Friday, December 24, 2010

Human Kindness

In the spirit of the holiday season
please take a minute to read this very touching article.
It is an affirmation that love, kindness, and tolerance do change our lives.
I could not get through it without crying.
Click here for article.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A New Chapter

The first blog I authored was named "The Fine Print." Starting that journal changed my life. After AJ and I decided to adopt I wanted a place to log our journey to parenthood. Eventually the posts became a place to educate on infertility and adoption. Then I found myself pouring out entries about the prior 3 years and all the heartache.
Because "The Fine Print" found its way onto computers of those I didn't know, I felt I had an obligation to continue telling our story- the good, bad and ugly.

The fact that I could write something and give support to another person made me feel useful. It made me feel like my struggles meant something. This all led to the development of Parenthood for Me.

Ideas evolved. The plan unfolded.

I decided to close "The Fine Print" because that chapter of my life was over. I also wanted to protect my son from the exposure of the internet. I chose to tell my story but his story is his to tell. It was hard to end my first blog but PFM was born and I had a new and exciting place to log my thoughts, experiences, and stories of others.

Two years later I find myself in the same position. I will never forget when I found Stirrup-Queens, Weebles Wobblog and countless other blogs. This community has been my saving grace. Without the support of THE blogroll and those who have read my posts, forwarded links, donated to PFM, and commented our organization would not have grown so rapidly. My admiration is in abundance for all of the men and women who have supported Parenthood for Me. My cup runneth over.

However, it is time for Parenthood for Me to stand on its own. My story is no longer what PFM needs but the stories of hundreds of people we will help. Their stories, your stories are what will make people stand up and take notice of PFM's mission- to build families.

This blog will always be here as a forum for education, support, news, and stories. Keep us on your blog roll, remain a follower, forward our link. PFM's blog will simply take on a new format with great things in store like guest authors, a co-author, giveaways, and all the exciting things that our charity will be able to do for people out there who need help.

I will still be around writing about my own experience with adoption, infertility, motherhood and life. Please visit my new blog- Motherhood Meets Me.

I have yet to put up the first post. But, please become a follow and put me on your blog roll. I don't want to miss out any of your stories and I look forward to beginning this new chapter of my life with your support.

Thank you for reading. And thank you for continuing to support Parenthood for Me and following. My dream of making a difference in the lives of those who simply want to be parents or have the family they desire would have dissipated without you.

It takes a village to do a lot of things in life.

Merry Christmas. May you find peace wherever you are in life.

Erica

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oreos or Maternity Pants


When my 3 year old tells me we have to go the "the Tar.get" every time we are in the car, you know I have a problem shopping at this very appealing retail center way too much.

I have tried other stores like Marsh.alls and Wal.mart, but there just is not the same happy feeling from the brightly colored decor and many different departments where I can indulge in new underware, shoes, holiday housewares, and snacks. What an ingenious concept. I understand the rules of marketing. I am not oblivious to the reason why retailers put end-caps at the register with batteries, gum, water, and hand sanitizer- last minute purchases that we think we must have.

That being said I know that Tar.get is "targeting" women as their number one consumer. This is why the purses, scarves, and clothing are positioned in the first section of the store. After entering the double automatic doors and forging past the $1.00 section of goodies with way too much stuff I don't need, I should go against the grain and turn right- roll by where the shampoo and greeting cards make their humble home.

It never happens.

Today I went in to buy area rugs for my back door. Two mornings in a row of stepping in freezing cold, watery puddles left by my husband's boots in my half awake bare feet are enough for me. This should have been an easy 10 minute trip. Yeah. I don't even lie to myself anymore.

"You're just going to buy the rugs and get the hell out of there."

Nope. I knew that I would do some Christmas shopping for those on my list and for the things on my own list like a cute shirt, decorations, or cookies.

Anyway, the point of my story is that I always look at the clothes when I patronize "the Tar.get." Today was no different. I take my too-big-shopping cart for the one item I am supposed to be buying and wrestle my way through the clothing aisles. Luckily I did not see anything too appealing. Of course, I could have bought something. C'mon that ruffled pink shirt is so cute. New Years? Maybe?

I find myself in the Maternity section which happens to run right into the women's clothing section. What? Is that a given? You're a woman so you might need to buy maternity clothes someday? Bah.

The funny thing is that I didn't stomp on the breaks like I usually do and jet out of there, smoke coming off the wheels of my cart. "Must get out of the prego section."

I kept going. I even looked at the maternity pants and shirts and thought maybe I should buy something "just to keep tucked away." I pondered this thought for maybe 3 seconds when I snapped back to reality and said to myself," Have I lost my mind?"
It's almost like the past 6 years of non-pregnancy torment vacated from my body like an alien invasion of the brain. E. T. are you there? ( E.T. is the most non-threatening alien I can think of.)

Here comes the nostalgia. There was a day when, being the type-A personality, big-time planner that I am, I would have bought a cute maternity shirt to keep safe for when I was expecting. Oh to be 25 again and naive. My younger self never spent one second of thought that having a baby would be such a mind altering, life changing cluster that it has been.

I say cluster in good taste. As much as IF has been the worst experience of my life, it has given me so much that I would never, ever take back. I know that this circumstance was supposed to be part of my life. That isn't b.s. either. I really believe that.

Maybe I should have bought the cute maternity dress. Putting it away in my attic with the spring clothes might not be such a bad thing. What does it represent? Hope?

Our minds have the distinct ability to infiltrate thoughts without our conscious knowledge that inflect and project what could be. It is our psyche and personality that have the ability to deflect these instinctive thoughts and talk ourselves out of possibility.

If the snacks were the first aisle of the store, I probably would have bought a package of Oreo's, found my rugs, and left the store without having a moment where, for one instant, I saw my future pregnant self shopping as I always do but this time for two.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Welcome and Perfect Moment Moday

Please read about my perfect moments. And for more perfect moments visit






There are some exciting times at PFM. Read about our first grantee success story


Yesterday was a special day for PFM board member, Jerry Furciniti. Jerry and his wife Laura are adoptive parents to a boy from S. Korea. The family was invited by Kevin Boss, a NY Giants tight end to attend a game and go out to dinner afterwards. This is the third year Kevin Boss has hosted the giving thanks contest. Read more about the contest here. Below is the email that Jerry sent to Kevin regarding what he is thankful for.




