Things I’m Afraid To Tell You: My Thoughts On Adoption and Birth Mothers

As Mother’s Day draws nearer, I find myself getting unexpectedly weepy.

First off, now I’m a mom. A role I wasn’t sure I was ever going to have, certainly one I came to later in life. It’s all now really sinking in.

I’m someone’s mom.

Here’s the part where my experience is different from other mothers and where some deep sadness fills my heart.

In addition to being over the moon about our baby, I can’t help but think about Ruby’s birth mom. And how her loss has been the biggest gift we’ve ever received.

Our precious girl.

Talk about a double-edged sword. Someone else’s loss being your gain? Let’s not even talk about what the kids have lost. Totally does my head in.

A number of people have written so eloquently about what adoption has taught them , about how the adoptive parents (NOT the children) are the lucky ones and honoring their son’s birth mother, that I ask you grab your favorite beverage and read their posts. All these posts brought me to tears and made me want to add my thoughts about adoption and birth mothers which at this point are not very eloquent.

I do have to say that not all of our experiences are the same, however I feel a deep kinship with other adoptive parents. I wanted to highlight some of the ways adoption is heartbreakingly beautiful, with an emphasis on heartbreaking.

Since I’m having some trouble putting together my thoughts on adoption and birth mothers in an eloquent way, I’ll just list them in no particular order. I bring these topics up now because I’ve been an adoptive mama for a while now and believe it or not these have come up. In the spirit of transparency on the internet, many brave bloggers are sharing what they are afraid of. 

I do fear people are going to take offense to what I’m about to say. Some want to tell me our experience as mothers is exactly the same and while there are many commonalities, there are a few huge differences. Some will find out they’ve accidentally stepped on toes because they’ve been curious. Some will find my thoughts presumptuous. So be it.

I’m filing this post under: Things I’m Afraid To Tell You.

afraidtotell_chalkboard_full

While I do not know my daughter’s birth mother, we are connected and I am forever in her debt. Ruby is a gift. She’s changed me in totally wonderfully unexpected ways.

Sometimes I find myself sobbing because I missed the first nine months with Ruby. She was so well cared for which is a relief, however I ache for that lost time.

Please don’t ask to know the details of a birth mother’s circumstances – it isn’t your business. I am nosy by nature, so I get it. But really, not your (or my) business. It is an awkward moment for everyone involved. That story truly does belong to the adoptive child and when they are old enough may or may not wish to share those intimate details of their past with you.

I know I’ve already over-shared some of Ruby’s history with people because I have been caught off guard. I feel awful about this because it’s not my story to tell. If I’ve shared anything about this history, please do not share with anyone. If I haven’t, please don’t ask.

Please don’t make assumptions about birth mothers. There is no typical story. There is no archetype. They are women just like us, making difficult choices. And for god’s sake, please don’t make comments about how “some” people are “breeding” and are “crackheads” who just irresponsibly give birth multiple times.

Really? sounds like right-wing anti-woman propaganda from the 80s. 

Just stop it.

For all we know, the woman standing next to us in line at the grocery store has an adoption story. For some, it is a secret. I imagine, a painful one. Even without your judgement.

Please don’t judge birth mothers. They may or may not have different life styles than us.  Comments about how you could never give up a child aren’t helpful either. Under certain circumstances, we’d all make tough choices to hopefully better the life of our child.

Please don’t say adoptive parents are lucky or saintly for adopting a child – we really are the lucky ones. We are the ones gaining a child to love.

Please don’t give parenting advice until you are also parenting an adoptive child – some things are just different when you are starting your life from a loss. Also, we lean toward Attachment Parenting and would probably be parenting this way even with a biological child.

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What are you afraid to tell people? Please share in the comments or write a post of your own and link back.

Please know that comment kindness is greatly appreciated.

Thanks to EZ at Creature Comforts for the challenge. And Jess for getting it all started.

Happy Birthday To Me: Our Adoption Is {Finally} Final!

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time, you have figured out by now – adoption takes a long time. We started our process September 11, 2008 and yesterday Ruby officially became Ruby and a citizen of the United States.

