Low Tide

HOPE phone wallpaper | SundriedTomatoe.Wordpress.comTrying to maintain perspective on a rough day. Making things helps. In the immortal words of Yogi Berra, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

iPhone wallpaper


Some Things About Me

It has been especially nice to have the time to blog semi-regularly and read others’ blogs as well. Lately I’ve been staying on top of a blog called My Perfect Breakdown, written by a sassy Canadian who has (along with her spouse) been through some of the same stuff as we have. I especially appreciate her perspective on having a strong “work/career” identity that has taken a major hit as a result of years of miscarriage and loss.

Definitely speaks to me on a personal level.

As a result of regular following, I’m on her radar and have been tagged to answer some questions. I like talking about myself so I’m totally participating.

The Rules:

  • Link to the person who nominated you.
  • Add the award logo.
  • Answer the questions your nominator asked.
  • Nominate 7 other blogs.
  • Ask your nominees 10 questions.

I’m not going to follow all the rules because I’m a rebel and a badass. And also lazy. But I am totally going to answer the questions.

And nominate some people.

And come up with new questions.

The Questions:

You are most like ________ in Harry Potter. Explain why.

I’m most like Fleur because I’m gorgeous and I speak with a delightful French accent.

Just kidding, I’m probably most like McGonagall. I love rules. I keep a cool head in a crisis. Everyone around me kind of loves me but is also kind of scared of me. My hair looks great in a bun. And if I was an Animagus I would 100% be a cat.

Cardio or weight training or neither?

I’m not a fan of physical discomfort. So neither.

Video games – yes. Physical activity – not so much.

In a perfect world, I would love running and do it every day. In real life, I WANT to love running, and I keep trying to do it… with little success.

Describe your idea of a perfect date night.

Dinner at a seafood restaurant by the sea, sit in sand in the dark talking about things close to our hearts. Then ice cream. All good dates end with ice cream.

Are you a breakfast person? If so what’s your favourite breakfast meal?

I’m not a breakfast person. Lately I’ve been having some success with homemade granola, greek yogurt, and berries. It’s enough savory to keep me happy, doesn’t include eggs, which have been the only breakfast food I can stomach for a good decade, and has enough of all the good nutrients and whatnot to keep me going for the whole morning.

In that perfect world I mentioned above, three cups of coffee would give me all the vitamins, nutrients, and protein I need for the whole morning.

What is on your birthday wish list for this year (other than a baby)?

Ooh that’s a fun one. Here are some pictures.

Because I’ve been into quilting recently:

Because I want a backlit-free reading option at night (and my old standby has finally bit the dust):

Because creativity:

Because classics never die:

Beer or wine or neither? And what is your preferred brand?

I love beer. I have no idea why I have such a preference for beer, especially since I am also a fan of wine. Given the choice, I will always choose beer. Maybe it’s the carbonation…


Lagers are my preferred beer and Yuengling (native to Pennsylvania) is my favorite. It’s not distributed in Texas (at all) so I rarely get a taste of it these days. In its absence, I will try just about any kind of beer. Hoppy beers and IPAs are always interesting to me.

What is your dream vacation?

Months-long tour of all the places my family (families) come from to include: Italy, Catalonia, Croatia, Ireland, and Cuba.

What is your dream job and why?

My super-duper dream job is A-list film actress with a long-running TV show as my “regular” job. A few reasons why: 1) I would like to act for a living; I think that’d be awesome; 2) I’d like to be renowned for my acting chops; 3) a few million bills in the bank would be excellent. Just sayin.

My IRL dream job is successful writer. I have to start writing in earnest for that to happen, but I think that one is actually doable.

Flats or heels?

I just can’t wear heels. I don’t know why or what it is but I get terrible pain in one of my feet any time I walk around in a pair of heels. This makes footwear shopping pretty easy for me, and also alleviates some of the special tailoring necessary for trousers when tall(ish) ladies buy heels.

Name 3 little known facts about you.

1) I have a birthmark on my index finger. It came in very handy in high school when I was testing out curse words and trying out obscene gestures like the “middle finger.”

2) I’m really good at accents. Like, savant good.

3) Despite my natural penchant for talking with people and joking and whatnot, I’m actually quite a bit of a loner. I didn’t always embrace my loner tendencies, but in the last year or two I’m really beginning to enjoy it.

