Monday, January 31, 2011


When I first started exploring different ways to approach domestic adoption everything seemed to fall into two groups. Agency adoption v. private/independent adoption. Now I am realizing there are three types of adoptions and you can try multiple routes at a time.

First, there are full-service agency adoptions. This would be the Catholic Charities or Bethany Christian Services routes. What sets these agencies apart is that they serve individuals on all aspects of the adoption situation. The women who are facing unintended pregnancies and don't know what to do about it. Some of those women figure out ways to parent their child, while others make an adoption plan and end up with a status as a birthmother. They also work with potential adoptive families and do the home study and help facilitate the match between birth parent and adoptive parent. The full-service agency has a fee for the home study, but it is considered part of the placement fee and not a separate cost. And the services provided to birthmothers are taken out of the placement fee, so that the placement fee feels more like an indirect payment for the services provided to the birthmother.

Then there are agencies that just do home studies or just do placements. If you go this route, you have to to work with individuals from multiple organizations to first get home study approved and then get your profile in front of birthmothers to get matched. The placement agencies often don't do home studies and may be in a different state than where you live. They may even be in a different state than where the birthmother lives. I heard of a story of a birthmother traveling to another state to give birth so they could work with a particular placement agency and fall under a certain state's laws. The placement agency may provide some services to a birthmother, but for the most part the birthmother has already decided to make an adoption plan before contacting the agency. And they don't provide the same level of medical/legal services that the full-service agencies provide. These differences have implications for the fees. Since the home study agency and placement agency are different, the fees are separate. And since fewer medical/legal services are paid for out of the placement fee, it is less clear what the placement fee is actually going to (except to someone's wallet).

And then there is the completely independent route, which for a planner like me seems not to be the best way to approach this. You still have to pay a home study fee from a home study agency, and then do your own networking to find a placement. I think the placement costs and birthmother costs can vary tremendously.

As we figure out what we want to do, I am also realizing that we don't have to pick a single strategy. We can do all of the above (but then of course pay all of the above costs). I am drawn to the full-service agency approach. It seems more secure for all involved. It also feels less like we are buying a baby, but just funding services provided to us or the birthmother. But I also don't want to put all my eggs in one basket. The placement agencies have much shorter average wait times than full-service agencies. Ideally I think I would want to start with a full-service agency and then supplement with our own networking to find a private placement and see what happens.

But then we meet with the specific agencies in our area and I don't know what to do. Today we went to a group information with an agency that, going in, I was sure was the agency for us. But the entire session was disorganized. I left feeling more discouraged.

I am not sure where we stand now. One thing that I am trying to use in guiding decisions about our adoption journey is how my future grown child would react to hearing the story. It is one thing to tell a child that I paid $20,000 in fees that indirectly provided services to their birthmother and quite another to say I paid $20,000 in fees that just padded someone's wallet. The full-service agencies do more of the former and so that is drawing me to them. They also do more education so that once we get a placement we can be fantastic adoptive parents. But that education also serves as a type of gatekeeper, where the agency says the next training starts in April or May and we need to wait until then to start the home study. If we will have to wait several months or even years for a placement, I don't want to have to wait several months just to start that waiting.

Sunday, January 30, 2011


Yesterday we babysat one of my nieces and one of my nephews for the whole day. My emotions were going up and down all day long. When my sister dropped them off, my nephew did something that made me realize how old he is getting. My sister's kids range in ages from 3 to 13, so one thing that has added to my sadness with IF is that our children will be so much younger than their cousins. We started trying to grow our family shortly after the youngest was born, so initially the age gap wouldn't have been that big. But now he will be 4 in two months and we are still a long ways from having a baby. Seeing him act so old made me sad.

A little bit later I was on the computer while he was playing the Wii. He came in and sat on my lap and we found a website with kid games. It was so cute to have him there with me and play these games together. I just wanted to squeeze him and never let him go. We went out to play football in the backyard and I was thinking that I just wanted to go to an adoption agency and say, can you "get me one of these in size 6 months?"

