Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease. ~Lisa Alther

Now, as always, the most automated appliance in a household is the mother. ~Beverly Jones

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Declining Rates of International Adoption


When families gather for the holidays, it is naturally a time of rejoicing and giving thanks. As my father watched my children play, he remarked he recently read an article about the dramatic decline in the number of international adoptions. Both of my children were adopted from South Korea. Last year only 736 children were adopted internationally from South Korea (Foreign Adoptions by Americans Plunge Again, David Crary, 2011). I said that this trend makes my children even more special. He said that nothing “extra” is needed – my children are special just because of who they are.

Everyday I am thankful for my children. Watching the declining numbers of international adoption evokes very complicated feelings in me. I applaud countries for stepping in and addressing the terrible abuses in international adoption. I am strongly in favor of countries developing the systems to care for, and protect, children born into difficult circumstances. Domestic adoption and remaining within their culture are ideal for children and families.

My concern is that “reality” has not caught up with the “ideal.” While many countries have been working diligently to change the culture and promote domestic adoption, the reality is that the numbers of children in need have outpaced the social reform. For example, in South Korea, it is reported, “Out of 8,590 children in need of protective care in 2010, 55.9% of them are under facility-based protection (4,842 children) while 44.1% are being protected under family care (3,748 including foster care, child-headed family, adoption, etc.) (Ministry of Health and Welfare Press Release, 11-18-2011). While these numbers are heartbreaking, South Korea is fortunate to have a pre-existing and long-established foster care system. Many countries who participate in international adoption utilize orphanages as their primary means for caring for children in need.

My children have information in their health backgrounds and social histories that might be viewed with concern by some people (although they were not issues for us). At the current time, the relatively small number of Korean couples who are interested in adopting domestically are more apt to chose babies without special needs or significant social histories. Given the current social climate and attitudes toward adoption in Korea and many other countries, it is very possible that my children would have been among those children who ended up in “facility-based protection.” My beautiful, intelligent, loving, and joyful children may not have grown up in a family.

I realize I am on a “slippery slope,” in that my last statement could be interpreted as “adoptive parents as saviors.”  My children saved me, not the other way around. Critics of international adoption often point out that within the United States we have many children available through foster care and domestic adoption. In building our family we already suffered great loss and heartache. We couldn’t face the laws or uncertainty of attempting to adopt domestically. For us, domestic adoption was not an option. We also were honest with ourselves, as first time parents we were not prepared to address the challenges of older, often traumatized children within the foster care system.

In short, international adoption is a good, humane option for some children and families. In an ideal world, all countries would have the resources and social structure to support their children in need. The Hague Convention is a start, in that it calls out into the open the abuses and need for reform within international adoption. Much work needs to be done, but abruptly ending the practice of international adoption prior to these reforms will result in many children growing up without families. That seems like a huge price to pay for rushing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Mess....blessed!

I love white boards and bulletin boards. Although they do not add to my home's "fashion appeal," they help improve my sanity. I need to see (and be reminded) of my to-do lists, unpaid bills, and the other important papers that always seem to get lost in the shuffle. An attempt to organize the chaos of our lives.

This board in the kitchen also holds other treasures. Crayon masterpieces, paper pumpkins, pictures, cards, and birthday announcements. While dreaming of having children, this is one of the things I envisioned. A home decorated with children's artwork and school papers. Since this is near our kitchen table, we often look at and talk about the projects while we eat. Although my BG is still on the quiet side, she is so very proud when she points to something and says, "Look! Mama! School!." When I look at this wall I feel so thankful to be a Mommy.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Preschool



I have posted in the past about BB's school experiences. Things started off rough at the daycare we were at, but improved when he entered the YMCA program. We kind of held our breath to see what this year would bring!

Less than a year ago, we saw the stress our baby boy was feeling at the daycare setting. During two "fun" events, Thanksgiving and Christmas, he was anxious about participating in the events. He clung to me, cried, and wouldn't sing the songs with his class. It broke our hearts. He was too young. He just wasn't ready for those events. In fact, the majority of things in the classroom were well beyond his developmental levels. His behavior was interpreted as "naughty" and we got reports like, "Today was worse than usual." He may not remember these events, but I fear DH and I were traumatized!

