Saturday, August 29, 2009

Free Falling... Who Will Catch Me?

I finally sent the bulk email with our profile attached to probably thirty people, from folks from the old neighborhood to newer friends. I'm not sure why I was filled with... oh, I don't know... what, fear? Nerves? Trepidation? Insecurity? Anxiety? Jitters? Fretting? Maybe it's a little bit of all of those. Perhaps it's also a little bit of that thing called fear of the unknown. It's that leap out of the plane, hoping that after the first bit of free falling the parachute will open as it should.

I say it that way because after I said a little prayer then pressed send, the song "Free Falling" ran through my head.

I wanna free fall out into nothin'
Gonna leave this world for awhile
And I'm free, free fallin'*

Yeah... "free fall out into nothin" describes the nervous rush I felt after Gmail told me that my email had been sent successfully.

Maybe it's a little bit of intimidation because of the fact that complete strangers will read the profile, read our nascent website (which is NOT a mirror of the profile), and that I'll get an email that starts, "My name is ____. I read your profile, and I really liked it," followed by a story about how this writer is pregnant or had a baby already and cannot raise the child.

And then it will be 'OMG' time.

Silly, I know. And there are many of you who have already been there, that terrifying first contact. I know that trembling craziness passes. I know it does, especially once it gets past the tentative feelers and shyness when meeting someone new whose face I will have yet to see - for of course, they have seen mine. I wont' have seen theirs yet.

Add to this that I sent out six letters to lawyers yesterday. I expect feedback probably around Wednesday with the information I seek.

I also need to call the first lawyer (Boss's pal) and set up a meeting.

I still need to print out and assemble more profiles. I'll do that tomorrow.

I have also gotten the first two pages of our website up. If you want to look, drop me a note by email over there in the right column. You have to be someone I know via this blog, who also has a blog I have linked to or read or follow at this time. Sorry. I have to retain some privacy here at this locale. ;)

It's scary, knowing that we're out there, that the ball is rolling, and that the ball you've set in motion may wind you up in places you never dreamed of.


*Thanks, Tom Petty, who happens to be one of DH's favorite artists

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sleepless in... Insomnia Land

Sometimes I hate my husband: he's one of those people who can drop right off to sleep. I have NEVER been one of those people. He'll take fifteen minutes, but I can take anywhere from 30 min to an hour. By the time I do fall asleep, he's got his physiological chainsaw going full blast. It kills me.

But that was not the problem last night. Hasn't been for awhile.

No... it's my latest issues. Last night, I tried to sleep, but my whirling brain just would not stop. Busy Brain Syndrome is my other plague when I try to sleep, and you can guess what my brain cells were burning over. Changed beds because I was restless - nope, no good. Went down and read (works about 90% of the time), tried again. Nope. By 11:30 I said "Screw it," padded to my home office, turned on the light and the compy.

To make the drudgery of sleeplessness useful, I prepared the letters for the attorneys I've been referred to. They were essentially form letters. I'm sending them so that I get an idea of what some of them charge to "hold" my profile before I actually send them (also to find out how many copies they want). If I'm spending $.44 to inquire, they can reciprocate that $.44 to tell me how much that privilege is going to cost.

Speaking of cost, I casually mentioned to Boss about his attorney buddy's little charges to display our profile. He was surprised, and said, "Are you sure that it wasn't just a form letter sent out by his paralegal? ... I'd like to see that letter, would you bring it in?" I have it with me this morning, right now, here at work.

(Oh, hush. Like you've never frittered away time when you're half-asleep at work.)

So, in my suffering without sleep last night/this morning - I didn't call it until 2:30am, ugh - I went back and read that sucker. If it's a letter signed off by the boss, generally the initials at the bottom will read something like "AAA/bbb," like in my office the AAA would be the attorney, bbb would be my initials. It's more for figuring out who did what letter, who typed it, who signed off on it.

Lo and behold, I look at the bottom of the second page, and it says, "sa/enc" - not the initials of the attorney anywhere to be found. Yup, Boss was right. A form letter. And it wasn't even the guy's assistant's initials, it was some other minion. Ayup.

In my restlessness, I also started a spreadsheet. One tab is for tracking correspondence - if you're going this route, I suggest something like this. I already have eight attorneys on the list and I need to keep them straight.

Another tab is expenses - this is the biggie, for obvious reasons. App fee, home study, postage, copy costs for your profile, costs of how much it costs to send five of those suckers.
There was a third that I'm having problems recalling. Brain is mushy.

A good part of my sleeplessness was because DH flipped out earlier this week (he does this on an irregular basis, I noticed, as I looked back on other posts and my journal). I have been on him gently to do his research, to make sure he's as informed as I am - but it's this issue, work this, tired that. I don't want to nag and make it unpleasant. So, when I got Boss's buddy's letter and went through the questions with him, he got a little rattled. Again.

As an aside, in Arizona, there's a statute that says that adoptive parents can pay up to $1,000 of general itemized expenses, and after that they must be court approved. This is why AZ is considered an adoption-friendly state, since there are statutes in place to protect adoptive parents. That said, it is within the realm of reasonableness for the attorney to request that other expenses be paid through the court. It is very common. It still protects the PAPs because the Court must approve anything past that one-grand threshold.

So when I got to the question of "If a birthmother requested additional living expenses beyond the $1,000.00 statutory limit, would you be agreeable for us to petition the Court for approval of these additional expenses?" DH's eyes kind of caught on fire.

I have warned him about this, tried to get it through his head, and told him he needs to read up and then talk to me.

Now, to be fair, DH works in a high pressure corporate job. He gets paid well to take the sh*t he does, and I know that he's overwhelmed by it sometimes. I know this is why he's left the adoption stuff to me, which is fine - I expect that anyway. But he cannot stick his head in the sand and claim ignorance when I've told him time and again a, b, c, or nudged him to do his research.

