Thursday, April 30, 2009
8 Things I Am Looking Forward To:
- Warm weather to remain- not 80 one day and 40 the next- ugh
- Going out of town for 4 days next week
- Getting out the spring/summer wardrobe
- Wearing flip flops everyday
- Having BBQ's
- Finishing my book
- Painting my shutters and trim
- Going on the boat
8 Things I Did Yesterday: (these are so out of order)
- Found out PFM is going to be in Parents Magazine
- Made a new friend
- Started reading "Navigating the Land of IF" (awesome first 45 pages)
- Took a nap
- Had breakfast with Luv Bug and his Ooma and Papa
- Had a glass of champagne
- Picked up my newly upholstered footstool
- Tried to save money
8 Things I Wish I Could Do:
- Finish all my painting projects
- Stumble upon wealth
- Go shopping!
- Get a manicure
- Weed my gardens- they're a wreck
- Get a really good nights sleep
- Have the talent and motivation to cook and prepare good dinners for my family
- Be in a muscial (sounds hokey but I love to sing)
8 Shows I Watch:
- The Biggest Loser
- 60 Minutes
- CBS Sunday Morning
- Yo Gabba Gabba (not my choice)
- Throw Down with Bobby Flay (what a hunk of a man) on Food Network
- Law and Order
- Honestly, usually whatever hubby has on. I don't really care about TV. And, I never have control of the remote, ever!
8 Things I would do with some extra cash (if I had any):
- Buy a nice dress
- Buy paint and supplies to re-decorate my office
- Get my car detailed and thoroughly cleaned
- Buy a couple of hydrangea bushes
- Get a mani-pedi
- Have my palm read - JUST KIDDING
- Buy a case of Swedish Hill Champagne
- Pay someone to clean all 22 windows in my house
8 Places I'd Like to Travel:
- Go back to Italia ( I lived there for 4 months in college. My degree is in Italian)
- The North West- Washington, Oregan, Wyoming
- Martha's Vineyard
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
One of the biggest choices for people to make when considering adoption is domestic or international.
Some other big decisions to make include:
- Age of child
- Would you accept special needs
- Openness of adoption- there are more options for dometic adoption than international
- Finding an agency
- Using an agency or going through an adoption attorney- if you don't go through an agency it is the prospective parents job to locate their own birth mother. (I will go over this in more detail later)
- If international, choosing a country and program
- Average wait time for a referral (when the prospective parents are matched with a child)
- Average wait time after receiving referral (when the child will come home)
- What is the country's policy on adoptive parents travelling to country (how many times, how long do they need to stay?)
- The costs
- How to pay for the adoption
As you can see there are many, many decisions to be made when tackling adoption. The decision to pursue adoption is overwhelming by itself. For many people the choice means the loss of a biological child and pregnancy. While the potential adoptive parents are excited at the prospect of adopting, there remains grief caused by infertility and loss. That is why when people flippantly say, "Why don't you just adopt?" they have no idea what an uneducated and insensitive comment they are making.
It's almost like saying to someone who is facing a life threatening illness, "Why don't you just take vitamins and go to yoga classes." No big deal.
First I will tackle the costs involved.
The following information is from an article in Adoptive Families Magazine. I could list the fees associated with my own international adoption, but these figures offer a wider scope.
Keep in mind this is simply an overview.
Note- The federal government currently offers a tax credit to adoptive parents in the amount of $11,650 in 2008. However, you can only file for this credit in the year the adoption was finalized. For example, our son came home in June 2008. It was our agency's policy to monitor us for six months before releasing our paperwork and allowing us to pursue the finalization of our adoption. This process then took another five months. We will now have to wait to file for the tax credit on our 2009 tax return; therefore, we will have waited nearly 2 years to receive the tax credit to help pay for our adoption.
During 2007-2008 the average cost of any adoption ranged from $25,000-$30,000.
In general, international adoption costs more than domestic. However, part of this is due to the fact that adopting from the foster care system can cost nothing or very little.
Countries offering international adoption vary in costs. Ethiopia is listed as the least expensive program with an average cost of $20,000. Russia is listed as the most expensive program on average at $35,000+. Our adoption from Korea cost $25,000 (through our agency) which as stated before falls in the median cost for adoption in general.
To be continued...
a cure for endometriosis.
Easily put- there is no cure for endometriosis. Read the post for all the details and facts, very informative and eye opening, and I have endo.
Mama of 3 Munchins has given me this awesome award.
And Random Elly nominated me as well.
Thank you ladies!
To accept and pass this award on I must list 7 awesome things about myself. I will try (7 is so few- just kidding!!)
1. I am very empathetic. (My husband says sometimes too much) Can you ever be too empathetic?
2. I try to be very thoughtful and make people feel special. I love giving gifts. Ofcoarse that has been tabled somewhat b/c of the economy. I have will to get a little craftier with my limited gift -giving budget. Look out everyone, you may be getting some homemade goodies.
3. I am a good driver- no tickets! One accident but totally not my fault. I was side swiped by a teen-ager who was reaching for her cell phone. Duh, don't admit that's what you were doing. It's illegal to drive and talk on a cell phone in NYS. Oh and I scraped a yellow poll while going through the ATM- again totally not my fault! They have since removed that poll!