Last night Jacob had an event called "Donuts and Dads" at his new preschool. He was so excited! At home he has been singing all the songs, and talking nonstop about the event. DH was able to take videos and pictures. There was my little boy - happy, participating, and thoroughly enjoying himself. It brought tears to my eyes. At home we see how happy he is - he comes home talking about the activities they did and his friends.

Earlier in the week I was able to talk to his teacher over the phone. She feels he is doing very well and adjusting fine to the classroom. He still gets his services, and not everyday is perfect, but the the things they are seeing are generally typical of other children his age. She emphasized several times that he is one of the youngest children in the classroom. DH and I are so relieved that they understand, and recognize, where he is chronologically and developmentally as compared to the older children in the classroom. They are positive about him and enjoy his antics.We are thankful he still gets services and couldn't be more pleased with his current service providers.

The future will happen as it will, and no one can predict what the future will hold for BB, but we are so happy and pleased that for this moment in time he loves school!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Too Much Stuff

I am a complicated person (sometimes!). I love to shop, but I hate stuff. As I look around my small house, I am overwhelmed by the amount of unneeded stuff we have accumulated. I feel closed in and crushed, especially as I contemplate cold weather and staying inside to play.

Just about the only time infertility still makes me really mad, is when I consider my house. DH and I bought it as a "starter home." We figured that by the time we were planning for a second child, we would be ready to move onto something larger and with a better lay out.

It took us many, many years longer to build our family than we expected it would take (although it was well worth the wait). In addition, we spent ALL our savings on fertility treatments and adoption. Such was life. Even though it was difficult, I don't regret the path that our lives took.

I do regret this quirky little Cape Cod. There is nothing we can do about it right now. We tried to sell it about a year ago, but that didn't work out. Funds are depleted and will take a few years to build back up.

So, in the meantime, I am trying to be thankful that we have beautiful children, enough money to pay the bills, and a roof over our heads. Sometimes it is difficult to be thankful, when all I can notice is the crowded rooms and mismatched counter tops. One step I have taken to make life here more enjoyable, is a radical purging of unnecessary stuff. It feels good - out with the old, and in with the new (attitude!).

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Painful Moment

Yesterday I took the kids to a farm market. This market has animals, a jumping "pillow," and a playground. The kids had a great time and thoroughly wore themselves out! We laughed a lot and enjoyed being outside in the nice weather.

As I watched them climbing on the playground, I was struck with a moment of pain. No matter how much DH and I love them and fill their lives with happiness, at some point they are going to feel the loss of their birth parents and culture. All children react differently. I am sure there are some children/adults who were adopted who just accept the past and move forward. Yet, from what I have read and experienced, most adopted children and adults go through periods of time when the loss and grieving comes to the forefront.

Learning to cope with emotional pain is something all healthy people have to learn to do. I know this. As a mother, I want to protect them from it. But, I know it would not be productive to bury their pain or pretend it does not exist. We will be there to support them. Nonetheless, it may be hard to watch it unfold in whatever way it unfolds for each of my children.

Along with these occasional "painful" moments, comes thoughts of BB and BG's birth mothers. I am often struck, at various times during the day, with the desire to show them how wonderful their children are. I wish I could invite them into our lives to see how amazing they are. This is something I know is different from those families who have biological children. Their birth parents are another presence in our lives, always with me.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Chuseok - September 12, 2011

Chuseok is by far the biggest and most important holiday in Korea. It is a time when family members from near and far come together to share food and stories and to give thanks to their ancestors for the abundant harvest.

This year, this representative Korean holiday falls on September 12th (of the solar calendar), but holiday celebrations run for three days, from September 11th to the 13th. For internationals located in the major cities, Chuseok is the prime opportunity to go sightseeing, since many native Koreans return to their hometowns in the countryside, leaving the city attractions relatively crowd-free.

Let’s take a closer look at what Chuseok means and what it represents to Koreans everywhere.

Chuseok (Hangawi)
Chuseok is one of Korea’s three major holidays, along with Seollal (New Year’s Day) and Dano (the 5th day of the 5th month of the year according to the lunar calendar) and is also referred to as Hangawi, which means the ides of August (August 15th according to the lunar calendar).

