Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

I began writing this post on Christmas Eve and it has taken me a few days to be able to return to it and complete my entry – It’s just minutes before New Year’s Eve as I sit in the rocking chair Grant surprised me with on our 5th anniversary this August. I look around the nursery we have prepared, all painted and furnished and continue to reflect on our journey in 2007…

On this Christmas eve it's almost impossible not to be reminded that Grant & I are still just a family of two, with two adorable cats. There are moments when I celebrate Christmas with the masses, trimming our tree with ornaments collected during our travels and bringing out our Christmas plates, towels and place-mats...Then, there are moments where I am reminded again that Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

As I sat in church this Christmas Eve joining in the great celebration of Christmas and reflecting on the beauty of the gift of Christ’s birth I found myself fighting to hold back tears. Tonight, this Christmas, this December, I am reminded that Grant & I have an empty place in our family. It was last December we first met with the fertility clinic to begin the investigative testing. It was last December we decided that we were going to pursue adoption instead of fertility treatments (We didn’t receive the results of all the tests until February, but we both knew in our hearts that something wasn’t right because we had already been trying to conceive for a few years). What is it about Christmas and holidays that makes being childless so difficult? Is it watching the excitement on the children’s faces when they see Santa or the fun I had picking out gifts for all the special children in my life? Is it taking a group picture with my extended family and noticing that Grant & I are the only couple without children? Or is it waking up Christmas morning and preparing our traditional Christmas morning waffle breakfast, for just the two of us again…

On Christmas day we sat around the tree at Grant’s parent’s home opening gifts like we do every year and one gift brought me back to the emptiness I felt the night before – My in-laws received the thoughtful gift of a family portrait to be taken and they suggested we wait to take the portrait until after my sister-in-law’s baby is born (she’s expecting in May), I would’ve suggested the same thing. A gift of a family portrait is a wonderful gift for parents, something I did for my own parents the first year I graduated from undergrad and finally had money to give them something a bit more, but it was also another reminder that Grant & I will be the only childless couple and we have no anticipated due date to plan for.

As I sit here in a rocking chair in an empty nursery, I can’t help but wonder if the only babies who have and will ever get to use this room are my god-daughter and nephew. With 2007 quickly coming to an end I am not feeling very hopeful for the year ahead. I know Grant & I were told that our home-study may begin in January, so we have one potential thing to look forward to. But 2007 also began with many hopes and dreams for a great year. I naively thought that the adoption process would proceed smoothly and without delays and waitlists. Grant & I submitted our adoption application package in January and met with our recruitment worker immediately. We thought we’d have our baby in our arms by the end of the year and we prepared our home (& I began my stroller obsession!). I but it just seems as if 2007 went by with constant disappointments, emptiness and frustration and all the positive memories have been overshadowed and buried. I don’t know if I have the strength to endure another Christmas and New Year’s like this one and the last one…

My cat Carson must’ve sensed my sadness and my need for a cuddle because he just came into the room, snuggled onto my lap and is purring away as I finish my post.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Adoption Story Lines Everywhere

I don't know if you've been noticing what I've been noticing....adoption-related story lines are popping up everywhere!! Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, August Rush (amazing movie btw) and even Today's Parent has an article in their most recent issue about adoption!!! I was sharing my observations about this recent string of "coincidences" with my good friend and she wondered if this is all a sign (I am hoping for that myself too). She also asked me when and or if Grant and I plan to move back to the Toronto area - I told her that other than my job and our house keeping us in Waterloo, the stronger force keeping us in Waterloo is the hopes of adoption. We began the adoption process here in Waterloo way back in January and we are hopefully just a month or two away from having our homestudy conducted. I don't want to risk moving to another jurisdiction and find ourselves back at the bottom of another wait list - Grant & I had a wonderful date-night tonight, enjoying dinner and a movie. We talked about our adoption dreams and the conversation I had on the phone this morning with my dear friend and Grant looked at me and said "If we don't have a child in 5 years, let's move back to Toronto and buy a loft." As sad as the idea is of waiting another 5 years and still not being able to adopt our child, maybe it will be time to pursue another dream we share as a couple, an idea we planned for our earlier years of marriage or later years (a time without children in the home) - the dream of living in a big old loft in the core of Toronto and opening the doors of our home as a safe retreat for youth who need a place to go. A place to hang out, play music, eat, chat, sleep, and most importantly, a place to feel safe and welcomed...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Showers...

I'm glad I switched over to my snow tires yesterday with the wet snow we had today in Waterloo!!

I opened my email today to find out I have been invited to another baby shower...it's another reminder that Grant & I are still childless. I don't know if it's hormones, the cold weather, or dropping my lunch on the floor today, but I'm very emotional right now - reading the email from my friend's husband made me sad. I don't like feeling sad, especially over something as exciting as celebrating the birth of a new life.

Friday, November 2, 2007

November Update

Just in case you were wondering....here's the latest response I received from the Foster/Adoption Recruitment Supervisor at F&CS

Hi Janet,

Thanks for checking in. The waitlist is moving, albeit slowly. The next to assign are those who applied last December. You applied in January, just to give you a sense.

I can't believe it has been 11 months since we submitted our application form to F&CS to be adoptive parents. We had our first home-visit Feb 20, 2007. Signed up for the PRIDE course starting March 20 and were asked to wait for the next session of PRIDE due to priorities given to Foster family and Kin-adoption applicants. Signed up for PRIDE starting April 18 (my 30th birthday) and again we were bumped. Finally got into PRIDE out of our jurisdiction with courses running weekly from May 1 - July 3 and here we are at Nov 2, 2007 and we are still waiting to have our home-study conducted, which can take anywhere from 4 sessions to many months to complete from start to finish - WOW...when I lay it out like that, this has already been a very long journey and we are only at the beginning of this process because we still have not been "approved" to adopt yet!!! BUT, for every new baby we meet to every new milestone we experience with a child in our life, we know there is an amazingly precious gift waiting for us at the end of this journey.

The movie Evan Almighty had a great line in it that both Grant & I connected with and looked at each other with agreement..."When you pray for patience, do you think God gives you patience or opportunities to be patient? When you pray for endurance, do you think God give you endurance or opportunities to endure?"

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Two-in-One

This post with have two parts - two very different topics. I'll start with the "lighter" one...

After reading book after book on adoption and newborns I decided to give my brain and emotions a little break and decided to read some light-hearted 'chick lit.' A friend shared her collection of Emily Giffin novels - "Something Borrowed," "Something Blue," & "Baby Proof." I enjoyed the first two books and breezed through them in a few days, but Baby Proof was a much slower read. The story was narrated by a woman who did not want to have children and divorced her husband because he decided he did. I just couldn't connect with her character and often became angry at things the character said about women who wanted children. I easily connected with the character's sister who went through fertility testing until the the last few chapters where she met a random pregnant university student in a shoe store and had such a great connection with the university student that one month later she was at home with her newborn adopted baby boy! That was soooooo not realistic. You don't just meet a pregnant woman while shoe shopping at Thanksgiving (American), pay the fees to her agency and bring a baby home days before Christmas!! There wasn't enough time for her & her husband to take the PRIDE course or to have a home-study conducted!!! I'll admit that I naively thought it would move that quickly for Grant & I....if only we lived in a chick-lit world filled with perfect timings and page limits to force a quick and happy ending.

Moving on to topic two FASD...

