Tuesday, March 3, 2009

And I Give You a Rose, and You a Rose, and You and You...*

We really started picking up steam with our adoption when folks gathered for the big yellow-shirted Blog Union last year in California. We of course did not attend because we had no blog, and no waiting list stamp to yet wave proudly in the air. But, because I am a CREEP, and had become very familiar with various families' steps towards their children, I grinned over all the photos and wept at the big group picture. Look at all these adults who speak the same language, and don't have to spend time translating! Look at all these pudgy, perfect babies and children being clung to and adored! Look at all these happy beginnings!

I finally did get up the nerve to start a blog. Scary! Self-indulgent! Silly! I did it anyways. And if there's some odd bird out there who has somehow stumbled her way onto this page at the start of her own adoption process, I hope she heeds this advice: START A BLOG. CONNECT. ALL TYPES OF WOMEN ADOPT, ALL TYPES OF ADOPTION BLOGS EXIST. DON'T DO THIS ALONE.

I had a good old-fashioned purge there on my last post, and that was a Scary! thing to commit to the Internet. Oh, but then the comments were so loving and thoughtful and warm and, well, it makes me flap my hands in the air and tear up just thinking about the Henri Nouwen quote or Abe reading his Sunday funnies or Julie who is always the first person to leave a kind, sisterly word on anybody's page.

People come in all emotional shapes to the adoption process, but mine happened to be pea-sized and whimpery. I felt lost and broken and like we had failed ourselves and the people in our world. (<---What a jerk.) I wanted to stop all the self-loathing so I took up Yoga. Productive, right? But then I always seemed to find myself in the class that started right as the pre-natal class let out and all those bellies took their turns slapping me in the face. (<---Sorry bellies! I'm better now, promise.) I do that annoying thing with strangers who ask me from where we're adopting. I say "Ethiopia!," although sometimes I fear it comes out like "Ethiopia?" as I brace myself for some huffiness about domestic kids in need or an eyeball-gouging joke about Angelina Jolie. If I accomplish nothing else as a mother, I want my daughter to answer questions without unnecessary question marks. "Where are you from, dear?" "Ethiopia!! And Rosedale Avenue!!" Damn right, you are.

All this to say, there are times when you can feel terribly alone in the adoption process, which by nature is abstract and uncontrollable. And then you start a little blog, and then all the sudden your blog idols start cheering you on, and they understand the process so you'll never have to repeat yourself, and they get why the wait is worth it times a billion, and they kind of swoop you up into this hammock of good will. It's stunning to all the sudden find yourself part of something bigger than your own individual pursuit of a child.

So I've arrived to the very staggering conclusion that one day I might find myself creeping into a blog union. Which is so weird because I hate it out there in the real world. I like it better here on my keyboard, see. I'm terribly shy, though no one in my life, especially my husband, who knows from shy, will accept this. (I'm one of those shy types who has an unfortunate tendency to try too hard, and thus talk too much, and have been known on occasion to skip dinner before the drinks and then find myself forcing the board game Taboo on everybody and saying "In Your Face!" when I get the high score and I think you get the picture.)

Yeah, so big groups of people? Blurgh. Can't we all have a reunion at the movies under the cover of darkness? Must we chat? But know that no matter what lameness I spout off here about social gatherings, that one day I too will be there wearing a homemade t-shirt and playing the wash, wash, wash, tumble dry! tumble dry! game with all the itty bitties. Ha ha suckers— You're stuck with me now!

Who would have thought that before this little person has the chance to emerge into our lives that I'd be back whole again, patched together by women who know of what I speak. Which is not to take away from the discomfort of this wait for a referral. Last week Papa Dog and I were struck low by the anticipation. We're both working out of the house right now, which is not at all conducive to two already reserved personalities living in a still fresh city. So we took our beloved mutt Tulip on a walk, trudging sadly around the park. All the sudden there was this clacking sound from down below and there was Tulip sucking on a found rainbow-colored pacifier. She looked so desperate to please ("Aren't I enough for you?"), and so earnest in her pacifying endeavors, that we both burst out laughing and dropped to our knees to have a very awkward family hug.

GET A DOG (but make sure the cats still know who's boss)

*How 'bout that Bachelor? What a worm!


Meredith said...

