Wednesday, March 27, 2013

An exciting day ... hopefully

Today is the day. Not the day, but another day. Today I see two more orthopedics for my shoulder, and the day we actually go in with an idea of the problem. Needless to say, I'm just a little excited. Well, maybe a lot.

If they've actually got it right this time, that means we can fix it. If we can fix it, it means I'll actually be able to hold our kids while they grow up while I'm doing more than sitting on the couch or the floor, because I won't have to worry about my shoulder giving way! For someone like me who has had to hold my Godson like this for the past eight months, this is crazy super exciting!!

I can' tell you how much I'm looking forward to carrying car seats, lifting Baby in and out of the tub and their bed. How much just the simple act of carrying baby into the kitchen to make a bottle seems like an amazing feat right now, and that the idea that maybe one of these two doctors today will be able to fix it before Baby gets here makes me jump straight out of my skin. In a good way, obviously.

Wish me luck!

On a side note, we've got sprouts! More sprouts seemed to have just appeared over night and I'm so excited to show you pictures - I'm trying to hold off though until they're actually peeping through the dirt a bit more than just the very itty bitty rounded tops. But man, we've got sprouts! SPROUTS I tell ya!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Bigger Plans

We all grew up hearing our parents and our older siblings tell us "life's not fair", or sometimes even "shit happens" in response to our complaints that something hasn't gone our way. I find that I reminding myself of that a lot these days. Some of our seedlings died and I'm not completely sure why, though I have my suspicions. We've tried super hard to have biological children for almost two years, and I've found in the past three days two more people have found themselves faced with their own happy surprises.

Life isn't fair. Shit does happen.

Don't get me wrong, I realize I have a lot of things to be grateful for in this life, and I am. I really and truly am. I've got parents and siblings who have always been there for me and supported me. I've got a husband who worships the ground I walk on and tells me every day how much he loves me. I've got four snuggly fur-babies that show me every day how much they love and need me. I've got friends in my corner cheering me on through every hurdle I experience. I've got a wonderful home, food in my fridge.

What more could I ask for with these two on the couch with me?

It's times like these when I struggle that I rely most on my friends and family to remind me to trust in His plans for myself and Adam. Today, I have to thank Chelsea for reminding me of that. She reminded me of Psalm 91:1
"You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend your nights in the shelter of Shaddai"
In Chelseas words? "Just get in that secret place with him.. and just do that. He will keep you in his shadow ..and can't nothin get to you there!!!
I need to remind myself that sometimes the Big Man upstairs has bigger plans for us than the ones we have for ourselves. I think I'll be able to keep my sanity through all of this if I can just keep reminding myself of those words. Bigger plans... bigger plans.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Snow Day!

The past few days here have been so nice with it warming up and making me feel like spring is right around the corner. I kept thinking that we'd have our seedling sale in a few weeks, and when we did all of the bulbs I planted in our front garden last fall would be poking through the dirt.(Because, you know, its spring silly.) I can't wait to see how the flowers Adam and I picked out will look against our house. I really hope the people we bought it from didn't have any other bulbs planted there...

But no. Winter is still here no matter what the calendar tells us. Mother Nature slapped me in the face with it this morning when I woke up and took the dogs outside - there was so much snow I couldn't get off my back porch! Needless to say, I will not be going outside to do much of anything today. I had so many plans - the gym, some laundry, maybe taking a walk around our neighborhood and alternating dogs. I was even going to go outside and attempt to replace the boarder bricks the sellers stacked around the garden before they sold us the house last year.

This would be after the plow came by. See the vehicle coming down the street?
Yeah, he didn't make it up our tiny little hill.

