Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Not You, It's Us


It's hard to believe, but we have been trying to have a baby since March 2009 -- which means we are fast approaching the 3 year mark. It started with a very quick pregnancy after going off the pill and that pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage.

Since then we've tried two different medical fertility treatments (clomid and IUI) and continue on our own. We have changed our diet, we've changed our sleep habits, and we're taking daily vitamins. Kelly is doing weekly acupuncture for stress relief and to improve fertility. Scott has cut back on coffee and long, hot baths. We have made these life changes to try to help our efforts in a more natural way. We are also pursuing adoption. We want to grow our family and we are not particular whether that is with a biological child or with an adopted child. This is not about a pregnancy; this is about growing our family. We have love to give and a yearning in our hearts to hold our little child.

The processes of infertility and adoption both bring with them a roller coaster of feelings that change on a weekly basis. We range from the despair of another menstrual cycle to the hope of an ovulation through the tedium of the two week wait and back again to the disappointment that is a new menstrual cycle. A month is a very long time when it is punctuated by a period.

On top of this, we are finding it emotionally overwhelming to be surrounded by our acquaintances, co-workers, and even our friends who are consumed with being new parents. We don't begrudge them, this is exactly where they (as new parents) should be -- but it's not where we are.

We are trying to not think about our empty arms. We are trying to focus on our work and artistic endeavors. We are trying, as so many people have recommended, to "stop thinking about it." We try to be the supportive and caring friends that we want to be. But it's hard. It's hard to ignore what we don't have and what, it seems, everyone else around us has. It's hard to hear the complaints of no sleep and crying babies, when we pray each and every day for the joy and trials that come with a baby. It's hard to not really have a part in the conversations around us because we just don't understand what these new parents are going through.

How can we? We are not where they are.

We don't want to burden anyone with our sadness. Because, ultimately, we are not sad until we think about it. We are very blessed and praise God for that. We try to focus on all the good in our lives. We don't want to make anyone censor themselves and we don't want people to walk on egg shells around us. We try to step outside our own vulnerability and acknowledge that maybe people don't know what to say. We try to forgive people for saying or doing things that we perceive as inconsiderate because we know they don't mean it that way. They don't understand.

How could they? They are not where we are.

So we find that are we are distancing ourselves from certain social situations. We've given ourselves permission to go on as many date nights as we want (and can afford). We've given ourselves permission to skip the baby showers of all but our closest friends. We've given ourselves permission to be lazy on Sabbath and just spend time together.

It's all we can do to stay sane in these trying times. We only have so much emotional fortitude. So if you're someone who's in our personal life, sorry if we seem distant. It's not you, it's us.

-S&K

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween 2011



We are Boris and Natasha. We are looking for Moose and Squirrel. We found this moose and squirrel, but don't think they are the right Moose and Squirrel. Have you seen Moose and Squirrel?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Holding Patterns


You buy your ticket. You show to the airport early. You check in your bags. You wait for your flight to be called. You board in a single-file line and stow your carry-ons above your head or below your feet. You sit. You buckle-up. You try not to grit your teeth while the plane roars to life and thrusts itself off of the planet's surface. You pass the time by reading a book, a magazine, listening to your iPod, watching a movie, playing a game and taking a nap. And then finally -- finally! -- your destination is in sight. But something's wrong.

The pilot doesn't tell you what's wrong, not in any specific terms or words, but you find yourself circling the runway instead of landing on it. Maybe there's ice. Maybe there was a storm. Maybe some lights are out. Maybe another plane was routed to this same destination, and we need to wait for it to land before we can. Whatever the reason is, it's a little maddening. You can see your destination, yet you are not allowed to land. You're stuck in a holding pattern. You're not being sent to a different destination, you're not being told that you can't land, just that, "you can't land yet."

That's where we are now. We've done everything we can do, now we're just waiting. We're waiting for the Pilot to declare that it's time for us to land. People ask how it's going and we wish there was more to say. We wish we had some news. But the truth is, we're still eager, we're trying to be patient, but all we can do is wait.

Please continue to pray for us. Because as eager and patient as we are, these seats are cramped, there's a kid behind us who won't stop screaming, our latent claustrophobia is flaring up, the guy sitting beside us has severe body odor and no sense of personal space, the "keep your seat belts buckled" sign is lit up and we ate far too many peanuts and drank far too much Sprite.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Stuck - Making Babies Book Report

It seems we have been very busy since the IUI in June. I had some rather unexpected (by me at least) side-effects following the fertility medications, but I think I am now past those completely. I sure hope so. We’ve celebrated my 27th birthday this month and we have been very busy seeing our friends and family. I also did a 5K mud-run to celebrate my birthday so there was time spent preparing for and recovering from that. This weekend we stayed with my extended family in a cabin in Georgia. This included a lot of laughter and good food. Sabbath morning I snuck out before anyone else was up and did a short run around the lake. I listened to hymns on my iPod and was really touched by the cool, quiet beauty. It ended up being one of the most refreshing times I have had in a while. I felt a certain peace as I climbed the hill back up to the cabin. Like I was given something of a promise from God that he is on this path with us and has a plan for us even if I feel like we are stuck waiting.

Stuck. The word keeps coming up. Stuck in the mud. Feeling a bit stuck and out of control in life. It came up again in a book recommended by a friend. This month I have read Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility by Sami S. David, MD and Jill Blakeway, L.Ac. Turns out, according to this book, I am stuck. More on that in a bit.

Dr. David and Blakeway (in case you don’t know, “L.Ac” mean licensed acupuncturist), a fertility specialty team from New York, outline their method to “support a woman’s ability to bear a child with just enough helped to get nature to do its thing.” They argue that in many cases there is a better way to help couples conceive than the “aggressive surgical, pharmacological, and technological intervention[s]” being offered by many fertility specialists. David and Blakeway lay out a plan that helps couples optimize their fertility. They don’t take an adversarial position towards Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), but they take the position that the cost and risk are, many times, not necessary. They argue that Western medicine and Chinese medicine working hand in hand can improve fertility without the expense or side effects (and risks) of ART. David and Blakeway critique western medicine for catering to a desire for instant gratification with a one-size-fits-all approach. They argue that the strength of Chinese medicine is its focus on considering the person as a whole.

The Making Babies program tells patients to eat well, de-stress, and take their vitamins. They go on to identify 5 fertility types and detail the steps for each type to maximize their fertility. The 5 types are Tired, Dry, Stuck, Pale, and Waterlogged. These types are inspired by the patterns used in traditional Chinese medicine. They then detail the steps each type should take to optimize their fertility. They suggest that a couple take a 3-month “Pre-mester” to prepare their bodies to conceive and support a pregnancy by implementing these steps.

As I said before, my type is Stuck. David and Blakeway outline foods to eat and foods to avoid; they talk about exercise, lifestyle choices and supplements that will help optimize fertility. I really appreciate the practical, specific advice and achievable steps they offer. I really appreciate that this offers solutions that are not expensive, invasive medical procedures or fertility drugs. Who can really argue with eating more vegetables, exercising more, taking vitamins, and reducing stress? We decided to give it a try. So, more vegetables and vitamins for the Foggs!