I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday present.

Our experience during this final piece of the adoption was full of paperwork and crowded waiting room visits, but it all came together yesterday when we met with the judge in his chambers.

The bailiff held the baby and let her play with her radio while Jed and I spoke to the judge and signed papers. Ruby’s fan club of court house ladies waited outside the judge’s office.

In the end, we’re officially a family.

Finally.

Happy Birthday to me.

Talking Adoption on Yes and Yes

Today I am guest posting about adoption over at one of my favorite of all times blogs – Yes and Yes. If you are curious about the hows and whys of our adoption journey, this is where you’ll find some answers.

Sarah Von is a world traveling former ESL teacher with a love of Taiwan and a contagious laugh.

I hope you stop over to read my post and while you are there stay awhile and get to know Sarah a bit.

Finding My Voice As A Parent: Also See STFU

Alternate post title: Quit effing telling me what I should and shouldn’t be doing with my kid.

Three months in and I’m already over people’s “helpful advice”.

Some advice for advice givers, just don’t.

Commiserating about being tired is welcome, but telling me things that start with “you should” or “you shouldn’t” or “don’t ever” isn’t welcome or helpful. What works for you and your family works for you. All kids, parents and families are different.

Including mine.

Recently someone asked me how I was and when I replied that I was exhausted because Ruby had been kicking me, hitting me and or bumping into me all night {while she was sound asleep}, the woman replied, “You shouldn’t be sleeping with your baby!”

My eyes stung with tears (from exhaustion and let’s be honest, being admonished). I said through clenched teeth – “Well, we are. It is our decision to continue bonding with our newly adopted baby throughout the night. We have made our decision about what works for our family right now and when you are parenting an adopted kid please let me know.”

In case you are wondering, I’m still pissed.

This comment implies I haven’t thought carefully about this (and every other) decision we’ve been making in regard to parenting Ruby. I have been weighing my loss of sleep and the rage that accompanies it (which is a whole other issue unrelated to Ruby) and wanting to make up for those nine and a half months she wasn’t with us {also see: the dark ages}.

I’ve agonized over the “cry it out” people telling me I could train her to self-soothe by letting her sob alone in her crib. Dude, I’m not going to do it.  So stop telling me how well it worked for your kid.

Friends, I’m new at this parenting thing and Ruby is a special girl with lots of people interested in her well-being. In other words, we’re doing this thing kind of more publicly than I’m comfortable with. Usually I like having at least a basic handle on things before I share them with the world. That doesn’t work in parenting. It changes by the moment and so does what works for your family.

It’s a lot like yoga in that way. What works for your body in this moment is what is right for you. Who am I to tell you are wrong because it looks different than what I would do?

I’m working on finding my own voice as a parent. As a natural worrier and as someone prone to deep feelings of shame over being “wrong”, please be kind and thoughtful in your comments about what I “should” and “shouldn’t” be doing.

Nobody likes when you do that.

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So tell me, how do you handle unsolicited advice?

Catching Up with Alicia Herrera of Spirit House Designs + a GIVEAWAY!

Last November I interviewed my fellow public school teacher, adoptive mom (to be), and owner of Spirit House Designs, Alicia Herreraas part of my Featured Teacher Series.

Here’s a snap shot of our conversation recently.

What is happening in your adoption?

We are now 27 months into our adoption pregnancy.  After the initial flurry of paperwork, classes, and home study, we have been more or less waiting.  And, because all of the legal documents tent to be valid only for a year, we have renewed all of our paperwork once, too.

We are pretty much at the “top” of the list for getting an important phone call- the one where we are matched with our child.  After we are matched, it will be another 4-8 months while we go through the court system. We hope to have a toddler at home this time next year!

What’s changed since last year?

One big change has happened since this time last year.

The program that we were in (Thailand) basically slowed to a stop. International adoption is dicey in that the process can take so long that policy changes happen mid-process.  We were advised by our adoption agency to switch countries if we were wishing to complete an adoption in the next couple of years (yes!).

