Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jim and Amy Hoping to Adopt: Daddy's Arms

Jim and Amy Hoping to Adopt: Daddy's Arms:      I would like to welcome my sweet husband Jim back as a guest blogger this week.  I hope you enjoy reading about his memories of his fat...

Daddy's Arms

     I would like to welcome my sweet husband Jim back as a guest blogger this week.  I hope you enjoy reading about his memories of his father's arms and the longing he has to have his arms filled.  You might want to have a box of tissue close by. 

     Although it was many years ago, I still remember it better than yesterday.  I was probably five or six.  We had been out past my bedtime and I had fallen asleep on the long ride home.  Upon arriving home I awakened, but did not stir.  Instead I did what is sometimes typical of children:  I played "possum."  I pretended to be asleep so that someone would carry me into the house and put me to bed. 
     Dad was a genuinely kind man.  He had an active work life as a postal carrier, delivering mail and walking typically 4-5 miles each workday.  It wasn't in his nature to say many cross words to another person.  Even though he had worked hard and was probably exhausted after a long day, Dad still picked up his tired son, carried him into the house, and put him to bed.
     There was something gentle, soothing and reassuring about Dad's arms.  When he held me I felt cared for, loved, even protected.  When Dad held me, for that moment my world was at peace.  I had seen him use the strength of those arms in plowing a garden by hand, in splitting wood and in other chores.  I loved him.  I miss him.
     Dad had no memory of his father's arms.  His father died when Dad was a year old.  Dad readily admitted that he didn't know how to be a father because he couldn't remember having one.  More than twenty-five years after losing him, my heart still aches for Dad, for his loving arms.  He did alright by me.
     Lately my arms have been aching.  I do miss Dad's hugs, but that isn't the only ache I have been feeling.  My arms ache for the child we conceived, but wasn't born.  They ache for the baby promised to us by a birthmother, but lost to us when she walked away.  I ache from the longing to be a father when I am daily reminded by the sight of selfish men who have abandoned this role for temporary gain.  I ache to channel the love of my Dad through my own arms to my children.  I look forward to carrying my son or daughter and putting him/her to bed.  I especially look forward to doing this when he/she is just playing "possum." 
     So where are you?  I have been aching to feel you in my arms for years now, and you have not yet been born.  Whenever you come, know that my arms are ready.  And whenever you do come, know that your arrival will be the only medicine that can cure the ache in my arms.  Carrying you will never be as heavy as carrying this incessant longing for you.  Please come home to us.  Your Mom and I have been waiting for you. 


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Over the Moon

    I really enjoy reading...especially children's literature.   Recently, I checked out several adoption related picture books from our local library.  Below is a book review I wrote on one of the books for a writing class I am taking.  It's not my typical genre of writing- but I was happy with the end result:)  I'd love to hear some suggestions of your favorite adoption related stories. 

Book Review:  Over the Moon-An Adoption Tale

     Over the Moon-An Adoption Tale, is a joyful celebration of adoption that will appeal to both children and parents alike.  Karen Katz is an adoptive parent.   She wrote and illustrated this book to commemorate the birth of her daughter who was adopted from Central America.   The story follows the couple’s journey to parenthood from eager anticipation to the satisfied contentment of bringing their baby home for the first time.  The book is targeted for a K-3 audience, but could also be read aloud to toddlers.

     As a hopeful adoptive mom, I think this book has several characteristics that make it not only a great story, but also a helpful resource for adoptive families.  There are lots of good adoption books.  I think this book goes beyond the norm and integrates three key aspects of adoption.  This adds depth to the story and opens up opportunities for parents to discuss adoption with their children. 

     First of all, the book includes the community aspect of adoption.  At the beginning of the story we see the support offered to the hopeful adoptive parents.  The grandmother, the fruit seller, and the neighbor all ask about when the baby will arrive.  They are eagerly and actively waiting right along with the couple.  Hopeful adoptive parents are sometimes reluctant to show excitement in the waiting process because there is no definitive amount of time to wait.  A support system becomes vitally important.  This couple is supported by a loving community who shares in the waiting and in the celebration when the baby girl is brought home. 

      Second, the story deals with the wide range of emotions the couple goes through.  At the beginning of the story the couple both dream about their baby.  They are excited and hopeful.  When they get “the call”, they are overjoyed and barely able to contain their excitement.  The illustration shows them hugging, suspended in mid-air, with fireworks going off around them.  The next step is nervous anticipation as they pack, prepare and fly away “on a giant airplane…over the moon and through the night.”  The moment of meeting is peaceful and happy, but closely followed by the fear of failing as brand new parents.  Finally there is an exuberant celebration home coming for the new forever family.   The range of emotions adds richness to the story and lets us see the story as a journey in progress and not just a single event. 

     Finally, the book honors the baby girl’s heritage.  This story deals with an international adoption so there is no ongoing relationship with the birthmother.  However, the birthmother is acknowledged, “You grew like a flower in another lady’s tummy until you were born.  But the lady wasn’t able to take care of you, so Mommy and Daddy came to adopt you and take you home.”  Also the baby girl’s homeland is described with references to palm trees, the sea, the mountains, and birds of many colors and depicted by bold, whimsical illustrations.  This is an important part of the baby girl’s adoption/birth story.   Who am I?  Where do I come from?  Who do I look like?  These are all integral aspects of forming an identity.  An adoptive child’s story does not begin with the adoption.  The history and heritage that comes before the adoption is a crucial part of the story. 

     Over the Moon-An Adoption Tale is authentic and heartfelt.  Karen Katz has created a sweet gift, not only for her adopted daughter, but for the many adoptive families who have shared a similar journey.  I would definitely recommend this book.