Monday, December 31, 2012

Do

I've seen lots of people around the internet pick a word that describes them or that they want to aspire to.  In fact, there is a whole website dedicated to this practice, MyOneWord.org.  I haven't read the book, or really much of the website, but I like the idea of having a word to focus on for the new year.

I have selected the word "DO", because in 2013 I will do all the things that are important to me.

If you had to pick one word for 2013 what would it be?


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Liam and Grandma


We had a wonderful visit with Mom for Christmas and hope that we get to see her again soon!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Vintage 1979

When I was growing up, my parents made wine.  They started in 1979, when I was only 9 years old.  The bought crates of grapes, pressed them in the garage and stored them in barrels and demi-johns in the basement till it was time to bottle them.


That first year my father set aside 2 gallons of wine, with the plans to open them to toast with at my wedding.  Since I never got married, the bottles have been sitting in the basement for the last 33 years.  After Dad died, Mom decided to break them open for a special occasion.  Hilary, Liam and I coming home for our first Christmas in Guelph was just the occasion she needed.


We opened the bottle with a little trepidation.... would it be wine or vinegar?  The first sniff seemed okay.  The glass gallon jar it was in seemed to show that the wine was a very dark red, but once we started pouring it, we quickly discovered that the coloured had all leeched out of it and onto the sides of the bottle. We were left with a very light coloured wine.


Mom enjoyed the first glass.  The taste is hard to describe... not really red, not really white, but it sure has some kick to it!!


Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Traditions

For the first time since Liam was born, we are travelling for Christmas.  We are heading home to my mom's house, the house I grew up in, to spend Christmas with her.  Some of the magic of Christmas for me is the traditions, those from my own childhood, Hilary's childhood, and those that we have started with our family's generation.

Here are my top 10  favourite traditions:

1) Lying under the tree and looking up at the lights
  • While I'm way to big to do this as effectively as when I was little, there is still something magical about watching the twinkling lights through the branches.
2) Putting up the Christmas tree Christmas eve
  • This tradition comes from Hilary's family.  There is something fun and wonderful about putting the tree up on Christmas eve, carols playing in the background and wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen.
3) The Christmas Pickle
  • We got our Christmas Pickle a few years ago.  The tradition is that someone hides the pickle shaped ornament on the tree and whomever finds it first gets the "pickle present". Our pickle present every year is usually a new Christmas music ornament like a snow globe.  We have quite the growing collection now.
4) The Christmas Key
  • Since our house doesn't have a fireplace, Santa has to have someway to get in.  So we leave the Christmas key on the outside of the house - don't worry, it's completely safe, only Santa's magic can open the door, so no intruders can get in.  Then after Santa has left the presents and filled the stockings, he leaves the key on the Christmas tree.
5) Stockings on the end of your bed
  • This is another Hilary tradition.  Santa very carefully sneaks into your bedroom and leaves your filled stocking on the end of your bed.
6) Pizzelles
  • Pizzelles are homemade Italian cookies that my Grandma and my mother have made for Christmas every year for as long as I can remember.  Mom bought me my own press a few years ago and now I continue the tradition.
7) Watching  The Polar Express
  • This is such an amazing, enchanting movie.  I'm not truly in the holiday spirit until I have curled up on the couch and watched this.
8) Christmas cracker crowns
  • We always have Christmas crackers at Christmas dinner.  My favorite part is the paper crowns that come with them.  It gives the table such a fun festive look when everyone is festooned in a variety of coloured paper hats.
9) Table Presents
  • Another Hilary's family tradition.  We do this one at other holidays too.  After you open your Christmas cracker and put on your crown, everyone gets to open their table present.  Fun, little gifts that are meaningful to the receiver, or a new toy to help the little ones make it through a long meal.
10) Staying up too late Christmas Eve getting everything ready
  • I still remember the first Christmas that I was deemed old enough to hang out with the grown ups and help set up everything Christmas eve after the little kids were all tucked into bed.  As a parent, this has taken on a whole new meaning - one usually filled with cursing, screwdrivers, over packaging of toys, poorly written directions and wine.  No matter how organized we lead ourselves to believe we are, there always seems to be a 1001 one things left to do in the wee hours of the night.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A kid and his cod

Liam studied cod fish

Liam's school does theme based studies, and this year the theme is Oceans.  In particular, his class studied fish.  At fair today we got to learn about how fish breath and swim, what parts are good to eat, their migrating practices and much more.

All of their art work this year has been fish based too, including his art card, Derp the Stingray:



I can't wait to find out what they will be ocean thing they'll study next semester.




Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An impossibly long list

These are the things I have to do, in no particular order, in the next 40 hours.

  1. Find the Christmas stockings
  2. Wash and dry 2 loads of laundry
  3. Put away the 2 loads of laundry that's already clean
  4. Get the suitcases out of the attic
  5. Find the Christmas pickle
  6. Pack clothes for 3 people
  7. Pack all the Christmas gifts we are taking with us
  8. Go out an buy Christmas gifts for:
    • My 90 year Grandmother
    • Hilary 
    • Kavya
    • Divya
    • our tennants
  9. Buy table presents for 6 people
  10. Charge 3 iPods
  11. Charge the tablet
  12. Pack laptop and all cords
  13. Download audio books onto everyone's iPods
  14. Charge the camera
  15. Find the cords for the camera
  16. Go to Liam's Fair at school
  17. Work 2 full 8 hour shifts
  18. Pack everyone's meds (last count was 10+ bottles)
  19. Get to the pharmacy to fill Liam's prescriptions
  20. Clean the house
  21. Get to the vet for heavy duty flea killing stuff
  22. Bathe 5 cats and douse them with heavy duty flea killing stuff
  23. Get in touch with the house/cat sitter and make sure she can still come
  24. Teach the house/cat sitter how to feed the gecko live crickets
  25. Make a back up plan if I can't get in touch with the house/cat sitter
  26. Finish 2 batches of marshmallows
  27. Empty out the fridge of compost
  28. Clean the cat litters out
  29. Take out the garbage
  30. Remember to pack tea
  31. Pay bills
Wish me luck!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Daring Kitchen - Paté Chinois

I had the honour of hosting this month's Daring Kitchen Challenge.  I introduced everyone to a classic French Canadian dish - Paté Chinois.
Paté Chinois translates from French as Chinese Pie. It’s an odd name for a French Canadian dish that doesn’t have any connection to Chinese food. The history of the name has been traced back to the Chinese cooks who worked at the camps for the railway builders in the late 19th century. Ground beef and potatoes were cheap and a dish could be spread out to feed many people

You can check out the 4 recipes I did up as examples, as well as see everyone else's creations on the Daring Kitchen page.


It was a lot of fun hosting the challenge and seeing all the variations that folks came up with.  I hope to have the opportunity to host again one day.



