Thursday, October 6, 2011

the woes of saying goodbye...

after much thought, i have decided to bring the woes of a barren lesbo to an end. i have not come to this decision easily... in many ways, this blog has been my substitute baby for the last 3 years. i have loved it, nurtured it and spent countless sleepless hours contributing to its growth.

i have decided to start another blog (a quest called family) that more accurately captures my newest life path. one of the reasons i am shifting to a new blog is out of respect for those who are still fightin the good fight with TTC. i remember first finding the TTC blogging community and feeling for the first time like i wasnt alone. so often i would stumble on a great TTC blog post about struggling to get prego and then as i clicked on other posts, realize that the majority of the recent posts contained baby pictures and stories about parenthood. i would feel sad and frustrated... like the only kid who wasnt being picked for the kickball team.

now that i have secured my very own kickball team uniform, i dont want to taint the "woefulness" of this blog. i want it to remain a space where other folks can come and vent, grumble (and hopefully laugh) at how shitty TTC can be.

im not dismantling the blog and will be sure to post any TTC related references i stumble across.

in the meantime, i want to thank all of the fabulous blogger folks out there who take the time and energy to share little bits of your hearts and minds for the world to see. im proud and honored to have shared this part of our journey with you all and thank you for making the bumps along the road a little more bearable.

in solidarity....

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a baby and two blisters on my toes.

holy crap...  i wanna start this post off by sending a huge shout out to everyone who has sent messages of love and congrats. it felt like a big ol' cyber hug. *smile* serio, its been wonderful feeling so supported by my blog peeps.

theres lots of stuff that i want to get documented so i guess ill just dive right in.

tuesday 8/30 - 1:30 pm
i was chillin at work when the caseworker called. "she is officially in labor. you're having a baby today." i tried my best to resist the urge to sprint immediately to the hospital as she gave me more details. "birthmom is 4 centimeters dilated and is about to get an epidural. the epidural will most likely slow down labor so there is no need to come to the hospital just yet. you could probably finish out the day at work, get some dinner and then head over to the hospital".

i hung up with the caseworker and called NM...
NM: hello?
me: *southern accent* daddy, its time. (steel magnolia reference, anyone?)
NM: time for what?
me: *exasperated sigh* babe. its like time.

1:45 - NM and i walk to a friends office on campus to tell her the news.

2:00 - chatting it up with our friend... talking about random stuff like what to wear to the hospital, when we might want a food delivery, etc. when i realize i have a voicemail.

Voicemail = "jersey, this is your caseworker. birthmom is currently being wheeled into the operating room for an emergency c-section! you need to get to the hospital as fast as you can!!"

now, on a side note... NM has a friend who delivers babies for a living (i cant think of the official doctor word for that job right now. im running on fumes these days.). anywho, this friend claims that she can complete a c-section in 17 minutes. with this knowledge in mind, NM and i start RACING across campus to get to the car. naturally i had to pick this day to wear my super cute snooki leopard print flats. i could feel them digging into my pinkie toes with each stomp. i thought about taking them off but could totally hear NM in my head saying, "ew. why do white people always walk around bear-foot?!"

so... we got to the car and began the 3 mile journey to the hospital. i was tempted to start the text/phone chain but NM looked at me and said, "lets just be present in this moment together." it was crazy to think that the next time we would ride in our car, there would be a tiny human in the back seat.

2:25 - we arrive at the hospital and race up the elevator. as we make the turn into the hallway leading to the maternity ward, a nurse walks out of the operating room with a baby in her hands.
she yells down the hallway:"are you jersey and NM??"
me and NM: "yes!"
nurse: "well come meet your baby!"

we made it just in time. *smile*

the nurse escorted us to the nursery where they began to clean the little dude up. he was screaming his little head off and full of life. as it turns out, the umbilical cord was on top of his head so every time the birthmom pushed, it would cut off his flow. at some point they lost the heartbeat so they decided to go in. he was pretty far wedged into the birth canal so they had to use the vacuum to get him out. poor little guy had some pretty bad bruising and raw skin on his head.

luckily our hospital is pretty adoption-friendly so the nursing staff was supportive of us as parents. the only hiccup came when it was time to put on the baby lojack bracelets that prevent anyone from stealing him. our birthmom said ahead of time that she did not want a bracelet. that would mean that NM and i would both get to have one. the nurse said that they had already put one of the bracelets on the birhmom while she was knocked out in surgery and it couldnt be changed. apparently hospital policy dictates that the birthmom always have one of the bracelets.

