10:33 AM

there she is

This is my favourite photo I took while we were vacationing in China. There is Mao, and there is this little girl and her kite... and... there is me who is taking the photo. In that moment I remember I was day dreaming of Elora fiercely. This little girl and her kite her innocence juxtaposed against the square that has been bathed in the blood of the innocent. Her white sandals on the very stones, this photo just screams hope, to me.
This is where we were always meant to be, in China. It is where the dream of Elora began, and it is where it will become a reality. I worry about China, it's policies and their impact on the future of it's citizens. I worried so much, and I wanted so much for Elora to have a way in the future to know her first parents, and China makes that so near impossible. I thought that if we adopted from China, that would mean that I think what is happening there is okay, because in a way I will be profiting from their policies, and I would become a part of a cycle that needs to end, but I will not be helping to bring the end. So I forced my dream to morph to embrace Thailand for everything that China was not. But here we are again, come full circle, back to China. I can not yet say that I am glad that we took this detour on our adoption route, there is still too much pain associated with it. But I am glad for the lessons I have learned, the stories I have heard (and shared), and the friends and insights I have gained along the way.

So Elora is in China, now we just need to find the strength and the money to go and find her.

Oh ya, I guess I forgot to mention that: My husband is 1/4 Chinese (hence the Chinese surname we all have), that we have travelled in China, researched it, celebrate it (happy moon festival every one!), are learning mandarin (thanks Kai Lan). None of these things have to do with our desire to adopt, it just so happens though it makes adopting from China the obvious choice. Well obvious to any one but me :)

8:41 AM

I'm just a girl in the world

Did you know that in the poorest regions of the world, millions of girls face barriers to survival and development simply because they’re girls?

Did you know?

  • 70 per cent of the one billion people living in extreme poverty are women and girls.

  • Girls are 3x more likely to be malnourished than boys.

  • Over 60 million girls are denied access to primary school.

  • An extra year of school for girls will increase their lifetime income by 10-20%.

  • Children of women who have completed primary school are less likely to die before age 5 than children of mothers with no schooling.

  • Women who do work reinvest 90% of their income back into their household.

Today is National Day of the Girl in Canada. Thinking about all girls in the world, and my girl too.

8:13 AM

where in the world is Elora Eng

I am a planner, there are no ways to get around it. I like lists, agendas, plans and check boxes. Scratch that I LOVE them, can't live with out them. And when one of those just can't get the job done, I made charts, graphs and spread sheets.
So now I ask my self what may be the biggest question I have ever had to answer, where in the world is Elora, and I can tell you that even the prettiest pie chart has been no help at all.
How do you rank the importance of each factor that needs to be considered when you adopt a child.
We want an infant, we have limited funds to dedicate to another child, we would prefer a girl, what race is best for our family and for her?, what resources can we find and provide, short term? long term? We would love to have history about her origins her birth family, we would like some openness. What country can we be happy to be forever linked with? Should we reach out to the child with the greatest need for a family? How exactly would that be measured any ways?
I have tried to do a pro and con list, a weighted grading system, a gut reaction, an educated detailed research... I am no further along. There are just too many questions. Just to make things difficult my opinion on many of these questions also seems to be in flux.

Until recently I was really sure that the youngest child possible trumped every thing. The idea of missing out on that itty bitty baby stage, and more importantly our child not having all the things that a fragile little one should have in those first months was just too heart breaking. It is no less heart breaking now, but now I am looking through a different lens. If a young itty bitty baby who had been loved and cherished from day one was truly the most important thing, then I would not choose to adopt, I would birth a baby who fit that criteria. Choosing to adopt is the only thing that has not been up for debate. I had what Oprah calls an AhhhHA moment when I realized that a very young baby actually needed to be on the nice to have list not the must have list.

I am having difficulty with this list of criteria in the first place, I wish that a child just came to me, that I did not need to "play god" and pick and choose each element. It makes me feel guilty each time I choose one thing over another. Mostly I just wish that we could have more children, that this one did not need to be the last one, it sure would help with those tough choices to think, well this time girl, NEXT time boy. Since we know this is the last time it makes things so much more difficult.

I have actually come to a place where I am looking for signs, dreams or any thing that will tell me that our child is waiting for us in (fill in the blank). This may not be a choice that involves any logic what so ever, and that feels really irresponsible to me, to just go with what feels right, not proven to be best. But in the end I think the graphs are telling me that this gamble with the fates may just be the only way.

In reading my back my old posts from the beginning of the blog, I think the choice may be as clear as the writing on the wall... but I am resisting making that choice out loud or even to my self just yet, because I think I am not done yet with the waffling. I am not ready to invest my heart into any thing just yet.

