Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Unclaimed Fears

In order to get the green light to adopt you have to complete a home study program. Then you can move on to apply with an agency. The class we took was very informative and ultimately led us to adopting from S. Korea which was helpful because we began the class unsure of which country and agency to go through. Although we had narrowed it down, making the final decision was very overwhelming.

The class focused on what to expect when bringing home a child at various ages. We saw footage of an orphanage and countless babies who were underdeveloped because there more children than nannies. It was so sad to see a 14 month old barely able to crawl or feed himself. But, the images brought out the instinct to bring home a child and give them the loving home they desperately needed.

We learned how to address people's questions about our adoptive family. People can sometimes be rude and insensitive to adoptive parents especially if the family is transracial. We were told to expect a lot of questions and stares when in public. People are innately curious about adoption but do not always know how to pose their questions tactfully.

Later in the class we addressed the topic of attachment issues and fear of abandonment. It has been studied that even when infants are adopted, they experience attachment issues. We knew we would be bringing home a baby of at least 12 months so this was a bit scary. We were given scenerious and examples of how to cope with these issues. To offer another perspective on adoption a video was played of pre-teen adopted kids talking about how they felt about their family life and the fact they are adopted. One of the points of the video was to show that most kids who live in a nurturing loving environment with their adoptive parents are very happy. Some of them were interested in finding their birth parents or visiting their birth country, but some of them were content and saw their adoptive parents as their only parents. They did not have the desire at that point to seek out their biological parents. This proves that every situation is different and so is every kid. It does not bother us that our son may want to find his birth parents. We are very supportive of the idea, and when he is ready, we will be his biggest cheerleaders. But, the flip side is that the day may never come. It is all our son's choice.

Needless to say I had a lot on my mind after this class ended. At that time we had not yet applied with our agency and had no idea how things were going to go. Unable to picture our future family, it was difficult to peer into the future and feel comfortable with the end result. There were days I very excited to get started and others when I was sad and fearful. The huge price tag was daunting. Figuring out how to pay for the adoption on top of all the other unknowns was a strain on my emotions.

I already had enough experience with family planning to be cautiously optimistic if not completely negative about everything. But our adoption plan was it. This was our way of becoming parents. We chose to cease any further IVF cycles because we needed to endure something where there was only a minuscule chance of failure (like less than 2%). That being said I did not want to worry any longer about big issues. I just wanted to be content that within a year we would have a baby in our arms.

After we completed our homestudy in April we waited until late October to apply with our agency. More waiting. As many of us know it is the waiting involved with infertility and adoption that can be unforgiving- hanging in limbo with only our frenzied minds to keep us occupied. Nothing was going to cure my grief except a baby. We had to wait those months for various reasons. I am sure you won't be surprised when I say, thank goodness. Our son is ours because we waited. Otherwise he would have gone to another family.

Throughout the waiting period to begin our adoption I did a lot of soul searching. I was embracing our new path to parenthood but struggling with the loss of pregnancy. A few key moments that I am so thankful for helped to enlighten me during this time. My senses became heightened to all things adoption. I noticed transracial families everywhere. My heart melted when I saw or met adoptive families This helped me to picture our new family. One day I was in the library waiting to check out a book and the mother in front of me had her 2 year old daughter sitting on the counter facing her with her legs wrapped around thermother's waiste. When the child picked up her head, I saw she was Chinese; the mother was Caucasian. I should not assume this child was adopted but the picture of them embracing made me long to begin our adoption process. I was filled with hope.

Also, when we finally began our journey we met at the coordinators house one morning and were introduced to a couple of families who had already completed their adoptions. A little boy about 1 year old peeked his head around the corner, and when I saw his twinkling eyes and cute winter hat, I fell in love. The kettle of excitement I felt to have my own little one brewed over. I was ready- completely. It was after this meeting that I began shouting to the world that we were expectant parents through adoption. I finally felt I was justified in revealing that I was going to be a mommy soon. This revelation was thrilling.

After our match we were so excited to put pictures of Min Man all over the house. Planning and dreaming were in full swing. But there was also trepidation. Like most expectant parents we were scared. What would our child be like? What kind of parents would we be? We had some extra pre-conceived worries due to being parents through adoption. As the months passed during our wait and Min Man became older I fretted about his language development. He was hearing and speaking only Korean. He had begun to say Mom and Dad in Korean. Also, because S. Korea changed their rules just as we started our adoption (of coarse) the babies were coming home older in efforts to build up inner-country adoptions. Therefore, if the babies were not adopted domestically by six months old, they were opened to the international pool. Due to a glitch in our immigration paperwork Min Man came home at 15 months (about 2 months longer than expected); in our agency's 30 years, he was one of the oldest "babies" to come home- meaning that the couple that received the referral for a baby did not get their baby until after a year. This is different than those who wish to adopt a toddler or older child.

Min Man lived with one woman and her family for his first 15 months of life. I was very afraid he would be devastated after leaving them. The adjustment could have been extremely traumatic for him. Plus he had to travel over 20 hours to get to the US. Think about how cranky you become when you're travelling and how uncomfortable it can be to be out of your comfort zone.

