Archive for the 'Adoption' Category

Published by PaintingChef on 24 Oct 2017

Just spilling. It’s been that long so buckle the fuck in.

That’s the thing about this whole smartphone era…when you realize you want to sit down and actually fucking WRITE…you have to go through ten thousand steps in the process and somewhere in there, you’re all “PATRICK! You’d better fucking bring me cheesecake before you come home” and look at that…two years later and two fucks in the first paragraph. You’ve missed me, right? Admit it.

So. I recently spent almost $200 on concert tickets to see 311 and neither I NOR Patrick watched the whole concert because our kid went crazy. Again.

Hey. We have a kid. In November of this year, she will have been ours free and clear for almost 2 years. It’s amazing how that happens, right? Fuck I’ve missed this. I think I need this again. I don’t know how else to get it out. So we adopted Abi. I’m not even going to sugar coat it because chances are, the four or five of you left that actually still have this left in whatever you replaced google reader with (FUCK…did I renew this domain? I don’t even remember) know everything because the Facebook and the Instagram already know everything about her but WHATEVER this is in me and bubbling out and I cannot stop.

We adopted Abi. She is amazing. She is the child I was supposed to have and I adore her. I am her mama. But I am a terrible mama. I am so mad at her right now. I’m sitting here in my cute dress with my perfect wedges in the foyer or maybe still on the porch and my perfect makeup in ruins and honestly I may have ripped the choker off in the backseat of the Uber but it was a 311 concert so I wore a choker but I heard they were totally a thing now anyway and FUCK. Sorry. Patrick just called me and he was like…yes, I’ll bring you cheesecake because sometimes the only answer is cheesecake.


We adopted Abi. She is my blues eyed, strawberry blonde dream. She is my girl. She is my heart. She is so very broken. (pause for whiskey)

(I drink Whiskey now, BTW)

Abi is my daughter. We got to change her middle name after the adoption and so now her middle name is the name I always wanted to give my little girl.. She is my heart. She is my world. And about an hour ago, I would have traded her for…fucking anything, I don’t know.

My daughter may be bipolar. She may have schizophrenia. Her genetics would point to either of those. In stead of just the sarcasm and assholery and knack for engineering that would be the situation were it just my genetics and Patrick’s involved. (Fuck…it’s hard to find my voice again but it’s coming back to me slowly…) She is the textbook definition of ODD but I’m not sure that’s really even a thing? Anxiety. PTSD. ADHD. On paper she looks like alphabet soup. But she is my girl. She is my heart. And I am so mad at her right now that I just want to scream but instead it brought me here.

(For reference…the last thing that brought me here was Anastacia Motherfucking Campbell. Which…by the way… WTF STACEY??? Boo…you whore. I was cleaning out my bathroom drawer the other day and I ran across the amazon package of pipettes and small bottles I’d bought because we were going to share perfume collections because we both had weird obsessions and FUCK OFF THIS IS NOT ABOUT YOU FUCKING ANASTACIA CAMPBELL, I WILL GET TO YOU IN DUE COURSE)

My girl. You guys. She is the one that I didn’t know was mine. She is the one that was born the same day I was having a wretched miscarriage. When we’d gotten to the point that I was like…It’s even too much for my blog. She was destined to me mine from the moment she took her first breathe, I imagine.) I will not bore you with the details of our fight for her. I made that mistake once when Patrick and I were in Mexico and I accidentally turned into that old person drunk over-sharer and I still have nightmares about the look that that cute newlywed couple gave me two nights later in the restaurant. But…whatever…I’m not scarred. Nope. Not me.

Patrick just called me. I answered the phone and was like “I’m writing again. Bring me cheesecake.” He said… FINALLY.” Was there ever in the universe a person more mine and for me than him? Absofuckinglutely not.

This is so long but we have so much to catch up on.

My girl…she is…damaged. She’s been seeing a therapist and an NP who put her on Prozac and…I don’t know…I think that made it worse? Lord knows I’m not going to discount the usefulness of pharmaceuticals these days. I spend 5 minutes every Tuesday night (FUCK…that’s tonight…) filling up my weekly pill sorter (PINK! So cute!) with the various drugs that help me make it through the week (Buspar, Wellbutrin, Xanax, etc.)

