Friday, November 20, 2009

Breath Deeply

Yesterday was the birth mother's last chance to change her mind. We were pretty confident that she wouldn't, but still, there's a sigh of relief. The paperwork will take a while, but he is pretty much ours for good. Or until he's 18! Thanks, everyone, for all of your support. I can't imagine how we would have don't it without everyone pulling for us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Blog Semi Retirement

Well, barring any complications, and I think we are due for no more complications, don't you, we are nearing the end of the beginning of our adoption process. Now that the baby is here, while we still want to discuss adoption, we want to focus more on being a family. Thus this blog will go into semi-retirement, only to be used when we have thoughts on adoption in a more general way, not our specific family way. Our family blog is Seriously, We're Parents?! This one is by permission only, but you will pretty much be admitted, I promise! See you all there!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

He's Here!

The cliches are endless . . . "we've been waiting so long", "third time's the charm", "what a long, strange trip it's been". However you want to say it, that moment is here.

Our little boy -- our son -- he's with us. My writing skills are nowhere near great enough to actually portray just how happy it makes me to be able to write those words. Just know that there have been tears of happiness, smiles abound.

So, how'd we get here -- we got the call on Wednesday morning that labor may be imminent -- then, a little while later, that labor was, in fact, imminent. Duffy called me, and I ran home from work -- got home, loaded the truck, and away we went.

It's about a 4 hour drive from Carlisle to Lewes, mostly on country roads -- and it seemed every large load tractor trailer (or, in fact, every tractor) was on the road, just to make sure that it kept us on the road longer.

We got here just after 5PM (Coltrane joined us at 2:25PM), met with the birthmom who immediately said "there's your mom & dad!" I actually got the honor of feeding him his first bottle. Soon after eating, the doctor came in for a preliminary check -- heart & chest sounds were all strong & healthy. After a little while in the room with the birthmom who was a bit uncomfortable after the c-section, we were given a private room, where we hung out with the little guy for the rest of the night (we may have had the world series on at the time).

Leaving the little guy at about 9PM, we went to find a hotel to check into (Duffy had a whole week planned out, starting November 9, and of course we had to throw those plans out the window), found a Friendly's to eat a late dinner, and let the Facebook/Twitter/Text messages of congratulations pour in. After getting back to the hotel room, we fell asleep to the Yankees winning the world series (Duffy's favorite player, Hideki Matsui winning the MVP).

This morning we got up, got ready, had some breaksfast, and have spent the day at the hospital -- there's still a little while before he'll be discharged, but we've been with him all morning, and should be with him well into the night tonight. Half of the adoption paperwork has been filled out, and we'll complete the other half tomorrow.

Once all of that is done, it becomes a waiting game while the Delaware & Pennsylvania social services get everything straightened away so that we can take him home with us - but that will likely be done early next week.

Coltrane James Batzer's Statistics
Birthday 4-November-2009
Birth Time 2:25 PM
Weight 7 pounds, 11 ounces
Length 19 inches

So, now we wait - and normally waiting is not what I'm the best at -- but, well, I kind of like sitting around with not a whole lot to do with this little fella. :-) -- I do find, however, that I need to learn the words of my favorite lullabies.

Monday, November 2, 2009


We are getting down to the wire. Single digit days and counting. I just booked a hotel for a couple of nights and then a condo for our longer term stay in Delaware. Keep up all the positive energy! Thanks, everyone.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, We have a head! And a date!

The very thoughtful birthmother had the agency send us these sonagram (ultrasound? Is there a difference?) pictures. One is the profile, which we can make out. The other is supposed to be the nose and lips? A prize to the first person who can figure that one out.
They have also scheduled the C Section. NOVEMBER 10TH!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Just Keep Swimming, Just Keep Swimming

Well, here we are. October. I love October. Sweater weather and hot chocolate. This October? Eh. We were not expecting to still not be parents. I wanted baby sweaters and hot formula. I mean warm formula.
It just seems that we are destined to never have anything we are told turn out that way.
When we met with the birthmom on September 5, she was supposed to go to the doctor on September 8. At that appointment, they were going to schedule a c section that was supposed to take place mid September. This, of course, has not happened. I know! Shocking, right?
Here is what has happened.
Through a series of frustrating (both for us and the birthmom) circumstances, she did not get to the doctor until last Thursday, October 1. Now, those with some powers of observation might ask, if she was to have a c section mid September, shouldn't she have gone into natural labor by October 1?
You would be correct, if... wait for it... the original dates had been correct.
They were not.
The October 1 and follow up on October 2 relieved that the September dates were, of course, off. By two months. The new due date seems to be closer to November 11.
Yeah, I know. I feel you.
It feels never ending. Some moments, I just think, what next?! What more can we be asked to take? Why hasn't it been enough already?
Then I remember, it is what it is. There is no why.
We do feel better than we did most of September. Days in September got very black at points because we had no real updates. Now we have real information. It might be slightly frustrating information, but it is concrete. And the birthmom is still set on the adoption plan. All good things.
And I figure this much. I wasn't the world's most patient person before. I wasn't an overly impatient person, but patience was not my most abundant virtue.
Now it is.
That's got to be good for a soon-to-be mom, right?

(John was always incredibly patient. Except with recalcitrant computers, but that doesn't count. 'Cause who is?)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quick Update

Just wanted to let everyone know that we are in a holding pattern, waiting for the birthmom to go to the doctor and schedule the c section. Though there have been some craziness and some moments of high panic, due more to past experiences than anything happening with this situation, everything seems to still be on track. Hopefully, SOMETHING should have happen before the end of the month.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Interesting Video

Both DMC and Sarah McLachan are adopted. I think this song and video shows a lot of the different levels to adoption, good and less so.

