An infertile woman’s opinion on renewing the adoption tax credit

I’m following the discussion Room for Debate which posted in yesterday’s  The New York Times. Read it and participate!

Should the Adoption Tax Credit Be Renewed?

“Yes! The tax credit may need revision, birth mothers may need to be included, and private adoption agencies in the U.S. and abroad may need reform, but come on, unless you’ve been on this end of infertility, it’s easy to intellectualize it.

A domestic or international adoption is not for the faint of heart and is an expensive endeavor. I know. I’ve been through both.

We weren’t well off; on the contrary, we were struggling with a start-up company and had siphoned off all of our savings. I chose to live in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico with our toddler sons for five months while my husband commuted every 2-3 weeks to finalize the adoption.

After years of navigating through a quagmire of bureaucracy, my husband and I were overjoyed to learn we were getting the adoption tax credit back in 2002. It felt like Christmas. We were ebullient. it helped us pay down credit card bills and stabilize our finances.

Trust me, we’re not it for the money.”

What do you think?

Writer’s Block–No You Don’t Just Get Over It!

While writing and revising Stretch Marks, I went through periods where nothing could keep me away from my computer. I would pull out my small notebook and pen, scribbling away while folks tried to reach around my grocery cart for milk, toilet paper, or lemons. I was deaf to the ringing of the phone, ate leftovers or cereal at my desk, and couldn’t follow a conversation to save my life.

Then out of nowhere, a dark cloud descended like a swarm of locusts and ravaged every sentence, word, and idea thriving in my brain. At first I’d station myself at my desk and refuse to budge, writing a sentence, I’d delete hours later. I’d berate myself, pace like a caged animal, and dread that dementia would set in before I finished my book. I’d lie, lie, lie when anyone asked me how the writing was going. I had no qualms about hiding out in my office on glorious sun-drenched weekends to make up for my pitiful weekday performance. I missed parties, breakfast with my girlfriends, and avoided bookstores (envy got the best of me) because I was petrified I’d miss the microscopic moment of inspiration that might spur me back onto the writing track. I was a hopeless mess.

Whenever I read about an author, always a New York Times # 1 bestseller, who dismisses writer’s block, I flip them off and suspect them of having a cadre of researchers and ghost writers at their beck and call. I admire any author who dares admit they have indeed sunk as low as I have and I faithfully try their remedies. I’m not fortunate enough to know any famous authors like Isabel Allende who has commiserated with Annie Lammott over her dry spell or have an Alice B. Toklas like Gertrude Stein at her side cooing and coaxing her “Lovey” to write.

But I do have a stalwart group of lifesavers–my writing group–who believe in me, my story, and my talent. They tread water with me as I bellyache, throw me a line when I cry during my bleakest moments, and hold me above water so we can laugh at the crazy life of a writer.

Some of My Remedies

  1. Push away from your desk or back away from your laptop. Go on, do it now!
  2. Call a friend, like I had to, who ordered me to clear my desk, put away my notes, and close the door to my office.
  3. Read, read, read–no, you aren’t a sloth, you need to recharge and replenish.
  4. Take a walk. It doesn’t matter where, and preferably walk alone, so you can talk to yourself out loud. I do invite my favorite trio of spirits, my mother and my maternal grandmothers, along who never fail to reassure me.
  5. Go volunteer.
  6. Escape and see a movie.
  7. Surprise your partner and seduce him/her.
  8. Take a nap, same as # 3.
  9. Trust, (I know, sorry, but I do live in northern California) in the bizarre process of writing and the words will gradually drip, trickle, and then flow once again.

What’s your tried and true remedy?

On the heels of Anne-Marie Slaughter


¡Ay que flojera! Translation–YAWN! Now it’s Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo and expectant mother’s turn in the news.  KJ Dell’Antonia tossed her opinion in The New York Times,  Motherlode and at least deepened the discussion in Don’t Dismiss the Conversation About  Pregnancy by beseeching us to have the conversation. Period.

“If we don’t talk about how hard it will be for someone with all of Ms. Mayer’s advantages, when, exactly, will we start looking at how much harder it is for everyone else?”

Do you agree?


The Debate From California to New York

From The Monterey Herald’s School Bytes to the NY Times’ Room for Debate parents and educators are wondering if our kids are doing enough and if the helicopter parent is starting to crash and burn. 

No, I don’t think kids overall are doing enough, especially around the homestead and yes, the rotors on those helicopter parents are getting rusty. How about slowing down a bit and teaching kids how to do things and then letting them figure it out? Let them struggle through it and don’t say a word if it’s not done to your specifications. Let that one go, now! It can be exasperating and mind numbing after the first few times, but trust me, when they’re twenty-five and still asking you to do for them, it’ll be too late.