Sunday, August 29, 2010

Moment of the Day

"This sucks," I mumble as I mangle my fingers through the rungs of the crib trying to adjust the fitted sheet over the mattress and under the bumpers. Justin and I had managed the put the newly laundered fitted mattress on the crib mattress just a minute ago only to realize we had forgotten the mattress pad. Three times we'd gone through this dreadful, frustrating, near painful task.

"At least we have a crib to change," I then remembered outloud.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Things We Hold Onto

I never knew my paternal grandparents.

My grandmother died the month before I was born. She is my namesake - my middle name was hers first. When I was about thirteen or fourteen years old, I was doing a genealogy project for church. My dad found a picture of his mother about the same age. Modernize her hair style and we could be twins. No kidding. I never met her, but I feel this connection to her. I am convinced she went to heaven right before I was born to make sure I arrived safely.

My grandfather died two months after I was born. I have a few pictures of him holding me, but I do not remember him. My father looks a lot like him. I don't know a lot about him. He worked at Kennecott Copper. He met my grandmother while swimming in a lake and fell in love at first sight.

There is something about the unknown family that draws you in. The mystery of the unknown. I carry on the name of these ancestors, but I don't know who they are. I want to believe that they were really great people. I believe they are because my dad is a wonderful man and he came from them. He has told me stories, and through that, I know they are good people.

I love the history of my last name. The history of the Scottish Hay clan. Our family motto. I take it heart. I have fabulous history on my maternal side as well. Elinor of Aquitane. Constantine. I am proud of where I came from. There are more things I could say about my maternal side, but since I grew up with those grandparents around, there is less "mystery." And for this post, I want to focus on my relationship with the unknown family.

I was looking at a post on my friend Shellie's blog the other day that said that Kennecott mines provided the metal for the bronze, silver, and gold metals for the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. I got so excited reading that on her blog. Kennecott mines is where my grandpa worked!

And it made me realize how much I treasure those little, tiny tidbits of knowledge.

I am not adopted. I will never know what it is like to be adopted. But I can only imagine that this is a small glimpse at what it may be like for my daughter. We'll provide any info we can about her birth family. She'll cling to the few photographs we have. The little bits of knowledge and tangible landmarks like where she was born the way I cling to the teenage portrait of my grandmother and my fascination with Kennecott mines.

There is an intrinsic desire to know where we come from. To find who our "tribe" is. To discover where we belong. Unravel the mysteries of the past and hope to find something to be proud of.

This whole Kennecott thing was just kind of an epiphany for me. Realizing the things we hold on to. The treasures of our history we search for. And hopefully, it will help me be more understanding and prepared for Joci's path.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Have We Met?

I like blogging.

I find a sense of release and confidence at the keyboard. I have found some really, really fantastic friends through blogging that I would've probably never met.

And (let's face it) it feeds my ego. Knowing people read my blog (and come back!) gives me validation. I have something to say - an others want to hear it!

(I am the youngest child and I like attention...can you tell?)

To quote Rachel Berry from Glee: "I'm like Tinkerbell, Finn. I need applause to live." Only in my case, it's blog readers. :)

I have several tracking mechanisms on my blog including Google Analytics and a live traffic feed from Feedjit so I know how many people come to blog and from where, what they look for, and how long they stay.

It's amazing to me that I have readers all over the world.

But I would love for you to come out of obscurity and become more than just a flag on the live feed map.

So, let's introduce ourselves!

My name is Lara. I have been married for 9 years to an incredible man who knows not to take me too seriously. I have a 16-month old daughter. We live in Idaho not far from where I was born and raised. I have a Bachelors Degree in psychology but my profession is a copywriter. I work in-house writing marketing copy for an international wellness company. It sounds impressive, but it really means I write "lather, rinse, repeat" on the back of shampoo bottles. Oh, sometimes I get to name makeup colors and create slogans and headlines. It's a lot of fun and offers a creative outlet. I'm the youngest of five. I am 28 years old (for another 2 months). I am an adoption advocate. I hope to have a novel published someday. I have 2 dogs and a cat. And yeah, that's me in a nutshell.

Now, introduce yourself to me! All you blog lurkers...Jackie from high school, I know you said you lurked. Rene, you said you read religiously. Someone in Mississippi is a reader. Germany, who are you? Even if you think I know you read, please leave a comment (trust me, my ego needs it!).

And then we'll be officially introduced.

Another request...what kinds of posts do you like to read? It seems I get the most hits (and comments) on adoption and infertility posts. Which is awesome because I can barely shut up about it, but I don't want to alienate people. Pop culture seems to be, well, popular too. Humorous happenings. Guest bloggers. Links to the outside world. What would you like to read?

In advance, thank you for introducing yourself to me and I've very pleased to meet you. :)

P.S. This post has been up for like 15 minutes. I've already had 3 visitors and no comments! Come out of the blog closet, guys! I already know you're there.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Finally Feelin' Fall

This past weekend, I put Jocelyn down to bed at 8:00 like normal, then went out to mow the yard. Within thirty minutes I had to quit because it was too dark.

And then I realized...

