Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Show and Tell: Our cats!

Well, this being my first show and tell, I certainly have to display my favorite things in the world (that aren't people)... Our cats!

When I was a little girl, I suffered from horrible cat allergies. This was a nuissance considering we had several cats as pets. One day, probably when I was about six or seven, while peering through our Encyclopedia set, I stumbled upon the most amazing creature and decided right then and there that I would own one someday. It was a Sphynx cat. I was in love with the image, but I was even more in love with the idea that this cat could potentially solve some of my allergy problems. Why? Because THEY HAVE NO HAIR!!!! Now, the breed is fairly new and there are some that have a little more "fuzz" than others... but they are typically virtually hairless. Since dander is usually what people are allergic to when they suffer cat/pet allergies, it wasn't for certain that my problems would be solved. But, I love cats and can't live without them, so I wanted to try this alternative.

It was years before I was actually able to purchase one of these pets, as they tend to be a little on the expensive side. Thanks to student loans, while I was in graduate school, I decided to splurge on something that I wanted more than a headboard. So, I found Kitsch:

Kitsch is completely hairless except for a small bit of fuzz on his ears and tail. When I first purchased him, I called him Tut. But, he wouldn't respond to that. So, one day I ran through a bunch of different names, and when I called "Kitsch!" he came running!!! So, he picked his own name. And it's fitting, if you're familiar with the word's meaning. :)

Thankfully, with moderate bathing and upkeep, my allergies have been non-existant since I got him.

Then, a couple years later, after my husband and I were married and moved to another state, we decided to expand our cat family. We want to save money for adoption and other expenses, obviously, so we didn't go for another sphynx this time. Instead, we opted for a short-haired cat. I planned to bathe her and brush her frequently, to avoid any puffy eyes and sneezing. But, after about a week, I didn't feel any allergy symptoms and haven't since. It's amazing! I don't know if my allergies have disappeared completely, but they certainly aren't bothered by her hair. I can bury my face in it (when she'll let me) and I don't sniffle, snort, or sneeze.

We decided to name her Face. It's quite the appropriate name, as she has one of the cutest faces you'll ever see. We happened to snap the perfect picture to illustrate how she got her name:

The cats' personalities are polar opposites. Kitsch loves to cuddle. Face likes to stay at arms length. Kitsch can't jump well. Face jumps all over the place. Kitsch doesn't mess with the dining room suit. Face likes to play with hairthings on the tabletop. :) The only thing they have in common is their hatred for the vaccuum and their love for one another. They get along great.

So, now that I've "shown and told," isn't it your turn? Head on over to Mel's Blog to play along. It's a great way to bring people together and see interesting things!

Revving up

PRIDE training begins next week. I'm actually a little excited about it, because it means we are that much closer to our baby.

As a side note: This weekend, we travel to Nicholas' parents house. I'm very anxious to get a little trip away from home. We didn't do anything all summer. I'm also very excited to see the family. It's been so long!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Our Separate Journeys (And a Very Special Addition)

My sister is pregnant.

I've known this for awhile now, but wasn't allowed to say anything until she made it public. Now it is.

So. My sister is pregnant.

I'm excited to meet this little one. I'm overwhelmed by the joy of a new baby in the family.

It's a little surreal to be honest with you. I'm her elder by eight years and I always thought I would be the first to give my mom a grandbaby.

But now, my sister is pregnant.

I feel like it needs that space around it. It's like, I can't really comprehend it. I can't wiggle myself into that place where it's me and her enjoying this ride together as sisters who are about to be a mom and an auntie. I feel like an outsider, watching it all happen but not participating. We're both happy, but we're happy separately. And, I know she probably feels the same about our situation. She is happy for our process. She is excited to be an aunt to our future baby. But, she's watching us and feeling disconnected from our journey.


I've seen the ultrasounds. I've driven her to appointments. I've cooed and awed over her growing belly. I'm genuinely happy for her. I am involved. But, something in me feels separated from the process.

She's pregnant.

And I'm not.

And I never will be.

I've dealt with my infertility in the past. But, I don't think the wound ever really goes away. It hurts. Even in the middle of such happiness and excitement, it still hurts.

I feel I need to write this because I promised in our "about us" section that we would chronicle our fears, the ins and outs, etc. etc. etc. And this is a big part of adoption, right? Dealing with infertility head on? Not approaching it on tippy toe and pretending that "I'm over it."

In order to BE over it, I have to GET over it. And I can't GET over it if I stay away from it...

