Monday, June 30, 2008

Adoption Crap Part II

Evidently I wasn't the only one offended by Mike Seate's column (link in the previous post).  Another employee of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review responded and her article, interestingly enough, mentions nearly everything I emailed Mike to complain about.  Here is the link to the article, but I have copy and pasted it as well.

Adoption complex in world of reality

By Sue Jones
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, June 28, 2008

I, like many in the international adoption community, was offended by Mike Seate's column last week that categorized Asian adoptees as a "must-have fashion accessory for upper middle-class Americans."

Although my 6-year-old daughter, who was adopted from China at 10 months, often dresses better than I do, trust me, she's no accessory. And as a single mom employed at a newspaper, we're not upper middle-class; neither are most of the adoptive parents I know.

Mike, after seeing two movies that involved adopted Asian children, concluded that Americans should adopt domestically and particularly from some of the thousands of black, Latino or mixed-race children without families. Well, real life is not as simple as it is in the movies or in Mike Seate columns.

No adoption, domestic or international, is done on a whim. The wait for a child from China can be longer than two years. And no amount of money or celebrity can make the wheels of the monolithic Chinese government turn faster.

Domestic private adoptions often are as expensive as international adoptions, and they hold the risk of a change of heart by the birth parents at any time during the pregnancy. The process often involves the birth mother interviewing and selecting parents for her baby. For prospective adoptive parents, rejection by a birth mother can be devastating. And for single moms, the odds of being selected aren't good.

Also, domestic adoptions often are open, meaning continuing contact between the birth family and the child, which some adoptive parents are not comfortable with.

Adoption from the foster care system has inherent risks and often involves complicated legal proceedings to terminate parental rights. Most children in foster care are there temporarily while their family situation stabilizes. According to the Child Welfare League, most children are placed in foster care because of parental abuse or neglect. I admire those people who can take these sometimes troubled children into their homes temporarily and then let them go back to their birth families. I couldn't do it.

As for transracial adoptions by white families of black children, again, things aren't quite so simple. The National Association of Black Social Workers issued its first statement on transracial adoption in 1972 and subsequently stood by and reinforced it to say that "transracial adoption of an African American child should only be considered after documented evidence of unsuccessful same race placements has been reviewed and supported by appropriate representatives of the African American community."

So, no, it's not impossible for a white family to adopt a black child, but there are more impediments to it than to adopting internationally.

Asian adoptions are really nothing new. Americans have been adopting children from South Korea since the 1950s. Last year, 5,464 were adopted from China, down from a peak of 7,906 in 2005.

The attractions of an adoption from China are many. The children generally are healthy, and the process is stable.

We live in a global world. Sadly, there are children in need everywhere. Is a child from China any less deserving of a home than a child from the United States?

Sue Jones is assistant Lifestyles editor. She can be reached at sjones@tribweb.com.


Photo Gallery

 

Thanks, Sue!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Adoption Crap

I don't mean crap in the traditional sense.  In my family we refer to any family time as "family crap" as in "Are you coming over Saturday for some family crap?"  Just a useless, random fact about my crazy, fun-loving family.

I haven't posted much about adoption stuff lately, it is not because I have stuck my head in the sand and forgotten.  I just haven't had the time to blog as I normally do, nor have I had the time to cruise the news for adoption related things.  I haven't been checking out your blogs as much (I'm sorry!) because I've been rather pre-occupied.  I'll give you a mom update at the end of the post.

Anyway, today I was checking out someone's blog which took me to an adoption related website which linked to this article.  Honestly, there are a lot of idiots out there and I don't have the time or emotional energy to correct every one that I come across (I saw a blog yesterday that listed all the dumb*ss things people say to adoptive parents and kids and then AF magazine also had a really interesting article about the same thing). 

Anyway, I felt the need to respond to this particular article for a number of reasons.  A few months back I had a post about why I was not able to adopt domestically.  I'm not looking to revisit that discussion again, but I will say that I a number of people e-mailed me to tell me, married or single, they were unable to do a domestic adoption and I had one married couple tell me they were also limited (for domestic and international) due to a physical condition one of them had and another married couple were limited in adopting due to the fact they both had a divorce in their past.  It still bothers me that people think that adopting is the easy way.  Or that they think the US is the cheap way.  I can't say this loud enough ADOPTION IS NEVER CHEAP OR EASY.  Honestly, it has been cheaper for me to adopt abroad than here.  And of the two single friends that I mentioned in that previous post that were hoping to adopt domestically, the one has already decided not to because she couldn't get any domestic agencies to call her back.  NOT. ONE.  How sad.  The other gave up (although not officially because she is still trying to work with an agency), but she has so far only been offered kids with drug and alcohol exposure or those with significant physical needs (CP, cleft palate, mental retardation).  One of these friends indicated that it would be easier and less time consuming to get a hook-up at a bar.  I really hope she was kidding, but I'm not entirely sure. 

Anyway, this is the e-mailed response I sent to the author of that article:

Actually, Mike, it does cost thousands and thousands of dollars to adopt black, Latino or mixed race children.  Two years ago I decided I was ready to start a family, but when I contacted domestic adoption agencies, one of two things happened: either they wouldn’t call me back or they suggested that I adopt babies that had been exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero.  I did have the option of becoming a foster parent, but that opens up a series of other issues.  One, how do I return a child to their abusive biological family when I have loved and cared for the child for years?  Just because the child is in foster care does not mean they are adoptable.  In my state, the majority of children return to their biological families despite abuse and maltreatment.  Two, as a single parent am I equipped to handle the physical and emotional needs of that child?  Children that are permanently removed from their homes are children that have been seriously damaged from an early age and need extensive counseling and access to attachment specialists.  Growing up my family often cared for foster kids and the degree of disability as a result of the abuses they suffered was astounding. 

Recently I found an agency in Texas that had a break-down of costs according to race, from $40,000 to $26,000 (talk about ick).  So, even though there are only a few countries that allow singles to adopt I decided to begin an international adoption, and yes, it is far more affordable than adopting here.  In addition, the chances of completing an international adoption on the first attempt are much higher than attempting to adopt domestically.  Why would I spend $26-40,000 on something that I wasn’t sure was going to happen?  That money is not refunded to the adoptive parent when the adoption is not completed.   

I can only assume you were trying to be funny when you said an Asian child be much better off on a rice paddy 7,000 miles away.  Yeah, maybe if they had parents they would be on a rice paddy, but if they have been abandoned they are sent to an orphanage.  In China, when a child turns 14 years-old he/she is put on the streets.  Would you like to guess what happens to them at that point?  Some are taken against their will and forced into the sex trade.  Once there, they are trafficked across the borders of China, Vietnam, Philippines and beyond.  Since they have no parents and no one cares for these children, there is no one to speak on their behalf and prevent this from happening.   

I wish I could have adopted from the US, I really do, but when I was forced to look beyond our borders I found a lot of other children that also needed families.  Are Asian children any less deserving than American children?  At least American children do not live in orphanages, have free education and healthcare, and most live with good foster parents.   I think there are a lot of abandoned children in Asia that would wish for at least that much.  As far as Asian children being more “desirable” I really can’t speak for that.  Most children adopted from Asian orphanages suffer from scabies, upper respiratory infections, and other conditions related to malnutrition and decreased access to caregivers and medical care.

I did edit some out just because it is already a long e-mail.  Unfortunately, I think he does have some truth in his article, but it was not really something that came across to the reader and is probably something that I may be projecting.  I don't know when adoptions and Hollywood first became entangled.  Perhaps it was with Joan Crawford (Mommy Dearest) that introduced Hollywood adoptions to the US.  Joan's adoptions had a touch of ick attached to them because she would change her adopted children's birth dates so that the birth families couldn't later claim the child (which happened to her second child).  And perhaps Angelina Jolie introduced adoptions Hollywood style to the Gen X crowd.  Prior to her first adoption I always viewed Angelina as kind of a skank, but my opinion of her has changed drastically over the years.  Like so many women, having a child changed her life for the better.  She has become an ambassador to the UN in Cambodia and works on a lot of causes worldwide to improve the welfare for children.  I don't think she has set out to say "look, I'm adopting!" just as she has not set out to say "look, I'm pregnant!"  I like that she respects her children's birth cultures and tries to incorporate those traditions into American traditions.  More importantly she followed the rules and did not use her celebrity status to "get" a child (there was an article about this in either AF or another adoption magazine last year). She is not the only celebrity to adopt and do it quietly--Meg Ryan adopted a daughter from China a few years.  Ewan McGregor and his wife adopted a child from Mongolia in 2001 and have refused to discuss the adoption with reporters. 

Unfortunately, Madonna ruined whatever positive credibility other celebrities adopters had earned when she adopted her son David by breaking all the Malawi adoption rules in 2006.  There was outrage in the adoption community--how come she got to go to an orphanage and pick out her child and take him home right away?  Those that are not in our adoption circles are lead to believe that this is the status quo.  When I was paperchasing for my China girl, I only shared my plans with the 4 women in my prayer circle at church.  I swore them to secrecy because I still consider it to be a private matter.  Two months after I told them I went to Hong Kong to attend a family wedding.  In my absence these do-gooders told the members of my church that I was going to pick out my child.  What the heck?  I don't know how they ever got that impression, but in their minds going to HK=China adoption.  When I returned I was inundated with questions from the church asking where my child was. Hadn't I picked her out? Why didn't I bring her back?  When was I going back to get her?

I wish we could hold our stars accountable for their actions, even if it relates only to adoptions just as I wish we could have honest politicians, but I don't see that happening.  Which leads me full circle back to my initial statement/question--is it my responsibility to educate those that profess a profound ignorance of adoption and insult our children in the process?  Perhaps this is the time to do it for as many people as I can before my children arrive.  I admit to being quick tempered and nothing makes my blood boil faster than someone insulting someone in my family (unless it's true.  In that case it is just funny).  I'm not sure how well I am going to respond to people making obnoxious comments like that, but I don't want my kids to grow up feeling ashamed of their heritage or the fact they are adopted. 

Speaking of family--my mom rocks.  I mean really, she's crazy.  She left the hospital yesterday morning a mere 48 hours from the time the surgery started.  Not only that, she walked a mile today.  How many of you walked a mile today?  At this point I think she is in better shape than I am!  The whole time she was in the hospital we were telling funny stories.  The poor woman has already given her incision a work out from all the belly laughing she has been doing.  Tonight we were talking and I was telling her about something funny I did at work (I'll try to post that story on my daughter's blog this weekend).  We were both laughing so hard that she was squeaking and I was wheezing.  We are believing that the pathology report will show that her lymph nodes are clear and that she is only Stage I.  That would be awesome news. 

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Note to self...

...do not watch scary a** shows before taking the trash out at 11 pm when there is no moonlight and no working exterior lighting.  I swear, I think I left my trash can in the middle of driveway because I was too worried about taking it out to the road.  I have to put the trash to the left of the driveway, but there are large bushes and trees that make it nearly impossible to see through during the day and IMPOSSIBLE at night.  I'm always worried some jogger stalker could spook me or grab me.  Yikes.  I'm all tough girl until I watch a scary show--I can't handle scary shows!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Finally...



the day has arrived. I didn't sleep well last night, go figure. Neither did my mom. My mom has such a funny sense of humor and wanted pictures taken during the entire process. Here she is Pre-Op:

That's my mom--posing with the studs in the OR. One is her anesthesiologist and I have NO idea what the other guy does. Looks good in scrubs though, doesn't he?


My mom insisted on getting up this evening so she could go back to bed. Here she is up and showing off to all the nurses:



Surgeon said everything looked really good, but she can't say anything definitive until she gets the pathology report back.

Thanks so much for all your prayers! She is doing so much better than I ever anticipated!

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Longest Summer Ever

There are a couple of reasons for calling this post "The Longest Summer Ever".  As some of you may recall, my mom was diagnosed with cancer just 4 weeks ago.  It was a shock, no, it was a kick in the chest and totally knocked the wind out of me.  We waited for days to learn when her surgery would finally be scheduled.  Every minute, every hour stretched out indefinitely (normally a good thing, right?).  Then when we finally had a date and time, we kept hoping that it would get moved up.  I think we all just wanted to put this behind us and find out what was next.  I hate not knowing what comes next, and with surgery, we finally will.  My mom finally goes for surgery tomorrow morning at 9:30 am.  I hope you will keep her and the rest of the family in your prayers.  I have a hard enough time saying "my mom has cancer" let alone going to a hospital and sitting there knowing that the doctors are operating on her.  Just saying the words makes me tear up still.  I guess I just don't want to see her in pain. 

My mom is not the sickly kind.  She's never had surgery and has said on more than one occasion that she could have easily birthed us in a field, strapped us to her back and kept on working (she's referring to the old days, but I'm not sure who's old days).  This is the same woman who was trying to separate frozen hamburger patties with a knife and right about the time she realized that was not a good idea, stuck the knife all the way through her hand.  She pulled the knife out and the blood began spurting (a pretty good indicator that she hit an artery).  Any normal, sane person would have gone to the ED.  Not my mom!  She tried to wash it as best as she could and then she wrapped a super-absorbent feminine napkin (aka heavy flow pad) and some toilet paper around it and went on with her day.  She even went to her sign language class the same night.  She seemed rather shocked that we were upset that she didn't seek treatment.  She really does live the old nursing adage "all bleeding stops eventually".  How she didn't hit a nerve and permanently damage her hand is beyond me.  

The other hard wait is for my son.  It's funny as focused as we all are on my mom's cancer, she keeps telling me she is praying that we hear something soon about Haven.  I really do hope we hear something soon although I suspect that many agencies out there are now being very careful and making sure they only tell their families after they are quite sure of the referral.  Honestly, that's ok with me. 

He still visits me in my dreams, even if it is indirectly.  Last week I dreamed that my whole family showed up for a surprise party.  My sister came in carrying a little, tiny, pink, heart-shaped cake.  On the top it said "Happy 3-month Birthday, Duc".  Actually, there was a lot of other crap also written and I couldn't figure out who was the smart one that wanted to write a book on top of a 5x5 inch cake.  Anyhoo, even my subconscious is telling me that I have a son and when his birthday is.  I guess it is dreams like this that keep my hope refreshed and keep me from despairing about my child.  I'm planning my fall and winter mindful that things might change between then and now, but looking forward to the changes. 

Normally summers seems to rush by.  I remember as a kid dreading July 4th because it meant the summer was basically over--it was all downhill from there.  Somehow, I think this summer is going to be a little bit different.   

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It's Saturday!

Evidently I played up the hair too much.  My mom took a look at me yesterday and said "it doesn't seem that much different".  Her only question was if I colored it darker.  Nope, I'm trying to keep my head covered when I am in the sun because it bleaches my hair so bad.  I finally got the last of last summers "highlights" out and I'm back to my natural color.

  IMG_0414 IMG_0413Forgive me, I am horrible at self portraits so I took a picture of myself standing in front of the BR mirror. 

Mom's cancer diagnosis has really forced all of us to look at ways we can improve our health.  My dad is planning on seeing an internist after surgery and has already schedule his, uh, scope.  Because I am the color of bleached flour and have had far more burns at an early age than is really healthy, I had a dermatologist check my skin.  I had a pre-cancerous lesion/mole spotted on my back (and a couple of fishy looking moles on my legs that we are keeping an eye on).  Yesterday I had it removed.  I had no idea that they really dig those suckers out of there.  It was really bleeding so they stuck a couple of stitches in there to shut it up.  I find it amazing that after all the surgeries I have had and the huge scars that have resulted from those surgeries that this is the first time I have had stitches.  I know they used internal dissolvable sutures with many of these surgeries, but I have never once needed staples or sutures to close the wounds.  Even with the big surgery they just glued me shut.  The doctor wanted me to come back in 12 days to have them removed, but I am an RN and I work with other RNs and RNs usually LOVE to pull out stitches.  I'll be asking one of them to pull them out for me.  I told the doctor that I really wanted to do it, but because it's on my back that's kind of impossible.  It's hard enough trying to cleanse it and dress it twice a day. 

No adoption news to share really.  On Wednesday I told you I received a notice from the CIS office that they did NOT have my updated home study.  I contacted my SW's office and they told me I was the second one that week to report the same issue with that issue.  Well, at least it isn't personal.  They are an equal opportunity offender.  Yesterday I checked the mail and found my invite to be fingerprinted.  Generally this office won't even fingerprint unless they have all the paperwork up front.  I don't want to jinx myself, but this might be my easiest one yet.  I have never been fingerprinted in the same month I submitted my request.  So, with two weeks left on my 171H, I'm getting fingerprinted.  Whoo ah! 

Today my sister and niece came down to attend the downtown art display.  Lots of reasonably priced art from a lot of different vendors.  NOT crafts.  I'm not really into crafts, but I would gladly spend my entire paycheck on textiles, pottery and B&W photographs.  I was good this time and just bought a pearl ring--for little over $10! 

This is my niece--just about the cutest thing ever.  People always compliment her on her looks even when she is pitching the ugliest fit.  Crazy girl.   

IMG_0426IMG_0430 IMG_0431 IMG_0435

Ok, the last picture was from the taste of town benefit.  You can sample a lot of different foods from a lot of different restaurants for only $2-3.  My niece has become quite the foodie and wouldn't share her strawberry shortcake.  That's ok...I didn't share my chocolate raspberry truffle ice cream.  Two can play that game. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Updates (not really, but go along for a minute)

Ok, I had someone request to see a pic of the rockin' new haircut.  Well, because mama dearest reads my blog nearly every day (love 'ya Mom!) I have to hold out until she sees it before posting photos.  In our family it is all about the shock value.  Not that it's shocking.  It truly isn't.  So, come Friday evening or Saturday, I will post photos. 

As far as the tattoos go, I'm still taking votes.  My personal preference is of the middle one, but I'm not too keen on the water.  Hopefully my artist could draw up something a bit more tranquil.  To Laura, if that picture were of my behind, you would have seen my crack several inches into the flower.  Yep, mama's short.  And to prudish mom (I know who you are), the reason you are seeing so much skin (and her thong) is because the artist always takes a photo of his finished work.  You should see the one my guy took with my pants pulled low!  Oops, that probably wasn't the best thing to throw out there.  I'm also hoping to have mine shrunk down a bit.  Again, mama's short.  Tattoos would definitely NOT be considered appropriate at my uber-conservative office so I need something that won't peak out from under my clothes too much.  When one of my co-workers learned today that I already had one tattoo, she said "No Way!  But you are such a good girl."  Yes, I am.  A good girl that has always really liked tattoos. 

Back to the second tattoo...I really like the dragonfly.  As I've mentioned several times the dragonfly has always reminded me of my mom's mom.  And each time I go through the adoption process I think a lot of her and I know she would have been thrilled to see how our family grew and changed.  So, the tat with the dragonfly flying off the lotus has another meaning to me. 

I'm also in the process of getting another tat designed.  I have a couple of phrases or promises that have meant something to me over the years.  I'm looking at getting them translated into another language (not Chinese--I've already got my daughter's name tattooed in Chinese or VN) and having them as a daily reminder. 

My appetite is has returned, but I still get queasy around meal time.  The only things I want to eat are carbs, peanut butter, and mozzarella cheese.  Don't ask why, I honestly don't know. 

I'm a little p.o.'d with the USCIS office again.  I submitted my paperwork for an extension of my daughter's 171H.  Some of you may recall the hell I went through earlier this year.  They kept losing things out of my file and it took them four months to finally grant me the 171H.  The same thing happened the first time I submitted, the year prior for my daughter.  And now, once again, they've done it again.  I sent everything to them, my home study agency sent the updated home study.  I received a letter saying they need a home study.  What the heck?  I know they received it in late April/early May.  My 171H expires in mid-July and if I don't get this on the ball by then I will have to meet the new Hague requirements, submit new forms and get more education.   Ugh.  I would love to have a big family someday, but honestly, not if I have to go through that office every time. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

So not sassy today

There is no way to be sassy when you are recovering from stomach flu, your breath still smells faintly of puke, and your short hair is standing up every where way.  Gross.  But, I did lose a couple more pounds from the ordeal so I am trying to focus on the bright side.  I probably could have gone to work today, but I was still feeling weak and somewhat off.  So, I'm going to enjoy the peace and quiet at home, get a lot of sleep and pray that I am better tomorrow because I really don't want to use any more PTO, or as I like to call them, Maternity Leave Hours.

But as I waste time sleeping on the couch here are a couple of things for you to ponder at home.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I want to get a tattoo that represents my son so I want a picture of the lotus flower.  Here is what I have been able to find on the net that I like:

tattoo-lotus-flower-11608871408721 tattoo-lotus-flower-11684711148611 tattoo-lotus-flower-119117697315849

Let me know what you think of those or if you have any pics or links you would like me to look at.  I'm actually considering having the work done while I am in HaNoi.  There is a very reputable place there and they have some of the most intense inks the world!  I'm such a color whore. ink

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

...from my grill to your's. 

IMG_0420 IMG_0422

Friday, June 13, 2008

Twilight

Yesterday I celebrated (?)/remembered/pondered/marked the day I logged my dossier into the CCAA in China.  Yes, it has been 16 months.  I assume that people think I have just moved on, but I haven't.  I think of my daughter every day.  I miss the nights where I dreamed of her.  When I saw her face and smelled her skin and watched her grow. 

My sweet, sweet child.  I feel I have known you for so long now.  Your name is always on my lips and it is all I can do to hold it back.  My co-workers don't know of you, but I find myself catching my tongue before blurting "My daughter...." You are my little miracle.  My gift from God.  The child that opened up my life and rocked my world.  Without even seeing you, you somehow turned my heart from stone to the softest suede.  How did you do that?   I imagine your personality and every time I think you are going to be my wild child--a child of all heart and soul that challenges me and my notions of right and wrong.  I can't wait to learn what you are going to teach me.  Until then, I pray every night that God give me just a little more time with you.  Those moments when my dreams seep into my reality sustain me in ways I can not express.  I remember the feeling of your skin against mine--oh, how it felt so real!  I could still feel you when I awoke and the emptiness in my arms felt strangely awkward.  Sweet dreams, baby girl, until we meet again in twilight. 

Long Week

How is that this past week lasted longer than last week?  I tell you, the last two hours of my work day have become pretty painful.  It's like being a kid again and waiting for Christmas day and presents to arrive...in June.  I know it is because my heart is elsewhere and I'm not supposed to check email at work (which I'm pretty good about following).  Being without information and being afraid my agency will email instead of call--well, it's making me a bit nuts.

Making the week even longer are the constant storms that keep coming through.  Each time they come through they march across our electrical lines leaving me without power...and cable.  If my Internet service wasn't tied to my cable service, I wouldn't be so upset, but it does get irritating.  This will be the third Friday in a row that we have had storms.  Fortunately I haven't heard the tornado sirens yet today.

My mom sent me pictures that she took of the town I grew up in:Flood6  Flood8Flood7

The top two photos are of the bridge that link our two states.  It is now closed.  The bottom photo is the image you see as you are coming over the bridge and entering their town.  Evidently this is the worst flooding in 100 years.  When I was a kid I remember it flooding quite a bit, but not usually this bad.  Kids would canoe around downtown because the river would come up over their back yards.  Pretty scary stuff, although it seemed kind of cool when I was young.

I had so many things I wanted to write about, but now that I am sitting here and the fog of fatigue is settling over my brain.  I did get a rockin' new haircut.  I've been a little irritated with her because she just doesn't "get it" when I explain what I want and I am too lame to remember to bring in a photo.  Actually, it's not so much that I have forgotten, but I have been very disappointed in the past with other stylists when they have recreated something that looked nothing like the photo.  Anyway, I rock right now.  I always thought nose piercings were too trendy for me, but when I was in Hong Kong last year and saw a beautiful Indian woman with a small diamond stud, well, I've wanted one ever since.  My job frowns on facial piercings so I'm going to have to wait until my maternity leave so that they will have plenty of time to heal so I can take them out during the day. A little nose stud would so complete my look today. 

I'm also in the process of designing the tattoo I'm getting next month.  I've already decided I will be getting a lotus flower and my son's name, but I really wanted to wait until I had a referral.  Not because I'm afraid of the permanence, but I figure the endorphin release that I will get from that referral will probably block my pain receptors and I won't notice that the guy is tattooing right over my hip bone.  He caught it once or twice the last time, and I swear, I could feel it all the way in my toes and it did not feel good.  There are a couple of other tattoo designs I am working on.  As I mentioned before, a dragonfly in memory of my grandmother but there is another tattoo--a personal message and a promise that I need to be reminded of.  I remember my sister warning me that I shouldn't mark up my skin, but if I were to be honest, I am already covered with some surgery scars.  I'd rather have something positive to balance those out. 

Monday, June 9, 2008

My homeland...an island in the sea

It has been a strange couple of days. While I generally try not to mention on here where I am from, one can probably figure out a general location from the information I provide or from the links from other blogs. Right now my home state and home town are in the news for some very bad things.

This is the town I live in. This is my downtown only 3-4 miles from where I live and a mile from where I work.

The devastation to our town is bad, but not even as bad as the towns 20 miles north, east and west. Right before the flooding, tornados went through both of those areas. If the twister didn't get them, the flooding certainly did.

Until today, my little town was an island. We were completely surrounded by water and had no way out. The Coast Guard was called into rescue people--just so you know, I live deep in the mid-west. Right smack in the middle of the country and the Coast Guard arrives. All the roads, highways and interstates to the north, south, east and west were out. Today the highway north opened, but the road crews were out trying to repair the south bound highway lanes that were literally washed away. The hospital to our east had to evacuate and close the hospital doors indefinitely. The hospital was immersed in water--the entire ground floor and five inches of the second floor. The pharmacy, the IT, the ED and many other departments--gone. The levees are breaking and today, one of the bridges over one of the highways collapsed.

And as I sit here and write, the hellacious storms have begun again. We have heavy thunder, lightening and rain.

I had the chance to drive north today and I was blown away by the damage. I grew up in a flood plane and we were in tornado alley, but this was unexpected. Any crops that had recently been planted, were washed away. Huge lakes formed where corn and soybeans had grown. The floods took out trees and the highways were littered with debris. I noticed that many of the houses had already pulled their wet carpets and tossed them in the yard.

Please pray for our little towns. The President has declared a state of emergency/disaster in nearly 1/3 of the state's counties. Thankfully, despite all the flooding and tornados, no one has been killed.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I lied...

...I am attempting to mow my grass too.  When I start to whine and complain about feeling tired for the next few days, please remind of how stupid I was today.  For some reason, I'm exhausted all week, but by Sunday I'm like an overly wound top and I go spinning trying to get everything done.  While I'm not usually a bath kind of girl, something tells me I will be soaking the sweat and dirt out of my skin in a tub tonight.  Say a prayer I'm able to get out of the tube. 

Pace yourself

I'm one of those all or none kind of people. I either want to mow the entire yard at one time or not at all. Once I start on something I want to complete it. I've been known to sit through really horrible movies and read through really horrible books just so I could finish them. There isn't much that I start that I don't finish (which might be why two uncompleted adoptions weights heavily on me).

In the spring (uh, two weeks ago) when the weather was nice I just didn't have the physical or emotional energy to work on my yard. I was exhausted for a number of reasons, some that I have shared on here, many that I have not. Because of that, I missed the planting and yard prep season. So what did I decide to do? I decided to wait until it is in the 90s to suddenly attack my overgrown weed plot that used to be a garden. In stead of pacing myself over a couple of days, I decided to do it all today. In the 90s. I didn't feel anything but the sweat on my brow and the sun on my neck until I finished. Then I pulled my work gloves off and noticed that I went beyond blistering my skin (I probably blistered two hours ago), I tore the flesh deep into my hand. On both hands where the fingers and palm meet, I am raw. I guess I won't be mowing the grass today...or tomorrow.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Thoughts on family

I'm going to have what appears to be two sort of random thoughts that I'm going to string together.  It may not make much sense, but there is a point.

When I began the adoption process nearly two years for my daughter, I thought of myself.  And my daughter.  I'm single--in my eyes starting a family didn't affect anyone else. I didn't see the impact on the rest of the family, on my work or colleagues, nor on my community or the world as a whole (which is a topic for a deeper thought somewhere else).  Having said that, I'm beginning to see things differently now. 

As a kid I would see my dad play with my male cousins or any little boys that come over.  He always looked so happy to be rough housing with the boys--which is something he was able to share somewhat with my sister.  I know I asked him on at least one occasion if he would have liked to have a boy and being the gentleman that he is, he would say something along the lines of "no, I got exactly what I wished for" or "I only wanted girls" or something to let us know that we were the only ones he ever wanted.  I know they considered having a third child when all their other friends began having babies one final time--a last ditch effort for a boy.  And many of them were successful, but they opted to stay a family of four. 

My parents were very excited when I announced my intention to adopt a daughter from China.  It was something I had talked about for years, but I just hadn't gotten that "ah-ha" moment--that heavenly push (or turned 30 for that matter).  But when I announced my intention to adopt a second child, a boy, I got a surprising reaction.  I think my mother was a little hesitant initially even though I'd been talking about it since shortly after I started the dossier for my daughter, but she admitted she wasn't ready to change the image of what she thought my family was going to look like.   My father, on the other hand, was very excited from the beginning (my mom adjusted to the news quickly and is also excited).  He has made several comments along the way about how excited he is and even said to me a couple weeks ago "I can't wait for Duc to come home.  I don't think you have any idea of just how excited I am."  Most recently my sister and I were talking and she was telling me about a conversation that she and dad were having and my son's name was brought up.  He mentioned to her about how excited he was and my sister (perhaps feeling a bit defensive) said, "well, we are planning on trying for a boy this summer."  She laughed when she told me his response "oh, but this one is guaranteed."  I couldn't help but think of the scene from "O Brother, Where art thou?"  when Clooney's ex-wife defends her soon-to-be new husband by saying "he's bona fide". 

Duc has begun seeping into not just my family, but my family and those that are closest to me.  While his life began 8,000 miles away (ok, that's just a guess), his life is beginning to grow here as we wait on him.  It's beyond looking at crib sheets and stuffed animals for his room, my family is including him in the head count when planning vacations.  My sister is already picturing her daughter bossing him around while she plays house.  My neighbor pictures him playing on the large limestone formations in her yard, just as her children did 30+ years ago. I walk through my house and lay my hands on the doors to my children's rooms and I pray for safety and comfort for them and their birth parents.  And now, I'm not the only dreaming of my son.  Mom mentioned this morning that Dad had a dream earlier this week (and he rarely remembers or mentions dreams she said) that I received some sort of news on Friday about Duc.  While I did not receive any calls, I have to wonder what might be happening on the other side of the world.  Perhaps someone grabbed my dossier and his dossier and thought we might make a nice family or maybe my family is making a connection to him much deeper than I imagined.

I'm beginning to see the bigger picture more now than I did two years ago.  It's not about me and my child.  It's about me, my children and the rest of our world.  It's about family and community in ways that I never saw before.  Yeah, I will be the biggest one affected by his arrival, but it no longer ends there.  I know that my family will be over the moon (and I really hope my dad is able to go with us to Vietnam), but I also know that my colleagues, many that have now become my friends, will also be affected.  it won't be just that they have to pick up the slack on my maternity leave, they will share in the excitement of having a child in the department again.  While this post is all about me, me, me, I do realize that are bigger issues here as well and that the biggest people affected are really Duc and his birth family.  Perhaps I will have a chance to look a bit deeper at these issues at a later date.  For right now, the sun is finally coming out and I want to see what it looks like!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Here we go again

Looks like it's time to grab the cat and hide in the bath tub again. I just had my cable and internet restored and here we go again...

video

A letter from my senator

Thank you for contacting me about adoptions from Vietnam.

You are not alone in expressing concerns about the pace of adoptions in Vietnam.  In response to many letters from XXXXX, my staff has contacted officials at the Department of Homeland Security to raise your concerns.  Currently there is only one full-time Department of Homeland Security official in Ho Chi Minh City who is assisted by two local staff.  However, subsequent to our inquiry, an additional Department of Homeland Security officer has been assigned to assist in the backlog of adjudications.  My office has been in regular contact with officials from the Departments of State and Homeland Security to reinforce to them the need to expedite adoptions in Vietnam.  I will continue to closely monitor the situation.

As a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I share your concern that the United States remains a strong advocate for fair, transparent, and compassionate adoption policies worldwide.

Thank you, again, for contacting me. 

Sincerely,

A

 

Awww, that's the closest thing I have had to a love letter in a long time!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Hellacious weather continues

Wow, I thought Friday night was bad (the tornados), but I think the past 24 hrs have been worse!  Last night we had some nasty storms roll through, but they didn't affect us too much here--mostly rain and lots of thunder and lightening.  During the night (3?  4?  I have no idea) we had another round go through that shook the house and and as I slipped into work around the butt-crack-of-dawn this morning I managed to get in minutes before another round hit us.  Honestly, it was like a monsoon out there.  I normally LOVE thunderstorms--to this day I still like to stand out on the patio and get soaked with rain, but today was another story.  Today just sitting next to the window at work made me nervous.  The street lights came on yesterday afternoon and didn't turn off until late morning today.  It got sunny and hot (HOT & HUMID--I hate this stuff already) this afternoon and we were all deluded into thinking it was over.  WRONG.  I happened to look at the weather screen at work and noticed that there was a big pile of red over the town my parents live in the next state over that would be heading towards us.  I was smart and decided to call it a day.  I barely got home and it hit again.  I had no power for a couple of hours and because it was storming so hard (at 4 in the afternoon) it was pitch black in my house.  I admit, I was a little bit nervous.  Lightening lit up the house and thunder shook my foundations for over two hours!  When it finally cleared I surveyed the damage.  This is my neighbor's yard next door:IMG_0399 This is my back yard:

IMG_0400 IMG_0401 This is more of her yard.

Should I also mention that we are all on septic tanks back here?  Ick. In addition, I now have new mulch in my yard!  The guy living in the house behind me just mulched ALL his trees this weekend.  It's now mine. All mine (insert evil laugh here). 

While this may look minor, it actually got worse as I ventured onto the road.  Of course trees and branches were down, but the hard rain and fast current actually washed the gravel driveways down to the road.  There were piles of stone everywhere across the roadway making it treacherous.  As I ventured further I saw where the storm or rain had actually pulled up the asphalt and tossed it into neighboring yards.   At a friend's house her road was essentially gone and they had something else that was kind of funky--it looked as if someone had grabbed the edge of the grass and just pulled it up and off the lawn.  The sod was rolled up over itself.  I have never seen that before during any storms here and I have lived here nearly a decade. 

Downtime the streets and businesses were flooded and some reported the water was waist high in areas.  You could actually see cars bobbing around as they sat parked in lots.  Every time the bus would force itself through the water it would create ripples that caused the cars to float and bump into each other.  Please pray for those affected by the storms because I don't think flood damage is covered on most insurance plans whether it is for home, business or car. 

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Updates--nothing new, I swear!

Ok, that's really a lame title, but I feel as if I have been walking on eggshells lately and when people ask me how things are, I'm stickin' with "pretty good".  Actually, maybe I'm the eggshell and I'm feeling a bit crushed--really hard to say. 

I haven't posted for a few days because there is nothing to say...and a lot to say all at the same time.  Basically, I've been enjoying life.  After a couple of hard weeks that I can't completely blame on my mother (I love 'ya, Mom!) it's been nice to feign ignorance...or denial, who knows.  I've not had enough sleep the last couple of nights which makes me feel all funky in a groovy sort of way. 

Ok, update time!

  • We did have a tornado on Saturday morning.  No damage in my immediate vicinity, but the north-west corner of the county got hit and the next big town north of them got hit pretty hard.  No deaths, but plenty of injuries.
  • We had more tornados today.  yeah, evidently the season is hitting earlier than expected.  We were on lock down at work when it hit today and at 2:30 PM, it was so dark outside that the street lights came on.  Honestly, it was darker than 9 PM.  I haven't checked the news to see if we had damage. 
  • Saturday--spent the day with my sis.  Over a month ago she called and invited me to see Sex and the City.  We had a great time and I LOVE spending time with my niece.  Cute story--I went upstairs to use the bathroom.  The hall bath is right next door to my niece's room and while I was in the BR doing my thing, she knocked on the door.  I let her in and I asked what she needed.  She said "potty".  After clarifying that she also needed to use the toilet, I pulled her britches down and she settled herself on her little training potty.  I handed her some TP and we had a nice little conversation, just the two of us using the toilet. Anyway, the time with my sister was great, the time with my niece was great and I stopped at a great store (thanks to Shasta for the directions) called Global Gifts.  My sister gave me a limit--five minutes and we are out the door!  Evidently seeing SATC was more important than seeing the cool stuff...anyway, I did some serious damage in only a few minutes.  I love prayer flags and I bought some Bengali Prayer Flags for Haven's room.  They match his room, and although they aren't Vietnamese, I love it.  Actually, I did the same with his sister's room.  She has some Nepalese art hanging in her room.  I also bought this guy:  IMG_0397  IMG_0398 I love this guy!  He's from Indonesia and I've already named him.
  • Sunday--uneventful, but I did learn that I'm the best darn grill cook around.  My marinated/grilled veggies were awesome--even Michael thought they were better than the meat. 

I did find myself feeling deeply annoyed at church.  No one besides the pastor knows of this adoption (so you should all feel very honored), but because of someone's loose lips, everyone knows about my China girl.  Several weeks ago a woman came up to me and asked...again.  partly out of self preservation and partly because I didn't want her to feel obligated about asking, I told her several weeks ago that it would be years before I hear anything and promised to update her as soon as I heard anything.  Pretty clear, right?  Don't call me, I'll call you.  It's been 6 months and they are still processing the same month of LID so I thought that was a safe answer.  Anyway, she comes up to me on Sunday with an excited expression and asked, "So, did you hear anything this week?!?"  What the heck?  With what I am sure was a rather pissy facial expression I said, "you really shouldn't feel obligated to ask.  It really will be years before I hear anything.  Trust me, if I hear anything at all, the entire church will know about it, but until then, there isn't any reason to keep asking."  I honestly don't know what else to say.  I know some PAPs out there think that is a crappy way to respond, but despite the fact that I have moved forward with another adoption, my heart is still very much with my daughter and I pray for her and her family every-single-day.  I will long for her until I have her in my arms, no matter how long it takes or how my family may grow in the meantime.  But there is no way to explain that to people. 

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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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