Showing posts with label daughter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label daughter. Show all posts

Saturday, May 31, 2014

All Mothers Are Real

Mother's Day has come and gone, but the day before that a little girl asked me a question that needed an answer.  She asked me, "are you Preemie Girl's real mother?" Now, I don't know why little girls would even think to ask such questions, but I would make a smart guess that they learn about these words and ideas from the adults around them.  I don't think an innocent child would know that there is such a thing as a "real" mom (or dad, for that matter), if they are not made aware of the difference or this was not pointed out to them by...yes, adults. But that is another story.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Pretty In Pink

I hate pink.  I would never consciously wear pink except if I really have to.  The very first time I did was during my high school prom and only because I was a junior and pink was our assigned color (blue was for the seniors).  The second and third times were the occasions when I was a wedding sponsor.  I avoided this color like the plague, mainly because I thought that being fair skinned, I did not look pretty in pink. Besides that, I associated the color with sweet and girly things, both of which did not appeal to me.  And so, you can just imagine who, what and why my world suddenly turned all shades of pink!

photo retrieved from http://www.squidoo.com/celebrationofpink


Monday, February 27, 2012

Bringing up Preemie Girl

I used to think that bringing up kids wasn't all that hard. My parents raised us their 3 children (1 girl and 2 boys), fairly and without biases. We all had the same privileges and got the same kind of punishment when we did wrong. I never felt any more special than my 2 brothers. But when I became a mother to a 3 month old baby boy in 1991, I realized that it was not easy at all and that parenting is the hardest job in the world where there is no retirement ever. And so when I took home a 5 month old baby girl (who was born severely premature) for Christmas in 2008, it was an act of faith and trust that this too is God's will for me and my family. You see, raising my son was a relatively fun task for me, maybe because as the eldest in my family and the oldest grandchild, I grew up looking out for my brothers and playing with my cousins, majority of whom were male. I have always been partial to boys, even as a child. I remember each time my mom became pregnant, I would always wish for a brother. Being used to boys, I understood them better than girls. I was worried not so much about the fact that she might have special needs, but that I wasn't too sure that I knew how to handle girls! If I just based my capability on the limited interaction I had with female cousins and my family's not too great experience with adopted or fostered daughters, I probably would have gotten cold feet. On the other hand, I love children regardless of gender and this angelic, fragile and helpless child stole my heart forever. Indeed, time flies because Preemie girl will be 4 years old in July. She is so different from her older brother when he was her age...in fact, she is the exact opposite. While my son was an obedient and quiet child, my daughter asserts herself all the time and could hit the right decibel to cause temporary deafness when she does not get her way. She is hyperactive and needs to be entertained, quite unlike her older brother who used to play with his toys for hours all by himself. She is inquisitive and a quick study, but is such a handful that I could not help but compare her to Big Brother who is now 21 and the only one who can make her obey at first try. He adores her, of course and enjoys being called "dada" instead of the usual term of manong (respectful title for older brothers). And thank God, except for a really fast metabolism and hyperactivity, she is as normal as any child her age. She is smart and adorable. And she can be so sweet when she wants to. She is all girl...loves using pink lip gloss and polish. 
 
 

As I write this post, I am inclined to believe that the difference in behavior (aside from genetics, of course) between my 2 kids at that particular age (2-3 years old) is probably because I nurtured each of them a little differently. I had my son when I was a lot younger and with less responsibilities at work, so that I had more energy and time for him. I used to come home for lunch and spend part of the afternoon with him before going back to work. I would put him to sleep and even tutored him. When my daughter came to us, I was at work the whole day, coming home early evening just as she is getting ready for bed. Although she sleeps with me, the time I spent with her is considerably less than the time I used to spend with my son. She spends most of her waking hours with her nanny and since I would bring part of my work home, it was also her nanny who would put her to sleep. Now that I am out of work, I do have more time with her but I have to admit that at my age, an active child is really challenging. We will be putting her in nursery school this summer in preparation for the regular school year this June. I hope by then she learns to sit still, stay quiet and pay attention...otherwise, we are in big trouble.

And Big brother? Well, let me just say that he outgrew the docile behavior by the time he was in grade school...but, that's another story and for another post (big wink).





