Sep 27, 2006

Will it be Written this Year?

Every year we chant a prayer regarding how life will be lived this year... On Rosh Hashana we ask G-d to inscribe us in the Book of Life for the coming year. Who will live and who will die... who will be born and who will be stoned to death.. you get the point. Every year it's the same prayer and every year we ask for forgiveness for things we may have done to hurt others so that on Yom Kippur (10 days later) we will be sealed in the book of life as the sun sets.

So every year I have prayed and gone to services and even asked people to their face for forgivenss. I have done all the things I think G-d wants me to do and asks of me. My Rabbi said that all G-d wants is prayers from the heart. This I have accomplished because all I pray for is for life to be born within me so that I can have the chance to be a parent with those children. That is a prayer from my heart. When that prayer wasn't answered... I prayed for another path and another sign and was led down the adoption path. But I have to wonder... will it be written this year for us? Will it be written that a baby will be born or a child will be chosen to be in our lives?

At the time in the service when the prayer was chanted, Yiftach and I were sitting on the bimah and stood within 10 feet of the open ark with all the torahs dressed in white. I literally got goose bumps all over my arms when i chanted these lines. I don't know how much more my heart can take without breaking. I dont' know how much more time I want to wait to fill our house with many children.

Sep 18, 2006

Choosing a NAME or NAMES

It's a very weird place to be... thinking of a name for a child who you have no idea when he/she will enter your life. At least with pregnancy, things progress in ways that you can begin to imagine this little thing and what you might want to call him/her. With adoption, we have no idea when that time will be or how many we will get or what gender. So we took my mother-in-law's advice in June and began the discussion about names. Just to have some ideas so when our child/children arrive we don't have to be battling that one out! Thus began an almost 4 month old discussion and long lists and tiny tantrums and a lot of talking around making any type of decision.

The problems we are facing are that my dear wonderful husband has one name (well two including his last name). That's it. His first name is the same in English and Hebrew (because he's Israeli and it's a Hebrew name) and Israelis do not give their children middle names. I, on the other hand, have 6 names. An English first and middle name; two last names since I hyphenated when I got married, and Hebrew first and middle names.

We are working on the compromise of how to blend the simpicity of one name and the tradition of multiple names in order to remember those gone and honor my family name while still creating a unique but not extraordinary name/hardship for our child.

We have learned a lot on this journey. Living with the names is a good thing. Some that we loved are not so great anymore. Others that were so-so, have really grown on us. As we figure out who we want to remember, we also realize that we could end up with more than one child so we need boy and girl names for more than one person who has passed on. We have discovered that there are a lot of extremely unusual names and some very interesting ways to write "basic" names.

We always said that we probably won't get the phone call until we decide on names. That we have to have our thoughts together in order to take on this next challenge.

We had a wonderful weekend celebrating Shabbat in Orange County with friends for their auf ruf. Our entire car ride up, throughout the day, and on the way home was focused on names and I think we've actually agreed on some wonderful choices. Dare I say that? Dare I believe that we actually have a list with names we both really really like? For both genders? Remembering those gone and honoring my family name?

I do say that we have meaningful names that meet all our criteria and make us both smile. Now if the phone would just ring....

Sep 15, 2006

Just waiting for the phone to ring

The adoption process through the county is often a long, involved time period in which you and your spouse have to prove that your home is safe and so are you to have children. While we intellectually understand the need for a unified level for all people applying to foster/adopt children, it didn't change the emotional feelings we felt during this time. It didn't matter that we had a home (one we actually own) , were educated, each had longevity in our jobs and support from our families. In this part of the journey to become parents we had to be willing to open ourselves up to reveal medical, financial, and other needed information.

Not wanting to drag out the process over 8-10 months, which is the average time is takes to complete everything, we became our own advocates and pushed through. We attended the orientation meeting on December 7, 2005, almost 1 year to the date of our initial diagnosis. We filled out the application and left it with the social worker at the meeting. We knew we wanted to go forward and we didn't want to slow down the process any more than it already was going to be! We received a phone call while we were on vacation in Maui at the end of December that we had been assigned a social worker.

We met with Charlene the first week in January and she provided us with a thick packet of things to do. We got started right away and made this adoption process our number one priority. That meant that we spent the rest of January getting our medical forms completed (thanks Tamar!) and writing our autiobiographies. They ended up to be about 14 typed pages each in response to questions we were asked to think about. Things like what our childhood was like, a crisis we remember in our childhood, our relationship then and now with our parents and our siblings, our parenting philiosphy, who will care for the child etc. We had to be fingerprinted but it had to be done at their offices during specific times. We had to do two sets... one for foster care and one for adoption. We had to become CPR certified. There are no costs involved with the county but a lot of time and a lot of paperwork!

We also had to attend almost 39 hours of parenting classes. These are the basis for foster care with some of it being applicable to to adoption. Classes met twice a week for 3 hours over a 6 week period. We learned to take the things that applied to us and our situation and leave the rest at the door. The classes helped us realize that we really want to adopt children and not foster them at this time. It also helped us consider issues such as bonding and attachment and how it might be more difficult with a toddler than an infant.

The other part of this process was going to a foster care orientation, having a home visit by a foster care license worker, individual interviews with our social worker, and a home visit with our social worker. We have decided to pursue concurrent adoption which means that children whoose parents do meet the reunification plans will be moved into the adoption path. Concurrent planning is when the children are still in foster care and waiting for the hearing to terminate parental rights to make them adoptable. The goal is to have the children placed once instead of waiting 6 months in one foster care home and then moved into an adoptive home. Thus, the reason we needed a foster care license.

Our social worker visited our home on March 30, 2006. We discussed the type of child/children we would be willing to adopt. What ethnicity would we consider? What types of issues would we consider? Neglect? Failure to Thrive? Mental Illness in parents? Unknown parents? What drug effects would we be willing to deal with? Alcohol? No. Crystal Meth? Drug of choice in San Diego. Marijuana? Yes. Age of children? Under 2... the younger the better. Gender preference? No. Siblings? Yes. The list goes on and on and on. and then it was over and we began our wait.

We are in our sixth month of waiting since that interview. Probably the 5th month since we were actually put into the system with a written home study. Our social worker felt it would be around 6 months before we were "pulled from the drawer" as potential matches for children. So we are approaching that general time frame and literally just waiting for the phone to ring. It could come tomorrow. It could come next week. It could come next month. It could come next year. The only thing we do know is that that phone call will change our lives forever.

Sep 6, 2006

The Beginning

Welcome to our blog for our journey to becoming parents. was created to share our expereinces, our highs and lows, and finally the celebration of our yeladim (children) coming home.

Our journey to becoming parents began on our one year anniversary in January of 2004. Little did we know that there was no worry over not having enough married time before children arrived. Within 7 months of unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant... the one time in your life that caution goes out the window and you realize it was never really needed...we knew that something was not right. One month shy of our 2nd anniversary we were diagnosed with severe male infertility. Low sperm count, low motility, and low morphology.

After the shock wore off we got into action and began researching on the internet, scouring bookstores, and finding RESOLVE. We decided to try acupuncture, vitamins, and change in our eating habits (as much organic as possible) in order to see what we could do to alter those numbers. Within 3 months we saw dramatic changes and our hopes rose as the numbers did!

Yiftach (my heroic husband) was found to be a bone marrow match for an unrelated woman. He gave of himself unselfishly knowing that it could impact our ability to have our own biological child. Sure enough, his numbers dipped and dropped and we had to wait four seasons (an entire year) before he was totally healed and his numbers came back stronger and better than before. It was also at the one year anniversary of his donation that we found out that the recipient had survived and wanted to be in touch with us. Saving her life was worth every moment we had dealt with in our struggle to get his numbers better.

This took us 6 months past our 3 year anniversary and 5 months into the adoption process. We had decided that we would pursue adoption because we had always wanted to expand our family in that way. We just hadn't thought that this would be the process we would follow first.

Adopting through the county allowed us a way to move forward with creating our family and finding our yeladim without the financial strains attached to adoption. We finished all the classes and paperwork and homestudy March 30, 2006 and now are just waiting for a phone call.

It has taken us months to get to this point of blogging our story and feeling that it was worthy of being read. We appreciate the encouragement of friends, the support of Cookies and Fortune Cookies, and the love of our family as we have walked this scary, long, often tough, sometimes funny, path to becoming parents. We look forward to sharing the rest of the journey with you.