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Meeting with the Birthmom

We met with the birthmom in Delaware on Saturday . . . it was a good meeting. Like the last time we met with a birthmom, we got there really early (there was a discrepancy with the "time with traffic" and the actual time it took us to drive into Milford, Delaware . . . go figure, not much traffic on a Saturday toward the end of beach season). Having some time to kill, drove to a GameStop & took advantage of Delaware's lack of a sales tax: Rock Band & a few other games for the 360, and Wii Resort.

So, after spending money that we probably shouldn't have, we drove back into Milford and pull into the restaurant a few minutes before noon - where we mention that we're going to be meeting with two others, but hey, they're here! After introductions (we all bonded over a love of food in just about any shape or form), we got into the nitty-gritty of what we were there for.

As we had known, Birthmom has four children, the first three from a long-term relationship. Then birthmom met birthdad and had a little girl just under a year ago. The timing of everything (along with false-negative pregnancy tests) lead to a delayed discovery in the pregnancy -- she only really found out five months into the journey, and that's because the "baby belly" she was carrying suddenly was turning hard. Adoption was the first thought she had.

Of course, adoption wasn't the obvious choice here -- when birthmom was young, there was an adoption situation with her elder sister, leaving a bad taste for adoption in birthmom's sister's mouth. The birthmom's sister was won over when she saw what the birthmom was working through.

Obviously, there was talk of race -- birthmom is white, birthdad is black, but I think we managed to allay any fears that we "didn't know what we were getting into". Then there were the words that most any set of adoptive parents want to hear: "I really feel like I'm just carrying this baby for somebody else". Heck - she even mentioned that she has sonogram pictures for us (they were left at home), as those work really well in the front of an baby book. Aside from the serious stuff, there was sports talk, and school talk and random chit-chat. The biggest hurdle we may have is the fact that the birthmom is in Delaware, but her eldest three are in NJ. Birthmom is working to move back to NJ, and spending as much time in NJ now as possible . . . if she were to start going into labor naturally while in NJ, we have what's known as a "three state adoption", which will add a pile of legalwork for us to get through, but it's nothing huge.

As we left, we realized that we had parked right next to the social worker & birthmom . . . made us chuckle.

Our next steps - we should know when a C-section will be scheduled within the next few days, and then it's a waiting game -- so keep watching this space, or Twitter, or Facebook . . . or just wait for a primal scream of joy -- that'll be us.

Friday, September 4, 2009


I suppose we all have them not matter how little we believe in fate or predestination. We cross our fingers for luck, we do the sign of the cross, we don't cross under ladders, we don't let black cats cross our path, etc.
I am developing adoption superstitions. This time it is going to work because, this, this and that were different since last time. The second time it was different because the birthmom wanted to meet us, and she wasn't interested in naming the baby.
We all know how that worked out.
You would think I would learn my lesson. Or maybe you wouldn't because you know me really well.
A) I got the call instead of John.
B) Our SW, S, got to make the call which did not happen either of the last two times.
C) The situation is in Delaware, not PA. Revocation time, 14 days, potentially from birth.
D) Here is one that I am not proud of, but crossed (there's that word again) my mind. The baby is biracial. Note: This makes no difference in my excitement or yearning for this baby vs. the last two. It is just another difference that I have noted.

My goal tomorrow is not to let these kind of observations consume me. I don't want to spend the visit dissecting it for what is different because the differences make me feel more confident. The truth is there is no sign that can say, yes, this is it! Only time will tell for sure, and dwelling on these superstitions is making this birthmom pay for the actions of the other two.
I hope I am strong enough. Wish me luck! Wait.....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gearing Up (but a bit reserved this time)

We've been selected again.

These are more difficult words to type than one would think . . . while we're beyond excited, and everything is right around the corner for us - we're quite reserved in our elation. The first we had a "disappointment", we kind of saw it coming. We had no anger or resentment or anything of the sort. There was a birthmom who thought we were pretty cool, and if she couldn't parent her child, she would pass it to us. However, she decided to parent -- we cried, we dusted ourselves off, and we got back on our feet.

This last disappointment was much harder to take -- the anger didn't come from the fact that the birthmom chose to parent the child -- it came from the lies. And it's the fact, I think, that we held resentment, of any sort, for a birthmom, that has us putting the brakes on pure elation.

Still, this is a time for elation -- we're going to be parents. A birthmom in Delaware has chosen us -- a Cesarean section will be scheduled in mid-September. It's a boy. All signs point toward the fact that it will enter this world as a healthy boy. We're hoping to meet up with the birthmom within the next week or so -- and, obviously, we'll have more to say after that event takes place.

So, right now - continue your well wishes, your prayers, your finger crossings. They are all well appreciated. We'll post updates as we can - it's quite odd being in this position, where we just want to cry out in happiness, yet defense mechanisms are keeping us in check for right now.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What Happened This Time

Ok - this probably isn't the best venue for this, but I don't know any way around it . . . too many questions (of which I have the answer to about 2 of them).

Basically, it appears that the birthmother who chose us two months ago gave birth on July 12th, and then proceeded to lie to the adoption agency for a month. We were getting regular updates

  • On July 17 (5 days after the birth), we were told that the birthmother was going off of the drugs to keep her from going into premature labor.
  • While on vacation, we received notice that there was lots of movement, but no signs of labor yet.
  • On August 7, we were told that they would be inducing labor on August 13.
  • On August 12, we were told that the inducing was being rescheduled to August 15 and that the birthmother wanted us there at 6AM.
  • Today, we found out that all of this was a lie.

As I said in my status, I'm numb - utterly numb. I've lost some faith in humanity (or, at least, human decency). I've lost a LOT of faith in the adoption process (sure, this happened to us before -- but at least we knew everything in real-time).

