Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Comfort Levels, a Sad Situation, and the Name Game

If I were Johnny Carson doing Carnac the Magnificent, what would be the question? I didn't mean for the title to come out that way, but I'm leaving it because I like its silliness.
By the way, I know you lurkers are out there; my hit counter tells me so. Introduce yourself! I want to know who you are. You don't have to post, you can send me PM or email. Don't be shy! I don't bite. Promise.
Now, down to business.
I guess I’m feeling more and more comfortable with the topic of our adoption journey. I was talking to a dear friend who was joking about DINKs (double income, no kids) within another topic of discussion, and I said we might not be in that category for too much longer, and told her about our journey at a high level. She never got the chance to ask deeper questions than what part were we were at because she was making dinner and then had to go.

On the other hand, my in-laws have not brought up the topic once since calling us when they filled out the questionnaire. I asked DH why, and he shrugged. “You know how weirdly secretive they are about some things... maybe they’re still hoping we’ll have our own.”

“Yeah, well,” I replied, “We did too.”


Keep the good thought for a childhood friend of mine. Last week, she let the cat out of the bag that she’s pregnant. This week, she left a cryptic status on FB that sort of bothered me. Instead of embarrassing myself since we haven’t seen each other in twenty years by asking what she meant on the public page, I asked her via FB email what was up.

Her boyfriend is leaving her (I thought she was married – she listed a married name and listed herself as such... interesting, but I didn't pursue the topic). He’s going home. Home is across the Atlantic. And he’s going back to his ex. Ow. She didn’t say whether his departure is in reaction to the news that she’s pregnant, but I suspect it is. Obviously, she’s devastated.

Oh, and did I mention that she also learned last week she’s having twins? It looks like she’s going to have to raise them as a single mother. What a rough situation. Poor girl.


Not only in Blogland, but also among RL friends, we have seen parents-to-be put through the wringer. I have seen people who are normally not really so rude barge in when it comes to this topic. I have also seen some ask the people in Blogland for suggestions on what to name their child. I just sigh.
When my friends M and AJ were expecting their son, AJ’s grandparents were insistent on some ridiculously long and unpronounceable Dutch name (AJ is of Dutch descent, hence the nickname of “the Flying Dutchman” when we worked together many moons ago – mostly because of him flying off the handle). As it is, the boy shares his fine name with the heir to the Dutch throne, entirely by coincidence.
I think that when the time comes, we will keep our traps shut about the names DH and I have discussed. Maybe we’ll be snarky and say we’re thinking about Milton and Bertha, or Archibald and Gladys, or tell them if a boy, we’ll call him after great uncle Elbert... if a girl, after great-great-aunt Inez... you know, give out awful names like that, and enjoy the reactions.

Everyone has an opinion. I didn’t really mind what my sister named my nephew almost twelve years ago, since it was a family name on my BIL’s side of the family (even though it’s not my style). But if he had been a she, I would have objected strenuously to my sister, as she was dithering between Sierra and Cinnamon, with Cinnamon starting to pull away... until the ultrasound showed quite clearly that these names would not be needed, thank God.
Sierra was very, very trendy at the time of Nephew’s birth, and Cinnamon was – is –well... a pole-dancer’s name. The middle name my sister had chosen was her middle name, which is our grandmother’s first name. If it had been a girl, I would have always called her by the middle name in protest.
I'm hoping my brother and his wife pick a good name for the kid-to-be. My other brother's kids have great, timeless and ageless names that I would use if they'd not been named as such.
Amongst my RL friends, there are a lot of really nice names: Joseph, Sarah, Michael, Paul, Abigail, Emily, Juliana, Nicholas, Madeline, Amanda, Dennis, Caitlyn (missed the proper spelling by one letter), Jeremy, Sophia, Thomas... and the latest is Lucy Rose, which, while not something I would pick for my child, I think lovely and elegant and goes perfectly with the eight syllable surname.
There are many friends with the trendy and not-so-great names, which I will refrain from listing. The three that stand out are 1) a daughter with an ethnic name that will cause her to be teased in middle school; 2) the Sarah/Emily pattern (of which there are multiple kids by those names in our circle), which makes them the Jennifers of their generation; and 3) Brady, which is sorta trendy right now for boys.

Our tastes run to the traditional, not trendy. You will never see under our roof:
  • the –aden illness (Aden/Jaden/Caden/Braden and their awful alternative spellings)
  • the surname (Madison, Blake, Mackenzie, Addison, Riley, Mason, Hunter)
  • the place name trend (Brooklyn, Paris, Sedona),
  • the overused Old Testament names (Noah, Jacob, Caleb, Benjamin, Nathan)
  • the Regency Revival names (Olivia, Emma, Sophia, Amelia).
  • the “apostrophe catastrophes”
  • the name smooshes
  • the creative spellings
  • the superfluous Ys (Jordyn, Mykynzy, Mykah, Cydney, Blayre – oooh, spell check didn’t like these when I did the draft in Word).
And let’s not get into the Hollywood names that make your brain bleed, such as the mind-blowing Bronx Mowgli, Fifi Trixibell, Sage Moonblood or Petal Blossom Rainbow.

