Sunday, January 31, 2010


Call me naive. Maybe my head has been stuck in the sand or in unending piles of laundry. I had absolutely no idea that an anti-adoption movement was alive in this country.

I love reading blogs. On the one hand I have to admit all blogs and social networking is a bit voyeuristic. It's fascinating to peek into the lives of strangers or garner a deeper understanding of friends and loved ones. The Internet in general gives us a false sense of anonymity. We can write what we'd never say out loud or share with strangers online what we'd never tell the check out girl in the coffee shop. Blogging has-and continues to-open my eyes to the endless world of opinion and perspective of entire groups of people that I did not know existed.

It was by stumbling on one of these blogs that I read a women's devotion to the anti-adoption movement. I was immediately fascinated in the same way I would be by watching a broken arm being reset-a bit horrified but unable to turn away. I felt compelled read what she had to say. I set aside my very immediate and very defensive preconceived notions and read. And read. I read bits and pieces of blogs that she follows and found a common thread among them that broke my heart and left me shaking my head at the same time. That common thread was heartache. Heartache from giving up a child and living with constant regret and heartache at being abandoned by biological parents.

I can't say that her feelings are not justified. As a mother myself it is difficult-no-unimaginable to think of being in a position where the best interest of my child would be to give him/her up for adoption. Of course the very strong argument from her being that adoption is never in a child's best interest. That it is a money driven and damaging institution that tears apart families and destroys the lives of adopteess and bio parents alike. She also takes the position that adoptive parents are looking for "replacement" children. Either replacing a biological child who has been lost or for those unable to conceive. She maintains that adoption should be halted and banned. Positive adoption language is taught to further a lie, young girls are forced to give up their white babies for rich Americans looking for the picture perfect family. Infertile women use other people's children as a band-aide and instead of adoption advocacy it should be pro-family togetherness.

I can't even decide which to tackle first. First, I do not disagree that at some point in our history many young women had been forced into giving up their children through pressure, unethical practices and downright lies. I do believe that women have had to make the decision to give up their child under extreme duress. To argue, however, that women are now taught by adoption agencies that to give up their child for adoption is the "noble" thing to do in order for said agencies to meet the supply and demand of infant girls for rich white folks is insulting. We can not and should not deny any history that crippled women and families. I do not believe that by allowing adoption in this country is to encourage the abandonment of children.

Not only do I not think that my daughter was a "band-aide" for my infertility, I did not think that adoption would be the easiest way to grow our family. Our decision to adopt was done through prayer. We did not take lightly the knowledge that our adopted child may face issues that stem from a broken attachment(s). We did not adopt to make ourselves seem more highly regarded or noble. We did not buy a designer child that fit our specifications.

As those in the anti-adoption movement argue, adoptive children are traumatized and live with the effects of being abandoned for the rest of their lives. They maintain that adoption is unjustified in any case because of the irreparable damage it does to children. I do not disagree that with adoption can bring challenges. I have met parents who have had a picture perfect experience (to me that means the transition for the child not the parent) and then there are those children, like my Prim, who still have deep-rooted fears associated with broken attachments. And yes, (this may come as a shock) she may have to deal with some of these feelings for the rest of her life. Do I pray that God heals her heart and that she finds peace? Yes! Will I do everything in my power to guide her and comfort her? Absolutely!!

What I don't hear is what this movement proposes to do about the unending number of orphans. I am so thankful that there are young women, old women, poor women, rich women who decided to give birth to their children even if it means adoption is the end result, instead of having an abortion. That's where I stand and don't make apologies for it. To argue that it would be better for a child to be aborted rather than face the life as an adoptive child is futile. I can not imagine a world where it would be better for a life given by God to be terminated instead of facing the many challenges that life can bring. For better or worse we are all a product of our upbringing and circumstances and can only find true healing and wholeness in our Savior.

I think I could go on and on. I understand where many of these woman are coming from. They were a generation forced by society and greed to give up a part of themselves. I can not imagine or pretend to comprehend the pain associated with giving up a child for adoption. I think of Prim's mom often and wonder if she really had a choice. Would she have kept her baby in a perfect world? I don't know. I'll probably never know. What I do know is that there was a little girl that needed a family. God spoke to me and called me hers and I answered.

You can argue with me about this until you are blue in the face. Children deserve families. Kids orphaned by illness, abuse, death or neglect deserve an opportunity to experience unconditional love, hope, and safety . You could not convince me otherwise......