His response to the above question was essentially Hell No, along with various and sundry other uncharacteristic remarks from my usually gentle and generous hearted husband. A couple of days after this exchange, I realize that it was the pressure of his day, but his remarks cut to the core nonetheless.

This morning, I'm going to opt for the calm sea. I'm not going to let myself get ruffled over his reactions that spawn from his mental exhaustion. I decided that the answer on the questionnaire will be something to the effect of 'yes, within certain limits and only with the consent of both of us.'

It will be fine. He'll do his research, I'll get him to talk to Boss so this thing can be explained to him mano a mano. All will be well. I think, again, it's that fear of this unknown lake into which we're jumping that's contributing to this.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

50th Blog Post – The Latest Not-News

Well, I’ll be darned. I’ve survived 50 posts and well over 2000 hits.

Wellll, isn’t THAT special?!

Thanks to all who drop by and say hi and leave a comment, and thank you to my lurkers from far and wide – and from some really surprising places in the world! Thank you so very much.


Yesterday, on a lark, I contacted an attorney my office has worked with on an adoption case, asking if I could forward her a copy of our profile. Her response? “I would be more than happy to hold your profile to show to birth mothers when the opportunity presents itself. Please do forward 5 copies to my [city in the valley] office address. As far as other private adoption attorneys in … County, I would suggest contacting [she listed two attorneys]. In … County [further north in the state], I would suggest contacting [a third attorney]… Keep in mind that these attorneys most likely charge a nominal fee to hold a profile. I do not. So do not be taken by surprise.” I thought that was supremely awesome - both the "yes" and the advice. It really made my day yesterday.

Earlier today in our Gmail account dedicated to the adoption roller coaster, I received a response from Catholic Charities after I sent an inquiry. They relayed the date for an information session that they have people/couples go to prior to acceptance in their Child Placement Program. I can deal with that.

Then, in the mail not thirty minutes ago, I got a response from Boss’s friend (he referred me). I knew that some attorneys charge to hold a profile to be shown, but this pal of my boss has a requirement of meeting with him for a flat $100 fee. On one hand, I’m miffed – adoption’s expensive enough. On the other hand, it’s a weeding process if you think about it. If you’re serious, you’ll set it up, and that way the attorney in question can get a feel for the persons adopting, and probably be able to match better once the attorney and the adoptive folks have met. The best thing is that Boss’s friend also sent a list of other adoption attorneys to send profiles to, one of which was on the first attorney’s list as well.
Besides, really, what's $150 on this road?

I dropped the five copies of the profile in the mail to the first attorney just before I went by the mailbox on the way home.

When I was stuffing the envelope, I realized that I’d have to get more profiles printed. Oh, darn, what a problem to have. =D

If Blogger had a status field for each post, I would feel “accomplished.”


Unlike several here in our “adoption blog family” who are going through agencies, we’re heading to the private adoption route, which means we have to do our own networking. That’s okay, and I realize that it goes with the territory. I’m just very wary of agencies that want a big chunk of change at the beginning and seem to slowly drain the PAPs dry afterwards. I’d rather that the money go directly to the hands it’s supposed to without it being siphoned off somewhere.
(I warned you about my cynicism - no comments from the peanut gallery!) =D

Now, before you get your britches bunched up, I know that agencies do the networking for you. I know that there are valid expenses that the money one pays meets. I understand that the fees cover all sorts of services. Trust me – I understand.

Yet the decision to go this route is primarily financial. I hear of a lot of money changing hands when folks go through agencies. Friends of Boss tell of exorbitant prices they’ve either been quoted or have been paid, and Boss drops his jaw in horror. He’s of the opinion that adoption shouldn’t ever be so expensive.

It’s not personal interest on Boss’s part that causes me to take his advice – after all, he’s offered his legal services for the adoption to us for no charge – he is part of a grassroots anti-abortion organization and advocates adoption over abortion. In fact, he said to me today, “There are two million loving people certified and ready to adopt in this country. If there are a million abortions a year that instead are carried to full term and adopted out to these loving homes, why would we have abortion in the first place?”
This isn’t a new thought/saying/concept, of course, but it is one very topical to us here in our adoption blogosphere. If you validate that stance, though, then it stands to reason that it would be to everyone’s advantage that the next step is that adoption needs to be made affordable. The money that will eventually go out for our own adoption gives DH mental hives. One cannot get away from court costs, attorneys fees, counseling expenses, medical costs, etc.
If you cruise the internet with some of these online agencies (and in one case takes the form of a blog) that list available children, I have seen fees anywhere from $20K to $50K, and, on one site that sticks in my mind, nearly all of them had some sort of drug and/or alcohol exposure, and in many cases extreme exposure. These insane prices, if out of your state, do not include ICPC processing (which of course costs money somewhere), your travel, your hotel, the attorneys fees, and so on. Really? $50k fee to adopt a child in the US? No. This crap should be illegal.
Make it affordable, people! You take away the profit, you take away the temptation for these extremely unethical prices and likely scams.
Just sayin'...


In any case, I have some more networking to do. I’m just getting started on the attorneys. I still have to get the business cards made up to plaster everywhere. I’m still hanging on to the stupid email because (as I said) something in the composition isn’t right.

I have all these avenues waiting for me, so I’d better hop to it!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For Those Who Are Waiting

Wendy at Our TX Adoption posted one of the most beautiful things I've read in a long time. Go on, take a look.


It all resonated, even now, pre-placement, "You'll never lose that secret hope every time you ovulate. You'll never not get a bit sad when you start your period. You'll never stop secretly wondering what your biological baby would have looked like" really resonated. I do that now, pre-placement, knowing full well I'll never see that pesky little HPT with that particular brand good news.
And it's okay, it really is.
But the overarching idea of the post - be calm, it will happen, and will be something that's meant to be, and this you will know in your bones - is beautiful. The advice to really enjoy life pre-baby to the fullest is wise. That you will be resourceful, that your future will be fine, is reassurance we all need. Your career may not be what you originally conceptualized, but it will be where you're supposed to be.

