Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Invisible Path

When it came to becoming parents, our journey took a few turns.

Get married, stop BCP, start actively TTC!
Discover infertility.
Change course.
Go to foster care/state adoption meeting, speak with professionals.
Turned down due to young age.
Change course.
Look into fertility treatments, more tests.
Just doesn't "feel right."
Change course.
VietNam feels right. Close my eyes and see Viet Namese daughter.
Just doesn't "feel like the right time."
Change course.
Maybe Kazakhstan?
Costs too high, worried over unethical agencies.
Change course.
Decide on Ethiopia, two kids age 0-4.
Begin prep, work on two free bedrooms, start homestudy, submit USCIS.
Social worker is not so good, only approved for one child 0-2.
Change course.
Signed and waiting.
Wait times increasing.
Equally ethical agency with lower wait times.
Change course, apply to new agency.
Old agency suddenly has lower wait times again.
Change course, return to old agency.
Put on hold due to age, again.
New rules might put us on hold another year.
Off hold, expect referral immediately.
A month and a half later finally get the call.
Court closure due to rainy season.
Bam, made it to the top of the list as soon as they're back in session, adoption flies by, home before we know it.

A's adoption was simpler really:

Research Colombia, start to apply.
Country requirements change.
Change course.
Research Ethiopia again.
Wait times drastically increased, trouble brewing with corruption.
Change course.
Change all paperwork to domestic, apply to referral service.
Situations seem perfect!
Service doesn't respond to tell us when we're not chosen, causes emotional havoc.
Change course.
Apply with new agency.
Apply for several situations, all of which we fall in love with.
Finally picked, not for baby born like expecting.
Wait a month, placed, finalized 8 months later.

So as you can see, our journeys so far involved quite a few "oh, I know what we'll do!" and "oh, I guess that won't work then..."

Many tears were shed, many heart wrenching decisions were had, many plans were announced happily and then taken back only a month later, etc.

And despite it all, we started this journey again, a journey to our third.

And that journey so far?
Adoption from Ethiopia!
Change Course.
Adoption from the Congo!
Change Course.
Adoption Domestically!
Change Course.
Scratch all that and try to conceive naturally with possible plans to try treatments!

And the thing is.... As much money as we've lost, as much hope as we've invested...

We might still be on the wrong track.

The paths that lead to our sons... they were hidden from us. Invisible.

We didn't know when we were calling agencies that work with Viet Nam about adopting a baby daughter that we'd end up with a toddler son from Ethiopia.

We didn't know when we were researching the plight of the Afro-Colombian people and tracking plane ticket costs that we'd end up adopting a baby boy from only two hours drive away.

And this time?

Months ago I was checking out adoption situations daily. Months before that I was filling out paperwork for the DRC. And right now every morning I'm charting my basal body temperature to find my fertile time.

And now I read that there's a possibility that Viet Nam might open for adoptions again perhaps next year, and part of me feels pulled again, back to where we were years ago, back to the land N was touched by when he visited, back to a cute little girl with thick black hair and, most likely, a cleft lip (that's how I see her in my mind's eye) and I wonder... what if that dream I had years ago that didn't feel right "at this time" might have just been a premonition for years later? What if it had to go on hold as we adopted her two big brothers? What if our TTC journey goes no where and we find ourselves in the position to adopt a year from now and, voila, Viet Nam opens its doors to international adoption to the US again?

And the crazy thing is... we don't know.

We don't know if Viet Nam will reopen. We don't know if I'll get pregnant. We don't know if the "right" domestic adoption situation will come along. We don't know if we may even decide we're done at 2.

We don't even have a hint at how this will all work out.


That's awesome.

Really, it is.

Because how boring would life be if we were able to plan it all?

I mean, seriously, 10 years from now we might be in the same house, a few school aged children, me working my first "real" job, living a normal suburban American dream and loving it.

Or we might be running an orphanage in Zimbabwe.

We don't know. We'll never know until the path opens up and we decide to take it.

And it's the same with building a family. We have no idea, really, how this will happen.

Will we stop at 2 kids? 3? 12? Will they all be within 10 years over each other, or will they be spread out? Will we decide we're done then adopt again in our early 40's? What if we adopt two girls over the next 5 years, call our family "totally complete" and end up pregnant with triplets by surprise?

Before kids, heck before A, I didn't like all the surprise, the topsy-turvy journey.


Well, I'm more realizing that we're just along for the ride than in control. And with my guys by my side making life so happy and hilarious, it's not like I can get too bogged down in all the upsets and changed courses.

And honestly... I don't think I'm quite ready to be at the end of this journey yet.

It took just as long as it needed to for us to adopt our boys, even though it felt like decades. This time I'm a bit more chill about it, a bit more philosophical. It really will happen when it's meant to happen.

