Monday, October 26, 2015

#Microblog Mondays: Celebrating Six Years

Six years ago Bryce and I were married -- legally at our favorite Mexican restaurant on October 23rd and then again with a small ceremony and celebration in our backyard on October 31st. It's kind of confusing, having two anniversaries. We usually celebrate privately, just us chickens, on or near the 23rd, because that was pretty small and private the first time around and it feels like it's all ours. On the 31st, well, that's Halloween and it's our favorite holiday (hence the wedding date), so it's tradition to continue on with the Halloween festivities and celebrate with all the ghouls and goblins.

It's amazing to me that it's been six years. I can't really say it seems like only yesterday, because there is just so much that has happened in those six years. I received my first trigger shot FedEx package on my wedding day, on Halloween, while in my wedding dress. It was the beginning of so many things, and it reminds me that our marriage is intricately entwined with our journey to parenthood, and that that journey is STILL not over. We have been through so much in those six years. We've also grown so much, and as much as I feel the "it made us stronger" is dangerously cliche, it's true. We didn't just survive infertility, we battled it together and continue to be a united front, working to bring our FutureBaby home.

We celebrated our private anniversary a weekend early this year, at one of our favorite restaurants, because this past weekend was our baby shower, the friends-and-family one, and so we had Bryce's mom and aunt in from out of town and my best friend in and so Friday was spent getting settled with my in-laws. But really, what better way is there to spend your sixth anniversary than having your baby shower to celebrate a long-awaited baby (who you are still patiently waiting for)?

Part of me is scared, though...scared that we celebrated and we have a house full of things for our baby and it might not come to pass, that something could go horribly wrong and despite all of our best intentions the journey could end. I don't think so, but that niggling, nasty little voice at the back of my head worries and worries and rubs a bit of my skull shiny and smooth with all of the worrying.

The rest of my consciousness is feeling loved, and supported, and like we celebrated not just the anniversary of us becoming a family of two, a beautiful marriage and relationship that has survived these six years of many joys and nearly as much heartache...but we ALSO celebrated all the love and support and excitement that we have for Mystery Baby, that SO MANY people have for Mystery Baby, and it was truly wonderful.

Saturday we will sit out in our firepit in the driveway, eating chicken wing dip and pumpkin pie and having wine or cocktails after we hand out our 7 full-size candy bars (seriously, SEVEN children the last two years. SEVEN.), and celebrate with our neighbors as we have for the past 9 years. And maybe giddily answer some questions from those not in the know about the cardboard crib boxes and torn baby gift bags and other assorted baby gear detritus that's been out at the curb for garbage pickup.

There's movement, and change, and a fast-materializing nursery almost ready for Mystery Baby to come fill it. It's a good feeling, once I smother that nasty little voice in the back of my head, worrying that bit of my skull into a polished shine.

Lovebirds before fancy schmancy anniversary dinner, in our garden

Silly faces (maybe Bryce is going for The Shining as inspiration?)

Smoochy face

Me, in a New Mom-To-Be tiara with the shower planning committee! (more shower pictures to come)

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

Monday, October 19, 2015

#Microblog Mondays: A Little More Nursery Every Day

This was the Weekend of the Nursery. The painting was done the weekend before, and the incredibly sumptuous wall-to-wall carpeting went in on Wednesday.

This weekend's goal? To clear the nook of as much baby stuff as possible, get it into the nursery, assemble the crib, and assemble the 6-cube shelving unit that I bought a few weeks ago.

I did a ton of adorable tiny laundry, courtesy of my very generous school shower. I washed onesies that seemed impossibly tiny, soft cozy blankets, and adorable owly crib sheets. (I am trying not to be completely saddened by the fact that the crib sheets I've bought in my owl pattern are the only ones I'll have, since they were discontinued and now are not even available as just the sheet on Amazon, boo hoo.)

I worked with Bryce to assemble the cube thingamajig and arranged the brightly colored canvas bins (that incidentally match both the owl bedding AND the owl rug) just so, and then filled the cubes with books and the bins with toys, diapers/wipes, and sheets/blankets.

