• Adoption Awareness
  • The Adoptive Mom’s Manifesto

    We are mothers of a different sort. Our children did not come to us easily. For many, we suffered years of heartbreak. We watched as our dreams were crushed. We watched as our friends, family and strangers coddled the small beings growing within them knowing that our bodies were empty, but our hearts were full. We subjected ourselves to needles, tests and medications. We suffered the disappointment of so many failed attempts at getting pregnant. We so badly wanted a child. Someone who would call us mommy. We made a choice. We put down the physical heartbreak and turned to an alternative.

    We are adoptive mothers.

    Some of us came to this place as a first option. Others of us as a last resort, but it is through the lives that grew in our hearts that we are joined as one. There is no force more powerful than that of an adoptive mother. Our grey hairs were earned through hours of research, mountains of paperwork and the stress of waiting for that one thing that is out of our control.

    Children were placed in our arms and we wept. We waited. Some for months, some for many years. But at last, we had a child we could call our own.

    Any mother will tell you that she will go to the ends of the Earth for her child. Many adoptive mothers have seen that side of the Earth with their own eyes. I have stood on that river bank and wept with joy.
    We are mothers of a different sort. We do not know every last detail of our child’s background. We were not with them from the moment of conception. However, we accept them as they are.

    I am an adoptive mother.

    My son lived a life of depravity for two years. He was never cuddled when he cried. He was never rocked to sleep. He did not laugh, he did not cry. I stood before a judge and told him that I would do what it takes to meet the needs of this child. My child. We have visited attachment therapists, occupational therapists, vision therapists, adoption medicine specialists, pediatric gastroenterologists and made numerous trips to our own pediatrician.
    We live with terms like sensory processing disorder, anxiety, diplopia, proprioceptive deficiency, gross motor dysfunction.

    I have gone to the ends of the Earth for this child and I will continue to do so until my dying breath. I will never give up. He is my son.

    I am a mother.

    I will never give him back, I will never give him up. I knew when I entered the unknown world of adoption that this child may need an extra hand.

    This is my child to the end of days. I love every inch of his soul. I laugh at his off remarks. I smile at his sense of style. He is unique. He is remarkable. He is mine.

    We are mothers.

    Happy National Adoption Month.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Orphan Sunday

    Despite the issues we’ve been having in our house we know how incredibly blessed we are to be the parents of Oleg.  He has made our lives so indescribably wonderful.

    Today is Orphan Sunday.  It is a worldwide observance that asks everyone to pray for orphans worldwide.  This is my prayer every day, but today I have the whole world behind me.

    Why do I pray?  Because of this…

    Because of this…

    Because this…

    can become this…

  • Adoption Awareness
  • The fine line

    There is this fine line with this PI kid of mine.  It is a fine line of behavior between “normal” and “PI.”  You would think that after over 5 years out of the institutional setting he would have adjusted to being just a regular kid.  It just isn’t the case in this house.

    To the casual observer my child is just like any other 6 year old.  He runs, he plays, he laughs, he throws fits.  When I talk to my friends about their homegrown kids it all sounds just like Oleg.  Neighbor parents and teachers all tell me how smart, kind and nice he is.  It’s true.  Outside of our house he is a perfect gentleman.  He came home from school the other day to proudly proclaim that the teacher excused him for recess by himself because he was sitting quietly waiting while the other kids in the class were goofing around.  That’s mah boy.

    When he’s home it’s a different story.  His ability to control emotions, make decisions and listen are non-existent.  I’m pretty convinced that the child holds his shit together so well outside of our house that when he’s home he lets it all out.  However, the level to which he lets it out varies from day to day and could be considered on the scale of “normal” to some.

    This child may seem “normal” to you, but I assure you he is most certainly unique.

    Oleg continues to have sensory issues as well as transition and mood regulation issues.  The sensory issues are much less severe than they once were and no longer interfere with daily life.  I can’t tell you what a blessing that is.  He still doesn’t like loud sounds (who does) and will often think that a crinkling newspaper will be as loud as a fire alarm and cover his ears.  I accredit his preschool teacher with working on overcoming the majority of the auditory issues.  He’s moved on to smelling everything.  It really isn’t a great quality when it comes to the multiple chicken coops that are around our house.

    The transition and mood regulation issues are what we deal with most.  Any given trip outside of our house involves a long conversation about where we are going, what roads we will take, who will or will not be there, what it will smell like, what it will sound like, how long we will be there and how many things are we purchasing.  If there is any deviation in the plan he will fly off the handle and it is quite difficult to bring him down.

