Monday, January 30, 2012


Thanks for everyone's thoughts on breastfeeding. I think I am going to give it a try, but without taking any supplements. So, now I'm looking into pumps to start getting ready prior to the birth and the lact-aid system to use as a supplement once he is born. Be prepared to learn more about my adventures as this continues...

In other news, I'm having a bit of a crisis of confidence the past two days. There is not really anything rational that is putting doubts in my head. But the past week has been a big one in my family. Not one, but two nieces have been born. Both my sister and sister in law were due for babies in February and decided to come a bit early. Of course, I am happy for my siblings and the girls are quite adorable, but this had made me stress about what will happen in our situation. Long-time readers may remember the depression my younger sister's first child left me in. And some those of you who were around 9 months ago may remember the double whammy of getting both pregnancy announcements in one day. So I guess the fact that these births did not leave me in a crying lump on the floor should be seen as an improvement.

But ever since getting the news of my nieces' births, I've found it much harder to hang on to my "positive thinking-stay excited" that I have been using to deal with this period of waiting. I want our son to have the excited, much anticipated welcome that he deserves, so I've pushed the negative "what if" thoughts down to focus on the positive. But now they are bubbling up despite my best efforts.

Deep down, I am scared that this will not turn out the way I hope. I know I use the term "my son," but the truth is that right now he is not. I've given him a name when I have no right to and placed all my hopes and dreams here, but everything can come crashing down again.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Thoughts on breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is something I've been thinking a lot about and can't decide what to do. I thought I decided I would not do it, but now am starting to change my mind. Here are the thoughts swirling around.

1. I am of the mind that breastfeed is what newborns and new moms do. My older sister was only weaned because I came along and my mom breastfeed me until I was 18 months. This is despite the fact that all other people my age were apparently formula fed as babies. All babies I remember being around growing up were breastfed, at least for a while. In fact, I was so used to seeing people breastfeed, I was surprised when I became an adult and started paying attention to parent-type articles in the news that breastfeeding was controversial or something that people thought they had to convince someone to do. I mean, in my world everyone did it. Sure, maybe some people had a more difficult time than others and stopped earlier, but it was the default method of feeding newborns and young babies.

So, yes, I want to breastfeed. The thought of not being able to breastfeed reminds me of all the other things I am not able to do (have a baby with my genes, feel a baby move inside me, give birth, etc.). This is one more thing that separates me from all the other mothers out there. Learning that it may be possible to induce lactation and breastfeed an adopted infant makes me think this can be a way to get back all that I am missing.

2. Inducing lactation is unpredictable. Some people can do it with no problem. Some people never seem to get much milk. There are protocols out there that supposedly help to increase milk supply, but having battled infertility and hormonal treatments for several years now--and all the various herbs, supplements, medicines, protocols and everything that goes along with that--I am ready to be done with hormones and herbal supplements. Especially ones that can have side effects, unknown long-term repercussions, and are not approved for the use to which they are being put. I did that with fertility drugs and don't want to do that again.

3. I tend to get frustrated easily. Having a newborn is already a stressful time. Why do I want to add to that stress by trying something that might now work? Especially given how unpredictable it is?

4. Added to the frustration is the lack of control that is involved in adoption. When I read about general breastfeeding advice, everything says that if there is some reason the baby can't breastfeed right away or there is trouble in the beginning, the important thing is to not give the baby a bottle, but use another method of feeding. Or use special nipples. In general do whatever you can to avoid having the baby become familiar with bottle feeding and get the baby on your breast as quickly and often as possible. I tend to laugh at that when I think about how that advice interacts with adoption. I will likely have zero influence on anything that happens to the baby for the first few days. I don't know how this particular hospital thinks about adoption. Some are supportive, but some are not. Maybe if the nurse is supportive of adoption they might think about me. I am going to be spending those first few days stressing over whether the birthmother changes her mind, not what type of nipple the bottle has.

5. If this was a conversation I was having with a real person, rather than in my head, this is probably the point when someone would tell me that breastfeeding an adopted infant is totally do-able. These obstacles can be overcome. They would bring up all the success stories. I don't doubt the success stories. But I do find it odd that when reading advice about breastfeeding aimed toward adoptive parents, it has a tone that is positive and something that comes naturally and is totally possible no matter what. But breastfeeding advice aimed at pregnant women has the tone of the need to persevere and how to overcome all the difficulties you will encounter and how it is totally common to find it not easy to do at all. Do they not think that we read both of these sets of advice? I mean, if people who are pregnant and have bodies with all the right hormones and start nursing right away and have the ability to dictate to hospitals how a baby should be fed have so many difficulties, isn't it even more difficult with all the added obstacles of adoption?

Sunday, January 22, 2012


We are super busy getting ready for our son. The induction is scheduled for March 7. In the adoption world, two months seems like a lifetime to prepare. Although compared to women who are pregnant, it is not much. And here's the thing, we have a lot more to do than the average pregnant couple. I've been making statements to family about how busy we are preparing. And the response is always some form of "babies don't really need all that stuff." Yeah, sure, I get that. But it also rubs me the wrong way for two reasons.

