Friday, December 30, 2005

Into the adoption portfolio...

Are we adorable or what? Thanks for the nephews, Kirk and Leigh!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

I'm not heavy

Today I had my adoption physical. After a clean bill of health, my new doctor said to me, "The only thing I would say is that you are heavier than I would like."

Huh? What's THAT supposed to mean? Well, I know what that means, but hello? This is a great time for comments, by the way! ;o)

I am not happy. The first thing I did when I got home was run a mile or so. If this gets me to shed the fertility drug weight I have, then I guess thanks, doc?

One of my dear Hannahs pointed something out that I think makes a lot of sense. After our bodies go through infertility and fail us repeatedly in that area, we expect the adoption physical to turn up something unexpected that will prevent us from adopting. My doctor telling me I am too heavy, while I know that this is not true, is construed by me as my body betraying me again. I definitely feel this way.

Sure, I'd like to shed a few pounds. Who wouldn't? I am sure I have a little extra weight from months of ingesting hormones, too. I just could have done without the weight comment at a time at which I was feeling vulnerable. Justice will prevail, however, if I keep up this exercise regimen I have taken up over the past few days with the holidays here. Where's the fudge so I can look longingly at it while I nibble on a carrot like a rabbit...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Fishing for comments

All right, I know it's usually "fishing for compliments," but I really am fishing for comments. (Thank you, Christine!)

I want to know what you're thinking. How has God used pain in your life to glorify him? What is your experience with infertility or adoption? How cute do you think my nephews are? Or, as I frequently ask Randy, "Don't you think I'm so brave?" What do you think of my book reviews, do you have anything to add? Any book suggestions yourself? What are you doing for Christmas or Hannukah?

Just don't tell me I'll probably get pregnant now that we're adopting! It's such a relief not to hear that. Thank you.

Sleep on it. Come out of hiding - it's fun in here. OK, with posts like yesterday, maybe not so much "fun," but at least you know I'm not pretending to be positive all the time.

Tomorrow I am going to visit my friend whose husband thought their new baby was a boy for several minutes - you know who you are! Sorry to exploit you on my blog. Well, not really, you have to laugh at yourself, right? (And at your husband when you get the chance).

Thanks, friends.


Sunday, December 18, 2005


Why me, Lord?

The holidays are so difficult. I feel so much loss. I would have had a 14-month-old this Christmas, and maybe even be expecting #2. Our baby is nowhere in sight, and everywhere around me there are new babies celebrating their first Christmas or preparing to be born to their first Christmas next year. Of the only babies I am allowed (feline), one has to be dying of cancer. She's so sweet, and when she plays and loves on us it only reminds me that she will be euthanized soon. Why do precious things like dreams of a newborn baby and beloved pets get taken away? What on earth is God's plan with all this? AND, this is nothing compared to what some people are going through this Christmas.

I know the correct answer to all of these questions. That is, the purpose of this life on earth is for us to glorify the Lord. But guess what, sometimes this isn't consoling.

I'm whining, I know. But, I hurt. It's such a very hard time of year to be wanting.

I AM thankful, I really am. I have been blessed with love, salvation, and material things. This must be one of those times where there is one set of footprints in the sand.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Neighbor update

PRAISE God - he's OK. I went over today to check on him and his wife. He shattered his heel and tore some muscle in his side. This doesn't sound so good, but considering the height of the fall and his age, this is a blessing. I suggested that next year he tie a pinecone onto the streamer and just hurl the thing over the tree from the ground.

Well, I am off on a creative adventure - I will post a picture of my creation when I am done.

I am still working on part II of my book review. I'm almost finished with book #3, too. What should I read next?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Adoptive Families Magazine

Our first issue arrived yesterday! It is realy cool, and helps me feel like the process actually is moving forward. Today we delivered our recommendation form to one of our pastors at church.

Could this be our last childless Christmas??? Better enjoy this one as a family of two. So far, so good! Christmas lights are going up today - our first time putting up outside lights as a couple. We want to make sure our baby can find our house!

Please pray for our 75 year old neighbor who fell off a ladder decorating a tree outside. He's fit for 75, but that's a big fall. His name is Jim. Thanks, gang.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Book Review, Part I - Children of Open Adoption

Silber, K. & Dorner, P.M. (1990). Children of Open Adoption. San Antonio, Texas: Corona. ISBN 0-931722-78-0.

This book is dedicated to the authors' parents, children, and their childrens' birthmothers - a touching start to a very open book.

This one was a doozy! Very informative and comprehensive. This book has nine chapters, including:

-Open Adoption: Definition, Evolution, Benefits
-five chapters on open adoption through the child's life span from infancy to teenage years
-Long-Term Benefits for Everybody (includes parents, adoptees, birthparents, extended families, adoption professionals).

The goal of the book is to discuss issues regarding open adoption with children at various ages. It contains many letters from birthparents to children, adoptive parents to birthparents, and children to birthparents. The letters interspersed throughout the book keep the reader engaged and touched. Have tissures nearby.

Here is Silber and Dorner's definition of open adoption: "Open adoption includes the birthparents and adoptive parents meetring one another, sharing full identifying information, and having access to ongoing contact over the years. All three components must occur to fit this definition" p. 9. They go on to say, "Our new definition recognizes the birthparents as relatives of the child.... Acceptance of this reality is an important prerequisite to open adoption and an ongoing family relationship" p. 10.

