September 24, 2007

My least favorite student comments

Posted in The musings of Erin at 10:39 am by Erin

1. "Do we need to know this for the test?"–No, I’m just rambling on for my health

2. "I missed class the other day–can you tell me what I missed?"–Yes, about an hour and fifteen minutes where I blathered on about those pesky cells and what they do.  Did you want some more specific details than that?

3. "I missed class the other day–did I miss anything important?"–No, we sat around for the entire period and admired each others’ hair and nails, and talked about the line for the Georgia game on Saturday.  Why would we bother doing any of that biology stuff?

September 18, 2007

It happened again

Posted in The musings of Erin at 11:02 am by Erin

The scene: Last night right after chorus rehearsal

The participants: Me and another woman who’s also been singing in the chorus* for several years now–we’ll call her Sara

Sara: How’s the…well, he’s not really a baby anymore, is he?

Me: No, he’ll be 4 in December.  He’s great.

Sara: Four?!  He can’t really be four, can he?  It’s time for another one!

Me: Actually, we’re in the process of adopting another one right now!

Sara: WHY????  Don’t you want to have another one?  Do you just not want to put your body through pregnancy again?  (She actually started sputtering, she seemed so incredulous.)

Me: I would love to.

Sara: Oh, I’m sorry.

Me: Thanks.

Sara: Do you really think you can get a baby that way?

Me: Actually, we don’t want a baby.  We’re adopting a toddler boy from Ethiopia.

Sara: Wow.  Well, good luck, honey!


I just never know what to say when someone says "I’m sorry" when I mention that I’m infertile in conjunction with talking about adopting.  On the one hand, I appreciate that they’re being sympathetic to a difficult medical condition.  On the other hand, I’m not sorry that we’re adopting.  Not even remotely.  I’m not sorry that we stopped fertility treatments.  I’m not sorry that we’ve chosen to bring a child into our family in a different way, or even that we need to pay money to do so (hell, we’d pay more for 2 IVF cycles).  And I’m absolutely as far from sorry as possible that I’m expecting another child–I couldn’t be more thrilled that I’m going to be a mommy to two boys sometime in the coming months.

I worry that by saying only "Thanks" that I’m implying that adoption is a second-best choice for us.  And it’s not at all.  But I don’t want to say "I’m not" because that would be…well, rude.  (Ignoring, of course, the fact that questioning WHY we’re adopting instead of getting pregnant is quite rude in and of itself.) 

Then there’s also the issue of answering the "Don’t you want to get pregnant again?" question.  I would love to get pregnant again.  I would not, however, trade being pregnant right now for adopting.  If it was a random stranger, I would have said "Isn’t that a rather personal question?"  However, I’ve known Sara for years, including through my pregnancy with P.  We don’t socialize outside of chorus rehearsals but we do talk quite a bit there.  I didn’t feel like that was the right response in this situation.  But I also didn’t feel like I know her well enough to talk about our infertility struggle.  Again, though, I worry that I implied that we’re adopting as a second-best alternative.

Am I reading too much into it?  Any suggestions on responses to these questions?  I feel pretty well prepared for the nosy questions that we’ll get when our son comes home and we’re a very conspicuous adoptive family.  These pre-adoption questions, though…they throw me.


*I sing with the Emory University chorus, which is open to anyone who wants to join–students, faculty, alumni, and other community members.  This is my 5th year singing–I had to take last year off since I had a class on Monday nights.  We sing Christmas concerts (yes, I know I’m Jewish–I just love the singing and the music is gorgeous–I don’t have to believe it to sing it) known as "Lessons and Carols" at the beginning of December.  4 years ago, I was pregnant with P all semester.  He was born on the Wednesday before the concerts, so I missed them (my water broke 90 minutes after Tuesday night rehearsal).  He’s my Lessons and Carols baby to most of the people in the chorus.

September 8, 2007

We’re officially a Waiting Family!

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 1:34 pm by Erin

I am so very, very excited!  Our dossier was reviewed and was perfect except for one thing: we accidentally sent J’s hospital birth certificate instead of the state-issued one.  Fortunately, we have a copy of that one also (it’s from 1977, but I can’t imagine that will matter–Virginia is still Virginia), so I will mail it to them on Monday morning.  And Ms IU said that she’s added us to their waiting families list!*

So what does this mean?  To be honest, not a whole lot.  Our dossier will be translated and sent to Ethiopia (or maybe it gets sent and then translated?  I forget which comes first).  Then we wait.  Because we’re open to special-needs or healthy males between 0-30 months, it could be fairly soon or it could be several more months.  We can request information and adopt a waiting child, or we can wait for a referral.  Since our age range is wider than many APs, who want to adopt babies, we may not wait very long.  Or we might.  There’s really no way of knowing–I’ve heard stories of people who’ve gotten referrals of toddlers within days and stories of people who’ve waited longer than some people wait for infants.  Who knows?

But I still can’t stop grinning.

(Yes, this is the point at which some people will say you’re "paper pregnant".  Please don’t use the term with me.  The idea of being pregnant with a toddler is just horrifying.)

September 7, 2007

Taking the high road and eating mashed potatoes

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 9:34 am by Erin

(Ummm, mashed potatoes are goooooood.)

Our dossier was received on Wednesday–there was some sort of delay and it wasn’t picked up from the Express Mail box in J’s office building until Tuesday afternoon.  Since it was in there early on Thursday afternoon and they’re supposed to pick up every day except the weekends, we have no idea what happened.  But if they got it Wednesday morning (at 9:15 a.m.), why was I still begging them to tell me if they’d gotten it late on Thursday afternoon?  Ms IU did finally e-mail me then, a very short note to say they’d gotten it and she had been very busy with their coordinator, who was in town from Ethiopia.  Fine, I understand that things come up.  I know they’re busy–they started issuing referrals again yesterday since the courts will re-open soon.  But I still feel like they should have let us know they’d received it.

J and I talked about it and decided that, while we are clients and are paying them a lot of money to help us through this process, we would rather not take the chance of upsetting them and having them delay our adoption.  We saw what happened when we inadvertently upset our social worker, and how much longer it took to get the homestudy done.  Frankly, we’re a little gun-shy.  And we want our son.  I’m hoping that if the Ethiopia coordinator is in town, maybe there will be some new children added to the Waiting Child list.

I sent Ms IU a very nice e-mail in response.  I thanked her for letting me know they’d gotten it, explained that we don’t know why it didn’t get picked up originally, and told her I was very happy to know they have it in hand.  I also said that I knew she was very busy, so I’d copied the questions from the original e-mail and if she happened to have a minute free, we’d love to know the answers.  And then I asked her one further question about the amount of time that a family has to consider a waiting child’s file.

I asked for two reasons.  One (the one I told her) is that if we decide to request information on the little boy with the possibly-minor-possibly-serious medical condition, we would like to consult with a doctor about his file before making a decision.  If we only get to review it for a short period of time, we can’t do that.  Two (the reason I really want to know) is that I want to know how long we should wait to see if the first little boy’s information becomes available again, meaning the other family is not going to adopt him.  J thinks that even his very limited on-line profile is so nice that he can’t imagine they won’t adopt him. But I still want to know.

I just want to see our son.  I want to see his little face.  I’m not willing to risk anything to keep that from happening as soon as possible.

September 6, 2007

End of the week frustrations

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 10:38 am by Erin

We mailed our completed dossier to our agency a week ago today.  It was overnighted with FedEx and should have been there Friday.  Why haven’t I heard from them to say that they’ve received it yet?

I sent a message to both my contact person (Ms. Ignores Us, or Ms. IU) and one other person (Ms. Wonderful Person, or Ms. WP) there on Friday on the same e-mail.  Ms. IU has been horrible about getting back to us, and I thought maybe I was mistaken that she is our contact person, that maybe it was someone else and I should be getting in touch with that person instead.  I had several questions, but I put that one right up front.  Ms. WP e-mailed me to say no, Ms. IU is our contact person.  She then answered two of the questions and said that Ms. IU would probably be the best one to answer the others.  She congratulated us on finishing our dossier and said they looked forward to receiving it.

Slowly proceed through the looooooooooooong weekend (when we finally let ourselves peruse the Waiting Child list and requested information on the little boy).  Early Tuesday afternoon, I e-mailed Ms. WP to ask if Ms. IU has been out of the office, because we still haven’t heard from her.  She replied and said she might have been on Friday, since some people extended their holiday weekend, but expected that I’d hear from her that day (Tuesday) and to let her know if I hadn’t.

Late Wednesday afternoon, I again e-mailed Ms. WP.  I was very polite and simply said that I hadn’t heard from her and I hoped everything was OK.  Now it’s Thursday afternoon and I’ve not only not heard from Ms. IU, but I also haven’t heard from Ms. WP (who has always gotten back to me very quickly, usually within an hour).  I called the agency and left a voice mail with yet a THIRD person in the Ethiopia division, asking them to please check that our dossier was received and to call and let me know.

Am I being high-maintenance or is this ridiculous?  Is it really too much to ask that they tell me they received a package of documents that took us months, the assistance of countless loved ones and government agencies, and well over $1000 to put together?  It had several checks in it as well (one of them VERY large), and it would be nice to know that they’ve received them.  Is it really too much to ask that some important questions I have about P traveling with us have been answered?

This is not the first time this has happened.  Ms. IU seems to be a very busy person.  I’ve called her 4 times for 3 separate questions.  The first time, she called me back a day or two later (that was fine, it wasn’t an important issue).  The second time, a month or two later, she didn’t call back.  The third time was a week later with the question from the second time–she called me back within a couple of hours, apologized for not calling sooner because she’d been in Ethiopia when I’d called, and answered my question.  The third time, a few weeks later and with a last-minute dossier question, she never called back.  I got that question answered from another source.

We’ve already paid this agency thousands of dollars.  We don’t have extra money sitting around.  Either we proceed with them or we don’t proceed, we can’t switch to another agency.  This was supposed to be a fantastic agency, one that I’ve only heard good things about.  When I got together with the other APs of Ethiopian children a few weeks ago, two of them were in the process of using this agency (one is now traveling, the other completed her dossier a few months ago) and both of them raved about it.  If I recall correctly, they both have Ms. WP as their contact person and said how she always calls them back within an hour of receiving their call if not sooner, she’ll answer any questions a million times if necessary, etc.  I feel like we got the short end of the stick.  We got screwed with our social worker and now we’re getting screwed with Ms. IU at the adoption agency.

I told J that I wanted to ask the agency if Ms. WP could be our contact person from now on because she has always been great.  He thinks that’s a bad idea.  What do you think?

September 4, 2007

Tick, tock, tick, tock

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 7:28 pm by Erin

We requested information on a waiting child the other day; however, we found out today that his information is already being reviewed by another family. They will only share the information with one family at a time, so we’re discussing things. I told the remarkable Amanda that I had the strangest feeling of something being *right* with this profile. She gave me chills with her answer: "That feeling you are having is no accident…something big is just around the corner." Then they told us that the profile was already being reviewed. I thought all weekend that if we couldn’t look at it for some reason, I’d be sad.  And yet, that feeling that we’re standing on the edge of something remains.  I much prefer that to the sadness, fear, and depression that I felt so recently.

There were two other boys who we initially thought fell within our age range, so we thought we might look at them. But, because I don’t know how to add or subtract, it turns out that they were less than a year younger than P (one was 9 months younger and one was 10 months). We thought about it briefly and were OK with it at first, because their birthdays are far enough apart that they’d be in different grades in school, then we reconsidered. Our agency prefers at least a year apart–I don’t think they would mind so much with a toddler adoption, since P will likely be 4 when his little brother comes home and 4 and 3 are very different than if we’d been caring for a 1-year-old and a newborn.  But we both feel a little more comfortable with having our boys slightly further apart in age, so we’ve decided not to request information on them. 

That was a hard decision to make.  It felt like we were consigning them to waiting longer.

There is another little boy on the list, though. His birthday is right before J’s, which would be a lovely addition to our whole family having birthdays between November and January. He’ll be 2 in November. If the other family accepts a referral for the first little boy, we may request his information.  Developmentally, he’s on target.  There’s a medical issue to consider–if it’s minor, we can deal with it.  If it’s major, we don’t feel ready to handle it.  We know generally what the issue is but won’t know the severity unless we request his file.  The profile also said something about a special background circumstance which would be discussed with prospective adoptive parents who request his information, so we’ll need to consider that as well.

Right now, we feel more comfortable waiting and seeing if the other family decides to adopt the first little boy. But it feels much better to be waiting from the point of having all our clearances approved and our dossier done than it did in June.

September 2, 2007

Don’t worry!

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 1:33 pm by Erin

I promise, this site will still be following our journey through IA!  I’ll probably double-post on the two sites for posts that just have information about the adoption, while this one will have more posts about the emotional aspects and that one will have more pictures.  After all, I can’t blog about how much my mother drives me crazy about infertility and adoption on a blog that she might actually read!  That one will probably be HIGHLY censored.  This one will be more real, if that makes any sense at all.  I just wanted to have a central place to post information about the adoption, rather than writing 20 e-mails with the same information!

So don’t panic, I’ll still be here and still be posting as often (hahahaha) as I always do!

September 1, 2007

I hate to move that last post

Posted in The musings of Erin at 7:24 pm by Erin

I’ve started another blog for adoption updates for my family and other friends.  If you’d like the address, please send me an e-mail.  If you happen to post over there, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not reference this blog.  This one is my haven for writing about more personal things, like IF treatments and family things that bug me (ahem, Mom), and I would hate for them to find it.  I’m going to start commenting on blogs of IRL friends with only the account attached to that blog, so don’t be surprised.  You’re welcome to link to me at that blog if I know you IRL; otherwise, I’d rather it stay a little more private.  I’m not discussing infertility over there, so those who are looking for an IF blog would probably rather not find it.

Christy, Brea, Rhianna, Emily, and anyone else I know IRL, do you mind if I link your blogs from there?

Now go read my last post, if you haven’t yet done so!

I feel chills, they’re multiplyin’

Posted in All ahead to adoption at 12:27 pm by Erin

We sent out our completed dossier on Thursday.  Today, we logged into the Waiting Child list for our agency (which we hadn’t done previously) and looked at profiles of children who are waiting for a family.  There were 3 little boys who met with our ages and/or special needs.  There weren’t pictures available on the list, but I assume there are for families who request their information.

J and I discussed it and have requested information on the children.  I think they’ll only send information on one at a time, so we first requested the file for a little boy who’s almost 2 and has no known medical conditions.  He’s only waiting because of his age.

I wanted to do it yesterday, but held off so that J and I could do it together.  I’m glad we did, but I hate having to wait until Monday to hear back from them!  Wait, Monday is a holiday–it won’t be until Tuesday!  Argh!  I know 3 days is no time at all in the adoption time-frame, but it feels like forever.  And that’s IF they are able to e-mail information for us to examine.  If we have to wait for snail mail, I might pass out.

Dear God, I might be seeing my son’s face for the first time this week.