Monday, March 29, 2010

Meatless Monday

Lately I have noticed a lot of people on twitter and the blogs I read talking about eating vegan or vegetarian.

Jenny from Among The Blooms wrote a post about her goal of eating vegan for a week. NaVe from So Crazy I'm Sane wrote a post about her doctor recommending a vegan diet and how she is trying to find a way to make that work for her. Becca from Liberal Granola Girl's Blog has been talking to her husband about eating vegetarian.

Adam and I have been eating mostly vegetarian for about a year and a half now. We're not perfect with it, but we do it most of the time. Adam is 6'6" and looks like a football player. So much so that strangers come up to him on a regular basis and ask him if he plays football. He was a big meat eater when I met him and I would never have guessed that someday he would be vegetarian. I am really impressed with his dedication to not eating meat. Most days he is the one keeping me on track.

We plan on raising our children vegetarian. I am excited for them because they will grow up enjoying foods like beans, tofu, tempeh, and lots of veggies. It's a lot harder to change the way you eat at age 30.

As a way of keeping myself on track, and helping others that may be interested, my blog will be participating in Meatless Monday. Going completely vegetarian may be something you don't think you can do, but everybody can go meatless one day a week!!

For more information:

Why meatless?
Why Monday?
Vegetarian Resource Group

Every Monday I will write about what we are having for dinner.
Today we are going to start out real easy:
Yesterday Adam hard boiled organic, cage free/free range eggs and tonight we are having egg salad sandwiches on rolls with lettuce. If I was thinking ahead, I would have bought alfalfa sprouts to put on the sandwiches. We will also be having fresh green beans and I will be steaming them in our vegetable steamer. Oh, and we have a whole pineapple that needs to be cut up so we will probably be having that tonight too.
Anybody else having a Meatless Monday??

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Easter is hard for me. Well, I should say being childless at Easter is hard for me.

All holidays are hard, but I feel like Easter is a holiday that really is for children. Easter baskets, egg hunts, coloring eggs, etc. There isn't a lot to do on Easter if you aren't a child and you don't have children. Especially if you don't go to church, and you don't eat ham, haha.

The first Easter I lived with Adam, I filled plastic eggs with candy and hid them all around our apartment. When he woke up he was surprised to find a whole Easter egg hunt just for him. I also bought us Easter baskets and filled his with candy and other surprises. It was fun for the first few years, but then I eventually just felt sad about not having children to do those things for.

Adam being a good sport and coloring eggs with me a few years ago.

Last year I didn't even take out our Easter decorations because it just made me too sad. I decorated eggs with the children I work with, but Adam and I didn't celebrate Easter at all. I told myself I just had to make it through that year and by next year we would have a baby and everything would be different.

Well, another year has gone by and still no baby.

Easter things started showing up in the grocery store a few weeks ago and it has gotten harder and harder to walk past those aisles. I walk by with a knot in my stomach. Hoping I don't cry right there in the store.

I took our Easter baskets out this year. I even bought a few things to fill Adam's basket with. Shh. Don't tell him. ;)

But, what I really want to do is run away. I have off on Friday and I was hoping we could go on a little trip somewhere. I know we don't have the money for it, but I would really like to get away. I have been hinting at it for the past month. It would only be for two or three days, but we've actually never taken a trip longer than three days, and that is really all I need to relax and come back a new person. I could really use that right now.

I think I am going to go do some research and daydream about going somewhere nice....

Friday, March 26, 2010

Random Friday Morning Thoughts

I made some blog changes. I no longer have the dark this better? It seems really bright to me, but I think I just need to get used to it. Thank you for the advice!!

I have been neglecting blog writing and reading this week because I have been consumed with health care reform and all the things going on in our country right now. I'm not going to write about that now because I have been writing about it constantly for the past few days, just not on here.

I've been thinking a lot about all the ladies doing IVF right now. My fingers are crossed for all of them. I came across someone recently who had negative thoughts on IVF and like a lot of things I have heard from people lately, it just shocked me that someone who doesn't know anything about a topic could be against it. Everyone that I know who has done IVF did not come to the decision lightly. IVF is no walk in the park. The injections, the hormones, the money, the procedures, the pain, the bedrest, the waiting, the intense emotional roller coaster. Certainly if that person had any idea what these women go through, she would be giving them a medal, not criticism. Speaking of which, go over to Ready To Be A Mom and wish Holly luck because this weekend she is finally getting an answer to her big question. I have been hoping, hoping, hoping for good news for her.

