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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Birthday

Christmas is a tough time for birthdays. I'm working hard (and starting early) to make sure H's birthday is always a stand alone event and not lumped into Christmas. There will always be Birthday wrapping paper and Christmas paper. A birthday cake will never be served at a family Christmas party. Henry will have a proper birthday, dangit.
Tonight, I will wrap his presents in colorful birthday wrapping paper. Tomorrow, we will eat bright, non-holiday themed cupcakes and will sing happy birthday at the top of our lungs.
Our littlest boy is one. And walking. How on earth did this happen so fast? We missed the first three months. I guess that didn't help. Then we blocked out so much from the dark days of endless puking. Then BAM. it was birthday time. Our house is infantless once again. And will stay so for a long, long time, hopefully (?).

Trying to Understand the Unthinkable

Ive been crying a lot recently. I don't live near Sandy Hook. I don't know anyone affected. But I'm a mother. And apparently, that's all it takes to be shaken to the very core.  My babies are nearly four and freshly one. We're not in elementary school yet. But even so, when I send W off to preschool twice a week, I never think twice about his safety. Might he get hit or bitten or trip down some steps? Sure. Might he be blown away by a semiautomatic weapon? Gee. Never even gave it a thought. I try my hardest not to think about those babies' final moments. I try not to look at their pictures online. I try not to watch or read the news. Not because I want to pretend it didn't happen. But because I simply can't function once I've imagined the fear and pain they felt - and the pain their families will feel for the rest of their lives. Every time I catch wind of it online or on tv, I break down into tears as painful and fresh as when the story broke. And as the world mourns, there's nothing we can do to help. During a plague or natural disaster, we can donate time or money or supplies. But when twenty babies are viciously and senselessly wiped from the planet, there's nothing anyone can do for the grieving families. And not being able to help is a terrible feeling.

In the wake of all of the violence, the talking heads are screaming into the wind. Was it the lack of gun control or lack of mental health assistance in our broken health care system? The chicken or the egg? Who knows. All I know, is that someone with some of the issues this young man had should not have had easy access to weapons. Machine Guns.

My mind is off in a thousand directions and it's hard for me to form coherent thoughts. All I can say is that none of this makes any sense. How could anyone be so sick? How could anyone look at a six year old and shoot them with a gun? It just doesn't make sense to me. So until it does, I will continue to cry for everyone involved.

I can't help the victims or their families. I can't make a donation or send supplies. But I can learn a lesson from all of this. Life is fleeting. You don't know how long you have, so you have to make the most of every minute. Before this shooting, W and I were in a bad place. He was constantly pushing my buttons and I was yelling. A lot. tears and yelling were an hourly affair. Then the shooting happened and I saw my babies in a completely different light. What if they were taken away from me suddenly and our last interaction was tears and yelling? I would be haunted with that forever. So I've been very careful about how I chose to handle situations. He's three. He's not going to be perfect. Do his actions really warrant that negative of a reaction from me? How else can I handle this situation? Life is short and I love my little babies endlessly. I can't reform gun control, I can't cure mental illness, I can't treat all the world's mental illness. But I can be the best mom I can be for my babies for as long as this big, blue marble permits me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Jingle Bells + Happy Birthday Mashup

Trying to make a December 20th birthday standout on it's own without being steamrolled by Christmaspalooza is hard, I'm finding out. As H grows, I refuse to let it get lost in all the holly and jolly. He's just turning one this year, so we have a few practice runs before he realizes this day really matters.

We decided that since it's so close to Christmas and we don't want to take up out-of-town family's whole day (and because our house is on the small size), we'd have two parties for him. One with Neil's family at his mother's house and one at our house for my family. My freezer and oven are full of layer cakes for each party, the food  has been ordered for both parties and the paper goods are all prepared. Pinterest has been consulted ad nauseum. Two parties. Great idea, Lindsay. My dream is that once he's of friend-bday party age, parents will be dying to drop their kids off for the day so they can do last minute shopping. Or how cool would a NYE sleepover bday party be? And what parent wouldn't love to have an overnight babysitter on NYE?

And since we're talking about it... Does a first birthday party really need to be a big, huge thing? I know of people who have rented halls and had elaborate, catered events. With W, we just had grandparents over our house because he was still on preemie related germ lock down. But even if he had been healthy, I don't know that I would have done much more.

Is your child's birthday around Christmas or another big holiday? What do you do to make it stand out, apart from the holiday festivities?

http://www.wikihow.com/images/2/2a/Birthday-Deko-01.jpg
It's a birthday tree...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

You're Welcome

I could watch this on loop always and forever.

Go the Eff to Sleep!

A few weeks ago, Walt started refusing to stay in bed after we put him down for the night. He'd get up and just stand in the hallway over and over until about 11pm. We tried Nanny Jo's method of wordlessly plopping him back into bed. We tried yelling at him, we tried ignoring him, we tried taking toys away. Nothing works. I know it's just a phase but it's starting to annoy me. Ok, it's way past "starting" to annoy me. I'm totally irked by it. Neil and I feel like we don't get a single drop of time to ourselves day after day. It's wearing on us. Every time it happens, he knows there's no cartoons the next day and I will take his most prized toys, his wooden train set away. It still doesn't stop him - even though he's heart broken when he comes downstairs in the morning and his trains are gone.

Through this punishment, though, something magical has happened. He's only had one day over the past two weeks where he's been allowed to watch cartoons. And you know what? He doesn't miss them at all. He barely even asks me for them. He's like a recovering addict. Before this punishment routine began, if he went a day without watching Pocoyo, he'd be frothing at the mouth. But now, he could care less if he watches anything at all. I use to pop a cartoon on when I put H down for his naps so I didn't have to worry about W getting into trouble or hurting himself. But now that that's not an option, I come back from rocking H to sleep and W is curled up in a chair with a book, pretending to read. It reminds me of the end of the Cable Guy when the cable goes out and people rediscover life outside of tv. It's not like he was glued to the tube all day. But he definitely watched his fair share of cartoons.

So while I hate that we're still fighting the fight over bed time, I love that he's using his imagination 100% of the time during the day. He no longer tells me that he's bored (where on earth did he learn that, anyway?). He can just sit down with some cars or trains ad piddle away quietly for hours. I couldn't be happier.
Speaking of bored, how spot on is Louie CK? I'm so in love with him right now.
credit
Since none of our punishments are working, I'm faced with one last ditch effort. And it's a very scary one for me... no. more. napping. Gah! We'll see how it goes. When did your kids stop napping?

I think I'll be getting this book for Neil for Christmas, this year.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Need Some Sage Advice

Hey guys, I need help. H's birthday is a little over two weeks away and I'm kind of floundering. I want to do something for a few people in his birth family but I'm not sure exactly what. I've been taking monthly photos of him, so I'm going to compile them either into a little book or collage and pass it on - but I feel like I need to honor them in some way. I'd like to think that eventually, we'll be able to celebrate his birthday together somewhere down the road. But that's not the case this year. And the first year seems special to me. It's like, the first big milestone.
Did you do anything special for the first birthday (and/or subsequent birthdays) to honor the birth family and their sacrifice? I love them and want to make sure they're not overlooked.

I'd love to hear of any traditions or plans you have/had to honor/include the birth family. Thanks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Ode to the Second Child

Little H is eleven months old now. How that happened, I can't fathom. He's been home with us for eight months, but it feels like a lifetime. He has the funniest little personality and knows what he wants. Thank goodness what he wants is to tail around behind his brother. Because that's all he gets to do. We're either taking his brother to and from school or play facilities, keeping him from eating his brother's toys or being pummeled by his brother (playfully, of course).  He is truly the second child. Give him a view at the front door and a toy to chew on and he's set for twenty minutes.

I finally noticed him signing "milk" a few weeks ago. I thought he was waving to me as I was helping Little W build a train track... but here he was patiently asking over and over again for milk.  Helloooooo negligent mother! I was so happy to see him using words to communicate, I nearly forgot to give him the milk he asked so nicely for. D'oh.

