Thursday, June 20, 2013

I don't normally pretend to be friends with a celebrity, but in this case, I am making an exception.



If my boys and I were walking down the sidewalk and Nia Vardalos was walking the other way, I would catch her eye and put my fist out toward her.  She would look at me, look at my boys, and fist bump me. If the boys, who make my connection to her obvious, were not with me, I would have to blurt  something out so she would understand. ("Oh hey!  I was adopted and two of my kids were adopted, too!)  I wouldn't try to force her into a conversation or ask if I could get a photo with her.  I would say quickly, as we passed each other, "Instant Mom.  So great." Then I would give her a dorky thumbs up and probably add, "You rock!" (which I would later regret)  Of course, if she wanted to talk, I would tell her some of the things I am going to tell you.

I recently finished Nia's Vardalos's book 'Instant Mom', where she shares her story of infertility, including 13 rounds of in vitro, and then various adoption attempts none of which made her a mom and the story of finding her daughter through the foster care system.

Although I am an adoptive mom, I was not brought to adoption because of infertility.   But my life was forever changed by the infertility of my parents, which led them to adoption and thankfully to me.  My parents showed me what love is and what makes a family.  Love does that.  Love can form a family where there is no shared DNA.  That kind of love changed my world.

I thought about my own parents a lot as Nia (yep...first names now) shared her and her husband, Ian's deep desire to become parents and the pain of that desire not becoming a reality.  My parents tried to have a baby for 10 years before turning to adoption.  If they were still alive, I would call them right now and thank them for not settling for no as their answer.  I would thank them for making calls, talking to people they trusted, and boldly opening the doors that led to them to adopt.

All those disappointments, all that hurt, all that wondering if it will ever happen, led Nia and Ian, to their daughter, who was almost 3 when they met.  Sometimes the saddest things lead us to the best things.  I hate the thought of my parents' sadness as they tried to start a family, but I am grateful that it lead us to each other.

When I think about my parents and my sons, I know one earth moving truth.  If not for adoption, I probably wouldn't have had the pleasure of even knowing them.  Because of adoption, we got to be each other's family.  We needed each other.  We found each other.  Pretty cool stuff.

When Nia and Ian's little girl arrived home, it wasn't all sunshine, flowers and happily ever after.  It was hard.  There was hitting, kicking, insomnia, fear and therapy.  There was also awe and big, giant love.

It reminded me so much of when Mikias arrived home, a four year old, Amharic speaking, quick moving, overstimulated, scared little boy. (Jem's homecoming was remarkably calm...hard came later for him.)   Oh, you're here.  You are really here.  You're beautiful.  I love you. You're mine.  I'm yours. Our lives will never be the same.  I am so glad.  You're so scared.  I'm scared too. I don't know what to do.  I am winging this.  I love you.   I have been waiting for you.  There is nothing you could ever do that would make me stop loving you.  I am your mom.  I am so tired.  I didn't know this would be so hard.  I didn't know I would love you so much.  But I do.  Can we sleep for a while?  No?  Okay.

It is comforting to hearing similar experiences from other adoptive parents.

When I talk with other parents about the early days of bringing home an older child, they often ask me, "How was it for you guys?"

I say, "So hard.  So amazing.  But so hard."

The reply is always the same, palpable relief, followed by, "Us too."

Then like old friends we share stories, coping tips and relief that it got better and that it was totally worth it.

That's how I felt reading 'Instant Mom'.

For every person who has ever said, "I've always wanted to adopt."  Maybe you should.  Just maybe.  If you don't know where to begin, this book is a great place to start.






12 comments:

  1. I pre-ordered "Instant Mom" on amazon and as soon as it arrived I read it cover to cover, I could not put it down. I thought it was AMAZING. All I had to do was open the cover, read the dedication, and I burst into tears. Her love for her daughter just seeps out with every word she writes.

    Ps. You are such a beautiful person. I love the way you describe your parents. I hope my children will think of me like that one day too.

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  2. You don't know how I much I needed to read this today. I'm an adoptee who's adopting, but I'm also a Submariner's wife. We're working on adopting, but it's going SO SLOW because of his work schedule. For example, his current schedule means his day starts at 3am. He gets home from work around 7pm, and is in bed by 9pm, 6 days a week. So having time to take classes and make progress is quite frankly impossible right now. Not to mention, towing the line of being full-time employed, part time author in addition, and my To-do list seems impossibly long. I ACHE for help (at least today) and I even found myself thinking, "Maybe we should just give up and never have kids." It was just frustration talking, and I know there will be better days. But with the hubby unable to contribute to the household outside of financial support, it makes me wonder how we can possibly be good parents. I mean, we're bone tired as it stands. How could we possibly add kids to the mix?!

    Then I remember - everything happens for a purpose.

    My bio mom gave me up for a purpose. We haven't gotten pregnant for a reason.

    We're open to ethnicity and age.



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  3. Oops! Hit "publish" too soon.

    I know that when it comes to the right time, and the right moment, and the right kiddoe, we'll be there...

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    Replies
    1. I love meeting other adoptees who adopt. I am glad the timing of this post was helpful to you. I feel for you. You really have a lot on your plate. I really agree in the magic of timing.

      Alison

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    2. and when I say agree, I MEAN believe.

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  4. I also read it, and was so happily pleased at how she portrayed the reality of the first days home. I hear ya, I'd be fist-pumping too. I have half a mind to call her up and ask her to dinner. That of course would make me look like a stalker though!

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    Replies
    1. Hahaha! A fun stalker though and a better dinner host than Estelle Getty, right?

      Alison

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  5. My husband and I are in the process of trying to adopt from Ukraine (although we hit our first major snag)and when I read this book I felt so much calmer about our decision. Just reading about how hard it is and how long it will take, but how in the end all the pieces will fall into place and you'll know love like no other really it such a reassuring thought.

    Cheers.

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    Replies
    1. Reassuring for sure! Reading 'Instant Mom' was kind of like a conversation with a friend who has been where you are.

      All the best to you in your adoption journey.

      Alison

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  6. How To Adopt A Baby Or Child
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  7. I can't wait to read this book!

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