Monday, March 14, 2011

Pi(e) Day

As you know by now I am a nerd. March is a special month for nerds, it has the most wonderful Math holiday that there is Pi(e)day. π is a mathematical constant that is close to 3.14 on March 14th we celebrate that magical number by eating my favorite my favorite dessert pie. When Chriss and I were first married she had never heard of Pi(e) day. This year however when I came home I found this on the stove...

thats right she made me a pie for Pi(e) day. It was an apple pie and it was wonderful.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Something about Chriss

I realized that many of my posts recently have been very wordy, and without many pictures. I have been friends with Mandy for a very long time. Roughly 10 years ago she started to teach me how to tie quilts with "crows feet" I love this stitch because it doesn't leave yarn hanging out like in the traditional square knot style. But I also love that it has a pattern to it, half the feet "walk" one direction on half the quilt and the other half "walk" the other direction.

Mandy taught me about crow's feet, I have never turned back, we have been doing quilts together ever since. We have our rhythm down on setting up and breaking down the quilt frames, we continue to make progress with making these more efficient over time. Mostly it is so that we can spend some time together and make something at the same time.

Brian had a job interview and was out of town for a couple of days. While he was off doing that I focused my energy into turning some old fabric I had on hand from this:

into this:
and this:

Both of these are baby quilt sized. We had fun tying them this weekend.
Picture by Brian
Now I get to finish off the edges and figure out what to do with them.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some General Guidelines for Friends and Family of Those Who Are Adopting

Our local chapter of Families Supporting Adoption has some great material for reading and I wanted to share a few of the stories that apply to us over the next few weeks.

Some General Guidelines for Friends and Family of
Those Who Are Adopting
Your interest in learning about and sustaining a family’s adoption efforts will be appreciated by the adoptive family. Every adoption is different because each child in each adoptive family is different. The following thoughts suggest ways that you can offer support to both the family and the adoptive child.

After prospective parents contact an agency about applying for a child, they are required to complete several interviews which prepare them for the realities of adoption. Many of the children placed are infants while a few may be pre-schoolers or of school age. Prospective parents are helped to prepare for the challenges they may encounter when a child joins their family.

Supporting the Prospective Parent’s Decision
Friends and family may be tempted to ask the childless couple whose ‘fault’ is it that you can not conceive?  Couples working to understand and resolve infertility problems need understanding and support, not blame and guilt. They are motivated out of a desire to parent and share their lives with a child. How a child comes into the family isn’t as important as having the opportunity to parent. Appropriate questions might be “How far along are you in the adoption process?” The couple can then share what they choose to about the study process, waiting time and type of child they are hoping to receive. Realize that there are lots of unknowns and accept sometimes general answers.

Some prospective parents may become agitated if asked why they decided to adopt just as they might be asked why they made a decision to conceive. Prospective adoptive parents look forward to the addition of a child to their family just as much as prospective biological parents. Sustaining the parents by accepting their decisions without question will provide them the support they need.

Waiting Time
There is, of course, a waiting period before a child can be assigned to a prospective family. During this waiting time, it can be discouraging to prospective parents to make preparation too soon, not knowing the age and sex of the child. It is also advisable, if the mother is employed, that she continue her employment until placement of a child. The prospective parents need your support during this waiting time. It is important that you do not repeatedly call or visit making inquiries about news of the child to be placed. They do not know when placement will occur. It is advisable to continue in normal contact with the family. Take care that your enthusiasm for the prospective addition to their family does not become a stress to them.

If there are younger children in your family, they should be aware of the expected adoption and be allowed to share feelings about birth and adoption. An explanation of adoptive terms may be needed to clarify what is taking place. Children should feel comfortable in the knowledge that adoption is a special way of increasing a family. Families are occasionally asked whether they want to be considered for a specific child with a unique background. They seldom mention to others that they are being considered because they may not be selected as “the” family for “this” child. When the agency does propose a placement with a family, it is the family that has to make the final decision. “Is this child right for us?” If the answer is “no”, it is easier to say “no” when you don’t have to justify a very personal decision. If the answer is “yes”, hopefully the explaining is over.

