So it has been a little while since I have posted a blog. But dont think this is because we have been doing nothing – the opposite in fact. You see after the builders finished their job on our house. What we discovered is that this is when we end up doing heaps of work – painting, landscaping (fixing up the front and back yard where it was ruined by the build), also unpacking those rooms that were stuffed to the gills with our things, building shelves, moving furniture, cleaning all the dust off EVERYTHING etc etc etc – you get the picture.
It is so helpful that this is also the period of the greatest changes in Burma since 1988, and work has become amazingly busy. So I am exhausted by work and then have to do stuff to the house on the weekends and evening. I am exhausted. Have been too exhausted to blog. It has been pretty much, come home from work, dinner/ walk Indai sit down in front of Masterchefzzzzzzzzzzzzz. totally Physically, mentally and yes, emotionally exhausted.
Why emotionally? Not because of the house. Of course it is because of the adoption.
If you have a look at our ticker (in the left hand corner of this blog) you will see we have just past two years of waiting. Now remember this is two years of our file being in Thailand. This is what my ticker counts.
Before our file went to Thailand it took over 18 months from start to finished for us to get through the Australian approval system in our state (21 months when you add in some delays Husbot and I contributed). So our timeline looks like this;
- Oct 08 – make contact with State adoption services to start the processes.
- Dec 08 – attend adoption seminar
- months and months in between – applications, meetings with social worker, all sorts of paper work made official by offical people etc etc
- May 2010 – letter of approval saying we are ‘deemed fit to be parents’
- June 2010 – we prepare our file for Thailand
- July 2010 – our file goes to Thailand
- then… we wait.
But that timeline is only some of the story. Which is why I started this blog really, to try to record all the other stuff – the stuff inbetween the those dates that I am trying to record.
In the begining I went a bit nuts on the adoption education. I think in 2009 I read about every adoption book I could get my hands on. Books written by adoption experts, books written by adoptive parents, and books written by adult adoptees. It was great to learn. I also watched doccumentries etc – essentially anything about adoption I was interested in. I really wanted to see what the advice of adult adoptees was. Hustbot and I do not want to replicate mistakes of the past. We were keen to understand issues around attachment, bonding, multi-racial families, adoption language etc.
We also underwent an important process of a green tara puja to remove all the obsticles between us and our future baby.
By 2010 I was probably still reading but also I was very keen to connect with other people in a similar position to Husbot and I. By then I was reading blogs of people in the adoption community. I figured the best way to connect was to start my own blog! So I did and we started to get to know each other. I was already a member of ASIAC which is an adoption support group. But blogging really helped me to connect me to people in the virtual world. We also got to know people around this time through yahoo groups and then facebook groups – these have both been incredibly helpful.
During these first couple of years I had quite a few dreams and feelings about our future babies.
In 2011 I had started crafting, making little toys and things, as a way of creating a welcoming environment for our child. I worked on setting up a playroom etc. But along with this there other stuff going on as well.
Of course I have always known about stateless children, my work has been with Burmese refugees since 2006. Before that I have been working with the Tibetan community in exile in some way or another since 2000. But I was a bit intimidated by the adoption process at first that I just accepted all the stuff they say about hague process, due process etc. But in 2011 I really started to question things. I mean yes it is best for children to stay in their culture when they can sure, but in the Solomon Islands about half of the adoptions I encountered were people who genuinly were accepting those children into their families (the children usually came from their extended families) and the children were treated just the same as a biological child – raised the same, offered schooling etc. But the other half the adopted child was not treated the same, was instead treated like an unpaid labourer or house helper, not offered schooling and not entitled to the same inheritance. Both can be claimed to be cultural norms… so… in terms of the hague – either family would be preferenced before an international adopter.
Regarding Thailand, if there is a question about the long waiting times, the answer is usually “there are more waiting families then there are children available for adoption’ what is actually ment is that there is not enough of the ‘right’ children. From what people say there are not very many orphanages that the DSDW work with or ‘approve’. there are many that are outside of the system. All of the orphanages for abandoned Burmese chldren that I know are not under the DSDW, these children are stateless and their plight is more difficult.
Occasionally you hear of stateless children coming through for adoption via the DSDW program. I can only hope that the DSDW understands that Husbot and I would so love one of these children who have had such a hard start to life. I would love it if more stateless children could be considered for adoption – rather then the outcome that is most common for them. A young life spent entirely in an orphanage/ instutionalised environment and then to have to leave that environment when they are too old and become an ‘illegal’ migrant worker.
This year, we have been getting ready by getting our house ready. I have been meaning to post photos – some of it is looking really good now! But also the waiting has been getting harder. 3 families have withdrawn their files this year. All of them have either been waiting longer then husbot and I or else have been having other problems getting through the system. But still it is really sad. I really feel for them. It is also really disheartening. With each allocation or match we hear about we feel really happy for that family and also of course like things all work out in the end. But then of course when people feel they have to withdraw it actually is much more sad then the happyness of a match. All the waiting and hoping that this family has done… for nothing. As you can see – it is not just time, or money that people invest in this process (which is perhaps what the beurocrats think) but it is the massive emotional investment people make – nurseries/ play rooms made, toys bought or made, little faces imagined, the feeling you get when you can just feel your baby tugging at your legs or feel them heavy in your lap… when they are still just a distant hope. It is a big deal to give up that hope. not just that hope but all future hopes of a family. It is a really big deal.
So where are we in 2012? our file in Thailand for 2 years now?
well, we have a house that is now ready for a baby (almost) yet we have no baby. Do we feel closer? well, we should – in truth we are much more likely to get ‘the call’ this year (or next year) then in years past – we had buckly’s in years past. So I think we should be feeling positive.
But lets just say that after 2 years, or if we go all the way back to the begining, all the way to Oct 2008 then after 44 months of this process… it is a little bit hard to do cartwheels. We are just happy that we still feel positive enough to keep going!
I dont really think I dream about my babies any more. I mean I do have feelings about them (sitting on my lap – pulling on my leg etc) but no I dont seem to have dreams anymore. I dont know what that means. Maybe it means I need to be more procative? That I need to make my own destiny perhaps?