Tag Archive | adoption

Birds of a multi-coloured feather

Last week I finally made it back to my adoptive mother’s group after a very long hiatus.  This year’s groups are going to be more structured so I definitely feel it will keep it more interesting and helpful.  Since I’ve been feeling the need to explain adoption more to Boo, I really needed the advice I got from those who travel the same path I do.  And it also got me thinking about creating his lifebook.  You know the one I was supposed to do 3 years ago.  Seems like I’m not the only one who’s been procrastinating.  It seems like a fairly easy thing but really it can be quite daunting.  First of all, being the grown up you could think that the book is geared towards an adult mind and all of a sudden you’re thinking what do I say? How much information do I put in?  What pictures shall I use?  Shall I use prints (ahem, who does that anymore?) or start one of those fancy scrapbooking things or photobook?  You see what I mean?  It starts getting complicated and I started to get overwhelmed and life just got in the way.  One mother showed us hers and it was just simple photos and simple facts.  Nothing fancy or elaborate, just handwritten.   Time just goes on and I realize that believing that we wished for him won’t always be sufficient.  Just the other day, I started asking him if he knew what a birthmother was and that I didn’t give birth to him and then the next thing I know he wants to know why my uterus is broken, and look! my arm goes like this, mama.

I don’t know if anybody realizes this, but adoptive parents are always thinking about the future of their child while simultaneously trying to safeguard their histories and prepare them from a random stranger’s curiosity.  Hell, we have to prepare ourselves to deal with the rude, intrusive things that people say. “How much did your children cost?”, “Who are his REAL parents?”, “Where did you get her?” and my personal favourite if you are black, “Where are you from?”.  Cause apparently you can’t be from here. I have dealt with that question my ENTIRE life.  Just the other day my girlfriend and I took our kids to play in one of those jungle gym type places in a nearby mall and as we were saying our goodbyes in Walmart, this woman sees me and my son and starts commenting that my son is so cute.  Well, that’s always nice, right?   Then it’s like, “Oh, I think African American children are so cute” …OMG here we go…. and then she launches into a story about a woman she knew from Barbados and how delightful she was punctuated with her constantly trying to grab my hand in a show of kumbaya we are all one moment. “Where are you from?”  “Here.  Him too.” “Well, we’re all from somewhere else aren’t we?”  NO, I AM NOT KIDDING!  She would not take a breath and she would not stop blabbing, “Oh, look I’m so fair, I’m whitey and your are blackie and it just doesn’t matter….” Uh, yes, I did look for signs of developmental delay but perhaps she had no filters.  Sigh.  This, sadly, is not the only time this has ever happened to me. Luckily, we managed to disengage eventually and go about our business. I suppose I should be glad she didn’t start touching my hair. Or Boo’s.

I learned a wonderful, compassionate phrase – “I think what you mean to say is…..” and rephrase it for the insensitive and possibly offensive question that was asked. Adoptive parents don’t have to satisfy people’s curiosity while they are with their kids in a grocery line.  Their children do not need to answer question either.  One mother taught her daughter to say, “You don’t need to know that.” Hubby thinks women are just too nice and should be prepared to tell people when they are being rude and intrusive.  Or to go f***  themselves.  You can tell he’s never at a loss for words, huh?

So parenting is parenting, no matter what, but transracial adoptive parenting is a bit more complex.  And if you’ve never been in the minority, well…. you will have your eyes awakened in a way you could never imagine.

Hey, everybody, let’s adopt!

Well, I suppose you’ve all heard about the Russian adoption story that is in the news.  I’ve read A & A’s take on it and she says it much better than I could.  She’s actually spent a great deal of time in Russia as well so her perspective is very interesting.  I can’t fathom “returning” a child but it’s not the first time I’ve heard of it. Perhaps Oprah will have her on for an interview.  She had Nadya Suleman on and asked her if she had ever considered putting any of her 14 children in foster care or adoption.  Seriously?  Just in case you missed it, Oprah, she paid big money to get knocked up.  And she got her wish, all under the age of 5.  I’m betting in a year she’s putting herself up for adoption.

Here’s another Russian adoption story that’s not going to get the same amount of press.  It reminded me of my recent post about people thinking I’m some sort of saint by adopting.  I’m sure there’s various reasons for people wanting to adopt internationally, but why do people insist that you “buy American” or “buy Canadian”?  They’re not cars, folks.  They’re not produce.  It’s not about reducing carbon footprints.  Mind you, that’s usually from people who have no idea what adoption truly entails, and have no intention of taking a child out of foster care  or an orphanage anyway.  That’s solely the responsibility of infertile people and celebrities.  Oh, and missionaries… don’t get me started.

Selfish me

I meant to get to this earlier but congratulations to the province of Quebec for moving forward to fund infertility treatments. I went to the CBC news site and I read a few of the comments.  Not all of them of course, because it degenerates in the usual flaming between the same people.  I’d like to address one argument though – that it’s the unselfish thing to do to adopt, particularly for infertile people.  Why doesn’t EVERYONE look at adoption to build their family?    That’s a rhetorical question. Now I know more than a few people, online and IRL who once they found out they couldn’t conceive for whatever reason, went straight to adoption.  Didn’t even skip a beat or try all sorts of medical juju. Cool.  Wish I were one of them, would have saved myself a LOT of heartache.  Oh, how I miss having swollen ovaries.

