Sunday, May 17, 2009

Do you have something you would die for?

So, I've been looking for a poem or a song or something to express how I feel. How I have been feeling for the last couple of years. Something I could share with other people struggling with infertility. I found this video/song on another adoption blog that I read. I thought I might share it with you.

Warning: I cry every time I watch this, so if you are at work, or in a public place, you may want to save this one for when you are home, with a nice glass of wine, and a box of tissues.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Where do we go from here?

So we took a big blow this week. The adoption process was moving along great until I got the following e-mail from my contact with Journey's of the Heart (our adoption agency).

"We learned that ProIII changed the age requirement for families from 27-49 to 30-48. We are sending your file to the Senior Taiwan Director in our Shoreline office to see if we can still keep you in the program since you applied before the change took effect. I will keep you posted of what she will say. I'm keeping my fingers crossed."

How do I explain my emotions at this point? Angry, sad, upset, frustrated, bitter, mad, offended…you get the picture. Sometimes I just get so angry when people assume that I won't be good at something because of my age. I'm trying my best to be understanding. I know that there are lots of people out there that want a baby from Taiwan, and this is just their way of narrowing down the list.

Jace and I really haven't had a chance to discuss our options at this point. I did find out yesterday that we are officially out of Program III. No chance that they would accept us because I'm only 27. There is another program with Taiwan that we could get into, but the wait time is much longer. We could try to pick another country, but it took us weeks to decide on Taiwan.

I guess what I'm asking for is prayer. I have no idea where to go from here. I just start crying every time I think about having to wait 3 years to get on a list (and then possibly another 2 years to get a child….oh yes…that means 5 years folks!).

A special "Thanks" to my wonderful sisters…Joani, Mitzi and Tricia…you girls are the best! They sent me flowers yesterday to help me feel better. Flowers always make me feel better!

Monday, May 11, 2009

How did the second Home Study appointment go?

Well, the second home study visit (or Home Invasion as my family likes to call it) went really well. The visit took about 4 hours. By the end of the evening, we were so overwhelmed by all the information our social worker gave us. There are so many things you need to know prior to getting any child (by birth or adoption). I guess since most of our friends and family have biological children, we don't have a lot of experience in how to care for a child that may have been in foster care or an orphanage. Lots of other health and attachment issues you need to be aware of.

Below are a few of the ones we found really interesting.

This entire attachment process is just fascinating to me. Well, when you have a biological child, and you are there with them from day 1, they know who mom and dad are. They understand who was put on this earth to care for their every need. In an orphanage, it may not be that clear. The children in orphanages are cared for by lots of different people (similar to nurses at a hospital…they work in shifts). I have convinced myself that these caregivers love the children (please, don't tell me any different), but because there are so many caregivers and so many children, they don't' really have a chance to create that one on one bond. By not having this chance, these children come to the understanding that all adults are their caregivers. They don't meet a stranger. In WalMart, they may walk up to any adult and begin expressing a need or a want. I never would have thought of this.

We are still learning on how to overcome this problem, but our social worker suggested that for the first few months the child is with us, Jace and I are the only ones who are allowed to meet that child's needs. That means that every time the child needs to be fed, changed, bathed, or entertained, Jace and I are the only ones allowed to do this. She also suggested that we may not want other adults loving on the baby until the child has a chance to make the connection with me and Jace. Ok. So I know what you are thinking…is that really possible? How in the world are Jace and I going to go from having no children, to having a child that no one else is allowed to care for? No breaks for us. Grandma won't be able to help with a midnight feeding, or midday diaper changes. Well, I'm guessing that there are lots of parts about parenting that are difficult, but when you love your child, you will do whatever is necessary to care for and protect that little bundle of joy.

Also, as a note on the comments above…sorry grandparents. I know this is going to be very difficult for you as well. I asked our social worker what she would suggest for the grandparents. She said that top priority is for the baby to know mom and dad. These first few months are very important in the development and training of the baby. If grandparents insist on helping, then they can come do the dishes and laundry, so that Jace and I will have more time to care for the baby. Sorry guys.

