Friday, February 26, 2010

Aaaaah, that's better!

So in the past hour and a half I:

-Wrote an angsty blog post.
-Check my email, FB and local mom-to-mom forum several times.
-Checked Perez Hilton even more times.
-Lay my head on my arms while the baby shrieked and tried not to shriek myself.
-Almost fell asleep doing so but realized I'd probably sleep through preschool pick up, and with the phone upstairs I wouldn't hear his teachers calling, and also I'm the only one with a carseat so my mom would have to drive over here and physically wake me up in order to make me go get my son, and then I'd have to rush over, apologize profusely, and then I'd get charged a late fee for being so late and that would suck, so I kept myself awake OMG.
-Had another cup of coffee. Obviously ^
-Updated FB.
-Refilled the bird feeder.
-Took some trash and recycling out, which is good since it's pick up day.
-Took the compost out and grumbled the whole time about it. Wasn't this Nik's job? Why have I done it 3 weeks in a row?
-Cleaned two toilets.
-Prepared P's sandwich and pills, and actually remembered to take my own pills ON TIME!
-And probably some other stuff too. Dunno. It's all hazy, like my vision and head and stuff.

And I've been nursing the baby for like half an hour now. He kept walking up to scream for 5 minutes then going back to sleep. He was all covered in tears when I picked him up :( He's been sleeping like an angel at the breast for 30 minutes and I'll let him sleep until 5 minutes before I have to leave, when I'll change his dipe, plop him in the car, then attempt to not worry too much about him shrieking his head off all the way to Paxton's preschool as he repeatedly drops his favorite toy on the floor again and again, until he drops it on the side next to the door and I can't reach it and then it's aaaaaalll hell, OMG.

Coffeecoffeecoffeecoffee... need more coffee!!!! Haha!


It was, apparently the eye of the storm. Damn.

And here I sit at 10:17 am on a very cold, very windy Friday, awake for over 7 hours now after 5ish hours of very broken sleep that involved getting up twice and being woken up even more. I'm beyond sleep deprived.

And the baby? He fell asleep at 9:30 for his 10am nap then woke up at 9:45 and has been shrieking for the past half hour.

He'd be sleeping if I put him in a sling and walked him around. But I just can't do it. So he's in his baby swing, within ear and eyeshot, shrieking his head off while I struggle to even sit up straight.

Sorry, baby, I just can't do this mom thing today. I'll nurse you at feeding time, I'll pick up your brother from preschool, I won't yell or scream or anything bad, but I'm not going to put you in a baby sling and walk in this freezing cold for an hour or pace the hall while my shoulders start to ache more and more. Even standing is a bit much right now. We're going on like 6 weeks of 4-5 hours a night of highly broken sleep most every night. If it was 4-5 hours straight I might be okay. As is? I'm not. And seeing as how I'm not a martyr mom I refuse to push myself past my limits. So sorry. Sorry you get to cry it out in a baby swing. But mommy is tired and cranky too and there's literally only so much I can do. And yes, it makes me cry that you're crying. And it sucks. For both of us. I'm sorry. I wish I could be perfect for you :(


Can the day just end now?

Can we just get to a point where he actually sleeps now? Like, ever?

Latest thing? Being awake all the time. 1-2 hour naps are now down to 15-20 minutes. 1.5-2 hour wake ups at nights are up to every hour or more. And 5-15 minutes awake is translating to 30-45 minutes of active wake time, or more screaming. He went from sleeping like 18 hours a day to sleeping considerably less and now he's acting sleep deprived as well.

And if I hear ONE MORE person complain about:
-Being up by (God Forbid!) 6:30 am (seems like heaven!)
-Being woken up only twice by kids who went right back to sleep
-Having a baby sleep for "only" 45 minutes straight
I think I'm going to scream. Maybe I'll scream anyways.

People really don't know how lucky they have it, do they?

(Of course, then I have to acknowledge that many people have it worse than me... Poor people!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The light at the end? Or the eye of the storm?

When it comes to our sleepless nights that is.

Ambrose has changed so much recently, and while I know that's to be expected the past couple weeks have brought about some very welcome changes. He's much more giggly and social, very happy and bubbly. And patterned! So very patterned!