On Wednesday it was the two year anniversary of our first meeting at our adoption agency. I jokingly sent an e-mail to our family advocate saying happy anniversary. I said I was just checking in and asked her if there was any good news to share.

We have gotten most of our calls about profiling opportunities on Fridays, so I am always a little extra jumpy about the phone ringing on a Friday. And throughout the day I am usually thinking about how I wish the agency would call. I could really use some hope right about now. Today makes 20 months that we have been "home-study ready" and waiting.

My brother and sister in law are in town from Portland, Oregon. I had breakfast with my sister in law yesterday, which was really nice. I still haven't seen my brother because he is really in town for work so he's been busy working. I will finally be seeing him tonight and I am really looking forward to it. It's going to be a lot of fun. Adam's long hours at work are finally over, so he will even be able to join all of us. It's going to be a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


I feel like I need a blog makeover.

But, if I am going to pay for a make-over, I should change the name of my blog to something that fits for before and after the wait, right?

I have been thinking and thinking about this for a couple months and I have come up with nothing. I am not good at coming up with clever titles or names.

So, I am asking for advice here. Any name suggestions? Any suggestions on who I should go to for my blog make-over? Any specific changes you think I should make?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I have no uterus

It's been exactly three months since my hysterectomy surgery.

Leading up to my hysterectomy, I talked to as many people as I could who had the surgery. It was hard to find young people who had the surgery because it's most commonly done on post-menopausal women. My oncologist was not very reassuring and the more I thought about it, the more I was convinced I was going to die from the surgery or at the very least the surgery would change my life forever.

Kim from Beautiful Wreck helped me more than she will ever know. She was open and honest and gave me all the details I wanted. She even showed me a picture of her uterus after they took it out. She answered all my questions no matter how ridiculous they were. She told me I was going to survive the surgery and be okay. She gave me the invaluable advice of scheduling my pain pills to overlap or else I would be in big trouble. Even if it meant setting an alarm to take them in the middle of the night. (Boy was she right about that.) She even gave me her phone number and told me I could call her with any questions. She also "introduced" me to someone else who was having the same surgery on the same day. We exchanged numbers and texted each other throughout the recovery process.

What if I didn't have her to go to? It's only because of twitter that I found her. If it weren't for that, what was I supposed to do? Nobody from my oncologist's office ever sat me down before my surgery and told me what they were going to do. Or what things would be like after. You would think they would at the very least have some diagrams of what is done during the procedure. They never even told me they were taking my cervix. I obviously knew they were taking the uterus. They asked if I wanted them to take my ovaries. Nobody mentioned the cervix. How was I supposed to know? Even with the ovary decision, they said they recommend it but they never talked me through the decision. I called my OB/GYN crying and she helped me decide.

I bought Fran Drescher's book because she had the same kind of cancer I did. I started reading it and it scared me so much more. She said when she came home, her dog knew something was different about her. She said he acted differently around her from that point on and then he passed away. I was so freaked out. I started imagining Brinkley not being as close to me anymore. (Which by the way did not happen at all. He was so happy to see me and is just as attached to me as he always was.) Adam made me put the book down and not read anymore.

Then there was after the surgery. It was the worst pain of my entire life. I was so lucky to have Adam there to help me do everything. There was nothing I could do on my own. They sent me home after only one night in the hospital. Which was fine because I didn't sleep the entire time I was there anyway. The only thing I really missed when we left was the catheter. (Words I never thought I would say.)

Beyond the physical recovery, nobody cared about how I was doing emotionally. I was 31, childless, and had been trying to conceive for many years. All within a couple weeks I went from that to being diagnosed with endometrial cancer and having my uterus and ovaries taken from me. It all happened very quickly and the realities of it still haven't fully hit me.

I feel like this really highlights how screwed up our health care system is. Shouldn't this diagnosis and surgery be paired with therapy? How about a single conversation with me to determine whether I was okay mentally? Especially considering I have a history of anxiety and depression (like many people who have experienced years of infertility), which they knew. If I didn't have Adam and our adoption plans, who knows where I would be at mentally. Wasn't anybody going to check on that?

When I went for my follow-up appointment weeks later, he told me my cancer was gone and the surgery was a success. No physical exam. He never came in the room and sat down. He stood in the doorway and the appointment was over in minutes.

A few more weeks went by and I was feeling so tired I could barely get out of bed, so I called my OB/GYN and she prescribed me a very low dose of hormone replacement. I've been on it a couple weeks now. Not sure if it made a huge difference, but I know it's good for bone density and reducing the risk of stroke.

