Archive for April, 2006

World’s Best Husband

Sunday, April 16th, 2006

Have I mentioned that I married the most wonderful man in the world? I woke up this morning to find a sticky note on the bathroom door. This sticky note led me through the house to a series of other sticky notes, ultimately leading me to my Easter basket. And inside this Easter basket what did I find? The adorably soft baby blankie I carried around Target a couple of weeks ago (see previous post on my incredible self control). He’s so sweet. That’s the first baby related item Steve has purchased and it just made my heart melt. There were other goodies of the chocolate variety. We stumbled on this candy store this winter that has these amazing turtles – big as the palm of my hand. There were two of those lovelies in there too. And some chocolate covered pretzels, a CD, a DVD and a computer sudoku disk (it’s an addiction I picked up this fall – if you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to do so).

I always think of my grandfather at Easter. Mom and I would often head to my grandparents’ house for Easter when I was a child. Grandpa wasn’t a very demonstative or affectionate man but he had a quiet kindness about him. He wasn’t a man you saw laugh often or someone who played jokes but he got pleasure out of hiding my Easter basket. He would always hide it so well that I had trouble finding it. I would look around and find nothing and he would say “Well, maybe the Easter bunny forgot you this year.” I would be very sad thinking perhaps he was right, maybe the Easter bunny had forgotten me. Then he would take pity on me and help me find it. I don’t know how many years we went through this routine before I finally realized that the Easter bunny had not forgotten me but he always seemed to think it was pretty amusing.

Now I find myself thinking that by next Easter we will have a child! I have a hard time wrapping my mind around that sometimes. Steve and I were talking last night and imagining Easter egg hunts and Easter dresses and Easter baskets. Do little girls still get special Easter dresses? I always got a pretty new dress to wear to church on Easter. I was always so excited to wear it on Easter morning. There were usually new white tights and new shiny shoes to go with the dress. Steve’s memories of Easter are more boy-type things. His favorite story is the year that his dad hid the Easter eggs (real hard boiled eggs) in the house. He hid one so well that they didn’t find it until June when it started to smell bad. We’ve decided that maybe we should use the plastic eggs for hiding.

Happy Easter everyone!

Future nursery thoughts

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

Speaking of paint (see previous post), we looked at paint last weekend for the future nursery. We originally were talking about using the green left over from the bathroom on 3 walls and then painting the 4th wall another color. When discussion of painting the bedroom resurfaced, I remembered that Steve talked me out of painting the bedroom periwinkle and we ended up with tones of green. I’m not a huge green fan. I don’t really have any strong feelings about it one way or the other. But I don’t want our entire upstairs to be shades of green so I think we will come up with a new paint color for the future nursery. Steve really doesn’t want to do it pink. He says when she is old enough to declare she wants a pink room he will happily paint it pink but for now would rather not have a pink room in the house. I’m on board with that. Maybe periwinkle in there. We don’t have a nursery theme or bedding or anything picked out yet to guide us. I really want to wait until we have a referral to pick things out. So, we’ll pick a color we like and work with it when we start decorating.

A lot of couples start their nursery early. They often have it almost finished before they have their dossier done. I think that is great but I just can’t do it. I can’t have an empty nursery in my house mocking me during the months of waiting. (Oh and it would mock me my friends.) I can’t even call that room the nursery yet. I call it the 3rd bedroom or future nursery. I don’t even know why. It’s not that I think I am going to jinx anything. It’s not that I am not excited to decorate the room for our future baby. And it’s not that I want to wait and see what kind of loot we will get at a shower (the shower is a whole other uncomfortable future consideration). I have said that I want to wait and decorate for OUR daughter rather than a hypothetical idea of a baby. This is true. But that isn’t the whole reason. The other reasons behind it are harder to articulate. When we decided to adopt, I regained my hope that we would finally have a family. But I think part of me is afraid to completely embrace that hope too soon. I feel like the longer I can focus on paperwork and signatures and notaries and appointments, the less time I will spend actually waiting. Once we get a referral and our child has a face and a name, I will be a complete head case. When she is real, it will become so hard to wait, so hard to know someone else is caring for her and loving her.

Update

Saturday, April 15th, 2006

Well friends, I have taken the serenity prayer to heart this week and stopped being so obsessive. Many of the things we are waiting for now are out of our hands so there isn’t anything I can do to hurry along the process. Steve had his police letter re-done so it is correct now. We received our state criminal check clearances back yesterday. For the homestudy we are waiting on our 3 reference letters to be written by our friends, our state child abuse clearances, and the actual homestudy to happen (next Saturday). For our dossier, we are waiting for both of our birth certificates to arrive, Steve’s employment verification letter, and letters from the doctors (we both have appointments on Wednesday). Then we will take everything that was notarized to be certified and turn in our I-600A and receive fingerprint appointments. Of course there are some other items that we will have to wait for for the adoption agency to approve our homestudy (like the $%#@ HIV results – I’m a little bitter lol).

