Sunday, February 20, 2011

Adoption vs Pregnancy thoughts

Here comes a mental dump of thought about adopting as opposed to pregnancy:

First off, they are both a journey to have a child. They are very different journeys, different lengths etc... but the end result is the same that you are adding a child to your life.

So why is it that when people announce their pregnancies the natural response is overwhelming excitement, and when we announce our adoption at least half of the people we talk to respond with "Why?" or some other comment of have we tried to have our own yet (yes), or have we gone to the doctor yet (not really)? I will admit, I like attention... and while I feel like I have made a peace with many of the aspects of pregnancy/ childbirth that I won't be experiencing, I somehow didn't expect to be surrendering even the basic excitement of the announcement.

A bit of disclaimer here though is that we do have some friends and family members who show real true excitement and enthusiasm when we tell them, and to them I am grateful and it helps me not lose heart.

And I should also add the results of a conversation that I had with Blake about a week ago, just thinking about the fact that since we are just starting the process, its not quite the same as us having the child yet. So it might be better to equate us starting the adoption process to if we had announced that we were trying to get pregnant. Some people might be happy for us, but others would hold back on that excitement until we actually got pregnant, or in this case actually know the child we are adopting.

Another gripe I would like to add is the addition of negative comments from the start. Now, we are not so naive to think that everything will be perfect, as a matter of fact, we assume it won't be. But... it still urks me when we tell people we are starting the adoption process and they proceed to tell us horror stories of families buried in debt or adoptions that fail etc. Do they happen? Of course. Should you be telling us those stories... I don't thinks so. Do you start telling your newly pregnant friend about people who got major infections during labor or children that come out stillborn? NEVER! I just think that it is rude to start your focus so negatively.

Still on the topic of people's comments, and this one I will try to word as nicely as I can... please do not assume or tell me that I will get pregnant now that we are adopting. Not because it won't happen, because only God knows that, and the fact is that we did never get tested. Not because I would hate it if we got pregnant. But mainly because I feel like in some ways it cheapens what we are doing. Like bringing a child into our home this way isn't enough... we still need to get pregnant too. And honestly, at this point, I don't want to get pregnant. Especially because of these comments, I don't want to add one more story to their arsenal of people they know it happened to. Now, if you told me this, I am not mad, and its a pretty common thought process... but only because I am here, on the other side, I can see how it detracts from the specialness of bringing a child into our home via adoption to have your comment be not about the adoption, but about how this will fix our earlier problem. You know?

"Gestation" time:
Here is another pondering I have done before on adoption versus pregnancy. In general, pregnancies have a pretty standard length of time, and you have a due date, you can make plans based around that due date, you can tell people approximately when you will have a baby home... and even though some come early and some come late... you have a pretty good idea.

Adoption has a "gestation time" too. There are parts to it, just like trimesters in a pregnancy, and there are definitely pains that come with each part (this knowledge is only based in part on personal experience to this point, more on what I have read of other people's journeys), but... it has a huge range in length of time. It makes it really hard for planners like me. I know the stages more or less, like home study, referral, court visit, etc. but every person's adoption story is different, and takes a different amount of time. I have no idea at this point when we will be traveling to Ghana, and probably won't know until 2 weeks prior. I have no idea at this point when we will have a child in our house. I have seen some, although they are rare, go as quick as 6 months! I have also seen some, although also rare, that take 2 years. Anything in between is a possibility.

Some does depend on us, for example, the stage we are currently in is collecting documents and doing training for the home study, and once we get all of our side done, we can schedule interviews, which is used for the next step (home study report), which is used for the next step (dossier, I think) at the adoption agency etc.

But other parts have nothing to do with us or how quickly we can get things done, like waiting for the referral (which is when they find a child in Ghana that meets what we have said we are looking to adopt and is also clear for adoption based on their rules). In one of my first e-mails with our coordinator, I found out that being willing to take a boy makes this step quicker while our age range will make it take longer. But it really depends on who is there in Ghana who is cleared for adoption. Also, the visa at the end of the whole long process is a big question mark as to length.

When we were trying to get pregnant, I read copious amounts of information about pregnancy, birth etc. and really worked hard to train myself. I also planned to read more about infants, toddlers etc. as the ages approached. My friends tell me that most of them also read lots of information to prepare themselves for being a mom. I don't mind the thought of training to be a parent, as a matter of fact, I would probably have done it anyways...

What I do mind is that it is not required for pregnancy (not that they could...), but there are hours and hours of online training required to adopt (the one program we have started so far is a 15-20 hr online course, and there are 4-5 others we need to take as well). The funny thing is that if it was optional, I probably would do it happily to learn more... but it somehow really bothers me that it is required to be allowed to adopt.

