Friday, December 26, 2008

Enormous Thanks

To everyone who prayed for me, and for my husband, and for my family - thanks just isn't enough. I am doing better. I am relieved that the semester is over, and am anxious for the chance to do a better job next semester with 4 classes on a MWF only schedule. This past semester tanked, and for someone who puts her heart and soul into her teaching, that was a big letdown.

Marriage is - interesting. Things are going well right now - but hopefully you'll pardon the skepticism. Anyone can make short-term changes.

The big news is that Michael will be interviewing at Big-Southern-University in a very southern state. Roll tide. We are both very excited to see if that is where God wants us to go next. If not, we are cool. It is nice to be OK with whatever happens. His interview is the 2nd week on January, and we should know within a few weeks after that if there is an offer to consider. That being said, we'll likely know by March if life is going to dramatically change, or if life will go on here in the Bluegrass.

Mia turned 3 last week. My baby is no longer a baby. She's tall and thin, and can carry on a conversation better than most adults I know. She is so intelligent that is scares us most days, and challenges us constantly.

Rebekah was baptized on the Sunday before Christmas, and my parents and brother and sister-in-law drove all the way from Florida for it all. She got to wear her sister's baptism gown, and was absolutely beautiful in it. She even waved at the audience from up on the stage. She is still quite small - just getting into size 18 mo. clothes at 17 months of age. She is still quiet, and not using words, but quietly babbling about all kinds of things. Even though we have not taught her baby sign language, she has picked up quite a bit of it from other kids in her room at daycare, so it's funny to see her do all the little signs for things even when she doesn't speak the word.

Here's a couple pics. I'll try to get better at posting. It seems that now many folks I know IRL and in my church know about my blog, so I imagine posts may be more tame. I wish I could post more anonymously and therefore more freely, but I'm more than a bit embarrassed to discover so many folks who read my blog. It's likely that this scared me away from posting for so long. I may start another blog where I write the more edgy/feminist/venty things. If so, I'll post here with a link for you to go to find out the address.

Thanks again for the support though this very tough time. I do now believe in post-adoption depression as a form of postpartum. I'm getting better. Here's the two main reasons why:

Friday, October 24, 2008

Alive...But Barely Kickin'

I'm not sure what to even write, or how to begin a post. I can barely stop crying long enough to type. It's been a tough month for me, and in so many ways I just don't know why. I suppose it's best to start with what I do know.

First, I'm extremely depressed. I find it hard to get out of bed in the mornings, and when I do go to bed, I find it hard to sleep. I thought I had a form of post-adoption depression. But my kids don't make me sad - in fact, most all of the joy in my life comes from them. I've dealt with depression my entire adult life (and looking back, probably even earlier than that). I have a wonderful physician, and manage the depression with a low-risk medical regimen. I've learned that I can't medicate the tough times away, and I don't want to be so medicated that I feel numb (although that seems appealing at the moment).

I feel very, very lonely. Mainly I feel lonely in my marriage. It's not that I feel a need for friends, or someone to go out with (though it would probably be nice). I also don't feel like there's anyone on the face of the earth that I can truly talk to or who would really care, or who even wants to understand me.

I feel like I have no husband (that I've felt much longer than a month - really for most of the time I've been married, though there are times I just make the most of the situation. M's a great dad tot he girls. But to be frank, I've decided he's incapable of truly loving another human being. We will never have intimacy. Never. And I'm through trying. I'm just going to stick it out because I love my girls more than my own life and they deserve both parents. But I married someone who doesn't know what it means to love someone, or share a life with someone. It was a mistake. But I can't do anything about it now. We talked about separating, but when it came to figuring out custody issues, I couldn't get past what it would do to the girls. So I stopped working on leaving. Instead I'll just have what I did in my first marriage - a roommate.

I'm teaching 5 classes this semester - on part-time pay. So I make nothing and teach my ass off. And I'm not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. My students are slackers who have lied and pissed me off to my limit. I don't want to step foot in the classroom one more time this term. The last straw was a black student who went all the way to the top to complain about me teaching on "the n-word" in class and how unprofessional and offensive I was (despite the fact I teach a class in interpersonal communication, a section on language, and never even USE to flippin' word - yet a documentary I showed pushed him over the edge.). I've spent the last two weeks dealing with this guy and feeling like the biggest failure in the world (and wondering if every other black student I have is thinking the same thing, but too afraid to go to my supervisor). For those who know my story, claiming I'm a racist or trying to do anything BESIDES better the lives of my black students, colleagues, and friends - well, is quite a stretch. But it's been such a blow to my entire self-concept that I can barely think about teaching. My classroom has become my personal hell. I cry in the car on the way to campus, and I cry all the way home. I'm so tired of apologizing for being white. So tired of walking on eggshells around every black student because of my whiteness. Oh, and in the end the student got what he wanted - now he gets to finish the class as an independent study with my (very sympathetic) supervisor. Because he got offended, and he's black, so he gets catered to.

Man, I wish every time I've been offended in life I had just complained angrily enough. Just think of all the catering-to I'd have gotten.

But it's because I'm white. And I tried to teach about the history and transformation of the "n-word". And I don't have the social permission to do that. Not because of my education or experience, but because I'm WHITE. So I'm evil. Of course. Evil white bitch. That's me.

Got in a fight with my husband for caring too much that his family apparently has no desire to even meet his youngest daughter (they've never seen her - and have no plans to). I think it sucks. It hurts my feelings. But HE got mad at ME for feeling that way. Fabulous. And we yelled and fought about it. Because, of course, I dared talk about his family. Then it got turned around on me about my family and how horrible they are. He said he thinks my folks are just being nice to him because their worst fear is that I'll die before him and they'll never see their granddaughters again. He thinks they are just having a relationship with me now to get to the girls - that they really care nothing about me, or having a relationship with us. So I asked him how old his girls could be that it would bother him that his folks hadn't met them, or seen them - and he said it would never bother him.

Again, more sense of isolation. We are here - our families are elsewhere. And he wants no intimacy with them, or with mine. And even though my folks say they want a relationship and do everything they can to make that happen, my husband claims its all a lie to get to see the girls. Wonderful.

It's a miracle I even speak to my husband anymore. He obviously cares little about me on any substantive level. I don't think he wants to see me hit by a mac truck or anything, but as far as truly love me - no. Absolutely not. It's this truth that hurts the most.

Rebekah's baptism will be Dec. 21st and my folks and brother and SIL are all driving up here for it. Michael will be here, but I'd bet my life that he barely speaks to anyone and makes himself scarce. Good times. Everyone in his family is obviously "too busy" to come. The truth is it just isn't important to them. We've offered to buy bus tickets (they won't fly). We've offered to pay for everything, but our offers are always declined.

It's no wonder my husband can't have a relationship with me - he never learned how to have one. Didn't care to learn, I suppose. He's a very, very sad person to be around. Sometimes just seeing him makes me want to cry. He's just void of any emotion at all. There's been "sick" moments where I've wished he'd hit me or something - just so I'd know he at least felt something. Oh, and if you're about to suggest he seek help, he already apparently sees someone, but we don't talk about it (whenever I ask, I get punished, so I stopped asking, but insurance statements do come in the mail, so I guess he goes).

Don't want to go to church anymore either - showing up as a family feels like the biggest joke. Folks think we're happy - BWAHAHAHAHAA. Oh, yeah. Not so much. Sometimes I go and sit there and wonder if anyone else sitting there feels like a bigger fraud than me.

I'm gonna end this on a positive: the girls are happy and healthy. Our home is closed and we don't ever have to see a social worker again. Mia is fully potty-trained, and will be 3 right before Christmas. She's stayed dry in her little Halloween panties all night for a week now, so we're cautiously ending pull-ups and aware that accidents will happen (but that will just be the day we wash the sheets!). Rebekah is running around the house like mad these days, and her favorite activity is pulling all the recycling things out of the bin in the kitchen and carrying empty containers all over the house (especially milk jugs).

We finally hired someone to clean for us - and she comes every week for 3 hours. That I thank for saving the last shred of my sanity.

If you read all this, you are a saint. I would welcome your prayers, thoughts, and comments. I'm so imperfect. If this let anyone else know how screwed up someone else is, and that it's OK, then...welll...I'm glad to be in your company.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Today's The Day!

At 3:15, we'll be a family of 4. Forever and ever and ever. Amen.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

9 Days

Our adoption worker came by this morning for our monthly visit, and we're all set. Even though we are short on our "continuing education" hours for our foster care license, it's all fine since we are closing our home anyway.

Our home is full. I had no idea that it was possible to love a child so much. I mean, I heard other people talk about their love for their children, and honestly it all sounded a bit sappy - a lot of hyperbole. But it really is beyond words, and I never knew I was capable of these kinds of depths of emotions. I really had no idea.

Bit-Bit went to the cardiologist and had her EKG checkup. The good news is that the flap/hole has not enlarged and there are no major problems. She'll go back for another checkup when she is 3, but beyond that it will just be in the back of our minds as she grows up, and maybe someday when she is about 7 or so, we'll have the flap surgically closed. But we feel relieved that she got a clean bill of health (from a pediatric cardiologist, no less).

Cookie is doing well - wearing "big girl" panties a lot these days, and even waking up at night to tell us she has to go potty. It's nice to only have 1 set of diapers to change. She's so intelligent it's tough to keep up with her. She is still all about snuggling, which we still love.

I wish more adoptions were this easy for folks, I really do.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Countdown Begins! - T minus 15 days

October 3rd, 3:15 pm - Bit-Bit will have a new name and very, very happy parents (and sister, and Grammy and Gramdpy, and Aunts and Uncles...).

Hope Springing Eternal

Well, apparently emails are flowing asking all involved if Friday, Oct. rd works for the adoption hearing/finalization.
Praying it happens.
So ready to move forward.

