Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Happy Birthday John!!!

It's that time of the year again - that's right, one of the happiest days of the year when people from all over the country gather to celebrate (laughing). Yup, you guessed it - this past weekend was John's 29th birthday. John's parents (Pat & Jeff) flew in from Nebraska bearing gifts for John, and as luck might have it a few family heirlooms for when we get a baby. They brought a couple of John's first outfits - appropriately in yellow and green so we can still use them regardless of whether the baby ends up being a girl, or a boy. They also brought one of John's first blankets. It's very nicely made, and my favorite part is that it has John's name and birthday stitched into the back. I can just imagine a baby all wrapped up in it, snuggling up in one of the very same blankets John snuggled up in when he was just a few months old. So it's great to have our first few pieces of clothing for the baby... although we have to be careful to make sure we don't end up jinxing ourselves. We'll have to make sure we let the family know that we're not accepting any more gifts until we're officially matched and the baby is on it's way.

Back to the party - John's aunt Sue was kind enough to offer to host the party for us. Her house is located just off Peachtree (the main street the runs through Atlanta) so it's fairly convenient for many of our friends who came from all over for the party. We ended up having between 35 and 40 people show up. It was great to see everyone. The crowd was fairly eclectic. It consisted of old friends and new, a few people who are clients of Johns, and a few of my friends from business development where I work. I was really impressed by how well everyone mingled. That's not to suggest that I wasn't expecting people to get along, but it seems like usually there's a couple of people who just don't feel comfortable talking to people they aren't that familiar with. By the end of the night it seemed as though everyone had had an opportunity to have a conversation with everyone else. I think people had a really good time, and some good conversation. Actually, a couple of John's friends who moved out of town several years ago managed to make it so it was particularly nice to see them.

The food was good... a little bit of everything. The standard cheese platters, along with some Sushi (John's parents had never had Sushi before, and actually I think they made it through the party without having any, but we finally convinced his mom to try some at dinner the following night), some great fruit salad, shrimp cocktail, basil chicken, sirloin, etc. It was very nice to have a good mix of food, there was definitely something for everyone. Of course, the birthday cake was one of the main attractions. My friend Brady (from high school) suggested that we get the cake from a local bakery ( that her aunt's business uses often. Her suggestion turned out great. Not only was the decoration nice, but it tasted amazing. When we picked it up earlier in the day John's mom opened the box in the back of the car to see what it looked like. I kid you not, when I say the smell of the cake was literally one of the best things I've ever smelled. My mouth is watering just thinking about it (I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a little bit of a sweet tooth - BUT I don't think I was the only one that was impressed).

Speaking of sweets, there was one more item on the menu that is included in basically every function that John attends. I don't think I've mentioned it before, but John has an infatuation with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts ( John has said many times that if you haven't had a Krispy Kreme doughnut you just haven't lived. I don't know if I'd go quite that far, but I do agree they do make some great doughnuts. Krispy Kreme is fairly famous - at least in most southern states - for serving their original glazed doughnuts HOT. They actually have a neon sign on the outside of the buildings that they light up when ever they have hot doughnuts available. Anyway, you should find some time to get one if you haven't had one before. Oh - when I said that Krispy Kreme doughnuts are basically at every function John goes to, I wasn't joking. If we're invited to a party - and it's even slightly appropriate - we'll end up bringing Krispy Kremes. I think John secretly has a rule that he can't have Krispy Kremes unless there's some kind of social gathering... so he finds a way to bring them with him. LOL

Our party favors ended up being fairly eclectic as well. A couple weeks before the party John put together a list of some of our favorite summer songs. My job was to physically create the mix CDs, so I went to work creating the playlist on iTunes, and burning the CDs. It turns out that iTunes will only let you burn 7 copies of a playlist. I'm not sure exactly why, I guess it's there to prevent music pirating. So, every 7 CDs I had to change the playlist slightly so that iTunes would let me burn the 30 plus CDs we needed. John also drew a really interesting CD cover - so the CDs ended up looking almost professional. John later ended up officially calling the CDs JMP's Summer Hot Mix. A name I soon hope to forget. (Laughing)