Physically, I am recovered, but I know I have a long way to go emotionally. Sometimes out of the blue I will remember I have no uterus and it will hit me like a punch in the stomach. I have a lot of feelings of guilt surrounding everything. I feel like maybe I should have fought the treatment plan. Pushed for more tests. Tried meds before surgery. I gave up my uterus without a fight. Maybe I was just being lazy. I didn't want to deal with it. After being diagnosed, I immediately made the surgery appointment. I just wanted it over with.

It's hard to know that we have to rely on someone else to decide we can be parents. Even though we were already doing adoption so nothing has really changed. Somehow it feels different. More pressure. Me getting pregnant can never be a back up plan. Somebody has to choose us, or we will never be parents. The one thing I have always wanted more than anything else in the world and it's completely out of my control.

(This is the point where I stop, breathe, and remind myself that we will be parents. It will happen for us. Our long wait will eventually be over.)

One thing I know for sure is that all the support that was missing from the medical community was more than made up for by my blog and twitter friends. I can't imagine having to go through all of that without all of you.

....And thank you for letting me use my blog as free therapy today :)

Friday, March 19, 2010


Adam with his Grandma

Adam's grandma passed away yesterday at the age of 93. She had a nice long life and it really was her time. She broke her hip a couple months ago and things went downhill for her from there. Her health declined quickly and her mind started to go. Adam talked to her a few months ago and they had a great conversation about old times. She remembered everything. They were joking and laughing and exchanging lines from My Blue Heaven, a movie they loved to watch together. Then he spoke with her a week ago and she wasn't the same person at all. She didn't seem to know what Adam was talking about most of the time. He tried to tell her that we are adopting, but she didn't seem to understand. She just said, "That's interesting."

The thing that makes me so sad for Adam is that he won't get the chance to call her and tell her about her great grandchild. I know that was something he was really looking forward to. I actually had a little photo album set aside that I was going to fill with pictures to send to her.

This has gotten me thinking about my grandma too. She had a stroke and lived in a nursing home for a couple years before passing away. Every time I went to visit her, she would try talking me into having a baby. She didn't really understand at the time that I was trying my best. We wanted nothing more than to have a baby. I dreamed of telling her the news that I was pregnant.

It's been seven years since we started trying to have a baby. And as much as we feel like our lives are on hold, it's very clear that time keeps flying by.

A picture of me and my Grandma Mary

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Two Years: The Financial Aspect

It's days like today that make me realize how much time has gone by since we started the adoption process.

It has been two years since we first filled out the application to join our agency. Next Wednesday is two years since we had our first meeting at the agency. (Maybe I'll send our family advocate some flowers to celebrate our anniversary.)

About a month ago, the agency sent us another application and asked us to fill it out again because it has been a year since the last time we filled it out. I had no idea when we did our first one that we would have to renew it every year. Which includes signing a new financial agreement. There is nowhere on the agreement that says it expires after a year and nobody told us. I assumed when we joined, the financial sheet was good until we adopted. What was the point of outlining all the fees if they were going to change them? They said we needed to have our money ready to use at any time. We could get a call and have only one day to get our placement fee ready. So, we took a loan out. We have the money just sitting there ready to be used and we've been making loan payments every month.

Two years later we are now signing a new financial agreement and the price has been raised so much that the loan money we took out is no longer enough. What are we supposed to do? Take out ANOTHER loan?!? Not only have we had to endure waiting this long, but it has screwed us financially. We have money just sitting there in our account waiting to be used. Meanwhile we are struggling to make loan payments every month. We didn't think we would be doing this for this long. We assumed by now we would have adopted and gotten our adoption tax credit money to help pay down the loan. It makes me so mad to think about all the interest being added on to the loan over all this time and there is nothing we can do about it. And now on top of that, it looks like we are going to have to take out another loan. I feel like my head is going to explode the more I think about it. There is no way I am taking the loan out now. We will have to try and get one last minute. I am going with the theory that there are a lot of banks out there and eventually one will have to give us the money. We have good credit. Or at least we did before we started all this mess. We always pay all of our bills on time, but with taking out loans I worry about our debt to income ratio. I guess if it were really last minute we could do something crazy like cash advance on our credit cards.

