Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It is as official as it gets


We are officially not in process in Kyrgyzstan...so In October, the Kyrgyzstan Parliament is going to discuss reopening with new rules..if they reopen we will start again. In the meantime, I am going to find out how if there is anything I can do to help Aaron. I am thinking just sending him letters and small gifts and maybe hiring a tutor...you know how I love education!
I am not giving up on him someday coming home to us...but I am a realist and there is no way Kyrgyzstan is going to process our adoption anytime in the near future. I suppose there is a chance that if a new party comes into power in the July elections things could change...but I am not holding my breath. So I don't really look at this as a lost referral...I am not losing the dream of Aaron coming home. I think it is only going to take a while...I am hoping a year...maybe he will be home by Christmas 2010, or his 8th birthday in 2011.... I don't know. That is it really...not knowing is the killer. Is this really a 6 month shut down or is it going to be a 10 year shut down.
I guess the question becomes should we move to another country so we can use our homestudy and newly acquired I600A approval (and possibly the adoption tax credit for 2009) or just shelve it. Keith and I haven't really had a chance to discuss it because we really only found out yesterday and I was on call. My inclination is to switch countries...of course, my second choice is having slow down problems of its own right now from what I can see.
Although, I was a little bit upset yesterday....I have been kind of expecting this news. Keith was holding out hope that because some of our paperwork was in Kyrgyzstan that we were going to be part of the in process crowd...but we are not. Our in country facilitator is great and I know that she has been and will continute to do everything she can ..but there is only so much one woman can do!
So I am not too upset today...I have a very busy week and we will just look around at our options...I contacted a couple of agencies with fairly reputable special needs programs, but I am still thinking about a certain country and we just have to think about what we want to do. I have today off to do like a million and 3 things so I am going to pump myself full of caffeine and get kicking!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A roller coaster morning

So I packed the boys up to head to walmart to grab some junk food...yummm. I picked up the mail on the way out to the van and there was a letter form USCIS....YEAH!!!! then I opened it and it is an approval for 1600A...but it is on form I 797 which is a work visa form and it misspelled my last name.

ACK...I don't even know what to do and it is Saturday so noone is in any office anywhere.

And...by the way....Parliament discussed international adoption yesterday in Kyrgyzstan and my 1600 might not even matter because if our case isn't officially already logged in we have to wait until sometime after October when they decide if they are going to ratify the Hague at which time I will need to file a stupid 1800A instead of the I 600A that I may or may not have approval for right now...and who do I have to obsess about this with...you guessed it...2 boys under the age of 3...and I am pretty sure the only thing Z cares about is more sunny D.

Last weekend











Someone loves the jumparoo so much they would rather fall asleep in it than be taken out of it! We went to a crawfish boil at homestead hollow...which is a large plot of land that has old west-like buildings and a stage. they have a lot of craft festival things there. It was the first time I had been there and let me tell you the crawfish sucked...it was like someone put some salt in the boil and said...now it is seasoned...ug.
They had a horse cart that we rode on...Lilianna rode in the front with the crusty old cowboy dude that ended up scaring the crap out of her and she cried for like 10 minutes.
As you can see the back pack lives. Zeb was a little confused that he didn't get to ride in it..but he and Benjamin are well on their way to being a dynamic duo. The other day Zeb was in his little booster chair at the table and Benjamin was in the jumparoo in the kitchen and they were having a very important and completely unintelligible discussion. I really love that they are together at the babysitter's house all day instead of being in different rooms like they would be at a daycare center. When they finally start school (in 2012 and 2013) they will only be one year apart.
Lilianna's dad came to pick her up for the weekend and Keith is out camping with O this weekend so it is me and th boys for 2 days...I may start understanding their unintelligible conversation by the end of the weekend. In about 20 minutes we are making a junk food run because that is what I do with I am home alone with babies!
I am also buying the Caprica 2 hour pilot that went on sale last week and I am watching it without Keith becuase he totally watched the Battlestar Galactica series finale...like the very last one without me. When we are 80 years old and can't remember what we were talking about...I will be bringing that up.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

home with the kids


I am post call today and our babysitter is out of town...so I am watching the boys today. For some reason, a home with the babies on a weekday is different than the weekend. Spending all day with babies reminds me why it is really hard to lose weight when you have children under the age of 4. If I were a stay at home mom...I would weigh 400 pounds.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

they grow up so fast


Tonight, I put Benjamin down in his little pack n play bassinet and he whined and rolled around and I went into my bedroom. I came out and he had his little hands on the side with his big melon peering out over the top. As soon as he saw me he gave me such a proud grin! His head totally cleared the side....so the time has come for us to take off the super cute little bassinet part of the pack and play.
For some reason that has made me really sad. No more babies...no more cute little pack and play bassinet. I had such a cute little polka dot sheet for it too...it just doesn't look the same on the bottom.
They grow up soooo fast. This last year has gone by at like record speed. I think tonight might be another cookie dough in the bathtub kind of night. I hope I get over this cold soon...it has made me way too sappy!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Hope





I know I was depressed yesterday...and I maybe a little depressed today...although i think I am snapping out of it. All in all I am super lucky and I have so much to look forward to...my present is pretty great too. I started thinking about what in my life makes it so great.

I think it is that I have so many plans and things to look forward to. One of our favorite things to do is talk about the future and things we are going to do.....whether it is building our super house/compound or the trips we are going to take. Our lives right now are like the lives of children...we feel like we have so many options and opportunities. I haven't always felt this way...there have been times in my life when I felt totally helpless and powerless and futureless. Now that was not fun at all.

So sometimes when i get a little depressed about whatever...I remind myself that I have hope. Seriously. I sometimes get upset and a little wrapped up in the world of being stuck in the adoption process with no idea of when/if it is going to reopen.....I need to remind myself that I still have hope. The door is not closed and locked. Keith is a lot more levelheaded about the whole thing...I think part of the reason is he has no idea what is going on or not going on as the case may be. I know he thinks about it...but he doesn't dwell on it or read 50 emails a day from the Kyrgyzstan adoption forums (even thought I really like reading them!). The forums just aren't as fun when noone is bringing anyone home or getting new referrals or shopping and sharing cute pictures of clothes.

I can't wait until things get moving again so I can read some happy, hopefull blog posts. Hey everyone get off of facebook and update your blogs!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I am depressed today

Today is Kindergarten registration day...I was kind of hoping to be able to register Aaron. I was kind of hoping to at least know that he was going to be here for the school year. Right now I am feeling not so confident that he will make it here during the next school year at all.

I read that Paliament in KG had international adoption on their docket for April 24 - so I had been feeling very positive. I guess I just don't know where we stand - I don't know if we are a pipeline family or not. Most of our dossier is not in KG, but some of the documents are there and I don't know if we are going to be waiting for years or not.

Honestly, if we didn't have a referral and if we weren't completely committed to getting Aaron home, we would switch countries. I guess we don't have a whole lot of options of countries anyway since Keith and I have been married less than 2 years and the newest addition to our family was less than a year ago. I know lots of people are working on concurrent domestic adoptions...but I just don't think that domestic adoption is for us. We are definitely called to international adoption.

We are waiting for Aaron, no matter how long it takes. I just don't know if there is another child somewhere we are supposed to bring home before we bring home Aaron. Maybe I just have a caffeine deficiency and everything will look better if I go get a delicious 2 pump mocha.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Oops



Right after we finished hiding the easter eggs I heard something in the bathroom and looked in to see Lilianna throwing up. She told me she was sick all night and was afraid to leave her bedroom because she thought if she did the Easter bunny wouldn't come. She threw up in her bed and just lay in her bed all night because she we had talked about her staying in her bed no matter what.


How many parents out there knew something like that was going to happen....bad mommy. i totally knew I needed to ammend that discussion...but she was already asleep when I went in to do it. I figured...she's asleep...what could happen. UG! After she threw up the second time we quick did Easter before she started feeling sick again.

I think she is starting to feel better though. I hope so because it is going to stink to call around to find an open pharmacy on Easter Sunday to call some Zofran in to! We also spent lots of time picking out an Easter dress, hat, purse and little sandals for her to wear to church today. i think she will be very sad to miss it!
We went to an easter party at our church yesterday - it was a little cold, but totally doable. The kids did easter egg hunts - they were divided by ages so we did Zeb's first, then Lilianna's then Owens so everyone could cheer each other on...that was a really nice way to do it. They also had an inflatable ginormous slide and an inflatable maze. lilianna spent an inordinate amount of time in the inflatable maze. We should have brought our camera to take some pictures ...but we are not the best picture takers...you might have guessed that! our church is really great for having things for kids.
I wore my pink "paper pregnant: adoption in progress" tshirt and a couple of people asked me about it. One woman asked me about it right after Zeb's egg hunt while we were walking back to the rest of the family. She said "can you get' em young there?"...for some reason that question made me a tad uncomfortable. I know she didn't mean to turn international adoption into shopping...but it kind of felt that way...yeah sure they have smalls, mediums, larges..they come in asian and white. I thinnk we all know that is not what I answered! I mentioned that in the past infant referrals were very common, but that they were undergoing some restructuring and I didn't know what the future would be for Kyrgyzstan adoption.

Easter Day







The kids didn't get too much...mostly they got lots of candy that I am not going to let them eat ( more for me....mwah ha ha ha ha). Everyone is watching Pinocchio right now. One of the cheap easter bunny presents is already broken and in the trash can. That yellow balloon thing under Zeb's arm is actually a bunny shaped punching balloon thing....evidently you aren't supposed to punch it too hard - oops.
You may notice that there is not an easter picture of Lilianna...that gets its own post.

preparing for Easter







So, these are some of the pictures of easter preparation. this is the first year we actually dyed eggs. I think 5 yo is still a little bit too young for the insanity of egg dying...so only lilianna got to do it this year - in 3 years Zeb and Ben can do it. It was very nervewracking watching keith balance the eggs above the dye cups. It may have shaved several years off of my life!
The bunny hutch is a favorite. We did the Gingerbread house for Christmas and it is amazing how entertaining putting jawbreakers into frosting can be. You may or may not be able to tell which cupcakes I frosted and Lilianna frosted. Walmart has taken out their fabric section and put in a big new cake decorating section and I am soooo excited about it. They are carrying the crazy 3D princess castle cake set. While we were making the cupcakes - Lilianna decided she wanted to be a chef when she grew up. She said we could be chefs together and have a hotdog, lemonade and sweets stand. She wants to sell all of the sweets...you know cakes, cookies, cupcakes, brownies. She wants to bake a cake and put it right by the door that says "Hello Customers" in Green frosting.
Late last night we put everyone to bed...the boys fought it hard with crying that went on for a while and Lilianna went to bed really well. I told her as I tucked her in that she couldn't get out of bed because the Easter Bunny might not come if she got out of bed. She said...ok mommy I won't get out of bed no matter what. About 20 minutes later, I thought i should go tell her it was OK to go to the bathroom if she needed to. i had visions of her peeing in her pants because she didn't want to leave her bedroom. When I walked in to tell her it would be OK to go to the bathroom she was already asleep....yeah....who else is reading this with a sense of foreboding!

Friday, April 10, 2009

From HIV to Home



http://www.fromhivtohome.org/

For a mere $50 donation you can get this super cool necklace. I am hoping to get one for mother's day.....hint...hint.

we recently signed up with from hiv to home to walk to raise money for

http://www.kidswalkingkidshome.org/

I am not much of a fundraiser...seriously. I am the type of person who would rather write a check than try to raise funds. I think it stems from my shyness or my flawed over-independent streak (you know I don't need you I don't need anybody - type thing..insert slamming bedroom door here!). However, my family has signed up to participate in the walking kids home fundraiser because I really, really, really want to raise awareness not just money. Having HIV is NOT a death sentence, having an HIV positive child in your home does not pose a risk to your family as long as you act rationally.

We are not currently adopting an HIV positive child, I would not rule it out for the future. Even as a physician I had not seriously considered an HIV positive child before and I really was not familiar with the reality of raising an HIV positive child until I started researching it thanks to an internet acquaintance who is in the process of adopting an HIV positive kiddo. Through her blog and her experiences, it is something I would seriously consider in the future. So maybe there is someone reading this blog who thinks this necklace is cool (because it totally is) and will click on those links and learn a little bit more about HIV adoptions. Maybe if I can find someway to raise awareness around here, someone might talk to me, read the pamphlet and an HIV positive child might find a family.

I am still trying to figure out what I can do to start the conversation with people and raise awareness...I will update when I figure it out. If anyone has any suggestions I am all ears (or eyes in the comments section)

By the way, From HIV to home provides educational resources and helps raise money to help fund the adoptions of HIV positive kids. They create a community for parents who are interested in learning more about adopting HIV positive kids and they provide a community that helps you through the process and beyond the process.

I heard a PSA on NPR the other day..."don't almost give....give". You may have heard it before. I hadn't heard it before...but it is sooo me. I have good intentions and I certainly think big...but I haven't put nearly as much good in the world as I have intended to. I keep telling myself that as soon as my stupid residency is over and I have paid off my ridiculous bills I will be able to go big. Keith and I have even come up with this grandiose 5 year plan of getting everything in order financially so we can go on crazy mission trips. I think we can still plan big...but I need to do smaller, more doable things along the way. Yes, we do give money on a monthly basis to 3 different international children's organizations - but we can do more...I can do more.

Someone once told me I am too hard on myself and expect way too much from myself. Be that as it may....I want to somehow raise awareness on the total do-ableness of raising an HIV positive child.

Monday, April 6, 2009

64 weeks 2 days

That is how long I have until I am finally done with my residency...not that I am counting. So much has changed in my life since I started medical school in 2002. It seems like there were definite moments when I stood at a crossroads...you know ...times when I had choices to make that really, really, really changed the direction of my life. It is funny, almost all of the big choices I have made in the last 7 years were made with my family in mind...even before I had any children.

1. To actually get off my butt and go to medical school. I was working as a table games supervisor at a big casino and in the process of getting my MBA. My husband at the time was mostly gone touring with his band all of the time, and I was just working to pay off our bills and try to save enough money to buy a house. I had wanted to adopt internationally and so I started looking up stuff on the internet - I was too young for China at the time and so I started looking into Kazakhstan. This was in 2000, so things didn't take quite so long there as they do now. I called and talked to some people and thought about it and decided I really wanted to adopt...so I called Catholic Charities about a homestudy and made an appointment to start a homestudy. like the next day, I woke up ...looked around by apartment. It was a super awesome apartment for a single 20-something in New Orleans...but not a place to raise a child. I started thinking about it and realized how completely dead end my job and life were. Yeah, I was making pretty good money and had health insurance, a good matching 401K. I wanted more for myself professionally and more for my kids. So, I cancelled the homestudy visit, signed up for the MCAT and started studying like a mad woman.

2. I chose my medical school because it was very, very family friendly and in a relatively affordable city. Durel was mad because he thought I should have chosen one in LA or San Francisco so he could live in a cool place where he had some rock and roll friends...regardless of the price or our ability to afford food after we paid rent. He also went immediately into denial that Iwas going to go to medical school and that I was leaving New Orleans - he refused to ever talk to me about it at all...so even though I tried to include him in the decisions he refused to be included.

3. After medical school you have to participate in "The Match". Where you send a standardized application to all of the residency programs you are interested in and if they are interested in you, they ask you to come interview. After you interview at all of your programs you make a list, all theprograms make a list and a computer matches your list and voila...you are contractually obligated to train at a residency program. I remember agonizing over my match list....first a new orleans program was number one, then UAB, then new orleans, then UAB. UAB is by far the superior program in terms of reputation, and training. Professionally it was the better program. I had spent several months in new orleans with Lilianna after Katrina and I can tell you that Birmingham was far superior for raising a family at that point...no question. I suspected it would be the complete end of my marriage if I chose UAB....I guess I kind of knew that it was over already. Perhaps my first clue was that after he went to an interview dinner with me in Tucson...on the way home he said "you can tell all those wives are totally psyched to be married to a doctor...I don't want to be married to a doctor".

4. After I matched to UAB, I didn't match to an intern year so I had to spend one day just frantically calling all the programs with a vacancy in an intern class..looking for a job. I got a couple of offers, but chose one in Tucson becuase i knew the only people who would actually help me with my daughter were my parents. Certainly not Durel or his mother - she always had an excuse of why she couldn't help. Of course, she was not obligated to help I don't believe that anyone is entitled to anything - including myself! If I wanted to make it through my intern year, I needed help and I knew Lilianna's dad wouldn't provide it. So I decided to stay in Tucson.

5. I had May and June off between medical school and residency. I had so much free time that I spent hours reading and looking random things up on the internet. This is when I started looking up international adoption stuff again. Myplan was to start information gathering and then when we moved to Birmingham start the process to adopt. The more i looked at my life, the more I realized that I could not bring another child into the dysfunctional and miserable marriage I was in. So I did what all good wives do in this situation...i issued an ultimatum. Move to Tucsan with your family and go to marriage counselling with me or I am divorcing you.....a divorce ensued.

6. More internet research, divorce finalized on Friday, October 13. Randomly in October I saw that Commonwealth was having an informational meeting about international adoption so I totally sprang it on my mom out of the blue and she came to meeting with me. I mulled it over for a couple of days and I remember when I made the decision to start the process. I was sitting in morning rounds in the surgical icu. I was exhausted and literally sitting on a swivelly bar stool thing outside one of the ICU rooms listening to someone present some patient and I just got this giddy feeling of super excitement and thought to myself "I am totally going to do this and maybe my new child is out there right now waiting for me". Boy there were a million reasons to talk myself down, but I just felt like it was right and I needed to do it and everything would work out OK.

7. Marrying Keith....Ok...that was all for me! I feel like Keith is some prize I got for making all of the hard decisions I made. Like all of those other decisions where I prioritized things I thought best for my family...got me to the finish line of a race and Keith was there with a trophy. Those decisions were hard, I agonized a long time about each of them and even though the choices I made were not immediately the apparent good choice - they turned out to be the best choices I ever made.

Change is good, hard decisions stink - but they can improve your life. I sometimes wonder what my life would look like if I had stayed at the Casino back in 2002 instead of starting medical school. I don't know what it would look like, but I am 100% sure it wouldn't be as awesome as it is right now. At least once a day I feel soooo gratefull for my life and I don't think I ever felt that way the entire time I lived in New Orleans. Well maybe once...I was at a crawfish boil at audobon park next to the Mississippi river, it wasn't too hot yet, there was nice breeze coming off the river and two barges sliding past each other on the river. The potatos were perfectly cooked and seasoned and I had no place to go or anything hanging over my head. I was just chilling out with some good food, my best friends and beautiful weather. Seriously, just that once.

The kids were playing rockband Saturday night, O playing drums, Lilianna singing, Zeb singing into his rattle microphone that we have to keep with the all of the playstation components so he can pretend he is playing and Benjamin combat crawling all over and happily squawking while Keith and I did the dishes and laundry, respectively. Somewhere, Bon Jovi's ears were burning as all of the kids sang "Wanted Dead or Alive".

"This is it, " I said to Keith"we are living the dream".

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power