Hangawi/Chuseok was the day on which Koreans, an agrarian people throughout most of history, thanked their ancestors for the year’s harvest and shared their abundance with family and friends. Although the exact origin of Chuseok is unclear, the tradition can be traced back to ancient religious practices that centered around the significance of the moon. The sun’s presence was considered routine, but the full moon that came once a month, brightening the dark night, was considered a special and meaningful event. Therefore, festivities took place on the day of the largest full moon, August 15th of the lunar calendar, which became one of the most important days of celebration throughout Korea to this day.

Chuseok Customs
On the morning of Chuseok Day, Songpyeon (a type of Korean rice cake) and food prepared with the year’s fresh harvest are set out to give thanks to ancestors through Charye (ancestor memorial service). After Charye, families visit their ancestors’ graves and engage in Beolcho, the ritual clearing of the weeds that may have grown up over the burial mound. After dusk, families and friends take walks and gaze at the beauty of the full harvest moon or play folk games such as Ganggangsullae (Korean circle dance).

Charye (ancestor memorial services)
On Chuseok morning, family members gather at their homes to hold memorial services (called Charye) in honor of their ancestors. Formal Charye services are held twice a year during Seollal (New Year’s Day) and Chuseok. The difference between the two services is that during Seollal the major representative food is white Tteokguk, a rice cake soup, while during Chuseok the major representative food is freshly harvested rice. After the service, the family members sit down together at the table to enjoy delicious food that symbolizes their blessings.

Beolcho (clearing the weeds around the grave) and Seongmyo (visiting ancestral graves)
Visiting ancestral graves during Chuseok is known as Seongmyo and during this visit, family members remove the weeds that have grown around the graves in the summer season. Taking care of the ancestral graves and clearing the weeds is called Beolcho. This custom is considered a duty and expression of devotion and respect for one’s family. On the weekends, about one month prior to the Chuseok holidays, Korea’s highways become extremely congested with families visiting their ancestral graves to fulfill their familial duties. The graves are then visited again during Chuseok.

Ssireum (Korean wrestling)
Traditionally, during the Chuseok holidays the strongest people in each village would gather together to hold wrestling competitions. During the match, two competitors would face each other in a circular sandpit and were surrounded on all sides by spectators. The last wrestler standing after the series of competitions was considered the winner and was acknowledged as the villager’s strongest man, taking home cotton, rice, or a calf as his prize. Today, Ssireum (Korean wrestling) competitions are held around the time of Chuseok to determine the strongest man in Korea, but are not as big a part of the celebrations as they once were.

Ganggangsullae (Korean circle dance)
Back in the olden days, women dressed in Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) would join hands in a circle and sing together. The dance dates back to the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) during the Japanese invasion when the Korean army dressed the young women of the village in military uniforms and had them circle the mountains to make the Japanese think the Korean military was greater in number than it actually was. The Koreans were eventually able to defeat the Japanese, thanks in part to this scare tactic.

Chuseokbim (Chuseok dress)
Traditionally, as part of Chuseok, the head of the household would buy new clothes for everyone in the house, including the servants. This custom is known as Chuseokbim and is still practiced today, but has been modernized with most families purchasing clothes from department stores and boutiques instead of exchanging Hanbok.

Chuseok Food
Chuseok celebrates the rich harvest season when fruit and grain are abundant. With the newly harvested grains, people make steamed rice, rice cake, and liquor.

Songpyeon
Songpyeon is one of the representative foods of Chuseok. This rice cake is prepared with rice or non-glutinous rice powder that is kneaded into the perfect size (a little smaller than a golf ball) then filled with sesame seeds, beans, red beans, chestnuts, and a host of other nutritious ingredients. When steaming the songpyeon, the rice cakes are layered with pine needles, adding the delightful fragrance of pine. On the eve of Chuseok, the entire family gathers together to make songpyeon under the bright moon. There is an old Korean saying that says that the person who makes the most beautiful songpyeon will meet a good-looking spouse so, all the single of the single members of the family try their best to make the finest looking songpyeon!

Liquors
Another major element of Chuseok is traditional liquor, called Baekju (white wine). The holidays are a time of thankfulness and generosity and drinking is a way in which many Koreans show their generosity and bond with their fellow countrymen.