Adoptive parent requirements vary from country to country and, initially, we had not been married long enough to consider a few other options.  Those options were suddenly open to us, including a very good program with a small children’s home in Taiwan.

Having to change countries is a big fear for adoptive parents because of time and money lost. It can be heartbreaking to essentially “start over”.   We had to face that fear this year and it was hard for us.   More waiting, more money, still no guarantees.  We took a deep breath, crossed our fingers, and reapplied in Taiwan.

Are are you still raising money to fund your adoption through Spirit House Designs? 

 Reapplying meant redoing a lot of paperwork (again!) and repaying fees.  In addition, the program in Taiwan is also about $7,000 more, by design, than Thailand. We expect to spend about $35,000 by the time we are finished, which is roughly a teacher’s take-home salary for one year.  It is amazing to consider!

What’s new at Spirit House Designs?

Oooh. The thing that I am loving the most this year are the silk art scarves.  They have been individually painted, dyed, and then shaped by hand.  I added little specks of light and color to make each one unique.  They look great and feel luxurious.  I put up a tutorial on the blog that shows my favorite way to wear them as scarves, but they are versatile enough to be worn as a shawl, too.

They are such a pleasure to make. Working with silk is filled with meditative moments.  Mixing color, paying attention to the fiber’s response, moving slowly, being open to what each piece wants to become… all of these things are done with intention and love.  I believe that this attitude is what makes each item beautiful and what pleases the wearer. There is no substitution for heart.

I also have the next batch of nuno felted scarves, flowers, huipil cushions, as well as some gifty felted soap, all of which can be seen first at the open studio at the house on November 19th.

Where is your work available?

I will be showing at the Davis Art Center Holiday Sale and the Davis Gift Mart the first weekend in December.  This should be a fun holiday season of sharing both textiles and adoption excitement updates with everybody.

I will also be having a Spirit House studio presale on November 19th, for those who are unable to make the Davis Art Center Sale.  From 10 AM-2 PM, the studio will be open and items will be available for purchase.

The studio sale is by invitation only, but all are very welcome.

{For an invitation, simply submit a comment of interest}.

All of the profits from the presale go directly toward our adoption fund.

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Alicia has generously donated a silk scarf to the readers of Teacher Goes Back To School.

To enter to win – please leave a comment about what color palette interests you most: warm tones or cool tones.

 Options for Extra Entries:

Subscribe to Teacher Goes Back to School via Email & Confirm Subscription (upper right hand corner) and then leave a blog comment telling me you subscribed. If you already are a subscriber, leave a comment letting us know.

Subscribe to Spirit House Designs via Email & Confirm Subscription (upper right hand corner) and then leave a blog comment telling Alicia you subscribed. If you already are a subscriber, leave a comment letting us know.

“Like” Teacher Goes Back to School on Facebook and then leave a blog comment to confirm. If you already like TGBTS, leave a comment letting us know.

“Like” Spirit House Designs on Facebook and then leave a blog comment to confirm.If you already like Spirit House Designs, leave a comment letting us know.

Tweet this post or share it on Facebook and then leave a blog comment to confirm.

Who is eligible to win?

Anyone with a valid e-mail and a U.S. mailing address is eligible.

When do I find out if I am the winner?

The contest is open from November 13, 2011 until midnight PST on Friday, November 18, 2011. The winner will be announced on November 19th at the Presale. {Need not be present to win.}

You will have 2 weeks to e-mail us back with your home address so we can mail the prize.

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THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED.

Thank you to all who entered.

Things To Do While We’re Away

Surprise!

We’re back.

Not really. Auto-post is like magic.

I did want to stop in and say hi and tell you all we miss you already and point out some good internet things to do while we’re away.

As you read this we’re probably completely wrecked in Taiwan after the 12 hour flight which left at 2am + a 15 hour time difference. We’ll be posting occasionally to Facebook and Twitter if we can.

In the meantime, here are a couple of posts until we get it together when we return from Taiwan and to the blog.

