Please note on your readers that I have a new blog: http://nowaystosayit.com.

If you have any questions, you can email me at katieschaber (at) gmail.com.

Thank you for all of your support over the years! xo

Saturday, June 30, 2012

first meeting with the e-mom

To say we were nervous about this meeting is an understatement. The night before, I texted T to make sure the time we were supposed to pick her up was still okay. I never got a response. The worrier in me went to the extreme, of course. Maybe she changed her mind. Maybe she's back in the hospital. Let me tell you something: the waiting after you get matched is five MILLION times worse than it is before you get matched. It's a nightmare. During the week when I'm at work, it's great because I'm busy and I don't have time to think about what's happening. But at night is when I have a hard time not worrying about T and the baby.

So, yesterday morning, I did the next logical thing: I called her. She sounded awful, and I asked her a couple of times if she wanted to reschedule for when she felt better. But she insisted on having us come out. As we got on the highway, the attorney called, and he gave us a little more insight on why she wasn't responsive the day before. I don't want to go into detail to respect her privacy, but he reassured us that everything was fine and that she was looking forward to seeing us.

One thing I love about T is that she's incredibly honest. She told us exactly what happened, even in more detail than she told the attorney, as soon as she got into the car. There's complete transparency there, which reassures us that this will continue to go smoothly.

Lunch was great. I had already spoken with her several times on the phone, so the conversation was easy. There was never once an awkward lull. We let her pick the restaurant for lunch, and she told everyone who asked about her pregnancy that this was our baby. We shared the name we picked out, photos of the nursery, and we took a picture of the pile of baby gifts we'd already received this week. She was so happy to see how LOVED this baby already is. We also brought along a couple of gifts for her younger daughter. Despite her situation, T has such a positive attitude about this. I lost count at how many times she told us how excited she was for us to become first-time parents. It was also crazy to hear how much we all have in common - from our hatred of math and our love for seafood to our favorite colors. Even names and dates in our families match up: her daughter was born the day we got married and her middle name is the same as my mom's and the middle name we chose for the baby.

Our afternoon confirmed for us that she is serious about sticking to the plan. She even texted me this morning, thanking us again for lunch and saying how strongly she felt that she made the right decision by choosing us.

Now? We wait. Yesterday marked five weeks to her due date, but with the baby already weighing over 6 pounds and T's stress level relatively high, labor could happen at any time. We hope that the baby stays in as long as possible for health reasons, but we are also so anxious to meet her. We've waited over four years for this moment. It's hard to believe that it is almost here.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

meeting day

It's just about here. Tomorrow we meet T for the first time - exactly 5 weeks before her due date. Unfortunately, we won't be going with her to the sonogram as originally planned. We'll be taking her to lunch instead. She had a labor scare on Tuesday and went to the hospital. They did a number of tests there (as well as took over 90 photos), so she won't need to go in again tomorrow for more tests.

The good news is that the baby is very healthy. She already weighs over 6 pounds and she looks perfect! We are hoping this is a positive sign and that she'll need little to no time in the NICU after birth.

Any words of encouragement or advice about tomorrow are greatly appreciated. I'll update when I can.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

39 days and counting

It's been a spectacular five days. So spectacular, in fact, that I feel like something is wrong - like someone is going to pinch me at any moment and wake me up from a dream.

We've accomplished a lot since we got the call. We've reserved a spot at daycare, scheduled a meeting with the pediatrician, bought the finishing pieces to the nursery, signed off on all the initial legal paperwork, wrote ginormous checks, and made our leave arrangements with work. I even managed to start my new job amidst all of this, and my head is still attached to my shoulders.

The best news of all: we are definitely going to the next sonogram with the expectant mother (T) on Friday, and the plan is to take her to breakfast after the appointment. I had the chance to speak with her again yesterday on the phone, and it was great conversation. She talked about how excited she and her mom were to meet us. She texted me pictures of her and her two daughters so we could see what our little girl might look like. She even asked me to be in the delivery room with her when she gives birth. I was worried about how I would feel having direct contact with her, but she makes it incredibly easy. We both look forward to finally meeting her on Friday.