Just as some people read the bad news in the newspaper before reading the good news, there will probably be someone who will question why this child is available for adoption. For reasons of confidentiality, adoptive parents are advised to give out as little information as possible on the child’s background. Adoptive parents, at the time of placement, receive privileged information with reference to the child’s past which belongs to the child and is not usually shared with others outside the home. Privileged information includes what is known
regarding the birth parent’s health and genetic history including any known drug usage where applicable. The baby’s doctor is the only one really needing to know this information. That the adoptive parents are comfortable with the information given is implied by their accepting the child into their family. Accepting is much more supportive than asking a lot of questions.

There are many questions that you can ask that will be welcomed by the family such as: age, name, sex, do they have a picture, and the most important, “Is there anything I can do to help?” Before giving gifts to the newly adopted child, consult the parents as to what would be an appropriate gift. When the time comes for the child to be picked up, do not feel hurt if you are not asked to accompany the family. After all, how many people are invited by a couple to the delivery room to see a birth? However, adoptive parents enjoy being recognized as “new parents” in the same manner other new births are announced and celebrated. Express your excitement for their new child.

Post Placement
The period when the child is actually living with the family until he is legally adopted is called the post-placement period. This is a time of many adjustments for all members of the family. The legal probationary period, generally six months for infants and about a year for older children, allows time for both the child and the parents to determine if this adoption should be finalized.

Added demands upon the adoptive family should be curtailed during this adjustment period. While the adoptive couple appreciate the support of friends and family, they need an opportunity to adjust to their new family and establish a normal routine. Two areas of adjustment you can help with are how to talk about and introduce this new child. A major complaint of families who have adopted is that many well-meaning people
unknowingly single their child out by introducing them as “adopted”. To the parents this is our child. To add an “adopted” adjective may place a subtle stigma on the child or family. A second complaint comes from awkward comments about how surprised people are at how much the child resembles the adoptive parents. While this may be true, it might be well to keep such overt observations to oneself. Special sensitivity is required when a family adopts a bi-racial child. Out of an awkward curiosity many questions can be asked and statements made. The following statements from one mother summarizes her feelings. “If we were to sing “I am a child of God”, I think we would find out that in a way we are all adopted. I am a child of God and he has sent me here, has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear... “When you look at your son or daughter you don’t look to see if he’s too tall or too short or if he’s English, German, or Irish. I’m no different. I might not have given birth to my children; but, just as with you, Heavenly Father sent me my children. I look at my son through eyes of love. There is no color or race, just my son. And, yes, I am special–not because I adopt children but because as with all of us I am a child of God.”
Bonding is the process where an adopted child or baby begins to identify himself as a permanent member of the family and the parents come to feel they are truly the parents. Bonding can take time and requires sustained effort on the part of all members of the family.

Physical Attention
If this is an infant and he has already bonded to his mom and dad, then your hugs and kisses would be very much appreciated. But if he is older and overwhelmed by his new surroundings and confused about his past, please ask his mom and dad before showering him with your attention. Be patient with him. Genuine feelings of affection take time to develop. Children don’t need sympathy; they need time to get to know and love their new family and friends.

Adoptive parents need to be firm and consistent in their discipline to give the child a sense of security in his new environment. Understanding this will help you recognize that although you have good intentions with your advice, it may not be warranted. The same kind of support is needed for adoptive parents as any other parent. Family and friends should give them credit for recognizing the needs of their children. Words of
encouragement and unconditional love and acceptance will help boost their morale during difficult times.
School adjustment problems have occurred in some instances with older children. The family needs to work through these problems individually. Be available to provide a listening ear and sympathy, but it is a problem that they alone should work through.

Excellent reference books you might wish to read include:
Infertility: A guide for the childless couple. Barbara Manning, Prentice Hall, Inc. 1977.
Successful adoption: A guide to finding a child and raising a family, Plumez, Harmony, 1982.
Adopting the Older Child, Claudia Jewett, Common Press, 1978.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Why open adoption?

In support of open adoption and the benefits for the kids:

I have a fam’ly here on earth. They are 
so good to me. I want to share my life 
with them through all eternity 
(Children’s Songbook, 188).