Monday, December 10, 2012

Six

Liam GAINED 6 whole pounds since his last 3 month check up. And is now measuring 4 foot 3 inches tall.

Because of the nature of some ADHD medicines, Liam sees the doctor every 3 months.  She always checks his growth.  At best he has gained weight in increments measured in grams.  Most visits though he would lose.

I don't know what the secret formula was this time, but we have certainly noticed that he has been hungry more often.  We still struggle with food choices, but this week he has embraced turkey breast, something we are very happy with.  Toast continues to be our go to food, and of course he eats lots of fruit every day.  School lunches might just push us over the edge, as the choices hes willing to eat at lunch are so limited.

So for today we celebrate the gain and hope that the trend continues and that the boy continues to grow.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012

Gangnam (Liam) Style


Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bi-Lingual Singing

I cannot carry a tune, I think I'm tone deaf and I have no rhythm.  None of that stops me from singing out loud, usually in the confines of the car or shower, or when I'm home alone.  I don't mind singing in front of Hilary and Liam.  I often get the words "wrong" according to Hilary which drives her crazy and then she feels the need to correct me.

Did you know that the words to  "In the Still of the Night"  aren't really "Shut up and show me love?"  I always thought that was a little risky for the '50s......

One thing that I've noticed recently, is that when I sing on my own, without singing along to the radio, is that I ALWAYS sing in French.  Growing up I went to French school up to grade 10 and while I do consider myself bi-lingual, I haven't used my French with any regularity in over 15 years.  It's funny what sticks with you from childhood though.

I only know the words to the French versions of Christmas carols.  I can start Oh Canada off in English, but by the second verse I've switched over to French without even realizing it.  The only lullabies that I ever sang to Liam were in French, though I have no idea where I learned them, since I don't recall my parents ever singing me French lullabies.

I don't have a huge repertoire of songs that I randomly sing, so Liam has heard the same ones over and over.  And every now and then he joins in.  Even though he claims to hate all things French and refuses to speak it with me ever (despite have French classes at school for the last 6 years), he doesn't seem to mind the singing.

That is when he's willing to put up with his tone deaf, off key mother singing in the first place.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dear Santa


I love that Liam's letter to Santa this year includes a "Good-O-Meter", especially since he didn't put himself at the very top of good!  And he remembered to let Santa know that he'll be at Grandma's house this year.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Fleas

One flea fly flew up the flue and 
The other flea fly flew down.


Unfortunately there was no flue involved, just 5 angry cats.  

I made the mistake over the summer of letting our cat Alice out into the back yard for an hour or two every now and then.  She wouldn't go any farther than sitting in the grass and would come back to the door and ask to be let in.  It seemed like a nice thing for me to do.

I will not be nice like that ever again.

One of cats, Edgar, is pure white, with 2 large black spots.  While petting him last week I noticed that the he had all sorts of black "dirt" throughout his white fur.  Closer inspection led me to the horror of finding critters scurrying about, close to his skin.

He was quickly bathed and everyone else inspected.  The other cats vary in colour from black and white to beige and orange.  We didn't see anything on them, but erred on the side of caution and everyone got a bath last Sunday morning.  Good thing too, as the water exposed what we could not see.  Everyone had fleas.

I wish we had taken a video of Oscar during his bath as he makes the most pitiful and horrible noises.  You would not think any living creature was capable of those sounds.  I am not willing to re-bath him just to capture the moment for posterity, but if we don't get this under control and have to bath him again, I'll be sure to have the camera ready.

All the cats are now sporting lovely new flea collars.  Hopefully all of our efforts (which included many, many loads of laundry) will work and the only bugs we'll be left with are Gary's crickets.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

PostCrossing


Do you PostCross?  No?  You should!  

It's a great website that let's you exchange your address with people around the world so that you can send and receive postcards.  Kind of like pen pals of days gone by, except that you don't keep exchanging letters with the same person (though you could if you found a connection with someone and wanted to stay in touch).  So far we have sent 9 postcards and received 10.  The farthest our cards have traveled so far have been to and from China.

We are also using this as a great geography lesson.  We are going to get a wall map and start pining all the different countries.  It's also a neat way to start an international stamp collection.

You can check out pictures of all the cards I've exchanged on my Gallery page.


Friday, November 30, 2012

Day 30 - Policy and Politics

Policy and Politics. Do you consider yourself an “activist” of any sort? If so, what areas of policy and social justice are you most passionate about? What outlets of activism (petitioning, blogging, writing op-eds, fundraising, etc.) have you done or would like to do? What do you wish others would understand about causes that are important to you?



I don't really have anything to say on today's topic.  I don't consider myself an activist of any sort.  While I have many causes that I believe in and that I support, I don't have any get all "activist-y" about them.


Well, I made it through NaBloPoMo, posting every day this month, sometimes even twice.  26 of the 30 days I even managed to blog about adoption, and I only 2 "throw away" type posts all month.  Not bad for my first attempt.  It's been a great exercise for me and I want to thank the amazing ladies over at Lost Daughters for providing such great and insightful prompts.

I certainly hope/plan to keep blogging, and I'm glad I got back to adoption topics.  I don't think I can keep up this intense frequency, but the month has certainly given me a lot to think about.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Day 29 - Culture Clash

Culture Clash. Have you ever experienced culture clash? If so, what kind of cultural clashes have you experienced? If you're an intercountry adoptee have you dealt with language barriers, different cultural values, or prejudice? If you haven’t experienced any of these things, what do you perceive to be differences in your adoptive culture and your natural culture and how do you reconcile those differences?

I was born to a low to middle income white family in a smallish town in southern Ontario.  I was a adopted by a middle income white family from the same town.  So not a whole lot of culture clash happening there.

My non-identifying information that my parents got when they picked me up from the adoption agency indicated that my birth father was French Canadian.  And so was my adoptive father.  I`ve always identified as being French Canadian as well, and I think that I do so partly because it gave me a connection to my birth family.

Something that I have often pondered has been how adoption affects an adoptees religious beliefs.  Born and raised in one family, you believe XYZ.  Adopted into another family and you believe ABC.  Most adoptions from my era followed fairly conventional religious sects. Christian born children were adopted into Christian families (although not necessarily the exact same religion) and Jewish born children went to Jewish families.  I was raised in the Catholic faith by my adoptive family, but would not have been Catholic had I been raised by Iris. I may have still believed in the same God, but would I have read a different bible, not believed in purgatory and not been able to pray to Saints of my choice? Now as an atheist, I wonder if any of those subtle differences even matter.  But it does make for some interesting "what if?" scenarios.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 28 - Reunion

Reunion. Are you reunited? Do you hope to be? Are you thinking of reunion but not quite ready? Are you just not interested in reuniting? What are your thoughts on reunion, the experiences you've already had in reunion, and your hopes for reunion in the future.


