Dealing with the Wait

December 6th, 2011

CribI was reading an adoption blog the other day, and the author basically said, "Sorry I haven't updated this blog for a number of months...We're still waiting for our referral...It's easier for us not to immerse ourselves in the adoption world while we wait." Huh. What a novel idea. Imagine not spending all your free time reading adoption blogs. Imagine not checking your agency's website for updates that you may have missed via email. Imagine not connecting with other adopting moms, particularly those from your agency, to share tidbits of information (which I'm sure the agencies just love). And if you're waiting for a referral, imagine not making a little wish, in the hopes that THIS is THE CALL, every time your phone rings. I… [more]

Orphan (Every)Day

November 6th, 2011

southamerica2Today was Orphan Sunday at many churches around the US. This couldn't have come at a more perfect time. Recently, Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor for Children's Issues in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, reported that, "Last year [fiscal year 2011], US citizens adopted more than 9,000 children from countries around the world." In fiscal years 2004 and 2005, Americans adopted nearly 23,000 children each year from other countries. The number of international adoptions has been on a steady decline since then. And it seems this fiscal year, which ended September 30, is no exception. There are some obvious clues as to why international adoptions have declined. China has dramatically slowed down international adoptions. The Guatemala adoption program was very popular, and the closing… [more]

Going Home

October 13th, 2011

iStock_000009028466XSmallHome is where the heart is.  But, for my daughters, their hearts aren’t just under my roof. As internationally adopted children, I know a part of them still resides in their birth countries.  As they grow up as red, white, and blue Americans, Elle is still Russian, and Bunny is still Guatemalan. And I love that about them. We recently celebrated Bunny’s Adoption Day, the day we brought her home.  Although I punted on making tamales, I did have cake.  While we enjoyed her red velvet cake, she asked when Elle’s A-Day was.  It’s in June.  Then she asked when her daddy’s A-Day was and then when was mine. We told her we didn’t have A-Days because we weren’t adopted.  Then she questioned our citizenship.  Apparently… [more]

Lost Opportunity

October 6th, 2011

iStock_000014869787XSmallI am disappointed.  Disappointed at a lost opportunity. This morning, over a cup of coffee, I read this headline in the Hollywood Reporter. Jillian Michaels Warns Against International Adoption Unless You Have ‘A Lot Of Money’ In the current issue of Prevention Magazine, Michaels, a former trainer on The Biggest Loser, discusses the difficulties she’s had adopting internationally.  She left the TV reality show last December and this February announced she was adopting a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Celebrity adoptions are not uncommon.  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt have adopted children from Cambodia, Ethiopia, and Vietnam.  Madonna controversially adopted a boy from Malawi.  Meg Ryan adopted a baby girl from China, and Katherine Heigl adopted a special needs daughter from Korea. When celebrities adopt… [more]

Tamales and Borscht

September 27th, 2011

Tamale, traditional food from Latin AmericaTomorrow is Bunny’s adoption day.  It’s been six years since we brought our little bundle of joy home from Guatemala.  Every year I think about holding her in my arms knowing she was finally mine. In years past we have celebrated with cake and singing, taking time to celebrate the expansion of our family.  Rather than sugary sweet confections this year, I’ve decided I want to try something different.  Tamales.  I want to make tamales. Tamales from Guatemala are different than the Mexican tamales we typically see.  They are usually wrapped in banana or plantain leaves rather than in corn husks, and they are smaller, although there are more variations than there are Guatemalan regions. I’ve been searching around the… [more]

Personal Adoption Blogs

August 31st, 2011

DigitalWorldOne of my favorite ways to stay connected to the adoption process (especially when my own is uneventful at the moment) is to read other families' blogs. I have learned a lot about the process and expectations by reading about the journeys of others. And I have a renewed spirit about the process when I see someone has just gotten a referral or has arrived home with their new family member. I was thinking of starting my own personal blog, simply to keep friends and family updated, so I thought I would research requirements or recommended practices for personal adoption blogs. Here is what I learned:  

  • Foreign government officials often monitor adoption blogs. Really. Therefore, parents should be careful not to post negative or

The Lucky Ones

July 22nd, 2011

LetterI received a lovely letter from my grandmother yesterday. In her letter, she wrote, "We see how you interact with your son - such wonderful parents. And that little child you're looking for [in reference to adoption] is going to be one lucky baby." I cherished my grandmother's words. After all, she's a tough woman and a wonderful mother, having birthed seven children. Even in her mature years, she is a painter, she still braves the cold winters of Small Town, Iowa, and her ideals and fashion choices are much more modern than her age would have you expect. But after thinking about her generous words, I couldn't help but think, "No, I am the lucky one." I completely understand the point she was trying to… [more]

Heritage Hard Core

April 28th, 2011

Banh ChungWe adopted our oldest daughter when she was 14 years old. She had previously been adopted by another American family when she was 13 years old but they disrupted their adoption a year later. During that first year in America, life was very hard on her. She didn’t know any other adopted children. Her first adoptive family had very little interest in maintaining her cultural heritage. She felt isolated, frightened and alone. We had heard about her situation and began visiting her. After a few meetings with her, my husband and I brought her home to stay the weekend at our house so she could get to know our two sons. Our sons were older child adoptions as well. They immediately… [more]

When a Country’s Program is Suspended

March 18th, 2011

closed borderAs a mother of internationally adopted children, it always saddens me to read that another foreign country has suspended their international adoption programs, or are scaling back.  Such is the case in Ethiopia.  I recently read that the Ethiopian government has implemented changes that would result in a 90% decline in the number of adoptions they would process.  The reductions are a result of fraud suspicions and an attempt to lighten the workload of the departments that process adoptions. This does not represent a complete shut down of Ethiopian adoptions, but it will cause further delays in the adoption process.  Ethiopia has because the U.S.’s second most popular country for international adoption.  When I adopted Elle and Bunny, 12 and five years… [more]

Is International Adoption Part Of Your Family Picture? Be Aware of S.S.P.E. Measles Kills Internationally Adopted Children Through S.S.P.E. Complication

February 23rd, 2011

Measles

International adoption is a wonderful way to grow your family and share your love with a child who desperately needs a "Forever Family." If you have adopted from another country, you already know about the large amount of paperwork involved and the time it takes to complete the adoption process. The whole time, your new family member is still in another country being cared for by caregivers who are probably not doing what we would do in our country for a child. You don't know what kind of care your child is currently receiving. There are pieces of the information puzzle that are not going to be filled in by your adoption agency. You have to prepare yourself to look for specific… [more]