In the past month, I've canceled a vacation. Duffy skipped her brother's graduation. We've kept from making plans, just in case the call came -- all of this we did willingly & happily -- the pay off was going to be worth it. Now, we find out that there was a month that we could have been "in the book".

I have no animosity for any birthmother who changes her mind -- but to change your mind and lie about that fact, and to build on top of that lie. As I said, I'm numb.

Strike Two

I am not sure how to begin because today has been so bizarre. Let's see....
On Wednesday we were told that she would be induced on Saturday. We were to hang tight until Friday when the agency would be talking to the birthmother again.
At two today, I called the Lancaster office and talked to M, one of the SWs there. She said she had just talked to K, the Pittsburgh SW, who was out of the office, but who should be back between 3 and 4 and would call me then.
Within the hour M was calling back. K could not find the birthmother. She wasn't answering the cell phone and her house phone had been disconnected. Not a good sign. Finally, K got in touch with the OB/GYN. The baby was born July 12. No, that is not a typo. July 12.
No one can fathom why she would lie about being pregnant for a whole month up to the point of saying she was going to be induced, and she wanted us there. We are all bemused about that.
I would have no hard feelings if she had just changed her mind. I would be disappointed, but I would understand. But to lie like this, I just don't understand. We could have been shown to other mothers for a whole month. I missed my brother's college graduation. John cancelled a week cycling trip. We put our lives on hold for a lie.
We went back into the profile book this evening.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Not Yet

If it comes to inducing, they have moved it to Saturday. We should hopefully have more of a game plan on Friday.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Update but not THE UPDATE

Hi Everyone, still no sign of labor! The doctor will induce on the 13th if the baby hasn't decided to start things himself. Our agency SWs have worked with the hospital SW, so we have a room for us and the baby. They give it the fancy name of nesting room. The plan is that we will be given care of the baby as soon as possible after birth. Seriously, so far this has been a wonderful situation with all parties involved. We feel well cared for and feel that the birthmom and baby are getting everything they need as well. Keep your eyes on the blog and facebook for the quickest updates.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just Checking In

Hey, everyone, just wanted to let you know that we are still in the waiting game. Everything is still looking good. The little guy just has to decide he's ready to see the world.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I'm driving a Volkswagen in San Francisco

The clutch is burnt out and all the blood is draining to my hip. (OK, this quote isn't part of the except, but you get the idea.) That feeling hits me at least three times a day. Panic is not a fun wall to run into and I slam into it at odd times. For instance, one of the tabloids is running a story about Neil Patrick Harris having a baby through a surrogate. (Haven't checked to see if that is true, but if so, go Dr. Horrible, go!) Which of course leads me to think about the adoption. Now comes the moment. Will it be a positive, "I feel good about this one", or will it be "Dear God, this is still just a crap shoot". I don't know what minute changes in psyche, chemical balances, or barometric pressure makes the difference, but dealing with the latter option is not easy. I am now queen of the self talkdown.
Now, I do feel 99% confident in this adoption especially after the meeting with the birthmom. I hope after meeting us, she is thinking of him as ours as well as hers. I did get that feeling.
That makes me feel very confident. But the worm of a panic usually starts with... Will that be the case when he is a baby and not a fetus? There is no way to tell. John and I have agreed that we need to do our best to be positive and assume this is it, otherwise the fear will keep what is exciting about this time at bay. We don't want that. We don't want to miss out on being expectant parents out of fear. Part of that is sharing things. That also means that everyone we share with has to share in the fear and will share in the potential grief if things do not go our way.
I am so glad so many care so much about us that they are willing to take on the burden with us. We will all be rewarded with great joy. Let's hope that is in August. Or July. Maybe. What?

PS - FYI A good way to alleviate the panic is to prepare something in the nursery or buy an outfit or add stuff to the registry.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Future Over Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Of which we brought home six. There is crack in those biscuits, I am convinced. You ain't fooling me, Oh Lobster of the Crimson Hue.
So the meet up was set for 2 PM. We got there at 12:30. Natch. Fortunately there was a small mall next door. We used a Bon Ton gift card and picked up The Ghostbusters video game and the new Smash Hits for Guitar Hero at Game Stop. All in all, an unplanned, but successful mall outing.
Back at Red Lobster at about 1:45. SERIOUSLY nervous. John kept jerking his head and craning every time it looked like someone was coming to the door. It was like the dogs in Up. SQUIRREL! BIRTHMOM!
J, the birthmom, and two social workers from the Pittsburgh area office came in pretty much at 2 PM. I think this could define awkward moment, but we all recovered quickly. By the time the Ultimate Fondue was served, we were all old friends.
J is super sweet and funny. She already really liked us from our profile and video, and after getting over her initial nervousness, we were all good. We talked about her kids and plans. We showed her some more pictures and the totally geeky video tour I made of our house. We did discuss the challenges of white parents raising a black child, but I think we addressed it well and raised her confidence over that potentially worrisome aspect. We were there for almost two and a half hours which I think is a positive.
All in all, I am as optimistic as I will allow myself to be. She seems very committed to the adoption. She even said she would like one of us in the delivery room. She is allowed two people. One will be her mother, so if John and I can make it there before the birth, we will have to figure out how to handle that. But I thought it was a great gift for her to give us the opportunity.
As to further contact, at this point she does want pictures and letters, but she doesn't think she will want visits. We told her we are comfortable with whatever she wants, and if she wants to change her mind at any point, we would be willing to adapt.
So now we wait for a call from the social worker telling us J went into labor. That should be late July, early August. She has gone several weeks early with each of her other children, and she is currently on injections to stop early labor.
So that was our day. It ended with hugs all around. What could be better than that?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Match and Hopefully Set and Game

OK. So. Here we are. Again.