I would recommend this book for the reproductively challenged, those who are starting to try and want to be as healthy as possible to conceive, and especially physicians. This book gives you the tools, knowledge and vocabulary to improve your fertility and partner with your doctor to find the plan of action that works best for you. You can find out more about the Making Babies program here or order the book here.

--K

Thursday, August 4, 2011

You Being You: Kelly the Creator

I've started a new web-based documentary series and Kelly was the subject of the first episode! Thought I'd share with you!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Russell Brand's Back Alley Connections

So Wednesday night found Kelly and I at Russell Brand and Katy Perry's summer getaway cottage overlooking beautiful Gatlinburg (I know, I was surprised too). We knocked on the door and Russell Brand himself swung the door open.

"Scott! Kelly!" He cheered. "Welcome to our humble summertime abode! Katy's not here right now, she'll join us after the tour. But I'm here! We can still have a bit of fun, yeah? You're here, life can still be a party!"

Kelly and I laughed and he showed us to our room. "Why don't you two relax, I'll go downstairs and get the cookin' on."

Russell disappeared and Kelly went to take a shower. I laid down for a quick nap . . . and when I woke back up, Kelly was sitting at the foot of the bed, holding a chubby little baby. Russell Brand was standing behind her. They were both grinning excitedly.

"What's this?" I asked.

"It's your baby!" Russell Brand answered.

"It can't be." I shook my head.

"Of course it can!" Russell Brand yelled back at me, almost sounding offended. "Don't you want it?"

"Of course I do," I said. "But . . . where did it come from?"

"Scott!" Russell rolled his eyes. "You ask too many questions!"

It was then I realized why Kelly had insisted we visited Russell and Katy. She knew Russell had some dark, back alley connections. She knew he could find us a baby. The baby was cooing now, playing with Kelly's hair. He was adorable, with his shock of orange hair and . . . vaguely . . . purple skin.

"Is his skin purple?" I asked.

"Again with the questions!" Russell threw his hands in the air. "Scott! You're a father now! You can't go spending your time pointing out how different and strange and weird your son is! You say 'purple' as if it's pejorative! You're a family now! You have a baby! What do you possibly have to complain about?!"

And then I woke up.

I was sad. Despite the baby being purple, I really thought I could have given it a good home.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Alfonso & Beatrice

I've been a writer almost my entire life. It's only been in the last ten years or so that I fully realized this and claimed the title "writer," but if my parents are to be trusted, then I've been creating stories since I was four years old.

We would go over to our friends, the Millers, after church and after lunch Alison and I would put on small plays to entertain our folks. Alison's little sister, Lauren, would try to get involved but Alison would always kick her off stage -- or so our parents say. Since the three of us can't remember this at all, they're either making it up or we've successfully forced ourselves to forget these so-called productions.

In grade school I started writing skits for my friends and I to perform for the class. This stage continued through
high school and into college, when I enrolled in film school with the hopes of being the next big writer/director. I've written several films since then, at least one full-length play, and numerous short films and web series.

So it really comes as no surprise to me that I've gone and written a children's book. Most of my work comes from a desire to see a particular story told and not being able to find that story anywhere. I end up being the one to tell the story -- which I don't mind at all, it just takes me out of the audience.

But as Kelly and I began looking for children's books that were about adoption or featured an adopted child as the hero or, really, did anything to help an adopted child feel more special or more loved, we found our choices very limited.

That's not to say that those books aren't out there. They are. We have found some wonderful books and added them to our library. But I want more. There needs to be more. So during our rotten, no-good, awful week a couple of weeks ago, I wrote one.

It is tentatively titled Alfonso & Beatrice (and The Mermaid Princess) and it's about a young king and queen who search far and wide for the one thing that is missing from their life. I won't spoil the journey for you just yet, but these two give up just about everything in order for them to find their little one. It's a little silly, a little romantic, a little adventurous, and completely from the heart.

With a first draft completed, I needed an illustrator. What good is a children's book without lavish pictures? I can barely draw stick figures, so I put a call out to Facebook and fellow Whovian Don Krouskop put me in touch with Beth Maurer, who is currently hard at work illustrating the story for me. She took my words and transformed them into pictures that, if I walked past them in a book store, I would not only give a second glance at them, I would have to pick them up and give them close inspection (but don't take my word for it, check out these character designs she's all ready sent me). Together, I'm not too ashamed to say, I think we're going to make something really special. And when we're done, we're going to try to get into as many hands as possible.

I don't know how, just yet. We may try to shop it around to various publishing companies and see if anyone's interested, or we may just sell it ourself (via our friend the Internet). But as our work progresses, I'll keep you all informed.

You have all been so supportive. Kelly and I started this blog with the hope of reaching out to others and maybe letting them know that they're not alone. Instead, it seems the inverse happened. Your kind words, messages, letters, phone calls and hugs have been more appreciated than you'll ever know and I wanted to share this exciting little endeavor with you, just as a way of saying "thanks" and "good things are on the horizon!"

-=S

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Plumbing is Not Working

It has been a tough week. This weekend every time we did laundry the water gurgled up into our shower. We decided not to panic or call someone immediately. It could wait until after the weekend; after all it was Fourth-of-July weekend. Then on July 4 we started seeing toilet paper come up into the shower. That crossed the line. On Tuesday we had someone come snake the pipes in the house. No problems there. Turns out, the problem was between the house and the street where the city sewer runs. We needed a new sewer line. Our vintage (circa 1949) clay pipe was crushed and filled with roots. Time for an upgrade. Our good friends got one of those last autumn; we knew what kind of cost to expect. High. Like $5000 high. That figure kind of kicks you in the stomach, doesn’t it?

This came right on the tail of some other tough news. Last month we decided to try the IUI route – more about that surreal process in a later post – and it did not work. This past month was one that included a lot more immediate hope than we had felt in a long time.

There was a time when we first started “trying” when we eagerly awaited the end of my cycle to see if we were pregnant. Then there was a time when we counted the days to ovulation and then endured the two week wait between ovulation and the disappointing start of menstruation. Then somewhere along the way we stopped counting. We settled in for a longer wait.

But IUI, that gave us some hope. Not that we didn’t have hope that someday we will have our family. More like “hey this may finally just work. It may take both of us AND a medical staff of 6, but hey, maybe this can actually happen.” The doctor’s office staff was very positive and optimistic. It was catching. I tried to not get my hopes up. To expect it not to work. But secretly I hoped it would. Of course, why would we even spend the time and money to do it if we didn’t think there was some chance it would work? I did acupuncture to support the process. I took it easy; no heavy lifting or yard work for me. I was going to be the perfect host for that egg turned embryo.

We got the news Tuesday afternoon that the pregnancy test was negative, again. Then that night we got the news that the plumbing was not working and needed to be replaced. (The house’s plumbing, that is. Not my plumbing. My plumbing supposedly works fine. And let’s just say the doctor was very proud of Scott’s contribution to the IUI process.) It was a hard night. I might not have cried like I did except the thought of our savings getting buried (literally) in the front yard just pushed me over the edge. That money is the money that we’ve been saving for the adoption. So it felt like twice in one day I had gotten the news that we would not be having, or getting, a baby.

