Friday, December 30, 2011

Hi Mom!

So I shared the blog with my mom today.  She was asking how we were doing.  She was saying how hard it was for her to wait she couldn't imagine how we were waiting so "patiently."  I think this blog might open her eyes up to how impatient we are waiting.  She like all others has been sworn to secrecy so my blog posts will not change in content.  (My Dad knows as well and he took the same oath).

WE HAVE A SOCIAL WORKER AGAIN!!!  I'm so happy to have a social worker the fact that its the student social worker that lead some of the support groups is a moot point.  She is meeting with us next week Tuesday at 4PM.  Expect a blog post at 5PM.  :)

I also mailed back our last "loan" check.  I'm a little disappointed we didn't need it (because it would have meant baby arrived sooner then we were ready) but I'm also relieved that our finances for both in and out of state adoptions are in order.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Have not heard from me in a while

My Congressman has not heard from me in a while so I thought I'd send a note:

Dear Congressman,

I am writing again as a result of the poor and unpredictable funding for adoption in our country.  My cousin was recently adopted in England at no expense to her family.  Her parents got the same maternity/paternity leaves as any other parent in England.  They were able to spend time at home bonding with their baby and not worrying about finances.

As I have written before my husband and I are awaiting the placement of our child with us.  We are adopting domestically and hopefully from within the state of (my state).  We work hard but are not wealthy.  We will spend almost a third of our pretax income on the adoption once it finalizes.

Had our child been placed with us this year and the adoption finalized prior to December 31, 2011 we would have received a tax refund of $13,360 for tax year 2011.  Unfortunately for us and our family we continue to have an empty nursery and the finances for growing our family are in question.  We now maybe able to count on $12,170 credit IF we have  a placement and finalize in 2012.

To add to the financial burden I do not qualify for a paid maternity leave as my coworkers that birth their children do.

The adoption of our child will benefit our child, us, our child's birthparents as well as the (my state) tax payers.

I look forward to hearing what you are doing to secure consistent funding for (my state) Adoptive families.  I also would like to hear how we maybe able to address the inequalities in benefits employers are allowed to provide for families that birth vs. adopt their children.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011


If you are a TMI kinda person you may want to just skip down to the next post... but if you want to hear about how to protocol is going- read on :)

So I've still only missed one pill which is good for me given that I feel like I'm snacking on pills every few hours.  I also now can relate to my patients on a whole new level.  They get these little cups full of pills it seems like constantly.  I've come up with a few new strategies for remembering meds.  My pill box sits right on the edge of the sink so I can't miss it in the AM.  I also make sure that when I have lunch my pills are the first thing I "eat."  At the In-Laws house this weekend it was a little challenging because my routine was really different.

So hows it going?  I'm sore and big.  So I guess its working.  I'm going to call the MD tomorrow to find out if she really wants me on the 20mg 4x's daily because I have not been on the 20mg 4x's daily for even a week yet and well... I'm big and sore.  I also continue to bleed which is annoying.  I got new bras today- how come no one has ever told me how comfortable nursing bras are!!  I think I might never switch out of them.I figured if I'm bigger and my bra's are expensive either way might as well get nursing bras though I may still get bigger so I only got two of them.  $84.00!!!!!

I love the bra store I go to.  Its a small shop owned by a really nice woman that LOVES helping women with their bras.  I was a little nervous going in asking for nursing bras.  The woman kept looking at my belly then up at me with a confused look on her face.  She finally asked when I was due and when I told her I didn't know because we were adopting she didn't skip a beat because she started to ask about how much my breast had changed.  My guess is she has had other women induce or she is just that awesome.  She also suggested that since I'm getting bigger fast that I start wearing support at night she said it would reduce the soreness and reduce the chances of "saggy" boobs.  

Mother In Law

DH called his mother on his way home from work yesterday.  When he got home he told me "I just got finished with a very long conversation with my mother."  I want to start by saying had my mother said something like his mother did (see post) I would have called her on it as well.

He told me that he lied and said he had overheard the conversation himself but had not stepped in at the time.  He told her the two of us had not discussed it.  He didn't tell her much about what was said except that she was "upset" that we would think that she though adoption resulted in her nephews poor behavior.  She also was "worried" that I might think the same think that DH did about the conversation and that he needed to talk to me immediately about it.  She apparently didn't recall "exactly what she had said" however she never meant to imply that the adoption resulted in his poor behavior.

I dont really care- I'm just glad she has been as DH states it "put on notice."  I love him.  He's going to be a great Dad.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I got a Pandora bracelet for Christmas last year.  My bracelet has a house on it and a spacer bead.  This year my MIL got me another house and a spacer bead.  I went yesterday to exchange the house for something different.  I found a bead that said "Hope."  Its perfect.  Its what I need.  Its symbolic because (although an exchange) its a gift from my MIL.  It will symbolize my hope for her and the love she will have for her grandbaby and hope that I will have our baby in our arms soon.

I was initially going to put Jack Johnsons song "Hope" at the end of my post.  Before I did I spent some time reading the lyrics and realize that his song implies that Hope is something that always disappoints.  So instead I attached the song which came after "I Hope You Dance" which is so fitting because dancing is what keeps my mind off of this waiting and allows me to have hope.

Monday, December 26, 2011


So I believe I'm mentioned this before but possibly not.  DH's cousin is having a rough time of it recently.  He just turned 20 years old.  He is struggling in school (which is nothing new) and has not been successful at finding a job (which I dont think he is trying very hard at).  He plays computer games ALOT and he is spoiled (no job but still drives a truck... where is the $ for gas & payments coming from?)

I have many of the same concerns as DH's parents do for their nephew.  He isn't making progress towards his goals.  He blames his parents for a lot and apparently voices this on FB (the only quote I could find on his FB about his parents ("I really like how my parents are shooting my weekends to hell on a regular basis. This shit is really getting old guys. Cut the shit already."  ).  I agree its disrespectful however I dont think he is the first young man transitioning from being a child to an adult has said/thought- there just is FB now.

Crapping on this nephew is not a new hobby.  In middle school he never played sports and DH parents thought this was a problem and demonstrated he was "lazy."  He has never been good in school because he has a learning disability (as does DH's brother but he played sports so he had some redeeming qualities).

So why am I talking about this on my blog?  DH's cousin also happens to be adopted.  He was adopted at birth.  It was a semi-open adoption however the agency he was adopted with has since closed and no communication was ever passed between the birthmother and his aunt/uncle prior to the agency closing.

In the past discussions of our adoption would often segway into conversations about what problems this cousin was presently having.  Was he going to graduate h.s.?  Did he have a job?  Was he lazy?  This weekend my MIL finally went the other way... I walked into the conversation between my SIL and my MIL in the kitchen.  My MIL was hashing out how she worries for her sister because of her nephews threatening FB posts (I have never seen one... unless she is misinterpreting some of his gaming quotes?  I have no idea where she is getting this from).  She was talking about how the stress her nephew is causing her sister may cause her cancer to come back (its been in remission for a VERY long time- I think before her son was born- I could be wrong).  She then said "I wonder if its because he is adopted." (it was a statement not a question).  I was steamed!!  I took a moment to ask myself if she REALLY had said what I thought she said.  I then stated very calmly "You know they (his parents) waited a VERY long time for him and he is an only child.  I would think thats why he is spoiled not because he is adopted.  I don't see what that has to do with it."  I wanted to say "ARE YOU ******* KIDDING ME!??"  but I didn't.  I dont swear (at least not in public).  My SIL then said she knew of only children that were not spoiled- no one said anything further about adoption. (I wanted to counter that I knew kids that were adopted and not spoiled as well but didn't go there).

After the conversation was over I spent some time alone with the dog.  I didn't cry but I had to work hard to make sure that didn't happen.  I finally had DH take the dog outside and I followed him out to tell him a brief sample of the conversation.  I asked that he talk to his mother.

I do not think the issues have anything to do with his cousin being adopted.  IF however he is going through identity issues because of the adoption then I think its important that his family help him get help to figure it out.  If the issue is that he is studying something in school he isn't interested again I think its the families responsibility to help him figure it out.  IF the issue is that he is still living with his parents and is spoiled again its the families responsibility to help him by giving him expectations.  If its a combination of these factors again I think he needs help but gossiping in the kitchen on Christmas Eve is not a way to help.  At another point when I suggested that DH speak with his cousin about what he needs to do to become a police officer (since thats what DH is and his cousin wants to be) my MIL told me that DH should NOT do that because it could be "dangerous."  (not sure how?)

