Friday, October 29, 2010

Siblings and family connections

I recently started reading some of the blogs in the Open Adoption Blogs network (check it out HERE) and there have been a lot of discussions around siblings lately through the open adoption round table. It was perfect timing because I have been thinking a lot lately about pea's birth family and the birth family of our future child. At this time, we do not have any contact with pea's birth family, but we do have some limited information, which is incredibly invaluable. But, it isn't enough. I want more. I have been feeling this sense of loss knowing pea's birth family is out there, somewhere. Knowing that there is an entire family, community, culture connected to my son that we know very little about is very painful sometimes. These are pieces of my son. Parts of his life story. And, there are others in this world who look like him. I find that so amazing to think about. I don't know why, but maybe it is because those connections seem so far away and out of reach. We really hope to find some of pea's birth family, but there is definitely a possibility that we may not, given some of the circumstances.

We are very lucky to have a few pictures of pea's birth mother. I look at her picture and I can see my son through her eyes. I often wonder if his siblings have the same eyes, the same mannerisms, and the same little quirks that make my heart smile. Perhaps one day, pea will be able to see a reflection of himself through his birth family. But, until that time, we just hold on tight to what we do have.

With that said, however, I can definitely see how a lack of information and connection can lead to the development of fantasies about birth families. I even find myself doing it. With no information, we create the story and image that feels the most comforting. So, how do we develop "realistic" images of birth families that we do not know? And, most importantly, how do we help our children do this as well?

How do you try to "fill the gaps" without creating a fantasy image of birth families? And, how do you do it in a way that is validating? As pea starts to ask more questions (specifically, why? why? why?), I sometimes find myself stumbling around trying to answer his questions in simple terms, but I struggle at times! I would love to hear your approach and any tips for having these conversations with your little ones.

Friday, October 22, 2010

FFF - Fall Fun

We have been having a lot of fun this fall and definitely keeping busy! It has been all about pumpkins and Halloween around our house lately. Pea has visited three pumpkin patches so we are up to our ears in pumpkins!

The pumpkin fest started a couple weeks ago...
Pea probably would have taken home every pumpkin in the patch. This is his "cheese" smile.

Posing with Mr. Pumpkinhead
We also rode the pumpkin train which took us to a little pumpkin patch and then pea went on a field trip with his preschool class to yet another pumpkin patch.

Halloween also started tonight for us with a super fun Halloween party! My mom's group put on a really great Halloween party for all the kiddos and pea had so much fun. They played pin the nose on the witch, climbed in and out of tunnels, played tag, and went trick or treating in the "spooky" hallway. Pea especially enjoyed being on stage putting on his "show." He is definitely a little ham sometimes and knows how to milk it! Here is his little spidey pose before "spinning" into his dance routine.
He definitely took center stage!
Those of you on facebook know that pea initially wanted to be a booger for Halloween...then it was a snake...then it was the Masked Avenger (from Backyardigans)...then it was Mr. Cracker (????)...then it was a shark...a chicken...he finally said he wanted to be spiderman. After all that and he ends up being spiderman??? (Oh, you may also remember that last year he really wanted to be a giant clam.) Should I admit I was a little disappointed he changed his mind about being a booger?? How funny would that have been? I had a really great costume idea, too. Oh well! He makes a mighty fine spiderman!
We have more activities this coming week, too. The Halloween parade, trick or treat night, and a fall fest. Hope you are having a fun fall, too!! Check out more FFF on Hannah's blog HERE.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Still waiting...

for the phone to ring!! This adoption process so far has been very different for many, many reasons. For starters, the paperwork for this adoption was a BREEZE compared to Eli's adoption. Nothing really compares to compiling an international dossier! But, we were required to complete an adoption profile, which is a profile (kind of a like a scrapbook) all about our family. When we first started exploring adoption many years ago, the idea of creating an adoption profile really turned me off. I hated the idea of it, to be quite honest. I realize now I was just scared and very uneasy about domestic adoption for many reasons. And, it just did not feel like the right path for us at the time. We were so strongly drawn to Guatemala and, of course, now we know why!

Even so, domestic adoption still made me uneasy. There are so many misconceptions about adoption and about the women who make an adoption plan and I am sure that fueled some of my fears. I also felt very nervous about the idea of an open adoption. Would that somehow undermine my role as mom? Would it be too confusing? Too complicated? Too messy? What if she changes her mind? etc, etc, etc. It certainly is A LOT to think about and requires much soul searching. And, it is extremely important to explore these fears and concerns before moving forward.

But, now that I am a mom, an adoptive mom, and a mom in a multiracial family, my perspective has completely shifted and I am not scared at all. I realize that many of my previous fears were very self-centered, but that is because I did not have any other experiences to draw from. Now I know that it is not all about me. Why would I NOT want my child to know his/her birth family, to have answers, information, someone to resemble, and, most importanly, more love? Yes, it could be messy and complicated, but...aren't all families? One of the greatest gifts I can give my children is an open heart - open to the fact that each of my children has a family and a cultural history completely different than my own. It is part of who they are. I am certainly not naive to think it won't sometimes feel uncomfortable or be difficult, but navigating those waters is my responsibility as a parent.

We have no idea what the next phone call will bring. We have no idea what our relationship with the birth family will look like. What we do know is that our family will grow in ways we probably do not expect! It is very exciting. Of course, we are nervous, but our hearts are wide open and we are ready.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Waiting for Baby

Waiting...waiting...waiting for the phone to ring. The phone call that will forever change our lives...again. The first few weeks was a piece of cake, but now I am starting to feel a tad bit anxious. I realize I have not written much at all about this process so far so that will be the next post. In the meantime, here are a few more before and after photos.

Baby's room BEFORE. Lovely calico carpet!


Post carpet

Just before the floor sanding commenced.

AFTER!!! What a difference



Ready to personalize for baby! We took the shutters off in order to paint them white. My brother is also in the process of recovering the cushion on the glider and ottoman.


Pea LOVES going into the baby's room. After the furniture was moved into the room, Pea announced he wanted to see the baby's room. He ran in and said "Awwwwww...this is a cute baby room! I love it!' Last week Pea went into the baby's room and said "maybe the baby is in here now."


Pea also asked me last week when we were going to Guatemala to get his baby brother. Yes, now he thinks he is getting a brother. I explained that the baby was not going to be born in Guatemala and he seemed very perplexed because, after all, aren't all babies born in Guatemala? :)