30 October 2009

Take us to warp speed...

It's funny that the title of this blog is "In the present moment..."

"Why is this funny?" you ask.

Because for the last few weeks I have been anything BUT present for each moment.

This is the time of year when my work life ramps up to Warp Speed 10.

The Universe and my life are flying by...

I'm SO busy right now that I'm not at all in the moment. There's so much rattling around in my head. Even with my "to do" lists and all of the technology I use to try to keep myself organized - most of the time I'm issuing myself mental reminders every ten minutes.

It's hard to be present when you're mind is racing with thoughts like, "Don't forget to add X to your to do list" or "Remember to call X when you get back to the office" or "You didn't add X to your thank you note list. Take care of that when you get back to the office."

Even after I add these reminders to my actual to do lists - until the task I've been worrying over is actually complete I feel as though I still might forget and so the mental reminders just keep coming and coming an coming.

It's exhausting.

Consequently, these days I don't really taste my food or sleep deeply or see my surroundings. I'm just one constant mass of mental noise stumbling from one work event to another.

My current mantra:

"I just need to get through the next 6 weeks."

I hope that when Schmoopie arrives and I am away from the craziness that is my job I will be able to slow myself down to Warp 3. Or even right down to Impulse Speed. But, knowing me, other mental noise - worries about being a good parent and taking the very best care of the Little One - will likely take the place of the job current noise in my head.

I can only hope and strive my best to be really be present for Schmoopie's babyhood and that I can shift out of Warp Speed to enjoy each and every moment.

Take us to Impulse.

Aye, Captain...

25 October 2009

Mixed feelings...

"Dear Birthmother..."

This is how we are supposed to start a letter to a woman who is pregnant and contemplating giving up her child for adoption.

I have incredibly mixed feelings about writing this letter. In the first place, I truly dislike the term "birthmother" - as if the woman who is giving birth to the child we may be raising is just there to give birth for us and that's it.


No. This woman is a human being - a mother - who is likely making the most difficult decision of her life - a decision that will have lifelong consequences and implications for her, her child and certainly for us should she decide to select us as the people to raise her child.

We decided to address our letter as "Dear Expectant Mother." Whether the facilitators will let that pass is questionable at best. ALL of the other letters we've seen from other prospective adoptive parents that use these facilitators read "Dear Birthmother" and our facilitators sent a rather militant set of instructions about the crafting of our letter.

So we've written a first draft of our "Dear Birthmother" letter. An onerous and challenging task to be sure. The adoption facilitators gave us these restrictions:
  • One page
  • 12 pt pt type
  • single spaced
  • 1" margin around the entire page
How can we possibly describe in any substantive way our life in just one page? How can we express fully our desire to parent a child in just one page? And how can we do this best with integrity and honesty?

What drives me most crazy about these "Dear Birthmother" letters is that they make prospective adoptive parents sound so "perfect." As if our lives are so wonderful and just perfect for a child. As if our homes are always clean, we'll never come home and be grumpy, we'll always make the very best decisions, we'll somehow be better parents than the woman who gave birth to our adopted child...

Here's the thing...we're not perfect and it bothers me that this one page letter makes us kind of sound that way.

1.5 hours later...

OK, I am now returning to you after making some major edits/re-writes to the letter that made us sound just too good to be true.

Gotta let the husband check it out to see what he thinks. Here we go...

24 October 2009

Say "Cheeeeeeese"...

30 photos...

That's the minimum of how many we have to send to the adoption facilitators so they can build our various web and print "profiles."

Action photos of me...
Action photos of Chris...
Action photos of the two of us together...
Family photos...
Close-up portrait-y photos...
Our pets and our house...

As I sit here clackering away on my laptop, Chris is busily working at his computer pulling together the photos we've selected to put on a CD to send along to the facilitators.

This is a Herculean task.

We've never, aside from our wedding, taken any formal portrait photos together and most often we end up taking photos of each other, but rarely do we have a photo of us together as a couple. So finding those has been especially challenging.

The facilitators indicated that they don't want us to be wearing hats or sunglasses in our photos.


Since many of our best pictures were taken while we were in Maine on vacation, we're wearing just those very things in most of the shots.

Oh well.

The facilitators will just have to deal.

Apparently, since we do not currently have any children, we're not supposed to send shots of us with the children in out lives (our two nieces, 10 year-old sister, and friends' children) because we might give birthmothers "the incorrect impression that [we] already have children."


Come on.

Will expectant mothers who are viewing our profiles truly think that we have children if the photos are labeled clearly?

How completely annoying since some of our best photos have recently been taken with Chris' little sister, our nieces and our best friends' kids.

The facilitators suggest that we pose shots to be taken by a family friend or relative if we don't have the requisite number or kind of photos already available...our instructions read:

Photos should be: Current, Up to date (within the last year) - various poses, activities & different clothing.

Think cozy. Think silly. Think active. Think h a p p y !

Think I may vomit!

The instructions also read:

Pictures can be fun to do! Remember - these will make a great scrapbook/baby book for your new little one.


