Monday, March 30, 2009

Baby News and Money Info

Today was B's test to see if she was developing pre-eclampsia. Part of the testing was to do a sonogram/ultrasound and see that the baby was fine. The tech asked us if we knew what the baby was. We responded that it was a boy. The tech asked if we wanted her to make sure. We said, "Yes!" (B. and I are starting to think like one mind! Scary!)

The tech did some poking around with the wand and said, "I don't think this is a boy." I looked at B. and she looked at me. We were both bug-eyed, mouths hanging open, shocked. So the tech said, "Ok, well, we'll come back to that in a bit, let's do these other tests." I kept thinking, "Oh my God, it's a girl, oh my God, my dad is going to have a heart attack, oh my God, what are we going to name her?"

A few minutes later, the tech went back to baby's bum and started moving the wand around again. She said, "I don't see any boy parts, but I'm pretty sure these are girl parts" and started pointing them out. We were like, "No! Seriously!?" So the tech said, "I could be wrong, would you like a second opinion? But I'm telling you, I'd be willing to put money on it." Yes, we wanted a second opinion! So another tech came in, and did some poking around and said, "This is most definitely a girl."

Um, gulp! SURPRISE! :-) Thank God we did a neutral nursery is all I can say. I called Mike from the lobby of the hospital and he was just fine with the news, as of course was I. Then I called my sister and gave her the news while Mike called his parents. I called my mom and emailed my dad and brother-in-law and Mike called his sister. Then we had to come up with a name...

Over the phone from my office when I got back to work, we decided on Leah Katherine. I've always liked the name Leah and Katherine is a family name on my side of the family (and is my middle name!). So, surprise! We're having a girl.

B. has to go back to the doctor on Thursday for further monitoring and has another appointment on Friday with her regular clinic doctor. I'm hopeful that they will induce her on Thursday, as I am worried for her health. She is VERY swollen and her blood pressure is high, proteins are creeping into her urine, all signs of pre-eclampsia. However, they're putting it off another couple of days. Fingers crossed, she and Baby Leah will be fine and dandy and hang in there another couple of days. The sonogram picture here was taken today while B. and I had our mouths hanging open.

And in other great news, B. has gotten engaged! Her best friend of many years popped the question over the weekend. She's made that she's all swollen because she can't wear her new sparkly engagement ring. Another reason to have this baby!


Someone made some comments to family members recently about the fact that we have a donation button on our blog here. While we appreciate the concern about the state of our finances, we're doing just fine. However, since this appears to be something people are concerned about, Mike and I figured we would deal with it head on.

It is tremendously, ridiculously expensive to adopt a newborn baby. While some friends and family members have commented that they are sure their pregnancies cost as much, our response is, "Yes, but your insurance paid the majority of the bills associated with your having a baby."

We do not have this luxury. To date, the Adoption Fairy has not dropped a fat check in our laps and told us to build a family for free. There is no adoption insurance, just in case you can't get pregnant. Additionally, adoptive mothers don't get short term disability payments after the birth--they get 12 weeks unpaid time off, period.

This is what we have paid to date:

$2,100 home study
$9,200 attorney fees
$16,000 agency fees
$1,040 birthmother expenses (estimated $520-$1040 still to be paid)

This does not include postage, copying, gas, mileage, phone calls, and meals. And it is to say nothing of the costs of preparing for a baby--bottles, formula, diapers, clothes, furniture, etc. We were so lucky to have people come to our rescue with showers and hand-me-downs and we've done a lot of bargain shopping, but when you start out $30,000 behind the eight ball, you've got some catching up to do.

We were tremendously lucky to receive a loan from a family member that covered approximately 2/3 the cost of the adoption. We have had to pay the rest ourselves. We covered what we could from our savings and fundraising efforts, charged the rest to credit cards, and paid everything off with this year's tax return.

To date, between the donation button, the Pampered Chef fundraiser, and a yard sale, our fundraising efforts have generated approximately $700, not enough to cover one single category of the above expenses.

