Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I know that I’ve been missing in action of late. Perhaps someone has noticed? If not, then it won’t matter that I haven’t posted in almost a month!

It’s been an interesting bit of time. I should start by saying that we are currently still in PGN for those who are following along with the home version of the adoption game. We’re not expecting to hear anything until after the holidays. I’ve heard of a ‘few’ outs in the past two days. Perhaps we’ll get lucky but I’m not holding my breath. However, after the New Year, I’ll be chomping at the bit. I’m truly praying we get no previos. I think I’ll loose it if we’ve got to wait another 6-8 weeks on top of the time we’ve already waited.

In health news, I finally got over my cold/ chest congestion / ear infection/ whatever it was only to now be typing this with the screen at 200%. Why? Well I have swollen / inflamed corneas. Absolutely fabulous! NOT. My eyes are so distorted that no amount of vision correction will work. I just can’t see. I’m usually -5 and -5.5 in my left and right eye, respectively…. myopia, presbyopia and astigmatism. Yes folks – I’m an optometrist’s wet dream. Imagine by distain when my new contacts just didn’t seem to sit right. We’ve been trying for 4 months to clear up the problem. Finally, I thought we’d done it. Then my glasses come in and I CAN’T FREAKIN’ SEE!!! The op-shop tells me I’ll have to “get used to them.” People, I’ve been wearing glasses for 22 years and contacts for 17 years. I think I’ve got the hang of it. So I annoy the hell out of the doc and lo and behold – the girl’s got inflamed corneas! Apparently my eyes are so dry that they need their own IVs - stat! So for the past week and a half I’ve been using these molten lava eye drops every three hours. I’m wearing my glasses, which do nothing more than keep me from running into large objects. My dearly beloved has become my chauffer. (That made for fun XMas shopping.) Anyhoo – I’m still seriously visually impaired. The doc isn’t back in the office until 1/02/07. So if you see some half-blind chick screaming in pain as she puts drops in her eyes while sitting on a park bench, please say hello… and hand me a tissue!

The holiday itself was nice. Got to see the family and no one was sick. (Or so we thought. More on that in a bit.) Everyone loved the presents we gave. I found a beautiful pottery Nativity set for my mother when we were in Guatemala. My father got a glass ornament TARDIS from the Dr. Who series. (For Dr. Who fans, you’ll get it. If not, I can’t explain.) They both loved them. We got a lot of stuff for the baby. My mother crocheted a gorgeous baby blanket in rainbow colors. It’s absolutely gorgeous! My adoring hubby bought me an IPod Nano in lime green. I’m completely thrilled….. if only I knew how to get my music into the contraption. I guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!

We arrived back home last night after we made the six hour drive back to our house. As we were unloading the car, my brother called to say my mother had been admitted to the hospital. That morning she’d complained off and on of having stomach pains. She said it was just gas from eating too much on X-mas Day. By last night, morphine and Demerol weren’t helping the pain. We waited all night for news. I finally called my father this morning. He said they ruled out another heart attack and that all of her blood work looked normal. A CAT scan revealed some inflammation in her upper colon. They’re doing an EGD sometime tomorrow to see if they can figure out what’s wrong. I’m hoping it’s nothing major. Mama’s birthday is the 31st… a New Year’s Eve baby! She’ll be 68. As always, any prayers, good vibes, incantations and /or chants are greatly appreciated.

On a different topic: I’ve been following along on others’ blogs. I’m a bit annoyed at the Blogger Beta thing. So is the deal I have to switch or I can’t post on others’ blogs? I’m confused. The word is that the Beta version sucks. I hate not being able to post but I hate being forced into a crappy situation. Any feedback?

My in-laws are coming this weekend. So, I’m hoping to have plenty of time to blog. I truly have lots to say and topics to post. I’m just lazy right now… oh yeah… and BLIND.


Friday, December 01, 2006


I haven’t posted in a bit which is completely sad. Life has been quite the whirlwind over the past week or so. Currently I am fighting what is either a head cold, a sinus infection, strep throat or a combination of all of the above.

The visit trip was amazing! We had a wonderful time. We ate the food; we drank the water; we loved the people. Everyone was so friendly and helpful at our hotel. There were a few disparaging looks when we brought Colin out of the room. I expected that. Not everyone in Guatemala approves of international adoption. I certainly don’t expect them to be openly happy about it if they don’t agree with it. But on to the details:

We traveled on Thanksgiving Day which was surprisingly nice. There weren’t delays at any of the airports and we sailed right through all the checks. We arrived in Guatemala City in the afternoon. The weather was gorgeous. Agency staff picked us up and brought us to the hotel. We checked in to a gorgeous suite. We could see mountains and a volcano. It was lovely! That evening, we enjoyed a HUGE Thanksgiving buffet. There was a traditional turkey and a ham, both on carving stations. There were shrimp cocktails, filet mignon, various casseroles, and traditional Guatemalan dishes. There were numerous vegetable dishes. There were breads and pastries. The desserts were divine. Wine flowed like water from a waterfall. It was breathtaking! We were so stuffed at the end of the night. After visiting with the other families from our agency, we all returned to our hotel to get some sleep. Yeah right!

Friday morning our foster mother arrived. She brought her daughter with her, too. We were able to visit in a private room. Our agency staff helped with an ‘interview’ where we were able to find out the ‘quick and dirty’ on caring for our son. All of those questions you should remember to ask…(You know, like how often does he eat? What does he eat? How often does he have a BM? What are his likes/dislikes? When does he get a bath? Are there things he’s afraid of? How long has he been with you?, etc.) Well you can’t ever remember those things when you’re meeting your child for the first time. Thankfully our agency takes care of this stuff! They had a whole checklist of questions. We all were able to go through the checklist and have the questions asked / translated / answered / translated back. Everyone felt relaxed and there was no pressure to ‘remember everything.’ The agency staff even took all the notes to give to us once we went our merry way. I can’t say enough about how smoothly this process was. Agencies don’t have a lot of control over certain parts of the adoption process. However, the parts they CAN control should run like clockwork. My agency? They’ve got their stuff together. That’s all I can say.

As for the actual meeting: It will have to be its own post. Right now I’m not sure how to explain it. It’s not what I thought it would be. That’s not a negative thing. It just wasn’t at all what I expected. Leaving him? Not what I expected either; but again, that will need a separate post to better explain. Today? I’m sticking to the facts.

About my son: He is quite the little man in his own right. Even though he’s only three months old (almost four), he seems like such an old soul. He’s very inquisitive and fascinated by the world around him. He’s very picky and likes life to be very scheduled. (He’s already like his father!) We found out very quickly that as long as we follow HIS schedule and do things HIS way, life is fine. Living out of a hotel room is a bit of a pain, but we managed. I think he’ll be much happier once he comes home. I know WE will! It didn’t take us long to get into a happy little rhythm. We got very little sleep during the whole visit. Colin doesn’t like to sleep much and was quite fussy. I was worried about that at first but then was kinda relieved. To begin with, I can’t imagine how scary it must have been for him. He’s been with his foster mother since he was two days old. Then these fools show up, making strange sounding noises, and they expect me to be calm?? I also felt relief because I felt this was as real as it gets. He wasn’t quiet and sleepy. Several of the other families’ children were that way. They slept a lot or just laid on their parents’ shoulders. That makes for a Hallmark moment but it’s not realistic. I can’t help but think when the children come home, the parents will be rudely surprised to find out life with baby can sometimes be rough. It may sound odd but I was comforted that Colin was himself. When he was happy he was quiet. When he was mad, he let us know. He’s fiercely independent. I love that.

