Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Long Overdue Update!

First of all, we have adopted!

Our lives have been crazy for a few months, so we haven't had time to update our blog followers. We are so sorry for that!

So, here is what happened in a nutshell:

In early July, we received a call from our adoption agency for a last minute adoption situation in Iowa. We spoke with the expectant mom, and she was a wonderful young woman. As a result of our call, we matched with each other and jumped on a last minute flight to Iowa and traveled the dark roads in the middle of the night (much of Iowa was flooded at that time) to get to the hospital in time for the birth. We arrived an hour late, and it was the middle of the night.

The expectant mom asked to see the baby when he was ready to come out of the nursery. We asked if we could meet the mom. We ended up spending a lot of time with her and it turned out she was an amazing young woman. We expected the baby to be born with a cleft lip, but instead he was born with a cleft palate, which is more serious. We were not concerned about it because we knew that surgery could correct the problems. The hospital gave us our own suite, and we ended up taking care of the baby his first 24 hours.

We were frustrated because the hospital was not giving us any medical information about the baby. We knew he had an ultrasound of his heart done, and that was not a normal test for a healthy baby, but still, we could get no information and were put off until the doctor arrived.

Finally the doctor and a neonatologist arrived to speak to the mom, her family, and us. It is a meeting we will never forget. The doctors informed us that the baby was indeed very sick, and that he had a serious heart defect, a chromosomal abnormality, and they suspected they would find his brain and other organs abnormally developed. Even though we had been feeding him for the past 24 hours, they expected he would stop eating and have to go on a feeding tube. We couldn't believe we had been taking care of this little baby for 24 hours and not a single member of the nursing staff gave us any indication anything was wrong.

I could write pages and pages about our Iowa experience, but I won't do that now. To make a long story shorter, we did not end up adopting the baby. He was too sick, and we had talked about what we would do if that situation ever arose. We knew we could not adopt this baby, and it was very difficult for us to tell the mom. We did, and she said she understood. Our agency had called her and told her they have families who are waiting to adopt special needs babies, and that when she was ready, they could introduce her to the families. She did not take our agency up on that, and we believe she decided to parent the baby. She had the support of her parents and older siblings, so we felt good about that.

It was yet another very difficult adoption experience, but we had not bonded with the baby, so it was much easier to heal from. We were able to talk with our adoption agency and they all felt so bad for us. Apparently, we were become quite a pitiful family with terrible bad luck. I had told the director that I thought maybe the baby gods weren't smiling on us. He let off a nervous laugh.

Within one week of that experience, we received a call from our agency with another last minute adoption situation. This call was important because I believed we were going to adopt this week. I could just feel it in my core. We spoke with the expectant mom Wednesday evening and flew out to Cleveland, Ohio Thursday evening. The baby was due to be born Friday morning, so we were excited to be there in time for his birth.

The expectant mom said she chose us because we looked like we were a fun family. After meeting her, we hit it off and felt very close to her. We were the only ones there for her the day of her c-section. The c-section was scheduled for the morning, but it kept getting pushed later and later due to other emergencies. Finally, that evening, we accompanied her in for the c-section, and an hour later, Miles was born! He was a healthy baby boy weighing almost 8 pounds.

Miles was born 7/15/11
Maggie was present for the long day at the hospital, and she was able to hold her new baby brother that evening. We were overjoyed with this beautiful baby boy, and somehow, we just knew it felt right.

Brother and sister's first meeting


We spent a few more days at the hospital, and the biological mom decided to go forward with the adoption and she signed the paperwork to do so. We spent another 10 or so days waiting for approval to leave Ohio, and had the opportunity to visit with Lisa's sister and Maggie's cousins who lived in nearby Pennsylvania. After a while, we were getting stir crazy living in the hotel with a newborn, and we were finally given the go-ahead to go home.

We quickly raced to the airport to go home, and we were so excited to bring Miles to our home, and to see our dogs, cat and beds again. Now, the journey of parenting Miles has begun.

We are over-the-moon with happiness for our new son. Maggie is doing great with him and has been a terrific big sister.

We will write more about our journey, but I wanted to take a minute to catch you up. Thank you to everyone who has been following us and sending us well wishes. You all definitely made a difference in helping us stay strong in our journey to add another Angel to our family.

Our Newest Angel!

Kathy, Lisa, Maggie and Miles

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Waiting Patiently

Maggie's Amazing Teacher for the Last 4 Years

It has been a while since I put out an update. I decided I needed a break from thinking about it all, so I mostly unplugged from all the adoption stuff. Now I am back, but am so busy this Summer I don't have time to obsess about it, which is a good thing. I am growing a lot through this experience, and I can't help but think that this is part of God's plan for me.

We are doing our best to be patient while waiting to adopt. In our hearts, we know that the right little angel will find us, and it is not going to be on our timetable. But still, it is hard. The months go by quickly now. We had 13 expectant moms look at our profile last month through our agency, and we didn't make it onto anyone's list of possibilities. It is hard not to question ourselves, or our profile. Everyone says it is fine, but I always think the pictures and text could be a little better. I am resisting my temptation to get some more photos of us made, and trying to just trust the process.

Maggie just completed Vacation Bible School camp, and is now started at her next camp. She loves the fun of the camps, but is already starting to miss her classmates and the consistency of her school days. Her school is like one big extended family, so I can see why she misses it. It is not like the school experience Lisa and I had. Maggie actually likes going to school. I think she would do better if we just had 2 week breaks throughout the year instead of the long Summer.

She had her first episode of strep throat last week, which we believe she got at VBS since a couple of other kids from there had it. We are so thankful she made it all the way until 6 before getting it, and very happy the antibiotics cleared it up quickly. Also, really hoping we don't get it :-)

Lisa's new job is going great. She is super happy working the new job, and they are very supportive of us adopting. Don't think we could have asked for a better situation.

We have our house listed for sale to see if anyone will buy it in this market. We are not seeing a lot of activity, so not sure we are going to sell it unless we just leave it on the market for a good while. Not sure that is going to work for us because it is an extra whole lot of work having the house on the market with 3 dogs.

Lisa loves keeping the house spotless every day! It's funny, we removed all our clutter, and I can't find anything now! If we do sell our house, we are hoping to move in the same area to something a little bigger to have more room for our families to visit after the new baby arrives. If we don't sell, we are super happy in this house anyway. It is perfect in so many ways, and would be great for the new baby. Only problem, Maggie now has it in her head that she wants to get a new house, preferably one with stairs. I remember growing up in South Florida where there were very few 2 story houses, and how I longed for a second floor. I thought only the richest of the rich had a second floor. She will be disappointed if we don't move, but she is also very patient. It will all work out like it is supposed to.

Thank you to everyone who is taking the time to read our blog. If you want to keep up with us on Facebook, you can "like" our page by clicking here to get daily updates.

Talk to you soon!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

Distraction is the name of the game

So, I have regained some of my sanity over the last few days because I have kept myself busy with distractions on some major house projects and have limited the amount of time I allow myself to fool with adoption stuff. Don't get me wrong, I am still doing some stuff, but I reduced it by about 70% which has been much better for my mental health.

We have had a couple of e-mails this week about adoption. Nothing that sounds real legitimate. Mostly woman living in other countries offering to place their babies with us. I have heard that this is always a scam of some sort, so I have been polite in responding but have kept it simple. One response from a woman turned out to be one where she somehow thought we might be interested in a threesome. Clearly, she doesn't know that we are way too conservative for that kind of stuff, so I told her to not write about again (in the nicest way possible to do such a thing).

