Considering Adoption (Updated 1/2/12 and again 1/5/12))

UPDATE 1/5/12:  Well that was easy.  Called our foster agency and requested we be put in the que for pre adopt as well as strictly foster placements.  Not even any papers to sign, YES!!  I also had a lovely, informative chat with lam2b2g and will be chatting with some adoptive parents from church in the near future.  (although dh hates to talk to “church folks” about stuff like this because they’re all “oh, just go where God leads you” and he wants FACTS, lol!)

UPDATE 1/2/12:  Hey all!  Thanks so much for your help and feedback!  I am so happy I have friends who I can ask candid questions of and get honest answers.  You all are the best!

So, DH and I started talking a little more seriously about it and he is really gun-shy about the debt involved.  Debt is not something we take lightly at all, and we’re worried that the added money stress might be too much.  Plus, if we did adopt, then I’d probably have to go back to work for a year or two to repay the debt and that is not something we want when we have a new baby.  We definitely haven’t ruled it out yet, but talking about it has helped clarify where we stand.  

Basically, DH is happy with 2 kids and would welcome a third, but he isn’t sure how “far” he wants to go to add to the family.  He wants to call up our foster agency and look into what we need to do to put ourselves in the running for foster-to-adopt, so that’s going to be our next move.  We thought going into fostering that we’d be able to just decide to adopt if we got a child we bonded with who became eligible.  However, I’m seeing that they place kids who are pre-adopt specifically in pre-adopt homes, so we want to look into that process and be more intentional about it.

In the meantime, we’re still gathering info about infant adoption and I’m very excited to chat more privately with some of you fantastic ladies!  

Thanks again for helping us sort through our feelings and priorities.  I will keep you updated on the journey!

I hesitated for a while before posting this diary, because it’s something that we are just in the early stages of thinking about.  But I need a place to sort out my thoughts and get some feedback, so I decided to share with you all here.  I’m going to be very candid because this is a huge decision, and I would love it if you would take the time to share your experiences or thoughts with me!

As many of you know, pregnancy is not something I ever want to do again, but we are pretty sure we’re not “done.”. The plan was always to have 2, then talk about adopting.  So here we are…

Basically, we’re considering infant adoption.  The reason we want to figure this out now is because DD is turning 2 in Feb.  From what I’ve heard, it can take up to 2 years (or more) for infant adoption so we want to start the process soon, if we’re going to do it.  We recently became foster parents and have so far had only 1 placement (a sweet 2 week old premature infant, who we had the privledge of nurturing for 10 amazing days).  We’re definitely going to keep doing foster care, at least until we do get an adoption placement,  and then see what happens after that.  We would probably take at least a few years off while keeping up our certification.  

We would definitely be open to adopting an older child from foster care, but at the same time we are extremely skittish about RAD.  I feel awful putting this in writing, but my main concern is that having a child with RAD would tear our marriage apart, and also leave our children with a burden after we are gone.  I’m being completely honest with you guys here.  Of course, there is nothing to say that a child adopted as an infant won’t come with their own set of issues (even RAD), just as my kids come with their own set of challenges.  We’ve already dealt with DS’s spectrum diagnosis (which was really not a big deal, and his IEP was dropped).  Since I am fighting OCD and DH has struggled in the past with depression, we are vigalant about watching for signs of mental illness in our own kids.  I don’t know what else to say here…I guess I just am looking for some feedback on this from those who have been there.

The other main reasons we are looking into infant adoption are: 1. DH just feels more comfortable with that route.  He’s a very hands on dad, and it still took him about 6 months to bond with each of our kids.  He wants to have that infant time where you methodically feed, rock, and change diapers, to form a bond with another child.  And 2. I just really love infants.  I love everything about it.  The sleepless nights spent gazing at your baby, the explosive diapers, the pacifiers, the bottles, lugging the diaper bag…all of it.  I just really would like to start there again.  I love bonding with newborns and I’m afraid to miss that because it’s important to both me and DH.