Happy reading!

Helpful hints for welcoming a new family home - thank you, Rosie Molinary! We’re looking forward to introducing our new addition to everyone, just as soon as we’re all bonded as a family.

Go look at all the pretty stuff I’ve pinned on Pinterest

Find out more about adoption from Adoptive Families Magazine.

The Final Countdown: One Week Til Ruby.

I keep resisting the urge to dwell on all the “lasts” I’ll be having this week. The last Sunday morning yoga class with Michelle before Ruby {so grounding}. The last Duran Duran concert with Jeannie before Ruby {true story, going tonight!}. The last drink at the Shady Lady before Ruby {uh, I guess I need to still make this plan}…

You get the picture.

Next Monday our life changes forever.

We finally meet this little one.

The last few weeks I’ve been feeling really excited and ready to get the Ruby show on the road already – a mix of anxiety and anticipation with a side of exhaustion. Is this what pregnancy is like the last few weeks?

We travel this week.

Try not to be jealous of our crazy trip {or at least what we think our trip will look like}.

We fly to Taiwan late Friday night, experience what I’m sure will be the most excellent Saturday of my life whilst on the plane and land in Taipei early Sunday morning.

Monday morning we hop the high-speed rail and finally go pick up the Rubes{!!!}.

By Monday evening our new little family returns to Taipei.

Tuesday morning we bring Ruby with us for the paperwork Olympics.

Sometime between Tuesday afternoon and Thursday night when we fly out, we pick up our completed paperwork.

As for the rest of our trip, we’re going to let it unfold. We’ll be sure to take lots of pictures.

How do you deal with anticipation?

Adoption Update: We’re Picking Up Ruby!

Exactly six weeks ago, our agency called to say we got first decree.

Today we received our travel dates.

We will finally meet Ruby the first week of October when we travel to Taiwan to pick her up.

We’re obviously over the moon with the news and are excitedly preparing for our trip and Ruby’s arrival.

Thanks for all your love and support!

Adoption Update: We Travel in Six Weeks!

{via}

Much to our amazement, we got THE CALL yesterday morning telling us we’ll be traveling to Taiwan in about six weeks. This wasn’t just surprising because we’ve been on the receiving end of so much bad news surrounding our adoption, it is surprising because we were expecting to travel at the end of the calendar year.

So. Many. Changes.

So. Many. Emotions.

I’m thinking this is our first lesson in parenthood – plans, shmans.

If you’d like to help us prepare for welcoming our girl home, please read the following links. Rosie has done an absolutely brilliant job at getting to the point of what we’ll be needing from you all in the coming months.

Dear Friends And Family

We Are Family

18 Ways to Love The New Family or Family Member In Your Life

Meet Ruby: 32 Months In the Making

After what seems like an eternity, we finally got a referral!

(In English means we were matched with a baby).

We’ve decided to call her Ruby.

Projected travel time: 6-8 months from now (lots of paperwork and time in court).

Not to worry, we have about 10 bazillion house projects to do and finally a reason to do them.

We will keep you all updated with new pictures as they come in and updates on travel as we find out.

Thank you for all your support and love over the last 32 months.

Saturday Senses

tasting :: sautéed zucchini, chickpeas and tomatoes with israeli couscous.

hearing :: willie nelson’s demo sessions.

smelling :: peanut butter from my waffles this morning.

seeing :: when i see the amount we have paid so far for our adoption plus what we still need to pay – about $35,000 in all – my blood pressure rises. working on a grant application put this all in front of my eyes this week. hello, stress!

feeling :: squeezed/tight/constricted. spring break is still far enough away i don’t believe it is actually going to happen and i’m finally worried about money for adoption – i guess my long-held denial may be coming to an end.

wishing/hoping :: we can all find a little peace and calm this long week before spring break.

What about you?

What are your senses this Saturday?

Looking back, how was your week?

Leave a comment and tell me all about it. I’d seriously love to hear about your week. Now’s not the time to be shy.

This weekly tradition inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

Don’t forget to click the links!

