Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How do you know they're your kids??

We have been asked this question over and over again through the years.  Simply, how do you know these kids are meant to be yours?  No real grand answer for you there.  For me, I always knew by the pictures.  Always. I could look and tell.  A little background on some of the kids we've adopted thus far.  First of all, all our kids are special needs so it is a different referral process for sure.  We kind of work it backwards.  LOL.  Though many say never to look at a photolisting, ALL our kids were found via photolistings w/ the exception of Yana & Alex for whom we hosted.  Also, saw their photo first. 

See, in most these countries, you are not supposed to know information beforehand or see a picture.  Though we all know for a fact, it goes on all the time.  Most of the time, countries seem to be a little more lenient when it comes to photolisting special needs kids.  Though there really is no identifying information on any of the listings so half the time you don't even know what country they're from.  Anyhow, if you are new to adoption and looking at photolistings, just be careful.  Many times, they are not up to date.  In addition, multiple agencies can be listing the same child so multiple people inquiring.  In other words, ask a lot of questions please.  And don't let any agency say they can't give you any info w/out an application fee.  The good agencies will not require that.  Though most will require you to sign something saying you won't share info.  We've only paid money when we have committed to a child.  Last time we were sent quite a few profiles & pictures of kids before we had even committed to any child.  Of course, the agency knew us well too so knew we were serious.  Believe it or not, there are some "crazies" out there that just nag agencies but do not commit.  I used to do quite a bit more adoption advocacy work before.  I'd run into some interesting folks, that's for sure. 

Back to the original question of how do we know they're our kids.  I can tell by looking at them.  I don't know why or how but I can.  When I used to do more advocacy work, I'd see hundreds of pictures and profiles.  I remember one time seeing Alyona's but she had a hold by her name.  Meaning someone else was already committed to her.  HOwever, I could not get her out of my mind.  So, I looked at her picture every single day until the hold came off.  Doesn't happen all that often but I knew in my heart & w/ all my being, that that kid was mine!  And it was the most horrifying picture of her to boot.  But somehow, I knew.  Then there was Nik.  My response to the agency when they sent me his picture w/ a note attached was " I don't care what's wrong w/ him, he's MY kid!"  They had sent me a picture w/ the phrase I don't know what's wrong w/ him, will get that info shortly.  Max & Irina were also pictures.  In fact, we said yes to Max but then they said someone already decided to adopt him.  We chose another child though we really wanted Max.  A few days later they called to ask if we still wanted Max.  Rest is history.  Bojan was also discovered by a photo I saw but we were on our way to pick up Alex & Yana in May.  Said if his picture was still there when we got back, I'd look again,  It was.  I said I'd call if still there in August.  It was, I called & the rest is history.  Same type of scenario w/ the next set of children though I can't really say more than that.  So, you basically get the idea though of us seeing the kids and then just knowing in our hearts, they are our kids.  Wish I could explain it.  But it has happened w/ every single adoption thus far. 

Now, knowing them & feeling a connection once you adopt them is something totally different.  I think I was connected to all my kids right from the get go w/ the exception of Yana.  Being honest here so just listen for awhile.  Yana has multiple dx's, including RAD(reactive attachment disorder & yes I will have a post at some point this week).  She has severe "mother" issues from her past & tends to transfer that onto me.  Though over the years, she has started to see that maybe I'm not the enemy.  However, anything goes wrong, it is always mom's fault.  The neighbor's car could get stolen, & it would be my fault.  A sibling could fall & it would be my fault.  She gets in trouble, it's my fault.  This is relentless.  An uphill battle & we fight it often.  Yana is very close to Warren.  She was visited by her bio dad a few times at the orphanage.  So, she knew he cared whereas the mother did not visit a once.  Orphanage kids will pass on their feelings to the new parents.  It happens.  Not sure how often, but it does.  So, attachment to Yana has been difficult b/c it has always been a battle.  Gosh, hope that made sense.  Again, a lot of all this has to do w/ RAD and I will have a post on it.  Just been so busy this week. 

All in all, I know when my kids are mine.  I knew then & I know now.  I just know.  I've heard other adoptive parents say the same thing.  Wish I could explain it better.  I think it comes a little more natural to mothers than fathers.  Warren never feels they're "his" kids till we get them on the plane.  Well, hotel room.  LOL.  Then he's playing stupid games w/ them in the hotel room.   Umm, hon, we're not going to be tossing them like that when we get home.  They love it though.  Hey, you're stuck in a hotel or apartment w/ kids that can't speak to you, you get pretty creative.  Many will ask if they feel like ours.  I can tell you w/out a doubt, they do.  When we hosted Yana & Alex for just a week here, when we put them into the van, I literally fell to my knees in tears.  Felt like I had given my kids away.  They had been w/ me just a week.  Yet, they were mine, through & through.  I hadn't had that feeling again until Alex went missing.  Don't even ask.  He was found by search & rescue in our own yard.  Long story, has to do w/him getting grounded.  I'll tell it another day b/c now I can laugh about it.  However, when it was happening, that same feeling came over me that I had when we had to put Alex & Yana on the van to go back to Russia.  It was a tremendous about of hurt.  That's how you know, they're yours....you'd go through he** & high water to get them & do anything for them.  Anything.  That's how you know they're yours.  Right now, we're fighting to raise funds to get our kids home.  We're willing to drop everything & go thousands of miles across the ocean to meet them.  That's how I know they're mine.  We put up w/ the nightmare of paperwork & odd requests.  That's how I know they're mine.  Once you're home w/ the kids, you will still get asked that question.  I remember Max had been home a little over 2 or so weeks when I had to take him to the ER.  I knew something was wrong.  Doc said "well, you haven't had him that long, how can you tell?"  I said "because he's MY son & I do know him very well."   Nasty, nasty ear infection if I remember.  Usually, we wouldn't go to the ER for something like that but this was when we were new parents still in the learning phase w/ our son.  To this day, if Max gets sick w/ anything, his fevers are high...104/105 high.  So needless to say, I was worried back then.  Now, I don't even blink.  LOL. 

They're my kids.  I know they are and that's all that matters.  Love each & every one though right now it's 10:34 & Nik is trying my patience as he's the only one still up!  URGHH!!!  It's amazing the attachment you can form to a picture.  When we know, we put pics of the kids to be up around the house.  Mostly, to get our kids used to the idea.  Most will ask us to print some out for them to take to show their friends at school.  We feel confident when we commit to a child, that we will follow through & bring that child/children home.  Always been children except for Bojan who was adopted by himself.  Once you meet the kids, that's when it all takes an even deeper meaning.  The pictures become real. You start seeing the changes that are in your kids.  The ones you have had only a picture of, you as a mother, can see the detailed changes that took place over the months after seeing that picture.  That's how you know they're your kids too.  You cherish the changes. 

I know this post was kind of all over the place but there were 4 "littles" here today & it was a tad hectic.  Understatement there.  Realized today that I had not had Yana or Bojan's eyes checked in 2.5 years!  Who does that?  Every other person in this house has gone every year.  Neither kid mentioned anything to me.  Please all, please help spread the word on the fundraiser.  That will be another post.  We are really behind and would love to meet our goal.  I honestly thought w/ such a wonderful idea & product that more orders would have come in by now.  Praying it happens before next Monday.  Trying to spread the word everywhere.  Off to spread it some more again on Facebook.  Have a great evening & more to come.  Fundraiser is priority right now. 

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