Initially I thought I was dreaming the association between our discussions about our adoption and DH's cousins poor behavior.  About a year ago I called DH's attention to my "paranoia"  and DH confirmed that it wasn't paranoia but it appeared to be a real pattern.  My dear MIL has gone too far and now solidified this association and it hurts.  It hurts my feelings but like I said to DH tonight its not my feelings I'm worried about its my child.  Children are not stupid.  If MIL expects our children to be ill-behaved and problematic because they are adopted they will know it.  I wont stand for it and I have no problem protecting my children from her if thats what it takes.

DH plans to talk about her association between his cousins ill behavior and adoption.  Hopefully she is receptive and can change her perspective.  I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I have a need for control and planning.  I plan and then I make plans for the plans.  I have a to do list on my phone that I can pull out when I have "down time."  Tomorrow I have a to do list for my trip home from work (banks, wine shop, fabric store- in that order), then I'll write my final report for my school contract, followed by making my last two presents,  laundry, packing, then bed.  Thursday at work is planned (but thats required), then I'll come home, pack up the car, drive to the in-laws, and go to bed.  I do not plan my vacations though- except to know when I'm leaving and when I'll be home.

Tonight I made a plan for our finances for my maternity leave.  I have unpaid leave and I will not take one day short of 12 weeks off.  I'll be OK picking up a shift if DH is on his "weekend" but I wont work other then that.  So I tallied all the bills except the mortgage to make sure DH's salary will cover them with money left over for incidentals like baby clothes, formula, etc.  I plan to have enough sick/vacation time saved up to have one full pay check which will cover one mortgage payment (its a constant ebb and flow but i've tried to keep it about 80 hours).  I have then delineated which accounts our other two months of the mortgage will come from.  At this point there is nothing left to do but I feel a little better now that I feel like there is a plan and thus control over something I have no control over.

This month I've spent a little more time organizing the nursery.  Now that my school contract is over I'll move all my pediatric equipment out of the office/nursery and into the basement.  Organization is just my other little way of forcing control in a situation I will never control.

Looking back at my blog from last December I spent time planning how I was going to breastfeed, and purchased a pump.  I was planning our bathroom renovation.  I also painted the nursery on New Years Eve.  This year again I feel like I'm caught up in planning/controlling/organizing.  I know I've blogged on this topic in October but just like our one year anniversary of waiting the month of holidays is another hard month.  I look forward to Christmas at my in-laws and my sister.  I know I'll shed tears, but I'm allowed that- we all are allowed tears.

I've tried to stop saying things like by next Christmas/Summer/Easter/Fall we will have a baby though I can't help but imagine next Christmas/Summer/Easter/Fall with a baby.  Both are poor approaches for my sanity because I hurt when they arrive with no baby, but it also hurts to think of them without our baby.  I read a blog tonight that talked about how it will be sad to still after infertility and waiting to not have the baby here yet and my inner dialog said "Christmas isn't here yet."  Its always possible but then there is probable.  To make it through my day to day I'm going to keep on planning/organizing/controlling, because thats what I do best when I'm out of control.

I Wish You Could Understand

Until you experience something personally you never fully understand.  I don't want people to understand what we are going through in a way because I'd never wish Infertility on someone else.  As to truly understand you have to live it.  I guess from my post on Sunday there also is evidence that you can live something and then deny the experience.

Last week I was discussing the protocol with my mother and how though I'd love to avoid taking the hormones I just couldn't do it the other way.  The risks of taking any medication should be weighed and I feel and my doctor feels I'm healthy enough to complete the regimen  (there is a risk of A-fib and increased blood pressure).  She told me she wasn't sure it was a good idea but also trusted my opinion and knew that I had researched the protocol.  At some point I snapped at her "You know you really are not in a place to give advice."  She asked what I meant by that and I told her that as someone that could just decide when she wanted her next baby and it happened she really couldn't speak to my situation.  She also could choose if she wanted to bottle/breast feed.

I received a card this weekend from her telling me that its true she doesn't understand and that she will try to be better at just listening.  I do value her opinion which is why I talk to her but as I get older I don't always want her advice sometimes I just want an ear to listen.  I do have the best Mom.

One of the reasons I think I write this blog is to have a place where I'm able to put forth my thoughts and receive no direction back.  Often when I talk to my husband/mother/friends I'm not looking for advice I'm looking for someone to understand.  To just hear me.

I think this journey has helped me become better at my job.  I've never broken my hip, I've never been fully dependent, or in fear of not being able to return home.  Sometimes not going home but moving to assisted living or a nursing home is the safest choice.  Having someone just listen about why you are scared is far more beneficial then someone laying out the facts as to why  you shouldn't go home.

Protocol is going well I'm less nauseated in the morning and its gone within an hour.  When the nausea waves over me I remind myself its just the medication, take a deep breath and try to ignore it.  In four days I've forgotten 1 pill which isn't bad.  I'm definitely seeing changes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Oh boy

I promise not to blog on every day of the protocol... but this morning I felt like crap! I never have experienced morning sickness but if I were to imagine what it felt like... thats exactly how I'd describe it. I sat on the bathroom floor this morning trying to convince myself that I had no fever and I HAD to get up and go to work because otherwise I'd have to work Friday. Brushing my teeth, taking my AM pill, and even the thought of food brought the potential of hugging the toilet. We did go to a christmas party last night but I by no means drank enough to warent this morning. UGH!

We went to a party last night that I was looking forward to but dreading all at once. I love the host, her husband and daughter. I love our common friends... but there is one person in particular that just makes our situation challenging. There are two types of people - people who take challenges, over come them and realize where they came from; then there are those that over come challenges and think they are better then others because of where they are now. This woman is the latter. She struggled with infertility. She actually had a blog I followed for a while. We had a lot in common. Baby announcements, ultrasound pictures on facebook, an over abundance of baby pictures of facebook (who doesn't post picture of there kids but there is a limit), ect were things that hurt her. She is now all that and then some. She has never once said anything about our adoption to me... she has only thrust her baby at me and asked if I want to hold it. She also talks baby talk which drives me CRAZY! I also get the sense that because she chose infertility treatments she some how feels her path is "better." It makes me sad in part because I know where she came from. I know her lows and I'm happy for her highs, but I wish she was more cognizant of her past. Its a good reminder though that when our buba comes that I cannot be that woman.

I want to be the woman that can support other women through there infertility (and hopefully their births/babies). If adoption becomes the plan I hope I can remember this part of my journey as well. I hope that since our LLL has never supported and adoptive mother through inducing lactation that I can help women with that as well. I want my experience to be a story of hope, joy and love.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

protcol day 1

I started the med protocol today. Remembering pills 4xs a day is going to be my biggest challenge. Since I do not take any medication normally. The funny thing is part of my job is to make sure my patients remember to take their medications after they go home. So I'll be using a few of my strategies until I have it in my routine. I've stored a few in my purse so if I'm out and forgot I can take them. I also am going to have to take them each day at work. I'll keep you all posted on how its working.

As an aside we went Christmas shopping today. I had to keep myself from going baby shopping crazy. I can't wait to buy Christmas presents for my baby!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Can't Complain

The order for the medication has been placed to start creating it.  It should be complete by 4PM tomorrow and will cost $160 which is a 5 week supply of the medication.  Insurance does not cover the medication; however we have a health savings account I plan to use.  I could get it from a foreign country but that would be illegal.  She also put the prescription in for 20mg 4x daily after the first week but had verbally told me that she was thinking 10 would be sufficient given my small size.  After the first week I'll have to re-evaluate.  If the 10 is sufficient then the 5 week supply turns into 10 weeks which makes the protocol far more reasonable.

We have good insurance since my DH works for a municipality (funny thing is I work in health care and my insurance sucks)... but thats another blog.  We met our deductible this year because I participated in a medical research study on infertility so the many tests were submitted as paid to our insurance company.  So when I went to pick up the birth control medication for the protocol I didn't have to pay a dime.... on top of that my doctor ordered the medication as a 90day supply so I wont have to go back until March at which point our deductible will have reset and I'll have to pay again but in the grand scheme of things I'm lucky to have such great insurance.  Say I had a $15 copay on the medication that would have been an additional $60 for the protocol.

Its a blessing to have insurance we dont have to worry about.  Tonight I'm going in for an MRI of my back and because our deductible is met we wont pay a dime (now our deductible is high, but DH's employer pays towards the deductible).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

If you dont have anything nice to say...

... dont say anything at all.

My moms version of that growing up was unless you are going to help fix the problem don't complain.  In our house you could gripe but you had to be able to fix it.  So I debate....