We couldn't put the crib together. Unfortunately, the manufacturer sent a defective side rail and the screw doesn't go more than halfway into the hole because the hole doesn't line up with the other side, at all. As in the other side of the same hole. Off by 1/2 inch. Boo hoo hoo, but the local baby furniture store where we bought the crib that will one day be adorable is taking good care of us. It was a bummer, though.

So little by little, bit by bit, we are turning what was once our little oceany guest room into a creamy, cheery nursery for our Mystery Baby. Next up, actually putting the crib together and getting the dresser that we desperately need (for clothing, diapers, and the changing table pad). It will all come together, and it is damn exciting to see this room transform into something that not so long ago we didn't quite believe would ever materialize for us.

Books, books, and more books! And LOVE that book Wish. A tearjerker for sure. It came with the oil stain, but I was worried if I sent it back it wouldn't be loved, so I kept it. The stack is some of our Halloween picture book collection. I am getting a new cushion for the windowseat, those have seen better days (it's a kitty favorite spot). Think we have enough books? (There's more elsewhere, too...our child will not suffer for reading material.)
Sad defective crib disassembled... but there's the cute owl rug on the new brown carpet...ahhhh, the carpet that your feet just sink right into, carpet I could spend hours on (and probably will).  Obviously we are replacing the bamboo stick shades of death with cordless one-touch blackout shades that won't strangle anyone we love. The stick on the windowsill is for staking vampire pests. Just kidding, the window doesn't stay open (on the long long list of things to fix) on its own.
Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

What Lens Do You See Through?

Facebook is perplexing to me sometimes. It is a mass of messages, and attempts at communication, and it is really, really easy to make a mess of things.

Did I make a mess of things? I'm going to let you be the judge.

A friend posted a video on my wall, with a lovely message about how we are in our tenth month, and how excited they are for us, and just that we were thought of. I thought it was really nice.

And then I watched the video.

The video was super touching, "Ten Things I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Parent." I had tears leaking from my eyes for most of it... and then it kind of pissed me off. I'll let you watch it and see what kind of reaction you have (be warned if you are not in good place due to a loss or a negative or anything really, don't watch it.):

The message from the friend was lovely though, so I responded and thanked her...but couldn't let well enough alone. I didn't like the message at the end of the video. I couldn't just globally "like" it and have it out there that I supported this message, when I had a very specific problem with it.

Here is my initial response:

Thank you! I love most of this video and there were definitely tears shed. (The only part I didn't like was the insinuation that if you're not a mom you are lesser somehow...I know a lot of people who are childfree by choice (and some not) who would not appreciate that piece of the message or find it particularly true...) Most of all, we appreciate your thoughts! Thank you for thinking of us and sharing in our excitement. It's going to be great! And yeah, that boy at the end is PRICELESS! :-)

And then I felt bad for not just thanking outright and overlooking what I didn't like, so I wrote:

Sorry to soapbox your beautiful message of love, can't help myself! :-)

But then two things happened. First, I got a message from the person who sent it in the first place, that said:

I'm so sorry, Jess.

Oh no no no, I wasn't looking for an apology. I was just looking to express a sensitivity to a piece of the video that I found a little...insidious, for lack of a better word. I responded and let her know that I really felt like most of my message was appreciation for thinking of us, and that I did not expect an apology or feel like she was personally responsible for the video. I got that it was the equivalent of a "thinking of you" card.

And then, another friend wrote on my original comment about the video:

I did not see that insinuation at all?? What part are you referring to?

Uh-oh. I didn't want to make the first person who posted feel worse about the content of the video, but I also saw an opportunity to explain my frame of reference. So I did. And it was really, really long.

Okay, so you have to understand my frame of reference, which is that I know people for whom becoming a parent did not work out, despite medical treatment, and in some cases despite going for adoption (and in some cases that wasn't an accessible option for a variety of reasons). And I have friends who have decided children aren't for them. They hear a message all the time that says, "You don't know the full measure of love" or "Having children is the best thing you can EVER do" or "you can't understand what love is" because they don't have children. And while we are excited, because we are on the path, we are still a childfree couple, and things could (hopefully not!) work out in such a way that we don't end up with a baby. So it's a sensitive issue on many levels.

