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Friday, June 28, 2013

Working Toward Finalization

I'm sure you know it, but the adoption process doesn't end when the baby comes home. In Indiana it takes 5-6 months to finalize.

We are in the middle of a private domestic infant adoption (Recap: We did not use an agency to be matched. Isaiah's birth mom contacted us directly.). The process we're going through to adopt Isaiah is split into two in my mind. Before and after.

Before Isaiah was born we had to:
  • Contact an attorney to seek advice on how to proceed.
  • Contact the social services agency our attorney suggested.
  • Fill out hours worth of paperwork.
  • Contact trusted friends to explain our situation and ask for references.
  • Send in application with non-refundable application fee.
  • Get digitally fingerprinted.
  • Get certified background checks.
  • Turn in requested financial documents.
  • Meet with our social worker for the first two hour meeting in her office. Second payment due.
  • Fill out "homework" sheet with lots of open ended questions about our early lives.
  • Meet with our social worker for the second two hour meeting in her office. Third payment due.
  • Fill out "homework" sheet with lots of questions about the pending adoption.
  • Meet with our social worker for the third two hour meeting at our house. Final payment due.
  • Wait for the final report stating we're approved to adopt.
During that time I was also meeting with Isaiah's birth mom to go to her doctor's appointments, and she met with our attorney so he could explain the process to her. We also met with his birth dad so that he could meet us and feel comfortable knowing that we are good people. We pulled together a nursery, had a couple of baby showers, and held our breath that nothing would change.
After Isaiah was born, we:
  • Signed papers with our attorney 24 hours after Isaiah was born.
  • Forked over serious coin.
  • Isaiah's adoption was opened with the court. An emergency custody order was granted to us and we took him home from the hospital. We live in the same area, so a hotel stay like most adoptive parents go through was not required.
After we went home:
  • We had to have an in home visit with our social worker at 2 months. Payment due.
  • We have to have an in home visit with our social worker at 4 months. Payment due.
  • Our attorney files our finalization paperwork after the report comes out from the 4 month visit.
  • Between 5-6 months we will finalize the adoption and Isaiah's name will legally be Isaiah instead of "Infant Male." Final payment due.
The first two months of Isaiah's life were very unmonitored. It truly felt like we were on our own to just be the three of us. We didn't have to fill out paperwork, make phone calls or anything. Even the "after" meetings with our social worker were more relaxed than they were during the home study process. I only heard from our social worker once between our 2 and 4 month meetings, and that was a message telling me Happy Mother's Day. She's so sweet.

Now, we're waiting for our finalization hearing. The very last step! We've been told that our hearing will be in early August, just shy of the 6 month mark. I can't begin to tell you how excited it makes me to be completely finished with the legalities. Isaiah is excited too.

How did you celebrate your Adoption Day?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

If I Knew Then...

Even though I am a mom now, I'm also still a card carrying member of the infertility crowd. Infertility is hard. Personally, I think going to the OB/GYN is hard enough, but multiply that by the times you have to go for your non-annual appointment and you start to feel, well, kind of, open for business. If you're struggling with infertility, I'm sorry. It's a sucky place to be. Hopefully you don't have a long road ahead of you, but if you do, these tips might make things a little easier.

I want to share with you some of the tips those of us with experience have collected that may help you if you're just beginning on this journey. They're things we wish we had known in the beginning.
  • Ask the clinic if their lab/bloodwork hours listed are up to date. These seem to change frequently for some reason. Ask if you need an appointment for the lab or if you just walk in.
  • Ask exactly what you're supposed to do when AF makes her appearance. Also make sure to ask what day 1 looks like. Some say first day of bright red blood, others say first day of heavy flow.
  • Have a list of your questions to ask when you get someone on the phone. It's hard to get someone in the first place, so make good use of the person you finally get.
  • Don't buy digital pregnancy tests! They are expensive, and I think we all collectively agree, seeing the words "not pregnant" is more painful than not seeing a line.
  • An ultrasound is not how it appears in the movies. There is no jelly on the belly and an exciting picture on the screen. They're going to do the ultrasound by putting the wand up in your business and the picture will be hard to recognize anything.
  • A baseline ultrasound (the very beginning of your cycle) is done while you're bleeding. So there's that.
  • Communication with your insurance company is key. Not all states require coverage, and the ones that do have coverage often have limitations. Find out what you're getting into first so you know how you'll proceed. Another note: in my case, PCOS was covered by insurance, so I was caught off guard when suddenly nothing was covered when we started seeing the RE. My insurance offers zero coverage for infertility, so that is something I wish I had known before I was paying out of pocket for an ultrasound.
  • Communication with the billing office of your doctor's office is also key. It's often a bummer to talk to them, but it's necessary.
  • You cannot be over prepared for an appointment. Take too much with you. I always took my folder that contained every bit of paperwork I had with me. Just. In. Case. Often my doctor didn't have the info from my last appointment, and when I switched doctors they didn't have everything right on hand. More often than not my doctor would look at my copy of records instead of his own.
  • Wear socks! Stirrups are cold.
  • Talk to someone. Infertility is a very emotional process, and no two people experience it the same. Cut yourself some slack and don't be too prideful. It's hard and it sucks.
Do you have any tips to add?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Top Five Worst