This breakthrough got me thinking. I taught Little W so many signs. But as I sat with H and his requested milk, I couldn't remember a single one. What else was I forgetting to do with H that I did with W? Once W was home and healthy, I fretted over every milestone and taught him so much. I read Leaves of Grass to him as an infant, for flip's sake. By the time he was eight months old, I had read all seven Harry Potter books aloud to him (ok, I read them for myself but I read them aloud so I could read while he was awake. Remember, we couldn't take him anywhere that first winter, to protect his premature lungs from germs so I was climbing the walls). I taught him about 12-15 signs and gave him baby massages almost daily. He had every developmentally appropriate toy on the market.

Exhibit A: Here I am photographing him leaping off of the couch, head first, onto his brother's fort instead of trying to catch him.

I've caught him doing things I would have never let Walt do at his age. He tries (and succeeds on rare occasion) to sneak up the steps. He has gotten away with eating dog food. He prefers to play with wooden spoons and remote controls and dog ropes and the front door rather than developmentally appropriate baby toys.


What's that Henry? You want a baby treadmill? Say no more. I'm sure the 50 year old stadium seat (possibly full of asbestos) will soften your fall. Just try to fall to the left, please.
I wonder if I'm not so far up H's butt simply because he's the second child and my hands are more full, or because I'm a weathered parent and I realize that it's really, really hard to break a baby. An attentive, loving parent really has to work hard to mess a baby up..Especially Little H. He's built like a brick sh*t house. He'll still be a smart, independent member of society even though I didn't read Walt Whitman to him as a six month old. I'm nearly sure of it. But just in case I'm wrong, I'm going to set time aside to read to my little guy some more. And I'm going to teach him all the signs that I taught Walt. Maybe he'll learn them, maybe he wont. But the point is, I'm spending my time engaged with him. I may still find him crashing through the gate and tearing ass up the steps. I might still catch his brother playing way too rough with him. I may still let him play slam-the-front-door-against-the-wall for twenty minutes every evening so I can prepare dinner. But it doesn't mean I love him any less than my first born. It just means I'm a mom doing the best I can. Yeah, ok. I'll go with that.


How did you decide what was right for you?

Here's a hump day question for you. How did you decide what type of adoption is right for you? Open domestic was a no brainer for us the first time around. If there's a "next time," I'm not so sure it would be so cut and dry, though.
There have been several occurrences recently that have caused me to dip my toes into the internet in search of direction for a (very) hypothetical fifth family member. First, our little Henry is turning one in a few weeks. I simply can't believe it. As most moms can probably relate, when your little one hits the big number one, there's a wishy washy wave of sentimentality. The baby is unofficially gone and somewhere deep in the recesses of your head (or tick tick ticking baby maker), you may start wondering if that's truly "it."
Secondly, one of my closest friends recently found herself in the mothering way for the third time. Her other kids are 3.5 and 1.5. This was a surprise, but a darling one to be sure. Our oldest kids are total besties and once H catches up to her middle child, I'm sure they're going to tear the neighborhood apart together. Now I'm not saying I'm trying to keep up with the Jonses at all. But you know the madness that can take over when you're waving adios to your kid's baby stage and someone steps in with a soft little baby. It makes another one seem like a really good idea for a hot minute.

 So here I am, at the internet researching all of my hypothetical options. I'm not too sure that three kids is right for our family. But I'm not 100% sure that two kids is the end for us either. Right now, we're still in the exhausted, overwhelmed stage of having a baby. And I think we're both in agreement that having another infant isn't for us. So that rules out open domestic adoption for right now (unless H's birth parents were to find themselves pregnant again, of course).

Next my thoughts went to adopting through the foster care system. But we don't want to disturb the birth order of our family. My research is limited, but from what I've found so far, it's hard to adopt toddlers or older babies through the system. So that would put having a third child on the back burner for as long as ten years. Side note: If you have experience going through the system, I'd love to hear about your experiences.

Our next option is international. This is looking more and more like the answer for us (except for the costs associated with it, which would be a struggle). I have a short list of countries I would consider adopting from, for personal reasons. Every time I look into international adoption, I get insanely overwhelmed with the amount of paperwork and waiting - as well as plagued with guilt for ignoring children, right here at home. But it's looking more and more like my next hypothetical child would come from an international adoption.

Now, of course this is all completely hypothetical. Right now, we're no where near making a decision about a third kiddo. But when it comes to family, I'm a planner. So this kind of obsessing is normal for me. If we do decide, one day, to expand our family, I want to be ready to jump right into the process.

On a super nutty side note, once every few months, I get the urge to throw all caution to the wind and just make a baby the old fashioned way. Then I remember that there's a 70% chance of shit hitting the fan again and I'm knocked back into reality. I'm passionate about adoption and believe in it, wholly. So adoption it is!

So that's where my head is this morning. And I know my husband is going to read this and freak out. Ha! No worries Neil... this is all hypothetical. I promise.

I would love some insight for people who have been there. How did you decide what kind of adoption would be right for you? If you chose international adoption, how did you decide on a country?

I don't know about where you are... but it's flipping freezing here today. I'm going to bundle the boys up soon and head out for a lunch date, downtown.We all need some fresh (albeit freezing) air.





Friday, November 16, 2012

All filler, no killer

I love blogs that do Friday wrap ups of quirky things found on the interwebs. I don't spend nearly enough time on the internet to do one of those. But here's some things that have caught my interest as of late.

 Need to smile?

  A girl can dream, right?

 I'm seriously in love with these stupid little things.

An oldie but a goodie. Actually thinking about getting this.

W has been living in this sweet unisex shirt

Waaaant

Gorgeous reading nook

That's all. Have a great weekend, friends.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Adoption Interview Project 2012: My interview with Shannon from Peter's Cross Station

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2012 Heather over at Production Not Reproduction  is the mastermind behind the Adoption Interview Project. I'm so happy to be a part of this blogging community, although my part in it is infinitely small and lame-o. And let's face it, it's pretty much flat lined at the moment. I'm blaming it on my two little maniacs who leave me unable to form complete thoughts most days. Every time I break out the laptop with a blazing thought in my head, two little bodies amble over to me like attention zombies and drain me of inspiration, motivation and lap space. Personal time and space is a thing of the past. I got a really long hug on the toilet this morning. Yeah. I'm not one to ever turn a hug away, but come on...

Stay on topic, Lindsay...
The interview, yes. I was lucky enough to be paired up with Shannon of Peter's Cross Station. Her blog is passionate and informative. She's a smart cookie with a beautiful family created through open, domestic adoption. Shannon has written for multiple online sources about adoption including Babble and BlogHer.. You'd be wise to runnotwalk to her blog and pick her brain. She's a valuable resource to the adoption community.

Here's my interview with her:
Did you and your partner arrive at open adoption easily? Did you consider any other avenues?
We arrived at adoption easily. My partner threw out a short list of fantasy sperm donors among our male friends (the top of the list and his partner became our girls' godfathers), but I was literally laughing as she did. It was a five-minute part of the conversation. Then I said, "okay, I'll research adoption agencies tomorrow."

If we had gone the pregnancy route, one of us (for a number of reasons, my partner) would have had to do a second-parent adoption anyway. So I just figured we would do best to keep it adoption from the get-go and focus on that.

Once we started researching adoption agencies in our state that had a good track record of working with same-sex couples, we found these were agencies that primarily placed African American babies. So then we knew our adoption would be transracial. When I dug just the tiniest bit further it was soon quite apparent to me that open adoption would be best for a child, her first parent(s) and at the very least by association, for us.

So all of these things just fell into place. We never considered international adoption because we knew we would have to closet ourselves to do that, whereas we could be open about our family in a domestic adoption (in our state, at that time--this is not, by any means, universally true for same-sex couples adopting domestically).


When it was decided that you'd proceed with an open adoption, what issues were important to you? Have those issues changed with time?
My dream was to adopt the baby of a woman I could be "best friends" with. I was jealous of families in which both mothers were really involved with the child/ren and the moms were close and talked all the time. But the further along in adoption I get, the more I realize that a woman I am likely to identify with at that level is probably not a woman who needs to place her baby for adoption. A woman "like me" enough to talk on the phone every week and plan all the birthday parties together is more likely to have been coerced into placement--because she could have done it herself.

(I am not saying this is true in every case, and I firmly believe that even a mother who "could" do it, has the right to choose not to--to do something else, whether abortion or placing a child for adoption. But I do think that most of the mothers I am friends with who placed their children would not do it again and many say they were coerced in one or several ways.)

The longer I live adoption the more I see that coercion of mothers to place their babies for adoption is widespread, if sometimes subtle, and is perhaps the number one poison to healthy adoption practices, both institutional and individual.

I do wish very much I had better relationships with my children's mothers but the reasons I don't are the same reasons they truly needed us to adopt their babies. It is sad all around, but at least I know this really was the best thing for my daughters and their mothers--however tragic.

Meanwhile, our door is always open to our girls' mothers. We send lots of letters, pictures and texts. We leave phone messages for birthdays and Mother's Day if we can't get through. When we do have fleeting contact it is always a banner day.



Your family is multi racial. Did you encounter any hesitance within your families or your birth parents' families prior to placement?  If so, how were the issues resolved, post placement?
We didn't really have any race-related problems from our families (on either the birth or adoptive side). If there were issues, people kept them to themselves (which we appreciate!). For many years (until this past June, when my sister-in-law had a baby girl) our children were the only grandchildren or nieces in either of our families. They have been duly spoiled. (Now we enjoy spoiling our baby niece/cousin too!)

Our older daughter's mother did say she chose our profile because it was the only one she was shown with "any color in it" because pictures of our friends included African American people. Given few choices, she was resigned that her daughter would be adopted by white people. We talked openly about this with her. It was a positive conversation overall-as positive as such a sad occasion can be, at least.



Your blog is very passionate. you seem like a great ambassador for open adoption. how do you keep your passion for the subject alive?
My kids, my kids, my kids.

The older they get the more they need their [first-birth-natural-original-
biological-just, plain] mothers. And loving them means wanting to give them everything they need.

I can't deliver their moms under our complicated circumstances, but I can do everything I can to make it clear that those bonds belong to them and always will, no matter what. I can make it clear to them that they get to feel about adoption whatever they feel. I can make it clear that it is not their responsibility to make me feel okay if they are hurting or angry. I can make it clear that they can count on my partner's and my unconditional love--and we trust that they love us, even if adoption and its causes feel sad and unfair to them at the same time. I can make it clear that we are with them and have their backs no matter how they are feeling.

The more I learn about open adoption the better mother I can be to my girls. The more I advocate for open adoption, the better off adopted people will be. I consider everyone involved in adoption to be my extended family. I advocate for moms' rights on behalf of my daughters' mothers; for adopted people's rights on behalf of my kids. Open adoption is one element of ethical adoption and making adoption ethical is one of my priorities in life. I took that on when I chose to adopt.



What are some of the lesser known challenges you've encountered in your multi racial family?
The hardest thing about being an interracial family is finding real, living, breathing interracial places to be in U.S. society.

We live in a very segregated country. Take that as value-neutral if you want to, but interracial spaces--truly integrated spaces--are few and far between. A lot of times, white people will see a brown face in a crowd and feel warm and fuzzy and think they are in integrated space. I find myself counting all the time--I count the number of total people on the playground, then the number of non-white people, then figure the percentage. If it's less than 20% non-white, I feel like I've failed my kids. (No, really. It might sound silly, but it's true.)

Based on my reading and talking to adult transracially adopted people, I think the most important thing a white parent can do for a child of color is provide real peers and adults of the child's race for deep and long-term relationships. Living in a well-integrated neighborhood is a bonus, practicing new food ways or culture consumption is great. Learning to braid hair is a basic life skill, but real people to whom your children can relate are the number one priority.

We are lucky to have had a chance to move to one of the most racially diverse neighborhoods in the United States (statistically) and to have found a nearby dance studio full of African American instructors and students for the girls to attend. We also go to an unusually integrated Episcopal church every Sunday where the girls just blossom and glow under the admiring beams of surrogate aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins who look like them.

But moving into integrated spaces can be uncomfortable for white people--even supposedly anti-racist white people. It's taking a risk that someone won't like you, will judge you in some frightening way; will just be too different to understand. I always say, put yourself in your kids' shoes. If you are always asking them to be the token person of color it's not fair. It doesn't matter if every is "nice" or if your child is "welcome." Asking them to always be the different one is too much for a child. As the adult, as the parent, put yourself on that line whenever you can instead of your kids.

The godfather I mentioned above--top of the fantasy sperm-donor list--is Afro-Caribbean. So even if I had given birth, our family would have been interracial, and seeing as he is a surrogate brother to me, it already was. For us, thinking about living integrated lives far predated learning that our kids would be Black. Both of us were (are) scholars of American culture with an emphasis on race and therefor had (have) colleagues and friends of all races.

But even so, actually being an interracial family requires an almost mundane level of constant awareness of race and how it affects day-to-day life. The older the girls get, the more issues come up. I can now be at some distance from them in public places and watching them negotiate the world as little Black girls (often, when people don't realize their mother is watching) is an eye-opener.

A few weeks ago, a white woman tried to kick them off a swing so her daughter could use it. She had no idea their mom was observing the whole exchange. My older girl was about to give way, but her little sister shook her head defiantly. I was proud of her and let her handle it for a few minutes more before letting the other mom realize who I was. I hope she was darned embarrassed. And I don't really mean darned.



As a blogger, how did you learn to draw the line regarding the girls' adoption story or their birth parents or even just daily life?
I haven't learned where that line is, so I tend to err on the conservative side. I try not to tell someone else's story if she doesn't have equal access to tell it from her own perspective, so I say very little about the kids' moms. I feel kind of the same way about the kids. Up to a point, talking about kids is the same for everyone--teething, crawling, walking, potty-training, cute little kidisms...but my kids have reached an age now when they are much more individual and their stories are more about them and who they are than just about me having cute kids. Yet they are too young to tell their own stories from their own perspective. So I have cut back on blogging generally and blogging about the kids and OUR adoptions specifically.

That said, there are many stories I do tell in more private venues. I am open with anyone who emails from the blog to ask a specific question because they are doing their own adoption research of one kind or another or because they identify with us and want to share or ask advice, or whatever. I also tell more in detail at adoption conferences and other places where the information is targeted in a particular way to improve adoption overall or someone's family specifically.


I'm a new adoptive mom and our new addition looks a whole lot like my husband and I. So when it comes up that he was adopted, I get weird responses from people. I find that I'm still tripping over my words a lot when asked the usual, nosey questions about adoption. How did you find your voice regarding inquisitive strangers and acquaintances?
I'm an over-sharer. I am also a teacher. So I usually assume people mean well (you can tell when they don't) and talk frankly about the truth of our situation. If my kids are around, I will still talk about it, but I will include the kid/s in the conversation so they don't feel talked about. If the kids are at all uncomfortable we keep it simple and change the subject.

The biggest problem I have is the "oh what a saint you are" response people sometimes (often) have to recognizing us as an adoptive family. It really makes me angry, because well-intentioned or not, the person is implying that it is especially difficult to love my children. It is not. It is wildly easy. Ask anybody who's been on the receiving end of one of their smiles.

I am also really angry when people automatically assume it's okay to say negative things about their mothers. I bite my tongue and pretend I don't understand, then start speaking admirably of the girls' moms. "Oh her mom is such a genius!" "Oh she has her mom's eyes, that's why she's such a beauty!" "Her mom works so hard..." etc.

To say rude things about my kids' flesh and blood is to ay rude things about my kids.



Do you remember one stand out moment where you felt the connection between you and your new child? Was the bonding experience relatively similar for you each time, or did you have different experiences with each child?
This is not the case for everyone--whether a parent by birth or adoption--but I really did feel an instant connection with each of my girls the second I laid eyes on them and held them.

