Sunday, December 29, 2013


I'm OK with Baby Girl not looking like me.  Lets start with that.  She is beautiful.  Big blue eyes, A little elf nose, long blond hair thats getting darker by the day, a small petite frame, and a big personality.   I'm told most often that she looks like DH.  I never could even fathom this until I saw a picture of him at about her same age now.  They had the same nose and facial structure.  DH and J look like they could maybe cousins.  It was one photograph from one awkward angle that I was able to briefly see where people got this idea from.

People see what they want to see.  You take a caucasian girl with similar complexion and hair color and people see family.   I am not bothered typically when people say we look a like or she looks like so and so.  Sometimes I think people say it because they see it and other times because they want to see it.  I typically end the conversation by acknowledging their observation but telling them I dont see it.  I'll comment to the fact that she has similar European heritage to us and that would most likely explain any vague resemblance.  As well as mannerisms... Oh and does she have my mannerisms!

Tonight while flipping thru Christmas pictures on facebook I saw myself.  No on my wall.  It wasn't a picture of Baby Girl.  It was a picture of my cousins daughter.  It was me 25 years ago.  I saw myself looking back at me.  I'll never get that with my own little girl.

I think what is hardest for me isn't the idea that Baby Girl will never look like me but no child of mine will look like me (which could be a good thing).  We grow up playing house, dreaming of our future lives and our children.  Those children looked like me, my child doesn't.  Just when I think I've grieved it and I'm over it I'm challenged by this picture of another little girls blue eyes gazing out of the computer at me.

I'm curious as to Baby Girls perspective on this as she grows.  Will she want to look like us?  Will she prefer to look like her birth family?  (which she clearly does!)  Will she be upset when people try to see us in her?  Although I dont wish her to grow up too quickly I do look forward to these conversations where I can find out what she thinks of all of this.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Definition of an Aunt or Uncle

The other day at daycare I heard a teacher tell one of the other children to ask "Aunt K" to pick you up (implying the other teacher in the room).  At the time it took me back for a moment and then I thought well maybe the teacher is her Aunt K.  I didn't say anything because I wanted to think it thru.

We run into this "aunt/uncle" thing a lot.

DH's is a police officer.  We have two other families that we are close to.  The parents tell their children to call DH and I "aunt/uncle"  I have never asked Baby Girl to call them aunt/uncle.  Another close friend of DH's that he grew up with.  In that case the friend calls himself Uncle Matt to Baby Girl and refers to us as his sons aunt/uncle.

In some ways these families are like extended family.  We see them more often then a lot of our extended family.  In the police community it is an unwritten rule that if something was ever to happen to DH or one of the other officers that we would support the remaining spouse like we would a family member.  Matt I think would give his left arm to DH if he needed it and has written letters of recommendation for both of our home studies.

I think I would still find it weird no matter what, but because of Baby Girls adoption I think I find it harder to encourage.  Baby Girls family is complicated enough without people who are not family using terms that define family.  She already has two extra grandparents, siblings that dont live with her, one birthparent that is involved and the other we may never hear from again.  She has aunts, uncles and cousins some she has met others that have chosen to keep a distance.

I do think that family fundamentally is defined by love.  By that definition all of these people listed above are family.  I could be wrong but I feel like using names like aunt/uncle with people that are close family friends muddles the waters of the importance of her birthfamily; however I can't fully articulate this.

What do you think?  Do you have friends that you use family titles for?  If you are an adoptive parent has this muddled the waters?

Our department friends have ever only asked their children to use the terms to describe us but never have asked Baby Girl to use it towards them.  DH's childhood friend has used it to describe himself.  I have up to this point ignored it but at some point I'm going to have to figure out how to articulate my discomfort with it.

No matter what I need to inquire if they ask all students to call teacher K "aunt K" because I'm totally not OK with that one.

Christmas and my Perfect Family :)

This needs to be written down in the history book because believe it or not.... I have NOTHING negative to say about my MIL.  NOTHING.  Believe it or not prior to starting the adoption process I only had one negative encounter w my MIL and that was when I informed her that DH and I would be attending her fathers 80th birthday party (as she was the one to RSVP to).  Her response?  "You better be."  

Besides my FIL informing DH that he learned they have "Indian" blood in their ancestry I dont think I can think of any overly controversial conversations that occurred.  DH informed him that it was Native American.  When DH's brother and his father argued if those of Mexican heritage were Indians or not, I chimed in to remind them that they too are Native Americans since North and South America are the Americas and they are natives and we are not.  *sigh*  I think I could have hit my head on the wall but I dont think it would have gotten me anywhere.

I made Christmas dinner.  My MIL stayed out of the way for the most part.  At one point I was in the kitchen and she manically started trying to help.  I stopped her, directed her to my list of what order things needed to go into the oven (yes I love lists and with 5 things that needed to go into the oven I had to plan for temp/time), gave her the task of the mashed potatoes and things were back on track.  I made gravy from the turkey drippings (drippings plus 2T of corn starch = gravy people) she was impressed.  Dinner was at 4PM instead of 3PM, the rolls were hockey pucks, the corn was a little dry, and I made too much food but other then that- things were delicious.

At dinner my MIL struggled with adoption language.  She was asking about Baby Girls Birth Mother.  Each time she stuttered when it came time to identify her title and myself or DH chimed in to say "birth mother"and she completed the sentence.  Same when she asked about J.

I think its in part that I'm less sensitive and also attempting to be slightly more understanding.  In some ways the fact that she is asking questions means she is interested in what this means for Baby Girl.  I wish at some point she will get the terms down or at least get names down.  I'm OK if she calls them D and J but Mom and Dad are myself and DH.

I hope you all enjoyed your day with your perfect family :)  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Waiting for Baby2 During Christmas

So I was over on Sweet Dreams are Made of This.  She does these great posts like our lovely FB friends post about their cravings, wishes, desires for their impending biological children.  I love her monthly update posts.  She talked about Christmas and wondered if anyone would buy something for her impending bundle of joy.

It brought me back to our first Christmas waiting.  It was at DH's familys house.  It was only about four months after my dear MIL told us we should try fertility treatments rather then starting the adoption process when we told her our "big news" that we would be waiting.  Christmas was two months into our "wait" for Baby Girl.

In some ways that first Thanksgiving and Christmas were easier.  I remember one Thanksgiving when we were still trying standing in the upstairs bedroom of my DH's Grandfathers home crying.  I felt like I had nothing to be Thankful for because the one and only thing I wanted was to be a Mom.  So the first Thanksgiving and Christmas waiting- we were waiting- it was going to happen.  It was just a matter of when not if.

With that said when the last gift was handed out and there was not even a mention of the impending arrival of a baby I was heart broken.  The second Christmas we were waiting my MIL, SIL, and I had gone on a shopping trip just prior to Christmas.  We did get something small and to be honest I dont recall what it was.  I recall my MIL shyly/uncomfortably saying "its for the baby."

Thinking of these memories made me realize that I think I will be sad if I open all of the gifts and there is nothing for Baby2.  So I took it upon myself to buy flannel sheets for the crib.  Since we have "everything" we need (minus a second crib) and I wasn't about to splurge on that this month I figured flannel sheets would be nice for winter.

I took Baby Girl with me to buy the gift.  On the way I used it as an opportunity to talk about the impending Baby2.  The conversation was a typical toddler conversation:
Me: Do you know where we are going?
Baby Girl: Yes!
Me: We are going to get your Baby brother/sister a gift.
Baby Girl: Brother or Sister
Me: Do you know what a Brother or sister is?
Baby Girl: Baby Girl take her socks off.
Me: Just like you your brother or sister will be adopted which means we have to wait until a mother picks us to be the be the babys family.
Baby Girl: More music please.

I thought it all was on deaf ears until we were leaving.  She told me she wanted to hold it.  As we walked out the store she pointed at the gift and said "Brother or sister."  So who knows...

The conversation got me thinking... I need to find out if there are any good waiting to be a big brother/sister books addressing adoption.  If not I might be on Shutterfly soon enough writing a story of our own.

Happy Holidays to all of you!  :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


Finances cause me anxiety no matter what.  I live with a fear of not having our basic needs covered.  Growing up we had what we needed but nothing more.  We grew up knowing that although we didn't have material things we had what we needed.  I was acutly aware at a young age of my parents financial hardships.  My mother became disabled when I was in sixth grade and we went from things being tight to things being scary for my parents.  My father was always on the brink of being layed off and finally about four years ago the inevitable happened.  Another financial crisis for my parents.

Despite my parents financial struggles they have been frugal and have been able to save to help us (not pay for) college for the three of us.  They will be able to afford retirement with some comforts like owning their own condo.

Growing up with this constant fear of finances my bank account has always caused me anxiety.

Last Friday I posted our family "announcement" pictures on FB the same day I finished the financial paperwork required for our home study.  Between the siding project (planned) and the plumbing project (unplanned) our accounts took a drastic scary turn.  I remind myself that savings are for the very reason we used it but my fear could not be consoled.

On top of the financial fear I then was hit hard with the idea of another baby (financial as well as the long list of other needs of a baby).  I had trouble breathing this weekend.  My chest feels tight, my breaths shallow and my temper requiring more breaths to control.

As if filling out paper work about every other aspect of your life isn't intimate enough.  For me writing out our finances to me is like laying naked in our driveway.  Its intimate.  Its scary.  I hate it.

Filling out the paper work was a harsh reminder of where we still need to get as well as what we truly can afford for the holidays.

Are we going hungry?  No.  Are we late on our payments? No.  Do we have luxuries like data plans and internet?  Yes.  Is some of my financial anxiety self created?  Probably.

I just can't justify buying stuff, most of which will be tossed aside, when I'm pulling out from savings for basic needs this month.  Dont get me wrong there will be gifts under the tree; however the budget is strict.

So I'm not totally sure if its baby anxiety or financial anxiety or both but it hit me like a ton of bricks.

So my action plan: cut back data plan on phones, cancel the cable and go antenna, and keep to my strict grocery budget.  Oh and per usual anxiety coping strategy:  clean like a mad woman :)  (cuz cleaning is free!)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Baby Watch Officially Started

Our home visit was on Wednesday November 27 at 3:30 PM.  I cleaned the house like my In-laws were coming (because they were).  It was spotless.  The social worker never went past the living room couch.  I guess because its an updated she didn't need to do a home tour since no major construction had occurred since the last update.... how does she know?

Baby Girl played with her blocks, ran around the house and decided to poop on her toilet in the living room during the home visit- yeah!!!  Over all she was very good used her please and thank yous.   Didn't say hello but did say good bye.  Our interview was mainly about our parenting style and how it has changed since we wrote our "parenting style" down on our original home study.  It actually wasn't too far off.  We planned to use warnings, natural consequences and time outs all of which we do.  I'm trained in behavior management so the poor girl doesn't get away with much.  I try to give her choices when I can like (do I put on your pants/underwear or will you).  I let her take off her hat and mittens when its cold outside because - she asks for them back on quick (usually).

We did learn that they are establishing a new relationship with an agency that is out of state but is in the same state as my in-laws.  I dont know if we will go forward with allowing our profile to be shown there.  If its the agency I think it is I am happy with their website.  They have pre/post counseling. There is 8 hours of mandated education for adoptive parents which I also like. Depending on their fee scale we may or may not open ourselves up to them.

On Monday we sent out announcement cards to our family that would not be at our house on Thanksgiving.  The announcement had two pictures.  One of the three of us.  DH and I are standing between her and lifting her up by her arms.  She is grinning ear to ear.  I have binoculars on and it reads "The Royal (Our Last Name) Baby Watch"  The next picture is just of Baby Girl who is blowing bubbles and laughing.  Her shirt reads "Waiting for My Promotion to BIG SISTER!"

Soon after the social worker left I got a text from my sister in law saying "We got a letter that says we need to talk to you before we open it.  Is now a good time?"  I called her and put her on speaker phone.  I told her she could open it.  It was quiet for a moment then she screamed.  They congratulated us about the news.  Given the recent tension between them and us it was nice to have something break the ice again.

When my sister arrived I handed her our announcement card.   My little sister didn't get it at first and then she read it again.  She got it!  She was excited.  (She did comment on the first thing she noticed when she walked into our house was how spotless it was)

My In-laws we waited until Baby Girl woke up from her nap Thanksgiving day before we gave them their cards.  My MIL took a moment to read it and gave me a big hug.  My FIL was happy as well but didn't really get to read the car until the next day since Baby Girl kept taking it from him.  It was nice to see them happy this time.  Last time we told them we were adopting they wanted to know why we were not doing fertility treatments.  This time they were just happy.  After they were excited I felt the need to clarify- we are adopting.  Just in case they didn't catch the "waiting" hint.  I'm sure they knew but I felt like I needed to be sure they knew we were adopting and I wasn't pregnant.

My parents didn't get their letter until Friday.  My MIL and I were the only ones home at the time but I let them open it anyway.  My mom went wild.  I am not sure if she went extra over the top since my MIL was on speaker phone with me or if she just really was that excited.  They offered us (what we were going to ask of them) a modified loan.  Last time we waited my parents sent us three or four checks I dont remember how many.  The total of the checks plus what was in our savings account totaled what we needed to adopt.  As we saved more money we sent the uncashed checks back to them voided out.  In the end we sent all the checks back before we got the call.

My older sister I didn't talk to until today.  She was the least overwhelmed.  I love her but she is practical.  I know she loves Baby Girl and when we finally get around to putting together our wills she has agreed to be Baby Girls legal guardian if that ever needs to happen.  I told her that #2 would mean she would get two instead of one if something happened to us- she told us she hoped to never parent them but would if needed.  I'm also sure she is thinking what a poor financial decision having #2 is, however having children never is a sound financial decision.

So there you have it... everyone in our immediate family knows and they are excited (in their own way).  No negativity this time around- YEAH!!

I asked my in-laws to tell their siblings and my parents will tell theirs.  My aunt who lives two doors down might be hurt to find out with her other siblings but I also feel like sometimes despite my parents living far away they deserve to be grandparents.  Once aunts/uncles/cousins know I'll post the pictures from our announcement on our FB pages as well as a card at work and the news will be spread!  This time around it doesn't feel like such a weight as it did last time.  Last time not only were we dealing with them "Oh Dear GOD we are going to be PARENTS" but also the "How do we deal with adoption" questions.

Penny pinch penny pinch penny pinch- we will be just fine :)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tomorrow Tomorrow

I start work at 6, done at 2:30, pick up Baby Girl by 3, home study by 3:30.  Hopefully guests dont start arriving until at least 5 like we told him.  House is clean minus the kitchen.  DH is going to clean the kitchen, make the beds, make an apple cake, run to the dump and the compost.  

I was on my own tonight as DH is working until 2AM tomorrow AM.  So... I got Baby Girl, we made dinner, Baby Girl and I cleaned up her toys, made dinner for tomorrow night, I made two pies, I cleaned the fridge, I cleaned the bathroom, I vacuumed the house, got both my things and Baby Girls things set up for tomorrow, Set the coffee maker, and made an emergency phone number list (for the home study).  I did cheat in the room my inlaws are staying in I took all the junk on my desk, put it in a box, put it in the closet, and put a piece of furniture in front of the door.  Its 10PM and I should already be in bed.  Can't do everything :)

Looking forward to family arriving and getting to share the big news with them.

Happy Thanksgiving You All!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

There You Got Your Way

I know DH was kidding but its annoying.  I'm sure that is what everyone is thinking.  There she got her way.  The problem is I didn't get my way.  If I had gotten my way Christmas morning would have been spent alone with just us.  Christmas afternoon either we would have traveled to the in-laws new home OR we would have had them travel to us.  I wouldn't have had to work Thursday and I could have had a five day weekend.

I however am privileged enough to always have Fridays off.  This means that when a holiday lands on a Wednesday I get that day off and work the days around it.  I get my usual three day weekend.  This means that DH's family will come up Tuesday night, spend Wed w this and leave Wed evening.

The only thing that "went my way" was we had a conversation that took into account everyone schedule.  We then determined the best plans.  It wasn't dictated to us (as initially presented) but rather a conversation occured.  I wish the conversation had not come with daggers but I hope this was a learning experience.  Please dont assume.  Please TALk to us.  Please realize that we are adults with a family of our own and traditions of our own.  Pleases dont make plans for us.

Family- gotta love them :)

(p.s. we went to our agency tonight for an adoption day (late) celebration.  It was so nice to chat with another A-Mom who also had the same opinion about our tight child care situation in our area.  Adoption means you get on a list and wait two years.  If you wait long enough you can get into the centers everyone else wants.  Oh and I can laugh/sneeze without peeing my pants *HA*)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Words are Daggars

I'm sensitive.  I realize this.  But this quote from Hamlet comes to mind when people hurt me with their words:

speak to me no more;
These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet!" 
Hamlet Act III Scene IV

Words are war in the house I grew up in.  We fought with words and we knew what would hurt.  I know I misused words in ways that I will never be able to take back.  This morning I was thinking about my cousin who was adopted from foster care.  I was raging mad at him on the way home from my Grandmothers home.  I shouted at him "At least my mother loved me and didn't do drugs!!"  My mother I think was first shocked that I even knew the above information and then was further infuriated by the fact that I used it against him.  I remember feeling immense guilt after the words came out because I knew they hurt.  BAD.  Another time I told him he wasn't my real cousin.  I knew better.  I really did.  Those two examples of how I've hurt with words are just the two adoption related ones I was mulling over this morning as I painted the hall.  I still feel regret for those words even though my cousin doesn't recall these conversations.  They hurt me more now that I'm an adoptive Mom and know that those daggers can be thrown at my daughter some day.  I hope she is strong enough for them.

This afternoon DH started to try to figure out the coordination of Christmas plan.  Apparently his family made plans without us.  Their plan was we were going to drive to DH brothers house to have Christmas since DH's parents home wont be finished being built.  (the tentative plan to my knowledge had been that we would celebrate with them at his parents home if it was finished- I told them I didn't yet know what days I had off yet- this was a month ago).  Since then plans were apparently set and I then learned I have off Christmas day- thats it.  I work in a nursing home and well people still live there 24/7.  I also took the day before Christmas off last year which means I get Christmas off.  period.  

The assumption was we were going down there.  This is an on going challenge as DH's brother and parents live within miles of each other.  DH brother and his parents don't have children.  So getting into a car and driving isn't a challenge.  Last year we also informed our families that we would ALWAYS wake up Christmas morning at our own home.  Its a tradition that I loved growing up and I'm sticking to it.  period.  No wavering.  Sorry.  We however are one family and they are two thus the assumption is always that we travel there.  So this year we thought we would insist on a dialog.  Didn't go so well.  I tried to explain that Wednesday is the worst possible day for a holiday as there are two work days on either side.  Since I work somewhere that is open 24/7 there is little wiggle room for taking days off.  If I take more then Christmas off I'll then have to work the Sunday before or the Sat after.  DH brother responded "So your family isn't important enough to work an extra day off during the weekend to get a day off during the week?"  I wanted to tell him "No not your family."  Instead I took a breath and said that No i'd rather celebrate the holiday over the weekend.  It hurt.  There always has been this implication that my family isn't important to me though never so forwardly stated.  My family lives far away and requires a plane ride.  I'd rather take a week in the summer to visit when I dont have to worry about flight delays, winter weather and crowded airports.  So instead on years that its "my families" holiday we stay home and enjoy it just the three of us.  The implication that my family is "isn't important enough" was a dagger.  It hurts.  It makes me well up with tears just thinking about it.  

The one other thing that we can't explain yet (as we have not told anyone of our plans to adopt again) is that I need to save my earned time.  When Baby Girl gets sick I need days so I can stay home with her.  I also dont get maternity leave so the amount of earn time I have saved up determines how much time I get to spend bonding with my little one.  The definition of "my family" isn't the same as his.  I'd lay my life down for "my family."  I'd move to PA and essentially live in a NICU for "my family."  My extended family has to take a back seat because "my family" takes priority.  Sorry.  I hope one day he has kids and can understand but I dont think he will understand before then.

I believe this cruel words are a) thoughtlessness and b) possibly a result of our verbalizing our disappointment that he didn't just tell us that he didn't want to help us with the plumbing issues we have been having (did I mention before we have a plumber in our family) rather then claiming he was "too busy".  We didn't ask him for charity we were willing to pay him but it still would have been cheaper and easier on our adoption budget had we had DH and him complete the project. 

Family is hard.  Extended family is harder.  My family operates differently.  We are open and we will tell it like it is.  I'd rather with kind words have someone tell me they really are not interested in taking the time to do something then to claim that they can't.  We fight with words but we are able to call each other out on it.  There is no passive aggressiveness.  I have to remind myself that DH's family is different.  I try to understand, but when the passive aggressive daggers are thrown I just sit here wounded.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Olfactory Memories

I could have sworn I blogged about it.  February 2011 a few months after starting to wait we started our bathroom renovation.  We contiplated if we should or should not do the renovation because well we were waiting and a bathroom renovation was expensive.  We decided to do it because 1) our tub was no where to bath a baby and 2) It was going to be easier to renovate with one bathroom without a baby.  So we did it.  Recently we had the same challenge but this time it was siding.  We decided to go for it.  Our house needed to be resided and well we have no idea when Baby2 will arrive.  During the siding project our drain from the kitchen/laundry room failed.

So today *drum roll* our plumbing is getting fixed.

So what does this have anything to do with adoption?

Several things.  1) its hard when you are waiting to know what you can and cannot do financially.  Obviously the fixes we needed just needed to get done.  and 2) the smell of the plumbing glue brought me back almost 3 years.  I remember coming home to have plumbers glue smell smack me in the face.

DH and I opened the windows and despite a strict budget went out to dinner.  I was upset and sad about the adoption for some reason (I can't remember).  It was during dinner we realized that the adoption support meeting was that night.  I remember coming home and feeling better.

The smell of plumbers glue brought me back.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Home Visit Scheduled

So the day before Thanksgiving at 4:15PM is our home visit.  By then we should have a kitchen sink and washing machine working again.  I need to get the office under control.

We were supposed to get a second fire extinguisher for the fireplace in order to be approved for Baby Girl.  We never did.  We have used the fireplace maybe 4 times in the 4 years we have lived here plus there isnt a safe place to keep it in the living room away from Baby Girl.  Hopefully she doesn't notice.  Prior to our last home visit we asked about needing one for a fireplace and were told we didn't need one for a fireplace just a wood stove.  When she came to our home she told us we needed one for the fireplace.  So send me to jail but I'm going to tell her we moved it to the basement when baby proofing and I can't find it if she asks.  As a parent I feel comfortable having one fire extinguisher when the chances that we would be cooking and using the fireplace at the same time in already nonexistent.

The nice things is I planned on crazy cleaning anyway since my In-Laws will staying with us for Thanksgiving.  Kinda nice to kill two birds with one stone.  I'm not overly anxious about the visit.  This time it is just a step in the process and I just want it to be over with.

We will be officially waiting as of the end of this month!  Can't wait to find out all about Baby2!  I keep having baby boy dreams.  Last time I dreamed of girls.... time will tell :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

I Wanna Phone M

Baby Girl keeps telling me "I wanna phone M."  The first time she asked I told her that was a great idea and that we would have to set up a time.  The second time she asked I looked at DH for help.  What am I supposed to say?!  I reminded her we couldn't call that day but we could call.

Last night DH and I talked about it.  How could we make this work.  I could e-mail Di or I could call her Birthgrandmothers house and set up a time.  The challenge is that Baby Girl is not yet 2 so her language is obviously not great on the phone.  M has Autism and is at a similar place is Baby Girl in his speech.  Although I think its wonderful that Baby Girl wants to talk to M its not going to be easy.

Tonight Baby Girl again asked me "I wanna Phone M."  I had to explain to her that M even though he is a big kid doesn't have the words to talk on the phone.  She seemed satisfied with that explanation.  I'm going to have to come up with something better.

I might set up a skype account.

My challenge is the balance between what D gets and what the other members of her birthfamily get.  M, Di, and her birthgrandparents are stable.  I know where to find them.  D I dont know how to get ahold of her except thru the agency or by calling her parents house and she may be there- I dont know.  D is not M's guardian rather his Grandparents are.  So who do I ask?  So far D has been in jail so it was easy since she wasn't available.

It is nice she wants to talk with M.  Having a conversation with Baby Girl could help M with his language.  Both Baby Girl and M know signs so they would at least have that (if we used Skype).  Just because Baby Girl wants to talk to M doesn't mean her birthfamily wants M to talk to Baby Girl.  The fastest way to communicate is via e-mail and Di is the only one with e-mail and I feel bad putting Di in the middle.  The phone works as well but any time I've talked with her BirthGrandmother it has been after Di has set up a time for us to talk (even though we have the others #s).  I know its just a matter of asking D but I also have not received any communication from her since May so who knows when I'll hear from her again.

