Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Walk with Gratitude - The Home Stretch

22. My pets
23. My warm home
24. Blizzards - when I am safe inside. :)
25. The outcome of our appraisal/refinance
26. My family's safe travels
27. My laptop. My blog. My readers and bloggy friends.
28. Scattergories
29. The gospel
30. Texting

Lots to be grateful for. Some more profound than others. :)

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving. I'll post a few more details of my holiday in a couple days.

The Most Selfish Man in America

Ever heard of PostSecret? It's an ongoing project where people send in their secrets anonymously on a postcard. Some are funny, some are gross, some are sad, some are sweet. They post new secrets every Sunday.

This post card was posted this week. It INFURIATES me.

This has got to be the most selfish man on the planet.

Do you even know how your wife's heart breaks month after month?

Do you even know the depths of your betrayal?

You are relishing in "getting some" regularly while you deceive your wife in this way? She will find out someday. Your precious little self-centered world will fall apart. I personally would find this nigh unforgiveable. I would forgive infedelity over this.

I want to punch you in your mutilated special place.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Am Totally More Literary Than You. Probably.

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

Bold those books you've read in their entirety.

Italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read only an excerpt.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling {this ought to count for more than 1 book!}
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis {isn't this part of the Chronicles of Narnia?}
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen {what is wrong with me? I haven't been able to get into Jane}
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazu Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I have read 24. I find it hard to believe the BBC thinks most people only would have read six. I probably read more than that in just my senior year of high school. Ah well. Fun exercise anyway. Let me know if you do it on your blog.

P.S. My favoritest book of all time is on this list: The Count of Monte Cristo. LUV!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Real Housewives of Idaho

Today at church we talked about the bizarreness that is the Real Housewives of Atlanta. Or any of those other Real Housewives shows. The comment was made that we had never seen women behave like this in real life.

It made me wonder what the world would see if there was a reality TV show on the Real Housewives of Idaho.

First of all, this make believe show wouldn't be on the Bravo network or MTV or any other network like that. It would maybe qualify for TLC. Probably PBS.* That's more likely. :)

The episodes would be filled with a lot of charity and friends helping friends. So-and-so just had a baby. Let's bring her dinner and clean her house. So-and-so is moving...let's go pack boxes. Oh, and let's have a ladies Christmas party this week. Whose teenage daughter will babysit for free for service hours? That would be the drama. Although, there's always that busybody who seems to know everyone's business and stirs up gossip every now and then. ;)

I see these real housewives every day. At work. At church. In my neighborhood. They are generous. They are fun. They are vivacious. They are kind. They are helpful. They are frugal. Not very good television, huh?

They wear clothing from Target and TJ Maxx. Maybe Dillards if there was a good sale. Their faces are lined with the evidence of smiles and tears. Their hair is attractive, even if they aren't sporting the latest style straight from Hollywood. They have real figures...with average-sized breasts, a little padding on the hips, a small pooch at the belly, and a nice roundness at the arms.

Their days are filled with endless work. Snotty noses and dirty diapers. Worry about children and grandchildren. Proofing homework and packing lunches. Stretching pennies. Cooking. Reading the same book umpteen times to the baby. Racing out the door to work. Punching a clock. The occasional craft night. Hugs, kisses, long talks on the phone. They sing and love music. They laugh easily and often. Their touch is gentle and tender. Their sense of adventure is up for a backyard safari or a lunch date with an old friend. They struggle for balance, but somehow scatter sunshine everywhere they go.

Their smiles light up a room. Their heart is in everything they do. They do the right things for the right reasons. They make you feel better for spending just a few minutes with them. They are truly and utterly beautiful. Breathtakingly beautiful.

I was thinking this as I was sitting in church today (I promise I was listening to the lesson, too!). My heart was full that I can consider these amazing women my friends. I am beyond grateful that these are the women who teach my child. I couldn't ask for better role models.

It might not be that exciting, but I think the world would be a better place if everyone would watch a few episodes of The Real Housewives of Idaho.

