Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving trip 2015

Every year we go home to visit for Thanksgiving.  It can seem complicated but we’ve gotten used it.  We drive down and stop at our friend’s place in the Sacramento area and stay the night then the following day with his family and in-laws (although not this year, we'd stay on our way home).  We always enjoy that and the dogs love playing with his son and running around the back yard. We then leave (usually) on Sunday morning and head to our hotel where we unload the car and then head over to his parent’s house.  We usually eat dinner and hang out for a couple hours then head back to our hotel for the night.

Monday usually has us spending the entire day with his parents.  We go over for breakfast and talk, hang out, eat dinner and watch a movie or two.  Tuesday and Wednesday are usually my family days.  Each year is a bit different based on when my aunt isn’t in school.  This year though, I went to spend a few hours with my dad on Monday while Don took his parents to the mall so his mom could get a new cell phone. My dad had a stroke in October and I needed to see how he was doing. I’ve been extremely worried about him since I found out but he didn’t want me to come down to help out.  I’m so glad to say he is coming along although nowhere near 80%+ but improving daily. He can sign his name and has a leg brace to help him walk and stay upright so I’m happy to see him improving and pretty quickly. Monday is also the day I found out my mom entered Kidney failure due to the massively strong antibiotics they’ve had her on for MRSA (antibiotic resistant staph infection) after her back surgery back in October.  I guess you could say October was a bad month for me.  Mom is going on two weeks in the hospital but will hopefully be home (although still on an IV with antibiotics) by this weekend.  When we spoke today she’d had dialysis and was in pretty good spirits, as good as you can be; that is when the whole right side of your body is bruised and sore from head to toe on one side and you’re still recovering from a fusion of your spinal cord.

So Tuesday had us going to his parents for breakfast and then meeting my dad and aunt for dinner.  We went to Outback and enjoyed dinner and the company.  Our visits with them are always so short.  I wish they were available all day but between work and school it isn’t possible.  We got to spend about 4 ½ hours hanging out together.  I did talk to them every day we were there though.
Wednesday was breakfast at his parents then we went to see my mom’s brother.  This year we went out to Mexican instead of doing a BBQ which was really good.  We went back to his place after dinner for lots of pinball and music and Don and he had a cigar. The only time Don has anything like that is the one time a year we go visit my uncle, it’s their tradition in the back yard or open garage. We met a neighbor of his and stayed way longer than we normally do but we were having a great time talking and competing for high score of the night.
Don playing my Uncle's Southpark pinball game 

Thursday we were going to try and have breakfast with my dad and aunt but it didn’t work out and instead got a phone call for us to come to Don’s parents. So we ended up at their place 4 hours early so Don set up their new printer and showed his mom how to do things with her new phone.  Later his uncle and his long time girlfriend arrived.  We would go to a restaurant late that afternoon for dinner.   I have to say it was a lot of food, good eats, and a great price per person for the quality. His uncle and girlfriend left for the couple hour drive home from the restaurant and we went back to his parent’s house for a couple hours. We called it fairly early that night so we could all get a good amount of rest.

Come Friday morning we were headed to meet up with a CA co-worker of Don’s for lunch in Irvine and a tour of Blizzard Entertainment.  Come to find out her husband works there and when he offered the tour we jumped at the chance.  We were able to find a Petsmart hotel close by to the restaurant and we made an appointment for the dogs to go to daycare while we went to lunch and did the campus tour.

I have to say I wasn’t 100% sure what we’d see outside the Orc statue out front with the flags and a bunch of buildings where people work.  We were pleasantly surprised all the statues were in place and well lit so we could take pictures. We got to see the library and holy cow so amazing! So many games, books, and other cool things to check out if you work there. I’d spend a lot of time in there playing games in the evenings if I worked there. We also saw an office from outside as we entered a building and we thought it was the store.  Nope, someone’s office with so many cool things we just wanted it to be a store (they don’t have a physical store only online). The control room was cool to see but no pictures allowed then we moved on to the timeline of Blizzard and the games they released.  It needs to be updated for the last couple years but still nifty to see all of them in one chart. The museum was cool to see, they have original art work, statues, the armor they give to long time employees, a display case of items given out each Christmas to employees and also fan art. We then got a tour of where he works.  Really cool IT dept. which is saying something.  After the tour we talked a bit then headed back to pick up the dogs from daycare.