I remember the exact day your blog made it to the "FBI" list. HELL NO SOMEBODY DID NOT JUST JUMP IN FRONT OF ME!!! I am glad that you did. I really am. I can't say in words or spirit fingers how thankful I am for my blog friends. I also can't wait to sit next to you and your baby dumpling at a future gathering wearing our matching t-shirts.

P.S. Jason does NOT make me happy. No no no he does not. Poor life choices I say.

Ellen said...

I never was sucked in until last night's "after the rose". He sounds...er uh...hmmm...stable!?!

I love your blog. I feel like an imposter in mine. I really would love to go to BU09 but am holding out hope that I may just be in Ethiopia then. :)

Have a great night. Hope we all have non canine binky suckers soon...wow, that sounded weird.


Lori said...

I haven't even finished reading this post yet because I'm chatting with my 12-year-old niece on FB (who is going on a date with her boyfriend tomorrow night?) and being interrupted by the knee-biter (literally--"Abe! Stop biting my leg!"), but just want to say about the shyness:

I too am extremely shy and end up acting weird in groups, but I just sat there for a lot of the blogunion with a big smile on my face. Okay, so that's weird too. But at least not as weird as saying weird things and having awkward pauses. I was just so happy to be there, so genuinely *thrilled* to be with all these people that I was totally content to sit and smile. And no one seemed to mind, and in fact, I ended up having awesome conversations with people one-on-one, especially the amazing Courtney (who cusses like a sailor, don't let her tell you she doesn't) and amazing Jana. Now I'm off to finish reading and convincing my niece that 12 is too young to make out with your boyfriend in a dark movie theater...

Stacie said...

I just love your posts. You had me in tears and then laughing (loudly) soon after.

Blog Union - please come! I will play Taboo with you - I tend to do the same thing. And I talk too much when I'm nervous so maybe we'll cancel each other out.

I'm glad we're stuck with you. And I love, love, love your dog and the pacifier story.

Juliet said...

Great post! Doggies are always so devoted.

Christine said...

You kill me with your 'ha ha suckers!!' Your dog with a paci, that is priceless. As usual, your posts are highly anticipated and worth the wait. Love your writing.


P.S. Just can't watch the bachelor, I can't decide who makes me the sickest, the guy or the girls. Or those roses...

missy said...

this season of the bachelor i feel like I'M the one who got screwed by jason or abc. why, o pitiful me, do i let myself believe in such things? i know why they had no audiences in those after the rose specials...jason would have been booed off the stage. and had rotten tomatoes and very thorny roses thrown at him!

p.s. your dog is beautiful. love her name!

Julie said...

Yes please, go to Chicago. We can sit quietly next to each other and write to each other on our laptops. That awkward family hug w/ Tulip made me laugh out loud. I heart Tulip. Also, I agree with all of your advice, although I prefer my AK solo. I would be a puddle of sadness had it not been for my blog and the amazing women who started reading it.

filoli said...

Frankly, you are lucky I commented before my run last night otherwise instead of Nouwen it would have been Timbaland:

"Oh, baby, it's alright now, you ain't gotta flaunt for me, We can work without the perks just you and me,

Thug it out 'til we get it right,

Talk to me girl"

So consider yourself lucky!

Now to continue on with a longwinded comment - you are such a shy rockstar, and I agree with Julie, you can interface electronically at such gatherings (why just the other day we were in a meeting with yet another MD and my friend and I could NOT STOP sending each other inappropriate text messages while we were waiting...it made us feel better...it was as though we had discovered fire!)

You are braver than me. I struggle with even considering attending such an event. I am challenged by chronic Alannis "uninvited" feelings (how ironic).

Ahem, in keeping with an evidently emerging Nouwen Later comment theme and in response to your advice to START A BLOG, yo...I give you just a wee bit more Henri and then I am done [fingers crossed]:

"Today the small rejections of my life are too much for me - a sarcastic smile, a flippant remark, a brisk denial, a bitter silence, a failure to be noticed, a coldness from a colleague, an indifference from someone I love, a nagging tiredness, the lack of a soulmate, a loneliness that I can't explain.

I feel empty, alone, afraid, restless, unsure of myself, and I look around for invitations, letters, phone calls, gifts, for someone to catch my eye in sympathy, for some warm gesture that can heal my emptiness.

... And right now I don't particularly want God, faith, church or even a big and gracious heart. I want simply to be held, embraced, loved by someone special, made to feel unique, kissed by a soulmate.

