April 13, 2009
We spent our Easter with M’s family yesterday. Having the only “baby” in the family (the next youngest child is ten years older), you can imagine how Little Miss is the coveted guest at any gathering! :)
M’s aunt (who has blessed us with her viewpoint before) says to me, literally every time we get together, “I really think she looks just like you!” Without fail.
I have blonde hair. Little Miss has strawberry-blonde hair. I have greenish-blue eyes. Little Miss has deep blue eyes. We are both have fair skin. We are both female. That’s about it.
I don’t think she “doesn’t” look like us, but I don’t think she looks so much like us that it’s such an uncanny surprise to point out at every family gathering. And what bothers me about her pointing this out time after time after time is that it seems an almost unhealthy emphasis on appearance. (Though again, coming from this particular person, shouldn’t surprise me!) As if she’s saying “You fit here because you look like us.” (And knowing this person, I think that’s a fairly accurate assessment.)
Furthermore, I’m starting to get a sense of this “looks comparison” being an attempt to “right” our parenting an adoptee in someone else’s mind. Like, as adoptive parents, we must really NEED and rely on others to point out physical similarities or other ways that we “belong together” as a family to help us feel more secure in our roles as her REAL parents. But the result feels like this individual is treating us with “kid gloves.” Our family is very real, thank you very much, and I don’t need or want forced praise.
I don’t want my daughter growing up to feel like her worth is in her physical appearance to begin with. Of course all mothers think their children are beautiful, and I am certainly no exception. From the first time I laid eyes on my child, she was the most beautiful person I have ever seen. It’s not uncommon to hear from others (even strangers) how pretty and cute Little Miss is. But I don’t want her to feel like she is who she is because of how she looks.
And this applies to the adoption slice of the pie as well. I don’t want her to feel like she “belongs” because she may or may not look like us. I want her to feel a sense of belonging because of who she is and what she means to our family! Because of how much we love her, and how much she loves us. Because she is who God made her to be, both inside and outside, and that He knew before time began that she would be our daughter.
I have a hard time looking at my child and thinking she has my eyes or her dad’s nose, because the honest truth of the matter is — she doesn’t! If she shares similar physical features, it is only by “coincidence” (though of course God knew). I can look at her and completely see her firstmom, even down to facial expressions. That’s really who she looks like!
The funny thing is that her firstmom and I look a lot alike. Not identical, by any means, but similar features. We could pass as relatives. So then I wonder, does Little Miss honestly look “somewhat” like me because I look like her biological mom? Or is this still just people’s attempt at a compliment, making the adoption “ok” and acceptable in their minds?
The aunt went on to say how Little Miss has my nose and facial shape. I don’t see that AT ALL. I can sort of understand the “Oh, you look like Mommy!” comments with the blonde hair/blue eyes/fair skin idea. But, I’m sorry, our noses look nothing alike. And I guess I just don’t see her face shape being like mine either, but ironically could almost see her looking more like M in that way.
In all of this, I still don’t know how to respond. And I still feel bothered that, for one, this continues to be pushed, and for two, I still don’t know what to say. It is the most awkward feeling in the world to receive “credit” for something you had entirely nothing to do with. And for the times I’ve said, “Well, thanks, but I actually think she looks like A,” will that truly ever be HEARD? Let alone, “accepted?”
Most importantly, how can I respond to this kind of thing so that when my daughter gets old enough to understand, she will not feel embarrassed, rejected, or confused at my reply. I have no idea if something like this will make her feel awkward or special or indifferent. Will she be irritated for those who deny her first family? Will she feel happy at being included in our family’s physical appearance?
Adoptive parenting is not better or worse than biological parenting, but it sure does add an extra layer to so many things.
April 4, 2009
This week, Little Miss has pitched a fit in a nice restaurant, sat in her high chair long enough for me to take exactly one bite of my dinner, stumbled and hit her head on the crib railing, smiled at me while continuously dropping food on the floor, painted her face with an orange Flintstone vitamin and then “hid” it in her ear, tore a library book, ate paper (a piece of the aforementioned library book), screamed like a banshee at bedtime, deleted an entire email I’d written before I got it sent, and pooped in the bathtub.