In 1999, a social worker for Ontario’s Children’s Aide department, opened a file, read a name, picked up the phone, called Iris and told her that her daughter wanted to be reunited with her.  I had originally applied for them to do this 10 years before hand.  Under staffing and an overwhelming response from adoptees when they first opened up the registry made for a very long wait to have them to spend 15 minutes reading a file and being able to reunite me with my birth mother.

Initially Iris wanted no contact with me at all.  Other than my birth father, no one knew of my existence.  That`s a pretty big secret to keep for 30 years.  Especially when I found out that my older sister still lived at home with Iris.  That fact was what complicated my reunion with Iris more than anything.  Iris eventually came around and decided to have contact with me via letters. But I could not, never ever, send anything to her house, in case Madelaine found it.  At first this was okay, because Iris was still working full time, even though she was in her 70s. Once Iris retired though, it became much more difficult to contact her, to the point that I no longer have any contact.

Reunion for me was not what I had hoped for.  Knowing that my very existence is a secret that must be kept at all cost has been difficult to accept.  I have since found out more information about why it may not be safe for Iris to tell Madelaine about me, and that makes it easier to understand, but it doesn`t make it hurt any less.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 27 - Diversity

Diversity. Adult adoptees are a minority group in surrounding society. Historically, we have been both small in size and limited in power. Our diversity as adoptees intersects with our other diversities in many ways. We here at LD are women. Many adoptees are people of color, gay/lesbian/pan/poly/bi, transgendered, differently abled, transracially adopted, etc. How do your elements of diversity intersect in adoption? What are the strengths you’ve found in your personal diversity? What are the challenges? What can you or have you learned from adoptees who are different than you are?


I'm about as non-diverse as they come... white, Canadian, middle class, my parents never divorced, I have a high school education, I speak English.  Sure I'm also a Lesbian, I speak French, and I identify with a French Canadian heritage.   But I don't feel that there is a lot of variety in my life that would give me personal diversity. 

I have had challenges in the past related to being a Lesbian.  I have been fired from jobs, lost friends and family and was denied family benefits at work.  But all of that was more than 20 years ago.  Today I'm very out in all areas of my life and can't think of the last time I encountered any issues with my being Gay.

The diversity that I see within groups of adoptees is between those who want to search and those who do not.  Often those two camps of people can be very diverse and can have difficulty understanding where each other is coming from.  This often leads to the labeling of the "bitter" or "angry" adoptee vs the "in denial" adoptee.  Over  the course of my adoption journey I have vacillated from one camp to the other, finally settling somewhere in the middle.  So maybe I do have some diversity after all.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Day 26 - Feminism

Feminism. As a female adult adoptee, how has the fact that you're adopted shaped you in terms of feminism and women's rights? Do you find the two related? If so, how? Explain.



I don't know if being adopted has shaped my views of feminism and woman's rights.  I believe in equal rights, equal pay for equal work, equality in politics and every other area of life.

I believe in a woman's right to control her own body.  I am very much pro-choice....now.  Growing up as a teenager, heavily influenced by religion at that time, I was very much pro-life.  And part of that I believe was influenced by being adopted.  I was only looking at things from a naive, teenage view and reading the propaganda that "adoption is the better option".

Age, maturity and life experience has taught me that this is not always the case and that the decision to continue a pregnancy or choose abortion has nothing to do with the decision to parent or place.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Day 25- Understanding

Understanding. How important is it to you that your friends and/or spouse can understand you and support you? Do you think they can ever really know what you're feeling and going through? How do you help them to understand things from your point of view? Do your friends and/or spouse seem interested in furthering the discussion? Do they read books, blogs, or otherwise educate themselves about adoption issues? Do you disagree about any of the fundamentals? Do you agree? Do you think that your relationship with that person has altered their view on adoption in general?


I don't think that it's important for others to understand my feelings and what I'm going through, since often I don't understand it, and can certainly not articulate it well.  What is much more important to me is their respect of my feelings, even if they don't understand them or agree with them.  Hilary and I have certainly had many discussions on my feelings and what I'm going through, especially around the time that I was first in contact with Iris.  Did she understand?  No, how could she?  I don't understand when she talks about growing up with divorced parents.  We support each other, we empathize and above all else, we are there for each other, but we can never truly understand that which we have not lived.

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view - until you climb into his skin and walk around in it." spoken by Atticus Finch, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Day 24 - Love interrupted

Love: As an adult adoptee what are your thoughts on marriage, love, and family? What are your thoughts on sex before marriage and common law marriage? If you're an interracial adoptee do you think it matters of your partner is the same ethnicity as you are? Have you ever been in a relationship with another adult adoptee? If yes, what was that like? Was it harder or easier than other relationships you've had? If no, would you ever consider dating another adult adoptee? Do you think it would be easier or harder?


INTERRUPTED!


Today's adoption related post on love is interrupted by the need for my Love and I to go and watch a cheesy love story.



See you tomorrow!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Day 23 - Terminology

Terminology: What do you call your natural/first/birth/biological mother/father/family? Why? Are there different rules for different family members? What term(s) is not acceptable to you? How do you refer to them to others? If you're in reunion, do you introduce them the same way? How does your natural/first/birth/biological mother family feel about the term? Does it matter to them? What about your adoptive family? Do you use a qualifier when speaking about them? If not always but sometimes, when do you use it?

I have always used the term birthmother/father when I need to differentiate who I am referring to in conversation for my own parents. More often than not I will simply say “my mother Iris”, or just Iris, unless who she is unknown to the person with whom I’m speaking. On the other hand, I never use the term birthmother to refer to Liam’s Mom (see the difference even there… Mother vs Mom). If I have to use something to explain who she is beyond “Liam’s Mom”, or just her first name, I will use Liam’s First Mother. Of course the fact that Liam also lives with 2 mothers can cause all sorts of confusion! I go by Mama and Hilary goes by Mummy, and it’s all very clear to us, our friends and family and even Liam’s teachers, but beyond that people tend to get confused as to who is who. It’s rare that I have to use the qualifier “adoptive mom”. I just refer to her as Mom and assume that everyone knows who I’m talking about. If the conversation is about both my mother’s, than I might need to clarify things.

Even though Iris and I have reunited, I have never had the opportunity to introduce her to anyone else, so I’m not sure how I would handle that. I would probably just use her first name and leave it at that.


I really do hate it when people use the term birthmother for an expectant woman who might make an adoption plan for their unborn child. I hate it when people shorten birth mother to BM in forums or online. I hate the term “real” mother too. Not because it make me, the adoptive mother, feel not real. I’m not really sure why I hate it, it just doesn’t sit right with me.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Day 22 - Open Adoption

Open-Adoption. How was your adoption classified (open, semi-open, closed)? Do you think that the method of adoption made an impact on your views of adoption? Explain. Do you wish your adoption had been done differently? What are your thoughts on open adoption? Do you think that an adult adoptee will face some of the same issues as those in closed adoptions? Can reunion level the playing field? Explain.

