Adoption

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Dirty Laundry

First of all, thank you for all that have commented on my last post. Your words have made me feel as if I’m not a complete a**hole for writing what I wrote. Because for a while there I felt that I was completely off-base and horrible to have said some of those things “out loud.” And to some extent, I still do feel that way.

I’m sure that this guilt stems from not only my formative years in Catholic school, but from my cultural upbringing as well.

I’ve found out (from the years of working as an RN, alongside many other Filipinos) that most people perceive that Filipinos are hard workers and, no matter what gets thrown at them, they are always happy.

Well, let me let you in on a clue … That’s because Filipinos are expected to be  happy. Or at least appear to be happy.

In my experience, Filipinos are expected to hide any emotions that appear negative. So if we’re feeling sad, then the expectation is to hide that sadness. And (again) in my experience, the way that Filipinos hide that sadness is by focusing their energy on something that will “distract” them from feeling such sadness. And to me, that’s probably where the “Filipinos are hard-workers” perception probably comes from.

Because of that expectation to always appear happy, many Filipinos are not willing to talk about their sadness. It’s that whole “saving face” issue. Expressing any negative emotions out loud would “doom” us to a life of isolation. We’d lose that ability to be amongst the “norm” of society. We’d be different and therefore others cannot relate to us or talk to us because they don’t know what to say or how to act.

And because sadness and anger make others feel uncomfortable, saying these things out loud … or God forbid, even just looking or appearing despondent … is considered airing out your own dirty laundry.

Now, imagine having gone through 10+ years of not being “able to” express any of these emotions. Especially on how it relates to infertility.

It’s like having to sort through ten years of “dirty laundry” that’s been piling up just to find my favorite t-shirt or pair of jeans. It’s going to take awhile … maybe not as long as it took to pile up … but I’ve got to do a few loads and iron out a few details before I can once again wear those articles of clothing that made me look and feel my very best.

In addition, imagine writing a blog all about what’s bothering me. I’m absolutely positive that I’ve “lost face” within my Filipino circle of family & friends. Because believe me, I have felt the avoidance of engaging me in any conversation. And I’ve noticed the lack of effort on their part to find out how to appropriately discuss what Hubby & I are going through.

So to those Filipino family and friends (and any other readers out there … if I have any left … who might not understand my cultural considerations) who say that it’s been ten years and that I should just quit b*tching & complaining  and “just move on” … I hope they know exactly how hard it is to do so. Because there is TEN LONG YEARS of stifled emotions that need to be addressed before I can move on.

I need to peel back the layers of disappointment, fear, anger and pain in order to find that happiness that I know is somewhere inside of me.

And that is probably THE MAIN reason for writing this blog.

I Don't Hate You

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IRL BFF's & SIL's

I don’t hate you; because to hate you would mean writing you out of my life completely. And I simply will not do that.

However I am guilty of other sins. Envy. Guilt. Complacency. And for that, I am truly sorry for.

I am hurting. And the only way I have found comfort in this pain is to write exactly how I feel. As it is the same for you, I cannot speak of such pain. And to verbally tell someone of such emotions, truly makes me feel like I’m an idiot for feeling such things.

Because what right do I have to feel this way? Am I not blessed to have a relatively good (but stressful as of late) career? Do I not consider myself lucky to have found my soulmate so early in life? Am I not happy that I still have the love and support of a husband who I can turn to in such times of deep sorrow and pain?

Hubby & Tyler (at 3 yrs old)

Hubby & Tyler (at 3 yo)

For that, and so much more … it seems pitiful to “complain” about how I feel. So writing … yes writing … has been my only solace. It’s my only way to let others, who would otherwise not feel comfortable discussing such pain, know how I feel. My way of voicing those things I cannot say out loud. My only way to save face, so I don’t look like a complete sniveling doofus in the midst of everyone elses’ happiness. Because I don’t want to shove aside anyone else’s happiness. And yes, this includes yours.

My wish is that my writing allows for those friends … those family members … to understand what both Hubby & I are going through. It’s so that you and others can know what it’s like to walk in our shoes. Because infertility is not a topic that anybody wants or likes to discuss. It’s awkward. And quite frankly, it has been my experience that not many people make the effort to ask us directly how we’re dealing with it and (more importantly) what is appropriate and not-so-appropriate to say to us.

Hubby & Kairi

Hubby & Kairi

So yes, I admit it … I probably do set myself up for the fall. But I’d really like to have some words or action … some indication, if you must know … that there is a safety net below. That there will be someone there, other than my husband, to catch me. Because what I say in this blog is my way of letting you in.

I wish that everyone would understand that it is very difficult to just “let it go.” And to know that it isn’t so easy to “just adopt.” That to me, not being able to have my own kids is more than the ability to become pregnant. That not being able to form a life out of the love that my husband and I have for each other is THE ONE THING that hurts me beyond anything in this world.

It is incredibly painful to me that I won’t be able to pass on my Filipino nose or my larg(er) ba-dunk-a-dunk to my child. Or that my child won’t have the lifeline palm or the short big toe, signature to each and every one of Hubby’s family members. And most importantly, I’m tremendously heartbroken that I am not able give this gift of life and love to my husband, my parents, my brother … and yes, to you and my niece and nephew. And that I failed miserably in life because of that.

