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?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fear: Open Adoption Roundtable

I have never feared a birthmother would kidnap my child.  My only irrational fear initially was that if I agreed to an open adoption and then the birthparents were in an unhealthy place I would be forced to continue an open relationship that was not healthy for my child.  As I have gained a better understanding about open adoption this no longer is a fear of mine as I believe my agency will help create a plan that is safe for my child as well as the birthparents.  (i.e. they dont recommend unsupervised visits until both parties feel comfortable which I'm not concerned about).

The things I fear about adoption now:
- The birthparents will pick our book but then rescind when they meet us.
- The birthparents will stay in contact while the baby is small but move on when they are old enough to start understanding and have real questions.
- My child will be teased at school.
- I wont have the right answers or the answers I give when they are younger will be perceived as lies since young children need the concepts simplified.
- My in-laws wont treat my children the same as the other grandchildren.
- I wont be able to provide a culturally rich environment due to where we live and will cause my child to dislike physical features that make them "different"
- My child will not have a good understanding of their heritage.
- That my child will feel like s/he cannot talk to me about their worries regarding their adoption.
- That they wont come to us when people say incorrect/insensitive things about adoption or more worrisome that someone will tell them something incorrect/insensitive specifically about their adoption.
- That I wont be able to stand up for myself the first time someone asks me about their "Real" mom rather then reminding them that I AM my child's REAL Mom.
- That we will never catch up financially
- We will be offered another match that doesn't fit and have to turn it down (we were offered a premature baby in another state when I didn't qualify for FMLA)

The things I fear about being a parent:
- My child will not be healthy (I'd like to point out that that this firmly sits on the parent column of fears what parent doesn't count their babies fingers and toes when they arrive?)
- My child will have questions I am unable to answer about the world and how it works.
- That our planet is not a healthy/safe enough place to bring a child into.
- That I'm going to make mistakes as a parent
- That I wont have enough resources to provide all the things I want my child to have.
- That I wont be able to provide my child with a sibling (this kind of falls under adoptions only due to financing a second adoption)
- That I wont be able to protect my child from the world
- That I wont know what to do the first time my baby gets a fever
- That I'm going to drop them
- That I'm going to sleep through his/her cries at night
- That I wont be able to function because I'm sleep deprived and make a mistake in his/her care

This was a challenging prompt though I'm glad I forced myself to do it.  I wrote the majority of this the day the prompt was posted but I was fearful of posting it.  I think its hard to be honest about my fears.  I know that just like my initial concern about the adoption plan has changed with time.  I know my present list of fears will change in time.  It will be interesting to look back particularly after placement.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Agency Meeting

So I'll admit I went into the meeting with a bit of a chip on my shoulder (yes I went).  I e-mailed to confirm that appointment the night before and was assured that the meeting was on.  She is much more pleasant in person then she is via e-mail.  I think its easy to be short with people when communicating via e-mail because its not face to face.  I realize her job must be hard and having an assistant be in charge of your schedule I'm sure makes things more complicated however my time is important to.  We made a few minor edits/clarifications about our check list however the changes wont make much of a difference unfortunately but who knows.

We were told that it was a choice between us and another family for an adoption that just occurred however the birth mother was seeking a practicing Catholic family.  Well DH was raised Catholic and when we started dating he started attending church with me.  (He was not practicing when I met him other then opening presents on Christmas).  So we lost out on that one.  Drat!  I'd like to add to our check list "We will change religions if thats what it takes!"  Oh well.

I hope that having a face as well as knowing us more then a piece of paper will help our book get shown as often as possible.  She assured us that adoptions are continuing without Kate and she doesn't think our wait will be much longer.  I hope she is right.

