Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Adoption, Not Abduction

A recent headlining report by Dan Rather called Adopted or Abducted reveals findings after an 18-month-long investigation in which illegal and unethical tactics were used to convince young mothers to place their babies in adoptive homes from the late 1940s to the 1980s.  I thought I would take a moment to share my thoughts.

Children taken away from their parents and being placed for adoption because someone else thought it best horrifies me.  However, I am not surprised by the practice.  Single parenting and adoption views were very different back then, but that still doesn't make it right.  It breaks my heart to see all the comments from the article of mothers still grieving over the loss of their children so many years later.

Adoption is a complicated relationship. I never want our one day birth parents to feel forced to place their child with us.  I don't want them to regret their decision or cause them a lifetime of pain.  Or for our child to think that they were stolen and don't really belong with us. I couldn't bear the burden.

A lot has changed and this is why semi-open or open adoptions are steadily becoming the normal. I doubt all coercing has ceased, but as a whole, expectant parents have more information and counseling available than ever to help them make an informed decision of whether to parent or choose adoption. Society has relaxed their views of what a family should look like and have become more accepting of all situations.  So there should never be a reason for someone to be forced or shamed into placing their child for adoption. I urge any expectant parent in a difficult situation to take in as much information as you can and choose what is best for you and your child.  One of my favorite quotes is "It is better to make a decision, than for indecision to make you." ~Unknown

Get your puzzle piece here and help us adopt!  For a gift of $5, we'll add your name to the puzzle.  Thank you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Hudson Valley is Fabulous

We have just returned from a romantic anniversary weekend in Hudson Valley, NY.  We thought long and hard about where we should go for our anniversary trip this year. It had to be affordable and we had to be able to get there quick because we cut our trip from a week to four days. Gotta save that vacation time in case a little one shows up in our lives.  When Marlon first suggested Hudson Valley, I have to admit I crinkled my nose and wasn't convinced.  He finally sold me on it and let me pick a B+B based solely on that they had Scottish Highland cows on the property.  You have to love this man.

Uly and Nessie

Brookfield Farm B+B was wonderful.  It is located in the middle of all the places we wanted to go.  It was the perfect place to slow down for a few days and to watch the birds and chipmunks out the window.  The room was decorated beautifully, but simple. It had a clean, sophisticated country look.  Each morning a picnic breakfast was delivered to our door filled with fresh fruit, baked goods and coffee.  Caroline and Michael were the perfect hosts.  They introduced us to the cows and chickens and gave us some great area recommendations.  I would definitely recommend this place to couples looking for a getaway.

Brookfield Farm

We had quite a few things that we wanted to see.  It's unimaginable that I could just sit for four days.  Of course, we hit Woodbury Common Outlets. It's on the way.  Marlon made a reservation at Le Canard Enchaine for our special anniversary dinner.  It was absolutely delicious and romantic.

We toured Brotherhood Winery, the oldest winery in America.  We had a few tastes while we were there too and stocked up on mead, port and wine.

Driving down historic Huguenot Street and looking at the old stone houses was so interesting.  While we were in New Paltz, we had to stop at October Country comic shop. Marlon found a deal on some old Doctor Who comics. That made his day. 

We took a stroll over the Walkway Over the HudsonThe walkway was an abandoned railroad bridge that was turned into a pedestrian park.  The walkway is 1.28 miles long, it is the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.  The weather was perfect for a walk.

We visited the Dia: Beacon museum and checked out the exhibits there.  Some of the art was a little too conceptional for me, but there was an amazing work by Michael Heizer. These sculptures use negative space of steel geometric shapes embedded in the floor of the museum. It was really cool, but made my hands sweat and I held on to Marlon for dear life thinking I would fall into the sculpture.

We had to go to Stewarts. Why, oh why, do we not have Stewarts in Manhattan?  The birthday cake ice cream is the best!  They had 50¢ ice cream on St. Patty's Day.  It took all my self control not to order two.

My favorite part of the weekend was driving by this house on our anniversary and they had a sign out front that said "Happy Anniversary". We turned around and pulled in the drive-way (full of chickens) and jumped out and took our picture in front of the sign using the timer on the camera as fast as we could.  We drove by the next day and the sign had changed to "Happy Birthday to so and so".  I love that we stopped; it was one of those once in a life time moments that you just have to grab.

Hudson Valley was a great little vacation for us. You would never know NYC was just 1 1/2 hours away.  This might be our last anniversary trip as a couple.  After 18 years together, I think we can handle a family vacation next year. Fingers crossed!

Puzzle pieces are still available.  For a gift of $5, we'll add your name to the puzzle.  Get yours here and help us adopt!  Thank you!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Eighteen Years of Wedded Bliss: The Story of How We Met

Today is my 18th Wedding Anniversary to the one I could not breathe without.  We are off celebrating in some romantic way as we've done every year since we have been married.

