Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
I was engrossed in the rich hues of reds, orange and yellows, and planning my house's ensemble for the season, when the next isle over, reality hit me,..smack in the face...CHRISTMAS decorations. This, I was not ready for...the thought of Christmas. A reality that I was not yet prepared to think about was the fact that we may very well have to weather another Holiday Season without Ben home. I felt like running from the store screaming to the top of my lungs with grief. "How can we do this again?", was what kept going through my mind.
Last year I was gracious and kept telling myself that it was OK for Ben's fostermother to share his first Christmas. Afterall, he wouldn't remember it and we would have every one after that. But now, I no longer feel that way. I am selfish and I want my son home. I am tired of someone else telling me about his holidays and sending me pictures. This nightmare no longer seems real and it just gets worse!
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I have been posed with the situation of adoption disruption a few times. The latest reason for thinking about it is by way of a friend. I have a dear friend that is experienceing a difficult adoption. For the people that are not at the core of the situation, they have, through concern for her, hinted at "other alternatives" to completing this adoption. That pretty much boils down to a disruption. The birth mother is allowed to back out up to the final decree, when her signature is required for the very last time. Adoptive parents are allowed to decide otherwise for much longer. We can disrupt the adoption during process, but we can also disrupt after the child comes home. This happens more often than you would think. In many cases it is due to no one's particular fault. Sometimes circumstances are just not the best for everyone involved. Other times, there are problems that can lay claim to blame. There have been many parents that have brought their "healthy" children home to find out that this is not the case. They may feel that once the truth is discovered, they are not equipped to handle the needs of this particular child. In either case, whether small or large, and no matter what stage the adoptions is, I am sure that the decision is a gutt-wrenching one to make.
My friend has had the question of disruption brought up to her a few times. At this point, she strongly refuses this option. She has met her daughter-to-be and now considers her flesh of her flesh. That is what happens when we go visit our children. When you hold that child for the first time, they miraculously become "our child". Forget that they were brought into this world by another. It's hard to describe the mentality. For me, I know that Ben was not conceived in my womb, but that line of separation from reality is very blurred. Almost to the point of being imaginary. All of the documents, courts and professionals helping us, prove that he was born by another woman. But my bond could not be any stronger to my child. He may have been brought into this world by a different woman, but he was born of my heart and soul. So, when someone considers disruption, it is not a simple matter. I have had one person mention terminating our adoption to me only once. She is someone that I love very much and I know she suggested it only because she also loves me. When she spoke those words and it finally sunk in what she was talking about, the mother lion in me sprang to life. I wanted to pounce on her and shred her from limb to limb in defense of my son. Instead, I politely, explained why that is not an option. I tried, with all of me effort, to hold back the flood gate of emotion this question threatened to burst forward. I'm not sure, but I would say that the flash of red in my eyes and the smoke rolling out my ears gave her a pretty good indication that this was a sensitive subject and not up for discussion. She has not brought it up again.
But this is not the case for everyone. I have spoken to some and heard of many cases where the adoption was disrupted by the adoptive family. For some, this is an answer. For my friend that I am sure will read this, it is not good or bad. I don't know how it will effect you, but now that this subject has been brought to your attention, the thought will probably not be far away. Once brought to me, I have revisited this idea many times. Mostly out of concern for what is best for my son. Almost instantly I come to my senses and quickly smack my brain for running along those parellels. But the thought is always close at hand. I guess it's there mostly because of the unknown. We have not a clue when Ben will be allowed to come home or if he will like it here, or us. The unknowns nag at me. Only time will tell what is best. Pray and hold dear that "A" is waiting. She is in a good place and well cared for. All will work out according to plan. It just may not be what you were planning. Go until you can go no more. If that time comes, you will know it. And know that there is no shame if it is your decision. Follow your heart. God will show the way if you allow him to. You are always in my prayers.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
WE DID NOT PLANT YOU, TRUE. But when the season is done, when the alternate prayers for the sun and for rain are counted. When the pain of weeding and the pride of watching are thru, we will hold you high. A shining leaf above the thousand seeds grown wild. Not by our planting, but by heaven. Our harvest. Our own child
Friday, August 25, 2006
Just a personal note before I begin....I am doing this under the prompt of a good friend, (you know who you are). If this goes sour, I am holding you responsible.
