Saturday, March 12, 2011

Our Story, part 1.

On Tuesday, February 1st, after a 90 minute commute home - in what should have only been a 15 minute commute, I finally arrived home from work and tucked in to wait out the major blizzard heading our way.  We were slated to receive upwards of 30 inches of snow in the next 24 hours.  I was so happy to be safely warm in my home with my husband.  Further, we didn't have to leave the next day as we already planned on working from home on Wednesday.  Suddenly, there was a large noise and it felt as if the whole house shook.  M and I looked at each other, and each ran out one door.  Our roof had been ripped off of our house and was lying in the front yard.  After much checking, we realized that the interior damage was minimal, there were no leaks, our satellite TV was still working, and we were ok.  But, the drama!  What a blizzard story we would have to tell.

On Wednesday, February 2nd, M and I were hanging out on the couch, watching the news and working.  I was starting to feel sick, and we were still recovering from the drama of our roof being torn off the house.  When... the phone rang.  I answered it and heard, "Hi Amy.  This is Mary.  I wanted to let you know that you've been matched with a birthmother."  O   M   G !!!!  I think my response was, "Oh my God! Let me get my husband."  I put her on speaker phone and we learned the details.  Mom was young.  Had a son that she was raising and had previously placed a daughter for adoption.  She found herself pregnant and the birth father wasn't in the picture.  She was from our same city (amazing, since we were reaching out nationally), and was due on February 27th.  All of the other personal and medical information fit primarily with our dream situation.  However, we decided that we would think about it and call back later.  I called my mom and sister, and told them to sit down...we had been matched with a birthmom due in less than a month.  After about an hour, we called Mary back and accepted the match.  She then arranged for a conference call with the birthmom - E.  On that call E amazed us both, and she continues to do so.  Her first statement to us was that she didn't want us to think less of us because she's making an adoption plan - she wanted us to know that she didn't take this situation lightly and wasn't looking for the easy way out.  After some getting to know you chatting, we were closing the call and E said, "I want you to know what a blessing you are to me and what a gift you have given me.  Thank you so much."  Seriously - we were the gift and the blessing - AMAZING!

The lucky thing about matching with a mom in our same city is that our homestudy agency was also our placing agency.  I was so happy about that.  It was so nice to get to work with the people I felt comfortable with, and I also know how "birthmom" pro they are, so I knew that E would get the help and care that she needed.

We arranged to meet up with E the next week, and met her, the social worker, and her son at a local restaurant.  We sat, ate cake, and chatted.  What we realized is that we like her.  It is so nice to be able to say that.  As we were leaving, we all gave her big hugs and went on our way.  The next few weeks were filled with a few phone calls and text messages and a bit of anxiety as we waited for the due date.

More to come, but I leave you with a picture from adoption court...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meet my daughter, Grace

Meet my daughter, Grace.  She was born on Tuesday, March 1st and joined our family through open adoption today, Friday, March 7th.  My husband and I are overjoyed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

What Might have Been

Today would have been my due date for the pregnancy I lost in September.

I know it is just a date, and in real life, doesn't mean anything.  But, I can't help but stop and think about what might have been.  What today could have looked like had things gone differently.  I could have been cursing about how uncomfortable I was and hoping that the baby would come any day.  I could have been holding my baby. 

But, life is what life is.  And, I'm not holding my baby.  And, I'm not pregnant.  And, I'm not cycling now or anytime in the future.  I'm waiting.

I am not as sad as I had thought I'd be.  I didn't even cry today.  In fact, I took a vacation day today and spent a wonderful morning with my husband and my dog hiking.  But, I cried on Sunday at Church when the little kids were making their 1st Communion, so you never know.

I'm sad about what could have been.  I feel that I've taken time to experience and mark the loss in a quiet way.  But, I'm thankful for the short time that I was a "mom." I am so glad that I had the opportunity to experience that miracle.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Sales Pitch in Adoption

Welcome all from ICLW!  I am so glad that I've decided to participate this month.  I'm connecting with new bloggers, which is great as I try to expand my blog reader to find other prospective adoptive families. I thought that, rather than do a big rehash of where we've been in our journey, I'd talk a little bit about where we are now.