Essential ingredients in open adoption include understanding that there are grief issues for each member of the adoption triad: baby, birthparents, and adoptive parents. People believe that the adoption experience is all joy and excitement for adoptive parents, but adoptive parents also deal with their own grief over the loss of their fertility. They quote, "Infertility is a loss - it is a loss of the imaginary or fantasy child. They will go through all of the normal stages of grieving for this loss, just as if they had lost a child through death. However, society does not relate to or understand the loss in infertility..." p. 23. It is especially important to process this loss in open adoption, because there is no pretending that the adopted child was born to the adoptive parents. Counseling is important in the open adoption experience so that each member of the triad can process their own feelings and grief.

Here are some highlights from the life stages:

Infancy - open adoption leads to feelings of bonding and entitlement because the birthparent has specifically chosen the adoptive couple to parent, so the adoptive parents feel entitled to raise the child.

Preschool age - talk about the birthparents often so that it becomes a normal part of your child's life and not a taboo, bizarre thing to them, don't leave out the part of your child's having come from their birthmothers womb, so they won't feel like they came from the agency and everyone else came from mommy's tummy

School-age child - children need to know that they are loved by their birthparents, and ongoing contact will assure them of this. This becomes especially important if the child gets teased about how his "real parents" didn't love him. He will know that is not true. Silber and Dorner state, " What we have seen in open adoption is a greater degree of comfort and peace with one's reality when contact is part of hte adoption experience" p. 73. This chapter also discusses the appropriate times to share information with your child regarding their birthparents life experiences and other children, visitiation, etc.

Stay tuned for part II!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Snow Day!

Can you believe us Texans? It is 35 degrees and a chance of rain, so the whole town has shut down. The University of Texas at Austin closed at 2:pm and all church activities are cancelled for tonight.

So, I did NOT just eat three fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies in honor of the free time. (By the way, "I didn't eat [blank]" really means, "Yep, I sure did" at our house.)

Today our darling music minister agreed to write an adoption recommendation for Randy and I. He knows us both well and jumped for joy when he found out we were getting married. Also, Randy has his adoption physical set up for next week, and dear Stacey and Jose sent in their recommendation letter. Stacey hopes they like the pictures they drew of us! (See the episode of Friends where Joey writes a letter for Monica and Chandler and they think he's a child?) We look like this:


Especially on a snow day (it might be 34 degrees now).

New book review coming later!


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Nephew stories

Apparently there was a lot of baby cousin talk at my parents house for Thanksgiving! I have two of the cutest, blondest, smartest nephews in the world (and another on the way!) Since my SIL (sister-in-law) is expecting another little guy in May, babies are a big theme right now. I wasn't there so I don't know exactly how these conversations came up, but I would not be surprised if my nephew Kyle (5-yrs) asked if we had a baby. He is very sensitive to that and prays for us to have a baby.

So, I think these stories will be much cuter if you saw how cute these guys were. Here are some recent pictures...


My little guy Kolben (3-yrs) has a favorite song. It goes like this. "Pinkle, pinkle, little staw. How I wondoo what you awe." So, he wants his new baby brother to be named Pinkle. And, he wanted his baby cousin to be named Pinkle. He's consistent, he is. My mom had him talk to me on the phone and she asked him, "What do you want to name your baby cousin?" He called out, "Hannah" and went on his way. This is cool for two reasons. First, we'd love a little girl (or a little boy!), and second, Hannah's Prayer Ministries has been a Godsend for me on my infertility journey (check out the weblink on the right). Pretty cool.

Next, someone, either my mom or SIL was explaining adoption to Kyle. Here's about how it went.
Mom: "Amy and Randy are going to adopt a baby. The baby will grow in another woman's tummy and then Amy and Randy will be it's parents."
Kyle: "Who is the baby going to live with?"
Mom: "The baby will live with Amy and Randy."
Kyle: "Oh, good."
Kolben: "I a cousin, too!"

Does it get any cuter than this? I think not! Thank heavens for little boys!

Friday, December 02, 2005

I made it - what a week!

I did it - got through the week (with God's help). To top it off, today I sent an email to my friend Nathan thinking he was Randy. I was wondering why Randy did not get the message - mystery solved!

I left my brain in one of several places: a) UT, b) Canyon Vista Middle School, c) Bannockburn Baptist Church, c) my colleagues office, d) my piano students' house, e) Hyde Park Baptist Church, f) McCallum High School, g) Burnet Middle School, h) the chiropractor's office, i) Perry Castanedas Library. Most of those locations I visited on Thursday. What am I going to do this weekend? Sleep!

(And maybe get a Christmas tree - is it really Christmas time?)

I am afraid this blog entry is famously uninteresting. I am just excited to be posting when I do not next have to do a homework assignment.

Adoption news - ask me tomorrow. We may have some more of our paperwork done this weekend. We're ready to move on. It feels like we are at a standstill right now. Maybe next Christmas we'll finally have a little one. I hope so!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


I am a super procrastination machine! I've been working my tail off for the past few days with school, work, and extra-curricular activities, but tonight I am really playing with fire by not getting right onto my work load. I am so glad I had a break for Thanksgiving, otherwise you might see me on the evening news as the women who accidentally sang herself to death.

Randy and I sometimes have a contest - who is the tiredest. If one or the other of us is really tired we ask, "Can I be the most tired today?" (Did I already tell this story? Am I so confused that I can't remember?) I've decided that I win this contest until school is out for the semester.

On monday I had a voice lesson. This was the day we officially found out about Meeko. I also had several assignments due and R and I only had one car. I was extra confused. My voice teacher told me I sounded exceptionally lovely that day. I think I had so many other things on my mind I forgot that I am self-conscious about my opera singing voice. I know, I know, I'll be even more tired when we have a newborn in the house. Well, until that happens, can I be the most tired?