In addition to the CD, John's aunt has a friend who recently started a magazine called WorthWhile. The magazine is essentially focused on helping people find enjoyment from their work - aka, making work worth while. Anyway, knowing that there would be a fairly good number of young professionals at the party she gave everyone an issue. And, of course to top off the party favor pile we had everyone take a brochure for our adoption agency ( We figured that we had to have at least one plug for adoption at the party.

Thanks for reading our blog.


P.S. I forgot to mention earlier that John's birthday was the first time that I got to meet his friend, and client, Edie. She actually commented on one of our previous posts in this blog. She is everything John described and more... and definitely a very funny person. Hopefully, I will be able to convince her to spend lots more time with us in the near future. I don't know if she wants the position but in my eyes she's got "baby sitter" written all over her!!! (Laughing)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A cardboard house.

Today, I found this amazing cardboard fort/house that you can build and then decorate. I discovered it on the new Design Within Reach website for kids - DWRjax ( Although, I know that there will be hard times and challenges while raising a child, I can’t wait to do creative stuff like this. I picture us together on a Saturday afternoon putting the cardboard house together. It’s a blank canvas just waiting for all of us too put our creative touches on it. I really look forward to doing art projects like this; to teach our child about art, famous artists, and amazing museums. I was thinking last night, that I want to teach our child about famous artists and their work. Like Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, I think it would be great to lie on our backs and paint. We would learn to paint pictures upside down to really feel and understand how Michelangelo painted his most famous work. Yes, that might be a few years away but I can't help but imagine some of the great, fun ways that we can teach our child about things as he grows older.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

G-diapers, and other diaper thoughts.

So, in investigating all things baby I've discovered something that I think is great. It's called the g-diaper. It's essentially a cross between a disposable diaper and cloth diaper. Basically it's a diaper that has a cloth exterior (that comes in a few different, bright colors) and a disposable interior that does all the absorption work. An added feature is the disposable part inside is flushable. The website goes on and on about how it's better for the environment because it's much less waste as compared to throwing away an entire disposable diaper. I have to admit that although I like the fact that it's better for the environment, I'm much more impressed by the fact that I wont have to throw away diapers in my house. Yes, I know that Diaper Genie ( supposedly locks in all the "smells," but with my limited experience I've noticed that they don't really stop the smells. Yes, I know smells are par for the course as far as baby's are concerned, but if you can minimize the bad smells why not?? I figure just flush it and forget it. I sent the link to several mothers I know (mainly my mom, and a few of my friends) and they all said that they think it's a good idea. I haven't convinced anyone to try them yet... they use the excuse that it's not worth the effort to switch at this point, but I'm wearing them down. Maybe if I get them some g-diapers for a birthday or something they'll start using them??

On another note, John and I have been reading more and more about "diaperless babies." When John first told me he'd read an article about parents who don't put any kind of diaper on their baby, I thought it was a joke. Turns out it wasn't a joke - it's now some sort of movement.

Here's an overview of how it works -
Step 1: Stay-at-home parent (aka me) let's the baby run around naked all the time.
Step 2: Stay-at-home parent (aka me) watch baby like a hawk.
Step 3: Stay-at-home parent (aka me) learns the tell tale signs that baby is about to go to the bathroom (on the carpet, on the sofa, love seat, or any other place baby might be- LOL).
Step 4: When stay-at-home parent realizes baby is about to go the bathroom he picks baby up and runs to the bathroom where he holds the baby over the toilet while the baby "uses" the bathroom.