Prim's First Snow

Friday, January 29, 2010

Braids, Bribes and Therapy

This morning's hair request was braids. Braids JUST like her doll Katie. Prim loves Katie's beautiful, thick, glossy braids. She wants braids that look just as pretty as Katie's. Unfortunately for my sweet girl, she has not grasped the concept of actually needing a substantial amount of hair to achieve her desired look. After much pleading with her wide liquid eyes we came to a compromise and did piggies, braided them and banded them at the bottom. They did stick out quite a bit and she struck me as an Asian version of Pippi Longstocking but she was tickled pink and that meant my morning got a little bit easier.
Our first stop of the day was an appointment with a family counselor I found who specializes in adoption. It's been a long time coming and a part of me wishes I would have done this while H was deployed, but I thought I could handle it on my own. For seven months her days were fine but her stress manifested again in night time dysregulation. When H came home it immediately subsided but began again after we moved (twice in three months) and now that we are stable but have more visitors it has been an issue. I don't know what it is about her nights. All of her fears, all of her worries and insecurities create a deep, intense reaction at bedtime. It's either fighting bedtime or waking up in the middle of the night temper-tantrumming because she can't sleep in our bed and feels alone. First, let me say that she shares a bedroom with her brother-she is in no way alone. She says this because she is apart from me and I am her security blanket. Second, Prim has this bizarre internal clock that will wake her up at midnight on the dot (my mother was amazed) and the struggle begins. Of all of the things I wish I could give my daughter as her mother, I wish I could give her peace. Peace in emotionally understanding that when she goes to bed at night we will still be here in the morning. Peace to be able to be in a room by herself and not feel insecure or abandoned.
To get to the point I need guidance. I want to be the best mother to her that I can and I don't have all of the tools to do it on my own. I don't know how to get past her fear. I don't know how else to assure her, to love her, to comfort her. Maybe it will just take time but I need someone to tell me that, too.
Our counselor is nice. A Christian, a wife and a mother. She recommended an AMAZING book that I myself had just finished reading (I'll blog about it soon) and was hoping to put into practice. Thank you God for giving me a clear sign that I was on the right track! Prim was great and watched Tom and Jerry on her portable DVD player. She ate a fruit roll up for snack which I soon regretted b/c I didn't bring a drink and her thirst became a quick topic of discussion. A very LOOONG topic of discussion. Did she not understand that I was paying by the hour for this session? I tried the compromise: "Please give mommy ten more minutes and then we'll discuss getting a drink". Five minutes later when she exclaimed that she was 'weally, weally, WEALLY thirsty!' I went straight to bribe mode: "Prim, since you have been sitting so patiently what do you think about mommy getting you a special treat after we are done talking to Ms. Sarah?". I swear my daughter must have a mental list of the bribes she is willing to accept at any given moment. She quickly whispered in my ear: "How about chocolate milk?". I agreed, she was satisfied and it only cost me ten minutes of billable time and a chocolate milk.
As we were leaving the building a few young girls walked by and giggled, whispering how cute Prim was with her braids. I smiled because her braids today suit her. They are little but strong (they stayed put all day!) and even though they stick out straight off the side of her head they are nothing if they are not endearing. That's my girl.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Where Do Babies Come From?

I used to think that this was an easy question to answer. A baby is conceived out of love, adoration and the dedication to a union gifted by God. We are commanded to be "fruitful and multiply" (if the Lord blesses you with a spouse. Paul also teaches that celibacy (being single) is also acceptable-neither marriage nor celibacy being more important because each is a gift).

May your fountain be blessed,
and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
A loving doe, a graceful deer,
may her breasts satisfy you always,
may you ever be captivated by her love. Proverbs 5:18-19

I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride;
I have gathered my myrrh with my spice.
I have eaten my honeycomb and my honey;
I have drunk my wine and my milk. Song of Solomon 5:1

Come, my lover, let us go to the countryside,
let us spend the night in the villages.
Let us go early to the vineyards . . .
there I will give you my love. Song of Solomon 7:11-12

In these incredible Biblical images of marriage and lovemaking it was always my assumption (remember I was married at 21) that a child was the ultimate, natural result of God's intended union. Don't get me wrong-it is!! I just quickly came to realize that we were only going to get from point (no pun intended) A to point D. That Z was an experience that would allude us for years. I looked around and then at my husband and thought, how could this be? I LOVE my husband. What comes next is supposed to-well-come next!
So where do babies come from? They are an incredible gift, loved as they are knitted in their mother's womb by our Heavenly Father. For some of us, though, our children are knitted outside of ourselves. Some are knitted in the sterile environment of a doctor's office, some are knitted across the ocean or in the mother of a young girl. Sometimes the knitting happens after rape or incest or as a result of youth or trial.
The joy of this is is that where our babies came from don't define us as mothers. I was blessed to be able to carry my son when so many women desire the same and are unable. We had help, I felt like less of a woman but I have never felt like less of a mother. My daughter was born to a child thousands of miles away. It doesn't keep me from experiencing her as if she had been born from my body. My babies still came from a Father who knew them before their conception. In His infinite wisdom and grace they were still brought into the family that He intended as illustrated in His Word. My babies still came from a place of love. They were born in my heart.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What Irks Me

I was reading the news online this afternoon and was struck by a headline that read "California teen sentenced for beating adoptive mom to death". Instead of thinking how horrible it was that this teenage girl took the life of her mother, all I could think was 'why did they have to say "adoptive mother"'? It irks me. It makes me think of how we are quick to label one another for the roles we play in society. Does the term adoptive mother in this article imply that there is a dark underbelly of adoption that should be dissected, investigated, feared? Is it an attempt to garner more sympathy for the mother in this story? Are we, as the readers, supposed to think "oh that poor woman, if only she had known...". It irks me. I am not Prim's adoptive mom. I am her mother. I would never refer to her as my adoptive daughter. Hello, this is my son G and this is my adopted daughter Prim. No way. Our relationship does not need to be labeled. To do so would be to set each other apart from what we have. It would say to the world that I hold a different place in my heart for her than I do for my biological son. She is my daughter. Her adoption does not define our relationship. If that were the case I would have to introduce my son as, "this is my son, conceived in a doctor's office on a sunday morning. nice to meet you".