I attended a two-day course on "Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in our Schools" last week and my eyes were opened very wide! I had many misconceptions and an out-dated understanding of FASD. I will share the points that really impacted me and will not only influence the way I work with children on my caseload, but will better prepare me to interact with people who have FASD.
  • FASD is not in the DSM-IV and not a recognized diagnosis in many school boards. Therefore, students who require supports in order to succeed in a school environment are not eligible for essential accommodations and services.
  • FAS, FAE, pFAS, ARND, ARBD, PEA, FASD = all are labels for damage from prenatal exposure to alcohol.
  • FASD is a lifetime challenge. It is organic brain damage caused by prenatal exposure to alcohol.
  • The facial features commonly associated with FAS are only present if there was alcohol exposure between days 18-21, a time frame in which many woman are not even aware they are pregnant. If exposure to alcohol occurred between days 18-21 the characteristic facial features are typically only recognizable between the ages of 8 months and 8 years.
  • During any given week in Canada 10,000 babies are born
    • 20 of these babies will be born with full FAS (incl facial features)
    • 100 of these babies are born with Alcohol Related Neuro-developmental Disabilities
    • 77% of women with one child with FAS will have another child with FAS
  • FASD is an invisible physical disability - The exposure to alcohol kills cells and changes neurology. Our brain controls our behaviours and when there are changes to the brain due to alcohol exposure changes to how we can control our behaviour will occur.
  • Often ADHD is incorrectly diagnosed when FASD is a more appropriate diagnosis. Characteristic "red flags" that a person has FASD not ADHD are:
    • 1. acts young for his/her age
    • 2. cruel to others/bully
    • 3. does not demonstrate guild or remorse
    • 4. lies, cheats & steals
  • The following is a list of symptoms/characteristics of a person who has FASD - keep in mind that the "S" stands for SPECTRUM and a person with FASD can fall anywhere along the spectrum from being highly functional and successful to requiring many support systems in place.
    • Brain dysfunction - rigidity & perseveration = just can't stop; therefore, assure ability to achieve and have closure
    • Primary behavioural symptoms - behavioural symptoms that most clearly reflect changes in brain structure and function: 1. Dysmaturity, are younger developmentally (average age of emotional maturity development is 5years) 2. slow auditory &/or cognitive pace 3. memory problems - will have on and off days 4. in the now - difficulty predicting outcomes 5. difficulty abstracting, planning, starting 6. impulsivity **these behaviours are symptoms of FASD and are not willful; therefore, we must support these behaviours not punish them.
    • Secondary behavioural characteristics - defensive behaviours that develop when there is a "poor fit" between the person with FASD and his/her world/environment. These behaviours are preventable: 1. Fatigue, frustration 2. anxiety 3. anger 4. shut down, avoidance, blame 5. poor self-esteem 6. isolation 7. depression 8. poor impusle control 8. poor personal hygiene 9. problems with transitions 10. trouble with time concepts 11. trouble handling & keeping money 12. no fear 13. aggression 14. in trouble with law (will re-offend same crime over and over again).15.....
  • Accommodations:
    • FASD is an invisible physical disability
    • Brain structure & function is changed permanently
    • Behaviours are symptoms, they are not willful
    • Trying harder to change behaviours makes things worse
    • Recognizing the disability & providing accommodations prevents problems
    • This is what we do for people with more obvious and physical disabilities
Janet's Paradigm shift!!
One of the presenters shared a recent research study published stating that in South Africa neurological changes were evident in babies born to women who worked on vineyards and drank 4 glasses of wine, each glass at a different stage of the pregnancy. I used think it was okay to have a sip or glass of wine here or there during pregnancy - I will NEVER think that way again. I am glad I attended the course as I now have a clear and accurate understanding of the impact alcohol has on the developing brain and the permanent life-long damage that occurs and most importantly that FASD is a preventable disability.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Chosen Heart

**Our newest family member!! I can't wait to meet him and smother him with kisses.
You may recall the 10-week mandatory pre-adoption course Grant & I attended in the spring called PRIDE...we've kept in touch with one of the other couples from PRIDE and they are now expecting - CONGRATULATIONS Marycon & Trevor!!! Marycon shared this poem with me today...

The Chosen Heart by Teri Harrison

Longing for a child to love,
I'd wish upon the stars above.
In my heart I always knew,
A part of me was meant for you.

I think how happy we will be,
Once I adopt you, & you adopt me.

I dream of all the joy you'll bring,

Imagining even the littlest things.
The way it will feel to hold you tight
& tuck you in every night.

The drawings on the refrigerator door

& childhood toys across the floor,
The favorite stories read again & again
& hours of fun with make-believe friends.

The day you took my outstretched hand
A journey ended but our love began.
Still mesmerized by your sweet face
Still warmed inside by our first embrace.

I promised to give you a happy home

& a loving family all your own.
A house you've now made complete
with laughter, smiles & tiny feet.

A parent is one who guides the way
Know I will be there every day
Rest easy as each night you sleep
A lifetime of love is yours to keep


Longing for a child to love
I'd wish upon the stars above.
In my heart I always knew
A part of me belonged to you.

**Our nephew and godson at 4 days old - he's grown quite a bit from when this picture was taken


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Where do we fit in?

I have a fantastic husband who is patient with me and my many baby obsessions. I'll admit I have a slight stroller obsession (or maybe I secretly want to be an ADP authorizer for seating and mobility, nah, my unused writing aids ADP IA is enough for right now!) and I wrote last week about a new stroller I found - UPPAbaby Vista. I tracked down the most convenient retailer and convinced Grant to stop at Kiddies World in Etobicoke on our way home from church on Sunday. We had fun looking around at all the furniture, toys, accessories and of course strollers. However, our service was horrible! I had to seek out an associate and drag her to the UPPAbaby Vista to ask how to collapse it. She was having difficulty and asked another associate to demonstrate and as soon as he showed us how to collapse it he was off helping another couple - the female associate I first asked was long gone by this point. I could sense Grant's mood change and mine did too - we went from having fun & daydreaming to wanting to get out of the store as fast as we could. Something just didn't feel right about our shopping experience and Grant nailed it on the head - we didn't really fit in with the whole baby-shopping crowd, at least the associates didn't treat us like viable customers. Grant & I are still expecting a baby, I just won't be sporting a baby bump for the whole world to see as evidence that we are serious shoppers for baby gear!!

Now, to my stroller review :)

The UPPAbaby Vista looked great online and it had raving reviews...but, yes, there is a but...it was a lot bulkier than I expected and the bassinet was ridiculously heavy. I walked out of the store feeling like there was no way I would be able to manage that stroller on my own - it was too heavy to easily lift when collapsed and I felt so tiny handling it. On my drive home I was seriously reconsidering what I really want and need in a stroller for our baby and what, when & where we would use our stroller the most. Grant & I hope to be baby-carriers more than baby-pushers, so we don't really need a bassinet for the early months (although one would be nice so we could have our baby sleep in our room for the first few months) and we enjoy going to different outdoor events, so we need something that can handle a multitude of terrains...which brought me back to the BUMBLERIDE Indie. With the foot-muff and ability to recline completely flat, it has a bassinet-like feature (see image below) to use when needed and the price point is more reasonable. I just wish that our baby would arrive soon so I could stop my stroller researching addiction and finally buy one!!!

Saturday, October 6, 2007

It's a small cyber-world

When Grant & I first discussed blogging our adoption journey, we never imagined how wide our story would spread. We are greatly appreciative and grateful for all comments left on our blog by people we have never met before offering their support, prayers and sharing their own experiences with us. Just the other day I stopped off at Angel Worn where I am consigning my maternity clothes to pick up a few baby & maternity gifts (btw I found fantastic diapers bags with a very reasonable price range!) and provided the sales associate with my full name to check if any of my clothes sold. She paused after typing in my name and asked if I had a blog - I guess Janet Carioni is pretty unique!! I prefer shopping at stores like Angel Worn for gifts because they tend to carry unique products chain retail stores don't carry and products from local Canadian companies.

Grant & I are also very grateful for the friends in our lives that continue to offer their support and prayers as we continue to wait for our homestudy to be conducted. On Tuesday FACS did a presentation at my work, mainly to let us know when we should be reporting incidents to FACS. The social worker who made the presentation shared some horrific stories and I could feel the anger bubble up inside of me - How could a woman who leaves her baby alone in a crib for an entire weekend while she flies down to California be a mom? How could parents be so physical with their infant that he has 19 broken ribs and 2 skull fractures and while that child is in court to determine crown wardship the parents become pregnant again? As the anger in my heart deepened the social worker spoke about the adoptive families for these children and my friend Heather placed her hand gently on my shoulder and said "like you" and I had to fight back some serious tears, just as I am right now trying to type this (it's difficult to see the screen through tears). Somewhere in all of this there is a light at the end and Grant & I will hold our child in our arms for the first time and all of the waiting will finally be over.

I'm not sure what I was looking for on the net, but I came across another stroller, new for 2007, that is a very strong contender for baby Carioni... the UPPAbaby VistaI I think the UPPAbaby Vista might take the lead over the Stroll-Air NV2. The consumer reviews are better (haven't found a negative one yet) and the one feature I wasn't loving on the NV2 seems to be better on the Vista, but until I get to play with one I won't know for sure.

I should get going as I need to start making Thanksgiving dinner. Grant & I are hosting 4 international exchange students attending UW - I hope they like turkey and pumpkin pie!

Until next time...Janet

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

It was one of those days

Most days I am able to think rationally and my emotions are in-check. I can say that I have completely accepted my own infertility and am very excited about being able to adopt our precious child soon....but, then there are days like yesterday. At first I couldn't figure out why I was not motivated to help Grant in the kitchen as he tackled making a roasted pepper soup and roasted tomato soup and I remained curled up on the couch under some blankets for most of the evening. It eventually dawned on me why I was feeling so down and I was able to peel myself off the couch and help Grant finish making the soups after a little pep-talk from my wonderful husband. Earlier in the day a co-worker was "showing off" her non-existent pregnancy bump. She's due in January, which would make her about 5 months pregnant and my non-pregnant belly is rounder than hers. There's suspicion amongst my co-workers that this colleague struggles with an eating disorder. When she first told me she was expecting, she spoke proudly that she never had to wear maternity clothes with her last pregnancy and is pretty sure this pregnancy would be the same. I realized why I was curled up on the couch last night, not motivated to do anything...I was angry. How can someone who doesn't taken care of her body be able to get pregnant twice and I am infertile. I did everything right, from taking prenatal vitamins and making sure I ate well to buying maternity clothes when I found them on sale - where is the fairness in all of this??? I am normally very excited for friends and people in my life who are pregnant, but for this colleague it's difficult for me to be happy....it's just not fair.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

your AMAZING NEWBORN...but you'll have to wait

I finished reading "Your Amazing Newborn" by Marshal Klaus & Phyllis Klaus and I learned so much about newborns and their amazing capabilities. Did you know that if you place a newborn (dried but not washed) directly onto her mother's bare chest following birth, within an hour the baby will make her own way to her mother's breast by pushing up with her arms & hands and kicking with her feet and begin to suckle and feed for the first time all on her own!!! I also really appreciated chapter 9 "The Newly Adopted Baby" - When I turned the page I was surprised to see that the authors dedicated an entire chapter to bonding, connecting, nurturing, feeding, cuddling, and loving an adopted baby. The authors described a technique to enable an adoptive mother to breastfeed that doesn't include the use of drugs - An adoptive mother can place a small bag of formula on her shoulder with a fine tube leading to her nipple, and as the baby sucks every two and a half to four hours her breast is stimulated by the infant's suckling, via her pituitary gland, to produce an increasing amount of milk. The supply of milk typically increases in three or four days, but it takes up to two weeks to obtain a satisfactory output. I'm going to ask my ND about this technique as I would much rather use an approach that requires the least amount of drugs to achieve breastfeeding success!

On another note, I know many of you are wondering if we've heard anything about our homestudy and here's the manager's response to the email I sent her earlier this month:

Yes, I do have your file; waiting amongst others for homestudy. All your documents are on file as well, so you are right, the next step is to be assigned a worker to complete your homestudy.

It is quite hard to estimate when this will be, but rest assured, I will assign someone as soon as I can. Please don't lose hope during this waiting period - we DO need adoptive families! My challenge is not having the staffing resources needed to process applications in a timely manner.

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.............

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Mother's Adoption Journey....

by Darlene Ryan. I finished reading Darlene's book last week and I'm glad I picked it up from the library. A Mother's Adoption Journey is a collection of journal entries that chronicles Darlene's journey with her husband with an introduction to each section (I wish I still had the book to outline the sections - it went something like "making the decision" to "bringing her home"). The book begins when Darlene first feels the twinges of motherhood in her late 30's (I think, or maybe it was her early 40's) and takes the reader through making the decision to pursue adoption and surviving the stage Grant & I are going through right now and finally bringing their baby girl home. I really enjoyed reading Darlene's experiences, she was very refreshingly Canadian (all the books I have read so far were American) and you can ask Grant, I often laughed out loud while reading the book. In her journal entries Darlene was very honest and held nothing back. She said a few things I never really thought about out-loud or in my conscious state, but reading it on paper, her thoughts and emotions really connected with how I am feeling. The only discouraging part of her book was the time line...from beginning to end it was approximately 2 years...hmmmm...

Monday, August 27, 2007

What to ask for...

Last night I asked Grant if we're praying for the wrong thing....let me explain. Yesterday's message at church was about - Prayer...Can You Hear me Now?? based on James 5:13-18 and Ken left us with the "challenge" to pray for three things this week and make one of them a huge, big request where the answer would be an obvious God-thing. Fast forward a few hours....we had friends over and they shared with us that their pregnancy is a miracle as they had surgery planned for September to enable them to be able to conceive. For the rest of the day, I wondered, am I praying for the 'right' thing? For 3 and a half years I prayed that I would become pregnant. Now I pray that I will be able to hold my baby in my arms soon - but should I be praying that God will heal both Grant & I so that we will be able to conceive. As Grant pointed out to me last night, we have been praying for our baby this whole time and it's ultimately up to God how our baby joins our family, whether it be through conception or adoption. I do, very much believe that God is a healing God, so should I shift my prayers asking God to physically heal Grant & I or will that lead me back into the vicious monthly cycle of timing and planning and wasting too much money on pregnancy tests??? I will continue to pray for our future baby...but how specific should I be...heal me God so that I can conceive? or, prepare my heart God, to love and welcome your child into my home and please, please, please speed up this adoption process and do not bring a strike to the Waterloo Children's Aid Society b/c York region's just went on strike!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Beautiful Sight

Yesterday I had the amazing opportunity to join my dear friend at her baby's first ultrasound - the image on the screen was absolutely precious. When the baby turned to look at us and when the little arms and legs moved about I couldn't stop smiling....there's no way I could have predicted how awesome it would feel to be there as a witness to this great gift of new life!!! I can't wait to hold that baby in my arms :)

On another note - I read somewhere that this grueling process of gathering documents, taking courses and doing a home study is like our "pregnancy," the last time I checked, the gestation period for humans is 40 weeks/9 months...I think by the end of all this I will feel more like a pregnant elephant, at least, there's better be a baby in my arms at the end of 22 months!! (we have 15 more months to go!)

Monday, August 13, 2007

20

I finally finished reading the book "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew" by Sherrie Eldridge. Actually the truth is, I finished reading the book a few weeks ago, I finally have a few minutes to sit down and write about it. I'm glad Grant & I picked up this book from the library. I learned so much about what adopted children "really" go through and how to best support them as their parents and what NOT to say and do!!

Without regurgitating the book word for word, here are the "Twenty Things" with a few memorable lines also included...not for all 20 things or this post would go on forever!!
  1. I suffered a profound loss before I was adopted. You are not responsible. "It's painful to enter into your child's suffering. It's so much easier to assume that all is well inside your child, especially if she hasn't manifested any obvious problems. But all adopted children have been wounded, simply because they experienced a profound loss before they were embraced by their new family. The first thing your child wants you to know is this: I am a grieving child. I came to you because of loss-one that was not your fault and one that you can't erase."
  2. I need to be taught that I have special needs arising from adoption loss, of which I need not be ashamed. "And surely the adopted child has larger areas, or different areas, of emotional weakness than most people do...for who has two sets of parents and a dual identity to resolve? Who is more vulnerable to the fear of future loss than an adoptee who has already experienced an unfathomable loss?"
  3. If I don't grieve my loss, my ability to receive love from you and others will be hindered. The way one adoptive mom described her child's loss: "I'm not the mom you expected, I don't smell like her, I don't sound like her. I'm a different mom and I love you and I'm not going to leave you."
  4. My unresolved grief may surface in anger toward you. "Then the rage would pass, and I would feel extremely guilty, for I dearly wanted to be good - but I had blown it once again...Beneath my anger was my primal fear of abandonment."
  5. I need your help in grieving my loss, teach me how to get in touch with my feelings about my adoption and then validate them. "I used sling-style carriers...I wore it in the front in a cradle-style position with her head near my heart so she could hear my heartbeat and get to know me."
  6. Just because I don't talk about my birth family doesn't mean I don't think about them. "All children have a secret place where they can fantasize about having better parents when they are disillusioned with their own...It is not that simple for the adopted child. The adoptee really does have another set of parents out there somewhere."
  7. I want you to take the initiative in opening conversations about my birth family.
  8. I need to know the truth about my conception, birth, and family history, no matter how painful the details may be.
  9. I am afraid I was "given away" by my birth mother because I was a bad baby. I need you to help me dump my toxic shame.
  10. I am afraid you will abandon me.
  11. I may appear more 'whole' than I actually am. I need your help to uncover the parts of myself that I keep hidden so I can integrate all the elements of my identity.
  12. I need to gain a sense of personal power.
  13. Please don't say I look or act just like you. I need you to acknowledge and celebrate our differences. "Let me assure you that even if your child has no obvious physical differences like colour of skin or a different nationality, there are still biological differences in every adoptee that need to be acknowledged as well as celebrated."
  14. Let me be my own person...but don't let me cut myself off from you.
  15. Please respect my privacy regarding my adoption. Don't tell other people without my consent. "Adopted children feel different because they are different from you, biologically speaking. They are also different because of the way they became a part of your family. These are facts of life - facts you cannot change and facts you cannot fix. Your child is not the same as you, no matter how you slice it. But accepting, honouring, and appreciating her differences is a far cry from broadcasting them to the whole world."
  16. Birthdays may be difficult for me. "What does a birthday represent for him [adoptee]? It represents the day of his greatest loss, the day he lost his birth mother and all that was familiar...For the child who was adopted later in childhood, it reminds him of the wrenching-apart day - the day that the past, as he knew it, was to be no longer...the birthday serves as a trigger, reminding him of past loss."
  17. Not knowing my full medical history can be distressing at times.
  18. I am afraid I will be too much for you to handle.
  19. When I act out my fears in obnoxious ways, please hang in there with me, and respond wisely.
  20. Even if I decide to search for my birth family, I will always want you to be my parents.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Celebrating 5 Amazing Years!

Today is our 5 year wedding anniversary!! Quite a milestone people say - I agree! It was 5 years ago today I made one of the best decisions ever, marrying my best-friend and making him my life-partner!! Part of me is reveling in the celebration and admiring the gorgeous flower bouquet Grant sent to my work that had all the ladies "hating me" but, another part of me is wrestling with the same mix of emotions that surrounded my 30th birthday - In my grand old master plan, I assumed Grant & I would already be parents (and not to cats) by our 5th anniversary...today, marks another reminder that life didn't unfold the way I planned. A good friend reminded me through an email that God has a purpose with all this waiting because our child, that He has hand-picked for us, is still waiting to enter this world - Thanks for the reminder Colleen and returning my focus to God's plan, not mine :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A few more books!

I picked up a few more books today from the library:
A Mother's Adoption Journey by Darlene Ryan
So You're going to be a Dad by Peter Downey (this one's for Grant!)
Your Newborn: Head to Toe by Cara Familian Natterson

People at work have been discussing the books they like to read, especially with the recent release of the new Harry Potter, and people are lending books back and forth - I am a bit reluctant to announce around the lunch table that my reading material of choice these days are books on adoption and infant/newborn health! Although a few of my co-workers know Grant & I are desperately trying to adopt, my manager still doesn't know - I'm waiting until we finally have the "approved" stamp following the completion of our home study.

Today I met with my ND to discuss inducing lactation...yes, you read correctly, Grant & I are hoping that I will be able to breastfeed our child!!! There is a protocol out there supported by Dr. Jack Newman, the breastfeeding guru. My ND suggested I contact him to see if there have been any recent changes to the protocol - Dr. Newman responded to my email immediately and provided me with the information I needed. He also encouraged me to make an appointment to meet with him in person...if I can swing it with my work schedule I'd love to see him. Another topic I discussed with my ND is the use of cloth diapers and I have my eye on a diaper service in town Bear Bottoms - Did you know that it takes over 300 pounds of wood to produce disposable diapers for one baby per year and each diaper takes between 250-500 years to decompose?? I also plan to incorporate the use of re-usable cotton wipes when we are at home and chlorine free wipes when we are out and about (e.g. Seventh Generation). Grant & I (strongly influenced by me!) have so many ideas on how we are going to have the "greenest" baby around...Not only are we going to use cloth diapers and wipes, our baby will also use organic and natural baby skin care products (like his/her mom & dad do), eat organically as much as possible (just like mom & dad again) and we are going to try our best to make our own baby food (not too big of an ambition I hope). We would also like to buy organic bedding, toys and clothing (Joe just released a very affordable line of organic baby clothes) when financially feasible - someone needs to support a more sustainable earth! In addition to our "green baby" ideas, Grant & I are looking to use a convertible car seat and not fall into the infant car seat/carrier trap of leaving baby in the car seat too long and lugging that around because it's more convenient than carrying or transferring baby into a more suitable traveling system for long periods of time (e.g. sling or stroller) - as my OT instincts tell me and the public health nurse taught us in our PRIDE training...babies are meant to be held and not left in the infant car seat, unless they are riding in a car :)

Take care everyone....thanks so much for your prayers and kind words of encouragement. Grant & I wouldn't be as sane as we are through this process (although that's questionable!) if it wasn't for your support!!

"I read somewhere that the adoption process is like being on a roller coaster - all ups and downs. But I think i's like being on a bus at night. I'm thinking about one of those long-distance buses that stop and every tiny town between two big cities. That's what this whole process is like for me - a lot of stops and starts with long stretches of time when I can't tell if I'm getting anywhere." Darlene Ryan, A Mother's Adoption Journey, p. 52

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Guess what time it is???

Time to wait!! I met briefly with our recruitment worker Thursday afternoon (her second last day of work as a recruitment worker) to submit our PRIDE homework. She appeared genuinely sincere that she was unable to complete our homestudy before her contract ended...oh well. I guess Grant & I will do what we do best...wait, wait, babysit, decorate our nursery some more and wait some more!!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Somewhere in the World Today

Somewhere in the world today...
* A child who will someday be adopted was born...
* An adoptive parent's paperwork was matched with his or her baby...
* Someone got the call and saw a tiny picture of her little one for the very first time...
* Someone looked across a room or a hotel lobby or an airport and came face-to-face with that little, long-awaited sweetheart...
* Someone reached out and took that child in her arms...
* Somewhere in the world today...a family was born.

~ Truly Yours: Thoughts on the Miracle of Adoption - Laura Dail ~

Two New Elements

Grant & I have added two new elements to our Blog - a list of books we have read or are currently reading and some of our favourite quotes (from the books we have read or are currently reading!). The library is a great source for books about adoption and it appears that Grant & I are not the only ones browsing the shelves - I have placed holds on a number of books and one of the books on hold is ready for pick-up. I don't know how I'm going to keep up with all this reading!!

Right now I'm reading - Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge - I'm on "thing" number 2 and boy, am I learning a lot from this author. I will share the author's insights with you soon...Grant also plans to read the book when I'm done (don't want to give anything away) & the book's upstairs (I don't want to mis-quote anything).

I will share with you right now some of the 100 reasons Why Adopting You Made Us a Family by Gregory E. Lang

Why I chose you...
I chose you to fill my days with a more meaningful purpose.
I chose you to teach me how to play again.
I chose you because you are the child of my dreams.
I chose you because I felt your heart beat when I first held you.
I chose you because you were and always will be the choice of my heart.
I chose you because I knew that you would love the toys I had collected for you.
I chose you because I wanted even more than what nature had in store for me.
I chose you to bring happiness to the empty places in my heart.
I chose you so that I could celebrate your birthday with you.
I chose you when I realized the kind of love I was missing - that between a parent and a child.
I chose you to watch the stars with me.
I chose you to explore the wonders of the world with me.
I chose you because I wanted to hold your little hand.
I chose you because when I first touched you, I wanted to hold you forever (this one still brings tears to my eyes).
I chose you to fill my arms, which ached to hold a child.
I chose you because I wanted to be the one to wipe away your tears.
I chose you because I wanted to be the one to give you piggyback rides.
I chose you because I wanted to be the one to teach you how to tie your shoes (how OT!).


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Babysitting is great practice!

Grant & I babysat our 10-month-old Goddaughter overnight on Friday. We were both looking forward to spending time with her and taking the parenting test-drive!

She taught us many things during her short stay with us. First, she brought us back to eating meals at the table instead of in front of the TV and enjoying that time together.



She showed us the flawless team Grant & I make - mastering a quick two-person diaper change to tag-teaming at the dinner table.

I think my favourite lesson she taught me was - Grant is going to make a fantastically wonderful dad one day (I sorta already knew this)!! I sat outside the nursery when Grant was putting her down for the night and listened to him interacting with her and I was smiling from ear to ear.



When she woke in the middle of the night, Grant was the first to run to her...I actually had to tell him, I'll get up the next time...remember, I said I would go this time...

Parenting is going to be amazing and I can't wait for our day to finally arrive!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Our first Tuesday off...

Last week we celebrated our graduation from PRIDE training and today is the first Tuesday in 10 weeks we didn't have to rush home from work, wolf down dinner and drive to Woodstock for 3 hours of training - it sorta feels weird. We were actually presented with a certificate of completion and several of the couples joked that we would frame and mount our certificates in our child's room!

Last weekend Grant surprised me with a good ol' fashioned wooden rocking chair, just like I've always wanted and I absolutely love it! I can't wait to rock our baby to sleep...

The frequency of our posts may slow down as we wait for our homestudy to be conducted - 6 to 9 months from now - But then again, we did just borrow some books from the library about adoption and there's already a lot to reflect upon from what we read last night and there's no way we will ever stop thinking about our baby-to-be until he or she is in our arms and the final papers are signed (Grant & I will share with you that scary time-line later)!

We found the book by Jamie Lee Curtis in the library we have been looking for...
Tell Me Again About the Night I was Born.

Tell me again how you and Daddy were curled up like spoons and Daddy was snoring.
Tell me again how the phone rang in the middle of the night and they told you I was born.
Tell me again how you screamed.
Tell me again how you called Granny and Grandpa right away, but they didn't hear the phone because they sleep like logs.
Tell me again how you got on an airplane with my baby bag and flew to get me and how there was no movie, only peanuts.
Tell me again how you couldn't grow a baby in your tummy, so another woman who was too young to take care of me was growing me and she would be my birth mother, and you would adopt me and be my parents.
Tell me again how you held hands all the way to the hospital and when you got there you both got very quiet and felt very small.
Tell me again about the first time you saw me through the nursery window and how you couldn't believe something so small could make you smile so big.
Tell me again how tiny and perfect I was (I absolutely love the illustration on this page!)
Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms and called me your baby sweet.
Tell me again how you cried happy tears.
Tell me again how you carried me like a china doll all the way home and how you glared at anyone who sneezed.
Tell me again about my first bottle and how I liked it so much.
Tell me again about my first diaper change and how I didn't like it at all.
Tell me again about the first night you were my daddy and you told me about baseball being the perfect game, like your daddy told you. (Grant will be talking about hockey!)
Tell me again about the first night you were my mommy and you sang the lullaby your mommy sang to you.
Tell me again about our first night as a family.
Mommy and Daddy, tell me again about the night I was born.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Know where I can get more patience, mine has run out

Last night was our final night of PRIDE training!! Grant & I began the night very hopeful, you see, last week we asked the social worker teaching the course if there was a possibility to have our homestudy conducted in Woodstock (everyone else in our course is almost done their homestudy) and she sounded very hopeful and offered to do it herself but needed to ask her manager. When we showed up last night for the course the room was decorated for a summer camp program with tropical fish hanging from the ceiling, many of which are included in the mural we painted in the nursery - we thought that was a positive sign...well, that's where all the positives ended. In conversation with one of the other couples we learned that our recruitment worker from Waterloo (the one who is done her mat leave position July 20th and is part of the reason why we need to wait 6-9 months for another worker to pick up our file) was conducting their homestudy in Woodstock. I was in complete shock and then after the course ended the instructor pulled us aside and said her manager said "no." So many emotions flooded my thoughts, that I had tears running down my face the entire car ride home - how could it be that our worker from Waterloo doesn' t have time to conduct our homestudy, but she's doing it for a couple in another jurisdiction (spoke w/her today and learned she works privately for Woodstock on the weekends), I was angry at the manager that would not allow our homestudy to be conducted in Woodstook, I was angry that Grant & I can't conceive, I was so mad at the characters from "Knocked Up" (saw that on Monday and cried more than laughed) that got drunk one night and slept with a complete stranger and then got pregnant. I was mad that the guy character in the movie was a drugged up loser, while Grant is the most amazing husband and will make the most loving, caring and nurturing father. I was so angry that teenagers and addicts are able to get pregnant and Grant & I are being dragged through coals, hoops and mud just to be considered as adoptive parents, then these pregnant teenagers and addicts get to pick who would be best suited to raise their child. I am so discouraged, frustrated, angry, mad and completely out of patience. I wondered when I would run out of patience...well, it's gone. So many of our friends are announcing pregnancies...when will it be our turn to announce we are also expecting? Why can't God just give us our baby now? Grant & I are so ready for this, we even have the nursery ready, what is He waiting for? I am just so tired and out of energy.

