Wednesday, November 24, 2010

thoughts on ego and guilt

we have officially been initiated into the omg-the-adoption-agency-called/emailed-with-a-potential-placement club. almost every adoptive family has an example of the first time they received a call/email  from the agency that ended up not being what they thought it would be.

yesterday NM and i received an email titled "potential placement". the excitement rushed through my veins as i read the email. ill cut to the chase and say up front that its not the right placement for us. boo hoo. the email however is still sitting with me for lots of reasons.

the story of this placement includes 3 kids.... a 10 year old boy, an 8 year old girl and a 4 year old girl. the agency is looking to place all three kids in the same home and is hoping to avoid multiple placements (meaning that they want to find someone to fully adopt all three, not a foster situation). all three of the children are survivors of sexual abuse and the youngest was born addicted to drugs/alcohol.

NM and i immediately thought, "um, going from zero to three high-needs kids?!? hell no!" and then, there we were, 5 minutes later, driving for hot wings and having a somewhat serious conversation about it. and by "conversation" i mean that we were both staring out the car window exchanging random sentences.

"omg, that would be bananas"
"three kids? i wouldn't even know where to start!"
"the sexual abuse is concerning. especially given that the boy is the oldest. he would need intense therapy"
"i feel like the work we both do could provide us with the necessary skills to handle this situation"
"i don't feel like i know enough about child development to like, start off with non-newborns. like, if you have a baby you get to watch them develop in stages...first they learn to talk, then they learn to count, then to read, ect. but with this situation its like, blamo! a 4 year old. like do they even know their colors at that age??"
"i wish the boy was the youngest. i would feel better about the possibility of taking them, and the possibility of his recovery, if he wasn't the oldest"
"i wonder what the rest of the story is"
"id feel better if it was only two kids. but three?"

and on, and on....

in the end, we have decided that this isn't for us. its not the right timing, or situation. whats bananas (apparently "bananas" is my word of the day, sorry.) is how guilty im feeling about saying no. its like i have this scholarship to give away and im determining who gets to have it. yuck.

up until this point, so much of the focus has been on whether or not other people would pick us... the adoption agency, the social workers, the birth parents, etc. for 2 years we have been the ones up for evaluation. from laboring over our portfolio in the hopes that it would "get us picked"... to reading as many books/stories as we could in the hopes of learning about how birthmoms decide "who to pick"... its been nonstop marketing and selling of ourselves. yesterdays email put us, for the first time, in the position of the "picker". (ew, that sounds kinda gross. sorry again.)

and..... (warning: this next part is gonna come off sounding totally arrogant but i trust that my fellow TTC bloggers will understand what i mean)..... i think about these kids, and what they have been through in their short lives and i cant help but feel like they deserve us. they deserve the great home that we would no doubt provide. its not that i think other adoptive families suck... its just that i really really really believe that we will be the. best. parents. ever. (and yes, i realize that by writing that sentence i have now probably destined our child to a life of crime, addiction and self injury. stupid karma.)

i guess what im meaning to say is that the TTC process has a way of making couples develop an ego about what great parents we will be. if i had a dime for every time i asked the question..... "why would god choose to give (insert the name of unplanned pregnancy) a baby when we would be such great parents?!!?"... i would probably have enough money to cover invitro. as infertiles, we spend HOURS day dreaming, talking and planning our life with kids. so its easy to get caught up in that and feel like any kid would practically win the parent-lottery if they get to live with us.

i recently watched an episode of the dog whisperer where this super aggressive (read: misunderstood) pitbull was about to be put to sleep when cesar decided to adopt him. if you dont watch the show this analogy will be lost on you but dog whisperer fans will know that this dog was probably like... OHMYGOD! i get to live with THE cesar millan??!! SCORE!!

that's how i feel when i think about NM and i as parents.

so along comes this email... with this sad story about these kids who have experienced pain and violation... and here i sit feeling like shit about not taking them. how are we supposed to feel ok about saying, "nah, we will pass" when we have wanted a kid for so long? *sigh* and its especially hard given the work that i do around sexual violence. i mean at the very least we can guarantee with 100% accuracy that these kids will never ever be sexually abused by their parents. isn't that the least they deserve? *sigh*

and then i get concerned because we fight so hard against the "savior" narrative that surrounds adoption. like adoptive parents are some friggin heroes because we are "saving" babies from "terrible" (read: poverty) situations. (more on this later in the positive adoption language post) yuck. its gross and very easy to be sucked into that with situations like these.

the truth is that any family would be lucky to have these three kids. and i believe that there will be another family with the financial resources to better support them in their recovery and growth. a 10 year old male survivor of sexual abuse needs almost constant supervision and a shit-ton of therapy. im hopeful that whatever family is lucky enough to have them will provide them with the love and stability that they deserve.

the other thing that is sticking with me is the timing of this email. here we are planning for holiday travel and day dreaming of holiday joy.... and at the same time, in our own community, there are three little humans whose future is weighing on an email sent out to strangers. when these kids grow up and tell the story of their lives, they will say "and then in november of 2010, a caseworker sent out an email trying to find me and my siblings a family". very humbling and reason to give thanks for all that we have.

Monday, November 8, 2010

jesus loves chode

once upon a time there was a small city nestled in the mountains. in this small city there lived a big corporate-style-conglomerate church called the Church of Hypocrisy, Oppression, Damnation and Exclusion (aka: CHODE). the members of CHODE spent all day and night praying for the elimination of evil things like world peace, people of color, premarital sex and a women's right to choose. above all else though, CHODE prayed day and night for the elimination of the world's biggest evil-doers.....

