Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tales of Yesterday

Here was my afternoon/evening yesterday. 

We were at Whole Foods stocking up on all things gluten-free when an employee walks up and say to the girls, "Guess what!  There are corn dogs and cookies outside for everyone!" 

Awesome.  Thanks.

So after I politely (although part of me wanted to be snarky) told her that we would not be able to participate because of Celiac disease and she left without a word.  We bought an extra bag of cookies and left. 

Stuff like that bothers me.  Whisper it to me, please.  Don't get my daughter excited about something that she will never get to join in on. 

Then we came home, had dinner, hosted small group, and then had a couple from the neighborhood come over to chat.  I ended up having to call 911 on our neighbors a block away because we heard quite the colorful array of language being yelled for a long period of time and we became worried about people's safety.  Good times.  I promise I really do love where we are living in the city.  I just hurt for those people. 

Our friends stayed until after 11 which is soooo past my bedtime because I'm a wuss like that and love to sleep.  So my recipe I had planned on typing up for you last night will have to wait.  It's for homemade chocolate syrup.  I know.  Delish.  Gluten-free.  Not nearly as bad for you as the store bought stuff.  And super cheap. 

We have a packed day today, so if you need some reading to do, you can find me over here.  I found out about that site from Jami, head over to her blog if you want to read about the awful things she did to her siblings growing up.  She may even top Melissa (my big sis) with some of what she did. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

So you want to know how the adoption process is going?

Oh my.  I just don't even know how to begin answering this question.  I get asked it often though (which doesn't bother me by the way), I just don't always know how to answer it.  So there may be more truth thrown out there in this post than I went into it intending.

For one, there is this whole other language used in the adoption world.  And along with this language is a culture that I've been put in the midst of and had to find my way around.  

Part of this culture is understanding that being turned down by a birthmom is not the same thing as being rejected.  But because I so often bow to idol of others approval of me, I don't always tell people that a birthmom is looking at our profile, because odds are she won't pick us.  We may be one of 3, 5, 12, or however many families she looks at.  

I also don't tell simply because it's a really emotional rollercoaster and I don't know that everyone wants to be along for the ride.  I don't even enjoy the ride all the time.

So here's the reality of the situation.

We've been shown to 4 birthmoms.  Two in Florida, one in Indiana, and one in Kansas City.  We've debated being shown to countless others.  We decided not to for two basic reasons, either the baby was going to have known special needs that we decided are outside our scope of openness or they were too expensive.   Only 2 were because of special needs and 10? 20? were because of cost. 

Just so you know, the cost of adoption varies wildly.  There are $10,000 adoptions and there are $80,000+ adoptions.  I'm not going to go into our own personal budget, but I can say that we will not be at the high end (or anywhere remotely near it) because at that point I feel like you are dealing with agencies that are preying on families who want a healthy baby that meets specific parameters and we want no part of that.  We also just plain don't have that much disposable income.

We are going into birthmom situation #5 right now that we decided to be shown to.  It's a local mom.  The baby most likely will have some level of special needs.  He/she won't be born completely healthy, but who can predict that their child will be?  Case and point, our little Evelyn.  I won't share the details of the birthmom even if we are matched and even if she follows through with the match and places with us.  That information will belong to our child first, and if he/she decides to share it, great.  It's their story. 

On that note, I debate even sharing with the whole big interwebs even if we are matched.  We have a couple different sets of friends who are also adopting.  One of them had 3 failed adoptions (birthmom decided to parent), the other has had 2.  So even if I decide to post a "Yay, we're matched!" post, that may not mean anything other than grief if it falls through.  Do I want to have to go through that publicly?  I'm not sure.  It feels a little like when you keep a pregnancy a secret at first because of all the what ifs. 

