Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Huguenson!

Merry Christmas to my sweet Hugo.

This was the most amazing year as it is the year that Hugo came into our lives. Our lives were made richer and fuller because of him and we are so thankful every day that we get to be his parents.

It is bittersweet to celebrate the holidays and have happy times with our family but not have him here. There is a huge void that can only be filled by having him come home. He is in our hearts and on our minds every moment.

We have his pictures everywhere and they will have to do until he is here with us. The waiting is hard, it hurts. It tests us every day. But I know this is all worth it. He is worth it.

Merry Christmas everyone. Hug your loved ones tight and keep them close.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December Bonding Trip

Here is our trip in pictures. More to come.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hair no more

It has happened! Hugo's head has been shaved.

I know it seems like I am a little crazy about his hair and I am. It is not so much that have a weird obsession with his hair, it just was so cute and there is something about the first haircut that takes away a little of the baby factor in kids. It seems to make them more grown up all the sudden. Too fast for me. And this is all a part of my crazy attempt to keep him a baby....forever. I tried to do the same thing with Adriana and it didn't work. I am sadly expecting the same outcome with Hugo.

Hair or no hair, he is my beautiful boy. His eyes are so incredible and from the pictures I can tell you, I am in trouble. Those eyes are going to rule me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Giving Thanks, Part 2

How could I possibly talk about all I am thankful for in this process without mentioning the most important part of all of this, Huguenson!

I am not sure how to do this without writing it directly to him. I hope that one day, when he is older, I can show him this blog so he may have an understanding of how our family came to be. And not so he can read of the struggles of adoption but the road that brought us to be our unique, amazing, kooky family. So here we go.

To my sweet Hugo,

As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, a time to give thanks and gratitude for what we have and what has happened over the past year, I can't help but put you at the top of my list. The decision your dad and I made to start this adoption path was one of the best we ever made. The minute we saw your picture, we knew that you were meant to be our child and so thankful that our path led us to you. You were the missing piece to our family and finding us has made our hearts complete.

As you read this blog, you will read of the many trials that are international adoption. But not for one minute should you ever feel the burden of that pain. The pain is only the longing we have to get your home with us and part of our everyday life so we can love you in person instead of from afar. And please always know the joy and happiness we feel EVERY DAY that you are our son and coming home to us is far greater than anything else. Thinking of you and loving you brings me so much joy that I can never thank you enough already for being my son.

I thank God for you every single moment of every day. I want you to know that you are so loved by your mommy, daddy and sister here that we spend our days planning and excited for the day we can bring you home. There is not a minute you are not on our mind and in our hearts. Until then, I hope you can feel our love and security with each visit that we get to be with you. That time is so magical and precious.

We love you so much sweet boy and cannot wait to bring you home. You have made my heart complete.

Love Mommy

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gratitude, Support, Love, Our Cup Runneth Over

So I spend a lot of time on here fretting about adoption woes. I spend a lot of time concentrating on the hardness of it all and the discouraging news and delays. And while I still feel that on a daily basis and since it is the season to feel thankful and gratitude for what we do have, I thought I would give it a whirl in the adoption realm.

When we first started this process I focused so much on the people that were not supportive, said mean things and were downright horrible about it. With every turn I learn to tune these people out more and more and hope that they never have to feel the feelings and heartbreak I felt by their words and actions. But as we have gone along in this process, not only has our life been changed by a little boy that has filled a hole in our hearts, but we have been uplifted and transformed by the amazing people that have come into our lives, or become stronger influences in our lives through their love, support and friendship.

I have to start with family. Family can mean good and bad things to people. To me, it brings out good. We have always had a great family and amazing support, but I never knew how much they would embrace us and help us through this process. We haven't even gotten Hugo home and they are just as excited and in love with him as we are. They have taken on caring for Adriana when we travel to visit him and do it with a smile and are so happy to have her. We could not ask for better people to have in our family. Whether they are a Smith, an Etchepare, living near or far, they have all been so fantastic. We are truly lucky and blessed with an amazing family.

After we visited Haiti the first time, I was invited by the wonderful people we met their to be a part of a private group on Facebook called Team Haiti. I was really excited to stay connected with all the families we had met and have a group to talk to about this process to that were feeling and going through the same things we were. And as excited as I was, I never knew the impact this group would have on my life. They have literally become a lifeline of support, friendship and sanity that I could have never imagined finding. It is such a diverse group of people in different stages of life and parenthood, but we are all connected with a common bond of adopting from Haiti and knowing the happiness, pain, and anguish that comes with this process. And we are all going through it together. We may be in different stages of the adoption game but we all know the feeling of waiting and hoping that everyday good news will come our way. And being there for each other when that day doesn't turn out the good news we had hoped for. What is so remarkable is the friendships I have created and that these people are people I would want to be friends with even without this life circumstance. To say I am thankful for this group is an understatement. I am thankful to the 1,000th degree.