 Welcome to Blizzard
One the core values placed around the statue

one section of the library

Only 6 hours and 14 freeways later we’d arrive back at our friend’s place for the night.  We got in fairly late but were staying the next day.  Saturday was pretty chill (and chilly!); we played World of Warcraft, watched a movie, and then played Talisman.  His son was able to have us help with addons he wanted for WoW and we had a lot of fun together playing games. 

Sunday was a 5am wake up so we could get ready, pack the car and leave for home. It would be an extremely long and cold day. I don’t think the temp from CA to WA ever got above 36 degrees.  In fact it was 28 degrees when we left Sacramento and 25 degrees when we got home to our place in WA. What was supposed to be an 11 ½ hour drive turned into 14 ½ one and we concluded we’re never leaving on Sunday again.  Thank goodness we made it to Oregon in time to listen to the football game on the radio to break up the monotony of the drive. Although the commentator’s were blah and we couldn’t really hear what was going on half the time (goodness guys take a breath you don’t have to keep talking over every play about whatever) it was a good game to listen to.
All of us were so glad to finally be back home, even if it was much later than we expected.  The cats were thrilled to see us and we them. Our brother in law took great care of them and the house while we were gone.  Hopefully next year we have a child to show off to the family during our trip down.

Here’s some pictures of our Blizzard tour and trip down south for Thanksgiving:
 Pets are allowed at work so this section of grass has been set aside for human use
 My happy boys!Dad turned on the compressor so we went to the car for a few minutes
 The internal safety poster mascot is Medimurk the Murloc
Couldn't resist taking a picture of this Diablo sign
 The one and only Horde Chopper
 Don with Grommash
 Sword is 5 years with Blizzard and Shield is 10 years (Arthas mask is 20 years)
 one piece of the fan art in the museum
My guys all snoozing after a long day

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Waiting to Adopt = Pixar's Inside Out

How Inside Out resonated with our journey to open adopt.
You start out joyous and hopeful then the longer you wait it slowly transforms into anger (scams), sadness (why not us/failed matches), disgust (scams) and even fear (will we ever get picked? Will it fail at the hospital?). You do everything you know to tread the emotions with dignity and humility but scam after scam dwindles your ability for compassion and you struggle to retain your humanity and personality without bitterness and paranoia. It’s a daily struggle to remain positive and busy.
When everything seems bleak, sad, and hopeless we get a glimmer of hope only to have those hopes dashed. How do you continue?  Like Inside Out it’s about feeling all that, sometimes at the same time, and still working through all those emotions to make decisions for ourselves that affect our futures. 
Joy can't exist without sadness, doubt, fear or anger because if we didn't have the negative feelings we wouldn't understand the joy, happy, elated or content feelings we feel day to day. We wouldn't strive to better ourselves or our situations without the pain of those emotions. They make up the lessons learned in life and more important who we are as individuals. 

I'm a rather blunt person, not in a negative way just matter of fact. If someone asks why we’re adopting I’ll be frank about it same as if they asked the time of day or what kind of dog I have. I am also a sensitive person who wants the best for everyone I meet but I'm also not delusional in that not everyone is out to better themselves but rather to feed emotionally on those waiting or to try to gain financially from adopting couples. That’s not how Adoption is supposed to work and over time it makes us leery with all contacts especially via email, private message or text. I jump every time the phone rings or dings that I’ve gotten an email or text even though 99% of the time it’s people looking to scam adoptive couples. Thank goodness for Report as Spam buttons. 
We want to be excited and hopeful that this is the one meant for us. I strive to make my compassion shine through in written forms of communication but it just depends on how it’s interpreted by the reader. 
Adoption at the end of the day is just like Sadness and Joy going through the maze and trying to get back to head quarters. It was that journey where they really learned what each had to offer and how important they both were to the well being of Riley. That’s how open adoption should work and we hope will work for us.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Kindness of Strangers and More.