i wasnt too concerned about me and NM... one bracelet would be fine since we were pretty dead seat against separating while in the hospital. i felt bad for the birthmom though. she had clearly indicated that she didnt want to know anything about the baby or have anything that would remind her of the baby and then they go tying a giant nursery bracelet on her when she is passed out.

we spent the first hour of the boy's life with him in the nursery. he had an IMMEDIATE sucking reflex and since his head was super sore, the nurses gave him a pacifier to help him self-soothe. it worked immediately. he ate a full meal and got a bath before being wheeled into our room.

since we werent admitted patients in the hospital, we coudlnt exactly get a free room to crash in. there are a bunch of adoptive parents on the nursing staff so as a group they have collectively done quite a bit to make the hospital adoption-friendly. they set us up in a room called the "sun room" which was essentially a large conference room with a tv and pull out sofas. the hospital provides that room for free to allow adoptive parents to spend the night with thier new baby. it was so awesome to have the opportunity to have a private space to spend 2 nights with him rather than being stuck in a waiting room or being forced to go home overnight.

while we were in the sunroom we had the opportunity to meet birthmom's father... our boy's birth grandfather. birthmom wanted someone to meet the boy but wasnt up for meeting him herself. she asked her father to meet him (and us). it was a very emotional meeting... something straight out of lifetime tv... and we all cried. he held the boy and said that he looked like his daughter. he thanked us and said that his daughter felt at peace as soon as she found our profile. it was a beautiful moment shared between us all... ill write more about it in a later post. in the meantime... i have a diaper to change!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

baby rolls and tiny toes

 woah... life with a tiny human is busy. im working on the birth story but in the meantime thought i would share some photos. nothing cuter than baby rolls and tiny toes. *day dream sigh*

Saturday, September 3, 2011

he's here!!!

healthy baby boy born on tuesday... 6lbs 13 oz.
totally perfect in every way.

more details as soon as we settle into a routine.

*biggest smile ever*

Monday, August 29, 2011

because of course we have to wait.

its one day past the due date and here i sit on a monday morning, ready to start yet another work week. you know, after years of waiting... waiting for the TTWW... waiting on the adoption waiting list.... waiting to be picked.... waiting for the 8 weeks to pass until his due date arrives.... you would think that the universe would do me a solid and let this dude come ON TIME! shit. im so sick of waiting!

actually, im feeling kind of torn. you see, today is michael jackson's birthday and i gotta be honest... im not wild about the idea of my kid sharing a birthday with the king of perps. err, i mean pop. so, im hoping he will bake one more day and come tomorrow.

ive been having crazy dreams the last few nights about waiting in the hospital for him to come. the first two dreams included the announcement that he is a girl. im not sure what that might mean.

in last night's dream our case worker came into the waiting room and told us that our birthmother hasnt been paying her taxes so if we want the baby we will have to pay the last 3 years of taxes for her. it was thousands of dollars so we left the hospital without a baby.

i think i might be starting to legitimately worry about the what-if-she-changes-her-mind possibility. *sigh* through this whole process we have both tried to remain focused on the fact that above all else, we support reproductive rights... including a woman's right to parent her child. we intentionally chose an agency that provides tremendous resources for birthmothers and in fact, more than half of the birthmothers who seek services at our agency choose to parent their children before they even reach the stage of picking an adoptive family. if a birthmom goes to the agency and says, "i want to choose an adoption plan for my baby", the agency will do lots of counseling with her to determine why she is choosing adoption. if the birth mom lists things like child care, school, limited funds, etc as reasons why she is choosing adoption, the agency will connect her with community resources that might help her have the ability to parent her child. if after the counseling, she still prefers to make an adoption plan... she is then allowed to look at adoptive parent portfolios.

given all of these steps, the agency's disruption (failed adoption) rate is super low.... they have only had one disruption in 11 years. i have the utmost confidence that the birthmothers in our agency choose adoption because it is the right decision for them. this is super important to me because as much as i want a baby, i have zero interest in adopting a child that a birthmother would have preferred to parent, had she been given the resources to do so.

i often feel uncomfortable with the sense of entitlement that adoptive parents express once they/we are "chosen" by a pregnant mom. when disruption happens, its not uncommon to hear adoptive parents talk about being "screwed over" by a birthmother. i have never experienced a disruption so im not sure how i would feel should that happen... but i would hope that NM and i will remain committed to our belief in reproductive rights. should our birthmom decide to parent her baby, i will be crushed and upset. AND... i will support her right to do what she feels is best for her life.

i realize that this is all easy to talk about on a blog, when im not actually experiencing a disruption. who knows... perhaps this time next week i will be writing a post saying how much i hate our birthmother for stealing "our" baby. lol. only time shall tell.