My niece was not as interested in spending time with us. She is very creative and about a year ago I tried to teach her to crochet, but she couldn't quite get it. I thought yesterday would have been a good time for another lesson, but she was much more interested in watching D1sney channel. Oh well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Adoption book challenge

I am joining the Adoption Book Challenge. I am going to aim for Level 3, which is to read 6 fiction and 6 nonfiction books about adoption. I just heard about this today, but since I am the type of person to start reading about a topic when I go down a path, I am already well on my way!

So far this year I read Adopted For Life, which is a Christian perspective on adoption. I will admit that I was not the biggest fan. I was looking for something a little practical. Also, even though I am Christian (Catholic), I had trouble with the author's statement that is our Christian duty to use spanking as a form of discipline, and thus Christians may have trouble adopting through foster care where the kids may have been physically abused. Now, I can understand how someone can use mild spanking as a form of discipline without it being child abuse, but it is not logical at all in my mind how it is required to raise a child according to the Christian faith. I mean, I've been wondering if my hesitancy to adopt through foster care means I am a bad Christian because those are the kids that are really in need of loving stable homes.

I also read Inconceivable by Shannon Woodward. That book is not strictly about adoption and more about finding peace with infertility, but since it does follow her journey of two successful adoptions and many failed attempts, I am counting it.

Right now I am reading a book about open adoption. I don't remember the name, but I'll put up a review when I am done.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Group meetings

Today we went to a group information session for an agency we are considering. And I left with more thoughts on the group than on the agency. I couldn't help but size them up as the competition. One couple asked what happens if they get pregnant while going through the process because they are there just because they feel called to adopt and not due to infertility. Am I the only one who gets annoyed by those couples? And then there the husband, who identified himself as a mortgage broker at one point, and asked many questions about what the adoption tax credit means. Hello? Haven't you ever had to explain what the new homebuyer tax credit was or what it means to have the mortgage interest deduction? I mean, I can understand the normal person not knowing the difference between a tax credit and deduction, but you should do this for a living, buddy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Meeting today

About a year ago, we attended a mind-body seminar for infertile couples. We met several other couples in our area who are also struggling with IF. I kept with one of them since then and they adopted a little boy. So I met with her today to hear about their process. She was amazingly helpful. She not only laid out the process they used, but a list of other agencies and lawyers and everything else that she checked into and thought were good. She also said once she started the process and people knew about it, other adoptive parents came out of the woodwork and they shared experiences. So she had a ton of resources and knowledge about these organizations besides what I can read on their website.

I truly appreciate her taking the time for me and we had a great conversation all around. She has an adorable son and they have a great bond. She met the birth mother before the birth and even got to be in the room when the baby was born, so she was very excited with the whole process and is very happy now. She started to tell me how she has her son's birth story and now she has all the same experiences of new moms. So she really felt she had just about everything that all other mothers have...

...and it was right at about the point she was telling me this that the table of young women next to us erupted in cheers and someone began passing around ultrasound pictures. Yes, it still hurts sometimes. It does get better, but there are still moments when you wish you could be the one with the ultrasound.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Strawberry Jam

Those of you who have been following me for a while know that last year I started making my own soup and joined a CSA. While I loved both of these, they created a problem. My freezer was overstuffed with soup and veggies. To remedy the situation, I got a pressure canner for Christmas!

I gave it a test run this weekend. If you are interested in making your own strawberry jam, know that because it is fruit, you actually don't need a pressure canner. A big pot in which you boil water would be fine. But I wanted to start on something easy, so strawberry jam it was.

First, you need some canning jars.

Then, you need a lot of strawberries.

Put the jars into the canner and start them simmering. Put the lids in a small saucepan and start them simmering. Remove the husks from the strawberries and mash them.

Add the pectin and put the strawberries in a large pot to boil them. Add tons of sugar and keep boiling. When it is done, you will something that looks like this (you may need to strain off some foam):

Now you are ready to fill the jars. Take out a jar one at a time. Fill it to the designated height, get rid of air bubbles, and wipe the threads and rim. Put the lid on and tighten with a screw band. Put the filled jar back in the canner and repeat until all jars are filled. This step is really where it helps to have special equipment if you are canning jam. But a kit with a jar lifter, funnel, etc is pretty cheap.

When all the jars are filled, get the water boiling and boil for the designated time.

