Thursday, January 28, 2010

Still waiting....Still waiting..

Still waiting...

Yep, the beginning of a new period of waiting. Waiting for the specific child that will be matched with us. Why her, why us? I remember wondering about that before Eli came home. And now, he has just begun to wonder the same.

I like to say it was meant to be....but the randomness of it is what is scary to him, to us. How do so many stories work out? I think it has to do with opening your heart and letting the love in. Connecting with your baby, your child, whomever they are and accepting them. It starts there and grows and grows. That is what we dream about now, with whomever, wherever our daughter is, now....

I think that this aspect of opening to a person who is a stranger when you first meet is scary for so many people, especially for those who come from traditional families. Family is something that looks like you, sounds like you, comes from you. This is the basic things we learn, before we can talk.

With adoption, it starts with the heart and has to continue with the heart. You cant take connecting with your child for granted, you must slow down and do so, and it isnt always easy. Attachment style is something that you get, left over from your family and from their family - the people that have raised you and those before you. Both the leftovers and the best they could do.

Yes, my grandmother was a motherless daughter; my mother is an excellent mom, but when Eli hit 3 or 4, I found myself, unconsciously "running" away, walking in the other room, to clean, to do an errand, to be alone, I guess - but it wasn't planned. It was a compulsion, that felt like it came from outside of me. I had to stop, and sit and just be with him, and with myself to let it go. It didn't take an enormous change, but I had to figure out what was going on to try and change it. It took about 3 months to at least make a dent in it.

I once read, in ADOPTIVE FAMILIES Magazine, that some adoptive families reported that many people, family and friends, often "discourage" a second adoption. As much as they love your first child by adoption, they have forgotten how they opened their hearts, they have forgotten their fear of the stranger, of the new. You just have to be brave, just a little brave.

Once we have a picture, then the waiting will be come excruciating. Oh well, we have waited two years, so far, lets just put it in the bank. I guess she doesn't like to be rushed, she likes to make an entrance.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The path to Ethiopia....

Some thoughts on our journey.

I don’t know what is going on. But this is some of how we got here.

2 years ago we started a journey. In fact, almost two years ago to the day. I have an email to our homestudy agency asking about programs and referring to a phone call... on Jan 21, 2008.

Eli, (Guatemala) is 5 1/4 now and has been waiting patiently for two years for his baby sister. Since he was 3 and a half! Eli is wonderful. He is such a happy kid. He is in Pre-K and his school rocks. They are studying mushrooms and lichen at school; we are making a spore print right now. He just had his first guitar lesson – after picking his own instrument. I am so proud of how hard he is working at it. It is a joy to hang out with him. I said to him this week, “you know, I am a weird mom,” and he said, eyes big, and in love, “No, you’re not, you’re perfect just the way you are.” Oh, the love of a 5 year old. Such a beautiful thing.

So, two years ago, we decided to try and adopt another child, and had the countries that we qualified to be AP's in narrowed to Thailand and Kyrgyzstan, a new program. We chose the Kyrgyz Republic. Eli had a teacher’s aid from there, we had her over and were so very excited. We bought books, we read them, we were ready. Waiting, paper in country. It felt perfect.

Then, last year, while waiting for a referral, I noticed that the adoptions in Kyrgyzstan were stalled.

I told Mitch, I think we need to change countries. We were so disappointed, especially Eli. When we told him, he cried, and then got angry with me. I didn’t realize, as we had had several months to process the change, to grieve, and to start to move on; we told him after the grownups had worked through the change. It was hard work, I felt so sad about saying goodbye to Kyrgyz. We had felt an energy from there, wanting to come home to us; and then later, we also felt it’s absence, but we knew it was the right thing.

Our agency didn’t really believe the country was closed, and we instigated the change, which was stressful. The homestudy update took forever and I began to lose my patience. Some people on the internet said their agencies just transferred their dossiers; we had to create a whole new one, and it felt as if it took longer than the original homestudy. Our homestudy agency said that Thailand was now closed to us. This was disappointing as it turns out that Thailand has one of the most honest adoption programs in the world. Hind sight is always crystal clear.

So, we choose a new country, Ethiopia. I had been drawn to it from the beginning and my DH jumped on board. Our family is an adoptive, interracial family and we felt keeping it on an international path felt right. That is a different, and very long story, but one simple reason is that we wanted our children to have a similar experience, being from a land far away. I had been drawn to adoption in Ethiopia and was again, and ultimately, we decided.

The approval came in and our paperwork was finalized the first week of July. We moved houses July 2nd, and after the dust settled from the 4th of July, I went and had the last of the documents notarized and apostiled, and copied them (way more complicated once they have special notary and state stamps....what a pain, add to that, I had bring the printer from the old house to the new house and set it up, what a crazy mess) and mailed them off to the “in-country” agency. They had them stamped in DC and sent to Ethiopia. Our paperwork was registered August 21.

I looked at the web site, and we are pretty close to next in line. There are a few names around our time-line, so I am sure it will work out; no one registered is before us. We were originally told 3 months to referral, then 5, and now it looks like six. I hope we have a referral by March. Still, the timelines are very short compared to all the other agencies I looked at; hopefully it will happen someday.

Today, I have been thinking about our multitude of reasons for having trouble waiting for a referral; waiting for a baby. It hasn’t always worked for us, sometime spectacularly so. First, losing Zeno. Then, luck, we had Eli come home, and so very young, like magic; we couldnt believe he would ever come home, and then he did. Then Kyrgyz, and the journey stopped there and the tragedy of families caught in the shuffle. Now, a new country, waiting, maybe, maybe, maybe.....

One thing I lost in the middle of this journey, the Kyrgyz group. Such an amazing group of individuals. Lots of smart, level heads, with good ideas to contribute, a real community. I have not had as much luck yet with finding anything similar in the Ethiopia world, but I hope I do someday.

Another thing? belief that a child will come home.

I feel as if International Adoption & transracial adoption are undergoing huge changes. Sometimes it feels as if they are under attack. At the same time, I do believe in supporting families, in helping children stay with families, when possible. I also think that children should be with forever families at a young age, if they can, and I believe in honest adoptions. How these statements go together is a very complicated tapestry at this point, but I dont believe they are incompatible.

I feel that for most people, matching their family is one of the most basic premises, coded in from infancy. To support a family bonded in difference with love is hard for some people to understand.

It is no longer hard for me to understand. It is home.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Again with the Rain

Okay, so a year has passed, and I havent written in this blog. Time is now to start.

Today we did not receive a referral. We have been waiting 5 months since our paperwork was registered and this week I got really excited because our adoption rep was visiting Ethiopia and said he was going to get referrals.

He did. Just not ours.

For those in the peanut gallery that care, we are an adoptive family, awaiting a infant or toddler girl from Ethiopia. I think the age range is 9-18 months, but until we have a picture and a hopefully correct birth date, we know nothing.

My response to the wait:

Read the groups. Stop reading the groups. stop entirely. Stop posting.

here I am.