And She Lived…











It’s the last day of November which means an end to NaBloPoMo. Ya, I am glad to put an end to that. And for those who subscribe to my blog, I am sure you are glad to see an end to it as well. Nope, I don’t think I’ll be doing that again. Over and over I have had a tendency to put undue pressure on myself when it comes to blogging. Over and over again I tell myself I won’t pressure myself again. But I keep doing it anyway. Blogging reflects my life in that way. Taking on things I know I shouldn’t, but doing it anyway.

There is one thing that I wonder whether or not I should take on. Something I have been thinking about for a very long time now. That thing is a second adoption. While right now isn’t the right time to bring another child into our family, due to financial issues and getting Meechi started in all his therapies and school, I still think about it. It is something we really want to do. Meechi’s adoption took 15 months from start to finish. That is time from signing the contract to him actually arriving in our home. I think about where we will be 15 months from now and I think the timing for bringing another little one into our home would be pretty good then. I will have finished school and hopefully started a new job. Meechi will hopefully be caught up with some of his developmental skills and happy in his 2nd year of pre-k by then. So, the timing feels right. Also, it seems that adoption is taking longer these days, so it could be even longer than 15 months this time around and that would be ok too.

We are not jumping right into adoption. Instead we are going to go sort of slow with things this time. Lesson learned! At this point we are not even sure where we will adopt from. Our most likely choice at this point is actually US foster care. We were afraid to go that route the first time. Afraid of the emotional and mental damage that has been done to those children. See how naive we were back then? To not realize that the same is true for any orphan, anywhere. Of course we also wanted a baby back then, anddidn’t think we could adopt one from here through foster care. I do know that it is harder to adopt a baby when you go that route. We don’t want a baby this time around. Give me a child that has some emotional trauma, as long as he is potty trained and can talk! I know that sounds like I am diminishing the importance of a child’s emotions, but honestly if Meechi could talk it would make everything he has to deal with SO much easier.

One thing that we were a bit disillusioned on before adopting was thinking that babies do not suffer all the emotional and mental damage that older children do. We did not realize that it was possible for a baby to experience RAD. We know better now. We know full well that a child of any age will experience trauma from being abandoned by their birth family and from life in the system. Whatever system they happen to be stuck in. Meechidoes not have RAD, he attached to us quite easily. He does have separation anxiety though. I can not leave the room without him following me everywhere I go. If he doesn’t see me leave the room, when he realizes I am gone he screams in terror. If Hank tries to take him somewhere without me he reaches back in the door screaming “mommy! mommy!” because he doesn’t want to leave without me. If I go somewhere without him it leads to a meltdown as well. (first few days of preschool ought to be fun, eh?) Well, the point is that we understand a lot more now. We are better prepared for what to expect.

Sometime after the first of the year we are going to start doing the PS-MAPP training. (PS-MAPP stands for Partnering for Safety and Permanence Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting) This is the required classes for people to adopt from foster care here in Ks. In this course we will learn about loss, attachment, managing behavior, birth family connections, and how to help children transition into their new family. Even if we decide not to adopt from foster care and do adopt from another country, this class will be helpful. It is what I think all prospective adoptive parents should do. No matter where they choose to adopt from. I truly believe it should be required for anyone entering into adoption.

When we decided to adopt the first time it never entered our minds that we would ever want to do it again. We simply wanted another child. A son that the two of us could raise together. It is because of our amazing son that we want to adopt again. He has brought so much into our lives that he has us craving more. We want another child to love and care for. Another child to bring more joy into our lives. Also, we want our son to have a sibling closer to his own age. He loves his brother and sister but there is such a big age gap. We think he would benefit from having a brother closer in age. Yes, we want another boy. I am just not a princess and ruffles kind of person. Besides, as I parent a teenage girl I realize that I don’t want to live with the worries I have over her again with another child.

Today is also the last day of adoption awareness month. That is the reason I have chosen to announce our plans to adopt again in the not too distant future. I want to share the magic of adoption with everyone. We have gone through the trials of adopting through an unethical adoption agency, getting less than average treatment from adoption coordinators, losing a job due to the adoption, huge financial setbacks, unexpected developmental delays in our son, living every day with his SPD issues… and we want to adopt again. If we can make that decision then I hope we can inspire at least one more family to adopt. There are thousands of children out there who need parents to love them. They are hurting andsuffering from loss. They aren’t perfect, but neither is any of us. I truly hope some of you will find it in your hearts to consider adoption.

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I watched the 20/20 show last night. The one I like to call their anti-adoption campaign. My feelings on it haven’t changed much.