Please tell me it gets easier!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2013 Open Adoption Blogger Interview Project

Open Adoption Bloggers is a group of bloggers that write about adoption from the many voices of adoption. This annual interview project allows for bloggers from the different aspects of the triad to be paired up and expand their circle.  This year there will be three rounds of interviews so after you are finished reading our interview head over to read the November 12th interviews.  Each pairing is a random assignment which adds to the fun.

This year I get the pleasure of introducing Sharon of Ova Achiever who has documented her journey down the long road of infertility.  Her blog sucked me in and I wasn't able to stop until I read her last word.  She has you cheering with her as she celebrates the achievements like getting into a research study.  I cringed at every shot she gave herself or Ian gave her.  She shared her excitement and renewed hope when implantations looked promising.  She is honest and vulnerable as she recounts her disappointments when again she finders her still on the quest of parenthood.  I enjoyed getting a chance to read her journey as she enters her last cycle of FET.  I cried when she shared her infertility PTSD post as I was right there with her in the OBGYN office.  While I root for Sharon and her partner Ians final cycle to be successful I also saw the new hope emerging as they have started to explore the world of open adoption.   

With one foot in each world I would like all of you to welcome Sharon and Ian into the world of Open Adoption.  I feel honored to have been Sharons interview partner after so many before me; helped me understand all I needed to know about open adoption.  Ian was also so kind as to participate in the interview as well. 


 1) I gathered from reading your blog that you used it not only as a place to document your fertility treatments but also as a place to communicate globally with friends/family.  Did you ever regret something you shared on your blog? Do you think having friends/family read your blog shaped what you wrote about?
I've tried very hard to not let who is reading my blog affect what I say, but there have definitely been some times where I've wished I had a more secret place to really talk openly about things - which believe it or not, given all I've talked about, is sometimes still not true for my blog.  It's generally only happened when someone I really love and am very close to has done something unintentionally that is hurtful to me.  In some cases it might be something they've said, and in other cases it might actually just be not anything they've done, just a fact of their life that is hard for me to deal with.  In these cases I've felt quite stifled (and missed the olden days when I had
top secret blogs on LiveJournal) and wished I had somewhere I could process that in a less public forum that was still public!  (Does that make any sense at all.)  That said, I definitely don't regret my choice of openness.

In regards to the first part of this question, I can't think of a time that I've shared anything I later regretted.  I can say, in looking back, that I'm often a bit harsher emotionally in a moment than I might feel later, and that is a bit embarrassing to go back and read -very vulnerable and awkward to read past emotions so on display when
they are now more muted and tamed.  Still, though, I don't think I would take any of it back!  It was all quite real at the time, and my hope is still that it helps both family and friends understand me better and also that it helps others going through similar things feel less alone.

 2) A few points you mention in posts that you are posting information but are not yet ready to talk about the information yet.  Did you find people were respectful of those requests?  I had a few friends that read my blog. The first Mothers Day we were waiting a friend of mine drove to my work and put a rose and card on my car.  I still get welled up just thinking about that simple gesture.  What was the most meaningful/helpful thing someone did as a result of them reading your post?
I did find people to be generally respectful of those wishes.  There are definitely plenty of people who don't read the blog, but still want to talk about it, so sometimes people will accidentally ask about something that I really don't want to talk about yet. I am getting better at saying, "I don't really want to talk about it yet" in person as well as on the blog, but it's definitely easier to say it on the blog than to the face of a caring friend!  That gesture you mention is quite lovely.  I got teary-eyed just reading it.  For me, the nicest things have come in the form of incredibly kind and caring and loving notes in the mail (I LOVE REAL MAIL), via text, and by email.  Just things that made it clear that people are reading, are respectful and are rooting for me and thinking about me.  It doesn't take a lot, ya know?

 3) What is your greatest wish for your future son/daughter?
It is pretty simple, actually.  I just wish that he or she will feel secure, safe, happy and loved and that however we come together as a family (s)he will be overwhelmed by all the people who care about him/her.

 4) I remember the first onesie I bought for my daughter.  It was white with blue trim and a dog on the front.  I didn't' allow myself to buy baby items until we started the adoption process.  Have you allowed yourself to get ready for a baby?
I haven't really, and it is something I've been thinking about a lot lately.  I have a couple of things that I have saved for when I have a baby from quite awhile ago...things we bought for a baby before and during the time when we were trying the "old-fashioned" way.  As soon as it became clear, though, that this wasn't going to be our path to parenthood, I stopped buying anything for my future child.  Eventually I stopped even really looking at things for a future child (my sad Pinterest board "someday I will have a baby" sitting not updated for a
long long time).  I think it started to feel like bad luck, or at least like a sad reminder of something that was suddenly unsure.

Interestingly, since we have started on the adoption stuff, I've started pinning things to my board again.  My hope has come back a little bit and I've been able to let go of some of that fear that I'll never be a mom.  I feel conflicted, though.  While my hope is returning, it is hard to let go of the fear.  I still worry that I will buy things and then be stuck staring at baby things sitting in my house unused for years and years.  It's a heartbreak I try to avoid, but it is something I'll have to get past as we move further along the adoption path.  Obviously I can't bring a baby home to an empty room, and I have to figure out how to let go of the idea that I'll have preparation time through pregnancy.

 5) I have found my greatest support for adoption via the internet.  I have many "friends" I have never met yet I feel closest to them having experience adoption with them.  How has the internet shaped your journey?  Do you think infertility would have been the same had you experienced it 30 years ago?
I can't even imagine how I would have dealt with this without the Internet.  It would have been SO different.  I don't know, maybe I'm wrong and my innate desire to share my story means I would have found other people via word of mouth or like classifieds in the newspaper ;).  Who knows?  What I do know, though, is that from the start I turned to the Internet for, initially, information.  After information, the Internet provided support (online forums, like those at Resolve,"meeting" bloggers etc.) and then it became a place for me to share and express my thoughts and feelings with the world.  Via the sharing I ended up getting more information and more support.  What an amazing cycle, right??

All that said, I have to point out that I have met so many adoptive parents via word-of-mouth (friends of friends) that have welcomed me and met me in person (or on the phone), shared information with me, and been incredibly helpful.  I'm not sure if the Internet was so much a factor in that - maybe not, actually.  Although would people have known what I was going through without the Internet - would they have known to hook me up with these amazing other friends?  Maybe not.

All I can really say is, HOORAY FOR THE INTERNET!

 6) I found as I delved deeper into the world of adoption my awareness about adoption grew exponentially.  What is the most interesting thing you have learned so far about adoption?  Have you learn anything new about yourself or your partner via this new exploration?
I have learned so much already!  Every day I become aware of something new regarding adoption and I really went into this knowing absolutely nothing.  Now I can't stop - I read anything I can get my paws on!  I think the most interesting thing that I've learned is actually also the hugest thing - the giant shift toward open adoption from closed in this country.  Learning about that, and delving deeper into the how and why just opened my mind up to so much else about adoption.  I had to be able to accept the ambiguousness of it, morally, and find the place in my head and my heart where I feel comfortable within that.  That was a challenge for Ian, my partner, and I to do together.  I'm pleased to be able to say that we have been almost 100% on the same page as we discover all the questions we have to ask ourselves in this process, and I feel so so lucky about that.  I think, also,  it's the first time in my life where I felt truly tested and discovered that I am willing to forgo the "easy" path to take the path that feels just and right (at least when it comes to this particular topic - building
my family).  I am so thankful to have a partner to share this process with who passed this test as well.   So, forward we can go together, and feel secure in knowing that we are doing our best to do what is right for every person who will be affected by the way we are starting a family.   That feels good!

 7) How have your families responded to your interest in pursuing adoption?
We are lucky to have incredibly supportive families.  So far, and of course this is very early, no family member has said a single thing that could be construed as being anything other than amazingly supportive.  I bought a few copies of this book,, and I'm not even sure that anyone "needs" it - so much so that I'm almost embarrassed to give it to them.

Of course we still don't know what our path will look like, and we haven't talked as much with extended family so there is a lot of unknown and I'm sure there will be some hurdles (hopefully small).  I already feel like I have my shields up because of all the new knowledge I have about adoption - I can remember so many of my own
misconceptions because I had them such a short time ago.  I need to find a way to share information with the people I care about without feeling hurt when they don't just KNOW it.  I need to have empathy and remember how ignorant I was what feels like just a minute ago.  I do have a fear that I will feel like our parents and siblings don't see our child as their "real" grandchild or niece/nephew due to lack of genetic connection, but this fear is based on nothing concrete other than probably my own deepest darkest fears about myself.

 8)  As "The Boy" had a guest post last December; I had a question for him if he was willing.  Adoption is the great equalizer in family planning as both parents are equally involved.  How do you think the pursuit of adoption vs fertility treatments will be for you?
I hadn't really thought about the move towards adoption in those terms. During our fertility treatments I've wished there was more of the burden that I could take, but biology limits what I have to offer.  In abandoning fertility treatments Sharon is giving up more than me -it was never in the cards for me to carry a baby and give birth. On
the other hand I was more attached to the idea of a genetic connection than Sharon ever was - I'm attached to my family history (eg: I'm reading an ancestor's memoirs at the moment) in a way that she isn't.

I'm not sure how the adoption process will be for me. While I'm not looking forward to an indeterminately long wait for a match and the stress of matches falling through, I'm looking forward to leaving the injections and the 2-week waits behind.

Monday, November 11, 2013

That Mom

So today I was "that mom"  the one that thinks her child is amazing.  That Mom that can't see why no one else can see how amazing her child is.

So Baby Girl has been working on toilet training at home.  At school we talk about it to them regularly.  They have not been as enthusiastic.  I dont think they believe us.

Thursday as I picked Baby Girl up her teacher mentioned that Baby Girl had just asked to use the toilet and they had taken her.  The teacher then told me "we try to bring her when she asks but we dont always have the staff."  My blood pressure went up with those words.  So you are telling me my child ASKS to go to the toilet and you dont bring her?  In my line of work with adults that is considered abuse.  I realize she is a child and she is still learning.  Accidents will happen and thats what happens when you toilet train.  With that said to give a child mixed messages that yes its OK to pee in your pants when I dont have time to take you is not OK in my book.  I didn't say anything to the teacher because I realize staffing is not her problem.  Its the directors problem.

I also admitted to myself that at home Baby Girl runs around with nothing on and when she needs to go she goes and sits on the toilet next to the couch in the living room.  So I decided to try putting pants on her this weekend.  Maybe school is having trouble because she wears pants at school and thus can't feel she needs to go.  Friday she had two accidents after each I explained to her that we dont pee in our pants we pee on the toilet because pee and poop go in the toilet.  Saturday no accidents.  Sunday she started to have an accident.  Stopped herself.  Ran to the toilet and sat down- but she forgot to pull down her pants.  I gently reminded her that it was great that she peed on the toilet but she needed to remember to pull down her pants.  So she proved the pants was the problem theory this weekend.

So today I knocked on the directors door.  Can we talk about toilet training?  I explained our weekend experiment and told her that I was told staffing was the issue for toileting.  I threw out a few ideas like putting Baby Girl in the next class up.  The director wasn't getting it.  She kept trying to convince me that Baby Girl just wasnt that interested in toilet training.  So I changed my approach- direct.  Baby Girl is potty trained at home w occasional accidents.  We have to start over each weekend because at school she is told to pee in her diaper.  Starting next Monday Baby Girl will arrive in underwear.  Her response?  *eyes big* "Umm... OK."  She also told me that never before has a child started potty training so young.  I wanted to get all OT on her and tell her that most kids are ready to start between 15 and 24 months but most parents are not ready until 24-36 months.  Its not the kids that are the problem- its the adults.

So hopefully this doesn't all backfire on me.  I'm giving it a go.  Worst come to worse we have to do a few extra loads of laundry (which means a few extra trips to the laundry mat).

I'm confident though that my kid is amazing and smart and will have it all figured out.  Yep- I'm that Mom.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Trialing a Little Colonial Living

Last week I put my work clothes in the wash before I went to bed.  When I woke up I went to the basement to find my clothes clean and water on the floor.  We were having the sump pump people come to clean the system out anyway so I didn't think much of it except well... it hasn't really rained much.  Nor have we ever had water in the basement in the fall.

That night DH went to the basement to check on the water and noticed water in the slop sink.  Thats weird.  I hadn't used it, and he hadn't used it.  Odd.  *shrug*

The next day DH again went to the basement to check on the water after he finished washing the dishes.  Again... water in the slop sink plus food particles.  Umm... thats night right.  DH called his brother who is a plummer and told us to call to have it professionally flushed since there clearly was a block in the drain past where it went into the basement floor.

So that brings us to Friday.  Well the guy came and tried to flush it out but hit dirt after about 15 feet.  SO that means there is a break in the line.  Which means that the water on the floor likely is a result of the water going into the drain, then into the track for our sump pump and then onto our basement floor.... SO that means we can't use our kitchen skin, dishwasher, the slop sink OR the clothes washer until we get a new drain line.  Which will run us between 1800-5000 depending on if they need to go above or below the ground.

Might I add that this unexpected expense comes the same week we started the siding project on our house?  GAH!

We are going to move forward with the adoption process but it may mean having to borrow money from my parents again to make it happen if we were go get a fast placement.  I wish money grew on trees.

Friday, November 8, 2013


I found this video on Facebook.  The woman named Ash Beckham discusses "coming out of the closet" and how we all have closets.  She defines a closet as one in which the conversation that ensues is a difficult one.

Infertility was my closet.  I still am cautious as with which people I am open with.  Discussing things that are sensitive are hard because they make us vulnerable.  It is easy for someone to hurt my feelings when discussing infertility.  At one point she discusses "meeting people where they are at."  It is easier said then done.  Her point is taken though.  For someone that has never experienced infertility the conversation is likely hard and uncomfortable as well.

In "coming out" of my infertility closet I have been able to be a support person.  I am the friend people call when they themselves or they have a friend who is experiencing infertility.  I am often cautious with those conversations even when someone is "infertile" because just because someone has been diagnosed with "infertility" does not mean they will never get pregnant.  In fact just about a month ago one of my friends who was told she "couldnt get pregnant" did.  I'm thrilled for her and I'm glad she will be able to become a parent.  It still hurts that that I neve was struck by lightning.

Adoption for a long time was a closet.  I think for some families it still is.  People even in the adoption world depending on when they joined have different levels of comfort.  About a year ago I was talking to an "experienced" adoptive mom of a high school student.  She was truly challenged by my idea that I spoke frequently and openly about adoption at home.  She also was concerned about the contact with had with Baby Girls birthfamily.  I never want adoption to be a closet for Baby Girl.  I do want her to feel that she can choose with whom she shares her story but I want her to be proud of that story.

As hard as my wait was it gave me time to practice being "out" of the adoption closet.  As Baby Girl gets older I become more comfortable speaking about adoption and helping others become comfortable speaking about adoption.  Just this week a friend told me about how another one of her friends got a placement.  A few other coworkers jumped into the conversation.  At one point another coworker told us a story about how the "regular mother" (I kid you not) wanted her kid back.  She was upset that the "other mother" would get to have the child back only to have it placed in foster care.  I took a deep breath and told her that the mother had rights and it was within her legal right to create a plan to be able to parent her child.  I also said that although the waiting period is hard before the TPR is final I know that I allowed the legal process to work and that D chose me to be Baby Girls Mom.  I can't imagine being on the other end of waiting for the TPR to finalize the swinging of emotions between the plan you created for your child and fighting your own desires to be near that sweet child you carried for 9 months.  I dont know that I'd always would have been able to have had that conversation.

As a whole I think my friends and coworkers know how much I respect birthmothers and expectant mothers.  I think for many of them this is a new way of thinking.  I can't say that I have them all convinced but thats their challenge not mine.

So please enjoy this clip:

Ash Beckham

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Foster Care

Baby Girls daycare used to be run by a mental health center.  The center was for the children of the employees of the center, children receiving services at the center, and the children of those receiving services.  A few years back the mental health center was unable to continue to run the child care center and the daycare center became an independent center.

They still are very involved with the mental health center and there are many children at the center who receive support.  They have a behaviorist that is on staff and they are committed to being accessible to all students.  They have never once kicked a child out but rather develop plans to provide that child with the support he/she needs to succeed.  This is why I love the center so much.  They realize that there are no "lost" preschoolers.

Yesterday as we left school a little boy zipped back from the parking lot pushing a truck at top speed at us.  One of the office staff happened to be there and reminded the little boy that he was big and Baby Girl was little.  He put his hands on his knees and squatted a little "Hi" he said to Baby Girl.  She just looked at him with big eyes.  Off he zoomed back up the walk way towards a group of women.