His days remain the same pattern pretty much. His nights too have settled into a pattern. Right now 24 hours in our home looks like this:

(__) = optional

12:30 am - fuss briefly, back to sleep
2:30 am - big fuss, move to rocking chair.
4am - small meal, back to bed
(4:30-5:30 am wake up and go downstairs with Ambrose)
6am - Ambrose up,prilosec, mommy back to sleep
6:30 am - Ambrose asleep
7:30 am - Ambrose awake, mommy awake, feeding
8 am - daddy goes to work
9 am - leave to take Paxton to school
10 am - Ambrose nap, usually while mommy takes a walk
11 am - Feeding
(11 am - 12 pm - lightish nap)
12 pm - leave to pick up Paxton
1 - 1:30 pm - nap in bouncy seat while mommy eats lunch
2 - 2:30pm (depending on when he goes down for nap) - feeding and prilosec
4 - 4:30 pm - Ambrose nap in sling
5:30 pm - Ambrose up, feeding, dinner for mom and Paxton (I usually prepare dinner while he's asleep in the sling)
6 pm - daddy's home! Sometimes we wait till 6 for dinner, but it means no bath for Paxton
6:05 pm - Paxton bath, sometimes Ambrose bath too
6:30 pm - Paxton in bed, lights out, Ambrose bath if he didn't have it earlier
6:45-7 pm - Ambrose asleep in arms or bouncy chair
9 pm - Mommy in bed, prilosec, Ambrose feeding
(9 pm till 9:30 pm - Ambrose up and highly active before conking out again)
11 pm - fussy time, rocked by daddy

Obviously our weekends are a bit different, but Ambrose is pretty much on schedule even if we aren't.

We've started utilizing a couple of strategies from the No Cry Sleep Solution to help Ambrose sleep better at night. I'm not sure if it's working yet but at least we know we have a set schedule, so we know what we're dealing with here. That makes it all seem much more do-able!

Our first "step" has been to separate feeding or sucking and falling asleep. Nursing at night wasn't stopping the fussy phases anyway (though I always offer the breast first and typically wake up nursing him), and it's easier on both of us this way. For me, I can have him sleep someplace other than my arms. For him, he's allowed a slow, groggy wake up while tanking up and is then both rested and full at the same time, leading to a super giggly, happy, alert baby for a longer stretch of time. So that's working very well.

I'm not sure what our next step will be, though I was quite impressed last night. He had his 12:30 wake up around 1am and all I did was rub his tummy, almost without thinking, and he fell back asleep laying on his back in bed! Didn't work at 2am, though.

And ever since that nightmare I've been very fond of sleeping in the rocking chair with him, though I'm making it a point to rock for shorter periods of time. It's annoying to try to remember a goal at 2:30 am when you've already been up a couple times but I think it's working. In fact, some nights he's already asleep in my arms before I get to the chair! And I'm working on taking him to the rocking chair instead of taking him downstairs if he's up at 5am, just to keep from having to turn on a bright light. If he's not going to wake Paxton up it doesn't matter (so if P is already up or A is being quiet, we'll hang out in the rocker).

I don't know for certain, but I think he's sleeping better, and I think I too am sleeping better just knowing what to expect. When I wake up to him fussing, look at the clock and see that it's the same time as the last 20 nights I just kind of shrug my shoulders and roll with it.

If nothing else works, he'll eventually grow out of it anyway... hopefully!


On another note, I'm awful. Well, not tooooo awful, but just a little. I can't wait to try solids! And Ambrose is so interested! So I let him chew on some boiled/gooey organic baby carrots through a mesh baby feeder yesterday. Today I picked up some organic bananas and organic unsweetened apple sauce (only ingredient is organic apples). My goal of course isn't to feed the tummy but rather to feed the interest. Ambrose wants to try out our food so badly! Even if he doesn't swallow anything it doesn't really matter right now. If nothing else it's a safe "toy" to experience taste and texture. And I'm excited! After his 2 - 2:30 pm feeding I'm going to let him have a baby-spoon full of applesauce to try. I can't wait. I'm sure it will be soooo messy!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Well, patooties!

Here I was just thinking to myself "wow, I haven't had a clogged duct in ages!" and then... bam! One on each side no less! Ugh. Hate these! It would be easier if Ambrose were still willing to nurse for hours but now whenever he decides he's done he gives me a "parting shot" in the form of a nip then pulls off. Real sweet, right?

