Thursday, August 30, 2007

Open Book Answers - Part 4 (by Heather)

This Post's Questions -- Haiti & Hernias & Heck-Who-Knows?!!!!

ManyBlessings said... Do you ever consider going back to Haiti for another adoption? Or are your boys the completion of your family? Does one of your little guys have an umbilical hernia (the nurse in me has wondered for awhile)?

Hello ManyBlessings! We do consider going back to Haiti for another adoption. When we went to get Kyle and Owen at the orphanage Braydon and I each had about 30 beautiful children hanging onto every single inch of us, and longingly looking up into our eyes saying "Mama? Papi?" Taking only two felt selfish, like we should be doing more, and we wanted to each bring home about 10 kids from that place --- it would be hard to not consider adopting more after an experience like that. However, we don't think we will adopt from Haiti again. Mainly this is because we both (Braydon and Heather) feel very very strongly that if we have a third child we want to have it from the time it is newborn. It is very hard for me to write that even now - because I feel so selfish about that. There are so many children who need to be adopted (in Haiti and everywhere), and so it feels so self-centered for me to say 'no' to that. But here's the real deal: When we were planning and doing Kyle & Owen's adoptions, I didn't think I would feel the way I do about this -- so this has been surprising for me -- but I deeply deeply long for a newborn baby. I see tiny newborns and want to weep (still--- and it has been 2.5 years since we brough K & O home!) It is hard (impossible?) to explain, but I feel the loss of not having had Kyle and Owen from the time they were born. In some ways I feel that I can relate (just a teeny tiny bit) to what it must be like to be 'infertile' (I HATE that phrase), i.e., unable to birth a child. I feel like I really missed out on something (not to mention what Kyle and Owen missed out on) by not having my babies from the start. We are unsure as to whether our boys are the completion of our family. We had always wanted three children, and had always hoped/planned to have one biological child. I/We have never tried to get pregnant so we don't know if we're able. But right now we're considering having a third child, and if we do it we will probably be via the bio. route. If we decide we are committed to a third child, but we don't go the bio. route (either by choice or because we find after trying that we can't get pregnant), then we have already decided that we will adopt a newborn domestically. The honest truth of it is that we are so maxed out right now (in terms of our crazy fast paced lifestyle mainly due to the fact that we both have serious careers) that it feels crazy to even be considering adding a third child to the mix. Our thoughts and our feelings don't line up on this. We think that it is totally ridiculous to even consider a third child. But... for some reason (some things in life are impossible to explain - right? - well, this is one of them), Braydon and I both feel that we want a third. I could actually see K & O going either way on this. I think they'd be happy to stay just a duo. But I also think they'd be happy to become a trio. They say they want a baby (they have been expressing that to us for months and months and months). But they are still too little --they totally don't get it what the implications of that would be!!! So... we will see. We go back and forth on it every day. We will see, we will see, we will see.

Re: umbilical hernia --- I have always found it interesting that no one has previously asked/commented about it. I don't try to hide it, so it is always noticeable to me that people don't ask about it (probably the "hush hush" something *different* mentality, but I probably shouldn't assume that). Anyway, it is interesting about the belly buttons----Kyle and Owen had pretty severely distended bellies when we first got them (due to malnourishment). They also both had herniated belly buttons -- the "haitian belly buttons" as "Malia's Mama" calls them. :) Our pediatrician here is an adoption specialist and had already explained everything to us, so we were not surprised to see it when we got them, but still -- K & O's were soooo severe that it was kind of hard to look at. The distended bellies due to malnutrition pushed through the hernias and made their belly buttons even HUGER than usual in Haiti. Check out the above photo. Owen is the one closest in the photo. You can see how severe his umbilical hernia is. Kyle's, actually, was even worse than Owens (if you can believe that). Once we got them home, after several months, our pediatrician did refer us to a pediatric surgeon because she (our pediatrician) said that in all of her years of working w/ orphans she had never seen such severe cases. We went to the specialist. He said that if they hadn't naturally repaired themselves by the time the boys were 4 then he wanted to do surgery. Kyle's has healed almost 100%. He has a beautiful perfect precious belly button now. Owen's is still distended (as you can see in photos on our blog). At this point my guess is that we will do the surgery a year from now because I don't think Owen's will completely heal. At their 3-Year-Old check up last week our pediatrician said that she thinks it has healed about 75% but she's not sure if it will be able to completely heal on its own. But the surgery is purely for cosmetic reasons -- so that other kids don't tease him and he doesn't feel self-conscious of it -- there is no actual medical problem, per se. So, ultimately it is very interesting that Kyle's healed so well (given that his was actually WORSE in the beginning), and Owen's is the one still visibly herniated. I have to add here--- it is also amazing to me how *LITTLE* K & O comment on the differences in their belly buttons! They are both aware that Owen's is "an outie" (that's what we've called it for/with them), and Kyle's is now "an innie"... but it has been left at that. We've gone out of our way to not make a big thing out of the belly button issues, and to not try to "hide" Owens (thus, we don't refrain from posting photos of him shirtless on this blog, etc.), and we conscientiously act like everything is perfectly normal and natural (which, as a nurse, you know, it actually is!)... I think that contributes to their lack of self-consciousness about it. But still, I'm surprised that they haven't made a bigger thing of it.


