Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Kat Turns 3!!!

This girl!!

She made it to 3!

She is full of beans - let me tell ya!

Her birthday was the 13th, but we celebrated
with new friends on the 17th!

She chose Dora as her theme and 
we made a ton of Korean food!

I think she had fun....
Of course, donuts for breakfast!

A birthday visitor - he was NOT invited! Ew.

"It's MY birthday!"

My 1st store bought cake and some off-center photography...


"I happy!" Her new favorite saying - I love it!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

It happened AGAIN - do I cry, scream or educate?

I just do not understand.
I do not get the way people can 
be so careless.
Someone please explain to me!

We were at the Child Development Center today
and the woman working behind the counter
saw me walk in with Kate,
did a double take and
asked the question I hear so much that
I am now immune.

"Is she yours?"

I responded politely that
*she*, the child with ears and the ability to hear
was indeed mine.
Then I said sweetly, what would make you question that?
Is it that she so obviously looks different than me?
Is it that she is Asian and I am not?
She has black hair and brown eyes
and I
have brown hair and green eyes?
Skin tone?
Tell me, why couldn't she be mine?

Really, I just nodded and smiled.

The she asked me if my girl was a
"Downy Baby".
Um, what?
What is that?
I replied that I wasn't really sure what that was,
but I knew where she was headed
and I was seething.
I turned away.
Tried not to cry

She was getting uncomfortable with
the pregnant pause
and proceeded to explain that her
brother's baby was a "Downy Baby";
a child with Down's Syndrome.
And then imparted on me that he was 
only mildly afflicted, seemingly,
like my child.
And was so clever and funny and

I was reeling....
who says "Downy Baby"?
Am I wrong to be upset at that "term of endearment"?
I have a few friends with children that have Down's
and I have never heard that.
It felt so derogatory.
Repulsive, truth be told.

And when I left
I was beyond angry.
ask such questions in a place that school age kids
and anyone else with ears can hear.
How dare you pry into my life in such a personal way.
How dare you insinuate that MY daughter is
less than all mine because her blood is not the same
and because she has a first Mama that let me step in
when she no longer could.
I am well aware.
And Kate will be, too, someday.
Today is not that day,
and YOU do not get to choose for us.

Make such an ugly remark based on appearance.
Why is that even remotely appropriate to you?
I get that you were likely trying to see some
kind of common denominator that you thought we shared.
what if I wasn't ready to be in that place?
Or, if we never suspected that there might be an issue and you
just opened a HUGE can of worms.
What if Kate did have Down's and we were learning to adjust?
Does that somehow make it OK for you to announce it?
And really, what if she did?
Why is that important to YOU?

My girl is perfectly made.
She is just as she should be.
And I get defensive about her
because she is MY
And I love her just the way she is.

Monday, February 21, 2011

"Gotcha" Day....

We "got" Kate on November 26th, 2009. Her "gotcha" day. More like the day we kidnapped her, if you want the truth....

This was truly one of the best/scariest/emotionally charged days of my life! We arrived at the agency in the afternoon and were escorted into what I can best describe a the lobby. There were a bunch of foster parents with their babies waiting to see the doctor. They were squirming and wiggling and babbling; I wanted to take each of them! Our foster mom had not arrived yet and we were left to make small talk with our social worker about this and that. I remember being so quiet, so unlike myself, so introspective about what was occurring. I whole heartedly believe that adoption is an amazing process. Being allowed to parent my girl is huge responsibility, one I do not take lightly. It is awesome to me that a Mom can love her baby so much that she forsakes her own happiness to give her child more, not necessarily better, but more. I don't think I could do it. But I am so lucky that she could.

When our FM arrived with Kate, she was already crying. I thought I would cry, too, but I didn't. I simply couldn't. I put my arms around her and gave her what I could which amounted to some incoherent mumbles and a few pats on the back. I admire her strength. Her commitment to raising babies and then handing them over to strangers, trusting that they will be cared for in the same way that she had cared for them. We made small talk and I really have no idea what else because all I could focus on was the fact that this was really going to happen. The moment came when there was nothing left to do but do it. FM handed over the baby that she had nurtured for 16 months. And than she wailed. I have never heard a more soulful sound, ever. It came from the depths of her. She could not let go. She would not let go. I clung to her and she to me with Kate all smooshed in the middle. Finally, the social worker ordered me to just go. I stared at her for a moment and then turned and left the building. Kate was screaming bloody murder, I was red-faced and sweating and FM chased me. I didn't know what to do, so I stood there, letting her grab atKate until Brian and the social worker pushed us away. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do; just walk away. I could hear her pleas and cries from down the street. Awful.

As we walked back to our room with our new, screaming toddler, I cried. People stared. I cried more. Kate pushed against me to try and get away. She did not want to be in my arms. Brian tried to take her and she clawed at me to keep holding her, choosing the best of two bad options in her little mind. We got back and went upstairs and tried to give her a bottle. She cried herself to sleep snuggled close to me, in my arms, where it must have felt like the closest thing to her Halmoni that she could get. Poor, sad baby.

When she woke a few hours later, she just watched us. She let me hold her and murmured "mama" over and over again - the Korean word for eat. I fed her and she peered at us with these beautiful almond colored eyes and then....she smiled. And we smiled back. Our journey as a family had begun....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Picking Up The Pieces.

