October 18, 2006

LOST IN PREPARATION.....

Sorry to have been silent for so long. It's rather amazing that life can spin out of control in a mere 48 hours if you let it! Certainly not bad - out of control, just frustrating/procrastinating/getting-nothing-done-though-I-seem-to-be-busy out of control. I've also decided not to refer to my darling daughters as #1 & #2 (seems a tad chilly), and so from this day forward DD#1 will be called Honeybun and DD#2 will be called Sweetpea. Just so you know. :)

First a quick update: I have a tentative travel date of November 10th, and though I will try like heck to make travel arrangements that can be changed I won't hold my breath quite yet. I must admit that it kind of ticks me off that the agency only gives a couple weeks notice, as the ticket prices then are HUGE. I tried to make my case with the program director yesterday, but was pretty much spitting into the wind. Anyway, there you go. A few families are going in the next 2 weeks, and they have very kindly offered to take some pictures. I miss my little daughter! Honeybun has decided that Sweetpea will share her room (she knows that we painted the blue sky/grass & flowers motif just for her and does NOT want to give it up!), so we will have to cram 2 twin beds into that one. Of course nothing else will fit besides the 2 beds, so thank goodness there are built in drawers in the wall! We'll see how long Honeybun and Sweetpea will want to share.

A reader has asked me to tell a bit about adopting a pre-schooler, so here are a few thoughts. Before adopting Honeybun, I thought that an "older" child would be too hard, come with too much baggage, have trouble attaching, etc. but I'm happy to tell you that thus far none of that has come to pass. Honeybun is very well adjusted, bonded to us like cement, and seems to be relaxed and unpacking her baggage a bit at a time. Puffing out my chest, raising my chin, and smiling that self satisfied smile, I feel that some of this success is due to the way we as parents have tackled the whole situation. While we have never been the types to go for new-age parenting (ie. co-sleeping, long explanations for discipline, no TV, etc.), we have settled in to a modified team approach to family life. Everyone has a say, we have family discussions, all are able to make their opinion known, etc. but in the end we as parents have the final yea or nay. This has worked for us because Honeybun is a very emotionally mature child, and is very articulate. That said, she is a typical 5 yr. old and is trying out all the usual bossiness, anger, selfishness and crazy energy. We feel that since she was 3 1/2 when we went to get her we were able to communicate better as she was old enough to understand a bit about emotion and vocal intonation. I like that she was her own personality when we met her, and so brings Ethiopian-ness (if I can make up my own word) to our now 2 continent family.

Since she was old enough as well to know and remember her family, we had been afraid that the separation would be too traumatic blah blah blah. However, we sort of fell into a modified open international adoption that I would very strongly recommend to anyone adopting any age of child. At first Honeybun's language challenges didn't enable her to pass along anything, but only a few months after her arrival, she began telling me stories of when she lived with her grandmother. I've written these down so that she'll have them as she grows, because memories fade and already her inner "scrapbook" is almost too faint to access. Our invitation and openness about her memories has been good for her I think, as she now knows that she can speak freely about it to either one of us. We've worked hard at combining our families, and always talk about our Ethiopian-American family, send piles of pictures and holiday gifts to Ethiopia, and have recieved several cherished packages from our Ethiopian relatives. Notice that I said OUR Ethiopian relatives. It has been crucial for us to relate to them this way, and so we've become as attached to them as Honeybun is. I'm so looking forward to seeing them when I go to get Sweetpea! Well, enough patting myself on the back. It has worked for us, and I hope will continue to. I keep a journal of sorts where I have been writing Honeybun a letter each month or so telling her how I feel about her, things she's done or said that I want her to remember, etc. When she's a teen and going through the angst of being a teen/being adopted/being different than most of her white friends, it might help to be able to read about how deeply she has been loved from the moment I held her and how proud I am of her/her heritage/our family.

4 comments:

Cakes said...

What lucky girls! Beside myself with excitement over your travel date!!!

The MSILF said...

Aaaaaaaaaaa I'm so glad you're back. I kept checking your blog to see if there would be news! I'm glad you wrote about the open adoption, as I think that's best for everyone.

Does Honeybun still speak Amharic (or Tigrinya or whatever it was), or only English? Is there any way you could keep the language for her? It's interesting that she told you stories in English of things that happened in another language.

Verbenabeth said...

Well, she spoke toddler Amharic and kept it for awhile, but has lost almost all of it. I say lost, but it is in there somewhere. An Ethiopian gentleman we met said that speaking both is too hard for a child that young. He speaks Amhaic to his daughters everyday, but they no longer can speak it back. It is in her head though, and she wants to take lessons with us when she's 6 (she said - LOL)

Erin O' said...

thanks for that post! Incredibly wonderful to hear, and exciting to consider the possibility of an open/international adoption.

I'm sorry you have to wait so long to see Sweetpea. Soon the waiting will be over and you can start your mothering in person!

e