Friday, December 28, 2007

The first half of Christmas


L isn't back yet so her presents sit unopened - but Z is grooving on his presents. He got a little overwhelmed with all of the toys so we stopped opening presents and are going to let him open some when his sister gets home. He isn't walking or standing independently yet, but he was pulling himself up on the presents and pulling really hard to get the bows off....they would pop off and he would topple over backwards....I think that was his favorite xmas morning activity. There will be no pictures of me on xmas day appearing here. I had been at work up all night on the day before xmas eve and then back at work at 3pm xmas eve until around noon xmas day and I look it! Once L gets home I will probably post more xmas pictures - we drive down to New Orleans tomorrow to get her.

L's xmas program


L's school had a christmas program - her dad came up for it and I gave him the camera to take the pictures and this is tht only picture that is in focus....that will teach me! SHe is the tiny blond speck with the black shortsleeve dress with the red low waistband. The classes all processed in together and she had like a little pom pom thing she was waving and she was kind of skipping and jumping up and down so you could see her little head bobbing up and down over the seats....then it disappeared and a few seconds later it popped back up! It was so funny - she was just so excited she had fallen down and then just jumped right back up. She was a helper she led her class out and had to stop at the stairs for her teacher to count all of her class mates. She talked for days about how she was a helper. She left with her dad after the program and spent christmas with him. We are going to pick her up tomorrow - yeah! All of her presents and santa presents are sitting beside the rapidly de-needling christmas tree!

O's birthday



O turned 8 on Dec 21st - and his birthday party was at the McWayne center here which is a kid centered science center. Everyone had lots of fun. O is pointing out the geopolitical importance of legos to an enrapt audience! L and Z (ok me too) were all about the cake! It was a really fun birthday party. They do a good job there.

gingerbread house


L and I made a GingerBread house - yes we bought the kit the same time I was overwhelmed by craftiness for Zeb's birthday cake. It was fun - she is a mini jawbreaker genius.

I am soooo bad

I have been sooooo busy and working a lot of extra hours to pay for xmas. I don't think I have ever gone this long without posting on my blog. I did see my tag on the 22nd and have been working on that. Since I have 139 posts I have to do 100 interesting facts....and frankly I am just not that interesting so it has been slow going. I am hoping to have it done in a few days. I have basically been working 24 hour shifts every other day for the last week and a half and have to go back in for who knows how long in 3 hours....ug.

enough excuses!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tagged

So...it appears that there has been an epidemic of taggings in the kyrgyzstan adoption world and I have been tagged......unfortunately for y'all.....I actually do have 100 posts on my blog so I am required to come up with 100 interesting facts about myself. The unfortunate part is that I don't think i am 100 things interesting....I really am only about 8 things interesting.





100. when i was 17 I cut my long brown hair short and dyed it black before a school dance and a bunch of boys asked me to dance because they thought i was a new foriegn exchange student


99. When i was a senior in High school, I snuck out of my house to fly to Houston to see the band The Cure


98. I chose my college because of it's cool logo - for no real reason that makes sense - it was Smith College in Northampton, Mass.


97. I was an college music junkie in college and was the music director at my college station


96. my picture was in rolling stone magazine once with dave grohl and chris noveselik from Nirvana.


95. I never drank any alcohol during high school


94. In college I was a research assistant for a sociologist doing women's studies research and learned that up until 1976 a woman who didn't take her husband's last name was not allowed to vote in the state of texas.


93. I was a sociology major and originally wanted to go to Bowling Green for grad school in pop culture studies.


92. I bought a guitar somewhere in Indiana and decided I wanted to be in a punk rock band when I was a sophomore in college.


91. my band booked our first gig before we knew any songs or had amps (or a drummer)


90. I had my navel pierced from 1992 until I had my daughter in 2003


89. I have a 6 inch dragon tattoo on my right arm (over my biceps-ish)


88. I have an MBA that I got from the university of phoenix while working in new orleans.


87. I was a craps dealer for 3 years


86. Even though I am old now - I still kick ass at Galaga.


85.I have a really hard time keeping friends long term - I hear from one high school friend every once in a while, no college friends and no friends from my missing years in New Orleans.


84. I actually loved eating MRE's after Hurricane Katrina


83. I was once robbed at gunpoint


82. I never had to wear a bra until after I had my daughter


81. I breast fed my daughter until she was 3 yo....yes that is totally 3rd world - I know.


80. In 2001 and 2002 I sponsored a little girl in an orphanage in Ust- Kamengorsk, Kazakhstan by sending her little gifts and pictures. She aged out of the orphanage in 2003 and I still have all of her pictures and letters and keep hopelessly believing that someday I will be able to find her and see if she is OK.


79. I want to someday write a novel - maybe next November I will do the novel in a month thing.


78. I used to dance in an Isadora Duncan Repertory Theatre company - which I totally loved.


77. I want to go to law school someday (after I pay off my student loans)


76. I was strangely attached to a gold fish named terrence that died near the same time as my grandmother and I will never again have fish as a pet.


75. I grow my hair ridiculously long and straight and every 18 months I cut it off for locks of love


74. I bite my fingernails - in fact, I am biting them right now


73. I totally love the jewelry that my husband has given me and don't care how retarded expensive it was even though I should be furious about spending that much money


72. Bikini Kill is still my favorite band


71. i can't believe that anyone is really reading these random 10o things about me


70. I was bullied and beat up when I was in middle school and it really sucked


69. I was a girl scout until high school


68. I went to girl scout camp in missouri at Camp Mintihama and it totally ruled - if I hadn't moved away I would have been a girl scout forever to keep going to that camp.


67. When i get a cold I cry at ridiculous things on tv - like dog food commercials


66. Babes in Toyland is still my second favorite band.


65. In high school, my friend Kate and I would drive to Wichita to play a video game called Truxton that had previously been at a convenient store in Emporia - but that had been moved. I later bought a sega genesis because they had that game.


64. My dad once gave an exboyfriend of mine a car so that he would leave.


63. That exboyfriend also took the sega genesis and the truxton video game!


62. I wear scrubs everyday to work and never wear make-up.


61. I am a total cinna-melts junkie (the McDonald's cinnamon roll treat)


60. I cried when I figured out who the newest members of the Lajoy family are going to be

59. I went to 3 different Kindergardens

58. I got the chicken pox on April Fool's day when I was 5yo - it was a great way to wake my dad up that morning!

57. My favorite christmas movie is Holiday Inn

56. I am a total science fiction junkie - but my husband is a bigger one

55. I was in debate and forensics in high school and though I don't really remember being any good at or even liking it that much - I still did it all four years of high school.

54. I didn't decide I wanted to be a doctor until after I graduated from college - so I went back and took all of my med school prerequisites at Washburn University in Topeka, Ks and then at the University of New Orleans.

53. I went to an osteopathic medical school becuase I thought I would really like to do osteopathic manipulation.....but I don't.

52. I truly hated living in the desert.

51. I have tried to send out christmas cards every year for the last 7 years and have yet to actually get it done. This year we even got pictures taken - but didn't get them ordered in time!

50. I have had pets almost consistently since I was in 3rd grade and don't have one living with me now....and I love having furniture that doesn't smell like dog. I know it won't last too much longer - but I love it.

49. I was in a ponderosa commercial when I was like 3yo - I think it ran once!

48. I hate all vegetables....except ketchup!

47. I believe in birthday week - you get to celebrate your birthday for an entire week.

46. I like to read Martha Stewart magazines and real simple magazine - although there is absolutely no evidence of their influence in my surroundings!

45. In college I worked for a vintage (second hand) clothing shop for store credit and had the hugest cheapest and coolest wardrobe.

44. I also had purple hair and my favorite - pill box red hair.

43. I had a super cool electric blue 1979 mg midget in high school - that ran about 40% of the time.

42. The first records I ever bought were in 1981 - the Grease soundtrack and Donna Summer's greatest hits.

41. I had super cool tennis shoe roller skates in 1981 and roller skated all of the time. I haven't been roller skating since 1994 - but I am ready to go!

40. I met my husband on eharmony.

39. we actually bought each other almost the exact same christmas present this year and had to return one.

38. I love feng shui and used to have my old house totally in tune with it - but I haven't had time to apply it's principles to this house.

37. I used to only drink Coke but I converted to Diet Dr. Pepper last year....it really does taste like regular Dr Pepper. Sometimes I try the caffeine free diet dr pepper....but that just tastes like swamp water.

36. I love Italian food and could eat pizza every night of my life and be happy

35. When I was applying for medical school if I didn't get in my alternate plan was to go to the big cat training school in Oregon that had some ridiculous reality show on the animal planet in 2001. I think I knew I was going to get in.

34. I love to shop at Ann Taylor - even though I literally wear scrubs everyday.

33. I have 6 toes on my left foot.....just kidding I am just running out of things to write.

32. I have reached the age where I totally want a mini van...I want the one with cool captain's seats that turn to face a table and sattelite tv.

31. Even when the kids aren't here - I still like to watch the cartoon network - I love Foster's home for imaginary friends and billy and mandy.

Seriously, I just can't think of 100 things. I wil try to think of 30 more things but I am tapped and it has taken me like 3 weeks to come up with these! Ithink everyone who blogs that I follow has already been tagged so I don't tag anyone.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Christmas Trees

Last night we went out and bought our xmas tree. We had my step son last night so we were all able to go (he is the adorable little red head in the birthday pictures!). He and my daughter were soooo funny running around the lot looking for forest animals and singing christmas songs. Of course, everyone wanted a different tree and the way Keith was able to get everyone to come to a consensus on one tree was really a christmas miracle. We listened to the christmas music radio station all the way home along back country roads and seriously heard Feliz Navidad 3 times and all three time little voices (and one or two big voices) were screaming along. It was super fun. There aren't any decorations yet - we have to buy some lights for the tree because.....gulp....this is Keith's first real tree in like a decade - if I had known that I may not have married him! We have some serious Christmasizing to do at our house this week.

I love christmas, by the way. I love all of the things that so many people hate about christmas. I love the cheesy christmas music station, I love the christmas movies, I love the lights and the decorations. I love going to visit Santa at the mall. I also love wrapping presents - it is fun to get cool paper and ribbons....I love ribbons. I am revisiting my new found cake decorating skills with some christmas cookies and a gingerbread house later today.

Just thought I would admit my christmas addiction to all of my close friends this afternoon while my daughter is taking a little nap! We had to get up early this am to take Z to the doctor's - he got 4 shots and a tb test. Lucky Z! L got his lollipop though - it doesn't seem fair. I don't know if I mentioned before that we went to the audiologist and he has mild hearing loss but it could have been associated with some fluid in his middle ear and a flat tympanogram....so we treated him with 10 days of antibiotics. The pediatrician today said that he didn't appreciate any fluid so yeah! The concern was that he may have been having recurrent ear infections in the orphanage and would not be able to clear the fluid without tubes, of course the other worry is that the mild hearing loss isn't due to the fluid. Right now though, the working hypothesis is that we just happened to have our audiology exam when he happened to have an ear infection and everything is normal. So we have a followup audiology exam to schedule!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Autumn


One of the things I really missed while living in Arizona was the fall. I missed any change of seasons really and of course water....I missed water. I wanted to take some nice fall pictures with all of the colors. My drive to work in the morning (yes my 45 minute drive) well in the morning it is pitch black...but on my way home in the afternoon it is... ok it is usually already dark...but when I am post call the drive home is beautiful. There are so many trees and in the last month it has been sooo beautiful. When I came out to Alabama last November to look for houses I was so impressed by it beauty. I am still so impressed. Keith and I drove around a lot this weeked and this area is sooo beautiful. I am starting to sound more and more like my mom. I felt like her this weekend too! She used to love to drive around and look at houses - I have memories of her wanting to drive around and look at houses since way back when I was in third grade. Keith and I have been driving around looking at plots of land to build our new house on.....you know the one we are going to build in like 5 years. It is so much fun to make plans for the future with someone who doesn't think you are insane!
Anyway - I am off this week and have kind of missed my window for really beautiful fall pictures, but Keith took this about 2 weeks ago. It is the view from our back porch.

some pictures of the party



The Birthday Party!


Z officially turned one last week and we had our birthday party on Saturday. Friday I was post call, sleep deprived and delirious....it seemed like a good idea to make and decorate my own cake. This is it.....thank you Michael's for putting this crazy idea in my head. I have never decorated a cake before and was frantically frosting at T - 30 minutes to party time. I probably picked a rather bad place to put the candle - but it was done. My daughter picked out some ridiculously difficult cake she wants me to make her for her birthday...I think I may have started a tradition I will live to regret! So.....Tina....are you impressed!Haha!
The birthday itself was really fun, Keith's parents, sister, nieces and nephew, and our neighbors came. It was really fun...there were 7 kids on our little swingset and it made the swingset look soooo small. Keith is now dedicated to builing a new bigger and better swing set from scratch. I can't wait to inspect all of the to scale sketches on his graph paper. As long as there is a cover for the sand box I am good!
About 2 days before his birthday, I walked out of my bedroom and there was Z sitting up as happy as can be playing with one of his books. It was the first time he sat himself up just cuz he felt like it. On the same day he pulled himself up to standing in the playpen. He is totally going to be trouble when he starts walking. Seriously, he gets into everything with the combat crawl. My daughter was not really trouble that way so I am a little unprepared.
I am trying to schedule my postplacement visit too. I am the last person to file a postplacement among all of the adoption alliance people that adopted around the same time. I didn't know if it was 6 months from the adoption finalization date or the pick up date. Turns out it is 6 months from some random date at the Embassy which for me was sometime in July - why July I don't know. So I am working on getting that done!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Adoption



What does adoption mean to me? That is such an interesting question - what does family mean? Isn't it really the same question? I have one sister and we were close when we were younger. We definitely grew apart when I left for college. I haven't really talked to her much since then - just occasionally.
This picture is from my wedding in August (Z had been home 2 weeks). My sister and her family came for the wedding and we had so much fun together. I really, really enjoyed the time we spend together. I am digressing.....my point at the beginning of this paragraph was that I didn't come from a big family and, in fact, probably handled the whole sibling thing not very well as a child. So I am so surprised and pleased to see how excited L and O are about their little brother and how super-excited L is about new bothers and sisters. I asked L how many brothers and sisters she wanted and she started counting all of the places kids could sleep (we have bunk beds, trundle beds, a crib and a full size bed). She volunteered to sleep with me in my bed so a new sister could have her bed! Very self-less of her! It was funny.
So what is adoption? It is a way to fill up all of our beds and our lives. I am also selfish - being around my kids is when I like myself the most. They bring out the me I always knew was somewhere in there but I struggled for a long time to find. So when someone says that Z is lucky that I saved him or something like that - it is sooooo totally the other way around.

Large families and feminism

I am a feminist. Anyone that knows me knows that I have absolutely no problem identifying myself as a feminist. To me, that means that I support the right for women to have the opportunities that men have. I don't think that is a particularly radical or controversial approach to equality. I think that women should be able to work hard at their jobs, advance at the same rate and be paid the same salary as a man who has their same experience. I think that a man can decide to take time off to stay at home with his kids if he wants.

I find it somewhat funny that women who are anti-feminist have all of these outrageous ideas about what it is. Evidently if you are a feminist it means you want to kill babies and destroy families. I have found this anti-feminist craziness while perusing large family blogs. Which is ironic because one of the staples of feminism - especially the early feminist movement is to raise awareness of the value of the stay at home mom.

When I was in college, I thought I would have one child and probably be a single mom with a nanny and a demanding career. That was just what I imagined. When I ultimately went back to medical school it was after months of researching adopting from Kazakhstan and realizing that I needed to be able to provide financially for my child. Even then, I thought one child for me and I would be done. When I had my bio daughter in medical school - I still felt a strong desire to adopt internationally. I thought I would do that once and then my family would be complete.

Then I went to Kyrgyzstan and my ideas about my family changed. I think it is safe to say that it is going to be a whole lot bigger than I thought 5 years ago.

One of the things I love about the internet is that you can google and do blog searches and find someone who has things in common with you. It helps you feel a little less alone. I will tell you though, there are no blogs I can find by women with large families that work full time and don't homeschool! (Please don't take that to mean I am against homeschooling) I am a feminist who wants a large family, who wants to work full time in a moderately time-consuming industry. I suppose if there are women out there like me they just don't have time to blog.

By the way, I don't feel there is any conflict between being a feminist and wanting a large family. Working towards equality and working towards creating a culture in the US that values motherhood is part of what feminism is. Working for fair maternity/paternity leave practices, working towards access to childcare, de-stigmatizing a woman's choice to leave work early to go on a field trip with her daughter is part of the work of feminism.

I think all working mom's can see the truth in the following story: a man leaves work early to see his son in a play and the boss says.....oh what a good dad he is sacrificing a couple of hours of work to see his son in a play. When a woman leaves work early for the same reason the boss says.....she is just not serious about her job always leaving early she needs to decide if she wants to be a mom or a worker.

So if anyone knows of a blog by a working mom with lots of internationally adopted kids give me a link!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

christmas presents


So for $70 you can buy a goat or other milk producing animal for a family. You get a nice gift card to send as a gift. Here it is mom.....my christmas list.....get someone a goat from me.
After today's posts I predict that my husband is going to teach me how to make links in my blog that are hidden istead of all https:.....blah blah blah. That is pretty annoying to look at!

Being married

I have been a very prolific writer today.....I am clearly procrastinating to avoid putting together my presentation on neuraxial hematomas for november 21st!

I was just writing an email and starting rambling on a little bit about how different my life is now and how different the adoption process is now as compared to when I was single last year.

When I first met Keith - it was always funny when one of us would start to talk about something totally obscure and the other one would immediately remember all of the details of some tv show or book. When we were driving from Arizona to Alabama there was an abandoned box car about 100 feet from the interstate...which reminded me of a book I had read in elementary school - the boxcar children http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boxcar_Children....so being little miss free association....I started to tell him and he basically finished my sentence and proceeded to tell me his favorite part of the book. Of course, lots of people have read this book. Noone has ever talked about it with me.

It is so nice to have an idea and to be able to tell him and to know that he isn't going to fight with me about it or think I am crazy. In fact, usually he likes my ideas. I feel like we feed each other's ideas and dreams in really beautiful way. I have always had a crazy idea of a project I want to complete in my life.....it has been hovering amorphously on the edge of mind for about 6 years and every time I talk with Keith about it....it becomes more and more solid. It starts to crystallize into a more defined thing. Someday, I hope it will be real.....but it is still in the being defined stage. He gets excited and caught up in my dreams too and that is something I haven't experienced before.

A lot of you may be familiar with Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan's Purse. We took our older kids to Walmart on Saturday to make shoeboxes for it and we are working in the distribution center this Wednesday. http://www.samaritanspurse.org/OCC.asp?MPGID=1
At church on Sunday they played a video about the project which showed children all over the world opening christmas shoe boxes. Here is where I totally embarass Keith.....I looked over and saw him with those 'I-am-trying-to-fight-the-tears' tears. He told me later that all he could think about was that one of those kids on the screen could be one of our kids waiting to come home.

WARNING.......CHEESE ALERT..........TO ALL THOSE THAT HAVE KNOWN ME MOST OF MY LIFE YOU MIGHT WANT TO SIT DOWN..........
I am cynical, I have been cynical most of my life. I never, ever believed in the whole soul mate thing. I do now and I am OK about telling it to the world.

who is going to play me in the movie

My philosophy in life for the first 30 years was to do things that would make good stories later. Seriously, the quest for an experience that would provide a good story spurred me on to do lots of really worthwhile things. I think that is what helped me go so far away from home for college, that is definitely what made me dye my hair purple and drive half way across the country with an unmentioned band (with whom I was eventually pictured in Rolling Stone magazine), to buy a guitar and start a punk band, to work as a craps dealer. Maybe I gave up my crazy life and went to medical school so I could find someone who wanted to listen to my stupid stories!
I seriously have a crazy story for every occasion....so I have started trying to write them down in a coherent way so that someday one of my kids might want to read them and say.....dude....mom was totally insane.
Now, Keith wants to know who will play him in the movie. I told him Admiral Chegwidden.....he had never watched JAG....I am horrified. I once called in sick to work at the casino becuase there was a JAG marathon on and I HAD to watch it. I love Chegwidden....and Keith totally reminds me of him. I have been having a lot of trouble putting pictures up on my blog....but here is a link to chegwidden http://www.jagteam.com/aj_chegwidden.htm

I should wait but oh well....

So we have decided to adopt from Ghana. We are going to use Adoption Advocates International which has a very established and respected Ethiopia program. They have a pilot program in Ghana that was just recently started. We will be their 14th family to sign on. Instead of referring from already existing orphanages, they started their own orphanage in July and have a very meticulous procedure in place to ensure that the children are absolutely, 100% relinquished by any remaining family members. There is sooo much trouble with child slavery in Ghana and with that whole crazy Zoe's Ark thing in Chad.....I feel much better about it with AAI, than with some of the other agencies I looked at who work in Africa. There is also something very DIY, grass roots about the whole AAI project. The orphanage and this pilot program were really started by some mom's adopting through other means in Ghana and they were disillusioned with the organizations and the process that was in place. They thought that it could be better. I love that.

As you may have read...the state of Alabama won't approve our homestudy until we have been married one year. So we are just waiting around for a while. I should just wait patiently, but I have been thinking about all of the timing and trying to piece together some way to so some things sooner. I don't actually need the 171H until court which is (according to the tentative timeline) about 2-3 months after referral. I do need a homestudy for a referral - but since I don't need the 171H for a referral.... So shooting for homestudy done near the end of April is my goal so that it will dated within 6 months of submission to USCIS and we can start waiting for our referral in April.

The referral - so I feel like I have mentioned this before on a post...but I am not sure where....we are now a little boy heavy in our family, so our referral request is for a little girl less than 5 years old. We are open to siblings (up to 2 other siblings) and minor medical needs or surgically correctable issues. Adding 3 kids to a family with 3 kids already is advanced parenting for sure! I have read several blogs by mom's of large families....but I have yet to see a blog or meet any working moms with that many kids! I think our nanny would need a raise and a helper after school! We are definitely going to get approved for 3 just in case....but our official referral request is still a work in progress - unfortunately, we still have 3 months to discuss it! No mom, I am not insane.

Our preliminary application went in today we were waiting on a family picture to send it in. We sent in one of our wedding pictures. We are getting an official family picture on December 8th for Christmas cards/adoption stuff. I am looking forward to watching the training dvd's. Although I am sure it is very interesting and informative - it is no battlestar galactica....but it will have to hold me over!









Alabama Sucks

I just need to take a moment to vent! We have been working on researching adoptions from Africa and have been going back and forth between Liberia and Ghana and briefly we talked about Ethiopia. Then we were trying to decide how many kids, what ages, special needs etc. So finally we start making some choices and decision and start talking to people and agencies in concrete terms. Now today, our homestudy agency tells me that while they are comfortable doing a homestudy for us - all international homestudies in the state of Alabama have to go throught DHR before they can be processed by USCIS and their minimum marriage requirement is one year. If we were adopting domestically (not through foster care) we woudn't have this requirement. Not only do we have to wait at least another 3 months to start our homestudy - it adds an extra month to the processing time to get out 171H.

I know the older I get the faster 3 months goes by.....but when you finally make the decisions to go forward with an adoption - the last thing you want to do is hurry up and wait for 3 loooooong months. We are still going to send in our application to the placing agency and start our mandatory dvd training - which will probably not be as entertaining to watch as battlestar galactica....but we just finished the ipod downloads of season 3 so we don't have anything to watch until the Razor miniseries and the next season starts!

I think that if an agency is licensed by the state to do homestudies - the state should let them do them and not stick their big fat nose in my business. My husband (a lifelong Alabama-n) says that other states look to Alabama to see what not to do! He may be right. Of course, I am very judicious and see the logic of their law....but I am opposed to a state organization that doesn't know me or hasn't seem my family making decisions based on a number. Especially when a local, licensed, accredited organization can evaluate my family based on criteria that really matter to the welfare of children!
OUCH - I just fell off my soapbox and stubbed my toe.

Friday, November 9, 2007

LOVE IT


I just saw this tshirt on one of the Ghana adoption blogs and I LOVE IT! It comes in a super cute little hoodie too. I would put a link....but it is super long and I have no idea how to do the cool hyperlink thing. It is from adoptive mommy store (http://www.cafepress.com/adoptivemommy) that link isn't so long! Must fight urge to shop!!!!!!

Halloween

I am soooo bad. I tried to upload halloween pictures of the kids and didn't work and didn't work so I just haven't posted in forever. So I thought i would write about halloween (although it really is noooo fun without the pictures) and update a little bit.

I was on call on Halloween, but the monday before halloween the kids dressed up (by kids I also mean Keith too!) for cub scouts. Z was a lion which was soooo cute. It was one of my daughter's recycled costumes when she was 3 months old so it was a little tight on him....but he kept the hat on like a champ! My daughter was a pumpkin fairy. She was very matter of fact about the whole thing. Whenever someone who ask her what her costume was she would say "can't you tell I am a pumpkin fairy?" like something was wrong with them for not immediately knowing. It was funny.
Monday nights are a total fiasco in general and getting everyone into costume made it more crazy....so Keith and the older 2 left before Z and I were ready. Evidently, my timid little girl spent the first 10 minutes of cubsouts terrifyingly screaming and burying her head in some random woman's shoulder because of the scariness of the the costumes! I didn't even think of that - I guess I should have been prepared for that.

She did bounce back though and won the costume contest. All of the kids had a turn to walk across the stage and show their costumes and my daughter walked out and did a little ballerina turn (arms in 5th position and everything) and then did a little 4 yr old arabesque - i think there was a little curtsy too before she ran off of the stage.......it was 100% irresistable.

I am pretty sure Z was her only real competition for cute costumes - but he didn't enter the contest!

O - the little cub scout (who is actually probably the same size I was my freshman year in high school!) - was one of the Fet's...ok it was Boba Fet I think.....of course, I have no idea how to spell the star wars character's names...I admit it! He loved his costume and was so confused why he didn't win the costume contest. I loved that he loved his costume so much. There were so many star wars character costumes I didn't really realize how big starwars is for kids these days. I was 2 years younger than O is now when I saw Star Wars for the first time at the drive in in Emporia, Ks!

Now my husband's costume is another story....I know you are reading this keith...sorry. He has a flight suit that he got for one of his jobs and he decided to wear it as his costume. One of the mother's turned to me and asked me if that was a costume or some eagle scout uniform thing. To which I responded "it is a costume....if it were an eagle scout thing he would have a kercheif". I really am not sure why I find the kerchief on men so funny....it just is.

On halloween night, the kids went to a fall festival celebration at church and I have some pictures that our awesome nanny took of that too. It was lots of inflatable bouncy things and I imagine running around with friends from school and that precious 4 year old screaming thing. Our neighborhood is really new and there are literally 15-20 houses and like 7 or 8 of them are occupied and there are houses still being built around the corner. Next year I am hoping for some good trick or treating!

I am going to have to figure out how to add the pictures -because everyone was sooo cute.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A year

So it was just about this time last year I decided to take the plunge and start my adoption. There is just something about October that makes me want to have kids......it is the apple cider, or the cool evenings, or maybe the half price school supplies!
I wish that I would have started my blog when I started the process instead of waiting until December. If I had done that I could have gone back and seen what I was doing and thinking on the day Z was born. How cool would that have been?! I suppose I could go back and look at the emails I sent on November 28th and see what was up in my life....I think I will do that...hold on..

ok I only have 2 emails received on Z's birthday. One was from Tina through the yahoo forum - she was explaining the timeline of waiting for her referral and waxing poetic about her homestudy visit. I bet she was also baking a cake for her daughter! I did not post a single thing on the yahoo forum that day! Amazing....the way I blather on these days! I also have an email from Fed Ex saying that my shipment (eyes wide open) had shipped. However, I did see that I opened my yahoo account on October 21st last year. I did it because my previous email address was way toooo long and complicated!

HAHA - there is also an unsubscribe me email from the other kyrgyzstan adoption forum because I had decided to adopt from Guatemala....hahaha. The day my son was born I decided to adopt from Guatemala - that is funny. I guess I am real glad that didn't work out.

Now I am rambling.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

pumpkin patch




It was pumpkin patch day last week. My daughter picked a pumpkin (which was oozing pumpkin juice from the stem all day long onto my pants and hands). They did some leaf etching, here she is petting a gecko. I took the morning off of work to take her on the field trip.....and boy did I get in trouble when I got to work. I should have just called in sick. Instead I tried to arrange clinic coverage and just took off 2 hours. In retrospect, I should have just left my coworkers hanging in the breeze and called in sick.....believe me....that is what I will do next time! It was lots of fun though - the morning ended with her eating her s'more on the go and wearing most of the marshmallow. The pumpkin patch was set up at the local girl scout camp ground and it was super cool. They had horses. It was no Camp Mintihama - but it was cool....I am sensing girl scout camp in my daughter's future.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

At the park

We went to the park last Sunday - actually we ended up going to two parks with church sandwiched in between the park visits! At the first park I met a woman with a 2 year old son adopted from China. He was a little bigger than Z and had albinism....at first I didn't even realize he was Asian. Keith was puching Z on the swing next to them and when I walked up she introduced herself and asked what province Z was from and when he came home. It was so fun to run into someone I could talk international adoption with. She commented how healthy Z looked - especially for only being home two months.

We went to a different park in the afternoon and a woman came running up to us asking where our son was from. She also had a 2 year old little boy from China. So I got to gab international adoption again! She was also very impressed at how plump he was. Yes....my son can eat with the best of them. While we were talking a man overheard us and had used the same agency as the woman I was talking with to adopt domestically.

I did my homestudy for Zeb in Tucson with Commonwealth and went to their giant family picnic last year right at the beggining of my process. It is coming up again in 2 weeks and I wish I could go back for it. I know there won't be any kids from Kyrgyzstan there - but it would be fun. Now if Adoption Alliance ever invites us for a family picnic - I am totally going. I know adoption options has family picnics and I am tempted to crash one! I am still holding out hope for the disney cruise. Does anyone have a timeline for post-adoption disposable income rebound?

Friday, October 19, 2007

chubby cheeks!



Look at those chubby cheeks! He is sooooo much fun! He is totally into everything - all of the time. It is great. He is constantly squeaking up a storm too. Our awesome nanny has been working with him on waving bye - bye and today was the day they unveiled it. He was soooooo cute. I am going to have to get a picture of it.

Unfortunately the camera is on a cub scout camp out.

Monday, October 15, 2007

cub master Keith

As I sit here typing this, keith is explaining to me how boy scouts is broken down....you know wee below's (spelling?), tiger cubs, blah, blah, blah. Have I mentioned that he is the "cub master" for the cub scout dens here. That means that every monday night when we run around the house frantically trying to get everyone fed, dressed and ready to go he is wearing a boy scout uniform. Evidently, the boy scout uniform was designed by Versaci. I am afraid to mention that the pants are long pants that can unzip into shorts.....you know around the knee. There is also an uncountable number of velcro pockets and a little belt like attachment that clips together like all of the baby carseat seatbelts. Don't even get me started abou the kerchief.....he has a special one because he was an eagle scout.....apparently there are different degrees of eagle scouts....he has some pompoms....ok maybe it is palms. Sometimes he waxes poetic about eating bugs and running for boy scout regional president so he could be on the cabinet of the first Bush because the president is the head boyscout.....boy I bet there would be people that argued with that statement.

My husband is pretty geeky - oh and the boy scout thing is not the half of it! He obviously loves all of the time he spent doing boy scout stuff and every single thing he does with his oldest son is some kind of requirement for some badge, belt loop or whatever. There is a great big wall at the boy scout office that has a list of all of the eagle scouts from this district....Keith's name is on it, Keith's dad's name is on it and I know that some day his oldest son's name will be on it and so will Zeb's. Have I mentioned how much I love geeks? Although I could probably do without the kerchief.

This weekend is a camping trip - my daughter is so sad to be missing another chance to go "tenting", but there is no way I can live in a tent for a weekend with a 9 month old....I am too weak! So my daughter is going to go visit her dad for the weekend....hopefully ( which I say because she doesn't get to see her dad that often) and Zeb and I are on our own. It will be the first extended time we have been able to really spend together alone...I am really looking forward to it.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Anniversaries

So I am not sure if you are supposed to celebrate this particular anniversary - but my one year divorciversary is today. I don't know if I ever shared what actually lit the fire under my butt to get it finalized. I decided I needed to get it finalized (after filing it in June!) becuase my plan was to wait one year and then start my adoption.....haha...one year became 6 weeks. I was never good at waiting! That may partially explain a lot of my credit card debt! I think it is ironic that my desire for international adoption really has shaped my life in ways you might not expect.

When I think back at that day (which I have written about before) I couldn't possibly imagine my life as it is right now.

Today we took my daughter to a birthday party for one of her school friends at the friend's grandmother's house. They had ponies for pony rides...it was so much fun. I wish i would have remembered my camera! She had such a great time...it is a matter of weeks before she starts asking for a pony. With a daughter, I think they all ask for a pony at some point! I have a great house (ok I have 2 great houses....one that I wish would sell!) with a great swing set. We have next door neighbors (3 and 9 yr olds) that my daughter loves to play with and they keep her preoccupied outside on the swingset all the time! I know it may be silly, but it makes me sooo happy to pull into the driveway after work and see my daughter and a couple of neighborhood kids playing on my backyard swingset. It may be some kind of suburbia brainwashing.....but my daughter has really settled down and is really happy. My son is happy and probably the easiest baby ever to take care of. I have an absolutely wonderfull nanny - seriously - she is the best ever. I have a job I love - I should totally read more about it before I hurt someone....but still it is fun.

I was talking to my ex-husband the other day (we do have a very, very good relationship by most standards) and he asked if I was happy. I am soooo totally happy it amazes me. Anyway - I am rambling...but it is really nice to look at your life and feel like you are being rewarded in some way for something. I must be being rewarded...how else could I explain having a husband who is as excited as I am to jump into another international adoption so soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Where does time go

It seems like I don't have any time to get anything done. I work less now versus last year, but man, I don't seem to have any time!

This month i am working at the preop assessment clinic so my hours are normal business hours of 9am until 5 - ish. Yesterday, I woke up at 630, got ready for work, woke up my daughter got her dressed and set her down for breakfast. Our nanny gets to our house around 730 and I head to work. At the end of the day - I head home around 445 (I got out early) make it home in time to wake my daughter up from a late nap, feed her, Keith and Keith's son, Owen, some frozen pizza and we head to cub scouts. I feed Zeb a replacement dinner at the cub scout meeting. Then we get home at 825, I put dd to bed by 845 while Keith feeds Zeb his real dinner. Then I clean the kitchen, take out garbage (ok make Keith take out the garbage).

I can fit everything in as long as I am in maintanence mode....but we have a lot of extras to do right now and it is slooooow-going trying to get the garage full of my stuff filtered into my new house! We did move my refrigerator and washer and dryer in - hurray. I love my appliances!

My house is being shown - although i don't have a key to it to put in a lock box. I thought maybe the person that looked at it last week might put in an offer. The looked at it twice and asked for a survey to be emailed to them. I haven't heard anything yet though - so I think it is a pipe dream!!! Our life will be a lot easier and closer to running in the black if we could sell my house and the car we have for sale!

Today at work I am going to plan my block party. I finally met my neighbors this weekend and they have a 3 year old and a 9 year old. My daughter played with them all weekend and I feel just terrible that my anti-socialness cost my daughter 2 months of not playing with her new best friend! So I am going to meet my neighbors if it sucks every last bit of strength from my soul! Ok that was a bit dramatic. But I am planning a block party with a jumping castle.

Friday, October 5, 2007

I am truly insane

You may have noticed that there has been some changes in the profile on this blog. Keith and I have decided to start preparing for another international adoption. We are truly insane....yes we are...I know it.

How in the world did I come to Liberia...seriously. When I was in Kyrgyzstan getting Z and even visiting Z for the first trip - I became completely dedicated to Kyrgyzstan. In my mind, I thought of when I would adopt from the bishkek baby house again or possible from the older child orphanage in B.

Then 2 weeks ago I started thinking about a blog I had read many months ago. I don't remember what blog it was or why I was reading it. The title of the post was something like "Asian - the other white meat". It discussed how the white parents of asian adoptees sometimes fooled themselves into not pondering transracial issues and that it was easy for white adoptive parents to choose asian countries because they could justify not tackling those issues. I wish I could find that post again and reread it. I think i started thinking about it because my daughter made a comment about how Zeb was white and her step-brother was red. (as an aside - that is right I do in fact have a red-headed step child).

When I was first starting to research adoption, i briefly looked at Ethiopia and dismissed it quickly. Why you might ask was I so quick to dismiss a program that was running smoothly, relatively inexpensive and a country that had so many children orphaned by AIDS. I am embarassed to say that it is because I was afraid of caring for a little girl's hair. There it is - the real life un-abstract reality. There is an observable, palpable marker of racial differences.
So - I started researching everything I could find on white parents and african american hair care. I was surprised to see that this is actually a very important topic and was so happy to find so much information on it. I also started googling books and websites about transracial families - mostly those written by adoptees.

I will be honest, with my adoption of Zeb - I never googled transracial adoption, I never investigated or read about race issues....I did just like website said - I learned about Kyrgyzstan, but I never once thought about race.

As african hair care became demystified, I found myself googling minority domestic adoption. Keith and I talked about domestic adoption for days - we may someday adopt domestically, but my heart belongs to international adoption. We settled on Ethiopia for about 2 days until I found the website for Acres of Hope.

That was it - the story of children in Liberia, the pictures of the orphanages and the strangely persistent introspection on racism that had been playing in my head for weeks. I just started to have the familiar gut feeling about Liberia. In the midst of my researching the adoptive parenting forum ran the topic "adopting again - second adoptions".

We are starting our homestudy in December and I look forward to sharing my experiences on this blog. I feel a little bit like a traitor to Kyrygzstan - although i still adamantly recommend Kyrgyzstan and Adoption Alliance (they rule!!!!). It just doesn't feel right for us to adopt there right now.

For a doctor - i sure do rely on gut feelings a lot!

I officially have issues

i think I need a short vacation from my life.....just long enough to shave my legs....is that really too much to ask!

There really is nothing overwhelming in my life....Z is doing great, my job is lots of fun, Keith is just a retardedly awesome husband. My daughter has some off and on behavioral issues which overall are improving. I am just moody. I am snapping at Keith for no real good reason and I am a little unmotivated. I wonder if i am having some sort of post - adoption depression.
I don't feel particularly depressed, I suppose I have never been really depressed so I don't know exactly how it is supposed to feel - although I certainly can diagnose based on the DSM-IV!!!!
I think I should do some research on post-adoption depression and see if I fit the criteria. After the birth of my daughter, my mom sent me a book on post-partum depression just in case.....she is a psych nurse and her best friend wrote a book on it so i think part of the gift was to send me her friend Linda's book! I didn't really have any problems - but I read the book and am really applying its criteria to post-adoption depression and I really don't know if the 2 are comparable.

I am also mostly happy - I have just been moody. i guess one of the reasons I think I am in adoption process withdrawal is that I have started researching my next adoption....I am not sure if this is some way to deal with post adoption depression or if my next child is really out there waiting for me. I don't know how you can really be sure - it all seems like a gut feeling thing.

I have to say though, there is a single mom who has been researching Kyrgyzstan for like a year and I am so impressed by her thoroughness and her commitment to her timeline - shout out to Suzanne! I started researching for 'next year' and was knee deep in a homestudy within 2 months.

I am researching now and I don't know if it is to fill some sort of adoption forum and process void or if it is because my next child is out there. I suppose I should say that Keith and I want a very large - ridiculously large family and so the idea of starting our next adoption seems very reasonable - especially when it will take over a year to complete it. Z will be almost 2 before any siblings would come home.

I have been up since 5 am and sit here pondering this issue in my usual sleep deprived state. My blog has been so dead lately - I don't even know if anyone peruses it - but I would love to hear if anyone has similar episodes of moodiness after coming home with their child or if they feel the abscence of "something" since the process is completed.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

how he has done




When we first picked up Z - he slept soooo good. He slept all night and fussed very little...except of course when he was having a poopie explosion! Almost 7 weeks later he is as fussy as all get out and sleeps only a couple of hours at a time. He has also gained 6 pounds in the last month and is like a little eating machine. He makes the cutest little noise right before he falls asleep that sounds like pac man too. It is funny. Over all, he is still sooooo ridiculously happy!
I went to the IA doctor at the beginning of the week and had Z's behavioral pt/ot and social work consult. He is full on 6 months in his motor development and right about months for verbal. Now I get to brag......the social worker said that she had never seen a child who displayed evidence of such secure attachment so soon after coming home. Of course, this really ahs nothing to do with me and everything to do with the absolutely wonderfull care that Z got at the bishkek baby house. She said that the not sleeping all night and fussiness I was worried about was actually a good sign that he was developing discriminate attachment.
I totally need to get some new pictures!

wedding and post adoption


How cute is my daughter?! She was the best flower girl ever!

We had so much fun at the wedding - granted I am posting this like over a month later - but I have been busy! The wedding was soooo stress free. The planner at the bed and breakfast we held it at handled everything. The musicians were great, the flowers were beautiful. The photographer was a little cheesy - ok a lot cheesy and I still don't have the pictures yet! So basically I have like 4 pictures from the wedding right now. Oh well. My daughter and I got to be princesses for a day so it was fun. She did such a great job! I highly recommend her for any flower girl duties - if anyone is looking for a flower girl. I also recommend Keith as a groom and husband - he also does a great job. However, his calendar is booked!

We are still trying to merge our homes - it is very hard to do - he has a lot of stuff (ok I might have a whole bunch of stuff I don't need too)! My daughter is handling the transition pretty well - she started having some real behavioral issues right after the wedding - but we went down to visit her dad last weekend and I think it really helped her to see her dad and Keith meeting. I think she maybe was feeling guilty - I don't know. Her dad came up to visit her this weekend too - which she is loving! It is hard for him to commit to dates to come visit her - but I think it really helps for her be able to look at a calendar and say "I am going to see my daddy on this day"

Zeb is doing awesome - he has doubled his weight in the last month and a half and is crawling - ok mostly it is the combat crawl - but he is up on his knees a couple of crawls and then down on his belly and off! He talks up a storm in a super high pitched squeaky way and he is almost always happy with that huge smile you can see on his pictures. I am finally printing my pictures for Zeb's life book - I have like a million pictures of him from bishkek and am really going to get it done.

I sent in my kyrgyzstan embassy registration - the form (with a passport size picture), his passport, copy of the adoption certificate with translation, adoption decree and translation, old and new birth certificates and the prepaid return envelope. It was free as was discussed on the yahoo forum!
I also met with an agency here in alabama about my first post placement and his readoption. The agency was Villa Hope and I met with the director and she was super nice. She also gave me some contact information for adoption organizations here. I haven't checked them out yet - but I will give a full review when I do.

I am kind of having international adoption withdrawal and have been looking for a way to start my next adoption....it will definitely take a lottery win! Anyone else already thinking about their next one!?

Friday, August 31, 2007

dapper little guy


I think with that little expression - z will grow up to be in a boy band.
He is definitely wearing this little tux for christmas pictures!

hotel grand eurasian


The Pro's - it was right across the street from the embassy which made it easy to run over there when they called me Wednesday afternoon and told me that I couldn't get a visa for Z! Yikes! There was alittle shopping center attached to the hotel with a small grocery store on the first floor. The front door had credit card signs...but they only took money. We found that out the hard way! There is also a little children's store on the 3rd floor and an assortment of clothing stores which included some kid stores. There was a restaurant that was pretty good for room service...I highly recommend the french fries....and that is about it! This whole trip I yearned for the nice and yumminess of the asia mountain guest house! We ate a lot of chips and m&m's!

Really the only con was that it was soooo smoky - our bathroom must have adjoined to someone smoking like a chimney - we had to keep the door closed with a towel under the door to keep the smoke out of the hotel room.

One morning we were in the elevator - I was carrying Z and keith was standing next to me. A man got into the elevator with us and in broken English asked keith if baby was boy or girl....Keith said boy and the man said "he has your face". It was really funny. Keith could not be more blond/blue eyed!

SOS clinic

The drive to Almaty was such an arduous ordeal. We left around 430 am. I was amazed at how close to the border we were - it literally took like 10 minutes to get there. Our coordinator took all of our passports and went into the kyrgyzstan exit point - we stayed in the car. Then we drove to another little checkpoint that we also did not go into. The third checkpoint we drove to we all got out and went through a little line with a small piece of paper and our passports. Overall it was not the scary, iron curtain - esque experience I expected.

The drive from the border to Almaty took forever! It was soooo hot once the sun came up! The traffic was terrible in Almaty and the pollution was not very amenable to wide open car windows. I would say this was the worst part of our trip - but the food poisoning in Newark, NJ and subsequent 2 hour flight to Birmingham sucked!!!!

We finally made it to the SOS clinic around 9am. We saw the doctor almost immediately. It was a man from Australia who I could not understand for the life of me. It was his first day at the clinic and was jet lagged....I totally commiserated on that level. During the exam - Z was naked on the exam table and BAM - let loose with a huge watery bowel movement that literally shot onto the doctor's pants. Now how is THAT for your first patient at your new job! He still got a clean bill of health.

little stories

One of the things I really wanted to write about while we were in Kyrgyzstan was day 2 in Bishkek. In the morning we went to see an official whose actual position I am kind of unsure of....I think it is a regional education official. I had met her before on my first trip. It is weird to meet with someone and be completely unable to understand what they say. There is a very tiny elevator in the government building- it only fits 3 people. The last time I was there, someone got in the tiny elevator with us with a lit cigarette! The building doesn't have air conditioner and all of the lights were off.

After we met with that official - we went on a little sightseeing tour with our in country coordinator. I was a little unprepared for the hot 3 hours we spent walking around bishkek. We went to Ala too square. there was a wedding party there - they were actually getting married I think. Our coordinator said it was good luck to be there with a wedding party - yeah us. It was not good luck at that particular moment. While we were there - Zeb had a major diaper blowout. Keith (who is the expert poopie diaper changer in our family) took him back to the car to change his diaper and literally - stuff flew out when he opened the diaper....then the fountain of pee shot straight into the air. It was a huge mess in the 100 degree back seat of our taxi. It was hysterical. Keith kept his cool though!
We also went to a park that used to have an eternal flame in memory of all of the soldiers from Kyrgyzstan who died in WW2....however, the eternal flame was out. The park was kind of in disrepair - but there were a lot of beautiful stone statues and flowers.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gotcha



Believe it or not.....I brought clothes that were too warm!
The day started with our driver picking us up at the hotel at 10 am. We went to exchange some money so that we could give the gifts to the orphanage workers. Then we picked up 3 cakes - one went to the caregivers in Z's baby room, one went to the doctor's and I am not quite sure where the last one went. It was kind of a blur. Even though our coordinator speaks english - i still don't understand her 100%...I understand her words but sometimes not the actual meaning. I wasn't sure if I was taking Z on Monday or if we were going to take him home on Tuesday. I wasn't sure if I was taking him when I first got there or later. I brought clothes and diapers - but the caregivers wanted to change him and they didn't want to use my diaper so they put his clothes on him without a diaper - then they wanted a second layer of clothes - which I was prepared for....but then my hat was too heavy for him so they put one of the little pink orphanage ones on him. Then we went over to the doctor's office and the doctors immediately took off the second layer of clothes and told me not to give him a bath because he had had a chill earlier in the day - they also thankfully put a diaper on him.
Then I signed the book in the director's office to sign out Z. See the picture above.
Keith took lots of pictures of the baby house and then we left - it was around 11am.
Our driver took us to a baby store where we bought some formula like the kind they use at the baby house and some bottles. We went back to our hotel and chilled out until 130 when we headed to the american embassy to pick up a sealed envelop of stuff for the adoption unit in Kazakhstan.
The embassy seemed very secure - we went through 2 metal detectors. There was also a bullet hole in the window of the outside check point. There was a new woman in the position - whatever position it is that processes whatever it is that needs to be processed in KG! Our coordinator said that sometimes they ask questions before they give you the packet...like when you came for the first visit, when the birthmother relinquished custody etc. She didn't ask us any of that stuff though.
Then we went back to the hotel - it was quite a day.
Next post will be about sightseeing in bishkek and the james bond-esque early morning border crossing!

Ak Keme


OK How tired do I totally look? I was pretty tired...I still am tired. I didn't get to blog as much as I would have liked while I was there - I was too busy sleeping and being totally amazed at how much Z slept!
I totally missed the Asia Mountain Guest House soooo much. I don't think we had a meal the entire time we were there! It was smoky and kind of dingy. I am sure it is better than most - but I strongly recommend the Asia mountain guest house. There was another family there at the same time and they stayed at Philemon House and they raved about it! I have heard another family that loved the PHilemon house.
In Almaty we stayed at the Hotel Grand Eurasia which is directly across the street from the building that houses the American Embassy and it was awesome. It is attached to a little mall that has a small grocery store in it and a litle children's store also. We went shopping. It was nice to be able to run and buy a coke and some Krak's.....the central asian, rap inspired pringles rip off chip....mmmm. The beds were super uncomfortable, and we had some sort of vent connection in our bathroom to a very smoky place - so our bathroom was very smoky. There is a restaurant in the hotel that has room service - the food was pretty good. Ironically, Keith got food poisoning from the room service in Newark, NJ last night. We made it through Kg and Kz without a problem.
It is nap time right now so I am trying to do laundry and check my email.....117 - yikes! I am going to upload some pictures to my flikr account - I will put a link on here as soon as it is done. There will be some pictures of my honey, Keith - for those of you who are curious(TINA). You probably can't see my hand in these pictures...but there is an engagement ring on it. It is very sparkly!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Oh Yeah

I forgot to mention that Keith changed the first poopie diaper. I am one lucky girl....in so many ways!
Don't worry there will be no picture to accompany this post when I get back to the US!!!!

In my lap

In my lap sits a very cute 8 month old little boy! Our trip from London to Bishkek was pretty uneventful - except for the loss of my luggage. Luckily I diversified into both my suitcase and Keith's. The only things i am really missing are - first and foremost - my shoes. The only shoes I have are blue tennis shoes which are looking fabulous with the 2 pairs of black pants that made it here. I very carefully had packed bottles into both suitcases....however I only pcked the actual drop in parts in mine....so the bottles are totally worthless!
Kuba took usto a really cute baby store after we picked Z up and we bought some new bottles, formula etc.
We got to Bishkek around 5am and made it quickly to our hotel. we are staying at the Ak Keme and I totally miss the Asia mountain guest house!!! This hotel isn't bad at all - i just like the other one better.
Kuba picked us up around 10 and took us to buy 3 cakes and exchange some money - then we headed to the baby house.
I brought layers of clothes for Z - I would just like to brag that I actually brought clothes that were too warm! I was chastised that my hat would keep his head too warm! I took lots of pictures...well, Keith took lots of pictures and then we headed back to the hotel for a couple of hours.
I am mostly unphased and just in everyday mommy mode and then I will be overwhelmed by the situation...that Z is sitting on my lap and he is staying with me. I see Keith playing with him or burping him and I get a liitle overwhelmed by seeing how much Keith loves Z and how happy he is.
Yesterday afternoon we headed to the US embassy to pick up a sealed manilla envelop that goes to the adoption unit in Almaty. This afternoon we head to the Ministry of Education meet and thank some people there - and late tonight we head to Almaty - evidently the border is closed except the wee hours of the morning. That is perfect for me in my current jet lagged state!
Z is being a total angel - i actually recall some talk about a honeymoon period that is slated to end like any second.....so I figured I better get my post in now!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

London

Well, here I am again...in London. All of the research I did.......it seems I never realized that I had to buy an actual ticket for Zeb's trip home.....ooops. So I just bought him one - it was pretty cheap...but I felt like an idiot! How did I not realize that I needed a little ticket for him!

The flight was nice....it is so much more fun to travel with a companion versus alone! I am especially looking forward to actually sleeping on the next leg of the journey to Bishkek. It is soooo much fun to look at my countdown to Zebastian and see no more days only hours. Everytime I think about putting him in that super cute little red mouse hat that I bought last March I come really close to crying. It seems like it has been such a long time that I have been waiting for him - but thinking about him has just been on hold with all of the crazy life changes I have had in the last 2 months. Now that I am on my trip to pick him up - I am just thinking about him and it is a little bit overwhelming. It doesn't help that I still don't have an actual crib at home....although there is one on order and paid for at babies r us. We do have a glider ( it is in the box....but at our house nonethe less!) We are also still working on childcare....boy do I sound completely unprepared or what?!
It will all get done and I can't wait. Off to get some starbucks....mmmmm.

We did finally get a hotel in Almaty and will be staying at the hotel grand eurasia....hurrah!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

one more hat


I am leaving for the airport - super late...had to buy one last hat and I am off!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

One more week

I am frantically trying to get my life organized....still! I can't believe how completely disorganized I am. After all of the rave reviews for the Hotel Otrar (sarcasm) I decided to try to book us rooms at the Hotel Grand Eurasion or something like that at Kaztourism.com because my friend and fellow bishkek adoptive parent recommended it. However, I haven't heard back from them and I haven't yet booked anything else...so we could be staying on the street in Almaty for 2 nights - yippee!
Work is beating me down for sure - i feel like an idiot about 98% of the time I am at work and that sucks.
My daughter is going to her dad's tomorrow for the next 3 weeks. I am going to miss her terribly - but I am going to have time to get some stuff done at the house and actually start preparing a nursery for Zeb! I am anticipating nursery by Wednesday. I am such a dreamer.
I have so much more going on - I will blog about that during my 9 hour layover in London in a week...OMG I am soooo unprepared for Zeb to come home. you would think I would be totally prepared. My move and all of the changes has really thrown me into a tailspin. UGGGG.

I will remain calm.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Busy- busy

I started my new job on July 2nd and have been soooo overwhelmed. If my new job was the absolutely only thing in my life I would still be overwhelmed. There are so many new things I have to learn - it is completely different than anything else I have ever done and it is totally exhausting. My hours are fewer and I am not taking any call this month - but I get home completely exhausted. it is all I can do to give my daughter a bath and eat. I have so many things on my plate right now and I can barely even think about them - much less get them done. I am taking a stardized test today and hopefully with my superhuman standardized test taking speed - I will have some time this afternoon to get some stuff done around the house. I still don't have a dining room or anykind of toy storage for the playroom. I don't have anything for Zebastian's room yet. I barely have a room for zebastian because all of my daughters toys are just everywhere!
I did, however, finally make my reservations for travelling to get Zeb! yeah!!!! We are taking British Air to Bishkek on August 4th (arriving Aug 6th). We are staying in Bishkek that night - although we have not yet successfully booked a hotel for that night - the Asia Mountain Guest house is full.....sob sob. I am hoping that the Ak Keme has rooms. Early Aug 7th we drive to Almaty and start that part of the trip. I think we are going to stay at the Hotel Otrar - the other family that is travelling at the same time as us wants to stay there and I have heard at least one good review....if anyone has heard terrible things about it - let me know tout suite! We are heading home on August 10 on BA from Almaty. We have to stay that night in beautiful Newark, NJ. So another weeklong whirlwind trip half way around the world for me! I am so excited to carry my son back in the cute little hotslings I purchased like a million years ago (at least it seems that long ago!)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Yes I am still alive!!!



New pictures of Zebastian....well kind of new - they are from Cindy in May. He looks so happy - I can't wait to make him laugh too- and give him lots of hugs.
I am officially travelling with another family whose new daughter is in Zeb's baby room. I am very excited about that. I love the idea of travelling with another family. It will be fun. They will already be in Bishkek - we will get there on Monday the 6th, pick him up and leave for Almaty on the 7th. Do all of the embassy stuff and head home on the 10th. I got the on call adoption doctor number, some scripts for antibiotics (zithromax), some hydrocortisone cream, delicious scabies cream and a list of appropriate over the counter stuff to bring. I also made him his first adoption doctor appointment for the 20th of August.
There is some question if I have to get an entirely new home study for Alabama and redo my immigration clearance in the next month - that is not stressfull at all. I will find out on Monday when I talk to someone at adoption alliance who is on vacation until Monday.
My move has been very very stressfull! I have a giant list of things to do and I have been in Alabama since last wednesday and have barely marked anything off the list of things to do. I did make a significant dent in my list yesterday when I was supposed to be in orientation. I finally got the cost for visas to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan so they can be overnighted today or tomorrow. In a surprise move I don't have to expedite anything - it is very exciting. I heard from my coordinator that it is super cheap to get the kyrygzstan visa at the airport and I love the idea of super cheap.....but I just can't forget how on my first trip the visa issuer guy wasn't there and everyone without a visa was waiting to get into the country for hours. After waiting 9 months - a couple more hours would kill me!
My new job is totally stressing me out - but that is an obsessive late night anxiety post waiting to happen in the near future!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Packing for the move!

So I move to Alabama in 6 days. I have NOTHING packed. Nothing. I am postcall today so my plan is to pack ....now I am out of work for 1 1/2 hours and as you can see.....I am posting on this blog instead of packing. I am going to pack though....I am!
I can not believe how many toys my daughter has. It is completely insane. I have to pack them today. I am going to stage it. I am going to do all of the toys I haven't seen her play with in a week....otherwise known as all of the toys that are actually put away. Then I am going to separate out the toys she plays with a lot and keep them in a rubbermaid container. Then I am going to pack everything else. Undoubtedly the first thing she is going to say when she gets home from school is that she wants to play with the very first toy I packed!
I want to get everything done before Friday because my supercute and really great boyfriend is flying into town Friday night and he is going to drive with us. I don't want to waste prime saturday miniature golf and bookstore time packing - yuck! I am on call on Saturday so I have to stay in town until early Sunday morning. Probably around 6am - ish.
It is going to be a long drive with a 3 year old! I am thinking short-ish days (8-9 hours of driving) and hotels with good swimming pools for wearing her out!

I just love the pictures that Sloan sent me....Zebastian looks good in bright pink. He looks so strong holding his little torso upright. I can't wait to bring him home. My life is soooooo totally fantastic right now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Thanks Sloan!




Sloan was so nice to send me some new pictures of Zebastian! YEAH! There seems to be a lot of pink clothing at the orphanage! I think he looks really healthy. No smile for the camera - his photogenic sister will have to train him on that one! Pretty soon he will be hamming it up like the rest of us!
It may be possible that my pick up trip may coincide with other families pick up trips in August - I am hopefull to meet some other adoptive parents while I am over there!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Disturbing and Misinformed

Evidently my input to the yahoo forum is disturbing and misinformed. I was pittied several weeks ago for not knowing that my dossier was going to be rejected for having comparitively old documents "poor girl you are so misinformed". Turns out my agency was not lying to me - the time frame of documents expiring is agency specific not country specific. How am I so sure - because my adoption was finalized with my "old" documents. Now I am disturbing people because my coordinator told me on Thursday that Adoption Alliance is not experiencing a slow down until the fall like was posted on Adoption Options website.
Everybody likes the agency they are working with - they are all good agencies and people pick them for various reasons. I am not trying to diss anyone's agency choice or trying to make anyone feel bad. I am just trying to represent the process as I am experiencing it and I am just trying to keep information in the forum about the process with adoption alliance and what little I know about Nightlight (that uses the same coordinator at the specialized children's home in Bishkek).
Maybe the slow down is related to the new rule that adoption alliance enacted about being in the same state as the adoptive family that Frank did not adopt. Maybe Adoption Alliance just hasn't been informed yet that their adoptions are going to be put on hold. I don't know - I am just trying to contribute and I am tired of my experiences being marginalized and contested. So I am done posting on the yahoo forum for kyrgyzstan adoptions. I will probably keep reading it and will PM people who have questions about adoption alliance or my experiences - but I am too busy to deal with the negativity - Life is too short!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Nothing New

So it has been awhile since I posted anything. There really won't be much more adoption news...I am just waiting until this little countdown clock hits zero!
I did meet up with a fellow adoptive mom on Saturday to do some serious babies r us damage! She lives about an hour and a half south of Tucson and came into town for the afternoon. Her new daughter is in Zeb's orphanage but in the other baby room - we share the same court date for finalization! It was so much fun to have a real person to gab with about the process and the kids and all of the crazy emotions this process creates. This is written by someone who started crying over hamburgers while talking about one of the kids at the babyhouse! I would be totally lost without the awesome online community for kyrgyzstan adoptions (read kyrgyzstanadoption yahoo forum!), but it was soooooo wonderful to make a real live connection. I hope that down the road I can make more real life connections with Zeb in tow....I am coming for you Tina! haha. Shannon - you can run but you can't hide!

This month I am working at a private hospital in Tucson and it has been pretty nice. The hours are much better so far this month and I am hoping those hours continue! My daughter comes back from New Orleans today so I can give her lots of hugs and maybe get some sleep - finally!
I am hoping she gets here in time to go to the miniature golf place. Their flight was delayed so I am not 100% sure when they will get in.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

August 6th


So it is official in a confirm-when-we-are-closer-to-the-date kind of way...I am 67 days away from picking up Zebastian. Monday, August 6th! It seems sooooo far away! I am certainly jealous of my friends who went to court on the same day as me and get to travel 30 days sooner - but at least I am going to get the opportunity to actually travel and pick him up. I can actually travel because my agency is pulling some strings to get Zebs visa before I get there. I will be able to pick him up on Monday and head out to Almaty that very same day. If I couldn't fit the entire trip into one week, I was going to have to get an escort. Which is a great option for some people - but I really wanted to be there for when he left the orphanage and I really wanted to travel with him. I never though I would say that about a 30+hour trip with an 7 month old ...but it is true. I am going to have to start a countdown on my blog somewhere.
Tomorrow, I start my super cush-y private hospital rotation to finish up my year of surgery. It is hard to believe that I have almost made it through this year of surgery. I will officially have been a doctor for an entire year in 6 days. I remember how completely scared I was my first day of work last year. My first day of being a doctor, on Trauma surgery - writing my first script ever...lets hear it for 2-4mg of Morphine IV q 2hr prn pain! I have had a crazy year!

older woman

I nearly had a heart attack today. I was watching something random on tv at work and they were talking about "cougars" which is a euphemism for may - december romances where the woman is december and the man is may. The narrator said...."Older women, over the age of 35, and younger men". OMG...when did I become an older woman. Hyperventilating....or maybe it is just some dyspnea on exertion, CHF, etc. It is one thing if they said it like a comparison...the woman is older than the man....but they didn't - it was said like older as in not young and fresh as a daisy. I'm not ready!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Not Much Happening!

Still Waiting for my daughter to come back from her Dad's house. I know she is having a great time and I am really glad she is able to spend a couple of weeks at a time there - but boy do I miss her. I bet she has grown a lot in the last 3 weeks! She comes home in less than a week - hurray! I am so excited for her to come home - hope she remembers me! Haha.

I am on call tonight at the VA and then on the first I start a super cushy rotation at a private hospital in Tucson. I have 6 calls next month - unfortunately I am on at least one day of every weekend this month so I don't get a weekend off all month! The good thing is that it is home call which means I don't have to be physically present at the hospital for the entire 24 hours - i have to round and I have to come in if there is a consult or an emergency of some sort. I have heard from other people that it is a pretty nice month. Plus, my last day is a post call Sunday.
I actually did this particular surgery rotation as a medical student and it was pretty nice. I had a great intern though...he was a super cute, laid back, blond, outdoorsy guy from McGill who was going into Radiology. Can't remember his name - but he was a total babe. So needless to say, I am hoping to spend lots of time with my daughter this month. We have to start packing - we already have a full house of toys in Alabama and at least another full house of toys here...It is going to be a real challenge to try to whittle my daughter's stuff down to a manageable amount!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

I couldn't resist more pictures



I love the second picture because of his expression. I think his feet end about 5 inches before the little footies! I can't believe I am so close to being finished with this entire process. Yeah!

FINALIZED



I just talked to my coordinator and my adoption was finalized in Bishkek last night around 8pm! Hurray! I added a new link over on my faves page to some of the other pictures I took in Bishkek. My agency sent me travel dates for July 16 - July 20th.....but my new job starts July first and noone is allowed to take vacation in July! So it looks like I will have to wait until August. I am going to call UAB and see if they might make an exception for me....but I don't like trying to get exceptions for things - it is not in my nature!
YEAH! I am soooooo close now!

Hugs for Zebastian

Just got back from Cindy's blog....what a great, great, great (did I say great?) couple of entries from her trip to Bishkek to get her son. In addition to the invaluable insight into the experience of adopting an older child, she gave my little Z a great big hug! I just can't wait for her next entry! Of course, I will have to since it is like 1am there!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Waiting again.

I am so glad to see that Tina is safe with a little girl in her arms! She is going to owe us all some pictures and stories when she has time in the next couple of months!
I heard from the family that is adopting the little girl I wrote about in previous posts. I am so happy that she is going to have a family. I guess I am off the hook for winning the lottery. I did buy a lottery ticket today - but I am on call and can't check the numbers until I get home....maybe I am a millionaire right now .....if so ZUTANO'S for everyone!
Today is Thursday - and the way I undersand it....adoption petitions get issued on Thursdays. So I am crossing my fingers that today is my day. Once I hear the adoption is official - I will be able to breathe at least a half of a sigh of relief.

I have planned out my big move to alabama - which will get me to Birmingham around the 26th of June and give me a couple of days to try to get settled before I have to start work. I spent a lot of time working on a decorating plan for my new house and researching shrubbery that will grow in zone 7. My front and back yard are huge with no landscaping at all or a fence or anything. I am way over my head in terms of lawncare! I am trying to plan some kind of fence/hedge thing. So instead of studying for my new job - I am writing down how to plan my hedge. I am sooooo easily distracted.
If my adoption becomes final today - I am posting my favorite Zebastian picture!

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power