SIL & Kairi

SIL & Kairi

So please tell me, as I have obviously not been able to move on … how do I get over my hardships and heartache? How do I mourn not receiving the one gift in a woman’s life that I’m not obviously meant to experience?

Because I do want to take that next step forward. And I do want to stop feeling so miserable about the predicament I’m in. But … unlike you, who was able to ease your heartache with another pregnancy … (and please note that I said “ease” and not “forget”) there is no “Get out of Jail Free” card for me. There is simply NO EASY SOLUTION for me.

Auntie Em & Liam

Auntie Em & Liam

I am honestly and truthfully happy for you. And I’m happy and proud that you have been strong enough to survive all of your struggles and heartaches you’ve experienced. And that you’ve been given multiple second chances in life.

But I … right now, I choose to keep the one chance I have in my life because I love my husband and I love all the other things that I have accomplished in this one life thus far. And I’m simply just not ready to let it go right now.

Auntie Em & Kairi

Auntie Em & Kairi

Because at this moment, moving forward to that next step of adoption … my second chance in life, if you will … would mean that I have to give up those certain dreams that I have wanted so desperately in my life. It means I have to, once again, lose control of my life when I just got some semblance of order.

It means I have to find the strength and courage, both of which I have very little of right now, to start a new dream.

Family Bubble

Well … it’s been a week or so since I last posted or responded intelligently to the few blogs I had a chance to read over the past week. Trust me … it’s not for lack of wanting. Rather, I appear to be “paying” for that mini-vacation I took to Orlando. Like I mentioned in this previous post, the theory of having more work to do prior to and after returning from vacation is a definite.

Not only has work been a killer, but life after work has been pretty hectic too. Which, of course leaves little time to read, let alone comment on blogs or even write a post for me-self. But that ends today. On my scheduled day off from work. Well, at least for a couple hours anyway … just got done running around town and doing yardwork. And now I’ve got a couple hours before Hubby gets home from work.

How was our mini-vaca? In a word … FUN! Our goal was to create time to spend with our cousins outside of the usual weddings and funerals. We wanted to make it a bigger group of cousins, but timing allowed for the majority of the cousins to do it on that particular weekend this year. We’re hoping to start planning next year’s “reunion” by the end of this summer. Hopefully that will give the rest of the cousins … not to mention our parents … the time to set aside the date. Next year, we’re thinking lakefront cottages on the west coast of Michigan. If you’ve never been there, you’re missing out!

Did I mention we stayed at Hubby’s uncle’s house in the Orlando area? I say uncle, but really he’s only a couple years older than Hubby. And although there’s a bit of a “cultural difference” (a-hem … meaning he was born and raised in the Philippines while Hubby & I have been strongly influenced by the American cultures, as I’ve mentioned before in passing), Hubby & I get along great with him and his wife as we have some similar interests.

Hubby’s uncle and aunt (we’ll call them E and ML) met and married about two years after Hubby & I got married. Two years after that (in 2000), their son ME was born. And another two years after, their daughter, J joined their family. But because they lived in Florida, we did not get to see too much of them over the first half of this decade. It wasn’t until about late 2005 that we finally got to spend a little more time with their family, when they came up to Michigan for the kids’ first experience with a “White Christmas.” Hubby & promptly fell in love with ME and J. The two of them were so smart and so affectionate to us. While ME was quiet and shy, J was “Little Miss Personality.” Six months later, the family flew back up for SIL’s wedding. J was the flower girl and was loving every minute of it, while ME enjoyed his time with the other younger male cousin’s and with our nephew.

Prior to the Orlando trip, the last time we saw ME and J was for Hubby’s grandmother’s funeral in Virginia Beach. And while it was overall a somber occasion, we did get to spend some fun time with them as well as the rest of the cousins. (In fact, this is what spurred the cousins to try to get together in the first place!)

While playing a board game at this Virginia Beach gathering, I was amazed to see how incredibly smart and logical that ME and J were. Not that our other cousins and our nephew weren’t also being smart and strategic … it’s just that with these two cousins, they had this reasoning behind their actions that reminded me so much of how Hubby & I think. I was floored by that observation.

Also, during one of the more somber moments of that trip, I stumbled upon E and ML with their kids while they spent some private “family time” together. J was sitting on E’s lap while ML and ME sat on either side of them. They happened to be reading a story book together and I could sense the intense love and closeness that they all had for one another. It was as if they were in their own, impenetrable family “bubble” that no one could ever take away from them.

It was that image and the previously mentioned observation above that it suddenly hit me square in the chest. That ME and J were the living incarnate of what I always thought our children would be, if we ever were able to produce our own biological children.

I can’t remember if I told Hubby that comment back during that Virginia Beach trip or not … but I certainly did this time, after our Orlando trip. On the car ride home after arriving from the airport, I turned to Hubby and told him how I thought ME & J were who I always imagined that our kids would be like.

Hubby said nothing for a small spell and then said, “I know.” Those two words simutaneously filled my heart with absolute pure love and broke it into a million pieces.

That’s because we won’t be able to have a son like ME, who is shy and reserved just like Hubby. Who, as his parents claim, is such a big bookwork like Hubby & I both are. And who likes to draw comic books as much as Hubby loves to read and collect them.

