Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Mother's Adoption Journey....

by Darlene Ryan. I finished reading Darlene's book last week and I'm glad I picked it up from the library. A Mother's Adoption Journey is a collection of journal entries that chronicles Darlene's journey with her husband with an introduction to each section (I wish I still had the book to outline the sections - it went something like "making the decision" to "bringing her home"). The book begins when Darlene first feels the twinges of motherhood in her late 30's (I think, or maybe it was her early 40's) and takes the reader through making the decision to pursue adoption and surviving the stage Grant & I are going through right now and finally bringing their baby girl home. I really enjoyed reading Darlene's experiences, she was very refreshingly Canadian (all the books I have read so far were American) and you can ask Grant, I often laughed out loud while reading the book. In her journal entries Darlene was very honest and held nothing back. She said a few things I never really thought about out-loud or in my conscious state, but reading it on paper, her thoughts and emotions really connected with how I am feeling. The only discouraging part of her book was the time line...from beginning to end it was approximately 2 years...hmmmm...

Monday, August 27, 2007

What to ask for...

Last night I asked Grant if we're praying for the wrong thing....let me explain. Yesterday's message at church was about - Prayer...Can You Hear me Now?? based on James 5:13-18 and Ken left us with the "challenge" to pray for three things this week and make one of them a huge, big request where the answer would be an obvious God-thing. Fast forward a few hours....we had friends over and they shared with us that their pregnancy is a miracle as they had surgery planned for September to enable them to be able to conceive. For the rest of the day, I wondered, am I praying for the 'right' thing? For 3 and a half years I prayed that I would become pregnant. Now I pray that I will be able to hold my baby in my arms soon - but should I be praying that God will heal both Grant & I so that we will be able to conceive. As Grant pointed out to me last night, we have been praying for our baby this whole time and it's ultimately up to God how our baby joins our family, whether it be through conception or adoption. I do, very much believe that God is a healing God, so should I shift my prayers asking God to physically heal Grant & I or will that lead me back into the vicious monthly cycle of timing and planning and wasting too much money on pregnancy tests??? I will continue to pray for our future baby...but how specific should I be...heal me God so that I can conceive? or, prepare my heart God, to love and welcome your child into my home and please, please, please speed up this adoption process and do not bring a strike to the Waterloo Children's Aid Society b/c York region's just went on strike!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Beautiful Sight

Yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to join my dear friend at her baby's first ultrasound - the image on the screen was absolutely precious. When the baby turned to look at us and when the little arms and legs moved about I couldn't stop smiling....there's no way I could have predicted how awesome it would feel to be there as a witness to this great gift of new life!!! I can't wait to hold that baby in my arms :)

On another note - I read somewhere that this grueling process of gathering documents, taking courses and doing a home study is like our "pregnancy," the last time I checked, the gestation period for humans is 40 weeks/9 months...I think by the end of all this I will feel more like a pregnant elephant, at least, there's better be a baby in my arms at the end of 22 months!! (we have 15 more months to go!)

Monday, August 13, 2007


I finally finished reading the book "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew" by Sherrie Eldridge. Actually the truth is, I finished reading the book a few weeks ago, I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write about it. I'm glad Grant & I picked up this book from the library. I learned so much about what adopted children "really" go through and how to best support them as their parents and what NOT to say and do!!

Without regurgitating the book word for word, here are the "Twenty Things" with a few memorable lines also included...not for all 20 things or this post would go on forever!!
  1. I suffered a profound loss before I was adopted. You are not responsible. "It's painful to enter into your child's suffering. It's so much easier to assume that all is well inside your child, especially if she hasn't manifested any obvious problems. But all adopted children have been wounded, simply because they experienced a profound loss before they were embraced by their new family. The first thing your child wants you to know is this: I am a grieving child. I came to you because of loss-one that was not your fault and one that you can't erase."
  2. I need to be taught that I have special needs arising from adoption loss, of which I need not be ashamed. "And surely the adopted child has larger areas, or different areas, of emotional weakness than most people do...for who has two sets of parents and a dual identity to resolve? Who is more vulnerable to the fear of future loss than an adoptee who has already experienced an unfathomable loss?"
  3. If I don't grieve my loss, my ability to receive love from you and others will be hindered. The way one adoptive mom described her child's loss: "I'm not the mom you expected, I don't smell like her, I don't sound like her. I'm a different mom and I love you and I'm not going to leave you."
  4. My unresolved grief may surface in anger toward you. "Then the rage would pass, and I would feel extremely guilty, for I dearly wanted to be good - but I had blown it once again...Beneath my anger was my primal fear of abandonment."
  5. I need your help in grieving my loss, teach me how to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption and then validate them. "I used sling-style carriers...I wore it in the front in a cradle-style position with her head near my heart so she could hear my heartbeat and get to know me."
  6. Just because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean I don't think about them. "All children have a secret place where they can fantasize about having better parents when they are disillusioned with their own...It is not that simple for the adopted child. The adoptee really does have another set of parents out there somewhere."
  7. I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family.
  8. I need to know the truth about my conception, birth, and family history, no matter how painful the details may be.
  9. I am afraid I was "given away" by my birth mother because I was a bad baby. I need you to help me dump my toxic shame.
  10. I am afraid you will abandon me.
  11. I may appear more 'whole' than I actually am. I need your help to uncover the parts of myself that I keep hidden so I can integrate all the elements of my identity.
  12. I need to gain a sense of personal power.
  13. Please don't say I look or act just like you. I need you to acknowledge and celebrate our differences. "Let me assure you that even if your child has no obvious physical differences like colour of skin or a different nationality, there are still biological differences in every adoptee that need to be acknowledged as well as celebrated."
  14. Let me be my own person...but don't let me cut myself off from you.
  15. Please respect my privacy regarding my adoption. Don't tell other people without my consent. "Adopted children feel different because they are different from you, biologically speaking. They are also different because of the way they became a part of your family. These are facts of life - facts you cannot change and facts you cannot fix. Your child is not the same as you, no matter how you slice it. But accepting, honouring, and appreciating her differences is a far cry from broadcasting them to the whole world."
  16. Birthdays may be difficult for me. "What does a birthday represent for him [adoptee]? It represents the day of his greatest loss, the day he lost his birth mother and all that was familiar...For the child who was adopted later in childhood, it reminds him of the wrenching-apart day - the day that the past, as he knew it, was to be no longer...the birthday serves as a trigger, reminding him of past loss."
  17. Not knowing my full medical history can be distressing at times.
  18. I am afraid I will be too much for you to handle.
  19. When I act out my fears in obnoxious ways, please hang in there with me, and respond wisely.
  20. Even if I decide to search for my birth family, I will always want you to be my parents.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Celebrating 5 Amazing Years!