So here’s what we are looking into: adopting (open adoption, probably) an infant, born in the US, most likely a transracial adoption (African American or mixed race).  The reason we want to adopt transracially is, simply, I think we’d be pretty good candidates for it.  We go to a church that is delibirately multi cultural and has many families of mixed race, both from interracial marriage and from transracial adoption.  My son goes to a school where he is one of about 5 white children in a school of 500.  We live in a fairly large city and we have no plans to move to a predominantly white suburb.  Of course we have much to learn, but I think we’re up for it.

Now on to the cons of infant adoption.

  1.  The cost.  From what I can figure, we’re talking at LEAST $20,000.  We are starting from nothing.  And we have a couple projects on the house we want to do so we can move to a bigger house, eventually.  I can go back to work part time when DD turns 3 and goes to school, if we’re still able to use Head Start (budget cuts in our state mean we may no longer qualify.  And I won’t make enough to afford day care).  Or I can try to get a nanny gig for next year.  We don’t believe in debt, althought this is something I would be willing to borrow for and then pay off in a year.  But, if I may be candid, how in the world did those of you who adopted manage to afford it?  
  1.  The agencies.  I’ve started looking into it, and I’m so disappointed to read reviews of agency after agency saying how horribly they treat the birth mothers.  I’m disgusted that so many agencies are shady.  I’m disgusted that so many birth mothers are promised services and counseling and end up with nothing.  I’ve started asking around at church, since we have a large population of adoptive families, so I’ve got some leads as far as agencies.  But I want to be really, really careful to find an honest one and truthfully I don’t know if there are any.  
  1.  The situation itself.  I just hate that there are situations in which birth mothers feel forced to give up their children, specifically financial situation.  I understand that there are some teenage mothers who want to live their teen years and finish their education without the responsibilites of motherhood, and I applaud that.  I do believe in open adoption.  But I’ve read that a majority of mothers who place their babies for adoption in the US already have children and are placing their child because they can’t afford to raise any more kids.  And that just sucks.  I don’t believe in abortion, so of course I do support any mother who chooses adoption.  I just hate that money and domestic abuse have to be the reason for it.  That’s just my general view of the world today and the country we live in.  I don’t know how to square all that with my desire to adopt.
  1.  Feeling selfish.  Plain and simple, pregnancy and me don’t mix.  But does that mean I should be done with kids, or should I “allow” myself to want another baby?  Someone else’s child?  Is that fair?
  1.  I  don’t know if we can stomach the process.  The endless paperwork.  The potential of thinking you are going home with a baby and then at the last minute have the birth mother decide not to place the baby.  It just all seems really gruelling.



Can we talk infertility? (update 11/16)

If you want to, of course; I’m not going to make anyone …

I know it’s a sensitive and multidimensional subject, but I’d love some support from the Mommy Friends Who Live in My Computer.

I’ve known for probably 8 years or so that I probably had PCOS, although since I was already on extended-term birth control (Seasonale) there wasn’t any reason to do anything about it until we wanted to have a baby.

Expat had been certain that my cycles would magically be regular after being on the Pill for 10+ years, why he thought this I’m not certain; but for the first 2 cycles, it seemed like he was right. Each of them was exactly what my rare “normal” cycles had been before that. Then the 3rd was half again as long, and the fourth went to 87 days by the time I finally went through Provera-induced bleeding. (by the way, Provera? Two thumbs way up. Totally a candidate for post-baby BC.)

Backtracking a wee bit, by some miracle we actually have a very highly ranked fertility center here and my insurance actually covers it, and so it was relatively simple to find an RE and he’s awesome. Very matter of fact. I like matter-of-fact doctors who treat me like a rational, intelligent human being. So we did the Provera, and a ton of bloodwork for me and an analysis for Expat (as I said on a thread yesterday, said analysis reveals that my PCOS is likely the only reason we don’t have a whole baseball team already–which is good, as he’s had his own issues that were cause for concern; but you rarely hear the nurse who calls with your test results sound impressed). Then round 1 of Clomid (50mg). Unfortunately that went over like a lead balloon, per my ultrasound yesterday (well, the follicles grew, but not enough). The good news is that everything else looks stellar, so if I can still be made to ovulate this month, then everything looks good for a healthy pregnancy without further intervention like Prometrium or Metformin. They do want me on Levothyroxine because while my TSH levels are normal, they like to see them lower than mine are while trying to conceive and during pregnancy. Since hypothyroidism runs in my family, I’m neither surprised nor concerned.

