Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Flabbergasted

Wow!  I am feeling all sorts of feelings the past few days… I'm excited, nervous, anxious, confused, and hopeful, while trying not to get my hopes up - and everything in between.  Why?  Well - believe it or not - Nate and I (along with other prospective adoptive parents) were presented with an available adoption situation yesterday. Already!
I’ve been seriously stalking Nate’s inbox since we joined the official waiting families “list.”  He doesn’t check his e-mail as often as I would if we were using my address for adoption contact, so… I make up for it!  On Tuesday I was shocked to see that the message I’ve been looking for was there!  I couldn’t believe it!  There is a mother in the Cincinnati looking to create and adoption plan for her baby boy, due in APRIL!  Here is her background information; would you be interested in being presented to her as a possible adoptive family?  If so, send a letter addressed to her expressing your interest in and feelings about adoption, and provide your background information (like it’s that simple?!).  We will let you know if she would like to meet you in person after she sees your letter and look book.
Talk about tough!  Not only do Nate and I have a few minor questions/concerns about some of the information presented to us, but we need to do our research and come up with a personalized letter ASAP.  Luckily I had a generic rough draft ready to go, but I’m surprised how connected I feel to this girl with such little information provided.  Think about what an impact she could have on our lives, and what she must endure in order for our dreams to come true…
They compare this stage of adoption to dating – something we haven’t done since we met 6 years ago!  Not that I was so great at dating then, but I’m feeling pretty rusty!!   I feel like one wrong word or phrase (or font or photo) could make or break our moving to the next step.  I want to come across as friendly and comforting without crossing the boundaries of someone I don’t even know.  I want her to know how much Nate and I want a child, but don’t want to come across like a vulture circling prey.  The little information provided to us already has us rooting for this girl, even if she doesn’t pick us.  It’s complicated to say the least.
I would like to share our letter here (I’ve actually started a binder containing every scrap of paper we’ve touched since beginning this process – I don’t want to get rid of any of it!), but feel like I can’t without including the background we’ve been given about the birth mother.  I want to respect her privacy – her story is not mine to share, which is where I think open adoption becomes tricky (well at least in one way). 
I’ve been struggling with the concept that adoption, especially open adoption, does not create a linear relationship.  It would be easier if the only ones involved were Nate and myself, our child and his or her birth family.  But no – adoption is a tangled web.  How do we distinguish what stays between ourselves and our child’s birth family and what we share with our loved ones (who will probably share with their friends as well)?  We want to be as open and honest as we possibly can, but we don’t want to violate the trust and privacy of our child’s birth family.  What we think is friendly conversation could feel like judgmental gossip to someone in a much different situation than our own.  I’m going to have to Google, “how to talk to our family about our child’s birth family.”  Maybe this is a topic for our next Adoption Network support meeting (I still need to post about our first visit)... Or, did I read something about this in "In On It..."?  I think this is a whole new post…
Anyway, I went got off topic there.  Back to the news at hand - I’m totally flabbergasted that this has happened so quickly, and paranoid that if this match doesn’t work out we’ll be waiting forever for the next one.  More updates will most certainly follow.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Anxious... already

I recently joined AdoptiveFamiliesCircle.com, trying to find others who can relate to how I'm feeling about our adoption - the good, the bad and the ugly.  I've found some great posts and groups, and I'm happy I found the site.  I think I'll be able to find answers to my questions and support for every stage of this process.

Earlier this week I found a post by someone who is looking for support in the waiting stage of their own adoption.  She expressed anxiety about the newness of her experience, adopting for the first time, and about the changes that are coming after they are matched.  She questions if she's made the right decisions along the way, and says she feels crazy half the time.  Even though she has been waiting much longer than Nate and I have, I can totally relate to how she's feeling.  I decided to reply to her post, and wanted to share it here as well:

