Sunday, October 18, 2009

Of Race and Ethnicity

Our research into adoption agencies and the adoption process is continuing. Some things are becoming very clear as we dig into the research. And some options are getting eliminated just by who we are and where we are.

We are not US citizens. We are permanent residents, and because of that, international adoption is almost ruled out for us. It’s ironical and sad that this route is so difficult for us, because as far as adopting a baby in India would go, we would be close to the top of the list of preferred adoptive parents for the orphanages and the adoption system in India. We are Indian citizens, living overseas. Most orphanages in India love that combination. However, the immigration rules for the US will not allow us to bring into the country a baby adopted internationally unless we “co-reside with the baby in the country of adoption for 2 years”.

That almost clearly eliminates the international adoption route for us. That is, unless we decide to uproot ourselves from here and go back to India, and we don’t think we can do that. Everything in life is at such a crossroad right now anyway. We want to keep as much constant as we can. So we are trying to keep our home and place of residence constant and work around available options.

As we began “interviewing” agencies and facilitators for adoption, and started asking questions, another piece of information started becoming more and more obvious. It will be almost impossible for us to be matched with a baby of Indian origin. Simply because there aren’t many Indian babies that become available for adoption.

We understand why. It’s cultural. We could get VERY lucky and get matched with an Indian baby, but chances of this actually happening are very slim. As part of our routine questions to the adoption agencies we are talking to, we always ask if they have placed any babies of Indian origin. Most have not had any Indian baby placements. One has, but the frequency has been 2 in the last 8 years. So that’s another option that we see as almost non-existent.

So not only am I having to process the loss of the biological connection, I am also having to process the loss of the ethnic / race connection. We thought it would help us if we spoke with other families that were built through transracial adoptions. Agencies are willing to refer us to families, but they are all families where the adoptive parents are Caucasian / American, and the adopted babies are ethnic. We have so far not been able to find a combination of ethnic (Indian) parents with Caucasian / American children. I had mentioned this to the hyno-therapist when I had my session with her last month. She told me to think of DH and me as pioneers in this field. She said: “If you can’t find the role models you are looking for, you become that role model”

Interesting thought, but still it has been a lot to process. DH has a very wise head on his shoulders. He processes situations like this very practically, and once he is done processing, he is ready to proceed. I, on the other hand, have had many apprehensions. I am trying to deal with each apprehension, and I believe that I am making progress. And with that, I think I am coming to the place where I am accepting that our family is going to be created in a unique way. I am trying to stay focused that the goal is to become a parent, as opposed to the goal being to become pregnant.

We have started talking to our families about their thoughts on transracial adoption. I have spoken with my brother and sister, and during both conversations, got the complete support that I wanted. While I was talking to my sister, I had a very powerful vision of DH and me visiting India with our adopted baby – and in my vision it was a little girl with curly hair and a beautiful laughing face – a very “white” baby, with chubby cheeks. In my vision my entire family was fawning over the baby, and everyone was just so happy! It made my heart skip a beat, and then I realized this was the first time I had actually envisioned an adopted baby in our lives, and more over, this was the first time I had envisioned my family with my baby (biological or otherwise).

I think we are finally ready to move ahead with starting to fill out paperwork and commit to a home study to start with. I am not freaking out about this any more, and I feel we can do it.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cleaning the slate

I promised my readers that I would write a post about my hypnotherapy session in detail, so here goes.

I had first heard about “hypnosis as a therapy” from a couple of "now ex-smokers" who claimed they did one session of hypnosis and had completely quit smoking after that. One of the people had been smoking for over 20 years, and had never been able to quit, but one session of hypnosis did wonders for him, and he has not had the urge for even a single puff after that.

I always wondered how that worked. I mean, what can one session of any kind of therapy do? And what is hypnotherapy anyway? One would imagine that the therapist would hypnotize you. And then what? Do they “make you” do goofy things? So I was always very wary of any such therapy. I mean, I’m wary of regular therapy too! Perhaps that explains why I have never been to a therapist so far.

But then Jill mentioned that she was considering hypno-therapy geared towards fertility. And she wrote a couple of posts about her experiences with the sessions she took. I found myself more than curious. As I read and researched, I realized that this was different. They don’t “hypnotize” you. In fact, your session could be done on the phone! From the comfort of your own home. Thank you Jill for sharing your experience!

I knew I needed help – there was no doubt about that. I needed help to sort out my thoughts, and I needed help to be able to decide on my path forward. I decided to try one session of hypnotherapy, because I felt like that would help me on the sub conscious level, and that’s where I needed help. So I set up an appointment.

The therapist and I spoke for about an hour. I went over my IF background, and told her that I was having trouble staying positive any more. And that I was letting my negativity take over many aspects of my life. And at the crossroads where we were (ie, “Where do we go from here?”), I wanted to somehow get that positivism back into my thinking. I knew we had some very big decisions in front of us, and I did not want my bad energy affecting my decisions. I wanted us to be able to plan our future with a balanced mind. In short, I wanted a clean slate.

The therapist asked questions about our backgrounds, and our families, our religion, our culture etc. She commented that I seemed to be quite “left brained” – and that she got from the fact that I tried to have my life totally planned out and in control. I got my education, got married, got a job, bought a house etc – all left brain activities. She said that trying to have a child is part left brain, part right brain activity. The right brain or the creative side of your brain plays a very important role in TTC, because one has to be able to visualize the child that one is creating. And one should not forget that the child is creating you too – ie, the child is making you a mother. It is a very important transition. She said it seemed like over the years of TTC and IF treatment, I had let the left brain take control – to take TTC as a project and get the treatment done, one after the other, one step after the other. She was going to try and “wake up” my right brain, so that there could be balance on both sides.

She said it was natural for someone going through repeated treatment cycles to let go of the harmony of the body, mind and spirit. And it is very important to have the body, mind and spirit work in harmony. 

She also said that I needed to thank my uterus / ovaries for all the stuff I had put them through – all the IVFs, the D&Cs, the surgeries etc. And it struck me that I had spent the entire last year “not trusting” my uterus. Quite contrary to what she was saying. She asked me what I thought my uterus would say to me if I were to “meet my uterus for coffee”. My first reaction was “I think my uterus would take out a gun and shoot me in the face for putting it through everything I have”.

I told her I was at the junction where we have to decide what to do next, and no option seems easy. She said that she obviously could not make my decisions for me, but she would try and help me clean my slate enough so I could make my decisions myself, sensibly.

I asked her if I appeared like too much of a gone case, or if there was any hope for me. She said I was exactly where I was supposed to be, given everything I had gone through. She then sent me an audio file that I have been listening to. She said that I should not feel pressure to have a particular kind of reaction to the audio file. If I “fell asleep”, it was ok. If my brain felt alert, it was ok. Basically, whatever reaction I have, is the reaction I am supposed to have. No rights and wrongs. I would gain from the recording any which way.

And I do believe it is working. More than anything, I am determined to make it work, because I know I need it to work. I need a clean slate to be able to move on. My slate is not sparkly clean yet, but I believe it’s getting its first erasing.

If anyone is interested, you can check out the hypnotherapist’s website here.

I have done one session so far, and I'm not sure if I will do another one, or more. I'm enjoying the calm place I'm in, and I hope it lasts.