Thursday, December 1, 2016

Adoption Language

If you do not have adoption in your family, then you may not think too much about adoption language. Have you ever asked a totally innocent question to someone who was adopted or their parents and gotten a funny look back or an argumentative answer? I am pretty sure every adopted family goes through this and the problem is not that people are mean or hurtful, it is just that no one has ever told them about adoption language. So here we go - a primer on adoption language so you can be informed if you are not, and help to inform others if you are.

Keep in mind that the words you choose when asking certain questions (ESPECIALLY when the kids are around) are actually very important. Most of the time in life it is not what you say but how you say it... this is not one of those times. As an adoptive mother, I recall questions I asked adoptive parents before that now I cringe about - not because I was being mean, but because I didn't know the right words to use and some trigger words that you don't want to use... So to avoid an embarassing situation for you or your kids (yes please teach your kids these things too) - here are some things to keep in mind.

REAL - real parents, real son, real mom, true mom, natural parent, natural son, true son, etc. This is actually one of the most prevalent bad words people say. While it may seem like semantics to worry about that, what it does to an adopted child who hears people refer to them as not the real son or daughter is heartbreaking. We can argue whether or not real just means the one that biology gave you or not, but it conveys a feeling that the adopted connection is superficial or not... well not real. So real or true or anything that conveys this message is one of those words not to use. Instead use words like "biological parent" or "birth mom" when asking questions, though be warned that most families keep their children's history private in respect of that child and that child's story, and unless you are close family you may not be privy to this information.

I recall an adult (though I don't remember who) who once asked me with Josiah not that far away when we were going to tell Josiah that we weren't his real parents. While what I was expected to say was that Josiah knew he was adopted from the minute we met him, because I knew thats the question this person wanted the answer to. Its not considered healthy in any way to lie about kids being adopted, though I know this was considered the healthiest thing in the past. But in case Josiah was able to hear us I responded defiantly with "we are his real parents", and just repeated that until it was dropped. More on the responses later...

OWN KID - The times this happens to most adoptive familes is when people ask "which of them are your own kids" with us its sometimes "will you want to have your own kids too?" Yes we know what you mean - bio vs adopted. But our adopted kids are our own. They belong only to us, emotionally, legally, spiritually, in every possible way that your kids are your own. It is not good for our kids to hear that they are anything but our kids or that they in some way do not belong to the family like they would if they resided in our uteri. Try saying the term biological if you need to refer to that - but its honestly not to refer to our kids by their status of coming to the family. Would you say - which are your csection babies and which came through natural childbirth?

COST - Ok, while this might be something everyone is curious about - we do not talk about the cost of a child or the cost of the adoption even. With child trafficking being such a horrendous reality in our world, we never want to confuse the cost of the adoption process with purchasing a human being. Whether you adopt and have legal fees and other service fees, or have a bio kid naturally and have prenatal, labor and delivery fees, or have a csection and have surgical fees... there are costs involved in all. If you need to know - google it. Definitely don't ask a parent with their kids around how much their kid "cost".

PRIVACY -  Unless it is volunteered to you - it is generally considered bad form to ask about a child's background, and especially to use words describing the abandonment. If the adoptive family is ok with you knowing about it, you would probably know about it. If you have a genuine reason for finding out, then make sure you ask when the children are not anywhere within earshot, and don't be surprised if you are turned down. The details for many adoptive children's background can be traumatic and sad and out of respect for the children will not be shared around like candy.

THE RESPONSE - ok this is the part that i wish i could insert in everyone's brain in these situations. For the most part when these things come up, I aint mad at you. 99% of the time your statement or question is coming from a good place, and you just hadn't been told this before. However, if my son is next to me... your opinion of my response is nowhere near as important as him hearing my response in a way that is healthy to him. I will fiercely claim as loudly and repetitively as necessary that he belongs to me and he is our real child and we are his real parents. This may confuse you. This may make you think that I am mad at you. I am not mad at you. I am making sure my son hears me speak truth over him. I am making sure that the voices in the back of his head that ever pop up doubts or fears in times in his life will be drowned out by the voices in his head repeating that he is our real son and that he is loved and natural and our own and belongs to us.

