Wednesday, May 31, 2006


We got our pre-travel update today. She's gained two kilos since referral, and she's described as happy and playful, and her pictures are even more beautiful than before. I am in awe that this little being is my daughter.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

You said WHAT?!

A very popular blog is down this week, because someone said she knew the author in (work) RL and was displeased with what the blogger had to say. I'm sorry that this has happened, as I know that her blog was a very important space for her and for her readers.

I've heard in the past that a blog could be a professional problem. The only problem for me thus far is that I spend way too much time reading others' blogs and not enough time reading text books. But I do wonder if it's the case . . .

I've tried to be careful what I've written here, not with any concerns for my professional life, or how others will react to me ( though I don't post student stories or complaints about classes even when I have great ones) but with an awareness that someday, I. could read what I've written here. I would hate to think that she would find something unexpected and hurtful, or feel I've violated her privacy, left her feeling exposed in any way. Much of this I've written with the expectation that she'll read at least parts of it someday. As far as stories involving ds go, I tell him when I'm writing them. He's starting to read, so he likes to sit with me as I reread before I hit publish. Someday he'll probably say "Why did you tell the world that I said that?" and I'll say "Hey, just be glad I never took bare bottom baby pictures like everybody else does. See? I was looking out for you!"

It isn't a matter of self-censorship so much as an effort at thinking through what it will mean to her that I've done so much public(ish) thinking-through.

For a semi-novice, then: How do other blogging mommas navigate these issues? Or blogging not-yet moms? Or not-yet blogging but thinking about it moms?


Who wants to go on another up and down with me? Who wants another peek in a crazy woman's brain?!

There had to be a court order in order for a birth certificate to be produced. We have the birth certificate. We need the court order for our state to approve I.'s homecoming.

And they just haven't sent it yet . . .

Dh is not concerned (he says). He says we have the bc, we have the tickets, we have some time. And yet. I'm checking my email every thirty seconds (with this little break to share this with you) because I'm convinced that it should have come by now. (The only other family in our travel group required to have it before travel received it three hours ago).

Wish us luck, or me patience, or something.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Her "adopted children"

I don't care about Brangelina. I really don't. But I do care about how the birth of La Jolie-Pitt is reported, so MSNBC is on my bad list (in fairness I must add that it has never been on my particularly good list, either).

Still, in the same short piece, this
"Jolie has two adopted children: toddler Zahara, from Ethiopia, and 4-year-old Maddox, from Cambodia. Both had their surnames legally changed to Jolie-Pitt after Pitt announced his intentions to co-adopt the children"
is followed by this
"Pitt and Jolie have largely kept out of sight along with her two adopted children, Maddox, 4, and Zahara, 16 months"
a few paragraphs later.

The first passage is fine with me, though wouldn't be fine with some: Jolie did, in fact, previously adopt two children (and this would be the preferred language, with "adopt" as verb). Pitt did file paperwork to share parental rights. But the second passage? Now that they have been adopted, they are now her children, not her adopted children, and this is the second time the same piece used adopted as an adjective. I. is my daughter through the act of adoption, not my adopted daughter. Let's hope very hard that in the Jolie-Pitt (ewwww) family, the same goes.

Why does it matter to me? Well, why does it matter so much to them (the Entertainment section) that they should have to say it (wrong) twice?

Editted to add -
They editted it:
"the weeks leading up to the birth of their first child." I don't mean to nitpick, I really don't, but come on!, as GOB would say.

Black and white and brown and pink

Ds was thinking today about the fact that I. will be the only brown person (so far) in our family. He loves that she will be brown. He thinks brown is beautiful. But he thinks it would have been easier for her if Daddy had been born brown, so we'd have two browns and two "white" (he says hesitantly, trying on someone else's word, before replacing it with the more intuitive "pink") people in our family.
It's been so interesting to see his thoughts about race, and what it means for I., evolve.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Must get packing!

The travel thing seems to be working itself out, and it looks like the court order (necessary for the bc, so why it's later we don't know) will come in time. I'm excited, nervous, overwhelmed, emotional, and I'm not the one traveling!

I've packed outfits in a range of sizes in individual gallon storage bags. That way, when he finds out how big she is (we don't have an updated weight!) he can pull out a bag that has pants, a shirt, and socks all together. Obsessive? Probably. But I want to make it easier for dh, and I don't want the nannies to be panicked that we don't know how to parent.

We hear the nannies keep the babies very bundled. This wouldn't be a problem for me. I always put ds in five layers before a walk and dh would strip those layers off the poor baby as we walked. But I had to insist on one more layer than dh would wear. I. is much older, obviously, than ds was when he came home, and it's temperate in Ethiopia, so this will be a challenge for dh.