NM and i have decided that should we experience a disruption, we will take a 2 week vacation someplace warm and secluded with lots of beach sand and booze. i personally think we should go to belize and visit the big blue hole.....

its pretty much a giant sinkhole in the ocean but the photos look like ultrasound picture of a barren barren empty womb. quite fitting, i think.

let hope this little dude comes soon. in the meantime, i suppose ill head to work for the day. *grumble*

Friday, August 26, 2011

Positive Adoption Language - PAL

"she gave her baby up for adoption."
"are they natural sister and brother?"
"do you have any children of your own?"
"do you know your real mom?"

at some point in my life, i have no doubt said one or all of the above statements. like most things in life, my language was a reflection of my knowledge and understanding of the world around me. the more experience i have had with adoption however, the more i have grown to understand the importance of positive adoption language (PAL).

i first learned about PAL in our adoption class. basically, PAL is the choice to use language that frames adoption in a positive way rather than in a negative or second-option kind of way. a good example is the phrase, "gave the baby up for adoption" (which i have said countless times). without even knowing it,  using words like "gave away" unintentionally creates a feeling of  negativity. the phrase "give away" sounds cold, careless and inhumane..something a person does when they dont love something.

the reality of adoption however couldnt be farther from cold, careless or inhumane. birthmothers go through unbelievably selfless and painstaking moments as they create an adoption plan for their baby. they spend countless hours, often under stressful circumstances, to do their best to create an adoption plan that will be the best for their baby... even if it means emotional pain for them in the process.

to think of it from the perspective of the child... to say that someone "gave you up" feels like you werent valuable enough to keep. the reality though is that adopted babies are SO valuable, their birth families only wanted the best for them. the use of PAL means that the child wont hear "your birthmom gave you up" and will instead hear, "your birthmom chose an adoption plan for you".

this article says it best....
PAL begins with the concept of family. Historically people have been considered to be members of the same family when one or more of several conditions are met: they are linked by blood (father and son,) they are linked by law (husband and wife,) they are linked by social custom (woman and her husband’s sister), they are linked by love. We don’t blink at the concept of two non-genetically-related people being members of the same family if one or more of the other criteria are met…except in adoption.

Though in adoption parent and child are linked by love and by law, the fact that they are not connected by blood has often meant that some people are unwilling to acknowledge their relationship as genuine and permanent. Thus they use qualifiers (“This is Bill’s adopted son”) in situations where they would not dream of doing so in a non-adoptive family (“This is Bill’s birth-control-failure son” or “This is Mary’s caesarean-section daughter.”) They tend not to assign a full and permanent relationship to persons related through adoption (“Do you have any children of your own?” or “Have you ever met your real mother?” or “Are they natural brothers and sisters?”) They assume that adoptive relationships are tentative (“What if his real parents want him back?”)

now that i have begun to make a shift in my language its amazing to me how many blatantly negative messages i am starting to notice about adoption, birth mothers, and adopted kids. ive heard lots of "you were adopted" jokes, have had people make terrible assumptions about our birthmother's personal habits and have begun to notice how frequently the term "gave up" is used to describe the choice of adoption.

last semester one of my students (who was adopted at birth) said that she saw a book in the "comedy" section of the bookstore called "Breaking Bad News with Baby Animals". basically the book has tons of cute photos of baby animals with captions that help you break bad news to someone... like, "you're fired". she said that she flipped through the book and laughed at some of the captions. but then she came across this page...

she was struck to read that being adopted would be included in a book about terrible news. she said "i know lots of people who have such shitty parents, it would be bad news for them to hear 'Sorry, you were NOT adopted'". lol. i love students.

anywhoo... the point of this post isn't to be the language police. its mostly to share that i am learning a lot about how our society frames adoption and am hoping that our family can be one of the small examples that helps create change.

in other news, 2 days until the due date. getting so excited to meet him!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

thoughts on nesting

we have started working on the boy’s room! the tiny human will be inhabiting our craft room which is directly across the hallway from our bedroom. the original color of the room is kinda sorta like this….

which is actually a pretty cool color but we want something a little less electric for the nursery.  we were inspired by these nurseries.................