In the case of my younger daughter, I was waiting for the social worker to bring the baby from the hospital in the lobby of the agency (a building that held many other offices too), in front of a huge plate-glass door. People were getting off the El across the street and walking home from work. (It was rush-hour, and in fact, the social worker was stuck in traffic.) When she walked through that glass door, she put the baby right in my arms and said "congratulations, you're a mom again!" and I was thinking "wow, those people walking by outside might see this and have no idea what a profound moment it is in my daughter's and my life." It was a little bit surreal and really happy.

I had to go to a courthouse recently to get some document for something or other (I forget) and was flooded with a happy feeling. It occurred to me that the last two times I had been in a courthouse were to petition to adopt my daughters. So I have this bizarre happy association with annoying bureaucratic spaces now!

Thank you, Shannon for allowing me to drop these questions on you at the last minute. And thanks for some fresh inspiration to keep chugging along with this little blog.

Now, behind the jump is my attempt to sound like an intelligent adult with more than one synapse firing as I answer Shannon's questions...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Question For You

Are you in the open adoption triad? How do you stay in touch with your birth family / adoptive family?
I recently created a blog for our birth family to read.  Little H has a big birth family that we keep in touch with. There's the birth mother and father, her sister and mother and his two grown children. H has a big fan club and might be the most loved kid alive. For the first few months, I was emailing them (one big group email). But I thought it would be nicer for them to have a running script of his life and the pictures to go along with it. So I created a blog for them. It's not any easier or harder for me than sending an email. But it's more soothing for me, I think. Something about the routine calms me. And I think he'll get a kick out of reading it when he's older.
Side note: it's gotten me thinking about creating an email for W and emailing him now so Future W can read emails from his momma.

If you're in the adoption triad somewhere, I'd love to hear how you correspond with the other parties.

What if...

The husband and I were chatting recently about how nice it is to have two little ones. And how much fun they're going to have together. We feel like our family is complete. Sure, in the beginning, we talked about having three kids. But "having" three kids isn't as easy as we first considered. "Having" another kid for me would mean lots of bed rest and probable pre-eclampsia and prematurity et cetera. And another adoption would just be financially undo-able in the near future. We'll be paying off our adoption loans at the end of this year and it seems that in doing so, we'll be closing the book on familial expansion. And that's totally cool with us. We're happy and content with our perfect little boys.



But then I posed a hypothetical question that really got our minds reeling. What if H's birth mother were to become pregnant again? We believe that she would want to create an adoption plan for any future pregnancies. Would she and the birth father call our agency again? Would they want to keep the siblings together? God, I hope they would! But how would we come up with the means, financially, to tackle that situation? Would our agency be able to help us out in some way? Would they let something like a big, fat, lack of placement fee come between biological siblings? Can our house hold another child? Would our agency overlook the every-child-needs-their-own-bedroom rule? Could we afford another baby? Would having another baby put me over the sleep deprivation threshold (Little H is still waking up for a bottle in the night... at almost 9 months old. We joke that he'll still be waking up at 14 for a ham sandwich)? Questions, questions, questions. For every minute we let this hypothetical float above us, forty seven more questions and worries popped into our heads. I had to shake myself (read: shake myself actually means drink three glasses of wine) out of my tizzy, remind tizzy-me that it was just a hypothetical question and get a grip.

We talked about it a bit more and I think we decided (I say "think" because, as I said earlier, I drank quite a bit) that of course we'd joyously welcome any more babies into our home and we'd worry about the details later. But oye vey did I get myself worked up over it.

Deep in the recesses of my crazy brain, there's a little voice constantly reminding me of that big "what if." Sometimes it's crazy-eyed pulling it's hair out like a Cathy comic, but sometimes it's smiling and shopping for little dresses and tutus. I'm just sayin...




Monday, August 20, 2012

moving past functioning to thriving

Holy smokes does time fly! This summer was busy. It took us a long time to get use to making it work with two kiddies. But we've all gotten use to the new way of life. Little W and H are doing swimmingly together. We're enjoying the growing relationship with our birth family (mostly over email/blog). We've seen them once since placement.
So much to update on... so so much.
But for now, here's our little 8 month old darling.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bliss

We're alive and we're functioning! People weren't kidding when they said that having two kids is exponentially harder than having one. Holy moley. I have a million things to talk about and no time to talk about any of them. Little H is settling in with us really well. W is smitten and Neil and I are surviving on pure love. We're all bananas for this little man.
I have lots of thoughts on attachment and bonding, guilt, loss, white guilt, fielding questions and beginning the triad. My mind grapes are still scattered to the far corners of my head and what little time I had for writing pre-H is now filled with laundry, cleaning and more laundry. So any eloquent thoughts will have to wait for another day. For now, I'm just a proud momma, bragging about my boys.
H is four months old today and he's such a cutie. He has beautiful blue eyes and is going to tower over all of us.



So that's all I have time for right now. We're all in love with little H and endless grateful to his birth family for entrusting him with us.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Speeding Towards Familial Bliss

Just dropping in to say that I am indeed fortunes full. We had placement with little H on Tuesday afternoon and life is good! Lots to update and talk about. We're all pooped and working hard to get to know each other. W is over the moon with his new brother and we're in awe of this amazing little man snuggled up against us.

Life is good.

Much more to come. Time to catch a few Zs.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I'm Told it's Ok to be Happy...

We met our birth parents today. We liked them and they liked us (*phew*) so it was deemed a success. We're going to get together again on Monday at a park by them so we can meet the baby and some of their immediate family members. I can NOT wait to meet this little dude. I'd like to say that I'll be graceful and respectful. But I'll probably dissolve into tears over love for the baby and grief for the birth family. I better stock up on stoic pills that morning.

 We were told by our agency's social worker at the end of the meeting that we really have no reason to expect another disappointment. I'm trying very hard to hang onto those words. I'd love to be more excited and less nervous. Luckily, placement is going to be soon. Our social worker thinks it'll be early next week, definitely by Wednesday. And they're probably going to sign in NJ which means we can simply go home after placement. That would be divine! Dang you interstate compact bureaucracy bologna.

I'm so totally in love with my house full of boys. Boys are just the best.
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I'm trying to enjoy all the almost-baby giddiness. I really am. It's still hard. At least I'll have one less thing to worry about soon. Friday is my last day of work. I love my company. I love my work friends and my employee discount. I'm highly tempted to bust out the credit card and grab this mushroom I've been eying for a year before my discount goes away. Stupid ridiculously overpriced completely useless but covetable mushroom pouf.
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But I digress. I'm going to miss my job and more importantly, I'm going to miss working - bringing home some bacon for the family - contributing. I know raising two kids is no small feat, but it's not the same as providing. I'm sure I'll be singing a different tune come Memorial Day when our town's pool opens up. Hello beach and hello pool. Muahahahaha...

So, that's where we stand. Hopefully Neil and I can sneak away this weekend to watch the Hunger Games (nerds!) before it's all baby all the time.
Keep your fingers crossed for us. We're not out of the woods yet... but we're getting close. I can almost smell baby head from here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stuck in Maybe-Baby Limbo is the Pits

Here we go again. We got a call on Thursday from our dear social worker. There was a birth mother and birth father with a three month old that were looking to make an adoption plan and did we want to be considered for it. It turns out, we were the only people in our program to agree to be shown to her, due to the nature of her medical background (more on my feelings towards this later). She's taking the weekend and Monday to decide with her family and the birth father that placing with us is the right thing to do. So we could have a possible placement on Wednesday. Holy balls! We were just starting to get over the last disappointment and now this.

I have coined this period of waiting to see if a baby comes home with us "maybe-baby." And you know what? Maybe-baby is really starting to take a toll on me. I can't take much more. If this situation doesn't work out, I'm going to need a few weeks without any baby drama.

