Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Santa Claus is coming to town......

You better not cry... you better not pout - so far so good!!

Okay. Maybe Pouting is acceptable..........
(is this not the saddest face in the universe?)

Full out hysteria is also an appropriate reaction!

Today we had the obligatory Santa visits the daycare. So our daycare Creamy Clouds was visited by the big man himself with two actual elfs! The event was just as loud and hot as you can imagine and my own b├ębe was just as hysterical as the next. The toddlers were just not that into Santa. Not really a surprise - since the last time we attempted Santa - it was a full-blown NO-GO. Oh Well - its a good thing Santa comes late at night while we are all sleeping and therefor no hysterics are needed!

[Total non-sequitur: I can NOT stand music on random sites... it is usually lame and too loud. I all sites with music had an off button right near the top of the page! I did visit one page lately where the music was not only non-annoying but gave us an idea of a song to use on our video from China - Clay A's Love of my Life! It bring tears to my eyes every time I hear it because the love of my life is without a doubt sleeping a few feet way - and so is the other one.)

We still have a ton of things left to do to prepare for the holler-days. I mean Holidays. I have all this cooking to do and a few more gifties to get... I hate when I have a party and I don't have a gift for each person. The kids are done - but I need a few more things for the grown-ups. Also need to finalize the menu. DH asked what we were going to do to celebrate the Year of the Boar in February. OMG! Is he kidding me or what? Then I thought about it for a while and maybe we will do a LITTLE something - since it is so close to our Family Anniversary (the day we met/received/adopted our little bundle). I am going to figure things out but I know I will make a ton of dumplings to mark the occasion! Not even done with this party and the next one is staring me in the face - not to mention the large party we will have in March!

Our paperchase is going well. Papers of all kinds are flying all over the country. I love my agency - they are so nice!! A couple that we traveled with has also decided to join us in the pool and I believe we will both get DTC together again! Won't that beat everything! Two kids from the same exact part of the world... we are so lucky!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Decking the halls....

Well, this is what it is all about isn't it? We put the tree up last night whilst EFP was snug in her bed (sugar plums or not) and when she got up this morning.. there it was - only half lit! Yes, that is correct about 900 of the 1800 lights would not light! We knew they worked but for some reason the plug configuration was eluding us. We did finally figure it out with a little help from the answer line... and just about the time to lights were lighting the washer stopped washing! Ho Ho Ho. Anyway, EFP likes putting the ornaments on and she tells the kitties "NO!!" with pointy finger when they approach the tree. We have only unbreakable ornaments for the first 3 feet of tree - luckily I have a nice combination of handmade unbreakable and the like for the bottom and we have anchored the tree to the slider behind - so hopefully my priceless collection of crystal snowflakes will survive both cats and baby.

The chase is certainly on! I am surrounded by paper and I am feeling the pressure to be done. I feel much better this time though... not anxious or worried in any way - well, at least for the parts I can control! I am anxious that the various agencies we need to deal with (USCIS, SCPD, SBUMC, etc.) will do what they must in a timely fashion so that we are in a good position for March. What kind of hoot will it be that we are DTC (dossier to China) on March 11, 2007? Same day we were for EFP and now two years later - plus my Mom's birthday.

Well - I must get back to the reams of paper enjoy the festive pics!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

We've done it now!

Uh Oh! What did we do? Well..... you are hearing it here first: We have started the paperchase for our second child! Officially! Woo Hoo! I guess.

This is not how I was hoping this would go actually - but those of you playing the home game, China released a set of new restrictions for adopting parents and they are quite different than those operating when we went for EFP. So first I cried, then I crunched, cried some more, crunched some more, decided I never really wanted to retire, cried and then I got in the Behemoth and went home. When I informed my poor unsuspecting DH of the changes... to his credit he didn't even blink, he just said "Well, I guess we better get cracking then huh?" Is it any wonder I love this guy?

Of course - our decision is NOT as sudden or panic induced as this sounds - we had been thinking about it, considering waiting children and well, there is the whole foster care certification so we have been talking about it for a bit. I had hoped to have a bit more time as I would like EFP to be a little older and an only for a bit longer before a second permanent child arrived. The new rules mean there will probably be a bunch of panicking paperchasers climbing out of the woodwork at this time. We plan to get our paperwork finished pretty quickly and since I still have some docs left over from last time I am feeling pretty good about this part. Our home study should go well and also pretty fast. I feel good about even the wait this time - since really we need it to be long in order to have our heads examined at length. No, seriously we need to save some money for the process and come to some other decisions about stuff - but we already know in our hearts that there is another child waiting for us in China. I think I have surpassed happy right into the delirious zone! But to be fair it will be a long wait and we still have a mountain of paperwork to get through. The best part of this whole thing - as I discovered tonight, but really already knew, is that I get to journey with friends. Every step of this road I will be accompanied by real friends - who are already sharing in our happiness and joy. Once again we join the ranks of the families in waiting and we are in great company!

It will be a few months before our paperwork is in and then we have an 18 to 24 months wait for our referral. I think that would have killed me the first time - but then when we started last time we expected a very short wait... not so much this time. I will be grateful for the time. I may even learn another thing or two about patience!

I wish I could say EFP was on board - she will be I am sure, but for now I can't even so much as LOOK at another baby or toddler without her protesting. Even her best little buddy J is not allowed to get hugs in front of EFP.

So here is my favorite little (well-circulated) anecdote about not exactly meaning to start another adoption!

Have you ever noticed that you hear all the time about "accidental" pregnancies, but never about couples who experience "accidental" adoptions?
Can you imagine:

Honey, sit down. I have some news for you.

What is it?

Well, I don't know how to say this, so I'll just come out with it. I went out to the mailbox today and ... well, we got an I-171H.

A what?!? An I-171H? As in, we're going to have a(nother) baby?!?

It looks that way.

But how? We've been so careful! I put away all the blank I-600A forms. Didn't you hide our home study update?

Of course I did. But don't forget, there was that one night...

What night? (pauses) Ohhh, that night. But it was only once. We were just messing around. I didn't print clearly. I didn't even use ink! (pauses again) But it was kind of fun.

It was, wasn't it? I'll never forget how cute you looked getting your fingerprints.

So now we've got our I-171H, eh? But that doesn't always mean you'll adopt, does it? I mean, shouldn't you see the agency or something, make sure every thing's okay?

I already did.


I'm five documents along.

Five documents! And they're all notarized, certified and authenticated okay?

Just great. There was one small scare when the agency couldn't see the Notary's middle initial, but it showed up just fine under the magnifying glass.

Thank God. And you, honey? Are you feeling okay?

I'm feeling fine. As long as I know you're happy about this.

Happy? I'm thrilled! It's always a shock at first when something like this happens, but of course I'm happy.

Wish us luck and come along for the SECOND Adventure of a Lifetime!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Walking, Talking, Counting and Feeling Fine!