Today I'm going to finish designing Bit-Bit's adoption announcements so they can be mailed out as soon as possible.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Latest Bit-Bit Pics

From summer vacation at Grammy and Grandpy's house - pics courtesy of Grandpy:

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Please Let It Be October

GAL came out on Sat., which means he files his paperwork and we wait for a court date. Our judge does them once a month, so the next date is October 3rd. If we don't get on the docket, we'll have to hope for November. We are so tired of all this. Really. Freakin'. Tired.

In more news, Cookie had to have an abscess removed from her posterior. ER, sedation, and recovery were our weekend. She is fine - just very sore and on massive antibiotics that we have to practically shove down her throat b/c juice and chocolate milk don't mask the taste enough and she's older and wiser. She WILL NOT take it on her own. And one is 4 times a day. This for 10 days may kill us.

No one in our house has gotten any rest to speak of.

So. Tired.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A General Update

Still no housecleaner. I need to look harder. House is filthy. Carpets are being cleaned on Monday, as well as sofa. That will feel like a start.

Not sleeping well - both kid-os very restless and waking up every hour it seems.

Teaching 5 classes already feels insane. But the insanity feels good. I feel like I'm truly contributing to the household again. Any work-outside-the-home moms identify with the need?

I have an actual OFFICE again here on campus - one I share with two other very nice part-time faculty members. Michael and our friend Mina helped me paint it. It looks wonderful and smells like fresh paint (which I kinda like).

Back on Weig*t Watc*ers again. Dang it. I apparently partied this summer something awful and gained a whole heck of lot back again. I'm still under where I was before, but was woefully unaware of just how out of hand my weight had gotten yet again. It feels like a big failure, but I am glad to be back on track. With 5 classes, I've not much time to eat, so I think I'll do pretty well this semester again. Summer darn near killed me with being home so much.

My goal - 25 pounds gone by the end of this semester (mid-December). That way, when Christmas comes, if I eat a goodie or two I won't bust out of my jeans.

Marriage - OK (I think). Sadly enough, there isn't much time to talk or even reflect and it seems that kids take some of the joy of your marriage away (even though they bring their own new joys to the table). I miss our time together and it seems we've lost the ability to have a decent conversation with each other. We try. It is just SO HARD.

No word from Bit-Bit's GAL yet. I'll call our adoption worker later this week if I still haven't heard anything from him.

Life as a whole is good, even though so much seems in great disarray at the moment.

I still wish my house was clean. I need a solid 3 days with no kids and nothing else to do in order to get it in the shape I'd like. Oh how I wish I had help. We may just have to hire a babysitter or cancel class one day so the kids can be at daycare and I can work on the house. I don't know how folks do it, I really don't. is good. It really is.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


The last steps are ahead of us in Bit-Bit's adoption. The Petition for Adoption has been filed by our attorney, and we received a copy of that in the mail as well as the request to appoint a Guardian ad Litem. The note from our attorney said if we did not hear from him in two weeks, that we should call him (or our attorney so she can call him). The appointment document was dated August 20th, so I'll be waiting at least another week before I get antsy.

That does take out the possibility of a Sept. court date. Our judge only does adoptions on the first Friday of each month. So, we are still hoping for Oct. 2nd. However, it took 2 weeks from the filing of the Petition for Adoption for the courts to assign the GAL, so knowing that, it may be that we will have to wait for the November court date.

Officially, the GAL has 90 days from the time they meet with you and the child to file their report with the court. Cookie's GAL had it filed within the week. I have no idea who this GAL is, though I will ask our adoption worker next week when she comes for her monthly visit.

Have I said lately I am SICK OF SOCIAL WORKER VISITS??? I am. I'm tired of paperwork, answering hundreds of questions that are repetitious, poorly worded, and that address the most unimportant of issues for our children. I just want to be "normal" again.

When Bit-Bit's adoption is over, we are closing our home. I can keep track of our kids' birthmom's incarceration and parole hearings online. Perhaps in a couple of years, if we still are in KY and she makes parole, we'll get re-certified and get back in touch with the cabinet just in case. But then again, maybe we won't.

To be honest, I'm looking forward to opportunities to consider leaving Kentucky. I just want to look for other possibilities. Michael is applying for 3 positions in 3 other states this fall (so far). They are all in the formative state right now, but I look forward to the possibility of considering a move. Even if nothing pans out, it still keeps things interesting.

I'm officially tired of waiting for this second adoption to be over. This time it's kinda anti-climactic. We already know the drill, and she's already our daughter. Just ready to not be under a microscope anymore. You feel kinda squished.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Back From FL ...before Fay

Well, we're back from spending two entire weeks at my folks' house on the southeast FL coast.

We flew back on Monday right ahead of the brunt of the storms in West Palm. It was awful weather, but the flights weren't too bad.

It was lovely for the girls to be with Grammy and Grandpy. It was OK for us altogether, though it was stressful getting there and back (we flew - duh). US Airways can kiss my flabby white butt (delays, rude staff, and $2 for even a glass of water on the plane).

But I digress.

Bit-Bit turned 1, obviously. She's growing a little - finally, and walking and jabbering about all kinds of things that I have no clue about. She shakes her head "No" when you tell her something is a "no-no". And she generally gets whatever she wants (so far).

Cookie is having issues with saying "NO!", talking back, stomping around, and being disobedient and defiant in general. Don't get me wrong, she's a very sweet and loving little girl. She's just NORMAL, and downright smart. She already knows how to argue and negotiate a point, so it's a mental challenge as well as a physical one. She's 4 months away from turning 3, so I expected this - but it does NOT make it any easier.

Our next step will be to get Bit-Bit off the bottle, though it is still important for her growth and small stature to get as many nutrients into her as possible. In fact, Michael has her at the doctor's right now for her 1-yr. check-up (and shots - he's doing the "dirty work" as I'm fighting off a migraine this afternoon).

We had a meeting with our R&C social worker this morning, and although I like her, she's a bit high-strung (even for me - which is saying a lot). Hence, the headache.

Also, we haven't had a house-cleaner in over a month since we are terminating the woman who worked for us (cussing in front of the kids, talking about her sex life in vivid terms, and not cleaning worth a darn...). The place is not clean. Not filthy, but dirty enough to stress me out. Yet, here I sit blogging about it. Flippin' awesome, isn't it?

We are hiring a new person to clean for us, but now have to clean in order for HER to come in and clean. I think this will make sense to many of you.

The classes I'm teaching this Fall start Monday at the Community College, and a week from today at the University. I'm teaching 5 total - YIKES. Thank God it's all sections of the same class - Interpersonal Communication. I'm sadly behind in my preparation, and that is stressing me a bit as well. (These 2 weeks away practically KILL me, but my kids MUST have relationships with their grandparents - it really is that important.)

So, I feel that now that I had 2 weeks away, I now need 2 weeks to recover, and it simply isn't there. My first "back-to-school" meeting is Friday, and I'd rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp object. I also have a 3-hour "technology training" session I must attend, which to a blogger and former on-line teacher and electronic textbook author is like telling us we're going to learn how to type. Good Lord, help me not cuss.

Leaving on a happy note:

The girls went swimming in the pool most every day, got little tans, ran around naked...
We learned not to leave a naked 2 yr girl old alone with a bag of Cheetos ('nuf said)
We mail ordered caterpillars and watched them form chrysalises and then emerge into butterflies - we then released them into the backyard.
We watched videos, and ate at all my favorite restaurants while the kids were with the grandparents
We shopped at cool stores and I bought nice new teaching clothes
We ate real fresh seafood at real seafood restaurants
We took naps when we could
We watched a ton of Olympics on the 'rents big-screen TV

A good time was had by all! (And I will never again be able to eat Cheetos.)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

ONE - Singular Sensation...

Every little step she takes...

Yes, she's walking, and she's ONE. I can't believe how the time has flown by. Here's a glimpse at the party girl (and her dad).

In the background is baby Alexis, our friends' 2-month old who slept through the festivities.

Oh, and all the paperwork for adoption will be filed with the court on Monday. We'll meet with the Guardian Ad Litem in a couple weeks, and then we wait to be assigned our court date. We have an off-chance of getting the Sept. 5 slot, but most likely we'll be in court on the October 3rd slot (our judge only does adoptions on the first Friday of each month).

Happy Birthday Bit-Bit. (And sorry about the Beatles haircut mommy gave you - but I HAD to trim those bangs, and the rest just won't grow.) Mommy loves you THIIIIIIS much.

Bye-Bye Cats

I nearly got clawed to death trying to just hold them to get them into a crate. I also broke a lamp in the process. But they will get new homes soon. We are paying the adoption fee. I am not sad about the decision, and neither are the girls.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I have two cats. Neither of them so I consider to be a "good" cat. Neither one will sit in your lap, or let you hold them. And only one will let Cookie touch her. Both will swat at or nip at the girls if they touch them or touch them too long or in the "wrong way". So neither is a very good pet.

To top it off, our LitterMaid (electronic litter box) went kaput this week. While they cost close to $200, the motors burn out on them and they don't last longer than 2 years - tops. And you have to buy cartridges for them. So, we bought a new electronic litter box that uses dehydrating crystals. It's called "Scoop Free". Since bringing it home a week ago, the counter reads that the cats have only gone in 10 times. I have cleaned poop off the floor daily and recently discovered the pile of laundry that the cats had been peeing on. I trashed it rather than attempt to clean it. I am disgusted. I even tried putting their old type litter in it, but to no avail. Also, the Scoop Free uses $15 cartridges that you completely throw away and for a 2-cat household that will last you about 2 weeks. So, $30 a month in cartridges for a $2oo machine. Brilliant. But I refuse to scoop a litter box, and both cats are declawed and completely indoors.

While I like the cats, and care about them, I wouldn't say I "love" them. I've had cats I "loved". My Honey Cat that I got my first year away at college lived 14 years, and I agonized over putting her down when she had heart failure and fluid in her lungs.

