11:14 AM

My Shift of heart

Let me begin this post with a review of a movie I just watched.
The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins
This is a movie I have wanted to see for a very long time. I have been thinking about how I have changed since I first heard about it in early 2008. If I had viewed it then I think it would have shook me to the core of my beliefs. However viewing it now, I just shook my head and was glad that it was out there and hoped it would come to be the shift in mind set so many others need.
As the movie unfurls we see an egotistic liar scramble and scurry to adopt twins who she falls in love with while working as an artist in Sudan. Now I fully understand that falling in love feeling, like it's me against the world, do what you got to do to get what you love and all that jazz. In fact it is one of the reasons that I have not used my fight-to-end-injustice-passions in practical ways like volunteering at an orphanage. I know that the ego maniac in me could be ignited when faced with the very real love I would feel for real babies in real dire conditions. This my friend is where my empathy for the "art star" ends, because each frame after that just leaves me more and more appalled and scared that she may actually be allowed to adopt the twins and be their mother. I knew at the beginning that this was a story of a woman who adopts after having biological children, she is a preferential adopter. Wow, I think, a movie about an adopter like me, fantastic! At the end of the movie how shamed I am that we fall some how into the same category. Now I know why Thailand does not want preferential adopters, if this is how we are portrayed, I would also forbid any child to be adopted by them.
This movie hit me in a really personal way, because I wished (yes, again) to see a portrayal of my family in the media, to see us, and to fit in. Instead I just found another place that we didn't belong.
Now let me start at the beginning...
Once upon a time I believed that every one should adopt. I found it unbearable to watch people I knew and love spend a kings ransom on fertility treatments all in the quest for your own biological clone. This sum of money could have changed the fates of so many children if only these parents could open their hearts and let go of biology. I still feel that adoption gets over looked because of misconceptions and stereotypes and I would like the general population to change their views about adoption, but I no longer think that every one should adopt.
I think the shift began when I started reading every and any blog I could get my hands on that was adoption related. I started reading blogs from all points of the adoption triad (first family, adoptee and adoptive family). Mostly I began to be repeatedly surprised that it was an adoptive parent who was acting or judging in a way that seemed so destructive to their (future) child. I saw a trend, and I really got that it would be really easy to be an "angry adoptee" when this was a portrait of the normal adoptive parent.
More recently in our PRIDE class (adoptive parenting class mandated by our province) I met a room full of adoptive parents and I hoped that none (save 2 couples) ever got the chance to adopt... well that is a bit harsh, but they needed monumental shifts in their being and in that of their families and communities being first, and I had doubts that this shift would happen in time for the arrival of their child.
By the end of the class I think I got the well deserved reputation of being the lecturing-know-it-all-bitch of the class. I just could not help my self :P
Real quotes from real adoptive parents in my class:
"Our cousin adopted a child from China, she is known as the "freak child" in our family. But we have all grown to love her now."
"Birth mothers give away their children because they live in countries where there are no morals to guide them, they are faithless."
"In other countries it is considered the social norm to abandon children, so that is why they have so many orphans"
"I don't want to tell my child they are adopted, that is why we can't adopt a child of a different race."
Maybe now you can see why I could not keep my mouth shut, or keep the bitch at bay.
So here I am now, on the other side of the shift, oh so aware that adoptive parenting is a life long skill that always needs to be honed. And further more it is a skill that most don't acknowledge or develop past the home study.
So my husband and I entered our PRIDE class glumly the day after hearing about the rule change in Thailand, and we left with a renewed united determination to adopt, one way or another, because we were meant to do it. I think that for him especially seeing the other parents struggle with why those above statements were even wrong assured him that we are naturally inclined to this type of parenting. It eased his fears and let us walk with great unity in our choice. I will never wonder again if he is doing this to appease me, I won't have to suspect his motives. And I am so thankful that he is the only one who has never suggested a pregnancy as our next move or even as a future possibility, because he really and truly get's it. I have a great man, and I never dreamed that I could have a man who would parent with me side by side with as much unity as we have, and I am SO THANKFUL.

3:48 PM

Glimmer of hope

Just came across this post from another Thai blogger. She used a difficult pregnancy letter and is now in Thailand picking up her beautiful baby. It's old info (2008) but it is the closest thing to hope I found in all my stalking erm... researching.
Here is my Glimmer of hope.

8:53 AM

I'm just a soul who's intentions are good, oh lord please don't let me be misunderstud.

