When the Time Comes…

So I will admit that I love to shop.  I enjoy spending time at home on my laptop cruising the internet and making future selections. Whether it is choosing furniture for fictional future cottage, or in the case of the last year… shopping for our future child.

When the time comes, executing on my plan will be quite easy really.  I have everything selected from my future crib, the stroller and right down to the swaddlers.  Too much?  I don’t think so.  I am not a huge subscriber to gender specific items, but rather I tend to gravitate to the classic good quality items that can grow with our child.

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I am obsessed with the Mountain Buggy Luxury Collection in Nautical

My stroller of choice is the Mountain Buggy Luxury Collection . Stylish, classic, elegant. Plus the practicality is off the charts.  Gorgeous.

The other part about the Mountain Buggy is that the safety and quality ratings across the board are incredible.  It is gender neutral in my opinion and will grow with our child. Did I mention it has leather handles, cup holder and a matching diaper bag? Sweet!

My crib of choice is classic in design, neutral in pallet.  I really like the Jonesport Convertible Crib in Cloud grey.

Crib

Simple and elegant

It will really go with any colour scheme, and technically can take our child through to teenage years.  Practical right? I also love the warmth of the grey, which is probably why I have a grey theme running throughout the house.

My other baby obsession is all things Aden + Anais. Stunning, classic children’s clothes, blankets and swaddles etc.  They believe in simplicity, safety and of course expression through style. The muslin swaddles are sooo soft. I can only imagine how beautifully they would wash.

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Gorgeous patterns and soft muslin

So yes, I’m obsessed.  I will continue to update you on more stunning baby finds. I can’t wait!

 

 

 

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Statistically Speaking… It Sucks

The last week has been a difficult one.  It all started last week when we decided to attend the Annual General Meeting for our adoption agency.  My purpose for attending was to hear the reports on stats; placements, approvals, birth parents etc.

Surprisingly the room was quite full with people who have been successful in the process, others waiting to be matched… and some I just couldn’t figure out which category they fell into.  If anyone has ever been to an AGM for a not for profit organization, they can be rather dry.  Especially if the chair isn’t familiar with board governance or the process of asking for a motion and someone to second that motion (they eventually got their rhythm).

We passed through the usual pieces, board nominations, financials and the like. Everything sounded great.  Then they got to the Executive Director’s report.  By this point I had already read ahead in my package and my eyes were fixated on the stats I had been waiting for.  They were not pretty.  2015 statistically speaking for placements was the worst year they have had.  There were only 6 placements.  Six.  My heart sank.

As the Executive Director gave her report, she did a great job of getting to the point sharing that,”in terms of placements this has been a very difficult year”.  While they were contacted by a high number of birth parents exploring options, many chose to parent rather than proceed with a placement.

I understood this. It is a choice that they make and I respect that. She did provide what she felt was a silver lining, which was that the number of adoptive parents who were approved had increased.  I could feel my face flush, and in my mind I was screaming “good news for who?!  That means more parents waiting in the pool and placements at an all time low!”. Luckily I was able to restrain myself and outwardly accept this news with a smile and a look of “oh how nice.”.  When inside I was frustrated.

I am on the board of several non profits, most of which provide services and their funding is contingent on the number of individuals that they provide services to.  When there are years that the number of individuals seeking service decreases, you must turn to marketing to ensure that there is an awareness in the community of the services you provide.  I didn’t hear such a plan.   Sure they do talks in the community, but I wanted to hear a marketing plan.  Signage, radio ads… something.  I’m not saying marketing to convince someone to place their child, but marketing so that more people who may be contemplating options know that you exist. Budgets are tight, but I’m wondering if there is something I can do to increase awareness? I need to think about this.

On the way home I was quiet.  R asked if I was o.k.  I responded with, “yeah just thinking”. He knew what I was thinking.  He reminded me that even if it doesn’t happen for us, we are still happy. We just have to keep on moving forward and whatever happens happens.

Then on Saturday after a few days of feeling sorry for myself, I got the news of the tragic passing of a friend. That was the call that helped put things back into perspective. Things are not bad, my life is pretty awesome. Yes there will be frustrations, and yes we really want to be parents.  If it doesn’t happen for us though, we have each other, we have amazing friends and we have a pretty great life.

It was also a reminder for me to once again publicly voice that if you or someone you know is in crisis or suffering from mental health issues… reach out. Call someone. Ask for help. If you are someone living with mental health concerns, talk about it.  Change the dialogue and remove the stigma.

Yes statistically speaking we got another bump in the road to adoption, but things change. It sucks now, but life is good and I will cherish every moment regardless of outcome.

 

 

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It is My Blogiversary Today!