Despite the fact that we both have great jobs, neither one of our employers offers adoption assistance. We have a mortgage, car payment, and student loan payments, as well as the regular expenses of living--food, utilities, gas, insurance, etc. Don't misunderstand, we are able to cover all of this with our regular paychecks. We have ZERO credit card debt. We have lived throughout our marriage that if we want something, we either have the money to buy it or we wait until we do. We learned to economize when Mike lost his job 6 years ago and have put those principles into action. You all know us. While our friends have taken fabulous vacations to Europe, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, we've visited friends in Georgia and Kentucky and taken treks to Myrtle Beach.

However, I am about to leave my job and we did need to be sure to put at least a bit of money aside "just in case". And we have done so. And in today's economy, that says something, that after paying off the above expenses on top of everything else, we can still put some money aside "just in case". Apart from pushing the heck out of the Pampered Chef fundraiser, we have not asked anyone for money. We put the button/link on the page in case anyone cared to donate some money to the cause. Several people have, and for that we are TRULY grateful--every little bit has helped beyond measure. And we have gotten away "cheap" because we didn't care a whit about the baby's skin color and because we won't have to pay for our travel or lodging once the baby is born (lest you think we're kidding, many of the leads we've gotten on babies have had agency fees upwards of $35,000 and the kids are being born to drug addicts and the mentally ill, and that $35,000 doesn't cover travel, birthmom expenses, or legal fees in many cases.). In today's economy it is not possible to drop $30,000 without feeling a pinch.

This is why there is a donation button on the page. If you do not wish to donate, feel free to ignore it. If you care to discuss this any further, please contact us directly. You can email me at s u s a n k ( a t ) m k o s i o r ( d o t ) c o m or Mike at m i k e ( a t ) m k o s i o r ( d o t ) c o m. Kindly share your concerns directly with us, versus members of our families or friends.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our nursery is mostly complete!

Yesterday my sister and brother-in-law stopped by to visit with our niece and we spent some time having lunch. Then I ran over to Cracker Barrel to get a rocking chair--yes, we made it official and decided to get a rocker there instead of a glider. We were all sitting around and just decided to go up to Ikea to pick up a bureau I wanted to use as a dresser/changing table in the nursery so that I could pay Lucas in pizza to assemble it, and then finally I'd be able to put everything away.

Last night, I couldn't breathe when I was in bed, so I took some Sudafed PM, hoping it would knock me out. Fat chance. It did less than nothing to alleviate my congestion (next stop for Sudafed PM: the trash!). So I got back up and decided to clean up the nursery and put everything away. I took some pictures this morning. Hope you like 'em! I'm thrilled with how everything looks and now all we need is a baby!

We organized the books by color :-) Yes, we're just that anal

Mr. Ted has been my teddy bear for over 18 years. I hope baby loves him as much as I do!

The bureau is so big, I was able to fit in all the cloth diapers, blankets, crib sheets, swaddlers, wipes, and his clothes that we received as gifts!! Go Ikea!

Several friends have given me gifts of chocolate for "Mom emergencies"--some high test, some Weight Watchers friendly. The stash is in the super cool clock Michael picked out for him--open clock, diffuse chocolate emergency!

The other day, Michael and I were talking about the baby and I said, "I wonder what he's going to be like when he grows up?" like what kind of a person or what kind of job he'll have, that type of thing. My husband pipes up, "Well, I know one thing for damned sure! He's going to be a Patriots fan." To that end, we went on a little shopping spree on

While the banner and pennant do not match the decor, you can bet they'll be proudly displayed in that room. And as you can see in front of the flag, baby already has his first Patriots uniform.

