“Why don’t you just try adopting through CYFD? There are a ton of kids…”

I used to feel like I had to justify my answer to this question to strangers and family and friends alike. There have been so many times when I have confided in someone willing to listen to my struggle who then say “Why don’t you just try adopting through CYFD? There are a ton of kids who need homes.” While I agree with the latter part of this statement I am always surprised by the first. Foster care and adopting through the state are not the same as “adoption”. When I hear this my instinct it to immediately fire back with “Why don’t you try adopting or becoming a foster-parent? There are so many kids…”, but I don’t. My reason for this is because you don’t have to be infertile to foster or adopt a child through the state; anyone can do it! On the flip side, “traditional adoption” doesn’t require you to be infertile either, but I will say it is probably the preferred path of someone who wants to start a family just like all the rest of the people in this world who can just get pregnant when they want to start theirs.

I will say that fostering and adopting through the state is a very noble path and I have nothing against it. Doug and I just know it is not the right fit for us. We have had over 50+ hours of training, home visits and meetings with CYFD to make this decision. Here are some of the reasons why:

  1. I am selfish. Just like someone who gets pregnant I want to be the very first (or second or even third) person to hold my baby. I want to be there from the beginning to change the first diapers, give the first bath, see the first smile, and hear her say “dad” for the first time. Could you imagine carrying a baby for 9 months and not seeing your child until its 5th birthday? What do you think it would feel like to miss out on those 5 years?
  2. I want the birth mom to choose us. It is very special to me that the birthparents can choose who parent their child. They will choose us because they trust that we will do the best we can. Much thought and intent goes into this life-changing decision. A decision like this can only bond someone in a positive way, for life.
  3. I need someone to advocate for me. I have never adopted and am inexperienced in the intricacies that adoption bring. I know that it will not be easy and because of this I need a caseworker to hold my hand along the way; just like a doctor or nurse would during an entire pregnancy. I have no doubt that my agency will do just that, I know this because they already have. During our time with CYFD we realized very quickly that there was no one there to advocate for us.
  4. I want my child to know that they were placed for adoption with the intention of love. I want them to know exactly why they were adopted. I don’t think I am capable of explaining to them that it could have happened in any other way, i.e. a series of negative events that brought them into the system. I just don’t have the strength or emotional disguise for this.

While some don’t agree with my reasons, that’s ok. It took me a long time to understand that I am not selfish for wanting to start a family in the way I have chosen.

Thanks for reading.

 

Advertisements

The “Mother’s Day” post

Mother’s Day. Could there be any worse day for someone who wants to be one? What can make this day even worse is when someone tries to include ME in the celebration. For example, every year at church small gifts are handed out to ALL the women, child-full and child-less alike. Ugh. I dread those words from the man on the pulpit at the end of services “Will ALL the women in the congregation stand up for a special gift”. Standing up so people can recognize my infertility is the last thing I want to do on this day. The worst is when I try to rebel against the direction and some sweet old lady standing behind me is telling me to “stand up” because “you are a motherly influence to all the children your life”. Why can’t we just celebrate the mothers? I always wonder how other women without kids feel about this recognition, maybe they aren’t mothers because they don’t want to be. And I can’t help but think about my friends who want nothing more than to be married and have children of their own.

Every year I hope to have good intentions to celebrate my mother, but I quickly become consumed with my own self-pity that her recognition takes a back-seat. This year may be the exception, maybe. I thought I would get a head-start to my self-pity by sending her gift a week early, I guess I am turning over a new leaf. Back to my self-pity (what this blog post is really about). I want share too much and maybe even a little pathetic, my mother’s day “tradition”. It usually starts the beginning of the week leading up to the “BIG day”. During this time I will have regular fantasies of my baby-to-come. Will I get a surprise phone call from a birth mom telling me she is in labor and has chosen me to be the mother of her child? Will I wake up from my nightmare of infertility and hear a crying baby? Will I answer the door to find a baby in a basket? Will it be the day I get to call my own mother and tell her that she will finally be a grandma? Or will it be the day I tell my husband that I had a positive pregnancy test and he is going to be a father? I told you, too much pathetic and sad information. Because I have gotten my self-pity out of the way early I hope to be able to celebrate this holiday for what it is? Mother’s Day. I have a mother, a mother-in-law, and many grandmotherss and guess what? I can celebrate them without the expectation to be celebrated myself. Happy Mother’s Day! (to mom’s only).

4 months in review

Why only 4 months and not “A year in review”? Simply because I got a new phone 4months ago that actually takes decent pictures, so any pictures prior to 4 months ago are practically useless.

IMG_0904

Doug discovered “The Poncho” (NM’s best kept secret) in 2012. I wasn’t  a believer of the poncho until he shrunk his first one, which consequently fits me. All I had to do was slip on the soft warm woven brown cotton, labeled “Hecho en Mexico”, and I too became a believer (but it took me a year!). Often we fight over who “put it on first” before we leave the house. On this day at Bosque del Apache, it turns out we put it on the exact same time before we left, so it’s only fair if we both get to wear the poncho. I am pretty sure we match on bottom too (which is a frequent occurrence at our house).

