Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
As promised, I said I would do a post on the autobiographical questions given to us from SW almost two weeks ago now.
When SW gave the sheets to us, I glanced over them. Not so bad, I thought, shouldn’t take that long. See for yourself the innocuous looking questions that have turned my answers into a tome.
Part One: Autobiography
Length of time you lived in your birthplace.
Areas of the country you have lived in, amount of time in each area, and reason for the move.
Names and grades of the schools you attended , and the city and state where the schools were located. Also list special recognitions, interests, and activities in school.
Memories growing up: one memory from elementary school years, one from teenage years, and one during early adulthood. What comes to mind re these periods in your life? They can be positive or negative.
Describe your father. How would you describe his personality? What type of work did he do when you were growing up? Is he working now? What was your relationship with him like? Did you two do anything special when you were growing up? Was your father involved in your interests when you were a child? How would you describe your current relationship with your father? How often do you and your father have contact?
Answer these same questions for your mother.
What was your family like growing up? Did you do things together as a family? If yes, what? What activities did your family enjoy doing?
Describe your current relationship with each of your siblings. How often do you have contact with them?
Work history, beginning with first job you had. Name employer, dates employed, type of work done, hours worked. What is your current work schedule? Have you ever been fired, or resigned knowing you would be?
List any other information that would help the Court in knowing about you. This would include issues of abuse (substance, sexual, emotional, etc), as well as significant events, circumstances or beliefs which have impacted you and/or your family.
Part Two: Present Marriage
When and where did you and your spouse meet? Be specific.
What attracted you to your spouse?
How long did the courtship last? What types of things did you do during your courtship?
Did you live together prior to your marriage? If yes, what were the reasons that led you to your decision to live together?
When and where were you married? Briefly describe the ceremony (church ceremony, civil, big wedding, small? Family and friends?)
What adjustment problems did you have when you first began living together? How were those problems solved?
What issues do you and your spouse regularly disagree on?
How are conflict and day to day differences resolved in your marriage?
Describe your spouse as a wife/husband.
Describe your spouse as a parent. If not presently a parent, how would you imagine your spouse to be a parent?
See, they look innocuous. But they’re sneaky. An answer seems simple, but then you want to fully explain yourself, and BAM! There’s half a page written and you're not close to done. The initial questions are tough if you grew up an Army brat or whose parents moved around a lot. Also, if you have a lot of siblings, some of these get rather lengthy.
But yeah, I'm on my 1,085,629th revision of the paper, and I feel like I'm right back in school: it's due on Friday at three! haha
For all that, DH hasn't even touched his yet. Oh boy.
I'm laid pretty low by this cold that DH brought home. Going to take a nap now.
Friday, March 20, 2009
√ I dropped a check off to the agency during my lunch hour on Tuesday. While I was waiting for the receipt, I glanced down and saw the note on the intake sheet that the criminal check has already come back. Very good! I smiled. Nice to know things are going along as they should.
√ Talked again with my sister — this week has been all about the infighting and b.s. when it should be a happy week—but the topic did turn again to our incipient adoption process. She said some really cool things, and then the ignorance cropped up again: “if anything happens to you and DH, then CPS will take your children and put them in a foster home!!”
But then again, she thinks that as the future executor of Dad’s (meager) estate that she’d just be able to split everything up and walk away. Nooooo; there would be a house to sell, etc. She’s really super smart in some ways, but in some ways she’s completely clueless.
Oh boy. Guess I should buy her the book, huh? Probably should buy a crate of the books.
√ Hmmm let's see... my reference folks have all checked in to say they've gotten them, and will return them ASAP. Awesome.
More to come when I get it.
Have a great weekend!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Driving home on the freeway, I was in a quandary: I needed to eat something for lunch, but I didn’t want to burn too much time, and I didn’t want to stink up the house with something like pizza or Mongolian stir fry. I settled for a small salad from the salad bar at the store with no dressing (as is my habit), picked up some crackers, cheese and fruit, and went home. Crammed the salad in my mouth and went to finish up the house.