I have been posting regularly on our Facebook page to keep people up-to-date on some daily family stuff. If you are not a follower, you should click on it and like it. You will find out all sorts of random stuff about us, and get an idea of what our lives are like. Click here to "like" out Facebook page!

I better get off to bed so I can get up for church in the morning.

Love to all our followers!
Kathy, Lisa, and Maggie

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Some days

Some days I could just lose my mind. The adoption wait---the uncertainty of everything, can drive me mad! Today is one of those days. I don't know why it seems worse these days, but something has me preoccupied with it all.

Not being able to control all the adoption stuff is perhaps the worst. I don't know if the agency is showing our profile or not, or whether there is a birth mother considering us today and we don't even know it. I'll never get over how our agency knew about our last match for 3 weeks before they told us about it.

A friend of mine was telling me how two weeks ago she was crying about the whole adoption wait, thinking that it would never happen for her, and today she is in a hotel room with her new baby girl. She had no idea it was coming, and then her miracle appeared.

I am trying to stay distracted, but my mind wanders back. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!

I just had to say that to get it out of my system.

Nothing ever comes easy to us. It's true. Not one damn thing has come to us easy in our lives. Yes, we are extremely blessed, but we have worked our asses off to get to where we are. I have accepted that Lisa and I just don't have the easy route (or an easy button for that matter). Once, when we were telling a therapist this in casual conversation (she was a good ten years younger than us), she suggested we might want to get therapy about that type of thinking one day. I had to laugh. Lisa and I have been around a long time, dealt with some major shit in our lives, and have accepted that things don't come easy to us, and that's okay. Sometimes it is best just to accept how things work in your life than to keep trying to change it.

God has given us the path we are on. We don't understand the why or the what, and at times we get angry about the things that happen in our lives. Our sanity rests with the acceptance that yes, nothing seems to come easy to us, but in the end, we know we have a lot of blessings.

Our adoption experience is a testament to our thinking. Maggie's adoption took us 18 painful months before we were blessed with her in our lives. I think we lost our minds many times during that process, but we now realize we would not have wanted it to happen any other way. We think God played a role in how it all played out (that's another story).

For our second adoption, we knew it was too good to be true when we matched with a birth mother in 7 weeks, and held a baby at 4 months. We honestly thought God might be making up all the difficult times we had experienced in our past because we were just so not used to experiencing such good fortune. It was the only way we could explain it to ourselves because amazing luck like that never happens to us. And, of course, it was too good to be true. After 4 difficult months, our adoption fell apart when an unknown birth father showed up to the baby's birth, and he wanted to parent the baby.

Somehow, I want God, or the universe, or our adoption agency, to make up for that dreadful experience by bringing our little angel into our lives NOW. Is that too much to ask? I guess so.

I guess I just have to stay the course as my adoption agency told us. It is hard. If you haven't been on this side of the fence, you have no idea.

I count my blessings everyday--especially the little angel we have already been blessed with. But, I am ready to begin a new chapter with a new angel. And my little girl so wants to be a big sister. It is hard not to be able to just make it happen.

I know it will happen when the universe is ready. I just wanted to make sure the universe knows that we are ready (in case it wasn't paying attention).

We are ready and waiting, so the phone can ring any time now :-)

Peace, friends!

And don't forget to "like" our Facebook page if you haven't already (this gives me sanity because at least something is happening that I know about). Click here to like our Facebook adoption page!

A Day In the Life of a Mom Waiting to Adopt

While we are waiting to adopt, will you "like" our Facebook page?

There is so much I could say about this topic, so let's see where my tired mind takes me.

Today, one of the highlights I experienced was to have our minister write on our Facebook page saying something to the affect that we would be great parents and have lots of love to offer. We go to a big church, and she helped us get through our failed adoption in February, so it meant a lot that she took the time to reach out to us and for us. Never estimate how something small can have a big impact on a person--thank your Reverend Beth!

Waiting to adopt can feel so helpless. What many of us do is occasionally look down at our phones to make sure they are turned on in the event it is our time for "the call." It's always turned on, but it is a compulsion that is necessary each day. You know, the day I don't pay attention to it we will get a call. That happened while we were at Disney World--not only did we have crappy cell service, but we were caught up in enjoying the moment. Sure enough, the adoption agency called with a potential situation, and it took me a full 24 hours to realize it!

It is so hard not knowing when the phone will ring. Do you plan your life as if nothing is going to happen? Or, make everything tentative? I fall somewhere in between. In reality, you have to go on as if no call is coming, or I believe one would go further into madness.

Our nursery is ready, and friends have been generous enough to give us lots of clothes to get us started. Although, the clothing donations are mostly stopping after our failed adoption. I guess people don't want to acknowledge it or something, which is too bad because we are okay talking about it and are ready to move on. I'll admit, I sometimes go back and look at his pictures--sometimes just to make sure it really happened to us. It did. And he was beautiful, but meant for someone else.

There are lots of ways to spend money to make you feel like you are doing something to help the adoption process. Occasionally, I do spend a little bit of money to network amongst people who might know a potential birth mother. Our adoption agency has smartly asked us not to spend money on a bunch of marketing, and instead have it ready for a last minute call. They want to make sure we can afford whatever situation comes our way. We passed on a birth mother situation last month because it was going to mean $25,000 on top of the fees we had already paid, plus a lot of risk with the situation they presented. There was no way we could go that route, so we passed it on to the next family (and pray it all works out for them).

I am on lots of adoption bulletin boards, and it has been interesting to see how many people struggled with mother's day. I guess we can count our blessings that we have a beautiful child who made our mother's day amazing. Even so, I found myself at times longing for our future baby.

I know so many people who have adopted babies in the last few weeks. They are all the most amazing babies you have ever seen. The kind you just want to scoop up and kiss all over. I am so VERY happy for all the new adoptive parents, but wonder when it will be our turn. Tomorrow? Next month? Two months from now? Who knows.

I am distracting myself with work and contemplating some home renovations to keep myself busy--that is when I am not running Maggie around town.

I also feel like if I could get lots of people to sign up on our Adoption Facebook page, we would increase our chances of someone who knows someone who knows someone wanting to place for adoption. Figuring out how to get people to "like" your page has proved more difficult.

I am so incredibly gracious to our friends who have taken the time to go to our Adoption Facebook page and click the "like" button at top. It is one of those Facebook features that many people get confused about how to actually "like" a page. Most people click like for the post, but you actually have to go to the page and click the "like" button up top.  Those of you who have done this have a special place in our hearts. We know a village can help us achieve our goals.

This waiting to adopt is hard. So much uncertainty. Maggie so wants to be a big sister. Yet, we can't really control how quickly we adopt, and our child doesn't understand this. For her sake alone, I hope God answers our prayers for a new angel in our family sometime soon.

Thanks for listening. I would love to talk more about this when I am not brain dead.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mothers Day

We've had a very good Mother's Day. Maggie has been super sweet all weekend, and has told us how much she loves us hundreds of times throughout the weekend. She has even gone on record several times saying we are the best mommas in the entire world! We can't ask for anything more than that!

This year she really stayed on top of the whole Mother's Day thing. Each day she would check in to make sure she understood when Mother's Day is, so as to not miss it I suppose. At school, she made a present for us, so she wanted to make sure she delivered it on the right day. Usually, she can't stand the waiting, and she wants us to go ahead and open up the present. This year, she was able to hold off until the actual day.