I took the Precious to the immigration doctor yesterday who happens to be in the same clinic as his regular doctor.  You have to pay $160 for this exam, ostensibly because of the extra paperwork.  He listened to his heart, that’s it. He doesn’t really need to do anymore because his entire medical records are in the computer system and his GP is at the next station, so if she says he’s healthy, he’s healthy.  Swell.  Anyways, I’m telling you this because we chatted a bit and he remarked, “So you tried to have your own and you couldn’t?” Yep.  I look young but my eggs are done.  “Well, good for you.  You’re a lucky little guy!”  Meaning you did the right thing and adopted.  I’m a F**** saint, sure.  That might apply if I was walking along the streets of a tiny, drought ridden African nation and I tripped over a baby in a pile of dung and rescued the poor little thing from being stomped on by an ox being driven by bloodthirsty war- mongering rebels.  THEN I’d be a saint.  Actually, I was just desperate to be a mother. Philanthropy had NOTHING to do with it.

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough, you know that I did not set out to adopt my first child.  Frankly, once the IVF money train started, and IF I had conceived and delivered, I highly doubt I would have adopted an infant.  We MIGHT have chosen to adopt an older child  since we had talked about it in the abstract.  Those are the what might have beens though.  I consider myself lucky to be where I am now, right at this moment.  Who knows what the future holds?  Grateful to still have my marriage, an incredible kid, a well behaved dog and a view to die for.

The Rainy Season

It occurs to me as I take care of  Precious and Miss JuJu during the day that I’m getting a little annoyed at the presumption that nothing else has to change around here i.e. the laundry, the cleaning, the cooking, the grocery shopping, errand running, the dog walking, just cause I have a baby.  Heaven forbid.  It’s all just a matter of time management.  If I don’t blog, read, eat, or sit down, chant, sleep, comb my hair, take a crap, make a phone call, I too can get everything done.  Just strap the baby in the carrier and away I go.  Those 3am feedings?  EASY.  According to DH.  Grrrr. Oh, don’t worry, he’s cleaning floors and doing laundry and washing dishes too.  (He’s so much better at it than I am.)

We had my mother over on her usual night and hubby had come home from work late and had to take the dog for her usual 5k walk.  I had picked mum up (with baby in car seat), which by the way is never as easy as one would think, as she lives on a locked floor and once you get up there, you have to locate her, get her shoes on, coat on, sign her out, and THEN find someone to let you OFF the floor, got her home, made  chicken casserole (FROM SCRATCH), fed her, and was feeding the baby by the time he came home.  Lucky for me, she could hold the hungry baby (albeit briefly) while I cooked the chicken.  Was that the same night I took her home and then went to the grocery store and then brought Dairy Queen home cause DH put a coupon in my purse?  Oh, no, sorry, that was another night.  One of the other nights where I put in another load of laundry in before I collapse into bed just to get up 45 minutes later cause the Precious is awake again. (FYI – High efficiency washers are great for your hydro bill but one  load takes about 90 min. so you could end up doing laundry ALL DAY.) By Friday, I’m a little worn. DH comes to the rescue and does the after midnight feedings.  You know, the aforementioned EASY ones.

For just a little while, I just wanted to take care of the Precious and do nothing else.  Hahahaha.  That must have been my mommy tiara talking.  Please excuse me.  I bow to my mother and all the mothers who never heard of diaper wipe warmers.

I made the decision to not work p/t  this month  because I recognized how tired and stressed I was getting and now 2 months later, I’m irritated.  Irritated that I will have to go back to work next month. Irritated that neither DH or I have parental leave.  I’ve rattled my acting agent’s cage, but the Olympics are days away here so NOTHING is going to happen next month.   Cause the adoption bills keep rolling in.

I think we both want this to be over and DH would like to close ranks (he was never a fan of open adoption).  I’m not sure how to navigate this period in our lives when we are not quite done with the adoption process.  I feel like I’m in charge of everyone’s emotional well-being and it’s a bit overwhelming.  How on earth do women with aging parents and f/t jobs and other responsibilities handle all of this? Yikes!

Tired, happy, annoyed

I’ve been a titch miserable with work on my mind (I stupidly took on more work from home and now I’m freaked out and tired) and trying to be super mom at the same time.   Note to self:  time to start saying no again.   I can’t continue to DO EVERYTHING as if nothing has changed in my life.  I just want to enjoy this holiday season with my new son.

