Meet: The Dude.

It occurs to me that this blog is very *ahem* me-focused. And while I realize that is sort of the whole point of a blog, I can't have an accurate picture of this time in my life without talking more about my husband (and partner in crime), hereafter known as The Didgeridude, or The Dude for short. I've spent so much time focusing on what I don't have in my life that I am making a concerted effort to acknowledge all that I do have. And one thing I do have is the love of a thoughtful, hilarious, dedicated, and supportive husband. A few random things I particularly love about my husband as a means of introduction:
  1. He is a self-taught player of the didgeridoo (hence the name). He made himself a didgeridoo one day from supplies found at work. A friend of his who passed away some years back played the didgeridoo. To mark the 10 year anniversary of his friend's passing, The Dude decided to learn how to play as a tribute.
  2. He loves rollercoasters as much as I do. We have already taken two trips to Cedar Point as a way to have fun and alleviate stress during this four-year stretch of trying to start a family. Millennium Force is our favorite ever. It rocks.
  3. He loves animals. Not limited to just cats and dogs, he has a particular affinity for birds, reptiles and insects, too. Our household consists of two dogs, two cats, a beta fish, a crested gecko, and a corn snake. Since we’ve been married, we have maintained a season pass to our local zoo (although - isn’t our house zoo enough?) and biopark, and he has been known to venture off on his own during his lunch hour to take a look at the lions and rhinos.
  4. He has amazing insight and a knack for making me laugh. When processing through our recent failed match, I asked him (rhetorically, for the millionth time) why us? He immediately and succinctly responded, "Because we have an affinity for the ridiculous."
  5. He is incredibly handy. I am constantly redesigning rooms in our house, and he is the brawny muscle that makes my ideas a reality. According to him, “You’re the ideas, I’m the execution.”
  6. He balances me in every way. When the emotion of a situation threatens to carry me away, his calm, pragmatic presence helps to center me. And when he is hurting, my concern snaps me out of my woe-is-me wallowing.
It hasn't always been moonbeams and rainbows. This process has tested our relationship. Never in my wildest imagination did I think he and I would have to grieve for the biological children we aren’t able to have, or take a hard look at our relationship and realize that if it remains just the two of us forever – we would be okay. Through it all, we have never lost sight of the love and respect we have for each other. And each new test forges a stronger bond. I am immensely grateful for his presence in my life.


A Word of Thanks

I wanted to take the time to say thank you to everyone in the blog-o-sphere who has offered their support during this time. And although only two people in my real life even know about this blog, I feel compelled to thank all of my friends and family who have been so incredibly thoughtful. I appreciate every hug – real or virtual; every email; every letter; every text message; every spur of the moment lunch date; every distracting get-together that helped take my mind off the sadness.

When I first found out that the match had failed, I felt incredibly stupid for having believed it might have been successful in the first place, and regretted that I told anyone about it (including writing about it in this post). Even though we hadn’t told many people about the match, it seemed an overwhelming chore to inform everyone of the eventual outcome.

Shortly after getting the news, we received a letter from a friend that affected us deeply. Her kind words helped us reframe the emotions we were experiencing, and gave us a new perspective on things. It struck me as I read the letter that its sentiment can extend to all members of the adoption triad. Though it does have its joyous moments, there is no denying that adoption is a difficult process that often emerges from a place of loss and grief – both for the birth family, as well as the adoptive family. I’d like to share a bit of the letter we received:

“I believe that the love that brought you to desire this child and the love that already bonded you to him or her is something of extraordinary worth. The grief that is born of that love is a reflection of who you both are and your courage in being willing to feel it is an inspiration to everyone who knows you.”



A Lot of Hot Air

The balloon fiesta started this weekend.  Despite the fact that I have lived most of my life in this city, and that many of my fellow residents consider the fiesta a nuisance, it remains a highlight for me each and every year.  There is absolutely nothing like New Mexico in the autumn - the smell of roasting green chile accompanying a distinct chill in the air.  The kaleidoscope colors of hot air balloons dancing in the intensely blue sky.  

My trip to the fiesta yesterday morning had a restorative effect.  Walking onto the balloon field in the pre-dawn darkness; the sound of the propane burners firing up the dawn patrol balloons like enormous, glowing, heat-emitting night lights; clutching my breakfast burrito and hot chocolate surrounded by my family - I was reminded of everything good in my life.

And when dawn broke over the nearby Sandia mountains, bathing the field and balloons in a sunny glow, awakening their true colors, my heart smiled.  I've rediscovered my hope.


A Musical Regrouping

Enough with the tears and sadness...today brings a fresh start and a new perspective. I’m going to dust myself off, find my hope, and start thinking positively again. I will not let one person without integrity sour my view on adoption and this process. I refuse to give her the power. I.just.won’t.

So – a musical pause to regroup and get my bearings.

I love The Be Good Tanyas. I know they have been around for a long time, but they are relatively new to me. I was at work this morning, listening to my ipod, and their song “Ootischenia” started playing. I absolutely love that song, but had never really paid attention to the lyrics. A few lines caught my attention, so I went to their website to find the actual lyrics. While there, I saw the lyrics to another song of theirs that helped me turn the corner.

