Sunday, September 24, 2006

Weekend update

I am feeling somewhat refreshed, and a little bit ready to hit another week running.

Yesterday I started my groups for children and teens with Down Syndrome. We were supposed to start yesterday, then it looked like we would have to wait a week, but we ended up meeting after all. It was really fun. The kids were sweet, musical, and adorable. This is a great opportunity for me for several reasons, one of which is that the groups operate out of this amazing therapeutic space near downtown. I would usually have to rent space myself, but since this program is sponsored by the Down Syndrome Association I am provided a location to run the groups. Thanks, Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas!

After working we went to UT/Iowa State game and wore our UT-shirts. It was oppressingly hot, but we managed until the second half when it started to cool down. There was a big storm approaching. She arrived at 5:15 and they actually stopped the game at the end of the 3rd quarter. They restarted the game over an hour later, but by that time our bellies were full of our favorite Thai food (Madam Mam's) and we headed home. Poor Iowa State. Today I wore my ISU polo to try to even things out.

That's all folks! Weekend over. Next weekend we may go fishing - won't that be a kick? I've been, like, 3 times in my life.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Poor babies

Both of my furry babies had surgeries today! Ack!

Chez was spayed and Punky had two teeth pulled! My parents have had a lot of pets, and I don't remember any of them going to the dentist. However, it has been recommended for Punky several times, so we went for it.

Punky had to have two teeth pulled and had a growth removed from the front of his mouth. They both have shaved spots on their leg from the IV. Punky has a shaved spot on his face too, and of course Chez's chubby belly is now furless, too. Poor things. I cried when they came home. I love them.

Thanks for listening. I have to go pet the baby Chez now.

Kenny Loggins

I'm alright.

I have exhaustion! I have had such a physically and emotionally busy week and I am SO excited just to chill out later! Please don't let it rain for the big Iowa State/UT game tomorrow! Please can it with the exclamation point, self.

I am a music therapist. Does anybody know what that is? I know that someone does, and if she ever gets back in blogosphere and figures out who I am, she will share that fountain of knowledge with you, too.

(When I see paragraphs that all start with "I," I panic. But I am a music therapist, not an English teacher. Resisting the exclamation point there.)

My life is pretty snazzy professionally. I am doing some really fun things right now. I am consulting with a software company and adapting music materials for use in the special education classroom. I have a lovely private MT client and several darling music students. Next Saturday I start a 7-week music group for children and teenagers who have Down Syndrome, and am also doing some music therapy assessments and services for a school district.

I also go to Bible Study Fellowship on Monday nights, play the piano for the 1st grade choir at our church, and sing in the grown-up choir. I also go to a cool mom's group one day a week. I'm a mom, I just don't have any children in my house today. Maybe tomorrow.

So, I'm off to write up some music therapy reports.

Music therapy is the planned use of music and music interventions to bring about functional changes in human behavior, emotions or physical functioning.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

A little down

By yesterday evening I was feeling pretty good. Tonight I feel a little down. I should never go by how I feel in the evening, though, because I am always more stressed then. I have a lot of work to do these days. It's just a matter of sitting down to do things, but tomorrow is a busy day, starting with a music class observation at 8:10.

I think I'll have an ice cream cone.

When we do have an expectant mom choose our profile, I'll have to find out if she likes ice cream as much as we do. I think that could really be a bonding moment for us.

Moolenium Crunch, here I come. Care to join me?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Baybe next time

OK, blog fanatics, this is what's really going down.

I thought last week was an emotional roller coaster, and it was. But this was nothing compared to what awaited us after returning from our adoption agency support group meeting.

One of the birthmother counselors at the agency let us know that an expectant mom had liked our profile and would be calling us the next day. We also knew that she would be talking to at least another couple as well, but of course we had hopes that we would like eachother and that she would choose us to parent her baby. To make a long story short, she decided on another family.

This is what all the concerns about confidentiality came from the other day.

