Music to My Ears

I love love love to hear our son speak Spanish! It is truly music to my ears.  I think my heart actually melts when I listen to him.  I wish I could record him speaking Spanish and play it here because I’m pretty sure every last one of you would fall instantly in love. (But I am a little partial)

JMan hadn’t called his most recent foster family in Colombia in about 3 months.  We were encouraged by ICBF to end all contact with them while we were in Colombia.  I couldn’t do it.  He had lived with them, called them Mami and Papi, hermano and hermanas for over 3 years.  Their home was the first place where our son felt loved and valued. Our family had communicated with them on a weekly basis for almost a year while we were waiting.  My husband and I decided that we didn’t like the message it sent JMan if we were to drop all contact with the only family he has known for the past several years.

We were home for about a week when I explained to JMan that I didn’t agree with ICBF and thought he should be able to call his family in Colombia, if he wanted to.  He said yes and called them about every 2 weeks for the first few months he was here.  Suddenly, it was a like a switch was flipped and he did not want to call.  In fact, he refused to call. I’m still not sure exactly why.  I have pieced together from little comments he made that it may have been a combination of things…hurt feelings because an older foster brother asked for something instead of listening to him, a fear of not being able to speak Spanish as well as he used to, a need to fit in with our family and not feel different.  Regardless of the reason, I continued to gently encourage him to call but I didn’t make him. I believed he had enough to worry about and I didn’t want him to feel obligated to provide someone else’s happiness.

Tonight, we were sitting together at the computer taking down the Facebook account he created at a friend’s house without our permission (example included to show that we are definitely not perfect and always a work in progress).  After banishing him from Facebook, I popped on mine and his foster mother was online.  I offhandedly encouraged him to send her a quick chat (fully expecting an adamant no) and was surprised to hear a halfhearted no.  Seeing my window, I pulled up the chat box and said, “just say hi”.  He did and she was slow to respond so I suggested we just call.  And we did.

The decision to allow JMan to contact his family in Colombia was not an easy one.  I had to let go of some of my fears as an adoptive mom.  Selfish fears.  The fear that he may love another mom more than me, the fear that he may realize he would rather be with that family, the fear that our family could never fill up his little heart.  These are all valid fears but nothing compared to the loss and fear our son has experienced in his short life.

In the end, the call went through and JMan was passed all around.  He didn’t forget his Spanish as he had feared and I realized that I had become attached to this family and missed them as well.  We have a common bond…we all love this enchanting little man who is a master of stealing hearts.

Our house was filled with Spanish chatter this evening (we call their phone through Skype and we can all hear the whole conversion, including the barking dogs and Salsa playing in the background).  It was music to my ears.

But not as much as the “Mom…I love you” that came with a hug after the call was over.

 

 

 

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About Me and This Blog

About Me

Well, as far as labels go…I’ve been a mom of multiples, a mom of all girls and now an adoptive mom of our son from Colombia.  I’ve been married for 15 years and have 5 kids.  Our oldest are 13 year old identical twin girls.  For the sake of privacy, we’ll call them Bird and BoBass.  Bird loves lacrosse and science while BoBass prefers soccer and art.  They are both turning into teenagers right before my eyes (yikes!) and both have an empathy for others that makes me think maybe we are doing something right (or at least more right than wrong).  Next comes 12 year old JMan, our only son, adopted from Colombia at age 11.  He loves soccer and school (thank goodness!) and his inner joy is contagious.  He is confident and fun-loving, constantly making us laugh with his sharp wit.  Close behind is Boo, our 11 year old daughter.  She loves dance and is a serious student.  She is an old soul but has found her silly side, entertaining the family by dressing up and directing her little sister and sometimes her brother ;) .  And little sister, she’s 6. We’ll call her The Diva (that’s what her sisters and brother would say).  The Diva loves everything and everyone (seriously!).  She sings and dances her way through life while trying to keep up with Big Sisters and Big Brother.  I’m Mom and along with Dad, I am guiding these littles through their childhood (without a map, but not afraid to ask for directions) and trying to teach them to….be kind, be silly and be honest.

About this Blog

This is my second blog endeavor.  My first blog began as an advocacy tool for older children who needed families.  It than became a place for me to document our adoption journey and trip to Colombia to adopt our son.  During the adoption process, I did a lot of reading (books, blogs and whatever I could get my hands on).  Looking back, almost everything I read was written from the perspective of adoptive parents or professionals, not adult adoptees.  I’ve just begun to delve into reading the experiences, opinions and advice of adult adoptees and I’m excited to share what I’m learning and how I am trying to keep these perspectives in mind while raising our son.

I have also been thinking more about the issues that come along with being a transracial family.  When our son first joined our family, it was more about making sure he was comfortable and adjusting to this unfathomable (for me!) change for him and how he was attaching to us and his sisters.   At that time, my thoughts were consumed with our family’s adjustment.  Our social worker once described adding a child to a family (by birth or adoption, in or out of birth order) as adding another piece to a mobile.  The mobile will shift and turn until it finds its balance again.  I love this imagery because right now we have a pretty nice balance going on but at any moment a breeze could blow and the shifting and moving affects the whole family.

While the air is calm, I’m trying to learn all I can about raising children in a transracial family, respecting the rights and feelings of our son and educating those around us about these same issues.  I’m by no means an expert.  This blog is just a place for me to write about my experiences and thoughts…use at your own risk ;) .

A Change of Focus

Those of you who found this blog because you visited my previous blog may be wondering why the change.  There are two main reasons for this change of focus.  First, my previous blog began as a tool to advocate for specific older children growing up without families by sharing pictures and glimpses of their personalities, making a point to insure that they were seen as individuals and not just an “orphan”.  Both of these children have since been adopted, one of them into our family.  While I didn’t share any of their history on the blog, I still feel that part of their lives is for them to share when and if they chose to.  So, the first reason for the change is privacy.  I will still share my thoughts and some stories from my perspective but I will not be using my children’s names or pictures of their faces (but trust me….they are all adorable!).  This is a personal decision and I am not making a statement about what others should do.

The second reason is as simple as, life changes.  Our family is in a different place now and therefore my focus needs to shift as well.  I have been reading a lot about transracial adoption and the perspectives of adult adoptees on the many issues surrounding adoption.  I will be honest and admit that I did not read the blogs of adult adoptees before our adoption, but now I believe it should be mandatory to read through some of them if you are a prospective adoptive parent, especially when adopting trans-racially. As with anything in life, it is important to look at issues from all perspectives available.  I will elaborate on this more on the “About” page.

One thing that will not change is my focus on advocating for older children growing up without families.  While my eyes have been opened to the need to put more focus on programs and changes that will help to avoid children leaving their families in the first place, I still believe there is a place for adoption and that children should not have to grow up without a family.