Thankfully, my fears went unclaimed. All the mental preparation was good, but things have turned out way better than every imagined. It has been smooth sailing. I am so thankful that our adjustment was so effortless and that Min Man has been a happy baby throughout everything. The happiness is due to his inner glow and loving and accepting disposition.

The first unclaimed fear:
The first meeting.
We met Min Man in the airport. We did not have to travel to Korea. He turned the corner in his umbrella stroller and was all smiles. Looking exactly like his pictures, he came right up to us and gave us hugs and kisses. His smile portrayed the personality inside, loveable and sensitive.

The second:
Adjustment at home.
Everything in his life changed- smells, tastes, clothing, language, surroundings, climate, people, sleeping (he had been sleeping on a futon).
Min Man was amiable and open to every new change. He began eating all new foods, stopped drinking his usually formula, tried a sippy cup, after a few days was sleeping in his crib, rode in a carseat (not used to that either). His biggest adjustment was jet lag. Jet lag!
Also, communication was not difficult. He knew his English name within 10 days and after about 5 weeks was saying "all gone" "Mama" and "Dada"- awwwww.

Third:
Stares and rude remarks from strangers.
There have been inquisitive looks but not blatant staring. And as any mother would say, they are staring at my handsome and cute Min Min. There have only been a couple of questions and they were not rude. In fact, things have turned out to be the exact opposite of my fears. When we are out as a family, I can feel the warmth of people's smiles and reactions to our family. We have felt nothing but support. And now that I am not new at this adoptive parent thing, I will know what to say if someone is staring or says an insensitive comment. I will not feel so insecure about being a parent.

Fourth:
Language development.
Min Man is doing just fine. He can count to 20, knows his alphabet, recognizes all the letter, and says some pretty funny things. It has been wonderful hearing his personality.We went for his 30 month check-up the other day which is big on development being up to par. As Min Man kneeled on the table in his diaper and acted like a frog saying,"ribbit" and then sang Frere Jacques (I Am Thumbkin), the doctor made a quick check mark on his clipboard and said,"Passed language development" with a chuckle.

With infertility and doing ART there were so many worries about becoming pregnant and then sustaining the pregnancy. I have a huge chance of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. And like many of you infertility has completely taken the innocence out of pregnancy. If I ever get a turn, I will be fearful until the baby is delivered.

I cannot speak for all adoptions because there are many different choices. Our situation brought up more fears about what would occur after our child arrived home. There was also consideration in parenting tactics for adoptive families and questions our children may have about their story in the future.

Parenting is scary stuff no matter how you get there. The responsbility is enormous. We all have that in common. Some challenges are unique but the love in our hearts holds no difference.

Show and Tell

I got this idea from Vent.ing Vag.ina. (I blush even writing that name.)

Here’s how it works. If you decide to partake, you have to mention (and link) to the blog where you saw it. Then use Google images to explain your answers for each category listed below- good for us visual learners.

1. Favorite beverage (besides wine?)- unsweetened iced tea






2. Favorite meal Eggplant Parm





3. Favorite show- The Goo.d Wife

4. Hometown- Lake Ontario




5. Your first car- VW Golf




7. Favorite color





8. Celebrity you most resemble (please take this with a grain of salt. Our body types are not similar at all. You can refresh your memory with my Apple on Toothpicks post.)






9. Dream vacation- Ireland









10. Childhood books loved to read- Sweet Valley High (and Nancy Drew!)






Check out the rest of Show and Tell.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Randomondium 10.25.09

Random and Pandemonium.
What life is really all about.



"Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still
and watch the leaves turn."

- Elizabeth Lawrence

This is the view from my living room. The picture cannot even capture the beauty of this Japanese Maple.

1) Help raise money for UNICEF in October. Text "TOT" to 864233. A $5 donation for the purchase of food, immunizations, and other necesseties for kids around the world will be added to your cell phone bill.


2)More than 35 million pounds of candy corn will be produced this year. That equates to nearly 9 billions pieces- enough to circle the moon nearly 21 times if laid end-to-end.


3) Can you guess the real names of these stars?


Pink, Rih.anna, Ca.rmen.Electra, Natalie Portman- ANSWERS


A. Tara Leigh Patrick=Ca.rmen Ele.ctra

B. Natalie Hershlag= Natalie Portman

C. Alecia Moore= Pink

D. Robyn Fenty= Rh.ianna

Thursday, October 22, 2009

ICLW Speeding Dating II

Happy ICLW everyone!

To get to know more about me read some of my posts listed on the right side bar listed as:
PFM Best Posts.

Also check out my previous post. What do you think?


Here is a Q&A for some details on me:

Q: Favorite food?
A: Bagels

Q: What is something unique about you?
A: I have my motorcycle licence.

Q: Favorite book of the moment?
A: "The Middle Place" by Kelly Corrigan

Q: What do you do to relax?
A: Read and take a nap.

Q: Favorite holiday?
A: Christmas. I love everything about the holiday season.

Q: Dream job?
A: Being a published author and freelance writer

Q: Favorite candy?
A: Toss up between tw.ix and butt.erfinger

Q: Favorite place you've visited?
A: Italy. I lived there for a semester in college

Q: Dream vacation destination
A: Ireland

Q: Favorite way to be "green"
A: Recycle. I love dropping off all my magazine to the local library.

