Monday, June 25, 2012

Telling the Adoption Story

By now most people understand that keeping the adoption a secret from the adoptive child/person is a bad idea. It is better that the child understands that he or she is adopted as soon as possible. This means that as adoptive parents, we are responsible for telling our son his adoption story. Parents have a variety of ways of doing this. Some have the fortunate situation in which they have back-and-forth contact with the birth parents. Some actually make an adoption book like a baby book or make the adoption forms and other information part of the baby book. There is even a trend of making a storybook specifically about the child's adoption that as they get older can be added to even by them.
John and I have taken the approach in which we talk about it naturally and just make it part of our regular lives and routines. For instance, I keep a picture of CJ and his birth mom on my phone. When we are looking through the pictures as CJ likes to do, we always stop on that one and talk about her and how he is the baby in the picture. It is one of his favorite pictures. And now that he is really talking he will say he is adopted. Actually I am trying to get him to say, I'm adopted, and I'm proud. It's a work in progress.
Months ago, I made the suggestion that we take the kids camping. John ran with it, so this weekend we ended up camping with a group of friends and their kids. It was a ton of fun. You haven't lived until you have watched three toddlers puddle jump until they are covered in mud from top to toe. 
John was very specific about where he wanted us to camp. He wanted to go back to Delaware because he wanted to take CJ back to the hospital where he was born. It was the last thing we did as we were heading home. On the way we talked about everything we did two and a half years ago. Those are the outlets where we shopped, that's the restaurant we ate at, the laundromat John did clothes at until we realized the hotel had machines on every floor, the Wal-Mart John ran to about fifty times. We told Leila how she was there but inside Mommy. And then we turned down a side street and drove past the hospital. John pointed the building out to CJ and told him that was where you were born. How when we walked into her room his birth mom told him, "Look, it's your parents!" and handed him to me.
CJ smiled and points and said, "I born!" He watched the building the whole time we drove around it (We didn't get out. Not that keen on taking my kids into a hospital if we don't need to.). He seemed actually excited. I don't know if he was picking up on the mood we were trying to set, or if he really got what we were saying, but it was a great idea to go. I am so glad John thought of it. It is so important to us to help CJ become comfortable with his adoption. We want it to be a positive thing in his life. And I am always amazed at how much he seems to understand when we talk about it. He wants to know. It is instinctive to know about our families and our origins, especially for adopted people. It was amazing to meet such a milestone for CJ this weekend. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I Wonder

Coltrane is an affectionate kid. He is always ready with a hug and a slobber, er, kiss. More though, he needs affection given to him. CJ will always sleep better if he is being cuddled. He falls asleep more quickly in someone's arms. If he wants to watch a movie, it is not a time for me to get things done while he is occupied. It is lap time, so he can bury his head if he gets a little scared or point out his favorite parts.
Leila is not quite like this. She is a quick love. A little kiss here, a touchdown in the lap there. There is more independence in her. It lies in her fearlessness. She fears nothing, including being alone.
Now, I know this is mostly due to their natures. It is who they are. Some times though, I do wonder, if some of the difference lies in adoption.
Often adopted kids, no matter how much they are loved and love their families, have to go through a process of acceptance. Again it doesn't matter if their birth parents absolutely made the right decision not to parent. It doesn't matter if it was the hardest thing CJ's birth mom ever did to place him in my arms and our care. She still did it. He may have to spend time accepting that she chose not to parent. It was a choice. It was the right choice, but none the less, there can be pain in that.
And I do wonder at what age a child can be aware of that. Could it really be the moment when the only other person he has known, handed him to someone else? Could there be an instinctive remembrance of different? Does the journey toward acceptance start at the moment his mother made that choice? Could there be something in his brain that makes him more affectionate as a way to start on that path even before he understands why?
I know that he knows he is loved. There is no question that he loves us. But perhaps he doesn't take it for granted like his sister does. Perhaps, the showing and the being shown extra love is part of his adoption story.
Probably not. It's probably just his nature, but that doesn't stop me from wondering.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pet Peeve

Here's a pet peeve of mine. Upon hearing the story of my children's births, inevitably there is someone who will say, "See all you had to do was relax to get pregnant." Um, no. First, saying that when I couldn't conceive was utterly non-helpful. Saying it now is just silly and makes you sound like you think you're omnipotent. Second, that time in my life was more stressful than any other I can remember. We'd gone through two failed matches, one of which involved an elaborate lie that kept us on the hook for over a month, and CJ's due date was changed from September to November. His birthmother had issues of her own so contact was spotty at best. We were tied in emotional knots, trying to be excited but so scared of being let down again. And somehow in the midst of all this, one lone sperm found an egg and decided to stay long term paying no attention to John's or my emotional states.
So, please, consider this a PSA. When you run into someone with a similar story, don't bluster. Just be pleased for them, thank God or Fate or The Flying Spaghetti Monster or Chaos, and tell them both kids are adorable. Don't analyze or guess or in any way try to figure out why it happened just glory in the fact that it did.
Thank you for your time.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, October 15, 2010

Innocent Questions without Innocent Answers

At this moment I am trying to think of a time I have gone out in public, mostly shopping, and I haven't been asked about the kids' age difference. I can't think of one single time, and it even goes back to when I was pregnant. I can always see the question in the person's eyes before they even ask. And really, I have no problem explaining our situation, and I haven't gotten any inappropriate responses... yet. (This would include: Do you love them the same? How much did he cost? Why did his mother give him up? Etc.) I do get a lot of stories about other people who had the same thing happen.
My favorite scenarios is the person who pauses for a moment, squints, then tentatively asks, "Are they twins?" Sometimes, I am just tempted to say, "Yes." It's easier. I don't mind explaining myself, but sometimes, I just don't want to tell our family story to everyone.
And I worry about it when the kids get older. They are going to be asked about this a lot. Should they have to explain their story to curious people all the time? And what if they do encounter someone who asks one of those inappropriate follow up questions? Both John and I have read a lot about helping kids deal with these situation, and I think we can give them a good arsonal of replies. Still though, it sucks that they need to have them.
I am a little tempted to just tell them to lie and say they are twins.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

FINALLY Finalization

Ahem, the finalization paperwork came on Saturday August 21st. The hoops have all been jumped through. The legal system now acknowledges what we have known since he was placed in our arms. He is all ours.

Everything, I mean, everything, was worth it. If you are someone who is reading this and waiting for your child, I mean it. EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


That would be Termination of Parental Rights which happened last week. This is a big step. It pretty much means that while we are still not technically the legal guardians (AFTH is.), the birth parents have agreed (whether voluntarily or through no contact) to end all their legal rights as parents. Note: Legal Rights. CJ's mom will still have rights as the woman who gave birth to him and bravely decided to make us a family. That's our decision, not that of a government office.
Anyway, finalization will be in May. Delaware does not require our presence at finalization. At this point we are leaning towards not going as I am not sure how comfortable the car ride will be for my eight month pregnant self.
Oh, yeah, to those who read this blog outside of our sphere, we're having a baby. The kids will be seven months apart. Tee hee?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Breath Deeply

Yesterday was the birth mother's last chance to change her mind. We were pretty confident that she wouldn't, but still, there's a sigh of relief. The paperwork will take a while, but he is pretty much ours for good. Or until he's 18! Thanks, everyone, for all of your support. I can't imagine how we would have don't it without everyone pulling for us.