*drum roll*

... the queers. *gasp!*

CHODE was SO committed to eliminating the queers that they even offered free classes to help former queers stay on the straight-and-narrow (pun intended) path of righteousness that only a true (read: money-donating) christian can enjoy.

what, you might be asking, does this story have to do with a TTC blog??

well, much to my dismay, two... count them TWO...  of the four couples in our recent adoption class were card-carrying, flag-waiving members of CHODE. and, to make matters worse... one of the couples is actually a friggin PASTOR at CHODE (and when i say "one of the couples" im clearly referring to the husband. lord knows that the little lady aint allowed to preach-tha-good-word while owning a menstruating vagina).

you can imagine my face when the cheery introduction round started off like this...

caseworker: ok everyone... lets start the session off by learning a little bit about each other. please share your name, hobbies, how far along you are in the adoption process and what brings you to this class today. how about we start with the couple to my right?

barbie and ken couple to the caseworker's right: hi, my name is ken and this is my wife barbie. i am a pastor at CHODE and my wife is a barefoot stay at home mom to our three beautiful children who were conceived with out a problem, for free and only AFTER we were legally married. we dont have fertility issues like you barren freaks and are only here because we hope to become foster parents. we have tried to be cordial and respectful to the other two couples in this room who dont attend CHODE... but only because we are secretly praying for your souls and for the souls of your future children as they attempt to navigate a life that will no doubt be misguided by your sinful ways."

aaaand, scene.

*deep breath*

fine, ill admit it. the above might be a teensy weensy bit of an exaggeration... but its pretty damn close to what i heard them say. naturally, im still processing (read: reeling in anger) from the experience so i will stop here, breathe into a brown paper bag and try a new post that contains highlights from the class with (slightly) less sarcasm. all in all, it was actually a pretty good class and well worth our time. details to come soon.

in the meantime, let go and let god.

*dry heave*

Friday, October 15, 2010

thoughts on approval, warren g and brass knuckles

we had a meeting with our adoption agency this morning to finalize some paperwork and hand in four copies of our portfolio. M1 was home sick for the day so we met with the Executive Director of the organization (we will call her Ed) who was actually the person we met with waaaay back in the day for our first initial info session. Ed is super cool too... a little intense and kind of aggressive... but still real cool.

she gave us a copy of our "evaluation" to review and  a red pen to mark corrections or errors. the "evaluation" is basically a summary of the home study and personal interviews that we have done. the caseworkers then issue scores in various categories and if your score falls in an acceptable range, you are officially licenced, approved and given the "ok" to adopt.

the scores for each section run from 0 to 5... zero meaning "not an issue at all, totally acceptable" and five meaning "these people should probably seek counseling from a professional in this area". the caseworkers provide a narrative paragraph with an assessment of us in each area and then there is a final score sheet attached to the end. the score sheet looks kinda like this:

relationship to extended family = 1
work ethic = 2
safety of the home environment = 1
likelihood that they would accidentally leave the kid at a bowling alley = 4
likelihood that jersey will end up in a fist fight with a kid's teacher = 5

our scores were mostly 2's with an occasional 3 thrown in there for good measure. most of our "3"s had to do with things that we have no control over... alcoholic dad, past trauma, health issues... and it sounds like 2's and 3's are the standard scores... but it can still feel strange to not see all zeros. i mean after all, we are pretty damn close to perfect. *poppin my collar, cough*

there was one category in my review that received a 5 but since it was tied to past trauma.... and since i have done tons of healing and therapy about it... and since my current full time job includes working with survivors... the caseworkers "mitigated" the score down to 2. i was happy to read the part about mitigation but definitely had a moment while we were reviewing the narrative part where i felt like damaged goods. this is pretty common for survivors to feel so i'm pretty used to coaching myself out of the negative self-talk... but still it was hard to see on paper.

also, i couldn't help but feel angry that most of the areas where we received a "3" were areas that involved men. i'm not meaning to sound all man-hating-lesbian (the truth is i'm neither a man-hater or a lesbian)... i just got frustrated to see that my "score" is influenced by the unethical, irresponsible and criminal behavior of men in my life. grr.

anywho... i digress...

all in all... the caseworkers had really great things to say about us both individually and as a family. i was also happy that they only mentioned the gay thing ONCE in the entire report and it was only when talking about the ways that we could support a child who might experience feeling "different". i have been pleasantly surprised with how cool our agency has been when dealing with the whole homo issue.

we were left alone in a conference room to read through the report and i'm sure the people in the adjacent rooms were wondering what we were giggling about. it was just so weird to read other people's clinical assessment of you, your family, your marriage, your home, your dogs, your job and your general personality. i'm pretty sure that M2 wrote my evaluation because she referred to me as "kind", "peaceful" and "gentle" which actually kind of pissed me off given my jersey roots.

ME: omg... she said i'm "gentle"! WTF?
NM: so what?
ME: what?! i'm not gentle! GOD! she makes me sound like warren g!
NM: wait, what?
ME: warren g. regulate. you know, the song.
NM: yes, i know the song. i just don't know what the hell you are talking about.
ME: oh come on... its common knowledge that warren g is a punk bitch. that entire song is about how he got jumped and had to call his friend to come save his ass.
NM: wow. that's an interesting interpretation coming from an educator in the field of gender socialization.
ME: shut up! its true!
NM: well, i'm sure that given the fact that you chose to roll up to the adoption agency today wearing your BRASS KNUCKLES NECKLACE-CHARM, your reputation is intact. not sure about our status as potential adoptive parents though.
ME: puh-leeze! they should count this necklace as a bonus! who in their right mind would want to give a baby to punk ass warren g!
NM: i cant believe i married you.

aaaand scene.

the moral of the story is..... *drum roll*............. let the waiting begin!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

snookie + bjork = Jersey as a mom.

houston, we have take off...

