Microblog Mondays – Need more coffee

Microblog_MondaysWell, it’s certainly been a mixed bag kind of week so I’m going to have to delay another adoption post til I get I can clear my head space for a bit. I’ve been in the get the kid to school, go to auditions, tweeting about my digital (Web) series, wait pointlessly for cheques in the mail kind of groove.  I’ve also attended a funeral of a fellow Buddhist member which has been stirring stuff up inside of me, been to a Vancouver International Film Festival party (great fun but oh, the hangover) and dragged my son to some local cultural events.  I have a major audition tomorrow and I have a lot of transcribing to do and a colonoscopy scheduled for in about a week.

Let’s tackle that backwards just for the heck of it.

Colonoscopy – If my doctor said “over 50” one more time, I was going to slap her.  Yeah,  I get it I’m a woman of a certain age.  So apparently, all bum problems cue the colonoscopy bell.  Like women don’t have enough shit to worry about (no pun intended).  So off I go to the specialist where I get the standard 5 minute talk about what it is, pictorial included, and 2 sheets of prep notes.  Since she just pressed on my abdomen for an exam, I’m not sure why my doc couldn’t have done the same, but whatever.  Meeting a specialist within 2 weeks is always a thrill.  I had no idea the prep would be so lengthy… and when I found out I couldn’t eat the day before, just clear liquids, I was a little terrified. I’ve had procedures where I couldn’t eat after 10pm, but a whole day?  After a few hours without protein, I’m like the hangriest woman alive.  Needless to say, I will not be leaving the house; I will be in bed deliriously watching the clock with a glass of water or apple juice by my side.

Transcribing – lots of work to do.  Which is why I’m delaying it, of course.

Big audition – 5 pages of dialogue.  Yup, getting on that now. Had it all weekend, but was on kid duty so, yup, better get on it.

Took said kid to a Moon Festival (lighted lanterns all along a ravine and park with music, stunning displays and an African drumming session this weekend.  He was not impressed but may have had fun because he got to play with friends, but the actual events, not so much.  Sigh, I love these kinds of things, but Boo would rather run around a playground.

VIFF party – It was fantastic getting out, seeing a really good Canadian movie, having free drinks at a party, getting to hang with my bestie, and taking a very expensive cab ride home.  Talking to adults about things that I was actually interested in.  The hangover was worth it.

Funeral – Wow.   I didn’t really know the person but he died suddenly of a heart attack.  He was a Buddhist member whose life had touched a great many and it reminded me of why I love being part of a such a great community.  It also reminded me that we never really know when our time is up and I was inspired to really be more present with the people in my life.

Auditions – Came close to booking but “they went in another direction”.  Story of my life.  I had a whole 2 days notice of the possibility and then waited for my agent to call me.  A tad stressful considering the amount of rearranging of my life I would have to do.  Hubby, thankfully, has been working a lot, and that means I handle the house on my own.  Not complaining.

Web series – later….

Getting to kid school – I’m terrible at it.  Must get up earlier, we haven’t been late, but I’m dragging my butt.  I really don’t want to give him cut up hot dogs every day, but he won’t eat anything else.

Okay got to go!


Microblog Mondays – Things I Wish I’d Known – 4

Microblog_MondaysThere was a point in my last point which was part of a larger thought that didn’t make it into the pevious post (Bad editing, sue me).  I mentioned that some people think adoption is a trendy, hip thing to do.  Once A.ngelina Jolie and M.adonna got on board that train, it left the station with cute orphans on board.  As if somehow once they add an “adopted” child to their own family, they will join their glamorous company.  Perhaps they think that because they have such a comfortable, wealthy life, they should help out the less fortunate.  I don’t encourage those people.  They can donate money.  They are either committed to growing their family or they’re not; a child to love and care for as part of their family, not a charity case.

Once infertility became a reality, people were quick to say, “Just adopt…. there are so many kids waiting for good parents”.  None of those people had actually done it of course and it was nowhere on their radar.  They felt a biological imperative to procreate despite all the needy children waiting. Once we become more educated in the process of adoption, well, let’s just say our eyes were opened.  It was staggering, really, all the details of the process. There were so many rules and regulations depending on the country and if people had to go through what adoptive parents go through there’d be a lot less waiting children in the world.  Having said that, there are a lot of maladjusted people in the world so I am grateful there are regulations.

