When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves…

Hello there Little One! You have not been forgotten about, trust me. You are on our mind every millisecond of every day. Its just been a little crazy around here to find time to write.

Yesterday was a very big day- our second nephew was born. Hopefully, your cousin one day. It was beautiful seeing my sister and her husband so happy, and both RB and I are so happy for them. Our new nephew is gorgeous, healthy with bright eyes and a  head full of dark hair and tiny little  hands, he’s absolutely perfect. I spent most of the morning watching K, my sisters oldest son (wow, its weird to say “oldest” son now!) He was so excited about being a big brother. We spent the morning making cards for his new baby brother and mom and dad, playing together with puzzles, watching Sesame Street and singing along. Spending time with him was a joy, and made me realize all over again how much I want to be a mother. He was so excited on the ride to the hospital to go meet his new brother. He made sure I didn’t forget the gift he’d gotten for him, and babbled the entire time on the ride about his new baby brother. Everytime we’d hit a redlight on the ride, he’d scream in anger that it was stopping him from seeing his brother. He’d say, “These red lights! I need to get to the hospital! I have a brother!” We’d snap our fingers together to get the light to turn green faster. He was so proud when he snapped so hard that three lights in a row changed green at once. He gleamed with pride as we walked into the hospital sporting his “I’m the Big Brother” shirt, he told everyone he could that he was going to see his new baby brother.

It  reminded me how great it was to have a sibling growing up- and I really hope you get to experience what its like. Siblings are always having someone to always rely on. Siblings are so important- they are the only ones who know what its like to grow up with your set of parents, they are a huge branch of your history and a great support system. I don’t know what I would do without my sister. I’m incredibly lucky to have a sibling, and I hope you get that same luck.

Yesterday reaffirmed for me that 1. you’re worth this, and 2. I don’t care that I don’t give birth to you.I have mourned that part of our relationship, admittedly- and its a complete non issue. I am carrying you in my heart, and I’ll probably be pregnant with the thought and hope for you longer than nine months. This will only strengthen our bond together. Today someone asked me if I was nervous about getting pregnant, and for the first time I didn’t come up with any excuse to avoid the whole infertility explanation…instead I said firmly, “nope, we’re going to adopt!”  and it felt so natural and amazing. It might sound insane, but in my head I’m already pregnant with you, and I have been for a long time…. I just have no due date yet. I’ve heard other people describe it as “paper pregnant” referring to the homestudy process, and its a pretty accurate term.

Speaking of that, yesterday was also another milestone for our journey to you. We submitted our homestudy application- so step one is completed. This morning I called the agency and paid for the downpayment fee, and spoke with a representative who explained that next step we’ll be assigned a social worker in the next ten days, then schedule our first home visit with her to go over all the paperwork.Its officially crunch time!Today I’ve been a lot more hopeful, even though I’m admittedly extremely nervous about the entire process. Speaking to people who have been through it in message boards has been a Godsend. I will definitely be more relieved when that stamp of approval is in our hands.

We are so excited just at the prospect of you, Little One. We’re one step closer, and hopefully soon we’ll know when we’re officially due to be your parents.

 

Until then, I’m enjoying getting closer and closer.

Advertisements

When you are courting a nice girl an hour seems like a second. When you sit on a red-hot cinder a second seems like an hour. That’s relativity.

Thanks for the title quote today, Mr. Einstein.

 

Still no news, little one. It’s no fun in no news land, I must say. And it’s not helping that the calendars are haunting me.

We went to the RV show over the weekend, and the calendar haunted me. Do you want to book a campground weekend getaway today? If you book today, it’s half off! The wide eyed campground representative said to us. RB and I looked at each other and almost simultaneously shook our heads and said, No thanks, we have to check our schedule.

But there is no schedule to check. We have no schedule.

I come in to work and everyday the calendar haunts me. It stares me square in the face. Hanging so innocently on the corkboard a mere foot from my own eyes are tangible evidence of every day and month leading up to June. A tiny hand drawn heart, so small you wouldn’t realize it was there unless it was pointed out to you (that was intentional) floats below the11 on the June calendar. June 11th- I’ve marked it with a heart on the calendar and every day it kind of hurts to see it there, taunting me.

This heart could be nothing. You prematurely wrote this here. Did you really think it would all work out like  some kind of Disney fairytale? Did you think your luck was finally changing? Did you really think something that miraculous could happen to you?

