The Adopting

NEWS

I’ve been incapable of the introspection required for blogging because of all the powerful emotions thundering through me like carthorses but now, I will in fact attempt a narrative, before I start forgetting details. It’s like trying to contain an ocean in a thimble but some sort of record is essential. It’s been quite a week. Last Wednesday 16th March, (auspiciously my nephew Spike’s eleventh birthday), I was leaving the house for choir when I got an email from Agency Boss Lady, which proceeded thusly:

How are you doing?? I believe I have wonderful news for you, you have a son!

(Which words were pre-emptive, really.) Details from the social worker and hospital followed below. A baby boy had been born on the 12th to a mother who wished to have him adopted. By us, specifically. (!!) He was still in the hospital. The birthmother had received no prenatal care*, he was a little small for dates (though on “normal” charts) and had some other significant challenges*. But he seemed remarkably well; his test results were all good, considering.

I nearly fainted dead away on the spot; but somehow did remain standing and contained myself enough to go to choir. I told Real Friend, also in the Alto section, a bit of the story. Real was most excited, tentatively so, like me. It felt like a dream. That evening another email arrived, this one from Irish Agency. “We’ve heard your news and want to support you at this exciting time” it said. “We must advise you strongly to get a second medical evaluation.” Their doctor had had a look at the medical reports and raised the concern that the circumference of the baby’s head was smaller than it “should” be, and since our declaration is for a child with no or minor health issues, this caused all sorts of infuriating cautionary conversations with Irish Agency. But yes, there was need for caution.

[I’m on the flight now. They keep interrupting this My Important Missive with commands to sit back, relax and enjoy the flight. I will be flying into my beloved NYC (hi Bionic!) and on to [nearish city].]

St Patrick’s Day happened. We had planned to go to Spike’s traditional family birthday lunch as prepared by his mother, the chef. (Always amazing. Always. [Now I’m hungry. Where’s my plastic inflight meal?]) but What With Everything, we spent the day trying to process the information and finding a paediatrician with appropriate expertise to give an assessment of the medical reports.
Some snapshots of the St Weirdrick’s Day of the traditional green velour hats, parades and adoption anxiety: the JB is searching on the internet for information about newborn head sizes, I’m compulsively cleaning behind the telly, something I’ve never had any interest in before, (my version of nesting, I presume; it got worse) but the mindless activity is comforting. All the cables must be detangled! I’m thinking about Baby’s birthmother. It’s so sad. I’m crying. Then, I’m not anymore, I’m staring at the shelves, having gone there for.. something, the line of a song from a musical going around my head, dementedly. The JB is going back and forth with information. We’re looking at flights. We’re hugging. I’m thinking about little babies in the NICU. The JB is reading emails from Agency Boss Lady. She is very positive! Too positive? We need another opinion and we set this up remotely with an expert in this area. (Email me if you ever need to know her name.) I’m talking to Irish social worker and she is nice, less annoying than the first. Also, she’s heard from the NICU doctor that he’s pleased with the baby’s progress. It’s all the smallest bit more real. We sleep heavily and then not at all, and then it’s the 18th, and we speak to World Expert on speaker phone. Her probable prognosis sounds perfectly manageable, in as much as any child’s future can be predicted. Our declaration covers those sorts of issues. I also got two other referrals for Irish doctors from my GPs (involves visits to those), but with the weekend it’s going to be hard to get hold of them. We’re looking at flights again. The JB is talking to his HR department, I’m wondering who to ask to mind the cat.

[Bleah, turbulence.]

All the while I am only half-believing this is happening. It’s hard to believe we won’t be cheated somehow. Won’t something go wrong? We tell the family at the weekend. They are delighted for us. My usually laconic brother gives advice about wobbly necks and car seats which seems Too Soon, and feels jinxy, but it’s his way of being excited for us. And yet maybe it will work out?

[Bleah, re-turbulence. I hope I’m not going to die in a fiery crash now? After All That? No. I refuse to.]

