Your Journey Home

Monday, October 27, 2008

Just another day being the adopted kid...uggh!

This is a topic that I have written about before. I know it might not be a popular one, but it is another side of the coin concerning adoption.

My oldest son, C, pretty much turned his back on his homeland. He is not proud of where he comes from, refuses to discuss it, and has stated he will lie if ask where he comes from. Now, before anyone states I must be some sort of horrible monster that made my child feel this strongly against the place he was born, you totally have it wrong. I have taken my son to counselors to try and turn him around on this topic. I finally had one doctor tell me that I would never convince my son that his homeland is wonderful when he has such vivid and strong memories of where he came from. My son bases the whole country on his experiences in the orphanage. He doesn't see the cultural/heritage aspect of it all. He relates to what he remembers and he hates it. He will not look at photographs we took and as far as he is concerns, he is American. I didn't twist that thought into him. I watched this tiny little boy reject his caregivers after two days of visiting him. He rejected the only family he ever knew to be with us. I saw this scene play out for a week. He no longer clinged to his caregivers. He would cry at the window when we left, he would wait by the window each day for us to visit. In his little mind, he saw options, he saw what he perceived as something better. I hope and pray that one day he will open his heart just a crack so we can encourage him to explore his heritage more and not just associate Ukraine with his orphanage. But for now, I accept his wishes because I realize he had no voice back he does.

My youngest son loves Ukraine and he enjoys telling everyone where he is from. He is proud of his heritage. Both boys were in the same orphanage. Both had different experiences. My youngest was held and cuddled often in the orphanage. He was one of the favorites. My older son was a child that would go against the grain, he still does. Therefore, the caregivers found my youngest son to be more pleasant and easier to deal with. My older son was more of the rebel and would get into mischief.

My oldest son came home from school the other day very angry and upset. When questioned he told me that on the front door of the school's office, they had put up a world map with the caption, "Guess where we are from" with about a handful of kids on it. Of course my sons' photo was up there and "C" was extremely upset by it.
First of all, I went into the whole speech about how he should be proud of where he comes from....which gets me no where fast. He actually repeats back my own words to me, which has been... it is his story to tell, not mine, not anyone else's. And the famous words, once you tell, you cannot untell. Of course he picks now to actually listen to something I have told him.

So before the open house at school, I went into the office to discuss this map. I was not mad, well not at first. I mainly just didn't want my son to be upset. I explained the situation and felt I was getting my point acrossed when the office manager stated, from the other side of the room I might add, that she didn't know what the big deal was about. Okay, I saw red then! First of all, it is a huge invasion of privacy for them to post that information for the entire school to see without my permission or especially without my child's permission. The mama bear came out of me because I asked her why isn't any other private information posted on the walls of the school, like for example if any children have divorced parents, or if any child was a foster child? She just starred at me and stated, well that is personal information. What??@?!??!? I informed her that not every adopted child wants to share that information. Some prefer it to be private, which is their right. I know in a million years this woman would never get it, but at least I got my son's picture down off the office door. Uggh!!!!! My other son could care less and it never bothered him.

Now my husband thought I may be a tad over the top with this, he can bite me. After seeing this woman's reaction, I am glad I went off on her a little. I also don't think my husband has figured out why it bothers one son and not the other. Well, duh, they are different kids and they experienced different things. I personally hated two things about being adopted, one was going to the doctor's office and having to fill out medical history forms and the other one was having to deal with school stuff that dealt with baby pictures and family history. I had one person state well you just use your adoptive family for school stuff. Well yeah, but deep down inside I always felt torn by those events. I used my adoptive family's information because it was mine, but a part of me always felt like I was telling a lie too by not mentioning being adopted. I also felt being adopted was my story to share and not anyone else's. When I was growing up, I didn't know a soul that was adopted. When my children were young, they thought everyone was adopted because we had a huge group of adoptive families for friends.

Anywho, I may have lost a clear perspective on the whole posting the "adopted" kids photos on the wall, but you know I am not sorry I made them take it down.

I wonder how our daughter will feel as she gets older. We do more things around Chinese groups and special holidays, but for now she shows little interest. She loves the other kids, but wow, she definitely does not like the Moon Goddess chick! I guess we will see.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our new additions....

After our 16 year old Lab passed away, our boys begged and pleaded for a new puppy. Mom being of insane mind and old body, thought two boys....two puppies. What was I thinking?

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Time rolls on......

Here are some recent photos. As you may have noticed, Baby S, has tons more hair now. Most of the time she is a happy little thing, but wow, I see that temper flare up now and then. Her favorite saying is, "I am two and I have an attitude!" Lord help me when she is a teenager. She already loves to roll her eyes and give mean looks. Uggh, I am sure some of those looks may come from my influence and especially the little hands on her hips thing....but I will never admit that. Well, I admit it while it is still a little cute. I am sure the same eye rolling and hands on the hips is not going to be so precious at age 15.
The lovely Moon Goddess was in her outfit for several hours in 97 degree heat. Of course you can tell my darling daughter was not thrilled for her picture to be taken with this lady or being out in the heat either.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Our prayers are with Bridge City, Texas

My husband grew up in a small Texas town. His family still lives there and he has such fond memories of growing up, playing football, and just hanging out there. Now, those special places in his heart are changed forever. The house he grew up in, his grandparents' home, his favorite aunt's home, even the place his mother is buried has changed forever.

The media is not giving much attention to this town. There is not swarms of reporters down there or film crews. There are just the people trying to clean up and rebuild. Most are homeless with much of their possessions left outside by the curb. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Bridge City, Texas. May your strong spirit pick up the pieces and rebuild your lives.

