Category Archives: infertility, adoption

The Time is Coming

Woob has a baby in his belly.  Or so he says.  There have been babies absolutely in everyone’s bellies around here lately, so why not his too? 

Ah those dreaded conversations about where babies come from made all the more complicated by adoption: “Yes, Ms. Alice had a baby in her tummy and now is home taking care of her baby.  Cousin J. has a baby in her belly and will take that baby home and we’ll play with him.  No, little boys don’t get babies in their bellies.  No, Mommy doesn’t have a baby in her belly.  Oh, Mama N.?  Yes she has a baby in her belly.  Baby J. was in her belly, too, and so were you, once.” 

And from there it gets a little harder to explain. 

Keep it simple, keep it simple.  Breathe.  Keep it simple.

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Filed under adoption, birthparents, infertility, adoption, open adoption

What Could’ve Been / What Is

And here it is…my would’ve been due date.  It didn’t really sneak up on me, as its always kind of in the corner of my mind, but I haven’t really allowed it its full impact for awhile.  There will be time for that on my road trip this afternoon, if its going to get me today.  Its hard to believe that nine months have passed…

And as always, within this space of time, life has gone on in so many ways.  Friends and co-workers have gone on to adopt, become pregnant, give birth to children.  Just today, an online friend is going in for a frozen egg transfer (fingers crossed, Emily!!).  I’m so happy for them all.  But when things like that fall so close to my own datelines, I can’t stop thinking about what it would be like to be going to the hospital today for a final checkup, or be in labor, or going in for a C-section.  I will always wonder what those things would have been like.  I don’t feel selfish about that, just feel like its a natural thing to do, to wonder, to daydream, to grieve. 

Of course, some things can make it a little harder along the way…recently me and Woob were out to eat with a close family member.  Woob was being a little stink.  Family member was chuckling and said, “Just think, if your IVF would have ‘taken,’ what you would have to deal with!”  Haha, yes, so very funny (NOT).  FYI–the IVF did ‘take,’ and for a short period of time, there was a baby, our baby, growing inside me.  It was very real.  And I would have taken the responsibility very seriously.  And we would have been just fine, thank you.  Financially strapped and sleep deprived and irritable and happy and fulfilled.  Just fine.  People just don’t think sometimes. 

There was a time when I would’ve tried to keep the infertility stuff on the other blog, but its long since been abandoned and unloved.  And I realize that the infertility stuff and the adoption stuff are so interrelated, that its silly to separate them right now. 

Like the other people in my life, things are moving forward for N. as well. As I was approaching my never-to-be-realized due date last week, I found out that we will, in fact be adding to our extended family once again.  N. is expecting.  SOON.  Woob will again be a big brother to a little sister.  The little girls will be almost exactly one year apart.  We had been so out of touch lately, and when I found out the news I immediately panicked about the whole situation with the baby’s dad (outlined in a password protected post).  Once I was able to get more info, the panic melted away, and I’m in a better place with it.  And I’m also relieved in another way.  I initially was having trouble deciphering whether my feelings about this pregnancy were my own jealousy, grief, etc., spilling out onto N.  Overall, I don’t think so.  Once I learned that N. and babies would be safe and provided for, everything evened out for me.    Among other things related to adoption and infertility, both certainly lend themselves to a lot of second guessing about my own feelings and their origins, and it can get rather tiring.

So that’s the state of the union today…a baby that wasn’t to be, going alone on a road trip away from the baby I have, and a new baby on the way.

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Filed under adoption, birthparents, grief, infertility, adoption, motherhood, open adoption, reflection

Birthmother Letters–Tips to Consider

Hi folks!  No doubt if you’re not a regular reader of mine, then you got here quite by accident.  I’m willing to make an educated guess that you came to me through some google search trying to find sample letters to prospective birth mothers that you could use to then write your own.  Rarely do people find me when searching for “open adoption” or “parenting” or “grief and loss” or other adoption related topics…mostly “birthmother letters.”  Though that’s not generally what I do here, I’ll try to humor you and give you some tips.

