Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Everybody is okay . . . for now

The only damage in the whole neighborhood was the tree that fell on my mom's new car! Fortunately it was a small tree and only scratched up the paint. Now we are nervously watching Katia. Good grief, never a dull moment around here.

We haven't heard ANYTHING about our possible match, which of course is making me crazy!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Worried

That hurricane looks damn scary to me. Too bad my mom, brother, and sister-in-law don't agree. They have decided to ride it out at home. Irene is supposed to go right over them on it's way to New England. The one good thing is that they are in about the only high area in the whole city but that means they will be in a dry house surrounded by water. My mom is not in good health and is just seems stupid to risk it. Please think of them and all the people in danger this weekend. I'm going to stick my head in the sand until Monday.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hell hath no fury . . .

I just looked this up for the author and just learned it was a paraphrased quote:

"Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, Nor hell a fury like a woman scorned," William Congreve

Pretty funny that the quote is even more apt now.

I am feeling a little bit lost and a lot overwhelmed today. I've been searching and searching for an online community to support me like all of you in the baby loss community have. I was looking for people that had adopted from foster care, particularly ones that already had bio children. There are unique factors to consider when you have a young child in the home with no history of abuse or neglect and then suddenly start adding traumatized children to the mix. I was hoping for some more wise, funny women that could offer advice and be a sounding board. I thought I had found that in the adoption.com forums but after today I don't think I will go back there.

I posted a brief sketch of the information I was given about out potential match with a 13 year old girl. I stated that she had 3 disruptions but very little history of severe emotional problems. I was immediately attacked for even THINKING about bringing a 13 year old from foster care home where she would have access to my 5 year old. In the eyes of this community this traumatized child had already been tried, convicted and sentenced. Here are some quotes so you can tell me if I am over-reacting.


Has no agency or cw'er talked to you about adopting out of birth order???? This is a very sensible issue and truly, most adopting families find it good practice to ahere to this unspoken rule, KWIM?

It would be VERY risky to put a 5yr old with a 13yr old...even in the best circumstances

Can you imagine your little girl coming to you and telling you that her big sister has been threatening her? That she has been pinching her hard? That she has been telling her things that make her feel uncomfortable? That she has been telling her that she hates you and wants to kill you? None of those things are sexual abuse, but believe me, can leave lasting effects on your child and can make her feel unsafe in her own home. Even just hearing arguing between her older sibling and parents (which there is with the best of 13 year olds!) can make her feel very unsafe. - This one I thought was really ridiculous. My sister and I did way worse than that and we are full biological siblings. It's not abuse, it's normal sibling rivalry and she should be teaching the young one how to handle conflict.

the bottom line was based on this experience I would not recommend adopting out of birth order and I agree that three disruptions and therapeutic foster home is scary to say the least.

I would not bring this child into my family if I had a much younger child


There was more but most of the posts were very vehement about not adopting out of birth order. The thing is, I knew there were people who had disruptions because they just couldn't parent their very traumatized children. I wanted to know if there were warning signs when they were matched so I could learn how to avoid those situations. Instead I got lots of exclamation marks and comments on how horrible and dangerous older children are. Not one of the posters made specific suggestions or told me how things went wrong. They just exploded.

I've personally known several families that have successfully adopted older children, even with younger children in the home. And foster parents mix up the ages all the time. It is not physically possible for every child over the age of 3 in foster care to be a soul-sucking demon. There ARE good kids out there and all I want are the resources to find them. I don't think I should be attacked for that choice.

I'm trying to keep in mind that all of these posts were made by women that adopted a child, expecting to love them, and the child tore their family apart. What I didn't expect was the anger directed towards the children. Yes, at a certain point people have to be accountable for their own actions. But can you really expect that of a child that has been through hell? Why should they believe you when you say they can trust you? And how can you hate them for not believing you and acting accordingly? I don't get it.

Monday, August 22, 2011

EEK!!

We are one of four families being considered for a 13 year old girl. EEK!! She has some issues that seem pretty minor after reading the special needs adoption forums. I think we can handle it but we are asking lots of questions. Everyone please keep this beautiful girl in your thoughts. She has been through a lot of losses and really deserves someone who won't give up on her, even if it's not us.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Why do people care for children if they don't CARE for them?

Seriously. This question plagues infertiles. We have to stand by and watch a certain celebrity white trash blond hold her baby in her lap WHILE DRIVING, and people beat their kids in public, while we cradle our empty bellies and weep. It still makes me angry to see people being cruel to children they are supposed to be taking care of. Spitting, seething mad. Why the hell do they have children if they don't want them? What happened today wasn't actual abuse, but for the damage it will probably cause it should be.