It is hard to believe that one year ago today I started my blog! My inspiration behind starting my writing was the beginning of our journey to become parents.  At the time I had turned to the internet to research adoption and look for groups or networks, but also to read about experiences that reflected ours. There really wasn’t a lot of information available, let alone being Canadian specific or involving an LGBT couple.IMG_2051

The last year has been a wonderful growth journey, we have grown as a couple and are even more prepared today to start a family.

Over the past year I have met many great people through my blog and was able to celebrate with fellow bloggers when their dream of starting a family came true.

Most importantly, my blog has given me a space to express myself and share our journey. Hopefully along the way, I have been able to help educate others who may be on their journey or thinking of starting the journey of adoption.

It hasn’t always been easy to keep up with regular posts. Out of curiosity I looked back at the number of posts I have written, and it is 52.  That means I have averaged one per week!  Whoo hoo!

Keep on reading friends, there are more great things ahead I am sure.  On my blogiversary I have asked myself, “What happens once we are matched with a child, what direction will I go with my blog?”.

My plan for the blog once we are successful in our journey is to share our experiences as new parents and all of the joy, challenges and zany adventures that will come along the way.  So please keep following and thank you for joining us on our journey.

Happy one year Blogiversary everyone! blogaversary-front-2

 

 

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‘Tis the Season for Pregnancy Announcements

Spring is in the air, the sun is shining and it seems like everyone had a busy winter. Every day I am hearing pregnancy announcements from couples. I hear them with mixed thoughts.  Firstly, I am very happy for the couple as I know this is something wonderful. I congratulate them and show my excitement. Inside, I have the thought “Really?! Another one?…what about us”.

I’ve tried to think about it in terms of perhaps our future birth parents are finding out they are pregnant too… and starting to think about a birth plan. I convince myself that spring will bring a flurry of babies and maybe even a line up at Adoption Options. The reality is that the highest number of domestic placements that they have done in the last 5 years or so is about 20 in a year.  here are at least 80 prospective parents waiting to be matched. Statistically speaking the odds could be worse.

We are still getting asked quite frequently “So have you heard anything?”.  I would love to answer, “Yes we become parents and I forgot to mention it”. Instead, I provide the standard canned answer of, “Nothing yet, we are anxiously waiting. We can get the call any day”.

The question of whether we have heard anything is well meaning, but it starts to get old after a while. There are a couple reasons that it is a hard question to answer.  questions

The first being, if we received contact from Adoption Options it is because a birth parent has chosen our file.  Once that takes place there are in person meetings that happen between us and the birth parents.  After which the birth parent may choose to go in a different direction. If that happens, I’m not going to share “close but no cigar”.

Another possible scenario following the in person meeting is that the birth parents choose to proceed and we collectively come up with an adoption plan, openness agreement etc. We then wait until the child is born. We can’t share anything during this period either. Once the child is born, the birth parents may change their mind.  Also something I can’t share.  If the child is placed with us, there is a 21 day period in which the birth parent can change their minds as well.

Essentially, we really won’t be sharing any information until after we have had our baby for 21 days.  At that time we will announce becoming a family. I may have known about the possibility for months, but can’t share anything until after that 21 day placement milestone.

So as you can see there are many variables, timelines and steps between getting the call and being able to share we have become parents.  This means when asked “Have you heard anything yet?”, my response will always be “nothing yet, can be anytime now.”.

Trust me, when the time comes we too will be making a birth announcement.  I liken our process to parents who wait until after the first trimester to announce their pregnancy.. we have to make sure that we make it to the safe zone.  The more people we tell, the more people we have to un-tell if it doesn’t work out.

And no, we have’t heard anything yet.

 

 

 

 

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Summer Plans and Waiting

My dreams have been great lately, mostly positive adoption type dreams.  Some weird; like the other night I was waiting in the Thompson, MB airport with a lady with a chicken on her lap and I was flying somewhere to pick up our baby.  In my dream it didn’t seem at all strange that the woman had a chicken on her lap, nor was it strange that I was in a northern Manitoba airport.  If this is a premonition then I’ll be sure to keep my eyes open for a woman with a chicken.

Talk of summer is already beginning.  I know R is very excited.  This week we select our seasonal campsite up in Hecla, MB for the new 5th wheel. We were drawn #13 in the lottery so we will be guaranteed an site with electrical.  This is very important, as I need air conditioning and my TV and laptop for rainy days.

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Our new camper.

It is going to be such a fun summer.  A lot of activities, weekends at the lake and relaxing.

So far I’m also registered for a total of 7 runs between April and October, mostly 10 km and 15 km races. I do also have the Manitoba Half Marathon in June.

Summer is sounding terrific so far, but for some reason today I keep seeing it as another potential season without being parents.  Baby on the brain I guess. As mentioned in a previous post as a waiting parent you begin to measure your wait in milestones.  It is hard to explain to others who haven’t been through the wait, but you do keep track of your wait.  If asked, I could tell you down to the number of days we have been waiting since our approval.