It tries to strike me down everytime I glance over at that tiny blue heart.

But it won’t.

Yes, this is hard. Its hard not knowing if we’ll be in New Jersey in June for ten days, or sitting at home on our couch sad and depressed. Its hard not knowing if we’ll have you here for the summer, or if we’ll still be searching for you. Its hard to think that we’re setting ourselves up for a let down later. Its so damn hard.

But its also exhilarating.

You could be here in June.  And if not, you could be here at any time. That thought can only be described as just plain wild, little one. Its wild to think that yes, maybe you won’t be here in June…but then there is July. And August. And September. And October…and the rest of our lives. This is the only time in our lives we’ll get to experience a rollercoaster like this one.

There are two ways to handle a rollercoaster: with your eyes shut, fists clenched, sweat pouring down your forehead with the mere anticipation of how badly it could go. You don’t even peek through your eyes to see what lies ahead, you hold on to the handlebar for dear life and you’re so wrought with fear that you don’t even let yourself feel the dips and drops. All you worry about is the next time you’ll hear the distinctive click click click click going up another hill before a big drop. You make yourself queasy with worry over how its going to feel going down the hill that you can do nothing but clench your jaw and close your eyes tight and not let yourself experience anything until the ding that alerts you the ride is finally over.

And you get off the rollercoaster, and you can’t remember anything about the ride.

Or, theres option two.

You feel it. You may be scared, you may get a little freaked at the ominious sound of the click click click as the chains pull the coaster up the hill. But once you get to the top of that hill, your eyes open wide to take in the most breathtaking view. Instead of forcing your eyes shut, you force them open. You see with ultimate clarity what the track has in store for you, and you get excited at the prospects. When the cart does finally pass that moment that seems like an eternity at the top of the first hill, you take a deep breath and throw your hands high in the air. Your lungs open wide and you scream with joy and feel the force of the coaster with all your senses- letting your hands and arms feel the wooshing air, screaming at the top of your lungs, taking in the aromas of the park- the cotton candy, the deep woods surrounding- and you just ride. You coast down every valley, you soar through each dip. You let yourself feel every bump and sharp turn, and you enjoy it.

You let go, and enjoy the ride.

And this time when you get off the coaster, you want to relive the experience. You want to get back in line and do it all over again.

I need to stop clenching my fists and jaw and keeping my eyes tightly shut. I need to throw my hands in the air, and feel the elation of this rollercoaster.

 

That way, if the ride does end prematurely, I’m ready to get back on and do it all over again…only this time, I’ll know the track.

 

And then when its all over, and you’re in our arms, we can proudly say…

That was one hell of a ride, and totally worth every second!

 

And maybe even…lets do it again.

It Has Been a While

Hello little one, its RB.  I know it has been a while since I have posted on here.  Sometime has passed but there is not a whole lot more news.  This is certainly understandable and expected but it is never easy.  Becky and I become very anxious at times but we still have hope.  We still have a good feeling that we will get to meet you soon.  But we are still going through our journey so we dont know all of the answers yet.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that everything that happens is part of the experience and we can enjoy it because everything will hopefully be part of what needs to happen in order to have you, little one, in our lives.  But other times it is quite hard to do this, to remember to look at things in that way.  Becky and I are taking this journey one step at at time.  But I still have a good feeling though. 

Becky and I love you very much little one!

A diamond is a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well…

I wish I knew why, Little One. I wish I could pinpoint why some days are so difficult and other days seem fine. I get that this is a rollercoaster, I get that days are going to vary. I just wish I knew better how to control it.

One day I’m fine, bubbly, happy, confident that things will work out in our favor and everything will be fine in the end. I can picture a bouncing baby on our laps with smiles all around.

Then there are days like today. Days where I don’t feel like being a human. Days when I would rather have just stayed in bed. Days when I try not to break down into tears at everything around me. Days when I feel like the monster insect, and not Gregor Samsa.

Days when all I focus on is the negative: never being your mother.

I don’t know why. I have yet to pinpoint the triggers or the reasoning behind why some days/weeks are seemingly easier and others aren’t. Some days, like today, it all just seems so far fetched and overwhelming, it seems so impossible.

We’re in a pretty rough holding pattern right now. It feels like everything is just sitting and waiting, and I hate this feeling. What I hate more than this feeling is the fear that this feeling will last a really long time- or simply never go away.