One, people don't realize how much extra you have to do for adoption. Yes, I am spending time painting the nursery this week and quilting. But I also spent several hours talking to lawyers in two different states. I also received a long list of documents I need to produce, including some we don't have, such as certified copies of our birth certificates. I also spent time figuring out what hotel we will stay in during our ICPC time. Etc. Etc. And if I have to listen to you complain about how hard it is to be pregnant, you can listen to me complain about dealing with lawyers. Both are things we are perfectly happy to put up with to get the end result, but still in the moment it is frustrating.

And then there is the idea that we shouldn't want the same thing for our son that nearly all mothers want for their children. If a pregnant woman says she is tired because they spent the day painting the nursery, no one comments that she shouldn't have bothered because the baby wouldn't notice it anyway. If I was pregnant and spent 9 months crocheting blankets and hats and booties and making quilts, no one would tell me I was wasting my time because "babies don't really need all that stuff." No, people would be impressed that I spent so much time and energy making something from the heart. If I want to show my love for my son by making him a matching hat and blanket, that's what I will do. I won't have a traditional labor, but these projects are my labor of love.

Friday, January 20, 2012


We have our first letter from the birthmother! This is so exciting. Anything really from her would have been great, but this letter in particular is fantastic. She talked about how hard it was to pick someone and some info on what she is thinking about this pregnancy. It just made my heart soar to read it!

In other news, I was with a group of people who all knew each other better than I knew them. Of the eight, one has a two month old, one just announced her pregnancy, and the third is due right at the same time as our son. So you imagine what the talk focused on. I so wanted to jump in the discussion with what we were doing! It was like this was IF haunting me where I still can't be excited with the average person. So the boost from reading the bm letter is even better after this meeting today!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Agency update

As I mentioned before, the caseworker at the agency was the one thing that was keeping me from being excited. I mean, I'm sure it has to do with having one failed match and not wanting to be disappointed again. But there have been a number of comments by the caseworker that made me question whether this is the type of agency we would choose on our own. She made other comments that gave me some peace, but the others were still weighing heavily.

Tonight we had a long chat over sk.ype with the caseworker and I felt my heart lightening as we spoke. We heard more about the bm and the process by which she contacted the agency and how this caseworker came to be involved. We also heard the story of how she came to choose us. And I feel so much more at peace that she feels she is making a positive choice. Not that this is a piece of cake for her, obviously, but she feels secure in her decision and is not being pressured. I can't tell you how much that lifted this weight from me. And, truth be told, I also felt better when I learned that the state in which the baby will be born requires an independent social worker (not someone from the agency that is involved in this) to have a private talk with the bm before she signs her surrender document to ascertain that she is making an informed and free choice. I did not know about that piece of the process before.

Now that it has been a few days since our match, the bm is still feeling good about us, although is still hesitant to contact us. I wish we could talk to her or even email, but I understand that these types of conversations are awkward. So we will see how things progress.

Cloth diapering

OK, I need advice. We are cloth diapering. I purchased a couple of different types of diapers from different brands with the idea that we will try them out and see which type/brand we like the most.

But, what else do I need? Do we still get a diaper genie, or what do I put dirty diapers in before washing them? How do I wash them? Any special supplies I need for the washing?

Also, just so you know, we are not planning on CD while we are in ICPC. Laundry in a hotel will be enough of a pain that we are not going to worry about that. But the plan is that it basically means we are not worrying about newborn size diapers and just getting one size.

Monday, January 16, 2012

2012 book challenge

OK, I admit I didn't reach my 2011 goal of reading 40 books. Actually, I hit 25. I am a glutton for punishment, so I will try again in 2012. Hopefully my time for reading will go down in March, so I'll set my goal at 26 books. One more than last year. Go over to Kristin's place if you want to learn more about the challenge.

I already reviewed the books I read that were related to adoption. I read a few other non-fiction books.

-What Catholics Really Believe
-3 Cups of Tea
-The Case for District-Based Reform
-Inside School Turnarounds

For the general audience, 3 Cups of Tea would be of the most interest. But Catholics or educators might be interested in the others.

As for fiction:

-The Hunger Games (I practically inhaled the first one after getting it for a Christmas gift. I am now on the third)
-The Future of Us (Aimed at a teen audience, but full of cultural references for those in their early-mid 30s; it's about teens in the late 1990s who somehow see their future on this weird thing called
-Savannah Blues (good chick lit)
-Savannah Breeze (and another)
-Something Borrowed (and one more)
-Prayer for Owen Meany (denser than most of what I read this year, but very good)
-House on Oyster Creek
-Possessing the Secret of Joy
-Freedom (not a fan, despite this book being highly touted)
-State of Wonder by Ann Pachett (loved it)
-Little Bee
-All three of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (loved them! And saw the movie this past weekend!)
-Cutting for Stone
-Prodigal Summer (terrific!)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Misc updates

Well, so much for the glider taking 2 months! It is already here.