More good news from NICU. He’s gaining weight and his head has expanded - the JB read moulding happens after a vaginal birth. We confirm the match! We’re thrilled. Thrilled! And afraid. Afraid. We book the recommended hotel (sort of mini-apartment/hotel deal), the JB departs, on Tuesday. He’s to go to the hospital yesterday with the social worker. I wait uncomfortably for hours, telling myself it’s probably hard to send a message while holding a baby, and of course they are four hours behind (until the weekend when we spring forward). I look at baby books (I mean the basic info type, not the ones with the Reproving Ideas that bunny is not fond of. (I trust her.)) and decide that can wait till [city]. I clean the house madly, I make cat arrangements. I try to think of everything, which is tiring, but I am not tired, I am 78% adrenaline. JB sends me a text, blessed blessed man, with a photo of him and the Actual Baby, for whom I will think of a better pseudonym. They look lovely, perfect together. The JB has an expression of bamboozlement, fear and delight. Actual Baby is awfully, awfully sweet. The JB held him for three hours straight, until his arms hurt. That’s a kind man. And here I am, over Newfoundland, catching up with them, and now you are now caught up too.

More later, my dears. We are coming in to land, I hope, though the story is never over, is it.

xx T 

*(I am struggling with the decision how much to share of her and his story. Maybe I’ll put more details in a locked post.)


mid-winter

No adoptiony news.~

IMAG1364
(The JB sports his aspirational University of California tee-shirt.)

With one part of my brain I am cautiously (cautiously, you understand) mentally preparing myself for the adoption; grappling with the idea of a real actual small human present in our house. I visualise where a cot might fit, where we could stow kid clothes, get a car seat or what getting up in the middle of the night might be like. (With some dread, this one.) With the other part of my mind a child in house seems as likely as a rainbow-striped unicorn making toast in the kitchen. So, you know, some progress on that front. I am quite distracted and surprisingly not sweaty palmed about it. I feel lucky, actually, to be here at last. I am trying to practise going toward my feelings, (not running off in the opposite direction) and it does help a lot.

My mother was in hospital for a week earlier in the month. She went to the GP for a Chest Thing (Ma likes to glide vaguely over the details of her health issues. She finds them so. uninteresting.) The GP discovered her heart was racing and resolutely staring down her protests, recommended strongly she drive herself to hospital at once. There Ma stayed for the entire week, the poor woman, all hooked up and stuck with probes and blipping monitors, dreaming of escape, while she underwent every test invented.

[Aside for poignant story about my great friend AM who lives in NJ with her enormous Italian-American family (Thanksgiving get-togethers were a SEA of wavy dark brown Italian hair)(a SEA): her beloved grandmother, who finally had to go to live in a care-home at the age of 93, having been lovingly taken care of by her family in her own home for many years, used to lean in, look visitors' in the eye and rasp out: You got a car?]

We sprang her on the Saturday. She wasn't allowed to drive, which led to a little hoo-ha with me going up to get her in a taxi so as not to leave her car behind at the hospital. (Her solution to this was to get a taxi home and then go back and get her car later, unbeknownst to the hospital. That's a very bold mother, there, so sweet and yet so stubborn.) Now she seems somewhat better, although it is taking a while to get the meds right and for her to be properly hungry. 

Other events must have occurred, but for the life of me.. Oh. There was Christmas. The niece and nephew continue to delight us; now at proper kid ages of seven and ten, they can play a tune on the piano with both hands (Spike, 10) and ask for aerosol snow which which to decorate the windows. (Dazzle, 7). They  went around the table with that orange cellophane fish you get in crackers (Do you know the thing I mean? Is this specific to these islands? Like our lemonade which is the colour of orange. That's right.) to test our characters. If it curls up on your hand, you're passionate, indifferent or what I got: false. Not a real human at all, apparently. We ate too much, even my mother. It was fun.

How was yours? Did you get over the Christmas/the 25th December? I would love to hear, I'm bored of my own thoughts. Guh, help a person out.

