Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Almost disaster...

Well, yesterday was a disaster. Thankfully, through the new friends I have made who are going through the same thing, I learned that our home study had to say some pretty specific things (rather, not say, I guess) so it would be acceptable to Kyrgyzstan. As one not known to be keen of omitting anything for fear it will come back and bite me in the butt, well...without going into all the specifics, (church, discipline and the way I grew up) let's just say I was devastated. Yesterday, I was contemplating Albania as a back-up country. I cried. I cried more.

I did call our agency, and the caseworker in charge while our original caseworker is out on leave was very helpful. She explained a lot, and gave suggestions for wording, which I promptly sent to our social worker. Who...if I haven't already mentioned, is PHENOMENAL. She emailed me back and told me not to fret--by doing what's in her families' best interests, she is doing what's in the best interest of children, because we would not be approved families if she didn't believe we would put the interests of the adopted children to be first and foremost. So, I am feeling much better. And still believe our daughter is coming from Kyrgyzstan.

Today, one of my parents brought in a whole bunch of things her daughter has outgrown and they are SO sweet! My favorite is the sweet little ladybug Halloween costume. Here's crossing fingers KGB will fit! What a sign, huh? At least I am taking it that way!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Don't let the flu bug hit ya on the way out...

Wow. Amazing how one minute you can feel fine and the next minute your entire body feels like your skin is crawling and you are about to literally lose the entire contents of the last 27 meals you ate (or tried to eat) in one fell swoop.

That was me last night. I haven't been feeling that hot the last day or two--and I am pretty much attributing that to stress. Last night, though, I got the chills, couldn't stop shivering, ached and moaned. I took some Tylenol and fell asleep finally, and feel a bit better this morning. This nasty 24 hour flu-like stomach bug was running rampant at school last week and it would SO be my luck to get it.

John got up early this am to do our neighborhood cleanup and called to tell me he was bringing me back a caramel macchiato from Starbucks. He really must be worried about me!

Still no news from our agency other than there are two dossiers in the embassy and one being authenticated. Speaking of that...I wish I had done a bit more research into that whole process. I live an hour and 10 minutes from DC. I had planned to do all that authentication. I thought that's what people did. Well, apparently our agency does it. Rather, they use someone along the lines of Stork Assistant or something like that. Which is fine, if you are out in Illinois or California. I'm HERE, though. And I have to pay heavy duty money to have someone else do the same thing I can do. I know several people who have taken all their dossiers to the State Department for authentication on their own. That's not the way our agency works, though. And that's fine...I just wish I had looked into what that was all about a bit more because that's something I was relying on being a plus of living in the DC suburbs--ah well, maybe it's lots more complicated than I think it is. For our friends who went through Guatemala and Ethiopia, it didn't seem that big a deal, but maybe now it is.

I have been amazed at how many people actually look at this and read this blog, but want to say thanks and welcome to all! I love 'meeting' all these new people!!

Oh, and one more thing...the 'sperm donor,' as I affectionately (not really) call him, is Indian. Which, for those of you interested in the answers to the "What are you?" type questions I listed in a previous post, should give some insight. And just makes that whole 'type in your native Indic (not Indiric as previously posted and not important enough to edit) script' window on blogspot even funnier. Google is far more knowing than we all think it is!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Things seem to be settling down...with Kyrgz, at least!

Thank God for those willing to share information on their blogs! It is through others' blogs that I see beautiful children, hear beautiful stories, laugh and cry with others and learn information that my agency has yet to tell me. One blog said their agency told them that this hold was just a couple of weeks and even had a date or two for reopening. Another family got a travel date in light of the hold. Wonderful signs that all is moving and will be fine. Of course, still easy for me to say that as I haven't even turned my dossier in, but...

Yesterday our social worker visited for the last part of our home study. It went great, and she even asked us if we were open to receiving calls from them should they have an infant whose birth mother wanted a closed adoption. Ummm...YES! At this point, I'll take children any way they want to come at me! I've always dreamt of a big family, and desperately hope that money won't be the reason I end up having an only child. The reality is that the expense of this adoption, coupled with my EXTREME desire to QUIT MY JOB will make expendable money much less readily available and who knows what the future holds.

