Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Christmas Moment

I have a confession to make. I don't actually love Christmas day, I always feel let down.

I love December. I love the lead-up to Christmas. The baking, the wrapping, the TV specials and Christmas movies (I think I could recite every word of both The Santa Clause and Elf), and of course, the decorations. Plugging my tree in was the first thing I did whenever I walked in the door. But Christmas day, I could most times do without.

Beyond the tree and the baking and Will Ferrell in tights, my favorite part is finding the perfect present for someone. I shop all year long. I have a spreadsheet to keep track of what I've purchased, but it's the spur-of-the-moment, didn't-expect-to-buy present that puts me in the holiday mood.

I was dating someone early in the fall, nothing serious. We decided to just be friends, and have honestly been better friends than we were at dating each other. When I saw something that I knew he would enjoy, I bought it. But because we're not dating anymore, because we've only known each other a few months, I wondered if he would think that it was too much, that I'm hoping for more, that he would get weirded out in a boy way.  And up until I actually handed it to him, wrapped in Charlie Brown Christmas paper, did I wonder if I should actually give it to him. But I did give it to him.

He said that his parents had sent him money for Hannukah, that he'd gotten some baked items from co-workers, but this was his only real gift, his only package to open this year. And honestly, it was nothing huge -- a tin of cookies (a variety of fabulously decorated cookies, I might add) and a book about Fenway's 100th anniversary. But I could see how touched he was, how genuinely happy he was.

And that's what I love about Christmas, that's the moment I wish for every year. He said he felt bad that he hadn't gotten me anything, and I told him that's not the point. I saw something that made me think of him, that I knew he would like, and I got it for him. That's what I do, that's what I love, that's who I am. And he got it, too.

It was my Christmas moment that I hadn't gotten on Christmas Eve or Christmas day. And I had actually been in a bah humbug mood on Christmas day, for lots of reasons but I think, without realizing it, it was because sometimes opening presents can be chaotic and I don't always get that moment I wish for. But this year, after a couple beers at the Bandwagon Pub, my Jewish friend gave me my Christmas moment.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Ellie's Quilt

Carrie is one of my "bonus" friends. I have bonus adoptive parent friends and bonus IF (infertility) friends. Carrie fits in the first group. We were mutually friended with another prospective adoptive parent (in Florida) through Facebook, and Carrie realized that in a world as small as ours, we lived only a half hour from each other.

We shared the same agency, the same dream for a child from Ethiopia, the same corner of New York state -- and the same frustrations over our agency and our potential children from Ethiopia. We met this summer at Panera and finally had someone to vent to, who understood exactly the place we were in.

After that -- was it a direct result of our counseling session with each other over the "You Pick 2" or was it the final push we both needed -- we both made changes. Carrie went with another agency and very quickly received a referral for a little girl from China, and I met with the woman who is now my attorney for domestic adoption.

Over one of our shopping trips, after receiving the referral, we found fabric for a quilt for Ellie. On a shopping trip with an IF friend, I found a few more fabrics to compliment what Carrie and I had bought. I finished the top of the quilt in time for Carrie's shower, and was able to bring it -- and take it away -- so she could see it.

On Christmas night -- Ellie's third birthday and last without her forever family -- I finished the quilt. A woman at work told me ladybugs are good luck in Chinese culture, so I was excited when I found some fabric that had both a lady bug and an owl (to go with theme of the quilt) so that I could make a patch for the back.

Carrie took the plunge and started a blog so you can see Ellie's sweet little face and read along as Carrie goes over (hopefully in January) to bring her home.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

New Years Resolutions

For physical health reasons, I am so glad to see the Christmas season be over. I have no willpower. I can admit that. We had treats at work from our vendors. I sampled every single one. Chocolate-covered potato chips, cookies, truffles, gummies, more cookies, more chocolate.

We had a never-ending dish of chocolate and m&m's outside of my office. I ate chocolate for breakfast every morning. Peppermint patties, miniature peanut butter cups, and my favorite, complete with rationalization -- Hershey Krackel because it's made with Rice Krispies so it's like breakfast.

And between having things to make, things to wrap, baking to finish, traveling to Richmond and DC for a weekend, I made it to the gym a total of four times in the month. For me, that's insane. I make my 4th visit in a week on Thursday night, sometimes Wednesday.

Christmas was Sunday, and Monday morning, I was at Wegmans bright and early with a huge shopping list of healthy things. I made my favorite Hungry Girl chicken pot-pie for lunches and put them in the freezer. I pulled out my WW book and started tracking again. And I went to the gym.

It's amazing how easy it is to get back into good habits, even though the past two months have been one bad habit after another. But it really is easy. The Mariah Carey-Janet Jackson-Jennifer Hudson-Charles Barkley commercials playing on a continual loop have also helped. (Do you just love the Jennifer Hudson one? I can't look away whenever it comes on!)

It seems everyone is ready to be in that healthy mindset, and while not everyone will stick with it, by that time, I will be back in my zone.

I still have about 20 baby pounds to lose and I would really like to have them gone by my birthday in April. So....that's new year's resolution #1.

New year's resolution #2 -- 5K training begins soon. I'm getting my "sea" legs under me again at the gym, interval running and hill training. But come mid-January when the students are back and my gym re-opens on campus, running begins again in earnest. I got my email from the Brain Cancer folks last week. Save the date -- May 6 in DC. And this year, I am running the entire 3.1 miles.

And of course, the most important, new year's resolution, that one that goes without saying, that goes without being numbered, it's just there. I'm doing all I can. I'm staying positive (mostly). It's going to happen.

And so, as I move toward the un-named, un-numbered NYR, I will be moving towards being an even healthier mom-to-be. And while I won't wear it in public, I will wear to bed, with pride, the t-shirt a dear friend bought me. That'll be me for the next few months.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

It has been a rough few months in my world, and I for one, will be very happy to flip the calendar to 2012. This will be the year that I am either a parent or I'm not. I can't live in limbo forever and towards the summer, after being on the Ethiopia list for a full two years and with my attorney for one (the total motherhood journey will be five years), I will make the decision how much further I'm willing to go.

Whereas there is a lot of waiting on nothing in international adoption, something is always happening in domestic adoption. Good or bad, whether is works out or inevitably turns out to be a dead end, there always seems to be a possibility. And that, though it takes an emotional toll, is much better than sitting and waiting and not hearing anything.

I have all but given up on Ethiopia. I was on the phone with Jennifer last night and suddenly said, "is today the 17th?" It was indeed the 17th, she told me. And it also was my anniversary on the Ethiopia wait list. It didn't even occur to me. It doesn't even occur to me anymore. Where once I wrote my blog post weeks in advance, excited about counting the months on the wait list, and being that much closer, I don't even think about it anymore. (For those counting at home, yesterday was 19 months.)

Wide Horizons has more than disappointed me. There have been no referrals to speak of in the past few months. There have been no updates. When I reached out to my case manager (she would be the 5th I've had) to ask about any sort of refund. At this point, they have $5,000 from me. Even a partial refund of $1,000 would be something. The response I got was a very terse, "probably not but read your contract."

Great customer service right there.

In my heart Ethiopia is dead, and I am putting all of my efforts and resources into domestic. My very talented friend created a business card for me with my other website and cell phone number on it, and I included them in all 63 of my Christmas cards (not the year to make any cuts from the list). I am doing Google AdWords and some newspaper advertising. I have updated the meta tags and keywords on the site. And most importantly, I have an amazing attorney who is doing her damnedest to make me a mom.

This weekend, I stayed busy (getting over the disappointed of another close but no cigar potential birth mother) -- a little sewing, finished wrapping presents, and lots of baking. After I frost the cut-outs and pull every other kind of cookie out for the assembly of all the trays for the neighbors, I will update with photos.