8:31 AM

Moving Past Denial and into Anger

Well, well what an eventful week. I went to war with our adoption agency Children's Bridge because they refused to refund our fees that we paid early. These fees were not even due yet, and they should not have even had them yet, but I paid early, and now I am paying the price.
This event swiftly moved me forward into the anger stage of grieving and the following was the result. Oh yes we were on the news. My 15 minutes of fame, not what I had hopped they would be. And we didn't get the money back either.

9:30 AM

that tear in your hand

you don't know the power that you have
with that tear in your hand
HAZE all clouded up my mind
in the DAZE of the why
it could've never been
so you say and i say
you know you're full of wish
and your "baby baby baby babies"
i tell you there're pieces of me
you've never seen
maybe she's just pieces of me
you've never seen well
~Tori Amos

This post is a jumble, I know it already, even though I haven't even written a word of it. I know this because my mind and my heart are a jumble.
It has been 5 days since the news and I can not say that I am any steps closer to healing. I have spent the days holding my son too tight, staring off into space, crying and in a lot of denial.
My husband had sudden urges to "fix" things in the house, so the bathroom is in great disarray, and honestly I am not sure if our bathtub will ever work again (even though I don't really believe it was broken in the first place) with out the aid of a professional. So although we are united in pain I know we are grieving separately, I think he has progressed to the anger phase, while I am stuck in denial.
We have four main options available to us right now; domestic through the Children's Aid Society (CAS), domestic private adoption, South Africa or China Waiting Child (special needs). One bonus is that we can be "in line" with CAS, domestic private and one international country at the same time, so that is up to 3 separate paths. Once we are matched though we must end any other process, and loose any time, heart and money invested into that route. Although I know this is a great advantage for us, a chance to improve our odds, I am really having trouble with the idea of so much unknown.
Domestic adoption (whether private or CAS) will result in an unknown time line, as soon as 2 weeks and as long as never. Both extremes scare the ^%$!# out of me. We liked the idea of planning the separation between the kids to have only one in day care at a time, to work on my career for a while, to have only one in diapers at a time. Our timing was very thought out. If you recall that was the reason we choose to wait 9 months before starting our dossier to Thailand, so that we could perfect the separation between the kids. Oh ya, I am totally aware of how ironic that decision is. That is fate giving me a big ol' slap in the face and telling me to stop believing I have any say in this what so ever. Yet still I CAN NOT LET GO and give up control.
Second thing about domestic that is eating away at me, our child could be any race, any gender, any special need, any time... so a complete mystery. It is not that I feel that I could not parent any of those out comes, I think our family is so full of colors we could welcome a wide variety of children and they could see them selves reflected in one of their cousins faces. But you see I just thought that my daughter was Asian, I thought I knew what her eye color was, I thought I could picture her shinny black hair, I knew she was a girl. We have been told that despite my husband's Chinese heritage (1/4 from his dads side) that Asian children never become available for adoption in our region, so that match is very unlikely. I am also having trouble laying to rest the idea of having a daughter. I love love love having a son, but I really want the experience of having a daughter as well. I have researched and do truly believe that a daughter would be the best way to complete our family and ease sibling rivalry.
I know that you can not pick and choose the features and gender you would get with a child you birth, and in my mind I agree that adoption should be no different... I am none the less going through what I suppose many adoptive parents go through as they decide to adopt... I am having to let go of the pre-conceived notions of who my future child would be. I have to surrender the simple dreams like being able to picture your child in your minds eye when you are longing for them, because that picture is completely unknown.
This experience with Thailand has robbed me of my certainty. This is the hardest thing of all.
I now wonder if I am as open hearted as I thought I was. I am realizing that because I never really "chose" adoption, because it was always just a reality for me since childhood, it was just an eventuality, I never really had to face the hard facts and the loss involved for so many other parents who adopt. It seems that when put to the test, in my core somewhere I actually have a lot of conditions about what adoption means to me. I am not sure I want to adopt "any child". I just want my daughter, the one who has been in my dreams longer then I can remember. I am sure I could parent any child, but I am not sure I can stop wanting my Elora.
So I just heard this ancient Arabic proverb: "Through your heart out and then chase after it." I sure lived my life this way. But I would say this is horrible advice for any waiting parent who cares about the health and safety of said heart. I am entering this next phase of my adoption with a very closely guarded heart, out of necessity, but I feel absolutely sick about this necessity. That kind of heart is not the kind to welcome a child with. The world seems a darker, lonelier place to me now, five days after.

2:52 PM

hit the wall

So Thailand said no. I am still in too much grief to think about the next step or even why this happened. So many families from around the world have contacted me and given me hope with their stories, I really thought this might just be a test or another hurdle. I don't think I was ready to hear that this is the end of my destiny with Thailand. But I heard it from the horses mouth and there is no ambiguity or what ifs left.
I don't even know how to move forward from here.