Q: Middle Name
A: Catherine- after my paternal grandmother

Q: Talent you wish you had?
A: Singing. I have always loved musicals.

Q: How would you spend an extra $100
A: new shoes, a magazine, coffee from favorite shop

Misc. Tid Bit-
I speak Spanish and Italian. I wanted to be an interpreter.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Thinking Middle Age

"Time's a beauty. The road being long."
- Blues Traveller

I am 31 years old. I still say I am 30, but I am actually less than 6 months out from my 32nd birthday. When I turn 32, I will resort to saying, "I'm in my thirties. Are you surprised?" (smile)

Life has clearly entered a new phase. This isn't all due to entering a new decade or even being a new parent. My mindset has changed. I was told that this is part of middle age. What? I thought that with 50 being the new 40 that middle age was like 45. I mean people are living longer and longer especially women. Middle age, hah.

Pause.

Crap. Maybe it's true.

I had no problem turning 30. My 20's had their highlights with being young, making milestones like a first job, first house, engagement, wedding, and continuing to party and do silly things. But those years were also very tumultuous for me, and I was ready for a new decade and fresh start. I turned 30 in February (in Hawai'i) and Min Man came home in June; it was an exciting time.

The 31st birthday didn't feel all that fun. I just kept thinking, shit I'm already past 30. If I forgot to wear my SPF 45 everyday before, I sure as hell couldn't afford to forget it now. My 31st year has brought a lot of changes. Motherhood and thinking about having a second child and all that entails is definitely a challenge. Starting the non profit and juggling my "real" job along with trying to work on my marriage and relationships has been a little tricky. But because I love what I am doing it has not been as hard as it may seem. Rewarding and fulfilling are good descriptive words. Feeling a sense of peace as well.

The biggest change for me has been how I look at time- the past, present, and future. I no longer feel like my choices are endless and I have all the possibilities in the world. There are several reasons for this: family, stability, income, planning for college, retirement, crisis'. Going through infertility made me view life very differently. Shit happens. We cannot always be prepared for it, but knowing life altering situations can arise is a tough life lesson. Some learn this very early on. I learned it in my mid-twenties.

I look backwards with a sense of nostalgia. I am having a hard time remembering all the details of funny times. In 2010 I will be out of college 10 years. Whew! I told my friends at home who went to school with me that we need to start going to Alumni weekend. We need to be able to go back and see how the place has changed, have beers at our favorite bars, and eventually show our children where we went to school. I went to several Alumni weekends at my dad's Alma Mater. I even sat in on a Spanish class when I was in ninth grade. I so wanted to go there. But my grades didn't cut it when application time rolled around. It's okay, though. I wouldn't change where I went to school for anything; I'm sitting here now in this house, typing on this computer, watching my son play with his cars because of where I ended up going to school. This is just one of the reasons I know that things always work themselves out.

I look at the present as cherishable. Even though I am one of those people always striving for more, I know I am content. I have it pretty good. But I want time to standstill. I am afraid of the years slipping by. Because of this I am trying very hard to live in the moment. Let the small stuff go, put things into perspective, know what is most important. It's not the guy that cut me off on the road or something mean and unprofressional said to me while at work.

As Robert Frost said, "I can sum up in 3 words what I have learned about life: it goes on."

Nothing will stop the sun from rising and setting, alarm clocks signaling another work day, first days of school along with last days of school, and on and on.

I look at the future with humility. I have visions of what of life in my 40's. Min Man will be 11. If we adopt a second child, she will be much younger. That is so different from my parents generation. I was 20 when my father turned 50- my brother was 24. Sometimes I look forward to the days when Min Man is a strapping young boy- all handsome and bright-eyed. He will probably tower over me and give me noogies and say, "Oh, Mom." I hope that he stays as sweet as he is now. He may get into trouble, but I hope he never loses his kind and loving disposition. Maybe it will be like when my mother was called into school because of stupid, harmless thing my brother did. The ladies in the office would all gush when they found out she was his mother. He was supposed to be in trouble all the time, but everyone thought he was the nicest, sweetest kid. My second child who is now only a dream will be a little girl with 1st grade on the horizon. What will it be like to have a daughter?

Middle age thinking is about realizing that many of the big decisions have been made, and asking yourself, how has it shaken out? There is so much life to live. I am not trying to say that I feel "old" (whatever that is) at this point. But I feel changed. It is not about maturity either. Middle age is about feeling the effects of time and knowing that the years are passing by all too quickly. I am a firm believer that life is what you make of it- at any age.

I look at my parents who are 60 and hope to be like them. They are madly in love and kids at heart. But I also hear things like, " We only have about 10 good years left before we have to worry about limited mobility and the ability to do everything we want to do." We joke about them moving into my house at some point and selling all their stuff on e.bay. My family is a bunch of realists with a great sense of humor. My mom boasts about drooling on my brother's couch as payback for ruining most of her furniture. However, these conversations are scary and depressing. Planning for getting old for them means hanging up their helmets and selling the motorcyle, the potential sale of their home of 40 years (my only childhood home) and many other difficult scenarios.