When it was all said and done, many, many people kept telling me how lucky our child was. As a matter of fact, when I first brought Boo to an immigration doctor (requirement for permanent residency in Canada), that’s what the doctor said.   It was confusing to hear that.  Why were people thanking me for adopting him?  I didn’t adopt to be altruistic in the slightest. I didn’t want to be commended.  I wasn’t trying to get into heaven or follow a mission, I wasn’t trying to accomplish a good deed, I wasn’t trying to save an orphan about to be trampled by an elephant.  I simply wanted to have a child to parent.  Specifically a newborn because I didn’t want to miss one more second of that life that I absolutely had to.  That’s it.   I understand people weren’t trying to insult me, so I just smiled and said, no, I am the lucky one.

People will ask you “how much?” Sometimes, even “how much did your baby cost you?” Once again, know your audience. Don’t feel obligated to answer. “Why do you want to know?” is a handy response.  Do they want to know out of idle curiosity or perhaps they are considering adoption themselves. Sometimes you have time to chat and sometimes you just want to get your groceries and get home.  Give them the website of your agency, refer them to a site or take their email.

Sometimes people will want to share every adoption nightmare story out there.  They certainly like to make movies out of them. Someone will tell you about how so and so’s mother adopted a demon child that molested their daughter or set fire to their house. Or they grew up and ended up in jail.  You can either tell them to shut the hell up or a more polite “Did you think you were being helpful in telling me that?”.   When I was waiting I think I read or heard all of them.  The one where the birthmother takes all the support money and was never pregnant at all or they never intended to relinquish or someone talked them out of it.  Yep, that one kept me up many nights.  We were matched 5 months before the due date. I only had one ultrasound picture and never got another one even though I was supposed to. We hired a recommended social worker that I had to nag to do her job.  Failed matches do happen, that’s a fact.  But you can’t control other people, you can only control how you react.  I think I spent the whole 5 months wondering “what if” and wanting to control everything.  All you can do is hope that the right situation comes to you and the right decision is made. Follow your gut instincts.  If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. 

Microblog Mondays – Things I Wish I’d Known – 3

Microblog_MondaysI wish I had known how lonely motherhood is.

I thought I had joined the ranks of MOTHERHOOD, so I hoped I could be part of a gang.  My friends who had kids, had them years ago and were back at work.  They hadn’t spent years trying to get knocked up. They had nannies,daycare or able-bodied parents.

This is where I would suggest finding a mother’s group to hang out with on occasion.   I lived downtown and the only other person I knew with a young child had her in daycare because she was producing a movie.  I had occasional get togethers with another blogger adoptive mum but she didn’t live anywhere near me.  I felt reluctant to join a so called “mother’s group”.   One day I ran into a young mother who had an infant and she suggested I join the baby activity/music group she led at the community centre.  She was so kind and so encouraging and so I joined.  I learned a lot about infant socialization and I learned about the language of new mothers.  Oddly, maybe it was because of my maturity, I’m not sure, but I also became aware of the so called cult of motherhood; the competitiveness and the little tribes that women formed around their children and how they chose to raise them.  But that’s for another time, another place, I think.

These structured music/play groups are a great place to find about resources in the community that you may not be aware of.  I.e. doctors, nutrition, music classes. You will find yourself spending time with women you might not ordinarily talk to because your children will be fond of one another. Also, they are the only ones who can take the endless talk about child development or poo.Women are great at sharing their knowledge about these type of things.

If there are adoption support/playgroups in your area, I would go to those as well.  Same benefits but with an added layer of understanding about birth parents, home studies and social workers.  It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to really connect with people on that level.   It’s also where you get to share the assinine comments that people make and learn witty comebacks. For example, one man asked my husband, “Where did you get your kid?”.  My husband: “My wife.” Further to that, you can read more stuff on NOT what to say to an adoptive parent here and here.