.............and decided to paint the room a warm brownish/grayish color with pops of color in the accessories. we figure grey will allow him to make an easy transition from baby into boy and neither of us could stomach the baby-pastel colors. *shiver*  it just aint our style.

as the descendant of carnies, i have an unshakable desire to turn the inside of my house into a circus tent. you can only imagine the strength of this desire when faced with the task of decorating a kid's room. *breathing into a paper bag* if i had it my way (which i rarely do) we would go all out and have a room like this:

but as you can imagine, NM heard the words "ferris wheel" and refused to even listen to reason.

as far as baby items…. we haven’t purchased anything yet other than a car seat. a lot of adoption literature recommends that adoptive families resist the urge to shop, or paint, or set up a nursery, etc until the baby is actually in their care. I guess the idea is that its good to keep the “what if she changes her mind” perspective. personally, I have come to the decision that this advice is total bulllshit. well, maybe that's too judgey. ill just say its bullshit... for us.

dont get me wrong, I understand that some couples are afraid that the deal will fall through and they will be forced to face an empty crib the next day. but how is this any different than a regular pregnancy? its not like we advise pregnant couples to hold off on nesting until after the baby arrives "just in case you miscarry". that would be silly. plus, I don’t think I will be any LESS depressed simply because I haven’t purchased anything yet… “whew, thank GOD I didn’t buy that baby swing! losing the baby would have REALLY been hard then!” *rolling my eyes*

also, i feel like our choice to adopt makes the nesting process even more important. when you are 8 months preggers, you have a daily reminder that this tiny human will soon be joining your family. we dont have that reminder and although we certainly never forget about him... its just hard to make it feel real when there are no physical reminders.

so…I think that NM and I have found a happy medium when it comes to “nesting” and have decided to paint the room (cause who wants to paint when there is a tiny human in the other room?) and get some of the bare essentials. and clearly by “bare essentials” im referring to this onesie

Friday, August 5, 2011

"you had a baby, bob. its a girl and we named her brenda." -la bamba

we are still chewing on names for the little dude. sadly, NM has vetoed jersey, camden, trenton, bronx, brooklyn, paulie d, the situation and biggie smalls. she is such a killjoy.

im realizing that naming a kid is kind of intense. im sure we have all played the "what would we name our kid" game... you know, the game that always ends with the most ridiculous names and a hearty bout of laughter. my favorite is a friend who said, "im gonna have a son and name him steven, but im gonna spell it a-l-e-x-a-n-d-e-r. so when people say 'alexander' he can say, 'no, its pronounced steven'."

but now its like, for reals. at the end of the game i gotta have an actual name for an actual human. woah. intense.

and speaking of intense... answering the "have you thought about names yet?" question sure does open the floodgates of opinions. jesus. who knew people were so die hard about naming a baby. I can talk to 50 different people in the span of 2 minutes and get 50 different -yet equally passionate (read: manic) opinions about the same friggin name.

the most common reactions look like this...

person #1 (also known as i-might-stalk-your-baby): “roger? wow. I love it! I don’t think I have eeeeever heard such an angelic name. its like the sound of angels singing on sunday. he is destined for greatness with a name like that. I wish I could change my OWN name to roger. strong, beautiful, angelic roger. *day dream sigh* if you love him you will pick that name.”

person # 2 (also known as you're-the-reason-gay-people-shouldnt-be-allowed-to-name-kids): “ROGER?! is that some sort of sick joke?! what kind of person names their baby rooooger?! I swear, if you name that baby roger I will call child protective services and report you for abuse. god. its like the sound of poop sloshing in a toilet. how could ANYONE. EVER. consider such a name?!?! *dry heave*”

person # 3 (also known as the oversharer): "did you say Roger? as in, r-o-g-e-r? omg... that's totally my uncles name! he was my faaaaavorite uncle growing up. well, until he was arrested for child pornography. he should be getting out of jail in 2015 though, so that's good. i only knew one other roger my whole life and he was a guy i worked with at the mall. he came to work one day with a knife and threatened to kill everyone so i never saw him after that. hm, i wonder what happened to him? strange... i cant remember. anywho... i think roger is a great name!"

