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Kay's Family Building Journal

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Entry Fifteen, October 15, 1997

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Moving Right Along

It seems that the adoption prospect has fallen through. Apparently it was quite tentative, so I am not terribly disappointed. My husband and I are scheduled for an orientation with an adoption center in about a week. I anticipate getting some good information on what we can expect in this process. My name is also hopefully moving up the ladder on the egg donor recipient list. I hope to talk to the egg donor coordinator soon, to see what our possibilities are in that arena as well.

I am still working through my feelings on adoption. Actually, this struggle has been helpful for me in a personal sense. As I am sorting through my feelings, I am uncovering a lot of material I still need to come to terms with, for my own sake.

I've worked for years on earlier issues of mine. It is funny how we heal in layers. I have been reading about how "entitlement" and attachment is a lifelong process for families. I know an adoptee who tells me that even though her adoptive parents adored her, she never felt like she belonged to that family. She always felt different, foreign, out of place. I read that although this is not universal, this is also not uncommon among adoptees.

It makes my heart ache to think that after all we have been through to have children, we might raise a child that does not feel 100% part of us. As I struggle with this, I realize several things. I have non-adopted friends who feel the same way about their birth families. And interestingly, a lot of my pain over this is the fact that this is exactly how I felt as a child. So this very issue is really good, healing material for me. It has been suggested that since my husband and I are acquainted with loss and grief, we may be well suited to be able to help a child work through these feelings as well.

One of my adoption books advises prospective parents to browse through baby departments. This has been healing for me as well. I feel so much grief still, as I look at baby things. Some of it is unfinished grieving over Nicholas. Some of it is grief over my expectations that I would be looking at baby things when I became pregnant again. (And who knows? That may be the case too!) But it also stirs up feelings in me that are positive and maternal, and hopefully is helping me move towards motherhood by whatever means I come to it.

I mentioned I am doing some other interesting things as well, as I move through this. I gained weight when I was pregnant with Nicholas, and have not lost it. As long as a fertility or egg donor cycle was just around the corner, I did not want to go on a serious diet. I have lost 14 pounds since my failed cycle, and am pleased. I also reflected on the fact that I was a very exercise-conscious thirty-something year old, and felt absolutely wonderful then. I am realizing that in order to maintain excellent health, and reduce risks of the nasties that run in my family such as breast cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, I need to work back up to four hours per week of vigorous exercise. Here is a great web site on how four hours per week has been proven to reduce breast cancer risk alone. I feel like I am reclaiming my body. Also, I am taking a class in something I have been interested in for a long time: massage therapy. I am a computer programmer/analyst, and not intending to make a career change. But I have wanted to pursue this for the last couple of decades, and am just loving the class. I may pursue national certification in it, depending on how adoption and/or egg donor goes. And, I am still active in my folk music group, am writing music, have been having a really gratifying time volunteering in a nursing home, am enjoying doing layout and design for the newsletter for my Quaker church, am still active as a director in my neighborhood association, am learning some new programming languages, am enjoying my friendships, marriage, and family relationships, and am feeling really good about my running and aerobic dance, as well as some other creative and fun activities. My job as a computer programmer/analyst continues to be interesting and challenging. If my life is not cooperating with the time tables I have in mind, I might as well sublimate my creative energies and do the best I can with what I've got! So I am!
Kay Grames

A sample of questions sent to Kay after this journal entry

Question: Hi, Kay. You certainly are busy! I'm amazed at all you are involved in and am equally amazed that with all you have been through the past couple months, you have stuck with your activities, hobbies and interests. Many people would move into "neutral" and shut down. One thing I've learned from your journal is how strong you are, which is an inspiration to us readers. What gives you such strength? Is it from letting out your feelings and expressing everything? Is it a part of your personality? Does it have to do with your husband or someone who is supportive in your life? Where should others look to find this ability to move forward, looking for the next turn and direction in their journey?

Kay's answer: This was such a terrific question, I devoted my next journal entry to answering it. See entry number seventeen.

Question: Kay, how long does the massage therapy training take? Is there a licensing test at the end? I'm very much interested!

Kay's answer: Massage training takes between 500 and 1000 hours, depending on the course of study. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork has an extensive national certification examination that one takes in order to be certified. Various states have licensure as well. In order to sit for the national certification exam, one has to take 500 hours in an approved course of study. (Alternatively, one can complete 500 hours in designated areas of study, and then submit a portfolio for approval. This approval will allow one to take the exam). I am really enjoying what I am learning. It is terrific!

Question: Do you think that your weight loss came from the aerobic and running class? Is that your "four hours per week" you are working up to? How many hours are you at now? And, what did you change in your diet, if anything? Congrats on your 14 lbs!

Kay's answer: Thanks for the congratulations! I am close to my four hours per week. I would just love to tell you that my weight loss came from my exercise and a very sensible change in eating habits! That is how weight loss should be approached. The truth is that I kicked off my weight loss with a very restrictive diet, and lost weight as a result of that plus exercise. I have transitioned to a more sensible diet when my body informed me in no uncertain terms that I am not a teenager any more and need to be more reasonable in my attempts at weight reduction. I feel terrific as a result of my exercise, and am trying to make peace with the fact that in order to maintain excellent health, I am going to have to make this time for myself. As far as my diet goes, I am following the food pyramid, and, the Weight Watchers/Diabetic Exchange plan . I am following a low fat diet with reasonable portions of whole grains, fruit, vegetables, proteins. Because I can get a little out of control when I eat sugar or chocolate, I have been abstaining from those items. It works for me.

Question: What book(s) are you reading about adoption? Can you recommend any?

Kay's Answer: Wow. I sure can. I think anything by Patricia Irwin Johnston is excellent. Adopting after Infertility is extremely good, as is her new Launching a Baby's Adoption. The first book is for prospective adoptive parents. The second book is aimed at those who have either adopted, or who are matched with a specific birthparent. It felt like good preparatory material for me, though. The Adoption Resource Book by Lois Gilman is a great book for prospective adoptive parents. It is highly recommended, and I have found it helpful. Raising Adopted Children by Lois Melina, and How to Raise an Adopted Child by Schaffer and Lindstrom really helped me understand adoption issues better. I will refer to them often, I am sure. I really liked the many autobiographical articles in How It Feels to Be Adopted by Jill Krementz. How to Adopt a Child by Crain and Duffey is a very simple, easy to understand "beginners" book. It got me started. I have skimmed, and hope to read further Adoption, the Lifelong Search for Self by Brodinsky, Schecter, and Henig. It seemed very good.

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