You may also want to let your friends or co-workers know to not keep referring to your child as your “adopted” child to everybody they know, like it’s a permanent prefix.  Also I get the impression that some people think adoption is something “trendy”  or incredibly altruistic to do, like building a house for the less fortunate.  If you don’t nip it in the bud, they will do it in front of your child when they are old enough to know what they are saying and/or whispering.  Or you will have people you don’t even know telling you horrible anecdotes. Trust me on this one.

I’d like to open the floor to anyone who has questions at this point.

Microblog Mondays – Things I Wish I’d Known – 2

Microblog_MondaysOne of the things I touched on in my previous post was the adoption story.

There are a  few versions you might consider developing: one for family and friends, one for strangers/acquaintances and one for your child.  I was slow to figure that one out.  After you’re home with your child and your new life begins, you are awash in new activities, getting to know your child, feeding, diaper changes, trying to figure out how to cut a newborn’s nails or other goofy things like that.  My close friends and family knew I was going to adopt, but others did not.  I went out to walk the dog and of course, I run into people I know.  For example, one pet owner in particular that I walked with often in the less populated areas of the park. We talked and talked about all sorts of things.  Not infertility and or adoption of course.  So he’s a little gob smacked to find me with an infant.  I can see him trying to figure out how I ended up with a little baby without him noticing a pregnancy.  I can’t remember exactly what I told him, but since he was a guy he didn’t ask that many questions and just congratulated me.  End of subject.  That was not the case with other colleagues and acquaintances.  Some people have negative feelings or unenlightened opinions about adoption and suddenly you find yourself in the position of educating people.  Sometimes you just may want to get your bikini area waxed or your hair done without drama.  Some women want to know, gasp!, how could a woman give a child away!  Oh, my, I just can’t imagine that!   Didn’t you try to have your own?! Was she on drugs?  Is the baby healthy?  How do you know for sure?  Yep, had all those questions and more.

Now of course, my son is the same colour as me so when we were together, my relationship with him was never questioned but I did find myself blurting out he was adopted so I could explain why I wasn’t breastfeeding him. Yep, did that a few times to strangers because, well, I felt guilty because I wasn’t breastfeeding, I didn’t want to “pass” as fertile, I just couldn’t believe I was a “real” mother.  Finally, I figured out what to say and how much to say.  I set about educating my family and close friends with the real facts and answered their questions with as much detail as I thought appropriate.  I would even challenge them on erroneous beliefs.  I explained to my mother in law about open adoption and that our arrangement, though only semi-open might change in the future.  My eldest sister wanted to know how much I knew about his health because I didn’t know “what kind of family he came from”.  True, I didn’t know much but I also let her know that in life there are not guarantees.  Giving birth to a child does not guarantee perfect genetic health, or a trouble free existence.   If acquaintances wanted to know how I had suddenly come by this bundle of joy, I would give them a brief version and would refuse to answer questions about the birthmother or her circumstances as part of the story that was not mine to tell.  If they persisted (and they did) I would ask why they wanted to know.  Remember that phrase:  “Why do you want to know?” It will come in handy when you get asked the most inappropriate questions.

If you are involved in a transracial adoption, you better be prepared to deal with a lot of attention wherever you go.  You are going to get STARED at.  People will mutter comments that you will overhear.   My husband is white and boy, I knew his eyes were going to be opened in a way they never had before.  We’ve been together for years, but as I’ve mentioned, when you have children, all sorts of people suddenly feel compelled to say the strangest things to you. I do find however that it’s the women who get approached more often with queries or comments.   I’ll talk more about that later.  The point is tailor and edit what you have to say.

And then finally, the story you will tell your child should be age appropriate.  Start early, start searching the bookstores or Amazon for children’s books and ask for recommendations from other adoptive parents. I think it’s important that you become comfortable with the adoption language and practice it with your child even before she/he knows what you’re saying.  Start gathering pictures and mementos that will meaningful in the near future. These are some good choices here and you can also check out your local bookstore or online.  I would recommend reading them before purchasing however, because even the popular ones contained messages I was not comfortable with.  Yes, even the ones about animals.  I had a hard time just finding little board books with little black boys in them and I had to ask clerks to help me.  They looked at me oddly until they too couldn’t find one in the hundreds of books they had on the shelves.  Hmmmm. Yep, that’s how it is and I turned to Amazon to help me out a little.