Then my stupid keyboard sent it prematurely, so I had to continue in another comment. I realize that probably seemed like overkill, but here is the rest:

So, I am NOT mad at this video, and I do NOT think that the overall message is a bad one. I take exception with the following: "You can't understand the love until you experience it...because you haven't, you haven't yet." "This will be the best thing you've ever done." "If I wasn't a mom... I can't imagine. It's been too wonderful." It CAN be wonderful, and it CAN be the best thing you've ever done, but the issue I have is the message that it IS the best thing you can do and that may not be true for everyone. This is a video that was seen through my lens by people who haven't had my experience, but I also had quite a few parents perplexed about how I saw what I saw. It's the beauty of life...there are so many different ways to interpret things based on your own personal lens and experience. I am particularly sensitive to it because this is my past and really still my present. :-) Does that help? Man, I should have just written a blog post! :-)

Why not write a blog post? So what say you? Was I overboard? Did I see something that isn't really there? (I don't think so, because as I said other people who have never experienced infertility and who are parents saw what I saw before I even put any comments up, and I got a few private messages afterwards backing me up, but maybe they are more sensitive because they've been exposed to my lens?) Or is does this video truly take a turn for the worse right before the end? How do you feel after watching it, given your unique lens?

I have to learn when to soapbox and when to leave things alone, but I kinda feel like soapboxing is part of who I am. Bryce says that it has the unintended consequence of making people pussyfoot around me, but I hope that's not true. I hope my soapboxing was at least pleasant and not confrontational, but informative to a perspective that many people might overlook, most of the time obliviously.

How are people to open their eyes to this particular lens if it's not pointed out?

Monday, October 12, 2015

#Microblog Mondays: Noticing Bias in Baby Product Advertising

I am incredibly lucky to have a boatload of support in preparing for our Mystery Baby. We had a beautiful school shower where people were super generous and genuinely excited. We have boxes from the giant alliterative superstore of the baby coming to the house. We have another shower in a couple of weeks. It's pretty awesome.

As we receive these things, I can't help but notice that the baby printed on the packing slip/gift message is white.

The babies on the car seat boxes...white.

The baby and toddler on the spacesaving high chair box? White.

The babies printed on the toy packaging? White, white, white.

Almost everything, minus one picture book that didn't have animals as the characters... a flood of stereotypically white baby faces.

It really bothers me.

In part, because it seems unfair to have absolutely no representation of other cultures and colors on the packaging... there is a lifetime of not seeing yourself reflected in movies or books or packaging or toys when you are not white, and it sends an insidious message. Is it so hard to keep diversity in mind when advertising?

It also bothers me because it's more than a little possible that our child won't be white, and while I would have noticed this inequity before, now it REALLY, REALLY bothers me. Why start so young with the whitewashing? Why start sending the message that you don't matter in representation on DIAPER packaging, for Pete's sake?

So I just want to give a shout out to Dr. Brown's bottles, because so far, they are the only manufacturer who has featured a baby who is not white on the outside of their packaging:

Or maybe this is a white baby, just a darker skin-toned, brown-eyed, dark-haired white baby, but the image stood out from the peaches-and-cream Gerber baby festival happening elsewhere. 

It's amazing how much I've taken for granted that I see people who look like me reflected all around me in advertising. I don't think it should be so hard to mix things up, to have packaging reflect the multicultural, diverse world around us.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Painting a Nursery Can Make You Crazy

Our "Little Room," which is now "Mystery Baby's Room" or just "the baby's room," needed some tweaks before it would be ready to fully become a nursery. In my head, I wanted it to look different than it had before, not just because there was a crib and other obviously baby-centered pieces of furniture in it, but because I wanted it to have a fresh start.