*Upon reading this, my dad said that this "show" could be part of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Post Feast Puking

You may think I am kidding, but I am not. My house is cursed this month!!! My sister and her family came up for the holiday and two of her children are violently ill. I hope it doesn't spread. Please, don't let it spread to anyone else.

Is my pecan pie really that bad?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Grateful for the Freedom to Take a Break

Ahhh. That was a contented sigh. I am at home. My parents are safely here after a harrowing drive through a blizzard. I even left work early because of the trecherous roads. My husband didn't leave the house. Neither did my daughter. I am grateful for my family's safety today.

I am also grateful to announce that I am struggling with my daily posts...and that's not what this is supposed to be about. So I am letting myself off the hook. So what if I miss a day or two of posting? It's time to be with family and enjoy them.

So, until I post again, Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giveaway Results and WWG

 The winner of the giveaway is my sister-in-law Cindy. I promise the drawing was legit! :) Cindy now is the proud owner of those cute little bread pans. 

Today I am grateful for Diet Coke. Is that lame? I really do love it and I think it is important to be mindful of all of life's little pleasures. And honestly, Diet Coke is more than a little pleasure. It's a big one. :)

My daughter is so beautiful.

She gets her big blue eyes from her birth mom. She gets her silky auburn hair from her birth father. Before Jocelyn was born and we were on the waiting list, I admit that I was nervous about what our baby would look like. We wanted a baby and we knew that whatever baby came to us would be the one who was meant to be with us...but I wanted a cute baby. Who doesn't, right? And now that I see her, I realize I had absolutely NOTHING to worry about. I never imagined having a child this beautiful. Love adoption. Love her.

If you have any questions about adoption, feel free to ask them in the Formspring box on the right.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Why Do You Support Adoption?

Today is National Adoption Day! Yeah, yeah, the whole month is adoption month, but today is the BIG DAY! I am grateful for adoption. Without it, we wouldn't be parents. My life has been blessed in more ways that I could ever hope to count thanks to the courageous choice of two wise, strong people who wanted their little princess to have  more than they could give her. I will forever sing their praises. They are in my thoughts and prayers daily. I try and do right by them every day. I feel a solemn obligation to be the best mother I can be to honor their sacrifice.

I am so grateful that the institution of adoption exists. That open adoption is becoming the norm. I am glad that Jocelyn's birth parents respected the life they made and sought out this option and got the support and help they needed.

So, in honor of adoption month and adoption day, I wanted to ask all my readers to take this chellenge that I am acceping from Birthmothers4Adoption. Even if you don't have a personal experience with adoption and doubt you ever will,  you can still be an adoption advocate by spreading some adoption love. You never know how your positivity will impact the world. So if you will sometime this month, answer this question as briefly or as complexly as yo like:

I'd love to see some posts answering this question pop up on blogs in the next couple of weeks. :) Take the challenge and pass it along to others.

Walk with Gratitude days 19 and 20

I had a busy day yesterday - I went straight from work to volunteer at the Festival of Trees, plus I am still feeling yucky, so I didn't get a chance to write. I am sure you didn't mind a break from my constant babblings, right?

Yesterday, being inspired by the Festival, I am grateful for communities and the collective generosity of people. Really, from all the volunteers workers to the performers to the donors to the community coming and paying exorbitant prices to view some trees and eat a piece of pie. Even in the midst of recession, so many people are so generous and truly care about their neighbors. I love that. I am grateful for the spirit of giving.

Grandpa with two of his granddaughters

Today, I am grateful for my dad. It's his birthday today! The night before I went to college, my dad took me outside and pointed at the moon. He told me that whenever I saw the moon, to think of him, because he would be looking at it and thinking of me. I still think of my dad when I look at the moon and I miss him. I am so excited that my parents are coming for Thanksgiving this year. My dad is funny, intelligent, classy, put together, compassionate, the hardest worker I know, and a true gentleman. I love him with all my heart and I am so grateful for him and his influence on my life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Walk with Gratitude Day 18

Today I am thankful for agency. Being able to choose, even if I choose poorly, is a great, great gift. I am grateful for it. I am grateful to live in a country and culture that embraces the beauty of self and agency as well. It's a freedom I truly treasure.