Saturday Senses

tasting :: nothing

hearing :: your current adoption wait time: 2-3 more YEARS. {unless we switch to another country}

smelling :: nothing

seeing :: through a lot of tears.

feeling :: gutted, but well-loved and supported. super delicate and very much in need of a soft touch.

wishing/hoping :: for some time and space to just be sad. some clarity on what we will do. kindness to self and from others.

What about you?

What are your senses this Saturday?

Looking back, how was your week?

Leave a comment and tell me all about it. I’d seriously love to hear about someone’s week that didn’t totally suck. If your week sucked, tell me about it anyway. I’d love to have some company.

This weekly tradition inspired by Pink of Perfection’s Five Sense Friday.

Don’t forget to click the links!

Pregnant for 21 Months…and Counting

Pregnant for 21 Months… and Counting 

{This was first published at Becky and Hollee’s blog back in June 2010.}

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Today we are pleased to welcome a California mom-to-be who shares how she’s coping with the a very long journey to motherhood.–Hollee

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Can you imagine being pregnant for 21 months and counting? Welcome to the world of international adoption!

During the fall semester of 2008 (we’re both public school teachers), we began our very long journey toward becoming parents. Every second that fall was filled with adoption paperwork. We answered essay questions about why we wanted to adopt and it all came down to this:

There are children in the world who need families and we want to raise a child.

We both believe families are made, not born.

Tami and her husband

 

Autobiographies were written. Fingerprints were cleared by all possible agencies. We wrote a child care plan, divulged tax information, ran financial reports, found guardians for our future child and talked about discipline. Home studies were completed, doctors were consulted and notaries notarized every single scrap of paper.

Through this process I have learned a lot about my husband. I admire his ability to stay hyper-focused and organized, strengths I don’t share. His desire to become a parent has deepened my feelings for him in ways I never expected. Maybe this is what people talk about when they say they fall in love again after their children are born.

In large part, our application was completed in record time because of his determination to make this happen. We turned it all in to our agency and patted ourselves on the back.

Then there was nothing to do — except wait.

Did you hear anything yet?
Why does it take so long?
Did you hear anything yet?
Are you sure this is all legit?
Did you hear anything yet?
I’m sure you’ll get pregnant, now that your paperwork is finished.
Did you hear anything yet?

No, we haven’t heard anything yet. We’re hoping (fingers crossed) that it will be next summer when we travel. For now, we simply have to wait our turn and figure out how to fill our time while we wait.

As you can imagine, it’s not always easy to just wait. As a culture, we are fairly accustomed to immediate gratification.

So how are we spending our paper-pregnancy time?

We’re reading adoption books (Adoption is a Family Affair: What Relatives and Friends Must Know is a favorite), general parenting books (we’re always looking for recommendations) and cultivating relationships with other waiting/adoptive families. There is nothing like the support of people who have gone through or are currently going through the same experience.

We’re taking classes to make sure we’re at the highest salary possible when our child arrives, making some much-needed home improvements, and now re-doing lots of paperwork because it needs to be renewed annually.

But mostly, we’re just waiting.

Our friends and family are all trying to be patient and supportive, only occasionally raising the when question. This experience is new to them, too, and they want to stay involved and help us in our wait. Love is all around.

Sometimes though, they admit that they forget that we’re expecting. They apologize and ask about the timeline and procedures. But truth be told, sometimes I forget too. There is no baby bump or physical change, no big nesting urge or due date. At this point, we don’t even have a referral, so there isn’t even a picture of our waiting child.

Right now, our pregnancy is still a completely paper one.

Through this process, I’m learning a lot about myself. For starters, I am slowly developing the ability to not need to know what is going to happen next and to not feel defensive because I don’t have all of the answers. My faith in what is to be has been repeatedly tested and I haven’t come completely undone.

My heart is opening in unexpected ways: I’ve been able to accept the support of friends and family, and to look inside for acceptance of who I am without judgment. I know I’ll need these skills once I become a parent.