Nor will we ever have a daughter who has such an infectious laugh with enough sass to light up all of Disn.eywo.rld, just like (according to my Mom, anyway) I was when I was around her age. Who, in her parents’ opinion, feels the need to include everyone in anything she does, much like Hubby & I do. And who loves to be out in the sun and at the beach as much (if not more) as I do.

Because, while I know there are different ways that Hubby & I can have that dream … have our own image of that “impenetrable family bubble” … the reality is … we are not going to be able to pass on those unique biological and genetic traits to our future children.

And that’s one H*LL of a big bubble to have had burst.

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And now, for your viewing pleasure … some pictures from our Orlando Vacation

[rockyou id=115466203&w=426&h=319]

Na Com Leav … wha?!

Okay, for those of you that aren’t aware … Sunday the 25th was the start of “National Comment Leaving Month” or NaComLeavMo … and yes, that’s what that little graphic with the party hat to the right of this post is for.

For those of you who haven’t read Mel’s post, NaComLeavMo is the month where we are encouraged to step out of our “lurker” mode and actually comment on other people’s blogs. And in return, leave a comment on the blog of someone that commented on yours. The idea is to open up discussion amongst all of us in IF / MC blogland and beyond.

Today being day three of this month, I’m finding it hard to just “stumble” onto a fellow blogger on Mel’s list without having to do a lot of back-reading before I feel I can … a-hem … “intelligently” respond. (Oh, who am I kidding … right?!) And then I stumbled on Rachel‘s latest blog post, who thought it might be a great idea to do a quick recap of ourselves and our story so that other’s might not have to be “clicking around” so much.

So Rachel … I’m taking your lead and doing the same thing. (By the way, my favorite ice cream flavor is Jamocha Almond Fudge from BR … or Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz from B & J!!)


Told you I was an Island Girl at Heart

Hmm … where to begin …

Three things are a big part of who I am in life. I’m Asian, I’m Catholic (although of questionable degree), and I’m Infertile. Yep … that’s right Infertile with a capital “I”. But let’s start off with the Asian bit first.

I’m a second-generation Filipino American; meaning my parents were born in the Philippines while my brother (aka “Dr. Bro”) and I were born here. While I know many other people can relate to having parents that were born in another country … being of Asian descent, it’s a little harder to “blend” in, if you catch my drift. I’m always going to look different than most people in a room. Or I’m always going to be lumped in or mistaken for another “nationality” (whether it be any pick of Asian countries or Native American or even Guatemalan … Not. Kidding. You.) But the biggest part of being Filipino American is that you are literally torn between a very traditional culture where authority is never questioned and the American culture where everything and anything can be challenged and questioned … and it’s encouraged. How does a strong-willed, stubborn female learn to live with these clashes in culture and belief? Well … peruse through my older entries and you might find a few.

As for the Catholic part of me … I don’t want you to think that I’m super-spiritual or anything. Because, in reality … I’m not. But, having been through 12 years of Catholic School … how can religion not play a part in my every day life? Even though it’s mostly about feeling guilty. You know … the “I’m not a Mom yet because I must have not prayed enough” or “I must have done something horribly wrong for God to punish me by not gracing me with child.” That kind of guilt. And no … I’m not (as) angry at God for where I am in life. Truth be told … I know that I’ve been “given” certain gifts from up above (my Hubby being the biggest gift of all); I just honestly have to have faith … not only in God, but in myself as to know when I am strong enough to do the right things in my life. And that’s the part of my Catholicism and spirituality that I can most relate to. Trust me … it’s taken me being 18 years of being out of high school to figure that one out.

I’m Infertile. Oh yeah … this is the main reason I started this blog. There had to be a way for this Catholic Filipino-American to let out all the repressed emotions I’ve let build up over the past ten years. Yep. That’s right. Ten. Long. Years. In brief, I married my high school/college sweetheart two years after graduating from college. We started TTC just over a year after that with (obviously) no success. After another year of “giving it more time,” I finally approached my OB-Gyn who put me on almost a year of Clomid. Yeah … the nurse in me should have questioned that … but the Filipino in me respected authority (see what I mean?). After that didn’t work, it was on to a laparotomy to clear out some nasty endometriosis followed by six months of evil pharmaceutical devil incarnate Lupron therapy. Then followed about 7 months of medicated cycles and the first episode of deep depression along with a 4 month “break” from treatment. And then the big guns … IVF. A one-time cycle that failed and brought about another episode of deep depression, followed closely by repression. Until one fateful day in November 2006 when my SIL (who just remarried 5 months prior and already has a middle-school age child from her first marriage) announced she was pregnant. As if that didn’t devastate me enough, Liam was born prematurely and with some “imperfections” which just made me feel like my feelings of jealousy and anger caused ill-will to this innocent child. And so … in the midst of my SIL’s pregnancy with Liam and his unfortunate passing 4 months later, I started this blog. And it has helped me deal with these emotions in ways that I didn’t think possible. And the fact that I’ve found such wonderful support out here in blogland … it just means the world to me. I just wish I would have found it sooner!

