Tuesday, May 29, 2007

11 months

11 months since we contracted out. We've been officially waiting parents for 11 months. It's not quite a year, but it's getting there... A lot sure has happened in these past 11 months, it's been a real roller coaster ride of emotions.

This "anniversary" doesn't seem quite as sad or melancholy as the others. I guess it's more that we're trusting it's going to happen when it happens. We are trying to enjoy life as it happens, do selfish things we won't be able to do when we have children and all the responsibilities that go along with them. And enjoy each other.

One thing that has never faltered is our strength and love for each other. We're very lucky, and we recognize that, because often things such as infertility or adoption can put a strain on a marriage. Fortunately we both are in sync with each other, and able to help each other, lift spirits when the other is down. If anything, this experience has brought us even closer together, and we give thanks every day for each other.

11 months.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Adoption Songs II (well, albums anyway)

So, it's been a while, (Tuesday, March 13th) since I started this "series" of adoption songs. I haven't forgotten, just been distracted by some other things :) Today, I'll focus on some adoption albums. Some I have been eyeing for a while, some I just recently came across.

Anyway, one CD I found I keep meaning to get, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet is The Spirit of Adoption. It's a collection of Christian artists whose lives have been touched by the miracle of adoption. Artists included on the album are: Steven Curtis Chapman, Sandi Patty, Geoff Moore, Rita Springer, Todd Agnew, Chuck & Lynette Giacinto, Sandi Padilla, Becky Wright & Tommy Brandt, and Mary Rice Hopkins.

Another one that I want to eventually purchase is Adoption....the Songs you Love. It used to be available on Target.com, but hasn't been for a while. The songs on this album are not the original artists, but rather a compilation of songs sung by a few artists.

Do You Have A Little Love to Share? Provides songs for all those involved in adoption, including birth parents/families as well as adoptive parents/families. You can listen to the songs, and see some of the lyrics by clicking on the title of the album.

And though I don't know the songs included on Little Angel Smiles, from what I've heard it covers all aspects of adoption as well. There are 18 songs written for birthparents, adoptive parents, waiting parents, and the child who brings them together. The reviews I have heard from this album seem to be pretty good.

SameSame:Songs for Adoptive Families looks like it will be a good one to use as a child grows up in our family. We will be using age appropriate materials to share their adoption story, and this CD appears to fit in perfectly with our goals. It contains both silly and serious songs, perfect for children and families.

Another along similar lines is My Forever Family CD. It is geared more toward international adoption, with songs such as "Two Countries" and "My Native Land", but the Songs for Grown Ups include songs that adopting and waiting families can relate to.

Anyway, those are a few albums I've come across lately....

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Baby/Memory Books

Baby books for those adopting are hard to find. Often, they are called Life Books or Memory Books, etc. I found a website that has what is called "Lux Adoption Memory Album" and it comes in a variety of colors. They can be found at aimeej keepsake albums.

What is neat is the 20 pages of the scrapbook. They cover slightly different topics than your average baby book, but are not drastically different. They also aren't just international or domestic adoption specific, you can tailor it to suit your needs.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

We're adopting, we don't have cooties...

I know sometimes it is difficult for others to understand what we are going through. They may not be sure how to handle us, what to do or say around us. What they don't realize is that it actually hurts more to not be included in things.

We're adopting- we don't have cooties.

Sometimes people are not sure how to act around us, or what to say to us (or any other couple or individual adopting). Just be yourself. Sometimes people are hesitant to talk about their kids, their experiences in parenting or pregnancy, etc. Please don't not talk about it. We want to know. We want to be included. It hurts more when we are not.

Just because our family is growing a bit differently than yours, or that our "pregnancy" is a bit longer than yours doesn't mean that we are any different than any other couple who are waiting to be parents. We love hearing about others, sharing accomplishments, moments, etc. We feel left out when we aren't told stories, aren't shown the pictures. We're just regular people, who care about people and want to know what is going on in their lives. That's what friends and family are for.