    I know there are so many other families out there who have it much more difficult than we do.  We’ve been quite fortunate in that Oleg’s PI issues are rather minor.  However, there is that fine line.  That line that says he is a typical 6 year old but he’s a 6 year old that spent the first two years of his life in an institution.

    What’s my point?  No point really.  Just letting you know the status of where we stand 5 years post orphanage.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Be a candy pusher

    I promise this might be the last Sweet Hope post for a few weeks…

    Today and tomorrow are the last few days of voting in Sweet Hope Round 2. ?Don’t forget to vote (multiple times if you like).

    I am also looking for sales people to be candy pushers. ?Last year without the help of the sales people we could not have met our goal. ?You get a few catalogs of our products, order forms, donation forms and best of all a box of samples to tempt potential buyers. ?We look at it like being a legal crack dealer. ?The first one is always free. ?As a sales person your job is to, obviously, get people to purchase Sweet Hope truffles and/or caramels. ?You can either take orders in person and we ship all of the orders to you for distribution or you direct people to our website where they order and we ship directly to them. ?We also hold a contest among the sales people. ?The person to sell the most (number of orders over the 3 weeks) gets a $20 iTunes gift card. ?Last year we also gave a gift card to the top-referring non sales person, but we aren’t doing that this year. ?This is to encourage you to be an official sales person. ?If you are interested email me.

    We also could use help in the kitchen. ?This year we anticipate bigger and better sales (I already have an order for 180 1/2 dozen boxes) and I will be working at the nursery during the time I normally make candy. ?This means I’m increasing our production time, but also need added help. ?December 14, 15 and 16 are the most critical days in “the factory.” ?This is when we fill and box all of the orders. ?We will also be setting up a large kitchen day. ?This will hopefully be either?December 5th or 12th. ?All kitchen volunteers get a free box of candy.

    Come on… you know you want to help.

    In other news…

    I received an email from Galina. ?When she is available she and Dr. Evalina will be going out to Mirnoe to try to snap a few new photos of the children. ?I’ve also asked that she talk to Natalia about what it is that the orphanage needs this year. ?She said that winter has come early to Khabarovsk. ?She also said that an American family who adopted two children from Khabarovsk recently visited there and their children gave a concert in the orphanage they were from. ?The television news covered the story and gave a very positive report. ?Those of you in the Russian adoption community know how rare this is and what a blessing it is.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • If I ran things

    This up and down roller coaster is apropos for a Russian adoption and those of us who have been there and done that know all too well how that feels. ?Sadly, there are a whole contingent of those in the process currently who have their head in the sand and think it won’t happen to them. ?I have news for you honey… it will happen to you and if you think otherwise it will happen to you 10 fold. ?How can I be so cocky and say that? ?How mean, right? ?I can say that because that was me. ?I thought I had done my research. ?I thought I knew exactly what could go wrong and that if I was better prepared than those people that had bad stuff happen to them that I would come out unscathed. ?So how did that work out for me? ?Um, yeah. ?You can see for yourself here and here. ?There are many other posts about how our adoption process could went horribly wrong, but you can hunt for those yourself. ?In addition there are aftereffects of the adoption that weren’t as pleasant as originally anticipated. ?My shins still wince when the boy is flailing about.

    That being said, I, like many post-adoptive parents, can offer a unique perspective on what it takes to go through the Russian adoption process.

    Earlier today the Russian adoption roller coaster reared its ugly head with some news reporting on a stoppage of the process. ?Then later in the day that was retracted and there is no stoppage. ?Supposedly, the US is sending a “high level” delegation to Russia to talk to the Russians about a bilateral treaty for international adoption. ?I’m not exactly sure who these “high level” delegates are, but I can assure you they are not the right people. ?The only people who are remotely qualified to discuss improvements to the Russian adoption system are those of us who have been there.

    I don’t recall any US government officials calling me to ask my opinion about how things should change. ?Had the done so I would have told them to give us training. ?Send down an ultimatum that requires pre-adoption classes. ?Then, work together to define the curriculum for the class. ?Let us know what life will be like and have it taught by families who have been there. ?Some social worker who learns about it from a book doesn’t know jack shit. ?The only people who know what it is like to live with a post institutionalized child are the ones who have been repeatedly kicked in the shins by their child.

