This has been a blog I’ve written and deleted many times over again. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s something I need to get out of me. It took me almost 10 years to confide in my own parents, but I’m more than …
How’s the adoption going?
Any news yet?
Don’t you know who you’re adopting yet?
How long has it been since you’ve started this?
Aren’t you worried about how “those” kids will screw up the ones you already have?
Isn’t it a whole lot easier to have your own naturally?
So, some children were adopted by another family. Why let that bother you so much? If they’re adopted, shouldn’t you be happy that they’re taken care of?
You really shouldn’t get your hopes up. Don’t you know how that affects the children you have?
How can you afford this?
How long will you allow this to continue before you finally give up?
These are only a handful of the questions curious friends and family ask me on a daily basis. Now, I challenge you to imagine yourself face to face with a couple struggling with fertility and infancy loss and ask this imaginary couple a few of these same questions. “Hey, it’s been a few months, aren’t you pregnant yet?” Nobody with a sense of empathy would ever ask such a loaded question to that struggling couple. I understand that adoption is a new concept for just about every person I encounter personally and that I need to have some patience with them (you can’t hold a grudge when people genuinely don’t know better), but I’m beginning to lose my patience, especially in this covid world of panic. Every day I feel like I’m standing on the edge of a building. I’m so elated by the view and this whole new perspective of what’s in front of me, but I’m terrified that at any given moment I might fall by the gentlest of breezes–or worse, by my own lack of notice on my next step. My nerves are shot and my heart is rubbed raw. I’m baffled how, after more than a year into the international adoption process, those questions still have the ability to stun and sting me. I mean, really, do you see a kid before you? Have I given any indication of news worth sharing?
During the summer of 2020, we received a call from our adoption agency introducing us to a new sibling group. Based on our family profile, they felt they could be a great match for us, so we requested more information and we couldn’t have agreed more! They really were perfect in every way, right down to their own unique quirky little habits that made us believe they were already ours. There’s a scene at the very end of the movie Rapunzel where the queen looks into the sad forlorn eyes of the king right before the guard runs in with the look of disbelief, because the lost princess had actually returned! Before they run out to see their daughter for the first time in 16 years, they exchange a look and they just know. That’s exactly what it felt like when I saw their photos for the very first time.
The next step is to fill out roughly 50 pages to explain how you will deal with all the needs a child could ever possibly need accompanied with names, numbers, and addresses of physicians, every kind of specialist, every kind of therapist (did you know there was such a thing as a musical therapist?) along with all the names, numbers and addresses of all the people who may come in contact with you (friends and family included) who might help support you or your children emotionally, mentally, physically, whatever else along the way. Yes, we also needed to find support groups not only for adoption and mental health, but for multiracial needs.
We needed to track down an international pediatric specialist to look over the needs of our potential children and get them to write a report on all the ways in which they would treat them and what the long term care would look like. Mind you, we had to answer twice for each child because we were (and still are) expecting two! It wasn’t all focused on medical needs, there was some planning for the plane ride home (like, weighted blankets to provide physical comfort if they weren’t comfortable with our hugs, snacks to keep their jaws busy to provide a calming relief, coloring books, headphones, and the like). There was also the constructing of the bedroom and the red string of fate dream I had of them before I ever knew the red string of fate legend existed! We had visions of video chats with them over Christmas and our biological children were adapting to the same visions our imaginations were adhering to. We’ve been asked why we have to go through all of that if we’re not guaranteed these children, and it’s a valid question. The answer is this: it looks that much better on paper and proves that we’re ready and suited for these children. Despite what our social worker said (or warned), we were firmly attached. We’ve covered all the bases despite the fact we were in competition with other couples globally who care just as much as we do for these two precious children. The red string of fate dream that I had told me we were bound in some way bigger than all of this. I know this because I googled the “red string of fate” upon waking that morning and I do not believe in coincidences that big, or unbelievable.