So here I am.

And here it is:

I am upset when I hear pregnant women complaining about being pregnant.

I am sad that my sister's belly is filled with movement for the first time and she can feel it, but I can't.

I am jealous. And, I'm angry with myself for being jealous.

I am upset that we have to take classes to be allowed to parent a child, but fertile couples don't.

I am sad that most women wait nine months for their babies and I don't know how long we'll have to wait for ours.

BUT. And this is a big BUT. I am honestly happy to be an aunt. I can't wait to rub that baby's fluffy head. I can't wait to spoil him rotten.

I've mourned the inability to have biological children. I'm so happy to adopt. But, I don't think I ever truly dealt with the loss of the pregnancy itself ... not the baby, just the pregnancy aspect of it... the road to that baby. I guess I didn't give it as much thought because I was so consumed by the thought of not having a child . Now, I'm consumed by the thought of not having a child.

I'm not hiding my feelings. My family knows how I feel. They know that I'm hurting. But they also know that I am thrilled with my family being formed through adoption and all the possibilities that brings. I'm happy to be on a different road, sometimes I just wish I could give the other one a try. :)

This "adoption road" has two lanes... one is coping with the infertility, the other is the excitement of the adoption process. They both head the same direction. they are connected. It's possible to travel in either lane at any given time and still head straight toward our destination - our baby. It's cheesy, it's hokey... but it gives me comfort.

So my sister's pregnant.

And, I'm not.

And that's okay.

I think he looks like me. ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crisis Averted!

Okay... so I may have gotten bent out of shape a little too soon. It turns out we'll be able to make the classes after all!


I'm currently enrolled in a real-estate course, in addition to my full teaching load. I'm doing this so I can make some money in the summertime and hopefully afford these adoption expenses. Anyway, my course meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6pm-9pm. I didn't think anything could be done. Thankfully, my instructor has allowed me to switch to correspondence course on Tuesdays and I will still attend Thursday's classes.

He's a doll! I could've just grabbed him and hugged him right there in the middle of the classroom.


As part of our homestudy process, we are required to attend PRIDE training sessions. This is basically a nine-week parenting class that meets one night a week for three hours at a time. The homestudy can't be completed without this training.

Today, we found out that the next class begins in October -- Great! Right? No. It is on Tuesday nights, during one of the only times I told them we were unavailable. That means we have to wait another nine weeks before we can begin training. That nine weeks on top of the actual nine weeks of the class, and any down time in between, and we can't even have our homestudy completed for another FIVE MONTHS!!!!!!

I don't know what to do. Apparently, PRIDE training is required of all adoptive parents in this state. Therefore, we have no other alternatives. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed. I'm going to have to practice my patience and try to figure something out. We are very eager to get the homestudy completed so we can sign up with an agency and begin applying for loans, grants, etc. to help cover a small percentage of the cost.

Here's hoping we can arrange something that will work for everyone.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Our First Steps...

I always knew adoption would fit into my life, I just didn't know how. Then, at the age of 18, I was informed that I could not bear my own biological children. After surgery, this was cinched. Infertility caused us much heartache for awhile, but it has ultimately given us the chance to help another heartbroken woman find a happy home for her baby. The alternative of adoption is our glimmer of hope.

Recently, my husband and I have decided to begin the process. We've been wanting to do this for awhile now, but were never "settled" enough to do it. Now that we've purchased a home and "laid down roots," we feel that we're more than ready.

We are currently pursuing a domestic adoption, which means we are adopting within the US. We are looking for an infant this time and are happy to have a baby of any race or gender.

Today we attended an adoption/foster care open house at Children's Home Society. They are a licensed agency, but have informed us that their infant placement rate is low. They placed two last year and none this year. However, they will do the homestudy for us and the post-placement once our baby is home. Their fee is $3,000. That is our first hurdle.

Next, we begin the process of agency selection. We've been warned against facilitators. Apparently there are agency-like programs that will advertise for you and find your child, but you still have to pay adoption agency fees on top of their fees. These are illegal in several states. We're considering:

--American Adoptions
--Independent Adoption Center
--The Gladney Center for Adoption

It seems as though agency fees run approximately $17,000-$40,000 for domestic infant adoptions.

With that much money on the line, we want to choose an agency that will be the best fit for us. It's very daunting to visit so many websites and not know which one is the best.

If you have been through this process, what agency did you use with great success? If you know of a reputable agency, please let us know.

Stay tuned... the journey has just begun and there will be much fun ahead! :)