4. I am pretty good and decorating and design- a huge love of mine.
5. I really think before I speak (usually). I don't ever want to sound preachy or all-knowing.
6. As my mom used to say, I have hair that ladies pay lots of money to get- curly.
7. I can articulate how I am feeling. It is what has helped me get through IF.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
When AJ and I picked up Lucy (our dog) 6 1/2 years ago, she was a tiny puppy of 7 weeks. We had just moved into our first house, and I had always wanted a dog. AJ had dogs growing up and was excited to have a puppy once again. We found Lucy through an ad in the paper and drove 2 1/2 hours to get her. She was the cutest little thing ever. Brittany Spaniels are hyper dogs but docile and good family dogs and very smart. They are born and bred to hunt and they are amazing runners. We visit the website brittanyspanielrescue.com a lot; well, not so much anymore, but there was a time when we considered getting Lucy a brother. This was when human babies seemed like they would never enter our lives. Anyway, on brittanyrescue you will find many dogs that need loving homes and 99.9% of their profiles say, 'needs fenced in yard.' They need to run and exercise but tend to run out of their boundaries because they are 'hunting.'
When Lucy comes up to our cottage, she runs outside on her dog run for eight hours straight. She barely stops for food and water (and she loves to eat).When hunters take brittany's out, they take 2. One rests while the other hunts, and then they switch. The reason for this is that these dogs would literally run themselves to death or injury. They do not know how to stop or relax.
Last week we got our new huge yard fenced in. It was a moment we had been waiting for since we purchased the home last July. The cost of the fence forced us to wait until this season. I was so excited for them to come and put up the fence. We kept telling Lu she was in for a big surprise. I knew the fence would allow me peace of mind with Luv Bug as well because we live on a busy road. I just could not wait to see Lu and Luv Bug playing in the yard together.
It has been a long winter of taking Lucy out on her leash to go potty. In fact, she is the reason I hurt my shoulder.
After they finished the fence I waited for AJ to come home so we could let Lu run and run and run. We had never seen her run in a space that big. She had never been able to run to her hearts content (except the four times she got away!).
AJ got home and we all went outside and watched Lucy take off. My little baby finally had her yard. She could finally explore and run and sniff and hunt and be outside with the whole family, our new whole family. I cried and cried as I watched her run around. It was so emotional for me because I realized how badly I had felt for Lucy all these years, how guilty I felt that she didn't have a large space to run in, guilty for not training her better when she was a puppy, sad for myself because I hated always having her tied up. I wanted to spend more time with her outside, where she loves to be. I love that dog more than anything. I'm crying now as I write this because she has gotten me through so many awful days. I was so thrilled to be able to return the favor and give her the gift of free space to RUN. And, run she will- all summer long. She also loves the snow. She is enamored with being outside.
When we brought her in I hugged her so hard and kept saying, you finally got your yard. I mentioned to AJ that it was like filling in the last piece of the puzzle. For so long there were so many things that made us angry about our lives- we couldn't have children, we hated our house, we hated the fact that it cost us so much money to have a family, Lucy had a tiny little yard to play in- we were pissed.
The day Lucy got her yard it became clear that there was nothing left to hate or be mad about. I did not realize what a crucial part Lucy's happiness played in my happiness. She is a huge part of our family and before I could not give her what she needed to be happy.
Everything is here now. Everything is in the palm of our hand. Everything.
Monday, April 27, 2009
We got our fence installed and Lucy is able to run around and play outside with the family now. That in itself is a dream come true. I have never seen my 6 year old dog run freely. I will post more about that later because it was truly an emotional moment to see her after the fence was put in last week.
I looked around my yard and saw a new beginning. Our first full summer as a family in our new fabulous house and yard.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
The ABC's of Me
A: Abigail, the name of my wonderful niece
B: Breakfast. My favorite meal of the day.
C: Claire, the name of my other wonderful niece
D: Delaware- University of Delaware, my Alma Mater. What a beautiful and wonderful school.
E: Ellicottville, NY. One of our favorite little towns to visit in WNY.
F: February. My birthday month.
G: German. Part of my heritage along with Irish.
H: Hawaii. Where my brother in law and cousin live!
I: Islands. The Thousand Islands is one of the most beautiful places in the country. We have our family cottage there.
J: Job. Something I am thankful to have right now!
K: Korea: My son's birth country.
L: Lake. I live on the smallest Great Lake, Lake Ontario. It is 2 miles from my home.
M: Milton, Ontario Canada. Where many of my relatives live.
N: Non profit. My newest endeavor.
O: Ovaries. They have caused me a lot of grief.
P: Parenthood for Me.org- Check us out!
Q: My least favorite letter when playing scrabble.
R: Riposare- Means to rest in Italian.
S: Spain- Where I lived for four months studying abroad in college.
T: Tea. Green tea is healthy for you and a good way to help lose weight. When hungry have some tea.
U: Upside down, inside out. My explanation of infertility.
V: Vineyard. Where my husband and I got married.
W: Walther Realtors. The name of my father's business that he started in 1975. I have worked there for 6 years.
X: seX in the city. One of my favorite shows of all time.
Y: Yaya- My new bloggy friend who happens to live very close to me.