If one more person tells me to just get pregnant I am going to scream/melt/cry. I would never betray my daughter that way. That is a betrayal, to drop her at the first sign of challenge to just give up. Who are these well meaning people who know me and love me and yet still timidly suggest that I just re-evaluate and grow a baby instead.
Oh ya, here is another doozy, "the Lord works in mysterious ways" or "all things were meant to be". Very curious things to say to an atheist. Putting that aside, why would this atheist choose now look to a higher power. In this moment that seems to be a cruel twist of fate or at the very least horrible timing I see none of a supposed Lord's involvement and resent you implying that yet another person (in this case some heavenly father in the sky) really feels that I don't deserve/need this child.
On the other hand Buddha and I may be on a journey together right now. That I can wrap my head around. Maybe the universe wants me to learn some things that will make me a better parent to Elora. Maybe this is a step towards letting go of control and the belief that I can possess any thing, let alone particles in space that will one day be my daughter. I know I am filled with want and desire, they are the fuel of my drive and dreams, so I never faulted them. My Husband looks at me with pity and confusion when I grieve for something that was never even mine, some thing I had to right to claim. I think he was born with out desire, he never has to work at giving it up, he is like a natural Buddhist so I think he can not understand why it is hard for the rest of us.
I never asked for enlightenment. I don't know if I can give up desire and still be me. Sylvia falls head over heels, Sylvia loves first and questions later, Sylvia gets what she wants, Sylvia owns her dreams, Sylvia has a daughter named Elora who is waiting for her.
So Buddha, I hope this is not a lesson, or a test to prove I am worthy of your daughter. I would not be at your door asking for her still if I walked a Zen path.

9:26 AM

Time flies when you are having fun

There is this strange phenomenon that happens when you start to parent, time flies. And I mean ZOOMS! I am not sure why but the first year of my son's life was faster then any 12 months I have ever known. It is so cliche when you hear the grannies tell you enjoy it now because it is over too fast, or it seems like it was just yesterday that my little one was crawling and now he is at college. I get it now, and I understand the need to warn every parent behind you how fast it really goes.
I know I am so lucky to have my son with me during my waiting time for Elora. That was not the original plan, but it sure is great that it went this way, because he makes time fly. I think about all my (virtual)friends who are waiting for their little ones in the pre-child movement of time and I wish that we could change it all and make pre-child time fast and post-child time slow, how sweet would that be.
I have no such magical powers, but I do have the power of extreme cuteness, so I thought I would share that for now.

Emery at one month, seven months and thirteen months

In other news we have submitted our request for pre-approval using a note from my OB about my pregnancy troubles. I am not sure if that is powerful enough alone, but luckily I wrote an appeal to our agency talking about our choice to adopt from Thailand and my heartfelt words travelled along with my doctors note. I am hopping that the two combined will be the ticket we need. I will know if we got pre-approved by early September. More waiting, but waiting with a date attached, piece of cake! Just kidding about that easy part, but I think I am not alone in saying that this process sure makes you value the small things like a time-line that is relatively soon and finite :)

8:22 AM

Sing. Breath. Wait.

My moments of peace come to me when I am encircled in my music singing along. Each verse forcing me to breath, rhythmically, purposefully. Each breath passing reminding me that this too shall pass. At times like these I always forget to breath.

As a child a dream grew with in me, I heard a news report about the girls in China, being abandoned just because they were girls, and something in the little girl in me understood injustice for the first time. From that moment I knew I would have that little girl and she and I would forever stand together against injustice (a child's view of adoption, quite unformed but still filled with passion). I was not sure if I cared to marry, I was not sure where I would live but from a very young age I knew where my daughter lived, where she waited for me, where we would be united. From that moment on I lived my life with that one common goal, every other goal just a stepping stone to my girl. When the time came and it was clear that I could not choose China, I grieved for that dream. I grieved for a long time, but not in the way I do now. I didn't grieve as hard because Thailand was there like a shinning beacon of hope, and I felt the transition was right and fated. I came to understand all the great things that my Thai adoption would bring me that China never could. The gift of contact and information about our birth mother, the best orphanage care, the shortest stay in institutionalized care, an ethical transparent program, the people the culture, it was a perfect fit.
Now the time may come that I need to alter my dream again, but I can not do it yet, I can not see another beacon of hope. I have been researching and I can not see any other program that is clicking with us, nothing that lets me know that this is just the next logical step in a twisting journey. I feel like the road is blocked, that I can not possibly go another way. We will still adopt, that is the only certainty. But will I ever be able to stop searching faces and places for my Elora. Will I always feel that I have lost a dream even if I fulfill my intention to adopt?

