Thursday, April 19, 2012

Finding out I don't know everything, the hard way

I've never told y'all this, but after we finished our home study to adopt Jack the social worker had the gall to tell us that she didn't think we were mentally prepared for International adoption and would not forward on our home study until we read this huge packet of training material.

Until about six months ago I thought that lady was a little high on her power and quite frankly confused.  See in case you don't know me in real life, I'm a really good mom, and we had parented for a whole year! before we began the process to adopt Jack.  You know basically we were experts and really how hard could this whole adoption thing be...ahem.

She was concerned that we didn't have answers for how we would raise him as Korean in an white family, how we would handle his questions about adoption, how we would help him navigate life as someone who is white on the inside, Korean on the outside, and constantly faced with the fact that he is different.

I read her dumb articles, mostly about children from orphanages (didn't apply to me), and children with attachment disorder (definitely didn't apply to me).  We moved forward and without trying I began to become educated on adoption, the orphan crisis, emotional problems adopted children face, what it's like to be an interracial family, and so on.  I read blogs mainly and learned from other's stories the reality of the life I was beginning.

But that is where my education ended, until I began the ultimate school of adoption, the day I met my son.  We came home and I saw that regardless of how much I loved him, his heart was broken on that day I took him from his foster mother.  Part of him was forever lost when I took him from his country, his language, his food, his world.  I was too tired to read the books then, so I prayed and I held him and I cried and we figured it out, it took a long time, but we were okay, or so I thought.

Then one day, my son began to cry and sob over the loss of his foster mother and his country.  He began to ask me daily to go back and see her, to see it.  I had no answers for him, I listen and I prayed but I didn't know how to help him heal.  I finally bought a book and began to read it, I finally understood that this path we're on goes on forever, that the loss he has had to face is not a thing of the past, but a part of who he is.

Today I saw a friend of mine and just dumped on her everything that we've been dealing with lately and she asked me how we've been handling it, and I told her the truth, I have no idea what I am doing.  She too is an adoptive mom and is dealing with many of the same issues, she told me about another book that she highly recommends (it was another one I thought didn't apply to me, I may never learn).  When I left everything in my life was just the same as it was when I walked into that room, but it made me better having a safe person to tell the truth to, someone to tell me that we're normal, and to help me find a way out of this.

I don't want to scare anyone out there out of adopting, no matter how hard it is, it will always be one the best things in my life.  But I do want to scare you a little, scare you enough to stop you from making the same mistakes I've made, to go into this process with more solutions and less pride.  Read the books, join the support group, find the right friends.  Other adoptive families will be your life line, if you don't know anyone else who's family looks like yours, walk up to strangers at the store and ask them to be your friend, if they're like me they will happily, because we've all been there.  Seek out friends of your children's race, bribe them with food, and have them in your home at least once a week, adopt grown up Korean people to go with your little Korean people :).

In the end remember that we are to do what is best for children, we are to read the books, and find the support, and parent them the way they need to be parented (not the way others parent their biological children), but most of all we are to pray.  To come before the Lord and lay it all at his feet and tell him that there is not a thing in the world I can do to fix this mess that is adoption.  Trust Him with the answer, trust Him to make us all better, trust Him that He has already overcome the world and it's problems.  The fact that love covers a multitude of sins is perhaps the sweetest promise to me today.

The two books I am currently reading in this journey are Parenting Your Internationally adopted child and The Connected Child

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lying, the Olympics, and the scariest moments in my life

*I know I know, I said I would be blogging more often, but I lied.  Who am I kidding, if I finish my "must do" chores by 9 at night it feels like an awesome day.  And for some reason I can't write then, my brain is just too tired and only wants to lay on the couch and veg.  Someday I will have more time, someday my days will look different....

*We got back from camping this afternoon.  I will do a post on it with pictures but to sum it up, it was a great trip.  It was our favorite park we've camped at yet, we got to hang out with some of our friends who now live in another town, the weather was actually cool and it didn't rain on us!

*What is with Parenthood having they're season finale in February, I mean really folks it is harsh to just leave us hanging for six months, aren't they afraid we'll forget all about them and move on to bigger and better TV?  Don't worry I would never do that

*I finished Lost did I tell you yet?  Best TV show I've ever watched, hands down.  Was I disappointed with the ending?  Sure a little but how could you not be disappointed with a show that out there when they try to wrap it all up?  I think next on my list of shows is Downton Abbey on PBS, I'm hoping against hope Kyle will watch it with me.

