January 31, 2007

For your consideration

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 12:48 pm by Erin

We’ve now gotten in touch with our agency, found out about homestudies, and I’m going to call when I get home to make an appointment with a social worker.  Wow.

I got a lovely compliment from a friend the other day–she knows about our plans to adopt and is as supportive as you could ever want.  She mentioned that as soon as I started talking about adoption, I’m a "glowing expectant mother".  It was so sweet to hear that.

So far, I’ve stayed off the radar for anti-adoption people.  It may be because my blog is small, it’s linked with secondary infertility, and it may not have shown up with them yet.  I’m not afraid of a debate but I’m not big on the idea of being told that I’m a horrible greedy person who’s stealing someone’s child.  And up until now, I’ve stayed away from many of the emotional aspects of this adoption.  Correction: I’ve stayed away from talking on my blog about many of the emotional aspects of this adoption.  I think that might have been a mistake, but it’s really scary to have to put it into writing.  So I’ve been letting it percolate in my head for a long, long time now.

I’m elated.  I’m terrified.  I’m not sure which one’s winning.  It changes from moment to moment.  It’s so new, so BIG, and I don’t quite know how to deal with the whole thing yet.  I’m trying to look at it in immediate pieces–mail in the form for more birth certificates, make a phone call–rather than the fact that we could be bringing home another child this year.  That we’re likely to be bringing home another child this year.  A child who’s already born.  A child who might be laying alone in a bed in an orphanage, or who might be content and giggling in his mother’s arms right now.  I really hope it’s the latter, but that means that he’s going to go through a period of time when it’s not.  When something drastic changes and circumstances/fate/whatever the hell you want to call it determines that he’ll be joining our family.  I know he has to; otherwise, he wouldn’t be in an orphanage.  But it tears me up to know that he has to go through that.  I’m so sad that his parents aren’t going to get to raise him; at the same time, I feel so blessed that we will get to do so.

What bothers me about Soper’s, and other adoptive bloggers, attacker(s) is that they look at adoption as being solely perpetuated by the greed of the adoptive family.  I’m not putting my child in the orphanage.  I hate the fact that circumstances mean that he’ll be there.  I do want another child.  A part of me, though it seems like it’s un-PC to admit it these days, is happy that our desire to have more children means that more children will have families.  If he’s in the orphanage, it means that his family made the decision to have someone else raise him.  They may have hated it, it is very likely causing them great amounts of grief, but they did make the decision.  Should it be the care-center workers?  I’m sure (I hope) they’re loving and caring people, but wouldn’t he be better off in a family?

I know that there continue to be coercive adoption processes to this day–it’s not something that ended in the days where closed adoption was the only option for birthmothers (first mothers?  Mothers?  What’s the best term to use?) and adoptive families.  It’s terrible, and no one should have to deal with that.  But can’t those attackers also admit that sometimes situations occur in which a parent can’t keep a child?  My child’s parents may have died, or may be dying, of AIDS; HIV+ parents are a medical condition that we felt we could accept.  In that case, he has no parents.  Is this still a horrible adoption process?  No, it’s not ideal–that would be that his parents were still alive and he was with them–but isn’t it better for him to have a family than no family?

I’m nervous about everything.  I know that, in Ethiopia, the child sometimes still has living relatives who may not be able, or be willing, to care for him/her, for whatever reason.  I would love to have that information and connection for our child, for him to have that family.  At the same time, what if my child’s family saw that he has a cleft lip and said "We can’t have that!"  Prejudices don’t only exist towards skin colors and religions.  How would it make him feel to know that his family didn’t want him around because of a deformity or disability?  It may not be an issue we need to tackle.  But I worry about it.

I’m scared about how to raise a good, strong, black man.  (Hell, I’m scared about raising a good, strong man at all, but I’ve already got to do that with P.)  I hope that we can do it in a way that makes him proud of his color and heritage.  I worry about the effects on him if we don’t do it the right way.  I worry about whether he’ll attach to us, and whether we’ll attach to him.  About how long it will take.  What if he attaches right away?  Is it masking another problem?  I hate saying that I worry about attaching to him.  It’s a horrible thing to admit–how can a parent not be attached to and love their child?  But what if I can’t?