I am out of Formspring questions! But here is the new button submitted through the design contest on the r house blog. There had been some discussion about the way this button represents adoption - read Mrs. R's response if you're curious about it. I like the button better than the old one and I think it portrays beautiful emotion so I am gonna use it.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

WWG and Choosing an Agency

Don't forget to enter my Gratitude Giveaway!

I am so thankful for my imagination. The world is such a magical, amazing place and I feel like I would miss out on so much without the gift of believing.

Today I am going to combine three questions I received because they are all along the same vein:

Would you recommend the agency you used with Joci to others? Yes

Another question asks how/why we chose the agency we used, what criteria we used, and why we ruled some out. The third questions asks why we didn't use LDS Family Services.

I didn't take choosing an agency lightly. I am an internet junkie (ask my husband - he says I'm always on the computer) so I did a lot of searches on adoption agencies and reputable practices. I decided that these factors were the most important to me:

  • No price differences based on race or gender
  • Unlimited counseling services for birth parents
  • Supported open adoption
  • Would let me meet with the potential caseworker free of charge before committing to use them
  • Had experience in the type of adoption we wanted (domestic infant)

I knew that it was important to find an agency that was the right fit for us. We were emotionally fragile and going into uncharted territory - we needed support and love and nurturing too! My sister's friend had experience with LDS Family Services in this area and I had a coworker who used a different agency. I spoke with both those women to understand their experiences.

I did internet research on other agencies too. They just didn't fit. Many have different prices based on the race of the baby. That is unacceptable to me and I refused to do business with any agency that profited from racism. Some just felt cheap. Some charged a lot more and offered a lot more to birth moms - but in a way it seemed like bribery to me. Some didn't really support open adoption. Some were more focused on international adoption.

We chose not to use LDS Family Services for several reasons. First, the area we live in is heavily LDS and the majority of adoptive couples here use that agency. That creates a lot of internal competition among the adopting couples. Most of the time when a potential birth mom comes in, the agency matches her desires and usually shows her just a handful of adoptive parent profiles - so if an agency has a lot of families they are representing, there is less chance your profile will be showed. I had also heard through couples that had used this specific branch of the agency and were frustrated with the turnaround time for homestudies and reports and lack of face time with the caseworker.

Those reasons were strategic. On a personal note, our infertility had made us fragile spiritually. I didn't want the stress of adopting to add on to that. Like if our caseworker made a mistake or took too long on our homestudy, we might redirect our anger and hold a grudge against the church. I didn't want to risk that. I hope that makes sense.

When talking with my boss one day about adoption, he mentioned a neighbor he had who worked for an agency called A New Beginning. He gave me her number. I called. They sent me a packet. I asked to meet the caseworker before committing. We set up a meeting. (Not all agencies were keen to have me take up their caseworkers' time without a commitment.) We met Claire. We loved her. She was so informative, kind, patient, and I could just smell the efficiency coming off her. I also liked the fact that this agency only represented 20 families at a time, thus controlling the quality of service they could give the families and it helped control the wait-time.

At the agency right after placement

We would've paid less through LDS Family Services because it is subsidized through the members' fast offerings, but we really felt like A New Beginning was the right fit. We prayed about it and felt good. I really feel like we made the right choice. Our experience was stellar. We had great support and Claire's turnaround time on paperwork was never more than three days. She is awesome!

Disclaimer: I just really want to emphasize that I think LDS Family Services is a great agency and I know for a fact that it is a moral and ethical agency. It has been the perfect fit for many, many families. It just wasn't right for us at that time. In fact we might use them in the future. Please don't take this as a dis on them. We even participate in many networking opportunities with them now and have a great supportive adoption community through them. And while I would wholeheartedly recommend A New Beginning, it might not be the perfect fit for everyone.