Yoga is actually helping the most. By practicing living in this moment, not trying to anticipate what will happen, the waiting becomes much more bearable. I’m trying to cultivate the feeling that life unfolds and to remember that forcing or pressing adds to the suffering.

Building your family through adoption is a long process that requires a lot of love, compassion, support and patience. I’m happy to know I’m not on this journey alone.

Tami Hackbarth is a full-time public school teacher in Northern California. When she’s not bossing kids around, she also teaches yoga to people who think it’s not for them. She is pursuing an advanced degree in resting, storytelling and social media. She can be found on Twitter and at her blog: Teacher Goes Back to School.

2 Years and Waiting – International Adoption is Not for the Impatient

September 11, 2008 we signed our adoption agreement.

2 years down, one more to go.

Finally, our third trimester.

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Back in January we got an update on our status. It essentially moved our process from a 2 year to 3 year deal. We were shocked.

Then in April, the wheels really tried to fall off the bus. Someone sent their kid back to their home country and started a firestorm of media attention on international adoption. We just try to keep focusing on all the families that are successfully made through this process.

In June, I shared our journey toward parenthood… 21 months and counting.

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It’s September and not much has changed.

We’ve heard it might be February or March for the referral. That is a slight delay, but one that is good to know now, not later.

So what will we do now?

Wait.

Read.

Connect.

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If you are interested in adoption as a way to build your family, please start the process sooner rather than later. It takes a lot longer than you think it will.

21 Months and Counting – Guest Post

Today I have a guest post over at BeckyandHollee’s blog about our journey to parenthood via international adoption. If you are interested in international adoption, please check it out.

If you haven’t met Becky and Hollee yet, they are the authors of a soon to be released book called: Good Enough is the New Perfect. I don’t know about you, but the title alone makes me want to read it!

Bittersweet Travel Planning

Until recently I thought we would be traveling to Thailand this summer.

That fantasy was burst and I’ve pretty much made peace with the situation.

Until I started planning for our actual summer trip.

In doing research on Munich and Croatia (yay European travel!), I started with Rick Steves and quickly remembered how much I don’t want to travel with him.

I can’t even make it through an entire episode without wondering how he has this job.

Don’t get me wrong, he seems like a nice guy….. but are you kidding me?      

y-a-w-n

  

Enter my favorite travel guide: Tony Bourdain.

The foul-mouthed drunkard chef?

Yep, that one.

Anyway, in my search of No Reservations episodes in Netflix Watch Instantly, I came across a Thailand episode.

Of course, I watched it.

The dude even stopped what he was doing to come join me in my office.

I’ll spare you the details, but ultimately watching Tony eating his way through Thailand made me sad.

I really wish we were going to Thailand this summer.

Adoption Isn’t Just What You Read About in the Headlines

Enough with the bad news already.

It seems every time I turn on the news recently there is a story of an adoption gone wrong.

There is a reason it is news:

Because it is rare.

Lots of people adopt every year and there isn’t one news story on all the families made complete through the process.

Except for this one.

Please take a minute to read it.

The author’s name is Eric Weiner. He is a former reporter for NPR and author of The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World.

I think he’s got it right.

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The latest on our adoption?

We are in the process of renewing all of our paperwork which included a recent visit with our social worker. She came by the house on Sunday for a check in. It was lovely to see her. We’re lucky. We really like our social worker.

The best part?

We are one step closer to becoming parents.

Click here for a general timeline for our adoption.

Yoga+Music365 (day38) – The Ecstatic by Mos Def – The World’s Longest “Pregnancy” Edition

When we started the adoption process back in September 2008, several people suggested we start a blog to capture the time while we were waiting to build our family.

In theory I thought it was a good idea and thought I would do it someday because, that’s what “good” adoptive parents do.

Right? 

Good adoptive parents record every moment of waiting time so that they have a “pregnancy” story to share with their child when they ask about how they became a family.

Then I got all caught up in the notion of what “good” adoptive parents do and got overwhelmed in the judgement about what I am supposed to do.

I hate doing what I’m supposed to do.

