Saturday, January 30, 2010

Could YOU change the world?

Have you ever wondered what would be the biggest thing you could do with your life? Could you climb Everest? Swim the English Channel? What remarkable thing could you achieve if you chose to extend your experiences past where you are comfortable…if you pushed yourself to the limit?

In 2002 and 2005, I found out exactly what I could do when I adopted my children. Little did I know, my greatest challenge and the crowning achievement of my life would be a tiny hand in mine and a sweet smelling bundle pressed against my side during a thunderstorm.

My kids and I love to go to the children’s zoo in our town. At the exit of the Rainforest exhibit, there’s a sign with a quote by Edumund Burke and I think it says it all. “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”

One of my favorite stories is this one:

The Starfish Story
Author Unknown
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean.
Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”
“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make a difference!”
After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said…”I made a difference for that one.”

There are as many reasons to adopt as there are children who need families. I never advocate that anyone adopt whose goal is to save a child, serve God or change the world. Those things will surely happen if you find it in your heart to adopt, but in my experience parents should adopt for one reason and one reason only. You can’t help it. You just have to do it.

But know, if you do, it’s not only the child’s world you are changing, but your own.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Just shoot me...

Tonight, my kids school had a dance.  Now, they are 5 and 8 years it wasn't the prom, but it might as well have been.  Fifi's room looks like Filene's Basement exploded.  She wore light pink eye shadow and a touch of lip gloss. After 2 hours of drama, Fifi was ready for the dance.

Buddy, on the other hand, donned his new shirt with a frog on it that said "Prince Charming" with absolutely no drama and was ready to go in about 2 seconds.

The elementary school is only a couple of blocks from our house, ensconced in our safe little subdivison.  The kids streaming in the doors to the school were diverse, but all priveldged to be children whose parent's idea of a Friday night on the town was accompaning their kids to a school function.

It wasn't so long ago I told my friends if I ever moved to the suburbs and bought a mini-van to shoot me.  Put me out of my misery because if that ever happened, I'd be so far gone, I wouldn't notice anyway. 

But then two little completely facinating, completely vulnerable miracles became mine.  In a heartbeat what I thought wanted went by the wayside and I realized I'd do anything to protect them, nurture them and give them every oportunity to thrive and be happy. 

So I took a deep breath, risked death and moved to the 'burbs.  Buddy and Fifi have both played soccer and I am their you know what that makes me.

And tonight when the neighbors and our family smooshed into my Honda I wished it were a Minivan. 


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Brick Walls and Other Obstacles

I hate to break it to you if you’ve not figured it out already—but the adoption process is HARD. Really hard. Sometimes I think it’s that way because we have to prove ourselves worthy of the gift we are about to receive. I hope not because that sounds really not fair, but there were days it sure felt like it.

Both of my adoptions were stressful and difficult for different reasons, while remaining the most precious times in my life. They pushed me to my limits emotionally, physically and financially. It was during these times that I began to really understand my life and the world around me.

One thing I learned was that “good” and “easy” aren’t necessarily the same thing. Being a child of the 80’s I grew up thinking that for something to be good, it was supposed to be easy. I was the generation of the microwave, the VCR and the personal computer. Life wasn’t supposed to be hard.

That isn’t to say that because adoption is hard it’s not worth doing, or you shouldn’t do it. Just be prepared. The ups and downs I experienced were extreme and there were days I wanted to quit the whole process. But in the end, I have the extraordinary children meant to be mine, even if I did have to criss-cross the planet to find them and nearly lose my mind in the process.

When I first watched the late Randy Pausch’s “Last Lecture” on YouTube (It has since become a book, etc.) I couldn’t believe he wasn’t talking about the adoption process. The whole lecture is a wonderful, life altering message, but my favorite passage is this:

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don't want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!

In adopting my children I was given a special opportunity most people don’t have. I was given the privilege of proving to my children, but most of all, to myself how very badly I wanted them in my life. Single parenting isn’t for the faint of heart, but middle of the night ear infections, vomit in your hair, never getting more than three hours of uninterrupted sleep and not eating a hot meal in four years have nothing on the waiting and the wondering of the adoption process. Maybe I just needed some toughening up.

I hope, for their sakes, most adoptive parents found it easier than I. I hope their adoption journeys were/are easy and worry free. But I have a feeling, for most, that’s not the case.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fifi and Buddy

I've been thinking about how to ID my kids on this blog. For security purposes, most moms who blog don't use their kids actual names. So I'll be calling me daughter, who was adopted first in 2002, the name she first called herself, Fifi. I'll call me son what we called him when he was a baby and that's Buddy.

Coming Soon:

Things to think about when you adopt.
And our very first adoption story! (besides mine)
The second time around decision.

Friday, January 8, 2010

What we expect...

Before I had kids, I didn't think about all of the ways I would love being a mother.  I pictured myself snuggled up with a baby in a rocking chair, looking at the department store windows along State Street in Chicago, watching the fireworks at Disney World with a little someone on my shoulders.  I just pictured them and me. 

I didn't think about all of the other people who would come into my life along with my kids.  I've met a lot of wonderful parents and kids, their teachers, neighbors I would have never met.  I never imagined I'd be the "fun" mom.  And I didn't know how much I'd love having a bunch of kids around all of the time.   

Tonight, Fifi is having a sleep over and there are 4 giggly 8 year old girls making crafts at the kitchen table and lip sincing to Taylor Swift videos. 

I certainly didn't think, twenty years ago, or even ten, that I'd be spending my Friday night painting toenails and braiding hair.  You just never know...

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Adoption Option

Welcome to my blog! I’m so excided to have finally gotten this process off the ground. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

I've created this blog as an attempt to give back to the community that supported me though my two adoptions. I am thankful to God, my family and most of all my children who have brought me to a place where it is indeed my turn to pay it forward.

When I was in the process of adopting my two miracles, I scoured the Internet for stories of families who'd come before me. I found plenty of information about the why's and how's of the adoption process...but what I wanted to know wasn't found in any book from the library or website I could find.

I wanted to know if I could love this child who wasn’t biologically related to me? How would I answer questions about her birthparents? I wanted confirmation this crazy merry-go-round I was on would all be worth it in the end. Would I ever really be a mother?

The only solace I found during either adoption was to read the stories of other parents who been there. So I’ve created this space for us to share our stories. My children have taught me, the one who gives is as blessed or more so than the one who receives. I am ecstatic to be in a position where, with the help of any and all adoptive parents, I can give to those who seek wisdom and guidance in this, one of the most precious and stressful times in their lives.

My plan for this space is to have a “Topic of the Month” if you will, but feel free to share what is in your heart at any time via the comments section. I will do my best to answer any and all questions posed there. Please remember that I am not a social worker, doctor or adoption professional. Any opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone from the prospective of an adoptive mother only.

This first month, I’d like to focus on the ADOPTION DECISION. Even though National Adoption Month is in November, I think this is a time of year many parents’ minds and hearts are turned toward adoption. Maybe the end of the year was a goal? If we’re not pregnant by “X” date, we will start to look into adoption. If I haven’t met my life partner by the end of the year I will begin to research adoption on my own.

I have created a special email account for parents at any stage in the journey--from initial questions and decision making to post placement—to share their stories. I will post them publically on the blog, anonymously is fine. The address is

There will be a blog entries, either authored by me or another parent who has submitted a story to share. I’m excited to meet and share experiences with each and every one of you.

So today, the first day of the New Year, I dedicate this blog to the children who wait and the parents who search for them. May this year find you united with one another and may my little blog and the parents who gather here support you along the way.

Good Luck and Godspeed.