Anniversary

Three years.

Wow. What the heck were we doing all those years before? I can barely remember not having Her.

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Three years ago:

  • I had just returned from Ethiopia after meeting my little girl
  • Although the wait for our Embassey appointment wasn’t terribly long, it sure felt that way.
  • My neighbor had a baby shower for me. I wore a pillow under my shirt.
  • We were finishing up getting that little room ready. Straw colored walls, Pink & green trim, princess blanket (which has always been her favorite), cute pictures on the walls, shelves full of books.
  • Jet lag. Seriously, I didn’t see it coming, it took a long time to recover from!
  • Pictures, pictures, pictures. I couldn’t stop looking at them!

The first pictures we saw of Addis she looked stunned & worried. When we met her, her expression was flat. In fact, she had that flat look to her eyes until she had been home for about 6 weeks.

First dayThis picture is from the first daw we met her.

 

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If I had a Wish

“Mommy, we should have sooo more people in our family”

     “How ’bout we get 2 more sisters & 5 more brudders? “

     “I reeeeeally want a hamster! Pleeeease can I get a hamster? Mommy! I reeeeeally wish I had a SISTER! “

     “I know! We should get a sister! Please Mommy can I get a sister?? A twin sister?? “

     “If you go to a care center, could you bring home a baby?? “

     “What if you find a baby, dat someone leaveded there, and it didn’t have no mommy, could we keep it? “

     “I know! We could put the couch over dere, & then there would be room for bunkbeds & we could get more kids in our family! “

     “How come I can’t have a sister or a mouse?? “

     “If you get a baby, you don’t even have to take care of it, I’ll hold it the WHOLE TIME & give it milk. But not when I’m     getting dressed. “

     “Can we pleeeeease get some more brudders? Izzy has THREE brudders. “

     “I know! We should move & get a bigger house and then we can get more beds & we can dadopt some more kids! “

     “*sigh* I would be soooo good a big sister. “

     “I wish I could get a baby kitten. Or a baby sister.”

Hamster

Hamster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

US Navy 100118-N-5244H-015 A young Haitian gir...

US Navy 100118-N-5244H-015 A young Haitian girl embraces her baby sister as she watches U.S. military members as they pass by while surveying the area for the best access point. The amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hear this ALL day.

Every day.

What to do??
Listen, this baby factory is closed. I’m over 40! Yeah, I know it’s been done, but I don’t see it happening here!

Adopt again?? I don’t know! Like I said, I’m over 40!! But is it fair to her? Does she really need another sibling, closer to her age (Ponyboy & Jasmine are 15 & 19)??

(The hamster I can manage…eventually!)

Awhile back, I wrote a post about an 8 year old boy in foster care.

He had been my neighbor, I first met him when he was 4 months old. Due to a very dysfunctional family & his parents’ deaths, he found himself a ward of the state.

Eventually he was featured on Wednesday’s Child, and a couple who had been trying to adopt saw him.  They told me that as soon as they saw him, they knew he was right for their family.

Today his adoption was finalized. I am so happy I could cry.

Before being adopted he was with a wonderful foster family for a year and a half, and has spent the last 6 months living with his now permanent family. I can see how happy he is, and how happy they are together, and am grateful that they found each other.

 

Door # 2

It is the 2 year anniversary of meeting our Princess. *sigh*
We ARE so lucky. To have Her. That she is smart & healthy. That our adoption was smooth, uneventful, & (relatively) quick. I could go on & on (& will at some point).

Besides all of that, I feel like a gained a world that I wasn’t even aware of. How bored must I have been pre-Addis? Now I am aware & a part of a richer world. A world where, at the playground, I can start up a conversation with a random mom & get hair care tips instead of being by myself. A community (online & for real) who is ready to offer me support & a standing playdate. A deeper, richer interest in civil & human rights. I don’t know, maybe those things were already available Before.

I also discovered Ethiopian food. Oh man, was I missing out! And Ethiopian names. It makes me wish I had them to consider back when my Bios were born. And black children. Did you ever notice how gorgeous they tend to be? Tell me you don’t occasionally feel a little bad for a mom with pale, colorless kids? (not that Ponyboy & Jasmine weren’t beautiful babies) And let’s not discount that whole Going To Africa thing. We got a perfect baby AND a trip to Ethiopia – BINGO!

