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Monday, July 31, 2006
Over the Edge
Those of you who have me on bloglines are probably going to egg my house now. No... I don't have any news. Yet. It is 10:14 pm my time and yes, I am sitting here in front of the computer. I am about ready to take the laptop into the living room and watch a movie.

For the record, mom, yes we did get out of the house. I had a little bit of a moment there, but after about an hour I calmed down. MIL & FIL, if I don't remember much of the conversation from dinner I apologize. We arrived at the airport to pick up the in-laws and of course that aforementioned Pilsner Urquel had kicked in. We pull up to the arrivals area of the airport and I don't think the car was at a full stop before I jumped out. I saw the in-laws and ran up to them. FIL threw his arms open thinking I was so excited to see them. "Where's the potty?" were my greeting words. MIL points and I take off. Sprinting like a mad woman through the airport to the closest toilet. I think the run did me some good.

Neeless to say we came home from our outing to nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

That magic email better come tonight because if it doesn't I'll have insomnia worse than normal. Although, don't be suprised at blog posts from 3 am.
Not Yet
See, I told you, you would get a million posts from me today. I should have just made them one really long post, but that just is not as fun.

The List: Shower - Check

Put Bedroom back together - Check

Clean floors - Check

Pick up parents - can't do that yet since their flight doesn't come in until 6:50 pm. UGHHH prime email waiting time.

So to fill in the gap I decided to clean my office. Well, really I was going to start downloading the church production of Godspell onto the laptop, but I couldn't find my desk. So I had to clean off the desk. Rather than shove and stuff the stuff off my desk into the closet I had to clean the closet. In order to clean the closet I had to pull out every single Rubbermaid container and reorganize them. Ok, I didn't so much have to reorganize them, but it passed some time. Oh! I also found a whole whack of yarn. I am a very bad knitter. I have no clue why I have so much yarn. Anyway, I got that accomplished. I even took a photo of my destroyed office, but then I accidentally deleted it. Oops.

With still extra time I cleaned the kitchen. Not a big deal, but we found a container of Bar Keeper's Friend. Best cleaner evah!! Thus I had to scrub the stainless steel sink and the stove top.

I am also effectively polishing off a bag of goldfish crackers and the last Pilsner Urquel. I totally feel like jumping out of my skin. I haven't felt this wired since our camping trip and that was just a sugar high.

Ok, gotta keep moving.
Thank heavens for Mr. Bubble
So I didn't shower yet. I took a bath*. I figured I needed some time to relax. I found the last smidgen of Mr. Bubble in the bathroom cupboard. Yes... I own Mr. Bubble. Love the stuff. Terrible for my itchy skin, but who doesn't love Mr. Bubble. Come on.

I also got an email from Kathou this morning that says she got word from Olga that our package is officially in Khab (we knew that) and we are ready for the pre-trial hearing!!!!! Nothing more than the waiting. Oh God, this is going to kill me yet.

Also on checking stuff off my list: Bedroom is put back together. I have so much energy I am blazing through my list. I am going to run out of stuff to do. That huge box of craft projects I have is looking pretty promising.
Pins and Needles, Pins and Needles
It is too funny that I woke up today knowing what this morning's blog post title was going to be. (yes, I am sure there will be more than one.) Anyway, I do my morning ritual of email (thank you Margaret and Cathy for the wake-up notes), blog checking and forum reading. I work my way down the list to Sandy B's blog. Same title!!! Too funny.

It is a happy day out in the IA world for so many reasons. Referrals of babies from China should be arriving in their new parents hands sometime today. Check out M3's big list of referrals. It should come out sometime today or tomorrow. Congrats to all of you.

My email wake up from Margaret this morning was a screen shot of the DHL tracking page with the beautiful words, "Shipment Delivered." WOOO HOOO!!! The fingerprints are in Khab on-time for our pre-trial hearing. Many prayers are being said that the judge doesn't ask for anything else.

So here is how all this is going to play out. I am going to make an attempt to shower. This may or may not go over so well. But seeing as I have to go out in public today it might be a good idea. I am going to put my bedroom back together. The pictures that go on my dresser and such are still in the family room. I am going to clean the floors of my house because, let's face it, they are gross. I am NOT going to sit in front of my computer all afternoon waiting for the magic email because the smart woman inside of me knows that Khab is 18 hours ahead of us and it is currently 3:26 am on Tuesday there. CS and I are going to the airport this evening to pick his parents up and then they want to go out to dinner. Then and only then I will come home and sit in front of the computer until the email shows up.