I would give this advice to anyone hoping to adopt: Figure out what is important to you in an agency. Research several agencies - don't go with the first one you hear about or the cheapest one. Insist on  meeting the caseworker. You're gonna spend a lot of time with your caseworker and he/she could be the cause of much frustration or much confidence and peace. You want the latter. Make sure you jive with them. And go with your gut.

P.S. Sorry for the long post. I just made the most sense to answer all those questions together.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway!

As I have been doing my Walk with Gratitude exercise this month (get it? walk...exercise...hehehe) I decided that not much in life is worth having without sharing it with friends. So I am doing my first ever Pocket Full of Prose Giveaway!

Two mini ceramic breadpans. All cutely adorned and just in time for Thanksgiving. They are oven safe and dishwasher safe - perfect for yummy treats or I bet if you are crafty you could make a darling centerpiece by filling them with corn kernals and small pine cones or berries or something.

If you would like to enter this giveaway, here is what to do:

  • just leave a comment 
  • include your email address in the comment.
Extra entries available:

...leave an additional comment with your email address for each extra entry.

  • follow my blog
  • subscribe to my blog
  • blog about this giveaway, linking back to this post (leave a link to your post in your comment)
  • email your family and friends about this giveaway (copy me on the email to me too - justinandlara at gmail.com)
As an example, if you already follow my blog you would write in your comment:
"already a follower. here's my email: abcd@whatever.com."

Then if you blogged about this contest you would make an additional comment:

"Blogged about it today at yourblog.com. Here's my email: abcd@whatever.com."

 And you would keep doing that for every chance you have to win.

Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you should you win. Entries will be accepted until Thusday, November 18, 2010, at 11:59 PM MST. The winner will be announced on Friday.

(Sorry for the short turn around time, but I would like the winner to have a chance to receive this by Thanksgiving. Plus, it rewards my frequent readers!)

WWG and Whether or Not to Use an Agency

Walk with Gratitude Day 16

Today I am grateful for being a spoiled brat. I am so ignorant of my blessings, I can't even count them all. Seriously. Carpet. Food. Good food. Money in the bank. Fat jeans vs. skinny jeans. The things I complain about and consider challenges would probably make most people in the world laugh.

Today's Formspring question is Do you feel like an agency ensures you an adoption quicker?

While this is a yes or no question, I can't really give a yes or no answer. Like many things with adoption, my official answer is "it depends."

There are some definite benefits to an adoption agency. They do a lot of marketing and promotion - from buying ads in phone books and online to doing assemblies at school at networking with doctors, family planning clinics, and law firms. Because they have this kind of established network, local professionals will often recommend potential birth moms to a reputable agency. They have a brick-and-mortar physical presence.

Agencies offer services to birth parents such as counseling and education course...and some even provide housing, clothing, meals, medical care, etc., depending on the agency and the laws of the state. These kinds of benefits may attract birth moms. Agencies also offer benefits to the adoptive couple, such as educational courses, counseling, and even facilitating communication in open and semi open adoptions.

The cons of using an agency is that the fees are generally quite expensive and there is no guarantee that you will get selected. Back in the day, adoption wait lists were processed on a first come/first serve basis. Now most agencies allow the birth parents to select the adoptive parents no matter how long or little the adoptive parents have been waiting (as it should be).

People who choose not to go through an agency are responsible for their own self-promotion. Maybe they are lucky and somehow came across a situation with a birth mom and they don't need an outside source to advertise and match them. In that case, they go straight to the lawyer. But if not, if they just want to save money, the hopeful adoptive couple needs to get the word out themselves. Blogs, websites, pass along cards, letters to schools, hospitals, family planning clinics, and law offices are some of the ways they do so. (on a side note, even those who do not list through an agency still need a state approved home study performed by a licensed social worker).