I’m afraid that if this birth mother backs out, we’re pushed back in our plans even further. We’re waiting who knows how long to get picked by another birth mother- or we might not ever get picked at all. I think its this fear that has me so crippled today.

We still haven’t heard anything further from this BM. We are waiting on tax money to start the homestudy, and we’re waiting on the homestudy to start the push to look for a different BM.

So in all this waiting to start is the fear of it never ending or ending too soon. What if we don’t have enough money? What if the homestudy fails? What if we never get chosen by another birth mother?

What if this never happens?

This is completely uncharted seas for us to navigate little one, and its so hard some days. And I think it might be okay to just let myself have one of those days every once in a while, as long as the majority are positive- which they are.

But every once in a while, it feels good to break down. My warm forehead resting on the cold tile as tears stream down my face in the office bathroom just seems to feel right sometimes, and I often feel better afterwards. Its cathartic to have an insect day every once in a while, as long as I don’t turn in to the insect.

 

And if I do, there is always tomorrow to be hopeful for.

Aunt Mommy and the Modern Family

I’m going to go off the rails a bit here Little One. Just try to follow along.

Last night, RB and I watched one of our favorite shows, Modern Family. The show centers around a, well, Modern Family that includes a patriarch (Ed O’Neil) married to a much younger woman from Columbia (Sofia Vergara), and raising his ten year old step son. Of his two grown children, one is a gay male living with his partner and their adopted daughter from Vietnam, Lilly. The other grown child is married with three kids of her own.

This particular episode centered around Cam and Mitchell (the gay couple) going through jealousy of their two male gay friends going through a surrogate to conceive a child using a “swirl” method (wherein they “swirl” their sperm in the lab so they don’t know which one is the biological father – though one is latino and the other was white, and their infant son was obviously latino). Cam and Mitchell had previously though of adopting again, but once they saw how happy their friends were in their surrogate decision they grew jealous of the baby having a genetic link.

At dinner that night with Cam and Mitchell, along with Mitchells sister Claire and her husband Phil, all get drunk and start talking about children. Claire expresses how beautiful it is to see her and Phils traits come across in her kids, and Mitchell and Cam want that genetic link but cannot physically have it. Claires drunken solution is to use her egg (which would share the genetics of Mitchell) and Cams spern to make a baby using both families.

Of course, the next day when they were all sobering it was awkward and everyone backed out.

The episode ended with Lilly wearing a crazy outfit like Cam would) organizing her toys just-so (like Mitchell would) and they say something along the lines of, “She’s not genetic, but she has the best of both of us.”

Of course, RB and I look at each other and share a knowing smile.

But this episode exploreda lotof issues surrounding family building. And it got me thinking:

Why does it always seem like theres a war between IVF (in-vitro fertilization) /ART (assisted reproductive technology) and adoption?

Cam and Mitchell were so jealous of their friends who used ART, and their friends were so jealous of them using adoption. And art imitates life in this instance- because I’ve seen it firsthand plenty of times. We’re all working towards the same goal here: a family. But it always seems like in the media, blogs, infertility groups, etc- that theres this great divide. On the ART side, it seems a lot of the views on adoption conjure up debates like Thats just a last resort, don’t you want your genetics to live on? Are you not strong enough for IVF? Isn’t that too hard? Do you really want people delving into your life that much? Don’t you want to feel a baby kick in your body? Don’t you want to experience giving birth?

On the other side of the coin is the Adoptees Vs. Arts, and they think things like Why are you so selfish? Adoption costs far less than IVF. There are plenty of needy children out there! Why waste your money on something that might not produce a family? Why do you feel the need to give birth to be a mother?

It drives me insane. Why the hate, everyone? Why the jealousy? Why the great divide?

And I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why I feel so strongly that adoption is right for us. For us, there are a lot of reasons pointing us in this direction. There are the practical reasons, like having had the scleroderma as a child and all the medical things I’ve been through as an adult, I am just plain sick of being poked and prodded medically. I don’t think I could physically handle an IVF cycle, let alone several. I don’t think I’d ever be able to handle a miscarriage, which is very prevelant in people with PCOS. I think I’d break down. Losing an adoption is no small feat emotionally either, but I think I could deal better with a loss outside of my own flesh and bone, without the very physical reminder for several days or weeks afterwards. We don’t have any infertility insurance, so everything we pay for would be out of pocket anyway- and we would rather put our eggs into a basket more likely to hatch versus one that for the past four years has yielded absolutely no results.