I think Adam must silently be thanking the snow. He knows how active I like to stay and how much I really do love being outside. Since I hurt my shoulder at work, he likes to keep an eye on me while I pretend that I'm fully functional and make my feeble attempts to do everything I used to do. I told him last night I think that arthritis is beginning to set into the joint. I've hardly done anything at all the past few days (besides obvious tidying around the house and driving to work where I make every effort to only use my left arm so as not to aggravate the other) and the joint was so swollen and painful last night that I needed help to get dressed for the first time in a very long time. So, can I blame the man if he's at work, thanking God for sending him one more day that he doesn't need to worry about me outside? Not so much I'm thinking.

Thankfully, my pain management doctor thinks that he may have found the answer to the problem as well as a solution. His office got me all set up with an appointment to see two specialists next week. I'm hoping for some answers - I want to garden!!

Speaking of gardening, I think I've just figured out what I'll spend the day doing (as attempting to walk the dogs is no longer an option.). It seems like our garlic has outgrown it's little plastic pots we started it in. Expect to see them planted in something a bit more fun when you find them at the seedling drive!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Moving Forward

I'm sure many people saw the negative comment that was posted on my blog yesterday. I am sorry to say that I let that person affect me more than I should have - my husband pointed out that if they can be so negative and say such hurtful, untrue things in an effort to hinder our hopes and dreams they don't matter and I don't need this.

I deliberately left the comment there so that people can see what some adoptive parents are up against. Not everyone is as supportive as the people are who have been so kind and generous to help us. Not everyone is as welcoming and accepting of our decision as mine and my husband parents are. Adoptive parents face many challenges, some of which come from people who know no better than to lash out at people who are gifted with amazing things as we have been, and some of which come from pure ignorance about the circumstances surrounding one's choice to adopt.

My husband reminded me in the car last night what an ass I was being by letting these people ruin what should be an amazing and fun path in our lives. He told me if people can't be positive and supportive in our lives, then they don't deserve a place in our children's lives either. He reminded me that there can be no room for negativity or comments like the ones left yesterday in our children's lives, because we are going to do our best to make sure we raise happy and healthy kids. If we allow things like what has been going on these past few days to creep into our lives, they will cause great unhappiness in our children's lives, too.

As I watch my Godson run across my living room in his walker, chasing after Magnus and Zoey's tails and eating his Cherry-Vanilla yogurt puffs, my husbands words are cemented in my mind. I realize if he were my son, not my Godson, and this person had said these things around him, I would never allow them in my home again.

So why should I allow this to affect my family now? Aren't Zoey, Magnus, Spyro and Cynder my family? Isn't my husband my family? Shouldn't I keep the negativity away from them too? Shouldn't they be worth the same protection I would offer my child?

Because of this and the comments we have received over the past few weeks, all comments are subject to approval and moderation. Nothing will appear without prior approval. Negativity has no room in my home, my blog, my life.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Audacity of Some People

Last night my husband and I heard disturbing news from people we though were in our corner on this adoption journey. It was really actually very hurtful, and very uninformed.

When we started this journey, we expected to find some negative feedback, but never the kind that we heard last night. We never in our wildest dreams imagined that my disability, my ability or lack thereof to work, or my medical history would be a source of discomfort for people. We never in any of the dark recesses of our imaginations thought we would hear the words "If you can't afford to pay for a child you don't deserve to be parents and shouldn't be allowed. If you [worked harder] you would be able to buy a baby."

Besides setting the not so obvious fallacies of that paragraph straight, first and foremost: ADOPTED CHILDREN ARE NOT BOUGHT CHILDREN!! You do not buy a child. Buying children - buying people - is human trafficking. It is morally and ethically unconscionable, and highly illegal.

That being said, yes. I am "disabled". Yes, I currently work part time and yes I do wish I could contribute more than I currently do to our adoption fund. Unfortunately, being considered a disabled worker not too many places are willing to hire me for a second job, or even for a primary full time job, because the nature of my injury has not yet been fully identified and I am considered a liability on all fronts. Adam has been amazing enough to realize how much pain it causes me to be in this situation and has picked up a second job to cover the slack, and has encouraged me to keep this blog updated and to keep getting our fundraising off the ground. He says that as the future mommy, this aspect of the adoption can be my "job".