The extended version of this story is that we did have a good conversation and we really like this young woman. (And I'm not just saying that because she could google us and end up here.) She reminded me a lot of myself, actually. When I pictured her she looked like me. Isn't that funny? The interesting thing is, in my mind's eye the picture I had of her was not pregnant. It really felt like a conversation about her and us and not a conversation about a baby. I think that's good.

We are disappointed, obviously, but I just know she made the right decision for herself. This was not our baby. That much is so clear.

It does feel a little like all of those negative pregnancy tests I had when we did treatments. I pictured Bob once again saying, "It's negative," like he and the nurse told me at least 10 times. I don't really remember what he said to me, but somehow I just knew from the way he sat that he had heard and that the news was not what we had hoped. I am ready for the other kind of news next time.

Right before I found out, I was coming home from BSF and the song "Broken Road" came on the radio. I know to some it seems like a cheese-head song, but it is one of my favorites. (Go see for the lyrics.) I drove an extra time around the block to hear it. Part of me thought, "This is it. I am going to go home to the best news of my life," and part of me thought, "God blesses the broken road that leads me straight to Him. It's OK if this is not it." Door #2 anyone?

Sigh. It has been one of the most emotional weeks of my whole life. I am glad to be hard at work this week and next. Things will slow down for me a little bit in October, but for now I'll take the high octane version to keep myself busy.

Like Barb, I'm tired of my drawing board. It looks different from hers, but I'm sick of drawing on it.


Monday, September 18, 2006

Enquiring minds

They want to know, yo?

Word to Thelma.

Life is exploding around us and we're just trying to keep it together!

Our wonderful agency, Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services, is changing and evolving. Last week we received word that the agency would be restructuring, combining the international and domestic adoption programs. While that change sounds fairly innocuous, for a group of people who have been trying and waiting for years and years to start a family it was earthshattering news.

I didn't want to say anything specific until it was official, but now it is all officializated and all. The hardest thing about this experience has been that our warm, wonderful, passionate, and experienced caseworker and agency director is no longer our caseworker or agency director. (Shout out to Carol who we love and adore, too! And Debbie who has stepped into something amazing and difficult.) This was the loss I expressed last week.

Since all this has happened I am suddenly concerned with confidentiality. Not that I wasn't before, but this is serious stuff here. When our profile is selected by an expectant mother and we are matched to receive an adoptive placement, I am not sure what to do about my wee bloggie (word to Thelma again). I started this blog to keep friends and family abreast of what is going on. It has turned into more than that, though! (I'd like to point out my use of the word abreast - love it or leave it?)

Do I discontinue the blog when there are other people's lives involved and intermeshed with ours?

Do I keep this blog all vague and philosophical and share specific future news with family and close friends only?

A new day has dawned on Expecting #1 Through Open Adoption. Bear with me here as I am praying about what to do about these sensitive issues.

My official answer to adopting.mama is that we've been waiting for 3 months, and no, we have not had a match meeting with an expectant mother.

Blogging Birthmothers, feel free to chime in here and let me know what you think about my questions. Thanks!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Bad Kitty

We love Chez Zee. She is SO cute, and SO fun, and SO interesting. However, the midnight crazies are about to drive us insane! Just when you think it's safe and she's settled down, she FREAKS OUT! This girl runs around all over the bed in the middle of the night and chases her tail, your feet, and sometimes my hair. She's nuts, I tell you.

I had a friend who wrote a song about the 6:am Cat Crazies or something similar. I had older cats at the time and didn't totally relate, but I think about this friend Carol now all the time! I haven't seen her in 6 years either.

Last night at about 1:am I finally had to put her in her room. I then ate a cracker and got back in bed without brushing my teeth again. Sorry, dear.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Hello, sports fans!

My dear husband and I are going to see UT football play Iowa State next week! What to wear?

I feel sick because I am so excited for the football game.

This oughta be good.