Talk soon, in any case, kind visitors. Be well.
T


procastiblogging

Folks,
There is no news about or from Another Lady. Plenty of time in hand, of course. About the JB's interview, there has been a whisper along the long corridors of his institution that he might have got it. (Who knows though in that vortex of favouritism, nepotism, cronyism and backhanders. Things can turn on a dime.) Which would be both pleasing and a bit alarming. I am going to find some co-working space in the interest of marital harmony.

And now for a little first world whining. Hark the little tiny violins sing:

I screwed up my time management and had to do a marathon 12 hours work on Monday and another 6 on Tuesday, colouring a comic. This sounds like fun. It was a bit fun for the first 2 hours, and then not. The tiny precise movements of the wrist on the drawing tablet? After a while make you feel like jumping out of the window, I now know. And the fact that this was self-inflicted made it all the worse. Why did I lie around on Friday when I could so easily have been chipping away? WHY. 

I have cleaned and cooked, vacuumed, baked and polished. Am I experiencing some sort of belated spring-cleaning drive? No. It is tax season, you understand, a time that makes me feel like this:

Taxes2

Reverted to childhood - an adult Calvin - and sort of explosive. Arg.

Speaking of which, I cannot deny it any longer, it's time. See you after, all, have good weekends.

xx
T

Taxes




clueless?

Ug, I've been meaning, I've been meaning. [Insert rambling commentary on how I get so tired of myself and the way I go back and forth between perfectionism and half-arsed-ism, in relation to this blog and, indeed, everything else too.] Same old, same old.

I was away at the weekend. It has been busy. I always say that. It is always so. YAWN, me.
And while with one part of my brain I did know it was the end of August, I still managed to be surprised to see the big kids in their school uniforms, navy and plum, in their squeaky new shoes, walking home from school. It's really September.

Neither do I have any clue what has gone on with The Lady and nor has the agency, as of the last time we were in touch, anyway. (I do trust them to let us know.) The Lady was due on the 22nd August, so presumably she has had the baby, and perhaps has decided not to go forward with her adoption plan? Her choice, after all. I just hope that all is well for them both and her circumstances have changed in a way that makes life easier for her, because it has not been so far, from the little I know. Maybe things have improved somehow for her - this would be wonderful.

You know, I do see it's strange how I am not at all depressed about this. Here's the thing of it: sometimes I get feelings about the future. [Insert lightning and thunder sound effects.] Do you? I just get the feeling that things will work out in a certain way, and they do. This feeling has been missing for oh. So. Long. Years. But now I feel it again; like the old me, I feel becalmed and ready. Maybe it's hope? Or optimism? Blind faith? I don't know, but I feel more like myself than for a long, long time. I feel brave, friends. Me! The ostrich. Maybe all this embracing of my emotions lately has helped, my life has certainly expanded. Maybe I have simply moved on out of the rut. Can it be?

Also, while I am sticking my ostrich neck out, over the parapet, in the interest of having a record and to test if my psychic abilities are in fact hogwash, let me also say that the vision that always leapt unbidden to mind of our child, for oh ten years, was of a little black boy. I can see him now, sitting on our kitchen floor. And the Lady's child is white. So, for what it's worth, eh. Let's see what happens; what will be, will be. 

The JB in the meantime, has gone off to San Francisco, the lucky divil, so I am in solitary mode, lord of the remote control, occupier of the middle of the bed, alone but for the cat (my familiar, you understand) and my psychic visions. 

I hope you're well, all.

T


the wait continues

Thank you for all your lovely comments. It is so comforting to know you are still there, ready with offerings of humour and succour. Thank you, truly.

***
We are back in Dublin and there has been no word from the agency about the Lady. I don't know what to think about this, although looking at the Lady's profile it is not entirely surprising; it seems she has a tendency to put things off and Heaven knows it can't be easy. In the meantime, it's as if my adrenals have decided to put up a sign on the subject saying "Stress about this later". Which is working reasonably well, oddly enough. We have no power in this situation, as the JB and I were saying earlier; we might as well at least try for a modicum of good grace. 

We'll see how that works out.