person # 4 (also known as the united nations police): "roger? really? its nice but..... its sooooo *long pause*.... ethnic. and the baby wont even teeeechnically identify as *insert random ethnic identity*. im just saying that EVERYONE knows that roger is a *insert ethnic identity* name. so dont you think its straaaange to name a baby *finger quotes*-"roger" when he isnt *insert ethnic identity*?"

person # 5 (also known as dr. seuss): "roger? hm... that's a cool name. but you know what would be even cooler? dodger. ooh! or how about bodger. yeah! have you thought about bodger? that's a great name! bodger. bodger. yeah...that's it. that's the name. oh wait... what about modger?! i like that best. yeah. modger."

someone set me on fire, please.

ps. we arent really considering roger. its a great name, really. just not for us.
pps. no offense if your have a perpie uncle named roger.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

the boy's first paparazzi shot!

everything is still moving along as planned. the boy passed the 36 week mark on sunday and will technically be considered "full term" on august 8th. eeek! the last ultrasound was 2 weeks ago and he weighed 5 lbs 2 oz. (the photo above was from an earlier ultrasound taken in april)

the due date is still august 28th though and since most first-time pregnancies tend to go late... im thinking we have some time. he might even be a september baby.

 NM and i leave for our babymoon on saturday. a whole week in the florida sun... i cant wait! we have our fingers crossed that the little dude wont decide to come early and force us to fly home mid-trip. if he does, im sure it will be an omen of things to come in his teenage years.
our caseworkers said that the birthmother is doing much better emotionally and physically. as it turns out, she has very little support from anyone other than her mom and had been feeling pretty overwhelmed with the whole process. they said she still attends all of her meetings and medical appointments alone but is in better spirits. (*sigh* i can barely attend my annual pap exam alone so im pretty impressed with her strength!) it’s a strange feeling to care so deeply about someone we have never met. in many ways, she is a part of our family and its been difficult to not be able to offer her our direct support. closed adoption is tough in that way.
although, knowing me… its probably a good thing that we aren’t in contact. I could SO easily end up adopting a birthmother right along with the baby…. “babe, she just needs a place to stay for 2 weeks.” lol. NM would surely divorce me.

she has decided that she doesnt want one of the hospital bracelets (the ones that give access to the nursery) so NM and i will each have one. we are fortunate that the hospital in our area is very adoption friendly so we will most likely get our own room and will spend the night with the boy.

we are still in seemingly constant dialog about names and circumcision (we welcome any suggestions on either topic!) and continue to watch the clock tick down with anticipation. we arent quite at the TTWW stage yet (which officially starts on august 14th!)... but getting close!

Friday, July 29, 2011

and then jersey punched her computer screen...

yo... is anyone else getting trapped in the never ending loop of login screens and comment verification codes anytime you try to post a comment on another blog?!? AAAAAHHHHH!!!

i was about to set myself on fire from frustration but i think i might have found the solution...

1. close all of your open browsers except one.
2. while that browser is open, click on "tools", then "internet options"
3. under "browsing history" click "delete" (i was pretty much going for the enema of computer cleaning so i chose to click all of the boxes. you could experiment and see if it still works without wiping it all out.)
4. go back to blogger and login WITHOUT clicking on the "remember me" box. leave that box unclicked... apparently this is the secret solution. *shrug*

i have no idea how permanent this solution is... but it worked for me so i thought i would pass it along as a temporary fix for anyone who is about to destroy their computer. feel free to comment with other solutions/tricks that might work better than this!

Friday, July 15, 2011

"congrats! wanna hear a nightmare adoption story?"

the process of telling people about our news has been fa-scin-a-ting. by far the most common response goes something like this:

"oh my god!! im so excited for you!! what are the chances that she might change her mind?"

while this question definitely comes from a good place (ie. wanting to protect us from harm), it has started to get pretty annoying. i have decided that from now on, when i see a pregnant woman im gonna say "congrats! im so excited for you! what are the chances that the baby could die?". lol. kidding, kidding. but you get the point.

another interesting thing that we are learning is that most people expect that we will be adopting an older child. when we mention that we will be at the hospital when he is born people often say, "wait... youre getting a baby??! like a baby baby?!?" then the excitement goes through the roof.

these reactions remind me of how many misconceptions i used to have about adoption, birthmothers, legal nightmares, etc etc. its funny how something that once seemed so foreign and scary has now become so run-of-the-mill.

anywho... i have gotten lots of questions about what we know so here goes:

