Saturday, December 4, 2010

Thoughts at 21 months

December.  Today marks our 21st month of waiting, and now we’re into the last month of 2010, too.  I have always loved December.  Christmas is my favorite holiday, for the simple reason that my family means so much to me, and I love spending time with them.  I’m such a big fan of the Christmas season and all the wonderful things that come with it that Gregg and I had a Christmas wedding.  We will be celebrating our 8th anniversary on Tuesday, the 7th. 
Earlier this year – I would say up until, oh, two months ago or so, I was positive – positive that we would be getting our referral in December.  On our specification sheet, we left things open for a child from 0-7. It would seem that our wait would be shorter than the typical 0-2 wait.  There are questions as to how that specification sheet is being read, however, and it may be that ICAB is actually reading it as simply 0-2.  We opted not to fight to have this tracked down and figured out though, because at this point we’re pretty much figuring God’s got a plan and we’ve just got to roll with whatever that might be.  So back to the original point, my hope for December is gone and I have no gut feeling left at this point.
Today Gregg and I are taking a trip with my parents to the Pearl S. Buck House, where our agency is located.  They have a yearly winter craft fair there, and we’re going to go take a look around. 
After we go to the fair, we are going to take a trip to the shrine of St. Gianna Beretta Molla, the patron saint of expectant mothers.  I have always had faith, but this trip is actually giving me hope. 
One last thing.  Some of you who “know” me a little through e-mail know that Gregg’s got something big in the works that could a tremendous blessing for him (and for both of us, actually).  If you could keep him in your prayers or even just send some positive thoughts out into the universe for him, we’d both be tremendously grateful J

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Adopt a kid for Christmas?!?!

At this point in time, I’m the type of person who will see the phrase “Adopt a Highway” and much rather see “Sponsor a Highway.”  But I realize, hey, the world hasn’t quite caught up yet.  Today, though, I went to the bank to make a deposit, and as I was pulling out and having Lakota sit down (we always go through the drive through because she loves all the attention and cookies she gets!), I noticed this sign:
Help our kids this year!  Adopt a child for the holidays!
Ummm…WHAT???  Sorry, I didn’t realize you could adopt a child just for the holiday season.  What do you do with said child after the holiday season?  Give them back? 
Or are we talking about sponsoring a child during the holidays?  Providing holiday meals and clothes and money and what not?
Or perhaps we’re talking about doing something like pulling a tag from a Giving Tree and fulfilling a wish for a child who might not have otherwise had a really nice present this year?
I think the bank should clarify what exactly is going on here, and I’m thinking about going back tomorrow to ask them to rephrase the sign to specify.  But first I’d like some feedback from you, who will be reading this with much cooler heads than I have right now.  So wherever you’re from, however long you’ve been a parent or waited to be a parent, please let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Roses in November

If you know anything about me, you know that I have a black thumb.  I cannot grow anything.  Instead, I rather have a tendency to kill plants that come within a certain number of feet of me.  Before Gregg and I got married, he had this lovely Christmas cactus.  It didn’t take too long after we were together that that thing bit the dust.  Right now we’re aiming for ground cover outside that I won’t be able to kill just by looking at it.  Anyway, I’m starting to digress.
Before Gregg and I even met, the previous owners of our home planted a very small rosebush in the middle of the front yard.  I don’t know what it looked like back then.  I know that when Gregg bought the house (pre-me) he made attempts at feeding it and pruning it and what have you.  After we got married?  My theory was “Don’t let me anywhere near it.  It’s blooming and if I touch it I will kill it.”  And that’s how we approach the rosebush now.  Totally hands off.  We let nature take care of it and we enjoy it from the window.
Here’s the thing about my rosebush, though.  It does not bloom consistently.  When it blooms, we normally get between one and four blooms at a time.  You never know if it will be pink or red.  Or both.  One day this summer I woke up to a whole bush full of pink blooms – the most I had ever seen.  (More about that later.)
The morning we told our adoption agency we wanted to be Pooh and Tigger’s mom and dad, four beautiful pink roses came into full bloom on our rosebush.  It was amazing.  It was also late September, and I had never seen this rosebush bloom so late in the year.
The afternoon I got a phone call from Pooh and Tigger’s mama telling me ICAB had signed off on the paperwork allowing their adoption to proceed, the whole rosebush was alive with beautiful pink roses. 