Am I griping for gripe sake or am I fixing it?

Problem 1- We can't grow a baby...
Solution: Adopt a baby...

but its complicated!!  With adoption there is the ethics of adoption (am I helping or hurting or both).  Is my agency really doing everything they say they are (for the birthparents, the baby, and us)?  Can I get people to understand and support us?  Will my child understand the decision we made and think it was right?  Will the birthmother after parental rights are terminated continue to think it was what was best for her?  At times I think adoption can be just as controversial as abortion and IVF but thats a different post.

Problem 2- I can't just start breast feeding
Solution: Medications...

but its complicated!!  The medications are hormones are hormones exactly what we are trying to avoid consuming in our food/drink?  Will there be long term consequences?  Will people think I'm trying to be like "other mothers"?  (on top of the fact that the doctor just finally called in the scripts so I wont get the medication for another week because the pharmacy has to make the medication- I still dont know how much its going to cost but I'm ready for a BIG #... I'm going to keep myself from going on a rant but really?!  Almost a week later and it only got done because I called!).

Problem 3- The protocol doesn't work if you dont have a due date
Solution: Formula or purchase breast milk from an unknown mom...

but its complicated!  Its recommended babies get colostrum (the first milk which in my case will have hormones) and be breast fed for the first 6 months (my milk wont come in for about a month).  Formula is an option but not my first- its never killed a baby it just is my preference not to use it.  The alternative means trusting another mother.  DH asked how I didn't know if the woman was inducing lactation as well... what medications is she taking... what is her diet like- again I'm putting my trust in another woman I have never met to help my "dream" of motherhood come true.  Maybe I'm just too much of a dreamer and need to settle?

Problem 4- I have no clue as to when baby will arrive
Solution: prepare...

Done that- I'm ready already!  The room looks like a nursery/office but I'm ready to take my stuff out whenever needed.

I feel like with every rant I go on I've at least explored my options... am working towards a solution but in none of these scenarios are the solutions ideal.  How often in life though is the solution truly perfect?  I know baby will arrive and I'll be faced with a new set of problems/solutions.

Thank you all for your kind words on my blog, by phone, or in person.  I wish it wasn't so but it's nice to know I have people who understand.

Monday, December 12, 2011

... and now I'm 30

I didn't sleep well last night.  I got an e-mail from the NE Milk Bank which informed me that as long as I had a prescription from a doctors I could order from them (good news right).  The area that I live in is very "pro" breastfeeding and if my pediatrician wasn't supportive I'd find one that was.  So here is the clincher- $4.50 PER OUNCE!!!  I think since we would have a prescription we could use our health savings account but assuming that a new born drinks 24 ounces of milk in a 24 hour period thats $108 per day, and $3240 per month!  So my plan is to breast feed but I have no idea how much I'll produce and since I had a breast reduction surgery about 10 years ago if they even "work."  The idea is that I'd hopefully only need one month but who knows.

I got an e-mail from Le Leche League as well yesterday which was semi positive.  She indicated she knew no one in the area that had induced lactation, and did not know anyone that had used any of the adaptive  breastfeeding techniques.  She did offer a 5 french gauge feeding tube that I could have which is a cheaper form of the at breast systems that you can purchase.  I had seen it during my research but was not sure of the gauge so that was helpful.  Essentially the feeding tube is a straw and each time they suck the milk is drawn into the tube.  She also invited me to the next group which since its during the work week in the middle of the day I don't know that I can go, on top of I dont know if I can watch a bunch of women breast feed.  She also said that she knew of women that shared milk informally but was unable to assist in establishing that connection.  Which I get.  

So I sobbed.  I think DH thought it was because of my impending birthday which I honestly think was a small part of it but really I just feel like the cards are stacked against us on top of I'm sick of waiting.  Anything we want or need that women who give birth just get naturally I have to fight for my baby to get or they just plain dont get.  Examples: biological baby insurance pays for all medical visits/ We have adoption fees LOTS of adoption fees; biological baby mothers can choose to breast feed/ I have to pay for medication out of pocket to induce lactation; biological mothers can choose to formula feed their babies/ I have no choice unless I want to pay 4.50 an OUNCE!; biological mothers (at my job) get paid maternity leave/I get unpaid maternity leave; biological mothers know their baby is theirs/I have to wait 21 days to make sure my baby stays; biological mothers get 9 mother to prepare/ I get an eternity.  Most of the above list really doesn't matter.  I want to be a parent, but I also like every mother want what is best for my baby and I strongly feel like breastfeeding is one of those things.  All I have to say is with all this effort I don't know how I'll handel the disappointment if this doesn't work.

So after I got all the crying out I googled "where to buy breast milk" guess what its legal!  For $1-2.50 an ounce you can buy breast milk from mothers who are over producing.  Will I do it?  I have no idea.  Honestly my plan is the day I get the phone call is to post on FB and ask people to ask people.  Am I crazy?  Yes probably but only crazy in a I want what is best for my baby sort of way.  So I didn't get to sleep until 11 PM so I was tired today.

That set me up for a bad day generally.  My work schedule was messed up (which it shouldn't have been because I posted my schedule last week Wednesday), I had to present to a bunch of med students (that literally were falling asleep), and then as I was about to leave the building I got a page (I was dumb and answered it) and it was someone asking me to come to the front office because the state wanted to ask me about a patient I had cared for.  Once I was home my day was much smoother but I've decided I will never work on my birthday ever again!! 

DH made me dinner, I took the dog for a walk, we watched Everything Must Go, I got my blender that I've been wanting forever, and I had cake.  So in the grand scheme of things 30 isn't bad.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention- I got my new drivers license.  When the lady asked me if I wanted a 2 or 4 year renewal I told her it depended on how good the picture was.  She promised 4 year quality and she delivered.  I am not ashamed to show my license anymore!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Birthday Count Down

So unless I get a call in the next five and a half hours I will be older then thirty when I have our first child.  I know its silly and arbitrary but its what I've always expected.  If I could have had it my way I'd be working on baby #2 at this point.

I had a really nice birthday weekend with DH and friends celebrating the last of my twenties.  We went dancing Friday night and had dances with all my favorite dance partners (DH included).  Yesterday I went out to breakfast with a good friend.  Last night DH took me to a very nice restaurant.  When we got home I took a bath, listened to Frank Sinatra, and relaxed.

Tomorrow I will go to work then get my drivers license renewed (and get a new picture!!).  DH will make me a nice dinner, and hopefully my blender will come :)

I try to make myself feel better by saying all of these things would be hard to have done if we had a baby but honestly I'd give it all up in a heart beat.  When DH asks me what I want for Christmas I've told him I dont want anything because I dont want anything except a baby.  If he really insists on getting something- new siding on the house would be sufficient.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Breast Feeding Consult

I went to the OBGYN office for the first time in almost two years. The woman that I used to see no longer works in the practice so I was scheduled with someone new. It was strange to be back. The woman took me back skipping taking my weight and did a half hearted job at taking my blood pressure (lets just say I'm positive it wasn't accurate I work in health care but it was really just a formality). There is nothing like going into an OBGYN office to remind you of what never will happen for us. So she gave me the bathroom is here if you need it line (which she gave out of habit because women who are pregnant's bladders are always in need of a bathroom), she left the room, and I proceeded to burst into tears.

While we waited I convinced DH to talk about boy names w me. We had picked a boys name while we were on vacation in FL in April of 2009. Then about a year ago DH decided he didn't like it anymore and suggested a different name which I liked but didn't love. We couldn't agree on anything. I like names with optional nick names but have a formal full name i.e. Francis-Frank/Fran. DH seems to like names that are simple but you can't make into nick names or they are nick names in in of themselves i.e. he would pick Bob as a name rather then Robert. We just didn't agree, but it at least kept my mind busy and positive. **None of these names listed are options**

When the doctor finally came in she was helpful. I had all my questions answered and she seemed interested in helping us. She had the protocol in hand which I already had (You can find it here). She said she had used the protocol before however whenever she had done it she had used the short protocol and none of the women ever got a full supply.  She recommended using less of the domperidone since I am not a large person. She suggested that we use the New England Milk Bank for milk for our babies first month as we wont likely have warning before the baby comes. She also suggested looking around for someone locally that might be willing to help us with milk for the first month. So I will try to get a prescription for the milk bank from the pediatrician's office. I also will contact LeLeche League to figure out resources in our area.

Monday the medication should come in and then we find out how much this is going to cost. I have no idea if insurance will cover it but honestly I dont really care.