But then there is this other voice that cannot be logically explained away. It’s not a whisper, like practicallity. When things are logical, you’re heart still speaks louder than the small voice of reason.And my heart is not whispering in this instance: its downright roaring. I have this feeling from my heart to my bones that extends out of my hair and fingertips and toes and shines on forever that says this is what you’re destined to do in life. It’s screaming at me from the inside out that this is the path we’re being lead down for a reason. I never once had this feeling when trying for a “natural” child. I have always felt like that would never happen, and not in an “aw don’t be so negative, you’re so young! It will happen one day I just know it!” that everyone would always say to me. I knew, in my heart, whenver someone said that they “just knew” it would happen for us that it was a big fat lie to make me feel better.

I know what my body is capable of and not capable of. I’ve known from a very early age, a lot earlier than many that my body can only be pushed to a certain limit before it will inevitably fail me again. My mind however…that is something that has never given up on me. My mind has never turned against me the way my own body has. Thats what an autoimmune disease is at its very core- your body attacking itself. There was a civil war going on in the confines of my flesh for over eight years of my tiny precious life, and while it nearly killed me I conquered it. But I didn’t overcome it with physical strength, I overcame it with a positive attitude and unbreakable spirit.

I just can’t do that with infertility.

But I can with adoption. Mind over matter: and my matter doesn’t matter, my mind most certainly does.

As for me, I don’t see any problems with how anyone choose to grow their family. I will always advocate for IVF, ART, infertility insurance coverage, adoption assistance, adoption rights, anything I can. We’re all in this together, and starting a civil war in our community is only going to do hurt, not help. We need to stick together and stand united-one united nation of infertiles.

Like I said, Little One, this post was kind of off the rails a wee bit self indulgent on my part. But it all needed to be said.

 

And for the record, Mitchell and Cam were right. Genetics don’t make you who you are, and neither do the traces of your genetic code. Your beautiful personality and dazzling soul make you who you are. And who you are is amazing, I already know it.

Whoso loves, believes the impossible.

Today is Valentines Day.Loved by many, hated by several, ambivolent to few. Everyone has a view on V-Day, and its more often than not a very strong opinion.

 

My view?I absolutely love it.

I’ve always loved Valentines Day. An entire day based on nothing but love? How can you not love that concept?

And it gets me thinking about love and romance, and how RB and I are very lucky because we are completely surrounded by great examples of romantic love: both sets of our parents are madly in love. Our siblings are married and madly in love. I cannot remember a single instance in my childhood or adulthood where my parents screamed at each other. They would disagree, but they would discuss it like adults and come to a conclusion together. The same with RBs parents, grandparents and our siblings. Love and strong marriages have been around us for a very long time.

And heres the clincher Little One: if I’m sure of one thing in this big crazy world, its that RB and I are complete and utter soul mates. I know you’re probably gagging at the sweetness at this point, but just trust me here.

You’re most likely going to moan and groan as a teenager when your parents kiss in front of you. You’re going to roll your eyes when we walk hand in hand down the street. But I can solidly promise you this: you’ll never have to complain about going to two different houses for Christmas. You’ll never have a hatred for a step-parent. You’ll never stay over at a friends house whose parents are still together and silently think to yourself I wish my parents were together and in love.

Instead, you’ll be that friend whose parents are still annoyingly in love.

RB and I have a love so powerful, it could move mountains. We were (quite literally, I sometimes think) a match made in heaven. We are the true definition of soul mates. You will never have to wonder if we do or do not love each other. It will always be evident that we are crazy about each other.

And its because our bond is so incredibly strong that I think we were chosen for this particular journey. I’ve done a lot of soul searching lately Little One. I’ve been thinking alot about infertility, fate, love, what makes us human, how things turn out, reasoning behind why things happen… how everything in this world is so connected and we’re too small to even realize the power of those connections that sweep right in front of our faces every single day. And in all these thoughts, one thing rings true no matter what: RB and I are in this together. We’re on the same page about everything, and we’re there to support each other no matter what.

I had a problem last night picking out a Valentines Day card for RB. I went shopping with my friend, SB (and we made a few other stops- including one to a psychic. More on that in another post!) and we stopped at Target to pick up some Valentines Day presents for our significant others. While staring down a long row of red, pink and white greeting cards I took a deep breathe before diving in. I must have picked up and read through over three dozen cards, none of them perfect. Some were just mean (They were meant to be funny, like you’re so lucky you married me because I’m awesome and you’re totally lost without me idiot kind of cards), some were way too sappy (My Dearest Darling Husband: I wake up in the morning and study your eyelashes and know that they’ll be the eyes I look into until the day I die…) and some just didn’t feel right.

And I realized why: our love is undefinable. As famously written by Edgar Allen Poe in his poem Annabelle Lee and a quote we used as a theme in our wedding, We loved with a love that was more than love. And I know its a sappy sentiment, but its quite true. Our love is more than love. Our love is power and truth and beauty and everything that is right in this world. Our love is earth shattering, mountain moving, heart stopping, butterfly in your throat, can’t go a day without thinking about how amazing it is kind of love.

And try as I might with words, our love is beyond words. Our love is beyond everything.

Because of its power and beauty and strength, our love was built to endure. Our love is a survivor. Our love is an anchor. And our love will carry us through to get to you.

We did not ask to face infertility (who would?), but we play the cards we were dealt. And maybe we’ve been connected and found this soul awakening love in each other for a reason, a reason that you fit in to. I’m going to be completely and utterly honest here: its a hard road for people with infertilty. Its hard to feel sexy when sex is no longer romantic, but a glaring reminder of your physical misgivings…that primal utilitarian use has been stripped away without your consent. But in another way, we are lucky. The manifestation of our love might never be a natural child, but our love harmonizes and creates so many other beautiful things to add to this world. Our love is not primal, its very cerebral. We decide, not our biology and pheromones, that we love each other. And while there is so much chemistry between us, it’s not based on repopulating the planet. Its actually about loving each other, completely, for who we really are inside, not our genetic makeup.

In doing all this soul searching, something has become incredibly clear to me:we do not have souls. We have bodies. Our souls are who and what we are, our bodies are what we’re given to carry around our souls. 

Our love and our family are so much bigger than bodies. It’s soulmates. 

 

In these bodies we will live,

In these bodies we will die.

Where you invest your love,

You invest your life.  

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.We already love your soul.I can’t wait to see what body God puts you in.

 

Happy Valentines Day, Little One.

 

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.

Two posts in one day. Nothing like making up for last time, eh little one?

 

Well heres the breakdown:

BM is still ambivolent. I feel like she’s starting to learn further and further into parenting.

I can no longer wait.

I’ve looked at agency fees: they would be at least $20,000 because of the income bracket we’re in. Which sucks. So I just emailed our lawyer and asked her what the laws on advertising for adoptions are in Maryland and beyond, what she thinks would be more cost effective, I’m moving on to stage 2.

My thoughts so far:

1. Create a website. Something that describes who RB and I are… I have to find a domain name still, but I’m thinking something along the lines of [ournames]wanttoadopt.com. Something a potential birthmother could come across.

2. Post flyers (pending a legality). I will create flyers to post in churches, grocery stores..anywhere they will let us post them. Nothing works better than some good old fashioned street marketing, and I know I’m a pro at it for sure.

3. Post ads (pending on legality). I will post ads online- craigslist, adoption websites like parentprofiles.com, etc.

4. Start an online social media campaign (pending on legality). No one knows the power of social media more than I do. I will make a facebook, twitter, pinterest, tumblr, stumpleupon, foursquare, digg, reddit, linkedin, whatever in the hell I have to do to get the word out, I’ll do it.

5. Start word of mouth. I think now more than ever, we may need to come out about our adoption openess. Word of mouth is a powerful tool that I would like in our aresenal.

I’m going to word as hard as humanly possible to get to you little one. Come hell or high water,this will happen. Mark my words.I tried not to break down when I got the news that she’s still waivering, even though I knew she would. But I’m not going to take any of this lying down. I’m taking control because thats what feels right to me, and I’m going to search you out no matter what. You’re there, and I know it. I feel like I was put on this earth to find you. I’m going to work tirelessly to figure out how to get to you and make this whole thing happen.

 

I feel like I’m on fire- like nothing could stop me. I’m going to do this, one way or another. Its a choice how we react to things in this life: and I’m choosing to react with confidence instead of pain. I’m choosing to believe that maybe this situation is what is going to lead us to you in some way, and maybe not with you in our home in June- but maybe by forcing us to take the leap into adoption. I’m choosing to respond in my mind with courage over defeat, with perseverabce over surrender.

