Sunday, September 12, 2010
Jie Jie Thoughts Reponse
The comment to my last post was very thoughtful and I will address some of the points brought up because my thoughts flow easily when I write/type.
Clothes, toys and material things are superficial, but in my mind, I need to have a clear separation between Apple and Jie Jie and the fact that there are two little lives at stake, each deserving the thought and planning as the other in all aspects. I have bought many things for Apple. What can't be conveyed through simple pictures of objects, though, is that each thing represents time I spent thinking about my future child, planning, daydreaming, and preparing myself to fall in love with her. This is what has been most important to me when I shop for Apple. It's taking time out of my life for her, which, when she comes, will be replaced and increased to time spent with her.
From before the beginning of this adoption journey, I actually knew more about the issues of older child adoption vs. infant adoption because I used to teach piano lessons to three children who were adopted, one as an infant, and a brother/sister who were added to the family at 7 and 8 yrs. old. It really unbalanced the girl who was adopted as an infant because the older two had exposures to things that were completely foreign in this household. The abuse and neglect that these two children had suffered was apparent. In dealing with them and talking extensively with the mother, I got a very clear picture of the challenges this family faced and had a front row seat, so to speak, to the ongoing issues that persisted even after high school.
Throughout the years of waiting for Apple, I have read many, many older child adoption blogs, and read many, many books pertaining to older child adoption. I never posted much about this interest because I never thought I'd have the chance to adopt an older child. I have joined older child adoption egroups. I would not consider an older child from anywhere except China, either, due to the common exposures Easter European children frequently face, and other programs are cost prohibitive and more complicated, but I also know that Chinese children an not immune to these things.
I was extremely excited to be able to attend the premiere of Wo Ai Ni Mommy and be able to talk with Donna, Faith's mother, participate in the Q&A and speak with Donna afterward. At this time, I still considered all information gathering to help me be a better mother to Apple. I didn't realize yet that the possibility of a concurrent adoption was on the horizon.
Although I'm not adopted by my mother, I look like it enough that it was something strangers frequently asked my entire childhood. My mom is 1/4 Japanese and 1/4 Hawaiian. I grew up in a mixed-race household. We didn't label it as such, but the prejudices my mom faced were felt. I also had 4 step-fathers, one of which adopted all my siblings, but not me due to my father not relinquishing his rights. I am so glad to finally understand myself better through all of the studying I've done to prepare for Apple because many of the attachment/bonding/feelings of loss, etc... I've experienced FIRST HAND and I never knew, growing up, that it was these things that caused me to develop in certain ways and how to deal with them now!
Another very, very close family friend adopted an infant boy over twenty years ago. The child never assimilated into the family well, despite being their first child, and is now a dependent adult who lives with them. I am sending them a copy of the Primal Wound because this book is what they needed. When their son was little, there wasn't the awareness that there is now and he was diagnosed with every disorder from AD/HD to bi-polar and many in between. From what I know now, he is the stereo-typical case of the adopted child who acts out. He fits the model so perfectly that the Primal Wound could have been written by him. I was there, in their house, the first time the police showed up at the door due to something their son did and his mom said, as she approached the door, "I knew this day would come." On another occasion, I saw this boy, as a teen, nearly rip the door off their fridge because he was annoyed by something his mom told him to do that was very minor.
I am a planner and a researcher. I plan for the worst and the best, as far as possible. The most sobering books I've read to date are The Handbook of International Adoption Medicine, The Primal Wound and The Primal Connection. I have attended ALL the classes at my agency TWICE because I like to keep in touch with other waiting parents, and each time, I learned something new. I am extremely well-prepared to face what Jie Jie may come with and it does scare me. Apple may come with serious issues, too and this is scary. But I consider this risk a normal part of adoption and I've got a support system in place in case I need it. Adoption is risky. It is difficult. In some cases it's disastrous to a family. In most cases, however, it is not, and it's possible to have a happy, healthy family, with well-adjusted happy, healthy children.
A very important part of my life, the part that lead me to start Apple's adoption, is my faith and trust in God. My adoption path has been miraculous. Things have happened that go far beyond coincidence. The possibility of a concurrent adoption is not an impulsive decision, it's a wonderful blessing.