Speaking of my job. All I can say is that I am NOT happy, am NOT in the right place, do NOT want to go back next year if at all possible and am trying very hard to not let my spirit be broken any more than it already is. Those of you in education probably know exactly what I am talking about. Those of you not in education, glad you aren't and pray for children in our schools because I have to tell you that all over the country, they are going to hell in a hand basket. Hate to be so brusque about it, is what it is. How sad.

On a lighter note, I think it is flipping HILARIOUS that every time I click on the "publish post" key, and the page that says "Your post has been published," comes up, on that page is a little box that tells me that I can "Post in my native Indiric Script," and there is some strange symbol that looks definitively like some kind of foreign writing. The hilarity of this is that my whole life, people have asked me "What are you?" "What's your ethnicity?" "What's your heritage?" and here this crazy Google blogspot editor assumes that English is not my "Native Script."


Monday, April 21, 2008

Mountains over molehills...

Well, miserable as my allergies are making me, and don't take this the wrong way, I am so happy I have not met my daughter yet. My heart is breaking for those who have met their babies and are waiting for them and don't know how or when they will get them. I'm so worried about the uncertainty on the 'hold' as it is, I can't imagine actually having a specific face to put with the longing that I have and how much it would hurt. Though my agency doesn't have anything official or specific (which sort of worries me, I won't lie) it seems that no one seems to be too worried and sees the 'hold' as a positive thing that will benefit all. Most importantly to me, I think, are the words from the missionaries actually IN Kyrgyzstan and talking directly to the orphanage directors. He said they see this as a good thing, temporary and beneficial for all in the long run, and that's good enough for me. Thank you, Lord for granting me some peace with regard to the 'hold' on dossiers! You are good! Now, can we talk about some peace with regard to my day to day...

Ha ha! Thank God He has a sense of humor! (I know He does! HUMONGOUS attitude in this rinky dink body? I bet He had a good laugh over me!!!)

We set up the 'nursery' last night, in anticipation of our social worker visiting tomorrow. I have to say, school drains me so much that I nearly have the gumption to just say, "Come on in; this is how we really live. Some days, the bed just doesn't get made." Of course, sweet John got home earlier than I did and cleaned up the kitchen and made dinner. Which, I should tell you all, he does OFTEN. I know he reads these little posts on his blackberry, so I want to very publicly thank him for making fantastic dinners and even cleaning up after! I thought it was hilarious that mom sent us one of those emails where you replace the second person's name with yours and send the first person a recipe-- "Guaranteed great recipes and so much fun!" Fun? I just wanted to send her the email back and ask her what she'd been smoking, and I realized--John could contribute! I COULD contribute, if I cared, but that's the thing with me and cooking...I just don't care. Spaghettios / Steak Au Poivre... food's food. Guess I am a lucky gal that John doesn't see it that way!

Friday, April 18, 2008


Well, it's been a rough week! My allergies are just out of control--I have been miserable! School is the same as it always has been, but worse with the warmer weather. As if the kids weren't challenging enough, now I have adults to deal with also, and without going into too much detail, it is a darned shame that people feel they have to crush others' spirits and belittle others in order to feel powerful and in control themselves. That's education, though...and since this is my blog and I can say what I want, I'll share my theory. Most educators or people in education are women. And, as we women know, very rarely (even today) do we get the same accolades that men get for doing similar or even more challenging work. In an educational environment, there are so many women who don't get nearly enough credit for the jobs that they do, many feel the only way to get any credit and to feel good about themselves is to claw at the other women in their building--tear the others down so they look better. I have lived in the 'business' world, and I KNOW that some of the things I have seen women do in a school against other women would NOT fly in the real world. And to really go out there, I don't think that these women would even attempt to be so domineering and b*tchy with men. How cowardly and ridiculous. I said, rough week--but that's been pretty much every week since school started! What makes it worse is that the rumors are FLYING (and there probably is some truth to them) about Kyrgz not accepting dossiers right now. Reasons behind this range from too many being submitted already to inspections being done and needing manpower to assist these inspections to new leadership to new regulations. Our agency hasn't said anything officially, and I figured that I might as well let Ally tell me if there is a problem than seek it out. Besides, I'm getting lots of info from others anyway. We won't be really ready to put our dossier in for another month or so anyway, so if this is a temporary hold, that's not a problem for me. If it is a LONG hold, though, well...I guess it's a good thing I don't think KGB has been conceived yet! So, for now, I am just continuing on as if nothing is different. Until I hear differently, that is.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Beach Therapy

I am so happy that I am blessed enough to be able to have such dear friends! Old School 3rd Grade from Dixon Elementary had our annual Myrtle Beach weekend this weekend and it was SO wonderful to be with them again.