So tonight, I spent $1.89 at Hobby Lobby, $2.85 at Starbucks, and ninety minutes out of the house. It was beautiful. Who knew less than $5 could provide such refreshment? :)
March 26, 2009
Before Little Miss was born, I started a journal for her. It was a place for me to record all the memories, details, and events that occurred surrounding her adoption. I knew I wanted her to know everything I knew, but also realized that it needed to be physically written down somewhere, so when I inevitably forgot some detail or another, it would all be recorded in one spot. Pretty clever, huh? :) (I say this, wondering how many other moms have something similar for their kids, whether adopted or biological.)
So as I said, it was started before she was even born. I bought a pretty journal, wrote an introductory letter to the unborn baby I knew was a girl but who had no name (and who most certainly wasn’t even my own daughter yet), and spent some time trying to recap the two prior months from being chosen to meeting A for the first time to waiting for the birth. I got sidetracked somewhere between middle-of-the-night feedings and finding the most acceptable brand of pacifier.
Maybe a month ago, I dug this pretty, incomplete journal out of my drawer, where it had been sitting for literally a year, sorely in need of updating. And I began to write again, because I really want this thing to be finished before she goes to college. I am now proud to say that I have reached the point in the story where she is three days old, which is a greater feat that you might think, considering I have written about two months worth of details in recent weeks. :)
The thing that is significant about Little Miss’ third day of life, however, is that her first mother relinquished her parental rights that morning to be placed with us. It is very difficult to write about. I’ve been in such a good “place” with the adoption world for so long, so I have to admit that I was actually nervous about reaching this point in the journal. I let it sit in my drawer for a couple weeks, but finally pulled it back out again last night. I wrote until I started to feel like I needed to put it away, so I have more work to do.
It’s such an odd feeling to recall the memories of that experience. I made the realization several months ago that looking at pictures from that weekend was triggering, so I don’t often look at them. But this is just… weird. Emotional, yes. Painful, at times. But important for my sweet daughter to have, so I will continue until I finish this project.
I’ve hit certain parts of the story when I question “Should I include this? Does this have the potential to hurt feelings?” and have been tempted to leave out some of the less-pretty details. But I’ve kept everything in, all that I know. I think she deserves to have access to all of her story one day, when she is ready for it. As a mom, I worry a lot about how she will feel one day in regards to her adoption story, her firstmom, us as her parents. But I think it HAS to start with honesty, always. And beyond that, I just continue to pray that God is already protecting her feelings and guarding her heart against the painful side of adoption, and that He will give me wisdom for her sake.
February 10, 2009
Today is one of those random “warm” days that is technically part of winter. I hate the winter months, I hate the snow and ice, I hate being cold. So I really look forward to spring coming!
But here’s something I forget, I think every year. With warmer weather comes people in the neighborhood being outside. And that just is NOT ok with our dog. So he growls and barks at any living (or non-living, for that matter) thing that makes noise of ANY kind, and then whines when I tell him to shut it.
We definitely have increased volume (from him) and annoyance (from me) today, and it just dawned on me why.
January 22, 2009
Hmm… four months since my last entry? I must not have much to say anymore. :)
I’m just honestly at a place where I don’t have much that I feel the need to share. Adoption is a heavy topic, and I just don’t have the emotional or physical energy to do it justice right now. So I think I’m going to be moving away from that for a while — you know, for the three times a year that I post anything at all. :)
Truth be told, there are things that I could write about, and there are even topics and events that I’ve thought about posting about for over a year. But I’ve lost the desire, in a way. And in a way, I’m just busy being a regular mom, and that feels good. I’ve come a long way, personally speaking, in regards to adoption and grief over the past almost fourteen months (for anyone who’s counting how old Little Miss is :) ). I’m still not 100% “there”… I don’t know if I’ll ever be. I think some things just kind of stay with you forever, but that’s fine as long as they aren’t prohibiting me from being the kind of wife and mom I need to be.
So… I’m good. I’m in a good “place” with adoption right now, and I’m just overall content, peaceful, and happy with my life in general. I have a husband who loves me (and will read this post as it comes through his Google Reader, but likely won’t say anything about it), a daughter who rocks, and a dog who… well, two out of three isn’t bad. ;)
Time to get back to my regular mom stuff for the day. I really only sat down because I was too tired to do anything else but was trying to prevent myself from taking a nap while Little Miss sleeps! Who knows how I ended up here! :)