    And another thing, the Russians need to pull their heads out and admit that not all children in the orphanage system are healthy and if you tell us they are healthy that is not the whole truth. ?Institutionalization is not healthy for any child. ?Because of that life it causes long term damage to children. ?The damage doesn’t come from the adoption itself, but rather the treatment prior to the adoption. ?Give us the real story on our children. ?We will be better parents for it. ?You may want to put on airs and let us think that that all the children are perfect, but that just isn’t the truth.

    Allow us more time with our children prior to leaving the orphanage. ?If you are going to have a 10 day waiting period mandate it across the board, but allow us to have our children in the hotel/orphanage so we can have at least a little bit of bonding time prior to the major changes the family will go through. ?Allow us to see our children in the orphanage more than 4 hours before making a decision and having to leave them and go back home. ?And that is another thing. ?This two trip process is a killer. ?I’m not saying the Kazakhstan process is any better with the bonding period and the 10 day, but the more time we can spend with our children the better.

    Once we get home give us more training. ?Help us find families in our area who have adopted children. ?Again, the only one who knows what we are going through are those who have been there.

    Give us the best tools possible to succeed as parents. ?The majority of those who adopt do so because they so badly want to be parents. ?Honestly, who goes into something thinking, let’s see if I can fail at this.

    What do you think? ?What would you suggest to make the process more successful?

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Mommy Wars: More White Elephants

    You know me. ?I’m a big children’s welfare advocate. ?So why do I choose now to keep my mouth shut about something that is so near and dear to my heart? ?While the whole of the world is up in arms about the Tory Ann Hansen (links to the google search for her name rather than any one single article)?case I’ve been decidedly quiet. ?Part of the reason is because I have elected to not become involved. ?Most of me is numb over the whole thing. ?I’ve yet to pull my head out of the sand and read or participate in forum discussions about the whole thing. ?My knowledge of the situation is only what I’ve heard on the television news. ?I know, that is bad. ?Truth is, I’m not currently in the process of a Russian adoption so it doesn’t directly effect me. ?My charitable organization is not in the business of Russian adoption so it does not effect that. ?What it does do is make me want to hold my son and not let go.

    I’ve been there.

    I’ve been on the waiting end of someone elses fuck up. ?If you will recall a one Peggy Sue Hilt (also a google link). ?That case broke 2 weeks after we got home from meeting Alexander. ?That case is what snowballed our Russian adoption process into a giant 2 year nightmare. ?It wasn’t the main factor, but right up at the top. ?So for every parent waiting for their child… I’ve been there. ?I know exactly how you feel.

    Here is what I do know or don’t understand. ?I don’t understand how a human being can do that to a child. ?It doesn’t matter if you’ve attached to this child or not. ?You do not send a child on an airplane across the world into the unknown. ?I would have trouble doing that with my high school graduate going off to college let alone a small child. ?I also know that what I see coming from the Russian government is probably not all that it is cracked up to be. ?I watched a segment on GMA yesterday morning where they interviewed a child welfare government official and they claim there is nothing mentally wrong with this child. ?This may be the case, however as a parent to a post institutionalized child… there is something wrong. ?A person can not come out of that environment unscathed. ?I’ve been there. ?I don’t understand why this woman does not man up and either admit that she was wrong or attempt to defend her actions (as horribly wrong as they are).

    There are many unanswered questions about the whole thing. ?My heart breaks for the little boy and the families waiting for their children. ?As for my feelings for Tory Ann Hansen… I have none. ?I hope the outrage from those families waiting is punishment. ?I hope she realizes that she stood in front of a judge and swore to protect that little boy until the world ended and she just threw him away like a piece of trash. ?No child is trash.

    I have much more to say on the matter, but for now I’m going to go hold my son. ?The son that I love so dearly. ?The son that I would walk over fire and die for. ?My son… from Russia.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Guest Post: Attachment is a two way street

    Today is the last post in my guest post series on adoption. ?It is quite a fitting way to wrap up National Adoption Awareness Month. ? ?After all of the struggles we go through to get our children the work is not done. ?Parenting is a lifelong process and some parent/children relationships come with extra challenges. ?Today’s post is written by someone who is quite special to me. ?I remember the “what do we do” phone calls. ?Melissa’s panicked little southern accent caught my heart immediately and she and I formed a lovely friendship.


    As adoptive parents, before our child comes home, we find that our life is full of waiting?and along with the waiting, we have questions.