I was adopted in 1970 at the height of adoption secrecy.  I don't think there was even the option of open-adoption, unless it was a kinship placement and everyone already knew each other.

Growing up in a closed adoption had a huge impact on my view of adoption when we were presented with the idea of adopting to grow our family. I very much wanted Liam to have an open adoption.  I wanted him to have a relationship with his mother, his siblings and his extended family. Alas, it has not turned out that way.  

I don't think that adoptees growing up in an open adoption will face the same issues that those of us from closed adoptions faced.  Some of if it simply the changes in society - adoption, be it closed or open, doesn't have the same secrecy and shame that it did when I was born.  And being in reunion with a virtual stranger, has got to be a whole lot different then having a lifetime of shared experiences with someone you grew up knowing.  

Other then in cases of safety for the child, I think open adoption is always the best option.  And even in cases of safety issues, there can be safe ways to maintain some level of contact and openness.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Raynaud's Update

I was first diagnosed with Raynaud's Syndrome more than 10 years ago and I still suffer from it on a daily basis in the winter.

My doctor prescribes 2.5 mg of amlodipine beylate for my Raynaud's. When I first started on the medication I had a noticeable improvement in my symptoms. Now I'm not convinced that it actually does anything, since I don't notice a decrease in episodes on the days I remember to take it vs. the days I don't.

I get Raynaud's symptoms in my hands, feet and nipples.  My hands are by far the worse, though the nipples hurt like a son of a gun!

For me the best solution is to simply not allow myself to get cold. From November on I dress in layers - bra, long sleeve silk long john shirt, tank top or t-shirt and a sweater. That's for being inside at the office! For outside I add another long sleeve t-shirt.

High quality wool socks are a must and I always wear flannel lined Crocs around the house (with the socks). I take my Crocs with me as slippers whenever we go to someone else's house too. I have elbow length finger-less "gloves" that I wear. They don't have the individual finger holes like some finger-less gloves, but look more like a mitten without the top part. I ensure that I never, ever touch anything cold or metallic with my bare skin. If I don't have gloves on, I pull down my sleeve to cover my hand to open a door. I wear oven mitts to hold a bowl of ice cream while I eat it. I avoid kitchen activities that involve touching cold things, but I'm the first to volunteer to wash the dishes as it warms me up.

At the office I keep a hot water bottle handy that I hold in my lap and I have a hand warmer that plugs into the USB port of my laptop to heat it up. We also have a half dozen reusable hand warmers around the house and buy the charcoal activated ones from the dollar store.

I guess it's become more of a way of life for me then something that has a medical solution.

Day 21 - Biology

Biology: According to science, we all inherit something from our natural families. If you are in reunion, are there any traits or characteristics you know you inherited? How does that make you feel? If you are not in reunion, what do you hope to share with your natural family? How important is genetics to you personally?

When  I got the first letter from Iris, my birth mother, that contained photos, I was so very excited. Would I finally look at a picture of someone else and see my eyes, my nose, any bits of me?  I was disappointed that I did not see any of myself in either Iris or my older half sister Madelaine.  Iris later commented on pictures of me that I sent her that I looked more like my father than like her.  However, I don't have any pictures of him, so I'll never be able to see myself reflected in someone else.

I don't think that genetics is all that important to me.  Sure I would love to have my medical genetic history, but after 40+ years of not being able to answer doctor's questions, I've gotten used to not having it.  Many adoptees talk about their longing and connection to having their own children, to finally having someone that they are genetically related too in their lives.  I have never felt that need, which is probably obvious from the fact that I became a mother through adoption.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20 - Jealousy

Jealousy. Nobody’s perfect and sometimes we become jealous of other people (just as others become jealous of us). Has a non-adopted person told you they were jealous of you? If so, how did that make you feel? How did you respond? If you are in reunion, has jealousy come into play at all? For example, if you have siblings, have they expressed jealousy about a difference in lifestyle? Are you jealous of them? How do you handle this? If you are not in reunion, do you harbor any jealousy toward anyone? If not, why do you think that is?

I  really do hate it when non-adopted people tell me they are jealous and wished they were adopted too.  They don't understand the consequences of what they are wishing for.  I try to correct them, but they often down't want to hear it and pishaw what I say as silly ramblings of someone who must be bitter about something, since adoption is ALWAYS rainbows and unicorns.

In reunion I have had brief moments of jealousy that my sister Madelaine was not put up for adoption and got to grow up with our mother.  But knowing all the things I know now about her life and her struggles, I am no longer jealous.

I'm often jealous of non-adopted people for little things:  siblings that look like, shared ancestral knowledge, being able to answer simple medical questions.

Adoption apparently breeds jealousy on many fronts.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19 - I got nothin

Today's writing prompt was about adoptee writers.  While I do read many adoptee blogs, and I've read a few books by adoptee's, I just don't have it in me to post about this tonight.  Tae Kwon Do kicked my butt, parenting is HARD and I'm going to enjoy my cup of Rooibos tea and head to bed.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 18 - Siblings

Siblings: Do you have siblings in your adoptive family? Were they also adopted or not? What was your relationship like in regards to adoption? If you are in reunion, did you find siblings as part of your search? How you been affected by your sibling relationships? If you searched and found siblings, and had adoptive siblings, what has that been like? If you don’t have siblings, have you found any benefits to being an only child?

I grew up as an only child and was always so VERY jealous of people with siblings.  I was drawn to TV families with large sibling groups - The Walton's, The Brady Bunch, 8 is Enough.  To me, they were the ideal families.  

I was always aware of the fact that I had a sister who lived with my birth mother.  She was 6 years old when I was born.  Oh the fantasy life I led with this mystery sister who didn't even have a name.

When I reunited with Iris, my birth mother, I found out that I also had 4 1/2 siblings on my father'side, something I had never considered.  The only reason I had never considered this possibility was that Iris had told the adoption agency that she was widowed.  I have no contact and no information on these 4, other than they were in their 20s when I was born putting them all in the 60s now.  I do know that one is named Carol and is a lesbian, but that is all that I know.

Liam is growing up knowing that he had  siblings living with his Mom. He knows their names and when their birthdays are, but that is all the information we have.  We talk of them often and he would very much like to meet them and have a relationship with them.  Otherwise he too is growing up as an only child.

And our last sibling/adoption connection lies with Hilary.  She has just reunited with an older half sibling who was placed for adoption 9 years before she was born.  They continue to get to know each other now that they have had the chance to meet.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Getting healthy with stuffies

Thanks to Aunt Becky from Mommy Wants Vodka, I am now the proud owner of 5 new organs that are all designed to motivate you to better health.

