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Thursday, October 29, 2009

I used to like jigsaw puzzles

I haven't posted much on the international adoption front lately because there really hasn't been much to report. We are 30 months into our wait to adopt from China and the latest report from our agency last week is that the wait is still holding at 43-44 months which means we still have over a year more to wait.

Nepal has been celebrating their festivals (which I wrote about quite a lot last year when we were told it could be any day now, right after festival season so you will forgive me for not rehashing it again). And now, right as everyone is getting their hopes up that new referrals will be sent, there is chaos in Kathmandu again.

My senses went on alert last week when I talked to our agency. It was the first time that she didn't sound optimistic about the program, about the ability of the country to make this new system of adoption work. I was surprised mainly because for 18 months now we've been hearing nothing but any day now, soon, certainly by next month, after the festivals, at the first of the year, etc. It was nothing she overtly said, to be sure, but I have learned over the years that when something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't and the underlying feeling I got was that for us, a Nepal adoption will probably not ever happen. Certainly, our pregnancy complicates matters but even if we weren't expecting this child, I didn't get the impression that we would be holding our Nepali child in our arms at any near point in the future.

And the latest news in the Nepali press does not bode well. One of the members of my Nepal adoption yahoo group did a very nice summary of the past year's worth of government turmoil and the current situation:

The current form of government in Nepal was established after the deposing of the King, etc in 2007. In the last elections (April 2008), the Maoists won the highest number of civilian votes, but did not have enough to form a majority party on their own, so they formed a coalition with a few smaller parties and one larger one. In April of this year, the Maoist Prime Minister made a daring move by firing the head of the Army, at which time the other major party in that coalition left in protest and joined the second largest party. Hence, a new "government" was established last May (a new ruling coalition).

Maoist Prime Minister Dahal was forced to
resign and a new PM was appointed by the new coalition--PM Nepal. All the former Maoist-appointed ministers had to surrender their positions and it took the new government over four months to appoint new ministers from among the VIPs of the new coalition of parties. From May until September of this year, when a new Minister was finally appointed, adoptions were stalled again. Since May, the Maoists have been protesting and will not allow the cabinet to work--except for a short period of time last summer. The Maoists are angry that they were the most popularly elected party and yet they are out of authority. They were the revolutionaries that caused the death of tens of thousands of civilians in the past dozen or so years, and they continue to have an army (although currently "monitored" by the United Nations) and thousands of angry "cadres" in the outlying villages who pour into Katmandu and rally in the streets, block entrances to government buildings, and cause trouble. These demonstrations have become progressively more violent, particularly in the villages.

This latest threat is for a 15 day protest beginning on 2 November.
During that time, the Maoists are threatening to shut down the government and the international airport. Already, they have paralyzed the cabinet to the point that it has not been able to pass a budget and many government workers have not been paid. The Maoists are full of rhetoric, but this time they are calling for a peoples revolt to return the government to "civilian
supremacy". They have made a group of demands, including overturning the President's reinstatement of the head of the army (a challenge to the authority of the current President), the resignation of the current Prime Minister and the transfer of the government back into their hands.

The United States is very concerned this time and has urged both
parties to come up with a negotiated compromise. In the past few months, compromises have been made and revolution has been averted, but each time the stakes seem to be higher. Several people I know who live in Nepal expect the current government to succumb to the Maoists. If this happens, the adoption law is still law, but the Maoists will have to start over with staffing the Ministry and it is up to the new staff how things would proceed.

You can also read about it online here, here and here.

I have met so many people through the Nepal program and to hear of yet more instability in the program is just heartbreaking. Several people currently have a match with a child but have not received travel approval to get their child and this latest unrest does not bode well that they will travel soon.

I was having lunch with a friend this week and she was asking about this child in my body and whether or not I could picture her. It's funny because when I think of our child, I still picture brown eyes, brown skin, Asian features. I suspect that Len and I will be in for a bit of an adjustment when she emerges pale, Caucasian and probably hairy. What will have been the purpose of us pursuing this adoption and going through the grueling task of paperwork and invasive home studies, not to mention the writing of large checks only to be left with....what? Heartbreak for the Nepali girl we will never have met?