In the meantime we just keep moving forward.  It still requires planning ahead though.  For example, our recent trip to Palm Springs required that we purchase trip cancellation insurance just in case we got the call.  I also had every flight out of Palm Springs listed so that at a moments notice we could fly back.

Even a weekend away, I make sure our phones have strong signals and I know how to get out of wherever we are quickly.  Same goes with business trips. As you can imagine this makes it difficult to not have baby on your brain all the time. If the bars on my phone start to drop too low, I’m in a rush to find a way to charge.

So this summer, while we will be away and “relaxing” at the lake.. I’ll also be watching my phone as I tend to do and be ready to go at a moments notice.

Sounds relaxing doesn’t it?  Almost like a parent waiting to go into labour.  The only difference is we could have this wait and feeling for years.  Oiy!

 

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Manitoba Needs to Update the Adoption Act

I am a firm believer that if you want something, you need to go out and get it.  This means doing the work, breaking barriers and forging the path if need be.  It is the way I have tackled every goal in my life, and so far it has worked for me.

So what do you do when a goal such as becoming a parent is essentially out of your control?  It is an interesting conundrum. On this adoption journey we have checked the boxes, completed all the legal requirements, have done the work and removed whatever barriers we can in the hopes of becoming parents. So now what?  Essentially we wait for a call from our adoption agency.80da0487481094a6c47eac631caca886

If we lived in another province such as Ontario or BC, we would have more options that would enable us to actively find our birth parent match.

In those provinces you can do things such as create on line adoption profiles that expand your reach and essentially market you to the masses. Beyond the benefits to adoptive parents, on line profiles  allow birth parents exploring options to have the ability to review profiles and such in the privacy and comfort of their home. This would give birth parents access to options and make the best decisions possible. Once both parties connect, they would still have to follow the legal process and engage an agency, lawyers etc. An example of such a website is Canada Adopts.  If we had a profile here, prospective birth parents would contact us and we would direct them to Adoption Options.

In Manitoba, the legislation regarding adoption has not evolved to this point and allow for options that embrace today’s technology and reality. In fact, as mentioned in a prior blog post, the legislation strictly prohibits actions perceived as “advertising”. The Adoption Act in Manitoba has a provision in section 125 sub 1 which states:

Advertising

125(1)      A person shall not publish or cause to be published in any form or by any means an advertisement dealing with the placement or adoption of a child.

Currently this single entry in the Adoption Act is being interpreted to extend to websites which allow you to create an online Adoption Profile. I understand the need for inclusion of such a provision in the Adoption Act, however, I think it needs to be reevaluated as to whether is is concise enough.  I believe that there should be a distinction between advertisement (craigslist etc) and on-line adoption profiles. Ontario addressed it by simply focusing on the following.

No payments for adoption
175. No person, whether before or after a child’s birth, shall give, receive or agree to give or receive a payment or reward of any kind in connection with,
(a) the child’s adoption or placement for adoption;
(b) a consent under section 137 to the child’s adoption; or
(c) negotiations or arrangements with a view to the child’s adoption,
except for,
(d) the prescribed expenses of a licensee, or such greater expenses as are approved by a Director;
(e) proper legal fees and disbursements.

So while I feel like our hands are tied at this point other than our ability to network with friends and learning of potential birth parents, perhaps I should consider speaking with my MLA regarding changes to the Adoption Act.

That would be something that I could attempt to do in order to broaden our possibilities.

 

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“At The End of the Day..”

“At the end of the day you’re another day older…”- Les Miserable.  

It is a song that I usually save for completing housework, but today it made me think about the concept of age and parenting.

When we entered our adoption journey, one of the topics that was addressed in our education session was the idea of revisiting the notion of moving forward.  Meaning at each annual renewal, we would review our file, see how many views we had, make any changes we felt appropriate and move forward.  The alternative would be to decide to close our file and no longer proceed.

Thinking about this today, it made me start to ponder the notion of at which age will we be “too old” to start a family?  Is there a true age, or is it a milestone that we as a couple have to determine.

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And our dream is to become parents…

There are a number of factors that need to be taken into consideration.

You begin to do actuarial mathematical equations that involve assessing your wellness level, stamina and then also calculating your own age at various milestones in your child’s life.

Do you you want to be 65 at their high school graduation? Do you want to be 50 and walking them in to their first day of kindergarten, potentially being mistaken for their grandparent?  Will you be able to dance at their wedding without being propped up ? All valid questions.

I googled the question, and found a number of different responses. Most of which dealt mostly with the “ability to conceive” or “viability of your sperm past a certain again”.  There were also an incredible number of articles and blogs that celebrated or alternatively criticize older celebrity fathers.

