Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Madonna and a Malawi Adoption again....

My latest question: Is Madonna using her celebrity to adopt more quickly? I do not know what the laws are in Malawi regarding international adoption but I can tell you that if Madonna is truly following the process, I would be ecstatic! I do not think it is fair for anyone to use their celebrity to speed a process that everyone else has to wait through. I appreciate the fact that Madonna wants to keep in touch with her son, David's biological family but the birth father hasn't seen him in two years! Is this a semi-open adoption? I wonder if her new baby girl will follow the same type of visiting schedule?

From the Associated Press via Yahoo! :

MCHINJI, Malawi – Madonna said Tuesday that she was following standard procedures in her adoption of a Malawian girl, her first response to accusations that she is using her fame to speed the process.

The pop superstar also took her 3-year-old adopted son, David, to visit the orphanage in Mchinji, a village near the Zambian border, where he once lived.

The orphanage's director Lucy Chipeta said she brought David, Madonna, her 12-year-old daughter Lourdes and 8-year-old son Rocco to see the room and crib that David had used.

"It was an emotional moment," Chipeta told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I am happy she brought her other children to see his roots."

Madonna took the children to the orphanage with a security detail including uniformed Malawian police officers and plain-clothed guards from a private security firm. The entourage used two Toyota Land Cruisers to block a horde of journalists and more than 200 curious children.

There were scuffles with the journalists, including cameramen and TV crews, as they tried to enter the brick-walled orphanage.

Madonna brought David on Monday to meet his biological father for the first time since he left Malawi in 2006.

"Madonna is committed to maintaining an ongoing relationship with David's Malawian roots," said Liz Rosenberg in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where would we be without a birth mom?

I was just reading a friend's blog entry that dealt with one of her favorite adoption conversations. That conversation topic is that of the birth mother. I can't say that talking about our daughter's birth mother is easy, because it's not. Most people have little understanding about our relationship with our daughter's biological mother. That being said, we do not judge the actions of our daughter's birth mother. Her life is her business. Of course, no one else should judge her either but as you and I know, it happens all of the time.

I truly believe that many people believe that if a woman decides not to parent her child it means that she doesn't love that child. I can attest that this is far from the truth. The truth is that our daughter's birth mother cared so much about her baby that she wanted her to have the best life possible and because she was not ready (emotionally or financially), she made an adoption plan. She did not "give the baby away" ( I hate when people say that...our baby is not a puppy that someone didn't want to clean up after). She made an informed, selfless, mature decision to let us parent a child that we would not have otherwise. This is the hardest action to explain to anyone who hasn't been there. She has made a sacrifice that I'm not sure I could have made if I was in her position.

I often think about where we would be without our daughter's birth mom. I'm guessing it wouldn't have been quite the same to not be parenting at this point or parenting a completely different child. If anything, birth mothers should be celebrated not criticized. Here's to our daughter's birth mom. She is the bravest person that I have ever known. Thanks for the beautiful gift that you have given us!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

One down, two to go......

On Saturday, we had our first visit with our daughter's birth family (on her mother's side only..her birth father did not choose to be a part of the visit). Other than some logistical errors, everything went pretty well. Well.....as well as can be expected in such an awkward situation. We did feel uncomfortable being with the family that gave us the best gift of our lives. How do you ever show someone your appreciation for this selfless act? We are still blown away by the fact that this has finally happened for us. It still seems like a dream in some ways.

Jason and I thought that we would be asked tons of questions about our daughter. We were wrong. In fact, very few questions were asked. We also thought that there would be tons of comparisons made between her and her biological family. That didn't happen either. They just really wanted to see that she was doing well (which she is), that we were taking good care of her and ourselves and wanted to hold her.

What is fascinating to us is that our daughter is truly "clueless" about this other family of hers (at this point at least). We're not sure when she will understand the other branches on her family tree but when she does, we will be able to have the answers to her questions readily available. We have already started the dialogue about how she joined our family. We never want her adoption to be a secret that she finds out about 20 years later. That just would not fair to her, us or her birth family.

