I’m swamped. Like seriously, utterly, totally, insanely, swamped.

I’m teaching three classes. 61 papers to grade a week plus read 122 discussion posts every week.

My course that I am writing is due on Sunday. It has 11 modules. 6.5 are done and I have been doing nothing but.

Our home study is done and we will be receiving copies in a few days. I have a lot to share about who is working for us on our journey to welcome our son home.

S is potty trained – well except for poop, naps and overnights. I’m patient though – after all Rome wasn’t created in a day!

Our adoption profile book is almost complete. Good thing too, because we need it in 10 days to attend an adoption workshop.

Have I mentioned that I have essentially been working from about 8 am until 1 am for the last week? I’m so tired!! Can’t wait until I submit my course.

More soon. Promise. Just as soon as I get out of this swamp!


Preparing Her for Him

If you think the adoption wait is hard on us, imagine being two and being told that you are getting a baby brother someday - but no one knows when.

Anytime I hold a baby, S looks at me quizzically and says, “Baby Brudder?”

We have prepared her the best that we can. When she moved into her toddler room, we told her she was making space for her brother. She knows that some toys she can’t play with yet, because they are still wrapped for him. She has a baby doll that has the same name as her future brother and although she likes to throw him across the room, she knows his name and that he is a baby. (And we hope the eye poking, throwing thing will settle down before he really arrives).

She got this new cat puzzle for Christmas. There are four cats on the front. Two adults, two kids. She put the puzzle together and started naming people.


Watch Out in 13.5 Years!

We took S to the Magic Kingdom today for the first time. I’m so glad we waited until she was old enough to appreciate it. And appreciate it she did!

Even watching this video made me crack up again. What a precious time this was and I’m so glad I caught it on film. PRICELESS!

Here's hoping that in 13.5 years when she really does drive, that she learns to watch the road instead of Mommy. But oh, how I love to hear her laugh....


Day 2 of Potty Training

So I try not to give my kid sugar. I really try. I do well most of the time. But then today, it occurred to me that what we tried potty training yesterday simply wasn’t cutting it. She wet through every pair of underwear she wore yesterday. UGH!

So, determined to be successful today, I offered her a piece of candy (a mini gummy bear) and a sticker if she peed in the potty.

Well wouldn’t you know, she did just that? And was so proud of herself.

Pee. Sticker. Candy.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

So, we ended up having a great day. My mom came over and played with S for a while. S managed to not go in her underwear for almost 5 whole hours!! Amazing.

Tonight though, we had a bit of a disagreement. You see, S wanted to keep pottying and not go to sleep and M and I wanted (needed) her to go to bed. A battle ensued that was resolved relatively quickly. The reason we needed her to go to bed early is because she’s getting up early tomorrow, for an early nap, and then her first trip to DISNEY WORLD!!!

Can’t wait for tomorrow. Glad today is almost over, but happy with the successes.


Things NOT to Say to Someone Who is Adopting

I reposted this (with permission) from a fellow blogger. Check out her blog http://unexpectedlifeevents.blogspot.com Funny, witty and going through the adoption process too!


1. How much is going to cost? If I want you to know how much money it is going to cost then I'll tell you. If I don't, don't ask. I don't ask how much your medical bills were for giving birth to your children, do I?
2. If I tell you how much it is going to cost, please don't respond by telling me how ridiculous the cost is. Yes, I am aware that private, domestic adoption is expensive. I am aware that I could easily be spending that money elsewhere. I am aware of programs that are cheaper. I have done my research. I have done a lot of research. We picked this agency for our personal reasons and we plunged in knowing full well what the costs were going to be. I do agree that the costs are outrageous in some cases. I fully support a cap on the costs of private adoptions, or giving money back to people who are adopting children, who otherwise would not have a home. It is still none of your business to tell me how to spend my money (or in our case) my parent's money.
3. Don't tell me how you could never give your child up for adoption and how you don't believe that people can actually do that. Here's a shocker - some people actually realize they can't provide the kind of life they would like for their child. They do the most selfless, amazing, loving thing in the world and give that child up to a family that can. That is the definition of loving parent right there.
4. Don't ask me if I can give the baby back if there is something wrong with it. Do I ask you if you wanted to give your children back after they were born? Even if they were born perfect and later in life developed a disease or disability, I would never ask you if you wanted to give them back.
5. Don't tell me about all the movies you have seen on Lifetime and such, about how the birth parents suddenly show up when the child is 10 and take them away from the adoptive parents. It does not happen in real life. Once the relinquishment rights are signed, that is it. There is no going back for the birth parents. The cases that movies are made out of, or that go to court usually have some kind of back story to them that has lead them to court. However, they usually forget to show you that on TV, because then it would not make for a good movie.
6. Don't ask me about what I'm going to tell the child about adoption, their birth parents, etc. Don't give me your opinions on open adoptions - how horrible they are, what would your child call you, you'll never really be the child's parent, and on and on. This is not the 1950's people. Anyone with half a brain who does research on open adoptions would immediately see the benefits to them versus a closed adoption. I don't even know if ours will be open. Would we consider it? Yes, depending upon the circumstances. The majority of the adoptions these days are semi-open (fully closed ones are rare anymore) where the birth parents get pictures/letters through the agency.
7. Don't ask me what I am going to do if I get a baby of different racial makeup than my husband and I. That is our choice and our business. If you don't support it then don't ask me questions. Simple as that.
8. Don't ask what I am going to do if the birth mother would change her mind. It does happen, but we are not even matched yet, so I'm not worrying about it. If it happens, it happens. Until then I'm not thinking about it.
9. Don't tell me stories about how people got pregnant after they adopted. I can't get pregnant without medical intervention, so I am not magically going to pop up pregnant after we adopt. It's not happening folks. I will never be pregnant unless by an act of God and last time I checked God was not in the business of creating new fallopian tubes.
10. Don't ask me why we did not try surrogacy, egg donors, or other things so I could be pregnant. Once again none of your business. I went through two traumatic IVF's and that was enough. I am done with that stuff. I admire those people who try everything they can to have a baby, but each couple is different. My body has been through hell and so has our relationship, so we are done with that route.