I know that unless it’s a normal state (you know those OCD types!), the house does not need to be picture perfect. However, there was still laundry thrown every which way on the cedar chest, laundry on the couch, and the bed needed to be made, etc. I worked a minor miracle in the bedroom, although I never did get the laundry truly put away. I just folded it neatly in the basket and set it on the floor on the far side of the cedar chest.
Washed dishes, cut the melons (the cantaloupe and yes, watermelon, were to die for and I had to resist nibbling. Made iced tea (I had asked SW her preferences). Et cetera – you get the idea.
When I finally sat down at 2:55, I was tired!!
Of course, the doorbell rang at precisely 3:01. Very punctual. And meeting SW was almost like old home week – in the past three years we’ve worked with one another on various matters via the law office I work for so it was not like meeting a complete stranger. We chatted about this and that... and when it became apparent that DH was (unsurprisingly, because of distance and traffic) late, she started the questions with me.
(I’m just listing the general lines of questioning. It wasn’t as machine-gun as it appears. It was very relaxed, very cordial, lots of open discussion.)
Have I ever been arrested? Been reported to CPS? First job? Where was I born? How long lived in my hometown? How is my relationship with my parents? I had mentioned that my mother had passed, so we discussed her cause of death and the reasons for it. How many siblings? Where was I in the pecking order? Schools I attended? Activities and sports involved in? What college(s) have I attended? Places I’ve lived?
Then we started on my work history? We were at about the middle of my life’s work history when DH came in. So she picked up with him, same lead questions that she started with me.
Then it came to the nitty gritty: Why are we adopting? How many children would you like to adopt? Would you consider siblings? Color/health/background of child would we willing to adopt? Parenting philosophies? Discipline methods? Child care options? Have insurance? How much, what kind, with what company? Do we have a will? Who would be the guardian? Religion? Schools? Alternative day care? If one spouse dies, does the other have means of supporting the family? What do you think will change as parents, what will not change? Impact on lifestyle?
SW strongly advocated attending adoption seminars and parenting classes, but reiterated that they are not mandatory.
She reviewed the financial worksheet, filled some holes, and then gave us three things we needed to do for the 2nd home study: a) discuss and agree on form of openness we’re comfortable with, b) make a decision as to who the guardian of any children should be, and c) completing the autobiography questionnaire she gave us (which I’ll cover in another post here shortly).
Finally, she toured the house. Downstairs, up the stairs and into each room, discussed what room a child/children would be in, back down. She loved how big our yard was for an early 1990s house. She admired its roominess and said aloud that there was plenty of room. We said that we bought this particular house so that when the children came, we wouldn’t have to move. Of course, we thought we’d had kids long before this, but oh well. She smiled.
This phase lasted about an hour and forty five minutes. We scheduled the second home visit for the 27th. In the meantime, she would send out the questionnaires to the references, make sure our fingerprints came back, and submit the application to the Court this coming week.
After she left, I blinked in stupefaction for a moment. It’s real. It’s really happening! It’s on its way!
Saturday morning, I sent out a heads-up email to the five people on my reference list:
Good morning, everyone:
[DH] and I had our first home study visit yesterday afternoon, and at the end of it (which went very well!), our case worker from the adoption agency said that she would be sending out the reference checks/questionnaires this coming week.
I'm just sending out a heads up so you know what it is when it comes to you.
The case worker will be sending our application to Court also this coming week, so the ball is now officially rolling.
Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks so very much to all of you for your help.
[Allie] (and [DH], of course!) =D
Congrats from all of us. Let us know what happens. We're excited for you.
And from my MIL:
What great news! Keep us informed as the process enfolds [sic]. Good luck and all our love!
Friday, March 13, 2009
First, I’ve been looking for a template that was neither too girly nor too boyish. I found this nice shamrocky thing on TCBOTB – so yeah, while it’s supposed to be for St Paddy’s, it also satisfies my neutral-gender-color requirements. Besides, I have a nice healthy dose of Irish in me, so I can have shamrocks if I want.
In time I’ll find a nice yellow or green to use, but for now, this works.