And I know a lot of my emotions surrounding that truth have to do with the fact that I just came out of the moody PMS cloud and life is hunky dory again. But really, isn't it better to have a positive attitude about all of this?

Okay, big kid up and wanting company, and little kid will need some mom cuddles soon. Off to continue enjoying the journey.

**Remember, the journey IS the destination!!!**

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hooray!!! Oh, wait... boooo!... ?

So, just as my best friend told me last night, I have indeed been PMSing. Maybe that explains all my somewhat unexplained sadness these past few days.... or not. I guess we'll see in a few days, neh?

So according to number of days, I should have started a cycle last week. According to my basal body temperature, I should be starting a cycle next Monday. Looks like I ovulated last Monday, and today begins cycle #3. Meaning I have a luteal phase of 10 days, up from a luteal phase of 6 days last cycle.

A quick Google search shows me that short luteal phases and breast feeding go hand in hand, and that I my LP will likely increase in days. I can help it by taking B6, Vitex, or a B50 compound. I'm already on Vitex which is probably what helped push my LP by 4 days instead of 1 or 2, and I'll add a B50 compound next time I run to a store. Or maybe just buy the dang Fertilaid. Whatevs.

On the one hand...

Hooray! My cycle started!

I mean, seriously, this helps put a cap on it. All last week my temps were high, I was feeling a bit ill, and I was wondering if my temp spike was a pregnancy instead of ovulation, meaning that I was testing more than a couple times and worrying about it a lot. I don't have to worry about that now, and I can sample the nice sweet muscadine wine my mother wants to give me.

On top of that, I have another shot at doing more in the beginning of the cycle (like eating more yams and being better with my vitamins), hopefully my temps will even out this time as my body is now becoming more adjusted to cycling again, and maybe this cycle will actually have an LP long enough to sustain a pregnancy (12+ days is preferred).

On the other hand:


I mean, a 10 day luteal phase makes it hard to become pregnant, especially if egg and sperm just hung out awhile. Not saying they even met this time, but it's possible. But I also know that a 10 day luteal phase is within the "can possibly work" area when it comes to pregnancy. It's a long shot, but it's possible and it didn't work.

Also I blew like 4 pregnancy tests last week. That's a lot of pee to have to deal with.

Oh, and now I get to have my period for a week, and I get to start cycling all over again from scratch, and I know I'll just be worrying again in another few weeks....

Oh, and I'm not pregnant.

And I know there's a possibility that I could be PMSing and seeing red every month for the next several months, or years, or even decades. I know there's a possibility that this could be my existence, that I might never become pregnant.

The first sign of red is always a blessing and a curse.

The beginning of a something new, something fresh, the body ready to give its all. The organs in working order, the old and failed flushing away. A week to not worry about cervical mucus or timed intercourse or tenderness or possible signs. A time to relax and refresh and prepare for the month ahead.

But also, a time of loss, of failure. A month containing so much hope and care and preparation, all gone, washed away in blood. Weeks more before you can try again, more vitamins, more planning, more care, and indefinite similar months stretched out before it.

I'm so lucky, so so lucky. I have two sweet boys to take the edge off, to hug and cuddle and love on. This is why I knew we had to adopt when we did. I could not even fathom going through this, month after month after month, with no child in my home. And I'm so glad we made the choices we did, even if it means that we've missed some window and might never get the chance to conceive or birth.

Ugh, my head is getting all philosophical and, well, think-y. And we're out of chocolate. And the chickens are out in the yard today meaning I can't run to the store and get chocolate. Dag nabbit :-(

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Big Boy

It feels like just overnight Ambrose has gone from being in that sort of in between baby/toddler stage, to being an outright small child. He just understands so much, says so much, and does so much now!

Our baby gate broke a few weeks ago, and we spent a weekend doing things near the stairs so we could monitor as Ambrose went up and down a million times on his own, excited in his new freedom and carefully figuring out how to traverse the stairs without a helping hand. Up had never been an issue, but he always tended to just throw himself down and after a few falls it was obvious that he needed someone holding his hand when he walked down. At this point he's figured it out and just goes up and down whenever he wants, running up to grab a favorite book and then back down to bring it to someone and ask them to read.

Oh, and books! My Lord the books! This boy is obsessed, and I love it!

Today we were at a bookstore, hanging off to the side while P listened to storytime. Ambrose found an animal book nearly as tall as he is, and carried it over to me. Then he ran and grabbed a stool and dragged it over beside another stool.

"Dit!" he called out as he sat down.

I walked over, looking at him sitting in the middle of his stool and wondered if he wanted me to sit beside him or on the other stool.

"Where should mama sit?" I asked.

He jumped right up, whammed his hands down on the other stool, and called out "dit!"

Then he plopped himself down and waited patiently for me to read.

