life changes and commitments is more likely a fluid process which happens all throughout the year. But there is something to actually naming commitments, putting them out there for yourself and others to see. So as I look ahead to the next 12 months with regards to our open adoption I desire to:

- continue to pursue a more open relationship with J. For this to really happen we need to...

- determine the involvement our American agency will continue to have in our open adoption. Currently all our pictures and letters are sent through the agency to J. This means that they read our letters to her as a form of censorship (they wouldn't use this language but that's exactly what it is). We actually got a call from the agency in December because we included an email address in our 3rd month letter. They wanted to alert us to this and inform us that we now needed to sign a form that we are okay with J having access to email and they would send J a form to sign that she was okay with it as well. How ridiculous. A number of people at the agency know that we gave J our email address in person after T was born so why has this become an issue now? We all know why, it's about liability and protection for the agency. J knows our last name and the province we live in so all she needs to do is google us and she would find loads of personal information. The world we live in isn't exactly private so how silly that we get into "trouble" for including an email address (that she already has) in a letter. It disturbs me that others are reading the letters we send to J. Our letters and pictures go through the agency for the first 6 months until finalization after which we have the choice to cut them out. Of course we need to sign a whole slew of documents to do this. But to cut them out we need to have access to J's information. So we've now come full circle to my first commitment to pursue a more open relationship with J and the first step in that is working on developing direct lines of communication.

Lastly, I commit to continuing to be an educator about adoption and further work to dispel prevailing myths. This really is my life commitment.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009: the good, bad, and ugly

The year 2009 doesn't exactly bring with it warm fuzzy memories. The grief I experienced this year was so devastating it almost took my breath away.

I have been told by other adoptive moms that I would forget the trials and tribulations that go hand in hand with the adoption process once baby came. I suppose this is similar to someone who experiences the pain of child birth being told they will also forget. However, I do know women who have not forgotten their labor experience and I have not forgotten mine. A good friend recently asked me now that baby T is here do I think differently about the last 18 months. My answer was an unequivocal no! T does not erase the grief I have felt or the hope lost. He does bring new hope and joy to my life but 2009 has overwhelmingly been one of my hardest years.

I know the feelings of pain and grief will dull and change with time. My heart doesn't hurt the same way it did 8 years ago after my father died but I can vividly remember those first days and weeks. The pain 2009 brought me will also dull, but it will never be forgotten or belittled in my eyes. It was very real.

So here is my "good, bad, and ugly" of 2009 (and not necessarily in that order):

The Bad: For me the adoption process in general has been "bad." After being given expectations of a really short wait time from our agency to wait as long as we did was really difficult. The mind games I played with myself were especially hard -- would it be this week, the next, ever? I really did convince myself that it would never happen which is why when T did enter our lives I was shell shocked for so long. At every turn during this process we experienced more drama with our two agencies than I can even explain. Bottom line: it was rough.

The Ugly: The ugly occurred on June 30th when A's baby was born so sick we couldn't adopt him. I think my heart actually broke that day. Walking away from that baby, and especially A, was the absolute most difficult thing I have ever had to do. People say that God only allows (I do not mean cause) things to happen that we can handle...honestly...I don't believe that.

And last, but certainly not least...

The Good: is without a doubt baby T. The word "good" doesn't even begin to describe what he has brought to my life. He is a blessing and D and I have been given the great privilege and honor to raise him.

I suspect that 2010 will look different. For this I am eternally grateful and relieved. I'm ready to find hope and joy again...and this will be the year.