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Archive for March, 2007

Parenting choices

I’ll never say never when it comes to parenting because what you think you might or might not do might be quite different when you have a real life child in the midst.  And there is plenty of advice around, lots of books to read and specialists weighing in on issues.  But I plan to go with the way my mother parented, good old common sense and lots of advice from mom.  My mother is one of those, you know the kind, the kind your friend had and everyone wanted.  She’s not really the “cool” mom, but she was the best mom.  The kind of woman who was just destined to become a mother.  She got married right out of highschool (like a week) so she was 18 and 19 when she had my brother.  At the time they lived with my Dad’s parents becuase he was going to college.  So my mom not only had her mother-in-law, but her grandmother-in-law giving advice – talk about a nightmare for a new mom.  I’m sure made mistakes, I’m sure there were times she needed advice, but as I’ve watched her with my nieces and nephew and friend’s children, she just knows what to do.  All the time, it seems.  She’s always told me I’m one of those women, the natural mothers and I certainly feel it to some degree when I’m with children, but of course, I’m not a mother yet, so the jury is still out.  But as I’ve purused the internet and books for all things baby, I’ve come across some hot issues in parenting right now and here are my opinions.  Feel free to disagree…on your own blog.  😉

Breastfeeding – I think you’d be hard pressed to find women these days who are against this, it just seems that we’ve finally come to acknowledge that it’s the best thing for children.  In the adoption community, there are many women who have induced lactation and breastfed their adoptive children.  They often need forumla to supplement, but their child is getting the benefits from breastmilk and they are bonding with their new mother.  I haven’t made any firm decisions on whether or not I’ll try to induce lactation.  When we get further into the process, I intend to discuss this with my doctor.  I certainly would love to be able to do this, but I’m leaving this decision for later.

 Spanking – I think my mother-in-law thinks I’m nuts, well, not really nuts, but I think she’s waiting to see how I manage because I am not a believer in spanking.  I don’t think it’s abuse, well, it can be, but my parents spanked (sparingly) and I wasn’t abused, but I also have seen effective discipline without spanking.  So while DH and I don’t intend to spank we do intend to discipline.  Consistency, consistency, consistency.

Co-sleeping – This is so popular now and there are many fine arguments for the family bed.  We will not be having the family bed at our house.   I’m sure some of you are laughing and saying to yourself, “yeah, but just wait until you’re on your 10th night of barely any sleep and the only way to get any is to let the baby snuggle up against you.”  It’s a valid argument, but I just don’t agree with it.  That’s not to say I think the people who do it are bad, we all make our own decisions.  But I watched my sister do it with her son and it took them years to get him out of their bed and now (as a teenager) he doesn’t like to go into rooms on his own.  I think it takes away the one place for you and your spouse.  And I don’t care if you’re too tired for activity, you’re still there together, alone in your own bed.  And a good marital relationship is good for child rearing.  I don’t think anyone gets enough sleep in the family bed, even the child.  And they never learn to self-sooth.  Now I’m not talking about putting the baby in the crib and letting them cry for 3 hours – that won’t be happening either.  But there is a balance and somehow (through many sleepless nights, no doubt) we’ll find it.

Cloth-diapering – We haven’t made a decision about this one either.  I’ve read that cloth-diapering is not as easy with formula-fed kids as it is with breastfed babies just because of the difference in the poop.  But I don’t want to totally base this decision on convenience and ease.  DH is concerned about the ickiness factor that cloth diapers present, but I figure he doesn’t get to weigh in so much on this issue since I’ll be doing most of the diapering.  Sorry, Babe.  But cloth diapers certainly have come a long way over the years, no more safety-pins and noisy diaper covers, now they have really cute velcro diapers in different patterns and fabrics.  I might buy a few to start out to try them, give them a solid few weeks to see how things work out and then make a final decision.  I’d like to think I will do them, but…

I’m sure many will disagree with me and think I don’t know what I’m talking about because I don’t have kids so how the hell would I know?  And that’s okay, you can think whatever you want to think.  I know myself and while I might change my mind about some things I feel confident in the basic type of mother I’ll be.  And hey, I watch Supernanny – she’s got great advice.  🙂  But I’ll be the first to admit defeat if all of this turns out to be lies.