I’m nothing if not a fantastic marketer. Its my livelihood, and maybe I was given those skills for this very moment in time. Maybe I was blessed with these talents for the very road I have to take to lead me to you.

 

This is an epic journey, and this is not the end.

 

We’ve only just begun.

Procrastinators United Meeeting….Tomorrow.

I’ve been slacking. I apologize, Little One. And trust me, this lack of posting is not for nothing – I’ve been so busy with things concerning you. I kept saying all weekend that I’d post tomorrow – but then all of a sudden its Monday.

Friday RB and I went and met with the lawyer. She was so, so nice and we both fell in love with her instantly.She was very informative and knew her adoption stuff backwards and forwards…but it was also a very sobering experience. We realized that we also need the birth fathers consent, and that he could at any time (or his parents) say they would like to parent. But it also got us thinking about more real stuff too- like waiting for the ICPC papers to clear and being in New Jersey for the first ten days of your life..how nice it would be to find a condo near the beach and just camp out there until all the legality is finalized. We probably would never leave the room (we’d be far too busy trying to figure out how to be parents…or marveling at the miracle you are) but we could smell the salty ocean air and know we’re getting closer to home with each passing hour.

The lawyer also said its very, very important for us to form a bond with the birth mother. Thats something we didn’t really know- but showing her pictures of our family, having lunch with her and talking about the future would really solidify the decision (the decision that we haven’t heard anything about yet) in her mind. It was crazy to begin thinking about these things in real terms- it stripped away the dream like state we were in and left the raw truth, and part of it hurt but another part of it felt amazing, like coming out of a coma and realizing you’re still alive. It was kind of like the first time we visited with the reproductive endocrinologist. She was explaining the way our first attempt would go down, and she got to the end and I asked…well what happens after that? And she said well then you take a home pregnancy test and see if you’re pregnant! And it was such an obvious answer, but to someone who thinks having a family is so far off (and in that case -it was) the sobering though of having a little + sign right there in your hands was so hard to conceptualize. This is the same way. Its hard for me to think, without it being dream-like, of you snuggling in our arms in a New Jersey hotel room for nine days after you’re born. Its unimaginable at this point.

I’m really hoping that changes.

As for the rest of the weekend, Saturday and Sunday flew by, between having friends over and cleaning to get ready for the homestudy and reading about ICPC adoption laws and going out to lunch one more time with my sister before our new nephew arrives – I don’t know where the weekend went.

I’m trying so hard not to be terrified, and I’ve been doing a pretty good job at keeping myself busy so that I don’t notice it but my subconcious definitely does. I look down at my bleeding thumbs that I’ve been picking at unnoticed all weekend and realize that I’m more worried than ever.

BM was supposed to contact the minister this weekend, but we haven’t heard anything yet. Either way we’ve resolved that if she says no, we’re going to go ahead with an agency and get the homestudy completed and either spend the money trying to find a match through them, or trying to find a match on our own and pay for a lawyer. The biggest part is we’ve got a plan.

But its so scary, its almost like I can feel you slipping out of my fingertips, and you were never in them to begin with. I still feel strongly that you might be the little one due in June, but I also am trying to protect my heart from harm and I’m safeguarding it with all my might against hope to avoid the pain.

 

I know you’re out there, I just do. Its like a mothers instinct. I am literally a childless mother.I know in my heart that I’m a mother, I feel it in my bones. I’m just waiting on you to complete the puzzle.

 

I’m waiting on you so that I can be a childless mother.

I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert, but I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime

Tomorrow is the big day.

Tomorrow we meet with the lawyer. I’m so extremely nervous, afraid she’ll take one look at us and say, yeah right, theres no way you can adopt. And I know that is irrational, but its where my head is right now.

Lately I’ve been battling insomnia – something I haven’t really had an issue with since college. But the worry and anxiety are getting to me…as hard as I am fighting it. I just want to be your mother more than anything in this entire world. I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want you in my life.

But I have hope, a big giant anchor of hope that things will work out.

And I think about you in everything- and BM too. For example, there is this super annoying commercial for a phone company (thank goodness for the magic of DVR’s, I can usually skip through it) but it bothers me so much. The premise is a man and a woman in a nursery, and the man is holding an infant while the woman looks at a phone bill. She talks about the phone bill saying things like “This little package is costing us way too much money, we should just get rid of it”  and he assumes she’s talking about the baby. And I hate, hate, hate this stupid commercial.

