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Today was Mr. E’s second parent adoption. A is now officially, legally, federally his mother…what a ridiculous process, but we’re so thankful we have it.  The whole thing was pretty uneventful and over pretty quickly. We went out to breakfast afterwards and then had our final meeting with our doula – how appropriate that she was there at his birth and then we saw her on his adoption day. It was nice to see her again. She referred us to a midwife where we are moving, the same midwife that one of our friends there used/is using. (!) And she even offered to attend our next baby’s birth…even though we’ll be three hours away! I am starting to feel a little better about ttcing #2. But we’re still waiting at least one more year…

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Mr. E had his one month check up this week. Our little man weighed in at 9lbs 11oz! How the hell did that happen?! He’s grown three inches and is thriving. Our pedi said he still looks a little yellow so we’re going back for another damn blood draw today. It’s very normal for breastfeed babies to remain Jaundice for up to six weeks, so I’m not too worried.

He’s really coming into babiness (I made that word up). He has somewhat of a schedule now. We can count on him fighting sleep in the evening. He gets so very over tired and then spends from 7-8pm fussing and falling in and out of sleep. By some miracle, he’s tired enough and ready to go to sleep by 8, which is when we all go to bed. The first leg of the night is usually our longest stretch of sleep – about three hours. Sometimes we get to sleep from 12-3am. Then 3-6am are rough for him. He’s in and out and making noises and his mamas don’t sleep so well. We’re up at 6am and then he usually falls back to sleep around 7 (we’re up just long enough so I can’t go back to sleep). I am currently reading this book…here’s hoping I can draw on it to get more sleep.

We talked to the pedi about giving him a formula bottle at midnight to try to get him to sleep longer; she was on board. We did it for two nights. And now we’re done. I need to feed him. I had to get up and pump at 4am today because I hadn’t feed him since 8pm, and I was in pain. I wasn’t entirely comfortable giving him formula, since we don’t need to, so now we’re going back to breastfeeding through the night and not really sleeping from 3am on. Fun times. But I’ve come to cherish the middle of the night snuggles we share as I comfort him back to sleep.

My older nephew (almost three years) has come out with some funny things lately. The birth announcement we sent was of Mr. E, naked from the chest up. Sort of an artsy shot. When he saw it he expressed some concern to my mother that, “Mr. E doesn’t have a bum.” We talked on the phone and I assured him, his bum is still there. Today I got an email from my SIL, saying nephew told her, “I like that Mr. E, he is so funny!”

A had a snow day and was home with us yesterday. It was so nice to have her home – nice to have a spontaneous day together and nice to share caring for Mr. E. It was a little preview into next week when she’s home all week! Glorious school vacation week!

Today’s a full day of running errands and going to my mommy group. We are so close to having all our documents in order for the second parent adoption. Today I need to pick up our marriage certificate and Monday we’re getting his birth certificate and then our work is done. I hated filling out the paper work, the questions we had to answer, about our relationship and motivations for A to adopt Mr. E were, well insulting. But it’s done (and we’re just thankful she can adopt him). I am also going to pick up Zac’s remains today. What can be saved will be loaded onto A’s computer and we’ll go back to sharing. Our tax return is better spent servicing our car and collecting interest in our savings account.

We’re having the first snow of the season! It’s very light, but it was enough that when I pulled the blinds this morning, and unexpectedly saw white stuff falling from the sky, a smile crossed my face and I felt a little giddy. Winter is coming. And with winter comes our baby. We’re getting there.

A and I met with our new lawyer today. We used a different lawyer for our KD contract back when we were using a KD. A local blogger recently referred us to this new lawyer. (Let me tell you, it’s been funny to answer the questions, and how were you referred? when asked by the receptionist and also by the lawyer.) This blogger went so far as to say this lawyer is the best where we live. This of course made me want to know more. So I poked around on the internet and then called to ask prices. I was pleased to learn the new lawyer was cheaper and seemed to be more reputable. She offered us a free consultation, we figured why not? We were not disappointed. I left the meeting feeling fully confident in her ability to make this as easy and affordable as possible. But more importantly, she felt human, and I felt I could ask questions and she took the time to make sure I understood everything. The other lawyer made me feel rushed, this lawyer did not rush us.

We set up the appointment wanting to talk about drafting wills and to get started on the second parent adoption paperwork. First and foremost we were happy to learn there are some ridiculously out dated laws (that were certainly not written to benefit same sex couples, but do nonetheless) still on the books that because of our legal marriage status, automatically entitles A as a legal parent of the child I birth, this is also the reason why her name can be on the birth certificate from birth. However, for lots of reasons, we both feel strongly we need to go forward with the second parent adoption. The lawyer spent lots of time explaining all the steps in the adoption. We learned that traditional adoptions usually have three steps (at this stage any way, I am sure there are 3,000 steps in all):

  • The biological “father” has to terminate rights. In the event that the father can’t be found, then a legal notice must be published announcing the intentions for adoption, and someone (I guess the bio father) could then object.
  • A home study is conducted by an agency to assess the prospective parents with regard to: home, relationship, finances, etc. I understand this is a very expensive process, not to mention intrusive.
  • A six month residency requirement where for the first six months of the placement an outside agency assesses to make sure it’s a good match and all is going well.

