Friday, September 24, 2010

I Do Not Have the Brain Power to Think of a Title

I'm pretty sure I scheduled my hair appointment for tomorrow because I thought that A) the neck massage would be awesome and B) fresh hair for family photos! I am trying to put my long to do list out of my mind and focus on those two benefits. I wish I also had time for a pedicure, but what can you do? Paint 'em at home, I suppose.

I'm not sure what posting will be like once we are in Ethiopia. I am going to make updating our adoption blog my top priority, as I know that friends, families, and very kind strangers will be looking for updates there. So if you don't see me here, hop on over and check in over there. Internet coverage is spotty in Addis, so I'm going to take whatever time and connection I have to make it count for our little lady.

I am excited and nervous about the trip, as is to be expected. While Jarod is back in the US between our court and embassy appointments, I am staying with a friend's aunt, and she does not speak English. I know very little Amharic (tinish! tinish!), and what I do know is more appropriate to our daughter than to a wider audience. This could be an even bigger adventure than I bargained for. But it doesn't matter, really. I am not staying so I can have a luxury vacation; I am there to be near to Nola and to learn more about her home country and culture. If I don't get a shower and have to wear a hat over my greasy white girl hair every single day, so be it. Better stories later, right?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This Tuesday With Old Lady Mary

It was a good day for visiting Old Lady Mary. I got her the biggest balloon bouquet the grocery store had to offer, and she marveled at how good I am at finding things. "I've never even seen that kind there!" she gushed, "I just don't know how you picked that!" Well, it was about five feet in front of me when I walked in the door, that's how. I feel better about leaving her for the next six or eight or however-many weeks; she seems to understand that I will be back, and that eases my mind. I don't like to have her worry that I've just deserted her forever. Because: NOT TRUE. Who else would call me a fashion model? Absolutely no one.

tuesday, september 21, 2010

Click on that pic for the full details of the outfit and her reaction.

...

We are in major countdown mode over here, what with only four days until we ditch you for an Ethiopian beauty, but you wouldn't know it by the way I'm sitting on my rear in front of the computer and baking cookies like it's any other night. I guess it's nice to just be normal for a few minutes before I start racing around like a chicken with it's head removed.

Oh, wait, that's normal for me, too.

Oh, well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

In Case You Are Interested

There's a full tour of our daughter's room right here. It's pretty much the biggest thing I've gotten done today, and hello, I need to be getting things done. We leave in five days. I woke up this morning freaking out a little bit at all the things we need to do, but nothing is that difficult, and I did mark three small things off the list already. It's the tedious things that are getting to me, like doing the laundry and putting away the shower gifts from yesterday.

I also need to write a truckload of thank you notes. I am sure that people would understand if I didn't get them mailed before I exited the country, but I think that if you are grateful for something, you should make sure people know that. Taking the time to write a note of thanks is really the least I can do. And plus, doesn't everyone love getting mail?

I suppose I'll sort the laundry now. (ho hum *sigh*)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hoarders Lite

After our adoption fundraiser last night, we loaded everything into the house and the garage, showered, and turned around and walked out to stay at my parents' overnight (if you can call midnight to 5:20am overnight, that is) so we'd be one hour closer to St. Louis this morning. We'd also gotten some packages in the mail, one of which I opened hurriedly and subsequently scattered around the dining room. None of the loading in was very neat, and we returned this evening, exhausted, and I dropped what I was carrying willy nilly in the living room, which already contained a basket of clean laundry and a basket of detritus from the nursery that needs to be sorted. The coffee table had been a bit of a mess for a long time, and when I finally looked up after scarfing down three leftover fundraiser cupcakes and some cheese and crackers (while checking my e-mail and various blogs, no less), I realized that we'd walked into an episode of a hoarding show, during the part where they're about a third of the way done and start finding the bones of old, dead cats. And the shameful thing is that I have absolutely no will to do anything about it.