For now, I see no rhyme or reason for these past 4-5 years of my life. I can see both good things (my friendships with the people in the adoption community, a better understanding of and appreciation for family, just how good we have it here in the US) and the bad things (constant worry that this pregnancy will not sustain itself, dashed dreams for the children we had hoped to have, the strain that infertility can wreak on a very strong marriage).

For now, it is a jigsaw puzzle with no edges and several missing pieces.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Snap, Crackle, Pop!

Before I get on to today’s post, didn't anyone notice that the white shirt I had on in my last bump picture is the same shirt I also have on for our blog profile picture taken sometime last year? I just thought I’d point that out since I am impressed that I can wear that shirt at 6 months preggers. Hmmm. Or maybe I shouldn’t be impressed that a shirt I wore before could still fit now….oh dear.

On to today’s topic du jour. Joints. Not the fun kind that make you happy and say silly things. No, I'm referring to the kind that tend to make noise as you get older and can make you ease out of bed gingerly rather than bound out of it, eager to greet the morn’.

Len has always been a champion when it came to joint popping. His neck, his back, his knuckles, his toes. If there is a joint in his body that needs realigning, he can pop at will with such supreme satisfaction that you would think he just got an extra month of vacation handed to him at work. My joints, on the other hand, are a fairly quiet lot, content to give me a courtesy, almost apologetic, toe pop when, say, taking off high heels .

That is, until now. My joints have suddenly decided to join the cacophonic symphony that normally only comes from Len’s side of the bed. I am amazed at the percussive qualities in my neck, back, hips, knees, elbows, fingers, ankles, wrists and toes. It really is an auditory cornucopia. And unlike when Len cranks on his neck to make it pop, this doesn’t take any effort on my part at all. On the contrary, all I have to do is shift infinitesimally and four or five different joints will pop in harmony.

My friend Nancy wrote on FB the other day:

I'm trying so very hard to be sympathetic, but for the most part, your pregnancy is just cracking me up.

I'm glad to know it’s not just my joints that are cracking.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Does this baby make my butt look big?

We are at the 6 month mark and here is the bump for this week. I think it has grown exponentially since last week but it might just be that my hips feel like they are trying to stretch to different continents that is giving me such a gloomy outlook.


This weekend was primarily spent indoors (rain, cold, decidedly inhospitable) running errands and working on the nursery. Just when we thought we had all the supplies necessary to start putting things up on the walls we realized we had no wall anchors, etc. so that facilitated a trip to H.D. for supplies. Of course I got hungry on the way so lunch was in order. Then I thought maybe a body pillow might help my hips so we stopped at the store for that (no luck--after 2 nights of tossing and turning, the body pillow is being returned).

Which all means that after all the errand-running and then resting from all the running, we didn't get as much done as we had hoped. However, here is a sneak peak at some of the progress in the nursery. I guess we'll remove the exercise ball from the crib before the baby comes...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"The most magical time of your life"

Week 24. Six months. Almost the end of the second trimester.No one is more surprised than me I can assure you. Unfortunately, the nausea continues but is mostly limited to early morning and evening. But wait, there are newer and more alarming changes (including the flattening of my once quite nice innie bellybutton).

The worst part about the end of the second trimester would have to be my inability to sleep. I have always been an expert sleeper, almost Olympian in my skill to ease into unconsciousness within moments of hitting a horizontal surface, and have been known to sleep in bursts longer than the average lifespan of a large feline. But in the last couple of months I have averaged about 20 minutes of solid sleep at a time, and this is due entirely to that horribly unnecessary force of nature known as gravity. By the time I fall asleep on my left side, the weight of my body has crushed my shoulder and thigh, forcing me to roll over to my right side. But where I was before able to roll over while still unconscious, I am now forced awake involuntarily and have to physically maneuver my body into another position, usually through means of loud grunting (because sound effects are necessary and give voice to the struggle between sleep and no sleep), pillow reconfiguring, and much sheet/blanket pulling. This left-to-right side maneuvering continues throughout the night so that by the time the alarm goes off in the morning I have changed positions no less than 4,000 times, leaving my poor husband bruised, blanketless and reminiscing about how much less energy it took to build out the basement than to push his wife over in the middle of the night.