Whoa, Nelly. Tomorrow I volunteer in the children's area at BSF, have a work meeting, teach middle school, teach piano and guitar lessons, and then sprawl out on the couch and do NOTHING for the whole evening.

Oh yeah - adoption updates. Nothing to report - drat! I do have some cute nephew stories to relay, but I think I'll save those and add a visual. I can't give away any clues as to where my nephews live though, because when you see how adorable they are you'll probably want to kidnap them. I sure do!

Oh, allright - here's one. Someone was talking to my 5-yr-old nephew about being a cousin and the 3-yr-old said, "I a cousin, too." I'm gonna gobble them up, I tell you!

Hope you're being more productive than I am right now.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A tribute to Meeko

The feline oncologist's report today is not good. Meeko has a fibrosarcoma, likely vaccine related. We don't have much of a prognosis since it's a pretty unpredictable cancer, but we'll just take it day by day. I've been taking pictures like a madwoman. Here are a few cute ones. That's her picture on the bowl. Can you tell?

Sunday, November 27, 2005

My life so far

Catchy title, eh? I think this is a book or movie title, actually, so I can't take credit for it.

My life so far has been really weird. Sometimes I feel a little like Forest Gump. I've been a bit of a wild thing, an atheist, a bartender, born-again, a student, a music therapist, a Californian, Iowan, South Carolinian, Coloradan, Kansan, Texan. I've lived at the beach, in the mountains, out of my car, in a Veterans Administration hospital, and in various apartments, condos and houses. I've been on national television and in a rock and roll band. I've been single, married, single again, and married again. I've been invincible and infertile. I'm a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a wife, and maybe soon a mother. It's this last bit that has been the most elusive and seems like it will be the greatest adventure.

I've also been a queen. Let me relay this story (most Hannahs have already heard it).

Part of our infertility journey has included Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ARTs). This runs the gamut from fertility drugs, to interuterine insemination (IUI), to invitro fertilization (IVF). For various reasons we decided not to do IVF, one of which is that I know several people who have had IVF fail only to conceive without ARTs at a later date (including my "friend" Brooke Shields, apparently).

Anyway, we did 9, count them, 9 IUIs. Nine, I tell you! Although only three of those were done after my surgery to remove moderate endometriosis, my mental health and our desire to pursue adoption led us to the decision not to pursue more IUIs at this time. Needless to say, this IUI routine was a big part of our lives for a year. After that many months of regular trips to the doctor I felt a strong bond to my doctor's office and its Nurse Practitioners. By the time I went for my last appointment, most everybody, from the receptionists to the check-out ladies, knew me by sight or by name. Many of those people were invested in us conceiving our long awaited child. We never did. (Duh.)

So, for our last month of treatment, I decided that I was going to make it fun. I joked with the Hannahs about taking my tiara and being Queen IUI! Believe it or not (and you soon will), I stuffed my tiara and my digital camera into my bag before I went for our last IUI. I told you I could prove it, and here goes.

I set up the self-timer on my camera and took a couple of shots that I didn't like. Mind you, I'm in the dark and wearing a tiara when the door open and in walks my doctor! I don't think he saw my head, because I think he caught my back as I was crouching down by my bag trying to shove the camera into it. I am so glad the camera didn't flash just as he walked in. How would I explain this?

I walked out of there on my last day of infertility treatment with closure. I really felt happy that I had something to show for all those trips to the doctor, even if it was only a picture! This was an important year of my life. I feel like I graduated from college again. I get wistful for those days, but I am ultimately glad that I have finished with that episode of My Life So Far.

Moving on always feels good, even if it is hard.

The Beginning.

Monday, November 21, 2005

I'm back

And sad. (Warning - get out the tissues). I am feeling very infertile today, after a conversation with a very optimistic woman who has been TTC for one month. I remember those first three months of being hopeful, then the first three treatment months of being hopeful, and thinking, "I shouldn't buy new clothes right now because I will probably be pregnant soon." I missed out on a lot of cute stuff that first summer! It is really hard listening to someone talk nonchalantly about getting pregnant when I know what an amazing gift it is to be granted.

Plus, my Meeko kitty is sick. She might have cancer - we won't know for a little while. She is an angel and looks like this (on the right):

Years ago I watched my favorite kitty Faith die a slow, painful death. It was agonizing. Meeko was with me then and I wished it had been her instead. Oh, my heart. Now she's sick and may die - if this is cancer the prognosis is terrible. I don't think we would prolong her life and have her go through pain for an extra year of life. I was sure she would be with us for a long time. Then I feel guity because she recently was put on medication for the rest of her life and I didn't want to give it to her forever. Now forever is possibly very short. Plus, I always pay more attention to Punky instead. He is an affection hog and Meeko is not.

I feel so guilty, like I have been a terrible "Mommy" to her. I just love her silky fur and her sweet demeanor. She lightly pats you on the arm and says "mew" quietly. Here she is now. She looks like a camel with this tumor on her back. I'm just crying with grief right now as I look at her and realize she will likely never meet our baby. I can't cry too much or she'll leave the room and I don't want her to leave ever. I have to go blow my nose. I'm a mess. You should see this beautiful kitty.

If I hear anyone tell me, "She's just a cat" I might sock them. Pets are an infertile person's fur-babies. Next I am going to complain that I get tired of people likening adoption to getting a pet, but for now I get to do that because she is my kitty and this is my body going through infertility.

I feel like adoption plans are on hold. I think I'm just tired from the past week.

What a downer. Guess what? I'm not super-human, and I don't get to pretend with you that I am. Sometimes I am sad and drip like a faucet.

