Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Kind of down-in-the-dumps

Last week a random stranger, a middle aged woman working at the pediatrician's office no less, scolded me for shaving my daughter's head for the summer. Really???? I wished I was witty enough and bold enough to come up with something snarky but instead I started crying.

Speaking of crying, I have been doing a lot of that lately. My floors, which were only supposed to take 4 or 5 days to complete, are now going on two weeks. Now keep in mind there is no furniture in my house except for crammed into bedrooms and on the porch. No tables, no couches, nothing. Just bare, untreated and unsealed concrete. Because of the water used to clean the floors and the fact we had to remove all the baseboards we are now learning that in addition to replacing the floors, we are going to have to repaint all the walls, replace ALL the downstairs carpet , and replace all the baseboards (several of them crumbled while we were trying to remove them). There are permanent spots all over the concrete, from some chemical reaction that took place seemingly from whatever the last people used, which may or may not be hidden when they try to re-stain tomorrow. I have been without a way to cook for almost two weeks, and I've been dragging my neverending piles of dirty laundry every couple of days 20 miles away to my sister's house.

Thank you dear sister.

NOT to mention, our sofa and a living room chair, that were outside on our covered porch, have been chewed to shreds by our very sweet but very destructive dog.

The thing is, it bothers me how much this has affected me. How SAD, how down in the dumps I feel over it. How upset and cranky I am. It is nothing life-threatening, nothing urgent. They are just floors after all, just baseboards, just a couch. The couch was old anyway. The carpet needed to be replaced anyway. Why can't I do like my mom suggested and set up the camper stove and pretend we are camping out? It doesn't bother my husband or kids, so why does it suck all the joy out of me?

I had a talk with a friend today, and I told her what my life is like right now, and I told her how bad I felt for all my grumbling and complaining over it. After all, don't people live with far fewer conveniences and with far more stress than this? She said the magic words, "Oh that would drive me crazy! I don't know how you are holding up." Thank you dear friend, that is exactly what I needed to hear. I am not crazy after all.

I got the sweetest care package in the mail yesterday, from a person that I do not know in real life but she still feels like a sister to me. She knew some of the struggles that I have been having lately, and she sent me the sweetest note along with a box full of her "favorites". Favorite magazine, favorite book, favorite chocolates, favorite snacks, favorite lipgloss, favorite nail polish, even her favorite toothpaste and mouthwash! Amazing what kindness like this can do for one's spirits. Thank you, friend. I feel your love. :)

I know I have so very much to be thankful for, my wonderful Saviour, my sweet family and wonderful friendships. I don't know how people make it without them.

I am praying and asking the Lord to give me a new attitude. (And Lord while you're at it how about a new floor, new baseboards, new carpet.....and a new couch to snuggle my new son!)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Random happenings around the Urban farm

For the past week and a half we have had a guy working on our floors trying to strip the wax and sealer that the last guy messed up on last August. All of our furniture is out on the porch or crammed into the bedrooms. I have gone a week and a half without being able to cook or do laundry because the washer and dryer are outside and the kitchen is all taken apart. There is no place to sit down and we have to eat all of our meals out or outside. Can you imagine how out of sorts I feel right now? The floor guy just finally applied the stain yesterday and......guess what???

He just realized that the concrete must have never been neutralized because it did not absorb properly and instead left little globs of color here and there. My floor now has polka dots and I am trying very hard not to cry over it.

Not to mention I wrecked my van last week and we were without a second vehicle for several days until we finally broke down and went to get a rental. The insurance only covers part of the rental, so I insisted we wait until we absolutely needed it. Which was Saturday when we had family members needing to be various places around town. (P.S. I know you will wonder. Hope and Ava were with me, plus a baby bunny. Everyone is fine. It was not my fault. The other driver was a 17 year old girl who hasn't yet learned that if someone waves you on to turn left in front of them you still need to gradually ease your way into traffic to make sure someone else isn't coming in the next lane. oooops. Poor girl.)

The goat has found another home. We enjoyed him for two months or so but it did not take me long to realize we are not goat people. He wanted to be following the kids around the yard and up on the porch and occasionally tried to sneak in the house. This was extremely cute but it was a very bad combination having a special needs girl who crawls around and tries to put everything in her mouth. If you catch my drift.

