Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Help families who adopt internationally

EACH stands for Equality for Adopted Children. they are working on legislation that will make internationally adopted children US citizens when their adoptions are processed in their native country. This means that they won't have to get a passport from their birth country and then apply for immigrant status and return home (with their new parents) as immigrants. It will cut down on time, money and paperwork. mostly it will cut down on time.

Check this out and see how you can help families bring their kids home faster!

What you can do: Join EACH – Equality For Adopted Children and read the Families for Orphans Coalition press release. You can also join the Facebook group “Pass the FACE Act” and invite people to join. This can legitimately act as a signed petition as people join the group

thanks

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Baby mum-mums


Zeb went straight to food....Lilianna had biter biscuits which were soooo messy it was like graham cracker colored cement on everything. I found baby mum mums at walmart and they totally rock. They get a little umm....soggy ....but mostly Benjamin either eats it or drops it...and I admit it...I will totally eat the leftovers. They taste kind of like sticks of Kix cereal (kid tested mom approved). they are totally delicious and not very messy at all. I just ate 2 old half eaten ones out of Benjamin's car seat for a snack....yummmm. so it reminded me I was going to give a shout out to baby mum mums.
by the way....Zeb loves to say baby mum mum (who doesn't love to say baby mum mum...say it with me....baby mum mum) and love to ask for baby mum mums to give to Benjamin...it is cute.

Warning....KEITH DON'T READ THE NEXT POST UNTIL YOU TALK TO ME OR AT LEAST SIT DOWN.

the dollar and cents (sense) of it...

So, yesterday afternoon I took all of our dossier documents to the county clerk and got them certified. Today, i drove down to Montgomery to get the state certification. While I was waiting for the state certification...I took a green crayon....the only writing utensil in my purse....why I don't know.....and started adding up how much money we were going to have to send to the translator for translation and then on to the dept of state and the Kyrgyz Embassy. Before I give y'all the breakdown.....let me tell you a new story.

This morning, Karen called again and I asked her about ...yes....I asked her about concurrent adoptions. I told her about the 10 year old in Ghana that I had learned about. She told me that the in country coordinator is only about 40% sure that when our case comes up in court (when they finally DO start processing) that they will accept our paperwork. She wants to try if we are willing becuase she thinks there is a chance...but she thinks it is more likely that we will get denied. She recommended that we pursue concurrent adoptions. She said that in all likelihood Aaron won't be able to come home for greater than a year to 18 months. So she thought it would be better if we submitted our dossier and crossed our fingers and followed through with a concurrent adoption. Not really the thing you want to hear from you adoption coordinator...but at least she is honest...and she always has been that. That is what I like about Karen and adoption alliance...they truly are in this to help kids find families...even if they are not the kids in their particular program!

I haven't talked to Keith yet....cuz he was in meetings today....surprise Keith! When Keith and I talked about it last night we decided we would just do whatever we could because regrets of ommission or inaction are way bigger than regrets of action (in my humble opinion). If we spend a crap load of money on getting our dossier over there and it doesn't work out that is one thing...if we don't try...that is a completely different regret that we don't want to have.

So while sitting in the secretary of state's office waiting for my certifications...I did the math on what we will be spending to legalize our dossier.
County and state legalization.....$170
Translation .........$365 (already paid for the homestudy to be translated and forgot how much)
translator processing fee.....$85
courier fee.......$300
dept of state legalization.....$160
Kyrgyz embassy legalization......$1300

So if I remembered to put everything in there...we have to mail $1850 worth of money orders along with our dossier....I didn't even count the fed ex overnight costs...probably about $150.

OUCH! We have to do it though....we can't just say ummm no. International adoption is always a gamble...but it seems especially so right now...in fact the odds are so stacked up against us it is not even a gamble...it is almost like buying a bridge from a well-dressed city-slicker. But if our in country coordinator (whom I totally trust) says there is a 40% chance...we have to go for it.

Now that being said. The cost for an independent Ghana adoption for R is $5000. That includes everything but the immigration and visa stuff and travel. While it is still international adoption and things can happen...at least adoptions are currently being processed in Ghana! My heart totally aches for this little girl and I am so committed to finding her a family....look out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A small rant....

I just got an email from one of my coworkers that his wife was throwing a little get together for all of the wives of the incoming residents in our program....bring the kids...get to know each other yadda yadda yadda.

I know I chose to work my butt off to be in a specialty that is majority male...but sometimes it makes me feel left out. It is not like I am going fly fishing with the guys at work...and it is not like I can go to a 10am wednesday wives party.

Everywhere I go professionally I will encounter this. I knew this when I started and I still love my job....but when I am sitting in the TBICU after working 19 hours (with 16 hours to go) and I get an email about the wives get together...it just irritates me.

I actually don't know why I am complaining about this...I absolutely don't have time to do anything that isn't being with my family! It is a good thing my home life is sooooo totally fantastic...or I would be truly annoyed.

Good news?

So we found out a couple of weeks ago...maybe longer that because our dossier had not reached Kyrgyzstan before February, 2009...we were out. I was very sad at that news....that terrible feeling you get in the pit of your stomach. That ball though - eventually melts away and I had dealt with the disappointment in a pretty healthy way.

I had been perusing other adoption options for my family and yesterday I felt like I stumbled upon a really good one that I had decided I didn't want to wait on. Keith had really convinced me that we needed to wait on pursuing another adoption utnil we had some idea where we might be next year...a little uncertainty is fun...too much uncertainty is overwhelming. So I was sold and going to use all of my wifely wiles to convince him. I talked to the contact person and was really, really, really sold. I filled out paperwork, I looked up flight information...I was all in.

Not more than 5 minutes after I got off the phone with the coordinator....Karen from adoption alliance called me and let me know I had a month to get my dossier to Kyrgyzstan because we were officially on the waiting family list.

I honestly don't know how I feel about it. I am excited because I really want Aaron to come home...butI have already been through the greiving process and now I am getting excited and hopeful even though I know better. How can I really hope for him to be home by Christmas...can I really hope for this to actually end in an adoption? I don't know. Most of the day yesterday I was getting very excited about parenting someone else. Am I fickle? maybe....I like to think of it more as that I have a heart full of love for children and I can imagine myself loving so many children.

So, I do think of this as good news. I do want Aaron to come home as soon as possible. I really do want another child to come home to us too though. So I think I will just think about it a while longer and see what pops up.

In the meantime....all of our dossier documents have been scanned and sent to the translator and I will be schlepping myself down to Montgomery on Thursday to get my documents certified. Karen is supposed to email me tonight to let me know for sure that the embassy is going to certify documents. I love the whole hurry up and wait thing we have going on here.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Around our house, when Lilianna gets in trouble and I am not home....Keith tells her wait until Mom gets home - you have to tell Mom what you did. It isn't because I am the disciplinarian. Believe me, Keith has the stony discipline face of doom. It is because it breaks Lilianna's heart to disappoint me. It makes me feel like maybe we are doing something right that our children are somewhat motivated to make good choices just by virture that they don't want to disappoint us. Later, when their frontal lobes are more developed they will make choices because they understand consequences and right and wrong...but for now I am satisfied that they make choices so that they won't disappoint us.

So, what does this have to do with father's day...ok really nothing...it was just something I noticed.

I sent my dad a Worldvision gift...I love those...he gave someone a goat. Keith gave someone a Llama and 2 ducks. As I was writing the little e-card for my dad to let him know that his save the world one goat at a time daughter has cheated him out of another tie this year.....I came to the realization that some of my motivation is still to keep from disappointing my parents. Albeit...most of that kind of stuff is internalized into the what is right and wrong...so I don't worry if my mommy is going to yell at me or not. I sometimes wonder what my parents would do in a certain situation or wonder what my dad would think about me if I did one thing vs. another. Really it is a pointless discussion that goes on in my head because my parents are always proud of me and always support whatever hair-brained idea I come up with!

Growing up I always admired my parents, respected them and knew that they were good people. So, as I was growing up, if I came upon a situation that I didn't know what to do...I could think to myself....what would my dad do. My dad is an overwhelmingly compassionate man. You might not know it by looking at him or listening to him. If you watch his actions though....it is unmistakeable that he cares about other people and will take risks and put himself out there to give people a chance. That makes him vulnerable and he gets hurt at times...but growing up...I saw him always give people a chance. So when I require compassion...I think of my dad...when I find myself losing my compassion (which happens all of the time in medicine)...I remember the example of compassion I was lucky enough to live with for 17 years...give or take a couple of years in my 20's and 30's!

My dad is really great and cares deeply about things which has been hard on him...I am sure. Somehow...like a little kid...he kept his compassion and I really, really, really admire him for that. He kept his compassion even after people repeatedly broke his heart and disappointed him. Boy does he have a way of telling those stories too that can break anyone's heart!

Not everyone is lucky enough to have good fathers...or fathers at all. My father reminds me to be compassionate, he always reminds me to enjoy my family and my life. He is the voice that says to me....big picture....don't get lost in the details. I could not be me and I could not be as happy as I am right now if I didn't have him as a dad.

Dad has done a good job with me. Shout out to mom....she is pretty cool too (don't want you to feel left out!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Why am I nutty about adoption?

I was talking to someone at work who is not an adoptive parent....someone who is not even a parent at all. I was telling them about how disappointed I was in the whole Kyrgyzstan mess and that I was hoping to adopt from somewhere else in the near future....yadda yadda yadda yadda...just kind of shooting the breeze.

Then came the question that other people probably wonder but don't ask....if my goal is to have a big family...why don't we just have more biologic children?

There is a lot of rhetoric and political correctness in the adoption world....if someone says "how lucky your child is that you rescued them from an orphanage"...or the equivalent...it is "oh no...my family is blessed to have found them"...or something of that sort.

I do feel incredibly lucky and blessed to have all of my children - they are all super awesome....but you know what. If I hadn't adopted Zeb...he may be sitting hungry in a cold orphanage wearing a pink winnie the pooh dress with leggings. Read some of the blogs under the HIV + heading over on the side...if those parents hadn't taken a leap of love and faith...their children may well be dead. Yes, it is OK to say it....our children our lucky they have loving, homes. Our biologic children are lucky to have loving homes and enough food. I am lucky that I have a warm home and enough money to feed my family. We are all very lucky.

You can see the advice everywhere in the adoption community...don't adopt if you are doing it to "save" a child. Are you kidding?! Yes...it is OK to grow you family with the added benefit of saving a child who might otherwise grow up with no family or might otherwise NOT grow up at all. Our adoptive children and our biologic children are not beholden to us for raising them...it is our good fortune to be their parents....

Let's not beat around the bush.....we want to have 6 or 7 kids...for each biologic child we decide to have...that is one more orphan who won't find a home. I am trying to make a difference in the world and you CAN change the world one child at a time. If 7% of the world's christians committed to adopting an orphan...there would be no more orphans in the world.

If you have a heart for raising children it is OK to change the world through "saving" an orphan. In fact, I don't know of a better plan for changing the world. Think about what a better place the world would be if all of the kids without families suddenly had one.

I don't know if any of you have seen the Madonna documentary about orphans in Malawi...but there is one part where a child, who is orphaned by AIDS, is asked what he thinks the rest of the world could do to help his country. He says "If you want to do something to help us children in Malawi....do something to make us forget we are orphans". He could have said...do something so we are not hungry, do something so we can go to school, do something so we are not cold...instead he asked for someone to help him forget he is an orphan.

I am nutty about adoption because it is an easy, and very selfish way for me to change the world as a whole....and the whole world for one child.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Unexpected trips.

When I was in medical school, we had a speaker come that was from a parents alliance for some special need...maybe Down's Syndrome...I can't really remember.

She said that parenting a child with special needs was an unexpected journey.

Imagine you have planned a wonderfull trip to Italy. You have been reading all of the guidebooks, you have mapped out all of the places you want to visit. You have asked around and found out all of the important things to pack. You carefully packed your suitcase, bought your tickets and jumped on the airplane. When the airplane lands....you are in Paris. What the heck...you don't have the tour books, you don't have your French to English Dictionary. You have no idea where the cool shops or hotels are. France is different that Italy...but it is it's own wonderfull trip....just unexpected.

If you can, please pray for a good friend of mine who just found himself and his family on a very unexpected trip. Thank you.

Appreciating the everyday....

I am off today...I certainly appreciate everyday I am off.....seriously though. I did head into work to spend some time working on my senior project. On the way home, I was listening to one of the NPR programs and they had a writer on the program who had been stabbed while visiting the island of Crete and had been very close to death. He had written a piece on how a near death experience makes you appreciate life.

Being near to dying people also helps you to appreciate life, maybe. I have a very healthy appreciation of how short life can be. One minute you are driving down the interstate...the next minute you are being coded in an ambulance on the way to the trauma bay.

I am not sure how I have been lucky enough to really internalize the whole big picture thing...I think it has a lot to do with my dad and his very "big picture" approach to life. He said a very wise thing to me quite recently...he said that one of his only regrets is that he didn't take more family vacations when we were younger. So....I am not slow to learn from his mistakes...more family vacations for us! I know I have blogged about another one of his gems...."don't let school interfere with your education". You might think I didn't pay attention to that one since I have more degrees than the average person...but I really have taken that one to heart.

If you get wrapped up in the tiny little minutia of everyday life....you neglect to appreciate the overall awesomeness of your life. I hope that I can pass along that perspective to my kids. Lilianna might be a challenge...she gets wrapped up and excited about very small things. Zeb and Ben are both totally laid back and I think will get it pretty easily. I just want my kids to see our glass as half full (at least half-full)!

So, lately I have been forgetting the big picture a little bit while I stress out about what I am going to do next year when I finish my residency. There are a lot of little details to stress about - trust me! I am now resolved to chill out and let whatever is supposed to happen....happen. I have also been a little stressed out about Kyrgyzstan closing and Aaron not joining our family. Especially in the last week as it was his birthday. Now I am going to chill out and let whatever is supposed to happen....happen on that front too. There will definitely be more children in our future...I just have to quit pushing it right this second...that is more of an October/November topic.

I am running to the store and we are going to have one of our favorite dinners tonight...cheese and crackers (bad mommy, I know). Then take a relaxing walk around one of the outdoor malls here. I love doing that.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Putting yourself out there...

Putting yourself out there.....I use that phrase a lot. Just ask my husband I am always using that phrase. It is about making yourself available so that things can happen to you. It is about NOT staying in your comfort zone...your comfortable job...your comfortable routine.

I was moved to go back to medical school....I had a real job...it was comfortable...hey I had a great matching 401K. I was moved to start an international adoption even though it was completely insane at the time. I put myself out there and I had faith that it was the right thing to do even though it really was incredibly insane. Zeb is such a huge joy and blessing in our lives...if I had been practical...he wouldn't be here with my family. In addition to the awesomeness of being Zeb's mom...I kind of feel like finding Keith has been a reward for those choices I made....medical school and Zeb.

I am a kind of go big or go home kind of person. There are all kinds of ways you can push yourself and put yourself out there. Look at Cindy Lajoy, she has gone into lay ministry which started really with putting herself out there to be a youth leader at her church...it was something she pushed herself out of her comfort zone to do. I know we have all put ourselves out there before...Cindy just writes a really comprehensive blog! John has really put himself out there. He has felt a calling and boy has he listened to it. It can be dangerous to put yourself out there...you don't know how huge an undertaking you might be called on to do. When doors start opening and momentum picks up.....

Now that I am finishing up my residency...and I am going to have more time (hopefully), I want to work on putting myself out there more. I want to know how y'all put yourselves out there...how do you let yourself be used for the benefit of others...to better the world, to improve the lives of others....to improve yourself in the process?

ps.

Aaron turned 6 on Friday and I would have loved to have been able to bake him a cake...maybe a cake in the shape of an airplane...or a rocket. A rocket would have been really cool. Maybe next year.

Monday, June 1, 2009

So Sad...


It is the M word. Apparently there is officially a moratorium on adoptions from Kyrgyzstan. Although, no agency really heard about it until a delegation of Kyrgyz officials announced it at a meeting in Washington, DC last weelk. So there will be a pleasant discussion with our children about how Aaron probably isn't going to come home, but that we will always think about him and try to help him in any way we can. Our money is sitting at Adoption Alliance and will stay there forever, probably. The moratorium started in February 2009 and they will decide by February, 2010 whether or not to become Hague. In my opinion, international adoptions are over for Kyrgyzstan for a long time. I am usually an optimist...but with the world how it is today and the increasing difficulty with any international adoption...they are done.
I would like to give UNICEF a great big finger...and not a nice one. I hope they are happy that their grand vision has ensured that hundreds, thousands of children will grow up in institutions without families that could have had families. I would rather pull out my fingernails than support UNICEF. My biggest grudge holding is for my homestudy agency who made us wait to start because they are jerks...if we had started when we got Aaron's referral we would be one of the 65 families who still had hope that our child would come home.
Now that I have had a public temper tantrum...I can take a deep breath. We will still do whatever we can to help him and I will remind myself that all things happen for a reason and when a door shuts a window opens...stay tuned for opening windows.

Karyn Purvis Insights and Gifts - sharing power