Thursday, May 3, 2012

Say



Ever since J made contact we have been planning to send her something special. We have the special, tangible items we are sending her - items filled with love. We just haven't gotten around writing her a letter. We have been awfully, incredibly busy beyond belief, and my heart aches because we haven't replied yet. I keep beating myself up because that is no excuse. We've wanted to hear from her since the day we met her, and were very happy, and still are, that she finally reached out, but this is all so overwhelming. My emotions are all over the place, and every time I sit down to write something, something I just need to make perfect, I hit a writer's block.

Last night I heard the song Say and I just broke out in tears. I want to say so many things but I'm afraid to say too much. Sometimes I think I could step over her boundaries. If making contact took her this long maybe she wants her distance, which I will respect. I don't want to pressure her, so maybe a baby step approach is better? Or, as the part I quoted from the song says, I should just do it with a wide heart and say what I need to say, right? I don't what to do... 


I'm having a hard time even as I write this post. I'm trying to express what I feel and words cannot begin to describe all that's going on in my heart. 

Right now I'm giving the letter another try. Please send good vibes and prayers our way. Send some to her too. I just hope that by some divine way she feels our love and understands our delay... 



Say
by John Mayer

Take out of your wasted honor
Every little past frustration
Take all your so called problems
Better put them in quotations

Say what you need to say

Walkin' like a one man army
Fightin' with the shadows in your head
Livin' up the same old moment
Knowin' you did better off instead
If you could only

Say what you need to say


Have no fear for givin' in
Have no fear for givin' over
You better know that in the end
It's better to say too much
Than to never to say what you need to say again

Even if your hands are shakin'
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closin'
Do it with a heart wide open
A wide heart

Say what you need to say


Sunday, January 15, 2012

She made contact

Our social worker from the agency called to double check our mailing address. They had a meeting with J, M's birth mom, and she wanted to send us a package. They told us it was something very special - a recording. 

I remember thinking "She wants to send us something? Oh, my God... This is huge! A package? With a recording? Oh wow..."  

They told us she was doing well, working... They said she was very sure of her decision to place M with us. When I heard that I was brought to tears... 

As I hung up I realized my prayers had been answered. While I wanted to jump up and down of joy, and scream at the top of my lungs "She made contact!" I just couldn't. I was shaking, and the feeling was of utter joy, but so incredibly overwhelming, that I could only have a peaceful cry. 

I checked the mail every day - something I never do (I hate bills). When it finally arrived I called Fico and we were lucky he was just 2 minutes away, because I could not bear to wait any longer.

We opened it... I actually thought it was going to be a video, but it turned out to be something else, something just so special. It was a book, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, A Bedtime Story - Mariela's absolute favorite! The thing is that the book was recorded by J. Her voice. My daughter's birth mom's voice! J has always been a part of M's bedtime stories, but to have one told in her voice is just, ugh... Amazing!

There was also a Hello Kitty doll, dressed up in Christmas themed clothes. Mariela is crazy about Hello Kitty! (I bet J is too.) There were also two Christmas cards, one for us and one for Mariela, signed by her. We both cried as we read what she wrote. Beautiful, heartwarming words... 

We're so happy to get something from her, something so personal. All we had to show M from her birth mom was a couple of pictures we took the day we met her and her signature on the adoption papers. Now she has a bedtime story, beautiful heartfelt words in her handwriting, and a doll to snuggle with while she listens to her voice. 

I'm overwhelmed with happiness and gratitude... Blessings abound. Love so immense, so intense, my heart hurts... Peace warms my soul. I have no words to describe what I'm feeling... But all is good. God is good. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2011

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2011

Today is the big day! More than 120 adoption bloggers were paired to interview each other and are posting their interviews today as part of the Adoption Bloggers Interview Project, organized byHeather, of Production Not Reproduction

As Heather puts it, "One of thInterview Project's goals is to get us reading outside of our usual blog circles." That is exactly what happened, and I'm so glad I was paired with Megan, from TTABaby

Megan and her husband are currently waiting to be matched. I read almost every post in Megan's blog. I found myself in many of her posts. She is a very brave adoption blogger. She tells her story as it is and honestly shares her feelings as they are at every moment of her journey. 

Below is my interview with megan. You can check out other great interviews here. Don't forget to hop over Megan's blog to read my interview too.

---

How did your family handle the adoption news? I know you invited them to write a page on your family profile (dear birthparent book). Who sent their responses? Who didn't? How do you feel about what they wrote? How about the ones who didn't? How is it now, more than one year after your announcement?

I wish I had been blogging more regularly at the point in which we made the announcement.  I also feel like we didn't make a big announcement.  With my family it was a process of talking about infertility and the tests that we did.  As each test came back abnormal the more we discussed adoption.  I recall at one point my mother asked me when she could start telling people she was going to be a grandmother.  I told her it was up to her but it could be a long time.  



My parent in-laws were not ready to hear we had chosen to skip infertility treatments.  At the time I felt like they were unhappy about the adoption but now I am coming around to the idea that they were just not ready yet.  I had a feeling this might happen and as test results we felt comfortable sharing came in we shared them with my in-laws to help prepare them.  When we finally told them we were meeting with the agency for an informational interview they expressed that we should try infertility treatments.  I informed them that our decision was to pursue adoption.



I'm glad we had our families participate in making pages.  Everyone in our immediate families made pages (parents, sisters, brothers).  We only have one living grandparent between us and she is not in a position cognitively to create a page so I included her in my page.  In the end everyone finished their pages.  I look forward to being able to share the book with my child showing that their whole family really worked together to bring them to us.  I wish there were more opportunities to bring in the extended family into the wait. 



A year into waiting people are more understanding of the process and waiting though we continue to have to remind them that we have no news but that could change very quickly.  My mother-in-law yesterday when I was setting up a time to go baby supply shopping with her mentioned that we should consider what we might want in a crib for our second baby!  Part of waiting is remembering that everyone waits differently and our whole family is waiting not just us.

One of the hardest things I had to deal with while we were waiting was pregnancy announcements. All my friends were getting pregnant.  
I dragged myself to baby showers. I was happy for them, but I was grieving, letting go of the possibility of ever carrying a child in my womb. How are you handling it?



At this point we go to weddings and wonder how long it will be before we are invited to to their baby shower and what the chances are we will still be waiting.  I've had to say that on a whole I've avoided the showers.  I usually have had a legitimate excuse (like I work weekends) though some have been self created (one I planned for my sister to come that weekend).  Its not that I'm not happy for my friends, I'm thrilled for them that they did not have to go through the struggle we did!  Situations that surround babies often bring out comments that I'd just rather avoid.  I guess as a whole I am handling it via avoidance.

I get my own share of weird/insensitive comments about adoption. I post them every once in a while on my blog in a series called "People say the darndest things". What has been the craziest thing someone has said to you about adoption? How have you responded? 

I LOVE your People Say the Darndest Things posts!  You have better lines for turning the question back at them then I do.  I blogged recently about ignorance and adoption.  My trouble is that its not always ignorance but a lack of thought.   I know that many people are interested in what we are going through and want to be supportive.  This is new for most of our friends as we are the first to adopt (We are young so I anticipate we wont be the last).  I understand at times its hard for formulate the question in a way thats sensitive... but THINK before you speak!!  No one ever had to be educated that its rude to ask someone that is pregnant how much they weigh. 

I have a tendency to answer the question in a way that ignores the initial rudeness.  For example when people ask if we are going to take a drug baby.  I will share with them that we have a check list which allowed us to pick if drug use during the pregnancy is acceptable.  I also share with them that many birthmothers are not using drugs.  I confirm nor deny the question but indicate that its not something I'm going to tell them.

The craziest thing someone has said...thats tough!  I think there are three comments that have really gotten to me primarily because of who they were: one from my MIL, one from the pediatrician and one from a friend.  When I told a friend from grad school we were adopting her response was "Are you OK with that?"  I informed her we were excited and waiting.  I was civil to her the rest of that weekend but I have not spoken to her sense nor do I plan on it.  (Her later comments about breast feeding made me realize she wasn't worth educating).

Just like you mentioned once, it always seems like EVERYONE knows someone who adopted and then got pregnant. It was annoying to hear this while we were waiting. Even if it happens and it will double your blessings, do you ever feel like hoping it never happens just to prove them wrong? Do you still struggle with accepting your infertility?

As I mentioned in that post my own minister is "one of those people."  I know it's possible for some people but I don't hold any hope.  If it happened it would be a double blessing; however I also wish to prove them wrong!  Is it possible?  Anything is possible its not probable.  For us it was a choice between IVF or adoption we couldn't do both.  The doctors indicated that our chances were good with IVF but I wasn't convinced based on our test results.  The doctors also had told us many other things that should/could work that didn't.

I don't think I will accept our infertility but I can live with it.  I had been told when I was younger that I likely wouldn't be able to have children so at the start of our dating relationship I already had spoken to DH about adoption and my "risk" of infertility.  Funny thing is what I was told was my "problem" was not our problem at all.  Its not something I can change but something that is part of us.

It does at times creep up on me.  I also feel though that its hard to sort out the desperation of waiting and the frustration of infertility.  When it does hit me I physically feel the emotion of sadness starting as a pit in my stomach that rises up to my throat and fills my eyes with tears.  

What made you decide to wait to have a baby shower until after the arrival of your baby?

My mother-in-law plans on throwing one once the baby is born.  I'm glad we didn't have one the first year because we are still waiting.  As I hope our time gets closer I do think it would be nice to ask her to have it sooner rather then later.  It also seems like a strange idea to have a baby at the baby shower.  The other half of me is cautious what if our wait is another year?  Also like yellow and green, but a co-worker of DH's kept the sex of her baby secret and everything is yellow and green!  Since we dont know the sex of our baby holding off means maybe we can get some pink and blue.  I have painted the nursery and have a general theme.  I have received things from people here and there mainly I think as ways for people to tell me they are thinking about me.

Why is it so important for you to breast feed? On a recent blog post you said "It's about doing what any parents would do which is at least try to do what they believe is best for their child." That may in part answer my question, but I wonder... Are you worried about bonding with your child or is it because of the nutritional/health benefits for baby? Or is it to "fit in"? Perhaps get another of the "female benefits of pregnancy", as you once said?

I have explored of the idea that I want to breastfeed because thats what women who become pregnant do.  I am sure that there is a small part of me that wants to have the same options as "everyone else."  I also am the daughter of a lactation consultant where the importance of breastfeeding was stressed our whole lives.  When I was 21 I had a reduction surgery and specifically found a surgeon that would preserve my ability to breast feed, which I don't think is on the mind of most 21 year old women.

I think when I first was coming to terms with our infertility and decided to pursue adoption I was honestly heart broken that I would have to formula feed my baby.  When I was told induction was a possibility this grief was lifted.  I personally know two mothers who tried to induce lactation one was successful and the other felt it was too overwhelming.  Will I be successful I dont know, but I feel like I have to at least try!  I really feel strongly that breast milk even for the shortest time is important to a child's development of their immune system.  It's not right for every family, but I feel like its right for ours.

You submitted your questions before I did and I want to ask one of the same questions you asked:  "If you were stranded on an island with your DH what material item would you want with you? And why?"

My phone!!  That way when we get the call that we have a baby I'll be able to let them know we would be a tad delayed, but would start swimming immediately!  :)

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Thank you so much, Megan! :o)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

People say the darndest things #5

I recently took hubs and baby to the ER. A stomach bug had attacked our family. My MIL was hospitalized, my FIL and SIL were also sick... Good thing I was fine and able to get them both to the hospital.


We went to the children's hospital. Yes, they were both seen by a pediatrician. :oP The doctor checked her out first and asked all sorts of questions.


"How old is she?"


"She's two - 25 months, to be exact."


"How long has she been like this?"


"About three days."


"Have you been traveling?"


"No."


"No? Ok... Has she been under your care all the time?"


I thought he was trying to figure out something. First the traveling question and now this. This guy thought we just arrived from picking up our daughter from another country... 


"Well, my mom and my MIL take care of her for a few hours every day, and my MIL is sick as well. She's at the hospital right now."


"Hmm..."


He paused for a moment.



"So, where is she from?"


Bingo! He was trying to figure out something alright...


"Why do you ask?"


"Well, I uh..." he said, pointing at her eyes with his pen. (Idiot...)


"Is it because her eyes?"


"Yes."


"She's from Orlando, Florida."


He gave me a puzzled look... My intentions, exactly.


"How long have you had her?"


"We picked her up at the hospital."


"Really?"


"Yes. Now, what are we going to do about this? Is she getting tests? An IV? What?"


I just wanted to get over this conversation. 


BUUUUT, that wasn't the end of it. After he saw my husband and they were set up in a curtain room, IVs in place, blood work done, etc, he came back. Nope, not to check on them. He had more questions up his sleeve.


"So, how did you find such a beautiful girl?"


I took a deep breath and put un the adoption ambassador hat. This guy was getting on my nerves, but if he's so ignorant, I might as well teach him something. 


"We didn't find her. She found us. We were chosen by her birth parents to be her adoptive parents."


"What did you do, fill out an application or something?"


"It's much more complicated than that. We went to an adoption agency, they did a home study, we waited for a year..."


He then interrupted me.


"Oh, I'm sure it's complicated."


And yes, he walked away.


This man was not interested in the adoption process. This man was simply nosy. 


I wonder if something like this happens to moms who have given birth. Picture this: A couple walks into the ER with a sick 2 year old baby and the doctor asks "So, did you give birth vaginally? Did you have an episiotomy?" What on Earth does that have to do with their baby being sick??? Those are personal questions, pretty private stuff. The way our family came together is just as personal, just as private.
   
Anyway, I need to get my radar fixed. Learn the difference between a person who wants to learn about adoption and a curious, nosy one... :o|

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tiny List Post Update

Wow, it's been a while... I've been so busy. I've been away so long that I log into Blogger and I see they've made a big update to their platform. I'm still working my way around it...


Anyway, you deserve an update. A tiny list post, at least...
  1. M is 2! She is so smart. Loves to learn. She speaks very clearly, makes sentences too long for her age, has an extensive vocabulary, counts to 20, knows the alphabet, the geometric figures, animals... You name it! She's very social. I'm so proud of her...
  2. M received the "RE: Start your Tantrums at 2" memo on her birthday. Thank goodness we had her birthday the day before. Everyone had a blast, specially her. The following morning? Let's just say she gave us proof that the "Terrible Twos" are not a myth.
  3. We have decided to homeschool her. I am a teacher, trained to teach in traditional schools, who has a business that serves the traditional educational system, and after 19 years of experience I just think there's got to be a better way. (BTW, I started my business before graduating college. Im not that old. Well, subtract 5 years from whatever "that" is...)  
  4. M is ready for potty training. Let's just say we haven't gotten around it. Now that I'll be able to stay at home more often (I stay with her until 2:00 every day, but now I'll be able to stay the whole day) I'll do the three day approach everyone is talking about. Any tips you can share will be very much appreciated.
  5. After exactly two years in business, we have closed down our 2nd location described on my most popular post. :o( Last Tuesday was our last day open. The economy sucks... We gave everyone the bad news on Wednesday and all the teachers were relocated to the existing location. However, I'm actually at peace with closing it down. This will allow more time to spend with my daughter, less stress because I will be running only one location and more energy for homeschooling. And I'm already enjoying the benefits. I stayed home with M Thursday and Friday. Feels good to have that freedom again. :o)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book Review - Adoption Nation, by Adam Pertman

I was asked to review "Adoption Nation - How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families - and America."


This book is a gem. I could make this very short and sweet and just say this is The Enciclopedia of Adoption.


I learned so much from this book. Adam takes the reader on a historic voyage, fron the 1800's to the present day, telling the story of adoption and how "America is forever changing adoption even as adoption is forever changing america." 


He talks about international adoption, foster care, open adoption, adoption law, adoptee access to birth records, feelings and issues of all sides of the triad, society's views on adoption... You name it - if it's adoption related, it's in there. Nothing is left out. Adam shares his views with great detail, mixing in his own experience with personal stories of adoptive parents, adoptees, birth parents and adoption professionals as well as with historical facts.


Armed with honesty, he tells the truth about what is really happening in the adoption world. This book is a definite must-read for anyone considering adoption. I wish I had known about it when we decided to adopt (this is a revised and updated edition). I would've been 150% more prepared than I was when I entered through the doors of our adoption agency. I would've asked the right questions. I would've had a better idea of what our adoption journey would be like. I would have been more informed, empowered with knowledge, from adoption law to understanding the challenges we would face in a society that suffers from ignorance about the reality of adoption. 


Adam is an expert in the adoption field and a brilliant, gifted writer. I've read so many books about adoption and never have I come across a piece of work that takes into consideration all sides of the adoption triad with such grace and respect. Plus, everything is put against the backdrop of our society in general. 


This is a book that everyone, not only those touched by adoption, will find fascinating. In his book, Adam makes the importance of understanding and educating ourselves on adoption very clear, and makes it easy for the reader to listen.


If you're considering adoption, already an adoptive parent, a birth parent, an adoptee, an adoptee rights advocate, curious about adoption, or not even curious at all, you need to read this book. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A quote from what I'm reading

"It's hard for people to get a perspective of what's happening because o faulty stereotypes and aberrational horror stories that has lead society to form a distorted picture of adoption. [...]The lingering cultural stereotype of birth mothers as uncaring or ignorant young teens who choose adoption to crassly jettison a nettlesome problem is unmitigated and corrosive nonsense."

-Adam Pertman, Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America


Friday, April 1, 2011

Adoption Nation

I was invited to write a review for an upcoming book tour.

In the meantime, here's the press release with information about the book and author.


Adoption Nation: How adoption is transforming the American family
Country's foremost authority provides answers for 100 million touched by adoption

BOSTON – For generations, Americans have adopted more than 130,000 children annually from within the United States and from abroad. That means more than 100 million people in our country today have adoption in their immediate families – and nearly everyone is connected to this extraordinary, misunderstood, controversial, life-altering institution in some way.

Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America (The Harvard Common Press, April 2011, 352 pages, ISBN 978-1-55832-716-0, $16.95 paperback) takes on the challenge of explaining the historic changes enveloping us all – and does so with a unique combination of engaging prose, gripping stories, insightful perspective and exceptional research.

Its author, Adam Pertman, is one of the most influential experts in his field and Adoption Nation has been called “the most important book ever written on the subject.”

Inspired by his Pulitzer-nominated series while a reporter with the Boston Globe, the first edition of Adoption Nation (2000) captured an important piece of U.S. history and was a game-changer for child welfare professionals, policy-makers, and members of what Pertman calls “the extended family of adoption” (adopted individuals, birth and adoptive relatives).

The new, fully revised edition updates the “adoption revolution” with all of its joys and disappointments, its personal and policy issues, its complexities and controversies.

“There’s no exaggerating how much has occurred over the last decade – from the adoptive mother who recently ‘returned’ her son to Russia, to the children orphaned by the earthquake in Haiti; from the ongoing debate over transracial adoptions, to the still-unregulated Wild West of adoption on the Internet; from the decline in secrecy and shame in adoption, to the explosion of reunions between adopted people and their birth families; and from the precipitous drop in international adoptions to the soaring rise in adoptions of boys and girls from foster care, including by growing numbers of gay and lesbian parents,” said Pertman. “When I looked at the landscape, I felt compelled to do a thorough rewrite of the stories, of the research and of the phenomenon itself.”

More comprehensive, more up-to-date, more moving – and more useful – than any other book on the subject, the new edition of Adoption Nation is an invaluable resource for prospective and current parents and their children. And it is a passionate call-to-arms for equality and social justice, as well as a unique tool for educators, policymakers and professionals.

ADAM PERTMAN is the Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. A highly sought-after speaker, Pertman has delivered hundreds of keynotes, trainings and other presentations internationally, and is the recipient of many awards for his work. He is the Associate Editor of Adoption Quarterly and has contributed to numerous publications on family issues. Pertman is widely quoted by journalists and has appeared as a guest on “Oprah,” “Today,” “The View,” “Nightline,” among other national programs. Before embarking on his current career, Pertman was a senior journalist with The Boston Globe for over two decades. He is a member of the Council on Contemporary Families, the editorial advisory board of Adoptive Families magazine, the National Adoption Advisory Committee of the Child Welfare League of America and the Advisory Board of Orphans International, among others. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and their two children. Learn more at www.adampertman.com.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 28, 2011

People say the darndest things #4 - Too much for a single night.

