Thursday, October 27, 2011

What to Expect When You're Not Expecting

Marlon and I like information.  Naturally, when we decided to consider adoption, we started researching everything and anything that we could get our hands on. What type of adoption did we want? Open, semi-open or closed and either domestic, international or from foster care.  Did we want a newborn, an older child or a child with disabilities?  What is the difference between an independent adoption and an agency adoption?  We read a lot of articles.  We reached out to friends who have adopted and a friend who was adopted.  I cannot tell you how much it helped us to be able to talk to these friends and get their perspective and support.  We also attended free informational meetings from different agencies. These meetings were a great opportunity to learn about each agency and to give us an overview of what services each provided, what you can expect during the process, and their fee structure.  We attended three meetings in person and two as webinars.  Also, The Adoption Guide website has some great straight-forward information.  The Adoption Guide.

Kevin, Kelley and Kate! One happy family!
Who knew I would be sharing this experience 
with my 9th grade friend almost 25 years later.
Me and Beth ~ Thank you for always answering all my questions.
I would be so lucky if my child turned out half as wonderful as you.

After much research, we decided that we wanted to adopt a domestic newborn through an agency.  If the birthparents want to, we will remain in contact with them.  It’s a personal decision, but we feel our child should know their adoption story from beginning and birthparents are a part of the story no matter how hard you try to ignore it.  For us, it is so much easier to accept this from the start.  Now, we aren't planning to go vacation with the birthparents.  We'll see how the relationship progresses naturally.

In an agency adoption, the agency guides you through each step of the process. Fees are typically set and cover the home study, counseling for potential birthparents and prospective adoptive parents and medical expensesAgencies set their own criteria on applicants they will accept.  You will meet with a social worker several times and create a profile.  Parent profiles are sent by the agency to the potential birthparents, which pick the one they are most comfortable with. Then, most of the time the birthparents and adopting parents meet and decide if the situation is a match.  Your social worker is with you every step of the way to guide you through the ups and downs.

We liked Bethany Christian Services the best. The social workers were warm and caring during the informational meetings. They seemed to genuinely want what was best for the child, the birthparents and the adoptive parents.  So the day after Mother’s Day 2011, we emailed our preliminary application to be reviewed.  We received a response pretty quickly and met with a social worker at the NYC Bethany office about two weeks after we submitted the application.  I was a nervous wreck.  Of course there was no reason to be, but it was a big step.  Our social worker was the same that we met at the informational meeting, so right there we felt at ease.  She sat with us for about an hour and reviewed their program, answered questions and gave us a ton of paperwork to fill out.  We were accepted in the program and our home study was about to begin!

Anyone that is adopting goes through a home study.  It consists of lots of paperwork to show you are qualified to adopt under the laws of your state.  They want to know EVERYTHING.  The home study process will be a post on its own.  All I have to say for now is that I am glad I like paperwork and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  You don’t have to be rich or perfect to adopt. Regular people, just like you and me, who want a child can adopt.  If you are considering adoption, don’t let things like money or issues stop you, we all have those things.  What’s most important is a loving home to welcome a child.

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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Sunnyside of Life

During the home study for adoption you spend a lot time evaluating yourself. What kind of couple are you? What are your interests? What makes you different than all the other couples that want to adopt. So we thought a lot about what do we like to do? One of the things we like to do together is explore other neighborhoods.

New York City is one of those rare places that can transport you into a different world in a mile. Before moving to Queens, honestly we didn't spend much time here. Usually it was some weird thing we were going to or the "oh no" moment that you have when you don't get off the train at the last stop in Manhattan and now you’re going to Queens. We've been missing out. Queens is full of culture, interesting people, authentic food and life-long New Yorkers.

Our recent excursion took us to Sunnyside on a Saturday afternoon.  The trains are always screwed up on the weekends which force you to get creative when trying to get where you want to go.  We needed to go to Home Depot and Marlon wanted to check out Comic Book Heaven.  So off we went on the 7 train to Sunnyside.  We figured we'd walk through and see what everyone is talking about on the way to Home Depot.  What a cool little neighborhood.  The Tudoresque architecture gives it a quaint feel and there are lots of local restaurants and shops.

There was a grocery store right outside the subway stop that we decided we would come back to and shop at before heading home. Marlon and I are suckers for a new grocery store but more about that a little later.  The comic book store was one of those real shops that has been there forever with boxes to dig through and owner who is a character. Plus it had a little thrift store section that I could look at when I got bored. We walked around, held hands, pointing at buildings and stores all the way to Home Depot.

On the way back, we were starving. You know what they say about not going grocery shopping on an empty stomach, so we decided to get a snack. It was almost dark and there was a woman with a table set up with baked goods on sidewalk. Just right there on the street like in front of her house. We stopped and took a look. She started describing what she had and told us that she and her sister baked everything. So we bought a spinach pie and apple strudel to share. OMG! They were DELICIOUS. Ok, so we bought food from an unregulated vendor off the sidewalk, it's called living a little. We are both still alive and I am thinking about going back tomorrow. It was that good. She’s at 48th Street and Skillman Avenue, go and get a spinach pie!  Now we were ready to hit the grocery store. As we were approaching Fresh and Save, we hear "Jenn and Marlon, Jenn and Marlon" and who do we run into but our church friends. Small world.

We love a new grocery store. Neighborhood stores usually stock whatever the local flavor is and we like to try new things. We seem to always go to a grocery store whenever we are travelling. We've been to grocery stores from Canada to Mexico and from Italy to Spain. Candy from a foreign land is the best. At this grocery store, we picked up some Galil honey cookies and guavas.  P.S. I decided I actually don't like guavas.