Let me introduce you to:

Hardy Heart
Hardy Heart is going to help me choose low-fat

The Kidney Brothers
These 2 styling brothers are going to help me drink more water.

Peri Stolic
Peri Stolic is going to help me stay regular by choosing high-fiber.


Madame Muscle
Madame Muscle is going to motivate me to exercise more.

The "game" concept is a cute one.  Introduce one of the 4 topics to your kids for the week, do the activities in the booklet and if they are successful, reward them with the appropriate stuffie at the end.  I don't think this is something we are going to try with Liam, since we already struggle with food issues.  And at the cool age of 10, I don't think he would be too motivated by these guys as rewards.  But he did like them and they will live happily ever after with his sperm.


Day 17 -Adoptee Connections

Adoptee connections: Did you know many adoptees growing up? Do you know more now? How have adoptee friendships (online or in-real-life) impacted your experience? How do you generally make adoptee connections?

At every stage of my life I've had friends, family and acquaintances who were also adopted. 

  • Out of 10 kid in my elementary classes, 2 of us were adopted
  • My parent's best friend was adopted, as was her sister, so I had a grown up adoptee to turn to when I needed to
  • I babysat 2 kids who were adopted - this one bothered me the most because the boys (ages 7 and 10ish) had not been told they were adopted, even though 2 of their aunts are the woman in my point above. I very much wanted to tell them about their past, but 13 year old me had sense enough not to do that!
  • At one point in my working career there were 4 of us that worked in a small office area - 3 were adoptees and 2 of us were adoptive parents
  • My current group of 12 coworkers has 3 adoptees in it
  • In my adoptive family I have 6 cousins who were also adopted
  • We recently found out and reconnected with Hilary's older 1/2 brother who was placed for adoption when he was born
  • I've made many online connections through blogs and forums with other adoptees
  • One of our best friends is an adoptee
  • Other good friends of our recently adopted
  • Even my own kid is adopted!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16 - Knowledge About Your Adoption

Knowledge About Your Adoption Some adoptive parents share more than others for various reasons. How much of your adoptive parents’ story shared with you? If they shared details about your adoption, how did that make you feel? If they did not, do you wish they had? Did your parents share with you why they choose to adopt? Did they share that story with others in your life? If so, did it affect you in any ways?

I've mentioned before that one of the best things my parents ever did was tell me about my adoption from before I was old enough to remember and always shared everything they knew with me.  Well.... almost always.

When I was 12 I asked my mom to get my non-identifying info (since that was all that was available to me). She wrote for it and got it back within 6 months, but didn’t give it to me till I was 30. Her reason, I never asked her for it again. And the reason I never asked for it again was that I trusted her to give it to me when it arrived.

I always knew that my mother couldn't have children.  She had several miscarriages after they adopted me, and I remember her being in the hospital or home sick on the couch when I was quite young. They never made me feel like adoption was a second choice or that I was the "replacement" child for the one they couldn't have on their own.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15 - The Unexpected

The Unexpected:  Is there an area of your life that most people would not suspect has been affected by your adoption in which being adopted has been an issue? How do you handle that area when discussing with other people?

  


 I skipped the Day 14 prompt as I didn't really have anything to say on it and I already had 2 posts scheduled for the 19th for my Daring Kitchen Challenge and the Adoption Blogger interview.


I was struggling with what to write for this prompt, so I read it aloud to Hilary who was in another room.  She's very good at dead-pan humour and shouted back to me "It made you gay."  Which made me snort and spit things all over the laptop screen.

But it did get me thinking about my adoption/gay connection.  It is an area of my life that has an adoption connection, thought I wouldn't say that it has been "affected" by my adoption.   And most people do not suspect the connections.

The connections, you see, come from both my first family AND my adoptive family.  I could be the poster lesbian for the nature vs. nurture debate of what causes gayness.

In my adoptive family, I grew up with 2 uncles, both only 8 and 10 years older than I am, that are both gay.  I was very close them when I was growing up and even hung out in gay bars and parties with them before I self-identified as a lesbian.

In my first family, I have a 1/2 sister on my father's side who is also a lesbian. While I have never met her, we do share DNA.

So did either of these connections cause me to be a lesbian?  I don't think so, I think they are much more coincidental.  If I were straight, we would never even consider the conversation: "Well I have 2 straight uncles and my 1/2 sister was straight, so that must be why I am."

I don't think anything cause me to be a lesbian.  It just is who I am. But it does make for an interesting conversation about unexpected adoption connections.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Adoption Interview Project 2012

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012

I have once again this year participated in the Adoption Blogger Interview project.  This year I was paired up with a new adoptive Mom who blogs at TTA baby (TTA = Trying to adopt).  While she is no longer blogging on a regular basis, I would invite you to go back and read through her archives. She and her DH underwent quite the journey to become parents, including a month long stay out of state at the hospital with BabyGirl when she was just born and going through some health issues. Here are the questions that I put out to her after reading through her blog.  I hope you enjoy.  You can also head over to TTA baby to read her interview withe me.





Q: It was exciting to see an update on your blog. Do you think you will continue to blog, now that you are finished the TTA part of your journey?

A: I do think I will post from time to time. I've actually been surprised how hard it has been to give up. Taking a break has meant I've had time to read other blogs as well as have a chance to comment! We are no longer trying to adopt so the name doesn't really work. I actually chose the blog name since it was finite. We do have a few aspects of the adoption process that has not wrapped up. We don't have a birth certificate. So we can't get a social security # and thus she does not have a bank account or a passport. Our closest zoo is in Canada so I want a passport!!! We also have not done our taxes and enjoyed the process of getting a credit for our adoption fees. Lastly we have not gone on our first trip to visit her birth family. So all of those topics may lead to an occasional post but not at the frequency I was posting before. Blogging really helped me in developing my adoption perspective. I'm not perfect I make mistakes, I judge, I chose the wrong words at times, and I'm human. In blogging it makes me more aware of the language I use as well as challenges me to think- how might another aspect of the triad read that and respond to that post. In the end I want to be a good Mom and more importantly I want Baby Girl to feel like adoption is one aspect of who she is but not who she is. I want her to grow up knowing that adoption is an OK topic to bring up. We have so many open and semi-open adoptions in our neighborhood I think more likely I will try to establish more contact with them (three of the kiddos are within a year of Baby Girl). Each of our three families are as unique as the next and I think putting my effort into helping baby girl see that all families look different will be more beneficial to her. So we shall see...

Q: Knowing everything that you know now and what you have gone through, what is the one thing you would change about your adoption experience? 