Once upon a time, when I first moved into this house 8 years ago, the little room was a deep loden green. It had been a little boy's room, Bryce's stepson from his previous marriage. It wasn't a little boy's room any more, and it held more than a small amount of sadness from the loss of that day-to-day existence as a stepparent. It was the ghost of a little boy's room. It had the bed, and a (giant, antique-y) rocking chair, but otherwise was not used. I actually didn't know that room existed until months after I'd been coming to the house, because the door was always closed and it is pretty much the size of a large walk-in closet, so I assumed it was a large closet. It wasn't.

One of the first things I did when I moved in was to redo that room. The green was too dark. I didn't want a ghost of a room in my home, I wanted a new room that could be bright and seaside-cottage-y, a guest room that could also be used for crafts or, as I did the following year, IEP-writing.

So I painted over the deep green and replaced it with Atlantic Gray, which was a misnomer and turned out more robin's egg blue. Bryce painted the trim a sand color, and the tiled floor was painted a milk chocolate color with porch paint (a brilliant idea from the depot of homes, as porch paint is meant to be walked all over). It was very ocean-y.

It was also a pain in the ass to paint. The walls are wallboard, and not solid wallboard but a paneling-look wallboard with divots like vertical stripes all around. Wallboard is like cardboard, only more porous. Because it soaks up paint like nobody's business. I think it took three coats to get the Atlantic Gray to cover the green, but I did it over April break so I had all the time in the world. I painted the absorbent walls first, and then we painted the trim, since the walls went down behind it and to paint the walls thoroughly I had to make a mess of the trim. Bryce's built-in bookcases and window seat went in after I painted the walls, so you could see the new blue through the cracks but I didn't have to worry about those things as I slathered the walls in ocean.

I think I sort of forgot all of these things when I decided that we should repaint the nursery.

I thought I could paint it all today, that I'd have the time (and the patience) for all the coats needed to replace the Atlantic Gray (robin's egg blue) with the toasted marshmallow/pale mushroom/putty color in the dining room. I figured a nice creamy color would be a lovely neutral backdrop to the bright colors in our owl bedding -- the light blue and spring green and orange would pop against the cream without competing, I could stick the wall decals that came with the bedding onto a nice clean canvas, it would be a little more gender-neutral than the bluish color, and it would be DIFFERENT.

Different is important, because after I replaced the ghost of a child's room with the guest room, it slowly became again a ghost of a baby's room, a room that was a nursery but couldn't materialize into a nursery because we couldn't seem to make a baby happen. I was okay with the blue-gray, but then decided I wanted a fresh start.

OH HOLY JEEZUM. I thought having all those coats of blue paint would make it easier to paint again. The walls are like a haunted sponge. They soak up the paint, and the blue paint is in all these nooks and crannies where the wallboard doesn't QUITE meet up with the ceiling, the low and angled Cape Code ceiling. I am keeping the trim the same, because it is pretty I am lazy, but I spent a lot of time using a whole tree's worth of damp paper towels to try and clean up the massive amounts of creamy paint that got on the trim in the process of covering the blue. And now, all the built-ins are there... and so I have to somehow get the cream to cover the blue behind the bookshelves where you can see. We decided to keep the window seat dormer blue, because I just can't get behind where you can see to cover it. I hope it looks interesting and not like the cheating shortcut it is.

The first coat of paint took me 4 hours. FOUR HOURS for a 91 square foot room! I have to put the second coat on tomorrow, which I was not planning on (I was planning on enjoying my three day weekend and working on some school stuff while also enjoying the outdoors and some couch reading time). But, our wall-to-wall carpeting is going in on Wednesday, so I REALLY need to get the paint done tomorrow. So second coat in the morning, and if needed the third coat in the afternoon.

I kind of wish I had just left it alone, but I do like how bright and fresh it looks now, even with the blue stubbornly poking through the cream. (First coat, I have to remind myself it's just the first coat.)

Throughout this process of getting the nursery together and finding that some things are harder than I originally thought they would be (go figure) -- from the glider, to finding a dresser we can assemble IN the room since none already-assembled will fit through the door, to painting porous walls... people have a tendency to say to me if I voice my frustration well-meaning things like, "Your baby won't care, your baby will just need you" or "All you need is love, you don't need a nursery, not really."