We are also blessed with such an amazing group of friends and nothing has made us more thankful for that then the love and support we have felt from them over the past year and a half. To our old friends that have stepped up and loved us, to the new friends we have made through this process, to the people that have just surprised us and supported us, we are forever grateful.

And lastly, to the random strangers that we have run into, met and have given us encouragement from the most strange places. I am thankful for the lady that gave me a hug at Olive Garden when I started crying because I was so overwhelmed by the crapiness of my day I could no longer hold it in. I am thankful for the checker at Wal Mart that asked about the 30 rattles I was buying for the orphanage and gave me so much encouragement for what we are doing in our 5 minute interaction. I am thankful for the blog comment of encouraging words I received from a lady in Arkansas that got my son's information from her church to send him a present this Christmas at the orphanage. We have found hope and encouragement in the most unlikely of places and I am so thankful.

And for the caretakers, the workers, the people in Haiti. They are such an amazing group of people with a faith that inspires and amazes me. To Angie, the missionary that loves and takes care of our children. I have met her once and she is such a blessing. She is faced with things each day that would break me down. And she faces it with grace and courage. She inspires me to do better and be better. I am so thankful for them and sending prayers to them for strength in the face of sadness and tragedy they have endured this week.

And last, but certainly not least, our daughter. She is 3, but sometimes I feel her wisdom and kindness are that of an adult. She has been so amazing and excited to have a brother. She has prayed for him to be safe and happy until he comes home to us. She talks about him every day with such excitement, it is catching. She does not understand this process and I would never expect her to, but I feel that she gets the bigger picture. She has endured me and my mood swings that have been created by this process, and she has hugged me and given me words of encouragement at the very right moments. Every day she tells me something new she wants to do to help her brother feel ok when he comes home. She gives me hope, strength and the power to just be ok on days that I feel nothing but ok. She while this is all foreign to her, she somehow finds a way to comprehend and understand in her way. She keeps me laughing and focused on what is important in life. Every single day.

Our cup runneth over.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Updated Pictures

My amazing friend Jen loving Hugo!

This week there was a bonding trip to Haiti that Rob and I weren't able to go on. It has been hard as I really just long to be there and really hate that I am not.

But I am blessed with amazing friends that are there visiting their children and have taken pictures for me and send them to me. I am so thankful to see Hugo in them and see him getting loved by my favorite people.

Monday, October 10, 2011

All Quiet on the Adoption Front

It has been a while since I did an update. Partly because I don't have much to update, partly because I have had a hard time coming to grips with what has been happening. I have cautioned on the side of not posting every feeling I have, the minute I have it. But let's face it. That isn't like me. I am an emotional oversharer. It took me a long time to be okay with that, but I am now and that is okay. And now I am bursting at the seams to get it all out.

Sometimes sharing things hurts you, you tend to open yourself up to criticism, opinions and all sorts of comments. And especially in this adoption process. While most people have been more than loving and supportive, there are always those that aren't. Or those that think they are but are just breaking you down with their "support". And in some ways, that has made me more guarded, which is probably good. I think that is a lesson I needed to learn. But I also don't want it to take away from the person I am. The oversharing maniac that you all have come to know and love.

So here we go! On August 26th, our adoption lawyer, Kiki, passed away. It was devastating. It was sudden. He and his brothers run the orphanage that Huguenson lives in and they run like a family. And therefore, when you lose a member of that family, you grieve like a family. Kiki was a compassionate man who worked harder than anyone I know to help our children find their forever homes. He loved our kids. He worked hard for them. He gave his life over to them through his work. He will be greatly missed. I only had the pleasure of meeting him briefly but his hand has been on every part of our adoption process. We have prayed for his family and friends. For all the children. For the caretakers that loved him like a brother. It has been a devastating time for all of the Maison family.

Through such a sad time, to ask about things like paper trails, government timelines, updates on our file, seems so insensitive. And it is. The guilt I felt for wondering how this all was going to effect us, has been unmeasurable. But as adoptive parents, our minds went to what kind of delay was this for our getting Hugo home. How will this delay the completion of our family. The measure of that we probably won't know. Our paperwork is in IBESR so it is being processed with the government and therefore it could mean no delay. We really don't know. What we do know is that we hope to hear soon that it is ready to move to the next step and bring us 1 step closer to bringing him home.

We had to redo some paperwork for our file as Kiki was our Power of Attorney in Haiti. We have done that and last week got word that document was on its way to Haiti. So it is a step. A step in the direction of maybe knowing something more about where we are at sooner, hopefully rather than later.