I did, however, have the will to open three other packages that arrived in the mail and try out the toddler leg warmers on the (still living, not buried beneath hoarded rubble) cat.

lucy checks nola's bamboo leg warmers for comfort

Priorities: I've got some.

I hope you notice the basket of laundry right next to me that I could be folding if I weren't too busy trying leg warmers on the cat and blogging about it. I can do that tomorrow, right? I've still got two hats with giant flowers, and the cat's all relaxed, so I think we know what must be done.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

This Tuesday With Old Lady Mary

Did you notice that I skipped posting last week's photo? Let's say you didn't. Mary didn't comment on the outfit at all, and while I thought it was fine, it was also kind of boring. So we shall move on to today's outfit. Click on through to get the details.

tuesday, september 14, 2010

Next week will be my last Tuesday with OLM before I leave for Ethiopia. In preparation, I brought her six bottles of chocolate syrup and three bottles of thousand island dressing, plus Pringle's that I pretended were on sale. "I got some for $1.50! Were yours more on sale than that?" Mary asked. Affirmative! They were cheaper than that. Mine were $1.47! I didn't mention the exact price, though, because I wanted to lead Mary to believe that I'd gotten a great deal and not spent too much money on her. My ruse was a success.

We are eleven days out from leaving. Our last piece of paper finally arrived today. We would celebrate with champagne (or whatever champagne-like substance we already own, since we are on a budget), but now is not the time for it. This story is about our family member, who is Jarod's cousin's wife. She is a really wonderful person, and will be greatly missed by her husband and children and of course by all of us.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Adoption Soapbox!

It's probably a little soon to be thinking about our second adoption, but I do it all the time anyway. From the very beginning of this process, we intended to adopt twice. We'd like our daughter to have a sibling, and we'd like them both to come from the same place so that they will not feel alone. This is very important to me, which is why reading about how corruption ended all adoptions from Vietnam makes me nervous. You see, some of these same things are happening in Ethiopia now. We'd all be kidding ourselves if we pretended that people don't try to make money off of other people, in the worst ways possible, and it is not a surprise to me, but it is heartbreaking nevertheless. It is heartbreaking that families that could remain intact are not remaining so due to coercion or outright child theft, and it is heartbreaking that children who truly need families are affected by this. I suppose I don't understand why, with so many children who truly need families, it is necessary to try to talk families into giving up the children they could raise.

Then again, I do understand why. Prospective adoptive parents get impatient. Many people want to adopt healthy infants. There is money involved. So if you want to make a fortune, what would you do? You'd keep your wait times for healthy infants short by finding a way to supply healthy infants to families who can pay the fees to bring them home.

Ethiopia is fast becoming the most popular country to adopt from. Now that China has tightened things up and wait times are long, and Vietnam and Guatemala are closed due to corruption, people are switching to Ethiopia. This would be great news if it meant that only children who truly need families are being adopted, but unfortunately, that's just not the case. Frankly, I am shocked to read how many people will only consider healthy infants. And yes, I realize this has a small touch of "pot calls kettle black" to it, as we were requesting a baby, and a baby girl at that. I'd love to defend myself by saying that we were open to special needs, but the truth is that we would have remained on the waiting list for a healthy baby girl if no babies with special needs that we felt prepared to handle were in need of a family before we reached the top of the list.

I am mulling over what this means for us next time around. I am so overjoyed to be bringing home a three-year-old that I could see being open to, or maybe even preferring, the same age range the next time around. At the same time, I sometimes think I'd like to have a baby in our house, and I know that Jarod would, not to mention both sets of grandparents. But if our motives for adopting are truly to be a family to a child who needs one, then I think we may have to reevaluate what we are open to. There are some special needs that I don't quite feel prepared to handle just yet, and likewise Jarod has a couple of needs that he is not comfortable with yet. And I say "yet" because we both are open to our hearts and minds being changed by the time we are ready to adopt a second time.

