I debated starting another adoption journal up while I'm pregnant, but then I decided I would. Adoption is so close to my heart that I am once again finding myself wrapped up in it. This might sound weird to some of you - I'm pregnant, shouldn't I be only and totally wrapped up in that? Well, you're right, I am wrapped up in my pregnancy. I am thankful for my son everyday, and am so grateful that I got a chance to be pregnant and experience this wonderful gift. However, we were so close to our daughter and so close to the end of our adoption journey that I certainly do feel a loss from that, too. Addie's birthday is in exactly a month from today. She'll be a year old. I can't help but wonder how we'd be celebrating if she were home with us. Putting away all the clothes and toys we had for her was heartbreaking. And that's why I decided - I'm not going to stop planning for my daughter just because my son decided to make an unexpected appearance in our lives! I have a pregnancy journal for him that you can find here.
Baby Boy (no name yet, although I am pushing for Ethan and DH is pushing for Levi!) is due in October, and we want to start the adoption process (well, the paperchase) when he's about 3-4 months old, if all goes well. DH will be switching jobs and we'll be moving, so it'll be an interesting time to say the least. With a new baby, and all those changes, we are expecting a few delays but for the most part I am letting myself get excited. It's important to me to have a daughter because of my own childhood that was fraught with abuse and dysfunctional family members. I never had a good relationship with my mother or my sister, and I so want that closeness with a daughter of my own. We have told a few friends of our plans to adopt again (only because they all assumed we weren't going to anymore) but haven't yet told any family. Well, actually, make that DH's family. I've told my family in India because they are so eager to meet Baby Boy. I had to tell them that we're most likely going to be adopting from India and therefore making a trip there most likely in early 2009.
Since it's so late, I'm going to bed, but I'll be back to talk more about the different programs we're considering! It's exciting to be planning for another adoption again!
Okay, so between Baby Boy kicking and my cell phone ringing I woke up earlier than I had intended. I guess this is good practice for when he's a newborn!
So, where was I? Ah, yes. We'll be starting the process - if all goes well - in April 2008. That's about 9 months away, which gives me more than enough time to plan everything out. When it comes to adoption, I am obsessively planny (yes, that's a word! LOL ). I figure I should get all the initial logistics out of the way now, because I doubt I'll have the time or energy to do it once Baby Boy is here.
Right now there are three programs we're looking at - India, Colombia and Domestic. The domestic one would be the fastest, because we're looking at minority infant and unfortunately, there are not a lot of families waiting in line for a minority infant. Anyway, India looks appealing because we had already been through it, so we'd know what to expect. Plus, we wouldn't have to pay any fees (except for the HS update) until referral time, since we already paid program fees and they are not going to charge us again (yay!). In addition to this, I could go visit with my relatives and foster our daughter and they'd get to meet Baby Boy which otherwise they wouldn't get to for many many years.
Colombia looks good because the long wait time means we'd be able to save up the adoption fees in almost all cash. Also, the court system is more stable than in India and the time from referral to child release is much shorter than India.
So now you know why I might need all that time to decide. I am sure once we're in the moment we'll know for sure which one is going to fit us the best. I'll be keeping up with updates on all three of these adoption programs so that we can be well-informed when it comes time to make that decision.
We're really excited about having one of each. When the docs told us this one was a boy, we looked at each other and beamed. It's so special that things worked out so we get a biological son and an adoptive daughter.
I spoke with the husband about the Colombia program yesterday, and he seemed enthused about it. We really like the fact that the wait time is long. That means we can get started early, but it gives us time to get the money saved up and also spend time with Baby Boy and allow him to be the baby for a bit. This is important to us - I find it difficult to digest that with a domestic program we have to be ready for a placement from the time we submit a homestudy. It seems like it would cause a bit of trauma for our son if he suddenly wasn't the only baby at home anymore.