I'll keep you blogged about my sweet kitty. Punky does not want to be an only-cat. Praying for a miracle!

Monday, November 14, 2005


Faithful blog fans - I still love you! In the famous words of John Cusack in Say Anything, I am monumentally busy for the next week.

Tomorrow - work, make transparencies, teach middle school choir, teach piano and guitar lessons, and skip rehearsal for our Rock And Roll Band to pack for trip, write two short papiers, and create some sort of handouty thingy.

Wednesday - fly to Orlando on a jet airliner for our annual American Music Therapy Asssociation National Conference in which I am presenting a blurb about my experiences as a TA at UT.

Conferency-type activities for the next few days.

A visit from Rosebud (Connie Sou) on the 21st!

One more day of class, one more day of middle school choir, and then Thanksgiving.

It doesn't look so busy when typed out, but I sure feel stressed.

Gee, this is thrilling, isn't it? Just in case you need to catch up with me, I'll be at the Sheraton World Resort, Orlando at 407-352-1100. I just looked at the hotel website, and suddenly taking a trip to Orlando is looking more relaxing than I am making it out to be.

Wurstfest 2005, New Braunfels, Texas. Opa and Oma Whitney in the cute outfits!

Seeing as this is Our Adoption Blog, I should at least post a semi-update. Our three letter of recommendation forms are in the hands of their new owners! We still have to ask our pastor (one of many at our church) to write us a rec. Seeing as this person literally jumped into the air when we told him we were getting married, I don't think this will be a problem.

Next step are our physicals. I have not had a physical since 1994!

Olivia Newton-John, this one's for you!

"Let's get a physical, physical, I wanna get a physical..."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Baby's first presents!

About a year ago I crocheted a baby afghan. After I had done about 6 rows I was still trying to figure out who it was for. With very little encouragement, I decided that it would be for ME (oops, I mean US)! I have been good over the past few years, not buying very much baby stuff lest I collect a whole bunch and then get sad that no one will wear it. But, this is the first package that came addressed to our baby. I wonder what the mailman thought when obviously un-pregnant me (although I have been known to fool people after a big meal) answers the door for the package that is addressed to "Baby S."

Thanks, Grandma Ann and Papa Bruce!

Yesterday I modeled to Randy how we would use these items. I put it over my shoulder and patted the butt (Randy made explosion sounds), I cradled it in my arms (don't worry, I know it's not a baby!), and rocked it back and forth. I stopped short of dressing up Punky in it and calling him "baby boy." (Oh, if you must know, sometimes I call him that anyway.)

The cute hat is to keep a newborn's head warm in freezing Austin, Texas. For example, today it was 85 degrees outside. Yes, it is November. Oh well, we'll crank down the air conditioning down in the baby's room!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Our first setback

Awww...ain't it cute? I shall love it and squeeze it and call it George.

Our agency needs a piece of paperwork that we won't be able to get to them until late January. We were all ready to get everything in before Thanksgiving, and now we have to wait. And so, we wait. Maybe.

I guess I was kidding myself to think everything would go smoothly. Of course that would have to be a joke! You know, the kind of joke that isn't funny at all - like the ones 5 year olds make up.

"What did the tree say to the grass?"

"I don't know, Timmy, what did the tree say to the grass?"

"It said, Hi. I'm a tree!"


Yesterday when I found out about this, and earlier today, this snag made me feel helpless and frustrated (ask my Hannahs!). Now I am not exactly jumping for joy, but I figure that our baby just isn't ready yet. I said to Randy, "What if we got someone else's baby? We'd be saying, "Who's baby is this?'" Think about that!

We've decided to go ahead and proceed with the other paperwork. Who knows. My friend Kim reminded me the other day about the Star Wars episode where Obi-won-kenobi said to the storm troopers, "Papers? You don't need to see any papers." Then the agency says, "We don't need to see any papers" with a blank look. It wouldn't hurt to get the other items in early.

So, our next thing to do is get physicals. I haven't had a physical since 1995. I guess I'm aout due for one! And to go to a doctor that is not my fertility doctor is going to be a real thrill. Whoopity-doo!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Heads we win, tails we win!

Quite a good deal!

Over the past few days, several new babies have come into my life! This is because one time last year I received 5 pregnancy announcements in a matter of a few days (you know who you are! ;o)

I look at these pictures I have received, and they are so beautiful and touching. A mommy and a new baby who just spent 40 weeks (or 37!) bonding with Mommy in her womb. I can't help but be a little wistful, you know? I want to carry my baby in my womb. We are so excited about adoption! And still, I know there will be times that I will feel sad that I did not carry our child. Not just a child, but our child. Our child by adoption will be Our Child. Or maybe I won't ever feel sad - I just don't know. (I know, I said "I know" but I really just think it's likely).

In any case, God builds families in different ways. In the eyes of God, our child, by birth or adoption, is meant to be our child. S/he is created to be our child. Right now there might be a pregnant young woman wondering what she is going to do with a baby. Our baby may be conceived at this very moment! I pray for our baby and his or her birthparents every day. Will you join me? I had a dream once that our baby's birthmother would be named Cheryl. Sometimes I call her "Cheryl."

God's purposes will be fulfilled. He promises us that. Whether God's purpose is for us to adopt, to adopt and then conceive, to conceive and then adopt, or to do neither (ouch), we win! We already won, actually. We won when Jesus died on the cross. We won when God adopted all who call on Him. We win each time His purpose is fulfilled in our life!