Another interesting thing we learned is that all children have this "need cycle" as I'm going to call it. The cycle is as follows: (1) Child has a need, (2) Adult/Caregiver/Parent recognizes the child's need, (3) Need is met, (4) Child is satisfied. In an orphanage, this cycle is broken at times. There may be times when the child cries and an adult does not recognize the need, therefore the need goes unmet. When this happens over and over, the child eventually learns to satisfy himself. "Why is this so important?" you might ask. Well the thing is that if the baby learns that no one will respond to his cry, then he doesn't cry. For new parents this is very scary. Could you imagine bringing home your baby, and the baby never cried? How would you ever know if the baby is hungry, sleepy, wet, etc. You don't. New parents rely on that baby to tell them what to do. Some may think a baby that doesn't cry is a good thing, but in reality it's not so much.

One last thing I want to mention about a child that has spent time in an orphanage. Children that live in orphanages are one month behind developmentally for every three months they stay in the orphanage. This means that if the baby is 12 months old when we go get him, he will behave much like an 8 month old. I'm pointing this out so that you don't make the mistake in saying "at 12 months, so-and-so's kid was walking" or whatever. You cannot compare the development of a child raised by loving parents from day one to a child who has spent time in an orphanage.

Below is the list we got from our social worker on some other suggestions on how to create a healthy relationship with our child…

  1. Hold your baby. Touch your baby. Use a chest carrier as much as possible. Do not let his feet touch the ground. You cannot spoil this child.
  2. Respond to your child's cries within 15 seconds, so that he/she knows that you are there for them.
  3. Make lots of eye contact. Play peek-a-boo.
  4. Playfully imitate your child. Let him/her know he/she is center of the universe.
  5. Talk to your child while you perform nurturing actions such as cuddling or feeding.
  6. Stay with your child and comfort him/her through crying and screaming. This allows the child to express emotions and shows the child that they can trust you in the future to comfort in times of need.
  7. Learn as much as you can about the child's former routine and follow that as closely as possible…eating, sleeping, bathing, clothing. Once the child gets to know you, you can gradually introduce your ways.
  8. Initially, Mom and Dad should be the only people meeting the baby's needs. The baby needs to bond with them first.
  9. Use music, especially lullabies in the child's native language.
  10. Consider a family bed.

Some of the things on the list are not things we would have done with a biological child, and I'm sure you wouldn't consider doing them with your children…but remember these kids are different and they have different needs. I don't care so much for the chest carriers, but I understand that it is important for the baby to be close to me, but I'm going to eventually have to go grocery shopping or take a walk down the street or whatever. If he/she likes that kind of thing, well then that's what we are going to do. Also, I am not a fan at all of the family bed. I am such a light sleeper, and I know that I am going to be exhausted when the baby arrives. Our social worker stated that most children in orphanages share beds with other babies, so to assume that the baby will be perfectly fine in a bed alone, in a room all alone, is just crazy. You have to transition one thing at a time, I suppose. First get used to being with me and Jace, then we can discuss the family bed issues.

Ok. Well that is a lot of information, but I find it just fascinating. I can't wait to try all these thing out with our little Tator-Tot!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Have you ever been bitten?

If you are expecting a blog about animal bites, you've come to the wrong place. I'm talking about being bitten by something you love, and not being able to think of anything but that one thing. Sort of that feeling you get when you start dating someone, you look forward to seeing that person, learning more about that person, and you dread the moments you spend apart.

In an article titled "The Newbie Chronicles" in my new favorite magazine, the author defines the word "bitten" as if "you have arrived at a mythical place I can only imagine, where you no sooner start the day without [this] than I could eat a cake without frosting." Well that is the feeling I have today. What is this thing I am referring to?? Running!