Z: Zeke- A cool boys name.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
This is another parallel to infertility. It often takes months or years of trial and error with blood test, surgeries, and ART to determine exactly what is the reason for not conceiving or having recurring miscarriages. Hopefully the full diagnosis is discovered and will allow the woman to have a successful pregnancy.
I have thought many times of revealing my mental illness challenges but have been afraid of the reaction. Mental illness is very similar to infertility because it too is a disease that people cannot "see." The effects of the illnesses are internal and the grief and pain associated with them are not obvious. Both of these diseases often are not accepted by the general public as being justifiable or "real." There is a huge stigma placed on people who are mentally ill, and there is also a complete disregard for those suffering from infertility. Both conditions can be perceived as a choice; they are not like cancer, MS or diabetes- all life threatening illnesses. The difference lies in the legitimacy placed on mental illness and infertility as being actual diseases where one absolutely needs to seek medical treatment.
Some of the things people say to infertiles and people with mental illness are so completely insensitive and ignorant. I don't think anyone would consider telling someone diagnosed with Leukemia to just take a vacation and the cancer cells will disappear on their own. There would be a steadfast reaction by family and friends to help the patient receive the best care possible in order to save their life. While infertility may not kill you. It can definitely kill your spirit and take a once happy and fulfilled life and turn it around completely. And, there are conditions like endo, ovarian cysts, and PCOS that can cause great health concerns if not properly diagnosed and treated. Mental illness can kill someone if gone untreated by a medical doctor- suicide is sometimes seen as the only way out for very sick patients. The sad fact is that these deaths can be prevented if a patient is cognoscente and able to seek treatments and is willing to succumb to their illness and accept that they need help. Depression, bi-polar disorder, OCD, eating disorders should be treated with the same serious reactions as many other life threatening conditions.
I am no stranger to suffering in silence because the ailments that are a part of my life are not easily explained or understood by most people. I have been as open as I can be with many people in my life about my mental illnesses, but I know that I am misunderstood. I know that unless you have depression or bipolar disorder or OCD, you cannot possibly comprehend what it feels like. I feel as though mental illness is even harder for the average person to understand. It is such an abstract disease and those with the illness have many different ways of reacting.
As for infertility it is hard for people to really "get" the grief involved because it is not accepted as an actual disease but rather pegged as something couples have to get over and "fix" and then there will be a baby. We have all heard the reactions by many people when hearing that TTC has resulted in infertility issues. "You're young, you're not doing it right, have you tried this? It'll be fine." They are all dismissive and hurtful.
Thankfully there are people out there who do understand how difficult it must be not to have a child to love because the child is a tangible thing to help support understanding for the physical loss and grief that is lacking in an infertile's life. Many people can understand the pain of not being able to have children when all the people around them are moving on with life and becoming parents.
Mental illness and all the conditions and side effects that go along with it ultimately reflect nothing concrete for people to grasp onto to allow a deeper level of understanding. They don't comprehend how debilitating these diseases can be. They may observe someone as being lazy, anti-social, a poor worker if they cannot hold a job or complaining about a problem that they should be able to "snap out of. "
I guess I don't know which is harder to try and explain to people-infertility or mental illness. All I know is that they have both filled my life with many challenges. I have fought what seemed like a no-win situation for myself and I sunk deeper and deeper into depression. Things would get better, but then inevitably I would find myself in a silent, lonely black hole.
My diagnosis of depression and anxiety came a couple of years before TTC. I sank unknowingly into a very deep depression at the age of 23. After receiving therapy I realized that I have had depression and general social anxiety since I was very young. I was always extremely shy and sensitive and my feelings and social challenges of acne, body changes, and trying to fit in were explained as normal feelings for a teenager. College was challenging for me, and I was very depressed all 4 years, but I never understood it to be more than my personality and introverted personality; therefore I never sought any help. I thought my mood swings, lack of self confidence, and anxiety in social situations were just part of my personality. I have what is called dysthmia. I was not bound to my bed or having break downs; the average day is a more manageable depression but a serious condition nonetheless because it can turn into a more grave episode. I was a highly functioning depressive and masked my problems and internalized my heartache. That is was most depressed people do (especially women); they beat themselves up for feeling the way they do thus creating a never ending cycle of feeling bad about oneself and sinking further into depression.
The habit is broken for many people by a combination of talk therapy and medication. That is how I have gotten through the past 8 years. But, it wasn't until 2 years ago that I self diagnosesd my OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which completed the puzzle of why I continued to struggle withmy day to day life. My depression did not get worse due to the strain of infertility. I had been getting help for a couple of years before we hit the really hard times of TTC. I had my moments, believe me, but they were more manageable because I was talking to a therapist and taking meds. I knew I needed to continue with my health plan because of the stress and strain of IF.
One of the ironic parts of my TTC journey is how things began for us. When I told my doc that I was going off the pill six months into marriage, she advised that she didn't think it was a good idea. I wasn't well enough to become a mother. I needed more time to work on myself and get past some of the issues that had been fueling my depression. I didn't listen to her because who wants to be told they can't try and have a baby? We talked about the effect of taking medications while pregnant and studies show that it is okay for the babies health. She explained that many women take the meds until the last tri-mester when the baby is more developed. You don't want the baby,who will have some of the drugs in their system to go through withdrawal symptoms after being born. Some women elect to stop taking their medications completely. There is risk involved with their mental well being while being pregnant, but if closely monitored it may be a better alternative. Every case is different. In order to combat post-partum depression, women immediately go back on their medication after the baby is born. It can takes two weeks or more for the medications to build up in the blood levels and begin to work. Anyway, my point is that I thought my biggest challenges when TTC would be battling my depression. I was told that I would not be able to breastfeed my babies because I had to be on meds. This was very disappointing. I was also warned that if I had a difficult pregnancy due to depression, I may only be able to have one child. This too was devastating news. Now I can't help but chuckle at how naive I was at the time. The amount of different challenges that came my way made these first conflicts seem miniscule. Who knew that the baby would never come, thus making worries about depression and breastfeeding completely irrelevant?
