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!)