I have also been trying to find some sort of support for prospective adoptive parents in the waiting stage.  Anxious doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about everything.  I’m definitely a ‘type A’ personality - I’m not good at having no control over getting something that I want so badly.  It’s tough because friends and family are either getting pregnant with ‘surprise’ children or I know they started ‘trying’ after us and they now have their own children.  It’s hard not to think ‘why not me?’  But, I honestly believe everything happens for a reason – even if I don’t like the reason or the wait.
I too am second-guessing everything.  My husband and I tried to conceive naturally for a little over a year with no luck.  We visited the doctor over this past summer and learned that we have less than a 40% chance to conceive, even with the most aggressive form of infertility treatment.  Between the cost of treatment (which would deplete our adoption savings), our low chances and the fact that I’ve watched someone very close to me struggle with unsuccessful treatment attempts, we decided not to pursue treatment.  I definitely go back to this decision constantly and wonder if it’s the right choice – especially now that I feel like we’re in ‘limbo’ and making no progress.  And what if we changed our minds and decided to try treatment?  How would we tell our friends and family, who already know we’re waiting to adopt?
I was so excited when we started the adoption process in October.  We did everything we could to complete our training, paperwork, look books, birth mother letters and home study quickly.  Looking back, I think I was happy during this stage mostly because I had control over the progress we were making.  I was relieved to receive the letter from our agency stating that our home study was complete, and I rushed to the agency to make our next payment so that they could start searching for our match.  I so wanted to be done with paperwork, inspections and interviews, and have nothing to do but wait.  Well, we haven’t been waiting that long yet and I already wish I had something else to do or work on.

On top of my natural anxious tendency, I also feel like we’ve already received miscommunication from our agency.  I was told that our profile would quickly go live on their website and the search would begin once our payment was made.  A week and a half after I dropped off the check, our profile still wasn’t up so I sent an e-mail to check our status.  The response I received was that our home study was in the final stages of approval and that nothing could be done until approval was complete.  Confused and a little upset I had my husband (who stays much calmer than I do) call our agency.  Why would we receive a letter stating that our home study was complete and approved if it wasn’t?  This phone call seemed to make a little progress – our profile is now live on our agency’s website, but I’m still paranoid that nothing else is happening.  How can you tell if your agency is actually doing any work on your case?
Now I worry about the photos and words we chose for our look books and birth mother letters.  Will anyone like us?  Maybe we’re too young; maybe we’re too old, too fat, too ugly.  Maybe they don’t like our house, my hair, his shirt… Ohio?  Maybe they won’t like our cats.  Maybe we have enough children in our family (nieces, nephews and cousins) already.  Did we provide enough information?  Too much?  Will we be able to raise enough money for placement once we’re matched?  Will we have enough time (and money) to buy everything we need to bring the baby home?  Will I be able to stay home after our baby is home, like I so desperately hope to do?  Maybe we’re just not meant to have any children… and on, and on, and on…
Long story short, you’re not alone in your worries about adoption.  I can’t really offer any advice, as I’m obviously struggling with this too – but I can share what’s helped me so far.  Personally, I always go back to trusting that the Lord has a plan and I look forward to the day when this part of the plan is complete.  My husband and I attended a seminar that our agency put on, called “First Hand Views of Adoption.”  One of the adoptive families shared that they too had their share of struggle and worries but as soon as they held their baby for the first time, everything else melted away.  I can’t wait for that day!  I have started to focus on my health – eating healthier and attending an exercise class I thoroughly enjoy (sometimes I think Jazzercise saves my sanity!).  We’re trying to save our vacation days at work, just in case, but we’ve decided that if nothing happens with our adoption we’ll take a vacation at the end of the year.  This way we have something to look forward to either way.
I know that my husband and I are only in the beginning of our adoption process, and I hope I’m not ridiculed for expressing my worries.  I know there are others who have had a much longer (and more difficult) journey than we have.  I don’t think it matters how long you’ve been trying or waiting – it’s all hard.  I wanted to share this with you (and whoever else reads it) because reading other people’s stories has helped me.  Maybe some part of this will help you…
I wish you luck, and if you want to keep in touch (I’d love to hear about your progress) feel free to send me a message.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Tax Free Donations - AdoptTogether.org


It recently came to our attention that some of you would prefer to simply donate to our adoption fund, rather than participate in one of our other fundraisers.  We sincerely appreciate your generosity and support!  AdoptTogether.org is a non-profit funding platform helping families raise money to pay for adoption costs.  The above link will take you to our AdoptTogether profile where you can make a tax free donation of any amount.

