Friday, June 27, 2008

Next step towards Nepal opening?

Good news out of Nepal. A bit of background from the past couple of weeks:

The members of the Maoist Party turned in their resignations to the Prime Minister to force him to live up to his promise to step down. This included the Minister for Welfare of Women and Children (basically the person in charge of re-opening adoptions). It was purely a political move to force his hand and it seems to have worked. See article below from the Seattle Times today:

KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepal's prime minister announced his long-delayed resignation Thursday, clearing the way for the formation of a new coalition government led by former communist rebels. Girija Prasad Koirala made the announcement at the Constituent Assembly, elected in April to rewrite the constitution and govern the Himalayan nation. Koirala had refused for months to step down and make way for a new government led by the former rebels, who won the most seats in the assembly.

The former guerrillas, formally known as the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), resigned from the interim government two weeks ago in an effort to force Koirala, a member of the rival Nepali Congress party, to quit. "I am here to announce that I am stepping down as prime minister from today," Koirala told the assembly Thursday in comments broadcast live on national television. "Consensus and unity among the political parties have been our strength and I urge all the parties to move ahead continuing this partnership, " he said.

Koirala has not given a reason for delaying his resignation. But in the months after the election, he had pushed to become president, a post that is to be created by the assembly. The Maoists have resisted, saying someone other than Koirala should fill the presidency. The Maoists lack a majority in the assembly and must form a coalition with other political parties. It was not clear when they would formally take power. Their leader, Prachanda, whose real name is Pushpa Kamal Dahal, has said the process would begin as soon as Koirala steps down.

In the past, Nepal's king, as head of state, would have accepted the prime minister's resignation. But the last king, Gyanendra, was dethroned last month by the assembly, which declared Nepal a republic. Koirala became prime minister in 2006 after weeks of pro-democracy protests forced Gyanendra to give up his authoritarian rule. Koirala's government soon stripped Gyanendra of all his powers, including his command of the army.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Now that I am moving ever closer to mommyhood, Len and I are starting to lay down a few ground rules. He has strict instructions to institutionalize me if I ever buy a holiday themed sequined sweater or wear jeans that are hiked up almost to my armpits.

Likewise, I have promised never to do this to her:


Here is my top ten list of resolutions:

1. I will not throw elaborate birthday parties for a child who does not know what is going on.
2. I will not sign our infant up for gymnastics and swimming lessons and Spanish classes before she can talk or sit up unassisted.
3. I will not make charts of when she ate, slept, and pooped, unless her pediatrician requests that I do so.
4. I will not compare my child's growth chart percentile with that of other children, unless it is relevant to her well-being.
5. I will not purchase anything with cartoon characters on it for myself. Motherhood is not an excuse to regress to ones own childhood -- someone needs to be the adult.
6. I will strive to be my child's parent, not her friend.
7. I will encourage her to play in the mud and eat dirt and not wash her hands after she plays with the cat.
8. I will not try to live my life through my child.
9. I will make time, at least once a week, to be with adults, preferably Len.
10. I will not spend more money on shoes for a child who cannot walk than I would spend on myself.

I know that many of the things I have promised never to do, I will end up doing anyway. Parenthood has a funny way of changing even the most resolute person. If you are a parent, I'd like to hear from you how parenthood changed your resolutions, and what you ended up doing that you promised you'd never do. If you aren't a parent yet, what is your favorite mommy rant (i.e., things parents do that drive you crazy you resolve never to do)?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Len should've listened to God...

The other day a neighbor asked me how our adoptions were going. “Well, China is pretty far off and Nepal could be now or next year.”

“Why is it taking so long?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I replied.

I chickened out.

Or rather, I am exhausted with providing explanations.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons, some of which are truer than others, but I’ve spouted them off enough times to know that it’s not long before my listener’s eyes glaze over and they are soooo sorry they asked.

Which brings up another topic—just how different adopting is from being pregnant.

The next person who makes a cute quip about how lucky I am to be adopting because I “won’t have to go through (fill in annoying pregnancy symptom here)” is going to get stabbed with a fork.

Ok, I’m not usually this grumpy. Len and I seem to have contracted the plague. I personally think it’s because he so casually ignored God. I’ve been looking outside for the locusts…

The plague struck me first around 3am Monday and finally got Len yesterday afternoon. Temps over 101 led to hallucinations about babies and orphanages in Nepal all night. I suppose that is good as that means I am processing the adoption and visualizing an actual child.

