Saturday, November 29, 2008
As you can imagine, I was very interested in it....as we are adopting an older child. Also, they looked at the Ranch for Kids in Montana and I read about that Ranch years ago and was very interested in all of the details. It seems like such a great resource.
So what did I think about the show?
The biggest thing that sticks out in my mind I noticed in just the preview. The oldest daughter is wandering around the house having a total anxiety attack and all the parents do is film it and pull her out from under the bed. I have not ever been in that situation...however, if we come home with Aaron and he has an anxiety attack like that the first thing I am doing is finding someone who speaks Russian and letting him stay under the bed and I will sit with him. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must be to all of a sudden have this ginormous house with so much stuff....wow talk about sensory overload...I would probably go hide under the bed too.
I am not passing judgement on the family in the story - they said it themselves...they were ill equipped to deal with what happened when they got home.
I guess you can never totally be equipped or know 100% what to expect - but I think all agencies do their best to make you aware that your new child may have undiagnosed issues...mentally, physically, emotionally. The family in the program has filed a lawsuit against their placing agency...I am guessing they are arguing that the agency was fully aware of their children's diagnoses and hid these from them at the time of referral. There is really no other justification for a law suit.
That reason is the number one reason you have to do really, really good research when you are looking for an agency. I 100% trust my in country facilitator.....I mean it 100%. When Keith and I were deciding on our adoption the biggest factor in deciding to go back to Kyrgyzstan for an older child was the fact that we trust our facilitator so much and know she is a truly good person who cares about the kids and who cares about the success of the families she places these kids in.
I received an email from someone who is a first timer with adoption alliance several months ago basically asking me about the character of our in country facilitator and I really can't rave enough about how honest, caring and dedicated she is.
I am digressing...I know....but when you adopt internationally...especially an older child....you need to 100% trust your agency and your facilitator. Even then, there will be times when your child has undiagnosed issues...and that is parenting.
I must say that I was as impressed with what little I saw of the Ranch for Kids as I thought I would be. I totally agree with a lot of what the owner (I forgot her name already!) said. She wants a place where it is easy for the kids to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing. She is also very straight forward and doesn't candy coat things when she is talking to the kids...I liked that. She also warned about spoiling kids. I honestly believe that will be the hardest thing for us when we finally get to bring home Aaron. We have a lot of stuff...we have way too much stuff and when Aaron comes home I am worried he will be completely overwhelmed. Keith and I have talked about this already and whether or not we should put up a lot of the kids' stuff before we bring him home. It is hard to say what preparations we need to make because every kid really is different. That is really the beauty of having so many kids...everyone is sooo different and has such a different set of joys and difficulties.
Overall, I didn't think the program was too terrible. I think the quoted amount of disruptions on the show of 15-25% may be a little high...but I have no concrete data to look at. I did hear from an agency I talked to when I was researching Liberia that adoptions from Africa have a ridiculously high disruption rate that is closer to the 25%. I am not really active in that international adoption community so I can't say if it is believable...but then again 20/20 also said they don't have any concrete data either...it was just a guess that someone gave them...so let's not dwell on this unsubstantiated number.
I'm not scared 20/20...I still can't wait to bring Aaron home...
Friday, November 28, 2008
So for Thanksgiving we went to Crackerbarrell instead of cooking and we had a $25 gift certificate...hurray! It was really good, we had Turkey, ham, and every form of potato on the menu. The ham was excellent and everything else was good as usual. Lilianna is at her dad's house so it was just me and the boys. Zeb did really good...it was a long wait and he did great. I know I shouldn't compare kids....but I couldn't take lilianna out to a restaraunt until she was almost 4 because she was just an impatient little lady who was not interested in eating at all. Zeb is just super mellow and happy to eat. It was a nice dinner. Right before they brought out our food...a woman came up to us and started telling us that her daughter lives in california and had adopted a little boy from Korea and his name was Zeke and then she started giving Zeb kisses on the forehead and saying little baby compliment type things and calling him Zeke... then she left...it was really weird. I thought maybe Keith knew her or something...but um...now he didn't. It was a little weird.
Today is Zeb's birthday, but we are celebrating tomorrow..I am making a cake tonight. My one expression of domesticity has become baking cakes and decorating them for birthdays. I like to bake....maybe because I like to eat desserts. I will be sure to post pictures of the impending second birthday of Z. Unfortunately, Lilianna is at her dad's this weekend, but I have promised to save her some cake.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
I mentioned that we had pictures on Sunday. The photographer goes to our church and we see her occasionally at church. There are other people we see at church much more regularly....for instance Lilianna's teacher at Sunday school. We see her almost every week. What do these people have in common you might ask. Both of them thought that we had adopted Benjamin.
One of the reasons we had decided to adopt from kyrgyzstan again is because we thought it would be nice to have another child who could share some of the same experiences of Z...a brother or sister who looked like him and came from his country....whether that is right or wrong...I really don't know. Anyway, then we were referred Aaron who is ethnically Russian. In my mind, when we accepted Aaron's referral, I made the assumption that because he is white like us, his adoption would be less apparent than Zeb's. Obviously, when people see my family out, it is clear to see that Zeb looks different and the obvious conclusion is that he is adopted. What I didn't realize is that really....when people see my family out....the conclusion that they make is that all of my children are adopted. I don't mind this in any way nor am I complaining....but it just recently dawned on me. I can't tell you how many times I have been asked what part of Russia Lilianna is from. Benjamin, however, is assumed to be a newborn domestice adoptee because he is so young and the question I get is how old was he when we got him. The irony for me with Benjamin is that I was clearly pregnant and I know these people saw me pregnant...all summer long in my Gap maternity tank tops. I suppose if I had lost more babyweight in the last 5 months it would help delineate the pregnant/not pregnant versions of me but what's a girl to do - especially with so much Halloween candy around!?
I am digressing...but my point is that transracial adoption has had some interesting implications that I totally did not expect.....oh yeah and that I was not just fat for the last year...I was pregnant.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I super bundled up Benjamin in a hat and a romper so the Kyrgyz MOE would know that I believe in bundling my kids up right! It was like 60 degrees here. I probably should have put a hat on Zeb now that I am thinking about it! Z also has a huge bruise on his forehead where he bonked his head. The photography said she could totally photoshop that bruise out....hurray! Maybe she could photoshop in a hat, scarf and gloves.
Everyone was really, really good for pictures. Zeb totally hammed it up, Benjamin even started smiling at the end and we got some more good shots of him in his bumpo seat. Lilianna was the star though...once she got in her dress. She was totally not feeling the model vibe in her dress down outfit. I can't wait to get them back. This photographer posts the pictures to a website and we log in and order...I can't wait. Last years pictures were totally awesome. We are hoping to make a Christmas card out of one of these pictures.
We did thoroughly clean our house in case we needed to take pictures inside...so I am going to walk around and take pictures for the rest of our dossier. I can't do Aaron's room yet because there are still no mattresses on the bunk bed. But we are working on it. We totally need to get Zeb into the real bed...at any moment he is going to figure out how to get out of the crib. I think he will be fine in the bed. Probably we will have to put a safety gate in front of his door to keep him from wondering out...but we can do that.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
The Bumpo seat. He loves this thing. I think he feels like a big boy looking around. Another added bonus is I think it wears him out more to be sitting upright and working those neck and core muscles a little. He seems to sleep better when he has spent some time upright. He is not so in love with tummy time. I know we need to do more of it...but he no likes. It is hard to appreciate his pale blue eyes in this picture. Lilianna had deep, dark blue eyes when she was younger and now they are slowly turning green - like my eyes. I think that Benjamin is going to remain a blue eyed heartbreaker like his dad. He is a lot more fun now that he smiles and laughs and has a little tickle spot on his chest. You can see his little apnea monitor leads...I am hoping that the next time we visit the pediatrician we can stop his caffeine and then start getting close to losing this annoying monitor.
We started at the new babysitter on Monday, who I think is going to work out sooooo good. I have been so busy that I haven't had a good chance to talk with her about the kids...but she did leave me a message that everything was going well and everyone appears to have settled in. She told Keith yesterday that she is completely amazed with how smart Zeb is. She has been in childcare a long time and she is totally impressed with his problem solving skills and she feels like he plays with the toys in a much more advanced way than a 2 year old normally does....so now I can officially say it...Zeb is a genius. It is confirmed. Haha. Lilianna is a gorgeous model with unique insight into human behavior, Zeb is a genius and Benjamin is going to have to be the blond one...oh wait that is Charlie's Angels.
I was thinking about that today though (while in the shower marvelling at how clean the shower was.....actually the only clean section of our house right now!)....Having a large family is fun because I get to see these kids developing into special and very different little people. I think with just one child or even with 2 kids you don't get to see the magnificent diversity of childhood. I am not sure if what I am going to say next is politically correct...but whatever. With our biologic kids I purposefully look for certain things to be developing...Like with Lilianna. One of my greatest joys in life is dancing. I don't dance anymore...but I derive a great feeling of freedom and joy with movement and intention in my movement if that makes sense. Lilianna has started dance class and I look for that in her and have this expectation that she will enjoy moving and dancing as much as I did. Her dad is a musician so I look for her and expect her to have an appreciation of music. I will say that she has definitely prospered into a little singer...she love to sing. I recognize that is totally her thing..but I watched her in her dance class on Tuesday and she is pretty good.
Zeb is completely and 100% devoid of these expectations that have developed for Lilianna. So every little thing with him is a huge surprise and I encourage whatever it is he is doing. That being said...this little guy is a dancing machine. Seriously, he will bust a tricky move to anything that even remotely has a beat. He is definitely my little dancer and he loves to move to music. I wish I could remove those little expectations I have for my bio kids, but they are there.
Keith has recently been talking about O is lanky and uncoordinated just like he was when he was a kid. I definitely see similarities between O and his dad, but is it a dangerous trap to fall into projecting our experiences, short-c0mings, and successess on our kids just because they have our eyes or our uncoordination? We are and will be 100% supportive of whatever our kids want to do or try...dance class, basketball, singing class whatever. There are these little unavoidable expectations we have though and it is hard to try to ignore them.
I am rambling on and the more words I use the more diluted my thoughts are becoming...I know. The gyst of my musings today is that when Lilianna sings and dances...I smile, enjoy and encourage her. When she throws a temper tantrum and slams her door....well lets face it....that was me when I was 5yrs old until.... ummmm yesterday. When Zeb sings and dances it is an unexpected, unanticipated, and wonderful surprise. Everything he does and all that he is becoming is all Zeb with no baggage of this was mom when she was 5. I fully anticipate him to throw temper tantrums and slam doors too...but when he does I know I will find more joy in it with him than I do with Lilianna because it is not anticipated.
I have never suffered from infertility, I know many people in the adoption community come to adoption through stuggles with fertility. I understand that many people who travel that path feel like they may be missing something by not having biologic kids that they will be able to see their own eyes, or lankiness, or love for music in. I find so much joy in the surprises of Zeb's development. I am writing this part with tears in my eyes because every day he surprises me with some little quirk that is so wonderfully Zeb. Adoption is such a super-wonderful way to grow a family and has added so much joy to my life.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
6 things that make me happy! I don't know if I can limit it to 6 things!
1. My husband. There is a short story I read in school a long time ago about a guy who paid 8 cows (I think it was 8) for his wife. Everyone in her village thought he was crazy to pay so much for her....To him, she was worth 8 cows for several great reasons. Of course, woman purchasing themes aside....I feel like an 8 cow wife. I never in a million years would expect any person in the world to do all that he does for me...I am constantly surprised at how caring, amazing he is to me. I can not imagine my life without him. I know I am always mushy about Keith...but he is really, really, really great. He is the kind of husband every parent wants for their daughter...that is for sure.
2. My kids....they are probably tied with number 1...although it is close. Lilianna is a bundle of joy and energy and drama. She is a little firecracker that has so much love in her little heart to share with the world it is amazing to watch her interact with her brothers. Zeb wears his little heart on his sleeve and just wants to make everyone around him happy...even when he is sooo tired he can barely walk. It is so fun to watch him pat Benjamin on the head and say what loosely translates to "brother"...I think, at least. Benjamin gets sooo happy to sit up straight - his smile is from ear to ear when we set him up in his bumpo seat...I can't wait to get to know him better. O is his father's son for sure....he is so unassuming yet so smart at the same time - if Bill Cosby did that crazy...Kid's say the darndest things show ...O would be a star. I am super lucky.
3. My commute....I know that sounds crazy....and when I was facing the impending 40 minute commute I thought I would hate it. I was totally dreading it and complaining about it for weeks. Now I totally love it. There is one part of the drive when I am about 6 miles from my exit and you are at the top of a rolling hill and there is a slight curve to the left in the road and you have a spectatular view of rolling hills and trees and right now all of the trees are beautiful reds and yellows. Almost daily, when I get to that part of my drive I think to myself how much I love where I live. Now if like Rick Springfield is playing on the radio....I am totally in happy.
4. My job.....yeah...I like to complain and I do have a lot to complain about. There are a lot of things I don't like about my job....mostly it is the politics and some of the attitudes of my attendings. I love what I do. I think my job would make me even happier is I only worked like 32-40 hours a week....I mean really...there is only so much happiness one person can take!
5. Coffee....specifically a grande 2 pump mocha with whip cream. OOOH and coupled with piece of Lemon pound cake at Starbucks. Maybe on a crisp autumn day with a magazine.
6. Rainy, dreary days. I love them. I love the feel of humidity on my hair and face and I love splashing through puddles. Something about dreariness and rain makes me feel warm inside. You know....coffee goes really good with rainy days too!
I can't really tag 6 people, becuase I don't think I know 6 people who haven't been tagged yet...I will investigate this further and find some people. It is fun to take the time to think about all of the things in your life that make you happy!
Monday, November 17, 2008
Saturday, November 15, 2008
As far as terrible twos goes...he really doesn't hold a candle to Lilianna. Z still does what we tell him to do for the most part...he just gets really uncontrollably upset when he doesn't get his way...not in a pouty, I want my own way kind of way....but in a my heart is broken kind of way. My house is full of little drama queens - seriously, my house is totally full of drama queens....I don't mean just the kids!
I was putting Z to bed tonight - the routine is that Z says goodnight to everyone and everyone gets a head bonk or a kiss goodnight then I take him in his bedroom and play the little rainforest music box thing and hold him and his pink star blanket and rock him back and forth until he is ready for bed and he reaches for his crib. While he has never fought attention, it took him almost a year to totally dissolve into my arms to be rocked at bedtime. As I was holding him tonight, rocking him, I was wondering how long it would take Aaron to cuddle with me or if he ever would. Lilianna is still a total cuddle monster and Aaron is only one month older than her. In our brief medical, we were told "He loves caress, attention; the boy is kind, sympathetic. He communicates well with children and adults". It really is a small thing to hold onto isn't it? Somehow, I am really holding onto it though....I am naively hoping that he will be a cuddler and want to melt into our arms.
Trust me, I know that that will probably not be the case and I am the kind of girl that expects and prepares for the worst case scenario...but as I was rocking Zeb to sleep tonight, I allowed myself the luxury of imagining Aaron falling asleep in my arms on the trip home from Kyrgyzstan.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I am very excited about going, but I am very guilty and wistfull about how much money we will be spending and the fact that Aaron is sitting in Belovodsk. Seriously, what kind of blankets, fresh veggies and clothing would 9 days at Disneyworld buy for the kids at Belovodsk. Of course, I know that there is nothing I can do about Aaron coming home quicker and certainly not going to Disneyworld is not going to move things along any quicker...but I am a finely tuned sense of maternal guilt for all of my kids. In fact, I even asked our coordinator if we could send items or money to help keep the kids in Belovodsk warmer this winter and she said she would ask and get back to us....but hasn't. So I can't even justify feeling guilty about that.
When Ryan told me she was getting married at Disneyworld - I immediately thought that there is no way we can afford to go. Then I remembered something my dad told me not too long ago. He told me that his biggest regret was not taking more family vacations when we were smaller. I remember when I was in 3rd or 4th grade we sat around the dining table planning a family vacation to Disneyworld...I remember we were going to stay at the Polynesian village...at least that is where I wanted to stay. Unfortunately we never made it. So even though we don't have a lot of extra money....(oh that is rich...extra money...hahaha I have never had extra money!) we are going to Disneyworld.
I have started begging people for their homecall shifts to try to make extra money. We are getting one of the dining options...so for 9 days for 4 kids 2 adults...I need to work about 55 hours of overtime. That isn't including spending money...just the hotel and the included dining. I think that is totally doable before January. I do, by the way, feel very lucky to have the option of homecall to make overtime money. There are very few residency programs where you get paid to work overtime - I am very, very lucky.
Friday, November 7, 2008
I came home from a late night run to the grocery store to my husband wearing my pink sling with benjamin , his apnea monitor and his cell phone putting the clean dishes away.....I made a b-line for the camera....it was pertty funny. That is a dedicated dad.
We took Z to get his surgery today...we opted for just the ear tubes and adenoids and nixed the circumsicion....no pun intended. It just seemed like the universe was conspiring against us having the circumsicion done...first I was on call that day, then the nurse thought we had called to cancel it but hadn't, then I wasn't on call, then I was on call...so we just quit fighting and skipped the circumsicion.
Z is super sleepy but doing well and snoozing the afternoon away. We are still not done with the enormous amount of paperwork for our stupid homestudy...the dossier to kyrgyzstan is like nothing in comparison. It is starting to piss me off at the state of alabama even more.
I am not getting too pissed off because I know there is nothing moving in Kyrgyzstan so I don't feel the anger and frustration I would feel if Aaron could come home right now pending this stupid homestudy. So left on my list of homestudy crap is:
1. a guardianship form...someone our age has to sign a letter saying they would be the guardian is we both died and how much money they make...which has to be notarized.
2. I have to finish 10 hours of hague.org training and then wait 2-4 weeks for a stupid certificate
3. the financial form and the front page of our last 3 years of 1040's which is no big deal for me to get together...but I have sneaking suspicion that Keith doesn't actually have copies of these...I could be wrong...either way this won't take too long we just haven't done it yet.
4. the thing that is pissing me off the most is that 2 of our letters of reference are not in yet. Now if you are not going to have time to answer some questions and get it notarized (yes that part is totally annoying), don't agree to do it. While I know that Kyrgyzstan is not processing adoptions...our letter writers don't and for all they know their decision to lollilag is keeping our son in an orphanage...that is just rude.
We did get everyone to all of the doctors they needed to get to and our dossier medical form is just waiting to be notarized...which we will do closer to dossier submission time.
Benjamin is calling....