Thursday, May 19, 2011

Why did we adopt?

My passion for the topic of adoption-related issues began before my children were even born. My husband and I married young; he was twenty-nine and I was twenty-five. We had dated for five years and we both knew early on that we were meant to be together.

We were married in 1998 and promptly moved to another state and both started new jobs. We were eager to start a family but it didn’t come easily for my fickle ovaries. After three years of trying, we sought help and were able to conceive using Clomid. At the time, I was so glad the waiting was over. Little did I realize how important those frustrating three years would be to our family!

During those years, we had many open and honest discussions about what we could and couldn’t afford regarding fertility treatments. We knew Clomid was it for us (I was a doctoral student at the time and any extra money Paul brought in was quickly handed over to the university). Adoption came into the discussion and we both agreed it would be a wonderful way to create a family.

Years later, when I was pregnant with our second, we decided that if he was a boy, we would adopt a daughter. I have a great relationship with my mother, as she did with her mother, and I wanted a daughter too. We joked that Sam was the middle child before he was even born. We were at a “meet the baby” party two months later when I met Elyana, my friend’s daughter from China. Elyana was a few months older than Sam and as I nursed my fussy baby, I gazed at the little girl, overcome with emotion.

I went home that afternoon and reminded Paul that we needed to talk again about adopting our daughter. Since Ted and Sam were so close in age (only eighteen months apart), we decided to start work on our adoption so the three children could all play together. Eighteen months later, my daughter was handed to me in China, nine months old and amazing.

After a blissful honeymoon period in China, I brought my daughter home and our lives began as a family of five. It was not easy. Mae had serious sleep problems and severe attachment issues. Luckily, she adored her big brothers and they accepted her into their world rather easily, at least when she was younger.

As she grew older, we began reaching out for help, chatting with other parents of adopted children, meeting with a therapist once a week, and having many phone consultations with the adoption specialist at our wonderful agency, CCAI. My oldest son, Ted, was going through his own set of problems, both physical (sensory) and emotional (fear of me leaving him). Sam had been a difficult and fussy baby from day one but around three years old, he seemed to relax and be more at peace with himself. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Our whole family was stressed, sleep-deprived and weepy. It was only with help that we learned how to calm and comfort our daughter, as well as how to help Ted with his needs.

The reason I started this blog was to document our lives, especially leading up to and during my time in China. Both my parents and Paul’s family live far away, and this was a way they could stay updated. I tried my hand at blogging and fell in love with it. Through tagging posts, I found that my adoption posts spoke to people in similar situations.

I am re-dedicating this blog to speak to the challenges I have faced, and still face. We are a family with two biological sons, one adopted daughter and two loving parents. We have laughed during the moments of joy and wept during the moments of pain, but we have come out of it stronger for it, and closer as a family.

I invite any and all visitors to leave feedback and/or their own stories in the Comments section. Let us all support one another in this adventure of parenting!


Heather said...

I remember the day I met Mae! I ran into you guys at Touch a Truck in Louisville, and I started crying when I saw her!!!

Jolene said...

Challenges they are but nothing that cannot be overcome! My youngest son (adopted) has severe anxiety issues and my youngest daughter (bio) has some pretty tough physical issues..and we're adopting from China (4 children...adopting our 5th). We get through it by the Grace of God!

Ellen said...

Jolene - I completely agree! I often think how dull and boring my life would be without the challenges we all face! I'm glad to have another voice in supporting parents who are feeling overwhelmed - hang in there! You can do it, and we will support you!