Saturday, January 31, 2009

A World Away

In the next few weeks or months our baby will be conceived.

It is such a weird thought that somewhere on the other side of the world two people are making the child that will be ours to raise. It is easy to forget that while we are waiting impatiently for the arrival of our child, and the thought of holding this baby fills us with love and joy, this time may be one of great sadness and fear in our child's birth parents' lives.

I wonder what circumstances our child will be conceived under. Are the birth parents in love? Do they even know each other beyond a brief encounter? What tragic circumstances will make them consider not raising this child themselves? When and how will the birth mom find out about the pregnancy? Will the birth dad even know? Will the birth mom be loved and will she have support? Or will she be all alone?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Two Different Kinds of Love

I saw this hanging at our adoption agency the other day and almost burst into tears even though I usually despise sappy poems (those darn adoption hormones LOL).

Once there were two women who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.

Two different lives shaped to make you one.
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.

The first one gave you life, and the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love. The second was there to give it.

One gave you a nationality. The other gave you a name.
One gave you a talent. The other gave you aim.

One gave you emotions. The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile. The other dried your tears.

One sought for you a home that she could not provide.
The other prayed for a child and her hope was not denied.


And now you ask me, through your tears,
the age-old question unanswered through the years.
Heredity or environment, which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling. Neither. Just two different kinds of Love.


If you've been smart enough to live in the same state your entire life, never had a speeding ticket, haven't been divorced, and have never been caught shoplifting when you were 14, gathering your paperwork for the homestudy really isn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be. Is is it a hassle? Yes, but it is absolutely doable in a short time frame.
While every state has different regulations, here are some of the things we have had to gather: FBI check, Child Protective Services background check, driving records, physical, fire escape plan, financial statements, vaccination records for the furry baby, employment letters... This is in addition to the obvious, such as birth certificates and marriage license. Doesn't sound so bad, right? Well, it really isn't. We had all of our paperwork together in a few weeks. All the paperwork for the state we live in now, that is. While we've loved the nomadic lifestyle we've lived in the past few years, now it is a major pain to get all of those papers together. Our agency couldn't help us out at all and quickly became non-responsive to the questions I sent them. It was up to us to guess what paperwork they needed from which state and which country.
This means more forms, more fees, and, worst of all, more waiting. We'll get to add embassy visits and sending things to foreign countries to the list. And every time we think that now we've figured out all the paperwork we need, something else comes along that we have to track down. For us, this has truly turned into a paperchase.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I'm so sorry you have to adopt

While we've just begun this process, there has already been enough time for people to make inappropriate comments.

I realize that adoption is a foreign concept to many whose lives haven't been touched by it. I still don't know much about it, even after reading and talking about it for several months.

So let me lay it out what adoption means to me, and which comments really push my buttons.

1. I am so sorry you have to adopt.

We don't have to adopt.

Adoption is viewed by many as a last resort for those that weren't lucky enough to become pregnant.
While it is true that we probably wouldn't have pursued this journey had we been successful in TTC, adoption is in no way a second-best choice.
When we revisited our desire to add to our family, I was very clear that I did not want to have a biological child. We by no means exhausted the endless possibilities that fertility treatments offer these days. We didn't even come close.

Adoption is our first choice.

Everyone's journey to adoption is different, but let me tell you that none of us have to adopt. In fact, many of the couples in the process would be devastated to find out that they are pregnant. Our future children are real to us. And they are in no way second best.

2. You are so noble to give a child a good home

We are not adopting a child out of charity. It is a natural way for us to extend our family. This child will not be lucky to have us as parents, but we will be lucky to have our child bless our lives.

3. I could never love a child that is not my own

Neither could I. This child will be my own. I will be his real mother. While we will not create our child's life in a literal sense, we will be there to love and support him or her no matter what. It will not be like our own child, it will be our own child.

Bare your soul

One of the most difficult parts of the process so far has been having to bare our souls to so many strangers. While this is the same thing I am doing on this blog, it is much more difficult to open up in front of others that are there to judge your ability to become a parent. Both Dad-To-Be and I are private people (OK, so he is a lot more private than I am, given that I am publishing this blog), and it is hard to sit in front of someone and talk about the ups and downs in your life and your relationship.

As a part of our paperwork for this adoption, we had to write a 6 - 8 page autobiography summarizing the defining moments in our lives. At first I thought it would be a breeze. I certainly have had a life interesting enough to easily fill 8 pages! But soon I found myself stuck. Reflecting on my life, as blessed as it has been, was a lot harder than I imagined. Rather than taking a brief few hours, as I had anticipated, I labored over this paper for many weekends. My first draft focused on all the difficuties I have had, but with every overhaul I became more and more aware that the harder times in my life really took a backseat to all the amazing things I have been able to experience.

And while I know that writing the autobiography and speaking to our agency and, later on, our social worker, is good, and is necessary, it is still hard to put yourself out there for everyone to judge.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Giving birth to an elephant

Hopefully in about 2 years I will be able to post pictures of our little family of four (I am counting the furry baby).

Our journey to parenthood began last summer when we began thinking about how we should add to our family. With a history of unsucessful TTC in the past (and my unwillingness to revisit those unpleasant times), we quickly began exploring adoption as an option. We got a stack of books, and began attending informational meetings at adoption agencies in the area.

Slowly, we began gravitating towards adopting from Korea. Once this decision was made, all that was left to do was to pick an agency. We chose the agency that responded quickest to our questions, and one that was located in the area we live in.

This process will not be easy, and it will be long. In fact, from today it will probably take just as long as an elephant's pregnancy until we can hold our baby.