We just got back from a trip to Chapel Hill. My complaints about long, boring weekends where I rarely leave the house left an impression on my sweet husband who decided to actually do something about it. Hooray!

And now it's time to do the laundry. Not so excited about that... but I have a tooooon of diapers to wash, yesterday's laundry still in the dryer to put away, and I soooo need a shower which I'll be able to get somewhere in between.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

"No, don't take a picture mommy!"

"Heeheehee! Now... don't take another one! Or another! Or another!"

Silly boy!

Some of the fun things we've heard come out of li'l P's mouth recently:

When he eats he gets bigger, and one day he'll be so big that he'll be tall, tall up to the sky like a tree, and then he'll be sad because trees are so tall they can't see very well, and so they can't walk anywhere, so he'll just have to stand there and be tall and sad.

When he pees on a tree at the park (the restrooms are locked for the winter and I can only ask so much of a 4 year old) his pee is helping the tree get bigger and taller up to the sky. This tree is, oddly enough, not sad.

He wants to make bubbles, or rather one gigantic bubble, that will go up to the sky and make it rain.

He wants to be a girl when he grows up, so he can have earrings and a chin (as opposed to a beard or mus-tat-ches).

He tells "jokes" now, saying things like "Miss Lisa (his teacher) is not at school! She's at our house playing with our toys!" When I respond with "oh, really? Well that sounds like fun!" he laughs and replies "silly mommy, it was a joke!"

He's greeted me at the top of the stairs before early in the morning with a big hug. I was downstairs rocking the baby and he was up already. "I took off my yucky diaper and put on pants and underpants. Aren't you proud of me?" has to be my favorite. And I was proud.

"I can't do it" is, however, my least favorite and has been around far too long in my opinion. Ugh. "Time to get dressed" is responded to with "no, I can't do it!" Same with "time to make your bed, time to clean up, time to take your clothes off and get in the tub" etc....

Oh, and tonight we went out for dinner. Nik's D&D night. It was a horrible mistake as Paxton was thrown off schedule by the weekend and missed his nap, so he was overtired and just plain awful tonight and I was overstressed with him and an off schedule baby. But even so there were some cute moments. Especially his new fascination with pepper. He covered his ice cream in it. Oh, the look on that boy's face when he finally took a bite... priceless!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Sometimes it feels like someone up there is looking out for me, and sending me little hints and reminders. A coincidence here or there, a certain something happening at the right time to cause something else, that sort of thing. For example, this past Monday we had a dentist appointment for Paxton which I didn't remember, and ultimately ended up missing. But they had a thing about cavities and brushing your teeth on Sesame Street, leading to several discussions about teeth and teeth care all day. Now the fact that we were sitting around, watching TV and eating M&Ms together while we were supposed to be at the dentist... that was a mistake. But my own mistake. And seriously, it felt like I was being sent reminders all day. I just, you know, didn't listen.


But I'm listening loud and clear to the reminder I got a couple days ago.

I was up around 2am. Again.

No doubt about it, we have a fussy, colicky baby. He's been up several times a night for about a month now, fussing and screaming and flailing and having huge fits (all in our arms, being rocked or bounced or nursed) until finally succumbing to sleep several minutes (or an hour) later. It's... rough, to say the least. And my position on Crying it Out has certainly been tested, though I highly doubt it would work. Dude, if crying it out in our arms isn't working how would crying it out in a crib be successful? But on the other hand, if he's just going to scream and scream and scream anyway... and we're just so tired...

So there I was, around 2 am, up for not-the-first-time that night and rocking and bouncing and hushing, all after nursing (he lets me know that he won't nurse by biting, hard). I gave up. Not the first time, by a long shot, but still... I sat down in the rocking chair and just let him scream as I slowly rocked us both to sleep. I can't recall if I'd had the brain power necessary to remember to throw a blanket over my legs or not. I also can't recall him finally giving in to much needed rest, and I certainly don't recall falling asleep myself.

But I do remember the dream.

Or, rather, the nightmare.


Nik and I were, well, Nik and I. We looked different, but we were us. And we had our sons, and our friends and family, and that weird dream-mall I go to a lot (I must have an innate fascination with malls). We were in the process of adopting a girl. And in the dream we did adopt a little girl. Her name was S__ and she's a girl I know in real life. In the dream I knew there was something fishy about her adoption and it was finally revealed, a little ways into the dream, that she had been kidnapped and sold to us (by another couple from our adoption agency no less). We, of course, helped to reunite her with her mother and worked to arrest the couple who'd harmed everyone. We were good people, in our dream.