NM and i met with M1 last week and handed in a draft of our portfolio. on first glance, it seemed that she liked it. at the very least, it didn't make her decide to kick us out of the program so that has to count for something.

we sent a pdf of all 13 pages to various peeps in our world... mom, sister, besties, bff's, etc.... and got lots of awesome and valuable feedback. for folks who are about to start creating a portfolio, i highly recommend that you seek as much feedback as folks are willing to give. after many hours of edits, we have a somewhat finalized version that we plan to hand in on friday.

M1 told us that the average potential birthmom will look at each portfolio for 10-15 seconds before placing it in the aint-no-way-in-hay'el-that-im-givin-my-baby-to-these-people pile or the maybe pile. so, she recommended that we use bold or italics to make some of our key words stand out.

personally, i plan to highlight words like "jersey", "bjork", and "snookie" (yes, all three of those words made their way into our portfolio). while NM will most likely choose sensible words like "loving", "stable" and "responsible". snooze.  example #485 that first-born-children are WAY less exciting than we babies-of-the-family.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

the post where i whine about making a portfolio

update: NM and i have cleared all of the hurdles for adoption and now only have two... count em, TWO things on our to-do list. first, we need to get our shots finalized. im still not too clear on why they need to know my hepatitis status. would they not allow us to adopt if it turned out that we were positive?? if so, i thank my lucky stars again that the crack head nurse didn't give me hep. (btw...she is currently doing like 20 years in jail!)

the other remaining item on our to-do list is the portfolio. *deep sigh* what a monumental task this has turned out to be. *wiping my brow*

i remember in our veeery first adoption meeting like 2 years ago, we were told that we would "get the opportunity to make a portfolio" that included details about our family, home, hobbies, values, etc. this portfolio would then be shown to potential birth-parents as they (typically she, but sometimes they) try to select adoptive parents. being the total craft freaks that we are, NM and i immediately got SO excited about making the portfolio. my little artist brain started thinking about all of the potential formats, colors, fonts and photos that we would use. i couldn't WAIT until we got the green light to go ahead and start making it.


we actually got the green light to start making it. 

suddenly "get the opportunity to make a portfolio" felt more like "have to force yourself to sit down and make a portfolio whether you like it or not". 

im not sure if this sudden aversion to making a portfolio is common with other adoptive parents but i just cant get past how unexpected this feels for me. and lets not even talk about the process of writing a letter to the potential birth-parent. fu'getabowtit.

in our defense, i should admit that we are more than half way through the portfolio. i feel like the further we get into the process though, the more final the decision feels. at first, playing with colors is just that... playing with colors. now, choosing a color means that we we will FOREVER have a (insert color) portfolio. which isn't that big of a deal until you think of yourself as a person who is choosing someone to like, RAISE YOUR BABY and you open the binder to see that they selected (insert your least favorite color in the world) as their main color!! aaaahhhh!! 

*deep breath*

the pressure to please is overwhelming but NM and i have tried to just keep an open mind and remember that at some point this part of the process will be in the past and ill most likely be sleep deprived and kicking myself for whining about how hard it was to make a portfolio. 

*fingers crossed that a birth-mom likes the color chartreuse!*

(just kidding. we didn't pick chartreuse)

"i love gay people but...."

sometimes i day dream. i think about what it would be like to live in a world where i could do the simiple things that i took for granted when i was dating men. things like kissing while standing in line at the movies or holding hands when walking through the mall. i day dream about feeling safe going to my high school reunion with my partner and checking into hotels without having to deal with the "oh, im sorry... it looks like we accidentially gave you a room with only one bed" scenario.

sometimes i get real life glimpses of what it would feel like to live in a country where being gay was normal. a random brochure that includes the word "partner"... or an advertisement that contains two people of the same gender doing mundane things together (not to be confused with heteronormative commercials with people of the same gender doing things like eating yogurt or watching football while talking about the opposite gender).

i logged on to yahoo recently and saw that doogie howser md (neil patrick harris) is expecting twins with his partner. i felt so excited that there would be a front page story about a gay couple doing something so normal. i couldnt help but feel like i should be waiting for the punchline, the reason why they would have written an entire article about him. i thought... maybe it will refer to some law that is up for debate... or maybe some psychologist will weigh in with their opinion about the... *deep doctor voice*... "impact on the children"... or maybe the surrogate is somehow tied to a royal family... or... or... or...

but after reading the article i realized that there was no big political agenda. it was just an actor having a kid with the person he loves who also happens to be a dude. *shrug* no big fuss. i felt myself smile because it was a glimpse into the future when being gay...*brittney spears voice*.... aint gonna be no big thang, yall.

but then....


i read the comments.

