31 July 2009

Faith in humanity restored...

Sometimes access to too much information can be a very bad thing.

Reading blogs can be such a wonderful and positive experience...and then at other times...so heavy or heartbreaking or aggravating or shocking or just downright upsetting.

I am continually amazed at and horrified by the hordes of angry, pissed off people in the world and especially in the online world. The vitriolic rants they engage in on their own blogs as well as the hate-filled comments they leave on others' blogs - shocking.

Makes my blood run cold when I encounter them.

It's like a poison.

It's enough to make me almost lose my faith in humanity.

But then...sometimes online (and in the "real" world) you come across genuinely nice authentic people. Really lovely strangers like the two women who left such thoughtful and kind comments on this blog.

"Thanksgivingmom" of I should really be working... commented on my OK, it was a really short break...a bit of a rant post.

And "Brown" of Coming Clean: Confessions of a Secret Birthmom left a lovely comment on my So much...part two blog post.

People like these folks and acts of kindness like these...they surely do restore my faith in humanity.

So, thank you Thanksgivingmom and Brown for your good and peaceful energy. For your kindness. And for making this world a better place.


So what the heck is this "home-study" anyway?...

A great many people have been asking about the home-study.

What the heck is this thing?

"Home-study" is actually something of a misnomer since our social worker, M, will make a home visit, but what she is really studying is...





Who we are.

What we're like as a couple.

What we're like as individuals.

What we're thinking about adoption.

How we live.

Our beliefs, interests, and activities.

Chris actually wrote a great post about the home-study process on his blog 150 Steps. Check it out. It's very informative (and, of course, amusing.)

29 July 2009

Edna...Gertrude...Moon Unit...

What's in a name?

It's started already.

People are asking if Chris and I have chosen a name for The Kid.


We are considering quite a few names.

But are we telling anyone?




Dearest family, friends, colleagues, blog readers, etc. please know that we love and adore you. And that we always value your input and opinions.

However, when it comes to names for our Little One...well, we're not sharing that information... so that none of you get particularly attached to any one name and then find yourselves disappointed or surprised if the name you happen to love isn't the one that we bestow on the Little One.

The truth is that we may pick out a name and the Little One might arrive and we realize that the name we've selected doesn't fit.

So we're playing this one pretty close to the vest.

However, I will be happy to share some of the names* we briefly considered and then rejected...

  • Aphrodite
  • Arizona
  • Aspen
  • Athena
  • Blondelle
  • Breezy
  • Bubbles
  • Chantilly
  • Charm
  • Cherry
  • Cleopatra
  • Delite
  • Empress
  • Equinox
  • Eunicetine
  • Floweret
  • Fuschia
  • Hortense
  • Jethra
  • Jezebel
  • Lake
  • Liberty
  • Lovella
  • Lucretia
  • Magdalena
  • Octavia
  • Narcissa
  • Paradise
  • Precious
  • Prissy
  • Rocket
  • Schmoopie
  • Sweetpea
  • Topanga
  • Trixiebelle
  • Vixen

* from the book 60,001+ Best Baby Names...really

26 July 2009

America's game...


America's Game.

I love baseball. Attending a game on a perfect summer evening is one of my favorite things in the world. There's just nothing like it.

Last night was one of those rare perfect evenings during a Rhode Island summer - not too hot, no humidity, nice breeze. The best night to see a baseball game.

Chris spends most of yesterday in complete frustration over computer issues - data from an older laptop not loading properly onto a new laptop - getting almost entirely through the transfer process and then stopping with some kind of error at the end.

I volunteer in the morning and come home to collapse for a while in a tired heap on the couch.

Around mid-afternoon, sensing my husband's extreme frustration (not all that difficult considering this is what I hear from across the room for several hours is "SON OF A-!!" and various other muttered expletives at each failed data transfer.) Chris gets on the phone looking for a new cord thinking that maybe it's an equipment issue - something better than the one that he is currently using. He finds one in stock at the Apple Store at the Mall.

Seizing my chance to get Chris out of the house/away from his computer/source of aggravation and to get us out doing something fun, I say, "Hey, why don't we head over to the Mall to get the cord you need and then hit Waterfire?"

He still looks very unhappy.

Waterfire is apparently of no interest to aggravated husband.

No sale.

Try again.

"OK, what if we hit the Mall and then head over to the PawSox game?"

He still looks unhappy, but shows a brief spark of interest.


"It's beautiful out. We can get out of the house... get what you need and then...go to the ballpark...have a couple of hot dogs...watch the game...enjoy this gorgeous evening..."

The description lingers in the air for a minute...and then...

Sold to the man with the computer issues!!


I doze off again for a while. Chris wakes me at around 3:30. I head upstairs to shower/get ready and we're out the front door by 3:50. ("You are SO lucky," I say to Chris as we leave. "I am so low maintenance. I don't take 2 hours to get ready and I'm totally happy hitting a baseball game for the evening.")

Our trip to the mall is quick and soon we are at McCoy Stadium purchasing our General Admission tickets and securing our seats.

If you've never been to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket - GO.

McCoy a great little stadium with good sightlines, relatively comfortable seats, a nice outfield (complete with a mini-Green Monster in centerfield,) decent food, decent ticket prices and is home to the Pawtucket Red Sox.

McCoy Stadium is also the site of the longest game in baseball history lasting a whopping 33 innings. The marathon game began on April 18, 1981 and was halted 8 hours later still in a tie at 4:09 a.m. on April 19. The 33rd inning was played and completed in just 18 minutes on June 23rd with the Pawtucket Red Sox beating the Rochester Red Wings 3-2.

