Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Once Bitten, Twice Shy


We are a few weeks into our adoption journey and excited to say the least!  We have chosen to be foster to adopt parents which gives us the greatest chance of having an infant but there is the possibility of having a child go back to his/her birth family if the social workers sees fit.  We are also considering one to three year olds who are already free for adoption or have a low legal risk where there is a good chance we'd get to adopt in the end.  We've filled out all our repetitive paperwork, totalling about eight hours of our lives as well as had our required physical and are awaiting the results from that.  We have also had two of the four state IMPACT Classes which will total 20 hours once completed.  We still have to have a background check and homestudy before we can be approved to be parents.  Sounds so funny hearing that out loud..."approved to be parents."  It makes me a little nervous being judged on our parental capabilities.  Like, wow...they could say "No."  I know fully well that Chirs and I will make great parents but now there is a third party who has to believe that also or our votes are vetoed.  I've begun over-analyzing our lives as I'm so good at doing.  Do we make enough money for thier satisfaction?  Are we too in debt?  Will they like us?  What if our dogs are not on their best behavior during the homestudy?  What  if our house is too messy?  What if our house is too clean?  All these incidious thoughts race through my mind wondering how much they weigh on the social worker's scale.

Filling out the paperwork was a chore.  It's been turned in and we're praying for a good grade on our answers though I don't remember studying for the test.  One question specifically worries me:  "What are your feelings toward the birth family of a child who has been abused/neglected?"  You see, I understand that the main objective in Foster Care is for the child to be reunified  with the birth family/parents.  However, I have this inate opinion that people who abuse children shouldn't get a second chance.  So, how am I supposed to feel for the birth family?  Here we sit, knowing that we are capable of raising and loving a child and have known this for years.  We've been waiting patiently and sometimes impatiently for the day that we would have our chance to be a family completed.  On the other hand, there are broken and damaged familes all over this country who do all the wrong things and are not capable and are not loving and do not cherish the obvious gift(s) they've been given.  So, I'm supposed to suck it up for their sake?  Am I to take a infant/child into our home, fall in love, and then give this gift back to someone who may damage them further?  Don't get me wrong, there are some kids in foster care who should be back with their families and those are the ones who've just come into a bad way financially or fallen ill and those people don't have a choice.  They should get their kids  back, no doubt, once they are on their feet and can properly care for thier children.  I'm referring to those who are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, neglect and/or abuse their kids.  These children are not social experiments.  Once bitten, twice shy.  

In the two IMPACT Classes we've had, these case worker's have some true horror stories that I really could have lived the rest of my life without hearing.  However, they've driven my opionion home even further.  One story in particular will stay with me for the rest of my life:  A little baby girl, 18 months old, blonde hair, blue eyes.  He mother had a boyfriend who moved in one day.  With the Mother not around, the boyfriend thinks it would be fun to have sex with this precious little girl.  She is raped and her insides are torn.  The Dr's were able to put her back together but the damage was still done.  The little girl is in foster care and the mother does her due dilligence to get her child back.  Kicks the boyfriend out.  Court gives the baby back.  Two weeks later, the boyfriend moves back in.  Same thing happens but this time the child's insides are too torn for the Dr's to repair.  Child goes back into foster care and the parental rights are terminated.  But it's too late.  Now, this precious little girl is too damaged and full of rage at only three years old.  None of the foster homes can keep her under control.  She comes at them and other kids with scissors and bites and scratches and beats on infants.  She is placed in a group home...for the rest of her life.  This story, I'm told, was a case in the early 90's.  None of them could tell me what became of that child.  What if the court had not let her go home?  Why wasn't that boyfriend arrested and locked up?  Our system failed that child.  She's around 18 years old today, if she is still alive.  Is she being thrown out of that group home now as she has "aged out?"  What will happen to her?

