Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Preparing Too Early for an Adoption?

I went to college in New Orleans. I ran away from hurricanes every year. I had a flashlight, extra batteries, cash, medical cards, clothes and snacks ready to run away with every August. I felt prepared. After college I lived in Japan where I kept a similar bag by the bed just in case there was an earthquake. I currently keep a fully stocked medical kit both in my house and my car. I even keep extra socks, underclothes, a blanket, snacks and more in the car. Being prepared is the essence of survival as an adult.

Yet when we began the adoption process, the agencies were constantly saying

"Do not prepare too early." 

I was shocked because I finally felt that this is the time to prepare. We got tired of trying for a child and only breezing past the baby section of stores. We felt like we finally deserve to walk into the section and pick up whatever we want. We felt like it was our right-of-passage to finally browse the variety of bottles and mattresses and car seats. Yet two years ago, we were sitting in a meeting with the fourth adoption agency, trying to pick whom we trust and the only thing  that rang out of their speech was "Do not prepare".

See, I had a problem with this notion. We kept getting mixed messages from random people:

Last summer, hubby and I picked up out CSA from our lovely farmer and she went on to tell us that she was matched to a set of twins only a couple months before they were born. She said that it was a very tight schedule to run around to purchase everything for twins in a dozen weeks, but they made it. Her story was a bolt of energy to make sure that I knew what I wanted. 

A month later, Hubby and I were in a popular baby store when an employee overheard us knocking over signs while trying to reach a stroller. He came over to joke with us and we learned that we are using the same agency he used 10 years ago. Both of his children were matched to him and his wife within a month! The hair on my arms stood on ends. 

At the end of August, while saying goodbye at the airport to my Chinese exchange student, another host family came up to me. They joyfully expressed their love to us for our adoption process. The family told us "Make sure you prepare now. I was matched in two weeks and I had nothing! I had to borrow my sister's car seat just to get home with her." The 'her' was a 16 year old that stood proudly beside her. 

The scariest story was told by a couple from my agency at a meeting. Their profile went live for birth mothers to see and eleven days later they were match to a baby that was born the day of the call. They had to go to the hospital the next day! Because they were unprepared, they were in Target with a half dozen of employees and carts, one hour before closing. The wife told us that she had a break down in an aisle because she didn't know which formula to buy. She told us "Do not wait to prepare."

Fast forward to last month, December 2016 and I finally began to prepared. My very anxious and excited mother flew into town to make sure we were ready to accept a bundle of joy. After all,

Our home study is complete!

We got the very basics, out the way. We purchased crib mattress, sheets, bottle warmer, pacifiers, a few sleepers, undershirts and wipes. We bought a car seat on a Black Friday deal. We are also cloth diapering and made sure to order a dozen diapers. Want to see our stash? We cleaned the nursery, the furniture and even organized the items. We PREPARED, and quite well if you ask me. Even though we only have about 10 changes of clothes spread out over three sizes, we can at least avoid a break down in the middle of Target, 12 hours before we bring a baby home.

So I say to potential mothers out here, adoptive, foster or biological, there is no such thing as preparing too early. The agency is trying to spare the emotional turmoil that a missed adoption after preparing can cause. But I say stand strong and alert. You never know when the baby will come. You might have to hold on to the items for 2 years, 10 months, 3 weeks or 2 days. A least you will be prepared!

When did you prepare for your Baby/Child?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

I am Infertile, Now WHAT?!?!

No matter if its a phone call or in office consultation, the news of being labeled "Infertile" stings like a wasp. Not a bee, but a never ending, stabbing, jab of a wasp. So many questions flood your mind. Your whole body twitches with confusion. Is this true? What does this mean? Is this permanent? Did the doctor make a mistake? What do I do now?

This is the point when the internet become our friend. My Hubby and I ran home and looked up everything about infertility. We were desperate to know the statistics and rather our generation, age, race and even our genetics would determine a better outcome. (Side note: we had a clue that we might face problems as previous generations on both sides of our families had fertility issues.) Nothing was stopping us from learning what we could do next. There was a million, probably tens of millions of infertility studies, experiences and even jokes plastered all online. We found hundreds of "miracle" pregnancies that came out the blue to the most popular artificial reproductive technologies (ART) that resulted in a pregnancy. We were filled with hope. Many of you are filled with hope that you will be like those lovely couples that conquered infertility.

So Hubby and I pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps, wiped our tears and began to decide what route we wanted to take. We analyzed each and every possible way there is to have a child. We even discussed being child-free. We mulled over the cost, the time frame, and the probability of success. Did I mention I was a numbers nerd?

We never realized that the road we were on was going to be long and full of surprises. We never thought that there will be a plethora of emotions that would creep into our hearts and minds. We unknowingly walked around with set thoughts and feelings about each step of the way. Luckily, I am married to a therapist and one that isnt afraid to treat me and himself as a client. We often did emotional checks and balances with one another. We realized that there arent many resources available for couples that are suffering from infertility. The emotions of infertility aren't "fixed" just over night. Depending on the choices made by the couples, infertility would never be "fixed". A lady from a fabric store, expressed her gratitude to my mother that we are adopting a child. She said that her husband never wanted to try ART procedures nor adoption. She shed at tear and stated that it still hurts at 50 plus years old. YIKES! Talk about never being satisfied with a choice made.

So Hubby and I set out to learn more about the emotions that infertility has had on people. We wanted to know what was their hardest part and is their greatest fear. We wanted to know what created a divide between them and their loved one and what brought them closer together. If you are new to infertility, you might be surprised to learn that this matter can completely tear apart a couple. If one wants children and another doesn't, infertility can be a blessing to one and a curse to the other.

Please answer the survey questions to the left.

We have been battling infertility for over 5 years. We have moved on to building our family in a nontraditional way, but we know that others have not. I totally understand that it is hard to move forward with the invasive, unromantic ART procedures or adoption process. We hate for people to not move forward in the direction that is best for them!

We will be combining the answers to the survey questions to create a creative guide to fighting the emotions of infertility. Stay tuned!

We wish you luck on your journey to being free from the sting of infertility!

So how have you been dealt with infertility? Tell me Below

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Risk Taker

In response to: Reshma Saujani - Teach Girls Bravery Not Prefection 

I have really gotten into TED Talks in 2016. They have opened my eyes to a plethora of topics presented by experts in their fields. The latest talk that pointed out an interesting problem was presented by Reshma Saujani. She presented on how boys are taught to take risks and girls are taught to be prefect. She went on to say that girls have stop doing, trying and even stray away from challenges because they feel like they couldn't excel or was not ready. 

I was not one of those girls. I was applauded as being brave throughout my childhood. I was able to speak to adults without being shy, I could give a speech in front of a crowd and even attended an event without knowing anyone there. I traveled to other countries including Japan without my parents at 14 years old for a few months. I even travel around Asia in my early twenties alone and with friends. I have always felt that I was brave. 

However, that might be where my bravery had ended, changed. I use to be able to jump at any idea. I knew that I could try my best and be satisfied with the outcome. It was only me that was effected. The best ideas often come from something missing from someone's life. But I have not done much about it other than to write and draw my thoughts. I guess my bravery to try something new and crazy, ended in my twenties. I returned home and felt that doing anything unusual was for young people or those that were "unsettled". Perhaps it was graduate school that ruined me. I was all set to explore what life had to offer but the promise of great income, stability and advancement won.  Perhaps I failed to look at the details beforehand, but with age, they are visible to me now.

Adulthood, the most desire part of life that teenagers and young adults crave for has actually been the greatest struggle so far. It is a shame because I thought this was when the money and fun was nonstop. Well, I thought that at 14 years old when I couldn't get what I wanted. But now that I am responsible for myself and a husband, I have taken on a more serious approach to adulthood. I've grown more interested in doing the "best thing as an adult" rather than the best thing for me. I have muffled my dreams and desires to fluff the bed of "responsibility" as if the only way to be an adult was to be bored. 

Well I refuse to spend the rest of my life surrounded by energy sucking tasks just to claim that I have "adulted" correctly. Right along side my generation X'ers or Y'ers or Millennials or whatever I am, I will live a fulfilling life. I have to be able to "fight, scratch and claw, baby" for the life I want! (Dave Ramsey) 

I have been sitting on a great idea for a couple years. I have always felt like I am not the best "employee". I never feel satisfied, and encouraged and I am often easily bored. This might sound like a child, but some office work can seem childish. I'm so creative. I spend lots of time thinking, imagining and improving. I sort and organize and even run numbers for fun. I get more joy out of helping people improve their budgets than improving the budget of the district I was working in. I didn't enjoy finding ways for the company to save money so that their customers can spend money. I enjoy saving money so that I can travel to a new country.

So I am taking my passion, my newly found life as an infertile couple, and reignite my bravery. I will take risks like I should. I plan to not let the typical adult life stand in my way anymore. I like to travel, laugh, cook international dishes and crunch numbers. I am taking a big risk as a full time Entrepreneur! 

So thank you Reshma Saujani for pointing out that a risk is better than being perfect. That beauty can arise from the ashes from a crazy, shorthanded idea. Thank you for pointing out that passion matters when identifying yourself. For all those that are struggling with trying something new, I say yes to imperfect risk taking for growth and personal internal happiness!