"We should not be asking who this child belongs to, but who belongs to this child" - Jim Gritter
I know, not quite as neat a name as this one (I was surprised that ‘karlinda’ was taken there), but the blog itself will more than make up for it. Now, I need to go make a floor plan of our apartment for our adoption agency. What more do they need? Blood? …Oh, yeah, that’ll be during the check up at the doctors no doubt.
We had a call yesterday from our social worker, & arranged to go see her for the first time on Saturday next week (5th September (It can’t be September already?!)). We’re actually looking forward to it.
We’ve seen so many accounts from people online who dreaded the meetings with their social worker, and went into the whole thing feeling like they were being judged, and resenting this person who had ultimate say on whether they could become parents, but who ended up loving the whole process. Lots of people have said they ended up loving her, and could have chatted to her for hours (social workers in adoption always seem to be women…). So, now we’re looking forward to it. Seems a lot of people get a lot out of these meetings. Roll on next Saturday.
Two lovely articles appeared yesterday, one on vegan children, and one on how babies learn.
The first is from examiner.com, and is based on interviews Lindsay Nixon has been conducting with people raised vegan, or parents of vegan children. As ever, it’s great to hear how healthy vegan kids are compared to their peers. It’s also reassuring to hear that, generally, parents have had support from pediatricians for their diet.
I love this quote “Teachers have also commented on Mairin’s behavior after lunch, compared to that of her classmates. They have told me that Mairin comes back from lunch full of life and ready to learn while her peers often come back lethargic and cranky.”
The second is from Care2, about the way babies experience the world and learn differently than adults. How they have “an astonishing capacity for statistical reasoning, experimental discovery and probabilistic logic, which enables them to learn about the myriad of objects and people surrounding them with greater depth and efficiency than previously assumed”. I especially like how it talks about babies not needing lots of expensive toys – they’re still busy learning things like what happens when you tip up a cup of water. We may just have to add the book it talks about to our reading list.
Production, not Reproduction has an ongoing Open Adoption Roundtable, with writing prompts on the subject of, well, open adoption. I only came across it on #4 – a call to write about one small moment in open adoption. Well, we don’t have an open adoption yet, so I didn’t feel qualified to write anything on that one.
But #5 is How has open adoption changed you? In what ways are you different because of the presence of open adoption in your life?
Which has got me thinking – I do feel differently now than when I first started seriously researching adoption. But in what ways am I different?
I’ve always had the presence of adoption in my life, since several family members were adopted, and as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to adopt, but I think I’m only just beginning to really understand what an open adoption is, or at least can be, about. What it’s not about is me; This isn’t about me becoming a mother. It’s about a child. It’s about that child’s family and identity, and the ways one is formed from the other (and vice versa to some extent).
It’s about the child’s birth family, and their ongoing relationship with their child. It’s about them being allowed to still feel like they’re parents. They’re no longer expected to just ‘get over it’ (or at least I hope they aren’t).
It’s about us learning what every parent has had to learn – to share our child. To learn that our child is their own person, with other relationships that are separate from the relationship they have with us. It’s about that quote we chose to put on the front of this blog: “We should not be asking who this child belongs to, but who belongs to this child” – Jim Gritter.
So I guess in this way it is about me. Before we even enter into an open adoption, I’ve changed in one very big way. Learning to let go and not be so ‘precious’ about my relationship with my child may be my first step on the road to becoming a mother. And I think I need to thank ‘Production, not Reproduction’, as I don’t think I’d realised that before I started to write this.
There are three main types of adoption in the US (excluding relative & step-child adoption, that is).
There’s fost-adopt, where children taken into foster care are placed with a family, in the hope that, if they can’t be reunited with their birth family, their foster family will be the ones to adopt them. There’s international adoption, where usually toddlers & occationally older children are adopted and brought into the US. Then there’s independent, domestic adoption, where the birth mother or family choose who will raise their baby (occationally it’s a slightly older child, but usually it’s a baby), then the adopting family arrange the adoption through the courts using an attorney.
We liked the sound of all three types of adoption, and would have had a hard time choosing between them. Though, we hate the idea of ‘rescuing’ a child; if we’d adopted from foster care or from another country, yes, we’d probably be giving that child a better upbringing than they might otherwise have had, but that’s not why we’d be adopting them. We’d be adopting them so they became a member of our family, so that we could become their parents. Not through any misguided idea of ‘saving’ a child.
However, it turns out we don’t have a lot of choice in this. Since we don’t have our green cards yet, we can’t adopt from foster care. We also can’t adopt from abroad, as we wouldn’t be able to get a visa to bring a child into the country, unless they’d already lived with us for two years.
Which leaves us with just independent, domestic adoption. This isn’t second, or third, best though. We really would have had trouble deciding which route to take if they’d all been open to us. Well, now the decision is made for us, it lets us concentrate on the best aspects of this route – we get to be chosen by our baby’s birth family. They decide that we’re the ones they want raising their child. We also get to have an ongoing relationship with them. Even if that’s just a letter and photos once a year, it’s got to be better for the child to have some info on their birth family.
We’d like it to be more than that though; ideally our child would get to meet their birth family. Grow up knowing who they are, getting to play with cousins, getting hugs from their birth grandparents, getting to see who they look like, who’s mannerisms they have. Ideally, their birth family will be part of our extended family.
We finally got our forms completed yesterday, and took them in to the agency just before they closed. This afternoon, we’re going in for a meeting & picking up our adoption folder with all the stuff about our home study & the next steps to take in it. We can’t wait.
We went with Heartsent Adoptions in the end, which we thought we would. They’re just so lovely there, & seemed as excited as we were when we droped the forms off. They were set up by a couple who’ve adopted five children themselves, all through different agencies, and realised there was a better way to do things. I think they were right, since we’ve been impressed with them so far.
We had great fun yesterday at our friends’ house, meeting their new puppy. We also took the opportunity to do a bit of an adoption photoshoot out on their deck, with their views up to the San Gabriel Mountains. This is the shot we’ll be giving to our agency this week with our initial paperwork:
But this is the shot Linda prefers :