Part of the protocol requires me to start on birth control pills which I have not taken in almost three years now.  I think for DH starting back on BC is a reality check that adoption is our plan (I made him come with me and I'm glad I did).  We have unexplained infertility, when we give our "profiles" to a doctor each and every one has said that doesn't make sense you should be able to get pregnant (she even freakin said that today).  The thing is though there is "should" and then there is reality.  There is nothing more we could have done- we tried stressing/charting, we tried "relaxing," we tried medication, we tried not trying, we tried acupuncture, we tried everything.  Starting birthcontrol again though means we have 110% stopped trying.  It is that important to me to breastfeed.  Once our baby arrives I'll stop the birthcontrol to induce lactation and who knows maybe we will be "one of those couples" that everyone seems to know that once they adopt they get pregnant but i'm not holding my breath.

After the consult we went out to lunch.  We agreed on a boy's name and shook on it (I should write up a contract and have him sign it).  I also tried to get him to agree that I'd be willing to have baby #2 be a boy if he was willing to let me use the name I liked. That didn't work.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Immediate family responses to Adoption Friendly Language Letter

Roll Call:
DH's Father/Mother- Mother responded
DH's Brother/Sister In Law- no response
My Father/Mother- Mother responded
My Younger sister- responded (I actually read it to her prior to sending it out)
My Older sister/Brother-In-Law- no response.

I didn't really expect my older sister and her husband or my brother-in-law and his wife to respond. I don't think it was a negative reaction they just tend not to communicate very often. There also is a good chance my brother-in-law and sister-in-law have yet to read the e-mail but I could be wrong.

So the first response I got was from my sister. She even had indicated herself that she didn't know how to refer to adoption related topics and was part of the catalyst to get the letter written. Having her help edit the letter was helpful because I could have a perspective of someone that knew nothing. She e-mailed me a response ending with the affirmation that we are going to be great parents (I swear I wasn't fishing for complements by sending this letter but I think almost every response included this affirmation).

My Mother-In-Law was the second response to which she indicated that November was a special month because it was her birthday, her husbands birthday and her mothers birthday. She also indicated that she thought her mother (who passed about a year before I met DH) had a hand in our adoption. My personal reaction to the letter was that it was a bit self centered but honestly I dont really care as long as she got my message. This hopefully will give me a place to help reframe her language when she says things that are not adoption friendly. That was and is the objective of the letter- to create a framework to work from. I'm sure she is going to say things that will make me cringe again but now I can say to her "Why dont you just refer to the baby as a baby or your grandchild vs (insert what she said here)?"

My mother took a LONG time to respond (I just looked back- it took 2 days I guess it wasn't that long but it seemed like forever). She didn't say much it was brief but thanked us for putting the time into the letter and told us she is looking forward to being a grandparent. What I think was key though was that she responded to the family mailing group.

So When we finally talked about the letter (we talk every day and I dont think we talked about the e-mail for another few days) she said "thinking back I'm sure I've said some of those things but I just didn't know" I told her that I'm sure she had as well but I feel like I can TELL her when she says something that hurts (well most of the time).

She then went on to share my fathers reaction which was "when it comes to 'politically correct' terminology for things we are not familiar with we have to turn to those involved and go with what makes them comfortable." It made me wonder if one of my sisters had called or if my mother had challenged the language of the e-mail. Either way I think its true. Some of the language I'm not fully sold on and can be flexible with; however this language was created with all perspectives of the triad (birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents) we all have to respect the language and try to do whats best/right for our families as well.

I think what is key is that the door is open for communication both ways. I now hopefully will feel comfortable educating my in-laws on adoption and they hopefully will feel comfortable coming to me when they are not sure how to address an issue. The letter provoked so much more anxiety then was required. I wish I had done it sooner.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Family Traditions

During the interview as part of our home study process the social worker asked "What are some of your families traditions growing up?" I couldn't think of anything. I was caught a little off guard. I think I told her we went to church Christmas Eve each year and couldn't come up with anything else.

Since blanking on this questions each time a family tradition occurs I think two things 1) I can't wait to share this with my child and 2) Why could I not come up with this when she asked me?!

Today is St. Nicks Day (not Christmas but the saints day for St. Nick). So last night we put out our shoes for St. Nick and when we woke up there were chocolates and nuts in our shoes. This was one of my favorite holidays growing up. Something about each person putting their shoe on their step and waking up with it over flowing with nuts, chocolates and either a kiwi or tangerine to top it off just made me happy. It also is a week after Thanksgiving, a week before my birthday, a little over two weeks before Christmas, which is then followed by New Years. It was also special because its part of my German heritage. I can't wait to share this tradition with my child. I've already started to think of some of the dilemmas. We live in an area thats predominately French not German there will not be other kids at school that have St. Nick come. We also dont have stairs for the shoes to sit on.

The other thing that I was thinking about is how funny it is that I still think of things I should have/could have said during our home study interviews. Thank goodness that process is behind us.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Loaded Question

So for the second time in two months my mother asked me “Are you happy?” Last time she asked me I responded by asking “what makes you think I'm not happy?” Which I don't think she expected and well the conversation faded away. I tried it again this month and well... she kept pushing.

So the answer to if I'm “Happy”?
Yes I'm happy with a great deal in my life. I'm comfortable, have a job, and have good health. I have ALL my basic needs met and then some. So as a surface question yes I'm happy. I do not go around Eyoring around. I have the opportunity to do things that I wouldn't be able to do- like yesterday I made a nice dinner with appetizers, salad, main course, and dessert for DH spur of the moment.

So here is where the question becomes loaded... and here is my answer.
Since our challenges with TTC began I do have a more cynical view of the world around me. I am always closer to tears then I've ever been. I told my mother that trying to have a baby for 2 years and 8 months is frustrating and upsetting. She responded "Oh I didn't realize that trying to have a baby still was something you thought about?" Which aggravated me. Trying applies to both conception as well as adoption... the end result in both is a baby! Her perspective of waiting is that its one that is passive (which in many ways it is) but for me its still a very active process as it affects me each and every day. She told me she wakes up every day wondering if "today is the day" while I wonder that when I feel like I can't wait another moment. It is what gives me hope knowing that it will happen. Its just frustrating not knowing when. So I'm happy but still wanting more.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

My Weekend (aka Saturday!)

I got up late and started my day with a walk with the dog to get coffee. I've started a load of laundry. I'm going to get my hair cut by the best hair dresser in New England. I'll come home, go grocery shopping, relax a little more. Make a nice dinner for DH and I to enjoy together. Snuggle with the dog since DH works at 3AM tomorrow (on the couch- shh... dont tell).

I love weekends without a plan.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Three generations of adoption respond

So I didn't write the letter to our family and friends to get a response but I'm sure people are wondering what types of responses we got. I'll devote a few posts to the topic one from people who have/were adopted, one for our immediate families, and one for general responses.

Prior to sending the e-mail out to all family/friends I sent out the letter to our aunts/uncles who grew their families with adoption. All but one of our family members that has children that joined their family through adoption responded (I think DH's aunt just has not checked her e-mail yet). All of them responded that they wished that had done something similar when their children were younger or while they were waiting.

We will be the third generation of parents to adopt. My Grandmothers brother and his wife on my fathers side had two girls, my Grandfathers sister and her husband on my mothers side had a boy and a girl, two uncles and their wives on my fathers side in total have two boys and three girls (both of these families also have biological children), and DH's aunt and her husband on his mothers side have a son. Each families mode of adoption was different (private domestic, international, foster care, orphanage, semi-open, and closed) but they have gone through what we are going through now. Granted things have changed drastically in the process from the responses we got I dont think much has changed unfortunately in peoples perception of adoption.

So you would think that since we are "third generation" we wouldn't need to send out this letter. One thing that makes us unique is we will be the first to hopefully have an open adoption. Also our parents were aunts/uncles/cousins and our siblings were cousins to the children that were adopted into our family giving them a layer of insulation from the process. I'm also sure when we got married this path was not what they envisioned when they thought of their grandchildren/nieces/nephews. They had to aclimate to the idea as we did. I think I'm fortunate to have the family that I do. I think they all want to do whats supportive and right, but clearly from the responses I have gotten past adoptive parents have felt like we do now- unsupported. I realize more and more that its likely because they dont know how not because they dont want to be supportive. We are the first "generation" to express our needs and I hope it makes a difference not just for DH and I but also for past and future generations of parents in our family.

Changing Table!!