My last post was a pretty emotional one but what happened the next morning would have me in tears, literally. I promise this is a happy post of what’s happened the last two weeks.

  • Our basement remodel is pretty much done with just a few minor things left to do.
  • Don is in Ghana building a kindergarten playground for the new school the charity recently built.
  • We bought new furniture, Goodbye hand me downs.
  • Two years waiting but still happy and hopeful

If you follow us on Facebook you may have seen my brief post about it but here is the full context. Don and I have remodeled a large part of our finished basement and are moving our living room down there, so we bought all new furniture.  When we went to the local furniture shop they had a sand sculpture in the parking lot so I took a picture and posted it to our Facebook page.  The shop saw it and decided to add a gift to our furniture delivery. Our delivery was a week out from when we purchased it so that the basement could be mostly finished.

Delivery day came and as they were unloading the furniture from the truck, one of the guys brought a big red gift wrapped box over to me and set it down on the porch. I was stunned! I really was because it was a big box and then I read the card attached and immediately started tearing up.  Not only had they sent us a gift for our future child but I got it just when I needed it most.  I Love the little red chair! I really can’t wait for the day when it’s being used (and not by our four-legged kids).  For now it’s still in the box but hopefully soon we can put it in the living room or nursery. After the shock wore off I took pictures and sent them to Don, who was out of town for the weekend.  He was able to see it and was just as thrilled with it as I was. 
Here's what they said on our Facebook page when I posted our extreme appreciation:
"The Old Cannery Furniture Warehouse Glad you received it! We've been anxiously anticipating your delivery since last weekend! We will be thinking about you!"

We are still waiting for a few finishing touches to the basement but for the most part it’s done and set up.  I love it and can’t wait for Don to get home from Ghana so we can move the audio equipment and satellite receiver down there and hook it all up. We also had cabinets built in down there so I can finally move some things we don’t use often out of the kitchen beginning tomorrow after the contractor finishes up.

Tomorrow also marks our two years "live" and three years since we started the process to adopt. It's also National Chocolate day.  Last year I went for a hot fudge sundae and if it sounds good tomorrow I may celebrate with another one or maybe just eat a fun size Butterfinger. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

When life gives you lemons make lemonade

Sure we’ve all heard the phrase and when I think of it I think why not use the lemons to make pies and cake or lemon bars. How about take the seeds and plant them for a tree to grow and continue to provide you with lemons. It’s what reminds me of family and some great childhood memories of growing up surrounded by lemon and orange trees (you think roses are thorny try these trees) in southern California.

Well backing up a bit to August when I lost my grandfather. We knew it would happen just not when and luckily I was there for his final day for many hours.  I was lucky to have that time with him and others in my family to say goodbye to an incredible man who had 92 years on this planet.  He survived WWII, Meningitis, four kids, 7 grand-kids and 20 great grand-kids.  He was strict but super loving with a great sense of humor and love of nature.  His love of travel is where I got my love of travel.  We take separate trips and then sit down together and share our stories and pictures.  He and my grandma took many, many trips across Canada, Mexico and every state in the US.  So there are tons of pictures.  When he was too old to drive they took cruises and I got to see the Outback, Hong Kong, the Panama Canal and Antarctica through his pictures. I miss him every day. I miss his stories and his smiles and his love of sweets (he loved Lemon meringue pie). I was so hoping our child would get to meet him and he always asked me when he’d get to meet his 21st great grandchild (grandpa had Alzheimer’s). I can only hope when we do get selected to be parents that we can convey what a great man he was through our stories and pictures along with grandma telling them too.
Grandpa last Halloween with his homemade spider chocolate and pretzels