My friend Bailie who lives in Sweden is lucky enough to spend her summer traveling and has asked me to write a guest post for her. It went up on her blog a few days ago, but I wanted to share it here and also direct you to her blog because, well, it's awesome and interesting. As someone who would love to live anywhere else but doesn't have the nerve to do it, I love reading about life in a different country. Check her out.

Top Five Worst:

I have lots of ideas for my "Top Five Worst" list. I actually have any given number of this list in my head at any given time.

Top Five Worst Unidentifiable Stains?
Top Five Worst Ways to Spend the Next Five Minutes?
Top Five Worst Gas Station Bathrooms?
Top Five Worst Phrases I've Ever Heard?

But my favorite worst of all time, is Pinterest.

I have a love/hate relationship with Pin (that's the affectionate name my bff and I use). It is a great place to go if you want to get inspiration to do almost anything in the world that you can basically never attain.

Sorry, but it's true. You're never going to live here (by you, I mean everyone else besides me and you. Eventually we will live in houses like this):

But I better get started here.

The Top Five Worst Reasons To Get On Pinterest
(These are all from my personal boards. If you're interested in all things ridiculous, I'm angiyt)

5. To find clothes to buy.
Are you aware what happens to clothes on Pinterest? It's where they go to die. As soon as an item of clothing makes it to Pin, it's done. Everything cute is either already sold out, on backorder, or is being sold from a country that eBay won't even ship from. Good luck, and no thanks.

4. To lose weight.
I have this really awesome fitness board, and as you see, if you pin something more than once you lose twice the weight. None of these motivational quotes have made me push away from the computer and say "you know! I should run! Now!" P.S. I don't even like running.

3. To get ideas for redecorating.
Like I said before, chances are these houses will only happen if you win an amazing vacation from the Ellen Show and they're part of the resort. I would bet that none of us will actually have a wine cellar under our kitchen island. Heck, I'd be happy with a kitchen island.

2. To get ideas for your new haircut.
Look at this mess. None of these women have my hair type, and I have 67 different types of cut on here. But to be fair, 66 of them are Jennifer Aniston.

1. To find something for dinner.
Yeah. Right. We've all done this. Oh? Dinner, you say? You get stuck on pin so long that you start to believe that this is a suitable dinner. Oh, who am I kidding. I'll go to my fitness board and work it off anyway.

What do you find most ridiculous about Pin?

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dating My Husband

It is hard for me to use a babysitter. We have this well established schedule, and I would give up an incredible amount of free time in order to ensure we get a full night of sleep. I don't just mean a babysitter -- it's hard for me to let our moms watch him. It isn't that I don't think they're capable; I just don't like being away from him.

When Isaiah was first born we tried everything to keep him happy. The funniest part is, he was, and has always been, an incredibly happy baby. We discovered one day that he loved to listen to B.B. King. Around that time I saw a billboard advertising that B.B. was coming to our area. Josh's mom heard about it and said she wanted to send us on a date as long as she could babysit. How could we refuse? (Side note: he is 87 years old and still performing. He is incredible.)

I know of a few books that I was interested to read about how to keep your marriage strong after a baby. I haven't gotten around to that yet, but I'm certain all of those books say to continue dating your spouse. Here and there we've gone out to dinner or to a movie, but this was our first official planned date night.