For more information about Korean holidays, visit the Official Korea Tourism Organization Website.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

September - Arrival Days!

















Prayer for a Birth Mother, from an Adoptive Mother
 
Loving God, how can I thank you for the generous woman who gave us her child? Our years of sorrow and emptiness ended with a phone call and a new child in our home. We rejoiced in the utter happiness that this birth mother - and her child - gave us then. We have received so much joy over the years.


We think of this special mother, Lord, this generous woman who bore our child. The one who went through the discomfort of pregnancy and the pains of birth - only to hand her child over to someone else to love and care for.


Please, God, bless the life of this incredibly noble woman. She gave me the great gift of motherhood, and I can imagine the cost to her: an empty spot in her own heart where this child we somehow share, will always abide.


Bless her life, dear Lord. Give her an abundance of happiness and love and family. Please let her feel the prayers we have for him and her on their special days. I think of her with reverence and love and
inexpressible gratitude.

September is a very special month for our family. BB and BG will both celebrate Airplane Day (Arrival Day, Family Day, Together Day...families call it lots of different things) in September. It is a special holiday day known only to those families created through adoption. It is the day we tell the story of their arrivals over and over again. We re-live the first poopy diaper on the airplane and the mini-hurricane that delayed our flight back home. It is a day we celebrate how we came to be a family, and to remember the birth mothers and fathers who made our family a reality.

Monday, September 5, 2011

(Another) New Beginning


Even more than January 1st, September has always felt like a "new beginning" for me. I guess that is because I have always been on a school calendar! For me, some things need to change.

For those who know me, they know I can be a bit "high strung" (OK....a euphemism for "anxious"). I find that I feel much more prone to anxiety, and general discontent, when I live my life in a way that is incongruous to my beliefs. That is where I am right now.

I believe in a healthy eating, exercise, limited TV, nurturing the spirit, and learning. Unfortunately, due to being busy, I have let most of those beliefs fall to the wayside. I have given in to convenience eating, letting my kids watch too much TV, and a sedentary lifestyle (for myself...I always make sure the kids get daily exercise and outside playtime). These "choices" have left me feeling depleted of energy and motivation. That is not how I want to live.

A while back I had success with Weight Watchers. I lost almost 20 pounds, but I am sad to report that most of it has come back. I got frustrated because I couldn't quite get to that 20 pound weight loss mark - I "plateaud" (is that a word?) just below the 20 pound milestone. It was too bad I did that, but now it time to start over and remember how good it felt to do something good for my body.

As for exercise, I miss it a lot. When I am active, all things in life are better. My plan is to start utilizing the YMCA for more than just a place to take the kids. I think with BB's new preschool schedule, BG and I can frequent the Y more regularly.

Although I am sometimes missing work, I do have a number of projects and groups I have joined. I am fortunate enough to be connected to church and to some groups that focus on adoption/Korean culture. I also have a stockpile of educational and parenting books that I am ready to dive into. These efforts will be a good way to channel my desire to keep learning and to connect with others.

I also need to expand my cooking skills. I asked for assistance from my Facebook friends and got some excellent tips on meal planning. Cooking and planning is a major weakness of mine. I don't know how it happens, but the day gets so busy and all the sudden it is 5:30PM and the kids are starving. I need to shop and plan healthier meal choices. DH and I have made a plan so we can all eat together, which we both feel is important. We have had good success in modifying BB's diet to help him with sleeping and behavior. It is time we all got on board!

So....let the self-improvement begin! I must be gentle with myself and understand these changes in lifestyle won't happen overnight. I must keep in mind the goal is to try to live according to what I believe in.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Glasses!

At her two year well visit, BG's pediatrician noticed her poking at her right eye. DH and I thought it was just a habit. She gave us a referral to get her eyes checked.

I did not think that her eye appointment was anything more than just "following though." We had noticed that she likes to stand close to the TV and sometimes she pulled books close to her, but we did not think that either of those things were significant.

It turns out that she needs glasses! I still cannot believe it, but am so thankful we found this out. The opthamologist explained that her vision needed to be corrected, so the "vision" part of her brain can develop correctly. If we do not correct it now, even with future correction her vision would never be 20/20.