All of our fundraiser information can now be found using the Fundraisers link at the top of this page.

Thank you again for your love and support!

Remedies

A friend posted the below on Facebook and I thought I'd share.  Since starting our journey to adopt I've learned that adoption (and infertility) touches many more lives than I imagined.  It seems like every new person who hears our story has a related story of his or her own.  It goes to show that just because you can't see it on the surface, care and respect are still necessary...

So, what do you think people would say to you if you were paraplegic instead of infertile? (author unknown)

1. As soon as you buy a wheelchair, I bet you'll be able to walk again!

2. You can't use your legs? Boy, I wish I was paralyzed. I get so tired of walking, and if I were paralyzed I wouldn't have to walk anywhere!

3. My cousin was paralyzed but she started shaving her legs in the other direction and she could walk again. You should try that.

4. I guess God just didn't mean for you to be able to walk.

5. Oh, I know exactly how you feel, because I have an ingrown toenail.

6. Sorry, we don't cover treatment for paraplegia, because it's not a life-threatening illness.

7. So... when are *you* going to start walking?

8. Oh, I have just the opposite problem. I have to walk walk walk - everywhere I go!

9. But don't you *want* to walk?

10. You're just trying too hard. Relax and you'll be able to walk.

11. You're so lucky... think of the money you save on shoes.

12. I don't know why you're being so selfish. You should at least be happy that *I* can walk.

13. I hope you don't try those anti-paralysis drugs. They sometimes make people run too fast and they get hurt.

14. Look at those people hiking... doesn't that make you want to hike?

15. Just relax, you'll be walking in no time.

16. Oh do my legs hurt, I was walking and walking and going up and down the stairs all day.

17. I broke my leg skiing, and was on crutches for weeks, and was worried I'd have a permanent limp, but I'm 100% healed.

18. I'd ask you to be in my wedding party but the wheelchair will look out of place at the altar.

19. You're being selfish, not coming on the hike with us, and looking at all of my track & field trophies.

20. Don't complain, you get all the good parking places.

21. If you just lose weight your legs will work again.

22. If you would just have more sex, you could walk!

23. You don't know how to walk? What's wrong with you? Here let a real man show you how to walk!

24. You are just trying too hard to walk. Give up, and then you'll walk.

25. Here, touch my legs, then you'll walk!

26. Just take a vacation, and the stress-break will be sure to get you walking!

27. When *we* were young we only had to worry about having to walk too much.

28. And I bet a paraplegic going to a bookstore doesn't find books about paralysis stacked next to all the books on running...

So here's a little hint. If someone you know tells you that she's trying to get pregnant and it's taking longer than expected, DON'T tell her to just relax. Don't tell her to adopt and then surely she'll get pregnant with her own child. Don't tell her that God has a plan for her. Don't say, "At least it's fun trying!" Scheduling sex with the person you love isn't fun. Getting vaginal ultrasounds every other day and intramuscular injections in your ass twice a day isn't fun. Finding out every single month that - yet again - it didn't work this month either is Just. Not. Fun.

DO tell her that you're sorry she's going through such pain/grief/frustration. Do tell her that you're glad she told you. Do tell her that, even if you don't bring it up (because you want to respect her privacy and understand that she might not feel like talking about it sometimes), that you're there for her if she ever wants to talk or vent.

And DON'T feel that because she told you that it's okay for you to tell your other friends, children, co-workers, neighbors, cousins, mailman, whomever - unless she tells you that it's okay to do so. Your need to share news pales in comparison to her need to maintain a shred of privacy and dignity.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Date Night Fundraiser!

It's time for another adoption fundraiser! We joined CoupAide in an effort to continue to grow our adoption fund, and offer our friends and family a great deal! By donating $20 you'll receive a $50 Restaurant.com gift card, and half of each sale will go to our fund. So, if you're planning on taking your sweetie out for a nice Valentine's Day dinner you can save a few dollars and help out a great cause! These make great gifts or prizes for other events, too!  Please let us know if you have any questions, and feel free to pass this on to others.  Make sure to check Restaurant.com for restaurants in your area before purchasing!

And, don't forget to continue to shop our Amazon fundraiser

Thank you so much for all of your support!!