M and I are currently looking into options for adoption.  After a lot of investigation, I believe that we have settled on open domestic adoption.  It excites me that we'll get to have a baby.  We are so fortunate to live in Chicago as there are many resources available.  We've had informational meetings with 4 local agencies.  Additionally, I have a personal connection to an adoptive family for three of the agencies.

So, let me tell you about the last informational session we went to last week.  It was the biggest sales pitch and worst customer service from an adoption agency that I have seen yet.  I have only just dipped my toe into the adoption pool, but I find that I have very strong feelings about what I think is ethical.  This agency pushed that envelope - big time.  I believe that as a prospective adoptive mom, I need to be well informed and educated.  So, like a good girl, I consulted my favorite ALI website and printed a list of the 20 questions to ask when interviewing an adoption agency.  We scheduled a 30 minute informational session during this agencies open house.  I sat down, and after a few minutes of small talk, we started going through my questions.  The social worker was vague.  Vague to the point that M was angrier than I've ever seen him.  As the conversation continued, the social worker continued to evade questions, and was trying to rush us along.  She kept saying that most of these questions would be answered at the informational sessions which are more in depth. She did go on about how successful they were in placing children, but then went on to take credit for the directed placements they helped to facilitate - other agencies excluded those as they didn't feel that they were an accurate description of their placements.

So, after she basically pushed us out the door, I asked what the next steps were (knowing that what I was thinking was that I'm never coming near this place again).  Apparently, there is a session where I can pay $350 and get ALL my questions answered.  And, after that, I should be informed enough to decide if I want to move forward with this agency.  I was horrified.  M was livid.  We both felt that they were preying on us, and, despite the fact that they were a non profit, were only in it for the money.  And, I can't actually figure out what they used the money for since the agency didn't even provide birth mother expenses.  The other agencies we've explored, including the big giant FOR PROFIT adoption law firm were more than happy to answer as many questions as we wanted, as often as we wanted - FOR FREE.

Needless to say, we won't be using them.  We hope to figure out definitively our plan in the next month or so, and sign with an agency later this summer.  That will give us time to get some more funds together, and will also allow for me to survive a super busy time at work.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Life, or Just a Dress Rehersal?

In contemplating the adoption option, M and I have discussed many different scenarios.  One tool that we have been using is to "try on" different outcomes.  We've decided to imagine how our lives would be if we were parenting a toddler, a school-aged child, twins, a biological infant, an adopted infant, and children of different races.  During these try outs, I've tried to imagine myself in different scenarios and picture what I would do, say, act like, feel like if I was living out this situation.  It has really helped us to fine tune our decision making process into what "type" of child we would be comfortable parenting, and has helped us to get used to situations that might be different or uncomfortable.

Another options to contemplate, and one I've been a bit afraid to consider fully, is the "child-free" option.  What would my life be like if we were child free.  I've been thinking about that option a bit lately, and it scares me a bit to realize how easily I could picture the choices I would make and the things I would do.  I think we'd live downtown, rather than the suburbs.  We'd travel - and go to Europe - preferably when an unpronounceable volcano isn't mucking up traffic and air quality.  Maybe we'd save our money for a vacation home (rather than a college fund).  I wonder if we'd make different career choices?  I think I would take more chances and explore the unfamiliar a bit.

Sometimes, it scares me with how exciting and carefree this life feels.  It would be so easy to give up and this child free life sounds kind of fun.  Then, I think further down the road.  When we're 50.  What will life be like then?  When we're 80?  Who is going to invite us for the holidays?  Will we always be the aunt and uncle who don't have anywhere to go?  Who will help me clean my apartment when I'm 82 and cannot see the dirt any longer?  Whose photos will I display on the wall?  Who will I tell my "when I was your age" stories to?  Who will get my scrapbooks and my collected family memories that I've been cherishing?  Whose wedding will I cry at?  Whose baby will I dream of and long to hold?  Who will miss me when I'm gone?

I contemplate and think and plan and wonder.  And, I realize, that I've lived the child-free life, and it isn't that exciting.  I shouldn't hold back on living now, and if I really am doing so, then I need to STOP.  And, I believe that child free living isn't for me.  I want it all.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I was so excited that I didn't have any plans this weekend.  I was looking forward to a weekend of hanging out with M, watching TV, and reading.  Of course, reality was somewhat different.  For a plan-free weekend, I sure felt busy!  But, I was catching up on a lot of the stuff I've wanted to do - blog writing and reading, scrapbooking, knitting, and family time. 

I've been sticking with my "3 changes" so far.  Yesterday, I ran / walked for 30 minutes and did push-ups and crunches, and today I ran / walked for 40 minutes and did push-ups and sit ups.  I've also been logging all my food calories.  I've felt great.  I love the feeling of accomplishing goals that I've set for myself.  It was so nice to be outside too.  The weather was a bit chilly but the sun was shining.  It was actually perfect running weather.

So, now I'm hanging out on the couch again, catching up on work, and enjoying the sunshine. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I'm more than just an Infertile woman - the 3 Changes Challenge

I'm not gonna lie, I've been struggling lately.  I often have an "all or nothing" approach to life.  I'm in or I'm out.  That extends to relationships, crafts, my home, work, fitness, infertility and adoption.  In or out.  Lately, I've been half in the infertility world (do I do another cycle?  consider donor eggs), half in the adoption world (which agency? when), half into fitness (must lose weight for another IVF cycle, want to lose weight at a reasonable pace and KEEP IT OFF, who cares I feel crappy, so I want comfort food), and half into making my house more of a home.  In or out.  And, I hate it.  All or nothing doesn't get me very far.  I end up depressed, upset at not meeting my goals, and often, starting over again.  I'm trying to change that and live a more balanced life.

I'm more than just my infertility, and I'm going to start using this space to figure that out too.  In the end, I think it will make me a happier person, and make it so that I'm better able to deal with the curve balls thrown my way.

I've been trying to get into running again.  Back a few years ago, I was into running to the point where I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2006.  I enjoyed running alot.  But, again with the all or nothing, it was Marathon training our couch sitting for me.  I ended up sitting on the couch for quite a bit of time, doing NOTHING, gaining weight, and losing fitness.  I'm back to square one again, and trying to get to a healthy place with diet and fitness.  It is time to do this FOR ME.  Not because I want a baby, but because I want to live my life.

My sister has connected me to all of these wonderful blogs on fitness and crafts and fun stuff.  I've found this blog by Amanda called Run to the Finish.  She is having a 3 Changes Challenge and I am participating!  Basically, she is challenging us to pick three small or large goals that you can change or achieve over the next 30 days that can help you break through a plateau.  Sounds like what I need!  I've decided to focus on diet and exercise and getting over the "all or nothing."  My goals are:

1. Run 4 days a week for at least 10 minutes.  I hope to do more, but this will at least ensure that I can fit it in as scheduled, and that I'm at least doing SOMETHING!  I hope to use this to make running a habit and a lifestyle change.

2. Do 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups 4 days a week.  Again, with strength training, I'm either doing NOTHING or an hour long workout.  I am hoping to build a habit of strength training.

3. Log my calories into My Daily Plate.  I am always either on or off a diet.  I want to build a habit of monitoring my calories every day, whether I'm eating according to a diet plan or going on a McDonald's binge.  I think it will help me in the long-run to develop some healthy eating habits along the way.

I will still talk about infertility and my adoption journey, but I need to shift my focus a bit.  I'm hoping that my regular supporters stay with me on this journey, and I hope to make some new friends along the way!