Everyone has choices in life. Every day we are faced with choices on what we will do that day and although there are consequences to certain choices we still get to make those choices. You can choose to go to college, be happy, make good grades, smoke a cigarette, learn an instrument, go to work, find a new job, etc. as long as you are willing to put in the effort to accomplish those goals/dreams. We definitely have a choice in if we will have a family or not. Andy and I have made the choice from the beginning of our relationship, that we wanted to have a family and that it was important to both of us no matter how those children enter our family.
Although it is taking us longer to realize our dream of being parents, we are still fully invested in one day being parents. Now that we are waiting to adopt (and have been for almost two years) our only choice really is to continue the adoption process and wait, or to stop and not become parents through adoption. Neither of us is close to being at our stopping point for the adoption rollercoaster, so we wait for someone else to make a choice that will include us. We cannot imagine not having a family, and we are willing to put in the time and effort to have one. Also, we know someone out there will choose us and will want us to be parents.
During the waiting you come to realize that you are now waiting for a choice to be made by someone to say I choose them. I choose them to be the parents to my child because I cannot give them what they will need or what I think that they should have as they grow up. It is humbling to think that there is someone out there that will one day say if it can’t be me that raises my child then these people are who I want to raise him/her.
There are lots of adoption sayings out there saying “I am chosen”, in reference to a child that has been placed for adoption, when the child is actually being chosen twice. The birth family chooses to love the child so much that they want a different life that they cannot give them. Then, the adoptive family chooses to make the child a part of their family forever.
In open adoption it is not about one choice but many choices by several people that will one day make us a family. We look forward to having a child and we also look forward to knowing the birth mother and making her part of the family as well. We know that with open adoption the amount of contact might not be a lot (depending on the birth mother and us) but we hope that we can all be part of each other’s lives even if it is just through emails or calls.
This month’s support group meeting was on talking to your child about adoption, basically what information to share and what age to share the information by. It was a great meeting and had a lot of good discussion and comments by everyone that came. It was awesome to not only hear the ages we should be telling specific information but to also hear from other people the ways or things that they have thought about bringing up or talking about specific topics.
Since we started this process we knew that adoption should always be a part of our child’s language. Incorporating information about their adoption story even before they can understand what it means so that they have a positive view of adoption is important. Just because a 2 year old doesn’t understand what adoption or a birth mother means they should associate that we as parents are ok talking about it and what them to talk about when they have questions.
Having an open adoption will hopefully mean that we have more information about their adoption story (why they were placed for adoption, who their birth mom and dad are, history about their birth family, etc.). This information will be helpful as our child grows and has questions about their adoption. We also hope to have contact with the birth mom/dad so that they can see us interact with them and vice versa in order to know they are a part of our family or to be able to answer questions about who they were/are and why they decided to place for adoption.
Throughout all ages we want to make sure to use positive adoption language (I have talked about this before a little bit) and make sure that our child knows they can talk to us about any questions they have. Even if we don’t have the answers to their questions we want to be able to have them know they have as much information as we have and that we are not hiding things from them. The earlier they associate adoption as not being a negative and know that we are comfortable talking about it, the easier it will be as they get older to come to us when they are struggling with who they are as a person.
We also want to make sure that our child feels empowered to share their story as they want to share it. If there is a part of their history that they don’t want to share with friends/family then they should have the right to keep it within our family. Giving them the power over their story helps to give them confidence in who they are.
There are a couple more articles of information that we didn’t get to go over in the meeting and I am looking forward to being able to sit down and read them this weekend. In addition there were some great ideas that we want to consider looking into doing for the future. Things such as a family tree that includes a birth and adoptive family section, an adoption story book that is specific to their story, put up pictures of the birth parents in their room (we already have a frame just need a picture), and regular children’s books that focus on adoption stories are all going to be helpful to us in explaining adoption.
Well it’s a new year which for most people means new resolutions to try and accomplish. For us our resolution hasn’t changed: Become parents. We are hopeful that this is the year someone will choose us for their child. While the holidays are hard to deal with when you want to be parents and aren’t yet, they also remind us of all the things we want to do when we are and the memories we want to make. The New Year Eve/Day holiday brings with it a new beginning as well so it’s one holiday that is easy to jump on board with while waiting to adopt.
Although I have never made resolutions in the past for new year, I have to lose for my goal weight thought about what I want to accomplish this year. Doing this will hopefully help keep my mind off of the wait and enjoy all the wonderful things we do have in our lives.
Last June I decided I needed to start losing some weight because I wasn’t happy with my appearance any longer. Even though I did well, I still have a few more pounds to lose for my goal weight and I hope to be there by March. In addition to the weight Andy and I are both resolving to workout more. For me it is to build up more muscle and for him to lose weight and get healthier. By the time a baby does come into our lives we will hopefully both be healthier and happier with ourselves.
Another resolution I have is to take a couple trips. We have already started planning two: Vegas (woohoo) and a road trip on our way to a family reunion. Other thoughts are to go camping, a quick beach getaway, and go to a cabin in the mountains. They would all be shorter and a stand in for the trip we really want to take, 2 weeks in London and Paris, but are things we love to do and would be exciting to us too! In addition we have a couple planned visitors this year, more are always welcomed.
Plan more get togethers with our friends we have made through adoption. Last year we did a girls night painting and a night out at a sports bar for dinner and drinks. We also plan on continuing to go to the monthly support groups and agency gatherings. Hopefully this year we can do at least one get together every quarter. The people we have met are all wonderful and we know that they understand all of the crazy things the adoption journey has brought us already and what is still in store ahead.
Finally, I want to work on some home projects that will be more difficult to handle when we are parents. We have chairs I want to build, a cabinet to refinish, shelves to build, yard work (fire pit!), and random little things. Over the last couple years we have done a couple big projects and some smaller ones for the baby room, so hopefully I am not being too ambitious.
All of this is of course in addition to my work and Andy’s crazy photography schedule on weekends. This year is looking like it could be great for us and it hopefully will be. Wishing for luck in this new year for all those trying to be parents!
The month of December went by fast just like the rest of the year has. It was a lot of fun spending so much time with friends and family. Over the course of the month we held or went to 5 Christmas parties, attended a New Years Eve party, watched several movies at the theater (both old and new), had a quick trip to Michigan (see the earlier blog on that :)), decorated for Christmas, and spent some time relaxing at home.
We both really enjoyed our white elephant gifts and our personal gifts that we got throughout the season, and hope that everyone else got some great gifts as well! We did pick up a couple new things for the baby/nursery this month as well. We got the Velveteen Rabbit to add to the book collection that is always growing, a couple of wall hangings that were Andy’s as a child to use in the toy room, two pieces of a toy kitchen from Andy’s parents house that has been in the family for years, and a knit hat that looks like Yoda for the baby.
Andy and I loved having so many fun activities to do this month, however, we are looking forward to a calmer January to come. Luckily for half of the month we were off of work on vacation, so it allowed us the relaxing time that we wouldn’t have had if we were both working the whole month.
Happy New Years Eve
At my parent’s Christmas party
New Toy Kitchen
Michigan with friends
Our Ugly Sweater Party