So those are the biggest things I can share with you in this one lengthy post. Hope you decide to stick around and read on. And then you can follow along with what happens in the next stage of my Mommyhood dream. I’m hoping to gather that source of faith and strength to fumble through the adoption process … as one failed IVF was enough for me emotionally and financially. Oh and you can see what other evil and emotionally ridden things I do as I finish up another six months of Lupron therapy for that bitch of a friend I call endometriosis. Oh … and did I mention my SIL is pregnant again … and due in early September?

Goodness … if you’ve stuck around reading this entry to the end … you might as well just add me to your Google Reader! 🙂

(Oh and hey … while you’re at it, check out my other blog!)

THAT Day

Uh huh. Tomorrow is THAT day. The day that celebrates the love a person has for his or her mother. Where we can show our love and gratitude for the women who gave birth to us and raised us. A chance for kids to nationally recognize all that their mothers have done for them.

And it’s a day that makes any woman suffering through infertility want to run and hide under the covers for the next 24 hours. Because it’s yet another reminder that what we want most in life, we just can’t have.

You would think that after ten years of childless Mother’s Days the pain would lessen after a while. In many aspects, the hurt isn’t as bad as it was … say, the first Mother’s Day after my failed IVF. Or last year, when my SIL’s pregnancy with Liam ripped those IF wounds (which I managed to stifle for years) wide open.

Of course there are those other days where the pain rears its head once again. The grand announcement of a family member’s or friend’s pregnancy. The random baby shower invitation in the mail for one of your mother’s friend’s daughter. The conversations with FWC (Friends with children) that inevitably turn towards what their kids are doing these days.

What I have learned over the past ten years is to anticipate this pain to surface on days like tomorrow, where the whole continent recognizes the woman that brought them into the world. And the woman who raised them and provided them with love and protection. And I expect to feel this kind of pain for days, sometime weeks, after learning the news of any new pregnancy. Because yet again, it’s another pregnancy that I’ll never have.

I sense this pain will never ever go away. However, over the past year I have learned to temper it. I know now when to say “No” to baby showers. Or to simply walk away when pregnancy talk gets to be too much. I know where to hide (a bathroom, the spare guest room, my car) when I need to steal a moment to cry.

So tomorrow, after celebrating the love and appreciation Hubby & I have for our mothers, I will want to climb back into bed and not get out from under the covers until Monday morning. But I won’t. Because I want to be able to say that I got through this tough day with my head held high and my renewed spirit towards adoption intact.

But if for some reason, Hubby notices I’m “missing” for a short period of thim … I may have to tell him to check the restaurant restroom. In the private stall. Where I just might be crying.

I may be stronger than I was last year at this time. But I’m not THAT strong.

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My infertility resides in my heart as an old friend. I do not hear from it for weeks at a time, and then, a moment, a thought, a baby announcement or some such thing, and I will feel the tug — maybe even be sad or shed a few tears. And I think, “There’s my old friend.” It will always be a part of me ….

— Barbara Eck Menning, founder of Resolve

Valley of the Bloggers

Warning: Long post ahead
Short version: Went to local Resolve event and met two of our fellow IF bloggers. Ended up with two new IRL friends and a renewed spirit towards adoption.

Wow. I can’t believe how SMALL Blogland can actually be! Earlier tonite, I attended our local Resolve chapter’s annual “Ask the Expert” night for the first time (more on that later). And who should I happen to come upon?! Not one … but TWO of our fellow IF bloggers!!

Now, I have to preface this by saying that I had a slight notion that I might see kcmarie122 tonite as I knew we lived in the same general area of the world. When I got the eblast from Resolve (and also a comment on my blog from MamaSoon), I thought that perhaps she might find this event interesting and posted a link on her blog. That’s how I found myself continually glancing around the room to see if anyone looked remotely like her profile picture. I thought I caught a glimpse of her once while sitting in one of the session, but as soon as that session was over I suddenly lost sight of her. SO … imagine my surprise when she came up to me during the dessert reception afterwards! Ah … kcmarie122 … you are just as sweet and kind as I imagined you would be. I am so happy we finally got to meet!

Let me tell you a little more about why my Hubby & I decided to go to this event before I tell you who else I stalked met.

When I received the eblast, I was a little hesitant to sign up to go. I wasn’t sure if I was just about ready to take another step forward in my adoption past. I can’t remember if I blogged about this, but the last time I inquired about adoption at this one agency, they were already calling me back after only one day and then called again a week later. Now for some people, that aggressive first part on the agency might be a good thing. But the fact of the matter is, it’s taking me this long to make that first call (at least, this time around) … I don’t want to feel rushed or pressured into making a decision that I might not be that comfortable with. I’m sure there are agencies out there that are not like that, but this agency put a bad taste in my mouth at that particular moment. Who knows? Maybe when I’m finally ready to dive into adoption, I might want that type of “aggressiveness” on my side. But not just now.

But I digress (yet once again) … The thing is, we decided to go because we figured that this might be a way to get resources about adoption and not feel pressured into making a decision right then and there. Plus, the whole adoption forum of this night was basically a panel of different experts (lawyer, doctor, professor, counselor, and adoptive parent) discussing their experiences with the different parts of the adoption process. And then after they each spoke, they were asked questions written by us, the audience. Talk about major learning experience for me. It was refreshing to hear about the other aspects of the adoption process by actual “professionals” without having it be fed to us by an adoption agency, who really … sometimes I think are mostly after the money that prospective couples are willing to shell out. (Okay … yes, I know that’s an irrational thought skewed by said-adoption agency above.) Hubby and I got a lot of good info and having gone to this forum has renewed my spirit and added a little more spring to my steps towards adoption.

