Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's In a Name? (David's comments)

I've been looking for boys names that we might name our adopted son. I'm getting the feeling that no one likes the list of possibilities because my list has mysteriously disappeared=), there was some mention of a wet glass "mistakenly" being set on it and then it was thrown away...hmmm. Anyway, I was struggling with whether we should name him an American sounding name, or something Chinese, or maybe something totally different. Should we have him keep his first name and just change his last name to ours? I don't seems kind of tough to pick out a name for someone we haven't even met yet! Maybe we'll just narrow it down to few and see which one fits him the best when we see him for the first time...that will be an exciting moment! It reminds me of when we were trying to come up with a nickname for YuXiao before he arrived and we had a bunch of nicknames but nothing sounded really good. When he got here we asked him what people called him at home, and he's been Xiao to us ever since. We got all of the medical paperwork done and sent in to WACAP for Sandy and I today...that was a good feeling...
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Explaining Connor's post below

We received a Cd in the mail from WACAP with a 9 minute video of two boys from Thailand needing a forever family. Thailand does not allow WACAP to post online photos of children, so they sent us a Cd with info instead. Anyone know anyone looking to expand their family? These two boys look adorable, but they'd be best for a family that doesn't already have a bunch of kids. Also, we are leaning towards adopting from China right now, since the program is the most established and stable.

Connor peters ( age 9) thoughts about twin Thai kids

It is me again! I just saw a video about two Thai twins who are available for adoption. The movie was convincing me to want them. These two twins are in a orphanage, and their mom is in jail. Right now they are living with a foster mother, but no one will adopt them because they are hyperactive and busy! The Thai twins are six- years old and very cute! They did not look hyperactive to me, just like normal 6 year old boys. I hope I can convince mom to adopt twins, but I don't think I can. And Thailand has lots of rules for adopting, and Mom might be too old to adopt from there. There is a lot to think about when adopting.


I find it interesting that we've had such varying reactions to our decision to adopt. On the one hand, I have the group of friends and family who think we're absolutely crazy. Or they are simply cannot understand why we would make, what is in their mind, such a bad decision. I've received emails that try to nicely remind me that this will not be an exchange student that I can send home, or a dog that I can give away if it doesn't work out. Hmmm. We think we realize the difference in the level of commitment, but we know you are just concerned and such. We've been researching and preparing for adoption for over four years; it's not the same as the cute puppy I got talked into getting Kate for Christmas while shopping at the mall. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, we've received a few very enthusiastic emails. One friend said, "That is wonderful. No, you are not crazy. Yes it makes sense if one watches how many other kids you've surrounded yourself with over these years. ...So, go for it. You have so much love t o give, and what's one more...." And another friend pledged to be our support and rock through what promises to be a bumpy ride. Then there's David's mom, who quite literally brought me to tears. She told us that she thinks adopting a child together makes perfect sense, and she will be thrilled to have another grandchild. What's more, Dave's mom is already researching articles on transitioning adopted children! Boy, did I luck out with mother-in-laws or what? So, I guess I'm just blogging to express my appreciation for all the support, and to reassure those who are concerned for our sanity. This is a long and complicated process, in a long and complicated world.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My perspective--a teenager's point of view (Austin)

I know, I know you are all probably thinking "Oh a teenager, he'll probably be negative just to disagree with everyone else." However, I am special. I know how important it is to my mom that I write about my perspective to help reinforce the decision to adopt. Personally, I think that we are a perfectly suited family for another boy. Like my dad said, we live in a boy paradise!!! Everyone in our family is what most people would consider, ADHD. I guess most young boys are. Our family is on the move 24/7. People are constantly asking how do you find time for everything. I bet if we wanted to, we could set a world record for "least amount of rest/relaxation." Although, when the rare moment of relaxation comes, I am so bored, I don't know what to do with myself. If all boys are like I am, we are the perfect family for young boys. Anyway, as everyone else has mentioned we have an exchange student named Xiao, which helped us decide we liked having a big family. Xiao (our exchange student) is the perfect one for us. He is always going and never stops. My opinion about the whole adopting idea is that I think it would be good for our family, especially for Connor. Connor is always fighting to be the center of attention all the time, and I think that it would be good for Connor to have a little brother that wants to be the center of attention. I think the whole "center of attention" idea comes from being the youngest in the family, which would be good for Connor not to be the youngest any more. I also think that it would be good for Connor because I am always picking on him (he deserves it) and it will teach Connor that I beat him up for a reason, when he gets annoyed with his little brother. About the fact that he won't know English. Well, surprisingly, I think it's cool. We would all get to learn a new language. To tell you the truth, after living with Connor for nine years, I am pretty excited to adopt. I think that adopting a boy would be an excellent experience for all of us.

Connors thoughts about adopting a child (age 9)

This is not my first journal. I wrote a lot when we went to Europe, so I have a little experience. These are my thoughts about adopting a child. This boy will be ( I think) a nice boy and quite bright too. I am the littlest in the family, so it will be good for me to be the middle aged one.I have always wanted a younger brother that I get to name, and I will be able to pick on him too (my brother always picked on me). If we successfully adopt a little boy, my little cousin named Eric will have someone to play with (Eric is 5). We have an Chinese exchange student named Xiao living with us now! He is fun and cool. He is 17 and very kind. Our Chinese exchange student's full name is Jiyuxiao but, we just call him Xiao. I am very excited about adopting a child, and I cannot wait any longer! But I know we might not be able to get a boy, but anyway I am still excited!