So fake "posed" photos are an honest representation of us?

Why not let us send photos from each year of our marriage that truly represent who we are as a couple?

We have so many great fun, loving photos of us from our various trips, holidays and everyday life that we've taken over the years. Genuine photos that show who we really are.

Wouldn't that make a much better scrapbook for our Little One?

Apparently not.

Chris grumbles loudly at his desk.

"Maybe we should take some photos of each other tomorrow," I suggest to Chris a minute ago after he reveals that we definitely do not have enough photos to meet the minimum 30.

"Oh yeah," he says, voice full of sarcasm, "that would feel so natural."

So we've put out the plea to our relatives to search for and send more current photos of us.

Somehow I have the feeling that we may end up doing some of the posed photos...

Say "Cheeeeeese!"


07 October 2009

Don't know nothin'...

It hit me yesterday for the first time that there will be a baby in our house fairly soon.

A baby.

In our home.

Part of our family.

And I'm going to have to take care of this completely helpless creature.

A being who will be totally dependent on me.

Oh dear.

I'm suddenly very nervous.

I've been so focused on the process of adoption that I haven't really taken much time to think about actually caring for this baby: the actual day to day...feedings, diapers, swaddling (how DO you swaddle a baby???), burping, rocking, getting the baby to nap, keeping to a schedule...

Suddenly I'm feeling like Prissy in Gone with the Wind, except instead of yelping loudly "I don't know nothin' 'bout birthin' babies!" I'm crying out, "I don't know nothin' 'bout carin' for a baby!"

I have What to Expect in the First Year sitting right on my bookshelf, but have yet to actually crack it open.

Guess I better get cracking and hit the books....hard. I have a lot to learn.

05 October 2009


My friend G calls me on Saturday sounding very glum.

She had yelled at her stepson.

"I just lost it," she laments.

And she proceeds to regale me with the tale of the rather horrible fight that they had at the breakfast table. She then tells me what a terrible mother she is.

"All parents yell at their kids at one time or another," I say to her. "We're only human and sometimes no matter how hard you try to be patient you're going to lose it and you're going to yell."

We talk for a while longer. I have no idea if my words reassure her (particularly in light of the fact that I'm really wiped out and fighting some kind of bug. I have no idea if I'm making any sense at all.)

I imagine that no loving parent wants to yell at their kids (I certainly don't), but sometimes patience finally takes a flying leap out of the window and there you are...you find yourself doing the thing you dread doing...yelling at your kid.

My mom is not a yeller.

Not at all.

But every great once in a while my sister and I would take her patience to it's very limit and then send it right over the edge. It took a lot of doing. She's a pretty patient person. But when she reached that breaking point.

Oh my.

And the funny thing is that when she finally broke, it was only to yell one single word...


And that was it for my sister and I. Whatever it was that we were doing to aggravate her stopped immediately. If we pushed my mom to yelling that one dreaded word we knew that we had pushed too far.

It was absolutely terrible to hear.

I know it can't have been pleasant for my mom either.

I wonder now if she got on the phone with a friend to lament having just yelled at her kids.

As much as I would like to think that I'm never going to yell at Schmoopie and I'm certainly going to do my very best not to yell, I'm positive that one day in the near future I will be on the phone with G lamenting the fact that I "just lost it" with my kid and G will try her best to console me.

04 October 2009

Timetables...more waiting

Homestudy - DONE and in the hands of social worker M who is soon going to be writing our homestudy report.

Application to the adoption facilitators - DONE and MAILED.

E-mail from the marketing folks at the adoption facilitators - RECEIVED. Marketing gal S describes in the e-mail our next steps to get our online profile designed. She sends us a long list of photos and writings that we need to submit ASAP to get our profile up and live FAST.

Now, here's the funny thing...

We're not going to send the stuff to marketing gal S ASAP.

We've been cruising along these last few months trying to get everything done in a timely fashion to get us that much closer to being Plus One.

We've been efficient.

We were frustrated at times when the wait for certain pieces of the homestudy paperwork seemed to take forever.

We were in a hurry!

And now...

Well, now we kind of have to put the brakes on.

It's not that we don't want to get Schmoopie soon...because we certainly do! However, Chris and I also have extensive professional commitments through December 2009. This is the BUSY BUSY BUSY SEASON for both of us. While I would love to just get our Little One and run, I can't abandon my colleagues at this time of year.

So now we have to slow things down just a bit.

We'll submit our photos and such soon.

(But not as soon as we would like.)

The facilitators will design our online profile soon.

(But it won't go live as soon as we would like.)

We have to wait.

Maternity leave and paternity leave just can't happen until 2010.

It's not as if we think that we would be selected immediately, but why take that chance?

It's frustrating to be at a point where we know that we could move forward quickly and be that much closer to being Plus One.

As frustrating as it might be...it's also necessary and will ultimately be better for all of us as a family if Chris and I can honor our professional commitments by getting through the last few crazy months of 2009.

So now we wait...just a little longer.