I got Callie (current cat #1) when one of my two cats got out of the house and never was found. Honey Cat was lonely, so I went to the Humane Society and found Callie. She was a year old, and very skittish. She had been abused. She is now around 7 or 8 years old, and will not be held even for a milisecond. She's beautiful and soft and likes to be petted and will lay near you, but that's about it.

I got Macy Gray (current cat #2) when Honey Cat died - making her about 4 years old now. Callie mourned the loss of her companion cat and moped around "crying". We got Macy Gray at the Humane Society as well as a brand new kitten. She's also spayed and declawed. She never became a "lap cat", and in the two and a half years Cookie has been with us and the year Bit-Bit's been in the picture, she's NEVER allowed a child to touch her. So much for being a "family pet".

So, my two cats are pretty much house decoration. And now they have peed and pooped all over the upstairs hallway surrounding their litter box. I hate to just give up on them, but even if I could find just the right litter and box, they still aren't nice to the girls.

My kids are my priority. If Cookie wants a cat, I'll get her one that is HER cat - that allows her to hold and pet her and gives something back to the family as opposed to just shedding, peeing, and pooping.

On top of it all, my husband does not like cats. He's always humored me and my love of cats, though. He even was upset when Honey Cat had to be put to sleep. Coincidently, we both dislike dogs immensely. I grew up with neighbors who raised pit bull dogs for sport (aka a certain former Atlanta Falcon) and threw live small animals into the cages to watch them being torn to bits. Its no surprise I don't like dogs. I can pet a nice dog - even kinda like my brother's Beagle, but I would never willingly own a dog.

So, tonight I told Michael he could crate the cats and take them to the Humane Society and surrender them. I don't know what else to do. I feel like a horrid pet owner, but I've given them the best life I knew how to. And now they aren't good around my kids. I can't have a house of cat pee and poop around the kids, and they aren't anywhere near what I would consider a "pet". I don't know any other good option.

We are going on a 2-week vacation to FL soon, and would have left them here with a semi-sitter who would check in on them and play with them and feed them. But I can't leave them and have them peeing and pooping unattended for 2 weeks. I'm at a real loss. I feel awful about this.

I like the cats, but my gut tells me they've got to go.

What would you do?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My "Little" Cookie

...isn't so little anymore. Here's just a snapshot of her yesterday morning:

She's 36.5" tall, and weighs 32 pounds now - and is a little over 2 1/2 years old now. My Bit-Bit will turn 1 at the end of the month. What beautiful girls they are turning into. I am honored to have been chosen to be their mom.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Me: "Hey Cookie, how did you get to be so smart?"
Cookie: (without missing a beat and looking at me with that "duh mommy" look) "God!"

Her favorite shoes to wear are what she calls "Foot Lops" (flip-flops).

She has discovered how addicting Pop-Ice are.

She has her own patch of flowers she helped plant, and she loves watering them daily with her little pink watering can.

Her favorite activity is water color painting, and she must own about 30 different brushes in all shapes and sizes. When she paints, she carefully selects which one to use, but will eventually use each one. She is a very careful and studious (and serious) painter. It's cool to watch.

She recently turned an official 2 AND A HALF (she now loves to add the "and a half" part when you ask how old she is)

We are doing swimming lessons this summer, and Cookie loves it - except she fusses a lot if I make her go under the water. In fact, she detests it.

We are trying potty training again full-force. She is doing well as recently got rewarded with "good fairy panties" (toddler panties with Tinkerbell on them). She is in love with them. I hope it is enough motivation. She knows when she has to go - it's all about choice and convenience for her. In sum, she's too darn busy to bother to stop and use the potty.

She still sleeps in our bed.

She loves her little sister, and is very good to her. She plays so much better with her than we ever expected her to at this age. She can't stand to hear her sister crying, and prods us to go get her out of the crib if we aren't acting fast enough for her taste.

She is still a huge cuddle bug who can't get enough holding and cuddle time. I'm going to love it while she still wants it.

We are slowly easing away from the sippy cup. It's kinda of her last big vice. No paci for her - only sippy cups.

Poor kid - it must be hard being 2 and having big people control your every move and take away all the good stuff from you. :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cookie Scissorhands

One of Cookie's favorite things these days are scissors. We've carefully taught her how to hold and use her child's "safety" scissors, and drilled her on the dangers of scissors and what we can and cannot do with scissors.

Yesterday, we allowed her to sit at the kitchen table and cut up paper while we supervised her. Apparently, I became too apathetic in my supervision, and in the 5.3 seconds that I did not have my eyes on her, she silently slipped into the livingroom and...

cut up several pieces of mail
cut the nipple off Bit-Bit's pacifier !!??!!
cut several pages in the textbook I teach out of, AND
cut a hole in the front of the dress she was wearing

All that and she did NOT get spanked. Frankly, we had to turn away for fear she would see us laughing. It was he-larious. Poor Bit-Bit. At least we have spare pacifiers.

She did get a FIRM talking to, and the scissors got taken away. But we had to wait until we could do it without cracking up.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

That Being Said...

Well, I've calmed down a bit. But was worth writing. I suppose I should clarify how I feel about my daughter's birth-mother. I don't use the term birth-mother a lot. I simply cannot. And it has even more to do with the abuse she inflicted on her birth children that I have never met (and likely may never meet). They are now 9 and 6. They were beaten, neglected, and sexually abused by she and her husband in addiction to being born cocaine-addicted. They were adopted a year before Cookie was born (adopted by the loving couple who were their foster parents - praise God!) I pray for them a lot. My daughters do not know about them, and we will not tell them until they are at the very least teenagers, or maybe adults. It will be hard for them to digest.

And what shall we tell them about their birth parents? For now, we tell them nothing. Cookie knows she is "adopted", though she knows little about what adoption means in terms of who gave birth to whom and that she didn't grow in my tummy. She knows she was brought to us by a social worker, that we went to court, and that she became a forever member of our family. The fact that another human body served as an incubator is of little relevance to us or to her and her well-being. Certainly once we begin talks about the birds and bees, we'll weave in that another woman carried her and gave birth to her.

But the rest of the story is hard to tell. I can't say "she loved you", or "she cared about you". I don't lie, and I won't lie. Lying would simply teach my children that it's OK in some instances. I believe that it is NEVER OK to lie. Period. The truth is she may never have had much of chance in life, on the streets and meeting up with a criminal and drug addict in his 30s when she was just 12. No education, biological family but no support system. I suppose I could say she is "sick or ill", but that doesn't begin to explain it. I could say she is a drug addict. That's true, and we will tell them that at a fairly young age. Drug talks are a must even with your biological kids with no risk factors.

But I won't walk around bashing her, either. That's the difference between my blog and, I can be tough, but I'm more likely to be a doormat. I can talk tough here, but in real life I save my rants for private time with good friends who "get" me. I don't rant in front of my kids - not even when they are home and in another room. I just don't do it.

We don't talk about their birth parents at all. They aren't in a lifebook. I don't have family pictures. I have a mug-shot of Cookie's alleged birth father (birth mom's husband who is incarcerated as well). Ah, nah, no mug shots in a lifebook. Unh-uh. No way. That picture is in her presentation summary and will remain under lock and key.

See, there's no sweet little birth family story here. No birth mom who simply messed around in high school and gave up her child for adoption. No bitter-sweet overseas adoption story of poverty-stricken or deceased birth parents and a rescued child. No open adoption bliss. In fact, our adoption is ultra-closed for our personal safety. We never even met their birth mom because the cabinet feared for our safety. This was a potentially dangerous situation. We were even told where not to take the baby when we shopped because that was the neighborhood where a relative lived.

I can't make it good. Their adoption albums don't have any "birth family" pages. There's nothing I can put there. I have names and history and information, and that we will share when and if they are ready to hear it and capable of processing it. We may even choose to do it with some assistance of professionals and extended family.

But I won't make it some horror story they have to shoulder, either. We tell them they are miracles. EVERY NIGHT when we pray, the FIRST thing we say is "Thank you Jesus for Cookie. We are SO glad you sent her to be our little girl. And thank you Jesus for Bit-Bit. We are so glad you sent her to be our little girl, and that you are allowing us to adopt her just like we adopted Cookie."

So, I might talk smack on my blog, but the talk at home and with the girls is always positive. The negative will always be there, so there's no need to emphasize it. They'll know we aren't their biological parents. Um, it's rather obvious. :)

I still haven't completely worked through my anger toward their birth parents. I'm not sure it will ever go away completely. I pray it becomes more of compassionate/sadness for them. But I can't forget what they did.

We're closing our home as foster parents. We're also strongly considering seeking to leave Kentucky. It's been OK, but God's been talking to us a lot lately, and showing me many signs that our time here may be ending before too awful long. I'd like to be within driving distance of family. But I do know that leaving Kentucky means that when our daughters birthmom gets out of jail in two years, and gets pregnant yet again (because she's only 25 now and that's her pattern), that that child will go to another family. Strangely, we're OK with that. We didn't adopt her first two kids, and we can't adopt every child she might have before she's done. Maybe there's another couple desperately praying for a child as we were 3 years ago. It would be fine (I think).

The term birth-parent becomes a little problematic when "parent" connotes a certain level of care. I actually find myself at a loss for an appropriate term for the woman who gave birth to my daughters.

If anyone out there has birth-parent story issues because of the horrific nature of the situation, I'd love to hear from you. I'd love to know how you told your children about them, and when you told them, and how you dealt with questions. We're trying to get it right. Unfortunately, we're probably going to screw up a whole bunch.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

In Response to Anonymous

I got this from an anonymous commenter regarding the fact that I was upset about the SW giving Cookie and Bit's biomom pictures:

I'm going to be the wicked bitch here and ask what's the big deal with showing the bio-mom some pictures? Do you REALLY think (honestly now) that she's going to take those pictures and use them to track you down/hurt you from behind jail or once she gets out? Did you ever think that maybe seeing those pictures gave the mom some closure/peace of mind that the girls were well loved and being taken care of? Birthmoms (whether they choose to be them or not) sometimes can "close chapters" easier knowing that their children are safe and well loved/taken care of, then by them just disappearing off the face of the world and wondering every time a child that matches the age and description of the child they lost comes across the news as raped/murdered/abused... Cmon now. Get a grip and stop being such an ass. You have the children, she doesn't. I KNOW that showing her a few pictures isn't going to change that fact, and quite honestly, it sounds like you are just another power-tripping power hungry adoptive mom who is standing on the mountain stop screaming MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE. Get over it lady.

Allow me to clarify. Yes, I am standing on the mountaintop screaming MINE!! Their birthmother was a crack whore who damn near killed her unborn children, abused other children within an inch of their life and scarred them for life. Yes, now they are MINE. She will spend another two years behind bars. She should spend the rest of her life for what she did to FOUR HELPLESS CHILDREN.

As for the Social Worker, she did not have my PERMISSION to do what she did. Maybe I would have granted it, maybe not. My point was, she didn't ask, and it was not her place to do what she did. She hadn't "found peace or closure" with three prior involuntary terminations behind her, and despite her incarceration and cocaine problem, would not voluntarily terminate this time. Doesn't sound like someone in search of peace or closure to me. Doesn't sound like someone who cares about the well-being of ANY child.

Don't think you know my story very well, or that of my children.

And if you had any balls, you self-righteous prick, then show your name instead of hiding behind "anonymous".

Anyone care to comment in response? Bring it on!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Presentation Summary Approved

Our presentation summary is now approved and ready for us to sign. Our adoption worker will come out next week so we can sign that and she can start to get our contracts together. Yippie!! Now I really need to get on the ball and call our attorney!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Lovely Meeting

Our meeting with K, our adoption worker, went well as expected. It was lovely to see her again, and celebrate another adoption about to be completed. We learned that our presentation summary was completed and submitted for approval, so we are now just waiting for that to be finished by the powers that be at the Cabinet, and we will sign and be official pre-adoptive parents.

I'll be talking to our attorney sometime tomorrow (I teach my first day of summer class tomorrow, so I may be pushing it) or the next day. She will send her "fee letter" to our adoption worker, and she will also appoint our Guardian Ad Litem (who represents Bit-Bit in documentation and in court). We are hoping to get the same Guardian Ad Litem appointed that Cookie had - she is herself an adoptive mom, and she understands the need to write and submit her report quickly. For example, with Cookie's adoption, she wrote and submitted her report all within a week's time, and I think by law she could take 30 (or may be 90??) days. So, we are hoping for her again.

K. is hoping we will be able to finalize the adoption by October. That would be fabulous. Hey, if it happens by the end of 08 I'll be thrilled - who we kiddin' anyway??

Oh, and Bit-Bit's old social worker resigned.

And I want to share something else here - a wonderful man who was in our old Sunday School class works with the Cabinet, and were it not for us knowing him and his wife, and knowing the kind of honesty and trustworthiness he and his wife had, I wouldn't have had nearly the bravery I had to talk to supervisors about our issues. Because God put them in our lives about 3 years ago, we had people in our church family who fully understood our fostering to adopt process, and someone we could finally tell about our predicament. So, S. D. ... we are so blessed God put you in our lives. If we hadn't been able to talk to you both, I don't know if fear would have prevented us from being able to really tell what had happened. And now no other family has to be disrespected or have their privacy violated in the same way again. I'm so grateful.

I also forgot to add that old social worker gave pictures of Cookie to birthmom at court in April, even though the adoption was CLOSED and SEALED over a year ago. And, of course, that was done WITHOUT MY BLEEPIN' PERMISSION!! Ugh!! I would not have allowed that. She also gave her pictures of Bit-Bit and the girls together that I had given to her to "show the judge". I think she knew all along she was going to give them to biomom. Dang.

Well, all is well now that we are with K. and on our way to adoption-land again. I feel like everyone from here on out can be trusted, and that is a really comforting feeling.

Praise God for friends, for great adoption workers, for our girls, and for a FL summer vacation we just booked. Praise God for grandparents and potential date nights without having to shell out for a babysitter. :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Adoption Worker Assigned!

On the 17th, we will be meeting with the adoption worker who will be conducting Bit-Bit's adoption. K. is the same worker who handled Cookie's adoption, too, so we are blessed to have her back again.

The news of getting an adoption worker is likely sudden here on the blog, and for good reason. We had problems with Bit-Bit's social worker. She engaged first in inconsiderate practices (not calling to tell us the results of the TPR hearing, etc.), then inappropriate practices (telling us the baby did not have to be present, but that she would "call it a home visit" anyway, showing up on the last day of the month at 6:00 for her home visit, cancellations galore, 5-minute home visits), the unethical/illegal (giving us a copy of another child's presentation summary, asking us to write up all the documentation and paperwork that it is HER job to write, no family team meetings held EVER, and not communicating anything with our other workers, and on her last home visit we were convinced she was drunk or on drugs). The giving out of confidential and sealed documents lead us to report her to the cabinet.

We were terrified to report this. All we wanted was our daughter, and we would put up with anything, and do whatever we were asked to get her forever and be done with all this. But when it came to unethical and illegal behaviors, that did it. We had no real choice.

I had a meeting with 2 big-time supervisors in private, and it was very professional. They apologized on behalf of the cabinet. They promised me that by the morning we would be assigned the adoption worker OF OUR CHOICE, and never ever have to see or speak to our old worker again. They were grateful and appreciative of my bravery, and both agreed to do everything they could to expedite our adoption from here on out.

That promise was fulfilled, and our adoption worker has already contacted us and scheduled her visit for the 17th, will have our things to sign, and perhaps even our presentation summary. She estimates we will be done in 4 months.

See, you are eventually rewarded when you do the right thing. It was still hard. But yet it was also very easy. The worker should be terminated for what she did. It was egregious, and when she did those things, she always said "I'm not supposed to do this, but...". Dang it, then DON'T. *sigh*

Well, Bit-Bit will soon officially be Rebekah Ileana Ourlastname. Funny, it has felt that way for at least 10 months already. From here on out, it will be smooth sailing. We have the best worker, the best judge, and the best kid-os. Have I mentioned lately how GOOD GOD IS? ALL THE TIME!

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Bargain Pimp-ette Strikes Again!

So, yesterday afternoon, I managed to buy Bit-Bit 7 (yes, SEVEN) brand new bathing suits for 7 (yes, SEVEN) dollars. How did I pull that off? With a little help from my friendly neighborhood Dollar Tree! Yup, I had seen some folks selling these brand-new bathing suits on ebay and I googled the name brand. Well, I came across a mommy message board that was saying that Max Grey was the "brand" of swimsuits that Dollar Tree had gotten in.

I was pleasantly surprised to find they were really cute! They had sizes 6-12 mo, 12-18mo., and 18-24 mo. The 6-12 mo ended up being a little small for Bit-Bit as she is 10 months old now, but the 12-18 month ones were perfect - and so cute! She wore the first one last night.

They didn't have any larger sizes, but man...7 swimsuits for $7. Yeah, I'm thrilled.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Got Swimsuits for Baby Girls, Anyone?

We're doing "Parent & Me" swim lessons this summer with the girls (all 4 2-week sessions if we can swing it). The only "problem" is that it's Monday THROUGH Friday (every week night) and that's a lot of bathing suits unless I do laundry each night. Cookie has 4 bathing suits, but Bit-Bit only has 2.

If anyone has size 12 month bathing suits for a girl you want to sell me, I have a paypal account!!

I'd also buy size 3T for the Cookie.

I'm not so cheap that I can't buy them new stuff (I do, really.) I just hate to buy so many new ones at full price that they'll only wear for 2 months.

Swimsuits, anyone?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

After Her Bath...

THIS was how she emerged from the bedroom. Yes, that is a baton she is carrying. I call this The Empress' New Clothes. At least she chose my best basic black heels. We all know black goes with everything.

Bedtime At Our House

And that's pretty much how it goes. Like the matching jammies? :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

An Exciting Day at the Polls

As a registered Independent, I did not get to take part in today's Primary in Kentucky. I felt a little screwed there. I register as an Independent as a way of demonstrating my support for an individual's right to CHOICE in all sorts of arenas. My husband, much to his own surprise, had registered Democrat as opposed to his usual Independent, so he got to cast a vote. I didn't ask who he voted for, but since I know who it was NOT for, I can only surmise it was a vote for Obama. It was no doubt a proud moment for him. It was a proud moment for me.

On a sad note, we were at the polls rather late, and of the over 600 registered voters in our tiny district of the city, only just over 100 had bothered to get their asses out to vote. Short of a flood after-work voters, that is a travesty. Perhaps they feel the KY Primary doesn't matter. Perhaps they are Republicans who feel the state and district elections aren't worth going to the polls for. Perhaps they are confused and don't even understand that there still IS a Republican Primary going on as well. Or perhaps they are content to keep Kentucky...well...KEN-TUCK-Y (said with Skoal between the cheek and gum).

A recent national poll revealed that 15% of voters still (ERRONEOUSLY) believe that Obama is Muslim. Half of those people probably live in Kentucky.

Even though I did not vote, I wanted to make my position clear here:

I am a proud white female supporter of Obama 08. I would have loved to have been a part of electing our first female president, but, unfortunately, I can't back this particular female candidate (for reasons I'm more than willing to talk about, but for brevity, will omit here). And I won't vote for anyone based on race OR ownership of a penis or vagina.

I filled out a "Change of Party Affiliation" card today at the polls. It was my little way of casting a vote without casting a vote.


As of just before midnight last night,I'm 37. I'm also happier and healthier than I've been in years, I have two beautiful daughters, a sexy husband who loves me, a great house in the burbs, and a new car I love. I have friends who would be here in the blink of an eye if I needed them. Wow. Just wow.

Things I would like to accomplish before 38 rolls around:
Finalize our second (and final) adoption
Loose 50 more pounds (at least)
Finish home remodeling projects
Get even healthier physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

I'm really starting to believe it's true: "The best is yet to come."

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Big Girl & Nasty Jobs


Well, Cookie now weighs 31 pounds and is 36 inches tall, so she is graduating today to a BIG GIRL booster-style car seat. We bought a nice new one for each car since the high-back booster seats are pretty reasonable. But we are also doting parents, so she got one with a reading light in the headrest. I probably could have found one with an outlet for an iPod, and she would have loved that,


As for nasty jobs, well, the removal of old car seats, the washing of the pads underneath, and the cleaning of said cars if enough to cause me to run away from home. The under-seat pads are currently in the washing machine, and I'm shocked the washing machine just didn't die from disgust. OK, so I allow my kid to eat and drink in the car. But I eat and drink in my car, so I figure I can't give her a rule I can't live by as well. So her car seats get, um..."crusty" (to use Mia's favorite nasty descriptive term). Old french fries are "crusty", old bread is "crusty", nasty dirty clothes are "crusty". You get my point.

So today I am a cleaning woman. It is good that I have the first part of summer off from teaching. I fear it's not going to seem like I'm on vacation at all. With both of us working, so much gets neglected around here.


On a pleasant note, today is the last day the electrician will be here finishing up the home improvements that require his expertise. When finished we will have replaced: the front lights on the garage and outside the front door, ceiling lights in the entryway, girls' room, and office, chandelier in the kitchen, replaced drop-lights in the kitchen with recessed lighting, installed dimmer switches for the lighting in the kitchen, a new wall sconce light on the stairwell, a new light fixture in Michael's bathroom, replaced and installed new ultra-capacity and ultra-quiet bathroom exhaust fans in both upstairs bathrooms, installed a brand new over-the-range microwave, and replaced and installed a brand new ceiling fan in the livingroom.

Weekend after this, the painter will begin on that arm of our home improvement quest. My dad has already painted our master bathroom and half-bath downstairs as well as the girls' room, but our entire downstairs and Michael's bathroom will be the next to be painted. It will not be cheap. We are undoubtedly "stimulating the economy".

Our home is only 8 years old this year, but all of the interior paint used was flat and off-beigey- yellow which always looked dirty, was unwashable, and showed every kid-fingerprint (as well as adult fingerprint). All the lighting was el-cheap-o yellow fake-brassy crap that made the very cute house look rather cheap inside. It is really starting to look (and feel) amazing.

Well, I'm off to attend to nasty laundry. Hope your tasks today are more pleasant. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

You Know It's Derby Weekend When...

Your 2 yr old, in her nightly prayers, says:

"Thank you Jesus for horse racing."

At least it wasn't mint juleps.

Friday, May 2, 2008

First (Assisted) Steps!

We went to pick up Bit-Bit from her room at daycare yesterday, and her teachers were just beaming as they called us over to see what Bit-Bit was doing. She was standing up and pushing a little walker toy across the floor. She was actually taking steps and figuring out how to put one foot in front of the other. What a way to celebrate having just turned 9 months old!

So you know I went out and bought my girl a Step Start Walk'N Ride at Target today and have already assembled it for when the girls arrive home with daddy today in a few minutes. I can't wait to give it to her!

Way to go, my little Bit-Bit!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

We Won!

Bit-Bit is now free for adoption. We are all relieved.

The egg donor came all the way from another city (thanks to the taxpayers of the state) for her defense-less case just so she could get a day trip. She was in handcuffs and shackles (we were told - we did not attend). She was denied parole, and must now spend a minimum of 48 more months behind bars before she even will be eligible for parole again (musta done something pretty bad in jail). This is good news - she isn't likely to have another child for about 3 years.

May will be spent with the permanency worker doing paperwork.

June's visit will be with permanency worker and the adoption worker.

July-whenever will be with just the adoption worker.

I was hoping to have the adoption wrapped up by the end of summer, but anyone else out there who's adopted from foster care knows how that story goes. It's anyone's guess. But I'm praying it before the end of '08.

Now starts the new sea of paperwork! Praise the Lord!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh Yeah, Court Tomorrow

And in case giving 2 final exams tomorrow and grading a monsoon of papers wasn't enough...
Bit-Bit's TPR hearing is tomorrow. I also expect SW will "drop by" for a few minutes at some point tomorrow (though we don't have an appointment scheduled for this month's home visit - the last day for which is, uh, tomorrow!)
All is expected to go quickly and without a hitch. And our judge is spectacular (same one who did Cookie's case and adoption, and who knows the whole story).
But prayers, good thoughts, and positive vibes are always appreciated.
I'll post as soon as I hear the good news!

Things I Never Thought I'd Say (Bathtub Edition)

"No Mia. We don't stick our finger in Bit-Bit's booty."

"No, Mia. We don't pee in the tub...on our sister."

"If you take the time to spread your legs AND squat before you pee, you know you have to pee."

Man, the wisdom just keeps coming.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Peter Rabbit's Mom

Cookie wanted to read TO me (this is a relatively new thing with her and she is actually quite good, and the things she "fills in" the story with can be quite entertaining) last night.

She chose "Peter Rabbit".

And so she opened the book and began:

"Peter Rabbit mommy go to work. Teach students!"

"Mommy go work. STUDENTS!" (she is almost hollering now)

Every other page was "Peter Rabbit mommy go work - teach STEW-DENTS."

Can you tell I'm in the middle of giving final exams? Guess what we are stressed out about DOES rub off on the kid-os, no matter how much we think we wait until they are asleep.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Making Hairbows - HELP

OK, now that school is ending, I'd like to make some handmade hairbows for the girls. I'm not "crafty", but I REALLY want to learn. Can anyone help me by referring me to webites or web-videos that are free that are good places to learn? I really would rather not buy books, as I want to spend my money on ribbons and supplies instead.

Here's some sites I found:

Can anyone help??

Monday, April 21, 2008

Still Loosing - A WW Update

It's been a while since I posted about my weight loss journey, and it's also been a while since I did anything much at all concerning my weight. Between parents in town, a kid with an ear infection, and some home remodeling, I've been out of the routine of going to meetings. However, I am pleased to announce that while being out for 3 weeks, I still managed to loose another 2 pounds.

So, my total weight loss is now 27.2 pounds.

I'm going to work very hard this week because I'd love to reach the 30 pound mark by the time finals are over. Still, I have lost over 10% of my body weight in one semester.

I have gone from a size 22W to a size 16W in bottoms and from a 3X to a 1X in tops.

I still have a lot of weight left to loose, but I'm not giving up.

Cookie has been saying new things to me lately - a couple of which make me smile:

"Mommy, you rock!"

"Mommy, you're pretty. You're a princess!"

And, of course, she now spontaneously tells me, "I love you, Mommy!" That is worth a whole heap of tantrums.

I am feeling prettier. The girls' swimming lessons this summer will be a lot less painful as I put on my bathing suit to get into the pool.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Clearplan Fertility Monitor For Sale!

No more kiddos for us! And I still have my Clearplan Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor that costs about $189. I also have about 16 sealed test strips that expired last year (dunno if they would still work). I also found a brand new still-sealed box of test sticks that expired in 2006. Clearly, I was preoccupied with a new baby! The dumb sticks cost me about $45 a box. But the monitor worked well and did in fact show when I ovulated.

I still have the original box and instruction booklet too.

If you know anyone who wants one, I have reset (completely cleared) the memory on this, and it's just like new. I'm putting it on ebay and was hoping to get $60 for everything it when it's all said and done. I'll even include all the sticks even though they're expired. They could at least be used as "practice" sticks. I'll ship anywhere and have paypal. :)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Links To Adoption Tax Credit Explanations

I did most of my research through the IRS website, but for folks who don't want to spend weeks like I did, I found the following summary to be the most accurate and helpful:

It provides hyperlinks to the actual forms you'll need to fill out (or, as in our case, your tax preparer). I highly recommend using a tax professional when you go to use this credit.

I'll add more as I get a chance as I know others are very interested as they plan on adopting in the near future.

I just learned that you can use the tax credit even if you had expenses on an attempted by failed adoption, too. This is great news for many who run into nonrefundable deposits with agencies only to have birth mothers/parents change their minds.

For those of you who have not adopted, don't forget that you can claim a foster child who is in your care for at least 6 months out of that year. We claimed Cookie in the year before she was adopted and it gave us a nice tax break that year as well. We couldn't claim Bit-Bit because she was born on July 31st.

Hope this helps - anyone have other sites? As I find good ones, I'll create a side-bar with the links.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Questions re: Adoption Tax Credit

For those of you who have received this credit, feel free to comment to add or correct. Here goes:

It is possible to make too much money to qualify for the credit. If your income is over 200K, you're pretty much out of luck.

The amount of the credit is $11,390 for 2007
For 2008, the amount will be $11,650

There are proposals on the table to end the credit as early as 2010 as it has no worked the way lawmakers intended. Only 17% of those who used the tax credit have adopted domestically and from foster care.

There are actually two tax issues here. The first covers adoption EXPENSES (and those expenses have to fit into an IRS-approved list). The second covers special needs adoptions even if you incurred no expenses. So, if you adopt from China, you get a tax credit of UP TO $11,390 of your out-of-pocket expenses for that adoption.

If you adopt from foster care, you get the tax credit of $11,390 and don't have to document any expenses as long as the adoption is "special needs" (which most all are). Just make sure your adoption paperwork specifies "special needs". If you get a post-adoption subsidy contract, you're in that category. And by all means, keep your paperwork. I think now that the IRS has cut us this ginormous of a check, someone is bound to check in on us. And next year, we will be doing the very same happy dance of rebate check heaven following Bit-Bit's adoption.

