Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Adoption Class #2 Complete!

Happy Hump Day!

Yesterday was our second of the two-part, all-day adoption education classes we had to take. It went very well. They are preparing us very effectively. I think I liked it better than last week's class! We learned so much!

One of the most valuable parts, for me, was when we talked a lot about coming up with strategies to respond to the often inappropriate/insensitive/overly intrusive questions/comments that the agency said we WILL get (e.g., how much did you pay for your child, is she yours, where did she come from, etc.). People don't mean to say the wrong things, but the fact of the matter is, they do, and they will. Mostly they do this unknowingly, but can be very hurtful to your child (often, these things are said in front of your child--can you imagine how important, then, your response, as a parent, would be? how your split-second decision to respond--and what you choose to say--will impact your child's sense of identity, who she is, how she thinks she's valued and seen in the world, for years to come?). No small responsibility there!

Here's one story that was told to us. A mom was in a grocery store with her children (two girls from India, four boys from Korea). The checkout clerk gave her the "triangle stare" (look at mom, look at dad, look down at kid, start again) and then said, "Oh, look--exchange students!" The mom, in her infinite wisdom and dry sense of humor, looked over the clerk's head and around the store and yelled, excitedly, "WHERE?"

The woman got the point: These were Margie's kids, and just b/c they don't look like her doesn't mean they aren't her kids and she isn't their mother. Identity is so important for children, and especially for adoptive children, who are no doubt having to navigate life with already-confusing (at times) identity issues.

I can go on and on, so I won't. Suffice to say that we had an excellent class and met a great group of parents who we hope to stay in touch with over the months/years of this journey. Many live in our area!

We are now just waiting for our caseworker to contact us and schedule the home visit (this is the part of the home study where she physically comes to our house and meets with us in person, in our home environment, to assess our living situation and do a kind of psychosocial/behavioral study of us). The home visit is what gets every adoptive parent perhaps the most nervous. I don't know, though. I like our caseworker, and she certainly doesn't make me nervous. She's a person just like everyone else! Jeff and I are both good with people, so I don't think this will be much of a source for anxiety--at least not for us. Who knows? Things could change as time goes on. Remind me I said this later, if I post any nervous feelings about the home visit in the upcoming weeks!

Thanks for continuing to be there, supporting us on this often overwhelming, but terribly exciting, roller coaster ride!

I know this post was kinda long...sorry about that! I guess my love of talking translates directly to the computer keyboard, as well!


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