Wednesday, January 30, 2008

life events

On Monday night my friend Debbie and I went to see the movie, Juno.

Apparently, this film has been nominated for an Academy Award - which I might know - if my television viewing included anything other than Super Why and Barney or if I'd glanced at a newspaper once in the past month. My ignorance of what is happening in the world around me is blissfully frightening.

I think I heard that this is an election year, so I probably need to get my head out of the sand at some point, soon. Or - just hope that someone can tell me who I should vote for and why.

Needless to say, this was the first movie that I have been able to sit through and watch from beginning to end, in at least a year. And what a great movie it was. It was humorous and yet extremely touching - a perfect pairing of emotions.

The main character, a 16-year old girl named Juno, becomes pregnant. She is only a Junior in high school. She cannot care for a baby at this point in her life and she does not want a baby at this point in her life. Weighing her options, she decides to have an abortion. But while sitting in the waiting room, she changes her mind and runs out.

The bravery of this young girl - to approach her parents - carry a baby to term - and search out adoptive parents - while still attending high school is incredible. And the story of the woman who ultimately adopted Juno's baby is amazing, too. She wanted nothing more than to have a child of her own. Her marriage, her home, her very existence ... everything in her life revolved around her overwhelming desire to become a mother.

For the past two days, I've been thinking about this movie. I've been thinking about how painfully desperate it feels to want a child that you cannot have ... how much courage it must take for a mother to put her child up for adoption ... how adoption truly is a gift of love ... and how I know so many good people who have grown their families through the adoptive process.

For instance, there is my friend Deana and her husband Jack, who struggled with infertility for five years, before adopting their beautiful baby boy. Less then two years later, the birth mother of their son - gave birth to another baby - that Deana and Jack also adopted. Late last year, there was a two part news segment done on Jack and Deana's story.

(You can watch the first segment
here and the second segment here.)

I've watched the segment several times and each time, I've been moved to tears. But adoption stories do that to me because the whole process is bittersweet. There is the love that a mother has for her baby to give them life - and then give them up - with the hope that their baby will have a better life ... and then there is the love and longing that the adoptive parents have had for a baby, before it was even conceived.

The movie also made me think about my own children and how I am going to talk to them about sex, as they grow up. I know I've got a ways to go before I need to worry about such things, but I'm already thinking about it, because I like to inundate my mind with things that have not yet happened. It helps me to stay awake at night when I'm up feeding a famished six-month-old in the midst of a growth spurt.

I really hope that our children will abstain until they are married - or at least - until they are in a committed relationship with someone that they love and trust and who loves and trusts them in return. And I'm really hoping that they don't find that person until they are 40. Or 45.

Although some people might think that an unplanned pregnancy is the worst thing that could happen to their child, I happen to believe that contracting a sexually transmitted disease is far more severe. Whatever you believe, it is my humble opinion that the most important thing anyone can do is arm their children with knowledge.

My mother had me enrolled in a sex education class as soon as I was wearing a training bra and she escorted me in to a planned parenthood to hear about birth control options when I was 17 and had been dating the same boy for four years, because she suspected the birds and the bees were on a collision course. I knew growing up that the whole issue of abortion and a woman's right to choose is an extremely difficult topic. It isn't black and white, although it may seem that way on the surface.

I will tell our children that I know a lot of women, many who are good friends, that have had abortions because they became pregnant either as teenagers or young adults and they were not ready at that point in their lives to have a child. Almost all of these girls and women were terrified what their parents would think - one to the point that she attempted to perform the abortion, herself. Sadly, I know women who made the decision to terminate a pregnancy because it occurred as the result of rape or an incestuous event. My heart breaks for all of these women because although they did what they felt was right for them, at that point in their life, their decision will always be with them. Often in later years, with much regret.

Much like my mother did with me, with our children, I will do whatever I can to protect them. I will be sure that they receive the appropriate vaccinations and be armed with an unambiguous education on the subject. I will also tell them that if they ever find themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy, I am here to help. Whether it be my daughters or my sons, I am here to help and support them.


In other serious news ... beginning tomorrow, I am going to help my children by ridding them of what seems to be, an increasing dependence on diapers. Not a single one of my children has used the toilet in an appropriate manner for the past three days. Even those children who I thought were almost completely potty-trained, have had a regression of geologic proportions.

So let's just FORGET what I said about a person needing to have patience and not get frustrated. Blah, blah, blah.

My patience quota has been tapped.

So help me, if I have to change one more diaper on a child that weighs more than 30 pounds and is capable of articulating that their defecation is comparable in size to that of an Asian Pachyderm, my head will fall clean off my shoulders.

So one way or the other, our area rugs are coming up.


  1. Jen, thanks so much for sharing our adoption story. So often the media portrays adoption in such a negative light. I was very pleased w/ the guts that Fox News had to show the positive side of adoption and that there IS life after infertility.

    There is a saying that goes When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your heart to receive something greater. I truly believe that now. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank our birth mother for the gifts she has given us.

    Again, thanks for sharing our story. Now if only I could get out to go see Juno.

  2. Good luck with the non-diaper dizziness. I can't blame you for pushing them a bit. I know, I know --I've even said 'they'll do it when they are ready.' BUT you are simply letting them know they are ready :)

    Thanks for the review on Juno. FTR, I'm adopted :)

  3. My mom told us about sex before we went to school---not every last detail, but the _Where Did I Come From?_ (by Peter Mayle) version, which I consider excellent. I ended up being The Expert in high school--not because I had experience, but because so many of my friends didn't even have the WDICF info.

  4. More thanks from another friend who is building a family through adoption!! Taylor will be 2.5 in Feb, and we are currently matched with an amazing couple who are scheduled to deliver a baby on Monday. The courage these young people are showing tells me they are wise beyond their years... They could still change their minds, but our fingers are crossed!!

    Hope you are well and are back at work soon - we miss you!!


  5. Jen - I have one son, now 4-1/2 who simply will not poop on the potty. I'm pretty sure its because it just takes too much time out of his buusy little life to sit still for that long.

    I have found a solution for us..
    I have 2 'potty toys' - much beloved items. One (Leap pad) he is allowed to play with ONLY while sitting on the potty. The second (kids camera wiht games on it) he is allowed to play with AFTER he makes his poop go in the pot.

    I haven't changed dirty underwear in a week now - its working.

    Think potty toys...

  6. If your kids are also thinking it takes too much time to go to the potty, you may want to try a method I read about when I was potty training my youngest. (I didn't end up using this method, but I thought I'd pass it along). It claims that it will potty train your child in one day (HA!). I think they even have a web site. The basics of the progam is that the child needs to clean up any messes they make and then they need to make 'practice' runs to the potty from different spots in the house. For example, take them to the bedroom and say, "Let's practice what you would do if you were in the bedroom and had to go potty", or "What if you were outside and had to go potty". You do this about nine or ten times - after each accident! I think they eventually realize it takes much less time to just do it right the first time than it does to make all these practice runs. I'm not sure how well this works when you are training triplets - you will probably be making practice runs all day long!

  7. I don't know if this will help and I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who would report me but there is one thing that worked for me.

    I have an almost three year old and when we were potty training and he showed me he could do it....go pee and poop in the potty...then when he had accidents I knew it was because he was being lazy. SO, I would tell him diapers were for babies and if he was going to act like a baby, he would be treated as one. It took two days of wearing bibs, being put to bed early, sitting in the highchair, for him to realize I was serious. After two days, he never had an accident again. That's all it took.

    However, there are some kids who would enjoy acting like a baby so this plan could backfire. I just thought I would add what worked for us. You'll just have to keep trying different things until you find what works for you...good luck, again! :)

  8. Dear Jen ~

    Thanks for writing about adoption ~ so true & lovely stated.

    (What is it about "Sponge Bob"????!! I can't stand SB & I try to stear my 3.5 yo William (love this name) away from this weird sponge-thing but for whatever reason he likes it...."NO, Mommy...I'm watching that" Grrrrr.

    Anyway, thanks for your posts. I look forward to reading about your childen & also read your blog to my son, William. He's nearly potty trained too but usually poops in the potty & pees in his pull-up! He enjoys hearing about his friends & their potty training adventures! He also loved the super hero picture (me too) ~

    Do you know of "BLURB"? You should check it out because you take such awesome photos. You can create these beautiful books with your photos for next to nothing ~ $12 to $22 for a hardback. They make great gifts.

    Have a great day! Tam

  9. If you think adoption is "bittersweet" for birth and adoptive parents, think how is must be for us adoptees, who have absolutely no say in the decisions that affect our very lives.

  10. Anon: good point.

    I saw a movie a few years ago, "Loggerheads" that was the story of a boy that was adopted at birth. It was very sad and certainly made me think of things from the adoptee's perspective. But, firsthand, I know so many people that were adopted by loving families. They have told me how fortunate they feel to have been adopted, especially when they consider the alternative.

    I'm sure it's not always roses and peaches. But then again, life seldom is!!

  11. Where's the princess bike?!?

  12. I was awake for hours last night thinking what I did that is different from what you do. I think the answer is cloth diapers. Pampers are so absorbant and tidy, there is little mess to fall out on their legs--with cloth diapers everything kind of falls out and runs down. If not changed in a short time, it is very uncomfortable for the wearer. Pampers however are very absorbant and comfortable. Also, perhaps there are too many potty chairs around---if they are not going to use them, tell lthem you are giving them to the "Poor" kids who want to go to the potty.
    Thinking of you---this too shall pass--pardon the pun and keep smiling.

  13. Peapodsquadmom1/31/08, 2:25 PM

    I adore your much so that I am giving it a blog award. Come on over to pick it up.

    And I soooo hear you with the diaper bit. My trio just turned 3 and I feel like we're getting nowhere in the potty training arena. It's making me nuts.

  14. Hi Jen,
    Thanks for your oft updated and always entertaining blog that makes me happy to know that there are things harder than having three kids under five. That would be having four. Ouch.
    Anyway, we love Super Why too, but have you noticed that it's just the same seven or eight episodes over and over and over? Sometimes the same one twice in a week?
    Super Red Mommy
    aka Amanda Anderson in Colorado, wishes she had roller skates, but thanks her stars for TiVo (since Super Why is on at 7:30)

  15. I watched the episodes of your two friends and their journey with adoption.
    What a beautiful story and how special that they can be in contact with their birth mom.

    Forty two years ago I adopted my first child and brought him home at 3 days. In those days everything was very hush hush and there were no open adoptions that I know about.

    As he grew and became a delightful boy, I often wished that I could talk to his birth mother and express my gratitude and thankfulness for this beautiful gift she had given me. I couldn't. As he developed a muisical ability that far surpassed my genes, I wished I could ask her where it came from. I am reserved, but right from the start, he was outgoing.

    Sixteen years later, after a lot of sluething, I found where she lived and her name. I wrote her a long thank you letter and told her about him. I never heard from her, but I have kept track of her and have told my son I have the information for him if he ever wants it. He does not.

    Thanks for sharing your friends' story.
    It gave me a heartwarming trip down memory lane.

  16. Love the adoption post. I have a special place in my heart for birth mothers, adoptive mothers and mothers of multiples. Children are miracles anyway they come into your family. I love checking out multiples and adoption blogs. One of my favorites is a family that adopted triplets!

  17. my son is adopted now 14yrs (adopted at 13 months) - I so agree with what Deana wrote.Our sons birth mother was in her 30's but had adopted many children had adopted out over 20 years.
    I must go and see Juno. Thanks for the review.
    It wasn't till 12 yrs later we did IVF and had twins (after we lost a daughter concieved naturally @ 26 wks pregnant).
    Good luck with the diaper and potty capers.

  18. Hi Jen. I have followed your blog for a long time and actually used to read your posts on several IF BB's. Anyway, my best friend suggested that I go to see "Juno" as I am in the process of becoming a Gestational Surrogate. Do you think the movie would apply at all to this situation?

    By the way, great job with your trips +1. I can barely post on my blog a couple of times/week and I only have twins! I get great pleasure in reading about your family exploits. I almost posted a question to you last week about how to get diaper rash cream out of babies hair (since both my kids got into it during nap time and ended up looking like mimes with punk rock hairstyles). But we figured it out.

    Thanks for sharing your story.


  19. Hi, Jen, thanks for your comment over at our blog and for linking to it in your updated post.

    Interestingly, I too was adopted, as an infant. You'd think that that would have helped me avoid abortion. I'm glad you found our blog even if you wish it had been sooner. There is an awful lot on it (esp. in the sidebar) that could be of help to you in answering some of the questions you raised about how to help your kids "be educated" when the time comes, and also how to seek and find help. The sidebar is loaded with resources, most if not all free, and all confidential.

    As for your wish that "someone can tell me who I should vote for and why", well, we don't tell folks that, but the sibling blog does put out a lot of snippets and links for helping folks become more aware of the candidates and what they offer. That blog is

    Feel free to use the search boxes at the right in the sidebars of either blog (the AP sidebar is a lot more extensive by virtue of the broader focus).

    Thanks. (I'll leave the diaper ideas to others--my son's just turned 18?)

  20. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.