So after the disappointment in April, I felt the need to seek counseling. I needed someone to listen who was not emotionally invested in the situation. I love all of you, and you love me, thus, emotional investitude (Look at me I can make up words. I could be president!). So on Monday in my session, my therapist pointed out that I was spending a lot of time worrying about other people, and that it was OK to be selfish and want this adoption for myself. Those of you who know me, know that is often not an easy thing for me to do. In an effort to be proactive for myself, I called AFTH in hopes of getting some information and discussing why things weren't happening for us when they really should be. I talked to R., one of the social workers, and we discussed a variety of issues. I felt better at the end of the conversation. She also mentioned that she knew we were being shown to a mother in Pittsburgh, and we had a good chance as we are one of only a handful of people in the program wanting a full AA baby. Righty-o.
Within the hour, John was calling me to tell me we had been chosen by the mother in Pittsburgh. She is due with a boy on August 7th. Never before has summer vacation seemed so long!
We found out today that the birthfather is signing all the necessary paperwork and agreeing to the adoption. We will be meeting the mother next Friday.
The goal will be to try and stay positive and remembering to be excited. I admit to much more trepidation than last time. I made myself buy baby stuff yesterday and today. But my heart still sank a little when I saw a missed call on my phone from AFTH. It was good news, about the birthfather's decision to sign, but my mind did not go to good news first.
I think visiting with the birthmom will help!
Updates as warrented.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

They Just Keep Coming.

Earlier this week a friend I have met through the adoption process forwarded me an email from her agency. She had a placement last month with a beautiful baby boy through an outside agency. The email was about a situation with a mother in Michigan, pregnant with a biracial boy. While I am not looking for outside situations, we certainly weren't going to ignore one that fell in our lap. We contacted the agency. On Tuesday night, during Wing Night, I received a call from a lawyer in PA. Things get a little convoluted. The mom in Michigan was actually working with a small agency in PA, Adoption Network Associates. They didn't have a family that fit her profile, so Andrea, the lawyer who runs the agency, contacted Keane in Michigan. That was who the email was from, but the call was from Andrea in PA. So we were back and forth on the phone Tuesday, she had a family who wouldn't make up their mind if it was a situation they wanted to pursue. But Andrea really liked us and thought the situation would be a good fit. Finally, Wednesday, she called John and asked us to overnight a profile to the birthmom. Fedex is crazy, yo. And expensive, but would be totally worth it if this worked out.
I talked to Andrea when I sent the profile to ask about an address thing, and I found out that there was another family. They were a biracial couple in their forties with two tweens. It was basically going to come down to how important it was to the birthmom that the family be biracial.
Turns out it was very important. She chose the other family.
Why, Duffy, why did you go into this long story just to give us another disappointment?
Sorry, this is how it plays out, people. I don't make them up, I just write about them. And live through them.
I was more bummed than I thought I was going to be. However, each one gets us a step closer to the right one and provides a lesson, and this time an opportunity. We really liked Andrea at ANA, and she really liked us. They are just a small nonprofit adoption agency. She really wanted us to send her information and even go out and meet her. We are going to pursue that. Even if AFTH comes through soon, we could choose to use ANA for a second adoption in the future.
Birthmom, you are out there. We will wait for you. We will hang in there if you will!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


So we had a situation call this weekend. It was another baby in Harrisburg, a boy born Friday, and the placement was going to be quick. I knew when I hadn't heard anything on Sunday, that this wasn't our time. However, this one at least lead to an adoption. I guess I am disappointed, but really I am more relieved to know that these calls can lead to an adoption. We were the second choice, but the new parents were picked based on location. They were in NYC, and the mother thought that would be a good fit for her baby. I can't fault her for that. I really feel fine about it.
I was also told by the agency that we are the only "traditional" family in the AA program at this time. The SW I was talking to said that she really feels we will be getting a call anytime now as she knows there are mothers in the process of choosing and "traditional" families usually are chosen over less traditional families. People like the familiar.
That information is a double-edged sword!
Do what you do, everyone, to send us the mojo!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Moral Compass Vs. I WANT A BABY NOW

One of the ways in which adoption is like pregnancy is that there are many ways to go about it. Some pregnant women work out for the entire pregnancy. Others until they show. Some not at all. You can find out the gender or not. There are a lot of choices that have no right or wrong. It is a personal choice.
We did a lot of second guessing of our choices. Well, mostly I did. I wish I had the logic and long sighted gene John does.
Before our match we were joining another agency, and I was scouring web sites of agencies who had situations listed that they were having trouble finding families for.
In doing this, I was overlooking some of the original reasons we went with AFTH. First, they are nonprofit. Also they are inclusive allowing single people and gay couples to adopt. They give lifetime support to the birthparents. Yes, it had been a longer wait than we were anticipating. But it is the right wait. The other agency is an amazing agency that has helped create many families. But it never felt "right" for us like it has felt right for others. However, they gave us a wait time of one to three months, and I fixated on that and ignored some of the things that didn't feel like a good fit to me. Some people, even ones I love very much, would say SO WHAT? Do what you need to do to get a baby.
Maybe they are right. All I know is that when that was what I was thinking, I was really unhappy and obsessive.
This is also why we won't be joining the Caucausian program at AFTH. It is not the right fit for us. I was forgetting the reasons why we went into the AA program in the first place. Stepping back from the pain of the last month, I realized that $3,000 can be spent in a much more productive way once we have a beautiful baby with cocoa skin and luscious black curls.
So we are sticking with AFTH. Yes, there have been some foibles. Yes, there are times I wish they ran more like a business than a non-profit. But they make us feel comfortable. Their philosophy fits ours.
I need my life not to be all about the adoption. When I was obsessing with joining a new agency and finding situations with other agencies, I was not in a healthy place. I need to get into a healthy place. Part of that is comparmentilizing the adoption. Right now that means leaving the adoption in AFTH's hands.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Wish List