It's been awhile ~ I'm sorry ~ the last post on this blog left a bad taste in my mouth. Because it came from my mouth. I am blessed to be this child's mother. It was not her choice to be my child and I am so lucky that I was chosen! And I love her so much. It's different than my bio kids because that love had to grow ~ it didn't come just because the papers were signed. I want to continue the story that I started....

After the first meeting, our social worker concluded that all had not gone very well and suggested to Kate's foster Mom that we come to her house and stay a bit so that Katie could get used to us and feel a bit more comfortable. FM agreed and arraignments were made for the following day. We were a bit shell-shocked that this little girl didn't even look at us, not to mention play with us or let us hold her and we talked about ways we could entice her a bit at our next meeting. We were exhausted and emotionally spent at this point in the trip and we decided that we'd wait and see what the next day brought and we prayed that we'd make some progress with our new daughter.

We took the bus to the FM house and rode the elevator up eight floors to a tiny two bedroom apartment that was brightly lit, comfortable and scattered with play things for Katie. A sign to me that she was well cared for and loved. FM had made an extra effort to set out the thing we had previously sent. She also prepared a small, traditional Korean celebratory meal for us with special rice cakes, Asian pears (my hubs ate nearly all of them and the FM loved that so much that she bought him another on our way to the bus stop), small candies and juice. I was so touched by her efforts to make us feel welcome. My heart ached that the next day she would hand over the baby that she had doted on and raised for the last 14 months. I cannot begin to understand that kind of love. I am truly forever grateful that she gave Kate a running start in life! We had also purchased small gifts for FM and her family and had brought them with us. I had chosen a special necklace with a heart shaped charm for her. We gave the family American treats and coffee and a few pictures of our family to keep. She gave us most of Kate's things, a few gifts from her family to Kate, the PJ's Kate wore home from the hospital and a hand written letter for Katie to read that included a prayer and hopes for her future. I love these items and I will treasure them forever. My girl is so lucky to have two women in Korea that love her enough to let her come home with me! I hope one day to re-meet FM and maybe even Kate's birth mom.

 Kate allowed me to feed her a bottle and hammed it up for us while we were in her "space". She smiled at Brian a lot and nibbled on the treats. After a few hours, it was time for us to go and FM bundled her up in a sling and walked us to the bus stop. Kate fell asleep before we left and I watched her; all snuggled up to the women she knew as "Halmoni" or "Grandma", so content and completely unaware of what was to take place the next day.....
Brian, FM & Kate and our social worker
Katie at our 1st meeting - so sleepy!

Kate and I - our 1st photo together

Happy girl! At FM's house!

Friday, December 10, 2010

"I Can't Ever Admit This Out LOUD"

When we woke up the next morning, we willed the time to go faster so that we could meet our new baby. We ate breakfast, wandered around, took pictures, and finally, finally, it was time to go meet her. We talked about what she might look like now - the last picture we had see was when she was 8 months and now she was 16 months, would she have hair? Lots of teeth? Dimples? We were so completely expecting the baby in the photo, that we did not recognize the toddler they brought into the meeting room. And I will tell you people, it was not at all what I expected. I had expected a baby. A fuzzy, chubby, almost bald baby. The child that was brought to me was not any of those things. And forgive me, but my very first thoughts were "She is a beautiful girl. Now where is MY baby? That is NOT my baby." But I vowed never to speak that out loud because really, how awful. My mental picture did not line up with my new reality and I began to wonder what I had done. This child was set in her routines and loved the people that she was with. She would not even look at me during that first meeting! She tolerated Brian from a distance. It was clear that this was not going well at all. In the deepest, darkest parts of my heart I began to wonder if I would really love this little girl like I loved my other kids. I would talk the talk, most definitely, but could I walk the walk. This left me in a state of pure terror and panic. But not for a moment would I dare let anyone, anyone at all inside that place. What had I done? What had I done to my family? This was a big, fat mistake and I was responsible.

I am so ashamed and embarrassed to admit that. But there it is. I feel like people that are considering adoption need to know that it's not always instant connection, not always "typical", whatever that is. And please, please don't think for a minute that I don't advocate adoption. I absolutely do. Remember that this is the beginning of our story. The desire might be there, the brain and logic may be there, but sometimes, the heart part takes a minute to catch up. It was different because I did not know this child. I had no idea how she liked to be held or played with. I had no idea of the intimate details of her. I was expected to pick up the pieces of a life started in loss and I just wasn't feelin' it. I did feel protective. I did feel responsible. I felt guilt, massive heaps of guilt for feeling like I was feeling. I thought she was darling and precious and in some story book kind of way, I loved her. But it was different....

Monday, November 29, 2010

Time to GO!

So eventually the waiting came to an end and we got the news that we were cleared for travel. We made all the arraignments; the other kids would stay with my Mom in NY and celebrate Thanksgiving there, we would stay at the Guest House in Korea - also where the pregnant girls that were placing their babies stayed, we would be in country just five day and when we got home, we'd be the parents of four children.

I was very, very busy (thank God) the weekend before we traveled. I went to my dear friends' wedding in Baltimore and between celebrating with her and planning the next week in Korea, I hardly thought about what was about to happen. A 17 hour flight, meeting our new baby, meeting her foster Mom and visiting Korea again after three pregnancies and 12 years. Nervous does not even describe what I was.

When we got to the guest house, it was very late - 11 pm local time and we were exhausted, emotional and hungry! We called my Mom and I couldn't even speak to the kids because I was sobbing from missing them. We went to a small convenience store and grabbed a few things to nibble on and some drinks and tried to settle down for the night. In the morning, we would be meeting our new daughter....