Monday, December 17, 2007

I Look at it as a Positive Pregnancy Test

Well, the deed is done. I dropped off the adoption application this afternoon. The admin will put us in the system, and the social worker will be contacting us shortly to get the fingerprinting process started. As that happens we will try and coordinate when we can take the short two day seminar that is the next step. That can take some time as they want to have as many people enrolled as possible, and there aren't any new couples in Harrisburg. We might end up in Lancaster, which is fine.
This was a tough decision at this point. John, being the financial wiz, really wanted to have more debt paid down along with a reserve from which to pull the money for the seminar, home study, and several other miscellaneous expenses. Completely logical and sensible.
My heart go in the way of his carefully laid plans. Realizing this, he juggled the books, and gave the go ahead. I love him so very much.
I needed to know that we were doing something. I couldn't just talk about it anymore. I was really starting to worry about my emotional state. The whole almost weeping at the tabloids thing started it.
Two days after that we went to a birthday party. It was a joint party for mom, and her and her husband's, one-year-old son. A sixteen-month-old little girl was at the party too. We had a blast playing with babies and visiting with the adults. As I managed to seduce the little girl with pretzels, chips, and lemonade, she and I were having lots of fun, but at the end of it all, she still always made sure her mom was handy for a hug.
I crave to be the only comfort for little arms. I want to now exactly what that certain cry means. I want to see John swing a little person from floor to his shoulders who belongs to him, who complete trusts his strong arms while laughing at the thrill of suddenly going from two feet tall to six three. It's in my genetic code. The wanting is nothing new. The depression that has started to follow visits with friends with children is new. And it is scary. Mostly because there is an edge of bitterness to it. I panic, because there is a part of me that is turning resentful of people I love very much. A friend relates her trying week at doctors' appointments because of ear infections that led to three days off from work and massive amounts of co-pays. She was stressed and frustrated. I was jealous.
Dropping off the application, made that slip a little. That's why I think it is a little like a positive pregnancy test. I don't have the chubby clinging arms yet, but I definitely know they are coming. I might not know the average nine months, but I know its coming. That makes it easier. That makes it exciting. It makes planning ahead to a nursery and playing the name game with John (Currently, he is trying to convince me that Coltrane would be a great first name for a boy. I am a little frightened because it is kinda growing on me. Help!) more optimistic than before.
So I end with the positive excitement I know feel. It has to be patient excitement, but it is excitement none the less.
And I don't have to worry about morning sickness.
DISCLAIMER: Some of you will recognize yourselves. I hope I haven't made you feel bad. I hope it doesn't sound like I am fishing for sympathy. You better not stop sharing stuff about babies with me or trying not to bring the kids around, etc. But I want to be completely honest in this blog for myself and for anyone who might realize this sounds like a lot herself and find some comfort in that.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Live Action Pitfall

Nothing new has really come up in the adoption process, but it has been a while since a post. I have been reading others' blogs and left the need to update. Plus this happened today.....
I may be the only one old enough to remember playing Pitfall on an Atari. Anyway, it was the game in which you had to jump over, well pits, that had things like quicksand and alligators. It was one of the first if not the first.... hold on...yes, it was the first side scrolling video game. Thank you, Wikipedia.
I digress, but do have a point. When dealing with infertility and now the waiting of the adoption game, certain innocuous everyday things that would have just skidding across the surface of my brain, now slam right through the forehead to the gooey nougat emotional center.
In other words, I almost cried today when I read that Britney Spears is pregnant. Again.
These are the pitfalls. A trip to the grocery store can end in an emotional breakdown. Receiving an email from a cousin who is now expecting makes me almost throw my computer across the room.
I find myself actually making fists when someone says something like, "As soon as you stop trying, you will get pregnant." Or, "As soon as you decide to adopt, you'll get pregnant." (Note: If you are someone who has said something like that to me, I apologize. I really know you meant well. It is a hard position to be put in. You don't know what to say. I understand. I love you.)
Britney Spears is pregnant. AGAIN.
We should be in a place sometime this month to turn in the application. There will be an entry.
In the meantime, Christmas is coming on fast. This school year seems to be flying by. I am finishing up my third class towards my Masters of Library Science. Only ten to go! John is working hard at, let's count.... three jobs. He is teaching at YTI for just one semester that will end in January. JANUARY. Thank goodness.
And we still can't find a Wii.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

This is not a Weight Watcher commerical, I swear

I am starting to find side effects of our decision.
For instance, I am finding a renewed resolve in my weight lost quest. Before John and I got married, I lost 30 pounds. I then got complacent and gained it all back. At the beginning of the summer, I started going to Weight Watcher meetings again.
Through all of the infertility issues and the monthly disappointments, I let my emotions get the better of my other goals, like losing weight. I would use food to make myself feel better, or I would get the mentality: What was the point? Failure in one aspect of my life made me make myself fail in others.
OK, that is melodramatic, but well, there you are.
So now that we have taken our future parenthood into our own hands, I feel like I have also turned a corner in other ways.
I managed to lost 3.6 pounds this week. The best since I started back in June.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If you are going to clog your arteries, do it at Wendy's