Now for tagging. I have no idea who reads this thing anymore so I tag YOU, the reader. If you write a blog, I hereby challenge you to answer the following questions about yourself.

If you could have one enhanced natural ability, what would it be? (This is kind of like super-powers but no laser eyeballs or invisibleness or anything.) 

What is your favorite animal and why do you think that is?

Who would play you in the movie version of your life? Why them?

Speaking of movie versions of your life, what song plays during the closing credits?

Please tell a short story from your life that involves a car. 

What does the world need more of?

If you refuse to accept this mission you are a big giant party pooper. Here’s a badge for you. Put it on your blog.

partypooper badge | sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com


Course Correction

I have been using “I” for a lot of posts recently, mostly because it’s easier to write, even when what I really mean is “we.” In contrast, today is definitely a “we” post, even though it gets tricky to write.

The foster-to-adopt process started for us back in early November of last year when we attended an orientation meeting hosted by Child Protective Services (CPS) in the nearest major city – about two hours away. We drove to the city on a Saturday morning and spent the day listening to workers talking about the basics of the foster and foster-to-adopt process. It was a lot of information we already knew but it was a worthwhile trip to get some faces and some personal accounts of how things play out.

Since then, Hubs and I have been on our own, filling out lots and lots of paperwork and trying to anticipate what the needs will be so we are at least somewhat prepared. Our previous experience with government processes (plus a lot of reading about foster/adopt through the state CPS system) means we are aware that there will be “emergencies” where someone somewhere dropped the ball or forgot about us and we will have to scramble to make up the deficit.

[image source]
[image source]
Our human contact since that orientation meeting has been abysmal. Combined with the mountains of deeply personal paperwork that just keeps on growing, the whole experience thus far has been discouraging on the best days, but mostly deeply troubling.

Hubs and I have had multiple conversations about this, especially as the holidays approached and sailed by. Neither of us feels any kind of peace about the process; most days we feel increasing anxiety and unrest. There’s a growing thought that we are working hard to become part of a system that will certainly ignore us throughout the whole process (years) and will probably be a malign presence in our life.

This isn’t a good option for us. With the information we have right now, this has become a situation where we need to take a step back and look for better, healthier options for us and for any kids who might come into our lives.

Of course, gloriously, this means more waiting on our part. Whatever our next step is will cost a LOT more money, so we need to adjust our approach and squirrel some cash away. (When I say “some” I mean “a lot of.”) Until then, we will keep on keeping on, and continue to hope for some kind of miracle that will wipe out all this agonizing and planning and being responsible.

Until then. BLERG.


I Call Bull***t

There seems to be a struggle to navigate adoption after infertility -especially in how it relates to a child’s self-worth. I understand the worry on this one. No one wants their children to think they’re second-class or a consolation prize. But the result of that worry is that sometimes parents’ long, tortuous, often silent journey with infertility kind of gets kicked to the curb and edited out of the family story.

And I call bull***t on that.

i call bull***t | sundriedtomatoe.com
This was a real thing from Cards Against Humanity. You can click on the picture for more info.

Adoption is hard as crap. Adoption requires that would-be parents endure a host of mental, emotional, legal, and psychological issues that challenge the very core of adulthood, parenthood, personhood. It’s lonely. It’s incredibly long – YEARS long. It involves multiple losses. IT’S HARD.

It’s freaking HARD.

The only reason ANYONE chooses adoption is because they have a highly compelling reason to endure that singular hardship. For the religious, its the notion of a higher calling, a way to Serve. For kinship adoptions, it’s family ties. And for a lot of people, it’s when infertility makes having biological kids impossible and they just want a family gosh-darnit.

What makes that truth so wrong, or unsharable? Why can’t kids know that infertility was a huge deal in their parents’ life?

I think it has something to do with conflating the process of getting kids with the process of raising kids. Well, guess what? They’re not the same.

It would be way easier to have biological kids, and if I could I totally would. And I’m pretty sure that the majority of kids will say that they’d prefer that their first parents don’t terminate parental rights. That being said, I do not give a rat’s patootie where our kids come from once we get them. It’s the getting that sucks, not the having. This is process and result, cause and effect – two different things. For adoptive families with infertile parents, adoption is the result of two crappy situations equaling one excellent situation. Two crappy “causes” (termination of first parent rights and infertility) equal one excellent “effect.” Two crappy valleys meet at one breathtaking peak.

