Wednesday 10 December 2008

Enough with the knitting, already.... an update (of sorts)

  • Yesterday, we got our official invitation to Adoption Approval Panel on January 7. This is good and scary in equal measure. Good, because it's nice to see the date in writing, but scary because... well, it's a panel of 12 people sitting around our table and deciding our fate. Do I need to explain why that's scary?

  • Last Saturday, we went to an Ethiop.ian fell.owship group at a ch.urch nearby. We'd been given a starting time and a contact phone number, but the starting time was wrong (by two hours) and we later found out that the person at the other end of the contact phone number was actually out of the country for a month, so we weren't able to warn anyone we were hoping to attend. And it seemed really important to attend - making links with local Ethiopian, especially other Christians, is super-high on our list of things we really want to do. But, wow. You know that article lots of people have bee talking about lately? About how in a transracial adoption, the parents need to be the ones who are willing to be uncomfortable? Well, lets just say that we earned a LOT of uncomfortableness points that day. Really, a LOT. We had NO idea of what to expect, except that it would be a) long and b) all in Amharic. We'd hoped to sit at the back and be as inconspicuous as possible, but in the end there were only about 15 people there so fading into the background wasn't an option at all. It was an extremely strange experience. The people there were extremely nice to us, but clearly thought we were MAD for turning up. And maybe they were right. What can I say? Potential adopters often make the point that it can be difficult to make 'links' with people from ex-pat communities, because the desire for contact is one-way. We would love to get to know these people, and would happily drive for quite a distance to be their friends, but they don't really have any motivation to feel the same way about us. They already know loads of English people through work and all the other aspects of their everyday lives - why ON EARTH would they particularly want to be our friends? This felt uncomfortably apparent to me on that day. While people were very kind to us, and one woman in particular went out of he way to translate for us, I rather felt that we were detracting from their togetherness rather than adding anything. We'd decided to come clean about why we were there, if asked (insert hollow laugh - why would they NOT ask what two non-amharic-speaking ferenjes were doing there?) One particularly awful moment was when someone asked 'so why do you want to adopt from Ethiopia in particular?' My very honest answer about the rich culture and beautiful country only elicited a gently raised eyebrow and a long silence. I wanted to die of awkwardness. I'm still not sure what would have been a better answer. Did I put my foot in it? And of course, I have no idea whether the people I was speaking to have the first idea about adoption - possibly not, and the idea of wanting to support a child's search for identity through positive interactions with and messages about his / her birth country and culture might seem like so much hot air. I'm still really glad we went, and we are hoping to go again (but not every week!) We met one man who is responsible for a partnership between that church and a local church in Ethiopia for sponsoring children through school, and that is something we really want to get involved in. And again, the people were extremely kind to us. But it certainly wasn't easy. It made me realise, more than ever, how much I would like our child to learn Amharic if at all possible. I don't want him or her to feel as awkward around their countrymen as we did that day.

  • I have a cold, and I feel like someone has poured concrete into my head.

  • (Okay, this one is about knitting) I have knitted 9 of the required 58 squares for my blanket. I chose the pattern because it was all garter stitch (ie knitting for morons) and am a trifle bored already.

  • (This one is about knitting too) Due to abovementioned boredom, I took a blanket break and decided to knit a little cat. I looked everywhere to find some wool that was the same colour as my cat, so this could be a mini-kevin. Here he is: Now he's almost finished (I haven't put the whiskers on yet because i need some cream wool) I'm not quite sure what to do with him. You'd think it wouldn't be hard - after all, who DOESN'T need a squarish knitted cat with no legs? I'm not sure whether it is for hypothetical future baby or not - it's possibly not robust enough to stand very much dribbling.

  • It's nearly Christmas. I haven't really done any Christmas shopping. I have NO IDEA what to get for J. I wonder if he wants a knitted cat....?


  1. I love your blog! I am a corchet-coper... not half as leathal as smoking or drinking to deal with stress, and you can display the results :)
    I applaud your willingness to get out there and be uncomfortable.
    Your child is a lucky kiddo whoever they are!!

  2. Caroline, you guys are so brave for showing up and feeling awkward. I'm glad they were nice to you. Not to sound obtuse, but your commitment and heart for going through all this is inspiring. You are really going to be a wonderful mother.

    Plus, a mini-moriarty? I officially throw myself at your feet. :)


  3. I understand the desire to want to be more connected with your future child's birth country. Maybe you could also look for a group of adoptive parents of the same country. Sometimes connecting with other adoptive parents and sharing how they teach their children about their heritage is a good thing too. is a wonderful community too.

  4. Congrats on having a date for approval! I can imagine how nerve-wracking this process is and hope all goes great for you!!

    I am so touched at your willingness to step outside your comfort zone in the name of being a better parent for your child. I wish things had gone more smoothly for you. What a testament to your commitment and what a lucky child you will have.

    Adorable cat. I had to LOL at the thought of hubby getting the cat for X-mas.

    Take care of you and feel better soon!!

  5. I agree with Cindy: you're going to be a wonderful mother. It's great you went to the event.
    And I will use your description of a cold, like concrete poured in my head. Totally.

  6. will be thinking of you and praying for you re the 7th!! Wow! You are going to be a great mom...I agree...hopefully the awkward experiences will be something that can help you connect you to your child and what they may experience (I don't want our kids to experience these but I think they will). Also I have learned a bit of how adoption is somewhat foreign to Ethiopians. I don't think it is very common there. So encouraged by your knitting and hoping and in going to this meeting. You encourage me!

  7. I adore the mini-moriarty! He is adorable. I look forward to many more knitting highlights. As for your attendance at the fellowship group, how awesome are you?!?

    You are going to be fantastic at your Panel!

  8. back again to comment some more :)
    I just took a nose round some of your pictures... I must beg you to tell me what type of camera you have. I am green with envy of the quality... and the talent that it took to capture the images!

  9. Wow!! 12 people deciding your fate... I thought it was bad enough here that we have ONE person (our homestudy social worker) deciding ours. I hate to say it but I wouldn't trade shoes with you for the world!

    Your knitting is SO cute! I can't wait to see the blanket when your finished (... so I can copy your pattern...)

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  11. I'm going to refer to this post in my blog tomorrow....

    Thanks for sharing!!

    Oh- I dig the little cat. You rock at knitting!


Over to you!