Monday, October 24, 2011


I got a lovely handmade blanket in the mail today.  A friend of the family her mother is 90 years old and still loving life.  My mother turned 60 just a few weeks ago and told everyone to make a donation to a charity rather then giving her things.  Our family friends mother insisted on bringing something but my mother stood firm.  So she made a blanket for the baby.  Its beautiful browns, oranges and greens. It looks perfect in the nursery and will be perfect no matter the gender of our baby.  On days I feel discouraged I'm going to have to pull out that blanket.  Maybe I'll use it in the mean time.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


My mother (who does not know I am writing a blog) told me today that she wanted to tell me that she hopes I'm not getting discouraged with this process.  She is sending me a blanket a friend of hers made her to give to me.  I think when she initially told me about the blanket and asked how she should get it to me I told her that she coud mail it and it could sit around her or she could bring it whenever she visits.  So I guess that was her clue that I'm getting discouraged.

Last week I finally e-mailed the agency (who still has not hired a replacement social worker) to ask if we should change our book or if there was something on our check list that was too picky.  I also mentioned that I felt that Kate (the last social worker) knew what we were willing to bend on depending on the situation.  The woman that is currently in charge of placements was Kates boss, has never met us and we are just a check list to her.  She suggested a meeting.

I think I blogged about this particular social worker in April of 2010 when we first started the process.  She was unwilling to take DH's schedule into consideration (which rotates) and was unable to meet late in the day (3-5) to accommodate my schedule.  So as I guessed if we want an appt that works for us we would have to wait until late November.  So we scheduled one for next week at 1.  DH is going to leave work early and I am going to phone in (she doesn't know this yet).  Back when we first tried to meet with her we scheduled three appointments all of which she canceled or incorrectly scheduled.  So I'm trying to be positive and hope that she is really there that day because I'm going to be very annoyed if DH takes an afternoon off work only to find out that its canceled.

I loved Kate our last social worker.  I love the counseling they provide the birthfamilies pre and post placement.  I love the support groups (we used to have).  I do not care of this particular social worker.  I guess I feel a little snobby but I'm paying the agency to take care of my birthfamily as well as me.  Right now we dont feel very taken care of.

So I am discouraged that we dont have a placement yet however at this point I'm more discouraged by our agency telling us each month that by the end of that month they will have someone hired.  I think they are telling us this because they dont realize that Kate helped us set up an e-mail list in which the waiting families have been communicating.  So once a month someone always asks and once a month we get the same response.  Really at this point I want a good social worker more then a baby because I know one leads to the other.

I did briefly look into other agencies but where we live this is the only option.  I dont want to be stuck in another state spending my babies first month in a hotel room waiting for us to be allowed to leave the state.  I also would like the option of a local placement to allow for more openness.  So next week Wednesday we better hear some good news.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


So I read an obit the other day.  I work in skilled nursing facility so frequently the residence in our long term care section pass away as well as sometimes my short term patients that have gotten better and gone home occasionally appear in the obits.  So one of my daily routines is to check the obits.

Sometimes I just read one that for some reason or another strikes me as one I'd like to read.  People have the most amazing lives.  Even my residence that I thought I knew so well I always find out something new about them.

So last week I read an obit of a man that passed away suddenly.  He wasn't very old (remember I work in skilled nursing so my definition of young is different then most people) younger then my parents but well beyond child bearing age.  His surviving family stated "Lou is survived by his beloved wife, Joan, and their dog, Scout"  Now dont get me wrong I love my pets and I know nothing about this man except his obit.  The funny thing is that he had lots of interactions with youth- he started a youth golf camp and was clearly involved with nieces/nephews.  Maybe his wife didn't want children or maybe it was infertility but all I know for myself is I would be crushed if my obit read that I was survived by my beloved husband, dog molly and cat chester.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I met a Birthmom

This past week I met a birthmom.  She lives blocks away from me but I met her by chance.  She was talking to me about her grandchild and I casually asked her about how many children she had.  She informed me she had one child.  I then causally asked a few more questions and the responses were not exactly adding up.  I must have gotten a funny look on my face because she then told me she had placed her baby up for adoption.  She seemed uncomfortable.  I got so excited!  She was the first birthmother I have ever met.

