Thursday, December 30, 2010

Please don't ask me...

...if my daughters are "real" sisters or not. Our family is real.

...why my baby girl's parents didn't "want" her. Of course they wanted her. Of course they love her.

...why my baby girl's parents "gave her up." That's none of your business. old the birth parents are. Does it matter?

I know adoptive parents understand my annoyances. Just when we think we are in the clear, that our families are viewed as beautiful, someone comes along to try to justify, reason, or figure out adoption via a negative assumption, comment, or question.

Both of my daughters deserve respect and privacy. Their biological families love them. We have two wonderfully open adoptions---and our family is ever-expanding and changing. And that's a blessing.

Adoption is a puzzle to many people. They want to put the pieces into proper, pre-determined places. That's not how adoption works. There's no perfect picture at the end where all the pieces fit together in an expected, timely fashion. Adoption is its own world. Complicated. Unique.

And that's ok.


ask me about my daughter's personality.

ask me about the joys of adopting her.

ask me what open adoption is like.

Adoptive parents, we must always tread carefully, honestly, and godly---and that's no easy task. But I pray each of us have the strength and conviction to stop, breathe, and respond in a way that educates when the annoying questions crop up.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Random Christmas-y Goodness

Our new baby girl...sound asleep.
Miss E, saying her prayers before lunch (check out her pro-braided hair!)

Christmas cards galore! Thankfully some people still love sending cards!

Miss E's new Barbie ornament. Isn't she gorgeous?

A little blurry, but it's a brown baby in a stocking. Another new addition to the family Christmas tree decor.

Four new brown babies---twins (my SIL got them for the girls), a baby Princess Tiana, and a girl with snap-on clothes (you can find her at Kohl's)

Miss E found comfort in her sister's vibrating chair while gazing at Frosty.

Our Pottery Barn-ish, homemade stockings for the girls. Made by a friend who is obviously quite talented!

One green, one red! Their names are embroidered on the top.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I wanted to share this recently taken photo of our daughter, Miss E. If you are an adoptive family (or waiting to become one) in the Edwardsville (IL) area, you must check out Jill's website and see if you'd like to schedule a sitting with her. She offers free sitting fees for newly established adoptive families. Jill is an adoptive mama herself. :)

May each of you have a blessed Christmas---taking what God has given you and in turn, sharing that goodness with others. Reflect, laugh, eat, and be merry! We have so much to be thankful for, including and above all, the fact that Jesus spent time on Earth among people---loving, healing, forgiving, serving, and listening. He impacted the world in a way that no one has before or ever will. May each of us pursue Him, share Him, and love Him.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Beautiful Book!

My baby girl mixing cookie dough....before shoving some in for a taste test!

I highly recommend purchasing Under the Christmas Tree by Nikki Grimes for your brown kids this Christmas. The book features beautiful illustrations featuring AA children, and the poetry is simply divine!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Came Early....

Dear Readers,

I am excited to share with you that I am now the proud mother of TWO girls! On November 23, our new baby girl was born, and we were chosen to become her parents one week and one day later.

God's timing is amazing. First, our homestudy was completed rather quickly. We wanted to complete it so we'd be ready to wait in late winter/early spring; however, the training (required and held quarterly) occurred on a day we could attend, so we went. Furthermore, our social worker was available for interviews (for our homestudy) at an early date, so we did them. Paperwork wasn't nearly the hassle it was the first time; this time we had copies of nearly everything.

On Monday, 11/22, my daughter and I went to lunch with our former social worker (who had moved to another state). L and I discussed our plans regarding children. We talked about baby names and motherhood. Little did I know my daughter would be born a day later!

That week was Thanksgiving, so we traveled to visit both sides of our family. We got to spend a little over an hour with my husband's grandfather who had fragile health but still a great spirit.

The Monday after Thanksgiving, he passed away.

Then, as we were preparing to go out of town for his funeral, I made a phone call to our second agency (in another state) to ask the social worker a question. She told me it was interesting I called because a couple would be looking at profiles that night. Would we like ours, that just was shipped to the agency the previous week, to be shown? I called my husband and we said yes.

That night we were at the visitation. It was wrapping up when I noticed a text on my phone from the social worker.


The next few days were a whirlwind of nerves and excitement. We attended grandpa's funeral, made phone calls, sent e-mails, gathered paperwork, did laundry, packed, prayed, and prepared to leave home. Imagine our amazement at the circle of life---a death and a birth.