Take out the jars and you are done! Well, hopefully I am done. In 24 hours I can check to see if the lid sealed.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One stop shopping

One of the things I struggle with the most as we go down this adoption road is the amount of money involved. I am not so worried about actually affording it (which I know is a blessing compared to others). My husband is finishing grad school this semester so the part of our income that used to go into his tuition fund is now going into our adoption fund. I am more conflicted over the idea of whether we are buying a baby.

I know with the home study and the lawyer fees, you are basically paying the cost of these people's time who are providing a necessary service. So those costs don't bother me as much. Plus they are small potatoes compared to the placement fees. It is when we get to discussions about placement fees that I get uncomfortable and wonder where that money is going. Some agencies provide extensive services to birth mothers (counseling, housing, etc). I can understand that and see how it might be easier to just charge an average fee to cover those costs rather than keep track of every nickel. But some agencies charge more healthy White babies than other types of babies. And this is where my conflicting emotions come in. I mean, the costs involved in providing services for a birth mother certainly vary, but I would assume they don't vary in the way their fee structure is set up. If anything, their fee structure is the opposite of what the actual costs would be. For example, providing services to a mother who is having a special needs child is probably more expensive than someone with a healthy child, but the placement fee is less.

This makes me think we should go the private adoption route and thus pay the actual costs of providing the services the birth mother needs. But that whole process makes me feel overwhelmed. There is a comfort in going to a "one stop shop" agency. But the fact that I just use the term shopping to describe our process of bringing a child into our family makes me horrible. I don't know how we will resolve this, but it is something bouncing around in my head as we figure out what to do.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Welcome ICLWers! I haven't done ICLW in a while, but it will be great to meet a bunch of new bloggers. Here's my story:

My husband and I have been TTC for 2.5 years. I call 2010 the "Year of the IUI" because after spending some time going WTF and then various tests, we had a total of 5 IUIs last year, 3 with injectibles. All BFN. We have both male and female factor infertility and also tried some natural treatments like acupuncture.

After some long talks, we decided to put the treatment road behind us and are now starting the adoption process. This decision was partly due to our concerns about more using more aggressive treatments and also that "being parents" is more important to us than "being pregnant".

So here we are. We are still in the very early stages of figuring out whether we want to use an agency or the independent route and saving up money. I've been spending almost all my free time in the past few weeks doing internet research, reading books, and asking questions to local agencies and lawyers.

I look forward to reading your story.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Today I had conversations with two home study agencies. I originally thought these organizations were also placement agencies, but it turns they don't work directly with birthmothers. They handle the home study and post placements and give us advice on finding a placement agency and other things to do to find a placement.

Just chatting with them for a few minutes gave me much more insight into this whole process and I think I learned some things regardless of whether we end up using them. So in all it was a productive day in terms of our adoption progress. I am starting to less like I am in way over my head. We still have many more people/agencies to talk to before making a decision, though.

One thing both agencies told me today is that the key to finding a placement relatively quickly is telling everyone we know that we are adopting. Especially people who work in schools or hospitals or similar organizations. The idea is that you never know when someone will hear about a friend's cousin (or whatever) who has an unexpected pregnancy and might be considering adoption. I understand that, but it does make me a little nervous just because it turns the whole zone of silence that accompanies infertility on its head. Not that being infertile should ever be a source of shame, but yet that is how I experienced it. It was not something to discuss even with close family members. Let alone everyone on my Twitter feed. I need to find a way to change that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Adoption fears

I was reading the news today and ran across this article about Ronald Reagan. You may have heard that one of his sons wrote a book that suggests he started showing signs of Alzheimer's during his presidency. This post is not about Reagan. And its not about Alzheimer's (although it's a topic that I pay attention to since my grandmother had it). This is about my fears around adoption.

Let me back up. It is common in academia to speak about the impostor syndrome. It may exist in other occupations; I can't speak to that. But in academia we are all supposedly experts in our field. And we do have a great deal of knowledge about the topic of our research. But the impostor syndrome is the fear that one day someone will rip the mask off our face and reveal that we are not really experts. We don't really belong here. I admit that I suffer from the impostor syndrome. And when I get the courage to express that fear to others, they admit that deep down they feel it too.

