Entries from August 2009 ↓

first big group hooray

today i announced at our staff meeting that we’re adopting.

everyone cheered (and i ducked my head behind my hands for some reason) and it felt really, really nice.

i mean, probably at least half of the people in the room (or maybe everyone?) had found out the news already, but since i hadn’t made a formal announcement, no one had felt comfortable talking about it.  and now it’s out in the open and i don’t have to feel secretive about the whole thing.

And their congratulations were so immediate and celebratory and… i think i got my first taste of what it feels like to announce to a group of friends that you’re pregnant.  i’ve told lots of individuals who’ve had wonderfully positive responses, but this was my first mass mention.

and i wasn’t exactly sure what words to use.  Do I say, “Everyone, I’d like to announce that J and I are most of the way through the paperwork that may one day result in a child joining our family!”?  How about the mildly too formal, “We’re in the process of adoption!”?

I finally settled on the simple, “we’re adopting!” which I’m always afraid that people will interpret to mean that we’ve already been matched and will be bringing a baby home in the imminent future.  But in the end, this was the simplest way to say it and I could “qualify” it later to alleviate any of their fears that I was planning to take a break for  12 weeks of family leave tomorrow.

Thank you, dear work friends, for being so happy for us.

another awkward comment

so here’s another comment that i’ve gotten several times that i’m never really sure what to do with:

me:  we’re adopting!

friend:  oh, that’s so great!  there are so many needy children out there.

hmmm…. sounds like a positive comment, right?  so I’m never quite sure how to respond to let the speaker know that we’re not adopting out of some high-minded altruistic motives.  We’re not hoping to “save” some child from a dreadful fate.  If we were, we’d probably be more actively pursuing special needs adoption or searching for a “waiting child” (the newer, more PC term for older kids in foster care or orphanages).  But if I tell my friend those qualifiers, do I look a little less charitable in their eyes?  Like maybe we’re too picky and demanding for wanting an infant?

I also don’t feel comfortable just smiling and not saying anything because I feel that sentiments like these reinforce the stereotypical beliefs that all adopted kids are being rescued from a life of poverty and dire circumstances.  That’s just not always true.  Sometimes it’s just not the right time in a mother’s life for her to raise a child.  Just because we happen to be at a good point in our lives to take on this responsibility doesn’t make us automatically better parents.

I was reading an online article by Jacquelyn Mitchard today and came across this quote (click on the quote to read the whole article):

There are some who believe that adoptive parents are selfless people who “choose” an “unwanted” child. But, in reality, our choice is the  same as any parent’s: a selfish wish to have a little bundle who loves you, for which you pay with selfless love until your very last moment on this earth.

which I thought said it perfectly.  We’re not altruistic saints.  We’re not doing this out of the goodness of our hearts.  We just want a (hopefully mostly healthy) baby, like any other parent-in-waiting.

now if I could only distill that into a polite but thorough soundbyte response for the next time I get that comment.

p.s. thanks for all of the positive feedback on the room (both here in the comments and in-person)!

the room (well, at least version #1)

we’ve got someone coming in this weekend to do some prep work on a window-replacement project in the nursery and since he’s going to board the window up for the next 3-4 weeks while we wait for the new window to be made, I thought I should probably get a photo today.  While there’s still some semblance of natural lighting in the room.  And even though I know some things will change in the room before we’re really DONE with it… you can get a general idea of what it will look like.  First, here’s the fabric that inspired the whole room.

the walls were already painted a red/orange color that looks very simliar to the red/orange in this fabric, plus i LOVE this fabric, so I decided (with a little input from J) to use it for the back of the baby quilt I’m working on.  We didn’t really want to paint over the red (a little bit of laziness on our part, but mostly because we liked the idea of bold color in the nursery) so i was thrilled to find a fabric that worked so well and which (I think) is relatively gender neutral.  I liked the fabric so much, in fact, that I decided to expand the motif further throughout the room.  I had considered ordering some vinyl wall decals from somewhere on etsy (or elsewhere online) but then remembered this post that I’d read awhile back and got excited about experimenting with that technique.  A little bit of cornstarch and hot water later, plus some solid color fabric I’d bought and… voila!

dots on the walls!  J isn’t crazy about them (they’re “not perfect circles”), but I love-ity love them.  here’s a shot of the whole room:

You can also see a sneak peek of the quilt that I’m working on, draped over the crib and the cribskirt I made out of the inspiration fabric.  I have a number of changes I’m still hoping to make to the room, but I couldn’t wait another 6 weeks to show it to you.  And lighting will always be a challenge in this room–window or no window, but I hope you can still get a good idea of what the nursery looks like.  Now to go and work on that quilt….

happy dance!

I’m guessing that this adventure we’re on may have lots of tiny victories and maybe a few big ones and today i was thrilled by one of the pretty darn small, but nonetheless thrilling victories. There’s a crib that I’ve been keeping my eye on at Target[dot]com. (I’ve probably mentioned it here before.) It didn’t appear to be available in stores (only online) and although it costs more than the IKEA crib, it’s just so much …. nicer. And it’s still WAY less than any other “modern” style crib I’ve seen (as in half of what other modern cribs cost when they’re on clearance). But when we finally made the decision to purchase it a few nights ago, I was sorely disappointed to find that the shipping costs were more than $75. yeesh. That increases our price for the crib. And decreased my ability to justify the higher expense. And so I decided to wait. And hope that it went on sale for free shipping or something. And then yesterday, I saw that someone had posted a review of the crib that indicated that a Target employee had told them that that crib was being discontinued. Nnnnnoooooooo!