    As we sit on the other side of the world, and wait for that fabulous moment, when our child is ours forever, we wonder, Is he okay? What kind of care is he getting? Does anyone take time to sit and hold him? Or does he sit in a crib all day and stare out at the room that is his world?

    Along with these questions, we have worries about issues that come along with these questions?issues that could have a lasting impact. Issues such as attachment.

    To ease our worrying, we read. We read books, articles, blogs?anything that will put our minds at ease or, at the very least, give us ideas for how to handle problems once that precious child does come home.

    We are so worried about our child?s attachment to us, that we often end up forgetting that attachment is a two-way street.


    My husband and I spent the better part of 9 years trying to have a baby the ?natural? way, when we finally decided we?d had enough. We no longer wanted a ?chance? at having a child?we wanted a ?guarantee.? So we moved to international adoption?and were welcomed to the natural questions and worries that come with adoption, in general.

    I have always felt like I was well equipped to become a mom ? I am the oldest of 4 children, and have been babysitting before I reached double digits in age. At the time that we began the adoption process, I was in the middle of completing my second degree in human development and family studies, and above all, I had wanted to be a mom for?well, as long as I could remember.

    I had done a lot of research on the implications of adopting internationally ? and attachment was the prevailing topic. So, armed with research and experience, I had a plan. I had things to look for, when we made our first trip to Russia ? would my child come to me readily? Would he cry for his caregivers? Would he make eye contact with us? Depending on his reactions during our time together, I knew I would develop another plan, for when he came home.

    To our surprise, our son displayed many classic signs of attachment! As it turned out, his baby home was very small ? at the most, it held 25 babies, and was staffed beyond belief. He cried when he was alone with us, he used his caregivers as a ?home base? for exploring, and his eye contact was pretty phenomenal, compared to what I had expected!

    Once I realized that his attachment might not be nearly as difficult as we had originally thought, I backed down a little on my reading. I still took in information?but as a whole, I felt prepared for almost anything.

    Well, except for my own unpreparation.

    See, I had all these expectations. I couldn?t wait for all of our ?firsts? as a family?and for just being a mom. I was excited about his first birthday party, and for his first Christmas, and for ?..well, you get the idea.

    What I didn?t realize, at the time, was that my excitement created expectations (primarily of myself) that were unreasonable, even for the most experienced of mothers…and that I was setting myself up for failure.

    On our second trip, before we even left to come home, he ? dare I say it ? seemed to have really made great strides in his attachment to us. Things were still new to him, but I honestly believe (then and now) that he?d been so well cared for that his brain was actually wired for attachment, and the transfer ? from his caregivers to us ? was fairly simple for him.

    But going from 9 years of being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted ? to suddenly being tied down to naptimes and diaper changes and feeding schedules ? was a huge shock to my system. All the sudden (it seemed), I had a child on my hands who could walk around and destroy a clean house in a matter of minutes? a child who screamed at me while I fixed his dinner, because he had never known that food actually had to be prepared?a child who slept very well, but who required my presence as he actually fell asleep. For the most part, things were good?but at the same time, I frequently found myself smiling on the outside while the smile didn?t make it quite to my heart.

    Needless to say, life became very draining very quickly. I felt like a babysitter to someone else?s child. And I found myself, at times, crying myself to sleep, wanting my old life back.

    Not because I didn?t love my child, but because I just hadn?t developed a full attachment to him, yet. It was difficult for me, to hear mothers of biological newborns gush about how quickly they fell in love with their child?I wondered why my experience had to be so difficult, especially after all we had been through to bring our son into our family. I felt insanely guilty for even wondering such things. Looking back, I realize I never even gave myself a chance. Mothers of biological newborns are often given 9 months of “closeness” with their helpless newborn, even before the baby enters the world. On the other hand, I became an instant parent to a toddler.

    I quickly decided that it was unfair to this precious child, for me to wallow in my feelings of unfairness?and I made a commitment to continue to meet his needs, knowing that my feelings of true attachment would come, sooner or later.

    And you know what? They did.

    I can?t say that I completely ?faked it,? with my son, in those first 6 months. He was (and still is!) one of the cutest kids I know?he?s smart, funny, and incredibly sweet. We were blessed with a child that is simply easy to like. Even in those early months, I enjoyed being around him, but it took me much longer adjust to my own identity and role as a mom than I thought it would. Early on, I lamented the ?loss? of my previous life?I worried that I would never be able to join the ranks of parents who say that they have no recollection of life before children. And then, as I worked on being a good mother ? with attached feelings or no ? I found that my attachment came. And now, even I have difficulty remembering life before children?and I?m happy about that.