As far as his coming home, we found out that we entered PGN on 11/30/06. FINALLY! I was beginning to wonder since several other families we stayed with who have the same attorney and similar timelines had already gone in. They say ‘no news is good news’ but I think THEY are nuts! I feel better knowing we’ve started the downhill slide. We’re hoping they aren’t any hold ups and the review goes smoothly. Out attorney has a good reputation so hopefully that will help. We’ve given up hope of having Colin home for Christmas. It just seems so unrealistic now. We all know how slow things get during the holidays. Maybe we’ll be lucky enough to be one of the first to get out after the new year?!? One can hope!!

I plan to write more over the weekend when I’m feeling better (wishful thinking). I’ve been catching up on everyone else’s blogs. Some positive and some negative. I know so many are gearing up for the holiday season. Hanukkah is only two weeks away; Christmas is four weeks; Winter Solstice is in about three weeks.

May every one have a blessed holiday season no matter which one you’re celebrating. If I’m leaving your celebrations out, please let me know. I’d love to include them here :-)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Meeting my son

This will probably be my shortest post.

I should in bed right now as our plane leaves in 9 hours. At this time tomorrow I will be in a hotel room in Guatemala City trying to fall asleep. I will meet my son for the first time on Friday morning. There just aren't words to express my emotions right now. For those of you who have experienced this already, you understand exactly. I'm hoping when I return I'll be able to explain it to others.

We will return on Monday, sad and exhausted, but happy to know that the next time we make this journey it will be to bring our son home for good.

Happy Turkey Day to everyone. Cliche as it may be - take a minute to count your blessings. I'm definitely counting mine.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Blowin' smoke

It’s nice to see so many new faces dropping by to comment on my sad attempt to share my thoughts. It’s truly appreciated. Feel free to drop by the place anytime. New faces and new ideas always welcome.

For those who have been following along in the comments section (and I know you have…. you never know when there’s going to be a quiz)… you may have seen an interesting comment that seemed out of place. I’m not going to give shout outs to the writer; there’s no need. I just thought I’d provide a bit of insight as to my obvious faux pas… or was it?

Jumping around the blogosphere as I’m apt to do rather than work, I come along various pages. I read one, follow a link on a comment, find an interesting article… and two hours later I’m on a completely new topic leaving comments. Anyone else do that? Yeah, just me… right.

Obviously my blog is focused on all things adoption right now because that’s where my brain is at. I’m sure eventually I’ll get to ranting about my nut job family and my sorry ass job. Until then, it’s adoption. I’ve spent HOURS reading blogs, newspaper articles, e-zines, and peer-reviewed journal articles on the subject. I can’t get enough information. I try desperately to glean as much knowledge from as many different places so that I can make informed decisions. I’d like to think other parents are doing the same thing. (Although given the constant tragic comedy I witness at WallyWorld on a near daily basis, I’m guessing not….)

One of the hardest things for me to read is the blog of a first mothers / birthmother / woman who relinquished her child for adoption. Whatever their title, these are generally painful stories. Hubby can’t figure out why on earth I would want to read them. I’m usually angry and in a funk for awhile after I share what I’ve read. I remind him that I can’t learn a damn thing if I surround myself with like-minded people. What good is it for us all to sit around blowing smoke up each other’s hoo-has? Preaching to the choir is an exercise in futility. And so, I return to my painful reading.

My personal opinion is that the majority of the stories I read are of women who are obviously angry. When I read their stories, I’m try to place myself in their shoes and I find myself understanding way they would feel the way they do. Regardless of my opinions though, it’s their story and they’re free to tell it as they see fit. I can’t tell them how to feel. Not my place; not my right.

For several months, I’ve dropped by a particular blog every once in awhile. The writer relinquished her daughter for adoption many years ago. Her daughter is now an adult and, by mother’s report, appears to be doing well. They are building a relationship after all these years. It’s obvious that this writer does not have many positive thoughts about adoption nor her daughter’s adoptive parents.

Ironically, I found this blog on an adoptive mother’s list of “must reads.” The writer posts comments on the adoptive mother’s blog on a regular basis. She shares her viewpoints and even comments on other comments. Great! Dialogue!

I set this stage to explain that during these many months I have read numerous posts by her and read the comments left by her readers. I admit that I disagree with most of her posts and generally all of the comments. However, they’ve given me much food for thought. My views have been challenged. It’s altered a few of my views and reaffirmed others. All in all, a satisfactory process – give and take.

A few days ago, I found myself on her blog and read a post I didn’t understand. I tried very hard to follow the logic but I just couldn’t make the connections. So, I sat down and composed a very brief but highly cautious (and what I thought was sensitive) comment requesting further information. I’d seen posts from other people – including adoptive parents – and it appeared that the writer was more than willing to share her views. Imagine my surprise when I dropped by later on that day to find my comment deleted with a chastisement that I needed to learn how to post a sensitive comment and if I could learn that, then my questions would be considered. Wha- at? I was shocked. What on earth could I have done wrong? I thought about my comment, my question, the words I’d used… I couldn’t figure it out. So I decided to post again. This time I explained that I truly meant no offense and that I was really just trying to understand the process better. I apologized for having offended if I had, but also included that I’d been reading for a while and did not understand where I’d gone wrong. I knew the comment would be deleted but she’d left no email address on the blog by which I could contact her privately. Sadly, I decided this was just a blog that I wouldn’t frequent in the future. Obviously, it wasn’t the place for me and I’d offended the writer. C’est la vie.

Later that day, I received an email from the writer as I have left my email address for private contact (my choice entirely, I realize). The writer is kind enough to share a few suggestions on how to find answers for my inquisitive mind. However, she explains to me that I’ve stumbled across the wrong blog. Her blog is not intended for the purpose I’m attempting to use it. It’s not for adoptive parents at all. She can’t help me find the answers I’m looking for.

At first I was okay with that. Mistaken identify, that’s all. I’d walked into a bar to order a drink but didn’t realize it was members only. I get it. No offense. I’ll just move my business to another bar... mea culpa.

But herein lies the rub…….. if I was bringing my questions to the wrong blog, that’s fine. But why was I chastised for not framing my question correctly? (I hadn’t been sensitive and needed to learn how to ask a question correctly, remember?). I even noticed when I’d dropped back by and found my comment deleted, that another adoptive parent’s question was posted AND answered. I was confused… where was the difference? How was her question better worded than mine? How was it more sensitive? If the blog wasn’t for adoptive parents to ask questions, then why was that one answered?

And then it hit me…. it became glaringly obvious….

I’d asked the wrong question.

It wasn’t that I phrased it wrong. It was the question itself. As long as I made sure not to ask any questions that hurt or challenged the writer’s ideas, then my questions would be okay. But if my question even hinted that I didn’t agree with her thoughts or questioned her logic, my questions weren’t welcome.

