Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What Its Like

Imagine you and your spouse decide you want to have children. You are so excited for the possibility. You can't help but wonder what he or she will be like.

Then you get pregnant. A baby is on its way to you. You only have to wait a few months. You excitedly tell your family and a few close friends your wonderful news. They are happy for you.

You go to your first doctor's appointment and the doctor starts grilling you with questions. What is your background? How were you raised? How stable is your marriage? Do you agree on parenting philosophies? After the questioning, your doctor hands you a piece of paper. I need you to gather all of this information for me by our next appointment.

You look at what is written. You need to complete background checks from your local police department. The state has to sign off on your parenting application. You need to gather birth certificates and marriage certificates. You also need to be fingerprinted by the federal government.

Your doctor asks if you understand all of the requirements to have a baby. You look at your husband questioningly. No one you know has ever had to do this to have a baby. Is this right? Your husband shrugs his shoulders as if to say, if that's what we need to do, then we'll do it. You look at the doctor and say yes.

Great, says the doctor. I will see you in two weeks at your home. I must inspect it to see if its a proper home to raise a child in. Inspect your house?!? Oh my goodness. You spend the next few weeks on your hands and knees and standing on stools to reach every nook and cranny. Your house has to be perfect.

After you pass home inspection and the other checks, you start to feel more confident. You feel the baby growing inside of you. You begin to tell others about your child. You pat your belly and say, we are expecting a baby. People look at you strangely and nod. Great, they say. Congratulations.

Finally your doctor calls. He says, congratulations, you've been approved to have your baby. You've been approved! Hallelujah! You can have your baby,

Its time. You and your husband rush to the hospital to have the baby. You are both so excited. You are ushered into a room alone. You look for your husband but he is not there. In fact he is at work, in a meeting. You look around. This is not the hospital.

This is your house. You are in the laundry room or the kitchen. The phone rings. A voice on the other end says "Congratulations. Its a boy." A boy. You have a boy. You ask when you can see your son. The voice says check your e-mail, I'm sending you a picture.

A picture? But this is your son. When do you get to hold him? Relax, the voice says. He is fine. He is in a care center. We are taking care of him for you. We will let you know when its okay for you to see him. But, you say, he's my son. Well, no he's not your son, not yet. Your approval isn't final.

So you hold on to the picture and the basic medical information they send you. Its all the proof you have that your son is alive somewhere. You wait. You wait some more. But you don't hear any new news.

You begin to wonder if it was real. Do you really have a son.? Was he really growing inside you? Yes he was, but he was only growing in your heart, not your body. He is yours, but not yours. Wait they say. Everything will all be okay. You just need to be patient.

Finally some news. New pictures and updated medical information. But wait what do these numbers mean? Is he sick? Is he anemic? Is there a problem? Can you retest? No, the answer comes. We cannot. You will have to wait.

So you wait some more. Finally they send another email to let you know that you are going to court. However, you cannot be in court. You cannot plead your case. Someone you have never met will do it for you. So you wait and hope.

You find out a piece of paper was misplaced. Your case was not heard. It was rescheduled. You must wait again.

Your court date comes and goes. Still there is no word. Finally the answer comes. He is your son. Its official. You are legally the parents of this boy.

But you can't bring him home yet. You have to wait for someone else to tell you its okay. So you wait. And you wait some more.

Travel dates are announced. Your name is not called. You wait again.

A new set of travel dates are announced. Sorry, they say. We cannot receive you at this time. You must wait. Wait until April. You will see your son sometime in April. We think.

You think? How can you not know. He is my child. A piece of paper from some court says so. He is legally my responsibility.

I did everything you said. I waited for over nine months to find out it was a boy. I waited for another five months to find out he was really mine. I don't know if he is crawling or walking. I don't know if he is healthy or if he is sick. I don't know anything about this boy, my son.

I have a son. I have a son and you won't let me see him. Why? He is mine. I love him. I have loved him from the moment he was a possibility. I loved him when I saw his picture. And I have loved him every day since.

The answer comes, sorry. That is just the way it is. You have to wait.

And so you do. You wait. Your heart is broken in 7,000 pieces, one piece for every mile that separates you. But you wait like a good girl.

It will happen. Everyone tells you that. You know it is true. But just because they say it does not make the pain any less. It does not glue your heart back together. It does not place your child into your arms any faster.

You have a child out there somewhere in the world and you will not be whole until he is in your arms.

That is what adoption is like.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Doing the Hustle

I stand on an ordinary street corner. One of the streets leads to my home. One leads to the airport and on to Ethiopia.

I notice you approaching me on the corner. I open one side of my coat, heavy with necklaces and earrings. I say to you, "Hey you wanna buy some jewelry? I've got pretty, shiny jewelry. Its on sale."

I sense you shaking your head no. So I open the other side of my coat. Its filled with bottles of lotions, potions and lipstick. "Do you want to buy some skin care? Make up? Come on you know you want to."

I walk the walk. I talk the talk. But inside I feel like I should hand you an arrow, a razor blade, a knife. I would open my coat and wait for you to cut my flesh with no's. I'm not a born salesperson. I don't want people to think poorly of me. Every no is a rejection. Its an indictment of me and who I am.

Instead, I fasten my belt on my coat. I run to my car with my head down. I speed away down the street leading to my house. I run into my house. I lock the door and turn off all the lights. If I lock myself in, you can't see me. You can't hurt me, you can't reject me. But then again, if I shut that door, I'll never know if I could have succeeded.

