Saturday, February 28, 2009

Show and Tell


My husband makes the most amazing chocolate creations. I cannot call them a cookie because they are a cross between a cookie and candy. They melt in your mouth and like M&M's you find yourself popping one after another into your mouth. They are not pretty to look at. The ingredients are simple: oatmeal, chocolate, butter (and a few others). But, wow are they delicious. He got the recipe from his mother and they didn't really have a name. We decided to call them sweet treats. We gave them out as favors at our wedding and we even had aspirations to sell them. We found inspiration from a few businesses featured on the Food Network who took their food idea and made a very prosperous business out of producing something they love.

When AJ is making "the cookies" I have to brace myself because I know no matter how much I want to have willpower and only eat one, okay at least two, I will not be able to. The only way to escape is to abstain completely.

I had this idea to have a "Blogosphere Bake Sale" to raise money for our non profit. What do you think? Did I make them sound appealing enough to buy a dozen and donate to a good cause?
I don't have a picture of the cookie right now. Maybe I can pursuade him to make a batch. I mentioned earlier that we gave little bags of them away to our wedding guests. As a testament to how good they are, when the guests were dispersing and they made the mistake of leaving their favor on the table, my friends were going around grabbing them up and shoving them in their pockets. We found out the next morning that somebody took so many bags that he woke up the next morning (still in his clothes) from the crinkling and crackling of the plastic bags shoved in his pants pockets.

More Show and Tell at Mel's

Hello Blogosphere, It's Me, Erica

How did I get into blogging? I don't even really know. This goes back to 2007. I remember searching for a site to blog from. I started one place (I dont remember the name) and quickly found blogspot and the rest is history.
I am a writer, always have been. I tried to publish a book of poems at age 8. I didn't go to college for writing and have no training except trial and error and learning from other authors. There was never a question in my mind that I would publish a book someday. The genre or topic didn't matter; I just knew it would happen. Nancy Drew was my idol. I can't tell you how many times i started a mystery novel modeled after ND.
As I grew older some topics came to mind for a novel but I discovered that I am mostly interested in real life. I am good at writing essays and poems but manuscripts are very daunting to me. How do I take an idea and expand it into a 150 page book? I was told to just write and think about organizing it later. I am taking that advice. My desire for real life stories is why I like blogging. This venue gives me the opportunity to talk about things that are important to me and practice my craft. It is rewarding that people are reading my entries, commenting and even praising them. I am grateful for that. We are our own worst critic and hearing people tell me that my writing is inspiring is unexpected and wonderful.

My first blog is about our experience with infertility and our decision to adopt and subsequently all the steps that came along with that decision. It was meant to be read by family and friends, but I found that the link was passed on to friends of friends and then some. This is how the idea that I (me and my husband) could help people by telling our story. We could inspire and educate. We could celebrate the evolution of our experience and the pure joy of its result- our son. We could also reflect on all we had been through- which was a lot.

Telling the raw details of our IF experiences made them real. No one really knew what had taken place in our lives for the prior four years. They didn't know about the 18 guage needles, the ectopic pregnancy that was ended with our unsympathetic doctor saying, "It's ectopic. You need to abort the embryo today- now." No kind words. No one knew that our hearts had been crushed with grief with the thought that a child would not be a part of our lives.
As I kept writing, I realized, they needed to know. People need to know. Education is the catalyst for understanding and sympathizing. If I could change the opinion or outlook of one person, maybe they would refrain themselves from saying something insensitive about adoption or infertility.

The day I ended my first blog was sad. I cried as I wrote the last entry. At the time I didn't see a need to continue on with the blog, but I also couldn't envision beginning a new one. I was busy with my son and being a mom. Who wanted to hear about our lives raising Fyn? Then it occurred to me, I didn't care. His blog is a journal for him to have always and forever. It is my baby book, my scrapbooking, my video collection. Even at this moment I don't know how long I will continue to blog about our family life. I know that many people don't understand blogging or why I write about our life. Believe me, it is not because I believe in voyeurism. I don't like Reality TV shows that don't serve a good purpose or celebrity tabloids that exploit people and their privacy. I am not trying to expose myself or my family in a negative way- just an honest way, a way for friends and family to catch up on Finn and for others to learn that there is life after IF. For us adoption was a wonderful way to fulfill dreams of parenthood.

