Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a Joyful Christmas!  Marlon and I usually do a fun Christmas card to mail out each year. This year we just couldn't get a photo done in time. Maybe next year we'll send out our first family card. Until then, here is a montage of holiday cards of past.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Jenn and Marlon



















Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thank You For Your Generosity

Throughout the year we've done some fun fundraising for our adoption and we want to thank you for your generosity.  We also want to thank those who have given their time to give us a helping hand.   I am continually amazed at how supportive and excited everyone is to welcome our child into your lives.  So, thank you.


Marlon and I have a pretty solid budget and savings plan that we stick to, but these fundraisers really do help a lot. If you are interested in our fundraising efforts, please click on the "Fundraising" tab at the top of the page.  We've added some new and exciting ways to raise funds for our adoption like becoming an Amazon.com Associate and a Etsy shop! All the money that we raise through the blog and fundraisers goes into a separate account not to be touched until we get "the call." We are hoping and praying we get that call soon. This little one has no idea how much they are already loved.


Monday, December 10, 2012

5 Tips To Start Your Adoption Journey

Someone emailed me recently and asked, "During your process, what do you wish you would have known then what you know now?"  I thought this was a great question and wanted to share my answer. I am constantly learning new things about adoption and my point of view is ever expanding.  Things that worried me in the beginning are long gone and have been replaced with new worries like, picking a daycare, what crib mattress to buy, how will we adjust to our new lifestyle and so on.

Here are some things I have learned from our adoption process so far, maybe they will help as you begin your adoption journey:

1.  The home study isn't that bad. Yes, it's a lot of paper work, a lot of questions and a dreaded home visit, but if you stay organized the home study is no sweat. Answer the questions they ask honestly. If the social worker has questions about your answers, you'll be given a chance to provide further details.The home visit is the state making sure you have a safe environment for a child. They are not judging on your homemaking.  I admit it, I lost my mind temporary preparing for the visit. You can read all about it here. Make sure you have smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and a fire extinguisher and you're good.

2.  If you are adopting through an agency and they offer educational meetings, attend all of them. Even if you have met your education requirement or have been to a similar class before. We learn something new every time and we feel like we stay fresh in our social worker's mind.

3.  Don't get freaked out about an open or semi-open adoption.  I feel like you should accept the birth mother's role in your child's life. She gave birth to your baby and you have to honor that and not pretend she doesn't exist.  I went in being afraid of the birth mom and the relationship she would have with us and our child. If you do a domestic adoption, most of the time you are going to have some contact with her and maybe the birth dad too.  In the end, I think it's healthy for everyone. The birth mom isn't worrying if she did the right thing and your child isn't wondering about why they were placed for adoption.

4.  With your profile, focus on who you are as a couple and why you would be good parents.  Check out our profile here.  If infertility is the reason that you are adopting, be positive and don't dwell on the subject.  Give a single statement about what led you to adoption and move on.  In my opinion, an expectant mom doesn't want to feel like adoption is your second choice.  You've both may have had a difficult road that led you to adoption, but something brought you both to choose this path.

5.  Lastly, embrace the wait. You could be placed quickly or wait a long time.  Enjoy your time as a couple. This is the last time it will be just the two of you.  A lot of people who choose adoption want a baby yesterday. Do things to occupy your time. I started this blog and it's helped tremendously with the wait. Maybe take a baby care class or an infant CPR class. Browse the aisles at Babies 'R Us and make a wish list, just don't make yourself crazy waiting. I know it is easier said than done, but it will save your sanity. We've been waiting 16 months, I know my baby will come and so will yours.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Baby Dry Run

We got a little taste of what it will be like to have a baby in our apartment.  Our nephew came for his first visit to New York, of course, along with my sister and brother-in-law.  Marlon and I did some baby proofing and cleaned the hardwood floors really well.  We had a nice talk with our cats about babies, ok not really. But we did clip their nails, just in case.

The cats were very curious about Landon, but they didn't hiss or swipe at him.  By the end of the weekend, Edie let him pet her. Twiggy, as usual, hid most of the time.  So, I think they'll be ok with a baby.  Jealous, but ok.

I learned that I am going to have to build up some serious muscle carrying a baby, a stroller and all their stuff up and down three flights of stairs everyday. I am seriously thinking about going minimalist with the baby gear.  And don't even get me started about getting around on the subway.  People, if you see a mom or dad with a baby on the subway, give them a hand if they need it.  Getting up and down those stairs or stepping on or off a crowded train is challenging.