We looked at the pictures as he repeated everything I said, answered questions, and made animal noises. What a doll!

P was a lot older before he reached this stage of caring about books, and I have to say I'm loving having two book worms. I can drive an hour to get somewhere no problem so long as they each have a book to look at. They'll even exchange them, or A will ask P "what dat?" and P will help him figure it out. At home I'll listen to them playing, then go check on them when it's silent. I frequently find them sitting in a pile of books beside each other, each enraptured by the pages before them, one reading new words, the other trying to make sense of new pictures.

People used to tell me that children really started to play with a younger sibling around age 2 or so and I have to agree! P has always been affectionate toward Ambrose, and A has responded happily to P since about age 4 months. They've been "playing" together since then, but their playing has taken on a whole new meaning lately. They can communicate so easily, they can play pretend games together, sing songs together, look at books together, and switch their food no problem. They're much more on the same wavelength. I'm almost a little worried about how lonely A might be once P starts school! Though I'm pretty sure absence will make the heart grow fonder :)

So I guess my whole talking about how astoundingly big A is has become me just blabbing about how big both my kids are. And they really are! P, coming in around 4 feet tall now, is huge and he's reading and he's got the most wonderful thoughts and concepts. He also says the cutest things! Just yesterday he told me that when he grows up he's planning to marry a woman and make a sperm for her, so they can have a baby :) Haha! I guess he's got the basics down then.

It feels like Kindy is fast coming. We have this week to just hang out and do whatever, then next week P will be in Summer Camp every morning, then we'll have a week visiting family up in Maine, then another week and a half to hang out. Then Kindergarten.

So fast!

I'm excited for my P right now. Hopefully I'll be able to keep that up! My first baby going off to school without me... Something I'm still not quite prepared for, especially after planning to homeschool for so many years! Fingers crossed he does well in Kindy, and A does well in preschool, and I do well actually having some free time on my hands. To, you know, do laundry and vacuum and stuff :)

Monday, July 25, 2011


I was contacted a ways back by a woman who adopted through the same agency as us. We had even been at the same orientation class, and I think I recall being in at least one other required class with her. I used to see her family's image in the Waiting Families link, which I scrolled near daily as the wait went on. They were even shown to A's first mother. They were placed only a couple months after us.

So please understand when I say that reading about their adoption nightmare, which came out of nowhere, was long and drawn out and costly, and knowing that their sweet, happy little boy was taken back after over a year....

Let's just say it's been affecting me.

Like, in the "look up everything I can on NC adoption law" kind of affecting me. And the stressing. And the worrying. And giving my own little baby extra hugs.

Granted, the situations are entirely different when it comes to first families (A's first family was set on adoption and upfront with us), and we've been finalized for over a year now, meaning that now A is "as if born to" our family.

Even so... maybe it's the fact that we came so close to having each other's sons. Maybe it's the fact that we used the same agency, sat in the same room, filled out the same paperwork. Maybe it's the fact that the pictures of her little guy look so much like A's pictures at the same age. I don't know.

What I do know is that when I finally Googled their names and found the results of the court case a few nights ago it literally knocked the wind out of me and I had to go grab Ambrose from his crib and just hug and hug and hug him (he was a bit annoyed as he'd been "reading" himself to sleep, but he laid his head on me to appease me so I'd put him down).

It's just too close to home, you know? And while I consciously know that the same outcome is all but impossible for our family, it has still been affecting me.

I think it will just take a few more days for me to process that things like this do indeed happen, and to people I've met.

In the meantime, I think I'll just keeping giving A extra kisses and cuddles, telling him I love him, and being thankful that I get the joy of having him in my life each day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A complete family

So I'm a few days "late," which would mean something if it weren't for the fact that last month I had my first cycle in 2.5 years and AF was a week early. So being a few days late? Yeah, maybe I'm right on track. Iunno. Either way, it's BFNs all around and I'd just like the witch to get here already so I can move on to the next cycle (and perhaps stabilizing my cycles as well?).

Anywho, the past couple days I've been giving a lot of thought to the phrase "a complete family."

I see people on parenting boards of all types mentioning this.

"We finally have our baby, our family is complete!"


"A was happy to meet her little brother today, our family is now complete!"


"We just want one more child to complete our family!"

To which I always question

"How on Earth do you know when your family is complete?"

I guess the problem is that we don't really know what the future holds. A "complete family" could be stricken by divorce, death, custody issues, etc. And then on the lighter side, a "complete family" might change their minds and want to give birth again once all the kids are in school, or adopt a sibling group, or foster, or have a surprise baby, or have a surprise adoption of a relative, etc.

I guess the thing is you can say "where my family is right at this moment feels like how I want to be forever" or "I am not planning to alter my family in any way" but really, how much control do we have over it?

