11:07 PM

Somewhere Between

I am sure you have all been hearing the buzz about the movie Somewhere Between. I was so happy to see it was just aired on our PBS station and even better it was released on their website in full so I can watch it over and over.  It is so living up to the hype.  I loved it, I sobbed through it, I was so proud of it, I am so happy it exists and it says things that need to be said.  Thing our own community can't even talk about openly.  I would give it 10 Oscars just for the brave girls who share their stories.  It gave me hope for a brighter future for my daughter because of the girls who are travelling this road ahead of her.  I am comforted to know she will have them all when the time comes, their strength is astounding.  I am calling it now, these girls will play a part in bringing down a government, they will make change.

 Enough of my blabbering here is the link:
http://ww3.tvo.org/video/183287/somewhere-between

GO WATCH!!!

5:50 PM

A daughter's cry heard around the world

They told me that the pain of waiting would disappear when Elora came home.  Although the pain has disappeared the memory of the wait is still very vivid.  It stayed with me and it changed me, or maybe it was the whole process of adoption, what I have seen and learned and the people I have met that changed me.  It is hard to nail it down exactly the only thing I know is that I was meant for this and I was not complete until the moment that she was in my arms.

I have known my baby daughter would be from China from about the age of 11.  Many things changed in my life, my career dreams, my life partners, my self identity, my priorities.  All along the only constant I ever had was a dream about a daughter named Elora.  She was my first child.  The dream of her was so long it simply became a part of me, I was an adoptive mother to be.  Then I became a biological mother, but I was still a mom in waiting.

As it turns out the month she was conceived in her birth mother's womb was the same time she became very real to us as well, it was when we started our adoption journey.  When she was born we started our home study to send to China, our dream was also born, taking form, leading us to her.  When she entered the orphanage I began to wake in the night because I though I could hear her crying.  These wakings continued and intensified until the day she was placed in my arms.  When she cried her very unique yowl I recognized it immediately from my countless sleepless nights.

Her absence was felt by me so strongly.  There was just a hole in me where she was supposed to be.  Nothing could fill that space not even the cutest most lovable little son in the world.  There were times I thought I might be crazy.  I could not understand why I was not like other moms.  I loved him but he just was not her, and I needed her.  I worried that I would never be able to fill the hole, that countless children would still leave me wanting, that I would wait forever for the next only to discover that it was not enough either.  I worried this hole was a sign that I was damaged permanently and I was just confusing it with a need for my daughter.

I feared I would never get to her.  I feared she would be ill or die, that China would reject us, that something in our life would change and prevent us from completing the adoption, that the program would close or that we would never get a match and we would be in the waiting limbo for years.  I lived in constant fear especially after I saw her face for the first time.

Then she was in my arms.  There was instant feeling of relief, it was like I let out a breath I had been holding for years.  Then she cried and I recognized her, my daughter.  Just like that, the hole filled, gone with out a trace, only a memory.  I am an atheist, a skeptic and a realist.  I don't believe in fate and destiny and I certainly don't believe that my child was meant to have so much loss in her life just so that she could be mine.  Adoption has challenged every thing I believe about the universe.  As much as I am a skeptic I can tell you though with out a doubt that I found the only daughter for me, the only one who could fill that hole.  I feel incredibly, astronomically lucky.  Of all the children in all the world I found her, and that alone is enough to change your core.  She has rocked my world.  She has brought me an inner peace I have never before known.  This is the absolute best thing I have ever done.  I am incredibly proud of my self and my determination and confidence along the very long journey.  I would never have reached my full potential as a human with out her.

9:12 AM

Life book - for toddlers

It was pretty clear to me from the start that Elora is very emotionally in tune.  She has found a way to express to us her feelings even when there was a language barrier.  She was fully aware of the permanence involved when Nanny brought her to us.  She had seen her other friends leave her room never to come back and when her turn came she knew full well that her big day had arrived.  In many ways she was very prepared for that big change, not happy about it, but prepared. 

I mentioned one of the big things that helped her to form her attachment to me was to watch the video of the first time we met.  Nanny is speaking in the back ground telling her we are her mama and baba forever now and that she has to go.  Hearing Nanny confirm that we are hers is comforting to her, so we watched it over and over and over.  On bad days we would sit for hours or more replaying the six minute clip.  She misses Nanny and wanted to hear her but I think she also needed to hear the story of what was happening to her from some one she trusted.  This was the first clue that I had better hurry up and get that life book made.

