Posts filed under ‘infertility’

Room Makeover – Zannie Edition- NaJuPicMo

Giving credit where credit is due…the title of this post is lifted from Suzanne, over at Straight Down the Mountain, who waits for M. to come home from Kyrgyzstan.  Anyway, today was a marathon change from what used to be the Pink Room into the more mature, more 7 year-old and ready for second grade Suzannah room.

Purple with aqua. 









I made the quilt and pillows myself.  Above the bed is a little decoupage Flower Fairy thingy that I made.  Suzannah knows lots of flowers’ names thanks to the flower fairies.  Curtain from recent shopping trip to Target….







I stole from the bathroom the aqua beach glass cups.  I took food coloring and painted a white shade purple, then took out the ol’ glue gun and put on the daisies.  Ribbon may follow…not sure yet.







On Suzannah’s book shelf I found myself remembering when I bought the little porcelin sleeping baby girl in Ireland in 1999 when we decided to start trying to have a baby.  Suzannah was born 3 years later.  Next to it is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us, she is about 2 months old there.  Then there is what Suzannah believes to be the most beautiful Matryoshka doll evah.  We bought that in Bishkek or Moscow…memory fails me.  This picture represents a lot of how hard things have been in the waiting for us to be a family, and the joys of now being a mother to my daughters.  

Now here’s something you’ll really like…noodle sisters…







Isabel’s favorite food group is the Noodle group.  Suzannah is seen here offering noodles from her own soup and Isabel is refusing them.  This is a first.


July 5, 2008 at 11:29 pm 5 comments


<img src=”http:// ” alt=”najupicmo” />

I totally just invented this, but I’m excited.  Here’s the selling point…sooooooo much easier than NaMoBlahBlah… whatever that thingy is.  Anyway, the ideas is that July is for posting pictures.  Post one picture a day.  No text necessary!  Take a picture of your vacation, your breakfast, the sweater you’re knitting, your bathroom renovations, the progress your teeth whitening strips are making, your sunflowers in the garden, the plums you brought home from the farmers’ market,WHATEVER! A picture a day…it’s all we ask. 

I fully understand and appreciate that I could have and should have thought of this and promoted it beginning about two weeks ago, but better a tad late than never.  So…I’ll kick things off by posting pictures of our Kyrgyz picnic and get-together in San Diego. 

Isabel with Lyudmilla, coordinator from Kyrgyzstan


Lyudmilla with Izzy!








Judge from Tokmok






Izzy enjoying the teacups at Disneyland





So, tomorrow I’ll be back and see how many of you are doing this!



July 1, 2008 at 10:56 pm 8 comments

Dude, where’s my post?

I’m having serious blogger’s block.  My last post was a big giant spa treatment for my soul and since then, I’ve tried to sit down and write again, some more…something.  Anything.  The words, they don’t come. 

So, I thought that what I could do is have a bit of an open mike jam session and put it out there to anyone reading.  Since I get emails every day with some kind of question relating to my blog, why dontcha just ask me here in the comments following.  Go ahead and be anonymous if ya want to.  Ask me anything.  Or, take me to task.  Whatev. 

The floor is yours…



June 10, 2008 at 10:27 am 21 comments

If you are about to adopt – reset your compass

The following will be a list of ideas and concepts to reconsider during your wait.  This is, in part a reaction to the changing face of wordpress adoption blogs and it seems that we have some work to do.  So, in no particular order (and feel free to add more in the comments section) here are things that PAP’s, in my opinion as both adoptee and adoptive parent, must confront before adopting. 


1. She is not a birthmother if she hasn’t given birth or signed termination of parental rights.  If you are ‘matched’ with a pregnant woman considering adoption, she isn’t ‘your’ birthmother and the baby isn’t yours either. 

2. Also, let’s give the terms original mother, first mother and other mother a fighting chance.  Consider a woman’s feelings and worth when reducing her role when you call her ‘birthmother’

3. Don’t ever breathe one single negative word about your child’s mother, father, state, country, race or culture.  Not for any reason.  If there are disturbing facts in the situation, state them plainly and support the feelings that may come.  But don’t add commentary. 


1. Tough, but the truth.  No one owes you anything.  Infertility does not buy you the right to parent someone else’s baby.  Sucks, but there it is. 

2. And this isn’t going to win over any friends, but…here it goes… God did not hand-pick, or decide to have someone else get pregnant for YOUR benefit.  Believe me, I can understand how it feels that your child is perfect for you, was the missing piece in your family, or is spiritually connected to you.  That still does not mean that there was a grand, benevolent or divine plan,  to have a misfortune befall a woman, so that a child could fulfill your family, or so that you could feel as though you are doing what your church teaches you is right.  Children are not pawns.  Neither are their mothers.  Also, just because you believe that children ought to have a two-parent home in which the parents are married, still does not earn you the right to dictate what ought to happen to the child. 

3. Along these lines, later on in life, do not tell your child that she ‘grew in the wrong tummy’.  Do not tell her that she was’chosen’.  Do not tell him that you were able to give him ‘a better life’  It’s a different life…you can’t know that your family and life would be better.  Don’t go into an adoption without the implicit understanding that your family will be different than if you had had children biologically.  You are taking on extra responsibilities. This means that your child needs nurturing that encompasses their feelings which typically include, but are not exclusive of: lifelong feelings of rejection, insecurity, a certain ‘otherness’ and also feelings of grandiosity.  Do you have a longterm plan to support your child if you begin to see these things creep up?  Do not minimize the impact of adoption.  Yes, even if you adopted at birth.  Ask any newborn baby who they want to be with.   They want to be with that lady who sounds familiar. 

4. Put your infertility issues in the past.  If you are adopting straight out of the doctor’s stirrups, you are setting up a highly charged situation which can propel you into unethical behavior such as coercion of a pregnant woman.  Again, it isn’t appropriate for a woman to decide on adoption until after her baby is born, as well as having an advocate who is talking with her about all her options and telling her of the support available to her.  If you have a serious broken heart, and a houseful of baby stuff – that’s some serious danger! danger! Will Robinson.  A child you adopt should not be put to work by being there to heal the serious and lingering pain of infertility.  Besides, healing doesn’t work that way anyway. 

5. Do nothing but encourage honest feelings from your child about how they see their adoption. 

6. Do not lie or misrepresent facts to your child.  Adoption happened to your child and they had no say in the matter.  Honor your child with the truth.  Do as much as you can to obtain their original birth certificate. 

7. If your child is old enough to know their name, which is probably younger than you might think, don’t change his name. 

8. And just because you see the world and people of color as represented by a beautiful rainbow of colors does not mean that the rest of the world does.  The public can be a cruel place for your child.  People say stupid and racist things.  Be prepared for this if you have adopted a child whose skin color does not match yours.  How will you teach your child tolerance while others are being intolerant?.


Read Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew – Sherry Eldridge

Don’t read books about how you can say and do things that will speed up the process.  Yes, there is a book like this. 


Check with your state for any grievances or complaints on file regarding your adoption and/or placing agency.  Email previous clients, find ones who are not on the provided list given to you from the agency. 

In closing, this is not a transaction.  We are dealing with human lives.  And, as beautiful as you might see the whole idea of adoption, for those of us who have experienced the many feelings of loss because of adoption, we ask you to consider the above.  Don’t strip away or deny what is real and what may be troubling for the others involved, namely your child and his or her mother.  Please uphold the bond between mother and child.  Celebrate family…the one you’ve created and the family that your child also has somewhere else. 

If you can’t do these things, or at the very least, be willing to examine and challenge your given ideas or even your core beliefs, then you probably aren’t ready to be an adoptive parent. 







May 21, 2008 at 11:44 pm 95 comments

What I ought to feel

…is gratitude and thankfulness.  I ought to stroke my daughters’ hair and feel the softness and feel my heart melt.  I love the cards I got and the beautiful picture frame that was handmade. 

But I am so, so sad today.  I am putting on a good show, because it’s the right thing to do.  The sadness is winning right now. 

My heart is broken in two for missing two mothers today. 

What I want, I can’t have.  What I want to do is to have my mom over for a big dinner, or to go to my childhood home and celebrate there with my daughters.  Instead, I’ll drive to the cemetary that I walked through on my way home every day after school and place nasturtiums on my mohter’s grave. 

I would love to call M. today and have her feel comfortable in accepting that she is a mother too.  I wish that even if she rejected that she is a mother, that we could at least have a relationship.  I suppose we can’t have the latter without the former.  I don’t pretend to understand or know.  I guess that’s the problem in the first place. 

So, what I ought to feel is a whole lot of gratitude.  I was never promised any children whatsoever.  I have two miracle children who are healthy and happy.  I ought to be praying for Isabel’s mother and sending her good thoughts and reassurance that her daughter is alright and loved and that I’m so sorry that her motherhood has not been given a chance.

I’m just so sad.  It’s all so unfair, all the loss.  For all of us.


May 11, 2008 at 11:31 am 7 comments

Up For Consideration

…a very interesting article I found on Google News today.  I’d like to link it here and get everyone’s honest opinion.  I found it quite powerful.

Let me know your reactions and thoughts.

December 29, 2007 at 9:15 am 16 comments

Second Trip

Day Two Together 

Ok so I’m still getting used to this whole having two kids gig.  It’s GOOD – but it’s a lot to get used to.  I find getting Zannie to school on time with both girls fed and wearing presentable clothes a challnege.  But, last week we managed to do just that and for the most part, things have gone quite smoothly.  We get to school and we are the new rock stars.  Isabel is mobbed and smothered in adoration.  She needs a bodyguard and maybe even an agent.  I think my role is merely sherpa/PR agent.  I just talk to everyone about how amazing and beautiful she is. 

Trip two.  Wow, where to begin?  I bypassed Aeroflot this time for the incredibly superior Lufthansa.  It went San Francisco to Frankfurt to Almaty.  I didn’t fly into Bishkek this time for logistical reasons.  On the two-trip adoption system in Kyrgyzstan, you end your adoption paperwork at the U.S. embassy in Almaty, Kazakhstan.  This is where the closest adoption unit is.  So, I got a roundtrip ticket in and out of Almaty.  This meant that when I flew in, I had to be driven to Bishkek for the first part of the trip.  When I booked it, it was written up as Lufthansa’s official bus from the Almaty airport going directly to where you were staying in Bishkek.  I imagined a nice minibus, one that might even have bench seats where I could lie down and sleep on the way to my hotel as I was landing at midnight local time.  It was not to be.  I got out of customs and saw my driver guy holding a sign with my name on it.  We walked out to a tiny, ancient Nissan or Toyota and it was us and a Swiss guy heading out to Kyrgyzstan to climb the Tien Shen mountains.  It was absolutely pitch black and I couldn’t see much of anything that wasn’t lit up but already it seemed quite different to me than Kyrgyzstan.  We jammed our luggage in somehow and went on our way.  We were all talking and chatting a mile a minute and then we all zonked out.  Awhile later we were awakened by a bracing cold wind since the driver had opened our doors and was pointing to the border patrol.  I felt like I was in an episode of the Twilight Zone as it seemed as if time had stood still here in what felt like the middle of nowhere.  There were a few people coming from Kazakhstan going into Kyrgyzstan and most of them were on foot.  Some had cattle or sheep with them.  I think that this border and its guards with their military uniforms and huge-brimmed hats looked exactly the same even 40 years ago.  The only thing that I think has changed since then are the computers they use to check your entry visas.  Anyway, we were I’m sure a sight to behold with our weary faces crossing the border at 4ish am.  Everyone was openly staring at us.  So, with that done we drove about 50 yards to repeat the same thing so as to gain entry into Kyrgyzstan.  More livestock, more stares, more military guards.  It was eerie.  We sped away and were in Bishkek in less than an hour. 

We crashed at the nice, cushy Hyatt.  The coordinator was to meet us in the morning and go over the rest of our stay and to finish up more paperwork. 

The next morning was IT.  We were being picked up and taken to Tokmok to see Isabel for the first time in two months.  It seemed like the longest drive there.  In the time since the first trip, Bishkek had turned lush and green.  Trees lined the long road to Tokmok and had been bare and cold grey against the wintery landscape on our first trip.  This time, they were full and welcoming.  It was a bit like Dorothy opening the door from her world of black and white to a new, colorful place.  I couldn’t get over the beauty of the countryside and the massive mountainside in the distance.  My excitement was hard to contain. 

We arrived at Tokmok baby house bearing supplies, gifts and many cakes and chocolates from a bakery.  We met with the director for a bit and she told me that Isabel was a little bit sick with a slight fever and a runny nose.  Then, she asked me if she wanted them to keep her for “a few more days while she gets better?” I said a firm but polite, “No, thank you!”  There was nothing that could keep me from her!  So, they led me to her room and I looked into where they were pointing and I saw her, but almost didn’t recognize her.  There she was in a pink sweat suit, a hat and lots of hair poking out from under it.  She was being held by her special caretaker, Sonya.  I smiled and walked toward her letting her take me in.  Sonya grabbed the little book I had made with our pictures in it and she showed Isabel the picture and then pointed to me.  “Mama…Isabel….MA-MA!”  There was a long pause and then suddenly, a smile, a flash on her face.  I’d love to think that she really remembered me and knew I was her mama.  But, I think it was just a spark.  Nonetheless, there we were and we were together again and we spent some quiet time in her room with Sonya.  I had a special gift for Sonya and postcards from our town.  I thanked her over and over for the individual time she had spent with Isabel for the two months I was gone had been invaluable to her development.  She was stronger, more engaged and lively.  She had gained four pounds. 

We finished up all of our good-byes and gave the children fresh fruiut and the cakes to all the caregivers there.  Sonya kept coming out and hugging us.  Then, we were being scooted back to our car.  We were gone.  I was happy, worried, sad, anxious and exhausted all at once.  Isabel seemed to be taking everything in.  She was quiet.  She stopped looking at me.  By the time we got to the hotel, she was clearly confused and worn out.  Her cry wasn’t hunger or pain or tired.  It was grief.  It sounded so, so sad.  Comforting her by holding her didn’t help.  All I could do was stay close by,but not in her face and feed her and keep her dry and in soft clothes.  She finally slept that night and didn’t wake up until morning.  She awoke happy and she seemed curious about the room we were in, her new crib, her clothes with bright and happy colors.  She was loving the baby food I brought.  She LOVED her bath and having lotion put on her.  Over the next few days, we were basically in lockdown.  We showed her stuff, read to her, sung to her, bathed her, changed her into different cute outfits and held her while she napped.  When she cried we responded and tried to figure out what she needed.  After a few days, I had cracked her code and knew all her different cries.  That girl found her voice too!  She figured out that if she cried, that new girl always comes and helps!  She was staying awake for longer periods and giving big belly laughs.  I was pulling out all of my baby flirting techniques and they began to pay off.  It was pure falling in love. 

Then, just when we were really feeling settled, it was time to head for Almaty and wind up the trip.  It was incredible to me that we would be leaving Bishkek.  But, away we went again, to cross over the borders and to see the countryside by day.  It’s pretty much a four hour trip and we made it in good time.  The next few days were an absolute blurr.  We were tired and M. was getting sick.  On Tuesday we visited an International clinic to have Isabel go through a few blood tests and a general examination.  She was pronounced healthy that night.  The next day we went to the adoption unit at the American Embassy where we had our exit interview.  A brown envelope containing all of our immigration documents and some adoption papers were sealed and were given to me to give to customs upon arrival in San Francisco.  It was quick and friendly.  We were set and all clear to come home.  It was so hard to believe. 

We boarded our plane that night and the journey home began.  20 hours later, we landed in San Francisco.  We were messy with spit up and probably didn’t smell very good but once we got through immigration and customs, even with all the luggage on the cart and carrying Isabel, I galloped through the exit knowing the next thing I would see would be the rest of my family.  I saw them and Zannie ran to me and hugged me and Isabel tight.  I kept saying, “I missed you so much!”  After hugging me, she just wanted to see Isabel and hug her.  Then, the four of us were all together and I felt the most enormous relief to be home and with the people I loved the most. 

So, that is the second trip condensed.  It was long and parts of it were hard.  But, as with so much in life, anything that is worth doing – is hard. 

I realized the other day that we have been trying to create a family since early 1999.  While adoption absolutely never solves or erases any of the difficult feelings that come with infertility, it does squarely put it where I want it to be – in the past. 

I will be posting more pictures soon.  I know I said that before but you have to forgive me.  I’m artsy/crafty – NOT techie. 

June 11, 2007 at 3:49 pm 4 comments

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