Kevin,

Thanks so much for hosting this again this year. You've done a lot for your fans, and we appreciate it!

I'm 34 (as of today), and over the past few years, my wife and I have had a remarkable journey. We have struggled with infertility for years. Infertility is an incredibly isolating and painful struggle. As we progressed through our treatments, we found strength and solace in two places- our faith and the amazing people that we have met along the way. Every story is heartbreaking, but the resolve is very inspirational. The struggle to start a family really shakes you to the core- it's one of the most basic elements of life.

We are now proud adoptive parents of a little boy from South Korea named Evan. Words cannot adequately describe how lucky we are to have him in our lives. When we made the decision to adopt, we felt the tremendous weight lift from our shoulders. I just regret that we waited so long to start the process. Just hear his little footsteps as he runs around the house giggling as I chase him to get the football back, or to hear him say "love you dada" quite literally melts my heart. We were recently matched with our second son, and are now awaiting his arrival into our home; he's already in our hearts.

I'm thankful that I now have the opportunity to pay our good fortune forward to other couples that are in the same predicament where we were just 18 months ago. I recently started working with a non-profit that provides emotional and financial support to couples working to build their families. I firmly believe that a loving home should be the main prerequisite to start a family, not the tens of thousands of dollars for fertility treatments or adoption. I'm hoping that our story will help others find their resolve and realize that they are not alone.

This summer we handed our our first round of grants to four couples around the country. I just saw the first set of baby pictures last week! What an amazing experience!

Thank you for letting me share my story. Keep up the good work!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The game was yesterday. We are thinking of Jerry and his family and cannot wait to hear all the details. To read an interview given by Kevin Boss about the contest and Jerry check out Inside Football.
Oh, and please follow this blog. We need all the support we can get!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

In Mind, Out Of Sight


A dream is a smile, a grin from ear to ear.
Invoking happiness, hope, and a sense of meaning.
A dream holds ideas.
For what are we?
Who are we?
Without our dreams.







I often wonder how much infertility has changed me. I know it has brought me to the lowest of lows and the highest of highs. When I think about what my life would be like if having a child had been effortless, I'm content in knowing that my path to motherhood has given me more than I could have imagined six years ago.




One of the most difficult things about a life-changing situation is being forced to reimagine your future. Once I realized that the family I had always envisioned would probably take on a new form, I grappled with what my children would look like, be like, and how many, if any I would have.



I did try to imagine a life without a child. There was a point where I considered this option because we had been through too much pain. Strength and determination to continue trying to conceive were diluted by exhaustion and grief. How many disappointments can one endure? The pregnancy announcement to my parents, the choosing of names, the baby shower, the number of children I longed to have all became fragments of dream I was losing. I began to reimagine my role as a mother to just one child. If only I could be lucky enough to have one baby, then I would be grateful.



After the last failed in vitro procedure, the hope of a pregnancy was gone; we finally conceded to our reality. Biological children would not be possible. I would never get pregnant.

Even though I had been exploring adoption for two years it was at this point that I finally began imagining my life as an adoptive mother. I was happy with this thought. To love a child and take care of them was most important.



Becoming a parent through adoption has been amazing. I have no idea what I would do if my son were not in our lives. Who would I be? He has changed me for the better and enriched my life in such beautiful ways. I am deeply in love with every embrace, giggle, funny comment, and tidbit that make him who he is.



As my son grows older the desire to give him a sibling surmounts. But how will we do it? Unfortunately financing stands in our way. Like most we already spent thousands upon thousands of dollars to become parents. The thought of finding more money that could pay off debt, send our son to college, or go in a retirement fund is perplexing. But I have always said that we can find a way. I never want money to be the reason that we did not fulfill our vision of family.



There is a bit of irony, however that at this point I find that we have several options for family-building. At one point I did not think we had any options at all. Now with the passing of time and the resolution of grief I feel that we have choices for possibly having a second child. Going back to a fertility specialist is an option we have not ruled out. Starting fresh with the diagnoses we worked over two years to discover and a new mind set may just lead us to a successful pregnancy. We are also thinking of a domestic adoption rather than international.



The amazing part is that life is full, and the extreme sense of urgency to have a child that comes with infertility has dissipated. I have let go of the fact that I am older than I would have liked to be when having children. My son will be at least 5 years older than his future sibling. Ultimately I always wanted 3 children, and even though that dream will most likely never happen due to circumstances, the picture in my mind of 3 cute faces staring at me in the rear view mirror just will not fade away.



For those of you reading who struggle daily to reimagine your life as a parent I hope you find some comfort in my words. Reimagining may be difficult but can offer great rewards. Speaking about life in general we all had plans. Looking back as someone in my early thirties I see that the plans that fell through are what have created the most memorable and wonderful parts of my life. This is something I remind myself of whenever I am caught off guard with the emotions of infertility. My journey is not over, and reimagining life keeps the possibilities coming.
*Please leave a comment if you can relate to this post. I always love to hear what readers have to say. Thank you.




Sunday, November 21, 2010

Happy ICLW- November

Welcome to Parenthood for Me. This blog is part of the national non-profit founded in 2008. Our mission is to provide financial and emotional support to those building families through adoption or medical intervention.

Please read the post below to hear about our first baby!

Take a look around. Read PFM Best Posts on the right side bar.

If you are not already a follower please become one! We need help spreading the word of our mission.
Also find us on Facebook- Parenthood for Me.org and twitter.

Also, now that the holiday season is almost here please take a minute to visit Good Search.
Click here for the link. Or check out the top left side bar for search information. Just by shopping on-line (spending money you already intended on spending) you can make a donation to Parenthood for Me.
Look for the section where you can download the toolbar.


GoodSearch: You Search...We Give!