When the rest of my medical history got dragged into the fray my husband just about went ballistic. He was told by someone who had no true knowledge, that I was faking my Endo, I was faking my PCOS. That my tendons don't really tear when placed under the strain of excess weight, and the implication was laid bare: I probably just didn't want to get pregnant. If I let go of all of the "excuses" we could keep on trying and it would happen.

I don't think I have ever seen Adam so upset. He watches me struggle on a daily basis. He has been there, on more than one scary occasion, when a tendon has torn and I lose control of a limb, or when the weak tendons in my chest tear and I begin to turn blue because I'm having difficulty breathing. He sees every time the Endo begins to spread and it causes so much pain just to button my pants. He watches me lie in pain every month when a cyst ruptures on an ovary. He stands still in fear when I turn fast and stop because a cyst has twisted around my ovary. He is there at every appointment, waiting in the Ob/Gyn's office praying that I don't come out again saying I am being admitted for emergency surgery in six hours, or my life will be at stake. Every surgery he and my dad sit in the waiting room together, waiting to hear from the doctor about how "close" this one was. That thankfully, I still have all my improperly functioning pieces. He waits and hears the news that had I waited like I wanted to, I would have been a dead woman. Yes, he has heard those words from the surgeon. My cysts swell to the size of large grapefruit and in the process begin to strangle organs, and my husband sits here holding my hand through all of this.

Yet, some people have the audacity to say if I let go of the farce of these diseases, we will have a baby.

On a happier note, it seems like our home study went rather well. The woman loved our home and thought our fur-babies were adorable. She said the necessary paperwork will be completed and filed on their end within the next few weeks. Pretty soon the paperwork will be behind us, and we will just need to start writing out checks for filing fees, agency fees, and attorney fees.

I can't wait to see our baby for the first time, or to hold them in my arms. Just thinking about it makes me cry, in a good way. That day will be the most amazing, it just feels like it will take an eternity to get here. Baby, wherever you are, please just hold on a little longer. Mommy and Daddy are working very hard to come find you.

The Lumineers : Ho Hey

I belong with you, you belong with me 
You're my sweetheart.
I belong with you, you belong with me
You're my sweet. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pass or Fail?

I can't decide if I'm more excited or nervous right now, I just know I feel like I'm going to throw up - our Home Study is tomorrow at two!!

I'm so exited that this is *finally* happening! We're one step closer to finding our child and I'm legit bouncing off the walls. My husband woke me up at five thirty this morning so I could go to the gym, and I passed on going (which, with all of this energy I now regret.). I've pretty much been up since then, only falling back asleep for a very brief section of time. I feel like I've slept for days!

No, I feel like I did in Sophomore year at college when a good friend of mine, Laurissa, and I stayed up for three days straight cramming for finals and making sure our sketchbooks were ready for all of our art finals. On that last day when my dad got to the school to get me, I hadn't slept in more than two hours and was starting to hallucinate big colorful circles spinning around my walls. I had drank so much coffee and double bagged cups of tea, eaten more chocolate covered espresso beans than I care to admit, and one giant (probably close to two pounds) hunk of Godiva chocolate that was swiped from a dessert table the day before at dinner in the dining hall. Man, was I wired!! He got me home and I crashed straight into my bed for the next sixteen hours. All I can remember is my two little sisters taking turns knocking on my door, their soft little voices asking "Chrissy? Are you awake yet? Are you ready to get up? We missed you!" and me telling them I would be up in a "few more minutes".

I feel like that, except the sleepy part. I'm just so freaking excited!

But then, I slow down and try to contain it. Then I get nervous. Is our home good enough? Are we good enough? We know the woman who is coming tomorrow, and she's very friendly and a super nice woman, but does she see flaws in us that she feels like we need to fix first before becoming parents? Will she think our dogs are too hyper active to have a child in our home? Will she like our neighborhood, or decide that the houses are too close together and that our yard is too tiny?