Speaking of the subway, Landon's first subway ride was very authenic.  There was a drunk passed out to his left and very fancy and very dirty homeless man sitting across from him.  Landon was just looking around at everything.

My sister gave me some good tips like getting out everything for a diaper changing first before taking off the dirty diaper.  Also, when you're going to get picture with Santa, bring a hair brush so you can fix hat hair in line.



The most important thing that I learned is that I am going to need to slow way down and relax about things.  I am practicing deep breaths now.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Bit of Kismet

My next guest blogger is Stephanie, who is mom to handsome Grey and adorable Ally.  Stephanie and I went to high school together and then went our separate ways after we graduated.  We reconnected through Facebook a few years ago and she was one of the first people that I reached out to when we started thinking about adoption. I hadn't really talked to her in years and she was so open and happy to share her adoption experience with me.  She has guided me along the way, given me support and we've built a new friendship after all these years. Life is always full of surprises.  Here's Stephanie's story...

When I was in my mid-twenties, I had a liver and kidney transplant. When I found out how sick I was and that I would need these transplants, my first and topmost concern was whether or not I would ever be a mother.  Fast forward six years later, and I was holding our sweet baby boy in my arms after an amazingly easy (i.e. no morning sickness, great energy….) high risk pregnancy. About ten months later as I emerged from the sleep deprived newborn state, I started thinking how nice it would be for Grey to have a brother or sister. Brad and I talked about another pregnancy, and neither of us was completely enthralled with the idea. There just seemed too much at stake this time with the pregnancy. Before it was just Brad to worry about if something happened, but now we had this sweet little boy to think about and the risk just seemed too high if something were to happen. We had discussed adoption on and off since we were married but never very seriously.
Then came a serendipitous visit to Chick-fil-A. Grey and I were enjoying a lunch when Grey noticed a cute little guy at the next table. As they babbled back and forth, his mom and I struck up a conversation. He had just come home from Guatemala. She told me his story and the story of how they became a family. It was like a lightning bolt had struck. I really believe it was a bit of Chick-fil-A kismet.  I called Brad immediately and told him we should try to adopt from Guatemala. Being the easing going guy Brad is (the yin to my yang), and I am simplifying a bit, but in effect he said, “Let’s do it.” I went straight home and found an adoption seminar on Guatemala offered by a local agency that same week. And we were off. A year and a half later, and we were in Guatemala holding our sweet baby girl in our arms. Okay, so that makes the process sound really smooth and simple. In reality, the pregnancy and pitocin-induced with no pain meds labor and delivery with Greyson was a walk in the park in comparison.  In retrospect, the process from start to finish was not long relatively speaking, but it was the longest year and a half of our lives but oh so worth it.


Now, since I have an audience, let me step onto my soapbox for a moment. Please, please, I beg you to refrain from telling me how lucky Ally is to have been adopted into the United States. Ally being in the United States does not bring a guarantee of happiness. Saying so denigrates her birth country. I have personally witnessed an abundance of happiness and joy in developing countries, including Guatemala. It is a true joy that comes straight from the heart and not from their circumstances. It is not tied to material acquisitions and possessions. I would hope, and I think that such statements do not come from a bad place in someone’s heart, but it is very paternalistic and condescending to her and to Guatemala. If anything, the happiness I have seen in Guatemala and other developing countries is more widespread and authentic than happiness here in the United States. I would be lying if I did not say that there are times when I wonder if we have done right by her, if international adoption is the right thing. There are many, including organizations such as UNICEF, who oppose international adoption and taking children away from their birth country. All I know for certain is that when I look at Ally, especially at night when I am tucking her in, I feel overwhelmed with love and in awe that she is my daughter and how lucky I am. I promise to do my best by her including never forgetting Guatemala and trying to instill a strong connection to Guatemala in our family. 
Being a parent, whether by biology or adoption, is both worry-filled and wonder-full.  Jenn, thanks for letting me share.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Beth's Story

For adoption awareness month, I asked two of my friends to be guest bloggers and share their adoption story. Up first is Beth, who was adopted as an infant.  Beth has been a mentor to Marlon and I from the beginning.  Over cocktails a long time ago, she said "have you considered adoption, because I was adopted."  She has answered countless questions for us.  I know not every adoption story is the same, but talking to Beth really changed things for me. Thank you, Beth.  Here's her story...

I have always known that I was adopted.  It was important to my parents that they be honest with us from a young age, so we would know our history.  My brother is 3 years older than me and does not have the same birth parents, although that distinction never enters my mind until people find out that we are adopted and usually ask if we are blood siblings.  I never mind answering questions about being adopted because it is a part of who I am and I view myself as very fortunate, so I am happy to share my story with others.


Sadly, my mother miscarried at nine months with twins, which resulted in her being unable to conceive again.  Both she and my father have told me that they had lengthy discussions about what to do after this tragedy.  They wondered if it was a sign from God that they should live a life without children.  That wasn’t what they truly desired in their hearts, so they contacted Catholic Social Services to inquire about adoption.  They adopted my brother in 1972 and I followed in 1975.  They have always said it was the best decision they have ever made.

I don’t know a lot about my birth parents.  Adoptions were closed in the year I was born, so it would take a court order and/or a private detective to obtain any significant information.  This is one thing that has bothered me about my adoption process.  For example, if you know there is a history of breast cancer in your family, it will assist you in making certain heath decisions.  I did explore this to a certain extent when I was having some health issues my freshman year of college.  After making a request to the State of Michigan, I did receive some very general information about my birth family, but not very much.  I should note that my parents were 100% supportive during this process and they had always told me they would help me explore anything about my birth parents if I so desired.  Naturally, I was concerned about their feelings if I took them up on this offer, as I didn’t want to hurt them in any way.  That very offer and the complete support I received when I decided to delve into my background exemplifies the compassionate character of my parents. 

From the paperwork I received, I know that my birth mother was 16 years old when she had me and it didn’t sound as if she and my birth father were seriously dating, although he was notified of the birth.  The biggest question that I am asked by people is whether or not I have any interest in finding my birth parents.  I have gone through phases in my life where I have contemplated this and must admit that I have a stronger interest in my birth mother than my birth father, mainly because she carried me, delivered me, and then had to give me away.  It must have been an incredibly difficult decision for her.  In addition to inquiring about my health history, the main reason I would want to meet her is simply to thank her and tell her that I believe she made the right decision.  There is something to be said about the nature versus nurture theory.  There are definitely traits that I believe I was born with and those that came with my family upbringing and the values that I was taught.  I have to imagine my birth mother is an emotional person like me and that she often wonders if I ended up in the right family.  I am sure she would be grateful to know that she fulfilled the hearts and dreams of my parents and blessed my life by placing me with my family. 

I have also heard some people that are contemplating adoption express their fear in whether their adopted children will love them in the same way a child loves their biological parents and vice-versa.  I truly don’t believe there is any difference.  For me, my parents are those people that gave me nourishment as an infant, wiped my tomboy scraped knees when I was constantly falling as I tried to keep up with my brother, taking me on memorable vacations to Cedar Point, Canada and Mackinaw Island, counseling me at all hours of the night when I would call crying because I had my heart broken by a boy, and more instances that I can even begin to list in this blog.  They are the ones who have always provided me with unconditional love…even when I know I severely tested their patienceJ  They gave me financial and emotional support to pursue all of my dreams and shaped me into the person that I am today.  I was brought up in a loving home where there were constant hugs, laughs, endless support and the words “I love you” were frequently spoken.  My birth parents gave me life, but my Mom and Dad are my parents.


Personally, I have never had challenges as an adopted child in terms of feeling abandoned or unwanted.  I believe that my birth mother couldn’t handle being a mother at such a young age and she gave me up praying that my family would love and nurture me into healthy and happy person.  Her prayers were answered.  My advice for parents of adopted children is to be honest with them.  There is absolutely no shame in being adopted.  When parents hide it from kids and they find out about it later on in life, they are led to feel that there must be some type of shame, otherwise it wouldn’t have been kept as a secret.  Kids should know where they come from and how adopted parents endure months and sometimes years of waiting for their child/children, while never giving up hope that their family will come to them when the time was right.  If your child is curious and wants to know more, support them with that effort.  I promise it is not a negative reflection upon you as parents. 

Apparently, I was often eager to point to my Mom and tell people, “I didn’t come from my Mommy’s belly.”  As a child, I loved attention and telling people this fact was just another way for me to get it.  My brother, on the other hand was shy and my Mom said he hated it when I would randomly make these announcements.  On the topic of a mommy’s belly, I want to share a quote about adoption that exemplifies what my Mom experienced and Jenn is surely feeling as she waits for her little one.

“Adoption is when a child grew in its Mommy’s heart instead of her tummy.” 

