Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Maybe you are visiting because you have followed a link from a mean spirited “troll” who copied a recent post that I made here on his/her blog (the author is anonymous). If that is the route that found you here, then welcome. I invite you to read through our posts from the beginning. Know that we write to share our story--our life with and following my husband’s battle with testicular cancer.

We are blessed to have a huge number of people, family and friends, who keep us in their thoughts and prayers. Using a blog to communicate with them is one of the gifts of modern technology. We hope that if you are going through similar difficulties times in your life that our honest sharing is something that can help you find wholeness during a stressful time.

If you are one who follows our blog, please know that I’m not sharing the "troll's" site address because I do not want to support or advertise the thoughts of an unfortunate soul who seems to have problems with adoption, the church, people of faith, and a whole host of other issues AND who hides behind the veil of “anonymous.” I find it to be cowardly: it doesn’t allow conversation, just verbal arrows shot from a heart that would be empty save all the hate that is held within and shared, “anonymously”, with the world. I do, in all seriousness, hope that whoever it is has someone other than the world wide web to speak to about the things that are troubling them.

I debated about even responding to his/her post. To respond gives power to the other, but not responding can make one feel powerless. And if you are someone who frequents this site, you know that I’m someone who likes conversation, not anonymous mean spirited attacks. I am taking back my power and standing up for my right to share openly and honestly what is happening in our lives, it's our blog after all.

Said blogger commented on my most recent post. It was posted to our site less than 30 minutes after I’d blogged. It was so scathing that Frank deleted it before he even let me read it. He does not usually protect me in this way, so I can only imagine what it said. (He is also much better at dismissing people who don’t share his perspective than I am. I’m softer than him in that respect, I dwell on things. It is who I am.)

Frank, gifted surfer of the web, was able to track the source of the post to the blog where I found myself quoted (out of context of our story) and ripped on. It is one thing to disagree in the context of a conversation, but it is mean spirited to “proof text” or take out of context (what so many Christians unfortunately do to prove their well intentioned however erroneous points) part of a story and pass judgment on a person’s character and profession.

Frank posted, with full disclosure of who he was, to this person’s site inviting him into conversation. S/he erased his comment quicker than s/he was erased by Frank on this site! Conversation halted by the one who seemed so eager to point out how wrong, selfish, mean, and hypocritical I am. Hmmm.

As a clergy women I have never claimed to be anything other than human, complete with all the complex issues that everyone faces. I’m not immune to selfishness*, nor pain. It is thought the grace of God that I work and strive to be in right relationship with God and neighbor. But, if you are anonymous, you, neighbor, prevent that relationship from ever having a chance.

So, all that is to say that we have no intention of engaging in fruitless battles where everyone ends up loosing, and thus we are limiting our comments section to those who will identify themselves in a way that can lead to conversation. That does not mean you have to agree with what we say, for everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but you have to have the balls, or in the TC world—the ball, to claim your ideas and the arrows you sling with them as your own, not some cowardly anonymous doofus.

*As an aside, I do not feel my/our desire to adopt an infant is selfish. I view those who have attempted the adoption process after not being able to conceive themselves as brave and courageous.

For most of the world, it doesn’t take much to make a baby, but if what you have doesn’t work, and if you desire to share and grow a life with your partner, and you have the means to do so—it is in some cases selfish not to.

The many layers of paperwork and questioning that couples go through to get to where we are is astounding. There is a “reasonable” reason for everything from personal financial records to a note from the vet saying that that household pet is up to date on shots. The reality remains that people whose “parts” work rarely if ever have to justify to the government that they are fit to be parents. To actively purse adoption means that you’ve overcome or are at least dealing with in a healthy way a lot of anger—at your body, at the system, etc.

Therefore the choice to enter this process is a very personal decision for each person or couple. From the adoptive parents' perspective, each has to determine the threshold of heartache, the willingness to lay your heart out, open to be able to accept a blessing or be prepared for it to be smashed into the ground. It is knowing that what ends up being “best” for the baby may be something other than what you thought it should be. It is about being “all in”, knowing that there may be pieces of your heart that will never be gathered up together again, and that is ok. I’ve heard it said that being a parent is like having your heart walking around outside of your body. For adoptive parents, that often begins years before their child is even conceived.

Additionally, I have GREAT respect for OUR birth mom. We would not be where we are or who we are with out her. She is doing something that I could never imagine doing. I may not always agree with her choices, but I respect that they are hers to make. Frank and I are doing everything with in our power (and within what the state law allows us to do) that we can to support her. Her time is close, she is, to quote her “so done with being pregnant.” We recognize that there are still things that could happen and this is not a “done deal” by any means. We just want to be parents. If she is carrying the child we are to parent, then it will all work out. If not, we’ll grieve what we'd hoped and longed for, regroup and move on. I have faith, I have hope that at some point, at some time we are to give a significant portion of our life to help someone grow into an amazing person.

We did get to see the baby blink, look around, and "breathe" on the ultra sound yesterday! Wasn't the 3D one though, the little stinker faced backward during that one last week. He's coming right along.

So much for trolls.

-the rev

P.S. As of the evening of February 28, the troll's website has been closed to nonregistered users.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

I got the music in me...

The Rev. alluded to me having to possibly curtail my music activities with the arrival of a child. The interesting story is that I actually have curtailable music activities.

For those of you who don't know, I am a member of a mid-Missouri singing group (and a damn good one, if I may say so). But singing isn't where I originally got seriously into music. I went to my first college on a tuba scholarship, and it was because I played tuba in The Band in Atlanta that the Rev. and I met. But since getting married and moving out here, I only get a chance to play my horn once every other year or so - certainly not enough to stay "in shape".

Fortunately, I have friends in medium-high places, so when an opportunity came up to play for a U.S. premiere of a piece written by a Canadian pianist/composer, I begged for the part. It turned out well, and I subsequently got an invite to play a gig with the local civic orchestra for their President's Day concert. In the meanwhile, I got to play on Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 1, again thanks to my friend. The beginning of the 3rd movement has a high and exposed tuba solo, and I was sweating bullets preparing for my 10 seconds of fame. I survived, barely.

It's interesting how some things come back to you just like riding a bicycle. In this case, it was being a member of the low brass fraternity, commiserating with trombone players and doing what low brass players do best - tell dirty jokes or make fun of lesser musicians (namely, string players and vocalists). Ah, life in the orchestra.

By the way, do you know what you call a trombone player who carries a pager?

An optimist.

Ok, well, here's where we are...

You may have noticed a lack of blogging of late. That is not because things haven't been happening, it just well, so much of the stuff that _is_ happening is so beyond our control and in some ways not yet our story to tell that we've (and I'll confess, mostly me) have been holding it close. But here it is, laid out, bare....

Briefly: We are cautiously excited.

The long version:
As of today our birth mom is at 34 weeks. Her due date is April 4. That being said, she's reached the time where one sees the OB Dr. weekly. Having been bounced around from resident to resident at the clinic she's been going to, she's finally landed a Dr. we all think is pretty cool. Last week's snow storm confirmed we like her best b/c she was out of the office to stay home with her kids and the resident that our Birth mom saw was -10 on the likability scale.

We saw said Dr. Cool (aka "'da boom" as described by the receptionist) yesterday. A check under the hood revealed that B-mom is 100% effaced and has a finger tip of dilatation. Two weeks ago she was 80% effaced. Thus the process of labor has begun. But as any good midwife or OB will tell you, it could be days, it could be weeks. So we wait.

Other issues: B-mom is measuring small. Meaning when they put the tape measure across her belly, it is measuring 31 weeks instead of 34. We've decided (she, Frank and I) that they might want to start measuring not just up and down, but side to side as well. But I digress.
Measuring small wins us a weekly trip to the ultrasound lab to monitor the baby more closely. Yesterday's visit after seeing the Dr. didn't throw any huge red flags. The 3d ultrasound estimated that he (yes, very definitely a he--the only thing we saw clearly on the screen--Frank's so proud and somewhat relieved that it is a boy) weighs about 4 1/2 lbs. That puts him in the 10th percentile. However, some of the pregnancy sites (site 1) (site 2) I've visited say that babies are 4 3/4 to "almost" 5 lbs at this week, so I don't see what all the fuss is about, so he's a bit small. B-mom is a smoker, small birth weight is a possibility. I'm not overly worried, which is a HUGE accomplishment for me at this point.

As for the cool factor of getting to have a 3d ultrasound done: Well the little stinker had his face turned away and covered with his hand and foot--amazingly flexible at this age. Maybe next week. The ultra sound is before the appointment, so we'll get the Dr. Cool's take on what's happening.

We, of course, want him to cook as long as possible. But we anxious to hold him and make him our own. He will be here before we know it. I have a feeling that it will happen in the next week or so. It may dampen some of Frank's musical plans, but, hey, that's life, literally, a new life.

Some have asked what happens after he's born. Well here's how I understand things.

We will be present for the birth. One hour after the birth the hospital escorts us out of the building. As the adoptive parents we are not allowed to even be at the hospital except for birth, and very limited visiting hours. During that time we will probably be making sure his room is ready, stocking up on the correct size of diapers, making sure his room is ready, pacing, not sleeping, hanging out in his room and waiting for our time to go back to the hospital. We will also be selecting a name. The B-mom wants us to name him (she has the right to name him whatever she wants, we have the right to change it if we want to) so that she can begin to call him what we will call him.

The earliest the B-mom can terminate her parental rights is 48 hours after the birth; if she gives birth Thursday - Saturday we'd have to wait until court on Monday. This is, pardon my language, but a HELL of a lot better than the state of Virginia's "15 days to terminate and 10 more days to change your mind" law. I digress again. The court is pretty good about working in cases like this; evidently they have a lot of really crappy things to deal with in family court and this is that bright shining light they wait to see every so often, the baby is to be present, mostly for the photo op w/ the judge. Did I mention that they love this kind of thing?

After that there are several different things we'll have to do, home study w/ the social worker, another appearance in court, and other formalities that I'm not to worried about at this point.

At this point the plan for leaving the hospital is that she will let the agency "take him home" from the hospital and then our agency will give him to us to care for until the court date. This way we can avoid foster care all together. This is MOST excellent.

I could go into the emotional roller coaster I've been on of late, but I will just say that as I've walked this "paper pregnancy" with a girlfriend who gave birth to a second child yesterday morning, we've come to discover that each is equally harrowing and scary.

You know the story of Jacob from the Bible? He wakes up to find himself wrestling with an angel, a particularly strong one that seems determined to kill him. Jacob holds on, fights back and demands a blessing before he, Jacob, will let the angel go. By morning he has his blessing, but does not come out of the encounter unscathed. He's so badly injured that he walks with a limp for the rest of his life. A reminder of the cost of the blessing.

I compare this story to our respective pregnancies. My friend may carry the physical scars of a c-section, her mark of the battle for the blessing of her new little one. I too feel like I'm fighting for a blessing. But my scars are ones that are etched in my heart. My only duty is acknowledge them, but not to become them. During this waiting time, sometimes it is hard not to let those fresh scars be part of my daily existence. Especially when I reflect back to the blessing that we had to hand over to someone else last September. And yet, at the same time, that may be the point of the story of Jacob--he was reminded of it daily, and yet still was able to live.

Other comparisons between paper and physical pregnancy a sense of spaciness and a feeling of being completely out of control. As I'm preparing for maternity leave from my job as a pastor I'm reminded of how much I love my work and don't really want anyone else to do it for me. But I am also SO ready for this little one to come into our lives! I meet tomorrow w/ the person who will be covering the church's duties for me while I'm out for three months. I'm excited to get that done, so it is one less thing that needs to be checked off the "list" of things to do.

That's all for now. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.

The Rev.