A: That's hard. My first response that came to mind was: Baby Girls Birth Mothers health. This would have meant that the decision process for D would have been so different. D would have had the choice to parent because this one aspect of her life dictated her whole life. Her health was such a mountain for her to conquer that had she been well maybe she could have parented. It's such an IF. In each of our letters I've continued to express my wish for her to get well. So often people in the adoption world discuss how in many cases parenting could have been considered had other obstacles been lifted like unemployment or lack of parenting support. D's obstacles have been life long for her which is why she has not been able to parent any of her children. This makes me sad because not only does D lose out but so do her parents, as well as baby girls birth siblings. (As an aside the reason I like our home agency is that they provide counseling to all expectant mothers that come to them and try to identify any barriers to parenting that can be overcome and if the woman wants to work with them on doing so they provide a safe place to live while they work towards solutions to their barriers) So this lead me to the second thing I wish I could change and that is the distance we are from PA. We are an 8 hour drive from PA and thus baby girls extended family. So this mean when we went down to PA and DH left me to go back to work I was completely and utterly alone far away from my support system. It also meant when we took baby girl home she is far away from her extended family who loves her very much. If we do grow our family DH and I already have agreed we will not adopt from a different state. Not only with a second child would it be impossible for me to leave DH and baby girl alone I also feel like I need to have my childs birthfamily closer. In being in PA we also had to work with a different agency which we do not have such a high opinion of.

Q: Your blog is obviously written from your perspective and your experience. How did your husband fair during it all? Were there times where you found yourselves on very different pages? How did you handle that? 

A: DH is quiet. If I have an idea I often bring it up to him and then leave it. I think he has forgotten about it and suddenly he will out of the blue give me a response. DH had agreed to adoption being part of our family plan even before we were even engaged to be married which is why I think I never let him go. We had a hard time agreeing to if we would adopt first or have a biological child first. Initially he got me to agree to TTC first and when it wasn't happening I got him to agree to at least start the adoption process and if we conceived well we could continue the adoption process later. In some ways I wish we had done it the other way around because the adoption process is long but I also know that if we had adopted first and then TTC and it failed DH would always wonder if we just waited too long. DH and I still dont fully agree on foster vs private adoption. In our state termination of perental rights rarely occurs prior to two years of attempting family reunification for foster children. Two years is a long time not knowing if the child you love will stay or go. We both work/have worked with children in the foster care system and DH just feels like emotionally its too much for him and it would feel like brining work home. I'd love someday to convince him to do foster care (without the desire to adopt). I love children and my favorite ages are 0-5. I'd love to get a chance to be a family that could provide the love a child needed until their biofamily was able to care for them fully again. I don't think DH will ever be able to do this and well I have to respect his limits. Our checklist on our adoption application also was an area where we had some discussions about comfort. A few of the medical diagnosis were things that DH was worried about but since I work in health care I was hardly worried about. I swayed him on some by fully educating him while others he wasn't willing to compromise on. Ultimately some of the things you "decline" can't be verified for months or years after the baby is born. In the end we both agreed we hated the check list and we asked the agency to disregard our check list and just offer to have our book shown and I'm glad we did because we likely would never have met our baby girl. So above were my opinions on how DH faired during the adoption process. Tonight at dinner I asked DH how he thought he faired during the process his response.... drum roll.... "fine." How was the process during the time baby girl was in the hospital "OK." So I'll try to interpret his responses. He just like me wanted to give up at times while we waited but he would do anything for me and well he knew I wanted to be a Mom and he was going to make that happen. I think he felt badly that we were not just able to conceive. I know at least once he confided in me he hated work because coworkers talked about their kids too much and showed him pictures of their kids doing cute things because they just couldn't understand. As for the hospital part- he hated it. He also has admitted to me that he is glad it was me down there and not him because I'm far more patient then he is. He was really upset that J waited until he left before coming to meet baby girl. He shared with me tonight that he is glad Baby Girl has him as a Father. I think my interpretation of that is that DH is going to be there, respect both Baby Girl and me, and will make her realize how much she is worth every sacrifice we may have to make. She is 100% a Daddy's Girl.

Q: What has been your biggest surprise since becoming a parent? 

A: Such a simple question but so hard to answer! I guess one thing that has surprised me is my patience and ability to be laid back. I'm not laid back- I am a planner, I like order, and I like things done just so. Getting excited about getting out the door by an 11 AM reading time at the library our first month home would have been humorous to me a year ago. (I now get us out the door by 7:15 AM- I've progressed). I don't sweat the small stuff. Seeing dog hair on her clothes still drives me crazy and I vacuum more then I ever did before, however I've learned to just block off some areas. The office rarely gets cleaned but the door is always closed and no one sees it. It doesn't hurt anyone. I'd rather spend time playing with her on the floor then worrying about if the bills that are paid have been filed. There are things I'd like to get done like Baby Girls Adoption book but until then I'll just have to tell her the story without the book.

Q: Do you still believe that open adoption is the right option for you and your daughter? 

A: D finally did write a letter!!! I read it to baby girl who smiled at me while I read it. So I hold hope that she will be in baby girls life. Our adoption is best described as semi-open/open. We have all identifying information for both of baby girls birth parents. I have her birthparents complete documentation from the agency. I also have a copy of our daughters original birth certificate (though PA does not legally allow this). D and J expressed their desire for us to know everything about them and there is nothing blacked out on her paper work. This means Baby Girl will always theoretically be able to find them. On the flip side D and J have my cell phone number, they know the name of the agency we used here in our home state as well as the agency in PA, they know our first names and the state we live in. They have an e-mail address created with baby girls first name they can contact us with but they never have. We have a shutterfly account that I know baby girls birth siblings go to and have uploaded pictures for us, but I dont think D or J view it. Unfortunately (not because i'm worried they will kidnap her) I do not feel D and J can be trusted at this time with the same level of openness. If we were to move I plan to always update our agency. I have not changed my # (even when I was getting texts in the middle of the night and so desperately wanted to). We continue to check our daughters e-mail address. They will always have a means to contact us in writing. I think time will tell if visits will happen for D and J. D indicated that she wont be available in Phili for our 1st visit. We still have not heard from J. I know for a fact that D's mother and baby girls birth siblings want a visit in the spring and I have every intention of making sure that happens. As long as the visits are healthy and safe for baby girl we will go. For an initial visit if D and/or J are there we will need to have visits at the agency to ensure ground rules are kept (that way if its not healthy for baby girl we dont have to be the ones that end it as this would hurt baby girls relationship with her birth parents if we were the ones to need to end it). I feel like I do need to set limits and expectations but primarily because the two of them have no limits/realistic expectations (i.e. J asked me if once we were home if he could drive to see us at our house. To which I responded that if he wanted to visit near our home we could arrange a visit with notice and would arrange a visit at the agency in our state.) I'm open to a visit here but my ground rules are: notice, supervision, and a healthy state.

Q: Breast feeding an adopted child can be very controversial. Is it something you discussed with your daughter’s mother before the adoption was finalized? If so, was she supportive? If not, why did you chose not to tell her? 

