Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Heavy Heart

Lately I have been thinking much about the ethics and necessity of adoption.

I've been reading about birth parents and grown adoptees, their heartbreaks and struggles. I've been reading the opinions of those that think adoption is evil, and that adoptive parents buy children. I've been reading more moderate opinions of those that think (IMO rightfully so) that there is a lot wrong with adoption today, and there needs to be a sweeping reform.

I've been thinking about how I can justify fulfilling my desire to adopt while there are so many things that need to be changed about adoption. The last thing I want is to contribute to a first mother losing her child, just because I want to adopt. Would I be doing that? I know there are those that believe we a-parents are the root of all evil and without us most children would be growing up with their birthfamily. They call us greedy and naive.

Some people believe that all a-parents are rich and infertile, and adoption is the only way they can have children. But that's not the case. Most families who adopt are middle class, and many of us struggle with the cost of adoption. And yes, 80% of couples adopt after infertility, but that still leaves 20% of people who choose adoption over having biological children. Are there people who would do anything to have a child, even if it meant knowingly taking away children from their families? I am sure. Does this represent the majority of a-parents? No.

It's our responsibility as a-parents to be fully informed about all aspects of adoption, but it is hard to find objective information. Is there even such a thing in adoption? I am beginning to think that there is very little information that isn't somehow "tainted" in one way or the other. It is such an emotional topic for all that are involved, and many seem to paint adoption in a way that makes them feel better about the role that they play in it, whether they're first mothers, adoptees, or a-parents.

I am having a hard time coming up with an answer to the question: If it weren't for international adoption, would my child not grow up in a family? That's what our family should be - a last resort for this child.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

Today seems to be THE day to officially acknowledge all the things we Americans are grateful for. While I did not grow up celebrating Thanksgiving (being German and all), I have come to like the tradition of saying out loud what we are grateful for in our lives at least once a year. Also, I love me some Thanksgiving food!

So here is my list:

Every day I am grateful for the life I have had so far, it's been amazing!
Despite all the differences I have had with my parents over the years (and still do) I am so thankful for all they have done for me. As children we take everything for granted, but I can now see the sacrifices they have made. I'm sure that soon I will value them even more as I find out how hard being a parent really is.

I'm grateful to have a husband who is on the adoption rollercoaster right alongside me, even though he doesn't seem to notice the ups and downs as much as I do.

I am thankful to have friends to share my life with, be they near or far.

In these difficult times I am so grateful to have a home to call our own (well, really the bank can call it its own), and to be able to live comfortably. While I would clearly love to win the lottery and give up my job to hang out a home all day, I am so thankful that both the husband and I are employed.

I am thankful to be the servant to two amazing little kitties who make our lives so much brighter and keep us on our toes.

And I am grateful to be on the journey to completing our family. What a ride it's been already!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanks for Asking!

Today I had lunch with a co-worker and she asked all about our adoption.
It felt so so SO good to have someone asking sincere questions, without making any assumptions about anything - the process, me, my husband, the child, the birthparents, or the Korean adoption program.

It was so nice to be able to just talk about how it all works and how exciting this is for us, and to actually be heard.

I think that I am also learning an important lesson here. I always have been one to quickly assume things and come up with my own theory on things that happen to other people, whether I know anything about the situation or not. And yet there are few things that annoy me more than people making assumptions about the adoption instead of asking me about it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Fernweh is a German word that means the opposite of Heimweh.
Heimweh can easily be translated into homesickness. Fernweh is an aching for foreign places. I have been suffering from one or the other my entire life, and right now I am experiencing Fernweh for Korea.

I just can't wait to go to Korea!
Not only because when we go to Korea we will be adding a member to our family, but also because I can't wait to see the country that I have been reading so much about over this past year.

I love to travel, and have not done any international travel since I came to the US over 5 years ago (other than going home to Germany twice, and that doesn't count). I so can't wait to be immersed in another culture, albeit it will only be for a week. While I'd love to stay longer when we go, we won't be able to take custody of our child until the last day in Korea, and completing our family takes priority over sightseeing. Of course the German in me wants to stay for at least a month, but I guess the American and most of all the mother in me will prevail.

I'm already thinking of things to do while we are there. Yes that is crazy since we still have such a long time to go!

One thing I would love to do is take a Korean cooking class. It kind of combines my two passions in life - travel and food. There can't be a better way to learn about Korean cooking than in Korea. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

Seriously, I am so ready to go!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Second hand pregnancy

One of my best friends is currently pregnant with her first baby, and she is due in May (around the same time we are hoping to receive our referral).

Since my baby will come ready made, so to speak, I really have not thought much about pregnancy and fetus development beyond potential health problems our child might have.

