Sunday, February 19, 2012

I will always be MotheringBoys

I've had a few people ask me how my other boy moms have responded to us adopting a girl. How I will no longer be "MotheringBoys" and how this effects those who have followed me through my journey in gender disappointment and raising of my cherished children. It kind of made me stop in my tracks to think. What do those who have turned to me (and others) in their hour of need think? Have I disappointed them more by pursuing this dream? Do they think I did not mean the things I said?

After much pondering and seeing discussions on various boards with my all boy mommy friends, and my friends who have walked the disappointment with me, I have come to the conclusion that no one begrudges me the fact that our dream may soon come true.

See, those of us with one gender families who always wished for a child of the opposite gender have a special bond. We never once say how we feel goes away. Yes, we learn to live the good life with all of our children because from the beginning, we know it isn't about that child, its the dream in our mind's eye. We endure the taunts. We see the pity in other people's eyes because we are "less than." To those who do not experience gender disappointment, they will not get what I am saying. But my dear friends who do, you know this is for you.

I never said I let go of the dream of having a daughter in my life. I never said I was over the fact I would never have an adult relationship with a child of my own. I never said that I had totally let go of my GD.

But I have said how wonderful my life is with my three little men. I have said how I have learned to appreciate where I am in life, to find joy and interact with my children because I don't know how long I hold their hands. I have found cute ways to dress my boys, relate to my boys, to wholeheartedly accept and love my boys. But, I have never let go of my daughter dream.

And I think in there lies the difference. People who know me in real life or have been my online friend for years know that this struggle has always layed in my heart. They know that given the chance to have a daughter in my life, I would have taken it (and I have!). They know I have reached out to young girls in our community to mentor them. The know I never said the desire had gone away.

In ALTERED DREAMS, my story is out there. Other people's stories are out there. We wanted to bring to the public awarenss that these feelings are normal and ok. And we did. While holding hands with each other. Along this route in my life, I have met such amazing, strong, loving men and women. I have sang with joy with them over new births, new homes, continued education. I have cried with them over lost pregnancies, divorce, financial issues, and depression.

When I look beside me to see if anyone is angry with me, do you know what I see? Total joy. Some jealousy, of course, I would feel that way if it were one of my other friends as well. But when I look around at the faces, when I hear the voices on the phone, when I see their writing to me on my blog, in emails, on BBC, or Facebook, I see joy. Because in our little community where no one wants to be, someone is getting their dream.

So no, no one has pointed their finger at me and called me a hypocrite. No one has told me I do not deserve to hold Elliana because I am to be the poster child of gender disappointment forever. On the contrary, Elliana has a slew of adopted Aunts, Uncles, and cousins that have prayed for her arrival into our lives. Who have prayed for this road we are on. Who continue to pray through this final stretch to bring her to us.

When I look around, I am humbled by the love, support, blessings, and prayers that surround my family. I thank each of you. For walking with me in my past journeys, and continuing to stay by my side now. We're still in this together.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

What's in a name?

In our family, we love what names mean. I'm not sure where that comes from. I don't think my parents chose names based on what their meaning was, only that they liked them. I was supposed to be Sarah Lynn. But my dad did not like it because it was too close to Sarah Lee, the snack cake lady. ;) So I became Katherine. Katherine in itself means "pure." Dave's name means "beloved." I'm not sure his mother chose his name based on it's meaning either. But for us, my main goal has been to pick a name that has a strong meaning for our children.

When I was pregnant with Kadin, it was a struggle to come up with a name that both of us liked. While cruising the internet baby name sites late one night with pregnancy insomnia, I came across the name Kadin. It is Arabic and means "Companion, friend." That described my relationship with Kadin to a T. When I was upset, he flailed about inside me. Twisting and turning until I had to focus completely on breathing and calming down. From the moment he was born, we were inseperable. Even today, if I am upset, he will sense it even if we are not in the same room. He is internally connected to me. My oldest son. When he was born in 1999, there were a little over 200 boys named Kadin in the USA. ALL of them were Caden (which means swampland by the way) and then my one Kadin. :) I loved that!

While pregnant with Cullen, I had a harder time with boy names. We were supposed to be having a girl and there weren't any boy names that really jumped out at me. We had settled on the name Gabriel. I'd have a Kade and a Gabe. But for some reason, it just didn't fit my little guy. Dave came up with the name Cullen based on an old war hero. It's Gaelic and means "Handsome." And when I gaze into my second son's eyes, I know that name fits like a glove. We named our little guy long before twilight and the Cullen's that have come since then.