Anyway, since all systems are otherwise “go,” as a last-ditch attempt to save this cycle, I’m going to be on 100mg of Clomid for 5 more days, with the hope that will do the trick to make the follicles grow enough to release, then I have an appointment for another ultrasound and (hopefully) HCG injection on Wednesday.

All in all, I’m mostly okay. Actually, I’m starting to feel like there’s something wrong with me because I don’t feel like there’s something wrong with me [other than physically, I mean]. I mean, I’m irritated, I want to get on with the pregnancy and having a baby (as I said to the nurse, if I could skip ahead to the part where I get to hold the baby, that would be great) but I have this idea that someone going through this should be feeling like there’s something fundamentally broken in her [my] worthiness as a human being and, uh, no. This is bothering me less than, for example, not knowing if I’ll be moving across country this winter or not (because with the baby, there are concrete “we do X, then Y, then X again,” steps I can control) or my tendinitis flaring up (because man, I need my hands right now more than I need a baby!). I guess it’s like the conversation we were having yesterday about miscarriages.

I am starting to get irritated with Expat, though, who alternately treats this like something that’s no concern of his and I should handle it all on my own, and wants to discuss it in great detail … in front of his father. Also, I did have to point out that while I wasn’t enjoying having to do the more, ah, active bits on a schedule with his father in the next room, it is still not polite to tell your sexual partner that the sex you just had was bad.

One last thing. GiGi asked me, if I want to skip ahead to the holding-the-baby part, why not adopt? It’s a good question and it never hurts to examine one’s motivations. It’s definitely on the table and we will if it comes to that.

The primary motivation is that even with the issues we’re having, the natural way seems more straightforward and predictable, and therefore less heartbreaking. So far. I guess I trust science more than people. Of course I realize there are no guarantees, but my point is that for most people, the average adoption process seems to use up more emotional energy ( not to mention money and time off work ) than the average pregnancy; and I would really rather stack the deck in favor of going into motherhood with my reserves of all of those things as full as possible.

Secondary motivation is that, in the whole nature/nurture debate, I think it’s fair to say that any child we have would get equal nurture, but nature matters as well, and the “nature” bit is more likely to be more similar to me and Expat with a biological child. And I think I would be a better parent to a child whose nature was more like ours so, again, stacking the deck more in favor of that.

Also? I want twins. Ideally girls. And yes, I’ve picked out names. (Well, what else can I do? It’s the only task I can realistically accomplish right now. I can’t even start mentally decorating the nursery, since we’re planning to move!)

Update, November 16: So apparently I’m unusually resistant and we’re giving up on this cycle. Next month they’re going to try the max dose of Clomid (150mg on days 5-9 followed by 200 mg on days 17-21) and then injections if that doesn’t work. I actually was feeling hopeful about this month based on my temperature charts, I was on track (based on body temps … well and also on the ovulation monitor I’m not supposed to be using, but I figured I already had it so why not) to ovulate about day 24-25, which is pretty much what happens for me in my (rare) normal cycles. I wonder if it’s worth asking about putting off the Provera for another few days to see if that happens.


Being Abbey’s Mom (updated)

Update:  Thank you all for the virtual hugs and messages of support.  For those of you who wish you could do more, please know that you are already doing so much.  Mental health problems have so much stigma attached and RAD is a particularly unknown and misunderstood diagnosis, so having a place where people believe and support parents IS a big deal.  I have come across other parents who have lost friends, church relationships and have even been estranged from their own families while dealing with their RAD child.  Being able to talk openly, honestly and without judgment is a huge gift and speaks volumes about this place.  

In my office, I have one of those memo board things with photos and other do-dads on it.  One of the photos I have is from our adoption day party – the day the kids were baptized and we celebrated our family with our community.  It was a beautiful day in late May.  Sunny and warm.  The church was full for the baptism.  Tears were shed.  After the service, we moved outside into the picnic shelter.  As the adults ate and visited, kids ran all over the place.  It was a truly joyous day.  Toward the end of the day, my good friend Stephanie gathered us for photos.  