A: I think breast feeding can be controversial in all areas of parenting and was shocked at how much resistance I got to trying. My first time googling breastfeeding and adoption I found a forum discussing how breastfeeding an adopted child was equivalent to molesting a child. I grew up in a home where I had four cousins born around the same time as my younger sister and my aunts/mom would pass the babies around. Milk was milk and hungry babies need milk. So the comment on the forum shocked me! In order to induce lactation I had to take medication which is in a grey area here in the US. It is legal in Canada and Europe however the FDA here in the US does not approve the drug. The FDA banned the drug because when the drug was administered intravenously it resulted in cardiac failure. The Canadian research I found indicated that the drug should never have been given intravenously. There is this funny loop hole and that is compounding pharmacies. If you can get a physician to give you a prescription (which I was able to do) I was able to go to a compounding pharmacy which is not regulated by the FDA the same as other pharmacies and they made the drug specifically for me. Its not exactly legal but its not illegal from my understanding. Since I have no cardiac issues my physician was not concerned about the drug. Since adoption is already complicated I decided that I was not going to share since sharing would likely lead to questions about how I induced lactation. I legally obtained the drug here in the USA. The last thing I needed was to have my home study questioned because I was taking drugs. I did discuss breast feeding with D generally to feel her out. She did not breast feed any of her children and had actually been instructed not to with baby girl because of her health. I did consider telling D however I did get the sense that D was not overly positive about breastfeeding. I was very cautious to advocate for medical care but not make medical decisions for Baby Girl when legally it was not my place. I'm sure there are other parenting choices D and I may not see eye to eye on however D chose me to make the decisions I thought were best for baby girl. I waited until we were home and in a place where D had entrusted me to make the decisions I thought were best for Baby Girl. Baby Girl never did latch on after drinking from a bottle for a month at the hospital. She had a very unorganized suck and plain and simple was a mess. My primary goal was the milk though having her latch on would have been a convenience and I may have gone longer had she latched on. In her 9 months she has only gotten sick three times and I'd like to think the breast milk helped. Am I glad I did this for Baby Girl- yes.

Q: You wrote a beautiful, heartfelt letter to D and J, in which you talk about planning on forgiving them. How are you managing with that? Is it getting easier with time? 

A: I think that letter was the most therapeutic thing I've done. It was also the scariest post I ever posted. The most mundane post can lead to a rant in a comment. I think I had every right to be angry at D and J because they failed baby girl during the pregnancy. With that said I held onto my anger towards them for too long. My letter helped me realize my anger towards them is four levels deep 1) I held an unrealistic expectation as to who my daughters birth parents would be (especially given our check list) 2) the health complications baby girl experienced as a result of D's lack of care for her own health 3) the explanation I will have to give baby girl as to why she was adopted and 4) the manipulation. By identifying why I was upset with them I could start to understand and forgive. Its easy for me to think had D just taken care of herself for 9 months baby girls start to life would have been so different. So now rather then just thinking about how she just should have stepped up and taken care of herself I now find it easier to walk myself thru the process of where D was in life when baby girl was born and why she was making the choices she was. D's health issues are bigger then just a matter of going to a doctor and taking care of herself. Its the big picture I need to remind myself to look at. D is stuck in a cycle that she can't get out of and cant get better. One poor choice leads to another and she is sinking. I hope at times that the adoption process was her low- her wake up call that she needs to take care of herself. Her letter to baby girl did indicate that things are moving in a positive direction for her and I pray that she really can get on her feet and take care of herself. She would make an amazing social worker like she expressed she wanted to become because she has lived the struggle. I still have found myself overcome with frustration when D's choices during her pregnancy still affect Baby Girl. Our daughter has dealt with too many adult problems in her short life. Lucky for her by the time she is more aware those adult problems they will be hopefully be behind her but even today during her well baby visit some of those issues creeped in again. J I have a harder time reminding myself to let go of the anger. Unlike D he never once admitted that his actions resulted in baby girls time in the NICU. To him it was all D's fault. Since I know less about his history its harder for me to understand why he is the way he is. If I could just explain it I might understand. I'm going to have to be truthful to Baby Girl and I wont be able to sugar coat everything. As baby girl is old enough to understand different aspects of her story I'll share them with her. I'm learning to come to terms with the idea that though I'm her Mom I wont likely have good answers to all of her questions.


You can also check out all the other interviews at Production, Not Reproduction.

Daring Kitchen - Brining

Blog-checking lines:  Audax of Audax Artifax was our November 2012 Daring Cooks’ host. Audax has brought us into the world of brining and roasting, where we brined meat and vegetables and roasted them afterwards for a delicious meal!


Hilary has brined food before, and as a technique, it's not particularly difficult - dissolve some salt in water, add some spices, submerge the food to be brined and let it sit for awhile and cook as you normally would.  So the real challenge for me this month was to cook a chicken.  Once upon a time I was a vegetarian, and while I enjoy meat now, I'm still not very good with handling it raw, or in any physically identifiable form.  Hilary is often required to cut up my chicken before serving it to me if we are having thighs or drumsticks.  A nice slice of breast meat that I can't tell at a glance where it came from?  No problem!

So to challenge myself to cook a whole, raw chicken, seemed slightly insurmountable.  What has always happened in the past when I have been faced with no option but to cook something like this, there was simply no way that I could eat it afterwards.  But that didn't happen this time!  Hilary helped with getting the bird ready for the brine, but I ran with things from there.  I even made stuffing and stuffed the bird myself (with my bare hands!  no spoons!)


 
Zipper locked bags* work great for brining.  



The chicken did not brown up as well as I would have liked, but I think that is because I didn't start it off in a very hot oven before lowering the temperature.  It didn't look very appetizing, but it still tasted great (even the skin)



The chicken was super-moist and tasty.  Hilary found it a bit too salty, but she had a drumstick.  I found the (non-identifiable!) breast meat to seasoned just right.  I will confess that I had to have Hilary carve and serve.  If I had done it and the knife had come even close to hitting a bone, I would have had to order in pizza.

Overall, it was a great challenge, and while I still have meat issues, I cooked a whole, from raw, chicken (mostly) by myself!  



* We use the no-name ones, which work just as well, so no need to call out a major brand by name when I don't even use it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13 - You & Adoptee Rights

You & Adoptee Rights. Do you have access to your OBC? If you do, have you gotten yours yet? What did that mean to you? If you haven't, what's stopping you? If you don't have access, how does that directly affect you (if at all)?
I don’t have my original birth certificate (OBC) and I’ve never really had any desire to get it (and I’m not ever sure if I can or not). I don’t know if it’s because my birth certificate doesn’t list parents on it; it’s just an oversized credit card like laminated piece of paper that lists my (adoptive) name, my date of birth and the date my birth was registered. That was one thing that I always thought was a bit hinky as a kid. The registration date is a full year after my date of birth. What I didn’t understand as a kid was that that was the date that this birth certificate, with my adoptive name, was issued, after my adoption was finalized.