She and Lisa got up first and made cinnamon rolls for everyone. Then she delivered our homemade cards and present. It was a plastic coffee mug that she colored a picture on the inside (totally not dishwasher safe, but will be a nice display piece for our favorite Maggie things). The cards were the best part because this is an area where Maggie is starting to be able to do on her own, so whatever she writes is from her heart. She drew pictures and told us each that she loved us. Very special!

For Mother's Day to each other, Lisa and I took turns sleeping in while the other played with Maggie. This was great because Maggie has been in the best mood all weekend. Very lovey-dovey and cooperative. We did arts and crafts, played games, read stories, watched a Barbie movie together, and just generally had a nice time together. Not once this weekend did she say she wanted to have a play date with one of her friends. She was satisfied with just us :-)

We lunched at home and treated ourselves to a meal at Longhorns. Maggie even appreciated the steak and chicken. We ate so much we had to walk the dogs when we got home.

Overall, I have to say it was a great weekend. I had a moment or two of longing for the baby that we hope is making its way to our family. I am very excited for my friends who have recently adopted, especially to know they got to celebrate their first Mother's Day today. I just have to remind myself to stay focused on the very blessed life we have, and not get bogged down about the baby who isn't here yet. Soon. I hope and pray.

Tomorrow, Lisa starts her first day at her new job, and Maggie gets to visit her new classroom and teacher that she will have for next year at school. Both of them are very excited. I am excited for them.

Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers, birth mothers, and future mothers.

And, if you haven't "liked" us on Facebook yet, go ahead and click here to see the page and then click "like" at the top. This is a great way to keep up with the little things going on in our life and in the adoption process.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Money Changes Everything

Unlike Angelina Jolie and Sandra Bullock, we, like most adoptive parents, do not have unlimited financial resources to throw at our adoption effort. If we did, I am quite sure we would have adopted by now. Sure, we could probably come up with more money, but then what kind of life would we be providing our children if we are broke?

If you are at all familiar with the adoption process of domestic newborns, you would know that even us middle class folks end up spending a small fortune on our adoption process. Agency fees, legal fees, travel costs, profile advertising, home studies, and birth mother expenses are only some of the expenses that can be quite costly.

Generally, the more resources you spend (if you spend wisely), the less wait time you should have. Why? Let's assume you are not a celebrity, so you don't have that added benefit on your side. The reality is that there are way more people wanting to adopt than there are birth mothers placing for adoption. This has only become worse as fewer people are adopting internationally, and domestic adoption has become a more common way to build your family.

I believe most of the families wanting to adopt are probably great people who will make outstanding parents. They wouldn't be jumping through the hoops of adoption if they didn't really want to be parents. So, there are endless numbers of prospective adoptive people available to adopt any given birth mother's baby. Ideally, if you have the resources, you want every birth mother to at least glance at your profile, even if she doesn't end up picking you. At least you were in front of her, and you never know what will appeal to a birth mother.

If you get in front of more birth mothers, it increases your chances of getting picked, especially if you have a great profile book. Unfortunately, getting in front of more birth mothers requires more money spent by the prospective adoptive person. There are a couple of ways to get in front of more birth mothers. One would be to sign up with more than one agency or facilitator. This is quite costly because typically the upfront fee might be $10,000 or more whether they deliver a "match" to you or not. Those with more resources choose this route.

A less expensive way to get in front of more birth mothers would be to do your own advertising. You can advertise on the internet on what is called parent profile sites (and unfortunately, some of the best sites discriminate against same-sex couples and won't let them advertise on their site) or through Google Adwords (no discrimination here). Both of these methods can end up becoming quite costly, but it will increase your chances for finding a birth mother. Note, my adoption agency doesn't agree with me on this point, but my personal experience and research says personal advertising does work. People also advertise in newspapers--Craigslist, college newspapers, and the like. I have never done it, but apparently it can become quite expensive. In some states it is illegal, and Georgia is one that does not allow it.

Some of the free methods of getting more exposure to birth mothers or adoption situations is through blogging or the use of Facebook. I know these sites have worked for folks, but I am not really sure how helpful they are in the adoption process. I am doing both of these options since they are free, and it gives me something to do while I am waiting for the phone to ring. The one benefit is that it makes people aware that you want to adopt. This is helpful because you never know who might stumble upon a situation where someone is considering placing a baby for adoption. I know some friends who found their birth mother through this informal type of networking.

So, there can be a little unfairness inherent in the open adoption system. Birth mothers may be more likely to see more profiles of people who are more affluent and not a same-sex couple. To be clear, I am not whining here. Just merely pointing out another adoption truth.

If I had tons more money, I would be doing so much more to find our birth mother. I would sign up with 3-4 agencies if I needed to. I would be able to respond to the occasional adoption situation that seems perfect (these are when facilitators list an adoption situation available, typically at a very high cost).

Since we don't have the unlimited funds, it is frustrating. I feel powerless just sitting here waiting for the phone to ring. I will continue on with my free efforts at finding a birth mother situation, and hope that my high cost agency comes through for us. I am sure they will if I can just find the patience to wait. Lisa has the nice distraction of starting her new job. I am getting a little bit of baby fever as I have witnessed several births lately.

Come find us, little angel! Your room is ready, and our hearts are ready to welcome you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Adoption Truth

Maggie at birth

Something has been percolating in me lately, and it has to do with birth mothers.

As an adoptive parent of an amazing six year old daughter through domestic open adoption, I would love to shout from the rooftops that adoption is beautiful. But, that is not the entire story. And I am not talking about adoption scams, failed adoptions, the cost, or any other roller coaster issue that often comes with open adoption.

The adoption of my daughter in 2005 is the MOST wonderful thing that has ever happened to me, and I am forever grateful to her birth mother for choosing us. Maggie is such a blessing in our lives, and I can't imagine life without her.

I am writing today about how difficult it must be for most birth mothers to place their children for adoption. I know there are probably some that don't struggle with it at all. But, I imagine that many, many birth mothers have an incredibly hard time placing their child for adoption. Even when every ounce of their being may believe it is the best thing for the child, I can't help but think how hard it must be to let go of something you love and is biologically a part of you.

My daughter's birth mother struggles with her adoption decision. At the time of my daughter's birth, I did not know how much she was struggling because she kept that private until years later when she revealed that she had asked the nursing staff to bring the baby into her room every time we left the hospital. We had always thought the nursing staff was pushing the baby on her because one nurse in particular did not believe in adoption. We were also so overwhelmed with new baby excitement that we might not have noticed the subtle messages she might have been sending. We certainly didn't pressure her, but I imagine there were many things in life that were pressuring her to place the baby for adoption (her age, lack of income, resources, and life experience to name a few).

Since our adoption, our birth mother has had two other children whom she is parenting with the help of her boyfriend. I can't help but think that she feels sad that she is not raising the child she placed with us for adoption.

As adoptive parents, we should dance in the streets with excitement when a baby is placed with us. But, we should also be aware that our blessing may mean our birth mother is experiencing incredible heart ache over her decision.

If we do the math, adoptive parent's blessing = birth mother's loss. 

