Emotional Crack

I love a happy ending – a good story. They’re like emotional crack for me… I get high on them. So when I watched this video (below) today, I had to do some deep zen-breathing to not lose it and end up doing the ugly cry.

I read/saw this on One Thankful Mom, and as she mentions (and readers commented), this isn’t necessarily a typical reaction.

Lisa writes “I want to add a few thoughts.  From the little bit I understand of this story (and it is very little), the mom had known Meredith for a number of years, and she had lived with them for six months prior to their decision to adopt her.  They knew she was safe with their children, and they knew she would be receptive to being adopted. These are very important keys to their story – which is beautiful.”

BUT, I’m still loving it anyhow!! 😀 Hope you do too.

 

PS: Just an update to share more about the story… it was on their local news channel, and gives more background and context: http://northlittlerock.todaysthv.com/news/news/81086-young-couple-surprises-teen-adoption

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American Politics

… I don’t get them.

Seriously. I’m *very* Canadian.

It’s not that I don’t understand American politics (aka in a factual, organizational, or structural manner), but rather that the more time passes the more I realize that while we’re neighbours who are friends and have lots in common, Canadians (generally) think differently about things than Americans do.

For example, my new boss is an American who’s recently transferred ‘up north’ to BC to work with our charity, which is the Canadian division of an international organization. He was explaining to me how he’s baffled that us British Columbians aren’t protesting our car insurance rates. I just smiled, shrugged, and said “Yeah – they’re high… but I like not getting sued, so I’m OK with it.”

Kind of like how I know that we have high taxes, but I like having nice roads and safe communities and a higher standard of living.

So with all these various Republican candidates vying for the candidacy in the next presidential election, I’ve got to say that I’m just not super connected to how intensely many Americans feel (one way or the other) about all the various people running. I mean some folks are just up in arms about it all.

And all the healthcare freaking out… I mean really? I’m totally OK with having to wait a little longer for my appointment for the right to have basic healthcare provided for me regardless of my income level. I’m not panicked about marijuana. It doesn’t traumatize me that LGBTQ folks can get married.

I wonder if we’re (or maybe I’m) just more socialistic.

Anyhow – that’s all. Stream of consciousness.

I hope the whole thing works out well for everyone. I’d just like to hear about something else on the news! 😉

Hope for Christmas!

Mr. & Mrs. S sent out a quick email yesterday, with Christmas photos of them and their 3 kidlets. This little sibling group was placed with them this spring/summer, and it’s been a delight to hear about how things are progressing so well for them.

Mrs. S got to have her first real Mother’s Day this year, and Mr. S his first real Father’s Day. After years of losses, infertility, and wading through the maze of foster care adoption, they finally get to just be a family.

Can you imagine what a crazy Christmas this must be for them?!? To go from hoping and praying for a placement to a home filled with adorable busy little bodies.

This must be the BEST Christmas EVER!! 😀

Super happy for them… and wistfully hoping that our Christmas-filled-with-adorable-busy-little-bodies isn’t too far away.

Hope.

Panic & Biological Clocks

I was reading a few posts this weekend, by waiting adoptive parents in the foster care system, and reading account after account of delays in being matched with a social worker (too few and spread too thinly), years without either a match and/or even proposals…

This makes me queasy and panicky.

I don’t want to be desperate. Desperation doesn’t help in making good, sound decisions – nor does it do anything to help maintain my mental sanity.

I don’t want to be panicked. This fear that (although we’re early in the process) it won’t even happen for us. Fear that we’ve been too picky in our tickboxes on the application. Fear that after all this time and effort in trying to have children the regular way, then the ART way, and then now through this, that it’ll all be a bust.

I never thought I’d be a person who would have a biological clock that ticked so loudly. I told Rob yesterday, while driving to the movie theatre; “My biological clock is gonging loudly… not just ticking!” He smiled, rolled his eyes, and said “I hadn’t noticed.”

The little kidlets at our church sang a couple of Christmas songs during the service yesterday morning. I went from happy and laughing (and noting to myself at least 3 adopted children out of 20… which, as an aside, is pretty cool!) to having this wave of sadness, jealousy, and panic.

Then I checked up on my WB penpal (yes, I have an actual penpal!) since I got a letter from her that she’s expecting and due this month! I hadn’t heard from her in a while, and was excited for her, so wanted to check online to see whether her baby had come yet.