I know what RAD is. I know it really can be very, very bad. I know that sometimes these kids really do threaten the safety of themselves, siblings, pets and parents. I know it is very difficult to parent these children. I also know that I have no personal experience dealing with RAD. (short pause to thank God) However, I also know that following your newly adopted daughter around with a video camera, essentially stalking her is NOT helping. Yep, I know that. Too bad her parents didn’t seem to.

I got my questions answered about how long those girls have been here. 4 years. So, at least they didn’t call in the film crews right away, like I thought perhaps they did. Nope, they just did that themselves.

Now let’s put ourselves in this little girls place. You’ve just left behind everything you’ve ever known. You are half way around the world from the place that is home to you. You are now living with people that are strangers. Strangers that are now your mom and dad. The only experience you’ve ever had with parents were not good ones. You are scared as hell. You don’t understand what anyone is saying to you because they speak another language. You have no way to tell anyone about what you are feeling because they can not understand what you are saying. All this is going on and you are scared and upset and confused and now, suddenly, these new parents of yours are following you around with a camera, fimling your pain. All you want is to get away, but they won’t let you.  ok……….. now how do you feel??? Are you building trust in these people? Are you feeling loved? Protected? Wanted? Safe? Secure? Or, are you feeling the exact opposite of those things?

There are differing opinions on how to handle RAD. There are those that swear by holding the child close in tight hugs. Keep in mind that you have to actually physically force the kids into this because they don’t want you to hold them. This is known as holding therapy.  There are others who swear that doing that is the totally wrong thing to do. In my opinion (notice i said MY OPINION) I think that holding therapy would have been a preferable method for this child over what she got. Forced hugs? or documenting RAD rages on film? Ya, I gotta go with holding therapy on this one.

I know that this was one small piece of their lives that was displayed on film. I am sure there were things they have done that didn’t make the story. I don’t have the whole story. So I can not truly judge without knowing all the facts. But I am going to comment on what I did see. Because this story made me feel so much as I watched it.

As I watched last night I made the comment “those people think they can buy their kids love. listen to them complain how all the lessons they’ve put the kids in and all the things they’ve bought them and how the modeling contract they got them didn’t make them happy!”. It bothered me so, so much that they were baffled while all these THINGS didn’t make their daughter happy, didn’t make her love them. I was nearly shouting at the tv “how about a hug? how about sitting down and talking to her? how about sitting and letting her talk and just listening?”. Then the girl went to camp. People talked to her. People listened to her. She didn’t have things given to her, she worked and she lived in sparse conditions, she talked, she played, she lived! Oh… and she smiled. Let’s not forget that. And then she said the thing that made me shout “yes! you tell ’em girl!” She said that her parents tried to buy her love! I hope they listened and learned. I really, really do. (this is going to lead to a whole other post on how adoptive parents often make this mistake)

I don’t really want to judge this family on their basic parenting skills. I want to keep this focused on how they were ill prepared to deal with RAD. And they were ill prepared. They had no idea what it was or how to deal with it. I think all adoption agencies should require families to take classes on things like this before they can adopt. ok, where was i? oh, ya…  I just have to make a small comment here that is more about their parenting skills. Did you see the way that 12yo little girl was dressed? Did you see how much makeup she had on?  Shy, who is 14, made the comment “that little girl looks like a hoochie“. Yes honey, yes she does. “why would her mom let her dress like that?” Let her? honey, who do you think bought her those clothes and that makeup?

Ok, back to the real comments. I believe this show was meant to inform people about RAD. Most people are not aware of the many issues that children who are available for adoption can have. It is important to educate people on this. No one should enter into adoption without being aware of these possibilities. I just don’t think that this particular story, this particular family, was the right choice for this. I also do not think it is fair that this story singled out international adoption. Look in the US foster care system. You will find many kids with RAD and PTSD there as well. It is the life the children have lived. It is the poor parenting they have had to endure in their young lives. Those are the factors that have led to their issues. Not the country they come from.

If someone is considering adoption I pray that they do study all possibilities. Look into things like RAD, PTSD, SPD and a hundred other possibilities. Know that there is a chance that any child could have one or more of these issues. Make an informed decision. Know what resources are available to you if your child does happen to have any of these issues. But, most of all remember one thing. Behind all the diagnosis, this is a child. A hurt, scared child who although they have no idea how to be loved… needs to be loved!

 

edited to add:

I wanted to make it clear that it is not my intention to “bash” the mulligan family with this post. I do feel they made some mistakes and felt that it would benefit other families who may be facing RAD to point them out. I also believe they made some good choices. I think they realized that they didn’t really know how to help their daughter and sought some help in finding it. Also, it took real courage to open themselves up to critcism in order to make people aware of RAD. For all that I want to say that I have a great deal of respect for the efforts they are now making.



