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Everything posted by marthaj

  1. marthaj

    Baby Announcements 2017

    So happy and excited to hear this news!
  2. marthaj

    In Memoriam

    I saw this story on the news also, never imagining there was an Abrazo connection. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family, and to all the families who have lost loved ones.
  3. marthaj

    Baby Announcements 2013

    Just in time for Valentine's Day... the beautiful "gift" of new life! Wishing you all much love and happiness.
  4. marthaj

    Waiting: The Sequel

    I think it also says something about the agency itself when folks "come back" as againers. It is certainly a testament to Abrazo's values and integrity. This should certainly help to calm any "fears" prospective birthparents might have about how they will be treated...with dignity and compassion!
  5. marthaj

    Age of adoptive parents

    I am in my third year of being a Reading mentor/tutor thru the OASIS program, which is for adults over age 50. I am currently mentoring a second grader, and I meet with her once a week. I always start off with a little "How was your week? Did you do anything fun" sort of icebreaker. This past Monday, the student told me she had gone to a birthday party for her grandma. Then she volunteered that her grandma was 47 years old! I just looked at her and smiled, since I am 11 years older than her grandma!! Oh my.....
  6. marthaj

    Speaking of "real parents"

    I get the "grandmother" comment a lot less now that Catherine will be turning 14 this month and is as tall as I am (not that I am "tall," but she can look me directly in the eyes now which is scary!! LOL) Instead I get the "is she your youngest" comment, as it is assumed by my "mature looks" that surely I must have some 20-somethings out there somewhere. I have thought of making up a few siblings for her (the one who ran off to join the travelling circus, the one who joined a roving band of gypsys, the one who lives in a nudist colony.....) but I'm not sure I could pull it off with a straight face. Maybe I'll just use the "why do you ask" answer and see what comes next
  7. marthaj

    Baby Announcements 2012

    The stork has been busy this week!!! And, that's surely the way we like it!
  8. marthaj

    Baby Announcements 2012

    The blue streak is broken! Yea for PINK!!!
  9. marthaj

    Againers Needed!

    Hmmm.....I think Elizabeth is up to something......she is "tickled pink" on the Againers thread, and has promised a "pink surprise" at Camp Abrazo this weekend. Could be totally unrelated, of course, and just the random musings of a devilish mind!!!!!
  10. marthaj

    Family Opposition?

    Deb, perhaps you can think of it as keeping any situation that is not "your own" confidential...ie. if a friend or relative was ill, it may not be appropriate to share all the details of the illness to which you might be privy...or if close friends or relatives were going through a divorce, you would not want to share the details of what led to their divorce. Unfortunately with these days of all things being shared to the world via social media and TV reality shows, we have forgotten in our culture the value of keeping some things private so as to protect the dignity of others. Maybe I am just showing my age by longing for the days gone by when everyone's personal dramas were not so played out for everyone to see...
  11. marthaj

    Celebrity Adoptions

    Was anyone else surprised to learn that Jack Wagner (GH-Frisco Jones, Melrose Place-Dr Peter Burns, musician) was himself a "birth" father? He told the story on Dancing With the Stars on tribute night on Monday. He did not know she even existed (her birth having resulted from a "fling" in the 80's, and her birthmother placed her for adoption as an infant). She located him through a private investigator when she began the search for her birthparents as an adult. But here's the "really gutsy move" part...she ran up to him backstage at a concert just before he was getting ready to perform on-stage, and literally threw herself at him and told him who she was. And here's the wonderful part, he has totally accepted her into his family and actually seemed overjoyed with finding out he had a daughter, and now they are great friends. He told the story on DWTS as the dance was to be a tribute to a memorable moment or person in your life. He introduced her to the world on DWTS, and I think that says a lot about his character as a person.
  12. marthaj