Or at least better... there will be daycare in our future - tomorrow even! It seems that our darling's many talents have expanded to include such magnificence as attempting a somersault, running at full speed, screaming the name of any old thing at all - at will, the return of tricky baby... she calls EVERYTHING DADDY (Mommy is not amused!) and can now count to 5 by herself. She is still reciting the alphabet and sometimes she gets past J all the way to P!! We truly have a brilliant baby.. eh?
She has developed a love of Oranges but, only when I peel it, pull apart the sections, de-pith it and bite it in half so she can get right to work on the inside. It's a tough job, but what's a Mommy to do? I am so relieved that she is finally, seemingly, on the mend and eating a bit. I tell you - a sick child is h#ll on earth. Really - I would rather be sick myself that have her sick at all. We had some really scary moments and it will be too soon the next time I hear her sneeze. I hope that her immune system is listening every time someone says to me that she will have perfect attendance once she is in school!
Have I mentioned her addiction to all things dippy? Yes, the new in thing here is sticking food in pools of something.. ketchup, mustard, gravy, applesauce, yogurt, hummus (!!??), both the garlic lovers and red pepper. EFP loves to have a little bowl of something and she understands the whole dipness factor - it is charming actually. Messy but charming. She also has been welcomed to the world of cheese and crackers - though she has not progressed beyond licking the cheese and discarding the crackers. I see in my future another little hors d'oeuvre lover like her big cousin Miss T. Can't wait till she eats spinach dip! LOL
I have also been caught defending myself as a 'real' mother more than once in the last few weeks - I suppose not me so much as all of us adopting parents. I am not sure why people feel they have a right to comment on other people's relationships, but they do. It also makes me wonder what they think about the nature of parent child relationship - do people believe they are so one-dimensional? Based on biology and nothing else? I suppose many people must - of course newborn are singularly dull (no offense to the newly born out there) so biology is all there is those first few months, well that and the exhausted haze that seems to lie over the abode of the new parents. I mean survival of the species demands that there be some reason to keep those little people safe and fed, right? Sure they are cute - also a survival mechanism - but what is there to like? So it stands to reason then that there is just the ONE reason - biological ties. I don't actually believe that there is only that - I am trying to figure out why people think that it is impossible to love a fully FORMED child vs a really really small one who sleeps, eats and poos on schedule . I mean MY child arrived with a personality AND the ability to stay awake for 5 - 7 whole hours at a time! She has been funny since day one, is very sweet and caring, sings and smiles in such a way as the Grinch himself would have to admit a bigger heart in her presence.
In fact it has become (painfully) obvious that it is possible to love a (or, dare I say, a few) children quite a bit - simply because they are. Naturally - I knew I would love EFP even from that first second I heard her name and saw her little face the first time. I mean we had waited so long and wanted this baby so much that we were primed (hmm.. a little like carrying something around for 9 months or so???) and ready - but it was so darn easy. Indeed, today I even went so far as to suggest that I love EFP better than I might have loved a bio child - since I feel so conflicted about my own genetics.... I suspect that it would be easier to be critical of a bio child (seeing your own flaws in a kid and all that) and to want to eradicate those tendencies that drive us crazy in ourselves. I think that in some ways it is possible to love the child as they are - I mean they come with their own innate personalities and we can take no credit for much of it. I mean - I will take full credit when she turns out to be an amazing adult etc. but it is fun trying to figure out what her talents will be - how she will turn the world upside down!
I don't think adoption is for everyone - really. I just knew it was for us and we couldn't be happier or more in love with who our daughter is and how she came to be in our family. I know that I can love any child the universe chooses to be ours (and some that are probably not) because every child deserves the love of a parent - born or adopted. I am thankful I am one of those who knows the importance of loving a child. Not just the ones related by genes.

Friday, December 08, 2006

One Year Ago Today.... (Part II of a Multipart Series)

EFP Referral Photo from 9/26/05

.............we FINALLY received the news that we had been waiting 272 days to to hear "We have a daughter!" At 12:50 pm I got the call from our agency with the first news of EFP. I actually knew the call was coming having spent the better part of the morning obsessively hitting the refresh button on my email - and having heard that one of the other families with our agency had posted their referral, I knew we couldn't be far behind. I actually burst into tears when I read the other referral and then went out into the main suite from my office and was crying to our office manager when the phone rang and we saw the caller ID - we both screamed "This is IT!" Everyone in my office was crying and screaming - should have thought to have Champagne ready for the occasion. The next thing I remember is sitting in my office waiting for the call to be transferred and I CAN NOT FIND A PEN!! Can you imagine? I carefully wrote the information down - crying the whole time. Was given the usual small amount of information: Chinese name, province, Name of the Social Welfare Institute, Height & Weight in kgs and date of birth. I was stunned. One of my collegues took a few pictures we all hugged - and I called my DH (really my sister because he was not at his desk the first time). And we celebrated briefly over the phone.

Here is the post from last year:

December 08
We have a Daughter!
Today at 12:50 pm our agency called with the news that our 9 month old daughter is waiting for us in the DuChang Children's Welfare Institution in JiangXi Province, PRC. We are so happy, excited, and in awe of the whole process! We went, in the space of a few minutes, from being just plain old happy married people to Mommy and Daddy. Our darling's face is still a mystery - we will see her picture next week in our agency's office after all the papers are translated... I am so excited!

We celebrated with dinner (we may actually BE the only people ever to ask for a bottle of Champagne at an Applebee's!) with our good friends who will be traveling at the same time to the same area in PRC to get their first child also! Our daughters are in the care of the same Children's Welfare Institution - AND they were born only one day apart! The girls are sure to be the best of friends! I can't think of a better way to celebrate an evening or better people to spend it with! More later - need to bask in the Mommy glow for a little while.

So now we know - my heart is in DuChang CWI in Jiangxi Province, PRC!

Things have changed - but for oh so the better! Can't post more - too exhausted. EFP has been extremely sick and we have been beside ourselves with worry. Being a Mom is both the best and worst of situations. I am happier than I ever thought possible - and worry more than I ever dreamed. We are both most grateful and humbled by the absolute gift of this amazing child. She is simply a dream come true - and the love of our lives!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Three years ago today...............

Me and my Mom - at my wedding 4/25/1998

............we (my sister, brother and I) lost our mother. It was unexpected in its suddenness and although we knew she was very sick - I think there is no way to really prepare for the demise of your parent. In our case - our only parent. I think she died as she had wished - at home, no doctors or hospital. She was at her computer probably talking to one of the tons of people she chatted with or played games with. One of her online buddies sent a note yesterday - I was touched. There were many who wrote to us three years ago, I saved all those notes - I wished then as I wish now that she could have felt about herself the way everyone else felt about her.

My Mom was a lot of things - perfect wasn't one of them. Smart, fun, kind, a great cook and generous to a fault. As a mom she was loving and could be somewhat wacky at times - sometimes on purpose and sometimes not. She had a great sense of humor and loved the ridiculous - and a good play on words. We could go back and forth at it for hours.. sometimes weeks during brief giggling phone calls back and forth each word getting more and more convoluted.

I suppose some of the things that I remember most are the things that set her apart from the mainstream - taking us crabbing off Babylon Municipal Docks at midnight in the summer heat, so once we got to see a real shark (dead!) that a famous shark hunter dragged into the dock but ultimately had to drag across the sound to be hauled up and weighed - 850 lbs of Tiger Shark! How many folks can say that? Packing us kids up with nets and flashlights (and pepper and egg sandwiches) and a cooler full of some cold drink - listening to the adults laughter and smelling the ocean or bay breeze. Having Mom wake us in the middle of the night to watch a really old movie - Like Raintree County with Elizabeth Taylor or Wuthering Heights with Merle Oberon and Lawrence Olivier. Letting us read whatever we wanted - Including Jaws when I was only 10 years old - way more scary than the movie and I didn't swim for quite a while. How SHE got a tattoo in rebellion when I was 17 - then showed it to anyone who cared to see (a butterfly on her shoulder, I was mortified!) and how impressed with herself she was for daring to do it. I could go on and on - but I won't.

Her incredible talent in making things.... she once created an entire Trousseau ( I only knew about Trousseau because of my love for Victorian romantic novels and was obsessed for a time with embroidering my own) for my Barbie - the one my sister and I shared- out of old curtains (ala Scarlett O'Hara - more on that in a bit) and it was so much nicer than anything one could purchase. How she took me to see Gone With the Wind only AFTER I had read the book - so I would know that the story was different and better in the book. Or how she painstakingly made a true southern belle ball gown, which included pantalettes and a hoop skirt, for a college costume party. Or how she never minded when we used that huge box of old curtains to play some silly make believe game - indeed she encouraged it. How she taught us to sew so we could make clothes for the doll and furnish her cardboard dream house with slip covered sanitary pads and canopy beds made from government cheese boxes. How I think to myself, looking at some doll clothes or craft pieces - as she must have, I could do that, and better! When it comes to craftiness we each inherited some piece of her fingers' magic. Each of us, in our own way, is incredibly creative and talented.

Or how she almost fell on the floor laughing on the day of my 10th birthday when I discovered the dog had managed to eat most of the birthday cake she had made for me while we were eating my birthday dinner. I did not think it funny at the time and was crying hysterically and she (and bro and sis) could not stop laughing - till finally I had to join them, it was pretty funny seeing the dog with all the icing on his face.

How she one time made a care package complete with cookies for my sister while she was away at college - big heart-shaped linzer tart kinds with heart cut outs - she packed them so carefully. I know she wished she could have done that (and more) all the time... but it was fun when she did get to do it.

There were so many crazy moments - the dog jumping out of the car on the Grand Central Parkway on the way to Nana's, the Llamas at the game farm, our first trip into NYC to see the lights at Christmas, the attacking swans at argyle lake, the four foot tall bunnies, the annual tree decorating (always forcing us to remember that in the early years she did it all by herself on Christmas eve - including wrapping all the gifts and slipping them under the tree) and her admonishments that the tinsel be set perfectly strand by strand, then waking us up by shaking the bells all in the mistaken belief that if she woke us up in the middle of the night - rather than have us wake her in the morning - she would get to sleep later. I don't know that that ever worked out quite the way she wished. Even with the scant presents we got we were always so excited - then there was the year she (stupidly) put Kazoos in all our stockings............ or the year I got puzzle glue but no puzzle. I suppose my brother always managed to come up with some funny way of celebrating.. a smelly boot or a gift hidden in the tree branches. Mom always loved a good gift joke that way. Her desire to make people happy - at least in the way she thought she would make them happy - caused her to stress about it in the worst way, so she never really understood how much happiness she did give. Every Christmas we made Ravioli - hundreds of them. I don't think that I have ever eaten a meal that filled us up as much as her Ravioli. She was capable of so many things - such great acts of love.

I know in every mother's life there are a million moments that are special to her children- I also know that the picture of my Mom is so much more than I can paint. I loved her very much - and I know in my heart that she loved us all. I think she would be proud of all of us and how we are making our way in life - I know she would adore EFP and be proud of our little family just as I know that she adored my sister and her family and as much as she complained about the distance between us, it was only because she wanted to be there everyday with those two amazing children. I know also that she would be pleased that our brother also seems to have found a sense of family and some happiness with his wife and two children.

She had known a great many people, helped some of them in their hard times but hardly anyone really knew her. I know that there are people who miss her - maybe not as much as we do - but miss her a great deal. I wish there was a way I could make her clear to people - clearer even to me. I miss being able to talk with her.... knowing that whatever I said she would be on my side and offer what comfort she had. Tonight I sent DH to the store and had him get a chicken which I turned into soup... at first I thought it was simply because I have been so sick and EFP likewise and that the soup would make us both feel better. I guess I wasn't thinking then (baby really sick and screeching, battling a migraine, gone without sleep for days on end and feeling like I have been run over by a mack truck) that it was because of today's importance. Of course it was. Whenever I was feeling bad (physically or emotionally) my Mom would show up with a pot of chicken soup - if you were my DH she would show up with eggplant (hmmrph!) and all would be well again for a little while.

This isn't the kind of tribute I wish for her - I don't know if I am the right person to do that. I am her first born, therefore the least objective, though it seems right to try. I wish to remember her from when I was really little - in that way that children have of looking up at their parents - we were sitting under a Japanese Maple Tree and it was afternoon... I thought she was so very pretty and smart. What child doesn't think that about their mom? I think it is also the time of year... for me November is a time to reflect and then we head into the holiday season. This year more than ever I feel the weight of my immense gratitude for all I have and yet the unbearable loss - how the one person I most would want to share this with is both the person that made it possible and the person who will never share in my joy.

I can't say all that is in my heart tonight. I am sad - I miss her most when I have questions about being a Mom or when I have some triumph to share about my amazing child. She wouldn't have appreciated my giving EFP a form of her name - but the threads that connect us - red or otherwise - are so long and tangled, and I still feel so connected to her - call them the ties that bind or the fabric of family, or whatever, but I feel my Mom very close to me this evening and I hope she is proud, knows how well we loved her and finally has some peace.

RVK - March 11, 1942 - December 5, 2003

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's the most wonderful time of the year.........+

Still down for the count - don't let the photos fool ya. Some Empress was up all night teething (and a fever - cuz that's just the way it goes!) I am on the indeterminate list for tomorrow... that is I am still not feeling great and now EFP might have a fever too high to send to care. GREAT! We'll see in the AM. In the meantime here are a few stunning pix of our family!

So they call this peppermint, eh? Well, I like it. I really like it!

Baby - I love the Beads!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

and now for your viewing pleasure

This is my amazing niece Miss T! In a one-of-a-kind handmade Irish Step Dancing Solo Costume - designed and handmade by: None other than MY SISSY! I am so proud of them both! Miss T took several awards for team competitions and will be killer next year in the solos!! This is my sister's first solo dress - perfection! YOU GO WOMENS!

It's the White House - Do I really have to take this call? I mean I am wearing Mardi Gras beads after all!

The Empress chooses her colors carefully and prepares her work surface.

The Empress colors

These images are from this week. I am not posting at the moment I am battling yet another URI and sinusitis. But I can't take the hate mail that there are no new pictures. So here they are! Enjoy and we will be back to our regularly scheduled programming any day now.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


The turkey is history, the pie scrumptious, stuffing was well - stuffed! We went, we ate, we relished! Our little bundle of our gratitude was sufficiently impressed with the spread to eat quite a bit and as a result has three new favorites to add to the growing list: cranberry sauce (whole Berry), lemon meringue pie and pumpkin pie!! She loved them all. It was a nice relaxing evening until it wasn't and we beat a hasty retreat and our Empress is sound asleep. That is more important than it might sound. Since the beginning of this whole daycare business our little one's sleep has become more and more disturbed, as a result Mommy's sleep and Daddy's sleep has become well, lacking frankly! Last night was a real mess... as a result our evening was cut a little short due to a sleep-deprived, major league tantrum of epic proportions. At grandmas to boot! Yuck! hence my early post and earlier arrival home! Well - she needed to get to bed anyway - but oh my was she loud and not at all understanding of my loving attempts to inhibit her climbing (on a chair next to an unstable table with a glass water pitcher on it). Oh well. It couldn't be helped. So we beat it out of there and here we are.

I think for the past few years I have taken the time to write the obligatory list of things I am grateful for. I am going to do something - but not quite what I usually write. Of course I AM still grateful for all those usual things.. health, hubby, family, friends, work and love and all that.

Don't think I won't mention that which I am MOST grateful for - of course, my daughter. You saw that coming right? I am quite grateful for the gift of her care. The amazing and humbling opportunity to love and nurture this child. I can't really explain how much a part of me she is now, I know she did not grow inside me but I can barely think that. She is so a part of the fabric of my life - all that I am and all I hope to be. She is the making of me truth be told. I know I had some accomplishments before she came along but they pale in comparison to any of the things I have accomplished since then. LOL. It is a hard job and no one can adequately prepare you for the sacrifices (which do not feel like sacrifices) or the ache you carry when you worry about how that child is doing when you are forced to leave them in someone Else's care. Or how you can look into that face that you love so much and see all the amazing possibilities and know in no uncertain terms the future is theirs in all its glory.

I am truly grateful for her. And of course for all the other blessings I hold in my hand. My DH - the ever patient and best daddy ever. My family - who although disappointed this weekend in our inability to join them on our annual Philly excursion - understand that I am just doing what good mommy does and I know they love me for it in spite of their disappointment. My friends - an eclectic group of the smartest, strongest, kindest and most beautiful women imaginable. Near or far - they are the true jewels of the earth.

No - I have a different gratitude this year. Every year actually. This year I have decided to be grateful for adversity. Mine, my daughter's and, well, everyone's. How would we know exactly what we are capable of if we are never tested? Truly, I have been tested. I will be again - but I think I finally understand that this is all part of gaining wisdom. There is no wisdom in a clear and straightm unhampered path. It is exactly those twists and turns, bumps and ditches that are integral in helping us to learn and achieve more than we dream we are capable. Certainly I had plenty of those and some more than once. I don't think I have ever been so convinced that they were necesary evils. Sure, there are some parts of the story I wish could have been left out - but then I wouldn't be who I am or how I am for that matter. Certainly - I think this will make me a more understanding mom, wife, sister, aunt, daughter in law, friend etc. I am more forgiving than I was formerly and I am also more honest with myself about the limitations of the human heart. There are also hidden benefits to having a so-called past - I always have something I can choose to talk about or not. Much of it I do not - which may surprise some of you that there could be anything left I have not said.. beleive me there is a lot!! Also - I have left behind some of the fear and shame that seemed to dog my every step. Perhaps in this there will be more than the healing I have been so thankful for. I feel ready to start things over somehow - perhaps a move is exactly what I need. I know I am ready for change = I thought it would be in the form of another child (I am still holding on to some hope that will be true) but I am thinking now that I am due for a sea change. That is a profound feeling - not exactly cut and run and not exactly stay and mold! I guess rolled up in all this a new level of understanding of all the forces that have led me to this place... all the ancestors and wrong turns that have culminated in the precise combination that mean me, my sister and my brother were born and lived to tell about it. For all those things I am profoundly grateful. That I have lived to tell the tale I am also grateful.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ring around the rosies...............

We all fall down! This is not the post I had planned but stuff has come up that while not entirely unexpected could not have happened at a worse time. Also - I need to clarify the the "first in a series" is part of a series - but the posts are related to events that happened on specific dates... and I assure you will be forthcoming!

In the meantime - we are going through daycare h*ll. Our old center we will refer to as Smell Wanders... has been in serious trouble lo these last few weeks. At first I thought it was merely a temporary problem - often faced by centers... staff turnover and all that. More recently it has become increasingly obvious that there were systemic problems that though they do not directly effect my child - have caused enough sturm and drang as to begin to have serious ramifications for our family. EFP has recently begun to show the signs of living with unpredictability and stress. Aside from the waking at all hours and not wanting to go back to sleep, she has become downright incorrigible in getting ready in the morning. EFP all of a sudden doesn't want to get dressed, get in the van, or GO TO THE CENTER! While she does seem to look forward to seeing her little friends when I say their names, but she flatly refuses to cooperate in getting out of the house. Given this is not her usual MO and that this only started when all H*ll broke loose at the center - I gotta say - I am thinking it's the daycare's problems causing all this in conjunction with the toddler antics.

As a result we are in the process of changing her daycare (we'll call it Creamy Clouds) and we have cancelled our annual trek to Philly for the Oireachtas to the absolute horror and disappointment of Miss T. I have received no less than 3 pleading emails and while I am sorrier than I can say about having to cancel at the last minute - I just can't imagine that sleeping (or not) in a hotel for a few days then switching the daycare upon our return is in EFP's best interest. Not to mention that of course the new daycare is more pricey than the old day care. It is just to hard to even get my head around all this, but I can't continue her in a situation that I know to be wrong and to be fair - there have been a few inklings that there was a problem, but as long as she was happy Momma was happy. These days NO ONE is happy around here. Mommy and Daddy are decidedly sleepy and irritable and baby is not her usual cheery self.

On a side note - when is a Pediatrician's visit not a Pediatrician's Visit? HA! When someone forgets to note that there was in fact a Visit!! We have to have a last minute visit because her MD's office did not record any of the last 5 visits as a 18month check up!!!! I am (of course!) furious. Still waiting for the office manager to contact me. I wonder what is a parent supposed to do - when the MD says he doesn't need to see her till she is 24 months? AND she has been in no less than 5 times for various reasons - none of which were so serious that she couldn't have been given a check up and a couple of shots. In fact the last time I took her - in August she did get 4 shots.. so what was that? DH has taken her for the last few visits but I don't think that has anything to do with it frankly!

So onward and upward I guess. I don't think this is in any of the parenting books - how to manage the worry and anxiety that accompany you when the day care situation is not right. How do work efficiently and competently when your heart is in your throat all day worrying about that little bundle who holds the key to your life? I know worrying never solved anything and I need to be able to concentrate on my job and the other important things that are going on in my life, but when I look at her face and know that she has placed all her trust in me as her mother I do not want to do anything to disturb that trust. I may not be the perfect mother - but I AM HER mother and I am the only mom she has at this point. It's more disgusting to me at this point (and I won't elaborate at this time) that any parent should find themselves in this bind with daycare - in this day and age and in what is SUPPOSED to be the greatest nation on the planet!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

One Year Ago Today.... (Part 1 of a Multipart Series)

Maybe the Hokey Pokey IS what it's all about!!

..............I was beside myself with grief as yet another birthday (yet another milestone) had passed with no baby, no news of our baby and no idea when/if there would ever be a baby. I was anxious, scared, embarrassed, grieving and trying desperately to hold onto whatever hope I could find. I would fall apart at the slightest provocation and dissolve into tears if someone as much as looked like they MIGHT ask when we were expecting our referral. The entire landscape of adoption from China changed while we were in process.... all of a sudden mere days worth, rather than the month's worth, of referrals would be sent causing the wait to lengthen inexplicably and for the uncertainty to reach a fever pitch. We were in the thick of it for sure! I have already written at length of how much my different circles of friends helped me get through the wait - so I won't go there again but honestly I am still grateful for all the support I received during the crazy wait.

I had no faith then - last year. No faith that either of the two jurisdictions would actually provide what they promised. I was still so convinced that I was undeserving of that which I most desperately wanted. In spite of the mountain of evidence that a range of people had examined every single aspect of my life as well as DH's and promised us that we would be parents. I still harbored the result of years of bitter disappointment, unfulfilled promises and working towards things that would never be forthcoming. I am still under the impression that I will usually not get what I want.. but every so often the universe throws me a curve ball. Just to see if I am paying attention or something. Oh what a curve ball!

Most of the parents we waited with have put all this behind them and many are embarking on new journeys toward other children. I have put it behind in the sense that I don't dwell on it any longer but I don't think I have made peace with it yet. I do know I don't feel the same angst, obviously I don't have a heck of a lot of time for that these days anyway! I have yet to write the LONG letter I owe the agency for their part in this. I have since come to learn to that there must be a written policy some where that says if a client starts to complain or gets to questioning the service aspect they respond with condescension and imply that the complainer is in fact high strung, inflexible, unable to handle the trip and they throw in, for good measure, the mention of a sick or absent child. Just to prey on a new parent's worst fear. We get all the way to China and something is wrong with the child... can you imagine anyone writing that policy? As if waiting and everything else is a walk in the park and when they are less than forthcoming in information etc. and you react as most people would - they try to make you seem crazy for advocating for yourself! Yea, that letter is most over due.. do know we will not be using that agency again!

We do think we want another child... I am not interested in the uncertainty of waiting for another baby though. I think we will take a chance and try a child. One year ago I wasn't sure we would have one child and now very often I can see 2 or 3 before we hang up this particular towel! LOL. So much has happened in the intervening year that I hardly know how to catalog all the events. I do know I have made so much peace with those things that have plagued me and held back my vision of who I could be. I have been writing quite a bit and I believe I may work up the courage to submit a few things here and there. I also have some small plan for my career that may mean things happening in a good way for a change. Not sure exactly what will happen - but we'll see. We still have a few classes to complete to get certified as foster parents - its been a real exercise in catharsis for me. I don't dwell on the fact that I was a foster child once upon a time - but I was and it gives me a perspective that most of the people in our class do not have. I don't talk about it all that much in class - so far only once. I don't purport to have all the answers but I know what would not have worked well enough. I also know that the shame of appearing on some one's doorstep is not something erased over night or, honestly, ever. It has been good though for me to be there and in some measure for my DH (child of privilege though he be) to hear what foster care really is and, perhaps even more important, what it is not. Our foster child(ren) - when he/she/they get here - will have some comfort in knowing that I understand all too well how it feels and that I am more than willing to do whatever it will take to advocate for him/her. They may be too young to know what that all means, but I think they will feel it and I will do my best to be some comfort.

In the meantime - and just to add to the craziness - we are seriously considering a waiting child. I have made some inquiries about her medical situation and I am waiting for more information before we complete the petition but I can't get her little face out of my heart and although I have some concerns about my ability to deal with her medicals.. there is something about her that is so sweet it just tugs at me. Of course I have also decided that there is practically NO child I can not love. I just love children and there is no end to it. I don't think I ever saw myself as one of those earth mother types who has a house full of children etc. but sometimes I feel like whatever we can do either domestically or internationally for children is still not quite enough. 1 child or 10 I would try to be a good mom deserving of the children.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too--yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time

Today was my birthday. Not a particularly special one - though it is my first as a Mom! I must say that having a daughter and an attentive DH is more than reward! EFP had a card and DH a dozen pink roses - my fav! We had dinner at the palace! (ha ha The Palace Diner!) and it was nice - quiet and quick. We took EFP to vote - I hope to be able to do this for many years. I like seeing kids in the polling place. My Mom never voted and so I didn't learn how to work the machines till it was my turn to vote. I was so nervous- I couldn't really enjoy my first experience with democratic process...

We have had a nice few days - though Miss EFP was a bit feverish yesterday (I am thinking its her eye teeth - the drool factor is way up there as are the fingers in the mouth!) so we had a Mommy and EFP Day... where she finally met the Booooooooo Baaaaaaahs! YIKES!! Now she says that all the time - with a perfect English accent!!

We attended the Christening Celebration for one of our dear friends... we had so much fun! I have been trying to post some pics but blogger is not communicating at all. Finally! Got some pics posted. EFP had a great time at the party. The kid is a party animal! The left top pic is her playing "Simon Says" with the other kids. She also danced the Hokey Pokey and really tore up the dance floor with Mommy and Daddy in tow. We just love these people so... every event is a real celebration seeing all the kids and how well they grow. Even the recently home were doing fabulously. Of course seeing all the kids makes me... well, I will save that for another Birthday Wish Reveal!

OH! Big news!!! Who do you think can say the alphabet up to letter J??? Who Who Who!? RIGHT! EFP! Just starting saying them tonight as we were driving back from the Diner!!! She said A-J perfectly! I have been really anxious about her lack of real speech and was considering calling the EI people for a re-eval, but since she is saying things so much more clearly and with purpose that I think it will be unnecessary. She has invented some more games... all on her own! Including the lumpy couch game... she hides behind my back on the couch, I say "Wow, this couch sure is lumpy" and she tries to hide but I twist and see her and she laughs hysterically! She has also decided that Mommy with a pacey in her mouth is a hoot.. oddly enough Mommy does not find this at all amusing.... except to hear her baby-laugh. I do love that baby laugh. She has also started becoming interested in the Potty and will indicate (as if we needed any more indication than our nose!) when she has a poopy diaper! I think the Royal Throne will be installed in the throne room shortly! She has really started following me and is very handy with the paper... LOL

EFP has really brightened up our lives. When we were all laughing up in the nursery this evening I remarked to DH that I really had every present possible right there on the changing table. She is so precious. I am going to have her at work tomorrow for a little bit as DH is going to bring her and attend a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration Closing Dinner as a family.

Here is the Empress in her Imperial Coach (the Odyssey) on the way to her daily Empress Training.. do not let the bunny ears fool you - that is a crown in disguise and boy does she work it! I will post about the royal melt-downs that mark her firm placement in the terrible-twos!

But I love this little face!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

All my happiness

Posted by Picasa This is what all the fuss is about! This little face and thousands more like it. Maybe the face is a little browner or a little whiter, maybe the hair is curlier or blonder or maybe older and maybe it comes with a few matching faces - maybe the child is a boy. Adoption has been in the news alot lately thanks to "The MAterial One. " I don't think that the root of what she and her DH did are actually evil - I guess I just feel that there are questions that need to be answered in terms of flouting a number of regulations and laws. Is it always OK to use money or position to get one's heart's desire? What if it comes at the expense of another human? Do I get how ironic that is - given that my own heart's desire came at the expense of a birth mother cruelly forced to abandon her child - MY CHILD. EFP is ONLY my child because she was unable to be someone else's child. Would I wish the other alternative on my precious child - that of a lifetime of institutionalization and little if any real love? No, I do not and will not concede that she (or any child) would be better off living that way. The particular child in question (not mine, the Material One) would most certainly have faced a life of abject poverty and some amount of institutionalized care with (maybe) periodic visits from his bio relatives. Is the child better off... maybe. I would not want to be the one who has to explain all this to him in some years when he is old enough to read. When the child is old enough to understand part of his story and not the subtlety of what happened - when he finds out all the particulars of his birth, abandonment and eventual adoption. I can even imagine the day where some kids in a schoolyard torment him with the idea of his being taken from his birth country and transplanted to wherever it is he lands finally. Reading about his poor illiterate father and impoverished birth circumstances.

I think about that all the time about my own family. I mean I know all the ugly circumstances there are to know about how I was born, what this is to know of my family's uglier moments and I accept them - I worry about what EFP will say when she realizes all there is to realize about her life, how a birth mother left her at the gate of the children's welfare institute. That it was her gender and nothing more that made the decision for her parent(s) to part with this beautiful, smart, healthy absolutely amazing baby. What will she think of the circumstances of our adopting her? Will she see it as robbing her of her birthright - the land and culture with 10,000 years of history stacked against her. Where less than 100 years ago feet were still bound to make virtual prisoners of her fore mothers. Will she think of her adoption as I think of it - that I wanted to be a mother and she had none - so I brought her home to love and care for? That I really do think that being in a family is better... and that I thank whatever powers there are in the universe for bringing me THIS child? How could I not?

I don't know what the eventual outcome of all this will be. There are many voices against international adoption - many that say countries should work harder to identify and support families within countries to adopt those children that can not be cared for by birth families and that only rarely and under exceptional circumstances should children be adopted out of the county and culture. Frankly - I see an end to the racism and hegemony that permeates this planet with international adoption that is probably the best reason to continue the programs - indeed to enforce the Hague Convention and send all kids who can not be cared for by birth families into other countries... how can you possibly hate the people who made your child? When you know that it is possible that the family of your child is still there... don't you think that there would have to be some measure of peace if some part of the world's children were being loved and raised in other parts of the world - or is that the Utopian in me showing?

See the hard part is looking into that face - thinking that someday she may regret MY choice when no matter what I will never regret mine. It's tough - people tell me how lucky SHE is to have us - and I say no, WE, her parents, are the lucky ones. The world is lucky to have this amazing child growing up in it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A sad end to a promising start

Being cryptic is not my usual MO - but bear with me. A few readers will know what this is about and those who do not - can either read between the lines or put two and two together and be very close to where we are.

DH and I have re-started the process to become foster-adopt parents. We have been attending classes and doing a mound of paperwork. Maybe, gentle reader, you have deduced that from earlier hints. We are a few weeks away from completing the process and being certified. Yes we have literally put aside every other project in order to devote all our energies to making sure this happens. It has been a rewarding experience and I am really looking forward to being at the end. It's actually been more fun this time and as I mentioned to a friend earlier this evening, I am enjoying being somewhat free of the shame I felt in my unorthodox upbringing and it's attendant mishaps.

To have managed to get this far and be free from the effects of what I perceived to be others judgment of my choices or life path is a precious gift indeed. I am more able to see that this path is one I was meant to travel and although there are times I am aware that my DH has had to travel these winding roads with me, he has actually been as committed as I AND when recently offered an out to all this - did what he usually does: namely, surprised me by saying that of course we would not take the 'easy' way and give up. He said we are in this for the long-haul and somehow this will all come out right. My experience says that any thing I have gained has been hard-fought and proves to be worth is all in the end. As for what to do with all the other feelings circulating... well, aside from some anger about how badly the situation was managed I am doing OK. I truly believe there will be another child in my house before too long. I don't know how or why but I know that much - in my heart.

My baby is so amazing and wonderful that there are no words to describe how incredible she is or how being her Mom is just my best of everything. I am not feeling deprived or that EFP is in anyway lacking. Indeed, it is because she is so amazing that I feel ready for the last piece of the puzzle that is our family.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Pumpkin Love

This is the pumpkin of my dreams Mom!

Hey, Tigger you look taller in person!

So many pumpkins, so little time!

This is what I left when I went to Philadelphia, and got trapped in the airport there! The conference went well. It was eye-opening and productive and I think I may have made some career decisions that, frankly, I have been putting off! I ran into people I had met before and had a very interesting conversation with someone from the west coast. I also think I got some very good ideas about a sub-topic for my dissertation. It's funny, when I am home in my real life the the thoughts of my academic life are so far away. Then I get in a room with some very smart people and I feel like I need to be up there with them. I also was privledged to listen to a most enlightened speaker Dr. John Hope Franklin a most inspiring speaker and person. I mean when you consider that he is only 2 generations from a runaway slave - and yet attended Harvard, it is amazing and makes me feel like truly if you want it bad enough, you will find a way. I believe I will read his new book. I probably should have bought it at the conference and waited to have it signed - but there were so many people and I don't like crowds, plus I understood that he was only going to sign a few books and I probably would not have gotten a signed book anyway.

Today as tired as I was - I dressed up the empress in her first halloween costume and we headed over to the farm. It was COLD and WINDY! SO we didn't last as long as I was hoping - but EFP had a great time as you can see. She was so impressed with the field of pumpkins, had no fear of the 6' tall Tigger, and got up on the stage and performed like the little star she is! She even attempted the chicken dance. What a little ham I have. (*big cheesy grin on my face*) She ate a knish and a cookie for lunch and was quite the little flirt with a friend's 6 yo. We had so much fun and left the park with a goodie bag! We enjoyed it tremendously!

Then we headed over to DH's library because somehow my house keys got separated from my car keys. DH's associates got peak at our darling in her halloween regalia. She really did look cute and liked seeing daddy as surprise - perhaps we will do that again and bring daddy some nicer lunch than what they have in the vending machine!!

EFP's sleep schedule is a little off thanks to her having to accompany DH when we retrieved me (sans bag I might add!) at the airport very very late. She slept for 2 hours between 4 and 6 - I wasn't going to let her but the poor baby was so sleepy. The airline did deliver my bag today and more or less when they said they would which was nice. I still don't really understand how an airline can just up and cancel a zillion flights! What exactly do they think people will do? Some people rented cars and drove home - the airlines actually sent some people home by bus. I almost had to do that - would have gotten home even later than I did. It's one of those infuriating things about life. So tonight she wanted to party until 10 pm - not tired really. Now she is happily sleeping and tomorrow I will wake her at a decent hour to nidge her back to her normal sleep time. I believe I am working tomorrow - so boo hoo for me!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Bye Bye!

Mommy is going bye bye for two whole days! For the first time since we adopted our darling - I will be completely away. When I wrote the proposal to present at a national conference (long ago in a galaxy where I was not yet a mom) it seemed like a good idea! It is a good idea - but Oh MY! It is hard to leave my baby! I am sure she will be fine - really. (sniff sniff WAIL!) She and Daddy have come a long way since those early days and now that DH is on afternoon day care pick up - the time they have spent together (sans Mama) has really brought them closer.

I am just nervous about the whole thing. I have tried really hard during the last 8 months to only be out of the house once a week - two tops. This week was an exception in every way. Long days in the office (oh, and I got locked out today! Everyone went to an event while I was facilitating a training), a class that DH and I have to take related to our project and leaving the house pre-dawn Thursday to return long after the cows have come home Friday. I am sure that leaving my baby is more to blame for the absolutely abysmal mood I have been in - but the phases of the moon are not with me either. I have been just weepy and cranky and (well... b-tchie) if you must know.

I suppose there are people for whom an apology won't suffice... somehow I will figure it out and make amends where necessary. Even I have a bad day now and again. There are big changes on the horizon and that is not usually within my comfort zone. I like to know alot about what is coming, so this is relatively uncharted territory.

In the meantime my darling is sound asleep safe in her room. My DH snoring away - I just finished getting packed and getting her little duds ready for the next few days. I had to finish putting together her costume for the party on Saturday and I was finally able to find a long sleeved black shirt she can wear under her rather skimpy costume.

I am off to bed - so I can wake up in 3 hours to get ready for the airport. Will check in on Saturday after the party.......... with pics, Promise.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Terrible Twos Indeed!

Now, we know. Sure we thought we had dodged a bullet for all the past 7 months, EFP has been the happiest sweetest baby ever. But now she is almost 19 months old and while I would say that 90% of the time she is still that – occasionally we get a glimpse or as today – a full frontal of what the Terrible Twos really mean! I think this has been building for a couple of weeks now, since the last time she woke up kind of cranky and out of sorts. This morning she was fine till after her nap. She woke from her nap in a ripping mood. She literally did not want any part of wearing pants today. No pumpkins were picked! For whatever reason – she has decided that diaper changes are the equivalent of murder (or at least she screams like bloody murder!) and so she will resist with every fiber of her being – kicking and twisting something a little exorcist-ish on the floor, ottoman, changing table, bed – wherever! I now dread having to change her diaper in a public facility – both for the stares and the safety factor. Those flip-down changing stations are sort of not that stable. Then at dinner (which usually reverses her moodiness) the tacos I made were unacceptable so she threw her spoon at me. GREAT!

Twice today she did corner duty for pitching her sippy cup (full!) at one or the other of the two resident kitties (so far this is the only punishable offense) and I discovered that the so-called naughty step wasn’t working because a. she plays peek-a-boo from the step through the rails and b. she climbs up the staircase which is a recipe for disaster! So I have taken to putting her in the one corner in the hallway. Well – imagine my surprise when she seemed to know EXACTLY what to do!!!!! So now one more difficult conversation with the child-care center. Somehow - someone has put her in the corner already and not told me about it. TERRIFIC! The highlight of the evening had to be when she freaked out completely as the last few drops of water from her evening bath drained away and she was sitting in an empty tub. This is the same tub as yesterday.. the water always drains out and she usually is very happy to be wrapped up in a few giant fluffy towels and carried into her room to be massaged with lotion and then slipped into her pjs etc. NOT this time! No – she freaked out all (wrinkly and blue-lipped as she was) and tried to turn the water back on!! It was kinda funny – she has never reached for the faucets before so I don’t think she really understood. She did really want to help with the lotion part – for the third time today! She will have the softest skin in the USA at this rate. She is obsessed with the lotion bottle and likes me to put a small amount on her hands so she can apply it to her (really really) soft tummy, and feet and nose. Today – I was in for a treat!! I got the lotion on a q-tip on my legs – I was wearing capris.

Seriously – how long do the so-called terrible twos last?? Till she is three? I won’t last – I just won’t make it I tell you!

MKC's Non-Swedish Slow Cooked Meatballs

1/2 Big Bag Swedish Type Meatballs (Frozen)
2 Cans Cream o Mushroom Soup
1 Package Onion Soup Mix (dry)
2 Cans Milk (Skim OK)
1 Cup Milk (skim still ok)

Night before:

Spray inside of crock with non stick spray
In a separate bowl mix envelope of Onion Soup with two cans Cream o Mushroom Soup plus the two cans of milk. Stir to combine - pour into crock cover and refrigerate over night. You can also throw in a can of sliced mushrooms at this point if you like a lot of mushrooms (I did and I do!)

Morning of:

Add frozen meatballs to crock then set slow cooker on low for at least 8 hours.

Half hour before dinner:
add one cup milk stir gently - replace cover cook on high for half hour

Service with buttered noodles and greenbeans/salad etc.

Serves 4-6 with leftovers!

This is the recipe I mentioned - it's my own invention but - it's very like most of the cream o mushroom soup recipes so I can't really take all the credit.

I am also going to adapt my chili (Chili con carne para no frijoles!) recipe for the slow cooker.

The basic ingredients are:
2 lbs chuck steak cut into one inch cubes.
2) 28 oz cans of whole peeled tomatos,
cup or two dry red wine,
garlic (6 cloves minced)
1 medium sweet onion
green and red peppers large dice
masa harina
chili powder
a little cayenne pepper.

I usually serve with rice, sharp cheddar and a little sour cream. Chips and salsa - but of course!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Happiness is a warm crockpot!

I finally mastered one recipe in the new slowcooker swedish meatballs!! Using frozen meatballs no less! I served it with noodles and mixed california veggies and there were only yum-yum noises at dinner tonight! Finally! I had tried a few other recipes and so far they were not big hits... I had no recipe books though, so I remedied that and although this is my own version of Swedish Meatballs I think I followed the basic idea I got in the book. EFP surely like the little meatballs and, of course, the noodles. She is much neater at the table these days, though she has her moments when noodles go flying and it is still more messy than I would like.

We are very excited that a young friend of ours will be visiting again soon. We were delighted to host a small informal dinner (okay, it was pizza) for her last Monday and we are hoping this will be a regular occurence. I would even go so far as to say that we would love it if she were here every night for dinner... very soon!

So there are great goings on here at the Empress's everyday palace. I have discovered I am no good at selling items on Craig's List! I listed three things and so far I have only gotten one email and that was just a stupid question. I have been hoping to get rid of the futon in EFP's room to make room for a twin/daybed for our little visitor. I want her to feel at home whenever she is here, so I thought a nice new bed with her own choice of linens would be a good start. But - the Futon has to go. I do waver back and forth - it's really quite comfy and does provide a nice big bed for guests to sleep in - but I think its important for kids to have a bed of their own. SO the quest for a new home for the Futon goes on. I suppose if push comes to shove I will put it on the grad student list at work and some lucky student will be able to claim it. Its a really well-made futon so I can't imagine someone wouldn't want it.

We are otherwise in our usual mode - everything is crazy and we are running at full gallop all the time.......... and you should see how big our smiles are!!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

When the moon.........

......is in the seventh house and Jupiter aligns with Mars.................

An appropriate opening for this week when the Chinese celebrate the Moon Festival. As I mentioned previously we celebrated the Moon Festival at a local park with tons of our friends! It's a great time to reflect on our ancestors. I have been reflecting on mine - well, at least my Mother. She has been on my mind quite a bit - both for those things she did and those she did not. I miss her but the happier memories are starting to rise to the surface and I am grateful for that. This time of year is a time to give thanks for the gifts our ancestors have given us - I am thankful for the resiliency that seems to be my gift. My DH also seems to have received the gift of resiliency and hopefulness also. When you see the moon - it's the same moon that our foremothers saw and they too looked with hope and dreams. It's the same moon I saw while I waited for the person who whould change my life forever - and she may also have been looking at the moon. Is it a coincidence that Goodnight Moon is her favorite book?

I also reference some other mystic happenings. It's not that I have switched to the 'other' side - I am still the usual skeptic I have always been. Somtimes though there are clear signs that the path I am on is the correct path. This has been one of those times where my path is clear. I may be nervous and a little unsure of myself - but I have been saying something for the last 2 weeks that I think bear repeating and is more than a little applicable these days.

"Just because something is hard (and there is a chance your heart will be broken) doesn't mean you shouldn't do it."

Indeed, everything worth doing is hard in one way or another. I was speaking with someone about buying a house - how the process is so complex and is harder than you think it possibly could be. When we bought our house - it seemed like the hardest thing I had ever done... till we adopted. Now - I know what hard is. I had thought that the process of obtaining a mortgage, where one feels like they are under a microscope and there is a certain amount of being judged 'worthy' or 'unworthy' that is inherent and stays with you for a while after you assume that incredible financial committment. But honestly - I did not know the first thing about scrutiny till we entered the adoption process.

Oddly enough - in baring my entire life to virtual strangers on both sides of the world - I have been able to once and for all rid myself of some demons that have haunted my progress over the years. Stemming from a childhood where some of the most important lessons were absent - it took me a litte longer to figure out what everyone else seemed to know. When I returned to school and completed my masters and entered the PhD program - I sort of figured out everyone (to some extent) is just trying to figure things out. I haven't met too many (though there have been a few) people who knew exactly where they fit in this world - what their special gift was. I am not sure I have found mine either - so I try to be helpful. I do know that I am not afraid anymore of the hard things, or being laughed at or even falling down while taking a leap of faith. I described our journey to become parents as a real leap of faith - faith that I would be able to withstand the scrutiny and invasion of my privacy that was necessary to the process. Withstand the judgement in the face of my own fears as to what kind of Mother would I be - it is hard (though not impossible) to remain positive when you are afraid SOMEONE else will say you are not capable. Thankfully, I did stay in it - it was hard but I did it anyway. And the rewards are a bounty and also an unlooked for gift of joy and a true connection with motherhood. I never knew how much I was capable of loving another person... unconditionally and completely. I had some glimpses when my niece and nephew were born - since I do love them to the moon and back, but it just isn't the same as when that love is reflected back at you as with my child. All the love I give her is reflected back to me... same for her daddy.

I have also come to understand why some people are reticent to shake that up and add a second child. It's hard to believe that once you have poured everything you have into one child - who becomes the center of your universe - that you could then add a another little something to revolve around. I have a suspicion about this as well - that just as I didn't know what it would mean to love one child and the reality has turned out to be so much more than I was capable of believing for me - that adding a second just increases the love you have to give. Instead of dividing - you multiply. Some friends of ours are already anticipating the arrival of a second child - and I bless them for it. My friend already gets that her heart will grow twice as large with the addition of another incredible child to love. My sister got it... I suppose many many people have figured that out.

Things are going very well for us at this point. We have put our moving plans on hold for a while. We realized that EFP is not ready to leave her butterfly and cloud paradise and she would be so sad if she had to. And since I can't imagine that we could duplicate the walls and art - I wouldn't even try. During the nearly two years we waited we had a lot of time to plan and prepare a glorious setting for our darling to come home to, changing her room would be very hard to do under normal moving the household (short of time and cash) circumstances. I am ok with this decision and while you may be reading between the lines that there is more to this decision than meets the eye - believe me, I will change residences the very minute that it is feasible and not likely to cause irreparable harm to our family.

In the meantime - why not go outside tonight and take a peak at the glorious Moon. Think about how far you have come and how magical the journey has been. Give thanks for your ancestors (the good and bad) for even the bad times have left an indellible mark on your soul and you are a better person for having survived. Look up and make a wish - for yourself and your future self, maybe wish a little peace on your past self. I know I will.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Well you just never know do you?

Here are some very amazing young women! One of them is mine and the other two - well I only wish they were! I adore their Mom and ALL their sisters as well! We had such fun at the FCC-LI Autumn Moon last Saturday!

Here is my climbing girl! She has taken to climbing anything and everything - here she is climbing in and out of her red wagon for the gagillionth time! Notice her March Moonbeam Bib! Once a Moonbeam - Always a Moonbeam!

Sometimes in your life there are moments that just take your breath away. I get that a lot these days. My daughter is so amazing - every day she does something that makes me stop and catch my breath. She is adding words to her vocabulary by the bushel and she is increasingly more agile all the time. She will literally climb on anything and everything anytime. We had an amazing time at the picnic - I think (OK I KNOW) this was the best one yet! It certainly was for us - no more longing looks at other people's babies.. or that nagging feeling like we would never be chasing a little one around.. HA! Boy did we chase a little one! EFP did not want to sit still for a second - unless it was in her wagon while IT was moving! We got to see some of our very favorite people - and we missed some others...

We really had a fabulous time and the weather was perfect - though the park was even dustier and dirtier than last year and from our own experience and what we have heard all the kids were covered in muck and were bathed instantaneously upon arrival home! My own baby was so tired she bathed and wanted to go night-night almost immediately. She had so much fun!

We have been very busy and it is going very well. Unfortunately I can not really discuss it here - I will tell all when I can - but for now - it is a rather intense time and I have been hard pressed to get all the details together. For now we are just asking everyone to keep us in their thoughts and hope that all turns out as it should for all involved. (I only bring this up because if my blogging is lacking in its usual verbosity you will know I am not losing interest - I am just tied up doing important other work for the time being)

We are headed up to Vermont for a few days of leaf peeping and harvest festival attending. We are hoping to take a much needed break for a few days. We will enjoy the company of DH's folks and the fall scenery.

On another happy note - I decided to write a little something about how we decided to adopt from China for the new Love Without Boundaries Book Love's Journey 2 - and guess what? They liked it! They really liked it! So a part of our story will be in this book! With pictures of Miss EFP! Our story will be in a section called Honoring the Heirlooms and it will tell about the connection I felt with my Mom and our baby all during the time we were deciding and waiting for our baby. I am proud to have anything at all in this book - it is a beautiful book and I loved the first one. I can't imagine anything better than that our story will help some children who may never know the love of a family - at least know life. All the proceeds help to fund surgeries for children who may never be adopted from China. We are so fortunate that our precious baby was healthy - and was eligible to be adopted internationally - there are so many who are neither. I think my Mom would have liked to know that in addition to making me the happiest Mommy - she helped some very sick children get well. I will post a link when the book is published.

Here is my little Olympic Athlete! What is her speciality you ask? Well - isn't it obvious? Ice Cream Sandwich Eating of Course!!! LOL

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