This blog connected with the non profit, Parenthood for Me, Inc. was a no brainer and luckily at that point I had some experience under my belt. But, I was in no way prepared for "The Blogosphere." When I found Mel, I thought, " I have a lot of work to do." Of coarse I wanted my non profit's blog to be resourceful, interesting, popular but I had no idea what I would be aspiring to become (not that I could ever accomplish what Stirrup Queen or other blogs have accomplished). I just want to prove to be useful to readers and followers. I want to continue to enjoy creating my blog and making it better and better. It is part of the work I am doing for the non-profit. In fact, the blogosphere is turning out to be the biggest tool I could ever have imagined for building our non-profit.
Thank you to my supporters as of now and thank you to all future supporters of Parenthood for Me. We are growing everyday with the help of reaching out to those in our community and our blogging community. I take a little bit from every person I meet on the IF and adoption blog circle. I learn a little everyday on how to be a better writer and organizer of information for those that need help and guidance. I aim to make my non profit a success for those that needs its support. Through others hard work and heartfelt blogs I gain momentum and inspiration to continue on.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Re-Cap

If you are new to this blog, below are some links to older posts that
are great sources of information.




The Realities of Adoption

Adoption and Society

Facts About Infertility

Lessons Learned

I have been reading so many blogs lately. There seems to be thousands of infertility, adoption, miscarriage and loss blogs. I try to leave comments on most of them to introduce myself, my story, and our non profit. I follow a few blogs but regret that I do not have more time to read other blogs in depth. There are so many women who finally did have a successful pregnancy after all the heartache. It is nice to hear that ART works for people even after loss and failure. It makes me a little sad when I think about our situation with ART. We had such an awful experience for the first 2 1/2 years. I firmly believe that being under the wrong care gave us no real chance of conceiving. This is why it is so important to advocate for yourself when it comes to health care. Don't just take the referral you are given. Get 2-3 opinions, ask a lot of questions, push your doctors to give you answers. It is their job. We learned this the hard way, but it is a very important lesson. I will use this lesson for any health issue that comes up in my life or loved ones lives.

Recently I had to go back to my OB (which is my second fertility specialist as well) for a regular check-up. Being in that office for the first time in over a year brought tears to my eyes. There were so many different types of emotions felt there: hope, relief, sadness, and grief. It was weird to only be there as a "regular" patient. I had a flash that I was just a woman who could conceive a child on my own. (It's weird how often I still do that-- forget about my IF problems.) There were a couple of women with me in the waiting room, and I wondered what they were there for. Were they getting ready for an IUI or IVF? How did they feel? How long had they been trying? It did feel good to walk out of the office and get on the elevator knowing I wouldn't be going back until next year. Instead I would be picking up my son in a couple of hours.

IF has left me feeling open ended about my life. I know I want to adopt again- a girl this time. But, because no doctor has ever told me I cannot conceive, I am left with the what-if's. Sometimes I like being in this position, feeling like the possibilities are endless. After all IF led me to my beautiful son. I cannot say I would change anything at this point, because of the outcome of our wonderful adoption journey. But, sometimes I wish I could plan out my family like other people can. I guess I need to embrace the fact that planning can be a little dull; our topsy turvey way of creating our family is more fun.

Parenthood for Me on TV

For those who are local to the Rochester, NY area, I will be on TV Sunday, March 1.
I will be on the program, "Many Voices, Many Visions" with
Norma Holland On Channel 13- 11 AM.
For those of you who are not local, I hope to obtain a link to the program which will be posted on our website.
Here is a preview of our TV appearance

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My son's latest Top 10

1. He gets more handsome every day
2. His hair has a Clark Kent wave, but it is still too short to cut
3. When I go into his room to get him out of his crib, he throws the blanket over his head and pretends to snore!
4. He finally learned that he is Luv Bug. He used to go around the room and point to everyone and say Mommy, Dada, Papa, Ooma and then when we asked who he was he would say either Mommy or Dada. He points at himself in person and in pictures and says his own name.
5. He's learning his letters
6. He copies everything we do. If we stretch our arms up in the air, so does he. If we clear our throat, so does he. My dad had surgery and he walks with a limp, so does Luv Bug.
7. He will now sit down for a full five minutes in his adorable gingham chair, put the blanket on his legs and watch Boo Hoos (Blues Clues)
8. He dances better than most adults
9. I love his outbursts of "WOW"
10. When we are in stores he says hi to everyone. He's my little mayor.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Adoption Day Milestone