According to others "the call" is actually an email. Like the referral. Olga sends it as soon as she knows your date. Candy got hers at about 9:00 pm the day before her official pre-trial date and the same with a few other families. So sometime late this evening I will be really really freaking out. To give the grandparents credit they will get the call from us first. They are dying to know and really, they do deserve to be first. I promise I will post it as soon as I can. Wish us luck!
Saturday, July 29, 2006
An Ode to My Friend
We interrupt the happy-go-luckiness of this blog for a very special reason. I want to tell you all about the strongest woman I know. She is like me. Blessed with a son that changed her life forever. A boy who filled every inch of her home with laughter. Who brought immeasurable joy into her life. As quickly as he entered, he departed just as fast. Like every mom this courageous woman fought like hell to bring him home. She did everything in her power. Sadly, this little boy's laughter would never be heard in her home again. Any other person would have been brought to their knees by such a tragedy. But not this woman. The love of this little boy made the already strong woman even stronger. Ready to face the world head on. She knows she has so much love in her heart to give. And the one word that will make her invincible, mom.

The majority of you know this woman. She walks in our midst. She has held our hands and we have held hers. Every day this woman amazes me and I am so proud to call her my friend. I only hope one day that I will have the opportunity to meet her face to face and tell her how much I love her. She has inspired me, and given me hope. Her name:


M, I love you! You are going to be the best mom I have ever met.

For those of you just tuning in to M's story; she is currently in the process of adopting an older child here in the US. She has yet to be matched with a child and we all are praying it happens soon. She recently wrote a post about how so many of the children have background issues that can be a bit disturbing. It is true. So many of the children available for adoption in the US and around the world have some sort of issue resulting in them being placed for adoption. A parent that couldn't care for them or that died. Removal from homes because of abuse. It is a sad reality of adoption. What we do as parents is to love them. Unconditionally. We give them a love they may have never seen in their short little lives. And the woman to give more love to a child than anyone is Margaret.

I found this video on YouTube a few months back. It is a bit disturbing. I will warn you that the initial image can be hard to deal with. The message is very important. Of course M found a video that is much more positive, but I like to be different. (someday I'll post my hunger video) It makes a point though. Even though our children may come with issues, may fight us, act out or make it seem like life is unbearable we are their parents. It is our job to love them no matter what. That is what they want.

Friday, July 28, 2006
In Transit
Dammit. The package still says "in-transit." Hopefully that means that fo sho it is on an airplane at this very moment making its way to the Russian Far East. Of course I am a glutton for punishment and am sitting here checking like mad to see if it has made any further progress. While Captian Smartypants has signed up for delivery notification. Smart ass. I could do the same, but will I? Ohhh no! I have to have something to fuel my OCD.

So, to get me out of the house I am going to make a trip to the craft store and the Mega Home Improvement store for some finishing touches to Pickle's room. The theory being that if I get his room done I can a) show you all the photos and b) make time to clean the garage tomorrow. Sounds like fun, huh? You know you want to be me.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Weekly Update
I hate to give a weekly update when there really isn't any news to give. You have heard all we know at this point. So I am going to put all of you on a DHL watch. We have the tracking number of the package carrying our fingerprints to Khabarovsk. They MUST reach Khab by the 31st for our Aug. 1 pre-trial. The package was sent Wednesday. Hopefully the judge will be really nice if for some reason the paperwork doesn't arrive on-time. Irina will be carrying faxed copies with her just in case.

So here you go: Visit DHL and enter tracking number 8356039871 As of 1:31 pm today the package is in LA.

In other news please go on over to Salsa in China and give Mary-Mia some love. They found out yesterday that they missed the cut-off for referrals by one day. One stinkin' day!! So one more month of waiting. But they are definitely NEXT! She has received such an out pouring of support, but I know how this process can play with your emotions. There are days when we just need a little extra love. She's been there for me so it is time to pay it forward.

I'm still working on Pickle's room. I solved the shelf issue (I made one.) I just have to paint it now. I also need to finish the border on his quilt. Yes, I made a new quilt. I found fabric that was just way too cute. Ok, Captain Smartypants found it, but I am sure he would not be pleased that he spends any amount of time in a fabric store. This is what he gets for playing golf today and leaving me to fend for myself at dinner time. Leftover pizza it is!
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Pickle Stuff
The carpet guys finished in about an hour and 45 minutes yesterday and the kitties and I had to walk all over it. I took some before and during photos, but I want to get Pickle's room all finished before I take the final after photos. So in lieu of carpet pics you get Pickle stuff instead. I know this is what you want anyway.
My girlfriend H threw a baby shower for me on July 2nd. This is our haul from that.

CS's grandma sent a check for her shower gift and we used the remainder of the Toys R Us gift card to fill in a few holes.

This was a shower gift from CS's parents. How cute. I am told it is for Pickle and not me, but I love it. Complete with skates, a "helmet", stick and puck.

Then of course Pickle's Auntie G is now dubbed the greatest Auntie evah! Sorry Auntie Lee and Auntie Little. Auntie G bought him his very first hockey jersey. It is a 2T so it will be a little while before he can wear it, but man isn't it cute?

A great surprise came last night in the form of an email from the agency. I told Olga I get scared everytime I get an email from her. This time it was a pleasant surprise. Updated measurements!!! Pickle hasn't grown much in the past 3 months, but that is not shocking. He has only gained 1 pound and grown 1 1/2". Still a little guy, but at least the 12 mo. clothes we have for him will still fit. Now we know we don't have to pack 2 separate wardrobes for him. My plan is to get his room done by the end of the week so I will try to post some photos of those when I have them.
Monday, July 24, 2006
And Then Reality Sets In
Sometime between the magic email and the running to get fingerprinted at the State Patrol office I began to realize that I am going to be a parent. We all knew this, but the reality of it all is becoming well... more real. I also realized that for this stage of the adoption process I am very ill prepared.

I have no packing list, no list of things to do, no pediatrician lined up to interview. I have no clue how to navigate Moscow or other than court what to expect for this trip. Sure I have read others accounts of the trip, but frankly I wasn't paying attention.

This weekend we I decided it was time to take some action. I whipped out my trusty Russian Adoption Handbook and got to reading. I started to make a list of stuff we need to take. I don't think I have a suitcase big enough for all of this.

Also, a few weeks ago we realized that our carpet was just gross. I mean really really gross. We knew this when we bought the house, but I think the stains are plotting against us. No amount of cleaning has ever made this carpet look good. So we decided that our boy can't play on this nasty ass carpet. We bought new carpet. It is getting installed tomorrow! Woo Hoo!

Of course being the uber geniuses we are we decided to move all the stuff out of Pickle's room while it is 90+ degrees in our house. Smart. Going along fine, family room is filling up. Then it is time to move out the crib. Door 30" wide. Crib 29 1/2" wide. DAMMIT!!! So we start taking the crib apart piece by piece. Try it out the door. No luck, another piece, try again, no luck. We eventually had to take the entire thing apart. Now Pickle's room is very bare. It is kinda sad. But this will give me a fresh slate to arrange the furniture and hang the pictures back up.

We also had a review of possible court questions. Again out of the trusty book. I started to quiz CS on the questions.

Q: Why don't you have biological children instead of adopting?
CS: We are medically unable to have children.
Elle: What if they ask you why.
CS: My wife is barren.
Elle: oh thanks.
(there was more to that conversation, but the short version is funny)

Q: Why this child?
CS: Because this is the one that was referred to us.
Elle: You can't say that!
CS: Why not?
Elle: She wants to hear that he is a good fit for our family, we love him, blah blah blah.
CS: But my answer is the truth!
Elle: you better come up with a better answer.
CS: She won't ask that question.
Elle: How do you know?
CS: Irina will prepare us before court.
Elle: I don't want you to cram for this like a college exam. Make me feel good an be prepared, please.
CS: The judge won't ask that.
Elle: Fine.

In Captain Smartypants' defense he will do just fine during court. He will likely sweat a river and not look like he is paying attention and that will put me over the edge, but he will do fine. In fact he will likely amaze the heck out of me.

So let's hear them. What are some questions that you veterans have had? Let's all do our part to prepare CS for his moment in the spotlight.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
How to travel to Russia and meet your child for the first time
In honor of Jen who is returning home from her very first trip to Russia I thought I would give a little wisdom to those of you just starting the process. There are a few of you out there. I may have posted something like this before, but if you are anything like me, too lazy to go find it, this will be handy. I figure I have been through the first trip twice so I sorta know what I am talking about. This will also be geared for the family that may have never traveled abroad either. As our trip to Russia last June was our first time out of North America.

traveling to Russia
  1. Don't forget your passport and Visa. This may be a big duh, but you do need a Visa to enter the country of Russia. Someone should have told that to the guys on our plane the second time around.
  2. Don't over pack. There are some great packing lists out there. The one thing you do not need is a bottle of laundry soap on your first trip. You aren't going to be there long enough and all it does is add weight.
  3. Do take a snack. Something small, lightweight and that you really really like. We took Goldfish crackers. Some for me and some for the boy. Don't take water. They have it in the stores.
  4. Learn as much of the Russian alphabet as possible. The language is phonetic so if you know the letters you can sound out words. Cafe in Russian is Cafe.
  5. Learn the polite words. Please, thank you, and I don't speak Russian. This phrase comes in handy in restaurants, groceries and pharmacies.
  6. Be aware that many signs outside of Moscow (and maybe St. Petersburg) are in Russian. English signs are becoming more common, but this is just one more reason to learn the alphabet.
  7. Don't drink the water from the tap. Don't get ice in a fountain drink and order water "with gas" in a restaurant. If you order flat water in a restaurant you run the risk of them refilling a bottle of water from the tap. I will admit I lived life on the wild side and did not order gassed water. I survived, but I guess I am lucky.
  8. Russians don't smile. Plain and simple.
  9. It is inevitable that you will stick out. I am very honest when I say don't even try to dress like a Russian. Women primarily look like supermodels and really dress the part. Spike heals, very short skirts and tight tops. Even if you are super thin with legs up to your chin the second you open your mouth they will know you are American. The only people I have seen pull off the non-American are Kathou and Paypay. They speak French.
  10. Be open minded. Remember you are a guest in their country and it is not America. The food, language and general culture are vastly different than your own. Don't make rude faces. Be appreciative of your time there. This is your child's heritage. It will soon become part of yours too.

Visiting your child for the first time
  1. You will be nervous the very first time. Also a big duh, but just know that it is natural.
  2. Many Russian orphanages are very soviet style buildings. Quite institutional looking. They may appear ugly on the outside, but often times inside they are brightly painted.
  3. The inside of a Baby Home has a very distinct odor. I have been in 2 and they smelled the same. It is a combination of the food they feed them and wet child.
  4. Baby Homes often don't have the money to diaper every child. They usually diaper them when parents come to visit.
  5. Don't wear black or very dark colors when meeting your child for the first time. This is especially true for babies. Caregivers and doctors wear white lab coats and white scarves on their heads. Dark colors can frighten children
  6. If you are married, your husband will likely be the first man your child ever sees. The majority of Orphanage workers are women. They may be scared, but this is normal.
  7. Bring a chewable photo album with photos of your immediate family, close family and your child's room. They typically let you leave it with your child.
  8. Buy a disposable camera to leave with the caregivers too. It is a great way for you to get photos of your child. Be aware that they will probably use it right before you get there and the photos will likely be all from one day.
  9. Bring little treats like Goldfish crackers and Gerber Puffs. These are good icebreakers. Make sure to ask if you can feed the child these. Some caregivers are very particular.
  10. Be patient. Your child may cry or not warm up to you at first or at all. They are not used to one on one attention. This is all part of the attachment process.
There is much more advice that I can give newly traveling families, but these are some of the basics. For those who are done, or between trips add your thoughts and advice for the newcomers.
Friday, July 21, 2006
Good Karma *updated*
I am thinking the Deee Lite video worked. Not only did it cheer me up, but it brought about fantastic things.

We got our pre-trial date this morning!!!!!!!! It will be August 1st. This is along with Jamie & Suzanne and Kathou & Paypay. The Washington contingent of AIA families is doing the collective happy dance today!!!!!

Of course the pre-trial doesn't come without a price for us. During my phone conversation with Olga earlier this week she asked us to do some FBI fingerprint checks just in case. She said that of the 3 families that have pre-trial on the 24th only 1 got asked for the checks. She said it would not likely happen to us, but just in case get it done. Guess what? We got asked for fingerprints. Fortunately, we don't have to have FBI checks. We can get them from our local police department. Whew!

So now I am frantically phoning the two local police departments to ask if they will do this. Of course I get a recording. I kindly leave a message at our city police department. Like always I am waiting for a return call. If I don't hear in the next hour or so I will try again and also try the county police department. They have to be in Alaska by Wednesday in order to get to Khabarovsk by the 31st.

Holy cow, I can't believe that this is finally coming to an end.

* In my utter excitement I forgot to mention what pre-trial means. The judge in Khabarovsk is doing this new thing where she schedules a pre-trial date. According to Olga this is just a date for her to confer with herself. From what we can figure she sits down to do a final review on all of our paperwork and actually schedule the court date. So assuming our fingerprint request gets there on time we will know our court date some time between July 31st and August 2nd. I say the 31st because remember Khabarovsk is 18 hours ahead of us. So it is tomorrow there now. The pre-trial doesn't mean we need to start packing, although with my unorgainized state of mind I should really start thinking about that.

An update on the fingerprints:
Our local police department said I needed to phone the City of Tacoma police department and what I need is a Visa Clearance letter. Isn't it nice that they seem to think they know what I need? I already have a Visa Clearance letter. So I phone CoT. The rude lady there tells me the quickest turn around on a fingerprint check is 4-8 weeks. And no amount of begging or offering of "expiditing fees" will sway her. I ask if the county does it. No. Is there a local buerau of investigation. No. What about the state? Well... they do it. Can I have their number? Well... I suppose. Thank you, you have been no help to me.

I phone Washington State Patrol. Recording. For Criminal Background checks press 5. *5* I'm sorry I did not hear your request. *5* I'm sorry I did not hear your request. (Arggghhh) *0* Ahh, magic 0 always works. Get the lady at criminal background, Lynette. Lynette is my new best friend. I explain what I need.

Lynette: Well that will take 2-4 weeks.
Elle: Can I get it any sooner? I will pay an expiditing fee if I need to.
Lynette: Well you can get it within 7-10 days.
Elle: any sooner than that? I have been waiting for 18 months and this piece of paper is standing in between me and my son. You are about to have a crying mommy. I need to have this piece of paper in my hand by Tuesday.
Lynette: Let me check with someone for you.
Elle: Please do.


Lynette: Well... it seems that if you come in today and come back to pick them up we can get them to you by Tuesday.
Elle: Thank you Lynette. I'll be in as soon as I don't stink.

Mad dash to Olympia. Fingerprinted and $96 poorer mission accomplished! Thank God I didn't have to ask my social worker for anything. Otherwise you might find me face down in the not so hot tub.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Too much negativity
Man, have we been negative around here lately or what? I think so! This post is mainly to cheer up my wife but I thought the rest of you might enjoy it too. For those of you old (or maybe young) enough this video should really take you back. Think of the days that MTV actually used to play videos. Sweety, hope you enjoy it.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006
When Crazy Women Snap
The inevitable has happened. I think I have gone off the deep end. Remember in an update a few days ago I mentioned that we had a new paperwork requirement? Oh that's right... I didn't mention that little gem. We got a request for a few letters of clarification on some other paperwork required. This meant that I had to contact an outside source to procure said letters. A source that frankly is a boil on the ass of society. Oddly enough this is not the Pierce County assessor. That guy is just as dumb.

To make a very long story much much shorter I am personally seeing that these letters are completed (for the second time) correctly. I would spell out all the details of the saga, but I don't want to anger any powers that be that may be reading.

Needless to say this whole thing has pushed me over the edge. There are 2 little pieces of paperwork standing in between me and my son. Not a pretty picture. I began to wonder if starting to drink at 10:00 this morning was too early. My BIL said that if you are asking if it is to early to start, it's already too late. I think he was right you know.

I have called and ranted to Kathou, Captain Smartypants and my MIL. You know it is bad when I even called Olga. I never call Olga. In the 18 months in this process I have spoken to her about 4 times on the phone and once was when she called to tell us about A. I wasn't really speaking then. Mostly hyperventillating. I must say though... I am glad I did call her. She felt the same way about the source and actually made me crack up in her descriptive capabilities.

Hopefully I can get this requirement out of the way so I can move onto the next one. FBI fingerprints. Oh fun! One should not be on a first name basis with the clerk at the secretary of states office.
Monday, July 17, 2006
Oooey Goooey Referral Goodness
Ok, I had to steal a phrase from Mary Mia for today. But it is sooooooo worth it.

You know those moms that mom who has been waiting for freakin' ever for a referral and the other one who switched from Azerbijan to Guatemala. You know the ones. Really great chicks! Jen and Seegal... well... they are going to add a couple of baby girls to their families!!!!!

I am just jumping up and down with delight for the both of them. This is fantastic!!!! You ladies have been through the ringer and really deserve this. I could not be happier.

So head on over to their blogs and give them a big huge congratulations. Hurry though... Jen leaves THURSDAY for Russia!
Hippies, and Rednecks and Butt-rock, Oh My!
Yeah... we cut out of town for a few days. We can't really afford to take a vacation, but we do have a tent and a camp stove and well... state parks are cheap. The annual Lavender Festival was in town in Sequim (just try pronouncing that one!) last weekend and I thought it would be fun to head on up to the peninsula and spend the weekend. I have always wanted to see the festival but always remember it is happening the weekend after. So this year I had a shining moment of intelligence and actually remembered that when it was. Last weekend I told CS we were going camping and that was the way it was going to be. So we started looking for a campground somewhere in the vicinity of Sequim. Somehow in that shining moment of intelligence I seemed to forget that the Lavender Festival was pretty popular and the likelihood of there being a campground within 50 square miles of Sequim wasn't looking too good.

Of course you know me, when I get an idea for something we have to do it. Since camping on the peninsula didn't look like a go we started hunting for any campground within a reasonable driving distance. This ruled out Eastern Washington. This left one other choice. The beach.

I love the beach. If it didn't rain 360 days a year on the coast and if you could actually find a job in one of the coast towns I would move there. However, it does rain 360 days and the economy is pretty depressed. Lucky for us there is a great campground in a town called Westport that had openings on short notice.

So Friday night we packed up the car and headed out to the beach. Great campsite! We found an area of the campground that was tents only so no RV's nearby and our site was quite nice. We were even able to have a campfire!

Now being the less than intelligent people we are due to copious amounts of paperwork (we used to be smart once) we forgot books. Normal and smart people would bring a book to read. Did we? oh no. Our entertainment consisted of a deck of cards, yahtzee and the rednecks across the way. Complete with gigantic jacked up 4x4 truck and about 6 couples camping on 2 sites. To be fair they were polite, quiet, and generally entertaining. Especially when overhearing the story that the monster truck got stuck in the sand. (I'll post a photo of this beast when I get home) Of course the rednecks were so kind as to share their music with us (at a reasonable volume.) Of course the morning music choice was country (not my favorite) and the evening choice... butt-rock. Yes people, I spent my evenings reliving my youth listening to Quiet Riot. Lovely.

The other bit of entertainment were the hippies in the site next to the rednecks. Now they weren't really hippies per-se, but they did have a U of O sticker on their car and let's face it... Eugene=Hippy. Sorry Nancy-Mom. They were high class hippies though. Brought a bottle of wine and everything. Wish I would have thought of that. The other thing they brought that struck me as odd was they brought a 5 pound bag of baby carrots. Ok, it might not have been 5 pounds, but it was big. Here we are feasting on hot dogs, chips and beer and they have wine and baby carrots. What kind of campers are those. Really.

I am going to include a few photos now that I am home.

This is Little Richard's House of Donuts. No, we didn't actually see Little Richard, and we didn't actually partake of his confections, but we have had the donuts before and they are quite good.

To make up for having to look at the monster truck we happened to be in town during a hotrod show. Hotrods + beach + sun = 1 very giddy Elle!

Just to prove we went to the ocean, here is CS. He actually got his feet wet in the water. Amazing! He never does that. Seeing as the ocean in our part of the world is about 42 degrees and all.

So all in all we had a fantastic weekend. And for the hippies and rednecks... they were very nice camping neighbors, but it makes for a good story.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
It is inconceivable to think...
that either one of us could be responsible for another human life. We are talking about the couple where he can't remember more than 3 things on a shopping list and where she has the attention span of a cricket.

I am starting to realize that at any moment we could get a phone call that says we are going to be parents. For those of you who gave "natural" childbirth imagine this as the hospital calling you and saying, "Hey Lady, you're in labor." Yeah like that, only you had to get on a plane, fly 16 hours, change days, not just time zones, sit in front of a judge and then some one hands you the child and HOLY COW! that thing weighs 20 pounds! And it walks.

Our house is in no way shape or form ready to house a toddler unit. My teapots are still in sticky finger reach, there aren't nearly enough cabinet latches on, well... cabinets. The only thing I can dutifully boast is the parentproof childproof outlet covers. Another test of my parenting inability. I can't get the dumb things off to vacuum my carpet. Thus a really nasty rug.

I firmly believe I am going to produce world's most warped unique individual. Apparently I have a bit of work to do in the next few weeks to prepare myself for a little tornado. Is there an Idiot's Guide to Parenting out there?
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
guess what?
noooo, not chicken butt. Although that is my typical answer to that question.

We finally got our stinkin' paperwork filed to the court. You would think I would be up and out of my chair doing the happy dance. Oddly enough not even a tear was shed. The catch is that the medical form we need signed is still not signed. However, I don't care. Our paperwork is in the building!

I also wanted to make a clarification on the Simple Wishes Quilts. ANYONE can send a square. You don't have to be done with your process. If you want to participate I encourage it. This little bloggy group got started with 2 women who are still waiting! I'm a PAP (pre-adoptive parent) and
I am adding a square.

And Suzanne, I am going to agree that you and fabric should not co-mingle. If you are like Suzanne and fabric/iron/scissors deficient we still want you to participate. If you fall into this category just email me your sayings and I will create your squares for you. This is only for those of you who prove true lack of skill in this area. Right now those would include Suzanne and our own Captain Smartypants.
Monday, July 10, 2006
Simple Wishes Quilts
I am forever trying to turn every adoption roadblock into a positive experience. Sure last week was a little bumpy for us and sure all the wrinkles haven't been ironed out yet, but I damned determined to make someone else's life just a little better.

I came up with the idea for Simple Wishes a few weeks ago. I sort of combined Stephanie's Warm Feet Project with the China adopters 100 good wishes quilt idea.

I came up with Simple Wishes Quilts. The idea is for the people who have been touched by adoption to touch the lives of those adopting. A little backwards I know.

The instructions for you, my readers, are to:

  1. Visit Simple Wishes Quilts to read about it (because I am lazy and don't want to post it all here)
  2. If you are an adoptive parent, a grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, or anyone who knows someone who is adopting, has adopted or is adopted please consider sending me a Simple Wishes quilt square (or more, it takes more than one square to make a quilt.)
  3. Squares need to be 6" in white or off-white fabric. Write your favorite quote, saying, Bible verse, blessing or any other positive words to a parent-to-be in permanent ink on the square(s) and send them off to me.
  4. Take the time to consider nominating a family for a Simple Wishes Quilt.

This is yet another one of my ways of giving back to all of you who have helped me along this journey.

I have already received a nomination for one family without ever advertising this idea. And from a woman I have never met, but for a family you may already know. Nathan & Melissa Bridges are our first Simple Wishes Quilt nominees. Now I just need the squares to complete a quilt.

I know that with the number of readers we have I can make this project a success. You guys have touched my life now go touch the lives of others.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Unexpected Miracles Mailbag
Someone posting as Cat made a comment on CS's last post that was chocked full of questions. We have received many of these questions from other people in various comments or emails. I thought I would take the time to answer them.

Before I do, I want to say thank you for all of your kind comments. We are doing ok. I won't say fantastic or well. Ok seems to be a pretty apt description for the moment. We seem to do the best when we are together. Shocking huh? I know this is at least the case for me. We did go on a date the other night. Did you know there are these big buildings with lots of seats and giant screens that serve overly expensive snack and show movies? I had never heard of such a concept. Seriously, the movie selection as of late has been rather poor, but we did make it to the theater to see Superman. I thought is was good despite the fact that I have never seen any of the Christopher Reeve ones. Please don't think less of me.

So back to the mail bag:

What is your agency telling you why the medical clearance letters for some children are being signed while others are rejected?

Pickle's medical release letter is not being rejected. The committee that signs the form is currently undergoing a personnel change and won't sign the letter until all the members are in place.

Why was there a delay in getting the medical release letter signed in the first place?

Remember me saying earlier that Pickle needed surgery? Well he had the surgery and everything went fine, but because of the surgery there was a delay in getting the release signed. Then the committee went with their little personnel change. Thus the whole reason for the delay.

How do you get through all of the waiting?

I read a lot info on Russian adoption (I mean a lot) to be aware of what might come up. I quilt, I garden, blog design, I work a day and a 1/2 at our church and I build stuff. I won't say this has been the easiest thing in the world, but you make it through one day at a time.

What one bit of advice would you give to families just starting out on this journey?

I have more than one very important piece of advice. First, learn all you can about international adoption, Russian adoption (if that is your country) and connect with people who are going through the process currently. Either people in your home town or through message boards, or blogs. They will be an huge resource.
The other bit is not to set goals. Don't expect something to be done by a certain date. I actually learned this when we were trying to get pregnant. I kept saying, "If I get pregnant this month the baby will be born this month and we can or can't do this." Then the month would pass and I would get more and more depressed. With the adoption I have tried very hard not to set any specific goals. This helps from them passing by without the resolution you want.
Understand that there is very little about this process that you can actually control. You really must let go and just go for the ride. It makes it much smoother. Notice I didn't say less painful.

The mail bag is always open so if you have questions please feel free to send them along. One more thing that gets me through is helping other families.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
18 months
78 weeks
547 days
13,128 hours
787,680 minutes.

That is how long we've been at this adoption. Life has come and gone around us and we're still right here. Waiting. We've spent the last year and a half of our lives just waiting. I am tired. Tired of waiting, tired of worrying, and of not knowing the answer to the question of "when?". All I want to do is hold my son again and bring him home. I want to start living and stop waiting to live. My frustration with the process is at an all time high. Please pray that we will get filed to court this week and that our court date follows soon after. Also pray for all the waiting families and children, I'm sure they could use our support too. Thanks for letting me vent.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
This is an Adoption Blog After All
I bet you are expecting some kind of super fantastic adoption news. Too bad for you... there isn't any. In fact the news is pretty crappy. We thought we were going to have our paperwork filed to court last week hurling us into the final stages of this nightmare journey, but unfortunately that wasn't to be. The committee that signs the children's medical release forms is still not signing. Evidently they didn't get their shipment of shiny new Peruvian Ink. The good new is our facilitator is on them like a leech. This woman will get the job done. I have faith in that.

On over at Soul of Adoption there has been a thread posted about what song describes your adoption journey. I have 2. The first is "Life Means So Much" by Chris Rice. This song played over and over when we were starting out journey. I felt such pity for myself in my inability to get pregnant. I was angry when I saw the teenage mothers, the women yelling at their children, the people who accidentally got pregnant. I had prayed so hard and for so long for God to make me a mother. I was angry at God for not answering my prayers. This song was like the first message the Lord sent saying, "Hey, I'm working on it." In fact I had mentioned before that we recently realized that Pickle's birthday is right around the time we felt this unmistakable call to adopt. Funny thing is "Life Means So Much" started playing in my car and it was then that I finally accepted what we were being led to do. The song still applies, but there is one that is a little more appropriate right now.

It is also by Chris Rice and on the same album as "Life Means So Much." It is "Belong." This song brings tears to my eyes just reading the words.

Fading memories ignored
I crawl across the forest floor
Pool reflects an orphan child
Dirty, lost, alone and wild
Fatherless and nameless still
Fallen heart and broken, will
there ever be a place where I belong

I cower 'neath the monster trees
And try to stand on tired feet
But gravity knocks me to the ground
Where I give up, and tears roll down
I claw the dust and beg the end
Curse the day that I began
to hope there'd be a place where I belong

I hear a sound I recognize
You lift my chin and seek my eyes
Song of love You sing to me
I ache to sing it back to Thee
"Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong!"

How did I miss this wondrous song?
The forest sang it all along
"River rinses all your shame
Father offers you His name
Father Love prepares a home
Brother Jesus leads you on
Follow to the place where you belong!"

"Father Love prepares a place
Brother Jesus leads the way
Follow to the place where you belong
Follow to the place where you belong!"

This song describes my journey to my boy and my boy's journey to me. I feel knocked down and tired. I feel like there really is this monster looming over me. I cry out, "why was I picked for this journey? I can't do this!" But all the while my name is being called. And that place where I belong? It's motherhood. The place where Pickle belongs? Right here with me.

There is no more pity here. There is a tired and beaten down woman, but one that is damn determined to make it to the finish line.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
My new hot tub
For my birthday I received a $50 gift certificate to Toys R Us. I am sure you are wondering why anyone would give a 30 year old woman a gift certificate to a toy store for her birthday. Well it came from so very dear friends of ours and they know my personality very well. We used to go to the Long Beach Kite Festival every year with them, we have spent many an evening playing games and having a few too many to drink. This is the couple that, in our younger years, we invented random drinking games. Drinking Uno anyone? (I only recommend that game if all players are drinking the same drink) Anyway, Sam and Cari are just big kids and they bring out the very big kid in me. Not that she doesn't appear at the sight of a shiny object, a fluffy bunny, or on a daily basis for that matter. Thus the gift certificate.

Ok, the gift certificate is dual purpose. It is partly for me and partly for Pickle. Man I have to start sharing my stuff with that kid already. I digress.

The weather has been nice and warm around here and living in the northwest having an air conditioner in your home is practically unheard of. The front of our house faces south and is full of windows. Great in the dreary winter, but makes for a greenhouse effect in the summer. The only solace from the heat is our back patio. On the north side of the house. Right around evening it is a great place. I thought I would take advantage of my gigantic patio and purchase myself a little pool.

Ahh Ha! I have a gift certificate for a place that sells little pools. Perfect. So armed with a plan I head out the door from work and tell one of the Pastors that I am off to Toys R Us to buy a kiddie pool. After a strange look and a little chuckle I tell him I am going to tell people it is for Pickle, but secretly it is for me. He replies, "your own little hot tub... only not so hot. Good luck with that."

I tell CS my plan and he says it's my gift certificate and I can buy whatever I want. We head off to TRU to purchase the "hot tub" of my dreams. Actually I want an above ground swimming pool that I can actually swim in, but they are too expensive, the upkeep is a pain and it would require more work than I am willing to put in at this point.

We arrived at TRU to find that there was only 1 pool left in the size that would fit into CS's car. We couldn't leave it in the pool section for fear of someone else snagging it and I would be out of luck. So CS grabs the pool and proceeds to roll it around the store while I look for something else to buy. What a sight. Two grown adults rolling a 46" kiddie pool around Toys R Us with no child of their own in sight.

As always I couldn't find anything else in the store to purchase so we decided to just go with the pool and spend the rest of the gift card over at Breeders R Us. A whole $7.99 later we arrive home with my schmancy new pool. I filled it up this morning and took my feet for a test swim. Best hot tub ever!

CS said he expects someday to come home to see me sitting in it with the 70 year old neighbor behind us laughing at me. If it gets hot enough I just might. Better go blow up my water wings.

Just so you can ooh and aah over my new pool, here is a photo for your viewing pleasure...

Established March 19, 2006