Our story will have a happy ending. We might never have pictures right after the birth with me in a hospital bed with our baby who grew in "mommy's tummy." But, we might have a picture right after the birth of our child with me in high heels, my hair beautifully coiffed, and wearing a kicky pantsuit (not likely). There will probably be tears of joy, and tears of grief as we realize that our baby's birthmother will not get to experience her baby's everyday life. We will end up being exhausted, sleep deprived, bewildered, awestruck, in love, all most all of the things biological parents go through. Except, I'll be able to sit comfortably on my butt and drive my car right out of the hospital. That's something...

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Book Review - Adopting After Infertility

Part of our homestudy process is reading 3 adoption-related books each. I finished my first one yesterday. I thought I'd do a book review, especially since there are 1/2 a dozen other things I should be doing right now.

I purchased this book for obvious reasons. After 31 months of TTC I think we qualify for the title! I was really looking forward to a perspective on how to get past infertility and shift gears into the adoption process. I'm not sure I found what I was expecting in this book, but I learned some new things regardless.

The book is neatly broken down in to three sections: dealing with infertility, committing to adoption, and then adoption needs and issues (we all have needs and issues!) The first section of the book, called "The Challenge of Infertility," uses metaphor of a dragon representing infertility, and the prince and princess making a battle plan to defeat the dragon. The first thing Johnston suggests is to assess the losses that permanent infertility involves. These are the loss of:

a) Control over many aspects of life.
b) Individual genetic continuity linking past and future.
c) The joint conception of a child with one's life partner.
d) The physical satisfactions of pregnancy and birth.
e) The emotional gratifications of pregnancy and birth.
f) The opportunity to parent.

Think about these things. Especially if you have biological children (duh, we're all biological but you know what I mean!) and are struggling to understand what it means to be infertile/subfertile.

Johnston then gives "assignments" for the couple to complete individually and then meet to discuss the results. We did not follow this process exactly, but the main point was to be sure to communicate your feelings about this to each other. If you are a couple who likes a highly structured routine of decision making, this section of this book will be immensely helpful.

Parts of this book were quite dry, but there are also some very interesting observations. Topics include society's reactions to adoption, the entitlement process (bonding with your child and feeling a mutual sense of belonging), different methods of adoption like private, agency, and consultant, deciding on child's gender, race or special needs adoption, etc., getting through the homestudy (or parent preparation process), and the special issues that may come up as an adoptive family.

My favorite part of the book, and when I finally really got into it, was the 3rd section, "Adoption through a lifetime." Johnston states, "We are, and will always be, more like families built by birth than we are unlike them" (p. 206). There are obviously special issues that happen in an adoptive family, but this stuff happens in non-adoptive families, too. One of my favorites is the fear that, in adolescence, the child will say, "You're not my real mother!!" Guess what? This will likely happen. But, the truth is, this is the same thing as a child saying, "I hate you!" to his parents. Hey, that happens, too (did I do that, Mom?). My brother Kirk used to say, "I'm not going to invite you to my birthday party!" Children, in asserting their independence, will at one time or another wish their parents were not their parents.

Johnston states, "It is in these moments, common to all parents, that reaffirm that being parents is more important than becoming parents and cause the differences in adoptive parenting to recede to insignificance" (p. 270).

Pros for this book:

Includes Positive Adoption Language (making an adoption plan vs. "giving up child for adoption"; placing the child for adoption vs. putting the child up for adoption; parent preparation process vs. homestudy; biological parent vs. real parent or natural parent (ouch).
Touches thoroughly on deciding what type of child you will be able to parent, and then what to do after you've adopted.
Lots of anecdotes and personal stories from individuals. This breaks up the dry parts immensely.
Many references to other books, including ones for children, fiction, etc. and references to adoption magazines and support organizations.

Cons for this book:

This book was written in 1992, and adoption has changed a lot since then. In the past decade open adoption has become more prevalent. Buckner Adoption Agency only does open adoptions. In an open arrangement, the adoptive family and birth family share full disclosure of information - phone numbers, address, etc. This is not co-parenting! The adoptive parents are the parents. But, open adoption allows for everyone's emotional well-being. The most important person in adoption - the child - will not wonder, "Who do I look like?" The birthparents will never walk around the mall thinking, "Is that my child?" The adoptive parents will not agonize, "My child is sick. Is this an inherited disease? Does cancer run in their family?" Also, in the aforementioned scenario "You're not my real mother," you can then verify with the birthmother that she wouldn't allow what you said "No" to either. Sweet.

For me personally, the lack of a spiritual element to this book leaves me a little empty. I want to know what God has to say about adoption, and how scripture addresses these issues. I want to read about Joseph accepting Jesus as his own child, about Samuel, Hannah's beloved son, being raised by Eli, and Moses being adopted by Pharoah's daughter. I know I can find this information elsewhere, but for me spirituality is a huge part of adoption and this book was definitely about the nitty-gritty (what on earth does that mean?) of adoption. That's fine.

Lastly, this book was written at a time where it took several years to adopt a child. In Texas in 2005 the average waiting time is one year. This may or may not be true in other parts of the country. There were several times in this book that my heart started to race thinking about how many waiting couples there were in 1992 for babies, etc., and how long it might take. This is where I could have used some comforting references about God's timing! Just FYI, at Buckner they only accept 25 couples per year and typically are working with 20 birth families. Those odds do not look that bad.

So, check this book out from the library and just read the parts that are applicable and intereting to you. So far I don't really have any other books to compare it to, so I can't rank it in order of usefulness or anything.

This was fun. Oh, cr%p, now I have to do my work.

Johnston, P. (1992). Adopting after infertility. Indianapolis: Perspectives Press. ISBN: 0-944934-10-2

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Promises, promises!