Oh, and I SO miss the beach. When we sell the first house, we have to buy some time-share somewhere on the beach. Myrtle, Onslow, Pensacola--don't care--love them ALL! Just need my beach!!

Life's so good...wonderful friends, old and new! (Amazing how people you've NEVER met can become instant friends and you feel like you may have known them forever!!) I bought little KGB a sweet little bracelet this weekend. And a couple of cute little dress-up purses. Grandma crocheted a pretty pink blanket for her and daddy brought the cradle Grandma bought for her a few years ago home. It's real. We are going to have a little girl soon. No more lonely Christmases or childless Easter Egg hunts. No more feeling left out of diaper talk or sleepless nights. She's on her way home. If she's conceived yet. I don't know...I sort of feel like she hasn't been yet. I know it's weird, but I just have this feeling that I would know when she was. Soon, though...she's coming soon. I know it. And I can't wait. Claire Grace, Emma Grace, KGB--whatever your name is, I love you already. I have since before you were even thought of. And I will teach you how not to end sentences in prepositions! Love, Your Mommy

Friday, April 11, 2008

Doesn't my cup runneth over?

Oh, friends. My world is so much richer for them. Ones that I have the privilege of seeing and talking with fairly regularly and ones I don't so much. I'm even richer for the extra dimension of the whole 'blogoshphere' in that people I have never met nor have even actually spoken to read about my life, email me with encouragement and make me laugh about things I was probably crying about as I typed. Friends that I have known since young adulthood--newlywed couples just like us who have stayed in touch through the years and I count not just as dear friends but family. Friends I've met through the different military stations we've been assigned to and who have become far more than just Christmas cards each year. Friends I taught with and who wiped my tears of infertility, death, despair and frustration on a daily basis. Truly, I am blessed to call so many people who have and do make my life richer and happier friends. To know so many people are not just lifting me, but John and our still unknown daughter up is simply amazing and almost overwhelming. I am honored that so many people care.

We had our interviews this am, and Betty, our social worker, said this was one of the fastest home studies she's ever done. I asked her what she thought the reasoning behind the speed was and she very quickly replied, "You're so organized. It's amazing." Ah...sweet, sweet words. Especially since I often feel I am so UNorganized! She also told me that I was entertaining, captivating, very well-educated and reminded her so much of Eva Longoria (Desperate Housewives) that she couldn't believe it. Okay, she is a little bit delusional. STILL...she's a pretty smart gal, since she was so dead-on about me in most other things. Ha ha. In any event, she and I clicked from the first moment we talked, which is why I chose Bethany in the first place, and she is so excited for me and John you can see it all over her face! They have never had anybody adopt from Kyrgyzstan and she's super excited to see how it all goes. So, we got the official approval! Not that I doubted, but it is always nice to check those big things off the list. And that's pretty much the biggest! She visits on the 22nd, then writes her report and sends it to Immigration and that piece is done. Of course, the home study is only good for a year, so if this process takes longer, we will have to extend; however, she didn't seem too worried about the complexity of that, and the fee is only $350--better than the $1K that John estimated. He estimates that for everything. He's a little bitter about how Maryland nickels and dimes us for everything, but, sense in complaining because that's where we are and that's what we'll do.

We also got info on pictures of the rooms. Betty, our social worker said 'samples' would be fine, but Ally also emailed and said that we just needed to throw some toys in the planned room and that would be fine also. John's mom bought a beautiful bassinet several years ago (when we all thought we might actually be able to use it) and he's going to pick that up this weekend and we'll throw that in there as well. Problem solved.