Last month, in the middle of October, I was waiting for something good to happen.  There was a red bud waiting to open.  And it never did.  It looked like it died of frost right on the stem – and in the depressed mood I was in, it was one of the saddest things to look at. 
But this morning I came back from paying a utility bill at city hall, and I noticed that the outer layer of frost had peeled away from that rose, and the rose was actually going to be in bloom.  And what do you know?  Pooh and Tigger are meeting their mommy and daddy for the first time today.  I guess sometimes you need to peel away the crap to see the beauty lying under the surface.  Oh, and what do you know.  The rose?  It’s pink.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

20 months

Here we are at 20 months today.  I admit, I wrote an entirely different post before and scrapped it because of how extremely depressing it was.  I’m trying harder with this one, but unfortunately I’m not feeling the lift to write a happy post.
I know that I should be happy – thrilled, even? – that we are another month closer to our child.  I was actually doing fairly well with keeping my eye on the prize.  Twenty months now, four months to go until we hit two years, two years is normally the max mark.  Now the rumblings are that wait times are going to be reaching 30 months.  That’s 10 more months!  That’s September!  I am having a very difficult time coming to terms with this right now.
Aside from the interminable wait, Gregg and I are climbing some pretty steep mountains and the stress is really bringing us down in the dumps.  Each day I try to get up and make the day better than the one before, but seem to be having little success.  Honestly, at this point we could use just a little good news to get us through and keep us moving.  Some days I feel like I’m constantly treading water, getting nowhere and just trying to avoid being pulled under. 
So now I’ve done it again and written a bummer post, even though I didn’t want to.  This one I’m going to hit publish on, though, because this is the way it is right now.  We’re all entitled to good days and bad days, I guess, and well – this has been a very bad month.  I’ve had much, much worse, but it sure ranks up there for “wanna go hide in the corner of my closet and cry” kind of month.  But 20 months down.  So how many more to go now???

Friday, October 29, 2010

The wrong week for a wrong number

This is the end of a very ­long week.  I had just been telling a neighbor how glad I was that this week was over because it was such a tough week to get through.
And then my cell phone rang.  I saw a 215 area code and jumped a mile.  The only time we ever get calls from the 215 area code is when our adoption agency is calling.  And couldn’t we be getting That Call any time now?  It was a quick ring and I missed it.  Gregg told me to call back.  I thought about it, but they called me back first.
Me:  Hello?
Them:  Hi!  This is the Suchandsuch Inn, just calling to confirm your dinner reservation for tomorrow night.
Me:  What?  Really?  Ummm…No.  You really have the wrong phone number. 
And so we hung up and the poor woman, who I’m sure now has to figure out how to confirm a large dinner party for tomorrow night with no phone number (been there, done that, not fun) has no idea that she left me with my heart in my stomach for the rest of the evening. 
I hope it was just a warm-up for another 215 call that is coming soon.  I got a fortune cookie tonight that reads “There are many unexpected and thrilling surprises in store for you!”  It took everything I had not to ask the waiter what the success rate was for their fortune cookies.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thankfulness on 10/10/10

October 10, 2010 – 10/10/10.  And when I hit “publish” on this, it will be 10:10 a.m.  Pretty amazing, no?
I wish I could take credit for this idea, but it actually came from this blog.  So for today, ten things I’m thankful for in life.  (In no particular order, by the way…)
1.    My relationship with my husband – as it’s been said, “we might not have it all together, but together, we’ve got it all.”  We’ve been to hell and back over the course of our marriage – we’ve come out with some scars, but I know we’re all the better for it.
2.    Family – without them, I would have nothing and be nothing.  They have gotten me through more crap and been there to celebrate along the way.  I love them, and I live for them.
3.    Faith – without my faith, I would never have made it through the last several years.  God moves mountains, even when it’s not when I want Him to.
4.    My furbabies – all eight of them.  My little monsters bring joy and laugher to this house.
5.    Working from home – Something I always wanted to do but didn’t have the chance until I lost my last job.  Losing that job was something I thought would be a tragedy, but turned out to be a small miracle, the result of which I am grateful for every day.
6.    I am so grateful for all of you who I have “met” through blogging and the Adopt-Philippines Yahoo Group.  An amazing group of women who just get it.
7.    God’s intervention in putting Pooh and Tigger’s new mama into my life.  She has been an amazing blessing to me.  After getting to know her and where the children will be, I see the other side of adoption much more clearly – and I am a better person for it.
8.    I am thankful for a new Church where we can feel moved and comforted by God’s presence.
9.    I am thankful that we are both working.
10. Right now I am thankful for all the little things fall brings – pumpkin and cranberry candles, butternut squash for dinner, and pumpkin coffee!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

