Protected: My Birthday Boy October 30, 2009
Is It Time Yet? October 29, 2009
Two posts in one day–watch out, I’m on fire, people! Actually it is probably just because Isaac is taking a nap today, which is a rarity.
With Isaac’s third birthday coming up on Saturday, I am again reminded of the similarities between giving birth and adopting. Honestly throughout this process, I have been floored as I experience the same kind of extreme emotions (from: “this is too hard, I will never do this again” to “I’m going to have/adopt 15 kids”), the ignorant comments from strangers (when are you due, TOMORROW? or insert any undereducated, misinformed comment about international adoption), and the pleasant rush of nesting. There are also times when the beauty of both experiences takes my breath away.
Exactly three years ago, I was all ready for my baby to arrive. The house was in order, the diapers were here, clothes were hanging in the closet. I was on high alert for any discernible change in my body that might signal labor. People called every day to ask if I felt like it would be that day, or to find out about my latest doctor’s appointment. I woke up every day feeling equal parts “today is the day” and “this is never going to happen”. Although I am not someone who loves surprises, the idea that this could happen at any moment was exciting and I was looking forward to grabbing my husband’s hand and saying, “It’s time”.
Here I am three years later….the weather is the same, the leaves are changing. Matthew’s room is complete, and the clothes are washed and put away. And I am waiting for a sign. Not the pains of labor, but a phone call, an e-mail, someone to say, “It’s time. Your baby is ready.” The anticipation, the nerves, even the friends and family who want to know if any progress has been made, it is completely the same. Again, I woke up every day feeling equal parts “today is the day” and “this is never going to happen”. But it did once, and it will again. And just like it was the first time, it will be a beautiful, bumpy, sometimes scary, breathtaking ride to meet our son.
Protected: Weekend in Pictures October 26, 2009
Better Late than Never October 24, 2009
I’m really late on blogging on this. An article ran in the NY Times a few weeks ago about the plight of single mothers in South Korea. I think most of us would agree that being a single mother might not be the most ideal situation. Parenting is tough, tough work and I wouldn’t really WANT to be doing it on my own. BUT, if it came down to it, if that is the direction my life had taken, I could do it. I would personally muster up the strength to do it. I would go to work full time. My family would help as much as they could. Life would go on.
This would not be the case in South Korea. If an single woman becomes pregnant, she could find herself pressured by her very own family to have an abortion (in fact, nearly 96% of unwed mothers in S. Korea choose abortion. 96 percent.). Consider this quote from the article: “Once you become an unwed mom, you’re branded as immoral and a failure. People treat you as if you had committed a crime. You fall to the bottom rung of society.” Can you imagine your own family changing their phone number in order to keep you from finding them? I cannot imagine doing anything so horrible that my family would do this.
Here is a small excerpt from the article:
Families whose unmarried daughters become pregnant sometimes move to conceal the pregnancy. Unwed mothers often lie about their marital status for fear they will be evicted by landlords and their children ostracized at school. Only about a quarter of South Koreans are willing to have a close relationship with an unwed mother as a coworker or neighbor, according to a recent survey by the government-financed Korean Women’s Development Institute.
“I was turned down eight times in job applications,” Ms. Lee said. “Each time a company learned that I was an unwed mom, it accused me of dishonesty.”
I wanted to shed some light on this because the intensity of this problem was news to me. I think a lot of people see a birthmother’s decision to relinquish her child as a “shiny, happy, I love you so much, I’m doing this for you, oh how sweet” kind of thing. More and more I am beginning to realize that this is almost always NOT the case.
Sometimes it is more about “I love you, but because of our situation and our culture, if I keep you, our entire family will shun us forever. By the simple act of being your mother, I may never be able to secure housing or employment. We will both be looked upon as the lowest of the low for the rest of our lives, and you may not have any opportunity in your life.” That does not give me the adoption warm fuzzies. But it is the truth. It does not mean these mothers didn’t want or love their children. It means that they were among the brave 4%. The 4% who didn’t choose abortion. They didn’t succumb to pressure from family, friends, society. They valued the life they carried and made the only decision that their lives (as they knew it) allowed.
There are a few small groups coming around who are seeking to defend the rights of unwed mothers to raise their own children. I hope they grow, and I hope change does come around. I do believe that the best place for a child is with their original family in almost every situation. Single mothers or not.