So instead, I decided to just do some projects that interested me while we waited. So far, I’ve taken all classes possible to move across the salary schedule (who doesn’t love more money???), studied to become a yoga teacher and now I’m training for a half-marathon.

Oh and I started a daily writing project about two things I love: yoga and music.

I guess my future kid will at least know his/her mom was super busy while waiting.

Interesting to me now, that this blog about my becoming a yoga teacher is evolving into a kind of “pregnancy” story. It’s documenting the changes in me over time. I guess in my own way, I am documenting my transformation into a parent.

Adoption is obviously a longer wait than biological pregnancy. It’s also a much more personal “pregnancy” because there is no physical reminder of our impending parenthood.  If people don’t know we’re adopting – they would never know we’re expectant parents. We don’t have month-to-month bump photos or ironic t-shirts.

Stupid T-shirts

We just have a big binder and a whole bunch of waiting.

I’m curious how other people documented their transformation into parents.

How did you document your pregnancy or waiting time?

How did you share that story with your child when they asked?

Biological or adoptive stories are welcome. Please share your stories here.

 Today’s yoga brought to you by the home practice! It’s a half-marathon training day.

Today’s music is The Ecstatic by Mos Def.

Don’t forget FREE Fridays at 4:30 with the new It’s All Yoga teachers (21st and X in Sacramento) – you’ve got to sign up online www.itsallyoga.com

I’m teaching 3/5/10 – so mark your calendar.

For the month of February, I’m teaching a Level 1/2 on Mondays at 5:45. Come join me.

Yoga+Music365 (day24) – Self-Titled by Killed By Bears

Self-care Tested

My self-care challenge was truly put to the test this week.  Bad adoption news kicked my butt.

In order to best care for myself, I took some time off work and tried really hard not to feel guilty about it. I know it was the best thing for me and I got a lot of support from everyone to do it, but I still felt a bit weird about it.

I wasn’t sick, but I definitely felt incapable of functioning. Fuzzy brain, spontaneous crying, and overall body fatigue and aches/pains.

Grief.

No bueno.

I turned to a trusted source for self-care: The Woman’s Comfort Book – A Self-Nurturing Guide for Restoring Balance in Your Life by Jennifer Louden.

Chapters are written like self-care recipes.  You find out what the assignment is, what it isn’t, what you need and when to do it leaving you no excuse not to take care of yourself.

Some of my favorites:

A Day Off – It sounds a lot like Pajama Day with excellent ideas like: making a picnic, a bliss list, being a tourist for the day, reconnecting with someone special, just being day, and silent day. I highly recommend this.

Hiding Under the Covers - Doesn’t really need any further explanation, does it? This is exactly what Mary Paffard advocated for us to do – REST.

When I Think of Comfort I Think of Food – permission to eat what you want without feeling guilty about it. I’d argue most American women could stand to read this chapter.

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It wasn’t until Saturday morning during my half-marathon training that I really felt the physical effects of our bad news. During my warmup I felt like I was trudging through oatmeal. My legs were heavy and slow and my brain was foggy.

Although about halfway through my walk/run the cobwebs finally lifted and I felt my mood lift and I felt like I’ll eventually feel good again.

I’m so glad for this new found awareness of how a little self-care goes a long way.

Yoga+Music365

Today’s yoga brought to you by Deborah at It’s All Yoga in Sacramento.

Today’s music is Killed by Bears – Self Titled.

Don’t forget FREE Fridays at 4:30 with the new It’s All Yoga teachers (21st and X in Sacramento) – you’ve got to sign up online www.itsallyoga.com

NEW!!!! Mondays at 5:45 in February I’ll be teaching a Level 1/2 at It’s All Yoga – come join me.

Adoption is not for the faint of heart

We talked to the owner of our adoption agency today after months of weirdness with our case worker in the satellite office.

Here is a list of things I learned from today’s conversation.