And on a side note:



Yea, you read that right. "Expectant Mother Parking" at my grocery store.

I get the need for this. In fact, it must be kind of nice for tired, expectant moms (through pregnancy). But do you blame me for wanting to ram into this sign some days?

*update: I was notified this morning that my blog made it to the top 50 blogs on this site. Check out the other great blogs.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

PFM's First Baby

Last week we received an update from one of the four families who received a grant in July.
Our Chairman, Chuck gave them a call to see how things were going, and the family was elated that their son was home from China. They said that our grant ($3000) allowed them to proceed with the adoption. They had been trying to get the last bit of money together to move forward with bringing their son home.



Here is a message from the family:


"I could say that our story is the same as hundred of other couples that wish to become a family. We also had infertility "issues" but did not let that stop us from becoming a family.
And thanks to organizations like yours, we did and could not be happier. The day we met our son was the most incredible day of our lives, just to be able to hold him, touch him, and even smell him was something that words can not describe. Till to this day when we look at him we just can't believe its true, and we are waiting to wake up from a dream. But we know It's all true and real and beautiful!
Our son is 19 months old and his name is *Len from Changzhou City in the Jaingsu Provence and he was born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, he was sponsored by Half the Sky Foundation, Nanny program who repaired his lip and cared for him.



We are truly grateful to Parenthood for Me for helping us bring Len home. Now we can call ourselves a FAMILY! If you wish anymore information on our adoption please let us know we will share our whole story with you or anyone that will listen, in hopes to inspire all those to come that it is truly worth the wait.


Thank you again and again."





I was able to see several pictures of Len and it is heart warming to see him thriving in his new home.



Thank you to all who have helped make this possible. Bowling for Babies is November 14. And we are planning for our second annual Family-Building Dinner and Silent Auction to take place in early April 2011. We have huge goals for our signature fundraiser so that we can offer larger grants and perhaps more in 2011. I look forward to continued success and assisting families in their family-building dreams.




Thank you to Plaid House Designs for making our new button for the dinner.

*name changed for privacy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In Hopes of Looking Forward

There is a maple tree outside my window that is the most glorious shade of red. In the sunlight the hues are absolutely stunning. I find myself staring at this tree wondering about its beauty. I guess I am trying to focus on things that offer hope with no effort involved. Life seems to be a constant battle of weighing difficult situations that offer pain and discomfort with those moments to be captured that make everything seem worthwhile.

What constitutes having led a difficult life? Does everyone feel that their life has been difficult? Being faced with hardship is a part of life and it shapes who we are. But why does there have to be so much loss in life?

Is it to cherish all that we gain? And all that we hold sacred? I know that many have a difficult time seeing the good in the bad. Take a bad situation and see the positive. Well, sometimes I find that very challenging. And, quite frankly I don't feel like it.

At 32 I find myself constantly looking backwards. There are many things that I have internalized in my lifetime that make me sad. Sometimes I wish this blog were anonymous so that I could pour out every strenuous thought and scenario in my lifetime, but there are many things that I must keep to myself. This blog is just one portion of who I am, and I am happy to share many things about myself, but there is so much more.

Recently I experienced the death of a loved one. She was only 61 years old. When I say she was an absolutely beautiful person, I am not doing her justice. Everyone loved her. She had an infectious laugh and aura. She died way too young, and her absence has left a hole in many people's hearts. The thought of never hearing her call my name and embrace me infects my spirit.
Losing her has made me want to live in the moment more. To find the happiness I have been seeking for many years. Losing her has made me look forward and compelled me to find a way to find peace.

The odd thing is that I do often stop to smell the roses. I have made a point to be conscious of special moments and times when things are good. I laugh a lot. I find humor in many things and like to make others laugh. I laugh at myself and have forgiven myself for not being perfect. Embracing my imperfections has released me in many ways. When I was younger, I spent way too much energy worrying about those attributes that seemed to be negative.

So what is my problem? If I can find the good in things, stay relatively positive, and relish the little things in life, then why do I still dwell on the difficult? Maybe remembering the difficult times are what keep us in check. Life is hard and it always will be. Life is not fair. But I don't want to make excuses for that my standing by and letting the hardships defeat me. I will gain nothing with that stance.

I have experienced a lot of loss in my life, and I am not talking about the loss of people. I have lost precious time. I sound vague, but I do not want to get into the details of what that loss entails. I just know that getting older has made me feel desperate to not lose anymore. I'm probably not alone in this sentiment.

In general it is tough to be optimistic these days. Our fellow Americans, friends, neighbors, co-workers are suffering from poverty, job loss, lack of health care, and many other crisis'. It's hard to know what to do with all this negative news. I am fortunate because the down economy has not really touched my life. We have battened down the hatches on needless spending and focus on how lucky we are that we both have jobs, but I am fully aware that we too may feel the epidemic of crisis much closer to home- at any time.

I have had this innate desire to purge my life. Even though I live a very middle class life, I still feel like I could simplify things a lot more. Possessions do not matter. Do I cherish my Nana's wedding china sitting in my cabinet? Yes. But the PB chair I am sitting on right now could be sold on e.bay and it wouldn't matter. I want to have a nice home for my family and my child, but I also want my son to be more aware of the love he feels every day. Love and comfort and feeling safe are the greatest gifts I can give him in this lifetime. I hope I can do a good job of relaying that to him.

A good post is one with focus. This is a post littered with random ideas that have been floating around in my head. The words have not been coming to me easily lately. Many of you who read this blog have probably noticed the lack of writing. I feel like my brain is so full of tough thoughts that whenever I get an idea to write something, it only comes out in broken lines and sentences with dangling participles. I write and delete, write and delete. But sleep wouldn't come tonight. Swirling thoughts made me toss and turn. So here I am trying to alleviate my mind at least somewhat.

I will return to my down comforter and pillow and attempt to close my eyes and shut down my mind. My mother always says that things feel worse at night. Eventually the sun will shine in a few hours, and I will hear the inevitable morning call of my son, "Mommy."

I look forward to this every day.