While I am attending waiting parents meetings, reading about attachment, and learning about Korea, she is going to doctor's appointments, reading "What to Expect When You're Expecting", and learning about her growing baby. And I am learning all kinds of things about pregnancy and how babies develop, which I would have never known otherwise. Like how fetuses are covered in fuzz and pee in the mom's womb. Those may have been bits of knowledge that I could've lived without, but it's really cool for me to experience pregnancy "second hand" because after all, our baby developed in its first mom's womb and its life did not start as a 9 month old (or however old it may be at that time) when it comes home.

It is great to be on the path to motherhood at the same time, and while our paths to get there are different, in the end we'll still have many of the same joys and worries.

In the meantime, I will enjoy unpasteurized cheese, salami, and cocktails!

One year ago today

On November 15th of last year, we spent the day at our adoption agency for our pre-adoption class. How can it have been a year already?

We were a mixed crowd, with three couples pursuing international adoption, and three couples in the domestic adoption program. Some of us already had children at home, others would be waiting for their first child. One couple was actually expecting their first child through birth at that time.

What stayed with me, even after a year, is the amazing experience of realizing that adoption feels like the right way to build our family. This event is also when I learned to always bring tissues to adoption events. Our group discussed issues of fertility (or rather lack thereof), race, raising a child from a different culture, and incorporating the first family into our lives, and at some point or another every woman in the room was in tears.

The most important part of the day were our speakers. They included a first mother who made an adoption plan for her daughter (for an open adoption), an adoptee who is now in reunion with her first family, and adoptive parents who brought their son home from Korea a few months earlier. Especially having the birth mother and adoptee there to speak to us was such an important experience. When in real life would we ever be able to ask such personal questions and actually have them answered?

Unfortunately we lost touch with most of the couples, but I did meet a good friend that day who is also waiting for her child from Korea. I do know that one of the couples in the domestic program was matched with their son this year and I am so happy for them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Where is God in all of this?

Do I dare discuss religion?

Many adoptive parents believe that it was God who gave them the miracle of their child, and many times when the wait seems to become unbearable, advice and consolation such as "God's timing is perfect" is given.

But shouldn't God have given our child's birth parents the miracle of raising their child, and shouldn't God have made the timing perfect for this child's biological parents? Why should His timing be perfect for us but not them?

I really have a hard time with the notion that God meant this child to grow up with us as their parents. Surely He did not mean for a birth mother to go through so much pain and anguish so I could experience the joy of parenting her child. How can He plan for one woman to have to make such a difficult choice and a child to experience so much loss?

I am struggling with wrapping my head around the concept that this is how things were meant to be, for all that are involved.

I have always believed that things in my life have happened for a reason, and it's been an amazing ride. And while I can embrace that adoption is a miracle in my life, my heart breaks for this unknown woman who will go through a loss I cannot even begin to imagine, and I currently fail to see how this pregnancy could have happened for a reason that will ultimately lead her to a place of happiness.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We're two months into our official wait!

Not that I'm counting ....

Going by the current averages for our agency we're only 4-6 months away from our referral! That's assuming that we will fall into that average time span, which I am certainly hoping! I know there's nothing for granted in international adoption and that timeframes change on a whimsy, but it's good to feel like we are making some progress here. Hopefully we'll have the little one home next fall! I'm already so excited about travelling to Korea and it sounds like late summer/fall would be a beautiful time to go.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

While we're waiting...

Waiting. Is that a synonym for adoption? It sure seems like it is! There's the wait to wait, the wait for referral, and then the wait for travel. Oh yeah, and then the wait until finalization. That's a lot of waiting!

In an effort to do something useful with the time, we've thought long and hard about the things we need to or want to do now, before the little one comes home. 

1. Weekends away!

We both love to travel, and we might not be travelling for a while once we add baby to the family. We started with a night at a B&B in Charlottesville, which was FABULOUS. We're also planning on a night in NYC before Christmas (or at least a day).

2. Home improvement

This sounds so much better in theory. We're decked out with home improvement books and have a list of things we'd love to do with our home, but as it turns out, it is taking us 2 whole days just to recaulk our shower. Maybe this isn't our forte!?

3. Photography

I finally want to learn more about taking pictures! I love to snap photos, but am the most impatient person in the world. I have vowed to learn the ins-and-outs of my camera before we go to Korea so I can shoot incredible pictures.

4. Back to learning Korean

So it's been a while since our Korean class and unfortunately it seems as if we've forgotten most of it. Hubby brought home Korean CD's from the library and that's what we're listening to during our commutes. Something will stick!

I'd love to join another class, but there doesn't seem to be much close to home.

I'm pretty sure that this list will continue to grow.


Speaking of waiting, this weekend my heart goes out to all Eastern families who found out that their travel will be delayed for several months. Instead of the typical 3-5 month wait after referral to bring their children home, they are now facing a wait that may take up to 8 -9 months after referral.