Thanks, Wendy.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Money Savvy Ideas

Read this article DH sent me from The Consumerist. The article is good, but the comments have some really, really good ideas on how to save money when buying things for baby.

Oh, yeah - he really did send me that. I was tickled to death that he was looking out for articles and ideas.

He rocks. :)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Before I pick up where I left off the other day – this is the post I said I’d do as a tangent off of PwPD – I have my PDF profile attached to an email and ready to send. And, for some reason, I hesitate. I don’t know. I am going to do it, but the text in the email isn’t quite right yet. It needs to be right, especially if it will be forwarded to people I have never met.

Agency sent us our home study. Lots of typos in there. They listed my doctor’s first name as Russell and not Robert. WTH? Whatever. The Court okayed it. We’re good.

M’s post (PwPD, 8/17/09 ) gave me some thoughts to chew on. Her ILs bugged her about when she was going to get pregnant, but have become oddly silent after M and her husband announced their decision to adopt. I know the feeling, I really do.

After digesting the content of her post, my mind did that weird leap that sometimes startles even me, so here’s a thought that cruised through my mind as I thought about her post.

For a lot of people:

Pregnancy = comfortable, knowledgeable, visible, tangible, concrete
Adoption = uncomfortable, ignorant, invisible, intangible, abstract

Think about it.
  1. Comfort/Discomfort. When someone announces they’re pregnant, it engenders this… this… I don’t know. Pretty much everyone’s comfortable with it. With adoption, it’s the opposite: somehow it’s unnatural to many people’s minds, and nobody knows what to expect, what to do, or what to say. The interesting thing I’ve noticed is that my friends and acquaintances my age (I’m avoiding family as part of the topic at the moment) have no problem with adoption; perhaps it’s generational? Or do I just have an abnormal group to run with that they’ve been nothing but supportive and excited? Hmmm.
  2. Knowledgeable/Ignorant. The vast majority of people past the age of, say, four or five get pregnancy. Even a small child can tell you at a high level how it happened, how long it’s going to take and what happens in the meantime, when the kid will generally be here, how the kid gets here, and so on. Adoption? Adoption has this tendency to bring even brilliant people to their knees with what they don’t know about adoption. It’s like when you’ve told people you’re adopting, after their initial reaction, what’s their first question? The one I’ve been getting a lot is this concept that we can order a child, pick and choose, like shopping for an accessory. I’ve learned quickly not to get offended. You know what I’m talking about.
  3. Visible/Invisible. Physical pregnancy one can see over time; being ‘paper pregnant’ is like being in this vast void. It’s sort of like Voila! One day you have a kid out of the blue sky, no discomfort or labor required. And this is the part that piqued my mind with M’s post – they push for pregnancy because they can see it, but adoption is invisible (and intangible – next up) and I think that makes them, as well as many people, uncomfortable with the process and concept.
  4. Tangible/Intangible. Kind of like the previous. Pregnancy dances around the senses – see, hear, touch – where adoption, here again, is invisible and untouchable, and whose emotional satisfaction is rather inexplicable. One can touch pregnant belly; the cool and smooth white sheet with black letters of a court order certifying someone as an adoptive parent isn’t quite as satisfying to those outside the inner circle of the adoption world.
  5. Concrete/abstract. Let me put it this way:

    Pregnancy : adoption :: HS biology: canonical philosophy

    Adoption to some people is lofty, incomprehensible and sometimes worth confused silence and unintended contempt because it’s beyond comprehension, and therefore causes people to react in fear. And I think many people don't deal with the abstract very well. That fear of the unknowns of adoption leads back to ignorance and unwittingly causes people to say and do hurtful things. You know, like saying “But they can take the baby away!” Grrrrr!

    But it’s also the fact that the child/ren will not look like anyone, especially if adopting from abroad or doing cross-racial domestic adoptions – that concrete proof that a child somehow belongs in the family – and I wonder if the skeered folk think that this is a bad thing, and therefore think that the adopted child will not belong. It’s a silly notion, but you have to figure it as a possibility.

As an aside, I think that it is an amazingly sad thing that we LITERALLY have all this information at our fingertips at our computers, and have celebrities and high profile people adopting kids right and left, but that there’s still so much ignorance and discomfort in the world about adoption. It just astounds me.

What does this all mean? Short of a well-financed national education campaign with a glossy PR crew, it means a few things.

First, as we in the adoption world already know, we have to educate the people around us. I’ve been tempted to snap at some otherwise super smart people to “do a frikkin’ Google search, fer criminy sake!” But no, that’s not the way we have to go about things, no matter how satisfying snapping at someone is. The most effective way is to genially and persistently revise others’ (usually false) impressions of domestic adoption. The ignorance I’ve encountered is astounding. We have to change that, one friend/family member/acquaintance at a time.

Second, we have to be patient. Patience is not my strong suit, but it means that once those in your circle—those reluctant family and friends who have no idea how to deal with adoption—see what blooms after the child comes home, they’ll see it’s not really so foreign after all.

Most of all, we need to stay positive.

The wait can be and is one of the hardest things about adoption, not just for those expecting but for those around them. When I explained to a dear friend last night that The Call may come tomorrow, next week, next month, six months from now, or next year, she had a hard time absorbing it. That said, I personally have only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the weird and wacky reactions I’ve gotten when I’ve said that we’re adopting.

Emily at Emily the Hopeless has been bombarded by the anti-adoption crowd and had to dive to private blog land; this sort of behavior is completely mind-boggling. Ignorance? Okay, that’s usually not that person’s fault. But to essentially headhunt a blogger because you don't agree with them? Holy cow. That’s so difficult – adoption’s already not the easiest road, and then some of us get that? Unacceptable. But further commentary on that is fodder for another post; I already have a partial draft after running across some awful vitriol elsewhere. My point is that we shouldn’t let these people get any of us down.