It has been an emotional time. A sad time. I always knew that the adoption process was going to be hard on us. On me. And I didn't know how that would effect me. I have been stronger in ways. Weaker in ways. I have felt so much guilt for feeling so selfish in this. I have felt guilt for Adriana and how to balance my need to be in Haiti with Hugo constantly on my mind to being present and here for her. It is not fair to her to have half a mom. She doesn't deserve that. I have felt a loss for Hugo not being with me that sometimes feels unbearable and feels like a punch right to my gut. But through all, I have learned what a great family we are. I have the most amazing daughter that really truly is so excited to meet her brother. And although she doesn't quite understand, her enthusiasm has been catching. I have learned that I have the most wonderful husband who has been a rock. A rock I needed but also has been emotional and felt all I have felt. The difference is he has dealt with it with a grace that I wish I possessed. And I have the most amazing little boy that will be home to us soon. And we will be complete.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Heights and The Role of Big Sister

So in attempt to be a typical, normal family, (although what is normal? Not us!) I decided to do an activity that is usually only done by people who have both of their children living in the same country...we started a wall chart of our kid's heights.

Last week we got an update from the orphanage with Huguenson's height, weight and head size. The same day Adriana's preschool class charted their height at school. It was a pretty great coincidence and made me feel like even though we are not all living in the same house, or country, that we were doing similar things at similar times. Things I would be doing if Hugo was home.

So today I went to US Toy and got a growth chart to put on the wall. One would think we would already have one since Adriana is almost 4, but we don't. I can't say really why. I brought it home and Ade was so excited to hang it up and mark her measurements. After we put it up, she realized that Hugo is not that much shorter right now than she is which brought her to tears. All she has ever wanted to do was hold her baby brother. Which makes me so sad for her. In her world, when you get a brother or sister, they are an infant. She has been so excited to feed him and teach him things. To help me take care of him. It brings tears to my eyes that she is so sad to miss out on those things.

We have told her that Hugo coming to live here will be a big adjustment for him and he will need his big sister to adjust and feel ok. We also try and remind her that he will still be a toddler and she will be so important in helping him learn things like how to swim, how to ride a bike, how to beat mom and dad at Candyland. So far she isn't buying it. And I cannot blame her. In my heart I can't understand why he is not already with us.

Hugo coming home will he a huge adjustment for all of us and will effect Adriana and Hugo the most. I worry about that everyday but I also know what an amazing kid she is. She will adapt and be helpful and be the proud big sister she already is. Tonight she stood up, stopped crying and was excited to have something that connected her to her brother, even if it is only a chart on the wall. But for now, it is enough. It has to be for all of us.

And can I just add we are going to have tall kids!! Adriana is one of the tallest kids in her class and is often mistaken for a 5 year old and Hugo, at 1 year of age, is not too far behind. We are going to have a tall Etchepare group! And I love it!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Huguenson's first birthday photos

When you are awaiting to bring your child home, any email with news or pictures is like a lifeline. A connection to him. Even though it kills me every single day that he is not home with us, I appreciate the updates and pictures so much! To know he is ok. To see his smile. To see him in a new outfit. It is all so so precious to me.

The orphanage very kindly sent us pictures of his first birthday. I am so grateful and so so thankful. Not only to have these to see him, but for him to have. For his memories.

Monday, August 22, 2011


This is one of my favorite pictures sent to me by my wonderful sister in law Corrina. This adorable little boy is Michael, one of Hugo and Adriana's cousins. He was born December 5th, 2010. He and Hugo are exactly 4 months a part in age (and I think will get along famously). When Corrina was looking at Hugo's pictures, Michael was very excited to see him and was talking to him on the computer. This picture is so precious and makes me even more excited to get him home and with us and our entire family!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Happy birthday Hugo!

Today is Huguenson's first birthday! Happy birthday to our sweet boy! We love you so much and cannot wait to have you home. (and mommy promises to make a cake for every year we miss!)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Haiti July 2011

The trip we have been waiting for came! And now we are home again. We have been home for a couple days and I still haven't begun to process those 5 days. I think it is going to be a while. How to you process going to Haiti for the first time. Experiencing that country (although our time there was so short). Meeting our son for the first time. And the pure agony we felt when we had to leave him to come home. We are still feeling it and I am not sure that it will go away until we have him home.

I think this will be the first of several posts. And I am working on getting a slideshow done to show our pictures. There are so many I want to share and too many to list out on here. And I want to talk about the people and kids we met that impacted us so much while we were there. So this is the first of many posts on our time in Haiti.

