Thursday, January 31, 2008

Check out the cat!

Have you ever had days like this? or adoptions? If I have learned anything, I know that things change in a heart beat and no matter how rational you are, the moment you step out and make that decision to become a parent, you are forever changed. From then on you are stretched beyond your comfort. For better or for worse, there is no going back to that moment before your child entered your heart.

When I look at this photo, I interpret it two different ways. The first time I saw it I was kind of horrified. My cat is also a calico and she is very bashful. I'm sure my cat would have died of fright if this had happened to her. A few weeks later I looked at this picture again and I saw something different. Maybe, just maybe, that cat was just enjoying the ride. As crazy as it sounds, some cats like water. My sister's present and former cats were water hogs. Any time they heard the shower running or someone washing something in the sink, they were there.

I'm beginning to realize that sometimes life is as good as your perception of it. Yeah, things kind of suck in adoption land these days. But when haven't they? After the fact, people always paint a bright and shiny picture of it because they finally have their child. I know that somewhere in this world, I have two children. While I think that they will come from China and Vietnam, I don't honestly know that for sure. All I know is what I feel in my heart and I don't think God is done with me (or them) yet.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Vietnamese Immersion

This weekend is what I am going to call "Vietnamese Immersion".  Just a few weeks ago I was wondering where I was going to find any interaction with the Vietnamese community, and I'm sure once Tet passes I might still be asking myself that question.  But for this weekend, at least, I got to really enjoy learning more about the country and the people.

On Saturday a friend of mine called and asked if I was going to the Vietnamese Culture Night...what?  It was the first I had heard of it, so after looking it up to make sure it was legit, I called Michael to see if he wanted to go.  I really don't think they were expecting as many people to show as did.  It was really a lot of fun.  They had trivia games, fashion shows (past and present), history of the North, South and Mid-country.  The highlight for me was watching them dance and sing traditional Vietnamese songs.  Students came from neighboring states to perform for the crowds.  From what I saw, a lot of the Vietnamese students were actually American born and there were a number of bi-racial/cultural Vietnamese...something that isn't typical among most the Chinese I know.  It was nice to see that those of bi-cultural histories were not excluded from the celebrations.  While that may not sound like a bid deal to you, I fear my kids will be left out because of their forced bi-cultural history.  I'm afraid they will be called twinkies (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) or worse, but my fears were somewhat allayed after seeing all the diversity present.

I felt even more assured after meeting Maxine on Sunday and speaking to her and her teenage daughter that was adopted from Vietnam.  As a single parent it does weigh on me that I will have to be both mother and father to my kids.  I feel sad when I see dads playing with their kids--tickling them and carrying them.  My kids won't have that and I unfortunately can't do that for them.  Not the way a dad would.  I asked Maxine's daughter if she was ever bothered by not having a dad.  She was pretty quick to respond, "No.  I understood why I didn't have one. It would have been nice, but it didn't bother me."  Maxine explained that her daughter was 4 1/2 years old when she came home (after living with her birth parents for most of those years).  Initially she would say, "I had a daddy and now I don't. What did you do with him?"  She seemed to be a very well adjusted, bright, interesting and interested teenager.  One of my biggest concerns is that my kids will hate me for taking them from their home country and by not being able to give them a dad.  Some things are just out of my hands.

Yesterday I met a number of other adoptive parents around the mid-state when we crashed a real Vietnamese Tet.  It was great to finally meet Kelli, The Desserich family, Angel and Chloe, Katina and James and family, Margie and Maxine.  Sorry if I have left a few out.  It was nice to finally meet another blended family (Katina and James).  It was also nice to see the Vietnamese community celebrate.  I would have liked to have gotten to know some of them and perhaps I will have that chance as the years pass, but yesterday I was just excited to meet others that had or were in the process of adopting.  I have to admit, it really gives me a sense of hope to see other families that have done it.  Despite all the uncertainties, I left with a feeling of "if they can do it, so can I". 

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A year in review...

A year ago today, I completed the paper chase for my China girl and submitted my dossier for review.  I can't even express the relief I felt when I finally handed it over to my China coordinator and saw it for the last time. 

