Friday, July 3, 2009

Confessions of an (international) adoptive parent

First an update.

We did end up making that whirl wind trip to Columbus a few weeks ago to finalize our documents. It went down something like this...we both got fingerprinted on a Monday (that makes 3 times for those keeping track), I got a physical on the same day, Steve's was on Wednesday. All the documents were notarized that Thursday night. Steve returned to the doctor on Friday morning to have his TB test read. I went to the Hamilton County Clerk of Courts about 11:30am on that Friday followed by a quick trip home to gather items for the weekend, and picked up Steve from work. We made it to the Ohio BCI office in London, OH around 2:00pm to pick up the fingerprint records, only to discover my DOB was wrong (and thank God there was someone in the office who could sign and notarize an updated copy). Made a 5 minute drive to the Madison County Clerk of Courts to have those certified, and then office to Columbus to have everything appostilled. In just over 4 hours we had gone to 5 different offices in 3 different counties, but got it all done. At least this time we knew what we were doing.

Our documents are in Russia, but we haven't heard anything yet. The most recent weekly update is that we probably won't hear anything until mid July...more waiting.

It's been 2 months since I've seen my boys. Two months with no updates. While I like to play it cool, I wonder. Are they growing, are they eating, will they remember me, has Rowan started talking yet?

Confession: This is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. This is the most emotional time of my life (yes, that includes the 6 months of fertility treatments).

It's hard to put into words the emotions I feel on a daily basis. I've met my children, but can't have them yet. I broke down twice last week while traveling. Both times I saw parents playing with their small children in the airport, one, a little boy about Rowan's age, laughing and giggling. It made me want him home more.

Overall the process has moved quickly, but length of time in relative. There are days I wake up and say "Wow, this 2 months has gone by so fast," and then there are mornings I wake up and feel like it has been a year since I waved bye to the little boy at the end of the hall.

Confession: It's getting hard to be around parents and kids again.

It used to be pregnant moms, because they had the one thing I wanted, but couldn't have. Now it's parents and their young children. They have the one thing I also have, but they rarely go a day without seeing their children, let alone 2+ months, almost 6 if you count the time from when we first got picture. Sometimes parents will joke about how they would love to take a vacation from their kids. This is not a vacation. I've tried to throw myself into my hobbies to easy my mind, but even that doesn't seem to be helping.

Confession: I am an expectant mother, and just because I don't have a large round belly doesn't mean that I'm exempt from being emotional.

I do it myself. I tell pregnant women they have "pregnancy brain," and even expect that pregnancy brings about an emotional irrationality that society has come to pass of a just being "pregnant." It's not a big deal, it's what's expected. While I'm not sad that random strangers aren't coming up to rub my belly, having to constantly justify my emotional state is a bit much. I'm not pregnant, therefore, I have to reason to be forgetful, or emotional, or irrational even. But I do. I have to fight for my boys everyday. I have to constantly justify why I've made the decisions I've made, and why I chose to adopt, and why Russia, why not the States. Fighting for my boys is very dear to my heart, and it can get very emotional.

Confession: The process has worn on me physically, mentally, and financially.

Everytime I think about going back to Russia, I can't help but wonder if I can really do it. One week in Russia with the traveling, changing time zones so dramatically, limited food options, language barrier, and culture shock was rough physically and mentally. This time I will do almost 4 weeks in Russia. I sometimes wonder if I'll have the strength to do it. I lost 6 pounds while in Russia last time. It's not so bad in Moscow. We as American's can blend in much easier than in Siberia. Not to mention that this time we will be in front of a judge who still has the power to say no (although it hasn't happened yet).

Financially times are tough for everyone. I hear it over and over again. Basically, we have about $20,000 worth of expenses remaining to get the boys home, and that includes airline tickets, hotel, passports and visas for the boys, medicals exams in Moscow, court costs, attorneys fees, transportation, translation, and food, all of which either has to be paid before we go again, or in cash. It's been hard. We believe we have heard a very clear call to do this, and so are trusting God to make this happen, but it gets very frustrating when time and time again the response we get is sorry. We have applied for numerous grants to offset the high cost of international adoption (they pretty much all use the same phrasing). And most of them are faith based organizations that use the James 1:27 principle of taking care of orphans. However, they have a limited supply of funds, and use financial need as a primary basis, so we face the double edge sword of not being able to afford the high cost of international adoption, but making too much money to require financial assistance.

So we make decisions, and get asked more questions about our decisions, and justify. And the mental and emotional drain continues.

Confession: Some confessions aren't suitable for this forum.

It's true. I know who reads this, and if I put it all out there I would make more than a few people upset. Few of my friends or family are on a similar journey, and just don't get it. They don't understand the process or the expectations or the mental/emotional toll, or any number of aspects of adoption. Some try to understand, other smile and nod.

Confession: I will do this again.

I won't go to Russia to adopt. I could very easily see that Russia would make the process even more difficult in coming years. I can say that I've done it, but there has to be a better (and when I say better, I mean more cost effective, less paperwork) way. Don't get me wrong, I have valued my experience in another country, and I value that I was able to experience the culture of my boys. I also live in a country were the opportunities are endless, and I'm spoiled rotten. So will I take care of a orphan again, yes, it may just be from up the street instead of across the globe, and maybe a girl. I think Sam and Rowan will need someone to stick up for.


sarah true said...

Thank you for being so open with your feelings and thoughts. I think this post is so encouraging! You gave me a lot of perspective on being an adoptive parent. My heart longs for you to see your boys soon! I can't imagine 2 months. As a mother, you want to nurture and protect and to have them far from you is heartbreaking. I can see that you are doing it all from Christ who gives you strength.