Microblog Mondays: Things I wish I had known

Microblog_MondaysI’m going to write some posts about for the waiting adoptive parents out there.  We did not have a support group at our adoption agency and between the online courses that were mandatory, and the recommended courses, there wasn’t much that was actually useful.  So I’m going to write about some useful tips you may want to consider. I’m going to assume you may have done the homestudy, profile and the ton of paperwork  already. Each province, state, agency has their own guidelines for that sort of thing.

  • First of all, if you’re not hell bent on experiencing pregnancy, you will not miss getting stretch marks, swollen ankles, nausea and throwing up, and stitches in places you don’t want them.  Unless of course, you have all those to begin with.  Ahem.   You will get a child that you will love just as much as if you had pushed it through your hooha.  If you have that book about what to expect in the first year, you should read it.  It’s useful.  Also go here for a crap load of information that will equally be as useful.  But read Lori’s stuff first while you are in the endless wait because you won’t have much time after.
  • You may or may want to start a nursery depending on your situation.  I didn’t, but I waited almost 2 years so I’m pretty sure it would have just drove me nuts.  But I did actually move into a bigger place so I had a room that was minimally furnished and I just made mental notes.  The last thing I wanted to do after so many years of disappointment was a room full of baby stuff when I had no control over the outcome.  That’s just me, though. Everyone is different and each journey is unique.  You don’t need as much stuff as you think. I was so nervous about painting the room that my husband waited until I was away and when I saw it, my heart sang.
  • Ours was an inter-country adoption (meaning we went to the States).  So we had to fly several hundred miles.  Frequent flyer points come in handy so stock up.
  • When we got the call, I had a friend tell me what I needed and she brought some stuff over for us to pack in a suitcase. in fact, she had been putting stuff aside for me at her home.  She gave me a baby sling, showed me how to use it, a ton of receiving blankets (to be rolled and used to tuck around baby in a carseat, burp cloths, etc.), 2 blankets,  a newborn travel bed, some onesies, socks to be used over his hands at night, and some washcloths.  That was about it.  When we left the hospital with him, they shoved some formula, a soother, and a receiving blanket at us, told us to record his poo times and that was it.  We googled quite a bit during the time we were away.  Anything else we needed, we just bought at Target. We stayed at a hotel that had a kitchen, living room and bedroom so we were fine.   We just took the car seat though as we carried him everywhere.  I did regret not having the stroller we had bought on the way to the airport but we were travelling as light as possible. We had a couple of long, hectic days where we could have used it.
  • When we finally got home, our friends came to the rescue and provided everything else.  So you need a bassinet of sorts, diapers, formula and one of those warmers to keep the baby wipes warm.  I thought it was ridiculous at first, but I grew to love it!!!!  Babies dislike being wiped down with a cold anything. I also should have bought a bottle warmer, but I managed.
  • There is a whole baby industry out there trying to shake every penny out of your wallet.  You set foot in one of those swank baby stores and you are done.  There is organic everything.  For example, if you buy a baby carrier and want those little cotton pads that go on the front supposedly cause a baby may gum on them or drool on them, they come in regular cotton and organic cotton.  The organic cotton is of course more expensive.  Waste o’money but you will be faced with that choice in accessories each and every time.  Unless they’re sucking on it for hours at a time, I don’t see how it matters.  You will also see a ton of slings that promise to make you look like an African woman in the fields.  They will come with booklets and instructional videos.  Good luck!  Also strollers – gack, don’t get me started.  Some of them cost more than rent.  Factor in where you live, where you walk, the type of weather you will be walking in, how to navigate aisles, if you take public transport, and of course, ease of use.  The more expensive a stroller is, the more attachments you will want to make it actually functional for more than 10 minutes.  For example, if you are paying $700 you should really get a cup holder for free, but you’re not going to, so there you have it.  My friend had the popular top of the line one and she couldn’t carry much in it.  Mine was about $400 cheaper and guess who ended up carrying her stuff?  Also your child may outgrow it within the 2 years and you’ll need another.  But you’re going to end up getting another smaller, lighter umbrella stroller to travel with or store in your trunk anyway.  Just so you know.
  • Now a word about adoptive breast feeding.  I know breast is best, but I was in no space to go down that road. I also looked into breast milk banks could saw no possibility for those who have adopted. My best friend couldn’t pump enough for her own child never mind mine.   But please do google it when you’re waiting and make an informed decision about it.  I don’t have anything to offer in that arena.  I do have to say that my son was incredibly healthy and to date has not had any serious illnesses or infections. He ate like a champ.  What I can tell you about formula is that often the organic ones are made in the same facility as the regular ones.  Some are better than others.  Read the labels, do your research.  It’s very enlightening. Also that means your partner can participate in the feedings.  Nudge, nudge, honey, it’s 2am.  Great bonding time.
  • Warning:  random people will be all over your child.  You didn’t get to have that experience of having a big belly for people to comment on so it may come as a shock to you that people will pay a lot of attention.  Babies are cute, they smell great (or should) and bring back pleasant memories for people and unsolicited advice.  Catnip to seniors.  I had an old woman climb out of the ocean after a swim, walk over to me and clamp her hand over my baby’s arm before I even knew it.  Having a kid apparently means a woman is an open vessel for whatever falls out of people’s mouths.  Most of it will be charming and delightful, but not all.  It’s great to practice how you tell people about your adoption journey but remember all the details belong to you and your child and not the mentally disturbed rubby on the street.  Remind me to tell you about that story one day.
  • Stay at home for as long as you and your mate can.  Bond with your child.  Breathe her in, talk to her, hold her close. Put off company until you settle in.  You deserve this time.  You will experience a myriad of emotions.  One of which will be exhaustion.   You will be up at random hours and you can kiss a good night’s sleep goodbye for about 5 years. Seriously.  Everyone says nap when the baby naps.  Nobody does it, I didn’t, but you should.  I did laundry, cleaned the house, made phone calls, I did a lot of staring.  In the province of BC at least, you can get a home visit from the community nurse, call and schedule it.  There’s a lot to know about immunizations and other resources, and you may have a lot of questions about the colour of poo.  It’s better than waiting in a germy walk in clinic or having to wait for a doctor’s appointment. You didn’t have a midwife, so gather a support team of family and friends.  Or a new mum’s group in the community.  It may feel awkward at first, but they’ll be the only people who will listen to all the inane chatter that you will utter.  You will obsess about everything little thing and now worry has a permanent place in your heart.  Get used to it.
  • Another topic of controversy – if you have a boy, to circumcise or not to circumcise.  In this city, it’s another expensive la – di – da but unless it’s done in a hospital after birth, it’s another occasion to open a bottle of wine to soothe your nerves.  And if you aren’t breastfeeding, you can drink wine.  So there.