I guess the reason this has been sticking with me so much right now is that, well, some part of me does feel that our family is complete. And another part doesn't.

And I guess the only way I could describe it is that our family feels complete right now.

I mean, sure we could have an adoption fall on our laps tomorrow and that would be great, or I could become pregnant which would also be great.

But if neither of these things happen...

Well, I can tell you that I would probably be pretty upset if 5 years from now we still only have 2 children instead of the 3+ we were hoping for.

And yet as I am today, as we are today, right this second...

Life is pretty damn wonderful.

My older son is reading and writing and so excited to start Kindergarten. He's snuggly and sweet, intelligent and witty, and so remorseful when he does wrong.

My younger son is cute and cuddly, learning a million words a week, loving his world and all that's around him, making friends and trying so hard to learn all about his world.

They are obsessed with books, both of them, and they love animals. They play so well together and fill our days with joy and laughter. They cuddle us and each other and just love on anyone they know, heck even total strangers. I'm always being stopped by people who've interacted, however briefly, with either of my children, always being told how sweet and polite and confident and talkative they are.

We have our happy home, our loving marriage, our wonderful children.

Aren't we a complete family?

And yet, can't a complete family still want more?

Can't I still long to see the double lines on the test, hear the heartbeat and the doctor's office, feel the flutters and actually bring a child into this world? Can't I wish to experience the bonding again, the discovering each other again, the whole new space that opens in my heart that was secretly set aside again?

Can't I wish for that while still enjoying my dream come true?

Or is it too selfish of me to ask for anything more when I already have so much?

Yes, I know, many families have more than 2 children, this is not abnormal at all.

And yet, I look at my family how it is now and I wonder how I can complain, how I can worry about pregnancy tests or charting BBT or royal jelly, let alone treatments and such, when I have so much around me.

I guess I'll just have to learn to live with the fact that I'm human, that I can be content in almost all areas and yet still strive for more, and that that's okay.

To conclude, let me share a small story from today:

I had purchased a box of First Response tests and decided to screw the first morning urine thing and just take it already. I mean, the box said I got one "free" so I figured, hey, why not use it? Either it's positive and that would be awesome, or it's negative and that would suck but it's not FMU so I could try again if I wanted in a few days.

So I go to take it, and Ambrose follows me in. And tries to snatch the pee cup to drink it, screaming "wat-eeeee!" I saved it, but he got the box with the other two tests and ran off. P brought me one, questioning me on what it is, which I dodged totally unsuccessfully (meaning he'll find it and ask Nik later). Then I found Ambrose drumming the other test, and the box crushed on the floor, because isn't that what you do with boxes? Stomp them flat?

So yeah, it was a negative, a totally white test window and a spindly thin dark control line. But really? My kids were being adorable and having a blast. How could I get too upset over this? I mean, seriously, Ambrose thought the test was a drumstick, and he was grinning and dancing to it. Yeah, totally different from my test taking experience 5 years ago.

My boys make me smile :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


So waaaaay back in college I got really into forums and message boards and LiveJournal and such. I was such a shy and awkward girl and I loved how you could just do a quick search and suddenly find a real community based around something you were truly interested in, a community where you could come and go at will, where you could easily censor yourself, or even take on a new persona.

I was never a troll, never started drama, and only a handful of times did I bite back when someone was blatantly rude (or trollish) to others, though I was polite when someone was mean to me. I just wanted the feeling of belonging, the community feel and the community knowledge.

I used this to meet people who were into video games, or relationships. People debating religion, people talking about their pets. I read up on marriage and weddings, and about housekeeping, and of course staying a geek throughout it all.

And then came the big day when I moved past all of those "here is fake me" into the really emotional territory: I joined ePregnancy.

I was aaaaalll about it for a long time. Years before we started TTC I had briefly joined because of their baby name page and my own fascination with names. When we were first married and just starting to try I remembered the page and, not knowing a thing about mommy blogs or mom groups or any of the other resources out there, I joined the one I'd known about years ago.

For months I watched others come and go, start to try and get their BFP, or give up, or start treatments, or languish a bit. I felt bad for those poor infertile women but I knew I couldn't be joining their ranks. I was 23, he was 21, and that alone made us fertile right?

So I blabbed about my symptoms and schedule, urged people one with baby dust and well wishes, and waited with bated breath to scream the good news that was sure to come any day.

It was on ePregnancy where I first got the idea to run a semenalysis. Another woman's husband had just had one and they only found one sperm, and it was dead. Suddenly all of the regulars on the board were talking about it, sharing insurance tips, and stories of what they had to do to convince their DH's or transport semen in bras.

I did convince Nik to take the test, obviously, but at the same time I also had so much hope. I just wanted it cleared, I wanted that bit tested and taken care of so we could move on.

Right before we got the test results back, I was so, so sure I was pregnant.

