Delurking day, the truth about adoption

It is delurking day.  The day where we come out of the internet’s shadows and comment on a blog we read but maybe never acknowledge.  I don’t know if this post personifies that theme well, but I sat down at a blank screen and this is just what I wrote.
Chick at 5 months (before our referral)
If the world could look past the preconceived idea that love is instant when it comes to a child, if they could see all the pain and the suffering and confusion, in each persons eyes, the child and the parent, then maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to judge.  If we could take an honest look at what adoption feels like, I think most people would be shocked.  It is not an instantaneous love, a perfect joining of child and in my case mother.  I didn’t look at her as she screamed and cried in my arms, straining for her nannies, her familiar bed, the only one she had ever known, and say I love you.  I couldn’t comfort her in the weeks and months to come.  The betrayal in her eyes as I held her down for the nurses while they repeatedly poked needles in her arms and x-rayed her liver.  All so we could know that in the future she might have to go through it all again.
The nurse asked me to sing her favorite song.  How would I know what that was?  I wanted to say, I’ve known this child for two weeks, I know nothing about her, about what comforts her.  I don’t know how to hold her hand or rub her head the way she wants me to.  At fifteen months, she is a stranger to me and I to her.
Our first hours together in Taipei
I had nine months to prepare for my son.  We started our journey together from day one.  From the first moment of life, we were in this thing together.  We had time to learn about each other, how hot he liked his milk, what soothed him to sleep, how he seemed to love music straight from the start. 
Pregnancy months and adoption months are very different.  Adoption months are much longer than nine, my adoption pregnancy lasted sixteen months. I know I’d do it all over again to get the same little girl who’s laugh makes you smile and who’s hugs melt your heart.  The process is painful and long and it seems never ending.  After eight months of staring at her picture, watching her grow ever bigger before my eyes, first steps, first teeth, first laugh, first birthday…I almost did give up.  Some people do.   And I commend them for even having tried.  Adoption can take even the strongest and turn them into a sleepless mess.  You even start to hate the people whose names get called before yours.  They got your referral or your travel call.  They flew through the process while you remained stuck, stuffing down week after week of heartache every time someone cared enough to ask if there was any news.  No, there’s no news.
Summer 2010
At a very precocious, bossy, charming four and half, I love my daughter.  Even when she screams at me, and stomps her feet up the stairs, and yes, even when she slams the door to her room making me count to twenty, and then count to twenty again.  I love her because we’ve had all this time together now, over three years to learn about each other.  I know she loves spicy foods, can steal your entire bowl of rice before you can even blink, she loves dogs and wants to pet everyone she sees, and she dances and claims Supermassive Black Hole is her favorite song.  And while she might not always be easy to understand, as her mother, I know every word she speaks because that’s just how it is with a mother and a daughter.
I wish so many other adoptive parents would share what it’s really like those first months, because for most of us, it is the same.  It’s hard.  It is not what you thought it was supposed to be.  It is not the story so many tell of everything just being perfect from day one.  If we could step back and say, here is the honest, hard, painful truth about what adopting a child is like, we’d be better prepared for it.  It would not have changed my decision to adopt for a second.  But maybe it would have helped me feel less like a failure, less like I was doing something wrong and more like what was happening was okay.  In fact, it was normal.  
If you know someone who’s adopting, thinking of adopting or has adopted, remember that not everything is always wonderful, even if they tell you it is.  It is a long process to feeling that love…and the thing is, in the end, that really is okay.
If you thought this post was worthy of delurking I hope you’ll leave a comment and let me know.

