Monday, March 08, 2010

Family News

The unexpected things are the best.

There are plenty of fantastic blogs on lifestyle and yoga and children--and other stuff I enjoy--so I try to post purely on food here. But I wanted to share a bit of my life, and something I've been humming with for the past few months.

When I met the man I live with, we both knew we wanted to adopt. We'd spent a month in India, working with children there, and left with the solid belief that every child deserves a family. Years later, thinking of the thousands of children without families, it seemed silly to create another person to live with us. We decided to adopt internationally, and began the process.

Then, somewhere in the Puerto Rican rainforest, coquis chirping in the darkness outside, I woke at 4:00 a.m. with the distinct feeling that I was pregnant. And I was. And I had not planned to be.

I took deep breaths, nodded vigorously in my surprise, and decided that yes, this was the way it would be. More travel and several months later, my daughter was born into my arms, in a tiny Los Angeles apartment. She has been the most intense and amazing blessing I've ever witnessed. Because of her, there is a well of gratitude in me for treasures of rocks and sticks found in pockets, and laughing over tea in the afternoons, and waking to a sweet drowsy face every morning.

It's the same gratitude that fills me with expectation for what we're going to do next, and I'm so happy to begin it.

We are working toward becoming a foster family, fostering infants and young children, with the eventual hope of adoption.

After hours of parenting education classes, CPR and First Aid certifications, and stacks of paperwork, we're at the final step. The whole process has been surprising and a little crazy, but it all feels really joyful, and I'm incredibly grateful that we're able to do this.

The last bit is the homestudy, which I'm sure will be an adventure. I'm already thinking of the cake I'll bake (Italian Cornmeal, of course), and what sort of tea to serve, and which flowers to put on the mantle. That's all ridiculous stuff, I know, but imagining the trivialities keeps me from viewing this as monumental and terrifying!

Many vegans are interested in adoption, so I'll certainly post about the homestudy in detail. I wonder if they'll look in my refrigerator, or ask how I get my protein, or raise an eyebrow and inspect my kid for signs of deficiencies. I guess we'll see; it should happen in the next two months. Cross a few fingers for me.


VivaciousVegan said...

Hi Joy, I just love your posts!
My husband and I fostered and loved it! Adoption is such a beautiful thing! I wish more people would inquire about it more...I think it is a wonderful and glorious thing that you are doing!!!
I knew the minute I was pregnant with our youngest daughter too, isn't that something! I ahd a dream of a tiny black haired baby and 9 months later there she was.

I send you my sincerest hopes for your family!
Hugs, Brandi

Tamara said...

Congratulations! I too am vegan, and am a preferential adopter (ie, chose to adopt sans fertility issues). It's been such a wonderful thing for our family. We have one son whom we adopted internationally, and are now in the fost-adopt process as well. I wish more people would consider adoption, it is truly an amazing experience. Good luck!

radioactivegan said...

good luck with your home visit. if you don't mind me asking, were you up front about being vegan? I seem to remember reading a year or two ago about someone who had trouble becoming a foster parent (although I believe they eventually did) because one of the couple mentioned being vegan to the agent.

Joy said...

Vivacious and Tamara, I'm happily surprised to hear how many other vegans have fostered and adopted! I would love to hear more of your experiences.

Radioactive, a few months ago, I attended a foster parents support group where lunch was served. When I politely declined the fried chicken, potato salad, and cake, one of the social workers asked about it, and I quickly mentioned I was vegan. "Oh!" she exclaimed, "my daughter's been an ethical vegan for 12 years!" and we chatted about it. Aside from that, it hasn't come up (there's no VEGAN box to check on the app, I mean).

We do intend to be forthcoming during the home visits. I expect they'll ask what I do, and the book will come up, and the title will give it away. But I don't plan to volunteer any more information than necessary--after all, parents who feed their kids all sorts of atrocious stuff don't have to justify their eating. If they have questions, I'm happy to answer them or provide further nutritional information.

I hope that our homestudy story will have a good outcome, and that it will lessen some of the fears other vegans may have about the adoption process.

Tamara said...

Oh, I also meant to say that the vegan thing was not an issue at all during our home study, though I imagine it could vary depending on the culture of the particular place where you live (we're near a VERY liberal college town), or even depending on your home study social worker.

It would be interesting to be able to talk more with other adoptive (or prospective adoptive) vegan parents - maybe we should set up a Yahoo group or something. :-) Adoption and veganism are two of the things nearest and dearest to my heart so it would be neat to connect with others who care deeply about the same things.


Joy said...

I live in downtown Denver, which is pretty progressive, but the food culture in my neighborhood (and of the children we'd likely be fostering) is very animal-centered.

I started a facebook group called Vegan Adoptive Parents, and anyone interested can join. I'll do more on it soon!

Cherl said...


Thanks for sharing your wonderful story! I look forward to hearing more.

Matt Jones said...

Nee Nee Nee! Hey Joyous. I enjoy all of your posts but I especially love hearing about Glorious and you and L. Ron. So happy to hear of your decision to expand your family. You 3 have so much love to give. Love you all! Keep us posted.

Lisa said...

Hi Joy, I love your blog and just wanted to thank you for sharing this with your readers. I'm not yet a parent, but look forward to hearing more about your journey. Fingers crossed! Any child who joins your family will be a lucky child indeed.

Joy said...

Thank you Cherl and Lisa, I really appreciate your kind words.

Matt! Nee nee nee! I'm always so happy to see your comments here. We love you and miss you, and hope our family (however many children it contains...) will see you soon.

jaime said...

I really can't be more excited for you guys! My brother and sister-in-law are going through the adoption process right now, and they should be receiving their precious little one as soon as Sunday! It is such an incredible picture of God's great love of us to adopt others into our families. Love you all and your fabulous example.

Joy said...

Thank you Jaime, and thank you for being part of the process with us! We feel incredibly grateful that such amazing children will be part of our lives.

And congratulations to your family--how exciting! Can't wait to hear more.

Alan said...

Congrats on starting your process! My wife and I live in the District of Columbia, and we're also vegan (preferential) prospective adoptive parents. Like the other commenters, we had no issues with this during the homestudy. In fact, we wrote it right into our autobiographies that we submitted.

We also asked our international placing agency -- we're adopting from Ethiopia -- whether they can handle vegans who stay at their guest house. They can! It helps that the Ethiopian lent is long and largely vegan.

Looking forward to reading more! And though we don't update as often as we should, you can find our blog at