I find myself fighting regret. If there are things I wanted to do five years ago that I have not yet done, I have plans to get them accomplished. I have come to term with some things I used to feel bad about because I now understand (with age) that all my decisions have shaped who I am now. For example, if I had not gone out one October evening in the year 2000 for happy hour, I would not have met my husband. Crazy but true. If I had not taken a job where I would be laid off, I would not have starting working for my father which has been a wonderful experience for both of us.

One regret that lingers is that I did not wear my mother's wedding dress. My engagment was short and because she was unable to find the dress within a couple of weeks, I had to make the decision to buy a dress. I love my wedding dress and hope that a future daughter or niece may want to wear it, but I cannot help but wish I had come down the aisle in the lacy Prisci.llia of Boston gown my mother adorned in 1972. I have visions of wearing the dress at our 10 year anniversary, but I fear that my waist size will be all the more difficult to tame. She was tinier than I was at 25 so there would have to be some high intensity spinning classes attended to even zip it up and use the clasps. Maybe, just maybe I will get to wear her gown and pose the way she did with a parent on either side kissing her cheek.

Or, maybe I will see my daughter put on her grandmother's dress and redo the photo of my mother holding her father's hand on the front stoop with her daddy, DH. I can live with the endless possbilities of life. I can accept being middle aged if it means helping my growing nieces to be better people, lovingly take care of my child, face difficult situtations with friends and family, celebrate another wedding anniversary, and have the most confidence in myself than ever before.

This is not to say I haven't, when the time right, considered getting a tu.mmy tuck and eyebrow lift.


"Young, old. Just words."
- George Burns

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Over The Top


I have seen this great award floating around the sphere of blogs, and now I am honored to be a recipient. Thank you to 2 Toddlers and Me!

The rules that come with the Your Blog is Over the Top Award include:

  • Thank the blogger who gave you the award
  • Nominate 6 other deserving blogs
  • Answer the questions below with only one word

I'm passing this award onto these Over the Top blogs - all worth a visit:

Julie's Scribbles

Wishing 4 One

Ellebows and More

An Unwanted Path

Life According to Leah

Don't Call Me Mother


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.Where is your phone? Charging

2. Your Hair? Curly

3. Your Mother? Inspirational

4. Your Father? Mentor

5. Favorite Food? Cereal

6. Your dream last night? None

7. Favorite Drink? Lemonade

8. Your Dreams? Big

9. What room are you in? Living Room

10. Your Hobby? Decorating

11. Your Fear? Regret

12. Where do you want to be in six years? Happy

13. Where were you last night? Celebration

14. Something you are not? Tall

15. Muffins? Corn

6. Wish List Item? 501 c(3)

7. Where did you grow up? Beautiful

18. Last thing you did? Laundry

19. What are you wearing? Pajamas

20. Your TV? Baseball

21. Your Pets? Two

22. Your Friends? Hilarious

23. Your Life? Amazing

24. Your Mood? Tired

25. Missing someone? Grandpas

26. Your vehicle? CR-V

27. Something you are not wearing? Jewelry

8. Your favorite store? Tar.get

29. Your Favorite Color? Green

30. When was the last time you laughed? Recently

31. Last time you cried? Often

32. Your Best Friend? Loving

33. One place you go over and over? Parent's

34. One person that emails you? Friends

35. Favorite place to eat? Italian

(Min man quote for today- "It's perfect.")

Thursday, October 15, 2009

This Thing Called Blogging


"We are born with nothing but the dreams we carry in our hearts."
- EWS


12 months ago I began a new blog. It was a fresh start from my first blog, "The Fine Print" because it was meant to be so much more than a personal diary in a small, private corner of the sphere of blogs. PFM was my attempt to reach as many readers as possible, to continue on using the positive feedback that my writing was touching people's lives- strangers lives. This was unbelievable to me- still is. The fact that I have some ability to express myself "on paper" and it helps people feel better or understand infertility, adoption or whatever else I manage to write about is one of the most fulfilling things of my life. Writing my experiences may help others explain and articulate what they may be feeling. Hopefully they have passed along my words to friends or family members who have a hard time understanding or empathising with the extreme difficulty of infertility. I also write for myself. It is how I work through my struggles or celebrate an achievement even if it is about how I managed to cook a dinner without making my husband gag :)
This time last year I had an idea to start a non profit because I felt very strongly that there was a huge void to be filled. I was in the process of writing a book but did not feel like that was sufficient. I had already devoted nearly 5 years of my life to infertility learning about female endocrinology, doctors, insurance, heartache, and the slow process of recovery from grief. Once the idea popped into my head, there was no stopping me. However, I wasn't foolish enough to believe that I could ever make PFM successful on my own. I did not know how or who would guide me through such an enormous responsibility. People began popping into my life, though. It has been amazing.

