Friday, October 21, 2011


FIRST: I'm sorry I've been MIA. I've tried to read and honestly, I've tried to comment but blogger has been giving me fits. So I wouldn't blame you if you have stopped reading, but I've had this post in draft form for a while, and it rolls around in my brain a lot, so here it is...

It's a loaded word, for me anyway.

I used to rant and rave about using the term 'blessed' when describing someone having a baby. Because it must mean that me, barren as a log, was decidedly unblessed because I couldn't procreate. And who wants to be called unblessed? Hearing that term cut through my heart like a knife. I wanted the word 'blessed' replaced with 'lucky' because I could deal with being unlucky, but unblessed? No thanks.

And now I hear the term lucky being tossed our way quite often. Nearly everyone comments on how our babies are so lucky. I don't mean here, in the comments section, and even if the word did crop up there that wouldn't bother me because my readers tend to get it.

It's the general public. They learn our babies are adopted (I mean, it's pretty obvious) and if they learn they are Ethiopian they immediately say how lucky they are, usually with a big smile, and sometimes an actual pat on my back, and always one that is implied. Ick.

I don't correct them because if I did, it would go something like this, and I'd probably be carted off to the looney bin.

Lucky? No, they are not lucky. They suffered a loss that is unimaginable to most. They are separated from their birth family. In an ideal world, the first choice, barring a safety issue or a complete inability to provide loving care, is that children are raised by their birth parents. Second choice is always other family. Third choice is another family in their home country, in their culture--domestic adoption. Then it gets down to orphanage care versus international adoption and I think it's pretty obvious that international adoption into a loving family has many benefits over institutionalized care. But no, they are not lucky. They got the fourth choice. The fourth one down the list.

We were the fourth choice. And I don't think anyone ever feels lucky when they get their fourth choice.

But if I said all of that people would wonder why the hell I adopted (and why do I still get my feelings hurt over the fact that it feels like most of my infertile peeps will do anything but adopt?).

I know it's confusing. Because I do believe in international adoption as a way--the fourth choice way-- to provide a family to a child who would otherwise be raised in institutional care. But I will never, ever think of it as the ideal choice.

And yes, I understand that there might be benefits to living in the U.S. over Ethiopia--improved life expectancy (by decades), improved access to education and opportunity, etc. etc. But actually---even that gives me pause. Taking someone from a country where people are satisfied and happy with much, much less and introducing them to our vulgar consumerist nation (and yes, I know I could work really hard to raise little non-consumerists but right now I'm just happy to have two babies that might start sleeping through the night consistently and don't throw their food across the room) isn't ideal either. And yes, as far as families go I do think Mr. MTL and I will make decent parents.  So I understand why people immediately think our babies are lucky, on the surface.

But the more I am with them, the deeper my love grows for them, then the more deeply I am able to get a sense of the pain of their young lives. Of the immense loss and grief that will always, always color their world. And it's more heartbreaking than I could have ever imagined.

Some days I watch them, playing innocently, laughing and discovering and taking sheer delight in the pleasures of being an infant.  And my heart starts to hurt. I think I'm having a heart attack. Because I know, I know they will not be this innocent forever. Soon they will know. And it will hurt. And I can't do one thing to make it not hurt.

I am not foolish enough to ever think we can 'make up' for their loss of culture. Making up for their loss of birth parents isn't even on the radar because that's an impossible task. Impossible.

If you don't understand that and you have fertility issues then try to imagine what would 'make up' for the loss of your fertility.

Their job is NOT to make up for the loss of our fertility and our job is not to make up for the loss of their birth parents, their culture, their everything. Our job is just to parent them the very best way that we can. To love them with our whole hearts. To allow them their grief and sorrow, to hold their hands through it, to be aware.

They are not lucky.
But we are.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


I feel like this post is going to be scattered, and probably long, so go ahead and get a cup of coffee. Or a Diet Coke. I'll wait.

And yes, forgive me for bullet points. I have exactly 14.5 minutes until two sleeping Africans become two boisterously awake Africans and so bullet points will have to do.