It was the fear of the impostor syndrome that reared its ugly head as I read that article about Reagan. Even 66 years after his birth, Michael Reagan's relationship to his father is still qualified.

The former president’s son, Ron Reagan, has just released "My Father at 100," a book about his father’s life. (The younger Reagan resists calling it a memoir.) The book’s revelation that Ron now believes his father had Alzheimer’s disease while in office has already elicited a furious response from Michael Reagan, the son adopted by Ronald Reagan and his first wife, Jane Wyman.

Now, maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't see how it is relevant to the story that Michael Reagan was adopted. But yet the writer inserted it in an article when the general thrust seems to be that only Ron Reagan (and not the merely adopted son Michael) is able to speak about his father.

That is my adoption fear. That I will just be an impostor. That one day, many years down the line, someone will rip the mask from my face and reveal me as not the real mother. I don't really belong here.


On a side note, I had no idea that adoption played such a large role in shaping Reagan's family. His first wife was "unofficially adopted" and raised by neighbors after her father died when she was young. They adopted Michael. And their oldest daughter adopted a daughter from Uganda. They also lost a baby who was born premature.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Finding an agency

Well, we seem to be narrowing down the decisions. I would say the decision process is not so much about doing tons of research (although I have been spending much time doing that), but about listening to your heart. My heart is telling me to do domestic adoption, so I have started eliminating things related to international adoption.

The next big decision is finding an agency. I guess really I should re-phrase that. Deciding whether to use an agency or a lawyer and go the private adoption route. I went through a bunch of local resources and have this long list of agencies and lawyers that operate in my county. Even just reading what I can online about them, it seems we have 4 possible agencies and 3 possible lawyers. I am in the process now of contacting them to get more information. There is a range of agencies that operate nationwide, so I need to figure out what to do about them. Part of me would prefer to ignore them because the options can grow out of control.

I do have to talk about one agency that we have pretty much decided against, although we will go to their group info session just to be a point of comparison. I won't say their name, but they are large (not sure, but I would guess they are one of the largest) and have a strong Christian focus and wide network. If you've looked into adoption at all, you probably know who I am talking about. They make me uncomfortable for two general reasons. One, I have read some of the "anti-adoption" sites out there and this agency keeps coming up as one that may use coercive tactics to find babies for families. I don't know how I could look a child in the eyes if I had any inkling that he/she was taken from the birthmother out of coercion.

The other reason I am hesitant to go with them is that their Christian mission is so central to what they do. Now, it's not that I am against Christians. Quite the contrary, I am one. And my faith is very important to me and how I want to raise my child. But I don't like the way some Christians act like their version of Christianity is the only right one. For instance, this agency has a sister agency in a neighboring state that only started working with Catholic families a few years ago. As a Catholic (you know, the oldest Christian religion), it makes me mad when people deny that Catholics are true Christians. Plus, there are some aspects of their Statement of Faith that rub me the wrong way. It appears to imply that in order to provide a loving, faith-filled home to a child, I have to believe in creationism or that same sex couples are any less American. All these things put together make me think that our family, in which the parents are Catholic, grandma is a lesbian, and grandpa is Mormon is not the type of family for them. And thus they are not the type of agency for us.

I don't mean to push away other Christians with this post. My faith has been a rock in getting me through my IF journey and I hope it will continue to give me peace as we proceed down the adoption road. But I always think that there is a reason we call God's grace a mystery. I believe Catholic teachings the most, but really we are all muddling through trying to understand the Truth.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow day

I used to live in a cold weather state and so whenever my current (warmer) state gets some snow, I can't help but laugh. Yesterday I headed to the store for my normal weekly grocery shopping. I walked into the store expecting to see an entrance full of carts, but not one was in there. And none by the other entrance. I started to head outside, when an employee came in and told the manager that all the shopping cart holding things outside were empty. All the shopping carts were inside the store. In use. Being filled up with mounds of food people think they will need in the coming horrible snowstorm. We got maybe 3 inches.

Normally I would just laugh this off, but today has been a day circled on my calendar for weeks. One of the adoption agencies we are considering is having their first information session of the year. This was going to be our grand kick-off of sorts. But it's been delayed. Until further notice.

