Friday, November 30, 2007

Lily is 8 months old!

I can't even believe she has been with us for that long. Right now, she is not at her finest - she has double ear infections (again!) and bronchitis. The thing we can't tell she is sick until it gets pretty bad. She never runs a fever, she doesn't get sad and mope and act like a sick baby, she just periodically gets really pissed off... which she also does when she's not sick. Of course, this doesn't stope me from feeling like mother of the year when I take her in and find out she's probably had this for a little while at least.

At any rate, she is on antibiotics now so hopefully we'll get the ear infection cleared up for good this time. As for milestones, we think she waved last night. We've been waving like crazy at her and last night she finally seemed to move her arm in response, so we're going to assume that's what it is.

Also, we are back in our master bedroom! Yay!! We finished the painting, ceiling, etc this weekend. Lily is in the guest room, which is a lot bigger so I think she will stay there for now. That means we just have to finish the drywall and paint the nursery.

That's about the only update I have for now. Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Stay tuned.

Even though I wished I wasn't, I was hoping against hope that he would flake out again, but Lily's biodad did show up for his DNA test this morning.

Results expected in 4 - 6 weeks.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Spooky

One of my favorite bloggers recently wrote about The Girls Who Went Away... and she even highlighted the same quote as I did.

Bitch PhD


I've seen other people talk about adoption as a feminist issue, which I think is interesting. And I think the way the author paints the 1950s, Ward Clever-eque existence as a social abnormality is pretty cool too. There is so much pressure on parents, especially moms, to hold up the standard of the 50s family that I think it's extremely helpful to realize that the 50s and 60s were really more the exception than the rule.

Lily Update

Lily is flying developmentally! A little over a week ago (Nov. 11) she finger-fed for the first time. R. thought my mom and I were crazy when we got so excited - she plopped her in the high chair and gave her some cheerios and Lily nonchalantly started eating them. 10 minutes later we come in the room and go nuts. Then, this past Sunday (Nov. 18), after napping for about 30 minutes, she started screaming her head off. When I went up to check her, she was standing, having pulled herself up on the crib rail. She crawls everywhere and is actually pretty quick. Guess that means that hard core babyproofing is in order.

As for her case... her mom is still not in touch with the c/w (or her family) as far as I know. Lily is regularly seeing her aunt and her great grandparents. She stays with Aunt A. every Friday while we are at work and her great-grandparents drive up from Jackson to visit her there.

Apparently, "Dad" (you know THE GUY WHO HAS SEEN HER EXACTLY ONCE SINCE SHE WAS BORN ALMOST 8 MONTHS AGO!) wants to pursue custody now - he is supposed to have a DNA test on Monday. I know it's not the right thing to feel or think or say but I can't help it... Lily already has a daddy and he's not this kid who can't be bothered to pursue the case unless the caseworker is hounding him, who didn't show up for 2 out of 3 court dates.

He's the guy who lights up when she reaches for him, who feeds her breakfast, changes her diapers and picks out outfits for specific occasions and is already looking for the perfect Christmas gift for her. It's the guy Lily gives kisses to - yeah, she kisses him and not me, I'm very jealous - the guy who has so many pictures in his cube that I think it compromises his ability to work, and the guy who plays guitar for her in the evening and is trying to teach her to sing along.

He's her daddy. Let's just hope it stays that way.

Monday, November 12, 2007

This is what it's like (Part 2)

The end of the last post may have made you think I'm done with adoption. But, I'm not saying I won't adopt. I think maybe I can feel better about my role in the triad if I try to make it as positive an experience as it can be, if we are as open and honest with potential firstmoms as possible. I just worry that that makes us complicit in the whole thing. If demand for adoptable babies fuels the industry and I am part of the demand, then I am part of the problem.

What am I saying then? I don't think I could consider adopting a white infant privately from an agency. In the past we have stated that we were open to any race. But I really think that the demand for white babies (and therefore the large amounts of money attached to them) is the part of private agency adoption that is most wrong and most damaging. It creates a culture that values some babies and devalues others, that it makes it OK to do or say certain things to e-moms (especially white e-moms) because there are so many parents who want to adopt white babies. If we don't participate in that segment of the industry that drives the most illicit practices, maybe that's OK... or at least more OK. Making the change official probably has no consequences in actuality - I can't imagine any agency placing a white baby with us when that's the only kind of baby some a-parents will accept.