Buddy the Cow brought in $1,000 at the special cattle auction. All proceeds went to Ava's school The Little Lighthouse. Thanks Buddy. You will be missed. We hope he will make someone a nice pet rather than a juicy hamburger or a leather couch.

Speaking of The Little Lighthouse, here are some photos from the Little Lighthouse Garden Party fundraiser. My dear friend Meghan who is an blog-friend-turned-friend-in-real-life, drove up with her daughters for the day and attended the party with us. It really made for a nice highlight to my rather drab week.

These two little girls with Down Syndrome, both adopted from Ukraine, looked super adorable in their fancy dresses. Macey tried to teach Ava that it is not nice to pinch and pull hair. Thank you friends for making my Saturday by being here. :)

My sweet friend Meghan and her daughter Macey (adopted from Ukraine) and Taylor.
I know, the hats are a little goofy but so much fun. How often does a girl have an excuse to dress up and wear a hat???
Normally on Saturdays my two daughters would be dressed in soccer attire. We missed 4 soccer games to be here. I think they all looked super cute. Don't you think?
This is Ava's teacher Miss Brooke.
I've got some catching up to do the next few days. Lots of pictures from Easter, cousins visiting, Spring Break, etc.

Is it OK to post Easter and Spring Break pictures in May? Or is that kind of like wearing white shoes after Labor Day?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Bad news

Alright so here is the deal with our adoption of Joseph. Our paperwork is totally clear and we are approved to adopt him.

However, we have learned recently that there is a problem on Joseph's end. We are being told that there are problems in Joseph's paperwork that may deem him un-adoptable. The problem stems from the fact that he was born to foreign parents who have since returned to their home country several years ago.

We are being prepared for the reality that we may not be able to adopt Joseph after all. Obviously this news was very heartbreaking to us, as we have fallen head over heels in love with this little boy and want nothing more than to make him ours. However the greater tragedy is that this child would have to spend his life as an orphan, and as a child with Down syndrome, he faces the mental institution very soon. We do not think this is fair and we do not think this is acceptable.

We have asked the facilitator to make a plea to the judge. In nursing school we were taught to look at the patient and not the numbers or the paperwork. We are asking the judge to do the same. Look at the CHILD. What is in his best interest?  Joseph is truly stranded, with nobody to call his own. We want to be his family and we are asking the judge to recognize that fact and make the decision that is right for Joseph.

Now that you know, we hope you will pray with us for favor.

Joseph deserves a family. Don't you agree?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm still alive, in case anyone was wondering.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A girl and her genealogy

I enjoyed observing this interaction last week between Ava and my dad, and taking pictures from across the room. I cracked up all over again as I was uploading the photos here.

Here Opa is looking at and showing Ava where she fits on our family tree. He is a little obsessed with  Looks like Ava is a fan of genealogy, but I think she likes Opa more. I love the two bald heads side by side.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Au revoir!!!

I'd like to announce.....

Our dossier is in Paris, France!! (I wish John and I could be with it).

Bad adoptions- an honest post

There are two kinds of adoptions; good adoptions and bad adoptions. I have experienced both.  Most people, myself included, don't want to talk about the bad adoptions. We would rather pretend that every adoption is good and necessary.

I have been called courageous for being honest. I have been called anti-adoption, neither of which I am. I am simply a mother who witnessed other mothers and their children being exploited, and I knew I had to tell you the truth.

In the cyberworld since December I have met many other adoptive parents who are in the same boat as me, most of them learning too late that their adoptions were a scam. They are parenting children who were taken from loving, living and often married birth families. They have told me how lucky we are that we saw the signs and stopped before it was too late. Some of these parents are raising children who have been told they are going back to Ethiopia, who have loving parents who think they are coming back as well. I guess they are right, that we are lucky, even though most days I don't feel very lucky. My life will NEVER ever be the same. I have learned knowledge about the adoption industry that I wish I didn't know. I miss being in my little adoption oblivion. A few of these families have been truthful but most remain in the closet. They are afraid of retaliation, they are ready to move on with their lives, and they do not want the whole world to know they are parenting children who are victims of child trafficking.

It is a terrible place to be. Can you imagine? What kind of support is available for adoptive parents raising children who never should have been adopted in the first place?