So good, in fact, that when the dream-police said that they'd discovered that Ambrose had also been kidnapped and would have to be returned, we agreed. Without a thought. In the dream we started the process of disassociating ourselves from him, packing his stuff, letting people know, etc.

And then... it hit me.

We were returning him. Returning our son. We were saying good bye and likely never seeing him again. We were returning him like a sweater or expired candy. And it was the law and we had to do it and there was no choice, not a one. We had to do it.

And suddenly this influx of emotions...

My God, I've never been through a disrupted adoption but if that's even a portion of the emotions you'd go through I can only imagine...

Dream me had it rough. I nursed him, in the dream (possibly in real life, can never be sure) and sobbed onto him knowing that I'd been nursing him for over 4 months and that didn't mean a damn thing, that wouldn't stop the inevitable. And the image of his peaceful, sleeping face kept flashing up, and new dream-tears and new tears at the heart because, Oh My God, he's leaving, we're taking him back, and there's nothing we can do.

It was... horrific. Horrible. Horrendous. It was just plain awful.

And then... it was over


I woke up around 3:30am. No idea when I'd actually fallen asleep, same with him. But there we were, just the two of us, in the still, dark quiet of the early morning hours. I wasn't cold, not like I should have been sitting near the huge front window on a February night. I was being heated by a very small, very peaceful little body. Ambrose was wrapped up safely in my arms, head nestled into my chest, just as calm and angelic as can be.

And, my God, I loved him then. Loved him somehow more than I'd loved him before. And, no, I didn't think that was possible.

I hugged him and kissed the top of his head and then stood up and took him back to bed with me, for another hour or so before he was up again.

But I wasn't as upset about it this time. And I haven't been as upset about it these past couple days. Because he's here and he's staying here and I'd much, much rather he be here and us be up all night than not be here at all.

Sometimes it takes an emotional kick in the gut to remind me of what really matters (Sleep? Or the baby causing the lack of sleep?) and I'm truly, truly thankful for this. I love this loud, flaily, anti-sleeping little person with all my heart (that isn't reserved for his father, brother, and future sibling(s)), and I'm so grateful to have him in my life...

And here's hoping I never have a dream like that again!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I got some a couple days ago! It was awesome!

Now for the rest of the last month...

So Ambrose is knee deep in the "4 month sleep regression." Or a growth spurt. Or teething. Or reflux worse than we thought. Or he's possessed. Iunno.

But it seems to be getting better, at least during the day.

I had decided that at 4 months I'd start trying to schedule him, and begin a bit of my version of sleep training. A thus I give you... Our Schedule!

5:45am: Prevacid and nursing. This is wake up.
6:45-7am: Sleep
8am: Wake up and nurse.
10am: Sleep
11am: Wake up and nurse.
1pm: Sleep
2pm: Wake up and nurse. Prevacid
4pm: Sleep
5pm-5:30pm: Wake up and nurse.
7pm: Sleep.
9pm: Wake up and nurse. Prevacid
9:30pm: Conk out "for the night."
Midnight: Nurse
3am: Nurse

You can probably add to that
11pm: resist sleeping anyplace but Daddy's arms and throw a royal fit.
12pm: nurse for 5 minutes then scream Holy terror for an hour and half.
4:30-5:15am: Fuss and cry until Mommy takes baby downstairs and puts him back to sleep in his bouncy seat while she stares blankly at a computer screen and tries to remember where she is and how she got there and OMG is is seriously 4:47am? Why am I downtstairs??? Well, at least the baby is asleep...

So yeah, those are our days right now. I'm still heading to bed by 10pm, which stinks. I miss my evenings!

On the plus side...

-He's fallen asleep twice today in his baby swing.
-He'll fall asleep in a bucket seat (currently only set up for use for Nik's car) and can be transferred easily without waking.
-He's allowing far more time for us to do things without holding him, so I can "leave" him with toys and put the dishes away without him screaming.
-We can anticipate his moods and needs now.
-He's falling asleep much quicker and without too much hassle.

