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.