Gay Dad Life

Time To Fess Up

I hate to waste words. So I tend to only write about updates in our adoption process when there’s something of real substance to report. I wanted to talk for a few moments about a seminar that our adoption agency hosted for families currently in profile, and how wonderfully tingly it left us.

We got an e-mail from A Loving Choice Adoption Associates, inviting us to participate in a seminar for waiting families. Here’s the description:

Baby Care For Adoptive Parents – This baby care class will help you get a valuable head start by providing a realistic picture of life with a newborn and will be co-facilitated by a registered nurse. Basic infant care, including feeding, burping, diapering, bathing, swaddling/soothing, cord/circumcision care, etc. will be discussed. You will be advised of what equipment and supplies are essential once your baby comes home and what “would be nice to have.” Newborn testing, vaccinations, car seat safety, and choosing a pediatrician will be discussed along with basic infant CPR techniques. We will also discuss what you might expect during the initial post partum hospital stay both medically and emotionally.

Okay, so we signed up. I left work early to get home in time to prepare with Dom. Notebooks in hand, Dom and I hit the road. We stopped in a highly-recognizable coffee shop <brand name withheld until they start compensating me to use it. Like a Venti macchiato, babies don’t come cheap>, and we happened to recognize another couple from the Waiting Families profile page. While you’re waiting for a baby, you truly are just waiting. And so you make up fantastic stories about these families, and you imagine what their baby will be like, and you hope they get one soon (just maybe a tiny bit less soon than the author whose words you are presently reading.)

We made it to the agency and were greeted with hugs by the staff. We were given the now-customary purple folder, this time containing information on all the subject areas previously listed. I love our agency, but if I get one more purple folder with literature, I’m going to give myself up for adoption.

On to the nitty gritty. Here’s what we learned and here’s what I think *you* ought to know!

Pediatricians – If you are a family in waiting, then you’ve got time to do some work, and this is a great place to start. We were encouraged to start interviewing pediatricians, to find someone with whom we are comfortable. You have no clue if you’re going to get a call that says, “We have a match, how soon can you be at the hospital?” Having a pediatrician in place is one less item to check off a list when you’ve got a baby coming home. Decide if you’d like to go with a larger or smaller practice, find out if they are affiliated with any hospitals, check to see if the doctor will be available for all visits, and be sure you feel good about your choice. Time is only on your side until it’s not.

Registry – Okay, this one is a bit tougher, I think. I’m a goalie, and we’re a superstitious bunch. The idea of putting together a registry before being matched felt like the watched pot that never boils. (My Grandma will be so proud that I used that expression.) But our agency team reminded us that in the event that we get either a stork drop or little to no time before bringing a baby home, friends and family are going to want to help out as much as they can. Let them! They also encouraged us to use this time to research the types of items we’d like to have, and really make an educated decision on big items like strollers and cribs. Smaller items are also important to put on there, like digital thermometers, nightlights, diaper bags, baby monitors, and the like. And Dom and I are proof, it does make for a fun day to wander among the aisles at Babies ‘R Us, even if it does mean having to wade through the cluster of moms who show up for the Breast-Feeding Freebie Giveaways. (No nipple cream needed here, but thank you for asking!) So whether it’s Babies "R” Us, Buy Buy Baby, Amazon or somewhere else, creating a registry in advance saves a lot of work later on. Here’s a sneak peek at ours, to help give you some ideas!

Car Seats – New laws in New Jersey have gone into effect, and they mandate that a child must be rear-facing in a car seat for up to 2 years and until the child is 30 pounds. Older children must remain in booster seats until they are 8 years old or 57 inches. We learned that there are mirrors you can install in your backseat that allow you to see how your baby is doing, even if he/she is rear facing.  A car seat is a must-have, so it makes sense that you’d want to have a couple options in your head and on paper, so that you can pull the trigger when your phone rings with little to no thinking.

Swaddling – Don’t overthink this one. Here’s an easy graphic, included in our purple folder. It really is that easy.

Diapering – This one was easy for us, and we didn’t even need to practice on the doll! Thanks to our gracious neighbor Donna, who has allowed us to change her son’s occasionally-abominably messy diapers for the last two and a half years (can you believe Rocco is 2 ½?), we are diaper pros. Here’s something you’ll want to remember. If you’ve got a boy, point it down. You know what I’m saying. And if you don’t, then add a poncho to your registry. If you’ve got a girl, wipe top to bottom. I’ll spare the more detailed instructions for the professionals, I’m only a dad-to-be.

CPR – I highly recommend that you take a class on this if you’ve got the time. Head over to the Red Cross website for information on scheduling a Basic Childcare class. It’s good time to bond with your husband/wife/partner, and even though it is scary to talk about children choking, or to discuss what happens when your child’s heartbeat stops, it is even scarier to be in that moment and not know what to do in real life. Dom and I are both certified, and we keep our cards proudly in our wallets.

We walked out of our baby care seminar with a lot of feelings, a lot of questions, but also a lot of really valuable information. A Loving Choice really has done so much to help us feel empowered and excited about the prospect and realities of becoming parents. Dom and I woke up that next morning and set off to tackle a checklist, to knock down the To-Do list, one piece at a time. We knew we had the luxury of time in front of us before our phone would ring. And then the phone rang.

And so I can now proudly announce the words that we, and you, have been waiting what feels like a lifetime to hear. Allow me to waste no more words.

You see, every Halloween, Dom and I go to a costume party at the home of our friends, Tina and Russ. There’s a competition for who has the best costume. I think this year, we’ve got it nailed.

Because this October, we’ll be bringing one more to the costume party, just a little tinier.

And I bet she’ll love it.

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Fatherhood, the gay way

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