OK...you remember the false prophet? The decreto? The one that promised to be a fix-all for us and then fell through? Well, it's back! First of all, decreto is spanish for decree. It was a decree issued by their body of government that is simliar to our law makers in the states. It is a temporary decree good for 90 days. When Palomo, our facilitator, went to Puerto Barrios last week, he was to plead with the courts for a date or the local PGN to allow us to finish the notarial way. But, instead he came back with a new birth certificate, by way of decreto. He is going to try and get us PGN approval with this new birth certificate. I have asked the AS if they think this will fly. They have given me a very honest, "I don't know." It seems we have a 50/50 chance. Either yes or no, (hmmm, brilliant). SOOOO, we were resubmitted to the ever dreadful, all consuming, PGN Thursday. Go ahead. You can squeal sounds of delight, but please do it quietly, you never know who's listening. I have been walking on cloud nine since we have gotten the news. My conservative side has repeated to me many times, "don't count your chickens..." and my happy go-lucky, let's celebrate side has said, "Oh life's too short. Go ahead and party, someone will pick up the trash tomorrow." That leaves us walking a balancing act of cautious celebration. We should know in about four weeks if they will allow this process. I pray they will. He occupies my every thought and if will alone was enough to get him here, he would have come home a long time ago.
So, please keep this in you prayers..pray that they will accept this rectification with the decreto and they approve our case soon. It wouldn't hurt to cross your fingers and rub your rabbit's foot either.
Saturday, August 19, 2006
I quickly went to my address book and starting contacting the others that I knew of that were in the same boat. It's a miracle. We have all been given grace!
But, alas, this feeling of euphoria was short lived. Later in the afternoon I received another email from AS. The AS giveth, and the AS taketh. Here he explained that they were just recently given clarification by PGN on the detecto. Apparently it was not the cure all it originally appeared. This quick fix was only for a very minute group. Something about you had to have been born in El Salvador on the 3rd day of February, in the leap year, but before the millenium, and your mother had to be wearing red when you were born....or some such silliness. At any rate, it was fun while it lasted. Imagining that maybe we were approaching the end of this horrible ordeal. Many people have described international adoption as a roller coaster ride from hell. I personally think the description is short of the mark.
Today is Saturday. We are suppose to hear something early next week. Maybe it will be the news we have been waiting for...here's hoping!!!
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Quite honestly, even though I do thank God everyday for all that he has provided, I still fall short in the gratefulness department. I can't help it. I miss my son. And I know that everyday he is growing and learning. I just want to be a part of his life.
When I get asked about all of the events in Ben's life that we have missed, i.e. his first Christmas, his 1st birthday, 1st teeth, 1st steps, 1st word, on and on. My normal reply is, "Yes, we may have missed the firsts, but once he is home, we will get the rest." I try to believe my own words. But deep down inside, I know, I mourn not being able to celebrate these milestones.
We received news today that our facilitator is staying in Puerto Barrios to try and get some resolve from our case. Either by hopefully speeding up a court date or by convincing PGN to allow us to get the rectification by notarial means. Either way that means we have set still for another week. No movement one way or the other. I have never felt more like a dog chasing his tail than I do today. Round and round we go, exhausting all that energy, but we really never get anywhere.
This all boils down to the fact that we are still, in all reality, at least 3 months from bringing Ben home. That puts us at December. NOrmally I would say that this would be a wonderful time to bring a child into our lives. Right at Christmas, just in time for Santa. How great is that? But, I am a tax accountant. In my mind all I see is the fact that my son will get home just in time for mommy to start working 12 and 13 hours a day, 6 days a week. If he was a little suspicious of me on our last visit, can you imagine how he is going to feel about the person that leaves before he gets up and comes home after he goes to bed? I will get to spend time with him only on Sundays for about two months. This is not working out any where close to the way we had planned. Oh well...the best laid plans and all. I know, I know. I have a lot to be thankful for and I should just stop whining. All it does is use up the oxygen in the air and never benefits anyone. Just humor me for a while. I won't stay on the pity train for long...I promise!