The Pawtucket Red Sox (known by fans as the "PawSox") are the AAA farm team for the Major League Boston Red Sox. When Boston Red Sox players are injured and temporary replacements are needed, players are called up from the PawSox. Injured Boston Red Sox players often do their re-hab stints in Pawtucket. Fans like me can see their favorite Major Leaguers play at McCoy Stadium. I watched short stop Jed Lowrie in a recent re-hab stint. He sure didn't look injured making an incredible diving catch to end a close inning.

My favorite seats are along the third baseline (preferably slightly beyond third base into the outfield) because from there one has a great view of the infield and of all of the action that happens on the pitcher's mound, homeplate and all of the bases. And there is still a wonderful view of the outfield.

Last night we sit in our usual third base spot.

The breeze is lovely. We have peanuts. Yay! All of the pre-game hoopla is great as usual including a fantastic jazzy rendition of the National Anthem by a trumpet player. The fans give him an extended round of extremely enthusiastic applause.

Play ball!

The PawSox are playing the Columbus Clippers - the AAA farm team for the New York Yankees - arch-nemesis of the Boston Red Sox.

Sitting behind us is one very brave soul in a Yankees cap. He's an older gentleman who takes great delight in cheering for the Clippers. He may be the only person in the entire stadium to be doing so. Luckily no one in our section makes trouble for the guy (as might happen at a Major League stadium...)

The first three innings...rather horrific for the Clippers as the PawSox score 1 in the 1st inning, 5 in the 2nd and 4 in the 3rd - making the score 10-1 by the bottom of the 3rd. Yay for us!! (But ouch for the Clippers...The pain. The pain.)

As the PawSox are driving in their 8th run, I turn to Chris and say, "This pitcher is sinking faster than the Titanic!" which earns me a tiny grin from my husband. "I can't believe that the Clippers aren't warming up another pitcher!"

"Maybe," replies Chris, "this pitcher did something really horrible to the coach and the coach is just leaving out there to suffer."

"Must have been something really egregious."

The Clippers rally back in the 4th to score another 3 runs. Yikes.

The 5th and 6th innings are scoreless. Chris takes a little snooze. All of the aggravation of the day has melted away leaving him suddenly relaxed and sleepy.

It's during the bottom of the 4th inning and top of the 5th that I become distracted from the game.

Sitting in front of us are a father, his teenage son and his very young son of 3 years old. I want to ask the dad if his youngest is adopted...mainly because the youngest, unlike his fair-skinned, brown-haired and blue-eyed father and brother, has jet black hair and very dark tan skin. The little boy resembles my adopted sister-in-law S who is from Ecuador.

He is adorable.

I am extremely tempted to tap the father on the shoulder and ask the question, "Is your little boy adopted?" As a prospective adoptive parent, of course I'd love to have this conversation, but I do not because it would be rude and intrusive to ask at this time. These folks are out to have a fun evening together as a family, not to answer my questions about their experience with adoption. So, instead, I rein in my curiosity to let them enjoy the game.

The little boy (whose name is coincidentally Chris) turns around at the bottom of the 4th inning to discover that I am directly behind him. At first he is quite shy. I smile at him, which causes him to quickly turn around in apparent embarrassment at my attention. But he is curious and eventually turns around to look at me again.

And again.

And again.

By the bottom of the 5th we are making faces at one another and he is laughing hysterically. He thinks it's especially hilarious when I open my mouth wide and stick my tongue out or when I scrunch up my nose and make my front teeth stick out like a woodchuck. Peals of laughter.

I laugh, too, at his enjoyment.

My buddy.

I lose track of the game for a while as Little Chris and I entertain each other. My Chris wakes every now and then from his dozing to watch Little Chris and I in our face-making games. My Chris chuckles and smiles.

"When we have our kid," I say quietly to My Chris, "we're going to be hoping and praying that there's someone just like me in the stands right behind us entertaining our kid when we want to pay attention to the game."

My Chris laughs.

The top of the seventh brings two more runs for the Clippers. Suddenly it's 10-6 and I need to pay attention.

Still, it's hard to pay attention with such a super-cute kid in front of me smiling and giggling and wanting to continue our games.

The Clippers' two runs brings my Chris fully out of his dozing. The game is getting serious.

The bottom of the 7th inning sees my buddy, Little Chris, and his dad and brother leave the stadium, along with quite a few other fans who want to beat the traffic and crowds.

Now I can focus on the game.

But I find myself having something of a moment and my attention is still not on the game. Little Chris and his family are gone. My Chris ventures out to the concession stands to buy us some ice cream. He's awake, but in need of a little sugar boost (and I am, of course, not one to turn down ice cream...)

As I am sitting by myself, it hits me that Chris and I will be taking our Little One to PawSox games soon. I briefly imagine our first game with the Little One next summer - he or she will no doubt be in some kind of baby sling contraption and much too young even remember the experience, but we'll take photos and we'll remember this "first."

"Do you remember the first time we took the Little One to the PawSox game and she slept through the first four innings, but then she woke up and started crying and barfing during the fifth when the PawSox were starting to rally?" we'll ask each other when the Little One is five and sitting through his or her umpteenth PawSox game with us.

And there will be so many other firsts - the first time we all decorate the Christmas tree together, first days of school, the first time he or she puts on a baseball glove (we hope!)

I find a few tears sliding down my cheeks as these thoughts pass through my mind. It will not do to be weeping at a PawSox game so I wipe them away and smile as I see my Chris returning with our ice cream.