Baby Girl meanders out of day care towards the car, then back towards the building, into the garden, back towards the car, reverse.  I then over heard then talking to the boy who was insisting he wanted to spend the night at school.  No they told him you have to go to a new home tonight.  Melissa* and Doug* are a nice couple expecting to get to meet you tonight.  They will let you pick dinner.  You will get to come back tomorrow.  At that point I insisted that Baby Girl keep walking towards the car so this boy could have privacy.  The boy made a bee line under the steps with his truck.  The women split up one to talk to the boy and one to get the car.  I took Baby Girls hand and hastened our walk to the car.

I can't imagine.  I can't imagine the hurt, the fear, the sadness.  I hate meeting new people.  I have always hated it.  I couldn't imagine having to move from home to home.  I couldn't imagine meeting Melissa* and Doug* even if they let me pick dinner.  I hated sleep overs at friends houses.  I couldn't imagine wondering how long my current bed would be mine.  I couldn't imagine wishing to sleep at school rather then going home as school was safe and familiar.

I wanted to grab his hand, smother him w a hug and bring him home with me.  Instead I gave Baby girl a tight hug and kissed her nose before I put her in the car seat.  I was even more thankful than I've ever been of D's choice to pick adoptive parents rather than going thru the foster care system.  I also realized that one day when we do do respite care we will be Melissa and Doug and the child will be fearful and want to stay at school.

*name change

Home Study Packet IN

So Friday I went to the doctors for my "check up."  I had a physical last November so I couldnt have another one until the end of November.  Just after my last physical my doctor decided to leave the practice and so I was assigned a new doctor.  In the past I was able to turn in our physical form and they signed off on it since I had a physical in the last year.  This time I actually had to go and meet the doctor since I had never met her before.

I already turned in the form so I can't state what the exact question were but paraphrased the questions were:
1) Do you have any medical conditions you are currently being treated for that would limit your ability to parent?

Easy- No.  I have asthma and a bad back but nothing that would prevent me from parenting.  Silly me (since this is a new relationship and I want her help) mentioned that I had been working with my prior doctor on gaining weight.  I lost about 15lbs when Baby Girl was in the hospital and have struggled to get it back.  My metabolism is crazy as is for my sister and mother.  I eat whole fat yogurt and drink calories.  I have my own private stash of chocolate covered almonds.  I just can't get the last 5 lbs back on or get them to stick.  She raised her eyebrows.  GAH!  "I'm working on it" I told her.  What anorexic woman would admit to eating whole fat yogurt?!  She briefly toyed with the idea of testing my cholesterol- I wanted to strangle her.  Did she look at my labs/general health from before?  She finally checked "No."

2) Do you have or have you ever been treated for depression or another mental illness.

Easy- No.  Her response: Never? (eyebrow raise).  No- Never.  Have I been sad?  Yes.  Have I had time in my life where I was depressed- yes.  I dont think anyone who experiences infertility can claim they never were depressed.  Was I able to work thru it naturally?  Yes.  Do women with depression become pregnant?  yes.  Should I not be allowed to parent?  No.  The one and only time I felt crazy- legitimately scared myself crazy was when I was taking drugs for IUI.  The drugs stopped- I was sad but not crazy.  Oh and if i'm not overly cheery today- my best friend growing up died and I'm too far away to go to his funeral.  She checked "No" and moved on.

3) Major surgery?

No.  She listed my minor knee surgery I had 15 years ago and my breast reduction surgery.  *eye roll*  If thats major surgery I'm not sure if I want her around in an emergency.

4) I dont remember the question.

The answer was no.

Please describe any health conditions that may impact this persons ability to parent:
She chicken scratched something at the bottom I tried to read and I couldn't so I'm assuming the agency wont be able to either.


She made so many incorrect statements about adoption like "there are so many waiting babies."  How lucky my little girl was to have gotten me as a mom.  "Dont the real moms get to pick you?" "How old will the baby be?" Umm... a baby?  "Where will the baby be from?" Mars.  I kept my mouth shut. 30 minutes later my paper was signed.  I left happy.  I have been medically cleared to adopt.  I maybe needing another doctor though.

Home Study Check List:
Review original home study
Home Visit
Physician Report- Me
Physician Report- DH
Finger Prints- Me
Finger Prints- DH
Birth Certificate Copy Me
Birth Certificate Copy DH
Marriage License
Profile Book
Letters of recommendation requested

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I want M

Yesterday morning while I was still in bed DH brought Baby Girl into our room.  He placed her on the bed next to me and she demanded "I want M!  I want M!"  M is Baby Girls birthbrother.  I told her "I can't get your M.  He is in PA."  I broke my heart.

I'm not sure where this demand came from.  M and Pop-Pop her birthGrandfather seem to be the two she remembers most.  She has a love of men.

I then remembered I had pictures so I asked if she wanted to see a picture of M.  She said yes.  So we sat for about 5 minutes looking at pictures of M and Di her birthSister.  This seemed to satisfy her demand and was able to move on.

Later in the day she asked for Di.  Again I showed her pictures.

I'm sure the pictures of her birthfamily on her wall as well as her baby book are instrumental in this new interest.  I wish I could get into her head and understand what she understands.  I try to bring up adoption daily with her in some way in an organic way.  i.e. when we see something PA related I'll tell her thats where she was born and thats where M, Di and D live.  I'm enjoying this new phase where she has started to initiate those conversations.

I wish she could see her birthfamily more regularly but pictures will have to do.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Drugs, Addiction and the Hard Facts of Life

My first friend when we moved to the burbs in 4th grade was a boy, and he was my best friend in middle school.  In 8th grade he became my "boyfriend."  Thru high school we kept in touch but were not close.  He went to drinking parties and I was "straight edged."  I wished that he would change and by day we were still friends and I'd try to convince him that drinking wasn't worth his time.  He was my junior prom date and he found great humor in my plan to take the "green limo" the city bus.  He wore his chorus tux and I wore a dress from my grandmothers closet.  He knew how to have fun.  Graduation practice I didn't see him.  I went to his house to tell him that if I was walking- he was too.  He told me he thought it was stupid and wasn't walking.  Turns out he lied- he couldn't walk he didn't graduate.  Freshman year of college every time I'd see him I'd get on him for getting his GED.  He worked odd jobs and at one point we both worked in the mall.  Our social lives were different and he kept me at a distance.

Sophomore year of college I got a call from him asking me to pick him up at a random location in the inner city.  I did it.  He jumped into my car, we drove away and I wanted an explanation.  He was in a half way house because his parents had him committed due to his risk to himself and his addiction.  He was in and out of half way houses, AA and NA.  I never asked him what narcotics he used - I just didn't want to know.  He fell in and out with his parents who were functioning alcoholics, though I always wondered if that was it.  He came to Easter dinner with me one year because he was on the fritz with his parents.  Last I talked to him I finally nagged him enough to get his GED.  He was working for his parents (who also could have used AA) which made me question how wise he was to work there- but I didn't say anything.  It seemed like he finally had pulled himself out of it.

He then was absent from my life- no more random phone calls.  I knew what it meant and I didn't reach out.  I thought of him often.  I thought of him the most as I watched baby girl withdrawal.  I thought of him when I saw J.  J's quick flashy smile and fast talking were all too familiar.  My older sister had random sightings of him around town but no phone calls to me told me everything I already knew- he relapsed because he knew better not to call me when he was actively using.

Tonight I was on the computer to check our bank account status as the mortgage is auto deducted today.  I took a quick peek at facebook and saw his name.  I saw a picture of a familiar candle.  The candle of an obit.  My dear friend Max finally found peace the obit says.  I hope this is true.

Addiction took from me a good friend a long time ago.  I've mourned his loss many times over as I got my hopes up he could overcome it only to have my hopes dashed.  He was exhausting to be friends with yet his charisma and that boy I became friends with was always there.  I loved who I knew he could be and hated who he was.  His charming smile could get him thru any situation.  His ability to be deceptive was hard to not take personally- it was an unfortunate symptom of his addiction.

I dont know the specifics of his death and dont feel like I need to as I already feel like I know.  I refused to call addiction a disease for Max and I did the same for D and J.  Depression and PTSD are medical diagnosis- addiction is the attempt to self medicate.  They all made a series of unfortunate choices which lead them to be overtaken by a chemical dependency.  This obit makes me wonder when I'll read D or J's.

