Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Hope all of you have a wonderful holiday!  We are off to grandma's house where twin beds, one bathroom and a fireplace that heats the house to a cozy 105 degrees await us. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

No Friggin' Way

There are days that I feel like this whole process is crappy.   And today is one of them.  Such a rush of emotions as I sit here wondering how much longer is this going to take.  And the other question pops up quite a bit too.  What if it doesn’t happen? 
Our agency has come to almost a complete standstill with referrals.  And although our official numbers are in the high 20’s, that doesn’t give me any confidence that we will have a referral in the next year.  And it appears our agency has increased average wait times to 24 months.  So while that does put us on track for receiving a referral next year (2 year date in November), the pessimist in me whispers that those anticipated wait times are on the low side of the actual wait.
Oh another question comes to mind.  How much longer can I go on?
The investment in this process – not just the money, but the emotions, has been overwhelming at times.  All I want is one child.  One chance to be a mother.  Is that so much to ask for? 
What precipitated this pity party?  Got a lovely letter yesterday from our local home study agency.  They have decided to impose a monthly administrative fee of $125 on waiting families.  This charge will continue until you are home with your child.  If you don’t pay, they will close your file and/or discontinue working with you.  Is it just me or is that a bit coercive?  Either you pay or you have to start over with another local agency.  And there is nothing about them refunding costs we have already paid to cover post placement reports and validation/finalization of the adoption.
It stinks.  And of course it got me to thinking, how much longer.  A year for a referral?  4-6 months to bring our child home?  Do you realize how much money that comes out to?  I’d rather spend that money on donations for our child’s orphanage than to give it to an agency that apparently operated on the assumption that all adoptions would be complete (yes court and all) within 12 months (that’s what they say in the letter).
What planet have they been on?  Seriously – wait times for Chinese adoption have been years for as long as I can remember.  When we signed on with them – oh and I might as well name them such is my fury at Adoption Alliance in Colorado- when we signed on they did everything they could to encourage us NOT to sign with AGCI and to sign with another placement agency.  Why is that significant?  Because at the time their recommended agency had a two year wait.  So their justification for this “administrative” fee (adoptions are taking too long to complete we could not have anticipated this) is just an excuse.  That is a lot of money for families to pay each month for “administrative” costs.   
But they were ever so gracious to include a contractual addendum along with their letter.  Sign and return they say agreeing to pay this new fee or else we will close your case.  Why would I sign this?  I know enough about contract law to recognize when something isn’t right. 
Oh and I didn’t mention the perfect timing of this letter.  We have to begin updating our home study next month. So we need to make some decisions.  Don’t pay and risk our file being closed.  Will that hurt us when we receive a referral and need to have our social worker sign it?  File a complaint with some entity.  Go to another agency to complete our home study update and ask that Adoption Alliance refund what we have paid them to prepare our post placement reports and validate/finalize the adoption.  Or ….?? Any suggestions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!

We're taking a trip this holiday.  Not to visit family, just a vacation for the two of us.  Last year I thought the Christmas cruise would be our last "just the two of us" vacation and this year we would at least be planning our travels to Africa.  Silly me. 

Anyway, hoping our travels are smooth and the weather is fine.  I would hate to end up stranded somewhere like these two.

Anyone remember this classic exchange:

Neal: Del... Why did you kiss my ear?
Del:  Why are you holding my hand?
Neal: Where's your other hand?
Del: Between two pillows...
Neal: Those aren't pillows!

No matter where we celebrate this holiday, we are continually thankful to have each other, our families, our furbabies and friends.  Especially the friends we have met along this journey who just get "it" and understand our pendulum mood swings.

And Anne - He is beautiful and he is home.  No other Thanksgiving will top this one. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

How do you Measure a Year?

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Moments so dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure - Measure A Year?
In Daylights - In Sunsets
In Midnights - In Cups Of Coffee
In Inches - In Miles
In Laughter - In Strife

One year ago today we were officially added to our agency's waitlist. 

So how do we measure the last year?

In the number of places we have moved on the waitlist?  (Down 40 on the boys' list and 57 on the girls' list)

In the number of times I have thought about our child? (too many to count)

In the number of times I have doubted whether this will finally happen? (see answer above)

In plans made?  In wait times that have increased? In changes to the program?  In times I have despaired?

Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure - Measure A Year?

In Referrals - In Movement
In Changes in wait times
In Sorrows - In Prayers
In Strength- In Faith

I"m not sure how I will measure this next coming year.  But I hope to measure it
in smiles (my child's),
in miles (the journey to Ethiopia),
in joy and in blessings. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Are You Gonna Eat Those Tots?

Yes, I am married to Napoleon Dynamite's doppelganger.   We had a great time this last weekend at a Halloween party.  And the hubby wowed everyone with his sweet dance moves.

 I insisted the hubby was such a natural born Napoleon (complete with nunchuck skills) that he needed to dress up to hand out candy. Of course he couldn't just hand out candy, he had to ask each kid whether they were gonna eat their tots, if they were going to vote for Pedro and if they did all their dreams would come true. The parents and older kids loved him.  The younger kids were either thinking this is what my parents meant when they taught me stranger danger or this is where the neighborhood dweeb lives. 

I love Halloween.  Hands down my favorite day.  There is the dressing up aspect which never gets old.

The kids, the candy, the Great Pumpkin.

My favorite costume of the night was a little boy about 3 years old dressed as Darth Vader.  Yup.  I can already see my husband dressed as Chewbacca leading our own little Darth around the neighborhood some day. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Big S

We visited friends from out of state this weekend.   A couple and the beautiful newborn baby girl they adopted.  Just one month ago they got a call and were told they were chosen by the birth mother and to fly out that evening to pick up the baby.
I would be lying if I didn't say I was envious.  I would also be lying if I didn't say that the entire visit was difficult for me.  I am so happy for them, but to see them beginning their family, holding their little one and being so in love with their child, all I could think of is when will it be our turn.
I think of our adoption every day.  Every single day, several times a day.  And lately the "when it happens" has been turning into "will it ever happen." Every day a little bit of me is discouraged and disheartened.  Every day I feel a little less.  I want this so much and there is nothing I can do but wait.  And waiting sucks. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

September Numbers

We got our new numbers this week.

We are

No. 30 for a Boy

No. 41 for a Girl.
 Some movement from last month which is always encouraging. 

But seriously, I can't wait!  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sydney in Pictures

Finally - after 3 months - the last post about our vacation!   Sydney, in pictures.
We arrived in Sydney in the evening and went up to the hotel rooftop to see the city.
Sydney Harbour Bridge
Luna Park
Taronga Zoo. Sydney in the background.

6'4" is still not as tall as the average newborn giraffe.
What a life! Lounging around all day, no discernable talent.  It's like she's a Kardashian.

Lou.  She was not amused by Arthur trying to climb her tree.
Arthur aka Bad A**

It's Meerkat Manor meets Jersey Shore.  Soaking up orange rays under the heat lamp.

Bendy Em, Street Performer.  Watch Ladies and Gentlemen as she attempts to fit her whole body in that box.
It was cold in the Blue Mountains which explains the Eskimo and Una*bomber look.

The Three Sisters.
They latch onto you as they eat from your hand.  Very cool.

Mr. Demille, I'm ready for my closeup.

Was the dingo eating the baby?

Tasmanian Devil.  Those teeth are huge!

Whaddya mean you're out of chips?

Stopped at the Chocolate Bar for some needed indulgance.

Did we just eat the whole thing?

Made entirely out of legos.

Sydney Aquarium

I'd rather be texting/

Walking across the Bridge at night.


Goodbye Australia.  Hope to make it back someday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Livin' on a Prayer

We're halfway there, livin' on a prayer, take my hand
We'll make it I swear, livin' on a prayer.

Half way to what?  Half way down the wait list. Half way (9 months) through an estimated 18 month wait to referral.

Our original numbers were 67 - Boy and 95 - Girl.

 This month we are
Number 33 on the Boys list

Number 47 on the Girls list.

Hope the second part of the wait is a little easier on the heart than the first half.  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Throw Another Shrimp on the Barbie

After leaving Melbourne, we headed to Cairns.  Let me say this about domestic Australian flights - nothing like the U.S.  We thought we would have to be there 2 hours ahead of time, deal with unfriendly airline staff, stand in long freaking lines, be groped by the Australian equivalent of TSA (ah the perks of travel) and have my curling iron once again be mistaken for another handy appliance (It has a cord.  Shouldn't that be a clue it isn't what you think it is).  Nope.  People here are friendly, the lines are short, I didn't get fondled and my curling iron escaped scrutiny.  And bonus - you can take your water bottles in also.  Wow.

Anyway, we arrived in Cairns which was the warm weather portion of our vacation.

The next day we took a snorkeling excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.  I was determined to snorkel which really doesn't mean anything unless you know that I don't swim.  I don't even float.  But I had some grand plan that involved my nieces, floaties, cursing and life long humiliation. Thank goodness for plan B, a patient marine biologist, a life vest and the tour of a lifetime.  Seriously it was like being inside Finding Nemo.  There were clown fish - actually fish of just about every color- and beautiful coral all around you.  Amazing. 

This picture doesn't do it justice.

I nicknamed these two Marlin and Nemo.

Tired of snorkeling, they worked on their tans.

Photo of me without makeup.  About as rare as a Yeti or Loch Ness monster sighting. 

The next day we were off to the town of Kuranda.  We took the scenic railway up the mountain and the cable car on the way down.  There were also a few stops along each way to walk and explore.

Next stop was Hartleys Crocodile Adventures!  Those suckers are huge.  And deceiving.  They float along lazily in the water then bam! They leap out about 8 feet.  You definitely do not want to have your arm sticking out taking a picture. 

This guy has worked with crocs for 15 years and still has all his limbs!

There were also other critters.

Reason #187 why I never raise my hand when they ask for volunteers from the audience.

 Later on we found the wallabies and koalas. 

Koalas are pretty much like this for 16-18 hrs a day.

  But they perked up a bit when we were there.

Until the Sydney recap, I'll leave you with the lyrics from this soothing Australian ballad.

Come to Australia
You might accidentally get killed

Your life's constantly under threat
Have you been bitten yet?
You've only got three minutes left
Before a massive coronary breakdown
Come to Australia
You might accidentally get killed
Your blood is bound to be spilled
With fear your pants will be filled
Because you might accidentally get killed