Chris and I have read the first book in a series
 by David Pelzer.  The first is titled, "A Child Called 'It'."  In the first chapter alone, this book had my macho, Harley riding, weight lifting husband crying his eyes out.  The things that this author endured as a child made us sick to our stomach.  We wanted to literally go back in time through this biography and save this child.  The people who came into contact with him had to of known what he was going through and NO ONE did anything!  He was poisoned, beaten, stabbed, starved, neglected,  burned, frozen, and humilated and no one helped him for years!!  He is a miracle case as he has obivously come out of his Hell and made something of his life.  I am anxious to read the other books in the series to find out what transpired after his fifth grade year.

Chris's parents seem to be more supportive now that they have had time to mull things over.  They haven't said too much and they don't ask many questions about how our "process" is going but they haven't spoken against it either...that we know of.  My family is still very supportive and they ask after each IMPACT Class what we thought of it and what we learned.  My Dad called yesterday to make sure our physical went well.  It makes us feel so good to know that they are behind us and care what happens to our hearts along the way.  They seem to understand  that this is going to be hard for us and that we are going to need as much support as possible.  I only wish Chris's family would be more vocally supportive, at least to him.  I think he
 deserves it.  I think it's a difference of view.  My family looks at us now and sees "parents to  be."  His looks at us and sees "maybe you'll be parents one day."  I don't think they understand that "one day" is likely very soon.  I have this view that if I were pregnant, the type of support we get from his parents would be different than the support we get now.  They'd call and want to know about the Dr's appointments and they'd ask if I had morning sickness and when we'd find out the sex of the baby.  I know this because they have five grandkids already and I've seen how they've been with their other sons and daughter in laws.  Chris's brothers, on the other hand, have been very supportive and are excited for us.  Maybe it will be more "real" for them once we're approved and the phone calls for "matches" start coming?

As I was typing the last line of this entry, my sister in law, Jessy, called me to tell me I'm going to be an Aunt again.  I'm happy for them, truly, as they have no issues having kids.  This will be their fourth child.  Have to admit it still stung a little but not nearly as much as it did two years ago.

Friday, July 24, 2009

When in Rome, Do as the Romans Do?


Yet again, it's been a long time since my last post.  For some reason though I am in the mood to write today.  Chris and I just returned from our Italian Holiday!  Yes, this year for his Birthday I surprised him with a trip to Italia as well as seeing his favorite singer while in Italy...Andrea Bocelli!  We left on the 10th and returned on the 21st.  What a blast we had!  It all just went by too quickly.

Our base was in Cortona and we traveled by train, bus, and taxi to Rome, Florence, Siena, Montepulciano, Venice, Volterra, & the site of the Bocelli concert, Lajatico, Italy.  Chris fell in love with Toscana and I fell in love with it all, all over again.  We've dreamed of going to Italy together since we were 16 years old and I finally had the wonderful opportunity to experience it with him this year so I went for it!

So, the question you all must be asking: "Well, did the Italian Holiday allow for you to get knocked up?"  Um.  No.  Sorry to disappoint all of you out there who seem to think taking a vacation will magically make the infertile couples of the world fertile.  Ha!  If only it were that simple.  No, no...we're not pregnant and I don't think I've been pregnant since that one and only time but I continue to refuse to take pregnancy tests and every month Aunt Flo eventually rears her ever so ugly head and well, I'm right again.

We are, however, discussing the possibility of adoption again.  I was not the one to bring it up this time...Chris did.  About three months ago, he put the conversation back on the table after about a year of silence on the topic.  We've been seriously talking about it ever since (privately, until now).  We have decided to take one baby step (pardon the pun) at a time in the direction of Foster Care Adoption.  The number one reason for our choice about foster care adoption verses private domestic infant adoption or international adoption is the price tag.  Foster Care Adoption is something we can afford.  Unfortunately, agencies have made private adoptions so expensive, we'd have to take out a loan to the tune of about $40K to proceed with that.  In reality, we just can't afford it.  What will we likely sacrifice:  The chance of raising a child from infancy.  I don't yet know how I feel about that.  I want to raise a baby.  I want us to be able to experience the "firsts."  I'm already missing the first kick in the womb, the birth, first smile, etc.  I want to get as many firsts as possible so when my child asks me in the  future,  "Mom, what was my first word?"  I'll be able to answer.  Maybe that is selfish?  I don't really care.  We've already had to give up so much and we have wants, needs, and dreams too.  We deserve to have our dreams come true.