* birthmother is a 19 year old college student
* birthfather knows about the baby and has already signed away his parental rights. (this is a big deal because if the birthfather isnt int he picture, we would have to run ads in newspapers announcing the adoption to give him a chance to come forward. as you can imagine, few people even read the paper anymore so there is always a fear that a birthdad could resurface and say, "i had no idea this baby existed and i want rights")
* birthmom is super healthy... no drugs or alcohol.
* birth family lives locally and all seem to support her choice for adoption

the only somewhat negative part about the birthmom is that at this point, she prefers a closed adoption. for folks who dont know, a closed adoption means that we wont get to meet her or know any identifying information about her or her family. we had really hoped to have an open adoption so that our kid could have access to his birth family and grow to know them. we believe that everyone has the right to know where they come from so this part is kind of a bummer. its not that we would want to co-parent with them or anything... but occasional visits and photo updates would have been great.

our caseworker said that the birthmom is feeling super overwhelmed right now and is pretty miserable physically. it sounds like the pregnancy has been really rough on her so we are hopeful that maybe after all is said and done... and some time has passed... she will reconsider the no-contact rule. *fingers crossed!*

let the roller coaster begin!

Written on June 30th at 11am

its been a little over 48 hours since we received the news and its juuust starting to sink in. yesterday was a rough day for me and im not entirely sure that i have figured out why yet. i spent most of the afternoon crying and crying and crying... with little understanding of what, exactly, was making me upset.

after processing with NM and a couple of close friends, i think that it all boils down to a feeling of loss. i know that probably sounds strange since we finally seem to be GAINING a family member... and im not sure if anyone else has felt this way immediately after hearing news about being picked.... but its like im suddenly TERRIFIED that i will lose NM through all of this. like i fear that one day we will wake up, roll over and think "i hate my life. when did everything go wrong?". you know those couples who were once so in love but somewhere along they way they lost each other? *sigh*

a friend told me, "dont worry about that. NM would never leave you and even if she did, you would be totally fine". on one hand i get it. im strong and independent and *waiving finger in the air* dont need no' man to make me happy. i pretty much majored in feminist discourse so i get it. its not so much that i fear NM leaving or being a single mom... its that i fear losing HER in the process of day-to-day life. like losing who she is. im so afraid that as we inevitably shift and change to accommodate this new path in our life, that we will lose the very things that are so wonderful about us right now.

as i know i have mentioned, i have a history with self injury and have struggled with suicidal thoughts/actions. i have worked SO. FREAKIN. HARD to dig myself out of the depths and work towards a life of meaning, balance, integrity and love. i honestly NEVER thought i would be where i am today and i never dreamed that i would end up in a marriage like the one i have been blessed (in a totally non-christian way, of course *wink*) to have. so i think that maybe whats going on for me right now is that im standing on the edge of be-careful-what-you-wish-for and realizing that with great change also comes great risk.

sometimes i think i must be crazy to be feeling like this. the thing i have wanted for 3 freaking years is finally coming true... why would i be sad about anything?!?! but then i think that maybe this is a great way to enter into a new family dynamic. i want to make sure NM and i are committed to keeping our marriage as the priority and remembering that our relationship was what made this family possible in the first place.

dont get me wrong, im gonna love the shit outta this little dude. and im fully prepared for the fact that the first year will pretty much be non-stop baby. i guess im just trying to say that it is my intention that NM and i remain the strong family unit that we were before he got here. i dont know a better model to show him that love, respect, humor and commitment are possible in a marriage.


in the meantime, ill work to stop crying. lol.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

the apprentice

Written on June 28th, 2011 5:00pm

if all goes according to plan, in exactly 2 months from today....  we will be meeting our new baby. wow, that feels weird to write.

as i wrote about in THIS post, we received notice that our paperwork was due to expire in july and needed to be updated. part of this packet includes the reference forms which need to be filled out by various members of our community. my best friend is one of our references and since she lives out of state, i called and left a message for our new caseworker (who we havent met yet) to see if the forms could be emailed rather than snail-mailed.

so, yesterday we receive an email from the caseworker inviting us to come in and meet her in person and hear about "some new updates". i read the email out loud to NM and immediately said, "what if 'new updates' means that they arent working with gay couples anymore??!!"  i was nervous but responded and set a meeting for 9:45 the next morning.

the next morning we get to the agency and were greeted by M2 who you might remember from THIS post. it had been nearly a friggin YEAR since we last saw her, so she hugged us and welcomed us into the conference room. i thought that the crew in the conference room must have been finishing up a meeting or something because there were like 6 people in there, sitting around the table.

they invited us to sit down and i suddenly got VERY nervous. i thought, "omg... they are totally gonna kick us out of the program for being gay!!"

we took our seats at the table and waited for the director of the agency to speak. before she had a chance i said, "man, i feel like im on the apprentice." ... after which, nobody laughed.

there were nervous looks between staff at the table and finally, the director said, "we are really excited to report that we have some good news. a birthmother has chosen you two."

um, WHAT?!?!?!?!!?!?!?