It is one of those photos that I look at every day at work.  Dan and I and the kids are gathered at our swingset.  Bill has his mischevious grin, Dan and I are glowing.  Abbey is not smiling.  In fact, she’s not smiling in any of the pictures taken that day.

In hindsight, perhaps that was a sign of things to come.

Many of you Mother Talkers have been with us through this whole journey.  I knew some of you long before the kids even came into our lives.  Some of you were there as we made the transition to being foster parents.  You heard about the challenges we had as we navigated birth family relationships, behavioral challenges and even when my husband was quarantined the day before the formal adoption.  You’ve supported us as we’ve had to hospitalize Abbey not once or twice, but five times since last spring.  

After Abbey’s last hospitalization in January, we were able to arrange for her to receive an intensive, 30 day evaluation.  This facility is well known for doing quality work and came recommended by our former social worker.  We made plans to travel the 6 hours to the opposite corner of the state to deliver her to them, with the hope of getting some answers.  We have participated in conference calls with their therapists, case managers and neuropsychologist to provide them with additional information.  Next week, they are “staffing” her, which means they will share the results with her, us and our county social worker, along with their treatment recommendations.

We got an advance of some of the information this week – Reactive Attachment Disorder and Borderline Personality Traits.  They are recommending therapy but also that Abbey live in a group home while doing the treatment, as she cannot (or will not) live safely and appropriately in our home.

Neither of those diagnoses were a surprise to us, we’ve been tossing them back and forth between ourselves and various professionals over time.  I had mixed feelings when I saw it.  On the one hand, it validated some of the hell we’ve lived through the past 3 1/2 years, helped us feel like it wasn’t us, that we weren’t crazy.  On the other hand, as a therapist, I know that these diagnoses mean and I am filled with sadness for what lies ahead for my daughter and for us as her parents.  

It’s hard to put into words the feelings that go along with raising a child who has no connection to you.  My husband put it best after talking Abbey on the phone on Sunday night, “It’s like talking to a stranger – kind of uncomfortable, kind of awkward, like you don’t know this person”.   It really does feel like there is this stranger living in my home.  After several years of having her reject my parenting, I feel beat down and distant.  It is nearly impossible to feel close to someone who won’t let you get close – RAD parents often describe this as “loving a porcupine” and it really sums it up quite well.  The very love my child needs to heal is what she most strongly rejects.

We spent a lot of time fooling ourselves into thinking that things were getting better, that she was attaching, that with time it would get better.  Yet now as I look back, I see the signs were all there.  From not smiling in pictures to the times she said she didn’t want to be adopted to the constant lying and sneakiness.  The ways she tried to triangulate my own parents by making up stories about how poorly we treated her or when she told my sister that she wished she could live with her, instead of me.  The ways she would act out every time we tried to do something as a family.  All pointing us to the conclusion that we didn’t to see.

We have kept on loving but are honestly at odds for how much longer we can hang in there.  It is a low moment when you pray for a residential recommendation for your child.  We have all paid such a price and have seen so much of our lives change, so much of ourselves change.  There is not an aspect of life that is not impacted by the chaos that our daughter brought to our family.  We find ourselves having to decide where the line is – how far do we go to “save” one child.  

The most recent recommendation for services include having placed Abbey out of the home.  To do this, we will need to petition the court.  I am saddened by how easy this has been for me to accept.  Every time I talk on the phone to my child, I realize what a stranger she is, how little she wants to be part of the family, how little she is able to accept a family.  In the time that she’s been gone, we’ve had the space to breathe, the space to discover who we are, the space to discover just how much fun our son is.  

On Monday, I got a letter from Abbey.  I saw the envelope and for a moment thought that maybe we were turning a corner – this was the first mail I had from her since she was out of the house.  Sadly the envelope contained letters for others – ones she hoped I’d pass along, without any kind of note or request from her, just letters addressed to other people.  I tried to talk about this with her when she called that night, tried to let her know how hurtful it was, how it bothered me that she only called to ask us for things and how I felt like nothing but a checkbook to her.  She didn’t say much other than “I grew out of all my jeans and now I’m afraid you won’t get me any”.  

This isn’t what anyone expects when they enter into parenting.  Even adoptive parenting, which we know comes with this risk.  I have seen other families in this very same spot yet feel completely unprepared for what comes next.  