I’m not a big fan of The Letter as it generally stands in adoption today.  I’ve written one before, and it wasn’t any fun and if I could do that part of the adoption again, I would probably write things differently and question things more.  The fact is, I’ve learned a lot since that first draft of the letter I agonized over. And honestly, the agency changed some of my very intentional wording before sending out the letter, so how much did it matter what I wrote?  (Just a note:  I wasn’t aware of that until they sent all my documents back to me after the adoption took place.  I was LIVID.  If that’s the way they want to play things, then they should just send out a form letter to every inquiring parent, and don’t put us through that, you know?)  So: 

Tip # 1:  Find out if your agency has a specific format/wording they want you to use in your profile and decide if you can live with it or not.  (Tip # 1a:  Find out if your agency is honest or not and if not, decide if you can live with it).

If you can live with moving forward, remember you get one page to write something that may impact a choice they make that will impact every part of their life for the rest of their life, the life of the child, the lives of all their families, and your own life.  (Er, um, no pressure, though). 

Tip #2:  Start with something other than “Dear Birthmother.”  Typically “birthmother ” is a term reserved for those mothers who have already relinquished their children, not those still carrying those children in their wombs.  Some of your readers may HATE the term “birthmother,” others may take that as a subtle cue that they are automatically expected to place.  And don’t forget, you may be speaking to a mother AND a father.   A simple “Hello” might serve you well here. 

Tip #3:  First decide what you want to include and what’s really important.  Is it in this first “contact” that you feel the need to include a description of your vacation home, or rather a description of your understanding that this decision isn’t already made (see Tip #2)?  Your “guarantee” of a college education and stable marriage, or your commitment to raise a child with the absolute most gentle and loving care you know how to give?  Perhaps let them see who you are first, then you can talk about what you hope to provide later.

Tip #4:  Write your letter in a way you’d want to be written to yourself.  What would you like to know if you were in their shoes.  Because, really, looking at my own life, it could have so easily been me sitting at a desk going over adoption profiles if just one. little. thing. had gone differently.  When I look at my son’s mother and myself at a similar age, we are separated by mere moments in decision making and timing and just plain dumb luck.  I’d be willing to bet other adoptive parents out there can say the same thing.

Tip #5:  Be honest.  Honest about yourself, your life, your relationships, your intentions.  Never promise anything you can’t guarantee, or anything you have no intention on following through with.  You may be able to wheedle out of answering to the first parent about those things, but you can bet you’ll have to answer to your children some day.  If your agency wants to “fluff up” the information a little bit, really question that whose best interest that would be in.

Tip #6:  Don’t make assumptions about the reader.  Statements like “I know this must be hard for you” or “this must be the hardest decision of your life,” although seemingly empathetic, imply that you can read their minds and hearts.  And though it probably is hard or the hardest decision, really if we haven’t lived it ourselves, there’s no way we can pretend to know (who knows?  Maybe the decision was EASY for them for certain reasons.  Or maybe the decision is being made for them).   A statement like “I can’t imagine the emotion and energy it takes to work towards this decision, and I hope you have good people around you to help you before you finally make it” would be a little less presumptuous and offer a more supportive tone.

Tip #7:  Please don’t tell your stories of heartbreak of infertility, miscarriage or other loss of a child in this letter.  Its your job to heal your heart, not the first parents’, and especially not the child’s.  Yes, those things are powerful and sad and unfair and have led you to this path of adoption, most likely.  I get that.  But you can bet that whatever situation she’s in that’s led her to think about adoption is also likely powerful and sad and unfair.  To expect a mother to lose her own child, even if it is her choice given whatever her circumstances may be, to fill the hole of your other lost child, is a little unfair.  And do you want her to place with you because she pities you or because she got to know the wonderful people that you are?  When the time comes for you to talk or meet, she’ll ask questions about what led you here, and you can talk about your experiences then.

Yeah, writing The Letter is hard.  And really, it probably should be.

If you were one of those hopeful adoptive parents that found me just searching for some help along your adoption journey, feel free to browse around awhile, whether it be looking at my posts or checking out my blogroll (which is still sadly not as complete as I’d like–I’m missing a bunch of my faves!), or going to my blogroll’s blogrolls.  You will read things you love, and read things that make you think, and read things that make you angry, and probably read a few silly things along the way, but I can guarantee you will learn some things that need to be learned, both for yourself, your future relationships, and for your children.

Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under adoption, infertility, adoption, open adoption, reflection

We’re Home–With a Vengeance

We got back into town Sunday afternoon.  How was your vacation, you might ask?  Well….Lovely, but stressful.  Beautiful scenery and weather, but no relaxation.  Wonderful beach house, but full of 16 of us.  Quick recap…left Friday morning with Woob and niece in tow.  God bless the inventor of laptops and DVDs.  The trip was loooong, but the kiddos were happy as long as something was playing.  In two days of travel there, about 16 hours in the car, Woob only slept about a half hour.  He was a trooper.  Once there, it only took one day before my brother in law put the smackdown (verbal) on my mom, thus setting the scene for a week of occasional drama, hurt feelings and side comments. Weee!  By day three, evening entertainment consisted of a rousing game of b**r pong by the grown ups after the kiddos had gone to bed.  By day four, my boy was becoming blonder and sporting a little tan.  He loved the sand, loved the water, loved the boogie board, loved the pool, and loved the lack of structure.  And just when we were starting to settle in, it was time to go home.  Woob got carsick before we were 3 minutes down the road, and as soon as we got him and the car cleaned up and on the road again, he got sick again.  We’ll just say the trip home was, er, a little more eventful than the trip over.

But because we’re adventurers, we timed Woob’s first day at the new daycare center for Monday.  You know, while his whole structure and world is upside down, lets throw in a few more challenges, right??  I gotta tell you, again, the Woob is a trooper like no other.  He had done so well with the change and getting back on schedule at home, it is amazing to me.  And it seems like over the past two weeks, somehow he’s older, talking more, more independent.  See, the new care center has expectations, far exceeding those that we have for our 2 year old.  “Family style dining” at lunch, the ability to make decisions about what to do next, learning to dress yourself, even if it means walking around for a while with two legs in one pants hole, weird things like cleaning up your own messes before you make a new one.  Something TOTALLY unheard of here…paint and fingerpaint, just sitting around for when you want to paint a picture on a whim.  Thats the kind of things that happen in the two’s room.  And get this…they’re already working on potty training.  He won’t touch it with a ten foot pole at home.  Every day he’s sat on the potty at least once there, and today’s report said that he sat on the potty this morning and WENT!  Um, he’s been going there for four days–What is going on in that crazy place?  By the time he moves to the three’s room, I’m sure he’ll be ready for his learner’s permit!

Work has been rather crazy as well, with phone calls, phone calls, projects, requests, catching up with what didn’t get done before I left and more short deadlines.  I’ll just add that I manage a staff of four.  Guess how many of them are currently expecting bouncing babies?  3 of the four, that’s how many.  I love them, I’m happy for them, I just don’t understand how infertiles become magnetic somehow with the whole pregnancy thing.  I’m fine with it in the big picture, but just got the news on the most recent one yesterday.  She’s due three weeks after my due date would have been.  Happy for them, sad for me.  I’ve had practice with that.

On the home front, we’ve entered the annual month of family reunions/graduation parties.  At least one per weekend for the next month.  One weekend we have three. Then in August we have a niece’s wedding in which P2R and Woob are both in it.  Its an outside ceremony one state over.  I hope J. doesn’t expect Woob to actually perform all his duties like it plays out in her mind, I just don’t think its realistic.  This weekend a nephew is coming in from CA.  He and his wife, whom we’ve met once, have never met Woob at all, so they’re excited to meet him and play with him.  They’ll be so surprised how be he is!  And handsome!

We haven’t spoken to N. lately.  She and C. both got jobs recently at a nearby factory and work second shift, so its hard for me to know when to call.  I have emailed and asked about a visit soon, but really it has to be totally in their court to deal with their particular schedule.  We’ll be happy to go there, as I know its easier for us to travel with Woob than for them to travel with Baby J.  Email is such a dodgy way to communicate for us, though, because they aren’t online in their home, and have to log on when they can elsewhere.  I miss her.  Woob is starting to talk about her.  If I say something about N, he’ll add on “And C?  And J?”  He knows they all go together.  We’ve always referred to her as “Mama N.” with him, and now I’m starting to talk about her growing him in her belly and her being his birthmama, hoping he’ll be getting more specific messages about their relationship.

So.  I’m at the point where I could really use a vacation from my vacation, but its not going to happen.  For now I’ll hold tight to the beachy pictures I took, and do some visualization exercises when I get the chance.  Hoping it’ll hold me over till the next time.