This all seems pretty ridiculous given:

  1. We used an anonymous sperm donor (and we are so happy none of the KDs worked out).
  2. The baby has been incubated in our home and this will be it’s first home.
  3. NO ONE is taking this baby away from us after six months because it’s not a good fit.

Of course, I knew some if not all of this may be waived given our situation but I was not sure just how. We were relieved to learn that within our court district the judges just about always accept a series of paperwork to prove conception through anonymous sperm, there by eliminating a need to “find the father;” will accept a home study waiver if we complete sixteen thousand pieces of paper detailing all the information normally gathered in a home study; and after doing all this and for obvious reasons, the residency requirement is waived. This is all very good news. Several towns over, the judges are not so accommodating and will not waive these requirements there by forcing same sex parents to not only waste a ton of time as they move through their adoption, but also to shell out significant money on top of the already expensive adoption fee…several.towns.over.people. We’re not talking different states, we’re talking towns. How effed up is that?!

The lawyer indicated if we get all our paperwork done before birth and then we fill in the details (baby’s name, obtain birth certificate, etc.) after the birth, then the latest it would be final would be May! We want it done before we move in July, so this was welcomed news. We questioned her about ensuring A’s legal rights to the child before the adoption is final and she offered us and option that will provide her with emergency legal rights to make decisions on behalf of the baby in the event that anything happens to me. This is a temporary document, good for 60 days. I will sign one soon and continue to resign them as they expire until the adoption is final.

After spending all this time talking about the adoption, we moved into talking about our wills, powers of attorney, and health care proxies. (Can I just say, I feel like a real grown up). This stuff was boring but now we know what we need to do. And we’ll do it. We’ll work with the lawyer to complete the wills and powers of attorney, and we can easily fill out health care proxies on our own. Turns out we won’t finalize the will until the baby is born because once it is born we’d have to update it to include the baby’s name. Waiting saves us an updating fee.

Fees. One thing I really liked about this new lawyer, other than her patience, was that she really seemed to be doing all she could to keep this affordable. She is so well versed in second parent adoption that it does not take much of her time to file the paperwork (her time = our money). She was honest with us about things we can do with out her, and also gave us tips of how to reduce the amount of time she needs to spend on our case – for example if we produce our marriage license and the birth certificate then she won’t bill us for time spent doing these tasks. But if we wanted her to do it she would. Same goes for the health care proxy. We can download the forms for free. Or we can ask her to take care of it all. She was upfront that waiting till after birth for the wills would save money and that waiting to sign the powers of attorney at the same time as the wills will also save money. All very good news, since this is all kind of expensive. In the end we signed a contract with her, and as soon as I send her a check she’ll be on retainer for us and the adoption stuff will officially be underway. Again, to say I have a lawyer on retainer makes me feel really grown up.

So that’s all the good news. We live in a state that has second parent adoption. We have a great lawyer, she’s working with us, it will all be done before the big move, and so on. But I couldn’t help but feel sad as we sat there plotting to ensure A’s legal parental rights to our child. I’ve known we’d go through an adoption, but I’ve always thought of this baby as ours. From the very start, she and I were in this together. We wanted to create our family. We shared all the ups and downs of ttc. And when I got pregnant, she was just as excited as I. She takes care of me when the pregnancy is difficult. Together we’ve prepared our home to welcome this baby. She is with me at every prenatal visit (and was at every insemination – hell she pushed the syringe at every insemination, she got me pregnant). And yet, we have to go through all this extra work and pay a bunch of money just to legalize her rights. Sometimes the law sucks. It sucks that as of this moment, she is a legal stranger to the baby I am carrying. When, she is anything but a stranger to this baby.

Check.

Well it was so much more low-key than I thought it would be. I pictured the lady opening closets and looking under sinks. She walked through the first floor, counting smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. There was more of the same when we went up stairs, except she was also measuring the bedrooms. Her measuring device was soooooo cool. She’d hold it to one wall and a laser beam would show on the opposite wall, and the measurement showed up on the device! I need one of those. With our current configuration we could have seven children, if we moved our bedroom to where it used to be, we could have eight. One or two is just fine with me; I don’t fancy packing them in like sardines.