Summer's almost over.

The next day the air was chilly and the skies were grey. That night, it was too cold to sleep with our windows open like we usually do.

I was really starting to get bummed.

But then I remembered all the great autumnal things right around the corner.

The state fair

ginormous smoked turkey legs

The return of my television favs.

Corn mazes
Justin and Joci, Cindy and Afton, and me

Sweaters that hide my fat rolls better than summer tee shirts

My birthday

Melaleuca Halloween

I love autumn. I really, really do. I love the way the sunshine is always slanted because of the way the earth rotates. Everything looks amber-gold all the time. I love the nip in the air. The crunch of leaves beneath my feet. Long drives to see fall colors. And a sky that is bluer than any season of the year.

Okay. I'm officially on board now. Come on, fall, I'm ready for ya!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Infertility in the Movies

A few months ago we rented the movie "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" I'm a sucker for pretty much any romantic comedy and since this story took place in Wyoming supposedly near where my husband is from, we wanted to watch it. It was mildly entertaining and overflowing with over-exaggerated simple life stereotypes of Wyoming hicks (and hey, it was filmed in New Mexico, not Wyoming).

In a nut shell, you have the two main characters Meryl (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Paul (Hugh Grant) who are married but separated. They witness a mob murder and must go into a witness protection program together, forcing them to confront their marital problems. One of the stresses on their marriage is their infertility. They talk about the crazy roller coaster of infertility treatments and how that put a strain on them. They both wanted to adopt but didn't express their feelings to each other about that clearly.

Anyway, like all good romantic comedies, they rediscover each other and fall back in love just in time to defeat the mob who discovered where they were hiding. Movies all end too perfectly, and I knew, just knew, that Meryl was going to get pregnant at the end because love conquers all - even polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, sterility, low motility, low sperm count, and a host of other infertility causers.

Well, I was happily surprised when the ending of the movie showed our main characters arriving in the airport with their newly adopted Chinese daughter. Oh, my heart soared! This movie got it right!!!

For about two minutes.

Then as Meryl slipped off her coat back at the apartment, the beautiful New York skyline silhouetted her swollen, pregnant belly.

Yes, indeed, Hollywood true love does conquer infertility.

I am glad they still followed through with their plans for adoption and showed that. But it made me so angry! Nearly every show that breaches the subject of infertility ends with a magical pregnancy.

"Baby Mama" was the same way. Tina Fey's character Kate is a single woman who is unable to conceive due to a misshapen uterus. She hires Angie (Amy Poehler) as a surrogate, who is just scamming for the money. In the end, Kate finds true love and after a single night of intimacy, is magically pregnant.

If you can think of any other movies with against all odds pregnancies, let me know in the comments.

These two movies left me with a sense of disdain that I really cannot put into words. Hollywood gets blamed for a lot of misleading crap (not saying it's wrongfully blamed) and the pervasive myth of "happily ever after" is a sore spot with many.

So to set the record straight, I know what true love is. My husband and I have it. It was love at first sight for us and we've been swept up in it for almost a decade. We've had tears and laughter and dark times and bright times. I can't think of a truer love out there. And it hasn't magically cured each of our respective bodies of their diseases that limit our fertility. What it has done is given us the foundation, friendship, and strength we needed to get through those dark times. It gave us the faith and insight to look somewhere else - adoption - and open our hearts and home to the most perfect baby girl in the world.

It may not be a magical pregnancy, but our path to parenthood is nothing less than miraculous. And thanks to true love, we have more than a scripted, predictable "happily ever after." We have a "happy now and forever after."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Freedom to Eat Leftovers

I've always heard that living in the United States is a blessing beyond compare with freedoms like no other land has to offer. I believed that when I was five or ten. But then I started to realize that most modern, western countries have many of the opportunities and freedoms we have. People can generally wear what they want, say what they want, and pursue whatever profession they desire.

But yesterday, I gained a new appreciation for American freedoms.

I went to lunch with a woman from my company's Australian location. And guess what? In Australia, it is illegal to take leftovers from a restaurant home.

Let me say that again.

In Australia, you can't take leftovers from a restaurant home.

No doggie bags! No styrofoam boxes! No takeout!

Supposedly, it's because a rash of food poisoning from leftover food caused the government to simply nix the entire tradition.

You can get really politically deep here in how much individuals ought to govern their own lives and how much individuals ought to relinquish that to elected/appointed officials. I'm not going there at all.

All I know is that when I pay $14.99 for herb crusted chicken over a bed of linguine, I am happy to live in a land that reserves the right for me to take my leftovers home, refrigerate them, reheat them and have a mediocre meal the next day.

In celebration of this newly "discovered" and spotlighted freedom, I challenge all of you to exercise your right to the doggy bag tonight. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Sixteen Months Old

Jocelyn is now 16 months old. She's a total ham and such a smartie!

Here are some things about her.