I didn't know what it was that made her share the fact that she had placed her daughter up for adoption.  Had she let the moment pass I would never have known the difference.  I wonder if my cautious questions about children may have led her to reveal this fact or if this was something she openly shares.  I do not ask people about children unless I am given some indication they have children.  I often ask my patients if they have family in the area.  I typically ask generally about family or about spouses (if they have a wedding band) which often reveals if people have children.  I have learned from my own experience that I dont like being asked if I have children by strangers so why should I do the same?  (In my line of work children and other family members are often key to their rehab so I am not just prying).

The women shared that she had recently reconnected with her daughter and was able to meet her.  She also shared that she had written letters to her daughter through the years but these were kept in a folder at the agency.  This is how her daughter found her.  I then asked if she knew about open adoptions.  She had not and I told her that we were waiting to adopt a baby.  I told her how we would meet the birthparents and would continue to have contact.  Her discomfort faded away.  She thought open adoption sounded wonderful but she sounded a little skeptical then she asked me "What if you move away."  I told her we would have to make a plan for that.

I think it was neat to meet someone that is a birthmother but in meeting this birthmother it made me realize that I likely have met many birthmothers and never known.  I wonder how many birthmothers I will meet (besides my own children's birthparents) due to the fact that my children will be adopted.  I think the best gift this woman gave me was the confirmation that birthmothers are women that love their children so much that they allowed another set of parents raise their baby.

Monday, October 17, 2011


Eh well.  I wasn't exactly thinking.  DH had posted the other day that by passing the PT test we finally had all the adoption money and he got lots of likes but no real comments.  So I kinda figured people knew.  We have shared at work, with family and friends, and whenever anyone asks if we plan on having kids we share we are waiting.  Its not a secret but its not something I've discussed on facebook before.  So his lack of response made me think that the knowledge we were adopting had filtered through the networks.

So the other night I was looking at crib after crib on the internet.  One looked exactly the same as the other except price so I thought I have lots of friends that are moms.  My friends kids range from 14-0 so I thought I could ask for help.  Well apparently the filter through the networks only worked on DH's page because I was bombarded by posts and e-mails.  I think some people though it meant we had a match while others knew nothing about the adoption.

One e-mail in particular though jerked my chain:
hey congrats on your decision to adopt!
that's pretty cool
how did you guys arrive at this decision?

My response:
Thanks we have been waiting for a year now so no idea when s/he will arrive.  We wanted a family so here we are waiting!

REALLY?!  Would you ever email someone you just found out is pregnant and ask "What made you decide that?"  I think not.  I guess thats what I get for not thinking before I post.  On the bright side I got a lot of good information on where to look for cribs in the NH area near where my in-laws live as well as more positive comments to stupid ones.

I understand ignorance- you can't be blamed for what you dont know.  As well as lots has changed in adoption even since I was a kid.  Sometimes I'm sick of having to educate people on adoption friendly language and to bring to peoples attention when they are insensitive.  I just wish people thought before they spoke.  I dont think anyone ever had to be educated that saying to a pregnant lady "What made you decide to get knocked up? or WOW you have gained weight during your pregnancy" was rude.  How come it doesn't seem to cross peoples minds that asking: "what made you arrive at that decision?"  or "how much will your baby cost?" is rude as well.

So today I posted on my facebook status:
According to Wiki:
Ignorance is "is a state of being uninformed" while stupidity is "a lack of intelligence, understanding, reason, wit, or sense" So does someone go directly from ignorant to stupid if you try to inform but they still can't get it?

Sunday, October 16, 2011


At least once a day the sparkle of my engagement ring catches my eye and draws my attention to my wedding band.  Its a reminder that I'm a lucky lady that has found my perfect match.  I can't imagine this journey without  my partner.

A few weeks ago in my frustration of waiting I told DH that I need to hear that its just as frustrating for him as it is for me.  Since then on two occasions he has made comments that remind me that its not just me that is frustrated.  One such comment he made was one I frequently make which is "I want a baby."  Hearing that comment directly from him makes me love him even more.