Tense but not, hyper but not, nervous but not, worried but not... just suspended until it gets itself done. I’m doing a half day at work so that I can finish off the little things I need to do at the house before SW gets there. The house is clean... just needs to be finished off. I know it doesn’t have to be perfect, but I do need to straighten some things. And maybe do a quick zip of the mower in the backyard I haven’t had time to do this week.
I warned DH to do some research and be somewhat prepared for the types of questions we might be asked. He’s chosen to be insouciant. I can’t do anything about it. Oh well.
On Monday, I talked to my sister. Dad has let the cat out of the bag re our decision to adopt.
I was miffed... and miffed specifically at Dad. I told him weeks ago that DH and I weren’t going to say anything until we were certified (and also to not take away the sunshine and excitement of Baby Brother (“BB”) and his wife— YSIL = Younger Sister in Law, as opposed to BP’s (my next eldest brother’s) wife, OSIL or Older Sister in Law—exciting news, due in October), and assumed that I was speaking to Dad in confidence because I had asked him not to say anything for a bit – but Dad blathered to Sis, and I know Sis can’t keep her damn trap shut to save her soul.
I really am vastly disappointed.
I will give Sis credit where it is due - she was excited and supportive and she does understand, she really does. She tried in vain for a second child.
But what I found even more irritating than the loose lips was Sis starting with the ‘they can take your baby away!’ crap regarding domestic adoption, plus the ignorant, insensitive garbage I have seen other adoption bloggers write about regarding adoption in general. *facepalm* I went “No, no, no,” and proceeded to tell her process a, b, c... very frustrating. I guess I’d better get used to it.
BP apparently told Sis that she and I need to hold a shower for YSIL. WTF? As if. Whatever. The presumption is not to be believed! On top of this is the fact that any relationship I might have had with her was destroyed by BP’s interference and BB’s jellyfish spine where BP is concerned. Any chance of a relationship was destroyed long before I met YSIL, and at this point, I’m just not trying. I sent a card, said to let us know where she’s going to register... we’ll send a gift and whatnot, but if BB isn’t going to meet me halfway (as soon as I heard the news I texted him congrats; not even an acknowledgement he got it. Pissed), then I’ll just take the polite high road.
Sis said no, we’re all the way across the country, so how in the hell is that going to work? And why does BP care if YSIL has a shower or not? He wouldn't give a flying damn about mine. Grr.
Julie from alittlepregnant doesn’t like “O.ctom.om” so I’ll employ my alternate name for her: Oc-tard. Well, anyway, Oc-tard supposedly is getting a new, half million dollar home according to the stories on the internet on Tuesday. Supposedly it’s in her dad’s name. How is this going to work when their other house is under foreclosure? Now, as of yesterday, she says that she’s the one paying for it. And how is she going to manage that on a long term basis when she’s not working and probably never will? Helloooooo...
How is that this mentally unstable POS can get away with this? It’s ridiculous – DH and I have to spill our financial, marital, career, and personal guts to just get certified for adoption later today, and... grrrrrrrrr she pisses me off.
If California’s version of child protective services releases those babies to her, my faith in my fellow man will plummet. Not that that faith is very high as it is—true to my cynical nature—but my God, have mercy on these poor children, all fourteen of them.
Speaking of internet sites, I have seriously considered doing our own website for an extension of our profile. Web hosting is not expensive, and I can get either templates or a publishing program (done it before with FrontPage) and do it that way. Still mulling it over.
I plan on adding to the blogroll. Lots of good stuff out there. If you see the additions in the near future, and you don’t see yours (not because I haven’t read it, but because of my brain farts in forgetting where I've been), drop me a line at allies (dot) open (dot) arms (at) gmail (dot) com.
I’ve decided to let the matter re MIL’s BFF on FB hang for a little while. The request isn’t going away. It’ll linger there until either she shoots me a message or the day comes where I feel like dealing with it. It’s not that I have anything to hide, but it’s a different venue when you have friends on there and other people closer to you compared to when you have someone with questionable loyalties. My friends and cousins and I can be as irreverent or borderline naughty as we want. It’s the same with my boss: he’s on FB now, and as his son told him, “I’m glad you’re on FB, but no, I don’t want you as my friend there.”