Next up will be the wall decor and putting up a couple of more shelves that I bought to hang on the wall. We also need to install a bar and some shelving in the closet, but that's totally full of 'stuff' so it'll have to wait. At least the room is cleaned up and ready :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New Projects & New News

So I've got several projects in the works apart from the big "Build baby a bureau" and "clean the nursery" projects. One of them involves putting something on the walls of the nursery, which apart from that awesome green paint are blank canvasses at the moment.

I've wanted to put an alphabet poster up on the wall since my ideas about the nursery started coming to me. I did mega-research. Since the room was not going to be a pastel haven with lots of cute little fluffy animals, I needed to find an alphabet poster that would be a little more modern. It took a long time. A very long time. And when I finally found what I liked, it led to the question of, "WHAT!?" Seriously. Here is the poster I like. See any problems with it? Like the $85 price tag and it doesn't even come framed!?

Yeah. Not good. But if there's one thing I pride myself on, it's that I'm a pretty savvy shopper, especially on line. If there's a bargain to be had, I will usually find it. But I searched high and low and I couldn't find this poster for cheaper. Not even on Ebay.

I turned to my friends at Nothing. But they did offer a glimmer of hope. They didn't offer the poster, but they offered a set of notecards with the Binth alphabet on them, one card per letter, at a total cost of $16.95. (They'd be cool just as postcards, forget anything else! Want a set? Click here).

So baby project #1 is to make these into a poster or set of posters somehow and mount them on the wall. They're beautiful and I love the colors and the fun drawings, especially I is for Inchworm :-) And L for lobster is a nice nod to his New England heritage. I think this is going to be a lot of fun to put together.

I was also on a hunt for a baby book for him. It is kind of a pain in the butt to keep up with those little projects, but my mom made them for both my sister and I and they are something I cherish. I did some book store hunting, but most everything included "Here's how mommy found out she was pregnant." I did find one book that said, "Here's how we found out we were expecting you" which was good, but then it said, "Here's what Mommy was craving"... Not so good.

I was pretty sure that there must be adoption memory books out there, and so again turned to and started looking. Voila! There were several options, but ultimately I decided on Our Chosen Child by Judy Pelikan and Judith Levy. I like the design of it a lot, and last night Michael and I looked through it and read it together and much of it we can fill out already. It was kind of silly though, it goes all the way through the teen years (I think just in case you adopt an older child) and then adds a page for "your special day" and I said, "My God, I don't even want to think about him getting married" and burst into tears! Yeah, I'm a mess.

I also got a hanging photoclip mobile and I thought it would be fun to get B. a disposable digital camera and ask her to take a series of pictures that we could turn into a mobile and hang in his room. We'll see how she feels about that project.

Yesterday while I was blogging about the hell our nursery had become, the phone rang and it was B.! She was calling with an update about her Monday doctor's appointment. She went and told them that she was having a lot of trouble breathing and they said it was probably because the baby is a pretty good size and was pushing on all those muscles. Still, they decided to send her for a sonogram, so she went over to the hospital (Darn it! I MISSED IT!) and they did a sonogram (he still didn't want to show off his junk, so they still can't confirm 100% that it's a boy, but he better be, we have a LOT of boy clothes now). They estimated his current weight to be 9 pounds 6 ounces. Now everyone is telling me that it could be off either way by a pound, but 8 pounds 6 ounces is still a big baby, as is 10 pounds 6 ounces! B. said when she heard that news, she started crying, she is afraid of having to push out a baby that big and of having to have a c-section. I tried to offer her words of reassurance, but really, what can I say!? "Good drugs and a bottle of champagne afterwards?" She made me swear I wouldn't videotape the birth--which I hadn't planned on--and said I could shoot all the video and take all the pictures I wanted to after the fact, but not during 'the action' as she calls it. She also said that the hospital told her she could have 3 people in the labor and delivery room with her and she told the hospital that her first 2 picks were us, so they are aware of her plans.

So that's where we are right now. I am going to have to experiment with Blogger's privacy settings--we feel it is most important to keep B's privacy in highest regard. She is not computer savvy, and so we don't want to do anything that she wouldn't want us to in terms of posting pictures, etc. to a public space, but at the same time, we want to be able to share our joy at his birth and share photos with our nearest and dearest. I know Blogger will allow us to make this entire blog "by invitation only" which would mean you'd have to let me know you want access to the password. What I'm wondering is if we can just protect certain posts, so that if we got pictures of us with B as a family after the birth, we could just protect those posts with her image in them.

Other items we are discussing--our first date night! We have a tentative date planned for May 13th to go to a concert in DC, just waiting to speak with the ticket office about happy handicapped seating and then it's official. Anyone wanna babysit? :-)

We've also been getting strange calls from strange numbers in the middle of the night, so we're thinking we need to start packing for when the time comes that we do get The Call. Even if we just pack up cameras and baby gear and then only have to worry about our own clothing, etc., at least we're that step ahead of the game. So this is the game plan. We've been talking about it for a while, but we just haven't done it yet! So time to do it.

Our new freezer arrived yesterday, so we are probably going to renew our BJ's membership and start buying items in bulk--hopefully they have formula there, which should cut down on the cost considerably, although B. has offered us her formula vouchers, so that should help a lot too. When my mom comes to stay, I want to do a lot of cooking with her so we can load up the freezer and then I'll be able to just pull meals out and heat them up without worrying about it too much.

All baby's laundry is done except his cloth diapers, but I plan to use disposables for a few weeks while we get adjusted and then transition to cloth, so I'm not worried about that for now. Our washing machine died a painful death last night (it's less than a year old!), so it's being repaired tomorrow and then we can wash our clothes and be ready to roll in the event something happens soon! I'll keep everyone posted about going private and how to contact me to get put on the privilege list :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Maybe a Little Spoiled!

So if I had any doubts about how many of you are excited and already love this little boy, all worries were allayed in the past week. Between yesterday and the previous Monday, no fewer than 3 baby showers were held in our honor, two of which were total surprises. To begin to thank everyone would take FOREVER, but I'm going to do my darnedest.

Last Monday was book club. We were meeting at Elizabeth's house in Reston, which I have a bad history with (Reston, not her house!). The first time we ever had book club there, we got on the Dulles toll road and I allowed my sister to convince me that what we needed to do was get on the Dulles Access Road. We took a damned 30 minute detour and wound up at book club close to 45 minutes late. I don't do late. Late and I don't agree. Since that experience, nearly 5 years ago, I make damned sure to never take the Dulles Access Road unless I'm going to the airport and to leave early.

But my sister was feeling pokey that night. She took her time making the monkey bread she was bringing, getting Dottie changed and put together for her first time at book club, getting down to the car, etc. etc. etc. We finally got moving and got to Elizabeth's at about 7:20, and my sister says, "Don't you want to sit out here till you see someone go in like we always do?" Yes, ladies, we're just always that early that we arrive usually no later than 7:15 and then sit in the car so we don't look like total losers and are the first ones there--it's my code of book club ethics, but that's why you love me, right?!

So I said, "Oh fine, no problem" and we sat there for about 30 seconds before a fellow member drives up. So I said, "Well, Carrie's here! We can get going now!" and I hop out of the car and we roll into Elizabeth's, although Judy is fussing with Dottie's car seat and hanging back with Carrie, dragging her feet a little. I was like, "Oh, that's just Judy being her infuriatingly slow self again" and then I walked in and go to put my dish down on the table. Guess what!? There is a cake on the table that says, "Welcome, George Henry!" I was like, "What the heck?! This is strange." Then I turn to the living room, and there are several girls sitting around with a bunch of gifts on the coffee table. Surprise!!! It was a book party for George Henry! :-) So thanks to all his Lit Chicks auntie's, he's got lots of good reading to do, from Shel Silverstein to the Mr. Messy books to Goodnight Moon to some fun adoption themed books to a pajama dance to touchy feely books, you name it! I came right home and re-read all the cards and read all the books that night, and some of them made me just a little bit weepy, I'll be quite honest!