So, we're a work in progress. But we're getting there! I have high hopes that starting solids in a couple months will help too :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bitterness and Attachment Issues

No, there's nothing new to complain about. Other than him reverting to "angry Paxton" during the few days we were snowed in, he's been pretty great. In fact, adorable, enjoyable, and generally fun to be around. We've actually been enjoying being his parents considerably since he started school. That's not to say we ever disliked being his parents, or that we had any regrets following his adoption, but things have certainly been easier around here. And thus, we're mapping out the next few years with school or camps to keep him occupied. The benefit, to the whole family, is tremendous and I somewhat wish we'd done it sooner (though I'm really not sure he would've been ready for it...).

All that aside...

It's been on my mind lately that bitterness and a child's attachment issues go hand in hand. I read many, many blogs (most of which I've never commented on) and most of them pertain to adoption. So many people have adopted an older child or children, domestically or internationally, and many of them have experienced attachment issues.

And every single time they do, you can sense the bitterness in their writing.

Sometimes it's blatant, with them openly expressing resentment toward the children they're working so hard to parent. Sometimes it's subdued, with only exasperation being allowed into their words. Sometimes it's nearly hidden, but a comment here or there allows you to peek behind the happy facade and see the truth within.

And the truth is... it's hard.

Very, very, very hard.

You work and you wait and you hope and you pray that you and your child will find each other and everything will work out such that you can be joined as a family. And you read and talk and prepare so much. You educate yourself on everything, including attachment, just in case. And then, you're finally together and suddenly there are issues. They may be minor, they may be major. They might be constant, temporary, or recurring. They could be bad, very bad. So many people I know have brought home a RAD child. They could be minor, to the point that others will wonder why you even consider it an issue.

We're in the latter category, thankfully. And yet, it was still so hard. Hard enough that the thought of living with a child who does have bad attachment issues instead of just anxious attachment... well, I'm not sure I could live with that.

There were times with Paxton where I was literally scared OF him, scared not only of the type of person he was seemingly turning into but of the "little beast" he was. Scared to pick him up since it usually resulted in him head butting, biting my nose, punching my eyes, etc. Scared to hug him since he'd pinch and scratch and kick. Scared to go shopping since he'd either run away when not in the cart or bite and pinch my hands while in the cart. Scared to put him down to bed because it usually involved a lot of violence and screaming bloody terror for at least an hour. Scared, scared, scared. And it seemed to never end, no matter what form of discipline I tried (up until we tried physical discipline).

On top of the violence there was the fear, the screaming for anyone but me. And the anger. And the defiance, Lordy the defiance!!! Stubborn as a rock that one.

But it's gotten better, loads better, and he's truly 99.999% normal 4 year old boy now.

And yet... I remember it all too well. The wait, the anticipation, the preparation, the tears of both sorrow and joy, and finally the big meeting and bringing him home only to be followed by... well, you just read about it. And there's a bit of bitterness there. I'm a bit bitter about it, even now. And I hate that.

And for those people dealing with RAD kids, with harming other children or smearing feces or acting out sexually, I can guess that the bitterness is even worse.

We work our butts off just to get these kids home, work our butts off to raise them, and then we're rewarded with this? With them not wanting to attach to us?

Sometimes it's enough to make me scream.

But then I sit down and think rationally about it.

I think about the choices made, and who made them, and I know I, personally, can't (or shouldn't) complain.

You see, we chose this. We chose to adopt a child of a certain age. We chose to adopt at all. We accepted his referral. And we chose to get on that plane and bring him home. We also chose to not seek help, thinking that it "wasn't that bad" or it "was normal".

What did Paxton choose?


He didn't choose his birth history. He didn't choose to be orphaned. He didn't choose to be moved around then separated from his first family. He didn't choose to be adopted. He didn't choose to come to the US.

He didn't get a choice in anything. We had all the choices.

And yet, still, some days I do blame him for how rough that first year was. Fair? No, not at all. But human. A human reaction.

I'm working on it :)

And I'm working on emptying myself of the bitterness I once held and sometimes still hold, and working toward being more relaxed and realizing that I'm no longer parenting a damaged child, but a real, happy, functional, loving little boy who's very, very normal.