I have a co-worker that adopted an infant from foster care last year. She is a little over a year old now. This co-worker, I'll call him George, and his wife, we'll call her Kate, decided to renew the foster license last year. They were originally adoption only, like us, but were matched with the baby and then given 30 days to get a foster license. They decided to renew it because they heard the birth mom of their baby was due to have another one. They wanted to keep the license so that they could take immediate custody when the baby was born. This is the important part to remember - they had no interest in fostering. They ONLY wanted to be available for the biological sibling of their daughter.

About a month ago I got a call on a Sunday night from George. He told me they had accepted an emergency placement of two girls that was only supposed to be for the weekend. The case worker had just called to tell them that it was going to be indefinite unless the couple refused, in which case the girls would go to a group home. George and Kate did not want them to go to a group home, but they didn't want to keep them. They asked me if I could take them. Of course I had to say no because my husband won't even consider foster care of any kind. I was upset but thought the girls would be well taken care of. Boy was I wrong.

The younger girl can't read (she's 7) and is totally resistant to any education. Kate is a teacher and can't stand that. George is an intellectual snob, he constantly makes fun of 'rednecks' and people he sees as inferior. They keep pushing the girls to catch up with their peers and complain when the girls refuse to cooperate. At first I thought they were doing the best they knew how and would just have to learn how to deal with the frustration. But now I am appalled at how these two are acting.

I babysat for them one night. We had a great time. The girls are respectful and obedient. The only issue they have (and I confirmed this with George) is a resistance to new things, like reading every day and eating vegetables. Hmm . . . let's see. Two girls removed from drug addict parents that probably never read a book in their lives. They just lost their entire family; mom, dad, and four siblings. The closest they've probably ever been to a vegetable is the french fries at mcd's. And you are expecting them to LIKE getting pushed to excel at school and eat all their vegetables? Really?

Now that issue I would just put up to slightly bad parenting. It's the rest of what I hear from George that makes me boiling mad. He makes fun of their accents. He makes fun of their fear of sharks. He makes fun of their family and pretty much everything about their lives. He openly complains that he wants them gone and him and Kate go out of their way to exclude them. They take the two foster kids to daycare and not their adopted daughter, who gets to stay home with mom all day. They brought the two foster kids to me to babysit and took their adopted daughter to grandma's. They went on vacation out of state and because of the rules had to leave the girls in respite care. They waited a day and a half to pick them up after they got back in town and when the girls asked them why, they told them the paperwork said they couldn't pick them up before such and such a date. George and Kate don't want the girls to refer to the house they live in as 'home'. George actually corrected me when I asked him when they brought them 'home'. In short, they are treating the girls they agreed to take care of like unwanted house guests.

They took the same classes I did. The ones where we were told to treat foster children NO DIFFERENTLY then our own children. They don't want those girls and even though I'm sure they don't say these things in front of them, those girls know they aren't wanted. They know that they are not as important to George and Kate as the baby is. They know they will be dropped like dog poo the moment the baby's sibling is born. IT'S KILLING ME TO WATCH THIS. Why the fuck did they take a placement if they weren't going to CARE for those kids?

I still can't convince my husband to try foster care. From some of what he said I think it is more baseless fear and self doubt than a legitimate problem. He claims he will be distant with foster kids because he is afraid of losing another child. I think it is a cop-out because he has insecurity issues with his ability to be a father. I'm so PISSED he's not willing to even try to work on it. His solution is to stick his head in the sand and wait for me to give up. He is genuinely sorry that it is breaking my heart, but not sorry enough to try to change it. I don't know how I can keep hearing these stories and not forcing him to do something. I know I can't save everyone, but I KNOW I can provide a loving home for those girls.

I'm signing my whole family up for counseling. If we can't work through this we won't make it. I either need to find another outlet for my mothering instincts or he needs to expand his comfort zone. I'm fucking tired of always being the one to compromise. When is it my turn?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The tragedy of adoption

This is the post I meant to write last night. Perhaps it's better to write it without the two glasses of wine.

I've been researching private adoption agencies because I am finding that social workers are extremely reluctant to place children out of birth order. It may be a long time before we get an adoptive placement because all the children available are older than my daughter. And I still desperately want a baby, which we are unlikely to get because my husband won't consider any type of foster care. I recently discovered that the cost for a private adoption won't be as prohibitive as I thought. It would cost about the same for two medicated cycles but with the new tax credit I would get it back. Buy my agency research is leaving a very bad taste in my mouth. To explain this I want to tell you a story.