Please continue to send good thoughts about T and the baby, especially their health, and stay tuned to my blog this week. I'll be kicking off a book giveaway to help raise money for our adoption fund.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

sticks and stones

By now, most of you have probably heard the story about Karen, the bus monitor. I was a little late catching the video of it (I'll blame my busy week), but I finally watched a portion of it yesterday afternoon. It's over ten minutes long, and I had to turn it off before I even reached the two-minute mark. My mouth hung open the entire time I watched. I couldn't believe what these middle schoolers - KIDS - were spouting off at this poor woman.

Some of the boys and their parents have already issued apologies to Karen, but the story has already gone viral and it's brought attention to an area of bullying that is often overlooked: the bullying of school professionals by children.

Several members of my family are teachers or work within the public school systems around the country. Over the years, the stories they've shared about common pre-teen behavioral problems have turned from silly to violent. Incidents of teachers and other school personnel receiving threats by students, both physical and verbal, never make it past the front office and certainly not to the front page of CNN. The child is often given a slap on the wrist, and then is placed right back in the classroom or other arena where the bullying took place. School administration chalks it up to "that age" while the parents of these children laugh, sometimes to the faces of those bullied.

I think about when I was in middle school, which isn't that long ago. And I think about what would have happened had I said some of the things those boys said in that video, or if I had threatened one of my teachers or administrators. I probably would have been suspended from school, to start. But my punishment at home would have been far more severe. I was raised with the philosophy that you should treat others how you want to be treated. More importantly, I was taught to respect adults. Those standards have failed me at times, I'm sad to admit, but for the most part, I take pride in trying to obey the golden rule.

As a hopeful soon-to-be parent, I can't imagine teaching my child any other lesson than that, and I assume that at least some of these kids were taught similar lessons by their own parents. Surely not every single child on that bus who bullied Karen was raised with no values, right? It certainly didn't seem that way as some of the parents stepped forward, offering heartfelt and mortified apologies at their sons' behavior.

So as much as I worry about my child being bullied by other children, I worry more about teaching her the right values to not bully others. I worry about her caving to the peer pressure of those boys and girls who aren't given those same lessons - succumbing to the masses. I worry about her being kind and respectful toward adults. Because I can give her advice on how to deal with the jokes and the name calling directed at her. But I don't know how I could sort through the emotions on the other side of the fence. There's no justification for treating another person that harshly.

I can't imagine what Karen went through that day on the bus. I admire her composure and her ability to respectfully educate those young boys about their hurtful words. I only hope that the bullies took to heart the lesson she tried to teach them - and that our child will take the heart the similar lesson we try to teach her.

Friday, June 22, 2012

the twilight zone

Thank you all so much for the kind words and congratulations. We are very excited and hopeful that this will go well. Our attorney is prepping the initial set of paperwork for us to sign, and hopefully we'll hear details early next week about our first meeting and attending the ultrasound.

I spent most of yesterday in shock, but the reality of this is finally settling in a bit. We don't have a lot of time - six weeks at most - and we have so much to do: get the money situation settled with the attorney, reserve a spot at the daycare, find a pediatrician, get all of the baby things we need, finish the nursery, meet with HR about taking maternity leave, etc.

Some of you have asked how you can help. Our primary need is assistance with legal fees. You can help by purchasing an item off of our Etsy page or contributing money to our adoption fund (under the "Help Us Adopt" tab at the top of the page). If any money is left over, we will use this money to put into an education IRA for the baby. We're also registered for some items at Amazon.com, Target, and Babies R Us. And we need LOTS of positive thoughts!

I still can't believe this. It's hard to put into words what I'm feeling because it's so new and sudden. I've been less emotional than I expected (I expected to cry non-stop, but I've only cried once), but I'm sure the emotions will kick in at some point. All I know is that, as of now, we're bringing home our daughter in less than two months.

AH.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

the post i've been waiting to write

and I never in a million years thought I would get the chance to write it.

We are matched. She chose us. If everything goes as planned, we'll be parents to a baby girl in about six weeks. She even asked us if we could go with her to her next ultrasound, which is one week from tomorrow.

I've been trying so hard to keep my emotions in check today, but it's difficult NOT to be excited.

I don't even know what else to write, except to ask that all of you please keep her and the baby in your thoughts these next six weeks.

And thank you. Thank you for being there for us during this long and difficult wait. We appreciate the love, the support, and the continued positivity - even when we weren't positive at times.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

stuck at the top

Infertility is a roller coaster. So is adoption, and so is every separate adoption situation. This situation has to be one of the most nerve-wracking roller-coaster rides I've ever been on.