The other thing that kills me is that because we have that money sitting in our account, our agency said we have now moved up a level on the sliding scale for the placement fee. They said it's not just how much you make, but how much you have. They're actually counting the money in our account as something we own. Even though we obviously owe that amount to the bank and are trying to pay it back every month. It's not money we just have. How can that count as an asset?? It's money we owe. So, it's not just the prices going up, but also the fact that we have moved up a level on the sliding scale. It makes it a significant amount more.

I have been mad about the financial agreement so I have been putting off filling out the paperwork. I finally completed it all over the weekend (mumbled some not so nice things as I wrote them a check) and mailed it in today. We're officially locked into the new prices.

I just keep reminding myself that it will be worth it in the end. When it comes time to hand over the huge check, I will be holding my baby.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Close Calls

PCOSChick from His and Her Infertility told me recently about a woman who was arrested in Indiana for an adoption scam. She had contacted a number of different agencies and was even "matched" with multiple couples. She accepted money from the couples and each couple thought they were the only one. She was eventually caught and arrested.

PCOSChick sent me a link to an article about it and asked if she was the expectant mother we had been profiled for in Indiana a couple months ago. I read it and realized there is a possibility that it is the same person. (Probably not...but it could be?!) When we were profiled, I waited a couple weeks and then called the agency to find out if there was any word from her. They said they had not heard from her at all, but when they were talking to an agency in MA, they mentioned someone matching the description of her calling their agency too. So, my family advocate said that it seemed fishy. She said either she changed her mind about working with our agency, or she was calling multiple agencies. Also, I think I remember her first name being the same as the woman in the article. Could you imagine if it was the same person? It would mean she had our profile. Scary, huh?
This situation got me thinking about all the other times we came close to being hurt. Between January-May 2009, every case we were profiled for never ended in a placement. By talking to other people at our agency and reading the message boards, I was able to figure out who was chosen each time we were profiled during that time period. And then over time I heard/read one sad story after another as each one of those situations ended in a failed match or even failed placement. As disappointing as it was to not be chosen each time, it would have been a lot harder on us if we were matched and it didn't result in a placement. Not to mention, losing money would have made it harder for us to move forward.

One of the times we were profiled,  it was a situation that fit most people's grids so a lot of people were profiled for it. I didn't even really think we had a chance. Then a week later I found out the expectant mother had narrowed her choices down to two couples....and we were one of them!!! It was one of the most exciting moments of my life. Which led to being absolutely crushed days later when the expectant mother went with the other couple. But, a couple months later it ended up being a failed placement. The baby was placed with the couple and then they had the baby taken from them days later. If that was us, I don't know how I would ever get over that.

So, when I look back on the last 19 months I need to remember all the "close calls" we had with heartbreak and be thankful. Thankful that things have worked out the way they have. My time will come and maybe we have been waiting this long for a reason.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

How I Was Adopted by Joanna Cole

This is my fourth post in a series of posts about adoption themed children's books. If you would like to know more about why I am writing about this topic, go here.

My first post was about A Mother for Choco.
My second post was about Horace.
My third post was about I Wished For You by Marianne Richmond.

How I was Adopted is a children's book, but it starts out with information for the parents to read. First it talks about the importance of sharing your child's individual story with them. Then it goes over how to answer your child's questions and to always be open to talking about adoption. The last section is about raising a child who was adopted.

The story is told from the perspective of the child. She begins by introducing herself. She shares her name, her nickname, where she lives, her favorite things, and what she likes to do. She tells the readers about her family and says that she was adopted. She then asks the reader whether they have been adopted. It gives your child a chance to participate and tell a little about their own adoption story before going forward with the story.

Something you should know before buying this book is that it talks about how she was born. There are drawings of a baby being born and it says, " When a baby is ready to be born, the woman's uterus squeezes and squeezes, and the baby comes out into the world!"

It goes on to say, "I did not grow inside Mommy's uterus, I grew in another woman's uterus."

She then tells her adoption story. It begins with her parents before they began the adoption process. Then she tells us about her parents beginning the adoption process and waiting. Then the excitement when they receive the phone call that there was a baby for them. She talks about going home and says that family and friends came to see her, take pictures of her, and love her.

She tells us all about her childhood by showing her scrapbook of memories. First haircut, crawling, walking, playing with toys, swimming, friends, hugs and kisses with Mom and Dad, etc.

How I Was Adopted ends with:

"I love to hear Mommy and Daddy tell the story of how I was adopted. It's my very own story. Every girl who was adopted has her own story. Every boy who was adopted has his own story. Do you know the story of how you were adopted?"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Giving Up

Sometimes I fantasize about giving up.