There you are
Your beauty consoles me
I've gone far
And I almost didn't find you
And I almost lived without you
There is nothing in this world
I'd rather do
Than live in you
Here we go,
Our favorite adventure
You should know
I was never more complete
And I never thought I'd see
The meaning of my life
Wrapped in you
Next to me
If you ever fear
Someday we might lose this
Come back here
To this moment that will last
And time can go so fast
When everything's exactly
Where it's at
Its very best

Breath, sing, breath. Wait.

1:40 PM

Dear Thailand please don't break my heart

Okay the last time I titled my blog that way, every thing worked out. So I am just trying to keep it together here and not freak out.
Here is the update:
Got word from Children's Bridge this afternoon that TRC is planning not to approve the file of another family who is not medically infertile. They are requesting medical proof of infertility. This of course will impact us and they will deny our petition to adopt.
I am reeling with this sudden change, they will not grandfather us in. Our only hope is that we can get a letter from our doctor stating that it is medicaly not advisable for me to be pregnant again. Even this may not be enough to meet the requirements and we may still be rejected. Our agency reports that this is only the TRC that is imposing these guidelines but she suspects the DSDW will follow suit.
It really hurts to have gone all this way only to be rejected now. What hurts the most is the rejection will come because of a parenting itentity I am most proud of, I will be denied because I am a preferential adopter.
I never believed that my choice could possibly prevent another parent their own chance to have a child. I know this is a fear other parents express and it just did not seem valid to me, it's not like there are a finite number of children who need homes, a number that will one day run out. But it seems Thailand agrees they are more worthy of a child then we are, and I wish to whole hardheartedly disagree.
But I do not get a chance to plead my case or show my worth, that hurts the most, that I will not be seen as a valid (enough) parent for the daughter I already love.
I have been reassured that we can change programs, but I refuse to do so until all options are exhausted and we hit the wall.
Dear Thailand, it is your daughter I promised to love for as long as I shall live. It is your daughter who is in my dreams and in my heart. Thailand I do not just want any baby, we pledged to raise your baby girl and I don't want another, not even if she comes from my own flesh because I love her, my Thai daughter. Shouldn't that count for something?

8:52 AM

Self Googling. Spiritualy and Litteraly.

So I googled "preferential adopter" just to see what I would find. Hoping to find allies and comrades. I am not too sure why this has become important to me, but I feel a bit like a teen needing to find a label and a community for my identity, plus work is less then challenging currently and I am looking for mental nourishment. So when you google "preferential adopter" you will get 29 pages, and apparently I make up 3 of those hits with this blog and other forum comments I have left. Me and my posts are 10% of all talk on this topic on ALL of the internet! Poo. I did not want to find my self. Maybe you guys are calling your self something else, is my terminology just not the real term? I did find this online shop that I thought was really great, and considered contacting the shop to see if they ever thought of uniting their customer base into a community.
I am dying to know how many people bought the "first choice" thongs!!! They are now top of my birthday wish list.
Thankfully I did come across a few other blogs that I now plan to follow, so the search was not fruitless. But really disappointing over all. That plus a comment from another blogger bud lead me to believe that it may be time to open up the comments section. I mean with this post now heading out into cyberspace I will now be 13% of all hits, and with the amount of times I have used the words in this post I may even be the top hit. I better give other searchers a way to communicate with me so we can build on our meager but mighty community.
I am really shy about the comments function, I have issues about being picked on and ostracized, but those issues never out weigh my tendency to speak my mind. I am controversial by nature not by desire. My greatest hope is that the comments section will not cause me to self edit and second guess and that it will create interesting dialogue and greater connection with in this community. The community is after all the founding reason for this blog. Blogs have been my adoption guiding light, they are my go to resource for real life parenting, inspiration, food for thought, and cutting edge pulse of the real wait lines and challenges in our program. I need to pay it forward for all the other waiting moms (and dads)trolling for any news they can get.
On that note I thought I would share a message I got from our agency.

This week I connected with the DSDW and was able to get a bit of an update. Right now they think that the timelines to referral could continue to take longer than 2 years. Their international adoption program continues to be small and they don’t have as many children available for placement as other countries do. To reassure you, this has always been the case, but the difference now is that they have so many applications from families which has resulted in an increased timeline. They are hopeful that the timelines will decrease which is the big reason for them taking this year off. They will also be implementing a quota for every agency moving forward; this is nothing new for us as we have always had a quota with them.

In the past the timeline for the TRCCH was approximately 18 mths. We need to be prepared that their timeline could also increase as they too have many applications.