In addition, we got the correct notary information. The sweet woman who did all the stuff for us yesterday is going to have to do it again, with the correct language--which was given to me this am by our social worker--and notary. Not a big deal, and like I said..I'd rather know now than later.

By the end of this month, we should just be waiting for our I600-A approval and we'll be good to go to turn in dossier. We DON'T take it to DC, as I thought--AA does all that. That's nice, one less trip for us. So, as asked before--doesn't my cup runneth over?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bye Bye, bunny...

Oh boy...what an evening in our household.

John brought home a ton of the notarized documents. Great! They just had the chick's signature, the date and her stamp, though. Nothing like, "I, me, say these documents are true and I know these signatures are true," which is what I sort of have come to expect from every other notarized document I have ever seen. I went to Maryland's website on this, though, and apparently, that may be fine. I emailed our caseworker and the MD secretary of state, and will call them tomorrow to see whether or not they can be authenticated.

Tomorrow is our appointment for our interviews with Bethany. I am going to bring all the home study stuff for them. Upon checking into that stuff, I realized that AA suggests pictures of the decorated room for the dossier. Ummm...I have no decorated room. Nor do I have plans TO decorate a room for several more months. I'm a believer in not putting the cart too far in front of the horse, and I figure I can at least get our dossier in before I start painting pink walls. John joked about calling friends of ours to photograph their baby's room--just for a sample, and I told him to give Dave a call. He then tells me to give Nanci, Dave's wife a call. I sit here, every day, typing documents, researching, preparing, etc...and he tells me to call. For PETE'S sake. Then John starts questioning me about why we have to have pictures like that in the first place. Let's see...I DON'T KNOW but that's just the way it is. I's bad enough that I have to sift through all this mess, question it, stroke it, get it all done. Then I have to turn around and justify things I don't even understand myself to John when the bottom line is that it doesn't matter WHY--it just IS and if we want a baby from this country through this agency, we DO. PERIOD.

So, five minutes or so after that lovely exchange of words (words I realized I would not be able to say anymore once the baby is here...actually, it's not the words so much as it is the tone of voice I use with those words) I hear John saying, "No, Dixie! No, Dixie!!!" I ask him what's going on and he tells me Dixie has found some baby bunnies. I JUMP off the sofa and run out there...just in time to see one sweet looking little (I mean little) baby bunny hopping as fast as her little bunny legs would take her and Dixie tossing another one up in the air and catching it. And as if that wasn't horrific enough, the sound effects that went with the air toss were heart wrenching. AND sounded exactly like Dixie's squeaky toys. Which has prompted my decision to throw ALL squeaky toys away. John doesn't want that, but I don't care. I'm serious--that poor baby bunny sounded identical to her pink squeaky ball and that is just not a sound I want to relive.

Worst of all, it was after the vet closed, and the closest emergency vet is an hour plus away. So John said he needed to put it out of its misery. With...his BB gun. Un-freaking-believable. I was SOOOO mad at Dixie, and she knows it. John says it is just instinct. HELLO--Golden Retrievers DON'T EAT BUNNIES. Pit Bulls may. Shepards may. Heck, even Labs may. But goofy, lovable Golden Retrievers don't eat babies. In Dixie's defense, I don't think she was trying to kill it--she just thought it was a toy with a new dimension added to it--the LIVE dimension. Those squeaky toys ought to be banned.

So, somewhere out there tonight a little bunny is missing his or her brother or sister and a mommy bunny is missing her baby. I know, I of life, yada yada. Dog's instinct, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. It still broke my heart and was very traumatic. It was something I would call my mom and cry about. Which, of course leads me to the remembrance of her. Five years ago today my whole life changed. I'll never forget Linda Stipe pulling me off the charter bus bound for Raleigh for a field trip and telling me I couldn't go. I was freaking out because I had just gotten in touch with our assistant superintendent about some things going on at the school I was not happy with and I thought I was in trouble. Little did I know that when she uttered the five words, "Your dad just called me..." my world would crash. That's all she had to say and I knew my mom was gone. And my life hasn't been the same.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Feeling weary...