Does he know that he is adopted? lol yes. Does he know his story? yes. Does he have any doubts about his beautiful brown skin and where it came from? nope. He is very mature in his understanding of how he came to be who he is (a Young). But he also knows the truth that he is ours, he is our real son, and we will protect him from anyone saying otherwise. I take comfort now but it keeps me at my ready that when people say things like this, his eyes go right to me expectantly. He knows I will claim him and is just waiting for me to do it. So again - I may sound fierce in my response, and it may not make sense to you. And I may feel bad on the inside for making someone feel bad about an innocent question. But - nothing will make me not speak the words in the way my son needs to hear it in that moment.

One of the required adoption classes we took taught how to kind of be sarcastic or snarky when you asked inappropriate questions in front of your kid. So I am pretty sure this response thing is not limited to asking me alone but probably a good portion of adoptive parents. I thought it was weird at the time and had no inclination to be snarky, but from the first time this happened to us it happened intuitively when my mama bear came out.

If you ask when he is not within a two mile radius (I am pretty sure his hearing distance lol), then I may answer to you more gently and depending on our relationship even explain the better way to have asked it. But I just wish everyone could know that when you get this response, the display is not for you, but for the child who is always listening. If you have any questions about adoption language - feel free to comment. If you have any more tips from your experiences - comment those down there too.


Keep in mind that everyone makes these mistakes, and I have even heard similar language coming from adoptive parents, and like I said Ive used these words before too - so don't feel bad if you've ever said it - just learn for the future, teach it to your kids, and share with your friends so they learn too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Take Three...

So. Our journey to Josiah was quite an experience. I was determined when I met Bryan that we would adopt our firstborn. When he told me he wanted to marry me, I made it clear what that would entail. God had put adoption on my heart and there was nothing I wanted more than to start forming our family that way. I had no clue how beautiful and heart breaking and tragic and triumphant God would make that journey evolve.

Josiah is doing fantastic - loves kindergarten - loves baseball - superheroes - legos, chickens, farmlife, reading, and star wars. He loves to snuggle, put his boots on and do chores with daddy, draw pictures in his sketchbook, go to disney with our annual passes, play on his leappad and kindle, and wrestle with Kizito.

So... We had decided after Josiah was home for at least a year we would start a journey to a baby in the belly child. It wasn't long after trying that I was pregnant. Pregnancy has always come smoothly for the women through my mom's line. It always surprises me when I hear of miscarriages and pregnancy trouble because I never thought it was that common if you go by the family experiences up my maternal line. So I wasn't too surprised when I saw that first positive test but I was excited. Far more excited than I thought I would be with my little heart all wrapped up in the real miracle of adoption. :)

Counting back we realized I might be further along than we first thought so when I called my ob she wanted me to come in for an ultrasound to check the timeframe. From there it was a whirlwind of scary solemn faces and daily bloodwork for weeks, which turned into months and the eventual diagnosis of an ectopic pregnancy. After a dose of methotrexate (a chemo drug they use to stop ectopic pregnancies if they catch it before surgery is necessary), and a torturous diet for a vegetarian to adhere to, and a lot of tears, it was over. I remember one night laying in bed and I had this thud hit my heart and the feeling of death passing out, that was the last day my numbers climbed, so I was sure that was the night it ended.

The OB assured me it was ok, and common, and the great news is I had no risk factors for ectopic and since I had become pregnant so easily it was a good sign I would soon be pregnant with a properly positioned baby in my uterus rather than the tube. But I would have to wait for quite a few cycles before trying again to allow the chemo to completely leave my body and allow my vitamins to build back up etc.

Fast Forward to October of 2014 when I found another positive test. I was way more nervous this time knowing what was possible but very hopeful. The extreme morning sickness signaling to me that my hormones were quickly rising were very encouraging. I had been directed to call the OB as soon as I had another positive so they could ensure early monitoring and no danger to my tubes in case of another ectopic. But let me tell you - when you have had an ectopic and hear that silence when they look at what should be something and see nothing in the right place on an ultrasound... nothing makes you squirm like seeing the US tech walk in.