And even if he wasn't, it would still be my choice to parent him, my choice to love him, my choice to be there for him his whole life. And it's a choice I don't regret in the least. Even if sometimes I probably sound like I do :)


Paxton will wake up soon. Silly boy, he got to have his daddy help out in school today. That means he got to ring the bell for clean up, use a pointer during circle time to point to the words on the chalkboard, and wear a cape to be the "weather wizard" and let everyone in class know how the weather was outside. He came home super excited. As soon as he walked in the door he screamed, "Mommy, SURPRISE!" I don't know what was supposed to be surprising but whatever :)

Oh, and yesterday was the 8th anniversary of Nik and my first date :) We got to go out. Nik got me flowers, which I discovered once I got to the car. I brought them in and carelessly left the bouquet on the shelf last night. This morning Paxton found them and brought them to me, screaming out, "I love you mommy! Here's some flowers for you!" Such a sweetie pie :)


Ambrose is in "baby time out" right now. He doesn't have teeth yet but he's trying his damnedest to bite my nipples off. Little nut. Hurts like a witch too. So I put him on the ground and said, firmly, "no, hurts mommy!" He smiled and laughed. *Sigh* Now he's in his Bumbo babbling to himself while I recover in front of the computer. I wish I could somehow effectively communicate that clamping down, twisting and yanking your head back will not get you anything good. Ugh. My boys.

Friday, February 5, 2010

That homeschooling thing...

Doesn't look like it will be happening. At least with Paxton. At least anytime soon. If there's anything the past month (and especially this past snow-day filled week) has shown us it's that there is a MAJOR difference in his personality when he goes to school. Like, MAAAAJOOOOOR. Like, "OMG, who is this adorable little angel child and what did you do with my real kid?" Though to be fair it's not like I've never seen this side of his personality before. In fact, pre-Ambrose it was becoming very common for him to act like this around me most of the week and only play the role of "cute but annoying little butt" on the weekends.

I'm not entirely sure why it's such a big change, but I know it is. To the point that I rushed around to find something to do this summer when school is out because, OMG, I could NOT take a summer of that nastiness! The rudeness, defiance, anger, sometimes-violence, sadness and outright totally buttishness was just too much over the course of this week. And then... yesterday he went to school for 2 hours and my little angel came back. Yup, we need school.

So we'll be registering him for preschool again next fall, and spending over $1K to send him to a half day summer camp, 5 days a week, for 10 weeks this summer, at the kids museum we frequent (like, near daily... c'mon, my kid is on the membership brochure, does it really surprise anyone that we're on a first name basis with the staff or people drop what they're doing to come talk to us?). If my quick, sleep deprived calculations are correct this means that we'll have no more than 1 week off straight. There will be several (maybe 4?) weeks off, of course, but that's fine. I can handle a week I think, especially if I know in advance.

We're going to keep an eye on the new Magnet program at the elementary school in our neighborhood. If the test scores go up this year and next then I don't think I'd feel bad sending P there. I mean, seriously, it takes us like 20 minutes to walk there at child speed. And I can play in the park with Ambrose for a bit, or even both of them, around drop off/pick up times. It's entirely convenient for us. AND the new Magnet program focuses on science and mathematics, two things at which P is shaping up to be quite good (for his age).

Fingers crossed that the new program works out!!!

As for homeschooling... still a possibility for Ambrose, and still a possibility for Paxton when he's older. We'll see! And I'm always, always, always going to supplement their education and be involved. I want my boys to be educated, dernit!!!


There are 3 big possibilities for baby #3 right now: Ethiopia, Democratic Republic of Congo, and domestic USA. So, uuuuhhhh.... yeah. I'm info gathering right now. The big thing is if we pick a program that takes 18 months we want to start soon.

Aside from the gender thing, there's something that's struck me again, and has struck me each time, and will probably strike me forever even though I tend to forget about it when things are said and done: Adoption is FLIPPING EXPENSIVE!!!!

I mean, yeah, we were able to afford it debt free twice now, in our early-to-mid twenties, on one income with almost no savings pre-process. Total miracles I say.

The first time around, we had a family "donation" of $5K (called the "make me a grandma dammit!" fund), $3K given from unused vacation when NIk left a job, $3K from tax refund as we'd gotten married and I wasn't working, $8K saved up over 5 months of seeeerious budgeting that was just hell on me, and another $5K from Nik's new (then) job, adoption assistance that Nik had written into his contract.

