Readers, lots of folks enjoyed Chapter 1 of The Eye of Adoption this week! Thank you for spreading the message! Today, I offer up Chapters 1-2. (Remember, I’ll be back to my humor theories December 6.) I can't wait! Until then, help me encourage others throughout November, National Adoption Awareness Month, by sharing this blog by email, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, and Google Plus each week.
The first chapters of The Eye of Adoption indicate the book's overall tone: my honest, raw, down-to-earth, sometimes flat-out funny, yet fascinating and still-evolving journey in adoption. Last Friday, Gnome's birthmother and I were featured speakers at Bethany Christian Services' Annual Fellowship Dinner. What a privilege it was to share the stage with my "soul sister" and hero. She made Sharky a brother when I couldn't, and now she helps so many others by speaking out about open adoption.
Remember, each Friday in November, I'll post an additional chapter. I’ve also teamed up with other adoption authors to give our books away throughout the month. This weekend, you can download the eBook 7 Steps to Domestic Infant Adoption by adoptive father Tim Elder (founder of InfantAdoptionGuide.com). Be sure to check the links at the end of each post for information on how to receive other authors, download dates, including mine.
Friends, I am the same everywhere I go, and that includes my writing style. I promise you will laugh and I know you will learn, so I hope you will read these chapters each week. Besides, doesn’t everyone love a good adoption story?
Do you see the baby in the clouds? An ethereal ultrasound?
~ ~ ~
THE EYE OF ADOPTION
the true story of my turbulent wait
for a baby
Jody Cantrell Dyer
~ ~ ~
This book is protected under the copyright laws of the
United States of America. Any reproduction or unauthorized
use is prohibited without express permission of the author,
except brief quotes for use in interviews,
newspaper or magazine articles, or reviews.
For information, contact author.
Bible verses quoted within are from the following versions:
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by
The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
The King James Version is public domain in the
United States of America.
Front cover photograph obtained from fotolia.com
Back cover artwork by Houston Dyer
Cover design by Sherri B. McCall
~ ~ ~
No One “Just Adopts”
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:
but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.
When I was a toddler, I entertained relatives by singing this little song:
Special, special, I am very specialGod made me this way!
I would draw out the word “way” as “waaaaaaaaaaay” like an operatic trill, a crowd-pleasing ending to my parlor trick performance. That song rings true for every child. My children are no more special than your children or the child for which you pray and wait. However, adoption is special. It was divinely designed and serves as a living example of God’s graceful, abundant love for humankind.
I have two friends who, years ago, placed babies for adoption. Each was in college when she was surprised by a crisis pregnancy. One friend told me her experience when she found out my husband Jeff and I were trying to adopt. She gave me crucial advice regarding the birthparents’ extended family. Her help later proved vital. The other friend is unaware that I know she placed a baby for adoption. When she sees us, she asks to hold my child. I think holding my baby gives her assurance and peace about the decision she made so many years ago.
My initial purpose in writing this book was to chronicle the sweet and sour elements of our adoption story for my children. I am a public school teacher, not a writer, but I wanted my children to understand the extremes to which their father and I suffered and succeeded to create our family. Our children will have a colorful, descriptive, documented account of a story that tested love, endurance, commitment, and faith, a story they can learn from and someday pass on to their families.
As I revisited my journal entries, mined through letters and emails from friends and relatives, and studied countless pieces of medical documents and adoption paperwork, I realized that my story could benefit people outside my little family. For that reason, I expanded the book to reveal details regarding every step my husband Jeff and I took toward our second child. In these pages I will candidly present information to intimately describe how Jeff and I clumsily but successfully battled through the uncontrolled currents of infertility and adoption. To protect my adopted child’s most personal history, I kept much of the birth family’s biological and social background information private. My intention in writing this book is not to expose my child, but to expose the raw and rewarding aspects of adoption.
Throughout each section of this book, I divulge friends’, relatives’, and strangers’ commentary, support, criticism, and reaction. I share the effects of all of the above on my marriage. I also try my best to illuminate God’s concern and involvement in every moment of our trek toward a baby.
I hope my story will benefit people who wish to become adoptive parents, regardless of where they are in the process. Whether you decide to adopt after failed fertility treatments, lost pregnancies, a lost child, no chance of conceiving, have a dozen children already, or feel “called” to adopt, I respect you. No matter the circumstances, adoptive parents share a special bond. I hope “waiting parents” will relate to my emotions, experiences, tribulations, and triumphs. I hope by doing so, you find camaraderie, relief, and optimism.