The evening continues to be perfect. Sunset and the breeze.



The 8th inning sees 3 runs each for the PawSox and the Clippers. What a crazy game! The Yankees fan behind us is getting pretty excited that his team might still be able to pull off a victory.

No such luck.

The top of the 9th finds the Clippers with 2 more runs - not a happy development for PawSox fans, but a pitching change by the PawSox ends the Clippers hopes for a win. Final score: Clippers 11. PawSox 13. Each team has 17 hits, but only the PawSox convert enough hits to runs to win.

Heckuva game.

A great evening.

We exit the ball park talking about the game.

I say to Chris, "I really hope that our kid likes baseball."

He replies, "We'll indoctrinate the kid early."

Sounds like a plan.

25 July 2009

Paper paper everywhere...

We are on our way

Chris' status on his Facebook page last evening:

...just returned from our first meeting to kick off the home study (aka the process that will prove we aren't going to be totally hopeless as parents). We now have more paperwork to fill out then when we bought our house. Of course, you can always sell your home. Kids are forever and appear to result in a correspondingly larger amount of things to be signed.

So very true.

Our lovely social worker, M, handed us two-page check list of things we need to do...mostly, as Chris writes, involving killing off any number of trees.

Do I feel guilty about this?

Yes. But not much...

We're officially on our way to becoming Plus One.


23 July 2009

Doubt revisited....

OK, I admit it...I'm a bit nervous about our first home-study visit scheduled to take place tomorrow.

Part of me knows that Chris and I are going to make it through the home-study process with (hopefully) flying colors. Part of me says, "We're great! Any child would be really lucky to have us as parents! I'm going to be a good mom!"

And then there's that other little, irrational, nasty, doubt-filled part of me that thinks its oily, horrible little thoughts in one almost forgotten corner of my mind. It asks in a terrible little whisper... "Who, in their right minds, would let YOU have a kid?"


Vipassana Buddhist teacher Gil Fronsdal had the following to say about doubt in a talk entitled "The Five Hindrances: Doubt" given on November 24, 20008:

Doubt is said to be the most dangerous of The Five Hindrances...especially for the sake of the spiritual practice because doubt can cause a person to abandon their spiritual practice if you have enough doubt about it. It's said to be a very powerful force for some people and probably for all people sooner or later. Some people have a lot of doubt to begin with or in what they're doing. It's a major, major challenge for them in their practice. Some people have very little doubt. They can be very set, very inspired, very resolved and engage very deeply in practice until some major life crisis arises. Something really big happens in their life...and then the doubt can arise. "Oh, what good is this practice I'm doing? Now that I'm struggling with these major issues in my life I can't see this practice...what good is it going to do me?"

Doubt has the affect of indecision, vacillation, holding back, sometimes resistance, sometimes giving up...It can also come mixed with other attitudes, approaches and emotions. Sometimes it comes along with fear. Sometimes it comes along with anger, sleepiness, boredom, discontent. It always come along with a lack of mindfulness...This is one of the tricky things about all of the Hindrances, but especially with doubt. It has a kind of camouflaging quality about it where a person can be in the grip of doubt and we believe it enough - the doubt - that we don't see it as doubt.

Overcoming doubt and fear has been one of the greatest challenges that I have experienced in my 41 years of life.

Even now - when I am so happy to be on this path with Chris - this path toward becoming Plus One...When I feel so sure and right that this is what we're meant to be doing. Even now...


It's sneaky and insidious and catches me unaware.

And I have a moment where I wonder...where I doubt...

But I don't want to have those moments. I don't want to wonder. I don't want to let myself get into the grip of the little monster - the Fifth and final and most odious of the Hindrances.

So I'll share my moment of doubt here. I'll release it into the world instead of letting it fester and grow in that almost forgotten corner of my mind.

And I will be mindful.

And tomorrow will be just fine.

20 July 2009

Last piece of the puzzle...

I've gained weight.

I don't mean like 5 or 10 pounds.

I mean like enough that I'm pretty embarrassed about it. That I really can't stand to see myself in photos or mirrors. That I have to shop at the stores for "larger" ladies for my clothes.

And that I don't feel good in this body.

At all.

How did this happen?



Emotional and compulsive eating.

Too many French Fries.

Too much chocolate.

Too many lunches out.

Old deeply ingrained patterns of behavior.

I've battled with my weight for most of my life. A few times in the past I've actually been quite thin (although even during those times I would always describe myself as "heavy" or "fat") weighing as little as 130 pounds (on my 5' 9" frame.)

And then I've been heavy.

And in-between.

And then there's now...my heaviest ever.

But here's the thing...it's not about getting thin anymore.

If I think of it that way I'll lose the weight and then just gain it all back again. Diets don't work because we tend to think they have an end date.


I want to get healthy. And if getting thin - or at least thinner - comes along with that - then great.

Yesterday Chris and I rode our bikes into Warren - the next town over - to an art festival. It felt good to be on my bike. It was a leisurely ride, but even still, I was a little winded once we got to our destination. The return trip was a little more difficult because we were riding into the wind. And I was just that more winded.

I shouldn't have been.

I'm too young to be winded on a leisurely bike ride.

So as I was riding back to our house it hit me that this is the last piece of my personal puzzle:

  • Marriage...excellent (I hope my lovely husband agrees with this particular assessment...)
  • Friends...reconnecting
  • Kid...on the way
  • Job...going pretty well
  • House...good
  • Mental health...good
  • Body...gone to crap

I want to set a good example for our child by living a healthy life. By eating well and exercising. By being able to run and bike and play without being winded.