I also think there may only be a handful of agencies we could work with. I know I'm painting agencies with a wide brush, but there are some good ones out there. There are a few characteristics we'll look for. Definitely not-for-profit. Definitely not ones who spend a lot of money in national advertising. Definitely not ones who charge different fees for different races. Maybe ones that only focus on African American or biracial adoption. The small social service oriented Luterhan agency we're working with in Cleveland is good, I think, but they focus more on international adoption, so the odds of us adopting domestically through them are probably pretty low. I've also read good things about two other agencies and we're checking into them now.

But, really, when you get right down to it, I'm beginning to think the best solution (for us) is to adopt from foster care. I hate to admit that, I really do. I love being a foster parent but I hate what that means - social workers and no real rights to the kids we love so much, and now, unannounced quarterly home visits.

The thing I've realized about adopting from foster care though, is I at least know moms aren't pressured to relinquish. On the contrary, those moms are probably 100 times more supported than most first moms who are working with private agencies. It seems like biological parents get more support (financial and otherwise), more intervention and more assistance in parenting from social services than they ever would from the typical private agency who is helping them decide whether to parent or not. Of course, bioparents in the system don't choose to be there. But I do think most children who end up in care end up there for a very good reason. And I do think that most bioparents get plenty of chances to get their kids back, and (at least in my county) plenty of support to help them do that.

As I've heard a lot of people say, in a perfect world, adoption would not exist. Given that it does, and it looks like that's how PB and I will build our family, the best option for us seems to be foster-to-adopt. But when I really get to the end of my rope with the red tape and the waiting and the uncertainty and the trauma of losing babies, maybe working with an ethical agency who specializes in placing African American children is our next option.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

This is what it's like (Part 1)

Ackkk.. this post got really long. I'm publishing this part first. I'm working on the second part now and hopefully will get it published tomorrow. Like I said, my brain is itchy, so bear with me...

So I'm reading this book called, "The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade." It's a great book, written by Ann Fessler. And as a PAP, it's hard as hell to read.

This passage in particular struck me. The first mom who is speaking is particularly eloquent at expressing what it was like to be an unwed mom during this time period, especially the complete lack of rights or informed consent. She goes on to describe the constant, haunting pain that placing her baby with adoptive parents left on her life. She says that the only way to heal is to have that pain acknowledged:
Instead of always pushing adoption as this loving, wonderful, rescuing thing. Yes, that may be the case for people who adopt. It is not the case for us. You never are whole. Never. It's a hugely damaging thing. It's an enormously injuring, painful, fracturing, amputation of families.
Ouch. I've read blogs by first moms before and they have moved me. But something about this passage stuns me. I think it's the "amputation of families" imagery.

How can I feel good about being part of that? Really? In a way, I think I know a small part of what she's talking about. I am familiar with the constant ache for something you can't have. And I know what it's like to love a baby and send it away. I'm not claiming I feel all of her pain, not at all. But if what PB and I are going through is even a fraction of what she's experiencing, I can't imagine asking someone else to go through it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

My brain is itchy

That sounds weird but it's the best way I can describe it. Tons of thoughts bouncing around my head, some coherent, some not so much. Ideas for posts appear, then just evaporate.

I think I'm in an adoption funk. After another failed match, with an agency I felt like we could actually work with and still respect ourselves in the morning, I'm beginning to wonder if this is ever going to work out for us. Like the last one, this one felt good. We liked them, they seemed to like us, they seemed really certain, and we tried to let them know that it would be OK to change their mind. But, just like the last one, they still felt they couldn't tell us they changed their mind... this time they didn't tell anyone, just disappeared. I know I shouldn't make this about me, but frankly, that feels a little harsh.