This past Monday, we met our daughter (whom our older daughter licked a lot--yes, licked). And Tuesday morning, we went to court to get custody of her.

The exciting part is that our first daughter and second daughter were both born in the same town, and both parents want open adoptions. Therefore, we have a whole new set of family in that town! What fun visits there will be!

I want to fully respect the privacy of both my daughter and her biological parents; therefore, I won't publicly blog about any specifics of their lives, situations, etc. However, I will say that our daughter's biological parents are beautiful, kind, mature individuals, and I can't wait to get to know them better.

This adoption was a total whirlwind. Many are stunned, us included, on how quickly this process went for us.

Having two babies, essentially, is overwhelming yet so joyful. Miss E can't keep her hands (or lips) off her baby sister. When our baby cries, Miss E gets close to her and says, "Shhh, baby, shhh" in a gentle voice.

My poor husband has a house full of girls! Imagine a lot of laughter, tears, PMS, dating, and shrieks! :) Thank God my husband is an excellent father. I was sharing this with Miss E's birth mother---that I am so thankful my husband is engaged in his children's lives. He's not on the sidelines with his eyes on the TV, or he's not on the golf course, or he's not drinking beer in a bar after work. My husband is a champion father. I am blessed.

Our new baby girl is African American---large eyes and lots of hair. She can cry really loudly! She doesn't like being cold (which means boo on diaper changes). She's already smiled a few times, and yes, I've already read her some books. :) She's healthy and strong---ready to see what God has in store for her.

My cup runneth over.

I cannot believe God's goodness. Nothing brings me closer to Him than adoption. Mostly because adoption---one, renders me powerless and makes me re-realize that God is indeed in charge and two, I am in awe of God's trust in me to raise these precious babies and forever be in relationship, we hope, with their biological families. What responsibility! What blessing! What joy!

We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Fa La La! Christmas at Our House...

Santa and his lovely wife!
Elegant Santa

Choir girl

AA Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus

Lovely brown angel, found at Cracker Barrel last year (post-Christmas) for $6!

AA Santa---a gift from my mom last Christmas

Our new ornament, representing our lovely family of three!

Our living room C-mas decor. Our original tree was white and silver, but with a child, things get much more colorful and festive!

Daddy and Miss E decorating the tree.

We were blessed last year by a dear friend and fellow adoptive mama who gave us her collection of AA Christmas ornaments! It's been no easy task finding Christmas decor that represents my daughter's race, so thankfully we have friends and family members looking out for decor.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Adoptive Parent Networking

A friend and fellow adoptive mama recently e-mailed me and asked me how I felt about adoptive parents networking (meaning, advertising themselves outside of their agency in the hopes of meeting an expectant mother wanting to place her child for adoption). The following is my response---not the most organized or cohesive, but it sums up my feelings:

I am not comfortable AT ALL with marketing ourselves. No newspaper ads, no parent profile online, no YouTube video, no business cards, no crisis pregnancy centers, no doc offices. I want our adoption to happen organically. I will not prey on expectant mothers. Plus, women who go to a crisis preg center could be just one month preg. That is not the time to decide on adoption.

Our old agency used online profiles (which we did) and YouTube videos (which we did not).

I flat out told *social worker's first name* today that we won't be marketing ourselves with any ads, business cards, etc. We will be working w/two agencies (*agency name* and *agency name*). That's enough.

Can you tell I have an opinion on this topic?

Why rush the process? We'll get placed quickly enough, I feel, [due to our openness to all races, either sex, and an open adoption with the birth family] without being on the prowl for a baby.

The online profiles also encourage a-parents to compete---who has the best letter? The best video? The best pictures? When *agency name* presents profiles, we a-parents can't compete b/c we don't see the competition---know what I mean?

I know some couples have waited years, maybe even a decade or two, to become parents. The networking avenues are endless and honestly, very tempting---do whatever, however, to end the dreaded wait. Many couples do not think twice about self-marketing. I admit that early in our first adoption process, I didn't think much of it either. It was all about us getting our baby and nothing or no one else. :( Embarrassing to admit. I partially blame the adoption industry for making adoption so much about those of us to pay the big bucks and not about the human hearts involved. But I also blame ourselves. Though, to be fair, everyone needs time to grow, learn, and change. Thankfully, we got the opportunity to grow, learn, and change BEFORE our first placement.

I'd rather do things right than obtain a child through manipulative and unethical tactics. After all, I believe we answer to God for everything we do.