I don’t know why it bothers me so much, but I really can’t stand it. I think the reason I’m so disturbed by it is I think of BM (and all the other BM’s out there) who might see this commercial and think thats what people think of them- that they are just giving their babies up because they don’t care or are selfish. And unfortunately little one, there are ignorant people in this world that do think those thoughts. And it drives me insane.

Birth mothers are without a doubt the most amazing mothers on the planet. They care so much about the child they’ve carried within their body for nine months, that they make the ultimate sacrifice to give those children a life they could not provide. It takes a gargantuan amount of courage and resolve to come to that decision, and double that amount of courage to go through with the decision. They are the strongest women in the entire world.

I don’t want you to ever feel that you were given up, discarded, a lesser human than anyone else. Your BM loved you so much, enough to put her own feelings and emotions aside and put you in to the arms of someone else. It’s a miracle that adoptions happen. You are so so very wanted, and don’t ever forget it, because in my mind no other child in this universe is wanted more than you.

We love you so much Little One….so much that words don’t even come close.

 

And you know how much I love to use the power of words.

Style is the mind skating circles around itself as it moves forward

Whats your style? Thats the question on the mind of every social worker who completes homestudies (or so I’ve been told). No, they are not looking to see if you know which bag will work best with a pair of stilettos, they are all curious as to your parenting style.

So RB and I had a serious parenting style talk last night. Though it was the farthest thing from serious, because we have long ago discussed in great detail and have always known what our parenting style will be, we just didn’t know the Baumrind definition.

So what is it?

Well, here are the four parenting styles Baumrind laid out in 1967:

 

The Four Parenting Styles

1. Authoritarian Parenting
In this style of parenting, children are expected to follow the strict rules established by the parents. Failure to follow such rules usually results in punishment. Authoritarian parents fail to explain the reasoning behind these rules. If asked to explain, the parent might simply reply, “Because I said so.” These parents have high demands, but are not responsive to their children. According to Baumrind, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation”.

 

2. Authoritative Parenting
Like authoritarian parents, those with an authoritative parenting style establish rules and guidelines that their children are expected to follow. However, this parenting style is much more democratic. Authoritative parents are responsive to their children and willing to listen to questions. When children fail to meet the expectations, these parents are more nurturing and forgiving rather than punishing. Baumrind suggests that these parents “monitor and impart clear standards for their children’s conduct. They are assertive, but not intrusive and restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than punitive. They want their children to be assertive as well as socially responsible, and self-regulated as well as cooperative” .

 

3. Permissive Parenting
Permissive parents, sometimes referred to as indulgent parents, have very few demands to make of their children. These parents rarely discipline their children because they have relatively low expectations of maturity and self-control. According to Baumrind, permissive parents “are more responsive than they are demanding. They are nontraditional and lenient, do not require mature behavior, allow considerable self-regulation, and avoid confrontation” (1991). Permissive parents are generally nurturing and communicative with their children, often taking on the status of a friend more than that of a parent.

4. Uninvolved Parenting
An uninvolved parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are generally detached from their child’s life. In extreme cases, these parents may even reject or neglect the needs of their children.

 

And here are their repercussions:

  • Authoritarian parenting styles generally lead to children who are obedient and proficient, but they rank lower in happiness, social competence and self-esteem.

 

  • Authoritive parenting styles tend to result in children who are happy, capable and successful (Maccoby, 1992).

 

  • Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation. These children are more likely to experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.

 

  • Uninvolved parenting styles rank lowest across all life domains. These children tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem and are less competent than their peers.

 

So which one best fits RB and I? It’s an obvious answer. We are so totally authoritative.

We both believe that raising a child is about teaching a child. You cannot teach a kid right from wrong, actions and reactions… anything, really- without explaining why.

For example, if you’re a small child about to touch a hot oven we’re going to tell you no. Your curious little amazing mind is inevitably going to ask why. If we tell you, Because we said so, that does nothing… because when we’re not around guess whose having a hot oven touching party? But if we explain to you, on your level that it’s for your own safety so you don’t get injured, you will understand why touching a hot oven is not something we don’t allow, for your safety.

We both agree that this carries over to pretty much everything. Our rules will be enforced, but you’re always going to be encouraged to ask why they are in place. We want to teach you to always be curious- never just take things for what they are. Ask a lot of questions in life, don’t be a follower for followings sake. Be curious and find out why things are the way they are, be a critical thinker (because not being a critical thinker and curious and asking why is far more dangerous than any hot oven, trust me.)