I am happy to announce that my son's adoption day is scheduled! And, it is about six weeks earlier than anticipated. In a world where everything seems to take longer than anticipated, this was welcome news.
March 17 our son will become a U.S. citizen and ours (under the eyes of the law) forever.
We are very excited for this momentous event. It will be the official end of our adoption journey. It will be nice to have all the paperwork, filings and lawyers behind us so we can just be a family.
I am told that the adoption proceeding itself is very anti climatic, but I don't see how it could be. Even if a judge simply stamps a piece of paper and asks us to sign it, the meaning behind it is what matters.
I am very happy that his adoption day comes before his second birthday. It is an important day in his life and his family's life- the first birthday we get to celebrate together . It means something to me to have him officially ours even though he melted our hearts the day we saw his photo and was always "officially" ours as soon as we learned he would be our son.

An Infertile's Dream Comes True

Let's take a look at the perspective of an infertile who has finally had a successful pregnancy. The positive pregnancy test alone is a step in the right direction. But, as many know this isonly one small portion of success to an infertile who has a long track record of disappointment and loss.
When baby is born and all is well, what must it feel like to have a baby? The dream is alive and breathing and cute and looks like daddy. What is the adjustment like? For so long the couple longed to have exactly what is now laying in their arms.
I can only imagine how unbelievable it must be. And, what does it mean for the relationships forged during the difficult IF path?
Please read this entry from Kelly at Twin Peas Blog. It offers a great amount of insight.
It opened my eyes to new challenges that people face after infertility. Changes that take place with pregnancy or adoption.
http://twinpeas.com/wordpress/infertility/test/234/

Monday, February 16, 2009

IF and My Life

I still feel so many affects of IF on the social scale. The blogosphere is a great community to be a part of, but life outside the internet can be difficult when you can't get pregnant. I know the stats, 7.3 million Americans suffer from the disease of infertility (Resolve.org). But, in my own space in the world, I am the different one. In the past week I heard of three women who are not only pregnant but very pregnant, like due in two months pregnant. These conversations don't flow through my grapevine. But, it makes me feel a little stupid upon finding out.

I have been reading so many blogs lately. There seems to be thousands of infertility, adoption, miscarriage and loss blogs. I try to leave comments on most of them to introduce myself, my story, and our non profit. I follow a few blogs but regret that I do not have more time to read other blogs in depth. There are so many women who finally did have a successful pregnancy after all the heartache. It is nice to hear that ART works for people even after loss and failure. It makes me a little sad when I think about our situation with ART. We had such an awful experience for the first 2 1/2 years. I firmly believe that being under the wrong care gave us no real chance of conceiving. But, our bank account was empty and my body was broken. Adoption was the answer for us.

I had to go back to my OB (which is my second fertility specialist as well) for a regular check-up. Being in that office for the first time in over a year brought tears to my eyes. There were so many different types of emotions felt in that office: hope, relief, sadness, and grief. It was weird to only be there as a "regular" patient. I had a flash that I was a regular woman who could conceive a child on my own. (It's weird how often I still do that-- forget about my IF problems.) There were a couple of women with me in the waiting room, and I wondered what they were there for. Were they getting ready for an IUI or IVF? How did they feel? How long had they been trying? It did feel good to walk out of the office and get on the elevator knowing I wouldn't be going back. I would be picking up my son in a couple of hours.

IF has left me feeling open ended about my life. I know I want to adopt again- a girl this time. But, because no doctor has ever told me I cannot conceive, I am left with the what if's. Sometimes I like being in this position, feeling like the possibilities are endless. After all IF led me to my beautiful son. But, sometimes I wish I could plan out my family like other people can. I guess I need to embrace the fact that planning can be a little dull; our topsy turvey way of creating our family is more fun, right?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Do You Have Any Special Skills?