With the home study scheduled for 1 week from today, I made yet another list. This one is titled “Things to be done before home study”. It’s a 2 page list of things to clean or fix or put away before the social worker comes. (Items such as ‘put all the crap in the closet’ are included on the list.) I am probably less stressed about the home study than many people simply because I’ve visited many houses over the years as a social worker. But, that doesn’t preclude there being a list. Steve knows about the list, has seen the list, ridiculed me for making the list, but has probably not read the list. Last night he says to me “let’s paint the bedroom this weekend”. We bought paint in January to paint our bedroom. He wanted to do a ‘technique’ on the walls so we have one color of paint and 2 colors of glaze to rag onto the walls. This is a big project which will likely take us a couple of weeks. And after putting it off for 4 months, he decides the weekend before the home study is the time to start?!? Needless to say, “we” decided to wait until after the homestudy to start.

You like me…you really like me!

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

Sorry for the ancient Sally Fields reference…but Steve was just telling me that I’ve gotten a good number of hits on my little blog here. When I asked how many “a good number” constituted, he said “well let’s just say, for only being up for a week, you’ve gotten more than I had in my first couple of weeks on my blog”. Well DUH! I adore my genius computer geek hubby but his blog is about technical stuff – Cold Fusion language and making it work with Jboss (I think…I try to pay attention but when he starts talking about it I end up hearing Charlie Brown’s teacher’s voice “woh woh woh woh woh” – he usually stops talking when my eyes glaze over). Adoption stuff is way more interesting. Anyway, thanks everyone for stopping by and following my journey.

Bad adoption day

Tuesday, April 11th, 2006

Yesterday was a bad adoption day. Yes, I am one week into the process and already frustrated. Doesn’t bode well for the next 9 months does it?

It started with me going through the packet that the adoption agency sent (this is the agency I think we will use but haven’t committed to yet with money or signatures). I realized that the agency requires me to pay them to review a home study that I have already paid $1400 to an agency to complete. Not only am I forced to pay them to review it, I realized that they had additional home study requirements to include in their review, thereby adding to my already overloaded to-do list. I wasn’t amused. After several email and a phone call, I realized that if I want to use this agency, I am going to have to suck it up and deal with this.

Then Steve and I went to the bank to get a notarized letter stating our account balances. (I really have no idea what value this has…the balance changes daily – usually in a downward fashion.) After arguing with a teller, a customer service (my ass) rep, and the notary, we finally got the letter but it didn’t include the all important “as sworn and subscribed to me on this ___day of April, 2006” phrase. For some reason, the Guatemalan government doesn’t believe a notarized document is complete without that phrase. We got it redone and they were very happy to see us leave.

I went to pick up the letters from our local police department stating that we don’t have a habit of throwing crack parties in the neighborhood. The woman behind the desk spent 10 minutes complaining about how annoying it is to prepare these letters because they have to be so precise before she would hand them over and charge me $30 for the service. I got home and realized that Steve’s letter from the police had to be redone because the notary stamp didn’t print fully and somebody wrote in the missing info. I couldn’t face her again, so I asked Steve if he would go back today and ask her to re-do it.

Finally, I had to call my doctor’s office because one of the new things on my to-do list, courtesy of the adoption agency despite Guatemala not wanting the information, is an HIV test. While making an appointment to see the nurse to take blood, I mentioned that I needed the doctor to sign off on a letter that I don’t have anything contageous and raising a child won’t kill me (physically at least). I was just in the office 6 weeks ago, spoke at length with the doctor at that appointment, gave viles of blood for long lists of blood work, and talked about trying to conceive a child. I figured if I had her blessing 6 weeks ago to get pregnant (not that that is going to happen short of divine intervention it seems), that she could just sign off on the letter. OH NO…I have to go have a physical. Bah!

So today, I’m not doing anything. I’ve decided that my expectations are unrealistic and I need to relax a little bit. Everyone talks about it taking 2-3 months to complete their dossier but I am bound and determined to get ours complete in 30 days. I need to take a xanex and accept that I may not be able to meet that self-imposed deadline. There are simply parts of this that I can not control.

Now I can’t end this on a negative note, so I had a bright spot today. The social worker called and scheduled our home study for 4/22! I’m glad to have that on the calendar – one more thing to check off the list!