The rude things that people unintentionally say are some of the hardest things to take in stride, intentional or not. No matter the basis, for your sake and for the child’s sake, be as positive as possible. Not only will it be easier on you, but the person fishing for a reaction will be taken aback when you don’t nibble on the bait.

There are many of us on this road who got here via heartbreaking circumstances. But despite it all, this is a road for those of us chosen, paved with grace, landscaped with hope, colored by the glorious future.

“And they can’t take that away from me…”

*Astaire Soft Shoe, Off Stage Left*

Thursday, August 20, 2009

MKWW: My Name is ______ and I am a ______

Hi, my name is Allie and I am a cynic.

Main Entry: cyn·ic
Pronunciation: \ˈsi-nik\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle French or Latin, Middle French cynique, from Latin cynicus, from Greek kynikos, literally, like a dog, from kyn-, kyōn dog — more at
Date: 1542
1 capitalized : an adherent of an ancient Greek school of philosophers who held the view that virtue is the only good and that its essence lies in self-control and independence
2 : a faultfinding captious critic; especially: one who believes that human conduct is motivated wholly by self-interest

Oh yeah, that’s me. Well, most of the time. I naively think that people are inherently good, but I’ve been burned so many times that I just don’t really buy it anymore. What reinforces this is watching Boss wholeheartedly believe that people are good in the course of his work, and he gets burned time and time again. So no, I’m not so Pollyanna anymore.

I have a cynical streak a half-mile wide. Not a mile, not a zillion miles, just a half-mile. I look at it as something that tempers me, and adds to the common sense that just isn’t so common anymore.

I’m such a cynic that the first sentence is partially a lie: you know darn well that it’s a pseudonym for safety purposes. That can’t be a surprise though.

I’m such a cynic that I don’t ever believe anything a politician says.

I’m such a cynic that I don’t think that there’s a political magic wand to fix health care, as some people seem to think there is. Hell, Washington can’t even address the adoption tax credit stuff without obfuscation; what makes people think they can manage health care??

I’m such a cynic that I eschew half of what the adoption books say I should buy off on (and, one of these days, I’ll upload that review of Twenty Things. Really. And you’ll see how cynical I really am!).

I’m such a cynic that once I got a really good picture of assisted reproduction and its astronomical costs (physical and psychological), along with the fact that there’s no guarantee, that I said Hell No.

My bright Pollyanna side is the one that said Yes, Adoption is the Way to Go. Thank God for that!

I’m not sure that being somewhat of a tightwad (see previous post) is cynical. Nah. That’s prudence. Prudence is good.

But I’m not such a cynic that I gave up on the dreams for the future, especially when it comes to building our family.

I’m not such a cynic that a dozen years ago I completely gave up on love as I might have under the circumstances.

I’m actually pretty buoyant – but that cynicism, a healthy cynicism, keeps me grounded.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing. :)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Long Thoughts on Being Money Savvy

On 8/13, E at Waiting for Baby posted about an article about ways to save money on baby care. It’s topical to anyone expecting, and is something that’s been on my mind ever since the Order certifying us as adoptive parents came through. What to get, what to do, how much to spend, how to save money doing it?

Another blogger I came across – forget where, sorry, I was blog cruising – was talking about Craigslist for various items. The article linked above suggests Freecycle, which I’ve not explored. I also have been half-heartedly browsing Amazon... and occasionally EBay, even though EBay’s kind of lost its way and doesn’t have the deals it used to.

So E and some other thrifty pals in Blogland set me on a trail. When I get a chance, I cruise Craigslist and Amazon and other places. I have poked around at Target, at BRU as I’ll explain below, and there’s a Buy Buy Baby opening in the vicinity soon (at least they’re honest about their business plan!) but have scrupulously avoided Wally World which I despise for baby stuff, but I think the better deals are at online stores or via Craiglist as long as I can find things I don't have to pay shipping for.

I’m not going to go crazy. Some things must be bought new – the car seat, for example; other things I’d prefer new, such as the crib. But I’m not going to spend the equivalent of half a year’s pay to stock baby clothes, furniture, fripperies and other items. The baby isn’t going to care.

Pardon the morbid comparison, but it’s the same thing with spending beaucoup on funerals and memorials – these things are really for the living, as my cousin said to my nephew at my mother’s funeral, not the dead. She was right – rituals such as these are not only to remember those who have passed, but to make us feel better about the loss.

So (in a really weak comparison, but you’ll get the point), this trend of blowing insane amounts of money on nurseries in the excitement, it’s easy to forget that the baby won’t care; the paint and the printed name on the wall and the other fripperies are really for us, the expectant parents and expectant families. And, to a point, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s an exciting time, a hopeful time, and it’s a really wonderful feeling to prepare for the arrival of a baby, especially if it’s been a long and difficult time coming. But the baby is just not going to care if the paint is from Ralph Lauren or from Valspar, or if the bedding has some trendy logo/pattern/designer instead of simple mainline Gerber stuff from Target. We’re the ones who notice, not them.

Baby clothes and shoes are especially a rip off, since the kid only can wear things for such a short time before they’re outgrown. Even when a teen, I snickered at those who bought baby Nike shoes for their infant; seriously? $60 on a pair of shoes the child will outgrow in a matter of weeks? Hell no. I’m going to Craigslist or Freecycle that stuff. Naturally, there will be various outfits and things that will be new, but for the everyday 3P (poop, pee, puke) Parade, why blow crazy amounts of money on stuff that will just get trashed?

That’s just my take. My Scots blood rises at the complete rips that a lot of baby items truly are. I didn’t have half this crap when I was a kid and I did just fine. I’ll bet you didn’t either.