Updated with the cookie arrangements -- half of them delivered, the other half tomorrow when the rest of the neighbors are home.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

New item in my Etsy shop

How adorable are these little crayon rolls!


It's been a trying month. First the incidents with K and A. And then two weeks ago, I was matched with a birth mother in Philadelphia. On Monday, that match ended. I'm not going to go into details, but I have learned that everything happens for a reason. This was not the baby for me. There is a baby out there that is.

This week, I have learned just how truly lucky I am to have my friends and family on my side. Text messages, emails, invites to the gym, extra long and strong hugs on Thanksgiving day, and beer & football on Thanksgiving night. All helped me get through the week that was so hard to get through.

I slept in. I shopped for Christmas. I baked. I got a massage. I put up my tree. I wrapped presents. I quilted. I watched Gone with the Wind. Sometimes I cried, but mostly I stayed busy so that I wouldn't cry.

Tomorrow, I will chat with my attorney and we will start over. Because that's what I do and because "after all, tomorrow is another day."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Book Fundraiser!

My friend Kelli is selling books and giving a portion of the proceeds to my adoption fund!

Barefoot Books has amazing books, including this one about adoption, Motherbridge of Love.

To order, click on Kelli's store and scroll to the bottom with my picture, and click on "Support this Event." That easy.

You can get some holiday shopping done and help my adoption fund grow!

Thanks Kelli for setting this up!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Shrink, Shrank, Shrunk

I've been having a very hard time getting past my encounters with K and A. As I've said many times in the past, I usually bounce back pretty quickly.

On the day of my ultrasound where I found out there was no heartbeat, I went back to work (mostly because I didn't know what else to do). I had my D&C on a Friday and was back at work on Monday, for half days at least.

I'd get a negative blood test and start thinking about the next cycle and how quickly I could start. Some may say that I didn't give myself adequate time to mourn each disappointment, but I did. In my own way. Sometimes it was several days later. I would need to be alone. I would go shopping. Get a massage or a pedicure. All things that would allow me time to think and move on.

This time, however, I was unprepared for what I was feeling, to the point where not only was I unprepared but I didn't know how to categorize it. In the grand scheme of things, I talked to K for two days; A for a little less than a week. It sounds trivial.

But it wasn't.

I poured my heart out to these women. Felt as though they had allowed me into a special place with them. They gave me hope. They made me think about a baby as a tangible being, with a due date and a gender. Suddenly this wasn't a nebulous thing for some future date. This was a girl to be born on October 29. A boy to born on March 10.

And in both cases, I dared to dream. I thought about names and decorations for the nursery. I thought about each of these babies as they were growing up, with me as their mom.

And in both cases, it wasn't meant to be.

After two weeks of being in a complete funk, I finally called my former therapist. She's retired but allows me to see her when I need a "check in."

I saw her today, and while she told me all the things I've been hearing from my friends, but not necessarily believing -- you are strong, you've been through worse, you will get through this and you will trust other birth mothers -- she also told me something that finally put this all into perspective.

"I will not diminish your miscarriage, but these situations are like a miscarriage. For a short period of time, you thought you were having a baby. Each time, there was something very real and concrete to hope on. And each time, it was suddenly and inexplicably taken away from you. One day you're pregnant, the next you're not. One day, you're expecting a baby from another woman's womb, and the next, it's gone."

And with that one simple, yet profound statement, it all made sense. This was not just someone lying to me, not just some whack-job. This was bigger than that. And I need to mourn these situations, as such. Mourn, compartmentalize and move on. As I've done before.

And so, a little reflective time. Maybe some tears (but now I know exactly why I'm crying). And maybe, just maybe, a trip to the spa.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Another One Bites the Dust

On the heels of "K" last week, I received a text from "A." She and her husband have three kids, but she developed epilepsy after a car accident and she feels she cannot care for a baby. She gave me her full name, her number, and she talked with my attorney immediately.

We talked over the weekend. It felt genuine. She sent me pictures of her children (current pics and bay pics), a picture of her belly, and an ultrasound picture. There were lots of details, some bonding, some trust building.

And then after about a week of normal communication (no midnight phone calls), she has disappeared. She has not returned my texts or my attorney's texts. She has not returned the paperwork to my attorney.

I cannot even fathom the degree of mental illness or evilness in a person to play games like this. The email I received a few weeks back was nothing compared to these phone calls. I've shared my story with these women, told them how I will tell their "child" about them and about being adopted, and actually cried with them about how what they were doing was going to fulfill my dream and I would never be able to thank them enough, how I hoped I would make them proud in how I raised their "child."

It was one thing going through fertility treatment. My body was the only thing to betray me, but at least we could try to control that, we had expectations -- it was either going to work or not. There was nothing else -- no wild card to shake things up. Yes I gained weight, yes I was bloated, yes I was moody. But I kind of knew what to expect. It didn't change drastically month to month.

This is a whole new kind of torture that I didn't even know to expect. And honestly, don't know how I'm going to learn to trust the process. Thankfully, I have good support. And thankfully, I have a kick-ass attorney who is smart and kind and savvy and who only has my best-interest at heart.

And that's a good thing, because I don't know if I have the strength to go through many more situations like this, and yet, I don't know if I have the strength to walk away.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Next year, please remind me....

Warning: I'm very cranky and taking it out on my keyboard right now

If I'm still childless, someone please remind me to boycott Facebook the week leading up to the first day of school. I think I'm going to lump Halloween into that as well. And at least, I'm thinking about that ahead of time.

It's fun to see the first hundred pictures of my friends' kids dressed up. (Even after reading dozens and dozens of posts about making costumes, deciding on costumes, changing costumes.) It feels like taunting when the level hits more than that.

(And don't even get me started on the back-to-school posts -- "oh poor me, my baby is growing up too fast." Suck it up, you have a baby.)

Am I the only one who feels this way? I feel like I'm constantly whining about hurt feelings, needing to turn the channel, sighing when one more celebrity announces a pregnancy, or my recent favorite, when Mariska Hargitay got her second adopted child in record time. Or are other people thinking this, and I'm the only one complaining out loud about it?

At work, we have a Halloween party for the children of the people who work in my building. They dress up in costume and parade around the building, trick or treating from office to office, and then a big party in the conference room. Last year, I fought back the tears. This year, I'm just not going to be there.

I'll leave the office before the kiddies all get there, and run errands while I wait for my campus gym to open at 4:30.

For the past five years, I've told myself, "next year. Next year, I'll have a baby at this party." I can't tell myself that one more time. I'm feeling defeated. I'm feeling sorry for myself.

And so if you're posting pictures of your kids on Facebook and you don't hear from me how cute they are, or how much they've grown, or even the reflex of "liking" it, don't take it personally. And if we're involved in intense games of Scrabble or Words with Friends, you'll have to wait a couple days before I take my turn again.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Ice cream in the bathtub

Apparently my Facebook ads or multiple listing on adoption websites is working. On Tuesday morning, I received a phone call from a young girl. "K" said she was 18, due on October 29, and looking for an adoptive mother for her baby girl. Her voice sounded babyish, almost "fake young," but I went with it. I have to, right?

We talked for about 15 minutes and then got cut off. I immediately called my attorney and gave her the play-by-play. I didn't have her phone number -- it showed up as restricted on my phone. My attorney told me what I did right and what I did wrong on the phone call, and what to do if she called me back.

K called back in the afternoon. We talked about our families. She has three brothers and three sisters (I have three and four, respectively). She has a niece, who's 2.  She's from Georgia but was in Long Island. She said she had another couple lined up to adopt her baby but their home study didn't get approved.

