Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 Interview Project

Open Adoption Bloggers is a group of bloggers that write about adoption from the many voices of adoption.  Heather of Production, Not Reproduction coordinated an interview project in which she connected these bloggers.  Each pair became familiar with the others blog and then interviewed the blogger.

So I'd like to introduce you all to my interview partner Maru the author of the blog Adoption Journey  and the blogger that introduced me to the Open Adoption Bloggers.  I dont recall how I found her blog but I do recall reading her first post.  I even wrote a post about it.  Maru is the blogger that I quoted in my post I'm Not The Only One who brilliantly tells people the city and state her baby was born in when asked "Where does your baby come from?"  She has many more brilliant one liners for when "People Say the Darndest Things" about adoption.

Maru is the amazing mother of a two year old.  She also recently posted on her blog her plans to home school her daughter.  She is candid in her blogs as well as in life (follow the link to People Say the Darndes Things).  Not only does she chronicle her journey but she also gives me hope that all of us waiting will one day be Moms.  She also is a reminder that once the phone call happens so could motherhood- so be prepared!!

I hope you all enjoy her responses as much as I did!

1) Were you concerned about having a shower before your match?
I wasn't concerned about things like "What if we're never ever matched and I end up with a bunch of baby stuff?" I was more concerned about the people we invited - what they thought, whether they would show up and support us or not. One friend called me after she got our invitation, knowing we were waiting to adopt, and right after I answered the phone she screamed off the top of her lungs "You're pregnant!!!"  It's strange to have a baby shower when there's no belly, not really a baby on the way, you know? So it certainly felt awkward to have a shower before being matched. I was afraid people would think we were crazy... Even at the baby store when we were making our registry I felt like an impostor. My bigest concern, as you can see, was about what other people thought because they didn't understand adoption.
We had no idea of what kind of match we would have. We might meet the birthparents before birth and have a due date; or we could be matched after birth with a newborn, which is what happened to us, and in which case you just run and hop on a plane as soon as you get the call; or we could be matched with an older baby. We simply did not know. I'm a compulsive planner so I wanted to be ready for any scenario. So we decided to have the shower before being matched. 
It was a wonderful experience. We were surprised about the overwhelming amount of support we received. Almost everyone we invited showed up and brought us lots of presents. Everything in our baby registry, except for one baby night gown I bought myself after the event, everything made it to the gift table, and then some. But the most beautiful thing was the heartwarming messages everyone left along with their gift. Words filled with blessings, hope, and love for our daughter, a baby girl no one had yet met, not even us. Everyone was welcoming her into our family, into their lives.

2) I saw at one point you wrote about being torn as to who you should share your blog with. I struggle with the same problem. I find it easier to share with strangers than with people I know. Who do you share your blog with?
I used to share it with everyone while we were waiting, although I'm almost certain very few of my close friends and family members ever read any of it. Now I don't share it with anyone, not even on Facebook, as I used to.I have either run into someone who wants to adopt and doesn't know where to start, or friends, even clients, refer me to their friends who want to adopt. I share my experience with them and direct them to my blog. Everything is documented in there, every part of our journey. I only want to help. But my bog is here, in the world wide web, and anyone can find it. Go figure...  So yes, I also find it easier to share my blog with strangers than with people I know.

3) If you were stranded on an island with Fico and M what material item would you want with you? And why?
Stranded on an island? I hope they have power, because all I want is my computer with all of M's pictures. I guess I'd die if - God forbid - I ever lose them.

4) Do you feel torn between educating others about adoption and keeping M's story her own? How do you handle this?  
Oh, yes, all the time. At first we were so cautious we could be mistaken as secretive. M was 18 months old when my mom and dad saw pictures of M's birth parents and M's life book (adoption story) for the first time. In my parents' case it was an accident. I wasn't planning on showing them anything, but I took M's book to the hospital one time she was hospitalized with a bad case of bronchitis. M kept asking for it. One day my mom came to visit and found it when I was taking a nap with M. My in-laws quickly followed. This time M picked up the book herself and showed it to them. We've had to learn along the way to select the pieces of information that are fine to share and identify the ones that we should keep private. It's been a work in progress. Every situation is different, every person you are sharing with is different. I guess you have to cautiously choose your audience and decide what is private, even with close friends and relatives. Now, when it comes to strangers at the check out line at the grocery store, it's much easier: everything is private.

