Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Great Weekend!

We had a great weekend, filled with discussions about adoption and the Philippines.
It's really nice to get a chance to talk about the adoption process openly, and to share our experiences. It makes it all feel more real somehow. Up to this point, the whole adoption process has felt a little surreal, and abstract...but, meeting other people going through the same process, and talking to people of Filipino heritage and background makes it feel more real.

The weekend started off on Friday evening. My husband came home from work, and we had a nice quiet evening together, just the two of us. We hadn't had that in a long time! We just did a BBQ outside...the weather was nice, and we were able to sit outside on our deck till the early hours of the morning, talking about a variety of subjects. It was wonderful to get the chance to catch up! It felt like we kind of found each other again, after all the stress of moving.

On Saturday night, we had dinner with Tangie and Michel. They're also adopting from the Philippines, and we've been in touch online for a few months now. It was nice to finally meet in person, and to get to know both of them a little better! I look forward to seeing them again soon. It's fun to think that someday in the near future, our kids might play together :0)

On Sunday, my friend M and her step-mother L organized a lunch, so that we could meet L's brother. He is married to a Filipino lady, C, and they have a son named P together. P is a very handsome, intelligent, calm, laid-back six year old. He and his mom were both a little shy, but they are very nice, and very warm people. C and P spoke in Tagalog to each other, which was nice to hear. I had brought my book, Filipino Friends, with me. C even sang a song from the book for us, a lullaby in Tagalog! It was really wonderful to hear what it's supposed to sound like. It was very touching. Watching P and the other children playing, I couldn't help but look into the future and think to myself that someday, that would be our child we're proudly watching play :0) The lunch was really great. We talked a lot about Filipino culture and habits, and learned a lot of things! Interestingly enough, P has had trouble with his teeth too...he's not adopted, but did grow up in the Philippines the first years of his life. Apparently, it might have to do with the high amount of sugar in the milk in the Philippines. Anyway, that's what C believes. We also learned that kidnapping of foreign children is a big problem over there. A woman should not be walking on the streets by herself...especially if she's with a child, and if she's obviously a foreigner. Also, rice is the main food staple...they eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Filipinos love music. Clothing in the Philippines is very cheap, and good quality. They really recommended that we buy lots of children clothing over there. C is a great bargain hunter, and she says that you can find high quality copies of designer labels at a very good price in the Philippines. They will spend the summer at their house in the Philippines next year. They invited us to come and visit them, if we ever travel that way. It would be great if we get our referral and travel to the Philippines next summer, while they are there!! We will definitely try to go and see them, if the timing works out :0)
Of course, I realize that I have no control over this, but I sure can wish and hope and pray for those dates!

So, that was our weekend! We got to talk a lot about the Philippines, and about the adoption process. One thing I'm going to have to get used to is people asking me the money question..."so, how much did it cost you?" It makes me feel like a rotten person, like I'm buying my child. It makes it sound like the child is merchandise. I read about this question in a book on adoption, and I didn't think people would actually ask us that...but, sure enough....one of the first questions people are asking me when I tell them we're adopting is: "so, how much was it?" Maybe I am being naive, but I like to think that my husband and I are providing a good life, as well as many opportunities and advantages they may otherwise not have had. Everything is very above board with our agency. That's why the whole adoption process takes so long, to make sure the child is indeed available for international adoption. Yes, we're adopting for partly selfish reasons as well; we would very much like to become parents, and have been wanting a baby for many years...at the same time, I like to think that we're helping a child have a better chance in life. This is why many Filipino women put their children up for adoption in the first place...to give them a better chance to flourish and succeed. We have the means to take care of a child; financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically we are well placed to provide for a child! Our child need never feel guilty, or like he owes us something...on the other hand, I don't want to feel like a bad person either for having paid money to adopt a child. Children are not a merchandise, and should not be sold like objects. It's a very touchy subject. I am still looking for a good way to answer that famous money question...


  1. "The Filipinos love music." - SO true. I swear they are born loving music. Ezekiel sings his heart out any chance he gets. He'll be a karaoke superstar someday.

    The money question. Ugh. I still never know how to handle it. A couple of days ago, the doctor's nurse asked us, but it turns out she was asking b/c she's interested in adoption. Even in that case, I still just give a vague answer about the financial assistance you can find for adoption, because adoption costs vary SO much. But I feel the exact same way as you - it makes my stomach drop when I know someone is going to ask that question. It makes me feel weird talking about it with people I don't know.

  2. Ugh, the money question. I have found that most people are just curious about the adoption process in general and most have no idea how expensive it is. Most people I just flat out tell them a ballpark figure when they ask. I figure this way, they know how serious we are about expanding our family. You always hear the stigma, "people adopt internationally to get cute kids and because it is the trendy thing to do". In the early stages of our adoption we seemed to get that a lot because people couldn't understand why we would want to adopt because we had two girls of our own and I had "easy" pregnancies. If anyone was just in to the trend of adoption, I doubt they would be forking over the amount of money that it takes to complete an international adoption. Coming up with the adoption finances has been a prayerful journey along with the test of how frugally we can live in order to save the amount of money needed to bring our son home. In all honesty, the sacrifes that we have made financially seem small when we look at the big picture and the amazing miracle of how we are going to be a family through adoption.

    PS- sorry, I was completely rambling. :)

  3. Wow, you sure learned alot about the Philippines during your visit with your friends family. There is just so much to learn that I don't know where to start.

    I don't get the money question as much as I get people tell me that I'm adopting so that I can be like Angelina! Because that's the only reason anyone would want to adopt! Crazy!

  4. Did he sing Bahay Kubo for you? I sing that with my daughter and she loves it -- plus it's a good way to learn some of the vegetable names in Tagalog :-) The money question still seems intrusive to me, but I try to tailor my answer depending on who's asking. With family, I tend to be more explicit, making sure they know there are costs associated with the various aspects of the process (pre-adoption required classes, homestudy, fingerprinting, psych eval, etc etc, post-placement evaluations and reports etc). I'm sure some were sorry they even asked. he he. With people I don't really know, I try to politely ask why they want to know, then give more or less of an answer depending on their response. I agree with you though...it's a hard question to get used to. btw, I have not heard of any extraordinary focus on abductions of foreign children. Kidnapping for ransom is not unheard of there, but I wouldn't say a foreigner with a child shouldn't go walking by themselves so long as they take the usual common sense precautions :-) I am glad you are finding ways to connect. I take many things for granted and it is a good reminder that some things are not a given.

  5. When people ask me the money question I tell them the answer because I know it. Of course the whole adoption process isn't a fixed price for anyone because there are several variables involved. I just like to answer questions about adoption. Of course we are not buying our children but actually paying for a service - like when a mother gives birth there are sevices involved that must be paid by someone. Like most services there are some profits involved, but my experiences with adoption agencies and their networks shows me they aren't getting rich with the fees we pay. They are often just getting by - especially in the Philippines.