I know that waiting is very difficult. Try to connect with other waiting families as you can be a great support to each other!

This is hard news to hear and visions of the deterioration of the China, Ethiopia and Nepal programs haunt me daily. What if....
Never mind that is a totally different post... Stay tuned.

1:43 PM

Copy and Paste - Just wanted to share

10 Things Not to Say to Adoptive Parents
Especially in front of their kids.
by Tracy Hahn-Burkett

Author Tracy Hahn-Burkett has a four-year-old daughter adopted from Korea and a seven-year-old biological son. Whether well-intentioned, curious or inappropriate, Hahn-Burkett has had many a question lobbied in her direction regarding her daughter and their family make-up. Hahn-Burkett offers you, the curious, some advice before you speak. Along with ten questions one should not ask an adoptive parent, she gives her blunt responses.

Is it difficult to love a child who isn’t your own?

My children are my own — both of them. Yes, I know what you mean. And I repeat: both of my children are "my own."

I could never love someone who doesn’t share my biology.

I’m sorry your heart is so limited. And presumably your spouse doesn’t share your biology, so I’m sorry for him or her, too.
She/he’s so lucky.

If there are adoptive parents who haven’t heard this one, I don’t know them. Yes, my adopted child is lucky, just like her brother who was born to me — just like any kid blessed with a good family. Moreover, my husband and I are lucky to have her as a daughter. My daughter is not lucky, however, by virtue of having been adopted or because she’s been adopted by an American family. Her life story will always be one that begins with wrenching loss of family, country, language, culture and all things related to the place and people from whence she came. She will have to figure out how to incorporate all of this into her identity at some point, no matter how much we love her.

That’s great you’re adopting;
it’s so much easier than having the child yourself.

Clearly, you have never adopted a child. What, exactly, is easy about it? Is it the hundreds of questions prospective adoptive parents have to answer along the path to adoption, questions that go to the heart of what kind of people they are and dissect every aspect of their lives? Is it committing to a lifetime of knowing that at anytime from toddlerhood through adulthood, your child may come to you with wrenching questions about his or her origins and your answers may be unsatisfactory? Is it knowing that the very fact that your child is yours means that somewhere a woman will probably grieve every day of her life for the child she could not raise? Is it missing the early months, sometimes years, of your child’s life? Is it telling your child when he or she asks to see baby pictures, "Sorry, I don’t have any"? I could go on, but you get the point.

She’s so adorable; she’s just like a little China doll!

Yes, thank you, I think she’s cute, too. But she is not Chinese and she’s a human being, so please don’t characterize her as an inanimate stereotype. And if you’re going to gush and coo over her, please consider that blond-haired, blue-eyed boy standing right next to her. He’s my kid, too. He’s pretty cute, too. And he can hear you.

Her "real" mother was probably a prostitute.

I’m her "real" mother, and so far as I can recall, I have never been a prostitute.

What kind of a person would give up such a beautiful, sweet child? (This comment is often accompanied by a clucking of the tongue.)

In general, the kind of person whose options are limited in ways you have never even had to imagine. Birthmothers are not bad, immoral people. Very few, if any, birthmothers who relinquish their children do so lightly. For most, it is a searing, heartbreaking decision that will haunt them forever. Also, please understand that when you say things about my child’s birthmother, you are commenting about the woman who gave my daughter life and whose genes remain an inseparable part of her — forever.

People who adopt children from other countries just don’t want black babies, or People who adopt children from other countries just want an "exotic" child, or People who adopt children from other countries are shirking their responsibility to adopt at home.

Very few parents who choose international adoption do so because they don’t like "dark" kids or because they want an "exotic" child. The systems of international and domestic adoption differ in fundamental ways, and most parents who choose to adopt educate themselves thoroughly and then pick the program that is best for them.

Anything in Chinese addressed to the Asian adopted child.

This happened to me when my daughter was a year old. A woman in an elevator said something to my daughter in Chinese, and by the time I figured out what had just taken place, the woman was gone (thereby robbing me of my opportunity to deliver any sort of snarky reply). My daughter is American, has lived in this country since infancy, and the language she understands is English. Why would you assume anything else?

How much did she cost?

Another one we’ve all heard, generally more than once. But my child is not a melon; I did not pick her up at the store. She cost me nothing. I did, however, spend quite a bit on adoption fees to support the process and travel costs, just as I spent quite a bit on medical care, etc., in conjunction with the conception and birth of my biological son. If you truly want to learn more about the financial aspect of either process, I will be happy to discuss that with you. If you’re only interested in knowing in order to pass judgment, it’s none of your business.