Max was a dear friend who could always make me smile.  He also was a friend who provided me lessons I wish I had never learned.  It took me a while to learn that I couldn't save him though I was always there to encourage him.  I had to learn to tell him not to call unless he was clean and sober.  Our lives took two very different paths and his path ended abruptly and too soon.

I'm going to miss you Max.  In your absence I always wished for another random phone call to hear an update.  Times between calls became longer and longer, but I never changed my phone # because I wanted you to be able to call when you were ready.

What I'd give for one more of those hugs.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Pumpkin for D and Other News

Baby Girl made a pumpkin at "school" today.  It was hanging on her cubby and it said "Happy Halloween from Baby Girl."  When I picked it up I asked her who she made it for.  She told me that she had made it.  I then asked again who it was for and gave her choices: Oma, Opa, D, Mama, Dada.  She confidently told me "D."  Halloween seems like a big deal for D's family as last year they sent her a card and a small gift.  They posted pictures of her birthsiblings in their costumes.  So I'm glad she picked D.

In other news we still read her adoption story EVERY night per her request.  I did write the story and lived the story so it wasn't hard to memorize but I have it down by heart now.  She also helps tell the story.  She knows her Dada is working on the page that we got the call.  She knows who her birthmom is.  That is the beauty of repetition.  Earlier today we had read it on the toilet so I suggested for bed tonight maybe we could read Chica Chica ABC.  When she agreed I scrambled to find it before she changed her mind.  Chica Chica Boom Boom!

My personal favorite news is Baby girl has gone accident free (at home) since Sunday!!!  We are doing the naked method so as long as she is clothing free on her lower half she takes herself to the toilet without even asking.  Once she has a diaper back on she is perfectly content using the diaper, which seems strange to me since she is in cloth diapers and that can't be comfortable.  I can't believe how much she has grown up.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Baby Book

So for the past few weeks Baby Girl has been asking to read the "Baby Book" nearly every night.  Her "Baby Book" is her adoption story.  I usually read it word for word now.  Her favorite pages is the one where it talks about how DH and I wanted to become parents so we asked our agency for them to help us.  We used our profile book picture from when we waited which has both the dog and cat in the picture.  She loves that her dog and cat are in the book.

When we get to the page about how D and J visited her in the hospital she loves to get me to say the names.  Rapid fire she points and I name.  She comes and goes on her ability to say their names.  The picture on her wall with her birthsiblings and her is also in the book.  On the wall she can point to them when I ask her where each of them are.  In the book she doesn't.  Tonight she exclaimed her birthbrotheres name and pointed to J.

It all will come.  I know she has done better with my parents after our recent visit so I think one trip to visit her birth family this spring will solidify that the pictures of people on her wall and in the book are real people.  At this point she loves to hear about the baby (who I know she doesn't get is her).

I know the books importance will change as she gets older.  I just love that she likes to read it.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Profile Book- DONE

October 7th 2010 we officially started waiting.  October 8, 2013 I submitted our profile book to be printed.  It will likely be another month before our interview/home study but its getting close.  I wrote in our "Dear Birthparent Letter"/Dear Expectant Parent letter (I avoided Dear anything because thats just not my style) that I felt that writing the letter was no easier the second time around.  In fact I think it was harder.  Now as a Mom I feel like I don't know what to say to a woman that is considering me as the mother of her child.

As I did last time I am posting my Dear Birthparent letter in hopes it might help someone else.  What I have learned in writing two is there is no right/wrong.  You are who you are.  (Well i guess there is wrong but you have to be totally out of touch with open adoption, and well I'm sure there are some out there.  If you are reading my blog you probably educated on open adoption and its benefits and have some idea of adoption friendly language).  I also can't stress enough about making sure you speak to the expectant parents as they are making a decision for their baby.  You can speak of your hopes and dreams for your baby but they are not one in the same.  Many parents will read your book before the ones that choose you read it.  Some that read your book will choose to parent, others will choose other adoptive parents, and one will pick you.

Our names are X and Y.  Our daughter's name is Z but we call her Baby Girl.  Thank you for taking the time to read our book.  We hope that in the next few pages you will get to know us.  We cannot imagine how difficult this journey has been for you, but we respect that you are making a decision that is best for you and your baby.  This process is not new to us since Baby Girl also was adopted as an infant, though writing this book is just as hard to write the second time as it was the first time.  We realize that in a few short pages you will know more about us but we still likely will not have answered all our questions.  We will do our best to answer the questions we think you might want answered but look forward to an opportunity to meet you.  So here it goes...

So how did we get to the point where we are writing this letter to you?  Early in our dating relationship we talked about having a family.  Soon after we were married we began trying to conceive a child but learned we could not.  We always knew we wanted to adopt children so we contacted (our agency).  After 15 months of waiting we became parents to Baby Girl.  Baby Girl will be two in January 2014 and we are excited to make our family complete.

Baby Girls adoption is a semi-open adoption in which we exchange letters and pictures via the adoption agency.  We also get a chance to visit with her family once a year.  This plan was established with us and Baby Girls birthparents when we first met.  We would hope to work with our future birth parents* to establish an open adoption plan that works for both of our families.

We are excited to be parents again and Baby Girl, as best she understands, thinks she will make a good big sister.  The most amazing thing about children is learning from them and seeing life through new eyes.  As we already do with Baby Girl we plan to continue to speak openly about adoption with our next child and believe that he/she should always know you and experience your love. 

We concluded our book this time and last time with the following as our way of saying- we appreciate you taking the time to read our book, but we also know that reading our book does not mean you have decided to create an adoption plan.  I dont think I fully got there but it is never my intention to parent a child another woman is able to/wants to parent:

Thank you for taking the time to get to know us and learning of our journey to create our family.  We know you will make the best decision for you and your baby.  We would be honored to take the time to get to know you and understand your journey as well.

*I went back and forth as to write expectant mother/birth parents for this sentence.  I chose birth parents because as it has been with Baby Girl the open adoption plan has morphed over time.  I wanted it to be clear that our planning for openness is not just determined prior to birth but it is a process that will change as our relationship grows.

Home Study Check List:
Review original home study
Home Visit
Physician Report- Me
Physician Report- DH
Finger Prints- Me
Finger Prints- DH
Birth Certificate Copy Me
Birth Certificate Copy DH
Marriage License
Profile Book
Letters of recommendation requested

Sunday, October 6, 2013

50% Off

Nothing like a coupon to motivate me to get the profile book done.  I have a 50% off coupon for photo books on Shutterfly.  The catch- the project has to be done by Wednesday.

So as of right now all the pictures are in.  The draft text is in.  Now I just have to do the backgrounds.  Get a little feedback from the agency and we are DONE!  This baby thing is getting real!

Baby Girl has been sick since Friday and last night she woke up vomiting.  She had the worst night in I can't remember how long.  I think I maybe got 4 hours of sleep.  I woke up thinking- Do I REALLY want a second?  Guess so?!

Home Study Check List:
Review original home study
Home Visit
Physician Report- Me
Physician Report- DH
Finger Prints- Me
Finger Prints- DH
Birth Certificate Copy Me
Birth Certificate Copy DH
Marriage License
Profile Book
Letters of recommendation requested

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Application Submitted and now my thoughts

So I dropped off the packet yesterday afternoon.  Since the finger prints are time sensitive and only held in the computer for 45 days they let me turn in the application minus my medical form being completed.  They wont schedule our home visit until after my physician report is turned in and we wont become active until after our home visit is completed.  So we are looking at mid-November/December for go live!

The process doesn't feel as real to me this time.  Like last time I have had panic moments where I wonder how financially we are going to make this happen.  This time I also have panic moments when I wonder how I'm going to rangle two kids at once.

We are being more restrictive this go around so likely the wait will be longer.  We are not in a position for me to be 10 hours away for a month.

I need to talk to daycare to find out if they can be flexible with their policy regarding paying for a spot starting when it is offered to you.  If they are not flexible there is no way financially I can stay home for 12 weeks on maternity leave.  I hope with that information they are willing to realize to circumstances of Adoption are different then a planned pregnancy.  I'm not holding my breath.

Oh and Shutterfly has a 50% off coupon this week that ends Wed so I am bound and determined to get the book done!!