I have high hopes for PFM; there's no doubt about that. I think it has the potential to grow exponentially because our goal is to help people fulfill their dreams of parenthood. As I have stated before having a family is fundamental to the human experience. Not everyone may want to have children, but everyone should have the option. If this can happen through ART or adoption or both, then money should not stand in the way. Misinformation or lack of information should not impede someone from becoming a parent. The real world however has put up a barrier for infertiles. The options for Assisted Reproductive Technology have exploded, but the insurance coverage and support for those who cannot pay out of pocket has not yet caught up. Dangling a carrot comes to mind.

What else can I say but that my heart is exposed. I have read so many blogs and cried so many times for so many people. I have rejoiced with news of pregnancy and birth and adoption. Sometimes it has been hard to be so entrenched in the pain of infertility when I am still feeling out my own emotions. My son is the light of my life and his very essence makes me believe that he was meant to be our son. I would not change a thing because it all led me to him. But I still falter with news of pregnancy and stumble through old emotions wondering if I will have a bigger family. No matter what I do with my experiences and thoughts at least I have a place to get support and maybe help someone else who is feeling the same way.

To take a look back on the accomplishments of PFM...

I became a member of the ALI (Adoption, Loss, Infertility) community on Stirrup-Queens right around the time I started the blog. I found Lori at Weebles Wobblog. She has been a wonderful resource of knowledge and so kind to me as I tackled the huge undertaking of building a blog. I was and still am in awe of the hard work and diligence necessary to make a successful blog. I have come a long way, but I have a lot to learn and a lot more work to do to reach people. I also met Kelly Damron at Twin Peas Blog very early on. She has been very supportive of me, helping me with PR and giving advice.

Then there are the countless bloggers who have stopped by, read my posts, befriended me, supported me and welcomed me into the ALI community. I have also met so very many wonderful people outside of ALI that have posted about my site and cause to help spread awareness. The comment on my first post gave me confidence when I really needed it.


Here are some highlights from the past year.
  • Finding loyal readers that weren't friends or family. Wow!
  • Establishing a website with the help of my friend, Josh at Grindcolor Design
  • The Blog/Essay Contests to spread awareness. First winner- To Baby and Beyond. Second winner- Mr. Shelby
  • Getting a blog makeover. I still think it is so me and I didn't even tell them what to do
  • Becoming a bonified Non-profit Corporation
  • Putting together a Board of Directors of wonderful people who have been so supportive and helpful. I am very lucky.
  • Officially adopting our son in March
  • The Artwork for Building Families Project . Go here to purchase and learn more.
  • Our Launch Luncheon Fundraiser
  • Becoming the Limerick Chick 2009 (Get ready everyone I have some good ones up my sleeve for next year)
  • Being mentioned in Adoptive Families Magazine
  • Meeting Mel at RESOLVE's, Night of Hope
  • Highlighted on SITS. I received so much support from them.
  • Getting published (in a local magazine due out any day)

    Accomplishments on the horizon:
  • Becoming an official 501 c(3) tax exempt charity. We are waiting with baited breathe. Come on IRS!
  • Being featured in Parents Magazine- January issue due out in December
  • Posting our first grant applications on January 2, 2010. You can read the criteria for grants here.
  • Our first Parenthood for Me Gala. I need help thinking of a good name for the event.
  • Awarding our first grants in June 2010
  • Going to Blogher in NYC
  • Publishing my book


    Thank you to DH and Min Man for inspiration to keep going and the lovely people who have helped establish the corporation and non profit including the Board of Directors.

    Thank you to everyone who reads this blog and has helped me by writing letters, featuring me on your blog, commenting, sharing PFM's mission with others, and attending our fundraising events.
    I have been told many times that projects like this can grow legs of their own (I'm sure Mel can attest to this). What starts out as an idea blossoms into something far greater than could ever be envisioned. I will continue to rely on the many wonderful people who have already devoted time and energy, and I will welcome all those who discover PFM and want to be a part of its cause.

    Here are some pictures from the past year.

    Kym's Sock It To Me 2009- Kicking infertility's arse



  • Our Launch Luncheon Fundraiser










    Mel and I at The Night Of Hope in June


    Purchase our signature hair clip made by my friend Lisa at Ellebows and More. $1.50 of each sale is donated to our endowment. Just click on the button.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Please visit the March of Dimes website

    Please write your representatives to extend the Adoption Tax Credit.





    Remember that today is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. Please light a candle at 7PM.





    "All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on."
    -Henry Ellis

    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    Show and Tell - 10.14.09

    Tomorrow is my Blogoversary. One year of PFM. It is actually my 2nd year of blogging, but my first blogs are closed for privacy issues. Tomorrow I will post about looking back on the past 12 months, creating PFM, this blog, and meeting so many wonderful people.

    Here is a post I wrote while waiting for my son to come home. After waiting close to 5 years to be a mom, the last few weeks were excruciating. This is how I felt at that time. A mom in my heart, but not a mom in the flesh. I think many of us have felt this way or still feel like that.
    It is a difficult place to be in.

    "What Am I Here For Anyway?"

    My heart is full and heavy at the same time. I have created a new life with a new life beside me- he just isn't here yet.