  • Sleeping. Thank you for the advice. Honestly. I enjoyed reading everyone's opinions. I had a total DUH moment a couple of times. We are down to one feeding a night--hooray! Basically some of you were right, we had to offer more formula during the day. However, it's interesting to see how they can really push that bottle away if they simply don't want it, no matter how badly I want them to want it/drink it during daylight hours so they won't need it/want it during the nighttime hours. They basically take a few ounces before morning nap (here is where I wish they would take more), 7-8 oz before afternoon nap, 8 oz when we rock them before bedtime, and then they wake up for 7-8 oz anywhere from 2:30 to 4:30 in the AM. We will probably start gradually reducing the nighttime offering too. But waking up once, and sometimes after 5-6 solid hours of sleep for us (we go to bed at 9 pm now, ha) feels heavenly. And they really pack away the solids too, for the most part. But every day is different.
  • I went back to work this past week. Three full days (I leave at 6:45 am and return at 5 pm, DH gets home at 4:30 pm). The babies wake up at 6:10ish so I get to play with them before I leave. Which means I get up at about 5:15 to get myself ready.
    • Sub-bullet time (fancy schmancy!). I cried the first day. I did not cry the second two days.
    • I am really enjoying work time. Yes, I realize it was the first week back and in another month I'll probably loathe work. But for now....
    • I feel like I fail one million times a day as a mother, but at work, I know what I'm doing. I'm ordering lab, writing prescriptions, explaining test results, chatting with coworkers (oh! adult conversations, how I've missed thee so!) and while I may not be perfect at it, I'm better at it than I am as a mother, at least in terms of errors made.  
    • I love coming home to them.
    • I love my two full days with them on my own, and of course love the weekends when we're all together.
    • The nanny is great with the babies.
    • My heart broke a million times over when I saw how, on the third day, they were so excited to see the nanny. I guess the alternative is worse, but still....
    • The nanny is not so good with the housekeeping. Granted, it's not her primary job, but I don't really relish coming home to extra work created by her. Clean up your food prep mess for goodness sake!
    • I don't like being a boss....argh.
  • Patients. As in, mine. I had two photos of the babies in my office. It was all the patients wanted to talk about. I had to redirect conversations a million times over. And if I hear how lucky my babies are one more time I am going to lose it. That's a whole other post. And yes, I know it is said with nice intentions, but they aren't lucky. I promise to post that post (written weeks ago and tucked away in my drafts file, soon).
  • When do other people clean? My DH and I just nearly broke our backs trying to get the whole house cleaned while they napped. Our daughter hates loud noises so we have to wait until she's really asleep or out of the house with the other parent to vacuum and run the hard floor scrubber. Otherwise I feel like my standards for cleaning are going by the wayside, and anyone who knows me knows this stresses me out.
  • Cold fronts. It will only hit 90 degrees here this week and honestly, folks, it feels like a blizzard. This morning for our morning run it was 58 degrees and I had to put the babies in little jackets. And I kid you not, there is nothing more adorable than the little man in his Paul Frank zip up hoodie (thanks Kim!). Nothing. At least, I challenge you to find something more adorable. Did I get a photo? No.
  • Running. I only get to do it four days a week now. Simply can't go on a work morning. I miss it. I had never run for so many consecutive days ever before, without missing one. Oh well, all good things must come to an end.
  • Weight loss. After three days of just sitting at a desk and then resuming full time Mom duties on Thursday, I quickly realized why I lost weight. Oh.My.God. I never sit down. Except now, when I'm typing at 105 wpm trying to get all my thoughts out on a random blog post. But it's ok, because I probably should have been at this weight for years. But having to buy all new pants and skirts is somewhat annoying because who has time to shop anymore?
  • Hiking. We took the babies hiking yesterday. To the trails where we used to run, all.the.time. I had a heart clench moment when DH was talking to the babies and said "Mom and Dad used to run here all the time, and all we would talk about was you. And now you're here, with us." Oh man, what a moment.
  • Concerts. Mr. had a show the other day and I was able to take the babies with the help of their Aunt Stacey. He called us onto the stage and sang "Our Family." Our son reached for the guitar, smiling as his Dad sang a song written about him. I held it together guys, I actually did. But inside I was sobbing tears of gratitude and joy listening to him sing the words "Our family, looks different but we're still, our family."
  • Prunes. DH learned the hard way that a little prunes goes a long way in helping intestinal issues of certain babies. I won't go into any other details because, really? Disgusting.
  • Photos. I will now post some, in the 7.5 minutes I have until they wake (how do I know when they'll wake? They really, really are on a schedule!)

I can't decide how I feel about my hoodie.
Help! I'm being swallowed by this backpack!
All headphones, no pants.
Dad, I'm not a dumbell.
Two of a kind.
(why am I standing weird?)
Who is this NY people keep telling us about?