Friday, August 04, 2006
I feel now that by the time we are able to bring Ben home, he will have had a majority of the legal counsels in Guatemala touch his case. I can see it now. On our pick-up trip, at the Guatemala airport, a sea of attorneys hosting a farewll party for Ben.
I was so hoping for some news of progression this week. Oh well, we march on to next week. Hopefully we will hear something then.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
HE IS WALKING!!! Yep, he travels anywhere he wants now. He may look like someone's put something in his milk, but he gets there on his own. This part was really fun. Watching him walk all over the place. Of course, this marks the end of being able to control what he can come in contact with, and the beginning of much more vigilence from mama and papa.
His four teeth are solidly in place and we could see a few more starting to make their appearance. If you don't believe us, just let him get one of your body parts to his mouth...OUCH, does he have a bite!!!
NOT SO GOOD NEWS...
This trip we came head on with the visible effects of attachment issues. After Ben's fostermother left our hotel room, and he realized she had left him there, he had nothing more to do with me. He was very clingy to Paul. If Paul left the room, Ben would wail. If Paul put Ben down, he would wail. If Paul turned away, Ben would wail. Get the picture? Paul had to sleep, breathe and eat with Ben attached to his side. Which is what we came there for, to be close to Ben. But, I kinda' wanted to share in some of the bonding also. I felt very much like I was constantly looking thru a window at the two of them. That is, of course, until I came close to them. Then Ben would start to wail, again. I expected to deal with some attachment issues, but when we were faced with them, it was harder then imagined. I so wanted Ben and I to have the bonding experience we had on my last visit. He was so happy and accepted me as his care giver. He looked to me for comfort and would reach out to me. It was just as every mother dreams. Those tiny hands reaching out with that hopeful look of wanting his mother to hold him. How I cherish that feeling .
We were given many theories as to what was going on. Some simple and some more complicated. One, was that he didn't care for the color of my hair. You see, my husband has black hair and brown eyes. I have lighter brown hair and green eyes. I had several native people give this reason. They told me that their own children are very shy around people of fairer appearance. The second theory was that Ben remembers me from my last visit. That was when he bonded so well with me and then I left him. Gave him back to his fostermom. So, the idea is that he didn't trust me to stay. Which, of course, was the truth. I wasn't staying. ( I told you he's smart) The third was one of the more complicated reasons...attachment issues. We were told that since Ben is getting older and he is more able of in depth feelings and thought, these issues would become more valid. The longer he stays in Guatemala, the more he becomes attached to his family there and is more leery of strangers. Which we are to him. Right now I am a stranger to my son, (oooh, that causes pain to say) Actually, the news is not all bad. These issues are a sign of good emotional health. That he has the ability to attach is one of the milestones for a child. Children from orphanages or who have been in the foster care system and experience several different care givers sometimes have difficulty attaching to their forever family. These abilities to bond and trust a mother and family are very basic. They are cultivated early in life. If the ability is not nurtured early on, sometimes it is lost. And then these children find it very difficult to trust those base relationships. This in turn can cause many devastating effects for the rest of their lives. So, as I said earlier, all is not bad. In a way, Ben reacted in a very healthy manner. Even though it was hard for us, we understand it. We, being the adults know how to sort out these complicated feelings. Ben is too young to know how to process these type of raw emotions. The result, he cries. And he did plenty of that. Because he seemed so uncomfortable with me, we decided to give him back to his fostermother 4 days early. This was a hard decision, but best for Ben. We saw it as no need to put him through this trying time and facilitate a bonding experience just to leave him again. We will cross that bridge when it will be most effective, our pick-up trip. So, that means ,we have for now, decided that this was our last visit. I pray that our case gets moving so that we can be resubmitted to PGN. At least then we will have some ray of hope that we are moving in the right direction.
We did get some tidbits of information from the fostermother. She said that according to Palomo's office, (facilitator), the reason we had to go thru the lengthy court process was when they went back to get the original birth certificate from the civil registry, the book it was recorded in was lost. That meant there was no original to correct. Therefore we have to prove that Ben was born and to whom. I know. It sounds sort of silly and clumsy. But, it's the fact and now we have to deal with it. So, we are still waiting for word of the court hearing.