I will get in my car and turn to look at the glorious red maple whose leaves will only remain for a few more days until they scatter across my lawn. I will drive past our lake with its whipping white caps and turn my thoughts to being grateful.

Oddly enough this song was playing on my computer when I got the called that D. passed. She would like this song.
Push Stars- "Keg On My Coffin"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Artwork For Building Families- Giveaway

We had a successful 1st annual Artwork for Building Families Art Show. There were so many generous donations from artists all over the country. It is always so wonderful and humbling receive support for PFM's endeavors.

I am offering 3 matted pieces as a giveaway. I am hoping that you will help me spread the word of this blog and PFM. We need all the support we can get as we enter into our major fundraising stage for 2011. I receive emails all the time asking when we will be accepting grant applications. We anticipate that the grant apps will be posted in January of 2011 and awarding our second round of grants in July 2011. We cannot continue to help people without financial support and those of you who can pass the word of our non-profit's mission.








Artist- Lena, 8 years old. The palm reads "adoption"


Artist Jeanette Musliner- "Tulips"






Artist Jess Klem - Black and white tulip




To enter here are the rules:


1) Leave a comment that you are entering


2) Post the giveaway on your blog, facebook, or twitter, etc. (or all mediums)

3) Giveaway open until October 31


The winner will be chosen randomly.


And now here are some photos from the show:

















Thursday, October 14, 2010

You Will Have A Good Life

Jammies are on. Puppies are lined up along the wall next to the bed. I pull the covers up to his chin. I lay next to him, and we talk about everything we did that day.



He smiles from ear to ear thinking about going to the playground, eating pizza with his cousins, playing trucks, and riding on his uncle's shoulders.



"I went to Abigail's, Mom." He smiles.



I look at him in awe and remember how Cecelia, the owner of the adoption agency, spoke with him on the phone the day after he came home.



She crooned in Korean," You are home now. You will live a long and happy life."



Her determined words absent of doubt make me feel special. But my obligation to this beautiful child is huge.



I will make sure he lives a good life.

Better than good.



We will smile and laugh and give pizza kisses. I write down quotes from his 3 year old ramblings. I record my thoughts and love here in this journal.



I never thought I would look at Min man every day and remember what a gift he is.

I am his mother.

He is my son.

Forever.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Poem Featured Still Life 365

Please take a moment to visit Still Life 365.
This is a wonderful blog that offers support for those grieving the loss of their babies. Every day a new form of artwork is shared.
I am lucky enough to have one of my poems featured.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

An Award and Be Happy




I have been a huge slacker in the blog reading department. I really do enjoy reading about everyone's lives, but there just are not enough hours. PFM is holding its first annual Artwork for Building Families Art Show this Wednesday. I am so excited because have many wonderful pieces for sale. We will also be showcasing our holiday cards on sale right now. Below are 2 of of the 5 images. They read simply, "Happy Holidays." Let me know if you are interested in purchasing a set.



We also have the Artwork for Building Families Art Show 2010 poster. $10. These items are not available on our website yet. Leave a comment if you are interested in purchasing.


Next I will be working on Bowling for Babies November 14. Fundraising is so much fun but very time consuming. I will have a break for the holidays. Then we will be gearing for the 2nd annual Family-Building Dinner in April, 2011.

I want to say thank you to Michaela at A Single Journey for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger award. It is so nice to be recognized especially during a time when I don't feel like I have been paying enough attention to my blog. There are so many posts sitting in my brain going unwritten. In fact, my lack of writing keeps me up at night. I need to get these thoughts out of my head!

I appreciate everyone that reads and follows. It means a lot to me.

The rules of the blog are to provide 7 fact about myself:

1) I once aspired to be on the show Star Search as a singer

2) I am very sentimental and sappy

3) I applied to be in the FBI

4) I am not scared of spiders or most bugs

5) I love any kind of fruit pie. Not much of a cake-eater.

6) My hair was pin straight until 4th grade. I now have curls.

7) Family and friends are the greatest gifts in my life



And finally watch this Happy Video.

So inspiring.




Sunday, September 26, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday- Give Me A Kiss


Min man and I have many little jokes. I guess you could call them inside jokes.


I ask him to give me a kiss even when his lips are covered with remnants of his breakfast, lunch, or dinner.


It started with, "Can I have a cheerio kiss?" He would lean in and give me a kiss. Now we do milk kisses, pizza kisses, and even toast kisses.


Last night I made dinner for my mother's birthday. When we came home Min man asked me for an ice cream kiss. Then I asked him for a meatloaf kiss. Then I asked him for a broccoli kiss.


I was going to leave it at that. But not 3 seconds later he said," Mom, give me a rice kiss."


Awwww. We covered every aspect of dinner.


Visit Weebles Wobblog for more Perfect Moments.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Breaking Bows

On Saturday I drove home from a bridal shower crying. My hiatus from wedding showers left me completely unprepared for feeling my infertile self that afternoon. After all, I can and did get married.

I forgot how much emphasis is placed on what is supposed to be the next step after marriage: children. There were more comments about having babies than about the extremely important act of entering into marriage for a lifetime. I understand that as a society love, marriage, and baby is the straight and narrow, the way in which things are expected to evolve. And no one meant any harm. But it pisses me off. What an expectation to place on women (and men). Give the happy couple a chance to understand the commitment of marriage. Lay it on the line, give advice. It's hard work. Then hopefully, if they want, children will come.

I hesitated before writing this post because I do not want to offend anyone. But after all I have been through to have a family I wish people could understand that getting pregnant is such a gift. It should not be assumed or expected that it will definitely happen for every couple. I understand that people are not going to attend a wedding shower and start citing statistics from their OB/GYN about fertility and the chance of conception or bust out with the story of their cousin who had 6 miscarriages over five years. No one wants to hear that anyway.
But why not focus more on the union of two people and how their lives will be changed and challenged?

As I sat in the front of the room helping the bride open her gifts I heard the first comment about how breaking a bow means you're having a baby. How many bows will she break?

I think by the end she was up to 8 children.

I felt my face get hot and the placid fake smile appear upon my lips. I felt glance in my direction surveying my reaction to all the baby talk.

