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Posing with my guys. Where’s Wayne?

25 Jan

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So yeah…. 2013

6 Jan

Hi. A friend just pointed out to me that it has been almost a year since I have updated this blog. In one respect, I was a little annoyed. On the other hand, I thought, at least someone looked at it. I am starting to wonder about the wisdom of blogs. Does anybody read random blogs? Do we only read blogs when celebrities write them? Are blogs really just self-indulgent, ego trips? You know, is assuming anybody actually gives a hoot what is happening to you on a daily basis just givign ourselves way too much credit? Do I actually have deep thoughts and all that? Is it okay to enter your latest steps in adoption if you really aren’t sure what is happening anymore?

Well… I will check back here in a week. If there were 3 or more “hits” (yep, my expectations are LOW — haha) since today, I will write another entry with something in it. As a teaser… I did have to give more LifeBooks to my lawyer because he ran out of the first set I had made.

I’ll let you know next week.

Aside

The Challenge…

8 Mar

The Challenge:

Keep looking forward. Say it again… Keep looking forward. I am still hoping to adopt an infant or very young child. It really does get difficult to keep wishing and hoping because the journey is long, and it is often very quiet. A friend reminded me that quiet will be very rare once I bring a little one home, but I welcome the noise and chaos. Last week, I went to the mall and stopped for a few minutes at the indoor playground. It was a rainy day outside, so every parent within 50 miles seemed to have the same idea: the mall! Chaos, crying, pushing… and waiting.

There it is. Waiting. This little boy climbed on top of the squishy tree trunk and looked eager to jump down — even though it was probably still a bit too high for him. Then he noticed three other kids waiting to climb to the top of that pretend tree. Oh, don’t get me wrong; there was nothing fake about the challenge that he recognized in their faces. One after another, little kids climbed to the top, only to find themselves sliding down that slippery little tree. Again and again they fell until finally the challengers moved on to a new goal. Now you know what happens next, true yet ever predictable story, the King of the Tree urchins gave up his seat of honor. But I give him credit for giving up on his own terms. He waited. He waited to jump. He waited to defend his position. During the wait to jump, I can only imagine how much farther the ground seemed from him. I can relate to fear. And as long as he felt the challenging glances of his frenemies, he waited for victory. Now, it is safe to assume he eventually jumped because it was no longer a fun game without any challengers. After his wait, he did go on to find new games, and he seemed to be having just as much fun.

So, thanks little-kid-at-the-mall. Thanks for reminding me that waiting is all part of life.

Keeping Hope?

11 Feb

It seems “adopting hope” is pretty easy. Keeping hope, on the other hand, is more of a challenge. I have not posted in months because there has not really been much to post. I’ve continued to hand out postcard after postcard, and I even made some trifold brochures to help spread the word of my hopes to adopt. The only calls I have gotten on my adoption phone have been from telemarketers, though, and so the special ringtone no longer makes my heart jump like it did at first. I still can’t imagine what I will say the first time it rings for real, but I hope I find out soon.

I have been enjoying daily life, adjusting to new kids at school, volunteering in the nursery at church again, and going to concerts and the Lake. As for the adoption front things have been slow on the good days. It seems as if I have been pursing this forever, but from other blogs of people hoping to adopt I know that I am just at the beginning. So at this writing, I am renewing my faith and choosing to continue to move forward. 

Yet again, I would ask that if you know anyone who has made the difficult decision to place her baby with an adoptive family, please forward my blog, cards, and videos to her. 

APPROVED!!!

17 Sep

Well, I had my court hearing with the Probate Magistrate, and everything was great. I was oddly a little nervous since I have never been in a courtroom before, so Aunt Mel came to offer her support. Along with my terrific attorney, Thomas Tanneff, and a social worker there to observe, the judge asked me some questions, shared some advice and a cute story, and wished me the best of luck. Literally… if someone asked me today to care for her baby and agree to adopt, I am legally approved to welcome the baby into my home. I’m not exactly sure how that would work (maybe it still takes a day or so?) but I know that the baby would not end up spending days or weeks in foster care, a hospital, or state institution. He or she would quickly be in a nice, safe (and really cute) crib. The nursery, diapers, sterilized bottles, books, toys, clothes, swing, bouncy chair, clothes, and car seat are set up and waiting. All I would need to buy would be formula and/or baby food (since you can’t buy that ahead since it expires after awhile).