We are very thankful we have the pediatrician we do. She specializes in international adoption and is very thorough. Of course the opthamologist, and most other doctors, ask about family history. Do her birth parents wear glasses? BG's social history does indicate that her birth mother "wears eyeglasses," but beyond that we do not have a lot of information. Even though Korea provides significantly more birth family information than most other countries, the medical questions are still very difficult to answer. This piece of things is always going to be tricky, but I am thankful to have a pediatrician who understands.

Back to School

OK...notebooks, pencils, new clothes....

Wait! I am not going back to school this year. It feels really, really weird. BB and BG arrived in September, but with both of them I started the school year. I never missed an opening day.

Although I am excited to be home with my children, I am missing my professional life a little bit. I love the feeling of excitement of the first week. I like getting back into a routine and seeing my colleagues. I like the energy of the children and teachers.

BB will be starting a new preschool this year. Transitions, and school in general, has not been very easy for him. His first daycare/preschool experience did not go well. His classroom was not a good fit. Aside from one excellent and loving teacher, his primary teachers did not give him the affection or guidance he needed at that point in life. He was two years, 10 months old in a classroom with 3 and 4 year olds. It is my belief they failed to take into account developmental levels and realize that he was a just a baby in a big kids' classroom.

Since that time, we have learned much more about his sensory, fine motor, and behavioral needs. Over the summer we continued with occupational therapy, which has made a world of difference for him. As parents we know better how to get him the daily sensory input he needs. BB went from being resistant to trying fine motor tasks, to being excited about writing, drawing, and coloring. We have also realized the he must continue to take naps, because fatigue is a huge factor in his behavior. We have changed his diet (removed the milk and egg, limited the soy, limited the sugar, and avoid food dyes). Next year he will continue to get daily classroom support from his occupational therapist and special education teacher.

He is doing really well, but it does not stop me from getting a stomach ache when I think of sending him into a new classroom. Will his teachers be able to support him? Will he make friends? Will he have fun? Will he be able to sit and follow directions? I know I am no different than other parents on the first day of school. I imagine that everyone has these thoughts. Unfortunately, his first school experience haunts me. He is such a special, loving, and beautiful little boy. As parents, we want the world to enjoy him as much as we do.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Horses

I liked horses growing up, but I was never "horse crazy." The only time I ever rode was during my one week stay at Pinewood Girl Scout Camp. I was always interested in learning more about riding and taking care of horses. On one of our trips to the Adirondacks I convinced DH to go on a trail ride with me. That one ride changed my life!

I came home and convinced my Mom to take lessons with me. We found a barn that offered Western lessons. We both tend to be passionate people, and within a few weeks we were totally hooked. We rode whenever we could and spent hours and hours hanging around the barn learning whatever they would teach us. A few months later, my Mom and I purchased a beautiful quarter horse mare. The sweetest horse on earth!

The other big event going on in my life at that time was infertility. We were at the height of the treatments, appointments, and medical procedures. Horses filled an enormous need for me. Learning to ride filled my head with something other than anxiety about the future. It was new, exciting, and it took and lot of energy and focus. It allowed me to make new friends, all horse lovers themselves. I could finally go somewhere where I had a lot in common with others, and could readily join in the conversation. Almost everyone I knew had children, so it was often difficult for me to fully participate in conversations related to having a family.

Horse are also very emotional animals. They have moods and ways they let you know what they are thinking! They take a lot of nurturing and care. Since I didn't have children, I was able to pour myself into loving and taking care of them.

Since BB and BG have arrived, I have not had the time to spend with the horses that I used to. I don't regret this at all, but I miss them. When my children are older, and if they are interested, I look forward to sharing horses with them. On Wednesday I rode for the first time in over a year. The love of horses and the feelings I had for them came rushing back.

Although I don't have the same needs I had a few years ago, I realized that horses are still very, very important to me. Since becoming a mother (and this is true for DH as well), I have not had the time or energy to do much in the way of "me" activities. I expected that this would happen. We have a different life now, a very good one. Yet, I am learning I need some balance. I need to occupy my brain with thoughts that go beyond child development, meals, and laundry. That is not healthy, for me or my children. It is easy to get caught up in the more mundane details of life, and forgot about learning and growing as a person. Finding balance is very hard, but it will ultimately help me become a better Mommy. Learning to ride again, and connect with horses, will be a welcome challenge for me.