My kid’s name has to pass the President/Senator/Doctor/other prestigious job test. I took several “trendeigh” names, put them with some common last names, and am presenting them that way just for kicks:

Senator Paesley Zoeigh Jones.
Doctor Arrynn Xan Pappas.
Congressman Khassendra Parys Kelly.
Professor Raiden Baloo Rodriguez.
General Jayden Fenix Braylon Schultz.
Attorney Nevaeh Sawyer Brown.
President Krystofur Ace Thomas.

See? It just doesn’t work. It really doesn’t. My spell check went haywire when I wrote this list - always a bad sign. And yes, they are real names that real people have named their children.
Will I announce it on the Internet when the time comes? I think a fellow blogger has the right idea: leave it up on a post the first few days and then remove it, then use an initial or nickname from there on out.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Yay! They're in! ... And Some Reflections

The two last references finally got their stuff in this week. One had turned hers in several weeks ago and it never got to where it was supposed to go. The other, who truly is a little dingbatty, just plum forgot; she actually drove to the agency and hand-delivered it. I love her.

I’ve sent an email to A at the Agency, asking him to confirm that he’s received them. He said he’s been flipping them to SW as soon as he gets them, so I forwarded his reply to me to SW so that we’re all on the same page.

SW just replied that she now has everything. I replied. “Very cool. Thank you.”
Now I can calm down and play around with the PBM letters and whatnot again.


There have been follow-ups to that situation I referred to in my previous post. Recently, B signed her consents and all that attendant paperwork, but the thing now is to get the father to sign his consent. The BF is not in the same state.

I was thinking about the potential (that’s still, at this point, what they are: potential) adoptive parents, the initial sense of relief they must have when their attorney said that B signed her consent and that it will be filed soon. Yet, until the father’s consent is mailed back from most of the way across the country, and only until the BF actually signs that piece of paper, everything is just hanging up in the air. The axiom about possession being nine-tenths of the law doesn’t apply.

I think about how awful it would be if the BF and his family suddenly decide to fight for the child. Here are the PAPs, bonding with the child, caring for it, taking it to the necessary appointments, introducing their “son/daughter” to everyone... but in the backs of their minds, you know that uncertainty is wriggling like a worm impaled with a fish hook.

...How awful it would be if the BF successfully challenged the adoption and was allowed to take the child after the weeks and months of bonding... how devastating.

But that’s the possibility we have to live with as we go through this process.


As I worked on the draft of the cover letter in this case, I’ve been struck by the fact that anything someone says—whether a lawyer, a counselor, a potential adoptive parent—to anyone in the position of giving up the rights to their child sounds trite. Not cheap, not insincere, just... trite. Overdone. Beaten to death. Is that because there aren’t words to suffice? That nothing anyone says will heal the hurt and ache, that hole in their life?

High sounding words of encouragement and allusions to loving sacrifice perhaps aren’t empty, but to me, as I pounded away on the keyboard, they seem to echo sadly through the birth parents’ view to a future without their child.


It’s important to remember the what-ifs in this process. And, as I’ve written before (and others have too), the one thing that adoptive parents lose sight of is the parental rights of the biological father. Chances are that the only contact adoptive parents will have is with the mother and possibly her family, so it’s easy to sort of block it out.

SW said it’s the one thing that consistently is left hanging in her experience, the termination of the BF’s rights. It’s the thing that drags out the process. Depending on the laws of the state, the time period for the father’s renunciation of rights may differ from the PBM’s. I think I’m going to create a to-do list for the process and check them off when the day arrives.


I get my car back sometime tomorrow...

Back to another weekend. Lots of yardwork to do. Staying home.

Have a great one!

Until next time...

Friday, April 17, 2009

TGIF... With a Vengeance

The story of my poor car can be found here. $4,200+ worth of damage later, I won’t get my car back for two weeks. There’s a $1000 deductible. I hate Enterprise rentals because their shit’s never ready and their cars are usually filthy and stinky, but they’re convenient and close and have a deal with our insurance company.

Some advice: never get a Kia Rondo (the only car they had even remotely ready to take off the lot, and it was still dirty and gross). Small gas tank + V6 gas guzzler = quarter tank of gas used a day. Thank God the gas prices are low.