I'm so nervous. I'm so excited. Should I clean some more and get rid of this nervous energy? Maybe I could steam clean the carpet upstairs. I could go clean up the attic and the basement a bit more, I suppose. The dogs nose prints are all over the windows - they are constantly in the windows! Will she see them and think I don't clean? Or will she see them and see that we have good guard dogs who protect our home? Maybe the house is too clean. Maybe she'll think that we won't be able to deal with the messy lifestyle kids come with.

I know worrying will only get me so far, but at this point I just can't help it. It's so close! Just over twenty four hours away now. I know I probably won't sleep tonight, and I'm OK with that. There's enough that I can do to keep myself busy. I just need to keep those fears at bay until our home study falls into our hands like our report cards did back in school. That final note: Pass, or Fail?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pennies from Heaven

My husband and I met a friend for Chinese food today, and as I think back about our conversation from earlier about our Seedling Drive, I find that my fortune cookie is rather appropriate...

"Pennies from Heaven find their way to your doorstep this year!"

This morning my husband and I were talking about how and where to have our Seedling Drive, and I told him that I would like to talk about this to our priest this week. I'm *hoping and praying* that we will be able to have it at the church, and possibly a spaghetti dinner as well. I'm planning to have bucket loads of garlic bulbs, onion bulbs, herbs, and veggies to offer. I've already got twenty four cloves of garlic that have sprouted straight through their little green house roof! Needless to say, my husband doesn't really care where the drive take place, so long as we don't get stuck with tons and tons of seedlings - our tiny little yard just wouldn't be able to handle it!

Now back to the fortune cookie thing - it seems pretty fitting that I would get this fortune, pennies from Heaven, because really, all we are asking for is for people to donate spare change. Maybe what they would have spent at Dunkin Doughnuts or Starbucks on a cup of coffee. If they're feeling super generous, maybe they'd be willing to share with us what they would have spent on pizza and wings for dinner some night. Every time I see a donation pop up on our GoFundMe account it's like a little gift from heaven, a little penny that found it's way into our life so that we're just one step closer to finding our baby. I'm hoping maybe our Church Family will be able to help out, even just by helping us stay organized and functioning at the Seedling Drive and the dinner.

On that note, while the time and location are still TBA, I really hope I can count on everyone to be there, even if it's just to look at my green thumb (or lack there of!). If anyone wants to help out with our drive or wants to pre-volunteer to help at our spaghetti dinner feel free to leave a comment, message me or my husband, email one of us, call us, etc.

Here's some of the garlic sprouting already!!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Funding and Expenses

We've been doing our research and some solid legwork these past few days, but through it all the lack of awareness still amazes me. I don't think, despite my efforts, people truly realize the expense related to adoption. I've heard a lot of comments since we started our journey that question why we're trying to adopt if we "can't afford" to pay the fees. Well, the same logic I guess could be applied to buying a house or a new car. Why bother buying it if you can't afford to pay for it outright? Hmm? Because it's stupid to even think that you could save up enough money to make such a large purchase and pay in cash. Why on earth do people think adoption is any different? A lot of people don't realize that adoption is so expensive that the majority of adoptive families can't do it without fundraisers, donations and grants. It's just possible.

Who has between $1,000 and $5,000 for a home-study to be completed? Or $15,000 for agency fees? Or another $5,000 -10,000 for attorneys fees? Let's not even discuss the thousands of dollars international adoptions require for visas, airfare, lodging and other untold expenses. Who has access to that kind of money?? We sure don't, and I've never heard of a non-celebrity adoptive family being able to do it.

On that note, Adam and I have discussed going through Catholic Charities for our adoption. Information has been requested from them and should arrive in the mail sometime next week. A close friend's brother was adopted, and their parents worked with Catholic Charities years and years ago to find their son. They have told us over and over that they had a wonderful experience and are such big advocates of Catholic Charities, because they help families who don't have access to those thousands of thousands of dollars. They do, or at least did a long time ago, work on a sliding scale to make it more accessible to the average American family.

