Monday, December 12, 2016

Don't Call It A Comeback

Inspired by a few friends who have expressed to me how awful the holidays are while waiting to adopt, I am pumping a little life into the ole' adoption blog.

You guys, I haven't forgotten what it's like. I may never forget and I really don't want to. It's good to keep some of the pain near the surface, to stay grateful for what you have in life. In no particular order, these are the things that got me through the holidays whilst waiting, year after year. Your miles may vary.

1. Near constant distraction in the form of doing things. Concerts, movies, girl's nights out, dates with the husband, shopping WAY too much. You get it, leave the house.

2. Netflix binges. Not just any Netflix binge. The holidays bring Love Actually and Bridget Jone's Diary... The ultimate in holiday chick flick bingeing. Add some peppermint schnapps that we won at a curling bonspiel raffle to some hot cocoa and maybe, just maybe, something extra calorie ridden to eat, and BAM you got yourself a full afternoon of no thinking. Optional: random British romcom featuring Colin Firth, as suggested by Netflix.

3. Tacos and margaritas. Jalapeno margaritas to be exact, because who doesn't want their burning drink to burn more? Extra points for doing this with other people waiting to adopt or your BFF.

4. Three dollar draught beer with your BFF with half priced apps and Barnes and Noble shopping afterward. Thankfully, you will be tipsy from beer and not mind Christmas shopping while at B&N. Beer and books are, quite frankly, the perfect combination.

5. While the husband is away, the wife will play....records. I did a lot of exploring our record collection. We grief ordered a 7 foot beanbag after our neardoption last May. Lounging on said beanbag chair (if you can call it that? beanbag sofa?) and listening to records was indeed the therapy my counselor couldn't provide.

6. Speaking of counselors, a good therapist is everything in the adoption wait. If you are in the Atlanta area and need one, I have the person for you. She has plenty of experience thanks to going through the wait with me! We laughed, we cried, we sat and stared at each other silently.

7. Frank Turner's music (obvs). Being careful to avoid certain songs and albums that made things worse. Never "Song For Eva Mae". Never.

8. Hugglin' my friend's kids and my nephew. Huggles all around. Even when I thought it would be hard to see them, their kid innocence and joy was exactly what I needed in the end.

9. Talking about WHEN not IF with my friends. Gosh, it hurt so bad when people would say "IF" if it happens for you. My heart would soar if a friend said in passing "When your baby comes". It's such a small thing, but also not small at all.

10. Remembering that no matter what emotions I'm dealing with, the woman who would eventually be placing her child with us will be dealing with so much more. Perspective.

This Christmas, we celebrate with our son. This was longed for. Previous Christmases made me feel sick for us. This Christmas I feel sick for my friends, because I get it. I so get it. Below you will find links to a few of my friend's adoption profiles through the agency we used. Please share and spread the word. I wouldn't share anyone I wouldn't vouch for as solid, awesome people.

My jalapeno margarita/dog cuddling/exercise so we can brunch heavily sister from another mister and her fun loving, as well as funny, husband. They are local!

Jessica and Clay

Friends with senses of humor, tons of personality, and good all around people. Also local!

Sarah and Chris

They've been through it all and still keep a positive stance. We go way back to the beginning of our wait. West coasters!

Nicole and Don

Our former profile neighbors and adoption wait warriors. Located in NC.

Angela and Ethan

Full of fun and and wit, with the brains to back it up (Graduated from the school I where I work!). Local peeps.

Kristan and John

She's nothing but kindness and warmth. Indiana.


Sarcasm and artistic talent? Local!

Amy and Ryan

I am so grateful that our list of waiting friends that we feel emotionally invested in through our agency is shrinking! Congrats to everyone who adopted in 2016 and here is to this list getting even smaller in 2017! If I missed your profile, it wasn't on purpose. Send me a note and I will share your profile.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Rejoice, Rebuild.

I have started, deleted, restarted, saved, deleted, edited, deleted, and restarted this post dozens of times over the last few months. There has been this whole "tell it all as it is" theme on the blog, but then we adopted. Yes, we adopted! After years of pretty terrible experiences in the wait, I am a mom and John is a dad. The day before we met our son, I had convinced myself it was never going to happen.

Here is where I slacked- We adopted back in March! Yes, 3+ months ago. The thing is, everything became so much more personal and private the second we met our son's birth mom- the second we met our son. I wanted to shut you all out. I wanted privacy. To hold it all as close to my heart as possible.

The adoption wait forced us to be public with what used to be our very private lives. It was never anything that felt good or right to us.

Our adoption story is shared with a beautiful woman who chose us to parent her son. Our adoption story is our son's adoption story. For these reasons, I don't feel like it is right to share details that don't solely belong to me.

I will say this:

The pain of the wait is still there. The sharp edges feel smoother, the intensity is lessening. No, what we went through in the wait will never make sense. We will always wonder why scammers exist and why we had to experience pain and grief. I am grateful the close calls didn't work out, as I cannot see our lives without our son.

Now he is four months old. We met him a few days before he turned three weeks. It was scary, exciting, gut wrenching, and wonderful. It was so much more than that too. Emotions happened that there are no words for in any language I know.

We are humbled. We are so in love. 

I ask that you send his birth family thoughts of love and strength. I ask that you understand that the details are no longer mine alone to tell.

Our sweet Lucas: 3 weeks old
Yesterday: 4 months old

I'm not sure if I will keep up the blog. It has been a great release for me. I have tons to say about grad school,  kidney health, Frank Turner shows, and parenting. I'm about to go hardcore at school to try to get through it faster, so that will take up most of my computer time. I honestly doubt I have any readers left after not posting for so long. Hello, if you are still out there! (echo.. echo... echo)

Rejoice, rebuild. The storm has passed.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Finding My Zen State. Again.

Once upon a time, I wrote this post for America Adopts Finding My Zen State While Waiting to Adopt . If you know me, or read this blog at all, you know that Zen state comes and goes. I am, or I should say WE are, on a mission to find that Zen state again. And keep it.

The goal is to enjoy every moment we have child free. To really appreciate each other and our freedom to whatever we want at the drop of a hat. Once we adopt, we will never be just the two of us again. Even when the kid is grown and out of our house, we won't be a family of two. There are wonderful things to celebrate about just being us. Here is a short list of the good things about being a party of two:

- If we feel like it, we can eat ice cream for dinner. We have no one watching and learning from our poor choices yet. Once we have a kid, there have to be actual meals, with veggies! Ok, so we do eat that stuff too, but a Saturday movie night? Ice cream is ok!

- We can hop up and go somewhere whenever we want. If we both have the weekend off and want to hop over to Athens or Chattanooga or Asheville, we totally can. We only need to pack a few items of clothes at most. This is not to say you can't take impromptu trips with a baby in tow, it's just way more complicated. Did you pack everything you need? Diapers? Formula? Extra clothes? Pack n Play? Entertainment? Could it possibly fit in the car? What about his or her sleep schedule? Alternately, can Grandma and Papa babysit over night? (Hint hint Grandma and Papa!)

- Oh, we got a text that our favorite band is playing at the Masquerade! Better hurry down there! Yeah, that isn't happening with a baby in the house.

- Using the restroom in privacy/silence. I've heard the stories. I know we will be giving this luxury up. Nothing more needs to be said.

-Sleeping through the night! Sweet sweet sleep. We sure do love it. For now, we sleep soundly. The future is not so well rested.

- Wearing  baby vomit/poo/drool free clothing. I mean, that's nice. I think we can all agree on that.

We would give all of these things up in a heartbeat, but for now, we are making the most of it all. More curling trips, maybe another trip to Philly to see one of my BFFs again, more beaches, more mountains, more concerts, more of each other.

Can we also talk about life lessons? I often joke that I've had too many of these, but it's not true. You can never learn too much in your life. The friends I keep referring to who are adopting before us or matching or just going crazytown with the contacts? These are people we care for. People we want to be happy. We want them to adopt and have their kids be our kid's friends. We have to keep up the soul searching to be happy for others, while supporting our own feelings of grief. A very wise friend of mine told me the other day "Sarah, you have to let them have their adoption stories too". A life lesson.

Goodness, Lisa T! You are always such a inspirational person. I don't know if I say this enough, but thank you for being you.

Things are rough, people. I'm not going to lie. This has been the most challenging thing we have every done. This process is what you make of it. Sometimes it takes hard experiences to remind you to do better, be better, and just do you. We are going to do us and others will do who they are. It will 100% be worth it. We will 100% come out of this one one piece... no, three pieces: mom, dad, and baby.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thicker Skin

Light in the midst of darkness on my walk to work today.

I woke up feeling light-hearted today for the first time in a long time. I don't have a good explanation for it. I've been off of Facebook for a couple of days, so maybe that's it. Maybe it's because I have had to deal a lot lately with reconciling my feelings of jealousy and feelings of joy for friends either adopting quickly and/or before us or having many many contacts while we sit silent or get scammed again and again. It's a full time job processing those conflicting feelings. Maybe it's because I started my Frank Turner listening party at 5:30am this morning. That never hurts.

I'm going to be honest, I had kind of forgotten how it feels to be happy. I know, that sounds dramatic. There is a difference between moments of happiness- like when we have our nephew and he cracks us up- and just simply being happy in general. Man, I hope this lasts. I hope it isn't a total freak out that I am mistaking for elation. My chest is feeling relaxed for the first time in a while. It has just been so tight for, I'd say months. Is there fear that we will never adopt looming? Of course. Is there sadness that another day passed that was not the day we became parents? Of freakin course. Do I feel some grief trying to sneak in? Ugh, yes, but I'm fighting it.

We have to be the best version of us in order to be awesome parents, which I know we will be. This means not giving in to jealousy, despair, or anger at the process. Okay, so some people adopt right away and that isn't us. We will be stronger for it. We will love our child that much more, because we had to fight so hard for this. We've always had to fight hard for everything we have. We are at a place that the only thing we are fighting to achieve is parenthood. The rest has been settled. We can get through this one.

That's all I really have today. It's been hard to write. It's been hard to feel the things I've needed to feel. I have 3 blog posts that I wrote, but never published, because I've been too hard on myself. I am my own worst enemy in this process.

May I always see the road rising up to meet me and my enemies defeated in the mirror behind. My adoption wait anthem:

Friday, January 29, 2016

Newborn Parenting Class: Meet Pancake

 Baby Pancake Cuddles
A couple of weeks ago, we attended a class called Baby Essentials. This class is offered at Northside Hospital in Atlanta for expectant parents, but this one was special. It was only for waiting adoptive families from our agency, The Independent Adoption Center.

Our baby for the day (pictured above) was a good sport. I named him Pancake. I felt it went well with Waffles (one of our cats). I promise I wont insist the real baby be named after breakfast foods! Pancake was a newborn, but could somehow already sit up on his own. Our kid for the day was super advanced and smart obviously. 

The instructor was an adoptive mom, though she did not do domestic newborn adoption. She adopted her daughter internationally. Despite the difference in our adoption paths, she did seem to understand many of the feelings that come along with the adoption wait and due to working in labor and delivery was familiar with adoptions that take place at birth.

The class covered the things babies do that might make you panic, but are totally normal. Like black poo-y stuff called meconium. Apparently, black tarry stuff in the diaper is A-OK for a newborn. Noted. Actually, we talked about many colors of infant poo. Riveting.

We went over a lot of things we are already familiar with like how to hold a baby, how to change a diaper, and how baby should sleep ( flat on it's back, nothing else in the crib!). Gone are the days that our parents put us on our tummies to sleep!

The class was about three hours. We of course were the longest waiting family there. It's pretty rough on the ole' self-esteem. My big goal this year is to hold my head high and just know that our baby is coming, it just hasn't been our time yet. Like I said, goal. You work toward goals, right?

There were people in the class who were just finishing their initial home study. I kind of felt like everyone looked at us worried when we said how long we've been waiting, but I'm hoping that was just in my head. The reality is though, that many of them will likely wait years. Anyway, enough about "boo hoo, we are still waiting".

The instructor suggested that we all get a car seat and take it to an authorized car seat inspector before baby comes. We haven't purchased one yet and honestly I'm glad we haven't. If we had purchased one when we started, I would be worried about if it was going expire before we finally adopt. I still am not comfortable buying one without at least a call saying it could be time. We have Target gift cards from our parents in case we have to fly somewhere and then buy stuff like that. Even if there isn't a Target, there is likely to be a Walmart or something. Heck, I have Amazon Prime, we can have whatever we need delivered to the hotel if need be.

I felt like that was the one piece of advice from the class I wouldn't necessarily follow. The rest of class was mostly safety stuff. I got pretty attached to little Pancake Cuddles Farrar. It was rough giving him back at the end of class. I'm sure he is on to other expectant parents with better doll naming skills.

All in all I thought the class was wonderful. We saw some adoption friends we've made over the last year or so and scoped out the new competition. Not that it's a competition... sort of. I mean, I hate to think of it that way, but some people are seeing our profile along with brand new people's profiles! Ugh. Oops, I'm doing it again. Long waiters. Once you are one, it kind of sticks in the forefront of your brain.

In other news, it is kidney walk time again! For anyone who is joining Sarah and John Adopt late, I am a two time kidney transplant recipient and unstoppable life force. My kidney walk team, Team Walking Beans, walks every year. The walk raises money for the National Kidney Foundation which provides education and resources for people with kidney disease and for the community at large.

If any locals want to join us, it is June 4th at Turner Field. My personal kidney walk page is located HERE! 

That's about all I have for today. I'm trying to take a new blog approach. If I only have negative stuff going on, stay off the blog! Life updates, adoption updates, fine. Whining, no. A mix of both, maybe.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Post #100. A Day In The Life.

This is our 100th blog post! That is crazytown.

I'm finding it really hard to blog lately. I have this new theory about adoption. Well, our adoption. I am starting to think that this is some social/psychological experiment to see how long it takes two perfectly sane people to crack. Like really crack.

How much can two happily married, middle class, suburban (only by location, not mindset!) people take before losing it? A lot. We can take a lot. Adoption, you are trying to break us down, but you can't win.

Can we talk about the day to day of adoption? A day in the life. Note: I am leaving out some of the stuff that can happen day to day that are adoption related for privacy reasons. And for optimism reasons.

Alarm goes off. A moment of peace in my warm bed. Restroom, put coffee on, feed the cats. I pick up my phone (admit it, you all do about this time) and my email begins to update. Eight new emails in my personal account. Smyna Vinings Patch with their vague headlines. A coupon from World Market, nice! Updates from my grad class. A thought pops into my head "Sarah, don't think it, if you think it, it won't happen". But I think it anyway "I hope this is the morning"....

I nervously (this feeling doesn't get better. Always nerves firing) look to see if there is a 1 or 2 or 3 next to . The number 2 appears. "Sarah, you thought it, so it's going to be junk mail", but hope sticks around as I hit the account...

"Dearest Pleasant One" oh yay. A scam email. "Hello I am emailing of the baby Saint Bart's Orphanage. We have all the blondest haired, bluest eyed babies in Cameroon (personal note, this is not important to us.We are open to all races and ethnicities). Of the sincerest email us. Baby waiting for you sincerely". Two scam emails. Hooray. I close it, disappointed I drink my coffee. I force myself to get dressed. One mismatching article of clothing at a time. I mean who cares right? It's not like today will be the day. Besides, maybe if I'm horribly unprepared and look a mess it will happen.

I park quite far from work, so I have a nice calm walk in to the office. It's early, the elementary school is just opening, so I'm surrounded by little kids, holding hands, chattering about recess and who is friends with who. It hits me again. Warm heart feelies. Maybe I should refresh the email. Maybe I should check google voice in case we got a text and google didn't email me. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

I park my rear at my desk and refresh my email, check google voice, triple check our adoption Facebook page. Nada. A deep sigh.

Meanwhile on Facebook another couple from our agency has adopted. They announce it on their page with such joy and relief. They waited 7 months. We hit 28 months two days ago. My chest hurts for a minute. The underlying grief of our wait rears it's ugly head.

Grief. It's a theme of a long adoption wait. People you meet and love adopt before you. People you love have failed adoptions. You feel grief for both. Your own adoption fails. Grief. Babies being abandoned in woods, dumpsters, high schools on the local news. Grief. If they had known about us, would they have chosen us? If they had known about our agency, would they still have abandoned their babies? So much grief.

The rest of my day is distracted mostly by work. The thoughts pop into my head between students "Check your email. Check adoptimist. Check it, check it check it". more thoughts "What if our lives change tonight? Ugh no Sarah, you thought it, it's not going to happen now".

I know I am not that powerful. I can't think us into or out of an adoption.

The drive home is full of music that triggers emotions. Life gives you demons, but I made friends with the devil, so I am invincible. Revved up, yes Frank, I am invincible. Adoption, you can't crack me.

At home, evenings are my favorite. John and I watching whatever we recorded while we have dinner. We talk about our day, an undertone of "it didn't happen today". I refresh my email. My chest hurts again. More TV, homework, bedtime.

I wake up at 1am in panic, a dream that we had a baby. A girl, 4 months old, chubby as can be. It takes a full 3 minutes to orient myself to realize it was a dream. Back to sleep hoping to be stronger tomorrow.

It's tomorrow and I feel stronger.

Working on a new Q&A since we are getting a lot of the same questions. For now you can review the first three Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

Some Monday tunes. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Goals, Not Resolutions

I have already surprised myself in 2016. I woke up New Year's Day just like I wished I would - hopeful.

Is 2016 our year to become parents? It feels less risky to say it is now that we are in the new year. Maybe it's the distance between now and 2017. We can maybe leave it at it is hopefully our year, but I'm not expecting it to be.

I'm not going to make resolutions, but I am setting some goals this year. I feel like goals are something to work towards and resolutions are things you MUST do. That's too much pressure! In no particular order, here are my 2016 goals:

1. Adopt. Obviously. This goal entails more networking, guest blogging, and getting over my fears and insecurities to get us out there and seen as much as possible. (I will be mailing networking cards soon if anyone wants some! Business card sized, with our information on them).

2. Sit on a beach! Seriously, beach time is a must this year.

3. No sugary stuff for at least a month (on day 4 so far). Note: this is excluding margarita night with my fellow waiting adoptive moms, because adoption is kinda hard you guys. Margarita night with the ladies is a must.

4. More nephew time. Henry is four now and so much fun to hang out with. On Christmas day he told me he is going to tickle our baby's feet! He now calls our yet to be born baby his "baby cousin" and talks about it with excitement. Now it really needs to happen ASAP, because he is more aware and expecting it.

5. Be more organized! I ordered a new planner  that has goal setting/achieving steps, along with the usual planner stuff.  I read tons of reviews and decided this was the way to go for me. Between work, school, and adoption stuff, I always need a physical planner. People always say to just use my phone, but I like the old school way of writing stuff down. I remember everything better that way.

Okay, so those are my five goals for 2016. I think five is enough.

We can do this. We can be tough enough for our kid.