I was approved to begin the process on October 9, 2006 and I hurried hauled ass to finish before the deadline.  Because I was/am single and the new guidelines for China would eliminate me as an adoptive parent, my agency required that I finish by the end of February 2007.  I managed to completed ALL my social work visits, home visits, and the rest of the dossier within 6 weeks.  BUT I hit a snag, that feels oh so familiar now, with USCIS.  When I first submitted my application I did not know I needed to include my social security number.  It was not requested on the I-600A form and no one had told me.  So, the first was sent back back to me.  I waited and waited and finally received a fingerprint appointment a month later, a few days before I left for Hong Kong (another story).  And I waited and waited.  I ended up waiting another 6 weeks before I received my 171H, even though the average is 2-3 weeks in this state.  I had decided that my 171H was going to arrive the last full week of January and I requested half of Thursday and all day Friday off so I could go get my documents authenticated and then drove with a girlfriend up to Chicago to the Chinese embassy.  WOW.  What an experience.  I remember stepping out on the street with my newly stamped documents and walking up the street towards the sun and it suddenly hit me "I'm going to be a mom!"  Up until then, it had not fully settled on me what I was about to endeavor.  I hope I never lose that memory or the feeling that settled over me in that moment. 

We drove home that evening, stayed in our respective homes and then met early the next morning for the next trek of our journey: the adoption agency.  Granted, I could have mailed my documents, but I was so fiercely attached to those documents that I could not have trusted them to the US Post Office or FedEx.  I finally met my coordinator--the coolest coordinator ever!--and she reviewed my dossier while we took a tour of the agency and met with the agency director and other coordinators.  I remember feeling humbled and awed that these people work around the clock, every day without a break.  Here it was a Saturday, and they were happy to meet with me and show me what they do.  Since my friend had family in the area, we stayed overnight with them before making the trip back the following morning.  What a great memory! 

My dossier was officially reviewed and submitted to China on February 2nd.  On February 13th, in the middle of a nasty snow storm and while I was trying to leave the office to get home early--I got the call that my LID was the day before.  I was amazed to feel such happiness for such a small thing.  I called my mom and we both cried with joy over the phone.  With a smile on my face I struggled to get my car out from under the snow when the flower man pulled up to my office building.  Somehow I just knew they were for me--and sure enough, they were!  My dad had sent me Valentine's Day flowers.  There was no way my day could have possibly gotten any better! 

It's been an amazing journey, but I pray that it not last forever.  Despite the challenges and the contradictions, I still pray that I receive a referral this year.  I don't think it will be for my dear daughter, but I do hope that I will finally see Haven's face this year. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I've been tagged! The rule of fours...

I was tagged by Kelli...let's see how I do!

Four Jobs I've Had

1. On-call baby-sitter

2. Little Sleazer's...oops, Little Caesar's

3.  Float nurse (I worked throughout every department in a hospital..just about the busiest job you can imagine)

4. Currently working in an IS/IT department

Four Movies I have Watched Over and Over

1. The Bourne Movies (Identity and Supremacy)

2. Terminator II

3. Supernatural videos

4.  Austin Powers III--maybe this should have been #1.  I can quote whole sections--I watch it every time I get really upset. 

Four Places I've Lived

1. Fort Wayne

2. A rinky-dinky town in IL

3. Terre Haute

4. B-town

Four Shows I Watch

1. Supernatural--duh, see above

2. Lost

3. Moonlight--can't help it, I love hot looking vampires

4. I used to watch 24--not sure if I will watch the new season or not

Four Places I've Been--there is really not enough room

1. England and Scotland

2. Hong Kong

3. Europe

4. West Coast of the US

Four People Who E-mail Me Regularly

1. My mom--every day, Monday through Friday

2. If IM counts--my friend Michael

3. Kristen

4. Kelli--my new blogger/Vietnam buddy

Four Things I Like to Eat--is this a joke?  It's like asking to pick my favorite child

1. Dim sum--anything except chicken's feet

2. I'm addicted a Lean Cuisine entree called chicken carbonara

3. Lemon flavored yogurt--yum, it's like puddin'

4. Lemon/lime flavored carbonated water.  I have a hard time forcing myself to drink tap water now.  I wish I hadn't started this habit.

