Sunday, January 23, 2011

Now what?

I told a friend the other day that our amended homestudy should arrive any day now and that will allow us to file our i-600a. She asked me "then what?" I couldn't resist and said "we wait... duh!"

Adopt involves LOTS of waiting. Hurry up, wait, hurry up, wait some more, and then... oh yah... WAIT! You can certainly go crazy with all of the waiting. A wonderful woman at church told me that I needed to wait until our children were ready for us and until we were ready for them. This made no sense to me at the time. In fact I said "but I don't want them sitting in an orphanage longer than they have to, I have to find them so I can go get them!"

We still think we are supposed to be looking for a full sibling set of 4. And guess what... there aren't any! So all the hurrying in the world on our end isn't going to make them show up any faster. So I have learned to let go... most of the time. I am feeling pretty annoyed that our homestudy hasn't shown up yet but I'm not too worked up about it. Now if we had found our little names and faces, then I think I would feel differently.

I think people often see the waiting as a negative if/when considering adoption. From my experience in reading hundreds of blogs, is that it normally takes about a year. You have to think of that time as including trying to conceive. We all know that being pregnant takes 9 months. I don't know first hand, but trying to get pregnant usually takes at least 3 months. So there you have a year (or more) with the biological route.

I know I have said that I feel pregnant by paper, but really the paperwork stage is more like trying to conceive. With adoption that can take 6-9 months. Once you have little names and faces, it is more like being pregnant in that your timeline becomes more specific, you know gender and age, you can plan more, etc. With adoption that can take 3-6 months. The timing is a little different but it all adds up to be very similar.

So if you have ever thought about adoption and you let the timing trip you up, don't. God's timing is always perfect.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

SO pregnant

Pregnancy comes in different forms, baby in the belly or baby in the paperwork, but I can tell you that a lot of the symptoms are the same. I am easily as emotional as any pregnant woman. I have told you about this before but it continues.

A couple weeks ago we were helping with sunday school. They bring the classes together for singing and then split up again by age groups for class. There was a little boy about 3 years old clinging to his older brother crying and whimpering not to be split up. He wanted to stay with his brother so badly. For a moment he looked up at me and I was just a hair away from meltdown. My mind was screaming 'wait, you can't split up siblings, NO, THEY HAVE TO STAY TOGETHER, I'LL DO IT, wait... oh ya this is church, they will be back together in an hour'. I had to stare at a spot on the wall and focus on breathing so as not to cry. I knew full well that I had lost my mind.

Recently I find myself near tears without even anything to get me started. I know it has to do with me waiting and hoping for our kids to show themselves.

I just wish I had a due date..... :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

I have to do this again?!

Normally I get up at 6:40am in order to get to work at 8:00am. For some crazy reason I made a 7:00am doctor appointment. Of course the good thing is being able to get to work on time but the very very painful part is the waking up at 5:40am. Anything even 10 minutes earlier than normal is super difficult for me. I just don't do mornings.

On Thursday my alarm went off at the crack of dawn hour of 5:40am. I drug my sorry behind out of bed and got myself up and ready. The entire 15 minute drive was in the dark. When I got to the doctor's office at 7:00am (which is only 20 minutes after when I normally wake up) I gave the lady at the desk my name and then waited as she looked up my information. And I waited. She asked me for more information and she checked some more. And then.... she looked at me and said.... your appointment is tomorrow. What?! I just stared at her and then finally said "you mean I have to do this again tomorrow?!?"

Yeah, it was down in calendar for Friday. All week I had struggled with what day it was. On Wednesday, I thought it was Monday. I just showed up on the wrong day.

Needless to say, I drove straight to Starbucks! I do however know that today is Friday and I am so looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Too much information?

Adoption involves so many joys, so many frustrations, so many hopes, and so many tears. Some people who blog about their adoption choose to focus on the positive. They are still telling the true story but they choose to primarily tell the high points. And I can totally understand why.

So here is my question: How much to share? I'm not talking about privacy. I won't be sharing my children's every personal detail; I know better than that. But during this process, how much is too much information?

I don't want to scare people away from adoption but in a way I sometimes feel that by sharing more it might actually encourage adoption, that a person might feel like they actually know what is involved and be encouraged by feeling like they can handle that.

So what do you think? You can post a comment, reply on facebook, email, whatever works. Keep in mind that while I am inviting opinion, I am not inviting judgement (judgement of what I write or of what other people write). But I do want to hear what is helpful and/or interesting.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book Review: I was a really GOOD MOM before I had kids

My sister (and her husband of course) gave me this book for Christmas. I really enjoyed reading it. The authors write about the modern day pressures, both from others and from self, to be supermom. It is full of funny quotes from moms about their "dirty secrets" such as purposely letting the milk run out so that she has to make a run to the store alone and then savors the peace and quite the whole way. I highly suggest this book to anyone who is a mom (with little children or grown children) or who is planning to become a mom someday. If you are interested, let me know and I'll let you borrow it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Why is an orphan an orphan?

Why is an orphan an orphan? This is a question I never asked back in the day. An orphan is someone who has no parents and no family to take them in, right? The only other children up for adoption are babies born to 16 year old girls who aren't ready to be mothers, right?