I don’t know that Abbey will ever live with us again.  I don’t know how to talk about her in social circles.  I’m still her mother, always will be her mother, but don’t have any clue how to navigate what comes next.  Therapy is helping me deal with the anger, the sadness and the grief but there’s still so much unknown out there.  There’s still so much I don’t yet understand.  


Tuesday Open Thread

Happy Tuesday everyone!

A proposed bill would allow women in the throes of difficult pregnancies to park just about anywhere in New York City, including “No Parking” zones.

I tend to agree with this Jezebel writer, who argues that primo parking doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things.

While granting pregnant women some form of courtesy while they’re in physical pain seems like a decent thing for human beings to do for one another, offering free parking hardly begins to address the unjust way we treat pregnant women in this country, from workplace discrimination to measly maternity leave to the astronomical cost of childcare. Sonia Ossorio of the National Organization for Women sums it up nicely: “I don’t want to see a short-term privilege like easy parking … create an environment that further stigmatizes pregnancy.”

What say you?

In other news, an adoption agency has sued a Tennessee woman for child support after she sent the child she adopted back to this home country of Russia, unaccompanied on a plane.

Torry Hansen, who had been living in Shelbyville, sent the 8-year-old boy on a plane to Moscow by himself last April with a note saying that she didn’t want to be his mother anymore because the child had psychological problems. The incident created an international uproar.

According to documents obtained by the Shelbyville Times-Gazette, Hansen’s attorney filed a motion to dismiss child support claims made by Hansen’s adoption agency, World Association for Children and Parents, in juvenile court in Shelbyville.

The newspaper reported on Thursday that Russian authorities want Hansen to pay about $2,500 a month to care for the child, who is living in an orphanage.

Such a sad situation. Do you think the once-adoptive mom should shoulder financial responsibility?

Lastly, are you planning to watch the State of the Union tonight? Here’s a handy dandy guide to the promises President Obama has kept– and broken— since last year’s SOTU. I must say, I was pretty impressed.

What’s everyone up to? Chat away!


First visit – c’est fini…

Whew – what a week!  I want to thank you all for your amazing words of happiness and support.  It was such a whirlwind time, I don’t think I’ve recovered yet.  TJ was here for five days, the next day my birthmother came out for a 24-hour visit from Houston, I took her back to the airport and flew to LA for the day and now I’m back in Portland.

The visit with TJ was fantastic… I have to say, not hanging out with 24 year-old guy very often (and not having an iphone myself) I was not accustomed to the non-stop texting kind of things kids do today, but other than that – perfect!  I just got back from LA at 1am last night, so I’m a little pooped (came across a murder crime scene while I was there- VERY gruesome to actually see in person) but will write more later.  Not sure if I shared this photo, but this is my FAVORITE photo of TJ and I!  (if you can see the comments, notice the shitty final comment by spermdonor – sadly, no one’s contested it!  haha)

I received a few more whining emails from bio dad blaming me for not giving him this chance to see TJ, but I politely told him that he has been in personal contact with TJ for four years and that I don’t want to, nor should I be, involved in their personal relationship.…

I wasn’t emotional during the visit, but when I was driving up to the airport, I just started to get teary.  We were walking up the concourse to security and I just started crying.  I stopped, hugged him and said “When I held you when you were a baby, I told you not to worry, that I would find you and I am so glad I met you, you are such a great guy”.  I then said I just was going to let him go through security because I didn’t want to have him watch me blubber for the next 30 min…  and we had a quick hug and that was that.

he emailed me to say he’d had a nice time, it was great to meet everyone so I guess this just starts the next phase.  We talked about meeting and going to Seattle next year when Patrice (hopefully) comes.  But honestly, if I died today (not beaten to death and tied up in the back of a limo, like the body I saw yesterday, of course) but if I died today, I would die a happy woman!  :)


Thursday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Brain, Child magazine ran a depressing story about nightmare adoption stories. These stories centered around children who had reactive detachment disorder (RAD), were psychotic and had to be institutionalized. One perspective of the story I have not read anywhere else were those of the adoptive families who were put in this impossible situation. They were racked by guilt and grief. What a tragedy.

