Sunday, October 07, 2007

Summer of adoption

Hello there everyone! I see it has been a long time since I posted. I haven't really given up on blogging - I just haven't gotten around to it. And I'm sorry I missed some of your comments (sorry Jenn!). For some reason my email is acting up and I'm not getting all my comments (which are my reminders to get on here and post!).

This summer has been one of stress and great joy. AV was in counseling all summer to think over the issue of adoption. Deciding she wanted to be adopted was soooooo very stressful for her. She started having behavior issues, nightmares and frequent headaches/stomach aches. I was getting really worried about her. Together her counselor, social worker and I reframed the purpose of the counseling from “I have to decide about adoption” to “everyone would like your input on guardianship vs. adoption.”

While AV thought of adoption as her sole decision, she felt tremendous guilt and responsibility toward her parents. When the issue of decision making was placed upon the court (who used input from her, the social worker, her counselor, her parents and their attorneys, etc. to come to its decision) she felt much relief from her self-imposed sense of responsibility.

AV made the decision at the end of the summer that she would like to be adopted and the plan was officially changed in court last month. Yeah! Because of some legal issues with the birth parents, we're probably 8-12 months away from the actual, legal adoption. But the process is started and we know what the future holds!

In June we celebrated one year together as a family and we had our picture taken. Thought you'd like to see us.

Once AV gave her adoption "input", she became a different child. She hasn't stopped singing. She's a cheerful, bouncy, happy, giggly girl. We've had minimal behavior problems. I keep waiting for the after-decision-honeymoon period to end, but she is still this new, happy child. It's like a huge weight was lifted. It's breathtaking to experience the difference. I know I'm not explaining it well. While I've always seen AV as a basically good-natured child, since her decision to want to be adopted, it's like a floodgate of sunlight has been released inside her. She just beams! I will tell you, it's just humbling to be a part of such a journey.

Andrea made her decision right before school started. A couple weeks into school, I started noticing her school papers coming home with her first name and my last name. She is so excited about being adopted, she just started switching her name! At that point, we hadn't really talked a lot about name changes but since then we've had lots of discussions. And now, I am very happy to say, we have decided on her new name - AJM.

Remember when I posted AV didn't know her own middle name? In a weird twist, she doesn't have a last name in common with either her birth mother or her birth father. Apparently her dad did some genealogical research and decided he had an incorrect last name so he changed his last name with the intention of changing AV's at a later point. OR he gave AV this new last name and never got around to changing his. Or some such thing.

Anyway, the result is she never had a last name in common with her family and she never really knew her middle name. So a new name that identifies her as my child and as part of an extended family? A very big deal.

Did you ever keep lists of baby names you wanted to eventually name your kids? I did. I had all sorts of great names like Acacia Dawn. When I married I/we chose Diandra Joy for a girl and Daylen Asher for a boy. Of course, I never had children so I've never been able to name any child. With AV, I have the privilege of naming her A. Joy M. She keeps her first name her birth mom gave her, she gets a new middle name from this mommy that will constantly tell her how glad I am to have her in my life and she gets a last name that forever and always ties her into a common family.