I wasn't to question her, this was not an interrogation. I was to listen, to talk about her, to build trust and help her feel comfortable with me. We set a time for later that evening for her to call me, sometime between 7 and 10pm. She called about 8:30 and we talked for about an hour. Looking back, I can now see so many more red flags that I overlooked at the time, but I was hopeful even as I was slightly suspicious.

She asked me if I was on instant messenger, so we started IM'ing each other. She said she felt like I was the person who was supposed to be the mother of her baby. She said she wanted to meet me, could she come to Ithaca. It was 11pm.

I told her yes, let me look into a hotel tomorrow from work and we'll figure out logistics. She insisted on starting to drive now. I tried every practical reason I could think of that it was a bad idea. I told her I wanted to talk to my attorney to make sure we were doing everything right before she made the drive. She said she was leaving, could she call me in the morning? And she didn't want to talk to my attorney without me. "Can't we do it together?"

She called me about 2am from a rest stop, but she wasn't sure exactly where she was. We talked for a few minutes and then she started driving again. She called again at 4am. She was having Braxton Hicks, and oh did she mention that her mucus plug fell out earlier that day and she was 3cm dilated. We talked for about an hour and then she felt better to drive again.

I don't think I slept more than three hours total that night. Was this a scam? Or was there a pregnant teenager driving six hours in the middle of the night? Would she be safe?

I woke up at 5:50 when my alarm went off. I was worried that I hadn't heard from her since 5am. And I had no way of getting in touch with her. I got ready for work, carrying my phone everywhere with me. From the bedroom to the bathroom to the kitchen. As I was driving to work at 7am, she called. She said she made it as far as Binghamton and got tired.

I told her to get a hotel and I would come to her, and then we got cut off. A few minutes later, my attorney called me. I told her everything that had happened since she and I talked last. So much had happened over night. I kept cutting her off, finally she said in a firm voice, "you are exhausted. I need you to listen to me, to take notes and then you can ask me questions."

She was right. I was exhausted. And my emotions were fragile. She told me I needed to find out where K was, and to go to her. We had to assume she was on the up and up, but she was probably not legitimate. "If you pay for her hotel room, pay in cash. Do not give her any access to your credit card. Do not give her any money. That all needs to come through me."

The day went on, with no calls. I was ready to crash. I was ready to cry. I left work after a meeting, about 3pm and headed to the grocery story. Halfway there, she called. The connection was horrible. She said she slept all day in the car and was getting something to eat. Again we got cut off, but she called back right away. I told her I would come to her. That I was worried about her, that I needed to know how to be in touch with her. And then we got cut off again.

I called my attorney and drove home without going to the grocery story. I called Jill, and ended up meeting her and Geoff out for dinner. When Jill hugged me, I felt myself start to lose it. When Geoff hugged me, I did. I started crying but tried to stop. I knew if I let go, there would be no stopping me. "I don't know if I can do this?" Jill hugged me and said, "of course you can do this, look at all you've been through."

K called several times. The connection was horrible, we kept getting cut off and she wouldn't tell me where she was. I IM'd her from my phone and told her to call me from a land line. She called again. The connection again was awful.

I walked outside and tried to get her to tell me where she was. She realized by the sudden lack of background noise that I was out. "you never had any intention of coming to see you. I thought you cared about me." And she hung up.

I called my attorney on my other phone. She told me it was time to abort the mission. K started IM'ing me. We went back and forth. "where are you? I'm in the car and coming to you"

"You don't care about me."

And then I did what my attorney told me to do. "If you don't let me help you, then I'm hurting you. You need to tell me where you are so I can come help you. I don't want to hurt you, so if you don't let me come to you, then we shouldn't talk anymore.

She continued with how hurt she was, that she didn't want me to come to her, to turn the car around and go home. So I turned instant messenger off and turned my phone off. At this point, even if this girl was legit, she was going to be drama and probably not serious about giving up her baby.

My attorney gave me one more bit of advice. "Go home and eat ice cream in the bathtub. This girl has tortured you for the last 36 hours and you need some sleep. Turn the phone off and go home." And I did just that.

A hot bath and a pint of chocolate peanut butter chunk. But even as exhausted as I was, her voice haunted me. I couldn't stop hearing it in my head as I tried to sleep. Was she real? If she wasn't, why would someone do this? I replayed the last two days in my head. And could come up with no answers. Nothing that made sense.

The next morning, I waited until I got to work to turn my phone on. There was a voice mail from her. She couldn't believe that I would turn my phone off and not allow her any way to get in touch with me. She told me she didn't want to talk last night, but that didn't mean she didn't want to never talk to me again, that she needed me. She had started to drive home and went into labor and didn't know what to do.

I just shook my head. I was done. I haven't heard from her since.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I've been a little neglectful on updating, I know. I've got lots of things to update on and will spread them out rather than update on everything tonight and ignore you for the next three weeks.

On the domestic front...

My attorney has been in regular touch with me, and occasionally has potential birth mothers for me to consider. It always seems premature to post anything -- for the confidentiality factor but also because in each case so far, the birth mother has passed on me. But know that things are moving, even if there are no updates.

On the international front...

I'm still in limbo with Ethiopia. Officially I am 17 months on the wait list, with 5 to 11 to go, but I am waiting for an update on the estimated wait times in the coming weeks so I have no idea what that will mean. When I started this whole journey, when I thought about being as few as five months away, I would have been ecstatic. Right now so much.

I don't even have a good image that I could think of for this month. Seventeen magazine didn't seem like my style. So I'm going sans photo this month. I know I'll hit publish and then tonight, while I'm laying in bed something cool will come to mind.

And even as I'm sitting here and googling, I got nothing. So here I go...publish.

Saturday, October 15, 2011


It rained all night, but this morning, there was a little blue sky. Even a little sun. It was about 50 degrees and overcast by race time. The goal going into the race was to run the first mile and beat 40:00.

I ran the first two miles, power walked the next 1/2 mile and then ran the final .6 -- for a time of 38:51!

Kait, me and my trainer Erika

My trainer stayed right with me, encouraging me, telling me when my breathing got too quick, keeping my pace, and when I wanted to start walking about about 1.25, she said no.

"Have you ever run two miles before? You're doing it today." And I did.

And she kept me motivated with promises of Panera afterward. "You keep running and you'll get that macaroni and cheese that much faster."

My legs were starting to get tired at the end and I wanted to walk. But there was another runner, going about the same pace as me, about 100 feet ahead. Erika challenged me yet again. "I'm not competitive but you will pass that girl up ahead before the finish line." That did it.

Doreen and me
And then as soon as I saw the finish line in the straight away and saw that not only was I going to be sub-40:00, but that I could be sub-39:00, I kicked it in for the last stretch. I didn't care about my breathing, I sprinted to the finish.

I got my macaroni and cheese. I took a hot shower and some ibuprofen. And overall, I feel pretty good tonight. My lungs feel a little asthmatic -- I don't know if oxygen has ever been that deep in my lungs before.

But more than anything I'm feeling very proud (and very proud of my friend Doreen for also running and finishing!), and I know that next time I do a 5K, I will run the entire thing.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Born to Run

Tomorrow I will be running in my second competitive 5K. I've been training since the beginning of the semester and just last week, made a huge breakthrough with my breathing. I finally figured out how to lengthen my breaths so I don't feel out of breath. On Monday, I ran my first full mile. And it was great.

Tomorrow, I will be running in memory of a former professor at the College who I used to work out with every day at the gym, as well as my sister-in-law's sister. I will post my results tomorrow. The weather isn't looking great, but I'm going to run at least half of it.