The quality of the road going forward from that meeting has little to do with how the road looked in the past.

I guess all of this is to say that I would prefer to get kids via naturally occurring pregnancy. That hasn’t changed, and it won’t. If I had my choice, I’d want to get pregnant, have nine months of morning sickness and friendly commiseration with 80% of the adult female population on the planet, and then have a delivery event in a local hospital with my favorite doctor. I want that experience, I want the relative ease, and the collective social knowledge, and the positive support, and everyone telling me “you’ll do amazing!” and “only two more months!” and “try _____ it really worked when I had morning sickness.” I want everyone involved to be comfortable and familiar with the whole process.

I would prefer not to endure multiple months of radio silence from the people who can approve (or not) my ability to have a family. I’d like it if my ability to get kids didn’t depend on the preferences of one very fallible human being (who may or may not dislike multiple pets, people from out of state, adults who play video games, mono-lingual parents, non-Methodists, etc…) I would prefer not to undergo background checks in multiple states. I would prefer that my friends and family not endure reference checks. I would prefer not to attend mandatory training on basics like seatbelts and the effects of recreational drug use. I would prefer not to agonize over how to even begin preparing our home because we have no idea when a child will arrive, at what age, or with what needs. I would love it if all my friends and family didn’t have to learn (along with me) everything about this situation as we go, stumbling and bumbling along with no collective knowledge at all about how this works or what is appropriate or where the hurty parts are.

And that’s where my preference ends.

That set of wants is all about process. It’s all about my preference for how I get kids.

Know what else I want? I want to love a kid so hard it takes my breath away. I want to dry tears and induce kid belly laughs. I want to make quilts, sing songs, fingerpaint, agonize over first kisses and friend drama. I want my kids to meet their cousins and aunts and uncles and second cousins and grandparents and great-grandparents. I want to laugh so hard at some random surprising declaration that I almost pee my pants. I want to stay up all night with a sick kid. I want to pack lunches and chaperone field trips and cry at graduation. I want my kids to be as good friends with their cousins as I am with mine. I want to have birthday parties and playtime with other moms (and kids) at McDonalds. I want to ask those close to me for advice and council when parenting gets tough.

Know how much of those wants have to do with how I get my kid? ZERO.

I can’t have one set of wants. That’s my truth. I can have another. And the value of one is in no way dependent on the availability of the other.

For me, denying that adoption was hard and that it became an option because of the long journey with infertility will be dishonest. So I’m not going to deny it. I’m not 100% sure exactly how we will frame our story when the time comes to share it with our kids but I do know that it will be honest – infertility will be included. Their story about how they came to us matters; our story about how we came to them matters, too.

New Year, Old Me

I like the clarity a new year promotes – an opportunity to look ahead and say “here’s what I would like this year to look like.” (For me) it’s difficult to separate everyday happenings from my perspective and have that kind of regular foresight into my future. So I enjoy the opportunity to think about resolutions but more generally, I like the chance to consider what part I might play in shaping the next year of my life.

2015 resolution | from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com

Since this blog has been around for a while, I thought I’d review previous years’ posts.

2014 –  “rules” for 2014, which are interesting to look back on now that I’ve quit my job and wholly embraced my introvert tendencies

2013 – I listed three “classical” resolutions then four things that were realistic accomplishments for the year. Interestingly, the four “realistic” things really happened.

2012 – all about school. It was the year of the Comp Exam and my mind was firmly fixed on getting that degree done.

2011 – No real post. I think that year was just kind of a “survive” kinda year.

2010 – difficult to review because it was a recap of 2009 and ended up being almost a letter to my future self. We had a rough year in 2009.

2009 – I might actually recycle most of 2009’s resolution list. I kind of love reading posts from this time. It was before the Ectopic (note the capital E) which, in retrospect, significantly changed my outlook on my entire life. Interesting that it’s taken six years to get back to the same kind of mental space…

I’ve got a one-word resolution for 2015. I plan on using it as my north star, as a way to make decisions, overcome obstacles, and let go of the things that plague me in the wee hours of the morning.

parent | from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com

The word is PARENT.

I want to see the close of 2015 with Hubs and I as parents. Whether we are parenting foster kids, adopted kids, or miracle babies, PARENT is the name of the game this year. It’s been a terrible long road and I expect it will continue to be incredibly difficult. But that’s my goal, that’s my guiding principle, and that’s the thing I’m going to spend emotion on. I’m going positive, full-bore, meaningful.

Wish me luck. I’ll keep you posted.

Soooo… Adoption

Next step in the journey – meaningfully pursuing adoption. There’s been a lot of reading and thinking and long conversations in this house lately. One of the results is that we are looking into foster/adopting from the state system. We recently attended the initial information session for our area of Texas and are now working our way through an impressive pile of initial paperwork.

Good timing, as November is National Adoption Month. We have a lot of positive reinforcement as we start down this road.

sooo... adoption | a post from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com
image from https://www.davethomasfoundation.org/

Lots of things to think about as we move along this path. Fostering and adopting from the State system means we’ll be parenting kids taken from bad situations. Fostering means some kids we parent will return to their first-parents rather than staying with us. Adopting means years of paperwork and court appearances. We are limited in who we can parents because we live in an area with limited medical care and a homogeneous racial makeup. Plus, neither of us actually have any idea what we’re doing…

We have a lot of studying and training to do, a lot of decisions to make, still have a bit of soul-searching left. Already, we are prepping for difficulty and heartbreak that seem inherent in this approach, even when we know there’s no way to really adequately prepare for what’s ahead. Hope is an incredible thing, though, as is the potential for some hard-earned Joy.

The prospect of being parents, something we’ve wanted for  a long time, is both exciting and frightening. I’m aprehensive about parenting someone else’s child for months or years before that child is ours. I’m scared about falling in love and then being separated (pretty much a guarantee with the route we’re going) because a child’s first parents get their act together. At the same time, I’m relieved to put infertility behind us. I don’t really have adequate words for how relieved I am. And ultimately, I’m excited because we are on the path to being PARENTS.

Holy smokes. Even writing that is awesome.

I’ll keep you posted.

We Tried

It’s October, now, and I’ve been sitting on this post for over six months. Hard to find appropriate words for it – not so much because it was too painful but because now it’s just DONE and it’s been an incredible mental relief to be done.

We did an IVF cycle in the spring of this year. It was exactly what I expected: uncomfortable, emotionally draining, demoralizing, and ultimately futile. Sitting at the kitchen table stabbing myself with multiple needles every morning felt like control for about three days. Then it just got weird and depressing.

we tried | a post from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com
Flickr – Jenn Lewald

Emotional spikes really didn’t start until the second half of the cycle, when I started getting huge amounts of pregnancy hormones to try to get my body on board with Science. And they didn’t stop until well after the pregnancy was over.

It really didn’t help that, during all this, I was in the midst of a paradigm shift at work – one that ultimately led to my resignation.

More than anything, though, I wanted to move past that faint double line as quickly as possible. That quiet, tiny “yes” was so incredible it sent us through the roof for days. And then… not so much. The same as before (again). I knew how to handle everything after that. Accept the murmured sympathy at the doctor’s office with grace and extreme calm, spend a few nights crying into a pillow, then send it down the road. Someday in the future I’ll come back to that sorrow and commemorate it somehow. Right now it’s done.

Tried, positive, fail.

we tried | a post from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com
Flickr – tipstimes.com/pregnancy

I’m disappointed but the pain is not as extreme as it ever has been in the past. It’s kind of deeper and not as sharp. It’s an ending. It’s finite. It’s a kind of “closure.” It’s like a heavy door, finally coming to rest after slowly drifting shut for years. As much as I desperately want what’s on the other side, I never could get at it, and there’s a kind of relief in the notion that it’s not an option anymore.

Part of the fallout is that we have one tiny life left, waiting for us to be ready. Neither of us expect it to be with us for very long once we decide we’re ready. But we’re not going to give up on it. If these many years have taught us nothing else, it’s that life is precious, however it comes and however long it stays.

“The wound is the place the Light enters you.” -Rumi

we tried | a post from sundriedtomatoe.wordpress.com
Flickr – Ehsan Khakbaz H.