Most likely I will post more about my experiences with depression. It is a part of my life and maybe this will help some other women and men. I can only hope that readers of this post will not judge me because they do not understand mental illness. I am a highly functioning and generally happy person that needs help coping with a challenging mental condition. These things do not define me just as infertility does not define me. They just happen to be one part of who I am and where my life has taken me.
This is an important issue to discuss as it pertains to the life crisis of infertility and loss. Many infertiles experience situational depression, and the positive outcome of finding a therapist or support group to let out emotions is something I have experienced personally and cannot endorse enough. There are some things in life that we simply cannot deal with on our own.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This phrase sums up my husband and I. We are a phenom to be studied by PhD's and MD's all over the world. Yes, it is possible to always think the exact opposite thing as your spouse. After 9 years of being together and 7 years of living together this should not continue to come as a surprise to me, but it does. I know opposites attract, but what about two people whose brains think on two completely different wave lengths? Thank goodness we agree on the major issues in life otherwise we wouldn't have gotten married or still be married.
Some of our opposites are the obvious reasons why 2 different people may be attracted to each other.
- I don't talk a lot but my husband could go on for hours
- I go to sleep early and he can stay up all night
- He likes to watch TV for his down time, and I like to sew, write or read a book
- Breakfast is my favorite meal and his is dinner (planning dinner is usually pretty interesting for someone who could eat cereal for all 3 meals).
When it comes to how we problem solve or work things out in our minds, amazingly we come up with 2 different ways to do things. For example, if we have to move a piece of furniture like a couch, I will attempt to walk it forward, and he will attempt to turn it- opposite. There are 2 ways to pull out of our driveway to get to the same destination. I always go right and he always goes left- opposite. I like chocolate ice cream and he likes vanilla- opposite. He loves the woods and wants to retire and live in a log cabin that he helps build and design. I have agreed to plan on this, but I am scared of the woods. I know. Crazy. He could sit in the woods all day just listening to nature. I am constantly looking over my shoulder for bears or something else big and scary.
This is different than Mars and Venus and how men and women deal with emotions and communication. We have that covered since going through infertility. We have a lot more work to do before we are a part of the Elite Communicators List but we grew a lot as a couple in the first 5 years of our marriage because we were tested.
It seems like many of the day to day decisions and ramblings are challenging for us because of the complete opposite way we think. We go to leave the house and I think we are taking one car and he gets into our other car. Exasperating! He wants to have steak every night for dinner. Besides that being a horrible choice for his health, I don't like meat.
Maybe we're not alone. Maybe these little daily challenges of being in a relationship are similar to your situation. I have no idea. Sometimes I/we can anticipate that the other person is going to be think B when it's supposed to be A and we concede on doing it the right way. But, then an opposite moment will rear it's ugly head when the right way to do something is so obvious. Get my drift? Like t-shirts should be folded in half and not in thirds or bowls should go in this portion of the dishwasher and not that one.
Just so you know we do happen to love many of the same things- thank goodness, right?
- Our favorite drink is Swedish Hill Champagne- a winery here in the Finger Lakes
- When we go on vacation, we do not like to be over scheduled. In fact, we hate to have a schedule at all.
- We both think our son is hilarious
- We both knew we wanted to adopt
- We easily agreed on where to get married
- I came up with the name of our dog, but he knew right away it was the perfect name for her
Noticing the little things that we enjoy together or the times we when we are in sync with one another make all the disagreements and complicated moments worthwhile. When we experience of those exhilarating blips in time when we are both thinking the same thing, I forget about little details like the fact that he feels it is imperative to put the toothpaste in the medicine cabinet and I like to leave it on the sink top; it's tooth brushing accessibility is increased there, don't ya know?
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
After becoming a parent I have heard so many times that you blink and childhood is gone. I have already noticed how quickly Luv Bug has changed just in ten months. I can see the years flying by and instead of hanging out with our friends and their children fending off toddlers and breaking up fights over sharing, we will be hunting down keg parties and trying to figure out where the kids took the car. I can imagine my kids growing up but where will I be in my life? I have dreams, desires, and goals for the next ten years of my life. Some of them are admittedly superficial. I would like to believe what people say about getting older and your income increasing. (where does the debt go?) I will cover those first so I don't end with you thinking I could be one of the women from that show Orange County Housewives.
- I would love to drive a beamer or lex.us. I am a car person. I know it is the worst investment in the world, but I like nice cars. I cannot afford a car like this but maybe someday (pre-owned is fine with me).
- I would like to reset my engagement and wedding band with a little more bling. Maybe an upgrade?
