Thursday, 24 November 2011

Coming up to the year mark...

It was almost a year ago that we decided to adopt internationally (even though I had long to adopt from the Ukraine).

This has been a long process with many hidden debts, stalling, disappointments and heart breaks (and we haven't even started dealing with the Ukraine side of things).  We finally have our papers being sent to the adoption minstery, and have been informed that a Government office (unclear if it is ours or the Ukraine's) will be closed for the month of December.  It looks like we've got our papers in the nick of time, and I am not complaining. 

Thank goodness for Christmas.  I throroughly enjoy the season, not so much the reglious side of it, I must confess, as I view it more of a season of giving, being kind to your fellow man and so forth.  I know life should be like that all the time, though too often most of us our caught up in our own lives.  Having a season that encourages people to take a kinder look to one another is a magical thing to me.  If every day was Christmas, what a world we would create.

A part of me feels a great saddenss in my heart that this year I don't have our daughter celebrate with.  I was hoping to that it could happen, but the fates decreed that this year was not to be.  Still I can't help the images of belting out Silver Bells with my sons and daughter while we bake Christmas goodies.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Photo Album ~ A Time Killing Project...

If you have ever had the experience of meeting family you didn't know.  Other than knowing you are related to them but names/faces and how they fit in the family, things can easily become a blur.

My father kept us estranged from his side of the family throughout our childhood with one or two exceptions, and even then we only saw them one or twice a year.  It wasn't until after I was married that I reconnected with my father's side of the family, and there were over twenty people I was related to and didn't have a clue who they were.  Some of them used to babysit me, and do my hair, none of which I remember.

If meeting this side of my family was overwhelming for me, can you image how it must be for an adopted child?  My Aunt Kay put together a family ablum for me and my sisters, so we could see how we all connect. It was a lot of work on her end but I treasure it. We trade off the album at Christmas, and it has become something of a tradition now.

With this in mind I've decided to do the same sort of thing with our adopted child.  I've emailed several family members to send me pictures of their family.  I've asked for a group photo with all of their immediate family members in it, as well as another photo that may or may not have everyone in it.

The plan is to help the child intergrate within the family and not be overwhelmed.  I do plan on doing small douses with family visits.  But there is no getting around the Albers Thanksgiving which has almost 30 people crowded around an immensely long table.    I've also put in pictures of our house/her bedroom/ kitchen and family room so she can get a feel as to what to expect. And labels, names, what the picture is about and so on.

Even with the busy Christmas season rounding the corner, I still find myself getting impatient and wanting things to hurry along.   I'm not a scraping booking sort of person, but this is enough for the time being to make me feel closer to bringing our daughter home.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Abused as a child & wanting to adopt...

Part 1 Finished (Dare I say offically?)

With international adoption, I've surmise that it happens in three parts.  Part one being dealing with an adoption practitioner.  A complete expose on on you, your husband, your children (though not as much) and other adults living with you should you have them.

I will say for those who have grown up with abuse, regardless of the form it comes in, and you want to adopt.  The home study process can strike a cord that you may not expect and fill you with a heavy load of self doubt, and remind you of things that you had thought you had overcome.  There are questions in the questionaire that you may not want to answer truthfully, are ashamed of, and may even be in complete denial with it.  My advice as someone who has gone through this and faced some personal demons.  It is okay to be truthful, and as long as you understand that how you were abused/raised/ treated/ was wrong, and you do not incorporate it into your own life and beliefs you shouldn't have any thing to worry about (though I suspect that you will).

Having gone through this twice, I will say that find an adoption practitioner who will not judge you because of your parents mistakes (it pains me to say this but there are some out there who believe that the apple always falls close to the tree).  It is okay to go to therapy and discuss your childhood issues and work them out if you need to, before you being the home study process.  In fact I would encourage you to do it before the home study ~IF you haven't come to terms with your abuse, as well as your abusers.  If you have and found other ways to overcome your abuse and your abusers then kiddos to you! Nevertheless be forewarned, you are going to have to visit the past, recall painful memories and share aspects of yourself that won't be pleasant, and you may discover that you really haven't put it all behind you.  Or maybe the opposite just might be true, one thing I can tell you it is going to be an emotional rollercoaster of a ride so brace yourself and have the tissues handy.

On a side note, should you decide to go to therapy your adoption practitioner will need a letter from your therapist, however, this letter will show that you are working to overcome your past, if you haven't already.

My advice is to be honest with youself and your adoption practitioner.  The best thing you can do for yourself is to take care of yourself , and show your adoption practitioner that despite how you were raised and the abuse you experienced, you've overcome the challenges and have broke the cycle of abuse.  I know it isn't always easy, but paying attention to yourself helps.

Somethings I have done and still do when dealing with my children are:

Go over what went well and what didn't, and what you could have done better.
Learn what your triggers are.  (hunger, and lack of sleep are mine)
Learn what your child's triggers are stay ahead of them.
Be patient.
Pick your battles.  (If you child doesn't want to wear mittens, it is okay, when their hands are cold they will, so stuff them in their pockets or bag.)

And remember no one is perfect and there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  Just do your best.

Again, I will stress make sure you are comfortable with your adoption practitioner.  Discuss your concerns in that first meeting.  You will most likely have to pay for their time, but it is well worth the effort. I hope this helps ease some of the fears abused propective parents may have about adopting, or at least give you a better understanding of what to expect in terms of the homestudy process. 

It isn't easy, and yes while I wait for the government's approval saying that I can adopt, a part of me is terrified that they will say I am unfit.  Why would they? I have no logical explaination.  I am just scared that I have a black stain in my records, even though that stain really belong to someone else.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Adopting Internationally with a child in tow.

I've heard or rather read about families who have done this.  Personally, we would love to take the whole family with another adult in tow.  However, we are not rich people.  Dale being away hunting has been hard on our youngest child.  He is extremely sentistive and worries a lot.  I suppose my car accident two years ago really struck a chord with how fragile life can be. 

We weren't planning on taking any of our children, but I think it would be best if we brought Cyrus along with us. The others are teenagers and they'll probably have a blast without us.  (Don't worry we have trusted adults who will be filling in the role of caretaker while we are going through this).

I'll need to read up again of tricks and tips to entertain when travelling with kids.  The Complete Guide to International Adoption had a whole chapter on how to deal/entertain kids.  I'm looking forward to reading it again. 

On a side note I purchase a grief box today for our daughter.  Winners has some lovely cardboard boxes shaped like treasure chests done up in pretty paper.  I picked up one that is covered in butterflies.  I thought it would be fitting since butterflies are a symbol of change, and stating the obvious "adoption is change."

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hunting Hold Up...

Dale took the week off of work to go up north and do some hunting with his buddies.  I'm excited for him as he has never done anything like this for himself.  However, we recieved an email from our adoption agency that we need to sign some papers.  Dale's in the wilds and cell phone towers are far and few.  He only calls at night and keeps his cell phone off during the day as the battery dies fast searching for signals. 

So we have another week delay, unless they can bag all their tags and come home early.  Personally I can't wait to experiment cooking with bear and vension, not to mention that this will cheapen our grocery bill.