So, yesterday I went to the store and bought all kinds of "good" whole foods. Ate well last night and all of today.

The desk folks at Bristol Total Fitness didn't quite pass out when I walked through their door at 5:45 p.m. today, but one of the girls' eyes did seem to be bugging rather alarmingly out of her head at the sight of me. My "usual" treadmill was taken so I hopped on another one and trudged happily and sweatily through 2 miles.

As beginnings go, it's been a pretty good one.

Tonight my mom and I renewed our "Pinky Swear" vow to stay on the path of good health together - to check in with each other. To be accountable for our actions.

That felt good. I'm glad that my mom can be a part of this huge step in my life and in my journey toward becoming a parent.

So....French Fries out!
Green beans in!

P.S. I have to go bathing suit shopping. Wish me luck...

19 July 2009

Obsession...or not

My current Facebook status =

Jennifer Watson is laughing. Chris sees me sitting in our living room tap-tap-tapping away on my laptop and says with a huge grin, "OK, I think it's official that this is now an obsession."

I look at him, knowing in one way that he is right, but also knowing that he's also just a little bit wrong.

"It's not an obsession," I say.

"I know," Chris replies. "I just think that it's kind of funny."

"No, really, it's not an obsession," I persist. "We've been living so long just the two of us that it feels really good to be reaching out to other people."

And it's true.

Chris and I are both very extroverted introverts.

We love to see friends and family and do social things, but both of us tend to regenerate much better with down time...alone. And sometimes we get in the habit of not necessarily reaching out to other people to make plans. So a weekend rolls around and it's just the two of us.

We kind of get in a rut of hanging out as Just The Two Of Us.

Don't get me wrong - we always have a great time together even if we have no plans. Chris is wonderful, fabulous and extremely entertaining company (and I hope that I am, in turn, wonderful, fabulous and extremely entertaining company for him...he keeps me around so I'll assume that I am.)

However, there is that danger that we sometimes let ourselves slip into a world of Just The Two Of Us and end up feeling like we don't have enough friends.

And so along comes Facebook.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have poo-poo'd FB for a very long time. Thought it was something for kids. A waste of time. Dumb. Etc.

I stand corrected.

It's been a wonderful and fascinating experience to open myself up to people via this social networking site. So far I haven't done any of the games or the causes and I'm not a "Fan" of anything or anyone. (And I doubt that I'll pursue any of that aspect of FB anytime soon. Not really all that interested...) Nor have I made it my goal to have 682 Friends. Good heavens, I can hardly manage the few that I have already. I don't think that I am quite ready to make all kinds of new virtual friends.

What I am enjoying is the contact with my "actual" friends and family near and far. And reaching out to people with whom I haven't had contact in weeks, months, a few years or even many years. It's nice to read their "walls," see what's going on in their lives and let them know what's happening in my life and thoughts. Nice to be making plans to see folks who live near and perhaps to open us up to future visits to people who live far away.

The closer I get to becoming a parent, the more I realize how vital it is to seek out and open myself up to friends. To create and shore up that support system for me, my husband, our child.

Our family.

We can't and shouldn't try to do it all alone.

Or end up doing it alone out of complacency.

It takes work to maintain relationships. Something I can't say that I've always done very well in the past. I've reached out to people and enjoyed their friendship for a time only to pull inside of myself and let the friendship languish during times when my life was difficult. There are a lot of e-mails in my "Sent Items" box with the subject line "Long lost friend says hello" and the first line of the e-mail reading "I'm so very sorry that it's been so long since I've been in touch."

I don't want to send those e-mails anymore.

And so I am on Facebook and working hard to reach out to people. To forge and re-forge relationships that I haven't shepherded well into my 41st year. To maintain those relationships. To share myself not just when it's convenient or only when I'm feeling really up. But also when things are hard and when I want to pull away and retreat into myself. To keep reaching out and know that there will be people there for me during the hard times.

And for me to reciprocate. For me to be there for friends and family during their hard times. For me to be part of their support systems and to reach out when they need it.

So maybe I'm spending just a wee bit too much time on my laptop these days, but I'm fairly certain that this is temporary and will pass. Eventually I imagine that I will have some kind of routine and will limit myself to a certain amount of time of FB...and, of course, the needs of the Little One will likely severely limit my computer time!

But for now....yeah, a little obsessed.

See you on Facebook!

18 July 2009

My fantasy...


One might immediately assume that a woman's fantasies might involve Brad Pitt or George Clooney or some other flavor of the moment.

But not for me.

No...my fantasy does not involve a Brad or George or any other hunk-a-burning-love...

Instead.... it involves a radio show.

Yes, my fantasy is to be interviewed by Ira Glass and to share some part of Chris' and my adoption story on Chicago Public Radio's This American Life.

As you may have already guessed...I am a dork.

I started listening to This American Life some years ago when I was living in Minnesota and when I moved to Rhode Island fell out of the habit - not because I no longer wanted to listen, but because at the time it was nearly impossible to get good reception for National Public Radio where we were living in Newport. We lived in an NPR dead zone.

I never forgot about This American Life.

When we moved to Bristol I started listening again on and off, but with no real regularity because NPR reception here is mediocre at best. And then came...the free podcast. Oh joy! I've been catching up on all of the This American Life that I've been missing.

It's been wonderful.

Recently I enjoyed Episode 379: Return to the Scene of the Crime in which author, columnist and media pundit Dan Savage

"...points a finger at the Catholic Church for being the kind of criminal organization that drives him to atheism—despite the fact that he still wants to believe he’ll see his mom in heaven someday."

