Monday, September 20, 2010

Adoption: The Child's Story

I was recently talking with a fellow adoptive mom (who just also happens to be a great friend) and the topic of sharing your adopted child's story with others came up. I guess because we are friends, we know the story behind our children's adoptions. You know, the things like where they were born, the reason their birthparents decided to form an adoption plan, etc. She asked me if I shared this with everyone or just with family and close personal friends? It prompted me to write this post.

I feel like my children's story is just that: it's THEIR story. It's really no ones business and if I choose to share it with family and very close friends, I feel like that is ok...but a random stranger I meet in a grocery store? Absolutely not. And let's not kid ourselves...I've been asked by complete strangers. Now I know you are probably reading this thinking, "no way", but yes, I've been asked things like "was she a crack baby?" or "why didn't his mom want him?" by complete strangers.

So, I'll start there.

If you learn nothing more from this blog, PLEASE don't ask someone you don't know that well the story behind their child's adoption and PLEASE don't be so idiotic to make statements like "why didn't his mom want him?" Questions like that personally make me want to vomit, and they make my blood pressure go to stroke level when some silly question is asked in front of my older kids because even though the babies may not understand you, my 11 year old and 8 year olds do. And guess what? When we get in the car, the first thing they are going to ask me is why my son's mom (who they know) didn't want him. Or what a crack baby is.

If you happen to be an adoptive parent reading this, I strongly encourage you to really think about what you are sharing with anyone and everyone about your child's story. Although I believe most people probably mean well, you have to think about what will happen down the road when someone could possibly say to your child, "you are so lucky your mom and dad saved you from a life of XYZ."

Yes, it's each of our decision to share what we want to, but for us, there are some things that are better to be shared only with the child. If my adopted children want to share their story one day when they are old enough to fully comprehend, that will be their choice, but until's their story.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Adoption: Meant to Be?

I recently stumbled on a blog post where the author was talking about adoption and how it was meant to be that her children came to her through adoption. I'm actually a little mad at myself because I have no clue how I found this post, and honestly as I read it, it didn't really stir up a lot of emotion in me at the time. Then, I dreamed about it that night and I have spent the last week waking up at different intervals during the night (because of my abdominal pain) and that blog post (or at least the ideas behind it) have been one of the first thoughts to pop in my mind.

Were our adoptions meant to be?

I'm not sure how I can honestly answer that question and get all the things I WANT to say into a coherent post, but this is the analogy that comes to mind.

A person is in kidney failure. They are going to die if they don't get a kidney. They desperately want a kidney, might even be a little angry with God that the body that he created for them doesn't work properly and secretly wish that someone else would give them a kidney. One day, they get a surprise phone call....a woman was killed in a car wreck, but was an organ donor and her kidney is a match. Was that meant to be? Was it meant to be that she had to die to save your life?

In my mind, it's sort of the same way with adoption. Some couples just can't have babies. Some women can't find the right man but desperately want children. Some people (like us) have just always talked about adoption and it just seemed like the next logical stop to pursue after years of planning and prayer. But does that mean that it was "meant to be" when we do adopt that child.

Are our adopted children the loves of our life? Are we completely joyous that they are now our children? YES!

I think God intended for all children to be with their parents. It's unnatural to take a child away from his mother. And yet, in reality, it happens. Parents can't take care of their child because of financial, emotional, and a whole other hosts of reasons. Heck, some parents just don't want to do it. This leads to many things, one of which being the option of adoption.

I guess my feeling is that it was meant to be that we weren't supposed to sin from the beginning, but eating that fruit from the tree landed us here at the crossroads of so many people in the adoption triad arguing about issues like this. Who's right? Who's wrong? Is it all so black and white?

Here's what I know: I don't personally buy into the whole "they are better off" when a child is adopted, because let's face it...they aren't. They would be better off to be parented by the natural parents in the country they are born in. They would be better off if things like drugs didn't interfere with their parents raising them or health crisis like AIDS didn't kill their father. They would be better off if they had three warm meals a day. They would better off to live with their natural family who loved them than to ever have to deal with the unnatural loss they will eventually feel. And yes, all adoptees will deal with loss at some point, because they have lost a relationship with parents that God intended to occur.

So, meant to be...yeah, I don't buy it. Am I incredibly blessed to have two amazing children that I didn't give birth to? YES! But in a perfect world, the loss that occurs with adoption wouldn't exist. There wouldn't be children in orphanages waiting for their families, there wouldn't be a black mother in OH not having enough choices of adoptive families for her child, and there certainly wouldn't be all the older "unadoptable" children praying someone will find value in them sitting in foster homes.

I just don't want either of my children's firstmoms to ever think that the sole reason they carried their child was for me. It just seems so selfish on my part. Am I thankful they choose us? Yes! But for my children's sake, I wish both of their mother's situation was different so that they didn't have to make the difficult decision that they did.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Creepy People

This blog post is to all the nutjobs I have encountered in the last 24 hours in my doctor's office waiting room. In the last day, I have successfully had an ultrasound, bloodwork, an exam and a CT scan with contrast. Since each of these events were independent of each other, that means I have sat in a total of four waiting rooms in the last 24 hours of my life.

I guess it would be different if I felt good, but I've got some pain so I haven't been my normal happy go lucky self which could explain why the insane behavior I witnessed literally grated on my last nerve.

It all started yesterday when I went for an ultrasound. I knew I was going to need to bite my tongue the minute the LOUD couple entered the waiting room. He was old and gross and she was very pregnant. I'm guessing she wasn't a very bright woman because she was with Mr. Old and Gross. They brought their precious little 18 month old demon with them who Mr. Old and Gross referred to as Mr. Junior the whole time I was waiting. "UH OH, I THINK MR. JUNIOR HAS POOPED HIS PANTS," Mr. Old and Gross said loudly. Really? I couldn't tell from the foul smell that was filling the room as precious little Mr. Junior ran all over. "MOMMA, I THINK MR. JUNIOR HAS A GIFT FOR YOU IN HIS DIAPER," he continued to LOUDLY proclaim. I was just wondering why Mr. Old and Gross wouldn't just go change Mr. Junior....but he didn't.

While I continued to wait, a very attractive black woman came into the waiting room and sat next to me. She quickly buried her head into a magazine (probably to keep from gagging on the poop smell) and about that time Mr. Old and Gross picked up a copy of People magazine with Sandra Bullock on the cover. "WHY DO YOU THINK SHE HAD TO GO AND ADOPT A BLACK KID?" Mr. Old and Gross asked his wife/girlfriend/incubator. "Well, honey, I'm sure cause they are easier to get and cheaper," she replied. I wanted to kill them. Literally. At that moment they called me back, and I seriously thanked the ultrasound technician for getting me out of hell. "Oh no, what happened," she asked. I told her she would be finding out soon enough because the LOUD couple were up after me. Lucky girl.

My next visit was to the exam today. That waiting room was pretty normal. Following my exam, it was time for bloodwork. Yep, another waiting room. I've actually had bloodwork drawn at this location before, so I already knew they keep the prep room open and you wait right outside the door. What I didn't expect to see was the poor girl getting her blood drawn RIGHT INSIDE THE DOOR. Ewww. I mean seriously, shut the freaking door peeps. And I guess I should say, attempting to get her blood drawn, as they COULD NOT GET A VEIN. I waited for 30 minutes and I personally watched them stick her 9 times and who knows how long they had been going before I got there. They had to tell her to come back tomorrow so the poor girl who looked like a pin cushion at this point left without even giving up the goods. I should have realized at this point that it was a SIGN of things to come. They were able to get blood from me on the first stick, so I was quickly out of there.

Next, it was on to a CT scan at Baptist Hospital. After waiting for a few minutes and enjoying a 2 year old Southern Living in an empty waiting room, I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN things were not going to be good when the tech brought in a Route 44 size vanilla shake for me to drink before my scan. Yeah, I don't like vanilla. At all. "Drink it quick," she said. "You have to wait 90 minutes after you drink it to start the scan." Lovely. I slurped down the Route 44 nastiness and settled in with my magazine wishing I had brought a book. That's when the cute little old couple walked in to my quiet, empty waiting room. "Aren't they a sweet little couple," I thought to myself.

Then she pulled out the nail clippers.

I will take this moment to tell you I. CAN'T. STAND. THE. SOUND. OF. SOMEONE. ELSE. CUTTING. THEIR. NAILS. Not even my cute little hubby or my precious little angel children. I'm a little sick just thinking of the sound while I type this.

She proceeded to trim ALL HER OLD FINGERNAILS and let the clippings fall to the floor. She even stood up at the end to let the loose trimmings in her lap fall to the floor. I tried really hard to snap a pic of this on my phone without being caught, but it just wasn't possible, because as I said....we were the only ones in the room. At this point, the vanilla monster I had just inhaled was making me feel sick, the waiting room was freezing and I just wanted to get the heck out of dodge.