Last week we went to St. Louis to meet with the Ethiopian director of the transition home where are daughter has been staying since early May. I was able to talk to his wife about our daughter, and we discussed why she looked so sad and scared in the first photos we saw of her. It was confirmed that she was very hungry when she arrived, and while it broke my heart that my child was so hungry that she gained two and a half pounds in her first ten days in their care, it also provided the relief of knowing that she truly needs us. I am so grateful that our agency operates ethically. We received an e-mail early on, which was sent to all the parents, that told us point blank that our agency does not go looking for children, and that they wait as long as it takes for children who truly need families to be referred. This makes me feel very good, and we will most likely use the same agency again, so long as their is an again for us and Ethiopia. My hope is that what happened in Vietnam and Guatemala will not happen on such a large scale in Ethiopia (indeed, I hope that all corruption will cease, but I know that's unlikely), and children there who need families will continue to be given when they need.

I also hope that more families who are adopting will begin to be open to wider age ranges and health issues. There are so many children both here in the US and abroad that are truly in need of a family, but are not in the preferred category of "healthy" and "infant." I suppose that I would even take that a step further and say that I hope that families who did not previously consider adoption as a means of family building would become open and willing. It takes work, yes, and it's markedly different from giving birth (not that I'd know, but so they say), but I think that there are many families who would be wonderful adoptive families who are simply not considering it. I say this not in a judgmental way, but just to say, hey, you might be really good at this.

Really, I think you're pretty awesome. You should consider being awesome in an additional way, so long as it won't make you way awesomer than the rest of us. Think about it.

I'll wait right here for your answer. And to meet your lovely children.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

People Get Ready, Nola is Coming!*

I'm anxious to have everything in Nola Z's room ready, both so I don't have to think about it anymore, and because I have been notified that people are expecting photos, so tonight I removed the cushiony glider from our Amazon registry and ordered something a little sleeker and a lot less expensive. Tomorrow Jarod and his dad will build her bed (based on this, but twin-sized mattress instead of toddler), and that will be that. There is an empty frame in there, but I figure if we don't end up with the print from our registry, we will get something special in Ethiopia. Or I'll get a little crafty with a map of Africa, swiped from the internet, and my decoupage supplies. (Mod Podge and I are like this.) There's nothing wrong with a good collage, am I right?

Beyond that, we are still waiting for those two items I mentioned previously to arrive. I've got tracking information for my passport (Ethiopian visa now included!) that indicates that it will be delivered on Monday, and it seems I'll have to grow as a person (AGAIN, thanks a LOT, USCIS) in order to get the amended I-171H (advance something something orphan let us into the USA, please) that we were supposed to get, um, at least a month ago. Oh, well.

And there are a few various and sundry other things to attend to. I'm about to leave for Walgreen's to get some Earplanes and motion sickness bands, and I've a feeling I'm a little more excited about it than your average traveler might be. I am also doing laundry so that I can pack the rest of my clothes. What's that you say? We don't leave for two weeks? I know; I just really like being prepared. It's fun.

*For those of you with evangelical Christianity (with an emphasis on Christian rock praise music) in your background who get the joke of the title, perhaps you think I should change it? It would make more sense to say, "Nola get ready, people are coming, coming to take you home..." My apologies to those of you who do not get the joke. That song is horrible, yet catchy, and I would have to apologize more if I were to get that song stuck in your head.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Even My Social Worker Tells Me This is True

I've been a little stressed out lately, not to mention tired. Really, really, really tired. There's a lot to think about and plenty still to do. We are waiting on two things to arrive via post/FedEx, one of which is my passport, which makes me feel very nervous. Add in that the world keeps turning and other people keep having lives which include celebrations and needs, and it's just all too much. Even when I am exhausted, I feel like something is vibrating ever so slightly in my body. There's an edge to everything. But when I'm tired (which is all the time), it makes it hard to figure out what to do when, and the edginess makes it hard to indulge in sleeping in or even taking a good nap in order to help my poor brain function properly. I am constantly mindful of my to do list, of how many people have sent e-mails that I haven't returned, that I forgot to get the same something at Target again. I can't seem to settle myself.