1. Next time, we get no lead time. I want a call in which we are told to get to a hospital ASAP.
2. If #1 doesn't happen, the birthparent(s) insists on meeting us.
3. Next time is a NJ adoption.
4. I don't care about gender. I'd love a little hermaphrodite.
5. The agency stops needing money, and let's us into the Caucasian program for free instead of waiting until we can come up with $3,000. And the $6,000 more it will cost if we are matched in the program. That's right, kids, non AA babies cost $9,000 more. Civil rights movement, what?
6. The phone rings as soon as I post this.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Where I Stand Now

I hesitate to post this. One of the goal's of this blog was to be completely open and honest about the adoption process not only on a factual level but an emotional one as well. But it is starting to feel like I have some kind of Muenchhausen syndrome, garnering attention through my pain. So this is your warning, if you are tired of listening to my pain, stop reading now. I won't be hurt. Feel free to leave comments telling me to shut up and suck it up. No don't. You know me.

What scares me the most is being consumed by the process. Once we were matched, we knew that on the baby's birthday that someone would be a happy parent(s), and somone would be grieving. We ended up being the grieving ones. And I am starting to feel like that is all I am ever going to feel. I am having trouble seeing the light at the end of the tunnel because I feel like the tunnel has collapsed. My mind knows that is not true, but my heart can't believe that I will be a mom someday. (God, that's a design flaw. Really, the brain should have way more control over the heart. You'd save yourself a lot of messes that way.) I am in constant conflict, and I am afraid I am losing myself to that conflict.
I want a child because my life is wonderful. I want to share that will a little one. I want to know that I can make a baby's life wonderful too and through that make the world a little better. But the process as been so full of sorrow and frustration, I feel like what I have that is so wonderful is dulling. And I don't want that. It will make me bitter and unhappy. I am just not sure what is going to polish it back up.I suppose the polish is supposed to be the baby. That is a lot to put on a little pair of shoulders. I don't want my complete happiness to be riding on this one thing. Parenthood will never be fulfilling that way. And I am also sick of feeling sorry for myself and everyone else feeling sorry for me. I hate getting attention this way. Look at me because my pathetic uterus won't get the job done, and some poor girl dashed my hopes to save her own. (This is the Catch-22 of this blog.)
Those are the down times. They come and go. Ultimately my brain does end up taking back over. I look at John and once again am awed by how much I love him. And then overwhelmed by how much he loves me. Then we laugh about something personal, go on a bike ride, cuddle on the couch with the pets, get frustrated with the dogs, go on a car trip to visit friends, meet family or friends for dinner, or just sleep in, and I feel ever so lucky. The list of life's goals is endless if you let it be. This one goal is proving to be harder than I ever thought possible. I will make sure the other goals that I have will not be overshadowed or destroyed. The struggle has just been more prometheanian these last two weeks. And it doesn't look like it is going to get any easier.
I am glad I have so much support from so many, especially John. That is my buoy. My marriage is my joy that can never be touched by any sadness.
Except maybe the horde of lunchtime plastic containers in his car.

Monday, April 20, 2009

All Quiet on the Western Front

Well not really quiet, but my current level of emotional ability has me contemplating the war story by Erich Remarque. It is the story of German trench soldiers during WWI, and the desensitization to war they go through. Yet they keep on fighting because otherwise there is only death.
We keep on fighting.
There is no choice because we know that we are meant to be parents. It is as simple as that. We will be parents because we make the choice to be.
"It was, he thought, the difference between being dragged into the arena to face a battle to the death and walking into the arena with your head held high. Some people, perhaps, would say that there was little to choose between the two ways, but Dumbledore knew - and so do I, thought Harry, with a rush of fierce pride, and so did my parents - that there was all the difference in the world."
OK, OK, maybe not exactly like that, but you get my point. And I got to get Harry Potter in there, so score!
We cried. We hugged. We got a little drunk. We gathered with family.
And now we move on.
We talked to our SW today to get back into the book.
She emailed us an hour later with a situation they have in MD. She had to contact us because the agency is not licensed in MD, so we would need to pay a fee to a lawyer in MD to take care of the paperwork.
No other information than that. We will keep you posted.

We are also considering joining the Caucasian program (which means White, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, and any combination) just to open ourselves to more families.
We are not, at this time, continuing with the national agency we were starting out with before this disappointment came up. It doesn't feel right for us. We like AFTH.
We will be starting the homestudy renewal as well. It is only good for a year, and it was completed last May 10th. Time flies when you are having fun, doesn't it?

Thanks to everyone for all of your support, both during the good and the bad. It means a lot to us.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


The baby was born this morning, and the birth mother has decided to parent her.
We wish her the best of luck.
My head tells me that I would never want a baby when the mother would have any regrets and could think it was not the best decision.
My heart is having a little trouble catching on.
Please don't make any comments, calls, tweets, texts, emails, etc. We need to process and grieve on our own for a little while. We will let everyone know when we are back on track.
Thank you for all of your support. It means a lot to us.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A little more information - spoiler alert!

While the birth mother has been unsure about sharing the baby's gender (We figured she didn't know.), we found out today that it appears to be a little girl! Now she just has to decide it's time to make an appearance.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

No, this is not THE POST

Just wanted everyone to know that we are still on baby watch, waiting for the phone to ring. In the meantime, the nursery is all ready to go!

I am having a little trouble fighting off some paranoia about this all slipping through our fingers. It's not bad, but every once in a while I get a little panic attack. I then try and find something baby related to do. I am officially done with school for the year as leaving on the last day before Spring Break was the least disruptive for everyone, but it means a lot of time on my hands. I am doing the best to relax since there won't be much time for that soon. Still I am not use to this much leisure time. It's a tad disconcerting.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dear Little One

I want you to know that I haven't been sleeping . . . see, we're waiting for a phone call, and my mind is on high alert. Each little noise - the wind, a dog's snore, my own creaky joints creaking - makes me think that it might be a phone ringing, and I'm waking myself up, just in case

I want you to know that I'm more excited than I've ever been in my life. I've had some great moments, but this is pushing all of them aside.