It goes through me like a nail. The nursery is for the baby, technically, but I could argue that the nursery is actually for the parents. It's not really needed, you could put a baby in a box like the one Finland sends all expectant parents and it would be perfectly happy. But for expectant parents who have wanted this baby forever, a nursery is a symbol of all the things you have to look forward to, a realization of a dream that will some day soonish come true. It's a space dedicated to the change to come. It's like weddings -- all you really need is someone to officiate, but all the bells and whistles that get added in are so you have a day to remember, a realization of a dream, a symbol of the love shared between two people.

This nursery is my symbol. It's all I have to hang on to right now as we wait. I want it to be beautiful. I want it to be fresh and new and cleansed of the sorrow and loss that it held previously, when we couldn't fill it. So much of how we envisioned becoming parents has turned out differently than originally imagined, and the nursery is one place where I can have as much of the original dream as possible. I don't see adoption as a consolation prize, not at all, but it is different than how I thought Bryce and I would start our family. We didn't think we'd be in our forties. We didn't think it would take at least 6 years. We didn't think that medical treatments wouldn't work. We didn't think that we would have to let go of pregnancy.

We get to be parents, and we are so grateful and excited for that.

And we get to have a nursery. I want this nursery to come together in a beautiful way, not a minimal or haphazard way. It will be reasonable; I'm not looking for a crazy fantasy chandelier-lit nursery (although good for you if that's your fantasy), I just want it to be clean, and beautiful, and new, and classic... and to not go freaking insane painting the wallboard. Wish me luck tomorrow as I finish up this job. I can't wait to share with you the pictures of our nursery as it slowly comes together.

The color of the "nursery" before from the windowseat view...
And the wall by the door view... see those dastardly divot "stripes?"
The first coat of creamy toasted marshmallow color...
The nook that stays the bluish color...does it look weird? The lighting tonight makes it look like it's the same color as the ceiling, but it's not. Obviously we need a new cushion for the window seat/picture book shelves.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Two October Garden Store Trips, Two Very Different Experiences

Two years ago, or maybe it was three, Bryce's mom and stepdad came for a visit over Columbus Day weekend. On Saturday, Bryce and his stepfather decided to go for a drive and check out a fly fishing shop, while Bryce's mom and I decided to go to a garden store and look for pumpkins and mums.

We went to a particular garden store that is known for being ginormous, one I hadn't been to yet. I expected plants and pumpkins and maybe some Halloween stuff. We found those there, but what I didn't know was the greenhouses also housed a veritable children's carnival -- rides, spooky displays, photo ops, pony rides, etc. etc. etc.

I was in the middle of IVF hell. I was not experiencing anything even remotely resembling success. I think I was in the middle of prepping for an egg donor cycle. I'm pretty sure I was on evil Lupron. I was not prepared for the onslaught that awaited me.

I felt utterly overwhelmed. There was way too much noise, too many young children, too many strollers, too many pumpkin-shirt-clad bellies. I tried really hard to hold my shit together and then ended up hyperventilating, buying some sedum for the garden (monarchs need sedum for their trip back to Mexico from Canada, in case you were wondering), panic-buying a bushel of small pumpkin gourds, and racing back to the car. I think my mother-in-law was a little perplexed, but I could not handle that concentration of young family, a carnival of what I was trying to achieve and just couldn't. It was awful. I vowed never to return.

Fast forward to today, two (or maybe three) years later, and I found myself at the VERY SAME garden store, at the VERY SAME time of year, with all the VERY SAME carnival rides and activity and pumpkin bellies and strollers galore.

It was different, though.

Some things stayed the same: still we have no baby of our own, still we are not part of the stroller brigade, still I have no pumpkin belly (and probably never will on that one).

However, this was a family event through our agency, and while we were empty-handed (unless you counted the Halloween cups of cider or Bryce's delicious doughnut), we were surrounded by families who had been created through adoption.

Successful, happy families with doughnut-crusted toddlers and smiling babies and sleeping chubby-cheeked infants. Families that are the light at the end of our tunnel, a sneak peek at our future.

