Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Pictures as Promised

Masha's First Year of Pre-K Graduation

Kimani "reading" to Autumn

Masha at soccer practice

Masha's twins

Autumn turns two

Double cold at the soccer tournament

Masha feeding the goats

The apple picking field trip

Upsidedown Autumn

The daddy train

Making gingerbread houses

Autumn playing piano

Princess Autumn blowing kisses to her fans

Now children, please tell Santa you want a nanny...

Christmas morning (minus Kimani who wouldn't stay in the picture)

Christmas stocking time

Masha our rock star in training

Autumn understood the whole present thing this year

Autumn and grandpa

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Bad Adoptive Mom

Masha calls me mama , and some days it almost feels that way. (It might feel more real if she would stop calling my husband “mama” too, but that is another story.)

We adopted because I couldn’t stand looking at all those faces on Reece’s Rainbow and knowing what fate awaited them if people didn’t stand up and claim them. Every day a tiny voice would say to me, “Imagine if that was Kimani.” I felt achingly sorry for those unwanted children.

We adopted because once it occurred to us that we could, to ignore it, to refuse it, felt dirty. Once you realize you can do something right, something good, how can you eschew it without guilt?

I did not adopt because I wanted a bigger family, or because I saw Peach’s face and fell in love. In fact, it was baby Arina that wormed her way into my heart and then disappeared forever. Peach was the consolation prize. And Masha? What was she? The unplanned for bonus prize that we accepted because to not save a human life for the mere cost of an extra 6k seemed horrible?

Ok, right about now you might be thinking that I am a secretly evil person who should have never been granted two adoptive daughters, but bear with me because I am telling you all this for very good reasons.

First off, because it is the truth. I wish I could have been the adoptive mom who fell hopelessly in love before ever even meeting the child. The adoptive mom who sucks up her new child’s essence and churns out biological love responses from it.

After committing to Peach we got her full cardiac medical records and shared them with our cardiologist here. He said her unrepaired heart defect was destroying her lungs. Letting a defect like that go past a year old would be sealing her fate of a slow death (about 5-8 years). Who knew how much damage was already done. I felt sick. What had we gotten into?

Each day of the adoption process I carried on as if I were pregnant with the perfect child. I shopped, set things up, presented the perfect picture... after all, who the heck would donate to the adoption fund if they knew I was terrified inside and unsure about it all.

Was I lying? Well, maybe... but without that outward vision and your corresponding encouraging support, I may have crumbled.

Thankfully, I didn’t crumble. Because every morning I am greeted by Masha’s song, the one she sings at the top of her lungs in her crib. It has to do with Kimani, and something about being pretty, and something about “baby girl”... I haven’t quite determined all the lyrics but it is a love song for sure. And in the other room there is a little darling standing up in her crib with a smile bigger than her face. She calls out to me to come get her. And when I do I am rewarded with a face full of kisses.

I wish I could say it felt biological this love I have for them. I wish their boogers and poo didn’t gross me out. I wish I had memories of them that went all the way back to the womb. But really in the grand scheme of things, does that truly make me a bad adoptive mom? I don’t know for sure, and really I don’t care. Years from now the memories will blur, they will wipe their own noses, and my heart will no longer be able to tell which ones grew under it.

I love them... my Masharoo and The Babygirl. Their siblings love them. My husband loves them. Their aunts, uncles, and grandparents love them. We are family.

I told you this because somewhere out there is someone who feels like I felt. Someone who wants to adopt but is afraid of not being able to handle it. Someone who wants to save a child but doesn’t feel very motherly toward the pictures she sees on the Internet. To her I would say, don’t say no just because you aren’t bursting with Yes. Maybe you won’t follow your heart, but instead you will follow your head, and that’s ok.

Somewhere out there is a mom like me who already adopted and feels like she is a bad adoptive mom. She feels like she is raising someone else’s child and wonders why it can’t feel natural. To her I would say, love is action. So long as you are treating your child with love, it doesn’t matter to him what dark fears and reservations lurk in your heart. And one day you’ll see clearly that everything is alright.

p.s. Autumn is healthy and her lungs are perfectly fine, and next time I promise you pictures, lots and lots of pictures.

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