The reason I’m posting on this now is it has become very clear just how fragile life is. My mom had a major surgery on her hip, back and nerves a week ago.  She is having some complications and is in a great deal of pain.  I wish I could take that pain away.  It’s so hard to hear about and see but then to get a call at 11:45 at night from your aunt telling you that your dad has had a stroke and is in the hospital with severe weakness on his right side. We're 1100 miles away you can’t just rush to the hospital to be with him. I still might drive down to help him.  He lives alone and owns his own shop.  If he doesn’t regain some strength and use of his right side soon the dogs and I will go down to California and help him continue to get the cars and trucks fixed so he can pay his bills. As my dad said to me “You don’t realize all your body does without thinking about it until you no longer can, especially when it’s your dominate side.”  It was a reminder of working in the hospital and seeing all walks of life and ages of stroke victims. It’s a crushing blow, even mild strokes. You literally have to start over relearning motor skills and some need speech therapy. I’m extremely thankful it wasn’t worse and he can still talk and is alive but it’s a not so gentle reminder that anything can happen at any time, even adoption.

Next week I start driving down to help my mom because her husband has to go back to work but she knows I may have to go to my dad and that’s a tough choice to make.  My parents are both hard working, tough and stubborn so I can only hope that strength and determination helps them to recover quickly. If dad makes a comeback in his strength I will at least see him next month when we go down for Thanksgiving, otherwise I’ll go down and stay until Thanksgiving and Don will fly down and meet us.

The lesson relearned is never taking life for granted. Reach out to those who you love (family, friends, birth parents) and tell them what they mean to you for tomorrow may be too late.  Call often so you can hear their voice and they yours.  In this age of technology we to often just email, text or post on Facebook without thinking of actually calling and connecting on a human level. This is one reason we want an open adoption so we can keep our families connected for our child. They can grow up knowing how much they are loved by everyone.

I’m forever grateful to those around me now and even those who are no longer here except in my heart and memories. I’m thankful for an amazing husband who is so supportive and to my pets that I get to love and spoil. Most of all I’m grateful for my parents and how they raised me.  I, too, am strong, stubborn and determined and it’s from them (and DNA) that I learned to stay the course and do what needs to be done.

Time to make some lemonade!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pumpkins, Halloween, Charity and Waiting to Adopt

It’s October and that means a whole bunch of different things to me.  It means everywhere I go is all pumpkins, hay stacks and apples. Its young kids talking about the perfect costumes while shopping with their parents.  It also means isles full of bagged Halloween candy, costumes, and trick or treat buckets shaped like Hello Kitty, ghosts, or Batman. Its texts with pictures of my best friend dressed as the wicked witch in some form at someone’s Halloween party (we don’t live in the same state).

It used to mean trips to the pumpkin patch but without kids to enjoy the hayrides with or watch the immense joy at picking out their perfect pumpkin and watching them feed the animals in the petting zoo; it’s too expensive to go since they charge $15 a person to even walk into the patch now so I buy our pumpkins in the store or farmer's market.

It’s the time when everything pumpkin spice is released, which frankly is out of control. . I admit I love to make pumpkin bread from scratch as well as apple butter and a nice curry pumpkin soup.   I love pumpkin spice lattes and most things pumpkin but I certainly don’t want or need pumpkin spice Oreos or M&M’s. I saw this video posted to a friend’s wall and its perfect (warning not safe for work or kids due to brief language).

October also has National Chocolate day on the 28th so what can be a better way to celebrate our “go live” date. That’s the day we officially went into circulation meaning our letters and link to our online profile would go out to expecting parents thinking about adoption.

October also means it’s another year waiting to adopt.  Which starts me thinking how much longer will I put us through the emotional meat grinder.  I know in my heart the answer but with each passing year it gets harder to wait.

October also means another trip to Ghana for Don. This year the charity is building a playground for the school and is focused on the kindergarten class.  We’ve had friends and my cousin generously donate puzzles, harmonicas, and Beanie Babies so far.  The lady at the coffee shop has younger kids so she thinks she has some books they’ve out grown to donate and I’ve picked up dice and wood building blocks so far.  I’ll be hitting up Good Will too to see if they’ve got books and games I can send over.
 Last year's Team in Ghana in front of the newly finished school
Don teaching his class about computers last year
This October also means our basement remodel will be completed and I’m super excited.  Our cabinets were installed yesterday so we are inching closer and closer to being done. Then we can start shopping for new furniture and relocate our living room into the new space. With this remodel it opens up a large section to be a great play area for our future little one to play in.

