March 27, 2008


Last night I had a vivid dream that felt so real - even though while I slept, I knew in the recesses of my mind it wasn't real.

It was Quint - he was just united with us. And he was three. Years. And he could talk to me in English. And I can tell you, from minute number one - he was not having it. He was not keen on having us for parents, and worse, he was very verbal about it. Kicking, hitting, screaming, spitting. I actually remember very clearly trying to buckle him into a stroller and he was arcing his whole body and vehemently trying to escape me. I told him I loved him...he told me "well, I don't love you".

Next, and very rapidly - I told Anton "this kid is not three...he's much older and they've lied to us". At which point Quint transitioned to a teenager - 17 years old - only still small ironically - and said "yes, I am and I was told not to tell you for fear you wouldn't want me - and I'm engaged to her". Where he now points to a young woman who picks him up and carries him away. At this point, my mind wandered elsewhere and my dreams took some other shape.

After you're done snortling and chuckling (as I just did while I re-read this just now) I have to tell you - my dream, while silly and irrational on many fronts, speaks very clearly to my fear that my babies will be older than we're told. To the fear that they will never love me as much as I love them. To my fears about how fast time goes by and how quickly they will be gone to live their own lives as they grow up. To the fears I have that with all my planning and trying to prepare - things still may fall apart and take very different shape from what I have in my mind's eye.

But more importantly, the first part of my dream speaks to my increasingly nagging fear that one or both of my children will suffer from Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). It's not something you hear a lot of adoptive parents talk about. It's kind of "hush hush" and we don't like to hear it - let's face it. We're not a good audience for those struggling with post adoption issues. We're hanging on by a thread just to get through the process of waiting - so hearing that there is an underbelly to this process is daunting if not downright rejected. Especially amidst all our piles of C@rters outfits and darling shoes and hair bows.

Even through both of our homestudy processes with the social worker - she spoke very candidly about the difficulties we might face through international adoption and attachment disorders. Of course, we took avid notes - but quickly brushed it aside - feeling as though that possibility was remote and that we would just deal with it when the time came. Right alongside the mistake we often make that even in our fragile humanness, somehow we are invincible and that tragedy only strikes other families. Some of you are walking testimonies to the unfortunate reality of this mistake we too often miscalculate.

But more and more, I am opening myself up to the possibility (let's face it, after almost three years in the process - the new has definitely faded) that Reactive Attachment Disorder might be a very real possibility. I know that not every baby has it. I know that many children come home and adjust fine and dandy. I have friends who are living proof. But I also think it's fair to say that with the drastic increase in Chinese, even international adoption as a whole - we have to think that perhaps the results are not quite "in" just yet on the impact this has on these kids. The long-term impact of being adopted internationally - or adopted at all and the loss that entails at the forefront.

I'm certainly not trying to start up a debate. I'm simply voicing some very real fears to my process. In the back of my mind, I do think about the many families that have unfortunately walked a very harrowing road of post-adoption with children who suffer terribly from RAD. Some have only minor setbacks and bounce back quickly with guidance. Others struggle for months, while some for years.

If you're unfamiliar with the term - RAD is a very serious disorder affecting some adopted children (and even bio children but that's beside the point for this post) and you can read more about it here. I would never intend to scare anyone - but this is a serious problem and the child does not "grow out of it". It requires tremendous amounts of work with professionals who understand the disorder thoroughly.

Meanwhile, as I was browsing my favorite blogs, Stephanie made a reference to a blog she had found that is a type of protected forum - more or less - for families to share their stories, good and bad about their adoption experiences. It's not too often you find a site this candid - but I do believe it opens the door for people who have experienced post-adoption trauma to express themselves and feel heard and not alone. You can visit it here, but do so as a forewarned visitor that you will not enjoy reading any of those posts. They are written from a perspective of pain and suffering - and are meant to be therapeutic in some cases and a resource and support in others.

On the off chance any of my adoptive mom readers might have experienced post adoption difficulty, you might be encouraged to know you are not alone. In addition, for my fellow "still in line" adoptive moms - you might be scared to death to know these possibilities exist - but likewise, you might feel empowered in advance to know and be able to recognize the warning signs of RAD in your child. After all, we can do nothing about it now - only wait and see what happens when we are united with our little ones.

I'm on the fence. I do feel horrible to read firsthand accounts of post adoption trauma when I am still in the stage of just trying to get one child home. It's slightly hard for me to choke down that one or both of my children could possibly not attach to us. On the other hand, I feel like knowledge is power - and on the off chance I am dealt that load to bear, I feel knowing there are others who have been there and also knowing that I am not alone and there is help is a tremendous resource to have at my disposal.