*heavy sigh*

now anyone who reads online articles knows that the  "comments" section is typically a no-mans land filled with the dregs of society who commonly spew hate under anonymous names like "freedom lover" or "patriot". *rolling my eyes* 10 times out of 10, anyone who lives in reality knows to not take these folks seriously.

but as i read through the comments, i was so struck by how... well, how normal.... these people seemed. lots of the comments came from folks with actual profile pictures next to their names. and although there were the predictable homophobic comments like "they just want to have a baby so they can stick the pacifier up their ass"....hardy har har... gay men like to stick things up their butts... how funny.... thank you for the 1980's gay bashing joke.

i digress...

although there were a handful of truly hateful comments, many of the comments were from regular 'ol folk who said things like "i love gay people...." or "i have gay friends..." or "my sister/brother/uncle/cousin is gay and i love him/her...". i was overwhelmed how many comments indicated a personal connection with a gay person and then followed with... "BUT"

".... i feel bad for these kids" or "....i dont think they should be allowed to have kids" or "...they shouldnt put kids through the pain"


it felt like a blow to my gut. i just couldnt believe that such "normal" people were so damn homophobic.

anywhoo.. the point of this post is three fold. 1. congrats to doogie. 2. dont read comments after articles and 3. homophobia sucks.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

reason #485 why homophobia sucks

i dont think anyone has ever accused me of being shy or timid. like, ever. blame it on my years as a cheerleader, blame it on growing up jersey, blame it on being raised by a feminist... i have always sorta put my shit out there and if people had a problem with it, then well... that was their problem.

in high school i dated a man of color for over 4 years (no, i wasn't in high school for more than 4 years. we dated before high school and into college.) and i remember there being times when we would be at the mall holding hands or kissing in public and people (mostly white) would stare and point and glare at us in disapproval. reactions like that would irritate me...anger me... sadden me... but never make me change my behavior.

the other morning i was dropping NM off early on campus for a trip she was taking with students. we were in a loading zone and as we went to say goodbye we looked out the window and saw two dudes in a van facing us, watching. i said, "they are watching, we shouldn't kiss". she replied, "duh." so, much like our goodbyes at airports or in other very public settings, we opted for the "they might be close friends and maybe even sisters but they definitely dont do it to each other" goodbye hug.

although this isnt the first time that we have chosen this option, this most recent occurrence has stuck with me. i haven't ever been a big fan of PDA... even when i have been in a socially acceptable hetero union... so its not like i would ever be the type to have a full fledged make out session at an airport while saying goodbye. but there is something interesting to me about the fact that someone (me) who has never hidden any part of myself to the outside world is suddenly living a life where i feel unsafe expressing physical love to my own wife.


Friday, July 2, 2010

remember that one time when i called our caseworker a racist missionary?

part of the unexpected beauty of this adoption process is that M1 (our caseworker) has us on the fast track towards getting adoption ready. in less than 14 days we got the "you're off the waiting list for the waiting list!"-call, completed 4 interviews, got fingerprinted, filled out a mountain of paperwork, scrounged up $4000 (thanks to our fabulous family and friends!!) and completed our home visit. *wiping my brow* whew... i'm tired!

the good part about moving at warp speed is that we don't have much time to process (read: freak out). we had less than 48 hours notice before our home visit and about 40 of those 48 hours NM and i had already committed to work and other commitments. we explained to M & M* that we are in the process of a major bathroom remodel so our house is a bit of a disaster. they both said not to worry and thanks to our busy schedules, we didn't have much time to!

in many ways, the home study was kinda anti-climactic. they didn't dig through our closets or snoop under our beds. we gave them a tour of the place and had i not known better, it might have been easy to mistake them for potential renters or something.

after the tour we sat down at the dining room table to finish up our interview questions. this round of questions was a little bit more challenging than the previous interviews because in previous interviews we were answering questions about actual events/memories from the past... about our childhoods... about the members of our families, etc. the home study round of questions was more philosophical in nature... more of "what would you do if...." kinds of topics.

there were lots of questions about parenting styles and strategies... "how will you discipline?", "what methods of reward will you use?". although i felt totally confident in our answers, it was a little strange to be answering questions about parenting strategies without first having the chance to talk about it with NM.

at one point M asked, "how would you respond if your child yelled 'youre not my real mother!' during an argument?". NM and i both resisted the urge to respond, "i would yell back... 'oh yeah?! well you're not my real kid!!'" (sarcasm) and instead gave a heartwarming and thoughtful response that M & M seemed to like.

towards the end we got to the point where we had to indicate which type of child we were "open" to adopting...
M&M: are you open to adopting a child who is born with drugs in their system?
NM & NJ: yup.

M&M: a child who comes from a birth mother who drank during the pregnancy?
NM & NJ: yup.

M&M: a child who is born HIV positive?
NM & NJ: yup.

M&M: a child who is born with ambiguous genitalia?
NJ: wait, what? that's for real something that people would say no to???
M&M: sometimes, yes.
NJ: that's ridiculous.
NM: if it were up to jersey we would put "tranny" down as our first preference in a kid. she likes the trannies.
NJ: *glare that says... did-you-just-say-"trannies"-to-our-christian-caseworker??*
M&M: so that's a yes, then? it wouldn't be a problem?
NM & NJ: yes, we would welcome a baby no matter what their downstairs might look like.

M&M: are you open to any race or ethnicity?
NM & NJ: yes.
NJ: we would never refuse a baby based on race. having said that.... we would prefer to adopt a baby that shares at least one of our racial identities... so a latino/a or white baby would be ideal. i struggle with the idea of adopting a black or asian child because neither of us have any idea what its like to have that identity. and although we have a network of friends/family that would be great role models for black or asian children, none of those folks live here in our state. so... i worry about being able to support them in the ways that they might need.
M&M: that makes sense.
NJ: having said all of that...i should also mention that its not like we would be unequipped to raise a black or asian child. we both teach for ethnic studies and are very active in racially based social justice movements so we talk about race ALL THE TIME. i mean, its not like i would be one of those crazy white people who go to haiti and adopt a black baby and say "oh, i don't see color".
M&M: sounds good.