If you haven’t read previous entries of my blog, we’re adopting two Filipino children and it’s been about a year since we’ve started on paper. A sibling group of two is important to us and there are the plethora of reasons to justify why, but most importantly we’ve chosen that route because it seems to be what God led us to. Maybe that sounds stupid to you. I can’t explain the way I feel, except to say that it just feels right. So, basically, we got to know the ins and outs of these children in every way possible without ever meeting them. They kept telling us not to attach, because anything can happen…Can somebody please explain to me how one is supposed to NOT attach when you’re looking to foresee every possible need a person could ever have in the world (mentally, physically, emotionally…FOR THE NEXT 15 YEARS at least)? I had to call up the local school district to ask specifically where they would be working with my children should they need speech therapy, ESL, or another kind of therapy so that I could fill out this huge transition plan. By the way, we needed to track all these specialists, books, movies and such all within a few days. It was 3 days straight of siting in front of a monitor, on the phone, and researching. My kids were vacationing at their grandparents house and I will never be able to thank them for what they did for us. There’s no way to parent the children you have without support when you go through some parts of the adoption process. It’s impossible to meet these deadlines and be a parent and I cannot roll my eyes any harder at that fact. To be clear, to be the best adoptive parent, we need to neglect our children. Yes, you read that right. It’s good though, because when it’s all finalized and shit hits the fan when an emergency crops up, you have the transition plan there with all the info already laid out for you so you don’t need to panic (as much). All of your focus is on meeting the needs of your children and not the panic of researching how to handle this disaster in front of you. Honestly, forget lamaze classes, every parent should have to fill out a transition plan and opt to take TBRI (trust based relational intervention) classes. That’s where it’s at if you want to be an empathic parent who wants to understand their children for who they are. Don’t even get me started on parents who try to force their children into that attachment parenting box. There’s nothing wrong with attachment parenting, but there is something wrong with the cult of attachment parents. When it goes unchecked, it is often misinterpreted, hence, misused. Back to the point…
We submitted both transition plans and learned we had to create a video for ICAB (inter-country adoption board) which I was so excited for! Once I had to create a music video for my AP history class in high school and loved the experience. I never had a reason to revisit that craft until then. The only problem was that I had a new Mac and didn’t know how to use it yet. There’s definitely a learning curve when switching operating systems (and also why I’ve been so delinquent with my website). It turned out well regardless, but I wasn’t proud of it. Something was off about the video. We did a home tour like we were supposed to, and we interviewed each member of the family about adopting the two little ones that I can’t name here for privacy sake, and everyone said the right things, but it didn’t feel right. I had a bad feeling, but I chose to ignore it. “10,000 Reasons” was her favorite song, and I could think of 10,00 reasons to justify my feelings. I was trying to be impartial, but if we were matched with them, it’d be in time for Christmas and I wanted to give myself time to think of presents we could send should ICAB say yes to us. I designed an American Girl doll that looked exactly like the little girl I dreamed of. I even made the one eye a different shade, like hers. In America, we have white baby doll, black baby doll, and Moana baby doll…It wouldn’t be easy to find my almost daughter a doll that she could identify with. That’s why the thought seemed perfect. Her American Girl doll would match the way she looked and she would be become a real life American Girl once the adoption was finalized. We submitted everything we had and it was off to the desk of ICAB. We waited….and waited…then waited some more.
Months had passed and when the first day of October slowly rolled around, I woke up with a terrible feeling in the pit of my soul. I could feel in my bones that we were bracing for bad news. I even told my husband that morning that this was the month we’d know. If it doesn’t come today, it’s coming soon and it’s not going to be good and that’s exactly what I told him. The very next day we received the monthly home findings listing we always get, but our two were not included on that list. I was sure that meant they had been matched. My husband called up our caseworker and she said there was no reason to be alarmed. It probably meant they were either updating the profile from a medical standpoint, or ICAB had received enough family profiles and they were ready to match them with a prospective family. We waited some more, and they were the longest days of my life. Finally I received an email from our caseworker about…grief? I don’t know, I didn’t read it. I deleted it, but I knew what it meant. I stayed in bed most of that day. The one time I did get out of bed, I visited the fridge and my husband told me about the call he had received while I was still in bed.
Do you remember that scene from Friends when Ross drank all those margaritas insisting he was fine with the whole Joey and Rachel thing? Well, my husband tried to hug me in that way one does at a funeral and I shrugged him off, raising both hands declaring, “I’m fine!” except, it really did come out all loud and squeaky. Unfortunately, he was not fine, but I was not in the mental head space to be of any sort comfort. I allowed myself one day to cry. The next day I went out and bought some dirt, bulbs, and a huge planter to turn yet another negative into a positive. It’s a memorial to all the dreams I had with them. I know they’re not mine, but I attached to the vision emotionally and mentally the way a mother attaches to her baby in utero 3 months along, and in a way, I had twins. I’d be lying if I said I was sure I’d easily attach to the children I’m meant to be with, but now I’ve built this wall up around my heart. I’m not sure at which point it will crumble away, but I know that, in time, it has to…right?
