Next week would have been my grandfather’s 100th Birthday. He passed away a few years ago and I think about him everyday. He was a total force in my life. He was a Holocaust survivor and the last one of a family of 8 or 9kids. I think this is why we were so close- my dad, brother and I really represented a new beginning for him and also- really- all he had left. Also- this is a big part of why my Jewish identity means so much to me.
I am pretty lucky, ‘cause I have had a lot of grandparents in my life. There have been multiple divorces and remarriages in my family so at some point in my life I had 4 grandmothers and 2 grandfathers. As a kid I never thought there was any difference between my grandparents and my (technically) step grandparents. All I knew is that I was pretty lucky to have so many people who loved me. And I got LOTS of birthday gifts (hey I was a kid!) Our son or daughter will be the first kid my brother and I have. My dad and step mom have been married for over 20 years and I do have 2 stepsiblings who both have two kids each. My dad is blessed with 4 little kids who call him Papa Jack. And our kid will have 4 little cousins (on my dad’s side) to teach him/her how to play without messing up Dad and Adela’s house too much! I once told my stepmom that the upshot of all of this divorce was that many years later our kids have more grandparents to love on them! I think she liked that (‘cause I have heard her repeat it a few times.)
My mom lives with me and Andy. She moved out to Portland after living in Michigan for 63 years. I think she gets major props for her braveness. She was planning on coming here, getting a job, and finding a place. Well the economy in Oregon is only slightly better than the one in Detroit- so far she hasn’t found a job yet and she is still living with us. She recently requested some books for grandparents of adopted kids (I am going to list them below). There is NOTHING I love more than a good research assignment. It made me feel good (looking gleeful) that we owned two of the three books that were recommended! But I digress- a few days after she had asked for suggestions- I thanked her for being so interested and supportive. She said “well this is going to be our life sweetheart and we all need to think about it and it will be your life well after I am gone”. Then I got a little weepy and we hugged. It was less morose sounding at the time.
My dad has been a little more reticent about this process. We as (Weismans) really hate change and I think my dad was a little surprised that we were embracing and committing to adoption (particularly) since we were less interested in other options (e.g. pursuing fertility treatments). I have to say that he is coming around TONS and is EXCITED about the arrival of our little one. I just need to give him the time and space to process his emotions, mourn the loss of his direct bloodline (its all up to you bro) and keep him involved in the process as much as he wants to be involved. I also know that the second he meets his future grandkid- he will be a total mush and that kid will have him wrapped around his/her little pinky in seconds. I also really want to mention that my stepmom has been wonderfully supportive and has helped by my dad and I stay connected through this process. I got goose bumps when she showed me the bag of baby toys she brought from Michigan to Las Vegas (where they live for the winter).
When we told Andy’s parents we were adopting there reaction was “about freaking time- we have just been waiting for it”. Andy parents (like Andy) are the most unflappable people on the planet. They had a feeling that we were going to adopt and really have been just waiting for us to announce it. Andy’s brother has 3 kids so our kid gets even more cousins! The oldest being 14 (yes, you are that old Michael).
So our kid will come to our family with 5 wonderful and very different grandparents (and a GREAT GRANDMOTHER to boot), 8 aunts and uncles and 7 first cousins (holy crap)! Lucky kid I say, lucky kid!!!
I started this post talking about my grandfather. I made a deal with my dear husband that our kid can be a Beach (his last name) if we get to use some derivative of my grandfathers name in his/her first name. It’s Jewish tradition to name your child after a deceased relative. Our kid will also come with his/her Ethiopian name as well. My grandfather’s name was David Weisman. His Hebrew name was Dovid Ben Shmuel (translates to David son of Samuel). This kid is going to be raise in a house that will honor his/her Ethiopian culture and my Jewish culture and Andy’s non-religious but Southern culture. We aren’t’ religious people- but do love our little corners of the world- and have made it work (really really well for the 10 years of our marriage).
Right now the plan is (if boy) Dovid (insert Ethiopian name) Beach. Or if it’s a girl Davy or Dov (insert Ethiopian name) Beach. I know if it’s a boy he will spend the rest of his life saying “It’s DOVid with an O, not DAVid with an A”. And Dov Beach sounds like a short descriptive sentence- but hey- it’s the price our kid will pay for having hippy parents. Coulda been MUCH worse…..
A Few Books:
The first one – I have mentioned before is called There is No Me Without You- by Melissa Faye Green. It is about Ethiopian AIDS orphans and was an amazingly moving book and provides a good picture of Ethiopian culture.
he first one is The second one is The Complete Book of International Adoption by Dawn Davenport- which was actually the first book I picked up when we started the process. She also has a great nonprofit organization that helps people with issues around infertility and adoption. It’s called Creating a Family.She is an amazing resource. I highly recommend you check it out. Dawn and I are BFFS (well not really- she is just incredibly accessible on Facebook and Twitter). She also recommended a book called Adoption is a Family Affair– which I picked up on Amazon, If it’s any good (it got mixed reviews)- EVERYONE is going to get a copy! Hurrah
Finally- the May 10th issues of the New Yorker had a really large article on adopting Haitian earthquake orphans. The writer and his wife were adopting a baby from Haiti when the earthquake happened and they were using the same adoption agency as us-Holt International. The article talks a lot about the process and reasons behind international adoption. I thought it was GREAT.