A lot of the emotional problems I currently have can be traced back to something that happened long before I was born. In the 1940's a sixteen year old girl, Virginia, became pregnant. Her parents were horrified and sent her away to have the baby. They took custody of the baby, probably without even consulting the mother, and raised him as their own, disowning and abandoning their teenage daughter at the same time. Fast forward a few years and this young mother is married and has 3 young children. In 1953 her alcoholic husband abandoned her and her 3 children. In desperation she got pregnant again with another man trying to "trap" a husband. It didn't work. This young mother was now pregnant with 3 young children to care for. It was 1953 and it was socially unacceptable for a pregnant woman to work. I suspect she didn't have any skills she could have used anyway. Welfare was not what it is today and was largely privately controlled. So Virginia turned to the only people she thought could help her, Catholic Charities.

The church offered to keep Virginia and her family in an apartment, but at a very heavy price. They told her that she would have to give all of her children up for adoption as soon as the baby was born. I'm sure she felt she had no choice and I know her choice hurt her deeply and destroyed her life. I don't think she was ever given any options or help to try to parent her children. She had to stand by and watch as her children were all taken away and separated. She was able to stay in touch with her youngest daughter, the newborn she placed. She was adopted by a family friend and when they thought she was dying of scarlet fever at seven years old, the family revealed who her first mother was. Her oldest son, the one she lost as a teenager, wanted nothing to do with her. Her second oldest son, who was five at the time, was separated from his sisters and had several failed adoptions before finally being adopted by a less than capable family in Texas. Her oldest daughter, 4 at the time, has never been heard from again and Virginia was convinced until the day she died that her daughter died of a broken heart soon after being placed in the orphanage. Her second youngest daughter, my mom, was 3 when she was placed in the orphanage. She was quickly adopted by a woman that was incredibly cruel to her until the day she left home. My mother was moved while she was asleep from the orphanage to her new parents' car and then across the country. She did not see her birth mother again until 1985, after she had 3 children of her own and a severe mental breakdown. This is the third generation affected by that one decision. I watched the results of my mother's abusive childhood in her suicide attempts and refusal to leave our abusive father. The cycle is finally broken in my family and my sister's (not my brother's, but that's another story) so the end of the story is not all bad. But it was a long damn road to get here and there were many, many casualties along the way.

So you see, when I think about private infant adoption I don't just think about a brand new baby to hold and love. I think about the baby's mother, who may not have had the support she should have. A mother that wanted to parent but was forced by circumstance to rip out her soul and hand it to a stranger. Both my mother and her brother were abused in their adoptive homes. While I know that won't happen in MY home, the birth mother won't know that. I can alleviate that worry by having an open adoption, but how do I make sure I'm not gaining my happiness by ruining someone else's life? I've been finding lots of horror stories in my research. **Edited to add - these are all recent stories, not from when my mom was placed.** Stories from birth moms saying they were coerced into giving up their children. Stories where the grieving mothers were denied the counseling and medical care they were promised, care already paid for by the adoptive parents.

I think it is possible to make the adoption process as healthy as possible for all parties. There are certainly circumstances where the child should not remain with the birth parent. But how do you know? The main agency I'm looking at doesn't have much information out there, so it's hard to know if they will do the right thing. I want a baby but I don't want to be part of another multi-generational cycle of loss and pain. I wonder if there is a way to get what I want without all the peripheral damage.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Never fitting in

Do you ever feel that way? That something about you is just not normal and no matter what you do people will think you are odd? I've had that feeling my whole life. In a strange way being sub-fertile was a good thing for me because I finally found a community that I felt like I belonged in. But then I got pregnant, fairly easily, and then my baby died. Everything about that pregnancy made me feel alienated from everyone except the one person I've met online that has a similar story, although she has not had as much luck as I have. At least I have been able to get and stay pregnant once. But now I can't get pregnant at all, and I don't have the money for treatments. So while I can go on the infertility boards and chat with people, it really doesn't help. No one on the boards is in this place where they can't even afford injectible meds and an IUI, not that I have found. I'm also having a very hard time finding anyone that has a child and is trying to adopt through foster care.

With a single exception from SHARE, I don't have any friends in my non-computer life. I had a couple but they moved away and it has always been very hard for me to make friends. I keep hoping I will hit it off with one of my daughter's friends' parents, but nothing ever comes of my efforts. I think I'm a nice person and interesting to be around, but a lifetime of no one showing up when I throw a party has made me think there is really just something wrong with me. Obviously I have some self esteem issues or I wouldn't even be writing this post, but I thought they were well hidden.

This waiting for someone to look at our home study and think "this is the perfect family for this kid I need to find a home for" is really compounding the problem. Granted, we have only been searching for 2 months, but NO ONE has written us back. It's soul crushing to keep putting yourself out there and never getting any feedback. Do they think I am too screwed up? I was honest on our application about my awful childhood. I thought what I have been through would give me some insight into what kids need who have been through worse. I didn't think my story was all that horrible compared to some of the stories out of foster care. What if I was wrong and they all think I am broken?