Big mistake.

For a long time I avoided the BabyBells section (except my TTC-Alt peeps, who get it)… but here I was – feeling all cocky and “Yeah – I’m fine with it!” but then reading these threads of women with their newborns; precious moments and happy stories – broke my heart.

That.will.never.be.me.

I’ll never get to cradle a little person in my womb. I’ll never get to welcome them into the world and laugh and cry over the beauty of it. I’ll never nurse. I’ll never have a baby shower. I’ll never push a stroller and have people marvel at the beauty that is a baby.

Never.

And that sucks. Period.

Add to that the general “suck” factor of the fact that we’re just starting a whole ‘nother journey (which could take years, if it ever happens) and I’m busy having a pity fest. I don’t get it sometimes.

I understand that adoption is family born from loss. It just sucks that there has to be so much of it… and while our future children are likely somewhere dealing with grief and loss of their own, here I am wallowing in my own self-pity. And panic.

<sigh>

Adoption & Ethics – Part 1

Just a little context here…

We adopted our dog, Bleu. He was one of the companion animals rescued in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. An awesome Canadian rescue, called Furever Friends, from Calgary, Alberta, drove down to Louisiana in the aftermath of the hurricane and rescued (literally) 60 dogs and cats from a high-kill shelter in Hammond, LA, who were scheduled to be gassed the next day. The next day. They packed up these little guys and drove them back to Calgary, where they all received the veterinary care needed (many, including Bleu, were quite ill and nearly died – again – because of  heartworm, etc.) and then placed them in foster care until they could be found homes. Six months after the hurricane, we adopted Bleu – our own little Cajun hurricane. He had (and still has) some special needs, and requires daily medication (5 years later) to manage his anxiety. A lot’s improved in that time (except for the incessant attention-getting jumping, his hatred of other dogs, and his insistence at chasing and biting tailpipes on trucks), and he is a much happier, and more relaxed and attached.

That being said, I know that there were a lot of stories of people whose companion animals were “rescued” when the residents were forced to evacuate and leave them behind, and where these animals were then adopted out to families; leaving their original families frantically searching for them.  This led me to an ethical concern: What if we were one of those families who had inappropriately and invalidly adopted another family/person’s beloved dog?

Thankfully that concern was able to be (mostly) put to rest, as we clarified that Bleu’s information, image, and the location/shelter information about him had been listed with Petfinder.com for nearly five months, with no searches for a dog of his description. Still I’ve thought quite a bit about what my reaction would be if someone came to me and claimed him as their own, wanting him back. We’ve had two veterinarians and two specialist dog trainers all tell us that based on his behaviour, they strongly believe that he was abused and badly beaten by his previous “care”giver(s), and his residual fear of men and protective nature towards me would lead me to agree. These vets have also explained that he suffers from a ‘dog version’ of PTSD, and we can see that as well. Bright flashes, loud bangs, heavy rain and/or winds, and even my husband speaking excitedly and using hand expressions will freak him out. He’ll run to high ground (aka top floor in our house and up high on our bed) and cower. He’ll hide under the covers with me – his body frozen stiff – shaking uncontrollably. When he first came home, if either of us would pick up a broom, or step over him, he would roll over on his back, pee on himself, and shudder; a panicked look in his eyes.

To be honest, I’m pretty sure now what I’d do if his previous owner(s) came looking for him. I’d tell them “Thanks for the physical and psychological scars you gave him, you jackass. Now piss off!”

Just bein’ honest here, folks.

He’s our little Bleu. We love him – scarred body, scarred psyche, and all. We’ve walked with him through a lot of things, and will until the day he passes away. We didn’t make this commitment to him “until it becomes inconvenient” (which it always has been – he’s a little “special needs”) but rather we made it for life. He’s been home for 5 years, and I wouldn’t change our decision. I wish, in hindsight, that we’d been better educated and prepared. I wish, in hindsight, that we hadn’t viewed him as ‘broken’ and then been super soft on him (aka not setting and enforcing clear boundaries and expectations), and that in doing so, we could have set him (and us) up for success from the start. We were super naiive. I still wish that he would learn to at least ignore other dogs and tailpipes – for his own safety and everyone’s peace and happiness, but we’ve learned how to deal with the things that we haven’t been able to work through yet.

But still. I have these worries.

I’m a veggie. I was an active supporter of PETA for a long time (until their stupid “boycott Canadian maple syrup to protest the seal slaughter” campaign – the most nonsensical campaign I’ve ever heard of [Seriously, people? It’s a vegan product and not related AT ALL to the seal slaughter!!]… long story for another day), and I still support a number of other animal rescue and rehabilitation organizations. I live by the mantra of “Don’t Buy. Don’t breed. Adopt.”

Then I get all panicked that I’m not actually doing the “right” thing with Bleu. What if we actually took someone’s beloved companion from them, and judged them as being incompetent of being able to provide him with the proper care and home he needed? Am I judging those from the under-privileged are he came from? Should we have continued to have an ongoing involvement in the area he came from? I get annoyed when people get puppies from a dog that accidentally got knocked up (spay and neuter, people – seriously) and call that “rescuing” a dog. Really?!? What did you “rescue” the dog from? We never claim to have “rescued” Bleu. Furever Friends “rescued” (again – literally rescued) him being being gassed at a high-kill shelter that was overwhelmed, post-hurricane, with so many dogs and cats that they couldn’t possibly care for them all. We just adopted him, and gave him a “furever” family. But them I stop and think to myself – who am I to judge them? Have I been a part of the problem as well?

I share this, to give you the only context and comparison I have for some of the ethical issues I’m facing as we pursue adopting children through foster care. Please don’t get me wrong here: children and dogs aren’t the same thing. Period. BUT, some of the analogies between the challenges facing kids coming from hard places, and companion animals coming from hard places seem like they could be pretty close… and I’m trying to use what I know to help prepare me for what I don’t know.

So – next time: Adoption & Ethics 2… a thousand shade of gray.

 

Adoption Application & “Boxes” – Defining Yourself…

I’m a person who’s not terribly fond of being put in a ‘box’ and defined by a label. I don’t know many others who do like it, to be honest. It feels limiting and presumptuous. I always feel like I want to add a caveat and explain myself more clearly.

And then welcome to the BC MCFD “Application to Adopt” form. All it is is boxes! I understand that this is a government process, and what would that be if it didn’t including labelling you? <sigh>

So I know what labels they’re hoping I’ll use:

  • White
  • Female
  • Married
  • University educated
  • Middle class
  • Suburbanite
  • Vegetarian (lacto-ovo)
  • Christian

While all of these things are true, the one that makes me feel a little uncomfortable is the last one; “Christian.” It’s not that I’m ashamed of my faith – not at all! It’s more that I feel like there’s a lot of baggage associated with the word that doesn’t accurately describe me, Rob, or frankly most of the other people I know who would fall in that generic box.

How would I more accurately describe the ways in which my faith and spirituality seems to vary from the stereotype? I’m not sure that any words I could use would cut it, but I do know a few things:

  • If I were an American, I’d be a Democrat. This is very Canadian of me, but it weirds me out that Americans only have 2 choices (well at least practically), and that your faith/non-faith seems to automatically determine your political affiliations. Not my groove. In Canada, I tend to usually vote Green, NDP, and/or occassionally Conservative. Occassionally.
  • I have gay friends, whom I love dearly. Some of whom were in our wedding party, and one of whom Rob was the best man in his wedding party. And they’re actually really good, close friends – not “love the sinner, hate the sin, I’m really looking at you as a project to ‘fix’ verus as a real person” kind of friends. And I don’t think that their “gay-ness” automatically excludes them from having a personal relationship with Jesus. Or that it should be the most interesting part of their personality/life, but rather that your character should be of greater importance. Just sayin’…
  • I’m a big fan of human rights. I have a right to my opinion, beliefs, etc., and so do you. I’m equally a bigger fan of treating others with respect, compassion, and dignity. It’s always my hope that we can disagree on a topic, but still be friends (or at least friendly) while we do it.
  • I do believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. However, I feel like anyone who seems 100% certain that they know the exactly correct way to interpret the Bible is giving themselves more credit than they should.
  • We’re all trying to figure life out. I have more respect for those who are diligently seeking to learn and grow than those who blindly accept and follow what they’re told without wrestling through the issues to honestly ‘own’ them, themselves.

Phew! OK… so try sticking THAT in a box on a form. <sigh> I guess that’s what the homestudy is for, eh? 😉