Life in Fitzville said...

I am loving reading all these answers.

And to the first answer here, I totally get where you are coming from, even though we are coming at it from very different points of view. I gave birth to 6, so I had plenty of newborns in my life. But with Pipo getting here at almost 9 years old, it breaks my heart to not have known him all that time. I am happy that he had all that time with his birth family, enough that he remembers his mom, and we are still in touch with his grandmother. But it's still hard. And every baby I hold, every toddler I play with, it all makes me wonder what he was like as a baby. He is old enough to talk about this a lot. When the other kids ask about their first words, their first steps, their birth stories, I always ask Pipo about his younger years. He remembers little things, and it helps. But it doesn't take away that ache for me.

Heather said...

Hi there girlfriend! Thank you for this comment -- it really helps to know I'm not alone in these feelings. Thank you. The way you describe it: "that ache" -- that is perfect. That's what it feels like for me to look at tiny babies, an ache -- both an ache because I feel such a loss about missing that part of K & O's lives, and also an ache to have the experience of a newborn baby *myself*. Thanks again for your comment. love, Heather

Mayhem said...

Hey, Heather and Braydon! Well, I sure hope you do decide to have three kids, since it would be SO exciting, you're both pretty darn capable, and you're such good parents you really should parent as many kiddos as you can!! (That said, I know you'll make the best decision for your family.)

Even though we've officially decided on no more kids, part of my heart is still wanting more. I am at peace with not having more NOW (or even for several years), but not with NEVER having one more. We'll see. Maybe my heart will be changed while I'm waiting. Plus, the boys are so much fun now. It's great to be able to enjoy our time with them so much!

I'm glad you're not worried about the umbilical hernia, because it's really not a big deal. It seems that some parents push for surgery that may not be necessary because they're so concerned about how it looks. If it looks different it can't possibly be okay, can it?!?!

ManyBlessings said...

Thanks so much for answering my questions.

I understand that baby longing way too well. It is very hard when you haven't had a child since birth. I've even gone so far as to imagine what it would have been like to have been the one to give birth to Peanut. Crazy, I know, but that longing for our babies is so maternal and so strong.

It in no way diminishes my love or respect for her mom in Guatemala, it's just such a deep part of who we are as mother and daughter. When I rock her and she cuddles into the crook of my neck, I close my eyes and breathe in her scent and I imagine holding her as a small babe. I just sink into that moment. Sigh...

And thanks for the answer regarding Owen's cute little outie. Like you say, I've seen them so often on Haitian children and have never had the chance to ask anyone.

Thanks so much for this blog. I feel like I've learned so much from you guys about respect and taking joy in who our children are. You have truly blessed me.

d:) said...

Wow, Heather am I enjoying getting to know you. I so know what you mean about the "ache". I look at K&A and wonder what the first 9 months of their little lives were like. Unfortunately we will never know. I still have moments of extreme sadness that I was unable to experience the joy of being pregnant and carrying a baby full term. I have pangs of guilt for not being overly excited when I hear a friend or co-worker is expecting. I find myself thinking "why them"? "Why not me"? I know it sounds so selfish and so ungrateful. I would love to adopt more, but I am running against the clock with my age.

Thank you for sharing today.

Leslie said...

Wow--that is so interesting, Heather. Kathia has an umbilical hernia too and I have been thinking a lot about that. Mostly about how it is absolutely no big deal at all where she is now; it's pretty normal and she is accepted as having a "outie!" And about how here it potentially will be a big deal (for peers, etc.) Which is really painful to think about, the superficiality of our culture and already wanting to cry at the thought of anyone "being mean to her" when she is so wonderful and delightful. Sorry, that was a tangent, but I was really interested in your thoughts/ experiences on that, as well as what you said about them sometimes resolving themselves.

Kristina said...

I never noticed it in the boys' pictures. I guess because the boys are so full of life that that is the focus of all the pictures!

There is a little girl at our O who has one too. It is wierd to get used to at first. But I like the way you have chosen to handle it all!

Brittany said...

I had noticed the belly button but I just figured it was one of those fabled outties that I hear about but have yet to see, so I didn't think much more about it.