Some day the sparkle in my childrens eyes will remind me that I have the perfect match.  That sparkle will also remind me that I was hand selected by their birthfamilies to guide them to their full potential.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Just when you think you are down someone picks you up

Today I got an e-mail from the wife of one of DH's friends.  It was completely unexpected, heartfelt and thoughtful.  It was empathetic but not pity filled.  It was just what I needed.  I think it was motivation to open the nursery door and get some work done in there.


I don't have a lot of family near by which is one of my fears of starting a family.  I don't have parents or siblings that I can count on for an afternoon of unexpected babysitting.  Its me and DH.  I do have an aunt and uncle that lives down the street and I am sure she will be involved but at this point I dont know that I can count on her.  They are both still young and very active so they are not exactly accessible since they work hard during the week and play hard on weekends.  As they get closer to retirement they have enjoyed longer and longer vacations which leaves me to wonder what are we going to do?!

Lucky for us we have a great group of friends that are very much like family.  Last week I put out an e-mail asking for pictures with us and babies because I'm updating our book.  Within an hour I had pictures.  Within days I had an offer to have DH take pictures with a baby, since we have lots of pictures with me and babies and none with him.  (I take any and every opportunity to hold a baby).  It wont be my Mom and Dad or my sisters near by but I know I'll have support.  I also have to remind myself this little one is going to open doors to new friendships by attending play groups and library reading times which hopefully will open doors to babysitting swapping.  I am sure I'm not the only Mom to be in this situation.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peace Offering - Help!

OK so I've been VERY good about not specifying family members but I can't dance around this one any more.  I will start that every family member- my sisters, my parents, my aunts/uncles, and cousins, as well as DH's family members at some point has said something that was hurtful.  My family I have been able to call them on it however because DH's family is (yet is not) my family I have not been able to be as direct.

Creating our family with the help of adoption is not the first time my mother-in-law has been uncomfortable or unable to relate to me.  When we got married she just didn't seem to get into it.  Our wedding was in a church but it wasn't "traditional" in terms of brides maids, showers, and big reception.  At the time I told myself she was distant and uninvolved because she didn't want to step on toes because she was the mother of the groom; though she proved me wrong when my brother-in-law got married (her youngest son).  I think its that she is uncomfortable with anything out of the norm.  I'm not sure if its because it makes her uncomfortable or she is worried about what she is going to have to say to others.  For our wedding I'm sure her family asked her questions about why only immediate family was invited and now with the adoption I assume she is asked questions as well (assumings she has told people).  I get it.  It was uncomfortable telling people we just couldn't extend our wedding invite list beyond immediate family and now with the adoption people have said lots of dumb things to me regarding how we are starting our family.  I am sure people have asked her about becoming a grandmother when both of her sons are now married (one of them for over 4 years).  I'm making assumptions.  Who knows but I've never asked her.

So this week I told DH that I was going to go shopping for nursery furniture with her.  In part because there is better shopping in their area since its near Boston but also because I hope its a way for us to get a chance to talk.  I want to tell her desperately that she hurt my feelings when she wasn't excited for our adoption news but rather told us to try fertility treatments.  I want to tell her that she continues to hurt my feelings when the topic of our adoptions transitions into a conversation about what her teenaged nephew has done wrong most recently (he is adopted).  I want to tell her that her lack of acknowledgment hurts.  I know if I dont' tell her now the hurt isn't going to stop and when my brother-in-law and his wife become pregnant and she showers them with excitement its going to hurt even more.  People say that when the baby arrives her feelings will change however it doesn't change the hurt.  I am going to need to teach my child how to love their grandmother.  If I dont love her how can I do that?

So this is where I ask for help- Anyone had this conversation?  How did it turn out?  Was it before/after baby arrived?  Did it help or hurt the situation?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Finances- check :) (kinda)

So DH is required to complete a physical fitness test two times a year.  If he passes the test he keeps his job and gets a bonus.  If he fails he has to keep taking the test until he passes and no bonus.  So He got his bonus, yesterday was holiday pay for him, and we got our escrow balance returned from our refinancing.  SO  for an instate adoption we have all the money saved we need.  The catch is that its not all in the bank until Thursday.  So until I see that number exactly where I want it I'm going to remain cautiously optimistic.  We have come close before only to have some unexpected event like the dishwasher breaking come up.