That, my friends, is completely okay. That’s what blogs are for. Their authors choose what is posted and who comments. Freedom of the press instantaneously! But do me a favor … if ya don’t like my comment, just delete it. Don’t blow smoke up my hoo-ha and tell me it’s one thing when it’s another. And do us all a favor and be honest with yourself.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Paper thoughts

I read a post over on Third Mom’s blog ( and it made me want to comment. She referenced a paper written by an obviously brilliant individual. Without researching the author’s background, I’m guessing by her name that she might have personal experience with the world of international adoption. She makes many points in her paper and I just had to add my $3.50. (two cents is NEVER enough for me)

I will begin by saying that I do not hold a Ph.D. I do not have unfettered access to thousands of peer-reviewed journals. Alas, my days of extensive research are through. Two degrees under my belt and I am finished. (BS in Psychology and Master’s in Public Health, if you’re truly interested. Neither of which is of any consequence to this post.) I do have an opinion, go figure, so I thought I would share it here. It’s nothing but conjecture and my first thoughts on the subject. I’m more than willing to do further research if folks provide the citations!

It would be difficult for anyone to argue that international adoption exists solely to find homes for parentless children.

I’m not sure who would honestly argue this point. People adopt children internationally for a myriad of reasons. I think many adoptive parents go through a series of thoughts and feelings on their decision to adopt, internationally or domestically. These feelings may change during the adoption process or may gradually evolve over time, far after their children are grown adults. I have to admit that this statement makes me immediately ask the question, Does the author wish to make the argument that international adoption exists solely to find children for childless adults?

I will speak only about Guatemala because that is where my son was born.
The current fertility rate in Guatemala is 3.82 children per female of childbearing age. In the US, it’s 2.09. The infant mortality rate in Guatemala is 3.1%. In the US, it’s .6%. (That’s point six… as in just a little over ½ a percent). There is no current viable governmental social services system in that country. This means the bulk of the social services provided for those who need it are through faith-based and/or private institutions. Some adoption agencies provide humanitarian aid in the region, not just for those children that are being adopted. My point is that the high fertility rate in Guatemala does not exist because it is number three on the list in regard to number of international adoptions (behind China and Russia). The fertility rate has been high for centuries. Agrarian cultures, countries with large Roman Catholic populations, countries in which women have little control over their lives (including educational opportunities and reproductive rights) all tend to have higher fertility rates. Guatemala’s high fertility rate and high poverty rate are not due to international adoption. Ceasing international adoption will not lower either rate and it will contribute to the deaths of children and the future poverty of those who survive. Some share that opinion, including Guatemalans. Some don’t. And that’s okay.

Motivation to adopt internationally had shifted from child-focused to parent focused.

References are made throughout the paper to adoption being “parent-centered.” This is not the first time I’ve encountered such a statement. I am currently in the midst of an international adoption. I cannot seem to figure out what about this process is centered on me. Honestly, each step of the process has been centered on rules made by various governmental agencies (both foreign and domestic), adoption agencies, social workers, judges, lawyers, court staff, notaries, doctors, post office clerks, the list goes on and on. I’m not sure at what point any of this has been centered on me. MY wishes, feelings, and thoughts have largely been ignored. It’s been a constant parade of demands and requirements of others and largely out of my control. I’m not arguing whether or not my needs are superior to the needs of my child. I’m simply stating that I don’t see how the process is centered on me.

Of interest, the author refers to a study where parents stated their motivation to adopt from Korea rather than domestically included “shorter waiting periods” and “an interest in international adoption.” She then draws the conclusion that this “reflects the parent-centered motivations.” Why? Perhaps the parents were thinking of their child when they stated they wanted a shorter waiting period. The sooner the completion of the adoption, the sooner the child is permanently placed with the family. Bonding behaviors begin immediately and environmental influences are very strong. Language development also begins within months of birth. I’m no language expert but additional difficulties with the transition from one language to anther would be exacerbated the older the child is at the time of placement. Perhaps the motivation was to bring the child home and establish bonds early. I have no problem understanding a child will have difficulty being separated from his first mother. But is it selfish to not want additional attachments with foster mothers, orphanage workers, etc. to also have to be broken? I would think it would be highly child-centered to think this way. As for an interest in international adoption, why is this inherently parent centered? I would argue I’m thinking about the future best interest of my child - to remain in a stable home. It may be, quite possibly, the only home he has any conscious memory of in his entire life. More on that later.

Transracial adoptive parents, in general, not just those with Asian children, tend to be publicly acknowledged for their selflessness and courage in taking on the challenge of raising children of color…..

Ummmm – No? Again, speaking only from my personal frame of reference, this has not been the case. I get dumb ass comments like “Couldn’t you just have one of you own ?” or “There are so many kids in orphanages here. Why go somewhere else and bring one back?” Truly, I’ve gotten ZERO pats on the back for “taking on the challenge.” People who are positive about the adoption simply say things like “That’s great!” or “Congratulations.” Pretty much the same things they’ve said to my pregnant colleagues.

Ironically, when I read the blogs of most adoptive parents, I find there is an overwhelming need to feel normal and “just like everybody else.” I admit I think this is naïve on our part. How could I think people aren’t going to look a bit surprised to hear “we have a son” when they’ve been around me for the previous nine months and I’ve obviously not been pregnant? How could I think there won’t be questions when my café au lait colored son walks toward me saying “mama” and my pale bluish-white Irish skinned self picks him up? I’m not stupid. But, I wanted to be a mother AND there were kids in other countries that needed someone to fulfill this role because the first one they had no longer had the ability to do so. Why not bring us together?

I feel like I have to throw something in about the “why not adopt domestically?” I won’t even get into the fact that I trust the legal system in the US as far as I can….. nope, not even that much.[ Did I mention hubby is on the path to becoming a lawyer? Lucky me, huh?] Here’s the cut and dry for me. International adoptions are final. Period. No I changed my mind. No I got my life together now. No I made a mistake. No I won the lottery. Domestic adoptions just don’t have the case law to back them. More and more, family courts and family law attorneys are permitted to sever adoptive family ties if anyone from the first family lodges a complaint. LET ME BE CLEAR: I am interested in what is best for a child. Once a decision has been made and a child has been placed, I do not feel it is in the best interest of the child to reverse an adoption because one or more of the parties have now changed their mind. I just don’t. I do believe that there are first mothers who should have been given more support in order to parent their children. I don’t, however, feel that the way to rectify that mistake is to reverse an adoption decision once it’s been made. I just don’t. And that is a post all to itself….. and I digress….. back to the paper….

Economic necessity is one of the dominant factors in relinquishment…….. The neocolonialism inherent in that exchange is striking.

Say again? Adoptive parents are acquiring the resources of the child’s native country. I’d say that indigenous children are not seen as a resource in Guatemala. They are viewed, in large part, as a burden. They are expendable and at the mercy of the government which requires the poor to work, in servitude, for nearly a third of the year. Their families can’t afford to feed, clothe or educate them. It’s not fair and this system obviously needs to change. However, it’s a change that MUST come from within. The Guatemalan people will have to make these changes for themselves. Outside help makes it worse. (For the record, the last time the US got “involved” in Guatemala specifically, it overthrew the only democratically elected government in the nation’s history and start 30+ years on civil war. Hundreds of thousands of indigenous people were slaughtered in their own country. Obviously, I’d prefer if the US kept out of Guatemala. It’s done quite enough, thank you.) In my case, I will give my son a chance at a better life – an education, health care, food, clothes. If he so chooses to return to his native country, he will do so much better prepared than his first family could have ever prepared him. I agree that it’s not fair this is the case. Maybe he will be an instrument for change. It appears that many of the leaders of Latin American were educated in the US. Coincidence?