Jason and I were both raised by single mothers, as both of our parents were divorced when we were very young. No, I don’t believe it was the most ideal situation we could have ever been in. However, I don’t think a solution would have been to send us to a foreign country away from our language and culture while cutting all ties with our birth family…..just so we could be raised by a mom AND a dad. There’s got to be a better way.
Perspective October 20, 2009
It has been 19 days since finding out that Matthew needs some medical testing done before he can come to the US. In 19 days, as far as I know, nothing has happened. I don’t even know if Matthew’s agency in Korea even knows he needs these tests. The head of the Korea program at our American agency was in Korea last week. She sent me an email Thursday night that said this:
“Okay…I’m in Korea and going to the agency in about thirty minutes.
I will see what I can get from them and then I’ll email you right back.
WE’ll have to schedule a new HIV test and a new TB test…this can take awhile, but I’ll see where we are on the timing of all this with ESWS….I’m afraid the tests and getting the results report back are going to take a few weeks.”
Obviously, after reading her e-mail, I thought I would wake up Friday morning with some definite information, but I haven’t heard from her since. No one else at the agency has any information either. I’m frustrated with the not knowing. I’m glued to the computer, jumpy when the phone rings. I just want to hear something!!!
This afternoon, the weather was so gorgeous, I took Isaac to a big open park where he loves to run up and down the hills. I saw a woman and her daughter arrive. The daughter was wearing pajamas, a face mask, and had a bald head. I assumed they were taking a much needed break, from a large Children’s Hospital close by. When we got near them, in true Isaac form, he ran straight up to the girl and got right in her face and said, “hi, I’m Isaac!”. The mother immediately snatched the girl away and said, “Let’s go” and hollered back in my direction, “We cannot be around any children!”. I have to assume that the child was seriously immune deficient, and they had to be very, very careful. I felt terrible because they left the park after that, and I felt like they really needed that nice little outing.
All this to say, my child ran up and down hills, jumped off stone walls, rolled in the grass, and raced up and down about 50 flights of stairs. By the end, he was red faced, laughing, and the picture of good health. I have never watched helplessly while he suffered in a hospital room. He has probably never heard of cancer. He can be around other children without the danger of dying from a common infection. We have it good. And yes, I felt a little crappy for being so annoyed and so anxious about this hold up. I do still want some answers, but a little perspective never hurt anyone.
Let’s Talk Provision October 18, 2009
This adoption process has been such an amazing way for God to reveal himself to us. He has certainly “shown up” to meet our needs, in many grand ways. There are times when God does things so astounding, you just know you have experienced a miracle, but then there are the little things. Sometimes the little things are even more surprising because it is easy to think that God doesn’t have time for inconsequential stuff.
With war, famine, crime, and a hot air balloon hoax going on down here, why would He care about little old me? Easy. Because I am his child. It is the same reason that I will drive to Publix in the rain before preschool to make sure Isaac has a banana for his lunch. Because it makes him happy, and I CAN do that for him, so I do.
All this to say, I have been doing a lot of preparing for bringing Matthew home. Let’s call it high-gear nesting. Lists all over the place and a flurry of shopping and activity. On a big trip to Target the other day, I had a long list of items I needed….well, let’s be fair and say most of these items were “wants”. I wanted to get a little idog player for Matthew because Isaac has an ipod bear that he has loved since he was 8 weeks old. I wanted to get webcams so we can Skype with our family while we are in Korea. I actually did NEED to get Matthew pajamas, so it wasn’t all wants… Anyway, one thing I wanted for Matthew’s room was pretty specific. I wanted a digital clock that has a CD player and also a sound machine on it. Isaac has one in his room and I find it to be invaluable. (If I’m up with a sick or crying child at night, I just like to know what time it is, you know? And music and soothing nature sounds don’t hurt.). So as I was buying away at Target, I found the clock/CD player/sound machines and they were so expensive. I just couldn’t bring myself to buy one, even though I really, really wanted it. I couldn’t do it.
Friday morning as I was sorting through the last of the yard sale items (all donated, remember) to put out, guess what I came across…..
When we went to the beach a few weeks ago, as I looked at our car packed completely full, I worried aloud about how we would travel anywhere once Matthew arrived when there would be another carseat and more stuff. I said, “Well, we will either have to get a bigger car or get one of those things to go on top to hold stuff.”. Guess what someone else donated?
Coincidence? I doubt it. Had I been praying to God begging for these items? No. Did he know I truly wanted/needed them? Clearly.