Monday, September 29, 2008

Scary alligator

Lilianna has a little green alligator stuffed animal that has a eerie green push on light for it's belly. I am going to have to take a picture and post it. Anyway, it has been out of batteries for literally a year. Keith put a new battery in it yesterday and Lilianna was so excited to sleep with it...she kept calling it her cool nightlight. So bedtime came and she got her alligator and turned it on and asked me to shut the door all the way because she had her nightlight. About 10 minutes later we hear terrified screaming coming from Lilianna's room...so I went running in...and she is lying in her bed..stiff and paralyzed in fear. I ask her what is wrong and she sobs "I'm afraid of my nightlight".
Actually, the alligator is kind of creepy and the green light it emits is really eerie. I bet the entire room bathed in that green light was super creepy. Her dad had given her the stuffed animal and she said she wanted me to send it back to him.
I promised we could go buy her a new nightlight tonight...one that isn't scary.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Growth chart

I am such a nay sayer on the whole topic of growth charts. I know there is a certain amount of information one can read into growth charts....but I am just not a believer. A.....heretofor referred to as Aaron...his soon to be new name.... is almost exactly the same size as Lilianna. He is also exactly 45 days older than Lilianna. Now, do you think it bothers me that both he and Lilianna are less than 3rd percentile on that precious growth curve? Ummm no.

In fact, Lilianna was on the growth curve and then fell of it around a year. It happens...sometimes kids are just built small. i have an inherent distrust with infusing a number with some sort of authority ....Yes, it is based in experimental data...that is true...but the human body doesn't always read the books or the data. Furthermore, even small kids need families and I believe that there is a bigger force at work when it comes to who joins my family.

Aaron is small, either he will stay small...or he will leave Lilianna in the dust after he is home for awhile. Of all the things to worry about when adopting a 5 year old...his size isn't really one of them. I suspect figuring out how to keep enough food in the house may be though!

Our child abuse back ground checks are back..only 2 more clearances until we can schedule our actual homestudy. Oh...it is painfully slow....we have lots to keep us busy though!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No real updates

So nothing much is going on around here. I am counting down the days until I am no longer a resident....I have been very miserable at work lately. It is only going to get worse before it gets better...that's for sure. If I were to win a lottery I would quit. This is the first time in my life when that is actually true. If you would have asked me that question last year or two years ago...I would have said that I would not have quit...just taken some time off for a fabulous vacation. Now I would quit and never look back! So 22 months...maybe I will put some sort of count down ticker on my blog to remind myself how much time I have left.

I talked to our coordinator, Karen, yesterday and officially accepted A's referral. We have been talking about names. I know that many, many people think a 5 year old should keep his given first name as his first name, but we are planning on giving him a new first name and keeping his current first name as his middle name. I would love to hear your opinion on the matter either for or against the renaming.

Speaking of opinions, there was a very good comment posted on my blog entry regarding Z's circ.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

individualized parenting plans....

I was thinking today how different this adoption is from Zeb's adoption. I was posting multiple messages and reading the yahoo forum religiously...and there were a lot fewer posters back then! Look back at my blog....if you care too....I was posting like every day and very consumed or at least very preoccupied by the process. I think part of the reason I was so present online for Z's adoption was because I was doing it alone and I really, really needed the comraderie and community available online...maybe I just needed to express myself and talk about the whole process to make it real and well...to enjoy it.

A's process is so much different - there is an entirely new set of frustrations and I have a really wonderfull person to share it with. When we decided to really start this process together, I had envisioned the same process as with Zeb...except when I got that phone call and emailed referral I would be able to share it with someone who was going to be feeling the same types of things as me. Then it became such an entirely different process...not just the nuts, bolts and logistics, but everything else too. The fact that we are adopting an older child with a personality and self awareness that goes with being 5yo, the fact that we got a referral before our homestudy was finished...ok before our homestudy was barely started. Maybe it is the fact that we can't go forward gung ho and just knock out all of the paperwork like I did last time. Literally, if I was in Arizona, my homestudy would be done and I would just be waiting for my child abuse clearance to mail off everything.

Yes there are differences between A's adopting and Zeb's adoption...but there are tons of differences between Lilianna's birth and Benjamin's birth. There are tons of differences between how and when I fell in love with each of my children. Just as there are differences in me based on when each child came into my life. I have pondered the differences between my kids and what my kids need endlessly. They each need different things and I give them each different things. I love them all, but I came to love them differently and for different reasons. I am maybe a little too self aware because I wonder if it is really me that needs different things and I just transfer onto them...who knows.....I think I really just need a little bit of sleep...which child is going to give me that!?

I received more info on A from a travelling parent tonight and I am more hopefull than ever that he really will make it home to be our son. I guess I don't feel like it is safe enough to start believing that he is going to join our family. I think I need to wait until after the first trip, then I will feel better introducing his picture and his presence to the rest of the kids. I am also longing to be able to tell him that he has a family that is doing what they can to bring him home. More waiting for everyone.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Lessons from work and home

In the last 2 days I have worked 18 hours of overtime...that is one third of my agency fee paid! It is exhausting and seeing some of these unscheduled OR cases...ie emergency, unexpected, trauma etc....reminds me that your life can literally change in a second and it is sooo important to enjoy every moment of your life....no matter how bad a day you may have had!

Of course that is easier said than done when one of your pipes bursts and there is literally poop running down your basement wall! At least we have indoor plumbing...right?! I think we are going to be investing in some sort of deep cleaning vaccuum cleaner in the near future. Any suggestions?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

UAB international adoption clinic


So today Keith and I went to the adopting the older child seminar at the UAB international adoption clinic. It was pretty interesting. My biggest worry is about school. That has been my biggest worry since decided to adopt an older child. I love school and I think it is really important to learn how to do well in school and I think it is really important to a child's sense of self worth to feel like they are successfull in school. So one of the things I obsess about in the whole slow motion process we are going through in Alabama is the effect it will have on A's education process.
So it was nice to hear these issues addressed. Obviously, we don't know for sure where his language skills are right now in Russian or where he is developmentally. The general rule, according to the seminar today, is that academically kids are about 2 years behind. So, we will really just have to wait and see. I was very encouraged by the traveling PAP's description of A and his ability to hold a conversation about his favorite toy and color and to point to something yellow.
The most entertaining part of the day, however, was when Keith shared with me that one of the pediatricians giving the seminar had been sent to him as a match on Eharmony before he met me! They had emailed a couple of times, but never met face to face. He was getting matched with doctors, lawyers, etc. I was getting matched with losers who live their lives for their corvette club. Well, Keith wasn't a loser - I suppose! So the entire day I wondered if she recognized him.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Yellow

I just received new pictures of A from a family in Kyrgyzstan now. Better than the pictures....I know what could be better than pictures.....she talked with him through her translator and told me about watching him play with the other kids. He likes toy cars and his favorite color is yellow. I love yellow - it is the color of happiness, sunshine...solnishka...if you will.

It was difficult to wait before. Now it is even more difficult. She said that he knew he was being observed so he was nervous. That kind of breaks my heart....how stressfull to a 5 yo to know that someone is watching you and I can only surmise that he must have known why he was being observed...was he thinking that based on how he acted he may or may not get a family. That seems like a lot of pressure. However, I know very little about his life before January so maybe there are a lot more stressfull things he has been through.

This personal information is making it very hard not to get attached although we understand that if Alabama drags it's feet - we could totally lose A's referral to another family. That also makes it a lot more difficult to be patient. It is a good thing I have a lot of faith in the process and the universe that everything will turn out right.

Tomorrow we are going to a workshop on international adoption of children 4yo and older put on by the University of Alabama International Adoption Clinic. Before yesterday we thought we were just going to a regular seminar that was required by our homestudy agency - I didn't necessarily feel like we needed an introductory lecture on IA, since we have already been through it once. Then I found out they have a 4yo and older track that discusses language, and school among other things...now I am way more excited about going.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

First day of school


I can't believe I have such a cute daughter! Ok I may be a little biased. She definitely doesn't have Mala's daughter's Top Model moves...but we are working on it - maybe a couple of episodes of the price is right might help.
She just spent the weekend in a hotel with her dad up here as he and his mom evacuated from Gustav. I think she really enjoyed seeing him. I always worry about the aftermath of his visits because he is not quite as structured with her as we are so it can be a challenge to get back into the swing of things.
We shall see what happens - her dad headed back to New Orleans today and I will be picking her up at school in an hour and a half with my fingers crossed!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Yeah, I'm selfish

I know I sounded whiny yesterday. I really am not depressed or angry...just frustrated. I know if you have been through an international adoption, or if you have had your first trip to meet your child...or even if you have been to an orphanage - you can understand the frustration.

For people who have not ever been to an orphanage and held an 18 month old who locks eyes with you in a searching way...eyes that truly are looking for someone to love them. I have never seen eyes with such quiet desperation...."are you going to love me and take care of me". I am not trying to be dramatic or poetic...I am just telling it like it is. There are wonderful kids who just long for and are searching for love that requires a family. My life was changed completely when I visited Zeb the first time and I held so many kids who thank god have families now.

So is my frustration at the long alabama process selfish...yeah. I don't want A to have that emptiness and longing that I saw in the eyes of the kids in Bishkek. Do I love my current family and enjoy every minute with them.....absolutely. There is room in my house, my heart, my family for more children. Just because I am longing to get moving on bringing my next child home and start showing him what a family means and watch L, and Z and O show him what a family means - doesn't mean I am not revelling in all of the wonders of my family in its current size.

Seeing these kids reaching out for love and attention opened my eyes to so much sadness and pain in the world that I intellectually knew was there, but didn't really internalize or feel. You can't unlearn that and I can't ignore it. I am not really in a position to make a difference through volunteerism - although I hope to be able to sometime soon! So I do what american's do best...I throw money at the problem. It doesn't take much - I am a big fan of Worldvision and Samaritan's Purse right now and being an ugly american - can't wait until I can take L on one of the Possibilities International shopping trips! Of course most international adoption agencies do non profit work in the countries they facilitate from so you can donate money through them.

I am digressing - I just wanted to address how my experiences in Bishkek were totally transformative and I think it is hard for people to understand me if they have not been emotionally awakened to the reality so many (too many) kids face. I am not trying to be dismissive of or belittling to anyone's experiences or opinions....I just want to try to explain that if you haven't seen and felt what I have it is hard for your advice to really be applicable to my life....although I know most advice is well meaning and comes from a place of love and concern.

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power