Saturday, March 27, 2010

forever family party

We celebrated our adoption finalization day last weekend. Baby T got a cake. Too fun!

Monday, March 22, 2010

oa interview project

What an interesting thing this internet is. I love how people from all over the world can become so connected via a screen, keyboard, and mouse (okay there are just a few wires involved also, but you get my drift!). Heather at Production, Not Reproduction is a connecting point for many of us involved in open adoptions. She recently randomly assigned Interview Project participants with a partner blog to interview and be interviewed by.

I was assigned to Debbie at Always and Forever Family. Debbie's blog was new to me and it was a pleasure getting to know her and her family during the past couple of weeks. Debbie is an adoptive mom to adorable Isabel who turns 2 years old in April. At Always and Forever Family, Debbie candidly chronicles their open adoption journey. She also blogs at Belle's Curls a site dedicated to the ins and outs of biracial hair care. As a side note, Isabel's hair is gorgeous!

You can check out her interview of me and other participants as well.

1. How have you managed to work at acknowledging the loss side of adoption while also living in the joy?
This is a tough one. When it comes to our relationship with Isabel's birth family I have to put the loss aside to have joy. I spent too much time honoring the grief that I knew was there and was not able to enjoy being a mother. It makes me feel selfish to answer it this way but it's honest. Loss for Isabel, I guess I hope she will feel a little less loss because we have birth family in her life. Although it's only her birth mom's side but she'll be there to answer questions about her birthdad. My loss is just insignificant. But to keep the joy for me or rather find the balance between the two; I blog and I talk to friends who have adopted. I also attend mom's groups with other adoptive moms and other adoption related events.

2. What is one thing that has surprised you the most about the adoption journey?
How easy it was to love. Not just a child I didn't give birth to. But to love the woman who gave birth to her and her family as well. How completely strangers became family because of a little baby.

3. What has been the hardest to work through after bringing Isabel home?
It took me 18 months including mild depression to truly feel like a mom. It wasn't as easy journey. Everything I did included her birthmom if only in my mind. It wasn't until after a friend pointed it out to me that I realized this and just how serious it was. To get through it I had my husband reminding me why she picked us to be Isabel's parents. I did a lot of looking at myself and what I was doing. I slacked off on sending so many little updates so I could just enjoy my daughter. Now I can include her in all the fun and the not so fun stuff knowing that I am her mom.

4. How have you as a family worked to celebrate being transracial?
We're still working on it, I think we always will be. Some things we try to do is have books, toys, ets not just that match our daughter but all races. We also have a playgroup with other adoptive moms where she sees families like us. Her daycare and our church and neighborhood are very diverse. We'll always do our best to keep things like that when/if we move.

We haven't figured out how to incorporate holidays and such in a balanced way. When we don't celebrate our own heritage (German, Swedish, Irish, etc) we wonder how to celebrate hers without pointing it our and making it obvious.

5. What is it like to live in the States as a transracial family?
In our particular area it's fantastic about 90% of the time. There are occasions where we feel eyes following us, trying to figure us out. But aside from the 'We'd you get her?' comments we don't get many around home. Although I was once asked 'What's she mixed with?' She is; AA, Hispanic & Caucasion.

I've found that when it is just myself and my daughter the white community is less accepting thinking I'm married to a black man. But when it is the 3 of us we get lots of smiles and comments on how pretty she is.

If we travel outside our metro area it gets a little harder. If we go to places away from home it's very white. I wish I could forget eating at Subway and having a lady look at us in disgust and say 'that just ain't right.' I was grateful that I didn't hear it but my husband told me later. But those are few as well. For the most part we've been very accepted.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

a forever family

It is official. In the eyes of the law we are now a forever family.

After all the drama that has occurred surrounding our finalization hearing I am just so relieved that it is done. Last week on March 10th, our American lawyer entered a court room to show our information to the judge. He presented 3 post-placement reports completed by our social worker, 3 medical reports, along with pictures of T. All of that, plus the additional paperwork this particular judge required, and eight days later our adoption of baby T is final. Complete. Done.


We have never thought of or treated T as anything other than our son since the day we took custody. He's been using our last name for six months even though it wasn't "officially" his yet.

Regardless of how this feels, today is an important milestone. Perhaps more important than the day he learns how to walk or talk. Today marks the day that according to everyone, we are officially a family of three. Today we celebrate the final step in the adoption process.

This also means we start the process of waiting once again. We will wait for a copy of the adoption decree and his new birth certificate which will allow us to finish the permanent residency process and finally get T on our provincial medical card. And then Canadian citizenship. Even though we've entered another waiting game it is different than the first. T is ours. We are a family. We will wait for the papers to arrive on our door step, but in the meantime we get to watch our sweet pea grow and develop...such a good distraction! We are so blessed to be the parents of this very special little boy. Every day I look at him and wonder if I can fall more in love with him...and every day I do.

On Sunday we will celebrate our journey with family and a few close friends who have been touched by adoption. This will be a good thing. Celebrating with others. Might help to make it feel more real and more of the big deal that it is.

Yep, it has really happened.

We are a forever family.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

adoption finalization drama

I was preparing a post today about our court date this morning and how after 9:45 am we would officially be a forever family according to the legal system.

Then I received a call from our American lawyer's office.

It seems as though there were some hiccups. First of all, we now have a different judge. For some reason the judge's go back and forth between residing over civil and criminal cases. Our original judge was assigned to oversee criminal cases which means a new judge took his civil files. This new judge was not pleased that we weren't present for the hearing. We went to court with T six months ago when the petition was initially filed and the judge agreed that since he had met us he was okay with our lawyer standing in as our proxy for the finalization hearing. This is often done in this State. It appears as if our new judge wasn't happy about this ruling and then proceeded to poke his nose in our paperwork.

The end result is that this judge wants more information to prove that our adoption of T was pre-Hague and also needs our total Canadian adoption fee breakdown. So now we scramble to get that information and locate a notary public. And then pay through the nose to send the documents to the US so they get there yesterday.

Nothing with regards to T obtaining permanent residency, Canadian citizenship, and most importantly getting him on our provincial health card can happen until the judge signs the adoption decree. I really thought that after today this part of our adoption journey would be over. That we could move on. I should have known better.

The finalization process is sort of anti-climactic to begin with since we've had custody of T this whole time. But I thank the legal system for dragging this last step in the mud and making it even more anti-climactic. Now our lawyer just drops off the documents and we won't know the day or time that the judge signs the decree ahead of time. I don't know why, but nothing related to our adoption process has been easy and at every turn there is new drama to share.

We planned a party with our families to celebrate our "forever family." Thank goodness it didn't work to plan it this weekend. I really hope that everything will be completed before the party date, seems silly to celebrate something that hasn't happened. But with our luck, the postal service will go on strike.

Monday, March 8, 2010

6 months ago

Six months ago today we met you for the very first time. Never did we realize how completely captivated we would become with you. Nor the way you have captured our hearts like nothing else.

Happy six months sweet pea...we love you!