Regarding the non profit I have received several reactions like," I can't believe how much you've accomplished" or " You are so far along in the process." I guess I don't know what people expected when I handed them a business card back in October and said, "AJ and I are starting a non-profit." I admit that being a business person I've had several ideas for business ventures (though I don't consider Parenthood for Me in the same league). I started another endeavor as an outlet for my creativity making aprons and framed letters. Writing and design are my 2 favorite hobbies and having a business mentality gives me the idea to turn hobbies and passions into a business- make money or do something! If I had any time My Little Lu Product Line would be more developed and promoted. But, it has gone by the wayside for now.

A reoccurring thought has presented itself. I would be lost without all I have learned from working for my father. Nearly six years ago, at the age of 25 I began a job at my father's real estate company. I fell into the position because I was laid off. I never had any aspirations to be in real estate. But, I needed a job, my dad needed an assistant, and there we were. We shook hands and made a proclamation to give it six months. If there were any signs of ripping each other's throats out, I would resign.

As luck would have it, my dad and I clicked on so many levels that I moved from assistant to "partner." We really enjoy working together and it has been a win win situation. In the meantime I have learned how to run a business and then some. Since being under his tutelage I have admired my dad for his innovative thinking at age 22. He started his corporation at 24 and here we are 36 years later in a very competitive industry.

When I started reading about non profits and building a business, I knew I would go all the way- a 501 c(3) corporation. I wanted a corporate seal like my father has in his trusty "Corporation Notebook" from 1973.We are a small company, but I have gained many connections through being a REALTOR that have helped tremendously. There are many aspects to the non profit world that befuddle me; I have a lot to learn. But, I also have a great Board of Directors as my back up and think tank.

My skills of managing a business such as: record keeping, bookkeeping, website management, marketing are really coming in handy and making things run relatively smoothly as the non profit establishes itself. I am nervous enough about all I have to learn and thankful for the skill set I have mastered in the past 5 years.

Real estate is my paid career and I love doing it. Parenthood for Me is a passionate venture to make a difference. Technically it could be considered volunteer work, but I don't look at it that way. It provides a fulfillment for which I longed.

Sully, the Captain of the airplane that crashed on the Hudson River said in his interview with Katie Couric that it seems like all the special training and tasks he has done and accomplished throughout his 42 year career led him to those 5 minutes in the air. There could not have been a more capable pilot driving the plane that day.

I many ways my life experiences, hobbies and desires have led me to this point. Starting this non profit is a calling. I wanted to provide the help and guidance we did not have available to us when we were going through infertility.

I am standing on the platform waiting for the train to take me where I am intended to go. I will get off at the appropriate stops, and I will continue on to new places where I will learn, achieve, fail and try again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Supporting Those In Need

Going through infertility taught me a lot about how to comfort those going through a life crisis. The natural tendency when we hear bad news is often one of discomfort. What will I say? How can I help? What if I say the wrong thing? I think the last one is the most difficult; when people feel that there is a right and wrong this to say to those in need, they choose to say nothing at all- which tends to be even more hurtful. It is good to want to be sensitive and say the right thing, but we need to know that it doesn't take much to give someone comfort. It doesn't have to be a long drawn out episode. A phone call to check in,"I'm sorry you're going through this," "I'm always here for you."

People tend to try and relate someones problem with someone else they know who went through a similar situation (death, divorce, illness). This is to offer advice or make conversation; however, it is often hurtful because each person's situation is different. And, no one wants unneeded advice when going through a crisis.

I have learned that it is those who are suffering that end up having to comfort their loved ones. The people that love us the most hate to see us unhappy and therefore feel helpless. They need to hear that we are going to be "okay."
Infertility is very devastating and a crisis that is often dealt with in private because so many do not understand the depth of its impact. The grieving and sadness is so complex that it is very hard to relate to. Death or disease are easier to comprehend. We all think about our health and mortality. But, even with these events, many people shy away because of their own discomfort.
That is what I learned about life changing events. Many people simply do not know how to help people who are struggling.

It is important to note that if you have a friend or family member, someone in your community who is going through a life crisis of any sort, the simplest gesture can ease some of the burden of grief. When your friends or family need you the most, work through your discomfort and reach out. Acknowledge the problem. That is key.