October means that Football season is in full swing and Baseball season is coming to a close.
Us on Sunday at the Seahawks first home game

What does October mean to you this year?

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Intake Stats, Google Analytics, and Me

Every month our agency posts stats on the intakes, matches and placements.  Most of the waiting couples look over them to get an idea if our letters went out and to where.  The system for reporting it is anonymous but it’s great to see how things change from month to month. August wasn’t the best month in terms of intakes and matches which can be a bummer to see especially when compared to our Google Analytics for the month of August. We then get our actual numbers from our counselor once they have them telling us how many times our letters went out.

I am a bit obsessed when it comes to the stats and visits to our page and our blog.  It’s more about the comfort found in being seen rather than not.  Since we are in the middle of our agency’s website for families we’re viewed less often as a general rule of thumb. It also tells me where the traffic is coming from to our site so it’s good to know if I’m getting direct traffic versus say Twitter, Facebook or this blog. It is a great tool to use in terms of how to focus your efforts on the most seen places.  Since Pinterest doesn’t really drive anyone to our sites it’s fair to say I don’t spend much time or energy on trying to keep our daily lives updated there. I also tend to have more personal stuff on our Instagram account rather than adoption related specific things so it doesn’t drive much traffic either but it’s so easy to use I regularly post. All the different pages that link to our profile are but just a few ways to get to know us better and I like knowing which are working for us.

We also have Google Ads with our agency and another website we’re on.  While I can’t track the other website directly they do have their own tracking on the site. The problem with the tracking for that site is after 30 days after the person viewed it they fall off so you can never reliably check on what state the view came from. Something changed in the system earlier this year because it didn’t used to do that but for the most part we can see where the views come from and how long someone looks at the page on average.
One of the ads they run for us
So why am I so into where people view us? I’m just a researcher by nature.  I love knowing what is going on or not as the case may be.  While waiting to adopt the not knowing can drive you bonkers because you never know when or where that call, text, or email will come in. I like that on any given day I can see how many bots viewed our blog or how many people clicked that Google Ad or viewed our agency page directly. It helps me feel better in the zero control situation that adoption is. I know others don’t ever look at their analytics because they don’t want to become driven to check it all the time but for me and my needs it works.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Home Improvements

Summer is coming to a close and our construction in the basement will soon be completed.  We have walls again which is great because the open staircase was honestly frightening.  The cats were quite upset though as they discovered the under floor as a great hiding place during the two weeks the walls were open.
 Oscar with cobwebs on his face after his first exploration of the under floor

 Oscar made the gated stairwell his personal space

The drywall taper will be here tomorrow to tape and plaster and then again probably Monday for finishing the walls.  After that it’s a quick coat of paint then flooring, baseboards, and the custom cabinets will be installed. New living and entertainment room will be complete in about 2 weeks. I can’t wait to finally get the room we’ve always wanted in that space.

Looks great with the dry wall back up

Once that’s done however we aren’t finished with the home improvements. We will go back into the craft room and paint it, put in shelving and move all the stuff back in.  Eventually we will paint the back room next to ours, which will be the nursery someday. I’m hoping that’s sooner rather than later but we aren’t setting it up until we are matched so time will tell. At least for now we have projects to keep us busy and improve our home while we wait.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Our Yearly Vacation to Atlanta

Dragon con was a blast this year! It’s always fun to go and hang out with friend’s but this year we both dressed up both Friday and Saturday and while HOT, especially Friday’s costumes, was a lot of fun.  Don and I had planned on the Wreck it Ralph and Vanellope Von Shweetz costumes for Friday. We even ran into a Fix it Felix. Lara and someone else we know were going to the Archer shoot as Kreiger and Kreiger's virtual girlfriend so Lara met us in our room for us to all go to the shoot together.