Really, India and Colombia both sound great, but Colombia does have a much more stable court system which does merit consideration too. I would hate to go to India, foster Baby Girl and then realize that I have to stay over for 5-6 more months. That would be incredibly hard for DH and me emotionally, since we'd be separated. Not to mention that he'd be separated from his son!
On another note, we have decided that we're not going to name Baby Girl Adriana. We love that name with all our hearts, but to us, Addie will forever be that little girl who lit up our lives and our hearts with her beautiful face for so short a time.
Yesterday was Addie's first birthday. I did surprisingly well. I thought it would be incredibly painful, but instead, it brought me a lot of closure which I am so thankful for. I thought about her a lot during the day, and sent out a prayer for her and her adoptive family. It also felt peaceful to me, like she is past the baby phase and into the toddler phase, and I can begin to accept that she is not mine. It's strange to say it that way, because she was never mine in the true sense of the word. I know I'm not making much sense. :P I think I'll always remember this day and that little girl, but from now on it'll be in a happy way. I am so glad that she has found happiness with another family, and I am so glad that God has chosen to bless us with our son at this time.
I've been researching our options some more, and both DH and I are feeling a pull towards domestic. We were really liking the idea of Colombia, but their program is going through some major changes and a lot of delays are expected. India still sounds good because of the short wait, but I don't know about getting our referral and then having to wait another 6-9 months to bring the baby home. I think that would drive me crazy! Plus, I was thinking about this, and that would mean that she would be about 12-15 months old when she came home. So our son would have to adjust to having a toddler sibling! I don't know how I feel about that, since he would barely be into the toddler stage himself. Domestic adoption appeals to me due to the fact that we wouldn't have to travel to another country with a toddler, and then come back with a toddler *and* a new baby. Also, we would get a newborn, which would be easier for us and our son to adjust to, I think. The only thing we need to talk about is the openness issue. DH does not want an open adoption at all, whereas I think it would be a really cool thing as long as there are some boundaries observed. I am planning on getting a book about open adoption when we are close to submitting our profile next year, so we can both read about it and make an informed decision. I've been poking around the internet and have found some good agencies to work with. It's just a matter of what we decide on when we're ready to move forward. I cannot believe April is only about 7-8 months away! It seems like time is moving fast. Before we know it, we'll be parents to a beautiful baby boy! I just know he is going to grow up so fast, right before our eyes. I so want to give him a sibling to be close with and play with. I find myself noticing boy/girl siblings everywhere now.
Argh, the hungry growlings of a preggo tummy will wake you up faster than any alarm clock! And what do I want at this early hour? French fries!! Not just any fries either, but seasoned curly fries. Healthy, eh?
While I'm up, I decided to talk about something here that I've been thinking about. Adoptive parents have been accused of being too flippant in their blog entries, only talking about the good part of adoption and never the doubts, fears or "real" concerns that go with it. I feel like perhaps I've been guilty of that too. When I talk about the different programs DH and I are considering, I don't mean it to sound like we think about it like we think about which cell phone to buy. We actually put a lot of careful thought and planning into it. I realize that I haven't talked about an important issue that usually comes with adoption - honoring a child's ethnic heritage. If we were to adopt from Colombia or even domestically, this issue would pose a hurdle to us. It is always a challenge for adoptive parents to find the right balance between honoring their own culture and honoring the child's culture as well. Teaching a child about their ethnic background is so important. In the past, people would adopt children and pretend that their child was the same as them. They wouldn't talk about the inherent differences between them as far as skin color, place of origin, or culture. This led to adoptive children feeling a sense of loss, not to mention the huge identity crisis they went through. I would never want our adoptive children to go through that. We have several books in our collection and articles saved on our computer about how to help our adoptive children with these issues. I know for me, as an East Indian, I dealt with these things when my family moved to America even though my parents were East Indian. Exposure to a large population where you are in the extreme minority can be so difficult for a child. And dealing with racial profiling or discrimination can be even harder. There were things I dealt with like teachers who couldn't tell me and another South East Asian girl apart even though we looked nothing alike (to me, anyway), a teacher who assumed I knew nothing about the English language because I was from India, people who would make no attempt to say my real name because it was too "hard", etc. etc. These are very real issues that I still deal with today, and I know that our child will deal with as well. I suppose that being in a family where at least one of the parents is a racial minority will give our child someone to talk to about these things, but it will still never be an easy pill for them to swallow. DH and I both realize this, and will try so hard to give our kids the tools with which to handle the racial challenges that come their way. Adopting a baby from India will make it easier for us to honor her heritage, since I'm from there as well, but by no means will it make it easier for us to teach her about racial discrimination. Our biological son might have to deal with this less, since he will be 1/2 Caucasian, but he will also have to be taught how to handle discrimination against his family or that part of him that is in the minority. And this is not to say that Caucasian people are not discriminated against! There is hate and ignorance in every culture and every race. It's sad that we have to teach our kids about this, and I cannot even imagine how painful it'll be for all of us anytime our kids come home and tell us how they were mistreated for something so beyond their control. But this is a sad fact of life, and a very real one at that. When you adopt from a different culture, you are told that you are essentially becoming a family of that culture. So while you are still American, you are also now an African American, or Indian, or Chinese family. That is a very good way to look at it.