 

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Filed under adoption, birthparents, infertility, adoption, open adoption, things that make me smile

Closer to Outta Here

Hi, Friends!  I’ve been pretty MIA on my writing, but still here, behind the scenes living and reading about your lives and commenting here and there.  The spring weather has finally hit so we spend so much more time outside in the evening and at lunch times so there’s been less time for writing.  But I’m here mulling things over…still always mulling.  And enjoying my boy who amazes me every day in exploration of new words, phrases, activities and imagination.  And procrastinating on the whole packing thing. 

We are less than 48 hours away from our departure to this small paradise in Outer Banks, and I haven’t yet packed even the smallest bottle of sunscreen.  I work late tonight and a full day tomorrow, so Thursday night will have to be my time to bust it full force and get it done.  I am SOOO looking forward to the trip!  But I am SOOO not looking forward to the long drive to the coast.  M*pquest estimates the trip to take about 14 hours.  I’m sure M*pquest doesn’t add in time for traveling with non-potty trained, wiggly toddler boys.  We do plan to stay overnight somewhere on Friday night, and we will be blessed with the assistance of my 10 year old niece in the back seat.  My sister and her family as well as my mom and dad are all driving STRAIGHT THROUGH.  We may be crazy, but we’re not stupid, so it will be a two-legged trip for us both ways.  Any advice for this kind of trip would be welcome, as the longest we’ve ever traveled by car with Woob is a few hours.  And you may remember what the plane ride to and from Boston was like last year…

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For my Catholic friends/readers (and even those of you who aren’t), I’ve got a new favorite non-adoption-related blog is www.asksistermarymartha.blogspot.com.  She answers questions about Catholicism, her life, just about anything and puts everything into perspective with stories and her own brand of wit and wisdom.  I have been in tears laughing a few times as I looked through some of the archives.  (Storkwatcher:  a special note to you–she knows all the patron saints and their stories!!)

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Tomorrow is Woob’s last day at J’s daycare, and although he is totally oblivious to that fact, we are all feeling rather sad about it.  In honor of his last day, the group is taking a field trip to the zoo and McDonalds if it doesn’t rain.  I won’t be able to go, but Papa2Roo will be along for the fun.  I’m trying to think of an appropriate gift for J. but am seriously running out of time!  Any suggestions are welcome here as well!

We have been able to take Woob twice to spend lengthy periods of time phasing into the new child care center, which is awesome.  P2R took him one day for about an hour and a half and I did the same last Friday.  In between times, P2R has been taking him after daycare each day to the new center’s playground.  Hopefully it won’t be such a big shock when we leave him there on that first day…I know its probably worse for us than for him.  I don’t know if there’s anything we could do differently to help smooth the transition.  Change is hard.

Some of you are curious about how I handled the adoption information on our care center paperwork.  I looked for openings to talk with the care providers one to one, there were always little eyes and ears around.  It seemed like more of an “office” conversation to me.  After about a week I finally wrote on the form something to the likes of “Woob was adopted at birth and we maintain an open adoption with his first family, which means we all keep in contact often through visits, mail, etc.  He has a little sister who lives with his first family as well.  You may hear him refer to his first family.  Any/all discussion or questions regarding this should be directed to us–we are happy to help educate staff about adoption in general, and Woob’s story as necessary in relation to his care.”  Probably could’ve done better, could’ve done worse…

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Woob is starting to do such cute things…really into the whole pretending about puppydogs.  Either he is one or he is talking to one all the time.  He pants and barks and sits.  He pretends his french fries are bones and tries to whistle and say “here, boy!  A bone!” 

He tried to feed the neighbor’s cat some rocks the other day…”Here Targer (Tiger).  Bite this rock.  Eat it!”  “Targer” was less than excited about the prospect of rocks for lunch, but is a pretty good sport when it comes to being chased around by the Woob.  Our own cat won’t have anything to do with him and hides during waking hours.  So Woob has claimed Targer for his own, and we are not allowed to pet him because “Targer is MY kitty cat.  MY Kitty.”  Oh, we have reached the age of “MINE,” and what fun we are having with that…heh.

He can sing along all the words to Mary Had a Little Lamb (all the verses!), Happy Birthday, and that blasted “Life is a Highway” song from Cars.  He wants that one on the radio EVERY. Morning. in the car.  Over. And. Over.