This baby comes as a major surprise to us. We've only been shown to African American or biracial birth mothers to this point. We've been preparing for over a year now to be a trans racial family. This particular baby happens to be Caucasian and we were knocked off kilter a little by it. It's weird for two white people to have to prepare for a white baby. But that's what we're doing. More on this later, as well.

We haven't told many people about this situation. But I feel like to stay true to the process, I needed to comment on it here. I created this blog to help others in the same situation. And to help myself get through this excruciating Wait period. So dear friends, this could be the first post marking my descent into madness. Haha... ok, that's a little dramatic. But who knows, at this rate, a few more weeks here and there of maybe-baby could have me going bonkers for sure.

I also need to add that I am fully aware that no amount of anxiety I am feeling can come close to matching what the birth mother is feeling. I can't imagine the pain she is going through. My heart is with her (even though we haven't met yet) during this agonizing time and I hope that our profile is comforting to her. If I could speak to her right now, I'd like to tell her that if she decides to place, we will love and honor her forever as one of our own and she will be with us always as we raise this baby she has entrusted to us. He will always know who she is and how much she loves him. That's how we roll.

So peace and godspeed to her and her decision. We're here, ready and willing.
Wish us luck and hopefully we'll have a joyful update later this week.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Starting over isn't so bad

Since the baby was born and the father decided to parent, things haven't been too bad around these parts. We were busy with incredibly warm beach days, grown up get-a-ways and little W's third birthday. All of which have been excellent distractions.
Wednesday night we scrambled to throw together a last minute weekend getaway. We gave the boy and the dogs to my parents and we took off to the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. We went there for a short weekend about four or five years ago and we fell instantly in love with the area. We're just two soggy winos at heart and it was calling me back. Loudly.
This was a very healing trip. Our hotel was warm and luxurious (by our standards), our suite was about the size of our home (ha!), the porch was cathartic and the jacuzzi literally healed my (broken) bones.
View from our hotel porch
On Saturday, we hired a chauffeur to take us around for the day to all the wineries on Seneca Lake.  We got soggy and stupid by 5:00pm. And we bought a LOT of wine. Like, a serious lot. That's all I can really recant from that experience.
This is me after about eleventy billion glasses of wine. Mmm... wine
Sunday was a quick trip to Kauka Lake for a visit to a few vineyards before the long trip down to pick W up at my parents. And what trip to wine country would be complete without stopping at super classy Bully Hill?
The ancient memory of twenty three year old Lindsay that lives deep in my head, somewhere was reveling in all their cheap-wine-splendor. Once upon a time, many a night was spent with a bottle of Bully Hill in the crook of my arm. And of course I had to get a few bottles of Sweet Walter. Because, well, that's my Little W! And by late Sunday morning, we were really jonesing for our own sweet Walter.
Bully Hill: Giving Young Lindsay headaches since the year 2000

By the time it was all said and done, we sloshed back down the highway with over three cases of wine of varying colors, flavors and fancy winey words we don't care to understand (seriously... you can't tell me the tannins of your table wine matter as you're downing Wegman's brand spaghetti in your sweatpants on a Tuesday).

Monday was our sweet W's third birthday. How that happened, I'll never know. He's been begging to go to the Franklin Institute to see the traveling dinosaur exhibit for weeks. So we took him there for his birthday. And it scared him to death. Like, little hands plastered over closed eyes the whole time, scared. I have to admit that the exhibit was pretty spooky. Lots of mood lighting and creepy noises gave it an eerie feeling.
So we showed him the rest of the FI, which he loved as much as I remember loving it as a kid. After a long walk down to Reading Terminal Market for his favorite food in the world (Amish pretzel dogs) and back, he decided that "the dinos weren't too scary and I'd like to try it again," which yielded the same, petrified results. Oh well. At least the kid tried. It was a good birthday, for sure. His favorite restaurant sang to him and he was up on an ice cream and present high until 10:15pm.

Now we're all home and our souls have been recharged and we're ready to jump back in and redo our home study and profile book et cetera et cetera. I can not wait to get The (next) Call. I'm so ready for W's little brother or sister. I'm not sobbing myself to sleep at night over this disruption, but I'm not 100% ok, either. I'm in a weird, emotional limbo place and I'm not sure how to express what I'm feeling. "It is what it is" is really the best way to describe it.  I'd like to take some time and try to write through my feelings some more, but I'm not quite there yet, from an organizational stand point. I'll get there.

What I can take away from this experience right now is that I am an incredibly fortunate girl. I may have the most amazing husband in the world and my son is just the sweetest thing on two legs. What else can a girl ask for?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Catharsis

Thank you, Global Warming for providing me with an unseasonably warm, tshirt/shorts/flip flops kind of day. It did wonders for what ailed me.
In the morning, W and I ran to our adoption agency to drop off checks for the updated home study (um hello salt in the wound!?) then we tossed a blanket, some fishies and juice boxes in my trusty old LL back pack and high tailed it down to the beach. I laid on the blanket and watched the waves roll in and W drove his trucks-du-jour through a maze of old tire tracks. We hunted for shells, dipped our toes in the frigid Atlantic and barrel rolled down the sandy dune hill (broken ribs and all). It was the definition of catharsis. The salt air helped to heal my wounds. I just wish Neil could have been there, too. But then again, someone needs to bring home the bacon.
My doctor, himself couldn't have prescribed anything better. I still smell like a mix of salt and SPF 50, and my hair's wonderfully unsalvageable.
 I'm almost ready to go to work tomorrow and field the endless barrage of questions. GAH.
Ok, now I'm ready.

The best part about today is knowing that as awesome as it was, it's not going to be able to hold a candle to what we just planned for this weekend. Stay frosty, friends <insert some kind of winky emoticon here>.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Back to the drawing board

Well that wasn't totally unexpected.
D had the baby on Friday and didn't tell anyone. Her social worker had to track her down yesterday. From what I could gather, the birth father decided he wanted to parent in a very erratic manner and wouldn't let her contact her social worker(?). That's just what I could gather from a short phone call yesterday. We'll hopefully learn more today. The baby's set to be discharged today and we don't know to whom yet (definitely not us, though).
While I'm not throwing myself on the floor and wailing in despair, I'm pretty torn up about it all. That little person would have had everything he ever wanted with us. I'm trying not to judge the birth father too much, but it's just the facts that this kid's life is going to follow a grossly different trajectory now. And my heart breaks for him. Not for us... but for him.

That's really all I have to say about it right now. This kid's life is screwed and it doesn't need to be. The birth father is being selfish and stupid.Maybe I'll feel some sorrow for us as the healing process wears on, but right now, our feelings are the least of my concerns. I just can't believe that some low life can slink in and destroy this kid's life because he has biological bonds to him. It's just not fair. Ok, so maybe I'm judging him a little. But whatever. The wounds are fresh and still bleeding. I'm allowed a few snap judgements.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Complete Freak-Out Mode

 I've been trying to write this post for two weeks but it keeps coming out with lots of OMGs and insanely long run on sentences because my inner dialog is on overdrive.
Baby's due date is fast approaching and I'm kind of in a freak-out tailspin.I have a very real feeling that D, our birth mother is going to change her mind once the baby is born. So while I'm trying to mentally prepare myself to be a functioning mother to two small children and reveling in some of the things that all moms enjoy (sitting quietly in the baby's room and smelling all the clean, tiny clothes), I'm also preparing for insane amounts of heart crushing sadness. It's a very strange mix of feelings. And I can't forget about my little man, W. How do you properly prepare a three year old for a baby brother when you're worrying that you may have to explain why brother never came home.
So lets see... what's eating me?
Baby's due date was recently changed from the 17th to the 26th of this month. Holy longest week of my life. We have a feeling D's not going to make it all the way until the 26th, so we've pretty much packed our bags and are ready to scram at a moment's notice.
I'm still feeling like there's a good possibility that she's going to change her mind once baby is born. But I'm trying to not dwell on that too much. HA!! Yeah, right.