So I hope my plan works. It'll also help him figure out which things to leave at either the care center or AHOPE. I'd heard that our children's clothes get mixed in with the children there, so anything we desperately love or gifts from special people should stay at home. And since we didn't know size anyway (at referral she was just 16 lbs but these cheeks suggest otherwise now) I just bought onesies and pants that I don't mind never seeing again. Same for shoes - we bought 4 4.5, 5 and 6 and will just leave whatever doesn't fit her.

As for blankets, I'm having the hardest time deciding which to send. I don't know why I've made that matter so much. I do know she needs a couple to cover her head when she's in the carrier on the way to the embassy - infants in Ethiopia aren't to be out in public before one and shouldn't be seen after that. Things are very different here, where six weeks is even less and less the norm.

For dh, we're packing as little as possible. Oh he used to make fun of my favorite childhood pants - the ones that zipped off just below the knee to become shorts - but guess what? Now he'll have two pair. His are even cooler. He can wash them in the sink in the evening, and they'll be dry by the next morning. He can get bottled water there, though it comes in two liters, so he'll have to take some small bottles, and I'm packing kool-aid singles and iced tea mixes to add to it. We hear soda is possible, but that this is easier.

What am I forgetting?!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

American What?!

But more importantly, Taylor Hicks is the next American Idol. Kat McPhee will have a hit first, so she knows she's set. Chris Daughtry too if the tour with the Sunshine Band doesn't kill him first. But why oh why all the terrible high school show choir numbers tonight?!
Yet after they sang "I had the time of my life," I was relieved - I haven't wasted all that time pounding out that script for their Musical RomCom for nothing.

Back down again

Travel details are completely sucking the wind out of our sails.
More information soon.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

She's Really My Daughter!!!!!

Today we received the emailed scan of I.'s new birth certificate.* She's really our daughter.
There's also a new picture stapled to the birth certificate. It's a little passport photo/mug shot-ish thing, and the quality is really poor. But I cannot believe how she's grown, and how she smiles!
(DS says this time, "She looks like a lot of fun!" We agree).

*The bc has an asterisks, and at the bottom, it says "adoptive parents." It doesn't efface any original information, and we do have, thankfully, quite a bit of information on her family of origin. And she'll always know everything we know. I promise.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I's Nursery

Thought I'd share one more bit of happiness - the corner of I's nursery. We're trying the crib when she first comes home (though we're borrowing a co-sleeper and expect that she'll be coziest there), but plan to move her to a toddler day bed soon (hence the long pillows). The embroidery ("baby" and "daughter" in many languages) was done by my sister and a friend of hers, and my mom made the quilt and the curtains. Dh's mom made a sweet little blanket and matching doll blanket that will be making the trip to Ethiopia along with the doll in pink (ds has named her Isadora, one of the names rejected by the Bloom family after the dramatic negative response of extended family) and a stuffed kitten, I.'s first present, bought by her brother.

Good News!

We've just received the confirmed travel date of June 10. Off to call family, and to cry - this time, happily.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

For the Weary Traveler

Conan O'Brien (Late Night):

"United Airlines announced that they are considering moving from the Chicago area . . . The good news is that United is leaving from O'Hare, so their departure will be delayed for six years."

qtd. in Entertainment Weekly, 26 May 2006.

(You can find my own experience at O'Hare, and with waiting in general, in March archives)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Film Fan

We went to buy tickets for tonight's showing of Over the Hedge this afternoon. (Review in the comments section, potential spoilers).
While I was buying the tickets, ds asked if we could buy tickets for Star Wars instead.
"No, it isn't out now."
"It must be. They have the poster."
"That's just for decoration - it isn't here right now. It was out a long time ago."
"Oh, we missed it?"
"Yes, by about thirty years."
A disappointed "Oh."
We left the theater and started talking about the rest of our afternoon - shopping and then picking daddy up from work. Some time later ds turned to me and asked, "What about the Milkshake Movie? Did we already miss that, too?" It was an ad for refreshments.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Everyday wishes and fairy wishes

I wish I would get a response.

I sent an email to our agency explaining the practical concerns I outlined for all of you below, and asking for clarification on whether or not we will need a homestudy update now that I. will be more than 16 mos when she comes home. I realize that there is nothing they can do about the delay here in the states, but perhaps they can apply more pressure where it belongs in Ethiopia. I feel so helpless, and they are our only advocates.

