Adoption Interview

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Adoption Thoughts

Lately the desire to adopt again has been weighing heavy on my heart. From the very beginning of our adoption journey I've flip flopped back and forth about whether or not we should adopt more than one child. Before getting too far in the adoption process with Hannah I was certain I wanted to adopt twice. Two kids sounded perfect to me. However, I wasn't prepared for the stress of actually adopting and shortly after Hannah was born I was sure I was DONE. I couldn't do that again. It was just too emotionally hard. The more removed I became from the initial emotions of adopting I started to think about how it might be nice to have another child someday. Then the stress of parenting Hannah hit and I was pretty sure I was DONE again. Being a mommy of one was plenty for me. I was content, if not a little over my head at times, and I felt like our family was complete. Then, for reasons unknown to me, I decided to look at a website with photolistings of waiting children through the department of child and family services. That was pretty much the end for me. I'm pretty much convinced that at some point we are meant to adopt again, but this time through the foster system. This thought scares me a lot. We've successfully navigated an agency adoption and have a healthy open adoption with Hannah's birthfamily. That's what we know. Hannah was adopted at birth. We know her birthfamily. We have frequent contact with them. A child that is adopted through the foster care system had a life before you came into the picture. They lived with their birthfamily. They may have had multiple foster families. They may have experienced abuse or neglect and they have most certainly experienced at the very least the trauma of being removed from their birthfamily. All these things make their mark on a child. They have to be dealt with eventually and they'll always be a part of their past. I don't know if I'm a strong enough parent to help a child through that. Then there's the issue of birthfamily contact. Hannah has a close relationship with her birthfamily. How would we handle things if we adopted another child that was not able to have contact with anyone from their birthfamily? How would this affect both Hannah and our hypothetical 2nd child? Then there's always the matter of whether or not I'm cut out for the stress of parenting more than one child. Could I successfully parent a child with possible emotional or behavioral problems when I so often feel helpless and unable to parent Hannah effectively? Still, with all of these doubts I still keep coming back to the thought that we are meant to do this. I'm not sure how. I'm not sure when. I just feel led to pursue this.

As I've been thinking about adopting through the foster care system I've started to notice some differences with regards to attitudes about and the prevalence of adoption between Rhode Island and Indiana. When we lived in Indiana we personally knew many people who either were adopted themselves or who had adopted children both domestic infant, international, and through the foster system. We've lived in Rhode Island for a year now and we've yet to meet a single person who is either adopted or has adopted. I find that a bit odd. There are two possibilities for why this is that I can think of. Either fewer people here in Rhode Island adopt or people just don't talk about adoption here because there is a stigma about it. Based on what I've observed while living here I would imagine that the reason is a combination of both of my theories. Whenever the subject that Hannah was adopted comes up people always express shock and surprise. When they learn that we have an open adoption they are even more taken aback. Generally after the initial shock wears off one of two things happens, either the person I'm speaking with quickly grows uncomfortable and changes the subject abruptly or they start gushing about what a wonder service we have done for Hannah and her birthfamily and we are quickly elevated to sainthood. They don't believe me when I say that Hannah isn't the lucky one, we are. We wanted desperately to start a family and adoption was the route we chose. This just seems inconceivable to most people here. Another thing I've noticed is that I see very few multi racial families. This could signify both that there are few international or foster care adoptions or that anything that is "different" is frowned upon and both adoptions and mixed race families without adoption are "different." This leads me to wonder what adopting through the foster care system here in Rhode Island would be like. Would it be hard on Hannah and the hypothetical 2nd child because adoption is not as accepted here or am I just imagining things? The Midwest is not the most accepting place in the country, but adoption is actually fairly common there and there are many areas where multi racial families are also quite common. Would we be better to wait until we didn't live in Rhode Island? So many questions to think about. But one thing I'm still so sure about is that we should do this. Our family is meant to get just a little bit bigger. The details can be figured out later, but the big picture seems clear.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Heavy Questions

Hannah has recently begun asking some heavy questions about her adoption. We have an open adoption with Hannah's birthfamily so we've always discussed Hannah's adoption with her. I knew that eventually Hannah would have questions about exactly why she was adopted, why Tiffany and Mike did not choose to be her Mommy and Daddy, why Tiffany was Kayla and Chase's Mommy AND birthmother, but only her birthmother. I knew these questions would come. I've been preparing for them, but I didn't expect for her questions to come quite this early. I thought that by being so open with Hannah about her adoption we'd have the basics covered for quite some time and that the deeper questions wouldn't come until later-much later so the answers I'd been preparing and the questions I'd been anticipating weren't age appropriate for a 3 year old. I shouldn't have been so naive. A few weeks ago I was reading Hannah's adoption story with her. On one page it describes how Tiffany and Mike were sad to say good-bye to Hannah when we all left the hospital after her birth and it shows a picture of Tiffany holding Hannah and wiping away a tear. After we read that page Hannah looked right at me and asked, "Why were they sad to say good-bye? We visit each other." I wasn't prepared to explain to a 3 year old how Tiffany could KNOW she was making the right decision, but at the same time be sad that she was unable to make a different decision. I wasn't prepared to explain that just because she wanted to be Hannah's Mommy she couldn't handle it at that point in her life and that made her sad. I wasn't able to verbalize that she was content with her decision and happy that she would have ongoing contact with Hannah, but that in an ideal world that wasn't enough. In an ideal world Tiffany would have been able to parent Hannah herself. Those are just things that are too complicated to explain to a 3 year old, even a bright one. I stumbled and stuttered around the question for a bit and then finally settled on this explanation. I'm not sure it was the right one to give, but it seemed to satisfy her for the time being. I told her that she was sad because she wished that she could see Hannah every day instead of just for visits. I said that sometimes when people love us they wish they could spend as much time as possible with us and Tiffany knew that she wouldn't be able to spend as much time with her as she would have liked.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

3 Year Old Fashion

When 3 year old's dress themselves . . . . .

Sorry about the quality of the photos, but I'm sure you can get the idea!

Lip Glossary

Sorry I've been remiss about posting again. I'm still learning how to manage being a mom, wife, and get a business off the ground and still have time for myself! Hannah's feeling better after her surgery and respiratory issues. In fact she's through that and a 24 hour stomach bug since I last posted! Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers. We appreciated them.
But enough apologizing, on to the fun stuff. Hannah's come up with some real winners here lately and I just had to share some of them with you. Today Hannah was putting on some Starburst chapstick she got in her stocking for Christmas. She was reading the name of the flavor she had chosen and then continued to read the rest of the words on the tube, "candy flavored lip gloss." I explained that lip gloss was just chapstick that would make her lips look shiny (as long as she didn't lick it off!). She applied her chapstick and went about her business and then all of a sudden she shouted, "Look Mommy! I didn't lick my lips and now they are all shiny because I'm wearing lip glossary." I about peed my pants laughing. It's pretty evident we've been reading too much non fiction lately!
Earlier in the week when I asked her why she was throwing a fit she told me, "It's complicated." Obviously!

Hannah's been doing quite well in preschool and making some great social connections with some of her classmates. She's doing so well in fact that her teacher has recommended that she move up into the 4 year old class now instead of waiting until July. Apparently there are several new students coming soon that are newly turned 3 year olds and they worry that she'll be uncomfortable with the younger children. I must say that I agree with them and think this move will be good for Hannah. The classroom she's moving too requires more independence and is more academic than the class she's leaving and I think the challenge will be good for her.

Speaking of academics, Hannah's turned into a reading machine lately. Anything she sees, she tries to read it-words flashed on TV, cereal boxes, mail, you name it. She has so many sight words that she's reading level 2 easy readers and many non leveled children's picture books fluently and with pretty decent comprehension. As evident by the "lip glossary" comment above, we've been reading a lot of non fiction books recently and she's been soaking up that knowledge like a little sponge. In fact she's been reading those animal fact books alone in her room and then randomly surprising me with various animal facts throughout the day. When I ask her how she knows that information she says she just knows, but later when I look at the books in her room or we read one of the books together I realize she's learned it from the book and when I ask her if she's read that book before she'll tell me yes. Amazing!

Defiance of late has been through the roof. I know 3 year olds are defiant, but Hannah is SO INTENSE. She's had me seriously doubting my skill at parenting. In fact I've been looking up local parenting classes and reading every book I can get ahold of to try to figure out how to deal with her defiance. She's pretty much oblivious to consequences and all forms of discipline. I've gone so far as to look up oppositional defiance disorder online to see if any of their techniques might work with Hannah or even if maybe that's what I'm dealing with although I'm not sure if a 3 year old could even be considered to have ODD since defiance is pretty much par for the course with a 3 year old. UGH. Sorry about that. Just had to vent.

We had some nice weather on and off the past two weeks and Hannah had a chance to get back on her tricycle. It seems that her physical strength and coordination increased dramatically over the winter because now she can pedal and steer her bike at the same time with only minimal frustration! Her stamina is pretty good too so we've been making lots of trips up and down the sidewalk in front of our house. She looks so proud when she's pedaling along on her bike. She's been tooling along down to the neighbors house and collecting all the leftover acorns that have fallen over the winter from their oak tree. She loads them up in the basket on her bike and carts them back home to "plant" them in the yard. It's so cute to watch her. She's so focused on her job. She'll have that "I'm on a mission" look on her face.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Deja Vu

All day today I felt like I was reliving the events of a year ago. Hannah had her surgery to have tubes placed in her ears this morning and like last year (that time she had her tonsils and adenoids out as well as the tubes put in) she was a model patient and recovered much quicker than was anticipated. We were sent home a half hour after she woke up and she was doing great. We kept it low key for the afternoon, but when she woke up from her nap we could feel the heat radiating off of her body without even having to touch her. That was NOT a good sign. Her discharge instructions stated that if she got a fever of over 101 degrees then we were to call the office for further instructions. There was no doubt her fever was over 101 degrees, but we took her temperature anyway and it was 103.4 degrees. All I could think of was, "NOT AGAIN!" This was exactly what happened last year except her temperature didn't spike until the next day instead of just later on the same day. After consulting with the ENT we were told to take her to the local pediatric hospital to the ER. He worried that she had post op pneumonia again since she was coughing like crazy as well as had the fever. Off we went to the ER thinking that this was EXACTLY like last time and wondering why on earth Hannah couldn't seem to make it through a routine surgery without getting pneumonia. At the ER they thankfully determined that Hannah does not have pneumonia (at least not yet), but instead has a post surgical bacterial infection of some kind and most likely a cold as well. We were sent home with an antibiotic and orders to monitor her fever and check back in with her doctor if anything changes. Now she is sleeping peacefully and the Tylenol and Motrin seems to be keeping the fever in check. It was quite a day, but Hannah actually did great. We had many comments made to us about what a good girl she was being. She didn't even cry when it was time to head back to the operating room! They let me go back with her and hold her on my lap while she breathed in the gas from the mask until she fell asleep. That whole process was actually quite pain free for her. I was a bit nervous and it was hard to see her slip from consciousness, but I was glad I was able to be there to keep her calm. Please keep Hannah in your prayers while we hope that whatever this infection is that it is able to be treated with the antibiotic and that she is back to feeling herself tomorrow because she has a birthday party that she desperately wants to attend on Saturday and she'd be devastated if she couldn't go!

Monday, March 08, 2010


I apologize for my extended absence from the blog, but I've been pretty busy lately. The biggest thing that has cut into my blog writing and reading time is that my sister, dad, and I have started a business together! Now, after about a month of hard work, we are up and running. Those of you who know me/us in real life know that we LOVE to take photographs so we've started a candid photography business to take photos of birthday parties, kids sporting events, family reunions, wedding receptions, etc. We're not doing formal portraits or weddings, but are available for most other types of photography. We've got a website up and running with examples of our work and a selection of prints for sale. I know most of you who read this are scattered throughout the country, but for those of you in central Indiana or Rhode Island please consider us the next time you need photography done at an event and wherever you are located, go check out our website the next time you need some new art to decorate your home or office.

Candid Captures Photography LLP

Besides getting the business up and running, Sally the Wonder Dog has been keeping me hopping. Since arriving in our house we've learned quite a bit about our new wonder dog. The biggest thing is that she's seriously athletic for a little dog and can jump our 4 ft privacy fence without much effort at all and does so routinely. So now, even though we have a fully fenced back yard, I have to take her out to go potty on a leash which is pretty much a pain. We've also learned that the poor thing suffers from separation anxiety and HAS to be right next to someone pretty much all the time. As I type this she's laying on my lap and licking my hand as I try to write! She's proving much more difficult than our previous dogs to crate train and she could pretty much care less about food, treats, or toys so we don't have a lot of leverage up our sleeves for training rewards. The good news is that she's SUPER sweet and loyal and loves us all already and we already love her. Her insistence that she's a lap dog even though she's over 30 lbs means she works quite well as a weighted blanket/lap pad. She also puts up with an amazing amount of rough hugs, pulls, and squeezes from Hannah. And, although she doesn't like it, she remains calm whenever Hannah wigs out or has a huge meltdown and even sometimes goes up to her and tries to snuggle with her in the middle of it. So far, Hannah hasn't been very receptive about Sally trying to help calm her during a meltdown and Sally using gets hit for her troubles, but I have hopes for this scenario in the future. If I could just find a treat Sally really loved to give her every time she tries to go to Hannah when she's upset . . . . . Any advice from dog owners out there about treats for a dog that really could care less about food would be welcome.

We've also been working hard to get Hannah's ears cleared up, but we've been unsuccessful. In fact, her ears are currently worse than they've been in the past month because now she's got a nasty cold and is full of snot again. So, we're going with surgery again to have tubes put in. The procedure is scheduled for this Wednesday. Prayers that Hannah tolerates the procedure and the anesthesia would be welcome. I'm pretty scared about the possibility of post op pneumonia again like last time. I know she'll be under a shorter amount of time than last time, but I'm still worried.