Supposedly, this process not only prevents the "un-needed waste of diapers" but also has the child potty trained "considerably earlier." Now, I think we all know that it doesn't work out that way. First of all, I imagine that regardless of the stay-at-home parents attentiveness there are a lot of what I'm now terming poop related incidents. I envision myself rushing to the bathroom with baby in my arms only to not quite make it and end up covered in what should have ended up in the toilet. Now don't get me wrong... the first time would be both funny, and extremely cute - but I imagine that it would, rather shortly, not be not so much fun. Second of all, the house would definitely be worse for the ware. I mean, certain stains just never come out of the carpet and upholstery. Thirdly, what about trips outside of the house? Am I supposed to bring my baby naked to the grocery store? For that matter, the supermarket is fairly big...could I even make it from the produce section to the public bathroom in time??? I don't think so. One article on "diaperless babies" even suggested bringing a "closeable bucket for baby to use" when going out in public. After reading that I decided that at least some of the pro-diaperless baby folks are crazy and that I'd stick to something a little more traditional. I think g-diapers are about as progressive as I'm going to get for right now.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

And Tango Makes Three.

Over the last few months John and I have been collecting various children's books. We've come to realize that even children's books have come a long way since we were children. Our childhood favorites (Where The Wild Things Are & The Giving Tree) just had a cover, and then pages with ink on them. I've become infatuated with the kind of children's book that have a "touch and feel" aspect. If you haven't seen them they are really quite interesting. They come in the standard baby book style - extra thick, card board pages with lots of colorful pictures with the added benefit of various pieces of cloth and other textured material that actually feel interesting. For instance, one of the books has a dog and most of it's body is made out of a fur like when you read a book to a child, beyond just seeing the picture of the dog the child can actually feel it, or even pet it. Anyway, I love them - so with any luck our child will end up being at least half as interested in the "touch and feel" books as I am.

We've also come to realize that books really do cover almost any topic these days. When we first started working with the IAC ( they gave us several brochures that featured children's book that had main characters that were adopted, were in a family that is adopting, had a friend that had been adopted, etc. Children's books now cover basically any social issue you can think of. We were also very happy to find out that there are books that feature characters that are from same sex families. I guess it speaks to the fact that having two dads (or two moms) isn't unheard of anymore.

We'd read about And Tango Makes Three about a year ago in the New York Times. It's a really interesting TRUE story of two male, chinstrap penguins in a New York zoo who are determined to raise a chick of their own. When the zookeeper discovers that the two male penguins have built a nest and are sitting on a rock that closely resembles an egg he decides replace the rock with an actual penguin egg. Well, as you might have guessed the egg hatches and wouldn't you know it you have a baby penguin being raised by two male penguins. The book does a really great job of demonstrating the message of how important it is to accept differences and at the same time showing the message in a very well written story. On a side note I was happy to find out that two male penguins bonding for life doesn't just occur in zoos. In point of fact, Natural Geographic assures me that it happens quite often with penguins in natural environment. We highly recommend this book to everyone as beyond having a great message it's really just a fun story to read.

If you haven't already guessed it John and I are fairly avid readers... well, actually I guess John is an avid reader, and I just enjoy reading. John, like my mother, almost seem to make a job out of reading. That's not to suggest they don't enjoy reading, or that they see it as a task, but rather that they are so passionate about reading that it's a consistent part of their daily lives. Sometimes John will read two or three books in a week. This would have shocked me, except that growing up my mother had a book with her at all times. I, on the other hand, don't read two or three books a week. I'll admit that many times I'll only read a few books a month. For me keeping up with the daily newspaper and reading the current "best seller" book keeps me happy as far as the reading department goes. I guess it goes with out saying that we're both really looking forward to reading to our child.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A birthmom's words of encouragement

Today we received a very nice email of encouragement from a woman who placed her child up for adoption several years ago. Among other things, she said "I'm really impressed with your first post... it sounds like you really have a good understanding of adoption in all its forms, and that its not been a forbidden word in your lives." Those words mean so much to us. It's great to know that someone whose actually been a part in the adoption process appreciates us.

The way we see it, birthmothers are truly amazing individuals. Being in the banking industry I frequently have to present on corporate ethics. I occasionally find myself telling people that there may come a time in their career where they may need to make the harder, right decision. By that I mean that at some point in their lives they might be faced with a situation that has multiple solutions, and that the right thing to do is to take everything into consideration and then make the decision that provides the best possible outcome, even if that decision is is the harder decision to follow through with. When I imagine a birthmother I think of someone with amazing integrity. A person who clearly understands the true meaning of making the harder right decision. I mean, think of how much love a person must be capable of if - out of love - they pick another couple to parent their child. Birthmothers truly are admirable people. With that said, you can understand why we were so excited to get those words of encouragement. I know it's sort of a leap but, in the back of my head I'm thinking if she likes us then certainly it won't be long before a birthmother chooses us.

As an update - we're still waiting to hear from what will end up being the birthmother of our child. It's exciting, nerve racking, and at times agonizing being in this waiting period. Every day I wake up thinking today could be the day that we get our first contact with our future birthmother. It's a great feeling - but I'd give that feeling up in a heart beat to hear from a birthmother! :)

Thanks again for reading this!


We were given a Bugaboo stroller ( by my company as a "Good luck in your adoption" present. When I brought the box home, William's eyes became glazed over and a huge smile broke out on his face, he then immediately started tearing into the package. William's Bugaboo obsession seemed to have started the minute we decided we wanted a baby. I would overhear him saying what color and combinations he wanted for the stroller, what many things the stroller could actually do, though sadly making tea was not one of them, and where he would take our future baby in this contraption. By 10:30 pm we had a fully assembled stroller and he had watched the info DVD 4 times already. The best part of the night was as I was getting ready for bed, I walked out into the living room and caught William checking out his new proud toy in the mirror as he walked around the house pushing the stroller. Just another reason I know he is going to be a fantastic dad, as he is already playing the part. I managed to catch him off guard with this photo.

At this point neither of us knows exactly how to disassemble the stroller, and though we have watched the DVD many times and read the entire instruction manual, we look forward to figuring out how it will exactly fit in the station wagon or the SUV. For right now the Bugaboo, along with a few childrens books, sits in the baby's room waiting for our future baby.


Friday, June 09, 2006

What we've done so far...

I've been struggling on how to start this blog... should I start with our love at first site story that includes me getting lost on the way to our first date? Or would it be better to just jump forward to about a year ago when after years of discussion John and I decided to take the first true steps toward adopting a child? Well, since the title to this blog is "William & John's adoption story" for the sake of posterity I'm going to skip the most of the sappy love story and jump forward to when the thought of adoption became less of a thought... and more of a hope and dream of starting a family. Let's just say that our first date was on a Saturday night for a dinner at a nice restaurant ( By the end of dinner John had invited me to go to New York city for the weekend and I accepted. A month later, I moved in with him and here we are two months away from our five year anniversary. It's an amazing feeling when you know you've found the person your going to spend the rest of your life with.

John and I have always wanted to have kids. Both of us agree that even before we met each other we knew that one way, or another, we'd have children in our lives. The discussion about having children was, literally, one of the first discussions John and I had. So, it came to be that in July of last year John and I decided to start seriously exploring our options for having a child. Clearly, being two men, a strictly natural birth wasn't going to be an option. For what ended up being a few minutes, we discussed the idea of surrogate but quickly agreed that there were just too many issues involved with having a woman, whether a friend or not, give birth to our child. After that, I immediately suggested adoption. Thinking about it I realized that throughout my life I had been surrounded by people who had been adopted. Some of my best friends growing up were people who were adopted, and on top of that we know several people and even a few family members, who have adopted children both domestically and internationally. So...we agreed that I would do some research and determine if adoption was the best choice for us.

I'm lucky to work for a great company that really provides well for the people who work there. Among the many benefits that are offered they have a complete "Life Care" website that provides lots of unbiased, information about basically every life issue you could possibly think of. I went to the website and found that there was an online, interactive, adoption class that provided "everything you need to know when considering adoption." So, I took the class assuming it would be about 10 minutes of my time and give me a least a mediocre understanding of adoption. What it gave me was a complete understanding of the issues involved, and the evolution of, the multiple kinds of adoption that exists today. The key phrase being "multiple kinds of adoption." Perhaps it was my ignorance, but I had no idea that there was anything beyond domestic adoption, and international adoption. I had never heard of closed adoption and open adoption, or the various things we had to take into consideration because we are a same sex couple. The class ended up being an hour and a half, and by the time I was done I was absolutely sure that a) adoption was the avenue we'd use to grow our family, and b) that domestic Open Adoption was perfect for us. I'll spare you class summary, but in case you've never heard of open adoption it can be summed up as an adoption process in which the birth parents and the adoptive parents choose each other, and agree on varying levels of continued contact throughout the childs life.

After the class, I went to John and told him about what I'd learned. He agreed that open adoption seemed to fit us wonderfully, and we decided to go about selecting an agency. Again, I'll try and spare you the brutal details but by the time we finally found the right agency two months had passed, and I'd called and checked into at least 30 different agencies in the US. We ended up going with the Independent Adoption Center ( I was immediately impressed with the IAC - everyone I spoke to was (in contrast to so many other agencies I'd contacted) very polite, amazingly real and caring, honest, non-judgmental, and very knowledgeable. I later learned that the IAC is one of the oldest agency's that work soley with open adoption, and many of the IACs founders are essentially the founders of open adoption in the United States. Michelle - the IAC counselor I had been primarily corresponding with suggested that we come in for a weekend orientation class at the end of September to get to know the agency. Well, we did, and by the time the orientation was over John and I had decided to sign with the IAC.

After review and signing all the IAC paperwork our lives started to change. We had to attend another orientation, only this time the class was longer (two days) and much more "intensive." We had to make decisions about what kind of birthparents we were willing to work with, have interviews with Cheryl, are assigned counselor, and discuss all the details about how to create a Dear Birthmother Letter and corresponding website ( They explained that although they couldn't tell us exactly how long it would be before we got a baby, that it was now a matter of when... not if we got a baby. We learned that all the tasks ahead of us would lead to a day that we get "in the book" (meaning we're approved, and potential birthparents will start getting our information). We also got pages and pages of checklists. There were check lists for everything. Checklists for things we needed documented in our medical exams (the ones that prove we're healthy enough to raise a child), checklists for all the paper work we need to complete, checklists for all the things we should include in our letter, checklists for our website, checklists for our homestudy, checklists for.... well you get the idea - checklists for anything. We realized that we had at least a good two to three months ahead of us before we'd be in the book.

We finally did get in the book. It took almost six months. We agonized over everything... I mean, the things we were doing were to get us a child.... everything had to be done perfectly the first time. It would have only been 4 months, but we decided that a baby really deserved a bigger place to live... so we moved out of our one bedroom home and moved into a fairly large three bedroom home in a great, small community that's within walking distance of two of Atlanta's better schools. It also gives us something to focus on while we wait for a birthmother to contact us. John has a particular nack for decorating - or for that matter making anything look it's best - so this new home will provide us with plenty of things to do while we're waiting. The long period of time between the orientation and getting into the book also gave us time to read what seems like hundreds of what I call "baby raising books." Our favorite book so far is What To Expect - The First Year. It's a really thorough book and basically talks about everything you need to know in the first year. With every book I read, I want even more to be a father. I can't wait to become the worlds best stay at home dad... although from what I've read, if I really want that award I might just have to create it myself. LOL.

So, here we are: Amazing caring couple, check. Amazing agency, check. Amazing home, check. Now all we can do is wait for a courageous caring birthmother to choose us. That's a good place to start. There's definitely more to tell, so in the coming days I'll try and go into some more of the stories that got us to this point.

Thanks for reading.