Sunday, June 24, 2007

A day at the beach

We spent the day at Hampton Beach today. It was so nice to just get away for the day and actually do something as a family after all the craziness we've been through the last couple months. Our intention was to go take a look at the sand sculptures in the annual master sandsculpting competition, though we never did get to see them. The traffic was horrendous and it was next to impossible to find a parking spot. We parked about a mile down from the sculptures and were going to walk up the beach in the water. Well, Ian was distracted by the waves and just wanted to play in the waves. While he was playing "try to catch me waves!!" our friends Jodi and Dave called. It turns out they were in Hampton as well, but down at the state park, so we decided to go and meet up with them. Ian had a ball playing with his friends Maya and Jack and I got to help with toddler Ava and baby Lucy which was fun. The kids had so much fun, they built a sandcastle, dug a big hole to catch the waves in and splashed around in the tide pool that we were set up close to. Normally the thought of spending the day at the beach makes me cringe. I really don't care to sit in the sun all day long. Jodi and Dave have a cabana that really made the beach very enjoyable. The breeze was lovely in the shade, and it prevented the sand from blowing around too much. I really have to say it was a wonderful day and I'm looking forward to spending many more at the beach this summer (we're ordering a cabana!). Thanks for letting us invade your family outing Jodi and Dave, we had a really nice time!

Monday, June 18, 2007

"Hey daddy, wanna see a dead caterpillar?"

I think this picture really captures the essence of t-ball. In the middle of a game against the Red Sox, Ian (who was squatting in the field picking through the grass) yells to Greg (who is one of the Pirates' coaches) "hey daddy, wanna see a dead caterpillar?!". That one sentence brought the entire game to a screeching halt while all the players, Red Sox and Pirates alike had to come and investigate Ian's find. I love watching team sports at this age; there's no score, no positions, no batting lineup (well, unless you count lining up by the number on your shirt!). Most of the time, 20 minutes into the day, half the team is laying in the grass and the other half is on the sidelines begging mum or dad for a trip to the concession stand. At this age, it really is about having fun....whether you really are playing ball, or just locating deceased insects.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Our Adoption far