One such mom has been brave and honest too. She posted a beautiful, heartfelt entry on her blog. I told her it is painful to read but it needs to be talked about, and with her permission I am sharing it here:

This morning I read a beautiful blog entry here. I follow this lady’s blog; I love reading what she writes and viewing her photos. This morning I was excited when I read the title of her latest entry, “Dear Moms Like Me“. But, just like every “adoption” book I’ve tried to read, it’s not for moms like me. Prior to the adoption, I likely would have cried reading the entry, thinking I’d be able to relate one day soon, but the truth is…I can’t. I own every adoption book on the market and have read about 20 pages of each. It doesn’t take too long to realize these books weren’t written for moms like me. They were written for moms whose kids were abused, abandoned, neglected, unloved, uncared for… orphaned. They aren’t taking about kids like mine.

Part of me wants to be that mom. When things are difficult, I want to be able to look at my child and be able to comfort myself with the knowledge that she is behaving a certain way because no one was willing to love her before, so now she will reject my love. I want to be able to find the ability to be calm in a storm, because I know she is acting up because of past abuse that I wasn’t able to stop, but now I can, and we will make it together. But that simply isn’t true. My child isn’t struggling because someone left her abused and abandoned…no, my child was nursed well into toddler age by a beautiful mother with endless unconditional love for her.

I try to read adoptive parent self help books, but they don’t apply. I try regular parenting books, they don’t apply. Nothing applies. This must be how parents of kids with RAD felt, before books on RAD were written. I want to buy a book, get home, cuddle up in my bed, and read stories ‘I’ can relate to. I want to feel like I’m reading about MY child when I read the book. I long for some written form of validation of my thoughts and emotions. I want to read a book that tells me how to get past the extreme anger I have towards an agency that lied to me and led me to adopt non-orphaned kids. I want to read a book that tells me when I’m so frustrated with a child’s behavior that I can’t think straight, that its normal to feel frustrated that the child is here to begin with, when in reality the adoption never should have happened. I want a book to tell me that its normal to feel unworthy of the compliments from one of numerous newfound family counselors. I want a book to tell me what goes on in the mind of a child who was sent away for an education program gone bad, only to discover she was adopted. I want a book to tell me how to comfort the images in my child’s mind of her dad being given money for her by an agency, whose promises have gone unfulfilled. I want the book to tell me if my child will ever stop living in survival mode (out of fear of rejection) and form any genuine discovery of herself, or ability to establish real relationships, or if she will always just be surface deep. I most of all, want a book to tell me if I’m spending so much time, energy, money, appointments, specialists, and love to fix these kids just to send them home, so their biological family can reap the benefit of all the sacrifices I’m making.

This may all sound very selfish, but it’s real. These are the thoughts of Moms like me. I’ve talked with them on the phone, as we try to wade these waters together, equally confused and frustrated. Moms like me feel alone, misunderstood and frustrated. Moms like me don’t like to be asked about our child’s adoption. We don’t like to have to tell the painful truth, but are unwilling to lie. Moms like me are sad, that the image of adoption we longed to contribute to was nothing more than a mirage. Moms like me desperately desire to know what to do with kids like ours. But no one knows. The schools don’t know. The counselors don’t know. We don’t know. The agencies don’t know (and don’t care).

I have a hunch that one day there will be books for Moms like me, because these adoptions are being finalized each day. And as more and more kids like mine are adopted, the need to know what to do increases. The agencies have an agenda, a financial one, so they will not stop these dishonest adoptions. Unless the government steps in, this will become a norm in International Adoption. So, perhaps ten years from now I can go to a bookstore and pick up a book for moms like me…

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Our cousins from Minnesota came down for a spontaneous Spring Break visit. How fun! (This would be  my brother Jason and family. You all know them as Von's family :) )
The girls stopped to see the horses before they even came in the house. So cute.
My beautiful nieces.....

My sister Marlita and I planned an April Fool's dessert prank: 

Pickle Cake with confetti sprinkles and blue sour cream (fat free) icing.

 I forgot to take a picture of it before but it looked sooooo......delicious and the kids were so excited to eat it together!

Nobody said a word for the longest time, but I had my camera handy to capture the expressions.

Only ONE kid ate the entire piece of 'cake' without grimacing.....His wife is sure gonna have it easy, huh?
Here's a cheap entertainment idea for you: See who can retrieve the Walmart bag on a windy day....

Note to self: Do not waste any more money on Christmas presents......