Wednesday, November 14, 2012
adoption bloggers interview project - lisa
in honor of national adoption month i'm participating in the adoption bloggers interview project for 2012. to participate in this process, bloggers were matched with other bloggers in the adoption realm who'd like to get to know each other and spread the good word of adoption. i was paired with lisa from open to life. lisa is an adoptive mommy to two precious children - olivia and martin. lisa blogs about the daily happenings in her family and how her family's life is a whole lot better than she and her husband could have ever imagined.
1. Infertility is something that led both of us to similarly understanding God's plans for how we should build our families would be through adoption. While it took my husband and I about 8 years to figure this out, we would not change a single step in our journey knowing what we know now. Is there anything you'd change about your path, had you known then what you know now about how your family would come together?
Well, our journey from marriage to first adoption took just over 3 years (3 years and 6 days, to be exact). So in retrospect, it wasn’t really that long that we wandered in the desert of childlessness. While we were in the midst of it, though, it seemed pretty interminable.
I suppose there really isn’t much I’d change about our path. The journey through infertility led us to the two greatest kids we could have asked for. I’ve often said that infertility was, in a way, a blessing for us because it led us to these specific children.
It would have been nice not to have to spend money on the fertility-fixing procedures, but those had a health-fixing aspect too. More than that, they served to unify me and my husband in our commitment to doing things God’s way, even if that meant some financial sacrifice and uncertainty. There was a reason for every single step. Like all of life, it is a journey that is not always easy, but is always worth it.
2. We had dreams of things we'd do for fun once we had children. For us, it was taking our son to the pumpkin patch - we could hardly wait for October this year! You've written about taking your family to a theme park for some family fun. What topped your list for an activity that you just could not wait to do once you had children?
I guess the thing I looked forward to most was sharing holiday traditions. I have a big family, and currently there are lots of small children running around. Martin is the 12th grandchild for my parents, and the oldest of those is nine years old, so it makes for a lot of activity when we all get together at Christmas. It was hard to be on the outside of that kid activity before Olivia came along.
I remember our pre-child days when we kind of skipped the whole exchange of gifts and would go shopping on the day after Christmas and buy what we wanted, together. And while that was fun, the whole tree-and-gifts business is best with kids. There is nothing like watching your little one’s eyes light up when she pops out of her room on Christmas morning to find a mound of gifts with her name on them. It is kind of magical.
3. In your lost adoption interview project you spoke about the fact you were in the adoption process for a second time and waiting for a placement. Now that your family has grown by an additional member, how do you think your family dynamic has changed?
Oh, wow. Well, first of all, we’ve had to deal with a few more challenges from Olivia. She is a very emotionally needy child, and I guess we didn’t notice it as much before Martin because she was the focus of our attention. While she is absolutely IN LOVE with the brother she prayed for for the past three years, she didn’t really know how to deal with her feelings about the new reality that she was no longer the center of the universe. In that way, having a sibling has been a huge challenge and a huge blessing for her.
We are learning to juggle the demands of two and making accommodations to make sure both get enough attention. It helps that Martin is so laid back. It also helps that my husband has the type of job that allows him to be home most nights of the week and most weekends. We make sure that one of us spends some quality time with Olivia every night, coloring or playing games or doing crafts. That one-on-one time has helped her a lot.
4. Along those same lines, how has your life changed being the mom to two children as opposed to the mother of one? Is it more difficult than you thought it would be, or are there any challenges that have come up that you were not prepared for?
We weren’t quite prepared for Olivia’s outbursts, but we are managing pretty well now that we’ve figured out what the problem is. Aside from that, it is actually easier than I expected. Martin is SO different. Olivia, as an infant, was easily overstimulated and upset by changes in her schedule. Martin just goes with the flow. He is the baby you can take anywhere, anytime. I had come to believe such a baby didn’t exist, but he does!!
5. While Martin is just a tiny fellow and you have not had much time to learn about how your relationship will unfold with his birthmom, how are things different so far than they were with Olivia's birthmom?
Well, both birthmoms had eerily similar circumstances that led to placement. However, in personality they are as different as night and day. I think the differences in birthmothers is illustrated by the differences in the kids, if that makes sense. I don’t want to say too much about their personalities/challenges/issues they face in this forum. But I will say that we have a good ongoing relationship with Olivia’s birthmom, and we are starting to build that with Martin’s as well. We actually met with Martin’s birthmom for the first post-birth visit last weekend, and that went really well. We text weekly and send photos. I’m hoping that, with both kids, we can continue to keep up regular communication and a few visits a year with birthmothers so that, as they grow, they can get to know them well enough to consider them a loving part of our extended family.
6. A lot of Caucasian adoptive moms have anxiety about beautifully styling their adopted children's hair when it does resemble their own. Now that you have both a daughter and a son with different hair than you have, how do you successfully manage their hair care needs? Are there products you rely on or routines that you have?
Well, we are still working on this! Olivia has tight curls and her hair is very, very dry. That is our challenge with her. She has beautiful light brown streaks (natural highlights) in her very dark brown hair, and they show up very well when I braid it. For Olivia, I’ve found that the easiest way to deal with the hair right now is to make sure it gets braided nightly for easy morning styling. If we don’t braid it before bed, we’ll be spending an hour just working out the tangles! And we haven’t yet found the miracle product. We keep trying different things with different results. But as long as I can keep her hair braided when she sleeps or swims, we can usually come up with a pretty and presentable style.
(Now, if I could just get her to stop dumping sand in her hair when we play outside. But that’s another issue altogether.)
Martin’s hair is very different. It is dry, but it is also coarse. I’ve noticed that it falls out easily. He likes to stroke his head when he’s trying to fall asleep, and I’ve noticed fistfuls of black curly hair in his hands! But that may be a function of his age. Lots of babies are bald, after all. Lucky for him, he’s a boy. So even if we have hair troubles, all we have to do is keep it short. Right now, his hair care regimen includes a weekly wash and daily rub down with coconut oil. We’ll see how that changes when he gets a little older.
7. You've previously blogged about the possibility of fostering a child, have you done research on this topic and will this still be a possibility in your family? Do you have any fears about fostering or foster to adopt?
I have done a lot of research, actually, and we have friends who foster and adopted their youngest child through the foster care system. It is still a possibility. I do have some concerns about fostering, but if God leads us down that path, I’m sure he’ll give us the skills we need to do it successfully.
Right now, we are so entrenched in babyhood that it is not really in the forefront of our minds. And, to be honest, our family feels complete at the moment. That could change, of course. We are always open to whatever God has planned for our family, and we are well aware that His plans are often unexpected. But when Olivia was born, it felt like we were welcoming our first child…not our child, but our first child. We were a family, but we were missing someone. It doesn’t feel that way anymore. It feels like the period at the end of a sentence. A complete thought…our family.
thanks so much to lisa for taking the time to answer my questions and tell us a little more about your family!