Some processes are more complicated than others. Ours is the same, more complicated than some, but not as difficult as others. I have met people that have been in our shoes for over two years. My prayers go out to them everyday. And I have met others that experienced the "magical" processes. Those that are in and out of the whole mess in break neck speed. God bless them. It gives the rest of us hope that the system does work.
Monday, July 24, 2006
What did I tell ya'? Should have left well enough alone. Sorry Mom. I'm kind of dense sometimes.
Tomorrow will be a better day.
I will post new pictures as soon as I get back. He should be walking this trip, (that'll be fun). Gotta' go for now....there's so much to do before we leave....shopping, diapers, ointment, boogers dopper, toys, snack food, packing, underwear (check), shirts (check), pants (check), deodorant (check), toothbrush (check), toothpaste (check).....................................Ready to go.
I'm leaving on a jet plane, I don't know when I'll be back again... Leavin' on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again. Oh babe, I hate to go-aow-aow
Sunday, July 23, 2006
We chose foreign adoption for numerous reasons. I will not go into all of them. Following are only a few:
- Guatemala is considered a private adoption
- Because of that, you are allowed to visit your child whenever you want and allowed to "foster" during the process
- The process, (normally), is very short in comparison to other programs
- The health of the children are excellent
- Most children are fostered from birth, this cuts down risk of attachment issues
The biggest reason, we prayed. We prayed God would open the door. And he did, by way of my father. When we announced we had been investigating adoption, our families were supportive. My father had but one request, a boy. We have no grandsons on my side of the family. Even though my father has never complained about us girls, I believe he has always secretly wished for a boy child to nurture and watch grow. He had suffered enough of sugar and spice and everything nice, now it was time for frogs, snails and puppy dog tails. (just kidding, pop!) So that decision was made, we would adopt a boy. From there the countries were narrowed to Guatemala. A large majority of the children available for adoption from this country are boys. Not that they have a ratio of more males than females, but rather, the girls get chosen first. That is where we begin our journey to meet our son!
We contacted many agencys and again prayed. We chose a agency, but the initial path was a little bumpy. So we switched. Our new agency had a child that was our son!
We knew it from first sight. Our son, Benjamin, was now within reach.
The paper chase is often described as hectic. There are so many forms and documents. Everything has to be notarized, authenticated , sealed, and translated. But we "whooped" it in break neck speed. That being done, we were off to meet our social worker. Her name is Kat and she is a sweetheart. She quickly relieved our fears about whether or not we were good enough to be parents. From there, we really enjoyed our visits. She is a true gem.
Now the chase begins over there, in Guatemala. Once approved and bestowed the right to parent, our dossier gets sent to Ben's country to start the process there. His case is assigned a social worker, interviews are held, and a family court is petitioned. When they agree that Ben would best be served by way of adoption, he gets the first seal of approval. Then DNA tests are done. They do these in order to confirm there was no funny business and that Ben was truly offered for adoption by his birth mother. Thank God it was a match! Now we petition the US Embassy for preapproval. They gave their blessings. Next we enter a hierarchy, supremo, no all be all court, called PGN. This begins the dreaded wait. In here, adoptive parents enter an eternal black hole of, "no news is good news". I have to say that our adoption agency contact is a VERY PATIENT woman. I am sure she was not the least bit aware of just how many opportunities we would get to talk when she accepted our file :) This is where we are now...the black hole. Actually, there has been some movement in our case. But only that of trying to get a new birth certificate. You see, the original had a typo in the birth mother's last name. So, this has to be corrected. And there, is where we truly are. In another court. Waiting for someone to recognize that the "r" should have been an "a". (duh)
Sounds simple, right? Well this is the cliff notes version. I have tried to give you a very positive description. I have left off the tears, heart breaking news, endless depression, roller coaster highs and lows, eternal "whys" and all over gloom and doom. I do not want to mar my son's blessed events by negative undertones. Once he is home and in our arms, everything will be rosy. The sleepless nights will be remembered through rose colored glasses, AND HIS SMILES WILL FOREVER LIGHT OUR DAYS!