5) Did you have a hospital bag packed before you were matched with M- If you did- what was in it and if not do you think it would have been helpful?
Hahaha. Let me quote myself "I'm a compulsive planner." Well... I knew I needed a hospital bag packed. A few weeks before we were matched I read an article in Adoptive Families. Or was it before the shower...? I'm not sure... Anyway, the article had a list of things we should have ready and packed in a hospital bag in case we got the call about a baby who was just born. Well, guess what? I left it for later and never got to it. Nope, the compulsive planner forgot to pack a bag. And when we got the call I was so nervous I packed the worst bag in the world for me, but I'm proud to say I packed a pretty good one for baby. I got in there about 10 onesies, the night gown I wanted her to wear as her going home outfit (nothing fancy, it was just the first piece of baby clothing I ever bought, the one present left from our registry at the baby store), one bottle, one pacifier, 3 burp cloths, a swaddling blanket, a grooming kit, a first aid kit and a diaper bag. I managed to get in there two shirts for me, two cargo pants, two pairs of shoes, and three purses I never needed or used, of course, and that was it. 
We traveled by plane and checked in the car seat/stroller travel combo.
We thought we were picking up baby and flying back the next day, but we were wrong. She was a preemie and we had to take her back for checkups every 48 hours. We stayed for 10 days. 
She was so small nothing I brought in my bag fit her. So, we later went to Target and bought smaller onesies for baby, hooded towels, wash cloths, bibs, burp cloths, alcohol wipes (to clean umbilical cord), baby wipes, diapers, diaper ointment, more formula (they gave us lots at the hospital, though), Dr. Brown's bottles (M didn't like the ones we had), bottled water (for formula) and baby wash. 
We later had to go back to buy clothes for Mom and Dad too. ;o) 
So, the only thing missing in my hospital bag was a hooded towel, washcloths, bibs, more burp cloths (3 isn't enough) and alcohol wipes. If you are traveling by plane, water, formula, diapers and wipes are stuff you can always buy after you leave the hospital. If not, having these items with you would be even better. 
As for formula, wait and see what the baby is having at the hospital. They'll always send you home with formula and a few diapers. They did in our case, plus they also gave us a bag with all sorts of baby product samples and freebies. :o)

6) What is your favorite tradition you have started with M?
We don't have a "tradition" per se, but we have breakfast every day together as a family. And every night we put her together to bed. She drifts into dreamland with me, though. That's my department. ;o)
We take her once a week to her baby gym. She started when she was 3 months old. The three of us go together twice week - once for a class, and every friday afternoon for open gym.

7) I think the thing I look forward to most is reading with my baby. What is M's favorite book? You have many books you have recommended through out your blog about adoption.   What books about adoption have you gotten for M? What books do you recommend for waiting families to read?
She loved "Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes" by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury. Her favorite? "Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale" by Mo Willems. Neither is adoption related. She also loves her lifebook. She calls it "M's story." She asks for it almost every night.
On books about adoption for M, "Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born" by Jamie Lee Fox is absolutely adorable. We modeled M's life book around the style of that book. Another one I just got (stay tuned for a thorough review) is "I Don't Have Your Eyes", by Carrie A. Kitze. 
For waiting families I recommend "What I Want My Adopted Child to Know" by Sally Bachetta. It's a MUST read. "Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother" by Jana Wolff, is also very good. "Adoption Nation" by Adam Pertman is a MUST read too, but it's more like and encyclopedia of adoption.

8) What is the biggest thing that has changed in your house since the arrival of M (besides of course the presence of M!)?
We've learned to eat well! I used to cook maybe once a week and eat out every day. Now I cook almost every day, we don't eat out, unless it's an occasional date night. And when we go out as a family we still bring her her own food. We eat a more balanced diet because we feed her a balanced diet. We try to buy everything organic. Lots of DHA and Omega-3. Vitamins for all the family every day. She always has a home cooked meal. No fast-food, potato chips, or highly processed foods. When we started her on solids we tried baby food first, but quickly changed to home made baby food. I never imagined I'd be cooking so much! 
Another thing that has changed is that we have less time for ourselves and with each other. But we do enjoy time together as a family every day.

9) I often feel like an ambassador to adoption (one without a guide book).  How do you decide when to put on your adoption educator's hat and when do you just let things go?
If a stranger is just being nosy I try to let it go. It's not easy, but I'm getting better at it. If it's someone I know, or even someone I've just met, that really needs adoption education because of a misconception, for example, then I try to address the issue as gracefully as I can. Not easy either. It sometimes depends on my mood. ;o)

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