While shopping on Saturday I decided I’d go ahead and buy things for the steampunk costume for next year. Don was taking a large box back to our room so I headed off with our friend’s Corey and
Carol to look around.  Corey was looking for a few things for his costume while Carol waited with me to try on Corset’s.  The second one was perfect, so now to find the rest of the outfit, which I did at the fourth shop minus the hat.  I didn’t have time to pick up a bunch of accessories after the hat shop so I figured it was ok because I was going to wear my Nightmare Before Christmas dress that night anyway.  That idea didn’t last long as Carol and Katrina talked me into using the steampunk stuff anyway.  As we were talking Don mentioned he didn’t have a costume for the night and our friend’s said hey we have 2 cloaks you should be Red Riding Hood and he could use my black wig from the Vanellope costume, and then they dared him to do it. Corey and Don went back into the shopping area in search for a t-shirt that would work for the costume. They came back with a perfect one. We went back to our separate hotels to change and Don went into the store there looking for a basket.  He got lucky and borrowed a picnic basket which had been used in a display.

 pictured with another Red Riding Hood

It was time to get me into the corset, which sounds simple but for people who’ve never done it, it was a bit tougher.  Thankfully You Tube had videos on how to lace your corset by yourself.   Don redid the corset and then we went to our friend’s hotel to meet up and get Don and Kevin their cloaks. Four of our friend’s were at the same hotel so we took pictures in the courtyard before going out to get dinner and head off to the hotels. We had planned on getting Lara or someone else to take our picture together but by the time we met up it was all but forgotten.  We went to the Marriott Marquis and outside it was a giant dance party which was a blast. I figured out who the guys were walking around with the speakers on their shoulders and it was Future Beat.  After a while we left and 5 of us went to get food while the other 4 went back to their rooms.

  Selfie with Lara unicorn

 Waiting in line for a midnight show

Sunday was rough for all of us.  We stayed out way too late so it was rough having to get up, pack, and check out.  We still had 4 hours to kill before going to the airport so we met up for lunch with everyone to say good-bye. After Lunch we split up Corey and Carol went back to their room, Kevin and Don went shopping, Lara and Shannon went to her group photo shoot, and Chris, Katrina, and I went to the autograph room.
Say Hi to Richard Hatch

Now here’s the fun part – Landing in Seattle 6 hours later only to realize I had left stuff in the drawer of the bedside table, like the car and house keys and my headphones. OUCH! I’ve never ever done something like that but here we were and we had to figure out what to do.  Our Brother in law drove out and brought us keys. We are lucky that our friend’s stayed through Monday so they could swing by and get my stuff, which is now being overnight shipped to me.  Moral of the story, ALWAYS check the drawers before leaving (which we normally do but for some reason didn’t this time).

Outside that snafu we had a fantastic time and are planning to meet up with everyone again next year, maybe even extending the trip to a full week. Can't wait to see what costumes everyone does. 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Dragon Con is coming soon!

I can’t believe in less than two weeks we’ll once again be in Atlanta for Dragon Con.  This year everyone is able to make it and it’s going to be a blast being all together again and the bonus is we were all able to find rooms in Downtown this year instead of the airport, no more 1 hour commutes in by transit or expensive taxi rides.  Granted we aren’t staying in any of the big 5 hotels but then for the cost of one room you need 6+ people to a room in order to afford it, so no Thanks.  We don’t spend much time in the room anyway so why a big fancy over-priced room when you can use that money to buy cool things.  I’m hoping our room has a fridge and kitchenette this year so we can store some food in there and skip some of the lines for food and have more time for panels, games, shopping or photo taking. Our original room did but I goofed and booked the wrong dates so not sure what kind of room we’ll have after we realized the mistake and changed to the correct dates.

The other thing I’m excited about is our long time friend from California is flying to Seattle the day before and will be going with us this year. I’m glad he’ll get to meet our other friends from Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Don may actually get to play games this year (which never works out other years we’ve gone) with Kevin going.  I’m hoping the panels list comes out in the next few days so we can start planning on what we must see; we usually only make 1 or 2 panels a day because of the line up times.