The author goes on to quote an adoptee who wonders why “the supporters of international adoption are quiet about the children who are left behind.” SAYS WHO? Many parents of internationally adopted children are very vocal about adoption. They learn much about their children’s birth country and try to incorporate aspects of that culture into their children’s lives. They also tend to be the most generous supporters of orphanages and humanitarian aid to the country from which they adopt. On a more personal note, I MUST address the reference to children who are “neglected, abandoned and abused” and the idea that parents whishing to adopt should take on a personal responsibility to these children. BULLSHIT. Stop passing the buck. Abused, neglected and abandoned children are EVERYONE’S responsibility. The idea that a parent whishing to adopt a child should not want a healthy child, both physically and emotionally, is total crap. When was the last time you heard a pregnant woman say, “Gee, we were really hoping for a girl with Down’s Syndrome. We got stuck with normal chromosomal counts.” How often do you hear parents of a toddler say “Damn. We were hoping he’d have ADHD like his older brother. Now he just won’t get what it’s like to have a disability.” GOOD GRIEF. It’s a totally human response to want a healthy child. Adoptive parents are no different. So to suddenly find it selfish on the part of adoptive parents to want young, healthy children in their lives where they can provide health care and a positive, safe, loving environment from as early an age as possible just makes no sense to me. Again, wasn’t the point to act “in the best interest of the child?” How is this wish “parent-centered?” Truly, I’m at a loss.

And I just have no add my own little tidbit on culture. Again, completely from my personal frame of reference. I have two step-sons. (I refer to them as my sons; however for clarity I make the “step” distinction here.) They live in Germany with their biological mother. Both boys speak German and only a few phrases of English. Officially they are both German and American citizens. They hold passports in both countries. Their mother is German; their father, an American. They were 4 and 3 months, respectively, when they returned to Germany with their mother. They are now 15 and 12. Now, having NEVER lived in the US that they remember, they both talk about being Americans. They walk around like something from the latest Cash Money Records video. K-Fed’s got nothing on these two pale faced Germans who can’t speak a word of English, but are great at phonetically rapping IN ENGLISH… (with a few German words thrown in because ‘they sound better’.) They couldn’t give a rat’s ass about German culture. Don’t care; aren’t interested. When I visit them and want to learn about their language, their culture, etc., they are thoroughly annoyed with me. It’s not just because they are children either. Their German family can’t tell me anything about their history or traditions. They can’t explain any of the various holidays. I just hear “I don’t know. It’s a day off.”

My point is that just because you look a certain way doesn’t mean that you have ties to a particular culture. Sorry, it doesn’t. There are many people who cut ties with their racial / cultural / ethnic communities, for one reason or another, and choose to join a new one. It happens every day. I think it’s fabulous. People should be where they feel they belong. I can assure you that I may “look” the part of the good Southern belle but I’m physically ill on a daily basis at the horrific racist drivel said in my presence. But it’s okay, right? Because “I’m one of ‘them.’” I must be ….. I LOOK this way. If my son wants to learn about Guatemalan culture I will give him ample opportunities. I will share and learn and experience as much as I can to pass along to him. But if he ends up wanting to adopt the cultural traditions of the Aborigines in the Australian outback, don’t blame me. Some people just aren’t interested in their own culture.

So if you’re still reading, I’m impressed. I tend to be long winded when I get going. But hey, doesn’t that make up for the space between posts??

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Jumping into the deep end

I have noticed over time that I consistently read the following phrases on blogs:

“You misunderstood what I meant.”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“You can’t understand tone from my words.”

“I’m sorry if you took it that way.”

Nonverbal communication. It’s the gold standard when relating to people. I can write a sentence on a piece of paper and ask 20 people to read it. I’ll get 20 different intonations, facial expressions, speaking styles, and body stances. Some people will use their hands as they speak. Others will look directly at me, or at the ground, or at the piece of paper. Unless I give them directions… a screenplay if you will… they have no idea what message I wish for them to convey or the message I intend for the listener to receive. One better, even if I give explicit instructions as to how to deliver the message, I can’t govern how the receiver will receive it. I can try to explain. I can mean one thing and have the receiver gain something completely different. That’s language.

I begin this post with those thoughts to begin writing a very difficult post. It’s been “brewing in my head” for weeks but I couldn’t figure out how to begin. No matter how hard I tried, the words sounded cold and harsh. I couldn’t find a way to ask the questions I wanted to ask without worrying I would hurt someone in the process. I thought if perhaps I tried to write my post from both points of view, that I might come to a better understanding. The truth is, I can’t see the other point of view. I honestly have tried. I continue reading blog after blog but I never seem to come to an “A-ha” moment where I see the light. After much contemplation I realized that it wasn’t possible for me to see it at this point. The truth is the hard questions aren’t always the easy ones to hear. There’s no way I can possibly grow if I don’t ask the questions in my mind. So here goes….

I spend a great deal of time reading the blogs of women who no longer have their children in their custody due to adoption. Call them firstmothers. Call them birthmothers. Call them mothers. As I don’t want to use the wrong term, for this discussion I will refer to this group as “writers” because I only know them through their writings. Most of the writers’ blogs are very angry and the writers obviously feel a great deal of pain, anguish, and sorrow. I have found very few who have a positive outlook on the adoption process as a whole. Adoptive mothers are portrayed as evil, heartless women who have “stolen their children.” The writers are “victims” who have been lied to, duped and mislead. Adoptive mothers “don‘t get it.” The writers explain that they have been marginalized by society, including adoptive mothers as “dirty,” “sluts” and “inferior.” They point to adoptive mother blogs that ignore their pain or, even worse, attack them on websites through posts or comments. Very little energy is spent exploring any of the positive aspects of adoption.

Obviously, I also spend a lot of time reading the blogs of women who have or are in the process of adopting. I’ll call them AMs for lack of better term. Some are adopting from another country; some domestically. Some have fostered their children prior to adopting them through a state foster care system. There are transracial adoptions. Some are queer families; some are single people who wish to be parents. Some have open adoptions where there is a relationship in some form between multiple families. The AMs often write of the experiences that brought them to adoption. These stories are generally filled with pain, too. There is generally discussion of how “hard” the path to motherhood has been. There will be posts about how “unfair” things have been as the “crack whore down the street” just “had another one.” AMs write about their grand plans to spoil their children. As long as they love the children, nothing else matters. The outside world should not view their family any different from any other family. Questions about the adoption are seen as insulting. For the most part, “adoption” is over once the actual process is complete. Very little energy is spent exploring any of the negative aspects of adoption.

I'm willing to concede I have absolutely NO experience in the feelings of the first group. I am not a writer. I have ONLY experience in the AM group, as this is what I am. I am struck with the notion that neither one of these groups has a monopoly on pain. But I have the overhwleming feeling that it really doesn't matter which group one is a part of. Shouldn't it be completely about the child ? If so, then I pose my first of several questions surrouding adoption:

IF the absolute bottom line is “what is in the best interest of the child,” why is there a need for the adoptive family, including the adopted child, to bear a responsibility for any pain/anguish/sorrow/guilt/[insert experience here] that the writer feels?

Let me try to explain my confusion:
A writer states that her life has been taken from her. The adoption that occurred shattered her self esteem and has been the root of many of her problems in life. The world needs to understand that she deserves to know her child and be a part of that child’s life. There is a genetic bond that cannot be broken. AMs do not have a right to the writer’s child. AMs don’t have the right to interfere with a reunion between the writer and said child.