We know our time will come, and some day we will have children. We can't tell you when, we don't know. But sometime, someday, we will be parents too. But for now, don't be hesitant to share your joy, pictures, accomplishments, etc with us. It helps us learn, and gives us something to get excited about, knowing that someday we will get to have those experiences with our children.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Goodnight My Someone

My friend Shelley (Lawfrog) (of Toadally Talking)sent me the song lyrics to "Goodnight My Someone" from "The Music Man". She says, (and I quote, because she is really awesome):

I always loved the song Goodnight My Someone. Though it speaks of lovers, I think it applicable to adoption as well. Your little one is out there Liz. Keep praying and saying goodnight to him/her. He or she can hear you - it's communication from heart to heart.

Little does she know, but we actually do something similar. Every so often, either Mike or I say (or sometimes just think) - today is the day our child was born (or sometimes we say conceived). Because you know what, one of these days it's going to be true :)

Anyway, I wanted to share the song...

Goodnight My Someone

by Meredith Willson
From "The Music Man"
As sung by Shirley Jones, © 1962 Warner Bros. Records Inc.


Goodnight, my someone, goodnight, my love.
Sleep tight, my someone, sleep tight, my love.
Our star is shining its brightest light,
For goodnight, my love, for goodnight.

Sweet dreams be yours, dear, if dreams there be
Sweet dreams to carry you close to me.
I wish they may and I wish they might.
Now goodnight, my someone, goodnight.

True love can be whispered from heart to heart,
When lovers are parted they say.
But I must depend on a wish and a star
As long as my heart doesn't know who you are.

Sweet dreams be yours, dear, if dreams there be
Sweet dreams to carry you close to me.
I wish they may and I wish they might.
Now goodnight, my someone, goodnight.

Goodnight! Goodnight!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Today is a bit of a bittersweet day for us. Two years ago, on Mother's Day, we found out we were pregnant, but it only lasted a week. Had it stuck, we would have had a 15 month old toddling around right now. But it just wasn't meant to be. I am missing my grandmother this year, it's the 2nd Mother's day without her. I know it's a silly little thing, but every year she sent me a Mother's Day card from my cat, Precious. It was always so sweet. My parents are very sweet, each year, when doing Mother's Day (both my sisters are mothers), they always include me by giving my a card. It's still not easy though. I am really thankful for them though, and them including me in the celebration.

My friend Kelly was so sweet. She brought me some flowers tonight. She said that I was a "waiting mother" and I ought to be included too. It made me tear up, it was so sweet. Mike has been working all day, and I've been home pretty much all day. I'm still recuperating a bit, and just wasn't feeling up to going out. His parents came down to go out to dinner (and we confirmed the dates for our Alaska cruise in 2008), and then went back home. So, it's been a pretty quiet day today.

But on the other hand, I am estatic for my friends. Those who are pregnant, Kate, Jess, Ro, Chris, (and a few who haven't announced it yet ;) ). Those who had babies this past year and are enjoying their first Mother's Day with their little ones, Ashley, Katie, Kim, Lisa, Julie, Melissa, Michelle, JulieAnn, (and I know I am forgetting some!) Those who had litle ones already, and are celebrating a 2nd or third or more Mother's Day, my sisters, Kathy, Kelly, Margaret, Kasey, Dana, Roberta, Teresa, D, (and more, I don't want to forget anyone, but I know I am!).

And don't forget my friend's who adopted this year! Rach, Alana, Kim, Karalee, Marlene, LisaAnne, AllyRae, Chelle, (and I know I am forgetting folks!)

Also, my friends who have adopted previously, Missy, Pegg, Gina... (and again, I'm missing folks)...

I want to send out a special Mother's day to those who are like me, still waiting for the call. Renee, Dawn, Tracey, Chrissy, Becky, Jen, Kerri, my Nest adoption girls, my blog friends, and my BOLU friends. Again, I know I am forgetting folks.