I’m a moron

Friday, April 7th, 2006

It was pouring rain this morning in our fair city. But I had the complete novel (I mean application) for our homestudy agency completed (yes, Steve wrote his bio last night – bless his heart) and I wanted to get it in the mail today. So, I pulled out the umbrella and made my way to the post office a few blocks from my office. Happily walking back to my office and patting myself on the back for the 5 day turn around time on the application, it hit me. I forgot to enclose the check. I had a list of all of the things to include but I forgot to put the check on that list so it didn’t go in the packet. I had to call these people who I am trying to convince that I am responsible enough to entrust a child to and tell them that I am a moron. I promised to send the check out separately but I didn’t want them to wonder where it was. These things happen, right?

Things I will NEVER do as a parent

Friday, April 7th, 2006

I titled it that way mostly because all of you parents out there get a kick out of us non-parents proclaiming we will never do certain things when we become parents. I know enough to know never say never…but I thought it would be fun to post this and then dig it out in 10 years and let our child roll her eyes because we’ve done 90% of them. So keep in mind, this is all said tongue-in-cheek. (And the mom-bashing is done in jest and with love.)

1. This is the only one that I resolve to stick to no matter what: When my mom was really angry and yelling at me she would invariably ask some question in the middle of her rant. I, wisely in my mind, would remain silent (hey, it’s the 5th amendment). She would then yell “Answer me when I ask you a question!” I would begin to answer and then she would yell “Don’t you talk back to me!” I promise I will never do this – mostly because it is such an amusing childhood memory that I would probably crack up and lose track of my rant.

2. I will not make my child sit at the dinner table until she eats every scrap of food on her plate. This one was my dad. He would make some vile and revolting thing and force us to sit there until we ate. I do attribute some of my creative problem solving skills to the time I spent dreaming up ways to stash the food. Gauzpacho (sp?) was the worst…my sisters and I dreaded the nights when we heard the blender whirling. My mom tried to get in on the eat everything on your plate thing (my parents divorced when I was young) but the stouffer’s squash incident put a stop to that. Mom loved this stuff. It looked like yellow baby shit (I mean baby food). She told me I had to eat it one night. When she walked away, I put some on my fork for the dog to eat so that I wouldn’t have to. The dog promptly went behind the chair and barfed. I then informed my mother through my fits of laughter, that if the dog who was known to lick his own butt couldn’t eat it without barfing then she couldn’t make me eat it. I actually won that one. She denies this ever happened.

3. I will sometimes let my child eat like a kid. My mom used to pack my lunch when I was in grade school. This, in and of itself, wasn’t a bad thing. The bad thing was what was in the lunch. Other kids had PB&J, bologna, pringles, and other normal kid type foods. I was the dork who took pastrami and swiss with dijion mustard and a hard boiled egg. You can’t trade that shit away in an elementary school cafeteria. Yes, I want my child to eat healthy, but it in a less nerdy way.

4. I will allow my child to wear t-shirts to school. My mom wouldn’t allow it because then I looked like “I had a mother who doesn’t love me”. Do you remember that career woman look in the early 80’s that had women wearing blouses with big colorful bow ties (bigger than a man’s bow tie but not quite a scarf)? That’s how I was sent to school. AND my jeans were ironed – that’s just wrong. It’s a good thing I had a good personality or I would have been beat up a lot.

5. I will never say “Because I said so” or “because I am your mother, that’s why”. Okay, I know this one is a lie. When I did group therapy with kids I found myself saying variations of this although since I was being paid to be therapeutic, I had to be nice about it and say “because I asked you to”.

6. I will never lose my child in the mall. My mom was famous for walking away from me in stores when I wasn’t keeping up or stopping to look at something without telling me and I would keep going. In truth, I was never truly lost. I never had to be paged over the loudspeaker at the store. I always eventually found her (she usually didn’t even realize that I was “lost”). She even left me at a rest area in the middle of the PA turnpike once. Okay, she didn’t leave me, but when I went in to go to the bathroom, she moved the car to the other side of the lot so she could let the dog out and I couldn’t find her anywhere. That’s scary shit when you are 10. I still have issues in stores when I can’t find my husband – I get annoyed and panicky.

7. I will never read my child’s diary. No, mom never did this one. Do kids even have diaries anymore? Or have they given them up for that scary MySpace site? Okay, if they are posting something publicly, I will read it and check up on it mostly to ensure their safety. But if she has a pretty pink diary with a little gold key, I promise not to pick the lock with a bobby pin.

That’s the list for tonight…I may add to it as more occur to me. One of these days I will also post a list of all the ways my mom is wonderful since she got the bum wrap tonight. Because she is a very cool lady.

