Thursday, January 3, 2008

Adoption Communities


Tonight I write about adoption communities and the value of staying connected. I imagine many first-time adoptive parents get all excited about hooking into adoption communities, they read their pre-adoption homework and imagine how they will keep their kid connected with their culture. Some folks either by intention or accidental omission move on when their child comes home. Baby/kid comes home and suddenly you're more concerned with ear aches, school, day-care, getting more then 4 hours of sleep etc.

For me, being hooked into an adoption community (both online and in person) was really important while I was waiting, having someone as crazy (Sarah) as I was and in the same exact place in the wait was so so helpful (think shopping therapy and major gossip).

Years later I find myself still "addicted" to this online community. It is fun reading about other people's processes and hearing about the new policies, wait-times etc. It is also nice to be able to chime in with the voice of experience here and there.

I learn about hair care, skin care, writing life-books and general adoption politics. I celebrate with people and mourn with people ... many I've never met in person.

I have become "real-life" friends with people I've met on the forum or through my agencies waiting-families group. These groups have become one of my biggest support networks as well as a huge resource.

Relative to other international programs Ethiopia is still young. When I adopted in 2005 I had a 45 minute wait for referral and it was for an infant girl (even though I was open to gender). While I was completing my dossier for Ethiopia, the news of the Jolie adoption hit the papers. Ethiopian airline officials still didn't quite know how to handle the fact that I had an infant ticket but no infant (on the way to Ethiopia) and I was able to get an infant bassinet with little or no fighting.

There are still things that many of us folks who have adopted from Ethiopia are trying to come to terms with and figure out. There are social and political issues that we struggle with. There are medical issues that are relevant to hunger that our children face and that our pediatricians need to be educated about. Today I learned from another family about a health related issue that I am positive affected/affects my child.

It would be easy to go in a corner somewhere and deal with issues when they come up or when the become problematic. It would be easy to forget how special my family is, in the wonderful but tedious every day life it's easy to forget how our family was formed. I don't look at Lucy and think "adopted from Ethiopia" I look at her and see my daughter, no thinking needed.

I stay involved for myself and for Lucy.


Nancy said...

I am grateful for the agency adoption forum as I have met my dearest friends and those who stood by me as I waited ( a whole one and half months!) and transitioned home now with a changed heart and unsettled perspective.

After two years I find myself in such a different place and sadly don't feel the connection to the on-line adoption community any longer. There is definite movement along this journey and right now it is particularly hard to connect with people when polar experiences are taking place.

The joy I once felt, pre-travel, has been simmered by a complex reality and it is really, really hard to celebrate and walk aside others in-process at this time.

Hopefully, I won't stay stuck here and I'll find a way to make peace with the tougher issues. In the meantime, I am grateful to have friends who can support me through it, thank you to the agency forum :)

Stacy said...

I hear what you are saying Nancy. Somehow I have been able to ride both forces and kept my head above water most days. It's hardest for me to understand peoples need for speed with referrals ... I understand it but I hear it so differently now. The complexities are hard to reconcile, they really are and it's even harder to reconcile the fact that I so want to do it again despite all I know now. I don't think you have to make peace with the tougher issues. There are issues outthere that don't deserve to have peace connected to them ... it is faith somehow that may bring us to a place of moving past suspicion and fear and into action and change. I can't tell if you're ahead or behind me. These issues we have they all won't be resolved becasue we will NEVER truely know. We will never be completely above our own perspective from the place we have in the world due to simply being born here, being privy to a lot of things that most can't even dream about. How is that for rambling?

Mrs. Baker said...

And we are so glad that you do. I have learned so much from you. Spent hours reading and catching up on your journey and have found it so helpful to have someone who has been there done that.

As a rookie, you have been like a guide to me and I am very thankful for that! :)

Joy said...

Your daughter is absolutely gorgeous! I am sure you already know that :). I enjoyed looking through your blog - what a blessing she is!

Mama Papaya said...

My beautiful daughter has enriched my life in so very many ways. This post touches on one of the big ones. Thank you Stacy.

Anonymous said...

Hello I just entered before I have to leave to the airport, it's been very nice to meet you, if you want here is the site I told you about where I type some stuff and make good money (I work from home): here it is

Stacie said...

You are so right - the connections are so important. Inspired by the groups in Minnesota and Chicago, we've started our own EKC here and it is such an amazing feeling to sit with other parents who have gone through the same experiences. I benefit more than my son right now, but hopefully it will benefit him too someday to have the connections made between all of the children.
And, the online community is amazing. I can't imagine going through this without everyone 'around' to support and offer help. Not to mention - when we were going through the paperwork, I showed my family your video of bringing Lucy home - so they could see an actual family going through the process. It made it more real for us and them, so thank you for that.

Sarah :) said...

Excellent post! I appreciate your perspective and am glad that you took the time to write these thoughts out...