I don't know what to write - mostly because I still don't know what's going on. The attorney finally reached the expectant mother yesterday. She didn't speak to the other couple over the weekend either, but said she was still interested in speaking with both of us. The attorney asked her to get back to him on the best times for us to arrange a call late yesterday. It's now nearly 48 hours after they spoke and we've heard nothing. We assume this means that he didn't hear back from her or can't reach her again. I tried contacting the attorney's office this afternoon, but no one answered.

It's hard to know what to think. If I had to guess what's happening, I think she's probably scared to make a decision - which is why she's pushing this off. I think the attorney is getting that vibe, too, because he told her she needs to buckle down and make a choice soon (the baby is due in six weeks, and she still wants to meet the couple she chooses at least once before she gives birth).

People keep asking me how I feel, and what can I say? It sounds horrible, but I want it to end. Regardless of what she decides, I just want the limbo to be over so we can move forward.

I used to love roller coasters before we started trying to adopt. Now they just remind me of this feeling: the one where your stomach is stuck in your throat and you can't get it out. Unfortunately, on this particular ride, the operator has left the stand, which leaves my stomach permanently in my throat.

All I can do is hope that the operator returns soon. Until then, I just shut my eyes tight, try not to cry, and silently repeat to myself, "I. Want. Off."

Sunday, June 17, 2012

yesterday

Yesterday sucked.

We were scheduled to contact the expectant mother at 2:30. We called. She didn't answer, so I left a message with our contact number and ended the message with, "We really look forward to speaking with you!" We thought that maybe she just got caught up with something and would give us a call back.

Two hours later, it became apparent that the phone wasn't going to ring. It took another two hours before I finally lost it. I had a complete breakdown, and then composed myself long enough to write an email to the paralegal explaining that she didn't take our call.

We are disappointed. We are trying desperately to stay hopeful. Maybe she just got nervous. Maybe she had a family emergency and can't get to the phone. But, of course, I can't help but think of the worst case scenario: that she already spoke with the other family and decided to choose them without speaking to us, too.

I'll know more tomorrow morning once the attorney's office opens. For now, we wait. And we hope that this isn't the worst case scenario.

Friday, June 15, 2012

c-r-a-z-y

I didn't think that things could get any crazier than last week.

I was wrong.

This week, I was interviewed by a major news publication about my experience with infertility. I was also officially offered my new position - a promotion - at work. And then the icing on the crazy cake: I got a phone call earlier this afternoon from the attorney's office. The expectant mother can't decide between us and another couple. She favors the other couple a bit because they've adopted before, but she wants to speak with both of us before deciding. So, we have a phone call to make tomorrow afternoon.

Aside from "please don't die of a heart attack before the phone call," does anyone have any ass-vice for us? Our only advice to ourselves is to BE ourselves.

Someone pass the wine. It's going to be a long weekend.

Monday, June 11, 2012

distancing and disconnecting

Last week, one of my friends at work brought up the adoption process and asked how I was feeling during our wait with this current situation. This was several days after we'd decided to have our profile presented for this current situation and about a day after we declined to have our profile shown to a different expectant mother. I'm very open with everyone about what we've been through and what we're currently going through when it comes to IF/adoption. So when the subject of profiling came up, I didn't hold back in explaining how difficult deciding over each scenario can be.

The past seven months have taught me a lot about patience, and not just in the sense of waiting for "the call." They've also taught me patience in dealing with all of the other phone calls we receive throughout this process. I never expected it to be easy to read about an expectant mother and then make a choice over whether she can or can't look at our profile; yet, I also never expected to get emotional about it. And this is where the other aspect of patience comes into play. It's simple to fall into the trap of desperation - to think, "We've waited so long, we might as well go for it." It's another thing to distance yourself from the situation and then make the decision.

Take for example a "profile" we received last week of an expectant mother. We received it because the situation was so dire, so difficult to place, that the agency was reaching beyond its own PAPs (potential adoptive parents) to find a suitable match. It was an incredibly sad situation. Did I feel for this woman? Yes. Her story was devastating and difficult to read. But I also knew that we would not be able to handle a child with these needs. So we declined to have our profile presented.

Make no mistake: the expectant mother's decision is far more difficult than ours. However, it's not easy trying to decide whether you want to (or can) pursue a situation. I don't think most people realize how emotional trying the process is - especially if you're an emotional person to begin with, or you're enduring the emotional process of infertility. You want a BABY. Trust me, I know this because I want one, too. You are willing to do almost anything to make that happen. Yet there comes a point in time when you have to say no. You have to think with your head just as equally with your heart, weigh the risks and the benefits, and make those tough choices.