Home Study Check List:
Review original home study
Home Visit
Physician Report- Me
Physician Report- DH
Finger Prints- Me
Finger Prints- DH
Birth Certificate Copy Me
Birth Certificate Copy DH
Marriage License
Profile Book
Letters of recommendation requested

Thursday, October 3, 2013


So this spring I saw a picture of the new boy in Baby Girls classroom.  I knew immediately who it was.  I had only met the boy once in line at HomeGoods.  He had cute brown curls, big eyes, and caramel skin.  I'd never forget that face.  So why did this brown eyed boy make such a big impression on me?

While standing in that HomeGoods line Baby Girl and him had a baby chat.  His Mom was familiar but I couldn't place her.  Swim class? No.  Library?  No.  Play Group?  No.  I couldn't place her.  I got similar glances back as the two continued to chat and her and I paid at our registers.  How did i know her?

As she left the store towards her car and I started to head towards mine it hit me.  Adoption Support Group!

So months later I saw his picture.  I did the math based on how old he was when we met him in HomeGoods and the age on the picture.  It matched.  A few days later his Dad picked him up.  I tried not to gawk but I was certain I had everything right.  I had DH give me his opinion- yes definetly same family.

Baby Girl only went to daycare 4 days and the classmate only went 2 which gave them only one common day together.  There wasn't an opportunity to stop them and chat until the art gallery night.

I went up to his mom and shyly introduced myself and asked if she remembered me.  I could see the mental check list: swim class? Library? Play group?  WHAT?!  I then said our agency name.  Instantly her face lit up and we connected.  Her boy was adopted three months before Baby Girl.  He was also born out of state in the same city as Baby Girl.

So our town is small- what are the chances of two adoptive parents in the same class?  Not bad odds.  What I love is that not only does she have another friend that has a birthmom/dad and a mom/dad they were born in the same town just months apart.  I love that Baby Girl isn't the only one in her class that is adopted.

We have not had a chance to connect again so tonight I sat down and wrote a card.  I hope we can spend some time together sharing our experiences out of state while giving our two toddlers a chance to play!

Home Study Check List:
Review original home study
Home Visit
Physician Report- Me
Physician Report- DH
Finger Prints- Me
Finger Prints- DH
Birth Certificate Copy Me
Birth Certificate Copy DH
Marriage License
Profile Book
Letters of recommendation requested

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mine, Your, Our Children

On Children
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
                                              -Khalil Gibran

I have been meaning to write this post for a long time*.  I think I have a draft started somewhere.  I think I started it pre-Baby Girl.  Khalil Gibran is a philosopher that wrote the above or some version of the above.  It was then turned into a song that Sweet Honey and the Rock sang that my Mother would sing. These words were read at each of her children (me and my sisters) dedication ceremony at church.  This is the philosophy my parents used to raise us.  Although we were their children we were not THEIRS as in the possessive which implies property.

I think part of the reason open adoption has been somewhat natural to me is that my Baby Girl is not mine.  She isn't ours.  She in't D's or J's.  She doesn't belong to anyone as she is not a possession.  She is a person that needs nurturing and the ability to explore the world.  She has a right to know facts though my opinion of D and J is not factual.  She is entitled to her own opinions and thoughts on D and J.  She will forever be connected to D and J but she was never theirs as she will never be mine.

It is my job to instill in her that she is responsible for herself.  She will make choices, which have consequences both good and bad.  She will have opinions which I may or may not agree with.  I want to ensure I help develop a sense of self which will allow her to become a contributing member of society.

With this all said she does have a secure place where she belongs in our family, but she also has a place in D and J's family.  It is up to her to figure out where these worlds meet.

Adoption intensifies that sense of mine, yours, ours.  After waiting years to become parents its hard not to want to suck up every waking moment with this new person.  It is hard at times to share moments of our childrens lives that other families don't have to share.

I wanted nothing more then to be alone with Baby Girl many days/nights at the hospital.  It was hard.  Its not easy.  I then would be reminded that she was not mine legally and more importantly she would never be mine.  At the time it was hard to live those feelings.  In hindsight I look back with fondness to those days/nights with D and her family.  J brought too much turmoil for me but I still wish for Baby Girl I had a better picture of the two of them as its only his nose and hands that show in the picture of him holding her.  With all the other pictures she can say the names of those in the pictures.  With J she always says "Baby!"

At a kids event the other day.  Baby Girl was marching to her own drum (some may have called it sassy).  Someone called out "looks like we know who is in charge today."  I smiled but silently thought "and thats ok."  Why do adults always feel the need to "take control" and "be in charge."  It was a childrens event- she was safe her ideas were just a little different then mine.  She wasn't being disrespectful.  What are we afraid of?  I think once adults become comfortable with realizing that children will not revolt if you let them think its amazing what they are able to do.  As a mother to a girl I think its even more important that she realizes at a young age that she is not a possession but a person with thoughts and opinions.

I feel like my baseline of realizing my children are not possessions has helped me with open adoption.  When I find myself uncomfortable I often realize I've slipped into possessiveness.  This is not to say that I'm not protective, but I work hard at not being possessive.  Baby Girl is not mine.  My hope for her is that she too will grow up knowing she is not a possession and she will have the freedom to be herself.

*I pushed myself to finally write this post thanks to a post Robyn.  Her post was in response to a prospective adoptive parent that was having a hard time sharing with the expectant mother.

Home Study Check List:
Review original home study
Home Visit
Physician Report- Me
Physician Report- DH
Finger Prints- Me
Finger Prints- DH
Birth Certificate Copy Me
Birth Certificate Copy DH
Marriage License
Profile Book
Letters of recommendation requested

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Break Down

I was ready this time.  I was going to get my fingerprints done and over with.  The homestudy process really is just a process for me now.  Its the means to an end and I love the end.  DH had scheduled our fingerprints for next week Wednesday.  I dont know how it came up but I realized that he had scheduled the appt at the Sheriffs office which is about 30 minutes from my work at 2:30 rather then the police department which is about 10 minutes from my work.  I get out of work at 3:30 normally and so I'd have to get out of work by 2.  So that means I would have to go into work at 5:30AM or leave an hour and a half early.  My boss is usually not overly flexible especially for "last minute changes."  The only Sheriff's office that does fingerprints on Friday was a Sheriffs office 45 minutes away in a region called "the islands."

Being that it was a perfect crisp fall days and the colors were out I was hell bent on just getting them over with.  So I put my stack of things for errands in my passenger seat, got Baby Girl a good snack, and packed her into the car for the ride.  As we got ready I teared up a little knowing that as much as I hate fingerprints I had no choice.  On the ride I told her what we were doing and why.  She agreed that it was a good idea to have another baby which made me tear up.

We arrived at the Sheriffs office.  They were polite and professional.  The process was quick.  The Sheriff reeked of cigarettes but beyond that the process was easy.  With only a few times that I welled up with tears at home I had made it without really letting the tears flow.

As we approached our town on the way home Baby Girl was starting to loose it.  I didn't want to go home then circle back to go to the grocery store and literally had 5 things I needed to pick up.  So I risked it.  She was good in the store and we headed home.  As I pulled out of the parking lot I looked down at the remaining pile of errands and realized that the check for daycare and her school pictures were not there.  At this point Baby Girl was melting down in the back seat.  I had pushed her too far.  

I felt like a horrible mom with her shrieking in the back seat and me panicking in the front seat over the missing checks.  I turned her music up to drowned out her cries and tried to stay calm.  I kept asking her to PLEASE just this ONCE just use your words and as soon as we pull in the drive way you can have milk but I dont have any with me!  We finally arrived home and baby girl was all cried out wilting into a nap in her car seat.  I started to pull the car apart, then my purse, my jacket, nothing.  I called DH who told me he was going to cancel the checks but I told him no since it was $25 per check- $50 we didn't have to spend on my mistake.  I called the Sheriffs office and they had not found them.  I began to cry.  If I hadn't had to get stupid fingerprints I wouldn't have caused baby girl to melt down and I wouldn't have lost the stupid checks!  I was so mad at myself.  My car now clean, my purse now reorganized, and my jacket empty of kleenex I still had not found the checks.  I calmly brought baby girl now asleep in her carseat into her crib for a nap.  I then calmly took one more look thru my purse contents realizing I had folded the checks up and slipped them back into my checkbook cover so they would be safe.  

I then let myself lay down and cry.  I hate fingerprints.  I hate them.  I let them get the better of me.

Home Study Check List:
Review original home study
Home Visit
Physician Report- Me
Physician Report- DH
Finger Prints- Me
Finger Prints- DH
Birth Certificate Copy Me
Birth Certificate Copy DH
Marriage License
Profile Book
Letters of recommendation requested