The effort not to make someone angry at our local (homestudy) agency led to the non- (and then poor) resolution of a situation in October, and then to an incredibly long delay and unimaginable frustration when we asked for our homestudy to be forwarded to our international agency (no one told us it hadn't been written).

Deciding whether or not to be more demanding with our sw'er reminded me so much of when I was 25 and overwhelmed by the complications of my high risk pregnancy, and felt guilty for asking the nurses to do their jobs. I was afraid of getting a reputation for being a demanding patient, and so not getting help when I really needed it. So I (we, really) sucked it up and tried not to ask for too much/call too much attention to ourselves.

I sent the email yesterday, asking my question and conveying the importance of receiving any information they do have (I know they don't want to be wrong again, but to share nothing?!)

So far I've gotten no response.


Happily, my ds is (still) funny and amazing and crazy.
His preschool class made a list of wishes, one per child. Some kids wished for ponies, some for magic wands, some for the ability to fly. Here's ds's wish: "I wish my momma would come right now."

Later, I asked him why he had wished for something so normal, instead of something really exciting. "You mean like a fairy wish? Something that can't happen?"
He decided eventually that he did have a fairy wish:
"I wish I could make a big vacuum." Okay . . . "A big vacuum to suck up people I love." Why would you do that?! "I would empty it out into our attic, and every morning when I wanted to play with somebody I would just go to the attic and bring somebody down. And then put them back when I'm done."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Now what's the emoticon for tearing my hair out?

Still haven't heard anything. I hate to email and call friends right now, because there is nothing to say. Just no, no news. No news and I'm sad and mad and tired. Though I did organize the wonderfully outfitted nursery with my dear sister this week.

Last week, I was consumed with the emotional aspects of the delay - I. was sick (no, we haven't had an update but are assuming that if we haven't heard she must be okay), we were missing her, and we were feeling incredibly helpless. I cried all the time.

Now I'm starting to obsess on the more practical issues. This returns us to an earlier post about how dh must use or lose some time before July 1, how he is chief resident and can't miss the new residents' transition, how we've had our dear friend and dh's travel companion on hold for MONTHS waiting for a timeframe from us, how I'll be teaching the second six week session and had thought I'd be off for weeks after her arrival, how airline tickets go up astronomically after June 17, and to earlier complaints that we've been stuck in every country change, program delay, growing pain, social worker crisis there has ever been (in one case "nothing like this had happened in seven years" and in another "I haven't seen anything like this in the three years we've been doing this") . . . and I feel like complaining about the practical takes away from the very real emotional drama of the last few and the coming weeks as it is being and will be experienced by at least seven families and more than seven children, children who have already lost one family and are waiting waiting waiting for another.

I also feel guilty. I'm doing that thing where you compare sadness, anger or grief and decide that yours just isn't as worthy as someone else's. Sometimes that's productive and it provides perspective. Other times, like this, probably not so much. I ought to be angry

. . .

I think.

(In completely unimportant news, BJ and Tyler won the Amazing Race. It couldn't have happened to a nicer team. Too bad everyone else was watching a Chris Daughtry-less American Idol).

Monday, May 15, 2006

The News is No News

We received an update that just said that the processing time in the Ethiopian courts is now longer and that they cannot give us firm dates (or even - it seems - an estimate). I'm passing through sadness to anger . . .

Mothers' Day

Mothers Day has always been a nice little holiday, if I ignored the cynical Hallmark-hating little voice. Twice it's meant something more. Mothers Day 2001 was special because I became a mother just the week before. This one is special for many reasons:

As you can see here, ds (through no prompting on my part or that of dh) began preparation for celebrating it two weeks ahead of time. The day before, he was so excited about the gift he and dh would give me - a ring with I.'s birthstone, like the birthstone ring I wear for ds - that he almost gave it away. Around 8 o'clock Saturday night, dh was at work and ds was alone with me and knowledge of the surprise: "Look, Momma. I almost can't not tell you anymore. So don't try to trick me. Don't try to tease me. I can't not say," he said, frowning with the effort of not saying. He did a really good job keeping the surprise.

On Sunday, my sister hosted a beautiful shower for me and many of my friends and family members came despite the fact that it was mothers day for many of them too. The shower was also attended by three of the sweetest baby girls I could ever imagine - two slept and one watched everything, intently and with a half-smile. I. is already a very spoiled baby, and will be the best dressed little girl, from pajamas to sunsuit to winter coat. We also received gifts for the children at the care center and AHOPE, which dh is thrilled to be able to deliver, when he can finally travel. I cried twice, and discovered that weepiness is not proper to pregnancy, but part of expectancy and clearly part of my make-up. I. and I are very loved.