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Therapist's Dream....

My usual morning routine involves emptying G's backpack of nick-nacks, papers, art projects and treasures found on the playground . I do it every morning even though I ask him every afternoon before homework to perform this menial task . Unfortunately, in between retrieving his homework and talking about whatever pops into his 1st grade mind, said papers are quickly forgotten and I am left to sort through a half dozen worksheets or journaling pages to make room for his Clone Wars lunch box. This morning time was on our side and with lunches made and ten minutes to spare I dug through the contents of his bag with gusto, greeted by two journaling pages from last week. One page detailed his future plans on becoming a scientist (an all inclusive job complete with glasses and a partner) and the other page contained only one sentence that said, "I felt left out when we obpted my sister". I quickly tossed aside the other paper and focused on this one sentence that left me with an immediate feeling of trepidation. The picture speaks volumes; Daddy holding adopted baby sister and G standing apart from the rest of the family. (I'm sure any therapist would dissect and evaluate this simple phrase and picture with the gusto of a professional chocolate taster.) In that moment I was transported to August, over two years ago when my little boy-only four years old then-cried and begged me to take his baby sister back. He was hurt and confused and angry at the one-girl-wrecking- machine we had dumped in his lap and all I could think was "what have I done?".
Those feelings were very difficult and unexpected for me. I didn't think I would have moments of regret in bringing home this beautiful little girl that we had longed for, prayed for, dreamed for. But I looked at this little boy that I had carried, nurtured and given every moment to for four years and felt caught off guard. No one can put into words the depth of emotions that you experience as an adoptive parent. We are told so often how noble our hearts are and how wonderful our intentions yet silently we suffer through moments of real despair, sadness and sometimes anger in acclimating our little ones into our family.
G was colicky as an infant. I do not remember feeling anger towards this baby that fussed for hours on end and had to be carried all hours of the day. But we brought home this little girl and for the first time I felt anger towards a child. Angry at myself because I couldn't meet her needs. Angry at myself because I couldn't soothe her pain and sorrow and I couldn't take away my son's feelings of being left out, forgotten and usurped by a stranger. One sentence written by my son brought all of this back and touched my heart because it is still present in his.
Today I learned that my son's memory is deeper than I imagined which makes me think of my sweet little girl, whose memories must reach beyond the depths of her understanding. This sentence made me realize that I do not have to feel guilty for his feelings of being left out or forgotten. It's a reminder to me that we all face challenges and have experiences that affect us for good and bad. I look at the memory written on his page and am happy that it is just that. A memory. When I talked to him about it he told me that he was sad when Prim came home but now is so happy because he doesn't have to be alone. That he has someone to play with all of the time. That he has a friend forever in his sister.
What we've learned shouldn't be discounted and I'm not upset that Gabe still remembers difficult feelings. I can't shelter him, keep him from hurting. He's grown, he's learned to love in the face of a situation he did not deem ideal. We've all gained and triumphed not because of our decision to adopt, but because of a little girl with big brown eyes. Our God is an awesome God. He does not promise that this life will be easy. He does not promise that we will be without pain and sorrow. What He does promise is that life with Him allows us to see the joy through our tears. Because of adoption my life-OUR life-is brighter and better not because of the act, but because through it God is revealed and glorified.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Catching Up With PIctures

Grace and her new doll Katie
Gabe turned 7 last week! Where has the time gone?
Student of the month!

Best Friends Forever!

Friday, January 22, 2010

My How Time Flies...

The past year has flown by and can only be described as: SURVIVED. We survived another deployment, sleep deprivation and kindergarten. Learning to read for Gabe, learning that she wasn't abandoned by Daddy for Grace. Moving away from a place that felt something close to home and best friends and then moving again after only nine weeks. A new job for Hung that causes him to deploy this May when we were looking forward to two years together uninterrupted. What to do about more babies. Adoption or fertility treatments? Where and when? How? Will I ever feel normal or has God allowed this suffering for His greater purposes? This year I want to react less, love more and grow closer to Him. The Truth is not always clear to me because I have not hidden enough of His Word in my heart. Do I desire more children because I feel unsatisfied or am I being prompted? Why can't I tell the difference right now? We are incredibly blessed to be close to family after almost seven years of being either overseas or on the west coast. I no longer have to miss my mother's hugs. So much to look forward to this year yet so much up in the air. Only He knows where we are headed and I pray that we can do everything for His glory. More of Him, less of me. That is my motto this year.

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