I always get stressed at Christmas time; it’s usually filled with frantic gift buying, parking woes and reminders of my fractured family. I’ve yet to tell my eldest sister of our news.  What has helped is having an open house to welcome Special K to our community.  This weekend my friend and I took our babies to a Buddhist meeting and we were presented with a beautifully crafted cake welcoming them to the SGI family.  I was so touched, I cried.  I let them know how much their prayers and support over the years had meant to me.  The following day, more  friends came over to take a peek at the little guy.  The guys had some beers and the women had some wine.  One highlight was seeing my husband’s friend and their son they had adopted from Ethiopia  earlier this year.  I saw him and tears sprang to my eyes.  Gorgeous, simply gorgeous and running around checking out everything.  They had gone through a 2 year saga to bring him home.  Frig, if people only knew what some people are willing to go through to bring home a child!

I saw no need for a shower per se as we have so much already but I wanted everyone who cared about us to enjoy this time with us. Of course, we did get a few more gifts and more importantly, wine for me!  It was awesome because I didn’t have to endure stupid baby shower games and tales of labour and delivery.  How refreshing!

One thing I’ve noticed since I’m now toting a baby around is people’s reaction.  Of course, there are a number of people (our neighbours for instance) who had no idea we were adopting and are scratching their heads cause 1) they can’t recall seeing me pregnant and 2) Special K is a lot darker than my husband.  I don’t want to preface my introduction of my son with “adopted” every single time because of course that leads to a lot more questions that I don’t care to answer from casual acquaintances.  I just smile and accept the compliments on my figure.

Having a newborn child invites a great deal of scrutiny and comment, particularly from women.  I’m sure pregnant women have already experienced this phenomenon when strangers start grabbing their bellies and inquiring about birth plans and such.  Having missed that stage myself, I am now getting all sorts of unsolicited advice and information.  Mothers of all ages are the worse offenders.  If they know me, they assume my inexperience and ignorance is ongoing and they have to tell me what I simply MUST do.  Now since most of my friends have kids, they must have viewed my childless lifestyle as one of jetsetting and debauchery.  Which is true.  But I’m a woman of a certain age and I actually also know how to read a book and all infertiles have a degree from the University of Google.  Most of it is innocent, you know how women talk, but other times it’s disconcerting. If I want to know something, I’ll ASK, so shut up already.

A woman at my husband’s office, was kind enough to give us a gift of a beautiful quilt.  I’ve only met her once, but whatever.  Inside the chicken soup for mothers book she gave me (uhh, maybe one day I’ll read it) was a heartfelt note  followed by another one proffering advice about adoptive breastfeeding.  HUH?????   I met her once, people.  Once.  Ugh.

Patience is a virtue

Off we went into the city for an early court date.  Late last night  there was a snow warning so when I woke up, I was relieved to see it hadn’t snowed but it was very cold.

Our local lawyer met us there and she was wonderful.  Finally someone we could take our hand and navigate us through the process with humour and understanding.  When we were called into court, the judge looked over our papers, made a few nice comments (very handsome man by the way) and then congratulated us.  As we left, the tears begin to flow down my face.  I could have cried some more but there was more paperwork to file, so off we went and eventually made our way to get a picture taken of Baby K.  Of course, they wanted his eyes opened and then began a series of ridiculous attempts to get him to open his eyes.  Cold water on his feet, cold diaper wipes on his privates (he just peed and squeezed his eyes tighter).  Then the photographer had to leave for some reason.  Two minutes later, K opened his eyes and stared up at me.  A nearby clerk grabbed the camera and tried to get a picture.  Then the guy came back and his eyes went shut again but then after I fed him a bit, he relaxed and opened his eyes.  Hubby had to leave to go to another government office.  Finally, I propped up his head and they got a shot.  We took the photos to the passport office and proceeded to wait for an hour.  Now the mood at this office was a bit snippier.  The first person we spoke to announced that we had to have an appointment.  Hubby replied humbly that the judge had said it would be okay but that didn’t satisfy her at all.  We were huffily passed on and when we finally got up to the window, no one knew what to make of the papers we were given to specifically give to the passport office.  We waited our turn.  I fell asleep.  And then! Hubby had filled out a sheet and signed it mistakenly.  He filled it out again.  And somehow signed it  AGAIN even though the clerk said not to sign until after we had sworn to its veracity. And then!   The photos were deemed unusable.  My hand was propping up his newborn head.  We had to come back after lunch.  We were directed to a Walgreen’s, but it was cold and the wind was freezing and the first place we saw when we left was a photo studio.  We’re hauling him around in a sheepskin lined car seat.  They said his eyes had to be open, but the supervisors no, no, they had seen him, he could keep his eyes closed.  So we go to this supposed photography studio, come back and guess what??!!!!  You betcha, the photos were not good – there was too much of his body in the picture.  WHAT!!!! But then, WAIT NO, they would work with them.  Then they poured over our papers like they were written in Sanskript, omg, it just went on and on.  Finally,  were we given the okay to pick up a passport tomorrow.  We left but we couldn’t find the right freeway entrance, the gas gauge binged empty and no gas station was in sight.  BUT WAIT, look, a gas station!  8 hours later, we were back in the hotel.

Oh, and did I tell you I’m on my friggin’ period.

But I’m not complaining and you know why???? Cause I have a son, a beautiful son.