I've been wanting to run for years. Sometimes I even dream that I'm running -- and I love the feeling. But I could never get past a quarter mile. My legs are strong enough. I have the stamina and endurance. I've got the cardio capacity. And now I've figured out how my lungs fit into the picture.

Baby, I am born to run.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The High Priestess

As I mentioned in my last post, my friend Jill got married last weekend. It was the most perfect day in every way -- the weather was perfect, the bride looked beautiful. Rewind several months back, Jill and I were getting pedicures and talking over what she had left to do for the wedding. Someone to marry them and flowers were all that was left.

The father of a friend was who there were hoping to do the ceremony. That morning, she found out he was unavailable. I could see this was stressing her out. She didn't want to just hire a justice of the peace, she wanted someone they knew. She wanted it to be special.

"Do you want me to go online an get ordained? I can go all Joey Tribiani and marry you guys!" We laughed about it and the subject was dropped. 

Several hours later, she called me in tears. "I just talked to Geoff. Were you serious? Will you really marry us?"

"Of course I will." And that is how I became the "high priestess."

I researched readings and vows and ceremonies, pulling a little of this and a little of that. Jill and I met and made changes. I did more research. The document went back and forth between us, and then finally it was in a place where she and Geoff could add their own personal touches to it.

I practiced reading it out loud. I timed myself. I made sure I didn't stumble or laugh over any words. (We both agreed that the word "lover" didn't belong in any verse, but it always made me giggle.)

And last Sunday, the big day arrived. I went from event planner mode as I signaled the musician and the parents to begin the procession, to "high priestess" mode as I stood with Geoff and waited for Jill to join us in the gazebo.

I read with a loud, clear voice. I looked up at them, and at their friends and families as I went through the ceremony. I didn't drop the rings when the best man handed them to me. I didn't drop my note cards. My voice didn't crack or falter.

Back story: Jill and I have been friends for five-plus years. She drove me 40 miles south, to several of my IUI appointments. She drove me 65 miles north for nearly every IVF appointment. She was with me when I saw my baby's heartbeat. And she was with me a week later when the doctor had to perform a D&C. There is nothing I wouldn't do for her.

So I was proud and thrilled to be entrusted with such a huge job. And then, as I was about to utter the very last words of my script, I started to cry. I closed my eyes. I grabbed Jill's hand. And the photographer got that very moment. I took a deep breath and through tears, was able to say...

"And in accordance with the trust you have both placed in me...It is my honor and delight to declare you husband and wife."

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I have some updates from the attorney, which I will try to do in the next few days. No wallowing in self-pity this weekend -- my friend Jill is getting married tomorrow!

And on other fronts, I got nothin'...other than 16 months on the Ethiopia wait list. A mere 6 to 12 to go.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

When is Too Soon? Dating & Adoption Talk

I purposely did not date while I was undergoing fertility treatment. I just thought it would freak a guy out that I was actively trying to get pregnant. And I also didn't want to hear the bragging about how all I needed was one night with him and he'd get the job done. I heard that enough from guys I had no intention of sleeping with.

Fertility treatment is over. Most of the baby weight is off. And so I've stuck my toe back in the water.

I've met two men in recent weeks that I've had thee conversation with. I wasn't planning on having either conversation, but was completely unprepared and just blurted it out.

Situation #1

After talking a lot over the course of a week using Google chat and Skype, we finally met for lunch. I felt like we'd gotten to know each other quite well, so when he mentioned that a friend had recently adopted, I thought it was a good opening. He took it well, seemed excited for me, asked appropriate questions. A few days later, over the course of several conversations, I discovered that he was annoyed that women wouldn't date him because he has a daughter (I knew this from conversation #1) and also mentioned that he won't date women with kids. (Yea, I know...nice double standard.) After some prodding from me, he said he could not think of anything long-term with me because of the "baby" thing. OK...moving on.

Situation #2

There was very little conversation before we met for drinks. The only thing I really knew was that he was a Red Sox fan. We had a great time at the bar, playing darts. A few hours later, while watching the Yankees game, he played my necklace and asked about my St. Thomas More medal. When he asked who he was the patron saint of, I froze trying to think of a lie, but couldn't think of anything better to say than the truth. So I said, "adoption." He asked if I was adopted. Again I froze as I said no. He asked if I had or was adopting. I said yes. "Does that scare you?" (This was a mere three hours after the conversation with boy #1.) He was a trooper and took it in stride. "I just met you. You can't scare me yet."

So how soon is too soon? I know it depends on the conversations, the situation, the people involved. I'm just afraid of not mentioning it early and then suddenly it's feels like I should have had this conversation months ago. Or mentioning it too early and getting a deer in the headlights look, like "I just met you...why are you telling me this?"

Dating is hard enough. Add the fact that I've not thought about dating for the past four years, and haven't really dated anyone since I lived in Baltimore.

Oh the joys of dating. This will be quite the little adventure.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Here's Hoping that Karma is Truly a Bitch

I received an email to my "adoption" account the other day. I got excited, as you would expect me to. Clearly this woman went to my website or saw my Facebook ad, read about me, and wanted to know more about me to see if I would be the one to raise her baby.

And then, after a quick read through and a deep breath, I read it again. And it just didn't sound genuine. It sounded like those emails you get from the middle eastern princess who has billions of dollars but no access to it until you help them.

She said she was from Mexico and that her English wasn't very good.

She clarified that this was not a donation or sale of any kind. And then in the next sentence, listed what she would need from me in order to make this work. "We would require: Support with a place to stay near the interested couple so they are aware of any situation, psychological help for this important transition, payment of doctor’s appointments, hospital and all related to heath care and; finally, food and clothing."

I forwarded it to my attorney who promptly replied. "She writes in English better than I do. It's a scam. Do not reply."

And while my gut told me this was a scam, it was still disappointing. There was that moment when I saw the email, that moment even after I read it and knew it wasn't real, that my heart was still hopeful.

I know there are evil people in the world, people who take advantage of other people. Who scam people out of life's savings. This is not my savings, but this is my life. This is my dream, and how dare these people fuck with my dream.

I truly hope Karma is a bitch, and a smart bitch at that, and really sticks it to them.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

More in the College Theme

Just because I feel bad for neglecting you all, and because I'm pretty proud of this recent free-lance assignment I had, here is a speech I wrote for a former colleague to give as his convocation address. He made changes to it to make it his own, but this is the version I sent him.

Feel free to share with anyone in your life going off to college:

You are about to embark on an amazing journey. And it’s easy for me to stand up here and tell you that because I’ve been where you are now. But I’m asking you to trust me. To listen to me. If you only listen to one thing I say over the next four years, listen to this.

Simply put – this is what you should aspire to be and to do over the next four years.

Be yourself. And reinvent yourself. 

Inspire. And be inspired. 

Learn. And teach.



How will you do this? Right here, right now, you have no idea what to expect of the next four years. And the great thing about that is you can control what the next four years are for you. They are a blank canvas. A canvas in which only you can fill.

This is your chance to write your own story. You can sit back and watch your college years fly by, being a casual observer. Or you can take charge. How do you want to look back on these four years?

Be yourself. Be the person your family raised you to be. Make them proud. Listen to and trust your instincts. Make yourself proud. Judy Garland once said, “it’s always better to be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

That being said, it is okay to reinvent yourself. Be the person you want to be. If you were shy in high school, you can be outgoing here. If you were labeled or stereotyped within one clique or another, no one here knows that. You can take risks...and break myths.

Inspire. By Christmas, there will be seven billion people on our planet. Each of you has a responsibility to make this world a better place. How will you do that?

That may seem like a daunting task. But it’s not. You can make a difference. Get involved with something that interests you, with something that matters to you.