Yes, Girls, I still support ART

Quickly though … I should add that this Resolve event had a separate forum (or lecture, really) on ART, well. Truth be told, there were many many many more people in that forum than there was at the adoption one. But that’s okay. This is the stage in my IF journey that I’m in. I now know (in my vast wisdom – so said, sarcastically) that my limit for IVF was one … After all, I spent more that enough time and money doing unnecessary clomid cycles followed by more than enough medicated cycles before I was smart enough to figure out that the particular RE I was going to at that time was not suiting my needs. Yeah, that’s how smart I was.

Again … I digress. (Sorry, my ADHD — never actually diagnosed, by the way — is on full tilt today.)

At the end of both forums, there was the aforementioned dessert reception where I met kcmarie122 ( 🙂 still so giddy!) This gave us an opportunity to talk to the panel of professionals as well as meet and greet other professionals. Which was a good thing, because we were actually able to talk to the lawyer who specializes in interstate adoptions for a bit, and ask her about certain concerns we had about adopting domestically. In addition, this also gave us an opportunity to enter into some prizes they were given away including gift baskets, a free consultation with an adoption lawyer, a free acupuncture session, an others. But the two big prizes for the night were a $10,000 prize towards an IVF cycle or half off the price of an adoption homestudy (approx $700 in value).

Hubby & I listened patiently as the organizers drew tickets for the smaller prizes. One of the names and the person’s subsequent city called as a winner sounded just ever-so-vaguely familiar. And as this person walked up to claim her prize, she certainly looked just as familiar to me, too. I turned to Hubby and whispered, “I think I know that person.” He looked at me quizzically as I told him that she might be someone that I might have seen somewhere out in the IF blogiverse. At the evening’s end, the “Grand Prize” winners and alternates (just in case the winner decides to forgo adoption or the winner of the other prize, for some reason, is unable to complete the IVF cycle) were named. Hubby then urged me to go across the room and introduce myself to this mystery lady. “No, that’s okay,” I told Hubby, but he persisted even after I told him that I would feel as if I was stalking her.

So finally after being pestered enough, I approached said-woman and said, “Excuse me … you might think this is an outrageous question but …. do you blog?” And as this nice woman looked at me strangely (not to mention, a little leery … I mean after all, we’re talking about metro-Detroit here. You know … “Murder Capital of the World.” Yeah … NOT!), she turned to me and said, “Yeah, I do. I’m SoapChick.” And then I think I exclaimed, “I thought you looked a little familiar!,” a little too excitedly and I might have startled her a bit. And then I introduced myself and the rest was history. We ended up talking for quite a while and it was just SO wonderful … like meeting someone you think you know, but not really.

And then the REAL weird part was that when I told her that I just met kcmarie122 earlier, Soapchick kept telling me that “the name” sounded familiar. She said that she sat next to someone during the raffle drawings that may just have been kcmarie122. And as we traded descriptions of this person, we both came to the conclusion that it was kcmarie122 that she was sitting next to. Then, just as Soapchick, Hubby & I parted paths, who should we run into again but kcmarie122 who confirmed that she was sitting and talking with SoapChick at the same table! How absolutely weird and awesome is THAT?!

After attending this Resolve event tonite, I’m reminded of how far along I’ve come since even just starting to blog. Last year at this time, I was still struggling with even dealing with my feelings about my infertility. I had stuffed all my emotions inside of me that I was just waiting to explode. It didn’t help that I was facing yet another Mother’s Day childless. And it certainly didn’t help that there were currently plans underway for a baby shower for my SIL who was then pregnant with Liam. It would only be another week later that Liam would be prematurely born; which then brought yet another wave of emotions that needed to be stuffed. Yeah, I was at a pretty bad place last year.

And this year? Wow. I’m not only able to blog about these emotions, but I can actually talk about it. To total strangers. And be not only okay with it … but completely thrilled about it. Okay, so we’re not totally strangers, having shared our stories online with each other unknowingly. But still. WOW!

So kcmarie122 and SoapChick … I am so incredibly thrilled to have met you IRL. It’s absolutely mind-blowing, knowing that I’m not only NOT ALONE in this big blogiverse … I’m not even alone in my own county and state! My next goal … meet the others in this fine state of Michigan …

Oh! And I forgot to mention the other fortunate thing that happened to me tonite. My name ended be pulled as the second alternate winner for the Adoption Homestudy prize! Woo-hoo!

Two Steps Back

So recently there was this really honest post that Duck put out in the blogiverse. It had to do about wanting to want to adopt. It’s one that apparently remained stuck in my mind, despite it being posted over two weeks ago.

I’m at the point in my life where I’ve really got to start figuring out what to do about adoption. I know it’s my next step, but yet every day there seems to be something that pops in my mind that puts me back another step or two. Especially these last four months.