Yes, ok, so I may not look like your average runner, and really I wouldn't so much call myself a runner, more of a jogger or better yet a shuffler, but today I did something I have never done before and I loved it!! I ran 5 miles, without stopping. Three months ago I could barely make it a half mile and I was struggling to breathe, but today, I made it 5 miles.

So in honor of my 5 mile, I thought it would be fun to give you a little insight as to what goes through the mind of a person who is running 5 miles.

While changing into my running clothes: "Emily are you sure you want to do this? Five miles is really far. You've never done this before. Wow, that new Nike shirt you bought today looks great on you. Ok. Seriously. Are you really going to do this?"

As I walk out the door and begin my run: "Not too fast, don't want to overdo it, you know. Nice day, breeze blowing, not too hot."

At mile 0.5: "Wow, I really feel great. Time, 5:50, not bad. Right on track."

At mile 1: "Um. I just finished mile 1 and I feel great. No breathing problems. I can remember the first time I ran a mile…ah so easy now."

At mile 1.5: "Ew, is that sweat on my shirt? Um, this new Nike shirt changes colors when it gets wet. You know the old Valero T-shirt I wore last week didn't change colors that much. Hum. This is really gross."

At mile 2: "So I really did just wipe my nose on my shirt sleeve without even thinking about it. Ew, and there is snot on my sleeve. Not as bad as the time a big wad of snot came flying out of my nose and landed on my…um…chest. At least this time I got to decide where the snot landed. I wonder why my nose feels the need to run everytime I do?"

At mile 2.5: "Why is that strange guy staring at me? Doesn't he know I can see him? Believe me, I know I'm not looking that great right now…no reason to stare. Oh, never mind, I think he was watching the dog in that yard. Smile and wave."

At mile 3: "Over half way and I'm feeling great. I remember the first time I ran 3 miles with Jace, without stopping. Um. I think I just got some sweat in my eye. Oh it burns, that is definitely sweat. What do I wipe it with? How am I supposed to get the sweat out of my eye, when my nice new Nike shirt is covered in sweat? Oh great. Maybe I can run with just one eye open. Nope, poor balance with one eye. I almost tripped on the curb. Ah, the sleeve with all the snot, there is a dry spot on it. Feeling much better now."

At mile 3.5: "I think I hear someone coming up behind me. Suck in gut. Look cute. Really, look cute? I'm running, I'm covered in sweat and snot, and I'm thinking 'look cute.' Oh good, just Jace. He looks cute. Why can't I look that cute when I run? Ah yes, he just flies right past me. Oh if only God made it so that I could keep up with him. Oh well, don't try to keep up now, you'll never make 5 miles."

At mile 4: "Wow. I feel really good. Last week at mile 4 I was gasping for air. Today I feel great. What changed? What did I eat today…sandwich, salad, peanut butter…oh I bet it's the peanut butter…or at least that is what I'm going to tell myself, because I really do love peanut butter."

At mile 4.5: "Oh good, cute guy coming. Suck in gut. Nope, never mind. No sucking in gut, abs beginning to hurt, should not suck in gut. He can just watch my wobbly parts as I run. Oh good, it's Jace. Man, he looks good. Give him the wave and a thumbs up…that way he'll know you are doing good. Ha…I'm almost done and he still has 2 miles to go…sucka!"

At mile 5: "I did it. I finished 5 miles…time?? 1:02:45. Not bad. A little over a 12 minute mile. My goal was 12 minute miles, but you know, I just finished 5 miles…so I don't care that I went over by a couple of minutes. Geez. Shirt covered in sweat. Beautiful. Snot has finally dried on my shirt sleeve. My legs feel great, I'm not struggling to breathe at all. I want to do this again tomorrow!"

So there you have it. That's what is going through my mind when I am out running. If you are not a runner, I would highly recommend it. Honestly, if I can do this, so can you. And for those that are runners, watch out, I'm going to be running circles around you in no time…hehe!