Four Places I'd Rather Be--too easy

1.  In Vietnam picking up my son

2. In China picking up my daughter

3. Spending time with my mom

4.  San Francisco

Four Things I'm Looking Forward to This Year

1. I hope to have a referral for my son this year

2. Finishing my business trips to Dallas.  I am such a homebody.

3.  Spending time with my adoption/blogger girlfriends.  I'm hoping we get together 2-3 times this year.

4. Losing some weight!

I'm going to nominate my friend Kris and Chandra

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

600A and I-600 News

Congrats to all those that received their I-600 during the wee hours of the night!  Oh my goodness, I can't imagine how excited you are.  My heart goes out to the few that were expecting it and didn't receive one.  You know who you are and my prayers are with you tonight. 

In I-600A news, I received my biometrics appointment today.  It was rather anticlimactic.  I kind of expected that since I'd had such a miserable week last week.  I don't think much joy is going to return to this process until I know I am low on the list to be match and/or have a referral.  It's hard to put it into print, but I have been waiting for my kid(s) for too long to not feel like that.  And if Britney Spears does get pregnant with that bonehead paparazzi, I'm going to be pissed! 

In other news, I have had a chance to reconnect with some friends that I have not connected with for the last month or so.  I'm too old and have known and loved these people for too long not to put some attention into our relationships.  I spent time with my friend Sherry and her adopted daughter from Guatemala.  Somehow, spending time with them reminds me that dreams do come true.  I got some great toddler time (she just turned two this weekend!)  There is something about spending time with a child that just heals my heart.  And she is such a sweety and a little ham.  I got to rock her before bed and she just nestled right in.  Ahhh.  How will I ever be able to put my own children to bed? 

I'm SO looking forward to my adoption buddy/blogger buddy gathering next month!  Only 4 short weeks to go, but who's counting?  Kris, I hope you are here when my 171H arrives.  The friends that I have made along the way have been such a HUGE support. 

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Good weekends...thank God

In spite of having a crappy two weeks, I continue to have fabulous weekends.  Yesterday Michael and I went to a double feature which is actually double talk for paid for the first, snuck into the second.  Yeah, I figure I'm already doing hard time courtesy of our government so I might as well be a bit bad.  It's amazing how that little thrill actually brightened up my day.  It didn't hurt that the movies were also good.

Today continued to be equally awesome.  My dear friend Tony had called yesterday morning inquiring about how I was doing.  We haven't seen each other in over a month and haven't spoken for nearly as long.  It had gotten to the point that I was feeling too guilty to pick up the phone.  You know what I'm talking about?  Too much time passes and then you just feel embarrassed about the fact that neither person has stepped up.  I am so glad he called.  It has become so apparent to me that I really need to reconnect with my friends--even if they don't know what I'm going through, they give me balance.  Today, Tony and Fil had me over for dinner and I was able to exchange Christmas presents with them finally.  It was so nice.  Tony and Fil have been my extended family for a long time and I love that he includes me in family gatherings.  Today, his younger brother was visiting with his wife and daughter for a belated Christmas dinner/gift exchange.  I have known them through the death of their mother, the birth of their daughter and a number of other life altering moments. 

I just need to remind myself of what I do have and I do have wonderful people in my life.

Have any of you ever listened to Mat Kearney?  During my emotional meltdown on Wednesday I kept hearing his song Breathe in, Breathe out looping through my head.  I decided to go ahead and download a couple of other songs: Wait (how appropriate is that?), Where we go from here (hmm..sounds tailor made for my crappy day) and Won't Back Down (that's right, darn it, I'm not backing down.  I'm going to do everything I can possibly do to bring my son home). 

Saturday, January 19, 2008


I'm still a bit raw and strangely numb about this week.  There is a part of me that wants to emotionally separate myself from this whole mess and pretend that everything is status quo, but I still feel achy.  I want to think that I'm not the one going through it--that I am experiencing it second hand from someone else's blog, that that isn't true.  The strange thing is that I have been projecting this gaggy super-happy persona every time I leave my home.  I'm the life of the party every time I leave the house, but it is different when I get home. 

At the same time, I feel myself beginning to hope again.  I hope that I will receive my fingerprint appointment in the mail.  I hope that they process my 171H and I am able to submit my dossier by the end of February.  Right now the list is 20 people deep with more being added each week.  I hope that I am not over #25 by the time I submit.  I hope that things speed up and that the new orphanage they are supposed to begin working with starts sending referrals.  Most of all I hope that Vietnam and the US reach a new agreement in September and that the US does not close down referrals again.  At this point, it is the US officials that are causing the slow-downs in VN right now, not the Vietnamese officials.  It is the US pressing the VN for more processes to give the appearance of a transparent adoption process.  While I understand the need to make sure that nothing unethical is going on, has anyone looked into the transparency of other countries?  I'm just curious how VN ranks against all the other countries that are currently open. 