The thing is, every single choice I’ve ever made in the last 15 years hasn’t led me to be the best career woman, the best wife, the best friend, or even the best daughter, but the best mother. I never wanted anything more than to be surrounded by a home full of children bursting with joy. I spent my junior year of high school at the career center in the preschool program because I wanted so badly to teach little ones. I spent my senior year in a cosmetology school I absolutely hated. Initially I wanted to do hair while I worked through college, but after about 6 months, the only reason I stayed was because I knew I’d have a family and I wanted to be the one to provide those services. I enjoyed the work, I just hated the work environment. A room full of caddy women is not my idea of paradise. I endured and I graduated the same time I graduated high school. I landed my first real job at the elementary school I went to. I tutored kindergarten, and 2nd-5th grade, but I had a pivotal role in the 5th grade, teaching social studies to the kids who missed it while they were in their special education class. I had a knack for it and they seemed to respect me because I had a deep respect for them. I’ve been in their shoes with low self-esteem and teachers that have sort of given up on you. I even went as far as to make color coded word banks for my one student who never passed the first grade reading level and he EXCELLED! My cards were actually helping him so that’s when I decided to switch my focus to special education.
Fate stepped in and gave me a family all at once, so I dropped out of school for a while until my second baby was born. With those two, I had my hands full. The thought of being a full-time teacher with my children in daycare rubbed me the wrong way, so I went back to become a paraprofessional. If I’m being honest, I knew I’d never get a job. I just wanted to know how to do the job should my children have any kind of learning disability, the way I did. I wanted to be the one they could lean on, for anything. I shadowed a blind third grader for several weeks and learned so much about life from him. He sees the world differently and I admired exactly how God had made him. We ended up moving, so I dropped out of school for the second time to focus on the move and transitioning my children into our new way of life. I wouldn’t return to school until 2020. Right as the epidemic shut the whole world down, I decided to get me TESOL certification. If my children can’t speak a word of English, it’s important I can communicate with them. I applied to a masters program in California (mind you I still had to get my Associates and Bachelors degree) in order to reach this level of certification, except I found that there was an easier way to get the same content without all the BS for a lot less time and money. I earned that certification in a day and it wasn’t by any means easy—but I conquered. It was another thing to add to the ICAB family profile to demonstrate how serious I take my role as a mother. Evidently none of it mattered because the Philippines didn’t think we were the best suited for the role, and I can’t help but wonder why I wasn’t good enough.
The devil loves division and right now, through this entire 2020 crap shoot of a year, he’s one happy camper. I made my very first self portrait while in isolation which you can view here. It’s the most meaningful piece I’ve ever done, but I’ll let you interpret what it means to you. I painted it shortly after my last post and it says all the things I haven’t been able to convey.
Which brings me to my last thought; In my last post I mentioned the fact I gave up my triggers for lent (triggers, meaning people who give me extreme anxiety). In regard to an update, I’m back in contact with one family who never even seemed to notice we weren’t in contact. It sounds like a bad thing, but it’s not. We’re actually really good. I never unblocked certain phone numbers because it wouldn’t do any good if I did. They’re the vindictive type who hold grudges and I just don’t need that in my life with everything else I have to deal with. I can’t have drama and deal with trauma. While I’m certainly not the best mother in the world, it’s simply not an option right now to open that line of toxic communication. I exist to be the best mother I can be to my children, not the best mother to grown adults who can’t seem to pull themselves together. I’m not a therapist. On the flip side, I understand those who feel that same way about me, too. I’ve been under a massive amount of stress and grief and I’ve experienced much of it alone, which has isolated me from more than just my family. My friends are feeling it, too. I get it. I don’t think any less of them for putting themselves first. It’s a weird time for all of us and I have faith things will work out in the end, whatever that means. It’s not much of an update, but despite the grief, I’m mentally right where I want to be and I’m not willing to give that up, not for anyone or anything.
My wish for anybody reading this ,who’s currently struggling with people pleasing, is to find the courage to put yourself first. Be the protagonist in your own life and stop playing the role of the second rate character in your own life, for goodness sake! Get over yourself and what others might think of you and tell people no! When people call you up and your home alone in your pajamas watching movies and binging on leftover Halloween candy, tell them you’re busy. Taking time for yourself, no matter how unproductive is may seem to society, is exactly what you need sometimes with no justification whatsoever. Read that line again.
Please, flood my inbox with any questions concerning adoption you may have. It’s important to express everything throughout this process if it helps another couple looking into the process (it’s literally the most selfless act a person can do) or perhaps it’ll help you address an adoptive couple you may know. At this point, I can’t be offended. It’s all been said and asked before. I just want people to understand anything that needs explaining that I haven’t already covered in this post. Also, on a more positive note, send me the ways in which you’ve dealt with this entire pandemic. We just had our first holiday, so what are you doing for the upcoming family gatherings? Are you attending, hosting, or avoiding? I’d love to feature you and what you’ve done to turn a negative into a positive!
1. Hello! Introduce yourself to your people, or my people??…People of the internet!
Hey there! I’m Halo Scot, author of Edge of the Breach, a grimdark LGBTQ+ science-fantasy novel. I’ve been a student, a teacher, a musician, a photographer, a coder, and now, an author. But I wish I had an epic backstory, so let’s pretend I was raised in a cave by wolves until the age of sixteen and bitten by a radioactive spider.
2. Name your top 5 favorite movies.
Star Wars (any of the movies)
Star Trek (any of the movies)
Life is Beautiful
3. Your book Edge of the Breach was released January 8, 2020! What does that feel like? Did you get the response you were hoping to achieve?
It feels surreal. I’m still trying to process, honestly. Is it 2020 already? 🤣 And I have been so honored and humbled by the response. Thank you all SO much for your overwhelming support!
4. Be honest. How did family and friends respond to your book? Were you satisfied with the response, or are you the kind that depends on the kindness of strangers?
The response has floored me. I wrote this super weird, super dark, super messed-up book during a super messed-up time in my life, and I had no idea if anyone would want to read it, never mind like it. A million thanks to everyone who has read it so far — your support means more than you could ever know 🖤❤️
5. On your website you provide readers with a content warning: The Rift Cycle is a highly graphic series intended for mature audiences. It is about the raw, harsh, brutal nature of truth, and it is violent, gory, and unflinching in its execution. Can you specify how this could be a potential trigger warning? Who needs to take this warning to heart?
Sure, I’d love to. Thanks so much for asking. There are triggers for sexual/child abuse, rape, mental illness (depression, anxiety, OCD, and PTSD), self-harm, suicide, murder, and grief. Please take care of yourselves first, and please avoid this book if any of these topics could trigger you
6. Based on the sneak peek available via amazon, certain story lines and movies come to mind such as Treasure Planet, The Last Air Bender, The Hunger Games, Divergent, Twilight, and Halo. How much does pop culture influence you as a writer? Do you pay homage to the stories that have inspired you in your own writing?
I tend to have quite a mainstream taste in fiction, so I definitely pulled certain elements from pop culture. I try not to reference them directly, but rather capture the appeal or emotion behind them.
7. Kyder is quite the unconventional protagonist. It’s easy in the beginning to sympathize with his circumstances, but his actions are very questionable. According to some of the reviews, he’s not as likeable as one would expect the main character to be. Is the point of his personality to question or stretch the readers’ own perceptions of morality?
I enjoyed writing him way too much LOL. Yes, I wanted to show how someone so morally gray — okay, morally black 🤣 — could evolve, and I especially wanted the reader to sympathize with him. We tend to write off people too easily when they step out of line, and I wanted to create a character that, despite everything, you still want to forgive. Because if you can forgive Kyder, you can forgive anyone, and suddenly that silly spat you had with a colleague seems meaningless. If you can overlook Kyder’s many killing sprees, then you can overlook that angry email, Karen from Accounting.
8. In the time period Edge of the Breach takes place, the seasons play a pivotal role in the development of DNA. Do parents still pass on traits as well? In the first chapter there’s a lot of presumption about Kyder’s rage stemming from his father, but there doesn’t seem to be any personality traits he picked up from his mother. How important are the parents in the role of development regarding personality traits? Why is the father blamed for his anger, but not the sun god?
More great questions! Yes, parents definitely pass on traits as well. Book 2 deals more with what he gets from his mother, but in book 1, Kyder tries to distance himself from her as much as possible and doesn’t want to admit the parts of him that come from her (namely, the mental illnesses and the urge to control his surroundings). His father is blamed, because his mother keeps likening Kyder to him, and his world is quite small/self-centered at the moment. But being born in summer definitely plays a role in his personality, too, which we will continue to see 😏
9. Does Child Protective Services exist in year 7009? Curious minds need to know.
A bare-bones version exists, but the Shelf is painfully poor, so it doesn’t have the resources or funds to help kids like Kyder, unfortunately.
10. Why are humans so drastically changed by the radiation, but the fruits and vegetables seem untouched? Also, why doesn’t the food seem to reflect the environment?
I don’t want to give too much away, but basically, it has to do with the gods’ influence over humans. There are greenhouses in Zawad and food production technology salvaged from before the war to make the range of food you see.
11. How did the people left over from the old society make it to Antarctica? Did these Airsails and starboats exist before the world was knocked off its axis?
All of the tech existed before, so they used starboats to get there. Antarctica is basically a coagulation of cultural and technological scraps.
12. Why all the sailboats? Why not go-go ships like the Jetsons, or flying cars like Harry Potter?
I wanted to include fantastical elements that have less of a technological basis to add more of an ethereal ambiance. It’s a bit of an homage to Ray Bradbury. I love how he explained little and focused on story and heart — it was always, humans are on Mars BECAUSE, now deal with it 🤣. Don’t get me wrong, though. I love high-tech stories, too. But for the attention I wanted to give the characters, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do too much science. Hence, the starboats, BECAUSE 🤣.
13. In their society the poor don’t seem to have the building structures the rich and talented members of society have. Why are the poor given the technology for airsails, but not the technology for something as basic as walls in their underground homes?
People panic in times of crisis, and in my dystopia, each person is out for themselves. Zawad functions, but the city still has difficulty maintaining itself, and people tend to covet in times of despair. I also wanted some class structure to differentiate between Kyder and Rune.
14. Let’s talk about the connection between your book and Halo. Which realm of the Halo world, if any, inspired the passageway to the gods?
This book actually wasn’t really inspired by Halo ironically 🤣. The realms and the gods were comprised from a mix of ancient mythologies, including Egyptian, Greek, and Norse, to name a few. I go more in-depth with the lore in book 2 and especially in book 3.
15. Is the rift triggered by the nukes, a result that comes after the destruction of the planet, or by the gods themselves?
You ask great questions. This is explained in the later books as the worldbuilding takes on a larger role 😏
16. What can we expect to read in the next book in the Rift Cycle series?
Without giving too much away, Kyder takes revenge for the events of last book, so lots of blood and brutality, and Rune joins a military academy to honor the memory of her late twin, but she has trouble fitting in after life in a gang.
17. Authors often hide easter eggs in their stories. Are there any clues to where we can find these? What do they mean??
I feel really boring saying this, but since the story is so in-your-face, I didn’t hide any easter eggs in this one that I can remember. There is a very subtle reference to a huge plot point later on regarding one of the main characters, but I don’t want to give anything away 😏.
18. You mentioned on your website that you found writing to be therapeutic and that oftentimes the writing would become a mirror. Are you willing to share what you saw in the mirror?
Kyder. LOL jk…or kind of 🤣. Basically, I was diagnosed with various mental illnesses at an early age, but I always felt like if I accepted the diagnoses, I would be using them as an excuse (which obviously isn’t the case). When I started writing Edge of the Breach, and especially through the character of Kyder, I learned to accept the mental illnesses I have and be kind to myself if I have an off day or week or month. You would never tell someone with a broken leg to sprint on it, so I applied the same concept to mental illness. I allowed myself a “crutch” of lower productivity and relaxation when I needed to just tread water, to just get through. I was also grappling with my sexuality and identity throughout this whole series, and fought my queerness for years before allowing this book to be my mirror.
19. Edge of the Breach is the first in a series and it is assumed that we can expect more from you. Do you ever wish there was another topic or story line that you could pursue on the side, or does this series cover everything you wish to explore?
I poured my soul into this series (four books in total), and it consumed every part of me, so at the moment, I don’t feel the need to explore another topic. Though I am in the nascent stages of drafting a stand-alone that is more sci-fi-esque.
20. Do you have anything else you’d like to share regarding your work, personal life, random tidbits just for fun?
Your questions were so wonderful and thorough that I don’t have anything else to add! Thanks so much for having me!
To learn more about Halo Scot, read more in my blog!