Stay tuned for more.


I received an email from someone who wanted to talk to me because I had done IVF.  Her first attempt failed and she wanted someone to talk to so she could gather information about what she might do next.  This isn’t the first time this has happened, but it’s been years.  I felt so bad for her because I remembered how devastated I was. She seemed composed but she was definitely looking for answers. There aren’t, not really.  You can do all the right things, follow the protocol, have good results, things look positive and then…nothing. And you can try again and have it work.

I shared my experience with her and also my experience with adoption.  I probably talked too much.  It was hard to tell if she wanted to share or just figure stuff out in her head.  I hadn’t talked about that stuff in a very long time.  It was a little weird to hear those words come out of my mouth. I wanted to encourage her to not give up and I also wanted to let her know she was not alone.  I hope I was useful.

I’ve shared things here in this blog more than I ever did in real life, deeply personal things, but when I was in the thick of it, I was mostly putting on a brave face.  Perhaps that’s where she is now.  I was a little stunned after our first IVF didn’t work.  Shocked that I had committed 100%, drank the herbs, did the acupuncture, chanted hours of daimoku, hired the personal trainer, gave myself the shots, did the positive visualizations.  I had minor surgery, done the horrible fucking tests, been scanned and monitored, been drained of blood dozens of times.  Around the same time my mother had a stroke, spent 3 months in the hospital and then I put her in a home.  I had even been let go from a major gig.   I pressed on because that’s what I do.  I had earned my miracle, so to speak.  And then…nothing.  Crickets.  Bitter pill to swallow but I went on to IVF#2 because I wasn’t a quitter.  I was markedly different by then.  I no longer believed that working hard would automatically bring me rewards.  My guard was up and I wasn’t going to be that deer in the headlights ever again.