Saturday marked my baby shower for friends in the area. I had selected the date with my sister, who got a bit busy with other things, some of my friends stepped in to take over, and then my sister stepped back in and the four of them managed to plan this magnificent party via email and telephone and Twitter! They didn't meet up in person once!

It was again at Elizabeth's Party Palace, and sadly the weather was drizzly and crappy, but the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. I read the Evite wrong, thinking the party started at 2:00, so I arrived at about 2:00 on the dot while the party in fact started at 3:00. Oops! In fact, I beat 2 of the 4 hostesses there, but I just sat in Elizabeth's living room, unwinding with her kitty cats and chatting from afar with the girls so none of their hard work and surprises would be spoiled. I was happy pappy when Judy arrived with my friend Joe. Joe and I have been friends for 15 years come this fall--we met at Manhattan College during a psychology class. We were paired up together for a project and he hadn't done his homework and sponged off me. Despite this, I kinda liked him, so we started hanging out and 15 years later, it's a beautiful thing.

The ladies put on a beautiful tea for me. There was a variety of delicious food, a wonderful assortment of teas, and so much fun. My sister made her famous chicken salad sandwiches, which is my favorite thing she cooks, and she put the chicken salad in little pastry shells--YUM! Melissa went hog wild at Wegman's and bought fruit tarts (my fave dessert!), appetizers, and the like and Jacalyn made cucumber sandwiches. Elizabeth introduced me to the joy of peach flavored tea, and it was so, so good!!!

There were some fun games, one of which I remembered from growing up in the North Country. This involved someone freezing little plastic babies into ice cubes and us seeing who could be the first one to get him out. Judy won by dipping hers in hot tea. We also played baby taboo, where if you said "Baby" you had to give up one of your diaper pins to whoever caught you saying it. I did well until I started opening presents. Then I lost it. Joe was the big winner!

The fun thing about the games was that all the prizes were baby gifts. Each had a little note attached and the winner signed it and gave it to me as an extra gift. I got little teethers and so forth, so it was great!

The girls also had advice for the mom to be cards and each guest took one and wrote some words of wisdom. They included:

Stay calm, ask for help, and enjoy! --Cecily
Let me know when you need cookies! Sugar always helps! And wine (for you--not for him) --Sarah
Call me anytime you need to talk with a fellow clueless first-timer! --Elizabeth
"Spare the rod and spoil the child." When you don't know, say: "Ask your fatha" When all else fails, VELCRO! --Joe
If you have any questions or need a break, call my big sister, she's great this thing. --Judy (my little sister)
Sleep when Jack is sleeping. Don't watch him sleep. Sleep! --Kris

We got so many lovely presents. Melissa and Judy both learned some new crochet techniques and gave me a hand-crocheted blanket each. Kris got us the Little People farm, which I remember the old school version growing up, as did the other girls so we all squealed about that. Joe didn't know he was coming till the day before, so he went to Safeway and got a Hello Kitty rectal thermometer--HILARIOUS, but I'll never use it. hehe We got more books, clothes, a bumbo, blankets, and Jacalyn made a gorgeous diaper cake full of cloth diapers, clothes, spoons, teethers and more!

I must mention Jacalyn's mom Ann's gift. She got us some little boxes and filled them with goodies, but suggested that what we should do is have a box on each floor of our house with some diapers, wipes, washclothes, etc. Because we have a split level and the baby's gear is upstairs and we'll spend most of our days downstairs, this will save me from running up and down to change him. This is a great idea and one I am definitely going to use!

However, I got home and the General helped me unload the car and I was showing him everything and showed him Ann's boxes. His response? "These are nice boxes! They are just the right size to pack brownies in for work." It's clear where my husband's priorities are! Ha!

You can see pictures at both Melissa's blog and Jacalyn's blog. Sorry, I was too busy to take any!!!