I'm empty, a half-person. I need someone to make me whole."

Here's to your wholeness...patched as it may be, that is who you are and what you will be.

Julia said...

I love people who talk too much. They tend to make it easier for me to pretend that I am not sitting in awkward silence. I'll go if you will come and sit next to me.

And how unfair is it to have to comment directly after Filoli? I'm going to have to start clicking earlier in the morning.

DEBRA said...

I found you by searching....I agree start a blog....it's great therapy for all of those hurry up and wait days that you go through. We adopted 2 girls from Ethiopia.

Jana said...

Thank you for your sweet comment on my blog.....

I love the Allison Krauss/ Robert Plant CD. love.

Oh dear, I do hope you come to the union in Tulsa, too. :) I know just how you feel. I went the Blog Union with a slight feeling of "What in the WORLD am I doing??" But it was so wonderful.

Sam said...

come come come to the blog union!!!

Ernessa T. Carter said...

Hey, our mutual friend Kalimba introduced me to your blog and it's so wonderful. I'll definitely be reading from now on. It's funny, b/c I'm currently in my 6th month, and I think the reason that K suggested I read your blog is that I'm also trying to become a whole person BEFORE the baby comes. You're right; blogging does help immensely. You put a concern out there, and the community comes back with suggestions and support. As, I think you know, my husband and I had to conceive through IVF, and I was very scared to talk about it on the internet, but now I wonder why anyone would choose to go through that process alone. Anyway, as a fellow shy person who talks way too much to compensate, I'm looking forward to future post. Best, Ernessa

Claudia said...

go to the blog union. If you can't go for you, go for ME, because I live on another continent and can't.

I also talk too much. Seems to be a common blogger's affliction.

I totally love that CD too. And everything else she has ever done. Waaaaay too much love for that woman. I hope I never meet her (not that this is likely) because I would dissolve into a big pool of drooling fan-ness, and goodness knows that's not attractive.

Baby Kaz Moore said...

Wow, I just found your blog. Not sure how but someway through the Edna Gladney world. But anyway, I'm in Austin, too! I've adopted my beautiful son from Kazakhstan and hopefully, will return again next year. Best wishes to you on your journey! Susan smooretexan@gmail.com

filoli said...

Blargh! Regarding your friend, Blarghity-Blargh and [string of heart felt expletives]! I am so freaking sick of cancer right now I can hardly stand it. I wish cancer were a person so I could attack him/her and just beat the crap out of 'em. I truly feel violent towards this imaginary person Cancer. I wish I was closer...I actually don't know where you are...so maybe I am...my point is we could do a collaborative themed F' Cancer event.

Regarding choices ahead of us, aaaaaaaaaaaaaa! is my emotional state. I wish life had less choices at times. It is the alternatives that stress me out to no end. That and unending insecurities that I might be the world's worst parent. My mom told me this weekend how she thought Alpha and I would be the perfect parents for children with emotional and special needs...I think she meant this as a encouragement and a compliment...my eternal daughter wonders if it means something else, like "of course your children would have such needs."

We press on...we press on...

filoli said...

uh, I just read a comment and realized the answer is Austin.

Not so close.

I would say "you move" but Austin is flipping cool - for Texas...okay, it is just cool. (for Texas), can't help myself...

Sara said...

I just found your blog from the FBI list. I usually look ahead to see where we're going (I like to dream about being the person posting the pictures of a cute Ethiopian kid), but since I've read all those blogs in the past couple of days, I thought I'd check out some new people. I'm with you on the blog-connection. I love following other people's stories. Sometimes it almost becomes obessive - is it okay that I check these things daily?

And I totally, totally relate to your Christian post. I am not any religion and often feel the odd gal out here in Texas and in the adoption world.

filoli said...

Go pick up a copy of Lopsided by Meredith Norton for you and your friend. I am 1/2 way through it.

Also, there is an interesting perspective she provides through this crisis that you will enjoy and mull over as you wait for your pup. Meredith frequently states that "despite our African Americanness, we were typical WASPs."

At some point, I should just email you rally. It is getting ridiculous...and you have a book to write.

Calmil2 said...

Oh my goodness, look at your fan club o'shy one :) We are just starting this crazy adoption journey and this post REALLY hit home, and I'm awkward, and I talk too much, but so does my sister, don't tell her I told you. Congratulations on your referral...dreaming of the day.