Sunday, December 20, 2009

Snowed In

No news on the adoption front right now. We're currently answering a bunch of questions about ourselves and filling out paperwork.


We just finished the largest grading session of the semester: end of term portfolios. I'm so happy to be done with them. Imagine reading 2000 pages and having to comment on every single page... It's grueling. I have approximately 88 students, and each one turns in about 20-25 pages of writing at the end of the semester. But -- it's the only pitfall of the job. Otherwise, I love what I do. And now, it's break time!!!!

Unfortunately, we are snowed in! The sky finally stopped threatening and made good on its promises.

I really dislike snow most of the time. I don't like traveling in it, and I prefer to be warm. I hate bundling up every time I want to leave the house.

But -- when we don't have to go anywhere and work is done for the semester, it can snow all the time. It's quite relaxing and pretty to just stay inside and look out the window.

So, as long as I get one day to Christmas shop this week, I'm okay with the snow.

Friday, December 11, 2009


We mailed the applications out to the "agency" today.

We anticipate our actual wait will begin in just under a month or so... fingers crossed.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holiday Wishlist: part 1

1. Rockabye Baby! Lullaby Renditions of Radiohead

2. Rosie's Family: An Adoption Story

Saturday, December 5, 2009


*Real Estate Licensing Exam -- I spent the last couple days about 150 miles south of home, preparing for and taking the test. I don't get the results for a couple weeks, but my fingers are crossed that before Christmas, I will have a nice part-time real-estate gig.

*Thanksgiving -- We traveled to Nick's parent's house for Thanksgiving. We were there for about four days. How lovely it was to just relax and enjoy time with family. We ate so much great food... I miss it! And, we got to see my brother-in-law and his wife. She's due to have our nephew very soon! I can't wait to meet him. We also got to spend some lovely time with our other nieces and nephews, playing games and talking.

*Home Study Visit 1 -- Oh yes! They did start the process! :) We spent days cleaning and cleaning and cleaning our house. It wasn't all that dirty... but we still weren't fully unpacked from the move in June (oops!) and had to put a bunch of stuff away. They visited, and didn't really look around too closely. Then, we were interviewed and asked a bunch of questions about our home, family, marital relationship, etc. It wasn't bad at all, and my nerves weren't as bad as I thought they would be.

*Home Study Interview 2 -- And, it's moving along quickly. We had our second interview session (individual interviews) recently. We spent about an hour talking about ourselves. It was a bit intense and I babbled a bit. I am very uncomfortable talking about myself so much. But, it went okay.

*Black Friday Shopping -- I got a gift card for "Thanksgistmas" at the in-laws and so, on Black Friday, we went clothes shopping. I got a ton of new sweaters. (I love sweaters).

*First Snowfall -- Today, snow fell here for the first time. I am not a fan of snow, by any means. But, today, it's pretty. I don't have to be anywhere, and I get to relax a bit. My grading is done; my test is done; and I just get to sit for awhile.

It was unseasonably warm the last week or so, and our roses decided to bloom again. I was thrilled to see them in late November/early December. It felt like a very cool summer. And now, they're getting covered in snow. I snapped some pictures as proof.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

just thinking...

I've been very sick the last couple days. Nick has been coddling me through the whole horrible thing. It helps me to see what a great father he will be.

It seems to me that lately, nothing can happen that I don't immediately relate to adoption. I get sick; I think about what a great father Nick will be, and how nice it will be to baby our children when they feel bad. The car overheats; I think about how we should get a new one so we can get around easier as a family once the baby comes. My students confront me angrily; I practice discipline techniques learned in parenting class.

I suppose it's the same thing a pregnant mother would do with all that waiting time. So, I think I'm mentally pregnant -- heart pregnant. This is my time to contemplate and prepare.

Even though I'm sick, even though I'm busy, even though there are hundreds of steps to be completed before we even begin actually "waiting" for our child, I'm happy.

Today is a nice day.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Adoptive Breastfeeding

Did you know it's possible to breastfeed an adopted child? Even if you've had a complete hysterectomy (as I have) or have gone through menopause, your body is still capable of producing milk.

I found out about this a while ago, and had given it a thought now and again, but now that we are truly beginning the process, I'm thinking about it even more.

I've done a SIGNIFICANT amount of research on this topic. According to a number of studies, the milk of an adoptive mother is equal to that of a birthmother's milk ten days postpartum. So, the child is getting all of the immune and health benefits that a birthmother's milk provides. It's a very healthy choice, and also allows for very valuable bonding time between the new mother and child.

Most adoptive mothers need to supplement their feedings for a little while with an SNS or Lact-Aid type system, as their milk supply continues to grow. But, most are able to eventually produce all the milk their baby needs with a little time and effort.

Please, take a moment to learn a little bit more about it from the following websites:

A very informative website with lots of links that are very valuable in deciding if adoptive breastfeeding is for you. It also contains helpful information for those who decide to follow through.

