Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Touched by an angel

Well, a sweet little girl at least. Today before kids choir (I am the hotshot accompanist), one of the little 1st-grade girls said, I can sing a song while we wait [for choir to start]."

I was expecting "Rain, rain go away" or something, but this precious girl sang me the entire song "Rainbow Connection." The song lasted a long time - it's a long song (erph, smart girl). She had a beautiful singing voice and she maintained eye contact with me for the whole time. I started to cry right there - I felt so badly for her. I said, "It's so beautiful it just makes me cry," and it really was. I thought I wouldn't get through it and she would have to stop.

Do you know this song?

The Rainbow Connection:

Why are there so many songs about rainbows
And what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions,
And rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers and me.

Who said that every wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star?
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it,
And look what it's done so far.
What's so amazing that keeps us stargazing
And what do we think we might see?
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

All of us under its spell,
We know that it's probably magic...

... Have you been half asleep? And have you heard voices?
I've heard them calling my name. (OK, SO THIS PART SOUNDS A LITTLE PARANOID)
... Is this the sweet sound that calls the young sailors?
The voice might be one and the same
I've heard it too many times to ignore it
It's something that I'm s'posed to be...
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection,
The lovers, the dreamers, and me.

Laa, da daa dee da daa daa,
La laa la la laa dee daa doo...



I'm serious, she sang every word. I sang along a little, because I remember learning this song in elementary school, too. I know it from The Muppet Movie, which I saw with my beloved Grandma (which just made me want to cry harder, because while this girl was singing and looked so beautiful it made me think about how my grandma must have felt about me). I can just let the tears come now, because I am not sitting directly in front of a 1st grade girl singing her heart out for me.

Tito, get me a tissue. I'm so tired - what day is it?

Thank you, Lord, for giving me a special blessing tonight. You know I needed it!

When I asked her how she knew that song, she said they sang it in her school musical. A classmate of hers then told me it was by "The Hermits."

It's Kermit! I didn't correct her.

"Woke up this mornin', feelin' fine..."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Updated profile at right.

Sweet Meeko

My baby girl isn't feeling well. She is, however, still bathing (like right now), and loving her daily tunafish. I'm sure there is something bad about her eating tuna each day, but she likes it, cat gonnit. We made her a little "bed" out of a soft pillow, and a towel on a chair. We need to keep an eye on her hygiene habits, so we'll have to watch her more closely now.

I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I do. I imagine the day we have to take her to the vet to be euthanized. It seems like it won't be long, and we just love her so much. I don't want that day to come.

Poor baby.

A new attitude

I survived middle school today! I had a substitute with me this time, and she did some "shhhing" while I taught. My 7th and 8th graders were colorful as usual, but I am being myself more while still demanding (well...) good behavior. I am going to do the best that I can, but these are not my students in the long-term, and I'm determined not to spend the next six weeks wishing I were sitting in front of the television instead!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

My first car, Christine. What a beaut!

Eek. We had to plug this thing in at night. It had a diesel engine and once got 55 MPG when I drove it from Ames, Iowa to California. What memories!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

New link

Check it! It's the premiere Ames, Iowa exercise team, led by my fearless and fit mom Ann T.

A few years ago I spent the summer in Iowa and ran a 5K with my parents. They both beat me and my dad walked. HUmiliating. The only thing that got me through that race was hearing the band play Ted Nugent's "Free For All" at the finish line.

Gee, you didn't know I was a fan of Ted Nugent? Don't tell our adoption agency! (Hi, Carol AND Adela!)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Lest ye think I'm invinceable...

Pregnancy announcements still hurt. Only, now it is more like ripping off a band-aid in one "OUCH! Oh hey - it's just a scar now," and less like breaking your leg while you're still walking on crutches from the other leg that you broke last month, or someone squeezing your heart as hard as they can and kicking mud in your eyes. (Not that THAT has ever happened to me...)

Methinks I am not supposed to know about either of these pregnancies, but I do and it smarts. I feel left out, larger than life, and pitied. I can't bear the thought of these lovelies thinking, "Oh no, now I have to tell Amy," like I am going to burst into tears or punch them in the belly. Another part of me wants them to feel the pain of having to tell me that the thing we strived for for 3 years was achieved by them in 3 months. (Let's just be honest, here.) I should be used to it by now. Seriously.