With Liam, we vacillated between Fisher (my maiden name) and Liam. Liam is Gaelic as well and means "determined guardian." I felt that after all the low tech swaying we did to produce a girl child which was really a boy child, he was one determined boy! His name has fit him as well. He loves deeply, protects those close to his heart, and is such a joyful little guy. Again, his name was not popular at the time of his birth but has become more so since then.

With our daughter, the name was always going to be Delaney Katherine. Anyone who knows me, knows that was our name since 1999. In 2010, we gave that name to our miniature American Eskimo puppy. Otherwise known as Laney. :) Dave loved that name because it was Jimmy Buffet's daughter's name.

So when it came to naming our soon to be daughter, we were back at the beginning. Looking through baby name sites and books. Early on in our hunt, I was online and had jotted down a few names. I knew I wanted a Hebrew name. Or something religious. It seemed to fit where we are in our lives, and the journey that would bring her to us through adoption. While hunting, I came across the name Eliana (Elliana, Ellianna, Elianna). We have a friend who's daughter shares that same name. Although I loved it, I wanted to respect their naming their daughter that and move on to something else that wasn't used in our close circle. Elliana is the spelling I adored. The name is Hebrew and means "The Lord answers prayers." It was perfect, but I was moving on. Or so I thought. The site became stuck on that page. Each time I refreshed, it would stick again. Each time I would move forward on a page, it would move back. Then I shut the computer down and when it came back up, it was on that site, on that page, with that name again. I searched no longer and asked our friends if they minded if we used the same name. When God speaks, one needs to listen! :) So Elliana became our name for our little girl.

How do you chose names for your children? Do you look at the meaning? Shout it outside three times? Make an online poll? Use family names? I love to hear stories of how others name their kids. :)

(BTW, our cat's name is Lilly because she was born on Easter. She's our Easter Lilly. :) )

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Gender Issue

The question of the week on the adoption facebook pages seems to be whether or not you should request gender when adopting. Seriously? This is what my life keeps boiling down to? When will the gender issues in my own life be over? I keep trying to explain my position on various pages until I'm exhausted. It's like real life. Except now I'm older so I realize, what they say doesn't really matter in the wide scheme of my life. This is MY life. I can make the choices in it with my husband and children and if they are good choices for US....the rest of the world can live with it.

Gender first became an issue in 2002 when we found out we were having our second son and not the million dollar family of a boy and a girl. At that same time, a friend was battling with infertility and adopting from Russia. Guess what? They specified a girl. She later bore a biological son. I had two sons.

Then we looked into adoption and were told we were absurd for wanting to specify gender. We were told of the hundreds of stories of people who were just trying to have ONE baby. ANY baby. Yes, I got it. My sister sufferred from infertility for SIX YEARS before finally conceiving her oldest daughter. Yes, she was gender wishful. A girl. We went on to have our own biological child again, another boy.

Plain and simple, I want the opportunity to parent a girl child. I want the bows, the frills, the tea parties, the obnoxious Barbie shoes that will mingle with the legos in my life. And darn it, I'm tired of apologizing for that desire. I want a grown up relationship with my daughter, whatever that may be. I want to see things through her eyes. I want to be the mother of the bride. I want to watch my husband with a pink bundle. To watch him dance with her. To stop being excluded from Mother/Daughter lunches, spa days, and picture options. (not that I let those terms stop me. Those who know me, know I've shown up with a boy or two in tow to picture sessions and lunches).

So why am I still haunted by this? Our journey to adoption and hopefully one day through it is gender specific. It is. We are adopting to add a daughter to our family. And I think that is ok. If we did not have any children would I be gender specific? Probably not. Maybe gender wishful, like I was during my pregnancies, but not specific. I wanted a boy at first. Got him! Wanted a girl next...still waiting. But in the mean time I have two other amazing little boys that I adore and love with every fiber of my being.

I guess I get all in knots when people say you should not be gender specific in adoption but you can be race specific, single vs twin birth specific, and special needs specific. Really? So, in real life, when I get pregnant, I must just take what I get, but if I adopt I am shunned because I want a girl, even though I said I'd take any race, and we would look into some special needs issues. Because really, the last time I looked, I took what I got from the womb three times before.