So……….. if you or someone you know has made the difficult but loving decision to make an adoption plan for their baby, send them to my blog or have them give me a call.  Thanks!

FAQ: Where have you been???

6 Aug

I see it has been since early July that I posted, but it is not mere procrastination that has kept me from posting. Shortly after my last post, my mom went in for a triple bypass heart repair. She spent 14 days in Hamot Hospital in Erie, and I just cannot say enough about how great the nurses there treated my mom and our family. They were knowledgeable, attentive, compassionate, proactive, and always aware of mom’s condition and needs. After the 14 days, I moved in to help care for my mom so she would not have to go to a “rehab facility” (aka nursing home). She is doing great, and I am so grateful to have had the time to help.

On the adoption front, I have my court date next week to get my final approval for adoption. My homestudy went great, and the social worker was fantastic, thorough, and actually really helpful. The homestudy will be active for 2 years, and then if I still want to adopt, I can apply to update my homestudy. So, I am going to get back on track with updating the blog now.

Lessons From Fatima

7 Jul

At the Montezuma Conference, they had these amazing students, from all over the world, who were running the hotel and dorms at the workshop. Abuu from (can’t remember where in Africa) was amazing, and when I said something about his being very intelligent to get accepted to the United World College high school, he informed that he was “not so smart. There are lots of reason kids get in here. For me, everyone in my country takes a test, and you only have to score in the top 100 to get to apply to UWC. I am not so smart.”    🙂  Really Abuu? You are amazing!

But FATIMA won my heart.

This does not really have to do with my adoption journey, but I have had a discouraging week of telemarketers calling my adoption phoneline, and a very angry man who wanted to make sure I knew what a horrible person I am. Sooooooo… I need to refocus on the positive and amazing lesson Fatima taught me. If you need a pick me up, read on.

Fatima is a young lady from Afghanistan who is studying high school in America. It is difficult to communicate with her family because they are in one of the most dangerous areas of Afghanistan. She mentioned that last year it was difficult to focus on schooolwork because she was always crying, wondering if her family was still alive. Okay… that alone puts dealing with a grumpy guy in perspective. My life rocks!

Anyway, Fatima wants to get her education and then return to Afghanistan so she can help improve her country. She said, “I must go back because I cannot expect anyone to care about my country. I can’t ask anyone to do anything if I am not willing to do it for my own country.” My friend Maureen mentioned that her son Ben, a Marine officer, just returned from Afghanistan, and Fatima acknowledged that they depend on the soldiers to keep things from getting worse and to keep the negative forces from regaining control, but that they really could not do anything to make things better. Improvement, she said, had to happen from the Afghan people themselves. This very brave young woman said, “I could be killed when I go back, but I have to try to make it better. Who else will do it if I don’t?” Wow!  I wish I could say I were as selfless as she!

Then, Fatima really spoke to my students when she said, “Kids can do so much. They just have to believe they can make a difference. You have to have confidence that you can do something.” She speaks from experience. The International Baccalaureate students must complete 50 hours each of community service, action, and creativity as part of their schooling programme (150 hours each year!). Fatima did this even before she was required for IB. At only 17 years old, she organized a medical evacuation for 40 critically injured or medically fragile Afghan children. I won’t get all the details exact, but basically, this young girl found funding and helped organize transportation and medical aid so that 40 children, who would have otherwise died, could come to the United States for medical treatment that was unavailable to them in their country.

We are very blessed to have great medical facilities, and there were many doctors and private citizens who helped to save 40 lives. What they have in common is Fatima, a young girl herself, who is willing to risk her life to improve and extend the lives of total strangers. Whatever your political beliefs (and aren’t we so blessed to be able to all have such varied and individual opinions?) you must feel better knowing that there are Fatima’s out there, ready to lead our world into the future. She lives in the midst of one of the most hopeless situations imaginable, yet she continues to hope and continues to do what she can to make the world a better place.

So… my connecting thought… No matter how hopeless or discouraging a situation may be for you right now, take a lesson from Fatima: go forward confidently, doing whatever you can to make things better.  THERE IS HOPE!

(And as @Pauley Perrette from #NCIS says, “don’t let the turkeys get you down!”)

FAQ2: What’s Up With This Card?

2 Jul

Hello again. Another frequent questions is “Ummmm… so what am I supposed to do with this card?”

