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Lilypie Kids birthday Ticker
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Home Bound
That midwestern winter storm finally hit here. We knew it was coming late afternoon/early evening yesterday, so I ran out when Sera went down for her nap and wrapped up most of our Christmas shopping. The snow started when I got to my last stop, the grocery store. By the time I headed home, it was really coming down. By this morning, we had 9 inches on the ground.

Even though we're all a little under the weather with runny noses and sore throats, it was still a wonderful weekend. Sera changes so much every day. She loves to laugh. She has a wicked sense of humor. She does not like it when her face and hands are dirty. She asks for a tissue to wipe her nose, her mouth, or her fingers. She even says tissue now. She knows what she wants and she's not afraid to ask, make that demand, it. She points to where she wants Jim or me to sit and tells us to sit down. She's not shy about telling Shadow what to do either. She's great with the thank yous, but we've got to work on the pleases some more. She will obey when you tell her to do or not do, but she doesn't like it. She usually breaks out in a sob or two immediately following her compliance. She gets over it quickly though.

She's discovered my comb and that she can stand behind me and comb my hair. I remember combing my mother's hair when I was young. I usually sat on the back of the couch right behind her. Sera stands behind me on my bed. Weekend mornings always start with the three of us lying in bed playing, watching Sesame Street, and having breakfast. She has a special way of chanting daddy when he brings her pancakes. She loves daddy's pancakes.

She is such a joy in our lives. I feel like we entered Oz on April 2nd. Everything before that was black and white, but now our lives are in color.

This is why the stories I've read this week break my heart. I cannot understand how a family could adopt a 4-week old baby, raise her for 7 years, and then turn her over to the Hong Kong foster system claiming she never attached. The father is a Dutch diplomat who was living in Hong Kong. The child is stuck in limbo. Her family never, in 7 years, arranged for her to have Dutch citizenship. She was born in Korea, but does not know the language. She's currently in foster care in Hong Kong until her legal status and situation are resolved. Rumor has it that the failure to bond was actually on the part of the mother, and the child has been raised my nannies. As tragic as this is, she has a chance now at a better life. That's not the case for the story I just read today; it also involves a Korean child. I know that I don't know the families' side of the story, but it's the child's side I'm more interested in.

Adoption is not easy. It's hard, very hard. The wait is hard. The referral is hard. The fear is very, very hard. The more prepared parents spend their waiting time reading and studying and preparing for the very real possibilities of difficulties. And that study makes us even more scared. Our children do not come to us with a clean slate. They come to us damaged. If we're lucky, the damage is minor, but it exists in all our children. They've all experienced multiple abandonments and neglect. Most orphanages, caregivers, foster parents do the best they can to care for the children, but lack of money, time, and resources come in play.

We've been lucky, so very lucky, so far. But that doesn't stop the fear. The fear now is probably very similar to the fear any parent has for their child. Every fever makes you worry. Every whimper breaks your heart. Any night that she wakes screaming or struggles with sleep makes you worry about a million possibilities.

Adopting parents are so thoroughly vetted, yet the process also requires us to be honest. Honest with ourselves as well as the adoption professionals. Our children deserve the very best we can offer. I'm not talking about money or clothes or even their own room. I'm talking about nurturing and safety and compassion.

That little girl was adopted one month after we adopted Sera. She was 13-months old on Sept 4 when she was shaken so hard that she suffered massive brain damage and died shortly after.

As much as we all lamented the tightening of the rules for adopting from China, we have to accept that it's these stories that encourage them. We promise to love and protect these babies, not abandon or kill them.

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My heart just breaks as I read these stories. It upsets my so much that I can't even put my feelings into words. As my hubby says this is just another black eye toward adoption. So many negative things are said about adoption, but you rarely hear about the thousands of children who become part of a great forever family.

Blogger Tammie said...

I have no words. David & I are totally speechless as these stories come to light.

Everyone told me that I was over-reading (can you actually over-read?) & worrying too much. At one point David even told me that I wouldn't know what to do if Erin had no attachment issues because I had read so much.

My response to all of the people was that I needed to prepare myself for any eventuality. Many people thought that just because I wanted to be a mother, I would know all about what to do. I asked these same people who have bio children if they just "ran with it" when their children came along or if they read. Most people got what I was saying.

While I abhor how long the wait has gotten, perhaps people who are waiting will take this time to read & prepare themselves. Parenthood is hard. Adoption comes with a whole other basket of issues.

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