I want you to know that you're entering into a world that is going to love you. People I barely know can't wait to hear about you. People love you without even knowing your name. Everybody is just so excited for your arrival.

I want you to know that I'm scared. You're going to be quite the responsibility -- I've never doubted my ability or desire to be a father, but I hope I don't let you down.

I want you to know that I'm going to spoil you. Sure, I'll put up a hard face sometimes, but you'll likely always, always win.

I want you to know that family is not just blood -- you're going to have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins -- some will be related to you, some will not. All of them will love you.

I want you to know that I can't wait to introduce you to everybody. I don't know your name yet, but you're already my pride & joy.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We succumbed and registered at Target. The little drool machines are expensive.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Dear Baby

Dear Baby,

It is not my heart you live beneath. The steady rhythm of my life is not your lullaby. My breath does not sustain you. It will not be my sweat and pain that will bring you into the world. I am in awe of your mother who possesses the wisdom of Solomon and the bravery of the mother who loves you so much she will give us a piece of herself. It will be my job to teach you to lift your head high and sing the story of all who love you as a proud heir to the imperfect world.
Then you will be my heart. My voice will be your lullaby. My sweat and pain will be part of your growing and loving as will my laugh and kisses and hugs.
When we meet you our family will be complete.
Please hurry!
Love, Mommy

Friday, March 20, 2009

And that day is now

For the faithful were patient -- and were at last rewarded

-- Not a Bible passage, but it's been running through John's head

Just got a phone call from Adoption from the Heart. Duffy & I are going to be parents! Details are still scarce, and our brains are working really, really, really fast right now -- will post details as details become apparent.

  • Birthmother is 22 years old

  • Birthfather is a 35 year old asshole -- location unknown. Legal steps are being taken to ensure that he has no claim to the child after birth

  • Due date is April 7

  • All signs point toward a healthy baby -- a slightly elevated pre-natal glucose level (but tnot to the level of gestational diabetes)

  • Birthmother is currently in West Virginia, but has had all pre-natal care in central PA and plans to give birth in central PA

  • Birthmother's mother is 100% supportive of her daughter's decision

  • Sex of the child is unknown at this time

  • Birthmother has not yet decided if she wants to meet Duffy or I right now

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Profile

Here is the profile for American. It is much more extensive the AFTH because they do not do a video. I think both ways have their merits.

American Profile

Here is a link to the entry about the AFTH profile if you want to compare.

AFTH Profile

FYI - There is no way to take a picture of three dogs, two humans, and a cat on a camera timer delay. I also decided I was going nuts and putting a lot of other frustration on this stupid picture. I am going to leave it alone. The current picture is fine. It's not going to make the difference. Next time someone is around, I will try and get him or her (read Alex) to take the picture.

Observing My Own Behavior

The first thing anyone who is adopting must do it embrace the uncontrollable nature of the process. "I am a leaf on the wind.", so to speak. You are along for the ride as there is only so much you can do. You can tilt a certain way to keep the leaf on course, but ultimately you are not allowed to make any important decisions until the baby is here, and the appropriate paperwork is signed. So what do you do? When you are allowed to, you tilt that leaf with all of your might. You become obsessed with moving that leaf any which way you can to make it go just a little faster.
Case in point. We are finishing up our profile with American Adoptions. J has asked us for a better picture of us with our pets than the one we sent. Can you guess what my day is now revolving around? Ding! You got.
Can I convince John to play sick and go home right now, so we can take the picture and send it today?
OK, no.
Can we do it tonight, so it gets there tomorrow?
How the heck are we going to get them all together and have to set the camera timer because by the time we are both home it is going to be 9 PM and I can't ask someone to come over at that hour to take the picture? (This obsession overrides even my need to correct all run-ons.)
Where are we going to do it?
Should I brush the dogs beforehand?
Should I put a bow on Pip?
Well, you get the idea. Because I have no idea what one little thing is going make a birth parent catch our leaf.
And somewhere inbetween these thoughts I have to mold the literary minds of the future.
And teach a bunch of high school kids some appreciation for Shakespeare.
And work out.
And bond with my brother over clay.
And complete a Masters Degree.

This blog entry is dedicated to Joss & Wash.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

It Could Have Been My Due Date

Here is a secret hope of potential adoptive parents. At least this potential adoptive parent. You can get a kid in less than nine months. It's one thing we have over all of you breeders.
Well, today was nine months to the day that we went on the waiting list with AFTH.
Anyway, moving on.
First, Zoe for Life. Yeah, remember them? The Orthodox organization that works with women in crisis pregnancies? The one we sent info to in December and never heard anything? Then I finally called in January and was told that we had to be approved by some committee? Right. I knew you all remembered. Well, I finally heard from a very nice overworked lady. Apparently we have been in their adoption book since we sent the stuff in December.
Right. Good, I guess?
Moving on.
We talked with our Adoption Specialist, hence forth known as J, from American Adoptions,today. She did a review of our Adoptive Parent Questionnaire, hence forth, the APQ. This is the document used to match us with potential birthmoms. She feels that we have a good level of openness that will give us a high level of exposure. Yes, I assure you this is an adoption and not our latest advertising campaign. Wait, on second thought....
That is EXACTLY what it is.
American has a template for the profile. We had to send them text and a lot of pictures, including at least 8 to 10 of us as a couple. That was hard. We are always the ones taking pictures. Anyway, the graphic design company should be sending us a copy early next week. J will make some revision suggestions, and we will send any changes. We should be ready to go active in two to three weeks.
American is also not opposed to giving wait time estimates.
J said the stastics show that we should be matched within three months.
There would have been no question mark nine months ago.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Blergh, PA, Blergh