For an out of state adoption we still have a little ways to go however we still have the checks from my parents to cover until we reach that goal as well.  This week we also applied for and got approved for an airline miles credit card.  Our plan is to put the adoption on the credit card and then pay it off as soon as we return (assuming its out of state).  This will mean we will have miles to burn probably to go home to visit my family so they can meet the little one- however a tropical vacation might be fun (we can all dream).

Adoption is expensive and it seems so wrong to me.  We are not wealthy and we had to work hard to save for the adoption.  This adoption means we are going to literally clear out our savings to have a child.  The responsible thing to do when expecting is to save so you have a nest egg and can even start thinking about things like college.  We will keep on saving until we reach our out of state cap and then move on to saving for my maternity leave and then baby furniture.  We have reached one goal but the saving seems to never stop.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday uplift

I took the time to go to church again yesterday.  It made for a 10 hour day and I didn't do much of anything (despite my to do list) once I got home.  I think I've decided that I should just go for the children's sermon each sunday.  It was a really sweet exercise.  Everyone in the congregation was given a penny.  You then made a wish/prayer on your penny (for the world, yourself, whom ever).  You then exchanged your penny with someone else, someone else, someone else.  Each time you had to get up and go a little farther from "your seat" to exchange the penny.  In the end you left church with someone else's prayer which you are to tend to.  My prayer remains secret but I hope the person that ended up with my prayer takes good care of it.

When I got back from church I went to see one of my residents that I had not had a chance to finish that morning.  We got to talking and she divulged that yes she had two children but they were adopted.  I asked a few questions and then shared with her that we were waiting to adopt.  Her session flew by because we talked about adoption from her perspective as a mother of adopted children that are grown with their own families.  Before I left her room she said "I want to give you this tid bit."  She seemed a little nervous.  She then shared with me a story about her grandchildren and calling their dog "adopted" because they ended up having to give back the dog because he bit someone.  I then told her that it was funny that she should share the story with me because I had JUST blogged about my problems with calling pets adopted.  She looked relieved that she was not the only one who thought this.  As I walked out the room she said "We can't change the world can we."  to which I responded "We can make change one person at a time."

In addition two of my residents today told me that I clearly love my job and that I'm good at it.  All of this made for an amazing start to my week.

So I leave you with a spiritual that we sang today with not so much gusto in our small new england town but its one of my favorites...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

You are never too young for infertility

I wish someone had told me that infertility wasn't just for "old" people.  It doesn't happen just because you are "one of those women" who puts her career first and dries up.  There is male infertility and female infertility both of which present their own set of challenges.  There is also what is known as "unexplained infertility" as well as many specific diagnosis.  No matter what "type": male, female, known, unknown; its all painful.

DH and I went for a few sessions of pre-marital counseling because our church did not provide it.  The therapist asked us what our plans were if we had trouble with infertility.  Lucky for us (so he said) we already knew we wanted adoption as part of our family planning of if infertility was a problem we would just adopt.  We also knew IVF was not in our cards.  Little did I know there were other options but having had that conversation in that therapists office even before the "I do's" we had somewhere to start from.  The conversation gave us a starting place and a stopping place.  At the time we knew there was a small chance (so we had been told) we would have trouble with infertility but we were young so we were told not to worry.

What I've learned from infertility is that fertility doctors will keep going, and keep taking your money until you say "I'm done."  They work in their field to get women pregnant even when the odds are not good and they even succeed (sometimes you just have to drain your resources first).  It has to be hard for them to say "I dont know that fertility treatments are your best option."  The cost of one IVF treatment is 1/2 of our adoption fees.  Until you have tried them all there is a chance to get pregnant for most but what are your odds?  We were told12% a cycle.  When you are speaking about something you most desperately want 12% sounds like good odds to me.  I can't tell you how many times we were told "you are young!"  As if that was an inoculation for infertility.  We just had to try a little longer, a little harder, and do treatments. 

I wish more people were educated on infertility.  Every wedding or engagement I hear about I want to tell them to consider what they will do if they struggle with infertility.  I don't typically but a few close friends I've made off handed comments.  If you have the conversation but it's never needed nothing is lost.  If you dont have the conversation and infertility rears its ugly head its heart breaking but you have a general map of how to proceed.  There is pressure from family/friends and your medical team each with a different idea of what you should do.  Ultimately its whats best the couple.  We were likely conservative compared to most, but its what our hearts had told us was best for us even before we knew we were affected by infertility.  Yes being young is your friend when you are trying to conceive but no one is ever too young for infertility.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Full Circle

Yesterday I woke up late and got cleaning right off.  The bathroom was first followed by my first load of laundry.  When DH woke up we went to breakfast together and then I went to get my hair cut.  I went right to work for a few hours to make up for a sick day this week then home to clean.... so I have decided-

October 7th is officially my annual new clean like a mad woman day.  A year ago I was preping for our home study visit.  I did not clean on the 7th last year but rather in the week prior.  Today's accomplishments- Laundry washed/folded- check, sheets changed- check, bathroom/kitchen cleaned- check, house vacuumed- check, floors mopped- check, dishes washed/put away- check, shower curtain washed and back to new- check, pets brushed, and summer clothes swapped with winter clothes.  By no means is this close to the list I accomplished last year but the house feels good.

I know its not the best way to cope with feeling sad- but its something I have control over.  I can keep my home clean I can't make a baby show up.  There are worse ways to cope with sadness and stress.

Friday, October 7, 2011


Yesterday when I came into work my coworker told me she had a dream about me.  When I pressed her she told me that it was about our baby.  She told me that a baby named Bethany had been born, we had met her and she was our little girl!  The strange thing is that we had a baby shower but Bethany's parents had changed their minds so at my baby shower there was no baby.  A happy turn of events the birthparents had another change of heart and during the baby shower Bethany returned.  I called her "Beth."

When she shared the dream with me I told her it was interesting that she would dream about our adoption because tomorrow would be one year of waiting.  This coworker isn't one that has asked many questions except to ask if it would be OK to knit a blanket.

I don't talk about our infertility much on this page because that not what the blog is about.  Not to say it doesn't make me sad.  I would be fibbing if I said that I dont get angry especially when someone that is in ill health becomes pregnant.  When she told me her dream I felt like the baby that was taken away was a baby that we could never create and the baby returned was our baby.  No baby has ever been taken away from me.  There never was a baby and we will never create a baby.  Our baby will be placed in our arms by another woman who will trust us to parent her baby.

I looked back today on the blogs from last October.  Two of them were posted on the 10th but the one about the home study was about October 7th the night of our home study and the night we were approved.  Since our approval announcement to family, two birth announcements from my cousins have gone out; while we continue to wait.

A year ago I was glad that we finally were in a position to wait.  I thought foolishly that the waiting would be the easy part.  What could be harder then writing your parenting style and being fingerprinted (aka made to feel like a criminal)?  At that time I felt like- at least we are waiting for something real versus the month after month cycle of failure.  After a year of waiting I realize that at least when you are TTC (trying to conceive) there is something to do and you can work hard at failing.  While we wait I have nothing to work hard at and I have no control.  Many days I get by, by telling myself literally we could have a baby tomorrow or next week.  It can't be much longer.  What we do know is at some point we will have parenting sprung upon us with little to no warning.

No warning you say?  Clearly we know it WILL happen but without the when its hard to psych yourself up to get things ready.  I can't bring myself to read parenting books, or baby how to book's.  I gave up on pumping for now because although those are things to do- there is no finish line.  How many parenting books to I need to read to achieve the ability to parent?  How much wasted milk to I have to produce to earn the right to feed a baby?