When I decided to stay home, I planned on making and selling jewelry. I had a vision in my head that I would contribute to my family's lively hood by doing two things I loved, making jewelry and being with my daughter. It hasn't worked out quite the way I've planned. So I embarked on a new venture, selling skin care, make up and wellness products with Arbonne. I love the products and I saw great things in the business. But then the doubts started sinking in. Can I do this? Am I good enough? I stalled. I failed before I even got off the ground just like I had done before.

But for once in my life, I'm taking the chance because its not about me. I am doing this for my family, for my Lion. I am going to contribute to my family. I am going to help bring Lion home. I am going to get off my ass and actually do something for a change. Maybe I'll succeed. Maybe I'll fail. But I am going to try.

So here I am on the street corner, announcing to you, to the internets, to the world, that I sell stuff. I sell really cool stuff. I sell pretty, shiny things. I sell lotions, potions and lipsticks that are truly wonderful. I am doing this for myself. I am doing this for Bunny. I am doing this for Lion. I am doing this for my family, to contribute to a savings account that will be wiped out by this adoption.

Don't worry, I won't hit you over the head with this. I'm going to add some nice buttons to my sidebar. If you are interested, you can contact me or e-mail me and we'll talk. If not that's okay. It won't hurt me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cross Your Fingers

Today is our court date. Its probably over by now given the time difference but I'd appreciate it if you all sent good thoughts and vibes our way.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010


One is a tiny number. Its not a lot, like 10, 100 or 1,000,000. Compared to those numbers it is next to nothing.

One is also a huge number. One year is 365 days. So many things can happen in those 365 days. One is everything.

My son is one. He has lived 365 days on this earth and I have not been present for one of those days. I have missed year one of his life.

I was not there when he took his first breath. I was not there when he smiled for the first time. I was not there when he rolled over, sat up or crawled for the first time. I have missed so many firsts.

I was not there when his mother passed away. I was not there when he was placed into care. I have not been there for him since.

I was not there. I was not holding him, comforting him.

I was here. I was at this computer staring at his picture, pouring over any information I could get. I was here loving him from a distance.

One is huge. One is everything. I cannot get that back.

One is also tiny. One is next to nothing.

I will hold him in my arms. I will comfort him. I will be there when he sees our home for the first time, when he meets his sister. I will be there when he becomes part of our family forever.

I will walk him to school. I will teach him to throw a ball. I will teach him to ride a bike. I will be there for the multitude of firsts that are yet to come.

I will be there, present with him for the rest of his life.

One is huge. One is tiny. One step on a lifetime journey.

So Happy Birthday my son, my little Lion ( I hope you don't mind, your sister blew out your candle and ate your cupcake. Next year its all yours.)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mommy, We Are One Step Closer

One step closer. One step closer to completing our family. One step closer to being together.

We are one step closer to Lion.

Last week several families in our agency received court dates. Some of them had the same paperwork dates as us. I knew we were next. I could feel it. So I did what any "sane" and "rational" person would do, I stalked my e-mail.

The first few days, I was refreshing my e-mail every 5 or 10 minutes between the hours of 10 and 7. I just had to know if we'd gotten a court date. I was making myself crazy. I carried my phone in my hand. My beloved I-phone which I once viewed as a life line, a way to reach out to my friends, was now the enemy. I had instant access to my e-mail and I wanted an answer instantly.

I had to take a step back. I told myself I could only check every half hour. That was saner, more rational. I had to actually live the life I had instead of putting it on hold for the one I wanted. Still there was no word. Then the weekend came, two whole days with no possibility of news. How would I survive?

Lucky for me, this week was much busier with school, dentist appointments and the like. There was less time to obsess, there were more distractions. Sometimes I would forget to check my e-mail for a whole hour. Two days passed and no news.

Yesterday, I ran to the store, picked Bunny up from preschool and then made lunch. I hadn't checked my e-mail in over two hours when I sat down to eat. As I waded through the junk in my inbox, I resigned myself that there would be no news.

But there it was, an e-mail from our agency saying we have a court date scheduled for February 12th. Holy moley that is next Friday. I let out an excited yell and explained what happened to Bunny.

She looked at me with a solemn face and said "Mommy, we are one step closer to Lion".
Yes, sweetie we are one step closer to bringing him home.
Then she said "Good, I want him home. Can I have fruit snacks after lunch? Lion can't eat fruit snacks, he's just a baby."

So what does this all mean in the grand scheme of things?

A court date is held in the Ethiopian court and our representative in Ethiopia appears on our behalf. Assuming the court hears our case and everything is in order, we will pass and Lion will be legally our son. The adoption will be finalized in Ethiopia.

We will then wait for the US Embassy in Addis to issue a date for a Visa interview. Our agency generally has two dates a month, one around the 9th or 10th and one around the 23rd or 24th. The Visa date is very important. Our travel is built around that date. We will go a few days earlier to get our precious little Lion. We will travel to his home province and meet his birth father. And finally after the Visa has been issued, we can bring him home.

Assuming things continue as they have in the past we could travel in the first group in March. Most likely it will be the second.

I've always heard March can come in or go out like a Lion and now it will for us.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

This is What Four Looks Like - The January Edition

January highlights from the Bunny 365 project.

January 2, 2010

January 7, 2010

January 13, 2010

January 21, 2010

January 31, 2010