Our changing table arrived.  I know I heard from a few different moms that a changing table is over rated and to use either a pack & play with a changing table on it, use a dresser, or skip it all together.  I plan to use cloth diapers so there just is so much stuff to store so I splurged and got a table.  I found a nice changing table that has six cubbies for baskets.  The top part can be removed later so that it can be used for toys when the baby is no longer a baby.  It matches the crib exceptionally well and DH diligently put it together the day it arrived.

(Thank you!!  I know you wanted to wait until your days off to put it together but I couldn't wait to see it!!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Are You unable to have children?

Uneducated woman: Are You unable to have children?

Me: Actually I can we are adopting.

Uneducated woman: No I mean children of your own.

Me: NO we cannot have children biologically but we are adopting.

(Good Lord thats rude!!  I should have just repeated my first response).

Uneducated woman: How much does it cost?

Me: It depends since its income contingent.

(she noticed I was getting irritated I think)

Uneducated woman: I was just asking because my daughter has been trying to have a baby for 12 years.

(yeah.... right...)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

So I sent it... No turning back now.

I e-mailed the letter out.  One round to my Dads family at about 3PM and another one about 15 minutes ago to my Moms family, our friends and DH's family.  So far I received one response.  It was from my younger sister who is actually the one that prompted the letter in the first place.  It was a very positive response and she told me that she knows we will make great parents.  I'm not sure what to expect, but I will let you all know!

Monday, November 28, 2011


Last November I was debating when I should get baby stuff.  This November I have the crib.  Its all set up (and now needs to be taken down I just can't look at it).  I have a bag packed with a list of things that we would need to grab (cell phones, chargers, camera, clothes, pj's, money, credit card, car-seat, insurance cards, licenses, contacts, glasses, medications, and a gift for the birthmother).  I have all the diapers I need, a breast pump, tub, bottles, baby clothes, and sheets.  I think I have everything I need to hunker down for the first month.

DH will tell me its not ironic but just a fact... he never did like that song.

All joking aside- I'm seriously ready already!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Adoption Friendly Language Letter

I have sent the letter out first to my cousins and aunts and uncles that grew their families with adoption.  The letter has not been sent and I'm open to comments/suggestions.

Dear Family and Friends,

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. During our last year of waiting we have had many wonderful conversations with family and friends. We also realize that adoption language is new to many of you. So we thought we would take the opportunity to talk about 'adoption friendly' language.

Each adoption is different and each family that grows with adoption is different. We also want to start to prepare you all for the arrival of our baby. Adoption is not something that we plan to keep a secret and we will openly discuss in our home. We hope that you can become comfortable discussing adoption as well to help reinforce that our baby will be special because s/he will have two sets of mothers and fathers that love them. Us and their birth parents (birth mother/birth father).

The birthparents will work with our agency to create an adoption plan. Parental rights will terminate 21 days after the birth. We will care for the baby during the 21 days during which the birthparents can decide not to continue with the adoption plan.  After termination of parental rights we become guardians and wait another five months approximately before we go to court to become parents. Birthparents do not “give up” their baby but rather “place” their child with us as it is a proactive choice they are making that is not easy.

The story of how the birth parents came to make an adoption plan as well as how our baby arrives in our arms is all part of our child’s adoption story. We want to share our child's story first with them which means that parts of the story will not be shared until our child is older. Each child's adoption story belongs to the child and is not ours to share.

We are excited that you will become aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, and friends to our child on the day our baby is born. Our baby will be our son/daughter and your niece/nephew, cousin, grandchild, or friend. If you want to share our good news you can tell people we “have/had a baby” because kind of like a cookie you don't have to bake it to have it. Its a balance when sharing about adoption- the stranger in the grocery line doesn't need to know, but our close friends/family will know. The word adoption will never be a part of our introduction when introducing our baby to someone for the first time.  We ask that you use the same care when introducing our baby.  When in doubt leave it out (or ask us)!

If you are not sure how to ask a question or how to refer to something related to the adoption please ask. If you know other families that are touched by adoption ask them what language they would like you to use as this letter is what we feel is best for our family. Part of the reason we wanted to start the conversation now is we want everyone to be as comfortable and excited about our growing family as we are.

We continue to wait for our baby and are eager to become parents. We thank you all for supporting us through our wait.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

How Adoption Has Changed Me... Part I

A few weeks ago a friend of mine informed me she had read my blog start to present.  She suggested that I should share the blog with more people because she gained so much from it.  So I decided to read my blog start to finish to reflect back and see how this process has changed me... for the positive and or negative as well as to help me determine if I should share my blog more openly. I call this Part I because I feel like I'll need to continue to reflect on how Adoption has changed me. Adoption will continue to change me, my family, and the people around me.

I think the biggest thing that has changed is my awareness of adoption around me.  Birthmothers and adoptive families are all around us.  We might not know who they are but they are around.  I have become more open about our plans to adopt as our wait continues.  Why should I not share?  I'm not ashamed of it.  It will be obvious when I never was pregnant and now have a baby.  Its not a secret and it never will be.  Our agency urges families to be cautious with sharing that they are waiting; however I feel like it continues the history of secrecy.  I have a co-worker that has been talking to be about the adoption frequently (not in a have you heard yet sort of way).  Another coworker pulled her aside and told her that maybe she shouldn't talk about it because she could be hurting my feelings.  I actually appreciated her talking to me about it.  I've learned so much about cloth diapers from her.  Its nice to be treated like an expectant mother.  The quieter I am about the topic the more it will be treated like a secret that shouldn't be shared.

In the past few months in connecting with Adoption Bloggers I have gained a better grasp on understanding Birthmothers. I just read a post tonight in which a birthmother reflected on her feelings on infertility since creating an adoption plan for her daughter. Her sentiments about infertility are my exact sentiments about unplanned pregnancies. When I was in high school girls from my school would become pregnant and I'd think "that sucks." I'd also think of all that they would have to give up to raise their babies. When I watched Juno, and Teen Mom (we were still TTC) I thought that stinks but it so selfless. Now I realize that the heart break I have is not for the same reason but is still just as real for birthmoms. Birthmothers do not create adoption plans because they don't love their children, they create adoption plans BECAUSE they love their children.  Are their other reasons?  Like creating better opportunities for their future as well.  Yes, but from what I have read and seen its because where they are presently wont allow for their children to have all that they want them to have.  Due to my new understanding I am a stronger advocate of saying yes the waiting period sucks for me, but its heart breaking for the birthmother.  She deserves an opportunity to make sure she has made the best decision for her baby.  Will I be scared the adoption plan could fall apart- Yes.  However I also know that when my heartbreak ends their hearts are breaking.

Adoption friendly language.  I'm working on it (in fact I have a post I've been working on).  I struggle with the language.  I read another post by someone that spoke of the differences between the use of the past/present lingo.  Five years from now "My baby was/is adopted."  I feel like both are relavant and it depends on context.  I take pause when speaking still to make sure I'm using the correct phrases.  Its not easy for me.  In trying to formulate a letter to my family I think I've realize that what is most important to me is that my baby is first and fore most a baby, a son/daughter, cousin, grandchild, friend, etc.  Unless adoption is the topic the discriptor shouldn't be used anyway.  I also think to what I have learned in my professional life as whats called person first language.  When discussing a persons disability you state the discriptor then the diagnosis for example it would be "The boy with autism" not the "autistic boy."  We are all people first then there are atributes that describe us.  Same with disabilities unless the diagnosis adds to the conversation it shouldn't be used as a discriptor.  So rather "The boy with autism is playing on the computer" it is "the boy is playing on the computer.

In reading back- I've said a few things that made me cringe in re-reading them.  I've grown in this roller coaster called waiting.  I have not removed a single post because this blog is a reflection of my journey.  I struggle with the idea of sharing this roller coaster with more people.  If I shared this blog with more people there are a few posts I'd have to take down or edit to eliminate self identification as my goal never was to chastise people.  I'm learning as are the people around me.  I am not perfect and neither are they.  Maybe I will share my blog just not yet.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow I'm going to get up early and go into work. None of my residents are thrilled to be at our facility for the holiday. I'm going in extra early to have time to do a few more morning routines w people. I'm looking forward to being busy and helping others make lemonade out of their lemons. I'm always better at helping others look at their situation with optimism.

When I get home I'll make beds, a pie, and a salad. Then guests should arrive. I'll keep busy entertaining. At the end of the day I'll remind myself all that I am thankful for then go to bed praying that I don't have to do this again next year.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Surprising Out Comes

So I got to my In-Laws.  We had a nice dinner.  My MIL and I were chatting in the kitchen when she said "Come here I have to show you something."  She took me into the spare bedroom where there were four bags of baby stuff!