I am not saying that adoption is bad or anything even remotely close. Even though our adoption in Louisiana failed, it was clear to our birth mother in that situation that she could not take care of the new baby, and she wanted a better life for him. She remained committed to the adoption plan until the end, and though she was committed to this plan, it was still clearly very painful for her. The baby's birth father stepped in and changed everything, so now she has a baby that she didn't think she could raise. I pray that somehow they make it.

Birth mothers have given so many of us the greatest blessings in our lives. It is not something that can be re-paid in anyway other than to do our best to raise the baby and to honor any promises made to a birth mother. Recently, I have read many birth mothers and adoptive parents speak about the adoptive parents cutting off contact or not honoring the adoption plan that was made. I imagine there are extreme circumstance where this might be warranted, but in the other 99% of the cases, adoptive parents should honor the adoption plan (maybe this is easy for me to say because we have a great birth mother).

Birth mothers deserve to be treated with respect and for us to honor our promises made to them. Most birth mothers pick us because they believe we are decent people who will do a great job raising their baby. That doesn't mean we should only act like decent people until we finalize our adoption. Not honoring the adoption plan is not right to do to the birth mother, and it is definitely not the right thing to do to your child.

One day our children will be old enough to really understand the circumstances of their adoptions. Let's hope we have not behaved badly in a way that our children will rightfully resent or hate us for betraying their birth mother.

I have the utmost respect for birth mothers. I can only imagine the amazing courage it must take to do what you think is best for your baby despite the heart ache you might experience.

Without my daughter's birth mother, my life would be so empty and incomplete. I am so grateful that she trusted us enough to raise her daughter and to maintain contact with her.

I look forward to the day when another woman will trust us enough to raise her baby, and will know she can trust us to do the right thing in our relationship with her, and her relationship with the child.

But, I don't ever want to pretend that it is easy for a birth mother. With our joy comes a birth mother's pain. And that's an adoption truth.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We have a new Facebook page!

Maggie had a much better day today. Starting the day out by suggesting we have a good day seems to help. She was a little disappointed about her consequences today for yesterday's behavior, but she didn't complain too much since she had said yesterday that she didn't care about them. I pray she actually does care about them more in the future :-)

Our big struggle with Maggie these days is that she won't go to sleep at a reasonable time, and then she can't get up in the morning for school. I end up dragging her out of bed at the last moment in the morning, and then we both start the day off stressed. I don't think she can help it. I think she is like me, a night owl. She would probably do best if she had a school that started at 9:30 or 10 (which is about right for me, also). But, she doesn't, so we struggle every night trying to get her to sleep at a reasonable time. It's not like she isn't tired, but apparently she needs to be so tired she almost passes out. We have tried starting at 7pm, but then we still get the same result of her going to sleep around 9-9:30. I am beginning to think we should just stop the stress and not even try to get her to bed until around 8:55. I'll try something new tomorrow, though we have big storms coming, which will probably land her in our bed in the middle of the night. Sigh.

Yesterday, I read an article about adoption marketing, and it suggested we have a Facebook page. I have been purposely not doing that because I didn't want it to suck away more of my time. But, alas, I was fooling around yesterday and made one. I am not sure if it would be at all helpful, but I think it is an interesting experiment at this point. One thing that is interesting is that I have managed to get many people whom I don't know to "like" the page. So, in some regards the networking is working.

I also posted a poll on there about whether people thought we could find a baby to adopt through Facebook, and the interesting thing is that the people I know all said yes, and the people I don't know all said I was wasting my time. So, are the people who know me just trying to be supportive, or are these people who don't know me just being unsupportive? Maybe it is somewhere in between.

If you want to see our Facebook page, and get daily updates, then go here and "like" it:

We had a great call with our adoption agency today. We had one last night, too. Between the two calls, Lisa and I both feel optimistic. The head of our agency doesn't think we need to do any extra advertising on our own because he says his program will work for us and that we just need to give it time. So, I will try to relax some and just play a little with the online resources we do have. It is bringing us some contacts--some are clearly scams, but some appear legitimate. I am not going to pretend like I know how this is all going to unfold for us.

I have never been good with sitting around and waiting, so it is hard for me to do that with this adoption stuff. Don't get me wrong, I definitely have more than enough stuff to do in any given day to keep me occupied outside of the adoption world. It had just become a nagging uncertainty.

Well, I am off to read a little in a novel I bought a couple of weeks ago called "Sing You Home." Not far enough into to know if I really like it, but it did get very good reviews. I thought it might take my mind off my own "stuff" for a while.


Monday, April 25, 2011

6 year old independence

Parenting a six year old is not always so much fun. I was warned about this by other parents who had six year olds before me. I was sure my sweet Maggie would not fall victim to these wicked ways. Of course, I was wrong. My little innocent child has now begun to choose when she will or won't listen to us, and now when she gets a consequence, she says good, I didn't want that anyway. Nice....

How did this happen!!! Our perfect little angel has decided she has a mind of her own. It's not like it is every day, but sheesh, we have some moments every once in a while.

I really thought this would come in the teenage years, but I suppose this is the 6 year old version of the same game.

Well, game on little girl! I still love ya no matter what!

Yes, there can be too many Easter egg hunts

The Family on Easter

What a weekend. I am exhausted. Hopefully, no more Lisa's birthday and Easter falling on the same weekend. We had a great time, but we will all sleep well tonight.

Maggie enjoying another Easter egg hunt!
I wouldn't have thought this before having a child, but I am now going on record as saying, yes, you can have too many Easter egg hunts on an Easter weekend.

The family is exhausted, and the counters are covered with candy! Too bad those eggs didn't come with something a little more useful. We'll never be able to go through all that candy, and if we did, somebody should intervene.

Thanks to our good friends the Brooks-Alts for hosting us for Easter lunch and lots of Easter fun. I think Maggie's hands may be purple for the week from all the Easter egg dye.

Going into the week feeling good and optimistic! Let's hope Monday doesn't change my mind!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Weekend

Maggie with the Easter Bunny!

The weekend is off to a busy start! We got up early to be at our church Easter egg hunt. It was misting rain, cool, and foggy when we began, but eventually the sun came out to make it a beautiful day.

After our St. Mark UMC Easter egg hunt, we headed to the mall so Lisa could pick out a new watch for her birthday (she has a thing for watches). Lisa was excited to get her new watch, and is now ready for her birthday nap.

While at the mall, Maggie got to do bungee-jumping for kids, so she was happy.

Next, we are off Maggie's soccer game. She is already saying her feet hurt (I think she has outgrown the shoes she was wearing), so we'll see how the game goes.

Looking forward to a nice dinner of crab legs for Lisa's birthday dinner!

Enjoy the day, folks!

Friday, April 22, 2011

So frustrated!

Ahhhhhh! For some reason today has just been a total adoption frustration day. Maybe it is because there are so many birthdays today--lots of baby ones. I don't know, just feeling frustrated.

I wrote the adoption agency this morning, and finally received a reply at the close of business. They realize how hard it is, but don't have any recommendations for us at this time. We just need to wait. Well, that's a lot easier said than done. I don't know that I expected them to say anything different, but maybe I was secretly hoping they would say, oh, we see how hard it is for you, so let us find a match for you this weekend. That would have been nice, but I also know there are a lot of families who are walking around wounded right now who could use a match to help their sanity.

The important thing for me to remember is that it is not about the match,  but about the right baby and birth parents finding us. We know this is true, but we try to rush it anyway. But, Lisa and I have big hearts, so we are ready to love on a new little baby, along with our big girl baby.

We had friends over with their adorable baby Adam who is adopted through open adoption. Maggie was so in to playing with him. I wish I could make her a big sister now because it seems so natural and important to her. I am glad she really values family (we've done at least something right).

This weekend I feel like I want to decide if I should go even further into the marketing our family to prospective birth parents, or not. It is more money. More time. But, more birth parents will see our profile. Maybe that is a better way to go, but jeez, we paid that fancy agency all that money thinking they would help us find a birth family that was right for us. I guess they almost did, or maybe we overlooked too many things and it wasn't really such a good match after all. It is always easy to Monday morning quarterback.

I think the people at our agency are good people. I am sure our caseworker would love to find us a match if she could. And, I am sure she is used to listening to whiny adoptive parents. It is hard not to whine from time-to-time in this process. I tend to think if you never whine or get mad during this process, you are probably not doing something right or are in denial. Denial is not a bad place to be :-)

Every weekend brings new surprises for the families at our agency. I hope lots of new surprises come to all the great waiting families (I am pretty convinced the majority of them are probably great families).

Tomorrow is Lisa's birthday, an Easter egg hunt with our church, a soccer game, a birthday dinner at Joe's Crab Shack (that's what she wants), and a big fancy cake at home afterward. It is going to be a long day.

Peace, friends!

Worry-free parenting? Ha!

I don't know what it is about becoming a parent that has caused my predominant feeling to be worry. I don't mean to say I worry all the time, or that I am losing my mind worrying, but I don't remember worrying as much as I worry now.

Of course, I worry about Maggie a lot. I started to name some of my worries about her, then I realized I would look like I worry too much because my list would probably be endless :-)

I mean, don't all good parents worry about their kids a lot? There is so much in this world to worry about. And of course, I don't want her to experience the shit I have in life, so how can I try to guide her to miss some of the negative stuff in this world?

It raises my anxiety knowing that I probably can't protect her from as much as I would like to think I can. Oh, why can't life just be better for everyone?

Tonight, I worry about Maggie's birthmom. I don't usually worry about her, but tonight I feel like a worried momma about her. I pray she is okay.

I also worry about some friends who are supposed to be adopting a baby about now. They have fallen off the radar screen, so I pray that they are just busy with the new baby or something good like that.

My baby dog, Tucker, who is not really a baby, but he is my baby, is blind and getting more confused. Tonight, I wasn't paying attention while I was talking to Lisa, and I suddenly realized that he had been walking all around the house (his nails on the hardwoods make a distinct noise) looking for me for a long time. I hate that he is blind and confused.

My baby kitty, Kenny, is still hanging on to life. He is not eating as much, but he seems to be doing okay. At least he hasn't been wobbly on his feet lately. I have learned that his situation can change in a heartbeat, so I am very grateful of his return to better health since our last scare. He is so skinny. He is some kind of miracle kitty to have lived so long. He is so sweet. Every time I get in bed he cuddles up with me--which makes me think something is going on with him because he never used to be so cuddly for longer than a minute.

With all the worry, I am well aware of the many, many blessings we have. Life is a mixed bag. Yep, I get it.

Tomorrow begins with a bunch of car repair expenses. After that, Maggie and I will have to ready ourselves for Lisa's birthday on Saturday. She wants a low-key birthday, so low-key it will be. Last year she wanted low-key and I surprised her with a big party. I only did so because she always loved big birthday parties, but this year, she says she means it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sometimes a little rain can be a blessing

Today, we jumped out of bed to head to Piedmont Park for a play date with all the families in the organization I run. What I didn't realize when I first scheduled the date 3 months ago was that it would be coinciding with the Dogwood Festival. Would it be major chaos, or a nice combination?

Maggie on the rock climbing wall at Piedmont Park

Piedmont Park is a beautiful park in Midtown Atlanta. Not quite the same as Central Park in NY, but it is our own Southern version. Unfortunately, when a festival is going on, parking can be a problem. Atlanta is not built well enough for everyone to use public transportation (that's another story), so we mostly all use our cars. Since we needed to be at the park first, we were able to find free parking (my favorite) without any problem. The families that came after us mostly ended up having to pay. Some people never even made it to the play date because parking was so problematic.

The original plan was for all 3 of us to go and then leave a little early for Maggie's soccer game. Due to last night's rain, they actually cancelled the soccer game for today due to the muddy fields even though today was gorgeous outside. That was such a blessing because we found ourselves in an amazing park, during the Dogwood Festival, and with nowhere is particular we had to be.

They actually had an amazing looking Ferris Wheel, and a bunch of other jumpy things for the kids to play on. Maggie loved it because it was an unexpected trip to the "carnival" as she called it. We were able to sit on a grassy hill and watch a frisbee dog show (very cool).  It was nice to relax and just play on such a gorgeous day for the park. Usually, we seem so scheduled, that we don't just do "whatever" in a day. But, today we did :-)

Dear Adoption Agency

Ready to Adopt!

Dear Adoption Agency,

I see on your website you have another adoptive parent information session coming up. If you wouldn't mind, please do not sign up anymore new adoptive families until after we have adopted.

Thanks so much!


If only it worked that way! I am not a math genius, but I am fairly certain all the great families with our agency would adopt sooner if they wouldn't add any new families for a while. Each month they average 11-12 adoptions. This is why we signed on with them. It seemed like they did a fairly good number of adoptions in a given year with a reasonable number of prospective adoptive parents.

If you look at some adoption agencies, they have an extremely high number of clients at any given moment, and most do the same number of placements as our agency. We thought since we had done our research, paid our on-the-high-side adoption fees, that somehow our adoption process would be easier. In fairness, I guess it would have had our first match worked out in a successful adoption.

This week in our adoption world, we actually had a little activity. Nothing that has led to us adopting a baby, but still, in the open adoption process, we know having some activity is definitely better than no activity because you never know when it is going to happen.

We had our first call from a birthmother due to our own networking efforts. She was young, and only 4 months pregnant, so she likely has a ways to go before she chooses an adoptive family. She seemed very nice, and was very nervous about talking since she had never done this before. She is lucky in that her mom is helping her through this process.  I have to assume it would be helpful to have a supportive mom help you sort through families and to figure our the right questions to ask. I don't know if we will ever hear back from her, but it was nice to know she was considering us an adoptive family for her baby.

Today, I heard from a good friend of mine who is an adoptive parent of four. She was telling me about a baby born at the local children's hospital that is being placed for adoption. Apparently the baby was born with some health complications, but is now fine. When she heard about the baby she immediately thought about us and our desire to adopt. I think the baby may already be linked with a local adoption agency that probably has its own list of waiting parents, but she was going to try to get me some more information to see if we could be a possibility. It is a long shot, but definitely great that our friend came across this situation and called us. That is how this adoption networking is supposed to happen!

Maggie, our first adopted angel

We don't know how "our journey to another angel" will unfold. We have learned from our past experience that you just never know what the day may bring you. The last time we adopted, we had been waiting 18 months before we had our successful adoption. We had literally gone to see the movie "Million Dollar Baby," and came home after crying about that story (it's about a woman boxer who is such a fighter in her own life). For some reason, this brought out feelings in both of us about the adoption process even though it had nothing to do with adoption. Lisa and I both looked at each other that evening and said it is okay if the adoption-thing doesn't work out for us. It was as if we released it out into the universe and the phone rang at our house within the hour with Maggie's birthmother and her two moms. Within 3 hours of us telling the universe it was okay if we didn't adopt, we knew in our hearts that suddenly we were going to become parents within a very short period of time! Weeks later, we were holding our amazing daughter, and she was named after the main character in "Million Dollar Baby" because we were so moved by that moment, and the character in the movie was someone any parent would be proud to have as a daughter.

Long story to say I am always amazed by what can unexpectedly unfold in any given day, both good and bad.

In other news, we are very excited that Lisa received a job offer this week from a new employer. She has been wanting to work in a new industry for a long time, especially since the radio industry is a dying business. Finally, somebody is going to give her a chance to learn a new industry. The reality is that anyone would be lucky to have her as an employee because she is a workhorse and can easily learn a new industry. So, we are excited that this new job opportunity has presented itself, and in many ways looks like it will be a better opportunity for our family. The new job even offers adoption benefits, which means the company is supportive of its employees adopting, and helps them pay for a small portion of the adoption. It will be nice to work for a pro-adoption company again like the one Lisa was working for when we adopted Maggie. Every little bit helps!

I am all scrunched in bed between Maggie and my cat, with a dog at my feet. It reminds me of the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (one of my favorites) and how all of his grandparents slept in one bed. Not that we don't have other beds, but because there was a thunderstorm here tonight, everyone is huddled in our bed, and somehow I always getting the bad end of the deal with the least amount of room. And I am probably the most claustrophobic, but this is my lot in life :-)

Signing off for tonight! Good night, everyone!


Monday, April 11, 2011

Not the super rich, but we are still a super great family!

Maggie and the dolphin trainers at Sea World! It was an awesome show!

Maggie had her first day back to school today. She was so happy to share with her classmates about her lost tooth over Spring Break. It was like Christmas at school for her! She even drew a picture of the tooth fairy coming and placing a bracelet and some money under her pillow. The picture is for the tooth fairy, but I didn't ask how she planned on getting it to her.

Our new website it up and running. It is our effort to hopefully increase the number of contacts we are having with birth parents. I am a little ambivalent traveling down this road because one of the reasons we hired the particular agency we are using is because we wouldn't have to do the outreach ourselves. It is not that we are lazy or anything like that, it is just that we are opening ourselves up to what could be a more stressful ride. On the other hand, doing our own outreach is exactly how we found Maggie's wonderful birth mom, so maybe we will be so lucky again?

I know if we would just be patient our agency will eventually call us with the "right" situation for us. Patience in the adoption area is not my strong suit. The first couple of months we were waiting I fought off my urge to do something to feel like I had some control over the process. And then we were matched so quickly, just like the adoption agency advertised was possible. Of course, that turned out to be a long, painful ride. And now we are here, much farther down the road of waiting. And I feel like I need to do something!

Let the Memories Begin!

So, I turn to the internet, like thousands of other people who want to become adoptive parents. It is much different than it was 6 years ago when we adopted Maggie. Now, in addition to our websites, we have blogs and You Tube videos to help show what a wonderful family we are to birth parents. Some people have really great websites, blogs and videos. I saw this one couple who had a video professionally made with them talking throughout it. Of course, it showed they were from Hollywood and very rich. They've since adopted.

Check our our You Tube Video!

We can't compete with the super rich. At our agency, there are many wealthy families who are competing with us in the pool of prospective adoptive parents. I know I shouldn't use the word "competing," but I will for tonight since I don't have the brain power to come up with something more politically correct.  Though I do sometimes look at the other parent profiles and get down because there are some seriously rich people in our adoption pool, I try to reason that there are birth parents who will choose us for different reasons. I don't blame birth parents for wanting the super rich---to each his own. But, what we can offer the children in our home doesn't cost money: love, stability, consistency, hugs and kisses.

No, reader, we are not the super rich, but I think we do a super good job at providing lots of love and the best opportunities for our daughter, and we will certainly do the same for our next child. If you want the super rich, you should probably keep looking. But if you want a family that can offer lots of love, who is financially stable, and can provide a great environment for your baby, then we just might be the right fit. I hope you keep exploring :-)

Maggie using her Princess Wishing Star to wish for a baby brother or sister!

One thing people reading may not know about me is that I stay up way too late just about every night. I am a night owl, and hate to get up in the morning. But, when you have kids, you have to get up and get them to school. So, I have decided to make a much more serious effort to go to bed at a decent time so that I can have more productive days where I am not dragging.

So, if you haven't already, please post our new website on your Facebook, My Space, or any other place you can think of. We could really use the help in spreading the word, and we would love to hear your feedback!


Have a great night, and wish me well with my endeavor to go to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight (and all future nights).



Home Again

Our last day at Disney World!

Yay! Spring Break was a lot of fun, but it sure is good to be home again. The drive home was extra tough with the Spring Break traffic. What should have been a 7 hour drive took about 11 hours. I am so happy to see all my furry children, and especially my ailing kitty who is still hanging on to life.

My house seems so peaceful after sharing a house with two other families. It is so much quieter when you only have the routines of your own family going on  :-) And sleeping in my own bed is heaven compared to the springs popping through the mattress I slept on all week. Ah, home...

Today, the family headed out to church and then a great lunch at Farm Burger (supposedly the food comes from a local farm, so it is fresh and extra yummy). The church sermon was a lot about death, and I think it was meant to be uplifting because of the afterlife. I can't exactly remember all of what it was about because talking about death for so long brought up feelings I had about our failed adoption of our baby boy. I was sad for a few minutes in church, but it was good to stop and think about him for a moment. I looked at his pictures on my phone, and smiled remembering him.

The rest of the day I was very fortunate because Lisa took Maggie and our neighbor Jeremy to the Atlanta Thrasher's hockey game. I got to stay home and do nothing, and nothing is what I did. I slept for 3 hours!

Tomorrow, it is back to reality! School, work, and extra-curricular activities, oh my!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fool me twice, I don't think so

We started the morning with Maggie running into my room saying her first loose tooth came out in the middle of the night. It was nowhere to be found, and I was grateful she didn't bleed all over the rental house bed she was in. It just disappeared. Fortunately, I had read the evening before that kids can swallow their loose teeth while sleeping, and there is no need to worry. Anyway, Maggie was so excited and rushed down to tell everyone in the house. The two other kids her age were not so pleased because they haven't lost any teeth yet, but the adults made a big deal about it.

Riding the ferry to the Magic Kingdom

We had a great day at Disney World. It took us a while to get there, but when we finally made it, we had a good time. It was the first year Maggie was so into the rides, and she wanted to ride and ride. She has also developed fear of certain rides that she has been going on for years. I always worried when she was 2 that she had no sense of fear, but now I see it coming in :-)

Maggie loves riding the cars now!

At Disney World, Maggie spent the first half of the day telling anyone who would listen that she lost her tooth. She enjoyed sporting her new toothless look.

My cell phone hasn't been working well since we arrived down in the Orlando area. The reception has been terrible. While at the park, I rebooted it for some reason, and up came a message from the day before from our adoption agency. At first I was panicked thinking they might have called us for a last minute hospital match and we missed the window of opportunity because of our crappy cell reception. Then I was frustrated that when I called the agency the call kept dropping. Finally, I used a friend's phone and was able to learn more about the situation they were calling about (they never call us just to say hello, so when they call it is usually good news when you are in the pre-match phase).

They presented us with a situation that sounded pretty good. They sent us a file that evening so I could read more about the situation while not in the middle of Disney World. According to the information we received, the birthmother was due May 4th with a baby girl. Supposedly she has had good prenatal care and everyone was healthy. And she is only 26 years old.

The more I learned about the situation, the more I became suspicious. Heck yeah, we are trying to be extra careful after our last situation. We both slept on it, and in the morning we compiled a list of questions to follow up with the adoption agency about. Thank God we are experienced enough to know what questions to ask--otherwise, I think we would have signed up for what I predict will be a very expensive and possibly huge mess of an adoption experience. Red flags everywhere. All sorts of adoption costs required to meet Colorado law's requirements. The birthfather story was inconsistent, and we weren't falling for the that again. And finally, apparently, where she lives in Colorado, she has 30 days to change her mind about the adoption. No way are we entering into an adoption for 30 days and have the baby taken back from us. I have read about people who have experienced this long of a failed adoption, and there is no way I can mentally afford it. 5 days almost wrecked me. I can't imagine risking 30 days. God bless the families that can handle that kind of risk.

I am a little peeved at the caseworker who presented this case to us. I wouldn't exactly say she was honest with us. She took the approach to only answer the questions we asked, and to not warn us about the possible trouble spots. I think they are having a hard time placing this birthmother because of all the issues we are concerned about, and possibly more, so it felt a little like a used car salesperson selling us the situation. I know that is wrong on so many levels to compare the two, but that is what is felt like. If we were not experienced with open adoption, we would have blindly walked into this mind field. I hope whoever does take it on that it works out for them. I would hate for them to experience what we experienced with our failed adoption. The tempting part is that it so close to being born that it got me excited.

I don't know if the agency thinks the Kelly's just have unlimited funds and room in our hearts to handle this adoption, but I find it really odd they presented it to us, and in such a non-straightforward way. I guess I will have a little chat with them this week about it all. Though we live comfortably, we are not made of money and are not going to get consumed by emotions and make bad decisions.

I know they should present all situations to us when a birth mother has chosen us even if it doesn't meet our filters. But, for goodness sakes, be honest about the details of the situation.

Well, we are off to our final day of the Magic Kingdom tomorrow, so I should get to bed. We will likely be at the park all day and pray that it is not as crowded as it was on Wednesday. We are ending the day with a princess dinner in Cinderella's castle. Maggie will love all the princess stuff going on, so it should be delightful. It may just be the last year of Princesses because many of my friends have told me that their kids grow out of it at 6-7 years old. I wouldn't mind it a bit. I have enjoyed the years of Princess mania, but I am okay with letting it go now.

God bless to everyone out there reading along with our journey. We especially appreciate those of you sending it along to friends through Facebook, etc.

I am trying to make an effort to be much more practical about this next adoption (I know, scary thought since I am already so practical), because when emotions get involved, it is hard to walk away from something you know you should walk away from. That is why I told Lisa that I thought we should make up our minds before talking to the birthmother this time. We both have big hearts and want to think the best of people, so I didn't want that to sway us at all.

We needed to be practical, practical, practical. In the end, it was an easy decision because we could not do it for 3 reasons, and we just matter-of-fact made those decisions. It felt good to be in control for a minute. Then it felt not so good when I e-mailed the case worker telling her we were going to pass. That means we have nothing else in the fire that we know of....

I still believe God will help us find the right birthparents and baby. Being at Disney World is certainly a good distraction from it all.

Buzz Lightyear's Nemesis

And please, don't worry about us. If anything, it was nice to have a moment where we felt some control over our adoption experience. We are fine and have lots of good distractions going on right now.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Gift That Keeps On Giving Gives Again....

Maggie at Sea World
A rainy day on our Spring Break vacation today. Not much done. We went to see the movie "Hop," which I actually thought was cute. Then later went to an all-you-can-eat lobster and crab place for a birthday dinner for one of the mommies in the group.

Yesterday, we went to Sea World. It was a great day. Perfect weather, and a fun time. We especially enjoyed the Dolphin Show that we have somehow managed to miss over all these past years down here. The park wasn't crowded, so the lines were very do-able for the rides. I did myself in trying to follow Maggie twice on the ropes course there. If you've been to Sea World, and are over 30, you know what I mean when I say that course is not meant for adults. Holy Crap! My legs were like spaghetti by the time I climbed back down. Maggie loved playing in the water for a couple of hours while some of her friends road the more intense rides. Last year she liked them, but this year she is not into the roller coasters and other super-intense rides, which is fine by me.

Water Play at Sea World

I noticed yesterday Maggie was rather quiet, and acting a little withdrawn. If you know Maggie, she is very consistently super happy and outgoing. Yesterday, she didn't seem like herself. Today, even more so. I kept trying to figure out what was wrong. Could it really be the loose tooth that hasn't come out yet? The cold? The Spring Break exhaustion? The trying to navigate the dynamics of having three little girls all around the same age? Nope, none of those guesses. Unfortunately, it can take days (and possibly never) to figure out what is going on with a 6 year old. She just can't articulate it yet. Or, at least when I probe for answers from every angle I can think of.

The last two night she has seemed a little uneasy at bedtime, which is another unusual for Maggie, especially with friends around. Tonight, she asked me to lay with her in bed to cuddle before she went to sleep. While we were cuddling, from her silence, she suddenly began talking about the baby from our failed adoption and his biological father. She was wondering how the baby was doing, and said she thought he was having fun with the biological father. She seemed bothered when I said I hope so. She quickly wanted to know why I thought that was a good thing. I explained to her that since we love the little baby, we want him to be happy and have fun. That seemed to make sense to her. She went on to talk about what a beautiful baby he was, and how she missed him. She started crying and hugging my neck. It caught me a little off guard, and pissed me off that my little girl is still grieving the loss of this little baby. Damn it. She is at the happiest place on earth, and she has fallen back into thinking about our sadness.

I have an idea that since there are two young baby boys staying with us that it has triggered these feelings for her. The Maggie I am used to would be so happy to be here with friends that she wouldn't even have time to have these feelings. My little girl is growing up, and is more aware than I realize.

I talked to her about how God has a special little brother or sister in mind for us, and that this baby will come into our lives when God has found the right one for our family. I believe this, so I hope my little girl believes it. I think she does, but I also can feel her frustration in waiting and wondering. Sometimes I think she thinks there is something wrong with us because the adoption fell apart. She is not old enough to understand what really happened, so we just do the best we can to explain it to her again.

I promised her one day soon she will be a big sister. She really needs this for whatever reason--it is just who she is. And she is going to be a great big sister.

She looked wiped out after she talked to me, and then was finally able to fall asleep as she clutched my hand in hers. I had a few tears stream down my cheek to think that my daughter is struggling with this again. In the past, I might have cried over the failed adoption, but now my tears are about my baby girl and her struggle.

Even as I move on, I have to remember we all grieve at different paces.

So, as we are visiting the happiest place on earth, we finish this day with some sadness, but hope for a happier day tomorrow.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring Break Update

Maggie and Alex enjoying an ice cream sundae by the pool today

Well, we made it down to sunny Orlando (the weather is beautiful). The trip down was fairly uneventful except if you count Maggie telling me her stomach hurt because she was so hungry, and they proceeded to projectile vomit gallons in the car just as we pulled into the restaurant. I am fairly certain it was bad milk from a Wendy's restaurant we got the day before, and not her being sick because she has been fine ever since.