Things looked better the next day. Most things do after a good night’s sleep. We met with the contractor and his estimate was a much lower than expected – which doesn’t dent our savings as badly as we had dreaded. And now that the indoor plumbing is working as it should, things are looking up. We have wonderful friends and family who have done and said just the right things this week: “That sucks.” “Heard you had a bad day.” “If you need anything let me know.” “Let’s go get ice cream." (which is totally awesome!)

I am reminded that God blesses even as this world tries to take our hope for the future. Not only did we have the money available to cover the unexpected cost of a new sewer line, but our dedicated family had connections with someone who could get the work done quickly. The IUI didn't work, but I am in a place where I kind of feel like it was something that needed to be tried and now we can move on to the next thing, whatever that may be. I want to praise God for taking care of us and surrounding us with the support we need as we walk this path as homeowners AND as potential parents. I am again reminded that God has a plan for our lives.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. - Hebrews 11:1.

--K

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Reproductively Challenged

I want to first of all say that God sends blessings to us in ways we never think are possible. As a bit of background, I have been the Women’s Ministry director at our church for the past two years. I have struggled with finding something unique that I could add to the many things our church already does for the members and the community. There are many groups under the Women’s Ministry umbrella that were there before I started and function completely independent of me and my meager budget. Some groups even had their own budgets. I spent many hours trying to figure out what group or event I could plan that someone like me would attend. I’m busy with a husband, friends, family and full-time work. What kind of event would I be willing to drive the 20 minutes out to the church to attend?

It took me a good 18 months to admit that the word infertility applied to us. It took another 3 months of God’s nagging (there has to be a better word) to get me to start the support group that our community needs. I figured that Scott and I were not the only ones who are going through this, but Satan uses isolation, fear, and shame to beat us down and keep us from living the lives God has called us to lead. Our small group, called Third Thursdays, is now 4 months old. I am so blessed to have a group of women who know exactly how I feel. They know the answers to some of my questions. They feel the same longing that I feel and they can articulate it way better than I can. It is good to know that I am not alone. It is also very cool to think that God used me to help these other ladies, even if I add nothing to the mix and they help each other. God is so good.

I continue to be impressed with these women’s resiliency and hope. We share a lot of hard things, but we also share a lot of laughter. I want to share with you a list of things we, the reproductively challenged, want to ban from the general discussion all together. We compiled this list while laughing, but there are some things people say, with all good intentions, which are not helpful and can even be hurtful. Some of these have been said to me and some are things others have heard.

10 Things that the Adopting or Reproductively Challenged Couple Probably Doesn’t Want to Hear

  1. “Just get drunk, you’ll get pregnant.”
  2. “Try going on vacation.”
  3. “You’re young, you have plenty of time.”
  4. So many people are getting pregnant. “It must be in the water!”
  5. “Just take my kids for the night, and then you’ll never want kids again.”
  6. “Just relax, when you stop thinking about it, it will happen.” Fact: Stress is not a significant cause of infertility.
  7. Any complaints about how miserable you are with your pregnancy. You may be uncomfortable, but please count those symptoms or annoyances as opportunities to be thankful for your pregnancy.
  8. For those who are adopting – “Are you just giving up on having your own baby?” Or “Don’t you want your OWN baby?”
  9. “As soon as you adopt you will have one of your own. Chuckle, chuckle.” We know that you may be uncomfortable and not know what to say. But, please don’t say this. The fact is the number of infertile people who get pregnant after pursuing adoption is the same number of infertile people who get pregnant after ending fertility treatments. 5-12% maybe, if the internet can be trusted. The factor of deciding to adopt or adopting a child is not relevant. And who knows, maybe those who conceived after adopting did not have fertility problems to begin with.
  10. “Maybe God is punishing you for something. Have you confessed your sins?”

It was cathartic for us to make this list. I share this with you to help us all make the world a better, more sensitive place. This blog has had 2475 page views, 261 of those in June alone. Now, that may just be my mom and one of our good friends in Scotland, but I am guessing not. Our readers include someone (or people) in Canada, Russia, Ireland, Thailand, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, India and Iran. Scott and I hope that our openness can help someone else who may be experiencing something similar.

If you know someone who is reproductively challenged, the best thing to say may be, "I'm sorry you're going through this. I know it's difficult, and I hope things work out for you. Let me know if there's anything I can do." If you are reproductively challenged yourself, we offer that to you.

--K

Monday, June 13, 2011

BOOK REPORT: Freakanomics and Cinderella Ate My Daughter

Freakanomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner and Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. I’m not sure how many people would put these two books together and on top of that call them both must-read parenting books, but I would and I do. These books came highly recommended after a very interesting debate with some beloved friends. I feel a bit smarter for having read both.

The first is a collaboration between a journalist and an economist. Levitt and Dubner take on issues (among others) such as “Does what you name your child affect his success in life?” “Does the number of books in your home help your child be more successful?” The answer to both turns out to be a surprising “No.” Both are actually indicators (rather than causes) of a child’s socioeconomic status which plays a bigger role than many other factors in a child’s future success. I’m sure the writers did not intend this to be a parenting book, but it presents answers to many issues that parents will care about and actually may make parenting a bit less stressful. BTW, I know I must be the last person in the world to read this book since it came out in 2005.

In the second, Orenstein confronts the princess and pink culture created for girls by juggernaut Disney and others out to market their goods to your daughters. The most interesting part of this book is when she takes a break from hating on Disney, Nickelodeon and Mattel to really explore the reasons (aside from nearly 24/7 marketing campaigns) that girls are so drawn to the whole pretty-pretty-princess thing. Turns out it may have more to do with a developmental period around ages 3-6 when girls (and boys) are trying to understand the permanence of gender, rather than the hypothesis that girls just like pink. She cites studies that are investigating the natural differences between boys and girls. She discusses how same- and cross- gender play helps children develop. I would have liked her to spend more time on discussion of self-esteem development despite the influences of our consumer culture, but maybe she covered that in her first book Schoolgirls.

The book appears thoroughly researched with quite the bibliography, but reads like it was written by an intelligent women who has been driven slightly mad by too many hours of the Disney Channel. The tone of the book fluctuates from militaristic feminist to rational discussion. Feels like it was written fast and not really edited for consistency of tone. But it was good enough that I read it in less than a week, and I would be willing read more of her work.

Neither book is written by a psychologist, but rather by journalists examining problems they see in the world. I feel like Orenstein’s book may be making a mountain out of a mole hill, while Freakanomics does just the opposite.


--K

Monday, June 6, 2011

Conversations


Last month’s 1-hour talk with the doctor has sparked hours of conversation, hours of thought and maybe a few tears. The doctor told us there was no reason we should not have already had a baby or at least a pregnancy. All the 2000 parts are in working order. Whew. Good news there. I guess. I had kind of hoped that there was some one small thing wrong that we could correct. Maybe hair color? The doc said redheads have a higher propensity of endometriosis. But I am not a natural redhead. If it helps through, I could be a blonde again. Or even a brunette (gasp). Nope. Nothing so simple, because there is nothing wrong.

He gave us two options. IVF and IUI. These options were no surprise. After all Scott used to work there. We know the services they sell. We’ve considered both. IVF is cost prohibitive for us. More importantly we feel called to spend that kind of money adopting a child who is already here. A child who needs our home. IVF may be for some people. Not us. Not right now.