Okay…first I sobbed like a little baby (I mean full on, snot-dripping-down-my-face, my-work-colleagues-must-have-thought-I-was-losin’-it crying) and then I turned the corner.

The song says everything I feel – about the baby we thought would join our family, and the baby that will hopefully one day be matched with us. And so, here are lyrics to that sweet little song. I’m sure I’m not the only one who can relate.

A Little Blues
The Be Good Tanyas
(© Parton)

Well here I am undone again
I know I’ll see you I just don’t know when
Little stars all a-twinkling
I wonder where you are
I wonder what you’re thinking

I know I gave my heart a little soon
I walk for miles underneath the moon
I’ll sing this sad lonesome little tune
For you

Little patch of grass under the overpass
I’ll rest for hours amid the flowers
Just a tiny bird with a little song
And when the sun comes up
I’ll be long gone.


Packing it Away

Our match is now officially a mis-match.

After speaking with her on the phone several times, and planning a trip out to meet her, we found out yesterday afternoon that the birthmom was actually working with several agencies in several states, receiving duplicate payments to cover her monthly expenses from many couples through many agencies. I do realize that this is a unique situation, and is by no means representative of the majority of amazing birth moms out there who make hard decisions in the best interests of their children, but I can’t help but feel jaded by the experience. We are glad that we learned about it all now (rather than showing up at the hospital for the birth of the baby along with at least one other couple who thinks they will be taking the baby home, too), but when it’s the one thing you have wanted and worked toward for so long, it’s hard to see the silver lining or understand any of it.

We are trying to figure out what to do next. I’m precariously close to giving up. It would have been hard to find out that she decided to parent her child – but I would have ultimately understood, and respected, that decision. This I don’t understand. I don’t understand how anyone can treat their child like a commodity. I don’t understand why it has to be so hard for us to start a family every step of the way. I don’t understand why this situation had to happen to us. I don’t understand how someone can be so cold-hearted, and deliberately prey on the emotions and vulnerabilities of others. I don’t know how I will trust anyone ever again in any type of potential adoption situation.

I feel like I’m the punchline to some cosmic joke. Needless to say we’re devastated.

I had allowed myself to start planning a nursery. We had discussed possible names. We had told close family members, and given ourselves permission to feel some measure of excitement and joy. Now I’m carefully packing it all away – the names, the paint chips, the talk of baby showers, the love we had already started to feel for the little one…

I’m gutted.


Ganesha: Remover of Obstacles

A very dear friend of mine is currently in India, touring the country for two months.  Spiritual (though not religious) herself, she has always identified with the vibrancy of India.  She is the henna artist who painted my feet (as seen in my profile picture) the week I learned that my IVF cycle was a spectacular failure in every way.  She and I work together and so usually see each other every day, and I regard her as my touchstone.  She was there with a shoulder to cry on, or a word of advice well beyond her years when I was struggling with my infertility and the world at times seemed so unfair, and life too hard.  And she has helped keep me grounded and focused while traversing this adoption path. Through it all, she has encouraged me to keep a connection to hope and possibility.  Since she has been in India I have missed her each and every day.

Before she left, she asked what I wanted from India as a keepsake. I asked for a Ganesha - the elephant deity in Hinduism considered a remover of obstacles. I was tickled two weeks ago on the day I received her first email from India - the Ganesha she procured for me was her very first purchase.

I emailed her with shaking hands and tear-filled eyes just this past Wednesday shortly after learning that my husband and I have been matched with a birthmom who is expecting a little girl in November.  

Ganesha - the remover of obstacles indeed.  My heart just might burst from the joy.


Open adoption is....

Heather at Production, Not Reproduction posted an Open Adoption Roundtable prompt:
“Open adoption is about information sharing.” Share your reaction to that statement. How well does it match up with your experience of open adoption? If you disagree, how would you finish the phrase, Open adoption is about...?"
I think it's safe to say that open adoption in theory is probably incredibly different than open adoption in practice. As a waiting, potential adoptive parent, my perspective is colored by an almost certain naivety that comes from hoping for (and working towards) an open adoption, rather than navigating an actual living, breathing open adoption relationship. Regardless, to me open adoption is more multi-faceted than simple “information sharing”. Here are my thoughts at this point in the process.

Open adoption is:
  • leaving my pre-conceived ideas regarding families at the door;
  • recognizing that open adoption looks different, unfolds in its own unique way, and means different things, to each participant in every single instance;
  • surrendering my own selfish notions of what it means to be a mother in favor of what is best for my child;
  • admitting that I won't have all the right answers, or make all the right decisions;
  • acknowledging that it will often be challenging and complicated;
  • developing and nurturing an honest relationship with the birth family;
  • honoring this relationship and speaking truthfully about it with my child from the very beginning;
  • believing that it is all so incredibly worth it.
When researching open adoption, I stumbled upon a quote that captures for me the essence of open adoption. It is from Micky Duxbury's book, Making Room in Our Hearts. One of the chapters is entitled, "This Baby Belongs to Herself, and the More People who Love Her, the Better." To me, that is just it. As parents, our role is to love, guide, comfort, and support - not to lay claim. This means getting our egos out of the way as much as possible and focusing on what is best for the child.

I look forward to revisiting this idea once open adoption becomes a practice for me, rather than a possibility.