Friday, January 18, 2008

Shaken Up

I have to get this out - I am shaken up by what happened recently to a family who had posted pictures (before court) and had fundraising on their blog. I am terribly sad for this family and have been reading the posts on the big Ethiopian Yahoo Adoption message board. Many people seem to be blaming this family, but I put the blame on the agency. This family (and all the families) should have been told that it is against Ethiopian law to post pictures before the court date. As far as the fundraising - well, I've never heard of that being a problem, so perhaps that is new information that the agency had not been made aware of. (Please note- there are many excellent agencies that did not tell their families about this law - I am not saying anything bad about these agencies, and I'm sure that they will be changing in the near future - for the families' sake. I remember wanting so badly to post pictures of Micah before the court date, and I probably would have without thinking of it if we hadn't been expressly told not to.)

Anyway, there was a post about the issue over at the Dalai Mama and someone (I'm guessing an Ethiopian man) left a long comment and one of the things he spoke about was that children are valued higher than gold in Ethiopia. This is something we were told and was one of the reasons we chose Ethiopia to adopt from - we knew that our child would be loved and cared for until we were able to bring him home. But, hearing it in this way reminds me of the precious gift we have been given. Micah is truly a gift from God, but he is also a gift from his birth family and the Ethiopian people. We have been entrusted with raising our child who is valued more highly than gold. We feel this way about him, as I'm sure many bio parents feel about their children too. But, somehow I feel our responsibility has greater, or maybe different implications. Many times when I'm rocking him to sleep, particularly after a tough day (of teething or refusing to nap), I think of his Ethiopian Mom and how she entrusted us to always do our best for him- I know that she would be doing these things if she could, and so I feel a responsibility to live up to her in my mind. I know I never met her, but I know she loved her son, our son dearly. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by trying to live up to her standards (which are created only in my mind - so they are, in fact, my standards), but this man who left the comment reminded me this is what we signed up for. Adoption is not one-sided - it has many facets, so many emotions and is a constant learning and growing experience.

I've read that families someday turn a point when their child becomes just their child, without the constant thought of how they came into their lives. I'm not sure I'll turn that point, and I don't know if that's bad or good. I'm not saying I'll introduce Micah as "our son who was adopted," or anything like that. He is just simply our son. But the ties to his birth family and his birth country are a part of that statement too. They are one and the same.

I know I'm all over the place here. I just had to let some of this out - airing out my feelings for everyone to read helps me to make sense of them. :)


  1. Stacie,

    You have put me into tears. I just read it out loud to Jeff and we both felt very moved by your thoughts. It is always important to look at the bigger picture (much bigger) when adopting. You are soooo right it encompasses Birth mom, adoptive mom, heratige and culture, and adopted child. Putting all these things into perspective.......well can be challenging but OHHH SO IMPORTANT!

    Stacie you are such a good mom...I tell you that all the time. Micah's Birth Mom would be overjoyed to know how much you love and are providing for him.

    Thanks for the raw reality of these situations :-)

  2. Stacie my friend - you've written alot of whats going through my head right now. David and I have been talking alot about our sweet boy, his birth family, his life experience already and how that has molded him into who he is. We struggle to wrap our minds around what our son has already experienced in his little life. What would his mama want us to teach him? THese are questions I'll never have the answer to.

    Adoption is so much more then "rescuing an orphan" as I've been told so many times recently. That comments gets old. Real. Quick.

    Anyways - your a super mom and I'm sure Micah's birth mom would be proud. Just that you think these things through says a lot about you.


  3. Thanks for this post, Stacie-- I have someone close to me who is a birth mom and so I have seen firsthand the difficult decision and the selfless love of what goes into a heartbreaking choice of giving up a child for his/her best. I pray for both of these birth moms (the one in my life as well as my daughter's birth mom).It's such an incredible gift.

    You are an awesome mom!! And Micah's birth mom would be comforted to know of the devotion, care and love you give to your son!

  4. Hi, thanks for the shout out. So glad we're blogbuddies!

    I really enjoyed your post because I know these same thoughts. I know how I would want my child to be cared for and couldn't imagine praying that someone else could do what I expect (even what is not doable). I truly appreciate the "standards" you've created and often feel the exact same way. Thanks for posting!

  5. You are an amazing writer. I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks.
    I am so excited that we are that much closer to one very exciting playdate:-) I can't wait to meet Micah...oh yeah...and you too:-)

  6. One of the reasons I chose Ethiopia over other countries is everything I had heard about how much they value their children. This little ones are not relinquished because the government put a limit on family size or because they were "unwanted." These children are given out of love and a hope for something that their birth parents could never give them.

    When I think of Roza's mom (I call her Roza here because that is what her birth mom knows her as) and her situation...she valued Roza's life so much that she did the ultimate--something braver and more selfless than I could ever so.

    I am sorry too for what has happened to this family (and agree the agency should shoulder the responsibility) and am glad our agency was on top of things.

    I get tired of hearing that I'm "saving her life." I look at myself as a giver of dreams (both Roza's and her birth mother's) and, in return, I have gotten the best dream possible.

  7. What you've written here is so beyond important: it is *critical* that adoptive parents take this outlook and see that they've been honored with the chance to raise these children. It really gets to me when people glorify *us* for "rescuing a child," telling us how "lucky" the child will be...oh, how this gets stuck in my craw! I'm often flat-out overcome with gratitude to the people of Ethiopia for allowing us (hopefully) to raise one of their own. Thank you for writing this post.

  8. What a wonderful post to include in the carnival! You bring up so many things that people really need to think about. This whole journey effects so many people. It's easy to get caught up in our feelings and forget about how it impacts so many others. Good job girl!

  9. Beautiful blog. . . your words are powerful and hold true for any adoption situation--domestic, international, special needs, foster care, direct, open, closed--and any other I may have forgotten. We have all been blessed!!