I am very lucky to know many wonderful women in my life. If I forgot you, please know it wasn't intentional, there are just so many of you!

Happy Mother's Day to all!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Mothers Day for Mothers in Waiting

I received this letter from Mardie Caldwell, the founder of Lifetime Adoption (she is an adoptive parent) and wanted to share it . I can totally relate to it, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Mother's Day can be a struggle for those who are waiting, waiting to be matched, adopting, trying to conceive, or struggling with infertility.

Mother's Day.....

For some mothers-in-waiting, it is a beautiful day filled with hope for the future. For others, it is a reminder of the blessings they are still seeking.

When I was adopting, I would dread the week leading up to Mother's Day every single year. It reminded me of my losses and my failures. I couldn't find joy, not even in the celebration of my own mother. At church, I felt I was the only one without a child without a corsage, and without the knowledge of when or if I was ever going to be a mother.

What I didn't realize at the time was that I was already a mother. God just had not yet let me to my son, the perfect child he had for me.

Mother's Day is a day to celebrate our own mothers and to celebrate the blessing of motherhood. It is, like every other day, a beautiful day that the Lord has made, only asking that we rejoice and be glad in the blessings He has provided. If your heart is aching, it can be hard to fulfill His request.

Consider a few ways to rejoice in Mother's Day as a mother-in-waiting...
*Take a quick trip out of town with your husband, to a nearby resort you've never been.

* Go for a hike, to the beach, or some other place that you can spend time together in God's creation
* Buy yourself something frivolous, something a "mom" would never indulge in.
* Celebrate with someone you know you has lost their daughter or mother. Remember, Mother's Day can be difficult for those who have lost their mother.

* Plan a Mother's Day Brunch for the women in your family
*Take single carnations to the local hospital, to share with women there who may not have anyone to celebrate with.

One lesson I've learned time and again, is that in my life, my own pain becomes less when I reach out in service to others, or take time to care for myself. On this Mother's Day, my prayer is that you celebrate the beautiful spring day that the lord had made, rejoicing in the blessings He has provided.

there is a little prayer at the end too...

Dear Lord,
Today I pray for patience, for the timing is yours for our adoption. I pray for wisdom and guidance for what to do and when to do it and for acceptance of the fact you have my adoption all planned out already. I pray for our child and our birthmother. Provide special protection around them. You know where they are and what they need. I trust you and place my fears at your feet. Please provide comfort in my time of waiting.
In His Name, Amen

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Adoption on the Today Show

Well, Mardie's first segment was on the Today Show this morning. I was still sleeping, so I DVRd it so I could watch it later.

The main question Meredith Vieira asked was "is adoption right for you" And the segment was titled "all about adoption"

You can view the video here.

They showed a couple of folks who have adopted, both domestically and internationally. It was a nice little intro, showing lots of different families (and what makes up different families) and a variety of international and domestic adoptions.

Then, Meredith introduced Mardie Caldwell as the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center in California and also author of Adoption: Your Step-By-Step Guide.

They first discussed that you need to get as much information as possible when deciding to adopt. Including, international or domestic, age, race, and to use the internet, the library, talk to folks who have adopted, etc. Basically, do your research to determine if adoption is right for you.

They talked about the difference between domestic and international. Domestic, you have more information about the birthmother, no travel, possibly a newborn. More control over your adoption, and get history. Pluses for international- usually its a sure thing, you can adopt more than one at a time, some travel, opportunity to specify sex. She did caution that if you are single or over 40, sometimes you will face difficulties, especially in international adoption. But that international adoption is always changing.

Meredith then asked about the cost, and the wait. Those are typically the first couple questions that a potential adoptive parent is going to ask. Mardie said good news and bad news- domestic is typically $14,000/$15,000 to $30,000 and internationally it's $10,000 to $40,000. And she stressed that there is a tax credit (up to $10,000), and more and more now companies are offering adoption benefits (though I know it's not always the case- many companies still do not offer adoption benefits). As for the wait, Mardie said generally it is 9 months to two years for either domestic or international. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and some are quicker than others, while some take longer (my friends who are adopting from China can attest to that).