 For another example, lets say you’re sixteen and we have set a curfew for you of 10:00 PM. You may ask why, and we will probably regale you with a giant list of reasons (Safety on the roads, getting adequate sleep, knowing where you are, etc.) But lets just say you want to see a movie that ends at 10:10 PM… of course, thats something up for discussion. We are definitely not going to be the parents whose kid is speeding home dangerously to get in before curfew as to not get in trouble. That defeats the purpose, which is keeping you safe.

On the flip side of the equation, we are not going to be total push overs. Its a big balancing act, but we believe that a family is democracy, for the most part. You’ll have to earn your privledges, just like you do in the real world. Freedom isn’t always free, you have to work hard to be successful in life. But we’re not going to be slave drivers or expect you to be perfect, because you’re human and no one is perfect (of course you’ll always be perfect in our eyes though…but I think every parent thinks that way!) We’re not going to demand straight A’s, but we will demand that you put your best effort in to your work. We won’t be up until 3 AM doing your project for you, but we will work tirelessly with you to help you learn from the project.

I know a lot of people may think that we’re jumping the gun in thinking about these things. A lot of parents think about the basics, whats in front of them right now – the onesies, burping cloths, binkies, bouncy chairs, colors of nursery walls- and we do think about those things too, but they aren’t the big picture here. We’re not raising an infant for the rest of your life, we are raising a human being.  

RB and I have always had that frame of thinking around everything. Weddings are very similiar, and we’re convinced thats why so many marriages fall apart. A wedding is one day in your life, and a wedding day does not make a marriage. So many people focus on the flowers, the dress, the music their going to walk down the aisle to, the favors and what color ribbon will be on the tulle bunting… but none of that means a thing. What really matters is the marriage- and the wedding day is only a celebration of that marriage.

Before RB and I even got engaged, we talked. A lot. About everything under the sun. We made sure we were on the same page with every single scenario we might face in our life. (Of course I’m sure there will be situations and obstacles we’ll face that we didn’t discuss- there already are- but the importance is then discussing and researching before you move forward- together.) We talked about what would happen if one of us, or both of us, lost our jobs. We talked about what we would do if faced with having to move. We talked about things that make people very uncomfortable, like what we would expect if one of us dies (not that we’re planning on that happening for a long time, but thats the point of these conversations). Knowing about our inferility, we talked about what was comfortable for us in terms of how much money we’d spend on treatments, how many times we’d try before taking a break or giving up. We talked about adoption, we talked about IVF. We discussed how many children we wanted and what kind of parents we wanted to be (hence why we knew before looking them up).

Adoption forces people in to this line of thinking. Many parents don’t ever consider what type of parent they will be- they deal with parenting as it comes. And thats fine for them, but adoption and the homestudy process forces you to define it before the baby is even in your arms. And thats kind of a big reason why I think adoption doesn’t scare me (at least this part of adoption… a lot of other things scare me, like a BM backing out or the crazy small details like not having the proper smoke alarm to bedroom ratio for the homestudy) and its also  why RB and I were never nervous during our wedding. We have a plan, and its not just for the here and now.

I don’t want to pat ourselves on the back here, little one. There are going to be plenty of challenges we never dreamed we’d face that we’ll be totally unprepared for, simply because you can’t plan everything in life. Much like the John Lennon quote, Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans, life is unpredictable. But that doesn’t mean we show up unprepared.

I feel like now more than ever, we’re so ready for you. We are ready to be parents-  and while I’ve thought before that we were ready, hindsight is 20/20. While we would have been ecstatic and learned what to do along the way and still would have been great parents if it happened in the past three years we’ve been trying, now is the prefect time. We’ve read the books. We’ve surrounded ourselves with loving positive people, and we’ve purged the negative people in our lives. We are in a circle of nurturing caring friends and family that will accept you with open arms and hearts. We are making more money than we ever have in our careers, enough that I could stay home with you or work from home. We own our own house and are on the road to trying to get a bigger house, but the one we’re in now is fine for a baby. We are more responsible than ever. We are so madly in love with each other, and we support each other through everything.

We are ready.

Now its just about waiting to see if all the other cogs are in place to make this happen. But I know one thing for certain, we will always try our hardest and put our best effort in to raising you, from the day your born until the day we die.  

And official parenting style definitions aside, we’ll be amazing parents to you little one.

 

This I know.