About the best caramel apple ever eaten - see

Once upon a time I was a wee lass and lived in California. We had some great "neighbors" (more like an extended family, actually) who my bro (see chainsaw below) and I grew up with. We would gather eggs from their chicken coop, swim in each other's pools (it was California, after all), and ride around town in the way-back of the Foxy Loxy (a.k.a. the Suburban). Regularly, Dawn and I would swing on their swingset singing Captain and Tenille's "Love will keep us together", whilst waving to our "fans" (i.e. the grass).

Cut to 25 years later (!), and Tony D. and his business partner have founded Johnny Applestix, starting out with fresh, fried apple sticks served with dipping sauces, and moving into the caramel apple business. Let me tell you - this is the best caramel apple you'll ever eat. Remember - you get what you pay for! And folks, stay close, because they have "It's a Boy" and "It's a Girl" apples that someone has been tempted with for the future. Apparently, these won't all be for me, but we'll have to share! As I said - stay close!

Go look - you'll be in awe of their beauty.

The open adoption post will have to wait until later, because I want to finish my book "Adopting after Infertility" tonight. One down, 2 to go for the homestudy (or "parent preparation process"). In the meantime, check out my new and increasing links on the right here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Baby's room.

My dad would be so proud!

This is not a joke. What are we going to do about this!?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Tragedy - Internet down!

Here I sit happily at the library so I can get online. Internet service at the house is not working. I am addicted - not ashamed to admit it!

The other day in class we were talking about teenage pregnancy. I felt so weird about it. I think teenage pregnancy is very sad - or do I? In praying for our birthmother am I praying for a teen pregnancy to occur? Have you ever thought of that?

I guess this question is along similar lines as when I hear, "If God could stop such-and-such injustice, why wouldn't He?" (Ooh - this is a doozy). Well, my response would be, God does not make these things happen. He is not sitting in heaven with strings attached to our hands and feet controlling us like little Pinocchios. We have our own volition that is God-given (and sometimes misued, of course). He is then there for us when me make inappropriate decisions, so that through grace by faith we will have comfort.

I'm not praying and hoping for a teenager to get pregnant (and not all birthmothers are teenagers), but I guess if a teenager is to find herself in that desperate situation and to choose adoption for her child, I am thankful that we might be in the position to parent our (her's and our's) precious baby.

More on open adoption personal library space has been invaded!

See you!


Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Adoption/Conception Myth!

Lovingly, I feel I must dispell this myth. Statistically, 5% of people who adopt a baby after years of infertility go on to conceive on their own.

It's fun - I hear this all the time. Then it's like a puzzle trying to figure out how to straighten out this misconception (ha ha, mis-conception - get it??) without sounding defensive. I know I have done this to some people now reading this blog. Guess what? I love you for wanting to comfort me with the hope that we could still get pregnant! It's much better than, "Maybe God does not mean for you to be parents." (No one has said that to me, but believe me it happens.)

I think every time I have mentioned in conversation that we are planning to adopt someone has said, "You know, my friend so-and-so got pregnant as soon as they decided to adopt. It happens a lot." IMHO, the main reason for this is, you never hear from the thousands of people who have adopted after infertility say, "You know, I adopted a baby and I never got pregnant. Can you believe it?" The sensational story always gets portrayed, doesn't it?

Of course it happens. It could totally happen to us. There is a chance that we might still conceive, as long as my lovely endometriosis stays at bay (not likely) and other prerequisite things keep happening (wink-wink). But there is also a chance that it won't happen. That's OK, too. (Did I say that??) Because God is in control and He gets to decide on these big ones.

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8-9

Can I get a witness?!?

Infertility Sensitivity Training

Here is your guidebook for things not to say to people like me (reproductively infertile):

"Maybe God does not mean for you to be parents."
"Just relax and it will happen."
"Just adopt and it will happen." (I've experienced the paperwork - "just" and "adopt" do not logically go together!)
"Have you tried boxers?"
"Have you tried holding your legs in the air after sex?"
"Take my children for awhile."

And some others:
"I am so sick of being pregnant."
"There must be something in the water."

After someone has a miscarriage, DO say:

"I am sorry for your loss."

That's it. Do not say:

"Well, at least you know you can get pregnant."
"It's nature's way. There must have been something wrong with the baby."
"You can always have other children."
"God must have needed your baby more than you did."
"Technically, it wasn't a baby yet, but an embryo." (Life begins at conception, it really does.)

DO: Send a card saying, "I am sorry for your loss." That's it.

DO: Offer to bring the family a meal. Meals rightfully get distributed to people who have just had a baby. I'm all for that (hint-hint - adoption counts as "having a baby"). But going through a miscarriage is often just as difficult as giving birth and you don't have a sweet baby at the end of it. It's just devastating. Food is good. Dole it out often. My lovely friend Edan brought us a meal after I had my laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis. My initial instinct was to decline, thinking I didn't deserve it. But, I said yes and this was so meaningful to me (plus, it was delicioso). Edan also brought me flowers on Mother's Day. This was almost unbearably thoughtful. Sniff, sniff.

This was a crash course. Feel free to add any "Do's and Don'ts" in a comment if you have had experiences with this.

Please, please know that if you are reading this and you think, "Oh no, I've said such-and-such," that you are forgiven. After the painful situation has passed I will remember that you love me and meant nothing but good things and comfort. I know I have said some ridiculous things to people and I cringe thinking of them (Like when I told my friend in pre-term labor how another friend almost died in the same situation. NOT sensitive!) Sometimes I will respond better than other times. This is true in any situation, isn't it?

Now, for some comic relief, here is my brother with a chainsaw. Don't mess with this guy!