- I would love to be able to go shopping and not worry about the money I am spending. I don't mean an all-out blitz at Bur.berry or Coa.ch, (okay maybe once in awhile) but I do love Ann.Taylor and Banana (check out this new shop I found- Boden). I don't shop at these places now b/c I should not be spending money on clothes. Although I have come to the point where I believe in the concept mentioned on the TLC show What Not Wear- buy quality and not quantity. So, I have cut out Old.Navy for the most part and will spend a little extra on my wardrobe. I just hope to be able to buy 5 outfits someday instead of 1.
- I really hope that hubby and I can fulfill our dreams of adding onto our lovely home and putting in a kitchen that is bigger than 9x9.
- Be on TV for PFM and receive 15 minutes of fame
- Have really young looking skin. I have been wearing Oil of Olay with SPF since I was 13. It's the fair Irish skin.
- Have a halfway decent metabolism so I don't have to go down to 1200 calories a day in order to maintain my weight. I do love foods with sugar!
So for the more down to earth goals I would:
- love to be a published author of more than one book and a freelance writer. Maybe well- known but at least making a decent living
- Have 2-3 children (but I could live with luv bug forever.)
- love it if my husband has found a career, something that fulfills him instead of just the daily grind
- have my health and everyone in my life healthy and happy
- Maintain a steady and successful treatment of my mental health diseases
- PFM be a raving success and have given out hundreds of thousands of dollars to build families
- Have a thriving marriage
- Have strong relationships with my children
- Be able to pay for my kids college tuition's
- Be a really good sewer (not like where poop goes) (maybe the word is seamstress?) as opposed to mediocre
- Continue the relationships I have now and forge new ones
- Feel like I am living my dreams and looking forward to the next ten years
My husband and I did ART unsuccessfully for 4 years. Deciding it was more important to be parents that get pregnant, we moved on to adoption in 2007. Our son came home from Korea in June 2008. We are beaming parents to an absolutely wonderful 2 year old.
Here is my latest Top 10 about my son Luv Bug:
1. He is now calling me "Mom" instead of Mommy; he sounds like a teen-ager yelling up the stairs at me
2. We have a rock star potty trainer on our hands. I bought Elmo underwear yesterday and he was so excited. (who are we kidding. I was was so excited to think diapers may be gone soon)
3. He can now count to 15
4. He is trying to say truck but it comes out like F*@k.
5. We have graduated to sneakers without velcro. This is a big deal for him.
6. At my mother's house he gingerly carried in a $300 antique bowl from the dining room. Aagghh
7. He calls my husband AJ instead of Dada (Sometimes. It's very funny)
8. He has complete conversations with me in babble. He cannot wait to talk in full sentences.
9. Our dog Lucy is his hero. He wants to be just like her. He spins around in circles before sitting down just like Lucy.
10. He made up his own song about Pizza- his favorite food.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I have to mention a few perfect moments that have already happened today.
1. We have a very large yard and since moving in last July have had plans to fence most of it in for our baby dog Lucy. She loves to run and is so beautiful to watch, but without a fence we could not let her go off into the yard alone. Brittany Spaniels are notorious for needing fenced in yards because they are hunting dogs. Today our fence got installed, and it is the best feeling to know that she can be outside running around and playing with Luv Bug while he is in the sandbox or I am asleep on the hammock. I cannot wait for summer!
2. A few months ago I was contacted by a woman who wanted to make a large donation to PFM in honor of her friend who is going through IF. She and another woman decided to do odd jobs to pay for the donation. I found out this morning that their total donation is around $900. I am absolutely floored by this staggering amount and all the hard work they have put in. They painted a room for someone, did a can and bottle drive and other jobs to come up with this large amount of money. This is by far the largest donation we have received. What amazes me is this comes from two people who don't know me at all but want to help their friend who is going through a very tough time. This is an example of the many wonderful things that have come my way since starting PFM. In some ways my faith in humanity has been restored by the random acts of kindness and beautiful people I have been touched by.
3. Potty training is going full force. It is the cutest thing when I ask Luv Bug if he has to go potty and he says, uh-no (which means yes) and we hurry up the stairs for him to go on his little potty. He has gone 9 times now and he is barely two. We are so proud of him and he is so excited about it. I never thought potty training would be so exhilerating. He is growing up so fast.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
On St. Patty's we saw the couple at a party. I was fascinated and wanted to ask a million questions about their adoption, how they chose an agency and country, how long it had taken, what they were feeling. They had just gotten back from Guatemala for a visit with their daughter, and they were then waiting for her arrival home. I was envious. They were so close to getting their daughter, and we had a very long way to go and many important decisions to make before we would have our child.
When I saw balloons outside their house signaling their daughter had arrived home, I wondered what it must feel like to have her in their home. How was she adjusting? How were they adjusting? What would it be like for us?
It was about ten months later that our son came home. It had been a long wait since making the decision to adopt. I know that other people wait for years, and I cannot comprehend waiting that long to adopt especially after infertility. Our total wait time was 16 months. When Luv Bug came home we were beaming parents and getting ready to move to a new house. As it turns out so were the couple. Within months of each other we had both moved out of the neighborhood.
Last night we went to our cousin's 30th bday and there they were- pregnant-very, very pregnant. My jaw dropped and my heart sank. Tears stung my eyes, and I hated feeling that way. I hadn't felt that way in a long time. But, they were the couple that I thought were going to be the same as us, adoptive parents. I knew they had plans of adopting again and so do we. I was crushed that they had a miracle baby.