    In retrospect, do I wish that I had attached to my son instantly? Sure, it would have been cool to be able to say I fell in love instantly. But I think that instant, absolute, unconditional attachment exists primarily in a fictitious world?I wish I had realized that bit of information, instead of having my unreasonable expectations of having that kind of attachment at the very beginning. I wish I had realized that my attachment for him had the potential for taking longer than his attachment to me ever would. Would things have been different if we had started out with a biological newborn? I don?t know for sure?but I do know this: looking back, I am glad that my relationship with my son has required some cultivation? It?s not been easy, but that work is what makes our relationship even more valuable to me. And honestly, I wouldn?t really want it any other way.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Guest Post: Putting Together the Pieces

    Long time readers of this blog know about “the original 6.” ?For once I’m not talking about hockey. ?The original 6 are a group of us who started blogs somewhat close to the same time, were all adopting from Russia and became very good friends. ?We have never had the opportunity to all be in the same place at the same time, but I’ve had the honor of meeting 3 of these amazing women in person. ?I met Margaret first. ?Two weeks later I met Rhonda. ?Of the 6, Rhonda and I were the only 2 using the same agency. ?As our friendship developed it became apparent that she and I were two peas in a pod. ?Our husbands will swear to that.

    Rhonda sent me a story that she had posted on her earlier blog. ?I remember reading this particular post and crying. ?As I re-read it I cried again.


    For the past few months, Bonnie has been saying some things that have caused her parent’s eyebrows to arch, wondering if she understands what she’s saying, or if she’s just chatting with no end in sight.
    For example, a few weeks ago, we were out hiking, and Bonnie made the comment that she was going to be very careful not to get lost, because when you get lost, you lose your family. Given Bonnie’s past of abandonment around 2-3 years old, it caused Brian and I to stop immediately in the middle of the trail. We were both down on our knees, eye-level with her, explaining that she will never lose her family. And, if she gets lost, we will look for her until we find her. She said, “thanks for looking for me”, and happily skipped down the trail, leaving us scratching our heads, wondering if she is remembering something.

    Later that week, she mumbled in the car while looking out the window, “I love my family, I don’t want to get lost and lose them.” Again, it caused me some concern. So, I talked to her teacher and asked if they were discussing at school what to do when they get lost. The teacher shook her head, and said she couldn’t think of anything they’ve covered in class that would cause Bonnie to say those things.

    Today, it all came to light.

    It all started over lunch of peanut butter and jelly, along with a cup of milk, when Bonnie asked me if she grew in my tummy. I explained to her that no, she grew in her Russian mama’s tummy, and then Mom and Dad came and got her at dietsky dom (which she remembers).

    “Mom, I was a sad baby in dietsky dom,” she replied.


    “Because I got lost with my family. I losed them.”

    “Do you remember your family?” I asked her.

    She nodded. “There were these people. But, I don’t remember their names, Mom. I was outside going for a walk and I was very cold . And this lady saved me. And she put tights on my legs, because I was so cold. She said I needed to stay there, so my family could come back and find me. After that, I went to dietsky dom.”

    I stayed silent, because I’d never heard this story before.

    “Mom, I didn’t like being a baby. I don’t like babies.”

    “Why?” I asked her.

    “Because babies lose their families. That’s what happens when you’re a baby.”


    So, we had a long talk about how she won’t lose her family again. And how happy we are that she’s not in dietsky dom anymore. We talked about babies, and how its better if they’re with their families. How its not good for babies to be sad, and how that makes Mommy sad to know that Bonnie was a sad baby. Then, we reinforced over and over that she will not lose us.

    She’s been home nearly two years, and this is the first time she’s told this story.

    “I won’t go back to Russia, will I?”

    “No, you won’t.”

    “Well, that’s good, because they made me drink very bad milk. It had bumps in it, and I almost throwed up when I drank it.”

    (Anyone else remember the curdled milk in Russia?)

    “When I think about that milk, I get so angry. I am just going to be angry about it for a while, is that okay, Mom?”

    “Yes, its okay to be angry about that.”

    “They maked me drink it all the time. Because I lost my family. But now, I am with my family, and I don’t have to drink that milk anymore, right Mom?”