I was so nauseous, so ill, and I was a week late. My breasts ached, I was dizzy, and my back hurt. I was scared to test after so many BFNs, though...

I rallied the troops and spent a week talking about my symptoms, getting everyone to urge me on, to convince me I was pregnant, that I should test and take a picture of my oh-so-obvious BFP and post it online for all to see and have hope...

And I did test. And it was negative. And my period started. And Nik got his results in.

My hot-button post, which had reached a fever pitch right before I tested, petered out. And I moved on.

I continued to read every now and then. The woman who started the whole semenalysis craze went on to adopt from Russia and we, of course, chose Ethiopia and brought home Paxton a year and a half after all that mess.

I stayed out of forums for the most part for a long time. I updated my blog a lot but I wasn't really big on the whole "join a community" thing, especially after P came home.

When we were waiting for Ambrose, though, I did join a local mom-to-mom group and became so involved that I took a moderator position. Once again I found myself reveling in the sudden community, but this time it had a "real world" aspect. Instead of seeing nothing but pictures and tickers and little signiture bits, I can actually meet all of these people in real life. And that's what I've done, actually.

And now? I find myself backing off yet again. I have made my friends, and I have my group of real life friends...

But some part of me really wants the online community again. Some part of me still craves the ability to post online and receive dozens of helpful comments.

And yet I'm scared....

Because the thing I'd post about right now? Would be TTC. Again.

And that last time, a few years back, was nothing short of embarrassing.

People were excited for me! Happy for me! And I wasn't pregnant!

And I'm scared now. What if that happens again? What if I think I am and they urge me on and I'm not and I have to either leave or sit back and watch them all become pregnant as I remain, well, not?

But on the other hand I don't really want to become too involved with the infertility groups. What if I'M the one who becomes pregnant and leaves quickly? What if I build up friendships only to lose them a few months later? And what if I don't receive the pep talks I do need, and instead just receive advice about treatments I don't feel comfortable with at this time?

It's a fine line, a "where do I belong," that keeps me from even trying to belong.

I look at the local mom to mom group and I want to post, I do, but I can't tell where to click.

The infertility group? The TTC group? The general mommy board? The adoption group?

Where do I fit in?

For now, I'm just hanging back.

I won't be part of a group, not yet. I guess I'll just have to give it a bit more time and see. If it takes awhile I know where I belong, and if it doesn't I guess I have my answer then too.

But it's hard when you feel so... singular. And you just want to belong, ask questions, hear advice.

Ah well. At least that's just the online community I'm worried about. Now for real life? Guess I'd better get my butt in gear and set up some playdates soon! I'm missing some of my mommy friends!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


TMI y'all!

So I didn't have a monthly cycle for like 2.5 years. And during that time I forgot some things. And I was actually looking forward to getting back to it, not just for the conception possibilities but just because I want to be back to normal function again, y'know?

I wasn't too worried about cramps. Or bleeding. Not a biggie. Annoying, but not a biggie.

But I'd forgotten....

THAT'S what had made TTC so hard the first time around. The early pregnancy symptoms that were actually PMS. Uuuuugh!

So let's see, every month around the time I'd be expecting my period I get:
-Sick to my stomach
-Swollen, tender boobs
-Cramps and twitches in my inner lady bits
-Cramps in my belly button
-Cervical mucus
-Food aversions
-Extreme exhaustion
-Lower back pain
-Crazy mood swings

And then sometimes my period likes to be a few days late.


Fun times

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Little by little

This morning we went to the preschool (P's old school, also where A is going this fall) for a summer playdate. Several families showed up, as well as most of the teachers. It was great to see so many people, to meet one of the children in Ambrose's class this fall, and to get to catch up a bit. It was also great to see Ambrose interact and enjoy the school a bit. But the best part? Watching P.

P, like just about any child who has had a lot of painful separations in his early years, is very worried about the permanency of separation. For your typical American child you would probably see some separation anxiety, but for a child who has lost so many people and places and things, a child who lost an entire existence (food, language, culture, family, etc), separation means a lot more. So understandably the end of preschool was a very big deal to him, and though I've tried very hard to help him understand that A) he can always go back for a visit, and B) he'll make new friends and be okay, it's been hard.

I told him about the preschool playdate a few days ago and ooooooh the anxiety! His emotions have been swinging all over the place this week.

And yet, this morning? He was calm. Very, very calm and placid. He still huffed about a bit when it was time to turn off the TV and get dressed, and he was certainly impulsive and worried, shoving random items in his mouth without thinking (a nervous habit). And he even told me at one point that he didn't want to go to the school if he couldn't actually *go* to school. He wanted to go inside with all his friends and read books and play and draw pictures.

But a walk around the block before we left seemed to cool him off a bit, and he obediently got in the car and buckled himself in. And ooooooh was he excited when we got there!