What a day. I'm serious, school is literally sucking the life out of me. Second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour. I feel like I spend every day doing the exact same thing with the exact frustrations. I won't labor my point about being SO disenchanted with my current job, as I expect it's probably far more evident than I professionally should let it be. That said, when I am treated as a professional, I will worry a bit more about my professionalism. I'm so tired of the frustration, the drain and the basic lack of respect with which I deal. Worse, I am so tired of coming home every day and being the Grinch with John or having no energy to vacuum--and as those of you who know me know, vacuuming brings me such a sense of calm and I am too tired to even do that!!

That's it. Day's done. I'm home. And as I tell my kids every day, "Tomorrow's another day."

I emailed our caseworker because I was worried that the whole authentication process for our dossier had an extra step in it that I wasn't noticing from other states. Surprise, surprise--Maryland DOES have another way to make money. Throw another step in the whole process. Ally told me that Maryland is different from most states (have I mentioned that yet??) and that whereas most documents simply get notarized and then go to their state level for authentication, MARYLAND requires that documents are notarized. I then have to go to the clerk of the court for whatever county the notary was commissioned in and have them certified. THEN they can go to the state for authentication. So, we are going to make sure our notary was commissioned in St. Mary's county, because I do not want to have to travel all over this state to have documents certified. Remember that every document that is notarized, certified and authenticated costs around $5-10 EACH document EACH TIME! Our county has the highest per capita income in the state. Maryland is supposedly the richest state in the country. Our taxes are outrageous. All these little 'extra steps' that exist bring in even more money. WHERE IN THE HECK DOES THIS MONEY GO? It's a travesty. And that's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Interviews set!

Oh, how much time does it look like I have? An entire rambling post about grammar. Well, someone must fight for it, might as well take on the challenge!

However, I do have actual adoption news!! I spoke with our social worker today and scheduled our individual interviews for this Friday and our home visit for April 22. After that, she said 7-10 days for the report and the home study will be officially DONE! What a process! She is still waiting on Child Protective Services, however, so I can't get too puffed up as they tend to take 10-12 weeks by their own statements, and even longer by my own experiences. We are in the 8th week now, so hopefully by the home visit, it should be in and there will be no hang-ups.

It's my understanding that she sends the report directly to USCIS, and then I'm hoping 1-2 weeks for them to give us our approval. That's all we need to get our dossier documents finished up, authenticated and sent to Adoption ARK. From there, it's all in their hands and we wait. I'm serious--I know everyone says the waiting part is the hardest because at least when you are putting stuff together, you feel like you are doing something. I have to say that I don't think that will be the case for me because I KNOW I can find things to do while waiting! My life is just one big to-do list! Remind me to remember this post when months go by and still no word on anything. Remind me that I asked for not being able to do anything but wait. Remind me about the good old days of feeling as if I was working toward a goal. I'll need that. For today and the next month or two, though, just remind me that this part will be over soon!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Eats, Shoots and Leaves...

Okay, the above title is the cute little book that I have been reading at night (well, one book) just for fun. John doesn't get it. Not many do. I, however, am appalled at the grammar errors that have been found upon further inspection. Thank you, new friend A, for alerting me! In my defense, I have to say that many were misspellings (or type-too-fasts, as I call them) when the dumb spell check option was just not working--check out the Friday that spell check started working again and relive my glee! I know that everything I type will not be grammatically correct (who said that??) mainly because of the tomato (long o) /tomato ( as in, "Say ahhhh.") issues that are out there regarding basic style. Punctuation inside of parentheses or out? Comma before the 'and' in a list (i.e. apples, oranges, and pears) or not? I prefer not. My favorites are the new accepted uses of the poor apostrophe--and as a woman who was a Mullins before marriage and is an Ennis now, I am saddened at the gross abuse of the apostrophe with regard to singular possession of words already ending in -s. It is Mrs. Ennis's book. Period. Yet every year my class and I create a class book through the Student Treasures program, the wise company decides to title our books, "By Mrs. Ennis' Class" and this is just not correct! I am one little girl and I have one (heckuva) class!! So enraged I have been by this (and collegial misuse as well) that I have gone online to search for the true answer. And you know what it is? Either is acceptable nowadays. My heart hurts.