The above description does absolutely zero justice to this piece of writing and of Mr. Savage's amazing 15-minute performance/ recitation of it...funny, angry, poignant, sad, reflective, thoughtful...in short, one of the most brilliant and beautiful pieces of writing I've come across is a long time.

I listened to it three times in a row - laughing and crying all the while.

And wishing that I could write just one thing like it.

And in listening to this story - one among SO many amazing stories presented by Mr. Glass over the years - I realized that this is my fantasy... to be Dan Savage.

No, not really.

But to be a writer like Dan Savage who shares her story on This American Life.

As fantasies go, it's pretty darn tame.

Is our story or my thoughts about our impending adoption compelling enough for Mr. Glass to put me on the radio?

Probably not.

But one can fantasize...

16 July 2009

Separate...but equal?

It occurred to me today that Chris and I are writing separate blogs about our experiences as adoptive parents-to-be.

As we get further into this process, I've been doing more searching online for the blogs of other adoptive parents. I notice that many of these blogs are joint blogs contributed to by both spouses. It made me wonder about Chris and I having separate blogs...

Is this weird?


Then again...maybe not.

One of the things that I've always truly appreciated about Chris is the way that he encourages me to pursue my creative interests and endeavors independent of him. He's the one who bought me a drafting table so that I would have a place to make art. And when I'm there making my collages for hours at a time he never ever grumbles that I'm not spending time with him. Instead, he is genuinely happy that I am engaging in an activity that brings me joy.

Meanwhile, it also gives him a great excuse to camp out at his computer to do his own creative writing...checking in on me from time to time to view my creations.

"Whatcha makin?" he'll ask me with a grin. I'll show him my latest and greatest and will usually receive a "Cool!!" or "That's really interesting" in response.

Indeed, it was Chris who encouraged me to create and maintain a blog because he knows how I love to journal/write and thought it would be a good experience for me.

Likewise, Chris is a writer and I am most happy when I know that he's working on his novel or some other piece of creative writing.

So it seemed perfectly natural for him to create and maintain his own adoption experience blog (in addition to his OTHER blog...)

Hmmm...it would appear that I have answered my own question.

One slight drawback to two writers each having their own blogs is that we sometimes tend to get a little overly involved in our respective writing projects...both of us tap-tap-tapping away separately...and before we know it the evening has passed us by and its time to feed the Wretched Beasties (our demanding felines) and then head off to bed.

So, with that in mind I am signing off to spend a computer-free, blog-free evening with Chris who is on his way home from work.


Yes, we actually missed a call yesterday from our Homestudy agency because...

we were at the movies seeing "Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince."

(Sheepish grin here...)

Guess I'll be calling back today...

If you want to read a fantastic review of the movie, check out Chris' review at:

Movie Review: "Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince" aka Portrait of the Dark Lord as a Young Man

15 July 2009

Doubts eased...

If I had any doubts at all about an adoptive parent's ability to bond with her child, they were eased considerably on Sunday.

My father-in-law, C, and his wife, P, adopted their daughter, S, nine years ago. At age 10, S is an athlete, beautiful and quite the fun goofball. She stayed with us over the weekend while C & P went off to celebrate their wedding anniversary in the Berkshires.

We had quite the weekend...
  • 5.5 mile bike ride
  • Library visit
  • Lots of playing on the Wii
  • Pawtucket Red Sox baseball game
  • Playing cards (S KICKED MY BUTT in both golf and spit...)
  • Cooking together
  • Asking our Magic 8-ball a million questions
  • Reading Shel Silverstein poetry together
  • Going to a movie

Through it all S is great and we have a lot of fun. At one point, Chris says to her, "Hey do you want to call your parents?"

She looks surprised. Her reply, "Oh yeah! I guess I ought to do that."

As if she hasn't thought about them or missed them at all.

But when they pull up on Sunday evening, S is RACING across our front yard at break-neck speed to fling herself into P's outstretched arms. P picks her up and hugs her fiercely. The joyful HUGE smiles on both of their faces is quite a sight to see.

Just a little bonding going on there.

Doubts eased...

14 July 2009

Too much sharing...part two

I have succumbed. I admit it.

“To what?” you ask.

To alcohol?


To drugs.


Retail therapy?



Good heavens, no!

Then…to what?


Darn it all.

I started a Facebook page way back when, but found the wall and the layout too confusing. I also felt that I was too old and not cool enough to do social networking and so I let it lay fallow for months and months and months. But recently, I had to make a professional Facebook page (don’t ask) and it reminded me of the personal one I had started so long ago... of the friend requests that I received over the last few months for the dormant personal page that I neither confirmed nor officially ignored and so I gave in…

I am apparently a lemming following the rest of the Facebook lemmings over the Facebook cliff.

Last night I resurrected the Facebook page that had been languishing since September. I accepted all of the Friend requests and “Friended” (when the heck did “Friend” become a verb???) a few people myself.

Poor Chris (who I had not seen all day) got a brief kiss from me, a few minutes of conversation and then watched me from over the top of his book at the kitchen table as I sunk down in the living room behind my laptop to tap furiously away at my keyboard….

Accepting friends.
Finding friends.
Sending messages to long lost friends that Facebook helped me to find.

Delighting in all that is social networking!!

It’s like a drug.

Chris gave up at around 9:30 p.m. and took himself off to the bedroom to read and eventually doze off while I, the crazed lemming, looked at my new friends’ walls to read about the minutiae of their lives.

10 July 2009

OK, it was a really short break...a bit of a rant

I'm feeling a little beat up. Actually a lot beat up.


