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Posts Tagged ‘adoption’

“Are you OK,” Patrick asked as I buckled Joey into her car seat.

“Yeah, it didn’t bother me at all. I would have wondered the same thing. It made me smile, actually,” I responded with a laugh, more out of relief than anything. It finally had happened. I had wondered how I would react…

You guys, after 9 months of watching TV and staring down other mixed-race families, in a game called “Guess Which Shade of Tan Our Baby Will Be,” we have a baby that is a shade of white a bit more milky and porcelain than Patrick’s skin. We had not anticipated that…at all. During our pregnancy, Patrick kept reminding me that we weren’t mixing paint, there were a variety of possibilities. But, even “anything is possible” Patrick admits being more than a little surprised by our baby’s skin tone and overall strong likeness to her dad.

Cuddles!

I may have mentioned that I am biracial and adopted in a previous post or two. Even though I was adopted into a mixed-racial home, my skin tone is noticeably darker than the varied tones of my immediate family. It is safe to say at this point, I have never experienced bearing any resemblance to my family.

That being said… While I was pregnant, did a part of me revel in the thought that I would have a family member that looked like me? Yes, definitely. Was I anticipating a little girl with tan skin and wild curly hair like her mama? Yes, indeed-y. Did Patrick and I excitedly hold our collective breaths, expecting an olive complexion to make its way to the surface as our newborn daughter went from white, to yellow (thanks, jaundice), and…back to white again? Yup! Did we expect Joey’s eyes to turn brown by now? Oh, yes. Do we think our daughter is perfect and the most beautiful girl, exactly the way she is. Undoubtably!

Day-to-day, minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, I do not notice my daughter’s skin, unless  a rash turns up. (Reoccurring belly rash is no match for me!) I’m used to being in a family that is bound by…whatever it is that links a family–love, sense of “us,” same detergent smell–that is not genetics or looks. So this isn’t exactly new territory. But I always wondered if other people could shake my confidence and my strong sense of family-connectedness now that I’m a *mom* to a baby that does not, at first glance, look like me. Turns out, not so much.

Mirroring Surprise

As we were gathering all of our belongings to leave a restaurant–coats, diaper bag, toys, baby–I overheard a girl say to her friend, “I’m trying to figure out if she is the baby’s mom…” She said more, but I didn’t catch it. I smiled as I thought, “Yes, I am the mom! Lucky me!” And that was it. As Patrick and I walked to the car, I told him what I had overheard and he asked me if I was OK.

Am I OK? I have a healthy and beautiful baby girl; a loving, supportive, and present husband; and the best job ever–a full-time nanny to my own daughter. Yeah, I’d say I’m more than OK! But thanks for asking. 🙂

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Today’s post is inspired by our very first, and to-date only, comment! In response to the Are We There Yet? post, our trail-blazing commenter wrote the following: “Just remember, every parent writes their own story. Sounds like yours is just starting.”

This comment initially filled me with warm-fuzzies. Our stories *are* just starting!  But now, two days later, the warm-fuzzies have been replaced with frantic worries: Are Patrick and I writing *very* different stories?  Are we writing different books? Different chapters in the same book? Should we be striving to be on the same page? Huh? Why are metaphors so confusing?

Tangled metaphors aside, I realize that I have been making a lot of assumptions when it comes to both small details and big picture issues:

What will we do if we can’t conceive? I’m thinking we’ll adopt. An easy answer for me since I am adopted, but perhaps it is a lot to assume that Patrick will think it such a natural option as well. And even this seemingly “simple” choice brings up more questions–US vs. overseas, age range, private or open?

Stroller vs. BabyBjorn? I’m team BabyBjorn. Honestly, I just like the idea of staying that close. My more practical/fake reasons are as follows: (1) There aren’t many sidewalks around the neighborhood and (2) I am afraid to push a stroller across the street. (I’d be one of  *those people* walking backward in the intersections. Awwwwkwaaaard…) But what if Patrick fancies himself a stroller person? Not a big deal, in the grand scheme of things. But I always assumed that his version of our family trip to the farmer’s market involved him, me, and a dumpling in the BabyBjorn too!

Do we baptize? As a universe-fearing agnostic who was baptized as a baby, I cannot imagine our child skipping this step. Will Patrick, my beloved yet stubborn atheist, take issue with this? I doubt baptism is part of his parenting story. It may even seem strange to him that it is a part of mine. To me it is a way of saying, “Hey baby, there is something greater. Respect it or don’t, but here’s a start.” But Patrick doesn’t even subscribe to the “greater entity” concept. This may be a tough sell…

Our parenting stories do not have to be identical, but joint decisions do need to be made. I imagine the sooner these talks begin, the better.  The baby-carrier convo will be easy. The adoption convo can wait until necessary. But perhaps the bigger issues, like baptism, should start now because these edits will be tough to make.

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