Because adoption is a spiritual transaction conducted within a commercial industry, success in adoption requires involvement from what seems like everyone connected to the adoptive parents. Thus, adoptive parents’ friends, relatives, co-workers, and even pets will find themselves here, too. I urge anyone connected to waiting parents to read my story to empathize with the adoptive family and perhaps alleviate, not complicate, the inevitable burdens. Do not underestimate the depths of suffering and lengths of endurance required of adoptive parents. Do not underestimate the difficult choice to find a child through adoption. No one “just adopts.”
My mother thought of the book’s title, The Eye of Adoption. She has a particular gift for naming pets; my aunts, uncles, and cousins often contract her to name their animals, so I asked her to name this book. After reading the book, her critter-naming gift prevailed once more.
Adoption is a storm of faith, fear, paperwork, people, hurt, healing, words, work, devotion, divinity, rawness, revelation, days, and, hopefully, a delivery.
I was not strong on my own. I relied on my husband, my mother, my friends, my family, and my faith to prop me up during my doubtful and weak moments.
I hope my story is a clear window through which you can visualize your potential adoption experience. I hope my story comforts you as you live in the eye of adoption.
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
—Robert Burns, “To A Mouse”
~ ~ ~
The Master Plan
Do not squander timefor that is the stuff life is made of.
Though I am a “lonely only” child, I have nine first cousins who enjoy close relationships with their siblings. As a child I did not particularly want a brother or sister. I relished the one-on-one attention and communication I had with both of my parents. They talked with me and included me: we enjoyed a tight bond. When I was nineteen, my father died. It was June 1993. He was forty-four. I had just finished my freshman year of college.
My father’s death altered my way of thinking. I suddenly grasped the quantitative nature of my and my mother’s existence, life’s fragility, and death’s finality. I, erroneously, felt responsible for my mother’s well being. From then on, I longed for a sibling. I desperately needed a brother or sister, someone who knew exactly how I felt, someone with whom I could commiserate. Also, already known for my smart mouth (a high school teacher nicknamed me “tongue-lasher”) my sarcasm and cynicism sharpened.
A week after my father’s death, I applied for a summer job at IHOP in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. My cousin Toby, a return summer worker, championed my cause and implored the restaurant manager to grant me a coveted breakfast shift so I could be home at night with my mother. I did my best to model southern hospitality as I teased customers who ordered the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity pancake platter, but grief and anxiety accumulated like the plates precariously stacked up my left arm. Often, when I was exhausted from my trancelike trudge through a day of waitressing, I fibbed to customers when they ordered desserts, “We are out of that.” I just wanted the giddy tourons (my father’s term: half tourist, half moron) to pay and go back to their hotels so I could go home and be miserable with my mother. The fry cooks felt sorry for me and routinely treated me to rich chocolate chip pancakes with hot syrup, Cool Whip, and vanilla ice cream.
In August, I took my plumped up rear and sour attitude back to The University of Tennessee’s Humes Hall filled with carefree co-eds. College and the future took on new meaning for me. I became an impatient control freak, worrier, and planner. I wrote papers the same day professors assigned them. If my mother did not answer her home phone, I freaked out, figuring she had died of a heart attack like my father, had a freak accident (she did almost run over herself once), choked on peanuts…. My mind went into orbit with any hint of mystery as to her well-being.
I set my sights on graduating early to save my mother, a high school English teacher, money. I majored in finance to secure a lucrative job; if I became a young widow like my schoolteacher mother, I would be better able support my family. I mapped out my entire future: graduate early, earn a high income, take care of my mother, find a husband, have a big family, and hit all my goals in case I was going to die in my early forties. At nineteen, I had already made the decision to have three children when I got married.
Readers, please send this post to anyone you know who is touched by infertility, adoption, or crisis pregnancy. You can copy and paste the URL into an email or you can Google+, Tweet, or share on Facebook.
Author website: www.jodydyer.com
Also, visit Amazon.com or my website to read about my book, The Eye of Adoption, my short story, Field Day, and my collection of essays for parents and teachers, Parents, Stop and Think.
Author website: www.jodydyer.com
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See you next Friday with Chapter 3! Until then, think outside the barn.