Okay – but is this not the burden of the writer to bear? Why does the adoptive family, including the adopted child, now have to change their lives and accommodate a possible stranger because this reunion will help the writer ease her condition? Is this in the best interest of the child?

At this point, I feel the need to throw out clarifications. Maybe they’re needed; maybe not. I am not referring to an adult adoptee that seeks a reunion with their first family. I feel adults should have the right to make these decisions. I feel genuinely sorry for adoptees from “back in the day” that have no access to this information or were lied to about their adoptions. I am also willing to concede that this still occurs today. I'd like to think that it occurs less often now, but I could be wrong. (Sorry, I don't see how the two pale faces from Idaho can lie to their daughter from Beijing and convince her that she was born to them. Call me kooky.)

I also understand that a blog is for many people, myself included, a kind of journal where their thoughts and feelings are shared. Often times it may appear that writers only think about adoption and nothing else. A reader should keep in mind that the blog is but one outlet for the writer. In real life, the writer is no different than anyone else, so to speak. The writer could be your co-worker, your teacher, your mail lady…. your mom. Who knows? The point is that the writer is putting her feelings out there to see. They are her words to be heard. As a reader, I try to keep this in perspective.

Having said this, I still feel confused. I often find myself reading, “They just don’t get it,” referring to adoptive mothers. I get the overwhelming feeling that unless AMs recognize that adoption is a terrible thing and allow the writer to be a part of her child’s life, no matter what, that AMs will never “get it.”

I don’t follow the logic. I can think of several examples to illustrate my point but I fear using any of them for fear of angering readers even further. I’ll stick to the here-and-now.

Here’s my current take on the matter: If my responsibility is to ensure the best interest of a child and said child has been entrusted to my care, then I must and will make all decisions for said child. This includes the foods he eats, the clothes he wears, the activities in which he engages and the people with whom he interacts. This includes all people at all times. It is not my responsibility to foster a relationship between him and his first family. If he seeks such a relationship in the future, then I will do what I can to support such a relationship. I will assist him to the best of my ability and provide him what information I have in my possession. That is my plan at this time. It is what I feel is in his best interest.

I can’t stress enough that I genuinely feel for the writers I read. Their pain is obvious. Many of their stories are horrific and heartbreaking. I can’t begin to imagine what their experiences have been. I can understand where such angry and vitriol comes from when I read of how many of these adoptions came to be. I can “see” many scared, lonely young women who were given no other option during their pregnancies. They were abused, used and tossed to the side. There is absolutely nothing positive that can be said regarding the way they were treated. For many this pattern of treatment has continued throughout their lives. I am truly sorry for that. I, for my part, have tried to be a good steward of resources and helped the women I have encountered in my life who have found themselves in the same situation. Some I have been able to help; some I have not. Some refused to be helped. Each of these women has made the choices in their lives that lead them to the place where they were then and are now. Some are in better places now; some are in worse.

Having said all of that, I still do not understand how an AM can make things better by encouraging a relationship between the child in her care and a writer if she does not think it is in the best interest of the child. Regardless of what the writer needs or wants or thinks, the child is not in the writer’s care. The AM has been given the responsibility of that child. For better or worse.

The truth is that I have very few readers. I don’t think any of them are writers – first mothers, birthmothers, mother of children who have been adopted by another person. I’m hoping a few might drop by and say hi….. give me their opinions, their wrath…. Truly, I’m hoping so. There’s no way in the world I’m going to learn a darn thing if I’m not willing to stick my neck out. Someone very dear to me once said, “Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to.” I truly do want some answers. I may not like them but I’m wiling to listen.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Pre-approval !!!!

There’s no happier word in our house today. 30 days to the day of our DNA match, the email arrived from the embassy. I had to do a double-take when I checked my inbox. I’m shocked that something has been completed within the given timeline when it comes to the U.S. government. Truly, I never cease to be amazed! Hopefully we’ll be in PGN soon and on the downhill slide to bringing our little man home.

We received updated pictures from his two month checkup. I can’t believe how much of an actual PERSON he is. He’s already got a personality within that little smile. He no longer looks like the mutant “infant”…lolol… you know I think all infants look alike. (and they're generally alien looking!) MY little boy has his own grin… and it’s beautiful. He’s big too – at two months he’s already 13 ½ pounds. Can you believe it? And nearly 2 feet long! I’m floored. He’s big and healthy and happy. I couldn’t be more proud!

On the homefront, thanks for all of the well wishes for my parents. Both are at home and recovering nicely. Thankfully my brother and his wife live close by and can help them with errands, grocery shopping, and the like. I call them daily and get reports. They’re both getting stronger every day. Of course I try to give them updates about Colin’s status to bolster their spirits. They’re both so excited about their grandson. I can’t wait to bring them video from the trip.

29 days…. It’s 29 days until I hold my son for the first time. Tickets are booked… hotel reservations are made…. I’m trying not to explode from excitement. As one fellow blogger posted before …. “They expect me to work?!?!?!?” Somehow I don’t know how I’m supposed to do that. Another month of trying to stay focused? Yeah right!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Family emergency

I’m finally getting around to writing a few thoughts about the past week. It’s been quite emotionally draining. For those who aren’t aware, my SIL called me 5:30am last Tuesday morning to tell me that BOTH of my parents were in the hospital. I don’t feel like recanting all of the details but the bottom line was that my father had a stroke and my mother had a heart attack….. within a few hours of each other. They were both in ICU, and eventually were both moved to private rooms. My mother was released on Thursday. My father is still in the hospital. They’re saying he should be released today or tomorrow.

The prognosis for both is a full recovery. Daddy doesn’t appear to have ANY effects from the stroke. He’ll have out patient therapy for a while to make sure everything is still humming along the way it’s supposed to. Mama will have to take it easy and build her strength back up. Thankfully she has no blockage and there’s no need for surgery. (Her heart attack was the kind when the blood vessels basically fold in on themselves. The cardiologist says with time and medication that her heart muscle may actually repair itself.) My brother and SIL live less than five minutes from my parents. Thankfully they’re able to help my parents while they recover. I live so far away (6 hour drive) so I’m not much help for day-to-day help. I drove to where they are on Tuesday but had to return home on Sunday to go back to work.

Obviously I’m a bit shaken up about the whole incident. Daddy is 60 years old and Mama is 67. Had things not turned out so well, I could be an orphan at 32. I can’t imagine my life without them here. There’s still so much I need to learn from them. They drive me nuts on a regular basis but I’d be lost without them.

My beloved husband remained at home, taking care of my dog and keeping my spirits up from afar. He’s so good at taking care of me even when he can’t be right there with me. I’m reminded how lucky I am to have such a wonderful man in my life.

My bright bit of happiness is that we’ve been given travel dates for our visit trip to Guatemala. We’ll be there for Thanksgiving! I’m reminded how important family truly is and how much I want my parents to enjoy their grandson. I sure do hope we bring him home soon!

Sunday, October 01, 2006


I actually have a lot to say this evening on two subjects that, on the surface, appear completely unrelated. However, for me, they are very much intertwined. The topic is on being silenced.

