Thursday, April 15, 2010

Our Success Story

I'm not usually on the ball enough to post topics to link up to anything specific. I can't even seem to post holiday pictures right after they happen (reference missing Easter pictures). However, a friend's post on Facebook caught my eye. It reads, "ATTENTION BLOGGERS: (From JCICS): "Today is We Are The Truth Adoption Blogger Day! Don't forget to blog about your sucessful adoption, or the sucessful adoption of someone you know"!

Here's the thing - yes, most people join their family by being born into it. However, some join their family through adoption. It's just another way of becoming a family. Kind of like getting married. You meet someone and you fall in love and they become your family.

The recent news of a mother "returning" her 7 year old son to Russia has spurred a media frenzy of adoption analysis. Yes - this one turned out badly. Yes - something went horribly wrong. But it is surely not indicative of most adoptions. Just like a horror story of a woman placing her newborn in a trashcan is not indicative of most biological births. That would never cause all pending births to be suspended, would it?

Our family's story of adoption is much like our story of deciding to have our first child. In both cases, I was ready a little before my husband was. In both cases he was focused on how our currently perfect life might change - and I was focused on how much better it was going to be. In both cases, we eventually added the perfect child for our family to our family. Both roads to getting them were emotional, trying and took about 9 months.

Brother came to us very quickly -even if not easily. Pregnancy is not easy. And mine was what would be called an "easy" one. He was conceived quickly, he grew perfectly and despite an emergency c-section - he came out big and healthy and beautiful. I still wasn't convinced for a while that I'd want to do THAT again. During the pregnancy I felt sick for about umm... 9 months. My hips hurt. I couldn't sleep, yada yada yada. Don't get me wrong - it was all very worth it - and I would have done it again.

Some higher power knew that our daughter was elsewhere, because when it was time for our second child - something had changed - and we didn't conceive quickly. Instead, we found out that our best (maybe only?) option was to adopt. I'm not going to lie - the news was surprising - life changing, really. It had to sink in for a bit. But, surprisingly quickly (within days) I woke up and just knew what we should do. Memories of me telling my mother years before that I'd like to adopt internationally some day came back to me. And visions of a little girl I met at a recent playgroup popped back in my head. She was from Guatemala. I've told people how I always pictured having a brown haired, brown eyed little girl as my child. When my blue eyed, blond haired boy was born I was ecstatic. He was - and still is the perfect son but I think I knew that there was another child in our future. My baby girl.

She was born on the 4th of July. We met her for the first time about 10 days later. We saw her again about 3 months later, this time bringing her big brother to meet her for the first time. And then - on January 4th 2007, her 6 month birthday, she got her Mommy and Daddy forever. She's perfect for us. She's ours. I can't overstate how much Little Bitty is a part of our family. Someone recently asked me, "When did you get her?" It seems strange...she's always been mine, hasn't she?? Side note: I do not minimize the role that her birth mother had in this - I love, respect, and owe the world to her.

So, to think that anyone, ESPECIALLY my daughter, could be subjected to mass over-generalizations and stereotypes about "adoption" makes me crazy. Every adoption is different. Every birth is different. Every family is different. It doesn't matter. People have issues. They have issues if they were raised by their bio family with June and Ward Cleaver, they have issues if they were raised in an orphanage, they have issues if they were raised by wolves. The 7 year old from Russia obviously has some BIG issues. As does the woman who sent him alone, back to Russia. However, I can't pretend to understand ANY of them. I wasn't there. I've never been to Russia - I can't even see it from my house. I've never adopted an older child who lived in an orphanage for years. The one thing I do know is that the word "adoption" is where any similarities between our two families stop.

I'm pretty certain there are just as many people who secretly (or not) think "wow - this didn't turn out how I hoped" about their bio kids as there are people who think this about their children who were adopted. The difference is that with adoption - there is some thing more obvious to try to blame. I don't know the Russian child's circumstances any more than the rest of you who have heard it in the news. But it seems that this was a case of an older child with emotional issues that had been hidden? minimized? covered up? and then placed in an incapable home without an adequate support system. That's the issue here - not the fact that the child was adopted.

If the media wants to put energy into getting fired up about adoption - good. Get fired up about all the government laws and bureaucracy that make it so hard to adopt and bring kids home to their families in a reasonable amount of time. Let's look at what happens when government corruption and unethical professionals cause children to languish in orphanages with no food or medical care instead of being home with people who LONG for a baby to love and nurture. Research DOES show that the sooner a child is with their "forever" family the better. Let's look closer at organizations such as UNICEF who promote themselves as caring for children all over the world but actually cause usually unnecessary delays in adoptions and are fundamentally opposed to children being raised anywhere other than their country of birth, even if staying in their country of birth means they die by age 5.

So, where was I? Our successful adoption story? We have two kids. One of them has a tendency to be hard on himself and is prone to anxiety. The other one has a temper and is a little bossy. Neither of them eat enough vegetables. One wears glasses. One probably will eventually. One is going to need braces. The other one is going to be short. They are both beautiful. They are both affectionate. They are both pretty funny. Although - one is prone to telling dirty jokes. It's not about having a perfect family. It's about having a family perfect for you. Whatever that is. Our successful adoption story? It's really just a successful family story.


Michelle Smiles said...


Kimpossible said...

This is my most favoritest post EVER. And I love how you worked Sarah Palin in.

Peter said...

So beautifully flowingly written! It was compelling beyond belief. Wow.
And I too love how you mocked Sarah Palin. I highlighted and copied it before seeing Kimpossible's comment. I laughed out loud. I was going to comment on Facebook, but this will suffice.
Wonderful post!! Thank you for sharing!

Kelly said...

Love it Melany. Beautifully written!

Anonymous said...

You never cease to pull at my heartstrings. Reminds of something I once read: When asked by her child, "Mommy, where did I come from?" A mother answered, "Honey, you know you were adopted." "But what does that mean?", asked the child. "It means that you grew in my heart, instead of my tummy."

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Our family could not have grown any more perfectly and how wonderful to acknowledge our blessings! How precious for Brother and LB to read this years from now. Thanks for yet another tear shed today Mel! :-) Love you, Nikki

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post!

Heather said...

You go, girl!