As for my crazy dreams - I can only say that as my seven weeks until we get Quint home have already dwindled down to six, I feel the strain not of a completed nursery or of space in the pantry for baby bottles and chunky spoons - but much more to the issue of the work involved in loving a child abandoned by their birth family. It cuts right to the heart of me - as I am so close to my family.

At my very core I long desperately to fill every little hole left in my children's hearts by their early life traumas. But all I can do is wait and see - hope and pray - and persevere. My children were ordained before time to walk the road they must, just as I was ordained before time to be their Mom and to love them through that very road, with all it's pitfalls and pain.

Additionally, I was given the gift of them through adoption to show not only my children, but myself as well that not all life equals loss and pain - but instead love, and joy, and warmth - smiles and laughter, and hope for tomorrow. Christmas' and birthdays, cinnamon hearts in warm oatmeal on Valentines and fireworks, barbecues, and swimming in the summer.

We'll learn together, I suppose - how to attach to one another. We will be strangers after all - both of us - all three of us, and then four. It will take time - and God willing, we won't struggle too much to learn to be a family and to love each other willingly. God willing we'll be healing through the past and moving swiftly towards the future...together...

...and towards Easter eggs hidden in the garden and tiny little teeth nestled under pillows for the tooth fairy...and all those days that fall in between...

March 24, 2008

Happy Tears

Well, it's a rare day that I post twice - but we are freaking out over here at La Casa B! We just got an e-mail from our agency that we got assigned our COURT DATE and guess what? Remember when I said before that it would "probably be in May because April is all booked up"? Well I was WRONG-O. Either that or God worked a miracle and we got squeezed in.

Our Court Date for Quint is April 14th - exactly three weeks from today!

You know what that means?!?!? That means that in about SEVEN (count em' 7, seven, SEVEN) short weeks, provided we have a favorable court determination (please Lord God in Heaven!) I will be holding my son and posting a picture for you all to see....sob! Somewhere in the middle of May - around the 15th-ish I will be in Africa holding my little man and crying happy tears...just like right now. I can't even keep the tears at bay. I took this picture for posterity. The milestones are so few and so fleeting in this process, that I thought it might be nice to remember how happy I was on this day...

Seven weeks.

My baby boy will only be six months old when I get to hold and love him for the first time. I can't even tell you how sappy sweet this is for us - and how much we are doing a little dance over here in Texas...

Seven weeks friends...

Somebody pinch me...


OMG! My posse sista got her girl! And isn't she a doll!?!?!

If you have an extra minute, go give them a little blogger hug - it's the biggest day of their lives!

Love you Robyn - finally, finally, finally - after all the waiting and tears, and the nesting...and the shopping...we finally have the perfect little someone to put into all those C@rter outfits we've been buying; your long awaited daughter!

Wish I could hug you!

March 23, 2008

It's here...

Robyn and Paul are literally minutes away from being handed their daughter Avery, in China. My heart is skipping a beat and I am so very happy for them. AB and I just prayed for their little family and it was a sweet, sweet time. Say a prayer for them, if you have a minute...what a life changing and wonderful day this is for them...

March 21, 2008

In case you wondered...

...why no posts have come out with any sort of substance (except for the last one)...

AB is on Spring Break. And we're not relaxing - oh, no! We're working our tushies off.


Many pictures are coming of the obscene amount of household projects we've been doing every single stinkin' day - and the best one of all, our little man's room! (It turned out AMAZING!) We had to bring in the in-laws (AB parents) for reinforcement and we're so glad we did! It has been a huge help - and two more days left and we should be able to get it all done. Whew!

Needless to say, we've painted three rooms, installed lighting fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom, installed a counter-top workstation in the kitchen, moved oodles of furniture around, moved my office out to the living area, and installed shelving. That's not even all of it. But who has time to tell it all!??!

Love you, my peepers - but I must bid you a Happy Easter and promise to check in after the weekend with pictures of the transformation.

Robyn gets Avery tomorrow night (our time) so be sure to check her blog for the amazing pictures...I can't WAIT!! It's GOTCHA DAY!

March 19, 2008

Need a pick me up?

After over two years spent in the LID line-up for China, my Sista-friend Robyn is finally, finally, finally on her way to get beautiful Avery!

I can't express enough how happy I am to finally get to see her go! It's amazing and I am so happy everytime she posts another update from China - like a kid in a candy store soaking up her adventure while waiting for my own.

Lesson learned = it actually happens. To real, honest to goodness people.

Go share in their joy and get a pick me up! Who knows - it just may help you make it to your moment! Inch by inch, it's how we all get through it...

Love you R!