It was overwhelming with all the strollers and yelling children and squeals of joy (and some tears), but this time it didn't feel like I didn't belong there.

To me, it felt hopeful. It felt like our days as a family of two are numbered. Of course, we heard stories that varied from "I waited two months" to "I waited two years," and so it really is a mystery how long those numbered days will stretch out... but there was NOT A SOUL who had waited and waited and waited and was left empty-handed. Not one that came to the event, anyway. There were three of us that were waiting families of two, and we actually knew each other through our various infertility experiences. It was nice to not be alone in that regard, to not feel like a lonely lurker desperately seeking tales from the other side.  There were two adoptive families that I knew, too, and that was also a bonus--to have so many people to talk to who were familiar before branching out to "strangers." I felt supported. I felt excited. I felt like our agency creates true community. I felt so much hope.

I know that adoption is a rollercoaster, and that I am still merely racing down my first hill, having reached the end of the ticking uphill wait for the ride to truly start. There are loops and turns waiting for us, but I feel that we have a secure harness keeping us on the ride in our agency, our friends who share similar experiences, and our relationship. I am confident that we will pull into the station, exhilarated and with mussed hair, having laughed and screamed and teared up all at once, and our Mystery Baby will be waiting for us. If I can conquer the way the garden store made me feel the first time around... I believe I can make it through this ride to the other side, no matter what's thrown at us.  (Note to Universe... pretty please consider how many loops we've already been through when throwing new ones. Please?)

Monday, October 5, 2015

#Microblog Mondays: What If This Is All I Get?

Bryce and I were driving to a local walking trail Sunday when I had a flash of memory.

Three years ago, after I lost our only uterine pregnancy that seemed so promising, I remember staring numbly at the carpet near my feet and saying, 

"What if this is it? What if this is the only taste of pregnancy I get? What if this brief couple of weeks that ended in sorrow is all we get?" 

On this beautiful fall day, as we prepare for the baby that is closer and closer to coming our way, I realized that those words were true. That WAS it. That WAS my last experience with my own pregnancy. I WON'T have that experience again. 

Bryce sat in the car quietly after I shared my memory flash and said, 

"I remember you saying that." 

The funny thing was, I said it without crying. Without feeling a vast emptiness in my chest or a lump in my throat. I said it because it's true, but it just means that pregnancy isn't how our baby will come to us. Not my pregnancy, anyway. 

I wanted it so badly, but it wasn't ultimately my pathway. Sometimes I think about how much the desire to be pregnant took over navigating our journey, and if I hadn't wanted that experience so badly, if I could have seen the baby for the bump instead of the forest for the trees, we could have been parents sooner. 

Coulda shoulda woulda...doesn't really help anything constructive. I could feel tremendous amounts of guilt for my pregnancy fervor that took us (in hindsight) off course, but guilt is a wasted emotion. It's just interesting to think on for a minute. 

Because right now, I feel closer to parenthood than ever. It may take longer than we think, or shorter than we think, but we feel confident that we can weather any storms that may come our way on this route to our Mystery Baby. I do feel sad every once in a while that I won't get to bake that baby, but I get all the rest of the milestones and the moments and the lifetime of parenting -- without stretchmarks, the dangers of pregnancy and childbirth, or cankles. It's a pretty good trade, I think, but a trade nonetheless. I lost something worthy of mourning, but it is a brief moment in the grand scheme of things. What I gained, what WE gained, is beautiful and full of hope...and will last a heck of a lot longer than 40 short weeks.

Want to read more #Microblog Mondays? Go here and enjoy!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

How I'm Dealing With The Wait (So Far)

It really is true that the adoption process is a whole lot of "hurry up and wait."

We spent months filling out paperwork, from the ginormous application to all of the home study documents, every day bringing us closer to the day we were home study approved. We had checklists and due dates and a sense of marching towards something tangible. We spent hours and days putting together a profile book that we hoped put our best selves (and our real selves) forward, showed our life in a way that would be appealing to not all expectant mothers, but to the ones who would be able to see their baby happily inserted into those pages.

And then, we were approved and profile-ready.