The other night, when he couldn’t sleep, DH was trying to tire his brain by hunting down some stuff. He surprised me by saying that he even looked at baby furniture items and found some screaming deals (I was glad he did this because he now knows what things cost). He did Craigslist and the other usual stuff, but he has a talent for finding coupons and what I call partnership deals – for example, if one finds something on via, and has a code or coupon, there were things he found where he could get anywhere from $50-$100 or some crazy percentage off. I was really impressed. It tells me he’s now thinking about it, and thinking smart. Yeah, baby!

Earlier this week, I was at BRU looking over my sister-in-law’s registry (the younger of my two SILs on my side of the family – I refer to her on the Alter Ego as YSIL). I have managed to avoid being in one prior to this, and I’m so glad I have never been there. What a load of garbage! It’s a bunch of halfheartedly stocked crap. Oh, I don’t mean that parents don’t need a crib or a baby clothes or other things, but there is just SO MUCH CRAP that nobody needs and are just there as emotional landmines to make money off of.

I will give my YSIL credit – she didn’t go crazy. Oh, of course there are some fripperies – everyone deserves fripperies and fun – but the vast majority of the things on her list are extremely common sense things. You know, such as several sets of crib sheets, a middle of the road bouncer that caught my eye as a future purchase for ourselves... nothing outrageous or extravagant.

I’ll get her and the baby something on her registry, but otherwise I’m going to stay far, far away from BRU. Yuck.

Even before said article, I was thinking as soon as we were certified, and more so when I dropped off our profile the other day, what is it that we absolutely need before the arrival of a child? The catch is, of course, is that our age range is from newborn to four, with no preference to gender, even though I’ve made it clear to SW that younger is preferred (she’s in the same boat). So...


· Car seat, without a doubt. Can’t bring a child home without one. Must be age progressive. Can’t be girly or boyish. It’s one of the things we have to buy new; used is not an option.
· 4-1 crib, and need to remember to get the railings, of course sold separately – so that no matter the age of the child, we have a bed option. We’d have to run out and get a mattress and whatnot, but at least we have the bed frame. Gently used is fine, so I’m hunting for a decent deal. I’m stumped as to what color/finish to get, though.

So, my wise friends in the blogosphere, what else would we NEED other than the obvious safety items such as outlet covers (already bought some) and cabinet locks?

We can’t buy diapers, bottles, clothes, bed linens, or anything else right now. They’re all age dependent.

Rats. I’m stumped.

In other news, DH has talked me out of repainting the room for the moment – the one he still occupies as an office, of course – the one he never finished painting. It’s in a very pale green, a bare tint, which is fine. It’s semi-gloss at least, not flat as I originally thought. And God knows that in a child’s room, it needs to be at least semi-gloss (it sticks in my mind because of the story my mom told me when my #2 brother was an inquisitive toddler who liked to shed his diaper back in the day... and the wall adjacent to his crib was brick... you can figure out the rest!). Ugh.

And I have to call an electrician. We have the ironing board in what would be the kid’s room, mostly because there isn’t an outlet in our closet. Every other room has a zillion outlets, but our huge walk-in closet has none at all. So we’ll have an electrician come out and punch an outlet into our closet and take the iron and ironing board out of there.

Once that’s set up, DH said he’ll take his crap out of there and relocate into the same room as we had a few years ago, and the deal I made was that he can rearrange the home office any way he likes. When he gets his crap out and the electrical is done, he’ll touch up the room... and I’m kind of hoping he can’t match the color so that it has to be completely repainted. I’m evil, I know. Ha.

Then, once the touch up and all the trim (which also never was completed) is done, DH is going to replace the ceiling fan in that room – the current one is a piece of crap that makes all sorts of noises. I want to see if he can put a dimmer on the light portion of the fan so that during nighttime issues, we don’t turn on a blazing light.

I purchased a cordless shade to put inside the window case (DH asked why; “Naptime,” I said; “Oh. Yeah. That’s right.” ha-ha), then make my own roll-up curtains. I have a book that I’ll post the title of that gives you simple instructions for projects. It’s by Caroline Smith, but I don’t remember the title of the book – I’m bad that way. Anyway, thinking of maybe yellow or green polka dots. Maybe yellow on the outside, green on the inside liner? I dunno. I’ll figure something out.

On a complete tangent, I think I’ll suggest to DH to take a parenting class. Naturally I’d go with him. He needs to learn the basics of infant/child care.

On yet another tangent, and semi-related to M’s posts re her in-laws at Plaid with Polka Dots, I have not actively involved the in-laws at all in the process thus far. DH hasn’t said much to them either. Oh, they know we’re adopting (and have been oddly standoffish about it), I think they know we’re certified, but I don’t think they know our profile is essentially active.


Let me give you an example of why they drive me insane. Last week, DH went out with his friend to have a Guys Night Out. I think they went to see the GI Joe movie. He had his phone turned off on purpose – it’s an electronic leash to his work and he didn’t want it. He keeps it on him in case of emergency, but it’s turned off.

FIL & MIL were at a California beach in the same time frame. On a particular night last week, every fifteen minutes, the home phone rang. Every. Fifteen. Minutes. That is not an exaggeration. If the home phone rang, you know he was hitting Dan's phone, too. Since FIL declined to leave a message, it meant the subject matter it wasn’t anything earth shattering. I don't answer the phone because I refuse to reward that behavior; answering makes it worse. Found out the day after that the incessant calling was because his AOL wasn’t working. For criminy sake! I wanted to kill him.

But FIL does this every night, this “war dialing.” It drives me insane.

And I don’t think I could bear to deal with them calling every fifteen minutes/half hour every night to bug me/us about updates. I don't want to think about when we actually have a kid, how much worse it might get. Don’t suggest we talk to them about knocking it off – we have, many times over the years, to no avail, so I have chosen to remain silent on the matter at the moment.

In my next post, I’m going to take a cue off of a post from Plaid with Polka Dots yesterday. It’s in draft form and I’ll probably post it later this week so it stays somewhat relevant. Peace!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Congrats Rachel!