Sunday, September 25, 2011

Seeing Adoption in a Different Light

I have 2 children...a 20 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. People not in the know would almost always ask...Why such a huge gap between the two?  I understand their curiosity because if I were in their place, I would wonder too.  And so, I would always take the time to explain that my children are adopted.  But it wasn't always that easy when my son was growing up... not because I wanted to keep it a secret.  On the contrary, by the time he was 4, my son knew that I was not his only mother and that he had another one who gave birth to him.  The act of adoption, fostering and guardianship were nothing new or strange to my family.  There was always an adopted aunt, cousin, nephew and niece in the past and present generation, so it wasn't like being adopted was such a big deal to us.  But you see, I used to think that saying he is adopted would make people treat him differently and I did not want that.  I get so tired of people telling me (and him) how lucky he is; they forget that through this boy I was given the gift of motherhood and therefore "lucky" works both ways.  So to avoid this and other insensitive comments, I would ask my mom to just introduce him as my son.  Of course, my mom after doing so and once my son was out of hearing distance, would always make clarifications since she did not want people to think I had a child out of wedlock. In fact, one funny story was when my son enrolled as a college freshman and the person interviewing him used to be a co-professor of my mother when she was still teaching in that university.  He looked at his papers and asked him if his mother was me and of course, my son said yes. My son laughingly told me about it when he got home and described the incredulous look on the professor's face. Surely, the very next day this professor called my mom to ask about it, saying "just last month I saw your very single daughter and yesterday, this boy tells me she is his mother!...How in heavens name can she have a son as huge as this boy in such a short time?"  Hahahahaha!  My mom had a good laugh and explained to him, that I have an adopted son.  Today I say the word "adopted" freely because I soon realized that by not saying it gives it an even more negative connotation, as if being adopted was something to be ashamed of.  My experience taught me that avoiding the word even though we never kept his being adopted a secret only made me more defensive and protective of my son, which did not help him as he was growing up.  In fact, bullies in school picked on him just because he had better clothes, better things and was much more well taken cared of as compared to them who had "real" parents.  It was as if he had no right to be better than any of them because after all he was just the son of a servant girl. I am glad that my son has surpassed all these challenges with grace and dignity. He knows he is loved unconditionally by us and not surprisingly, because he is so caring, friends from elementary and high school continue to seek him out.  He will be 21 in 2 months time and has grown to be a reliable, protective and loving man.  And he proudly says that he is adopted.  And my little girl?  After having my son, I never thought I would be raising another child.  When he was in Grade 5, he begged me to have a brother or a sister but I refused, mainly for financial reasons.  But God works in mysterious ways.  After 18 years, I was given a daughter or maybe more age-appropriate, a granddaughter ;) ?  She came for a visit when she was 5 months old and decided to stay :) Yes, she is a handful at 3 years of age but gives us a lot of love and happiness.  We are all under her spell.  As to her future...her "Dada" (the name she calls my son) who loves her to bits and who together with my mom convinced me to keep her, has promised to pay it forward.  God in his infinite wisdom chose to let this baby survive in spite of the odds and made a way for her to come to us.  It is a small miracle that she is so normal, very bright and healthy.  Who am I to question the will of God?

Retrieved from the worldwide web

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Preemie Girl





Who is Preemie Girl?


Last year, in mid-July, a woman was brought DOA to the emergency room of the provincial hospital. Her severely premature baby miraculously survived but was brought to the hospital 6 or 7 hours after birth. Her mother was previously admitted to the hospital's ICU due to hypertension and was closely monitored for several weeks.  She was relatively in a stable condition and the doctors were waiting for the baby to become more viable before doing a caesarian section, but the family decided to go home.  She eventually delivered at home and died due to severe postpartum bleeding.  The baby developed acute respiratory distress syndrome and was not expected to make it.  Because this was a public hospital with limited resources, she was not getting the kind of care severely premature babies like her should have. Some mothers nursing their own premature babies would give her their milk and help take care of her. Initially I really did not take much interest in her...the first time I saw her, she was only a bit longer than my hand and I thought, this baby is not going to make it. But lo and behold, she survived!...so that eventually she became well enough to be transferred to the pediatric ward. The nurses in the pediatric station would take turns in taking care of her and soon she was everybody's baby. Of course, being critically ill, she was given emergency baptism earlier and as usual, the staff took liberty with my name (as they are wont to do so every time they needed a name for someone in the hospital, LOL) and that of the hospital's Patron Saint, Therese of the Child Jesus. So Preemie Girl was named...Maria Estrella Therese, nicknamed Ella.  As she continued to thrive, donations from doctors and nurses came pouring in and babysitting for her was divided among the different hospital areas, including myself. I would take the 10 AM-3 PM shift before passing her to the Laboratory Department in the afernoon!  The Provincial Social Services tried to locate her father but was unable to do so and she was declared abandoned.  Then one day, he suddenly appeared in the hospital with a well-dressed lady in tow.  Preemie Girl was a little over 3 months old by this time and about a week before, she was featured in the daily afternoon TV newscast with the USLS medical students who had a televised activity in the hospital.  The hospital social worker and myself talked to the father, asking him why he never came back...and he said he had no money. We all felt that this was just one reason but the truth was, he never really expected the baby to survive. I asked him, what if the baby died? Who would bury her? Where will she be buried? He had no answer. I asked about the woman with him.  He said, this lady was a former employer who called him and offered to help him with the hospital cost.  From our conversation, I knew he was lying and that he had already made a deal with the woman to get the baby in exchange for paying the hospital and himself too.  I told him that the baby is now under the care of social services and we could not just hand her over to him since he and his family literally left her for dead and never once visited to check on her condition.  I then told him to get the woman who offered to help because I wanted to talk to her. But, the woman never did; in fact they both left without taking leave!  The hospital staff upon learning of their presence went into a panic and crying mode but I assured them that we will not hand over Preemie Girl to anyone since she was still too small and weak to be brought home. That was in early October.  According to the ward nurses, he came back about a week after but was only allowed to view the baby.  That was the last we have seen of  him.  The last we heard, he left his minor children to the care of his in laws and has remarried and moved to another town.

Last December 2008, I decided to bring Preemie Girl home for a "share-a home" visit during the holiday season for. Well, the share-a-home became more of a stay-at-home thing.  My family and I have decided to foster her with adoption in mind.  Bringing her back to the hospital was no longer an option for me and my family. It is a fact that the hospital environment is not a good one for a relatively healthy premature baby to be in.  She will be high-risk for infection being exposed to all kinds of illnesses.  Also, I learned that after office hours when she is returned to the ward, the staff on duty is so busy that they cannot feed or change her on time.  This is probably the reason why after 5 months she is still only a little more than 3 kilograms.  Now, after only 2 weeks with us, she had a 1.5 kilogram weight gain!  Taking care of Preemie Girl has created a huge dent on our budget and routine, but the miracle that she is makes it all worthwhile....what is important is that this beautiful baby has been blessed by God and all of us who have taken care of her have been blessed as well.  She has turned our home routine topsy-turvy, but my mother and Big Brother  are only too happy to have her with us adding joy to our daily life.  We welcome her to the family where she is not only wanted but also very much loved.

I have to end now...Preemie Girl is asking to be fed :)

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