I found out that they do things a little bit different than most agencies too. Instead of immediately placing a child with the adoptive family, they retain custody of the child for thirty days and then turn over the rights, because in NY, birth parents have a thirty day window to reclaim their rights and Catholic Charities has found that by holding onto the child for this window saves the families a lot of unneeded anxiety. 

Personally, I think this is amazing, and I am completely willing to give up those first few weeks to know that when we find our baby, no one and nothing can ever separate us.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


When you've finally come face to face with a friend or family members decision to adopt, it may be shocking to know, that if we haven't already told you we're infertile we probably don't want to talk about it. Sure, we know you're just trying to help and all, but would YOU want to talk about a bad oven, or maybe that your husband doesn't have Olympic swimmers? No. Of course you don't. No one does. It's one of those things that while it needs to be talked about, unless someone is incredibly open or has a really deep relationship with the person who's asking, it's uncomfortable at best. Painful at worst. It hurts to talk about it.

I can't even describe the pain I feel when someone asks "Why adoption? Have your own." How do I tell someone who is a casual acquaintance or a former co-worker  or whatever, that I can't, because the words most likely to follow are going to be a suggestion to see a specialist. This only leads to more pain, because, well, my infertility isn't something that can be fixed (at least with todays medicine) in a specialists office. Sure, there are gads and gads of medications they could give to me to try and fix the issue, but with my PCOS we run the crazy high risk of my ovaries blowing up like balloons at your kids last birthday party and strangulating. Now what good, I ask, could possibly come from that? A big, fat, nothing. You could say, hey, maybe it's your husband, not you. Sure, hypothetically that could be the issue. But again, suppose it is the case. Doctors STILL need to give me crazy medication to pop out a solid egg that they can surgically retrieve and manipulate his swimmers into. So, gonzo's to that one.

Another thing infertile couples run into more often than you would think, are the seemingly harmless statements of "God, my kids are driving me nuts," "If I knew what I know now, I wouldn't have kids," and the ever loving "Here, take my kid for a while. You'll change your mind." No, no and NO! Stop saying these things people!! Be grateful you can and did have children. You have amazing little miracles that love you to no end. Stop trying to pawn them off on people under the guise of "helping" with their need to care for a child. Stop saying you would undo it if you could. Stop telling us your kids make you crazy. You're complaining to the wrong people! These comments hurt us too, believe it or not. You're reminding us every time you say something like this that you don't want to deal with something we want more than anything and can't have.

I choose to be so open about everything my husband and I are going through, not for the sympathy, but for the awareness that it brings. When we created our GoFundMe account, we realized how much we were asking of people, and knew in our hearts that we would need to be open books when it came to our struggle. I keep writing, and probably upsetting a lot of people along the way, because if I don't, I find nasty comments from people who don't know us, like the comments a very close friend of mine received after he shared our link on a social networking site. Someone informed him that he shouldn't be sharing it because we were probably "scamming" people, and just trying to get "free money" from people. Things like this add so much fuel to fires that infertile couples and adoptive families try daily to extinguish. Adoption is so expensive if you choose not to deal with the constant headaches that foster-adopting offers. We aren't Angelina Jolie or Brad Pitt. We can't afford to just write out a check and tell someone to get everything in order. We have to slog through things, doing things on our own, finding creative ways along the road to raise money for the processing fees associated with adopting. It's hard. It's a full time job. Without the generosity of family and friends, most people would never be able to afford adoption. I know we certainly wouldn't be able to any time in the near future, and probably not anytime within the next decade.

Moral and point of my rant? When you find a couple who has chosen the path of adoption, please, think twice before you open your mouths and try to be helpful and concerned. Just be the supportive friend who asks "What can I do for you?"