Rachel of Henry Street has announced the arrival of, well, "Henry"!! Go take a look. He's beautiful. :)

I've been a lurker for a long time, and have followed her story for quite a while. As a matter of fact, Henry Street was one of the first blogs I came across, and I identified with her early because her MIL drives her batty, too.

Happy stories/good news are a great way to end a weekend.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thought Processes from Wednesday, Continued

Anyway... this is where I was when I had to stop writing the other day.


About my occasional references to God - I'm not the devout person I used to be. I was very involved – probably to the point that part of my antipathy is burnout from being so involved. I served at Masses, I did this and that project, did that outreach, I taught Catechism. I was a candidate in an ancient secular order (you can read about that sad story on my alter ego blog), but was so devastated by their lies and hypocrisy that I've shunned going to Mass for the longest time. It's what, a year and a half now? I'm getting there. I am. Just not yet. When I'm finally over it - I don't think I can go to Mass without being over my... let's call them "trust issues" - there are some people I need to visit and apologize to. I walked away from teaching Catechism because I was so hurt and angry inside, and didn't feel that it was right for me to be teaching children when I felt that way. I need to see the coordinator and apologize for abandoning her, the kids and the program.

The paradox is that I have no problem with raising my future children in the Church. The parishes around our house are very orthodox, with really excellent priests; this is true especially my former parish, whose programs I'm firmly behind as they're just super and well thought out, much better than what I grew up with. We also have excellent parochial schools near our house. This is the part of any future children’s upbringing I don't have to worry about.


I think about the things I would do differently with our children than my parents did with my younger brother and me. We were the tail end of seven kids, and were raised as a completely different unit than the "older five," the youngest of that group being eight years older than me. Little brother (4B - 4th brother) and I were late children; I am now the same age (37) as my mother was when she was pregnant with 4B. My children will essentially be, like me, late children. Because Mom and Dad were essentially part of the "Geritol Crowd" when we were in school, instead of the hyper-vigilant parenting with the older five, they were very laid back with us, allowing us to be kids, kicking us outside to play. When the older kids (by then out of the house) would come home, they went nuts. We got to stay out until 9 or 10 from an early age, we got our drivers’ licenses at 16, and they didn’t; not a one of them got their license because there were just too many of them and not enough money to insure them. The older kids whined about that. They still do, twenty years later. A lot.

Yet there was the other side to that coin. Laid back meant being, I'm sorry to say, uninvolved. There wasn't a lack of love - God no! - but they'd been there and done that and in their laxity, let us run free. We were left to our own a lot as kids. Mom and Dad didn’t come to my sports events. They didn’t sit down with us and help us do homework. They didn’t do parent/teacher conferences a lot – Mom went to a few for me through my elementary school years, but not much after, say, junior high school. They just weren’t involved that way.
They were lucky with me because I was self-sufficient: I did my homework, got myself to and from games and practices, maintained my GPA, and I was the lucky kid who didn’t really have to apply myself to do well in school. Mom was involved with me in kindergarten, because one of her friends was my teacher; after that, I was left to my own devices. And I survived. My brother wasn’t wired the same way cerebrally as I was, and had his difficulties. Mom hung onto him in high school because he was hanging with the wrong crowd and doing dumb skater stuff. He survived, too, but he paid for it. He still does, whether he admits it or not.


DH, on the other hand, had parents who were TOO involved. His dad was a helicopter parent decades before the term was coined; hell, he war-dials the house every night, trying to live vicariously through DH’s corporate life since he’s worked from home for forty years. FIL meddled with DH’s teachers and coaches, wangled his way into coaching all of DH’s teams up until high school. His mother did many things right – teaching him to do his own laundry, do household stuff, although I wish she’d taught him how to cook! – but she had her issues too. She never told him what was going on. She took care of everything for him, paid for everything. She made him do piano lessons even though he wasn’t very good and hated the piano. He is always the bad guy when it comes to his sister – MIL *always* takes SIL’s side, even today, even when SIL is blatantly wrong. You get the idea. The favoritism has carried over into his adult life in the sense that he’s apathetic to his sister; the hypervigilance, he said even in his home study, made him unprepared for life in the real world. Pretty big stuff.


We know that somewhere in the middle is the answer. We need to be involved, but not to the point of being crazy and controlling. Discipline needs to be instituted, safety ensured, yet freedom encouraged. Since DH and I are both academically lazy with foundations from not being pushed in that regard, we know we can’t let down our guard in the future. We also need to be attentive to the academics in general without being overbearing. Our child(ren) will be encouraged to do sports, but we won’t be there every day, every hour; and, if the child(ren) don’t want to do sports, that’s fine, too.

I guess it’s about balance.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My First Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

Just for the hell of it. It's beautiful outside; it's rained all night; I feel better even though I didn't sleep worth a damn last night.

4.) List ten things you would say to ten different people in your life...if you had the hutzpah.
*cynical chuckle*

Oh and by the way, it’s “chutzpah.” Trust me: I married a Jew. He may have converted to my religion (on his own, no pressure from me), but you can’t really take the East Coast Jew out of the boy even though he’s about as far as one can get from New Jersey and from his former religion.

All right, Mama Kat. Be careful what you ask for.

1. Sis, stop being jelly spined! He’s only kissing your ass because you control the money when Dad’s gone! Once your usefulness is expired, he won’t give a damn about you. Oh, and by the way, that’s a nice racist kid you’ve raised there.

2. T, dearest and oldest friend, I wish you had a video camera on yourself sometimes. You’re turning into your crazy, self-centered mother, the one thing you vowed you never wanted to turn into when we were kids. Please don’t emotionally punish your boys the way your mother always emotionally punished you and your sisters.