Do you want to work with children? Or the elderly? Do you want to clean up the environment? Or do you want to fight poverty and homelessness?

You can find a community organization or a student organization. And if one doesn’t exist, you can create your own.

Be inspired. Associate yourselves with classmates who are different and smarter than you. You will be amazed by what you learn from them. You can expand your view on the world by surrounding yourself with people who are different from you, by surrounding yourself with people who you are not used to knowing.

Learn. Reach out to your faculty and get to know them. They will become great allies as you navigate through life in your next four years. Discover their backgrounds, learn what inspires them. Get to know them as people, not just professors, and you will learn so much more than just their classroom expertise. It will give you a greater insight into the world.

Teach. Being life-long learners also means sharing what you know with others. Your faculty and classmates will learn from you just as you will learn from them. You have a unique perspective on the world that only you can share. We’re all learners here. That’s why your professors became professors, and that’s why you came to college.

Appreciate. Appreciate what it took to get you here. And I don’t mean just the financial aspect. Think about your high school teacher who worked with you after school, or your guidance counselor who helped you choose a major. Your parents or family member who helped you with your college application. Appreciate everyone you come in contact with and the smallest way they affect your life.

Laugh. Don’t take things too seriously. Have balance in your life. Studying is important, but it’s not the only thing you should do in college. Go out. Socialize. And yes, even party. Make sure you have fun.

I hope you have listened to what I’ve said. I hope you have not only listened but that you will act on my words. I promise you…you won't regret it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Latest Baby

I've been MIA from here because we've been working on a huge project for work. Wednesday night, we launched a rebrand, a new website, and a new logo. No small feat.

Here's a look at what our website looked like:

And what it looks like now:

I am so in love with our new logo. And now that the late nights, the weekends on the computer, and the Saturdays in the office are pretty much done....back to focusing on the adoption. Hopefully I'll have updates on that soon.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Ethiopia Update

Today marks 15 months on the Ethiopia wait list. I know I said I probably wouldn't keep track anymore, but it's hard to not think about it. While I feel disconnected from the process, I'm not ready to abandon it entirely.

I spoke with my new (third) case manager yesterday and was pretty blunt in the way I've been feeling. About their increase, about my last case manager leaving and the manners of communication surrounding both.

I'm not sure what I expected from her, but at this point, short of saying, "the wait times has drastically been cut and we expect you to have a referral by the end of the year," I'm not sure there was much she could have said to snap me out of my present emotional state in regards to the international adoption process.

So with that...15 months to 13 months to go.

Domestic Adoption Update

My birth mother letter is written and designed. My website is written, designed and live. And as of today, I've ventured into the world of Facebook advertising.

They (the magical FB people) recommend that I do several versions of this ad, playing with different copy and images.

I'm buying dinner and groceries for my much more social-media savvy colleague (also a recent graduate, hence the groceries) next week. He's going to help me figure out Search Engine Optimization, Twitter, etc.

So maybe there will be another version of this ad. But for right now, I'm targeting 16 to 30-year-old singles (both male & female) anywhere in the US.

The next steps will be taking my 8-page birth mother letter down to one-page to have friends and family (or "your people" as my attorney refers to them) distribute them among their contacts, colleagues, friends, family, doctor's offices, etc.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Book Review: Turtle Hope

The Ladies in Waiting Book Club had me do a book review of a new memoir, Turtle Hope. This week my review was published. I was worried about the negative things I needed to write, but I remembered the "compliment sandwich" and was very pleased to have the author comment on my review, answering the questions I raised.

My review:

Published by: 2 Moon Press, 2011
Memoir topics: Fertility, IVF

Increased by wind, the pages turn quickly, unfolding one by one.

So begins Turtle Hope by Jennifer Brown. It is a five-year journey of a young marriage, made all the more fragile by job stresses, finances, relocation and fertility treatment.

The powerful thing about this book, the most important thing about this book, is that so much of what she went through internally, so much of what experienced emotionally, was so familiar. It was as if she had climbed into my head and took my own thoughts.
I still have hope. On some days I feel like there is no hope. I’ll never experience childbirth, or breastfeeding, or unconditional love. But somehow I muster up a lil’ hope. It builds until I start to bleed again. I psych myself out every frickin’ month. It hurts. I’ve prayed. I’ve begged. I’ve acted like I don’t care. I’ve tried “not thinking about it” or “relaxing.” I get angry. I’ve tried it all and still no baby.

She writes about the series of emotions we’ve all gone through – jealousy, bargaining, anger, fear, indifference, shutting down – as we figure out how to deal with this unfair hand we’ve been dealt. And she captures it so universally.

While it is her journey and her story, her husband is going through this with her. She even admits on the back cover that her husband “was not the supportive loving partner I thought I had married.” And she’s right. He was not supportive. Other than really great sex at the beginning of their relationship, I found nothing endearing about him. She offers no reason why she is married to him. Plain and simple, she paints him as an ass. And I, as if I were her best friend or sister , need to hear more about the good stuff, too, because long after she has forgiven him for reminding her that this wasn’t his problem anymore, I did not forgive him. I was disturbed, wondering why she would stay with him.

I was also left wanting more. Some of the stories she tells feel unresolved. The neighbor with cancer she had a falling out with. The night of the thunderstorm/hurricane. The half marathon. These things are never spoken about again. I was left to wonder when these stories would come full circle and reappear in the book. And when they didn’t, I wondered what the point was?

There are things – little things – that are distracting in the book. The author’s name is Jennifer, so why in the book is she referred to as Jessica? Why does she sign her journal entries JPW and yet her name is Jennifer Brown?

And I think most unsatisfying of all, the “About the Author” page appears at the front of the book. You know before you even read page 1 that she and her husband have two children. And yet, she doesn’t end the book with their births, she ends it with a miscarriage. It was so disappointing to know the ending and not get it.

The book is not without its merit, however. I cannot stress enough how powerful it was to read her thoughts, her private journal entries, and know that I wasn’t alone in thinking everyone in the world was pregnant except me. It was haunting to read the words “my infertility had left me broken,” knowing that I have felt that very same thing. There truly is an unspoken bond among women who go through this.

We, the infertile, find alternative ways to celebrate motherhood and as sisters we must know that we are united by a deep breath and the power to overcome.

To read the review with the author's comments:
Book Review: Turtle Hope by Jennifer Brown

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Table Runners for Fall & Christmas

I know, I know, it's only August, but it's definitely right around the corner. I went shopping with my friend Molly yesterday and filled the cart with fall and Christmas prints. And then spent a rainy Saturday afternoon at the sewing machine to fill the Etsy shop again.

There are seven new table runners, but here are a few of my favorites.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I (heart) my Capital One Venture Card

I know I sound like a commercial, but I really do. A few months ago, I saw on Facebook or on the CapOne site that they were asking for card holders to share their Venture stories, so I did:

For as long as I can remember, I've always wanted to be a mom. After three years of failed fertility treatments, I realized that I was meant to be a mom in a different way. Last year, I started the process to adopt internationally. I've saved my miles, first from the multiple times a week doctor appointments and now for the legal and processing fees associated with adoption. I've even have friends donate their miles to me. All these miles are saved for the day I get to fly across the world and meet my child.

Earlier this week, the PR Director at CapOne called to tell me that they received many inspiring stories and wanted to turn these stories into a campaign. My story was short-listed as one of the potentials. I will be chatting with their production company next week about the possibility of turning my story into a short video to be shown on their company and FB sites. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, I will be earning double miles on my Venture card at the spa this weekend for a well-deserved massage.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Every combination I could possibly think of for "my little rookie" was taken, so I'm happy enough with this URL.

