Saturday, November 19, 2011

Introducing: Mara of Marriage 2.0

I am so happy I participated in the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project at Production, Not Reproduction.  I can't wait to read through many of the interviews and hopefully find some new blogs to follow.

Through random pairings, I was matched with Mara at Marriage 2.0 .  Mara has a great insight on life and blogs about a variety of topics, not just adoption.  Mara and her husband Chris have officially been in the waiting game since late summer.  She is a very talented writer and I am excited to share with you the interview questions I asked her.

1.       What has been the best part about blogging your journey to parenthood?  
Two really wonderful things have come out of blogging for me. First, finding this community and connecting with other people who are facing similar challenges. I don’t have many real-life friends who have battled pregnancy loss and infertility and who have shared that with me. Learning that I wasn’t alone was a huge comfort during the difficult times. Second, having an outlet for my emotions was a huge help. After my miscarriage, I really withdrew from most of my friends. I didn’t mean to, I just didn’t know how to talk about my loss with them. Through my blog, I was able to share my feelings and work through some difficult emotions. It really helped me in my healing process. 

2.      What do you think will be the biggest change in your life once you have settled into parenthood?
Well, I like to think that I will be so happy and grateful every day to be a parent, and I’m sure I will be! But I think in reality, my life will get a lot more chaotic. My husband and I are both very organized, and although we are far from perfect, we are fairly successful at balancing our marriage, our professional commitments, our family and friends, our singing, and our various volunteer activities. I think having a baby is going to throw us into beautiful chaos, and we are going to have to get used to pushing forward, even when we don’t feel like we’re on top of things.
3.      What will you miss most about your pre-child life?
Sleep! And feeling like I’m on top of things.
4.      You say that you are open to adoption a child of any race; how / do you plan to incorporate their heritage and culture into your lifestyle?
I think the most important shift for us will be to start thinking of ourselves as a multi-racial family, not just thinking of ourselves as white people with a child of a different race. We already live in a very racially diverse neighborhood, and we will seek out a school, church and other activities that include a diverse mix of races. We have some close friends who have mixed race families, and I think there will be a lot of positive role models available for us and for our child as we move forward. If there are specific cultural traditions (foods, holidays, etc) tied to our child’s background, we will celebrate them as part of our own family traditions.
5.      How and when do you plan on sharing your adoption story with your child?
We plan to be open with our child from the very beginning, so there will never be a moment when they “learn” that they were adopted. At the same time, we know that their understanding of their story will evolve as they get older and start to ask more detailed questions and have a more sophisticated understanding of their story and a more complex emotional response. Our priority is to be honest with our child and to allow him or her to feel that this topic is not taboo and can be discussed openly, even if he or she is feeling bad about it sometimes.
6.      What is the best way to describe your feelings about your infertility?
I have accepted my infertility, and I have tried to turn my struggles into something positive. I think that pretty much sums up the way I have approached every obstacle and failure in my life. I have learned to forgive myself, I am making peace with my body, and I am excited about expanding our family through adoption. I try to allow the difficult emotions I experienced around infertility and loss to expand my compassion so I can be more understanding toward other people in my life, who might be struggling with their own issues. I also hope that someone else out there will take comfort in my story.
7.    Are you looking for an open adoption? 

We have some flexibility with openness. I think our first choice would be to have a semi-open adoption, but we are flexible depending on the situation.

8.    How did you view open adoption when you first began considering adoption as a way to build your family?

I had never really heard of open adoption before we started doing adoption research. It was completely foreign to me, and it sounded a little scary. Today, there are some aspects of openness I feel comfortable with, and still some that I don’t. For my husband and me, we find it a lot easier to talk and make decisions about openness in the context of a specific adoption situation, and we are looking forward to having that opportunity!

9.        How do/did your friends/ family react when you began to tell them about open adoption?

We haven’t really discussed the topic much with people at this point. The most common thing that happens is people ask if the adoption will be open, or they ask if the birth parents will know who we are. We usually tell them that, yes, most likely we will meet the birth parents, and that openness is a spectrum, and that we won’t know the specifics until we’ve met the expectant parents and made a plan together.

Thank you so much Mara for being my interview partner!  I wish you the very best as you move forward on your adoption journey!  Click here to explore all of the other interview partners and read what everyone had to say!

Please stop over to Mara's blog and offer her and her husband encouragement!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Odds and Ends

It's late and I should be in bed.  I am on my third pack of starburst candy from our son's Halloween candy bowl and trying to wrap up a few odds and ends.  I feel like I have so much going on right now in our life and that it is going by so fast.  I'm trying to organize a holiday boutique for 10 vendors this next week, pick out and order Christmas cards, catch up at work,organize my bazillion photos saved on my computer hard drive and most importantly- finish our profile.

Writing our profile has been so difficult for us!  We are finding it hard to sit down and write all of that stuff about ourselves while not making it sound too cheesy!  I had a goal of having it done by December 1st and I really don't see that happening.  Matt and I had Friday off together and worked so hard the last two days trying to finish up the questions.  Tonight we pretty much finished them all and are almost ready to send in our first {very rough} draft.  That was way exciting for me and I did a little happy dance to the Michael Jackson video that was on VH1 at the time. 