3. J, I love you dearly, but you’re a dolt. You can’t save the world. God’s not going to judge you if you decline to get involved in a situation. Also, you need to decide if you’re going to be an activist or an attorney, because trying to be both JUST ISN’T WORKING. Oh, and the autopsy supported Michael Schiavo’s stance on his poor wife. She had NO brain function and had NO quality of life. Get past it already.

4. B, please stop running away from your problems. Sometimes they’re not even problems – it’s usually when you can’t have your way or just too emotionally powerful for you to cope with. Not only do you hurt me and those you supposedly care about, you isolate yourself more and more, making yourself even more unhappy.

5. To the Country at Large: SUCKERRRRRRS!

6. To my “little” brother (he’s 35 now): you know me better than that. Please stop being so easily led by the nose. And please, while you’re out doing your special forces stuff in Europe, find your balls that you seem to have misplaced, so you can talk to me directly about what in the hell your problem is with me rather than backstabbing me all the time. Grow up.

7. To the ex-boyfriend I haven’t seen in a dozen years: sadly, my predictions of your once sweet little boys becoming complete f*cked-up young men have come to pass. Pot, delinquency, and God knows what else. Between their mother’s atrocious treatment of them and your complete passivity where the mother is concerned (which they can’t fail to see), they are now completely screwed. And it’s so sad – and I’ve wondered occasionally through the years if it would have made any difference if you and I had worked out, if me being in their lives would have made the difference. Then I remember what a complete turd you were, and remember that you never were worth it, so that thought goes up in smoke. Karma’s really bitten you in the ass, huh?

8. MIL, please stop with the pretenses of being one of the moneyed elite. You’re broke. FIL can hardly keep up with your ridiculous spending. You can’t spend money like you did in 1985. And I have news for you: we can’t afford your lifestyle, so don’t even think about it.

9. D, you’re still WRONG. You keep compounding your initial error. You keep this up, and you’ll be even more lonely than you already are.

10. P, stop trying to run everyone’s lives. Why is it that the ones whose lives are in utter disarray are the ones who try and run everyone else’s life? Is it a control issue? Or with you, is it a mental illness? WTH? Sad to say, but when Dad's gone, I don't ever want to see or speak to you again - siblings by the accident of birth.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Wobbling

Had to take the day off yesterday and go with my Dad to the doc. He's had some sudden onset issues which are being looked at, but the doctor carved a 3cm across and 3.5cm deep squamous cell growth out of my dad's temple. I have a yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach and I'm mentally exhausted.

Please, God, not this, not now.


I have made the resolution that no matter what happens with Dad, that we - *I* - are continuing our adoption process. I know Dad approves of that attitude (he's not dying tomorrow or anything) so I don't feel guilty about it at all. I can't let anything stop us this time.


Today, I have a letter signed by both DH and I giving permission to SW to place our profile in the State's Central Adoption Registry. It's a leap of faith; it can get murky when going through the State for anything, but as I've said before, God has this habit of taking care of us. I have to have faith in that.


I'm going to just stop here. My brain is mush and I'm just mentally shot. I pasted what I was going to ramble about in Word and will make it its own post.

Is it Friday yet?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's Out There... yikes!

Had DH review and proof the profile this morning. Flipped it to PDF, burned it to a thumb drive. Emailed SW and sent her the PDF of the profile with a note saying that a) we have a dedicated email for this now so nothing gets lost in the everyday shuffle, and b) that I'll have hard copies made today or tomorrow and I'll send them to Agency, and to please let me know how many copies to send them.

Then I went to Big Office Supply Store (BOSS? Really? LOL), got a decent price on color copies on decent paper, and bought binding materials (I'm not paying tons of money extra for them to to it). It was a good thing because everyone's getting school supplies and we got to skip lines and pay at the printing counter. Yeah, baby!

As DH and I walked out to the car to have lunch at Baja Fresh (not as good as it used to be, but doable for today's purposes), not only did I feel this lightness of soul, but this deep-seated excitement: we're doing this, we really are. Oh my God. :D

So here I am, preparing to assemble the profiles. I figure one to Boss's drawer, at least four to Agency, and I have several extras to go where anyone wants to show them.

I'm going to send the electronic profiles to only a limited pool outside of the state. I'm not sure I want to try to plan for sudden travel to anywhere in the US - so only a few friends in about four states. I'm putting the out of state stuff in God's hands - not going to obsess where it takes me.

It's almost like jumping out of a plane to skyjump: you know that where you end up will, 99% of the time, land you somewhere safe and dry - it's just the jump out of the plane that's scary as hell.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh. Oh Really? Okay. Great. Nahhh..... Whoa!

That's what my brain said in short order at about 2:30 this afternoon.

I left a message with SW today. She called me back at about two, which tells me she was out and about on (probably) a home study. Sounds good to me.

First, after amenable greetings and exchanges, I said I'm a hair away from finishing up our profile. I'll tell you in a minute what she said in response to that.

I asked her about getting a copy of our home study; I want to say she "bristled" but she sort of said that it wasn't generally done, because if we were applying to this or that or going through other agencies, these people/entities would need a copy from the Agency (duh). No, I said; it's strictly for our use, our file. I slid in a little snarky comment that we had paid for it, why shouldn't we have it? Oh, she sort of said, then I'll talk to A, it shouldn't be a problem.

WTH? Home studies aren't cheap. We paid for that sucker.

Then I asked about being added to the state adoption registry. I need to send her extra hard copies to her to send to the State that she'll include with a copy of our home study. What the hell, I figure - why exclude every road? Having dealt with the State on various matters relating to adoption now and again at work, I'm still cynical about it. But God has managed to take care of us, and I have to have faith in that.

It's like applying to a position in the government: be careful what you apply for, you might just get it.


The barn burner was what she casually mentioned when I said I was almost done with our profile. By the by, she sort of segued, we had a child come through Agency yesterday. She was sorry that she didn't have our profile, as B, the person who facilitates these things there, certainly would have shown it. She proceeded to tell me the information on the child just for conversation, which I found rather cool.