The first situation involves a blog that I frequently read. She is an adoptive mother of two children from Korea. They are now teenagers. I can't say that I've read through all of her archives but what I have read shows a very insightful, intuitive, loving mother. She speaks often of her feelings regarding her part in the international adoption process. I don't always agree with everything she writes, but I appreciate her point of view. It's often given me 'food for thought.' It's nice to have your views and opinions challenged from time to time, especially in such a non-threatening way. She's never been 'in your face' about her ideas. She's always taken a motherly tone of "here's another perspective.... what do you think?" She's also been accepting of others' comments. She allows all sides of the adoption triad (and anyone else on the fringes) to share and comment. I find that very refreshing as, more and more, I've noticed that should you post on a blog and not agree with the blogger 100%, you will most likely be deleted or bashed by the blogger and his/her readers. I often find myself thinking 'then why ask for comments?' Or better yet – ‘just go password protected.’ That way only your minions will comment and you'll be sure that they all agree with you.

I explain the above situation because it seems that this sweet woman is now considering closing her blog down. Why, you ask? Well, as I see it (and since it's my blog I get to have my opinion on that), she now thinks she may nothing left to say because someone within the adoption world thinks adoption is a bad thing.... at all times..... at all costs. This other writer posed questions / statements that sound more like a dogma for a new religion than anything else. My sweet blogger friend has been left so conflicted by this anti-adoption writer that she's now starting to doubt her place in this world. (TOTALLY MY OPINION.)

Now - situation number two: I spent Friday evening with DH, a co-worker (M) and her husband. We'd planned to meet at a local bar for happy hour to have a TGIF beer. This is a regular happening in my office but DH and I rarely go. After the hellacious week I'd had, I decided this would be the Friday we would go. So, we arrive at the bar and are having a lovely time. Suddenly, M's daughter and SIL show up. It's a college town and they are recent college graduates. So we invite them to join us and they join in the various conversations at the table. I'll skip the various dramas and recap quickly: SIL spends most of the evening giving hand signals to his wife to be quiet and even, at several points, tells her to 'shut up' and 'quit interrupting.' SIL refers to M as being a drunk, being afraid of her own MIL and informs her that children don't have any obligation to their families just because they are related 'by an accident of genetics.' Now, DH and I are floored by the behavior and try not to look quite so shocked b/c we're thinking, ‘This must be their dynamic. Everyone here is an adult.’ I truly don't want to insult my friend b/c well, at heart I'm a Southerner and we just aren't raised that way. So we try to continue various conversations and pick topics not so controversial / confrontational. No dice. SIL continues making ugly hurtful remarks left and right. Somehow, the conversation turns to that of Katrina victims in Mississippi. If you haven't been keeping up, please refer to previous posts to understand why this topic might hold significance to me. Caught up? Good.

So while trying to explain how victims on the coast are feeling, I am informed by SIL, "none of those people deserve a dime." (Let me add that he is VERY much aware of my past / present situation.) I stop for a moment and look directly at him. I say, "You're serious. You really don't think they deserve any assistance." To which he says "No, not from the government, not from the insurance companies." For the first time in my more than thirty years, I was speechless. I then try to explain to him how many people were misled about their insurance policies. I am then schooled on the fact that NO insurance policies would EVER cover flood and / or damage like that of a hurricane and that "those people" should have "read their policies." Again, I continue to be floored. I, like an idiot, attempt to explain personal experiences of friends and family who are currently living through the aftermath. (Yes, I said CURRENTLY and it's been 13 months since landfall). Again, he's absolutely unmoved. If anything, he's exasperated that I don't understand how he's right about this. Everyone else at the table remains silent. No words of defense. No attempt to end the hurtful comments and condescension in his voice. I get nothing. DH happens to be at the bar paying the tab during this lovely bit of interchange. While I'm trying to recount these personal tales I realize that there are tears streaming down my face. I'm not drunk. (I'd had two beers and a full dinner over the course of 3 1/2 hours.) I'm not out of control. I realize I'm simply enraged and saddened. I'm thinking of the thousands of people whose lives are still ruined. I'm thinking of my own family members still waiting in FEMA trailers for assistance that was promised. These same family members who paid on insurance policies for more than 20 years and were promised by an agent "you’re covered for it all." Yeah, no check came. No help came. They're still waiting. And as I'm talking I realize this 22 year old boy will NEVER understand the pain and suffering I'm trying to explain to him. No matter how long I talk, it will do no good. He doesn’t care and he doesn’t want to. It means nothing to him. I'm saddened. And I'm silenced. Once DH returns to the table, I look at him with tears in my eyes and tell him it's time to go. I say nothing to M or the rest of the table. I simply walk out of the bar and head straight for our car. I cried for more than an hour after we got home. I cried for the more than 1800 dead, my friends, my family, my memories, my neighborhood. No words; just tears.

The connection between my two situations: Why is that the words of one casually known person can actually silence the voice of another person? Why do we do that to one another? Is it so hard to show compassion? What is the harm is standing back for a moment and allowing that someone else can have another point of view because they have their own unique experience of this world? That's not to say that you have to agree with or accept that view point. It would just be nice if more would be willing to believe we've all got a voice. Silencing someone else doesn’t make you right. It just makes them silenced.

My only regret is that I allowed myself to be silenced. I'm angry with myself for not challenging my tablemates to speak up and speak out, knowing they too shared my thoughts but they were too afraid to speak up. And to my blogger friend, I hope that she doesn't allow herself to be silenced. It serves no one to be silenced when we've all got so many beautiful things to say.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's a match!

We received word today that our DNA testing was completed and it's a match! With this step completed, we are now in the process of setting up a visit trip. I can't believe that in just a few weeks I will meet my son !!

On a bittersweet note, I realize that this means his birthmother has signed off again on his relinquishment. She had to be present for the DNA testing. Often this is the first time the birthmother has seen her child since the birth or maybe a few days after. Once again, I can't imagine how she must have felt or how she is still feeling. I continue to wish her nothing but peace in her decision. I have no idea what circumstance brought her to this decision. I won't second guess her. I only wish her peace and comfort and hope that, at some point, she can know how loved her son truly is and will be.

So tonight, I'm once again elated and saddened at the same time. After more than a decade of waiting, just a few more weeks and I will hold this precious little man!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Adoption news!!!

I just returned from a really crappy business trip this evening. I brought along the laptop, but of course the "high speed internet connection" promised by my crappy hotel was a complete bust. No email? No blogs? WHHHAAAATTTT??? So I had to resort to reading a book. For shame!

Upon my return to civilization, I logged on to check out what was going on in the blogosphere... and my email inbox. To my surprise (and joy!), I found a bunch of pictures of my little man courtesy the agency! He is still a chubby bunch of love with a head full of hair. Hubby and I were all smiles to have this unexpected happy. He's so beautiful and looks to be healthy.

About an hour after finding this bit of good news the phone rings. It was our agency. We've got DNA authorization!!!!!!! For those in the know, one of the steps in the process for our adoption is authorization from the U.S. Embassy for DNA to be taken of the birthmother and child. It's one of those nifty little steps that ensures the birthmother is relinquishing her own child. Sadly, it's often the first time she has seen the child since his/her birth. I can't imagine what her state of mind must be at this point. I can only wish her peace in this life altering decision.

For us, although somewhat bittersweet, we are thrilled beyond belief to have this next step down. Once the testing is done and the results are confirmed, we will be planning to take a visit trip to Guatemala. Just think...... in about a month I could be holding my son for the first time. I'm absolutely stunned!

What a wonderful way to end today!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Q and A

I realized that sometimes blogs just have random information. There doesn’t always need to be some major, heart-stopping event to share. I’d like to rant about work right now but honestly I’m too freakin’ tired to go into it. I do promise to share more on my current employment site because….. IT SUCKS.

