Bigger than I thought

Lucky me!  Many months back, I found our guest blogger on HabeshaChild‘s blogroll.  She had made a funny comment on one of HC’s posts, and I needed to know more.  I’m so glad I’m nosy!  Madame S is a fabulous blogger:  witty, thoughtful, and an amazing photographer.   Here’s a small glimpse of her brilliance…

I suspect like many prospective adoptive parents, before I took a pen to an actual application from an actual agency to actually adopt, I encountered the wide world of Ethiopian Adoption Blogs.  Googling “ethiopian adoption blog” first led me to blog royalty, like Mary from Owlhaven,   Melissa Fay Green, and long before her referral, Julie from the Eyes of My Eyes Are Open.  I was also particularly fond of Straight Magic, and Habesha Child.  Then I found Kristin J Photography and that clinched it for me. Her images of a family meeting their little one brought me to tears and I knew this was a group of people I wanted to be a part of.  No, we didn’t decide to adopt, or even adopt from Ethiopia because we wanted to join a club — though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I think ET adoptive families are among the greatest people on the planet and I would be proud to be counted in their number. But as we grew in our resolve to adopt and fell in love with Ethiopia,  it was the blogs of real people who were living the journey of international adoption process, or had completed it and were now charting the waters of parenting children of a different heritage and often race that made it all seem doable. I found constant inspiration in my lurking.
Until lurking wasn’t enough anymore.
I had to comment. I had to beg for a lifeline. I wanted to connect to these bloggers. I wanted them to know I was alive, just as I knew they are alive. I wanted to share in their journeys and I wanted them to share in mine.
Because adoption is lonely.
Even in the best of circumstances, when blessed with loving and enthusiastic family and friends, nothing can replace being able to talk about everything international adoption entails with someone who GETS IT.  And no matter how much empathy our parents have, how many thumbs up we get from our friends, sometimes they say insensitive, or subtlety racist things.
Early on in the process or waiting game, we PAPs start feeling the onus of being examples and teachers of sensitivity to the people in our world that love us, but are not living and breathing adoption on the level that we are. They are not taking the classes, they are not reading the books, they are not learning from other adoptive families. They are not keeping up. They care, but they don’t always get it. They try but they might never say things exactly the right way, or understand without explanation which questions are not appropriate to ask.
I never imagined that the sneaky education I’d been receiving from fellow bloggers’ experiences would transform into one of the most important social and emotional resources of my life.
Ethiopian adoption bloggers are a lifeline for me. Through blogging I have found other adoptive families living in my area. We might never have connected without blogs. I’ve waited with them, cried with them when they received their referrals, jumped in the car when I received the “green light” to come meet their sweet new little ones. I have felt supported and buoyed up in the highs and lows of my family’s process. The best thing in the world is meeting a virtual friend in real life, and being able to hug a person who you’ve cared about for a year or two.
I would say one of the most important examples I’ve been shown through this network of adoptive families is how to literally walk the walk and put your money where your mouth is in regards to caring for orphans.  I didn’t even know what sponsoring a child meant until I heard about it on other adoptive families’ blogs. I am so thankful for their goodness and examples. A lifelong connection to Ethiopia is so important in regard to these little souls we transplant into our families;  what better way to keep the fire alive than through humanitarian work like that done by EOR?
Our family reached a low point several months ago. We were living la Vida Adoption, pleased as punch with our agency, and things were going well. All of a sudden, I received the shocking news that I was very unexpectedly pregnant. I won’t write about that here, since I have written plenty on my blog about why this was not ok -at first- and what it did to all our glorious family planning.  But I will say that it was devastating to put our adoption on hold.  On top of major health concerns, I was afraid that becoming pregnant would alienate me from my support network, since many of us who choose to adopt do so because of fertility issues.
I underestimated the blog world. The people who had been my confidantes and cheerleaders during adoption were just as supportive and kind when they found out I was expecting not a little Habesha, but a homegrown baby.  Strangely, I have several “real life”  friends who I would have considered close, who still have never called or visited once since telling  them about my debilitating pregnancy. I have received gifts, calls and a constant flow of emails and comments on my blog from my adoption blog peeps, and for this I will be endlessly grateful.
God has been smiling for a while on our little family, apparently He always knew what was going on. Despite an unexpected and brutally difficult pregnancy, and having to place our adoption on hold, a mistake was made somewhere in communication.  A glorious mistake.  Someone in Ethiopia didn’t get the memo, and matched us with a little one. We were wildly happy to accept a referral of a little boy a few weeks ago, and as our wait has intensified in emotion, I continue to stalk blogs to see how quickly other families’ court dates and travel dates come.
Now my urgency to connect has honed in on families using my same agency. In some ways, I have wished I had spent more time finding Dove families sooner over the past two years, so we could be resources for each other. I never realized when it came time to travel, how much I’d want support of folks who have been there, or who are going ahead of me. And how much I’d want to be a source of hope and information for the families that follow us. Dove Adoption Families, I am one of you. Feel free to stop by the ol’ blog and drop me a line!
Blogging can seem a silly trend, there are times when we might sacrifice a bit too much time on the internets. But for my family, it has proved to be one of the best comforts and sources of information in our adoption process. We have made real friends, connected with real people.
For me personally, the blogging connection has been a bigger deal than I thought.
Thank you Stace, for sharing your voice with us.  I feel so lucky to “know” you and look forward to the pleasure of finding you on my reader each day.
Paige
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2 thoughts on “Bigger than I thought

  1. So encouraging to hear Staci that even though I don’t know you at all that you somehow saw my photography slideshow of the Alexander’s meeting their son for the first time, and that it encouraged you all in your adoption process. That is why I love the opportunities I have to travel with families to document/photograph their adoptions!! It helps people place themselves in other’s shoes and has encouraged Adoptions!! Thanks for posting.

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