Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dollar Dollar Bills, Y'all...

Cash Rules Everything Around Me...

So, last week I sat in the police headquarters for 2 hours with a bunch of sex offenders and my kids (stressful, no?) to get my fingerprints done for the adoption.  Lashi got his done a couple days later, $15 each.  Today, I went to send the two finished print cards to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.  I had to buy the envelope and pay the postage (only about $4 all together), and sent it off.  This is not including the time or the stress of again, lugging the kids with me on the adventure.  Dmitri was at the end of his proverbial rope after getting groceries already and lost his computer privileges while we were at the Post Office.

On my way home, I had a distressing thought:  I didn't send a fee with the fingerprint cards.  I hurried home to look through all of our paperwork and instructions.  No mention of a CBI fee.  Still, it didn't seem right.  EVERY step of this process has money attached to it.  Someone is either filing or checking or authenticating or certifying or whatever they do, and we have to pay for it.

So I called CBI.  After only one phone transfer and one hold (I was very proud of them) I was told that yes, there was indeed a fee of $39.50 per card and that without it, our prints will be rejected and we will have to start over again.


So, the nice lady at CBI said that she sent an email to all of the staff there at fingerprint-checking (or whatever you call it) and they will be keeping an eye out for our cards.  IF they find it in time and remember that they're supposed to be looking for them, then we have a chance of being able to send in the $79 check separately.  If not, then we get to start the whole process over again.

Oh, frustration!  It's not just the cost either (although, this is more than $100 that we do not have budgeted in the adoption fund and I see that this is only the beginning - we have to order two copies each of our birth and marriage certificates today as well and that WILL cost) - it's also the time factor.  The CBI check and police clearance is the longest part of the home study process.  Without it, we cannot complete the home study and move on.  Everything waits on this.  In screwing this part up, I have set us back anywhere from 1-4 weeks or longer.  (One week is awfully optimistic even for a best-case scenario.)

I'm off to start ordering birth records.  Pray I don't screw this one up too.

ADDENDUM:  The very next day CBI called me and said that they had our prints and were waiting for the payment.  I have ordered the certified check, written the cover letter, and I'm ready to send it in.  Wow.  Thank you, Father in Heaven, for that wonderful result.  

Thursday, December 22, 2011

"Super Mom"

I struggle with the term "Super Mom".  I am frequently accused of being one, and yet I don't think they exist.

Why do people call me "Super Mom"?  I don't have any super-human powers.  If I did, I would like to have Elastigirl's super stretchy ability.  I could grab that other book from that other room, stir the whatever-I'm-cooking, confiscate a toy that the kids are fighting over downstairs, or better yet, smack that kid who just tormented his little brother AGAIN!

Actually, my super-human dream is to be Molly Weasley.  I just love her! 
I saw a shirt that said, "Sticks and stones may break your bones, but Mrs. Weasley's glare will liquify your kidneys."  Who wouldn't want that power?  Plus, she is rockin' the red hair and she has a flock of boys with one little girl.  Yeah, kind of like someone else I know...
That's me... oh yeah.

Anywho, I think the title of "Super Mom", with all its baggage is thrown at any woman who has at least one child and any interest outside of exclusive focus on said child and their bowel habits.  The problem with that is that "Super Mom" implies all sorts of things that a woman doesn't need to hear:
  • You must always be happy and on top of things.  Super Moms are never frustrated, sad, or tired.
  • Your kids must never misbehave (or you will lose your "Super" status if they do)
  • You have no problems in your relationships. 
  • You are full of talent - which means (obviously) that there is nothing you can not do.  
  • You know everything.
  • EVERY day is productive.
We women already have enormous expectations of ourselves, and engage in unfair comparisons to others (ie- our weaknesses against their strengths).  Adding these implied expectations of a "Super Mom" means that Mom is NEVER going to feel equal to the task.  There is always that feeling of failure.  Whenever someone calls me "Super Mom", all I can think of is when I screamed myself hoarse at the kids for making us late for school, that I forgot about dinner until it was too late for anything but spaghetti or worse: popcorn.  I think about the stack of Christmas decoration bins and to-be-filed books and paperwork that are taking up my half of the bedroom, or that my husband has been feeling particularly neglected lately.  I think about the tantrum my 4 yr old threw at church that was so bad we were asked to leave the building because no one could hear.  I think about the fact that I haven't even entered my laundry room let alone DONE any laundry for almost 2 months.  (I have a wonderful man... otherwise we would never have clean socks.) 