But in the interest of saving my current mental health, fragile as it may be, I thought I would be kind enough to answer some questions. You see, there have been a few very, VERY kind people who have taken the time to drop by, read the blog and even COMMENT ! What wonderful people you are! It makes me happy to know that maybe, just maybe, people are interested in what’s going on in my life. So, on to the questions:

Art Sweet asked:
1. Why are you living somewhere you don't like (so am I)? Where SHOULD home be for you?

Glad that you asked. I’m not sure exactly where I should be living. If you notice a previous post, you will see what was left of my beloved house previously located in Biloxi, Mississippi. Alas, she is no more. No house insurance, no flood insurance, no government money – ZIP. Don’t believe the hype. Not every person who suffered due to Katrina is now buying season tickets and pouring Dom Perignon in their dog’s water dish. Some of us ended up with JACK SQUAT. (And before you ask, no, the government – aka you, the tax payer - is NOT funding my international adoption. My daddy is. Sometimes fathers can fix their daughter’s broken hearts; sometimes they can’t. My daddy decided his retirement was worth fixing my broken heart.)

So, I am now living somewhere else as my dearly beloved is currently in law school. He lives here, ergo I live here. I can’t even begin to tell my dear readers how much this city sucks ass. (Although, I promise to enlighten in further posts.) Suffice it to say, I don’t like living here and I can’t wait to leave.

2. Why Guatemala?

I won’t be kitschy and say “because that’s where my son is” although it’s what I tell strangers. As a fellow Guatemama, I know that you asked for a reason. I think we chose Guatemala for a variety of reasons. Here are but a few:
· Hispanic culture: Both hubby and I have ties to Hispanic culture through our extended family. Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, to name a few countries our family members share ancestry from. In essence, our son won’t feel out of place surrounded by his cousins.
· Process: We liked the adoption process in Guatemala. We both have serious issues with government involvement in most things. We liked the fact that the adoption process is a private matter between the adoptive parents and the birth mother through an attorney. Also, to be fair, it’s a short timeline when compared to other countries.
· Foster care: Babies in Guatemala generally remain in foster care in a family rather than in an orphanage. I am very familiar with developmental delays as that is the field in which I work. The fewer our son develops, the better for his long-term health.
· Travel: Selfish, yes, but honest. Neither one of us could afford (financially, physically, academically) to be out of country for weeks on end. The fact that the trips to Guatemala are short in duration makes this whole process possible. Maybe in the future this won’t be a factor, but for now, that’s our reality.

3. What kinds of blog set-up questions do you have?

I haven’t managed to put a big list together just yet. I’d like to begin adding some cute graphics, etc. that might let me readers know what ideas/issues interest me. (A rainbow flag or banner reading “THE ONLY BUSH I TRUST IS MY OWN” on the blog makes a pretty powerful statement without having to write a lot of explanation, don’t cha think?) Obviously I don’t think many are reading so text is probably fine for now. But I do like shiny things.

Oh, and how to make a list of the blogs I read that will post here somewhere on a permanent basis. There are so many creative people that I read daily and I’d love to share the love. (Is that politically correct? Or am I supposed to ask permission to do that? I always wonder that.)

4. Why "hopeful step-mom"?

Wow – this girl is perceptive! I’m sure I will get around to explaining the current stepmother situation that I now find myself in. To answer in short: I am stepmother to two wonderful boys, who are 14 and 12, respectively. They live in Europe with their biological mother. She is a waste of carbon. One of the boys lives in the care of the state in a foster home. The other still lives at home with her and “roommate” du jour. I hate the situation they are in and I / we are powerless to change it at the present time. That being said, my hope is that one day I will have the chance to be a positive force in their lives on a regular basis. Even more so, I hope that one day they may actually come to love me. Until then, I can be hopeful for them and their future. There’s so much more to this saga and I’m sure it will make a lovely set of posts to explain. Of course, that is if I have any readers who actually want to know the story…… time will tell.

Thanks for playing Q and A!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The FedEx package arrived at 9:30am, 9/01/06. My dearly beloved called me at work to announce its arrival. I dropped what I was doing and rushed home…. only 1.5 miles one-way. (Yeah for working lclose to home!) He had waited to open the package until I got home. Together, we pulled out the pictures of our beautiful baby boy. Yes, I know all parents think their child is beautiful. I, however, generally think that most babies are hideous. (Sorry, they just are – all wrinkled and squirmish looking. They remind me of aliens.) But this little boy was breathtaking!! Our little boy!

We took out the video and rushed to the bedroom to watch. (The VCR is in the bedroom.) There he was… wiggling on his little Winnie-the-Pooh blanket. He had the hiccups, poor thing, but he just silently wiggled. He tried to move his legs when he was on his stomach, as if to get up. He was only three weeks old and already trying to run around! We were surprised at how big he was. By Guatemalan standards, he’s pretty big. We both commented on his long feet and strong legs. (I see soccer player in his future!)

I have to admit I expected to burst into tears. I expected to be hysterical. Strangely, I simply felt calm. My thoughts were, “Okay – there he is.” I’ve been waiting all of my adult life for him to arrive. Shouldn’t I be jumping up and down, freaking out, screaming like a banshee? Apparently not. This was it. Quiet awe at the television screen.

We’ve formally accepted his referral and now the wait begins. We’ve done everything we can on our end. We now wait for the Guatemalan government to approve the adoption and make it final. I don’t know what kinds of updates we’ll get and how much time will elapse between them. Right now, I’m just hoping the wait isn’t too long. The first step in the adoption process in Guatemala, more or less, is the DNA testing. Hopefully that will be completed in the next few weeks. Obviously I’ll update when I can. For now, I’ll spend time staring at the few pictures I have and re-watching the three-minute video clip of MY son.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Chance of a lifetime

I can’t believe I’m writing these words as soon as I am:


Our agency called today and we have a referral. He was born 8/8/06 which means he’s already three weeks old! They are sending us the whole package tomorrow - pictures, video, history, medicals, etc. I've been told I'm supposed to sleep tonight - but I doubt I will sleep another night until he's safe in my arms.

I have to admit that instead of feeling totally over-the-moon the whole time, I feel sad, too. I HATE that my happiness can only come at the expense of someone else’s sadness. All I can think about his birthmother and how she is feeling right now. I want to call her or write her and tell her that he will be okay. I want to tell her that I’m so thankful and humbled and honored for this opportunity. I want to tell her that her son … our son…. will be so loved during his lifetime and will never want for a material thing. I want to tell her I’m sorry that she couldn’t raise her son. I don’t know the circumstances that brought her to this decision. It’s not really my business. I can only hope that she is at peace, as best she can be, with this decision. I want to tell her that I will do everything I can to make sure this child knows he was so loved by this woman that she made such a heartwrenching decision. I want her to know that I will help him locate her in the future if he would like. I want to tell her she will always have a special place in our lives and in our hearts.