I know that having their OBC is a big deal for a lot of adoptees, but it’s not for me. Nor is it for any of the other adoptees that I know in real life. Maybe that’s a Canadian/American difference? I don’t really know. I don’t see my birth certificate as a lie, or a cover up. It is simply a matter of record of who I am. I am not Colleen Wilson, though that was my name for the first 6 weeks of my life.

I don’t often have to use my birth certificate for ID anymore, but if I did, I would not want it to somehow indicate on there that I had been adopted, something that I’ve seen some adoptees advocate for. Sharing whether or not I was adopted is something that I should have the choice to do, and not be something that was communicated every time I signed up for swimming lessons as a kid. I also don’t think that I would want/be able to use my original birth certificate, with my original name, as it is no longer valid.

Birth certificates are certainly an area of adoption that can be complicated, but I don’t think people should tie their identity into a government issued piece of paper.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12 - Significant Others

Significant Others...Has being adopted affected your romantic relationships? If so, how? What is your relationship like with your adoptive family? Do you feel connected to your extended adoptive family (grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins, etc.)? If reunited, do you feel connected to your extended natural family? Are there disconnects? Explain.

I don't think that being adopted ever affected my romantic relationships, but like Rebecca of  Love is Not a Pie said so eloquently " I have no non-adopted self to function as the control for comparison."  I think my foray into romantic relationships was much more affected by the fact that I was just coming out as a lesbian and finding my way and myself in that area.

However, having a strong, amazing and supportive partner during my reunion with Iris was so very important. Hilary was my rock, there with me during every twist and dive of the roller coaster ride.  And she is still there for me.  Understanding when a TV show has me sobbing on the couch, or I need to rant about this or that that I've read online in the adoption world.

As for my extended adoptive family, I do feel connected to them.  My Dad was one of 10 kids, but he was only close to 4 of them.  I feel very close to those 4, and all of their children and grandchildren.  It might help that I have 6 cousins who were also adopted, so I was never the "odd" man out.

There was one time when I did feel a huge disconnect to my adoptive family.  My Grandma, Mom and I visited distant relatives in England when I was 12.  England is steeped in history and ancestry is very important.  While we were there we visited ancient family grave yards and castles that "our" ancestors had worked and lived in.  That was the first time that my adoption really hit me hard when I realized that I had no idea who MY ancestors were.  I had no family grave yards to visit, no stories of Great Uncle so and so working as the gardener  in this great castle. I broke down that night and sobbed in my mother's arms.  She was (and still is!) amazing and understanding.  While she couldn't fix it she did reiterate that she and my dad would do whatever they could to help my find my parents when I was ready.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11 - Personal Opinions Regarding Adoption

Personal Opinions Regarding Adoption: What is your opinion of adoption today? Are you in favor of or against adoption, and how do various circumstances affect your opinion? Has your opinion changed over time? If so, what caused you to rethink your former opinion? What do you think is the biggest need for change in the adoption industry or is the current model for adoption fine the way it is?

I wouldn't classify myself as for or against adoption, but more that I'm pro-family preservation.  Adoption is a life long solution to what is often a temporary problem. I know that these thoughts sound very odd coming from someone who has adopted, but that is part of how many opinion has changed over time.  It can be very hard to explain.  

I love Liam more then life itself and could not fathom not having him in my life.  I do not regret for a second that we adopted him.  Yet... there was no real reason for his mother to place him for adoption, other than lack of support at the time.  She has proven that by going on to having another child since Liam that she is raising. It's just that circumstances at the time of Liam's birth seemed insurmountable to her.  And I wish that that had not been the case.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10 - Reactions to Searching

Reactions to Searching: If you've searched for or are thinking of searching for your natural family, what would you say to those who think your desire to search means you are unhappy in your adoptive family or had a bad childhood? If you don't have a desire to search, what would you say to those who wonder why you have no interest in knowing where you come from?

I started "searching" when I was just a kid.  It wasn't very scientific (or successful!).  Since I knew my last name and thought I knew approximately when my father would have died, I searched obituaries and phone books. I never had any negative feedback growing up, though I don't think I ever told my parents what I was  doing as they always maintained that they would help me search when I was ready.  I don't think I was truly ready then.

My main "searching" happened when I was an adult.  I was mostly a passive bystander in the process, waiting for Children's Aide in Ontario to open my file, look up my birth mother's name and call her.  That took them 10 years. I didn't have a lot of people imply or tell me out right that I must have been unhappy as a child or had a horrible childhood.  A few casual work acquaintances have asked Why would you search? with an undertone to it that I usually cut off pretty quickly with my reply.  

The hardest reaction I've gotten was from close family friends when I posted last year about Iris telling me "Enjoy your life and forget me." They wanted to encourage this and all felt that it was for the best, without understanding the pain and grief that I was feeling.  Luckily this was not a wide spread reaction and I got more support then anything.

I do get many more negative reactions when I discuss Liam's adoption.  When people find out that his mother has chosen not to have contact with us, they act all relieved and happy!  And then when I go on a tirade about why this is THE WORST THING possible and how I hate not having contact with her and how hard it is on Liam and how I wish I could change it, they are gobsmacked.  No amount of back peddling on their part will save them from my rant about why open adoption is better for the child then closed and how horrible it was for me to grow up with no back ground information.  Often, these same folks don't want to talk to me about adoption after that.... go figure.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9 - Becoming a Parent

Becoming a Parent. Did becoming a parent change your perception of adoption or being adopted? Or did it strengthen what you already believe or feel? If you are not a parent, has watching your extended families expand (e.g. having nieces or nephews) changed your views on adoption or did it strengthen your views? Looking forward to your own potential parenthood: do you want kids, what strengths or challenges do you see in the future for yourself in becoming a parent? How has being adopted affected your own parenting philosophy?
I became a parent through adoption. We had originally planned to conceive a child through artificial insemination, but then we were approached and asked if we would consider adoption (and obviously we did). A few years later we did try one more time to get pregnant via donour sperm from someone we knew. I wanted to go that route instead of anonymous donour as I realized that by using an anonymous donour I was in essence “creating” an adoptee. And I could not bear the thought intentionally bringing a child into the world who would be missing half of their history. However pregnancy was not to be and I am very content with our family.

My being adopted has played a huge role in my parenting, and not always for the better. I often find it hard to not let my own emotional baggage cloud issues, or impose my problems on Liam. Just because I have XYZ adoption issue, it doesn’t mean that Liam will too. I have to work hard on separating our 2 situations.

A theme that often comes up from adoptees once they have children of their own is that they finally have a physical/DNA connection to someone in their world. This is not something that I ever looked forward to before becoming a parent, nor is it something that I feel is lacking from life now. I guess I’m okay without any genetic mirroring in my life.