I woke up feeling kind of crappy today.  I decided to cancel my appointments for the day and stay in.  I haven't cleaned, washed dishes, done any laundry or paid any pills this week.  I just didn't have the energy for it.  There is a good chance I might smell a bit foul, so I will need to take care of that too.  I guess this is the other side of grief/disappointment?  There were so many hopes and desires I've had for my life and I find myself still waiting for those things to happen.  I have done my best to make my dreams come true, but I am not the one ultimately in charge. 

Thursday, January 17, 2008

A ray of sun...

Even though I awoke early, the room was eerily aglow much the way I remember the Christmases of my childhood.  Before I even reached the window I knew the reason: snow.  Not enough to be a nuisance, just enough to make the earth quiet and beautiful once again.  In some way it seemed like a peace offering after the ugliness of yesterday. 

I need to thank my mother that called and let me cry it out over the phone with her.  It's so hard to be alone when difficulties occur. 

And although my office mate doesn't have this blog address I want to send a thank you out to the heavens for her.  When I came in this morning there was a card on desk encouraging me.  She also had had several baby boy scrapbook papers, stickers, and cut outs.  She wanted to remind me that although it wasn't happening the way I thought it would, that it would happen somehow.  I appreciate her taking the time to share her life with me--even the dark areas, because she could see the beauty from what sprung of that. 

Shortly after our little tear fest my cell phone rang.  It was the Adjudications Office at the local USCIS office!  She evidently didn't understand my e-mail yesterday (I e-mailed her a quite desperate story and begged for help essentially).  She still didn't know where my social security number was even though I overnighted it to her on Tuesday, but she called to say my fingerprint appointment is FEBRUARY 7TH!  I'm hoping that I will soon receive the form that says that because I am still a bit leery, but I really want to believe today is a brighter day. 

I called my mom to share the good news and the first thing she says is "that's Chinese New Year".  It's also Tet.  I hope this a good sign!  It's right before I have to leave town again for business so I am hoping that it will be processed and arrive shortly after I get home.   Also, late this afternoon my doctor's office called to say that found a notary for my documents that won't expire another couple of years.  I guess I've had two rays of sunshine today, but my heart is still a little tender.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not good

I was so upset as I wrote yesterday that I accidentally posted it on my baby girl's blog.  Woops.  I corrected it quickly so I hope no one noticed it.  I have kept Haven a secret from most of the people I know and I really didn't feel like blurting it out there.  Someday when I actually have a referral I will finally share the news, but not until then. 

I went to bed feeling a bit better, but I think that is largely due to my trip to the gym.  I walked as fast as my short little legs would carry me just hoping to feel better.  For whatever reason, I take care of myself best when I am horribly upset.  If I am happy I eat with reckless abandon and don't exercise.  If I'm upset, I focus all my energy on trying NOT to focus on what is bothering me so I spend a lot of time at the gym.  It's just a shame my body doesn't show it.

I emailed the agency director last night to let him know what had happened and to get an idea of how long the process is currently taking and how long it might take if I submit my dossier in two months.  It doesn't look good.  The wait time has increased 3 months since 6-7 weeks ago and they anticipate that it will continue to grow because so many are now in the process of submitting dossiers.  Best case scenario looks like a year--from the time I am LID and then another 4 months until I travel.  Hopefully in the summer of 2009, I will have Haven. 

My heart is absolutely broken.  I feel like my insides have been scooped out and dumped and the only thing left is a horrible raw feeling.   I was so close to crying while at work that I opted to come home early.  And after coming home and reading an email my mom sent, I did cry.  Big, aching, can't-catch-my-breath tears.  I can only recall crying like this or feeling like this twice before--and one of those was after a friend's death. 

I have never been pregnant, but I somehow imagine this must be what the emotional pain of a miscarriage feels like.  Sure, some day I will likely get one of my children home, but not right now.  You plan out your life and prepare for the day that your child will come home, but then it doesn't and you pray for the day that the chance will come again. 