IUI. That is a different story entirely. With insurance and our medical savings account the cost is not so intimidating. The treatment is not so invasive. We’ve decided to do it in the future. But we are not going to tell you when. We don’t want to get your hopes up; because the success rate is low. We don’t want to get our hopes up either. We don’t really want to be disappointed again.

More than 2 years ago we had a positive pregnancy test. We had an OB appointment. But we didn’t have the little flutter on the ultrasound that is a heartbeat. We had gotten excited and told our parents and friends too early. We learned that good news spreads fast, but the bad news does not disseminate so easily or quickly. It is no fun to meet acquaintances who expect you to be 6 months pregnant when you aren’t. The conversation is awkward.

We lay in bed and talked about sharing this with you, the entire world. Scott reminded me of our commitment to being honest about this journey. To crafting a blog that documents the real emotions, the good, the bad, and the vulnerable, of infertility, adoption and building a family. I reminded him about the raw hurt of having to answer follow-up questions from our well-meaning community of friends and family. So here I am writing it, because he is right. The Next Chapter is incomplete if we don’t put it all out there.

Please trust that we will let you know if it is successful. But it will be in our own time. If you don’t hear from us about it in 6 months, you can guess that it probably didn’t work. But maybe, for our sake, please don’t ask.

IUI doesn’t mean that we don’t want to adopt or that we are putting that process on hold. It just means that we are exploring our options for having a biological child. If it works, great. If it works AND we get the call for a baby to adopt, fantastic. Then there will be two (“If we have two, it will be fantastic,” Scott just said over my shoulder, “because then we’ll be four. The Fantastic Four.”).

So in conclusion, we believe in family, in community, in honesty. We believe that we can’t be the only ones going through this. So as hard as it is, as tough as it is to be vulnerable, we are committed to allowing you to be part of this journey. All we ask is that you give us your prayers and well-wishes rather than ask the follow-up question that we may not be ready to answer. Don’t worry we will let you know…

--K

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Weirdness


It was weird the first time we said it out loud. Before we said it out loud, it was just a nagging question in the back of our heads, "why aren't we getting pregnant?" We would talk about it, but in talking about it, we would never name it. We would talk about ovulation, we would discuss theories and what "some people say," but we never named it. When we finally did, it was supremely weird.

Infertility.

It belongs to those set of words that don't ever apply to you. They belong to someone else. Other people have their house broken into, not me. Other people get mugged, not me. Other people overdose, not me. Other people are molested, not me. Other people are raped, not me. Other people are diabetic, not me. Other people run into celebrities, not me. But . . . apparently . . . other people get pregnant, not us.

I must stop this blog right here and now to say we do not hold that against anybody. While every pregnancy announcement is tinged in just a bit of sadness and jealousy on our part, we have nothing but joy and excitement for you. Please do not feel bad for us. We can't do anything with your pity so please, don't waste yours on us. I actually had someone apologize to me recently because she was pregnant and we still weren't. Please, please, do not apologize. You have nothing to feel bad about. The point of this blog is not to throw a pity party for the Foggs. It is to chronicle our journey through particular point in our life, to let people know what's going on, and (hopefully) let others know that they're not alone.

Now where was I? Ah yes. The weirdness.

It was weird when we first said the "I" word. It was weird when we admitted it to our parents. It was weird the first time we told our friends. But the weirdness has abated. It's just life now. It's just a part of who we are. It's not something we think about on an hourly basis (I'd like to say it's not something we don't think about on a daily basis, but that's just not true). Every once in a while, though, the weirdness is brought back up and rubbed in our faces. Today was one of those days.

We went to The Fertility Center today. It wasn't weird that I used to work there. It wasn't weird that I still know people who work there. It was weird being somewhere where everyone knows what's wrong with you. If I'm at work, I'm just that friendly, bald, video game guy. If I'm with my friends, I'm the loud one in the corner who won't shut up about Doctor Who. But to the receptionist, the delivery man, and all the other patients in the waiting room, I'm something or someone just a little bit broken. I'm someone who desperately wants something he can't have. I'm someone who's most intimate, personal part of him isn't working. And while the doctors say there's nothing wrong with either of us, we're still in the waiting room, stuck in the dream where you walk into work naked.

I try to pretend it isn't weird, but it's weird. It's not as weird as these psychotic and sad people, but it's weird.

I'm looking forward to an unweird life. This experience has forever marked us, though. We'll always be that couple. But I'm okay with that. I'm okay with telling our story. I'm okay with answering questions. I'd like to hear other people's stories. But nothing will ever cure this weirdness -- nothing, I imagine, but the closing of this chapter and the start of the next one.

-=S

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Third Thursday

Thursday is not my favorite day of the week. I’ll admit it. I may be prejudice against it, but I am not a fan of Thursdays. Thursday for me is like everyone else’s Monday. If I am going to be inexplicably running late, it will be Thursday. If I am running late AND have an 8:30 am meeting, it will be Thursday. It started back when I worked at summer camp. Thursday evenings were staff social night and for some reason I would usually get thrown in the pool fully dressed by my then boyfriend (current husband). There is just something about Thursday that has not sat right with me ever since.

So in an effort to brighten my outlook on the day, I picked Thursday to be the day for my church group to meet. You know, something to look forward to. A pre-weekend bright spot.

This blog has, so far, focused on our adoption journey. The missing piece has been: why we are pursuing adoption now? Scott and I have always talked about having a child and then adopting our second child. That was the plan at least. After two years of “trying” and six months of Clomid treatments (not fun) we have been unable to conceive. It has been a bittersweet two years. We have watched our friends, co-workers, and distant acquaintances conceive and have babies. We’ve been blessed to be part of the miraculous arrivals of our new “niece” and “nephews.” It is touching to be so close with people that you are invited to meet their child when he/she is only hours old. It has also been sad for us to watch from the sidelines.

Infertility. It is a word I have avoided. And I am the one who argues that words only have power if you let them. Well I have let it intimidate me. It is a lonely place because you don’t really want to talk about it, no one else does either. You feel like you must be the only one. When I pause to think rationally though, I know that I am not the only one. I can’t be. If I am hurting and feeling this sense of loss (can you miss something you never had?) there are other people who are feeling this too.

So I finally built up the courage to do what God has been calling me to do for some time: Start a support group for women experiencing infertility and pregnancy loss. It is a small, slowly growing group. It feels good to reach out to someone else. So, on the third Thursday of each month at 7pm you will find me with a small group in an upstairs room of the Collegedale Community Church, making someone’s Thursday a little better. Maybe even my own.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

BOOK REPORT: One Big Happy Family

One Big Happy Family edited by Rebecca Walker

This book is a compellation of essays by 18 different writers about their families. Readers get a glimpse into the lives of “polyamory, open adoption, mixed marriage, househusbandry, single motherhood and other realities of truly modern love.” I can’t say I agree with all of the chosen lifestyles, but I did enjoy the journey through families very different from my own. I found a lot a can agree with and some things that definitely challenged me. The Vachons of Equally Shared Parenting even made a cameo.

I would recommend this as a good read for those who are exploring just what they want their family to be. It can be a challenge to re-imagine what a family is. The Bible says “. . . man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Genesis 2:24 NIV). This coming together is creating a new thing, a new family. One that can take all the good from both their families and create something entirely new. The challenge is to learn from the less-than-good things and implement that learning into the functioning of the new family. Our pre-marital counselor started the discussion of what our families are and were. This exercise has grown into an ongoing conversation of how we want our new family to function.

Polyamory, not for us, but does seem to work for Jenny Block and her spouse. Open adoption or househusbandry, now those could be an option. It is interesting to see an exploration of different family systems; it is refreshing for them to be presented by those who believe in them the most. Overall a pleasant read and a nice break from strictly adoption related material.

--K

Monday, April 11, 2011

Hurry Up! Wait! Faster! Stop!


It was on film sets that I got used to the "hurry up and wait" work ethic. You may have experienced it yourself. I have certainly found it taking various forms in other parts of my life (doctor's offices, concerts, theatrical productions, pregnancy, the adoption process).

On a film set, you have these groups of people, and each group has a very specialized task that no-one else can do and everyone else is dependent on them doing. There are times the entire production will come to a grinding halt for the want of a light bulb. If your job Light Bulb Technician, then when that light goes out, you become the most important person on the set. And you, not wanting to waste anyone's time, rush over to said light bulb and work as fast and hard as you can so that everyone else can return to work. With your job done, you go back to your corner and wait for another light bulb to go out.

Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait. Hurry up and wait.

We've done our part. And now we're waiting. We're doing our best to stay busy and productive, but there's only so much you can do and we're really darn close to that point. We're filling out paper work and gathering important documents so that if and when we get the call, we'll be ready for our home study.

When we first made the decision to adopt, we buzzed every which way, gathering everything we could. We didn't want to be caught unprepared for the fastest adoption process ever. But now we have everything we need. We could bring home a child tomorrow and would only want for a few extra changes of clothes (as we don't know the size or age of the child we'll be adding to our family, we've only bought a few outfits, a couple in various sizes).

But now we wait.

Will the call come tomorrow?

We wait.

We wait.

We wait.

-=S

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

BOOK REPORTS:

You Can Adopt: An Adoptive Families Guide by Susan Caughman and Isolde Motley.

I paid full price for this book, new from Barnes and Noble. I love the feel of getting to be the first person to open a book. To be the first to crease the spine. It is a rare treat to read a NEW book when one’s DH works at a used book store. It must be savored. So I have taken a really (embarrassingly) long time finishing this book. That is my excuse and I am sticking with it. It was worth the money.

This is a good getting-started-in-the-adoption-process book. This book breaks down the process step by step – Can I do this? Domestic vs. international? Where to start? What do I do with the child once I get him/her? What could go wrong? It is broken up into nice short sections. Question then answer. And check lists, oh how I love lists. Interspersed with that is pictures of ADORABLE babies and stories about real adoptions. The stories really ground the book, which can be a bit intimidating, in a sense that this will all work out in the end. I would recommend it.

Equally Shared Parenting, by Marc and Amy Vachon

On the other hand, having a DH who works at a used book store means that I can get LOTS of books really cheap. (Not that that fact has stopped either of us from buying brand new, full price children’s books.) It is a luxury to pick up a book just because you like the cover art with only pennies committed to the purchase price. That is the case with Equally Share Parenting. I honestly picked it up because it has shoes on it. Three pairs of converse – two adult sized and one child sized pair of converse. I might like shoes nearly as much as books.

Equally Share Parenting sets out a paradigm for managing one’s family that really is equal between both partners, not just a division of roles. One partner is not an apprentice housekeeper or second-string wage earner. Both parents are expected to take full ownership of all household, breadwinning and child rearing tasks. Both parents are expected to be equally competent at all tasks. This frees both parents to enjoy time with their family.

Sounds like having your cake and eating it too. The trick is prioritizing the family over an individual career or certain wage level. Both partners are encouraged to be “artisan” workers so they can bargain for fewer hours or flexible work schedules rather than more money and increasing responsibility. Corporate America beware: you might not like workers who use their bargaining chips for less work time rather than more money. Equally Share Parenting teaches balanced living with a focus on living within one’s means. Honestly, who can argue with that? Who really needs a wipe warmer?

The tag line is “Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents.” I’m not sure it is a new idea, but the Vachons articulated it well. I would recommend it.


--K

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Keeping Busy


Waiting. I don’t like it. I have never really been a patient person. Creative? Yes. Ingenuity? I’ve got that. Patience? Not so much. I am a do-er. The quickest way to get something done is to tell me that it can’t be done or that it will take forever. So waiting on a baby in a situation that is utterly beyond my control is nerve wracking (wrecking? either is applicable).


I find myself going back to God multiple times a day and giving this whole adoption thing back to him. “Sorry, God, I know I said I trusted you to take care of this and gave it over to you, but I forgot and took it back again. Here it is again. I know you will take care of it. I trust in your plan which is bigger and better than anything I could think of.” Repeat. My mom says I have “control issues.” I guess she may be right, don’t tell her though. At least I am praying.


It this state of __________ (insert word for: excitement, anxiety, upheaval, tension, and impatience) I find myself making lists. List of items baby needs. List of items I say baby needs but really I want. List of items we already have and no longer need/want. List of items we don’t have. List of people/organizations that I have talked with or need to talk to who might connect us to a birth mother. List of topics to research further. Look at that. I just made a list of lists.


Waiting is hard. But I do find this time very exciting and full of hope. Like something really big is about to happen. I really appreciate all of the prayers and thoughts from all of our friends and family.


-K

Friday, February 25, 2011

Status Updates


Attorney: I emailed questions to the paralegal who talked with Scott yesterday. I have about 10 billion questions, but (I promise)I kept my email short. I heard back from her pretty quick (I like that customer service). Let's call her Ruth for her privacy. Ruth said that she has mailed our profile letter along with others for this mother to review. She does not anticipate it taking long for the mother to make a decision since she is due in April. Ruth said that she would not normally let us know that she is sending out our profile. People tend to get prematurely excited if they know every step along the way, but had to contact us to determine if we were willing to consider the yearly visitations requested by the mother. I am glad to know that Ruth has us on her mind and is actively showing our profile. She sounded like she was rooting for us.

Finding a Pediatrician: I have asked around and have the name of a female doctor who was recommended by several trusted people in different spheres of my life. The office said for adopted babies it is best to wait until the baby is here to do an interview with the doctor. One of my pregnant friends is going to interview this doctor next month for her daughter and will let me send questions with her.

Room Preparation: We have chosen a color for the one wall that we are going to paint. It is called "Chocolate Sundae" and looks like fudge. Also I allowed myself to look at cribs and found one that I am very happy with. Maybe the Easter bunny will get it for me!

Needed: I am looking for a book on raising an adopted child that covers topics like bonding, talking about adoption and where babies come from. Also I would love to find any children's books from infant to school age that help kids learn about adoption.

-K

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Possible Nibble


Got a call from the attorney's office today. There is a mother who is due in April who is looking to put her child up for adoption. We don't know a lot about her. We know she's going to be having a girl and that she's coming from a biracial relationship. The biological mother hails (originally) from Kentucky but now lives here in Tennessee. The mother is interested in being able to visit her child once a year. The attorney's office called to ask if we were comfortable with that.

I never realized how strong the word "comfortable" is. Because to describe the idea of getting together, once a year, with a woman we don't know but gave birth to the child we now call "daughter" is just about the furthest thing from comfortable that I can think of. As soon as the question was asked, fears of the mother falling back in love with her child sprang to mind.

"There's no guarantee that the mother will follow up on this request," our attorney said, as if reading my mind.

"Comfortable is such a strong word," I said and she laughed.

But this process has never been about comfort. It's uncomfortable to admit to your spouse that you don't know why you're not getting pregnant. The word infertility is an awful, awful word to ever say out loud (maybe only trumped by hearing it). It's not comfortable telling your friends and family that you're considering adoption. It's not comfortable browsing for books on adoption. The only part of this process that is comforting is knowing that we are opening our hearts and our home to a child that needs us. And that thought leads to the comfort of knowing that God is with us on this and He has a long history of adoption and will help us through this -- including leading the right child into our home.

"Do it," I said. "Send her our letter."

She might not like us. She might take one look at our book and say, "they're not raising my child!" She might choose someone else -- someone who reminds her of her family or someone with slightly similar ideals and aspirations or someone richer. Or she might meet us and go, "those two people are the most opinionated people I have ever met. No. Way."

But that's her choice to make. I'm not going to take that choice away from her because of one uncomfortable detail. Many of these uncomfortable things have already gone away and many more of them will go away once we're on the other side of this. Either way, I haven't seen my comfort zone in about two years and I'm not making any plans to ever return there.

So that's where we're at right now. It's not quite a nibble, but it's a potential nibble. We'll see if she bites and then we'll go from there.

Don't pray that she chooses us. Pray that she makes the right decision and that her child winds up in the right home. Pray that the right child finds our home. I would love it if this was the one, because that would make this process so much quicker and easier than any of the books led us to believe it would be. But I'm more concerned for the child. I want her to find the right fit more than I want her placed in my home. But, if you're not, please pray for us. We'd really appreciate it. And if you already are, thank-you.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bookity Book-Book-Books


Kelly has this weakness. And I know what it is. And like any loving husband, I exploit that weakness like I'm Lex Luthor with a treasure trove of Kryptonite every single chance I get. If you haven't guessed what it is yet, then you probably didn't read the title to this particular post.

She loves the books. She cannot turn a good-looking book down. So tonight, while she was shoe-shopping, I was browsing Books-A-Million because, despite working in a used book store, anything is better than shoe shopping*. After she was done, she came to pick me up. And before we could leave, she had to take a field trip into children's book section. Mind you, we haven't a child. We haven't even a lead. But that didn't stop us from spending over fifty dollars on childrens' books tonight.

I love illustrated books and will pay top dollar for a book with gorgeous art. So I kept adding to the pile in her arms (maybe too rambunctiously, as Kelly went on to elbow the entire contents of a shelf onto the floor). While she would read the books I handed her, I would hand her more books. We had to sort through them in the end and eventually settled on three: Cloudette, by Tom Lichtenheld; I Love You Through and Through, by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak; and The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn.

I love that Kelly is a comparison-shopper. She's not afraid to rummage through bins at Ross or wait until that jacket at that store in the mall goes on sale. But when it comes to books . . . she can't say no.

* I say that, but the last time we went shoe-shopping, it was I, not her, who found her the perfect pair of shoes. I went to art school. I know good craftsmanship when I see it.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Babies, They are a comin'

Some of our best friends had a baby this week. We have been so blessed to be allowed to be part of their pregnancy and the birth of their little baby boy. I feel so honored to be invited to come see the baby when he was only hours old. It is really neat (that is an understatement) to be so close to people that you have seen them meet, fall in love, get married, buy a house, and now have a baby. What a joy to have that kind of continuity in our lives.

Our rather large group of friends gathered at the hospital to wish the proud mom and dad congratulations the night he was born. There was a very cool excitement and energy in that room. I can’t articulate how moved I was to just be able to be a part of it. If I feel this way, no wonder they are just glowing.

I got to hold baby boy for 2 glorious hours yesterday. He was just 4 days old. He curled up in a little ball and nestled down into my arms, making little baby noises. Baby’s perfect, mama’s proud, and daddy is just smitten. He was smitten from the first moment, but it is adorable to see him cooing over this little 7 pounder. I can’t wait to see my other two friends with their babies soon.

All I can really say is “I want that.” And “I can’t wait to see Scott as a Papa.”

Friday, February 18, 2011

the waiting game


There is an old episode of The Simpsons in which Homer buys a plow. He christens himself "Mister Plow," and puts together a commercial telling all of Springfield that he'll plow their driveways and their roads when they get snowed in. The family watches the commercial on television and afterwards, Homer says, "Well, John Q Driveway has our number. Now we play the waiting game. Ah, the waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!"

Me and Homer are of like minds*. I do not like the waiting game. The calm before the storm makes me nervous. The night before a film shoot is a restless one. I do not like waiting; I like doing. I do not like guessing; I like making informed decisions. While I appreciate surprises and enjoy spontaneity, I generally like to have a plan laid out before me.

I dropped two copies of our "Dear Birth Mother" books off at the attorney's yesterday and now we . . . wait? Wait for good news? Wait for the attorney to find someone for us to meet? All we really can do is get the word out there that we're looking to adopt. Beyond that, it's just . . . waiting. Waiting for a friend to run into someone. Waiting to overhear a conversation. Waiting for a social worker to contact our attorney. Waiting to make the right connection with the right person who'll put us in touch with our baby.

Kelly is much better at turning restless energy into productive energy (as you can see from her previous posts). I find myself playing more video games and watching more movies (and as I already have an unhealthy obsession with sitting on my butt, I need to find a new way to distract myself). Perhaps I'll go for a walk. Or a hike. Or a swim.

But tonight, after I've walked, hiked, swam or whatevered . . . I'll still be playing the waiting game. And the waiting game sucks.


* A sentence that will send shivers down my English major wife's back.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Awesome Things Our Kid Needs.

So as I search the internet for all the things that a child must have, I have found some pretty cool things like the Boon Bendable Spoon. You bend it to fit your munchkin's needs as they learn to feed themselves. Even better? The bendable SPORK!


Then I think back to my childhood. I loved bath time. I had this awesome Tupperware Noah's Ark. I wonder if I could find one now? I only had the ark, Mr and Mrs. Noah and the pairs of animals. Not the extra people. Are those the sons or the sinners? hmmmm?

Then there is Brio and Lego. I had Legos for only a short time before they were sucked up into the vaccuum. Sad times. I wish I had had Brio trains. Thankfully Scott has a stash of these and Legos at his mom's house. I hope he will let me play with them unlike his action figures that I am not allowed to touch.

I realize that none of this would be useful for some time, but fun to look at and bind the time well while we wait.

Next step is to get a pediatrician lined up. I don't really know where to start on that one. I guess with my insurance. What does one look for in a pediatrician? Location? Availability? Size of practice? More on that search later.

Off to cuddle a friend's baby!

-K

Monday, February 14, 2011

And now we wait....