Finally, Art called me back. Art was a cute little man who told me he'd been doing CT scans for 33 years. I hop on the table (that's a lie, I laid down on the table like the old, hurting woman that I am) and Art told me he needed to start an IV to run the contrast. No problem. "I have great veins," I tell Art. I was wrong. I don't know what happened between my happy little lab stick and the CT scan, but I guess all my veins decided to have a little party and got too tired to stick out. Art COULD NOT find a vein. He finally found one on his fourth attempt.

So, here I am with still no answers on what is wrong with me, enough bandaids on my arms you would think I've been in war, and some great stories from the creepy people in the waiting rooms. Can't wait to see what tomorrow is like!

Been a "little" busy

So, yeah, life the last few months has been nuts. We've officially wrapped up another consignment sale, Anna broke her ankle during the sale and just got her cast off on Tuesday, Mary Elizabeth turned 3 on August 7, Jonathan and I started on a co-ed kickball league, and I injured myself working out on August 28. Needless to say, I'm glad August is over.

I go to the doctor today to find out if and when I will be having surgery. I'm just praying they can do whatever they need to do without literally cutting me open. I'm not a huge fan of being put to sleep. I don't like not being in control (shocking, I know) and I really don't like not remembering what I say or do as I come out of surgery. Also, I'm a little nervous about not being able to pick up my kids. I love a good bear hug from Josh or dancing around the house with Mary, so the idea of not picking them up for a while pretty much sucks.

I have a little bit of "new to us" car fever right now. It's not too bad, because as anyone that knows me would attest, if it was really bad car fever, I would have already bought one. I would describe the fever as more of a "weighing my options" type fever. I'm trying to decide if I want to enter the magical world of a mini-van again. Have I finally recognized that driving a swagger wagon that gets better gas mileage might not be as cool looking as my gas sucking Suburban, but it sure is more convenient and cheaper? Plus, the leather on my driver's seat is really cracking and it is itching me to death when I drive so that's sounding like a good reason for a "new to me" car. My friend Jenn has a minivan she calls her swagger wagon, so I've already decided that I like that name and will be naming my "new to me" van Swagger Wagon The Second and calling him/her Deuce. That is, if I buy one. We're looking at Honda Odyssey vans, which is my personal favorite. Do I want one with a DVD player is my next question? We've never had a car with that and honestly, the idea of driving down the road with Caillou blaring makes me want to have a small panic attack even while I type.

On the car note, I pulled off my best surprise EVER in August. I surprised Jonathan with a Jeep. He had always talked about buying a Jeep "one day" and I decided that there was no time like the present to buy one. I put my dad AKA the jeep master on the job and we found it within a week in Bowling Green, KY on craigslist (are you counting here? this is the third car we have now bought off craigslist) Dad went and picked it up for me, detailed it and brought it down and parked it in the fire lane during the consignment sale. The fire lane was a huge area of contention during the sale because people kept parking in it so we were constantly making announcements for people to move their car so the fire marshall wouldn't show up yelling at us. Jonathan arrived after work to Natalie making the announcement "if you have a white jeep in the fire lane, please come move your car" After making the announcement several times, I handed the key to Jonathan and told him to go move his jeep. His face was priceless. "Whatever" he said. "That's not my Jeep!" He continued to argue with me until I walked outside and got in the Jeep, pulled out the title and showed it. For the next 10 minutes, he drove me around in shock finally asking "how much did you spend?" which I knew was driving him crazy.

I tell you, the man is in love. I can't tell you how many people have called or emailed to say they have seen Jonathan driving around town and he has a big grin on his face. It has it's own space in the garage, which should tell you how in love he is as NOTHING has ever parked in the garage because it's always so full of crap. He came home that night, cleaned out one side of the garage and she has been parked in there every night since. His big decisions in the morning are things like "do I take the top off today?" My dad even gave him a Jeep shirt which at first he thought was silly, but he now proudly wears every other day. It's cute and I'm glad to see him so thrilled with his new toy. He works really hard for our family and he needs to have something he can tinker with.

The kids love it too! The boys have already figured out how to grab the bar in the back and swing themselves in. The babies love it too. It made me EXTREMELY nervous the first time they rode in it, but Jonathan promised me they would be securely strapped in their carseats and he was right, they LOVED it.

So, that's the update on us. I'll keep you posted on surgery, minivans and the other crazy happenings in our life. Until next time...