This was my Saturday. I was supposed to be in the office working on College websites -- in anticipation of a huge campaign launch on the ever-fast-approaching September 1 -- but the College's core server had different ideas about that. So I worked from home on my own website.

I still have to add meta tags to each page, and think about Google ad words, but as I remind myself on an almost daily basis, baby steps to getting this all done.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Feeling Good about Change

As I've mentioned in several posts, I am feeling disconnected from Ethiopia but also from my placement agency. Because they have no answers, because I'm frustrated, because they've raised their rates again and I've lost my case manager again, and because I need someone to blame, I guess. Some of my frustration is misdirected at them, I know this, but some of it isn't.

And I'm not the only who feels this way and I'm so proud of two friends in particular who took matters into their own hands.

T left the Ethiopia program and our shared agency and connected with another. And as I write this, she is in Haiti meeting her son. She will not be able to bring him home until the spring probably, but she has her son and she's with him right now.

C was also frustrated with the wait going on longer than anticipated, and switched programs (to China Special Needs) within our shared agencies. Wait time, no tangible answers -- it was the same frustration all over again. She switched agencies and now has a daughter. She won't be able to bring her home until just after the holidays, but she has her daughter. With a photo and a history and a name.

I guess I'm hoping to have the same luck with domestic. Going into this, you hear umpteen times that when you have your child home, you will need to be an advocate for him, for his needs, for his adjustments, to help him bond and feel secure.

What no one told me, but what I've learned, is that you also need to be an advocate for yourself. Don't just sit back and wait. Don't accept it what you hear. If someone says that as a single woman, you are not a viable candidate for domestic adoption, don't accept that as fact. Break the myths. Find out what else you can do. Make it happen.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Profile Complete

My attorney called me last week and said she would like my profile quickly. I was thinking quickly meant that I should get it to her in the next week or so. Quickly to her meant first draft to her that night.

So I stayed late at work and wrote out what had been in my head, what I had been procrastinating finally putting on paper. She sent back edits and photo suggestions, and I worked on it over the weekend. Yesterday I sent her the finished version, a check and a signed contract. This is really happening.

Maybe she's thinking that my court certification will be done quicker. I didn't ask any questions, just did what she told me. And I was happy to have it done -- eight written pages with pictures. My life in a nutshell.

She is now reviewing the copy and pulling out what should go on the website. Baby steps to getting this all done.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

All about the Numbers

Today is my 14th month on the wait list for Ethiopia. But rather than focus on that number, I'll focus on more fun numbers.

Yesterday, I went to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival and because it was held at Watkins Glen International Raceway, I got to ride in a pace car around the track. I'm not a race fan. But my best friend is, so I'm interested enough in it for her. And I wish she was there to ride too, but I knew she would love that I got to do it.

70mph on the "S" turns and nearly 100 on the straight aways. It was awesome. And for those three or four minutes around the track, I didn't think about anything. NOTHING.

And then this morning, at the gym, I decided to go in and try to beat my 5K time from May. You'll remember it was 40:48. I ran about two minutes of every five, kept track of my pace, and clocked in at 39:45!

And so while I really thought I would have a referral from Ethiopia by now, I'm excited that I've got things moving forward with domestic. I completed the court paperwork and mailed it back to my attorney to file. And so in six weeks or less, I will be "on the market" for potential birth mothers to fall in love with me.

Six, 14, 70,'s all just numbers, and I'm choosing to only look at the fun ones right now.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

My Story

About a month ago, I found out I received a grant from Parenthood for Me. They asked me to write a blog post, telling my story. A lot of it, you already know, but here it is.

Parenthood for Me: A Grant Recipient Story

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Website Names

I've gotten lots of great suggestions, -- thank you to my smart, creative friends, far and near -- and I've got it narrowed down to the following (although still taking suggestions):

* familyof2
* mylittlerookie
* mymommyturn
* ababy2love

Any one of these jump out more than another? Other suggestions? I'm hoping to wrap this up in the next few days.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

It's Over

Congratulations to Felicia H. of St. Paul MN -- the sister of my dear friend Claudia and aunt to the chickens.

As I wrote on Felicia's FB wall, I'm not sure what's funnier....that her sister is a dyed-in-the-wool Red Sox fan (Yankees hater) or that she lives in Minnesota, baseball home to Justin Morneau, who STOLE the American League MVP award from Derek Jeter in 2006.

Either way... congratulations to Felicia, now the proud owner of an autographed Derek Jeter photo. Possession of which comes with strict instructions that it never be left alone with her sister. :)

Put Your Creative Thinking Caps On

I need to come up with a new email address and website -- preferably they will match, because....well, that would make me happy -- for the domestic adoption marketing I will be doing. Ideally the new name will be clear, concise, cute even, but not corny or flowery.

Heather and I have been trying to come up with something and keep coming back to Baby Steps. I would like to keep this blog, as it's very cathartic, but would like to keep it separate from the other so I can continue to be open and honest. I have the option, of course, of just making this site private, and my attorney may recommend that. But until that time comes...put on your thinking caps.

What should I name my new website, that will be all about me and what an awesome mom I'll be?

The winning idea will get some sort of fabulous prize.

And remember the rules of brainstorming:

1. No judgment
2. Wild and exaggerated ideas are encouraged
3. Quantity, not quality, of ideas are needed at this point
4. Build on the ideas put forth by others

So have it. Help me name my new site.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy birthday, Derek Jeter!

In honor of my "future husband's" birthday, please buy a raffle ticket. Only a few days left.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ethiopia Update

A few people have asked me if Ethiopia is completely off. The best answer I can give is "I don't know."

I am still on the wait list with my placement agency. My documents are currently all up-to-date. We have recently received news that WHFC is in the process of working with more orphanages in the northern regions of Ethiopia. That should be good news.

However, since the MOWA news in March, the following things have happened, causing me to lose a little faith:

1. The placement agency has increased fees again. Last year it was $500; this year $2500.
2. A day or two after news of the increase, I received an email stating that my case manager was leaving WHFC. Her last day was the next day! I understand there is turnover -- this is actually my second case manager to leave -- what disturbed me was not only the timing related to the fee increase but also that there was such short notice in the announcement related to her last day.
3. And perhaps the most discouraging news, is that in the month of May there were only 4 referrals. In June, there have been none. Compare that to last year when there were 11 and 10, respectively in the months of May and June.

I'm honestly not sure what it all means or what I'm supposed to feel. Since this process started 13 months ago, I have always felt very connected to Ethiopia. And I can sometimes picture what my child would look like. Now, I think I just feel completely neutral. I have no feelings about Ethiopia right now.

With new paths ahead, I need to refocus my mind and re-visualize (lessons from the Fertility Guru) what my child will look like.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Home from NJ

The meeting with the attorney (DS) went really well. She was as fabulous and warm and nurturing in person as she had been on the phone. We talked about everything we had talked about last week, but more in-depth. She gave me lots of paperwork to look over, which will be how I'll spend part of my Saturday.

We talked more specifically about how the networking will go -- that meaning, how she will "promote" me (my word, not hers) to potential birth mothers, to other adoption attorneys; and how I can promote myself and help my own cause.

There were times when she needed to excuse herself to deal with a minor situation with a birth mother. You could tell from the way she spoke to her, that she's good people, even to those who are not her clients. And that she had established a trusting bond with this birth mother in just a few months.

I told her my absolute ceiling price, including her fees, birth mother fees, expenses related to interstate compact, and any hidden, additional fees. She feels it is absolutely doable.

I also found out last week that I was awarded a grant and that I have until July 1, 2012, to be matched with a birth mother (or get an international referral) in order to receive the grant. I told DS that's her deadline.

