May 27, 2008

Two Questions

While my sister was in town last weekend we spent a lot of time obeying orders getting things done and taking care of all of the necessaries. We're first time parents, so it's important to have someone experienced telling us what to do sharing their wisdom. Really, we loved every minute of it.

There were two questions that she asked us, however, that have continued to bounce from one lobe to another in my mind and took some time to settle:

1. What are your greatest fears about becoming a parent?
2. What is your adoption story?

On first glance these may look like automated questions from a "What to Expect When You're Expecting" type book but they weren't automated at all, they were casual and over Sunday brunch honest in their intentions questions. Which basically means the canned replies of "we fear everything, we just hope we're ready!" and "adoption has always been in our hearts" were not acceptable answers. These questions deserved a more thorough reply.

What are our greatest fears about becoming parents?
Honestly, we're taking the no fear approach to parenting. We're ready. We're ready to succeed and we're ready to fail. We're ready to accept the challenges and also ready to ask for help when we fail at meeting them, and we will. We're concerned about a lot of things. How he'll adjust, how we'll adjust, how we'll continue to incorporate Ethiopian culture into our daily lives (yes, daily) and address issues of race on a regular basis. We're thinking, planning, and expecting to be turned upside down, and we know that life is going to throw some real tossers our way. We don't fear these things. We may be terrified and hopeful and know nothing and know something and have millions of questions and a handful of answers, but fear isn't the right word to describe this. Psyched, stoked, and turned-on are more like it.

What is our adoption story?
I had to chuckle at this one. Does anyone ever ask pregnant mothers what their conception story is? "Say, tell me the story of how you conceived the little one, I'd love to know!" Yeah, not likely. I'm not completely ignorant (though wish I were sometimes) and I do "understand" the difference, but it still makes me laugh, a little. So here is our adoption story. It's not long.

My husband and I met when I was a freshman in high school and he was a sophomore. We happened to live across the street from each other but it was a busy street so we never took the same school bus, which is why we didn't meet until high school. He was on the downhill ski team and my 40'something father had recently taken up downhill skiing in an effort to get his daughters interested in the sport, so I suppose you could say that my dad is the reason we're now happily approaching our 7th wedding anniversary.

We skid, we traveled, we attended university in one of the most beautiful corners of the country (Bozeman, MT), we spent a year traveling through South America, and then we got married on the Gallatin River in Big Sky Montana and headed east to NYC to pursue photography and a goal to help level the playing field of public education (TFA, I'm 2001 corps). Throughout all of this we dreamed about our family. When would we adopt, where would we adopt from, how would we learn the language(s) prior to traveling, etc... and basically spent 12 years trying to land our feet in as many countries as possible so that when the day finally came when we were ready to adopt, we would know what the continent of our future son/daughter felt like. The spring after we spent our first weeks in Africa we applied to CHI's Ethiopia program. The rest as some would say is history, but to us is just the beginning of the next chapter.

I know the title of this post is "Two Questions" but I'm going to toss out a third:

What are you going to do?

The country of Ethiopia is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts in history and thousands will die. Thousands. Our son's first family, our son's first family's friends and family, and many others who do not have enough to eat or drink. The situation has surpassed dire.

Visit UNICEF to read about their work in the Horn of Africa or click here to donate.
Visit Children's Hope International to learn about projects you can contribute to in Ethiopia.

It took me a few hours to respond to questions #1 and #2, please don't let it take that long for you to respond to question #3. Please.


Brooke said...

Ohhh, great questions, and GREAT answers.

I love the thought of asking a pregnant women about how she conceived.... so flipping funny!!! I might try that sometime. :) JK

Gamma! said...

It's a Cinderella story for sure - and I'm glad I have been right in the middle of the whole adventure! And Ashton will love it when his journey with you begins too - you think his smile is big now - just wait till he gets placed in your arms - forever!
And as for the droughts and famines in Ethiopia, it's hard to think about silk florals and home decor as a necessity of life in the midst of things like this going on around the world. But then I am reminded that it's because of what I do for a living that I am able to help those who have so little and thank God that He can use me to help accomplish much. For the sake of the children, I hope many feel the tug and are prompted to help however they are able. Love, mom

kn said...

I just found your website - I'm not sure how exactly - we just put in our application to adopt from Ethiopia - we have a 5 1/2 year old bio son - so after reading just one paragraph about your thoughts on parenthood - I say you're going to be great at it - even the failure part - which is often the funniest.

Best of luck and safe travels!

Kathryn & Kevin said...

I forgot where I've seen it, but it was on several times; UNICEF is against iternational adoption.