First there was my Hubby’s grandmother. Then there was the news about another pregnancy for my SIL. And, of course, my Dad’s hospitalization.

And in between all these events, my good friend, Endometriosis decides to come back and nestle into my nice warm body. Oh, and shortly afterwards, Aunt Flo comes for the visit from H*LL. Nothing like emphasizing that I can’t get pregnant. It’s like an exclamation point (in this case, a “period”) at the end of me shouting “I am infertile.”

So yeah, like a said, a few steps back.

Not that I’m blaming any of these particular events for my recent train of thoughts. It’s more what I’ve somehow managed to have each separate event represent. (I over-analyze things, if you haven’t caught on by now.) SIL’s pregnancy? That’s easy … and obvious. Dad’s hospitalization? How precious and fragile life can be; and how things can change in the blink of an eye. Hubby’s grandma? How one’s life affects so many others … especially their kids and their grandkids, and so on and so on.

And all of this relates back to adoption and back to Duck‘s original post, how? Well, I honestly think that those going through IF need to fully resolve their issues of not being able to biologically produce their own child before they look to adoption.

At first, I thought I was there. I thought I could simply give up the notion of not being able to produce a biological child of mine. And when I talk about biological child … I’m strictly talking about a child that looks like a mixture of Hubby & me. One that might have certain features or personality traits or even habits similar to us. One who would know his or her family tree and complete health history.

But then there’s the other aspect of not being able to produce my own child. It’s the feeling of being pregnant. Of watching my belly grow. Of craving strange things or claiming that I need more ice cream or chocolate for “the baby.” Of experiencing the joy of a positive pregnancy test and sharing that moment with Hubby. Of seeing my baby’s heartbeat on an ultrasound. Of being the guest of honor at my very own baby shower. Of people rubbing my belly. Of strangers coming up to me and asking when I was due. Of touring the hospital’s birthing center. Of going through lamaze. Of hearing the cries of my baby after he or she was just delivered. Of holding him or her in my arms for the first time. Of breastfeeding. Of coming home from the hospital with my precious cargo and my Hubby standing right next to me.

All that and much much MUCH more. Probably more than anyone who has never experienced infertility could ever understand. Empathize, yes. Completely understand, no. But then if we’re also talking about walking in someone else’s shoe, I also wouldn’t understand what it was like to lose a child. Or worse, the love of my life.

In any case, I find myself suddenly back to where I was before January; knowing that adoption is our next step … but once again scared to move forward.

After all, to want to want to adopt is a big thing. And to do that means I could possibly have utterly and completely given up on that dream to become pregnant. And that’s a pretty damn scary thing.

Brick Walls (Childhood Dreams, Pt 2)

Oh my … I never expected the responses and hits that my “Childhood Dreams” post about Ran.dy Pa.usch’s “Last Lecture” would stir. As of today, that post alone has had just under 100 hits. Next to my “Year of the Rat” post, that’s the most viewed entry I’ve had.

While I’m honestly not surprised that it’s been viewed that many times (after all, Ran.dy Pa.usch’s lecture is incredible … even if the one I posted was the shortened 10-minute version of the original lecture); I am surprised by one particular email/comment I got. (Click here to see the actual comment.)

Okay, so I have to admit that I originally thought someone was spamming me or pulling my leg. So I took my time in responding. And I probably wouldn’t have responded until I decided to do a little Google PI (as inMagnum PI… yeah, I know; stale reference) in which I found out that this particular person actually did work for one of the national TV networks.

So I responded back (the minute I found out that this wasn’t spam) telling her that, yes I was interested … but I guess I just didn’t know how my blog related to Ran.dy Pa.usch’s lecture, as my blog was primarily about my struggles through infertility. But … just as soon as I sent out the email, I received this response back:

Hi Emily,

Next Wednesday night, ABC is airing a one-hour Diane Sawyer special on Professor Pausch. We noticed that his lecture was inspirational to so many people and incidentally the effects of his words are visible all over the internet. Though your blog is about a completely different subject, there are a variety of bloggers and “vloggers” talking about Ran.dy Pa.usch’s lecture.

Initially I was hoping you could share your thoughts about Randy’s lecture on camera but plans have changed a bit here and we will not be doing anymore on-camera interviews. If you’re interested however, I invite you to create a sort of video blog in which you talk about the lecture and whether or not it has affected you in any way. Of course I understand if this is impossible but I thought I would throw the option out there. There’s always the possibility we would include a short clip in the special.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Best regards,
Astrid

Aw shucks … I guess I missed my 15 minutes of fame. And while I can all hear you saying … “You should do a vlog! You should do a vlog!” To those of you that have met me IRL, I am not exactly the best person in front of a video camera … even if it is a clip of me just talking randomly into my iBook cam. For Pete’s sake … I babble enough when I write. What part of filming me babbling out loud makes for good video?! Uh … yeah. So no.

But that was just one reason why I was hesitant to do this. The other reason is that I confess that until today, I hadn’t even watched the whole 75 minute lecture (that’s still available here on you.tube, by the way). And after watching it today, I can tell you without a doubt that this lecture is In.Cred.Ible. I just found so much more inspiration in the original lecture that wasn’t even captured in the 10-minute Op.rah version.