This is all based on your TAX LIABILITY for that year that you adopted or incurred expenses. So, if you did not have $11,390 worth of liability, you can get your credit in chunks for up to 5 years.

So, yes - to answer your question S. - that does indeed mean "big fat checks" for some (YAY) even far beyond the amount of $11,390 especially if those same people had a mortgage, daycare expenses, tithe 10%, have vehicle taxes they deduct, business expenses, and so on. It can really add up. So, some people do end up getting this all in one check.

A guy I worked with adopted from China 5 years ago and told me about the year they got a $13,000-plus refund check. I believed him, but hardly could wrap my brain around it. Now, he and his wife had about $20,000 in expenses for their daughter's adoption, so for him it was like putting money back. For those of us who adopt from foster care and basically have no expenses (we were reimbursed $1000 for legal expenses and found a good attorney who worked with the cabinet a lot and could do the adoption pretty close to the $1000 amount and billed the cabinet directly and we were billed for the remainder - a whopping $86) it's a great start to your kids college funds, or remodeling their bedrooms, or buying that family car you need for your now larger family, or even paying off debt you racked up buying baby gear.

I hope the government does not end this program. I know it did not encourage domestic adoptions the way it intended. But that doesn't mean we have to throw it out. We've known about the tax credit since a little before Cookie's adoption. Knowing about it made our decision to open our home again a little easier. Knowing about it made it a total no-brainer to adopt again. We feel like it's God's way of assuring us that as long as we are willing to lay it all down and follow His will for our lives, He will provide. I had to quit my job almost a year ago. Since then, we're OK. This will better allow me to keep teaching college part-time and see my girls every morning instead of leaving while they are still asleep. I actually get to eat Cheerios with Cookie every morning and watch the birds eating out of the bird feeder on the patio. There are no better conversations I have than with her about cereal and birds.

Two weeks to go until the judge declares Bit-Bit free for adoption!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tax-Time Blessings

Our tax return arrived in the mail yesterday. The powers- that- be decided the return was too large to be direct deposited and the letter we received from the powers-that-be stated they "had to do some additional calculations" (meaning we are likely going to be audited one day soon, but we are prepared for that). But, the reason for the large check was...

Our adoption in 2007. If it were a "regular" adoption,we would have been able to use the Adoption Tax Credit to cover some of our adoption expenses. But because we had no adoption expenses (adoption through foster care is free for the most part) - well, we did owe the lawyer a whopping $86 dollars when it was all said and done - we did not qualify.

But wait...

Our adoption was from foster care and it was of a child born severely drug addicted.

Ours was by definition a "special needs adoption".

So we got the entire tax credit.

Added to our regular tithing, mortgage, daycare expenses, etc. - we had NO TAX LIABILITY for 2007.

So that is why we are doing a lot of work now on the house. All lighting fixtures are being replaced and the entire interior re-painted. No new carpeting for now - we have 2 little ones and are not crazy.

But hubby deposited big fat check yesterday and the amounts will go away quickly once some major bills are paid off. But it feels awesome to know that we will owe far less now that we did a month ago. And it feels great to know that Cookie and Bit-Bit are going to want for nothing. They have a beautiful new pale yellow and white bedroom thanks to their grandfather. They have a gazillion new clothes thanks to grandmothers and aunties. And they have subsidies which will allow us to do things like swim lessons all summer long instead of just one session.

Bit-Bit's adoption which will take place later in 2008 will be special needs as well. She has a heart defect which could be left alone (a good % of the population has this defect), but will have to be monitored. It is also a possibility it could enlarge and the gap widen, at which point she would have to have surgery. This would not happen though until about age 7 - so we have a lot of cardiology appointments between now and then just to make sure she's still fine. She too was drug exposed, but not born with drugs in her system since biomom was incarcerated.

We are blessed our kids are so healthy. Bit-Bit has a double ear infection, but we praise God that we get to "celebrate" minor health issues like that as opposed to others we could have been facing had the outcome been different for our kid-os.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Gifts for Fathers?

I'm needing your input on things you have bought men - or your dads - that they have really liked. My dad was here this week (as was mom) and he completely re-did the girls' bedroom and our half-bath downstairs. The painting was a tremendous amount of work, and he did it as a labor of love.

I'm awful at expressing gratitude to family members - especially my rather "distant" dad. But I love him lots and lots.

I want to send a letter and a gift, but I'm having a tough time thinking of a good gift. Even at Christmas and his birthday, I'm always stuck. He's "wealthy" and gets himself pretty much whatever he wants. He's also kinda country and redneck and a hunter, so "luxury" changes definition.

Any ideas?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Social Workers

Love you guys, (OK, maybe not love per se) but I will be so happy when we don't have to have monthly visits for Bit-Bit as well as quarterly visits by our R&C worker. I look forward to these monthly visits just about as much as I look forward to my period. It's just inconvenient. You have to stop everything you are doing. You have to clean up more than usual. It stinks.

See, it is like getting your period.

Bit-Bit's worker visits tonight. There's not going to be any news as TPR isn't until April 29th, so this visit is especially inconvenient.

I swear that Cookie thinks babies come from social workers. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

10% of Me is GONE!!

That's right, I got my "10% weight loss" award at WW yesterday, but I did even better than that. My total weight loss is now 25.2 pounds!! So, I got my 10% key ring, and a 25 lb. award to hang on it. I have gone from 245.2 down to 220 since the beginning of the semester...and the semester isn't over yet! This is really quite an exciting venture on my part, and so far I've been more successful than I ever remember having been. A part of it is knowing I'm going to post my results here, a part of it is having a husband who is cooperative (and joined WW too and has lost 15 pounds himself), and a family who is supportive. Clearly I have quite a ways to go. But the good news is that I really don't think about the HUGE number I had to loose. "Baby steps on the bus" is how I think about it. And now, 25 pounds doesn't seem like "baby steps" at all!

My next goal - get into the 2-teens range on the scale - by next week, that second number is no longer going to be a 2!!
Goal #2 - get my 30 pound star sticker!
Goal #3 - loose as much weight as Cookie weighs - about 32 pounds I figure
Goal #4 - (long range goal) Get below 200!! It's been at least 7 years since I have been below 200, so when that goal is accomplished, I will have lost another 10% of me, and Michael will not be able to keep his hands off me.
Ultimate goal - OK, WW says I have to get to 155 in order to be at the top of my weight range and stop paying and become "lifetime", so I figured I'd at least let everyone know what the ultimate goal is. Once I am there, I am planning on trying to become an instructor. It doesn't really pay, but that's the only way I figure I'll be able to keep this off forever.

Oh, and for those of you interested in "sizes", here's how I've progressed: I was in a 22W in jeans at my peak, at Christmas I was wearing I just bought those Lee Riders at Wally World in 16W and they are baggy. Now, they ARE "relaxed fit" after all. Oh, and I have no dress pants that fit now. All too big. I think I am heading to Burling*ton to see what they have out. That's about all I can afford, and I don't want to buy in every size knowing in a few months they will be too big again.

Oh, and my boobs..yeah, still the same size bra. Which we all know means one thing...I had really been smooshing those puppies into their house!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

4 Years

Wed. and Thurs. of this week marked 4 years of marriage for Michael and I. All together, we've been a couple for about 7 years. It's pretty amazing to think about what we've accomplished in 4 years of marriage: we each moved to new states with new jobs, fostered 5 children, adopted one with another adoption in the works, bought a new house and our first new car together, and still managed to come out of it in one piece!

It hasn't been an easy 4 years, but it's been adventurous. I can't imagine having spent it with anyone else. I'm the most "provided for" woman I know, despite the fact that we make less than others. If there is something I need, or even want, Michael seems to find a way to make it happen. In fact, most of the time I don't even have to ask. That's pretty amazing.

Michael is the BEST father I could have even dreamed up. He's attentive, nurturing, compassionate, and playful. The things I discover that he has taught the girls are endless. They are crazy about him, and watching them together is a joy.

In 4 more years, both girls will be in school, and life will likely have taken on entirely new perspectives. My feelings on that? Bring it on!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

WW Update

-22.2 pounds as of Monday!
2 more pounds and I will have lost 10% of my body weight (and I get a nifty keychain at the meeting, too). :)
So, my avatar over on the right is still dancing!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

We Have a TPR Court Date!

April 29th...our courts must be backed up as it seldom happens that you are assigned a date that's more than a month out. Still, we are rejoicing at how quickly our second adoption from foster care has moved along. We are fortunate we live in the state we do. I know many others are not as fortunate and deal with very outdated models of foster care and adoption. I'm beginning to wonder what it would take to become a lobbyist.

Monday, March 10, 2008

WW Update

-19.5 pounds
Wow, I can hardly believe it.
Still, my boobs seem to be the exact same size. *sigh*
I think this pretty much accounts for all the weight I've gained since Cookie came into our lives.
Another 20 pounds and I'll be down to what I weighed when Michael and I hooked up 7 years ago.
Astonishing, really.
I have a very long weight loss road that remains ahead.
My biggest fear is that I'll give up at some point like I always have.
As an undergraduate, I got down to 125. I think I stayed at that weight for 2 weeks. It was grueling to keep my weight down.
But I started WW this time weighing 245.2.
That's a lot of excess weight.
At least now I am in the 220's. I needed to admit that here, for some unknown reason.
I know I am a food addict. I self-medicate with food. I obsess about food. But now my addiction is under control. But I will always be an addict.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Snowed In!

This was my little helper who INSISTED on helping me shovel the driveway this afternoon!

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Most Beautiful Bathtub Ever

Monday, March 3, 2008

Free Bit-Bit!

I think that should be the caption for the following pictures:

My Bit-Bit is now 7 months old and pulling up to her knees on everything she can find!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

30 Day Sex Challenge

So this church in FL (Ibor City, I think), is doing a "30 Day Sex Challenge" - challenging married folks to have sex every day for 30 days, and challenging single folks to abstain for 30 days.

Um, if you had asked me to abstain for 30 days, I'd have a better shot.

We are swamped, and when bedtime comes, the bed is all I'm thinking about.

I'm also wondering about what day 27 is like, assuming you make it that far on the challenge. Do you both look at each other, and psych yourself up thinking "Only 3 more days to go!" Or, would it be good?

We are considering doing it. For 30 days straight.

And to be very blunt, what about the days you're on your period? I guess the challenge assumes you're still doin' the deed. Maybe doin' it in the shower on those days. I dunno.

I'd love to hear your opinions on this.

Oh, and I wonder what they would suggest my gay and lesbian friends do? Many of them are married, or in a married relationship. Hmm.

Monday, February 25, 2008

WW Update

I've lost 17.2 pounds. I've exceeded the weight equivalent of my youngest child!
Oh, and I found out today at the doctor's that I have strep throat. I pray the girls don't get it. Weight loss is a cinch when you can't swallow.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cookie's New Teeth

It's been a long night/day.
At 4:30 this morning, Cookie woke up hollering for milk, then juice, then anything.
We had meltdown status.
But because of her dental procedures & sedation, it was "nothing after midnight - not even water".
She screamed until Michael took her for a drive at 5 am.
Bit-Bit slept all night until they returned at 6:30 and Cookie started screaming again.
Michael took Bit to daycare and then we took Cookie to the dentist where they gave her "princess juice" to drink (the sedative) followed by a little water. She played, and played. They said it would kick in within 15 minutes. They lied. Or, our girl is tough as nails. She never went out. Instead, she was a bad, angry drunk - staggering and screaming and crying.
They finally took her back and gave her nitrous oxide on top of it all to relax her enough to get her to "give up the fight".
When they finally allowed us back to check to see she was OK and the procedure was about to start, I saw a horrible sight:
My baby was wrapped from head to toe in a gauze-like substance (to keep her still, I imagine). Her face was mostly covered with the nitrous mask, and attached to her toe was a monitor for her vitals.
She sobbed a little from underneath her mask, even though her eyes were closed.
It was tough to witness. I didn't expect such a sight. I think I wish now that I wouldn't have gone back.

She emerged about 45 minutes later with the dentist with 5 fixed-up teeth and we all got lectured on "no milk or juice in sippy cups", especially at night after brushing.

She fell asleep in the car, got home and drank some milk, and crashed asleep in our bed. It's 2:30 and she just started to stir a little.

We are all exhausted - that is, except Bit-Bit who apparently is unimpressed with all the hype.

Oh, and schools all closed early - including the University - which NEVER happens - in anticipation of an ice storm. So, Michael is on his way to pick up some groceries and child #2 and then we will all just crash.

I hope classes are canceled tomorrow. I bet my students are hoping for the same thing.

Oh, and on top of all this, daycare thinks Cookie has Fifth's Disease, but of course now she's not contagious anymore since the rash and appearance of slapped-cheeks has just appeared. Greaaaat.

Monday, February 18, 2008

WW Progress

-13.6 pounds total as of this morning's weigh-in
Not too bad considering we had V-Day date-night as well as 2 enormous chocolate covered strawberries each
I am feeling better already
The Easter chocolate everywhere is just killing me, so I'm trying to incorporate it into my "points"
I painted my fingernails for the first time in over a year
Not sure what that means, other than I feel better about "me"
Oh, and I made an avatar over at She'll likely reflect my attitude du jour. Like it?

Thursday, February 14, 2008


Last night I picked the girls up from daycare and took them both to W-Mart for last-minute shopping for valentines for Cookie to give out today. There was already plenty of snow and ice, and the snow was falling at a pretty good clip. We found neat 3-D cards with her favorite butterflies and ladybugs on them, and very cute Snoopy valentine stickers that she put on the back of each one. I sent her off this morning with her valentines, and she seemed quite excited. I also got her a little red heart of Russel Stover chocolates. She is now a big fan of chocolate, and whenever she sees any she almost screams "CHO-CO-LATE!"

Tonight I'm making a "romantic" spaghetti dinner for all of us (as romantic as you can get with a 6 month old & a 2-yr. old) that will be appropriately W-Watchers friendly. I didn't make it to weigh-in on Monday due to meetings on campus, but I'm weighing myself at home and am certain I would have lost more. We will just have to wait until this coming Monday to see how much it is officially. My jeans are getting loose in the thighs and buttocks, so I'm quite pleased. Now, if only my bra would get loose I'd be happier (says the not-so-proud owner of 42DDDs).

I received a beautiful delivery of assorted colors of roses today at home, and it really motivated me. There was a lovely note attached from hubby that made me cry (in a good way). He's got a very tender side, and I love him even knowing his faults. He loves me knowing ALL of mine. That's a pretty good deal right there.

Tomorrow, we're having date-night and hiring a babysitter. Hubby's parents sent a VERY unexpected V-day present to us with enough cash to hire a sitter and have a date-night. We are thrilled. I love my girls, but they are both quite high-maintenance. Cookie talks CONSTANTLY now, and is getting to the stage where if you don't repeat back and acknowledge everything she says, she repeats it ad nauseum. It's often fun to talk with her because her vocabulary is so enormous, but sometimes I just want some silence.

So, Happy V-Day all. May you each find a little silence, and maybe even a little romance too.

Win An IPod From Baggage

Not only is she one of the coolest foster-to-adopt moms around, calls her junk her "LadyTown", and can rant better than Dennis Miller, but she's giving away an iPod. Go read her blog!

Baggage That Goes With Mine

Friday, February 8, 2008

The List

My students have an assignment to create their list of Must-Haves and Can't Stands in a life partner. I began creating mine at the age of 14, at the urging of my father. It is now a monster in terms of length, but one that truly represents what I need in a partner. For my student's sake, I'm posting it here and sharing it publicly:

He will be incredibly honest.
He will never, ever lie to me, even if it means relational discord.
He will tell me if he doesn’t like something I cook, if he doesn’t like something I’m wearing, or if he doesn’t like something I’ve done or am doing.
He won’t wait to tell me until it’s too late to do anything about it.
Together, we will make one terrific team. Together, we will accomplish things that separately we would never be able to achieve.
He will dream big and tell me often about those dreams. He will actively work with me to find ways to make some of those dreams come true.
He’ll listen to me vent after a really bad day – even if he doesn’t feel my frustration, anxiety, or feelings are warranted. He’ll listen to my excitement when I’ve had a really good day – even if it isn’t something that would excite him.
He will have no problem asking for what he wants – relationally, sexually, intimately, or otherwise.
He will want to hear my desires and needs.
He will compliment me when there is something special he takes notice of.
He won’t patronize me. He will see me as his equal.
He will miss me when we’re apart.
He will be proud of my accomplishments.
He will remind me often that he loves me, even though I already know.
He will keep the secrets I tell him.
He will have good social skills, be able to meet new people, carry on a good conversation, and not make a fool of himself or me socially.
He will call if he’s going to be late.
He will ask me difficult questions about life.
He will think I’m wonderful, and when other people ask about me, he will have nice things to say about me.
He will be my confidant.
He will want to hear all the stories from my childhood, my teenage years, and my young adult life.
He will regale me with his stories as well.
He will take great joy in the creation of our new stories together.
He won’t do things out of mere obligation.
He’ll put me first – ahead of others in his life.
My perspectives and opinions will be important to him.
My happiness will be important to him.
He will consider my feelings when making important decisions.


He must be a born-again Christian. He can and will be fatally flawed, yet forgiven. He must be a spiritual partner who sees God in similar ways and who seeks to understand his relationship with his creator. We can disagree about worship practices and philosophies, but the core values and things we believe in strongly should match. I want a partner to support me spiritually as well. He will go to church with me every week and pray with me regularly. Together, we will have a regular (weekly) Bible study as a couple, and have a goal of praying together every day.

He must not be holier-than-thou, sanctimonious, or overly concerned with ritual and tradition (like what hymns or praise songs are sung or when the offering is taken up or if a woman is in a leadership role). He must not judge others who choose to worship God in different ways. He must not believe that because he was saved as a child, that means he’s still saved. He must not buy into religious teachings that make women subservient, second-class citizens.

Personality Variables
He’ll enjoy a good intellectual discussion as well as utter silliness – even in the same day.

He’ll laugh at everything that is remotely funny. He’ll laugh at himself, at me, and at the millions of funny things this crazy life presents. He’ll want to have lots of fun. He’ll find fun in the mundane goings-on of life. He’ll want to have lots of fun with me.

He will not be selfish, and will know how to put me first sometimes. He will share freely with others and give to those in need.

He must not be depressed and sullen a majority of the time. He must be, overall, a generally happy person. He will want to be happy.

He will be flexible.

He will have at least as much college education as I have. He’ll have common sense, and know about lots of things I know nothing about. He will be brilliant and well read, but will know that other people (myself included) are just as smart and capable. He’ll teach me new things.

He won’t take issue with the fact that there are things I know more about than he does.

He will like what he does for a living. Work/career will not be all consuming to him or me.

He will be interested in my career and future aspirations. He’ll gladly edit my work, listen to what happened in class or at the office, and support me in whatever I decide to do career-wise.

He will work as hard as I do in all aspects of his life. He will not become complacent with his lot in life, and will always strive to become better at what he does for a living.

He couldn’t care less if I make more money than he does.


He will have fastidious personal grooming and hygiene habits. He will believe in showering every day and simple things like brushing his teeth. He will cut his hair regularly before he looks homeless. He will also shave every day, and I’ll cut him some slack there on weekends and when he’s not feeling well.

He will not wear pants without appropriate undergarments. He will not wear dirty clothes. He will not find it amusing when he smells bad. He will not pass gas and laugh and rate it on an Olympic scale.

He will encourage me to be healthy - he’ll help me with healthy eating, weight loss or maintenance, and exercise. He’ll eat something decadent and completely unhealthy every now and then and enjoy every bit of it.

He will try new things – new foods, new recipes, new activities – just for the sake of variety. He’ll have lots of new things he wants me to try as well.
I want him to let me try to cook the things he likes as well as allow me the freedom to cook the things that I like and he doesn’t.

He will not be a vegetarian, or insist that we eat only organic foods. He will not be a health-food fanatic or a work-out obsessed body builder.

I want to eat dinner together as often as possible.

He’ll respect me. Despite what will certainly be frequent differences of opinion, he’ll respect my right to my own views.

He’ll respect himself. He won’t compromise his values.

He will not engage in physical violence against me, our children, our pets, or other people.

He will not engage in verbally aggressive conflict, including raising his voice, name-calling, or swearing at me.

He won’t run away from an argument (physically or emotionally).

He’ll view compromise as a necessary part of ensuring relational sanity instead of something that causes people to loose out on what they really want.

He’ll not publicly humiliate or belittle me. He’ll keep relational problems out of the public arena. He won’t discuss our relational problems with anyone who will listen. He will not discuss our relational problems with members of his family.

He’ll tell me when I’ve done something that offends him, annoys him, troubles him, or hurts him. He will be open to hearing it when he has done the same.

He’ll accept my apologies. He’ll forgive my faults. He and I will both say “I’m sorry” when we commit a wrong.


He will tolerate and be nice to my cats. He will give them food and water. I do not expect him to ever have to clean the litter box, except if/when I am pregnant or too ill to do so.

He will never hit, kick, or hurt the cats.
He will never want to own a dog.

He must be willing to become my best friend, and treat me as such. He must seek to maintain healthy connections with other people he considers his friends. He must correspond with and talk to his friends on a regular basis, and seek to do things together with people other than me. He will want us to spend time together with other people.

He must not place his friends above me. When he thinks he needs to give time to a friend instead of meeting family obligations, he should consult me first. He should not engage in inappropriate behavior when with his friends that he would not engage in when in my presence (drinking, smoking, drug use, swearing, and other assorted “actin’ a fool” behaviors).


He’ll touch me constantly. He’ll rub my feet just because and rub my back when I can’t fall asleep. He’ll run his fingers through my hair and along my back. He’ll hold my hand. He won’t be able to touch me enough.

In turn, he’ll love being touched. He will like to cuddle.

He will be passionate, intense, and want amazing physical intimacy with a partner who wants to experiment and experience new things, and who’s willing to try almost anything once.

He’ll kiss me all the time. Occasionally, he will kiss me passionately. He will love kissing me as much as I love kissing him.

When I’m in bed and can’t fall asleep, I’ll ask him to tell me a story, and he will accept the challenge.

Occasionally, he will wake me up in the middle of the night to make love.

He will meet me for lunch in the middle of the day for no reason other than to see me for just a while before going back to work. On occasion, we will go home and make love in the middle of the day and then spend the rest of our work days grinning.

He will share his fantasies with me and be delighted to hear mine.

He will not believe that sex is for a man’s pleasure alone. He will not ignore my sexual needs by frequently giving me excuses for why he’s not in the mood.

He will never, ever, under any circumstance be unfaithful to me – he will not kiss or fondle other women or engage in cybersex.

He will not watch pornography unless he is watching it with me for fun as a couple.

He will want to go out on the town from time to time.
He will have good social skills, be able to meet new people, carry on a good conversation, and not make a fool of himself or me socially.
He’ll take me to the theatre, to concerts, museums, and cultural events. Afterwards, we’ll critique every detail and laugh like idiots.
He’ll enjoy spending time with me and will want to spend a lot time together. He’ll allow us to talk about work if we want to, or not talk about it at all on days we don’t.
He will surprise me.
He will work with me to create a life full of fun, excitement, novelty, and spontaneity.
He will frequently give “romance” his best attempt.
He will do some things just because he knows how important they are to me.
He will want to go out at least once a week, and hopefully more often.
He’ll take me on dates even after we’re too old to do much.
He’ll write me love letters and poetry and play romantic music for me.
He’ll sing to me, even if it’s more funny than serious.

He will not let sports overtake his life, sanity, or responsibilities. He will turn off ESPN and FOX Sports and other assorted sporting events when there are other pressing responsibilities and deadlines to meet. He will strive to maintain a healthy balance between working and watching sports, and other aspects of his life.

He will not require me to go to sporting events with him. He will allow me the freedom to choose which events I want or do not want to attend. He will not pout or complain about my lack of enjoyment of watching or participating in any sport.

He will not be a Nascar fan.

In-Law Relationships
He will love his family and seek to maintain relationships with his family. He will want me to be a part of his family.

I hope he will like my family.

He will not be rude, insulting, or hateful to my family. If he has things to say about my family that is negative, he will reserve those comments for private conversations between he and I.

He will not discuss our relational problems with his family. He will not compare me to his mother (or any other relative). He will not expect me to be like his mother.

He’ll support me. He’ll do things for me when I can’t do them for myself, or just because he knows it’s important to me. He’ll support me emotionally by listening to me. He’ll provide confirmation and validation when I need it. He’ll encourage me to be the best at everything I find important to do.
He will be a life partner – someone who will help out with anything at all, even if it’s not his interest or area of expertise. When life’s in crunch-mode, I want a partner who actually wants to help out.

He will remember my birthday and buy me thoughtful gifts.
He will buy me little presents for no special reason.

Living Arrangements
He will work together with me to afford and buy a house that we will be comfortable and safe in, and that provides a safe and comfortable place to raise a family.

He will work together with me on the upkeep of the house.

He will not attempt household repair jobs that he cannot handle. He will call and pay for a proper expert for home repairs.

He will view housework as a joint effort. He will compromise on household task responsibilities so that together we can live in a clean and relatively organized home.

He will not leave dirty dishes in the sink longer than 24 hours.

Physical Characteristics
He will, of course, be absolutely beautiful to me.
He will not spend more time on his physical appearance than I do.
He will not have long hair, and will get regular haircuts prior to looking homeless.
He will keep his fingernails and toenails neatly trimmed.
He will not be morbidly obese.
He will not be shorter than me.
He will have the presence of buttocks.
He will not grow a beard. He will trim any facial hair regularly before food and small animals take residence in it.

He will be on time for social events and engagements by arriving by the time the function is set to begin. If the movie starts at 7, we will be sitting down in the theatre by 6:55 at the latest.
He will not make me late by failing to be ready to leave the house in time to make it somewhere.
He will do his best not to cancel plans at the last minute (literally).
He will make social arrangements well in advance (hopefully a week in advance at the least).
He will not waste a tremendous amount of time sitting around being slothful.

Extended Family Relationships
He will realize that our long-distance family situations likely make it difficult to maintain frequent contact with family members. Nonetheless, he will make a concerted effort to allow us to see our families at least once a year – if only during the holidays or a short visit during summer vacation.

He will not create guilt-trip scenarios for me if we are unable to frequently travel to spend time with family members.

He will pay special attention to his relationships with his siblings, as they will likely outlive his parents. He will also be supporting of my efforts to maintain a healthy relationship with my brother.

He will want to regularly get out of whatever city we are living in. This travel can be to another city on a day trip, short weekend trips to an adjacent state, or longer week-long trips.

He will not “count” travel to professional conferences as our vacations and will not consider that sufficient “time away”.

He will not want to go on vacations with extended family.

He will view other vacation options than just going to Las Vegas. He will want to do more on vacation than sit in a hotel room and watch TV. Likewise, he will not have to plan out every single minute of a vacation.

He will plan a trip out of the country with me for sometime in the future.

He will hate debt. He will work hard to eliminate all sources of debt in his life, as I have in mine.

He will not spend beyond his means. If he cannot afford something, he must not purchase it unless he can make the necessary payments (house, car, major repairs, etc.). He will not use credit cards for unnecessary purchases.

He will save money, both on his own and through retirement accounts.

He will tithe to his church, and view tithing and more than just a financial obligation.

Money and material possessions will not be the most important things in life to him.

Parenting Issues
If we cannot have biological children, he will be willing to try moderate levels of fertility treatment options. He will not insist that I put my body through hell to try to conceive. He will view adoption as a viable option for us. He will not view race as an important factor in adoption.

He will view parenting a joint obligation. He will take joint responsibility in caring, feeding, changing, disciplining, and playing with the children.

He will be committed to raising our children in a Christian church, and with Christian principles in the home.

He will love giving and receiving hugs and kisses every day.
He will not be stingy or selfish with the giving and receiving of affection. He will not be afraid to touch me in public, but he will not grope or fondle me in public, or engage in socially inappropriate PDAs.
He will like sitting close to me on the sofa, and snuggling up together while we watch TV or a movie, or listen to music.
He will dance with me in the living room.
He will “get fresh” with me, on occasion, in various rooms of the house.

He will not view tasks according to gender lines (i.e. that there is “woman’s work” and “man’s work”). He and I will divide tasks and responsibilities according to what we are good at doing, or what we enjoy doing. When there are things that need to get done that neither of us want to do, we will jointly devise a way to get it done that works for both of us.

He will not expect me to baby him when he is sick. He will appreciate the fact that I will take care of him when he is sick. He will be appreciative of my care giving efforts.
He will keep yearly well-visits to the doctor, and the dentist for routine cleanings.
He will not have any sexually transmitted disease.
He will engage in basic routines of taking care of his health – eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking, drinking, or doing drugs.
He will not abuse over-the-counter drugs.
He will view his health holistically – physical, mental, and spiritual health.