When I met Jenn and Marlon many years ago and we began talking about adoption, I was happy to give them my perspective and offer my support.  I also knew they would be wonderful parents.  They have been a solid couple from the moment they met at a young age and have a very strong and happy marriage.  I have no doubt that they will be incredibly responsible, loving, and fun parents.  This child will certainly be lucky in the same way I have been blessed. 

Best wishes to Jenn and Marlon!  I can’t wait to meet your little baby once he/she finally enters this world and makes his/her way to your arms and hearts J  Lots of Love, Beth

Monday, November 26, 2012

Drum Roll, Please! Unveiling our NEW Profile Book

The new profile book is done! The book is D-O-N-E!  We are so excited to share with you our new profile book. Click here to take a look!

Way back in June, we decided that we wanted to re-do our profile book. Ya know, freshen it up a bit.  Copies of this book is sent to all of our area adoption agency offices. This is what they show expectant mothers considering adoption.  We sat in the park on the 4th of July brainstorming on the book. We actually ran into one of my co-workers and his wife, who looked curiously at us as we sat on a park bench with our notebooks with lists and diagrams, deep in thought.

We wrote and wrote for over a month; we searched for the best new pictures of us.  We had a few disagreements and extra hugs. The best two editors in NYC reviewed our work. We submitted the book to our adoption agency for approval.  We just knew they were going to come back and say, "WOW, this is the best book we have ever seen."  Two weeks later, we got the book back completely marked up with marker.  Our hearts sank.  The note on the back said, we were "too verbose." WTH?  Us, too wordy?  Our concept for the new book was to tell stories about our lives together instead of just a boring generic rundown.  But they know best, right?  Most of the stories - marked out. The personal anecdotes - marked out. Honestly, I had to put the project aside for a few weeks and lick my wounds.

Finally, we got back to work. Two months after missing my self-inflicted deadline, we are printing this sucker with Mixbook.com.  We really think the book turned out great. It represents who we are as a couple and who we want to be as a family.  We hope someone falls in love with us soon.

So without further ado, please click here to look at our new book!



Special thanks to Molly and Maria for their expert editing, to Alex, Diane and Rochelle for their eagle eye proofing and to Stephanie for taking about 50% of the photos in our book.  You guys rock!  Along with our gratitude, you are all getting a well-deserved puzzle piece with your name on it.  Thank you so much for taking your time to help us.
By the way, all those full-length stories are not going to waste. We will soon unveil the Marlon and Jennifer Adoption website. Stay tuned!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I count my blessings throughout the year, but I wanted you to know I was especially thankful for you - family, friends - new and old and those who have cheered us along the way.  I cannot tell you want it means to have people near and far sending us words of encouragement.  So, thank you.

We are wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New Fundraiser! NYR Organic

I hadn't even closed the Tupperware party fundraiser, when Leigh Ann, a consultant for NYR Organic, contacted me about doing another fundraiser for us.  I am continually amazed at how supportive and how much people want to help Marlon and I adopt.  At first, I was a little hesistant about doing another fundraiser so soon after the Tupperware party. I really didn't want us to seem like we always have our hand out.  Marlon and I have a pretty solid budget and savings plan that we stick too, but these fundraisers really do help a lot.  All the money we raise through the blog and fundraisers goes into a separate account not to be touched until we get "the call". We are so appreciative of everyone buying this or that to support our adoption.

So after talking with Leigh Ann and a few close friends, we decided that NYR Organic is really awesome stuff and totally different than Tupperware. Let's have another fundraiser!  Maybe you weren't so into the Tupperware and will really love this.  Plus, the holidays are here and maybe you need a special gift for someone.  

NYR Organic is an eco-friendly, organic line of skin care products from England.  They even have stuff for the guys and babies. The products smell amazing; I have samples if you want to test something before you buy.




You can order online, pay by credit card and have items shipped directly to you. Click on the "Shop" link at the top of the website. Or if you want to save on the shipping, I can place one group order. Just tell me what you want and give me a check or cash for your order. All orders placed by December 13th will be delivered in time for the holidays.  30% - 45% of the product sale is donated to our adoption fund.

If you are interested in ordering, please go to https://us.nyrorganic.com/shop/la/ and click on the "Shop" link.  Feel free to email me with any questions.  By all means, share the link!

We cannot thank you enough for being our constant cheerleader through the wait.  This little one has no idea how much they are already loved.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Now You Know - Interesting Adoption Statistics

To continue with the National Adoption Awareness month, here are some interesting statistics about adoption.  Now you know.