    “That’s right. No more yucky milk. Mommy and Daddy didn’t like that milk either.”

    As I handed her a second cup of milk, I wondered what was going on in that little brain. I’ve often suspected that she remembers going to the orphanage. So, this confirmed my suspicion. And, it also explained all of the discussion about her getting lost so much lately. It just kills me to think that she’s been worried that if she isn’t careful, she’ll lose us. Compound that with her vision problems, and now I think there is more meaning behind why she is always asking for my hand and tends to panic when she can’t see us.

    She seemed satisfied with my answers today. I felt like I really convinced her that she won’t lose us. Soon, she was talking about playing outside and asking if she could go swimming. We finished our peanut butter sandwich and our milk. She went outside to play.

    And, like it has been so often with her, we’ll wait for the next breakthrough.

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Guest Post: Our Child

    Not long after we came home with the boy I stopped searching for Russian adoption blogs. ?I simply didn’t have the time. ?I barely had time to keep up with my own life let alone the lives of the hundreds of blogs I followed. ?I stopped reading many. ?There are times that I check up on blogs that I’ve read in the past, just to see how the families are doing. ?It is very rare that people find me while searching for Russian adoption anymore. ?I used to rank right up there on the front page of the googles. ?Not anymore. ?Search for 2 year molars and you’ll find me though.

    All of that being said, I don’t know who found who first. (or is that whom?) ?All I know is that I’ve been following the story of John & Tori Liggett for over a year now. ?In fact, I’ve become quite invested in their progress. ?Probably because they’ve had a bit of a headache with their adoption process… shocking no? ?When I asked people to be guest posters there were only 2 that came to mind that were in the pre-adoptive stage. ?My sister-in-law being one and the Liggetts being the other. ?This is what John has to say about their on-going experience.


    My wife and I began trying to have a child in the summer of 2005.? Having no success on our own, we turned to doctors, fertility drugs, and various procedures.? After over a year of fertility specialists, drugs, and treatments, we were no closer to our goal of having a child.? We were at a crossroads with two choices:? begin in vitro fertilization or begin the process of adoption.? In the end, we felt like the potential success of adoption outweighed the not-so-great success rates of in vitro considering the cost.

    This was a tough decision to make for me.? In effect, I was giving up and admitting failure.? We weren?t going to conceive a child.? Even now, that?s tough to admit.? I had my doubts going into the adoption process.? I wasn?t sure if this was the route we were supposed to take.? I wondered if we were letting the cost of in vitro get in the way of what we truly wanted.? After a short time however, I learned that what I wanted, and what my wife wanted, were not the same thing.? Don?t get me wrong, we both wanted a child.? She wanted a child to love, nurture, and raise.? I wanted ?our? child to love, nurture, and raise.? I wanted a child with our bloodlines, our genetics, and our traits.? I wanted to father a child that we conceived, which in retrospect, was a vane way of thinking.? My wife simply needed to be a mother.

    I think she sensed my apprehension with adoption, which made things difficult.? Throughout our adoption journey, she has always taken the lead on getting things together and completing required paperwork.?? Just as everyone told us to expect, we had several setbacks along the way.? Our original agency went out of business after we had paid them several thousand dollars.? They were supposed to transition us to a new agency with no additional costs on services we had already paid for.? But, while they did transition us to our current agency, there were additional costs and fees on top of what we had already paid.? Our original homestudy agency was blacklisted and we had to have another homestudy completed (by a different agency) and resubmitted.? Our entire dossier was returned from Russia so we could have the apostille on each document attached in a different way.? Basically, every aspect of our adoption journey has been repeated at least once.? After each setback, my wife would apologize and tell me she was sorry for pushing me into adoption.? What she didn?t realize is that while I was hesitant in the beginning, after reading various blogs about adoptive families, taking the courses required as part of our homestudy, and from talking to friends and family that had adopted, my thought process had changed.? I was no longer uncertain about whether adoption was the correct path for us.? Adoption had become part of us, part of who we were.

    One of the things that really jumped out at me was the bond shared by those who have adopted or are in the process of adopting.? We were quickly embraced by an entire community of people who knew exactly what we were going through.? With each setback, we had a great support group of those who had been through the same struggles.? They told us to keep going and not to give up, that the end result would make us forget all the troubles.

