Creating connections with Adoption Choices families

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Words of Wisdom – Meeting the Needs of an Adopted Child

Read this article from one mom who reflects on the joys and challenges of meeting the needs of her adopted daughter:



What I Know About Motherhood Now That I Am an Adoptive Mother
By Carrie Goldman

Love and Reflections

The other morning, my youngest and I were in the girls’ bathroom getting her ready for the day. I dabbed toothpaste on her snoopy toothbrush and handed it to her. My youngest then jabbed the toothbrush around in her mouth until it was full of suds, drooled the suds out into the sink, wiped her face on the hand towel, and smiled a big toothy smile at herself in the mirror. Next, I reached back into the closet, and grabbed a green polka-dotted washcloth, ran it under the not-too-hot water, and rubbed it across her face, cleaning off the sleepies, the leftover oatmeal, and the dribbled toothpaste smudge on her chin. As my youngest’s face was revealed to her in the mirror again, she looked at me through the reflection, and said in a very matter of fact tone, “Why doesn’t the brown come off?”

I replied out loud to my daughter, back though my reflection, “that’s a great question!” Then I started to talk about melanin,  skin cells, genetics, and, then, without hearing a word, she ran off to get her lovely tucked into bed, or “school,” as she calls it.

I have spent a good amount of time, since that morning, mulling over my daughter’s question, and my response. I’ve responded in my head to my daughter over, and over, changing my response depending on the weight of the meaning I placed on her words. I thought deeply about how we approach skin color, race, differences, and our multiracial family. I wondered, have I read anything new about children adopted trans-racially  Have I done enough to feed my daughter’s self-image and self-esteem so it can grow strong and beautiful?

I took a moment to look at our family, neighborhood, and community through my daughter’s eyes. Does she see her beautiful brown face reflected back to her through her teachers (no), in her classmates (some), in her neighborhood (a bit), in our church (yes), in her family (no), in her birth family (yes)?

My husband and I feel that having an open relationship with our daughter’s family, positively impacts our family as a whole, but also gives our youngest a direct, and authentic tie to her family, and culture of origin.  In our family our daughter sees her reflection, of her image, in her birth mother, of her heart, in her adoptive parents. Together, I have confidence that we will lift up our daughter to see her own image, of a strong and beautiful young girl, with a lovely brown face.

Love and Vacation

Often I tell my husband I need a vacation. I need to get away from it all, and rest my aching feet on a hot sandy beach in say, Grand Cayman, preferably at the Ritz Carlton. I fantasize about it for a night, dreaming of how relaxed I’d feel listening to the gentle sound of waves, while I snooze on the beach.  However, usually our budget, or job schedules, or reality, burst my vacation bubble, and I end up sitting in the shower for five extra minutes, pretending I’m at the spa.

Sometimes I could do with another kind of vacation too. I desire a vacation that takes me away from reality. Some days I just need a vacation, from adoption. I just need a mental break from thinking about our open adoptions, all of our extended family members, all of the logistics of visits, the complexities of communication via text and Facebook. I want an adoption free zone. I could do with a cradle to curl up in and rest.  I could use to recover my strength, which I deplete with my doubts, and worries, over the choices I make for our family.

By the time I have wrestled around with the practicality of taking an adoption vacation, a break from the most deep-rooted part of our family, I realize that’s not actually what I require. I need to share the load; I could use a witness to the joys, the chaos, and the sadness that are our adoptions. I need confirmation that our family is well, full of love, and on the right track. I crave a smile from my girls, a kiss from my husband, a text from my youngest’s birth mom, and a Facebook post from Grandparents far and near. Really, I just need a hug. A hug can be all the adoption vacation I need. Knowing that the person on the other end sees me, sees my girls, sees our family, and reflects back to me how beautiful it is, can be just as good as a beautiful sunset over the Caribbean to replenish me. However, a hug on the beach, while sipping an exotic cocktail, would work too.

A New Carpet

“How long have you had this carpet?” the salesperson asked as she looked around K’s room.  “About 12 years,” I replied.  

While she explained all the advancements made in stain mastery over the past 12 years, my mind wandered back to when we bought the original carpet.  We had just found out that K’s birthmother, A, had selected us to be the parents of her soon to be born baby.  We were thrilled but determined to be realistic.  The baby wasn’t due for several more months, and a lot could happen.  We were excited but, in the words of my husband, “were going to keep our feet planted firmly on the ground.”  We weren’t going to decorate a nursery until after the baby returned home with us, but a new carpet didn’t count.  Any room could have a new carpet.  The old carpet was blue and stained and needed to be replaced.  We bought a nice neutral tan colored carpet and kept our feet planted firmly on it.

We communicated regularly with A and found out she was expecting a girl.  A also told us we could name the baby.  We drove to my parents for a visit and spent the 2 ½ hour ride discussing baby names.  By the time we arrived, we decided her first name would be my grandmother’s and her middle name would be my husband’s grandmother’s.  We shared this idea with my parents and they loved it.  They asked about the nursery.  We told them about the new carpet but explained our feet philosophy.

“Let’s just look,” my Mom said.  So we looked.  And we saw this crib.  It was a beautiful crib, perfect for a baby girl named K.  My husband and I looked at each other and at our feet.  They were still right there, planted firmly on the ground.  “It’s a beautiful crib,” I said.  He agreed.  We looked at each other again.  Sensing us wavering, Mom offered to get it as a gift for K.  It was just a crib; we could take it down if we had to.  She bought us the crib and we brought it back home.

Once the crib was up, the room needed a dresser and a changing table.  My aunt offered to buy us a rocker.  Since we already had the crib and the dresser and the changing table, there didn’t seem to be any harm in getting a rocker.  Then there was the discussion about “Classic” vs. “Disney” Winnie the Pooh.  In the first of many times as parents that we would cave into the marketing machine, Disney Pooh won out.  Stuffed Pooh sat in the rocker.  Pooh and his friends hung in a mobile over the crib.  A Pooh lamp waited on the dresser.

And there was the “Daddy” blanket.  It was a beautiful fleece blanket my husband ordered from L.L. Bean.  It was gold, with red stitching around the edge with K’s name in big red letters in the middle.  What about our feet?  Oh they were right there, planted firmly on the ground.  They remained there when we got the phone call telling us K was about to be born.  We brought them with us as we flew across the country and walked into the delivery room.  They were there when we held our newborn girl and when we all flew back home together. 

 I looked down at my feet on the old carpet and thought of all the rug had seen.  K rolled over for the first time on it.  She escaped from her crib and landed head first on it.  Countless block structures were built on it and Polly Pocket clothes were vacuumed up from it.  And it had helped two nervous people pretend they were realistic and in control.  As K approaches her teen years, I imagine we have some new challenges ahead, challenges that will require keeping our feet planted firmly on the ground.  We decided to get a plusher carpet – just in case.

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