Protected: Break the Cycle September 29, 2009
Protected: The Boy who Loved Bulgogi September 28, 2009
Protected: Behold…..the Panda September 25, 2009
Making a List September 24, 2009
….and checking it twice. Literally. I made a list a few weeks ago of questions to ask Matthew’s foster mother at our first meeting in Korea. We will have a translator there and it is pretty standard to ask the foster parents questions. At first my list was composed of mostly practical questions:
Where does he sleep?
Does he still take naps/bottles?
How do you calm him down when he is upset?
Lots of questions like that. But then I was studying his picture the other day and noticed (not for the first time) that he has a pretty good scar right between his eyes. We have a video of him from April wearing a bandage there, so it probably happened right around then. And I panicked because I thought, what if I never knew how he got that scar? What if he is on a great date one night when he’s in college and they are learning all about each other, and she asks, “how did you get that scar?”. It broke my heart to think that he might not know this piece of his past….and that I might not be able to tell him. So now I have to add some more questions that are important for us to know….just for him, just for his personal history.
How did he get that scar?
What was his first word?
When did he take his first steps?
This is all stuff I take for granted having known Isaac from Day 1. If he ever gets a scar, I will be able to tell the story over and over. I remember which one of his freckles was the FIRST freckle he ever had. I know that when he was born he didn’t have a single eyelash and when he cried he had real tears–HUGE real tears–(something the nurses claimed never happened when a baby is first born). I can laugh about the fact that he was bald for so long that we made him Charlie Brown for his first Halloween (at the age of 1!). I can tell the story of his first trip to the emergency room and laugh because he was fine and I was just a nervous mother. I remember that when he took his first steps I was in the shower, and by the time I got out, he was practically running. His first word was technically da-da, but after that he said “star, stop sign, and sunshine”. They all kind of sounded the same, but we knew what he meant. I wish I knew every intimate detail of Matthew’s history like this. I trust that his foster family will share as much as they can–I just hope I remember to ask the right questions.
To all you other adoptive parents out there….any recommendations on what to ask? Anything I may have forgotten?
Protected: 4- Months! September 22, 2009
Sneak Peek September 20, 2009
What No One Told Me… September 17, 2009
I am joining in the Blog Carnival over at Grown in my Heart today by writing this post on what no one told me about adoption.
No one told me, or rather, I never fully understood that all the joy I am set to experience through this adoption comes solely from another woman’s loss.
Obviously yes, I knew this. How else would there be so many orphans worldwide if there weren’t also so many women who couldn’t (for a MYRIAD of reasons, many beyond their control) parent these children. But to really get it–deep in your bones, that doesn’t happen at the beginning of the process. It is a lot like being pregnant and taking childbirth classes. You hear about labor, your friends tell you a million horror stories, you know that it will hurt. You can read as many books and watch as many episodes of “A Baby Story” as you want, but you do not fully understand the pain of labor until you experience it.
When adopting, you are required to be educated on all sorts of topics, including loss. We’ve read books, taken even more classes than were required. I think I have been as prepared as possible regarding our son’s loss: his biological and foster family, his culture, his language, everything familiar to him. But it wasn’t until I saw his face that I knew it throughout my body: he is only my son because she could not be his mother.
When we were studying Matthew’s picture on the waiting child list and waiting to receive his referral paperwork, the cruelty of the situation really set in. I remember crying one night looking at his picture–this was right around his 2nd birthday. I was wondering aloud if maybe the adoption agency should try to find his mother and explain to her how healthy and wonderful he was. Maybe her situation had changed and she would be in a position to parent him. Suddenly everything was too real. I wanted to be so excited about our “gain”, but it was so tainted by her (and his) very real loss. All I wanted was what was best for him, and how could that NOT be being with his real mother?
I now realize that I am the only one coming out a true winner in this situation. I didn’t have to lose anything to gain my son.
Every year on his birthday as we plan parties and blow out candles, there will be a woman on the other side of the world who remembers the most beautiful and tragic day of her life.
As I walk around showing off his adorable pictures, there is a woman across the Earth who carries a memory of a newborn boy and wonders what he looks like today.
When people ask me how many children I have, I will proudly say, “Two!!”, but when people ask her this, will she pause as a dagger stabs her heart, unsure how to respond?
Yes, I wish I would have known, but then again, you can’t really KNOW until you are right in the middle of it.