Stay "posted" (which would be a funny joke if I rode English!).

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Up Since 5AM

I got up MUCH earlier than I care to today! For once it wasn't because of my children's sleep patterns. On that front we are actually doing much better. Both BB and BG have been sleeping peacefully all through the night for the last week or so. Before I rejoice, I am waiting to see if it continues! I woke up and couldn't go back to sleep because I was worrying about safety.

As my children grow older, and are spending some time away from me, privacy and safety has been on my mind a lot. I love writing about them on FB and blogging, but the truth is putting too much out in public can be dangerous. When I first started BB's blog, I had it password protected and only invited close friends. As I started to use social media more often, I loosened up. Not that I believe my blog has a wide readership, but it is possible that people I don't know could stumble across it.

I am tightening up again, although I realize that if someone with ill intentions is intent on finding out more about me and my family they can get around false names and abbreviations. Nonetheless, my son will now be known as BB (Baby Boy) and my daughter will be known as BG (Baby Girl). Although they are not babies, that is how I will always think of them! It is often what I call them. My husband will be "DH" for Dear Husband. This is something I should have done long ago. In time I will also change the content of the other blogs I have done.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Brothers at Easter


Last week was our local Korean Camp. They have a three year old program, the Tiger Tots. BB attended for two half days. He absolutely loved it. They made bookmarks with their Korean names on them, prepared bibimbop, rolled kimbop, and sang Korean songs. He was able to hear traditional Korean drumming, see a martial arts demonstration, and watch a dragon dance. He has been talking about it ever since. He is already getting prepared to go to the "Bunny" room next year and keeps asking me when it will be time to go again.

Last week was also an informal gathering at my house and the our adoption agency's picnic. We spent most of the week with other families created through adoption and Korean adoptees.

Although we talk about adoption and Korea all the time, I have never been that sure BB has even a basic (developmentally appropriate) understanding of what it all means. We frequently tell his adoption story, from the decision his birth mother made to his first hours at home. Up until last week, he never asked many questions or made many comments related to his adoption story.

On the way home from a family event on Sunday, out of the blue, he asked if he had "brothers at Easter." It took me a minute to figure out the question. He knows he had brothers at his foster parent's house. He wanted to know if he had brothers at Eastern Babies Home. That night we looked at the pictures in the book "When You Were born in Korea" by Brian Boyd and Steve Wunrow.  He told me that the babies in the book were him. He wanted to know if they had toys there. He made a plan to visit them and bring them "BG's milk."  At one point he said he was going to pretend I was his birth mother. When I explained that his birth mother lives in Korea, he said he just wanted to pretend. A little later in the week BB asked me if one of his classmates is Korean (she is, and she is not adopted).

Even though he is only 3 and 1/2, I am amazed to witness the emerging understanding of his life story. He definitely does not understand all parts of it yet, but these questions tell me that he is starting to wonder about these aspects of his life. I hope that I do the right thing, in the right way, for both my children. They will each process these questions differently, and have different needs, as they go through the process of understanding where they came from and who they are. Everyday I pray I am able to tell their story, and answer their questions, in a way that helps them understand the happy and sad parts of the journey they are on.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Doing OK....

It is a weird time of year to be feeling like we are beginning something new. It is not a holiday or significant event that is making me feel this way. It is merely feeling that we are going to be OK! Actually, more than OK.

I often find myself wondering why things feel so disorganized and chaotic. Then I remember that we have "doubled" our family in two years! We have gone from being a couple to a family of 4! No wonder I am so tired. The laundry alone has been enough to keep me busy.

Bringing BG home made us complete, but we all went through a lot of big transitions. She was so sick in the beginning that we had a hard time figuring out our new routines. BB also had some issues with adjusting to being a big brother, and learning what preschool was all about. As a Mommy, I was working very hard to figure out how to do meals, bedtime, and public outings with two young children!