The JB is already five steps ahead, sourcing documents we'll need if this time doesn't work. (The US agency requires yearly medicals, police clearances and whatnot). I can't help worrying how he'll take it if it's a no. (Must stop trying to manage his emotions, am being co-dependent. Oh, bleah. Does this working on yourself and your relationships never end? Will I ever learn?)
***

I have a small mountain of work waiting, but will keep you posted.
I look forward to your posts.
Till later,

T

Lovely patisserie photos:
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IMAG1016

 

 


things

Screwit unto the very ends of the earth, I knew there was a reason for updating more often, otherwise, you don't know where to start. Also such not able articulate to do.

I had the Betty-head a lot in the last few weeks. The usual weird veil over my vision and weird sleep-walking sensations and weird feeling like someone else. For instance, I have no anxiety at all when in Betty mode. Zero. I am unflusterable. Betty is. I am not in my body. Weirdness. So last Wednesday I overcame my deep aversion to doctors long enough to give mine a potted version of this. ("I don't feel myself" being the acceptable version of "I am Betty", in case you wondered; the latter might attract a undesirable diagnosis of Dissociative Personality Disorder or whatnot.) The doctor took some blood for testing for food allergies and iron.

As so often, I felt instantly better. Asking for help is good, it turns out, it opens things up. Doctors don't mock you or tell you you are a moaning minnie; I don't know why I thought they would, mind you.

And then on Sunday morning we got a email from the agency in the US. Would we like to show our profile to a birth mother due end of August along with some other couples? Yes we would. Yes, yes. Yesness. It was a straight-forward decision; the circumstances the birthmother finds herself in are sad, but not otherwise dramatic or complicated.

It's really hard not to let your mind go skittering torturously ahead, it transpires. It's such a uniquely, drastically on/off situation, a thing we are all well acquainted with from TTC days. But one attempts to stay in this here and now. I have a lot of plans for September/October, for instance, which I am  seeing as a good thing.
Road 1: BABY! Plans out of window! Book me on a flight immmmediately!
Road 2: No baby. But nice distracting plans? Yes, those. Oh, okay.

No-one will die either way. It simply means this is not our baby. (Still, though! BABY!)

Oh! The BP explosion of universes has now been canceled until further notice. I am almost disappointed, and yet, on the other hand, OH! HAPPY! DAY! It seems the Non Trembler must now make it his business to scour the United States of America for a house that meet his rather stringent purchasing criteria.

Ah. I've run out of time.  I see I am hitting a not impressive average posting rate of ONE a month, so I will publish.

I hope all is well with everyone. Your status update is always of interest.

T

I know this theme is dull but it works on all devices. Anything for your convenience, reader!


miscellany

[Insert inevitable lamenting on subject of own poor blog-keeping skills. Aime, alack and alas, etc.]

Here's another reason, as if there weren't already very many, to love Lucy Knisley - her lovely piece on the subject of her miscarriage. Just in case you happen this way, Lucy, I am very sorry for your loss. Thank you for being so open about it.

-----------------
It seems this winter will never end, doesn't it? [Applicable only to readers in northern hemisphere.] It snowed yesterday; big sudsy shapes of snow came down and melted messily on the ground. Let's move on, shall we, winter? You're putting me in a mood, full of self-doubt and riddled with introspection. Yawn. This is dull; I'm boring myself. Maybe I need to get out more; maybe I need to do some voluntary work or something. Maybe the sun needs to come out. 

4AM would seem to be Pointless Introspection o'clock, though I do it during the day, too. The other day I was wondering what sort of parent I could possibly be. I was doing an image search for ponies on Friday (This is part of a proposal I am doing. Nice job, eh. Ponies!) as I introspected gloomily about my ruination of our future child. At that moment, this image popped up in my feed, like magic: 

Parent

I don't pretend to understand the image, in which I presume I would be the imperfectly perfect grinning monster dressed in a cardboard box feeding my child a cake of solid gold, but it cheered me up, anyway. 

____________________________


Valery and family were over.. a month ago (see above, poor blog-keeping). It was so nice to see them with little Suzy. I love that age; so spirited, utterly trusting, and mysterious. Ah, so sweet.