March 12, 2008

The Great Balancing Act of '08

What? You haven't heard of it? Ohhhh - well then let me fill you in. It's what happens when you have been waiting for your child since 2005 and finally, three years later, someone actually decides in the great unknown and mysterious world of international adoption, that you might actually be fit to parent. And they don't just leave it there. They go right on and match you with a baby. (gasp!) Then they send you a picture, and a medical report, and a referral acceptance letter. And for about a week - you literally walk, talk, and feel like someone has put you on "C@ndid Camera". You can't quite put your head around it. You smile every time you look at the picture. You find yourself saying "have you met my son?" to practical strangers while you whip said picture out of your purse. You feel elation and a strange tingling sensation in your heart when you talk about him. And you just pinch yourself every couple hours to make sure you're really experiencing the actual referral stage of the process.

But's where the balancing act comes in:

I'm still waiting. I have no new info. I have a (one, uno, singular) picture of a beautiful, stunning baby boy. I have reports about this baby that give me the smallest fraction of information about him and his start in life. I have 12 outfits, a lampshade, a package of wipes, and two packages of diapers. Oh, and two little pairs of shoes for summer.

And we wait. And wait we shall until the end of the month when we get another update from the agency about him. And after that, it's more waiting until his court date is here and gone and we are free to go and get him.

In the back of my mind where the reality of the wait for Keira has grown exponentially from where we started, I can't help but fall back on my old patterns of expecting the worst. Somehow, with all the disappointment wrapped up in the timing of Keira's adoption, I have grown weary and can't quite get myself to do more than just balance on the life-line of his picture.

For instance, this morning I was getting ready for my day and looking in the mirror in our master bath. I have his picture taped up on the mirror and rather than my usual "hi, son!" I just stared at his eyes and his face and his fingers. He's familiar to me. Something about him...sweet and familiar. Before walking away, I reached up and put my hand on his picture and just sighed. Finally I said " son"...


Balancing my hopes against my heart. My luck against my fortune. My future against my past. Balancing my need to hold him and touch him and love him in the flesh against my desire to hang on to what little portion of my life as I've known it is left. Selfish. Balancing my deep rooted desire to be a mother and the fear inside that I will fail my children somehow. Balancing my great love for these amazing children born in my heart, and still grieving in some very small way for the loss of the biological experience.

Trying to make lists upon lists of what must be done for his arrival, all the while laughing to myself because how can you really prepare? Fully? The other day I said to Anton "parenting is like riding a bike - you can't tell someone else how to do just have let them get on the bike, start peddling and figure it out for themselves." I actually got a chuckle from him out of that one. Unfortunately, the parenting bike doesn't come with training wheels. Shucks!

I'm also balancing the prospect of working full time from home when we get back. Throw in the fact that a year from now we'll be celebrating a second adoption homecoming and have two kids under around a year old and I start to get a crick in my neck just thinking about it. This calls for some high levels of organization, structure, and a driven attitude. Do I have that? Hmmm...

Don't misunderstand me - this is not a rant, or a pity party, or a sob story. This is a success story. We have a son and a daughter on the way! Life is sweet and I'm nesting like nobody's business over here in Texas.

But I'm also in a balancing act. As excited as I am - this process has taught me a tough lesson about getting too happy, too ready, too excited, too prepared, too anxious, too hopeful. So I feel myself constantly scaling back my enthusiasm just a touch. Balancing on the wire of what could be and what is. Holding on to my hope, but releasing it just the same. Extending my heart into that little solitary picture every morning and throughout my day - calling my son by name, and yet...keeping him just a little bit in the open part of my palm in case he flies away suddenly.

I know that when he is here - and he will be - this balancing act will become a new one of sleeping, feeding and diaper changing schedules. Of playing and laughing, crying, and consoling one another. Of peek-a-boo and patty cake, and firsts.

I'll be balancing my attempts to even remember writing posts like this and the way "we were" versus the tremendous changes that will have taken place in our home...with our sweet boy and our little daughter.

Balancing my time to try to work in another hour of sleep SOMEWHERE.

Balancing my checkbook to make ends meet.

Balancing my love for AB and my love for my kids.

Balancing my love for my animals and my newfound love of being Quint and Keira's mommy.

It's all about balance, really. And I'm somewhere in the middle of trying to process it all, balance it all, and remember that it's really happening - I'm just trying to keep reminding myself that in two months (roughly) my life will invariably change forever. The face of my marriage will change. They way I see AB will change. The way my home looks and my job gets done, and the order of my days will change. The way I see the world, and how I view things will change in the light of my children and how it will affect them. Even our dinnertime routine will change.

It's overwhelming to fathom how you balance that?

But don't worry. It's like childbirth - millions of women have done it before me and I know it can and will be done right to the pace and tune it was intended for our family.