Love this onesie? Click here.

  • Approximately 7 millions Americans are adopted persons


  • It is estimated that 140,000 children are adopted by American families each year
    • Half of these children are adopted by individual not related to the child and the other half are adopted by relatives such as grandparents or a stepparent.


  • The cost of a domestic adoption is between $20,000 to $40,000. An international adoption could cost anywhere between $20,000 to $60,000. However, adoptions through foster care or for a special needs child can cost very little or at no cost.


  • $12, 650 is the maximum tax credit the federal government now gives per adoption. This tax credit is due to expire at the end of 2012. If the credit is not renewed, the credit will be reduced to $6,000 and only open to families adopting children with special needs.


  • The average adoption is completed within two years. 


  • Although a favorite in the media, birthparents almost never return to try to reclaim the baby after they relinquish parental rights.


  • More than 90% of Americans support adoption, and 64% report a personal connection to adoption. 




The Adoption Guide has a free booklet available for download.  I found it to be an invaluable wealth of information when we began researching adoption.  http://www.theadoptionguide.com/


Sources:
adoptionfacts.org
theadoptionguide.com
adoptiontaxcredit.org
Adoption Factbook V

Monday, November 12, 2012

Road to Adoption

November is Adoption Awareness month. I thought I would start the "awareness" by telling you why we decided to adopt. The short story is bad eggs combined with endometriosis.  Marlon hates when I say, "bad eggs". The long story story is...

We were married young and some people assumed we already had a bun in the oven, but no, we were just in love.  We spent most of the first 10 years of our marriage not really thinking about having kids. We just assumed we would one day. We travelled, had fun with friends and enjoyed being together.  We'd start to try to have a family when we were 30.  

Well, that didn't work out.  After two surgeries and years at the fertility clinic, it was time to make a decision.  Anyone that has endured infertility treatments knows how daunting it is.  The appointments, the shots, the anticipation and the depression for years can kill the most positive person's outlook.  We didn't really talk about it with our friends and family.  In some ways, it felt shameful and way to bring down the room.  So we'd mention things casually, while crying at night. As the years passed, friends and family had kids and it became more difficult to to keep that happy face charade.

I started thinking a lot about adoption, long before Marlon did. I talked to our doctor about other options we had to have a baby. Frankly, I was emotionally and physically drained from the infertility process. There are options - surrogacy, donated eggs, embryo adoption and adoption. I am not much of a gambler and I knew I wanted a sure thing - adoption.  Pregnancy is a delicate progress (though some people can can just pop those babies out) and for me I didn't want to take the risk of going through all that emotion and expense and a baby might not be the end result.  I was tired of the roller coaster and with adoption, I knew the end result.  Marlon and I started talking about adoption.  It took a long time from talking about it to actually signing with an agency.  It may sound weird, but it is important to take some time to grieve the biological children that you'll never have and open your heart to adopting.

After a lot of reflection and research, adoption seemed like a natural fit for us. We've never been very conventional, so why start now? Most adoption agencies have free educational seminars, we attended every one in NYC.  We went with our gut when choosing an agency.  

Marlon and I have now been waiting for a little over a year for a newborn.  Some people find the wait incredibly difficult, but I feel like the wait is giving me chance to better understand adoption. Sometimes the wait gets to me, but I truly believe when it's meant to be, it will be.  It's easy to face the tough days together.

Why did we choose adoption?  We want to have a family. We want to be mom and dad.  Adopting a child, our child, will fulfill this longing.  This kid is already loved so much. We are just waiting for our baby to get here.  For us, it is a no brainer. Through the looking glass, we go.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

November is Adoption Awareness Month

November is Adoption Awareness Month.  I have some blog posts planned, but I thought I'd ask what YOU would like to know about adoption.  Comment or email me, all questions welcome.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Time to VOTE!!!

I encourage each and every one of you to vote today.  It's important and it matters.  

I hope in the next four years that we can all get along better and put all this negativity aside. This country is great; I think we can all agree on that.


If you are still undecided, try taking this quiz from isidewith.com.

I get a great daily email from Need 2 Know. Follows is a rundown they did of both candidates. Follow Need 2 Know on Twitter @needtoknowny.

Election Day is tomorrow. Before you vote, here's what you 'Need 2 Know'... 