    While we have not quite finished our journey yet, we have received a referral for a little boy and we do have a confirmed travel date approaching.? I don?t think I realized the weight of the adoption process on me.? It was easy to see how the stress of the adoption process affected my wife, particularly with the ups and downs.? I spent so much time trying to reassure her that everything would work out that I had basically numbed myself to it all.? While the setbacks definitely concerned me, I had to act like it was not a big deal and that things would work out.? I often told her that everyone said it would be a difficult process with a ton of problems and setbacks.? We had been warned that the adoption process is a roller coaster ride of emotions. ?Over and over, I told her, ?it will all work out.?? She quickly tired of this response, but it was all I could say.? It was all I could hope for.

    My wife gets frustrated with me because she says I never get excited about anything.? On the day she called to tell me we had received our referral, she had to tell me three times.? The excitement I was feeling wouldn?t let me fully comprehend what she was telling me.? When I told a friend at work, I broke down.? I struggled to get the words out.? A sentence as simple as ?we have a referral for a little boy,? just wouldn?t come out.? It was in that moment, that I finally realized the full weight of the adoption process and the burden it had been.? When I got home that day, I told my wife that I never realized how stressed and miserable I had been.

    And while we know there are still potential issues and setbacks out there, we are hopeful that this journey is almost over and another is about to begin.? All of the doubts I had initially about adoption are now a distant memory.? In fact, when I think of something my father said to me, I wonder how I ever doubted that this was the right path for us to take.

    My initial doubts about adoption led me to a lot of reflection about what I wanted from a child.? I soon remembered a conversation I had with my own father years ago.? My father, himself an adopted child, once told me how lucky he was to have been adopted and raised by my grandparents.? At the time of this conversation, adoption was not something I ever dreamed was in my future.? But what he said in response to a question I asked stayed with me forever.? In fact, it was the memory of his answer that finally put my mind at ease regarding adoption and erased all the doubts and questions I had.? All those years ago, not fully understanding how silly my question was, I asked my father, ?Don?t you ever wonder who your real mom and dad are though??

    His response, simple yet so profound:? ?No. ?I know exactly who my real mom and dad are.?

  • Adoption Awareness
  • Guest Post: That Magic Moment

    Today’s guest post is by Jens at Adventures in Double. ?The majority of my adoptive parent friends have children from Russia, however Jens is an exception to the norm. ?She has the most beautiful identical twin girls from Vietnam. ?I know what adopting one small child was like, but I can’t imagine brining home two 5 month old babies. ?Like all of us, Jens and Conor had their struggles as new parents, but they found the magic moments in the small things in life. ?Isn’t that what it’s really all about?


    When Conor and I decided to adopt we always wanted, strived for, hoped for the magic moment or those magic moments you associate with adoption. The first being getting your dossier together, 2nd the “call” for your referral and then the big gotcha, metcha, family, whatever you call it day you meet your child and hold them and hug them and kiss them for the first time.

    What I don’t think anyone explains is that your life with this and in my case these children is an amazing journey full of magic moments.

    Our gotcha day, which we call family day, was December 11th, 2006 in Hanoi Vietnam. It was hot and humid to us, cold and damp to the Vietnamese. We were shuffled from a van to an orphanage to a building in the city with a restaurant and market for a snack and then to an office building for the G&R ceremony. Honestly, I recall this as being just a day of sheer and utter joy and overwhelming exhaustion which seems to be never ending. The G&R was a blur. With Mimi and Cammie being our first children we barely were functioning and I remember signing something, taking a picture and being dropped off as parents back to the hotel. We left at 11am childless and arrived back at 5 a family of 4!

    Back at the hotel we had a second to realize that we were now the parents of twin baby girls aged 5.5 month. We stripped them naked, bathed them, feed them and let it soak in, there was a magic moment sitting in a hotel room, eating room service off a cart with 2 sleeping infants close by. (This would be the only time they slept while in Viet Nam and for the next 9 months.) The overwhelming aspect took over and we ate quietly and thoughtfully, in shock and awe, utterly terrified and strangely completely fulfilled.

    My life since Mia and Cameron have become part of it has been hard and easy and magic. The magic came in sweet sleepy moments, to giving warm babas to hungry baby? girls, to warm open mouth baby kisses, to army crawling, to first steps, to first “I lub Us”, to finding my footing as the girls mama and the girls finding their footing with me.? Basically, all the wonderful things that come along with being a parent.

    I always just thought that the magic moments would be the day we were handed our most precious gifts, It never occurred to me the magic of adoption lives through my daily life, daily moments, every second, and for the rest of our lives.