I never really pictured “two” as this much fun and this adorable.  Not that we don’t have our moments…but still, really, really cute.  I love him with everything I have inside me.

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Happy day!  As soon as we get back from our trip, I will be shipping my unopened IVF meds to a cyberfriend of mine.  As I told her, just seeing it in the fridge every day as I grab a Coke, really pisses me off, especially since I received the bill for it the day I found out I was losing the pregnancy.  I want it gone.  She’s getting a deal (and hopefully a BFP!!) and I’ll be able to replenish a tiny bit of my bank account.  I totally suck for charging anything at all, but did I mention that bank account??  You know, the empty one??

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I just ordered makeup from the deal that TGM posted, and I can’t wait til the shipment comes!! It’ll be like Christmas morning at my house!  I may not even be done ordering yet.  Check it out if you haven’t yet!

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A post I want to write refers back to Nicole’s question about do you want your open adoption relationships to be more like houseguests or family, which piggy backs onto TGM’s question about what would be your ideal open adoption.  I need time to think about them both together and make intelligent words come out the other side, but both of those girls keep me thinking with their posts.  If you don’t read them, please ask yourself, “why, why don’t I read those blogs?”  And then answer yourself by shooting over there and doing so.

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I just read “The Secret Life of Bees,” remembering Jenna’s post last year.  A good, quick read.  Touches on lots of adoption related issues, though its not a book about adoption:  loss of mother, loss in general, grief, depression, exploration of “family,” race, etc.  The bonus is you get to learn a little about bees and keeping them along the way.  No real review here, but just wanted you to know it was a good one if you were looking for some summer reading that wasn’t trashy romance.

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Hi HeatherPNR!  Thanks for checking in on me.  Its nice to be thought of 🙂

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So there you have it!  Random?  Yes!  But it felt good to just keep the conversation going with you all out there!

 

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Filed under adoption, birthparents, infertility, adoption, mamahood, not much, open adoption, things that make me smile

Its Over

Blood levels going down, down, down.

Only have to stay at work four more hours before I can go home and behave adequately depressed the way I feel.

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Filed under adoption, infertility, infertility, adoption, ivf

Physically and Emotionally Exhausted

Too much has been happening too fast over the past several weeks, and my head is in a whirl and my body just feels tired.  

My second blood test yesterday wasn’t what they’d hoped it would be numbers-wise.  I have to do another one first thing tomorrow morning.  In the meantime, I’ve been pre-grieving the loss of this pregnancy, even before its definitely lost, and am shocked at how hard its hitting me.  Meanwhile, I’m having to show up at work fresh-faced and professional with my co workers, who are finding out the genders of their babies, coming to work with morning sickness, and all of that.  Let’s do the time-warp, shall we?  I mean, isn’t this the same thing I could’ve typed many, many years ago??  but what can I say?  I invited this into my life by initiating IF treatment.

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We visited with Woob’s first family Sunday.  He got to visit with his mom and her boyfriend (who he LOOOOOVES), and meet his pretty new baby sister, who he isn’t really interested in or disturbed by one way or another.  He also got to see his grandparents, and was charming towards them.  His grandma was especially melted I think, and told me what a good job I was doing with him.  I don’t know if she was reassuring me as a parent, or herself as possibly someone who influenced her daughter’s decision to place (???).  Who knows.  Either way, my boy was sooooo good all day including in the car 2+ hours both ways.  I was so proud of him.  I do wish me and N. could have more time just to ourselves, because Woob is so drawn to C. that I think she gets ripped off in that department.  And I never get to talk to her about anything of substance…I worry that we might never.  I don’t even know what specifically that substantive topic would be, but just that there isn’t the opportunity to do it.

And I was proud of myself, because I made this trip by myself.  DH was off on a golf outing for four days.  Probably another reason why I feel so exhausted and irritable.  I need a break.

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I haven’t had my hair cut in eons, my house is a total disaster, and my laundry is as piled up as it can get…clean, but piled up.  I’m wondering what in the world I was thinking, believing I had the energy to raise another baby…

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Pray for my blood test tomorrow that it was just a flukey kind of thing–though rare, I hear these things happen.

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Filed under adoption, birthdays, birthparents, faith, grief, growing family, infertility, adoption, open adoption