So yesterday was my office day, usually I am in my office in Fairfax on Mondays. I was not too happy about going in yesterday because B. had another doctor's appointment and asked me if I wanted to come, which I sure did! But my boss had scheduled a staff meeting for yesterday and I had to be there because it was a team meeting to discuss the transition into a life without Susan. So I went. Grudgingly. Armed with a 4 page report I'd spent hours compiling so that everyone would know who their clients were going to be and what they'd need to do with each client.

Ok, fine. So then I get an email when I get there, "Denise has a meeting in the conference room at 10:00, so our staff meeting will be pushed back to 11:00." And I was like, "So help me God, if they push this meeting back till 12:00, I am going to be so unhappy, I might have to scream." Because I went to the doctor with B. last week and I was back in the office at 12:30. Plus, I had been asked to do a big inservice yesterday and I had to cancel it in order to attend this staff meeting.

So around 10:45ish, my boss Tim walks into my office and says, "You got that report ready?" and I was like, "Yeah, it's right here" and I hand it to him. He says, "Well come on down to my office and we'll discuss it real quick before the meeting, and also there are a few other pieces of paperwork you need to fill out."

So I go on down there with him and we're sitting and gabbing and he's emailing me files for things I need to do like an exit interview and rattling off who I have to email things to and I'm just like, "Whatever, I am so over this" ha! So then he says, "Ok, hold on a sec, I forgot something out front, I'm just going to grab this other form." and he takes off. So I'm just sitting there like la de dah and then he comes streaking back in and says, "Ok, well it's time for the meeting, so c'mon and we'll finish this up after the meeting." Ok, so I follow him out to the conference room and still in a haze and he opens the door and everyone is sitting around the table, the room is decorated and everyone shouts, "Surprise!"

Well, honestly, I couldn't have been more surprised. In fact, I turned around to walk out. It literally didn't register what was going on. Tim stopped me and then I realized what was going on, and I said, "Oh my God!" and I smacked him one (fortunately he's good like that). There was a table full of food--Denise, my co-worker who had a baby a year ago had made piles of sandwiches and salads and dips and veggies, and there were chips and a beautiful "Congratulations, Susan!" cake. It was amazing. There was a table full of presents in the back and Denise caught everything on camera--she is going to give me a CD shortly. So there we were again, everyone sitting around watching me open presents!!! Tim read a poem he wrote in my honor (you can read it here) and it was also a going away party for me as I will be leaving my job on George Henry's birthday.

We got so much great gear for the baby, my friend Debbie is such a crafty one she made a beautiful bath time bucket out of a paint can and filled it with onesies and washclothes and bath goodies. Our office manager, Roxie, gave me a hat she had knit herself. Denise gave me a whole laundry basket full of diapers and wipes and good things like that, Kris gave me clothes for when he gets older (love that!) one of the mobility instructors and a counselor gave us a whole bag of Easter themed goodies and a lullaby CD. It was awesome. Plus they all chipped in for a good-bye gift to give me a gift certificate/Visa gift card, which I am stashing for a new mommy emergency run to Starbucks. I have plans for that Visa card.

Thank you, DBVI!!! I'm so lucky to have worked with such an awesome crew. It was bitter sweet, everyone kept saying, "What are we going to do without you for X, Y, or Z?" But I reminded them all that Jack's doctor is in Fairfax and I'll have nothing better to do than drive around aimlessly anyway, so I'll come visit often!

So I went out with Debbie last night and then driving home, I called the General and told him to be ready to flex his muscles--we got gear! We hauled in another round of goodies and at this point, it was looking like a desperate situation in our living room. It looked like a Baby Depot truck had pulled up, dumped its load, and driven off.

So today I spent some time putting things upstairs, washing all the clothes, and trying to get some things organized. We are hamstrung by our lack of a bureau and the closet doesn't have a clothes bar or shelves or anything. This weekend, Uncle Lucas is supposed to come help me get a dresser and put it together, and hopefully that will solve this problem.