We have finally finished our Dear Birth Mother letter (profile book) and received the printed copies back from blurb.com. They are just lovely (safely wrapped in plastic too!). Scott did a fantastic layout job and Blurb did a nice job with the printing and binding. Only found one typo post printing, but that was our fault. Sigh.

We wrote the letter to the attorney tonight to accompany the two profile books that he will keep on file to share with potential birth mothers. The letter to the attorney included a list of what kind of child we are looking for including age, race, gender and any disabilities we would potentially consider.

It is disconcerting to so definitively rule out a child who may have a physical or mental handicap. To think that with a few key strokes were are effectively turning our backs on a child who definitely needs a home hurts the heart. We've said that we don't want to take the gamble of doing IVF, but it seems even a normal, biological pregnancy is a gamble in some sense. Biological parents pray for a healthy child, but don't really know what they are going to get. Boy or girl, tall or short, healthy or not. Adoptive parents get the opportunity to rule out or accept the responsibilities associated with a special needs child, biological parents don't really get that option. Is that option the trade off for raising a child that might not look like you? Is it ethical to say no to child based on a list of fears? Is it wrong to say, "This is our first child. We don't know how to be parents yet. Infertility and adoption are hard enough as it is. Please just let us start with a healthy infant."? It must be okay to acknowledge our own weaknesses enough to say "This may be too much," or "I'm not sure we can handle that." Thoughts to ponder.

We finally decided, for now, a healthy infant under 12 months old, either boy or girl, any race is okay with us. We will leave everything else to God. He will bring us the child who needs us and who we need. We have two more copies of the profile book to share with anyone we may meet. So as soon as that packet is delivered to the attorney we have done really all we can do, except wait. And try not to fret.

So what do we do in the mean time? I vote for:
  1. Pray for the birth mother and our baby wherever they may be.
  2. Continue to collect children's books and necessary baby items. I have already finished refurbishing a high chair. Maybe Baby Micah will test it out to make sure it is nice and comfy. There is a pack of diapers, wipes, and powder ready to go. And a few sleep outfits are hanging in the closet.
  3. Paint the guest room a.k.a. future nursery.
  4. Cuddle all of my friends' sweet, sweet babies.
So now our job is to tell everyone we know that we are looking for a baby and encourage them to tell everyone they know too. It could be next month or it could be a long wait. Sigh.

-K

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Profile Letter, part 7: Our Promise To You


Part 7: Our Promise To You


This little one will be brought up in a warm and nurturing home. They will be cuddled and loved and cherished and cuddled some more. They will have friends to play with; aunts, uncles and cousins to inspire them; and grandparents who will spoil them rotten.

We will do everything to see to it that this little one has everything they need. We can’t guarantee that she will have everything she wants, but she will have everything she needs. No sacrifice is too great if it ensures the best we can provide for our baby.

We promise to read to him.

We promise to take her on walks.

We promise a bedtime story every single night.

We promise to teach him how to ride a bike.

We promise to answer all her questions -- if we don't know the answers,
we'll look them up and learn with her.

We promise the best education we can find.

We promise softball, piano lessons, football, basketball, dance class
or whatever else he might be interested in.

We promise patience and kindness.

We promise unlimited, unconditional love.

We might not know who you are, but know we are already praying for you. We can't pretend to know what you're going through, but we want to thank you for carrying this baby and doing the best you can for it.
We really can't thank you enough for sharing this child with us. You're making our dreams come true and we'll do everything we can to make this little one's dreams come true, too.

Thank you for considering us.


- Scott & Kelly

Monday, February 7, 2011

Profile Letter, part 6: Our Friends


Part 6: Our Friends

Our wonderful friends are a huge part of our lives. We are part of a group of eight couples who get together most Friday nights for food and fellowship. Many weekends are spent playing games or camping with this big group. There are currently three couples who will soon be parents; all within three months of each other! Some of these friends are new, but some have been close since high school. It is a wonderful group that supports and prays for each other.



And tomorrow: Our Promise To You

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Profile Letter, part 5: Our Family


Part 5: Our Family


We are lucky to live close to a large portion of our family. Both sets of our parents live in Chattanooga and are actually only about two miles away from each other.
Kelly’s mom (Carol) and stepfather (Jim) have been married for 15 years. Carol, who wants to be called Mimi, is a stay-at-home mom and can’t wait to cuddle her first grandbaby. Grandpa Jim works in a hospital and tries to spend as much time as he can snowboarding. Kelly’s stepsister (Heather) now lives in Jackson, Tennessee, after spending three years working as teacher in Taiwan.

Kelly has a large network of aunts, uncles, and cousins nearby. Each summer, fall, and Christmas they get together in the north Georgia mountains for a big pitch-in meal. It's always a boisterous event with lots of food and laughter.

Scott has a large extended family as well, but they're scattered all across the the US. Scott’s parents (Tom and Lauree) have been married for 33 years. Tom is the principal of a small elementary school and Lauree works at a nearby university. Their house is a cozy one surrounded by a big yard with lots of flowers and charming little nooks -- perfect for hiding away in and reading a good book. There is a big swing in the backyard ready for the first grandchild to swing on.

Scott is the oldest and his younger brother (Marshall) is 20. Marshall is in school right now taking psychology. Scott and Marshall like to play video games and go to movies together.


And tomorrow: Our Friends

Saturday, February 5, 2011

BOOK REPORT: Two Little Girls


Just finished reading Theresa Reid’s Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption. I’ve read this in a matter of 2 days, partly because I spent a day in an airplane traveling across our country and partly because it was so good.

Reid tells the story of her and her husband’s journey to adopt two little girls, one from Russia and one from Ukraine. The first adoption goes without a hitch and the Reids adopt a lovely girl who was “the princess of the orphanage” in Russia. In their quest to adopt a sister for little Natalie they go through horrible false-starts and spend a ridiculous amount of money. They change agencies halfway through the process, then change back and then change again. They have to cancel their trip and their commitment to a girl in Kazakhstan right after September 11, 2001 makes it unsafe for them to get to her. They finally, many years later, and after weeks spent in Ukraine, bring home, not the girl they traveled to retrieve, but an entirely different little girl with questionable medical problems.

Reid’s tale ends well with a happy, well adjusting family. But along the way you see the trauma and vulnerability her family suffers. This is not a story for the faint of heart. There is a lot of pain, doubt, and tough decisions that are made. There is an emotional depth to this book that comes only from living through the journey.

Reid is an excellent writer who is able to capture both the excitement and fear of the adoption journey. She unabashedly exposes her egocentric fears and insecurities. Which we all have, but rarely deign to admit. She addresses the dissonance involved in specifying what kind of child you want and can parent while wanting to do good for “the needy children in the world.” She shows families who are willing to overcome all odds to grow their family, and she shows families who make the heart wrenching decision to walk away from a child they have committed to. I’m not sure how many families have the resources or funds to go through such an exhaustive search for their child. She not only details her own experience in the tone of a dramatic saga, but integrates her personal research. She confronts our societal biases towards adoption and families created by adoption. You can tell she is a very well educated woman, and her candidness is refreshing in a genre of books that can sometimes be a little touchy-feely or a little too superficial to provide comfort through a difficult journey.

She includes a lengthy and annotated “Adoption Resources” section at the back of the book which looks to be a trove of thoughtful and intelligent books and organizations.