I was even more encouraged at the OB when my numbers looked good and were doubling as they should be. Unfortunately they eventually stopped doubling, that dreaded thud of numbers that hit you like a ton of bricks. This one went further, in fact I was 12 weeks when they ended up performing a D&C and Methotrexate at the hospital to terminate the ectopic pregnancy.

When these things happen you question everything. Was it the slightly spicy food I ate that one night? Did I move too much? Did I move too little? Whats wrong with me? But all along the way I had the love of my life supporting and protecting me, and the sweetest little boy in the world to snuggle with, and my God who kept a peace in me.

Fast forward to my OB recommending me to a reproductive specialist to run a number of tests since my risk of another ectopic now outweighs the risk of not having an ectopic... All tests show nothing that could be causing these ectopics. At one point the doctor mentions maybe one tube might be raised a tiny bit higher that could be causing it but nothing definitive. Amazing to me with all that is medically and technically possible that they cant fix such a thing, or find out how to prevent it... Anyhow... the end result is... you can try again but it is dangerous and unadvisable. Or we can skip the tube process and place it in the uterus for you... in other words IVF.

So part of us want to run back to an adoption journey and leave this crazy ivf and pregnancy garbage behind, and the other part of us know that if we want to do this, now is the time. As we can adopt for many more years, but will only have viable belly baby resources for a limited number of years.... And since our doctor is willing to let us do this in such a way that does not destroy any lives, we are on board.

So, they found us to be good candidates with good resources. Since moving out to the farm we have been raising chickens... hens... for eggs... so now I need to follow their lead and my job for the next couple weeks is to make as many big awesome eggs as possible.

Today I had my preop appointment for the egg aspiration. Tonight I started my first dose of injectable medicines. One shot in each thigh tonight. The first one hurt a little as the liquid squeezed in but the second was super easy.

It's scary for sure. I purposely did not read the side effects of the meds I am on. Knowing me I will magically start feeling every single effect that I read and will start freaking out. So, I am getting over my fear of needles by actually giving myself a bunch of injections every evening. It is super intimidating, but it should all be over in a couple weeks and then we just wait for the fun part.

So keep me in your prayers. This whole belly baby thing is quite a miracle when it works to be honest. We are hoping that the third time is the charm and that the LORD has one more miracle up his sleeve for us.

Counting our Blessings :)

[This was written in 2015 and left in a draft but im going to go ahead and publish it - anyhow that first ivf cycle did not go as planned and due to my left ovary being too close to a major artery were not able to get enough eggs to make a successful conception occur... Since then we have done some more tests and surgeries to determine that i had one ovary with a Serous cyst adenoma which they removed and is good to go, the other ovary is unusable and is adhered to a location that pulls it way too high to create a normal pregnancy and they were unsuccessful in their attempts to separate it. so end result is we will do one more try of ivf with the one ovary and see what happens - faithful that God can make miracles and at peace with His overseeing of this process.]

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Superhero Birthday Party

Josiah's request for his birthday this year was for all of his friends to dress like a superhero and to go to superhero training academy. How could we deny such a brave request?

Precision Circuit :: Beanbag toss




Endurance Circuit :: Obstacle course w hulahoops, crawl under noodle tunnel, then throw noodle javelin through holes...

Speed Circuit :: Hero Hero Villian

Ammunition Circuit :: Shoot the Villian

What is a superhero party without a spiderman bounce house?

Superman Cake Table... goody bags had superhero rubber ducks, comic book, candy, other things I can't remember, plus in the engineering circuit the kids made shields out of frisbees for take homes.

Super Blowpops and water jugs have felt capes

This cake was a custom request from Publix... best part was the cannoli filling!

But lets be honest... the coolest was the posters of super siah around the room!

Here are some of the games we played and the images I used...

I printed these badges and put them in badge holders with clips for each child so they could write their name, superpower, and check off as each task was completed!
I printed these on cardstock and put one in each goodybag. It is similar to the invitation (which I won't show you since it would give you stalkers my address lol)