Last Tuesday, everything boiled over when I slipped down my landing again and thought I broke a rib. I spent most of the day in the ER getting xrays etc. Nothing was broken but you wouldn't know it by how it feels. That was enough to send my emotions over the tipping point.  No kitchen, possibly no baby, banged up ribs... I turned into a screaming, sobbing mess. My husband suffered the brunt of it and my dear best friend had to listen to me rant and rave like a lunatic on the phone for an hour. If there is a heaven, there's a special place reserved for both of them.

My some good news is that my counter tops are currently en route to my house and they'll be installed by dinner. Hopefully my banged up ribs don't prohibit me from getting the sink hooked back up. Before and after pictures will be posted once everything's painted and the back splash is up.

Tomorrow's my birthday (holy big 33) so I get to pick dinner. What choices! March 6th, the day of my birth, begins our super awesome birthday extravaganza month. W's is March 19th, new baby's is some time at the end of the month and Neil's caps things off nicely on April 7th. It's a fun time in our house. Although W's totally getting the shaft on his birthday this year. We were going to have a big dinosaur themed party for him at a local museum but with all the baby stuff going on, it's just feasible. Luckily he's three and won't realize he's getting the shaft. Poor kid.

So that's things in a nutshell. I'm going insane during this waiting period and there's no relief in sight.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

People Say the Darndest Things: Family Edition

I need to start this post by apologizing to any relatives who are offended by seeing your darndest thing in this or subsequent posts.

Maru over at Adoption Journey posted about silly things that people say regarding adoption once and it stuck with me. Now I'm finding that the further we get into our adoption journey, the more and more silly things we hear. I hope I have the organizational skills necessary to make note of all of them.

I'm not faulting people for lacking in adoption knowledge. Life is all about learning. But there's some people out there that just say really really stupid things. So when I have an urge to smack my forehead (or someone else's forehead, perhaps), I will abstain and make note to share it here with you, my dear friends. Because I'm sure you've heard it all, too.

A family member (that is biracial) let it slide that his wife was telling people that Lil' W can be "her's" because he's so white and baby #2 can be his (the biracial family member) because he's black.
I don't want to know who she said this to, or how many people she's been saying this to, or what else she's saying behind our back. But we're going to nip it in the bud quickly. Because differentiating between our children based on the color of their skin is holy unacceptable. And if that's the kind of treatment they're going to receive, they won't be visiting those family members anymore.

Another family member was shocked (shocked!) when she learned that our birth mother, D had other children. "Wait, was this baby an accident?!? Why did she keep other children children?" I gave her a dumbfounded look and said that yes, this baby was an accident. But the second part of her question didn't register until we were on our way home. And I had a serious OMG moment. As in, OMG she thinks we're buying a baby from some sort of professional baby maker! I was so embarrassed. If this seemingly sensible, college educated adult thinks this of us, what does everyone else think? Do people really think adoption works like that? What has Lifetime Movie Network done to us as a society!?

We've reached an all time high with the amount of consecutive times someone says "why" when they ask why she's "giving up her baby" (shudder). I usually just give a vague answer like, "because she's not in a place to parent a newborn baby right now." This is always followed by at least one "well, why". Dude. If I wanted to tell you, don't you think I would have just told you? So they ask why and I repeat my vague blanket statement. If they're really dense, they'll ask why again, to which I'll again repeat "because she's JUST NOT in a place to parent right now." By this point, most people give up. But not this time. This family member (the same one who thinks we're buying Meredith Baxter Birney's baby in a dark alley) asked why yet again. And I didn't really know what to say. So I just stared at her and shoved a bunch of cake in my face until she looked away. But in the future, I won't be caught so off guard and I'll explain that one day, baby #2 can share his story with everyone, but that's his story to tell and I don't feel comfortable going there.

I also need to make note of the fact that every time the news reports on a baby found somewhere in our area, I get several texts and facebook mesages to the likes of "I hope you get it!" Guh!

I know this is just the beginning of many many years of intrusive questions. And for the most part, I'm ok with that. Our family is going to look different than most other families and humans are inquisitive by nature. So people are going to ask about it. I'd actually prefer that people ask questions than assume outlandish things like the assumption that we're "buying" a baby. I hope by that point that I handle the questions with more grace and I hope to the sweet-lord-above that they don't ask stupid questions in front of my kids. 'Cause I will make them as uncomfortable as they just made me. I was actually thinking about stock piling intrusive vagina and birth questions to toss as people, should they get too personal with me. What say you? Too passive aggressive?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Dancing Queen

Look... I wasn't lying. Here I am shipoopieing at our final dress rehearsal
 That's all. Just thought I'd share.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Limbo

We met our birth mother, D on Friday and it was a really nice experience. Her baby sitter fell through and she had to bring her two youngest children with her. So we decided to meet at a McDonalds with a playground instead of the original restaurant. I don't want this to come out the wrong way. Because to say it out loud sounds like I was "window shopping"... but her two young children were absolutely gorgeous. I couldn't help but make the correlation, staring into that little boy's eyes, that I might be staring at the same eyes our son will soon have. D was struggling with some personal problems, so our conversation didn't get as deep as I had hoped. But we still had a really lovely time. She asked us a few questions. But I wanted her to ask so much more! I was prepared to tell her so many things. But mostly she told us about her story. Which was both enlightening and heart breaking. I wanted to hug her and tell her I loved her (because I do. The moment this woman chose us to parent her baby, I was instantly and irreversibly in love with her) and I couldn't wait to get to know her better and share this precious little life with her. We gave her a picture of our family and she let us look at her ultrasounds, which was very special to me.

From speaking with our social worker, it sounds like she felt equally good about us. She was very comfortable with us and really seemed to love our family. I'm very grateful that our first meeting went so well and we have mutual respect for each other. But it brings me no closer to feeling like we'll definitely have a baby in 25 days. Because despite her apparent conviction that this adoption is going through, once she gives birth, and that warm little body is in her arms, anything could happen. And I'm VERY aware of that. So I'm still full of anxiety and worry and probably will be until those magic 72 hours are up.

Another problem I really wasn't anticipating has arisen, as well. I really didn't think I'd feel a connection with or love for this baby before he was born. Partially as a defense mechanism and partially because that's just my personality. But meeting her and seeing her children and seeing those ultrasounds has changed things. I'm in love with this child. And I feel VERY invested in and protective of his well being. So if D decides to parent this child, while I won't hate her for her decision, I will mourn the life he could have had with us. I'll forever wonder if he's had enough to eat that day, or if he got a christmas present or if he did well in school.
So that'll be the stuff rattling around in my head for the next few weeks.

On a happier and less stressful note, this past Friday was opening night of the musical and it was a wonderful distraction from all the baby stuff going on. It was a blast and I look forward to doing it again this coming weekend. I'll definitely be sad when it's over. We also got our new cabinets/sink last weekend. They're just what I wanted and I can't wait to get everything back to normal. We won't have our counter tops for two more weeks, so that means that much longer without running water. Yikes! Living without a kitchen sink is HARD! Silver lining is that we have a stove and when it's all said and done, we'll have a super sexy dishwasher, as well. I'm a quiver with anticipation.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Busy Bees

Holy busy.
Our kitchen is torn to pieces, our dining room is full of new cabinets, I have dress rehearsals all this week. We're meeting our birth mother two hours away on Friday, then we have to high tail it back home in time for opening night of the musical. I could FREAK the eff out and sob over all the stuff going on right now.
Or I could look at all the good in it. I'm going to have a pretty new kitchen in a few days (with a dishwasher, yay!). We're going to meet the birth mother and she's going to love us and she's going to assure us that everything's fine. I'm having a blast in the musical and I don't have a lot of responsibility. I can just show up, do a little dance and have a lot fun. There, see? That's not such a scary pile of busy, is it?
Deep breath.

