Thursday, April 30, 2009

Oh...BOY! **Updated with Pictures**

Today has been a big day for us--a big day for my family. Tonight while we were sitting at dinner celebrating my younger sister's graduation from nursing school, my phone rang.


The whole family, minus the nephew and nieces, and Michael's sister (who lives in Scotland,) were there...what a moment. There are pictures of Michael and I, and we are completely SHOCKED, it's written on our faces. I will be posting those at some point, but not tonight...I'm too tired. There was chaos, laughter, tears, questions, it was unbelievable. The room was spinning.

So...we leave bright and early in the morning to go to a hospital about an hour from our house where we will meet our baby boy. From the moment we received the news, I have been all over the place. For right now, I am keeping his story--our story private. Until we know more, and until we meet him and sign important papers, I don't want to say too much. He was born on April 28th, and he is a healthy baby boy.

My family...well, there are no words for my family, they are simply awesome. While we were waiting for the ceremony to begin, my older sister gave me a "mother blessing ring" that she had clearly been keeping in her purse for a long time. The envelope is wrinkled and worn...sort of like my heart. That was when the tears came. I had been trying to hold them back so I could focus on my little sis and her big moment, but the mother blessing ring did me in.

After my sister's pinning ceremony (I am SO proud of her!!!) we went to Babies R Us and got there 15 minutes before closing time.

My parents bought our travel system for us so that we will have a car seat in which to place...our son. We also bought A LOT of newborn outfits for baby boy, including a special one that he will wear tomorrow.

And Michael, he is so very sweet. He gave me the most lovely "pregnancy pictures" I have ever seen. He has had them since the early days of our marriage. They are custom made pieces of glass with paint actually inside them. They are a lovely treasure that I will cherish always. I will post photos sometime soon.

All of this is unbelievable to me. I am in a complete state of shock, and so is Michael. We did manage to get the car cleaned out, and get the car seat installed (WE THINK) properly. Despite having cared for babies for years, and pretty much knowing most of what there is TO know about said little people, we are still NEW and trying to place ourselves as MOMMY AND DADDY!! We are both terrified and overwhelmed, alternately mixed with excitement and happiness. There is much to do and much to think about. I will certainly be posting more soon...when there is more to post, and more time.

To all of you--my friends and supporters, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. You have been right here with me, through so much and so many ups and downs that I have felt. Words are not enough. Your prayers, support, encouragement, and advice have been and are priceless.

For now, I will leave you with some songs that I really love, and that I think are particularly pertinent to what is happening now. One of these songs is old and one is new...sort of like our family will be (some old, some new) in only a few short hours. *WOW!!!*

Ann Murray - Danny's Song

David Cook - Time of My Life

P.S. This was my 100th post! Ever since Rebekah's big announcement on her 100th post, I have wanted to do the same on my blog. I didn't think that would happen, but THIS is my 100th post!!! I am speechless.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adoption Outreach

So I've been thinking lately that we need to step it up a bit and do some more adoption outreach. I've been subbing a lot this past week, and yesterday I had an "aha moment" when I was at a local middle school. In an attempt to encourage and inspire the youngsters, this particular school reads inspirational quotes over the PA system every morning. The topic for yesterday was hopelessness. As they asked, "Have you ever felt hopeless and like there was a problem in your life that had no solution?" I had the thought that hopeless is exactly how I've been feeling about adoption lately. The friendly PA system voice went on to say that when you are feeling hopeless, the very best thing you can do is take action. She read the following quote:
"Action is the antidote to despair."
~Joan Baez
I'll be honest, at the time I was listening to this, I was internally smirking a bit. I was thinking that this all sounds really good in theory, but that it's not always easy to take action when you truly feel hopeless. Then I was talking to my friend, Heather on Facebook, and she mentioned that there is a free web site where you can post your adoption profile. After looking around the site a bit, I think it's a really good idea. This has also gotten me thinking about other proactive things we might be able to do while we wait.

The bottom line is that we don't know how we will be matched with our birth family. As so many of the blog stories I follow have shown, anything can happen at any time. While I love our agency and feel very comfortable with them, they are very small, which is actually one thing I like about them. But--that, coupled with the fact that they provide social services, also means they don't do outreach of any kind. Birth families must come to them before they will have a chance of getting to us. For a long time, I sort of felt we should take a hands-off approach to this whole aspect of the process, but the more I think about it, the more I think maybe it's time to change that thought. I don't necessarily think letting fate take it's course means we should sit around and wait for someone to magically bump into us. I don't think there's anything wrong with us doing a little bit of mouth opening of our own, in a manner that feels comfortable to us.