(fast forward 20 minutes when M&M have wrapped up the interview and have walked out the door after saying goodbye)

NM: *closing the door after M&M have walked out* "nice haiti comment"
NJ: what??
NJ: oops.
NM: real nice. insult our caseworker.
NJ: well maybe she needed to hear it. *folding arms*

aaand scene.

M1 told us that barring any glaring issues on our background checks, we are all set! she said "i dont have a single red flag about either of you" and i couldn't help but smile. she suggested that we get moving on the creation of our portfolio and letter to the birth mother. since that is the exact type of project that could land NM and i in divorce court, we are welcoming the 3 weeks we have to create it. M1 will be in haiti so we dont need to have it completed until she returns -hopefully without a haitian baby.

i have done some initial internet digging for suggestions about portfolios and letters but we welcome any advice that you all might have!!

*note: our caseworker "M1" has another new-caseworker "M2" shadowing our process. M2 doesn't make any decisions about our case but will be along for the ride. i totally dig both of them.

let go and let god.

we had our home visit last week and other than totally insulting our caseworker (more on that in a later post)... it went really well.

as someone who has always had a strange fascination (read: borderline obsession) with the idea of going to rehab, i have to admit that i totally love the fact that i have a "caseworker". it makes me feel all girl-interrupted and whatnot. our caseworker (we will call her M) is super nice and seems to really like us. she graduated from the same college that NM and i teach at and although she is really young, she seems like she knows what she is doing. (not that i have anything against young folks, but for $18,000... i want someone who isnt gonna screw anything up!)

my only initial concern about M is that she is christian. not the i-have-a-private-relationship-with-god kind of christian but rather the i-will-affix-a-crucifix-to-anything-that-will-stand-still-long-enough kind of christian. she has handwritten post-it-note bible quotes framing her computer screen and at least 2 trinkets emblazoned with the words "hope" (christian speak for god-hates-fags) and "faith" (christian speak for dirty-gays-should-burn-in-hell)

dont get me wrong.... its not that i have anything against christians, per say. i mean other than the whole "we believe you are the devil and should be wiped from the face of this earth so that you wont molest our children" thing... they seem like nice enough people. but this is our adoption caseworker... the person who gets to ask us deeply personal questions and ultimately make a final decision about whether or not we can receive a baby. so forgive (christian speak for we-know-that-our-priest-molested-you-but-god-doesnt-like-people-who-hold-grudges) me if im a little apprehensive about her blatant display of faith. every time we go to the office she offers us a glass of "water". im convinced this is her attempt to get me to ingest holy-water and in turn either straighten-up or die. as you can imagine, NM thinks im overreacting but it seems suspicious enough to me.

anywhoo... there have been lots of questions throughout the 4 interviews that have touched on the idea of faith/god/will-you-raise-the-kid-in-a-way-that-will-get-them-into-heaven-or-hell? but each time i answer, i dont feel any sense of judgement or negative energy from M. maybe, just maybe, she is one of the tiny handful of non-judgemental christians who, like log cabin republicans... comes from the mythical world known as oxymoron land.

thoughts on god

as a young child i remember asking my mom "what happens when we die?". as many young children often do, i was seeking more than simply an answer to the direct question at hand... i wanted to know the meaning of life...i wanted to know the point of existing...i wanted to know that i was connected to something bigger than myself.

my mom, with all her motherly wisdom responded: "when we die, we get buried in the ground and our bodies decompose".

aaand scene.

im almost in my mid 30's and im still seeking an answer to the same question. the older i get, the more i appreciate my mother's answer to the question because as a result she has allowed me to continue to ask and pursue an answer that fits for me, regardless of the perspective that other (read: christians) try to sell me.
im writing about this today because i have come to the understanding that god does exist... and god's universe is a giant snow globe of sorts in which we are characters playing out our individual lives. further, when god is feeling overwhelmed or bored , she/he/ze enjoys grabbing the snow globe and giving it a good shake just to watch as we scramble to pick up the pieces.

i believe that god is currently sitting in a lazy-boy, sippin a beer and eatin cheetos as she/he/ze watches us manage a major bathroom remodel, ridiculous work schedules and a home visit from our caseworker!! aaah! im so nervous!

think they will give a baby to people with a bathroom that looks like THIS?!?!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

aaaallll aboard... next stop, adoption town!

ok... i'll admit it, my last post was a wee-bit on the woe-is-me side. i neglected to mention that we are in the middle of remodeling our bathroom so i have been "showering" (i use that term loosely) out of the kitchen sink for far too long. its making me a tad edgy. not to mention that we have been searching for a new toilet for like 2 months and cant seem to find one that wont require us to buy a step stool to climb on the damn thing!!

*stepping onto my soapbox*

if you have had the fortune of shopping for a toilet lately you might have noticed that almost every single one brags about being "comfort height". "comfort height" typically means that it is "chair height" or between 16 and 19 inches off the ground. naturally, since the average US woman is around 5 feet 4 inches tall, this whole "comfort height" business is little more than a tool of patriarchy. when MOST american women sit on a 17 inch toilet, their feet will barely touch the floor. now i aint no scientist but last time i checked, this position isnt exactly optimal deuce-dropping position. in fact, i think that "feet off the ground" comes in second only to "pooping while standing on your head". so, you can imagine my face when the agents-of-plumbing-patriarchy (aka homes depots workers) try to convince us to buy a "comfort height" toilet. if it wasnt for the hot dog stand outside in the parking lot, i might not have the strength to refrain from clawing their face off. i mean GOD FORBID men have to squat a little in order to sit on a lower toilet. *deep breath*

*stepping off the soapbox*

anywhoo... the point is that this whole bathroom remodel has diminished my level of patience. a few nights of sleep and a few really good conversations later, im feeling much better. and much more hopeful and much more excited.

cliff notes version: NM and i have decide to move forward with adoption. after 2 generous donations/loans from my mom and from 2 dear friends in town... we have the necessary funds to start our process. i would love to spend some time processing my feelings about the donations but i still cant really wrap my mind around it all without crying so ill wait for another post to address how amazing our friends and family are. seriously. i know you might think that your friends and family rock... but let me set the record straight and say that our community could TOTALLY kick your community's ass!