The best website (in my opinion) about adoptive breastfeeding is Ask Lenore. Here, you can find some FAQs, The Newman-Goldfarb Protocols for induced lactation (including regular, accelerated, and post-menopausal protocols), and message boards to connect with others in the same situation. Be aware that even though there are medicine/hormone induced lactation protocols, you can induce lactation naturally without the assistance of drugs. But, if you choose to use the Domperidone, there is no risk to the child or mother. The drug does not cross the blood-brain barrier as does Reglan, and does not express in the milk in any significant quantity.

A collection of moving stories from adoptive mothers who have breastfed their children can be found here, courtesy of La Leche League Intl.

A very nice blog post about adoptive breastfeeding that also deals with possible first-mother reactions and hospital etiquette.

What do you think about Adoptive Breastfeeding? Are you planning to breastfeed your child? Have you had success/failure with it?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Show and Tell: Halloween

Okay, I know this is a little late, but I wanted to participate.

So, Halloween has come and gone. As a child, I wasn't allowed to celebrate Halloween. So, we didn't dress up in costumes, and we didn't get candy. We went to church. Okay, okay... we did get a little bit of candy at church. But our little brown lunch-sacks are pathetic compared to the overflowing PILLOWCASES that some of the kids in our neighborhood were carrying around this halloween.

Now that I'm an adult, I choose to dress up for Halloween. I've always been a fan of getting into costume. I dabbled in theatre in High School. Once I even got to dress up as a male detective. I had so much fun gluing facial hair under my nose and padding my gut. I was also in a chamber choir in high school. There, we got to dress up in medievel costumes and sing old, old songs.

Anyway, this halloween, I broke out my old choir costume and decided to be a creepy queen. I gathered some inspiration for the make-up from Tim Burton's Queen of Hearts. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the back of the costume to zip up, as I've gained about 35 pounds since high school ended ten years ago. I had to stay seated on the porch the entire time, with my back to the house. But, no one was the wiser.

Nick dressed up as a zombie. He got his hands on an old suit jacket and tore it to shreds. Then, he proceeded to scare the neighborhood children without even trying. It was so cute! Thankfully, the children weren't scared enough to run away. They got their candy and then cautiously fled the porch clinging to their parents. :)

Last year, we were superheroes. The year before that, Nick was a giant poodle (complete with pink bow) and I was a masked wrestler. I can't wait until next year!!!!

Oh yeah! Kitsch dressed up too. He was Frankenstein again this year. (I love this costume.


Now, you participate! It's not too late! Just visit:

Show and Tell

Friday, October 30, 2009

Agency Found?

As you may remember, we were looking for an adoption agency to sign up with when I started this blog. We've researched so many of them!!! We checked out Adoption Network Law Center, which isn't quite an agency or facilitator. They're more like a hybrid of both. We telephone conferenced with them and it seems like a lovely center. However, in researching them more thoroughly, I've seen way more bad reviews and ratings than positive ones. So... now we don't know what to do.

I love that they seem to do very thorough background checks and that they have a fairly low match-time due to their aggressive marketing. But, the thing I'm currently drawn to about ANLC is that they have a financing application. We may need to get a loan, as we need $30,000 and only have $100 saved right now. The other bonus is that they take the payments in chunks rather than all at once like other agencies (American Adoptions, etc.). We need $6,800 to start the process... so that is our immediate goal.

If you know anything about this place, please leave us a comment. Or, if you have other suggestions. If you are uncomfortable discussing them in a public venue such as this, I will send you my e-mail address so we can talk privately.

So, for now... I'm going to declare them our top choice. Now... where to come up with that first $6,800...

Friday, October 23, 2009

Baby Shower Let-Down...

I was supposed to throw my sister's baby shower. We had already discussed it. I asked her to get me a list of addresses. I had a place picked out. I had an approximate date -- I was waiting to see if it would work for everyone.

Today, we get a text from the paternal grandmother to be (who my sister lives with) and find out that she's already planned it. She has a place and a date picked out. She wants us to decorate.

I'm very heartbroken that I wasn't told about this earlier. I've been planning it for months!

Is it wrong for me to be sad about this?


I promise I'll post something happy soon...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 2 of classes...

Tuesday night was PRIDE training class #2. The video discussed different forms of child abuse, as well as attachment disorders. Of course, this was only really relevant for couples who are doing foster care. The entire class is virtually focused on foster care.

They focus primarily on re-unification and have pretty much said that adoption is the last option for a child and is not ideal. So, that leaves people like us, who are infertile, out in the cold.

We've decided to wait on foster care until a later time. This is our first child, and we can't have any of our own, so we wanted to start off with an infant adoption. We haven't parented before and would like the opportunity to start from scratch. We aren't ready, just yet, for the behavioral challenges of an older child adoption. We've told the agency we would like to do this eventually, just not this time.

