Thursday, July 31, 2008

Website Feedback; With Poll

OK we finally have something to do. Here are some comments from our IAC counselor regarding the greggandbobby website,

1. I like the main picture. I'd like to see a 4x6 original before we decide. Do you have any others for us to choose from?
2. I checked out the website. It is very nice. Just a few suggestions:
= I might reduce the size of the photos so that each page does not need to be scrolled down to see. Less scrolling has more visual impact with less effort.
= the large pictures are also taking some time to load and we have a lot of memory on our computers. Again, smaller pics might load faster, especially on a slower computer.
= I would replace the pic of Gregg's birthday party on the main page with something else as this pic just duplicates the main shot. Perhaps a picture with Bobby's nephew (African-American) (like the marathon shot in another section).
= Our Story, I would move the pic of the house (and reduce the size) to the bottom of the page and move the others up. They are more important pictures than the house pic.
That's about it. Nothing I've mentioned is crucial. Just suggestions to enhance what is already a very nice website.

OK so I have to say that I agree with just about all of this. I've actually stressed a bit that our site is a little too "white". By that I mean I think we need to showcase both sides of our family a little more equally. We just couldn't find any other real good pictures with Gregg's side. We'll have to work on that.

I'd like some more input on the site, so I'm hoping some of you can comment on it below. Let me know if there's something you particularly like or think should be changed. Do you agree with Lane's comments above? What about the pics? I want to hear any suggestions you may have, so please comment away!

(Actually, if you have comments about Those Two Daddies as well, I'd love to hear that too!)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Firetrucks and Birthday Cake

Today was a nice day. Two of my sister Suzanne's kids, Timmy and Christina, have birthdays that are two weeks apart, so they always combine the two into a summer party. They do it up nice for the kids and all the cousins. This year my brother in law managed to get a fire truck parked in his driveway. The kids had a blast on it, climbing around on it, blowing the siren (man that sucker is LOUD!), and honking the horn. The truck was full of water, so my brother Dennis and brother in law Keith manned the hoses, while some of the kids climbed on top of it and worked the water spout. The kids all had fun with the "water war" and everyone and everything was soaked! They had a great time at the party. Not sure about G, but I know I feel a little tinge of loneliness at kid events lately. I can't wait for our little one to be here to join in the reindeer games. Arrh this takes soooo long! Well at least our adoption coordinator Lane from the IAC is back from vacation. He's going to look over our website next week and let us know what he thinks. We've had it up a while and I keep tweaking it because I wanted it to be perfect before sending it out to him. With any luck this damn home study from our Arizona adoption agency will get approved soon and we can finally get in the book. My birthday is coming up in two weeks and I can't think of a better gift then that!

Sadly, there were no actual firemen at the party...sigh.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Cheering Myself Up -- With Cool Baby Gadgets

I'm so bummed today. Last night I called our local Arizona Adoption Agency, the one that is doing our home study. Our last visit was on June 6th, and so I called so see if they've heard anything back from the court. Well, they haven't even sent it to the court yet! Argh. Windsor wasn't there so I didn't' get to speak to her directly, but man, how long can this take? The court gave a deadline for everything to be submitted by September, so technically, it could be another six months before this is approved and we're finally on the books. It's just all so depressing.

To cheer myself up, I've created a list of Must Have Items for our new baby:
(Click on the names for more info on these wonderful products!)

The Baby Mop

What a great idea! We just had laminate flooring put into the den, and I hate cleaning it. I'm thinking baby spit dribbles out the mouth and removes spots as Finster crawls along. Turn him over, use an upholstery vacuum attachment on his belly, and send him on his way again. If the floor is really dirty we'll get him hopped up on caffeine first. With two dogs that shed a lot, this is better then a Roomba.

The Daddle

OK on second thought this one maybe isn't such a good idea. It will only come out when Grandpa or Uncle Dennis comes over to visit. There's actually something kind of creepy about this thing, and I think teaching Finster the best way to get what he wants is to give his daddies a good kick in the ribs might be a bad idea. Strapping a saddle to a grown man's back is too kinky for a toddler if you ask me. Head over to Rik's blog for that stuff. (Note to Finster: The safe word is "Daa Daa".)


