Monday, February 23, 2009

Cabin Fever

I have what some would describe as "cabin fever". If you have ever lived in a cold climate, you know the symptoms--feeling tired and depressed when you look outside and also having the desire to just go somewhere warm. This winter has seemed to drag on much longer than last winter. Maybe it's because I have a newborn and can't do In January last year, I can remember the temperature topping 50 degrees and spending my afternoons outside with the kids at school. It was truly amazing!

My daughter and I went to a playgroup for the first time this week. I thought that this would be a good outing for both my daughter and myself and it was. It was nice to be with other new Moms and their babies. However, the highlight of my day was just getting outside in the fresh air. It didn't matter to me that the temperature was 20 degrees as I've become accustomed to the cold,cold weather this year.

When I was a kid, I loved the winter. I hardly ever suffered from said cabin fever. I loved to build snowmen, igloos (with my block they even have those anymore?), go sledding with my family and friends and throw snowballs. I also liked to cross country ski and snowmobile. So, why do I not like it anymore? Is it age related or environmentally induced? Or is it that I am waiting for my daughter to be able to enjoy these things with me? It's a mystery to me.

I am counting the weeks until Spring arrives. I can't wait to be able to take our daughter for stroller walks, go to the park and just be outside to play ! I also can't wait for the grass to be green again (black snow covered lawns are so UNATTRACTIVE) and to be able to share my love of all things gardening with our daughter. But for now, I'll need to be content to dream about the next season that is upon us.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Some random thoughts on Open Adoption

As I was checking out various adoption sites, I came to one that was full of quotes that touched my heart. Some of the quotes dealt with "open adoption". Although we are still in the midst of really discovering what this will mean for our daughter, we are confident that no matter what happens, we will be able to answer many of our daughter's questions when they arise.

It's interesting to me that so many people have such a narrow perspective of how "open" an adoption should be. I can attest that the elderly members of my family do not comprehend why we would do this. They truly think that since most adoptions in the past have been closed, our daughter's should be too. It's not just family that questions our decision. Many people have asked us how we could possibly have an "open adoption". Some of the other questions people have asked us include but are not limited to: Aren't we afraid that our baby would be taken back by her birth family? and why would we want contact with the birth family?

There are many answers to why we chose open adoption. I can be honest and tell you that my husband and I were very unsure of what an "open adoption" even was when we began our journey. I was afraid of the concept but when I learned more about what it entailed, I was convinced that "open adoption" was the only choice to make. In order to get used to the concept, I attempted to put myself in the shoes of our prospective child. I asked myself what I want to know about myself if I had been adopted. I came up with several non-negotiable items that would be a must: 1) I would want to know my family health history, 2) I'd want to know who I looked like and what my heritage was. 3) I'd want to know why my birth family made an adoption plan for me. 4) I'd want to know that I could have the opportunity to meet my birth family and 5)I'd want to know why the family that raised me was chosen to do so.

Here are some other thoughts from my web browsing today that might explain why we chose the open option. I couldn't have said it any better than these parents have !

Quotes from Adoptive Parents

Five Reasons Why We Chose Open Adoption

* When she looks in the mirror, we want our daughter to know herself. It's hard to face the world when you don't know where your face came from.

* We didn't want our daughter to have the cabbage patch mentality. The truth is, her life didn't start the day we adopted her. Like us, her history and ours began a thousand lifetimes ago.

* We believe in a birthmother's right to choose, if she has the courage to place, she has the wisdom and right to choose her childs parents. Our daughters birthmother is her first Mother.

* We wanted to do a domestic open adoption so our daughter could know her birthfamily. Our daughters birthmother chose not to abort her, how could we abort our daughters birthmother from our lives.

* We both have family members and friends who are products of closed adoption. These people are still suffering the adverse effects that their denied birthright has caused them. We didn't want this for our daughter.

Monica and Debbie
adoptive parents

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things that people say...

Since we have become a family with an infant, people seem to think that they can say whatever they want to us when we are out and about. Recently, I had the displeasure of a woman coming up to me in the hair salon and asking me if my daughter "looked like E.T. when she was born". Mind you, this was not a little child saying this to me but a full-grown adult! I was taken aback by this question. So, I replied that I didn't think that she looked like E.T. at all when she was born. She just looked like a baby--a small baby but a baby!

Our daughter's size is always a big deal to people that do not know her. You would think that no one has ever seen a small baby before. I've had people ask me how many weeks old she is (instead of months) and also my personal favorite "how much did she weigh when she was born?" My question is: Why does anyone care or is it just a conversation starter? We also receive tons of comments on her height. Our daughter is very long and skinny. She will probably be taller than both of us and this is a fascination as well. She's tall--enough said!

I find it incredible how many people come over and talk to us now that we have a child. Sometimes, it is a pleasant encounter and sometimes...well, it just is. We have learned to take what people say in stride and not take it personally. My favorite conversations center around the fact that"no one knew that I was pregnant". I get such a kick out of this comment. Sometimes, I just ride it out and other times I respond with "I wasn't". Most people get the hint when I say I wasn't but some look at me as if I have 4 heads and one eye. I also love when people try to figure out who our daughter resembles. So far, the consensus is that she mostly resembles her Dad except for the eyes which are DEFINITELY mine (or so I've been told). Actually, our daughter looks like who she is supposed to--herself and we are fine with that. We don't expect her to look like us and never will :-).

Do I feel that I have to explain how she came to us to everyone that I meet? Absolutely not! As wonderful as adoption is, it is also imperative to remember that our daughter's story is not ours to tell. Sometimes, I have to reveal the truth for
medical purposes. Which does not thrill me simply because HOW she came to us is irrelevant in the big scheme of things. She is our child whether she was born to us in the traditional sense or was born in our hearts.

The other conversation that I get a thrill out of having is the one dealing with the length of my labor. My response is always "Yes. It was a very long labor if you call 3 years and 8 months a long time". Most people have to think twice when I come out with this response. They are usually speechless and drop the conversation.

What else is fun is when we go to any doctor's appointment for our daughter. Because her birth name is different from the ours and from the name that we call her, it becomes confusing when she is called in for her appointments and when talking to any medical professional on the phone about her health. We also find it annoying that despite us telling so called professionals what we call her at home they still call her by her birth name! We are so glad that she isn't old enough to know the difference right now.

Overall, we find that most people are very genuine and are complimentary and that most conversations center more around how beautiful our baby is. For those people who are so genuine, we say "thank you".

6 months already...

It's so hard to believe that our daughter is now officially 6 months old ! Where has the time gone? This is definitely not the same baby that we brought home in October. She is expressive, curious about the world around her, laughing out loud, eating solids and expressing an interest in crawling (heaven help us). Our daughter is a very happy baby who has a million dollar smile that makes you wonder what she is up to. I have a feeling that she will be a highly spirited child because of the situation upon which she entered this world.

I can still remember seeing her for the first time and thinking how beautiful she was. Although she was very small, we knew that she would grow and flourish. Isn't it funny how intuition works? We still can't believe that this 11 pound human being is our child. It still seems like a dream that we haven't woke up from. Now, that she is sleeping through the night, I feel like I can actually sleep through the night too.