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!