I did find a brief article by Ann Brenoff of The Huffington Post.  It was a good reminder that everyone’s situation is different and that it will have to be the right age and right decision for R and I.

My favorite quote from the article;

“Not everybody is ready to parent at 25 or 30. Not everybody should even be a parent — or wants to. And then there are those of us who wanted to create and grow our families by whatever options we had available. You may check your two-cents at the door.”

I guess we’ll know when the time is correct for us, because “at the end of the day you’re another day older”.

 

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A Night at the Museum

Last evening the “Get Along Gang” (as we affectionately call ourselves, because really every gang should have a moniker) decided to check out the “Adult Night” at the Manitoba Museum .

When I signed up to attend, I thought the idea of going to the museum at night and listening to photographers talk about National Geographic photos could be interesting, but I wasn’t sold.  Then I saw my ticket included free pizza and there was a bar. O.k, I was in.

Preparing to leave for the evening R asked, “Where are you off to now?”.  I explained it was an adult night at the museum and I was going to drink wine and do selfies with the taxidermy animals. Nothing really surprises him anymore with regards to my outings. I mean let’s be honest I do get up to some pretty unique events. 12717266_10153208062106829_2706021016039049867_nIn the past year R has seen me venture off to an adult summer camp night at Fort Whyte Alive, walking a corn maze in the dark, a half dozen Paint Nites, random decisions to run in a variety of races, paying to have someone lock me in a room and let me escape… the list does go on. After 12 years, such adventures are now met with an eye roll and a “Have fun”.

The evening was great.  It may have been the company.

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The Get Along Gang with our final group selfie of the night.

I hadn’t been through the museum in years, so it was great to be back. It still smelled the same. Part of the concept of the evening was to have an evening at the museum for people in “my demographic” that was free from screaming children. It was accomplished, however, those of us waiting for children may have thought about how much fun they would have there with their kids.

Laughs were had by all, pictures were taken…and I can check another unique experience off my list.

In the coming months they are having another event, and apparently the Children’s Museum is offering something similar.  Stay tuned I may be roped into those ones too.

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Stay tuned…

 

 

 

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Just Once?

Breathe.  Just breathe. No I am not quoting Faith Hill.  I decided to touch base with the adoption agency just to see how many times our file has been viewed by prospective birth parents.  Yes it has only been six months, but we are half way to our annual update meeting.. so thought I’d check.

I’m not sure why I decided to torture myself, but I don’t plan on checking again.  One time!  Our file was viewed one time. I already knew about that one time and it was not a truly viable prospect.

Which I would have preferred to hear, “Your file has been viewed 6 times and you weren’t chosen.” or “Your file has not been viewed”.  Either way you can’t help but feel disappointed.

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Thanks Les Brown.

No more checking in, and I’ll just continue to focus on other things to prepare for the big call.

When I told R that I had checked in he said “Why would you do that? We shouldn’t do that until our 1 year review.”. Well that was to be expected.  R’s role is to keep me grounded. He went on to remind me that regardless of what news I heard I would have been disappointed, so why would I do that to myself.  Sage words.

It is difficult though. I have the same challenges not looking for my Christmas gifts early. The notion of “finding out” becomes like a worm that burrows deeper in your head, and a voice that keeps nagging.

I have to exercise some restraint. Head down, plow ahead.

 

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“Where There is a Will There is a Way” Wednesday

So I have been doing some internet research, and seeing as I am in week 3 of my post umbilical hernia surgery I should be able to start light running.  I need it, I miss it, I’m shocked I’m saying it.

It is funny how quickly you can miss something once a routine has been broken.  I found I was just getting to the point in my running where I was feeling empowered and starting to see some results from the activity.  Then my surgery got scheduled sooner than I expected.  I’ve recovered like a champ though.  I was back at work within 7 days, and away on vacation within 10.  I have no pain, but need to watch that I don’t over do things.  Running should be fine, provided I take a slower pace.

There are some pretty awesome things about having this surgery though.

  1. For the first time in my life I have a real innie belly button. (I can now realize my dream of becoming a swimsuit model, because I’m sure the belly button was my only barrier)
  2. I don’t cringe with pain if one of the cats or dogs accidentally touches my belly button
  3. I have a Dr.’s note that says I can’t do housework or laundry for 4 weeks! (I think this is my personal favourite)

R has been wonderful since my surgery.  On vacation he carried all of the luggage (I am not to lift more than 10 lbs) and he asks me numerous times a day how my tummy is. He has also kept up with the housework, and I have allowed it.  I will admit though, I had to take over the folding duty of the laundry.  He just doesn’t do it properly.

So today I am going to get back on the treadmill and get moving again.

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Time to get back on!

Where there is a will there is a way!

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