Friday, May 23, 2008

Woohoo, I'm a blogger!

I've been meaning to start an adoption blog for a while, but I just haven't gotten around to it, and there's not a whole lot to report yet anyway. But today I decided just to jump into it and get going on it.

So here's the scoop on me and this blog. My name is Wendy, wife to Shawn and mom of two beautiful biological sons. Josh is 8 and Matthew is 4. About a year ago we decided that it was time to add to our family, but every time I thought about having another child something just didn't seem right about it. I really struggled with what I was supposed to do for a long time. Our family believes in prayer to help us make big decisions in life so I prayed and prayed about it.

One morning I woke up and just had an overwhelming need to check into adoption. Not so much a need as a sudden, uncontrollable obsession! It was not something that we had ever really seriously considered, so I tried to shake it off, but just I really felt strongly that for whatever reason, this was the journey that our family was meant to take, and until I did it I couldn't get the thought out of my head! I would wake up every morning and adoption was the first thought in my head and it was in my head all day.

I finally had to admit to myself that someone was trying to tell me something and I brought it up to Shawn. Because it literally came out of nowhere it took him a bit to warm up to the idea, but it didn't take long for him to have the same feeling that I did. This is what we were meant to do.

So I got to work. I looked into a domestic adoption and for some reason that just didn't feel right. I know so many people who have had wonderful experiences with domestic adoptions, but for some reason every time I researched in that direction, it just didn't feel right. I was in the wrong place.

As I did my research I kept coming across these wonderful stories of international adoptions and I was completely captivated by them. That just sounded like such an amazing opportunity to me. Suddenly all the feelings that I had been having just completely clicked into place. That was it. This is what we were meant to do. I started sharing my research with Shawn and we both just really felt so much peace in our hearts that this is what was meant for our family.

So we got to work on choosing a country. We were able to knock out several countries immediately because of their travel requirements. Some countries require you to stay in their country for a month or longer and some even require multiple trips. As fun as that sounded, we just can't realistically leave the country for a month. So that left us with a much shorter list. I've always been really interested in Asian culture, so an Asian country sounded great to me. We looked in to China and found really long wait times and we also discovered that I don't qualify because of some medication I'm on.

That eventually lead us to Korea. The travel times were perfect for us, we would qualify with no problem, the wait times are on the longer side, but reasonable (about 18 months), and everything about it felt perfect to us. The more I read about it the more I just wanted to hop on a plane and go to Korea that day! This was it for us.

So we found an agency and embarked on the long and sometimes frustrating process of putting a home study together. Before I started researching adoption I knew nothing about it and I had no idea what a home study involved. Well I was about to find out! Imagine my surprise when I opened my door one day to find a large package on my doorstep. Inside was a huge binder full of about a million different forms and page after page of requirements and things we had to fill out. When you look at that binder it feels like someone just asked you to climb a very large mountain. I let it sit for a few days but it kept calling at me to get to work, so Shawn and I finally sat down, opened up the first page and went to work. We started climbing that mountain one page at a time.

A few months later we had been fingerprinted, background checked, had been declared in good health by our doctor, we had take adoption classes and filled out so many forms that I was seeing them in my sleep at night and we were finally DONE! Nothing felt better than dropping our completed binder off at our home study agency. We had reached the top of the mountain.

There's a funny thing about that mountain though. Come to find out we had only climbed a hill. The REAL mountain to climb is the 18 month wait to receive a referral of a child. That's way harder than the paperwork ever was! For months we were obsessed with completing requirements and now that we're done we're ready for the baby! Unfortunately the baby isn't ready for us yet.

When we were filling out paperwork and completing the requirements we found ourselves faced with the option to select the gender of our child. Something about that felt really wrong and strange at first. No one asks you what gender what you want when you're pregnant! You get what you get and you love them to pieces. So we really hesitated answering that question for a while. It just felt weird. I was talking to our social worker one day though and she said that because of Korean traditions and society, there are a lot more male children available for adoption than girls, and for the most part if you don't specifically choose a girl you'll more than likely get a boy. So even if you don't choose you're basically choosing. We finally had to admit to ourselves that as long as we were being given the option, we really wanted to opportunity to raise a daughter. We love our boys so much, but this will most likely be our last child and we both would really love the opportunity to raise a girl. So we finally told our social worker to add to our paperwork that we would like a girl.

So now we wait for our daughter. We were officially put on the waiting list on November 21, 2007. If the average wait is about 18 months, that means that we can probably expect a referral in the spring of 2009. That's basically a year from right now. Babies in Korea are not referred for an international adoption until they're five months old. So if we get a referral next May or June and the baby is five months old, that means that she will most likely be born around January or February. That means that right now her mother is probably just finding out that she's pregnant. I pray for that mother every day. I can't imagine how scared she must be feeling right now. I wish that I could talk to her and tell her that it's going to be OK. We're going to love her baby with all our hearts and I'm so grateful for the sacrifice that she is going to make. We will most likely never meet her or know who she is, but I will always be grateful to her and she will always be in my prayers. I hope that she feels some peace with her decision.