So at the end of the day, who lives up to the "Super Mom" title?  By the definitions we give it and assume we are expected to live by, no one does!  We are all flawed human beings, both capable and incapable of many things.  We are tender at times and harsh at others.  We have our "on top of it" days and the days when we look up from Facebook only to find that it's time to pick up the kids from school and make dinner.  Where does the time go?  We are passionate lovers, and so neglectful of our husbands that they seriously consider monastery life.  We are all of these and more!

In fact, as I am writing this (at my doctor's office, getting a physical for our upcoming adoption of a special-needs toddler - because I'm "SO awesome"), my husband just texted me to say that our 4 yr old, who was playing with his siblings in the snow, got left outside, couldn't open the door, and was hysterically crying because he thought he would have to stay out there forever and freeze to death.

Do the things I do right make me a great mom?  
Do the things I do wrong make me a bad mom?

Let's make a deal: I'll wear the cape if you promise to accept that you (and I, and every other flesh-and-blood mother, INCLUDING Molly Weasley) is deeply flawed AND wonderful.

Don't you have enough kids already?

So, WHY, when we already have five healthy, home-baked children, with not even a breath of infertility, are we considering adoption?  As one friend so delicately put it: "Aren't you two, like, baby-making machines?"  Or as others have said, "Haven't you had enough already?"  Way to be to-the-point.  Most people just swallow their shock, surprise (or perhaps occasionally disgust) and say, "Well, bless your little heart!"  Aw, thanks.

But really, WHY?  We have everything we need, everything we wanted, we have our "hands full" as I hear on every grocery trip.  Why adoption?

Simply put: ...nevermind, it's not simple.  But it comes down to a couple key factors.

First: You could say that we planned this before we planned our wedding.  The details were not what they are now, but the idea was firmly planted 12 years ago.  (This isn't making me sound less crazy, is it?)  The bottom line is - we were told that we probably would never be able to have children.  I have endometriosis, which aside from being a royal pain during menstrual cycles, often prevents or complicates pregnancies, decreasing fertility in some and increasing risk of miscarriage in others - or both.  There was a very real possibility that we would face serious infertility issues.  Needless to say, the issue never came to fruition, but before we knew that, we had decided that if it came down to it, we were both very much in favor of the idea of adopting our children.  I guess it's an idea that couldn't be put to rest simply because it wasn't "necessary" for us to build our family.

Second: Everyone but me thinks that I have a hard time with pregnancy.  I think what it really is is that they have to and THAT is difficult.  Morning sickness is no picnic, but I've never had it that bad for that long.  The crushing fatigue of the first couple months certainly takes its toll on the family.  If I wake up by 7am, we're lucky, but I'm ready for a nap by 8:15am.  NOT the best thing for a mom with little kids at home (or her poor husband who suddenly has to take on WAY more of the housework and wonder IF there will be dinner - and no, he's not allowed to cook and you'd know why if you let him.)  The biggest physical issues with pregnancy are my joints.  I must produce enough relaxin to supply a whole army of preggo mommies.  My pelvis loosened so much during my 3rd and 4th pregnancies that the symphasis (the part where the two halves of the pelvic structure meet and are supposed to be interlocked) actually separated!  I functionally was walking on a pelvic fracture.  NOT FUN!  Huge pain, and some days I couldn't move.  Thank God forever for Dr. John Davis at Atlas Chiropractic!  I saw him regularly during my 5th pregnancy and didn't have any hip or pelvic discomfort until about 35 weeks!  If I hadn't fallen down the stairs at 7 months, I could have just about called it a "pain-free pregnancy".  Alas, because this is an issue, several people close to me, including my mother and husband, feel that another pregnancy is just inviting mobility issues and the potential of permanent joint damage.  (My husband adds: "I think you are much more easily damaged during pregnancy than you are letting on here." Like I said, no matter what I think, HE's the one who has to deal with me.)