It's scary when I realized I almost made a comment out loud, "Damn, if only I had broken a bow at my wedding shower! Is that what my problem is?"

Or how about," Why don't we just hope she can get pregnant and experience the miracle of conceiving one healthy and happy child?"

I have turned into the person who tells jokes to make other people feel comfortable around me and my inability to conceive. I try to make light of talking about maternity clothes and burp clothes and ultrasounds. In order to keep up I interject some witty remark or a tidbit of information I learned from someone who has actually been pregnant. What I really want to say is nothing, act stoic. make it obvious that I will never have to decide at what month I will have to splurge on the maternity pants or whether we want the technician to reveal the gender of our growing fetus.

After all, I should be over all that infertility stuff. I have a beautiful little boy. I am a mom. I am lucky. That's the bitch of it all, though. Clearly the agony of infertility is one heartbeat away, always.

Still. I slipped away at first chance and headed to the ladies room where I could remove the fake smile and stare at my sad eyes in the mirror. A deep breath and cold water on my cheeks led me back to the gathering where I waited until it was the polite time to exit.

I am a mother and I can relate to stories of child development and proudly chime in with my own funny anecdotes about what horribly inappropriate utterances a 3 year old can chant in the check-out line. But I'm different. I always will be. I wasn't allowed the simplicity of awaiting motherhood after making a decision it was time to become parents. I wasn't allowed the opportunity to carefully plan out how I was to tell my husband we were expecting and subsequently decide when to tell our parents. All that washed away with the flood of loss over a now 6 year chronic condition-pain.

I still cannot hold babies. I've realized that it is a boycott of sorts- my way of avoiding the pain of looking into that tiny, beautiful face. The kibosh on my visions of soothing my own newborn or growing infant, memorizing their features and equivocating whether they have my eyebrows and hands or the mouth of my mother-in-law.

Recently I found a new way to torture myself as I ponder asking a friend what it was like to hear his wife tell him he was to be a father. Is my vision true? Did he get teary eyed and hug her and feel his love for her swell knowing she was carrying his child? Do I need to know this memory of his? Of course not. Do I want to understand something else I have missed out on? I guess so. Maybe the reality is that he was scared shitless and got in his car to grab a six pack of beer. Probably not but you never know. I'm sure I romanticize the scenario a little bit, but I betcha I'm pretty spot on.

A couple of months ago my very best friend had a beautiful shower under a tent in the August heat. She looked so at ease and comfortable and pretty with her belly protruding. I am so happy for her and the Mr. I would not have missed it for the world. At the very end she thanked everyone for attending and their generosity. And much to my surprise she mentioned how grateful she and her husband are to me and my husband for all we taught them about the miracle of parenthood. We showed them that if one is dedicated to raising a child and loving a child, it can happen no matter what. The comment was a lovely thing to say. But it was unexpected and I had to leave the room. Her recognition set me apart and I cannot say it upset me to feel different this time because if I hadn't been given the choice of adoption, I would not be a mother to my little boy. Maybe it was difficult hearing her say that about me while casting my eyes on the baby growing inside her belly. However, her compassion and understanding and desire to relay that to her guests made me feel good.

She gets it. And that's all I can ask.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday in Pictures


It's Monday morning, and I am reflecting on a great week spent at our cottage. It was a blast. Min man did many wonderful things, and he had a great time as well as Mom and Dad.


There were boat rides, turtle catching, a trip to a farm, ATV rides, bull frog catching, fishing, and lots of laughing.

Here are some of my favorite pictures. Hope you enjoy.

This was his first catch! We were so proud.


Barry the bullfrog.













Tommy the turtle to the right of the first rock.





Walking with Gramma on our land.







Papa's tractor
Please visit Weebles Wobblog for more Perfect Moments.













Wednesday, September 1, 2010

My Life Laid Out In Cards


I'm not a super spontaneous person. I tend to think things through way too much. However, there are distinct moments when I get an inclination to do something. When this occurs I go with my gut and follow through.

About a month ago I was at a local festival where I saw a sign for Tarot card and palm readings. Immediately I knew I wanted to do it. After paying my $15 I waited for Mike to call my name from alongside the building where they had tables and chairs set up. About five minutes later the woman running the booth apologized that they sent someone else over to Mike and that Joe was available to read my cards. I felt this mix-up meant something. Joe was the guy to read my cards.

I sat down at the table with little expectation. I am a very open minded person and fully believed that I would walk away from the reading enlightened in some way.

He had me shuffle the deck and lay the cards in three piles. Then he worked his magic laying the cards out before me, all the pretty pictures and symbols having no meaning to me. There were some "oh's" and "ooh's" as he scanned the cards, sizing up my life- past, present, and future.

At first he explained the meaning of certain cards. One relayed that a financial endeavor I had been hoping for would pan out. This was nice to hear, and I could think of several things where this may apply. I do run a charity!
Then he went straight for the heart.

"Are you thinking of adopting?" Tears immediately stung my eyes.

Studying my reaction he said,"Have you adopted before?"

I proceeded to tell him yes and yes. He asked for my hand so he could read my palm. Now he meant business because the $15 bucks I spent was for either a Tarot card reading OR a palm reading. I must have been an interesting case.
I wish I could remember all the details of his words as he looked at the lines on my open palm. What he said was extremely accurate. Soaking it all in I remember being in awe as the words came out of his mouth.

He asked me if I am a teacher. I mentioned that I did teach for a year, high school Italian. He cut me off stating, "Not just a teacher in that sense. Are you a teacher?"

Within a second I answered yes. All the time I am devoting to writing and working on the charity is about teaching and educating. I never thought of myself in that light until then.
I got to thinking that some people are meant to teach others. Whether it be as a camp counseler, author, trainer, a parent. There are those individuals whose personality is tuned to showing others instead of telling.

There were other things spoken in my Tarot card/palm reading session that really hit home. The last thing he said to me is that I have been trying too hard to figure out a problem in my life. He stated,"I know it is difficult for your personality, but you need to sit back and let the universe figure things out. You have done all you can do." Wow. That could not be more valid.