19 months and a whole lot of thanks

First, I have to say that the response to my last post was absolutely overwhelming.  I want to thank everyone who replied to me – you are an absolutely remarkable group of women.  I cannot thank you enough for sharing your stories with me – and with each other – and I pray that should someone else find herself in this type of painful situation, she will see this and know that there were others who have walked in the same shoes and made it to the other side.  God knows that when we lost Pooh and Tigger I felt very alone and had no idea where to turn.  I have always known that adoptive mothers and mothers-to-be were a unique group of individuals, but this is just one more thing that shows why.
Just as a further update, as of yesterday we hit our 19th month of waiting.  Still no news.  We are another month closer, and I’m hoping that we will see our child’s beautiful face for the first time sometime in the next five months – hopefully less, and God willing, not more than that.  Besides keeping busy working, I’ve been occupying my evenings working on a trio of pillows for the little one featuring – who else?  Pooh, Tigger, and Eeyore.  I’m loving the bright colors and can’t wait to see how they perk up the little one’s bedroom.  The kitties have been more than happy to help with the yarn involved in this project.  I took some pictures of their “help” and will have to post some soon. J 

Friday, October 1, 2010

To get where you're going, sometimes you have to be OK with where you've been

September 25, 2008 was a day unlike any day we had experienced before.  Gregg and I had received paperwork and photos we had been waiting on for three weeks – information all about a beautiful little girl and handsome little boy whose file we were going to review to determine if we were ready to be their parents.  Really, it took no time at all.  They were gorgeous.  Any health problems they had we could deal with.  They were perfect.  They were going to be ours.  September 25, 2008 we said yes to Pooh and Tigger and waited (and waited, and waited some more) for ICAB to get the paperwork straightened out.
And then, on March 4, 2009, they said “No.”  And March 4, 2009, was unlike any day we had experienced before.  We went from decorating bedrooms and nesting to picking up the pieces of our hearts.  We couldn’t take their bedrooms apart but we couldn’t open the doors, and every time one of the cats would open one of the bedroom doors I would get mad at the cat for making me look at it and face my grief. 
I went to see a social worker through our adoption agency for counseling.  It was a good decision, as only my husband and my parents could quite grasp the level of loss I was feeling.  I compared the loss to that of a miscarriage – we had held these children in our hearts for six months, and we knew about their likes, dislikes, what they looked like…and yet to so many people it was something we should just get over.  Yeah, right.
I had been under the impression that another family from our agency had adopted Pooh and Tigger, so when the yearly Philippines birth culture event came along last summer, we decided not to go.  I couldn’t face seeing those kids with another family. 
By the end of my sessions, my counselor wanted to know if I would ever want to make contact with the family who would be adopting Pooh and Tigger.  By that point, I just wanted to know that they were going to be OK.  Who knew if I would ever find them.
Well, I might have plans, but the Lord apparently has bigger plans and the Internet at His disposal.  I was shocked … and so happy to hear from the woman who would be Pooh and Tigger’s Mama after she (accidentally) found me on the Internet.  He knew what I needed (as well as Gregg and the rest of the family) to realize that Pooh and Tigger would always be well cared for and loved.  He found the most amazing family to bring Pooh and Tigger home, and I know it is a perfect fit.  These two children, who made us Mommy and Daddy in our hearts two years ago, have now made two groups of people – from two countries – family.  That’s amazing. 
And as for us?  I know our Little ‘Roo is on his or her way.  And when he or she comes, they will fit just right.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lessons from an ice cream cone

It’s no secret in our family that our Husky, Lakota, is our baby.  She is so spoiled (even more by my mother than by us) and spends most of her days now curled up next to my desk watching me type.  She’s always been a picky eater, and we try not to give her treats unless she’s finished her food for the day. 
Then there was tonight.  Mind you, Lakota is almost 11 years old now.  Her hip bothers her sometimes.  But we’ve had strangers off the street ask us if she’s only three or four because she’s just so dang feisty and young-looking.  Well, tonight after I finished washing the dishes, Miss Lakota decided that even though she didn’t want to eat her food, she wanted a treat – now.  This dog stood by the closet door (where her treats are kept) and barked.  Then she ran around the dining room table three times, jumped on the couch, barked at the closet door, and jumped straight up in the air about three feet and landed on all fours.  I was hysterical.  She hasn’t done anything like that since she was two and jumped onto my parents’ dining room table from a standing position.  (No treats from grandma that day!)  Moral of this story?  Make me laugh and do something out of the ordinary and you’ll probably get that treat before you finish your food, Lakota. 
Gregg and I learned a thing or two about breaking the rules over the summer.  Normally, our conversations about dinner go something like, “What do you want me to make for dinner?”  “I don’t know, what do you want?”  Then one day, we both decided we weren’t all that hungry, but Gregg had a craving for ice cream.  Ice cream it was.  No protein, no green vegetable.  Just ice cream.  Because you know what?  Right now it’s just us – we’re not thinking of a child’s nutritional needs yet.  We’ve followed the rules, and ice cream for dinner isn’t a huge rule breaker – as long as it’s not every night :)  We actually did this a few times over the summer, and you know what?  They were probably some of my favorite nights with my husband.  Who doesn’t smile when they’re eating a crazy-good ice cream flavor? 
So ultimately, I guess what I’m saying is that I hope I’m that kind of mom when the time comes and the time that I’ve spent waiting has been for learning the extra lessons I’ll need along the way.  Rules are important and need to be followed – but hey, sometimes you just need to eat dessert first.   