What a cute name. Saves your kid from the brain trauma the rest of us suffered while bouncing on someones shins. Still you'd look incredibly stupid using it.

The Snot Sucker

I think this one requires some practice. First, I'm sure Finster will enjoy having a plastic tube shoved up it's nose. Second, get too enthusiastic about clearing his sinus passages and you'll need some fresh mint mouthwash. Plus, what happens if you sneeze while using it. I suppose Finster will end up looking like one of the Coneheads from Saturday Night Live. But nothing's too good for our baby, so I'll let Gregg use it.

Baby Tattoos

We know Finster might get teased or bullied cause it has two dads, but if we cover its body with Baby Tattoos the other kids in pre-school will know our kid is a hardcore bad ass. They'll think twice about teasing Finster cause they'll know with all those tattoos they'll end up being the bitch. Teach him to carve a shiv out of a lego, he'll rule the playground.

Zacky Infant Pillow

What better way to know when Finster wakes up then to have a pair of disembodied hands scare the living shit out of it? Screams of terror can be heard all over the house, so we'll be alerted when Finster needs us. So what if it instills a fear of intimacy or watching the Addams Family, we'll be there for Finster when he shrieks.

Metallica Lullabies

This would be Gregg's choice. I'd rather hunt around for Cher Lullabies but oh well. I guess any baby raised by an interracial gay couple might as well be prepared for meeting Satan in the afterlife, so this will be a good introduction.

Bucktooth Pacifier

Yeah, we're totally getting this. Keep us up till all hours of the night? Poopy diaper changes for years? Lugging around tons of crap wherever we go? Sure we want to do that, but damn, doesn't this help to make it a little easier? Why wait to ruin his life when he's a teenager when we can start now. Life lesson #1: Sometimes Finster, people aren't laughing with you.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

For Your Consideration

Mr. McCain, who with his wife, Cindy, has an adopted daughter, said flatly that he opposed allowing gay couples to adopt. “I think that we’ve proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don’t believe in gay adoption,” he said.

--NY Times, July 13, 2008

Just an observation, no more, no less.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ahh Sugar...Oh Honey Honey...

(Give yourself extra points if you know where the title of this post comes from heh heh.)

Just a quick post...Today is a special day for me and Gregg; it's our eleven year anniversary. I'm not going to write some sappy crappy "Oh we're so in love, and birds are singing and the flowers are blooming" post. (Well Little Mickey the parakeet actually is chirping at the moment, and the orchid plant is opening flowers for the first time in about two years but all that is besides the point.) We don't really have any special plans today; we're going to dinner at D'Vine Wine with Charlie and Michelle tonight but otherwise that's about it. Last year for anniversary number ten we through ourselves a party and one of our gifts was a spa weekend from Charlie and Michelle and my sister Tricia and her husband Keith. That has to rank about the best gift ever. So this year will be low key. We went bowling yesterday, that's the extent of our celebration. Being together this long is one thing that helped us make our decision to adopt. We've gone through a lot over the last eleven years, and our relationship just keeps getting stronger. Making this change to our lives is a huge step but it's the natural progression. Besides, a few years from now we'll have little Finster to serve us a badly made anniversary breakfast in bed.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

And another thing...

Two posts in one day that's a record. Just a quick side note. I mentioned a while back about a gay couple that was matched with a birth mother on the IAC site. As of yesterday they are out of matched status and back in the book. I guess it didn't work out. I don't know why. I hope it was their decision. I hope it didn't get all the way to the hospital and then the birth mother changed her mind. I know these things can be full of glitches and I'm still trying to mentally ready myself for all the horror factors like she changes her mind at the last minute; finding out she's strung out on Drano or who knows what; wants a ton of cash until the baby's born; on and on and on. The road ahead can be smooth or bumpy, I just have to know that as long as we have each other we'll get through it and become Daddies.

Geez that's sappy...sigh.

No bottles, no cribs, no problem?