Our daughter's birth mother seems to be doing well. I can only imagine what must have been going through her mind when she held her biological baby girl for the first time since October. We thought she would get emotional but she didn't. She is very laid back and quiet. She continues to be busy raising her son (who is our daughter's half brother). Our daughter was able to see him for the first time this weekend. They had a ball interacting with each other. He really wanted to hold her but unfortunately, he is too little to handle our squirmy baby! Our hope is that our daughter and her brother will continue to have a close relationship throughout their lives.

We have two more visits with the biological family this year. We think the next visit will take place in July. We know that the next visits will be easier now that the 1st one is over. Our hope is that the birth mother will come to the next visit with just her son (not her mother or sister) because we really want to have a chance for Hailey to interact with just her and her brother. Only time will tell what happens next.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Biting off more than I can chew....

A funny thing happened the other day...our daughter began to mouth every thing in sight and has become the ultimate drool factory. I looked at our precious daughter and realized that she is now "truly" teething. The pediatrician didn't believe me when we were there for her 6 month check-up that our daughter was indeed exhibiting the beginnings of this phase in her development. Because she was a preemie, the doctor assumed that she would go through phases at a different rate than other kids might. I am not finding this theory to be reliable or true of our precious bundle of joy at all. If anything, she is more advanced than she is given credit for (and no I'm not just saying this because she is our daughter).

As we await that 1st tooth to magically appear, I am trying to keep in perspective how painful this experience must be for our daughter. This is her 1st experience with pain and learning how to deal with it when it occurs. I already know how painful it is for Jason and I as we feel useless in soothing our own child. As a parent, you want to take your child's pain away and when you can't do that it becomes an endless cycle of frustration. We have tried teething rings, infant Tylenol drops, frozen wash cloths, etc. My latest attempt at helping to soothe the pain is to rub clove oil on her gums which seems to work. Last night, I also tried vanilla extract on those baby gums and found that if nothing else, she became more relaxed. All of these attempts has lead to what I am dealing with this week--sheer and utter FRUSTRATION...not with our daughter but with myself and my parenting.

Yesterday, I was at the end of my rope. I was feeling like I had bitten off more than I could chew. Between the teething, a new phone system, a birth family meeting on Saturday, lesson planning for the student that I tutor, trying to find the "perfect" birthday gift for my nephew and a dog that is ALWAYS getting into something, I thought I was going to go insane! Fortunately, relief came in the form of my ever so patient husband who walked in the door last night, took one look at me and said that he would cook dinner and take care of the baby.

I am such a perfectionist that it is hard for me to relax. So, naturally when the baby got up at 2:30 am because she was hungry, I joined my husband in the oasis that is her nursery. Why do I feel compelled to do this? I know that Jason can take care of her on his own without me. I guess it just comes with the territory of being a new Mom. Everyone tells me that I am a great Mom but I think it is harder for me to see what others do. I feel guilty when I leave the house for "me" time or to work. I also feel guilty when I feel frustrated by the new situations that I have been thrust into without any advanced training. What does this all mean in the grand scheme of things? More than likely, not much. Since this is our 1st child, I tend to be overly concerned with everything that happens with her. Some day, I will say that this time in her life went way too fast and I would do anything to have it back (okay maybe not the teething part.

Right now, I think I will break open that bottle of wine that my husband and MIL gave me which is "aptly" named "Mommy's Little Helper" and toast all that our daughter will be discovering once that 1st tooth comes in. It has to get easier, right?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've been thinking --a dangerous past time I know..

I am asked more often than not why the wait for our daughter was SO long. In all honesty, I do not have the ideal answer. I believe so much of the waiting was a preparation period for Jason and I. Then there's a little thing I call "God's timing". I truly believe that God's timing is perfect. Unfortunately, our time and his don't always coincide with each other which is partly why it is so frustrating when you are in the waiting period.

Some people are of the opinion that the International Adoption process is a much easier and quicker process. I have not been involved with this process but can attest that even if the wait (in some cases) is shorter, the process itself is pretty much the same (other than tons of paperwork and lengthy travel). The wait time for a baby from another country is very dependent on that country's laws (which are always subject to change)and from my understanding, the availability of children that need good homes as well.

Just because we decided to adopt domestically does not mean that we thought our wait would be any shorter. We were told that for the age child that we wanted to adopt we were looking at a wait of anywhere from 1-5 years. 3 years and 8 months later, Hailey came into our lives. Life has never been the same since !

Lately, we have been asked if we would take this journey again. The answer to that question remains to be seen. We would love Hailey to have a sibling but are certainly not ready (emotionally or financially) to go on the roller coaster ride again. At the same time,if we want to do this again, we would need to start the whole process again soon. So, there are definitely decisions that need to be made. For now, we are happy to be the parents of our beautiful daughter !

Thursday, March 12, 2009

From God's Mouth to Our Ears

I found this to be very profound...I have had the feeling that having a child in our lives was never going to happen. This is one of my favorite bible passages. Sometimes, God delivers messages to us (whether we know it or not). Our job is to be quiet and listen. The accompanying passage and prayer are inspirational to me in so many ways. Enjoy !

From Joel Osteen Ministries:

There's Nothing too Hard for Him

Today's Scripture

"Is any thing too hard for the LORD?..." (Genesis 18:14, KJV).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

In Genesis, God promised Sarah that she was going to have a child. At first she didn’t believe it. She thought she was too old. She thought her time had passed. But do you know what God said to her? He simply asked, “Sarah, is there anything too hard for the Lord?” I believe God is saying the same thing to us today. “Is there anything too hard for Me?”

Do you think your dreams are too big for God to bring to pass? Do you think that a relationship is too far gone for God to restore it? Do you think you have to just live with sickness the rest of your life? Get a new vision today because there is nothing too hard for God! God is saying today, “I am all-powerful. I can turn any situation around.” It doesn’t matter what things look like in the natural, we serve a supernatural God. The Amplified version puts it this way, “Is there anything too wonderful for the Lord?” The next time you think, “That’s just too good to be true,” remember, God wants to bless you beyond your wildest dreams. Take the limits off and dare to believe that He has wonderful things in store for you!

A Prayer for Today

Heavenly Father, I choose to trust You with my whole heart. I know there is nothing too hard for You. Help me to stand strong in faith and keep me close to You all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Our 1st visit with the birth family...

Today, I can't stop thinking about our 1st visit with our daughter's biological family which is the 21st of this month. They have not seen her since the week before she came home with us (which was in October). Jason and I wonder what they will want to know about our daughter (beyond the usual developmental milestones). The other question is what will we want to know from them?? Usually, when we have gotten together in the past, we just follow the natural flow of conversation. Maybe this is the best approach in this case as well??

We are nervous simply because it is such an "awkward" situation to be in. We know that once the first visit is over each subsequent visit will be easier but that still doesn't make us feel any better. We wonder what they will think of our parenting. Will they see the happy-go-lucky baby she is? Will they see how much we love this child? Will they see how much she has changed ( developmentally and physically) since August 10th?

We know that there will be the obvious comparison phrases..."she looks exactly like" or "she has ____'s eyes, hair or nose". We fully expect this but know it will be harder on her birth family to see those attributes than it is for us.

The emotional piece is also something we have been thinking about. We know that we will not leave this meeting without tears being shed. We just hope that we can handle the emotional piece of this. Usually, when someone else starts to cry, I do too.

Please pray for us as we make this giant leap in our relationship with our daughter's birth parents.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Awesome Mom

One of the women in my MOMS Club sent this to me after our play group today. I like it so much that I thought I would share it with all of you. I do not know who the author is but I found it very meaningful to my life as a Mom. Since my daughter is napping, I thought now would be the perfect time to share this with all of you. Enjoy!

Awesome Mom

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether or not
my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,

I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind
and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child
so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night
watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because
I didn't want to put him down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces
when I couldn't stop the hurt.!
I never knew that something so small
could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of
having my heart outside my body..
I didn't know how special it could feel
to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond
between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small
could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night
every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth,
the joy,
the love,
the heartache,
the wonderment
or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much,
before I was a Mom .

Send this to someone who you think is an awesome Mom.

May you always be overwhelmed by the Grace of God rather than by

the cares of life