Infertility, miscarriage, still birth, a failed adoption, failed IVF, a sick child-- all these things are vast in their promise of extreme grief. Let your friend or family member know that you do not understand what they are going through if you have no experience with any of these incidents. I have learned that can sometimes be the best way to help a loved one cope- acknowledge that you know they are going through an awful time, lend your shoulder to cry on and your time to listen to their problems.
It is actually a very simple solution. Just be there. Words aren't always necessary.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

March of Dimes

The Petition for Preemies was a success. Now millions of pregnant women and an estimated 11 million children will have much-needed health care coverage.
President Obama signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) into law.
My heartfelt thanks to the moms and dads, grandparents, and friends who heeded the March of Dimes call to action. Children's health is not a partisan issue -- it's every family's issue -- and worry. At a time when economic woes and job losses have put health coverage at risk, this law is more necessary than ever.

Dr. Jennifer L. HowsePresident, March of Dimes

Mission of March of Dimes
To improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. We carry out this mission through research, community services, education and advocacy to save babies' lives. March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work together to give all babies a fighting chance against the threats to their health: prematurity, birth defects, low birthweight.

Parent Education
The March of Dimes helps pregnant women know what to worry about and what not to worry about when it comes to having a healthy baby. Through our Pregnancy & Newborn Health Education CenterSM women can get free one-on-one, confidential answers to their questions about pregnancy, preconception, newborn screening and related topics.The Center also provides a wide variety of materials including mama, an annual magazine full of practical and important information for parents-to-be, are available.
Premature Birth
Each year, more than 460,000 babies are born too soon, some so small they can fit in the palm of a hand. Many of these babies must fight just to survive; others will struggle with lifelong health problems. No one knows what causes half of all premature births. No one is working harder than the March of Dimes to find out.

Genetic Research
Genetic birth defects leave our children unable to walk, to hear, to think, or even to fight off disease. March of Dimes investments in genetic research already are starting to yield results. Two March of Dimes-funded grantees have used gene therapy successfully in treating hemophilia and retinitis pigmentosa in the lab, giving hope that we are closer to a cure for these genetic birth defects.

Health Care
No parents should have to choose between feeding their child and buying the medicines he or she needs. Yet, this happens every day in America because more than 9 million children have no health coverage. For many of these children, this means they can't get preventive checkups, immunizations, or treatment for common childhood illnesses. The March of Dimes is fighting so that all babies, children and pregnant women get health insurance.
Help Us Save Babies You can partner with the March of Dimes by becoming a volunteer or a donor. With your help, we can win the fight to save babies.

Visit their website for more information and the links:
http://www.marchofdimes.com

Monday, February 9, 2009

Emotional Profit

Throughout the course of my new venture into the non-profit world I have asked myself if I am capable of taking on this huge task. Will I be successful? Can I raise enough money to give people significant grants, grants that will really make a difference? I know that I may have to start with smaller grants and then lead up to more substantial grants, and I think that is okay. But, right now we are such a grassroots operation that it is hard to imagine having a large endowment.

Our first fundraising event is coming up at the end of April. It is my first attempt at raising a large sum of money. It is my first attempt at a lot of things. Luckily I am a good party planner, I planned my wedding, wedding showers, baby showers, etc. I know a lot of things I need to do to make the event enjoyable for the guests; it is getting them there that is the hard part.
My Board members and family are my cheering section, and it helps to have people who believe in you. But, most of all some individuals have reached out to me for advice and guidance. It is nice to know that I am making a difference in someone's life. I send them to my website and blog where they can read my stories but also find links to many other blogs.

The comments I have received of gratitude and kind words are what will keep me on this path. I have my whole heart in making this a success. There are so many things I want this non-profit to accomplish and I do believe it will; with the help of many people, we will be successful.

This is why the essay contest is very important. Those who feel like they are alone and those who do not understand the complexities of infertility and adoption need to hear stories from other people. I encourage you to submit an essay. Your story can help so many people.

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Have to Say Something

When I first heard about the octuplets I didn't think much about it. It was another IVF cycle gone wrong- or right. All the babies survived.
I watch Jon and Kate plus 8 and in one episode they went back to the hospital to tell the story of when the babies were born. Kate and the babies were in the hospital for quite awhile because they were in the NICU. Kate said that she and Jon felt guilty because they had six babies that were relatively healthy but a little underdeveloped. Meanwhile they had to stand next to parents whose one baby was clinging to life. I feel that Jon and Kate really appreciate the children they have and realize how lucky they are. They know that their family is special and unique and that there are many people out there who would give anything for just one baby.

