Adoptee Drama

I am an adoptee. At the ripe age of 16, my birth mother was whisked from her family in a veil of secrecy to the other side of Texas to “live with an aunt” for a year. She lived in a home for unwed mothers, where she was able to continue her education and hide her pregnant belly as it grew before releasing me to my family.

I’ve always known I was an adoptee and my family celebrated it as something that made me special. My parents always said that they chose me and we celebrated my adoption day each year. I didn’t think a lot about it as a child, but being an adoptee has shaped a lot of who I am today as an adult. While I never longed for a relationship with my birth mother, I always wanted to one day to connect with her to see if there was someone in the world who was like me. I also wanted to thank her for what must have been a very traumatic experience, because her sacrifice gave me the life that I have today.

Texas has strict privacy laws – some of the most stringent in the nation – as it relates to adoption. In order for adoptees and birth families to connect, they both must separately apply to a registry. If there’s a match, both parties are contacted. When I was a young adult, I added my name to the registry and discovered that my birth mother wasn’t looking for me because she was not on the registry.

A few years later, while surfing the internet when I should have been working, I stumbled upon a website for adoptees and birth families who were looking for one another. I did a quick search to see if any of the few random details I know about my origins were listed anywhere on the site. They were not, so I drafted a quick post about my details before promptly forgetting that I had done so.

A few years later, I received an email from someone who said that they might be my birth mother. While guarding myself against potential disappointment, something inside me said that the email was, indeed, from my birth mother. I instructed the person about how to go about joining the registry and, while we awaited word from the adoption agency, we continued to correspond back and forth.

The adoption agency confirmed that I had been talking with my birth mother, Ruth, and we continued the process of getting to know one another. I flew to the Houston area to meet her and her family twice. I learned the name of my birth father, whose family owns a line of Western boots, and received confirmation of the sordid tale I had always assumed was the truth – that he didn’t believe Ruth was pregnant with his child and other subsequent douchebaggery.

Ruth told me about the pain and shame surrounding the adoption and I did my best to comfort her. In the end, the trauma seemed to have won out, as she stopped communicating with me, despite my many efforts. Still, I occasionally added her to mailing lists associated with major milestones – our wedding announcement, Christmas card with our wedding photo, E’s birth announcement and Christmas card with his photo on it.

As we were planning our wedding, we received a save the date card from my half-sister, and she was planning to wed the same day as K and I. We never received a formal invitation to the wedding, not that we could have attended, but I assumed that Ruth decided that it was too much for her and convinced her daughter not to invite me.

After years of radio silence, I sorted through Tuesday’s mail to find a letter from a random Texas address I had not previously seen and immediately knew that it was from Ruth. In the letter, she apologized for letting so much time slip by without getting in touch, inquired several times about E, and updated me on some of her family’s news. She moved from the address I had when I sent E’s birth announcement, so it’s clear that she never received that, but I’m unsure how she was still able to receive the Christmas card I sent with E’s photo on it. Her daughter’s fiance suddenly broke off their engagements a few months before their wedding, leaving her heartbroken and in a lurch, which explains the lack of a formal invitation to her wedding. My half-sister has since met a nice man and is pregnant with her first child, a little boy due in mid-March. My half brothers are currently living apart from Ruth in the town where my birth mother last lived – one is working and the other is in his final year of high school.

I’m not quite sure how to feel. I’m honestly not allowing myself to feel much of anything. I don’t want to extend my emotions or get my hopes up that this communication is a sign of her desire to reconnect in any meaningful way. I plan on writing her back and providing information about E (“I hope there is a very happy story I need to hear,” she says), as well as some photos, which she requested. Beyond that, I think I need to consider each communication as a singular interaction and not think about them in succession or as perhaps something that could become a trend.

K thinks that she was driven to write the letter to find out more about E. It’s clear that it was of interest to her, given her several references to him in the letter. K also theorizes that she likely wonders about whether or not they share a biological connection, which I hadn’t even considered. I’m not really letting myself go to the place of analysis, especially as it relates to E, because I’ve long since stopped wondering why Ruth does what she does. She has a right to her emotions and has a responsibility to steward her past trauma in a way that makes sense for her. I’ve always hoped that she’d be able to get to a place of peace, mostly because she’s a nice person who deserves to feel released of that shame and guilt, but I know that there isn’t anything I can do to control whether or not that happens for her. Besides, my energy needs to stay focused on my own family.

Whew. What a can of worms.