Today is our 5 year wedding anniversary!! Quite a milestone people say - I agree! It was 5 years ago today I made one of the best decisions ever, marrying my best-friend and making him my life-partner!! Part of me is reveling in the celebration and admiring the gorgeous flower bouquet Grant sent to my work that had all the ladies "hating me" but, another part of me is wrestling with the same mix of emotions that surrounded my 30th birthday - In my grand old master plan, I assumed Grant & I would already be parents (and not to cats) by our 5th, marks another reminder that life didn't unfold the way I planned. A good friend reminded me through an email that God has a purpose with all this waiting because our child, that He has hand-picked for us, is still waiting to enter this world - Thanks for the reminder Colleen and returning my focus to God's plan, not mine :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A few more books!

I picked up a few more books today from the library:
A Mother's Adoption Journey by Darlene Ryan
So You're going to be a Dad by Peter Downey (this one's for Grant!)
Your Newborn: Head to Toe by Cara Familian Natterson

People at work have been discussing the books they like to read, especially with the recent release of the new Harry Potter, and people are lending books back and forth - I am a bit reluctant to announce around the lunch table that my reading material of choice these days are books on adoption and infant/newborn health! Although a few of my co-workers know Grant & I are desperately trying to adopt, my manager still doesn't know - I'm waiting until we finally have the "approved" stamp following the completion of our home study.

Today I met with my ND to discuss inducing lactation...yes, you read correctly, Grant & I are hoping that I will be able to breastfeed our child!!! There is a protocol out there supported by Dr. Jack Newman, the breastfeeding guru. My ND suggested I contact him to see if there have been any recent changes to the protocol - Dr. Newman responded to my email immediately and provided me with the information I needed. He also encouraged me to make an appointment to meet with him in person...if I can swing it with my work schedule I'd love to see him. Another topic I discussed with my ND is the use of cloth diapers and I have my eye on a diaper service in town Bear Bottoms - Did you know that it takes over 300 pounds of wood to produce disposable diapers for one baby per year and each diaper takes between 250-500 years to decompose?? I also plan to incorporate the use of re-usable cotton wipes when we are at home and chlorine free wipes when we are out and about (e.g. Seventh Generation). Grant & I (strongly influenced by me!) have so many ideas on how we are going to have the "greenest" baby around...Not only are we going to use cloth diapers and wipes, our baby will also use organic and natural baby skin care products (like his/her mom & dad do), eat organically as much as possible (just like mom & dad again) and we are going to try our best to make our own baby food (not too big of an ambition I hope). We would also like to buy organic bedding, toys and clothing (Joe just released a very affordable line of organic baby clothes) when financially feasible - someone needs to support a more sustainable earth! In addition to our "green baby" ideas, Grant & I are looking to use a convertible car seat and not fall into the infant car seat/carrier trap of leaving baby in the car seat too long and lugging that around because it's more convenient than carrying or transferring baby into a more suitable traveling system for long periods of time (e.g. sling or stroller) - as my OT instincts tell me and the public health nurse taught us in our PRIDE training...babies are meant to be held and not left in the infant car seat, unless they are riding in a car :)

Take care everyone....thanks so much for your prayers and kind words of encouragement. Grant & I wouldn't be as sane as we are through this process (although that's questionable!) if it wasn't for your support!!

"I read somewhere that the adoption process is like being on a roller coaster - all ups and downs. But I think i's like being on a bus at night. I'm thinking about one of those long-distance buses that stop and every tiny town between two big cities. That's what this whole process is like for me - a lot of stops and starts with long stretches of time when I can't tell if I'm getting anywhere." Darlene Ryan, A Mother's Adoption Journey, p. 52