Orlando is the crazy place that made me break down and get a GPS, but I am convinced my GPS took us an hour and a half out of the way to get to our rental house. We had some free time before check in, so we stopped by my parents' house to visit (they live close off the highway to Disney). It was a surprise visit, so that was extra nice.  Plus I was able to wash all the clothes Maggie soiled from our little accident.

My parents were just finishing a yard sale in which they sold a bunch of their art work I would have liked--one piece in particular. Oh well, no sense in holding onto things. I did end up bringing boxes of stuff that was left over from their sale. They were giving away stuff that has been in our family for 30 years. I think I was having a more difficult time than they were.

There are 3 girls and two baby boys on the trip with us. The 3 girls have been running themselves into the ground with exhaustion. They were super thrilled to have a dance party and then to have our dad of the house play Barbies with them. Maggie was quite surprised and then thrilled with his ability to actually play a good game of Barbies. At first they questioned his drag voice, but then when they heard his guy voice they decided he needed to go back to the drag voice. We don't have any Ken dolls with us, so daddy Ian had to be a Barbie.

By 5pm, the 3 girls seemed a little catatonic and whiny. Maggie got up at 6am this morning! Oye. She has gone from getting 12 hours of sleep these last two nights to getting only 8. Tonight, I actually made her go to bed by 7:30, and she didn't even fight me on it. They swam just about all day today.

We are going to Sea World tomorrow, so I am glad they are all getting some good rest. We are getting a good deal on tickets from one of the ticket sales places in the gas stations along International Boulevard, but we have to be there by 8:30am. I have no doubt that will be a struggle to get this entire household there on time.

Maggie still has her loose tooth, and I can't believe it hasn't come out. She still wiggles it all day, but fortunately has her friends to distract her a little bit from it.

Maggie and Samantha

I am enjoying spending time with Godson Nicholas and his pal Matthew. Nick-Nick is having a wonderful time, and is such a happy baby. It is so amazing to me how difficult he was in the beginning of his life. I think Matthew is going to be a good friend by the end of this week, too.

Until the next time....

Friday, April 1, 2011

We have an adoption video!

Yeah, today is April 1st! The Kelly Family is looking forward to a much better month than the previous two! Tomorrow, we are set to go on our annual trip to Disney World with some good friends. I haven't even begun to pack or get things ready--though I did just get an oil change and promptly left my credit card at the service station :-)

Above is an adoption profile video I did for fun. I am not sure how useful it will be, but you never know how you might find someone, so I took a few minutes to throw one together to help show a little about our family.

I hope you will share it on your Facebook wall.

We are still waiting to get our adoption website done, but there is some content there if you want to take a look. It looks sort of like our profile book that goes out to birthmothers from our agency.

Thanks for all the well wishes for Lisa. She is doing much better, though a little edgy hyped up on the steroids. Only one more day of steroids--yay for all of us!

My baby Kenny is still wobbly, but he seems to be stable at the moment. Though the Vet said we are looking at the end, Kenny is such a fighter that I don't know how long that will be. We were told two years ago that he was at the end, so who knows.

Yesterday, Maggie got her green belt in karate! We are so proud of her! This was such a big accomplishment, and it was so nice to see how proud she was of herself. What seemed impossible became possible. It will be nice going into our Spring Break vacation starting with that big accomplishment. A 22 move kata is hard for an adult, let alone a 6 year old!

I better get packing. I hope to check in again soon!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sometimes the journey is not fun....

On our journey


Life has been a roller coaster this week, and not one I would want to ride again.

We spent Sunday at the emergency room because Lisa has had severe pain in her right eye for the past two weeks, and then over the weekend she couldn't read things. After a lot of hours, some blood tests, and a CAT Scan, the ER doctor told us everything looked fine and that she was probably having a migraine or something. I think he thought we were drug seeking or something because he suggested Lisa go home and take some ibuprophen. I became a little unglued at the idea that he thought she just needed some ibuprophen. Do doctors today think that people don't know enough to take ibuprophen on their own, before they go to an emergency room? WTH. Nonetheless, I was relieved that he said Lisa didn't have a tumor behind her eye, which was our biggest fear.

After a long exhausting day, we retrieved Maggie from what turned out to be an all-day play date (her favorite). We all went to bed early that night as the 3 of us were exhausted. Loud thunderstorms woke everyone, which seems to be a happening a lot this past week, so we had another night of not so much sleep.

Monday morning Lisa receives a phone call from the hospital where she was treated. They are calling to tell her how sorry they are, but they didn't read the CAT Scan correctly and that she does have something serious going on. I was pissed! WTH!!!

They fit her in to see a specialist the next day. That night Lisa and I are both stressed about what this could mean. Needless to say, neither of us slept well that night.

Tuesday, Lisa heads into work to get some stuff done before her doctor's appointment (she is an overly dedicated employee that anyone would be damn lucky to have--but that's another story). I am stressed because I have a work appointment that I cannot miss because it took weeks to set it up, so I can't go to the doctor's appointment with Lisa. I am over at my office waiting for my appointment, and worried that this could be something serious going on with Lisa. After 15 minutes past my appointment time, I get a message that my appointment isn't going to make it and how sorry he is. Can we reschedule for tomorrow? !*%#*!

Lisa calls me from the doctor's appointment. I can't make out what she is saying because that damn medical facility has sh-- for a cell signal. We are both stressed enough to be snippy with each other at a time when we should be nothing but supportive. The doctor thinks she has a severe infection that has caused fluid to build up around her eye. She is given an rx for a super high dosage of steroids. Again, we are relieved that it is not something more serious. At least that is what we are hoping.

That evening, we are both at our wits end with the amount of stress we are carrying around regarding the medical scare and a host of other things. Lisa is wired from the massive steroid dose she took that night. Again, big thunderstorms throughout the night and a not a lot of rest.

Wednesday morning, Lisa is feeling a little better and goes back to work. When I wake up I realize my cat, Kenny, is not doing well. This is a cat who has almost died on us a hundred times (he is 17 years old and has been dying the last two years). This time he really doesn't look well. He is wobbly on his feet, and falls over when he sneezes. Damn it. Not now. Though I have been preparing for his death for the past two years, I am not ready. It is not a good time. I don't want to say goodbye. So, I do my best to nurse him on-and-off all day to try to get him better. He seems a little better, but it still wobbly on his feet.

I finally call the Vet to see if there is anything they can do. Of course they offer up thousands of dollars worth of tests, but we have been down that road with him his whole life and his illness is unexplainable. I don't need to pay for tests to confirm, yep, he is really sick. And no, I don't want to hear someone tell me I may want to consider putting him down. Finally, I get the Vet to agree to let me bring him in the morning to see if we can give him some anti-biotics and fluids to see if that helps him.

Thursday morning we begin the day with Maggie's school conference. Let's hope that goes well. I have learned with school conferences that I never know whether I will get a curve ball or not, so I try to set myself up to not freak out about the small things that may get mentioned (I have been known to do so). Lisa and I both coach ourselves to remember that we feel like Maggie is doing wonderful, and that nothing is too big of a deal. That seems to help, usually.

So, in the morning, it's off to the school conference and then to the Vet. I am hoping Kenny makes it through the night. He is laying unusually close to me tonight. We've been here before and he has pulled out of it. I just know that one of these times he won't, and I hope it is not now.

Sometimes the journey is not fun, but at least I know that we all have each other through it.