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Wednesday, October 17th, 2012
In a previous post, I was honest enough to admit that if my family moved forward with this toddler daughter from India — after slogging through adoption paperwork and finances for two years — both my husband and I would prefer a physically pretty child with no developmental problems.
Reader Tee commented, “Do you really think that your Indian daughter wouldn’t be reminded of her not “belonging to (you) and (you) alone” every time she looks at her brown skin or wonders who her birth parents are and why she was adopted and what the land of her birth was like? There is no such thing as adopting a child who is “yours and only yours.”
This is a harmful myth that continues to be perpetuated by a subset of adoptive parents and the adoption industry. Adoption is not a fertility treatment… You don’t just “get” a baby who has no issues and is yours and yours alone.
You enter a complex web that involves at least one other mother and father who will always be with your child spiritually and emotionally, if not physically. In some cases there are other mothers and fathers, too (such as cases where a child is adopted after being in foster care or attached to their orphanage caretakers).
In many cases there are physical and mental health issues relating to the child’s lack of prenatal care or early life in an orphanage. If you cannot accept being part of this complex web, I think it’s fair to say it would be very hard for you to help your adopted child learn to love and understand themselves and their history. Don’t think that I don’t understand the desire to have a “no strings attached” baby — I do! As a foster-adoptive parent I sure do fantasize about having a child of my own who I never had to “share” with a dysfunctional child welfare system and the birth family most foster children are very loyal to (no matter how abusive or neglectful).
I do empathize with the feeling behind this. What I don’t empathize with is actually taking action to adopt while holding as an ideal the “perfect” adoptee who will be grateful for being “rescued” but will never remind you that she is, in fact, a person with an identity that is different from yours and which likely includes her first family. A number of my friends who are international adoptees have found their birth families (despite “closed” international adoptions).
Don’t think for a second that in the age of the internet they will be forever severed from their birth family. A number who have adoptive parents who are threatened by their desire to know/find their birth families (such as your husband) have also stopped or limited contact with their adoptive families once they reached adulthood, out of resentment and pain. Think seriously about whether adoption is the right path for you and your husband.
I wish you much luck,” Tee finished.
Tell me your adoption story below in Comments, thank you Tee for responding as a veteran foster mother.
Monday, October 15th, 2012
The Poison Prevention Week Council today announced the winners of the 2013 National Poison Prevention Week poster contest, and wants to remind parents—all parents and foster parents and adoptive parents—to discuss and highlight with your family the dangers of poisonings and how to prevent them. In honor of awareness week, the winning poster in each division will be featured on the 2013 National Poison Prevention Week posters. First, second and third place winners in each division will be posted on poisonprevention.org.
More than 150 posters were submitted from around the nation. One winner was selected in each of the three divisions: grades kindergarten through two; three through five; and six through eight.
The winners of the 2013 National Poison Prevention Week (NPPW) Poster Contest are as follows:
- Grades kindergarten through two: Colby Johnson from Mercer, Pennsylvania
- Grades three through five: Alayna Ryan from Antwerp, Ohio
- Grades six through eight: Natalie Loos from Jacksonville, Florida
Winners were selected based on creativity, design and poisoning prevention messages.
“The children, and the art teachers who inspire them, continue to impress us with their creativity and talent,” said Courtney Wilson, Poison Prevention Week Council chair. “It has been a pleasure to review all of the submissions. We are extremely proud of the winners and are excited to share their work.”
Order a poster for your classroom or a child’s bedroom. Posters can be ordered through the website.
NPPW shows how every day people can and do prevent poisonings. We invite you to review the information on our website and become actively involved in helping ensure the safety of children and adults in your home and your community. This is one of the nubers to know if you become a foster parent, which is why I follow this link now:
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Wow, I received a lot of flack from you readers on my former posts about feeling like the cost of international adoption is so deflating, and yet my family far prefers this option to a more open, domestic adoption. We even thought about trying to adopt a dog first to see if that will take the place of another being, another warm heart pumping, into our household. Well, the dog is working out great but the missing second child — on addition to my bio son Sam — is nowhere to be seen.
And adopting a second dog also made us realize again how much more work two is than one. Having one perfect beautiful bio child is pretty easy and amazing. But waiting for this missing daughter from India (who will be over four when we ever meet her) is losing its luster. My 6-year-old doesn’t even want to share his toys anymore.
Reader Renee said “I was adopted as an infant, but I already had an identity of my own. I was someone’s daughter BEFORE I was adopted. Any infant not born to you with be someone else’s son or daughter. It will have the genes, traits, abilities, talents, physical characteristics, etc., of its biological family, just as you have the genes, traits, abilities, talents, physical characteristics of yours and your husband has the genes, traits, abilities, talents, physical characteristics, etc., of his.
What your husband wants is a Cabbage Patch Kid. They sell them at Target; please go buy him one instead of helping him to destroy a human being with his mind-boggling narcissism.”
Thanks, I think, Renee. Adoption is hard enough without all the critiques and bad advice though.