I'm sure I have at least ten more things I have heard about adoption lately that has pissed me off, but I'll save them for another post!


The Night S Disappeared

About 5am this morning, M got up.
Checked the baby monitor.
Bed looked empty, but he thought maybe S was under all of the blankets (which is common).
So he went into her room.
Bed was empty.

Commence freakout!

Did I mention that recently S has become tall enough to unlock the deadbolt on the front door?
And it was 23 degrees out?

He came out into the livingroom to find S, curled up on the couch.
She was holding her wooden mouse.
She woke up when she heard M racing around.
He put her back in bed.
She stayed there until 9 this morning.

Baby gate anyone?


Adoption Update

You get what you pay for, but I just had no intention of living this way!” – Counting Crows

It is very late (3am) and I can’t sleep. Partially from this pinched nerve in my neck that won’t allow me to be comfortable and partially from something that is deeply troubling me.

Due to the fact that we have specific gender/health requirements for our second adoption, we decided to hire a special adoption consultant to hopefully help us locate an agency, who is working with a birthmom, who is carrying our son.

While inquiring about her services, she sent me the “only” full Caucasian boy she had on her list. He’s 6 months old. Healthy as can be. The catch?

The fees for this adoption would be $47,600.

We obviously had to pass, because if we had an extra 50K laying around, M wouldn’t have to drive my old car from college among other things.

But why? How can those fees be that high? How can that be ethical?

It broke my heart to know that this baby is waiting for a family, and no one can afford him. I can see some desperate family who so want to be parents mortgaging their house to adopt this child.

Why are the fees so high? I simply don’t understand.

Cost shouldn’t be a factor. The needs of the child should be the focus.


But this brings me to the conversation I had with the consultant.

A little background: S’s adoption cost 28K. We decided not to use the same agency because the fees were increased to more than 32K. With all of the money we have spent on S’s hospital bills and health needs, that is simply too much. Way too much!

So I set about trying to find ways to make this adoption economical. I looked into grants, various loan programs and for agencies that didn’t charge large upfront fees to search for a child.

Don’t get me wrong, we are not destitute. We don’t want for much (well M really wants a Mercedes…but…). We own our home. We have one brand new car (and one old one – thus the desire for the Mercedes). We have been lucky to have not been affected much* by the economic downturn.

*except our plummeting house value which has made us continue to suffer the FL summers…but I digress…

I had given her a budget of 22K. (They don’t work with people who have budgets smaller than 20K) so I decided 22K would be the top end of what we could afford. Because you get back 12K from taxes for adoption, the total cost would be about 10K. I can live with 10K. I DON’T like it, but I can live with it.

But what the consultant said stopped me in my tracks.

She said, “I could probably find you a drug exposed baby for 22K, but if you want a healthy child with no drug/alcohol exposure – you’re looking at 30K minimum.”

Yes, you read that right. She really did say, “I could probably find you a drug exposed baby for 22K…” Seriously?

I politely explained that we were not interested in a child that has been drug exposed. ‘Not interested’ aren’t the right words…We’re not equipped at this time to handle another child with special needs.

If you can choose, why not choose the best start for the child that will be entering your family?

If I was able to create this little life and carry him myself, you can be certain that I’d do everything in my power to give him the best start. I would eat my vegetables, exercise and not even a Tylenol would touch my lips.

Just because we can’t create him, doesn’t mean that we don’t have the right to make some choices. And we are choosing the best possible start.

And don’t think I have forgotten that our ‘healthy’ child has racked up probably 250K in medical expenses over her 2.5 years, so anything can happen. We KNOW that. Trust me.

Given a choice, we are choosing the best possible start. End of discussion.

Now how do we pay for that?