Monday, February 6, 2012

One Thing at a Time

Move over, darling husband and adorable son. I have a new love in my life. And his name is Mucinex. DayQuil (my former lover) can suck it. I forget important things like blinking and stopping at traffic lights when flying high on the big orange Q. But Mucinex? Oh that stuff is delightful.
Little W was out of commission for a week with a fever and ridiculous cough. It was breaking my heart to see him so sick. You think he'd return the empathy to me now that I'm on my death bed? Noooooo way. Kids are heartless that way. One more day of nonstop cartoons won't kill him, I suppose.
It's two weeks until opening night of the musical, so I'll likely see no empathy from my rehearsal schedule, either.
No rest for the weary.

In cheerier news, the baby stuff is coming along nicely. He has a dresser and it's chock full of clothes. I borrowed 20 gallons of newborn-3 month clothes from a friend this weekend, which was a lifesaver. So we're set. The diapers and linens are washed and in the drawer, the clothes are washed and organized by type and size (crazy much?) and the emergency gotta-run baby hotel stay bag is packed.

We still haven't gotten word when we're meeting D&A, the birth parents. Which is causing more than a little shpilkes and agita. But I'm going to remain in my zen frame of mind. If this baby is meant to be ours, he will come home with us. And if not, then we'll mourn the loss and move on. Because our little person will still be out there and we'll be ready for him or her. See? Don't I seem peaceful and content with the situation? I'm remaining peaceful, dangit!! Peaceful!

If I even begin to think about the work scheduled to be done in the kitchen next week (then the week after that we'll be without a countertop) or the musical's opening night in two weeks, my whole peaceful bubble is going to pop. One.Thing.At.A.Time. And now W's hand-me-down monster cold on top of everything is the mucousy icing on the cake. Thanks, little man.

Today will be full of tissues, hot tea, cartoons for W, packing up the kitchen for the eminent work being done, OTC deliciousness, and trying to make myself presentable enough to get changed in front of my cast mates for our first rehearsal in costumes. But first, I think I'm going to curl up in the fetal position on the couch for a few hours.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I think I Preferred the Other Wait More

We've had four days to get use to the idea that a baby will be here in about forty four days. We're getting all his furniture together and have a small stock pile of necessities in case he comes early. We're set. I basically ran around the baby section of Target squealing for 25 minutes. Then I can across the preemie clothes section and I held a tiny onesie up to W and remembered how he use to swim in it and so started the waterworks. In the middle of the store. Super classy...

I wouldn't be so stressed if I didn't have the musical hanging over my head. Oh yeah, and we're having work done on our kitchen in two weeks. It'll only take a week, but it's just one more thing adding onto the pile of stress. Getting this done before the baby comes home is imperative because our hundred year old plaster wall is crumbling apart and we don't have a dishwasher. Seeing as this kid is going to be 100% bottle fed, a dish washer is a necessary upgrade. Yeah, we don't currently have a dishwasher. Our house is insanely old and the kitchen is all original. It's very quaint and charming, but it's 2012 and momma needs a dishwasher.

Then, on top of all of this stress is the Big Worry. Is the birth mom going to change her mind? What if, when we meet she doesn't jive with us and she decides to parent or have someone in her family adopt the baby instead? I'm plagued with worry. We have this kid's furniture. We have a name for him. What if he doesn't come home with us?

What if he doesn't come home with us? I have fortysome days to obsess over this. Grand...

Friday, January 27, 2012

One Ringy Dingy

Well hot diggity... We got The Call.
The woman who was checking out our profile last week chose us. We're over the moon excited about this turn of events. So much so, I'll be recapping the last 36 hours in bullet form.

- I was at work when I got the call. I ran over to my boss because I had to tell her before I could get on the phone and make enough noise out of my mouth hole to tell Neil the news.I toyed with the idea of breaking the news to him in a big reveal type style. But that's not really how we roll. So I picked up the horn and told him point black.

-We ran right over to our agency's office and jammed a cheeseburger (bribery of choice this week) in front of Lil' W to keep him content while we signed all the paperwork. We read all about D, the birth mother and learned all about her. I took an immediate liking to her. I can't WAIT to meet her! We also learned that I will be completely and utterly outnumbered as the only female (human) inhabitant of out house for quite some time. It's another awesome little boy for us!

- I swear I'm not lying when I say I felt an instant connection with this woman's story. From the moment we were asked if we wanted to be shown to her, I knew this was our situation.. I don't believe in signs, but I do believe in feelings and I just had a feeling - deep in my spine. This was the first situation that we were informed of that I really got my hopes up for. And lookie how it turned out!

- We went public with this information pretty much right away.We partially fear (as I'm sure everyone does at this stage in the game) that she'll change her mind and we'll have to un-tell everyone. But you know what? So What?!?! We were robbed of so many happy big announcement moments with W's scary birth. So we're reveling in the good and hoping for the best. If she does change her mind, we'll be supportive and happy for her and her beautiful baby boy. And yes, I'll un-tell all the people I told with my head held high.

- Baby Boy 2.0 is due mid-March (approx 47 days away, if you're counting) so we're in zomgscramble mode now. Yes, I said ZOMG. Deal.

- This weekend will be a whirling dervish of Home Depot and Ikea and Target and Babies R Us. And I'm loving every second of it. If I could run up and down the street screaming at the top of my lungs, I would. In fact, I'm surprised how cool and collected I've been on the outside. The inside is a mess of nerves and emotions and I need to drink more wine to settle things down. *gulp*

I'm sure I'll be back with more complex feelings and ideas and really deep thoughts a little later, but right now, this best explains how I feel:


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Human Resources

I've been reading a lot of articles recently about moms tearing each other apart for any number of issues (stay-at-home vs working, home school vs public vs montessori, potty training, diapering etc...) and I just need to get it out there that it drives me insane. I partially blame the internet. It gives people with nasty 'tudes the ability to berate anyone and everyone for little reason, all from the comfort of their couch. It's the same thing that gives someone insane bravado-induced road rage, I'm sure. And it makes me insane. Maybe it's my inner hippy, but why can't we all just get along (man)?

I once overheard two mommies at the playground heatedly arguing (yes, arguing) over who's almonds were more organic. Arguing.over.a.snack. I mean, come on ladies. Let's retract our claws and let each other slide a little. I also read some comments on a Huffington Post essay where a mom mentioned her four year old still wore pull ups to bed because he was still working on overnight potty training. And holy moses. You'd have thought she proclaimed she was aiming to raise the next Hitler, the way people pounced on her. More than a few people out and out called her and her son retarded. Jeeze!

I just keep picturing that scene from Mean Girls when the girls are making all kind of wild cat noises and lunging at each others' throats. It's a jungle out there and we're tearing each other to pieces.

When in the office or a professional environment, I doubt these mean moms rip their coworkers apart. So what is it about mommy-world that makes people go insane? Is one's penchant for making other moms feel like failures just a litmus test for their own insecurities? Or do some moms really think that they have a right to be a buttinski on other people's parenting? Who is anyone to tell another hard working mom that she's not raising her kids right? What nerve.

Maybe the only thing keeping these mean moms from going berserk at work / in the real world is the fact that they have an HR department (or authority) to answer to. If they walked up to another woman's desk in the office and told her she was putting apostrophes in the wrong places then swiped all the paper off her desk and cracked the keyboard over her knee, mean mom would surely have to take a trip up to HR for a little talk. Or if mean mom was at the doctor's office getting a mole looked at and told the doctor that his exam room wasn't feng shui and upturned everything, she'd have some splainin' to do.

We can't very well organize an HR department for all of motherdom. But we can try to install a little HR in the back of our brains. Next time you find yourself forcing your point of view at another hard working mom, or next time you feel the need to vocally (or type-illy) berate another mom holding it together the best way she knows how, take a minute to check with your inner HR department. And maybe keep your nasty comment to yourself. Afterall, let blah blah blah that casts the first stone blah blah glass house be judged - or whatever that saying is.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Mental Note

Mental Note: Even if the child doth protest too much, insist that he put underpants on before eating oatmeal.

Says Who?

I saw the strangest thing on tv last night. I was watching a show called Taboo (I think). It was documenting peoples' outlandish habits. Apparently there's a subculture of women out there who carry around baby dolls like they're their own babies. Hey, who am I to judge? It's not nearly as strange to me as the woman who married the Eiffel Tower or the woman who left her husband, the Berlin Wall for a common garden fence. But  (if I can be judgy for a minute) it's pretty close.

The fact that these women fill a hole by carrying around super creepy dolls like they're real children doesn't bother me. What got me hot and bothered was the narrator. At the end, during the recap, the narrator says in a real sad voice, "Fate has determined that these women could never have children..." In this age of so many choices when it comes to infertility, why did these women (and their consenting husbands) turn to super creepy piles of plastic to fill their mothering needs?

It really got me thinking. Why isn't adoption an option for people? And how many people that can't "have" children don't see adoption as an option? Does the trepidation fall in the man's lap or the woman's?  I know everyone has their own opinion, but it was just such a natural decision for us. I listened to nature. Having W almost killed both of us. So when the conversation of having more kids came up (I remember specifically having this conversation. We were still in the NICU with W), I said "I'm not doing this again. It's too risky. Lets adopt the rest of our babies." My husband looked and me, thought for a second and said "Ok, lets." Done and done. The conversation was as natural as if I asked if he wanted a reuben for lunch.

I know that everyone has a different point of view, but I have a hard time seeing how "fate deciding women can't bear children" makes them see that carrying a doll around is the only answer. I wish I could watch their descent into madness story to see how they arrived at this behavior. It fascinates me to no end.

Do you know someone who feels/felt adoption wasn't an option for them? Or do you maybe have a family member that doesn't agree with your decision? Are there people out there who see adoption as unnatural as carrying around a plastic doll? I'd love to hear your opinions/experiences. We met very little hesitation (to our faces) when we told people we were adopting, aside from normal fears drawn from not knowing the process.

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Call, not The Call might be the hardest part

We got A Call yesterday. Our social worker from our agency wanted to present us to someone but our profiles didn't quite match. So she had to run it by us before giving the ok to show our profile. This has happened several times to us and each time brings a unique rush of emotions. I've done a really good job of not getting excited for any of them. But there's something about this one that's really sticking with me. Something about the birth mother's story grabbed my heart. And the birth father is still around, so to speak. So the baby could have a chance to know both of his/her first parents. And the most silly reason this situation resonates with me is because the baby is due in March. All of our birthdays fall in a five week March to April span in this house and we call it our birthday season. It's like having a month long birthday party and we love it. It's just a silly tradition but I can't help but take it as a sign.

I'm not expecting to be chosen by this birth mother. The odds are generally not in our favor. But I can't help going against better judgment in hoping she does. There's just something about this situation that latched onto my heart. It's the first one I will be truly sad about not being matched with. We're being presented this morning, so my fingers are crossed.

Knowing that we're being presented to birth mothers makes The Wait so much harder. We're always being shown to "someone." Last month for instance, we were shown to three birth mothers. And that's awesome. But KNOWING that someone is looking at us causes so much more stress.

So off I go on my day, trying hard to not look like a frazzled Cathy Comic frame. And trying unsuccessfully to not think about adding another super awesome birthday to our nonstop birthday extravaganza month.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Avoidance is no Longer Acceptable

We bit the bullet over the past few days and finally painted the baby's room. It was very hard for me, for some reason. I've yet to figure out why. I guess because it forces me to acknowledge that no one has deemed us right to raise their babies. Every month we're shown to several people and no one picks us. I know we're awesome, so it's hard for me to accept.
The bedroom is striped and adorable. It's going to come together fast, now. We're using W's old crib and area rug. So I just need to find a few pieces of furniture. We're attempting to go used on this kid's room. There's SO much lovely stuff out there on craigslist and in consignment shops. But shall those intentions fail, we'll be loading the wagon up with Ikea for sure. Either way, I'm really going to enjoy putting a proper nursery together. We didn't get to do that with W. We moved into our house two weeks before he was born and I was too sick or spending too much time at the NICU to get it together. So it was all just an after thought. This process is very cathartic for me. Getting started was the hard part. Now I'm a roll that can't be stopped.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Racism in America from a Completely Different Point of View

Today is a day set aside to celebrate Martin Luther King's legacy and it really has me thinking this year. Baby #2 is going to be African American or biracial so I've been stewing over things I don't have to think about as much with W. I mean, of course we'd teach both of our kids about Dr King and his dream that one day, people would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. But I'm wondering how it will make them feel, and if those feelings will be different for each child. Will #2 worry about being judged by the color of their skin? And if so, will I, as a mother be able empathize properly with them?
I know when I think of the Jim Crowe laws and segregation and how recently they were present, I feel sick and ashamed that one human collective could treat another so terribly.
photo credit

 But how will it make #2 feel? Will I ever be able to truly empathize with them? Identify with their feeling? And how do I protect them from racism that still exists today (seriously people, it's 2012)? If  I can't shield them from it, I have to prepare them for it and give them the tools to rise about it with grace. Will I, as a white person be able to adequately do this? Sometimes I fear that I take too much for granted or block out too much hate with my rose colored glasses.
Can I teach #2 to simply ignore racism? I don't think so. Sometimes it's prevalence knocks me off my feet. Just the other day, we were outside talking with an older man from the neighborhood and he was telling us a story about a family that happened to be biracial and he called the children "lil' creamies." We both gasped and rolled our eyes at him, but he just went right on with the story like it was nothing.  The truth is, there is no protecting #2 from most situations because it's completely omnipresent.

I mean seriously... how insulting is this?!?
All we can do as parents is help our babies to learn that  it's the content of your character that matters, and not the color of your skin. And if they run into someone who sees color as a reason to think less of you or make fun of you, they're... well, they're big dummies and should be stamped as evolutionary throw-backs (ok, so maybe that's just adding to the problem a little). I think I better take a hard look at the path I plan to take as the parent in a multi racial family.

It's not my job to change the minds of people who see color first and judge based on stupid stereotypes. It is my job to make sure my children understand that some people think this way, and that it's not right. Do I teach them to ignore it, raise their chins and rise above? Or is that too passive? Is it ok for my children to just turn their cheek to someone saying racist things? I think it is. As long as they know that it is always safe to bring those hurtful things to me so we can discuss what they mean and why someone might say them.

What do you think? I need a little sage advice on this topic. I tend to obsess about things out of my control.
If anyone is reading this... throw your two cents my way.

Stinky Habits Die Hard

I am at a loss. Little W is doing so well with his potty training. He loves peeing on the potty and even wakes up dry several mornings a week. But that's about as far as it goes. The kid poops himself (sometimes two or three times) every day. Every.dang.day. I'm so tired of cleaning the poop up. And I'm at a loss as to how to get him to do it on his potty. He knows that poop's supposed to go in the potty. But he makes zero attempts to put it in there. Grumble. I'm at the point where I'm considering something like taking a toy away when he blatantly makes zero attempts to make it to the potty. I know that goes against EVERY piece of advice in the world. But no amount of rewards seem to sway him (seriously... ice cream sundaes for breakfast, people).
Any pointers from you seasoned veterans? Was your kid scared to drop his deuce in the potty as well?

W and I sing this song all the time. So he gets it. He just doesn't care. He's such a boy.


  Over the Rhine as heard on WXPN's Kid's Corner,
 This song kills us and it's so catchy. So be careful, you'll likely be singing it to yourself in the market or in the kitchen at work. If you ever have a chance to check out Kid's Corner on XPN, you should. It's very easy to listen online. They even have an app so you can listen on your mobile phone. It's a great kid's program. We listen every night at bath time. We're big fans, if you can't tell.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Help... I'm stuck in the internet and I can't get out...

Shasta on a shingle. It's dangerous internet rabbit holes like the one I've fallen into today that makes me really REALLY wish for a girl.
And I blame you, Mini Boden!

Don't look at me like that, Old Navy. You're just as guilty with your extremely accessible prices...
 But then again, dressing little boys can be just as darling.
As if you can't tell, I have a deep love for all things Boden




*head palm*
Get me off the internet before I do something stupid like buy things!!