I talked to the agency again today and started feeling a little better that she wasn't putting too much pressure on the birthparents, so that is good.

We've been busy making preparations. We decided on a name and told our family. Most people like it, although my older sister, who has quite unusual names for her own kids, said it was odd. WTH?! She said she just needs to get used to it. I told our mom and she replied, "it's been 12 years and I'm still getting used to one name she gave my grandkid!" LOL

We haven't gotten a response from the bm yet, but I know she was nervous about having direct contact, so we'll see. I want to start writing letters to our future son and save them for him.

She did have another dr appt, and the due date has been pushed back quite a bit. So now we have about 2-3 more weeks than we thought.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's a boy!

We wrote a letter to the bm today and as I was writing that, the excitement really starting coming in! Although it was still such a hard letter to write. How do you convey everything that is going on in your heart and mind? The dictionary doesn't have words that fit what we are feeling.

And, we found out it is a boy!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Match, round 2

Well, here we go again! We have another match. This baby is due in mid-February, so only a month away. I don't want to give too many details, but there do not seem to be any health problems to be worried about. The gender is unknown at this point. We have not spoken with the bm directly yet.

I am, however, having trouble getting excited. Partly it is due to our one failed match and so trying to be cautious. But I also have concerns about the agency. We found this agency through an online networking site that serves as kind of a FB for the adoption community. They posted a situation they were having trouble finding families for, and we responded. Things happened pretty quickly. There was nothing in the details of the situation or in the requirements/fee structure of the agency that gave us any pause, so we proceeded. But with a couple of comments made as we got closer to a match, I am getting concerned that they are putting a pretty hard sell for adoption on the woman. And that they don't think the men get any say.

So we don't know what to do. On the one hand, we feel pretty strongly that we don't want to put too much pressure on the bm and bf and want them to feel that this is really the best decision. On the other hand, we are not sure if we should let the agency be what stops us. We don't know everything and maybe some of the comments that concern us are more a reflection of the agency trying to make us feel comfortable than anything else.

I was just talking to a friend the other day about how the more we interact with agencies, they more confident I feel in our main agency because I am sure they work with women to explore what it would take to parent the child and not just focus on adoption. But in my discussions with our main agency, they also say that they find that demand for their services has gone down as women are more attracted to these other types of agencies that promise the world to women who choose adoption. I wish there was some way we could change that. I don't want to be part of that, but then again, if this woman has chosen this particular agency, what difference would it make if the baby came to us or someone else?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Adoption books

I signed up for the Adoption Book Challenge of 2011. My goal was to read 12 books, 6 fiction and 6 nonfiction that touched on adoption.

Here's how I did:

Adopted for Life by Russell Moore
Inconceivable by Shannon Woodward
Whole Life Adoption Book, Jayne Schooler
Dear Birthmother, Kathleen Silber
In on it, Elisabeth O'Toole
Attachment in Adoption, Deborah Gray
Labor of the Heart, Kathleen Whitten

State of Wonder, Ann Patchett
Little Bee, Chris Cleave
Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese

OK, clearly I did better in the nonfiction rather than fiction category. And, truth be told, I did not know any of those three books touched on adoption themes when I picked them up. I was not too big a fan of Little Bee, although it was a book that lots of people were talking about last year.

As for the best of the nonfiction books, I liked Labor of the Heart and the Whole Life Adoption Book. Attachment in Adoption is really more of a reference book and I would recommend it for people experiencing attachment problems or those adopting older children. In On It is designed for extended families of prospective adoptive parents and I gave a copy to both of our mothers. It is a good introduction to some issues in adoption and how they can help us. My mom has said it really helped her understand what I am going through, so I think it is a good book to share.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Here is a dilemma regarding preparing for adoption that I don't know what to do about. Every piece of advice I get says to not have a baby shower until after a baby is here. Or at the very least a match. And from what I can tell from my family, it is hard for them to get excited in the abstract. In the brief few days we had a match, people were talking about buying us all kinds of stuff. But then all the excitement died down. And for good reason as I didn't want to think about the failed match either. But now I want to start preparing again. My MIL purchased a few "big" items when we had a match and she said the rest of the things she will buy for us are clothes and smaller, more personal things. And with repeated prompting, I was able to get my mom to buy us a crib. I say repeated prompting because when we had a match, she volunteered to buy us a crib. We had not yet picked one out before the match fell through, so she never did. But we did put together a registry and it took a few times mentioning it before she got the idea that we do still want to buy a few big items. So now we have a car seat and a crib.

But there are a couple of other bigger items that I want, such as a glider chair. I could imagine some family members pulling resources together to buy one for us. But they won't come up with that idea on their own until a baby shower is planned. And yet I will want one sooner rather than later, especially since BRU says it can take a month after the order is placed to get it. I know there are few things you need in those first few weeks, but if a shower does happen for the first month or so, and then it takes a month to get here, that is a long period of time. Plus, knowing myself, I will already feel bad about now being able to breastfeed, I want to at least be able to rock my baby. So I am tempted to just buy the glider myself.
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