I see this video, hear the stories and cannot help but think....what if? What if it were my home, my neighbors, my community trying to build again from the mud and water? Just a very humble thought to have when we stress about little things in life.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I am such a Nerd

With school right around the corner, I can't help but be excited. I swear I am worse than my children are about school supplies. Shopping for my class is the highlight of the summer for me. I love decorating my classroom and coming up with new ideas.

I love the mad dash for pencils, papers, crayons, glue, and the list goes on and on. I do have a shoe obsession too but right now, the school supplies are so addictive to me.

I love the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and all the bright colors.

Okay, I am a total nerd!

Another BAD Headline for International Adoption

Apparently there has been a raid into an adoption home in Guatemala against a couple there. The American man and his Guatemalan wife have brought interest on themselves for all the foreigners seen leaving with babies.

First of all, I have no idea if this story is true. I am not one to just bite the hook and take the whole thing, hook, line and sinker. I am sure there is truth in the media's story, but how much is not accurate?

Of course it places, once again, a black cloud over adoption. I am totally with upfront and honest adoptions. I hate to even think about some of the more shady deals that do happen. I think about the birth parents, including my own, that was tricked or promised things that ended up not coming to be. I am not speaking of financial gains either just promises about placement.

I witnessed some shady dealings during my sons' adoption. I refused to play the game and tried to be as respectful as I could be without putting my personal beliefs in jeopardy. My husband, for lack of a better phrase, was much more forceful and vocal about some issues that came up. We wanted children with every fiber of our being, but at what cost? Could I do something that was underhanded or went against my beliefs? I don't know. I truly don't know how to answer that. I know I faced it once and informed the "Powers that Be" that I couldn't play with children's lives like that. I saw the "Bait and Switch" game happen in front of my eyes and I was truly saddened by it. I am not saying this happens everywhere, it was just my personal experience. I felt like I was gambling a lot during our first adoption. I know there are so many families that have no idea what happens behind the scenes in the adoption world. We hope and try to have faith that things are being taking care of in an honest and respectful way, but most of the time we are kept in the dark about such matters. Sure, I am certain there are a few that know exactly what may be going on and just want a baby no matter what; however, I don't believe that is the norm for most families.

I guess my thoughts are with the parents that adopted from this couple and their children. I cannot imagine the inner turmoil they must be going through right now. I also think about the possible birthfamilies that may not have had any choices or knowledge of what was going on. It is stirring a big pot to think about this because of course, all Guatemalan adoptions will be put in the limelight again.

It is just sad when an event like this can cause a rippling effect and so many others have to suffer because of it.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Culture/Heritage views

The topic always seems to surface whenever adoptive parents get together, how much of their birth culture/heritage will you give/expose your child to? I know it is never a cut and dry answer. It never seems to be a black and white answer, but more shades of grey. I have pondered this question many times. I want my children to love their heritage because in my eyes, it will always be a part of them. On the other hand, do I shove it down their throats like an overstuffed burrito? Okay, I know a food analogy is never good, but you get my point. As small children, we make the choices for them and it is difficult to know when it may be too little or too much.

I have met parents that have made their homes somewhat of a shrine to their child's homeland. I think it is beautiful, but just not something I desire to do. I also have met parents that are the complete opposite. They seemed determined to forget their child's background and consider them nothing but full-blooded Americans. I guess I fall in between the two.

I have many keepsakes from my children's homeland. I have some displayed and some are stored away. Our family does and will celebrate holidays from the different homelands, not all, but the major ones. We are a multi-cultural family and I am extremely proud of that. I keep some traditions from my birth mom as well as my own mom's culture. It isn't always easy, but it works for our family.

I have heard some parents say they wouldn't do this or that, and that is their personal decision. I just feel like the children in the beginning have no choices, we make them. I want my sons and my daughter to be proud of where they came from. I want them to be able to explore their culture when they are older if that is their wish. I would love to be part of that journey with them. But how do children explore their culture if they are never exposed to it at an early age? If they don't grow up knowing, wouldn't it be strange to them to be exposed to it, let's say as a teenager?

After talking to a few parents that are on the extreme ends of the spectrum with this topic, I have come to my own personal conclusions. I am somewhere on middle ground. I want my children to be exposed to their own culture without having it pushed upon them. I want them to grow to love their heritage as much as I do. I want them to know that they are not labeled this or that, but are a beautiful blend of cultures. Certainly, there will be times when the lines blur and it is hard to recognize what is too little or too much, but the middle ground seems to be a good starting off point.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

My Beach Babies

I have lived near the ocean most of my life. As a teenager I would love to just bake in the sun for hours and have fun nights at the beach. As I got older and hopefully wiser, I stopped the sun baking stuff and just enjoy the tranquil moments at the beach. It has been a special place for myself as well as my husband.

When we were first dating, we would spend many romantic nights at the beach. There is just something about the cool night air and the gentle waves crashing to the shore. It is almost hypnotic. We shared plans and dreams there, we also grieved there. When we lost our precious babies, we would go to the sea and try to find some sort of peace or answers there. Most of the time the answers never came, but the ocean just soothes me in some strange way.

During this adoption journey, I made many trips to the ocean. I would think about my daughter, I would grieve for the time we were forced to be apart, I would try to find some comfort in the wait. During this adoption journey, we had some difficulties that threatened to stop this adoption. Right up until a month or so prior to referral, I honestly thought we would have to walk away from it all. I was heartbroken beyond belief. Thankfully, we went forward with the adoption and have never looked back since.

So I cannot even express to you how precious these pics are of my sweet daughter, my whole family, walking on this beach. I feel like things have come full circle now. My daughter is walking on the same sand, the very beach where I held so tightly to the dream of her. She is here! She makes tiny footprints in the sand. She smiles in the sunshine and loves the ocean air. She giggles at the waves and loves the sand between her toes. I cannot believe that my little beach baby is finally here.
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