    Inside I am teaching the ABC's and going for walks in the stroller. The baby food in my cupboard is collecting dust along with the plastic sea animal dishes. His clothes hang on turtle hangers in the closet smelling like detergent. His socks lay in a drawer stark white never having had a chance to get dirty. As spring has sprung I open his window to relieve the store-like smell that permeates his room. Every item in there is too new, sitting unused. There are no scuff marks or stains.

    Please bring me the stinky smells and the dirty clothes and the banged up walls. His stuffed animals have begged me to be carried by their arms around the house. The rocker sits in the corner yearning to hear lullabies and have it's semi-circle legs feel the weight of mother and baby. Everything screams at me to do be able to their job. The Little.People on the farm are bored and want to use the tractor and slide to down the slide. The blankets are sick of hanging on his crib, their fluffiness going untouched. Everyone feels that their roles are not being fufilled, including mine. The books are feeling neglected that their bright and shiny pages are not seeing the light of day.

    Motherhood is laying dorment and I know how they feel. They, like I were made to fufill a job and we cannot do that without him here. His arrival will bring a carnival of life to all those people and objects that patiently wait to be hugged and played with so they can live up to their given expectation- to be held, loved, and used as stepping stones to build a new life.

    Check out the rest of Show and Tell

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Perfect Moment Monday

    Winter is coming. The sun sets early. I come home from work late and the first thing I hear is,"Mom!" being shouted from somewhere inside the house.

    I am still taken aback by this little voice yelling for me- waiting for me to come home and give him a hug. Sometimes I am still surprised at how lucky I am to be his mom.

    Check out Weebles Wobblog for more Perfect Moments.

    Sunday, October 11, 2009

    Women Around the World

    I recently read 2 eye-opening articles in Marie.Claire Magazine.
    *This information is disturbing.

    Economists Siwan Anderson and Debraj Ray conducted their routine study of women's mortality in China, India, and Africa. They discovered that six million women are dying each year- many in their 20's and 30's- due to neglect and mistreatment.

    Here are 3 examples are the reason for the high death rate.

    India-
    Bride Burnings: More than 225,000 women die in India each year from disagreements over their dowry (the money or goods the bride's family owes the groom's). This is a typical scenario: When a bride's family cannot pay the promised cash in a lump sum, the bride's in-laws torture her with fire until her family pays the money or until the abuse kills her.

    China-
    The suicide rate for women is higher than men, which is unique to the rest of the world. An estimated 150,000 Chinese women- most between the ages of 15 and 35- take their own lives each year. It happens mostly in rural areas. The suicides stem from problems such as the pressure of an arranged marriage to a stranger and the burden of the backbreaking work women have to do in the fields and factories.

    Africa-
    More than 600,000 African women die each year due to lack of treatment for HIV. 75% of Africans living with the disease are women. What is the cause? Husbands often have multiple sexual partners on the side, which helps spread the disease. Wives have limited power to negotiate safe-sex practices and less access to treatments compared to other regions.

    There was also an article about the high death rate of women in Africa due to pregnancy and giving birth. The article says that exact numbers are hard to come by but surveys suggest that for every 100,000 babies born in Tanzania, nearly 1000 mothers lose their lives in child birth.

    To read more buy November's issue of Marie.Claire.

    They also did a story on selling young girls for se.x in Cambodia. The article states that more than 12 million people are now victims of forced pro.stitution and labor across the world. The buying and selling of humans is a $32 billion global business, according to the US State Dept. 2009 Trafficking in Persons Report.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    A Push For PR- Giveaway

    Now is the time to start reflecting on the beginnings of PFM. This time last year it was only an idea. I printed business cards on my computer and began telling people our plans of a non profit. It is hard to remember but I think I found Stirrup-Queens and Weebles Wobblog in November or December. The Parenthood for Me blog began somewhere around then as well. My main goal at this point in time was marketing. Word of mouth and building my web site and blog proved to be the best ways to get the word out to the public. F.book has been a great tool. I hooked up with several people from my younger days and was able to help them through their challenges of infertility.

    We stand now as a NYS registered non profit corporation. Our 501 c(3) tax exempt application is in and awaiting approval. To date through fundraisers, individuals donations, sponsors my $45. bank account has reached roughly $6,000. These are baby steps needed to launch our organization from grassroots to the national non profit we are building ourselves to be.

    I am not doing a full on "look back at our first year" yet because it's not quite time. What I need is a push in the PR direction. I need more people to find out about PFM and help spread the word. We will be posting our grant application on http://www.parenthoodforme.org/ in January. Our first grants will be awarded in June 2010. The more people who know about our charity, the more people we can help. Thank you to everyone who has helped me thus far. I would not be here without you.

    One winner of the giveaway will receive 2 sets of our "Artwork for Building Families" note cards. The first set is our black and whites and the winner will also receive the landscape note cards. Check out the website for a look- "Artwork for Building Families"

    Here are the rules:

    1. Post about PFM. Attach a link to our website and blog.
    http://www.parenthoodforme.org/
    http://parenthoodforme.blogspot.com/

    You can cut and paste this in your post to make things easier for you.

    Please check out the national non profit Parenthood for Me. Their mission is to provide financial and emotional support to those building their families through adoption or medical intervention. They will be accepting their first grant applications in January 2010. The first set of grants will be awarded in June 2010. Visit the website FAQ page to find out more details.
    Feel free to add any other details you would like.