So AJ and M sent in their questionnaire; AJ called to tell me he had dropped it in the mail. So then I asked SW who else was missing. Oh, only the other two friends. Who have not responded to my email plea. Who seem to have fallen off the face of the earth. Which bothers me immensely. With a court date set in the near future. No complete sentences possible with my brain shivering.

I sure do have a rant boiling in my head, but I have to believe there's good reasons why they haven't turned their stuff in yet. There has to be.


I’ll tell you, it’s been very hard with a situation at work. There has been a young lady (for purposes of this story, “A”) who came to see Boss, with her sister (“B”) in tow, about putting B’s baby up for adoption. A has been the facilitator... and to make a long story short, B’s life and family is such a mess, and she’s so young, that the only option has been to put the baby up for adoption. They’d already had a couple selected but just needed an attorney to protect B’s rights. B already gave the baby to the adoptive parents before they’ve been certified, so it’ll possibly be a guardianship to adoption situation. In the meantime, they have the putative fathers to deal with, so it’s not as cut and dried as one might think.

But yeah, as B wavered about the potential parents, she was looking at a couple of the profiles just for variety. It sort of stung to know that we weren’t in the mix - not because we were an option ... I knew B had already chosen someone – but because we’re just not there yet in the process to show a profile.


Since the cat (Boss) is away, this mouse is taking a sanity day at home after this Thursday to Thursday week from hell.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Everyone Has One

I check my phone at one-ish (I'd left it in my car, as is my habit on weekends), and my friend AJ left a message. He said "I'd really love it if you'd call me back."

Considering I had just talked to his wife M (see previous post), I wondered what was going on. So I call back.

"I feel really really bad, " he said. "I looked over across my desk the other day and realized your questionnaire was still here." He had callled the agency and the guy who answered (A, the intake facilitator there - a really nice man) essentially told him to complete it and send it in.

I about died, but held myself together. "Um, yeah, get that sucker in. She uses all the questionnaires to do her report to the court, so hurry up," never mind that they are the ones I've tapped as potential guardians for our future baby (as I am for their son). So he's filling it out as we talk.

He teased me: "I'll only recommend you if you take my son for two weeks on your own, no help, no nothing, and make it through." He's too funny, especially since their small son (almost two now) is the mellowest baby on earth. And, after reading the question as to how a child would fit into our lifestyle, he joked about putting, "going to bars, getting drunk, slapping guys around... the kid will be fine." Very funny, AJ. But he and M were contrite and panicky.

But yeah... here I am thinking the report was well on its way to Court, and this setback (if you want to call it that). Strange thing is, I haven't heard a thing from SW that anyone's was missing. Hmmm. And I did send her an email this afternoon after the phone call to tell her that she will be receiving that one early in the week . I think I'd better call A on Monday and see what's going on, since SW didn't reply to my last email a couple of weeks ago.

And I'd better call my other references, just in case.


Friday, April 10, 2009

State of Suspense

Since we’re now in that la-la land between the two homestudies and court certification, it’s been hard to pick a topic for this end of things.
I have lots of material for my sister blog (which I haven't posted yet), including venting about the effin' idiot who backed into my car yesterday in the parking lot at work. They (in a truck or SUV, since the impact point was too high to be a car) hit my rear bumper so hard that they shoved the front end into the curb, thereby ripping off the undercarriage cover in the front, as well as effin' up my bumper and trunk to the point I can't close it. That was the frosting on my Thursday, a long and difficult day as it was.
I hate when that happens.


I bought Scrapbook Factory 4.0 with the intent of making our profile book, our announcement letter to family and friends that we’re going to adopt (to be sent out when the Court certifies us), plus the incipient idea that I would start a little book for the adoptee to be. I wanted something that would look at least somewhat professional. I wanted a nice toy, too.

I am shamelessly plugging this product. I’m just fudging with it and I know that I have only reached the tip of the proverbial iceberg... but it is SO EASY and so much fun! When it comes to physical paper scrapbooking, I suck big time. I just don't have the eye for it. But using this program I look like a damned professional. And I could flip it into .pdf format if I want, which is great.

Of course, I’m so chicken that I have only used templates thus far.

But I will tell you this; it is FRICKIN addictive!!! I bought it a week ago Sunday, when I was still housebound by my back, and after I loaded it I was on. it. all. freaking. day. I had a blast.


I was not, however, expecting this wonderful program to fuel an obsession about all things adoption. You know that state: once the ball is rolling, you want to absorb and read and write and ponder and blog and read and think... I played with the PBM (the proper term, as I’ve read) letter, a letter to family and friends, then this, then that. Then I started reading site after site after site, and my butt didn’t move all day. It went into a second day.

I had to stop myself. It's just not healthy. It’s just too early in the process to become so immersed in thinking about it.


Just wanted to drop in and say hi. I hope everyone has a blessed, quiet, and uneventful Easter weekend!!