Last night we went out for our anniversary, and we were both tired. I had that vibrating feeling that follows me everywhere, and I thought, "Well, it's our anniversary, and that's something to celebrate, so I will have wine. Of the variety that sparkles." So I ordered a glass, and it was good, and do you know what else? Somewhere in there the vibrating feeling disappeared. I was still exhausted, and I still felt a little overwhelmed at what the next two weeks have in store, but there wasn't frantic energy behind it. Last night, I slept better than I have in weeks, maybe months.

Which is all to say: wine is the answer.

Who knew?

Probably everybody but me.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Fall Packing

I am really excited for fall to arrive. I woke up Saturday morning and checked the temperature to see what to wear to work, and was thrilled that I could get away with a three-quarter-length sleeve and actually needed a jacket for the morning hours. I've mentioned before that I love layering, and that I own seventeen cardigans, so I am ready for this. This may sound super silly, but I find myself grateful that we are bringing our daughter home to cooler temperatures because I feel so much cuter in my layers than in what I throw on to combat the swelter of summer, and I want to be a cute mom.

The great thing about Addis Ababa is that the weather is fairly steady, topping out in the seventies during the day and getting down below fifty at night. I think we all know that this is perfect weather for a little cardigan wearing, and I am thrilled. I think every day about what I'll pack, and with seventeen cardigans*, it's a challenge. I can't pack them all. I'm trying to narrow it down to three, which will be mixed and matched over four or five shirts, which will be mixed and matched with two pairs of jeans and one pair of trousers. I also have two dressy outfits planned, which may require a separate cardigan, which I won't count in the three allotted cardigans because, duh, it's not part of my mix-and-match scheme, so it doesn't count! Right? Everyone please agree.

I know it's silly to pack so far ahead, to think so hard about it, as if what I wear in Ethiopia and if I feel cute enough matters at all, but it's something I enjoy, and it's something to do when I am feeling really far away from my little girl, so I'm doing it. In case you are wondering, of course I've got our daughter's bag packed already, with outfits folded neatly together. I hope she likes layers, too.

And hats.

I really hope she likes hats.

(Nineteen days until we blow this popsicle stand, by the way. NINETEEN. DAYS. I am right to be feeling anxious, aren't I?)

*I feel a little ashamed to own so many cardigans; it feels decadent and wasteful. I have no reasonable excuse for it, either. Shameful!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Belief


Image is of this print, which I covet.

We are three weeks and two days out from leaving to meet our daughter. There is a lot to do. We are doing it.

We are really, really doing it.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

This Tuesday with Old Lady Mary

Today I bring you the color of summer: YELLOW. Old Lady Mary has decreed it, and thus it must be so. Click on the photo for more details.

tuesday, august 31, 2010

I don't have many Tuesdays left before my trip, and Mary is convinced she'll never see me once I bring my little girl home. I told her that wild horses couldn't keep me away, and she said, "Huh?" (This is the same response I get when she asks who's at her door, and I reply, "The big bad wolf!") So then I just told her that I would still visit her every single week after I got back, and she only kind of believed me. I guess I'll have to prove it to her. In the meantime, I'm looking for someone to deliver groceries to her weekly while I am away. She does best if you can come on the same day and at roughly the same time each week. You do not have to attempt to dress like a fashion model, though you'll get more compliments if you do. It's up to you. I'll leave some funds to pay for what she needs and will reimburse for any additional amount spent. Basically, all it will cost you is time and patience. I know I say a lot of things about her that may not be considered complimentary, but I wouldn't go if I didn't also find her to be a delight. Please do email me if you've got an hour or so each week to give to Mary.