A self-promoting couple can spend as little or as much as they want - however greater exposure often leads to shorter wait times. So with self-promotion, you can save money, but there is no guarantee you will get selected.

There's no guarantee for either route. Whether or not someone uses an agency is a big, personal decision.

Our amazing caseworker Claire meeting Jocelyn for the first time 

Personally, I think using an agency is a good thing. I think it cuts down on stress and they really know what they are doing. They have important contacts. In the case of our adoption, I don't know exactly how our birth parents chose the agency we used, but I do know that they knocked on the door of the agency on the day they decided to make an adoption plan. Had that building not been physically there, they may have just moved on to the next one. Sometimes, it is just random luck.

I will use an agency again. But I am the type of person who will probably always use a real estate agent rather than sell a house on my own. I would rather pay a little extra for the peace of mind of having a professional take care of the details for me and do their thing.

I've had several questions on agencies, so this "discussion" will definitely continue tomorrow. :) Do check back, because I am going to post my first give away soon. I hope it's a success. I would be really bummed out if I did my first give away and no one entered.

Again, feel free to submit any questions in the Formspring box on the right!

P.S. So the National Adoption button isn't all that great, so Mrs. R of the R House hosted a design contest for a new button. Hop over there and vote on your fav!

Walk With Gratitude Day 15 and Tired Questions

Bad blogger. Shame on me. Yesterday Justin got the nasty fever I have been sporting for a week and came home from work early. So naturally I put Joci to bed early, watched three episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then we both took shots of generic Nyquil (we’re posh like that) and hit the sack early. And by early, I mean 10:30 pm. Because that is early in this house.

So I am doing yesterday’s post today. And hopefully I will do today’s post later today. Hope you’re not tired of me yet, we’re only half-way through the month.

So today (um, yesterday) I am very grateful for my job. Yes, it’s a blessing to have a job, especially in this unsure economy. But I am very grateful for my job. It is really, really cool to be able to do something I love all day every day. It’s beyond nice to have a creative outlet that I get paid for. It is amazingly fulfilling to be surrounded by kindred creative spirits who just get that off-beat quirkiness that all us artsy-fartsy types seem to have. It is inspiring to have a boss who hosts creative extravaganzas like Waffestival and Lego building parties and sock puppet shows. Did I say extravaganzas? I meant meetings. My boss holds amazing meetings. Because they are always work related. I am grateful for a company that truly cares about its employees. I was too sick to attend, but last week I was awarded—in front of the entire company—a five thousand dollar bonus for being here for five years. At ten years, I get ten thousand dollars…at twenty years, yep, twenty grand. I am grateful for steady pay, for benefits, for predictable vacation days, all that jazz. I feel forever lucky to be where I am.


I was asked this question on Formspring:

Are there any adoption question you get sick of people asking you?

And my answer is…sort of?

I actually don’t get asked a lot about adoption in real life. Blogging is actually where I talk about it the most. One of the most frequently asked questions (when I do get asked—and it’s always by someone genuinely interested, not just flippantly curious) is about cost. And I totally don’t mind talking about that. When we embarked on the adoption journey that was a BIG question that loomed in our minds and I was always afraid to ask/talk about it because talking about money is “just plain rude” in our society, which I think is wrong and breeds ignorance which then breeds bad financial choices which is why I am trying to be more transparent about my finances in general. Take a breath. J

The question I get that kind of irritates me is when people ask when we are going to adopt again. I think the root of this irritation stems from my infertility and being asked for many years when we were going to have children. It’s not a question of a stork magically placing a baby in the nursery, it is far more complicated. I don’t get why people feel like money is such a taboo subject but asking someone about the progress of their intimate life is not.

So asking when we are going to adopt again is tricky. We would like to. I think we will. But it’s more complicated than just putting away the birth control pills. Timing is tricky because we never know how long/short the waiting period will be, there is a complicated financial aspect, the working mom/childcare aspect comes into play, plus the regular emotional stuff of “are we ready to do this again?” that all parents go through.