A year of waiting makes me wonder is our check list of "requirements" too picky?  Is there something we said in our Dear Birthparents book that is causing us to be rejected?  What about me is not good enough?  I want numbers, statistics, facts.  I want to know when or at least what we are doing wrong.  The longer we wait the more I feel rejected.  We know our book has been viewed but no one has picked us yet.  I'm starting to feel like the last kid picked in gym class.

So I have gone back to why I started this blog in the first place.  I started it to present our journey.  To keep track of the hard parts knowing that when our baby arrives joy will melt our hearts and this struggle will be forgotten.  It also has allowed me to connect with others and realize that my frustrations are not new- they are a shared experience called "waiting to adopt."  

So my dream is as follows...
I get a phone call giving me the good news that a birthmom is due in one month.   She has selected us and can't wait to meet us.  I like every mother gets to share the exciting news with DH (as opposed to the other way around which only can happen with adoption). We create an open adoption plan for the birthday and for our baby's life.  The birth is smooth for her and baby and we get to spend time together in the hospital.  Baby comes home and becomes a toddler, who becomes a child, to a teen that like all children has his/her ups and downs.  Our child will know about how they joined our family and why open adoption makes them special.  I wish that s/he is strong willed (careful what you wish for-right), intelligent, self confident and always able to follow his/her dreams.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Open Adoption Roundtable

I am not sure where I heard of open adoption first.  I have known about adoption since I was small I had many family members and friends who were adopted.  All of them were foreign adoptions or through the foster care system.  I've always wanted to adopt a baby even as a small child.  My cousins and friends that were adopted were so special and amazing, unique and loved. 

As a result adoption was always part of our original family plan though we are not following the script.  DH  had never considered adoption but I was able to convince him that I was willing to carry one child then we would build our family from adoption. (I want three kids DH only wants two... thats to be debated on another day).  When we were unsuccessful at creating a child on our own we moved directly to adoption.

I think I had a slow exposure to open adoption so that when the agency presented open adoption I finally had a name to the experience. My experiences with my friends and cousins with closed adoptions seemed like something was missing.  Juno and Teen Mom also had brought adoption to pop culture with varying levels of openness.  The idea seemed neat to me and I know I spoke to my cousin that was adopted from foster care after watching Juno. He indicated that he didn't want to know anything more about his mom then he already knew from his case file.

When open adoption was presented to us I needed to help my husband understand why having interaction with the birthparents would be an amazing opportunity.  Once the fears and questions are answered it seems like- why would you keep your child away from people that love them?  It will help us raise our baby with double love and we will have real answers to real questions from the source.  This isn't about family medical histories (you can get that from paper) this is about having a connection so the birthfamily knows their baby is loved, and our baby knows they are loved.  

Our agency starts with the requirement of a meeting prior to placement and a meeting post placement with the birth family.  Our state does not mandate that open adoption agreements be upheld which I feel is like kidnapping (why promise something you wont uphold).  I hope that our birthfamily is open to meetings, I hope to set up skype, and online photo albums.  I worry that our placement will be out of state which will mean that in person meetings might be less then once a year but my dream is at least yearly visits and frequent communication.  I hope not to scare off our birthfamily!

Often after drug exposures, the idea of open adoption is what people "warn us" about.  With any relationship there is always risk of breakdown- not everyone is compatible.  We are not moving in with our birthparents we are establishing a relationship that is what is best for our children.  If the best doctor in the world had the worst bedside mannor would you choose not to see him?  Probably not.  From what I have seen on other blogs; most open adoptions work because birthparents pick families that they relate to, and thus there is already a connection.  I'm more worried about what I'll do the first time my baby gets a fever then I am about open adoption "horror stories."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

This is NOT a race

Every time I learn someone else i having a baby and even more so when I find out someone is having a second baby I tell myself "This is not a race."  I then remind myself of all the positives to waiting for  a baby- more financial security, a strong relationship with my husband, free time, maturity which comes with age and waiting.  I also then feel a little guilty - am I in turn saying that my friends/family are not financially stable, that they dont have strong marriages, that they wish they had more free time, and that  they are immature?  Am I saying I'm going to be a better parent or that I'm better then them?