So that's our adoption story right now. We wait and we wait and we wait. I hope that you will check in here occasionally and wait with me. It's seeming pretty far away to me right now!

Oh, and I have an explanation about the title of this blog and the photo of the dress that accompanies it. I'm a photographer and a while back I had an idea for a shoot that I wanted to do and I needed a little dress for it. I have not allowed myself to buy anything for the baby because it just seems to early, but as I was standing in Target one day thinking about my photo shoot, I realized that I could use it as the opportunity to buy my daughter her first piece of clothing. So there I was standing in Target and I had a picture in my head of exactly the type of dress I was looking for. I could literally imagine just what I wanted it to look like. Then I looked over...and there it was! If I could literally have drawn a picture of the idea in my head, it would have been that exact dress. It was sitting on rack by itself and it was the only one of it's kind. I went over and grabbed it, and not only was it the only one of it's kind, but it was the exact size that I'll probably need for my baby when she comes home! So I'll spare you the story of the crazy mother trying not to cry over a baby dress in the middle of Target and I'll just say that I bought the dress and brought it home for a photo shoot. I did the shoot that I had in my head, and what it produced was probably the most special and personal photo I've ever taken. I know that to other people it's just a dress on a clothesline, but to me it signifies something pretty special. My daughter. My heart.

Adoption is a really complicated and emotional process. As adoptive parents we really do put our hearts out on the line for these babies. There are frustrations, complications and heartbreaks throughout the process, but what we receive in the end is the baby that was meant for our family, and the baby that completes the space in our hearts. My daughter. I just love the sound of that.


Erin said...

Welcome to the blogging world!! :) I loved reading your post and when I first saw the picture of the dress in your header it really touched me. Congratulations on your adoption journey!! From one adoptive mom to another! Erin (NCgirl Holt bb)

Astrid said...

What a beautiful blog! I'm looking forward to reading about your adoption process. I sent it to a friend who is also hoping to adopt from Korea.

Sawicki4 said...

Welcome to the blogging world! I loved your 1st post! Good Luck with your adoption journey!

Mandy (Sawicki4 - Holt BB)

Rena said...

I can't wait for C to arrive. I've been following your story from the beginning on BBC. Best wishes for a speedy wait.

Farmer Mama said...

ahh I love it!

chelle belle said...

Oh, I so enjoyed your story about the dress! Wow! That's just so neat! Good job on your blog and I'm looking forward to following your journey!

Great photos too!!!

Chelle (from Holt BB)
Mom to Callie 8, Claire 4, and Kate 11mo ~ home 2 months)

Ami said...

I'm late in replying to your first post, but just discovered your blog through MDU. :) Thank you for so openly sharing the story of your decision to adopt. Clarissa is one blessed little girl, already. I'm praying for that Korean birth-mom, too - if she's due in January, we share an edd month. So, with every moment of nausea and exhaustion, I'll be pryaing for you as well.

Christie said...

What a great story!

Katie said...

As a first time mom who is also adopting a child from Korea, I read your blog and felt like I was reliving the last 14 months of my life! We were lucky with our wait time - it took 10 months from our application to referral. We couldn't specify the gender because we don't have children in the home and now we have a beautiful baby boy! I must warn you that while you feel the wait right now is long, we are currently experiencing the much harder wait....once you know who your little person is and you get the first picture, the wait to go bring them home is unbearable. We rec'd our referral in early October and his Visa was just sent to Korea. We think (fingers crossed) that we will get "THE CALL" in a week or two and then will travel very shortly God willing, we will have our son home in early February.

Keep the faith and continue to blog about your feelings. Waiting is tough, but I like to think it is the labor pains of adoption.

Wishing you the best....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator. said...

From one of the first Korean Adoptees I applaud your blogging and thank you for your efforts to document for others the journey you and your family are on. There are a few blogs that are Anti-adoption in nature but yours is one that shows that love is not bound by biological but when you Adopt you "Add by Choice". Did you know that "Ad + Optare" from the Latin means literally to "Take or Add by Choice"?

Just found your blog, may I copy or link to some of your photos?

Don Gordon Bell
Holt Adoptee # A-20
May 21, 1956 left for USA on Harry Holt's 1st planeload of 12 war orphans.

Paco ortiz said...

Mi comentario es que aunque te encuentres en cualquier país del mundo todos somos iguales ante los ojos de dios.La desigualdad que existe en el mundo es una horrible aberración provocada por el maldito dinero que unos miserables egoístas son los culpables que haya tanta miseria en la tierra.

jhon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.