So you may think I got bought out of the conversation; however the excitement as she demonstrated while showing me all the stuff made me know that she is excited.  I think my idea I had the other day is accurate.  She needed to grieve our infertility- was she hurtful, yes; can I understand- I'll try.  She isn't all the way there yet.  When we had gotten home from shopping she interrupted a message being left of the answering machine.  She told the acquaintance that she had just been out shopping.  She stated that we were "shopping for my dtr-in-law thats waiting to adopt a baby."  *cough*  umm.... are we not shopping for your Grandchild?  At another point I said something about she could pick whichever outfit she wanted because she after all is the "Grandma to be"- comment was ignored.

At this point I think its more real to her then it ever was before.  Having been told by the agency that we were one of two families for a baby thats already been placed somehow made her realize that we are just a choice away from a baby.  I still feel she is distancing herself from the situation.

So on my way home I talked to my Mother telling her how everything went (she wasn't thrilled about me shopping with my MIL based on how wedding dress shopping had gone).  My Mom was impressed with her growth but also agreed with me that she seems to be not fully ready to accept her pending role as Grandma.  I then called my younger sister who also asked how the trip went.  When I described the above story my sister told me I was being too hard on her.  She also said I was too picky about adoption language.  When I told her for family I am because these are the people that need to make my child feel accepted.

In a nut shell I realize my MIL is not the only one that needs education.  So we are going to craft a letter to everyone (immediate and extended families) about adoption language.  I've tried the subtle approach and it doesn't seem to work so I'm going direct!

Just a little fun/depressing fact... the Linen's & Things (which is out of business) where DH and I registered is now the Babies R Us we went shopping at this weekend.

A truly fun fact- I have picked out a crib, bought a mattress, and have every item on the list you all helped me come up with!! (I got a baby tub as well).

Friday, November 18, 2011

Frank Conversations

So the weekend is finally here!  I'm going shopping with my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and sister for the essentials.  I'm a little nervous. 

I am going down tonight alone (DH has to work today and tomorrow and I work Sunday).  I am staying with my in-laws and then tomorrow my sister and sister-in-law are going to come over and we are all going to go shopping in the morning.  My plan is to finally talk to my mother-in-law tonight.  I'm really glad that I did the interview project before this trip.

One idea that I was able to formulate as a result of the interview was that our extended family had to grieve our infertility.  We tried to keep them all in the loop as much as possible because DH and I saw where the plan was going from early on; however some information we wanted to keep between ourselves.  For those of you who have experienced infertility you can understand how invasive the process can be and there are things you probably chose never to share with family.  We are also all waiting and each of us dealing with the waiting in a different way.  I have to blog or I go crazy.  DH says little because thats my DH- he's not a talker.  My mother always is trying to DO something or FIX the problem.

So I still plan on talking to my Mother-In-Law tonight about her initial reaction to our adoption news.  I think my approach and some of the hurt has faded with my new perspective.  I don't think she was trying to be hurtful.  Intentional or not my feelings were hurt.  I hope this weekend can help re-establish our relationship back on a more positive note.  I'd like to think we are two very different people but I hate to admit that we both are very opinionated people.  Sometimes though its key to know when/where to share those opinions.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

2011 Interview Project

Open Adoption Bloggers is a group of bloggers that write about adoption from the many voices of adoption.  Heather of Production, Not Reproduction coordinated an interview project in which she connected these bloggers.  Each pair became familiar with the others blog and then interviewed the blogger.

So I'd like to introduce you all to my interview partner Maru the author of the blog Adoption Journey  and the blogger that introduced me to the Open Adoption Bloggers.  I dont recall how I found her blog but I do recall reading her first post.  I even wrote a post about it.  Maru is the blogger that I quoted in my post I'm Not The Only One who brilliantly tells people the city and state her baby was born in when asked "Where does your baby come from?"  She has many more brilliant one liners for when "People Say the Darndest Things" about adoption.

Maru is the amazing mother of a two year old.  She also recently posted on her blog her plans to home school her daughter.  She is candid in her blogs as well as in life (follow the link to People Say the Darndes Things).  Not only does she chronicle her journey but she also gives me hope that all of us waiting will one day be Moms.  She also is a reminder that once the phone call happens so could motherhood- so be prepared!!

I hope you all enjoy her responses as much as I did!

1) Were you concerned about having a shower before your match?
I wasn't concerned about things like "What if we're never ever matched and I end up with a bunch of baby stuff?" I was more concerned about the people we invited - what they thought, whether they would show up and support us or not. One friend called me after she got our invitation, knowing we were waiting to adopt, and right after I answered the phone she screamed off the top of her lungs "You're pregnant!!!"  It's strange to have a baby shower when there's no belly, not really a baby on the way, you know? So it certainly felt awkward to have a shower before being matched. I was afraid people would think we were crazy... Even at the baby store when we were making our registry I felt like an impostor. My bigest concern, as you can see, was about what other people thought because they didn't understand adoption.
We had no idea of what kind of match we would have. We might meet the birthparents before birth and have a due date; or we could be matched after birth with a newborn, which is what happened to us, and in which case you just run and hop on a plane as soon as you get the call; or we could be matched with an older baby. We simply did not know. I'm a compulsive planner so I wanted to be ready for any scenario. So we decided to have the shower before being matched. 
It was a wonderful experience. We were surprised about the overwhelming amount of support we received. Almost everyone we invited showed up and brought us lots of presents. Everything in our baby registry, except for one baby night gown I bought myself after the event, everything made it to the gift table, and then some. But the most beautiful thing was the heartwarming messages everyone left along with their gift. Words filled with blessings, hope, and love for our daughter, a baby girl no one had yet met, not even us. Everyone was welcoming her into our family, into their lives.

2) I saw at one point you wrote about being torn as to who you should share your blog with. I struggle with the same problem. I find it easier to share with strangers than with people I know. Who do you share your blog with?
I used to share it with everyone while we were waiting, although I'm almost certain very few of my close friends and family members ever read any of it. Now I don't share it with anyone, not even on Facebook, as I used to.I have either run into someone who wants to adopt and doesn't know where to start, or friends, even clients, refer me to their friends who want to adopt. I share my experience with them and direct them to my blog. Everything is documented in there, every part of our journey. I only want to help. But my bog is here, in the world wide web, and anyone can find it. Go figure...  So yes, I also find it easier to share my blog with strangers than with people I know.

3) If you were stranded on an island with Fico and M what material item would you want with you? And why?
Stranded on an island? I hope they have power, because all I want is my computer with all of M's pictures. I guess I'd die if - God forbid - I ever lose them.

4) Do you feel torn between educating others about adoption and keeping M's story her own? How do you handle this?  
Oh, yes, all the time. At first we were so cautious we could be mistaken as secretive. M was 18 months old when my mom and dad saw pictures of M's birth parents and M's life book (adoption story) for the first time. In my parents' case it was an accident. I wasn't planning on showing them anything, but I took M's book to the hospital one time she was hospitalized with a bad case of bronchitis. M kept asking for it. One day my mom came to visit and found it when I was taking a nap with M. My in-laws quickly followed. This time M picked up the book herself and showed it to them. We've had to learn along the way to select the pieces of information that are fine to share and identify the ones that we should keep private. It's been a work in progress. Every situation is different, every person you are sharing with is different. I guess you have to cautiously choose your audience and decide what is private, even with close friends and relatives. Now, when it comes to strangers at the check out line at the grocery store, it's much easier: everything is private.

