Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Been Kinda Slow, But Some Tidbits

There isn't too much big news to report on the baby front. We've been doing little things that will add up to big things, but nothing major at the same time.

Our physicals have been done by our doctor. He wrote on my form, "Will make a GREAT parent!" which is encouraging from a doctor :-) He also gave Michael high marks, so that made us both feel very good.

Michael's fingerprints bounced back from the FBI, which has now happened twice--once for work and once for the adoption. We went to the police station to get him re-printed and the trooper on duty demanded to know if Michael had even read the paperwork that came back with the bounce back notice. I was like, "Um, obviously not" since Michael had his cane with him, and I guess the guy kind of thought I was being a pain in the ass because he wanted to know if Michael had any prior arrests. When he finally let us in the back room, I think he was a little stunned to see the full white cane and he apologized for being rude. Michael and I just laughed a little. Frankly, his "rudeness" was minor compared to some we've encountered, and he was just trying to do his job. So no hard feelings. The trooper actually turned out to be a very nice guy. (I almost wrote "nice young man" but that makes me sound a little geriatric, don't you think?)

Our family profile is nearly done. I have to take some pictures of our house, but in order to do that, I actually have to clean our house first. So that will be tomorrow evening's project--cleaning and picture taking. It's been really cool here, so I might even start a fire in the fireplace, which I think would look pretty in pictures. We'll have to see. If I do that, I can't highlight my photography wall in that room, so I have to make the tough choices! Otherwise, the profile looks amazing and I am thrilled with how it came out. For someone who has never scrapbooked before, it was a damned good effort--and kind of gives me hope that I can scrapbook in the future.

We had a little fundraising yard sale over the weekend. Two adoptive families stopped by--one guy with his daughter from Guatemala who was GORGEOUS and one woman who adopted one daughter from China and has a special needs child in China waiting for the final paperwork to come through so they can bring her home. They didn't want to buy much, but they both gave us very generous donations. They also gave me and Michael a lot of hope about the waiting process and showed us just how worth it this all will be. We made just about $200, so that was great, and donated all the leavings to the Salvation Army for a nice little tax write off, so even better. :-)

Saturday evening, I went baby registering with Judy and Lucas at Target--little Dottie is coming in less than 2 months now, hopefully! Since there wasn't much else to do, I created a registry for us as well, although I felt a little funny doing it. I had fiddled with it on line a lot, but there's something about actually going and doing the registry that feels a little "gimme"-ish. I think I will probably use it more as a checklist for things that Michael and I need to purchase than anything else. It was a lot of fun to run around with the gun, however, and Lucas and I played a bit of laser tag in the aisles at Super Target, which was great.

Also, I don't know if anyone from the state workforce is reading this and looking for a charity to donate to during the CVC campaign, but our adoption agency, Jewish Family Services, is one of the listed charities in the pile this year. So if you want to support the agency that is supporting us, please list them as your CVC beneficiary.

On the "how we're going to raise this kid" front, I've come to the decision to try cloth diapering. I was cloth diapered as a baby because I had a lot of skin allergies to disposables--although I won't be passing along my allergies to our child, obviously. However, it seems the responsible thing to do in this age of the greening up of society, and I figure I can learn. I need to find out what type of cloth diapers are good to use and how to handle diapering on the go. Otherwise, that's the plan.

We've started getting leads from our attorney--she has us on her mailing list and we get little blurbs from people around the country who know of people with infants who will be up for adoption. I'm excited that once our homestudy is approved and I finalize our profile and get that copied and bound, we'll have some good opportunities to send it around and maybe find ourselves a baby!

Let's see...

I really, really appreciate the sentiment, everyone. I don't know how to say this exactly and not sound like a total witch, but here goes...

Yes, a small minority of adoptive parents do manage to become pregnant after deciding to adopt. I have heard stories--heck, I'm guilty of saying that to people who were adopting! With that in mind, Michael and I continued to take zero precautions after hearing the news of our infertility back in May. It is now September. And this morning, I asked my doctor for birth control pills. I'm going on Seasonale, which gives you only 4 cycles per year--for which I am extremely grateful. The regular cycles are a disappointing reminder to both of us that things didn't pan out like we had planned, and I feel so much better knowing that we won't have those little monthly reminders in our face. If I continued to think, "Well, the doctors could be all wrong" or "stranger things have happened" or "now that the pressure's off, I'll get pregnant", then Michael and I will have to continue living through the hell of emotions that our infertility has caused, all the pain that we've endured the last 6+ years. He and I have made peace with the news that we will not conceive biologically, and we are moving on with our lives. The pills will help regulate and diminish the cycles, and we won't have to worry about the emotions that come up month after month, despite knowing that it isn't likely to happen. My cycle was irregular and uncomfortable and I take great comfort in knowing from here on out when it will happen and being in control of the situation. So no, we will not miraculously conceive after being told we can't. Thanks for the sentiment, but we've heard all of that we can for right now.

Ok, back to happier topics. I've been Brailling some children's books with a client of mine and I was in Borders the other day and I found a really cool book that I can't wait for Michael to read with our little one. It is a scratch and sniff book!! How cool is that?! It has all different kinds of fruit and each page smells like one of them. Remember those scratch and sniff stickers? This book smells exactly like them! Peach, orange, pineapple, lemon, strawberry. It's amazing. So I'm going to Braille the hell out of that sucker.

Ok, that's about it from here for this week. Hopefully I'll have news for you all soon!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our Fourth Letter of Reference

So we got a letter of reference in the mail today from our friends Brian and Lara in North Carolina. I've been posting them all on here so I'd have a good record of them, and this one is no exception. It's really lovely and thank you so much, Brian and Lara!

We have known Susan for 11 years and Michael for nearly as long, and we can say without hesitation that they would make wonderful parents. As adoptive parents ourselves, we are quite familiar with the strong desire for children that led us down that path, and we have seen that same desire in them.

Susan and Michael are very family-oriented. They are close to their own families, which gives us confidence that any child they raise will have a very strong support system available from the very beginning, to help nurture the child and give him or her strong family ties and a sense of belonging. They have a very strong marriage, and we have watched their relationship grow and evolve over the years. They exemplify love, loyalty, truth, and commitment to each other and to their ideals.

We can also attest that Susan and Michael have the personal qualities that will make them good parents. They are loving, honest, mature, and well-grounded emotionally. They have proven time and again to be very dependable people, and we have no doubt that they would make caring and responsible paretns. Education is very important to us, and we know without question that a child of Susan and Michael will be read to every day, and that both Susan and Michael understand the importance of a quality education and are committed to provide it to their child. They have shown much love to our daughter, along with the patience and understanding that is required to care for a small child. We would feel perfectly comfortable leaving her in the care of Susan and Michael. (And as for our daughter's opinion, when we visited Susan and Michael a few weeks ago, she was determined to hold Michael's hand rather than one of ours, and begged to stay longer when we had to leave!)

It is a pleasure to know Susan and Michael and to be able to write this letter attesting to their great fitness to be parents. They are both fantastic people, who we are honored to call friends, and they have much to offer any child who is placed in their care. We think highly of both of them, and we are absolutely convinced that they are up to the challenge of parenting. We both look forward to following their adoption journey, and to the day when their dream of being parents is realized.

Yard Sale

This Saturday is our first attempt at holding a yard sale since moving here. We are attempting to raise some much needed capital for the adoption fees. I don't know how the hell we're going to get it all set up--we have a bunch of junk already and no real tables or anything to put stuff on. Judy and Lucas will be coming down to help out with it, but if anyone else is free on Saturday and wants to take pity on me, please feel free to drop over :) And also if you have any "stuff" you want to get rid of and don't mind donating, please let me know. You can either bring it over or I can try to pick it up tomorrow or Wednesday. I'll be in Fairfax tomorrow and Wednesday mornings and in Fredericksburg tomorrow and Wednesday evenings. Thursday evening I am committed to picking up a futon and mattress from Judy and Lucas's place, thus signaling the end of my Sunday stayovers, as "my" bed is up for sale on Saturday and I'll have nowhere to sleep over there. The end of an era... Sad, but happy...

Anyway, anything we don't sell will be offered on Freecycle first and then we'll donate whatever's left to the local Hospice thrift store. So your goodies and mine will all go to a great cause regardless of what happens to it!

The sale is Saturday from 9:00AM till ???

(X-Posted to BRB blog)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Two More Letters of Reference

We received two more wonderful letters of reference in the past couple of days and they were so sweet.

The first was from Melissa, who wrote:

I am writing today in reference to Michael and Susan Kosior’s application to adopt a baby. I have known Michael and Susan for a number of years and can say that I wholeheartedly support their plans to parent a child.

Imagine a child being brought up in a home where they are loved for who they are. A home where they are treated with respect, but given limits and boundaries and rules. A home where they are allowed to be creative, even if it means making a mess. A home where the parents are loving and supportive of each other. A home where they are talked to and encouraged to develop their own communication skills. A home where they are read to and where books and learning are a priority.
A child raised in Michael and Susan’s home would experience all this and more! Michael and Susan will be great parents because they have a strong marriage, strong communication skills, and they are willing to learn.

A strong marriage is the foundation for great parenting. Michael and Susan are partners in everything that they do. They have been married for more than six years giving them plenty of time to grow their relationship and fully understand each other. Life has thrown them enough curveballs over the years that they have learned how to be there for each other and in what capacities in order to support each other.

Susan and Michael do an excellent job of communicating with each other. They are very open with each other if something is bothering them or is they are happy about something. Susan and Michael are able to communicate effectively with each other in many different ways, both verbally and nonverbally.

Parenting is a constant learning experience, and they have both already begun the process of learning though reading parenting books and researching the best baby equipment. Being a learner means being willing to adjust your approach as you go in order to meet the needs of the situation and I have seen Susan and Michael do just that. Susan and Michael both are able to take stock in a situation, create a plan and then change the plan as new information comes in.

All three of these characteristics combined with a very strong desire to raise a child create a solid foundation for Michael and Susan as they enter the next chapter of their lives together. They will be excellent parents!

Thank you so much, Melissa!!

The second came from our friend "Little Anne" who lives down the street from us. She wrote:

I have known the Kosiors since the summer of 2005 when Mike and I began sharing our daily commute to work. Since that time, I have been a guest in their home many times. I have watched them interact with one another and with their friends, both young and old, and I can honestly tell you that I couldn’t possibly recommend them highly enough. No one who knows them can help but be impressed by the love and dedication they show to one another and the friendliness and genuine hospitality they freely offer others. Not only that, but it’s obvious that they are both intelligent, hardworking individuals who aren’t afraid of tackling head-on the obstacles life puts in their path.

Looking at each of them separately, both Susan and Mike are impressive in their own way. Susan must surely be the hardest working individual I’ve ever met! Nothing seems to slow her down. In addition to taking care of her home and her husband, she works full-time at what is undoubtedly a very challenging job, and yet she still has time for family, friends and even hobbies like her book club. As for Mike, I am constantly in awe of him and what he has accomplished in his life so far. Instead of wallowing in self-pity or expecting handouts from others, he accepts his physical handicap as simply a part of life and doesn’t allow it to slow him down. His technically-oriented degree and high ranking position with the United States Government are impressive enough in their own right; the fact that he earned both while blind makes it doubly so.

Please don’t take this to mean that Mike and Susan are all work and no play. That’s most definitely not the case. They’re both fun, imaginative, outgoing people who always seem to have a smile on their faces. I believe any child of Mike and Susan will be presented with a world of opportunities to explore. Imagination will be encouraged and I know Mike and Susan will make sure whatever sports or physical activities the child is interested in will be made available. I’m sure travel, art, music and books will also play an important part in the child’s life, as will an extended circle of friends and family.

As regards their abilities to parent a child, there is no doubt that Mike and Susan will face difficulties, but what parent doesn’t? Any child who can call the Kosiors “Mom and Dad” will have the benefit of two loving, caring parents to guide him/her as well as a wonderful example of persevering against the odds and winning. (Personally, I hope my own son has the continued benefit of knowing them and learning from their example.) In addition, I believe a child adopted by Susan and Mike will grow up feeling secure in the knowledge of being truly wanted. Providing a child with a strong, stable, loving foundation from which to face the world is an invaluable gift that I believe they’re both more than ready and able to give.

I know that Mike and Susan have an abundance of love in their hearts and that they long for a child to share it with. I think they’ll be wonderful parents and any child chosen for them will be truly blessed. I am definitely looking forward to welcoming the new member of the Kosior family, hopefully in the very near future.

Thank you, Anne!

These letters made each of us a little weepy. I'm going to start asking for letters of reference for all kinds of things--they really are a boost to the ole ego. :-)

Seriously, though, it's so flattering to read these letters and read of people's regard for us. We know how much we love each of our friends and family members, but it's not always something that gets put into words. And I don't think it necessarily needs to be either, if you can demonstrate through your actions and times together how you hold your friends in such high esteem.

But it's nice to have these beautiful letters as a testament to our relationship with each other and with the people we love and respect.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Nursery is Painted!

There is only so much you can do while you are waiting for your child to come home. But a fun thing is to get the nursery in order.

Obviously this would be easier to do if I knew we were having a boy or a girl, but we don't and we may not find out till the last minute. So I was just messing around on the site and looking at all the things I could get for a new baby and I happened upon a fun bedding set that was totally me while being totally neutral.

I nearly decided against it because the company making it is called "Babylicious" which makes me think of that little twerp on Project Runway who calls everything "Licious" this and "Licious" that and I sure don't want a Babylicious. I'll take a baby, thanks.

But ultimately good taste won out over idiocy and I bought it. It arrived last week and I love it.

Here's a little preview:

The only difference is that it didn't arrive with the checkerboard along the inside, which I am hearing as a complaint from many people. It has stripes instead. But I don't much care, I bought it for the polka dots.

So anyway, above you can see the before shot. Someone had plastered a lovely Americana border around the top of the room, which apparently complimented the forest green they painted the baseboards, window frames, and closet doors. (And for added fun, you can see the bunny supplies.) Well, Lucas more or less took care of the forest green issues, and I spent Sunday ripping down the wallpaper border. Unfortunately, and much to my chagrin, the people had slapped it up there to hide the fact that the crappy paint they used in the first place was cracked and peeling. So I had to repair that first.

Ultimately, I decided on a real sassy green for the nursery. Despite my current aversion to Home Depot, they were having a sale on paint this weekend, and I happen to love Behr Paint, and they happened to have a color I was in love with in their chips, and so I temporarily forgave them for the flooring debacle.

Here is the color on the walls:

The color is called Honeydew, and I think you'll agree it's quite sassy. It also matches beautifully with the color of the bedding and I really love it. It's very fresh and spring-y. Now that the room is painted, I can put down flooring. The next task will be the flooring, but I'm already 2 strikes down and starting to get discouraged just a little bit.

Anyway, Lucas was down this weekend, so the paint went up in under 2 hours for 2 coats. Turns out he is an excellent painter. I took the high road and he took the low road and we shared the cutting in. I'm going to be looking for some cute little switchplate and outlet covers and then once the flooring is in, I can work on finding furniture.

But it's nice to see something tangible in place. Oh and TomTom is still high as a kite on paint fumes!!! And seriously angry about all the disruptions in HIS room. Since we keep calling it The Bunny Room, does this mean we can call Baby Kosior "the bunny" until s/he gets here?