In happier news, I did find out that one of my best friends from grad school is moving to our city. Yay! It will be so much fun to have her around. I need to start cleaning out my craft area.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Several people have commented on my great haircut in the past week. Normally that would be great, right? Well, it would be, except that my last haircut was the week before Thanksgiving. I did get several inches off and different layers, so I thought it was pretty different. But only one personsaid anything then. Now that it is mostly grown out and I'm wondering if I should get it trimmed, everyone is chiming in about how great it is. What's up with that?

Making decisions

Although the decision to stop treatment and pursue adoption seemed momentous, with all the other decisions facing us now it seems like deciding to adopt was the easy part. Now we have to decide how to adopt. International or domestic? What age range would we consider? What special needs would we accept? Siblings? And it goes on.

I have no clue how to go about making these decisions. We have our first information meeting next week with an agency, so maybe they provide resources for these decisions. For instance, I want to know what is involved in caring for a child with a particular need if we are going to be open to that.

As for age range, I do prefer a younger child, but may be open to someone other than a newborn. But I'm not quite sure how that is different and have questions about things like how desirable it is to change a child's name if you adopt, say, a one year old. Is it wrong if I can't imagine myself spending a lifetime saying one of the crazy names that people seem to give kids these days?

I am not even sure about domestic or international. My gut says to go for domestic, but that is because we are open to a child of any race and I can see us with an African American or mixed race child that will fit right in with my nieces and nephews (who are mixed race). But then I think, if that is the reason, wouldn't a child from Africa fit in just as well as an African American baby? And perusing the international adoption sites made me think my aunt and cousin who were born in the Philippines would be a great resource if we adopted from there.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Holiday update

Well, I guess if I put off the run-down of my holiday any longer, I might as well not even write it. I'll just focus on the highlights.

First highlight: D1sneyl@nd! We had tons of fun, even in the rain. The return of Captain EO was a great surprise.

The highlight of my Christmas at home is usually Cookie Day. Some years I think this day is even more fun than Christmas itself. Ever since I can remember, my grandmother would take an entire day, a few days before Christmas Eve, to bake sugar cookies with her grandchildren. We would cut out the cookies and bake them in the morning, break for a pizza lunch, and then decorate them with frosting and sprinkles in the afternoon. And then we would pick out the cookies we wanted to take home and my grandma would give each of us our yearly ornament. It's a great tradition. And one where it seemed every part of the day this year was designed to upset me.

It started with my 23 year old cousin making us start at 7pm rather than 10am like we usually do because he couldn't get off work and insisted he be there for the entire process. My grandmother doesn't like disappointing anyone so we didn't start until after dinner. Then my cousin arrived, cut out about 3 cookies and got bored and moved on to something else. My other cousin took that day to announce she was working on Christmas Eve and so was not going to be at our family Christmas celebration. This cousin is still in high school working at a retail job, so it was a surprise that she couldn't come. As the grandchild most into baking and the oldest in attendance, it fell on me to help the little kids roll and cut out the cookies when everyone else lost interest. So there I was overseeing the cute little kids (my cousin's kids) and wondering if I would ever get to do this with my own kids. A short while later my uncle is giving my high school age cousin a hard time about getting old and what will happen in 30 years. I just start to see a long life with no kids flash before me and had to leave the room. To make it even worse, my family spent the next three days (including Christmas!) asking me why I was in a bad mood on cookie day.

Except for the questions, Christmas and Christmas Eve were pretty nice. Christmas day is actually pretty relaxing in our family as most of the celebration is on Christmas Eve. My main present was a pressure canner! Stay tuned for reading about my adventures in canning.

My mom also had a separate dinner party before Christmas with some of her friends. My mom is a lesbian so her friends are all same sex couples. Her friends were nice, but it was a little odd that my mom spent most of my visit home making sure we met up with her friends, rather than my friends. But even in a group of middle aged same sex couples, I can't escape discussions of family planning as one couple was slightly younger, recently had a commitment ceremony, and were planning on getting pregnant.