Because I made the mistake of looking at some Birth-mother and Adoptee blogs again yesterday...

So much pain and suffering.

And, as I am coming to realize, a huge amount of anger directed at women like me - women who, for a variety of reasons, are not able to or shouldn't have biological children.

We, the infertile and fertility challenged, are apparently:

  1. Selfish and twisted for wanting to love/raise a child and have a family like any other woman who is able to have biological children - we should simply accept our childless state - tough luck
  2. Vain as a result of our sainted infertility status
  3. Holier than thou because we are all simply positive that we're rescuing helpless babies from terrible, drug addicted birthmothers or impoverished lives in Third World countries
  4. Heartless in our views that all birthmothers are expendable baby making machines who are merely available for our convenience
  5. Cruel because we are ripping away children from their REAL mothers and their REAL families who would step forward and take care of them instead of losing them to adoption
  6. Overly grateful and condescending
  7. Not grateful enough to the women who give away their flesh and blood
  8. Incapable of being REAL TRUE mothers because of our lack of biological/genetic connection to our adopted children - we're just pale imitations of the real thing
  9. Also incapable of understanding the depth of loss that birthmothers feel and that adoptees experience - we just don't want to hear these things, but only want to think of adoption as all happiness and joy
  10. Awful for reading birthmother and adoptee blogs in an effort to learn about and to understand the other points of view in this process - it's none of our business and we should stay away - we should instead remain ignorant
  11. In cahoots with the very evilest of all evils - the adoption system that coerces and manipulates the naive and unwary into giving up their children - adoption should be abolished
  12. Really only good for possibly as a last resort adopting TRUE orphans who have no other biological family in the whole world because TRUE orphans are the only children who should be adopted out
Please know that I'm sorry if I sound particularly angry or sarcastic or snarky or whatever you'd like to call it...I just got so frustrated yesterday at reading the words of very angry people who portray me and women like me as evil monsters.

I know full well that it does no good for me to get and stay angry. My anger will not help ease the pain, loss and grief that these other women are suffering. Nor will it change the minds of the angry people - more than likely it will simply douse gasoline on an already lit fire. Any anger on my part will not contribute anything that might make the future world of adoptions better for all involved. So I am going to attempt to make this my first and last little rant - to be a bit sarcastic, snarky and whatever and just get it out of my system.

So, in closing...

If wanting to have a family is evil, selfish and terrible and makes me an awful person...well, then I guess that's what I am...

Sleepy time...Annabel...and me





Apparently, I slept through much of our almost 19 year-old cat Annabel’s night-time operatic vocalizations...

Alas, my poor unfortunate husband did not.

“I don’t know HOW you slept through all of that!” Chris, bleary-eyed and yet still cheerful, exclaims this morning. “She was doing it RIGHT BY YOUR HEAD.”

He looks completely baffled.

Considering that I have struggled with insomnia for the better part of 40 years, it is something of a miracle that I slept through the INCREDIBLE racket set up by our little kitty. Perhaps it's our new bed...so comfy...when I do actually fall asleep, I sleep like the dead these days.

It makes me wonder if my poor husband will be the one to be constantly awakened by the Little One should she not be a good night time sleeper...

Sorry, Honey.

(Kind of...)

08 July 2009

Ten things (part two)....

that I am either not excited about or very nervous about as we become Plus One (in no particular order)...
  1. Being able to comfort the Little One when she is distressed
  2. Changing poopy diapers
  3. Singing to the Little One - my voice is terrible!
  4. Dropping the Little One or falling when I am holding her - I'm a klutz!
  5. Not being mindful of the Little One as an individual and expecting her to like all of the things that I like...unintentionally trying to turn her into a little version of Chris and I instead of letting her grow into who she is going to be with her own dreams and interests
  6. Disagreeing with Chris about the way we parent...struggling to talk it through
  7. Getting overwhelmed and not knowing how to ask for help
  8. Cleaning up baby barf
  9. Attending to the endless loads of laundry
  10. The Parental Learning Curve!

Ten things....

that I am excited about as we become Plus One (in no particular order)...
  1. Tiny baby feet! Tickling those teeny little toes everyday
  2. Chris becoming a dad...seeing him grow as a parent
  3. Seeing little baby eyes track movement, light and shadow
  4. Buying and receiving baby clothes - they're SO darn cute
  5. Introducing the Little One to the world - sights, smells, sounds, people, animals, places...watching her discover
  6. Watching Chris hold the Little One
  7. Helping & encouraging the Little One along the path to be whatever and whoever she is going to be
  8. Reading to her everyday
  9. Playing! Making art! Tossing a ball around!
  10. Spending lots of time with our families

A break...from so much

Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body. - Elizabeth Stone

Taking a bit of a hiatus from the heavy "So much..." posts.

Here's the thing - I don't want anyone to believe for one second that I'm not excited about becoming Plus One. Because I am - excited.

Yes - there is a lot to consider and serious implications in the way that we are becoming a family, but we ARE becoming a family. And that is a VERY, VERY great and wonderful thing.

So, a break for me from reading too much else on the Internet.

And a break for you from having to read deep and serious blog posts.

06 July 2009

So much...part three

After posting on Sunday evening I continued to read more Birth-mother blogs.

It was still really hard.

One blog was so full of anger and vitriol - at the adoption system and at adoptive mothers in particular - and featured a lengthy post about the silencing of Birth-mothers by those in the system/adoptive families who apparently only want to highlight the gains and joys of adoptive families. She writes about being made to feel "evil", "wrong", "bad" and "without a voice" in the world of adoption. In her words:

Our pain, our loss, our complete denial of help and support when we needed it most, doesn’t matter in the least bit when it comes to making sure adoption is still seen in the great “happy” light as it always has been.