Every time we’ve gone I’ve always been a shorts and T-shirt girl but I was talked into dressing up this year and I’m working on that costume now.  We had talked about doing Steam punk this year with a couple of our friends but I couldn’t come up with anything I liked so my Cosplay friend suggested a character based on something I was watching and it all clicked.  Maybe next year I can go for Steam punk if I can find things I like this year to use with it.

Someone Don works with also goes with a group of his friends and this year he and my friend Lara are doing a costume together.  I can’t wait to see how that turns out for the Friday Night Archer party. Don and I talked about dressing up on Saturday since it’s the big day for costumes but his co-worker made a good point that we’d be constantly interrupted while we tried to hang out with our friend’s costume watching so we will dress up Friday instead. 

So this is the way to end the summer for us and we do it every year.  Maybe next year we will have our family and be able to introduce our child to our friends.  
All of us last year being goofy for the picture

Thursday, July 30, 2015

A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition

A cloudy day is no match for a sunny disposition – William Arthur Ward

I saw this on a church sign while driving home from the store and it is absolutely true.  I’ve been looking at the wait in a whole different light this week and all it took was a simple quote to hit home.
We’ve been through a lot in the last 3 years to give up now.  So much paperwork and SO many scammers!  It was especially hard on us when K miscarried because I’d grown so close to her and looked forward to talking every day.  It wasn’t easy getting over what happened, like it happened to us, well it did but indirectly.  No one knows what to say about such things in the everyday but much less so in adoption.  It’s a tough hurdle and it took me a lot of time to make peace with.

 However, I’m back and looking forward to growing our family through adoption.  They say everything happens for a reason and in the right time so I’m trying my best to embrace that. I’m hoping to have a similar relationship with our expectant mom where we both look forward to daily chats and hopefully it can grow into more of a sisterhood of shared experience and love for each other and the child.

I’m so thankful to our support system, especially my best friend, who herself is going through so much right now but she’s always there, as I am for her. I can’t imagine trying to go through an adoption alone without support of family and friends. I hope our future birth mom will have that support as well but if they don’t I hope they know they have IAC and us as their champion for support before, during, and after birth.

So no more conscience cloudy days for me I WILL regain my sunny disposition and continue forward to our dream of becoming parents.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Open Adoption: What is it and why we chose it and our agency.

We’ve been asked a lot about how open adoption works, why we are waiting so long, and aren’t we worried about contact after placement. Most recently we were asked about adoption and our agency from an expectant father who called us looking for an agency and asking questions on how to place.
So the basics of a modern adoption are that the expecting parents choose the family.  We aren’t on some numbered list of the past where we get a call from the agency to pick up a newborn.  However, there is a last minute hospital list we aren’t eligible for but again the family is chosen by the birth parents.

The open part of the adoption is different for every family.  It is outlined into an agreement with the agency, expecting parents, and hopeful adoptive parents to meet the needs of all of us.  Some families have lots of contact, some only want letters and pictures or Facebook updates. This is one of the more important aspects of the open adoption.  Our agency always reminds us not to go overboard with contact but be realistic when it comes to being able to maintain that level of contact for years to come. You can always see each other more often than stated in the agreement but if you over promise it can damage your relationships.  We agree with that. We want as open and realistic adoption plan as possible but it has to work and be comfortable for the expecting parents as well.

So in an open adoption is it co-parenting? No it isn’t.  It’s about the birth family getting updates and seeing how happy and loved their child is.  Adoption is a choice made out of love for the child and wanting the child to grow up in a stable and loving environment that the birth parents aren’t in a position to provide at this point in time. The child grows up knowing about his/her adoption and any questions he/she may have as they grow up they can ask their parents or their birth family.  There is less confusion and angst when the child grows up knowing why they were placed and where they come from and who do I look like. Many families who have adopted through our agency say the birth family is an extension of their own family.