On the off-chance that I do find a comfortable position to be in for those precious 20 minutes, guess who wakes up and decides to fluff the placenta like a pillow? Don’t get me wrong, I love to feel the kicks during the day WHEN I’M ALREADY AWAKE but she seems to have discovered that 2am, 3am and 4am are also great times to stretch her legs and roll over.

Another side effect that is rearing its ugly head is acid reflux. As my stomach gets exponentially closer to overtaking my chest and staging a coup on my neck, all of the yummy food I've had all day (and why does all the food I crave have to be spicy?) stops going down and rises back up to burn my esophagus. Yes, there is yet more medicine to be had for this calamity. My countertop is starting to look like a pharmacy.

My current regimen consists of:

prescription folic acid twice a day (I have the wonderful inability to process folic acid so I take 5 times the amount a normal gestating woman would take)

anti-nausea meds three times a day

One pre-natal vitamin (taken at a separate time of day from the individual folic acid pills)

One Omega 3 vitamin

One baby aspirin (for a blood clotting disorder which may or may not have contributed to the past 4 miscarriages)

And now I can add acid reflux meds to my list of pharmaceuticals to ingest daily.

You can now understand just how wonderfully magical it is to be a ripe pregnant woman, belly widening inches per day, grumpy and irritable from sleep deprivation, burping acidic spicy curry into her husband’s face.

Don't let anyone ever tell you this isn't an exquisitely beautiful experience.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekend update

I finally gave in and ended up in a maternity store on Saturday. The consignment shop I was going to just didn't have anything in petite sizes so I was rolling up pants and sleeves and most things just were ill-fitting. And then there's the issue of undergarments which are best purchased new (ewww...used maternity panties...). Which, I'm sad to say, look ENORMOUS and I was absolutely sure they would never fit because I'm not THAT big but hey, look at that, they do.

So here is this week's baby bump picture:


Wow. Grew quite a bit in just a week huh? Ok, this one is Len's fault. I was trying on clothes and they have this fake stuffed bump so you can get an idea of how clothes will fit further along. I popped one under my clothes and called Len in to the dressing room. He promptly whipped out his crackberry and said we need this on the blog as your update picture. See, I'm not the only one with an evil streak.

So, here is the real picture for this week:


Sunday turned out to be gorgeous so we drove to Starved Rock State Park to do a small amount of hiking and to see the fall colors. The trees were still relatively green but we did have a fabulous day with lots of fresh air and gorgeous views. And I was so exhausted from the walks and the driving that I only woke up every 2 hours instead of every hour last night!


Many thanks to one of Len's co-workers, Anne, for this shirt. It saves a lot of time answering questions from total strangers. (you can click on the picture to make it bigger if you are having trouble reading it).

Friday, October 16, 2009

Keeping the postman busy

Wow. Just...wow. We were so surprised to be buzzed at the gate by the delivery guy this week. I mean, we JUST registered.

The first gift to arrive was this stroller from my dad and Gloria. It was a snap to put together and folds up nicely to store until we can use it.


Then a box arrived from our friend Tammi full of Dr. Seuss and Maurice Sendak (personal favorites of mine as a child).


Many profuse thankyou's to Dad, Gloria and Tammi.

Not to be out-done, Len arrived home yesterday with a surprise.


He went out on his lunch hour to this store in Bucktown and came home with an explanation for our current situation:


Thursday, October 15, 2009

US Embassy in Kathmandu Not Conducting Preinvestigations

According to PEAR's (Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform) website:

On September 29, 2009, the DOS issued an Adoption Notice for Nepal that contained the following statement:

"As part of required processing for orphan adoption cases, the Embassy conducts a thorough investigation of each case. Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that the investigation process may take several months, which could mean that prospective adoptive parents who travel to Nepal before the investigation is completed will need to spend a significant amount of time in country."