Ok, so that is not really fair because my husband and I are of the same race so chances were pretty much a score that our babies would look like us. But what if I were raped like a friend of mine was and the race was questionable. Would I not have accepted that child? I would have. A child is a gift from God. And health..yes, I knew what went into my body so chances were the baby would have the highest hopes of being healthy, but we all know there are chromosomal abnormalities, traumas in the womb, traumas at birth, and even afterwards with the fear of Autism. So again, I took what I got from the womb three times.

To me, this is just another way to finger point. We all want the same thing. A child in arms. A child to raise and love and nurture and hopefully gaze into their eyes as we die as old people and they are still vivacious and healthy. So why do this to each other? Why are we finding another way to make our choices and our decisions more right than someone elses. We all have our journeys that bring us to adoption. Infertility, child loss, gender specificity, or just wanting to add to our families with the heart of adoption. It should connect us, not drive us further from each other.

And that's all I got to say about that...........

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Birthday!

When I woke up this morning, it was a regular type of day. Getting the kids ready, getting myself ready for work, dropping kids off, planning the rest of the day. Little did I know that God had big things in store for my 41st birthday. For the last 18 months I have been working on making myself stronger. My physical body ready to battle through middle age. This year, I vowed to work on my spiritual side. To keep strong in mind and body. And to let God guide my feet. Not an easy task for a Type A person who wants to be in control. Not easy at all!

Our adoption remains at the top of my mind. Swirling among doctor appts, school functions, and sports. I'm no longer eyeing the phone. Daring it to ring with a toll free number. I'm no longer jumping at every email. Frankly, since we decided to open our home study for Russia, I feel at peace. Elliana will come one way or another.

At work, I talk with our fabulous new recruit, Laura. She is taking over my job. She is perfect for it and I love watching her shine with enthusiasm for getting and keeping people healthy. What a find she is!

I head home to change clothes into my walking clothes before Linda comes to remeasure the bathroom wall for one last time. Then a walk with some girlfriends. I can't wait. I feel spent from lack of sleep the night before. I feel beat down. The Bible verse I read this morning keeps coming to mind..."Isn't it great that when God says he'll do something, he always does!"

Driving to pick up Liam I get a call....BLOCKED. Worried that it's Laura needing something, or something is wrong with my Grandma, I answer.

Hi Kathy? This is Cynthia from Adoption Network Law Center. How are you?

I'm good! How are you doing?

Great! Kathy, I work with birthmother's here at ANLC and I have a girl I would like to present to you to see if you would agree to be presented to her....

(At this point...Kmart is looking like a great crash site! I sit at a green light waiting to turn wondering if it is green or red, or am I really DRIVING MY CAR!?!?)

Um, ok.....will this conversation make me wreck my car??

Well, you may want to pull over!

How do you explain the rush of tears. When you know the balance of your life is right then being held in the hands of someone else. I turn to God. God...please, your will be done. I will go where you follow. But God, it IS my birthday!

Later tonight when we talked to our expectant mom, I am humbled once again. I cannot believe this amazing young woman can stand in this between ground. Her comment of "I want placing my daughter to be the ONE thing in my life I do right." goes straight to my heart. After the call, Dave states he wants to adopt the EM too. So do I. Realizing how we are all one decision away from bad things, it is scary. Our EM is young. Scared. Too street smart for her age. And too alone. Her life story sears my heart as I take notes to put in Elliana's journal. I want her to know every tidbit of her mother that I can. I hang on to her every word. She is from Ohio...so am I. She has a strong relationship with her Grandfather who is a farmer in KY...like Dave. She loves music, art, writing, reading....ok, is this really our child??? She is quite good at charcoal drawing. She wants her daughter to always be encouraged. To be allowed to have wings to be what she wants. And she wants us to guide those wings. I have no words.

Elliana is not a gift to us. She is a child. She is a dream come true. She is the missing link of our family and we do not know what to say to this young woman-child who wants to provide her for us. How can you tell someone thank you? Thank you for reaching inside me and finding the one things that I treasure. For putting them into a small body for safekeeping. And then handing that child to me to watch those treasures unfold. Thank you seems so small........

I wish I had a picture of Cullen's face when I told him that his sister was on her way. I wish I could forever capture Kadin's bright smile at the news. And how we can finally, let Liam know, she will have a birthday. And we will know when it is.

Thank you God. For our small answered prayer. One that will impact our lives in big ways. I can hardly wait!