Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Things Often Left Unsaid

A friend and fellow blogger, Mary-Mia, just wrote a post that, in my opinion, addressed an important aspect of adoption that is not always discussed in the blogging world. For the specific topic she addresses, please refer to her post. I wanted to dovetail on her thread because, as of late, it is loosely connected to a topic that has been very much in our foreground and I hadn't figured out how to write about it, just yet. Her post inspired me to give a try.

Much of what you read on the blogs of the adoption community are of a positive variety. In fact, if you had just stumbled into the adoption blogging world, one might assume that they have just entered an episode of "Leave it to Beaver".
Everything looks wonderful, sounds wonderful and sure seems wonderful and while that image may be largely based in reality, there is a lot that is left unsaid, at least by me.....

I will start by saying that we feel very blessed and grateful for our family of four and we love our new addition, Keenan. Having said that, not all is rosy and perfect in the adventures of the ladybug and the dragonfly.

When Keenan came to us, he was a very sick little boy. Exactly what and all that ails him has not been easy to identify, address, or live with. A lot of possibilities emerged and some of them have been daunting, and, at times, downright frightening. Poor Keenan has endured more than his fair share of tests in the week since we returned from Viet Nam.

So far, the doctors confirmed that he has the CMV virus (similar to Mono). That, in and of itself, is not a serious problem....IF it was contracted after birth. However, if he got this virus while he was in utero, the health issues can be serious and far reaching. Fortunately, our doctor believes that he came down with this virus recently. Unfortunately, there is no way to be sure, only time will tell. In addition, based on his blood work, the possibility loomed that he also might have Hepatitis B. Yesterday, his blood work came back negative for that, much to our relief. There are still some health issues that have yet to be resolved or fully understood but at least we know that some of what he has been going through is related to the CMV virus.

When we returned from China with Sophia, our transition was relatively trouble free. Sophia was an easy going little girl, made us laugh, adapted to her new time zone within days, her appetite was healthy, and other than a bad ear infection, her health was very good. Keenan has yet to sleep with any kind of normalcy, almost every feeding is slow and frustrating, and he cries, frequently and for long periods of time. It hasn't been easy, we are exhausted, and our nerves are a bit frayed.

And yet, all Keenan has to do is flash one of his smiles, and our hearts melt. It may be incredibly naive, but his smile makes me think that, no matter what, we will somehow be all right. And no matter what his health issues may be, he is our son.

At the end of the day, the road to adoption is filled with ups and downs. Some of this roller coaster ride, actually quite a lot of this ride, comes long after the adoption is finalized. For me, anxiety, confusion, and guilt seem to go hand in hand with this part of the roller coaster ride, it just is the way it is.

Colin has said that, for him, the hardest part has been coming into this little boy's infancy midstream. He had a routine that worked for him and his caregivers. We just aren't privy to what that routine was. He did not come with a set of instructions detailing the best way to soothe or calm him. Therefore, not only was Keenan placed in arms of strangers (ours), those strangers don't really have a clue how to best help him.

For those of you old enough to remember the T.V. show "The Greatest American Hero", we feel a bit like William Katt, who receives a cape with special powers, but is only able to fumble through his life because he loses the instruction book for the suit. Like Katt, through trial and error, we are struggling to find the right way to help Keenan. Some days, we have more success than others and the results range from pathetic to downright comical.

I love reading adoption blogs and I enjoy writing about Sophia and Keenan, but it is important to remember that most of us only tell part of our story, the better part. Not to mislead or distort, but simply because it is more fun to talk about the good parts, and there really are quite a few of those.


At 5:49 PM, Blogger Catherine said...

Beautiful post.

At 6:55 PM, Blogger Johnny said...

Well put.

At 7:59 PM, Blogger LaLa said...

Thanks for sharing. You are isn't all rosy but the reality babies aren't either so we are all in this together. You have a beautiful family and I hope you are settling in well.

At 9:27 PM, Blogger Vietnam Adventure said...

Your honesty with yourself and those you choose share it with is admirable. Keenan is a lucky boy to have you and Collin. Such amazing role models.

kisses to sophia.

hugs and peaceful nights to the rest.

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Chris Ayers & Kelly Kline said...

Very well done. You have given a great voice to the side of adoption that is hard to write about.

At 10:59 PM, Blogger Kristin said...

I wish I could upload early pictures of our Catie (adopted from Maoming, just north of Zhanjiang in 2001). they have such similar features...all the pics are film, not digital...if I can somehow do it, I'll send you one..your Sophia reminds me so much of Catie..

take care,

At 11:03 AM, Blogger Kelly said...

Kat, I am deeply grateful for your willingness and courage to share the less than happy side of adoption. I hope that others are encouraged to do the same- being honest about all aspects of our adoptions is the only way we can truly give and receive support from others.
my thoughts and prayers are with all of you, and especially little Keenan.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger Dianne said...

Well said Kat. Although we like to dwell on the good, it is so important, and healthy, to be realistic. Nobody's lives, or children, are perfect.
Your children are blessed to have such caring, loving parents. Wishing you some well needed rest and that little Keenen is healthy and happy, I'm sure in a matter of time.


At 5:04 PM, Blogger Samantha said...

What a nice honest post!

At 9:05 PM, Blogger M3 (Mary-Mia) said...

So true, so true! Beautifully written.

I think another reason so few people dwell on the negative is that a huge percentage are hoping to adopt again and are always cognizant that people in charge of their destiny (their adoption applications or referrals) could be reading.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger Sam said...

Wish more people would be honest! I'm pretty honest about our issues too. Great job!

At 5:00 AM, Blogger S. said...

I'm sorry you guys are struggling right now and can only imagine the anxiety you are feeling about the CMV diagnosis. I wish there was some way you could have a definitive answer and know what you are dealing with, but in the meantime, I just wish you could get some sleep! Keenan is beautiful and I hope he gives you lots of smiles to get you through!

At 5:59 AM, Blogger Debbies Site said...

I think these points have to be made because other people who are going through these issues sometimes feel very alone. I think it is was brave of you to speak about the "downs" and maybe by so doing you can help others.


At 5:36 PM, Blogger Yes, Minister... said...

We just got back from Mexico - and having lived in Michigan - can totally relate to "cabin fever" :-)

I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a beautiful post. You will never know how much these word have touched me. There are time when I try to relate a bit of "honesty" about how LiLi has impacted our life into the blog. Ian has faced do many challenges, going from an only child of 9 years and LiLi had been through two orphanages and foster care in China - in her short 16 month on this earth. There are wonderful moments, but then there are those of a little girl who gets panic attacks every time we travel - and we travel a lot. The first night in any hotel is met with a night of cry and rage - okay - I rambling now :-)I just wanted you to know that I feel alone sometimes and this post really touched me. We are getting ready to move to China (not back to Michigan) and I am so worried how that will affect both my children and where I will find support. I hope that Keenan finds peace and sleep! You have a lovely family.
Debbie in Atlanta


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