Sleep deprivation and “training”

Content note for potentially controversial parenting approach related to sleep.

asleep like an... angel...?E’s sleeping has been rapidly declining over the course of the past few weeks due to a perfect storm of milestone explosions and newfound separation anxiety. It’s really hard to sleep when you’re busy crawling and doing downward dog in your crib, especially when your awesome parents aren’t there to witness such feats. Needless to say, K and I are exhausted and so is E.

We decided to attempt the dreaded “sleep training.” After much research, comparison and contrast, we decided that a modified Ferber approach is most closely aligned to our thoughts and theories about sleep as well as our leanings toward baby-led/empowerment parenting approaches. You know, Ferberizing, which is often referred to as a “cry it out” method, and feels really terrible to do to one’s perfect little human. Each night, we follow a loving ready-for-sleep routine and then place E in his crib while sleepy but still somewhat awake. We tell him that it’s sleepy time and then leave his room. He often cries when this happens. We set a timer and after about 3 minutes, we go back into his room, comfort him without picking him up, lovingly remind him that it’s sleepy time, and then leave again. He cries again, we set a timer for 5 minutes, and repeat the process. So far, the longest we’ve gone before going into his room is 7 minutes and, for now, that’s where I feel comfortable staying, though we might eventually increase it if/when we see progress. The thought behind this approach is that babies learn to put themselves to sleep without adult intervention, which is important because babies sleep cycles differ from adults and wake more frequently than adults do. There have been times each night where he cried so hard that we did end up picking him up to soothe (which is not typically recommended because it can stimulate baby more) because we believe in doing what feels right and instinctual as parents. Each night, after about 45 minutes of struggling, E has found his way to sleepyland and slept through the night without intervention.

Now, like I mentioned earlier, this method feels horrible. It makes K cry and breaks my heart. I am constantly reassuring myself by saying that there’s a big difference between struggling and suffering, and that there will be many times throughout his life where E will struggle. While K and I don’t subscribe 100% to any particular parenting label, one approach that often feels right to us is Magda Gerber’s Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE) theories. I feel like one of my main roles as a mom is to listen to E, encourage the sharing and understanding of his feelings, and to let him know that I hear him and am here. Crying is normal, just like any other expression of emotion, and can even be cathartic at times. I know that a lot of my issues with hearing E cry are just that – my issues – and stem from times in which I felt abandoned or didn’t feel heard around my feelings. I will ensure that E never feels abandoned or that I don’t see or hear his struggles, but it feels right to me to encourage him to find his path without me doing it for him.

It’s my hope that this will all be for the greater good, though we will change course if we do not see improvement in the next few days. In the meantime, we’re all a bit bleary eyed this morning.

Letting go

We recently had a mandatory staff meditation retreat. Is anything less relaxing than being required to relax at a given time and in a specific way, all during the busiest season at work? Despite my reluctance (and that’s putting it mildly), I challenged myself to take in the messages and tips presented that day, and I’m really glad that I did. I learned quite a bit about managing stress and keeping myself from assigning weight to stressors that are truly a lot tamer than how I allow them to impact me.

crawling into bathroomAs it relates to my job, I need to keep in mind that, while I do work that contributes to the greater good, what I do each day is not a life or death sort of situation. Sure, my work funds some actual life-saving programs, but I need to remember that getting upset about a last-minute request for a report or mailing only zaps me of energy that could be spent where I’d prefer to focus it – on my son, husband, and adorable companion animals. I need to exert the relevant amount of energy to the task-at-hand.

turkey nomsAs it relates to my personal life, especially with the holiday season upon us, I need to let go of some of the messages people in our lives are giving to E, even if they are not aligned with some of our parenting approaches. (Obviously, there are some non-negotiables like blatant disrespect.) Do I really have to spin my wheels being irritated about someone pretending that E has injured them when I’m actively working to teach him pain-related boundaries? The time E spends with me and the messages he gets from me are so much more prevalent and I know he’ll one day understand that pulling my hair hurts his mommy. Again, seething about this – something that should be a minor annoyance – only serves to distract and drain me.

I am working to let go, breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth…

The long-awaited return

As promised, I’m trying to get back into the swing of this blogging thing. It seems like I have less and less time these days, but it’s important to me that I attempt to document our experiences as parents and the rapidly changing person that is our dear E.

E these days:

  • After so many months of massive drooling, chewing on everything and general fussiness, E is finally getting his first tooth. In fact, because he’s an overachiever like his parents, he’s getting two teeth at once. He hasn’t been too large of a wreck, but there are times in which he’s clearly in pain. Tylenol has helped a bit during those horrible times, but even with it, he occasionally cries out from pain in his sleep. It’s heartbreaking.
  • E is still exploring solids, though life is so hectic and busy that it’s not unusual for us to skip solids entirely some days. His daycare is giving him solids during the day, but he really seems particular about eating them. Sometimes he turns his nose up at foods for which he’s previously shown an obsession. It’s totally normal for youngin’s to gag on solids at first, but because he has a sensitive gag reflex, this sometimes results in a pukefest. Oh what fun.
  • 6moLifetouch2He’s a general ball of silliness and joy. E literally grins and laughs the vast majority of the day. Everyone comments on what a happy baby he is and that makes me feel so good. His smile is infectious and his laughs are musical. I think his smile was captured really well in his recent photos at daycare.6moLifetouch
  • A lot of people comment on how big E is, but as of his 6 month pediatrician visit, he only weighs 18 lbs, 6 oz and is 26″ long. He’s literally 50th percentile for both height and weight on the growth charts. Mr. Average. I think he looks big to people because he has such a long torso.
  • E is on the verge of crawling. He scoots all around our hardwood floor, mostly backwards, but occasionally manages to move forward. He pivots around and around and rolls. He’s been getting up on his knees, doing some pelvic rocks and even planks. It’s only a matter of time, we think. K and I have definitely added babyproofing to our agenda in the near future.
  • HalloweenI made a simple clown costume for E’s first Halloween. I think he looked adorable and I’m shocked by how patient he was with the elasticized clown hat. I was, unfortunately, not feeling well and couldn’t attend the much-anticipated Halloween party at his daycare. K attended and my guys had a great time.

Us these days:

  • K is super busy with work. He’s on a somewhat new project that has some pretty unrealistic deadlines. It’s been making K and all of his coworkers really stressed. One of his bosses has even had an outbreak of stress-related shingles!
  • Things are really ramping up for me at work these days, too. The holidays are a very busy time of year in the fundraising world. I’m responsible for writing our fundraising letters as well as processing and acknowledging gifts. 80% of the funds raised through our direct mail program come in during the end of the year, so that should give you a sense of what will be on my plate.
  • The entire family has been sick lately. K had a 103 degree fever for over a week and had to take a lot of time off of work. E had a double ear infection. Then I got viral laryngitis, a sinus infection and am on the verge of an ear infection. Now that I’m finally feeling better (though my voice doesn’t sound like it), K is getting another cold. WHY?!?!?!?!?!
  • I feel like we’ve hit our stride as parents. I no longer feel like a new parent and I no longer feel thrown by every twist and turn that occurs. We have a decent routine down while remaining fairly flexible for all of the inevitable changes that are bound to happen. I also feel like we’re setting reasonable boundaries and expectations, and that feels good.
  • We’re still dealing with some annoyances with K’s parents. When K was sick, they tried to trample K’s boundaries to meet their own selfish needs. When K set limits, they freaked out, calling him selfish and stirring up all sorts of drama. We spoke to K’s sister about it and she said that their parents are still upset that we won’t “accept” their offer to watch E once a week. Needless to say, I am beyond thankful that they’re now in Florida until Thanksgiving.

Can we please stop drawing battle lines based on parenting decisions? An open letter to fellow parents

Dear parents,

I am writing you this letter, which I hope comes across with my intended utmost of sincerity, because I’ve had something swirling around in my mind quite a bit lately.

We have something pretty major in common: we have chosen to undertake the life-changing, often joyous and stressful role of parent, and the tasks related to caring for our

children’s ever-changing needs have pretty much consumed our lives.

We could have some pretty major differences going on, too: we may or may not live in a similar community, have the same interests or hobbies, and it’s fairly safe to assume that we likely check off a whole hodgepodge of different identity labels whenever we complete a survey or government form.

These differences can divide us in very problematic, deeply rooted and complicated ways – ways far too complex for me to adequately address in this blog post. Some of these differences, though, divide us in such trivial, nonsensical ways. Specifically, I am talking about the seemingly divisive nature of our varied parental decisions, philosophies and approaches.

We all love our children, want the best for them, and do all that we can to meet those lofty goals in ways that feel right for our families, given the information and means we have available to us. Being a parent is hard. So. Fucking. Hard. And we need all of the support we can muster from as many sources as we can find. To this end, can we please stop drawing battle lines based on parenting decisions?

I don't really want my child watching TV at this young of an age, and would prefer that he be 100% screen-free for a while, but I sometimes get a kick out of it. Please don't hate me for thinking my child is cute for looking at the vibrant colors on "The Price is Right" set!

I don’t really want my child watching TV at this young of an age, and would prefer that he be 100% screen-free for a while, but I sometimes get a kick out of it. Please don’t hate me for thinking my child is cute for looking at the vibrant colors on “The Price is Right” set!

I may choose to vaccinate or not vaccinate my child, put cloth or disposable diapers on my child’s hiney, home, public or private school her/him, breast- or formula-feed him/her… The list of parenting decisions that divide us is endless and maddening.

Some of my choices may surprise or even shock you, just as some of yours might for me. Please, feel free to:

  • Ask questions about how I came to the conclusions I did on the subject.
  • Acknowledge that we have different approaches.
  • Commiserate and/or empathize about ways in which our experiences relate (ex: “It certainly derails your plans when kids do something so messy and unexpected. I’ve been there!” vs. “Maybe if you chose to cloth diaper her/him, s/he wouldn’t be blowing out those disposable diapers.”).

It makes it so much easier for us to support one another and band together through the shared experience of parenthood when we don’t:

  • Make judgmental statements based on our differences.
  • Provide one another with internet resources that are clearly geared toward our way of thinking. Hell, most unsolicited advice in general is just plain annoying.
  • Pigeonhole and stereotype one another when a choice we make seems different from other choices we’ve made (ex: “You’re ‘green,’ use cloth, don’t circ and you do vax. That caught me by surprise!! Usually most folks are totally on one side with all of those topics.”).
  • Freeze each other in time by reminding one another of previous, potentially divergent decisions/approaches we’ve had, expecting and assuming that our parenting decisions won’t/can’t evolve as our families’ and children’s needs and means change.
  • Approach our relationships from an us vs. them standpoint.

Family leave may be allowed or required by law if you work at a large enough business, but it doesn’t mean that you’ll be paid during said leave. You might feel empowered and excited by the decision to breastfeed your child, but you’ll still get, at minimum, glares and side-eyed looks when out in public. If you’re perceived as a male parent, no matter how capable and confident you are, you are either treated like a novelty or buffoon. Our world can be unkind enough to us parental types. Do we really need to attack each other, too?

Instead of looking at ourselves and each other as pro- or anti- something or other, let’s lift each other up, empathize, and give words of encouragement to our fellow unsung heroes who are covered in spit-up, spend an inordinate amount of time talking about and assessing bowel movements, and are constantly juggling a multitude of balls in order to meet the needs of our families.

Also, instead of pointing fingers at other parents when they judge our choices, let’s hold ourselves accountable for doing that very thing to others. I will freely admit that one of the judgy examples above has run through my brain a time or two. Let’s be works in progress together!

Sincerely,

A fellow parent who is trying her best

Battle weary

[I’d like to start by politely requesting that this post and subsequent responses not turn into a vax vs. no-vax sort of debate. I try to honor all individual choices made by families and simply wanted to write about something that’s currently going on in our family.]

Baby E went for his four-month visit and vaccinations on Friday morning. The pediatrician was so pleased with his development – 16 lb, 4 oz (60% for weight), 25″ (40% for height) and a head circumference of 17.25″. Her official diagnosis for E was “awesome,” and we agree. We also got the go-ahead to begin introducing solid foods as we feel comfortable.

Unfortunately, he had some pretty serious responses to the vaccines. His two month vaccines caused very mild irritability and a lot of sleepiness. This time around, we had some pretty intense irritability, to the point of being inconsolable at times, significant reduction in his threshold to cope with change when he’s normally an extraordinarily mellow guy, and the worst part: explosive diarrhea. The diarrhea has gone on for a few days and seems to be getting worse. We called the on-call pediatrician last night, and she encouraged us to introduce Pedialyte and to come in for a visit if his diarrhea continued into morning (and it, of course, did).

I had taken quite a few days off lately, so K stayed home from work with E and took him to the pediatrician. He has lost 5 oz. since Friday and the doc believes that he has Rotavirus from the live vaccine or was exposed to another tummy trouble inducing virus (which just seems too coincidental, IMO). We are to continue giving him formula and Pedialyte and, if he fails to produce three pee diapers over the course of the day, need to bring him back again tomorrow for further assessment.

Little guy is SO lethargic and sad. He doesn’t want to eat much (who does when it’s exploding out the other end?!) and it’s horrible to see him this way. Our house also smells – let’s just say – not so fresh. I am truly worried about him and it’s hard to be at work while he and Daddy both suffer.

To add insult to injury:

  • We visited my folks on Lake Michigan this weekend in a very poorly planned turn of events. Having all of our regular routines and processes disrupted by travel is significantly harder when you add a sick, disgruntled infant into the mix.
  • K and I were both battling colds through the process.
  • My generous, well-intentioned parents purchased two thoughtful but very large combined birthday gifts for K and I. This meant that we had even less room in our packed-to-the-gills small vehicle.
  • My retired engineer of a father proceeded to stand behind me and “direct” the placement of the multitude of items I was packing for our departure. After getting increasingly exasperated and after multiple requests to be left alone during this process, I finally ended up yelling at my dad, “I’m serious, Dad, WALK. AWAY.” It was a much less gracious departure than I had intended, but I really didn’t feel like my boundaries were being respected in that moment.
  • We got stuck in traffic for about half an hour on the way home, with no means of escape because there weren’t any exits on this stretch of highway. This occurred concurrently with our irritable child moaning and screaming, our only options to endure the screaming or prolong it by pulling off to the side of the road.
  • Our younger dog tried to leap into the front seat of the car when we were more than halfway home. As I turned to the backseat to yell at her, I discovered what had freaked her out: her elderly sister, whose health has been rapidly declining as of late, was actively having a seizure. K tried to pull off the side of the highway so that we could get our dog out of the car and assess her health. After a few minutes of me attempting to calm a seizing canine along a busy highway (what were we THINKING?!), we decided this was a terrible idea and got back into the car with the seizing dog on my lap while we tried to quickly find an exit.
  • We found a rest stop, where K and I could finally relieve our aching bladders and attend to the sick doggy. We were both soooo thirsty, not having had an opportunity to really focus at all on our own needs for the entire trip. K came back from his restroom trip, apologizing for not being able to purchase bottles of water for us from the vending machine because he didn’t have any dollar bills. As luck would have it, I had several dollar bills, but when I finally had the opportunity to pee and make my way to the vending machine, I fed two dollars into the machine, gleefully pressed the button for water, only to see the red “SOLD OUT” flash before my eyes. Then, the machine wouldn’t give me a refund and I sulked while I selected the best option I could manage, Diet Dr. Pepper, which isn’t even among my top five soda choices. The silver lining here is that our dog recovered from her seizure and we were able to calmly continue on in our merry (ha!) travels.
  • About half an hour later, I realized that we were low on fuel and decided we shouldn’t take any chances, given our day’s luck, and just stop at the next reasonable exit. Of course this meant that the baby woke up and was famished. K had to take him inside of the combo gas station/fast-food restaurant to change his diaper and secure some hot water to give him a bottle. E was screaming bloody murder the entire time, causing the entire crowd to stare at K, wondering what he could have possibly done to this poor child to cause him to scream in such a manner. K swears he saw a group of athletic teenage boys looking on in horror as though they realized what a seemingly heterosexual man’s life could look like if he decided not to wear a condom during sexual intercourse with a female partner.
  • Once we were finally home, our dog took another turn for the worse, searching for a place to hide like she wanted to die in peace. She laid on her side and closed her eyes while K and I cried and told her that if she felt it was her time, she could go and find her late sister, that we loved her and that she was such a good girl. After a few minutes, out of nowhere, she lifted her head, stood up, and trotted away to jump up and snuggle on the couch. K and I just stared blankly at each other, mouths gaping.

It has been a roller coaster of a weekend, to be certain. I slept so hard when I finally went to bed last night that I didn’t even require my second nightly dose of sleeping meds.

An update: After several doses of Pedialyte today, E seems to be on the upswing. He’s had a few pee diapers (enough so that he doesn’t have to go back to the pediatrician tomorrow) and is a lot more joyful and energetic. K just changed him into his overnight diaper and triumphantly declared, “His nuts look less shriveled!” That pretty much says it all, friends.

Titty Committee

I received an email today that caused a literal tidal wave of emotions to flood to the surface and I feel like one of the few places I can truly express them is in this semi-anonymous setting.

K and I used to work for an organization that serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Dysfunction was rife and took many forms at said agency, but one of the most horrifying was their health insurance policy that specifically excluded transgender-related healthcare. This agency’s own equal employment opportunity policy referenced treating people equally, regardless of gender identity/expression, and the policy extended to benefits, hiring, firing, etc.

Since K clearly wanted to be able to access healthcare needs that were relevant to his identity, and his job at the time involved healthcare advocacy, he approached the CEO at the time to inform her of the extraordinarily problematic nature of these exclusions, and how they personally impacted his life. She basically told him, “Yeah, well, we can’t afford inclusive coverage, and since it doesn’t impact me, tough $%^&.”

The only other option was to file a formal grievance with the President of the Board of Directors. We were the first in the several decades’ history of the agency to file a grievance. Upon filing the grievance, according to documented procedure, the Board President convened a group of people to discuss the grievance and to make a decision. K and the President served on the committee, and they each selected a representative to serve (K chose me), and, if memory serves, there was another person who wasn’t affiliated with the agency who was asked to serve.

The committee met several times, during which we openly and awkwardly discussed K’s body and identity (why is having chest reconstruction surgery relevant to your identity?, why is this a medical expense vs. cosmetic surgery?, but do you really NEED a “breast reduction” in order to look/feel like a man, and why should we pay for it?). It was such a objectifying and demoralizing experience that, in order to maintain our sanity and trudge through it, K and I jokingly referred to this group as the “titty committee.” At the end of the process, the President basically said, “Yeah, we’re not equally providing benefits, but we can’t afford inclusive coverage, so tough $%^&.” I’m fairly certain that, to this day, this agency still does not provide inclusive health insurance to their transgender employees (if they even HAVE trans-identified employees these days).

Time marched on, and K and I have found much better employers that provide us with great healthcare coverage and celebrate our identities. We have mostly healed from the trauma and humiliation that this agency caused us on a fairly regular basis. I still avoid the place like the plague, though I continue to receive their email updates, mostly as a way to remind myself just how far we’ve come since then.

However, as I referenced above, I received an email from them today that triggered me and stopped me in my tracks. Their new Executive Director was trying to help a media outlet locate LGBT people who have experienced employment-related discrimination and would be willing to talk about it on the air. It took everything in my power to not reply with, “YOU! YOU DISCRIMINATE AGAINST TRANSGENDER PEOPLE, YOU F***ER!” I’m still so damn angry that, more than an hour later, my hands are ice-cold and my heart is pounding in my ears.

I will keep repeating, “We have survived and we are safe.” But what about those who come after us? I sincerely hope that they’ll find a way to create the change we were unable to make (or find another opportunity), because I need (and WANT!) to focus my energy on my growing, loving family.

Deep breaths.

An update on the shower drama

We’d like to thank the many of you who expressed your outrage about our baby shower drama. We finally have an update.

K received a phone call from his aunt while he was driving home from work on Tuesday evening. Since he commutes with a large group of people who definitely don’t need to know our business on the matter, he opted to let the call go to voicemail. His aunt left a voicemail, asking him to give her a call so that we could sort through the guest list and come up with something that works for everyone.

We were pretty nervous about what this could potentially mean, so we strategized before calling her back. K and I discussed what mattered most to us about a shower and about our role as parents: that people in our lives view and respect us as Falco’s parents – K as the father-to-be and me as the mother-to-be. If his aunt had a family only shower (and the men in our families wouldn’t be too interested in attending), we wanted to be certain that we were being celebrated in those roles that felt respectful and comfortable for us.

K called her back. His aunt said that she was hurt by our response because, from the moment he came out, she has viewed him as her nephew (which is true, but doesn’t account for her recent poor word choice in referencing a “girls-only shower”). She said if I was the partner who was carrying our child that he wouldn’t even be invited to this shower because the family’s tradition is to have more intimate gatherings with mostly/all women present. We made the collective decision that she would host a family only shower like referenced above. While I don’t think she took enough ownership or apologized for her hurtful word choice, it sounds as though the situation is resolved in K’s mind.

We’re truly lucky to have wonderful chosen family members who have made it clear that they’d be thrilled to host a gathering for friends, so we’re definitely not going to miss out on that experience. K and I are both thinking that a friends gathering would be a hell of a lot more fun than this stodgy family only format, and that we’ll feel much more comfortable and authentic amongst our friends.

K pointed out that having separate gatherings also allows us the option of announcing Falco’s sex to the group of people who we trust will not equate what is/isn’t between Falco’s legs with a whole load of assumptions and values. We could wait to tell family members when Falco is born. Since the only people we know who read this blog are friends, it would also give us the option of talking more openly about Falco’s sex via this blog (and trust me, I’m itching to do so).

Decisions, decisions…