Saturday, November 27, 2010

I ♥ Kinect

Zay and I love to play video games. We're just that kind of couple. We can sit there for hours playing Mod Nation Racers or Little Big Planet. I enjoy my Tetris and Zelda... and he enjoys his Gears of War. We like big HDTVs and Blu-ray players, etc. That's totally our thing.

Our new toy is Kinect - the controller-free camera/sensor attachment for the Xbox 360. We got it on the day it came out, of course. Because that's just how we do things around here. Lol. We don't spend money on a lot of things, but when it comes to entertainment... we just have to.

My fave, fave, fave game is Dance Central. I have GOT to get some videos of us playing it. It is a trip! I cannot dance to save my life! Ha ha ha. I did the very first song ("Poker Face") on Easy and then I turned to Zay and said, "Uh-oh! Time to go to the club and break out these new moves!" Muah ha ha ha! Not gonna happen. It's in my genes to be a dork no matter how hard I try. Lol! But it's sooo much fun, that I don't even care. All my insecurities about dancing in front of people have gone out the window. I get up and try to "Crank Dat" with the best of them. Annnnd I fail. Miserably. Ha ha ha! Zay laughs and gets up to show me how it's done. It's honestly the funnest video game I've ever played... and I play ALOT of video games.

I'm loving not having to use a controller. I just use "the force" to control my Xbox and I think that's pretty sweet! And I'm loving that it gets us up off the couch and gives us a *serious* workout.

I think Microsoft should be paying me for this kind of blog, right? Ha ha.

Here's some pics of my bro, me, and Zay playing Kinect Adventures. It takes pictures of you when it knows you're doing something silly. Ha ha. Hilarious. And kinda creepy that I just said it knows. Video games are getting too smart. Freaking me out a little!

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Daily

I can't believe it's Thanksgiving again! Just last November we were attending Adoption Orientation and starting this crazy journey. I didn't feel like I had much to be thankful for at the time, because life in general was just so confusing! But this year, a lot of my prayers were answered in very obvious ways that I could see and understand (thanks for dumbing it down for me, God!) and it's very apparent that God cares about me. Poor pitiful little ole me. :) Ha ha ha.

Be thankful, yall!

And enjoy this video from the Church. The *sick* braids on the Thai guy (ha ha, that rhymes) were provided by yours truly. LOL. Yes, I'm proud of myself.





How This Here Adoption Thing Works...

Recently I've talked to some people regarding our adoption plans... and I've gotten a few responses like these:
  • "Oh! You're approved! So, when do you bring your baby home?"
  • "I don't really know anything about the process. So is approval, like, how the process starts?"
  • "Do you get to pick your baby out?"
  • "Where are you adopting from?"
  • "You say you have to wait... what do you have to wait for?"

So, maybe I can answer some of those questions!

We decided that for our first adoption (hopefully this won't be a one-time thing), we wanted to adopt through LDS Family Services. They are a non-profit agency run through our Church that offers addiction recovery programs, pregnancy counseling, birth parent assistance, and adoption services. They handle domestic adoptions, which means we won't be adopting internationally. Although we could specify that we only want to be matched with a baby from a particular state, our child can come from anywhere in America. We didn't specify, because we don't care where they come from! We're willing to travel as needed.

We are working with a caseworker who is guiding us through the process and will (sort of) help match us with a birth mother (or birth parents) who have decided to place their baby for adoption. I say "sort of" because in all actuality, the birth parents get to choose who will be the parents of their baby. This is the opposite of what some people envision an adoption being like. We won't be going to an orphanage and "picking a baby out"... the birth parents have to choose us.

There are lots of things that we could specify. For example, we could say, "Only show our profile to birth parents who live in Utah, with a female Caucasian newborn 0-3 months of age with no sign of disabilities, and the birth mother didn't drink alcohol while pregnant." Things like that. It was difficult to choose our "preferences" when we were filling out that paperwork. I kept thinking, "Who am I to be picky?!" We thought hard about it, prayed, and carefully filled out what we thought we would be comfortable with. The only thing we got "picky" about was race (black or black mixed with any other race). So, in a way we can "choose" things about our baby, but the birth parents still have to "choose" us. There has to be a match.

How the process works... there are initial interviews and paperwork that has to be completed (and updated on a regular basis) before we are approved. Once approved, that means we are determined to be acceptable by state and Church standards to adopt a baby. That's the point we are at right now. We're in the "finding a match" part of the process. We're not done yet! Approval doesn't mean the end. It's definitely just the beginning.

That's where the "waiting" comes in! There are lots of things we can do right now to "market ourselves" to potential birth parents, to make the waiting time shorter. So far all we've managed to do is just tell everyone we're adopting. We just got some new family pictures taken. When I get them back, I plan on making some cute pass-along cards that say "Hoping to Adopt" and have our blog address and other contact info on them. These can be passed on to all our family and friends... and they can pass them on to anyone who may be considering adoption. There's all sorts of things we could be doing to get the word out there. Remember how in the movie Juno, she sees an ad in the Penny Saver? An ad for a couple who wanted a child? Juno says, "They have ads for parents?" Lol. Yes, they do. And it's kind of weird to put yourself out there like that, but you never know who might see it.

I feel completely awkward writing this, but a couple weeks ago I had a dream. I don't remember anything about the dream other than it being about a birth mother (a young black girl) from Michigan (I've never even been to Michigan before). The next day I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I put an ad on Facebook targeted to a certain age range of girls from Michigan that said "Pregnant? Adoption is an option!" and it had our picture and link to our profile. Let me tell you, IT FELT SO WEIRD to advertise ourselves like that. So awkward. I took it down the next day, but in the back of my mind I kept thinking, "As weird as that was - and even if nothing comes of it - who knows if a pregnant girl in Michigan saw that and had a seed planted in her heart about adoption when she needed it?"

Ahhhh! Seriously. So awkward. And kind of embarrassing.

But that's just the nature of doing an adoption this way. We're going to be judged. We have to put our heart out there to be trampled on. We're going to have to learn how to say, "Screw it. I'm putting on ad on Facebook." Lol. Because in the end, this can't be about us. Hopefully, we'll be an answer to someone's prayer and they'll be an answer to ours... but it's really all about the child. I want an open adoption (more about what that means to me later!) and I think doing it this way will give us the best chance of finding birth parents who want to be open as well.

Yes, I know I'm long-winded... but I hope I answered those questions! And when I get our pass-along cards made, every single one of you reading my blog - yes, I'm talking to YOU - should send us an email (xavierandaliceanne@gmail.com) and give us your address so I can send some your way. I can give you some ideas of places to put them and people to give them to as well. :)

Cuz it would be super nice if we didn't have to do all the embarrassing stuff ourselves. Help us out. Ha ha.




Thursday, November 18, 2010

Becoming an Adoption Ally


Adopting a child is a huge undertaking. We didn't know what to expect starting off. We still don't know what to expect! Originally I thought it would be something that we would have to endure to become parents. I knew it would be hard...an emotional rollercoaster. And I wished it didn't have to be so difficult. I didn't know if we would be able to handle the ups and downs. I thought we would suffer through infertility and adoption plans alone, and I braced myself for the silent suffering to come. I had no idea how passionate I would come to feel about it and that there is such a huge "adoption community" out there ready to embrace us and let us know that we are supported in our choice. I have met soooo many people online and IRL ("in real life" lol) who have been there or are going through the exact same things that we are. The support is amazing and I feel such a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.

It's going to be easier than I thought to make adoption "normal" for our family. Especially in Utah. Adoption is a big deal here, and ever since we decided to adopt it seems like half the people we knew suddenly were opening up and saying that they were adopted or were planning to adopt or had adopted siblings, etc. Everyone seems to have an adoption story! Who knew? People should talk about this more! The children that we will have through adoption will be able to mingle with all kinds of families... families brought together in many different ways... and they will see that "family" doesn't have to mean blood-related. "Family" can look differently from each other and still be family. I love it.

November is National Adoption Month (CLICK HERE to see the Presidential Proclamation about it). Other bloggers are making a goal to write a post every day of this month about adoption and how it has touched their lives. How amazing is that? I didn't make that promise because I knew I wouldn't be able to live up to it! But it's been really great to read so many stories from other bloggers. They inspire me. :)

The National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is an awesome source to keep up with what is happening in the national adoption community. They have an option on their website to "Become an Adoption Ally" where you can learn about current adoption news and how you can continue to support adoption in your area. You can sign up to receive emails about certain topics, such as foster care or international adoption. It's a small way that we can all get involved in promoting adoption this month!




Friday, November 12, 2010

Our Relationship in Six Words

I love the site "Black and Married with Kids"... seriously, I forget I'm white sometimes. I mean, if you grow up with black people, live the culture, fall in love with a black man... it happens, I guess. I look in the mirror sometimes and say, "Who's that vampire???" Ha ha ha.

Anyways! They have such thought-provoking articles about marriage and parenting and the challenges that come with it all... sometimes race-specific challenges. I'm always reading it. I read a post that wasn't anything deep or insightful, but was kind of cute. It was about summarizing your marriage in 6 words.

It wasn't hard to come up with something. I immediately thought, "We're Still Down For Each Other." I counted the words on my fingers (LOL)... gave myself credit for the contraction... and said, "Yep, that's it."

Despite our issues (everybody has some), despite our right-outta-high-school wedding, despite our struggles with infertility... when it comes down to it, we're still here. We'll always be here. We're loyal. No matter what has come our way in the looong 9 years that we've been together, we've found some way to tough it out and remember why we first fell in love. It hasn't been easy. No way! Marriage wasn't meant to be easy - it's the merging of two lives together in love and purpose. It takes a lot of growing (sometimes painfully) and commitment and sacrifice. But we're still down for each other and wouldn't have it any other way. :)

2001

2010





Sunday, November 7, 2010

Acting and Not Being Acted Upon

Every quote I hear nowadays seems to somehow relate to infertility and adoption! I guess that's what it means to "liken" things unto yourself.

I heard this quote about acting vs. being acted upon. It made me think about our freedom of choice (our agency) and how we are given the power to act and choose for ourselves. When we sit around and wait for life to happen to us, we're not exercising our right to choose very much at all. If we just go with the flow and do what everyone else is doing, we're not making good use of our agency. If we do what other people tell us to do without thinking it through for ourselves, we're voluntarily giving up our freedom.

It also made me think about what faith means. Just saying "whatever happens, happens" and "I'm leaving it up to God" may sound like faith on the surface... But "faith" is supposed to be an action word. If we want to really show our faith, we have to do something. Actively. Not passively. We have to have courage and strength to do the hard things first. The trial of our faith comes before the blessings. God's not just going to hand us everything we want all the time (although He does bless us often when we don't deserve it). We have to make right choices, even when they're difficult. And we have to show our faith by following through with those choices.

We can’t always have “control”, but we can do everything we can and THEN leave it in the Lord’s hands. I think that’s the way He wants it to be. It’s how we learn the most.

Anyways, I think this applies in so many situations. For me, I think of birthmothers. Women who make the hard decision to place their baby. That's an act of faith. That's actively making a choice and using God-given agency to do something that not everyone agrees with... something that not everyone will support... something that isn't the norm. But when you make a choice that you know is right for you and your child, that's acting rather than being acted upon.

I also think about our own situation. We have a righteous desire to have children. If we went with the philosophy to "let whatever happen," I'm pretty sure God would have little reason to bless us. That's not the case for everyone, but for us I think it applies. There's something He's trying to teach us. That's pretty obvious, because we have learned so much through fertility treatments and adoption plans. We're learning how to listen to the Spirit more, act and not just be acted upon. I don't know how things are going to turn out, and using our agency doesn't mean that we have control (God's definitely still in control!), but we are doing what we can. That's what He asks of each of us.




Saturday, November 6, 2010

Life Update

Things are going great lately. I couldn't be happier! :)

Zay is fully onboard with adoption plans. We're setting aside all fertility treatments until we see how things turn out with adoption. The worry he had about people being able to tell us "no, you can't be parents" has definitely faded. They (caseworkers, friends who've been through the process before, etc.) keep telling us that they expect us to get chosen by a birthmother quickly... for two reasons: 1) we don't have any children and 2) we're an interracial couple seeking a black or bi-racial child. It's typical for birthmothers to want to place with a family who doesn't have any children rather than a family who has 4 or 5 already. Children are blessings and we should spread 'em around! Lol. Also, as sad as it is to say... black children (specifically black males) are the least likely to be adopted, most likely to fill foster homes, etc. And the fact that we want a non-white child increases our chances of getting picked sooner rather than later. I hope that's the case. :)

May sound weird, but a lot of the "prepping" I'm doing lately to be a mother has been eliminating a lot of the negative influences in my life (i.e., "friends" who ain't no good). I'm just trying to think about the kind of people I want in my life when I'm a mother, the kind of people I'd want around my kids... and some of these people just don't cut it. Lol. I have a tendency to be nice and try to help people who have a lot of problems, but over time it has just accumulated into a lot of headaches... people who don't change, people who bring negative vibes, etc. And I'm coming to realize that it is NOT my responsibility to fix everyone and all their problems. Seriously, as soon as I "broke up" with some people, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I'm starting a new chapter in my life and my priorities have got to change. It feels good to evaluate who I spend my time with and take out the trash. LOL. In the process I've found sooo many people who are actually supportive and encouraging, and that feels awesome. Not everyone has a great support system, but I know I do... and I am so grateful for that.

One big thing that happened recently is that they finally had a funeral for Heather Finch (my brother's mother-in-law) who died two months ago in a plane crash in Nepal. She was with her best friend Leuzi... off to hike Mt. Everest and add to their growing list of adventures they had taken. Heather kept amazing scrapbooks of all their adventures. I got to flip through them and remember how happy she was and how she embraced life. The funeral brought a lot of closure to everyone. There were so many people there. She was definitely loved. I was bawling the whole time. I love my sweet, sweet sister-in-law and it was so hard to see her cry. I learned a lot from being there and I can't even express in words how it affected me... There are so many qualities in Heather that I need to develop in myself. The word family means so much more to me now. I watched my nephew Evander (her first grandchild) wave to the casket and say, "Bye bye, Grandma!" Oh, boy. The tears kept coming. I will never forget that experience and I'm grateful for it, despite the tragedy and the heartache. I've grown. It's made me realize how ready I am to be a mother and to show the kind of love to my child that Heather had for hers.




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