In somewhat related news, the New York Times ran a column on how even the best biological parents can plant a “bad seed.” The children in the article wigged me out. For unexplainable reasons, they exhibited anti-social, mean and toxic behavior like refusing to return their gravely ill mother’s phone call. The doctors had no explanation for this behavior, as the siblings of the “bad seed” — their term — were well-adjusted. Do not read this or the Brain, Child article unless you are a masochist like me.

The Washington Post ran a story dispelling all the statements by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer on beheaded bodies found along the border as well as the notion that most undocumented immigrants are drug mules. As reporter Dana Milbank blankly stated, Arizona’s anti-illegal immigrant law is based on a “fallacy.”

In somewhat related news, the NAACP has condemned the racist elements of the Tea Party. The Tea Party insists it isn’t racist, yet the Iowa Tea Party ran this billboard. Lovely.

In ghetto news: Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are engaged. The kicker: they chose to tell mama Palin in US Weekly. Don’t these kids have media consultants?

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?


First meeting – days two/three

I’m not sure if this is how the diary function is supposed to be used (me just blathering on every day), but since I’m not posting any of this stuff publicly (Facebook, etc) it’s nice to tell you guys!!   Funny, you guys are getting before my family!  :)

First, I would like to say THANKS so much you guys for your words of support for DH sperm donor (DICK HEAD, not dear husband…)  ! I felt 1000% better over all of that… I just cannot STAND this guy… I saw on Monday he posted on TJ’s wall that with “TJ’s approval he would fly up to Portland” or would just get together the next time TJ and I got together… ugh… that’s not going to happen and if there are ANY surprise visits at our picnic tomorrow, I will not be pleased. Poor TJ – I just feel like he’s just stuck in the middle.

I saw that quote tonight and was able to broach the subject a little like this: We talked about doing a quick trip to Seattle tomorrow because Tj said he wanted to go there since he was a kid. However, we have this picnic tomorrow at 6pm (he’s meeting his cousins on Wes’ side as well as lots of my friends and family). We decided going to Seattle would be too much, so he said we could do it on another visit. I said, “You know Wes lives in the Bay Area – it would be great if you got to go there, too. San Francisco is a great city. I know there’s so much we want to do and there are so many people that want to see you, but I can be on a plane any time and of course there are planes to Austin, San Fran, etc”… just to let him know I support him seeing Wes (which of course I do!) but there is plenty of TJ to go around and plenty of time to do it. I am just APPALLED at Wes’ assumption that he needs to be included in my family plans. Anyhoo… fortunately that stress is over.

On Tuesday we drove to the Oregon Coast, starting at Lincoln City, driving down to Reedsport, cutting over to Roseburg then heading down to Medford – it was a LONG day of driving and we were pretty tired but we stopped at a cool lighthouse/nature area (Yaquina Bay, I think it was), then Sea Lion Caves. We ate lunch at Mo’s seafood, which is well-known in Oregon (even if it is a little overrated), and he bought a t-shirt.

TJ really seems to be having a great time (it was a little boring today) we just hung out with a friend of mine in Medford and then drove the 4.5 hours back to Portland, stopping at my childhood favorite Rice Hill for ice cream. On the way up, he plugged his iPod into the car connector and played DJ, picking out lots of great 70’s rock and we listened and talked about music, etc.

Here is a link with some updated photos (this photo link is totally private – it’s not public even to my friends on facebook)…

We got to our hotel in Portland (we’re at the Jupiter, for anyone who knows the area). We walked across the Burnside Bridge to Voodoo Doughnut to get a Maple Blazer Blunt, then looked at going to a club to see My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult and Lords of Acid – (I would have LOVED to have seen them but they weren’t TJ’s thing) so we walked around a little more, popped into a couple of bars to see a song or two by a couple bands, then headed back to the hotel.

Tomorrow we are going to go on an Underground Tour of Portland, a ride on our new sky tram dealy, then the picnic. Friday’s his last day.

sorry for the travelogue update, but there’s just so much to share!!


First meeting!!

Hi everyone…

Well… it has been FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He’s nice, talkative, handsome, just a good guy… I want to post some photos but make them private… tell me if you can see this link….…

The only crappy part is that his birthdad (who lives in California) found out through TJ’s facebook posts that he was coming to see me, then that we are having a small picnic on Thursday and inviting TJ’s cousins who live in Portland (and whom is is friends with through FB).