I will start out by saying our son is GORGEOUS! We were smitten the minute we saw him. His eyes. His lips. He is perfect. I realize, as his parents, we are biased, but I can't help but think the whole world would agree with me. :) He has more hair than most 5 year olds and I could not get enough of it. I think I hugged and kissed him about 200 times a day. His skin was beautiful. I could go on and on and on....

When we first met Huguenson at the orphanage, he was pretty mello. He came to us right away but didn't smile much or really react much at all. He is very observant and is aware of every little thing that goes on around him. He misses nothing. He is curious, got really interested in all noises around him, especially car or truck noises and horns. In the 4 days we got to be with him, he was the same calm, even tempered child that he was in those first few moments. As he got more comfortable with us, he did show us some emotion. Lots of laughs and giggles. And he got mad at us too. He is not afraid to let you know if you are doing something he loves or hates. It was not hard for us to figure out what he wanted and needed. We truly got into a great routine with him very quickly.

He seemed to be very comfortable with us and many commented on this that saw us throughout the week with him. He was very attached to us and to me, and I like to believe that he knows, as we do, that he is meant to be our little boy and that we are meant to be his parents. I felt like his momma the minute I met him and I think he knew it.

In our time there, we spent a lot of time with him at the orphanage, back at our hotel and took him with us when we went on a tour of Port au Prince. Most of our time was spent just playing and being with him.

We got to take him swimming for the first time back at our hotel. He did not seem too excited or unhappy about it. He clung to Rob or I, whoever had him in the water. He never wanted to be far from our shoulder but did perk up a bit when he realized how fun it was to splash water with his hands. He also was completely fascinated with a beach ball that was floating in the water. He reached and grunted for it whenever he saw it and when we reached it, he would grab it with both hands and hold it high above his head.

He did a lot of mimicking what Rob and I would do and every time I held my arm out to take a pic with our camera, he would go the exact same thing with whatever toy he had in his hand. He also was a big fan of high fives. When he did something that we think he perceived as being a good boy, he would quickly clap his hands together twice then give us a big smile. Did I mention his smile? It is infectious and melted my heart each and every time I saw it.

Leaving him was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Being home and not having him with us is a special kind of torture. It makes me feel sad and have a pit in my stomach constantly. I think I am doing better than we thought, but I also think the love I feel for him and the determination to get him home is so fierce in me now, that it carries me through the day. Plus we have our amazing daughter here that helps keep us busy and gets me out of bed each morning. I am not sure I could do it without her.

While we were there, we completed filing our I600 with the US Embassy and completed signing our intent to adopt at the Haitian court. These are 2 important steps to getting our paperwork processed and getting him home. Our paperwork is in process with ISEBR (with the Haitian government) and has been since June 6th. This process was taking over a year before the earthquake and now is taking, on average, about 4 months. So things are moving more quickly than before. Which is encouraging. I still think we have a long road but this gives us hope that we can have him home sooner than we thought before.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Two weeks from today

We leave for Haiti in 2 weeks from yesterday and by this time in 2 weeks, we will be with Hugo! I really cannot wait! It seems like I have been waiting for forever and now, it is here.

And as excited as I am, my anxiousness is probably just as high. I am anxious to leave my daughter here (even though we have left her in the past and she has been fine. And my family will take amazing care of her) and anxious to travel. It is no secret I hate to fly and this trip, well, it is one of the biggest of my life to date, and I have a feeling that plane ride will seem more claustrophobic than any other flight to date. I feel like everyone should wish Rob a big good luck because he will get to deal and calm this craziness in me. Poor guy.

But it all be worth it! I will get to hold him in my arms. He will get to stay with us. But of course I worry about that too. I don't want him to be scared and he probably will be. But I hope that he will feel the love that Rob and I have and that will carry us all through.

We have bought him clothes. A swimsuit. A bear blanket with his name on it to leave with him. Things that parents buy for their kids daily and don't give a 2nd thought to. I do it for Ade. But I have never felt so excited to buy a 5 dollar swimsuit. It is such a weird experience that my first shopping trip for Hugo to be 9 month size clothes. Size 3 diapers. We will be meeting him a week shy of his 1st birthday.

We will also be coming home without Hugo. This is something my heart and head cannot even begin to process or understand. Well, my head knows. My head knows that this trip is necessary because we will get some of the steps done in this long process to get him home. My head knows that we will do what we have to do to make that happen. All my heart knows this trip is so I can meet him, hold him and see him. To love him in person, instead of from afar, like we have been doing. My heart cannot wait to get there. But cannot comprehend leaving him there, not getting to be his mom every day in every sense of the word.