I’m too excited to sleep,”  Malia said as Mom pulled the soft blankets up to Malia’s chin. “I know,” Dad said with a smile. “I am too.” “I think it’s going to be even harder to sleep tonight than it was on Christmas Eve!” Malia squirmed with excitement under her blankets, and her parents laughed. “What story would you like?” Mom asked. “My story!” Malia said. Dad walked over to the dresser and picked up Malia’s treasure box. It used to be a shoebox, but Malia decorated it and put all her special things in it. Dad handed the box to Malia, who pulled out three pictures.

Mom took the first picture and held it as she began the story. “Your dad and I had been married for several years. We were very happy, but we wanted to have children. The doctors said that would not be possible,” Mom said. “But that wasn’t true!” Malia said. Mom smiled. “No, it wasn’t. One day, the phone rang. It was the call we had been waiting for. A young woman had chosen our family to adopt 
her baby because she wasn’t able to care for her.” 

Mom held up the first picture. A young woman with long, dark hair and blue eyes smiled at the  camera. She was Malia’s birth mother, and she had chosen Malia’s parents to adopt her baby. “When your birth mother handed you to me, it was the most special moment of my life. I could see her love for you in her eyes, and I immediately loved you too,” Mom said. “When I held you for the first time I knew you belonged in our family,” Dad said. Malia smiled. It felt so good to be loved.

She handed the second picture to Dad. “It took six months for the judge to make the adoption final, and we went to the temple as soon as we could,” Mom said. In the second picture Malia was wearing a delicate pink dress, sitting on her parents’ laps and laughing. Mom and Dad were smiling down at her and the temple shone in the background. “After the sealing ceremony, the temple sealer told us that if we chose to keep the commandments, we would be a family forever,” Mom said. Malia wanted to live righteously so she could 
be with her family forever.

Then Malia held up the last picture. “Can I tell this part?” she asked. “Of course,” Mom said. The last picture showed a tiny baby girl wrapped in a fuzzy pink blanket. The baby’s eyes were closed, and she wore a tiny hat. “We have wanted to welcome another child into our family for a long time,” Malia said. “Today we got a special phone call from the social worker. I’m going to have a sister!” “That’s right, and we’ll see her tomorrow!” Mom said. “It’s more exciting than Christmas Eve,” Malia said again, and she snuggled into her pillow. “I know just how you feel,” Dad said. Malia watched Dad put the pictures back in the box. Someday soon she would make a treasure box for her new sister too. ◆

The Friend magazine February 2011

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Positive Adoption Lingo

As we started in the adoption process there were many things to learn and figure out how they applied to us and our situation. In my case I take to books and reading as much as I can for the situation.

One of the blogs that I came upon is Que and Brittany's Adoption Journey. There have been several times when I have been reading her posts and been overcome with the how similar my own feelings are or that we have had similar experiences thus far. We want to do an open adoption which is still a new concept for most. I know when we first started getting serious about adoption the concept of an open adoption was frightening, beyond what we thought we were capable of. I was thinking that maybe we should do international adoptions so that we wouldn't have to deal with birth parents or birth families. 

The more we have learned and the more people who have open adoptions that we have talked to, we have come to love and accept that it truly is in the best interest for the child to do an open adoption. Love, love, love what child has too much love? The child gets to know why adoption was chosen, who the birth parents are, who they look like or why they do some of the things that they do. They get to ask questions, and get answers from the source. How amazing is that? No shock at finding out that they were adopted because they have known their whole lives about being adopted, they have known their birth mother and hopefully birth father their whole lives as well, they know about any additional siblings and for them it is absolutely 100% normal. They would not know anything else. 

OK that brings me back to Que and Brittany's blog....she has done a number of posts on what is considered positive adoption language/terms. She has done such a fantastic job of explaining the different aspects of terms like biological mother vs. real mother and placed for adoption vs. given up.  Since there are many that are not familiar with these terms please check out her posts. With open adoption there is so much to take in, to learn and to handle on a long term basis we would love all to be on the same page and understand the different terms as we do.  


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