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hitting the wall

Quite simply put, even though this week ended well, it was not a good week.

September 4 we hit our 18 month mark and all seemed right with the world. We could make it six more months with no problem. The way it turned out, I couldn’t even last one more week without an emotional breakdown.

Gregg has been carrying an increased amount of stress from his job, and I was feeling it. I was carrying an increased amount of stress from my job, and Gregg was feeling it. It was time for this referral to come. Really. I needed good news. Right now. The amount of time we have actually spent waiting for something to happen was just bowling me over and I couldn’t take it anymore. I felt that I had hit the wall.

Anger at our situation hit. The mental exhaustion. Total impatience. You name the feeling, I had it. I had more work this week than usual, and while that’s normally a good thing for me, it was making me even more miserable.

And everyone I talked to told me that things would happen “in God’s perfect timing.” My heart knows that this is true, but when you have hit the wall sometimes the reassurances you need to hear, the things that are so true, can be very painful when repeated so often. Sometimes I just want to scream “I’ve been waiting seven and a half years for it to be God’s perfect time, is He going to be ready anytime soon?”

Last night we went to church and I was praying for the patience to get through the rest of this wait. Suddenly, in my mind’s eye, I could see myself hugging a young child and feeling happy and I knew that there would be an end to this wait – eventually. Tears started welling up in my eyes.

I thought that this last six months wouldn’t be so bad to get through if I put my mind to powering though it. It appears I was wrong. If the last week is a forecast of the next six months, I’ll be holding on tight – it’s going to be a bumpy ride to the finish.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

18 months and counting

Yesterday Gregg and I marked 18 months of waiting for a referral. On one hand, I can’t believe that we’ve actually made it this far, waited this long. On the other hand, I can’t believe that we still have up to six months (or longer?) to wait. Right now I’m trying to think along the lines of, we’ve made it through 18 months already – six months should be nothing compared to what we’ve already waited out. I’ve mentioned before that I can be an absolute workaholic and that can help the weeks pass quickly. Well, flu and bronchitis season is just around the corner and that’s good business for a medical transcriptionist who deals primarily with general practitioners. I’m hoping the fall and winter will blow by just as quickly as the summer did. Then I have to wonder, too – isn’t it a really horrible thing to wish your life away? Shouldn’t we just be enjoying it? Again, I guess it just comes down to waiting for the one big thing. 

Some days I still feel like the wait ahead of us could stretch the full six months, other days I feel we could get a call at any time. I do take a little bit of comfort tonight in knowing that sometime in the next six months Gregg and I will be able to look at a photograph and say “That’s our child. That’s the one we’ve waited for so many years to see.”

Monday, August 30, 2010


Sometimes I wonder what life is going to be like to live day to day not waiting for the one big thing. Some days it seems that for as long as I can remember – and I will actually go so far as to say almost as long as Gregg and I have been married, we have been waiting for someone to tell us that we can be parents. If I’m being perfectly honest with myself, at the very beginning of this journey I was the one who wanted it, and Gregg really wasn’t ready yet. And honestly, that’s OK. By the time we had figured out what direction we really needed to be headed (the Philippines) and got our health issues under control for the required amount of time (phew!), he had not only climbed on board, he was a willing and active participant.

We’ve gone through some tough stuff in our marriage – in the first five years we had stuck together through and overcome more obstacles than many couples will see in a lifetime together. And somewhere in the back of my mind there was always the hope that completing this adoption, bringing home this little person, would be the light at the end of this very long tunnel for us. It was one of the things that helped push me through the mess and gave me hope.