So these are three thoughts that crossed my mind as SW and I chatted were as follows, not in any particular order, and certainly not with this coherence:

1) The child had been exposed to marijuana. I haven't yet gotten around to the research on this, but it stands to reason that if the mother toked during the pregnancy, it's more than likely she did other things as well - alcohol, tobacco, perhaps exposure to (if not use) of harder drugs. As SW said in general conversation at our home study with a roll of her eyes, "Oh, no, birthmothers never lie." Ayup. I would have paused if we'd gotten a call, because if pot was involved, it's likely other things were, too. It would be a hard think.

2) The child was part Indian. I know that different tribes have different takes on the Indian Child Welfare Act in terms of, for lack of a better word in my head at the moment, enforcement, but I don't know at what point someone is a member of a tribe, or at what percentage of one's heritage the ICWA applies, so this information about this child gave me pause since I didn't know if the child had been born on tribal lands, or if one of the parents belonged to one of several local tribes. And because I'm not yet well versed in the insies/outsies, I would not be comfortable with this.

Between this and the pot issues, I probably would have passed, at least at this early stage.

But as we were chatting, I had this delicious frisson of excitement. Wow, brushing so close, so fast! Can you imagine if we'd finished the profile before we'd left for DC, then come home to that? Wow! But it's okay... like I told SW, it's just not our turn, not meant to be, not yet.

She was surprised at my pleasant attitude. I didn't get into the fact that the last dozen years of my life has been a series of things that were just fate, timing, kismet, whatever you want to call it. I'm not daunted.

But here's the one thought that blazed through my mind after I hung up and processed what she said:

3) HOLY SHIT! I'd better kick DH out of his office, soon!

Because as those of here in Blogoland know, you NEVER know when The Call will come in, or from where. I want to be at least somewhat prepared. Don't have to be 10 for 10, just ready to put things in gear and fill in the holes.

Oh yeah, we're not close to ready for that. I need to kick him out of that room, amalgamate his crap with mine and be back to where we were five years ago, in the same home office.

I need to paint the room, and try and talk him into getting rid of the ghastly carpet that runs through the house. Then I need to make (more!) curtains, and buy a 4-in-1 convertible crib/bed and start prepping everything. From there I can collect things.

Wow. It seems more real. Holy crap! =D

Sunday, August 2, 2009

First Sewing Project

Remember what I said about trying my hand at making my own stuff? I decided my guinea pig would be the window in my home office. That way, if it's a POS, the only one who sees it is me.

This is what it has been for..... ummmmmm... five years:

Sheers only. I wanted light and sun. DH hated them because, being from "Joisey," he's partial to privacy and security. I liked them until recently, when the brightness during the summer became unbearable. Guess I'm getting old.
So with Mom's sewing machine primed and ready with the appropriate thread, and after figuring out the damned bobbin case (what a pain!), I was ready to start.

I remeasured the window, folded over the top of my two cuts of fabric, and made the easy rod pocket. Then I played around with the hem (realizing too late that my rod pocket was too generous). No matter - all is well.

They look nice and neat, eh? Well, I pinned and played with them, then sewed the hems. I also went back and forth with the iron so the hems would sit properly as I fed them through the sewing machine.

This was yesterday afternoon, by the by, in between this and that and various disruptions.

So there I was, really proud of myself and delighted with the results. Hey! This is prety cool.
Red Cat was a lot of help, as you can see here.

And yes, he is that big. Huge. And lazy... of course. He's a cat, what else is he good for?

So I merrily put the curtains on the rod to see how they look before putting them back on their bracket, and in horror I realized that I had made a huuuuuge foofoo. I put the hem on one of the panels backwards. Moron. I was so mad at myself. Idiot, cretin, moron.

So I had to carefully pick the stitches out of the panel (cussing all the while - how tedious. Lesson learned: pay attention!), fold it, pin it, and iron it the other way, run it through the sewing machine once more.

Then, upon hearing the James Bond theme that DH had popped into the DVD player, I raced downstairs and watched "For Your Eyes Only," swigging Kiltlifters and trying to forget the frustrating episode of my first foray into sewing. This film got me thinking: Daniel Craig has none of the charm or suaveness of Moore, darling Pierce, or the one and only, original Bon, Connery. He even makes Lazenby look good (Dalton sucks eternally - ugh). A bit of trivia: Brosnan's late first wife, Cassandra Harris, is in FYEO, and that was the first time Broccoli met Pierce. Even then, he'd made that impression as a possible future Bond. Interesting.


I came back, put those suckers on the rod, and went to bed.

When I got up and dressed, I came in. I really liked what I saw. They're sheer enough without a liner so that you're well aware it's daytime, but cuts the light to the point that it's not competing with my computer screen. It also makes the room a LOT cooler. Why didn't I do this before?

So, with and without flash (and yes the walls are blue, too... taken at about 9am this morning):

You like my upstairs view of cookie-cutter suburbia? That's the other reason I made these.
DH came in and said, "Wow, they're blue." Hell yes, they're blue. My office is the anti-pink because of that damned fuschia carpet.
Remember the sheers Red Cat was dozing blissfully on? I cut those suckers down and they're now inside the window casing on a spring loaded rod. The added layer is nice, and if I open the curtains, there's still a bit of privacy, too.
Curtains for this big of a window, for a pair of panels, runs about $50. My bill from Joann Crafts - which included a tape measure and pins, was $17. You do the math. Boom!
The only thing I didn't do was remember how high I had the brackets for the sheers in the first place. I'm going to have DH bring them down about an inch and a half and it'll hang properly. All in all, not too bad! By the end of the project, I was feeling really confident. There's not a lot of mystery in sewing, really, at least not in the simpler projects.
My next project, then, will be making curtains for the guest room, which gets the streetlight directly (blessing and curse). I'll make liners for those suckers. No idea when I'll get to that, but eventually.