What I told my friend at the end of our conversation is what I'll tell all of you - whether you're thinking about adoption or are currently in the waiting process, please make sure you are always honest with yourself. Know what you can handle and know what you can't. Those lines may bend and blur for certain scenarios, and they may not for others. But make sure you set those lines at the beginning.

I want to take home every baby on the planet. But we can't. It's impossible. We can't put ourselves out there for every situation, and if that means we wait longer, then so be it. I'd rather be the last woman in the waiting room and feel comfortable with my decision than feel as though I was forced into something because I didn't want to wait anymore. The waiting sucks. But I'll hold on as long as I can manage, until my child finds me.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

thursday's (random) thoughts

1. Floridian gripe: I know we need the rain because of the brush fires. But I'm tired of it. It makes me sleepy and cranky. All I want to do is stay in bed all day, but that's not possible (you know, because of the whole work thing). The rain is just a giant tease for lazy days I can't have.

2. All I want to eat is a grilled cheese. I blame the rain.

3. Last thing about the rain: I need it to stop so that I can run when I get home from work. This whole running-my-first-half-marathon-in-February thing isn't gonna happen if I can't run at least every other day. (Please don't suggest waking up early to run. I'll smack you through the computer.)

4. I took some time off at the beginning of July, six day to be exact, to go visit my sister-in-law in Knoxville. I am super excited for the chance to get away for a sisters weekend. Woo! Also happening in July: my awesome friend PCOSChick and her hubs are coming down to Orlando for a weekend.

5. Is anyone else excited about the Olympics? I get all giddy and patriotic when it's time for the Olympics - especially the summer games. If you love the Olympics, I want to hear about your favorite sports! Mine are gymnastics, swimming, and track and field.

6. What's the deal lately with people eating other people and/or people chopping up other people? Where is this coming from?

7. The items on our Etsy site are going to expire next month. Go purchase something. It's a great deal: you get a hand-crafted item, and we get money to bring our future baby home. Whenever that's going to happen.

8. Danica's been having issues with overheating lately. We're taking her to the vet on Saturday for her yearly check-up, and we're hoping that they can give us some answers as to why our poor girl gets out of breath so easily. I'm sure everything is fine, but I still worry about her.

9. We finally started watching Mad Men this week. I'd never seen an episode before, and now I'm totally hooked. What a great show. Thankfully, the seasons only last like 12 episodes, so it shouldn't take us too long to catch up.

10. I need to stop listening to depressing music with this weather (there I go again about the rain).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

the clock ticks

It's going to be a long week. Or two.

Our profile is being presented along with three others, but unfortunately, we won't know anything until late next week at the earliest. I don't have a feeling either way about this situation. It's a good scenario, but I'm not letting it get into my head that this is "the one" for us. I've done that too many times, and I've had to learn how to distance myself from the situation. We'll see what happens. If she picks us, great. If not, we need to move on.

My update on the job situation is similar: I don't know anything, and I have no idea when I will know.

Mentally and emotionally, this week is a little better. I had a long weekend, and although I spent much of it working on freelance projects and a test project for the potential new job, I still had the chance to decompress a little. I feel like I'm doing a lot better on letting go of things that I can't control, and trying to move forward with my life. It's an active, constant process, but I feel like this is that sense of resolution I've achieved with my infertility crossing over to other aspects of my life.

That's pretty much all I have going on - adoption changes, work changes, and trying my hardest to keep balanced (aka not get anxious) about everything that's happening.

One day at a time. That's all I focus on anymore.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

when you need hope most

Last weekend was a nice break. We went over to the Tampa/Clearwater area for a couple of days to celebrate our anniversary and Joey's birthday, which was Saturday. We visited the Dali museum, spent a little time at the beach, and just relaxed. It wasn't long enough, it never is, but it was better than sitting around the house moping.

Then there was this week. What a mix of emotions. I started the week feeling completely lost, and ended it with surprises: an interview for a promotion at my job and an adoption situation our attorney is presenting us for late next week.

There's no guarantee that either will pan out, but it's nice to know that - even when you feel like you're at the end of your rope - it take too long for that tiny glimmer of hope to reappear.