BARACK OBAMA, Brief Bio 

The Democratic incumbent has passed landmark health care reform, signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, supported the auto bailout, helped eliminate 9/11 architect Osama bin Laden, but has struggled to turn the economy around. MORE

MITT ROMNEY, Brief Bio 

The Republican challenger served as Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007. He passed landmark Obamacare-style healthcare legislation for the state, cut spending, raised fees and modified the tax code to close the budget deficit. In 1984 Romney founded investment company Bain Capital, which helped make him a multimillionaire. In 1999 he became president of the troubled Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, helped turn the event around and make it successful. MORE 

OBAMA & ROMNEY, ON THE ISSUES: 
TAXES 
Obama: Would repeal Bush tax cuts on individual incomes above $200,000 and raise taxes on wealthy households. Supports lower taxes on manufacturing. Favors stimulus spending and tax cuts for middle class. 

Romney: Favors making Bush tax cuts permanent and lowering corporate tax rate to 25% to encourage business. He's pushing an "across-the-board 20% cut" for everyone. Wants to eliminate the estate tax. Hasn't said how he'd make up the lost revenue.

IMMIGRATION 
Obama: Supports the DREAM Act, which offers a path to citizenship for children brought into the country illegally. In June Obama said his administration would grant temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. before age 16 and who have no criminal record. Has deported a record number of illegal immigrants.

Romney: Opposes the DREAM Act. Supports building a border fence. He does, however, support conferring citizenship onto military veterans.

AFGHANISTAN 
Obama: Set a timetable to have U.S. troops out by 2014.

Romney: Similar view as Obama but says the President should not have made public the timeline for withdrawing troops. 

Both candidates support the use of unmanned drone strikes on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

IRAN
Obama: Would engage in direct diplomacy and tighten economic sanctions. Is willing to consider military options.

Romney: Would tighten economic sanctions and would consider military options.

ISRAEL 
Obama: Has called for a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders but has not significantly advanced the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians. Obama has a noticeably cool relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but both administrations say U.S.-Israel relations are strong. U.S. gave record military aid to Israel this year.

Romney: Publicly supports a two-state solution to be negotiated by the Israelis and Palestinians. In a secret videotape at a private fundraiser, Romney said "The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace... so you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability."

ENVIRONMENT
Obama: Achieved increases in fuel economy standards that will save money at the pump but could raise the cost of new vehicles. Achieved first-ever regulations on certain gases blamed for global warming. Spent heavily on green energy. Failed to persuade a Democratic Congress to pass limits he promised on carbon emissions.

Romney: Pledges U.S. will become independent of energy sources outside of North America by 2020, by more aggressively exploring domestic oil sources. Would approve Keystone pipeline from Canada. Says green power isn't viable yet and the causes of climate change are unproven.

GAY RIGHTS 
Obama: Supports same-sex marriage and the permitting of gays to serve openly in the military.
Romney: Opposes same-sex marriage, but supported legislation to ban anti-gay employer discrimination.

ABORTION 
Obama: Supports Roe v. Wade; criticized Supreme Court decision that upheld ban on partial-birth abortions.

Romney: Opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or risk to a woman's life. Previously supported abortion access; now says state law should guide abortion access and Roe v. Wade should be overturned by Supreme Court. 

ENDORSEMENTS 
Obama: New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times
Romney: Daily NewsNew York PostNewsday

Need 2 Know Sources & More Information: ABC NewsDaily News

And that’s what you "Need 2 Know" before you vote...

Whoever wins, I will respect the office of the presidency. My parents taught me that. Also, I'll be happy election season OVER, though I'll miss tweeting during the debates. That was fun! Happy Election Day! Now GO VOTE!




Saturday, November 3, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I haven't had a chance to blog lately. This last week has been hectic.  It started with my mom becoming very ill to the point we thought she wasn't going to make it. Marlon and I rushed to Virginia to be with her and my family. Thankfully, she responded to a different treatment and recovered. She still has cancer and her time with us is limited, but she's home and doing fine.

As we headed to Virginia, Hurricane Sandy didn't even cross our minds.  The weekend approached and Virginia started hurricane preparations.  Since my mom was doing better, we decided Marlon should go home on Sunday and take care of things there. I would stay until my mom was released from the hospital and get her settled.  The storm came through Virginia on Sunday evening and other than flooding and minor damage, all was okay.  