This woman who gave birth to the octuplets has no idea the impact she has made on the IF community or the lives of her now 14 children. I am already very suspicious of doctors in the infertility field. Unfortunately this doesn't help their case. In my medical community it is considered risky to transfer more than 3-4 embryos. I think that is a responsible practice.
I know the IF community is up in arms about this woman who seems to be a little nutty, and they probably should be. I probably should be. I am sad that this is the type of media coverage the IF community gets. This just adds fuel to the fire that those who seek ART are using unnecessary means to become pregnant. This has taken us 10 steps back.
But as with all media coverage, this too shall pass. And, those of us who want our voices to be heard, will continue to make a difference. Little by little the conversation of IF will seep into the American public's living rooms. It is up to the responsible parties involved to educate the public.

I have to mention that ART and IF are so misunderstood that even Oprah, who I consider a pretty knowledgeable and empathetic person really disappointed me when she had a show on ART last year.
I don't remember all the details, but I was infuriated. I actually thought that her show was finally going to shed some light on the real pain involved with infertility. The emotional, financial and physical pain. She had a couple on the show who had been trying to conceive unsuccessfully. They showed the woman driving in her big SUV with no car seats and their four bedroom house with the empty nursery. They explained a small portion of the sadness this couple felt because they could not conceive a child.
However, the headliner for the show was Martha Stewart's daughter- single and just wanting to have a baby. She went on an on about how easy it was to do the shots on herself and that she has spent a gazillion dollars on failed IVF's. It was enraging because this woman's story was not the real story of IVF or ART, yet she is the one who got all the attention.
The young couple who had the real story to tell didn't event make it to the stage. They were the people in the audience that Oprah referred to for a comment. Their sad story was wiped out by the sensation of Martha Stewart's daughter giving herself injections and saying she would just keep on trying IVF until it worked.
It just proves that we are a long way from public understanding and acknowledgement. We have a lot of work to do.

How You Can Help

2009 is the year to build awareness of our grassroots non profit and to build the endowment.
Our goal is to award grants in April of 2010. We are in the midst of planning our fundraising events and marketing the non profit.

One of our fundraising ventures is to print t-shirts. The net proceeds of the sale will go to the foundation. They will be sold on-line and at fundraising events.
We are looking for sponsors of the t-shirts. It could be a business or even a family. The name would appear on the back of the shirt. The sponsorship is $50.00
If you or anyone you know may be interested in being a sponsor to donate to our cause, please contact me at info@parenthoodforme.org

Si Parla Italiano

I have been trying to remember what my thoughts were about being a mother as a younger person. I know I was excited about getting married someday and having a family. When I was in high school and college I never thought I would be a stay at home mom. I always defended working moms because my mother worked full time, and I turned out okay. I went to my aunt's after school and have many great memories of spending time over there. My father owned his own business so he had the flexibility to dress me and give me breakfast before he went to the office. That was important to me, flexibility with child care. And, I wanted to find a caretaker that I knew well and felt very comfortable with.
I looked forward to was teaching my babies Italian. I am Irish but have a love for foreign language and am very fond of the beautiful language of Italian. My BA is in Foreign Language and Literature and I spent a semester abroad in both Siena, Italy and Granada, Spain. I always planned on teaching my kids Italian from a very young age.
This was one dream that I focused on losing as we questioned whether we would have children at all. I don't get to use my language skills very much, and I really looked at my future kids as a way to enjoy it again and teach them an invaluable skill.
The other thing that hurt (it sounds silly now) was that we wanted to name our children Irish names. When we decided to adopt, we didn't know if it would be weird to name a Korean or Guatamalen baby a very Irish name. I thought maybe we should name them something that was closer to their heritage. These were our pre-IVF days when we were still confident we would conceive. When we decided to adopt and found out we were having a boy, we agreed to see if our baby looked like a so and so. When we saw his pictures at 5 months old, the name we picked out was such an appropriate name. Maybe it was closure for us due to the ability to fulfill our dreams of parenthood and the plans we had laid out for four years.
So now as I teach Luv Bug a few phrases and words here and there in Italian, I beam with pride. We say "andiamo" (let's go), vieni qua (come here), merenda (snack). And, as his English explodes and he really starts talking, we can begin to introduce more Italian. I have no idea exactly how to teach a baby another language, but I am trying. Mommy has to study up a little bit, I'm rusty with my vocabulary. When he is old enough, we will introduce him to the Korean classes. I plan on taking them too. If he has no interest, then we won't continue, but I hope his exposure to other languages at a young age will make him interested in learning his native language.
I am so proud of my beautiful Korean boy with the Irish name that speaks Italian.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Adoption Tax Credit