--------------------

I feel much less rutty, since I wrote this post two days ago. It seems it was hormonal. You would think I would know this after so. many. years. but no. One of the less appealing parts of the human condition is this inability while in the rut to recognise it for the rut it is, and that it will end and the other mood will begin. Every rut seems to be an endless proposition, doesn't it? We're such odd creatures, all fear and unhelpful jumpiness designed for the jungle; no sharp teeth and only our wits to live on. We're social, and we need each other to survive, yet we're rivals for the limited resources available. It's all very conflicting.

Well, now, my dears. I think I'll just press post now, as I doubt this post will stand up to a re-read. You poor lovely people, worry not your heads with commenting, really. 

Hope life is treating you well.
T


insert more interesting word for "update"

It's so hard to find time to blog, isn't it? It used to be easy, but now I feel uncomfortably busy and, dare I say it, seized with an urgency to make things, which I'd call it ambition, if that wasn't so alien a concept. At any rate, I am sick of my shed and pc by the end of the day and just want to go inside and curl up in front of the fire. I've been sending work out to publishers and whatnot, applying for grants and all sorts. I feel all fired up and chugging full steam ahead. Whoo!

[I heart trains.]

There has been some activity on the adoption front, about which we are feeling strangely fine. It was as if a flash of lightning illuminated a path for us for a second, but as it turned out, it was not the path for us. How very mysterious I am being; this is what happened:

We were asked by our agency to decide if we'd like our profile to be shown to a mother of a 4 month old child who was considering "relinquishing" the baby. This was a particular case; not just because of the age of the child, but also because the mother had some requests about the openness of the adoption, keeping of the child's name, meeting us, and so on, which we were happy to agree to in principle.  [I really feel for the mother in question, needless to say; I always did, in theory, but to know of an actual person having to deal with this decision is entirely different. It has been quite a leap of understanding to realise that we are not the most vulnerable people in this situation.]

Anyway, it was not to be. I don't know if she chose another couple or changed her mind, but we are still here. The JB, endless speculator that he is, kept suggesting reasons why we weren't chosen. Maybe we looked too sporty? Maybe she didn't like school and we looked too brainy (not me)? Was she allergic to cats? Were we too far away? But that way, I persuaded him, finally, madness lies. We can be no other way that how we are and until we get further concrete suggestions on our letter from those who know about these things, I don't see any point meddling with it. After all, the cat, the (supposed) sportiness/braininess etc could as easily work in our favour with someone else. We yare what we yare, to misquote Popeye. 

So yeah. Interesting. I nearly started reading about babies, CAN YOU IMAGINE? This is a thing I have always been too superstitious to do, but when it gets real, you must prepare. (Did I ever tell you I'm afraid of very small babies? So vulnerable, elemental and sort of furled up! Agg! [Reassurance welcome, tell me they're tough little yokes, I'd like that.] I think this goes back to an incident which involves the 4 year old Twangy and a 2 year old family friend who turned out to be quite wriggly (or slippy? Hard to remember exactly), resulting in a visibly raised bump on her head, wailing, hospital visits etc. I am always glad to hear how successful she is, that little kid that was. She is quite the big noise in the Berlin theatre world! PHEW.)

What else? I did an awful webcam interview thing yesterday. Modern life, I despair. There was no one on the other end; I was essentially talking to a machine. A judgmental machine, at that. Lucky I don't even particularly want that grant, because when I watched myself back (surely something God or Nature never intended?) I was mortified by my rubber-facedness. Funny, normally I don't mind being photographed but this was AWFUL I TELL YOU AWFUL. New Year's resolution: DIAL DOWN THE GOOFINESS.

Also. The JB is learning to drive and after more than 20 lessons has been entrusted to my supervision. It is not fun, friends. I love the man, he has many gifts (NOT THIS THOUGH) but this is an experience that manages to be both tedious and terrifying, just between you and me. If there's nothing to fear but fear itself, the JB should be and is, in fact, petrified. More opportunities to reflect on our maladaptedness for modern living. Being flooded with adrenaline is only helpful when there is a tiger on the prowl; while manoeurving (sp?) a Polo around a corner at 5mph adrenaline can go and take a running jump at itself.