Actually, I think this is the bottom line problem with most of the adoption requirements. If we did just get pregnant naturally (either before trying or when we were trying), we wouldn't have to do any of it! No training, no interviews, no home inspection, no copies of our tax returns for the last few years, no lengthy recommendations from friends, no notarized papers etc. There are no rules or regulations whatsoever for people to have kids biologically. If you are physically capable, then they give you the child, no problem. Sadly, many people who are physically capable really shouldn't have kids, as proven by the vast numbers of children in the foster care system.

Now, I am not by any means saying that there should be more requirements in place, because I don't think that is the government's job. I am not even saying that these precautions shouldn't be in place for adoptions because it is a place that they can have control, and since you can control it, why not get the best you can for a child that has already been through so much.

My only point is really to vent that not only did I have to sacrifice the excitement and so many of the other things associated with pregnancy, in return I have to do paperwork, and interviews and so many other hoops to be considered worthy to adopt a child... its just hard.

We are getting through it, and are trusting and hopeful that besides the typical problems of newly adopted kids, it all is worth it at the end of this long road. But, right now, as I consider all of the papers I have to deal with, and all of the things I have to do before we can even be on the list to get a referral... it really is forcing me to put my trust in the Lord, and that he has a reason for us not to be pregnant and has the perfect child for our family out there that so desperately needs a home... and there is a reason to go through all of this. If you think of it... be praying for us, that we get through our parts as quick as we can, and that the parts that we cannot control we will have peace in the middle of it. :-)

p.s. I wanted to share these thoughts... but my other goal in posting is that it is a proven stress technique to journal your thoughts and get them out of your head so that you can relax somewhat from those burdensome thoughts. :-)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

CSA stuff

First off, as far as the CSA box went this week, total fail on my part. I had everything out, on the counter, ready to take a picture... and I just put it all away. Only as I had one thing left to go in the fridge did I notice my camera on the counter... and decided that it really wasn't worth unloading all the produce just for a picture.

It was an interesting week, with bok choy (that we will try in a soup this week), and cabbage as well as many of our old standards (lettuce, carrots, citrus etc.). Though, I do have an interesting story with the cabbage. Blake really doesn't love soups, he tolerates them, but prefers for me to only make one once a week. Last week, when we got leeks, I used them in a soup with cabbage, and we ate it for leftovers later. This week, I saw cabbage and Swiss chard and thought soup again... as well as with the bok choy. On the way to the store, I mentioned my plan for soup twice this week... and Blake was not a happy camper... so... I decided last second (like we were in the parking lot about to park at Sprouts) to have us just roast the cabbage with lemon and some herbs, saute the swiss chard with potatoes and garlic and add a sausage sandwich for substance. It was amazing! Seriously, a delicious dinner for something decided in my head in the car.

On a cooking note, last week in an effort to save money and make an easy dinner, we combined bison with spaghetti sauce that we kicked up with extra garlic, onion and pepper. Wow... sooooo good. We eat 1 bison meal a week, but if you looked at our freezer, it doesn't even look like we've made a dent! So far, in most cases, we actually like it better than beef.

(Okay... so I started writing this a few days ago, then I saved the draft. Now, we already have a new CSA box, and more pictures and food to describe... so I'm just going to post it as abrupt as it is, and post other stuff later.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Interesting all encompassing title goes here

The last two CSA's have been pretty typical... We have been getting a lot of broccoli, and one day in these last couple of weeks, I had us make pot stickers (pictures below) and they turned out great! We have also eaten broccoli bison (like broccoli beef) and it tasted amazing... really enjoying the Asian foods I've been making with the broccoli lately.


Photo journal of making pot stickers (to be fair, Blake did most of the work... but it was because he didn't trust me to help :-D )








Some of Roxie's space turned into a raised bed for beets and eggplant:

Our blood orange tree (one of my valentine's presents from last year) has its first flower!

and our older orange tree has ripe fruit:

That's it for tonight... my photo story of our most recent food related items. I just finished my 6th book for 2011... so maybe now I'll find time to do that long post I have mulling around my brain before I start book 7. :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quick Update

I have a longer post planned, but I wanted to throw out there quickly that I just finished the hardest adoption paper to date... basically a huge checklist of could you consider or could you not consider adopting a child with each of these specific issues.

I didn't even realize how many different things could be wrong, and it included broad categories too! Not to mention that every time I checked either box it felt like a huge momentous decision... I just said no to all children with this need or I just agreed that we would be open to this situation. It was huge, and pretty eye opening too.

With the help of the internet, careful consideration, prayer and discussion with Blake, we (ahem... I) made a check in one of the two categories for every decision. Nice thing is that even with boxes in the "could consider" category, 1- it doesn't mean we will be referred a non-healthy child, and 2- even if we get referred a child with something we said okay to, we don't have to accept the child if at that point it sounds worse than we initially understood.

I just wanted to share that we completed this challenging paper for our adoption agency. Few more to go, and we can send back this set of paperwork. Oh, and our home study agency also accepted our application, so that's progressing too!