(it is now dawning on me that hyper-competition and threats of ass-kicking aren't really in line with the whole "community" spirit. im from jersey so aggression is our default love language. im learning and im sure your community is cool too.)

i digress...

the point is that we are back on the adoption train and the next stop is my first individual interview tomorrow morning. *fingers crossed* that i dont manage to find a way to get us kicked out of the agency. as long as she doesn't bring up "comfort height" toilets... i should be fine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

jump on board the roller coaster

i was sitting in a meeting today when the caller id on my phone lit up... "Call from: Adoption Dreams". needless to say, my mind began to race.... omg... the adoption agency is calling me... i wonder what they want... maybe they have a baby for us!!!... wait, that makes no sense. we arent even on the active list yet... oh! maybe they are ready to make us active!!.... what if they dont leave a message?.... maybe i should answer, like right now in the middle of this meeting.... no, that would be weird. ill wait. *tapping my fingernails on the desk* hurry up and stop talking.... i have a phone call to make!

aaand scene.

i went to NM's office and listened to the voicemail. it was a woman who we shall call M. she introduced herself as our "new caseworker" and i felt myself get excited. a caseworker?? ive never had one of those!

we called M back and she explained that we had reached the top of the waiting list and could now begin the process of becoming an active couple. yay!! the call that we have been waiting for!! she said we could swing by and pick up some papers and chat in person. we hopped in the car and drove right over!

M was very nice and walked us through a refresher of the process. she handed us a gigantic stack of papers to fill out and told us that the next steps include:
getting fingerprinted
submitting our tax returns
filling out personal paperwork
finding references
booking individual and a couple's interview

i was so excited in the meeting i could hardly keep it together. in a way it felt so surreal to actually be at this point. although i still really struggle with the idea that i might never get to experience pregnancy, above all else, i want to be a parent with NM. if adoption is the best option then im on board! she said that she would love to get us through the screening process in the next 4 weeks so that she could then start showing our portfolio to birth-moms. she pulled up her calendar and said that she is free this week to start the individual interviews. omg... can this be real!?

and then....

i asked about payment and fees.

*heavy sigh* i shoulda kept my mouth shut and simply enjoyed the moment.

she pulled out a list of fees and highlighted the ones that would need to be paid up front... as in, before we have our individual meeting ... as in, this week.


holy shit.. thats like $4000! thank goodness for credit cards!

the rest of the fees add up to a little over $16,000 but can be paid once we are selected by a birth-mom. i took a sigh of relief and figured that we would just figure out a way to put the $3000 on a credit card and figure the rest out later.

me: "so this might be a silly question but... you take credit cards, right?"
M: "um, no. we only take checks."
me: "*forced smile* oh, ok... no problem. we just wanted to double check"
WHAT?! let me get this straight... we are gonna have to come up with $4,000 CASH in a week and $16,000 in a year?! thats impossible! im a sexual assault education coordinator for gods sake!

NM and i walked out to the parking lot and tried to process what just happened. i fought back tears and felt angry at myself for feeling hopeful. dont get me wrong, im not saying that we are poor or unable to afford a child. we just cant afford $16,000 cash in any given year! i thought we would be able to use credit and then take our time paying it back.

NM and i are pretty fiscally responsible people. we have one car payment and commute to work together. we purchased a house that was like $15,000 below our budgeted price, we dont shop very much, we dont pay for cable or other luxuries, we work really hard to pay off credit card purchases as soon as they are made and we both work well over 40 hours a week! we arent perfect but we work so hard to do the right things and still this goal feels out of reach. i mean even if we saved money away every month, it would be YEARS before we had enough collected to afford $16,000 for adoption.


im so frustrated i could just scream. and i feel like such a fool for allowing myself to get excited enough to start dreaming again. *grumble*

Saturday, April 24, 2010

sometimes, being gay is annoying.

this is a TTC blog which means that there aint much to blog about when we arent T'ing TC. allow me to offer a brief update... still barren. out of sperm. currently #7 on the waiting-list-for-the-waiting-list for adoption. failed adoption attempt from within our community. still barren and out of sperm. cost of a vial went up to $600. conclusion: i have been self- diagnosed as financially infertile.

last week i sat down and began to type what would have been the first hopeful post since i started this damn thing 2 years ago. we received an email from a friend that seemed like it was going to be the answer to our prayers. ok, that's a lie since i dont pray.. but you get the point. the email was an official offer to donate sperm. translation: our friend is 100% willing to donate his sperm to us... for "no financial gain". how rare those three words are.

needless to say, NM and i were friggin elated. it was like christmas morning but without the christian references or midnight fireplace home invasion. i was beside myself with excitement over the potential that i might actually be able to try again. i found myself looking at my belly in the mirror, trying to picture what it will look like if it finally works this time. i felt my mind racing as i thought of all the cool moments that NM and i would get to share as my belly grew larger with our little person inside. i guess what im trying to say is, i felt hopeful. which, let me tell you, is not a common feeling for this east coast cynic.

