Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Is Here

It is Christmas time once again! The older I get, the more I realize just how short a year is. I love this time of year, and even through the stress of what we "need" to get done, there are always special moments to realize and reflect on what is really important.

Like getting out cards and wrapping gifts and figuring out who to visit when and for how long OMG and hating the post office....none of that matters at all.

What matters if focusing on WHY we celebrate. Beyond even Christianity, Saving, and what not, we celebrate because it is a lesson in giving.

To give is far grater than to receive. To be selfless and do for others. Especially in the tradition of St. Nick. He carried on the message of Christ, by picking Jesus' birthday to give HIM the most special gift-all of US giving to others.

Selflessly, anonymously, and without any gratification or recognition. We should give to others the thing they most need. A toy, a Bed, A friend.

We talk to the boys about Santa, and celebrate that tradition, but we call him St. Nick, after the real man that lived in Greece and is the source of all things Santa we see now.

We talk about how St. Nick is giving Jesus the most special gift ever, by getting all of us into the spirit of giving and helping.

This year, the boys are completely stoked to get legos-and Little Dude very much had me stressing because he kept changing his mind about which set he wanted. But. One huge Star Wars plane is picked and will be under the tree. JR has been focused on the same Batman Lego set since before LAST Christmas, so, this year, he will get it. Champ is getting a Thomas train roundhouse. I spent too much on it, but I'm so excited for him to have it.

Princess will be getting a doll from the Disney Store from the "It's a Small World" collection. Of course, the doll is a little Indian Princess that sings in English and Hindi. I love it and hope we can give it to her someday.

And, in the meantime, since we can't give her our gifts, we sent a lot of gifts to the orphanage in general, because otherwise, the children don't get things. We sent clothes and undies and socks-things they needed very much-as well as fun things, as you can see in the video below.

I love how excited all the girls are. Our little Princess is in there too, see if you can spy her in her cute flowered dress.

This is what Christmas is about. Those kids will never know who sent all these toys to them, but they will so much love the fun they have together playing, and knowing that is all the gift and importance I need to focus on this Christmas. The long line at the post office doesn't matter in the least, when at the end this is what you get:



Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Princess' First Steps


I'm so blessed to know so many wonderful people at our Princess' orphanage! I got this wonderful gift and want to make sure I have it saved, so I'm adding it here.

These are her first steps. On 6-10-2012, she took her first steps. So awesome to see this and have it; I hope beyond hope I can show her someday this special moment.




Also, in big boy news, Little Dude currently says the phrase "Can I Tell You Something?" before he proceeds to tell us something ALL.THE.TIME. It is hilarious and annoying at the same time, because he doesn't before EVERY.THING.HE.SAYS. Though, I love him telling us everything and anything; I hope he always feels he can.

JR is SUCH a big kid now. He loves school so very much and I'm so glad he is doing so well. He is also quite the joker with a vast knowledge of poop jokes. I blame Bill for that, haha. He is also quite the cook and LOVES to help me in the kitchen. He tells us he will open a restaurant someday. I told him I'd eat there every day; and he agreed we could have lunch dates every so often. My sweet little man.

Champ is so funny and cute; it is sooooo super hard to not spoil him like crazy. I see now why the "babies of the family" are always babied! I hate seeing him grow out of being a baby! Right now his phrase is "Wait A Minute". LOVE. I think we are successfully out of diapers, too! We have gone quite a few weeks now without having an accident, so yippie!

Though, I am a little sad to pack the diapers away. Sigh. I'm certain though, if all the adoption stuff falls through, we will have another baby, so I may get them back out again in the future :)

We shall see.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Slight Adoption Update


It is amazing to realize another year has flown by! It is also hard to realize 1 year, 7 months, 2 weeks and 6 days since we turned in our paperwork and homestudy to adopt our Princess.

That is a long time folks. That doesn't even include the time before we turned in the official paperwork, where we took classes, read books, had social worker meetings, took photos of our house and set up a room for her to show India we could provide for her.

It makes me super sad she was 15 months we I first saw her sweet face, and now, no matter if we got the call even tomorrow that we were granted guardianship, we won't get her home before she is 4.

That is such a long time we have been in this process and that has be down a bit. I wish we could just hear something, even a "no" so we would know.

I read this on another adoptive family's blog: 

From my perspective, adoption is kinda a bizarre thing.  I am paying insane amounts of money to take on the burden of raising two children that I’ve never met.  These children will come with a unique set of emotional and physical hurdles that will intensify the process and make it extremely difficult at times.  These problems include language barriers, heath issues, failure to thrive, learning to bond, disabilities, malnutrition, and a host of other struggles as a result of being institutionalized.  I know this to be true because I had to take a forty hour class on the topic and the material seemed to be created with the sole purpose of scaring me off.  But it didn’t work.  Despite the difficulties and brokenness and financial pressure that is coming with these two little girls, I’m not scared at all.  I’m excited.  And that’s a bit bizarre.


It is bizarre. And I know that many people think we are crazy-and many people have told us outright we have no business adopting a child from another race. But all those comments, outbursts, and negative reactions have really only strengthened our resolve.


YES. We COULD be GREAT parents to an orphan, regardless of race, blood, background, experiences.I know in my heart, that as much as I have loved the children I babysit as my own, I know that we will love and dote on our little princess without even a thought about the different genetics running through us. I know we can do it. Just something inside me says we are up for the challenge. And I hope and pray so much that we are able to give our Princess everything she needs and deserves to thrive and enjoy a most wonderful, peaceful, and optimistic life of opportunity.


And now that this blog is private, I'm going to share a photo that includes our Princess, but I won't identify her. See if you can pick her out; everyone approved to read this has already been shown her photo. :)


This is from the day the orphanage she is in opened a new part of their building and moved some of the older girls there. It kills me she is no longer in the baby room,but in the older girl's room. I hate we have missed that time with her just because this whole process is so slow and tedious.

One of my friends working in the orphanage let me know that her file was finally FINALLY approved by the Indian government, so it should be sent to an agency soon to match her with a family. We are supposed to be tagged in her file, so that it is considered and hopefully given preference for India to send her file to our agency because they have already submitted saying a family is wanting her now. But, it is India, and who knows if they will grant favor to the request or go the exact opposite and send her file to an agency somewhere else. She has enough special medical needs that if her file goes somewhere else, but doesn't get accepted, there is a strong chance our agency could request it from that agency and then we could get it. But, that will be time lost for her and us, and that will kill me to know we lost it for no reason at all.  But, it will kill me to know another family got her, even though it will be best for her and her needs to get a family asap.

It is going to be so hard, but it is also going to be amazing and wonderful to get her home. Will you help me pray that no matter what, she gets a home SOON; even if it isn't us? She (and all these girls) needs to go HOME to a family and not spend anymore time as an orphan.

And so, in that spirit, I'm doing my best to remain very THANKFUL for everything we have been blessed with-for our sweet boys that get older and wiser by the second, our wonderful home, sweet friends and neighbors, and rainy days like to day that make it perfect to get Christmas things out of our attic and set up in our living room. Thankful for the little boy I babysit that helped us raise the money we were missing to pay for a lot of the fees to adopt. Thankful for food, and heat, and the ability to be home with my children and watch them discover the world. Thankful for my education, that has enabled me to make a living writing at home.

This year grandpa Z's old O-guage train will be set up around the tree; I'm excited to see the boys watch it and get Papa Z a photo of it. These ages are just magical and I wish I could bottle it forever.




Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This Blog is Private Now

Not related to the post, but our family with Grandpa Zeren from Ohio earlier this year. I love this photo. 
So, I have come full circle from when I started my blog. Back in 2005, it was meant just as a way to have a "diary" of our first son's being a baby while we lived away from family.

It quickly turned into more than that, and I started getting items to review, got hooked up with lots of large companies, and had a huge readership.

Then I neglected to renew my url with GoDaddy and lost the domain.

And then we had our third baby and started looking at adoption options for our fourth child and my blog fell off my radar.

I lost all desire to chase traffic numbers or keep up with reviewing items. And I sorta liked the small group of good online friends/moms I had found. So I kept it as so, and stopped blogging for others and got back to blogging just for our family.

Except, in the midst of all that, my mom and dad had a HUGE falling out with my grandparents and Texas family. Like huge in that my wedding turned into a firestorm the week before with adults saying they weren't coming if this person came, we won't show up if that person comes...it was really awesome. (Actually, my wedding was awesome, but it stunk to have them all fighting over money and inheritance after my grandfather's death. Anyways.)

The fighting became worse, and mixed in with other behavior and tempers and actions, Bill and I decided it was best for our children to not have my parents be around them until they could get some of their demons under control. That hasn't happen yet, so our relationship has been none in the last 6 years.

Honestly, I find more peace and happiness not having to worry and stress and be scared about their actions around me or my kids. It sounds harsh, but, it is what it is, and this set up I know is much better and safer for my children and so that is how it will be.

But, in saying all that (I'm sharing a lot here, he? haha) My mom found my blog and read about our adoption, and left some rather nasty comments about what we are trying to do. Perhaps you saw them? I apologize if you did. I wanted to get them down asap after I saw them, but I might not have been quick enough. But, in any case, I don't want to mess with her leaving horrible comments or leaving rambling stories about needing money or saying whatever details about their life I'd rather not discuss, so on that I decided the best course would be to make the blog private and have it set so that only you guys that I love having an online conversation with can read it.


Anyone that wants to read, of if you know other people that would love to get in touch (especially other adoptive moms!) Have them email me, michellezeren@yahoo.com and give me their email so they can be added as approved readers.

Thanks ya'll,

Friday, November 15, 2013

Quietly Quietly


I quit my job a few weeks ago. I know, shocking. I've been doing SEO for over 7 years for the same company, but it all really got to be too much, too busy, and with the adoption I realized there was a lack of time I really spent with our family. With our current kids.

So, in anticipate of quitting anyway when Princess gets home, I went ahead and quit. And I'm more happy than I ever though I could be. I had panicked that first day unemployed, wondering if I had really screwed up, but then, realizing ALL.THAT. STUPID. STRESS was gone and I could relax....wow.

I had not realized just HOW much time and energy I put into my job. And I had not realized just how much STRESS I had from last minute projects and huge deadlines. So many things I  hated about my job, but was too scared to leave. It took my husband's pushing after I spent a night crying about work. And I'm so glad he told me not to worry.

I'm so glad that is behind me. I have had the best week ever just playing with the kids, cleaning the house and being mom.

I'm super thankful for this time to focus on them, and looking forward to when I can focus on Princess.

I hope we hear something soon. I had been thinking we would get the paperwork, as our agency contact was going over to see about it, but we haven't heard anything yet.

Oh well, waiting is the easy part.Especially when I have such sweet boys and a house to keep me busy.


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

See You In Heaven

Grandma at around my age. She is so beautiful. 
My Grandma died on November 3rd. I'm terribly sad; yet happy she is no longer in pain. She has been in a lot of pain for quite some time, her little body fighting off multiple cancers and finally pneumonia. I'm glad she is healthy again, talking with God, and seeing Grandpa-who died when I was in 7th grade-again.

My Texas grandparents were just the best.

 I remember Grandma's house always smelling like bacon and bread. And she made the best fried eggs ever. I remember my Grandpa's pipe and that he always hide bubble gum-the GOOD kind, Wrigley's spearmint!- in the clothes Grandma would buy us.

I remember Grandma always being so fun and hugging on us and loving on us and reading us stories. I loved her hugs and the way she smelled like cooking. I loved how Grandpa would yell at the baseball game and then shrug when his team lost and ask who needed ice cream.

Being with them was the best and I was so heartbroken when my mom and dad cut off communication with them. It wasn't until much later, as an adult, that I reached back out and got to talk to everyone in Texas again. And that loss of time makes me sad. I wish things with my parents were different. It is a long story to even try to explain. But I wish they could stop leading the emotionally crazy life they do, And I wish that my mom and Grandma had talked before she died.

Apparently a hospice nurse told my awesome aunt that Grandma had called her my mom's name, and told her she forgave her all the things my mom had done, and loved her and hoped they could talk. God bless that nurse, because she went along with pretending to be my mom, and gave my Grandma a hug and told her she was sorry and didn't want to fight anymore.

My Grandma died the next day. I'm so grateful to that nurse. And so sad that my mom has missed the chance to reconcile with her mom. I'm sad that she and dad are in the situation they are in, but also so glad that I am an adult and they are no longer a chaotic tornado in my life I'm grateful that none of my children will ever experience the chaotic childhood I did.

I'm flying down Thursday for the service and staying with my Aunt Marla and Uncle Bruce. I'm excited to see everyone, as it has been a couple of years since I last saw everyone, even though it will be sad to see the final celebration of Grandma's life and put her to rest next to Grandpa.

I wish Grandma could have met our little Princess. My Grandma had beautiful brown skin and dark dark eyes and huge dimples when she smiled. My Grandma was 1/2 Navaho and 1/2 Mexican and she loved how much our girl looked like her. My Grandma had been so excited about us adopting a little girl, and thought our Princess was beautiful. I really wish, of all things, that Grandma could have seen our girl get home.

And on another note, my very favorite Aunt Marla happens to share names with the wonderful young lady that is caring for our Princess now, so Bill and I have very much though it would be awesome to make our Princess's middle name Marla-Rose, as a beautiful nod to family love from both sides of the world.

My Grandma thought that would be a perfect name to add to our girl's beautiful first name.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

This Time

There are no adoption updates at all-and actually my last email of questions went unanswered from our agency, so I'm guessing they have zero to share either and are just putting off responding until they have some kind of carrot to offer us.

But, it is OK and I am fine with it.

To be honest, now that I have gotten past the whole panic of "OMG we missed another birthday, why can't we go get her, what is she learning, is she being cared for, WHAT IS GOING ON WITH MY GIRL" I am actually enjoying this wait.

There is no stress, so far no paperwork to worry about (now that I've said that I've jinxed myself) and I keep reminding myself. that I need to enjoy every second of our family of 5 while we have it-enjoy the "normal" we have, the simple taken for granted level of ability our kids are at-and how healthy they are, and how we have no issues needing therapy or medicine or anything to worry about.

They don't have flashbacks of fear or people questioning if they are my kids.

And those are all things we will have to deal with once our Princess gets here. And those aren't bad things-they are just what they are-and who even knows what it will be like when we get her home. All I know is that I'll have an almost 4 year old that can't speak English, who doesn't look like us-and who people will feel they must ask about, and who's history and experiences are un-shared by us.

It's going to be hard, ya'll, to get to our new "normal". And while I am so eager to get her home, I'm also taking the time to breathe, and focus on the kids now, and the moments we have now.

And just soak in how blessed Bill and I are, no matter what else might happen.

We are just so blessed.

PS. The Disney Store has "It's A Small World" Dolls out now, and I may have bought the India doll to put under the Christmas tree this year for our girl. :) I hadn't realized it til now, but we have gotten a gift for every year she missed with us; that will be pretty fun when she gets home to celebrate each year she missed with her lovely India themed dolls I've collected for her.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Parenting


Hanging with friends at the bluegrass festival 2013
It is funny to realize now, how much time I used to spend blogging, building my SEO and promoting myself as a "mom blogger expert". I got free stuff to review and even got invited to blog conferences, and had a pretty nice traffic flow, all because I told people what my take on parenting was.

And, looking back, I realize how absolutely ridiculous it was, and is, to obsessively hang on every word some "expert" says about parenting.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, we all come from different situations, different kids, different experiences, different battles to face, and different futures. And as I have aged in this whole parenting thing, I have realized that often, those "expert" opinions and "this is the best thing you can do" stances, don't serve much purpose except to put un-needed pressure on new parents, who already feel antiquate and worry about what is best and if they are doing the right stuff.

Here is the truth I have learned. None of us are perfect, none of us will ever be perfect, and the trend now will not be a trend latter. We are going to mess up, and that is OK. It is OK for our kids to see us fail. It is OK to appologize to them when you lose your temper and realize you went overboard with the yelling. It means a lot to them to see you are not perfect, and takes pressure off them to live up to perfect standards that they are going to all too quickly realize they can't achieve.

Just like us. Take the pressure off. Don't worry about cloth vs. disposable. Don't freak out or feel defensive about breast vs. bottle vs formula. Don't go on parenting forums. There are crazy people out there that will make you feel horrible and like a failure because you don't have your little ankle biter all scheduled in the latest Montisouri school that offers Chinese and Spanish, along with Gymnastics and Chess for three year olds.

What works best for you? What makes you enjoy parenthood the most? What makes you feel more calm in your life? Pick that one.

For me, I did cloth diaper, mostly to save money, and used the same 25 diapers on three babies for the past 7 years almost non stop. When we traveled? Disposable it was. Behind on laundry? Disposable it was.

Breast milk? I did, again to save money, and partly because I knew the antibodies were beneficial to immunity. But you know what? We also did formula just so Bill could also enjoy feeding babies. And when I wanted to drink. And I even pumped and put breast milk in bottles for times when I just didn't want to nurse in public, because that made me more calm. Do what works for you.

Vaccines? I'm still hardcore for vaccines, but don't go on forums to make your choice. Don't listen to Jenny McCarthy. Talk to Drs. Read the online medical journals about Autism and vaccines and make your decision. Is Autism worse than your child catching  a preventable disease and maybe dying from it? Again, your choice, but make an educated one, not because some crazy loud moms shouted it in your face and you jumped on the wagon with them.

Discipline?  I love all of Kevin Leman's books and his reality discipline approach. But you know what? My kids are far from perfect, and I'm far from perfect, so you will probably see me with a tantrum throwing two year old as some point in the grocery store and I'll have no idea what to do, even after three babies, a degree in early childhood, and working in daycare, preschool and nanny settings. But you know what we can always do? Just smile at moms going through the same thing, and give a sympathetic head nod to let them know we have all been there, done that and will do it again.

Make the choices that keep you calm and help you enjoy this wonderful gift of parenting, because just like the last tantrum your toddler had, this season shall pass and be just a memory.

Do what you need to to make it an enjoyable memory. And don't stress about the rest of us.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Where We Are

Our beach vacation with friends,  their kids, toasting life and sitting by the pool. 
School is well under way, and the older two, Little Dude and JR, are now in First grade and Kindergarten! Isn't that crazy how much time has gone by? They are such sweet, BIG little men now. They amazing me daily.

Little Dude is reading up a storm and I'm so proud of him for enjoying it so much. He is loving soccer still and doing well in school and still OBSESSED with Legos. It is fun to watch him build things!

JR is loving that he is in school now too, and insisted on walking in all by himself the first day, just like Little Dude. Man, they grow up more quickly with each one, don't they? Sigh. He is all about learning the alphabet right now and insists on also "reading" a book at night, just like Little Dude. It is cute, since most of the books he reads he already has memorized or he just says what the picture is. Love it. I know soon enough he will be reading and getting yet more big. Sigh again.

Champ is a crazy and wonderful 2 year old. I adore this age so very very much. All the little sayings are just the best. Right now he is into saying "Why, mom, WHY?" for just about everything. And "Bugs eat me" whenever the mosquito get bad in the back yard. I shouldn't laugh at the poor guy getting itchy bites, but his little voice is too cute saying it. I must remember to try to catch him on video.

Our Princess is three now and I'm sad we missed her birthday. Foolishly, I thought we might just have a referral by her birthday and be able to send her something, but no. We are still STILL waiting to see if our agency can get her file. So many changes have occurred with her country's adoption rules, that honestly, I'm not expecting the file to come. We aren't even sure if her file made it through before the government strike that is going on over there right now (can I heave another huge sigh?) or if her file did indeed come through with the first batch back last April, and she has just already been chosen, or our agency just isn't getting the file sent to them. (Agencies can only get so many files at one time, and they cycle through agencies a different periods of time, from what I understand.) So, who knows. She may be out there, she may be adopted, we might still have a shot at getting matched to her, or her paper might still be awaiting a stamp on some government official's desk and it won't be glanced at until this strike is over, at the earliest. We just don't know.

We have considered looking at other kids, but I don't think I could look at another little girl until I know for sure we can't have our girl.

We did look very closely at an 8 year old little boy's file and very much were considering accepting it, but our social worker advised against it due to birth order affecting our older two, and the fact we would need to re-do our home tudy to update for a boy child. We also aren't eligible for a boy unless he is over the age of  7, has more stubstantial special needs, and has been waiting. And even then, it would be still up to the judge of whatever court we got assigned to say if they would over look the gender rule (I don't know what else to call it) that says with three sons already we can't adopt a son.

This little boy DID fit those things, and has been waiting quite awhile, and does need some pretty heavy duty surgery to his back and some other things, so we likely could have gotten matched to him, but, after talking it over, our social worker here at home felt his medical needs, along with needing to learn English and the birth order disruption would be unreasonably hard for our oldest two boys to adjust to all the many changes adding that boy to our family would bring, so we didn't pursue his file.

That was really hard and a bit of a heart tug, because now I can't help but go and check this little guys waiting profile to see if it changes to "adopted". I really hope it does. He had medical needs that would require surgeries and hospital stays from the get go, but all were easy to correct here in the US and none would affect his mental capabilities, and one would make his physical limitations go away AND our agency contact knows him and thought he was just THE SWEETEST KID, would be such a great big brother, and is always looking out for the little kids at his orphanage and wanting to help. Sigh. I hate that there are orphans.

So. We are still waiting, hoping her file comes through after this strike is over. Sometimes I wish I had not see her information so that we were just waiting for a referral and could take the next kid that came along, but then, at the same time, I know that we would have given up already if we hadn't had her, and all the information from so many people that have met her, to keep us going. It is very scary to read all the things that could be "wrong" with an adopted child, especially Reactive Attachment Disorder (Holy hell. That is scary shit) It is covered in a lot of adoption books, but that link seems to be the most informative for someone outside the adoption reading circle wanting to know why that terrifies me when considering "just any child" to bring into our home.

This whole adoption process is just soo sooo soooo long, time consuming, nerve wracking, and a complete lesson in patience. But I know, that I wouldn't have kept pushing through all the paperwork, spending all the money, and doing ALL. THIS. WORK. if we didn't have knowledge of her and have heard her sweet laugh, so even if things don't work out to get her now, she did get us to this point, which might just lead us to a different child that needs a home, and for that I'm very glad we are kinda "stuck" at this place in time. I've been pretty calm about it and actually not thinking about it too terribly much, since it really is all just in God's hands now.

What Bill and I have learned in this waiting? That we are so blessed to have our family, to be so supportive to each other, to watch our children grow, and to realize that our blessings must be paid forward. We live in America, where it is OK that I was a girl. I was never taken to a hill to die just for being the wrong gender. We have a hospital down the street (in fact, quite a few of the countries best are right down the street!) We have running water, air conditioning, tons of food, and our choice of churches.

We are so blessed.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The What If Waiting Game

Where to even start. I have't written on here in forever, mostly because I don't quite know what to share and what not to share.

So, I guess I'll share everything.

A few months ago, we got all our paperwork finally DONE for our adoption. We have finally reached the waiting stage, where we just waiting for a phone call to get our referral.

Then, in a whirlwind, our agency closed their India program. Our choice was to move to another agency, or face the reality that our agency would most likely never be able to help us get a child.

In the reality of changing agencies, we have realized that we need to make a pretty sizable payment RIGHT NOW to the new agency. Which, makes sense, since they need to make money, and it is super amazing they are taking us on in the middle of an adoption, BUT it threw our budget for a loop, because we had been quite comfortable thinking we wouldn't lose any more money if we couldn't adopt our Princess, but now, we are adding a huge chunk to what we have already paid and that makes us worry.

In Jan. apparently rules changed with  India, so that now 3 kids is too many to already have? So on a case by case basis, the courts will review if a family that already has three kids can indeed adopt a fourth. India already said we couldn't adopt a boy, since we have all boys, so that actually does help us just a tiny bit. Since we have all boys, hopefully the courts will see that an adopted little girl would be completely doted on and indeed be the little princess of the family. I'm grateful we don't have a little girl in the family yet, because then it would be highly unlikely India would approve us to adopt Princess.

We just found out that another family that has been in the adoption process got their little girl they have been trying to adopt. That is SO SUPER EXCITING! But also makes me sad. Because they found out last week they got her and their request for  her match was honored by India. We know our little Princess' file was submitted at the same time as their little girl's (they are from the same orphanage) and the more time that goes by, the less likely it is that ONE-our agency can request her file TWO-that India will honor our request THREE-that we will be able to be her parents.

I'm excited for their family so much, but each day that goes by without a word from our new agency makes me sad. I know her file is there and active, and we are on the international parents list in India (CARA), and it makes me so very very sad to realize that, indeed, we may not be her parents.

At this point, I'm just praying that we can find out if she gets adopted (hopefully by a sweet Indian family?) so that I can stop worrying about what is going to happen to her. I feel so sad and let down that this is all falling apart, and mostly I feel depressed about it because of the fight I had with my mother in law about the adoption. She said some pretty hurtful things, that even if we don't ever adopt, really opened my eyes to her, her thoughts on race, and her thoughts on me.

That just makes me so very sad, all around.

And now, we are debating if we want to try to adopt a different child, or change to a different county? We could change to an African country, or maybe China? A little boy from Africa would be adorable, eh? Big brown eyes and curly hair would be hard to say no to :). But I don't know. Bill and I had talked forever about adoption, and after having Champ, decided that pursuing the adoption of a girl from India was where we were being called.

But now, that seems to not be the case, and to be honest, I don't think I can adopt a different little girl right now without comparing her, in my mind, to Princess. If we adopt now I think we will try to go with a country that would let us have a boy, but then, Bill brought up a good point that it would be hard to ensure our extended family treated him the same as our current boys. Would that be fair to our adopted son, to throw him into a family that would view him as different from our biological sons? I guess with a girl it seemed like that would be more easily accepted by our extended family, because we don't have a daughter.

I don't know. I just don't know. I feel so very sad and depressed about it all and wish so very much that I could just see a sign about what we are supposed to do. There are so many children out there eating garbage and sleeping on the streets-that need homes and love to blossom and grown. And we have that, we want to give that so very much and enjoy another child in our family.

But I just don't know what we should do. Keep spending money to try and get Princess? Get a different Princess with more special needs? Are we up to that? Change countries? Go for a son instead? It would be amazingly fun to have a fourth little boy wear the clothes all our other sons have too quickly outgrown. Try domestic again and leave it all up in the air?

I just don't know and I hate feeling so at a loss over where to go. All we do is go in circles.

I wish we would know soon she has been adopted, that might make the choices easier to figure out.

Why does it have to be such an emotional roller coaster? Is God telling us to keep pushing through, that it will b so very worth it in the end (which I know it would be) or is he putting up road blocks because we aren't supposed to do this? Is there something else in orphancare that we should be doing instead? All this money for the adoption-should we have used it to support an orphange? Or help with building another one? How many children could be fed tonight because we sent them that money instead of sending it to lawyers and agencies?

It hurts my heart to think of all these things over and over and over again. Sigh.




Monday, May 20, 2013

Mothers Day

This Mother's Day was the best ever. It really was just amazing. I woke up to my husband making french toast (and even the huge treat of him having cleaned up ALL the mess from it too! I am married to a gem, folks!)

While Bill finished up breakfast, Little Dude brought me coffee and informed me I had to lay on the couch and read.

Which I did. And it was amazing. Little Dude kept coming up and hugging me and saying:

"Thanks Mom, Happy Mother's Day" ALL DAY. It was amazing hear that tiny voice saying those word, oh my heart swelled with pride and love and gratefulness.

He's going to be a mighty fine husband to a lucky lucky lady someday. 

Then, as though that wasn't already the best day ever, my sweet little redheaded JR came running up to me and my coffee with a handful of clover flowers for me and told me:

"Happy Mother's Day! I love you!" He is just the sweetest, isn't he? And what is even better, is that he picked those flowers the DAY BEFORE while Bill mowed the lawn. He had asked Bill where he could hide them, and Bill had told him to put them in the pantry downstairs. JR was quite convinced I would see them there, and told Bill that wouldn't work. Since Bill didn't see or hear anything else about the flowers, he had assumed that JR had dropped/forgotten/left them outside.

But no. JR, all on his own, had hidden them in the picnic cooler, and went, as soon as he got out of bed, to go get them and hand them to me, all perfectly wilted in the most wonderful way, in a little plastic cup.

Oh my heart. Those were the best flowers I have ever gotten. I kept them on my counter until this morning, when I finally had to give them up for dead. But don't worry, I got plenty of photos of them (though still on my camera, ha!)

He's going to be a mighty fine husband to a lucky lucky lady someday, too. 

And Champ had no idea what was going on, but was super excited to be in on the hugging and was content to follow his brothers around as they got me things (like more coffee! When did Little Dude become a Big Dude?) And blankets (though I have to admit, I started sweating, but couldn't resist the NEXT blanket JR and Champ slowly dragged to the couch for me. They were on a mission all day to fluff me up in the couch.)

And my sweet husband? THE BEST EVER. He cleaned the house, sat with the on the couch and read next to me, and later indulged me on a walk up to the park and around back to the local coffee shop. (I may have a slight addiction to coffee...) We all played at the park, and napped in the hammock, and watched the kids play in our yard and watched the clouds float by. He said:

"I hope this is what Heaven is like". Oh my heart. I am so lucky and blessed to have these four amazing men in my life. I know I say it every year, but this really was the best Mother's Day ever.

A wonderful husband, three healthy amazing loving boys, and one super sweet beautiful girl in Ind*a. I am one crazy blessed and lucky Mom, indeed.




Thursday, April 25, 2013

Waiting

I know I said before that I wouldn't mind waiting-and really, I DON'T mind being finally done with everything.

I have all the service plan done, we are registered to get a referral, AND I have all of the dossier papers ready to be notarized (happening this weekend, yippie!) and then apostilles  And since we live 10 min from the Secretary of State office, I'm imagining it should be quick order to go downtown and get the apostilles completed.

And then we really are done, with nothing to do but wait, and I have to admit I'm actually not as happy with the waiting as I had thought I would be. It is nice to not have any more education to write about, or paper to chase, or books to read as quickly as possible but it is also distressing to realize that the clock is ticking and there isn't anything at all we can do to make any thing happen.

We have been waiting for our Princess' declaration (the legal paper that would let her be given as an adoption referral to international adoption) for over a year now. And this whole time I have been SO panicked that she would get in the system before we were, and we would lose her.

But now, with the reality of being done, and the reality that many families have waited more than 3 years for their children...it is daunting to realize we very well could wait two more years. It has been one year since we started everything.

And the most daunting part is to realize, that we were only approved for a child from the ages of 0-3. And she turns 3 this June, so past June, the clock is truly ticking, as we see if we can get matched before she turns 4...because if not, we will have to refile and redo our homestudy (I guess? I think?) And I honestly don't know if we will get approved for an "older" child adoption. It is actually a whole different homestudy, from what our homestudy agency said, when we had expressed concern about the age limit on our study. So would be be approved? I don't know. There certainly are increased mental and physical things to consider as a child grows older from the effects of living without a family, from just the reality of being in an orphange and not eating enough or getting enough interaction or stable caregivers to attach to or learn to love,  and trust.

I don't know. But I do know, in the pit of my stomach, that I'm feeling really depressed and down about this whole process and incredibly sad that we still have the whole "this may not work" outlook to face.

The worst would be having people tell us it was for the best, or we wouldn't have wanted to "deal" with it, because really, how can it be for the best, when a child we already love, will eventually age out of the orphanage and go back to the streets at the age of 12? If we don't get to bring her home to us, I know I will be forever haunted by thoughts of her and praying for her safety.

My faith is so weak today and it just sucks to feel this way. I wish I was more excited and just embracing this time, but I just don't have it today. It sucks to think that one piece of paper, getting dusty on a desk somewhere, might cause us to not get a daughter-and worse, will mean our daughter can't ever get a home anywhere with anyone until it is signed, and that may very well seal her fate to a short, hard life on the streets once she leaves the orphanage.

This just sucks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Saved

Champ and Princess have a shared room set up finally :) The crib can be a toddler bed -just needs girly bedding.

An online friend also adopting from our daughter's country wrote this very poignant post about adoption ethics in the world: http://indiatoappleton.blogspot.com/2013/04/adoption-ethics-in-media.html

It is funny, because I feel like this adoption journey for me started back when I was in high school-and it started with a profound feeling of "save these kids!", which got kicked into high gear after Bill and I got married and had Little Dude-and that was when we started researching all the different types of adoption-countries-talking to people, etc. And we learned SO MUCH. Adoption shouldn't be a "save the kids" attitude-it is so much more than that.

And while it often starts that way for many (and me!) it must morph into a deep love and commitment to heal a hurt child and to grow yourself as a human. My husband and I have changed so profoundly, for the better, for this whole journey. Everything we have learned, everything we have read-it only has solidified our desire to adopt, but has also given us a huge goal to someday make a difference by supporting, helping, serving in developing countries. And it has REALLY made us reflect our our lives as Americans.

We are so very spoiled with first world problems, and at this point, even if our adoption falls through, we feel so very grateful that our eyes have been opened to the world. Our daughter has put a light on our perspective and really made us turn a huge microscope on our own lives and choices-and to refocus our energies on things we now deem more valuable, than the things we used to think matter. They just don't anymore.  It is so hard to describe, and I'm not giving this change justice, but all I can say is, we are forever changed.

We aren't saving her. She is fine and cared for in an orphanage surrounded by people that look like her, speak like her, act like her, eat like her and believe like  her. We are going to take her from that, without her having any understanding, bring her to a hotel, put her on a plane for hours, and drive her in a car, to live in a little town where there will be very VERY few that look like her(especially on a daily basis), no one that speaks like her, no other girls to be around (unlike her orphanage where she is mostly around girls), put her into a white family, full of boys, in a white based world, to eat different food, learn a new language, and have a new religion.

Sure, she will have school, and probably visit Disney World, and have plenty of food, and safety, and love and most importantly-a FAMILY-but really-what are we saving her from? And what are we doing to her? How very much are we asking of a small child to change and be OK with changing? How many of us could be whisked away to another place, culture, food, religion and language and be OK? Even if it was at say, an Islamic Prince's family? How would we feel and behave? The opportunities we will be able to give her, as her family, far outweigh the future she would have living in an orphanage and someday ageing out of it back to the streets-but it will be years before she understands that. And she may never understand that, and that is OK. I don't expect my kids to be grateful I gave birth to them and we don't expect her to be grateful we adopted her. She will be our child, plain and simple.

But you know who is saved through adoption? Us.

We are deeply, forever changed for the better because of her. And we are so grateful for her affect on our lives. In many ways, she has saved us and there is really nothing we can offer her that will be equal to what she has done for us.


Friday, April 19, 2013

Movement

This week  has been tough with tummy bugs, strep throat, illness and other such fun hitting our house! Thank goodness it is Friday; I'm ready to sleep! And catch up on work! But, in adoption news, things have been great this week! Movement is happening, as I'm seeing so many families that have been waiting ahead of us get travel approval, referrals, and visas! Such exciting times to see them getting closer to their children, and exciting for us since it means that maybe, maybe, we will make it through this process without having to update anything. Fingers crossed tightly for that, because I don't know that we can afford any updates-our budget is that tight.

But no worries, we will figure it out as it comes. In any case, movement is happening and that is always exciting to see!

We finally have our last form for our dossier done and now, once I'm feeling all over this illness crud, we can go get all these forms notarized, copied, appostilled and sent to our agency! AHHHHH FINALLY! So close. I'll be so glad to be done with this dossier; it feels like I've been working on getting all these forms together for years. Actually only a few months, but still. SO glad to be at the finish line. I'm planning that next week I can get everything copied and mailed to our agency.

And then we will truly be 100% paper ready for everything. Right now we are registered (YAY!!!!) with the adoption network in our daughter's country, so we are Eligible for REFERRALS NOW! AHHHHH! So, whenever her paperwork get signed to transfer her from domestic adoption to international adoption, our agency can claim her file and send her referral to us!

See why I'm so excited to see movement going on over there?!? So hopefully, soon, our daughter and some of her friends will have their files signed, and our agency can get all those files and send them to us and the other families waiting on referrals. I'm so eager to be able to say she is ours. I've been so nervous to get to that point and I know when we do I can let out a huge sigh of relief! Because, I guess until that point, things could still fall through-and that just makes me so nervous.

But, we will just wait and see; I certainly have plenty to keep me busy in the meantime!



Monday, March 11, 2013

Spring Fun

I think Spring is here! I planted flowers around the mailbox and in the front step planters this weekend. I love the colors and life there now! Even though we really don't get harsh winters here, ever, I am just SO done feeling cold and wet from all the rain. I'm ready for nice spring days and hot summers!

We are gearing up for Easter and Champ's birthday, which actually fall on the same weekend, so that will be fun! I think a lot of egg hunts will be taking place in the yard, yay!

I can feel the anticipation of school getting out; JR's preschool is taking graduation photos soon, in their cute little caps and gowns. My, this year went quickly! And next year HE starts kindergarten and Little Dude goes to FIRST GRADE. How in the world could it be that this school year ends in just a few short months?

And, it has been over a year since we first started trying to adopt, and 10 months, 3 weeks and 3 days since we changed to our current agency and formally started applications for our Princess. It has gone by so quickly, it seems hard to believe time has gone by that fast, too (and yet at the same time, it has taken forever, haha). And I feel guilty complaining, because some families have been waiting multiple YEARS because of the huge changes that occurred with Hauge and CARA and until those changes got finalized later last year, many people were just stuck in limbo. We are pretty lucky we got in on the tail end of those changes, and haven't had to wait too long for movement in the Ind*a adoption world to start again. And with the meeting that just occurred, it looks like we can be pretty confident of things happening for lots of families that have been waiting-and that is so super exciting! Hopefully on April first we can get registered-and next Wed we have our 1800a fingerprinting-plus we only have two more forms for our Dossier to be done-the letter from Bill's boss and our guardianship letter. Both I'm hoping will be done in the next week. I REALLY want to send it before April, but we will see.

Now on the other side of the Dossier, it actually wasn't too bad. Though that first day I saw the huge list of documents I needed to hunt down completely overwhelmed me, now on this side I feel like I could do it again, and even faster the next time. Though honestly, four kids will probably be plenty for our home, at least for a good number of years. There is a tiny part of me that wishes very much that we could also adopt our Princess's best friend in the orphanage. She is a little girl with Down's and apparently she and our girl are the BEST of buds. I hope our girl's buddy finds a family, but there is a part of me that wishes it could be us, even though I know, deep in side, that bringing home two toddlers, and even if her friend didn't have Downs, would be just too much for us to consider currently. And I have such little experience with Downs, I really don't know that I would be a good enough mom to give what she would need, especially with four other children, but still, I wish. I'm sure though, when we go over, there will be many children that pull at our hearts.

But, we are prepping for "worst case" behavior and needs, and trying to focus on everything we can do to help our princess feel at home with us. She will be going through so many changes, I hope we can do a good job and give her the support she deserves while she learns a new culture and family.

And in the meantime, I am trying to learn the language she will speak and enjoy this amazing Spring. Life is just so wonderful and joyous when you watch the little plants start to stretch for the sky and finally feel a warm breeze in the air.

I love the fresh start of Spring.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Champ is Turning Two

Oh my goodness, my littlest man is turning two at the end of the month!! HOW in the world did that happen? I feel like it was just yesterday we brought him home.

He is a full on toddler now, with tons of cute words, sayings, and definately cute attitude. His huge thing now is to cross hims arms, pout his lips and say "hm" or "oh" when he isn't getting his way. CUTEST thing ever. We shouldn't encourage the attitude, but it is so very hard not to give in. It is true what people say about the baby getting spoiled; I want to soak up every second with him and it is so hard to say no, even though I have to.

He is just too cute!

And for his birthday we are having a Thomas the Train them mixed with an Easter Egg hunt in the backyard-should be loads of fun for him and his little friends! I'm excited for him to really get into the presents. This year he kinda got Christmas, but I think now he will REALLY be into the gifts-especially once he realizes there are a number of trains for the train table that will now be ALL his! I'm so excited to see his excitement. I can't imagine a more wonderful job than being a mama-and I am so very blessed to have the privilege to watch these three wonderful little guys grow before my eyes.

Champ as Baby Ironman. We have quite the team of super heroes living at my house, didn't you know?


Friday, March 1, 2013

Getting Registered

Our agency is going to try to register us as adoptive parents and get us on the list to receive referrals....OMG!

BUT, Ind*a will only allow so many new families to be registered world wide on the first of each month, and this is the first month they have been open to registering since Oct or Nov of last year....so there are probably TONS of people world wide trying to register. Please pray that we get registered today, because our sweet girl's declarations have been submitted, and that means that now she is available to be given as a referral.

Also, our agency told us that with our registration information, they are submitting a request for our little special needs angel and that after the huge adoptiong meeting CARA had last month, it was declared that CARA would do their best to fulfill adoption requests for specific needs, with the emphasis given for special needs.

So, pray our file gets in today. Pray that CARA agrees to allow us to have our sweet girl. Two huge hurdles, but I know that God can take care of it for us. It will happen if He wants it to. I just have to rest knowing we have done all that we can to reach this point, and from here out it is up to Him.

***Update: CARA registrations didn't open, for some reason, so our agency couldn't register us or any of the other families waiting. I feel sad, and panic-y and just pretty down about it. We didn't even have a chance, it didn't even OPEN. What if it doesn't open again next month, or the month after? Sigh. Our girl is on there, her file is there, and I'm so scared we will lose her. We are no closer to brining our girl home than we were a year ago. And we now have to wait a whole month more to try to be registered again.

An entire month more of just waiting to even get in the system, which actually makes me feel like laugh hysterically because of the horrible show down we had with my mother in law, which oddly enough was centered on her feeling embarrassed/left out/like shes a bad mom/how dare you do this to me/that she didn't know we were serious, when we told her Dec 2011 we were interested in adopting. How dare we wait til now to share the offical news, because, you know, we JUST got our homestudy approved, had to figure out medicial issues our princess had at that same time,  get the dossier together, have a ton of late night heart to heart crying moments to figure out if we REALLY were ready to do this, and then send all the money. And that all happen in the last few weeks, and then right after we told her. Sigh.

And we are no where closer to where we had been. we aren't registered, we can't get referrals, we can't get matched. But we do have a huge pile of paperwork, some grant applications and one annoyed mother/mother in law.

Sweet eh? I'm having a hard time staying positive, though I am trying. Next month will be the month-and on the plus side, we will be completely "paper ready" at that point, meaning that IF some miracle occured, we could get our referral, guardianship, passports, visas and courtdates assigned right then an there. BUT. Even with a miracle, I doubt it. We will be just focusing on the hope of getting registered  for our referral NEXT MONTH.  I feel like I'll be saying that a lot. Sigh.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Help From Adoptive Moms Please


I have a request for any moms/dads that have adopted, especially any from Ind*a.

Can you guys leave me comments with what kids books you suggest to have for our sons and our future daughter? Can you suggest any kids fairy tales or nursery rhyme books from Ind*a? Are there any really great adoption kid books to read to our future daughter and son to really help open up the discussions on a small kid level about how awesome adoption is? And most importantly, any book that you love that show characters of color, especially if there are any of Ind*an decent depicted.

I have this list so far for kid books:

A Mother for Choco by Keiko Kasza
A Child is Born by Margaret Wise Brown
I Wished For You by Marianne Richmond
Over the Moon by Karen Katz
God Found Us You by Lisa Bergren


And a cookbook I'm looking at ordering:

Anjum's New Indian by Anjum Anand

Does anyone know if this might have good recipes to incorporate into our meal rotations? I've made a pumpkin curry chicken and couscous that the kids and Bill (and I) LOVED. I've made it a few times now, and then I've made a coconut curry chicken from a mix I got at the Ind*a market near our house, but I think it would be better if I found some ones to make from "scrtach" rather than mixes, so we can avoid all that salt (and the mixes are expensive when you have to buy double to feed everyone,ha!)

So, can you ladies help me out? What books do your children love? And are there any that are great illustrations about Ind*a? I would love to find some kind of illuinated book about Ind*a to read to all the kids.

And cooking...if there are ANY kid dishes that you think she will be most familiar with, or that might be comforting (like how I feel when I find some place with sweet iced tea in a northern state) I'd love to have something that I could cook that might give her that same comfort.


AND as a Christmas gift this coming year, we are going to give out "Family of Adoption" to everyone, is there any other books you found to be awesome to give family in preparation to your adoptions?

OK, send me your ideas and reccomendations!

THANK YOU ALL! I don't know what in the world I would do without you; I'm so grateful for blogging and the internet and even facebook. Though, don't say anything on facebook yet, we won't put anything offical on there until we have guardianship and our daughter is legally ours-just private message me if you know me on there. :)

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!





Thursday, February 21, 2013

Coming up for Air

We are still working on the dossier, and are SO close to being done.

We told my in laws we are adopting and learned that my father in law had once tried to adopt with his first wife before they had children-SO wonderful to hear that story and get his support. My mother in law....well, not as positive as I had hoped, but if it means much, it went just the way Will thought it would. So. She will come around, and if not, eh. Family is family, you can't pick them or their feelings, and it will just be what it is.

Little Dude almost comes up to my shoulder now. HOW in the world did that happen? He is such a sweet little guy now. His feelings were recently hurt by a school friend, but he handled it so well, and I was so proud of him for working through it and talking to me about it. We got icecream after-and I think it made the hurt somewhat better. Icecream and a good talk can fix so many things.

JR is just a joyful jumping bean. He is SO crazy excited to get a sister and he is already telling us what we need to buy her. She will be in heaven having Ben as her big brother; he will be making sure she gets whatever she wants....we might have to try to keep him in check a bit so we don't spoil her rotten, haha! He is loving school and tomorrow is his share day....he has been picking out just the right book to take for sharing ALL DAY. It is sweet and I love seeing him so excited about school.

Champ is talking up a storm, mostly saying "Daddy vroom vroom, truck, dog (which sounds like Dock) pee (yes we are potty training, he is doing fantastic) poop, book, go, bye bye, hi!, no (which comes out all whiney like nooooooooo with a bit of boston acent to it. We aren't from boston at all) and now, choo choo for Thomas. HE LOVES THOMAS.  I love that he loves Thomas. He also has the sign language still going like crazy. We are trying to  get him to actually say please and thank you, but so far he still just does the signs.

And us? Well, we are chugging along with the adoption and have just sent the first huge payment and just announced that it is offical. Bill is meeting with his sister tonight over a beer  and I'm excited to have her know the great news. I've call my Aunt, cousins and sisters, and they are all excited for us-it is so awesome to have the excited support! Other family members we will probably call soon. I'll defer to Bill on that, since that is all his side, so he might want to be the one to do it. We will talk to see what he wants to plan for sharing the news.

And, until we get the referral and everything is offical, we will probably just keep this all in the family and close friends (so NOTHING on facebook! ) Because, sadly, until we get that referral and guardianship, it could all still fall thorugh and we could end up not being able to adopt, and that would be pretty painful to have to keep telling people, especially non family or non close friends people.

So, that is the new news! SOON I'll update that our dossier is done and off to Ind*a!

And then the waiting begins....

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Waiting for a Friend

I love the internet. Not only does it enable me to work from home and be around my kids while earning money, BUT it has introduced me to SO MANY amazing moms and friends (and made it easier to keep up with extended family). The very best though, is the current wonderful group of adoption moms I have met online.

They rock and are amazing and supportive, and are one of the few groups of friends, that while I haven't actually met any of them in real life, I feel safe to share every adoption worry, snag, and emotional ride.

It is so super awesome to have them, because I would probably be insane by now if I couldn't bounce ideas, learn tips, and just vent everything to them. Them and this blog keep me from just curling up in a ball with wads of half filled out forms, budget mark-ups and money flow charts scattered around me!

And RIGHT NOW one of my dear online friends is waiting to hear that the court paper work has been approved to grant her daughter's visa/passport so then sweet little M can COME HOME!

K is waiting to hear that all is well so she can buy tickets to go over to Ind*a and get M and BRING HER  HOME!

I'm so crazy excited and anxious and all butterflies in the tummy to hear when K gets to fly over and when they get to come back together as a FAMILY.

AHHHHH! Can you tell I'm excited? And the BEST part is, it gives me a little taste of the excitement, anxiety,  and excitement times 10 that we will be having, hopefully within this year, as we wait to hear the same news for our Princess.

AHHHHH! I'm so ready to finish this dossier!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Dossier Transition Labor

So, since I have given birth three times, and all three without any meds (partly due to the speed of my deliveries, partly because a nurse scared me with the "sleep baby syndrome" from the epidoral and partly because I hate needles as it is, let a lone needles in my spine. Anywho) I have decided that the entire process of getting the adoption dossier together IS the transition labor part of birthing.

The hardest, most labor intensive, emotional, and painful part.

Because half the stuff on my list I have to wait to come in the mail, like references, birth certificates, etc. The other half will have me driving for weeks all over town collecting documents, getting notaries, getting appostilles, writing letters, making copies, checking copies, attaching appostille copies....

Every time I think I'm getting a little bit done, I check the list again and just find more that I need to get or do.

So for now, I'm taking it one document at a time (well, actually two documents at a time, because we have to have two originals of everything....)

So, just one at a time, slowly chugging to that light at the end of the tunnel. Just like years ago, when I took one contraction at a time, and Will kept telling me the end was coming, and we were almost there.

We are; I can see the end. We are ALMOST there, and ALMOST ready to send everything to Ind*ia, and yet, it still feels like so much to do.

And the end will be so amazingly wonderful, just as those three special hospital days were, when all the pushing was done.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

It Will All Be Clear

Tomorrow should be lovely and the kids are out of school, so we will be spending the morning at the park playing games and meeting up with friends. I'm excited to just relax a bit and not worry about anything or going anywhere.

This whole week has been wrapped in worry about our Princess, but also in stress getting dossier item ordered and together, looking at the super long list of things I need to get in order and just wishing that I could wish them into existence, ha! And we have been pouring over grant applications like crazy, writing and re-writing essays to hopefully get some kind of money awards to  help offset costs.

But, on the upside, with all the stress we have done this week, we also threw in organizing our budget to minuscule detail (something one of our grants required anyway) AND guess what? We have arranged our budget so that we have all but $11,000 of the adoption fees covered on our own.

How super awesome is that? And over the next two years, we could have the $11,000 saved-though we are praying hard some grants come in so that we don't have to take out loans for it-but it is nice to think that we could try to finance, borrow and beg that last bit, and have it paid back to everyone within a two year period.

That makes me so excited, and I don't even care everything we are tossing out of the budget to give us the extra money. It is completely worth it.

On non adoption notes; Champ is talking now-and talking up a storm, as the saying goes. He also has mastered climbing out of his crib. Oh my, how time flies.



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Update on Princess

I just got some good news-and trust me, this beginning to Jan has been so amazingly horrible with bad news coming from everywhere, that this news is AWESOME.

Princess' tests came back inconclusive. I know, not negative, but also NOT positive. They can't find that the cancer has spread to any other parts of her body, though they are doing more indepth tests on Friday.

So, if it is the type they are thinking, that means it hasn't spread, and her chances of surviving are HUGE. If it hasn't spread, it could just mean that surgery would get rid of the tumor, perhaps some radiation to keep the tumor from trying to come back-but she would be GOOD!

AND what that inconclusive test could also mean? It might only be a bone infection instead of cancer-PRAISE GOD! Oh my goodness, would that ever be a miracle? Only a bone infection-something treatable and something that won't force us to really make choices about continuing with her adoption.

And that is what we want. We find out for sure on Friday.

Leg, no leg, whatever, she will still be able to do anything she puts her mind to. We want her smiling laughing face to live and come home to us.


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Have Failed

I have wanted to adopt since I was a little girl. We have planned for years to someday achieve that goal, and I'm SO excited to have the ball rolling on it.

But, even with all the preparation, reading, classes and support groups we have attended about adoption and adoption issues, I still failed my daughter the other night.

See, I shared a photo of the Princess we are trying to adopt, her lovely, huge brown eyed photo.

And my friend laughed and said she would fit in with the Mexicans near us. My friend laughed that we had sent our college themed shirt for her-laughed that all the Mexicans wear college themed shirts just to fit in but they don't know what the shirts say either.

And I could feel myself blush, and stutter and I couldn't  make eye contact. I didn't know what to say. So I put away her photo and I made my excuses to leave.

So many times I had envisioned standing up for her, and giving people looks of death that would let them know thy had crossed the line of mama bear. I had snarky, witty and mean, come backs ready for any strangers that dared to be rude to my Princess.

But I never envisioned a dear, close friend saying that, or even that it would hurt so badly and leave me so tongue tied and worst, left me silent.

I completely failed our Princess, because I let someone get away with belittling her because of how she looks. And not just anyone, but a friend we have had for over 12 years. And I regret that so much, I wish I had known something to say, something to convey that those comments were unacceptable. That she is MINE and will have MY last name; she is OUR family and that our friendship will be done if those comments are ever made again.

I totally failed the test.

But I will be better prepared next time and it won't happen again.

I promise.



Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bittersweetness

Yesterday was the worst day of my life. I hope I never ever had a day that bad every again.

Not only did we learn Princess has bone cancer, but we also had  a leak in our basement that ruined a lot of stuff, including the carpet.

The upside is that because I was compulsively checking my email to see if there were any updates or more info from dr.s about Princess, I discovered the leak. Otherwise I probably would not have found it as soon as I did. A Silver lining perhaps?

Anyways, so all last night, we took everything out of our laundry/storage room and tore up the carpet.

Once we tore up the carpet, we discovered a huge drain hole in the concrete slab.

Just there. A huge hole. To a drain. To go outside? 

We have no idea, but now I'm cursing the people that we bought the house from, because there have been dumb surprises like this with so many other things. And now I'm just grossed out thinking that this might be the source of the bugs that invade everything when it rains. UGH, so very gross.

So a plumber is coming today to fix the leak, and tell us what in the heck that huge drain is.For now I have a stepping stone covering it so nothing can come out of the hole now that carpet isn't covering it. *shudder*

Silver lining? We have long talked about how nice having a bathroom downstairs off the playroom/office and den would be, but it was going to be too expensive to cut up the slab and put in a drain....now there might be a drain already? Perhaps we could put in a bathroom now in the future? That certainly would make being a family of 5 or 6 a bit easier, to have 3 bathrooms instead of just 2....

And on top of that, we just dropped a ton of money fixing the van because it was breaking. I want to cry just typing it.

Silver lining? It was expensive, but still cheaper than 3 years of a car payment, and now hopefully nothing else can die on my van.

The Bittersweetness of yesterday? 

We got our home study approval yesterday from Ind*a. 

So that means that now I can get the official dossier paperwork together to send over so guardianship of our Princess can be given to us. So then we can wait for travel approval for visas and her passport so we can go get her and bring her home. We are so close.

Ind*a said we could have her, she could be ours. 

Except she is dying. And their courts that would file our dossier paperwork, meet us and grant travel papers are closed until the end of February, which before didn't bother me, since we need to apply for grants anyway, but now, I just fee panic. She is sick, and she could be ours, but I have to get all the paperwork done, wait for the courts to open, pray they look at our case quickly-but knowing there are many more waiting ahead of us, probably. And praying hard that some grant money can come in quick, or that somehow we find a way to fund everything ourselves, because we don't have the time that I thought we had.

Silver lining? Anyone?



Monday, January 7, 2013

Cancer

I know I'm not supposed to have any contact with the orphanage-and I'm not-but, I do have some dear friends who know some of the volunteers that work over there and they have been so sweet to give my friends updates on Princess and send photos of her, which they in turn have passed on to me-like I have the first photo of her trying to stand and the first time she went to the beach-what kind of sweet blessings will that be for her later, to put in her baby book??!

But, as a blessing, it also can be a blessing of sadness, to know everything that is going on. She is in one of the most wonderful orphanages, but....

Our Princess has been sick lately, and a dr. appointment and x-rays showed what looks like bone cancer taking over her body. Friends there passed on to us charts and x-rays so we have full disclosure of what is going on, and what te likely outcome is.

So we can decide if we want to continue her adoption.

And all I can think is, how fast can we get her here? How fast can I get her to UNC's Cancer Center? How much home equity do we have to pay for it until insurance coverage for her kicks in? Until she has a social security number?

Ind*a may not even let us have her. And she is probably in great pain, looking at the masses in the x-rays.

I'm completely devastated  realizing that we live RIGHT near the BEST kid's cancer hospital in the nation, and could start chemo NOW.

But instead, we are waiting on Ind*a to say if we are approved to have her. And we still have to get the dossier done. And pray so hard for grants to come through, to cover that final $10,000 we just don't have right now. And then wait for them to say we can go get her and pass court there.

And this could take another whole year to get to where we actually have her here and can start treatments.

And lord knows if our insurance would kick in right away and cover it. And would they consider it pre-existing, since she isn't legally ours yet and we are knowingly adopting a child with cancer?

Oh God. Help. Why?