Today, I am praying...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I-600A Updates

Yes, it is true...I finally have something to write about this, but it certainly isn't good.  I actually heard from USCIS 3 times today.  Wow, lucky me.  The first was a letter acknowledging that they had received my application.  The second was a letter requesting that I send my social security number and the third was in response to an email I sent yesterday and Thursday requesting information about how long I can expect this to take. 

The thing that really pisses me off?  The same exact thing happened little over 13 months ago when I applied for an I-600A for my daughter.  They wanted a social security number which slowed me down.  This time I expected it, even though it is not listed anywhere on the application.  In fact, I sent a copy of my social security card, a copy of my birth certificate and a copy of my passport.  So what just happened?  I called the National Customer Service Center (yeah, that's what it is called--just like I was checking on the warranty for my VCR) and they were no help.  Fortunately we have a post office that is open until 7 PM.  I high-tailed it over there and sent it certified, again.  The postman assured me it would reach the local field office in the morning.  I was still so mad about it by the time I reached the post office that I almost went off about it to the postman, but fortunately I remembered that he, too, is a federal employee.  Last thing I want is to wind up on some terrorist watch group. 

The email I received told me that it takes 2-3 weeks to process forms so I can hope to hear from them in 3 weeks about when my fingerprint appointment will be.  I will then wait 2 weeks for my fingerprint appointment and then wait another 3-4 weeks for my 171H.  HOWEVER, the last time I got screwed by them, I actually waited 6 weeks for my 171H so if things go well, I will hopefully have my 171H in 8 weeks, if not, we are looking at 10-12.  If you read this out loud you can hear the disappointment in my voice.

I was so upset I wanted to cry, but I was so mad I couldn't.  I had this neat little package all sewed up in my mind.  I would be DTC in early February and hopefully receive a referral by July and travel in September.  That would have been so perfect considering the MOU business in Vietnam.  The prospect of Vietnam closing in September is weighing even more heavily on my mind and heart.   

My apologies to my friends that are reading this here instead of through a personal email.  I'm just really upset right now.  Thing's in my little adoption world have not been going well lately.  On Sunday two separate people asked me if I had heard anything further about my China girl and I told them that China is on hold indefinitely and not to ask me again. 

For those of you that pray, please say an extra one for me tonight. 

Sunday, January 13, 2008


No, I didn't get the document I hoped for, but I have had a nice weekend. In fact, I will not be talking about the wait for that stupid paper until I actually have something positive to share. As Kristen reminded me recently about her I-600A/171-H process, she really enjoyed Sundays because the mail didn't come and she couldn't stress about it. Last year I would drive home on my lunch hour or whenever my mailbox came between work and my next destination (I worked in sales, basically). I have not done that this year, nor do I plan to start. Life is stressful enough.

I had the realization yesterday morning that really put things into perspective. Once I bought this house and began the adoption process for my daughter I systematically began eliminating things from my life. I don't go out very often--I used to go out several times with my friends throughout week AND the weekends. I used to be involved in Bible studies, various classes and volunteering my time where needed. As I began "nesting" I eliminated those things and I was happy to do so because I thought I would be a parent soon. Things have not worked out as I had planned. Instead of lamenting all this time, I've decided to start doing the things that I excite me or bring me joy. I don't want to become the mom that only talks about mom stuff. Especially as a single parent, I am going to want to have real adult conversations and I am going to need the support of my friends and community to help with that. I'm not exactly sure what I all am going to do, but I am going to join a Bible study at church (they provide food so I'm there!) I am thinking of taking a class at the gym--maybe yoga. I need something that will teach me how to breathe, especially when I am stressed. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Yesterday was my 11 month LID for my China girl. Instead of feeling sad, I really wanted to celebrate both her and Haven. I had mentioned to Michael a few days prior that I really wanted to try some Vietnamese restaurants, but that we would have to drive at least an hour. He was all for it since neither of us had tried VN food before. All I can say is "thank God, Dad bought me a GPS for Christmas!". I'm not sure I would have found it otherwise. The food was really good. I don't recall the name of the dish, but I had some sort of pancake with pork, shrimp and veggies. Yum. Followed by dessert. Yummier.

We spent the rest of the day shopping--he dragged me into every shoe store we came across and I dragged him into every tech store (the Apple store, Brookstone, Sony, Sharper Image). Who am I kidding...we hit nearly every store in there! We had fun, but now I have total Pod lust. Just about everyone I know has an iPod and I don't. I've wanted one for a quite a while, but there are a number of other things that I really need so it will have to wait.

So, that's my weekend. I hope yours went well also. Hopefully this week will run smoothly for all of us and some blogging peeps will finally get their I-600A!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

I got nothin'

But at least I'm starting to relax a bit.  I think the combination of several factors and lack of sleep have definitely made me edgy this week.  I did email the USCIS orphan unit rep for the state and received exactly what I expected: nothin'.  No response, no "I'll check into it", nothin'.  I'm still hoping that I will get word tomorrow.  I have this strange feeling that my appointment won't be until the very end of the month, and will probably be the day that I am absolutely swamped at work: the 25th.  Hopefully it won't be that far away, but that seems more likely now.

Today's fortune cookie nugget of knowledge:

Pack your bags.  You are bound for an exciting destination to the far east.   

I have to admit, it's the first time I have seen that one!  I'm still not feeling entirely hopeful about the whole thing right now.  I'm hoping that it really is darkest before dawn because I've been feeling very dark about adoption this week.  I try to remind myself that Kelli was in the same boat only 2 weeks ago and now she is nearly DTV!   Congrats! 

Even though I'm still feeling twitchy and irritable tonight, I did at least do one positive thing today.  As part of my job, I study work flow in the various departments of the hospital.  Last night I borrowed some scrubs from surgery, but since I knew I wouldn't have to meet dress code exactly I wore one of my adoption shirts instead of scrub top.  It's a shirt I bought while I was working on the dossier for my daughter and it has the Chinese symbol for mother on it.  Somehow that little act of deviance did make me feel better. 

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Do I even need to say?

I did write an email to the orphan unit at my local USCIS field office. Hopefully she will have good news for me tomorrow, but I am betting it will be somewhere along the lines of "we have 4 weeks in order to make a determination". Please pray that that doesn't happen.

My mother has a good way to looking at it:

I too would like to see you become a mom by your b'day. That would be the best gift ever. I know God knows what he's doing so I keep reminding myself that when things don't go the way I think they should that maybe its b/c god is working something better out.
I tell myself that there is a VN boy and a Chinese girl specially for you so when the timing seems slow it is b/c those 2 kids are not in a position to come yet. I don't want you to get just any 2 kids; I want you to get the 2 kids that God has matched for you. In my life I have seen the proof of this that when things didn't go as planned something better than I planned came along later. I'm not trying to minimize the frustrating wait that you have. I tell myself the timing will be right and God has his reasons for not pushing these adoptions thru super fast.

I'm to the point that I really want to KICK the mailbox, but I know it will do nothing for my frustration and probably just break my foot.

Thanks to all who commented on my other blog. Yesterday, and unfortunately today, have been bad. Yesterday was uber sucky, so in comparison today isn't bad. I'm just tired. Physically tired, emotionally tired and now I am whiny because I have an ear ache. Yeah, that's right. An ear ache like I used to get when I was a kid. I have decided that I need to limit/eliminate the time I spend on the China blogs and I probably need to go no-mail from some of the groups for a while. It's just really getting to me. I am so HAPPY that there are some families that FINALLY got I-600A clearance the last two days and will soon (in two days!!!) be traveling to VN. Thank God, that has been my own bright spot.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Still nothing.  I promise to post a real blog message soon.  I've decided to overwork myself in order to not focus on the fact that I HAVE NO BIOMETRICS APPOINTMENT.

In other news, what's with this weather?  A week ago the temperature was -5*, two days ago it was 65* with winds that kept picking up.  Last night we had flooding (I know because I went to the gym and soaked my shoes walking 20 feet across the parking lot--even the drains couldn't handle the water and flooded the parking lot).  Evidently I must be a heavy sleeper because sometime between coming home last night and leaving the house this morning, a humongo tree fell in my yard.  I have 3 trees in the back of the property that I have been harrassing my dad about removing.  When he called this evening I was able to tell him he only has one less to worry about!  I was always a deep sleeper, but WOW.  The top of the tree dropped about 25 feet from my bedroom and I didn't hear anything that sounded like  tree falling.  I guess there was a reason we were under a tornado watch and a flood warning. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Nope, Nada, Zilch

That pretty much sums it up.  I'm going to give them until Saturday, which is a full 2 weeks from when I received the paper copy of my home study report.  If I still haven't received an appointment I will be emailing and making a pest of myself very soon. And that's a promise. 

Monday, January 7, 2008

Still waiting...

I'm still anxiously stalking my mailbox--no news yet. I really thought I would be less anxious this time around--not so! I just want to get this done! I contacted Kelli this weekend and learned her biometrics appointment invite arrived less than a week after her homestudy was sent out. She had a fingerprint appointment within 3 weeks of the initial HS submission and her I-171H 3 weeks after that. Can you tell I'm getting a bit paranoid??? If any of you have words of wisdom or anything you'd like to share, I'm open to it. I just so badly don't want a repeat of last years debacle. It took 11 weeks last year...I don't want to do that again. It will be two weeks on Thursday.

On a positive note, Michael and I went out for dinner and a movie tonight and I, of course, choose Chinese food (when he is going to learn not to allow that option?). My fortune cookie seems rather fortuitous:

Good news will come to you from far away.


Please, let it be my fingerprint appointment!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Life after adoption

On Friday evening I was returning home from work with a bag full of Chinese food sitting next to me in the car.  I was feeling pretty awesome and glad that it was Friday.  As I approached my street, and my mailbox more specifically, I had the strangest thought: I will never live a life when adoption isn't part of my memories, thoughts, hopes, and history.  Even after my children come home, they will be a daily reminder of adoption and what it has done for our family.  As I head to the store with my two silky black haired children, we will always invite stares, comments and conversations.  I had a few minutes in between the Chinese restaurant and my mailbox that my mind was blissfully not on adoption.  Blissfully, I say because I have been consumed with it of late.  I won't even tell you how many hours a day I am on the computer, blogging to one of several blogs, responding to emails, replying to group messages and checking out everyone else's progress on their blogs. 

I wake up and my first thought goes to my children--are they breathing the same air I am yet or are they still blissfully ignorant of the how hard life can be as they snuggle in their birth mother's womb?  Of my China girl I wonder, has she been conceived yet?  What of her parents?  Are the birth parents for my children happy to be pregnant or are they saddened over knowing what comes next? 

I wonder how my children will face adoption.  I spent yesterday reading my Adoptive Families magazine cover-to-cover and I read the story of an adult adoptee and what her experience was like.  Yesterday I came across the blog of a young woman of 24 who was born in Korea, but raised an American Jew.  She was so angry by what her birth mother had done and upset with her adoptive family for taking her from her homeland.  I've read stories of grown adoptees that got tired of their parents forcing them to learn their native language and go to culture camps or do other things that might make their history more real to them.  Others complain that their parents did not do enough--that their history was ignored. 

I can't recreate their culture in America--it's impossible.  It would essentially be creating a third space--neither all American nor all Chinese or Vietnamese--creating something that doesn't exist in either sphere.  I do plan on celebrating all their holidays--I especially love Tet and Chinese New Year!  I plan on always including foods from their homeland at our table and I imagine that every Thanksgiving we will be eating pho and dim sum along with turkey and stuffing.  I am more fortunate than most since we have a large Asian population and several Asian grocery stores that carry the spices, vegetables and other delicacies of their homelands.  I will do what I can, but will it be enough?  And when is my stupid fingerprint appointment invite going to arrive????  I think we should start taking bets. 

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mailbox Anticipation

When I bought my house last year there were several things that needed repair, the most obvious (to my neighbors anyway) was my mailbox. The darn thing had a rusty nail jammed into the bottom of the mailbox and into a worn hole hole on a post. There were days when I would come home to see it lying on the ground. I learned that some of my neighbors on their daily walk would put it back up on the stump, even the dear post man would get out of the jeep and put it back on. There was a mix of excitement a year ago as I waited first for my fingerprint appointment and waited even more anxiously for my 171H. I badly hoped that my box wasn't lying in the snow or dirt on the magical day that my form would arrive. I got lucky.

Last summer my parents and I were quite happy to yank that bad boy out of the ground! My dad replaced that sad box with a brand new box--a box that should stand up to any beating the neighbor girl gives it (yeah, that was part of the reason it had issues. I found her beating my box last year with a big stick until it would fall off). In fact, I dare the punks to swing a baseball bat at my mail box--that thing is deeply cemented into the ground and on a solid wood post with the full sized mailbox over it.

I only say all that because each day the excitement is building for me--perhaps even more so than last year because I don't have to think about the mailman missing my box because it was lying in the snow. I rushed home today hoping, just hoping, that my fingerprint invite would be there. The near failure of last year is pushed to the back of my mind. Maybe it is true, mothers get amnesia when it comes to birthing their babies. They remember all the good stuff and not the 36 hours of labor and breech delivery. "Let's do it again" they say. I think I understand why. I need to remind myself that it has only been a week since my homestudy was completed and mailed off.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Almost there...

Actually, I'm not really much closer, but the only thing remaining on my list is to get my I-171H clearance.  Finally, today I went to the police station and I got my clearance letter.  You know, I'm glad I've lived a squeaky clean life.  I can't imagine what it would be like to have a hidden DUI or shoplifting (or worse) on my record. 

It's funny, when I began the process for my daughter just over a year ago, getting my police clearance was the first thing I did.  It was the one thing I knew I didn't have to wait on anybody else for.  This time it was nearly the last thing because I don't want it to expire right away.  Hopefully this wasn't too soon. 

While in the police station I was trying to explain to the lady what I needed, but to be honest, I couldn't remember what exactly it was called.  I finally said, "I'm adopting.  I need whatever form is generally used.  Last year when I did this it had my name and my social security number."  Well, before she could even talk about the form, she started saying how great that was and I braced myself for the "isn't he/she lucky" comment, but instead she said "this is so exciting.  You are going to love being a parent.  I have a two year-old and she is my best friend."  The lady that was waiting on the bench for a cop (for I can only assume, bad reasons--she looked a little rough) started getting all misty eyed and smiling at me.  She said, "you are going to be so happy!  Kids are great.  I have three and I am kicking myself now for getting my tubes tied."  She continued on to say that her ex-husband has full custody of one child, her ex-fiance has shared custody and one of the two men was trying to take her other baby...frankly, the longer she talked the more she was popping the little happy bubble in my brain. 

While it is unlikely that I will receive an invite to the federal fingerprint party any time this week, I'm still hoping my week ends with a bang.  Crossing my fingers to hear something by Saturday...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

I think this year will be an incredible year for me and for many of my blogger buddies. Raise your glass and let's toast to bringing the boys home this year!

I'm not going to have a long NY post, but if you want something sentimental feel free to check out the post on the blog for my daughter. If can't find the link from this page, let me know and I'm happy to email you the link. The other blog generally gets my emotional stuff (let's face it, the China adoption process is so long there is no way I could post about adoption every day) and this blog really covers the adoption process and what I am feeling each step of the Vietnam process.

So, here are my updates:

  1. I need to find a new notary. My good friend, Laura, notarized for baby #1 and I had hoped she would be able to notarize this one, but she expires in February and her workplace is in the process of renewing it on her behalf. I checked the state notary website for notaries and learned that my BFF Michael's mom does it! Yippee. We live less than a mile away from each other so if she agrees to it I could just walk to her house and have her complete the notarizations. Michael asked me last year if he could be an uncle to my daughter. Just last year (ok, that's a was only about 6 weeks ago) I asked him if he could be an uncle to Haven as well. He has been very supportive and excited about both the kids so it would be great if his mom could be part of the process--truly making it a family affair.
  2. I finally sent off my signed contract and fat check to the agency. I'm not sure why I was waiting--I guess I just wanted to see how much I was going to have in my account after the Christmas bills came due. They should receive it tomorrow.
  3. Guardianship--who do I pick?

I'm not sure how much married couples have to worry about this, but for singles this is definitely an issue that our social workers really work with us on. Without even prompting him, my dad said yesterday that he would never have kids again unless something happened to me. He said he would raise my kids. I just don't know....anybody out there have to make those decisions? What did you decide to do?


About This Blog

This started as my story, but has evolved to OUR story. This is the story of life as a single parent to a wonderful little boy while we wait for baby sister. China LID 2.12.07.

But these things I plan won't happen right away. Slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. If it seems slow, be patient! For it will surely take place. It will not be late by a single day.
Habakkuk 2:3

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