Friday, June 29, 2007

feline foster-adopt!

Carson is a foster brother to a stray kitten!! The most adorable little kitten ran through our front lawn this morning as Grant was leaving for work. She immediately came over to great us, purring and looking for cuddles. I brought her out some cat food and she devoured it. I took her to our vet to see if she had a microchip and no luck with identifying her home that way. The technician asked if we plan to keep her if we are not able to find her owners...and I looked at her and said "of course!" (She was the same technician that desperately tried to save our Ponobo). The technician confirmed the kitty is female & I should have asked how old. This kitty is absolutely adorable and so snuggly. She is sitting on my lap, purring away as I type this post! She is much younger than Ponobo or Carson were when we adopted them and brought them home. I can't believe how tiny and affectionate she is. Grant jokingly said that this kitty is giving us practice with foster-adopt. I posted her picture with our number around our neighborhood and when Grant called earlier, I cautiously answered the phone wondering if it was someone calling to come pick her up. Grant & I decided that if no one calls us by the end of the weekend, we're going to keep her!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tell Me Again...

Grant & I attended the "Infant Consent" session with FACS tonight - we heard amazing stories of hope, strength, patience, determination and love today from 3 families who adopted infants. The families shared their profile albums (Grant & I seriously need to revamp ours), scrapbooks and photos of their children and honest and raw stories about life as a family! A number of children's books were also available for us to look at and the first one Grant grabbed brought me to tears - Grant will attempt to deny it but his eyes had some extra moisture in them too. The book was written by Jamie Lee Curtis: Tell me Again About the Night I was Born. I searched the web to see if I could find the text somewhere to share with you tonight - nothing! I hope Chapters carries the book because I definitely want to be able to read it to our baby.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

An amazing invitation

Last night our friends were over with their daughter/our god daughter and Grant & I quickly realized how un-baby-proofed our home is! She motored around everywhere on all fours and occasionally stopped to stand in the middle of the floor and took a few cautious steps - she also did a very funny jump-skip manoeuvre (wish that was caught on video)! Grant & I were constantly running after her (baby gates are wonderful inventions we will need to invest in)!! Our friends are expecting again and last night they invited Grant & I to their ultrasound!! Words cannot express (cheesy cliche but very true here) how that invitation made me feel - I had one of those light-bulb moments because it never really occured to me that Grant & I will not have that experience with our own child and to be invited by our friends to see their baby through the ultrasound monitor is an amazing gift, privilege and experience we would not have had - Thank you!!! This morning I called my girlfriend who just had her baby last Friday and as she was telling me about her labour, delivery, and first week as a new mom, I could hear the excitement, awe, love and pure joy in her voice. I was able to chat with her husband too because he answered the phone and he sounded sooooo happy, I could hear him grinning from ear to ear!

Grant & I may not be able to view our baby in an ultrasound monitor and hear the heartbeat and I will not experience child birth and be able to share that story with other mothers, and part of me feels that I am missing out on essential milestones & experiences of motherhood - but I will get to experience the awe of seeing our friends' baby in the monitor and hearing the heartbeat and I loved listening to my friend as she told me about her first week as a new mom. I'm grateful that I am going through these emotions and moments of enlightenment now and have the opportunity to express it with the support of our family and friends during this journey towards adoption.

Love, Janet

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cramming it all in!!

Tuesday night Grant & I completed session 8 of 10 with the PRIDE training in Woodstock and we attended a "Foster/Adopt" session last night with the Waterloo region - we love these training sessions so much, we thought we'd double them up for this week and next!! In all seriousness, Waterloo Region offers two processes that differ from that of any other jurisdiction and that's why we were invited to attended the Foster/Adopt and Infant Consent Adoption sessions, even though we are doing the official PRIDE training in Woodstock.

What is Foster/Adopt you ask??? Here's an excerpt from our readings:
In 2001, Family & Children's Services of the Waterloo Region introduced a Foster/Adopt program, with the goal of minimizing placement disruptions for children in care, and allowing for permanency planning at the earliest stage possible....The overall goal is to facilitate a permanent placement for children who are unlikely to be returned to their (birth) parents and for whom Crown Wardship is being sought by the agency...Numerous researchers have identified the need for children to be in stable placements. There is a recognition that a lack of permanence for children in care is potentially damaging to them. The potentially negative impact of long foster care placements, multiple placements, and ambivalent attachment have led to this alternative, one which is focused on children who may not be returned to their home.

Basically what happens with Foster/Adopt, a child lives with a family as a "foster-child" until the official adoption can occur. We met a couple last night who's daughter was placed with them at the age of 4-months and they signed the final papers for the adoption this spring when she was 2.5 years old !! Grant & I agree that our ideal adoption plan is for an Infant Consent Adoption (adoption at birth), but if we are matched for a Foster/Adopt opportunity with a baby we will not immediately turn it down. even if that means we have to wait months or even years before he/she is legally our child. Not only do I recognize the huge value in the child's sense of security and stability, Grant & I want to be there for all the milestones and firsts and experience holding, cuddling and kissing our baby.

On a completely different note, Grant & I celebrated Father's Day with our dad's last weekend. We went fishing with my dad on Saturday and had dinner with his dad on Sunday - We saw "dad-to-be" cards when we were shopping for cards for our fathers and I really wanted to pick one up for Grant (I saw the perfect one), but couldn't do that with him right there & of course we shopped for cards on Friday (the last possible night) so I didn't have a chance to go back and pick one up for him. I never really thought about us being dad & mom-to-be until one of my girlfriends called to wish me a "happy mother's day" and on father's day our god daughter came by to wish Grant a "happy father's day." This year we celebrated Grant's sister's first mother's day and my cousin's first father's day, I hope, pray and have faith that Grant & I will have our turn at celebrating these firsts next year!

Thanks for all of your support, prayers, love and friendship. Grant & I consider ourselves incredibly blessed to have you as our family & friends !!

Love, Janet

Monday, June 11, 2007

Ahhhh...I must stop!!

I started Google-ing adoption t-shirts in search of one that says something along the lines of "Expecting, but not pregnant" and I came across some great sites that have a plethora of adoption products, announcement cards, books, apparel, poems, etc.....I keep posting the poems and I need to stop going through the various products because my eyes keep welling up! The logo t-shirts for the kids are super cute and I so want to get some for our baby!!

The following are the sites I spent most of tonight browsing and some of the logos that brought a smile to my face:
www.cafepress.com
www.adoptionshop.com
http://notshowing.com/




Gift of Life

I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know
The love I feel is deep and real
As if it had been so.
For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true
No, I didn't give you the gift of life
Life gave me the gift of you.

author Unknown

Legacy of an Adopted Child

Once there were two women, Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember, The other you call mother.
Two different lives Shaped to make yours one
One became your guiding star, The other became your sun.
The first gave you life, The second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love, And the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality. The other gave you a name.
One gave you the seed of talent, The other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions, The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile, The other dried your tears.
One gave you up, it was all that she could do. The other prayed for a child, And God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me through your tears, The age-old question through the years:
Heredity or environment-- which are you a product of?
Neither, my darling, neither, Just two different kinds of love.

Kisses in the Wind

I hold you in my heart and touch you in my dreams,
You are here each day with me, at least that's how it seems.

I know you wonder where we are... what's taking us so long,
But remember child, I love you so and God will keep you strong.

