I say they are for her- but really who am I kidding?
The buttons are in the back. I love the fishes.
I have been feeling a little fragile this week. Andy was away all week for work and the emotional exhaustion of the day of a million emotions took me a while to recover from. I love the space when Andy is away, but this week I could have used his presence.
Something happened this week that infuriated me beyond belief and I really need to write about it. I was at one of my temp jobs, somebody asked me about the adoption and I said “oh we got new photos wanna see?” She took a cursorily glance and said “that’s a much better photo then the last one you showed me”. She didn’t say it in a funny nice way, she said it in a shitty way.
I am not looking for compliments of how beautiful my daughter is. She is a beauty, I know it. As her mother (adopted or not) it is in our DNA to think our kids are the most wonderful or adorable.
What hurt the most was the insensitivity towards the adoption process. As adopted families we have to “take what we can get” in terms of photos. Andy and I are photographers. Every aspect of our lives is posted on Facebook or Twitter. Its so frustrating that in the 115 days our daughter has been on the planet that we only have 10 photos of her. And you want to know a secret about these photos? They aren’t great. They aren’t photos of Davy in the loving arms of her nanny. They aren’t photos of Davy in a baby bjorn at museums, parks, with the dogs or at happy hour. They aren’t photos of Davy hanging out with me and Andy (the two most happiest and appreciative parents on the planet). They are photos of Davy, on a bed, in ill fitting clothing. In some of the photos she looks serene, in some she looks a little scared and in some (my favorite of coarse) she looks kind of pissed off. We can see she is beautiful, we can see she is healthy. If you look closely you can see her personality.
As adoptive parents, we learn to look beyond the baby mugshot and see into the souls of our kids. We have no choice. We have no photo of Davy smiling. We know our girl is super smily. Our friend witnessed it when she saw her, the reports say she is smiley. Of coarse she is, she is MY daughter. Davy’s next-crib-neighbor is the daughter of a good friend. She has the only photo of a laughing baby i have ever seen in this process. We keep saying Sophia is smiling because Davy is so funny and cracking her up. I don’t know if its true, but the thoughts of that make me irrationally happy. We suspect that Davy has Andy’s very very dry and sly sense of humor.
When this event happened, I vented my frustration on Facebook. I had lots of comments like “fuck that she’s a beauty”. I appreciate the comments and the support (lord knows I need it) but my friend Sally said what I couldn’t articulate. She said “Babies born into privilege get used to cameras from day one. When our best friends adopted, they only got photos when they mailed a disposable camera to the country he is from. And then the photos were always of a very wide-eyed, surprised looking little one. I think he was terrified of the flash. I for one, can’t wait to see her surprised sweet face!!!”
I did confront the woman who said the awful thing about Davy’s photo. She of coarse felt bad. It made her feel bad because she got caught being a asshole. (good fuck her). I don’t entirely think she “got it” but it felt good to defend my daughter. Maybe I am a tiger momma, I know I am certainly a little pit bull.
The point is, we can’t wait for Davy to come home. We can’t wait to post photos of her with spaghetti all over her face, playing with the dogs, in the arms of her grandparents. But right now, we will take these photos of a bewildered beautiful little girl. We will love them because we know we will love her and it proof that somewhere on the other side of the planet our little girl is waiting for us to bring her home.
The reason why we don’t have a court date is indeed random bureaucracy. Could be worse, could be better, but at least we know. Holt is on it. They are working to fix it. Hate random bureaucracy. Hate it like poison, but at least we know why. Which is good.
Today I woke up, checked my email a million times. Called Holt. No court date. The staff at Holt actually said there weren’t any given today at all. I am sick to death of constantly being hopeful and then disappointed. I am a big girl- but yeah- i am getting concerned about not ever having a court date. I am sick of the forever waiting. I am tired of this process. I need some movement. Then I texted my friend who is also waiting for a court date to let her know that there were no dates today. Adoption low= no court date
Then I went knitting with my friend Jenna. We are a “knitting group”. She is good and fun company. While there we got updated photos of Davy! To say that she is amazingly beautiful child is an understatement. I wasn’t expecting or even hoping for more photos. There they were. There she was staring at us. Her eyes are giant. GIANT. She has a ton of hair. Her face is filling out and she has huge cheeks. A chin I can’t wait to gobble up. I always joke that she is way prettier then if we had a biological child. My friend Jenna laughed and agreed. Andy and I are cute- but not Tyra Banks America’s Next Top Model Pretty. Thats our Davy. She Smizes. I am thrilled that she is doing so well. Goodness she is a beautiful girl. We are in trouble. Deep deep trouble. Adoption high= unexpected photos.
When I was with Jenna my friend called (the one who is also waiting on a court date). Holt had made a mistake. She has a court date. She knows how I feel. We had just talked the night before about what would happen IF one of us got a court date and the other didn’t. Well it happened. I just burst out into tears. A bittersweet moment. I am thrilled for my friend. Feeling like crap for us. Jenna got to see ALL the emotions. The joy of seeing Davy grow up and the anger and frustration of being left behind. Adoption low= others traveling to see their kids while we are not. Adoption high= getting hugged by a friend when you really need it.