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Homework

We got our Stage II packet from the agency in the mail yesterday.  I’ve had a chance to flip through it, but I think ultimately it will be faster and more efficient if DH and I review the materials together.  There is a large booklet we have to read cover-to-cover, per the agency’s instructions, although DH and I probably would anyways.  Then there is a ton of paperwork for the homestudy (and this doesn’t include any paperwork we’ll have with our actual homestudy with our local agency), the big questionnaire (which definitely has some thought provoking questions) and instructions on how to put our profile together with the Dear Birthmother letter.  When I originally called this particular agency, they told me a large percentage of people who get to stage 2 never complete it.  Perhaps it’s the sheer volume of work invovled.  But I think it will be great and I’m looking forward to getting started.

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I am so tired this morning. And I should get some writing done because (a) I need to keep the book moving forward and (b) I can pretend that writing keeps my mind off the fact that we’re waiting to hear about the next contract. I’m like a big stress ball. Seriously. I’m trying not to be. I’m walking everyday, or nearly everyday, to create a release for said stress. And I’m trying to sleep, but I’m not sleeping soundly because I’m having crazy dreams, one after the other, which really just means I’m waking up a lot and remembering the crazy dreams. Some are about writing, others are just plain odd. The interesting thing, this is the first time in over a year that I’ve spent more than like an hour thinking about anything but becoming a mother. Not sure if that’s really a good thing or not. To trade one obsession for another. Perhaps it’s just my personality.

DH was telling me last night that I just worry about everything and he wanted to know if I’d worried about us when we were still dating. Uh…yeah! Like what woman doesn’t fret and overanalyze when they’re dating? Okay presumably there are some, but not many. Women are so driven by emotions that we internalize everything. At least that’s my experience, I suppose it’s dangerous to make such sweeping gernalizations. Maybe I should just take a nap this morning and see if I don’t feel refreshed for this afternoon. Not thinking that will happen though. I just wish my agents would call and put me out of my misery, but I bet I have days if not a full week left of this worry.

I think I fretted a bit over the last contract, although we’d just moved here and I was up to my eyeballs in boxes so I was a wee bit distracted. But I don’t think I was this crazy. I really think it has to do with the fact that so much (namely our adoption plans) rides on this contract. So I have to do well. Or at least I have to get a contract. ACK!

By the way, do you like the new look?  I was thinking the old brown was beginning to feel kind of dismal and sad.  So I’m trying something new.  I think it works – it’s clean and fresh looking.

Deep breaths…maybe I’ll just have an early lunch and try to get some pages done. And maybe in the meantime I’ll shop for cribs on-line, that’s always fun. Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.

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Coupons

When I was pregnant I went and bought some maternity clothes and when I did so, they took down my information to send me freebies and coupons and whatnot.  So I get a ton of babystuff in the mail.  At first it was a bit too much so I tucked it all away, but now I welcome the mail.  I get a ton of coupons for formula and diapers and babywash and everything else baby related and I buy some of it, but for the most part, I just put them in my coupon organizer and wait.  I do this with the Sunday coupons as well, clipping out all the diapers and wipes and saving them.  Some expire, but I don’t want to use them all.  We haven’t even decided if we’ll be doing disposable diapers or not, but I want to be ready if we need them.  And the formula, well, I’m not sure which one we’ll end up using.  But I’m being proactive.  I actually did use one this morning, for A&D ointment because it was about to expire and I got the product 100% free.  You can’t beat that.

I also read about a great idea that I want to start soon.  That of putting money on a Wal-Mart gift card everytime you go so that by the time your little one arrives you have a nice bit saved to buy diapers or formula or whatever other baby stuff you might need.  Pretty clever.

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Annoyances

There are a few things I’ve found annoying lately. All of which deal with adoption. The first being the ignorance revolving around celebrity adoption. I get so tired of hearing people and the media itself rip into these people. First of all, every country has adoption laws, including our own. For arguments sake let’s assume that the foreign country expidites an adoption for a celebrity, they still have to go through the same pony dance we all do back here in the states. Which requires home study and fingerprinting and the background check and whatnot. No one can bypass this stuff just because of notoriety or money. Even still I’m not pursuaded that the foreign countries bend rules either. But, people argue, they’re only getting children because they’re wealthy and famous. Even if that’s true, who cares? It’s not like they’re taking children away from other adoptive parents.  Or like they’re cutting to the front of the line.  We don’t live in a world where people are waiting for children because there aren’t enough to go around, instead we live in a world full of orphaned children and not enough adoptive parents to take them home.  So when people ask me what I think of all the celebrities adopting, I applaud them.  They’re growing their families in the way DH and I have chosen to grow ours and they’re keeping adoption in the news.  I can’t argue with that.