After the shock wore off I really wanted to congratulate them, especially the woman. We ended up talking about our kids and her pregnancy and how it felt to learn of the pregnancy. It really is an amazing story because their chances of conceiving were like 2% (as told to me by the woman). She mentioned that she stopped thinking about pregnancy when her daughter arrived. They never did infertility treatments due to her diagnosis, and when they were settled in as a family, pregnancy wasn't an issue. She simply wasn't thinking about it, and pregnancy happened.
She looked so beautiful and again I felt envious. Now she will have it all. And, they deserve it. And, I am truly happy that they get their chance to build their family. I just couldn't help but think of myself. Last night when I tried to fall asleep I just could not believe that they were pregnant and how amazing it is that things have worked out for them. They have a beautiful daughter through adoption and they will be having a boy very soon.
Then the thought occurred to me that I once looked to this woman who I hardly know at all for inspiration. I was in awe of her excitement to adopt and was given new hope upon finding out their circumstances. She has now given me new hope that pregnancy will come my way at some point. Problem is that I still think about pregnancy all the time. We are not doing anything about it, but I am always thinking and hoping to get pregnant someday even if we adopt again. I don't know what our actual odds are of becoming pregnant on our own. It is probably higher than 2% but maybe not. We have a lot of problems! We are very broken, the both of us.
I have to practice what I preach even though it is hard for me today. I stopped questioning my parenthood path when we found out who our son was going to be. I wouldn't change our IF experience because we have him. It is out of my control, and I will continue to wonder if one day my desire and hope for pregnancy will come true.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Today is a big day for Parenthood for Me and for myself personally. I have put my heart and soul into this non profit and my blogging and it seems to be paying off.
I received my copy of this month's Adoptive Families Magazine and Parenthood for Me is listed in one of their articles for helping with the cost of adoption or ART. We made it into a national publication, and I am so happy to have the exposure. Hopefully we will see an increase in our supporters and potential donors. And, hopefully we will find families that we can help.
Stop by Show and Tell at Mel's
Thursday, April 16, 2009
If you participate, please put a link on your post to return here so everyone
Monday, April 13, 2009
Going through infertility and being scared to death I would never be a mommy, there were so many things I longed to have in my life that went along with parenthood. I wanted all the widgets and gadgets and homemade blankets and cute little socks. It is amazing how much you notice when it comes to something you cannot have. Here's a simple example. My brother had this trike for my niece- the kind with the handle in the back for the parent to steer. He used this as his means of transportation instead of a stroller. He took her out on strolls at the age of one because he found a strap for it so she wouldn't fall off. My parents live 5 doors down from my brother, and every time I turned into my parent's driveway and saw the tricycle parked outside their door I felt a pang of sorrow. It always hurt to see the little bike, especially when she was riding on it. I could not help but ask will I ever get to use a stroller or wagon or trike? Will I ever walk over here with my child?
One day a few years back I was watching my niece, and we were playing in her bedroom. I just could not stop staring at all the cute girly things in her room and how her mommy had decorated it so beautifully. I had been in her room a hundred times, but this time I had a few minutes to sit on her warm fluffy rug and be alone with her. The nursery exuded love and everything childlike- the shelves with the finger puppets and books, the piggy bank, the mobile. I hoped upon hope that I could decorate a room with such love, that one room in my house would be totally and completely for a child to grow up in. That same day I was talking to my niece in her room and reading a book, and I began to cry. I remember holding her tight and crying silent tears into her little neck. Oh, how I loved her.
Turns out the baby monitor was on outside where my brother was playing football with our cousins. One of them came upstairs to usher us outside; I think he was trying to save me from more exposure. They all knew my circumstances. It was weird, but I didn't feel embarrassed that they may have heard me talking and crying with my niece. On the contrary I felt a little relief that I could reveal some of my pain without having to look them in the eye.
I used to buy a ton of clothes for my niece. It gave me hope for some reason. When I saw her wearing something I bought, I felt a greater connection to her. But walking into any store dedicated to babies and toddlers was like knocking the wind out of me; somehow I kept going back for more. As more time passed without a successful pregnancy I stayed away from all places baby, and either went in on a gift with friends or asked my mom to buy something for me. The grief became too much as the years went by and my cloud of sadness never had the ability to lift.
I have wondered since becoming a mom if I notice more things about my life as a parent than those who have not experienced infertility. Do I have a different outlook and heightened sense of awareness of every detail than those who had no trouble conceiving? It is a question that needs no definitive answer. However, it is common perception that those who have suffered do not take things for granted because they have a better understanding of how fragile life is. A cancer survivor probably looks at the beauty of life with more fortitude and grace than I do, and I consider myself very conscientious of living every day to the fullest, expressing my love for friends and family, and understanding that life is precious. However, I do not presume to have any idea what it feels like to face death, to be scared I will not see my children grow up or live to be old and gray with my husband.
What I do know is that I am always aware of the little things that come with parenting. I still smile when I see the bathtub toys strewn across the bottom of the tub. While grocery shopping I happily throw a box of $40 diapers in my shopping cart because I remember walking down that baby aisle with an empty heart just wishing I had a reason to buy a sippy cup or jar of baby food. When I see his 3 pair of shoes in a little pile near the door I heave a sigh of contentment. There are little feet in our house to fit those shoes. Thank goodness.