Third: it's traditional!  There are more adopted people in my family than home-baked people.  I am second-generation adopted, along with my two brothers and sister.  My mother and her sisters are adopted as well.  Any little person adopted into my family will be third generation, with plenty of support and understanding.  We make such a fascinating nature/nurture case study.

Fourth: we're ready for it.  We already have experience with children, including children with difficult conditions.  Because of this, we feel prepared to adopt a special-needs child.  What does this mean?  From China, "special needs" could mean anything from a strawberry birthmark (which is considered unlucky) to gastroschisis, a condition in which a large part of the digestive system hangs on the outside of the baby's body through the belly button.  40% of the special-needs children abandoned in China have cleft lip and palate.  This is surgically correctable and many prospective adoptive parents are fine with accepting a child with this condition.  We are open to several conditions, but specifically interested in a child with a hearing impairment (from mild hearing loss to complete deafness).  Only about 3% of the children needing adoptive families in China have hearing loss, but they are harder to place because unlike cleft palate or club foot or even a heart defect, hearing loss is not correctable by surgery; it is a lifelong condition.  For our family, though, it's not a huge deal.  We have many friends and associates who have some degree of hearing loss, from moderate to profound.  Every member of our family uses some sign language.  I myself have been serving as a volunteer interpreter for the deaf at our church for nearly 8 years.  I'm not awesome, but I'm functional.  Hearing loss is not a foreign or frightening thing for our family.

Finally, WHY NOT???  We are a loving family with the means to support ourselves, and we want to bring in and raise a child who is already out there who does NOT have the benefit of that kind of family.  I don't see a reason not to adopt.

Do we have enough kids?  Well yes, we could be (and are) very happy with who we have already been blessed with... but I don't know that you can ever really share your love and life "enough".

Letters to Mei-Mei July-September 2011

Monday, July 25, 2011
Dear Mei-Mei,

Yesterday, Daddy and I went to see the bishop and talk to him about you.  He asked us questions to make sure we'd thought about finances, emotional and spiritual health, and that we had prayed about our decision to adopt.  We had a wonderful discussion, and told him that we have been praying as a family and at the temple.  The Lord has told us to keep going forward - for only when we are moving can he guide our steps.  Our path has shifted greatly from where it started, but I am so glad that it is leading us to you.

Love, Muqin

PS - This evening, your big brother Erik was flipping through books about China, pointing to any young female and calling her "Mei-Mei", and pointing at Mao and saying "No! No!"  Way cute.

July 29, 2011
Dear Mei-Mei,
I talked to CCAI today.  [Chinese Children Adoption International]  We discussed the Chinese government requirements for adoption and they said we are eligible.  I am so happy I could fly!  We are coming for you soon, my sweet daughter.
Be safe until we meet.

August 31, 2011
Dear Mei-Mei,
Last night, Fuqin and I sent in our Family Information Sheet and Medical Conditions Checklist to CCAI.  We are now on the waiting list for you.  If averages hold in our case, we will be matched with you between March 2012 and September 2012.  We are still not beginning our home study until January so that we have time to save up some money for the first phase, but I can work on other things, like parts of the application.