After stepping off the train back in our neighborhood, Marlon said, I feel like I’ve been on vacation. I said, I know. You know that feeling you have when your rejuvenated and excited about life? That can happen by just trying something new for the afternoon. Always try to live on the sunny side of life.

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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cat Tales

I promised some cute cat stories, but I haven't even introduced you to my kitties.  We have two 2-year old sister cats, Edie and Twiggy.  They are named after Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol's muse and 60's supermodel Twiggy.  They are mackerel tabbies and their eyes kind of look like they are wearing 60's make-up.  Together, they are always up to something.


Everyone loves Edie.  She is super friendly, spunky and kind of acts like a dog.  Edie is Marlon's cat.  Every night when Marlon gets home, she waits for him to put the blanket in his lap so she can hop up and get petted.  I can't believe he trained her to wait for the blanket.  I call Marlon the cat whisper.  When we had our home study, I swear she knew she was supposed to be extra cute.  She sat in Marlon's lap with her little paws crossed and made her most adorable face hamming it up for the social worker.  Edie loves to chase paper balls and will play fetch with you.  She also does this funny air dig thing when she wants something. It cracks me up every time.


Only I love Twiggy, she doesn't come out for most people.  Twiggy is my cat. She is very sweet and shy. She likes to snuggle under the covers,  lets me pat her and give her kisses.  She tolerates a lot.  Twiggy is a little neurotic. She likes to scratch the glass of our french door - annoying, and she likes to shred the rug mats.  But I love her just the same.  We have one of those rubber door stoppers on a spring at our front door, she can't resist giving that thing a whack every morning when I leave for work.  She also thinks her sister is really dirty and is constantly grooming her.  Her favorite hiding place is burrowed up in the couch, don't ask me how she gets in there.


Since pretty much from the beginning, Marlon and I have had a cat.  Our first cat was Filthy.  I found him on my high school graduation day, he rolled out of an exhaust pipe of a truck and my girlfriends and I were in the car behind.  Being teenage girls, we pulled over and rescued the kitten.  He was covered in dirt and fleas and that's how he got his name.  Marlon cleaned him up and we took him to a raging party that night.  He ended up riding on some punk rocker's shoulder all night!  Oh the stories we have with Filthy!  Another time. In his mature years, we called him Fil.  Filthy left us three years ago for kitty heaven.  He was the coolest cat and we still miss him so much.

Cat people rule.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Family Ties

We have been attending adoption classes on Saturdays.  A recent topic was about how to deal with the wait.  One of the tips was to go out and enjoy your life and try not to put things on hold because you are waiting.  Have fun as a couple.  Well, we have been doing that this past month.

I've been a busy girl.  We had a fun visit with the cousins.  I've gained my first sister in law, Stella and my first nephew, Landon!  I cannot tell you how excited I am about both.

The cousins came to town for a long weekend.  We had a great time catching up and showing off our new neighborhood.  They walked their b-u-t-t-s off.  They wanted authentic Mexican food one night and we'd remembered a place that "alternate universe Jenn and Marlon*" told us about.  The restaurant was only a mile walk in Greenpoint.  What's another mile, so off we went.  It was authentic, delicious and inexpensive. I think a Grandma was in the back cooking.  So if you are ever in Greenpoint and have a hankering for Mexican food try Acapulco.

Three days after the cousins left, we went to San Francisco to celebrate Marlon's brother Joe and Stella's wedding.  Marlon was Joe's best man and held up his duties perfectly.  I played the part of the wife of the best man making sure those guys looked great on the big day.  The wedding was beautiful and we danced the night away!  I had forgotten how much I loved San Francisco.  Joe and Stella are an awesome couple and we couldn't be happier having Stella join our family.  Congrats to Mr. and Mrs.!

Just days after returning home from San Fran, we turned around went down to Virginia for the birth of my handsome nephew, Landon Palihikeahemakaniakekai.  He is absolutely the cutest baby I've ever seen. I was even guilty of showing pictures of him to the pharmacist. Hey, I am a proud aunt.  I must get that from my Granny. She'd show our baby pictures to people when we were standing right there as full grown adults.  Miss you Granny.  Anyway, I got to spend some time with the little guy holding him, staring at his sweet face, feeding him, burping him and spoiling him.  I let his Daddy do the diaper changing.  I am logging in practice hours for when one day I have my baby.  Landon is just so amazing.  Just look at that face!

Now I am sure you have all been wondering about his middle name.  Landon is half Hawaiian and to honor his heritage they gave him a Hawaiian middle name.  Palihikeahemakaniakekai means the gentle touches of the soft blowing sea breezes.  I wish my name meant something wonderful like that.  I've been practicing everyday on how to say it and I think I have it.  Thanks for the help, Will.

So we've haven't had time to worry about the waiting.  We have new family members to keep us busy!

*P.S.  Alternate universe Jenn and Marlon are a couple that we met while looking for apartments this past winter.  The couple was moving to Sunnyside for more space, as we were doing in LIC.  "Jenn" was a cute blonde with glasses and worked in IT in our old neighborhood, "Marlon" was tall, dark-hair and worked in publishing.  They had their cats, bikes and books just like us.  We didn't take their apartment, but we sat and chatted for like an hour talking about everything.  When we left we gave them the name "alternate universe Jenn and Marlon", they so could have been us.  Que the music!

The Twilight Zone Theme Song

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Follow By Email

I've updated my email subscriber service.  If you previously subscribed to follow by email, you will have to resubscribe to continue receiving my blog posts via email.

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Sorry, I am still figuring out all these blogger things.  I'll start cranking out posts in the near future, so stay tuned.  Thanks!