It’s really simple actually; the postcards are just a way to spread the word that I am hoping to adopt. Thus the catchy phrase, “Hoping To Adopt.” Most people first look really surprised and say, “Whoa… I don’t want to adopt!” After I explain that I, Jennifer, am looking to adopt, they relax a little. Then it comes down to active networking. It’s like the old-time shampoo commercial about “they told two friends, and so on, and so on…” I give a card or two in the hopes that you will give it to someone, anyone really, and ask them to check out my blog and pass along the card.

In adoption circles, these cards are actually called “Pass-a-longs” and they are more common than I ever imagined. People hoping to adopt are just hoping that one of their cards will somehow end up in the hands of a woman facing an unexpected or crisis pregnancy. It is an effort to connect those of us who very much want to be parents with those who are not in a position to raise a child at this time in their lives. The greatest number of referrals for adoption come through hair dressers and stylists — think about it: they talk to people ALL day long, and people tell their stylist everything. After that come school counselors, police officers, fire fighters, and healthcare personel such as Labor and Delivery nurses and hospital social workers. OBGYN’s, people at church, pastors, your barista, or even a stranger on the street just might be that one person who happens to know someone who is looking for options.  

My hope is that my card will in turn offer hope to someone who is not able to actively parent her baby but who loves her baby so much that she is willing to find a loving family for her baby.

 

EDIT & ADDENDUM: Please if you can post my card in a PUBLIC or COMMUNITY Message board, feel free to do so. Just make sure it is a place that permits popsting, such as the commmunity boards at Starbucks and BW3.

I have even asked at a few places that seemed to be allowing people to leave their business cards on the counter, and so far all have been willing to let me leave a few cards. The only place I have discovered to be strictly off limits is the magazine rack thingies at reststops (where they have those free coupon books, I think), so please do not put any in there. Thanks again. I really appreciate any and all of you who are willing and able to help spread the word in whatever wy you are comfortable.

Montezuma’s Castle New mexico..home of the World College jigsaw puzzle

25 Jun

Montezuma’s Castle New mexico..home of the World College jigsaw puzzle.

Here is a fun puzzle of the Montezuma Castle where I stayed for IB training.

Don’t forget to read my blog post below about the castle. 🙂

‘Don’t Panic. It’s The Altitude

25 Jun

I just returned home from a week in the mountains of New Mexico’s Montezuma Castle. Friends and I from work went for a conference on teaching International Baccalaureate English.  Three or more times a day, we trekked up hundreds of stairs (or occassionally just hiked a trail) to the castle. At the top, even the most fit of the group would struggle for breath and wish for an “oxygen bar”. Feeling a bit defeated one day as I struggled harder than usual, my super fit roomie on the trip graciously said, “Don’t panic. It’s the altitude.”

Altitude and Adoption? Really? The link is almost too obvious! Of course climbing those same stairs, over and over, day after day, is just a big metaphor for pursuing my dream of motherhood. We climed that mountain each time because we knew at the top was a fabulously extravagant meal served in this outrageously cool dining room (complete with 2 incredibly valuable Chihulay Art sculptures). The metaphor of course is that hoping to adopt is a huge, uphill climb. Every day, I climb the same stairs over and over (passing out my cards, telling anyone who will listen my story, answering crank calls on my adoption phone line…), but I don’t give up because what is at the top is worth the climb.

Even when the “altitude” of my journey leaves me gasping for air (that literally happens more than you might think), I continue to climb, one step at a time, because it is worth it. I can’t even put in words how much I want to be a Mom. If you are a parent, you already know. If you aren’t, I guess it could compare to that feeling of falling in love with your “soulmate” or perfect partner. I know that there is a baby out there (probably not even born yet) who needs me as much as I need him or her. When we meet, it will be love at first sight. I know this because I already love this baby more than anything in the world, and we have not even met. There is so much I want to give to a child, so I continue to climb those same stairs several times a day.

Anyway, hopfully some of my recent visitors will be from contacts I made on that trip. From my classmates and teachers, to the hundreds of people I met on the airplanes, to possible contacts I made through strategic placement of my cards throughout airports and Santa Fe. However you got here… WELCOME. Please continue to return. It helps.

Upcoming Topics: 1) A New FAQ:”  What can I do that would help?” or “What should I do with this card?” ; 2) Lessons from Fatima;  3) What can I give a child? ; and 4) One World