M2 chimed in and told us that birthmom is due to give birth at the end of august (LIKE IN 60 days??!!?) and then asked, "would you like to know what she is having?"

we both responded "YES!!" in unison, without even looking at each other.

"its a boy. congratulations, you are gonna have a baby boy."

she shared that the birthmother was in 2 weeks prior (while we were in vegas!!) and was flipping through portfolios when she got to ours and said, "well, lets see what the girls have to say". M2 said that typically birthmoms skim portfolios but our birthmom took her time reading the details, cover to cover and even after putting ours down to look at others, she kept coming back to the feeling that we were/are the right fit. i totally love that she was deliberate and intentional in her process of choosing... it was really validating and made me feel honored.

im realizing right now that one day, a grown man could be reading this and learning about the day his parents found out he was gonna be their son.


thats still a weird word.


as you can imagine, its a whirlwind here. we have 8 weeks to prepare and 3 of those weeks we will be traveling out of state. so... FIVE weeks to get ready for a tiny human. since i am not releasing these posts publicly yet, by the time you are reading this, we may have even LESS time. aaaahhh!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


ok, ok... its time for me to "come out" on this blog. about 2 weeks ago, we were called to the adoption agency for a "quick meeting" and found out that we have been selected by a birthmother. aaaahhhh! i have been blogging about the process (and my meltdowns!!) ever since, but havent been able to publish the posts because the news was still top secret. now that most of the people in our lives know... im free to shout it from the rooftops!!

so, here is the first post i wrote- about 2 hours after we found out.

June 28, 2011


we got picked!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

more info to come.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Challenge 9, 10 & 12

challenge 9 - how important you think education is
ok, this is pretty much the dumbest question ever. but... ill play along and answer by saying that as an educator, i believe education is very very very important. 

challenge 10 - first 10 songs on shuffle
we have a "family" ipod in our house which NM is mostly in charge of. so, answering this question as it is written would tell you more about NM's music tastes than it would about mine. but again, to play along... if i WERE to have an ipod, and that ipod were switched on "shuffle", im sure the top 10 songs would include bjork, a tribe called quest, adele, rihanna, regina spektor and julieta venegas. im a big fan of lyrics and tend to connect more to the storytelling aspect of music than i do to the musical quality-ness. (clearly, im not a musician). i can typically hear a song once or twice and know most of the lyrics. but ask me to identify which instruments are involved in making a song and i wouldnt have a clue. well, other than the cello and banjo... my 2 favorite instruments.

challenge 12 - five men i find attractive
the hard part about this question is that so much of what makes a person "attractive" to me is their character. what i mean by this is that almost anyone, with the right amount of authenticity and strength of character can be attractive. and on the flip side, even the hottest of all hotties can suddenly lose all their attractiveness when they act like an ass. so, here is my best attempt at answering this question.

*resisting the urge to list marky mark 5 times*

#5 - dhani jones

#4 - jake gyllenhaal

#3 - johnny depp (especially as Roux)

#2 brandon pereyda (from cirque du soleil)

#1 - marky

Friday, June 24, 2011

example #495 of NJ public school education

NM: babe, its midnight, why are you cleaning the bathroom?
me: because its nasty! there is a little pink ring around the drain in the sink! EW! we are practically curing penicillin in here!
NM: um, penicillin IS a cure.
me: oh.
NM: its a good thing you're pretty.

aaaand, scene.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Contrast: fun with street photography in vegas

last week i shared THIS post about our recent trip to las vegas. we were there for nearly a week because NM had a conference to attend for work. while she was at the conference, i was left to wander the streets "enjoying" the sights and sounds of vegas. i dont gamble and i pretty much dont drink, so for me vegas was kind of like watching an electrified train wreck.

