Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Bit of Kismet

My next guest blogger is Stephanie, who is mom to handsome Grey and adorable Ally.  Stephanie and I went to high school together and then went our separate ways after we graduated.  We reconnected through Facebook a few years ago and she was one of the first people that I reached out to when we started thinking about adoption. I hadn't really talked to her in years and she was so open and happy to share her adoption experience with me.  She has guided me along the way, given me support and we've built a new friendship after all these years. Life is always full of surprises.  Here's Stephanie's story...

When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a liver and kidney transplant. When I found out how sick I was and that I would need these transplants, my first and topmost concern was whether or not I would ever be a mother.  Fast forward six years later, and I was holding our sweet baby boy in my arms after an amazingly easy (i.e. no morning sickness, great energy….) high risk pregnancy. About ten months later as I emerged from the sleep deprived newborn state, I started thinking how nice it would be for Grey to have a brother or sister. Brad and I talked about another pregnancy, and neither of us was completely enthralled with the idea. There just seemed too much at stake this time with the pregnancy. Before it was just Brad to worry about if something happened, but now we had this sweet little boy to think about and the risk just seemed too high if something were to happen. We had discussed adoption on and off since we were married but never very seriously.
Then came a serendipitous visit to Chick-fil-A. Grey and I were enjoying a lunch when Grey noticed a cute little guy at the next table. As they babbled back and forth, his mom and I struck up a conversation. He had just come home from Guatemala. She told me his story and the story of how they became a family. It was like a lightning bolt had struck. I really believe it was a bit of Chick-fil-A kismet.  I called Brad immediately and told him we should try to adopt from Guatemala. Being the easing going guy Brad is (the yin to my yang), and I am simplifying a bit, but in effect he said, “Let’s do it.” I went straight home and found an adoption seminar on Guatemala offered by a local agency that same week. And we were off. A year and a half later, and we were in Guatemala holding our sweet baby girl in our arms. Okay, so that makes the process sound really smooth and simple. In reality, the pregnancy and pitocin-induced with no pain meds labor and delivery with Greyson was a walk in the park in comparison.  In retrospect, the process from start to finish was not long relatively speaking, but it was the longest year and a half of our lives but oh so worth it.

Now, since I have an audience, let me step onto my soapbox for a moment. Please, please, I beg you to refrain from telling me how lucky Ally is to have been adopted into the United States. Ally being in the United States does not bring a guarantee of happiness. Saying so denigrates her birth country. I have personally witnessed an abundance of happiness and joy in developing countries, including Guatemala. It is a true joy that comes straight from the heart and not from their circumstances. It is not tied to material acquisitions and possessions. I would hope, and I think that such statements do not come from a bad place in someone’s heart, but it is very paternalistic and condescending to her and to Guatemala. If anything, the happiness I have seen in Guatemala and other developing countries is more widespread and authentic than happiness here in the United States. I would be lying if I did not say that there are times when I wonder if we have done right by her, if international adoption is the right thing. There are many, including organizations such as UNICEF, who oppose international adoption and taking children away from their birth country. All I know for certain is that when I look at Ally, especially at night when I am tucking her in, I feel overwhelmed with love and in awe that she is my daughter and how lucky I am. I promise to do my best by her including never forgetting Guatemala and trying to instill a strong connection to Guatemala in our family. 
Being a parent, whether by biology or adoption, is both worry-filled and wonder-full.  Jenn, thanks for letting me share.

1 comment:

  1. Stephanie, I just remember thinking how lucky you all were to have found each other, and that even though you had to endure that LONG process while you waited to have her home, how blessed you all were that during that time she was being so wonderfully cared for by her Guatemalan foster parents. Great Post :)


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