The hallucinations are not a good thing, though, and the fever finally broke with a Tylenol/gatoraid cocktail. A jello slider would have been much nicer…

And now for the other reason I am grumpy.

It seemed so simple when we decided to adopt, MUCH simpler than keeping track of body temps, cycles, various Dr. Expert appointments, and a refrigerator shelf full of sinister looking needles/meds.

“I can do this! I’m the World’s Most Organized Person—China’s paperwork requirements may look daunting to the average Joe but not to me!” I said.

What I haven’t been prepared for is how differently the rest of the world views our process.

When you are pregnant every day is exciting. There are trimesters to count, showers to attend, baby-naming talks, ultra-sound pictures to post on the fridge, the ever-growing belly to beatifically rest your hands on. There is anxiety and fear to be sure, especially if you are a multiple miscarriager like me, but overall, pregnancy is viewed by society as a special time to be pampered and cooed at.

When you are adopting, every day is an exercise in patience. (Never, ever, EVER ask that you be granted the gift of patience b/c the karmic gods of irony will give you plenty of time to test that request). “I can hear you now but I know, Mom, if I think I need patience now, just WAIT ‘TILL YOU HAVE A BABY. "

Every day arrives with an almost crushing weight--Sisyphus pushes the rock up the hill, only to watch it slip back down over and over. Every day you search your in-box for an email that says “Today Nepal/China has read your dossier and you among all others in the land are chosen to come and adopt one of our orphans—here are 10 pictures and the latest video of her as well as a detailed explanation as to how she has spent the last year of her life.”

Or at least something to that effect.

Every day the same questions to ponder: Is it too early to start our shots against the variety of exotic illnesses that abound on the other side of the world? What kind of crib should we buy? Should we bother to buy it now and then spend the next year dusting it? What kind of bottles? Will our child even use a bottle? Will our %#*&^% fingerprints expire (really, how does a fingerprint EXPIRE??) for the third time??

Every day I swing wildly from great anticipation to sheer panic about the uncertainty of it all. The excitement I felt when we first started our China paperwork is long gone, chipped away by daily reminders that adoption is different. Lots of well-meaning people say that adoption is so much easier, we are so lucky not to have a newborn who is up all night, no swelling ankles, no stretch marks, no post-partum depression!

It’s not easier—it’s just different. We will still have an adjustment period, bonding issues. Our baby will already have a schedule, likes and dislikes, habits we won’t know about. We will be handed a baby and told “good luck”—a bit like going to babysit a child and then taking it home with you…permanently. We will spend 2 weeks in a foreign country with no drinkable water and sporadic electricity, fill out yet more paperwork and part with large sums of never-been-creased cash, board a plane and fly a minimum of 24 hours before arriving back home to start a new life together.

It will be different from the experience given to parents of a newborn, but no less challenging.

But for now, all we have are two giant binders full of every intimate detail of our lives and fingerprints that will expire (don’t even get me started…) in less than a year.

And a promise that someday, someday we will bring home our children.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Visit from Len's brother

Len's brother Butch and his girlfriend Debbie came for the weekend. We visited the American Indian Museum and had a great dinner out in Shirlington. We had a great time catching up!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Touristimus BlackSockamus! Live and walking around in DC!

Friday, June 13, 2008

On bathrooms and blogging...

Len’s brother Butch is coming to visit us this weekend. He’ll be here in 3 hours in fact. And although I did do most of the housecleaning, there is a certain room that has been neglected since my new obsession with blogging (I figured I’ve been reading enough of them in the past couple of years, I may as well jump in myself). Not that I'm o.c.d. or anything. Far from it...

Len just doesn’t happen to share my enthusiasm.

God: And lo, God gave man dominion over all the earth, and the seas, and the land, which shall include even the bathroom, and every foul thing that abideth therein; all of the areas that are putrid, from the cat litter to the toilet, yea verily, even the scum of the tub and the sink shall fall to thy might, for thou art good in the eyes of the Lord. It is proper for man to do these things, saith the Lord, for I have blessed him, and it is right.

Len: That’s not God, that’s you.

Me: No it’s not, God is talking to you. He wants you to clean the bathroom.

Len: I can see your lips moving. And now that we aren’t trying to get pregnant anymore, you should have to clean the cat litter, too.

Me: No, God talks to people through other people sometimes. He wants you to clean the bathroom.

GOD: It is not right for woman to clean the cat litter, for even if thou art not trying to conceive, thou might conceive, for thou art adopting and we all know that means thy womb shall conceive, it happens all the time, I had this friend who adopted and got pregnant right after. And thy babe could be in grave danger from the poop of the cat, so it is not right in the eyes of the Lord for woman to scoop litter.

Me: See, God says you have to keep doing it.

Len: You need to stop blogging.

Funny comment about the Monty Python clip

From my friend Kevin (sorry Spiff):

Remember though that in the movie it looks like it's taking forever, and ever, and ever, a n d e v e r, a n d e v e r, a n d e v e r, and then SUDDENLY he's there at the gate - OUT OF NOWHERE!!!!

That's what friends are for! Thanks for that!

A Bitter Woman's Guide to Zen

These past 3 years it seems that everyone has an answer for me even when I have not asked for one.

“You know, as soon as you adopt you will get pregnant.”
Uh, no, getting pregnant has only been ½ of the battle.

“Some women were just meant to have their families through adoption.” So the crackwhore on the corner was MEANT to have 5 illegitimate babies and keep them for the welfare money? Yes, yes, I see your point.

“Maybe if you weren’t so stressed, if you could just relax.” I WAS relaxed through pregnancies one and two. That would be after the THIRD AND FOURTH miscarriages that my anxiety levels shot through the roof. Tell me how calm you would be.

Which reminds me of this clip from the movie What about Bob?...


“I saw this show once…” Seriously, would someone with a story like mine really make for good television? No, we want the miracle stories, the against-all-the-odds stories. Otherwise, you could just enjoy your own mundane life.

So my main goal this year (after losing our 4th and what I can only hope will be our final pregnancy) was to achieve peace, Zen, that lovely state of calm where you know you have done all you can: shown every Dr. Expert in the tri-state area the inside of your uterus, put aside the intense fear of needles and willingly injected all manner of wonder drugs into various parts of your body, read every blog pertaining to infertility and adoption, chanted at Buddhist temples, parsed every horoscope, meditated, practiced daily yoga for fertility (there are specific poses don’t you know?), acupuncture, drank gallons of vile, bitter Chinese herbs, and danced to the fertility gods at every seasonal solstice celebration.

As fate would have it, I have spent much of the spring talking to a very good friend about all manner of life’s existential questions. (Yes, my friend, I know you would say it’s not fate...yet another reason I have enjoyed our conversations) I told him that, in the end, I really just wanted peace. Peace with our decision to adopt, peace that we will not have a biological child, that I will never experience that part of motherhood (I hear it’s highly over-rated, especially the actual giving-birth part…very messy and painful, thank you to those women who have so graphically shared…).

And suddenly, out of nowhere, it happened.

I feel peaceful. Content with our decision.

No more daily visits to Dr. Expert with his rather phallic probe and stirrup chair. No more daily blood-letting and the interminable search for a vein that isn’t collapsed and bruised. No more tww’s (and no more acronyms for infertile jargon…two-week-wait for those not in the know). No more strange explanations for why I am “not really feeling like I want yummy wine or even more yummy unpasteurized soft cheese at your Really Fabulous Yummy Wine and Even More Yummy Unpasteurized Soft Cheese Party, I’ll just have water, no really.” Relief that the train has finally pulled into the station, may I have a G&T please, extra lime?

And that is when I finally felt I could start our blog. So this blog will be many things. It is primarily intended to document for our daughters the reasons and circuitous route that led us to them. It is a way to keep our loved ones updated on our lives. It is also turning out to be a place to express my frustrations and fears—and to let them go.

You all were invited to share our blog b/c we love you and want you to be a part of this journey with us. We want our daughters to know you and to know they were loved and wanted way before they probably even existed.

In closing this rather long narrative, in the interest of maintaining this much sought-after and hard-won Zen, please, please, never offer an explanation, no matter how well-intentioned, to any woman trying to get or stay pregnant or in the process of adopting.

Even if the sister of your co-worker’s brother’s niece got pregnant “naturally and without even trying” with triplets on the plane flight home after adopting from Russia.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Some recent pics from our travels

China timeline update...I think we may be moving backward...

So I checked our China agency website this morning. Am I just a glutton for punishment? Here is the dismal news: The CCAA (gov. agency in China that handles adoptions) has reviewed dossiers received on or before December 31, 2006. That means our dossier is still sitting in an UNREVIEWED, UNTOUCHED PILE. All of that hand wringing, stalking of postman, frantic trips to the fed ex and there our dossier sits, languishing in the halls of the CCAA. They have matched children with families up through January 20, 2006. That is one year and 4 months of dossiers still to go before they get to ours.

Is it really awful of me to be happy when I read someone else's blog who had an LID before ours and see that they have pulled their dossier b/c of the long wait?? I can't help but think "one more person out of the way..." Most of these people have switched to domestic or another country altho the number of open countries right now is woefully small.

For those of you who are Monty Python fans--specifically The Holy Grail movie, I feel like I'm in the scene where Lancelot is charging the castle and everytime you look away and then look up, he has advanced no further.

Click on the link for a refresher:


On the Nepal front....crickets.

Bloody Hell.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Weird 'Versary love...

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutal weirdness and call it love."

Today is our 19th anniversary! Hard to believe sometimes that it’s been that long and yet at other times I can barely remember life B.L. I did manage to find a journal that I had kept during my college years at UCF and towards the end of that journal was when I met Len. Poor guy…I didn’t give him much of a chance in the beginning. When I finally told him I just wanted to “be friends” (the death knell for most relationships) and start paying my own way when we ate out, he just smiled and said “OK” and then invited himself over to my apartment so I could fix him lunch! My roommate, Kelly, was mortified that I would so casually dismiss the man who brought flowers to our apartment every Thursday without fail. I really thought that he’d leave though when I invited him to stay the weekend at my parent’s house in Macclenny. You see, I grew up without A/C in FL. It was summer. I somehow neglected that piece of info when I invited him to stay. I did mention the pool... Poor guy just lay there in a puddle of sweat under the ceiling fan in the family room where he was relegated to sleeping on a fold-out sofa with a rather prominent metal brace under a thin mattress. That combined with the mountain of wood my dad had lined up along the driveway that needed to be split and stacked (did I mention we also had no heat other than a wood-burning stove?). I was sure I would never see him again upon our return to Orlando. And yet, here we are. The first thing I heard this morning was my lovely husband waking me up with “Happy ‘Versary love”, hot coffee breath in my face. Ahhh. What a nice way to greet the day. Charis (the 16 year old cat) was next with hot kitty purrs on the other side of my face. A true Rockwell moment.

On to other topics. Some of you have asked about the pics of the Fed Ex boxes down below. When we first sent out our dossier China we thought it would be nice to document that. That grew into documenting “her” stats the way you would for a baby announcement. Since this is the closest we’ve gotten to actually having a baby announcement, we’ve re-printed it here for those of you who missed it the first time around. BIB= Baby in a Box.

China BIB stats:

Weight: 1.95 pounds
Measurements: 8 ½” x 11” x 2”
53 stamps and seals
93 signatures
29 pictures
2 sets of fingerprints
27 checks/money orders
28 documents
74 Days to compile

Nepal BIB 2 stats:

Weight: 3.55 pounds
Measurements: 8 ½” x 11” x 3”
34 stamps and seals
138 signatures
13 pictures
2 sets of fingerprints*
26 checks/money orders/direct wire transfers
34 documents
76 days to compile

*our first set of fingerprints were set to expire this month so we had to be re-fingerprinted in April and get another I-171 form to send to Nepal. Our China I-171 will have to be re-filed as well but we're waiting until we're closer to our referral.

Maybe this time next year we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary with a little Nepal girl on a plane to pick up our China girl! Can’t think of a better present than that!

Thank you to all who are sharing our story and for the great comments so far. We are pleased to have you be a part of this journey.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Trip to GA

Happy Memorial Day weekend!

It was a big day for our family over the holiday! My brother Terry retired as a Colonel from the Air Force and his second son, Nick graduated from high school. On our way home we stopped over at a friend of Len's from high school who lives nearby (Julie and Dawson). She and her husband have a beautiful daughter from China (Emma Rae)--it was nice to finally meet them since I've been reading her blog for over a year! Thank you to Emma Rae for letting us practice changing diapers--first time for both of us.


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