Because Dave Thomas' adoption foundation is a pretty good thing.
So last night we had an informational meeting at Adoption From the Heart. It is a smaller agency, only licensed from NY to VA. They have an office in Harrisburg which is a huge bonus. The other agencies I have talked to were much bigger, and it felt more like a sales call. Last night was much more personable, an informal question & answer. Stephanie, the social worker who led the meeting, was very open and honest.
In my tag line I said we were following the ups and downs of our adoption journey. If someone had a heart monitor on me during this meeting the ups and downs would have been literal. One statement would thrill me, the feel of a baby in my arms almost tangible, while the next would could have me gagging on my own aorta. For instance, there was the couple who went into the profile books and had a birthmom the next day. The mother who attended the meeting waited two years and four months. Many of the adoptions happen after a mother actually gives birth and faced with an actually baby, calls the agency. That means you get a call and have to be wherever the birthmom is ASAP. You will be parents less than 24 hours after finding out the child exists. However, a Pennsylvania mother has 30 days to change her mind. This happens in 3% to 5% of cases. So you kinda hope that a mom in NJ picks you where she's only got 72 hours.
So the next step is to fill out the application. Once that is done, we have to attend some classes and have a home study which includes all the same background checks I had to get for my teaching certification. Then we put together a letter, pictures, and a DVD. Mothers who come to the agency look through the profile book, watch DVDs and choose adoptive parents.
It feels good to be moving forward in some way. Through the years I have had many different ideas of where my life would go. The one constant has always been that I would be a mom, and I would be a mom first and foremost. No career or dream of writing a novel has ever been as important to me as being a mom who puts the kids on the bus and is home for them when they get off of it. John and I made the decision almost three years ago that it was time for this phase of our life to begin. And three years later we are still waiting.
I enjoy teaching. I feel fulfilled by the work I do. Even though grad school is killing me, it is something that I feel passionate about. Yet, on some level it feels like a filler life, like I am treading water until my real life of play dates, bath times, bedtime stories, sleepless nights, croup, and toys down the toilet begins. It has been very scary the last three years, as that life seemed to keep slipping farther and farther into the future.
Currently, the absolute most important role in my life is as a wife, daughter, sister, and puppy mom. My life with John is more fulfilling than I ever thought possible before I met him. He has been nothing but completely supportive during every frustration that has come with trying to get pregnant.
Now I feel like our dream of being parents is much more solid. The role of my lifetime is not so fuzzy anymore. I can see it fitting in with the other important things in my life much more clearly. It might be years, it might be months, but it will be.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

It seems the thing to do

Well, it seems like the thing to do these days, when expecting a child or after having a child, is to have a blog to document the major and minor happenings of these life changing events. Its the new baby book.
As most of you know, John and I have been hoping to welcome a child into our lives for two and a half years now. Whoever is in charge of survival of the species by the propagation of genetically strong offspring didn't get the memo.
Last month when the infertility doctor I was seeing closed her office, it ended up being a bit of a turning point for us. We sat down and had a long talk. We had gotten to the point in the medical process where things were starting to get expensive, and the monthly emotional roller coaster of even the most minor of treatments was turning out to be more than I wanted to face.
So we have opted for a different type of carnival ride, adoption. Think of it like a merry-go-round where the only way to snag the ring is for someone else to let it go. Also, your horse is broken and not only goes up and down but side to side as well. However, if our situation has come down to spending a great deal of time and money to become parents, we feel that we want to go with the ride that even if it takes a couple of years to get all the way around to the right ring, our chance will come around eventually.
OK, enough of the metaphor. (I do still have aspirations of becoming a novelist, and it can get away from me at times). So we have spent the rest of the summer reading, cruising the Internet, and asking everyone we know who has adopted questions that are probably too personal.
On Tuesday, we go to a free meeting at an agency in Harrisburg called Adoption From the Heart. Currently, this company is the forerunner. The representative I talked to on the phone was very personable and helpful without making me feel like she was giving me a spiel. The fact that they have an office in Harrisburg is a big plus as well.

This next section gets into the knitty gritty of our research, so I won't be offend if you skip it.

Our research is also leading us in the direction of a domestic, open adoption. Through this program the agency will create a profile of us that will be made available to birthmothers/parents. If one choses us, we will meet her. From there she will decide if she feels we are the parents she wants for her child. If we are, we will be able to be at the hospital when our child is born and take him or her home from there. That is the domestic part of it. Open is when the adoptive parents and birthparents will still have contact throughout the child's life. The birthparents can be as involved as they and the adoptive parents are comfortable with. This usually means exchanging pictures and letters a couple times a year through the agency or even meeting once a year again at an event arranged by the agency.
Through my research I have also realized that if you want to see racism alive and well, look to the adoption system. Agencies often have two different programs based on a baby's race. There is the African American/biracial program and the everyone else program. Everyone else is usually at least $5,000 more than the African American/biracial program. It doesn't cost less to adopt an African American child, the cost is subsidized, because there are so many more children in this category available. Originally, we wanted to try and get in both programs, because the more birthmothers who see our profile the better, but now I think our social indignation is making us lean more towards adopting a black or biracial or purple kid.

OK, potentially boring details are over. I promise that future posts will not be this wordy. I hope. I am me after all.

So that is where we stand right now. I will send a quick post on Tuesday or Wednesday after the meeting to let everyone know how it went.