After touring our home she quickly reviewed her checklist and gave us some ideas for further safety measures. In the end we passed with flying colors. But we can’t start the MAPP classes until what feels like forever- late summer or early fall. Our schedules just don’t mesh with the times they are having the next two sessions (A.’s school and me being away for July). Lucky we’re professionals when it comes to waiting.

I am excited, and a little nervous. Starting this process, and having the visit today made me feel like no matter what, if we want kids, we will have them, even if we don’t carry them. There are kids out there, and we are making our way to them. It’s exciting and overwhelming all at the same time. After trying for so long, there is a part of me that has begun to think about life with out children. Part of me sunk into that idea and with that came more doubt about ever getting pregnant. When you (I) can’t get pg and have no control, you (I) lose hope. Starting the adoption process gives me hope, for the first time in a long time. As long as A or I don’t do anything crazy to get some criminal record, then we will have a child. We will. Do you know that this is the first thing I’ve felt like I have any control over since we started ttc? It is. I’ve felt out of control since September 2005. That’s a long freakin’ time, no wonder I began to lose hope. Now I’ve got a shred of hope back, and of course I still think I’m currently getting knocked up. For 5dpo, I am doing great!

 

A and I are comfortably making our way through the tww. As I tried to sleep the other night I calculated how much time we’ve spent in the tww – this is our 8th try so that’s 16 weeks, or 4 months. Depressing. but we’ve been so caught up in being excited, knowing this is the one, blah, blah blah, that we nearly forgot we have a home inspection tomorrow. Ya know, for that little adoption project we’re working on.

We planned on cleaning today, and also addressing all the the safety regulations the woman will be looking for (cleaning products and medication out of reach, etc.). And completely unrelated we’ve been talking about moving our bedroom into another room. We decided we’d get to all of it today. First we swapped our bedroom and the guest bedroom, and had to redistribute some furniture through all the rooms. Then we decided to take our make shift third bedroom that housed a futon and all of our crap and turn it into a real bedroom and put all the crap in a storage closet (as we did this I felt like when we moved in last summer we just got sick of unpacking and threw the crap into a room and shut the door…). So now our bedroom is in the biggest room and we have two guest rooms (anyone want to come visit?). The second guest room looks like it’s ready for a kid. Hmmm. I hope the home inspector will pick up on this.

I found all our electric outlet covers (from when our nephew would visit) and put them in all the unused outlets. We are going to head out to get some other safety measures today – and some baskets to organize all the crap under our bathroom sinks – I’d die if the lady opened them and saw how we just throw everything in – out of sight out of mind. Once we were done with all the rearranging we started to clean. As A tried to take an outlet cover off to plug in the vacuum she said, “hun, these are really hard to get off.” I replied, “yeah, that’s kind of the point.”

So, the monitor did not peak, my temp went down… last clomid cycle looked the same, so I except a +opk tonight and a peak in the morning with ovulation sometime tomorrow (I am convinced my LH surge comes within 12 hours of ovulation, I am a freak of nature). My MW is on call tomorrow, so she’ll do the IUI if it’s tomorrow, which is so great. But I am not getting too excited yet.

Also…our lady from DSS called to set up our initial safety inspection! She’s coming next Monday!!!! Oh my Goddess! Good thing we just got our carbon monoxide detectors installed last week! Those that have been through this, please tell us what to expect. It’s just the first home inspection, but i have no idea what she’s looking for.

All of a sudden I feel crazy for ttc and pursuing adoption, but I know it’s the best thing for us right now.

Edited to Add:
I POAS just now and a second line is showing up…the surge is on the way!!!! 🙂

The background- I left a message for my mother today asking if she thought it would be okay for me to ask one of our family friends (her best friend) to be our second personal reference for adoption. I had no idea if this person even knows we’re trying and I wanted to get an idea of where I needed to start before calling her.

My mom calls me back.

Mom: Hey, sure it’s fine for you to use H. as a reference I’m sure she’d love it. And yes, she knows you’re trying. You can also use M&E….

Me: We only need two and so far I’ve ask M&P, H. will be the second.

Mom: So you’re going ahead with adoption? Are you still trying?

Me: Yes. We’re going to do both and see what works first.

Mom: I think that’s great! You should absolutely do both. We’re all rooting for you here.

I wonder who ‘we all’ are.

Me: Well that’s the plan.

Mom: So how are you doing the adoption? Is it an agency?

Annoyed because I know I’ve already told her,

Me: We’re using the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, the kids have been in foster care and are legally free for adoption, or close to it.

Mom: Be careful…

Interrupt to inform her,

Me: This is our only adoption option, we simply don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to do private adoption. It’s not an option.

She attempts one more round of knocking this method and I demand this is the only way we can do it. She shuts up and I want to remind her that before I mentioned it was through the State, she was very supportive.