    2. Post about the Giveaway to Raise Awareness.


    3. Notify 7 people that you feel may not know of PFM or would be willing to continue the chain. They can be bloggers or simply contact them through email, Facebook or Twitter.

    4. Make sure you let me know you have done these things. If you are not a blogger, that's okay. Leave a comment to let me know.

    Winner will be announced October 12

    Cheers!

    Monday, October 5, 2009

    Education, Advocacy, and Trust

    I recently read an article in People Magazine about a couple who had the wrong embryo transferred to a woman's body. She became pregnant, and briefly after telling her the good news, another call came notifying them that the embryos transferred were not theirs but another couples. The couple decided that they would not abort the fetus but carry it to term and then have to give up the child to her biological parents. According to them there was no other alternative. Without much thought I know I would do the same thing.

    Both families are outraged by the mix up but the biological parents of the baby in gestation are relieved, thankful and excited to be able to add to their family. Besides the obvious pain, the woman carrying the baby has been notified by her RE that she will never have another chance to carry a baby because of a condition she has, and therefore, the five embryos they have frozen will have to be put in a gestational carrier. The news is a doubly whammy for the couple.

    The big question is how do things like this happen? Just because we are dealing with vitally important circumstances such as life, death, surgeries, infertility treatments does not change the fact that humans are performing these procedures and operations. Think about how many mistakes happen at the telephone company, restaurant, or airport. Errors are going to happen because they are inevitable. It's not just the human factor, but poorly run hospitals, overworked staff, and new technologies that are slowly but surely gaining ground.

    Think of changes hospitals have had to make in recent years because of unthinkable mistakes. They are now having patients take a magic marker and "x" which body part is supposed to be operated on because one too many times the wrong limb was amputated. Are these stories sensationalized? Sure. Does it makes it any less scary or thought provoking? Hell, no. If your blood lab isn't already doing this, make sure they check your date of birth and name at least twice when they use a vial to draw blood. Babies have notoriously gotten switched at the hospital from the nursery to mom's room for feeding etc. Not so much now, but in the past it was very common- yes, really I know a personal story.

    Think about other fields where the public have gotten royally screwed because they put way too much trust in the "professional" they hired. Financial planners and banks are the first to come to mind. In this day and age we are forced to think twice maybe four times before we make a commitment to anyone. As always it is the 2% making the other 98% look bad, but none of us can afford these scandals- financially or emotionally. And, if we do not learn from others have have suffered, then there must be blame placed on ourselves.

    There are things you can do to help prevent you or a loved one from being a hospital/doctor/nurse/ blunder in particular.

    Education, Advocacy, and Trust.

    ART is new as far as medical technology is concerned. Surgeries and procedures are still being tweeked and developed. Labs holding sperm, eggs, and embryos should be holding this responsibility to the highest regard considering that they are dealing with creating human life. This is where the trust has to lie. However, you can make sure your genetic ties are in the best place possible. You can still ask to see the lab, ask a million questions, read statistical data, bug the crap out of the doctors. You have to because this is your health and your life.

    The days of fully trusting your doctor to know what is best should be far behind us. We are an educated public, we are consumers, we have been given tools to find more information.
    There will never be a 100% guarantee that when you are under a doctor's care that something bad will not happen. But, maybe you can lessen your risks of being wrapped up in a medical mishap. We should learn to partner with our doctors. We should learn and have the confidence to know that just because we did not go to medical school does not mean we do not know our own bodies and do not have the capability of learning about biology. And, our doctors should be evolving to the point where their patients will put them to the test and they are ready for the questioning attitude. Medical school isn't over with residency. They will be held accountable, forced to dig deeper into problems, and should have their heads in the right place and not up in the clouds simply because they are the doctor.

    The second I ever get the feeling a doctor is patronizing me again I will be out the door in a second. It's my life, my body, and my future. No one knows me better than me.

    Saturday, October 3, 2009

    Guest Author

    This post is written by my friend at An Unwanted Path. This is a very touching and eloquent post about her struggles with infertility.


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    I've been at this for awhile now- it's been 29 months, October officially marks the 2.5 year mark. I find that the longer I travel this long dark road, the harder it gets. Not just with finding the inspiration, the courage, the strength to continue- I mean the motivation, finding bravery in the face of all this loss, failure, and fear.

    See, so far I have ovulated 3, maybe 4, times. I have experienced that positive pregnancy test twice now. I have experienced that excruciating pain of pregnancy loss twice as well. I have learned that fertility treatments can make dreams come true, but for some of us they feed false hopes.

    There are a great many things this journey has stolen from me, things I will always miss. I will never again look at a positive pregnancy test with a sense of joy. I will never feel excited and carefree as I tell people that I'm pregnant; I never even had that, and I never will. I will never have that naivety in pregnancy back. My first pregnancy will not be remembered with joy. I will never feel confident that I am having a baby until I have a living breathing child in my arms. Holidays are filled with dread, because I fear that someone will happily announce their good news- and I will have to hide in the bathroom because as strong as I am, I am not strong enough for that. I resent that I can't be happy for other people the way I used to be, because I feel too sorry for myself and I can't seem to get past that anymore.