I got this email from his birthdad… remember, I have only spoken to him maybe 10 times in over 20 years… it’s not like we have a friendship.

**I just wanted to send a warm thank you for completely excluding me from the festivities with TJ this week. You’re even more selfish and thoughtless than I remember. And when you decide to hurt someone, you don’t hold back at all. I hope you have a wonderful time. **

He then posted something on TJ’s Facebook about how “it’s too bad she didn’t let me know you were coming to visit, we could all have gotten together” and now TJ feels bad… this has dampened my spirit just a little because it involves TJ and I feel like the “bad guy” but I explained to TJ that, while his dad was a great boyfriend way back when, we are in very limited contact and I am not looking for a reunion in that area. TJ has had Wes’ contact info for four years, they are in contact together adn I feel that they can set up their own get-together, just like I did with my birthdad… anyway… not going to let that bother me anymore that it has and just enjoy our time…

all that aside – IT”S FANTASTIC!!!!!!  I can’t believe this came together so well!

I’ll post more later… we’re off to drive the Oregon Coast now,



More CA Moms Surrendering Babies

When I first read this story about an increasing number of California moms surrendering their babies at the hospital because they can’t afford them, I thought how sad. Then I was grateful that our state had a law in place that allowed these women to surrender their babies safely and anonymously.

I was appalled at the judgmental comments sprinkled throughout the story, which appeared on

“I can’t imagine,“ said Karla Chavez, a Lodi resident.

Chavez is the exact same age as the mother who surrendered her newborn. She’s also the mother of four.

“I think we are grown ups and we need to be responsible for what we do,” Chavez said.

Like Chavez, many people in the community struggle with the concept of surrendering a child….

“That sounds like an easy way out to me,” said Tom Saco, a Lodi resident. “It’s better than abortion, I guess.”

What I think is worse for the child is how the public second-guesses a mother’s decision, including the right to place her baby for adoption, which last time I checked, was legal. I am glad that poor woman’s name was not published in the article, and I hope she doesn’t read the articles online. Who wants to hear such judgmental spew during such a difficult time?

Here is more on the law:

Under the law, a parent may surrender a baby at any hospital or safe-haven location, which are clearly marked with a sign portraying a hand holding a baby inside of a house. Fire stations serve as safe havens.

The number of babies surrendered under California’s law has been increasing since it took effect in 2001.

That first year, only two women surrendered their babies. Last year, 52 women did. In the first quarter of this year, 16 women have surrendered a newborn. At that rate, the number of women utilizing the law will surpass any other year.

“It’s so sad that that can happen,” Chavez said.

It is sad, and I do believe it is emblematic of the way we treat (poor) mothers and children in this country that they can’t afford to live. Matters are made worse when we deem women unfit to make reproductive choices for themselves, or we ridicule them for doing what they think is best for their families.

But at least this law is keeping those babies safe. Let’s mind our own parenting, shall we?


Our Parenting Adventure Begins!

I shared with y’all in yesterday’s (Sunday’s) open thread that my DH and I are going to be parents in January, along with the rest of the world. Word has been trickling out since this crazy journey began, but we didn’t want to tell the entire world until I had a chance to tell the congregation.

A few weeks ago, a young woman we both know called and asked me if we knew anyone in the church who was considering adoption. She was unexpectedly pregnant, was not ready to parent, and was getting pressure from quarters to either parent to terminate the pregnancy. She didn’t want to do either, and was reaching out for a lifeline. Because of my work with a family-planning organization and with a church, she also knew I’d have contacts for whatever decision she wanted to make.

Fortunately, the affiliate of the organization for which I work part-time (I try not to name it in posts for lots of reasons, but mostly because I’m not speaking on their behalf….nonetheless, I am sure you can guess what the organization is) has a partnership with an adoption agency, so I got this young woman their number and said I’d get back to her if I knew anyone in the church who was thinking about adoption.

Immediately I was thinking that DH and I might be interested, but I did not want to share that right away. I hadn’t spoken to him yet, and I also wanted to take my time processing what might just be a desire to help/rescue this young woman. We caretaker/rescuer-types need to be pretty vigilant about not falling into that trap.