Do you know what the worst part is? Watching my daughter begging for friends and/or siblings and knowing it is mostly my fault that she doesn't have either. I don't want her to grow up so horribly alone and it breaks my heart. I just don't know how to fix this. How DO you make friends that stay?

Monday, August 8, 2011

What would you do?

I really want to know because I think there may be some angles I haven't thought of so I'd like some outside input.

I went to my gyn doc today because I decided if I can't get pregnant then I want to do something about this damn endometriosis. Most of the treatment options I knew of also actively prevent pregnancy so they haven't been an option until now. Here's the thing, though. In my head I have given up all hope of ever having another baby. My heart still hangs on to that last ridiculous thread of hope, not helped by the aunt who "adopted and then got pregnant" story I keep hearing OVER AND OVER (please don't do that. ever.). So while I am theoretically on board with preventing pregnancy in the name of reduced pain, I am not so sold that I want to make it semi-permanent.

My doctor gave me several options to think about, listed below with some pros and cons I have thought of. Please tell me which option would appeal most to you and why, I'm hoping there is some factor I haven't considered because I am really, really torn.

Option 1: Take cyclic progesterone (2 weeks on and 2 weeks off)
Pros: It should regulate my period and won't prevent pregnancy
Cons: It will probably only help a little with the endo pain, progesterone makes me very sensitive to heat and I work outside in a heat index of 110-120 degrees.

Option 2: continous birth control for 3 months, then a period, then another 3 months OR cyclic progesterone.
Pros: possibly no period for 3 months (it didn't work last time but this is a higher dose), could 'reset' my ovaries and allow me to get pregnant after stopping
Cons: high dose is a higher risk of dangerous side effects, effectively sterile for at least 3 months and I'm not getting any younger, not really likely to work

Option 3: Lupron, which will cause artificial menopause for six months
Pros: no period for six months, likely to reduce endometriosis for awhile after stopping (worked for me before, for awhile)
Cons: might be very expensive, hot flashes are a side effect (work outside), might not work and will definitely prevent pregnancy for six months

Option 4: do nothing and save up for accupunture
pros: a little less stressful not having to remember pills, more natural, could get pregnant (insert laughter)
cons: VERY likely to go back to highly irregular periods and near constant bleeding, no relief from the endo pain, it will take a long time to afford treatments (a year or more)

Option 5: Get the mirena IUD for a year or two and reassess
pros: Might have no period at all, has been shown to reduce endo symptoms
cons: won't do anything for fertility, prevents pregnancy, might have constant periods, expensive (This is the option I wanted until a few days ago)


So, I am leaning towards the birth control for three months but I'm feeling very negative about the chances of it working. There are several things I have to consider. I can't take meds that will make me get heat exhaustion out in the field, which could kill me. The endo pain has gotten so bad that I spend the first two days of my period drunk and holding on to a heating pad. I'm running out of excuses for work. I am 35 and I've already had one baby with severe defects. I think that really jumps up the chances of having another poor outcome at my age. I really want to just say 'screw it, I'm not going to get pregnant' and go with the option most likely to reduce the pain. Problem is, I don't really know which option that is, and if it's lupron and IF my insurance will cover it, I still can't take it until winter so the hot flashes don't make me sick. But I can't convince my heart that there really is no hope. That non-logical part of me really wants to leave a window open for miracles. GAH! NOTHING IS EVER EASY!! I think I may get that tattooed on my forehead.

There is one thing I keep forgetting because I can't afford it right now. My main purpose for going today was to ask for another laparoscopy. I had one when I was 21 but nothing was removed because there was a lot of blood vessels nearby and my surgery was in a small hospital. There wasn't a surgeon on call that could fix massive internal bleeding so my doctor wasn't comfortable trying to cut off the growths she found. Now that I know this it can be planned for and I have a better chance of getting some real relief from surgery. My doctor was fine with doing the surgery but warned me that it is not feasible if I can't take significant time off of work (which I can't - no sick leave). She said there is a chance the small instruments won't be enough and they would have to make a larger incision and perform a laparotomy instead. That would be similar to a c-section and I would have to be out of work for six weeks. It will be 2 years, at least, before we can afford that. So, again, the &^%)& money is an issue. If only I had never gone to college and become a plumber instead.

Well, anyway - what do you think you would do if these were your options? Keep in mind I have a living child and we are pursuing foster adoption, so even though I really, really want another baby, it won't kill me if I can't have one (or so I tell myself).

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Of Course

The day I told my sister that I was giving up on ever having another baby she warned me that our cousin is pregnant. Our cousin is 21. This is her second. Her first she got pregnant with at 17. 8 days after announcing her wedding to the first baby's father, she announced on Fbook that she was expecting again. My sister and I already had plans to visit that set of family members because our grandfather is getting very old and had some recent scary health problems.

That trip is going to be hell.

Does this ever get easier?