Recently a friend reminded me that adoption isn’t a straight line. In this country we like organization. Things more or less happen in a linear fashion. Things aren’t linear in Ethiopia. Things are linear in adoption. Understanding and respecting the process doesn’t’ make it any easier. Holt is going to check to see what the hold up is. They said it was probably a document that needed retranslating. That is usually the case. Random bureaucracy is keeping us from our girl. Do you know what I hate? Random bureaucracy. Hate it like poison. Adoption low= stupid fucking bureaucracy.
I decided that I didn’t need to lock myself in my craft room. I need to be out. It was an usually sunny day. I called my friend Lori. She invited me over. She was watching her son and two other kids. There was a whole gaggle of kids out and playing. It was a great day. I stayed at Lori’s for dinner with her family. After dinner her son was unusually spazzy and spontaneously danced a jig. A crazy smily manic jig. A hilarious jig. It made me laugh. It made me laugh uncontrollably. It made his mom laugh. I needed to laugh. I really did. Adoption high= Abe Rooney’s crazy dancing self, wonderful supportive group of friends and family, my husband, our beautiful daughter, two funny dogs, a creative outlet, the wonderful and unexpected people we have met on the way to bringing Davy home. If you count the positives today was a pretty great day. So that’s what I am choosing to do. Good night.
Because Davy has, yes, another adorable sweater. For the record they are all various sizes. Andy keeps requesting a sweater for him, but it won’t be tiny and adorable. It will be men’s size large and adorable. I know I am on the verge of becoming insane with these things. BUT LITTLE OWLS how can I not make it!
I have been in a creative frenzy. I started making these little changing pads/random absorbent baby items for my adoption friends. They are made out of cloth diapers. I sewed some fancy fabric to it, added a tie and then quilted it all together. I have no general purpose in mind for it- but I figured they looked like cute and handy items.
I also made a slew of tea cozies for some friends. The pattern came from this awesome craft blog. I am a huge fan of her patterns. They are super easy to read and follow. I love her aesthetic. I am a big big fan.
And finally I made Davy an Elephant. It’s also from the Retro Mama website. I think I am going to do the bunny next. This was a pretty challenging project for me and I am very please with the way it came out. We call him Timothy, Timothy Olyphant. Not bad considering that i have also been working full time over the last two weeks. At least I am being productive. I am so thankful that i have all of this craftiness to keep me sane. Seriously, Dunno know I would do without all of this stuff.
This week the State Department issued this warning in regards to Ethiopian adoptions. It means that there are current plans to cut the amount of adoptions down by 90%. From 40 cases a day to five. For the record, I totally agree that there has to be move oversight for adoptions. The Ethiopia adoption program has gown so much that it is good that they are concerned for the welfare of their kids. I am glad. Also there are some nefarious agencies out there that do some nefarious stuff. Things like baby selling, baby steeling, telling parents their kids are going to be “educated abroad” and they are unknowingly being adopted by western families.
I feel really confident in our agency and the really awesome work they do in Ethiopia. That is why we chose them- they are major players and have managed to continue adoption programs in countries where a lot of agencies have closed shop (e.g. China and Korea- because the wait is so long).
All that said- I am totally freaking the fuck out. I spoke to our social worker and she was confident that this would be resolved. She kind of laughed at me for balling my eyes out on the phone. She laughed in the same kind of way Andy laughs at me when I am being a little crazy. It felt nice- but I am still worried. There are a TON of rumors on all of the message boards. Some say that they are going to increase the numbers back to 20 cases a day (a 50% increase) some say it will take another year until our kids can come home. I am hoping that the truth is somewhere in the middle. Our agency saids us daily reports but they don’t really know how this is going to impact our kids or the Ethiopia program. That’s the problem- nobody knows – or if they know nobody is saying. It’s driving me fucking insane. Hello Adoption Roller Coaster. Thanks for the peaks- I think we are about to go down another hill again.
On another note- last weekend was Davy’s baby shower. It was a truly magical weekend. I felt so lucky and loved to have so many people in my corner rooting for us. It was wonderful to watch old friends mingle with new friends. We have been in Portland less then 24 months and it was overwhelming the amount of people who came out to wish us well. I feel lucky and loved. Davy is loved, Andy is loved, mom is loved. We are surrounded by some pretty magnificent people.
Also we got an updated health report on Davy. She is happy and growing. It says that she “laughs a lot” (she is my daughter). She also “Cries when the nannies leave her” which is good because she is attaching. Right now the care center in Durame Ethiopia is her home. I know she is being taken care of and I know she is lucky to be loved by so many people, both here and in Ethiopia. We also had some really wonderful and surprising news- my friend was in Ethiopia picking up her kid and she briefly saw Davy! She was touring the infant room and saw Davy’s Ethiopian name on her crib. She said she recognized her from her GIANT eyes, Head FULL of Curly hair and her lovely pointy chin. She tickled her tummy and Davy smiled. Also Davy’s crib neighbor is my dear friends daughter! They are totally buddies! I LOVE that. I LOVE that our daughters are starting out their lives in the same place. What an amazing connection those two will have.
So yeah- it’s been an emotionally exhausting week. Such wonderful news about our Davy. Such worrisome news about what is happening in Ethiopia. Truly I don’t know where to put my emotions right now. I do know that I am SO grateful to my family and friends for such wonderful support. Keeping Calm and Carrying On has never been my strong suit. The Calm part still eludes me. I am trying to celebrate the good. I am hoping that this gets resolved in a why that brings our kids the happy and joyful life the deserve. I hope this process doesn’t emotionally break me.