*Note: I have to edit these somewhat because we are not permitted to discuss specifics about a child's profile in an online setting until we have accepted them and been approved to adopt them.*
September 1, 2011
Dear Mei-Mei,
Did I see you today? There is an angel on my computer screen.  The new waiting child profiles were posted and there is [wonderful, perfect little girl whose info I have removed from here...]  I called Fuqin, then called and asked great Grandma and Grandpa Spain for a loan to start the home study right away.  When I talked to Pam Rodriguez at CCAI, she put us on the interested list, but warned us that there are about 20 families ahead of us.  Wow.
It seems like such a long-shot that 20 families would look at a perfect baby's profile and not adopt her, but I have to hope.  I have to believe that if that baby is meant to be my little girl, it will happen.  If not, I wish her a wonderful family and I hope we will find another situation that is that good of a match for us.  I know that whatever happens will be right and that you will be my perfect-for-us baby girl!
I love you, Mei-Mei!  I hope we will see you soon.
Love, Muqin

(Almost) One down, 29 to go...

I am so close I can taste it!!!
All I need is to demonstrate a couple skills (sterile technique, proper hand-washing, gloving/degloving, and sterilizing instruments) and read and review one more book, then I'm finished with my first Midwife-to-Be unit.

I've been inspired lately by several graduates of the program.  Their success tells me "Yes, you CAN eventually get through this!"  One graduate posted on the forum about a month ago with her advice.  I've started implementing some of it, including:
  • Record EVERYTHING! You need 60 study hours per unit and 6 clinical hours.  When I really started writing things down, that was CAKE to achieve!
  • Take heart - the first unit takes the longest.  NO KIDDING!!!  I've been working on this since March.  At least, that's when I signed up.  Raising five children and being an active, breathing person takes time, so it's not like I've been spending 8hrs/day.  There is also a learning curve.  I have had to figure out a new system and find my rhythm, as well as find the books! 
My most recent hangup: I spent a month studying and preparing to test on a book that, when I looked more closely at my list, was the WRONG BOOK!  Poo...  So, I get to pick one more carefully from the list this time, and start over.  Sigh... well, it'll be okay.  I would rather study and read than play.  *geek*

I had one of those I-will-never-finish-this moments a couple weeks ago.  My skills book requires demonstrating instrument sterilization techniques, and several methods are listed.
  • boiling
  • cold chemical
  • autoclave
  • pressure cooker
  • oven
I looked at this list and thought, "Okay, I know how to boil things to sterilize, I have an oven and can figure that one out... I have a pressure cooker that doesn't work... what chemicals? I don't even KNOW anyone who has an autoclave!!!"  Panic ensued.  Of course, some day I will realize that prior to panic, I should just go to the source and ask questions.  It would save tons of time, stress, and migraines.  Lisa said that I only have to be able to demonstrate one or two - as long as I HAVE a method of instrument sterilization.


Hope restored, moving forward.  :)

Birthing a Midwife: Introductions

I suppose I should start by introducing myself and explaining why I would want to become a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM).
My name is Erin.  I am a stay-at-home mother of (currently) five children.  Four were born in hospitals, one at home.  Two of my babies were born attended by OB/GYNs, two with Certified Nurse-Midwives (CNM), one with a CPM.  Three were born with the epidural-and-pitocin treatment, one "accidentally" natural, one natural by choice.  I feel that short of a cesarean section, I have largely run the gamut of normal birth experiences. 
Like many people, I assumed that babies were born in hospitals, that doctors know best, and that if you can get yourself labeled "high-risk", you are likely to get the safest care available.  I thought that home birth was for crunchy-organic-granola people and I wanted nothing to do with that kind of irresponsible extremism.

My first child was born in 2001, attended by a OB/GYN who not only had the bedside manner of a drunken sailor, but who told me during my labor that he had a camping trip that weekend (it was a Friday) and that I was to have that baby by 5pm.  After a violent-but-effective experience with pitocin, and a too-little-too-late epidural, low blood sugar, exhaustion, forceps delivery (which bruised my sweet baby's face) a HUGE episiotomy and further tearing, I was delivered of a 7#3 baby boy.  During the stitching-up process, my doctor left several gauze packs inside my body, which caused a terrifying scene almost a week later. 