So my fingerprints expired as I explained before. (I should rob something.) The fingerprinting place is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:15 to 11:15 and then from 12:15 to 3:45 when there is a full moon and cows walk backwards.
I went there today because, you know, this is kinda important. I need the friggin' FBI's permission to be a parent. If only gang members did too. ANYWAY, I get there and....
Oh, and there is a phone number.
So I call.
THE ENTIRE COGENT (The company that handles fingerprinting) SYSTEM FOR PA WAS DOWN. THE. ENTIRE. SYSTEM.
My will, she is broken. My uterus couldn't do it even with the ovaries help. It took the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the bloated vender that they hired. At least it wasn't Halliburton.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Well, my honors students are dutifully plugging away at the research notes, so I have a couple of minutes to share news.
The mother in Georgia chose a family who already had children as she wanted her daughter to have siblings. Now, that is totally her right. I can understand that. I want my children to have siblings, hence the plural. However, that cannot happen until we have a first child. It has to happen to somebody. Most of us survive quite well until siblings come along. I know that there were several placements with AFTH for which we were probably considered, but mothers picked families with children. It's like the job interview that you nail, but they want you to have more experience. How can you get the experience if they won't give you the job?
Plus, you know there is nothing like trying to explain your life, relationship, views on adoption and parenthood, and personality in 500 words or less along with a handful of pictures. It's like an open house for your souls. Hm, they could have cleaned up more before letting people in. It's a little dusty in the religion center. Not sure how I feel about that.
Anyway, onward and upward. This at least means that all the paperwork we did last week and weekend are not in vain. American should have our materials in hand by now, so we will keep you posted on any movement with them. Our SW at AFTH is working on sending them materials American needs for the home study. Balls are in the air (heh). And of course there is always the chance we will receive a call from AFTH at all times.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

A Pithy Title Is Just Not Coming to Me

Hello to All, I figured it was time for an update.
In our mailbox currently waiting for the mailman on Monday is a package of materials for American Adoptions. It includes 64 pictures and an eight page word document all of which is supposed to explain us to birth parents. There is also the APQ, Adoptive Parent Questionnaire, which covers all of the circumstances of a situation we would be comfortable with. They also sneak a quiz in there. They don't call it a quiz, but there are questions that you can only answer if you have read their 80 page manual. This is all stuff that we covered with our current agency in meetings and seminars. A national agency can't do that, so manual.
Another difference is that they use a graphics company to complete the profile, hence why we had to send pictures and a word doc instead of creating our own. This one will also be four pages long and cover a lot more than our current profile does. However, they don't do videos, so give and take. The give and take includes the fees.
Our SW at AFTH will also have to send them some information to update our home study. The more states involved with an agency the more guidelines you have to meet. And I have to get refingerprint which I don't get. THEY HAVEN'T CHANGED.
So that is where we stand with that. HOWEVER.....
We also know that American has sent our profile to a mother in GA who is looking to place her baby girl who will be born in March. This was another situation that the agency presented on the web site. So we will probably know something about that early this week. She had a good number of families to look at, so it's another dart board situation.
Of course, she will probably pick us now that we have finished all of the paperwork to join the agency. Because that's the way Murphy rolls.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Not This Time

I received an email from American Adoptions yesterday informing us that the birth mother chose another family.
We really liked the interaction with American Adoptions, so we are going ahead and joining. We originally shied away from a large agency because we didn't want to have to pay a lot of travel expenses, but they have a real need for families in their African American program. Larger means a bigger budget for marketing. The only thing I have really found unpleasant is that they require couples to be married which is a way of leaving out single parents and gay couples.
And we are having to really look at the finances. Yet another consequence of the economy is that there are more babies in the adoption system but less families able to afford adoption. We are feeling that pinch a little too. Our savings has taken a hit, and if we end up adopting through American, it isn't really more money than AFTH, but it is more at one big lump sum.
Personally, I am still pulling for AFTH. They are more local, more open, and can insure a SW will be at the hospital which American can't. But at this point, we want ourselves out there as much as possible.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Postive Thoughts Are Needed

Remember when I mentioned the national agency? Well, sometimes when they have unique situations they post them on their web site. Sometimes the birthmoms have specific requests like religion or couples who live in the same state or area. Sometimes it is sad things like drug exposure or health problems. Sometimes it's not. The wife component of the couple we know who are awaiting an adoption through American Adoptions sent me an email today about one of the situations. It is a set of twins in North Carolina due in April. They are full African American which seems to be the reason that they are having some placement trouble. Obama is just a step people! He hasn't ended racism. Be watchful and insistant in our vigilance for equality.
Anyway, there are a couple of things we have to do, but it looks like we are going to be considered by this birthmom. We had to send the profile we did for AFTH, and AFTH has to send them a copy of our home study. If we end up matched we will have to do a little scrambling as it is twice as much as we were planning on spending, but well two kids, we're done, and we get the double tax credit. We will figure it out. Where there's a will and all of that....
So thoughts and prays and all of that. Again. And again until it's right.
Oh, they are a boy and a girl.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Pet Peeve

Did anyone see this “movie”, Expecting a Miracle on the hallmark channel? Probably not because most of you have something better to do on a Friday night than watch the Hallmark Channel even if you are at home watching TV. I, however, had a tetanus shot on Wednesday that has taken me down like the flu. The only thing on that might have been worse was the car auctions on Speed. Anyway...