So we chose open adoption but why did we choose IndependentAdoption Center in California instead of an agency in our home state? They are ethical, advocate for birth parents, and explain all options.  They have offices in 8 locations around the US not just California. They have lifelong counseling if needed by anyone in the triad (birth parents, adoptive parents, or the child) and I like that the social workers are different for hopeful adoptive parents and expectant parents. They have also been around a long time being one of the first agencies to advocate open adoptions and don’t discriminate.  Anyone eligible to adopt can adopt through them.  Other agencies we researched can and will say no to single people, LGBT, and religious differences among other things.  We prefer equality for everyone.

So why are you waiting so long? This is a hard one; we are like all the other waiting couples hoping for that perfect match.  For us we have had a few contacts that didn’t work out (one chose to parent, one went with another couple and one had a miscarriage so you just never know how things will turn out). We keep on waiting, hoping, and someday we will be parents if we remain patient with the process.  The right person will see our profile and we can move forward but until then waiting is all we can do.

Monday, June 22, 2015

I will miss you

Dearest K,

We've spent the last six weeks getting to know each other. Even though you were early in your pregnancy I never doubted your commitment for this open adoption.  I loved our conversations and the pictures we exchanged in anticipation for what was next. The long and short conversations we’d have every day, I’ll miss those.  I could feel the excitement even through email as our trip to meet and match was getting closer. You are Bright, beautiful, and one of the sweetest people I've had the privilege to “meet”.

Today everything would change. I've been dreading that phone call.  I was hoping it would never come to pass but it remained in my mind since you first told me. I know how upset you are about this for us and we feel the same for you.

Today my heart breaks.  It breaks for you, us and what could have been. It breaks because I can’t be there for you as you go through this. It breaks because I knew when I woke this morning that something must be wrong because you hadn't responded and that isn't like you. I wish I could call you and let you know it’s going to be ok and how sorry we are. We wanted nothing more than to include you in our lives but what’s important now is you. Please know it isn't anyone's fault, nothing could have been done. I know how strong you are and you will get through it, just as we will but know this I will miss you!

Please know if you need to talk I’m still here for you.



Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Best Bits

I haven’t written in awhile but the best bit about adoption for us has been the community of support.  How great is that no matter where in the world we live we are united by a common thread. It doesn't mean our stories are the same or that our adoptions are anything but unique unto themselves but we all benefit from others experience.

We are still waiting to adopt and because of the community I am more able to have more positive days than not.  Sure I still have those moments of frustration and anxiety but the community rallies round and lifts my spirits. It will happen for us and I hope to one day be that support and guidance from the other side of adoption just as many are to me now.

I will leave you with a picture of us having a blast with friend's in New York.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Open Adoption is....

O is for Openness of heart in considering your options.

P is for Pensive which means deep thought often occupied by sadness. 

E is for Expecting. You are expecting a child and are making the toughest choice for your child and yourself.  Counseling and support can help you understand all of your options.

N is the Negative Connotation which we should all debunk. Adoption is surrounded in the past negative association of closed adoptions but it doesn't have to be that way.  Open adoptions help us all grieve, heal and rejoice in the choice to have an Open adoption for the child.

A is for Acceptance.  We all have a different path when it comes to adoption and the acceptance of our circumstance for how we arrived is vital.

D is for Determination to make a plan and live by it but remembering “A” above.

O is for Observing our agreement to each other and maintaining our connection.

P is for Planning.  As an expectant mom you plan for your child and as hopeful adoptive parents we plan for when our dreams of a family become a reality.

T is for Triad.  That is the term used in open adoption consisting of the birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child(ren) adopted.

I is for Insecurity.  We are all insecure and unsure what the future holds but just knowing its normal and having support will help ease it during the process and after.

O is for Official.  Having that official match and placement is the beginning of an exciting new journey.  That’s not to say it is easy but it will be worth it.

N is for New.  New experiences, new emotions, new family.  I hold onto this more than anything.  I am looking forward to the day we can be a family to each other and hopefully that includes the birth family as well.