I feel like I can't cope with waiting without either being self righteous or envious.  Neither of which feels good.

Tonight I found out on Facebook of all places that my cousin is having a second baby. (OK here I digress- WHY would you announce something like that on Facebook.... now granted she apparently e-mailed the family then ten minutes later posted on FB).  At least tell family/close friends first then plaster it all over facebook.  So why is she so special that she can have two babies while I still wait and wait and wait?  At least she didnt' say anything about the baby being the third great-grandbaby like my other cousin did when he announced the impending arrival of great-grandbaby #2- thats a little presumptuous to say that I couldn't have my baby before.  Now granted his wife had great-grandbaby #2 a few weeks ago while I continue to wait for my baby.

Have I mentioned recently that I sick of waiting?  I know this is not a race but as one year of waiting is two days away and my 30th birthday inches closer it makes this wait stink even more.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Went to a movie because I can

Decided at 5:30 that we were going to a movie tonight.  Had dinner and went.  No childcare arrangements needed.  Just went.  I'll be envious of my former self one day.

Prayer Book

I finally went to church after a LONG time away.  I work Sunday-Thursday so going to church adds time onto the end of my day.  So that meant today I was at work until 5:15 however it was well worth it and I need to remember to take that time for myself.

A year ago I put in our prayer book at church a "Joy" (all entries are titles joys or sorrows) that we had been approved as an adoptive family.  We have another friend who has put us in their prayer book and a coworker that last week told me she was praying for us.  I want to believe these prayers will work.

This year I was going to put down a sorrow when I realized that I still had my joy from last year.  We are still waiting for a baby which means we WILL have a baby however I'm also sad we dont HAVE a baby  yet.  So I stood there with the book for a minute and decided to break the mold and put "Joy/Sorrow: Joy that we WILL have a baby soon.  Sorrow we have not been matched yet after a year of waiting."  When the minister read the Joy I heard a happy gasp behind me and when the sorrow was read I heard a sigh.  The very next prayer though was a sorrow and made me realize that my prayer still is not truly a sorrow.  The next prayer was for the niece of a parishioner that is 28 (a year younger then myself) that was just diagnosed with cancer.  She has a 1 and a half year old baby.  The prayer after mine put mine into perspective.  I have my health, I have a home, I have a husband, just no baby YET.

So then...the Children's sermon was about when things are broken it is an opportunity to make something different out of the situation.  I'm thinking THATS US!  I have to say I often enjoy the children's sermons more then the adult sermons.  Its so simple.  A synopsis: a plate breaks and you take the broken pieces and turn it into a mosaic - too easy.  I wish.

The adult sermon was about reflecting on your year and forgiving.  The ironic thing was on my way into work that morning I thought that one of the things I needed to do to let my anger go was to forgive the family member that stated "People like you can have babies" when we told them we were adopting.  Maybe I do need to forgive them- but does that mean I have to tell them they hurt me?  The sermon went on to say that part of change and forgiveness is seeing the sweetness even in bitter situations.  Its hard to find sweetness but when I really take a moment to reflect there is sweetness, and there is opportunity to forgive.  As my mother always told me- "you can't control others, others cannot control you- you can only control yourself."  By allowing things like that hurtful statement to eat at me for over a year I've allowed others to control me.  As a result I have focused on the bitter and overlooked the sweetness.

Sweetness lies in the opportunity to have a better relationship with my DH.  Sweetness lies in getting to paint my nursery and reupholster the rocking chair.  Sweetness lies in knowing that someone is going to make us parents.  Sweetness lies in knowing that I have a warm bed, a job, a warm marriage and the means to raise a baby.  Sweetness also lies in a church that makes me realize that even in the bitter and sadness there is sweetness- and I need to take the time to reflect on that by going back to church more regularly.

So to end my month of songs...  there is sweetness in my favorite part of church- singing my favorite hymns!