You remember my beautiful baby ready nursery? I think someone called it "magazine gorgeous"?

Well, here's what it looks like today with all the gear loaded in.

Box of Bum Genius 3.0 diapers, ready to be washed and waiting for use!

Why have one carseat when you can have two?

He's got clothes, but nowhere to sleep!

This is my current organizational project! (See below for more details)

Ok, so the clothes in bags. My friend Mandy (you will remember her from the diaper cake) told me that she started putting her boys' clothes into ziploc bags, one outfit per bag. She said this makes it REALLY easy to grab an outfit and go, she can even send the boys or her husband to grab a clothing bag and they can be on their way in no time.

What really appeals to me about this is not only the speed and convenience of it, but that Michael will be able to pick out an outfit that's coordinated and dress Jack up and be ready to roll if need be. I'm trying it out and now have tons of hats and socks to include in the packages. Once we get him a dresser this weekend, I can put them in the drawers by size and we can recycle the bags as he outgrows things. I'm excited to see how this works!

Monday night, I should mention, I got home and Michael said we'd had a package delivered. So I took it and guess who it was from? My friend Julie in Georgia!! She and I met over 10 years ago when her parents and mine all decided to split up (they didn't know each other or anything, but it was at roughly the same time anyway). We've kept in touch all these years and she has a little guy of her own, Joey, who is 6, I think by now? and just so adorable he can't quit. So, she sent us a gift for Baby Kosior and guess what it was? A hand-crocheted afghan! In blue! Different than the other 2, totally gorgeous as well. This is absolutely wonderful, he's going to be the warmest baby on the block :-)

So we have some cleaning up to do! Our neighbor is going to install our shelves for us soon up on the wall and hopefully I can hire him to put in some shelves and a clothing bar in the closet. And that's it! Look for another post soon about my new projects for the nursery if it doesn't swallow me whole in the meantime!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Showers of Heartbeats

Yesterday I went with B. to the doctor for her regular check up. The doctor felt around and put a monitor on her and I got to hear the baby's heartbeat! :-) It was so exciting! I cried just a little bit. What a moment. Otherwise, she is doing fine. She has dilated maybe a fingertip, so not too much action there, but she is coming along. Hopefully he'll be here soon!

In other news, our friend Mandy came over on Saturday bearing a diaper cake!! She had a former nanny of hers make it for us, and it was coordinated to match our nursery. It has little frogs, spoons, teething toys, diapers, shampoo, everything! Absolutely adorable. Thanks, Mandy and family, the wonderful surprise!

I arrived at book club last night and the girls had a surprise shower for me there as well. Each of them gave us a book or two, and it was so fun to look through them. We got a couple of adoption themed books, and a bunch of tactile books (great for reading with Daddy!), and some old favorites like the Little Mister books and Goodnight Moon and Shel Silverstein. Thanks, ladies! Lit Chicks are the best girls in the world :-)

It's an exciting time. My sister and three friends are throwing a shower for me this Saturday, and I think on Sunday, Michael and I will do some shopping for baby too. It will be nice to get him some things from his parents.

I guess that's about all! Things are slowly but surely moving along. I'm sure he'll be here before we know it.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

What Kind of Adoption Are You Having?

If we get asked one question beyond the question of baby specifics (gender, name, nursery theme), it's what kind of an adoption we are going to have. A totally open adoption? A closed adoption? One joker even asked us if we were going to tell him he was adopted! (I think he's going to figure it out.)

In the beginning, we didn't really know. Most of our friends who have adopted or been adopted have done so from overseas. We have one friend here in town who is adopted and told us that we had no choice but to have a fully open adoption where the birth mom is presented to him right from the start. Others have expressed concern that we all live so close and that maybe we should be nervous that she'll come around.