    Our family relationships have been forever changed- I will forever resent the way my family decided to treat me after my first miscarriage, and how hard it was on me. I will resent how my husband's family act like all this is so easy, how all of them knew about the miscarriages and that only my mother-in-law said anything, and how even she did not speak to me after the second one. I will resent their insinuations that we should adopt even though they can't begin to understand how difficult that really is- and how they seem to think that we will just let them in our lives when we have children, even though they have nothing to do with us at all as we suffer. I'm resentful because they love their grandchildren so much, and they dote on them so much at Holidays that I feel even worse, because I can't give their son a child. And because I know they didn't like me to begin with, I can't help but wonder if they hate me even more now because of this.

    I'm resentful because I am so bitter. I don't want to be.

    I used to be confident that I would be a good mother. The longer I walk this road, the more I doubt this. I haven't changed personally- I mean, I'm more weathered and my life situation has improved since we started- but I doubt my future parenting skills now. And it all boils down to this- the longer I have to think about what it means to be a parent, the more terrified I get.

    I mean, watching my niece run around like a wild-child who doesn't understand the word "no", and getting worn out from just spending an hour with her- I have to ask myself, do I have what it takes? When I actually think about my entire life focus would shift (Well, not entirely- right now it's all focused on becoming a parent. It would just shift to being a parent.) I mean, afternoons watching television with my husband would be out, sitting on the computer and playing online as much as I do would be out, reading books and being absorbed in an art project, going out on a whim... all out. How would I handle situations that come up? What about stitches, school issues, babysitting, etc... We don't have a good extended network of family, I have to figure most things out myself. Illness, weaning, potty training, child safety proofing my house, an active toddler getting into stuff, and the horrible horrible teen years... it scares the beejeezus out of me.

    But then I remind myself, it all comes in it's own due time. You adapt, you trade off. A night sitting in reading a book, becomes reading and learning time together. Working on an art project becomes arts and crafts time. Going out on whims becomes date nights, or family trips, or family nights in. Life would become different, but in a way you have (if you're like me) desired for years. You learn as you go along- most people don't have it all figured out before they become parents.

    And then I stop hyperventilating.I want to be a mother- even if it scares me now more than ever.

    I wonder if most people even think about what is really involved in becoming a parent- I mean truly think about it- before they take the plunge.

    I am thankful for some things on this journey- I know that I will be a better parent now, I have had plenty of time to prepare, plenty of time to be more gracious, plenty of time to acknowledge that this isn't going to be easy at all. I have longed and suffered so much in pursuit of this dream- I know it will be worth it. I now understand how much my husband truly loves me. I count my blessings, and mourn my losses, and keep walking- I have become stronger, more resilient, because of it. I've realized that my life really is wonderful, and even if it doesn't work out the way I want it too- I can still be happy.

    Am I glad I have infertility?

    No- but life gives us what it gives us, and we have no choice but to either work with it, or to give up. So, I keep working with it- even if each step feels like agony.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    Guest Author

    Thank you to my friend, Lori from Weebles Wobblog for providing this wonderful post in my absence. Please visit her blog as it is inspiring and meaningful.

    Lori is an adoptive mom who has quite a resume. She is an Examiner for Open Adoption, has written for Adoptive Families magazine, for regional newspapers. With Crystal, her daughter’s birth mom, she teaches classes and consults about how to build a child-centered open adoption. When she's not writing about open adoption and parenting, she's living it in Denver with her husband, Roger, and children Tessa (8) and Reed (6).

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    With adoption, last means best

    I had long struggled with the idea of adoption as a second choice -- pregnancy being the default setting and thus the first choice.

    Why the struggle? After all, I had ended up in exactly the right place. I wouldn't want my family to be any different than what it is.

    But how to explain this to my children, who are likely to ask questions in the coming years? Would they someday feel like we settled for them, that they weren't our first choice, that they were second-best? I shudder at that thought.

    I found resolution to this dilemma through Melissa at Stirrup Queens, who addresses the term "second" as a chronological term rather than an ordinal term. Brilliant!

    Was Roger my first choice as a husband? Well, considering I kissed a few frogs before I even met him, Roger wasn't chronologically my first choice. I wonder how my life would be now if I'd ended up with Alan, the boy who helped me collect worms when we were 8. Or Doug, the disk jockey turned radio-mogul, or Brad-the-farmer or Clay-the-slacker or Iain-the-commitment-phobe.

    Roger was definitely my best choice. But I meandered to get to him. The meandering is what made me worthy of him and appreciative of him.

    It's oddly coincidental. Tessa developed her first crush recently at school. She is smitten with a much older boy, a 6th grader named Cory. She dressed for him, had me braid her hair for him, talked incessantly about him, and dreamed of him. She claims she'll marry him.

    Not bloody likely. Cory may be her first, but what matters is the last. That's the keeper.

    Just like Tessa, and just like Reed. My meandering to them is what makes me worthy of them. The process of our family forming was absolutely the best choice, even if we started out not knowing that.

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