Our dossier is officially out of our hands, our agency received the packet yesterday and we are officially on the waiting list! It is such a relief to have that part done.
I thought I would just give a rundown of where we've been on the adoption trail so far. Most know all these details, but I've wanted to journal our experience for myself and haven't done so yet. So before all is not fresh in my mind anymore, here it is. My apologies for the very long post!
  • October '06 - attended an informational meeting at Wide Horizons for Children. We went in thinking only of domestic adoption (it was what we knew; raising a child from birth) and left with minds open to the beauty of international adoption as well.
  • December 26 '06 - We tood the plunge and mailed our initial application to WHFC. Shortly after we received a packet of paperwork to complete in two steps. They needed everything from birth certificates to child abuse checks to tax forms. It was quite involved but little did we know then the paperwork that we would encounter when we started preparing a dossier!
  • January 5, '07 - sent in package A, the first step of the agencies paperwork.
  • January 23, '07 - Had our first meeting with our social worker, Roy for our home study. We were incredibly nervous but he is so awesome. He has a great sense of humour and really made us feel at ease. We basically talked about what to expect from the home study and about what brought us to adoption. We discussed our lives together and our experience with infertility, everything that brought us to making the decision to consider adoption. We handed in package B, the second set of paperwork.
  • February 6, '07 - Our second meeting with Roy. These were individual meetings and we were even more nervous because we didn't have each other there to squeeze a hand. Again, it went just fine. We talked in depth about our upbringings, about our families and how we deal with anger, and sadness. We talked about our state of minds regarding the infertility, about how we've raised Ian and how we'd plan to include a second child into the family.
  • February 20, '07 - Our final home study meeting. This one took place at our house and though we were told not to fuss with cleaning and such, but of course I spent the entire week freaking out about if the floors were clean enough, if the sink was empty, and if the dog and cats appeared well cared for. Ian was warned to be on his best behavior and I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Now I'm sure he didn't even notice that I'd polished the faucets, he just cared that we weren't living in a cardboard box and didn't have a torture chamber in the basement. So we sit down to start talking after giving him a tour and Ian cuts him a heart out of a piece of paper. He is holding it behind his back and goes up to Roy and says "Roy, I have something for you!" and Roy says to him "I hope it's not a booger!". Well, as you would expect from any five year old, Ian was reduced to instant giggles over hearing that wonderful word. So what does my sweet little boy do? He goes into the bathroom and tries to dig out a real booger for Roy! I am mortified. Greg is bursting with laughter. Roy is bursting with laughter. Boys!! At any rate, you get an idea for our SW's sense of humor, it definately puts you at ease! We also talked at this meeting about what program we wanted to apply for. We decided on Guatemala because we would only be required to be out of the country for 3-4 days as opposed to the 2-4 week average for other programs. We just didn't want to be away from Ian that long, we wanted adding a brother or sister to be a positive thing for him and to not associate it with us leaving him for an extended period. We decided to dual apply to the domestic program as a back up.
  • March '07 - We received our homestudy (it was so cool to read about Roy's impressions of us) and submitted documentation for I-600A forms. These are for advance processing of immigration of a child. They were accompanied by birth certificates, marriage certificate, proof of citizenship and a hefty fee. The processing would include an appointment for each of us with the Department for Homeland Security to be fingerprinted.
  • April 13, '07 - Recieved our appointment times for fingerprinting. It was the day before my sister's bridal shower and Greg had just left on a business trip, it was quite a day!
  • April 24, '07 - Our fingerprinting appointment, at 8 am. We showed up to the office and found a very intimidating guard with a metal detector. The feeling in the office was very tense. It had signs warning you not to approach the desk until you were called, and you just got the feeling that your every move was being watched. When my name was called, I was asked for my alien registration card. I was baffled, I told them I was a citizen. Well, it turns out they thought Greg and I both were being fingerprinted for naturalization. The woman was not very pleasant. She immediately assumed we had done something wrong. She couldn't find our application and accused us of sending the paperwork to Boston instead of the Manchester office. I was sure I hadn't! Well, she eventually emerged much nicer saying that she had found our paperwork and our appointment notice had been mislabled. That we had indeed filed correctly for the I600A. So we were fingerprinted and were on our way.
  • end of April, '07 - Greg calls the domestic program coordinator to ask a question and is presented with the opportunity for a possible domestic match. The expectant mother is due in 2 weeks and we are in the midst of planning my sister's May 19th wedding. It was probably one of the most stressful few weeks of my life! I spent the next 4 days agonizing over our dear birthmother letter, a letter with photographs that is supposed to introduce you to expectant parents. A couple days after sending out our letter we got a call from Roy stating that the expectant mother had identified us as the parents of her child. We were in awe that it all happened so fast. We accepted the referral and strapped ourselves in for a wild ride, we weren't sure if it was going to impact my sister's wedding (I was the matron-of-honor) and just what the next few weeks would hold.
  • May 7, '07 - We travel to CT to meet with the birthmother. It was a surreal experience and it was much more comfortable than I expected it to be. She seemed like she had a plan and was pretty much set with her decision. We left that meeting feeling good, I knitted a baby hat on the way home. We had to prepare ourselves for the possibility of welcoming a baby into our family within the next 2 weeks while not letting ourselves forget that nothing is final in adoption until it is final. I can't describe the feelings we had during that time. We were over the top excited and terrified all at the same time. We immediately started getting to work on the babies room and pulling out baby clothes. I shortly thereafter became very ill with an awful respiratory bug the week before my sister's wedding and our dryer died on us to top it off. My friends and neighbors all pulled together helping me wash baby clothes, transporting Ian around, contributing baby items and helping me get my house ready for the rehearsal dinner for my sister's wedding. I am so thankful to everyone during that time, I don't know what I would have done without you all!
  • May 20, '07 - The day after my sister's wedding. The wedding was perfect in every way and we had an amazing time! We were on our way home that afternoon from my parent's house, feeling relieved that one big thing was out of the way and that we had a couple days to recoup (the birthmother was going to be induced on the 21st), when we received a call from Roy saying that she had the baby and that we needed to be heading down the next day! We went into an absolute frenzy trying to get everything ready. We knew we had to be in CT for two weeks so we needed to arrange rides for Ian to and from school and where he was going to be staying. It was insane!
  • May 21, '07 - We travel to CT. We met with the birthmother in the hospital and held the baby, he was gorgeous. She seemed still set with her plan, and we were encouraged. She was due to be released the next day and we would be picking the baby up then.
  • May 22, '07 - We received two phone calls in the morning confirming that we would be picking up the baby from the hospital at 2pm that day. We went to buy a gift for the birthmother, and an outfit to bring the baby home in. We then received a call about an hour and a half before we were due to pick him up that the birthmother had changed her mind and she wanted to raise the baby. It was devastating, to say the least. The next week was very difficult, coming home to the freshly laundered baby clothes, and the empty bassinet. Emotionally, It felt like the miscarriage I had a couple years ago. There was anger, mostly at the fact that we had been invited in to hold him, and at the fact that I missed out on Ian's last field trip of the year to travel to CT. But mostly we were just sad that things hadn't worked out. We know that things happen for a reason though and are just thankful that we weren't allowed to take him home before she changed her mind.
  • End of May, '07 - We decided to concentrate our energy on finishing the Guatemala paperwork. We had put everything aside when we were matched domestically, and needed to get that ball rolling again. In the midst of the previous weeks activities, we had recieved our approval on the I600A. We worked on getting all our documents certified by the state and all in order to send them off to the Guatemala Consulate for authentication.
  • June 9 '07 - Received our authenticated paperwork back from the Guatemala Consulate and we scurry to gather the photographs that need to go with the dossier. My mum came over to take a few of the three of us to use.
  • June 13, '07 - I spent an hour and a half photocopying all the paperwork in Ben Franklin with Ian in tow (not my brightest idea) and picked up our pictures from Wal-Mart. I put everything in order, brought it to the post office and sent it overnight to the agency's main office in Massachusetts. When they have it in their possession we will be offically on the waiting list.
So now we wait. Technically, we are still on the list for a domestic match. So we just wait and see what happens first. I'm just happy that the paperchase is complete!!