And in all honesty, my heart, and head, cannot comprehend what it is going to be like. Meeting him, being with him and leaving him. I cannot begin to imagine the emotions we are going to feel. The joy, the happiness, the pain and the sadness. This is a whole new world for us. I just hope I have the strength to get through it. And remember the love, the happiness. Always the love and have that carry us through.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Maybe I was a little excited...

So in my last post I put that we are going to Haiti in July. Which we are and we are so excited. But I may have misled why we were going. I have seemed to have confused more than a few people.

We are heading to Haiti in July and we get to meet our boy. We will only be there for 5 days and our main purpose is to meet and bond with Hugo, to go to the Embassy and the Haitian court to declare our intent to adopt. Unfortunately, my most important objective in all this, bringing him home, will not happen on this trip. We will be coming home without him. Which right now I cannot imagine. But I will have to find a way to remember that this is all a part of the master plan and must happen to bring him home.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

We are heading to Haiti!

I am happy to report we got confirmation last week that our appointment with the Embassy was confirmed and we will be heading to Haiti at the end of July!

We cannot wait. It is truly not that far away so I probably should get myself together. Figure out who will be taking care of my child here and what we need to get together to go.

So excited to meet my boy!!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Our Orphanage

I found this video today of Maison Des Infantes, the orphanage that Hugo currently resides in. I was really really nervous to click on it and see it. Through our adoption research and classes, we have seen many pictures and videos of some pretty awful places where kids live. That has always been in the back of my mind, how am I going to react if I get there and his living conditions doesn't meet the minimum standards for child care. I realize we are dealing with a 3rd world country that is the poorest in the Northern Hemisphere and that knew that living conditions are not good really anywhere in the country. But still, there is a part of you that hopes that your child is in a place that at least gets his basic needs met.

We have a friend that has been to Haiti many times since the earthquake and has visited some orphanages there. He told us that we needed to expect the worst and pretty much what we think is the worst we will see, will not compare to what we will actually see. This keeps me up at night. Not only for Hugo, but for all these kids. And it is something that is probably not going to change in the immediate future.

Fortunately, Haiti also has many mission based orphanages and centers that have come in to try and create better situations for these kids and many families in Haiti. The orphanage where Hugo resides is one of these. It was created with adoption of these children in mind, so when people bring their children here, they are bringing them because they want better for their kids. And after looking at this video, I feel a little relieved that he is in a place that seems to live up to what we were told. There is a school for the kids. Many different rooms to play and an outside courtyard to run. I am sure I will feel differently once I am there, but for now, I have a peace of mind that he is in a place that was created to love and nurture these kids the best they can with the resources they have. It may not look like much compared to what we all have here, but in the realm of orphanages, I can assure you, it is a lot. In the babies sleep room there is the blue bumbo that we have a picture of Hugo sitting in. Makes me feel closer to him to see where he spends his days.

After watching this and feeling relief for my child, I can't help but feel sad and helpless for the kids that are not in a place like this. And a bit guilty for the relief I feel. I just hope that the other kids have someone praying and fighting for them to have better.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We have a Match!

So as you can see, by the feel and posts of this blog, I have been a tad bit frustrated with the match part of this adoption process. Was told we would be matched with our child late January. That turned into February. For sure in March. Then each week, well maybe next week. Both Rob and I were pretty convinced that this may be the way the rest of our lives were going to go and that it may never happen (we are not dramatic at all...)

Back in March, we got some news that one of the little boys we were interested in had become unadoptable. So it seemed that the choice was going to be made for us. Which, honestly, is something I so much appreciated. Making the choice between the 2 boys felt like it would be agony. We waited for so long on both of their files that you tend to kind of fall in love with each of them. And as sad as it was to find out one of them was not available, both Rob and I felt that it was right for us and happened exactly how it was suppose to.

Last Friday, when we had about given up hope that we would get any information, I got a call at about 4:00 from the adoption agency and they were emailing the file over!!! It was my birthday and by far the BEST birthday present I could have ever asked for. I can't even describe how excited or amazing that moment was. It transformed what had been a pretty awful week into something great for both Rob and I.

So I am pleased to announce we are officially in process of adopting Huguenson Etchepare (aka Hugo as we have chosen to call him over the past few months). He is about 8 months old and quite possibly the most beautiful boy in the world.

From this point, we have turned in all our paperwork to send to Haiti. From here, the agency will set up a bonding trip for us to go visit Hugo and file our I600 paperwork in Haiti. We are hoping to go to Haiti in June for all of this. After that, we come home and have to wait for things to process. The estimated timeframe for all this is 18 to 24 months which seems agonizing to me. I am hoping that we have the opportunity to visit more times within that time before we get to bring him home. I can't imagine waiting that long to see him again.