Friday, October 28, 2005


Well, lest it appear that I am being cavalier about my emotional recovery from infertility, the IF monster strikes back. Oh well, this is going to happen. Here is what's going down.

The other day I read that Brooke Shields and her husband were going to adopt a baby instead of doing IVF again. I was feeing a lot of commeraderie with her about that - a fellow IF'er pursuing adoption. Then yesterday I read that she is pregnant and I feel betrayed. First, how stupid is this? I don't know Brooke Shields, and I wouldn't even know about this if I weren't such an internet snoop. So now I feel betrayed by Brooke Shields? Betrayed by someone I don't even know. Does this sound so sad?

Next, this morning I was talking with a friend who, she and her husband, just started trying to get pregnant. She was filled with optimism that she would get pregnant soon. I am feeling a sense of loss about that optimism. I remember those days fondly, hoping and expecting that it would be easy for me to conceive, just like it had for most of my friends and family. Last year another friend started "trying" and was also filled with that easy spirit about it. She conceived in 2 months. This is a loss brought about through IF that people don't think of -

The loss of innocence and hopeful expectation of an easy pregnancy.

These feelings may be overshadowed by a day off tomorrow. It has been a monumentally busy week. I have a choir concert tonight involving ice cream afterwards. Last night I ate the best caramel apple in the world. The WORLD, I tell you! More on that later...stay tuned! Comfort foods? You bet!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

There's a fungus amung us...

Yeesh. My toenail is falling off. This is adoption-related because a) there is really nothing to report yet on the adoption front, and 2) well OK, it isn't related at all. Today was apparantly my last day in cute sandals for awhile. This is just as well because it's getting "cold" (high of 78 degrees!), and because my super-cute sandals kill my feet. I didn't plan my walking day very well. (Please tell me I won't get in trouble using the Lamisil tm guy on my bloggy.)

My new vocabulary word of the day is, "Yeesh." Tres descriptive, yes?

Actually, here is something - Randy has begun filling out his "oh-crap-do-I-have-to-be-perfect-to-adopt-a-child" questionnaire. I think, "Oh, crap, will I not be approved because of my dirty sailor vocabulary?" In other words, are you allowed to say "crap" and be considered a fit parent? Randy's least favorite question so far is, "Describe why you are/are not satisfied with yourself." He has obviously not gotten very far in this questionnaire, because my favorite question is, "Describe your teenage years, including any traumatic events." (Where is my gasping emoticon?) The last thing I want to do as a relatively secure adult is rehash my teenage years! Right now my mom reading this says, "Yeesh!"

Oh, the joys of the adoption paper trail.

This morning at breakfast at Einstein Brothers a pregnant lady walked in. Two things went through my mind: first was, she is not wearing shoes as cute as mine, and second, Hey, I don't feel sad for myself. (Poke-poke, poke-poke on the bruise.) Nope. Nothing. How did this happen? Strains of the Halleluia Chorus echoed through my bagel brain. He will turn my mourning into dancing...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Message

The message was that all things are possible for God! The preacher, a congregation member, told a true story about his young daughter (who I know from kid's choir) who had one in a series of many surgeries for a physical condition she has had since birth. The man asked the doctor, "How will we know if the surgery worked?" and the doctor replied, "Oh, you'll know immediately if the surgery was a success." Not so. Five weeks after the surgery she came home from school and told her mom, "I think everything is going to be OK now." Mr. S. and his family and friends had prayed and prayed that the surgery would work, and enlisted many church members to pray, too. The doctor was amazed when, in fact, the surgery had been a success, even though he had not thought it possible after 5 weeks of recovery.

This story probably meant more for me than for most because I know this precious little girl well from having her in choir 2 years ago. I also know her mom as a Mary Kay representative (which I am not), so I am invested in this family's life by association. But also, this was the first time in a long time that I have really had hope of what might be possible with God for our little family. I have always known that "all things are possible for God" does not mean that God will answer every prayer in the way we initially desire. This time, though, I truly felt like that was OK. Was our prayer that we would conceive a child and have a baby and did God said "no," or did we pray for a baby and God is saying "yes?" Maybe we did pray for a pregnancy and resulting baby and He said "no." And, ya' know what? That's fine. I have peace. Finally.

This isn't to say that I will never have another pang of "Why not us, Lord?" Or that I will never look at another pregnant belly and wish I could have one of my own (because I'll tell you what - I'm surrounded!), or that I will not continue to grieve not having a sweet baby made up of Randy DNA and Amy DNA. It's just to say that 1) it's still possible, although maybe not likely, and 2) I no longer have to rely on our own conception in order for us to receive God's perfect will and deeply love and cherish the soul who will be our baby, wherever that person is created.

It's hard to convey God's message after the fact, because at the time it was revealed to me the Holy Spirit was working intently in my heart on this very matter. Now I get to live with this beautiful reality for awhile.

I'm getting my socks blessed off these days.

My Ceiva is broken, so...

I "flipped out" on our third amniversary! We went to Fonda San Miguel for dinner after a busy Wednesday. Three years has flown by and I can't wait for the next 3+ years.

Ain't love grand?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Ramblings - the last few days

The last few days have been exhausting, and none of it has anything to do with adoption!

Thursday I taught middle school boys. I alluded to this in my last post. This was nuts! We were absolutely crammed into a 4.5 x 4.5 foot room, 4 boys, one me, and a CD player that none of us could get to work. The song had both "but" (I know, not butt, except this was hilarious anyway for these dudes), and "breast" in it. Who writes a song for middle school with "breast" in it? I had to sing that part and I just played it down as best I could. I think I sang, "brea" instead one time. It was talking about a goose's breast, but again, these are middle schoolers. (To his credit, I had one ally, B who even as a 7th grader cooperated with me.)