"I'm an attorney, I can't tell you 100% guarantee, but I don't see this being a problem."

First/next steps

In New York State, to do a private, domestic adoption, I have to be pre-certified by the Family Court as an adoptive parent. Regardless of whether I find my own local pregnant teenager or DS finds me a potential birth mother, this step is a must so next week, I will have her begin the paperwork for the pre-certification.

That can take up to six weeks to be finalized, so in that time, I will start all the "marketing" stuff I need -- creating my own website (separate from this one), setting up a second cell phone line and another email address to use in advertising materials, and most importantly, writing and designing my birth mother brochure.

These initial steps will not be a huge amount of money. So I'll move forward, give it everything I've got and reevaluate in a few months. It's nice to know that I still have Haiti in my back pocket, should I need it.

The forecast for today is cautiously optimistic with a speck of hope.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How do you prepare for the most important meeting of your life?

Driving in the rain is not recommended, but there was really nothing I could do about that. I kept reminding myself that I didn't have to be anywhere at any specific time, so I took my time, drove slower than normal, relaxed even as the rain beat down on my car.

I arrived at the Yogi Berra Museum just as the rain was letting up. It is adorable. It is everything it should be and nothing it shouldn't. There was story line that carried through the whole museum, lots of great artifacts and photos. Stories were woven to pull in contemporary stars. It wasn't trying to be anything it wasn't. Pure and simple Yogi.

Even the gift shop -- the display case that doubled as the reception desk -- was understated. I got a t-shirt and the poster I had been coveting online.

I made my way -- in what seemed like back asswards logic -- to the hotel. But I made it, so who am I to say that driving on 46 west and then going through a neighborhood only to get back on 46 east doesn't make any sense?

By the time I checked in, I was starving. The Fiber One bar and banana I ate somewhere in Pennsylvania were all I had all day. There is a lovely Italian restaurant in the hotel. Lovely = olive oil & fresh grated Parmesan cheese with hot, fresh bread, Italian music, handsome waiters with accents.

I had a very relaxing lunch. A yummy meatball sandwich on Ciabatta bread -- half of which came back to the room with me. When the waiter asked I saved room for dessert, I gave him the honest answer. "I'm going back to the room to do some work, then I'll work out, then I'll be back for a cannoli."

And that's exactly what I did.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Lack of Enthusiasm

I'm not sure what's happening, but the past four days have been pretty emotional. I can't shake this funk. I want to be excited about meeting with the lawyer this week, but I can't help but think about how much disappointment I've been through.

Four years ago this week, I had my first doctor appointment, was told there would be a problem trying to get pregnant but that with medication and fertility cycles, it should all work. The next day, with no one in my family knowing that I was about to embark on this path, let alone the news I had just heard, I drove to Syracuse to meet my great-nephew when he was hours old.

I cried all the way there and all the way home. And faked it really well while I was a the hospital. My friends told me not to go, but I couldn't not experience part of his first day with him. It never occurred to me that that was an option.

I've thought about that a lot the past few days, all the while eating everything in sight. Which really only makes me crankier. Each night, I'm hopeful that the next day will snap me out of things, that I'll be back to my healthy self, that I'll be excited, that I'll be positive.

Last week, I was excited about having two new options -- domestic and Haiti. This week, I'm just tired. Four years tired.

Tomorrow, hopefully, will snap me out of things.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Father's Day

This is my favorite picture of me and my dad. I was about a month old and it has my grandmother's handwriting on the back.

Friday, June 17, 2011


As if it means anything anymore -- and probably the last time I will give this update.

The estimated wait times were updated once more for Ethiopia. For 0-18 months, the expected wait time for referral is now 22 to 28 months.

To put those numbers in context, when I started this process, the wait was 12 to 15 months.

So for laughs, today I am 13 months on the Ethiopia wait list.

I think there are good things ahead. It just doesn't happen through Ethiopia at this point.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

United States

I do what I do best. I made lists. Pros and cons. To do's. Whatever to help me figure out what to do, what's the right decision.

And so after two more phones calls this week -- in addition to the Haiti representative, I spoke with two new attorneys, recommended by the placement agency. (I had asked them for more since the NH attorney has been MIA. And while I wasn't ready to write them off completely, I didn't want to waste any more time.)

An hour with one attorney, with 23 years experience, with sound bites like "stay true to yourself," "stay in tune with your attorney because this should be a partnership," and the winning statement, "I know you're going to be a mom. You may not know it, but I do because it's my job."

The next day, about 30 minutes with another attorney with less than a year's experience and no placements under her belt.

Do I really need to say which direction I'm leaning in?

In the next few weeks, I will be driving to Montclair, NJ, to meet with who I hope with be my new partner in the quest to becoming a mom. The added bonus, of course, is the Yogi Berra Museum is located in Montclair, so I will fit in a museum visit.

I'm trying not to jump ahead, trying not to get my hopes up. But I think meeting with the attorney, setting that up as soon as possible, means that I could possibly, just possibly, have the domestic adoption thing started before the end of summer.

Friday, June 10, 2011


To add to the thought process about domestic adoption, my cyber friend TG forwarded an email from her placement agency saying that there were more children in need of homes in Haiti than families for them. I met TG through the Ethiopia program, but given all the delays she decided to move away from Ethiopia toward Haiti, a difficult decision for her and one she did not make lightly, but one she knew in her heart was the right one as she builds her family.

The Haiti process is very different from most international countries. Once your application and home study are in, you receive a referral for your child. You then have 90 days to complete all the paperwork for the dossier and then the adoption process begins in-country. From that point, you can expect to bring your child home within 11 to 14 months. You get monthly updates and photos of your child, and can send photos and letters for the nurses to share with your child.

When I first learned about the Haiti process -- and even subsequent times when it has come up -- I was not keen on this process. You have this child, a photo you can look at, and you can't bring him home for a year. Isn't it better to just have the abstract notion of a child for the long wait? Isn't it torture to have this child matched with you and not be able to do anything?

But as TG shared the photo from her referral of her son, and then another on his first birthday, I started to look at things differently.

Let's say all things moves forward with Ethiopia as I had anticipated, and a year from now, I am matched with a 15-month-old. There's the wait for court, and then I fly over, meet him and fly home. And then six or so weeks later, I go back for Embassy and bring him home. He's probably closing in on 20 months or so by now. And I have this baby, nearly two, and until the moment of referral, I knew nothing about him, only what's in his file.

On the flip side, in the next few months, let's say I am matched with a 9-month-old from Haiti (I would be able to request 0-12 months at referral). And for the next year, I receive monthly updates and photos. I know who is caring for him. I know they are telling him about me and showing my picture. I even get to go visit him as often as I am able to afford. And then a year or so later, I get to bring a 20-month-old home.

And even though I wasn't caring for him, I know his story. I know when he took his first steps, and got his first tooth. I have those things to tell him, to share with him, to document for him.

There is no perfect solution. No perfect answer. There will be heartache in waiting and angst as I move forward. No matter what. Ethiopia. United States. Haiti.

Waiting. Wondering. Hoping for a quicker outcome. Doing all I can, which I will always think is not enough.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Another Good Sweat

I've had very little to update on the adoption front. I've still not had a call rescheduled with the NH attorney. I had such a positive feeling about them -- especially after the reference checks -- that I hesitate in writing them off just yet. But I reached out the my placement agency the other day to let them know about the situation and ask if they had other referrals for a domestic adoption attorney.

They gave me two names of women in NYC and also said they would follow with NH. It's in their best interest, I supposed, since they were the initial referral to me.