This month families all across the country are advocating for adoption. ABC is taking a different approach in this month of adoption awareness. They are trying to scare people out of adopting. Outrage over their upcoming story is mounting through the adoption community. I am among the outraged.

Watch this video promoting their upcoming story to see why.

RADD is a very real diagnosis for many adopted children, from both international and domestic adoption. However, they way ABC has chosen to showcase this disorder is appalling. RADD is something that can happen to a child who has neglected or treated poorly, or simply has lost trust in the adults in their life. Many orphans have good reason to feel all of those things. What these children need is love and understanding. What they need is a family with patience and a caring heart to help them heal. To help them overcome their fears and the neglect they have suffered in life. What they do not need is cameras following them around when they are already terrified and upset!!!

I will save judgement on the couple in this video until I have seen the full story. I doubt however, that it will make me feel any better about them. I don’t understand how they could possibly think it is a good thing for these young girls (girls that are now their daughters and are supposed to be getting love and support from their new parents) to have strangers come into their home and follow them around. Trust issues?!? Hell, yes these little girls should have some trust issues! Would you trust someone who asked strangers to come follow your every move and record it? Especially when the girls are so newly arrived to America. The video said they had been home just over a week. I am not sure if that meant that is how long they were here when they started to show signs of RADD or if that is how long they were here when they started filming them… but it bothers me either way that instead of comforting these girls, they decided to put them on display. And when I saw that so-called father drag that little girl out from under the bed………  *#(@&$&@$(&$)(*&#@!!!!!   Oh, right, I’m saving judgement on them. forgot about that for a second.

Please watch the video and share your thoughts with me.

and if you feel like it, send a little email off to ABC news

 http://abcnews. go.com/Site/ page?id=3271346& cat=20/20



{November 18, 2008}   All They Want For Christmas


{November 12, 2008}   Will You Be Touched By Adoption?

I want to post something for Adoption Awareness Month. I’m not up to writing anything original right now though. I am busy today and I am frustrated. Mostly I’m just dedicating to spending time with Meechi today. I went through some of my old posts to make sure I didn’t repeat myself when talking about adoption. I came across a post that really hit me. Who knew I had the ability to write something so touching? Well, at least it touched me. So what I decided to do for today is link to that post and a few others. Some mine, some belonging to other adoptive families. All of them touching.

My post, the one that really hit me today is I Cried Today

Another post of mine that is one of my favorites is Meechi Goes Bye Bye. This one touches on both attachment and some of his SPD issues.

I came across a post on the blog of another family who adopted from Kazakhstan that brought tears to my eyes. It is exactly the feeling that the experience of walking into the orphanage left in my heart. Please take a minute and read On Their Behalf.

I don’t know that I could pick any one post from The Lajoy Family blog. The whole blog is a testament to love of their adopted children and their journey to two more.

Ok, don’t want to overload you with too many links at once. I will probably post more later. Right now I am going to attempt to stack blocks without Meechi knocking them down before I get more than three stacked.



{November 7, 2008}   The Uncomfortable Questions

It’s bound to happen eventually. If you’ve adopted a child, people are going to ask you questions that are uncomfortable for you.

How much did the adoption cost?

Was it difficult to adopt?

Do you know anything about his real parents?

Why did his mother give him up?

Those kind of things. They are the type of questions you would never ask someone who had a child biologically. I mean you wouldn’t ask someone “how much was your hospital bill when you gave birth? and did that include the episiotomy?” or “did you have a hard time conceiving? or did ya get it on the first try?” or “is your husband really the father, cause the baby kinda looks like the mailman” or “so who’s the baby’s daddy?” and you certainly woulnd’t ask “did you plan to get pregnant or did it just happen to you?”

Would you want to answer those questions? Of course not. And I don’t really want to answer the other ones. Now, there are exeptions. If I am talking with someone who is interested in adopting and they ask about the cost of adoption or if it was difficult, I don’t mind answering those questions at all. As for the real parents question… um, hello! We are his real parents. We’re real. We’re his parents. Real parents! And that last question!?! How about none of your damn business? Is that a good enough answer?

Honestly, my son’s past is HIS past. It’s his life story. When he is old enough he can choose to share it with whomever he chooses. Until then, it’s a closed subject. Not that I have shared details with a few people. Close family like my parents and one of my sisters and one of my brothers. That’s it though.