Now go outside and feel the breeze and let it touch your skin...
Because tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God hold you in His hand until I can be with you.
I promise you, my darling, I'm doing all that I can do.

Very soon, you'll have a family for real, not just pretend.
But for tonight, just as always, I blow you kisses in the wind.

May God wrap you in His arms and hold you very tight.
And let the angels bring the kisses that I send to you each night.

--Unknown

Angel Worn

Today marks another step towards "letting go" of my hopes of becoming pregnant. I dropped off my stash of summer maternity clothes at our local consignment store, Angel Worn (they only accept in-season clothing) - I have been snagging maternity clothes on sale for over 2 years and part of me held onto them hoping I would finally see that glorious BFP (Big Fat Positive -web lingo). About a month ago I went through my drawers and closet gathering my summer maternity clothes and some were actually still in the original shopping bags. That collection sat on the bedroom floor right next to the door for a few weeks. Today I decided to finally take the plunge and drop them off. I'm not exactly sure what I was expecting, but when I was chatting with the sales associate, it just rolled off my tongue that I haven't worn any of the clothes b/c I can't get pregnant and I didn't feel emotional, upset, sad, angry...I didn't really feel anything. Was I supposed to?? I don't know.

Well, someone will be getting a great deal on brand new clothes!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Youthful reflections

These last two weekends Grant & I spent it with our church youth group. Last weekend we ventured up to Algonquin Park and this weekend we went to the Molson Amplitheater for a fantastic night of worship with Starfield & Hillsong United. As we were driving away from the church Saturday night, Grant & I reflected on how much we love spending time with the youth from our church, whether it be on a Sunday morning or out at a special event!! Being fully honest with ourselves, we know that we will need to step back from youth ministry at St. Paul’s once our baby arrives as it will be a challenge getting down to Toronto every Sunday – Having said that, we wondered last night if our delay to parenthood is so we can devote our time to the youth and nurture those relationships. We have been part of the youth group for 4 years, and no matter how busy that makes our weekends, I can’t imagine a weekend without seeing them and having them enrich our lives.


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

How many times can a person hold back tears?

Grant & I attended PRIDE last night and it was a panel night. The panel consisted of foster families and their biological children, someone who grew up in a foster home, adoptive parents, a couple going through her second view-to-adopt, and a birth mother...a wide cross-section of stories and experiences were shared. I can't remember how many times I grabbed for my water bottle to take a drink hoping it would stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks, but I seriously had to use the bathroom after the panel finished sharing. The stories they shared were scary, encouraging, heartfelt, honest, raw, and terrifying all at the same time. The experience that showed us a glimpse of where our adoption journey may take us (and made me reach for my water bottle the most) was shared by the couple who adopted their child when he was 4 months old. The father commented that he never thought he would love being a father so much and how exciting it has been to watch his son develop and see what he is growing to look like (b/c he obviously won't look like the adoptive parents). The mother talked about going to parent-baby groups and feeling like such an outsider b/c conversations seemed to always end up with mom's sharing pregnancy or labour stories. She said it's difficult knowing she missed out on the first 4 months of her son's life. There was a woman on the panel last night that Grant & I agreed grabbed at our heart strings the most and echoed our story - She opened up about having multiple miscarriages before having her biological daughter (which was deemed a high-risk pregnancy) and although doctors told her she can get pregnant again (she just experienced another miscarriage) her and her husband knew the plan for them was to grow their family through adoption. They are pursuing their second view-t0-adopt (process to be explained in another post) as the first one fell through and wow, did her story speak to us and really confirm for us that we are definitely meant to adopt!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

61.7 km away...

Out of curiosity, I tracked the mileage home from last week's PRIDE class...61.7 km...By the end of our 10 week training, Grant & I will have travelled 1234 km!!!

Last week we talked about "loss." We discussed the importance of supporting children who come into our care through their loss - whether a child is adopted at birth or as an older child or is in a foster home - loss is experienced. The course instructor emphasised that in order to be a solid support system for the children, we need to recognize loss in our own lives and how we responded to our loss and how we dealt with it. As a group we talked about the loss experienced when each of us learned about our own infertility and our need to go through the "grieving process." As much of an annoyance it is taking a mandatory 10 week course (and being bumped from the course twice in Waterloo), I am learning a lot about who I am and that the emotions I'm going through is part of my grieving process, but more importantly, Grant & I are learning how we can be more equipped to love and care for our baby-to-be. The instructor was talking about growing to love our adoptive children gradually, that it doesn't happen instantly when we first hold them. She mentioned birth-parents have 9 months as their baby grows to love them, but adoptive parents don't - I don't agree with her, Grant & I have had over 3 years for our love for our baby to grow and we cannot wait to bring him/her home!!

As Grant keeps saying - "We are expecting, but not pregnant"
(we saw a t-shirt in the "Conceive" magazine with a similar slogan and if you see it anywhere, tell us where b/c we want it!)

Friday, May 18, 2007

I wonder if there's a phobia to describe my new fear...

It's been a while since Grant or I wrote on here and I'm apologizing in advance to the men who read our blog b/c this is a "female" post...

For those of you who have ventured into the world of "trying to conceive" you probably know all too well the joys of waiting in anticipation for your long awaited moment of ovulation and then suffered through the two-week-wait to see if your efforts were successful - for 36 months I followed that same cycle over and over again. It was about 3 months ago I sat across the table from the fertility doctor and heard the news that my body (as it is now) is unable to support and nurture a fertilized egg. The first month following the news, I found myself hoping the doctor was wrong and Grant & I would be able to conceive all on our own with no medical intervention but that month ended with severe cramping, clots and heavy bleeding...and then the next month came and went and this month my emotions and my fears surfaced (ask Grant, I just started crying in the car driving home from Home Depot!)...I've started to completely avoid the days in and around ovulation because I don't know and the doctor wasn't able to tell me with certainty that I haven't been getting pregnant and the months I experience severe cramping, clotting and heavy bleeding (as this doesn't happen every cycle) was my body rejecting another fertilized egg. People have asked Grant & I why we don't pursue the surgery that was recommended for him and the treatments recommended for me...I am afraid. I am afraid of the constant anticipation and loss. I am afraid of what the drugs & procedures will do to my physical and psychological health. I am afraid that it will finally be confirmed that my really bad period months are in fact early miscarriages. Grant & I know in our hearts that pursuing adoption is right for us and we are confident God is leading us and guiding us down this path and through our adoption journey.

Monday, May 7, 2007

PRIDE (12 hours too late)

Well, It's almost Tuesday again, Which means another PRIDE training night. And, in typical student fashion, neither of us have completed our homework. Since its not too labour intensive we will surely finish it before we start class tomorrow. The homework and its completion rate will be included in our 'file'. I guess I'll back up for a moment...As Janet mentioned previously we started our PRIDE training last Tuesday in Woodstock. Woodstock is a little more 'rural' than we had expected, however we are in a full class that is sure to elicit colourful and contraversial dialogue. I'll explain more in a future post. Despite its rural location we were pleased to see several other interracial couples.

Our instructors are fantastic, one of which has adopted and fostered. When I say fantastic I mean that they tell you the facts without the sugar coating. Example: One of the first things our instructor let us know is that the F&CS is not a service for us, in fact her purpose in not to find us, nor anyone, a child. Rather, her role was to find a good home for children (her clients). This was confirmation for both of us that we are still navigating the right course.

Complete with cheesy 70's instructional videos, readings, homework, and snacks, PRIDE is pretty much what we thought it would be. There is plenty for both of us to learn, an opportunity for us to contrubute, and many snacks to be eaten;)

Happy Trails, Grant

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Couldn't wait anymore...