About this... Let me say that once the court documents are signed, sealed, and delivered, she has fully and legally relinquished all her rights. She cannot show up on our doorstep and demand the child back. If she were to take him, she'd be charged with kidnapping. Once we accept custody of him, he's legally ours. The process will grant us temporary custody after the waiting period, during which she can change her mind. I'm not sure how long the waiting period is exactly, but I believe it's somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 days. After that, we will go to court and she will sign him over to us. Then we have temporary custody for six months. During those six months, we will have 2 visits from our social worker, who will report back to the court that we are not screwing up too badly--the first visit at 3 months, the second at 6. At the end of that timeframe, provided everything goes smoothly, there will be one last court hearing, which will involve only us and our attorney, and the court will grant us permanent custody. B. will not be involved in that hearing at all--her rights will have been terminated 6 months ago. If, God forbid, the court finds that we are not adequate parents for this little dude, he would be placed in foster care.

From the beginning, we've said we would exchange reports and progress letters and photos. It's what I would want at a minimum if I were to be forced to make this decision and put my child up for adoption. When we were first matched with B. and talked with her on the phone for the first time, we asked her what type of adoption she wanted and she said that she would like to receive letters and pictures from time to time. It was a good fit.

As we look at the logistics of how this adoption is going to go, I know that in the days following the baby's birth, we will see B. again. We have agreed to transport her to a court hearing in Virginia in order to save ourselves an extra court date and an extra $1500. She will do a hospital 'walk out' with us--meaning that she will take the baby outside the hospital and hand him to us--thereby saving us the need to have a court order and another pile of money.

And when we met her, there was a connection that made me hope that we will be in contact with her for a long time. She is a lovely and smart young woman who one night made a mistake--a mistake that will grow into my family.

But at the same time, I feel strongly that it should be Little Jack's decision about what type of relationship, if any, he wants with B. Some adopted kids want a relationship with their birth families and some do not. I do not want to force him into a relationship with people he doesn't care to know, but I also won't prevent him from knowing them if he so desires.

So there's your answer--although I guess it's not really an answer. I guess we will just kind of do what feels right for all of us, but most of all what feels right to Little Jack. But I appreciate everyone's curiosity!! It's given us something to think about.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ups and Downs!

The visit on Saturday went fantastically! We met B. and her daughter at the Cheesecake Factory at the Inner Harbor and from the start it was great. I gave her a great big hug, and the baby started kicking! Unbelievable! We gave the little one a big teddy bear, and she and I were instantly inseparable--every time I'd put her down, she'd start crying. By the time the visit was over, she'd drunk half my Diet Coke and I was covered in ketchup, but what a blast.

B. invited me to attend her next doctor's appointment on Monday, so hopefully if they do an ultrasound or sonogram, I'll be able to actually see the little dude myself. We got home Saturday night and she called to say she was having some contractions, so we wondered if we were going to have to turn around and go back up there. It was a total panic zone here for about an hour--trying to collapse the portable crib, wash laundry, make a phone list, etc. It's gotten us to thinking that we need a better plan than running around trying to throw things in bags, so last night we started preparing for our trip--got the laptop up and running, made a phone list, and I'm starting a list of things we need to pack up so that we can grab and go when the time comes.

This morning we got word that we were NOT approved for a Gift of Adoption grant due to our income being plenty fine to cover our fees. Oh really? I'd like to know how they figured that out. That's what I hate about financials on paper--they really don't give you a picture of how people manage. Not saying we're in dire straits, but we're not rolling in it either. The whole point of Gift of Adoption grants is to not look at people's income, but to give people that little boost they need to get over the last hurdle to the adoption. *Sigh* Oh well. We'll be fine, I'm sure. Especially now that we have someplace free to stay. That's going to be a big help indeed.

Abby's called us on Sunday to get our impression of the visit and of course we were thrilled with it and apparently B. was too and mentioned to Abby's how much her little girl had loved spending time with me. So that's good. Always up. :-)

That's all the news from here so far.