Chris told his Dad the news a few days ago and  the result was less than least in my  husband's eyes as I was not there to hear the length of the conversation.  His Dad is
 supposedly supportive but posed a question that we're insulted by: "Well, what happens when you adopt and then Nicole becomes pregnant?"  Chris was like, that would be great!  I'd have two kids!  His Dad seems to think that we'll show favortism to the biological child because well, blood is blood.  They would both be OUR kids, no matter how they come into our family.  I also took the comment to mean that there will likely be favortism to the grandkids that are already in the family as they are biological.  I'm not really sure how to react to this.  Should I address this comment that I was not even present to hear or do I let it go?  

Our alliance has to be to our kids once the kids are in the picture so, if there is to be any favortism going on then we would have to separate ourselvs from his family for the sake of the child.  I really do not want that to happen as we have a semi-close relationship with his parents.  I want them to accept any child we bring into this family as if the child were biological.  My parents, on the other hand, are 100% supportive and do not have any other grandkids at the moment.  I believe that his parents would love it if we started medical treatment again and "kept trying."  They don't understand that 3.5 years of this crap is exhausting!  We've been there, done that, and the tee shirt wasn't worth the cost.  They don't get it and just keep saying, "Your time will come."  That's fine and dandy and maybe one day we will get pregnant but I wish they would recognize that it might not happen in the way they want it to happen.  We are both at a point where we want to be parents more than have replicas of ourselves running around.  We just want a baby to love and raise and we could at least pass on our values and insights if not our genes.  I believe that God will lead us to the child we are meant to have either via adoption, pregnancy, or maybe, just maybe both.  Now to have them understand it the way we do...

No part of this journey can be simple and clear cut.  We always seem to be fighting something whether it be the infertility itself or others' opionions and beliefs.  I wish I knew what to do.  To make everyone happy and do what they want us to do or to be ourselves and follow our own dreams?  God help us and them and the child that has yet to come into our life.  

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Happy 2009!


It's been quite awhile since my last entry. It's a New Year (Thank God 2008 is over)!! So far, it's been historical with the inauguration of our country's first African American President. We are hopeful that this year will bring more fortunate situations than the last. 2008 was a rough year financially for not just us, but everyone. My in-laws have settled on a new home...for now anyhow. Chris and I have just passed our 3yr anniversary of being unable to become parents...not exactly a celabratory occassion but it is what it is.

I've been off the meds for about a year and most of my cycles are staying consistent. Notice I say most of the time. This month was unusual as my Luteal Phase was 20 days. I could have been pregnant again but I refused to take a test as I just didn't want to know. It's gotten easier and I've gotten good at tuning coversations out. We still hope and pray that God will show favor on us. We still hold the belief that one day we will have at least one precious gift.

Our sister-in-law had her third son, Dawson Marc, on 9/11/08. Felicia, one of my other bridesmaids, had her son, Jimmy Taylor, about a month ago. My other sister-in-law, Mandi, announced they are expecting their second child at Thanksgiving. Everyone around us seems to be rich in parenthood except us but we are dealing with it better today than we have in the past. I can't honestly say that it doesn't hurt at all, but it's gotten easier. I hope we can keep it up.

In my last entry I mentioned that we were going to meet Kim and David in Myrtle Beach. We had a blast and wish we lived closer to them! We hung out at the beach, went to all the Ripley's amusements, tried Brazilian food, went shopping, and enjoyed our time together! Hopefully Kim and I will be Moms or at least expecting next time we see eachother! I can't wait for our kids to meet!!
I don't know how much I'll write this year, but I'll be in touch again at some point. Thanks to all of you out there who continually pray for us and offer ENCOURAGING words. Those of you who don't, keep to yourselves!