So, yeah, I kind of get tired of that question. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

WWG and Costs of Adoption

Today, I am grateful for the love of my Savior. His infinite capacity to forgive. Because I need it - infinitely.

And now to answer the first submitted Formspring question. The question is was regarding the costs of domestic adoption versus international adoption.

Each situation differs varies widely, so the averages can be misleading. But the average domestic adoption is around $15,000 - $25,000 while international averages tend to be higher at around $25,000 - $40,000. Even these averages vary depending on the source.

A major expense attributed to international adoption are travel and visa expenses. International agencies often require multiple visits that last several weeks. Obviously the airfare, food, and lodging expenses add up fast. So even if the "adoption costs" of an international adoption appear less (I've seen them as low as $2,000), once you factor in legal fees, documentation, and travel, the cost gets up there.

finalizing our domestic adoption, Dec. 7, 2009

Domestic adoptions can also vary greatly. Foster care adoptions and independent adoptions (those where an agency is not used because an adoptive family found their own birth mom and only need to pay for a lawyer) can be in the ballpark of $1,000. Use of an agency definitely increases costs - they do a lot of advertising and provide a lot of services, which usually includes counseling and education, and may even include housing, clothing, etc.

Once I reveal that Jocelyn was adopted to someone new, he or she usually asks where Jocelyn is from. It always cracks me up because I can tell the person is usually very awkward in asking - like they are curious but they aren't sure if they are being rude or not, or they aren't sure if they should assume she was born in the  USA because she is white, etc. I always get a kick out of people's response when I tell them she was born in Boise, Idaho. It always seems to take a moment to sink in exactly how close to me she was born. We hear so many stories in the media about adoptions coming from all over the world and there isn't a lot of attention on those that are closer to home. :)

Hope this helps. If this has brought up any additional questions, leave a comment or ask them in the Formspring box to the right.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

WWG Day 13

Today I am grateful for friends. They really make life fun, don't they?

"A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg even though he knows you're slightly cracked."
- Bernard Metzler

I am lucky to have so many great friends. They fill my life with laughter and love. And thanks to technology, even distant friends are still close.

Have a soft spot in your heart for adoption? Have an empty drawer in your jewelry box? Check out this fun etsy shop of adoption-related jewelry (and children's clothing). As you can see, this jewelry isn't so adoption specific that you can't enjoy it. Any lady who loves a little fun bling will love something like this:

As pathetic as this may sound, I am running out of ideas for adoption posts. And we're not even half-way through the month! I blame it on the fact that I blog about adoption A LOT! Anyway, last year, I encouraged you all to ask questions, which I then answered. My readers submitted some awesome questions and opened a lot of cool dialogue. So I was thinking I would do that again. I have added a Formspring button to the side of my blog where you can ask a question regarding adoption or, well, anything really. Or you can leave a question in the comments. I know I have a lot more readers than a year ago, so I bet there will be some new questions! Thanks for your help on this!

P.S. Stuff from this etsy shop is on my Christmas list - hint, hint. ;)

Friday, November 12, 2010

WWG and Adoption Myths

I am thankful for my darling, darling husband who came home from work early to help take care of his still recovering wife and sick baby. He bravely "made" dinner by getting our favorite Chinese food. He fed and bathed Jocelyn. He's put up with both of our whining. He's picked up a lot of slack and is just such a sweet, sweet man. Love you, baby!

I found this interesting guide on adoption myths. Here are some highlights.

  • 5 million people in the U.S. were adopted.
  • 94% of Americans view adoption favorably (see? not everyone hates adoption).
  • Most birth parents are not teenagers.
  • Once the adoption is finalized, birth parents cannot reclaim the baby.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Why Do People Hate Adoption?

Sorry I missed yesterday...still sick.

As a sick mommy, I am very grateful for the fact that my daughter could still go to daycare. Not many moms have that option. As sick as I was, I absolutely could not imagine having to move more than necessary to feed myself. It would've been murder to have to feed, clean up after, and entertain a toddler. And many moms have to do just that. So I really am grateful for daycare.

