(update: I began this blog with the following post, first published smack dab in the middle of our third and four adoptions in January 2010. I thought you’d like the backstory. We did end up bringing home our two children from Rwanda, Moses and Beatrice. You can read rest of the whole crazy journey of how it happened in this blog.
But honestly, what’s currently going on has turned into an even wilder and more world-rocking personal adventure as, in this first year as mother to four adopted children six and under, I fell flat on my face and was forced to acknowledge a humbling and serious case of post adoption depression. I hope you’ll forgive the several months of sporadic posting as I just now begin to surface and come up for air.
In spite of it all, enthusiasm and appreciation bubble mysteriously up from under the sad surface. Happy simply not to be constantly crying, these days I find myself oddly loving even the suckiest moments–the two boys fighting over a truck, the utter chaos of bedtime meltdowns, the lilac ripped from its branch that Theo left on the door of my study this morning like a sacrificial offering (actually kind of sweet). Life unfolds with a clumsy sort of grace.
As a person and mother, I am learning to judge myself (and others) less harshly. To see my life with softer eyes. Less as success or failure. More as fabulously imperfect-work-of-art-in-progress. And the most surprising thing of all? Almost in spite of me, my beautiful blended family is finally starting to come together– an awkward, unpredictable process of settling down, growing stronger, putting down roots. I’ve even recently noticed a few tiny green shoots of new growth, the first sign that a tree is beginning to thrive.
I warmly invite you to subscribe to this blog (and if you’re adopting, sign up for the free adoption quiz and cheat sheet too), hang out here and weave your life story into ours. I look forward to meeting you. xxoo Elizabeth)
original post begins here:
In between compulsively checking email for news from Rwanda, I thought I’d take a moment to start a blog. I wish I had thought of this sooner. The truth is I have pretty much been compulsively checking email for adoption “news” for the past five years.
The trouble with the email checking began back in 2005 with the adoption from Guatemala of our beloved Wynne. It continued through 2007 with the adoption of our little heartthrob, Theo, also from Guatemala. Amazingly, here I am in 2010 in the middle of our THIRD adoption and, like a light bulb, it hits me: no matter how frequently you check email, there is nearly always time left over in the day.
We are currently waiting on the referral, which for adoption newbies means those first precious photos, medical info, and official word that a child has been chosen for your family.
What’s really spiritual and cool is that we know that the Sisters at Home of Hope Orphanage in Kigali, Rwanda, have sat together in prayer and chosen the children for our family and one other family, the Pawlaks (whom I am compulsively emailing) and that all the medical tests have been done. We have been told we should hear any day. What’s not so spiritual and cool? “Any day” can take a long time. Especially in cultures that do not buy into our American “time is money” philosophy.
So it was that late last week, after 11 months of relative levelheadedness, patience and perseverance (excluding two weeks in late August when, on route to a family vacation in Montauk, Tim took a little midnight bus detour from NYC’s Chinatown to DC to hand deliver our dossier– a humongous portfolio of paperwork related to adoptive family’s life that has been signed by representatives from every conceivable level of U.S. county, state, and federal government, sporting colorful seals & stamps, and including six separate sets of fingerprints–to the Rwandan Embassy. We then spent our entire vacation trying to figure out why a fedex messenger could not seem to gain entrance to the Rwandan Embassy to pick it up and deliver it back to us.), I got smacked down hard and fast with WARAP: Waiting on Adoption Referral Psychosis.
This surely will someday be a recognized medical condition and another adoptive parent invented the term. It comes on when too many excruciatingly important things have been out of your control & in the hands of governments thousands of miles away for too long. Or even scarier in your own country with government agencies with fuzzy phrases like “homeland security” in their names.
It comes on after you have had the dozens of little setbacks inherent in any adoption, and you have talked yourself down over & over again with great maturity, you think (taking the high road, seeing the big picture, trusting the process, letting go, taking responsibility for your mindsets, etc.) until one day, without warning, you just… snap.
And suddenly, you won’t be spiritual a minute longer: YOU HAVE TO HAVE NEWS RIGHT NOW! And you get to thinking that by continuously checking email you can MAKE the said document appear in your inbox. It starts to feel logical. It starts to feel real. It becomes your job to will this thing into existence.
I won’t go into all the other symptoms. But if you find yourself dreaming that you are pregnant and misplaced one of your other children. Or you start having serious conversations with your daughter who is assuring YOU that “the angels are bringing the babies really really soon, Mommy.” And you start to really brighten with this news. As if it’s a sign…well, I’m just saying, you might want to email me.
This morning, Theo was walking around the house with his dump truck full of musical instruments singing a song. I tried to listen in and all I heard was “Angels and Marigolds.” Huh? Then I realized. He’s singing “Angels and Miracles” a tune by his favorite musician, Uncle Rock (awesomest kids rocker, www.unclerock.com).
And for some reason, I start thinking about our two previous adoptions. How although at times it seemed to be anything BUT miracles (rewind to the five months we spent in Guatemala in 2007, right before they closed the Guatemala adoption program, where our case was “thrown out of cue for approval” on the flimsiest of technicalities and Tim, my husband, had to buy a suit from the open air marketplace in Antigua, find someone to press it, hire a driver to take him to the capitol, armed only with a large chocolate cake, plates, forks, and a basic command of the Spanish language (although he has an excellent local accent!) and try to plead our case with the authorities.
And looking back on it now, I see, in the midst of all the craziness, there was Theo. Our perfect child. And I don’t mean perfect in the fawning way of all parents. I just mean “the child we were meant to have.” And all the years of unexplained infertility, the refusal to pursue medical treatments, the praying for a child at the sacred springs of St Winifred’s well in Wales, the years of longing, the uprooting, the wondering why, why, why– fall away and all that is left is the miracle of a child finding his forever family.
And that’s exactly what adoption is like: angels and marigolds. It has nothing to do with logic, the pull you feel when it is your time to adopt a child. A force that pulls you across the world and beyond the limitations of what you thought you could handle. A beautiful, crazy ride where you are being asked to give up everything you ever thought you knew, any feeling that you have that you can control events and circumstances by the force of your will. You have to throw it all away. You have to rediscover the faith of a three year old child.
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