I’ve just made the executive decision that the only thing I’m going to do before I post this is spell and grammar check it. I NEED this outlet. Blogs are dead. Obviously. I mean, even Dooce hardly ever posts anymore. (Amalah is the only reliable one and, quite honestly, I probably need to pick her brain about IEPs) But that said, I just…I need to spill.

She flipped out again. I don’t know how else to explain it. My girl. My heart. If things are just so, you cannot tell her “no.” But I REFUCKINGFUSE to have the child that will not be told no. So here we are. With the “I hate mom and dad” (she spelled everything right I counted it as a win because STANDARDS LOWERED) scrawled on the wall (in washable marker because I value that now) and the wooden desk chair (that I’ve had since I was her age and my parents only recently gave her along with the desk that I remember having where I stored the Michael Jackson “BAD” cassette in one of the drawers) thrown over the balcony of her loft (OMG, house…loft, too big, kitchen reno, WTF is wrong with me, cannot even go into that, maybe another time but probably not) and splintered into pieces (FUCK…I HAVE TO PEE…HOLD PLEASE)

I just saw myself in the mirror. It was fucking terrifying. DID YOU KNOW THAT I’M FORTY??? I look every bit of it. Just so you know. Also I should have taken my mascara off before I started crying but oops…

FUCK. Do I scroll back and read? I don’t know. I’m thinking no. Word says I’m already over a thousand words. My girl is so angry. At the slightest thing that even hints at a “no” she will kick and scream and bite and hit and kick and throw shit and FUCK UP YOUR WORLD and you never know when it is coming. (I need more whiskey…I don’t, actually, it is 10 pm and I DO have to work tomorrow) We have a new after school nanny (we have an after-school nanny now. We have a housekeeper too. We are people like that. I apologize. Shit happens.) (BUT…I promise you that REGARDLESS of being one of THOSE people, I am still wholly and fully disgusted by the state of…I cannot even say it…that…THING squatting in the White House and we will get into that in due course because I’ve really missed this outlet) So we are at dinner and I get a call from the sweet sitter, the lovely and perfect girl who has been at our beck and call and who, I ASSURE you, I will NEVER hear from again, telling me that Abi has lost her fucking shit. So there we are at the table. Me. Patrick. Work colleague/vendor who looks alarmingly like Jason Bateman. His wife (who is having fucking BREAST CANCER SURGERY in the morning) and two of her friends (who were awesome…I should give strangers more credit). And the first time she called I’m all “Just answer it please, Patrick” and he comes back to the table and he’s shaking his head and I KNOW…I just KNOW. It’s not over and this night is not going to end how I hoped it would with us rock paper scissors lizard spocking it for who will drive home and then taking a shitload of Tylenol and just white knuckling it until bedtime on Wednesday night. But I order another drink and I’m like…it’s okay, it’s FINE. Then she calls again like 20 minutes (and 2 drinks…whisky, yo) later and I just pick up my phone and leave the table because I know that that chair ain’t felling my ass again tonight.

And here we are.

I have no idea what I’m doing. Every day I try and tell myself that I’m making things better…not worse. But I don’t believe me.

Patrick is home. (With cheesecake because he’s Patrick) (and because I literally texted him “don’t even think about showing up without cheesecake”) and he asked what happened and all I could tell him was that I sobbed in the foyer for a while and I could tell that the Uber driver was still at the top of the driveway because apparently the $10 tip (smallest bill I had and I cried the whole way home so I knew she needs SOMETHING) was enough to keep her interest and she probably saw my underwear because of the way I slid down the glass door sobbing and then eventually I got Abi to put on some clothes and I cried some more and she asked for a bedtime story and Grimm ain’t got SHIT on me (I’ll get into that later…I tried to tell Patrick about my twisted fucking bedtime story that I told after I yelled “OH YOU WANT A STORY, I’LL GIVE YOU A FUCKING STORY) and I’m STILL crying and it made him go straight to the liquor cabinet and pour a whiskey) and then I came down here and left my crazy fucking expensive leftovers (seriously…it was a vendor dinner but if that bill was under $500, I’ll be AMAZED) on the kitchen counter and grabbed the laptop out of the TV cabinet because at that time I knew there was no other outlet than you, dear blog, and hastily poured a glass of whiskey and just…spilled. (I’ve lost track of the parentheses) I spilled to you. I didn’t spill whiskey because I’M A FUCKING PROFESSIONAL

But you guys. Is so many ways my life is so much more than I ever imagined. But in other ways…I’m so ill-equipped. I’m lost. I’m drowning. I can’t fix it. I cannot help my girl. I love her. But I cannot fix it.


Published by PaintingChef on 08 Jul 2013

The Detritus of Infertility.

There is something very intimidating about the prospect of a person coming into your house and looking around to see if it would be a good home for a child. It’s a situation that, in my case at least, definitely prompted a round of de-cluttering. Or, as I like to call it, “Holy shit, how old is that bread and maybe I should stop buying cans of black beans.”

I have a bookshelf in my bedroom. It’s always been a monument to chaos, ill-advised cookbook purchases and the place where I drape all those belts that come attached to dresses but you end up pulling them all off the dresses before you wash them because really all they do is create very intricate knots in the washing machine and it’s not like I spilled ketchup on them (THIS TIME) so really do they need to be washed? Also? Empty birchboxes and glossy boxes because PRETTY! That bookcase needed to be… let’s call it straightened? I didn’t technically do a lot of de-cluttering on it, I mean sure… I found that one bag from the dollar general when I went crazy buying air freshener and apparently was just throwing the empty packages back in the bag for some reason? So I threw that away. And the silver clip in hair extensions. I probably won’t wear those again. I like my pink and purple ones better. But I straightened. And dusted. And made the books all face the same way. And it looks better.

Then I moved on to the pantry. That was a mistake. Of epic proportions. But I did it and now my pantry is awesomely clean and organized and will probably stay that way for… oh… wait… nevermind. I had a Fourth of July party at my house for almost 50 people and it was supposed to be a pool party but it poured the rain and everyone was inside and now everything is a wreck again.

I also cleaned out under my bathroom counter. The land of half empty bottles of shampoo, forgotten teeth whitening strips and unexplainable empty boxes. I am also apparently a HUGE fan of perfume samples.

And then, a little further back, I found it. The detritus of infertility. The Basket. I had forgotten that I’d stuffed it back there one day in a hysterical fit of never ever again. I didn’t look closely enough but I’m sure there was a fingerprint smear of chocolate or ice cream on it somewhere. I think at the time I called the Basket of Broken Dreams. It still had vials of drugs to be mixed. Hormones to be injected. There were pregnancy tests. Ovulation sticks. Literally hundreds of needles and syringes in all sizes still in their packages. Progesterone oil. Alcohol swabs. (Those went in the first aid kit because they are actually kind of handy).

I lived and died by that basket on and off for seven years. My life revolved around it. Mixing Repronex shots. Limping around after progesterone injections. Setting an alarm for the middle of the night to perfectly time an HCG trigger shot. Sending Patrick to the clinic ahead of me to make his… deposit… for another IUI. Coming to terms with the fact that he might knock me up via turkey baster from another county. Taking two pregnancy tests a day because maybe I’m pregnant-er in the afternoon than I am in the morning.

I carried it out into the kitchen and dropped it on the counter. I pulled everything out of it. I took this picture.

IF Pic

And then I taped it all up in a box because that made me feel like someone would be less likely to get stabbed with a sealed and sterilized needle and I threw that son of a bitch away. (Fine… I kept the actual basket and it is now full of sunscreen and bug spray and sits by my tub. What? It’s cute and holds a lot of shit.)

Throwing that basket away was liberating. Infertility will always be a part of my identity. But I’m in recovery. WE have found another path. I won’t forget what I went through. And I might always get a little tightness in my stomach before a baby shower. And yes, your squirming precious new baby is glorious but my eyes are always going to water a little when I meet him or her for the first time. You are welcome to think it’s because I’m overcome by their perfection. That is fine.

But in throwing away everything in that basket, I truly gave myself permission to let go and move on. It will happen differently for us. But it WILL happen. Just like it was supposed to all along.

Published by PaintingChef on 08 Mar 2013

Are we on plan Q at this point? Plan X? Am I out of letters? Perhaps this is Plan Squiggle? Plan Formerly Known as Plan?

Welcome ladies and… gentleman! I see a gentleman!

(Name that movie and win my undying love)

Ahem… as I was saying… welcome. It’s time for the latest chapter in the never-ending saga of “Susannah and Patrick just want a baby, OMG universe why do you hate us so much?”

So. I tried. I tried so hard to get on board with embryo adoption. I tried and tried to rationalize to myself. To you. To myself again. And each time I failed. I can’t do it. As much as I want to be pregnant, I just can’t. I’m sure it has something to do with my VERY passionate and uncompromising pro-choice position and how that contrasts with the roots of the embryo adoption “thing” but something about it just… it doesn’t sit right with me. But I think there is more to it than that… Maybe I haven’t felt myself pulled towards adoption as a “mission” per say, but I don’t feel right choosing something that feels incredibly selfish and all about me-me-me when there are so many children who already exist in non-frozen form who NEED a home. Maybe they need our home.

At the same time, in my wildly over-thought navel-gazing manner, I’m terrified of adopting a child. Public, private, domestic, international, stork-kidnapping or cabbage patch-raiding. It all overwhelms me. The feeeelings keep me up at night and have even kept me from fully relaxing for my last few pedicures. So damn. Shit must be real.

We go back and forth. We change our minds daily. We plan expensive home renovations requiring loans and demolition and possible temporary relocation while the back of our house is missing only to scrap them when we decide that hey… maybe we should pay off the boat first. All as a distraction.

We try and tell ourselves that maybe it isn’t supposed to be our thing. Maybe we’re just meant to be the most kick ass aunt and uncle that ever aunt-ed and uncle-ed. We write the whole thing off, try and plan a vacation instead. And then we finally make a decision that, for the first time, doesn’t keep us both up at night whispering until 2 am. We are able to sit down and know that there is a plan and that it is finally something that feels like more than just a thought… it feels like… a calling? A mission?

I don’t know. Here is what I DO know.

In 2 weeks, Patrick and I will begin the process to be foster parents. We still hope to eventually adopt if the right situation comes along. But in the meantime, until that situation presents itself, we have a lot of love to give. We have a peaceful and healing home. We have puppies who want, more than anything, warm laps and lots of hugs. We have arms to hug, ears to listen and hearts to love. Whether we are in a child’s life for days, weeks, months, or hopefully, the rest of their lives, we can make a difference.

I don’t want to turn this into a “foster mommy” blog. I imagine that there are rules about that anyway. But as we go through the training, I will probably talk about that more than just about anything else (and let’s be honest… saying anything at all is few and far between in these parts lately). I’m nervous and I’m unsure of what to expect. But for the first time in a long, long time, I’m not scared. I feel like this is the right direction.

For the first time in quite a while, I don’t’ feel like I’m drowning in a fog with no clue which way is up. It’s like someone has grabbed my shoulders, turned me just slightly, and given me a gentle shove in a direction. So I’m grabbing Patrick’s hand and walking that way without looking back.

Shit. Let’s just be honest. I’m pointing in a direction and them jumping on his back because we all know that Patrick is the quiet, constant strength in this equation. Without him, without his love and patience and acceptance of whatever our future is supposed to be, I’d fall on my face every. damn. time.

Published by PaintingChef on 21 Feb 2013

Sometimes a text message from your manicurist changes everything…

There was a brief moment this afternoon where someone was trying to give me a baby. A little three month girl whose mother was overwhelmed and had made a very difficult decision to give her up for adoption. For a few minutes today, I thought it was possible that I could find a way to have a child soon…

And then I realized that I was in no way ready for adoption, we don’t even have a home study done. Of course, even if this woman was dying to give me her child, I would have had to say no. (This was all second hand and probably one of those things that would have ended up being a fiasco although I did, later on, learn that the child in question had gone to her adoptive home on Monday and information was just a little slow to travel… very unusual for the South, I assure you…) Reality. That bitch.

So as I’m sitting here in the aftermath of a VERY emotional couple of hours, I kind of had an epiphany… I’m dragging my feet because of the overall impending judgment of it all. Home study. Background checks. Letters to people I may never meet. Waiting and waiting and waiting.