I wish it didn’t have to be like this. I don’t feel guilty for my place in this world. I feel lucky and honored. Tomorrow, after a 12-year journey to become a mother, I will finally see my son’s face for the first time. My broken heart is finally on the mend. At the same time, a woman on the other side of the hemisphere is trying to start putting her life back together while her heart breaks a little more.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


I felt like I should write something about Katrina. Everyone else is doing it and there’s more than enough pain to go around. I’m so tired of hearing stories from reporters with no clue. It truly is a matter of – "if ya weren’t there, ya don’t know." I’d like to jump on the bandwagon of those from the old neighborhood complaining about why New Orleans is getting all the press when Katrina didn’t destroy that city. (The levees failed. The government failed. Bureaucracy and poor planning won. THAT’S what destroyed New Orleans. On the night of 8/29/05, the city of New Orleans was okay. My neighborhood? It was gone.) But like I said, there’s more than enough pain to go around. I promised I wouldn’t continue that diatribe. Not today. Today is a time to mourn. More than 1800 people died in at least five states. You can’t fathom that kind of loss of life. The bulk of the bodies in my county were pulled from my side of town. Death has a smell….. the kind you can’t get clean.

I tried putting my feelings about today into words, but my words just ramble. I’m not a good enough writer to do any of it justice. So I posted the picture above. That's what was left of my house, taken Labor Day weekend 2005. It was Saturday after the storm before I was able to see the damage myself. That, my friends, is what a wall of water 28 feet high does to a structure. In case you were wondering, a marble coffee table, a few outdoor garden statues and a few china plates were all that we salvaged. A lifetime of memories destroyed.

I thought I might share what I miss the most about my former life. Here’s a snapshot:
· sitting on my front porch, enjoying a drink, watching the world go by
· the rock garden I built all by myself in my front yard
· my pictures, all of my pictures, 31 years worth of pictures
· my job where I worked for seven years that I had to leave because I had no place to live
· my friends who understood what it was like because they lived through it too
· my family because they are now a world away

I can’t begin to explain what was lost a year ago today. Sure, we can rebuild the physical structures and replace many of the lost “things.” But the community, the neighborhood, the soul of my hometown, is gone forever. It can’t be rebuilt because the people aren’t there. They don’t have the means to do it.

Whatever your thoughts on this disaster, take a minute to remember those who lost their loved ones, their communities, their security, their innocence. It’s been a year and we’re not over it.

To those who were there, I share this: Don’t worry, friend. We don’t HAVE to be over it. Ever.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Matter of Perspective

I think all life is a matter or perspective.

I suffer from infertility. I use the word suffer on purpose. It’s an agonizing prospect of my life and one that I’ll never get over. So when I hear a woman say, “I’m pregnant again” and sound annoyed, I want to scream, “Then use a condom, you whore!!!!!!” But I don’t. I just keep walking through Wal*Mart (because that’s where all the pregnant whores seem to shop…..). The point is that she didn’t mean to be offensive. That’s her take on reality because that is how things work in her world. (Have sex – get pregnant.) In my world, having sex does not equal pregnant. Oh yeah…. and pregnant does not equal live baby…. twice. In my world, no one should complain about being pregnant. Those who do should instantly have a miscarriage. But I’m working very hard to change this perspective. (It’s an ongoing process, so bear with me if we have some setbacks in judgment from time to time.)

For me, infertility is painful. I don’t think that I will ever “get over it.” I have learned to accept that adoption doesn’t cure infertility. It only cures being childless. These are two different issues. I can’t honestly say that I’m still hurt that my husband and I may never have a living biological child together. His eyes, my mouth, his height, my feet. I mourn this loss in a real way on a constant basis. I understand that adoption will not make that pain go away.

Adoption does, however, allow me to focus my energies in a more positive manner. It gives me the chance to be a mother. I am acutely aware that this chance comes only out of the pain of another woman. I wish this wasn’t the case. I could tell myself that she never wanted this baby and is thrilled that she doesn’t have to raise him. But the reality is that she probably desperately wanted to keep this child and, for whatever reason…. poverty…. her age…..the circumstances of his conception,…… whatever the case, it just wasn’t possible. So now, I am being given the opportunity to raise this little boy. Thank you just doesn’t seem to cut it.

There has been MUCH debate recently on the adoption/ adoptee blogs I read with regard to adoptive parent guilt, acknowledging birthmother pain, etc. I will say that I had very strong reactions at first and wrote several scathing blog entries. But I chose to wait and seriously think about what I wanted to write. I’ve read many enlightened posts from various sources. I haven’t agreed with everything I’ve read but I welcome the chance to see more than one point of view. (What’s the point of writing only to be read by those who agree with you? Who learns anything that way?) The overriding sentiment that I come away with from reading these posts is that perception truly IS reality. (I know – no brainer there, huh?) We all come to the table with the sum total of our experiences. Of course our filters are set in a specific way. But the general populace appears to be unwilling to admit this.

Why is that birthmothers and adoptive mothers appear at odds? At what point did we become enemies? I feel like I’m watching the Springer show. Picture two women fighting over the jerk in the middle. I’m always thinking, “Why aren’t they beating the hell out of him and then going out for a drink together?” I can’t help but think both moms in the adoption triad should find the middle ground – the children – and work from there. In my case, I won’t ever be able to sit at the proverbial table with my son’s birthmother. Funny that I’m her biggest fan and most loyal supporter and we’ve never even met. More’s the pity…… but, I am trying to mentally prepare for the questions he may some day ask. Even more so, I’m trying to prepare for the questions everyone else may ask. Maybe I'll start asking some of my own.....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Intro to me

So I’m trying my hand at this blogging thing. For some time now I’ve been reading the blogs of others. Being a “lurker,” as I’ve learned we’re called, I’ve been able to enter the lives of hundreds of people I would have otherwise never been able to “meet.” Some of the posts I’ve read have angered me beyond belief. Others have moved me to tears. Many have been the fodder for conversations between the hubby and myself. As time went on, I realized that I often have a lot to say. Opinionated is often a word I hear used to describe me. I’d like to think I have something to offer to the online community….. so what the hell – here goes.

I should start by saying that I don’t know a THING about creating web pages. I have no idea how to add cute little pictures and emoticons everywhere. I see lots of creative little things all over others’ blogs and think, “I’d love to do that.” Sadly, I just don’t have the knowledge to do it just yet. Maybe I can learn. If you’ve got advice, please pass it along. Knowledge is power, right?

I’m trying to think of this blog as a diary of sorts. I’ll write down whatever is on my mind at that moment. If someone happens along and reads it, great. If they decide to leave a comment, even better. Hopefully I won’t offend too many people. I probably will. For that, let me apologize now. It’s not my intention to cause pain to others. I really just feel like it would be nice to have an outlet for the myriad of ideas that float around my head on a daily basis. And I’m not real knowledgeable on “blog etiquette,” so if I make a faux pas, please let me know… but gently please. I tend to bruise easily.

I truly hope no one in the “real world” finds this or figures out who I am. If that happens I’d like to say now – please don’t out me. Just keep it to yourself. Sometimes a girl just needs a place where everybody knows her name…. and well, Cheers closed years ago.

Over time I will most likely begin writing my biography here. Not in a self-inflated kind of way. Just more that I’m hoping someday, somebody might find it important to know what I was thinking at this point in my life. Some people find me interesting. Some even find me entertaining. Maybe you’ll be one of those people.

As for the name of the blog – “Kewl Beans” is a phrase that I’ve said as far back as I can remember. I honestly don’t know when I started saying it or where it came from. I’m sure it’s from an ‘80’s movie. If you think you know, feel free to pass along the info. I’d be interested to have another piece of my puzzle completed. The blog, just like me, is a work in progress.

So stop by the Kewl Beans Place, pull up a chair, grab a drink and join our lunacy!