  1. Our dossier – fancy name for paperwork – just got sent to Thailand a week and a half ago.
  2. Our “waiting clock” of 12-13 months started when our dossier got sent to Thailand.
  3. We thought our dossier had been sent to Thailand in the spring of 2009.
  4. What we thought of as almost a year of waiting patiently, apparently was just practice for more waiting patiently.
  5. Now our expected time to travel is Summer 2011.
  6. I’ll be working next year.
  7. Working with satellite offices – not so much.
  8. I really appreciate hearing the words “neglected”, “mishandled” and “miscommunication” immediately followed by the words I’m sorry.

 Since no one is quite sure how to react to this situation, please let me ask for what we need and to tell you what we definitely don’t need.

Let’s start with the DON’T LIST in case you are short on time:

  1. “This exact same thing happened to my (fill in the blank)” …. I’m sorry to hear that, but right now I don’t care. It’s happening to me now. Focus, people.
  2. “Everything happens for a reason”…. I know and my supreme disappointment is directly attributed to someone misinforming me at best and lying to me at worst. So unless the universe is trying to tell me not to trust people – save it.
  3. “But you’ll be such great parents…the kid will be lucky and …. it sucks that “good” people don’t have kids, but “those” people do.” - Quit judging us and them. You aren’t making anyone feel better.
  4. “There are plenty of kids here to adopt”  -Since you don’t know our situation,  keep this kind of not so veiled judgement to yourself as well.
  5. “I wish I could just make it happen for you”  -We do too, but you can’t.

Now for what we actually need:

  1. Hugs.
  2. Lots of tissue.
  3. Quiet time to be sad.
  4. Some fun. Please feel free to take us out to dinner, the movies, shows – whatever – we’re easy that way.
  5. A vacation. Feel free to offer any and all frequent flyer miles and vacations houses. We’d love to get away this summer. Hell, maybe even this spring.

Good friends to have.

Yesterday we got some disappointing news. Our adoption wait is going to take longer than we first thought. Current circumstances are pushing our wait to the longer 24+ month wait, rather than the optimistic 18-24 month wait. Not the end of the world, but disappointing nonetheless.

It didn’t really sink in until this morning how sad I am about it.

I have been operating on the optimist time frame. I had it in my head that by next school year we’ve have our kiddo at home and instead of trying to teach everyone else’s kids how to read, I’d be home learning how to be a parent.

Not so.

I’m not sure exactly at what moment my disappointment set in, but when the tears started, I wasn’t sure they were going to stop. By the time I reached the school parking lot, I had it pulled together. I figured I’d just muscle through and then come home and continue to be sad.

I slipped through the office unnoticed and made it halfway to my classroom when I encountered some of my colleagues talking to one of my former parents in the hallway. They all greeted me with a warm good morning and my eyes immediately welled up again.

Next thing I knew, I was enveloped in a great big mama teacher hug crying like a baby. Big hugs and kind words followed. I explained what had happened and one reminded me what I already knew… that “our” kid isn’t ready for us yet and when he or she is ready for us, we’ll be there.

Their kindness helped me put our situation in perspective. So it’s going to take a bit longer than we thought, but when it happens it’ll be right.

So thank you dear friends for your support and love.

Worry list

I thought I would share a current list of things that are weighing on my brain. Maybe getting them out of my head will help sort them out and give me some perspective.

1. Our adoption. I’m worried it’s not actually going to happen. In the words of Tom Petty, “The waiting is the hardest part.” Indeed.

2. Next school year…. Will I be teaching? Where will I be teaching? What grade will I be teaching?

Seems some changes may be happening and if I’m going to be teaching I’d like to know now who, what and where. Not so much on the last minute changes by other people. Just sayin.

3. If our adoption does go through in the next few months, how will I survive the travel? 

Jet lag + humidity + extreme heat + anxiety = bad news for Tami.

4. How will I handle the transition to parenthood? Will we really be able to live on one income?

5. Will I teach yoga? Where will that take me?

6. Ok, the thinking about the extreme Thailand heat got me thinking about the summer weather here. Will I ever get used to the heat in Sacramento? I really hate it. Seriously. Once it starts, sometimes I feel like it’s never going to stop and that freaks me out.