after the first full day of walking the strip, i began to notice an interesting dynamic present in the tourist culture of vegas. despite the exorbitant resources invested in creating a magical adult-disney-like atmosphere for tourists....everyone around us seemed absolutely miserable. couples fought with one another, women sobbed as husbands/boyfriends/children yelled at them in public, kids whined and cried while parents jerked them to and fro. perhaps it was the heat, or the alcohol, or the pressure to have a "totally vegas" experience. *shrug* whatever it was, it became more and more difficult to not absorb the negative energy around me.

also, i should mention that htis was my first trip to vegas since beginning my current job (im a sexual violence prevention educator and victim advocate). so, it was nearly impossible for me to remove the lens of advocate as i watched men carry intoxicated women to hotel rooms, groups of guys cat calling and groping women around them, public advertisements selling various parts of women's bodies, etc etc etc. *sigh*

the smothering examples of rape culture coupled with the over-the-top displays of forced-fun made it really difficult to relax and enjoy my time in vegas. i felt tense and frustrated and needed desperately to do something with that energy building up inside me.  so, i decided to do a photography assignment.

i have recently become reengaged with the art of street photography. if you aren't familiar with street photography i recommend THIS site or THIS site but the basic gist is that street photography aims to tell the story of culture around us...often the ignored/invisible/forgotten parts of society that become so commonplace, we hardly notice they exist.

another great element of street photography is that it is often shot "from the hip", without looking through the viewfinder. so, unlike formal photography where elements like blur and bulls-eye are discouraged, street photography welcomes unorthodox composition so long as it causes a visceral reaction in the viewer.

so, to make a short story long, i spent two days shooting street photography of vegas. i paid attention to what was happening in the backgrounds, behind the scenes, in the directions opposite to where tourists were looking. if hoards of tourists pointed their cameras up, i pointed mine down. if i saw someone taking a photo of a famous attraction, i searched for the keepers and maintainers of those attractions. for any fans of the book Hunger Games, i became katniss everdeen looking for the ripple in the sky of the arena.

i ignored the attention-grabbing flashiness of vegas and instead started tracking service workers, examined the concrete, looked at the colors in discarded rubbish. the more i did this, the more i realized that the real vegas, is actually quite beautiful.

here are some of the photos i shot along with a brief description of what i found compelling about some of them. some shots were composed with the use of the viewfinder, but most were shot from the hip. you can click on the photo to see it in full size. my hope is that these shots tell the story of my time in vegas better than a slide show of postcard-quality images might.

Contrast: 6 days in vegas

Momentary Rest


Colors on the Strip


The Eyesore

(this shot was taken while standing in a crowd, waiting to cross the street. people in the group stretched their arms and bent awkwardly, attempting to capture a shot of the bellagio that did not contain this groundskeeper. i happen to think the shot is better with him in it.)


Fountain Blues


The Post


A Superhero's Smoke-Break
(you cant tell from this image but this shot was taken in a small little alcove-of-sorts where the NY, NY casino stores its dumpsters. as one of the few spots with complete shade, it inevitably becomes a smoke-break location for street performers like this red power ranger.
i loved how human he was in this moment.)




Blood Red


Taking 5
(this shot was taken shortly after noon. i loved the juxtaposition of the activities being done by both people. while the man on the left takes a break from work and pulls an apple out of a plastic bag from home, the woman on the right sits on a bench sorting through the photos on her camera.)


Self Portrait - Black and White


12-Hour Shift


Going Green


Bellagio Valets


Bellagio Groundskeeper




Bellagio Groundskeeper 2






Ants in the Sky




Gay Vegas




The Sweeper


Self Portrait - Girls




Blood Red 2





The Sweeper 2


Beautiful Day Outside


Free Beer Culture






Invisible Girls Girls Girls

(this was one of many shots that demonstrates the invisibility of the escort promoters who hand out "stripper cards". i have to admit that i wasn't sure how to respond when they offered me cards. it gets pretty ridiculous saying, "no thanks" every 30 seconds so without realizing it, i quickly adopted the i-dont-see-them strategy too. it was amazing and somewhat disturbing how little time it took for me to learn how to completely zone them out... as if entire human beings ceased to exist. *sigh*)


Colors of Life


Train Wreck


While You were Out



(this shot was taken in MGM. these three men were playing the slot machines when a female server began dancing on the bar in the background. i was struck how these men sat at their slot machines, continuing to push buttons and gamble while their eyes remained glued to the woman dancing.)


Lost 2 - Winter in June


Invisible Girls Girls Girls 2




Grey 2


To Tourists, With Love