At the same time as all of these, and other, thoughts are running through my head, I’m excited about having another son.  I love hearing P say that his little brother is in Ethiopia and that we don’t know his name yet (because we are keeping his name.  It’s a part of who he is).  I love talking with J about how much fun we’ll have with two little boys, and starting to think about buying more carseats and clothes and diapers again.  I love picturing my future son, with his beautiful dark skin and brown eyes, having dinner with us or playing in the park.  And, I hope, cuddling with us as we read bedtime stories and sing songs before he goes to sleep at night.

Posting this blog entry is making me nervous, so I’m going to do it without the read-through that it undoubtedly needs.  I’ve pretty much just poured it out of my heart–if I read it through, I think I’ll probably change things that should be left alone.  But it feels like I’ve just barely tapped the well of the fears and excitements that I have about adoption, so there will probably be more coming soon.

January 28, 2007

Caution: Skyrocketing nerd quotient!

Posted in Pure weirdness at 7:36 am by Erin

I spent Friday and Saturday at a science conference.  The highlight of Friday’s talks included the appearance of an albino constrictor snake, pleas for reducing metal pollution to aid in sea turtle conservation, and crayfish pornography.  Oh sure, they prettied the last one up as a study of the dominance and submissiveness behavior of male crayfish, but it was really just crayfish porn.  Sometimes, I wonder if some scientists are just trying to find acceptable ways to express their weird crustacean fetishes.

I can only imagine the Google hits that I’m going to get now.  Frankly, I’m frightened.

It was a really nice conference, very small and primarily made up of biologists from state colleges in Georgia.  I got to learn about some really interesting studies that have been done.  It reminded me of why I went into science–I will never, ever get bored with it.  There’s just too much to learn!  Half of the conference was ecology-based, which isn’t something I have much experience with, but it was fascinating to learn about the ability of snakes to use infrared imaging as well as vision and about how sea turtles use magnetic orientations.  The other half was molecular biology, which is more along my line of experience.

I met some great people as well.  I’ve been getting up early to work out for about the last week (trying to do it in the evenings just wasn’t happening–too many excuses), so I was up early to get on the treadmill at the hotel.  There was a man in there who was at the same conference, so we chatted for a bit about his research and other things–his wife works at my old graduate school in a lab whose principal investigator I know.  He gave one of the talks on Saturday and has written something like 120 published papers, along with countless awards and things like that.  At a huge conference, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to him at all.  But since this one was small, I had access to him and all of the other researchers.  Since a lot of the attendees were educators, several of the posters dealt with ways of teaching science.  I got some great ideas for how to make my classes better also.

It was a great weekend.  I haven’t been to a science conference in ages (my grad school advisor never once sent me to one) and I’d forgotten how great they are.  It actually gave me an urge to get back into a lab and do some research, which I may look into in the fall.  It’s so nice to be able to do something that gives you that kind of enthusiasm.

January 24, 2007

This just in

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 12:07 pm by Erin

We finished the medical checklist last night.  Neither of us particularly cared to watch the State of the Union address because really, come on.  I’m all for being informed politically–I just don’t feel like that would have increased my knowledge of the government.  And, as one of my favorite bumper stickers says "Republicans for Voldemort", you can probably guess where I stand on the vast majority of what Bush thinks is best for the country.

But I digress, especially since I try to steer away from politics here–this is a family blog!

I thought we were only about half done, as we’d agreed to do it in chunks.  As it turned out, a great deal of the last half dealt with mobility issues.  There are very few that we feel we could handle since our house is not conducive to most physical mobility problems, so it went quickly.

Someone from the agency called me today; of course, I didn’t hear the phone ring.  So I’ll be calling her back to find out who can do a homestudy in the Atlanta area; only certain agencies are licensed to work with Ethiopia, and I’m pretty sure that applies to social workers who are able to do the homestudies.  I know there are some here, I just need some names so that I can get that scheduled.

J and I had lunch together today (we do that about once a week; it’s "us" time) and we are so excited!  Our application will go in the mail tomorrow, along with a $250 check and some photos.

And, might I say, you’re all very easy to please with regards to blogging topics!  Yes, the TV show-thing was about "24" (ah, Jack Bauer, you are so wonderful!).  The $2000 was NOT in reference to something car-related, thankfully, but was equally mundane–we have had so many pipe breaks in our front lawn over the last 6 months that we replaced the whole line with copper pipe.  OK, our plumber did it, but J and P helped with digging.  Pretty exciting, no?  And truthfully, I destroyed those head-blog-posts for a reason–I wouldn’t have even wanted to read them.  But I’ll get to the others this week.

