July 29, 2008


Posted in Adventures o' K at 12:56 pm by Erin

J and I recently made the conscious decision to stop calling K’s firstmom his “birthmom”.  J didn’t like the term in general, due to the negative connotation that it tends to have here in the U.S.; I also felt like it doesn’t accurately reflect her role in his life.  I’ll call K’s firstmom T.  T did not just give her child life, an amazing gift in and of itself, but birthmom felt like a term that would relegate her role to that level.  She is a woman who raised her son for almost a year, most of that as a single parent after K’s firstdad passed away.  She is a woman who was very obviously grieving very hard when we met her–grief transcends language.  She is a woman who made an incredibly hard decision for her little boy, one she will have to live with for the rest of her life, in a culture that absolutely loves children.  “Birthmom” didn’t seem like it could even come close to demonstrating her role in his life.

Recently, I was reading a blog (not one of my usual ones) written by an adoptive mom about her child.  She was going on about how much she felt she had missed, how sad she was that her child was not with her for several months before bringing the child home.  It was obviously written with love and desire to have spent more time with her child.  And it made me wonder if most adoptive parents feel that way.

I don’t feel that way.  I don’t wish that I’d had K since he was born.  I’m sad that he spent 4 months in the care center, though it was inevitable, but I don’t remotely feel sad that I missed his first year.  And the major reason I don’t feel particularly sad about it is that he spent that time with T, part of it also with his firstdad, and the rest of it with T’s large family. 

I wonder about that year–what was it like when he was born, when did he first smile, what did he do all day while T was making bread from enset (false banana).  I wish he hadn’t spent much of that time hungry.  I wish that he hadn’t spent some of that time with untreated ear infections that left scars on his eardrums and affected his hearing.  But I cannot wish that he hadn’t had that time with his first family, and they with him.  I can’t do that. 

It would probably be different it he’d been abandoned, because he wouldn’t have had that one-on-one love of his family.  I would probably regret not having been able to bring him home sooner in that case.  But that’s not the case for K.  The whole time we waited for a referral, I prayed that my son was with his first family for as long as possible.  We got K’s referral only 2 weeks after he was brought to the orphanage in Hosanna.

While we were at my sister’s wedding, I referred to T as K’s firstmom.  Some people asked for clarification, “Do you mean his biological mother?”, to which I would say that T is K’s mother.  She remains his mother, no matter what the governments in question say about relinquishment meaning that there can be “no ongoing interest in the child.”  You can’t tell me that T doesn’t think about K every day, that a piece of her heart isn’t walking around with the son that we share, 8000 miles away.

Being K’s second mother or adoptive mother doesn’t make me any less his mother.  It just makes me different from his firstmom.  But we both love him and always will.

July 21, 2008

Sometimes the world knows just what you need

Posted in Adventures o' K at 6:48 am by Erin

After an admittedly melancholy night last night upon seeing M’s information posted, and talking to J about what could have been (but really still can’t–our reasons for not being prepared to parent a child with CP hold true even more now that K is home), I needed a little joy.

I got it this morning directly from K.  P is still sleeping and, for the last 30+ minutes, K has been sitting on my lap cuddling me.  He’s not sleeping, just cuddling and letting me hold him.  Every once in a while, he takes his head off my shoulder and gives me a grin, then goes back to cuddling up close, letting me hold him and feel his soft hair against my cheek.

My precious boy, who never likes to sit still, knew that I needed him this morning.  The quiet, happiness of cuddling the amazing child who has come into my heart and family.  I read somewhere that the heart has to break a little to make more room, and so it does.  My heart is full of love for this wonderful child, who grows more special to us every single day. 

I needed this today.

July 20, 2008

My heart still breaks

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:39 pm by Erin

I belong to a large internet group that posts about Ethiopian adoptions.  Today, someone posted about a little boy with CP who needs a family.

It is M.  Our first referral.  The one we couldn’t accept.  He still doesn’t have a family, and my heart is wrenching in my chest to know that.  I already knew it because I check our agency’s waiting child list sometimes, but to see it posted so publicly, to know that no one has applied to adopt this beautiful little boy…it rips my heart to pieces.

I think about M frequently.  P calls M his “other brother”.  Every time I see his listing, I wish there were some way we could work it out.  I feel like it’s our failing as people that we can’t or aren’t willing to adopt a child who needs so much help.

A part of me feels like, now that I’ve had 6+ months to think about him, that we could somehow work it out.  But I can’t even imagine how I would ever try to explain to him that we didn’t think we could handle it, that we said no.  Because, even if I had no intention of saying such a thing, P remembers.  P knows his face, his beautiful little face.  And somehow it would come out.  But what if he was also meant to be ours?  What if that’s the reason he hasn’t yet found a family?  And we’re just not stepping up to the plate.

I think about him so often.  When we turned down his referral, we were told that there was another family who would be given the referral and was ready for this diagnosis.  I don’t know whether there really was another family and they just told us that to make us feel better, or if the other family decided that it wasn’t something they could do, but I do know that M still waits, 9 months after we got his referral.  He spent his third birthday in the care center.  I don’t know where he is, but I know it’s not with all the other children of his age (because I asked the families in our travel group who adopted children of that age if they’d seen a boy with his description).

I just wish he had a family.  And I wish we could be that family.

July 8, 2008


Posted in The musings of Erin at 4:47 pm by Erin

Once again, I apologize for the lack of posting.  I really appreciate those of you who’ve taken a minute to check in on me–the truth is, I just haven’t felt like I’ve got much to post.  It’s been odd.  I’ve frequently thought about writing a post.  I’ve started composing posts in my head, but they always peter out.  It’s like a kind of writer’s block.

Lately, I seem deluged by pregnancy and birth announcements.  People that I didn’t even know were expecting have sent birth announcements for their second or third child (shows you how well I keep in touch with former work acquaintances 😉 ).  A LOT of people have announced that they’re expecting a brand new child in their family, all of them around the date that we would have been expecting our little pregnancy-that-wasn’t to come to completion.  It’s a bit melancholy–but surprisingly, I’m OK with most of it.

A part of it is that I’m genuinely happy and excited for those who’ve announced pregnancies lately.  Most of them have come with a pang of “Why not me also?”, but the emotions that go along with it are merely a shadow of what they used to be.  They don’t send me into a tailspin of emotional despair.  They don’t make me beg for fertility.  They don’t make me think about how my family is missing someone.  They just come–and then they go.  The scars of infertility are there but they aren’t raw and fresh, ready to reopen at the slightest announcement.  They’re healing.

This is huge for me.  I feel happy with my family lately.  We’ve spent a lot of quality time together, which has given J and I much better opportunities for communication and regaining a lot of the happiness in our relationship and marriage.  I’m having more fun with the kids.  I am SO excited that my sister is getting married this weekend and can’t wait to leave for NY.  I love that my hair is back to brown with pretty caramel highlights.  It’s not leaving a lot of room for melancholy, and I am thrilled about it.

So thank you, thank you for your comments and words and thoughts and support.  They’ve helped me get to this point.  I will try to pick up the posting and will write more about our lives, but I wanted to thank you for helping me so much in the past 2 1/2 years.