Seriously, Addis is the perfect addition to our family. But besides just having Her, I feel we’ve been enriched is so many ways!

Adoption is not a “consolation prize”

I had been planning on adopting…..well, my entire life. First it was Chinese orphans. Then, when communism fell, it was Romania. Finally, as an adult starting an actual family (as opposed to the imaginary one), I researched many countries & US foster care over the years.

During that time we had Jasmine. She appeared (unannounced!) almost 2 years into our marriage. A few years later, I figured I didn’t need to sleep ever again & we got Ponyboy. What were we doing during that 13 year gap between Ponyboy & Addis? Well, honestly, if we were better planners that gap would have been closer! But there were no other bio children because I was pretty sure that would make adopting less likely.

When we finally put “Plan Addis” into action, we were excited. Our kids were excited. My family (but maybe not my in-laws) were aware long before that we would be adopting, & looked forward to it (even if they didn’t quite believe it would happen). We told people we were on the adoption path, with mixed reviews. Mostly people told us that was great, some people warned us of everything that could go wrong, and some had tons of questions.

One day I got this odd comment:

“I’ve been praying that you would get pregnant!”

….uhm, thanks? Seriously, Don’t! Stop! That will de-rail our plan!

That is when it occurred to me that people outside our family must assume we were experiencing infertility. I paid closer attention to those questions. Yeah, that was it. They thought that we had this decade-long gap due to infertility & finally gave up to try adopting.

No! Not us! We were CHOOSING “choice B”!

Since entering this post-adoption world, I’ve discovered our choice is similar to many many others. I’d guess that about a third or more of adoptive families I know, both in the real world & on the internet, CHOSE to adopt as “choice A”.

I can’t imagine my family without Addis. I can’t imagine thinking she’s a second choice. I wish there were a campaign enlightening people that Adoption Is Not A Consolation Prize!

The ‘Opian Mom

Since she came home (19 months ago), I’ve been talking to Addis about her “Ethiopian Mom”. I don’t think anyone would be surprised that I’m bringing her up, but people have seemed surprised that I’ve started so young. Why start talking about her when Addis is so little?

Well, she shouldn’t remember being “told”. She should always just know. As time goes by,  she will have moments where she suddenly “knows” what a part of her story means, but it shouldn’t be news to her. It is HER story, her history, and always having heard it will (I think) help her to internalize it and not be thrown off kilter later in life.

Also, starting right at the beginning means I’ve had plenty of time to work on telling it! Yes, it sounded very awkward at first! Sometimes it still does. But by the time the two of us can have a discussion about it, I will have had a lot of practice.

So what do I tell her? Well, I’m not going to tell You all the details, now am I?? We include her in prayers; “Please bless Addis’ Ethiopian mom that she has good health & let her know Addis is safe & loved”. Addis often (Often!) asks if I have a baby in my tummy. I tell her no, that I won’t have one in my tummy again, but that Jasmine & Ponyboy were in my tummy when they were babies. That Addis was in her Ethiopian Mom’s tummy. She has asked what her ‘Opian mom’s name is… Stuff like that.

There is an Ethiopian teenager that lives an hour or so from us who we see on occasion. When we do see her, Desta holds Addis a lot & says she’s going to keep her. Addis loves this! Recently, after asking if I have a baby in my tummy, Addis said: “Maybe Desta my ‘Opian mom?” I thought this was SO sweet! And also kind of sad.

Refferal

I was tutoring at school 2 years ago today. I ran a volunteer program at the elementary school & tutored one-on-one twice a week. That morning I had been texting H’s niece, who’s first baby had just been born. We were excited for her. Our dossier had only arrived in Ethiopia barely 6 months previous, so I had settled myself to waiting at least another 6 months before I got anxious.

So you can only imagine how stupefied I was….

When I got home late that morning, H was home. In fact he was standing in the driveway waiting for me. I was worried, him being home when he should be working usually meant bad news. However, he was so excited, he was bursting! Silly me, for a minute I thought it was about his niece!

He got The Call. They sent an email, which he hadn’t opened yet, he was waiting to do it with me.  It would be another 5 1/2 months before she came to live with us, but instantly we adored her.