He encouraged me to adopt again saying that I was always meant to be a mother. He sees 3 children in my future. That seems impossible to me, but 3 was always my number. Ever since I was a young girl I wanted 3 children.

Wiping tears from my eyes I shook his hand and walked back into the crowd to greet my friend. I was left with much to ponder: the ability to see someone's life laid out in cards, the lines on my palm, reincarnation. I understand that many of the things Joe said could be interpreted different ways according to the person sitting across from him. But he did know or sense things that were very particular to me. That is the amazing part. The portion about my past life flowing into my existence was also hauntingly appropriate. I decided to read more about reincarnation.
The reading was a fresh and different experience. It encouraged me to be more spontaneous and do things that are new and unknown. My mind has been opened a little bit more, my beliefs bended leaving me asking more questions about life in general and my life in particular.

The tarot (first known as tarocchi) is a pack of cards (most commonly numbering 78), used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play card games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot. From the late 18th century until the present time the tarot has also found use by mystics and occultists in efforts at divination or as a map of mental and spiritual pathways.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Photo Friday- Words

Today's photo theme is words. I love the written word. Reading and writing are my favorite past times. I am also very picky about which fonts I use. I can be composing an email or making invitations. The font sets the tone.
These are a few things around my house.


This is a roller coaster I bought at a garage sale. It's probably from the 80's and in impeccable condition. I love stuff like this.

These are my great grandmother's nursing pins. Her name is Anna. My grandfather was always so proud because I resemble her. I have seen many pictures, and I cannot argue. This sits on my living room mantel.


This magnet was given to me by my SIL.




This is hard to read but it says, Certificate of Citizenship.
We received this in the mail yesterday.
My baby is officially a U.S. citizen. To read more about this monumental day click here.

Visit Creating Motherhood for more of Photo Friday.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

An End Is A Beginning

Three years ago my husband and I knew we wanted to adopt. We had chosen the agency, decided on international adoption, and knew which country. We were not completely ready to put in our paperwork. Financials held us back and emotionally we needed a little more time before we were completely up to the challenge of adoption. But we were sure adoption was the way we would become parents.

In October of 2007 we had our first meeting coordinated by our adoption agency. It was a gathering at the social worker's home. Over bagels and coffee we met six other couples who were at different stages of their adoption journey. Some were there just for information, others had recently received their "referral" and knew who their son or daughter would be, and there were two couples who were just waiting for that call. The call that would put them on a plane to meeting their new son or daughter. I remember distinctly the names of the babies in waiting, Priscilla and Charlie. We also got to meet two families and their children. This helped me to fully embrace adoption. Seeing these parents and their children helped me to envision what my family would be like, look like. Meeting their children helped all the emotions I had stirring in my gut- anxiety, fear, excitement, sadness- swirl together into one emotion, anticipation of being a mother. I was so happy knowing I would definitely be a mother.

We had our home study in November of 2007. The interview process was a nice experience. We were happy to tell our story and why we wanted to adopt a child. Two weeks later, as promised, I received a phone call at work. We were having a boy! What an amazing day. Better yet was the next day when we made the 25 minute drive to the social worker's home to find out more information about our son and see his face. We chose to hear his story before seeing his picture. We listened intently and learned about his health and progression as a 10 month old.

Finally M. revealed his picture and both our jaws dropped. He was sooooo cute. And the name that we had always wanted for a boy suited him. My heart was in my throat. And I wanted him home that day. I loved him already.

Christmas was a wonderful time. After so many years of wishing we would receive gifts for our baby, it was amazing to open box after box of items for our little boy. The pictures we had of him were placed in ornament frames adorned on everyone's Christmas trees. We included his picture in our Christmas card.

"Happy Holidays." And, by the way... here is our SON! In case you didn't know...

The months went on and we prepared or "nested" as people say. The crib arrived and was assembled. Gifts were placed in the room, clothes hung in the closet, toys found their spot in the house. We had an idea of when he would be home, but there was a glitch with our fingerprints that delayed his arrival by about 2 months.

Min man's birthday is in March. Originally we thought he would be home by his first birthday. That was a little difficult. Then Mother's Day came and went. One Saturday afternoon I received photos of Min man on his first birthday. They were absolutely amazing. This was the first time we saw his brilliant smile. I wish you could all see it. His smile lights up his entire face. His smile would light up your face instantaneously.

We went to NYC to pick up our son on June 3, 2008. We made it back to Rochester (home) by June 4. When we got off the plane, we were greeted by a huge crowd of friends and relatives. This was our moment to relish. We were new parents and our son was home. There was not a dry eye in the house.

As my SIL said, "What a magical way to become a parent."

Today we received the long awaited Certificate of Citizenship from Immigration and Naturalization. Even though Min man became a citizenship on his adoption day, we needed this final document to make everything official according to our government. This was a fact we were surprised by when applying for his social security card shortly after his adoption day.

It is hard to believe there is nothing left to do. No more forms to fill out or money to pay in order to declare he is ours and a U. S. citizen.

Even though the road has been long, (including all the years of infertility treatments) kissing my son good night never gets old. Hearing his voice and silly comments make me get out of bed in the morning. That smile can change the world.

Our beginning started a very long time ago. But every day is a new beginning. Every day with a child is a new opportunity to be a better person and parent.

Thank goodness I have my son to keep things in perspective. The delight he has in a butterfly or big truck driving down the road remind me that life really can be simple.

I hope I can always view life through his eyes. Even when he is a grown man, he will always be my baby.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday- Fall Is In The Air


The weather here has already moved closer to the Fall spectrum. Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. I walked in the drug store and they had Halloween decorations out. I am looking forward to planting some mums. The air was crisp today. I could smell the change in season. It was nice wearing a cardigan today. We will have more hot days in the next 5 weeks, but they will be minimal. Min man does a great pirate impression. He is looking forward to being a pirate for Halloween. This will be the first year he gets it. Lots of fun to come.
Visit Weebles Wobblog for more Perfect Moments.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thanks for Visiting

Welcome to Parenthood for Me. This blog is a branch of the non-profit I founded in 2008. PFM assists people who are trying to build their families through adoption or medical intervention.
We just awarded our first grants. Yay!