I thought infertility treatments were going to be hard. I can tell you right now, that shit was a cakewalk compared to even THINKING about adoption. Infertility treatments depended on me and Patrick and a doctor. I didn’t have to plead my case to a third party. Or a fourth or a fifth. It was all step A then B then C and cross your fingers.

But now I am paralyzed with fear. I can’t even bring myself to READ the paperwork because the thought of opening up my life and my home and my marriage to the judgment of someone else renders me speechless. What are they looking for? What do they want to find? Am I going to look like the type of person who will buy shoes before diapers? Because I’m NOT… I’ve just… never had to make that decision.

I’ve fallen more times than I can remember. And no matter how hard I try, I can’t convince myself that it isn’t the falls they are looking for. They want to see how well I got up and how it changed me for the better. Because I DID get up. Every damn time. And I’m not perfect. But I like who I am… most of the time. I’m messy. I’m difficult. I’m sometimes selfish and I always take things too personally. But I did a lot of work to get here.

It’s just that, until now, I never feared it not being enough…

Published by PaintingChef on 27 Dec 2012

Maybe it’s that I never give up. Or maybe it’s just that I can’t ever make up my damn mind…

Hi. So… I’m having a bit of a quandary-slash-crisis of the… heart? Soul? Heart and soul? Are you hearing that one song that everyone knows how to play on the piano or the kicky Huey Lewis and the News song from the 80’s-ish?

It’s this whole adoption thing. It’s SCARY. And the attorney I’ve talked to is not at all helpful. International adoption is very daunting. So many rules… I’m too fat and previously depressed for China. Too American for Russia. Too old for other places. And oh by the way… the fact that I know in advance that we need to rule out countries that are going to require open-ended trips apparently makes me NOT a good planner who considers all the options but instead makes me a workaholic potential mother who will clearly lock my baby in a crate and feed it nothing but diet coke and mallomars with a side of whiskey.

(Are mallomars even still a thing?)

Domestic adoption… Patrick has ordered me to immediately cease and desist walking up to pregnant children in Wal-Mart and asking for their babies. I LIVE IN TENNESSEE! That’s where these kids are congregating. In completely unrelated news? I’m terrific at ducking a right hook but the left one always takes me by surprise. This is an unintentional victory because Wal-Mart always makes me sad.

But what I’m trying to wind my way around to talking about is something I’ve actually just recently learned about. Embryo adoption…

When Patrick and I both started down this path a million years ago back when my boobs were perkier and he still had hair, one of the things we agreed on was that we would have a child that was either both of ours or neither, biologically speaking. I tried and tried to make my eggs the little engines that could but while most women’s eggs are firm and plump and like those gorgeous brown, cage-free eggs that are absolutely perfect… mine are more in line with the plastic Easter egg with mismatched halves that has probably been left outside for a year, stepped on and probably peed on by a few dogs.

Clearly, it seemed like adoption was the only avenue we had left to explore. But the other day, my mother mentioned something to me in passing that I stuck in the back of my brain and took to the internets a little later to learn about.

Embryo adoption is NOT a traditional adoption. When women do IVF, there are almost always more embryos that they need/desire/plan to raise/whatever you want to call it. In the past, these embryos were either donated for research or destroyed but apparently now? They can also be donated for adoption. To people like me with crap eggs.

So we looked into a little… and then a little more… and then it started to seem like something that might be a really great fit for us.

And I started really turning it over in my head. Is it an adoption that is contradicting the entire mission of adoption? There are children that exist that need homes and parents. These embryos, regardless of what your definition of living or existing or whatever may be, are not those children. These embryos are, for intents and purposes, little teeny tiny ice cubes.

But despite that, this is still really appealing to me. And after talking it over with Patrick, I think I’m okay with that. There are people who are led to adoption as a “mission”. Regardless of their own reproductive status, they want to adopt children. We aren’t necessarily those people, we want to be parents. To a baby. I had come to terms with the fact that I wasn’t going to give birth to that baby but now, suddenly here is that possibility again. But without all the drugs and procedures that I’d been subjecting myself to.

I don’t know… we are still learning. But for the moment? This is winning…

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