Grant said he wanted to post about our first PRIDE training session, so I haven't posted anything all week...but I can't seem to fall asleep tonight and Grant's already sound asleep (no fair)...what's that saying "you snooze, you lose!" I will still respect his wishes to share with you our first PRIDE training experience...

I returned yesterday from a 2-day paediatric feeding course learning about assessments and interventions for little ones experiencing feeding difficulties & disorders. The course validated many of the things I was already incorporating when working with children who have difficulty with feeding, but more importantly it revealed to me what I was doing wrong! One of our instructors said something along the lines of "your ideas are great, your intentions are wonderful, but not for this child." Don't worry, I will not turn this post into an OT lecture on feeding assessment and intervention; however, I will share with you what I took away from the course that impacts our adoption journey... I do hope to be able to breastfeed, but I will not stress out if I can't exclusively breastfeed or am unable to because bottle feeding and use of soothers are also important in the development of oral-motor skills. I will not obsess about finding the perfect bottle & nipple now because every baby's feeding needs and oral motor skills are different and I will need to assess what works best for our baby when he/she arrives and continue to assess as our child develops and his/her needs change. I will not try to hunt down the perfect highchair/booster seat now, I will wait until our child is ready to sit and eat (at least 6 months old) and take our baby shopping to find the highchair/booster seat that provides the best seating and positioning for him/her. I'm sure you have figured out by now (if you didn't already know this about me), I research things to until there's nothing else to read in search of "the perfect" item!! This adoption journey has been an educational journey for me - as I sat in the feeding course for 2-days I realized I have been going against all my OT instincts by trying to find things that will be perfect for our baby before seeing, knowing or holding our baby. How can I possibly find the perfect person-environment-occupation fit if I don't have the "person" yet. Of course there will be items we will need to buy before our baby arrives, like a crib, stroller, car seat and a few bottles, but I will no longer (at least try my best) obsess about stocking our home with everything that will be "perfect" for our baby - As great as the Dr. Brown bottles are, they may not work for our baby and what if our baby can't stand the stroller and prefers to travel in a sling or baby carrier?!!

FYI - my newest baby "non-obsession" is hunting down the best place to buy organic baby bedding :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Good news…and then some bad news…

Grant & I have some praiseworthy news to share – we will begin PRIDE training next Tuesday night for 10 weeks! The training is being offered by Woodstock CAS and our adoption recruitment worker was able to get us in! Woodstock is about a 45 min drive away and the training begins at 6:30pm and ends at 9:30pm, which will make it a long day for us. We will be submitting our weekly “homework” to our recruitment worker here in Waterloo.

Now, it’s time to share the bad news…We found out yesterday that our adoption recruitment worker is filling a one year contract position that expires at the end of July. She let us know that all of our documents, including our homework from the PRIDE training will be passed on to her supervisor and “wait” until another recruitment worker is able to take us on to complete the home-study. According to one of the private adoption practitioners I spoke with, the homework completed for session 3 of PRIDE training initiates the home-study process, but since our current recruitment worker is wrapping up her caseload, she is unable to conduct our home-study. When I think of the caseload I carry at work and how often I have room to pick-up someone off the waitlist...I’m anticipating it’ll be a while before another adoption recruitment worker will be able to take on our case – unless we bug the supervisor enough that she conducts the home-study herself!!


Have a fantastic weekend everyon and thank you so much for your prayers and words of support!
Love, Janet

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

We celebrate with you!


I have had this conversation with a number of friends, family & of course Grant - The longer our journey towards parenthood takes and the more roadblocks we encounter, the easier it is to hear the news of someone else's pregnancy - let me explain...I have learned that no matter how quick & easy or difficult & long it is to conceive, each conception is a beautiful gift of new life. This journey Grant & I are on right now has very clearly revealed to me how precious each life is and that every newborn baby is a special gift from heaven. When Grant & I finally get the call to let us know we get to bring home our baby, I will be jumping, screaming, crying, laughing, dancing & sharing the great news with anyone who will listen.....and guess what, I plan to also celebrate the news of each pregnancy announcement that comes my way because God has just knit together another new life in a mother's womb!! I'll admit, early on in our trying to conceive journey I had to fight back tears when I heard someone else say the words I longed to say "I'm pregnant." I believe my turning point occurred the day I received news from the fertility clinic that natural-unassisted conception was not going to happen for us. Somewhere during those hours. I shed my final why-can't-I-be-the-one-announcing-I'm-pregnant-tears because Grant & I felt our hearts being pulled clearly towards adoption and we decided not to pursue medical intervention. As an old Taoist proverb says "the journey is the reward" (the cover of my TTC/Adoption journal) and in our journey towards parenthood I am learning so much about who I am, the amazing husband I have, and the strength of our love and relationship.

Goodnight.
Love, Janet

Friday, April 20, 2007

A few more prayers please...

Grant & I really appreciate all the prayers and words of encouragement and support from our family, friends and people we have never met before but are connected through cyberspace :) Your prayers must be working, but we could still use a few more - Grant & I heard back from our adoption recruitment worker today (I'm pretty sure we have officially become an annoying thorn in her side). She indicated in her email that she may not be able to advocate on our behalf to other CAS jurisdictions to complete PRIDE training with them (b/c technically Grant & I are not providing a home in an emergency situation), but, her office has a potential solution to be able to provide PRIDE training to the 5 couples who were bumped from the spring session - this is where your prayers would be greatly appreciated - please pray that the solution is feasible with the resources they have, not only for us but, the other 4 couples as well.

Grant & I did connect with a few private adoption practitioners in the area - what we learned was PRIDE training will be made mandatory for all adoptions - domestic public & private & international - by about December 2007/January 2008 (currently only public domestic adoptions require PRIDE training) and although we could pay to have a private home study conducted (average cost $2300+) it wouldn't be completed until August at the earliest, so it was suggested by one private practitioner that we wait to have it completed in the fall through our local CAS at no direct cost to us in conjunction with the PRIDE training. There are many pros & cons when looking at public vs. private domestic adoptions, but the most obvious difference is the cost to the adoptive family - going the public route (what Grant & I are trying to do) does not come with many fees for the adoptive family, compared to the private route, which is quite pricey b/c the home-study, PRIDE training, lawyers, care for birth mother, etc. are all financially covered by the adoptive couple.

So, Grant & I continue to practice the gift of patience and put our praying hands together for this slow process to continue with minimal delays and roadblocks.

Good night
Love, Janet C.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Almost 30...

Tomorrow is the big day...I turn 30!! This milestone is surrounded by mixed emotions - Do you have a "life plan" for yourself? My life-plan used to include getting married by 25 (check) and having a baby by 30 - I thought for so long I would be a mom by 30, but the whole 3 years of unsuccesfully trying to get pregnant, confirmed infertility and delayed adoption is like rubbing salt into a very deep wound. I'm trying not to get too down about it all because I have so many things in my life to be thankful for - by the age of 30 I met and married a wonderful man; I am surrounded by loving and caring family, friends and colleagues; I am connected to a fantastic church community; I own a home; I have a career & job that I love; I have a very friendly and snuggly cat (my very own fur-kid); there are so many blessings in my life that I am very thankful for...there's just one more little thing that would help my 30's seem complete...to be a mommy.

Still haven't heard from our adoption recruitment worker about PRIDE training starting tomorrow - Grant & I haven't made dinner plans for my birthday yet b/c we are both really, really, really hoping and praying a spot opens up for us last minute and we'll receive a call tomorrow telling us to show up for the training, now, wouldn't take make the best birthday gift ever!!!!