Saturday, September 30, 2006
Opinions are like........ Here's Mine
I really enjoy reading about other pre adoptive parents questions about concerns and choices of the adoption journey. I also enjoy answering questions and offering advice on the million and one things that come up. After 3 trips and two adoptions, I feel like a wise old sage in this area. Of course , there are as many differing opinions and experiences as there are adoptions.There are some topics that are always areas of concern and question in adoption chats and message boards. And the differing advice can escalate sometimes to the Friday Night Fights,which of course adds to the confusion of the waiting families, who were expecting a short , concise and definitive answer. But what subject or topic in any venue ever gets that. But for what's its worth, here are my thoughts on some recent subjects I have been reading and yes, offering my two cents worth on.
I think in adoption it is OK to think of these choices as a perk. While there are some high tech ways of determining gender in a bio child now, I don't know of anyone who has used this method,even my friends with 4 girls and crossing every appendage they have for number 5 to be a boy (It wasn't).If you don't care ,then don't specify. If you do care, then say so. So what if the wait may be longer for a girl. I know plenty of families who asked for a girl(myself included) and did not have to wait any longer than the "boy" parents. Do not feel guilty or that you are shopping. Part of international adoption is choosing parameters for your child referral. It is not mandatory that you make a choice, but it is perfectly fine, justified and a positive part of adoption if you do. If you are dreaming of a little boy or a daughter, then that part of the dream you have the power to make come true. Our first adoption we did not specify and it brought us our son. We entered our second adoption for a daughter. A DAUGHTER, no apologies or explanation needed.

AGE is the same, sorta.We wanted as young as possible. We asked for under a year, we got under a year. I know all the arguments for why a toddler is better(Health assessment advantage) or an older child(may be quicker, and more in need).Of course those two may have harder attachment, but most do just fine.We wanted young. No ,we were not trying to have the "newborn" experience or mourning the loss of that. We could have had that with a bio. We chose adoption over that. But because we were open on health, we figured that the younger the child the earlier we could intervene on health issues.So if you want young hold out for that, if you reach your limit on waiting,then you can up the age bracket.If you read the adoption message boards you will see a pattern emerge. Each parent thinks that the age they adopted is the perfect on and will have legitimate reasons to support it. This is how is should be. I hope every parent thinks the choices they made were perfect. And they will be. That is the miracle of adoption.The child you bring into your heart and home will be the perfect match, even if it is not what you thought you wanted.Or it may be exactly as you imagined and waited on.
Go with your heart.
This is not a lease agreement,
it is a lifetime, yours and theirs.
NAME: To Change or Not to Change
This also brings out righteous emotion.Again, Do what you want? If you love their Russian name, or feel a particular duty to keep it,then keep it. Remember that many children placed at birth are named by a nurse at the hospital. Older children of course were named by bio parents. They will have an opinion.Some want to keep the Russian name and others refuse to answer to it, wanting a new American name to go along with their new American life and future. If you are adopting a child, say 2 years old or younger, than it is simply up to you.We thought it was our right as new parents of infants to pick out a name, just like most all parents get to do. This filled up a lot of time while we waited for the call. Look, it took my husband two weeks to pick out a name for our poodle, so you can imagine what went into naming our children. He didn't want it to be too long or too common or too unusual. He read the book of 50,000 names , set it down and proclaimed that he did not like any of them. I kid you not. I , on the other hand, liked a lot of them. Most he deemed to unusual or rhymed with something that could used in a taunt by other kids. Since we did not know if our first child would be a boy or girl ,and choosing two names next to impossible , we agreed to pick one name that could be either gender.We agreed on Riley. Will for a middle name after Dad. Our son's Russian name was Ivan, not bad but not one have ever felt sorry about not keeping. Then came our second adoption and this time we knew it would be a girl. Out came the baby name books.My husband once again, hard to please.Then one day, while we were shopping at the big mall,I glanced up at a sign above a store. MACY"S. I sorta not jokingly said,"how about Macy for her name?" expecting an eye roll in response. Lo and behold , he thought about it for half a second and said ,"Yes, I like that, its settled, Macy it is" And Macy it was and she is a Macy, whatever that means.We combined both her grandmothers names for a middle name. She loves that she is named after them.She knows that her Russian name was Irina Michealenova, she likes Macy better.
So pick out a name you love, a family name or wait and see the name they come with. But don't make it any harder than it is. My two do not need a Russian name to know where they were born. My daughter can tell you all about it in her Scarlett O'Hara southern twang accent.
Some other things that may keep you up at night I have shorter answers to.
Packing-Don't take food-we ate constantly while in Russia, don't take toilet paper(they have it I promise)
and pretty much everything else you may need
Clothes- You don't have to take all Black clothes. I have no idea who started that rumor.You will walk a lot so take comfortable shoes. Dress nice. We found that most all Russians we saw dress nicely. They put time,thought and effort into dressing each day. No sweats, slouchy comfort clothes, few tennis shoes.The women had hair stylishly fixed, makeup and jewelry.Lots of short skirts, hosiery and high heels. Husband did not complain. Look, adopting a child is one of the most important things you will do and you should dress for the occasion. You will also be taking more pictures than you ever have on any trip and you will undoubtedly appear in a few. These are pictures that you will show anyone who will look and pictures you and your children will look at for the rest of your life. You will be thankful for the little extra effort you put into it. And yes, Russians do wear blue jeans and no matter what you wear , they will not mistake you for a local.
I guess the moral of this blog entry is this.
This is your adoption,your child, your family.
While there are rules of thumb and guidelines,there are also exceptions to every rule.
Make it your own.
Every choice that can be made, has been made by thousands of adoptive parents who came before you.
Just as many make the same choice as you will and just as many will choose differently.
Don't waste energy on decisions that won't matter 5 years from now like what to wear or what to pack or which diaper or what stroller. Although these things do help you pass the time.
Follow your own heart and head, dreams and desires in making choices that will matter to you like health, or gender or a name.
There is no right or wrong answer.
Unless you choose someone else's answer and not your own.
Some things won't matter,That's OK
Some things will matter, That's OK too.
And later, when you are home with your child and have the experience under your belt. You can be the wise old sage on the adoption board voicing your opinion and debating your choices.
Hope to see you there, it really is a lot of fun and occasionally I think we help someone.
Ok, I love the debating part too.


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