Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hope Springs

I just want to thank all of you that have left hope filled comments or sent me emails to encourage me during this time.  You truly have made all the difference. 

Because I have not shared news of my adoption with anyone outside of family and a few friends, it is hard when challenges arise.  I suffer quietly because I didn't let anyone in one the joyous part (and more will be coming soon!) and I certainly don't want to suddenly involve them when things get difficult.  When I struggle, I struggle alone.  I don't ask for help.  I've always been private, but even more so with things that are close to my heart.   

Today at work, I shared the news with my dear former office mate Terri.  She has a heart like few others and I often joke that people can not be mean to her because she always has sunshine coming out her a**!  Even after I shared the news, she focused me and reminded me once again that people must have hope, life isn't as full without it.

Tonight when I got home there were emails and comments from many different people encouraging me to have hope and keep the faith and with each message, I felt my spirit lift like a re-inflated balloon.  It was amazing.  Although I had planned to mow my grass, my good friends Michael and Kristen called and kept me laughing past sunset. 

As Heather and Kelli reminded me, hope is a wonderful and beautiful thing.   Thanks for watering mine. 


Monday, April 28, 2008


It's amazing how resilient we humans are.  In the face of adversity and struggle, when all things seem to point us in the other direction, we continue climbing a seemingly insurmountable hill. 

I have the journals my mom kept when she was pregnant with me and the months and years following my arrival.  I've heard her stories of how I entered the world and nearly left it just as quick.  I wonder at times how she kept going--holding on when she was told to not expect much.  She had over five years of wondering how things would turn out.  Hopefully no one ever told her to give up, but I honestly don't know.  I'm glad she didn't.  I'm glad I didn't also. 

I look at Haven's story much the same way.  Every day seems to bring worse news and everything in me seems to point to giving up, but what if you can't?  I may not have made it clear in my last post, but I had to make a stand that I would not give up and for me that was paying the fees that were due when I went DTV.  I could have skipped, I'm sure, and just let it go...but I couldn't.  I still can't.  I pray for my son, his birthfamily, his country, my country, the other kids and the PAPs in the same situation.  I guess there is a peace in knowing that you have done all you can and at some point you have to let go and allow God to take it the rest of the way.  Whether it works out or not, sometimes it's best not to hold so tight that all other things are blocked out.   Maybe in that release peace will come.  I will not give up, but until I know what how the story ends, I need to learn to let go.  For myself.  For my health.  For peace in my life.  

heart in hand

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hard day into Night

As you can imagine, yesterday was a difficult day.  There was so much information to absorb all at once and most of it was not something my mind or body really wanted to absorb.  I thought about everyone involved in this mess--and I kept coming back to these kids.  And their birth families.  I know that not every adoption has been unethical, but once the waters of trust are tainted...how do you move on from there? And for those children who were truly relinquished/abandoned by their birth families...what next?  They are trapped in the same loop.  If everything that the US has documented is true, then we are right to get out, but that does NOT change what goes on there.  Many other countries will continue to adopt from VN, but will they put pressure on VN to "make it right"?  Doubtful.  I really do hope that VN does become Hague compliant in 2009 and maybe these issues will become a thing of the past.

As I said yesterday, I will continue with this adoption until all hope has been exhausted.  I don't say this lightly because I am taking a huge financial (let's not even talk about the emotional gamble that I'm taking--that far outweighs everything else because there is no fix for a broken heart) gamble.  You can ask anyone--I am not a gambler.  Because I am now DTV, my first massive chunk of fees are due.  I say massive because after paying this installment, all the money I had saved towards my China girl will be gone.  My financial cushion account--gone.

I went to bed last night thinking...do I do it or do I not?  There is no wait and see, no purgatory for this situation.  If I don't pay the fees my dossier will not be translated and if it is not translated there will be no log in date by July.  It essentially ends now.  And at some point this morning while I played my violin, I just let go and my mind relaxed and the answer became so clear.  I will do what I will always do in matters of the heart--I will go the distance.  I never want to look back on anything in my life and wonder "what if?".  I certainly never want to look back and think that of my son--what if he was as God intended and yet I got scared?  And yes, the chance is certainly there that I may lose a huge amount of money and feel the loss of a child, but at least I could look back and say I tried.   This is what faith is.  The practice of something that I can not see, can not understand.

I found this quote on a website yesterday:

What you believe you empower, whether for right or wrong, and daily you are living by faith whether you realize it or not.  Your heart cannot believe what your mind cannot conceive.

I leave you with a few some quotes that inspire hope:

To choose what is difficult all one's days, as if it were easy, that is faith.  W. H. Auden

Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.  Mary McLeod Bethune

It's faith in something and enthusiasm for something that makes a life worth living. Oliver Wendell Holmes

Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime,
Therefore, we are saved by hope.
Nothing true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history;
Therefore, we are saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone.
Therefore, we are saved by love.
No virtuous act is quite a virtuous from the standpoint of our friend or foe as from our own;
Therefore, we are saved by the final form of love which is forgiveness.  Reinhold Niebuhr

Whoso loves, believes the impossible. Elizabeth Barrett Browing

To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that, that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful "magic skills" that human beings are capable of. It has been noted by almost every ancient wisdom tradition. Elizabeth Gilbert

Peace and good rest to all of you that are facing the same decisions. 