5) Did you have a hospital bag packed before you were matched with M- If you did- what was in it and if not do you think it would have been helpful?
Hahaha. Let me quote myself "I'm a compulsive planner." Well... I knew I needed a hospital bag packed. A few weeks before we were matched I read an article in Adoptive Families. Or was it before the shower...? I'm not sure... Anyway, the article had a list of things we should have ready and packed in a hospital bag in case we got the call about a baby who was just born. Well, guess what? I left it for later and never got to it. Nope, the compulsive planner forgot to pack a bag. And when we got the call I was so nervous I packed the worst bag in the world for me, but I'm proud to say I packed a pretty good one for baby. I got in there about 10 onesies, the night gown I wanted her to wear as her going home outfit (nothing fancy, it was just the first piece of baby clothing I ever bought, the one present left from our registry at the baby store), one bottle, one pacifier, 3 burp cloths, a swaddling blanket, a grooming kit, a first aid kit and a diaper bag. I managed to get in there two shirts for me, two cargo pants, two pairs of shoes, and three purses I never needed or used, of course, and that was it. 
We traveled by plane and checked in the car seat/stroller travel combo.
We thought we were picking up baby and flying back the next day, but we were wrong. She was a preemie and we had to take her back for checkups every 48 hours. We stayed for 10 days. 
She was so small nothing I brought in my bag fit her. So, we later went to Target and bought smaller onesies for baby, hooded towels, wash cloths, bibs, burp cloths, alcohol wipes (to clean umbilical cord), baby wipes, diapers, diaper ointment, more formula (they gave us lots at the hospital, though), Dr. Brown's bottles (M didn't like the ones we had), bottled water (for formula) and baby wash. 
We later had to go back to buy clothes for Mom and Dad too. ;o) 
So, the only thing missing in my hospital bag was a hooded towel, washcloths, bibs, more burp cloths (3 isn't enough) and alcohol wipes. If you are traveling by plane, water, formula, diapers and wipes are stuff you can always buy after you leave the hospital. If not, having these items with you would be even better. 
As for formula, wait and see what the baby is having at the hospital. They'll always send you home with formula and a few diapers. They did in our case, plus they also gave us a bag with all sorts of baby product samples and freebies. :o)

6) What is your favorite tradition you have started with M?
We don't have a "tradition" per se, but we have breakfast every day together as a family. And every night we put her together to bed. She drifts into dreamland with me, though. That's my department. ;o)
We take her once a week to her baby gym. She started when she was 3 months old. The three of us go together twice week - once for a class, and every friday afternoon for open gym.

7) I think the thing I look forward to most is reading with my baby. What is M's favorite book? You have many books you have recommended through out your blog about adoption.   What books about adoption have you gotten for M? What books do you recommend for waiting families to read?
She loved "Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes" by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury. Her favorite? "Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale" by Mo Willems. Neither is adoption related. She also loves her lifebook. She calls it "M's story." She asks for it almost every night.
On books about adoption for M, "Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born" by Jamie Lee Fox is absolutely adorable. We modeled M's life book around the style of that book. Another one I just got (stay tuned for a thorough review) is "I Don't Have Your Eyes", by Carrie A. Kitze. 
For waiting families I recommend "What I Want My Adopted Child to Know" by Sally Bachetta. It's a MUST read. "Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother" by Jana Wolff, is also very good. "Adoption Nation" by Adam Pertman is a MUST read too, but it's more like and encyclopedia of adoption.

8) What is the biggest thing that has changed in your house since the arrival of M (besides of course the presence of M!)?
We've learned to eat well! I used to cook maybe once a week and eat out every day. Now I cook almost every day, we don't eat out, unless it's an occasional date night. And when we go out as a family we still bring her her own food. We eat a more balanced diet because we feed her a balanced diet. We try to buy everything organic. Lots of DHA and Omega-3. Vitamins for all the family every day. She always has a home cooked meal. No fast-food, potato chips, or highly processed foods. When we started her on solids we tried baby food first, but quickly changed to home made baby food. I never imagined I'd be cooking so much! 
Another thing that has changed is that we have less time for ourselves and with each other. But we do enjoy time together as a family every day.

9) I often feel like an ambassador to adoption (one without a guide book).  How do you decide when to put on your adoption educator's hat and when do you just let things go?
If a stranger is just being nosy I try to let it go. It's not easy, but I'm getting better at it. If it's someone I know, or even someone I've just met, that really needs adoption education because of a misconception, for example, then I try to address the issue as gracefully as I can. Not easy either. It sometimes depends on my mood. ;o)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Unsolicited Advice

I get lots of unsolicited advice about adoption but I dont get much about babies.

So I'm asking for it!  I want the BASICS.  The plan is to have a baby shower after the baby arrives.

I'm going shopping this Saturday on my list so far:

Things I have or can borrow:
Going home outfit
Cloth Diapers (check?? I have 32 prefold plus about 10 inserts with 7 newborn fuzzie bunz and lots of wipes)
Breast Pump
Pack N Play (on stand by)
Baby Swing (on stand by)
Car Seat
Blankets 5 (thanks to wonderful friends/family!!)
The Day you were born book and a Baby Book special for babies that are adopted (Thank you again friends and family :) )
Baby carrier
bottles (I think I have four I dont recall and I can't find them at the moment)
lots of books :)

Things I Plan on getting or may need more of:
I need a Lactaid
Formula?  (how much to get me started?)
Onesies (how many?)
Receiving blankets (I have 3 plus one swaddler)
burp clothes (I have three- I also am not opposed to using whatever is close to me i.e. diaper or receiving blanket)
Sleeping gown (how many?)
Crib mattress
Crib sheets
Crib cover

Things I plan to use in the mean time:
Pack N play
sponge baths

Have I over looked anything that is a MUST have?

Too Much Overtime!!

So this past week DH got held over every day this week.  Which means over time, which means more money.  This may sound like a good thing to most people but we are going to be close to falling into the next higher income bracket for the adoption if we keep making extra money this year.

I normally would think its a bad thing to try to surpress income to try not to fall into a higher bracket.  In our case though this is a fluke.  I worked a school contract last school year to help an OT assistant that needed an OT to supervise her in order for her to work.  I gave her one year to find someone new.  So I was going to be done with schools until another friend needed her district covered while she took a maternity leave.  If she couldn't find someone to cover her case load, the district would have established a contract with someone that could cover the entire school year.  Had I not covered she would have had to either be out of a job or not take a maternity leave.  So I agreed to cover for three months.

So next year I wont have these contracts.  I wont be working 6 days per week so as a general rule our income will be much lower so it wont matter how much over time DH accumulates.  This year though the over time has to stop!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Times a Ticking

I had a list of things I wanted to accomplish by different ages.  To name a few... I wanted to be married by 27.  I wanted at least one child and a house by 30.

So I'm married and have a house... but I have one month from today to have a baby.

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans"  John Lennon

(Side note- we got two onesies for our hospital bag... we also plan on creating a list of things to bring to the hospital with us).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Winter Blues

I got the winter blues real bad last winter.  I dont know if it was the adoption or the quantities of snow that we got.  So I'm trying to think ahead.

I know when I'm busy I'm stressed but happy.  So I have myself covered unti December 16th when I'm done covering my friends maternity leave in the schools.  Then there is my birthday, Christmas, New Years.  We have a weekend trip planned for the first week in January... but then its bleak and cold until who knows when.

I thought about running a full marathon in the spring but I also recently remembered my immense displeasure with running in the cold (my lungs burn!).  So I may do a half marathon again in the spring with the hubby.  It made me realize though that really what I was looking for was something to keep me busy and my mind active.

So things I'd like to do this winter:
- find a routine volunteer engagement
- Join a gym
- Visit my sister a few times in Boston
- Visit my in-laws (we really have not done this much and I know we should be better)
- Ski at least once
- Swing Dance more (practice sessions once a week plus dances)
- Keep going to church on Sundays
- Visit my aunt in MA for cross country skiing
- Visit my cousin in NY?  Maybe make it a cousins weekend?
- Hike
- Learn to knit something other then a scarf
- Go to AOTA conference
- become better connected with our friends here
- have a baby?  God knows that would keep me busy.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Breast-feeding and knitting

So a year ago I got a breast pump.  I started following a protocol which did not require hormones.  I had minimal success but because it meant I had to pump three times a day it was challenging with work.  As I became more discouraged with the waiting this past year the pumping faded away.

This past weekend when I was at the grocery store I peeked the the formulas available.  It just felt wrong and I found something wrong with every one of them.  My mother breast fed all three of us.  She comfort fed us until we could talk.  She worked as a lactation consultant as part of her job as a social worker working with first time teen moms.  So I feel immense guilt that I've stopped trying.  So I e-mailed my neighbor that I know breast fed her son that was adopted.  She provided me with a protocol that uses hormones.  Its one that I've run across a few times but have been hesitant to try.  She has the name of a lactation consultant she used (which wont be coved by insurance) as well as I asked where she got her drugs from.

Today I made an appointment with my primary care physician.  I doubt that she will give me a prescription (since its not FDA approved use) but I at least want to have some blood tests to make sure my hormones are at an appropriate level prior to starting the protocol.  I also want to make her aware of what I'm doing even if she can't support me legally.  I will then go from there.

I know it will be hard as well as frustrating to pump again with no baby.  I know though that if I give up know I will kick myself later.  This isn't about saving money (the drug is expensive and insurance wont cover it).  Its about doing what any parents would do which is at least try to do what they believe is best for their child.

On a side note.  A coworker of mine is knitting soakers for cloth diapers.  I have not knit since I was 11. She keeps wanting to teach me.  So I've started a scarf.  Once I can knit consistently I'm going to sit down with her and learn how to knit soakers.  Its going to be a long winter so I guess I now have two new hobbies to keep me busy.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday is church day

I debated back and forth if I was going to leave work today to go to church.  My case load was light and I could have gotten out early and enjoyed some time at home with DH.  I had forgotten my lunch so I called to ask DH if he would meet me at church and bring my lunch.  So it was settled I'd go.

During the joys and concerns a grandparent had written that they were joyful to have their adopted grandchild with them that day.  I didn't think much of it.  Then about thirty minutes in I noticed a small note at the bottom of the order of worship which stated:

"The flowers today are in celebration of this congregation's adoption-expanded families, in gratitude to birthparents who made adoption plans, and in honor of children waiting for forever families."

Then as the offering plate went around a little boy caught my eye- I knew him!  He was the baby that one of the couples in our support group had adopted- he was with Grandma!

Todays service reminded me how integrated adoption is a part of our church community.  Its everywhere.  LIkely the flowers were because of adoption awareness month but I look around and spot family after family which has grown because of adoption.  My child will not be different because of the way s/he joined our family.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Fiscal Responsibility

So I'd like to think that we are fiscally responsible.  We have minimal credit card balances which ebb and flow but primarily stick near the 0 mark.  We have student loans up the wazoo- but who doesn't?  We pay our car loan weekly and are starting this month paying our mortgage bimonthly (1/2 at a time) to decrease the interest we pay.  ALL of DH's salary goes into savings and we dip in as needed.

We saved for a good down payment for our home, which was excellent practice for what we didn't know what was to come.  We save for major purchases like the reno in the bathroom or the dishwasher.  Nothing has been more challenging then saving for the adoption.  To become a parent from adoption requires financial discipline like no other.  We have a pot full and ready knowing that hopefully soon it will be depleted possibly all in one day if we have an out of state placement.  I will then be on unpaid maternity leave for 3 months.

Infertility followed by the financial stress of saving for adoption (and then paying for an adoption) sounds like a recipe for marital disaster.  So far we have weathered the storm with minimal rough waters.  I credit DH's even disposition that likely keeps him employed.  I wonder at times how other couples survive or don't survive.  It makes me sad our society does not support families like mine more.  Not because we are saving the children of the world but because adopting a child should not be a greater financial risk then conceiving a child.

The other day my uncle in England posted a picture of his four year old girl they adopted at no expense to them.  On top of it my aunt was paid for her maternity leave and although I dont recall the specific length of time she had off it was far greater then my 3 months.  Her time off and benefits were the same as had she had conceived her daughter.  My uncle was also eligible for time off but since he is self employed from home chose to continue to work to ensure his business continued to thrive.  Oh I can only dream....

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Babies and Birthdays!

So my boss told me she needed to talk to me in the hall.  I got scared.  Some people entered the hall we were in and she said she needed to wait.  AM I IN TROUBLE?!!  She is expecting!!  I already knew.  I knew she was trying.  She also just bought a bigger house.  As well as she made some comment about knowing she would have a c-section this next time.  She pulled me aside to tell me before the staff meeting because she was worried my feelings would be hurt.  Of course I wish I was in her same boat but I'm not and I'm not sinking hers because mine wont float.

I also got an invitation to a 1 year old birthday party!  Its the weekend that I was going to go shopping with my mother-in-law.  Now I'm torn.  Shopping with MIL, SIL and Sister or birthday party?  ahhh!!

Can I just also say we just looked at our account and even with just having paid DH's LAST grad school tuition payment we are still at our savings goal for an instate adoption?  There are so many things in that last statement that make me SO happy!!!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Profession/ My Love

Tonight I signed a release allowing a project that I worked on in grad school to be peer reviewed.  When I opened the final manuscript I felt sick to my stomach.  I'm so nervous and excited all at the same time.  My career and starting a family are very intertwined.

When I met DH I had just finished my BS in Management Information Systems (AKA computer programming).  I got a job as a help desk technician as I already had figured out during my senior year that I didn't want to be a programmer.  I dabbled in the idea of a technical writer since my minor was English but during my senior project found out about this cool thing called Assistive Technology (AT) which helps people with disabilities become more independent.  Once I found AT I knew I had found my match.

When I came to New England I wasn't exactly looking to settle down.  I wanted to live here for a few years then go back to the midwest.  I also wasn't big on the idea of having children.  I thought I might some day but I couldn't have told you much more then that.  When I met DH I knew I had my match.  I also knew I wanted children.  Dont worry I didn't tell him the two were hand in hand otherwise I think he would have been history long ago.  Soon after DH and I met I also realized that the way I could work with AT was by becoming and Occupational Therapist (OT).  The day I told DH that I was going to get my Masters in OT he refused to talk to me for about 45 miles (we were on the road back from meeting his parents for the first time).

So needless to say DH supported me in my decision to go back to school.  It was a long two years but we made it work.  My last semester of school was when we started TTC.  It was frustrating to work with children and not be able to conceive.  It was also frustrating to not be able to fix the problem.  My schooling taught me how to problem solve and troubleshoot.  I used my knowledge of the cycle to try to get everything just right and it didn't work.  I couldn't fix the problem.

So a year after graduating from Grad School the project was to a point where we could present the data. DH and I also had made the decision the move away from TTC and transition to trying to adopt.  I associate my trip down to FL to present the paper (that has just been submitted) with working on the application for adoption since that was when we started to work on our application.  I recall sitting in the lobby of the hotel, having coffee and explaining to my professor just an hour before we presented the stress of filling out the adoption application as well as wanting a baby.  I recall at that moment that I felt more anxiety and stress about the  application then my impending presentation.

So now 19 months later the research paper is completed and ready for submission.  I can only hope that maybe these two worlds parallel each other and my baby will be in my arms soon.  Until then I continue to throw myself into my work.  Loving my residents and my students.  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A House thats not fully a home

One of the main reasons we started to look at buying a house was that we were trying to conceive.  We researched schools and narrowed down our search area.  We determined how many bedrooms we would need and what we needed in a yard.  We avoided homes with pools because thats not safe.  We avoided busy roads and homes with neighbors that had scary dogs.  We did all of this not because we were worried about ourselves but we wanted to create a home for our children.  We wanted a place that we would stay a long time.  We hunted patiently for six months before we found the perfect house.  At the same time we patiently waited for a positive test but we were told we were just too impatient.

So two years ago we signed the papers and moved into our house.  We worked at making it a home.  We fenced in the back yard.  We took care of the water that pooled in the backyard.  We painted the nursery.  We sealed the garage from the house and put up a fire barrier to keep our family safe.

Tomorrow night trick or treaters will come around again.  Again we will ask each other if next year we will have someone to dress up.  Holloween starts the season of holidays.  Last year we checked off the holidays but couldn't enjoy them as I had before.  Holloween followed by Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentines Day, DH's Birthday and Easter.  I want the holidays to be over and they really have not even started.  I've been patient enough already.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Check List Edits

One of the things we did at our meeting was make some minor check list edits.  Some things that at the time we initially sat down were deal breakers seemed like why had we NOT checked them now after a year of learning even more about adoption.

I feel people who have never filled out the check list really dont understand what a challenging document it is to fill out.  Our pediatrician indicated that as adoptive parents we have a greater advantage over parents who have children biologically because we have the ability to check/not check certain heath problems.  The advantage to carrying a child though means you have the benefit of control over your body and what goes into it.  I do not have that choice.  Another blogger very eloquently posted recently on  why she chose to select gender for her second child.  I can't say that for future children we wont make that choice as well.  Yes there are advantages to adopting however there are many advantages to having biological children.

I have never once posted what specifically is on our check list.  When people ask what we checked rather then telling them what we checked I tell them what we had options on.  When they try to give advice about the dangers of substances used by the birthmother, I share with them that the media often misguides us to which substances are more harmful.

I struggle to keep my childs story their own.  I think part of that process starts now.  If I share what is on our check list I feel like I am already giving potential parts to the story.

Once my baby arrives I will immediately start to teach him/her about how s/he became our son/daughter.  I feel torn as to how best educate my child.  I want to be honest but at the same time I want to provide information at their level.  Since adoption will be openly discussed in our home I worry that my child will not be able to realize that some information they may not want to share.  At what point do I share aspects of the story?  We live in a relatively small area.  The children they go to school with in elementary school will be the students they go to high school with.  Unlike a big city where you have an opportunity to recreate yourself as you grow and change schools I dont know that our town will allow for that.  I think it will be important to keep things simple but also answer any questions they may have.

How do you allow your child the opportunity to know their story but also help them keep it their own?