*Ooh, I saw Hunger Games, speaking of Kyle.  He went with me, we went to a 10:35 showing once our kids were in bed when we were home for Easter (free babysitting).  We go on a date about 5 times a year so the excitement of being at a movie theatre! with Kyle! alone! (for reals y'all we were two of four in the theatre) kept me awake.  LOVED it so much and one of the best moments of my life, (I wish I was exaggerating but I'm not) Kyle loved it too!

*I cannot tell you how many major throw down tantrums we've had in this house in the past two weeks, and some of them were even by the kids :).  No really I'm so tired, I've started trying to head off certain children when I can tell they're thinking of taking that route, I don't want to give in to them, but I also don't have an hour to waste dealing with the tantrum, so I give an extra warning or two and pray they'll make a good choice.  I'm a little afraid though they can sense my fear :).

*We did celebrate Easter around here, we did a 12 day countdown to Easter, and of course lots of egg hunts, candy, and eating on the big day, and I have not a picture to show for it.  Probably the biggest reason I could see myself caving into the iphone pressure Kyle is laying on me is the connivence of having a decent camera with me at all times.  I mean I'm a blogger (or kind of) I need to remember to take pictures of things! :)

*The scariest moments of my life are when I have to walk to the bathroom in the middle of the night when we're camping.  No matter how little I drink I can't make it through the night.  So I walk alone in the dark in a place with wild animals, each and every night we camp.  My imagination is really too good.  I may or may not have ran as fast as I could a time or two to avoid imaginary creatures.

*Four months till the Olympics.  Do you think I'm weird that I'm counting down already, you don't know the half of it.  Tonight I realized that I get more excited when I remember that the olympics are in four months than I do when I remember that in two months I get to go on a vacation with my sisters (WITH NO CHILDREN!) for four days.  I think my love for the Olympics has gotten out of hand, just a tad. I wonder if I can get one of those countdown things for my blog yet...

Sunday, April 1, 2012


You turned two last week, it was a week of celebrating you and what you mean to our family.  We celebrated your first birthday since coming home to us and then four days later we celebrated the day you became ours.

It has been a hard year for you.  You were fully aware that strangers had come over to your home and taken you from the family that had raised you since you were born.  Your loss has been so deep, but we have come so far together, just these past few months you have begun to seem happy, trusting, and at peace.

Isn't that just a mess, that you at the age of two have already experience more loss than I have in my entire life.  But this morning you insisted that you get back into bed with me and go "night night" just for the joy of being able to be snuggled by mommy, and I would have done it all day if school didn't beckon.  Somehow the mess has become joy (messy joy no doubt but still joy) and I will never find the bottom of my gratitude at getting to be your mommy.

You are two, like someone snuck you a copy of a parenting book and you memorized just how two year olds are to act, they could put your picture in the dictionary next to "two year old."  You believe that the biggest playgrounds were designed for your use (and your use alone).  That taking naps is something only the weak do, that throwing food is a fun pastime, and pulling hair should be an olympic event.

You are a talker, copying every word you hear.  You've begun to speak to us in long sentences, "Mommy all done, sticky hands, down please."  My friends without children laugh at how I can understand everything you say, so maybe I'm not the best judge but I think you speak so well.

I'm pretty sure you have 10 pairs of shoes, blame your big sister, they are all hand me downs, and back in the day she was all we had (and all the grandparents and aunts had :).  You have very strong feelings about shoes, some days are pink cowboy boots days (duh!) and some are slipper days (that would be crocs), but most days are any number of dress shoes, and if I'm lucky we get a tennis shoe day thrown in there from time to time.

For your birthday I made "Chick fila nuggets" and oven fries and gave you lots of ketchup.  Ketchup is your favorite food, I kid you not.  You had a Thomas cake, because you had stolen a thomas book from your brother's room and now ask every nap and night time for the "choo-choo" book.  You loved opening your presents and are very confindent that they are "mine" and enjoy playing with all of them.

For your gotcha day we went out for Korean food.  I made everyone dress up because it was a big day and you loved your Korean food.  I'm thinking that maybe your favorite food is actually rice.  Afterwards we went and walked around (Texas A&M's) campus because it's just what we do and it was time we let you in on the tradition.  You loved running around after your brother and sister and I prayed a little prayer that someday that space of earth would mean as much to you as it does to me.

You are my baby girl.  The one I never thought I would have and didn't know I needed.  Your smile makes our family brighter, your laughter is a joy we waited so long for, we are so glad that you are here, that you are ours, that we get to figure out being a family together.

For her biggest fans (also known as grandparents) some videos: