Baggage

I finally broke down yesterday and bought my first little girl outfits.  I had decided that I was going to try to wait until we actually received our referral.  No such luck.  I know it is a small thing but now the flood gates have been opened and my husband is scared.  Why is he scared?  Ah, because I am a bargain shopper and it is SO hard to resist a bargain.  So, what did I buy?  Well, most of it was pretty basic stuff:  Fleece hoodies and pants (even in the summer we can use these at the coast), a couple little dresses and one little polka dot pant and shirt outfit.  The best part was all but one item was $3.50 each.  Score!  Jeff just shook his head in despair and asked me how I knew what size to buy.  Such a boy, I bought larger sizes of course–a 2T will fit her when she’s bigger.  I’ve started a small hope chest for our girl and will cut myself off when it gets full.  Here’s a couple of the things I got:

Fancy dress

Fancy dress

Polka pants & shirt

Polka dot pants & shirt

So, why was it a big deal for me to start shopping for her?  I’ll get to that.  If we are honest we all come to this process with baggage of some kind.  Why adopt?  There are so many reasons for this…For some people it is the pain of infertility and the struggle for a child.  Others feel that this is a calling from God.  Still others feel that they want to help a child have a better future.  The variation of reasons are as different as the people who are  adopting.

My husband and I had been married for almost four years before we decided to have a child.  Oh, the joy I felt when he finally agreed to have one together!  The process however was not smooth:  a lymphoma scare and two miscarriages occurred before our son was conceived.  Those miscarriages left little scars on my heart.  The first time I found out I was pregnant I could not resist buying cute little outfits and booties.  The pregnancy ended at 7 weeks.  The same thing happened with the next one.  Somehow having all these cute little outfits around, and believing that I would never have a child, made it harder to bear.

When I finally conceived Caden I spent the first part of the pregnancy waiting for it to self-terminate.  The statistics are that 25% of all pregnancies end in abortion.  It took me a long time to believe that this one was here to stay and  to start looking at those cute little clothes again.  Unfortunately, I have brought some of those same feelings to the adoption process and have been waiting for something to go wrong.  It was hard to take the leap of faith and buy those little outfits.

So, why are we adopting?  I could try to have another child but I am now 38 years old.  What this means is that my chances of having a child with Down’s Syndrome are now 1 in 175.  I’m not impressed with those odds.  I also was on high doses of steroids with my pregnancy in order to breathe.  While this did not hurt the baby, this type of steroids does not cross the placenta, it was not particularly good for me.  Also, the thought of having more miscarriages is not appealing.

Surprisingly, my husband is agreeable and even excited about adopting because we know we will have a little girl.  I’ve always wanted one of each.  It just wasn’t the same with my stepdaughters because they don’t live with us.  We aren’t the ones raising them.  Finally, we will be helping a child.  While I know this will not solve the problems in Ethiopia it will help one child.  Also, I know some of the funds for our adoption will go to caring for the other children at the orphanage.  Is this an answer to the crisis in Ethiopia?  No.  But it is an answer for me.

~Alisha

Books and Injera

Yummy!

Yummy!

I’m sitting at the kitchen table and the house is filled with the wonderful aroma of spicy Ethiopian food.  We went to E’njoni in Portland yesterday and gleefully carted our leftovers home.  It was the girls first time and they thought it was pretty tasty.  We each choose a dish and then ate family style and shared.  I think we were pretty impressed with everything but the lamb; just not my thing and evidently not anyone elses.  It was a nice way to end our day after traipsing through Powell’s Bookstore for a couple of hours.

If you haven’t ever heard of it Powell’s is a bookstore that takes up one entire city block.  Yep, one block.  It is amazing…I think we could drop off  Ash and Jen for a whole day and they would be in heaven.  I had Caden so I didn’t get much time to look.  I am eager for the days when he has more than a thirty second attention span.  Sigh.  I did pick up a couple “big brother” books.  None of them were exactly what I was looking for but I think they should help my little brown eyed monster start getting used to the idea of having a sister.  One of the books is a lift-the-flap book (we love those), Best-Ever Big Brother by Karen Katz, and is pretty basic but at least it is illustrated with children of different ethnicitys.  I think I like I’m a Big Brother by Joanna Cole the best.  It is an older book but it allows a little more opportunity to discuss things than the other books.  I am still open to suggestions if someone comes across a book they think is great.  I didn’t have time to check out any parenting books on sibling rivalry–maybe next time.  For now it’s time to head off to bed (Keep your hands in the air and step away from the computer!)  My three 10 hour  swing shifts for the week start tomorrow.  My son just does not understand why Mommy doesn’t want to get up in the mornings after working the night before 🙂

~Alisha

Jealousy

caden-2008-jan-2009-1691

The brown eyed monster

Well, the green eyed monster has struck at our house.  I’m not talking about the envy I have for those ahead of me in the adoption process; I think that’s pretty normal.  I’m talking about the jealousy a little boy has for a baby.

Jeffs’ niece came by for the day with her baby and the result was well, interesting.  I watched our son become a little monster before my eyes…I won’t say he is normally a quiet and sweet little guy but he is NOT usually that bad.  We was literally bouncing off the walls to bring the attention back to him.  Over the next few hours he was crawling over furniture, on top of people, trying to take the babies bottle and just generally being a little fart.  When I got out his old playpen for the baby he screamed “That’s my bed!” and tried to climb inside it.  He has not used the playpen in 12-18 months.  Oh, and as soon as I picked up the baby he wanted to be held.  This does not bode well for our transitioning smoothly into a full-time family of four (six when the girls are here.)  I had some concerns about how he would adjust to having a sister but his behavior exceeded them.

So, now it’s time to do some more research…I know there have to be some books about helping your child adjust to having a sibling out there.  I know that there are a lot of books for kids about Mommy being pregnant and being a big brother or sister.  I just would like to find something specifically about adopting.  I also want to find some resources about how I can help him adjust to the process.

~Alisha

Crazy People

istock_000002727076xsmallSo, after all my whining about the home study I opened up my email on Friday and had a copy of the home study report!  Yeah, forward progress!  I thought that I would have more patience for this process but it appears that I don’t.  By now I now the mantra “The process takes as long as it takes…”  Yeh, yeh, yeh…I get the feeling that one’s going to get really old.

I find myself online constantly:  exploring other peoples blogs, adoption groups, and any other topic remotely related to adoption.  I have to wonder what the point of the endless hours lurking online is?  What purpose does it fulfill?  I know I am not the only preadoptive parent displaying this obsessively bizarre behavior.  I know it has been helpful in collecting a certain amount of information but when do I cut myself off?  I think I need to start concentrating on more constructive ways to get through this process.  Like cleaning the garage…did I mention I’m a procrastinator?

This is a process for crazy people.  That’s how  a lot of the world views adopting a child from a foreign country.  It seems there are the people that are genuinely excited about the idea of adopting, those that think you’re nuts and those that don’t give a flip.  I have had all the above reactions and I think those that think I’m nuts far out weigh the other segments.  Of course, they don’t say that but you can see the safety barricades coming down in their eyes as they step gently but very firmly away from you.  It’s okay, I consider myself in good company (with the crazy people who are adopting).  I may have acted the same way before I decided to adopt. I’ve learned and I’ve opened myself up to the possibilities–it is a little scary but maybe not so crazy.

~Alisha