Sunday, February 5, 2017

When Did He Feel Like Mine?

I ran into an online Mom friend of mine at an adoption conference in my city a few weeks ago. We had never met in person, and neither of us knew the other would be attending. I love meeting online friends IRL!

This Mom, after chatting a bit, asked me a hard question.  Attachment and bonding is going well between her two newly adopted children and the rest of the family, but my friend is struggling. She doesn't have the same kind of feelings towards her children that came to her by adoption as she does towards her biological children.

She asked me when Buddy felt like "mine".

The question is hard, partly because it's one of those topics I usually like to give a lot of thought to before giving my thoughts. I rambled on a bit, told her to give herself some grace and time, and excused myself feeling like an idiot.

Something I always do when writing a blog post, tweet or comment online is write, read, edit, repeat until I get the words just the way I want. I also often read something, let it sit with me for a bit, and then come back to it.

You can't do that in real life.

It's also a hard question because of the very different make-up of our families. I don't know what it feels like to grow a child inside my body, to know a child from their first moment, to give birth. My son lived over a decade on this planet before I knew he existed. I can't compare being a birth Mom and an adoptive Mom. 

What I do know is that Buddy felt like mine from the first time I saw his picture. We have had our struggles and in the past I have questioned if I was able to give Buddy everything that he needed, but I have always felt like his Mom.

Hubby, on the other hand, didn't feel like a Dad until long after we got home. He stressed himself over this initially, but eventually just decided to "fake it till you make it." He went through the motions of dad-ing, and eventually the feelings followed. Now, Hubby and Buddy have a great relationship that is unique and totally their own.

What I'm trying to say in all of this is that there isn't a "right" way to feel after adopting. It is not the same as having a biological child, so no one should be expected to feel the same. When a family is made by adoption, everyone brings their past into the new family. It can take time to sort through all the feelings and settle in to a groove. Because of that, it's OK, and even important, to acknowledging to ourselves where we are emotionally.

So, I guess I really do believe my original (poorly delivered) response to my friend. As adoptive parents, we all need to give ourselves grace and time.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Buddy's New Bedroom

I've written about Buddy's old bedroom in our previous house. We moved at the end of 2015 and Buddy got a new bedroom. Obviously...

We initially moved all Buddy's old furniture into his new room, but the plan was always to let Buddy design his room the way he wanted it. Hubby and I exercised veto power over the request for all black walls, ceiling and trim but in the end we came to a compromise. Black furniture, including a loft bed, with green accents. And a couch.

The first step was to patch the numerous holes the previous owners' child had made in the walls. And remove the random toys from the vents. And peel a reflector off one wall and fix the damage that made... Anyways, once that was done, we painted all the walls a green so light it is almost white. When that dried, I taped 4 parallel bands of painters tape that was 2 different thicknesses all around the room. I did this free-hand, and occasionally checked that the bands were even all the way around using a tape measure.

The wall treatment I did was inspired by this video (caution, annoying music alert!):

Buddy picked out a bright green accent colour, and I followed the plastic wrap demo pretty much, except I had to free-hand using a brush in the corners where the roller couldn't reach. Once that dried, I carefully peeled off the painters tape. I'm pretty happy with the results and Buddy thinks it looks awesome.

Then came the time to assemble all the bedroom furniture that we had purchased from Ikea. This was a 2 day project between Hubby and I, and we didn't even have to assemble everything because some furniture we re-purposed from other areas of the house. Putting the loft bed together took a day in itself. We finished with minimal bickering, so I feel pretty secure in our marriage. Once everything was put together, Buddy helped with the finishing touches.

I think the room turned out amazing and Buddy loves it. As an added bonus, we can no longer see Buddy's unmade bed so there is one less source of fighting in the house. Hubby has also taken to tossing any random junk Buddy leaves lying around up onto his bed.

If you're interested, this is the furniture and accessories we got for Buddy, or similar to what we already had at home to re-use:

- Buddy's bed and bedding:

- Buddy's couch area:

- Storage and other accessories:
(the dark green ones don't appear to be available at the moment, but this is a similar style of curtain we bought)

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Re-Introduction

Over the last year, posts from me have been a bit on the light side. Life has been busy, and there have been lots of times where I have thought of or even started a new post but by never get around to finishing it. I am making a point this year to carve out more personal time so I can write - I find it really helps me process my thoughts.

Anyways, I wrote this post last year (when I made myself the same commitment...), and not much has changed. Except now we are 3 years home with our son and are experiencing things for the fourth time around. Although, there are still plenty of challenging to go around, especially as Buddy is now a full-fledged teenager.

I'm still trying to figure out how to balance my work and home life. Hubby is the back-bone of our family who makes sure we don't get scurvy due to poor diet. Buddy continues to grow into an amazing young man. And we still have our dogs, Swar and Grem, completing our family.

I do try to document some of our life on social, so if you are interested you can find me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

If you're interested in reading our adoption story in more detail, check out these posts:
- Our Adoption Story, a Quick Look
- Why Did We Adopt: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Extended Family Drama

I wrote a long time ago about a difficult patch we had been going through with Hubby's family. I haven't written about it since, but things haven't resolved.

At the beginning of the New Year in 2015, Hubby sat down with his parents. They had been feeling resentment towards us for awhile but had been trying to repress it, unsuccessfully it turned out. They told Hubby they felt like we don't consider their feelings, especially when it came to time spent with Buddy in comparison with my Mother.

My Mom and I are very close. She raised my brother and I alone until she met and married my step-father (who I call my Dad) when I was in the 1st grade. She is the one person who has been a constant in my life and I don't know where I would be without her. I, and by extension my family, spend a lot of time with my Mom. Less, now that we are parents, but still more than a lot of other grown children spend with their's.

My husband doesn't have the same relationship with his parents. He loves them, but they are not close in the same way my Mom and I are. Apparently, this is an issue for my in-laws, especially Hubby's mother. They have been keeping score - especially since we adopted Buddy in 2013.

In all honesty, I'm not surprised. Hubby's mother has a tendency to play the victim, hold grudges and throw past perceived slights against her into every argument. She doesn't seem see her role in the stand-off she and I are currently in.

It is ironic that this whole thing started over her feeling isolated from our family, and has resulted in us becoming much more distant than we have ever been. I no longer attend family events with Hubby's side. Sometimes Buddy and Hubby don't, either. They haven't been to our new house. We don't extend invitations to school events or spend weekends with them at their lake in the summer.

I feel terrible for Hubby. He has said numerous times that I am his wife, and he will always defend me and stand by my side. But I know he cares about his parents and loves his mother very much. He is in the middle of this whole ridiculous argument.

I know I should be the bigger person and make the first steps towards reconciliation. But I have done that before and we are still in the place we are today. So maybe I am being stubborn and selfish - but I just don't want to be the bigger person this time.