4 couples throughout the U.S. received $3,000 each to help with both adoption and assisted reproductive technology.

To learn more about the non-profit visit our website http://www.parenthoodforme.org/

To learn more about my story visit the right side bar to read PFM Best Posts.

Be a fan on Facebook- Parenthood for Me.org

FYI-
Several people have asked me if they can make a donation on someones behalf. For example, in lieu of flowers when someone passes away, for a graduation or birthday.

Yes. You can email mail a personal check or go to our website and donate via Paypal.

Do not forget to tell us the name and address of the person and contact information so that we can write a letter acknowledging the contribution.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's Too Yuck

This is a post where I talk about life with a three year old. There are some things I just have to share. As I write this I am stifling a laugh. This is how things are for me these days. Laughter through tears. Three is a tough age. Tougher than 2. Min man is just like most three year olds- stubborn, won't listen, has tantrums, and on. He is trying to figure out life and so many things are new every day. We get into a battle of wills. He waits for me to give in and I wait for him to listen to me and behave.

My new favorite part is when he says," I so mad, Mom!"


I keep telling him to use words and explain his emotions instead of hitting, pinching, kicking, and on.


The best part of 3 is that practically everything that comes out of his mouth is hilarious. I am constantly laughing out loud. If there was a space on my floor not covered with cars, I could probably roll on the floor laughing.

Min man has an infectious laugh and smile. It is priceless when he laughs at himself being funny. I don't help things because I find him so amusing that I cannot keep a straight face. Then he starts laughing really hard and there we sit giggling and laughing at each other laughing.


Min man started pre-school a few weeks ago. The second day I went to pick him up the teacher came right up to me and said," One of the kids bit your son. It didn't break the skin. We had the nurse look at it." I chuckled 'cause I was so relieved he wasn't the biter. And I was able to guess why the poor child felt the need to bite my son; Min man was fighting over a toy and saying 'it's MINE.'

School is great because his world is getting larger. He comes home singing songs like "Ritzy, ritzy spider." He talks about his friends. When I ask him what their names are, he says, " I know." (aka I don't know)

The other night I told him that he was getting a special treat- his dessert. He sat in his chair and I placed the ramekin of peach crisp in front of him. He kept going on an on about it was his special treat. "It's mine? Wow" After about five minutes of talking about it, he says," I all done. I can't like it. It's too yuck."







Here is a picture of a card made the other day. He said it was his own birthday card.






And, think it's time for new pj's?


Friday, August 13, 2010

Guest Author- Trying To Conceive

Please welcome my guest blogger who co-authors Trying to Conceive. While I was struggling to get pregnant I was too distraught to think about anything else but doctor's appointments and shots. I knew I should change things about my lifestyle but it all seemed to much. I also never took the time to really learn about my body and my own fertility. Because I discovered that I had PCOS really early on, I was not encouraged to try naturally and learn about my own cycles, etc. I really wish I had done that before diving into IUI's and medication.
Here is some helpful information and reminders about preparing our bodies to conceive and be healthy.

Also, in case you missed my last post, PFM wrote its first grant checks this week. Yay!
====================================

My name is Olivia, and I am a mother of two kids conceived through IUI after a three-year struggle with infertility. My co-blogger Tania is a registered nurse who has been trying to conceive since the start of this year.

Our blog, http://www.trying-to-conceive.com/ covers topics surrounding conception, fertility challenges, and pregnancy.

Preparing your body for pregnancy

Most of us spend a long time mentally preparing before trying to conceive, but have you thought about the physical aspect? There are quite a few things that you can do to boost your fertility and prepare your body for pregnancy. I’ll discuss some straight forward steps that any woman can take before she starts trying for a baby, and during the period in which she is hoping to conceive.

Take a prenatal vitamin

Making sure you get all your vitamins and minerals can help to increase your fertility, and also encourages an embryo to develop properly and at the right speed. Taking a folic acid supplement stimulates development of the brain, spinal chord and skull. If you are a really healthy eater, you can get the same vitamins, as well as folate, from foods.

Know your body

When you are trying to get pregnant, knowing when you are fertile is essential. You can achieve this in a variety of ways. Using an ovulation calendar, in combination with ovulation predictor kits, is one way. Monitoring your basal body temperature and your cervical mucus is another. Once you are aware of the timing of your ovulation, getting pregnant will be that much easier!


Exercise

Being in great shape increases your chances of conceiving. If you are obese, losing weight before you try to get pregnant will not only be good for your fertility, but it will also make your pregnancy and birth easier. While there is no reason not to continue working out throughout your pregnancy, being fit before you get pregnant means giving yourself a great gift.

Quit any bad health habits you have

At the risk of stating the obvious, I will mention that quitting smoking is very important before getting pregnant, and reducing your alcohol intake can help you get pregnant more quickly, as well as ensuring you give your embryo the best possible start when you do conceive.

Look around for health care providers

It is never too early to start looking for the OB or midwife or your choice, You may even want to see them for a medical check up that rules out any obvious medical problems. And because your health care provider will play a crucial role during your pregnancy, knowing that you trust and like him or her can make your life a lot more pleasant while you are carrying your baby.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Surreal Is Such An Overused Word


Where's my thesaurus? Too lazy to go on-line right now. Today is a monumental day in my life. I sat at my desk and wrote checks for the first grants to be distributed from Parenthood for Me.

If I was not paying attention, it could have felt very business-like. We send the money directly to the adoption agency or medical facility. Writing the grantees name in the memo line was the best part. I composed a brief letter to enclose with the check, and it's official. Fellow adoption and infertility comrades are able to move forward with plans to have the family they desire. Unbelievable.


The moment was surreal. Over the top. Hard for me to put into words what has been accomplished by so many people in such a short amount of time.


