Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Adopting?

Thinking about adopting a child? We did! We adopted 2 baby boys to make our little family and we love them more than life. I've advised a number of friends and acquaintances over the years on the ins and outs of the domestic adoption process. (We have little experience with international adoption other than researching agencies and starting to fill out paperwork.)  We've talked about private, semi-private and open adoption (we prefer open), going through an adoption attorney vs. an agency (we've done both), creating a portfolio, etc. All very useful.

One thing I've never really talked about are regrets. As a whole, we've been very pleased and very lucky, but there is one thing, if I had it to do all over again, that I would change. Before I get into that, I'd like you to consider something.

Imagine what is going on in the life of a teen who accidentally gets pregnant. If they come from a loving and supportive home environment, chances are that baby won't be placed for adoption. Teens who give their baby up are most likely to come from a chaotic home environment. During the pregnancy, the fetus will likely be exposed to a lot of stress. Fighting, yelling, poor diet...you get the idea. All the literature says pregnant women should avoid stress, maintain a calm and restful environment and talk to their unborn child. They can hear you and are deeply affected by what is affecting momma.

That said, I wish we'd brought our first birth mother home with us. Our baby would have grown in an environment full of love, support and the sound of not only his birth mom's voice, but ours as well. I think it would have made a huge difference.  If you have the means and opportunity to have the woman carrying your child come and stay with you during her pregnancy, DO IT.

If you are considering giving your baby up for adoption, please go to a lawyer who specializes in adoption or to a reputable agency. Ask for housing with your prospective adoptive family. That way you can get to know the people who will be raising your baby, they can help take care of your needs, and lower your stress level. It's a wonderful gift and will make you more confident in your choice. They will really want to be there for you and even help with delivery, if you feel comfortable with that.




Monday, April 04, 2016

Adult Tastes

I was shoveling a salad into my face for lunch today and found myself contemplating the strangeness of life. You know...like you do. See, my salad was liberally coated with ranch dressing. "What's so strange about that," you ask? Well, I hate ranch dressing. Or rather, I used to hate it. Growing up, anything made with buttermilk was eww. And I mean REALLY eww. Make me vomit eww. I wouldn't say I was a picky eater. I ate way more stuff than your average kid. Chili. Chinese food. Tacos. Spinach. Yeah. But I had my list. There was stuff you couldn't get me to eat even if you paid me.

Asparagus! Brussels Sprouts! Lima Beans! Bacon! (I know, right?! What kid doesn't like bacon?) Liver! Gravy with "gizzards" chopped up into it. Raw tomatoes! Oh, the list goes on.

My mother often told me, especially when I'd turn my nose up at something, that perhaps that food item was "an acquired taste" and I'd appreciate it more when I was a grown up. There did seem to be some foods that only grown-ups liked, but I was fairly certain it was a big scam. See, my parents tried to convince me that steak cooked out on the grill was "an acquired taste" and just for grown-ups. Us kids? We'd get Spaghetti-Os or Kraft Mac n' Cheese on those nights when Dad was going to cook out. The steak, wild rice, onion rings and asparagus (ok, I was fine with that last one) was just for Mom and Dad. Us kids? We'd be sent to bed after our boxed dinner and Saturday night was date night. Mom and Dad and their steak dinner, on TV tables in front of a good show like Love Boat or Fantasy Island.

Then, one night, I crept downstairs. I was hungry, not at all sleepy, and curious. Their dinner always smelled soooo good. I crawled to the doorway of our family room and peeked around the doorway to watch my parents eat and watch TV. It didn't take long before they spotted me. I plopped down next to my Mom and asked if I could try a taste of her food. She was very reluctant, but finally allowed me a bite of steak, a fork-full of rice, and an onion ring. They...were...awesome!  It was fun staying up late, watching TV and eating off my poor Mother's plate. Soon after, I was allowed to stay up later than my little brother and they would make a little plate up for me with my own TV table. I began to wonder what other "just for grown-ups" items were being kept from me.

I'd try a sip of my mother's various cocktails. Good! I'd try a sip of Dad's cocktails or beer. Not bad! I took bites of lobster thermidor, shrimp scampi, hot crab dip and all the other foods my mother had deemed too sophisticated for my young palate (or, as I more wisely suspected, too expensive to make for more than 2 people.) But I still had my limits. That list in my second paragraph up there was still a no go.

It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I realized bacon was actually really good. Lima beans too. Then I tried asparagus that was roasted and had this amazing sauce drizzled over it. Not soggy from a can. And fresh brussels sprouts cooked in bacon fat with bacon crumbles...yum! Then came the restaurant that gave me a salad covered in ranch dressing (instead of my rather new adult love of bleu cheese) and it was also GOOD. Feta cheese! Bleu cheese! Goat cheese! Oh all the cheeses I'd avoided as a kid because they were "stinky." Sour cream!!! Realizing I loved sour cream was almost scary. I'd avoided that stuff for decades. Probably good, because all these rich and creamy tastes would have made me fat MUCH sooner. Heh heh.

Now I feel like I'm making up for lost time. I try things that I used to avoid, but there are still a few things I don't want to try because I have a feeling I will LOVE them and will eat far too much. Like Italian gelato.  Ice cream that is supposedly even creamier and richer than American ice cream? Yeah. I better live without that one, just to be safe.

But you won't see me eating liver. I have a feeling, if prepared well (onions, bacon) that I could stomach liver now. I just don't want to. Same goes for mussels. Why do people want to each something you don't even chew and has been described as choking down a wad of snot? Food that is still moving (look on YouTube for sushi bar octopus or squid.) I have expanded my palate, but I still have to draw the line somewhere. :D

Friday, April 01, 2016

Audacity

I had an excessive amount of caffeine today, so pardon me if I ramble a bit. My mind has been racing from one topic to the next, but I found myself thinking about those times in my life where the verbal filters in my brain seemed conspicuously absent. Words came out of my mouth and, from the look on the listener's face, I could tell I said something that shocked or hurt them in some way. I am better at thinking before I speak, these days. Usually. But sometimes, I ask the questions that no one else dares to ask. Apparently.

Think of a news reporter. There are those times, in an interview, where the reporter will ask a question and the audience will *gasp* audibly. That can be a good thing. They've asked the question everyone hoped would be asked. Or the question no one else dared to ask, but everyone was wondering about. And we admire the reporter's audacity. They went there! Then there are those times where a reporter will ask a question that no one else dared to ask because...it's just rude. The audience will *gasp* in horror! How dare they go there! That's going too far!

I've never been very good at discerning that line. But I want everyone to know, I ask because I am genuinely curious and concerned. I'm not a busybody! Honest. I don't gossip. I just need to understand what's in people's heads. What makes them tick. Why do they do the things they do and what goes into their decision making process.

And no, I am not satisfied with "I don't know." My children have hopefully figured that out by now. I'm going to keep asking until I am satisfied I have a real and truthful answer. ;)