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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Yeah....but how long have they been with you?

Now that we have two children, we seem to attract a lot of attention when we go out in public. Maybe it is because my kids are so adorable, everyone wants to get a good look at them! I think that is partly true (you have to admit they are cute!). I believe the other reason is that people are curious about the fact that we are a transracial family. I can see their eyes shift back and forth from my face to my children's faces. They are curious.

We get a lot of "adoption" questions. It is really hard to determine if a person is actually interested in adoption, or just being nosy. I honestly don't mind talking about the process, mainly because it was such a beautiful, positive experience for us (well mostly....the waiting was torture!).

On occasion I have found myself in a position to talk about attachment and adjustment related to adoption. Although my children arrived young, I strongly believe that they have endured a significant amount of loss and separation in their lives. Although they may not consciously recall all the details, their early experiences have shaped them and contributed to their view of the world.

In many, many ways the Korean program is the "ideal" international adoption program. They utilize foster care and have excellent medical care. Nonetheless, both of my children transitioned from their birth mothers, to multiple caregivers at Eastern Babies Home, to their foster families, to escorts, and finally home to us. That is a lot of change for such little people.

So, whenever I dare mention that my children have experienced significant loss that may impact them throughout their lives, I am thoroughly frustrated when people respond, "Yeah...but how long have they been with you?" It is like suggesting a few months or a few years can erase the early part of their lives. It can't.

These early losses will always be part of them and part of their lives. I can't change that for them. I can hope to love them and nurture them in a way that will help them work through those difficult feelings. I can try to be understanding that they react strongly to what most might consider "typical" childhood transitions and changes. I can just be there for them....always.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Week in February

This has been a very strange week for me. First of all, I have the feeling of being on "February break." Being on break allows one to relax a bit, treat oneself, get a few tasks done....all that good stuff.  Unfortunately a "stay at home this year" Mom doesn't have a break. It has me all confused.

We could use a bit of a break. BG spent another couple of nights in the hospital last week for dehydration (again!). BB was recently evaluated and found to have sensory and social needs. Preschool has been difficult for all of us. A couple of weeks ago we decided to switch preschool programs. His previous classroom was not a good fit. I am happy to report that he is doing better in his new classroom. Each of these events could be blog posts of their own.

This week we learned of the loss of our adoption agency's director, CP. I only talked to CP on the phone a few times and met her three times at the annual picnic. Like many others, we are feeling her loss acutely. Not because we knew her well, but because she is one of the main people who helped us become a family.

I have been thinking a lot about how brief moments and brief interactions can change your life. In 2007 we went through an IVF cycle and got pregnant. We lost the baby at 9 and 1/2 weeks. We did not recover quickly from this loss. In December of 2007 we decided to try again, this time a frozen embryo cycle. I started the medications, although my heart was still heavy from our last attempt. We decided to travel down to Woodstock, NY for an infertility seminar that an author was giving. It was a disaster. Basically the woman told me I didn't have children because I didn't "want" it enough. One good thing that came out of the weekend was that we decided to cancel the cycle. We just were not ready yet.

The next day I attended a meeting at school. Our caseworker, MC, is also a school principal (she is a very busy person!). She was having a conversation with another administrator. She mentioned that there were 7 babies available for adoption through her agency. In an instant my life changed. We needed a baby and there were babies who needed families. I did not even know I was ready for adoption, until that moment. We were going to become parents and that was the route that was the meant for us.

We quickly completed the paperwork and homestudy. We got our first call from the agency. It was B., saying that CP wanted to talk to us! I knew from friends that a call like that meant that we had been matched with a baby. She was calling about our son. Each word and each bit of information she gave to me is burned forever into my mind. It was the same way with our daughter. Her words were repeated over and over in our minds during the months we spent waiting for our children to arrive.

This person matched us with our children. She helped bring us together and make us into a family. She somehow knew that we all belonged together. Like I said, CP was not someone I spoke to often or spent a lot of time with. Nonetheless, she was the sole person responsible for changing our lives for the better.  How do you ever thank a person for such a gift? We can never express our gratitude enough.

Brief moments in time and people who you hardly know can change your life forever. We are thankful for these moments and these people.