So it’s the same with Boss’s son: I like being able to vent about my boss or my mother in law or various family members in my status now and again. I can’t do those things if there are certain people wanting to be my friends. I know you can restrict access to your pages to a point, but probably not restricted enough for my tastes if I were to add either Boss or Honorary Aunt.
I haven’t told DH that Honorary Aunt has made the request. I’m not sure he’ll care either way, but I don’t want to turn it into a big deal, either. I think I’m just going to sit on it awhile.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
My mother in law's oldest/best friend found me on FB. I like her, a lot. She's an honorary aunt, and she's the one included in the Ireland trip as outlined in my sister blog. She's nice, awesome, cool, smart, active, and we always talk up a storm.
My concern? That she'll report to MIL every little thing I post. Gadzooks.
I'm mulling it over for 24 hours.
Should I friend her?
Friday, March 6, 2009
The common link to those who are going through the various types and speeds of reproductive medicine, many times, is this soul-searing anger. And if the poster has gone through multiple procedures without success, it builds into a towering rage.
I get it. I really do.
I get it because it is me, too. I have despaired, I have raged, I have pleaded to the indifferent and strangely mute Invisible Entity of the Vast Universe to change this horrible, ghastly, lonely sentence of infertility. I have deeply mourned the loss of the dream. And only recently—meaning the last few months—have I come back from that dark side of the moon where I was all alone.
And only I could change my mental state.
Recently I was perusing the blogs of those going through the tortuous reproductive needle dance with the theme of Drugs and Needles and Retrievals, Oh My! And as I read once more of the regimens that these women are going through, and the searing, all-encompassing fury and frustration when it’s yet another negative. And I read about all the money burned, personalities changed, friendships and family ties incurably altered, and finances and mental well-being ruined, because of that fury, that keening wail, the justified railing at fate.
Once more, as I read these entries this last week, I was at peace with the decision to not even go down that road.
At what cost will some people pay to achieve parenthood? It’s a good question, and a necessary one, especially if they honestly don’t have insurance coverage or money to do the procedures. How many marriages have been destroyed? How many homes lost, how many savings accounts stripped, how many defaulted loans? How many lives will never be the same?
I remember one blog that I had followed in the days after my own devastation: one day, she just quit. Done. Gone. Everything came to a sudden stop. Her marriage was in a shambles, their finances a wreck, and she was so mentally and physically destroyed by that last negative pregnancy test after that last procedure that she deleted her blog suddenly one day, never to return.
I still think about her, and wonder how she’s doing, and if she’s picked up the jagged pieces of her shattered life.
Somewhere there’s a happy medium. But:
Somewhere, there has to be a certain amount of self-honesty—a self-honesty that I am just not seeing in many of these stories.
Somewhere, people have to be brutally honest with themselves and say okay, no, this is just not meant to be. There has to be another way.
“No” statements that need to be said to oneself are:
No, I refuse to be unhappy
No, I won’t sacrifice my marriage/partnership.
No, I won’t destroy my home life.
No, I won’t wreck my social life
I won’t destroy my relationship with my parents and parents-in-law and extended family
No, I will not have this terminally negative outlook.
No, I won’t ruin every occasion by thinking about what should have been, could have been, or
was supposed to have been.
No, I don’t want my relationships with my siblings and friends to change for the worse, permanently.
No, I don’t want to become a bitter, angry, lonely person.
No, I don’t want to ruin my working relationships.
No, I don’t want to shun friends and events because I’m miserable.
...and so forth. Go ahead, add your own. At some point, if you are an infertile (man or woman!) who has turned to adoption to build your family, you probably have said something like this to yourself at some point, even though it might be buried in the subconscious.
Don’t jump my plenteous ass, though – I do realize and understand that there are those who will not, cannot, and shall never consider adoption for whatever personal reason(s). Everyone must do what they are given to do.