I don't exactly know what this will entail, Michael and I will need to talk it over and decide what and how much we feel comfortable with. I certainly don't want to cross that line into a place where I feel like we're "advertising" ourselves, because that's a thought that's always made me feel a little unsettled. As with everything adoption, everyone has their own comfort/acceptance level with how, when, and how much they put themselves out there, so to speak. We will have to figure out what ours should be, but I'm confident in our ability to do that. What I do know is that I now--at long last--feel that I may be regaining a small amount of hope again. I have been through some of my lowest lows of this entire experience these past several weeks, and I am finally beginning to break free. Finally beginning to feel like me again.

As an extra (uplifting) aside, I also found the following quotes about taking action that I really enjoyed:
"You cannot change anything in your life with intention alone,
which can become a watered-down, occasional hope
that you'll get to tomorrow. Intention without action is useless."
~Caroline Myss
Know Action, Know Satisfaction.
No Action, No Satisfaction
~Victor Starfish
"Happy people plan actions, they don't plan results."
~Denis Waitely

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Maybe Next Time...

Well, we have had a rather tumultuous 24 hours or so. Last night as I was sitting in math class, I got a guys know the call. Only, it wasn't quite the call. It was from the birth parent counselor at our agency. She told me about a baby girl who was born this past weekend. She was 7-10 weeks premature, but "otherwise healthy." She was/is in the N-ICU at the hospital about seven miles from our house. For a moment I thought it was the call. Then we were told the birth parents would be looking at pofiles last night. We had very limited information upon which to base a quick decision about whether or not to be shown. Of course we wanted to be shown, and we were. By the time I managed to sit through the rest of class (in a complete daze) and get home, there was an email update from our CW:
"...for those of you who have already agreed to have your letter and album shown to the birth mother of the premature baby girl--J. will be meeting with her tomorrow morning at which time she and her boyfriend will be looking at letters and albums. IF SHE CHOOSES TO MEET YOU, I WILL BE CALLING YOU AT AROUND 11 AM TOMORROW MORNING. YOU WILL HAVE TO BE AT THE AGENCY BY NOON TO MEET WITH THEM." J. and I know that this is ridiculously fast-crazy, but it's the best we can do in this situation. So stay tuned, and I'll be in touch."
So it was with that information that we went to bed last night. We didn't talk about it much, I don't think either one of us really knew what to say or exactly how to process the situation. Suffice it to say I don't think either one of us slept very well. I knew I needed to stay guarded, and be careful, but as you all know, that is much easier said than done.

This was unlike anything we've experienced as yet throughout this process. This was the first time I received information through a phone call rather than an email. This was the first time there was a real, already born baby girl in the picture. How my heart was aching for her last night, and for her whole situation. Even if we weren't the couple who was supposed to be there with her, I wanted someone to be there.

This morning unfolded at a slow crawl that was utterly unsettling. I had called my parents last night to tell them, just so I could tell someone...but we didn't want to say too much too soon, so we left it at that. Then I took my parents to the airport this morning for their trip to CA. It was nice to see them in person, and to get to talk to them about the "almost baby girl." I think we were all dreaming a bit. By the time 11:00 a.m. rolled around, I sort of already knew this time wasn't our time. That hunch was confirmed by around 12:40 p.m. (not that anyone was counting) when our CW called to tell us the birth parents had chosen another couple.

So the rest of the day has been spent feeling alternately OK, and being completely downtrodden. Of course that has been mixed in with Michael working his two jobs, and me studying for my last three final exams. One thing we both decided is that we need to get a car seat! Having this happen...this so close experience...has made us realize just how unprepared we really are. I think that one item will be moving up on our to-do list in the very near future!

So that's that...there's really nothing more to say. For the people who were chosen, I am very happy. This whole experience was THE experience for someone, and that is awesome. I wish them, and that baby girl a lifetime of happiness and health. Everyone keeps saying that one of these times it really will be our turn. Even though I don't really believe that at the moment, this experience did make me realize that you just never know what is in store or what will happen or when. I feel oddly hopeful and heartbroken all at the same time.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Wall Murals

I've had thoughts of nursery decoration tucked in the back corner of my mind for a while now, and I recently found a pretty cool resource for DIY wall murals. Trace Designs is a business run by a talented SAHM who has found a great way to help us non-painterly types be able to create our own wall murals in only a few simple steps.

I've always wanted to paint a wall mural for our nursery, but the idea of how to do it and actually do a good job is a little bit of a different story. I'm actually quite creative, and I've got a lot of creative talent in my family, but this task still seems daunting when I think about doing it from scratch. When my niece was born a couple of years ago, I thought of giving my sister the gift of a wall mural for her nursery. However, when I looked up a local artist to see how much she would charge to paint a custom mural, the price (almost $1,000) was way outside my range. I wish I had known about Trace Designs back then! At only ~ $40.00 plus the cost of paint and supplies, this is a much more affordable option!

I've been looking around the site for a day or two, and I'm still not certain which of the designs I like best. The gender neutral thing is still an issue, but that's going to be an issue no matter what I choose to do. For now I'm just sitting on the idea and thinking about how Trace Designe might fit into my grand scheme of ideas...thought I'd pass it along!