The following year, 2002, my second child was born in a different hospital attended by a CNM.  I LOVED this woman.  She was a calming, wonderful influence in the delivery room.  Although I still had pitocin augmentation and an epidural, I was this time calm and lucid enough to participate in my daughter's birth.

In 2004, even after giving birth twice, I had not at this point ever experienced a true active labor contraction - only pitocin-augmented contractions.  When my labor began with my third child, I assumed it was pre-labor because it was not wrenchingly painful.  I went about my business, even sleeping through a long stretch of active labor.  I awoke during transition, and only began to realize that I MIGHT be in labor.  I tried to go do laundry, but found the task impractical.  My husband and I arrived at the hospital with only enough time to change clothes, have every vein in both arms ruptured in an attempt to start an IV, and have a fight with the CNM-on-call (same practice as the previous birth, but not my favorite person in the practice) before our son was born less than an hour after our arrival.  No drugs.  I had no idea what to expect because I had never experienced natural labor before.  I was terrified.  I was equally shocked by the sudden relief, calm, and buoyancy I felt immediately after the birth.  The recovery was phenomenal.

My fourth (another son) was born in 2007, in a new hospital in a new city, with a new OB/GYN.  The experience of being thrust back into the pitocin-and-epidural routine contrasted sharply with my previous birth experience and confirmed to me that something needed to change. 

When I became pregnant with my fifth child, I searched for local CNMs, finding very few options, and none I was comfortable with.  I did, however, find many CPMs/RMs (Registered Midwife) who did home births.  It was an option I never had considered before.  My preliminary searches yielded very comforting statistics about the safety of home birth, and I was shocked to discover that our insurance company would actually COVER a home birth with a CPM!  My husband slowly became convinced that this was a doable option, and we hired our wonderful midwife, Merrie.  I studied and read everything I could during the pregnancy, becoming ever more convinced that this was the right course, and discovering the likely reasons I endured so many interventions with my previous births.  I gained confidence in my own ability to birth, discarded my fear of the process, and just enjoyed the beauty, power and majesty of the miracle of new life.  Our son was born in November of 2009 in our own room, next to our bed, in an unprecedented atmosphere of peace, joy, support and comfort.  Less than an hour later, I was showered, dressed in my own comfortable clothes, and in my bed with my son at my breast and my husband lying beside me.  It was a remarkable and life-changing moment.

I knew after this experience that I wanted to change our society's birth culture - and in so doing indeed change the world - one family, one woman at a time.  So began the journey I am currently on.  I decided within a year after my little son's birth that I wanted to become a home birth midwife.

I now am studying and doing the academic portion of my training through an online program called Midwife-To-Be, which is run by Lisa Aman, a midwife in South Carolina.  I also do clinical hours at prenatal/postnatal visits with my preceptor, Merrie, the midwife who caught my last baby.  I am taking my time with the program.  I want to be thorough, and I do not intend on having regular office hours or my own practice until my youngest child (who is not yet born) is old enough to be at home alone or with his/her siblings.  In the mean time, I participate in the birthing process wherever I can, including giving support (and foot massages) to expecting mothers, volunteering as a doula at friends' births, and helping wherever I am wanted.

Join me on my journey.  I welcome your insights, comments and experiences.  I hope that my experiences and knowledge will help you.

Bringing Mei-Mei Home: Three Generations of Miracles

(This was my first post on our China adoption blog)

One reason this very, very fertile family is adopting is, simply stated:


To be short, my children are the ONLY blood-relatives I have in my entire family.

My maternal grandparents could not have children the traditional way (grandpa became sterile after having the mumps) so they adopted my mother and her two sisters in 1952, 1960 and 1964 respectively.  Grandma and Grandpa were quite unusual and forward-thinking for 50s parents of adopted children: they actually TOLD their daughters that they were adopted!  My grandparents took a lot of flak for that.  Back in those days, adoption was not nearly as well-accepted as it is today - it was nearly a scandal to admit that a child was not your flesh-and-blood - and most adopted children found out the "family secret" by accident or on their parents' deathbeds.  My mother, on the other hand, always knew where she came from and that her family was her family no matter how she came to be in it. 