I dream about just saying enough is enough, I am done. I will live the rest of my life childless and never have to feel this pain anymore.

All of this rejection hurts.

19 months of expectant parents looking at our profile and not chosing us.

Now I know logically that it isn’t about them not choosing us, but choosing a couple that they connected with.

But, it’s still a lot of rejection and a lot of pain.

Sometimes it just feels nice to daydream about giving up.

I imagine taking the adoption money sitting in our savings account (we have to have money ready to use at a moment’s notice) and using it to pay off the adoption loan that is so hard to make payments on every month. Then selling everything in our nursery, and taking a nice vacation with the money.

I would never again jump when the phone rings.

Never have my heart race when I check the caller ID and see that it’s the agency calling.

Never again agonize over the decision of whether to be profiled or not.

Never receive another phone call about not being chosen by an expectant parent.

Never have to go months without hearing from the agency and being sad the whole time wondering why they weren’t calling us with profiling opportunities.

Never again have to worry about how we are going to come up with the money to renew our homestudy or pay some other agency fee that comes up that we never thought we would have to pay because we never thought we would be waiting this long.

Then I remember that I would never be happy living my life childless. I have known I wanted to have children since I was a child myself. I made a list of baby names when I was only 11 or 12. When I was younger than that, I loved to play house. My friends would have one or two dolls while we played and I would have about 10 and would name them all and pretend they were my children. As a teenager, I spent every weekend baby-sitting and I volunteered in elementary schools during the week. In college, I worked at a daycare during summers, I was part of the big sister program at school, I did student teaching, and an internship in a school psychologist's office. I majored in elementary education and child psychology. I have spent my entire life working with children. I have always, always wanted to have children of my own. I know in my heart that I would be a good mom.

So, I wait.

I continue with this process that breaks my heart everyday.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

99 Things

I've been enjoying reading everyone else's 99 Things this week.
Instructions: The post is a list of 99 things you could have done, and you are supposed to bold the ones that you yourself have done.

1. Started your own blog Really happy that I did.

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band- Does RockBand count? How about middle school band? haha

4. Visited Hawaii- I would love to.

5. Watched a meteor shower

6. Given more than you can afford to charity- Well, I guess I could afford it if I gave it. Although even when I was in college and had no money, I gave to the gorilla foundation as often as I could.

7. Been to DisneyWorld

8. Climbed a mountain- More hiked than climbed.

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo- Only on RockBand and even that is terrifying.

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - I taught myself cake decorating. Not sure if that really counts.

15. Adopted a child- I AM TRYING!!! haha

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked- Not really hitch hiked, but in high school my friend and I got in a car with a stranger. I know, it's bad. She was a mom though and had a car seat in the car. One of our parents brought us to the wrong school for a meeting and we had no cell phone or any way of calling our parents, so we asked one of the moms if she would take us to the school we were supposed to be at. After she took us, she gave us a long lecture about never getting in the car with a stranger again.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort- We used to build the best snow forts!!

25. Held a lamb- that's random

26. Gone skinny dipping- It's fun :)

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa- I would love to go on an African safari

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater - Adam and I LOVE to go to the drive-in. That and swimming are the only things I like about summer.

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies- When I was out selling girl scout cookies as a kid, I told myself that when I was an adult, I would always say yes if someone came to my house selling them. And I do. :)

62. Gone whale watching- I went for the first time this past summer and it was so much fun. I loved it!

63. Got flowers for no reason- A couple months ago one of the parents gave me flowers for no reason :)

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma- They don't let me because I had problems with anemia in the past.

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp - No, but I did visit the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam and that was a powerful experience.

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten Caviar- It does not sound good to me.

72. Pieced a quilt- I wish I knew how to make a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone- I broke my wrist in 6th grade (My sister and I are still not in agreement as to how it happened), I broke one foot in high school gym class when I jumped in the pool (They wanted to take me across the school in a wheel chair in my bathing suit..could you imagine?!?! I refused!), I broke the other foot in college when I was sleep walking, and I broke a toe when I kicked my brother when I was about 21 or 22 (He deserved it!)

78. Been a passenger on a motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car- We only buy used.

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating- Gross. If everyone had to do this in order to eat meat, a lot less people would be eating meat.

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous – Poe, Mandy Patinkin, and some people from RENT who I consider to be famous.
92. Joined a book club

93. Got a tattoo

94. Had a baby :(

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone- I got my very first cell phone just this past summer!! Adam still has never owned one.

99. Been stung by a bee