A work entitled: Dave's First Blog on Adoption or Your Mom is Gonna Read This So It Better Be Good

Sandy asked me to put some thoughts down on paper about our adoption experience, or how I feel about it. I have never written a journal before, so I am a little skeptical about this. Will my writing about this help me get I better handle on why I want to adopt? Sandy says that this is a very good way to organize my thoughts. If she thinks it's a good idea, I'll try it. We've been spending much time filling out paperwork, getting health certification forms done by the the way, overall I was pretty impressed as to how quickly my doctor's office was able to do this and get all the blood work done and results back...he's a good doctor but in the past it has not been unusual to wait for 45 minutes before getting past the waiting room. My blood pressure was 115 over 75..I was very impressed with myself:). Given the fact that we have three boys at home right now- Xiao, our exchange student from China who recently turned 17, Austin who is 12, and Connor who is 9, I consider such a healthy blood pressure pressure a minor miracle! I think I'll thank God for good health in church this weekend. Speaking of kids at home...I guess this is one of the things that got me thinking about adopting...Xiao is a joy, but he will be going back to China in June (that's seems soon, but it's eight months away)...I like having the kids around, it gives everything such a feeling of vitality, there's always something going on, something to fix because little hands have broken it...our house seems to be set up well for boys. we have a pool table, workout room, a separate area for the kids to watch movies, use the computer, then there is the acres of fields, woods, a creek - what a boy's paradise!...I can't imagine a boy who wouldn't love to grow up here. Boys. There is something different about bring up boys...I often wonder whether Sandy feels a little ostracized with the three boys and myself. At least one of our two dogs is a female! I don't think that helps Sandy much, but she doesn't show any signs of wanting to have more girls around, and I don't think we even considered adopting a girl...I don't know why, I guess we just thought that our boys would like a younger brother...I guess we are kind of in "boy-mode" now as well. I'm not convinced that this is a helpful exercise for me yet, but I guess this writing things down isn't as bad as I thought it would be...

Why International?

A few people have asked us why we don't adopt a needy child from the USA. Here's why. First of all, we tried the whole foster-child-thing. We were foster parents, and "in the system" for over two years. First of all, the children in foster care are not legally free for adoption until they have been in foster care for many, many years, and every relative has had a chance to parent the child and failed. We would have adopted our foster children in a heartbeat, but our legal system makes it almost impossible. I know one foster parent who has fostered 22 children over the years (with the hope of adopting) and her dream was never fulfilled. Also, we found that, in general, foster children have EVERYTHING they need. Yes, life is not perfect for foster children in the USA. All foster children suffer from the loss of their parents, but, as a general rule, foster children in the US all have loving homes (such as ours). They have good food, warm clothes, excellent medical care, dental care, and lots and lots of financial support. Children from foster care in the US receive tuition assistance for college, for instance. Our country, sometimes to its detriment, provides foster children much more than the basic necessities. Children in foster care in the US can even attend one week of summer camp for free!! When I was a child I had to mow lawns and sell candy bars to earn a week at camp. Many children in orphanages in other countries lack the basic necessities. These children do not have enough food, they were often surrendered to the orphanage because of poverty, and they definitely need medical care. That is why we have chosen to adopt from China. We want to truly make a difference.

The Beginning

I can't believe it finally hit me. I should write about this. Write about what, you are probably asking. Our decision to adopt. Yes, I suppose this may be the best way to announce our decision to adopt. IF everything goes well. So I guess I should start at the beginning. It probably began with the Tsunami in the Philippines in 2004. Watching all the suffering and homeless children on TV really struck a chord with me. I looked at David and declared, "We should adopt one of those children. We can save one. And we are great parents." As usual, David encouraged me to look into it, knowing that only a few of my great and wonderful ideas come to fruition. A year later, we decided to get a foreign exchange student instead. So the year of 2005-2006 was the year of Camila. That same year a (sort of) relative of David's adopted a baby girl from China. We had a fulfilling experience with Camila, and we decided to become foster parents. Kate graduated from high school, and we became foster parents to a teen girl for the summer. Still, all along, I was researching, investigating, interviewing and weighing adoption procedures. Every so often, I would report my progress, and Dave and I would discuss whether we should adopt. However, we kept thinking we might be able to adopt one of our foster children. I would check waiting children photo listings daily online, and we subscribed to the Waiting Child book. In June of 2008, we met with an attorney who specializes in adoption. He provided us with several contacts, and we discovered World Association for Children and Parents online. In the meantime, we welcomed another foreign exchange student from China, a 16 year old boy named Xiao. What a joy he is!! Still, surfing postings, still talking, still thinking, still waiting to decide if we should pursue adoption. We talked about adopting for so many years, that every once in awhile Austin would tell us to hurry up because we were getting too old. I even started to network among my inner-city students. I'd ask my students each semester, "Anyone know someone with a child they are considering putting up for adoption?" But then it happened. Dave and I were all alone for an entire evening. We had to go watch Austin race in a cross-country meet, and Dave and I had 24 hours completely alone. I started the conversation with, "It's time for us to make a decision. I'm going to be 43 this year, and the cut-off for many adoptions is 45. Do we want to adopt, or is this one of those things we should just let go?" Surprisingly, David voted yes, we should adopt. We can provide superior love and care to a child who needs a family, and we should definitely adopt. The very next day, I received an email with a note from WACAP that here is a child you might consider. I showed it to David, and he said, yes, get the paperwork done. Less than a month later, we have completed more forms than I can count, have had our fingerprints done a multitude of times, completed blood work, eye tests, physicals, etc. etc. and we know that our journey is just beginning. Next week is our home-study visit from the agency. We're exhausted already, and we hear this process will take over 18 months. Bring it on!