We returned home before New Year's and since my sister and her family did not come to CA for Christmas (and also my in-laws), we hosted them at our house for dinner on New Year's Day. We also had some good friends over and it was a very good dinner. One friend is starting a law practice and several of us were asking her about the difficulties of starting your own practice as a new lawyer. She mentioned some financial difficulties since she has to work for free sometimes while she builds her reputation and resume. Someone asked her what type of law she would focus on if money was not an issue. I'll give you one guess. Adoption law. I'm telling you, there is no escape! This did at least give us some laughs as hubby and I were talking afterward about whether we would want her as our adoption lawyer. Good to know her going rate is free right now. ;)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

How it feels

Well, it is Jan 2 and the New Year is already feeling like it's old news. So I guess I need to get around to that post about my Christmas, year in review, and hope for 2011. But I have been putting that off. And I will put it off a little longer since Kate posted a great article on how IF feels (she said she found it at the Ferre Institute). This resonates a lot with me. I bolded some of the statements that were especially important to me.

"I want to share my feelings about infertility with you, because I want you to understand my struggle. I know that understanding infertility is difficult; there are times when it seems even I don’t understand. This struggle has provoked intense and unfamiliar feelings in me and I fear my reactions to these feelings might be misunderstood. I hope my ability to cope and your ability to understand will improve as I share my feelings with you. I want you to understand.

You may describe me as this way: obsessed, moody, helpless, depressed, envious, too serious, obnoxious, aggressive, antagonistic, and cynical. These aren’t very admirable traits; no wonder your understanding of my infertility is difficult. I prefer to describe me this way: confused, rushed, and impatient, afraid, isolated and alone, guilty and ashamed, angry, sad and hopeless, and unsettled.

My infertility makes me feel confused. I always assumed I was fertile. I’ve spent years trying to avoiding pregnancy and now it seems ironic that I can’t conceive. I hope this will be a brief difficulty with a simple solution such as poor timing. I feel confused about whether I want to be pregnant or whether I want to be a parent. Surely if I try hard, try longer, try better and smarter, I will have a baby.

My infertility makes me feel rushed and impatient. I learned of my infertility only after I’d been trying to become pregnant for some time. My life-plan suddenly is behind schedule. I waited to become a parent and now I must wait again. I wait for medical appointments, wait for tests, wait for treatments, wait for other treatments, wait for my period not to come, wait for my partner not to be out of town and wait for pregnancy. At best, I have only twelve opportunities each year. How old will I be when I finish having my family?

My infertility makes me feel afraid. Infertility is full of unknowns, and I’m frightened because I need some definite answers. How long will this last? What if I’m never pregnant? What humiliation must I endure? What pain must I suffer? Why do drugs I take to help me, make me feel worse? Why can’t my body do the things that my mind wants it to do? Why do I hurt so much? I’m afraid of my feelings, afraid of my undependable body and afraid of my future.

My infertility makes me feel isolated and alone. Reminders of babies are everywhere. I must be the only one enduring this invisible curse. I stay away from others, because everything makes me hurt. No one knows how horrible my pain is. Even though I’m usually a clear thinker, I find myself being lured by superstitions and promises. I think I’m losing perspective. I feel so alone and I wonder if I’ll survive this.

My infertility makes me feel guilty and ashamed. Frequently I forget that infertility is a medical problem and should be treated as one. Infertility destroys my self esteem and I feel like a failure. Why am I being punished? What did I do to deserve this? Am I not worthy of a baby? Am I not a good sexual partner? Will my partner want to remain with me? Is this the end of my family lineage? Will my family be ashamed of me? It is easy to lose self confidence and feel ashamed.

My infertility makes me feel angry. Everything makes me angry, and I know much of my anger is misdirected. I’m angry at my body because it has betrayed me even though I have always taken care of it. I’m angry at my partner because we can’t seem to feel the same about infertility at the same time. I want and need an advocate to help me.

I’m angry at my expenses; infertility treatment is extremely expensive. My financial resources may determine my family size. My insurance company isn’t cooperative, and I must make so many sacrifices to pay the medical bills. I can’t go to a specialist, because it means more travel time, more missed work, and greater expenses. Finally, I’m angry at everyone else. Everyone has opinions about my inability to become a parent. Everyone has easy solutions. Everyone seems to know too little and say too much.

