Thursday, March 29, 2012

Who is Little Bear?

The simple answer is that Little Bear is the main character in a series of children's books by the same name. It's also the beginning of our adoption email address and you may wonder why. There are several reasons for this. 

First, we chose Little Bear because it is a direct reference to the adventures of Little Bear in the children's books that we love. We shared this in a Facebook post back in September 2011. At that time we posted a link from Anita Silvey's Children's Book-A-Day Almanac when Little Bear's author, Else Holmelund Minarik, was honored on her birthday (September 13th). We shared this link with the comment, "We love Little Bear and can't wait to share these books and his adventures with our child. This is why we chose to include Little Bear's name in our email address."

Susan's childhood teddy bear along with our copy of Little Bear.

While this is the first reason we included Little Bear's name in our address, it's not the only reason. There were many steps involved in preparing our adoption letter. Choosing an email address was one of the first decisions we made when beginning our journey to adopt. It was important to us to choose an address which would convey some element of the interests we hoped to share with our child someday. 

Little Bear and his books had come up in our preparation for parenthood and adoption. Part of preparing was to write about what interested us as children and this sparked conversations about the books we loved as children. Another part of our preparation and journey has been visualizing the life we hope to have with our child someday. This includes thinking a lot about books we want we read, places we want to go, values we want to teach our child, and so much more. We decided LittleBearG was the perfect beginning for our email address because it brings everything together for us in a meaningful way.
Little Bear saying goodbye to his mother
before another adventure

As you may know, Little Bear has many adventures in the books including one adventure where he flies to the moon  and returns just in time for lunch. We love that he is open to the world, kind to his friends, and has a great sense of adventure. Little Bear's mother is very loving, patient, and kind as she nurtures and cares for him. Throughout his adventures she gently teaches him how to be good while encouraging him to be himself.

Some things never change. Susan's always loved Winnie the Pooh.

Our email address also has a broader connection to the children's literature we love and hope to share with our child. While Little Bear is one character we love, there are other great bears from children's literature including Winnie the Pooh, Paddington, and many others. Our choice of email address is a reminder that we love books and we hope to encourage our child to love books too. We will read to our child regularly and help him or her to explore the world of books and find favorites.

Posing with Winnie the Pooh on a recent trip to Disneyland

Our email address is also a reminder of our love for animals and our trips to the zoo. One of our favorite zoos is the San Diego Zoo and we've been members for several years. Susan always loved seeing the koalas there when she was a little girl and we both love seeing all the bears we can when we visit. The koalas are still there and the zoo currently has other types of bears including panda, polar, sun, and brown bears. 

Visiting the panda bears on a recent trip to the San Diego Zoo.

Hopefully we will soon be spending more time there observing our child's favorite bear (or other animal). We know there are other bears in the world around us. We can't wait to spot them with our child such as when we find a statue of a bear in the prehistorical Pleistocene Garden near the tar pits.

Mitch is always happy when he finds the bear statue near the La Brea Tar Pits.

Little Bear is also one of the nicknames we've had for our child as we've traveled on our journey to start our family. This is why it made sense for us to add the "G" for Glavas to LittleBearG. It was practical too since LittleBear was already taken :-)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Our Story, Part 2

A few posts ago, we told you about the early days of our relationship. That post ended with Mitch moving to Orange County, California in October 1999, and that's where we're going to pick up the story again.

The time after Mitch arrived was full of new adventures for us both. We were working hard building our careers, but we were building great memories, too. We started to create traditions, like finding our favorite Indian restaurant, Mother India, where we go on special occasions, and local businesses we frequent, like Brea Bead Works, where we've made good friends through the years.  We also began to explore some of the great attractions Southern California has to offer.

We had our first visit to Disneyland together in 2000, a visit that included Mitch's first ride on a roller coaster (the Matterhorn- and for the record, Susan is much braver than Mitch when it comes to roller coasters). A later trip saw our first, and last, ride on Splash Mountain (that drop at the end is a doozy!).

Yes, that's the two of us in the back of the boat.
We're both completely terrified on the final Splash Mountain drop at Disneyland.

While we've been back to Disneyland a couple of times since, another place we first visited during this time has become almost a home away from home for us, the San Diego Zoo. Our first visit together was on a cold and rainy Valentine's Day in 2001, and it would be impossible to count how many times we've been back. We cannot wait to come to the Zoo as parents and see which animals our child likes the most.

In between visits to the Zoo, we took trips to Santa Barbara and Las Vegas, and began to visit the museums of Los Angeles, such as the Getty Center, the Natural History Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. On each of these trips, there was always the thought that someday we would be doing these activities as a family.

Taking a break in the garden on an early trip to the Getty Center.

Another long-time tradition started when some good friends introduced us to the LA Times Festival of BooksHeld every Spring at an LA area university, the Festival brings together authors, publishers, booksellers and readers from across the nation in a two day celebration of the written word.  We've gone almost every year since we learned about it, and 2012 marks the fourth year Mitch has volunteered to help run one of the panel discussion rooms.  We've seen some great authors speak, gotten a few autographs, discovered interesting new books, and made some fun memories.  That said, we know the best times are yet to come, when we can explore the many offerings of the children's area of the festival with our little one.

In 2006, we took our first trip together to the UK. Susan has some dear friends there, and while she'd been there many times before, being able to visit them together helped to bring our relationship even closer. We rode the London Eye, we visited the British Museum and the National Gallery, and even saw the Roman ruins in Bath. It was another wonderful experience that we added to our life together.

Mitch posing proudly at the entrance to the British Museum.

Susan enjoying Trafalgar Square outside the National Gallery in London. You can see Big Ben in the distance.

We went on a boat trip from Greenwich past the Millennium Dome and out to the Thames Barrier.
It was cold and windy, but worth it!

Mitch was delighted to see Roman ruins in Bath.

During these years, we had good times, we formed wonderful memories, and we found places to go and things to do that we're looking forward to sharing with our child. We had done all this feeling that we had all the time in the world.  But by late 2006, we had started to think about the next step.  What did we want the next part of our life together to be like?

In May 2007 Mitch asked Susan to marry him and she said yes. Yay!!!

In May 2007, Mitch proposed to Susan.  We had lived as two people in a committed relationship, but we hadn't really combined our lives as one.  The time had come to do just that and to move into the future as a family.

(Looking for the rest of the story? Here's part 1 and part 3.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Are we there yet?

Nope, not yet. We'd love to tell you that we're patiently waiting for our chance to adopt, but you probably wouldn't believe us, nor should you. While we usually focus on a happy outcome and stay positive, sometimes we are sad, impatient, or doubtful about finding a match. How we're doing with the wait depends on which day you ask and sometimes on which one of us you ask. And then there are days when the answer changes, sometimes even more than once in the same day.

We've been "live" with IAC for almost eleven months. In reality this is not unusual, but we were sure we'd be changing diapers and craving sleep by now. Part of our impatience is because the wait to match isn't the first part of our journey. It's actually been four years now since we first began pursuing our dream to start a family. We began in March 2008, just a few months after we were married. All along we've considered adoption and we've been discussing this seriously since 2009.

The good news is that we've had a chance to learn a great deal about adoption along the way. We learned a lot from researching different adoption organizations, reading books and magazines, and following Facebook pages and blogs. We've also had a chance to meet many helpful people and make new friends along the way. We attend two adoption groups every month and interact with others who are waiting and new parents who recently adopted. These groups help us keep our perspective and we are filled with hope when we see newly formed families who recently adopted.

Several people suggested that we stay busy during the wait and that's exactly what we've been trying to do. We've been working hard, but we've also been pursuing our interests and having some local adventures too. We'll include a few highlights here and we always have more updates and new photos on our Facebook page.

Susan loves craft projects, especially making jewelry with beads. Luckily Mitch has always supported her interest and cheerfully accompanies her to bead stores. There will undoubtedly be little time for craft projects and bead shopping for a while once our little person arrives and that's fine with us. During the wait Susan continues to take classes at a local bead store, Brea Bead Works.  We even had a grand bead adventure when we completed the Bead Shop Hop in September 2011. It was fun to visit so many great bead stores, but even better to enjoy a four day road trip away from home exploring Southern California.

Susan finishing up after a class at her favorite bead store, Brea Bead Works.

Yay! We did the whole 2011 Bead Shop Hop. 29 bead stores in 6 counties over 4 fun days!

We also love visiting museums. Someday we'll be visiting these places with our child once he or she is old enough.  In the interim, we've continued to regularly visit our favorites including the Getty, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Natural History Museum, and more. This has been even better over the last few months with Pacific Standard Time exhibitions going on at sixty different venues throughout Southern California.

Mitch happy to be visiting the Getty Center museum as part of the Pacific Standard Time event.

We also love spending time with family and friends every chance we get. We have so many great memories from the time we've been waiting, including fun times with our little cousins and even a trip to Disneyland with friends.

Halloween crafts with our young cousin Jake.

Hello from Disneyland!

Waiting to adopt isn't easy, but we know we're not alone. We're certainly not the first couple waiting to adopt, and we won't be the last. Luckily we are blessed with a network of family, friends, and acquaintances who continue to support us. We appreciate everyone who listens to us and offers kind words of encouragement. Thanks!