I'm overwhelmed with thinking about getting the pictures picked out and finalizing our profile to look "pretty".  I have to depend on a few friends for help with these final pieces and so that means fitting things in with their schedule as well.

I haven't been as good at writing here as I want to be.  I think of things almost every day that I want to include but I don't have the energy to come in and write them.  They are little things that I run into- someone who shares something encouraging, someone who says something insulting or ignorant, or someone I meet that has an adoption story for me etc.  I hope to get better with these once I am finally "waiting" and don't really have anything else to be doing.

In other news, I received an email a couple of weeks ago from our adoption counselor.  One of them was an article about the "stages of waiting".  It was very interesting and even though we are not officially waiting yet, I know the feelings it discusses to be true.  They range from relief, joy, outrage, guilt, doubt, all the way up to exhilaration.  I know I was feeling relief tonight as we have our first stage of our profile nearly completed.

The second (and way exciting) piece of news from her was our Agency Update.  These are exciting to get but as you look at it I feel like there are so many waiting families and currently not a lot of babies on the way.  I was excited to get this but know I will be discouraged after waiting months and months and not being selected.  Recently, there were twins and a single placed with an adoptive family in August and currently 3 receiving pregnancy counseling with two of them reviewing their options (considering an adoption plan) and due in January and May.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In the News

I was so excited to be included in the monthly round up of Open Adoption Blogs at Production, Not Reproduction.  They have a great list of blogs organized by first parents, adoptive parents, and pre-adoptive parents.  I have already found several I enjoy reading and it is very interesting to read from both sides of the fence as far as first/ adoptive parents go.

I am also participating this month (It is National Adoption Month, you know!) in the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project.  I received my email today with info on my partner.  We will be reading each others blog and posting our interview questions and answers.  Stay tuned for that!  I am pretty excited!  Stop over and take a peek at her blog if you like!

Books in Black and White

For my job, I do home visits with prenatal moms with children up to age 3.  Part of each visit is a literature connection and we always read 1-2 books.  As I was reading the other day to one of my bi-racial children in a home, I noticed how all of the books I have in my office are one race families.  The particular book I was reading was called Kisses for Mommy.  It had all sorts of mommies giving kisses to their babies.  But, it was white mommies kissing white babies and one black mommy kissing one black baby.  I thought to myself that my awareness of transracial issues is on my mind because it was bothering me that there was no black mommies kissing white babies or white mommies kissing asian babies etc. 

I thought that was a good sign that I am more aware of these issues now after our training we have had at the agency the last month.

Super Secret Project

We have kept our adoption plans pretty secret as I have mentioned before.  All of our family knows, but only a handful of friends.  My reasoning for this is that after all of the years we have spent wanting another child, we are closer than we have ever been (but yet....still so far away possibly!)  I just don't have the emotional strength to have everyone ask us all the time if we have heard anything. I know that everyone would only be asking out of care, but it is hard to have to say no, no, no so many times.  The waiting time will be very difficult but I know that the wait will be worth it in the end.  Our baby will be a perfect match for us.

At first the only friends who knew besides our family were the ones we asked to write our reference letters.  Then Matt told a few more of his friends (he CAN NOT keep a secret!) and I have recently told a few more of my friends. 

Everyone appears to be very happy and excited for us. We definitely have some areas where I can see that our friends and family as well will be able to learn from our experience about what open adoption means and looks like, as well as what typical birth moms look like.  This is something we talked about in last nights home study interview and we are both looking forward to sharing our story and letting others see what open adoption looks like first hand.

Final Homestudy Interview

We met with our adoption counselor last night for our final homestudy interview.  We met at her office and were told to plan on two hours.  Well, 3 hours and 15 minutes later.....  
I thought this was the hardest of the 3 sessions so far.  The questions were harder to answer and Matt commented on the way home that he didn't think we were prepared for all of them.  I didn't want to look up all sorts of info online about what questions might be asked because I did want our answers to be genuine.  Some of the questions asked were:
How did you meet?
How long did you date?
Where/ when/ how many people were at your wedding?
Where were you working when you started dating?
What are the joys of parenting?
What is the hardest?
What is your philosophy on parenting?
How do you discipline?
How do you handle conflict in your marriage?
How often do you have date night?
How often do you do things with your friends as a couple?
What church do you attend?
How often do you attend?
What are the goals for your marriage?
How do you think adoption is going to change your life, your marriage?
How do we feel about the openness, how does our family and friends feel?
What is our neighborhood like?
Our community?
What have we done to prepare for adoption?
What do we plan to do after the adoption to continue to grow with adoption issues?
and much much much more!!! 

I hated all of the questions!!! I hate the interview, the prying, the questions.  I wanted to scream a few times as we were sitting in the interview room how I hate all of this "application" process!!!

Matt and I went to dinner after and he thought things went good.  I am sure all of our answers were fine, I just felt exhausted after it. 

She encouraged us to get the profile in by Christmas and I told her I had the beginning of December as my goal.  We are paid up to date so as soon as our profile is in, we will be active in the pool.  This is what I have heard is the hardest part because you do nothing.  You wait. And wait.  There is no paperwork, just waiting.