So, imagine my surprise when I was in Target today and just happened to see that they had THE CRIB. THERE IN THE STORE. I asked a store clerk if it was actually in stock and…. IT WAS! No shipping fees. No 4-6 week wait. Not discontinued. Needless to say, the crib is now in my house. Albeit in pieces, but it is IN MY HOUSE! I hope to have nursery photos to show you soon. I’m waiting until I can do the big reveal. Yes, the happy dance did happen. woo! hoo!

thank you

i just wanted to take a minute to say thank you to all of our friends and family who, when first hearing about our plans to adopt responded with  “congratulations!” or “how exciting!” (some of you were even more excited than I was allowing myself to be!)  I’ve also gotten some pretty lukewarm responses from people–some just feel awkwardish and say, “oh!”  and I UNDERSTAND these responses–I may have given them myself at some point in the past–but I wish there was some way to communicate with society at large that this announcement is SORT OF like announcing that you’re pregnant.  You’re having a baby.  And it’s appropriate to at least say, “congratulations!” or “how exciting!” or even just “wow!”  I’ve mentioned our plans to a few of my high school friends over Facebook and (except for my best friend) none of them have actually replied at all.  It might just be coincidence, but… it feels a little … awkward.  Maybe it’s society’s way of (unconsciously) acknowledging the inherent grief involved in adoption.  Or maybe it’s just ancient history hanging on.

Today, in one of the books I was reading, the introduction to the book gave a very brief history of adoption and explained the background of why some of the cultural/racial differences exist.  Here’s an excerpt:

“Between 1945 and 1965 most of the country’s “waiting children” [children “waiting” to be adopted] came from middle- and upper-class white families.  Tens of thousands of white women found themselves forced to spend a period of time in maternity homes or were sent to another family’s home because they were bearing a child “out of wedlock” or a child not fathered by their husband.  Once they delivered, the girls or women were usually coerced into giving their infants to an agency or physician who would in turn offer the child to white adoptive parents…..

African American unwed mothers during this same twenty-year period…. were excluded from white-only maternity homes.  Black unmarried women or girls sometimes put their children up for adoption, but more often kept the babies, or, the babies were informally adopted by “other mothers”–aunts, grandmothers, friends and neighbors–so that extended families merged into other extended families, thus maintaining the historic practices of communal societies throughout Africa, Asia and North America.”  –from The Adoption Reader, ed. by Susan Wadia-Ells

I read that and suddenly a lot of the tension around transracial adoption makes much more sense.

The quote doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the original point of this post, but I still wanted to share it with you.

Thanks for reading.

a telling dream

yesterday, as I was on my run, I remembered the dream I’d had the night before in which I was attempting to lead a large crowd of people in a storytime (as I do frequently at work) only for some reason, instead of sitting at the front of the group, I was sitting in the crowd, near the front, but off to the side.  and one of the employees of my local adoption agency (who also attends my storytimes in real life, coincidentally) was at the front of the room.  she wasn’t try to lead the group (that was still supposed to be my job) but i was having a heck of a time trying to direct this storytime.  in fact, it was pretty much utter chaos.  so i finally just gave up and sang “The More We Get Together” as loudly as I could hoping I’d catch someone’s attention and to signify the end of the storytime so we could all just call it a day.  I remember my main feelings were those of being completely frustrated (and slightly panicked) that I wasn’t able to control this large group of people and worried that people would think I was a bad librarian.

Hmmmm…. think I’m feeling the “loss of control” that all of the adoption books talk about as being an inherent part of the process?

baby’s first furniture makeover

We’ve been working on putting together a nursery (I think I’ve mentioned this before) and in my hunt for a changing table/station/dresser I’ve been astounded at how much furniture can cost. It seems like the fashionable thing to do these days is to have a changing station with open shelves and keep everything in baskets, but I liked the idea of a dresser that can be used for much longer and which is less likely to have its contents dumped out by a curious toddler. after much internet poking, i found inspiration in this furniture makeover, this “changer” by amy coe, and the color combo of this crib (which we’re thinking about purchasing).  then, i went hunting at the local thrift shops.  dig & save wins again (and did you know that they’re in the process of fixing it up so it feels a little less… dumpy?)!  For those of you who aren’t local, the Dig & Save is sort of like an outlet store for a local thrift store chain.  What doesn’t sell (or isn’t nice enough to sell, or sometimes just if there’s overflow) at the full-price thrift shops goes to the Dig & Save where it’s priced by the pound (for clothing, linens, housewares) or by the piece, but CHEAP (furniture).  I’d been there once earlier this week but wasn’t inspired by anything.  This time, when I went, I found a 3-drawer dresser that looked promising.  With a price tag of $10, I was willing to gamble that it might be awesome… with a little fixing up.

here’s the before picture:

it’s got some chips in the veneer, the varnish on the top is sort of crumbly and it’s got some strange guk on the top corner, but i like the basic bones.  and, like i said–$10.  so… after two afternoons of sanding, patching, drilling and painting, here’s the after picture:

i love it!  (btw, those darker grey shadows at the tops of two of the drawers are just shadows–not a strip of gray paint.)  i even had the paint in my basement.  I also had the 1″ circle drill bit to make the holes.  i didn’t have to invest anything except the cost of the dresser.  and now i’ve got a piece that’s got a good story (better than, “i bought it online”) and if someone in the future colors on it with crayons, i know how to fix it without getting mad and if it’s not fixable…. well, it was cheap!  now, I just need to buy a changing pad.  I’ve got an idea for another little modification, but I’ll tell you about that when/if it happens.