Mom came home from the hospital on Monday and I was hoping to go home on Tuesday.  Sandy had other plans. The storm bore down on New York and New Jersey on Monday and left a path of destruction. I was stranded in Virgina and Marlon was home.  Our apartment made it through the storm without damage or loss of power, however, my friends and neighbors weren't so lucky.  It is just so terrible; I don't even know what to do.  We reached out to friends and family to check on them, we donated items, made a donation to the Red Cross and offered our home to anyone without power.  New Yorkers are resilient and I know we will be back stronger than ever, but in the meantime, if you could say a prayer for those affected and make a donation to the Red Cross, that would be wonderful.

My dad, who is the best dad ever, drove me all the way to New York on Wednesday because he knew I needed to get home.  Thanks Dad!  I returned to work on Thursday by ferry, which definitely broke up my boring commute.  Sure we have a little difficulty getting around while the city recovers, but I have nothing to complain about.  We are so fortunate.

View from the East River Ferry on my way to work.

If you'd like to make a donation to the Red Cross for disaster relief, click here.  You can also text REDCROSS to 90999 or NYCFUND to 50555 and donate $10. We appreciate your concern and prayers for us. Thank you.


Monday, October 22, 2012

Tupperware Fundraising Party!

I am having a Tupperware party to raise funds for our adoption.  Yes, I said a Tupperware party!  I am sure most of you remember those green Tupperware bowls that were so popular in the 70's and 80's. I think everyone had one. Well, today's Tupperware selection is modern and they have some really cool stuff to keep your kitchen (and life) organized!  Plus, Tupperware will donate 40% of the sales from this party to our adoption fund.  You're getting great kitchen stuff and helping us achieve our dream. Win, win!

To order from our special fundraising catalog, click here.  On the Tupperware page, click on the link "Shop this Fundraiser". The LAST DAY TO ORDER is November 15, 2012, so get your orders in now.  Orders from the online party will be shipped directly to you. 

My sister is also hosting a good ol' fashion Tupperware party in her home on November 10th in honor of us.  If you are interested in attending Jill's party, email me.  Have I mentioned lately that my sister is absolutely THE BEST!!!  All orders from the online party and Jill's party will be delivered in time for Christmas.




A special BIG THANK YOU to Gale, our Tupperware consultant for offering to do this party for us.  We appreciate your support and generosity.

Thank you for ordering and helping us get one step closer to creating our family through adoption. For anyone that orders, we'll add your name to the back of a puzzle piece as well.

If you have any questions regarding this party, please feel free to email me.  Anyone can order, so please share the blog link or the party link - http://order.tupperware.com/pls/htprod_www/!twx$eparty_ctl.p_guest_welcome?pv_eparty=c504180edd82098808449719a039b5f3

UPDATE: The Tupperware party has closed. $314 was added to our adoption fund! Thank you so much for your purchase.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cute Kitty Thursday!

Here's my sleepy kitty, Edie.  She's been known to snore a little. I giggle every time she starts snoring; it's too cute.



Send me your cute kitty pictures and I'll feature your adorable cat on "Cute Kitty Thursday!". Email me at twocatsandacradle@gmail.com.

Don't forget to Order coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters and help us with our adoption fundraiser. Just Love donates $5 to our adoption for every bag of coffee sold through our store. Click here to order. Thanks!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cute Kitty Thursday!

Here's Edie and Twiggy looking cute sitting in a chair. The real story is that Edie decided to lay on Twiggy's pillow and Twiggy is not at all happy about that.  She kept jumping up on the arm of the chair and meowing trying to tell me to get Edie out of her spot.  Edie has her own chair with a pillow; she's making my Twig Twig mad.

Edie's face is like, What? I can lay here too.

If you want your cute kitty featured on "Cute Kitty Thursday!", email me pictures at twocatsandacradle@gmail.com.

Order coffee from Just Love Coffee Roasters and help us with our adoption fundraiser. Just Love donates $5 to our adoption for every bag of coffee sold through our store.  Click here to order. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Just Love Coffee Roasters

After our home study was approved, we immediately started looking for creative ways to raise funds for our adoption. We came across Just Love Coffee Roasters.  They are a great organization helping families afford adoption one coffee bag at a time.  For every purchase made through our store, we get $5 towards our adoption fund. How easy is that?

Just Love recently sent me an email letting me know that they are partnering with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society during the month of October. They are offering a special savings on bags of coffee and will donate not only to our adoption fund but to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as well. You get a 22% savings off a bag of coffee, $5 to our adoption fund and $2 to LLS. Awesome, right?



Cancer sucks. I have family and friends fighting cancer everyday.  It heavily weighs on my mind. A dear friend of mine felt sick for a little longer than she should have last winter and was diagnosed with leukemia. She was immediately whisked into treatment to battle for her life.  Throughout her grueling treatments, she has kept positive and brave. She truly is an amazing person. So maybe a couple bucks will help researchers find better treatments or even a cure.

Just Love Coffee Roasters offers a wide variety of hand roasted coffees, some that are fair trade and/or organic.  They are even featuring a Pinky Beans roast in which all proceeds from this coffee will go to help find a cure for cancer and offer support for those currently battling the disease. If you are interested in placing an order through our store, please click here. Please note that in order to take full advantage of this special discount, you MUST type in the coupon code “LLS2012” when you are asked to provide your payment information. This offer will be valid through October 31, 2012.

The holidays are right around the corner.  I think coffee makes an excellent gift to that special party host, co-worker or any coffee lover in your life.

If you don't want to purchase coffee, but would like to make a donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, click here.

Thank you!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Happy First Birthday Landon!

I am taking a break from Cute Kitty Thursday today to give you Cute Baby Thursday!  Today is my nephew, Landon's first birthday!  He is so stinking cute!!


Landon has learned all sorts of new things in his first year.  He can say "momma", "dadda", "bye, bye", 'uh oh", "thank you" and "I love you". We are going to work on him saying "auntie and "uncle" when we're there visiting. He's standing all by himself and walking around holding onto the furniture.  The babysitter says, he's the most advance in the group. Of course he is!  His momma says, he's a menace; getting into everything and trying to scale the playpen to get out.  Momma is just kidding.  Landon is just keeping her on her toes!


Landon has eleven teeth and loves to share his snacks with his dog, Tori. Landon eats one and gives one to the dog.  He's such a good sharer and Tori is loving this. They are best buds!


These awesome first birthday pictures were taken by Shotz Portrait Studio in Suffolk, VA.  They did a great job capturing Landon's first birthday!

Happy First Birthday Landon! Auntie Jenn and Uncle Marlon love you!

 Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece! Or if you simply want to make a donation, click on the Donate button to the left. Thank you!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Patience is a Virtue

The uncertainty of waiting to adopt is what gets to me.  I am a planner at heart and the not knowing when something is going to happen is frustrating.  I know we all get surprised by life, but usually someone expecting has nine months to prepare.

We got a call from our social worker about two weeks ago asking if they could show our profile to an expectant mother.  We have asked our social worker not to tell us when our profile is shown, it is too nerve wracking for us, but this expectant mother's situation didn't exactly match our profile, so she wanted to check with us first.  Marlon and I quickly decided yes, we wanted our profile shown.

As you know, we've been working on a new adoption book and it's almost finished.  We printed the pages of the new book and sent them to the social worker so they could show the new version to the expectant mother.  And then we waited.  It is kind of like holding your breath.  Will they pick us?  Oh my gosh! We could have a baby soon.  Should plan to do this, what if we did that?  It's enough to make anyone crazy.  This is why we don't want to know when our profile is shown.

We told our parents and siblings and a couple of close friends that our profile was being shown.  It's hard to keep it to yourself.  We decided maybe we should get serious about doing a registry and pick out some necessities in case we needed to go and buy something quick.  We spent an afternoon in Babies 'R Us.  The whole picking out baby stuff made me feel a little lightheaded.  You've wanted something for so long and now it might come true. It's very overwhelming.

I kept telling myself not to get my hopes up. They are showing five couples to this expectant mother.  There is only a 1 in 5 chance we'll get picked. When it's meant to be, it will happen for us.  I had my juju read at Renaissance Faire, all signed pointed to a baby within the next six months which puzzled the fortune teller.  She kept saying it will happen fast.  I then told her we were adopting.  She said, OH! that explains everything.  Really though, I only had my juju read for entertainment purposes.  I don't plan my life around a fortune teller.  It was a encouraging reading though.

When we didn't hear back right away, we knew we didn't get picked.  Someone did though and I am so happy for them.  If anything, this has given us the push to get ready.  We need to think about taking off of work, child care and things we'll need. I found this article, Planning for the Call, on the Adoptive Families website incredibly helpful.  It's time to nest!

photo credit: S. Trykowski
 Our puzzle piece fundraiser is still going! Click on the fundraiser tab to get your puzzle piece! Or if you simply want to make a donation, click on the Donate button to the left. Thank you!