Friday, September 15, 2006

All better


We have experienced a loss of someone dear to us in our adoption process. This person has been with us for a year, and we so care for her. Change is so hard, especially when the journey to parenthood has been so difficult and variable already. We know that adoption is built on loss, but this is one we did not expect.

Friend, I miss you. I am sad that you won't be with us on adoption day. I am praying for you and miss you already. It won't be the same without you, and yet I know it would be disappointing for you if we fell apart now after having come all this way. Just know that you are in our hearts and prayers and will always be an Auntie! Love you.

Oh, brother. I am in mascara again - hellooooo??

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Why do I even bother to wear mascara?

I'm not sure.

The past two days have been hard - really hard. Yesterday we had some disappointing news. Fortunately for me, I had not put on any makeup, because by the end of the day I had produced a lot of tears and other facial fluids. I produced some at the library as I read an outflowing of prayers on Hannah's Prayer (, some at home while watching Oprah, and later, even though I had prepared by sticking two Kleenex in my purse, shed some more at choir practice. (How did I think I was going to get through choir with two measley tissues?)

So today I felt better. I put on some mascara, because surely I was through with the waterworks, and then when to my Mom to Mom Bible study group. I knew I was in trouble as soon as my friend C came up to lead a brief worship. Why hadn't I continued the no-makeup tradition? Why had I not thought to put a couple of tissues in my purse? At least I had my sleeve in lieu of tissues. The song we sang, or I sang about 9 words of, was I Love You, Lord.

Now, probably any other music would have also sent me reeling, but this was just the end. I Love You, Lord was the song that I sang to myself every morning and night as I struggled to get out of bed when I was going through a divorce 6 years ago.

I certainly wasn't grieving over divorce this morning. I don't think I was even really grieving at all. In fact, my tears this morning were those of relief. Relief that no matter what earthly things we go through, God loves me and comforts me. Relief that I know that whatever happens, God is there for me, knows me, and heals my heart when it breaks.

Don't be worried, guys, all is well. Hang in there with me on the ride. We will really go places!

Can anyone recommend me a good waterproof mascara?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Review of Open Adoption

I thought I'd repost my book review on Children of Open Adoption. (See part I post for reference.)

We are 100% committed to open adoption. In the event that the expectant mother who chooses us does not want an open adoption, and I hope she does, we would love for her to read some books about it and make sure that she knows about open adoption and what it might look like. The age of secrecy should be over by now.

I am reading an article from People Magazine about what adoption and maternity homes looked like in our recent past, and I don't like it. I will write more about that article later, but right now I have to go to the store so I can feed my family of two.

Stay tuned!

Children of Open Adoption - book review part I

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!

Children of Open Adoption, 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.

Monday, September 11, 2006

What is Sufism?

We go to a monthly support group called Adoption Knowledge Affiliates. This month the speaker is a teacher at the University for Spiritual Healing and Sufism, and will be speaking about experiencing adoption from the heart and not from the head.

Now, obviously my Christian faith is important to me. I mean, duh. But, because AKA is not affliliated with a religion, at least I didn't think so, I can accept that we don't talk about God and Jesus and religion. Although it feels artificial not to discuss matters of faith and adoption, because for us the two are inextricably linked, we participate like good little members.

Now this? We are going to have a lecture called "How to Experience Deeper Relationships in Adoption: Think From Your Heart, Not Your Head," from the perspective of a Master Teacher Muqadam in the Sufi tradition (I have no idea what this means). So, why are we not incorporating our faith in conversation? Maybe we will.

I'm not going. I'm not going because I have another commitment - a Christian one, in fact. So, I won't be able to give my opinions on this talk, or even see first-hand if this religion will be promoted at the meeting. Part of me is glad that I can't go. Part of me wants to attend.

So, before I open this up for discussion, I want to ask that we calmly and humanly express our knowledge and opinions on either Sufism, the place of religion in non-religious situations, or related topics. Only when we are able to talk about such loaded issues without disrespecting others' differing opinions can we learn anything about cultures outside our own.