Anyhow, as hard as it is to leave Isaiah, I know it's good for us to have time alone. Josh has been working like crazy since I quit my job (he's such a wonderful man) and we haven't really seen much of each other lately (sleeping doesn't count). And it's also good for Isaiah to spend time with his grandparents. Everyone wins. But it is still hard, because I miss him so much while we're gone. It also serves as a reminder to me that sometimes it's alright to let go of the schedule I have a firm grasp on and relax a little. I try so hard to not be rigid in planning, but sometimes it just happens naturally.

Two of Isaiah's favorite things: Sesame Street and B.B. King

What do you do with your time away from your little one?

Friday, June 7, 2013

Bonding and Adoption

I was so concerned about bonding before Isaiah was born. I had heard everything you have: bonding begins in pregnancy, bonding continues through placing the baby on the new mom's chest directly after birth (Kangaroo care), and bonding continues through breastfeeding.

We had none of that, and going into it, I knew we wouldn't. Induced lactation has become one of those things people see and develop strong opinions about. Birth moms aren't typically in favor of the adoptive mom inducing lactation, and in my instance, I didn't feel comfortable with it either.

I started to panic that my voice, my touch, and everything about me would be completely foreign to my brand new baby. And it was, but it all turned out fine regardless.

When Isaiah was first born, he was taken immediately to a crib away from his birth mom, at her request. He was tested there with us by his side the whole way. I can say that we both instantly fell in love with him as he stuck his bottom lip out at us, but we were also in shock.

I questioned myself a lot in the hospital. I worried I was doing something wrong by taking him home with us. I worried he wouldn't ever eat because he wasn't interested in eating for me, but he would eat tons for his birth mom. I worried about being an instant mom - no physical pain involved.

And now, only three months later, I can tell you that I was wrong about everything. I don't know that I could be bonded with Isaiah any more. He is my son. I am his mom. I don't have any biological children, but I can't imagine ever loving anyone any more than I love him. Not to say that I will love other children any less, but there isn't any other way to explain to you that there is no part of my love that is being withheld from him.

He eats formula. He has a different birth mom. He didn't get skin-to-skin immediately following birth.

But he eats like a little pig for me. He knows my voice, and he is always happy to see me. Without having any words, I know he loves me. I know we're bonded. I know I don't have anything to feel guilty about.

So if you feel down because you had to use formula for one reason or another, or if you weren't able to immediately hold your LO after birth, just relax. Everything is going to be just fine.

The thing a baby truly needs, is love.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Three Months

I don't have any stats for Isaiah because we didn't have a doctor's appointment this month. We go next month to get his four month shots and I'll have stats then!

Isaiah loves to eat, but I think he sometimes forgets about it. He will go an exceptionally long time between bottles, but I keep telling myself that he'll let me know when he's hungry. He cut himself down a bottle, so for about two weeks he wasn't eating as much. I started adding ounces to the bottles though, even though his doctor told me I should feed him less ounces more frequently, and he's fine.

We're getting an excellent routine going. He eats his last bottle and usually falls asleep within an hour, and he goes to bed and wakes me in the morning. I haven't made the transition to crib yet, but that is mostly because of the spit up. The Rock N Play keeps him inclined so we cut down on it. I'm mentally ready to try it though; I'm just waiting for the spit up to slow.

Umbilical Hernia:
It's going down! The bump is still there, but I think it looks smaller. It's still soft and in the "nothing to worry about" category.

New this month:
Isaiah loves to lay on his tummy. We weren't doing very well with nap time until I started letting him take naps on his tummy. He pushes himself up to his elbows and he's started "talking" so much more. We had one roll over, but the angle he was laying at may have helped him a bit. He hasn't been rolling since.

Isaiah loves just about anything besides being burped. He will stare and cry at his bottle the whole time it sits on the table during burping. Also, he isn't particularly friendly with women with spiky hair.

As Parents:
Taking care of Isaiah is getting easier, but being home is getting a little harder. I quit my job to stay home with Isaiah, and it is a lot different than just being on leave. I'm having a difficult time finding balance, but I know it will come with time. We got our court date for Isaiah's final adoption hearing, so we're excited for that. We're ready to get that all over with.

Here are my two favorite videos of him talking:


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