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 :)