Back at the beginning when things were hard I would rock Elora for hours stroking her hair trying to comfort her and I would sing Baby Mine.  It is a lullaby I sang every night to my son, sometimes during the wait I would sing it to him in the dark with tears streaming down my face longing to sing it to the daughter who was still not home.  This is our song, the one that will forever belong to my children and I. 
Baby mine dry your eyes, baby mine don't you cry.  
All those same people who scold you, what they'd give just for the right to hold you.  
If they knew all about you, they'd end up loving you too.
I sang her this song until I lost my voice.  She would howl and scream and I would just sing, to keep my sanity, to keep my breath coming and even.  After those hard months had past, I stopped singing that song.  Honestly I needed a new theme song.  It was more bitter than sweet to me at that moment.  So it took me very much  by surprise when Elora began "singing" the song to me.  It had been months since she heard the song, she did not have any words yet but the tune was near perfect.  We figured out when she would sing to me it was her cue that she needed some mommy time so again we would sit and rock and sing.  Sometimes these moments would lead to a little grieving.  I was amazed that she was able to seek out these moments from me so that she could find a safe place to let out some emotions.  Second big clue that we needed to get that book done.

I struggled with that darn book.  At this stage it is what they call the three photo story.  It's not even the real and truly life book.  But I struggled and I am not too sure why.  It just seemed so hard to put into words, hard to get the exact words and really hard that I didn't know all the facts my self.  In the end I just used the exact words from the book Parenting Your Internationally Adopted Child.  It is simple but effective.  She brings me her book to read to her several times a day.  It is her treasure.  The only thing in our whole house that she refuses to share with her brother, rightly so, although he is very interested as well.  It is really helping.  It is helping her to feel grounded and safe.  It is easing the night terrors.  It is helping her to understand what happened to her.

Last night the most beautiful thing happened.  She lay in my lap stroked my hair and she sang to me "be mine, mama, dada"  Yes, little miss, always.  We belong together.

9:41 AM

Proceeding ahead with caution

This has been weighing heavily on me since the photo stealing incident, but I have decided to keep blogging.  I am proceeding with my eyes wide open.  The main reason I have chosen to continue is because I need the community still.  I need a venue to express and connect because we have one more big adoption hurdle to cross.  A birth parent search.  I have been working on searching for months already, but we have come up empty handed so there was not much to talk about here.  Just the act in of it's self though is INCREDIBLY emotional.  I want to connect with others through this part of the journey.
Some other things I took into consideration is the awareness and positive that come from having Elora's photo shared so much (it's been shared over 20,000 times and counting at this point).  As scary as that is to have her photo out of my control, I am monitoring it and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.  I know this is not been the case for other Bai parents who had their images stolen, and that is something that is my biggest fear about continuing forward.  Another point that I am taking into consideration is if a photo of my son was shared and talked about this many times, I would be nothing but proud (we are considering letting him be a model/actor).  This was food for thought was I laying my own "baggage" about how people stare at her on to the situation?  I am hoping that if I model my reaction to this event Elora will see that embracing her gawkers and choosing to see the positive of the situation is the way to rise above and be the bigger person.  She will always be stunning and she will always turn heads.  I understand that she never signed up to be a poster child for albinism awareness, but the way I see it this will just always exist so I better find a way to help her rise up and overcome it with confidence.  With that being said this blog will disappear when she enters school, to protect her privacy from her peers.

Although it is absolutely impossible to prevent your photos from being re-posted I have taken some steps to make it a bit harder.  Here is a tutorial on how to prevent your photos from being downloadable:
http://www.beinggeeks.com/2009/02/how-to-disable-right-click-in-blogger-blogspot.html
Thanks for that Gem!

And here is a tutuorial for how to monitor where your photos are being used on the web. 
http://www.kevinandamanda.com/whatsnew/tutorials/how-to-see-if-your-photos-are-being-used-on-another-site.htmlThis was facinating, apperently you can do a google search by image and it will find your image on other peoples pages. I tried it, it works!

I will not be sharing as much about my photography hobby.  I was told that the better your photos the more likely you are to have it stolen and shared.  So buddies new and old if you want to see more of us and want to take our friendship to the next level :) send me an email at angelika22@hotmail.com and we can be facebook friends.