But at this point, we are just elated that we have officially matched with our son! We will ride that high and hope for the best when it comes to the rest.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

If only my adoption was as easy as adopting on TV

So this post is going to reveal my love for cheesy, teenage, CW dramas. That is right. I love them. I will be 35 next month and I watch shows that target a 16 to 24 year old demographic. But this really isn't a post about confessions. :) So I shall move on...About a month ago on the show One Tree Hill a character, who found out last year she could not birth children, and her husband decided they would adopt. I must say, the speech her husband gave on the show to convince her to adopt was amazing. I actually even sent a tweet to the star (ok another confession, I love Twitter and she directly responded to me which made my day) in support of the story line. It was so beautiful and heartfelt and I was so excited for the show to take on an adoption journey.

***Before I go any further, let me write a disclaimer.....I realize that this is TV and they cannot drag things out for 2 years like real life and have to solve their issues in 1 hour a week. I get that. I didn't expect it to be as painfully long as it is in real life.***

The next week's show had them doing their home study. Only it took like a day and they met a birth mom (it is a domestic adoption). They left that feeling hopeful and excited. The next day on the show, the birth mom showed up at their house. (OK that would never happen. No way.) Of course the potential adoptive mom was drinking a beer and having fun with her friends and all sorts of kooky things about her past slipped out of their mouths, mortifying the birth mom. So a heartfelt speech to the birth mom followed about her past and how she had changed and the birth mom immediately decided she was going to give them their baby. Tears, happiness and screams ensued.

So in the last episode that I watched yesterday, the baby was doing great and ahead of schedule and decided to come a month early. Cut to shot of excited and nervous birthparents still trying to decide on paint colors for the baby's room and freaking out they won't have the room done. But it is ok, they go to the hospital and pick up their baby.

And scene! In 3 weeks of episodes, and in only 2 weeks of actual time gone by on the show, they decided to adopt, got a baby and are bringing the baby home. If only it were that easy. Like I said before, I knew it wouldn't be as long as the real process, but I think I expected them to show the pain of waiting and how hard it is to wait for your adoptive child and that it is a long and serious process. And at least take more than THREE weeks of episodes to play out the adoption story.

I have noticed that a lot of shows lately with adoption stories follow this model. I am sure it always has but my life situation has now made me hypersensitive and aware of all things adoption all the time (and believe me, I thought it was before. Being an adopted child I have always gravitated interest towards these story lines.) And I don't think my problem is with the shows per say, but maybe my own frustration in the wait of us getting matched with our child. I know adoption is a long process. I know time frames given are really broad and normally aren't accurate. I know. I have tried to prepare myself and learn that this will test every bit of patience I have in me. I have also reminded myself this is all happening in the way it is supposed to and that in the end, it will be so amazing it won't matter. But right now, I am truly frustrated. We were told at the beginning of December that we should be matched within a couple weeks with our child. I knew that it was probably unreasonable, but still had some hope. Cut to a month later, the beginning of January, when we were given a list of children and narrowed it down to 2. We were told by narrowing it down to 2 we would get paperwork and their files faster and if not, it would still be a couple months. Cut to a couple months later, still waiting for said files that wouldn't take 2 months. Our dossier has been completed, translated and certified and cannot move any farther at this point. Two weeks ago we were told that things were moving and we would have the file anyday. Well today is still any day and I still have nothing.

So I guess my frustration lies within being so close, yet feeling so far from progress. I know that is the process of adoption and this will not be the last time I am frustrated, but for tonight, I am going to be. I am going to wish I lived in a world of make believe where a baby comes to you in 2 weeks. (and side note, when my parents adopted me, they had me within 2 months of making the decision. So it can happen fast in the real world. But very, very, very rare. And don't think right now I am not bitter at them too for getting their baby so fast. ha ha)

So tonight I am mad. But tomorrow I will get out of bed, put back on my optimistic game face and hope that tomorrow is "any day" and we will get the information we need to move forward and get our son.

Stupid TV.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Getting back to the real reason I write this blog...

Updates! This should probably excite you and make you think I have an update, alas I do not.

We are still waiting on files for 2 little boys. Our Adoption Coordinator is going to Haiti this Friday and said that he would physically bring back their files for us. I tried like mad to get him to take me with him, but it isn't going to happen. Ok, I didn't try that hard but I did ask a couple times...if I had more time and been more prepared I would have begged, pleaded and bribed with him to go.

Once we get these files, Rob and I have a lot of talking and figuring out to do, which I am hoping happens quickly. The rough thing about having these boys pictures for the last 2 months is that we both have become so familiar with their faces and I have fallen in love with both of them and would, in a world where money was no object, bring them both home. But that can't happen so we are going to have to decide. I am hoping it will be similar to how we came to pick these 2 boys and that we will just know and be guided in the right direction. Decisions aren't easy for me when we are planning to go out to eat, so you can imagine how much this one has weighed on me and will continue to do so.