Friday, April 25, 2008

Sweet and Sour

I am so grateful for those rare moments of peace--little gifts of heaven that are gifts before you know their importance.  I haven't felt well the past couple of days--a nasty little respiratory bug that got worse today.  Despite that, I went to work, but decided to come home early. 

As I pulled in my driveway and opened my car door I was hit with the overwhelming sense of spring.  The scent of all my blooming trees hit me as soon as I opened my car door.  And there, as I walked up my short walkway to the house, was the Japanese Maple I planted nearly a year ago.  A visible reminder of my son.  I planted it last year as the thought of him took weight in my soul and settled against my heart.  The poor tree struggled all last year--it's horrible clay, not soil and then the drought hit.  Despite my watering attempts the poor thing shriveled and lost leaves early.  Throughout the winter it looked like a stick.  As Haven became more real to me as I pursued adoption late in the year the tree looked more and more destroyed.  Today, moments before I checked my e-mail (and changed my day) this is what I saw:IMG_0275IMG_0274 My precious tree not only recovered, but it is lush and full with more leaves than the day I bought it.  I remember the salesman telling me that it would never get very big--maybe 5-6 feet tall and it would take about 20 years to get there.  I remember thinking that my son would be graduating high school and starting college the year my tree was fully grown. 

Today my agency group sent me these links:



The first outlines the steps that the US Embassy in Vietnam has taken in regards to Vietnam adoptions and the expiring MOU.  We now know that all dossiers need logged into the DIA in Vietnam by July 1, 2008 and only those with official referrals will be allowed to complete adoptions by September 1, 2008.  After September 1st, all dossiers will be returned to the originating adoption agency.  For many people, including me, this is heartbreaking news.  The USCIS has been alleging abuses of the system by the VN and various adoption agencies the last 6 months, but in the second link they finally outlined in black and white what offenses were occurring.  It's heartbreaking.  It's heartbreaking for the birth families that are trapped in a cycle of poverty that are being exploited by unethical agencies and government officials.  It's heartbreaking for the children that have been trapped in the middle and it is heartbreaking for PAPs that were hoping to create a family and provide a family for a child (seemingly) in need of family.  There are no winners in this ugly situation.

I honestly don't know where this leaves me.  My agency is expecting a status report next week that might include how many referrals they are expecting in the next month.  If only 1 or 2 are referred I doubt that Haven will be coming home from Vietnam. 

I kick myself sometimes when I think too hard about this.  I felt called to a son in Vietnam shortly after I felt that calling to my daughter in China.  I keep wondering what what have happened if I had followed my gut instead of following the rules?  If I had started just a few months earlier this wouldn't be an issue for me.  If my 171H hadn't taken over 4 months to arrives this wouldn't be an issue.  But as my friend Terri pointed out (thanks Terri!), the same could be said of my China journey.  I never should have gotten in under the line as I did.  But I did.  God was perfect in each step, in each detail down to the hour and day.  Perhaps the same could be said of my journey to Haven.  I'm thankful for the reminder on my blog that "God will not be late by a single day". 

I knew this adoption would be the most stressful, the one that really required a lot of faith.  I plan on continuing until the end.  Until they tell me it is time to turn back, I will wait for my son.  I ask for your prayers tonight for the birth families, the children and for the many PAPs today that learned that they will NOT be parents to children in Vietnam.  It's a sad day for all of us.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

DTV Today!

I have been tracking my dossier package from afar using the FedEx number my agency provided for me.  Yesterday my dossier returned to my agency from San Fran, and today I learned that it was sent to Vietnam!  It's exciting to have this final step of the process completed and I am hoping to find out what day I am logged in.

I have been told to expect a referral in a few months and I am trying to decide the best way to mark the passage of time.  I've heard some people do it with two cups--one filled with paperclips and one empty.  As each day passes the waitee moves a paperclip from the full container to the empty one and eventually runs.  I like the premise, but paperclips remind me too much of work.  Perhaps mini-Hershey kisses...  

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Baby Mama

I can't help myself, I am a Tina Fey fan.  I love her sense of humor and I love that she uses it without being mean...or by relying on crude language or jokes.  She just seems so down to earth--like she could be your next door neighbor.  Anyway, I'm looking forward to the new movie. 

I love that she keeps complaining that living with the baby mama is like living with a child...yeah, not too subtle.  Anyway, enjoy the clip.  I'm hoping the movie is good and doesn't portray single mama wannabes in a bad light. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I wanted my blog to be a positive place where other PAPs (or APs) can go and not be inundated with rumors and negativity.  I also want it to be a place where people can share their feelings, their experiences, their joys and their sorrows as they journey towards parenthood. To be honest, I don't think it has been a terribly cheery blog the past couple of days and as the blog owner I take responsibility.

When I posted on Saturday about the questions I was constantly being asked about the process, I was blogging out of frustration from my own personal experience.  This has obviously been a sensitive issue with me.  When I received a comment contradicting me, I took it as a personal attack which felt even more troubling to me because it was coming from someone in our adoption community.  I can only speak of my experience and although we both may have approached adoption from the same direction, our experience was totally different.  She had a very positive experience where mine was quite negative.  There are a lot of factors that play into what makes any adoption experience (or pregnancy for that matter) a positive or negative experience. 

I have removed this person's comments after much deliberation.  Not because it was out of anger on my part--quite the contrary, I want the positive side to be represented, but I don't want people reading too much into our banter.  It was not meant to be negative and we have both been in contact off the blogosphere to discuss this issue further.  Because she has had such a positive domestic adoption experience and because I have friends (and perhaps readers) that are investigating domestic adoption, I want the positive to weigh out the negative.  I have asked if she would be willing to write up her experience or share any resources that she felt were useful in her adoption process.  If she adds that information to her blog, I will be sure and notify you here. 

I want to thank those of you that left comments or emails--both positive and negative--about your experience.  For those of you that have had a positive domestic experience I urge you to contact me by email or leave a comment.  I currently have two single girlfriends (one in this state) and one in another state that want to pursue adoption, but were told the exact same things I was told: that any child you receive will have been exposed to drugs/alcohol or is a special needs.  If you would like to share the name of the agency you worked with (and let me know if it is ok to post here or just forward to my friends), they would certainly appreciate it. 

Right now, I feel I am on the path that God has set me on.  Should I feel him calling me elsewhere I will certainly follow where ever that leads--whether it is to adopt here or elsewhere.


Monday, April 21, 2008

The other view point

I received my first negative comment from my last post and I wanted to provide differing view points.  I have had the privilege of watching this blogger go from adopting in Vietnam to switching to a successful domestic adoption and I am very happy for her and her husband.  It is important to understand that NOT every case is the same.  I believe every family has to make a decision that they are comfortable with and she may feel she has to defend her decision and/or her birthmother.  Not true!  No adoptive parent should be forced to defend their decision to adopt from one place or another!  Every child is deserving of a loving family regardless of where they are born or who they are born to.  Believe it or not, I did explore domestic adoption, but I was NOT comfortable as a single person choosing to raise a child that had been exposed to drugs and/or alcohol in utero.  As a nurse I have seen the effects these substances have on children--some which are not apparent until the child is older.  

Besides your comment about "even strung out crack mamas" being offensive, I think you missed the mark on quite a few things here. Your view on domestic adoption is narrow. I have 3 single friends who have succesfully completed domestic adoptions this past year. And, as far as a birthmother picking a wealthy person over someone less well off, I think you are selling bithmothers WAY short. They want the best for their children. Period. Put yourself in their shoes...wouldn't you pick the family that you thought would give your child the best home possible? Not all birthmothers are as greedy as you have painted them to be. We are NOT wealthy people and made that very clear in our domestic profile, and still we were chosen by a birthmother. I think that maybe some deeper investigation into all of these things would lead you to a very different conclusion than the ones you have drawn.

While I am happy that she and her husband were able to successfully adopt domestically, I would like to point out that that is not the case for every would-be-family.  I know far more people that had at least one failed domestic adoption before finally beginning their family than those that were successful on their first match.

  1. Not all state adoption laws are created equal.
  2. I also know singles that have adopted domestically in my state--they either adopted a special needs kid from foster care or they adopted a child that was exposed to illegal drugs or alcohol.  I have a friend that was called just last week and was pressured into making a decision--to begin the adoption proceedings for a child that had been exposed to cocaine several times throughout the pregnancy. 
  3. Believe it or not, marital status does matter.  This was something I was reminded of by EACH domestic agency that I contacted.  Some refused to even consider me because I was single. I was repeatedly told that I would not be considered by many birthmothers because they do, as this commenter noted, want the best for their child.  For many that includes a two-parent household.  Believe me, I understand.  I want my children to have a two-parent household also!  

I urge any prospective adoptive parent to fully investigate any route they choose--whether domestic or international.  Familiarize yourself with the requirements and/or laws that govern those locations.  INTERVIEW.  That's right, interview as many people as you can so you can make an informed decision that you are comfortable with.  When I began looking into adoption several years ago I sought out people that that had adopted domestically and internationally.  Find out who they worked with...did they do a good job?  It's more than asking if they are successful with matching babies to families.  I sought out singles since they represent my demographic and are going to face a different set of issues.  Don't make any rash decisions and don't let anyone scare you into accepting a referral you aren't comfortable with.  This will be a decision that doesn't just affect you--it will affect that child!  You need to be the best parent to that child that you possibly can be.

I do apologize if I came across as making birthmothers greedy, that was certainly not my intent.  As I said in my previous post "Even if they don't feel they can raise their own child, they still want to find a family that can give them everything they can't".  I sincerely believe that, but I would be foolish to not believe that my financial situation doesn't play a part in that decision.  I grew up wearing hand-me down clothes while everyone else wore brand-name.  Believe me, I'd like to give my children the things that I didn't have.  

I wish that deeper investigation would have revealed something different, I truly do.  It has been three years since I initially started looking into domestic adoption and every year or so I look into it again, only to be disappointed to learn that things have not changed much in that time. 

I am always glad to hear from people that have had positive adoption experiences because it reminds me that it is possible.  They are such wonderful sources of information for families that decide to go that route.  In fact, when one of my single friends began looking into domestic adoption, I forwarded this commenter's blog to her because I hoped it would be a good resource (along with another MN single girl that successfully completed a domestic adoption).  My friend is fortunate, she doesn't live here! 

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Well, I'm just trying to help"

There are so many well meaning people out there...that are getting on my very last nerve.  When I began the adoption process for my China girl, I tried to keep it pretty quiet.  I was excited so it was really hard to keep it to myself.  So far as know, it's just my immediate family and my grandma that know.  I also had to share it with my boss and HR director at the time because they needed to submit information on my behalf.  They were also very quietly telling alot of the other staff even though I expressly asked them not to.  Same at church...I shared it with my prayer circle of 4 other women because believe me, I really needed a lot of prayer!  I swore them to confidence, but when I went to Hong Kong a month later they were under some misguided belief that I was "picking out my child" even though I thought I had made it pretty clear that I was only going for a wedding and that my referral would be well over a year away.  Anyway, because of the loose lips among these acquaintances, a lot more people know about the adoption than I ever wanted to know.  I realize they were excited and it sounds exotic to them, but it's my life!  So, as a result, very few people know about adopting Haven.  Not even my boss knows.  Only immediate family and probably 4 people that are closest to me (and obviously those of you that are reading my blog right now). 

So, after all that I can finally get down to my primary topic: well meaning people and the stupid stuff they say.  Since so many people know about my daughter I am asked on a near daily basis (which bristles me right away since most of them were never supposed to know and I have corrected them multiple times...but that is a rant for another blog) "how much longer?"  It doesn't matter that I have told them it is going to be another 4-6 years or to not ask until after the Olympics, the same question comes up day after day.  After they bitch complain about the wait time and start talking trash about a group of people that they know nothing about, I get question number 2: Why don't you adopt from another country?

Are you kidding?  My heart has always been in Asia and I'm thankful that I had the opportunity to begin adoptions there when I did, but I have two problems with this question:

  1. I know where my kids are, why would I go somewhere else?
  2. Do you know how limited I am because I am single???  Married people, consider yourselves blessed.  The adoption world is your oyster.  Not only internationally, but domestic as well. 

After I explain to the well meaning person that it is extremely difficult to adopt as a single in most questions, we move onto question number 3: Why don't you adopt here?

Several reasons: birth mothers get to choose the adoptive family, even strung out crack mamas.  Even if they don't feel they can raise their own child, they still want to find a family that can give them everything they can't.  When you can choose between a married couple (and a stay at home mom) that make $200,000/year and live in a nice house or a single working mom of considerably less means and a much smaller house, who are you going to choose?  Even my SW has told me that I would be better off adopting internationally otherwise I am mostly limited to infants that have been exposed to drugs and alcohol in utero. 

Which brings on question number 4: Why don't you become a foster parent?  Please keep in mind, I am talking from my experience and how my state is set up...your state may be different than mine.  I've heard that other some states are actually there for their kids, this is not true of all states and certainly not true of my state.  My state has had the unfortunate distinction of having several children killed by their parents even while children's services was involved.  We had one killed shortly after he was returned to the birth mom. By the time children are removed from their birth parents in this state, they are destroyed children.  These children have been sexually and physically abused (many times for years) before the state intervenes or they have been neglected and abandoned and have great difficulty being parented.  Please understand me--I'm not saying that they are unworthy, I'm just saying that I don't feel like I can parent them.  And, yes, I do realize that I do not know what to expect from my adopted children from Asia.  I do know they will be developmentally delayed, they will have some degree of attachment issues, and may have suffered from neglect or lack of interaction while in the orphanage.  I also won't know anything about pre-natal care.  But from personal experience, I know I am better suited for international adoption than for foster kids from my own state. 

Many people make the suggestion to "foster parent" without having any experience in the matter.  I do, however, have experience.  As a teenager my family had a couple foster kids--after the last one I asked that we not do it again because I was the one that had to share my room with them and I began fearing for my safety.  I was on edge in my own home.  We were not told her history, but it was evident from her behavior that she had been sexually abused.  She also had a lot of displaced anger that got directed towards me and my mother.  I used to wait for her to fall asleep first at night before I was able to sleep--I didn't know what she would do to me while I slept.  She tried to jump me on a couple of occasions and since she was a year older, 50 lbs heavier and 6 inches taller I'm sure she could have seriously injured or killed me.  My mother found notes tucked into the bed stating that she wished to kill me.  So, yeah, I have experience.

In addition, this state is very much pro-birth parent and anti-child (I say anti-child since children don't have a written guarantee of any rights.  They don't have the right to be safe from harm, cared for, or fed) unlike some other states.  It doesn't matter how much damage that birth mom and her dead beat boyfriend have done to that child(ren), the state really wants her to parent her kid(s) regardless of the needs of the child.  I don't want to fall in love with a child and wait for the state to come and take them away.  Although I will not ever claim to have loved our foster kid, I was heart broken by her behavior when she would return from a weekend at her dad's house (and presumably her abuser).  Any gains she had made throughout the month or more were lost in 48 hours.  It would kill me to have to watch that with a child I was caring for.  To know I was sending that child back into an environment that would cause them physical and mental harm...well, I just don't know how I would do that. 

So, when a person asks me "have you thought of....?", the answer is "yes, I have".  Believe me, there is nothing they can suggest that I haven't thought, pondered, prayed or agonized over.  I realize that not everyone makes the same decisions and some have had better outcomes, but the rules apply to different people based on your marital status and the state you live in.  I have chosen to make decisions that I can live with.

Of course, I can do as my mom suggested and the next time someone asks "have you thought of....?" I can say "thanks for your insight, I hadn't thought of that".

And please, don't flame me for stating my opinions on things that I have experienced.  You may have had a different experience and that is great, more power to you, but not everyone has been so blessed. 

Friday, April 18, 2008

Number 9

I finally got a hold of my peeps at the agency. I am currently #9 waiting for a boy...yippee! My dossier is still in San Fran (what the heck?), and they mailed my grant letter today.

Aside from from rockin' and rollin' through two earthquakes and a number of aftershocks today, things are groovy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

As rumors go...

We've all seen 'em...those lovely forwarded emails that have just enough truth to sound legit, but then you wonder...will Bill Gates actually send me $200 if I forward this email to ten of my nearest and dearest?  Yeah, so the most recent rumor had me a bit flummoxed.  I've had several reputable sources refute it now, but I'm still feeling a bit edgy.  I'm so close at this point that it is making me nervous.  So, I called my agency today.  And called and called and called.  This is after I emailed on three separate occasions over the last 2 weeks.  Nothing.  If they don't want to talk, they are very good about not talking.  That's very frustrating to me because I am in the process of submitting grants and many of them request a letter on official agency letterhead verifying that I am indeed adopting.  I guess the dropping $$ level in my accounts isn't proof enough.  Anyway, I still have no idea where my dossier is.  I was told it should have been back from SF within 2 weeks and that was several days ago, but no news yet.  I would feel so much better about things if I was logged in.

So, I'm feeling the stress today and then I check my email.  This is part of the email my Mom sent:

I will be so excited when we finally have our asian grandkids. Dad really wants a grandson. He already has plans for fishing with Duc.

Awww...thanks you guys!  It kind of keeps the dream alive, you know?  Last night Michael and I got a pizza and went to the park.  It was a beautiful afternoon/evening and there were a ton of kids there.  I'm looking forward to the day when my kids are here and we can all go to the park together.  I'll show them how to fly a kite, Michael will teach them to climb trees, my mom will show them how to swim (there is also a pool on site) and a co-worker has already mentioned that she wants to teach them how to ride a horse.  I wish I'd had it that good when I was a kid:-) 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Sorry I've been out of the blogging loop the past couple of days.  Between absolute fatigue, work, and life I haven't had time to post, but believe me, I'm definitely thinking about some things that I will share with you soon.  Nothing is moving on my adoption front, although I have been told that the line has moved up by one.  I'm still awaiting confirmation so I may still be in double digits. 

Upcoming topics I want to cover:

  1. The question that everyone keeps asking me "why don't you adopt from the US?" or "why don't you become a foster parent?"  Why don't you stop giving me advice?  Don't you think I fully studied my options before taking this leap?
  2. Grants--how the heck do you get them? 
  3. Rumor mongers--please, shut up already!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

So many firsts...

I know this is true for a lot of adoptive parents, you spend a lot of time thinking of your child-what do they look like, are they healthy and happy?  I have been waiting for so long.  Today marks 14 months that I have officially been waiting for my daughter and for the most part I am ok with the ever expanding wait times.  But I can't help but remember that when I started my journey I was expecting a 12-14 month wait.  I was expecting to have a referral for my daughter this month and I expected to travel this June.  My mother had to tell our family in Hong Kong that we would NOT be meeting them there this summer.  I have yet to tell them to meet me in Hanoi later this year instead.  I'm holding this one close to my heart so that only a few can catch a glimpse of the miracle that is my son. 

I can't help but think of him, as I do my daughter.  And of late, a new sensation has set in---I get this feeling that he is here.  Somewhere in the world my Haven is alive and my heart stretches across the ocean to him.  Can he feel me?  I pray that there is someone there to hold him close and comfort him.  I pray that angels surround him and those caring for him.  He will experience so many firsts--first smile, first cry, first tooth--the list is endless.

I will experience my own set of firsts.  I try to imagine what that moment will be like when I get "the call".  How will I react?  I will fall in love, for the first time, with no strings attached.  No conditions that set limits on what my heart is allowed to feel.  I will feel every emotion, I want to feel every emotion.  And I want my son to know how much his life has touched mine already.    

I push my imagination further...what will it be like when they finally put him in my arms?  Will we just stare at each other and wonder what happens next?  Or will we both give over to the tears?  His from pain of loss and confusion and mine from unspeakable joy and absolute fear? 

I imagine my first hug.  My first kiss from my son.  The first time he grabs my hand to play.  I'm not sure I'll be able to hide the tears then either.  My poor child will think I leak!

I imagine the first time I hear him say "mama". 

When does it all become real?  When I receive that referral, when I hold him for the first time or the first time I hear him call for me?


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What are you?

by Mary Sullivan

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her.  She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up.  She was tired of fighting and struggling.  It seemed as if as soon as one problem was solved a new one arose.  Her mother took her to the kitchen.
The mother filled three pots with water.  In the first, she placed carrots.
In the second she placed eggs.  And the last she placed ground coffee beans.  She let them sit and boil without saying a word.  About twenty minutes later, she turned off the burners.
She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl.
Turning to her daughter, she said, "Tell me what you see."
"Carrots, eggs, and coffee," she replied. (You known the tone of voice.)
She brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did, and noted that they felt soft.
She then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg inside.
Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee.  The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter then asked, "So, what's the point, mother?" (Remember the tone of voice.)
Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity - boiling water - but each reacted differently.
The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak.
The egg had been fragile.  Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid center. But, after sitting through the boiling water, its insides had become hardened.
The ground coffee beans were unique, however.  After they were in the boiling water...they had changed the water.
"Which are you?" she asked her daughter.  "When adversity knocks on your
door, how do you respond?  Are you a carrot , an egg, or a coffee bean?"
Think of this: Which am I?
Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity, do I wilt
and become soft and lose my strength?
Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat?

Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial
hardship, or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff?  Does my outer shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and a hardened heart?
Or am I like the coffee bean?  The bean actually changes the hot water - the very circumstances that bring the pain.  When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor of the bean.  If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you instead of letting it change you.
When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate to another level?
How do you handle Adversity?


Monday, April 7, 2008

It's Monday!

I know a lot of different people read this blog--it's not limited to those adopting from Vietnam (even if I am too lazy to update my sidebar and add families that are adopting from other countries--my apologies).  As such, I want to pay tribute to other positive posters out there.  I'm always amazed when I get a comment from someone I haven't heard from before.  I admit, it's fun for me to then go back to their blog and learn about them, their journey, and the country they are adopting from.  So, I want to introduce Jennifer and Jody to you.  They stopped by to say hello in the middle of my 171H crisis because they were in the exact same boat!  Same office, same officer (I think).  Jennifer managed to get her 171H a few days before me and I was so happy for her (and a little bit for myself because I knew I was in the same stack on the USCIS officer's desk).  So, stop by and say hello to Jennifer and Jody and their happy blog!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Because I love you all so much

That's right, folks, Vietnam Idol (looks and sounds a lot like ours--just in Vietnamese).

It's here! It's finally here!

No, not that, silly.  Spring!  It's here!  I'm so excited!  It's my favorite time of the year (allergies by damned) and now we have had two consecutive days of 60* weather.  Whoo hoo!  It's here!

Now comes the hard part.  I LOVE to spend money this time of year.  I want to buy plants for my flower boxes, veggies for my garden, fertilizer and crap for the weed infested yard that I inherited when I bought this house.  And I really want a little table and chairs and a grill for my patio out back.  It's not much to ask for, right?  Unless you are adopting.  Correction, unless you are adopting two kids and you are a single woman on a nurse's salary.  I know I can stay strong.  I know I can go without yet another year...or maybe I'll have to splurge a bit and spend some of my tax refund.  Yeah, maybe I can rationalize this out. 

My dad generously volunteered to pay for a storm door for the front of the house.  Currently, I don't have one.  And a neighbor that attends the same church as me generously offered to put it up.  And once I replace the drafty sliding glass door in the back of the house, this place will look pretty spiffy.  Yeah, things are looking brighter already.  Thank God I have people in my life that want to help. 

Movie Review Time

Ok, I actually finished watching the last of my three rentals on Friday night, a mere two hours before they were due back.  I suppose I could have written on the ones I saw earlier instead of inserting so much fluff into my blog this week, but what can I say?  I was tired.  Now I'm feeling a little more rested and hopefully clearer-headed. 

Let's start with the bottom up.

Death at a Funeral It had good actors and if you watch any British movies or TV you have likely seen some or all of these characters.  It had a few good laughs, but it honestly felt like I had seen it before.  And maybe I have....the Americans are ripping off everybody else's material these days so maybe I have seen the "American" version.  Anyway, it was entertaining and it finally grabbed my attention firmly about half way through.

Martian Child Was actually pretty good and I would recommend it to anyone--adoptive parent or not.  I couldn't help but think as I sat watching the movie that the person that had written it must have experienced adoption in some way.  You know, that feeling you get that the author really knows their subject?  Well, I Googled it and sure enough it was based on a true story.  I have been trying not to buy any more books because I am a book hoarder, but my local library only carries the audio CD.  I really get more out of reading, but I am really curious to learn more about his experience.  I loved the scene where he is anxiously waiting for "the call".  Y'all know what I am talking about.  I liked the interaction between him and his sister while she tries to talk him out of adopting a troubled kid.  How many of you have had family or friends try to talk you out of adopting?  And I absolutely love the line that Teresa pointed out to me, "I can understand not wanting to bring another child into this world, but how can you argue against loving one who is already here?"    How can anyone possibly argue with that logic?  I have often joked with Kristen that I wondered what I was going to do when they finally put my son (or daughter) in my arms.  I just have this image of the two of us having a stare down before one of us dissolves into tears.  I love the scene when he bring his little Martian home and he settles him in his room...but what next?  He calls his sister to find out what to do.  I also liked that he just let his son be who he is in all his weirdness.  I remember the battles my mother and I had growing up because she wanted so badly for me to fit in and not be weird, and there isn't a fashion line out there yet that can protect you from your own weirdness.  Anyway, I really liked the movie.  But you might have already figured that out by now.

angels in the dust This was an awesome, incredible, inspiring movie and a must see for any adoptive parent regardless of country.  It was the story of an affluent Johannesburg couple that move to the middle of nowhere Africa and open up an orphanage and school.  Some of the children had parents and would stay through the week for school and return home on Friday evenings, but many didn't have parents because they had been abandoned or had died from HIV/AIDS infections.  The numbers of people dying every day in that country from the disease is MIND BLOWING.  I think for many HIV is a foreign disease--even in my little liberal slice of heaven with a thriving gay population (we have one of the highest number of homosexuals per capita in the US) doesn't view HIV/AIDS as a major issue due to all the education that has been directed towards students and the GBLT community.  This movie paints a completely different picture.  And the stories that broke my heart were of the women that sold their daughters for sex when they were kids.  It didn't take long for these kids to become infected.  To see the number of children that really never had the chance to be kids...well, let's just say I did a lot of blinking back tears.  The woman who runs the orphanage is essential mom to 100+ kids and she loves each one of them fiercely.  The word adoption was never brought up in the movie and that could be for many reasons.  Many kids still had at least 1 living parent that wouldn't consent for HIV tests or schooling--let alone adoption.  In a sense, Marion became the mother to all these kids.  Is it better to remain living in such an environment or being adopted and possibly moving halfway around the world?  I don't know...it really raised some questions in my head.  In some situations, it seems adoption is the only answer for the numbers of unwanted children (I'm thinking of Vietnam and China specifically--Vietnam has the highest number of abortions in the world and China still practices forced abortions), but in this case, these children had a place they called home and woman that loved them and protected them.  Anyway, it really raised some questions in my own mind and about the rights of children.  It was inspiring and I have included the website here: http://www.botshabelo.org/index.html And the movie trailer:

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Not to gross you out, but...

Not to gross you out, but this is why you need to get your Hepatitis A series started before you go to Vietnam or China or many other developing countries.

Washing dirty hands

Rural children have limited access to clean water, which spawns a host of public health issues

A national survey conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) highlights the endemic problem of sanitation and hygiene in Vietnam’s rural territories.

The practice of hand-washing with soap in Vietnam’s rural areas is not common, a conference heard last week.

According to the National Baseline Survey on the Environmental Sanitation and Hygiene Situation in Vietnam conducted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) and other partners, 12 percent of rural people wash their hands with soap before meals and only 16 percent do so after excreting.

International medical experts say hand-washing is a highly-effective routine that helps people to avoid diseases when lacking clean water and hygienic latrines.

Washing hands can also reduce by 47 percent children suffering from diarrhea and aspiratory diseases, which are the main causes of death for Vietnamese infants under five years old.

Only 4.6 percent of rural students wash their hands with soap after urinating and 11.5 percent after defecation.

Although 35.5 percent of surveyed schools have hand-washing areas with sufficient water, only 4.6 percent of the facilities have soap.

In addition to people’s poor awareness of appropriate hygiene, Vietnam’s rural areas also cope with problems related to the dearth of hygienic latrines and clean water, the survey emphasized.

Dearth of latrines

More than 80 percent of rural households, lack hygienic latrines, as defined by MoH.

The situation is even worse in ethnic minority areas since less than four percent of the people have access to hygienic latrines and 66 percent do not have toilets.

The mishandling of human feces potentially pollutes water sources, soil, food and the surrounding environment.

According to rural residents, a main reason why they have yet to equip standard latrines is that they cannot afford the US$20 cost.

More than 90 percent of households without hygienic latrines reported monthly incomes averaging VND200,000 ($12.50).

About 74 percent of surveyed individuals who lack latrines say they are willing to buy the facility if given interest-free loans.

However, the majority of people in mountainous areas deem hygienic latrines unnecessary.

Inaccessible clean water

The MoH’s latest research on water quality additionally reports that only 15.6 percent of the rural population has access to clean water.

In rural areas the main sources for drinking and cooking water come from rain water, piped or gravity flow systems, tube wells, dug wells and open rivers.

According to the survey, it is not very common that people treat water prior to use, even though it is imperative to do so.

About 20 percent of the rural schools have no water supply and more than half do not provide drinking water to students during school hours.

The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recommended that Vietnam bolster education and awareness campaigns to promote appropriate latrine use, hand-washing with soap and protecting water sources.

In addition to investing in educational resources, the country should also create standard policies for water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

The country, in fact, aims to ensure 70 percent of rural households practice appropriate personal hygiene and 100 percent of rural families have access to hygienic latrines by 2010.

The millennium goal that was adopted at the UN summit in 2000 seeks to halve the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

The national survey was conducted in various regions among different population groups.

Its findings will be referenced to inform the National Target Program on Rural Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation for the period of 2006 - 2010.

Reported by Thanh Nguyen

The above probably has something to do with this-->

Acute diarrhea epidemic ravages northern Vietnam

Acute diarrhea outbreaks have occurred in 10 northern localities, with Hanoi being the hardest-hit area, a local health agency reported.

Preventive Health Department Head Nguyen Huy Nga said on Wednesday that 85 patients had tested positive for cholera, with 44 cases reported in Hanoi alone.

Tran Thi Phuong Thuy, a doctor from the Hanoi-based National Institute for Tropical and Infectious Diseases, said 103 patients with acute diarrhea are currently being treated on site.

Three other Hanoi general hospitals – Xanh Pon, Bach Mai and Dong Da – also admitted a total of 110 cases of acute diarrhea.

Recent tests conducted by the institute revealed the presence of the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, which causes the cholera disease, in water from canals and lakes in Hanoi and other northern provinces.

Warmer temperatures associated with the changing of the season heighten the bacterium resistance and increase the potential for the disease to proliferate.

Nga said water sterilization measures have been implemented at infected canals and lakes.

Last December, the Ministry of Health announced a 40-day acute diarrhea epidemic in 13 northern localities had been controlled.

That outbreak totaled 1,991 reported cases, of which 295 tested positive for cholera.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Say what you need to say

I love this lyric:

Even if your hands are shaking
And your faith is broken
Even as the eyes are closing
Do it with a heart wide open
Say what you need to say


Regardless of what happens, my son is in Vietnam and no matter how hard the wait or how confusing the road, I've said what I need to say, even if it is only a reminder to my own soul.  Somewhere in the world I have a son, this much I believe.

Yesterday I was exhausted when I got home and it is strange how the mind can disconnect when brought to utter exhaustion.  And in my moment of complete exhaustion I had this crazy realization--I am going to be a mother to TWO children.  I'm going to be a single parent to two adopted children.  And I was overcome by the wonderment of it all and the mystery of how it all came to being.  Wow, God has a sense of humor.  I'm just glad I listened.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

News, news, news

I seem to start a number of blog posts with this "this will be short and sweet" and before long my readers are having to scroll and scroll.  My apologies, but I will try to keep this one short:) 

It seems there is always news in AdoptionLand--good or bad, and today I am thankful that I have good news.  I just learned that my dossier has been sent to San Fran for authentication and will likely be returned to my agency in another 12-14 days.  After that I will officially be DTV (dossier to Vietnam). Whoo hoo!  Again, more unsubstantiated rumors are floating about.  Honestly, I just tune it out.  Maybe they are harbingers of truth, but then again, maybe they are just crap. 

I'm tired peeps.  I really tired.  I know I've been complaining about it for a while now, but I'm exhausted.  Financially I can't really afford to take time off especially since I just received my fee schedule today from my agency.  Holy cow!  If my mom is reading this I just have one thing to say:  SAVE YOUR NICKELS AND DIMES.  I went to the grocery store tonight and bought a couple items fully realizing that it would be months before I would have the luxury of buying another one.  I bought my last container of nice cushy for the tushy butt wipe, a new toothbrush and some face cream. 

So, I think I'm going to talk to my boss about taking next Monday off.  If so, that will give me a 3 1/2 day weekend.  I say 3 1/2 because I worked 2 hours over today and I'm sure it will be equally busy tomorrow.  If so, I will be forced to take off early on Friday so I don't go into overtime.

Ok, I'm going to shut up now.  I'm tired and rambling.



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

  © Free Blogger Templates 'Photoblog II' by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP