Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Interesting Article on Modeling

In this article, a mother explains how her family models attachment parenting values and how her son is learning from that:

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Article on Co Sleeping, Breastfeeding and SIDS

Third attempt to share this article:

I might have shared it months ago. I meant to share it, anyways! No time to search the blog right now; Ari just woke up.

This article was written years ago, but it provides some interesting suggestions and theories that are particularly relevant to parents of young infants.

An Adoptive Mom's Breastfeeding Story

Just came across this wonderful success story on the La Leche League website:

What can I say? I am so happy I can't go to sleep! I know this does not garantee that I will be as lucky should we choose to adopt. But I will definitely try. No doubt about that!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Adoption: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

As with anything in life, when it comes to adoption, there is the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good is the obvious: a new baby to love at home, a dream come true.

The bad and the ugly: the process of adopting can be difficult, lengthy and emotionally exhausting.

We are considering open adoption. There is a waiting period of six to eighteen months. During that time, moms might call us and they might or might not be a good match for us.

Let’s say we have a match. We wait for mom to give birth. During those few months, while we wait, I am sure we will be nervous as can be about the possibility that mom might change her mind at the last minute.

Baby is born. We spend a fair bit of time at the hospital. I imagine that will be awkward at first. I can imagine holding the baby and being afraid of bonding with him or her, just in case.

I am sure there are other possible thoughts or situations I am not aware of yet.

On to happier things, I learned today about the adoption tax credit. In other words, we would get part of our money back after adopting. This made my day. It means that adoption would be much more affordable for us than we thought.

Overall, I feel like we are in a good place. We are learning about what might come up, good or bad. I am and will continue to do a lot of research. I have joined an online adoption message board. I am looking forward to meeting people who have adopted. I have an agency I like thus far, but I will continue looking for agencies. I have a list of questions I ask agencies when I call for the first time. I spend time checking out their websites, both the areas for prospective adoptive families and the areas for birth moms. I ask about the agency’s statistics. I plan on asking agencies for references. Am I missing something, anything?!

If you or anyone you know has had any experiences with adoption, feel free to share. I am looking forward to learning more about adoption and whether or not it will be something our family will pursue.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sleep Update

Don’t tell anyone I mentioned this! You did not hear this from me! Amor Chiquito has been sleeping for six to seven hours at a time for the past four nights!

I am ecstatic. I had not slept this well in… I have no idea how long it has been. And, this has not happened too many times since she was born.

What is different? Nothing, absolutely nothing. She is doing it all on her own, out of the blue.

We are co sleeping again. She spends most of her sleep time on our bed. Most of the time, I am loving it. I love feeling her near me. I especially love when she puts her leg on me!

I have her go to sleep on her bed every now and then so that she is used to it. She might need to do it every now and then if I am not around.

More on Adoption: an Update

Here is an update.

Last night I had a meltdown because I was certain we would never be able to adopt. At that point in time, I had only talked to one agency, the one that charges $32-42k. My awesome husband talked me through it, reminded me that I had only begun my research, and that, most importantly, I was under the influence… The influence of freaking hormones, I mean! I do not recall how he put it, but that is what he was saying! He was right. He is the best! I love that man!

For the record, I am grateful that my reproductive system works well. Otherwise, I might not have Ari. But I hate how I get during that one week of the month. Moody, sad, achy, hot flashes… Any or all of the above!

Back to adoption. I spent some time looking up and calling agencies this morning. It turns out that most of the agencies I found in western MA no longer exist. Thus far, I only know of one local agency that is still operating, the one that charges over $30k. Oh, by the way, this is the same agency that Mr. Geek worked for almost ten years ago! I called, spoke to the director, and she recognized his name!

I found an agency in Cape Cod that does international adoptions. The wait period ranges from six to eighteen months. They do closed adoptions. The child typically comes home around ten to twelve months of age. The fees? $25-30k. Better, but still a lot of money for us. But, hey, it was progress.

The next agency I talked to has offices in four different states: Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, and California. They can work with me even though I live in MA. I would just need to find a local agency that would do our home study (I will define home study later.) This agency does open adoptions. The mom could be anywhere in the U.S. 80% of the moms are in the four states where the agency has offices. Birth moms (while pregnant) and prospective adoptive parents can contact each other via phone or email. Once there is a match, we would fly out to meet the birth mom.

We would fly out a second time around the mother’s due date. We would stay there for about two weeks. We would meet the baby at the hospital. The baby will be discharged to us. After completing some paperwork for both states (basically informing both states that a minor is leaving one state and moving to the other state), we get to fly home with a newborn!

The wait period with this agency ranges from six to eighteen months. This agency’s fees range from $11 to $17k, depending on our income. We are in the $13.5k bracket. We would have to add the cost of the home study and travel expenses (I am guessing; forgot to ask re travel expenses).

A frequently asked question: substance abuse. These moms are placing their children for adoption voluntarily. 80% of them are not consuming alcohol or drugs during their pregnancies. Of the 20% that are, most might have had a drink before they knew they were expecting. This group of moms is very different than the group of moms we would interact with if we were adopting through the local department of children and families. I prefer this option; it would be better for our mental health!

My opinion on the moms working with the agency I am interested in: I admire them. They are dealing with an unplanned pregnancy in the best possible way. They are taking care of themselves and doing everything in their power to do right by their children. They could abort and be done with it. But, instead, they carry their pregnancy to term, give birth, and give their children to loving families because they feel that would be best for their children.

Adoption lingo, if you are interested:

Home study: This is a process whereby the agency gets to know the prospective adoptive family. The agency conducting the home study visits the adoptive family three to five times. They learn about us: our home, our personalities, our state of mind, our employment status, our income, etc.

“Dear birth mom” letter: Basically, this is the adoptive family’s biography or profile. It includes about five pages of text and photos. Its purpose is for the birth moms to get to know us.

Open adoption: the birth and the adoptive families remain in contact, limited contact. We would provide letters and photos of the baby. The birth parents choose whether they want them right away, later, or not at all.

Closed adoption: Once the adoption is finalized, there is no longer any contact between the two families.

I feel like I might have forgotten something… The edit feature is useful, isn’t it?

Oh, a little update on us: Mr. Geek and I are talking about it. If we decide to pursue adoption, we would need some time before we sign up, mostly so we can save, save, save! I am happy. I have hope. I feel like we would be able to do this. There might be a new member in our family in, say, two years! Wow!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


I have been thinking about adopting a child lately. I always thought I wanted to adopt some day, since I was ten or so.

The last few months, I kept noticing how perfect our family feels. But I was not convinced about anything: remaining a family of three, getting pregnant again, or adopting a baby. I was so conflicted about Amor Chiquito being an only child, among many other things. I figured I would do my best to avoid thinking about it. When it is the right time for us to decide, we will make a decision together and we will be happy with our decision. That was until… Two days ago?

I don’t recall how it all started. I take that back… I started thinking about adoption after the Haiti earthquake. A few days ago, I don’t know if I was dreaming, somewhat awake, or what… All I know is it felt as though something clicked. The idea of adding one member to our family, an adopted child, felt right. I got an indescribable feeling on my chest. Just thinking about it made me smile. It was strange, but a good feeling.

I decided to do some research and talk about this with Mr. Geek!

What I have learned thus far:

We could adopt through the local department of children and families. It would be free. But it would take years. Most importantly, the state removes the kids from their homes. The battle between the parents and the government lasts years. The adoptive parents-to-be just sit and wait. We might be told “Here is a child. She is a foster child now, but you will be able to adopt her in a year or so.” Then, six months later, a judge decides that child is going back to mom, who may or may not be in a good position to be a good mom to that child. Meanwhile, my family will be heartbroken. I have seen it. I have lived it. My aunt adopted four kids that way. Time and time again, I got attached to kids, loved them, helped her take care of them. Now, we have no idea where they are or how they are doing. The emotional price is incredibly high. We could do that, knowing what to expect from day one, but would it be fair to our Ari? Should I expose her to that? I am a grown-up and I can figure out how to cope, but what about her?

Another option is domestic adoption through a private organization. The expected wait time is nine to eighteen months. (We could have a newborn in our home in two years tops. Ari would be 4.5 years old. It would be perfect.) The birth mother decides that it would be best for her child to be with a different family. She picks the adoptive family, while she is still pregnant, in most cases. Four days after the baby is born, s/he comes home. But… There is always a but… The fees range from $32 to $42 thousand dollars.

I spent close to an hour reading the frequently asked questions on an adoption agency’s website. I was so happy. It sounded great. Then… I talked to the director and she gave me the news. What can I say? I wanted to cry. We don’t have that kind of money. We will not have that kind of money any time soon, unless some sort of miracle happens. Like the woman said to me, if you can have babies, you could put that money towards your daughter’s education.

Why adopt? I would most likely get pregnant easily. I had a perfect pregnancy. I am aware of my body, so, most likely, it would not take long to conceive.

My response: why not adopt? There are children already in this world. They did not choose to join us. Their parents are caring, kind and responsible enough to know that their children would be better off with a different family. We could be one of those families. Our home is full of love. We have so much to offer to one of those precious babies… For what it is worth, adopting feels right. It is what my heart, gut, whatever you want to call it… is telling me…

To conclude, I will continue my research and we will continue talking. We have not made a final decision. But this is what is in my heart today. If only we had thirty-something thousand dollars!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WIC, breastfeeding, formula...

Check out this article for an interesting debate about the WIC program providing mothers formula and what message that action might be sending to people who are not well educated on how much of a difference breastfeeding does make:

I wish there were more people at the hospital trying to help moms learn how to breastfeed, rather than handing us diaper bags full of formula. Don't get me wrong. I don't think formula is evil. But I do think that parents and parents-to-be should receive education and advice instead of multiple cans of formula.

If there is one thing I think mommies interested in breastfeeding should know before going to the hospital, it is the following:
There are lactation consultants. They are beyond helpful. Ask to see one at the hospital. Find out ahead of time if there are LC's at your hospital or at your pediatrician's office.

We are home!

We are back from our first family trip. Our Sunday afternoon flight was cancelled because Baltimore got almost 30 inches of snow. We came home Tuesday afternoon. We were on the last flight to Hartford. The flight after ours was cancelled because of yet another snow storm.

I am happy to say that our trip went well and was a lot of fun; it was not the disaster I was afraid it might be! Yes, I tend to worry too much, I know! When Amor Chiquito was younger, doing anything that was outside of her routine was tough on her, and, therefore, tough on us. As she gets older, she is doing better and better when it comes to doing different, new things.

Here are the highlights of our trip.

The good:

Ari was on an airplane for the first time and she loved it. When the plane was taking off, she looked a bit intimidated. I reminded her that it was fun and that helped, worked like a charm, actually. Her ears did not bother her. One more plus for breastfeeding!

Ari was on a boat for the first time. She did not get seasick once; instead, she walked around quite well, even when there was bad weather and the boat was rocking a fair bit. I almost fell once or twice, but not her!

Ari had a blast looking out the windows at the ocean.

All of us had a great deal of fun at the pool and the world pool. Eventually, we came up with a pool game that involved the three of us and much fun was had by all! Mommy held Ari and went after Daddy. Daddy walks much faster in the water than Mommy, isn’t holding a baby, and has much better eyes. So it took a while for Mommy and Ari to get Daddy! It was nighttime when we played, so Ari pointed at Daddy and said “alli, alli (Spanish for there).” After a while, we switched. Daddy and Ari got Mommy much quicker than Mommy got Daddy. Daddy had way too much fun kicking mommy’s butt and rubbing it in!

We found the baby pool! It is about six inches deep. Ari went in it the day the ship stopped at Nassau, Bahamas. Most people got off the ship, so she had the pool all to herself for about an hour.

We were checking out the ship and were not planning on going in the pool, so we were not dressed appropriately. Daddy went to the cabin for Ari’s sunsuit and Mommy stayed at the pool area with Ari. Ari was putting her feet in the water. Next thing I know, Ari has taken her clothes off, is throwing them on the ground, and is going in the pool completely naked! I simply could not stop laughing! She knew it would be good to take her clothes off so they would not get wet. So, nekid baby it is, problem solved!

Daddy and Mommy had the two-story twisting slide to ourselves too. We had so much fun!

Daddy and Ari enjoyed a fair bit of ice-cream. There are ice-cream stations throughout the boat. As for me, I am all about desert, preferably anything chocolate!

Healthy, crunchy me was not as crunchy as usual. I figured if Ari eats a good meal, she can have a bit of ice-cream. Live a little! And, as for me, I am sure I gained some of the weight I had lost. The elliptical is waiting for me!

Crunchy me did strike a few times. I did not say this, but I had vegetarian meals a few times! Yaminette, you did not just read that! They were delicious, so long as there was cheese involved, of course!

Excellent customer service. For example, we assigned sitting at dinnertime. Starting the second night, Ari's booster seat was at our table and there was a bowl of strawberries waiting for her.

Towel animals. Every night, there was an animal made out of towels in our room. Ari looked forward to it every night. There was a monkey hanging off of the ceiling one night!

The bad: the weather. It was cold the first three days, so cold we did not get to enjoy our balcony until Wednesday afternoon. We were unable to dock at Freeport, Bahamas because of the wind. As I said above, we did not fly home on Sunday. But the weather did not keep us from having a good time!

The ugly: Ari’s sleep schedule, what else? She did well in that we would get a five-hour chunk. The issue was when she fell asleep. Every night, she was up until at least 11pm. Twice, she was up until 1am. This, of course, means that she sleeps in, naps late, goes to bed late… It is a cycle… When we got on the boat, we could not get into our cabin until 2:30pm. Once there, Ari was having fun checking out the new place. So, on day one, her nap schedule was off. Not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Just an inconvenience.

Ari’s current favorite words and phrases:
Ehpane (airplane)
Up in ty (up in the sky)
Fy (fly)
Agua (water)

I got Ari an inflatable boat at the shop on the boat. She loves it. I hope that that boat will help keep the wonderful memories we made for a while. I know we don’t tend to remember things that happened at age two, but, at this point in her life, long-term memory is starting to develop. She is still talking about the helium balloon that flew away about a month ago!

I will be making a collage of photos of our trip. It will be up on our living room. I am excited about that little project!

I feel very grateful and very happy that we got to go on this trip. There were several times when I was frustrated due to sleep deprivation. But, for the most part, it was awesome. I can’t wait for the next one! We have pictures and a journal, so we will for ever remember our first family trip!