Monday, February 28, 2011

Recipe!

I've really gotten tired of not having anything else to talk about but death and sadness and frustration. I do have some bright spots in my life. I just never get much time to talk about them here. But today! I made something delicious and thought I would share. It was very tasty, and I was very hungry, so this is the only picture I thought to take:



Oven roasted green beans with feta and almonds

- I don't use measurements so you'll have to wing it.

Ingredients:

One clove garlic- cut in half
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh green beans (or your favorite vegetable)
Sea salt
Feta cheese
Sliced almonds
Lemon juice


Directions:

Take the garlic and rub the bottom of a shallow casserole dish with a close fitting lid.

Drizzle olive oil in the dish until the bottom is lightly coated.

Place green beans in dish in a single layer and stir to coat with oil.

Sprinkle green beans with sea salt to taste.

Bake in 400F oven 15-20 minutes until tender (make sure the lid is on).

Take out of oven and sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and sliced almonds.

Place uncovered dish back in oven and broil for 3-4 minutes until the almonds are lightly browned.

Remove from oven, let cool a few minutes then sprinkle with lemon juice.

Eat slowly and don't let anyone see you lick the plate.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Another stall

So. We took the MAPP classes in August. We turned in our application in November. We were told it took 3 months to COMPLETE a home study. It is nearly March. We have not even been assigned a case worker. They are now saying by the end of March we will "hear" from someone. I'm so freaking frustrated! On the one hand I realize that a few months one way or the other doesn't make all that much difference. On the other hand - we moved with the purpose of adopting in mind. We can afford the house we moved into, but it severely cut into our savings. If we are not going to get a chance at a placement this year (I know - it's early) then we are wasting all the money on this huge house with 2 empty bedrooms. I keep the doors closed. It's really hard to look in those rooms and see how very empty they are - the equivalent of an empty nursery, for me.

I hope this gets going soon. I am driving myself crazy over here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Activism

Planned Parenthood is under attack. I fail to understand how the religious right thinks that denying basic medical care to women will prevent abortions. It boggles the mind. If you care about this, please go here and sign the petition.

I'm going one step further. I am sending my story to congress. I want them to know that this issue is not black and white. I want them to know the level of suffering they are inflicting on families in their blind zealousness. Below is a letter I wrote, please let me know what you think. I can't help but get angry whenever abortion issues surface but I don't want my letter to be too combative.

I won't be sending this letter as an argument against the attack on Planned Parenthood, I don't want to cloud the issue because they are attacking basic medical care, not strictly abortions. But I do want this to be read and considered as this debate seems to be heating up more and more recently.

Letter to Congress

Dear Madams and Sirs,

I want to share my story with you in the hopes that you will think about families like mine when considering abortion legislation.

Most people in the abortion debate are thinking of careless teens that use abortion as a form of back-up birth control when their carelessness gets them into trouble. This may be an accurate picture of some of the women using abortion services, but it is by no means an encompassing one. Many advocates of strict abortion laws are willing to allow exceptions in the cases of rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother, but I believe these “exceptions” are often too limited to the most extreme of circumstances. It is easy for people not personally invested in the outcome to make abortion a black and white issue. It is not.

I do believe that ending the life of an unborn child for a purely selfish reason is amoral and a terrible waste. I also believe that it is not my right or responsibility to determine what constitutes a selfish reason in someone else’s life. Is it selfish for an abused teenager to try anything to avoid worse abuse? Is it selfish for a mother of 6 to want to avoid another mouth to feed and the threat of homelessness or starvation?

Just before Christmas in 2009 I was faced with an excruciating choice. The baby that I had wanted so badly for years, the one I took multiple medications with terrible side effects to conceive, developed with multiple, severe anomalies. I had no idea anything was wrong. I declined the first trimester testing and the quad screen showed no elevated risk. I went to my 20 week ultrasound expecting nothing worse than an uncooperative baby that wouldn’t allow us to determine the sex. I knew when they started the ultrasound that something was wrong. I knew fluid showed up as black and the baby’s brain was two large black ovals. I said nothing and hoped I just didn’t know what I was looking at. The doctor was quick to dash those hopes. We didn’t know until a few days later, but our baby was missing a large part of the second chromosome. He had so many problems that it took three visits to see them all. He had fluid on the brain. His brain was missing the membrane that separates the hemispheres and it was being squeezed into his spinal cord. He had bilateral (both sides) cleft lip and palate. He either had no stomach or his esophagus did not connect to the stomach. He had spina bifida and was already paralyzed from the waist down. His hands were clenched, indicating severe neurological damage. His heart had 3 major defects. His kidneys were enlarged. His legs were twisted.

No one would tell us for sure if he would live. They all said the outlook was “extremely grim”. The last specialist we saw said that there was a chance he would live on his own if he made it to term, but he would require several immediate surgeries. He would likely never eat, hear, see, move, or speak. He would certainly require several surgeries immediately after birth. He would likely require many, many surgeries after that to alleviate suffering. He would likely not live long and could be in severe pain the entire time, with no ability to communicate.

We thought about trying to carry to term and letting nature take its course, even though there was some risk to my health, but we were told that we would not be allowed to refuse medical treatment once he was born. If his heart was strong enough to keep going on its own the doctors would likely go to court to get an order for the spina bifida, cleft palate, and esophagus to be repaired. We wanted to give our son a chance at life, but not if the life would be nothing but suffering with no chance of any kind of communication. In the end, though it tore us apart, we decided to prevent that level of suffering. When I was struggling with the decision I asked myself what my reasons were for wanting to continue the pregnancy. I wanted to be sure I was basing my decision solely on the welfare of my child. When I thought about how many surgeries he had in store for him, and how painful some of his defects were, I became physically ill at the thought of forcing a helpless little baby into that situation. It was then I realized that my only reason for continuing my pregnancy was purely selfish. I wanted my baby. I wanted to hold him for however long he was breathing. I wanted to give him a bath and sing to him and do all the things I had done for his big sister. But we realized that we had to let him go in peace.

We had two days to make this decision. The local Catholic hospital would not consider our son’s defects as incompatible with life and therefore would not allow an early induction. As I said, there was a small chance he could live, with extensive intervention. Our state does not allow abortion after 24 weeks and the only doctor willing to perform the procedure was leaving town for Christmas. He would not be back until after the 24 week mark. A secret abortion, paid for in cash, was our only option. We went to the doctor’s office after hours and had our baby’s heart injected with potassium chloride. He died quickly with relatively little pain and we were able to show up at the hospital and labor and be treated as grieving parents instead of criminals. I was able to hold my son and get his footprints, which would not have happened at an abortion clinic.

This was the hardest, most heart wrenching decision I have ever had to make. I live daily with the pain of losing my son. It is made worse by the continuous bombardment of stories in the media about people that will never have to make this choice who want to restrict the options even further.

If you are completely against abortion I want you to look a mother in the eye who has just been given the news we got and tell her that she is on her own. I want you to tell her that you care more about the fact that her baby’s heart is beating than whether or not he will be in pain. I want you to say to her that not only will you not help her pay for the hundreds of thousands in medical bills; you will also not provide respite care for her when she is sick and unable to care for an unresponsive infant.

If you think you can write restrictive laws that don’t cause families in our situation such anguish, you are wrong. Abortion is not a simple right or wrong issue. You can allow abortion services to all, or you can deny them to all. And if you are on the side of denying them to all, I’d like to ask you – how many special needs children have you adopted or supported? How many times have you voted to increase Medicaid, Social Security disability, or funding for agencies that help families with disabled children?

Until you are willing to provide for every woman in trouble, every unwanted child, and every ill child, you have no right to say what I or anyone else can do with their body.

regeneration


It is finally starting to look like spring around here (one of the few advantages of a tropical climate - early spring) so my spirits are lifting a little. I have some seeds started for my vegetable garden and one raised bed waiting for soil. I have some hope that this will be a better year for us.

It's been driving me crazy that I haven't had much time to blog. Every since our system got attacked so badly at work IT is watching our usage. I'm pretty sure they would not consider blogging "reasonable and infrequent personal use." I get very little time to myself, something I really need to work hard to change, which makes it hard to blog at home. It is making everyone around here unhappy. Hopefully my garden will give me something to enjoy that I can escape to when I can't leave the house.

I am thinking I'm going to redesign my blog. I enjoy writing here and I want to make it a more comforting place, not so steeped in sadness. I was thinking of a spring theme, signifying new beginnings and regrowth. I've never liked the layout but I've never really had time to work on it, we'll see if I can carve some out.

Agh! Apparently not right now. K is home sick and I had her occupied on the other computer, but now she wants to play ponies. *sigh*

Friday, February 4, 2011

tired, sick and frustrated

I have a nasty cold, which is hard right now because the hubby is also sick (conveniently more sick than I am)and it has been raining for days. Four year olds do not do well with this combination. Over all, though, she has actually been pretty good.

The frustration comes from not being able to help her with what she is going through right now. The neighborhood we lived in before we moved last month was pretty nice. The duplexes were small (which is why we moved) but nearly all of them had children about K's age. She was friends with several of them, and very close to one in particular. The week we decided to move so did the four neighbors nearest to us. Two families left to find work and one moved into a newly built house, the forth was some young guy we didn't know. Since we were only close to one of these families there is no chance she will see the two boys she liked again. Her best friend moved to a town about 6 hours away. It's not all that far to drive but really not doable with our current finances. We simply cannot afford the gas, let alone a place to stay. It's breaking my heart having to tell her she can't see her friends again.

We moved into this house because it was the only reasonably nice one we could afford. In order to adopt a sibling group - the only likely way to get children younger than K, we needed a third bedroom. I was told verbally that the owner was okay with outside pets so we chose this place with the understanding we could get a dog. We already had an outdoor cat but he ran away as soon as he got outside. We haven't seen him since. As soon as we moved in the heater broke, or was already broken. It's a heat pump but the only thing working was the backup heat strips. Those are extremely expensive to run all the time. The owner didn't want to fix the heat but we insisted that it would cause us financial hardship. A few days later we tried to get a dog from the pound and the owner told the management company that he would not allow a dog.

So now my 4 year old daughter has no friends, no cat, and no chance at the puppy we stupidly told her we were going to get at the new house. I just don't know what to do. There are certainly worse problems to have but I hate that I can't fix her poor little broken heart.

Bleh. I can't wait for it to get warm. I am really disliking winter now. There is just nothing redeeming about the last two winters.