Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pre-school woes

My son was dissed this morning at daycare! After the normal drop-off routine I witnessed him go up to one of the older boys (he’s in a mixed pre-school/pre-k class) and stand across the table from him and say “good morning Bobby” while Bobby ignored him. He said it again “Good morning Bobby.” Bobby looked up from his Mr. Potato Head and growled “I don’t want to play with you.” The Boy, still smiling by the way, says “Bobby, HI” while bouncing on his little feet. Bobby again says “I don’t want to play with you, go away.”

At this point TB apparently took the hint and found another friendlier, more accommodating group to play with.

I wasn’t sure whether to hope TB took it as a learning experience that the older kids don’t want to play with him because his play skills suck, or to cry for my poor little boy who was totally dissed by that big mean Bobby. I don’t like Bobby!

At least the teacher handled it, although I hope it wasn’t just because I was there to witness it. She told Bobby that it was ok if he didn’t want to play with TB, but he needed to still be polite and say good morning. I thought that was an appropriate response, although I still wanted to thunk little Bobby in the forehead with my middle finger.

Work place woes

Have you ever worked with someone who is always right? Even though you’ve worked there twice as long as they have they seem to know more about how the company runs. And even though they can’t stand your boss and basically find fault in every thing she does, they seem to glory in “taking charge” when the boss is gone. And attempt to close you out of all the decision making that is going on, even though you happen to be in a good place with said boss at the time. And you f’ing know more than they do and have more experience! Or perhaps that’s why all this is going on.

And have you ever worked right next to someone, separated only by a cubicle wall, whose cell phone rings all day, even though they are only at their desk half the time. And all the calls are personal, from a wife who must not work, or the grown son or daughter who apparently can’t make a decision without this coworker? And the phone is f’ing loud! And pretty soon you are going to jump over the cubicle wall and shove said phone up said coworker’s ass?

And have you ever had the same coworker chew and swallow so loudly and grossly you want to vomit over the cubicle wall, right on to said coworkers annoying and loud cell phone? And has this coworker held all meetings with other employees in his f’ing cubicle, even though his meetings all seem to be with people who have their own f’ing office.

And have you ever had a cubicle close enough to the bathrooms where you have to confiscate every f’ing deodorizing spray because some people seem to think it has to be sprayed every f’ing time they enter the bathroom. And if you have to f’ing smell that god damn spray that gives you a migraine every time the “over sprayer” strikes, you will explode?

And have you ever been in a mood that lasts for weeks on end and you are afraid you may just implode from the anxiety?

And yippee yee hah, have you ever been in this mental place and know you get to start Lupron in a week? Yeah LH surge.

F’ing yeah.

**brought to you by the letter F**

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I miss my Grandma

I've been thinking about my grandmother a lot lately. She passed away three years ago this month. She was just shy of her 90th birthday. She was such an amazing woman in my eyes. Like most women of her era she went through many changes in her life.

When I was 11 my grandfather had a massive stroke and she cared for him for almost two years before he finally passed away. Most of that time she cared for him at home. There wasn't much left of him during that time. He couldn't really communicate or do anything for himself. She never talked much about it to me, even after when I was an adult.

I grew up on a large farm. My parents owned the original farm house and my grandparents built a house farther back from the main road. They also built a house for my great grandfather, which my brothers family now lives in. My uncle built a house on the land around that time too. More recently my cousin built a house on the farm as well.

I was always close to Grandma, I really can't remember a time when I wasn't. In many ways I was closer to her than I was with my own mother, especially after my grandfather died. I was always closer to Grandma than my mother was. For some reason I never really understood my mother never had much patience for her own mother. Of course now, after her death my mother feels great guilt because of this. But, that's another post.

It was tough moving from Michigan to Pennsylvania when I married Amazing Daddy. I hadn't lived on the farm in years, but I'd never been more than two hours away, so I could visit any time. Although I missed my parents, it was Grandma that I missed the most. She came to visit us several times. I was always so proud of her. My dad would take her to the airport and get her on the plane and then I would be there to pick her up when she got off the jetway. That was a big deal for her, taking that trip by herself. I remember how she called me the night before the first trip to make sure she could wear tennis shoes (sneakers in this part of the US) on the plane. Any one remember the time when you used to dress up to travel?

I think Grandma was more excited than anyone else about us adopting. She was so happy when I met Amazing Daddy and brought him in to the family as if he was her own grandson. Then when we couldn't get pregnant she mourned with us. And when we first met TB and sent home pictures she had them all over her house. You'd think TB was her first great grandchild, but in fact, she already had seven, six of whom lived on the farm with her. She couldn't wait to meet TB, and spent hours struggling to knit him a blanket, with poor eye sight and hands that constantly shook.

Grandma died the same day we were in court adopting TB. Just four hours before we stood before the judge in Moscow, Grandma was in a hospital bed in Lansing, MI being removed from life support. She had a massive stroke in her brain stem just hours before.

The first call we had with my parents (who were at our house pet sitting while we were in Moscow, 12 hours drive away from Grandma) should have been the most joyous call I ever had with them. Instead they had to tell us that Grandma was gone. I knew something was wrong when I was talking with them, and then they asked to speak to AD. When he got on the phone Mom asked if I was off the line (not knowing we had two phones in the room), as soon as I heard that I knew something was terribly wrong. My first words were "what's wrong, is it grandma?" How is it possible I knew?

How is it possible she would never get to meet TB? How could she die half a world away from me? I had always promised that I would be there for her if something like that happened. I always had before, and when I moved I promised that no matter what I'd get back for her if she needed me.

My family assures me that it all happened instantly and she never knew.

The happiest day of my life, was also the saddest.

Her funeral took place while we were still in Moscow. I never said goodbye. For some reason, three years later it is hitting me harder than ever.

In some ways I think it was easier not having to go through a funeral and all the mess associated. I will always remember Grandma well and whole. But damn I miss her. And it hits me at the oddest times.

It turns out the blanket she made for TB is his favorite. G.G.'s blanket. G.G.'s blanket makes everything better. We showed him her picture a couple times when he was first starting to talk. He has been able to point her out in any picture ever since then. He talks about her like he knows her.

Is it possible he really does?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I’m just back from the dentist from a cleaning. Man, I love my dentist! He’s done some great stuff with my teeth over the last year and a half. I never thought I’d ever say I loved a dentist!

But, that’s not the real reason to write tonight. The hygienist who cleaned my teeth was someone I haven’t met before, despite the numerous visits I’ve had there over the last several month. Very pleasant woman, and she didn’t hurt me at all, which is unusual for me when I get my teeth cleaned. Usually my teeth/gums ache for the rest of the day.

But I digress, the real reason I’m writing is because of some of the things she said. I was explaining that I was in the midst of IVF treatments and she asked if I had any other kids, so I told her about The Boy. But during the conversation I clarified that I had never been pregnant and that we had adopted TB from Russia.

This is the conversation:

Ignorant (but nice) dental hygienist (IDH): So, his parents didn’t want him?

Me: mouth hanging open, and not because she was doing anything yet “umm..well, its’ a different culture in Russia, and she was single, so I don’t think it was really an option for her.” But in my head I’m thinking “holy crap lady, I’m his parent, of course I want him, what kind of question is that asshat?”

IDH: “so he doesn’t have any contact with his parents then?”

Me: thinking “damn lady, do I just let this go or do I tell you how insulting your terminology is?”, but saying “well no, it doesn’t work like that over there, although we did just recently make contact with her father, but we initiated it and that’s unusual over there.”

IDH: “Oh, so he’ll know his mom and dad then, that’s good for when he’s older and wants to know who his parents are.”

Me: thinking “what the fuck!”

So I totally whimped out on the opportunity to educate this woman on positive adoption terminology. I’ve heard and read tons of stories about things like this, and know all the appropriate come backs, but I didn’t use any of them. I know she didn’t intend to be rude or hurtful.

Here’s my question to you dear readers. Did I do my son and the adoption community a disservice by not using this as an opportunity to educate her? Or was being nice ok, since I figured anything I said would make her feel bad? And me sound bitchy?

There’s been a lot of “conversation” going on in the adoption blogosphere (well the limited number I read anyway) lately regarding the feelings of birth parents and (versus?) the entitlement of adoptive parents to be happy and not feel obligated to feel guilty about their happiness.

I’m going to write about that soon. This is a topic I’ve thought a lot about since we first decided to adopt.

But what I wrote about fromt he dental office...that's a different issue yes? Who are his parents? Who is his Mom?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Yeah, so perhaps my last post was a bit over the top. Although, honestly, I was feeling it last week. This week, somewhat better. As I got closer to my period my hormones seemed to even themselves out. I tend to forget how bad I can feel that last week of my cycle.

So, yesterday marks CD1. Another week or so and I start peeing on sticks. Whoohooo...count down to Lupron!

I just read a post here that references kids doing crafts with glitter glue. Which reminded me of the birthday party I took The Boy to yesterday. They had crafts, which TB had no interest in doing, until everyone else was done of course. Then all he wanted to do was glob on the glitter glue. It took all my self control not to try and direct him. Tell me, why is it so difficult to let kids just do things? Why do I always want him to do it "right?" And just who dictates what right is?

Hmmm...not as profound a post as I had been hoping for.

How about this one...Amazing Daddy just drove his mother home after an afternoon visit. I did everything I could to convince TB to go with him so I could have an hour or two to myself. then as soon as they are out the door I start to feel guilty, and then I'm half convinced they will be in a terrible accident and it will be all my fault because I wanted them gone for a while. I get this amazing sense of guilt and feeling that I can control fate from my mother. I got my depression and issues with food from her too. Thanks Mom, thanks so much for fucking me up.

Ohhhh...Here's a good one. I got very ballsy Friday and I asked my boss for a raise. I found out recently that the women i work with all make more than I do, even though I've been there longer than all but one. I was the only part timer until just a few months ago. It's a long story how I figured all this out, and even longer as to how it actually happened that I was being shorted. But, The Boss took it very well and is going to look in to it. If I am correct, I may be getting a several thousand dollar a year raise soon. Believe me it will be useful. Being the only budd of the boss right now is definitely a good thing. Although useful, the fact that I am sucks for the company because there is a lot of tension.

It was not an easy thing to do. I guess not many people find that an easy conversation to initiate. I had butterflies in my stomach all day. But I did it!
And now I'm sitting here watching a Lifetime movie enjoying my last few minutes of peace before the boys get home.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

chasing me again

I feel it chasing me again,
nipping at my heals,
like a cloud of black smog.
It's always hovering over me,
but this time,
it's catching me.
I can't seem to run fast enough...

Yeah, I'm not really a poet, I know.

So how do I say that the depression is grabbing hold again? No one else seems to notice. Even Amazing Daddy doesn't ask. Maybe he is afraid.

I know I am.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Master of the one finger click

As of tonight I have totally mastered the ability to read all my blogs with one finger. No, not brail sillly!

With googlecom/reader, the space bar and the K or P key I can totally one finger navigate my way though all my favorite blogs Combine that with Amazing Daddy's "borrowed" laptop from work which I have totally taken posession of, my big comfy bed, and several pillows, and I am in nirvana

It's a real shame that the wireless speed basically sucks, the period key only works periodically (so is that, umm, ironic), and it's kind of hard to type while laying on my side.

But still I'm one happy camper

Oh yeah, except for the fuciking pop-up blocker which on this computer decides to only take effect when I'm on blogger

Did I mention it's not so easy to type laying on your side?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sore tussie and other various rants

Right now Amazing Daddy is upstairs begging The Boy to let him clean his tussie. Poor baby must have pooped during the night and slept in it for hours before we got up this morning. Even though he knows he can call to us to go change him if he needs to. He's pooped three more times today and each one has been a helacious challenge to clean him up because it HURTS! I feel like the meanest mommy ever because I'm trying to clean shit off of him. Now AD gets to feel like the meanest daddy ever.

Poor kid, I know it really hurts, but how do you make him understand that it will just get worse if we don't clean it off? How do I convince him if he would just go in the potty it wouldn't hurt as much because he wouldn't be sitting in it in his diaper.

On a lighter note, this evening when AD got home we were upstairs folding laundry so he came and sat on the floor with us. He told TB he had a surprise for him and did the ol' pull my finger trick. TB thought it was just the funniest thing every!! Now he won't stop pulling our fingers.

It would not be a good evening to just stop by, unless you routinely carry a respirator with you.

Side note rant: I really, really, really hate the god damn fucking popup blocker on my computers. I can't seem to decrease the sensitivity. It blocks every fucking thing I click on!

second side not rant: Comcast changed their channel line up last week. I can't find anything! I hate change!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Thoughts on adoption

I'm so excited that I'm starting to get people reading my Blog. I'm even more excited about the comments people are leaving. I can't tell you how much that means to me. I love that it makes me want to write more, and to write about something with substance, not just the day to day drivel of my life.

So lets talk more about adoption. I think I've posted the link to our adoption story here before, but I'll have to check later. If not I'll post tomorrow when I'm at my regular computer and can find it. I think that's the best way to understand my feelings and excitement as we went through it.

Tonight though I want to talk about what is real. My love for The Boy is real. He IS my son. From the first time I held him in my arms I knew it. I still remember that moment like it was yesterday. In fact, this Friday is the anniversary of his adoption three years ago. His third "gotcha day." I don't even want to think about what our life would be like without him.

I always knew that I could love a child no matter how they came in to my life. A year or so before I met my husband I dated a man with two children that he had full custody of. I loved those kids. Even nine years later I still think of them, and worry about them. The situation they were in was not ideal, and I think that I dated their father more to be with them, than for any true interest in him. It ended up he lied to me about many things, then cheated on me. When we ended the relationship he punished me by not letting me see the kids any more. In retrospect I think it was better for all of us. But, what would have been best was for me not to get involved with those kids before I knew how I felt about their dad. But, that's another topic.

What I'm trying to say is that past experience showed me I could love, and love deeply, a child that I did not give birth to. Once we decided to stop IF treatments and start the process to adopt a child from Russia, it was an immense sense of relief, and of "rightness." I can't remember having a single bit of doubt about my ability to love. I also entered in to the process believing that the right child would come to us at the right time. It was absolutely true! There has not been a moment that I have regretted how The Boy came to be our son.

While in Russia doing all the elgal stuff and going to court, I tried to find a way to contact TB's birth mother. I wanted her to know that TB was safe and going to be in a loving family, who wanted him more than anything. I had great compassion for this woman Tatiana. I knew very little about her situation, other than what she said in her relinquishment letter. According to the letter her family did not know of her pregnancy, and neither did the child's father. We were strongly discouraged by our Russian facilitators and the "social worker" about attempting any contact. In fact, I remember having the distinct feeling that they were figuratively patting me on the head and thinking, aww, what a cute girl, but so misguided.

The need to let Tatiana know her child was ok, and the desire to have more information, to be able to tell TB when he asked, never left me. When the opportunity to search for her came about, I knew I wanted to do it. It took longer to get TB on board, but he finally did. That was over a year ago, and now, finally, I have some contact with the family.

It turns out Tatiana's father knew about TB, and he was very upset to find out he had a grandson that had been given up. Apparently he had the opportunity to go get TB from the orphanage, but didn't. He also hasn't seen Tatiana in the last three years, since shortly after TB was born. Tatiana has since married and given birth to a little girl, who is 11 months younger than TB. Her father has never seen this grandchild. He has another granddaughter from his divorced son, that he has seen only once. Yet in the video that was taken of his interview, he speaks of the importance of family and seems genuinely upset that he does not see his children any more. He was clearly emotional when he read the letter we wrote to Tatiana and when he saw TB's picture. He has asked to hear more about TB and has said he will write back.

We will keep in contract with him and send pictures. It sounds to me like he will have more information about his grandchild, who is no longer "legally" part of him, than his own children's children. I'm sad for him, and happy that I can provide him with some contact. I hope that through him we can find out more about Tatiana, and eventually TB's birth father,but even if we don't, TB has another grandfather and has a concrete link to his Russian heritage.

We never even considered keeping his adoption a secret. I don't even know how you could do that these days? Besides, we want TB to be proud of his Russian heritage. We will support him in any way we can, if he chooses to learn more. I hope that some day we can go back and visit with him.

All that being said, I still feel somewhat uncomfortable calling Tatiana Mom. Short of her pregnancy and giving birth, and the fact that she wrote a letter to officially relinquish him, what has she done that is in any way "mom" like? This was not a woman who was coerced in to giving birth or in to giving up her child. She did not make a "birth plan." There was no guarantee for her that her son would be adopted by anyone. She left him in a hospital to languish for the first three months of his life. He was "failure to thrive" during that time. If he hadn't been moved to the orphanage, I don't know if he would have made it. And the conditions of the orphanage weren't all that great either, but at least they fed him. The fact that he has so many sensory issues and attachment issue is quite telling that he didn't get much stimulation in he orphanage, and likely even less in the hospital. Any love didn't happen until he was with us.