Also in her words:

Why even consider changing anything when obviously, the lives of those who have been affected mean so little to those who can wake up every morning thankful for how adoption has, and will, bless their own, deserving and amazing life?

This blogger and several others also expressed their rage at feeling they were coerced and manipulated into giving up their children into the apparent void that is adoption. That when as young pregnant women they went to family planning clinics and adoption agencies looking for help they were made to feel that they would be unsuitable mothers and that they should consider adoption as the first and only alternative. One woman described herself as feeling totally "expendable." Her unborn child looked upon as a "commodity." Another writes of adoptive parents:

They don't want to hear reality. They want to hear how wonderful they are for rescuing helpless babies from a horrible life with their natural families.

As someone who is looking to adoption as the means of becoming a family - reading these angry words is at once extremely upsetting and thought provoking. Part of me wanted to indulge in anger in return and to respond as such, but I realized, of course, that that would be pointless. Still, I felt compelled to address some of this anger with some thoughtful words by leaving a comment of my own. This is what I wrote:

I just discovered your blog today. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

My husband and I are in the early stages of adoption and so I felt strongly that I should leave a comment. I'm commenting not to try to change your mind on adoption or to diminish in any way your pain and grief. Obviously you and your family have suffered tremendously and for that I am truly sorry.

My comments are simply these - please know that as a prospective adoptive parent I am grappling with knowing that my husband's and my ability to have a family is predicated on someone else's loss. And that I am trying to understand and be mindful of this very difficult fact - trying to see things as best I can from the perspective of the woman who will give birth to the little person that may become an integral part of our family. Please know that there are adoptive parents out here - well, at least one - who do not believe that the woman who gave birth to our children are expendable, evil monsters or that children are something to be sold/purchased. That as an adoptive parent I will be so incredibly honored that another woman would allow me the privilege of raising her child and that I can only hope she knows the extent of my gratitude. Please also know that as an adoptive parent, I do understand that there are very serious implications for all parties involved - the child, the child's mother & father, my husband and I, our families, the family of the mother and father. We're not going into this situation thinking that it's all going to be happiness and joy. Because it isn't. It's incredibly complicated and requires serious thought, integrity, honesty, right action, kindness, and empathy.

I can't know what it means to give up a child for adoption because biological children are not an option for me. And I'm sure that I can't even imagine what kind of suffering that engenders - although your story and those of other moms in your situation have helped me to learn more about that. I'm looking at this from the other side of the adoption table - knowing that the only way that my husband and I can become a family is via adoption. Would we have a biological child if we could? Yes. But we can't so...

Again, I want to thank you for sharing your story. It's good to read your words - and for me to hear the hard stuff. And again - I am truly sorry for your loss and grief.

I have no idea if this blogger has yet read my comment (she hasn't left an additional comment on her blog) and I certainly don't want to push the issue, but it felt right to try to share some thoughts from the "other" side.

Are the angry words of Birth-mothers who obviously feel so disenfranchised and abused by the adoption system intended to make me feel like an evil monster for being an adoptive mom? I don't know - but for a while on Sunday night they certainly did.

Will this ever stop being so complicated?

So much to consider...

So much.

05 July 2009

So much...part two

I've been reading several blogs written by Birth-mothers.

Why am I doing this?

It's hard. So hard to read these blogs...

So full of pain for the decisions they made, the children they gave up for adoption. So full of regrets, loss and sadness. And anger. Quite a few of them are so angry at Adoptive-mothers whose communications and updates about their adopted children dwindle or even cease altogether with the passing of time.

The Birth-Mothers write of too many broken promises in their lives.

One Birth-mother's blog I found very interesting and inspiring - Coming Clean: Confessions of a Secret Birthmom - because of her unceasing efforts to try to reconnect with the Adoptive-mother of her child and to get to connect with the child she gave up for adoption 17 years ago. And doing so in a way that is amazingly sensitive to everyone involved. What I find so amazing in this blog in particular is that the Birth-mother, while certainly expressing her own grief and suffering as a result of giving her child up for adoption and of broken promises from the Adoptive-mother, she is also (whether she realizes it or not) quite sensitive to the Adoptive-mother's situation and feelings - trying to reason out in many posts why the Adoptive-mother is the way she is. This is one of the first Birth-mother blogs I have read in which the Birth-mother acknowledges the fears of the Adoptive-mother - not that this makes the situation any less difficult or painful for all of the players, but at least there is an attempt at understanding. It makes me wonder if the Adoptive-mother on the other end of the Birth-mother's e-mails is trying to understand the feelings of the Birth-mother. One can only hope...

So, why am I doing this? Reading these blogs?

Because I want to understand what it's like from the other side of the adoption table. A woman is going to relinquish her child to me and my husband. As such, I feel that I have a responsibility to understand or at least to try my best to understand and be mindful of her point of view -her perspective - her feelings - even her needs.

Can I just blithely think that some woman is going to hand over her child to me, walk away and never give that child another thought? That Chris and I and the Little One will just become a family and the Birth-mother will go away forever? Or that we will never hear from the Birth-father?


Will I ever fully be able to grasp and be mindful of the sacrifice being made by our Birth-mother?

Probably not.

But I am going to try.

And so I am spending time reading the blogs of Birth-mothers and trying to understand and be mindful of what my role is in this process. How I can move forward as an Adoptive-mother in relation to the woman who is going to be responsible for allowing Chris and I to become Plus One - a family.