This post feels a little like word vomit.  It kind of is.  It's late (well, in old married with children people time, it's really only about 11:00) and Scott is at work.  He let me know he may come home for a catnap sometime in the wee hours before he changes and heads back.  So you're welcome internet, you get my ramblings because I don't sleep well on my own. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Approval Idols

I grew up Lutheran, so twice a week I could be found at church learning Bible stories and Catechism and all that stuff.  We pretty much focused on the same Bible stories every year and memorized the same verses.  There may be something to be said about that, but that's not the point of my ramblings today.

I was thinking back to that this afternoon.  One of the parts of the Bible that received considerable attention was the Ten Commandments.  There's some serious law there that none of us have ever come close to measuring up to (that being the point by the way).

When we got to the commandment about not worshiping idols it was always pointed out that God was not referring solely to not worshiping stone statues, but also to not worship things like money.  That was always the example given.  It's a good example, but I don't think it really gets to the heart of the issue: your own heart.  Because when it comes down to it, I don't worship money.  I worship the approval that money offers me by allowing me to have things that others approve of.  I want people to approve of what I wear, how I decorate my home, the food I cook, and Lord knows what else.  All those things require money.  So while I want the money, it's not because I worship it, it's because I default to worshiping what it gives me.

I love approval.  Social media has brought this out in me even more.  How many people will respond to or like my Facebook status?  Will someone pin the project I made or my recipe?  Who will respond to my picture on Instagram?  How many people will follow my blog?


So in walks Circle of Moms to my life.  I was nominated last year for their Top 25 adoption blogs.  I don't remember where I "finished", somewhere around 50 maybe?  So I received an email this year that I was automatically re-entered and went ahead and put the button on the sidebar of my blog.  I didn't really promote myself beyond that because I am trying to battle this approval idol of mine and didn't want to get wrapped up in how many votes I got or what place I ended up in.  Besides, there are some amazing moms our there who blog about the different facets of adoption with far more experience and expertise than I may ever have, and I would rather they be in the top 25.

I removed even that button from my sidebar today though.  There is a wonderful blogger out there that is a firstmom/birthmom.  She gave birth to a child and was coerced into placing that child for adoption.  She writes about hard realities and is a voice for mothers who are in her shoes.

She was in 1st place.

But she's not anymore.  She's not even on the list.  Circle of Moms removed her because they wanted the list to be full of positive blogs.  Apparently it's not ok to be on their list and talk about real, hard truth.  Adoption involves loss, separation, pain, grief, and coming to terms with the fact that we live in a broke, sinful, and fallen world.  If the website hosting this contest is not willing to let that be talked about, I don't want to be any part of it.  So if you stumble upon it, please don't vote for me.  It would do me good to end up in last place.


Within an hour of posting this I received this email from Circle of Moms -


After serious consideration, we have decided to cancel our Adoption Blogs by Moms – 2012 contest. Our Top 25 program is meant to celebrate, connect, and support mom bloggers. Following some feedback from participants in our 2011 contest, we decided to make this year's Top 25 more inclusive. In doing so, we unknowingly stepped into a very sensitive issue and debate, and we apologize to all the moms who have been offended, no matter what your position on adoption is. We're committed to finding a way to give all parties in the Adoption Triad a voice on Circle of Moms. If we run a Top 25 Adoption Blogs in the future, we'll consult with mom bloggers in each part of the Adoption Triad on how to create a supportive contest where all bloggers would feel welcome and respected by Circle of Moms and by all participants. We appreciate the time and energy every participant put into this contest during the past week, and we sincerely regret that we can't reward those efforts in the way we had planned to when we launched the contest. 

We will be closing the contest at 3pm PST today and all blogs will be removed from the contest page.


The Circle of Moms Team

Yes, they stepped into sensitive issues and debate, but instead of providing space for those things, they are just going to delete everyone.  I like them even less now. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Celiac and Preschool

  The pictures in this post have absolutely no connection to the content, but every post is more interesting if you add pictures.  So there you have it. 

I'm always intrigued to look at blog stats and see how people arrived at my little corner of the internet.  Ever since I started posting more about Evelyn's Celiac disease though, it makes me a little sad.

My most viewed post of all time (by far) is this one on how we arrived at a diagnosis for Evelyn.  It has twice as many views as my second most popular post (Annabelle's birth story).

Most often, that post is found by people googling symptoms and things like: toddler bloated belly, my child stopped growing, and what is this blistery rash. 

I feel the pain those parents are experiencing and it makes me ache for them.  Trying to find out what is making your child sick is gut wrenching and exhausting. 

This whole Celiac business is becoming an issue as we start to research and search out a preschool for Evelyn to attend for a year before we begin homeschooling.  It's an idea I was extremely resistant to for a long time.  Then I started thinking about it and asking for the opinions of other, more experienced moms, and then I embraced the idea.  But even if the reality of being in a preschool environment would be positive for Evelyn, we still have to figure out how to make it safe.

She can't eat any of the food the school provides.  She can't play with play-doh.  She can't use a table where other kids have been playing with play-doh.  She can't eat snacks at a table with other kids unless everyone is having a gluten-free snack.  All the kids will have to wash up after snack time before touching the toys she will touch.  We will probably just have to pick her up before lunchtime.  It's a bit stressful to even consider. 

Stressful to the point that I have felt really overwhelmed this week and don't even want to think about it right now.  But I don't really have a choice because if we want to get her enrolled for this Fall, it has to be done now because some preschools have already filled up for next year. 

I toured one preschool yesterday and there's no way I would feel comfortable sending her there.  Some of the teachers didn't even appear to like kids.  When I tried to explain the food issues, they didn't even seem to really grasp what I was saying.  And most the kids were there for daycare really, not preschool.  They get dropped off at 7:30 and picked up at 5, so the part of the day when Evelyn would be there for "half day preschool" was mostly just spent playing outside while a teacher stood around and occasionally yelled at a child to behave, having snack time, and free time inside the classroom.  Not really something I want to pay $300/month for.

I have two more schools to check out.  One is a theraputic preschool that would provide her with speech therapy and sounds really good, but we'll see.  The other is a public Montessori preschool that was recommended I check out.  I'd love her to be in a Montessori program if it's being done well, so that is yet to be determined.

And no, the mud did not wash out of that shirt.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cookies For Breakfast

Are you reading blogs during nap time or while your children are miraculously, quietly playing independently?  Is that just me?  It's the magical time where you pull snacks out of the cupboard that your children don't even know exist and secretly munch on them.  Naughty, naughty.  Oh Costco, how your peanut butter cups and chocolate covered caramels should be banned from existence before I gain 10 more pounds.

So I make a stash of acceptable for mass consumption cookies that when my kids see my forbidden food, I can say, "Hey look!  COOKIES!!!"  And they get really excited.

These are healthy enough that you can eat them for breakfast.  And sometimes lunch if they are calling your name with their soft deliciousness.  And we're going to call them multi-flavored because you can add anything you want into them.

Multi-Flavored Cookies 

1 can garbanzo beans
1 cup coconut oil
1 cup honey
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup tapioca starch
3/4 cup coconut flour
2 tsp xanthan gum
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup extras
Using an immersion blender or a food processor, mash up your can of drained garbanzo beans.

Add your coconut oil and keep blending.

Add the rest of the wet ingredients and blend until you have soup.

Add all your dry ingredients and stir with a spoon (not your blender!) until it gets thick like this.  Coconut flour absorbs moisture as you keep mixing, so if it seems to wet, just keep mixing.

Add your cup of extras.  I did all chocolate chips this time because I was feeling like junk food.  I've done this before with raisins as well, but you can try any kind of nuts, dried fruits, etc.  See how thick the dough is getting as I keep mixing?

Take about a heaping tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball.  Put it on your baking sheet and smash it into a cookie shape.  These cookies hardly spread or change shape at all while baking, so if you put wonky looking cookies in, you will be eating wonky looking cookies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 until the tops get goldeny like this.  Remove them from the pans and place on cooling racks.

This recipe will make about 3 dozen cookies, so approximately a day or two's worth of snacking...and breakfast.