20 years later...  My parents married in 1974 assuming, as most people do, that they would not have any barriers to childbearing.  They came to find out, though, that Mom had reproductive problems serious enough to prevent any chance of becoming pregnant.  Today, she probably would have been diagnosed with PCOS and a couple other things, and may have been able to overcome those and bear children herself with the help of a few modern medical miracles.  However, medicine being what it was in the 70s and 80s, these advances had yet to come to pass, so my parents could not have children the home-made way either.

Not to be deterred from their dream of having four children, they adopted me through LDS Social Services (now LDS Family Services) as a 13-day old infant in 1980.  My adoption was contested by my birth father and after a court battle it was finalized in 1981 when I was more than a year old.  Two years later, I became a big sister when we adopted my first brother - also an infant - through LDS Social Services.  I had the privilege of being the first person to enter the conference room with the little crib where my new baby brother was waiting for us to meet him.  He was the most beautiful, fat little thing I’d ever seen, and he was ALL MINE!  My parents had special baby books for my brother and I that were designed for LDS adopted children.  Instead of having pages for “labor and delivery” or “coming home from the hospital”, there were pages for “my first home”, “at the agency” and “my day at court”, as well as several pages for writing about the adoption process. 

I enjoyed being adopted.  Not that I had anything to compare it to, but it was something special about me, something different about my family.  To me, it was an important part of my identity. It was also fun.  I could claim not to be related to my brother when he did something embarrassing.  We joked with my Daddy, telling him that we were all “chosen”, but his parents had to take him!  Dad, as the only home-baked person in the family, was the “different one”.  At school, I had mixed experiences.  Other children were curious about my being adopted.  They would ask me things like, “How did you find out?”, “Were you in an orphanage?” and “Do you know who your real parents are?”  Nothing riled me like that last question.  Of course I knew my real parents!  They were raising me!  It doesn’t get more real than sitting up with a sick, puking child, driving hours every week for piano, softball and karate, as well as teaching, disciplining, sacrificing in every way that a parent does!  I was quite defensive of my family, and militant about people using “correct” terminology when discussing my origins.  “Birth mother” and “biological mother” were allowable terms for the woman who bore me, “real mom” was fiercely forbidden. 

Now, I don’t want anyone to think that I had ill feelings for my birth mother.  Quite the contrary, my parents taught me from the earliest age that the irrefutable evidence of my birth mother’s love for me was the fact that allowed me to have a family with a father and mother, happily married to each other, by placing me for adoption.  My mother told me,
“The greatest act of love ever performed for you outside of the Atonement of Jesus Christ was your birth mother placing you for adoption.”
I believed that.  I still do, and my experiences and acquaintances since then have been further evidence to me that what my mother told me is true.  My birth mother is my angel; a guiding star and inspiration.  My mother, however, is my pillar; my sunlight, and my hand to hold. 

For a long time, it was just the two of us children and our parents; a cute, little Father-Mother-Sister-Brother family just like the Berenstein Bears.  Can’t ask for more than that, right?  Well, Mom and Dad had always wanted a somewhat larger family than that.  It just wasn’t panning out.  While we still lived in Oregon, there was a brief time when they thought another adoption would come to be, but that situation fell through.  We moved to New Jersey, then Pennsylvania, and got a very harsh response to inquiries in those states.  It was not to be.

We lived 12 years in the east, and it appeared that we would always be “just the four of us”.  Then, when I was 15 we moved to Colorado.  My mother became friends with a wonderful lady, Kathleen, who had adopted a daughter.  She and her husband already had 3 home-baked sons and since that time they have adopted three more children.  That friendship led to an acquaintance with local foster families, one of which happened to be fostering a 4-year old boy who became my brother.  The first time he came to our home for a day visit, we all knew that he was meant to be with us.  He was adopted through Adams County, Colorado when he was 5 and I was 16.  Going from the 14-year old being the “baby of the family” to a kindergartener was quite a transition, especially since this particular kindergartener was not yet potty trained, had the language of an 18-month old, and even lower processing skills.  His sweet disposition won us all over, and we determined to help him achieve whatever he was capable of. 

