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19 September 2009

Two focal points

I've two things on my mind today. Gonna try to cover both. And throw in some unrelated pics because i've not done pics for a while & i miss them.

Oh, i know. I'll do pics from our honeymoon. I meant to do some & forgot. We honeymooned for about 5 days in Yellowstone Park. Then we spent 4 days in my hometown,
Bozeman, Montana. We stayed at a wonderful B&B in Bridger Canyon & i fell in love with Montana all over again. Then we spent a couple of nights with my Montana Mom in Eastern Montana. I didn't get many pics of that.

One thing on my mind was that i did read some of the comments from the article i mentioned last post on life after infertility. There are 15 pages of comments & i think i read about 4 or 5. And what really astounded me, & some other folks as well, were the number of cruel comments saying "if you don't have children that your choice for you can always adopt." Many variations on this theme. Including, "if you don't adopt after you can't have your own kids then you are childless by choice." This isn't beginning to touch on how unkind some of these people were in their comments. The author of the article had merely said, "Adoption isn't for me," without giving her reasons & some folks really ripped her apart because of that.

Some comments didn't state their own choices, but some were from mamas who had adopted & saw that statement as some kind of indictment that their own families were "second best."

The honest truth is that any choice made
has a number of pitfalls. And people pointed that out. Adoption can be a long, hard, painful, expensive, heartbreaking road. (As can infertility treatments.) Some folks know up front that they cannot do this. And, often folks tend to say (i know this personally) "You can always just adopt" or "Why don't you just adopt?" Someone said that "just" isn't usually used but in my experience this statement has had the word "just" 100% of the time. And the implication of that is that it is an easy path to choose. As one commenter said, "There isn't a baby store out there where you just go & pick one up."

I know i'm possibly setting myself up here, but i want to write about my views on this for my family personally. I want to record this for future reference. And hope that it will help me clarify my thinking, too.

I've never been "anti-adoption" for me, nor "anti-foster parents," either. When i was a young teen i traveled one summer with the church youth choir. We sang in various churches all over Montana & Idaho. And the church members opened their homes to us & housed us when we needed it. I remember staying with one such family that had a number of foster children. The love in that home was palpable & i wanted to have such a home myself when i grew up. They had a couple of their own children, but opened their home to children who needed it as well, & i wanted to be just like that.

Also, i had my own "unofficial foster mom" when i was 17 on. She was a lady in the church i went to (not my parents' church; i left that when i was 17) & she "adopted strays." She was so very warm & loving & open that a number of us flocked to her. She mostly was "mom" to girls - she had two boys of her own. I loved being with her & sharing & cooking & baking. I have mentioned it before, but my own mother taught me nothing in the kitchen & i so loved being with mom & learning & doing things together. I always imagined that when i had a family i would be mentor/friend to the friends of my children & have a warm, open home where many kids would love to be.

I have been present in the lives of some of my friends kids' lives, but then various things have happened (moves, broken relationships) that made it not consistent. Part of the pain i feel in seeing the doc's daughter M is not that i will see her grow up but that my relationship with them is not such that i can be included much at all. I'd love to be able to babysit for her & actively involved in watching her grow.

It goes almost without saying that of course Duane & i would like to have our own children. When i considered other options before it was with the idea that we would have some bio children & gain experience first. But in the absence of that, i've looked at other options as well.

So, i have not said "i won't adopt." In fact, last Christmas in our "newsletter" we let all our friends & family know that we are "open to adoption" & if they knew anyone who might have a child to adopt to please keep us in mind. And we've made some beginning steps that direction. I'm not going to talk too much about that, except to say that the road to adoption can be very hard, very expensive, & quite heartbreaking. There is not "just" about it. There are a number of stories that reiterate the above, but i am not going to focus on them now.

One problem with adoption is the very rare likelihood of being able to adopt a baby. Most agencies would consider us too old (& almost certainly a bio mother would).

Taking a child under the age of 5 but not an infant means taking a special needs child. Unless you are taking a family group where one child is under 5. Taking a family group with school age children is going from "0 to 60" in 2.5 seconds! We are not "experienced parents" & so we not only don't feel the confidence to do this, but we would also have to change our lives immediately. Currently we are away from home 3 school days a week. So, one of us would have to stay home (me) & be a single parent for those days. I've recently come to realize i think i'd like to homeschool, but with a young child you can work into it & prepare. To suddenly have 2 school age children who have attended day school is no place to start homeschooling.

Another issue, of course, i my health (not to mention my past history of depression). My health alone might knock us out of the running with an adoption agency, but even if it didn't i have to be aware that taking older children is going to be an immediate drain on me. Taking a baby would be an immediate drain, too, but babies don't move around a lot at first. I think i would be able to adjust, some, as the baby grows. Taking older children doesn't give me any adjustment period.

There are lots of folks who also encourage us to foster kids, but some of them don't realize how difficult that can be. Someone told me recently that our county is desperate to find new foster homes because they are short. I know that this is true. However, what a lot of folks don't know is that part of the reason they are so short on foster homes is that people who have done foster care for years are leaving the program because new rules have made it so difficult & problematic.

Also, we would be limited to young ones in the foster care system because i would not be able to stay home with the school aged ones. Also my ILs house would have to be certified, & i simply can't see that happening. She has a garage full of chemicals & a house stuffed with furniture. And no room, from the foster agency's perspective, to put a child.

Of course, many of the same issues that were there for adopting an older child or family group are also in play with the foster system. And, fostering is considered temporary. The goal is usually to reunite the children with their parent(s). I did contact an agency up here. They have mostly school aged children & were frank that their goal is not adoption but reuniting. (I was trying to check in a "foster to adopt" program.)

Of course Duane & i want to be parents. We would like that to occur naturally, but if not, then however. And if we don't become parents, we still would like to be involved in the lives of children. I've looked into a number of options on this issue. Generally the easiest way is thru family - nieces & nephews or children of close friends. However, the fact is that the folks we know with children are not all that close to us - physically or spiritually/emotionally - & so we will only be peripheral in the lives of these children.

But there are a number of other ways. One is thru church. Except our church is mostly retired folks & there are very few children who attend. Other is thru groups in the area. I've checked into that some, & there isn't one thing that stands out. Besides, groups might work well for Duane, but i don't do so well with them. I looked into "mentoring" like Big Brother/Big Sister programs. There are none in BB, but it might be possible in OC, the problem is we are never in OC on weekends when most kids have time. I have called a couple of agencies & usually received little help. They all have encouraged me to do the "official thing" - foster care. Some have told me that a mentoring program will set me up to be taken advantage, not so much by the children as by their parents. There are a couple of other things i want to check into, however.

My point is that i've given this a lot of thought. Saying "adoption doesn't work for us" (at least right now) is not a statement lightly said. Honestly, i believe most people who make this statement go thru a lot of soul searching to reach this place. It doesn't have any indication that i think it is "second rate" or inferior in creating a family. Families are created in a lot of ways. Honestly, Amrita of Yesu Garden spoke of a man in India who has an orphanage in India & feeds many cast off children. It made me think, why don't we adopt from there? I've always been fascinated by India. Now i have no clue of the repercussions of such a thing. I've never seen India on a list of places where folks adopt children. A lot of folks support children there thru religious organizations.

But again, we are not ready to make that step right now.

And one of the big reasons is that of my health. Which leads to the second point, how on earth do i find a doctor who is capable of guiding me?

I found the acupuncturist, Kathy, with whom i work thru an internet search. I love her & she is terrific. I also found Kim, the physical therapist who does CranioSacral work thru an internet search. And i adore Kim. But some of my other searches have not worked so well. I tried finding a Naturopathic Doctor online. There were so many & their websites so involved that i got bogged in information overload. I finally chose this one. I think she is very nice, but i didn't feel very comfortable with her at all. Still, i ventured on & spent probably around $900 seeing her. She did diagnose a couple of different issues, but in terms of helping me improve we made no progress.

So i waited about a year. During that time i did a number of online searches & frequently hit info overload. Or as Trent at Simple Dollar said in a recent post: "analysis paralysis." In fact his quote, on another matter (giving as in supporti
ng a charity), seems quite apropos here:

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming – there are so many things out there that deserve a gift that it’s easier to fall into “analysis paralysis.” You can’t decide, so you choose to do nothing at all.

I've found that there are so many docs out there that it is difficult to narrow it down. Do i go with a Rheumatologist or Endocrinologist? I found a website where folks were sharing doc info, but most of them were looking for docs to give them opioid for pain. And i'm not being critical here, for some folks are in a lot of pain, but i want a doc who uses meds as an absolute last resort. I want to find someone who will work with me to discover what the problem is & how we can correct it, if possible. If it can't be corrected then fine, i will adapt. But the way current conventional medicine works will never take me to where i want to go. I need someone who sees outside the box.

I was hoping the newest doc would be that person.
But i don't believe so. I was uncomfortable with his approach, too. But rather than spend $900 or more & several months deciding that, i've decided to walk away. His push for the flu vaccine was what pushed me over. If you believe the flu vaccine will build your immune system or help you in any way, i've got a great bridge to sell you, except, wait, your doc has already sold that one to you. If this doc is promoting the flu vaccine, which is of no use at all, then he is thoroughly enmeshed in conventional medicine.

The problem is, where do i go from here? As someone said to me recently, "This is very expensive shopping." Oh boy, & don't i know it! I've a couple of leads. A nurse practioner in San Diego County, or an Endocrinologist in OC who has been recommended. The NP is reasonably priced & into alternative meds but i don't know if she can help me. The Endocrinologist is recommended by someone i trust, but she is VERY expensive. The insurance i do have will not be a help. There is someone else, a psychiatrist actually, in San Diego County who is said to be the "foremost specialist" in fluoride poisoning from meds (Cipro & Prozac, among many others, are fluoride based). I could consult with this guy, but he will not be able to oversee all that i need. And while he is alternative in many ways, he still prescribes meds routinely. Or, there is a doc my sis loves quite a lot who is a MD but does alternative practice. But she also is very, very expensive. And looking over her website i am aware that she won't be holistic in that she wants the person to have another doc for a primary care person.

I'm like, excuse me? You want me to spend upward of $1,000 to see you AND have another doc i pay for primary care????

This last week the acupuncture doc recommended a kelp supplement. She doesn't sell one. So i was at the health food store considering it, & decided against it. I have a HUGE number of supplements currently. I have 3 baskets 12 inches x 12 x12 filled with supplements. If i were taking all that i feel i need on a daily basis, i would be taking about 40 pills a day. I can't do it. I need someone to help me look at the big picture & help me decide where to put my money, which supplements are the ones i really require, & how to put this all together.

I'm a big advocate of alternative or complementary care, but i have to say, this isn't easy, it isn't easy at all. Working with an insurance, i wouldn't have to outlay a minimum of $250 to change & interview a new doc. It wouldn't be such a pain to change docs or try to find a new one. I'm definitely hitting "analysis paralysis" & am having a hard time going forward.

So, that is the second issue. Even if you're bored by this, the pics are lovely.

BTW, all pics here were taken by Duane. Many of the pics i've posted recently of Sugarbear have been taken by yours truly, but our older pics were all done by Duane. All of these are from Yellowstone. I'll save the ones from Bozeman for another day. We stayed at the Old Faithful Inn (in the oldest part, our room was the dormer in the middle in one of the above pics, & our bathroom was shared, down the hall!) It was the 100 year anniversary of when the old inn was built.

We didn't get many pics of the hot pools for it was too cold & windy so that the steam & ripples obscured their depths. That was a disappointment for they are utterly breathtaking. We also didn't get to see the Tetons. Duane had never been there before & the day we were there was cloudy & over cast (& it snowed) so that the mountains were never visible.



Mrs. Mac said...

I love the Old Faithful Inn and the pictures of Yellowstone. I stayed there as a young girl (many moons ago) with my family. Looking forward to seeing your Montana pictures too.

You have a lot of thoughts put to 'pen' here and I read each one :) I think the more you get connected in the community, more doors will open both for your health and for your 'baby/child' questions. The desire God places within us to have children is very strong as you well know. There are several Old Testament women I can recall that wanted children. I would encourage you to seek out their stories and see how they dealt with this same issue for they did not have modern technology to circumvent being childless, but relied and accepted God's perfect will (let go and let God).

We can't always have the answer when we expect or want it. Time has a way of easing pain and mellowing us. What will be .. will be. I've had to experience this type of 'easing pain and mellowing out' learning to accept my handicapped son. Not something I would wish on anyone .. yet, I wouldn't change him for another. Going through the 'fire' of his illnesses, 15 surgeries and struggles nearly whipped me, but for the grace of God, He gave me strength. He will give you strength to get through your struggles too.

Linda said...

I've only been to Yellowstone once, but I loved it and would like to go back. I enjoyed your pictures.

I always thought I would like to adopt, but things just didn't go that way for us. I hope it works out for you. I know of a couple of people who have adopted 2 or 3 siblings from central or south America.

Jena Webber said...

After reading this post, there are so many things I take for granted: one, my health and two, my children. It's a beautiful thing to have children but God has to work out the details, and it sounds like yours are complex. Not that I have any answers to anything you've discussed, I wonder what God wants to teach you during this discovery time in your life? How can you identify with Him and his sufferings? Waiting for God to do a miracle...