I think I need to go diagram some sentences. That always calms me down.

Again, friends, do the kind thing when you see errors! Send alerts. Send them fast; send them furiously. Just make sure you send them!

Oh, and on the adoption front...not much new. My social worker wasn't there this morning after all. I will call tomorrow and schedule our interviews. Off to report cards now....

Sunday, April 6, 2008

What goes up...

Well, as high as I was on Friday about all the progress made, I crashed yesterday! The lovely people renting the first home we bought in Maryland told us that they were going to finish up with the lease and buy a house. And it's not ours. Which, I can honestly say, I can't blame them for--seeing as we moved from it as well. When you have two golden retrievers, a yard that can be measured in square feet (as in 8200 square feet) just doesn't compare to 3 acres of woods and creek. So...thankfully we know ahead of time and have until December 31 to rent (or sell, ha ha) the house out. This is a crash for me simply because the plan of bringing home baby and STAYING home with baby is dependent upon us not having a house (and mortgage) just sitting around. John is not worried, so I shouldn't be. The message in church this morning was of hope-and it was very comforting to know that hope for earthly things just doesn't even compare to the everlasting hope that we have in Christ. Leave it to God to put things in perspective for me.

Soooo...I'm not worried. It's going to be just fine. We'll rent it out--plenty of time. And if not, we'll have plenty of money saved to let it sit for a bit until the market picks up and we'll sell it. It's going to be fine. Period.

Oh, and friends, if ever a grammar error exists, PLEASE let me know as soon as you spot it!! You know what a grammar freak I am! I just reread my last post and apparently, finance is what I meant to type, but fiance is what I actually typed. Oh, the horror of it all!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Full steam ahead!

Talked with our social worker today, which was a big surprise because I didn't think she would be there today!! She got my overnight package and said all we needed was my medical (which was mailed this am) and the guardianship form from my sister-in-law--which we will call about first thing in the AM--she's in Germany and 6+ hours ahead of us. Betty is booked until April 14, but I will call her back on Monday and she will schedule our interviews up there. After that, she comes to visit our house, and she said within 7-10 days, our homestudy reports are done and on their way to USCIS. SO--if we can get the I600A back within a reasonable amount of time, we could be looking at authenticating documents at both state and national level in the beginning of June! Yippee! It almost seems John is a bit worried about how quickly things are going--he (and I) are both banking on at least one more school year to finance this whole international fiesta. I told him that we are just lucky that it seems the homestudy is going fast. Once all docs are authenticated by the State Department in DC, they go to AA and then get translated. Then they go to the Kyrgz embassy and THEN they go to Kyrgyzstan--which will take a few months alone. The wait for a referral then is anywhere from 3-10 months, and for a girl, I'm guessing on the longer end. Soooo...I'm still anticipating that it will be 2009 before we go making any international travel plans--or at least plans to bring a baby home. That's fine--time moves so quickly. It'll be here before we know it!! Plenty of time for me to be nesting, though :)

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Homestudy paperwork on it's way? CHECK!

Overnighted all the paperwork today to Bethany!! Our SW won't be there tomorrow, but she will have it first thing on Monday. Hopefully we will be able to get the interviews and home visit ASAP and THEN the report written so we can get it into Immigration and THEN get everything certified and authenticated (state level) and THEN get it ALL authenticated in DC and THEN bye-bye! And THEN? Wait!

Moving along!! Moving along!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Homestudy on the way?

Well, that's the goal! We got our driving records today (and with the exception of a little love of the pedal to the metal several years ago, we are clean as a whistle!) and they were pretty much the last things we needed to get together to send off to Bethany. So, my goal is to have all paperwork copied and overnighted on Friday so they have it all by Monday. That would then leave an interview that we have to do there and then our caseworker coming out here--after that, she should be able to write the report. I'd love to have the report done by the end of April because then we need it to go to USCIS for the I600A--once that's done, most of the other dossier things are done or in the works (mostly this) and we could have the dossier sent to AA by June 13. That date is the target because I leave the country for my month of vacation on the 15th. So, I want to have ALL ducks in a row by the time I leave. Doable, perfectly doable. At least that's what I am telling myself!!