And because work has been laying heavily on my mind lately, there were a lot of things I took out of this lecture that so relates to the whole work redesign thingy. Now … rather than go into great detail as to how it personally affects me and work (because somehow, I’m thinking it’s not such a good idea to do that here), these are the biggest nuggets I pulled out of this lecture:

  • Bosses: Respect authority while questioning it.
  • Have something to bring to the table; that way you’re always welcomed.
  • Be good at something; it makes you valuable.
  • Get the fundamentals down; otherwise the fancy stuff ain’t gonna work.
  • Don’t complain; just work harder.
  • Get a feedback loop on you and listen to it. The hardest part is not the criticism, it’s actually listening to it.
  • Apologize when you screw up. When you screw up and no one says anything to you any more, this means that they’ve given up on you.
  • Focus on others and not yourself.
  • Loyalty is a two-way street.
  • In order to get people to help you, you should always tell the truth, be earnest and show gratitude to those who help you.
  • Find the best in everybody; no mater how long you have to wait for them to show it. You might have to have to wait a long time … sometimes years … but people will eventually show you their good side.
  • You can’t get there (achieving your dream) alone, believe in karma. When you do the right thing, good stuff has a way of happening.
  • Sometimes things are just what they are. These are the cards that are dealt; we just got to know how to play the hand.
  • Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
  • Never lose the child-like wonder; it’s just too important. It’s what drives us.

Yes … and this isn’t even all of those nuggets Ran.dy Pa.usch threw out there. There was so much more. But since the primary focus of this blog is about infertility, I do want to bring up that many of what he says can certainly apply to the struggles we face with infertility.

Okay, so the whole “Don’t complain; just work harder” and “Focus on others and not yourself” seems like a crock when we all know how much we’ve worked at and have thought of others while still trying to achieve our goal of producing our biological child. But there are other nuggets that do apply. Take for instance the whole “Get the fundamentals down; otherwise the fancy stuff ain’t gonna work.” Hello?! Think of the fancy stuff as IVF and IUI. H*ll yeah, you’ve gotta know what the basics are in order to find the “optimum conditions” to get knocked up.

Throughout the lecture, there was this analogy of a “bric.k wa.ll” that Professor Pausch kept referring back to. He verbalized that bric.k wa.lls are there for a reason. And that reason is to let us prove how badly we want to achieve our dreams. They’re also there to stop those who don’t want things badly enough; these are the people that the bric.k wa.ll is trying to keep out. The bric.k wa.ll lets us show how dedicated we are to our dreams.

The “Bric.k Wa.ll” analogy is the one thing in particular that I feel can best relate to and impact those struggling with infertility. Nothing like coming up against a bric.k wa.ll when one finds out that they’re having difficulty trying to conceive a baby. Nothing like trying to overcome any obstacle to to try to achieve that dream. Nothing like showing dedication to this dream by subjecting ourselves to many blood draws and needle sticks and test after test just to get a positive pregnancy test. Nothing like doling out boocoo bucks in order to pay for all these treatments; many of whom don’t even have a health insurance plan that will pay for it. And that’s just the aspect of trying to get pregnant.

Then there’s the other aspect of adoption. Again, nothing like climbing over that bric.k wa.ll by subjecting ourselves to home studies in order to determine if we’re worthy to adopt a child. Nothing like coming upon that bric.k wa.ll by putting ourselves out there to potential birth mothers or countries, as if to advertise ourselves like a singles ad:

Mid 30’s couple seeks an open relationship with a birth mother who is willing to let couple raise her baby as their own.”

Or better yet, a want ad:

“Happily married couple looking for a country that is willing to provide a child to raise in the USA (infant preferred, but other situations negotiable).”

And of course, nothing else says dedication by coming up with creative ways to finance the adoption and then place the money up front, trusting that things will work out.

There is currently a movie out right now called Run Fatboy Run starring Simon Pegg (of “Shaun of the Dead” fame). In the movie there is another analogy of the “Bric.k Wa.ll.” It refers to the point during a marathon when a runner figuratively comes up against the a bric.k wa.ll. It’s the point when the runner is both physically and mentally exhausted. When the way a shoe is tied or the way the shorts rub up against the skin is shear agony. Where every forward step taken feels like a million tiny scalpels are tearing you to shreds. It’s at that time the runner has to decide if he or she is mentally capable of forging through the bric.k wa.ll … or too weak to continue forward.

When it comes to that childhood dream I mentioned in my previous post … you know, the one about being able to nurture my child and to encourage him/her to dream big … I am currently facing that “Bric.k Wa.ll.” I have gone through the medical aspect of infertility; the work-up, the almost-daily blood tests, the ultrasounds. All that plus the failed IVF attempt. Then there were (and currently are) all the pregnancies of friends and family over the past ten years that I’ve had to face head on. And still, I have nothing to show for the miles I’ve already ran in this marathon. Talk about banging your head against a bric.k wa.ll.

So here I stand in front of this “Bric.k Wa.ll” (where I’ve been for the past ten years), knowing what I need to do next. And here I am trying to gather enough strength, both mentally and physically, to plow through (or climb over) that d*mn wall. If that isn’t dedication to my dream, then I don’t know what is.

