2013

At the beginning of 2013, I said “here’s hoping THIS year doesn’t suck”.

And, in comparison, it didn’t.

But, lemme tell ya, I’d define this year as “Loss”.

My Mom died early in 2011. A year and a half later my Dad died. (both of these deaths occurred unexpectedly after a brief illness.) Yes, there were people who reached out to me. People that checked up on me. And I appreciate them for doing so.

But I have been heartbroken by my oldest daughter leaving. I want her here. I want our family together. I want her to take my son with her when she does an errand, or goes with a friend for a late-night ice cream. I want her to make his first girlfriend feel comfortable at our home. I want my little daughter to cuddle in bed with her, to eat “sister soup” for breakfast, to paint nails with. I want her to be there when my little one comes home from school to show off her art work. I don’t want her having a serious boyfriend that I might not ever meet. I don’t want her squeezing in a skype call if she can when she’s having Christmas with some family I don’t know.

Add to that having a close meaningful friendship fall apart. This is a friend who we used to have holidays with, who we’ve vacationed with, and we were each other’s “go to” person when we’d have a crisis. Although we are both making overtures of friendship to each other, we’ll never be the friends we used to be. And now that I have a young child again, that friend isn’t available for me to drop my little one off for an hour while I run out to do some chore. I can’t send her over there to show off her newly pierced ears. She won’t be on Addis’ “emergency contact” form when she goes to Kindergarten next year.

 

Feeling lonely and heartbroken.

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Anniversary

Three years.

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

 

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!)

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice To Say….

This is a contribution by Jasmine. She had an assignment to write an essay on a phrase that has had some meaning in her life.

So this morning, I finished writing a paper for my English class about why it’s okay to be mean. By request, here it is.

We have all experienced that moment squirming in our seat, biting our tongue, that odd chuckle that escapes our lips as we died inside trying not to laugh at the extremely funny but rude comment that has built up inside of us. We must contain ourselves. The phrase we have heard a hundred times from our parents, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” rings in our ears. Yet, we have also found ourselves at times blurt out the inappropriate comment and suffocated laughing at our own joke. We had no remorse; it had to be done. 


My grandmother used to say the same thing, almost. I recall many memories sitting in the tall wooden chairs of her old-fashioned kitchen listening to the room echo with laughter, at one’s expense of course. You occasionally hear a new comer, who has not yet learned the ways of our sarcasm, complain of the pain this joke has impaled into their feelings. Then, the wise words of my grandmother can be heard, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Unless it is REALLY funny.” Then the laughter will once again break out at this wisdom.


Although it might seem rude and as though we have no self-control, there is something we call all learn from these words. Living here, in the small town, I have noticed that anything that could in any way offend anyone is off limits. People just will not say it. There is always more than one view point and often, for good intent, people will look only at the view of those it could possibly offend. My grandmother’s words have impacted me, I have the ability to laugh at myself and find the humor in things rather than the harsh rude view that many around me see. Please, do not think that my family and I look for opportunities to say something mean. The rule is to not say anything mean, unless it is REALLY funny. My family might have a mean sense of humor and sarcasm, but I would rather live in a house filled of impolite laughter than a home filled with political correctness where I would have to think twice about every word that comes out of my mouth

Hugs Mom  (I did have Jasmine’s permission to share this)

(In fact, I told her when she wrote it, that I was putting it on my blog. She has since asked a few time if I shared it yet.)

On Hiatus

It has been awhile since I’ve checked in here. There has been a death in my family. Cherish those close to you.

“Ancient Egyptians believed that upon death they would be asked two questions and their answers would determine whether they could continue their journey in the afterlife. The first question was, ‘Did you bring joy?’ The second was, ‘Did you find joy?” – Dr. Leo Buscaglia

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!