BG is healthy and doing wonderfully! She still is on the quiet side, but we are really enjoying her enthusiastic greetings (Hi Mama! Hi Dada!). BB had a great last couple months of school. He loved his new program. We also adjusted his diet, which seemed to make a huge difference in his sleeping and behavior (for the better!).

This week have successfully gone on a few new adventures. My confidence is increasing and I am really feeling that our family has come together.  We have new routines and new ways of doing things. Of course not each day is perfect, but on the whole we are having many more good days than rough days.

We are doing much better than OK!

Friday, June 3, 2011

"I pray I never forget that I became a mother through the broken heart of another. " - Jill Catlet


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Poem

You gave her birth
We'll give her life
You gave her todays
We'll give her tomorrows

You gave her race
We'll give her identity
You gave her heritage
We'll give her future

You gave her possibilities
We'll give her potentials
You gave her up
We'll have to let go

You dream of her future
We'll work hard for your dreams to come true
You gave her hope
We will too.

Tom Fisher -

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Flowers From My Baby



Yesterday we attended a birthday party. BB, and most of the other children, went into the woods and picked flowers. He brought me a pile of leaves, vines, and flowers. He told me they were a present.

Later he told me that the green leaves were for BG. The purple ones were for "love" and were for all of us. What a baby......

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bust a Myth

Myth: If you can’t get pregnant, you can “just adopt.” 

The other day my three-year old son said to me, "Remember, Mommy? When I was in your belly in Korea?" Uh-oh. He seems to have missed one of the key points in his adoption story. Both my children were born in South Korea. It appears I need to find another way to explain to him how he was born and how be came to be our much loved son!

As a woman who struggled to have a family, I cringe inside every time someone flippantly says, "You can just adopt." People seem to think that having biological children and adoption are "interchangeable" paths to becoming parents.

With my whole heart I believe that men and woman should pursue whatever means available to them to achieve their goal of becoming a loving family. What I challenge is the commonly held belief that parenting biological children is exactly the same as parenting adopted children.

Of course all children need love, basic necessities, discipline, affection, and safety. Both groups of children also have the same chances of growing up to be happy, functioning adults (some people wrongly assume all adoptees are dysfunctional). I could go on and on about how many aspects of raising adopted children is exactly the same as raising biological children (it is a struggle to get them to eat vegetables, brush their teeth, use a tissue...you get the point!). But I believe that families created through adoption have extra "layers" and dynamics that must be recognized.

If you are going to enter the wonderful, and life changing, world of adoption, you must be prepared in ways you never expected. It is impossible to name all the subtle ways that parenting adopted children is different, but here are a few:
  • Get ready for tough questions and tough conversations. Unlike children who know for certain where they came from, children who were adopted have additional questions about identity, race, and the circumstances of their birth.
  • Be prepared to love, and sometimes defend, your child's birth parents. Those around you, and maybe even yourself if you are being honest, may question the choices they made or how they lived their lives. You need to be able to admire and love them for giving you the greatest gift of your life.
  • Be prepared to accept a culture or socio-economic status or religion or race or..or...or...the list goes on. Most likely your child's beginnings are not the same as yours. Embrace the differences and learn about them.
  • Be prepared for the public. We are a transracial family, so people know right away how our family was formed. The curious stares, the nosy questions, the genuinely interested questions, the naive questions of other children, the ridiculous questions (Are they real brother and sister?).
  • Be prepared for many unknowns. Having children is a total leap of faith, regardless of how they arrived. With my son and daughter I have little information on their prenatal lives, infancy, and medical histories. When we joyfully became their parents, we accepted all that came before them and all that is to come in the future.
Thump. Thump. That is the sound of me climbing off my soap box.  So many want to view "adoption" as a simple answer to infertility. It is not - it is a different type of parenting with different issues and different responsibilities. But it is just as rewarding, just as loving, and just as amazing as becoming a parent by any other means. The advice people give to "just adopt" does not take into account all the factors that must be recognized when seriously considering adoption.

My husband and I struggled with infertility for 4 years.We are now blessed with two beautiful children. To learn more about infertility and options to become parents, please visit http://www.resolve.org/infertility101. To learn more about the background of National Infertility Awareness Week® (NIAW): http://www.resolve.org/takecharge.