If you’ve struggled with infertility chances are you’ve heard, “Oh, as soon as you start adopting, you’ll get pregnant.” Or some similar thing.  Everyone knows someone who’s started adoption proceedings and gotten pregnant.  Sure, it happens.  But most of the time when it happens it happens to couples with unexplained infertility and the release of stress from treatments or just trying can lead to an unexpected pregnancy.  When you’re dealing with infertility though, it’s a different story.  Okay so we haven’t had a doctor tell us we can’t have children biologically.  And we have been pregnant once before.  But I got pregnant with medical aide, which we will not be doing again, and I lost the baby, which I have a 60% chance of doing every time I’m pregnant.  These are not great odds.  And what I finally realized for myself was that the journey to motherhood is just that, a journey, it’s the stuff afterwards that I’ve been wanting my whole life.  So I don’t really care how I become a mother.  Yes DH and I might get pregnant someday and I might carry to term and we might have a healthy baby and when and if that happens, they will be a brilliant addition to our family, but right now my heart is with adoption.

The other annoying thing that people say, along the same lines as the previous, is something that alludes to adoption being a second choice or last resort.  This frankly goes beyond annoyance for me and tends to light my fire a bit.  I know people don’t mean it in the nasty way it sounds, but it certainly makes it sound like adopted children are second rate citizens in families much different from their “natural” counterparts.  This is just ignorant.  Sure there are people out there who might not be able to love an adopted child as much as a birth child, and if this is the case, then hopefully these people will not consider adoption.  But for most of us on the adoption path, this was a choice.  We all came to it differently.  Some already have birth children, some, like us, do not.   Adoption was our choice instead of spending more money on infertility and we hadn’t even gotten to IVF yet.  Adoption was our choice before we knew we had infertility to deal with, we just had to rethink our timeline.  No child that ever steps into my house and into my arms will ever be less than my child whether they came out of my womb or someone else’s.

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It’s done

Well, I filled out the application and sent in the fee, so I guess we’re sort of official. I guess I’m not really sure if they can tell us to take a hike based on the info I gave them. Really it was pretty basic stuff so I’m anticipating the next thing will just be them sending the second packet which has the big questionnaire in it. This particular agency recommended (when I spoke with them on the phone) waiting to start our home study until after we had this packet because it comes with guidelines for having a home study that is compliant with all state requirements. We personally want to wait to start the home study until after I negotiate my next contract so we have a better idea of my annual income this year.

I am so excited though to have taken this first step. Now I can officially start our timeline. We’re really jumping out on a limb here and looking to God to provide the financial means for us to complete this process. We’ve already been so blessed in that area. All the money in our adoption fund right now was just given to us. And right now my best friend is planning a pre-baby baby shower for us and instead of asking people to buy gifts, she’s sending out empty baby bottles and asking people to fill it with their spare change. bottle She’s been so great and so supportive and has been so excited about doing this for us. When you’re trying to raise over $20,000, ever little bit really helps. We’re so thankful for the generous people in our lives.

We certainly aren’t going to rely on donations for all of the money though, we’re hoping to qualify for a personal loan at some point and we’ll also be applying for adoption grants. Since we’ve only been married two years and have only lived in our current home a little over a year, we haven’t acquired much equity so the home equity loan that most people use for adoption costs isn’t an option for us. But we’ll get there. We know this is the path for us and we have faith that God will provide us with the means.

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Moving on

So last week I sent off for additional information packets from a couple of other agencies just for comparison sake. BUT I still have not received them. Now I know it hasn’t been that long, but I find this annoying. I realize international adoption and domestic are two very different animals, but whenever I requested material from agencies (for China adoption) I received those packets within a few days – they were always sent priority mail. I think when you’re in such a competitive area (and sorry if that sounds too product related), then you need to be quicker in your response. Those information packets should already be ready in envelopes and ready to be addressed and popped in the mail the same day they’re requested. I think this is probably further confirmation that I just need to stick with my original instinct and go with our first choice. We’ll see how the mail goes today.

Update:  So I did receive one of the packets in the mail today and sadly I’m not impressed.  I think I’ll talk to DH tonight about doing our application tomorrow.  Let’s get this show on the road!

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