as i mentioned in previous posts, NM and i have been pretty hard core anti-known donor. while we made the decision that we would only use an open donor, we didnt want the complexity and instability that can come...hee-hee, pun intended... with a known donor. we have had half-hearted conversations with friends about the idea of them donating to us... but in the end, we would never take them up on the offer because we really arent interested in all of the complexities that a known (local) donor can bring. not to mention the legal drama.

so, imagine our surprise when, after reading this email from our friend, we both looked at each other and said... "its perfect!". we replied to the email saying that we are super interested in chatting about the potential and then spent the entire weekend envisioning this picture perfect ending.

and then monday came.

and as mondays tend to do.. it shit all over our dream.

i decided to do a little research into what the process of a local/known donor would look like. NM and i both decided that if we used our friend's stuff, we were NOT interested in doing an ICI at home. we would kick it old school style...err, or maybe this would be new school style... *shrug* and do an IUI in the doctors office. this would require our donor to go make a deposit at a local cryobank where they would then wash out all the gross man stuff and leave us with vials of frozen swimmers.

i checked out the only local cryobank in the area and found the first hurdle. all known donors have to make a deposit and submit to a full physical and blood work. this seemed reasonable enough. especially since im not looking to catch any scratchy diseases after my narrow escape from the grips of the crack head nurse-with-hep. *whew!*

but then, i read further...

after the initial physical, donors then need to go back 180 days later for follow up tests... 180 days? thats like 2 months!! wait, *internal calculator*.... there are 30 days in a month times 2 would be 60 days and 60 times 2 is 180 so that would be like 4 months. FOUR MONTHS!? wait, that seems weird. 60 times 2 isnt 180, its 120 so that means that its like 5 months. wait, 80 minus 20 isnt 30... its 60... damn those NJ public schools... which means 2 months. so in total it would be 6 months. SIX MONTHS?!?! WE HAVE TO WAIT SIX MONTHS BEFORE WE CAN INSEMINATE??!!

i know, i know... this rule is in place to protect me and my future offspring from HIV which can take up to 6 months (which, if you didnt already know, is equal to 180 days) to show up. i get it. i appreciate it. thank you FDA.

i convinced myself that being pregnant is NOT more important to me than remaining HIV negative and decided to continue reading which brought me to buzz kill #2. Cost. the first round of blood tests and "physical" would cost us $615. then, 180 days later (which is 6 months, btw) we have to fork up $500 for a second physical and the second set of blood tests. $1100?!??! that's like 2 vials of CCB sperm!

which reminds me of a TTC joke. you are probably an infertile if.... you have stopped using dollars to track financial transactions and have instead begun to use the "how many vials could we get" system. "honey, can we get a new tv? it only costs 3 vials" ba-dump-bump.

i digress...

so at this point i realize that this is indeed another stupid racket aimed at making money off of desperate i-will-mortgage-my-house-in-pursuit-of-getting-pregnant people. which as you can imagine, doesnt calm me down one bit.

so then, i come across buzz kill #3 in the fine print: "the 2 physicals and blood tests can be waived if the recipient of the sperm is married to the donor".


back the truck up.


so basically, if i had entered into a patriarchal and heterosexist institution with our known donor, then the FDA wouldnt give a shit about protecting me or my offspring from HIV? if this dude wasnt already married, i would TOTALLY make him marry me just so we could give a big middle finger to the system. ggrrrr.

i checked to see if he could go to his own doctor for a physical and blood tests (which would be covered by his insurance) and of course the cryobank said no. which makes no damn sense. well i should clarify... in a society with predatory capitalism, it makes total sense but defies all logic.

so, here we sit.... at yet another road block. i cant even begin to express how stressful it is to have yet another omg!-this-might-be-the-answer moment come crumbling down. for so long we both said, "if only we could find a local donor". here we are, local sperm in hand...err, that's get the point, but we cant afford to take this route.

*kicking rocks*

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

i have never....

....been more sad about being barren as i am right now. TAKE A LOOK AT THIS THING!!

its called the baby keeper. you hang it over the bathroom stall door and it suspends your kid 3 feet in the air while you drop a deuce!
i swear... the second i have a kid in my life im gonna walk.... nay, im gonna the store to buy this so i can continue my new commitment to no-shame-pooping!
(i wonder if they sell a package-deal that comes fully equipped with a baby inside. *fingers crossed!*)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

i am woman, hear me _ O _ _!

man, it feels good to be back. like most folks, i have been traveling like cuh-ray-zee for the holidays and sadly i didnt have access to the internet while i was away. i have enjoyed spending the last few days getting caught up on everyone’s good (and sad *sigh*) news. *cyber hugs for all*

i thought about dedicating my first post of the new year to a list of things im looking forward to in the 360 days to come.... but that would be positive and optimistic and cheerful and then you all might think that barren lesbo was abducted over the holidays and this hack blogger is simply an impostor trying to infiltrate the TTC community (yes, im a conspiracy theorist. humpty dumpty was pushed.) so.... i decided to keep it real and start the year off right.

ok... first gripe of 2010... the use of the title “feminine hygiene products” for the section of the store that contains tampons and pads. “feminine hygiene”? seriously? as though our period is some dirty little habit that needs to be sanitized before it can come out and play safely with others. it should be called “female necessity products” or something less related to salad bars and subway benches.

next gripe... what is with the friggin cost of a box of tampons?? i mean come on! why is it that i can spend $1.99 on an ENTIRE MEAL (read: bun, beef, cheese, ketchup, pickles, onions, freedom...err, wait, bush is gone so i can say FRENCH fries, and 16 ounces of high fructose corn syrup) but i have to practically spend $12.00 on a wad of bleached (read: unhealthy for the vajay-jay) cotton and a dry ass cardboard applicator? and why is it even called an “applicator”? it doesn’t “apply” anything. it should be called an “inserter”, damnit.