After emailing them today, I heard back from both and I now have two calls scheduled within the next week with the NYC attorneys, one of whom is from Rochester and went to Syracuse University. It's sappy and probably silly, but I liked the fact that this New York City-ite will understand that "upstate New York" is not Westchester, that there is a whole big state above Rockland County.

So I will update you on my work-out tonight. And the ever-frustrating plateau between the 25- and 28-pound mark. At least the scale was going in the right direction today, but I'd like that to happen several weeks in a row. This up and down shit is for the birds.

The past few nights have been gorgeous here, so instead of the campus fitness center, I've been going up to the track. Two-and-a-half miles last night, three tonight -- both nights I ran all the stairs on the bleachers, on both sides.

My reward? Besides a really good sweat, and hopefully a really good night's sleep, this amazing view of the baseball field and Cayuga Lake

Friday, June 3, 2011

A Good Sweat

I've been awake sine 3am. Watched "Family Guy" on Cartoon Network once I realized I wasn't falling back to sleep anytime soon. Tossed and turned. Closed my eyes and listened, having seen every episode so many times that I didn't need to pay attention, I could fall asleep.

My mind had other ideas. It rattled around and couldn't be quieted.

At 4am, I put my glasses on and watched an episode of "Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes." At 5am, I turned over to ESPN2 and watched highlights from last night's basketball game. I took a nap about 5:30, only to be woken up at 6am by my alarm.

I was exhausted all day. But I dragged myself to the gym, and am so glad I did. Seventy minutes later, covered in sweat, I had new energy.

I have to remember -- or at least remind myself -- that when I'm feeling over-whelmed, or discouraged, or disconnected, or just plain like giving up, no matter how tired I am, no matter how much I don't want to, there is nothing like a good sweat at the gym.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Derek Jeter -- clap clap, clap clap clap

The last drawing in the year-long raffle -- a signed and framed photo of New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.
  • 5 World Championships
  • Rookie of the Year
  • World Series MVP
  • All-Star Game MVP
  • 11 All-Star Game appearances
  • Most hits in (old) Yankee Stadium
  • 5th all-time batting average in Yankees history
  • and about to be the first Yankee with 3,000 hits
And that's even before we talk about how beautiful he is.

What can I say? I love him. And in all my work dealings in Baltimore with professional athletes, I never met him. It was a smart decision.

In 2008, when Bubbles and I went to Yankee Stadium in the final year, we got pretty close to the field and he ran out of the dug-out. She took one look at me and said, "oh yea, good thing you never met him. You'd be all sorts of stupid."

And so, even without ever meeting him, here's to the Captain helping in the last push of the raffle. You know the drill by now....$5/ticket or 5 for $20. Use the donate button.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Days Like This

They've been fewer and farther between, but I must remember that I still have days like this.

I was in a meeting, and a colleague announced that while she and her partner were not even halfway through the DSS-sponsored Foster to Adopt Classes (which I completed in 2009), they got the call that they would be getting a soon-to-be-born girl whose mother has already relinquished all rights to.

I sat there dumbfounded, with a smile plastered on my face. I congratulated her, and then walked as fast as was appropriate out of the room. It was raining, so I had to walk back to the office with my two friends. Molly held the umbrella over us and had her arm around, in her mind to keep me under the umbrella with her; in mine, to keep me from falling to my knees in tears.

That happened soon enough. I barely made it back to my office before the tears came, before I crumpled. I don't begrudge anyone. And good for this colleague and her partner and their new little baby. But how much more can I take? How much waiting? How many times can I feel passed over and still bounce back?

Most times when I've had this kind of self-pity breakdown, I've bounced back the next day. This time, it took longer. These years are wearing on me, they are taking their toll. I'm a different person, I'm becoming weary and a little worn.

Where once a good night's sleep snapped me out of it, this time, it was a couple nights.

I'm feeling very disconnected to Ethiopia. I thought one year on the waiting list would seem like a huge milestone. But the end is still so far away, it feels like I've just started the process.

I'm still waiting to finalize the domestic adoption process. I think once that happens, perhaps, I'll feel like I've taken another step forward. But once again, I'm feeling like I'm in limbo.

And perhaps that's what contributed to my little breakdown the other day. It just took me by surprise -- the strength of the pain and the staying power it had -- that I still have days like this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Final Six Weeks

The year-long raffle is winding down. Just six weeks left. Only two more drawings.

Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. Click on the donate button to get your tickets online. Remember, all proceeds go directly towards my adoption costs.

Don't you want to take a chance to win one of these awesome prizes?!

May 31 drawing -- Cal Ripken Jr and Eddie Murray signed picture
June 30 drawing -- Derek Jeter signed picture

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


In the weekly update from my placement agency, there was (in part) the following update:

As all of you are aware, in March MOWYCA made the announcement that they would drastically slow down their processing of adoption cases. They ultimately decided to process cases submitted prior to March at normal speed and most WHFC families in that position have received court dates and some are home. In May, however, they began processing at the slower pace announced in March.

We will likely be announcing new estimates in early June and we anticipate that the wait for children under three years old will continue to lengthen.


I am still in the process of exploring domestic adoption and hopefully will have everything I need to make a final decision about that in the next month. I had my home study updated to reflect domestic adoption, as well as international.

Things in Ethiopia are still slow and unknown.

With that, I 'll say a very anti-climatic 12 months -- one year -- down.....

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Raffle Update and Final Push

I am in the home stretch of the year-long raffle. Only two drawings left -- Cal Ripken/Eddie Murray signed photo this moth, Derek Jeter signed photo next month.

My goal going into the raffle was to raise $5,000. It seemed more than possible. Good prizes, a strong network of friends and family.

Five thousand may seem like expecting a lot, or in the grand scheme of spending $35,000+ to have a baby, it's just a drop in the bucket. Either way, with just two drawings left, I am well within reach, closing in on $3,400 this weekend.

The raffle has been fun, and also excruciatingly hard. It's hard to ask for help. As I've said before, I'm the person who would organize this for someone else. To ask for help for myself is so out of character for me. It was -- and continues to be -- a humbling experience.

I want to reach my goal. And with that, I need your help. To all who have bought a raffle ticket, ask your friends, spread the word. To those who haven't, please consider skipping the cup of Starbucks coffee and buying one ticket.

In a perfect world, I would have carried my baby to full term and would now have 20-month-old. In a perfect world, 13-year-old girls wouldn't be able to have babies, while 40-year-old women could.

This is not a perfect world. This is a world where my body is broken. This is a world where the woman at Kohl's wished me a "happy Mother's Day" this morning and I burst into tears. This is a world where it will cost me tens of thousands of dollars to have a baby.

And so help me make my world a little more perfect.

Buy a ticket. Sell a ticket.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


That was my time for my first competitive 5K on Sunday. Not too shabby.

My "gym boyfriend" and I had set my time, with no running and at a pace I felt truly comfortable with, at just under 43:00 last week. So to come in under 41:00 was amazing.

Seriously when I crossed the finish line and saw the time, I wanted to cry, but there was no one there with me, so I held it together and was excited all over again 20 minutes later when the rest of my team finished.

And we did good things, in the process.

We remembered and honored Denise, my sister-in-law's sister, and all those who have bravely fought brain cancer.

And our team, in its second year, was one of 547 teams that raised $2.1 million toward finding a cure for brain cancer.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

ED-DIE, ED-DIE -- May Raffle

And of course, Cal.

We're in the home stretch of the raffle, and the last two drawings are sweet! Two Hall of Famers this month, a future Hall of Famer next month. Orioles fan or not, this is a must-have for anyone who is a baseball fan.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to my friend John and his company Maroon PR for donating this. He's been in my corner since the beginning of this whole journey.

Thanks John.