Most people I know cannot afford multiple rounds of IVF, they either have financial help from family or they spend their savings.  What did I need a 3 bedroom home for if I couldn’t have children, right?   Heck, over the years I’ve heard of people having fundraisers, bake sales or trying to win radio contests for free IVF.   Or they enter the adoption arena. Or they don’t do either.  Occasionally they just get pregnant the old fashioned way, you know because they just let it go and RELAXED. (This is for you urban legends out there for that I know exist.) Sometimes, they just move on to a different life than the one they had pictured in their heads.  I hope my friend has her wish fulfilled.

Microblog Mondays – Busy Beaver

Microblog_MondaysOh, boy, I was a busy little beaver there for a while.  I could not participate in last week’s Microblog Monday because I was busy transcribing.  I did about 46 hours in 10 days (30 hrs in 4 days).  I did tell them I needed 2 weeks only to be told they needed it sooner rather than later.  Of course.  Just when I had a busy weekend lined up.

The 14th was my mum’s 80th birthday.  For those in the know, I put a video of her on Facebook.  It was terrific to see her connect for a little while.  She looked right at me and told me, “This is a nice birthday.”  That’s a big deal to me.  We sang happy birthday to her and I know she enjoyed our visit.  I just wish my side of the family could have been there for her.  My younger sister sent flowers and of course, my older sister sent nothing.  I wish I could have done more, I wish it could have been a big deal, but it was what it was.

And then….I had a visit from a good friend, Anna.  Luckily she came the day after I finished my massive typing job.   She used to have a blog and that is where I go to know this awesome woman.  Her long awaited son was born the same month as mine.  I see her once a year when she heads out west to visit family.  And I get to see her blue eyed boy.  Wow, it always amazes me that I knew him when he was just a wish and now he is 5 years old and talking Minecraft with my kid.  It was crazy, they were instant buddies.  Our visit was hastily arranged so of course, that’s the day I have a doctor’s appointment in the morning in the city and I have an audition at the height of rush hour.  We squeeze in a quick visit to Lynn Canyon suspension bridge.  That poor woman, what I put her through!  She was a bit hesitant about going across but her brave child leads her across the jiggly rope bridge and I manage to find a semi quiet place by the rocks and creek for a few minutes of peace.  I wish I could have kept them there for more time with a picnic, but I had to go downtown again for an audition.  I seriously would have blown it off had it not been a really decent role.

Anna graciously agreed to hang out at my house with my kid so I could go to my audition.  I figured I’d be an hour tops.  Well, once in the car, I discover the 2nd Narrows bridge was massively backed up because of stalled vehicle and the other was backed up because of another stall AND a 4.5 centimetre construction plate that spans the width of the bridge that causes all traffic to slow down to a crawl.    I call my agent to let her know (via Bluetooth) and then I just sit in traffic working on my lines.  It was probably the most zen I’ve been going to an audition in a long time.  I end up being 40 minutes late.  I finally get there and breathe for a few minutes before I go in.  It was a producer/director session so at least I know I had my shot at it.  I only got to do it once, which you could either say I nailed it or they weren’t really interested.  (It’s been about a week, so I’ve let it go already.)  When I return, Anna’s husband had arrived to whisk them away to dinner but I insist on hijacking one more hour with them and force them to eat at one of those family eating places that I like only because it serves wine.  She’s such an awesome woman, I get pissed that she’s not my neighbour and I can’t hang out with her more. Oh, how I’d love to sit in her kitchen!   She’s just so real, and she feels stuff without pushing it away. I envy that ability because it is so rare in people these days.    And to do that when you’re tired because she just wanted to see me.  I’m lucky, right? Yeah, I know.

To borrow Anna’s saying, we’re sucking the marrow out of summer, so I’m off!