We had jumped off the cliff into the abyss, a space of time with an unknown bottom, an unknown everything.

I have to say that this is similar to the dreaded Two Week Wait, in that you examine everything that you've done, the choices that you made on your Grid and in designing your profile book, and wonder if you've made the right decisions, instead of doing the same to your regimen while you were taking shots and then examining every twinge in your uterus and every sensitivity in your boobs. It is drastically DISsimilar to the Two Week Wait in that there is no date to expect your call. I don't have a day marked on the calendar, a day to dread and hope for at the same time, a day where I know that I will get my YES or my NO. It could stretch on for months. It could stretch on for years.

We were given an average timeframe, yes, and that average timeframe is 7 months. That would put our placement around February, given that we got our profile books in a little later than our homestudy was completed. I keep reminding myself, though... an average is not an absolute. It is not a counting-down, a ticking timer to a definite space on the calendar. It could be sooner. And, it could be later.

We could receive profile opportunity calls on a regular basis, but not have it be THE call for months -- either situations that are not right for us, or situations that were so right for us but we weren't chosen from the pile of books as THE family. Or, we could not receive a call at all for months and months and months, and then get the call that is the ONE.

So much is not knowing, and being okay with not knowing.

We have not received a single call yet -- not a wrong one, not a right one where we weren't chosen, just a space of radio silence.

It really hasn't been that long, though. I have two months of my wait behind me. I think it would be pretty miraculous to be matched after two swift months. I am realistic. I am not utterly worried.

(Lest you think I am some kind of Zen Queen, I am a tiny bit worried, since I know of people who started receiving calls within weeks of being profile-ready, but those calls weren't the RIGHT calls until nearly a year later... So the tiny 13 year old inside me is feeling a little "Why aren't they CALLING me? Why am I not getting a single call yet?" But the almost-40-year-old in me knows that all is not lost, that a call WILL come and maybe we won't have as many opportunities to say NO before we say YES. It's really just a mystery, but hard not to play the comparison game.)

So how are we dealing with this wait? How am I planning to cope with a neverending misty horizon with no clear destination in view?

We are trying really hard not to think about it.
People are asking. Occasionally I get the, "So you REALLY don't have any idea when this will happen?" and the answer is...YES. I am not lying to disguise the fact that we are matched. We don't know. It's a lot of I don't know. And so, even though I obsessively keep my phone with me and on at all times (which is resulting in a lot of BLOOPing during class, but it's a small price to pay), I try not to think about it ringing in the completely obnoxious ringtone I chose for our agency...and the panic and racing heartbeat and joy that will come with hearing that ring. I try not to think about every minute that goes by that I am NOT called. I try to be at peace with this, and to truly live in the moment. Which is really, really, hard for me. But, in adoption, less hard for me because I have so little to do with it at this point. I have dotted all the i's, and crossed all the t's. My body has zippo to do with this. We were told our profile book is beautiful, and open, and welcoming, and designed in such a way that we would never have to worry that the book could be the reason we were waiting. So I just have to be a bit of a Zen Queen and breathe deeply and accept that I WILL NOT KNOW. And leave it at that.

We are preparing for our Mystery Baby, hard.
We are using this time to get the nursery up and running, to get our house in order for the massive changes that occur from such a tiny little person. We painted the dining room and rearranged furniture to clear the Nook upstairs. We have our crib in our possession (thanks to Bryce's Grammie in spirit), and our carseat (thanks to my mom and stepfather), and we are still trying to figure out this whole glider thing (thank you to Bryce's mom and stepfather). I had my school shower on Monday, which was beautiful and surreal and awesome and slightly awkward (so much opening presents in front of people), but now we have EVEN MORE stuff for the baby -- the high chair (spacesaver version), the changing pad, more adorable clothing and books and little baby toys, my superfancy diaper bag that looks nicer than my current purse, and diapers and wipes. Wipes I am a little afraid will dry out before our Mystery Baby arrives... We have the infant bathtub and the adorable crab hooded towel thanks to a close friend who can't make my shower in October. We have A LOT OF STUFF. And so, this weekend is about prepping the nursery for painting, next weekend is about painting, and the following week is all about installing the wall-to-wall carpeting to make the nursery a) warmer, b) cushier for our old joints, and c) not the hideous tile it was before. THEN, then we can put the crib together, and get the six-cube bookcase in there, and hopefully get that glider delivered to the house. I am completely okay with having an all-done up nursery sit for a while. I am excited to have an actual nursery for an actual (if amorphous) baby to live in some day soon. I will feel like this is all so much more real when it's a place I can visit and visualize that baby sleeping, or pulling board books from the shelf, or changing a stinky poopy diaper on the dresser that we haven't found yet. Yes, I even fantasize and romanticize gross poopy blowout diapers. I'm sure that will get old quick. But for now, it's something to look forward to. And this is the new checklist, this is the new thing to work our way through -- not paperwork anymore, but getting a room together for an ACTUAL baby, one that is currently hypothetical but will materialize, as opposed to our existence before where the baby seemed forever diaphanous, ethereal...difficult to grasp and even harder to pin down. It's a definite step in the right direction.

We are not-so-secretly okay with not getting a call while we get our house in order.
I would love to get a call today. I would throw up in my mouth a bit, but we would figure this all out. I would love to be a mom sooner than later. However.... I would love to be as ready as is possible, knowing that you're never really ready. I would love to have the nursery set up. I would love to feel less like everyday is a giant game of catch-up at school and like I am organized and filed and have my shit together. I would love to reach that point where our little room is ready, where our home feels warm and welcoming to a tiny soul that is ours to care for. I would love to alleviate the stress of feeling like our house is in disarray and if the call came now, we'd be scrambling to get things set up. But we would scramble and we would eventually get things together if not how we imagined it, and we would love that our sweet baby came early. We don't get a due date, we don't get a countdown. Although, given a friend of mine at work who just had her (healthy) baby a full 4 weeks early, sometimes you don't truly get that through pregnancy, either. This is our nesting period. I am okay with nesting for a little while.

We are staying connected with the agency.
I heard that you should really call every few weeks or so, for even the tiniest of reasons, just to keep your name fresh in the minds of the people who are deciding who gets what profile opportunities. You should go to events. You should stay connected. And so, I have called like a bumbling idiot a few times, which I'm not sure is doing us any favors. I feel like my brain goes out the window when I call, and it's like calling a new boyfriend in the first few weeks... how can I not sound like a complete idiot? How can I not open my mouth in ways that will make this person question their decision to be with me? I overthink everything. I worry that I'll say the wrong thing. But, I have gotten follow up emails from questions and no one sounds alarmed when I'm speaking, so I guess I'm doing okay. We are going to a Fall Fun event that is local here in Rochester soon, an event for adoptive families but also for waiting families. We will bring our two gallons of cider and try not to be socially awkward. We will see friends in the process and friends who have gone through the process successfully. We will see other families who are waiting, and those who have their precious bundles in hand. We will imagine ourselves, maybe next year, bringing our own little pumpkin to such an event. We will be visible. We will exude hopefulness. And then in a few weeks I will have to think of another reason to call, to ask a question, to keep "Jess and Bryce" current in the minds of the people who have the ability to connect us with our baby, someday soon.

We are doing all that we can to stay sane, while actually not being too terribly stressed about things right now because it's all so new. We are enjoying just having a waiting period, because we've never been expecting parents before in such a real and reliable way. Two months is pretty spectacular. I never got to 8 weeks waiting the other way, and so this feels like a win.

The wait is not easy, but I think we're coping. It won't get easier as time marches on, that's for sure. All we can do is hope for that phone to ring and bring us our amazing news that we've waited so long to receive. To quote my favorite guided meditation CD, by Ruth Naparstek, everything will happen "in its own time, in its own way." Our Mystery Baby will come to us in whatever circuitous route is right, and it will all come together to bring us the child we've been waiting for, the child who's been ours all along.

How are you coping with the Wait? How DID you cope with the wait? Do you have any advice on how to stay sane as the wait marches on and on?