I thought you would enjoy the story on how we met.  We met 21 years ago at the Trilogy comic shop when I was 17 and he was 19.  I had just gotten my driver's license and any excuse for me to drive was good enough. So my friend Angi's little brothers wanted to go to the comic book store and we all hopped in the car headed to Trilogy.  They were looking around and I was looking at the clerk.  He had on a black t-shirt, jeans and barefoot.  He had that INXS Michael Hutchence thing going on.  We chatted a little bit, the kids bought their books and back into the car we went. Still in the parking lot, I told Angi, "that's the man I am going to marry".  She said, "well do you want me to run in and give him your phone number?"  She knew him a little from Rocky Horror.  Of course, I did.  And the rest is history. We went on our first date March 16, 1991 and were married three years later on March 16, 1994.  Happily Ever After.

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life.  The one that keeps me laughing everyday.  I love you.

Monday, March 12, 2012

What's in a Face?

I've always been a face scanner especially since living in New York.  There are so many interesting people to look at. I could sit in the park all day watching people. In NYC, there is also that celebrity factor. I love spotting a celebrity, but I never approach them though. I just get that giddy smile and immediately call my sister.

Since we have decided to adopt, my face scanning has been raised to a new level.  I am constantly looking at people on the subway comparing similarities as humans. The subway is a such a great cross-section of people.  I am also thinking if that person were my child, how would they fit into my family.  I am comparing characterisics and wondering from who they got their features. I don't think I am cuckoo to wonder these things.  Riding the subway is the perfect place to let your mind wander.  Who knows what the person next to you is thinking.

Most expectant couples ponder what their child is going to look like; will the baby have my nose or his eyes? Every one plays this game once the child is born.  When you are expecting to adopt, you have no idea what your kid is going to look like.  If you get the chance to meet the birth mother, you might have an idea.  But I think you're pretty much going to be surprised.  From my observations, it is comforting to know that most people are outwardly beautiful in their own way.

It's not vain to think that what you look like is important.  It's your first impression. It is also the one thing for most that ties you to where you came from.  An adopted child won't have that and it might cause struggles later in life.  They may feel like they don't belong because they don't look like mom and dad.  These are issues I am aware of and think about often even before I have a child.  No one wants their kid to have struggles or doubt they fit in. Raising your child to be confident and inwardly beautiful is part of good parenting.  Preparing myself now helps me think I just might be a good parent one day.

So the next time someone is staring at you, you might just be helping them figure things out.

Puzzle pieces are still available.  For a gift of $5, we'll add your name to the puzzle.  Get yours here and help us adopt!  Thank you!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Audience Participation

I have been blogging along for the past few months sharing my thoughts and ideas about adoption, cats and whatever else is on my mind and I've hit 5,000 page views!  To celebrate, I thought I would get some audience participation going. Tell me what you want to know about adoption, our cats or anything else. I'll do my best to answer your questions. 

I'd also love to hear from all you moms and dads on what products, toys, furniture, strategies, or tips that you've found that makes being a new parent so much easier.  I think a must-have list would be great to share.

Leave a comment below or email me and I'll turn your suggestions into future posts!

Puzzle pieces are still available.  For a gift of $5, we'll add your name to the puzzle.  Get yours here and help us adopt!  Thank you!  If you are interested in seeing how this puzzle thing works, see my friend's finished puzzle on her blog, Our Adoption Journey...{and life with Kate!}.

Monday, March 5, 2012

How To Save A Life

We've been making ourselves useful while we wait for our little bundle.  We have time to kill so why not learn as much as we can about child care and child safety. I have been scouring the Internet for affordable classes and found a FREE infant CPR class offered at The Brooklyn HospitalI immediately signed us up.  Date night in Brooklyn!

The class size was about six people and lead by a very personable and friendly doctor from the Pediatric department.  This class is not for certification but more as an introduction for expectant and new parents or anyone interested in infant CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation).  We were all given a baby to work on. At each step, we watched an brief video, were given hands-on instruction and then time to practice on our baby.  The instructor came around to make sure we were using the proper technique.

Here's a couple helpful things that I learned:  1. Never perform CPR on a bed or couch or squishy surface. Move the baby to the floor or solid, flat surface. A squishy surface makes the chest compression ineffective  2. If you are alone, perform two minutes of CPR on the baby before calling 911.  To minmize damage to the brain, you must to get oxygen and the blood circulating first and then call for help. Of course, if someone is with you, have them call 911 right away.

We practiced things like giving breaths.

And chest compressions.

Our class also covered infant choking.  Most infant choking is from liquids not solids and if the baby is able to cough or cry, then he or she is able to breathe. We practiced rapid strikes to the back.

And chest thrusts.  

We also received a handout for injury prevention that offers tips for everything from falls, suffocation or choking, poisoning, scalds and burns and motor vehicle accidents.  For more information on infant CPR or choking, click here.  When I left the class, I felt confident that I could save a life.  How awesome is that?

♦ Have you gotten your puzzle piece yet?  Get yours here and help us adopt! Thank you!