IMG_0718

UTAH FREAKIN’ JAZZ!!! Living in NM keeps us away from our beloved Utah Jazz Basketball players. It really is the one thing (along with our Co-ed softball team) that would bring us back to Utah. Sorry mom. When we went to visit Utah at Thanksgiving we, of course, had to say “hi”.

IMG_0251

Another reason for the “4 month review” is because 4 months ago is when we moved out of our dark depressing apartment and quickly cured our SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), which is easily brought on by living in dark places, i.e. our dark depressing apartment. We now live in a swanky house on the benches of the Sandias enjoying natural light all day, everyday. Way better cure than the lightboxes you buy at Costco. Ha!

IMG_1032

The natural light is totally doing me favors for my instagramming. Doesn’t he look great?! I came home the other day to find a hairLESS husband, who previously was hairFULL. Takes 20 years off. Typically I don’t get sappy (is that the right word? Sappy?) but I am so proud of this guy! After a lot of work he is a full blown attorney who has represented the state in hundreds of court cases (most only do a few in a life time). Because of his ample litigation experience he has been offered a new job! Hard work pays off! This guy never stops.

IMG_1056

In the last four months we have had a lot of ups and downs with adoption, as well as my health. So I have really had to dig deep for strength. After my most recent surgery I decided I needed a change, so I started running again. Getting out on the sandy trails of the Sandia foothills has been life-changing for me. My physical strength is coming back and by default I am able to clear my head and be PRESENT. Being PRESENT is MY biggest challenge of waiting for a placement. If I could run all day, I would.

IMG_0811

Can I just say that I LOVE New Mexico during Christmas? We will never go back to Utah for Christmas, they have nothing on New Mexico. I now demand that our family comes to us. We did everything from a Luminaria Walk, to making Tamales and Biscochitos. Next year we want to fully embrace a Spanish Christmas and attend midnight mass at the famous Catedral de St. Francis, and then soak in the mineral pools at Ojo Caliente.

IMG_0306

Doug’s parents came to visit us during the Balloon Fiesta. Doug’s dad used to pilot his own hot-air balloon so coming to this fiesta was a must for them. I love this picture so much because I just love these two comedians.

IMG_0448

We also had a visit from these chumps! My sister and her husband and the their 25 kids (I mean ONLY their 5 kids) came and stayed with us in our 2 bedroom house. We had a blast because of our constant gluttony, eating and doing WHATEVER we wanted!

IMG_0621

I can’t review my life without including this girl. Lucy, or sometimes “Lucifer” depending on the day, has been a hard but fun dog. She has also found peace as she joins me on my runs, especially the peaceful coma she enters after a run, it is literally the only two hours a day she isn’t barking, or chewing and eating something that doesn’t agree with her digestives. Just in the last 4 months alone she has eaten one of my leather Sorel’s, a strand of backyard lights, countless dryer sheets, rat poison, branches, her own poo, yarn, carpet, and GUESS WHAT?! She is still alive, but by the smell of her flatulence you would think otherwise. We still love her.

Bad Week Blogging about…Hope

Image

This week has been the WORST!!! When does it get better? After this week, my hope is diminished, my hope for a child, my hope for health, and my hope for a stable future. This week started off awesome when Doug and I made an offer on a home here in ABQ, the offer was accepted and we were officially “under contract” to buy our very first home. We were hopeful. With the purchase of this house we could have a yard for Lucy, extra bedrooms for visitors, a place to invest our money, and more importantly the place we would bring home our baby and live for the next several years. We hoped that this house would bring happiness.

A couple of days went by and we got a phone call from our mortgage officer saying that she made some mistakes on our pre-qualifying paperwork and we no longer qualify for the loan. Hope was lost. No yard for Lucy, no extra space, no planting roots, you get the idea.

So, where do I go from here? How do I get it back? To me, hope is little”tender mercies”, if you will, that tell me that it will all work out. I guess I should start paying attention to those tender mercies that point to a successful adoption. The most recent one I can think of is all the donations that we have received to fund our adoption, over $6000! It is so easy to forget our blessings, even such a BIG one as this. All I can do is try harder to recognize them. This will help me to hope, which will be the ease to my pain.

“But that ye have patience, and bear with those afflictions, with a firm HOPE that ye shall one day rest from all your afflictions.” -Alma 34:41

 

Adoption…from another era.

Adoption hits close to home to Doug and I, obviously. Yes, we are trying to adopt, but before us there were others. Doug has an older sister who was adopted at birth (I hope she is ok with me sharing this). His parents have been open about the fact that she is adopted and I believe she has known from an early age. I am so thankful that I have an example of adoption this close, not only do I feel closer to his parents because of it, but I feel closer to his sister too.

Today I called Doug’s dad to thank him for the birthday money he sent me. Our conversation turned toward adoption, as most of my conversations typically do. I asked him a few details of when they adopted Doug’s sister. I will share a little of what I got.