  • She weighs 22 pounds.
  • She is  learning so much language lately. It is so much fun. Take a look at the list to the left and see what she is saying. We just started watching Signing Time and she is learning so many new signs.
  • She is very friendly and loves to say "hi" to everyone - people who come to the door, people in the grocery store, etc.
  • She has eight teeth.
  • She is a very good eater. Mandarin oranges and bananas are still probably her favorites, but it's hard to say.
  • We can ask her via sign language if she wants a drink and she will tell us if she would prefer milk or water via sign language.
  • She usually prefers water to milk.
  • She loves to pet Piper (the big dog) and Gabby (the cat).
  • She folds her arms for prayers before meals (and kind of says "amen").
  • She sleeps from about 8 pm to 7:30 am.
  • She takes two naps in the day.

I love this pretty new dress.

She loves to sit in her chair and color.

On Sunday, we took her to the park for the first time. We found a really great park and she loved it. She squealed with delight on the swing. There was this awesome music area that she liked to play with. We took her down the slide for the first time. It was pure heaven. I know it's tough (especially dealing with a 16-month old with double ear infections like right now) but parenthood is truly wonderful.

Monday, August 9, 2010

When I Grow Up...

Things I wanted to be (and not just passing fantasy...actual careers I researched and more or less took steps toward).

Dan Rather (never just a news anchor. I specifically wanted to be Dan Rather.)

A teacher

A wedding planner

A psychologist

A writer/novelist

A music video director

A photographer

 A Peace Corps worker

Not doing the last one is one of my biggest regrets. There is still time for the rest. That's probably why I feel that way. 

What did you want to be?

Friday, August 6, 2010

My New Shoes

Went to the mall.

First stop was Naturalizer. I felt so out of place. I was the only person under 60. The sales lady helping me had to be in her 80's. I felt so bad whenever she bent down to put a shoe on my foot - and she insisted she do it herself! I found a pair of SAS shoes there which were well over $100 and on sale for $85 (these sandals in black). But I decided to keep looking.

At Dillards I discovered a few other comfy brands: Born was comfy but styles were a little too casual; Clarks had some options; Eccos were too rugged and mountainy looking; Nurture had a lot of promise - and a good sale to boot! (nice pun, haha) - but were out of my size in the color I needed (shown here).

Moving on to Macy's.

I slipped on a pair of Hush Puppies and thought I was walking on star dust. That comfy. They were probably the only shoe in the store not on sale. And the styling was a little...not me. I walked around in them for ten minutes. I texted my friends. They tried to give me advice. I took a picture and sent that to them too. Technology is so awesome! It was like having Tisa and Jamie with me. They convinced me the shoes weren't as ugly and grandma-y as I thought and I bought them.

And they are still just so heavenly.

Here they are. I'm still trying to convince myself that they are cute, so if you can't say something know the drill. :)

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mine Before

I love adoption.

It is part of who I am.

It has given me the most important thing I'll ever, ever have.

May 2009. Photo taken by SweetPea Photography
A family.

And I love the blogosphere. I love the friends I've made who also share this common link of adoption.

Just now, I was catching up on reading The R House. I read this post from her Ask a Birth Mom Panel. The question was:  Do you feel the family your baby went to was truly meant to be his/her family?

The five interviewed women all said yes.

I wasn't surprised.

I know Jocelyn was meant to be part of our family. She completely completes us. There's never been a doubt in my mind that she is in the exact place that Lord wanted her (every day I work harder to deserve this unfathomable blessing and gift).

There was something about Tamra's response to this question.

I'm going to quote what she wrote:

i wasn't choosing a family, i was finding the family that God had chosen.

i imagine it this way; before we came her, God says "Tamra, you'll have a tough assignment, you'll go to parents who are sad and confused, your little soul's gonna get hurt, you're gonna stumble, you're gonna get lost. but don't worry Tamra, your sister Debbie (A-mom) and your Brothers Gale (A-dad) and Justin (our boy) have volunteered for the rescue effort. Debbie and Gale will wait and pray and cry and wonder and they will share their Justin with you. he will come as your missionary on his way home and though you won't love yourself enough to get well, you'll love him enough. and you'll remember me and i'll heal you".

so that's how it happened, or at least i bet it was pretty close. on this side, it looks like MY gift, MY sacrifice, but when we return i imagine we will see more clearly that it was them who gave to me, their sacrifice. how can i say my gratitude?!

As I read this, I thought this was such a neat perspective. That instead of the birth mom sharing her child with the adoptive family to heal them and make them whole (how I often feel about our birthmom's sacrifice), in the life before this one the "adoptive" parents chose to share their child with a young woman to heal her and make her whole.
with Jocelyn's birth mom last November
Suddenly, I found myself sobbing. I felt this warmth inside. Like God hugging my heart. And I heard a quiet voice telling me that this is true. That our Jocelyn was ours long before April 21, 2009. And our alliance with her birth parents is not as recent as we think. Even though I am now a mother, I still struggle with infertility (see last week's post) and am frequently plagued by doubt and feelings of being undeserving and insufficient. This moment, just now, sponsored by The R House (har har), is transforming. I have a new testimony of God's plan and His love for me.
My heart is so full I can't find any words.
Our sealing. December 2009. Photo taken by Mrs. R herself.
I love adoption.


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