And yet despite the good that waiting seems to have done for me, there is still the nagging feeling that I have been waiting forever. More than seven years is a long time to wait for something – and I don’t mean to complain, because I know how worth it the wait for this child will have been in the long run. I’m glad that we’ve been able to spend time on each other and our marriage, because I know things will be different when our little one comes home. And yet there is still that underlying theme of waiting that runs through the day to day. I’m always wondering how to make the wait easier. (Become a workaholic? Work-Eat-Sleep-Repeat? Check. Have an activity every weekend from the end of June through the end of August? Check. Holy cow, did those months go by quickly.)

I guess what I’m saying, without rambling on and on about nothing, is that I almost can’t fathom what life will be like when it’s time to sit back and enjoy life, getting to shower all of this love I have stored up on this child I haven’t even met yet without the thought of how long I’ve been waiting running through my mind. I know it will happen when it should, but in the meantime – this waiting thing, boy, it’s kind of exhausting.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

She said what?

Once we made the decision to become adoptive parents, we started to learn new things about the people who share our world – some good things, and some not so good. I’ve learned that you can hold a garage sale fundraiser and someone you’ve never met before will give you $5 for a 25-cent item and tell you to “keep the change – just bring that baby home.” I’ve learned that there are people out there who will do whatever they can, whenever they can because they know adoption and family are beautiful things and they like to see others happy.

And I’ve learned that there are still people out there with incredibly prejudiced attitudes who just don’t get it and have no problem speaking their minds. It is this type of person your adoption agency warns you about in training classes, that you read about on listservs, adoptive parent magazines, and books. It is this type person you think you are ready to handle – until you meet them and they open their mouth.

Gregg and I were at a party last weekend, where I had the displeasure of overhearing an adoption-ignorant tirade by a woman neither of us had ever met before. To set the scene, we had just passed this woman to walk into the kitchen to get our food. Gregg excused himself for a moment and I started digging in. As I’m plating the food, this woman, who is now behind me, says to her two companions, “Seriously. If they must adopt, do it from the United States. Why do they have to go bring a child from another country here? There are plenty of kids here already.”

Now, I don’t know who “they” were, but I do know she wasn’t talking about us (like I said, I didn’t even know her). I do know that that was one way to get me good and fired up, though. I had a few things I would have loved to have said to her, but I didn’t. I bit my tongue, because I didn’t know her – actually, I didn’t know anyone there (including the host – an old friend of Gregg), and more importantly, because she was not speaking to me. Gregg came back, calmed me down, we ate; I stopped considering poking her in the eye with a beef kabob skewer, and life went on.

But then I started thinking. What would I have done if we actually had our child with us and the same situation had occurred? Would I have ignored it then? Believe me, I had more than one snotty comeback running through my head for this woman, none of which would have been appropriate to say in front of a child. (I guess I’d better start working on more child-friendly speech while I have the time.) My answer, though? No. I couldn’t ignore that if my child could hear it. A child needs to know that while people are entitled to their opinions, some things are just plain rude and wrong to say. So what would I have said to this woman if the situation (hopefully never) presented itself?

“I went to the Philippines for my child because my child was born in the Philippines.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

And so it began...with the help of destiny and a lot of faith

So.  A blog.  A lot of waiting parents have them, and I wasn't sure about starting one, but thanks to a little convincing, here I go. 

Our story started 10 years ago when I first met my husband, Gregg.  At the end of our first (blind!) date, he asked me if I was really serious about a relationship and if I wanted kids one day - because he really did.  Well, he pretty much had me hook, line, and sinker right there.  Two months later we were engaged, and two years after that we were married.  We both believed it was our destiny to be together.

I will never forget the morning of our ceremony.  I went to church with my father, and the priest who was going to say the wedding Mass mentioned that I was there and would be married that afternoon.  After the Mass a woman came up to me and told me she prayed that I would have lots of babies - so when the sextuplets came, I should remember her!  Little did either of us know there was a huge twist of fate coming.  Two months after we were married, I found out by fluke that I couldn't have kids biologically, and thus began our adoption adventure.

Over the last seven and a half years we have dealt with health problems (his and mine), country shut downs and now...Now we are 17 months, 2 weeks, and 6 days into our wait for a child from the Philippines.  This is an amazing program we wish we had become involved with sooner.  It is an ideal fit for us, and we cannot wait to meet our child.  This blog will chronicle the rest of our wait to meet our child (hopefully not too much longer!) and bringing him/her home to us. 

Thanks for coming along for the ride!