My infertility makes me feel sad and hopeless. Infertility feels like I’ve lost my future, and no one knows of my sadness. I feel hopeless; infertility robs me of my energy. I’ve never cried so much nor so easily. I’m sad that my infertility places my marriage under so much strain. I’m sad that my infertility requires me to be so self centered. I’m sad that I’ve ignored any friendships because this struggle hurts so much and demands so much of my energy. Friends with children prefer the company of other families with children. I’m surrounded by babies, pregnant women, playgrounds, baby showers, birth stories, kid’s movies, birthday parties and much more. I feel so sad and hopeless.

My infertility makes me feel unsettled. My life is on hold. Making decisions about my immediate and long-term future seems impossible. I can’t decide about education, career, purchasing a home, pursing a hobby, getting a pet, vacations, business trips and houseguests. The more I struggle with my infertility, the less control I have. This struggle has no timeline; the treatments have no guarantees. The only sure things are that I need to be near my partner at fertile times and near my doctor at treatment times. Should I pursuer adoption? Should I take expensive drugs? Should I pursuer more specialized and costly medical intervention? It feels unsettling to have no clear, easy answers or guarantees. "

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Book challenge results

This year I participated in Kristin's 2010 Book Challenge and set a goal to read 36 books this year. I did not keep very good track of the books I read, so this list may be a little incomplete. I started to use the library more rather than buy books, so I no longer have a shelf of books as a record of what I read. I didn't quite meet my goal, but may have come slightly closer than this list reveals. Since I came close, I will increase my goal to 40 books this year. Let's see how I do!

I categorized the books in case you were interested in reading some of them.

IF/Adoption books:
1. The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies
2. Baby, We Were Meant For Each Other, Scott Simon (about adoption)
3. Hannah's Hope, Jennifer Saake (approaching IF from a Christian perspective)

Fiction books with an IF/RPL/adoption theme. This year I couldn't seem to escape this topic even when I picked up novels looking for a distraction:
4. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (enjoyed this book a lot, but be warned that a character has RPL)
5. Run by Ann Patchett (I liked this book, but not as much as other Patchett books, maybe it is b/c reading a book where the main characters have a freaky run-in with their birthmother right as you are thinking of starting the adoption process is not a good idea)
6. The Time Traveler's Wife (a good read, I haven't seen the movie, so I don't know if the RPL made it into the film)
7. Handle with Care, Jodi Picoult (I liked this book, but not my favorite this year; story revolves around a young girl with severe birth defect and a lawsuit about whether the mother wishes she was not born)
8. The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips (interesting portrait of a coal mine town and family; story revolves around figuring out who dumped a dead baby into a well)

Books I read for work:
9. Teacher Evaluation to Enhance Professional Practice
10. Connecting Mathematical Ideas
11. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education
12. Between Public and Private: Politics, Governance,and the New Portfolio Models for Urban School Reform
13. Organizing Schools for Improvement: Lessons from Chicago

Other non-fiction:
14. Mornings on Horseback (biography of Theodore Roosevelt)
15. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
16. Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder (about someone who escaped genocide in Burundi)
17. Guide to Home Preserving. I don't remember the exact name and am feeling lazy right now to go downstairs and check it, but I did actually read this book about canning (my new present!).
18. Why Catholic series. Anything over 50 pages counts, right? I read this in weekly installments with my church group.
19. On Conscience. A book consisting of two essays by John Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict) on how to form your conscience and make moral decisions

Other fiction:
20. A Mercy by Toni Morrison (not the best by Morrison)
21. The Jungle, Upton Sinclair (good read, but not something I would say you need to run out and read now)
22. The Lacuna, Barbara Kingsolver (enjoyed this book)
23. America America, Ethan Canin (I really liked this book)
24. Freedom, Jonathan Franzen (I thought this was overrated)
25. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (I didn't like this book)
26. Babylon Rolling by Amanda Boyden (very good book about a NOLA neighborhood in the year before Katrina)
27-33. All seven Harry Potter books (my first time reading them. I spent the first two wondering what all the hoopla was about, but by the fourth book, I couldn't put them down!)

Half books
34. True Compass (autobiography of Teddy Kennedy) - I "read" this in the car on CD
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...