The agency that we are using for the homestudy (Children's Home Society) informed us that they don't really do any infant placements, because there aren't many WV birthmothers coming to them. They told us that we could do our homestudy through them and our post-placement. We agreed to find a different agency (a national agency) to do the actual first-parents search and placement.

We filled out the application, we paid $58 to have our fingerprints done and background checks, we've photocopied our IDs, and we've visited the doctor and had a physical. I rearranged my real-estate classes so we could attend PRIDE training now.

Today, I got an email from CHS saying that they will not start our homestudy now because they want to focus on foster parents and not adoptive parents!!!

We have NO other option. I looked into DHHR and they only do foster-adopt/older WV child adoption homestudies. Burlington Methodist services charges $25,000 and will still require us to sign up with another agency (for a grand total of $50-$80,000). And, there are no other agencies near us. We have no one else to complete our homestudy.

We are at a stand still.

Why is this so difficult? All I want is to be a mother. Why won't anyone help us?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Parenthood For Me -- Grant Opportunity

If you are going through the adoption process, as we are, you are probably familiar with the LARGE amounts of money required. For most of us, this type of money is impossible to come by without a little help. Recently, I came across a new program that seems very promising. I had not seen any advertising for this not-for-profit organization yet, and merely stumbled upon it through last weeks Show and Tell.

Please help this organization get its name out into the web-o-sphere. This will not only potentially help many prospective adoptive parents, but it will also allow people to visit the site and donate to the growing fund. This is beneficial to the organization, but even more so to you! The more people that visit and donate, the more possibilities Parenthood For Me will have to help adoptive parents like us!

Here is some information:

Parenthood For Me (PFM) is now a national not-for-profit. Their mission is to provide financial and emotional support to those building their families through adoption or medical intervention. They will be accepting their first grant applications in January 2010. The first set of grants will be awarded in June 2010. Visit the website FAQ page to find out more details.

You can find them at:

And blogging at:

In addition, PFM is holding a giveaway on their blog in order to boost the public's awareness of the program. Feel free to participate to help out this wonderful organization!

And, if you apply for a grant -- Good Luck!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

PRIDE Training: Day 1

Today was the first day of our PRIDE training, the nine week course that must be completed prior to finalization of our homestudy.

As you may remember, there was some drama over the day that was chosen for these meetings. Tuesday nights were one of the nights of the week that I was simply unavailable. I was quite stressed out over the thought of having to wait five months before we could get our homestudy done. Thankfully, I was able to work something out.

In order to attend the training, I have to travel to work with my husband and wait for him while he teaches. Today, on our way to his class, I managed to drive the car over a ditch. It was noisy and a bit scary, but we were no worse for wear and the car seemed to be just fine. I was a bit upset with myself for not seeing it, and I stewed about it while Nick taught.

An hour and fifteen minutes later, when we were getting into the car to head for PRIDE training, we spotted a flat tire. A FLAT TIRE!!!!! It was near 5:00pm and we had to be at the training by 6:00pm. We have a spare tire, but it is fairly worn. Not to mention, we live half hour away from work and couldn't risk riding all the way home and then all the way back out tomorrow. We had to go to the shop and have the tire fixed. By 5:00pm, Nick had the spare on and the old tire in the trunk, and we were on our way to the shop.

We must have sat in traffic for half an hour.

Finally, we arrived at the shop, only to be told we would have to wait one and half hours before they could get the car in to be worked on. It was already closing in on 6pm... there was no way we could make it to the class on time.

At this point, I was slipping into my "this is God's way of telling me something" mode. My mind immediately went back to finding out about my infertility... those horrible months where I blamed God, and figured that He didn't see me as fit to parent a child. I started thinking, "He must be trying to tell me something... the class was scheduled on a day that wasn't good for me and now that I rearranged my schedule, this happens. He really doesn't want me to be a mother." I know in my heart that this isn't true. I know that was my self-pity, my anger, my anxiousness talking. But, I was just so frustrated.

Nick was calm. He's always calm. This is definitely one of the reasons I love him so much. He balances me out. He was right there to put his hand over mine and whisper: "I love you." Even though he had every right to be upset with me for driving us into the ditch in the first place.

His calmness calmed me down. I went for a walk. I took some headache medicine. I called Children's Home Society (our homestudy agency), and told them what was going on. They were very understanding and told us to come on in whenever we finished.

Eventually, I forgave myself for the blunder.

At around 6:45pm the car was finished... much quicker than they estimated. So, we headed over to the class, and we arrived a little after 7pm.

Finally, we were there!


Class One and Two (combined in one evening):

There were three other couples in the room when we got there. We apologized again for our tardiness, and then we introduced ourselves to the couples. The social worker allowed us to take the video they had already watched, in order to make up the missed portion of class.

For the remaining two hours, we discussed reasons for fostering/adopting, birthparents, reunification, and permanence.

Most of the information was introductory, today. But, we were given some homework to fill out, and a family tree assignment.


I'm looking forward to the rest of the training. I'm just hoping that we don't run into any delays next week.

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! :)