Some food for thought. I know this is a very unpleasant topic that most of us never mention in our day-to-day conversations, but I thought it was important enough to mention here. Thanks for reading.
Last night at a pregnant mom's group, I met a lady's little girl. She was sooooo sweet! She had gorgeous ringlets in her hair, and the sweetest disposition! She was about 14 months old, and I kept looking at her and thinking, "Wow, my daughter will be only a little younger than this when I get to bring her home!" It was really neat to see how small she was, where she was in her development etc.to get an idea of what I could expect from our little girl. Of course, ours will probably be behind in her growth and development, but you get the idea. I had called MAPS a little while ago to talk to them about us getting back on the list, and Jenny was very excited to hear from me (she even made me promise to send her pictures of the baby when he's born, LOL). She said that India likes to see about 6-9 months between kids, with the bio child being older, so we could get started in earnest anytime after Baby Boy's 6-month birthday. I told her he'll be 6 months in April, and that's when I planned to start gathering paperwork anyway. We want to submit when he's about a year old, so that would put about a year between the two of them. She said that we could just renew our I600A and not have to pay all the fees again, and that MAPS would not charge us their program fee again (thank goodness, because their fee is $2000!). The only thing we'd have to redo would be the homestudy, if we do end up moving out of state. If we stay in state, our homestudy agency said they'd be happy to only charge us for an update if we used them again. So this second go-around will be much cheaper for us! Oh, and Jenny said that she thinks we'd jump to #1 on the list again after dossier submission just like we did last time since I still hold my Indian passport. Of course, that could change if at the last minute a hundred Indian passport holders apply and get in there before us. But that's pretty unlikely. I could see a family or two getting in there before us though, and that would make us #2 or #3 on the waiting list, which still isn't too bad. I was also happy to see that Jenny hired an assistant to help her with all the stuff she deals with. Hopefully that means faster replies to email and phone calls than last time!
So that's where we stand right now. Everything is set to move forward, we just need to get settled into our new place and adjust. The baby will be here soon, and I'm sure that will help time go by faster for me! Right now I feel like I'm doing a whole lot of waiting - waiting for the baby to come, waiting for DH to get out of the Air Force, waiting for him to find a job, waiting to sell the house, waiting to move, waiting to start the adoption process... you get the idea! The good thing is that I've gotten all the research that we need to get done, done. So when we're ready to go, I'll just have to dig out my folder and get my information out and I'll know exactly how to proceed.
Oh, almost forgot to add - at my meeting last night, my doula who is also the La Leche League leader for my town told me that she had met an adoptive mom at one of the LLL meetings. The mom had purposely adopted a baby close in age to her first child so that she could breastfeed him. I was so excited to hear that, because we live in a small town and I swear most people here think adoption is something only celebrities and weird people do! LOL. I need to ask my doula if she has this lady's contact information.