*deep breath*

in 1978 gloria steinem wrote a piece for ms. magazine titled, “if men could menstruate”, where she playfully imagines how the culture around menstruation would change if men (the holders of social and political power) were the ones who bled every month. she argues that men would brag and boast about how long and how much they bled… even creating slang like “im a three pad man”. she argued that men’s menstruation would result in federal policy making all tampons and pads free.

i totally agree with her and in fact, i believe that menstruating men would never ever believe that bullshit we were told about only producing “2-3 tablespoons of blood during a menstrual cycle”. who are they fooling with that crap?? i swear, teenage menstruation manuals must have been written by buffoons because any woman knows that 2-3 tablespoons is total BS.

i want to yell, “listen, buddy. while your penis-wielding-ancestors were out there getting jobs and voting, my female ancestors were handcuffed to the kitchen. which means we became pretty damn good at approximating the size of a tablespoon. and after years and countless months of bleeding i think i might have a slightly better idea than you do about how much bleeding i do.” grrr. and to think they have the nerve to tell us, “it might seeeem like more than 2-3 tablespoons but trust us, its not”.

um, no. trust US… it is. jerks.

next gripe…female shame. wtf...women act like natural bodily functions are something for us to be ashamed of! and relax… im not about to go all second wave, flower-power, monthly-bleeding-is-a-beautiful-symbol-from-the-mother-goddess-of-your-fertility, on you. i am, after all, the barren lesbo. key word being barren.

all im saying is that i am sick and tired of the ways that we as women lower our voices when asking to borrow a tampon from a friend or do the secret drug transaction handshake when passing a pad across the table at a restaurant.

if men could menstruate they would let tampon strings hang proudly out of their back pockets… would puff out their chests and say, “shit bro… can i bum a rag off yah” *grabbing crotch and spitting* then they would saunter off to the men’s room and take care of business with their foot up on the urinal…. proud and public and for all the other men to see.

in fact, im surprised to hear that men’s bathrooms even contain stalls at all. men seem to brag about bathroom related topics all the time. “you should see how good my aim was!” or “man, i just dropped the kids off at the pool”. we women on the other hand are supposed to walk through this world acting like we don’t bleed and we certainly don’t poop. good lord, anything but that!

im amazed at the lengths we go to in an attempt to disguise what we do behind a closed bathroom stall door. seeecretly opening the tampon rubbish bin…careful not to rustle the paper bag which might notify all other patrons in the bathroom that we are in fact, bleeding. *gasp*someone get her some “hygiene products!”

we act like bandits trying to secretly open the bank safe without setting off the alarm alerting the female shame police. we painstakingly (and using only the veeery tip of our pinky finger) struggle to push open the lid… praying that the hinges on the receptacle are greased enough to allow for a totally silent deposit of our “waste”.

but then, on the other hand, in those panicked moments when we need to poop and cant hold it till we get home, we sit in the stall and alternate slamming open the tampon rubbish bin… rustling the paper bag… cough, cough, cough…. blowing of the nose…. looouuuddd yaaaawnnn…. cough, cough, cough….slamming the tampon rubbish bin lid again....all in an attempt to mask the sound of a “plop”.

the best public bathroom experiences are when we find ourselves 100% alone in a bathroom… nothing but vacant stalls as far as the eye can see. finally, after hours of holding in farts, we have the chance to free ourselves…. to drop our own kids off at the pool for a change. when suddenly… *gasp*… the stuff that nightmares are made of… the scrape of the main door, followed by the click-clack of women’s heels. we are no longer alone. we begin to sweat as we frantically try to figure out an exit strategy…

im sure she just has to pee… ill wait her out.
but what if she has to poop and decides to wait me out?
we could be in here for hours, waiting each other out.
if i take too long, the people at the table will for sure know that i came to the bathroom to poop.
then ill be forced to make up a lie, “aww, heck. those gosh darn lines in women’s bathroom” *forced roll of the eyes, cough*
no, ill just skip pooping and try to go again later
but what if i get back to the table and cant hold it? i certainly cant go to the bathroom TWICE in one dinner service! people will think i have to poop!
shit, what am i gonna do?!?

last week i was in a public stall peeing… hey, i swear, i was only peeing!... when a woman came in and sat in the stall next to me. apparently my stream of pee must have found the magical harry potter black hole because suddenly it stopped making the traditional pee-touching-water noise. there we were, in. total. silence. me suspended above the shitter silently peeing and panicking that she might think im trying to poop. i took a slight step forward and the sound returned to the water bowl. *wiping my brow* whew! disaster averted.

but then suddenly, i heard a strange noise next to me. a sound that i have never heard in a public restroom before. a straining of sorts that bordered on a full-fledged grunt. and then it happened… like the kick of a loud base drum… PLOP. followed by a beautiful concerto of ratta-tat-tat-tat and another plop.

that’s when i realized… holy crap (literally) this woman is totally pooping next to me... with no shame.

man, forget oprah.

this. is. my. new. hero.

so from now on i vow to use my grown up voice when asking to borrow a tampon… to open and slam the tampon receptacle with pride but only after actually depositing waste in there… to toot and grunt and refrain from masking plop sounds with synchronized coughs.

no more shame.

i am woman.
hear me poop.