    Celebrity Adoptions

    It just seems that some celebrities want a baby as an accessory.
  13. I wanted to share this story about a special friendship, and how God has blessed this friendship through a very special gift. My dear friend Judy in Michigan hand made a quilt for Catherine as a baby gift. I know a lot of new parents receive blankets and quilts for baby, but there is a special story behind this one. Judy and I worked together in 1982-83, when I was a Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force at K. I. Sawyer AFB near Marquette, MI and she was a civilian secretary in my squadron. When I PCS'd to Germany in 1983, we began a written correspondence that has lasted over 20 years!! When I first wrote her about pursuing our dream to adopt, she signed up for a quilt making class (all in secret, of course!) She began a "reverse" quilt (the 2 sides are different patterns). She certainly had plenty of time to work on it, as we attended the September 1997 Abrazo Parents-in-Waiting Orientation, and Catherine wasn't born until 12 months later, on September 28, 1998! Now, as the book of Ecclesiastes in the Holy Bible proclaims, there is a time and a purpose to everything under heaven, including "a time to be born" (Ecclesiastes 3:2). What makes this story so very, very special to me is that CATHERINE WAS BORN ON JUDY'S BIRTHDAY! Yes, there was most definitely a reason behind our year long wait. It's almost as if the Lord looked down and saw my friend's heart and said...this will be a most precious gift, not only for the baby but for the quilt maker herself!! And Judy, being her most humble self, did not even share this with me until a couple years later...when she sent Catherine a birthday card and remarked that she will always remember Catherine's birthday because it is the same day as her own. So now this day is twice blessed. I have the blessing of remembering the birthday of a forever friend as I also celebrate my daughter's birthday...all linked together through the gift of a quilt of blessings.
  14. marthaj

    Baby Announcements 2011

    Blessings to you Darshan and Charu. You have been in the thoughts and prayers of many over these past months!
  15. marthaj

    Positive Adoption Language

    I agree with Jada, this article did not seem to mesh with "positive adoption language Abrazo style." I did agree with some points (such as not continuing to call a child adopted internationally a "foreign child.") The sentence that bothered me the most, though, was calling a meeting between a person once adopted and his/her first parents as "making contact" and not a "reunion." You can "make contact" with someone by inadvertantly dialing a wrong number, for pete's sake.
  16. marthaj

    The Catholic Corner

    Catholic radio online "Cradio" I wanted to share an online Catholic podcast that I just discovered today. I love the uplifting music and sound Catholic teachings! The link I have posted will take you to the Home page. Just click "Listen live" in the upper right hand corner to begin the podcast.
  17. This topic reminds me when we were PIW and I got a referral to call a young pregnant girl in North Texas. She asked me "My mom wants to know what religion you are?" I replied "Catholic," and the girl said "Well, we're Baptist." I knew right then we didn't fit their "ideal" image of a Baptist or at least Protestant Evangelical couple. Jeff asked me later why I just didn't reply "Christian." I knew the next question would be "what church," with the same outcome. I was perceptive enough to gleen from the way the conversation was going that her parents had strict "requirements" for the religious affliation of any perspective adoptive parent(s), and we clearly didn't meet those requirements. Of course God had a plan, and Catherine's birthmother and birthfather are both Catholic. They wanted their child to grow up in the traditions of the Catholic Church. Whenever Catherine complains that "church is boring" or she does not want to enroll in another year of Religious Education, I remind her of the trust her birthparents' put in us to "bring her up in the Faith" and the promises we made to God at her baptism to do so.
  18. marthaj


    I hope you have had the opportunity to read my post (dated 11 Jan 2011). While these family members are certainly trying to be helpful, they do not understand the stress their comments are putting you through! I also treat my pets as family members. I am glad we have raised our daughter in a home full of pets (we had one dog and three cats when we took placement of Catherine, and we now have two dogs, a 77 lb male and a 10 lb femle, both neutered). She has always known and been around dogs and cats, and she is not afraid. I have seen children who are afraid, and it is a sad thing. I have seen children cower in fear, for example, when a dog approaches them on a walk. Your family's main concern may be that the dogs are "big" (as opposed to miniature breeds) and they may hurt or trample the baby once she starts crawling, etc. You can reassure them that you will supervise them closely. Dogs can be trained to sit, stay, lay down, etc. It's too bad some well-meaning folks can't be trained to keep their thoughts to themselves! (Just kidding.....I think.....)! Just to let you know how passionate I am about my pets......once many years ago, I had some folks over from work for a little get together. My dog jumped on the couch, and one of the guests commented negatively. I wanted to say, "She lives here, but you may leave at anytime."
  19. marthaj


    While this is tragic, this is 100% the parents' fault, as it was the parents responsibility to contain the ferret in a cage when they were not in the room to supervise. I know this sounds harsh, but as a parent and pet owner it is MY responsibility, NOT the animals' responsibility. Even a trained animal cannot be trusted to behave 100% of the time. I have had to many times place our dogs in their crates when the situation warranted. While Catherine is 12 and knows how to interact with our pets, many of her friends who come over are scared by a 77 lb "gentle giant," because he WILL bark when a "stranger" enters the house (because he thinks that is his job!) So when I know someone is coming over, our "big guy" will go into his crate for the duration of the visit. It just makes for a calmer, less stressful environment. Dogs may bite out of excitement.....cats will scratch if cornered.....these are all NORMAL BEHAVIORS for the animal. This does not make the pet a BAD animal. It IS the adults' responsiblity to make sure their pet is either contained or the child and pet are under direct supervision. The ferret should have been contained in its cage and not allowed to run loose. So for Abrazo applicants' who have pets, and wonder why this question is there....do your homework. Learn all you can about your pets' natural behaviors, and look at breed specific characteristics. You may need to change some of the ways you care for your pet. You may need to designate an area where your pet can be contained for a time. If baby is crawling, for example, your dog or cat may need to be placed in a crate or another closed area to allow baby the freedom to explore. Go to your public library and check out books on dog behavior. Take your dog to obedience training. If your cat is a scratcher or biter, then discuss with your vet ways to avert this behavior. Contact your local chapter of the Humane Society. Many offer classes for new parents on how to introduce your pet to your baby. Know what to expect before it happens. It is important to know, for example, that toddlers and young children have a tendency to want to "grab" animals (just as they might grab onto a stuffed animal). This may startle the animal and cause it to bite out of reflex (a natural behavior). This is why the warning is given to NEVER leave a young child and animal together, unsupervised. This is just another example of how knowledge of animal behavior can avert these types of instances. I think the question on the application (about pet ownership) is a valid one. It is not put there as a restriction. It does not mean you have to "choose" between having a pet and being a parent. Abrazo does have a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure children are placed into a safe environment. With just a bit of preparation your home can be a safe environment for both baby and pet.
  20. marthaj

    In Memoriam

    So sad today to hear of D'Nola's passing. The first time I met her at Camp Abrazo 2009, she told me that even more amazing than her reunion with Bruce, was the fact that she was still alive to see it! She seemed to know how precious time was and that she had been given a precious gift. She was, of course, referring to her reunion with her son, but I think D'Nola herself was also a gift to all of us. What a sweet, dear lady she was. I will never forget her.
  21. marthaj

    Celebrity Adoptions

    Truly, I don't mean to be cynical or argumentative here......but it would probably be more accurate to assume this baby has bonded more with his nanny than either Sandra or Jesse. Just think about it. January began the "awards" season (Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Oscars...and probably a couple of others that weren't televised or I've forgotten.) Along with the actual awards shows themselves, there were the media junkets, the interviews, the days spent getting fitted for the gowns, hair, makeup, etc. Tuxes for the guys, etc. Plus all the appearances Sandra made on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with David Letterman, George Lopez show, etc etc etc. This is certainly all part of the "business" she is in.... I'm just saying time spent on business meant time spent away from baby and bonding. I wouldn't be surprised to find that entire days went by when the baby didn't see either of them. Not to mention Jesse being at work during the day at his motorcycle business, plus his attention being divided with his children from his prior marriage and his other "interests." I would actually be surprised to learn that this baby has even bonded at all with Jesse or even realizes who he is. I think at this point having Jesse "in and out" of his life during visitations, plus all the tension that would be created due to the anger, hurt and humilitation that Sandra probably still feels (although I'm pretty sure the "court of public opinion" is 100% on her side) it would be infinitely more traumatic to have Jesse on the perimeter than just making his absense permanent altogether. Not to mention that if custody is shared, or he still has parental rights, then Sandra has got to consult with him or at least keep him informed on every detail of this child's life during the next 18 years. Allowing Sandra to "move on" with her life completely, with no ties between them, is probably the one honorable thing Jesse has done. JMO
  22. marthaj

    Celebrity Adoptions

    Obviously, someone (Jesse) was not being totally truthful during the background checks and homestudy visits! This sounds like fraud to me!!!!
  23. marthaj

    Celebrity Adoptions

    In this case, I would say...... go to your local animal shelter, and "adopt" a "rescue" dog or cat (or two) to be your companion! Not only will you feel good about yourself, you will receive unconditional love and loyalty, and it's okay if you have to leave them alone in a fenced back yard, or in their crate for awhile (what with your busy schedule and all!) So, if you want to feel good about yourself, go to your local animal shelter, and pick up a furry friend.
  24. marthaj

    Gender Preference?

    When Catherine was a babe and toddler, I often purchased little boy clothes (T-shirts and pants, shorts, overalls) for her because they were generally less expensive. Even at Gymboree the boy's clothes were still cute but just seemed to cost less. I have some wonderful pictures of her with her big smile and curly hair, wearing those adorable little boy clothes!
  25. marthaj

    Baby Announcements 2010

    Congrats to the newest forever family!