So life goes on. Does this mean that I am not ready for adoption? No. It means that I am a human woman with a mother's instinct, and a biological clock ticking like THIS! Does it mean that I am a jealousy-monger with a heart of stone? Nope. I know that God's perfect baby for us is just not going to be born to us, and I don't want their baby. Does it mean that I am a nutcase? Well, the verdict is still out on that one.

What not to say to your infertile friend when you become pregnant:

DON'T say:
"I wish it were you."
"At least you don't have to..." never, EVER begin a sentence with this. Not to anyone, fertile or not. DON'T do it, I'm telling you.
"It wasn't expected/planned," etc.

DO say:
"I understand if you need some time to process this."
"I wanted to tell you myself."
"Please tell me if you would or would not like to receive updates on my pregnancy." (Maybe don't ask this the minute you share the news.)

I've got scars. You've got them, too. This is what life looks like. Romans 8:28 says that God can use all things for good, even when they hurt like the dickens or last a lifetime.

Resume ye thou day, friends.


Saturday, March 04, 2006

Repost - book review

Now that we are getting farther along in the process, I wanted to repost this book review and finish it up. I never got back to it in December because there was way too much important information to include!

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 the 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, visits, etc.

Stay tuned for part II!

3 months later...part II

Book review - Children of Open Adoption

When we last left off, before Christmas, I had reviewed this book through "The School-age child -- I."

Part two of "The school-age child" includes information on relationships with extended family, when birthparents have inconsistent contact, and how the child will learn about and interact with siblings through birth or adoption. In summary, the authors state, "The greater the degree of openness, the less fantasizing that takes place and the more the issues are worked on" (p. 131).

Ah, the marvelous, dreaded teenage years. At this age the child of open adoption really gets to exercise her communication skills and process her experience. It is especially important during these years that the teenager has access to information about her heritage and birth family. "Our sense of self is defined not only by our present but also by our past. Through closed adoption our past becomes inaccessible" (p. 135).

A social worker of one teenager whose adoption transformed from a closed to an open one states, "She said it made her feel normal and like everybody else....I observed an immediate attitude change....The discovery seemed to have cemented the bonding between Sarah and her birth parents" (p. 151). Oh, yeah.

The last chapter is "Long-term benefits for everybody," including all members of the adoption triad (child, birthparents, adoptive parents), and also extended family and adoption professionals! Long term benefits include, feelings of control that the adoption is in the hands of the family and not the adoption professional, the adoptive parents feel entitled to raise their child since the birthparents chose that couple, everyone is permitted to grieve their losses and communicate those losses with each other, and the children grow up knowing/hearing that they are loved by all parties, thus leading to a higher self-awareness and self-esteem throughout their lives.

Read this book. Seriously. The authors know what they are talking about first hand, there are many applicable and interesting quotes, letters, and experiences. You will not be bored.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My heaven

In my heaven every couple gets a personal bowl of M&Ms. Wait, that really happened to me today! My intestinal track is paying for my eating habits at the moment, but that's OK because we are in a hotel and nothing counts when you are out of town.

We are at our adoption seminar at Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services today and tomorrow. It is really informative, interesting and fun. The other couples are lovely, the social worker leaders friendly and enthusiastic, and the provisions wunderbar.

Is it silly that I am so excited about the food and that I believe that this is an extra blessing from God? Many of my favorite things were there, including a bowl of M&M candies for each couple. Coffee and coffeecakes for breakfast, fresh fruit, cookies and Diet Coke for after lunch. What else could we ask for?

A baby? Why not. Babies like M&Ms, right? Maybe not. We'd like to order one anyway.

A bat in the cave

Now, I was never a "Sex in the City" fan. I have never watched a full episode. I was just coming on to post something else, but then this bat in the cave thing came up as I was flipping the channels past SITC.

It's a booger. That's all. Not to humiliate anyone, but the guy who helped us at Baby's R Us when we were looking for the carseat had a bat in the cave. Big bat, small cave...