I got home and began to talk to DH about this possibility. We both had lots of questions – for ourselves, for each other, for the birthmom. But it didn’t take long for us for be seriously considering the possibility. Added to the mix is the fact that we were awaiting information on a recent sperm analysis taken by DH, which he’d taken a few weeks prior. We were jumping the gun a little on this front, but I will be 34 next month and we know we want more than one child. If more than one is going to be biological, well, the clock is beginning to tick some.

We have talked about adoption in the past and knew we were definitely open to it in the abstract. We know we are called to parenthood, and while we’d love to have biological children, we know that’s not the only way to create a family. We’ve also considered that we’d like a more-or-less-open adoption and would like to have our child have a relationship with his or her birthparents (to the extent that the birthparents wanted that relationship, of course).

Once the two of us decided that we were ready to tell her our decision, I called one of my dear friends to explain the situation and to ask her opinion on my motives. One of my challenges as a caretaker/rescuer is, well, rescuing people from situations and tending to their needs rather than my own. And as much as I love DH, sometimes he doesn’t get that – he is well-differentiated. My friend and I talked for a long time and she said it was very clear that I wasn’t rescuing. “Also,” she said, “babies need parents. So filling that need isn’t inappropriate.” Ah, right.

So we called the birthmom and told her that indeed, there was a couple in the church interested …. and it was us. “Really?!?!” she said. “Oh, that would be perfect!” The three of us had been in a show recently and we got along very well; still, it’s one thing to be in a show with someone, and another thing altogether to enter into this sort of relationship! We explained our situation, she asked some questions, and we resolved to go forward.

Her questions made good sense. One of the questions we all had included: What happens if we get pregnant during her pregnancy? DH and I thought it was a no-brainer: we’d raise both kids. We know people with twins so we are not blind to the challenges this may raise. We also know several people who have been adopted, and who have adopted (and a few who fall into both categories), including more than one transracial adoption, so we also aren’t naive about the promises and perils of adoption.

After we had agreed to proceed, we learned that DH has “sperm agglutination,” so we would probably have to do IUI (or IVF) for a biological pregnancy. While we’re not ruling it out for the future, we have come to believe that this whole situation is providential and we choose to see the hand of God in this situation. We could not have written it any better, and we feel extremely fortunate. We weren’t even to the place of seriously considering adoption in a concrete sense yet – so to have this happen feels extremely wonderful to us!

As I mentioned in the open thread, the birthmom is only 9 weeks along, but we elected to share this news for a number of reasons. First, I am going on sabbatical for 3 months in a couple of weeks and there was no way we were going to keep this from so many people for that length of time. It would mean not sharing this with friends not in the church, asking people to keep this huge, wonderful news confidential for months at a time …. um, no. (We also chose to share a couple of weeks before the sabbatical so that people have a little time to process before I leave.) Second, the news is out about her pregnancy (and adoption) in the neighboring community where the birthmom lives, and it is only a matter of time until the news comes out here. Third, well, we just wanted to share with folk!

The birthmom is pretty firm in her decision to place her baby for adoption, and we’re delighted to be parents at the end of January!! The birthfather is not in the picture, but we know who he is and he has, at this point, agreed that adoption is best. We do know that it is extremely early in the pregnancy and there’s a lot of things that may change between now and the end of January. But we’re moving forward in faith and in joy nonetheless.

Perhaps the best part of this was when I was in Chicago a couple of weeks ago and got a text message from the birthmom….with a picture of her first ultrasound! She also sent it to DH, and we were just in awe of everything. The birthmom said she’d make sure she got extra copies of future ultrasounds and she’s invited us to appointments and the delivery. (I told her DH would be in the waiting room even if it was me in labor, but I’d be honored to be wherever she’d want me – in the room with her; holding her mom’s hand; in the waiting room; getting coffee….)

Sooooo, that’s our story so far. I’d love thoughts, reflections, feedback, advice, all the good stuff as we navigate this process. I’d also covet your prayers/good thoughts/positive energy for us AND for the birthparents. It’s going to be wonderful but we are not under any illusion that it will be easy all the time.