The story that Alexei tells of his daughter is not pretty. He talks of her hobby being the search for a prince. Someone to take care of her. She moved to Moscow to find that man. He thinks that her pregnancy was to try and trap TB's birth father. The fact that she married and had another child so soon after TB's birth is very telling.

I think I've gone on a bit of a tangent here I think. And a storm is approaching quickly, so I had better sign off for now. Hopefully more soon.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

First contact

I've been meaning to post for several weeks about the birth family search we've been doing for The Boy. I've had an overwhelming desire since we first met TB at the orphanage to let the birthmother know that he was ok. And, to find out more of his "story."

Over a year ago we hired a man (Tony) in Russia that does birth family searches. He's been amazing. And finally, we have some answers, although not all that we would like.

Tony and his team have not been able to make contact with the BM, but they did meet and talk with her father (TB's birth grandfather) Aleksei. A few weeks ago we received a written report of this meeting and pictures of Aleksei, the birth mother (Tatiana) and other family members. We also found out that Tatiana is married and has a daughter (TB's half sister).

It took a while to hit me as I was reading the report that Tatiana's daughter, was in fact, TB's sister. We assume half sister, because we have no information yet about the biological father.

We initially thought that Aleksei didn't know about TB, so we were concerned that we would be creating problems for Tatiana. Fortunatley, Tony's team is very experienced with this and was able to find out that he did indeed know that his daughter had a child that she placed for adoption.

It was very exciting to receive this information, although it still felt somewhat empty, sterile perhaps, as there was no real emotion in the report. Well, last week we received a copy fo the video that was taken when they met Aleksei and conducted the interview. Although it is in Russian I can see and hear the emotion in his voice. I watched him read the letter we wrote to Tatiana and I saw the tears. I can also tell at the end of the interview that he sent TB, Amazing Daddy and myself a special, heart felt message.

This Friday, a close friend of mine who is Russian, will sit with me and translate the video for me. I'm so excited! But, it opens up a lot of questions for me.

Until now, we have danced around the terminology related to the birth family. I'm just not comfortable yet saying "birth mother." In fact, I'm not comfortable with any term that uses "mother" in it. When possible, I refer to her as Tatiana, but I can only do that when it's with someone who knows who I am referring to. Sometimes I try "Russian family" or Russian relatives" when referring to the family in general. But even saying "Russian grandfather" seems like a betrayal to my family, TB's "real" family.

TB isn't yet at an age that he understands any of this, and because of that I haven't shared any of this with him. He knows he was born in Russia, and we talk about and read stories about adoption, but he doesn't grasp any of the concepts yet. I had thought that if I got pregnant that would be a natural opportunity to go in to all of this, but I don't know that that will really happen.

I know this isn't in the immediate future, but I should think sometime in the next year or so something will click with TB and he might start to question. I need to have a term by then that I am comfortable with. I thought perhaps "birth woman", but that seems so cumbersome.

I don't consider Tatiana TB's mother in any sense but biological. Until we make that contact, and I hear her story, I'm not sure how to feel. I can't discount her feelings, because all I can do is think how I would feel if I had been in her shoes. What a devastating situation to be in. Or was it? The adoption facilitators in Russia told us over and over not to think too much about her. That we were silly to want to let her know TB was ok, that it was not necessary, and was discouraged.

In a way I'm threatened by her, I know that, but I also know it's silly. I'm TB's Mommy, I'm the one who kisses his booboo's, puts him to sleep at night, snuggles on the couch with him as we watch Caillou. I'm the one who taught him how to hug and cuddle. I'm the one who taught him he could trust someone in his world. The only thing I couldn't do was give birth to him, or reach him sooner than six months. I will always regret that I missed that part of his life.

I should say, that some of these thoughts have come up because of a blog I read last night Thin Pink Line. Manuela talks of her birth family and adoptive family, and what it was like to find out she was adopted at 25 years old. Her incredible story brought up a lot of confusing feelings inside me, and opened questions that I don't' think I would have ever thought about.

More thoughts on this in the near future.

*Thanks for the kind comments Manuela, Celeste and A. It is so meaningful to me to have someone read my words, and not think I'm awful for feelings the way I do.