As the founder I am very personally invested in the non-profit. There are many goals that I hope to accomplish at certain points in the next five years, ten years. We continue to work very hard raising money for the endowment. One of my biggest dreams at the moment is to get national publicity in print or on TV. This coverage would help put PFM in front of millions of people. Even though there have been more informative articles and attention paid to the devastation of infertility, there have many just as many set-backs allowing the misperception of ART, IF, and adoption to dig further into the societial psyche.


There is so much work to be done.


Today was a good day. We are one step closer to making the extremely difficult experience of infertility and all it entails just a little more bearable. I wish I could have wrote a thousand checks today. Wouldn't that be great?


Progress will come. I am sure.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

400 Followers Giveaway Winner

JC won the drawing.
Thanks for participating. That was fun.
Check out what she won here.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

400 Followers Giveaway

To celebrate 400 followers I am doing my first giveaway. This blog has been such an amazing outlet for me. Journaling here has given me way more gifts and opportunities than I ever imagined. The blog is the #1 way that I have been able to spread the word about PFM. The ALI community and its never ending support has done wonders for PFM's rapid growth.



Don't know what PFM is? Click here. And peruse the blog!





One winner will receive an Envirosax Eco-Friendly bag. Botanica.



and very cute Key Kaps. (check out the link)




Plus a set of PFM black and white drawings on stationery notecards.




Here's my try at a giveaway.




Rules:


1. Become a follower and leave a comment. If you already follow, then leave that in the comments.


2. Blog about the giveaway. (you can enter if you do not have a blog)


3. Tweet or face.book the giveaway.


4. Leave a comment that you did all of these things and the link to your post and tweet (if you tweeted)





Giveaway is open until Wednesday, August 4 at 5pm.

I will announce the winner by Thursday, August 5, 2010.

By participiating in this giveaway you not only have a chance to win some cute items, but you are helping to network for the non-profit.



http://www.parenthoodforme.org/

Friday, July 30, 2010

Photo Friday- Play

My parents cottage in the 1000 Islands is where we go to relax and play. My parents also bought 250 acres of land about 10 minutes away. They call it the farm. My father has purchased many "toys" such as ATV's, snowmobiles, and his prized tractor. Min man loves anything on wheels. So last summer when he got to ride Papa's tractor, he was thrilld. I cannot believe how big he has gotten compared to last year. His Grandpa also has a tractor on his farm about an hour from where we live. Papa's tractor is green and Grandpa's tractor is blue.I keep telling him what a lucky boy he is to be able to play with all his grandparents toys!









Me riding the dirt bike.

View from a boat ride.

The sunsets are all picturesque.


Visit Calliope at Creating Motherhood for more of Photo Friday.
*If you like my blog, please become my 400th follower!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Quotable Quotidian- 7.29.10



Align Center

The "Quotable Quotidian" can be words of wisdom, famous quotes, not-so-famous quotes, lines of poetry, a line from a favorite song, etc. It can be your own insight and creativity or that of another; give credit where credit is due. If you read something or hear something and feel inspired, share it here.If you participate, please put a link on your post to return here so everyone can see your words of wisdom, have a laugh or be inspired.
There is a button on my side bar to add to your post.

"We come to love not by finding the perfect person but by learning to
see an imperfect person perfectly."

-Sam Keen



"Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave, and impossible to forget."

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What's In Your Belly?

My best friend, K is pregnant due in October. She was in town last week and had us over for dinner with another couple who is also expecting in October. This was a good night for my challenge to stay away from alcoholic beverages for awhile. A couple of years ago in this situation I would have chugged a bottle of wine due to the fact that I can't get pregnant.

Eventually Min man asked Aunt K, "What's in your belly?" Aunt K always has a tiny waist so he must have noticed a change. Aunt K told him a baby was in her belly. This was the first time Min man learned that babies can be in bellies. He had a lot of questions about why it was in there, where it was, would it come out. Does it hurt?

He was so intuitive about the baby growing in the belly and how it was going to come out of Aunt K. Does it come out your eye? You have to push? I couldn't believe he came up with that on his own. This conversation will spark many others when Min man sees pregnant women. I am also pretty scared about him asking heavy women and men if they have a baby in their belly. I'm sure it will happen. I'm already formulating a response to that question/statement hoping to save face.

Today Min man asked me if I have a baby in my belly. I told him, "No, it's just a belly." This conversation did not make me sad however. I am now in great anticipation of him slowly putting the pieces together of babies growing in bellies and that he grew in a belly too. As he gets older the story will become more detailed and pertain more to him and how he arrived in this world.

Tonight at bedtime I told Min man a story of a little baby who was born far, far away and lived with a woman named Mrs. A. She loved him and took care of him and made sure he was happy. Then one day a mommy and daddy found out that this baby was to come live with them forever. They waited and waited until finally the baby was able to go to the mommy and daddy's house to be a family. He said, "It's me. I the baby. It's Min man."

I should not be shocked at anything he says at this point, but I was. It could have just been a guess or his little brain understood that I was speaking about him and how came home to live with mommy, daddy and Lucy. And how we became a family.

When the time comes to answer some difficult questions about Min man's adoption and birth mother, I hope I get it right. I think I will. I feel like he is extremely bright and such a sensitive little boy that he will understand. By getting it right I hope that he always knows just how much we love him and cherish the fact that he became our son.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday- 90 Years

This past weekend we had a 90th birthday celebration for my Nana.
The family came into town and we had a wonderful time. Last week I sat down with Nana and asked her many questions about her childhood. I had been meaning to do this for so long. I plan on spending more time with her trying to understand more about her life. What a treasure to have her in my life at 32. Nana is very inspirational. She has a lot of gusto and lives life to the fullest. Still driving she is very involved socially, playing in 3 bridge clubs and attending luncheons all the time. She has her own house and loves redecorating and entertaining.
After many years of trying to conceive I am so grateful that Nana knows Min man. She was there through the struggle and is now present for all the gifts he has given to us as a family.
Nana and my mother.




For more Perfect Moments visit Weebles Wobblog.
Also, please visit Christa at Fearlessly Infertile for her birthday celebration giveaway!

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