My parents still wanted to bring one more child into the family, so they set about again to adopt someone close to my little brother’s age.  Working with Adams County for my brother’s adoption had been beastly, so my parents sought out different options for the last go-round and finally found my sister through Denver County when I was 18 and a senior in High School.  She was a tiny little 4-year old Hispanic girl with bright, warm brown eyes and an enormous smile.  It was love at first sight.  Something amazing happened the first time she spent the night at our home.  After tucking the little ones into their beds, my mother came into my room.  We both had felt the same thing: the family was now complete.  A hole had been there, imperceptible until it was filled.  My sister did not have the mental challenges that my little brother did, but she had plenty of her own struggles to overcome because of her turbulent past.

While her adoption was in process, I graduated from High School (class of 1999) and met a wonderful young man that summer.  We decided (very quickly) to get married.  Prior to our wedding in December 1999 I was told by my doctor that because of my endometriosis, I was unlikely to ever have children, or at the least would have great difficulty maintaining a pregnancy.  Well, I told myself, that’s just how things work in this family.  Women in my family don’t have babies!  I resigned myself to that fate and had a lengthy discussion with my fiancĂ©, making sure that he was really alright with the concept and reality of adoption.  I figured that was the only way we were going to have a family of our own.  After a lot of pondering, he agreed, although I don’t think he fully “got it” yet.  He hadn’t seen the miracle of our family in action yet.  That’s where God’s timing proved so perfect. 

In December, my sister’s adoption was finalized.  My beloved came with the family to court and got to witness first-hand how my family legally comes to be.  Then, just one week before our wedding, we sat together in the Denver LDS Temple as my sister was sealed to my parents and given beautiful blessings and promises just as if she had been born to them.  He felt the power of the bond that an adopted family can have.  It is something not taken for granted, because one isn’t just “born with it”, it has to be forged, actively cultivated, proven and ratified before God and the law.  He decided then that adoption was part of our future, his future, as a member of this family.  One week later, on December 17, 1999, we were married and sealed in that same room in the temple, beginning our own journey as a family unit. 

Well, fast-forward 11 years…  All of my doctor’s predictions about difficulty in childbirth have come to naught.  We have (with no difficulty) baked-and-birthed five beautiful, healthy, brilliant little people.
One thing is lacking: 
We want to pass on this legacy of adoption to the third generation. 


I love to write.  I have loved it since I learned how and even before that.  I have notebooks full of scribbles that look (as best I could make them) just like my mother's cursive.
Once upon a time, I even had a blog that a few people followed.  It was called, oddly enough, exactly the same thing as this one.  Then one dark and stormy night (ok, I don't remember what the weather was) it disappeared without a trace.  All of my posts about homeschooling, home birth, quotes from my awesome babies, and instructions to make my pear sauce: GONE!  I was sad.  But out of the ashes was born opportunity (and incentive to back things up elsewhere).  I created TWO new blogs!  One about my journey as a student midwife, one about our family's journey in China adoption.  The problem: neither one got updated.  They were too specific.  I had nowhere to chronicle my other adventures, thoughts and soapboxes and no one but me read them anyway.
Oh well!  Time to begin anew!  I am going to move over the posts I made on my other blogs, the posts I wanted to make, and whatever else strikes my creative fancy.  This will be IT!  My one podium from which to broadcast to the world what makes my family neurotic.  I mean, what makes them TICK!
So, if you like it, subscribe.  I can't guarantee that the topic of the day will be at all of interest to you, only that it is mine.
Enjoy life!
~Erin (not a super mom, but frequently accused of such)