I would recommend this book to someone already committed and determined to adopt, no matter what the odds. It might scare you off if you were not convinced of the way ahead. It makes me glad that we have decided to do a domestic adoption rather than search the world over for our baby. While I’m sure domestic adoption has the same potential for agony, at least I will be able to go through it with my support system a phone call away and with the conveniences of the American hospitality industry at my disposal.

-K

Profile Letter, part 4: Our Home


Part 4: Our Home

We moved into our house in 2007. It is a one-story, yellow house that sits in a quiet neighborhood. We are situated about 15 minutes from downtown and about 15 minutes from the country. Our house has three bedrooms; one is Scott's office and one is waiting for our baby. We already have a small library of children’s books waiting.

Our friends call our house "the ark" because of all of our animals. Somehow we have collected a group of animals that loves to cuddle. It's not uncommon to find all six of us on the couch watching a TV show. Our cats are Desmond and Scarlett and our dogs are Gwen and Mister Tumnus.


And tomorrow: Our Family

Friday, February 4, 2011

Profile Letter, part 3: Why Kelly Will Be A Great Mama


Part 3: "Why Kelly Will Be A Great Mama," by Scott

Kelly is the most amazing person I've ever met – I know I’m supposed to say that, I’m her husband. But I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true. And before I tell you what kind of mama she’s going to be, I need you to understand what kind of woman Kelly is.

She has somehow figured out how to be ever-optimistic and ever-hopeful while remaining completely realistic. I honestly don’t know how she does it. She’s down to earth and heaven-
minded. Most people I know live in one extreme or the other.
Most people say “moderation in all things.” Kelly lives it – which
is why it was no surprise to me that Kelly was such a fantastic camp counselor.

For an entire summer, she was responsible for fourteen girls. Every week it was a new group, and every week, the group was a little older. But it didn’t matter if her campers were six years old or 16 years old. She corralled them. She taught them. She laughed with them, and when the boys were mean to them, Kelly cried with them. When they misbehaved or broke the rules, Kelly saw to it that the punishment fit the crime. Kelly’s campers never considered her strict, but they knew where she stood. They knew that she wouldn’t let them get away with things, but they also knew she was willing to have a lot of fun with them.

Kelly loves teaching. She’s not a teacher, but she loves to see that sparkle in a child’s eye when they've just discovered something new. She loves explaining things to them, especially if it means having to find a creative way to explain it. And as all my favorite teachers were, Kelly is patient. She wants to help children learn but also wants them to learn it for themselves. So she’ll patiently guide them, holding their hand, but letting them discover what new lesson life has for them.

Kelly’s a hard worker. I’ve never seen someone more determined to get something done and to get it done right. She always has a project she’s working on. When she volunteers to do something, she’s often the first person there and the last one to leave. I don’t think she knows how to cut corners. When it comes time to raise a child, she is going to do whatever it takes to give that child everything he or she needs – whatever that might be.

I could write a book about Kelly, but all I really want you to know is that Kelly has been the best part of my life for the past 10 years, and when I imagine what the best mother in the world looks like, I see her.


And tomorrow: Our Home

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Profile Letter, part 2: Why Scott will be a Great Papa


Part 2: "Why Scott Will Be A Great Papa," by Kelly

The first time I ever saw Scott, it was across the cafeteria, and it was love at first sight.
He was standing in a group of friends talking and laughing. It was his laugh that was so attractive, even from across the room. When I think of Scott the first thing that comes to mind is laughter. He gets these crinkles around his eyes when he laughs that light up his blue eyes. He loves to make jokes and tease people to make them laugh. He is ultimately a flirt, but he doesn’t know it. He just relishes bringing a smile to someone’s day.

Scott has never-ending creativity. Every day, and I mean every day, he comes to me saying, “I had an idea today.” Scott writes something every day. Sometimes it is a blog and sometimes it is a movie. The days he is most excited about are the days he can shoot a film.

Scott is a strong man. He knows when to stand up for his beliefs or defend his family. He has the capacity to see both sides of an issue and is willing to call someone out when they need it. Scott is also a sensitive man. As we have dreamed of growing our family, I have seen a strength and depth of emotion that has touched my heart. Scott is a man who wants a family and who will live his life to ensure his children are nurtured.

Scott will be a wonderful father because he is such a kindhearted man, because he makes life so fun, and because he is such a genuine person. Scott is the same dorky, funny guy no matter where you meet him. He might not be a morning person, but if he gets any chance to make a pun, (even if it is 7 A.M.) he will take it! I love Scott for the energy and joy that he brings to our lives. He also brings a steady peace to our home. He keeps me grounded and makes me laugh, every day. He reminds me when to thank God for the blessings we have and celebrate life.


And tomorrow: "Why Kelly Will Be A Great Mama," by Scott

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Profile Letter, part 1: Dear Birth Mother


We wanted our letter to the birth mother to impress her on all levels. Not only did we want the contents of the letter to accurately reflect who we are and what kinds of parents we would be, but we wanted the presentation of the letter to reflect our high standards and be an expression of our artistic creativity. So we decided to put together a book. Using Blurb's BookSmart builder, we put together a 20-page book for our attorney to give the birth mother.

It's a seven "part" book, and over the course of the next seven days, we'll share a part a day.


Part 1: Dear Birth Mother


A family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit. -Marge Kennedy


Dear Birth Mother,

Our names are Scott and Kelly.

First of all, thank you for considering us to be your baby’s Papa and Mama. Of all the things we are, the one thing we want most is to be parents. We have been unable to get pregnant and look
forward to the time when we will have a little one in our arms. We believe that the home and family we have been blessed with would be a great place to raise a family.

We have given it careful consideration and know that fertility treatments are not for us; not when we can open our home to a child who needs us. Adoption is something that we have always known we would do. We are excited and just a bit scared as we walk this path. Thank you for going on this journey with us and for being an answer to our prayers.

We look forward to cuddling with our baby and watching him or her grow. We can’t wait to help her learn about the world. We are excited to teach him how to read and ride a bike and take a picture.

We are creative, artistic people. Scott is a writer who works as the Video Game Director at a local store, but his real passion is writing and movie making. Kelly works at an insurance company but has created a second job for herself as a wedding and portrait photographer. Photography started as a hobby, but has transformed into a small business. Many nights and weekends are spent working on small craft projects or rehearsing for Scott's next short film.

We first met working at Christian youth summer camp in Georgia. We started dating that summer and have been together ever since. We were married in December 2005. Considering the time we dated and the 5 years we have been married, we have been together nearly 10 years now.

As Christians we strive to live a life of acceptance, tolerance and love. We do our best to live balanced lives according to Biblical teachings. We love to debate politics, religion, economics and philosophies with each other. We seek out creative art and media that speaks to the truth of human life. We like to travel and meet new people and try new foods.

Our home is warm and welcoming. We have two cats and two dogs who provide a never-ending parade of laughter.

Each Friday night we gather with friends for food and fellowship. On Saturdays we go to church and spend the rest of the day resting and relaxing with family. We both work full-time during the week and still find lots of time to spend with our family and friends.


And tomorrow: "Why Scott will be a Great Papa," by Kelly