Featuring Joy & Geoff, Big Brother , Little Brother , Sis , and various household (and outdoor) critters...

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Just Because

Ah, camping. We did pretty well this summer grabbing a few weekends to get away. We both find it's one of the only ways we can totally relax - no responsibilities or distractions, and lots of outdoor time (which we're not so good at around home - sadly, and despite the lovely walking and hiking at our doorstep). Let's hope that camping still holds its charm when we've got a couple of little folks in tow! The trailer definitely makes things convenient in some ways, if we can figure out sleeping arrangements for babies. For this year, we're planning on at least one, if not two more little getaways before the campgrounds close for the season. And then we'll get busy on the nursery and all those little details around the house and yard that are waiting for us...

Oh, and I finally told my manager of our adoption plans...who emailed back a very kind and supportive response, which was lovely. For some reason I still feel self-conscious telling people, almost as if I'm just pretending and will be found out as being a silly girl playing house. Odd, but true. And as much as I am trying to be mentally prepared for any negative or indifferent responses, I do tend to protect our news so that nothing spoils it!

And just one more thing. It's looking like this thesis of mine will finally be finished up this fall, and we are so looking forward to being able to settle into our adoption planning and preparations for "real" at long last. Yay!

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Adoption Issues: Ages & Stages

For two days last week, all the staff from my team attended a workshop on attachment. The education was geared toward our work with adolescents, but it was also pertinent for me given our adoption plans. The facilitator happens to be focusing her private practice mainly on adopted children at the moment, so she referred to adoption quite a bit. It was interesting hearing comments and questions from some of my team members, based on their perspectives on adoption. I do wonder, in my field, if there is more concern about adopting, partly because we tend to see and work with adopted people and their families when things are not going well. Not that my colleagues are necessarily unsupportive of adoption, but there seem to be lots of folks who express some respect for people who adopt while saying they would never do it themselves, or who really feel that it is much wiser to adopt only young infants. Certainly from an attachment standpoint, it is much better for children to be adopted as young infants, and I do believe this should always be the goal when the need for adoption is identified early enough. But I still believe firmly in adoption whenever it is necessary, knowing that the alternative for children is to grow up in group living environments. The research seems pretty clear that a nuclear family life yields better results than group living environments, even when children are adopted past infancy. Of course, loving group living environments are necessary as well, when there are more children than available adoptive families, and I strongly support any efforts to promote nurturing group living environments that provide the best possible experience for children. For parents adopting past early infancy, I feel it is essential to be well-educated and prepared to work actively at building healthy attachments with their children, and to recognize issues should they arise (not saying that ALL adoptive parents shouldn't be attuned to attachment needs, but that the issue becomes perhaps more important when adopting at older ages). Adoptive parents do need to realize the layers of complexity present in building parent-child relationships with their children, and helping their children develop the security and relational capacity to have healthy relationships with others throughout their lives. Parenting, including adoptive parenting, should never be entered naively...While I do hope that our family life reflects strong attachments, I also know it may not always be easy. But that's ok, because we are choosing this path, and are convinced of its "rightness" for us.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Name Games

It's an interesting process, choosing names for one's future children. Seems that every time we go through the books, we come up with some new ones, and every time I look at the lists I wonder whether we've figured it out yet. So far there are a few that seem to be sticking...

Since we don't know whether we will have two boys, two girls, or one of each, we are trying to pick 2-3 names per gender to have ready when the time comes.We don't really know whether we will name the babies before we meet them in person or not. It would be nice to have names to use in the months before we travel, once we know who these little people are. But apparently there's no rush at all - we actually have a year once the adoption is finalized before completing all the citizenship paperwork and so on...don't worry - we'll be choosing names at least before we get back from Africa!

We are definitely open to keeping existing names, if they appeal to us and are easily used in Canadian culture. And we at least want to keep existing names as middle names, so that's partly why we may need a few first name options of our choosing to match up with middle names chosen for us. Perhaps it seems like we're jumping the gun, but since we'll only have 3 months notice (or less) before we meet our children, we don't want to be scrambling to come up with names in the midst of travel preparation and everything else at the time...And I need a few months of feeling settled about our top name choices to make sure they have staying power. Truth is, I've always loved thinking about names, and at last I have a good excuse!

Figuring out our "name personalities" has been enlightening - not only the sounds we like, but the "vibe" we are going for...Sadly, I was a fan of "vintage" names long before they became the trend, so I've had to let go of a couple options that have become too popular - thankfully, there are choices galore. So, we'll keep narrowing down & keeping an eye on the names that stay at the top of the list, and see where we end up.