On to the adoption post.

I have always thought of adoption as a wonderful thing. As a girl, I collected porcelain dolls. Whenever I got one for Christmas, I created adoption papers for them. Airplane tickets from wherever they were from and their back story. Papers from the orphanages. All those romanticized things. I have two cousins who were adopted. I don't think I knew anyone else who was adopted. Well, maybe a couple of step-parent adoptions. There were plenty of celebrity adoptions in the media. All in all, I thought it was a wonderful thing. It was something I ALWAYS wanted to do. Before I found I was infertile, Justin and I planned to adopt.

I never really heard much negativity about adoption, until I got in the thick of it. I heard rumors of haters, but my first encounter happened two years ago when I blogged about National Adoption Month and got a nasty comment. And as I have blog hopped and found adoption blogs and forums, I have encountered a lot of overt hatred toward adoption.

I just don't get it. At all.

These haters have been hurt. That's all I can figure. Either they were birth moms of a different era, pressured into making a decision they weren't prepared to make, and forced to wade through the solitude of an unwanted closed adoption, or perhaps they were the adoptees of such a situation.

I don't know what hurt them so bad to speak out against the entire institution of adoption. It would be like me writing off chicken entirely because I don't like spicy buffalo wings. I would miss out on chicken cacciatore and chicken cordon bleu. Okay, the analogy is a little off.

Jill from The Happiest Sad wrote the cold risotto analogy about ordering risotto in a restaurant which she enjoyed. And someone else ordered it but theirs came out cold and the waitress wasn't that great and now they hate risotto and hate that restaurant and try to keep all potential customers from going into the restaurant instead of keeping things in perspective and realizing that although they didn't enjoy their risotto doesn't mean it's usually very good and other people enjoy it. Jill said it much better. Please read her rendition.

Every now and I then I go on forums like Yahoo Answers and spend some time addressing questions about adoption. I really have to steel myself before doing that. Or try not to read the other answers. Those forums are simply filled with adoption lunatics. Either the answers are full of hatred and anti-adoption/pro-abortion messaging or they are answered by desperate, baby-hungry hopeful adoptive parents begging for a baby, who also do nothing to promote the cause.

Adoption isn't for everyone. I know that. But it is right for some people. And I strongly, STRONGLY believe in open adoption. I didn't "steal from another woman" and I never felt "entitled to her flesh." She placed her baby into my arms. Willingly. Knowing who I was. Did she do this because I was infertile and she felt sorry for me? Absolutely not. She did this for her baby. I just lucked out that she thought Justin and I were the family she thought would be best for her baby.

She made a choice - a hard, heart-wrenching choice - to put her baby's life before her own. I cry every time I think about it. It hurts me to see Jocelyn do endearing new things and know that her birth family isn't going through the journey of the life they gave her.

It is important to realize that adoption is born from tragedy. There is no exception to this. From birth parents who cannot provide for their baby to birth parents who have died of AIDS, adoption only happens because of a tragedy. And even on the adoptive parents end. While there are those like Angelina Jolie who can bear children and choose to adopt as well (I had assumed I would be in this camp), most adoptive parents are floored by the reality of their infertility. That's a tragedy too. And for the child. They lose their genetic link. Maybe siblings. A tragedy again. But all gain something as well. Thanks to adoption, the scars of the tragedy, over time, evolve into a beautiful tattoo.

Adoption isn't for everyone. But it is an important option. I really, really don't understand why the haters want to take that option away. So many of them feel so strongly about the options of abortion and single parenting, why can't they understand that adoption is a valid option that makes sense for some? Why can't they just let people order their risotto and they can eat somewhere else?

All I really know is that there is a message I am determined to spread.

Adoption is an option.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Aren't We Adorable?

We had a friend take some snapshots of us a couple weeks ago at the BYU-I botanical gardens. Aren't we just such a cute family?

(this pose is cheesey but I like the red trees)

(the outtake)


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