The swings! The firemans pole! The big yellow slide! And OMG a swimming pool and bubbles and beach balls and... yaaaay!

We were the first family there which worked out well for us. The kids got to get reacquainted with the space before they got to see people again. I had forgotten their swim clothes but the preschool director helped me out by finding some extra clothes for them so they could splash in the pool. They played with bubbles and water and friends, and while P had a few shy moments he mostly just played and laughed and splashed about.

Oh, and food. There was watermelon and pretzels and my boys probably ate half of it!

P's former teacher commented on how calm and grown up he was acting, and he really was. I swear for awhile there it was almost like he was glowing. He was just so... peaceful.

He was happy, truly happy. The fact that life goes on and people can come back into your life was being reaffirmed for him then, and man was he excited!

It made me flash back to last summer, when he was all out of sorts for weeks and then we went to a preschool play date and he saw his teacher. Just like that time, it was like a huge weight just lifted right off of him.

It's like, little by little, he's starting to believe that this is a happy world, that people can leave and come back, that maybe he can trust us when we say he can just relax and enjoy his childhood. And he is relaxing, considerably. No, not as much as your typical American child, but he's not the bundle of raw nerves he used to be.

So all in all this morning was great. Great friends and fun and just a wonderful feeling throughout. And they totally crashed in bed after all that outside play! Two hours and they're both still out! ... or actually there goes the baby now.... ok, guess I'm done here!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

So fast...

Many days it hits me how fast they're growing...

How well P is reading now. How well A is speaking now.

I see them putting their laundry in the hamper and fighting over who gets more lap space for a book, I see P reading to A, see A initiating a game or sharing his food, and it hits me how fast they are growing.

I watch movies or shows, read articles or blogs, talk to people, and it all hits me that time is just constantly moving forward and it's all just flying by.

In a couple of months Ambrose will be 2 and Paxton will be 6 and in school. How? When? Weren't they just babies?

Someday, before I know it, they'll be gone. Out of the house, living their own lives. And then there will probably be grandbabies and they'll do the same thing, grow up and make a life for themselves.

And while I'm proud, so proud, it really aches.

How much longer before my boys don't ask for "huggies" and "kissies?" How long before an ice cream cone is not the greatest gift they've ever received? How long until I'm no longer cool, until they share their biggest secrets with friends they may only have for a few years instead of their parents who will be with them always?

On some level I understand that the desire to have another child is almost a way to escape the rapid growth of my children. A new baby, to snuggle and cuddle and love on as my bigger children keep getting bigger. But then that baby would grow and change just the same.

There are so many benefits to older children and teens and adult children who no longer live at home, or even those who do. So little responsibility on my part compared to a toddler, more help around the house, intelligent conversation, traveling together, sharing books, watching R rated movies, playing video games together, staying up late, fun homework assignments, and just watching them grow and become who they are meant to be.

And yet...

A tiny little body, not yet 30 lbs, running over with a book in each fist and a huge smile on his face and flopping into my lap squealing "book! Read!".... that will end soon, and while I can experience it with another child I will never have those certain individual and wonderful moments back.

The pure innocence of my children, their laughter, the silly things they do now... I will lose those soon as they hit on their next phases.

And the really weird thing?

I don't actually vividly remember or even desperately long for the phases they've already been through. I mean, yeah, I get all mushy and weepy when I'm staring at pictures of newborn Ambrose or toddler Paxton for too long, but mostly I just marvel at how big they are now comparatively and move on. So I know that it actually *won't* be a big deal once they leave this phase and grow a bit, and that I'll just get weepy over the next phase thinking that that's the best one.

So yeah, consciously I know I'm just a big ole dork who is plain weepy and just looking for an outlet. And yet.....

Today P asked if we could rush home from church so he could check on his new "fishy wishy" (his first we got yesterday and it died last night, so he's particularly worried about this new one we got this morning). And just hearing the silly words.... yeah, I kinda got sad knowing that would end soon.

Okay, have to end this, baby just woke up from nap. Time for little toddler cuddles!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Jaw dropping

Some part of me really still wants the whole adoption thing to work out. I mean, we're still paper ready and still technically active with a couple of referral services and I'm receiving emails from a facilitator I contacted months ago, but still...

We're not hopeful.

Not about the adoption anyway.

I mean, part of it is that we really do want to experience the conception/birth aspect. I guess you could call it a life goal, one so common that most people don't even realize as a life goal until they don't get to experience it.

But even beyond that, I'm just so worried about the state of domestic adoptions.

Oh, sure, most agencies are probably doing well. Maybe a bit of a slow down as births across the nation drop and countries close their international adoption programs. But even so, I imagine that most agencies are holding steady as far as fees and policies.

I'm not seeing this with the referral services and facilitator.

What I'm seeing is drastic fee increases, which is really worrisome to me. It's not just about "wow I don't want to pay that" it's also "OMG, at that point it's not adoption, it's buying!"

Yesterday I received an email with an adoption situation for roughly $36K, not including the homestudy, TPR, post placement, finalization, travel or any other fees on our side. The agency fee alone was $19K, not including things like first mother expenses or legal fees.

Um, $19K? For an agency fee? WTF? I'm sorry, but there is no reason. Not even one reason. I understand that agency fees can be all over the board and they have to charge $$ to pay staff and handle paperwork and advertising, etc, but $19K? I mean, literally everything that was necessary for the adoption (helping out the first mother with her prenatal expenses, medical and legal fees) was separate. The NINETEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS was just so you could have the pleasure of working with them and matching with the first mother. They wouldn't even be advertising for you.

Oh, and an extra $5K to work with the facilitator who would match you with the agency who would match you with the first mother.

So TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS just to meet up with someone, and THEN you can start paying the fees that actually are necessary.

As a comparison, we paid roughly $21K for all of Paxton's international adoption in '07, and that included agency fee, all legal, all travel, donations to the orphanage, etc.

And then there's first mother expenses.

I get that a woman making an adoption plan for her child should not have to pay for the costs pertaining to that child and her pregnancy. Really, it makes sense. Yes the adopting couple should cover co-pays and time off work and transportation to doctor's appointments and prenatal vitamins and maternal clothing. She shouldn't have to pay all of those things.

And yet I'm seeing higher and higher "birth mom expenses."

I saw one for over $11,000 last week! For matching with someone already several months pregnant!

I'm not entirely sure what's going on here. Is the agency encouraging this? Trying to entice pregnant women with free items for several months so that they're pretty much guaranteed to place through them? Are the first mothers in these instances just coming up with a list of fees and hoping they can get them all covered? Are there people out there willing to pay all of this in hopes of adopting a child? Doesn't it sound just a bit too much like you're buying a child instead of adopting at that point?

I don't know every situation so I shouldn't really make any judgments at all. It's just that I find the cost of adopting has jumped so drastically in such a short time period, and it's like no one has noticed. And as much as I can sit here and complain about what it is now, what about the fees we paid for our children? Sure, they all seemed pretty accountable with P, but what about with P? And what about the people who adopted several years before us who could look at what we spent and gasp in horror, wondering why we'd be nuts enough to pay that amount for services when we all know it doesn't really cost that much?


Just thinking about money when it comes to my kids gives me the willies. And thinking that someone, somewhere, could be profiting off of their adoptions... Like, not just paying the bills kind of profiting, but actually making money hand over fist.... yeah, that creeps me out. And so whenever I see adoption situations come through for like $35K or $44K or whatever I just cringe and feel ill, because really, that's a life you're playing with. Hell, lives. First parents who may feel coerced because of all the money spent on them, adoptive parents spending their savings on the chance to raise a child, and a helpless little child who may miss out on the best home for them entirely due to crazy high agency fees.

Okay, rant done. I'm going to keep perusing the various adoption situations, because you never know. And we're still exploring fertility options and even looking a little into foster care, though Nik's a hard sell (and really so am I) so that's in the "maybe someday" category. And thus, I'm off... to do laundry and perchance get a little rest in bed before the kids pop up.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I lost my temper yesterday. The morning had been going well, and we were enjoying a trip to the Science Museum, when Ambrose started to tantrum. Screaming and flailing and fighting me hard as I struggled to buckle him into his stroller. Once I had dealt with him, Paxton presented his own set of challenges, namely that he didn't want to leave even though it was lunch time and his baby brother was shrieking so loudly that people all over were coming over to see what horrible things I was doing to this poor child. The cheap umbrella stroller I was using does not let me push with one hand only (pushing with two hands is hard enough!) so I essentially had to beg and plead and command and threaten with P to get him out of the Discovery Room, over to the elevators, down to the correct floor, and outside the building. By the time we were up to the street I think I had steam bursting from my ears!

Paxton, who had gone from obstinate to angry to sobbing to morose, and back again, suddenly called out, "Mom, STOP! Look over there! Mom, I have something to show you! MOOOOMMM!"

Oh, I flipping flipped out on that kid! I flung around and cried out, "What? What do you want to show me? Is it a good attitude? A "I'm sorry mommy?" What is it? Is it something I actually want to see right now? Huh? IS IT?"

He was quiet for a second and I could tell he was about to flip out on me too, but then.... he, my little 5 year old boy, decided that it wouldn't help. And he took a big, deep breath and pointed off in a new direction.

"There, mommy. There's a farm stand over there. They have vegetables. You like farmstands. I thought you'd want to go see it."

I could have cried then.

There was, in fact, a somewhat out of place little farmstand set up right up next to the road in front of the huge Science Museum. And my little boy had seen it and knew how much I drooled over fresh, local produce. And even though I was in a pissy mood and he was in a pissy mood he still wanted to make me happy.

So, long story short, we bought some peaches and ate them on the way home, we all said our sorrys and gave kisses and hugs, and I'm pretty sure my 5 year old is more mature than I am sometimes.


Today Ambrose brought me one of his favorite books. He has many favorite books. They are all picture books with animals. He's in love with all things animals, loves to see them, touch them, look at them, read books about them, pretend to be them, make animal sounds, etc.

So he brought me a book and he knew a bunch of the animals, and he would tell me the animals or make their sound. But a few he didn't recognize. He kept saying something, sounded like "wadaco," over and over again and looking at me. I would always tell him what the animal was, to correct him, and keep going.

Then I figured it out. "Wadaco?"= "What's that called?" It became obvious when he shortened it a couple times to "Wadat?" I was actually pretty impressed!

We went to the gym so that I could embarrass myself horribly in zumba, and they played in their respective nurseries. When I went to pick Ambrose up one of the nursery volunteers gushed about how smart he is, and how he brought her a book with animals and how he knew the names of every animal in the book. Yup, that's my boy :)


Nik is out tonight at a company game night. The whole family is invited but I figured the kids might get in the way, and they might not enjoy it so much. Though maybe next time I'll drop off P with Nik and let them have their game night together :)


I am currently obsessed with point and click adventure games. And on that note, I will now post this and go play a point and click adventure game.


Oh, and it's raining here more frequently now. My plants love it. And we have a great July 4th with my parents over, and an impromptu cook out. Only downside was that P burned his finger on a sprinkler. Oh, and we're letting the chickies roam the yard on afternoons we're here. They're very tame and P just picks them right up. They just eat bugs and weeds then return to their coop for the night. And they're super cute.


Okay, game on!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sweet P

He wasn't happy last night. He's been "in a mood" ever since preschool let out, maybe even before. He's very vocal and he'll outright say "I'm not happy and I don't want to be happy and I'm not going to let you be happy." At least he's honest...

We went on our big late night family date last night, and while much of it was fun, there was a long period of "I'm going to sabotage tonight" kind of behavior. It was frustrating to say the least. At least we did have many wonderful moments and by the end, just like every other time, he was having a blast and we were all sad to see the night end.

We got home at 10:30, a whopping 3 hours past their bedtime, and they were asleep by 11. And up around 6:20.

The little one was happy and chipper, but P? Oh no, not him. He was impulsive and upset and grumpy and whining and complaining and then hyper and completely ignoring us, etc. Yeah, sleep deprivation, I know, totally there too.

When he got into a spell (not uncommon for him) of listing off all the things he wants and doesn't have, I looked up the Veggie Tales episode of Madame Blueberry on Netflix and showed it to him. He watched the whole way through and afterward we tried to talk to him about being grateful for what he does have instead of complaining about what he doesn't. I had him stand up and look around the room and list off the things he sees that he's happy to have and is thankful for. He couldn't list a single thing. Not the TV or computer or toys or books or DVDs or anything. "But I want blahblahblah and I want blabeblu and I want..." Yeah, frustrating morning.

He also has this whole "Oh, poor me!" thing. I mean, literally, he says that. "I want Mario Kart... Oh, poor me! Poor Paxton!" Yeeeeah.....

So this morning I was tired. And I got up super early and didn't get my breakfast or anything, just cared for small over tired children. Finally when Nik said he'd take them both this morning I was done. I plopped myself down in bed and just sort of collapsed in on myself.

I heard P come in the room while Nik was getting Ambrose dressed. He walked in and instantly started whining. "Moooom, why are you in bed? Why are you laying down?"

Ugh. I literally could not speak I was so tired. All I could think was "please stop the noise and let me rest!"

And he did.

I thought he'd left for a second when suddenly I felt it. A small kiss on my shoulder, the only place he could reach without climbing on the bed.

"Good night mommy," he whispered softly, then exited the room very quietly.

To say it melted my heart is an understatement! I know it wasn't some big, overwhelming moment of pure bliss or anything like that, but a sweet, simple gesture, totally unprompted? Yeah, I needed that!

And so they're off now at the kid's museum and I'm left to just sit on my butt and figure out how to waste my morning. I think with grocery shopping. I would have gone to the doctor's office to see about treatment for a molluscum that's become infected, buuuut they're close until Tuesday and it's not really bothering me enough to go to Urgent Care. And so I guess now it's time to stop dilly dallying and deal with my shopping list. Mmmmm, Whole Foods, the land of the yummy bakery food.... perhaps a scone today? Or a muffin? I love grocery shopping!