Basically, a couple, played by Jason Priestley (When did he get bow-legged? Is that a result of prison?) and Terri Polo (who I use to like), who after years of infertility treatments is on the verge of divorce. A magical Mexican village (where everyone speaks perfect English, of course) and its inhabitants (Boy, have Cheech's and Chong's careers diverged.) help then find each other again, and they decide to adopt. SPOILER: At the end of the movie they are filling out adoption paperwork when the wife gets sick. Of course she is pregnant.

OK, yes, we are adopting because of infertility. If I got pregnant at this point, I would be excited, but no more so than I would be if we got THE CALL. I do not see pregnancy as better than an adoption. I will admit, I think getting pregnant is overall a more straightforward way of getting a kid, but not a better one. Society may play lip service to adoption as an option, but it is still seen as second rate. Yes, it has been a really hard journey to be on, but really isn't pregnancy as well? OK, they are different, but still they both have their ups and downs. And the end result is the same, only I won't have pooped in front of people or have stretch marks.

By the way, the down I was going through earlier this week is swinging back up. You know me, I don't stay down for long. Love you all!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Punch Drunk

I couldn't write the entry on the situation that came up over break. It was too raw. There were way too many conflicting emotions for me to write of it in any kind of clarity. So John had to bounce that one. This one falls to me.
John received a call today asking if we wanted to be shown to a mother who had done heroine everyday for the first two trimesters. He said no. Someone is made to love that baby, I know that in my heart. It is just not us. The feelings that are rolled up in that run the gambit from guilt to anger to numbness. There is such a thrill that runs through you when you answer the phone, and it is the agency. The deflation when you realize it is not THE CALL or even one that can lead to THE CALL is truly the most depressing feeling I have ever had. It makes it hard to remember or even want to breathe. There have been days when I have to mentally tell myself to put on your shoes, turn the key, talked to the students, write your lesson plans, workout, eat dinner, pet the dog, brush your teeth, go to sleep, because it all feels fake. It doesn't feel like the life I am suppose to be living. I should be home, sleep deprived, unable to shower, covered in odd smells from baby powder to spit up.
So I wish I could be more uplifting. I wish I could show all of you the optimism I know is buried in me somewhere. I am sorry to add my burden to whatever you carry for yourself and know that there are more out there worrying for me. I don't like to feel worried over. I don't like to garner everyone's pity. All I can say is that I promised when I started this blog that it would be completely honest. Unfortunately, honesty can be ugly and unwanted.
However, anyone who knows me will know that soon enough I will be writing a post that will make everyone laugh and relieve some of the worry I know I have placed on others.
On some more factual and concrete issues.
We are a little worried about the state of our agency. They closed the Harrisburg office and consolidated it with the Lancaster office without informing anyone. This is the second office they closed this year. There have been some lay offs. There are small signs that it might be a sinking ship. We have started to consider a national agency with which two couples we know have had placements within a couple of months of joining. We will wait a little while longer as there are some negatives like national means national. We could go to any state in the nation. Also because of that size, there won't necessarily be the support in the hospital there would be with AFTH. And it will be more money, of course. But we are starting to consider the options especially since our home study will need to be renewed in May costing another $750 (I think.) and meaning we have to go through things like another fingerprinting. Which I don't get. They have them on file. Just run them again. Ah, the bureaucracy of the FBI.
Nothing from ZOE for Life. I wrote them a check at the beginning of December, and it hasn't been cashed yet. I talked to a representative right after the holidays. She said they had our materials, but we need to be approved by a committee. I will let anyone know if or when more comes from that organization. I have a feeling they are pretty understaffed and a lot of it is volunteer based, so patience and understanding.
Until then... STOP WORRYING. We're fine. Really. We laugh a lot. OK, Snick is ready for our evening popcorn session.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

When Forced to Say "No"

We had a wonderful holiday break -- but we have a bit of news to report, and this news isn't super-super easy to write about -- please bear with me if I ramble a bit.

On December 30 (my birthday), Duffy's phone rang from an unrecognized number -- it turned out to be a caller from Adoption From the Heart, mentioning that there was a special situation brewing and they needed to consult us immediately. In New Jersey (home to the most adoptive parent-friendly adoption laws in the union), a mother of two was experiencing financial difficulties, and was planning on the creation of an adoption plan for her children. There was a five-month-old girl and a 22-month-old boy.

We got as much information as we could, but not a whole lot was known by the social worker. After listening to everything as described, we asked for some time to talk things over and offered to call the social worker back. The "pro" in this situation was that we could become parents (note that we were only giving our permission to be in the profile book -- there is no guarantee that we would have been chosen, or even that we were a good bet to be chosen), and that is a pretty big pro. The problem was that we came up with several cons -- each of them seemingly insignificant, but they were adding up quickly.

First, the age of the children would be quite difficult to get over. One of the first pieces of advice given to parents of international adoption is to not allow anybody but the parents of the child to hold said child for several months -- this isn't to be snooty, it's just that the early bonds between parent and child aren't there, and this helps to build those. Children of international adoption typically range from three to six months in age, so the younger of these children falls into that -- the older child would be the equivalent of a foster adoption.

Next comes items directly related to age: we wouldn't get to use the names we've been working on, we wouldn't have been there for the first step, the first words -- we'd be completely changing existing routines. Of course, next are disciplinary issues - we just wouldn't know if there were any, what was done, etc. etc.

Finally, there are items adjacent to the financial issues. While the agency had every belief that the children were healthy - if a single mother is having difficulties making ends meet, what are the chances that the children have been in for regular checkups? I know I'm making a huge leap of logic here - but there is just a ton of stuff that we wanted to know, but could not ask directly (only through the agency, and then we had to rely on what the social worker was willing to share with us, and because of the timing of this all, it was unlikely that the birthmother could be asked said questions before an adoption plan was created).

In the end, this just didn't feel like "the situation" in our guts. We know that situation will be coming -- but this wasn't it. We asked that we not be considered in the list of potential profiles.