So far this is a nicely sanitized baby free blog isn't it? No messy diapers, no sonogram pictures, no doctor's appointments. No contractions, baby showers, rattles, or birth mothers. Just me and my weird rants or comments. So far everything is very clinical and business like. I feel more like I'm applying for a line of credit then adopting a baby. In fact, we haven't even done any "baby" stuff, except buy a few subversive children's books. Well and a tiny stuffed frog I saw at Target. It was just so cute. I put it away in my nightstand drawer for now. Thing is, I just have this kind of empty feeling inside, like I'm waiting for something but I don't know what it is. We still have not heard from the state on our home study approval, we haven't gotten our website approved by the IAC yet, and our letter isn't finished (started?). It's all paperwork and legal stuff. Every time I see another form to fill out about background checks or racial questions my eyes just roll back in my head and I want to just disappear. That same feeling I get when the hubby says we have to go grocery shopping. (Luckily it annoys him so he's stopped asking and just goes by himself...ka-ching!) I just want to get past all of this and start worrying about actual baby stuff. Worry about getting a call and meeting the birth mom. I'm not thinking about any of that right now because it's not a current possibility. Maybe I'll change my mind later, but right now, I can't wait to be worried...

Friday, July 4, 2008

US of A....Best--Country--EVER!

Today is the Fourth of July, Independence Day in America! Happy Birthday to the greatest country in the world. For 232 years she has stood as the best hope of the world, and may she continue to be so. We have problems here for sure, but it's still the best place in the world to raise a child. Many other countries of the world wouldn't even consider permitting Gregg and I to adopt a child, and I can't tell you how often I am reminded how lucky I am to be an American. Little Finster is going to grow up with the spirit of this country in its blood. We'll make sure he knows American History, and develops the same love of land and country we have. We've already bought the entire "Schoolhouse Rock" video collection. We remember watching those as kids on Saturday mornings. So for the 4th, relax and enjoy one of my favorite American history ones. Ha, Gregg and I still know the preamble by heart and it's because of this cartoon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Reading is Fundamental (ist)

After my last little rant, I suppose this is a good place to introduce you to little Tango. And Tango Makes Three is a book that has been recommended to us through some of the adoption message boards we've been participating in online. Gregg and I both believe that reading to children from an early age helps to develop their minds and is also a great bonding tool. Neither one of us can wait to hold little Finster in our arms and read to it at night. (If you're bothered by the "it" you need to go a couple of posts back in time for the explanation!)

Tango is a great book that fits our needs in a number of ways. First, we are seeking out books about adoption that are geared towards young children. We want to make sure adoption is always presented in a positive manner and make it as natural as possible a way for families to be created. We don't want little Finster to feel unique or in any way different from other children, and we want Finster to be able to talk about and explain adoption to classmates and friends from the beginning. The worst thing would be to come home from school upset and then we have to start talking about adoption for the first time. Tango tells the story of an infertile penguin couple that "adopts" and hatches an egg from another penguin couple.

Secondly, our situation is going to be different from Finster's classmates, especially here in Mesa, because it will have two daddies. Tango works here because the penguin couple in question, Silo and Roy, happen to be two male penguins. Being basically lazy, I'll paste in the synopsis of the book below:

PreSchool-Grade 3-This tale based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City's Central Park Zoo will capture the hearts of penguin lovers everywhere. Roy and Silo, two male penguins, are "a little bit different." They cuddle and share a nest like the other penguin couples, and when all the others start hatching eggs, they want to be parents, too. Determined and hopeful, they bring an egg-shaped rock back to their nest and proceed to start caring for it. They have little luck, until a watchful zookeeper decides they deserve a chance at having their own family and gives them an egg in need of nurturing. The dedicated and enthusiastic fathers do a great job of hatching their funny and adorable daughter, and the three can still be seen at the zoo today.

So I read the review, thought "Hey that's perfect!" and had ship it right over. It does a great job of showing how the penguin chick is a happy well adjusted bird that happens to have two fathers. Plus, these birds are still living in the Central Park Zoo in New York City. I have no idea how long penguins live, but who knows maybe we can take Finster over there to see them one day. And if they do kick the bucket with any luck they'll stuff 'em and send them over to the Museum of Natural History, New York's largest collection of dead animals, unless you include the subway (kidding, relax...).

Sounds charming and whimsical doesn't it...but wait there's more. My first story book for my future baby was actually the devil in disguise! Tango may help my child to be well adjusted and confident in it's family life, but in reality it is at the center of a firestorm of controversy. Here are a few "other" reviews of Tango, which has managed to become the most challenged library book in recent history...

"My wife unwittingly sat down to read it with the kids, halting the story midway. We later found out that our 6 year-old had already read it. We spent an hour undoing the damage and it ruined not just storytime but the whole evening. My 6 year-old readily understood that the book was wrong. In fact, he knew when he read the book that it was talking nonsense and that it wasn’t right. My daughter was unnerved to discover that same-sex couples, apparently in all species, can adopt children." (Gasp!)

Or this little gem:

"...this book has been insidiously and deceitfully placed in libraries across America to re-educate young children to accept all families as valid, whether they have two mommies, two daddies, three daddies or three mommies and two daddies. It is deceptively normal and intentionally aimed at children whose primary concern should be Legos and dolls. They push the debate on homosexuality into the kindergarten when the only debate children that age should be forced to decide is crust or no crust on their sandwiches. I am appalled that Simon and Schuster thinks my children are ready for sex. And I am angry that they chose such a backhanded method to pump someone’s agenda. They will be hearing from my articulate 9 year-old in the coming days, and my library will be hearing from me." (From here the article devolves into scripture and why Jesus hates penguins.)

Hmm, better re-read it. Nowhere did I see anything mentioned on polygamy in there. (I'm still trying to work out the logistics on that last one about three moms and two dads...) OK so here's the thing: If you don't like the message, then how about you don't read the book! (And how did they not know what it was about? Penguins are somewhere between flamingos and Ricky Martin as Earth's Gayest Animal.) We're hoping to raise our child to be "deceptively normal" and this book does a great job of just that. Besides when the mob of angry nine year olds storms the local library they'll be looking for penguins, not Finster. The icing on the cake however is that And Tango Makes Three is now the most challenged book on library shelves for two years in a row. Knowing me, I'll read it to the baby daily with a large smile on my face. Right before I move on to the second book I bought, The Family Book, which explains how all kinds of people make a family, including ones with two moms or two dads.

So if you'd like to join me in the Downfall of Western Society as we know it, you can always buy the book here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Biting my tongue...err, keyboard

OK, when I started this blog I wanted it to focus just on our adoption journey. That's it, just Project Baby. I've had days where I was tempted to push in an entry on something else, especially things that get me steamed, but so far I haven't. However, lately I can feel that knot in my stomach tighten and my blood starting to go from a low simmer to a boil so I'm going to fall off the wagon here for a minute. I promise to keep it short but if I don't write something down my head is going to explode. Besides, this actually does have to do with the baby; more specifically it has to do with our family.

Once again here in Arizona the right wing religious wing nuts have decided to take it upon themselves to define what a family is for the rest of us. Because we aren't as smart as they are, we foolishly thought we already were a family. Not so fast. They want to enshrine discrimination into the state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman. No matter gay marriage is already illegal in Arizona, but they want to make sure it stays that way. Now as I said before this is really a topic for another blog, and right now I may just be mad enough to start one about it. My concern here is if this does go through how will it affect adoption law? Will they say only married couples can adopt children? If they do we're screwed. Now I don't think it will get to that right away, the issue is that it could. The wing nuts will say, "Oh no, we aren't discriminating against the homos. We'd let them adopt if they were married, but they aren't. Pity, that." We are already limited to single parent adoption. One of us will have very tenuous ties to this child, and unlike married couples will have to carry around tons of paperwork wherever we go to prove there is a guardianship link. Going to the doctor, picking up from school, getting on an airplane, these are all things that are going to be more difficult if the "legal" parent is not there. I don't want anything to get in the way of this adoption. Our family is just as legitimate as anyone else's. Our child is already going to be at a disadvantage because it will only be able to inherit benefits such as social security and the like from one parent instead of two. Only one of us can claim it on our tax returns. I could write a book on all the benefits we can't have (there are over 1,000) but I promised to keep it short. I've yet to hear one reason why two people who love each other cannot get married that is neither religious or bigoted.

Sorry, I just had to release some steam. I think to make myself feel better I'll ---

No. Not going to finish that sentence. I was going to make some joke about something to tick of the religious crowd but I won't. Not all religious people are bigoted and that wouldn't be fair to them. Since I'm getting way off topic here, I'm disabling comments for this post because I don't want to debate this and get off track.

Now, back to happy thoughts...