And Lily... she is awesome. I can't imagine anything I wouldn't do for her or to keep her. She is my daughter as certainly as if I had birthed her, I really believe that. Except, you know, for how she's actually not... And I find myself thinking more and more about the what ifs. What if Dad doesn't get tested? What if he does and wants her back? What if Mom shows up again? What if she doesn't? What if her aunt decides to take her?

What if we do get to keep her? That's where it gets dangerous. Thinking like that is not a good place to go. It's just not. Unfortunately it's where I keep finding myself. I think that's why my brain itches.

Sleep issues??

So, after finally breaking down and ordering these final titles from our library:

The No Cry Sleep Solution
The Baby Sleep Book
Happiest Baby on the Block

Lily slept 9 hours straight last night.

Go figure.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I actually do *heart* craigs.list

I just scored a ton of those Peek.A.Block things for Lily for 20 bucks. The giraffe, some kind of wagon and a dump truck.

Don't ask me any details, I just know they were pretty popular last year and it's a crime to get to 7 months without owning blocks.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I *heart* the roller coaster

Man, I really need a sarcasm key on my keyboard.

Sorry I haven't posted much lately... the last couple of weeks have been pretty eventful. Let's do a list of good things and bad, shall we?

Good things:
  • Lily's caseworker has made several comments regarding "speeding up" her case and getting it transferred to adoptions. Trying not to get too excited because there is still the potential for quite a few family members to step up but I am much more optimistic than I was a month ago at this time
  • We met more of Lily's extended family - specifically, her maternal uncle (15 yrs old and looks just like Lily's mom), her great grandparents (who are literally some of the sweetest people I've ever met) and her cousin. All of them say if she doesn't go to family, they want her to stay with us.
  • Lily slept all night last night, for the first time in about 8 weeks. She is also over 14lbs and seems to be recovered from her various ailments (see below).
  • My dad had his gallbladder removed yesterday in an entirely uneventful procedure. It was done laproscopically. He entered surgey at 7:30am and by 11:30am was calling me from McDonalds (!) where he stopped to get a Coke on his way home (!!).
  • We have a new roof. WITH NO HOLES. Yay!!!
  • Contract renegotiation at work = substantial raise and monthly bonuses, provided the business stays healthy. Plus a commitment from my colleague (who is in the process of purchasing the business) to get me to "six figures as quickly as possible". Double Yay!!!!
  • Oh, and we got the most adorable Halloween pictures of Lily. She should be a model. Really.

And the not good things:
  • PB's grandma died. It was very sudden, though I guess it's never entirely unexpected when one is 84. The funeral entailed much interaction with PB's family (always a good time for me!) including a wonderful instance of exposing Lily to MERSA. Gotta love it.
  • Lily had double ear infections and pink eye last week and she continues to throw up... a lot.
  • Another failed match. I admit I was holding out on you guys... I didn't want to post for fear of jinxing it. But silly me, it's not an internet jinx, it's an Amanda and PB jinx. The story in a nutshell - we were matched and met with a 12-year old emom who was pregnant by her 14 yr old stepbrother. We really clicked with them (emom's mom sent us a bunch of family pictures for the album we were going to start for the baby, wanted to meet my parents and added me to her yahoo instant messenger list) and they seemed really set on placing. Then, they literally disappeared off the face of the earth, to the point of claiming the agency was calling the wrong number. Her due date was today. Good times.
  • And then, a failure to match... we were not chosen by another family we were presented to - the same agency who matched us with the emom above had an unexpected situation come up where a mom is being induced tomorrow. Our letter was presented yesterday and I haven't heard anything which I guess means we weren't chosen.
  • We still don't have any ceilings in our house. Not necessarily a bad thing because we are thinking of doing them ourselves and using the left over money to replace our front room carpet, which is so gross I don't want to walk on it, let alone let Lily crawl all over it. But still, pretty annoying.
So on the whole, not so bad. The adoption - baby situation is really bumming me out, but having Lily and allowing myself to be at least somewhat optimistic about the potential of adopting her has helped. I will admit it, I've let hope (the bitch that gut punches me every time) creep in at this point. We'll see what happens.