My incredible self-control & Making progress

Thursday, April 6th, 2006

We went to Target tonight. I LOVE Target. Steve was browsing in the men’s department and I noticed the baby department across the aisle. I wandered over that way. When I shop, I am totally tactile – I touch EVERYTHING. And if it’s soft, I’ll stop and look at it. EVERYTHING in the baby department is soft. I walked around hugging an adorable (and yes, you’ve got it – soft) Tigger. I walked up and down the aisles touching things like a pervert in a porn shop. I found this incredibly soft blankie – pink and fuzzy, it was so sweet. (Why aren’t adult blankets that soft? I would love to have a blanket like that!) I took the blanket over and made Steve feel it. Then, I walked the blanket and the Tigger back to the baby department and left them there. I think I deserve hot fugde for exhibiting that much self control. I’ve been waiting years to walk into a baby department and buy things for myself rather than for a friend’s baby shower. But, we’ve agreed that we want to wait until we have a referral to start buying things. (I think Steve is afraid of the sheer volume of things I might buy if I had an additional 4 months of shopping time.) We decided we want to wait until we have a daughter to buy things for rather than buying them for a hypothetical future baby.

I’ve made some progress on items for the dossier and items for the home study. Our Act33/34 Clearances were mailed yesterday (a form required for home study here in PA). My employer is writing and notarizing my employment verification letter. The local police department is writing and notarizing our local police clearance letters. The mega-application/information forms for the home study agency are finished. Steve made his appointment with the doctor to get a physical so we can get our medical letters done. The biggest trick for that will be getting a notary to the doctor’s office (they don’t have one on staff). And I wrote my autobiography for the home study.

I will mail in our homestudy app so that we can schedule the home study as soon as Steve writes his autobiography and fills in a couple of blanks on the financial forms. It will be great to get that going. Poor guy – I’m turing into a nag by sending him “to-do” lists at work everyday. I hate nagging but this is the only part of the process we have any control over so I want to get through it as quickly as possible. He is writing the autobiography now…but isn’t too happy about it.

It’s official…I’m turning into my mother!

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Most women have those moment – you know the ones – when you suddenly realize you are doing something or saying something exactly as your mother would. My mom is a compulsive list maker. She makes lists of her lists sometimes. She makes lists for packing, for cleaning, for shopping, for work tasks, for school tasks, for personal tasks, for errands…you name it and she’s made a list for it. She says it gives her satisfaction to cross off items…it makes her feel she has accomplished something. When I was a kid, I dreaded those lists because invariably there was one with my name at the top. During summer vacation, I would wake up to a fresh to-do list every morning. I hated that. The worst was mowing the lawn…have you ever heard the story of the time I got the riding mower stuck in the pine tree? No? Well that’s a post for another time.

Some how I’ve gotten the list maker gene from mom (I couldn’t inherit her size 8 body…oh no…I get the list maker thing and the lack of a butt from my dad…the universe certainly has a sense of humor). Today, I broke down the list of things we need to compile for our dossier into a more manageable set of tasks. I even put little check boxes by each one so I could check off the progress as we complete things. I then proceeded to make a second list of items to be completed after the dossier is complete. I made a list of things for Steve to do. Finally, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish today. Mom would be proud.

But the bright note of the day is that I did accomplish several things and got to cross off a few steps. I got certified copies of our marriage certificate. Two of the homestudy agencies returned my calls and I decided which one to go with. I printed out the homestudy application and filled out the first 10 pages of it (it’s 34 pages total). I completed the child abuse clearance and criminal record check forms, bought the money orders for each, and they are in envelopes ready to go in the mail tomorrow. [I went to the bank to buy 4 $10 money orders. They wanted to charge me $5 per money order!?! I walked down one block and bought them at CVS for $0.69.] I also emailed the HR department at work to ask for my employment verification letter.

Adoption Brain?

Monday, April 3rd, 2006

My friends who have been pregnant claim that they become stupid during pregnancy – they call this pregnancy brain. My friend Deanna claimed she found an article that proved this was based on scientific fact. I’m wondering if it is possible that I’ve got a similar affliction – Adoption Brain.

I had several things I wanted to accomplish today on the adoption front. I wanted to contact several home study agencies to get information and choose one. I called 4. I left 4 messages. I have received 0 call backs 6 hours later. I printed out the application for the agency I am interested in using and have filled it out. It will be faxed tonight. I printed out the I-600A, a form from Homeland Security to be approved as fit by our government to adopt a foreign child. The actual form is less than 2 full pages. The instructions for this form is 4 pages. I thought, how hard can it be? I had to go to the adoption message board I belong to and ask 5 separate questions. Yes, even the 4 pages of instructions didn’t make it clear enough for me. I am an intelligent woman. In my work, I have helped people file for divorce, file for custody, file for protection orders and even file their freaking taxes! But I can’t figure out this stupid 2 page form for the life of me. When did I become such a moron? I hope my brain comes out of this fog soon because this is one of the easier tasks in the process!


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