Some US adoption agencies and prospective adoptive parents interpreted this statement to mean that the Embassy would be conducting pre-investigations and completing the investigation prior to the family traveling to Nepal. PEAR contacted both the US Department of State, Office of Children's Issues and US Embassy in Nepal for clarification on the statement. According to both the Office of Children's Issues at the Department of State and the Adoption Unit at the US Embassy in Nepal, visa investigations commence after the final adoption decree and no pre-investigations are occurring at this time.

PEAR has been in continued discussions with the DOS to change the Adoption Notice to correctly reflect the process in order to avoid confusion and misinterpretation. At this point, the DOS and US Embassy are consulting on the proper wording for the Notice.

We will update with any further information as we receive it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Baby Registry (or, HELP ME I'M TRAPPED IN A BABY SUPERSTORE)

My friend Laurie came to visit from DC this weekend to help me register for baby stuff and thank god she did because it still took 3 hours (at one store) and she was blazing through! Laurie bought this gift for us and I think you will agree that it is the most practical item we could need:


Because what nursery doesn't need a pink ballerina piggy bank?

We managed to get everything done Saturday night so we could spend the rest of the weekend shopping for big girl stuff (ie stuff for Laurie and Lisa) and eating. Sunday afternoon was spent trolling the Andersonville shops and eating decadent cannoli.


Sunday evening we took Laurie out for her birthday to the Green Zebra which turned out to be some of the yummiest vegetarian fare I've ever had.

This week's belly bump picture is a straight on shot which doesn't quite do it justice but you get the idea.


So, for those of you who have been asking for registry information, here you go:

This first place we registered has the most items and is where we spent the three hours with Laurie. Just click on the link underlined above, go to registry, type in my first and last name and it should pop up.

The second place we registered is here. Same instructions as above.

And the third place is for those of you who are interested in helping us start her library. Be sure to go to baby registry (not wish list) and search by my first and last name. Or send a childhood favorite of yours and skip our list of books!

Laurie and my friend Maggie are throwing me a baby shower back in DC on December 5th. We'll fly into DC that weekend and are really looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends and catching up on a year's worth of news!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Did you feel that??

Maybe that's what I needed, a swift kick in the....lower abdomen. At first I thought they were muscle spasms because really, that's what they felt like. Then they became more persistent and felt like I had swallowed a goldfish who was becoming increasingly alarmed by the darkness and apparent lack of an exit back into the light. Now it feels more like a sea bass and the "flutterings" as all the baby books describe them are becoming much more insistent and dare I say it, a welcome and HAPPY distraction? It is feeling real and I find myself completely stopping any train of thought I was having to focus on the kicks and enjoy thinking that this may actually result in a child.

I had my monthly appointment with the midwife on Tuesday. My belly measured 21 cm and I had managed to gain 4 lbs since last month which she was happy about. That makes a total of 7 lbs for the pregnancy thus far. I still can't say that I am enjoying much about this pregnancy (sore hips and lower back from relaxin, no comfortable position to be found, burping like a teenage boy in a contest, etc ad nauseum) but the movement of the baby has progressed from just feeling creepy to being something I look forward to feeling.

I'll get back to you once the kicks progress to linebacker punches in the ribs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Topsy Turvy Weekend

This weekend was a study in contrasts. I forgot to take my last anti-nausea pill on Friday night and apparently, that is NOT A GOOD IDEA. I never recovered Saturday. It didn't matter what I ate, if I was not prone on the sofa or in bed, nothing was going to stay down. The only silver lining is that Saturday's weather was pretty crappy and gray so laying on the sofa watching HGTV could have been worse.

I dutifully took all my meds on Saturday so Sunday turned out to be MUCH BETTER. We went out for Swedish pancakes at Ann Sather and then hopped in the car for a road trip into Wisconsin. Our first stop was to a pumpkin festival in Kenosha. That was the location of this week's bump picture. Here I am at 21 weeks--not quite as large as the pumpkins just yet!




Next we drove to Racine just to see what was there (nothing really) so we turned west and stopped at a "pick your own raspberries" farm.




We ended up with 2 boxes full before we (meaning me) got too cold to continue.


The last stop was Lake Geneva. This is a charming town built around the lake and all kinds of shops were open on a Sunday afternoon.


We walked around the lake for a bit and then did a little shopping before heading home.


What a great way to end the weekend.

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