Friday was a regular day of classes and Randy and I went for sushi for dinner! This is an indulgence that rarely happens when you are wanting to get pregnant, as eating it can cause damage to a developing fetus. Since it is possible I might never have to worry about feti (is this plural of fetus?? ;o), it was a celebration to go for sushi. My new favorite is onago!

Now for Saturday. (I look 100 years old today as a result, and my lipstick will not come off. This is creating a very eerie effect, and I look mildly ill.) Anyway, I took part in an all day choral festival in San Antonio. I am singing with the UT Austin Women's Chorus this semester. I got up at 5:15 so I could get to Wal Mart (this is not where the festival was held) at 6:30 as instructed the day before. So I arrive there at 6:35 thinking, "Shirley, they could not have left right at 6:30," because only two other people were there. One hour later at 7:30 we finally left the parking lot (!) Krispy Kreme donuts in hand, we set off for SA (get it? San Antonio?? A little IF joke.) We began singing at 9:30 and never stopped. We literally sang for 6 hours, for random breaks in between. We got home at 11:30.

The choral festival was amazing. Our director was Dr. Janet Galvan from Ithaca College in New York. She was absolutely inspirational and extremely talented. She also looked like my friend Karen so that was especially fun. I felt like I got to play with Karen all day! My two favorite pieces we did were a Brazilian piece called O Sapo, where our voices were used as percussion and we got to do the samba on the risers, and This is the Day, a gospel piece where we swayed and clapped, and called out "Amen" to our soloists who were interspersed throughout the piece. We got a standing ovation! What a thrill! It has been a long time since I have felt really engaged in performing something and have been rewarded by cheering fans. It made me want to sing choral music for the rest of my life. THAT was what singing in an ensemble was all about. I so wish I had a CD of the performance. I am really proud of our work. (I think I won't quit my day job, though.) And yes, I can still talk and sing. Wow!

I don't even have time to post about the awesome message from church this morning. I feel very blessed.

For my next trick, I will wrap up this post for today. We have been telling people about our adoption plans and absolutely everyone is enthusiastic about it. We continue to receive comments like, "Oh, I know someone who adopted through Buckner." Now, do we want to replace our carpet right before a spitting up baby or wait until s/he is 19?

See you! (People know about my noveletta, now! See, "Rae."

Psalm 30:11 "You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have put off my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness."


Ooh - thanks Rae, for being my first comment! Love it!


Thursday, October 20, 2005

The IF monster

Fortunately for most people, they don't know that IF stands for infertility. It is a savage beast, impossible to be soothed! Even when a couple who has been infertile gets pregnant, the grief and pain of infertility still lingers.

"Infertility" is diagnosed when a couple has been regularly romantic (or "friendly" as my Nurse Practitioner used to say) for a year without birth control, or are unable to carry a pregnancy to term. This is different from "sterility" which means that either the wife or the husband has a physical condition that would make pregnancy impossible (e.g., a hysterectomy).

For some reason, when I was younger and before I was married, I always had this impression that I would not be able to have children. I imagined the doctor saying to me, "I'm sorry. I'm afraid you will never be able to have children." I imagined how devastated I would be, and that I would somehow get through it and adopt a child. I never imagined that the real story would be month after month, year after year of disappointment; one miscarriage, tests, surgeries, shots, pills, hormones, hopes, no hopes, and no baby.

It's weird, when I go through something and come out on the other side, how it seems unreal that it really happened to me. After two and a half years of infertility I am beginning to feel like myself again. I remember what it is like to be excited about the possibility of having a baby in the house. After so many months of disappointment I no longer had much hope that all our efforts would result in a pregnancy. My reality became counting cycle days, drugs, shots, a doctor's office, two weeks waiting and the dreaded words from the nurse, "It's negative." If you know me, please never say those words to me for any reason!

Here is an excerpt from a recent post I made on my favorite website -

"For me, IUIs have become an addictive behavior! It's like gambling - you never know when your payoff will be, but you know you have some chance, however slim, of winning the lottery. So saying "no more" and then "what if?" keeps me in the cycle. SAY NO TO CRACK! I have also used the comparison about IUIs like being in a bad relationship - you always think it could possibly get better and it's really hard to let go. Then once you do it hurts like crazy but there are moments of such clarity and joy in which you can finally look forward to the future."

Praise God those moments are coming more and more frequently.

I need to redefine "fertile." Every week I bring the gift of music to people with special needs. I teach singing, piano, and guitar. My students continue to make music after I leave them (like Mary Poppins). I am a child of God, the Creator of heaven and earth. I make people laugh, I give hugs to little children. I can take yarn and turn it into soft baby blankets, and I will give life to a child even if I don't give it birth. I will give hope and comfort to our child's birthparents and family by providing a loving home for their loved one.

(I wasn't feeling so nurturing earlier when those middle school boys were snickering at the word "but" in a song we were singing.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It's official!

We have really decided to use Buckner Adoption Agency! I, of course, am already almost finished with my paperwork. It is astounding the information we have to provide that people who get pregnant get to keep to themselves forever! Fortunately for me, I LOVE to talk about myself and blab all about my personal life. So, it was fun.

No, I am not going to publish my answers here! Do you really want to know about my worst job ever, or every detail about my relationship with my husband? Don't say yes!

Oh, my hair. I really have to do something about this. See you later! (Even though nobody knows about my little blog, maybe I should tell someone??)

God is good, all the time!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Uh, hello? I doing this right?

Congratulations! We're adopt a baby.