It’s very late..but I don’t sleep

It’s very late here, 1:30 in the morning and I know I should be asleep.  The house is finally quiet and that noisy little toddler who decided sleeping from 7 to 10:30 as the perfect amount of nighttime rest has finally stopped protesting and gone to sleep.  Even the radiator which for some reason stays active all night so all I hear when I do try to sleep is gurgling water is quiet. 
And yet I am not.
Several days ago, I made the ultimate error of checking my email while everyone was on Space Mountain and I waited outside with the Chick.  It’s frustrating how much one person can can create such an overwhelmingly bad feeling swell inside me.  It’s a rather long story and those who knew me during the time know what I am talking about but for those who don’t here’s the short version.
Chick is adopted.  She’s been with our family since August 2007.  Adopting a child is fraught with a lot of excitement, frustration, longing, paperwork, bureaucracy, hope.  When the people in charge of helping you fulfill a dream of bringing a child into your family don’t give you support, understanding, compassion, communication, really any shred of hope to cling to, it’s hard.  Beyond hard.  I’m choosing not to mention our agency for many reasons, least of which it’s in the past.  Or was until a few days ago.  
My daughter has been in my family for 18 months.  We did everything right, correct and as we were told.  We completed our requirements of three visits with a social worker at the appropriate intervals after bringing her home, and long before Christmas last year we sent a bound book of pictures to Chick’s orphanage so her caretakers could see she is loved, happy and secure.  Just as she had been loved and happy there.
What pain, a true physical, heart wrenching pain to see that little girl at 15 months taken from the only life she had ever known.  She’d been in the orphanage since birth.  Caretakers cried, the baby cried, I cried.  But in the end after a very long and difficult road, Chick is just as she is meant to be.  With us, in our family and spunky as they come.
So to receive an email from our agency stating we did not “fulfill our obligation” as they put it, brought up all the bad from the 14 months we spent dealing with them.  A report of the final post placement we have been told was never received by them.  Our social worker is not a flake, an idiot nor irresponsible.  In fact she’s an extremely bright and kind woman.  She would not forget to mail the report.  It will have been a year in a few weeks since the last visit.  And yet now they claim the report is missing.  We dealt with this in June as well.  Another report was sent then to ease their minds.  And now they lost it again.  
And it just brings up so much bad stuff in me.  It’s wrong to hate, somewhere deep down I know this.  But it is so hard in this case not to feel hate for the mess this agency has made of our experience.  We’ll never adopt again because of it.  That’s just really sad to me.  I wanted that to be a decision that was made because it wasn’t right for our family.  Not because of an experience that I do pray no else has to go through.
The hard part is that while Chick may be ours she really isn’t.  Chick or Chickadee isn’t really her name of course (I am not that mean of a mother) but her name also isn’t the name we’ve given her either.  Because of where we live we can not readopt her until we are residents of the US again which allows us to change her name.  Her name is still the name that the orphanage or maybe her birthmother gave her.  I don’t know who named my daughter.  I don’t know why they chose the Chinese characters they did.  What meaning they may have.  I wish I could have a good relationship with the agency who placed her with us so I could ask this and a lot of other questions that at the time when a wiggly 15 month whose picture you’ve been staring at for 8 months is placed in your arms… well those questions tend to fly straight of your mind and the only thing you can think is My God isn’t she so tiny and beautiful?
I hope someday this will finally be over for us now.  I hope that this time it really will be. 

Shop to adopt…

No, not for us. But I do want to post a link to a fellow adoptive momma’s website. She is selling super cute clothing items (kids and adults) with sweet and funny sayings to help fund her adoption. I am considering buying something for me and the kids! Please visit Heart On A Sleeve and support adoption today.

Like I Haven’t Got Enough To Think About

There is yet another delay with the adoption. It seems the birthmother has to sign the passport application (though I do not understand why, since she is no longer a legal guardian) and the Taiwan social worker has been unable to arrange a meeting for this to happen. Until she signs this paper we will not be assigned a travel date. Can I just say how much this sucks? Seriously. There is no idea how long this could take. Our agency said “this is very unusual”. Hasn’t everything in our case been unusual? Unusually complicated? Unusually long? Unusually frustrating? I appreciate my daughters want to be unique and all but sweetheart, please knock it off!

So the ticker that says we will meet M in such and such a time is not valid. But I refuse to change it for now.

I have been up late into the night also doing more curriculum research for homeschooling. Have you ever looked at these programs and seen how much they cost? A very large portion of them fall somewhere between $600-1100. For one year of school. Are you kidding me? Thank goodness they at least have payment plans, cause that price is insane. And the choices for picking a program, completely overwhelming and confusing. I think I am in 3 groups/forums for curriculum review now. It’s not helping. Most people use a bit of this program and a bit of that, which sounds great (because generally, that’s a cheaper option to pick and choose). But what about the person who has never done this before? The full curriculum choices are by far the most expensive ones. But they have everything, books, answer keys, teaching manuals, one even includes a blow up globe and scissors and crayons. Sigh. Maybe I should just do that whole unschool thing – whatever happens during the course of a day is considered school.
Think watching the Cars movie will count?

6 Months Post Referral

It’s been a rather upsetting evening. I checked into the Yahoo group run by my adoption agency tonight. Back in Feb we received a video of Little Miss that featured another little girl Baby J. Baby J’s family announced mid February they got her referral. (For reference we got Little Miss’s referral Dec 27, 2006). Tonight they posted that they have been invited to travel and pick up Baby J. We are officially the only family (that I am aware of, and I read a TON of blogs/groups related to adoption) that has a referral from 06 that has not traveled. I believe every referral from Jan and Feb (and some from months forward) has also been called to travel.

Our agency has not responded yet to our email asking what is going on.

6 months of update pictures

6 months of sending care packages

6 months of heartbreak all around (Boo has repeatedly asked when we are getting Sissy to the point of tears)

6 months…how many more do we have to wait?