They talked next about medical fears for those adopting internationally. There are doctors who specialize in international adoptions, and can tell if there are any medical issues with a child. They will translate records, help you to learn what to expect etc.

Then, they talked about the red flags to watch out for when looking into adoption. They are: be careful of anyone who doesn't have a contract when working with them (international or domestic), if anything sounds to good to be true, check it out, check out references, check with the BBB, attorney general offices, be cautious of anyone asking for money up front.

All in all, it was a very good primer for those who are interested in looking into adoption.

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Today Show- "I want a baby"

The Today Show on NBC is running a weeklong segment called "I want a baby...."

Today's show was on "understanding infertility". It gave an overview of infertility, and talked with a reproductive endocrinologist who recommended when you ought to start seeing help for infertility.

Later this week, they will be talking about adoption. The founder of Lifetime, Mardie Caldwell is going to be on the show. I got this email today:

Dear Elizabeth,

I'm writing to let you know about an exciting event happening this week. Award-winning author Mardie Caldwell is scheduled to appear live on NBC's 'The Today Show' on May 9.

Caldwell will be discussing adoption as part of a feature this week about different ways to build your family. She will be sharing some important upcoming changes to various adoption opportunities.

Check your local listings for exact times and be sure to set your TiVo so you won't miss this information!

The Staff @ American Carriage House Publishing

I'll be watching, it will be interesting to see what she has to say.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Our check in call and a quick vacation

Sorry the post is a bit late, we had our check in call on Monday night, then left the next day for a mini-vacation.

The call went ok. Typical stuff- don't need any new profiles, no news to report, etc. It was good to talk to her, but it was basically almost the same stuff.

We did learn one very interesting and very important thing that we need to correct. Apparently our home study (bringing back the homestudy issues (and more issues) we had with the homestudy lady again) does not reflect our preferences enough, and could limit us if some particular type situations came up if they are out of state. Apparently if they come up in Texas, it's a bit different since we won't need our home study immediately for the ICPC . But if they are out of state, we could run into some problems. We've tried emailing the homestudy lady again (according to our Lifetime coordinator, it's pretty normal to make adjustments periodically with the home study), but as usual, she is not responding to our emails or phone calls. And still hasn't made the adjustments we asked her to do a while ago. So frustrating.

So, we are going to contact our wonderful adoption lawyer and ask for some recommendations for someone to do a home study for us. He said we'd need to do another anyway most likely, using a home study person from our county. So, we figure we'll just go ahead and see about redoing it. How frustrating though.

We will still be considered for insta matches- we are just limited a bit and would have some issues if a few particular situations came up that we technically are not home study approved for.

We had a nice little vacation, a much needed get away. We flew out early Tuesday to San Francisco, and rode the trolley cars, went to Fisherman's Wharf and walked down the side of Lombard Street.

We got up Wednesday morning, and boarded the Golden Princess for a trip from San Francisco to Vancouver. It was SO neat to go under the Golden Gate Bridge on a cruise ship. We arrived in Vancouver on Friday morning. We literally got off the ship, then waited in line at the Port of Vancouver to get in line and board the Norwegian Star for a quick trip to Seattle. We got off the ship, walked around a little bit. That's one more state to mark off my list of states to visit (now, I only have North Dakota, Montana and Alaska!) Then, we caught a taxi to the airport and flew home. We enjoyed it a lot. It was my fourth cruise on Princess and Mike's third, but the first for both on Norwegian. It was an interesting experience. Anyway, we are glad to be home, and are relaxing, doing laundry, and basically trying to catch up.

We'll call in tomorrow or Tuesday to see what we can find out about a new home study. Ugh, how frustrating!