“Let’s just stick with the dog,” I told my husband after reading a dozen nasty comments. And then, finally, one reader who happens to be a social worker responded, and helped me understand:
Lori said, “It sounds like you are exploring many options for building your family. It’s great that you reach out to people who can fill in what you haven’t yet experienced. It’s difficult, when you’re merely talking about a theoretical baby or child, to ‘get deep down,’ that eventually you will be raising an actual child-tween-teen-adult who comes to you with her own blueprint, DNA, memories, traits, temperament, etc — things that are, in many ways, set. And removed from the influences of you and your husband.
“It can be a tough pill for a pre-adoptive parent to swallow, but it’s also a beautiful thing for a parent to watch a daughter who is yours (as in being claimed by, not as in ownership) blossom in surprising and unexpected ways.”
Thanks for all the pros and cons, tell me more in the comments below!
Monday, October 8th, 2012
We’ve occasionally dragged our heels, especially when my husband and I would disagree about adoption basics: international versus domestic adoption. Open adoption versus closed adoption.
We’ve filled out some paperwork, held up on finances, my husband has a bankruptcy in his past. Compound that with a very present danger: We are running out of time to adopt a baby. We are over 45 years old and considered, in many countries abroad, simply too old to adopt.
Maybe we could adopt an older sibling group but I don’t want to do that. Way too much work. And a new kid would have to share a room with Sam, which now that he’s age six years old, hmmm, not as fun as when we started out search.
My husband called my bluff last weekend when he urged me to put up-for-sale my bio son Sam’s (amazing little boy) newborn clothes. “If you don’t want that second baby, throw out all the clothes you’ve been saving for your un-adopted child for the last five years,” he told me in frustration.
You see, holding Sam’s baby clothes brings me to my knees. I spent a fortune for black rock T-shirts on my baby blue boy and long-legged onesies. He was styling, totally cherubic. If that crocodile tee-shirt touched Sam’s skin, I cannot give them it up today. Give all the clothes up if you really want to forget about adoption, just forget about adopting a second child for all of us, especially for Sam,” my husband meant.
Honestly, I’ve been saving these beloved, very gently used toddler duds (the flags, and the super heroes, the indignant animals and Elmo) for my next adopted baby who has not yet arrived.
Our neighbors were having a yard sale, several families also set up in front and I called his bluff. I am so over this adoption thing, I told him over a cold cup of coffee the morning of the yard sale. I can get rid of 90 percent of all these baby clothes and begin healing from not having kid number two.
OK, let’s sell them all. All the pretty boy clothes clothes laid out on my neighbor’s sunny lawn. And then my sad-momma moment happened.
At the garage sale last Saturday, a diminutive stranger was fondling Sam’s first baby apron he wore at his first birthday party, and I sprinted over to her and whipped the brown-checkered apron out of her hand. “Sorry not for sale,” I huffed madly at the abuela sympatica. “Mine, mine, mine. For my next adopted baby. Dammit.”
Then I sat in the driveway and sobbed. For, like 50 minutes.
The potential shopper understood immediately, and walked away. One of my girlfriends came and slung an arm over my shoulder and totally understood. Patted my back. Another mom made me my first Bloody Mary of the day.
Tell me your adopted kid story here:
Friday, October 5th, 2012
After going back and forth relentlessly between domestic adoption, closed adoption (my husband) versus open domestic adoption (the wife), we are at a standstill. Bio son Sam has been waiting so long for a young sister or brother that he almost doesn’t care anymore (two years and counting). At age 4, Sam was excited about a sibling; at six he’s nearly over it.
Another standstill: It’s harder and harder to leap over all the adoption barricades: finances, emotions, huge disagreements, our busy working lives, etc.
Barricade #1: Cost of an international adoption which is clearly the winner vote by our family. Hard to scare up the initial $15,000 to get the international adoption ball rolling. The total cost of an international Indian adoption for a young toddler daughter will costs total between $30,000 – $50,000.
We have some emotional obstacles around international adoption as well: Some parents who adopt internationally will question the need to bring up things that happened in their child’s past. Could you personally admit that money may have driven your birth parents’ decision, or that your joyful toddler comes from poor parents who never even gave consent?
If corruption exists in your child’s birth country or may have played a role in your baby’s adoption, I believe it’s not your fault. You didn’t set out to “steal” anyone’s baby.
From International Adoption to Domestic Adoption
You can read about our fears and ignorance around foster children in previous posts, but I still urge everyone to look into local domestic adoptions first. You adopt in a shorter amount of time and deeply serve your local community.
Re: Domestic Adoption from the Los Angeles County foster and family agencies. After several posts over the last few weeks, devout reader Jayme, who spent young, formative years in foster care in another state wrote to me.
Looking back, she remembered, “Nothing short of horrid. We used to be told about the monsters under our beds when we were young. Sometimes I wonder if they really are real? Monsters are everywhere. I learned the hard way.
“Sad sad sad,” said reader Jayme. Keep up the good work on adoptions, and I will. Share your stories with me: