Tuesday, November 21, 2006

do the something i can do......

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; I will not refuse to do the something I can do.

I'd like to take a minute to shamelessly promote my friend Mindy's organization: the Kirabo Foundation, a 501-c3 (ie: fully tax deductible) non-profit who's mission is to provide a full education to as many Ugandan children as possible.

Kirabo currently sponsors 33 students in primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools throughout Uganda. All Kirabo students have lost at least one parent to HIV/AIDS, many have lost both. Uganda currently has no free public educational system.

I've known Mindy, Kirabo's director, for almost two years. She adopted her son shortly after we adopted James. She, and the other Kirabo staff volunteer their time so all funds raised can go to support the youth of Uganda.

The need is great, but even a relatively small amount of money goes a long way toward helping a child receive an otherwise unavailable education. Kirabo accepts donations at any level, however it's possible to fully sponsor a child in primary school's education for around $225 a year. A student in post-secondary school's education is approximately $1000 a year.

Beyond funding, Kirabo also appreciates volunteers willing to write monthly with a student... functioning as a loving adult/mentor, as many of these young people don't have someone able to cheer them on and encourage them with their studies. I've been matched with a 17 year old young woman who Mindy described as 'clever' and 'spirited'... and I can't wait to get to know her. :)

Perhaps your community group or church would be willing to fundraise? Perhaps you could give donations in someone's name in place of a holiday gift? Perhaps you could use a tax deduction on next year's taxes or could put aside some money should you receive a refund next spring? A relatively small amount of money can make a huge difference to these young people and their surviving families.

If you, or someone you know may be interested in sponsoring or writing to a student, or interested in donating an amount of any kind, you can contact Mindy at the following email address: kirabofoundation@hotmail.com.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

the post of the century.

Well, internets, I'm sure by now you've realized I'm a terrible blogger. Ironically, I was much better pre-kid, and now that I actually have something worth writing about -- at least for posterity's sake -- I never actually put fingers to keyboard.

So things you may have missed lately include my entrance into some good (albeit annoying) therapy for food related stuff, my ongoing preoccupation as to why James isn't talking at the level of his peers, recaps of about six thousand renditions of me singing The Wheels on the Bus, James' obsessions with trains ("CtooCtoo!") and Elmo ("Momo!"), my new occupation with a gorgeous 3 month old girl listed on a 'waiting children' list at a respectable agency... coupled with J and I's "discussion" (read: I sob, J says WTF? No.) about submitting paperwork to adopt her later this month, and well, our decision to have J get pregnant for baby number two.

Add in crazy holiday rushing (we leave soonish for Xmas with the inlaws about 1300 miles away) and I'm practically certifiable.

So right -- gettin' pregnant. Where to begin?

I wish there were some amazing moment where things crystallized and J and I realized that we were meant to birth a second child.... but there just isn't. It's a numbers game, honestly, and we just don't see how we can adopt our second child without either a: waiting at least three years to start after saving up the amount a private adoption is likely to be (and that's estimating low -- with no failed adoption along the way or long match or many firstparent expenses) or b: extending significantly outside of our comfort zone as far as serious special needs go to adopt a waiting special needs child with low adoption expenses. I've thought about adopting through the state, but our state doesn't have a foster to adopt program and at this point in our family building journey -- we're not willing to foster a child at risk for reunification attempts with their birthfamily. Maybe later, but not for kiddo number two.

I recognize that reading the above could be painful for those who've struggled or are struggling with infertility. I realize that many would LOVE to just 'start trying', assume they are fertile, or have the potential option of a pregnancy available to them. I realize we're still at risk for having a child with special needs, and I also realize that there is no guarantee that we'll even get pregnant, nevermind stay pregnant and deliver a baby. We may well end up paying more to TTC than if we had saved and adopted later. There are no absolutes... but I'm ready to start moving forward for number two, and can deal with slowly moving toward that goal through TTC much better than putting everything on hold for a few years in order to adopt.

There are some other, non-bloggable queer momma legalities that add into the mix too.

And honestly, I'm pretty sad that we won't be on the adoption path... and while TTC will be exciting in it's own right, adoption is my default and I'll built a lot of ties to the adoption community and "get" the pros/cons/ethics of adoption as a family building method. AI with donor sperm is a whole 'effin new ballgame and I'm a bit overwhelmed.

There are few families that chose to transracially adopt first with untested fertility status who THEN decided to TTC for their second child. My favorite adoption board... my second home even... nearly all the moms/moms-to-be there dealt with IF or secondary IF before turning to adoption. I expected to be able to share another adoption journey there -- and now I find myself looking for another queer friend TTC board that will be as open and welcoming and HOME as much as my adoption board.

Wow, this post is so uplifting eh? I guess I have more feelings about this than I've let myself process.

I really AM excited to start learning. I'm ready to parent a second child. There so much more to say about this... I feel I haven't even scratched the surface of all the variables we need to consider, but I guess that's for another post. J's getting James' Xmas pictures taken and I'm supposed to be dutifully wrapping presents to ship to IL tomorrow. I'll leave you with two pictures. The first, babymakin' paraphenalia, or the first picture intentionally taken to be placed in a folder marked for baby number two in my computer:

And the second, a picture of a polaroid taken almost two years ago, and the first intentional picture placed in James' picture folder on our computer: J and I wishing aloud for a baby on Santa's lap in the Marc Jacobs store in Greenwich Village. S., James' birthmom, wrote us two days after Christmas and James' middle name is in honor of the jolly old man himself. :)

(and no, James' middle name is not "Santa".) :P

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"If the family were a container, it would be a nest, an enduring nest, loosely woven, expansive, and open. If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable?each segment distinct. If the family were a boat, it would be a canoe that makes no progress unless everyone paddles.... If the family were a building, it would be an old but solid structure that contains human history, and appeals to those who see the carved moldings under all the plaster, the wide plank floors under the linoleum, the possibilities."
-Letty Cottin Pogrebin

The lovely girl above is my 77 year old nana. She's gorgeous, isn't she?

I'm in the process of making her a photo book of her life through mypublisher.com, a process that has given me ample time to play with old negatives... scanning them and then watching in amazement as they blaze to life on the screen thanks to editing software. That's how I found these gems... the photos themselves are long gone, but here is my nana.. tiny and dancing on my screen.

Nana has one more round with chemo before they check to see if her cancer is gone. She's had a horrible time with her treatment, and it's hard to see her hurting and well, old. I've been so taken with the creation of this book.. of seeing Nana as a gorgeous girl, or young bride, or new mom.

H. Lorraine, my Nana

Nana and Papa marry, 58 years ago (!!)

Nana with my mama. My favorite picture....

...Please, if you pray, say a prayer that my Nana's tests proclaim her cancer free and that she enjoys many more healthy years with her family.