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Due Date"

Today was our "due date" on the baby registry. Today was the day I originally projected that we would have our little baby...or at least news of him/her. Admittedly, I just picked the date randomly because 13 is our lucky number, and April seemed like a nice, happy month...but still.

I'm not going to waste time repeating stuff I've already said...I'm just quietly observing that today things are not where I want them to be. They are far from that mark I have set, but even so, they are still good. We're hanging in there, and we will survive...we're just both having a hard time with this wait lately, and it's bringing us down.

Michael is normally so even-tempered and laid back. Sometimes I forget that this is affecting him too--that it's hard for him too. But lately he's been down, which makes me sad.

Anyway, I just want to say thank you to all of you who commented on my last post. Reading it now, it seems pretty bleak...but that is how I was feeling. I am better now, but still not up to my typical happiness level. Your support, encouragement and advice means the world to me, so THANK YOU!

This too shall pass...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Bursting at the Seems

Tonight I am screaming from the inside out, I am SO SICK of waiting!!! I feel frustrated and angry and left behind and just generally like my life is standing still while everyone else is spinning in happy little circles around me. I know I hardly have room to complain. I know there are many people out there who have far worse situations with which to cope. I get that. I know there are many people out there who have far better and more positive attitudes than I do right now. I am just so very frustrated, and so very fed up with this whole drawn out and overwhelming process!!!

I had to call BRU and change the "due date" on our baby registry yesterday. I can't explain why exactly, but that just set me off. It's a simple thing, inconsequential really, but it irked me to the core. BRU really needs to have a special registry for prospective adoptive parents so they don't have to specify a due date. Why can't we just put TBD? Seriously, with all the technology available these days you'd think that would be possible.

I'm also bothered because we now have to get our home study and paperwork updated. Even though we weren't officially active in the pool until July last year (due to the time it took me to create our profile letter and album,) our home study was done in April. HOW IS IT APRIL ALREADY??? I just didn't want to have to do these things, I wanted to have our baby by now. I know I sound like a pouty, whiny b*tch, but I'm sick of internalizing all this crap so I can put on yet another happy face that I don't really feel. My soul feels unsettled lately and it's really pulling me down. WHERE IS OUR BABY LOVE???

The other huge thing that has been heavily weighing on me lately (all puns intended!) is that I have been thinking a lot more about weight loss surgery (WLS.) Even after reading a book about it and going to a consultation at a WLS clinic near us, I am left feeling conflicted and unsure about the whole thing. This is really a post for another day, because it stirs up so many feelings that I don't...or maybe even can't share. Weight has been a lifelong battle for me, it's not like this is the first time I've thought about surgery. I think what's bugging me though, is that this is the first time I've thought about it this seriously, and I think adoption is at the core of that conundrum. There are many reasons why I think WLS might possibly be the right path for me to take, but to be perfectly honest, I don't know how, nor do I feel even remotely qualified to make a decision of this magnitude. And then there's the part of me that thinks (like BB said in a previous comment) that maybe our match will happen because of our struggles with weight rather than in spite of them. I want to be happy and healthy and live my best life, both now and in the future when I'm a mom, isn't that what everyone wants? But would losing my weight guarantee that I would be happier? wouldn't guarantee anything at all, and it might very well be a big mistake that I would later regret. I think I just think too much, and I probably just need to let it all sit for a while now that I've obtained so much new information.

As I stated in a previous post, all this self-doubt and wavering back and forth is really out of character for me, which is unsettling. Sometimes I don't feel there is anyone with whom I can really talk about all this stuff, which is more my fault than theirs. I have a really hard time voicing some of these thoughts and feelings, especially verbally and in person. just is what it is, and I have to realize that whatever is going to happen will happen one way or another. I'm certainly not a fatalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think that sometimes "freedom of choice" seems a lot more consequential than it really is.

I'm done for now.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pool Party

We went to a "pool party" at our agency tonight. Pool party meaning a gathering for all the people who are currently in "the pool" of waiting parents. It was a good time, they showed us the Harvey Karp video, "The Happiest Baby on the Block." For those of you who don' know about this, it is an excellent, "revolutionary" technique for soothing very fussy babies. Karp first wrote a book with the same title and then subsequently made the video we watched tonight. It is a must for any prospective or new parents, especially if you have a "colicky" baby. In the video, Karp points out that the whole notion of colic is actually unfounded, and that most very fussy babies don't show any signs of having anything physically wrong. The video highlights Karp's "five S" technique of triggering the calming reflex in babies and comforting them almost instantly, even when they are uncontrollably fussy. His techniques take some practice and getting used to, but anyone can do them fairly easily. It's all very interesting, and worth checking out!! We got to practice his swaddling approach (the first s) on dolls tonight. It was great fun for me to watch my husband wrap up a baby. He actually did a great job, and confirmed my thoughts that he will be a fantastic daddy when the time comes! I just hope that time is soon, I'm sooo beyond ready!