Thursday, August 04, 2005

Another Unsuccessful Attempt at Napping... and Some Reflections

It feels like we are living in Purgatory. The routine has become, well, routine. That is, aside from the facts that:

  • Otis has been crying incessantly for the last two days whenever awake and not being held (and sometimes also when being held). Who knows why? Refusal to nap? Ongoing teething? A new stage of development? A new stage of bonding? The cold he seems to have? Frustration at not being as mobile as he clearly wants to be? Just plain cussedness? Some combination of the above?
  • The dryer is on the fritz, presumably because we can’t find the lint screen. So there are faintly mildewy smelling clothes hanging everywhere.

We are so looking forward to getting home, although we are beginning to suspect that we will be the Airplane-mates from Hell.

So let’s talk about something different.

There are obviously many reasons for having kids, but it seems to me that seeing yourself, your mate, and the combination of the two of you and your values advance another generation looms large for many people. It was definitely a big part of why we did this – that and a shared vision of ourselves as a family with a child. Clearly, adoption screws with many people’s (at least initial) conception of the advance-yourself-another-generation-motivation – but, ultimately, I don’t think there’s much difference – genes or no genes, we’ll be trying to pass on what is important to us to Otis. (I have no doubt that for both of us, and, more, for Otis, we’ll also be wondering frequently about the two people we’ve never met and probably never will who are in some way also part of our family now, along with the preceding generations of which they are part.)

But this trip has made me realize that the “passing on” thing works two ways – you pass back as well as forward. Having a child has been a chance to connect in ways that maybe weren’t possible before with the strengths of my parents and my own upbringing.

Just as importantly, and entirely related-ly, it has been very, very important to me how my parents have accepted, and then welcomed our decision. While adoption was certainly not a choice that was disapproved of when I was growing up, neither was it a choice that got a huge standing ovation. For the reasons alluded to above, I think.

Few things have been more moving to me than the gradual – and always gracious, loving, and respectful -- evolution in my parents’ thinking. My dad’s e-mail to us about my mom and dad’s discussions and choice of preferred grandma/grandpa names, and my mom’s subsequent e-mail about my immigrant Grandpa Charlie, for whom Otis is partly named, are, I hope, family documents that will matter as much to Otis as they do to us.

What I end up feeling very strongly is that not only will we -- David and Candace -- continue, but also that we -- David, Candace and Otis -- are part of a fabric that extends backward and forward. Very Unitarian, I suppose. I love, you Mom and Dad. And love and licks to Bruno.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am very moved, and this is a lovely picture of Otis; it is very graceful. David looks nice too.

August 04, 2005 7:10 PM  
Anonymous elliott said...

C, D and O: You will leave Kazakh soil in just over 22 hours (17:20 EDT). I can hardly believe it.

I will fly with you in my thoughts and pray for your safety! It will be a dream come true to welcome Otis to his new home.

Be well, dear family!

August 04, 2005 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Eli Jacobson said...

You should save this website for Otis when he grows up - he will want to know about where he was born and how he came into your lives.

August 05, 2005 3:15 PM  
Anonymous Bee said...

Somehow, one of your pictures showed up when I was doing a search for impetigo... I have no idea why, but I have enjoyed perusing through your experience. My seven year old just had a serious encounter with staph infection and we are all thankful he seems to be out of danger. It has made us think a lot about parenting, having kids, and passing on those things that are important to us. It is fun to read your similar thoughts! I love adoption, and can't help spending a lot of time thinking about what things would be like if our kids didn't have the genetic link that they do... I guess, I also spend a lot of time being absolutely shocked by so many things that seem genetically "hard wired" that we would never try to pass on to our kids. I imagine that as an adoptive parent you will find many surprises like that. Parenting is rarely easy, but well worth the effort. I am amazed at the bond we develop as a family, and especially to the spouse we chose that joins us in the adventure. It brings a new dependence on extended family that can only be a good thing, when all is said and done. Well, wishes to you! Otis is a beautiful and luck boy!

December 18, 2006 2:39 PM  

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