So, what is Sufism?

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Who goes where?


My nephew was baptized this morning. (No, that's not my revelation, stay with me, here.) Obviously, baptism is a time of introspection and reflection as we promise to pray for a child to be raised in a Christian home. It is also a time of family celebration and connectedness.

Sitting there in the congregation, I suddenly felt this moment of loss when I realized that my husband and I may never stand in front of our family with a baby that God created out of all of our DNA. We may never be looked upon by our congregation and hear them say, "They are such a cute combination of both of you!"

The weird thing about IF grief is that it can hit you out of nowhere right when you are feeling at peace with it. The weekend was a whirlwind of baby smells, a soccer game, family fun, laughter, and curiously, a sombrero. It was an easygoing, peaceful time of family. (I just need to clarify that I didn't spend the weekend in a cloud of sadness but rather a sun-shower of wholeness, connectedness, and joy. Sometimes grief is just a "twang" in my heart.)

The next thing that happened in the service was the Children's Story. Children of all ages, sizes, and coloring came forward and sat on the stage with the youth minister. "Those three obviously go together," I thought, "...and those two...and those...." Then, just as suddenly and clearly as I felt a sense of loss earlier, I felt an overwhelming sense of clarity.

I just had this revelation that families built through adoption are just as miraculous as those formed by birth. My nephews look like my brother and his wife - it's gorgeous, glorious, God-ordained. It's absolutely special. And yet, just one example of how a family is formed. In our case, we may not look alike (or we may, we just don't know), but we will be just as loving, just as connected, just as much family as one formed by birth. Our family will also be formed by God for His glory.

Randy and I formed a family when we married. We are not biologically related, but we are a family. My family also includes people who I am only distantly related to - my sister-in-law's parents and her sister, for example. (Hi, guys!) Randy's parents, brothers, and their wives and children, for another example. We are so blessed with loving families who have led by beautiful example. It's a good thing.

Now we're home and back to the wait. After a time surrounded by family, though, it suddenly doesn't seem like such a formidable task. Our lives aren't on hold for our first child. We still have friends and family, all struggling with one thing or another at times. Another beautiful thing about family is that it grows and changes with time. We share triumphs and tragedies, hard times and happy times, for better or for worse. I thank God for my family.

Now, the cat in the crib I am not so jazzed about...


A harbinger of power struggles to come, I'm sure.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I am still having a hard time waiting. But, this is an rolling the eyes, fast-toe-tapping, looking at the watch impatience this time.

This is the longest 2WW ever! D'ya know what the 2WW is? It's the time every woman with IF who is TTC looks forward to for 2 weeks and then hates by the time it is one week over. One fun thing about adoption is that The Call could come any day. I don't have to wait for two weeks for another chance. One not-so-fun thing about it is that the wait could be a year or more! Now I don't know which one I like better - having to wait 2 weeks or possibly waiting for 2 years.

I need constant reminders that this is all in God's plan and timing. Every day we aren't "chosen" is another day closer to when that plan will be revealed. (The Big Reveal, you know.) Seriously though, how much longer are we going to have to wait?

I am hardly twiddling my thumbs here. I have 3 jobs, 2 Bible studies, 2 cats at home, trips planned, chocolate to eat, trips planned (wait, I said that already).

Speaking of things to do, I'd better get a'cookin'.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sad day.

You've gotta admit, this guy had charisma. I feel so sad for his wife and children.

I don't know what to say about this, only that I am sorry that this happened. I am glad at least he died doing what he loved.

Goodbye, Mr. Crocodile Hunter.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Beautiful, beautiful, brown eyes...

They're almost amber, those eyes. Punky's are more green. Isn't she gorgeous? She is getting more and more brown on her. (You can't tell from this picture.) She has black fur with brown highlights. People pay good money for hair like that!