The second time around we had the tax credit. Well, more convoluted, we used the tax refund and $$ left over to buy a bigger house to support more kids (and to be in a safer, quieter, more diverse neighborhood). Then we had no $ but did a HS anyway bringing us down to just hundreds in savings. Like $400 around Christmas. Scary. Then, after 7 loooooong months, the house sold. And Nik lost his job. BUT, but but but, they gave him severance. And he started to work before severance ran out. And he made a lot extra as a contractor. And Cobra was cheaper than we thought (Thanks Obama!). And his new job gave more $$. And we got the tax refund back. So we went from $400 to like $20,000+ in savings in a couple months. Crazy!

The third time around...

We won't be able to use the tax credit next year, if there even is a tax credit to take (ohpleaseohpleaseohpleeeeease!). Paxton's has pretty much run out, Ambrose hasn't been with us long enough and isn't finalized. So we'll have a child credit (for only 1 kid) of $1K and that's it.

So... we'll have to see how things go. We do have some $ left over but not nearly enough to complete an adoption. Start and adoption? Yes. But we'll need another $20K to bring home baby #3.

Again, this is why 18 months might be useful. I'm wondering now if I can find some "on the side" job (especially one internet based since I'm sitting here nursing so frequently) that will help bring in some $. We'd need to put away an extra $1K/mo really, though I know money comes in fits and starts (or at least has in the past). I'm... not sure how we'll manage it.

But I wasn't sure how we'd manage it the other 2 times and things eventually fell into place and it just... happened. And, obviously, no regrets on this end!

So we'll have to see... and I'll have to maybe get off my butt and try to find actual, real, worth-it internet jobs :) If any exist!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

And so it (kinda, sorta) begins

In the past couple days I've sent out two "information gathering" emails to adoption agencies or services. Setting up a call with one, perusing the information sent by another. Right now we're just starting to research our options for #3. We could always save up and wait until early '11 then adopt domestically again through ACH. But part of me feels a pull out of the country again... and I'm trying to narrow that down. So I've contacted one service that facilitates adoptions from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and an agency longstanding in Ethiopia (that we didn't use the first time around). I'm not sure if either is right for us right now... But we're thinking that picking a process with an 18 month timeframe and starting when Ambrose is about 6 months doesn't sound like a bad idea.

That being said, the question of gender came up again last night and it has both of us rethinking our stance.

You see, in many programs (especially the ones we seem to look at) choosing to leave gender open in a sense is the same thing as choosing to adopt a boy. And not that I don't absolutely looooove my boys (no sarcasm, really, I'm thoroughly in love) but, well... I always saw myself with daughters too. Growing up I always envisioned a pair of girls, with a boy or two added in. I thought we'd have a daughter first. And now, whenever I envision our family totally put together, it always somehow includes daughters (sometimes through adoption, sometimes through pregnancy). And it's got me thinking... no, I wouldn't mind a house full of boys. But do I really want to give up on the chance of ever having daughters too? Do I really want to say "okay, no girls, that's fine" and just be done with it? Could I truly be at peace with that?

What started this line of thought was the realization that I wouldn't want just 1 of any gender if we want 4 or 5 kids. For instance, I don't think I'd choose right now to have 1 girl and then 3 or 4 boys. I'd rather have 2 girls and 2 or 3 boys. And I fully realize that we might be done at 4 and not go to 5 (or even done at 3...) meaning that, if we got a boy this next time around, I probably would ask for only boys thereafter. Just because I'm crazy like that. But if we got a girl next time around, then I'd ask for a girl for #4. Number 5 could be left up in the air then (whether or not we adopt again as well as gender).

I don't know...

I don't like the thought of picking a gender, saying "I will only accept a child if their chromosomes are such and such," but on the other hand... I know full well that NOT picking a gender in many ways is really just picking a boy. So, really, there's no way around picking a gender.

We're going to have to think about this a bit. When I brought it up to Nik last night, though, he summed up my own emotions pretty succinctly: "I don't think I'm ready for that." He's not ready to give up on the possibility of raising daughters as well as sons. And I'm not ready for that either...

Uh oh, someone just woke up from a snooze on my lap. Time to tickle a pudgy little tummy, get my hair pulled, and have my teeth gooily gnawed on. Baby's are serious fun :)