Chris and I have yet to determine the level of "openness" in our upcoming domestic adoption. I'm pretty sure that we have some long, challenging conversations ahead of us in this regard. There are major implications for everyone involved in our becoming Plus One - our child, Chris, me, our families, the Birth-parents and their families. Whatever level of openness we ultimately choose will affect all of us and how we move through the world for the rest of our lives.

It's a big decision.

It's a huge decision.

And so, for my part, I am information gathering. Reading, processing, questioning, and trying to understand so that I can work with Chris toward making an informed decision that feels good to us and takes into account the future needs of our Little One.

Unfortunately, no decision will be perfect and I imagine that all of us involved in this adoption will struggle at times. Still, we'll make our decisions - the Birth-mother to choose to place her baby and us on the level of openness with which we'll feel most comfortable - and move forward as best we can, hopefully in a thoughtful/mindful manner.

So much to consider...

04 July 2009

The 4th of July...

As we're sitting at the parade today - in our usual spot across the street from the television viewing stand - Chris turns to me and says, "We won't be able to sit here next year."

I raise a questioning eyebrow.

"Too much sun for the baby."


Something to think about.

Later at the cookout on our deck my mother-in-law asks cheerfully, "Isn't it amazing to think that next year at July 4th you guys will have your baby?

Isn't it?

03 July 2009

What if?...challenges

My oldest and closest friend, G, lives out in the Pacific Northwest with her wife C and C's son J. If time and schedules permitted we'd be on the phone everyday. Unfortunately, time and schedules most often don't permit so we have to be content with one phone conversation per week and as such our conversations are usually lengthy We had just such a long conversation yesterday about parenting.

J is a great kid. Funny and goofy. But he is also a kid who has a lot of challenges. I won't go into the particulars except to say that he is in a special (and wonderful) school for kids who have significant emotional/behavioral issues, developmental delays and who experience severe social challenges. He is definitely benefiting from his time at the school. G tells me that there have been vast improvements in his behavior. However, as J gets older, stronger and in some ways more independent (and still other ways much more dependent) his challenges become even more challenging to G and C. While they can still manage him (to a point some days) right now, they are starting to research their options for if and when the time comes that his challenges become too overwhelming and his needs must be met in some kind of assisted living situation.

Difficult situation.

Difficult choices.

G says to me, "Isn't it funny that I'm struggling so much right now with being a mom and you're in the process of just becoming a mom? How does that make you feel?"

How does that make me feel?

Yeah, there is that part of me that worries, "What if we adopt a child who seems perfectly healthy as an infant [like J], but who later proves to have developmental challenges [like J] or some kind of genetic disorder or a birth defect that went undetected?"

No matter how much health history we get about the Birth Parents and Birth Family, there is always that chance that something "wrong" will manifest later on.

What if?

What if?

What if?

Then again, as I pointed out to my father not so long ago, the same thing could happen with a biological child of ours.

It's a crap shoot.

Parenthood is kind of a crap shoot. You get what you get. Your child or children might be exactly what you hoped for and dreamed of and wanted and desired.

And then again, the whole parenthood gig might be really hard because of unforeseen crap shoot stuff that you didn't expect or didn't want or couldn't possibly imagine.

So, am I worried?


But here's what I'm realizing as I worry and read blogs and talk to friends, relatives and colleagues who are parents:

Chris and I are entering into the crap shoot of parenthood and we'll get what we get and we'll be a family no matter what.

Hopefully our Little One will be healthy and perfect and free from developmental issues and undiscovered birth defects and other terrible things. We'll luck out and have a wonderful experience. A wonderful family.

But, if that's not the case, and there is something - some challenge - we will deal with it. We'll work through whatever comes our way. We'll talk. We'll strategize. We'll figure it all out because that's what we'll have to do.


As parents.

As a family.

And even in the midst of any challenges that come our way I am sure that there will be much wonderfulness to enjoy.

G and C are struggling a bit right now. They are a bit overwhelmed, but at the same time they are working so very hard together to work through these tough times with J. And I have every hope and confidence that they'll get through this and be better for it. And I hope that in the midst of these challenges they are still experiencing wonderfulness as a family.

02 July 2009

Strange blogging moment...

I turn on the computer this morning to check the blog and the stats website I use to track my visits. Admittedly, I have become one of those crazy bloggers who wants to know several times a day, "Who is visiting? Where from?"

It's kind of a rush to see that someone from Washington DC or as far away as New Zealand has visited.

Yes...I'm a blog dork.

So imagine my surprise this morning then when I discover that a number of people have found their way here via a CNN Online article entitled "Single Black Women Choosing to Adopt"

What the heck? How the heck? Huh?

I run upstairs to tell Chris the news. Even he is just a little impressed and says, "You should write a blog post about this."

So here I am again writing about this rather strange event.

I visit the article trying to figure out how my little blog has become attached to this article since - well - quite frankly - I am not black...

Apparently it's the "adoption" portion of my blog that is of interest because my post "Why Adoption?" had information that CNN deemed related. "In the present moment..." was the third listed in their "From the Blogs: Controversy, Commentary and Debate" link at the end of the article (and in the time that I have been writing this post has since been replaced by several other blogs with more recent posts on the subject.)

And even though I am not black, I hope that those of you who found your way to "In the present moment..." and the "Why Adoption?" post may have at least found information of interest and use. Thank you for taking the time to visit.

(And, yes, I am just a bit geeked that I was attached - however briefly - to a CNN article...)