If all goes well, our paperwork will be sent to the Embassy as soon as we match and it takes about a month to process. Once we get that case number, we can plan our first "Bonding Trip" to Haiti. They have 2 groups going in June so I am hoping that we can be going on one of those. This trip will be the trip we get to meet our son and then going in front of the courts to declare our intentions to adopt him.

I am hoping that we will have several opportunities to go back after that. I can't imagine being away from him for 18 months. Plus, we will not bring Adriana on this first trip, so I fully intend to get back with her sometime so she can be a part of it and meet him and help with her understanding of all of this.

Stay tuned....

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lessons I am slowly learning

My last post (rant) was about people being hurtful, saying means things and making me feel bad about the journey that we are on. I wrote it when I was in a very vulnerable place and had a long weekend with many comments and opinions thrown at me all at once. At places that I couldn't imagine having such conversations. I was a bit angry. A little feisty. Maybe a tad bit charged up.

As I write this, I stand by what I said. But as much as I seemed to condemn people for making me feel bad or being ignorant, I need to also remember who I can be. Someone who can be compassionate towards others for not always knowing what to say and to use this as an experience to educate, be positive and not judge others.

Adoption seems common to me and something that everyone knows about. I tend to forget that being an adopted child, it is common to me because it is my life. And I have always had an interest in it, so it is something I have been up to date on and always tried to learn more about. I tend to forget that not everyone has a connection to it, knows someone that is adopted or even has read anything about it. Most people's knowledge of adoption is through celebrities with the likes of Madonna, Angelina and Brad and others.

So that being said, I think I can be unfair at times that everyone needs to be sensitive to my feelings when it comes to this. I know a lot of people are just trying to help and want to know more and by me being upset, walking away or chastising them, is not helpful and only hurts the progress of people understanding.

Last night we were at a charity event for Pandas International and there was a lady with two little black boys that she had adopted. They were absolutely adorable and while I wanted to talk to her about it and find out their story, I realized that maybe not all people want to be bothered. I think it is like when you are pregnant. Random people that you don't know tend to tell you way too much information, give you way too much advice and often try to touch your tummy. Which to me was mortifying. Who does that? Well, once you have experienced pregnancy, you realize it is a lot of people. Maybe being constantly questioned about your adopted children is the same thing as pregnancy belly rubbing.

I guess my lesson to myself here is this. To get people to understand, accept and celebrate my family I have to be willing to be compassionate, open and honest but without judgment and anger. To be accepting of questions and inquiries about my family and be proud of the family I have created. Because for us it will be normal. Our normal.

I need to also learn the balance between being the fierce momma bear that will fight to the death for my kids and being compassionate and understanding towards others and realizing they don't always have bad intentions.

This could take a while. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hurtful Opinions, Advice and a bit of Positivity

So I know that I need to toughen up and get used to hurtful opinions in life. It is true of everyone. No matter what choices you make or what path you choose, someone is there to criticize and knock you down. The worst part of it is, it is usually the ones that love us and just want to "help". I have been known to do it. I am sad to say that and will try hard not to do that in the future. Sometimes I think people can't see truth and don't want to hear it, but these aren't the times I am talking about. I am talking about unwanted and unsolicited advice on things that should be happy and positive, that people would like to see the negative in.

Growing up as an adopted child, I have heard a lot of hurtful things said about it. How could you be loved as much as someone's biological children? You are not really their child. Fortunately I grew up in a situation where I always felt loved by my parents and never felt inferior in their eyes to my siblings. (Not because I was adopted anyway. Maybe because I liked to get into trouble. ha ha ha) But I do know some adopted children did feel this way. I have met them. I have talked to them. I feel for them. What an awful way to live. I wouldn't wish that feeling on anyone. As I have said before, being adopted left me with a feeling of rejection. Not by my parents, but that there is someone out there that didn't want me. I know in my head that it was a good decision and that it was the decision that my biological mother had to make at the time, but it leaves you with a feeling of abandonment none the less. I can't imagine, on top of that, feeling like your adoptive family didn't want you either or that you weren't good enough.

These kind of comments were never said to me directly, but have been said in general around me. By people that have no idea I am adopted (I tend to not wear a sign) and by those that do know. And while I would like to say it is ignorance, I also think some people do not have the capacity to bring a child into their home that isn't related by blood and raise them. I think that for some people, it seems like an impossibility. I am happy to say that my family is not one of those people and that I am so thankful that there are so many people in the world that this does not apply to. There are so many people out there that can love a child no matter what and can give them all the love they need and deserve.