Denny and Judy (D&J just like us) had been married for 8 years before they had any kids. They were unable to have kids of their own and eventually decided to adopt. Denny says that they waited around two and a half years from the time that they started the adoption process to when they finally were able to welcome their baby girl into their home. I hope I don’t have to wait that long. They only had 2 weeks notice before she came home, when they got the call she was about 4 weeks old, and then she finally came home when she was 6 weeks old.

The sweetest part of the conversation was when they he told me about getting her nursery ready. They had prepared a gender-neutral nursery for her. A friend made them a lamp with her name on it. Someone donated a crib. And Denny worked many hours straight until he got all the wall-paper up. I can imagine the emotions they were feeling when they put together this nursery, hope for a baby and fear for the unknown of if and when.

As I write this I realize I have so many more questions for them about their adoption, check back for part two.

Early mornings are not my thing…

…but do you know what is my thing? My thing is sleeping in. And always has been. I love to sleep in and this is why I love weekends and the reason I love my job (there are many other reasons I love my job too).

When I was a kid I would fake sick just so I could sleep in. I would then slowly wake up around 10am, take a shower, then tell my mom I felt better and wanted to go to school. That’s a lie, I would tell her I feel better and then usually stay home the rest of the day.

There was this one time when I slept in. I was in high school. My mom came down to my basement bedroom to wake me up for nine o’clock church. Before I go on any further, it is important for you to know that I have the most efficient use of time in the mornings and can be showered and ready to go in less than ten minutes. I had this efficiency down in high school and have only made minor changes to refine it to the perfect system it is now to get the most amount of sleep possible before my work day. Anyway, while I was hitting the snooze button and ignoring my mom, I was calculating in my head the amount of minutes I would need to make it to church on time with my family by asking myself simple questions, “do I need to shower? wash my hair? shave my legs?” I don’t think my parents quite understood my system yet, beause the next thing I knew as I was calculating time I was in a bed full of ice water. Yep, they did it. They poured a 3 gallon bucket FULL of ice water over my entire bed. Clearly they didn’t think this through. Before the water bath, I only needed 7 minutes to get ready. After the water bath, at least an hour. Now I would have to do my hair, and clean up all the water in my bed. Safe to say I didn’t make it to church on time. Joke’s on the them.

There is a reason for my story. I have been called to teach EARLY. MORNING. SEMINARY. Do you understand what time this starts? Every morning? 6am. Oh and next year I don’t have to be to work until 9. So what was going to be an awesome year of sleeping in until 8:30 is now gone. I guess I still have Saturday.

With all that being said, I am pretty excited to teach. I love teaching and I love kids and teens. I have had many experiences working with youth, when I worked at a psych hospital on the adolescent unit, and now as I work as a school nurse.

Over the next couple weeks until seminary actually starts, I will have to think of ways to get me up. I heard about an alarm clock that actually shreds your money if you don’t wake up.

When you have lost all control, get it back!

Image

I thought I should post a pic, because let’s face it, blogs without pics aren’t as good.

 

As I have been waiting for our adoption placement I feel that I have lost all control of our adoption, meaning I don’t control when or how our adoption happens. I am completely dependent right now on LDS family services and their ability to get me a baby, their abilities are pretty limited. So, because of this I feel I need to take matters into my own hands and try and find a baby on my own. In case you are wondering, no, I won’t be going up to pregnant girls asking them if they have considered adoption. I have a few other ideas instead:

  • Registering with Parent Profiles. PP is like facebook for birthmothers and adoptive couples. It is a small monthly fee to post on their website.
  • Learn more about foster care. I am not 100% on board with foster care, but am planning on attending an orientation next. It wouldn’t hurt to learn more about it, cause who knows, it might be a good fit. 
  • Tell everyone I know that I am adopting. When we first met with our caseworker a few years ago she mentioned that we should make “pass along” cards to hand out. I don’t really like the idea of self-promotion, but I feel like it wouldn’t hurt. Honestly tho, I am the type to make them and then never hand them out.

Those are all the ideas I have for now.

What NOT to do when waiting for a baby

I think I may be making waiting for a baby harder on myself than it needs to be. Things that I do that I should stop doing:

  • Every time I go into Target or Old Navy I go straight to the baby stuff.
  • In our spare bedroom, I have a corner of baby stuff that I look at and get excited to use…a stroller, car seat, clothes, toys, and blankets. 
  • I tell people that it is hard and I am sick of waiting, rather than telling them that I am excited and hopeful.
  • I check my adoption profile often (when I say often, I mean about 5+ times a day).
  • When I am at work (I am a school nurse at an elementary where it is 95% hispanic and the dark skinned bi-lingual kids are adorable), I imagine and hope that my kids will be as cute as my students.
  • I only hang out with friends who have kids (I love all my friends who have kids, but a friend without kids might change the conversation a bit).
  • I live my life in terms of “We can/can’t do that because we might have a baby then”.

So, I am going to try really hard to do the opposite of what I have been doing to see if I become less obsessed with adoption and more obsessed with living my life.