I hate to bitch about my mother because I do love her and she has supported us in so many ways through this journey, but I don’t care to hear her opinions about State adoptions. She is a therapist and knows a lot of shit first hand and I am sure that’s where her concerns are coming from, but I simply can not engage in that conversation with her, not yet.

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. This I knew from a very young age. I also always wanted to be the opposite of my mother, in that I wanted a career. I wanted to wear nice clothes and go to an office everyday. My mother worked from home, and did it so she could be at home with us.

I went to college, searched for a career, and found myself in grad school. I was passionate about what I was studying and became deeply invested. My teachers were some of the very greatest as were my classmates. We were pushed to reach the best we could and my desire for a real career intensified. I still knew I wanted kids, but they were second to my career, and A. spoke of wanting to stay home. That sounded perfect to me, I could have my career and my family. I never gave one thought to staying home. I thought it was a sign of weakness. Why after working so hard would I give it all up just to stay home? I quivered at the idea of a blank period of time on my resume.

After grad school I did a national job search, and A. was willing to go almost anywhere I got a job. We moved to Western MA and once I did start my job I had little time for us. After just two weeks on the job, I went into a six week period of working close to, if not more than 60 hours a week. I don’t think A. knew what she’d signed on for, but she never complained. Each year it’s gotten a little easier, but there is no escaping the busy times when I work till 11:30.

A. believes strongly in each person having “three corners” to balance out their whole being. The corners represent family, self, and work (or something like that). Perhaps this is why she never took issue with me investing ridiculous amounts of time into my studies and later into my work. I step back now and see that I have not invested equally in all areas, and I would say the career corner gets the most of my attention. But I see that changing.

As our journey towards motherhood has begun yet another lap, I am questioning my career goals. Grad school was easy for me. I always heard horror stories about how hard it is. Sure, I was challenged and worked very hard, but they were the two best years of my life, I had so much fun and grew more as a person than I ever had. Likewise, I am good at my job, and am easily successful. So it’s no wonder working satisfies me. It’s something I can control and do well. Trying to get pregnant, well I’ve failed at that. My determined self wouldn’t give up, and kept getting back up to bat, as if I were somehow addicted to the thrill of trying, playing the odds that it may work.

Each cycle that I lost the pregnancy game, I became more and more wedded to mothering, as my work. After trying so hard for so long, and giving so much of myself: emotionally, physically, spiritually, how could I hand my child to a day care provider? I began to understand the meaning of mothering in a way I never had. I’m sure it helped that I witnessed my SIL as a SAHM and the many ways my nephew benefited from this.

As you may imagine my shift from professional career woman, to wanna be stay at home mom was very confusing. I have (had) many strategic plans for my career. My current position would last three to four years, then I’d be ready to move on, this year in addition to working fulltime I’ve been working an internship to position myself for my next move. I have a plan, but now I want to throw the plan out the window.

And then there’s the conference I just returned from. Nothing makes me want my career more than spending five days with 10,000 of my colleagues. How can that not invigorate me? Many of who had their families in tow…I think, see it can be done. I met a woman in a career-mapping workshop and connected immediately. We were both in places of taking the next year to ready ourselves for our next step. Then she tells me she recently found out she’s pregnant, and was upset. You see, she’d tried for a really looooong time, with no success. When it was not working she gave up the idea and redirected her energy to make strategic career plans. Now she’s caught in a place where she can’t decide what she wants, her career or to stay at home.

As difficult as the last 2 ½ years have been, and with all the ups and downs, I can honestly say I am happy that I have not gotten pregnant. I’ve had some amazing twenty-something experiences during this time that I would not trade, could not have had with a child. The time and trials afforded me the chance to really work out what I want from the mothering experience. I am not quite there, but at least know I want to shift my focus, even if just a tad, more on family and less on work. And for the record, I loved that my mom was at home with us. She has an amazingly successful career now, and rarely has time to hang out with us when we go to visit. I know that as a kid, I would not have been able to understand why she’d choose that over me.

I realize I have not addressed the financial side of staying home. I will in a later post. I dream about staying home, but am not sure that it’s even with in our reach. For now, I am enjoying the fantasy, but I think it’s important to address the reality, and the privilege.

Check.

It’s true folks, we’ve completed the application. I called my friends, who adopted through foster care, to ask them to be our personal reference – they were thrilled and honored. We just need to get copies of our birth certificates and marriage license and a photo of ourselves and the application will be totally complete. Holy shit. We’re really doing this. We talked more about ttc while pursuing adoption – we’re not really sure if I’ll keep trying, and I have to say I am really enjoying this break! Part of me is ready to give up the whole pregnancy game and A. is feeling like after being my co-pilot, she may not want to try. I am okay with that. I really am. I am sick of ttc and adoption may be the best thing for us.  Stay tuned…

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