I actually had someone ask me most of these questions the other day. I recluctantly answered most of them. Then she got to the last one. Except what she actually asked was “do you know anything about his mother, like why she would give him away?” I was sort of angry that she was asking. And the fact she kept referring to him as “his mother” since that title is for me. Birth mother or even first mother is ok, but mother is mine. This girl is a friend of my sister in law. A person I have known for years but not really well. She isn’t family, she isn’t even a close friend. So it irritated me. I didn’t answer her in anger though. I considered the source of the question. I mean this girl didn’t mean to go beyond what she should have known was acceptable limits. She really doesn’t have the sense to realize what the limits are. You know those dumb blonde jokes? I am pretty sure they are all about her. Seriously! I am not joking when I say this is probably the dumbest person I have ever seen walking the earth. So, taking that into consideration, I calmly and politely answered with “we have some information to pass onto our son when he is old enough.”



Each year the president of the United States makes a proclamation to announce that November is National Adoption Awareness month.

here is President Bush’s proclamation for 2008:

During National Adoption Month, we recognize the compassion of adoptive and foster families as we seek to raise awareness of the need for every child in America to have a safe, loving, and permanent home.

Adopting a child is a great joy and also a great responsibility. Parents are a child’s first teachers, and adoptive families can help children learn character and values, the importance of giving back to their community and country, and the courage to realize their potential. On November 15, caring parents across our Nation will celebrate National Adoption Day by finalizing their adoptions and bringing home children in need of a hopeful life.

My Administration is committed to helping young people find the love, stability, and support that a family can provide. We have joined with community and faith-based organizations to raise public awareness of foster children awaiting adoption. With the help of the Congress, we are assisting families in overcoming the financial barriers to adopting children through programs such as the Adoption Incentives Program. In addition, the Collaboration to AdoptUsKids project, which can be found at adoptuskids.org, provides guidance and resources for parents exploring adoption.

During National Adoption Month, we honor adoptive and foster parents who have shown America the depth and kindness of the human heart. Their love and dedication inspire the next generation of Americans to achieve their dreams and demonstrate the true spirit of our Nation.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 2008 as National Adoption Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month with appropriate programs and activities to honor adoptive families and to participate in efforts to find permanent homes for waiting children.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.

GEORGE W. BUSH



{November 2, 2008}   Helping The Children Left Behind

I am going to start adoption awareness month off with some information on a non profit organization that does wonderful things for the children left behind in the orphanages of Kazakhstan. Stacy and Kim are the two amazing ladies who started Two Hearts For Hope. I have had the chance to meet both of them and they truly are very wonderful, caring women.

Two Hearts For Hope collects donations of items to be sent to orphanages in Kazakhstan. The children there have so little and these donations are a big help. Imagine having no toys, no clothes that fit properly, shoes so worn out that your toes are sticking out? These are the conditions these children often face. By donating just one thing you can help these children have a better life. For the month of November, Two Hearts For Hope is asking for donations of medical supplies. Some acceptable donations would be Band-Aids, gauze, medical tape, ice packs, tongue depressors, cotton balls, q-tips, Ace bandages, tweezers, stethoscopes, and blood pressure cuffs. They can not accept donations of medicatioins because the instructions would be in English and the caregivers would not be able to read the instructions and properly administer the meds.

Although Two Hearts has placed a theme for requests for each month they will happily accept any items each month.

Another wonderful thing they do is offer a raffle. Each month they offer a wonderful raffle prize and all proceeds go to help support the orphans in Kazakhstan. This month they will be raffling off a brand new, Garmin StreetPilot c330 GPS system. Tickets are $5 and all proceeds go to their continued efforts in Kazakhstan.

Please check out the Two Hearts For Hope website to learn more about this amazing organization and all they do.



{November 1, 2008}   November already

I can’t believe it’s November already. This year has gone by so quickly.

Last month I posted about it being Sensory Processing Disorder awareness month. I wanted to do one more post before October was over, but the month just got away from me. Now, it’s November and it is time for Adoption awareness month. And you know I am going to have something to say about adoption. It has certainly changed this family’s life for the better!  So, look forward to lots of posts about the benefits of adoption, as well as some Meechi cuteness.

I have also been thinking about doing NaBloPoMo. I figure that it will be a good opportunity to spread the word about adoption, so I’ll give it a try. (of course i am not always the greatest about follow through, so we will see)

Just in case you might want to learn a bit more about SPD, I have included some links to posts about SPD on some other blogs. This really is an issue that almost no one knows about except those of us affected by it. Hopefully after this past October, many more people will be aware.

Homemade Therapeutic Sensory Items

Living With SPD

What I Wish People Understood About SPD (part 1)

What I Wish People Understood About SPD (part 2)

SPD: Managing It Everyday (one family’s story)

SPD: What It Looks Like In Our Neighborhood

On Sensory Processing Disorder

SPD And The Adopted Child

For All Intersted In SPD (a look into spd in an adult)

Free Answers In Honor of SPD Awareness Month

Sensory Awareness Month (there is also a part 2 and 3 on this blog)

Sensing Something Different

SPD Awareness: Our Story



et cetera