When we first brought our baby home our house was always full with family members and close friends. Everyone wanted to come over and visit to meet our precious daughter. It was truly amazing to feel their love pouring in. 


Old friends who I haven't seen in a loooong time also wanted to meet M. Courtesy of social networking, I agreed to go a girls plus baby night out at a local restaurant.


As soon as we got there I felt like we were on display. They took pictures that made it instantly to their Facebook walls. By the way they were behaving it seemed like they only wanted to see M. Look at her. As if my daughter and I were rare species on this Earth and they just couldn't miss their chance to see us in person. It's a weird feeling...


We sat down. They started talking about other things, most of it gossip about their friends and family. At one point one of them said "Oh, I'm sure my sister is adopted. I mean, she looks nothing like us. She's the odd duck."  I was completely oblivious about these kind of comments before we decided to adopt, I must admit, so I was tolerant and didn't say anything. 


It wasn't long before they began to ask all sorts of questions about adoption. I totally expected it. I always enjoy educating people about adoption and was looking forward to it. Then again, you have to know your audience. I could tell this was not going to go as I thought it would.   It almost always ends up going nowhere with certain types of "inquisitive" people... 


I thought about it for a second and decided to try something new. I gave simple answers to all their questions in an effort to let go of the urge to try to make anyone understand my feelings about adoption. After all, no one ever will, unless they've experienced adoption themselves. 


When I talk to people about adoption, specially when it's people I hardly know, or am not that close to, I always end up doing more or less the same kind of dance, and this time was no different. There are some specific things that are always on people's minds. 


For instance, the #1 question about adoption: "How much did it cost?"  Ugh...


Followed by the #2 question about the adoption process: "Do you get to choose your baby?"  I always want to say "Yes, they hand you a catalog. In our case, we looked through the nursery window and got to keep the cutest baby, much like you do in a pet shop." I never say that, of course... I always end up explaining, very politely.

The birthmother myth series of ignorant questions also made it to the table this time...
  
"Why didn't she want her?"  Want? It isn't a matter of wanting her child or not. It was a very hard decision for her and she wanted the best for her child.


"I could never do that." Most of them were moms, and as I always do, I shared the burning building analogy. It may not be perfect, but it's the best way I can explain the love a mother feels when she decides to place her child for adoption. It's a selfless act of love. Period.


"You met her mom???  Yes, and I'm so grateful I got to meet both of M's birtparents.


Weren't you afraid she would want her back?"  No. In fact, if J shows up at my door I'll just invite her in for a cup of coffee. 


"Are you still in touch with her?" No, actually we're not. We send letters and pictures to both her birthparents. We anxiously await for their reply but deeply understand if they don't.


"Oh. So they want nothing to do with M..."  It's not that they don't. Everyone has their own way of healing, sometimes it's distance, and only they know what they need at this time. 


(Why do people have the need to place a label on birthparents? It's so annoying...)


Then, in came the weird comments:


"I can't believe how much she looks like you." Wow, I can't believe it either, when she looks NOTHING like me!


"I've always wanted to adopt. It's so much easier. Look how great you look!"  Easier?? It's not easy at all... Of course all I wanted to say was "Oooohh, you mean physically easier. Oh, yes, you are so right! I mean, I knew adoption was right for us the moment I heard I didn't need to give birth."  Give me a f***ing break... (And pardon my french.)


"I've always wanted a Chinese girl." "Really? I've always wanted a Miniature Dachshound... And just so you know, my daughter is not Chinese."


And the you-must-be-really-amazing-people-because-you-adopted-and-saved-a-child kind of comments:


"I just think you did a beautiful thing. She's so lucky to have you."  We decided to adopt for the most selfish reason of all - we wanted to be parents. And, no - WE are the lucky ones. 


Can you believe all of this happened in less than 20 minutes? It was one question after another. After that we had dinner and I left early with M. We were exhausted! It was too much for a single night...


Letting go of the need to make people understand adoption is new, refreshing and liberating to me. Don't get me wrong - I haven't given up on education.  But one thing is to educate and another is to persuade. Adoption made me a MOM, and I'm infinitely grateful. For now, I'm taking a break to enjoy that. People can choose to understand or not.  
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