One last nugget of inspiration from Ran.dy Pa.usch before I finally end this incredibly long post (I applaud anyone that has gotten to this point) …

“Don’t bail on your dream. The best gold is at the bottom of barrels of crap.”

Me, Bartleby and Ta.rzan

Hubby & I spent the night on the west side of the state Saturday night. We were out that way specifically to catch the theater debut of one of our friends. (I’d tell you more about the play, but “I’d prefer not to.” But I do have to say, I do think our friend did a wonderful job.)

We’ve been to this town before (the most recent to see the Cowboy Junkies about five years ago), but never got a chance to really check the place out. But since our friend lives out there, we managed to get the “grand tour” of the area which included a trip to a local brewery that produces the only beer my alcohol-allergic / beer-loathing Hubby will drink. Seriously didn’t know that this brew was locally-produced.

Anyway, we ended up staying the night because the play didn’t even start until 11:00 pm. And then afterwards, well … of course we ended up going out and grabbing a drink afterwards. So we booked a room at one of the local hotels just to rest our heads for the night. After all, it’s a decent 3-hour ride back to Detroit and we weren’t about to make that drive after being out until 2 am. (Okay, maybe we would … if we were still college-age!)

The next morning, I turned on the TV in the room (while Hubby started to get ready) and started flipping through the channels. As I flipped, I stumbled onto the Dis.ney channel that happened to be showing the animated film, “Ta.rzan.” I don’t know what possessed me to keep the TV on that channel, but I suddenly found myself sucked into the movie.

There’s something about Dis.ney animated movies that I really enjoy. Especially the ones that were produced from “The Little Mermaid” onward. OK, so there were a few that I could care less about (hmmm … “Emperor’s New Groove”?), but overall I’ve liked their films.

In fact when planning our wedding, Hubby & I created a “Three Wishes” theme, including designing our own invitations (which, back in 1996, was definitely not a common thing to do) based on the movie “Aladdin.” It started with a porcelain figure of Jasmine & Aladdin that Hubby gave me when we were still dating which we thought would make a great cake topper. Then we chose “A Whole New World” from “Aladdin” as our first dance and then gave little ceramic genie lamps as our favors. Yes, I guess you can say we had our own version of our “Dis.ney Fairy Tale” wedding.

But I digress … What struck me about watching “Ta.rzan” was the whole “Boy being raised by a gorilla” thing. Specifically the part where Ta.rzan found out how he came to live with and grow up with a pack of gorillas. Now, I’m assuming that most people have seen this movie or are familiar with the story. However, if you haven’t and you have the urge to read the book / watch the movie … then I suggest you skip the next two paragraphs.

*
If you recall that in the movie (because the movie actually does vary a bit from the book by Edward Burroughs), Ta.rzan was brought up by a pack of gorillas and was always regarded by the other gorillas as different. This, however, didn’t matter to his “Mom,” Kala, who brought him up as her own, after losing her own baby gorilla by the same leopard who killed Ta.rzan’s parents. When Ta.rzan stumbles upon Jane and is surprised that there is a person who looks similar to him, he tries to learn from Jane (and her father) as much as he can about his “kind.” Ultimately, Jane is supposed to be leaving back for “merry olde England.” As Ta.rzan had ultimately fallen in love with her, he has to make the decision to either remain behind or go with Jane.

Before Ta.rzan’s decision is made, Kala tells him the truth about his parents and how, after her own son died, she raised him as if he was her own child. After he makes his decision to follow Jane, he turns to Kala and tells her that she will always be his mom.
*

Uh, yeah … and that’s where the tears started flowing. (Thank God Hubby was in the shower at that point!) I kept thinking that if I was Kala, I would would be absolutely heartbroken. Proud of him, but utterly heartbroken for myself.

First of all, it’s the whole “mother who loses her own biological child” thing. How can that not relate to how I’m feeling? Okay, so I never was able to get pregnant on my own and have never physically lost a pregnancy. Or worse, a baby. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have the right to grieve about not being able to have my own biological baby. And how about those that have experienced failed IVF’s alongside with me? Or those that have experienced ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages? Those are all losses.

And then there’s the whole “being raised by someone that didn’t give birth to you” issue. Uh … that would totally relate to adoption. I know that my journey through infertility has taken me down the adoption path. And I know that every day I am one step closer to becoming just as strong as Kala wanting to raise a child that isn’t biologically part of me.

I know that adoption is my fate and once I have my child, I will be so totally, utterly and unconditionally in love with him/her. BUT … I can’t help but think that somehow, somewhere down the adoption path I will truly start to freak out about the possibility that this child might not love me or feel that the love he/she has for me is not as strong as it would be if I were his/her biological mother.

Huhm … I just realized that perhaps my child would probably think the same of the love that I would have for him/her. He/She could be thinking … “Does she love me as if I were born from her womb?” Well, the answer to that is yes. As I’ve never been able to experience pregnancy, I guess I wouldn’t know the difference between loving a child that is biologically mine or loving one that was brought into our family through adoption. So my future son or daughter … I want to let you know this right now: I will love you, because … to me, you are my own child.

Damn Dis.ney … why must you always produce movies about orphaned heroes or heroines that overcome adversity. Do you purposely peer into my heart and see which one of those heart-strings (or better yet, my apron strings) to pull?!

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