The adoption expeense tax credit was modified and extended as part of the tax bill signed into law by President Bush on June 7, 2001.
Answers are based on IRS and Treasury Department Policy Guidelines.

Q: What does the new law provide?
It provides a tax credit (an amount that can be subtracted directly from the taxes you owe) for expenses incurred in the adoption of a child who is not the child of a taxpayer's spouse.

Q: What are qualifying expenses?
Reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses, and other expenses directly related to the adoption. You may not claim expenses reimbursed by another source such as an employer adoption benefit. However, as of 2007 you may be able to exclude up to $11,390 from your Adjusted Gross Income for adoption expenses paid by your employer.

Q: How much can I claim?
For domestic adoption the credit is $11,390. It is important to note that even if a domestic adoption does not go through, you can still take the tax credit.
For international adoption the credit is $11,390 but it cannot be claimed if the adoption does not go through. The adoption has to be finalized.

Q: Does the tax credit apply per child or per placement (in case of a sibling group is the family entitled to one or two tax credits?)
The tax credit is per child, not per placement; therefore, a family adoptin siblings would receive a credit for each child.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Losing Loved Ones

My friends mother lost her battle with cancer last week. She was only 62 years old. The day after she died my friend gave birth to her second girl. Life moves on.
A former classmate of mine died suddenly in his sleep. He was only 33. He has a wife and 2 young children.
Even though death is a part of life, the shock of its occurrence never goes away. Even for those who are ill and the families are able to plan their deaths do not escape the finality of the passing.
One minute we are here, living and the next we are not.
The death of my friend's mother signals a new chapter in my life as an adult. I am 30 and our parents are getting older. It is a fact that I hate admitting. My dad turned 60 in December and to me he is still very young, but time is more precious than it used to be.
The death of this young man who is essentially my age is unabashedly mind blowing. All I can think of is the wife and children he left behind and the decades he still had left to be with his family. All I can think of is, what if that happens to me? And, it makes me realize that it can happen to me or anyone else I know.
When I was in my 20's a couple of people I knew died- one in a tragic accident and one was murdered. Murdered. It seemed impossible then and it still seems impossible. He had just turned 26. It was over five years ago but I still cannot believe that this young man died such a horrible death. He had so much to give to the world.
Every day is a gift. My health is a gift. My family and friends are gifts. I have to make it my mantra to be grateful.
As we are devoured by this recession and the pending depression that is predicted, I can't help but think, who cares. We'll make it through. As long as we have each other we will get through these tough economic times. My family joked that we would make huge vegetable gardens in our yards and feed ourselves if it got that bad. We have 200 acres of woods- we'll burn wood for heat.
My heart is heavy for my friend and her family who will be celebrating the life of their mother, wife, friend and grandmother this weekend. My heart goes out to my fellow classmates and community members whose lives are now changed forever, leading a different course without the man they loved the most.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Here We Go

We received our first donation in the mail yesterday. Thank you.
I sent out invitations to our Free networking event in early March. I look forward to meeting people and explaining what our organization does.
There have been many generous donations for our raffle to take place at the Launch Luncheon in spring. Thank you to those contributors.
This is how things start. First with an idea, then with action, and then with a passion to make others believe in your case. I have a wonderful group of people on my Board of Directors. It is amazing to me that people are willing to donate their time, our most precious comodity. Needless to say I cannot do this on my own. Thank you to those supporting me.
I believe that Parenthood for Me will touch the lives of many people, and only time will tell.

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