In celebration of our son’s arrival home from Korea we had a huge party, and we received one of those trikes as a gift. I had to register for it. Seeing my son in the seat smiling and ringing the little bell was my right of passage. A couple of weeks ago Min Man and I trekked down to Grandma and Grandpa's house and I loved watching the tricycle’s brand new wheels get covered in dirt as we rolled down the sidewalk. Once again the pain of infertility slipped a little further from my heart.
Getting to this point in my life has very trying and difficult. Wishing to be parents for four years has left a dent on my soul. There were many, many low moments with each negative pregnancy test and failed medical procedure. Letting go the dream of getting pregnant and having a biological child came with a lot of soul searching. But I am so grateful we were able to move on to adoption and fulfill our parenthood dreams.
Tomorrow when my son wakes up talking to all his Sesame Street animals and gives me a huge grin with his perfect white teeth, I won't remember my ectopic pregnancy or 6 failed IUI's or 3 failed IVF cycles . I will look to the new day as his mommy. I will pick out another cute outfit for him, we will brush our teeth together, eat toast together and laugh and giggle together. We will learn together about loving and being a family.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
In case you didn't know I'm friends with Santa Claus. Yup, he lives about a quarter mile from my house. My brother gets to live right next door to him! Lucky son of a gun! Hell he is living in my grandma's former house. Where's Mrs. Claus you ask? She's there too but as Santa said, "Don't expect to see her donning some cutesy outfit. And, please don't call her Mrs. Claus." Santa Claus was a real estate client of ours. Do you have any idea the kind of expectations one feels they have to live up to when catering to a guy like Santa Claus?
Anyway, it turns out that Santa Claus has a granddaughter adopted from Korea. Santa Claus and the Mrs. are aware of the pain of infertility because they watched their son and daughter-in-law struggle to have a family for many years. Ah, kindred spirits found in Santa and the Mrs. Who knew? What a small world indeed. Infertility and adoption all the way up in the North Pole?
Here is his card. Just ask him for one, and he will give it to you; they are always in his pocket. Sometimes he will hand you his card with out solicitation- sending you a message you might want to listen to.
There he is, my friend. He and his wife love my son and are always asking after him. We stop over every once in awhile as he is on our wagon tour. And, being next door to my brother and a few houses down from my parents, we inevitably bump into one another. The other thing I love about being friends with Santa Claus is that he supports our non profit and thinks it is a great idea. He offered himself up as a raffle prize the other day. He told me to stop by because he wanted to talk. It was so touching because he came up with the idea at 3 in the morning. He has retired from his Santa commitments but is willing to pull out the old white and red suit (the beard is real) to allow some lucky children to sit on his lap and feel the magic. Young and old alike will be captivated by all that Santa Claus emulates- wonderment, innocence, happiness, and comfort.
Thank you, J & P for all of your support. You really know how to make a girl (and a little boy) happy.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I am an animal lover. I always have been. We had a fish tank, turtles that we would bring home from the pond and feed hamburger meat, rabbits that we bred and sold the bunnies to families. I was given a cockatiel on my sixth birthday, and he lived until I was 28. Chuck was no ordinary bird. He was my best friend.
Everywhere I went, he went. If I left the living room to get a bowl of cereal and he happened to be hanging out on the back of the couch, he flew after me and landed on my shoulder. We used to eat breakfast together before school. I would put him on the table and give him some cheerios while I ate my cereal. Cockatiels are in the parrot family and tend to be smarter than the average canary. But, I like to think that Chuck was special. He used to do tricks and play little games; I took care of him for 22 years. He was a great companion. The day he died I was heartbroken. I lost my best friend, my childhood pet. I was married and in my second house by the time Chuck passed away. He had been a part of my life for so long. It was amazing.
AJ loves his first dog, Punkin. He talks about her all the time and how she played mommy protector around him. She used to sleep under his crib. She was a great dog, and he misses her to this day even though she has been gone 20+ years.
The day we brought her home AJ and I became a family. We potty trained her, taught her to walk on a leash, doted on her, brought her on vacations and taught her how to be a good citizen. We couldn't wait to bring a baby home so Lucy could be a mommy. As the years went on and there was no human baby, Lucy became more of our baby than ever. She got us through some very rough times due to her natural charm and amusing characteristics. Plus she is the softest dog I have ever met. She makes a great crying companion.
I believe in the healing power of animals. Humans need animals to teach them love and compassion. You can learn a lot by loving an animal. Some people will never "get" that. But, they are missing out. Lucy continues to be a great source of love and companionship for all of us. She is now Min man's sister. It is wonderful to see them together. Finally Lucy has a sibling. And, she acts like most older sisters would. She thinks he's in the way half the time and wants all the attention focused on her. They also fight over food.