Monday, June 11, 2007


Goodbyes are always hard. Yesterday Ian "graduated" from the kindergarten program at Fremont Early Learning Environment and even he, at five years old was feeling sad that he was saying goodbye to his very loved teachers. The goodbye party was held at the "big school" (elementary) where Ian will attend the public kindergarten program in the fall, yes kindergarten again. His birthday is at the end of September and he just makes the cut-off for first grade. We just wanted to give him that extra year, we hear from people who have made the same decision that they wouldn't have done it differently. Maybe it won't be evident now or next year, but when he's in eighth grade dealing with peer pressure (probably earlier nowadays!) maybe he'll just be that much more mature to make the right decisions. And it made me cringe to think I would be sending him off to college (if he chooses it!) at age 17. School is hard enough, we just want to give him every advantage we can! Anyways, back to the goodbye party! It was so cute, the kids performed a little concert which included songs like "Magalena Hagalena" (very funny), the Chicken Dance and "You are a miracle", and as if that last one didn't make me cry enough, they completed the program with a "Goodbye friends" song, oh my gosh....
We really are sad to say goodbye to the school and the teachers. Ian attended pre-school there as well and everyone is so amazing. I'm also sad for Ian that all but 1 or 2 of his friends will be going on to 1st grade and he won't be, but then I really do think we are making the best decision for his success in school. He'll still see them, and he'll make new friends right?! I think part of the sadness for me is that at the moment we have no other children that will be taking part in these things. I know we will, but you see other families that have one child leaving kindergarten and one entering pre-school seamlessly. We really are saying goodbye to these people for a few years. It all goes by so super fast, just like everyone tells you but you just don't understand it until it happens to you! In a few short months he's going to turn 6 and it seems like just yesterday we were teaching him how to walk! I've already made him promise that he'll still cuddle with me when he's 10, and I'm holding him to it...maybe I should get it in writing!
It was really a great day and Nannie, Papa and Mimi were there with us to celebrate! We are very proud of you Ian, and love you so very much!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

First Recital

For those of you who don't know, Ian has been taking piano lessons for a few months now. He had been asking for some time so we decided to go ahead and try it. He goes to a place called Musical Arts, and we were told they usually don't start piano lessons until age 6, but because he was so interested, we could give it a try. I'm really glad we did because he has done so well and is enjoying it so far (except for the practicing part, we're still working on making that an enoyable time for all of our sanity). He is absolutely in love with his teacher Ms. Beth (he asked her to marry him), she is so patient and just wonderful with him. Well, last night he had his first recital and we are so proud of him! He walked up to the stage all by himself, sat down and played his memorized piece flawlessly. He is getting so grown up, I can hardly stand it! As soon as Greg gets the video uploaded we'll post it as well so you can see my little pianist in action!

Here we go!

So here's the first post. I've been wanting to do this for a while now, just haven't really gotten down to doing it! I figured our family is spread over the globe and it would be a good way to keep people up to date as to what is going on with our family. As for the title, most of you will have heard this a time or two. Michelle (my sister for those who don't know us) has always had her own language and this particular word "polanks" has become an exclamation that means almost anything you want it to, depending on how you say it. At any rate, I've been at a complete loss for a title and this just seems to fit, we don't know exactly what it means, but it's fun to say.
Anyways, this blog is about the three of us, Greg, Cammie and Ian. We live in a small town in New Hampshire and are very happy here. Greg and I were married almost eight years ago, and we were high school sweethearts, which means we have known each other for almost 15 years, yikes!! We were married in 1999 and added our first son Ian in 2001 with the help of infertility treatments. We started trying for number 2 almost as soon as Ian was born and 5 1/2 years later are still parents to one. It has been a long difficult road of infertililty treatments, and false hopes with a devastating miscarriage thrown into the mix. All the while raising our son fielding questions about why we "only have one kid living at our house and every one we know has at least two"! I could probably have an entire blog dedicated to our experience with infertility but we have chosen to pursue another road, as we are going to adopt our second child and we are very excited. So this is the story of us from here forward. Thanks for reading!