How am I not myself?

This blog serves as personal therapy, stress relief, information sharing, and the occasional sanity check. Enjoy!

Safe Haven begins with me. April 29, 2009

Filed under: Adoption — My Dysfunctional Life @ 9:17 am

Well, it’s happened again. An infant found dead in the trunk of a car. Last time, it was a two-day old infant found in a shoebox in a dumpster near the park. Do people not know about Safe Haven Laws? Have they not considered all of the people out there who would be happy to adopt their child? I’m thinking that the word just hasn’t spread, and that these women don’t know about, or understand, the Safe Haven Laws. Here is a synopsis…

Beginning in Texas in 1999, “Baby Moses laws” or infant safe haven laws have been enacted as an incentive for mothers in crisis to safely relinquish their babies to designated locations where the babies are protected and provided with medical care until a permanent home is found. Safe haven laws generally allow the parent, or an agent of the parent, to remain anonymous and to be shielded from prosecution for abandonment or neglect in exchange for surrendering the baby to a safe haven.

  • To date, approximately 47 States and Puerto Rico have enacted safe haven legislation. Alaska, Hawaii, Nebraska, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands have not yet addressed the issue of abandoned newborns in legislation.
  • The focus of these laws is protecting newborns. In approximately 15 States, infants who are 72 hours old or younger may be relinquished to a designated safe haven. (Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Ohio, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.)
  • Approximately 14 States and Puerto Rico accept infants up to 1 month old. (Arkansas, Connecticut, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, and West Virginia.)
  • Other States specify varying age limits in their statutes. Other limits include 5 days (New York); 7 days (Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Oklahoma); 14 days (Delaware, Iowa, Virginia, and Wyoming); 45 days (Indiana and Kansas); 60 days (South Dakota and Texas); 90 days (New Mexico); and 1 year (Missouri and North Dakota).

In most States with safe haven laws, either parent may surrender his or her baby to a safe haven. In four States (Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, and Tennessee), only the mother may relinquish her infant. Idaho specifies that only a custodial parent may surrender an infant. In approximately 11 States, an agent of the parent (someone who has the parent’s approval) may take a baby to a safe haven for a parent. Six States do not specify the person who may relinquish an infant.

The purpose of safe haven laws is to ensure that relinquished infants are left with persons who can provide the immediate care needed for their safety and well-being. To that end, approximately eight States require parents to relinquish their infants to a hospital. Other States designate additional entities as safe haven providers, including emergency medical services, police stations, and fire stations. In four States (Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, and Vermont), emergency medical technicians responding to a 9-1-1 call may accept an infant. In addition, four States (Arizona, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Vermont) and Puerto Rico allow churches to act as safe havens, but the relinquishing parent must first determine that church personnel are present at the time the infant is left. Generally, anyone on staff at these institutions can receive an infant; however, many States require that staff receiving an infant be trained in emergency medical care.

Anonymity for the parent or agent of the parent is expressly guaranteed and all states provide an assurance of confidentiality for any information that is voluntarily provided by the parent.

*Excerpt take from http://www.childwelfare.gov. A link to the full statute on the Government’s Child Welfare site is here.

On this topic, there is a wonderful organization out there called Project Cuddle that works with these women to save their babies and find them placements (my husband and I have registered with this group). I wish there were more organizations out there that did this! I would love to get some bumper stickers made and have every person I know put them on their cars…if it could save the life of just ONE baby, it would be worth any cost. Spread the word, people. “Safe Haven begins with me.

 

Parenthood for Me, Inc. April 27, 2009

Filed under: Adoption — My Dysfunctional Life @ 3:40 pm

Yesterday, I went to a business kick-off luncheon for Parenthood for Me, Inc. What is Parenthood for Me, you ask? Well, here’s their mission statement:
“To provide emotional and financial support to those starting families through adoption or medical intervention.”

I have placed a link to the site in my “Blogs” block on the right.

The event was fantastic! First, I got to sit at a table of amazing women. All have had issues with fertility and were working with an adoption agency in some capacity. It was so refreshing to be sitting at a table full of people who have struggled with infertility, and have know that you can vent, cry, or swear about your ordeal, and know that they all understand. Been there, done that! No awkward looks when you talk about adoption. No uncomfortable silences when you discuss infertility or mention hysterectomies. They get it.