But for today I hang tight to the line and watch myself - changing - balancing - in this world of adoption. Balancing myself...but ready at any minute to let go and just free fall to the safety net below...

Just let me hold him and smell his hair and curl my hand around his. I promise to fall to the net then...

I promise...

March 10, 2008

This Little Piggy

Well, originally we thought we would have a "year of the dog" baby. Back in the day...'06

Then we were SURE we would have a "year of the pig" baby - and that came and went...buh-bye 2007

So now it's "year of the rat" baby...and I'm pretty sure Keira will indeed be at least born this year. But you just never know. I've been sure every other time as well.

And not just me, but AB as well. So much so that he bought me a "year of the dog" and a "year of the pig" outfit as each year passed. I was so bummed not too be able to use the "year of the pig" outfit, because it's just so darn cute and I just love little piggies!

Well as we now know, turns out my little man was born in '07 and so, he will get to be mama's little "year of the pig" baby. Who knew? And I have made sure to pull this tres chic outfit out of the masses for him - and it really gave me great joy to see it again and know that we get to use it. We can celebrate his sister and her culture, even in her absence - which is important to me. Just a tiny way to tie the two together, but still, it's something.

Meanwhile, if you interested in the latest "year of the rat" infant set, you can get it over at Red Envel@pe by clicking on the link HERE.

Have fun! I know a lot of you adopting mamas will have YOTR babies. Whahoo! Get em' while their hot people!

Cheers -

March 6, 2008


Well, it doesn't happen but about once a year. Snow. In my little corner of Texas. But it did the other night and I was awake for it! It's so serene and lovely - and not nearly enough. It was gone by mid-day. Boo hoo. The dogs wanted nothing much to do with it and that just goes to show how either lazy they are, or spoiled. I was fascinated by it and loved every minute. What I love about this picture is the snowflakes falling - and how magical they look. The good news is, it's supposed to snow today and tomorrow so we'll get to enjoy a little more. Last night on the news, they said that we might get 2-4 inches. Awww...we're so lucky to live somewhere that gets just enough snow to be fun and then it's gone soon enough not to inconvenience anyone. Wouldn't want to live too far East or too Midwest. Those are some tough weather reports we've been seeing!

Got my first embroidered "it's finally happening, I can't believe it" gift yesterday. I have to tell you that this blanket is so soft and perfect and wonderful - even Anton was thoroughly impressed by it. And let's not forget that anything with his name on it...well, it just makes it so real. This came from a fellow teacher at AB's school and we were just so grateful. It's beautiful!

Meanwhile, some other families from the school have decided to give us a baby shower. They graciously offered to include my friends to their list so we can make it one big shower. Well, "big" is kind of...well, an understatement. Last AB checked, the guest list was up to around 100. WHAT?!?!? But I only gave them 25 names. Well what a HUGE blessing and I know we'll have a great time! I haven't been this excited since I don't know when! Is this finally happening?!?

And, we got lots of great advice about what to do with the whole "we don't have" and at AB's (yes, I said AB's) urging, we went to Babies mini-Costc.o and joined the ranks of those registered for all their baby goodies. We had a great time and AB had way too much fun zapping everything I pointed at.

Not far in and already I'm concerned. I'm supposed to first purchase and then use this product on my children? Hmmm, and I still have trouble purchasing feminine products. (hate it!)

Well, I'm in love with this stroller/car seat system by It's to die for. And here's the deal with it - out of all the strollers I've tried and those we tried that night - by far and away this one was a dream for steering, maneuvering, fold down and fold open, car seat removal and placement, and had enough gadgets to keep me drooling right to the time we walked out. I wanted it so bad! Oh, and it's cute chocolate brown with a burnt orange lining. Loved it! I can just see my little man now!

Meanwhile, AB just HAS to show me this highchair and whoops! Let's not take the whole row down with us, eh love?

But I agree - well made, darling, love the sage color, and totally mommy and daddy friendly. Boy, I'm really starting to love that!

But seriously, I'm still stuck on the stroller isle! Can't we have it, honey....PLLLLEEEAASSSEEE!??!?! Look how cute I can be with it?!?!

Last but most important of ALL is that finally, finally, finally another of my dear M3 Sistahs got her referral this week and we are freaking out over here in M3 land! First Robyn, then Me, now Valerie! So here she is and please, stop by and see my Valerie and give her a little blogger love - she waited 26 months for this referral and that my friends, is some kind of commitment!

Introducing Aubriana Rose! Not only is she cute as a button - she's got the most lovable little cheeks on the planet! Must kiss them!!!! Gosh, I hope this is big enough!?!?

(Meanwhile, it started snowing while I typed this post...and now it's really coming down! LOVE IT!!!)