It's just not that simple. It's not pretty. It's painful.

Some "orphans" are truly parentless. Why are they parentless? Rarely it is due to a car accident or something like that which comes to your mind. Most parentless children are orphaned due to preventable causes like HIV or malaria.

Some "orphans" have parents whose parental rights have been terminated. This is not very common, especially when you are looking at adoption in sub-Saharan Africa.

Some "orphans" have parents who abandon them. They leave them for all of the possible reasons imaginable. Perhaps they hope that their child will have a better chance if abandoned and put up for adoption. Perhaps they are selfish. In these cases it is often unknown.

Some "orphans" are babies that we normally don't call "orphans". They are what you first picture when you hear the word "adoption". They are infants, relinquished at birth to a couple just bursting with joy at opportunity to take this baby home, give this baby their family name, and call them "my son" or "my daughter".

Some "orphans" have parents who love them dearly. The children know and love their parents. So why on earth would a parent part with their beloved children? Because they must. Because they love their children too much to risk their children's lives and well being for the dear sweetness of keeping their family together. Can you imagine being stricken with such poverty that you believe your child is actually better off going through the trauma of being placed in an orphanage and then entrusted to a stranger to raise as their own? Is it right that a parent should have to give up a child out of poverty? How is that fair to the parents or children? If it comes to be that my children come from this scenario, how will I feel watching my children grieve the loss of their birth family knowing that this was all caused by a lack of money?

Why do I share this with you? I guess I am just processing this myself. I am trying to come to terms with the last scenario. This process has brought me to face questions of global equality.

For 13 years now I have been wanting to adopt and yet I am learning that adoption always comes with trauma and pain. Any reason that causes a child to be separated from his or her parents is traumatic, even if given up at birth. Adoption is blessed by God but that doesn't mean it isn't without its scares.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Adoption is a Family Affair

This book, Adoption is a Family Affair, is part of our required reading. (No, I'm not joking. You actually get a list from your agency of required reading.) This book is not a mainstream book and so it was published on a more small scale. It does have a fair number of typos and not all aspects of it will apply to all families, but definitely still worth reading. It is a very quick read. I think my mom read it in 2 hours.

The fact is that when you decide to adopt, you make that decision for your family and friends too. All of a sudden they have to rethink what they expected and try to figure out what the right thing to say and do is in all of this. It's not their decision and yet it impacts them. For that reason I think this is a great book for anyone who is: adopting, thinking about adopting, related to someone who is adopting, and/or friends with someone who is adopting. Whether you agree or disagree with that loved one's decision, this book will help you think through your own thoughts, how to handle things, and what you can do to be supportive.

Josh & I already read it. My parents read it while we were in Mexico. And my mother-in-law has it now. It is currently available on for just $2.40 or you are welcome to borrow my copy once it circles through those of my family who want to read it. Just say the word.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Many Uses of Coconut Oil

Recently I came across a recipe for homemade deodorant. Now you might ask why a person would ever want to go making deodorant but the answer seems quite obvious, because you can! Besides that, it seems more natural (all the chemicals we use in life kinda freaks me out) and it could possibly save money.

How did it go, you ask? Pretty good. I like it and think it actually works better than the store bought stuff. But my skin seems irritated by its granular nature. My mom said that it didn't bother her skin so I am going to try it again in a month or so and see if I get any different results.

One of the primary ingredients is coconut oil and the jar I bought is much larger than what I needed so I have lots of leftovers. It turns out that there are lots of uses for coconut oil. There are many cooking uses but the most interesting to me is the applications for healthy hair. My mom and I made the deodorant together and during that time we read on the side of the jar that the oil was good for hair so of course we had to try it. It seemed to be beneficial but I think it is something that you have to do more than once to really see the results so I am trying it again right now. (I put it in my hair an hour ago and I will wash it out in the shower in the morning.)

When we came to the fork in the road from wanting to adopt from Russia to wanting to adopt from Ethiopia (which later changed to wanting to adopt from Ghana), one of my first thoughts when considering Ethiopia was 'if I get a little girl I won't know how to do her hair.' This felt so silly and yet I couldn't figure out how I could be a good mom to a child if I couldn't handle this most basic need.

Someone turned me on to a fantastic blog site called Happy Girl Hair. (I am so sorry to the person who gave me the tip of this site because I can't remember who it was.) It is written by a white woman who adopted 2 girls from Ethiopia. Her examples are so very helpful to moms, especially to moms with daughters who have a totally different type of hair than their own. I love this site because she goes step by step through all kinds of hair styles, gives updates as to how those styles held up, and reviews on products.

It turns out that there is a whole world of hair products out there that I never even knew about. And one of the hair products/treatments that she recommends is... you guessed it! Coconut oil! So I am one step closer to being ready to bring home a little girl. We do not have a preference of boys vs girls, but if we do have a daughter I know that I will love reading through Happy Girl Hair in detail.

Oh, and the coconut oil left on your hands from spreading in your hair, its good for your skin too!Josh officially thinks I am crazy for making my own deodorant and putting coconut oil in my hair, but I'm okay with that. :)