We first ate lunch and socialized, then the co-founder of Parenthood for Me, Erica Walther Schlaefer, spoke about her inspiration for this cause. Did you know that most insurance companies in NY do NOT cover the cost of IVF? Each time a couple undergoes IVF, it can cost upwards of $10, 000. Wow. She had experienced these costs and more, as well as the costs associated with adoption, and decided to do something about it. What an inspiration!

The keynote speaker, Dr. Rosalind Hayes, MD spoke about infertility and the impact it has on the relationships of people those it affects. I think all of us at our table weren’t expecting to have this hit home so profoundly. Infertility has a way of taking over your life. It is always on your mind, and it affects your relationship with your spouse, your family, and your friends. Those of us at the table all related to this. Family doesn’t “talk” about it. Friends don’t talk about their children so much around you because they are afraid they will hurt your feelings. It affects your marriage because your spouse can’t stand to see you suffer. Some of these things have been an issue for me, and some haven’t. Nevertheless, it was nice to talk to people without having to worry about censoring myself.

Some of the other girls at the table were bloggers as well! Yay! Actually, that’s how I met Erica in the first place. But you already knew that! I blogged about it a few weeks back.

Another nice thing was I got to talk about adoption profiles a bit. It’s my new venture and I hope to make a meager living doing it. I got to bounce some ideas off of the group and see their reactions, as well as get some feedback. Another yay! More on that in a later post.

It was a wonderful day, and I was so glad to be a part of the birth of this wonderful organization. Here’s a picture of the gang…dscf26401

Check out the blogs of Lisa (black and white dress), Alison (brown shirt in the front row), Alicia (green shirt in the front row), and Erica (black dress in the front row). Blogging women of adoption and infertility UNITE!

 

Lazy Eye April 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — My Dysfunctional Life @ 10:08 pm

You know those songs that stick with you? They run through your brain all day, before you go to sleep, and still there when you wake up? Usually that’s a bad thing. However, the latest song that’s been running through my head non-stop is my new fave, and LOVE it. The song is Lazy Eye by Silversun Pickups.  It makes you want to turn the stereo up all the way and sing at the top of your lungs…which I did yesterday, by the way. I was in my Mini with the sunroof open, the tunes cranked, sunglasses on, and rocking out!

Here’s a link to the song…enjoy!

Lazy Eye

 

New Adoption Profile

Filed under: Uncategorized — My Dysfunctional Life @ 9:40 pm

As I said in a previous post, we have been profiled for several adoption situations and haven’t been chosen. So I decided that we needed to try a new approach! I have completely redesigned our adoption profile. The idea is two-fold actually…

Since I’m working on starting my own biz making adoption profiles and lifebooks, I have been designing some prototypes to use as samples on my website. I am using our profile information, so people can see a “real” profile in action.  Anyway, the profile we have been using for the last year is very busy; it has a different theme/color scheme on each page spread, and every picture has a caption. There are also lots of embellishments, etc. It was very descriptive, but a bit busy. Anyway, I started thinking about how it must feel to be a birthmom faced with 7-10 of these books when she is going through a very difficult time in her life. She is probably overwhelmed and reading all of those birthmother letters, checking out captions, looking at all of those faces…well, it’s probably enough to make he head spin. So…my approach this time is “keep it simple”.

The new profile has a consistent theme, and our birthmother letter is spread throughout the book. I updated some pictures by adding in a few fun ones, and there are no captions on the pictures. The birthmom needs to know we are loving, happy, and have lots of people we love in our lives. The pictures speak for themselves.

When I went to Office max to get them printed, the designer commented on how nice they were! That made me feel really good about them. They are also going to be good samples to use on the company site, once I’m up and running. Yay!

If you want to check it out, there’s a link to the download in the right margin of this page (green box). The first one is the uncompressed version, but the file is pretty large. If you can’t accommodate the large file, the second one is compressed and very tiny. However, the images and graphics aren’t as clear, but you’ll get the picture. Let me know what you think!

 

Wiiiiiiiiii!

Filed under: Uncategorized — My Dysfunctional Life @ 9:24 pm

Well, last Friday was my birthday. It’s usually uneventful. However, if nothing else, I insist on having a cake. It’s the one day a year where it’s your prerogative to eat your favorite kind, and as much as you want! David gets me a little Carvel ice cream cake. I have loved those ever since I was a kid!

Anyway, this birthday was nice – David’s parents took me to dinner at Mangia and I had lobster ravioli. Soooo good! I also got the coolest gift EVER! David bought be a Wii and the Wii Fit!!! YAY! I love this thing! I use the Fit every morning- I love the yoga and the balance training- and David and I have played tennis and golf just about every night this week. This is the coolest video game thing ever and you don’t have to learn a thousand combinations of buttons to play. You just move as if you were playing the sport for real, and your little guy on the screen moves with you. Those of you in the neighborhood have got to come over and check this out! I even lost 3 pounds this week!

I wonder if this thing has a Jarts game? 🙂

 

Waiting…and waiting… April 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — My Dysfunctional Life @ 8:09 am

Well, we were profiled for another adoption case about a week and a half ago. On Wednesday, I came home from GBB to find a message on my machine from our family advocate at the adoption agency saying she wanted to touch base and follow up about this particular case. Now our family advocate is great, but she usually doesn’t call to tell us we didn’t get picked…I usually call her after a couple of weeks goes by, and that’s fine. But when I heard this message, naturally I thought, “This could be IT!” David and I were so excited, and even had trouble sleeping that night. Could it be that my prayers had finally been answered? Would I get the birthday gift of a lifetime?

Unfortunately, no. I called the agency the next day to find out that the birthmom had chosen another family. That is now 7 times we have been profiled and 7 times we haven’t been chosen. David and I cried, yelled, and cried some more. It was a bad night.

So today, I’m packing up the baby’s room and turning it back into a guest room. I’m breaking down the changing table and storing all of the baskets on it (full of diapers, creams, powder, etc.) and storing them in the closet. The cradle is going into the basement with the crib; then I can stop staring at that room with longing. I walk by it 20 times a day and I just can’t look at it anymore.

I’ll never stop praying, wishing, hoping that this will happen soon, but the constant reminders are just too much. David says the same thing. We just renewed our home study for another year, though I’m hoping that this is the last time we have to do that.

In the meantime, I’m redoing our adoption profile and I’m starting my own little biz helping others do the same. I’ll stay involved in SOFIA, because it gives me hope seeing others who have adopted. I’ll attend charity events for adoption non-profits so I can help others with their adoption jouneys. I have got to stay busy! And I’ll wish on my candles tonight that the next call is our baby. I wish…I wish…

 

Goin’ Bald for Bucks

Filed under: Uncategorized — My Dysfunctional Life @ 7:49 am

When I worked and lived in North Collins, I met this wonderful woman named Cathy George, aka “Georgie”. She was full of life, laughter, and vigor. I met her through others I knew, and so started my affiliation with Team Georgie. Team Georgie was formed for the Susan G. Komen walk back in 2003 (?) and I have been walking and doing fundraisers with them ever since.The leader of this team is a dear friend, Di Mathis, and she has continued to lead this group keeping Georgie in the spotlight. Sadly, Cathy is no longer with us, but her memory lives on through her friends and family.

Goin’ Bald for Bucks is a community program that was started by Cathy’s brother, Tony. Kids pledge to shave their heads and collect donations for the Komen Foundation. Then, on a particular day, the local high school hosts the head shaving and collects the cash. It is such a beautiful sight to see so many kids (preK-12) shave their heads for charity. The kids who have hair long enough donate their hair to Locks of Love.

Ever since this event started, I have participated. (I went to beauty school right out of high school, so I shave heads.) The first two years, I even got my head shaved! Not anymore, however… Have you ever been through a Buffalo winter with short hair?! Not fun.

Anyway, this year’s event was on the 8th and was hosted at North Collins HS, as usual. My old stomping grounds! They raised almost $8000 and ALL of the money goes to the Susan G. Komen foundation. The best part was a little girl who sat in my chair. She was 4 years old and donated 12 inches of her hair to locks of love. What a wonderful thing to do at such a young age!

It felt good to be a part of something bigger than myself, and to know that all of the participants did it Georgie’s name. We miss you, sister!