I had an adoption dream last night! I haven't had one of those since we started the adoption process last year. In my dream, there was a little girl in my Preschool class (I used to teach preschool before I got pregnant) who was placed for adoption. I decided to adopt her, and was putting lotion on her and doing some baby massage to get her ready for bed. Weird, huh?
I got some bad news that might delay our adoption a little bit. According to the new university I am at, I have 16 classes till I can graduate, as opposed to only 8 by my old university. I really wanted to be done with my degree by the time we jumped into the adoption so that I could start working and we'd have two incomes to finance it all. So with this new development, I can still graduate by December 2008 like my original plan, or it might take a little bit longer if I decide to take a break or need to take a break (who knows how crazy life's going to be with a baby AND going to school?!). Anyway, we would like to get started in December if all goes according to plan and I graduate then or expect to graduate soon after. Then I plan on getting a job, and we'll work towards getting our dossier/homestudy/profile ready and really decide on a program. It makes me sad to have to postpone things, but unless DH's new job pays really, really well this is the plan we'll need to stick to. I find that I'm actually okay with it, and not utterly heartbroken, because I know in my heart that every step we take is weaving a path to our future daughter. And I've even been thinking that maybe we should keep the name Adriana after all. There is so much love, hope and history behind that name.
I guess I spoke too soon! I talked with DH and it looks like we'll still be on track for submitting in October around Baby Boy's first birthday even if I graduate in December. I forgot that we have a huge preparation stage before we can even get on the list, so that'll give me time to work on my degree while we go through that. DH is so cute and supportive, he basically just said whatever I feel ready for is what he wants to do. He would like to keep the kids close together and really wants us to adopt next, but as far as the exact timeline, he knows it'll take some sacrifices and hardwork on my part (since I'm going to be the student and stay at home mommy) so he's leaving it open to me. I think I'll find an agency in April, and then plan on getting submitted by October. That way if I think I can't graduate by December, we can simply take our time doing the classes and other last minute things they make you do. I know I'm rambling, but this journal is a great spot for me to think out loud. The closer I get to holding my son in my arms, the closer I realize I am to starting back on the adoption train! It's so exciting to me, I cannot wait to see how everything pans out. I think DH and I were just meant to adopt. I remember when I was a little girl, I used to try and convince my parents to adopt a baby so I could be a big sister. It's just been something that's always been so close to my heart. And once we got married, DH realized that he would love to adopt too. I guess I was lucky in that I never had to "convince" him that adoption was the right choice for us. He was always on track, right from the start. Next year is going to be a busy time for us! New baby, new house, new job, new place of residence, school and starting the adoption process! Phew!
I am going to be a mommy soon, I am so excited!! I can't believe my due date is 6 weeks from today!! I cannot wait to hold my little miracle of a boy. It took us two years to get to him, and I am sure he will be worth every single second and tear spent! Eeee!
There's not much to report on the adoption front. Right now we're just in a sit-and-wait type position. DH and I have been talking a bit about adoption from time to time. I think if we do adopt from India, we'll foster the baby there for about a month. I have this thing where I really do not want her to spend her first birthday in the orphanage. So hopefully it'll work out so that that month mark is before her birthday. If not, I'll probably have to go live in India without DH for a couple of months. The good thing is that I'll be with family and won't have to pay for lodging! So it'll be a very cheap trip - we'd only need to pay airfare.
DH was talking to my MIL recently, and he said something about how we went shopping for Baby Boy because we had too many pink onesies that we had to put away. And she asked us if we had saved our girl things for the future. I think that was her way of asking if we planned to adopt still. DH told her that we did, and we plan to adopt again soon. I think MIL is pretty desperate for a granddaughter. She had two boys, and really wanted her second to be a girl (they even had an ultrasound that told them he was a she!), so I can see why. I think we're going to wait till we are actually doing the homestudy to tell them that we're doing another adoption. And for the rest of the family, we probably won't tell them till we get on the waiting list.