I remembered something I witnessed last Fall that is still utterly amazing to me. It showed me just how much animals do feel despite what many people say. As I was driving down a side street I saw a squirrel squirming near the side of the road. I wanted to stop and help move it off the road so it could die in peace; I didn't want it getting run over again. I circled back around to try and help the squirrel. I saw that another squirrel was standing at the opposite side of the road a little skittish as my car inched forward. I kept going and pulled over and watched the squirrel who was now behind me. He went over to his suffering friend and tried to pick him up off the road and move him to a safe spot. I watched his several attempts at doing so. After cars stopped passing by he successfully carried his friend to safety under a huge oak tree. I was fascinated. People may have thought I was nuts, but I could not stop watching this squirrel try and save his friends life. He licked the wounds and hovered around trying to protect him as he clearly was having a hard time breathing. Eventually the injured squirrel died and his friend picked him up in his mouth and carried him up into the tree- safe at last. It was one of the most touching things I had ever witnessed. That may sound silly but it was. I guess it's because you don't expect much from a squirrel. We don't expect a lot of from many animals, but they have a great capacity to love.
I never pegged myself as a big animal advocate. I believe in treating animals humanely and that people need animals, not the other way around. Maybe they benefit from our companionship, but it is us humans that live fuller lives when we co-exist with animals. Whether it is bird watching, having a fish pond in the back yard, visiting the zoo or rescuing a cat or dog. Their presence gives human life more meaning and teaches us that we cannot exist without them.
We will all succumb to the circle of life in due time.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
4. Let your nominees know they have received the award by leaving them a comment on their blog.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
My lovely and hilarious socks are from Just Me Debbie. I wish I had been a little more creative for my sock buddy, but this is my first time participating. I became a member of the ALI community in December 2008 when I started Parenthood for Me. I had been blogging since 2007 when we decided to adopt. It was very therapeutic for me and made me realize how much I love to write. Since starting this blog my world has opened up as I meet and make bloggy friends throughout this community. I wish I had known about this community when I was going through my really rought times, but I am so glad I am a part of it now. There are many interesting, funny and enlightening women (and men) blogging about infertility, adoption, and their day to day lives. It has been so much fun getting to know them and learn about their lives including their struggles and joyous moments.
Monday, April 6, 2009
My dad's father died four years ago on April 11. He was the first grandparent I lost; I was 27 years old. My grandparents never lived near us when I grew up. At 55 my grandfather retired from Eastman Kodak, and he and my grandma moved out to Prescott, Arizona. My grandfather helped to design and build his dream home on a mountainside looking out over the hills of Prescott and the small city below. He wanted land and space and clean air. He and my grandmother were natives of New York City. They both grew up in the city and didn't have the experience of suburbia. After World War II my grandparents moved to Rochester, NY to settle and raise a family. Those were the days when Kodak was king and Rochester was the headquarters. Many people moved here for a job and stayed in that job for 30+ years until retirement. My grandparents were the first owners of their 2 bedroom, 1300 square foot cape-cod set on a 50 foot lot;it was part of one of the many new developments popping up in small towns across America. Rochester was growing as were many cities after the end of the war. After having their third child they decided not to move but to add on and create a first floor master and another bedroom on the second floor. From there they had 2 more children.
Even though my grandparents lived in Arizona and I in NY, we were very close. They came back once a year and we went out to visit for many vacations. It was beautiful out west and such a different place than I was used to. I have many lovely memories of my grandparents home in Arizona and all the things we used to do when we were there- play on the huge boulders, sneaking candy out of grandpa's candy drawer, eating peanuts and throwing the shells off their expansive deck overlooking the city.
My grandparents moved back to Rochester when they were too old and sick to take care of themselves. It was very sad to see my grandfather lose his wonderful home in the desert. Getting old is so difficult and it was hard to watch both of my grandparents decline in health and their ability to live their lives. My grandfather was an engineer, a pioneer in his thinking and an overall intelligent and wise man. He taught his children many things, and one of his biggest lessons was that you can do and be anything you want.
Today my father handed me an article dated 1996 with a letter attached to it written by my grandfather. The article is basically about American ideals and the contradictions our society sometimes faces- our respect for the individual, economic vitality, passion for progress lead us to more crime, family breakdown (higher divorce rate) and economic inequality. The letter written by my grandfather states that as Americans we had gotten away from the importance of family, a de-emphasis on right or wrong, less respect for authority.
He wrote," Somehow we've got to get back to strong families, a restoration of our Constitution, more acceptance of personal responsibility... We don't have to have all the bad things with the good things."
My perfect moment is what my father said when he handed me the letter. "I want people to remember my dad for who he was." He wants his legacy as a great thinker to carry on. He wants his children who may have been too young to understand their grandfather and his own grandchildren to know their great grandfather better. I know my dad idolized his father. It's wonderful to think of my dad and his dad in this way. I know that I idolize my mother and father, and I can only hope that my children think the same of me some day.
Visit other Perfect Moments at Lori's
*on a side note- I wonder what my grandpa would think of the fact that we are still facing these issues in America 12 years later- on top of all the other horrible stories coming out everyday of people being swindled and taken advantage of.
Friday, April 3, 2009
I am working on Mr. Linky for Thursday. If you participate, please put a link on your post to return here so everyone can share. There is a button on my side bar (yah, I have a button now). I also have a parenthood for me button that you can transport to your blog if you desire. I like to travel.
Blended words and blended beats
My heart’s concave it needs release
Empty cells nestled near
Absence stirs the mood of fear
The body yearns to seal its fate
And awaits its chance to create
Somewhere lost I might not gain
I’ll nuzzle through despair and pain