(Oh, if you have a Blogspot blog, it will not let me leave comments at all today.  I don’t know why!  But I’ve tried to comment on several of your blogs, and I’m definitely thinking of you in your IF struggles.)

January 23, 2007

Chirp chirp chirp

Posted in The musings of Erin at 10:55 am by Erin

It’s so quiet here.  I’ve been attacked by the normal beginning-of-the-semester workload, I say with all the authority of someone who’s been teaching full-time for all of 6 months.  But I could still have found time to update all of you on where things stand.


They’re really not going anywhere.  I thought we had our application almost ready to go out.  Just a few quick things and we could send it along to our agency.  Write a check, attach a couple of pictures, the medical conditions checklist…wait a minute.  That last one isn’t exactly a "quick" thing and, although we’ve been talking about this for a long time, it turns out that J and I aren’t as educated as we want to be about some of the conditions listed.  We seem to be in pretty good agreement about the ones we know, but there are so many of them listed!  Things I’d never even thought of and things about which I don’t know enough to make a good decision.

It’s just not something we can take lightly.  We’re making a decision to bring another child into our family.  There’s very little say about what you get when a child is born biologically, but this is different.  We’re making a deliberate decision about what we feel we can handle.  We have to consider ourselves, the impact on P, future medical choices, etc. 

It’s a huge responsibility that we both underestimated before we really started going through it.  I’m glad that we’re in agreement about how seriously we need to take it; I just wish we’d started a while ago!  I really wanted to have made our initial application by the middle of January, and our homestudy around the end of the month.  We’ve been so lost in new medical conditions that we haven’t even found an agency to do our homestudy yet.

Until we’ve gotten that in, I’m leaving the choice of what you want to read about up to you.  Would you like to read about:

1.  The blog posts I’ve started in my head and subsequently destroyed (keep in mind, there’s probably a pretty good reason that I never wrote them)

2.  Why I screamed "GAH!" at the television last night, then had to call my parents shortly thereafter (some of you probably had the same reaction and know exactly what I’m talking about)

3.  More adorable tales of P (no shortage there)

4.  My reaction to some of the very heart-wrenching posts that have been written lately (I hope I’ve bookmarked them all; there are definitely some that I’d like to revisit)

5.  How we’re going into this adoption $2000 poorer than we thought we would be

6.  (Or, lastly) How my New Year’s resolutions are going

See, told you it was boring around here.

January 14, 2007

I’m feeling all the love!

Posted in The musings of Erin at 1:00 pm by Erin

Wow, 33 comments!  I’m so happy that you’re all here, and thanks again for commenting.  I’m going to kick in a few extra dollars and send Resolve a $40 check this week.  Happy days!

Today is my 29th birthday.  It’s hard to believe that my next one will be 30.  The actual number 30 doesn’t bother me; what bothers me is that I remember when my uncle turned 30 and he just turned 50 last summer!

P got me the best present (I suspect that J had a hand in setting it up, but he claims it was all P): yesterday, while I was at synagogue with P, 3 people came and spent 3 hours cleaning my house!  And this was the first of 10 once-every-other-week cleanings!  They don’t send a whole crew normally, just the first time.  It was such an amazing thing to come home and have a clean house!  I mean, the furniture is actually shiny!  Wow.  I had no idea our house could be this clean.  J took one look at it and said "OK, we need to sell it right now."

J also got me a lovely hand-woven basket for our table, as well as a computer game that I’ll probably like a lot (we play computer games quite frequently–we’re nerds, and we’ve given up on ever changing that status).  It’s been a wonderful birthday: we had pancakes for breakfast, then P and I went and played outside for a couple of hours in the lovely 70-degree weather, and we’ll be going out to dinner later, but the true fun starts at 8 p.m.:100_2560

Jack is back

And my day is complete.

(Is it really sad that that was the very first thing that I wrote on my calendar when I got it?)

January 9, 2007

It’s National Delurking Week of 2007!

Posted in The musings of Erin at 8:53 am by Erin

And it is, naturally, the most boring week of my blog.  It’s the first week back in classes, I’m teaching a class and lab that I’ve never even taken, let alone taught, and I’m swamped.  Not to mention that we’ve been filling out the agency application more and trying to figure out who to ask for references, etc.  Crazy, I tell ya.

My New Year’s resolution to stay more organized is being put to the test this week.  Why is it that getting organized is a big mess?  I’ve got lists written and storage containers half-ready, piles of paper that can be filed, and toys to package up and store in the basement.  I’ve been on the treadmill 3 times in the last week, cooked dinners almost every night (except one night when J cooked), and have spent lots of time with P.  I’ve gotten lectures written and my webpage set up for my students.  So why do I feel like I’m running on a hamster wheel?

I know that there are some lurkers, as well as regular readers, out there.  If you happen to read my blog, can you let me know how and why?  Or even just that you’re here, if you’re shy.  I’m going to steal a page from several other bloggers and donate $1 to Resolve for every person who comments on this post!  They’re a great organization–just leave a "Hi!" and they’ll get some money.

January 6, 2007


Posted in All ahead to adoption at 9:51 pm by Erin

We’ve chosen an agency and will hopefully finish filling out the application tomorrow.  Of course, since we’ve made that decision, I’ve had no fewer than 3 people tell me that we’re going to get pregnant right away now.  I’m curious as to how I’m going to do that, given that I barely ovulate when I’m not on medication that prevents pregnancy.  Apparently, my ovaries are going to get supercharged from the agency application.  I had no idea that was a possibility–they should put a warning on the top of the form, or something.

We’ve been preparing P for having a little brother also.  There’s only so much we can do, since he’s only 3 and abstract concepts are a little much for him now, but I’m just too excited lately to wait.  I’ve told him before that his little brother is in Ethiopia, and showed him on a globe, but that escaped him.  The other night we were saying bedtime prayers and I said that we should make sure to include his little brother in our prayers.  "Where is he?" P asked.

"He’s in Ethiopia right now, and hopefully he’ll come home this year."

"With his mommy and daddy?"

"I’m going to be his mommy, and Daddy is going to be his daddy, and you’re going to be his big brother."

"You’re my mommy and his mommy?"

"I will be."

I loved having that conversation with him. 

When J and I were starting to fill out the application, P was playing on the floor behind us.  "P, you’re going to have a little brother–will you share your toys with him?"  J asked him.

"Yes, my dinosaurs and my Thomas trains."

These are his absolute favorite toys, and they were the first ones he mentioned.  (Hear that, Mom?)  He’s such a sweetie.  I can’t wait to see him as a big brother!

January 2, 2007

Forward march!

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 9:41 pm by Erin

We’re thisclose to choosing an agency!  It’s down to two, and that’s only because I haven’t spoken to one of them yet.  We really like one of them for several reasons, and I’d imagine we’ll probably choose them when all is said and done.

Once January hit (complete with matching fireworks in my uterus–I was doubled over in pain for much of yesterday.  It was also the second month in a row when I started spotting at 7dpo instead of 9dpo–whatever, I’m on the Pill again as of today), I felt like I needed to get started.  So not only have we nearly chosen an agency, today I:

1.  Printed and filled out the passport application for P

2.  Printed the renewal application for J’s passport

3.  Printed and filled out a form requesting certified copies of my birth certificate

4.  Printed and filled out a form requesting certified copies of our marriage license

And for work, I:

1.  Wrote lectures for next week (when classes start)

2.  Wrote up some materials for my students

3.  Signed up for 3 computer training courses over the next 2 days

4.  And two hours more of actual work that is necessary to keep the health insurance and pay for the adoption (as well as more mundane things, like eating on a regular basis)

P and I also went to the pet store today when I picked him up and purchased:

1.  2 more fish

2.  Another frog

3.  Another snail

4.  Bones for the dogs

See, my organization is already working!  I had time to spend with P to not only run into the pet store, but to take time and go visit the cats who are up for adoption, look at all of the lizards and rodents and birds, and then read him 5 million stories when we got home.  And I cooked a lovely dinner for us as well.  Now, however, it’s 12:40 a.m. and I have a computer training at 10 a.m.

It’s so nice to view adding to our family with excitement again!  I know there will be many a hill ahead that needs to be climbed, but it’s exciting to really get on the road!