Ah yes. I feel better now. Thank you.
How are you?
T

IMAG0729
 Another one from my Welcome to Ireland file. [Insert winning, tourist board-type, smile.]
 


restart

As it happened, I did not actually forget I had a blog, but there was just so much to do.  So many grant applications to do, meetings and ideas and spaghetti to throw at the wall to see what sticks. People visited. Donkeys went lame and sound again. Parents held their own; in fact, [fingers extremely crossed] my mother is walking much better, I thought, last weekend. The weather is peculiar, the way it keeps pressing itself warmly against the windows, fogging them up, and a evening primose has bloomed, which is certainly all wrong. The world is still on fire, heaven knows, but we are here anyway, witnesses to it all, making the most of it, still hoping it can be turned around.

Still, progress is good on the adoption front, we met our agency man [agency man? That seems not quite right. Am I in Mad Men? No. Blogging muscles have gone slack. Can only write about start-up projections and specific enablers] some weeks ago, in a one of those creepy futuristic business "campuses" [campi?] with a winter garden in the atrium. He was a real breath of pine-fresh air. What a nice man! Cheered me right up, with his Adoption is All Very Possible Attitude, and actual swear words applied to the Authority! True love.

And yesterday, we finished up our renewal with the social worker, the male version of the detective. They are so alike, they speak with precisely the same ultra PC social worker lingo, smiles and cadences. It is remarkable, and it leads to wild speculation on the way home about whether they are in fact the same person, in a Michael and La Toya Jackson sort of way. 

I hope you are well, all. I conclude my dip back in the blogging waters with this photo, (taken on Thursday in Blackrock DART station, in case anyone is interested). Dublin is good at this sort of flat, pewter day.
Have good weekends, everyone. 
T

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angst

How goes it, folks? It's a strange, uncertain time, isn't it? I feel like I am being held together by powdered barleygrass*, meditation and sellotape. Sure, I have opinions on the awful state of the world lately, but nothing new or interesting to add. My response seems to be to have never-ending exam dreams. Every flipping night: 
What, I have to do maths and physics exams? I have to do a French exam? But I don't remember those! Also, I am in my mid-forties. How can this be? 
Can we move on please, subconscious? Or I will actually retake my Leaving Certificate (hilarious Irish name for final exams at school. We, the Irish government, certify that you.. left. We really couldn't comment on whether you learnt anything or not. You did leave, though. Well, bye, now.) and see if that works.

It is a strange time to be alive. Although, truth to tell, I've always been flummoxed by the oddness of it all, haven't you? It's so strange. Why is life this way and not another? I can't get over it. My tombstone should say: Well, that was all very odd.

It's not all bad, au contraire. I am working at my comics, in a speedy, barleygrass fueled way, and going out at night. There are nice people out there, muddling through just like me. We are not alone. Dublin has a wannabe Berlin vibe just now; you could go to something different every night for six months. Also, all our adoption papers are now processed and in file in our agency, and though I have discovered that this part of the process has it own particular flavour of anxiety/excitement attached to it, we are just so happy to be at this point at last. 

I have a very welcome sense of reprieve, in general. My parents seem somewhat well-ish for the moment; they are enjoying the summer. That virus which caused my mother so much discomfort (and to lose a stone in weight) this winter seems to have disappeared, she is able to do what she needs to; it was not permanent. Tremendously relieving. It seems we can delay for the moment the plan to convert their stables into a flat for me and the JB so we can be beside them for moral and other support. 

As usual, I am flirting with the idea of getting a job job. So far I have applied to be a designer for the souvenir industry, part-time (Read: Leprechauns!) No response so far, perhaps mercifully. Also something else: one of those in-company type ones. I can't recall. Also no response. Possibly all this is a dream, and I am actually back in school, studying in lackadaisical fashion for my maths exam.

How are you?
T

*Da bomb. I HAVE ENERGY.