That being said, as we started on our adoption journey, we have already had our fair share of "advice" and "words of truth." And some people have just been plain mean. And I know once we do bring our child home, we will meet this kind of advice and hurtful comments over and over again. Some people do not understand adoption and do not understand adopting outside of one's race. I have been told that people don't understand what we are doing. I have been told that people cannot believe we are going to adopt a black child. And why wouldn't we adopt a child in the US? Why not help kids here?

I guess I have this to say. What we are doing, is not a negative thing to me in any way, shape or form. Rob and I are so excited to open our house to another child and make them our own and we do not care where they came from, who they are or the color of their skin. Growing a family through adoption is such a great and positive thing to me. We are so excited and truly cannot wait.

Now with that being said, I know we are going to travel a tough road. I know we need to get tougher skin and that my children will unfortunately have to as well. I know that with adoption comes great loss and grief for the adopted child. No matter the situation they are in, no matter how dire or sad, it is the life they know and the only life they have probably ever known. They have already had loss in their life and we will be taking them out of their home, causing them another loss. I know that their grief will be considerable. I know they may be angry, sad, frustrated, or scared. I know that I will work my tail off every day to make them feel like they are a part of our family and that we will never abandon them and they will never have those worries again. I know it will be hard. I know it will be tough. I know the road will be long.

And while I don't understand it, I know that some people truly don't "get" what we are doing. Why are we adopting? Why outside the US? Why not just have another child on our own? Well, it is simple really. We want to grow our family. Adoption is a great way and the way for us to do that. It isn't a decision everyone makes, but it is our decision. It is what we want to do. It has been a good thing for both me and Rob's family, and we would like to give another child that same love and hope. An opportunity to grow up with opportunity. To have a chance. To live in an environment where he can makes his own choices. Good positive choices for his life. We are not saviors. We have our own selfish reasons for adopting too. We want another child to love and to give Adriana a brother/sister. And simply we want to do that through adoption.

I know that adopting a black child will open us up to comments, opinions, and negativity from people. I know that, while our house is color blind and we will raise our children to be, that the world isn't. I know it will be hard on our adopted child as well as Ade. I know things will be said and our kids will have to deal with some things that they normally wouldn't. I know there will be challenges.

But for every challenge, we will be there, supporting them, loving them, hugging them. We will be truthful with them. We will protect them and hopefully give them the tools to protect themselves when we are not there. We will try not to lay the burdens of our imperfect world so heavily on their shoulders. We will do everything in my power to ease the pain and make things okay.

We will take on these big challenges and day to day challenges. We will take care of them and love them. And when that isn't enough, we will love them more. And to those who say, if you know it will be so difficult, why do it? Well, because life isn't easy. And no child should suffer for your ignorance.

So thank you for your advice, comments and insults. But we are better off without them.

And on the other side of this, the positive side from the beginning, are the people that have loved and supported us unconditionally. They have been excited for us, nervous with us and happy for us. To those family members and friends, we love you and could not do this without you. For your love and support is exactly what we, and our children, need. And we all so lucky to have you. Thank you.


So things have changed slightly and while we are excited, we are cautious about that excitement.

We got an email from the adoption agency last week that our Dossier has been translated and they are now waiting on us to match with our child so they can get it legalized and sent to Haiti. So our paperwork is moving rather quickly, but now at a halt until we finish the selection process and match with our child.

We also received a letter from Immigration for the US stating that our I600 application was approved and the government deems us fit to parent an orphan. This is exciting news as sometimes we are not sure we are fit to parent our own 3 year old but if the government tells us so, I believe it. :)

So in reaction to this, we received a list about a week ago of all the children available at one of the orphanages. All the list had was a picture, name and birthdate. Typically we would receive full bios on each child but since our paperwork is done and the orphanages are still saying that it will be a couple months for them to complete that information, they decided to send us the list so we could request information on a couple of children and maybe it would come through faster.

It was very exciting. And very sad. The list had children of all ages, from 4 months to 8 years. Many of the children fit our criteria. Which just means we don't care what gender our child will be and are asking for a child between the ages of 0 to 12 months at time of match. This was our original thoughts. Thinking that once we match it will still take a couple years to bring that child home. So we wanted to start as early as possible into their lives.

But as we looked, both Rob and I were drawn to kids of all different ages. I always dreaded this point in the process. Seeing those children. All the ones that are awaiting a family. But both Rob and I were drawn to some of the children immediately and that actually helped quite a bit. And maybe how it is supposed to be.

We have narrowed it down to 2 little boys. We are now awaiting on medical information and such so we can make a decision. I am hoping that we get it all soon but am trying not to put too high of expectations on this.

Hopefully we will have an update soon with a picture and more information and a banner reading, The Child we Have Been Waiting For! :)