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sprouting Buds

Since finding creative ways to come up with enough money for our adoption has become my new baby, it seems only fitting that I spend the morning on my blog with my coffee. What could be better than spending your morning with fresh coffee and your baby? Oh yeah, you could be spending the morning with fresh coffee and your real, cooing baby.

While I was reading comments from adoptive families the other day, I read about a family who came up with all sorts of ways to help fund their adoption. I mean, they pulled out all the stops here. It was incredibly inspiring to me. I've never read a story where a family wanted to adopt and let the cost change their minds. I've determined that I will not be the first.

On this note, my husband and I wanted to start a seedling sale of sorts. All monies would be donations to our adoption fund, and not technically a sale. Since we're asking for people to help us out, we want peoples opinions on what seedlings they would be interested in raising. Flowers? Zinnias? Daisys? Do you want to see bulbs? Or do you want vegetables? Herbs?

Anyone have other fundraising ideas for us? Help me out here! I've got a baby to find!!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Squishing of Bugs

From the moment we decide that we're ready to become parents, a nagging fear of inadequacy begins to bloom somewhere deep in the hidden recesses of our hearts and minds. The fear that we won't be good enough, won't be strong enough, won't be able to provide enough. As if that weren't bad enough, when we start to analyze this fear in an attempt to squash it like the creepy bug it is, we find this other fear. This new fear. A fear that somewhere along the lines we will mess our kids up. That we will somehow damage them beyond repair.

Sometimes I think that people who are able to carry their own children for those first nine months have it a little easier than those of us who struggle for years with infertility treatments or for those who plod slowly down the road to adoption. The people who are fortunate enough to carry their own children only have to wait nine months to figure out a way to squash that creepy little bug called Fear. The rest of us? Well, it's like a longer pregnancy than that of an elephant. Some of us have to wait years to kill that little monster. We wait years, year spent worrying that we won't be good parents. That we won't be enough for the children we want to raise, shape, mold. 

How do you deal with those fears when they have an indeterminate amount of time to fester, when there is no end in sight? Sometimes, the pregnant people have it easier. Sure, they get all of those pains from ligaments stretching, they get the stretch marks, and they get to see the scale continue to rise. But they get a definite date when they can stomp on that little monster and banish the fear of inadequacy from their homes for good. The people we keep company with, the "infertile ones", we don't get that. What do we get? the worlds longest pregnancies. The ones with no due dates. We get months that have a tendency to bleed into years worth of more than just one fear.

I look forward to the day when I can kill that bug, but in the meantime, this sucks.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Thank You

The support we have been shown so far since announcing our plans to adopt has been immediate, unconditional, and profound. It moves me more than I can say.

Nothing in this life is promised, or owed, to us. Nothing is certain. The only thing we can count on in this world, is that someday we will leave it just as we entered it. Vulnerable. Hopefully, we get to leave after spending many years here, surrounded by family and friends. But we will always leave this world vulnerable. When Adam and I announced our plans to adopt and began to ask for help with it, that was how we felt - vulnerable and defenseless. We opened ourselves up to a world of scrutiny with no promises that the criticisms we could look forward to receiving would be positive. I can say with all honesty, we are two incredibly lucky people.

So far, countless people have gone out of their way to share our Crowd-funding account across the board of social media. We've found our way onto Pintrest, Tumblr and Facebook. I'm sure Twitter is there somewhere too. Friends are speaking to coworkers, and others are getting in touch with foundations designed to help couples looking to adopt. Two of my closest friends from college even found room in their grad-school budgeting to be our first two donors.

All of this has left me speechless, and for everyone who knows me well, lack of the right words has never been a problem for me. The gratitude that I feel is immense, and no words are the right words for everything that I feel. If I said a single "thank you" to everyone who is taking the time to help us, every day for the rest of my life, it still would not be enough. I cannot wait for the day that we find our child and I can tell him or her every night about the amazing people who helped to bring them home to their mommy and daddy.

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.