This is just my take on it.
Even when those people who have sacrificed so much to give birth to child of their dreams, at what cost has it been? What cost is too high? What down the road will suffer?
You know, as a fellow infertile, that I had the same thought burning a hole in my brain that these people do: I want to try for our own child first. I want to bear a child that carries our genes. I want that precious moment when I, when DH sees our child for the first time after he/she is born. And so on.
It took time—and a lot of sour, bitter, angry heart’s blood— to realize that it just wasn’t in the cards.
I will say that had I married a lesser man, I wouldn’t have a marriage. It’s been a rough ride. And he is wonderful and positive and confident in the road less taken.
It’s taken me the better part of four years to be comfortable, and yes, happy, with the decision to adopt. Am I really happy about it? I’m happy because of that peace that descends once a decision is made. I’m happy that we will still have a family together, although created differently than what we originally had in mind. I’m happy that I have a placid home life. I’m happy to be able to offer that happy, placid home life to a child or children. I’m happy I have a husband I’m still crazy about, and happy that I haven’t destroyed our relationship. I’m happy our finances are intact. I’m happy we have a house with a yard.
I’ll always mourn the fact that I won’t experience pregnancy and birth. I’ll always mourn that a child we raise won’t have my mother’s hairline, or DH’s big and beautiful brown eyes, or the looks from either side of the family we would be searching so expectantly for. It was a shattering thing to come around to, but I’m there, finally.
It’s okay now. DH was always on board (hell, he suggested it first, remember) with the decision to adopt, and we are going into it holding hands. I’m confident, he’s confident, we’re not at all nervous for the upcoming home study next Friday, and I have no doubt we’ll be certified in due time.
But that acceptance, as so many know so well, has come at a high price. The price is surrendering a part of lifelong dreams... but such is the human spirit that a heartbroken person can overcome crushing sorrows to build a new dream.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
“This is [Social Worker], I just left a message at your house and thought I might be able to catch you at the office. I’d like to set up your first home study visit for next week...”
We chatted a little bit, and I said I had to consult DH in terms of day and time. I clarified the hours she was available and the days of the week, had a nice bit of conversation, including joking about my boss a bit (as she knows him well), and she said that the first visit will essentially cover the paperwork. After that, a second visit will be scheduled.
After we hung up, I grinned hugely, and squealed with glee.
Trying to get DH pinned down will be something else. When one is a chief-officer level in the corporate world, one does not necessarily get to pick one’s hours. Yesterday was another super-stressful day where the mental aftermath woke him up at four this morning. Poor baby. The good thing is that he likes the people he works with, which is his saving grace. It’s just that the department is such a cluster that he’s going to be digging himself out for a long while.
Talking to a friend of mine that did an international transracial-transcultural adoption many years ago, he had this advice for me from our FB chat this morning after I got the call:
C: dont be surprised by the questions.. very personal.. and financial
Allie: oh yeah, been doing the research
C: when I went through it I was very angry.. that they asked me about financial stuff.. felt it was very unfair when others could have kids by sitting on the same toilet seat without having a dime to their name
Allie: yeah i know the feeling... very much so... that's what dh's initial reaction was
C: if he needs to talk and blow off steam.. you got my number I understand.. and can let him
know / validate his feelings
Allie: you’re awesome
Later in the exchange after discussion my potential attendance at a seminar, he said,
C: play the game and make the effort.. just like a job interview. .. only for parenting. Sucks, but that is what it is
And he’s right. That’s an unfortunate way to put it, but he is right.
I’m prepared, I think (is anyone really prepared for these? Nooo...). I’m afraid that DH is not, and has not done the exploration into the topic that we had discussed. I don’t want him freaked, I don’t want him pissed and stressed at the intrusive nature of the proceedings. I thought it was very awesome of C to offer his ear like that, because DH may just need that.
(Yeah, I'm still working on the paperwork post. Have to pull out my handy-dandy lil binder and review it)
Edited to Add: Next Friday is Part One of the homestudy. Holy cow, that's coming up fast! :)