All day, I thought of I.'s first mother, and I thought again and often of how Mothers Day, being a mother, being called a mother (in fact, at my shower I startled myself by saying "I.'s mother," and not meaning myself), is something I will always share now. In some way, I feel both her first mother's presence and absence. Sharing I. in this way leaves me feeling honored, and humbled, and melancholy.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mothers Day

. . . wherever your children are . . .

Saturday, May 13, 2006


And there it is. Thanks, Lola.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Where's the Emoticon for Throwing My Hands Up in the Air?

The newest update is not good news. There is an unexplained/unexplainable delay in the court processing of our travel group. We have now been given a new tentative travel date of June 3. Our poor travel agent had just called (within half an hour of that message) to say that she had just been able to get seats on a return flight for that next week.
I cried yesterday about the change to the 27th. I'm just sick about this.
I think like with our last major roadblock, I'm going to have to set a time-limit on being inconsolable. Any other ideas about how to function at this point?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More helplessness

Now cannot get flights the next week. Can't return the week after.


My baby has chicken pox. On the other side of the world.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Early Mother's Day Treat

DS made a Mother's Day present for me two weeks ago.
Yesterday he said to his daddy that there were three more things he thought I'd like from them:

1. A Big Hug.
2. A necklace made out of flowers.
3. To go to church.

Happy shopping for mother's day!

No news isn't good news

The deadline for holding next week's tickets passed, and no one in our travel group has yet gotten the okay to travel. So it looks like the week after - hopefully.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Dear I.,
Some days are harder than others. I can't tell you how much I miss you today. We should find out Tuesday or Wednesday whether Daddy will be able to travel soon to bring you home.
We sent pictures, but I wonder if anyone explained to you who we are, and if they did, if you understood, and if you understood, if you know Daddy really is coming and you really are coming home, and if you understood that, if it's comforting or terrifying. How strange your life will feel in just a few short weeks!
You cannot know this now, but I love you so.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

May 7

Today is World Aids Orphan Day.
There are already fifteen million aids orphans.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Our Fiesta

Thanks for the well-wishes here and elsewhere (and thanks to those who were here!). We had a wonderful time celebrating ds's birthday.
I still can't believe he's five.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

Five years ago tomorrow (since I'll be too busy at the fiesta to post):

All of the below has already happened now.

I make dh promise that on this child's fifth birthday party, we have a big party. I know we won't be able to afford a great first birthday party and besides, it's the first time I can imagine, in that moment, ever feeling safe again. DH agrees. He doesn't agree to the mariachi band (and we are not having one tomorrow). A little more time passes, and I begin to believe I'm not going to survive, even if ds does. It's probably the sleep deprivation.

A nurse realizes that they gave me that belated and ineffectual epidural without draining my bladder first. Later this will be called "poor service, good technical outcome," and I will hear medical staff discussing my "case," feeling lucky that we brought them "thank you" chocolates and not a law suit.

I finally deliver my son, almost in the hallway. I don't push, and we make it to a delivery room. The room is full. Pediatric rescusitation teams, fellow, resident, dh, me. I think about a dozen people. It's a big, cold room.

Two real pushes. His head is very misshapen, it has been so compressed for so long. I am so weak, I cannot feel my body and for this I am thankful. But I cannot see my son; they've taken him quickly and they've made no move to hand him to me. Then a "thumbs up" from the peds. I miss this, because I'm not wearing my glasses. Someone tells me. Dh accompanies ds to the nursery - I say, "Go, go," and I close my eyes.

I open them again in recovery, and my parents are there. My dad is holding my hand; he tells me he's seen my beautiful baby and that everything is okay. I slip away: I think I've died, but I know this is okay because my baby is okay, and I am profoundly grateful.

Imagine my surprise when I come around a little later. Everything afterwards feels a little like bonus.

Dear son, happy birthday. I could not imagine my life without you! Much much love, Momma.

Quatro de Mayo

Five years ago today:
I've been in active, induced labor for more than a day, at the end of thirteen weeks of bedrest. They've already turned the pitocin off once because the hospital is busy and babies are being born in the hallway (really). Some time from now, we will lose my son's heartbeat for more than three minutes, but I don't know that yet.

We will lose his heartbeat, and the first resident to arrive in the room will have to put her head between her knees, and dh will collapse against the wall behind him, and a fellow and another resident will rock me back and forth, trying to keep me breathing the oxygen, trying to find his heartbeat and trying to prevent me from hyperventilating. The doctors will reject the option of a c-section. We can't find a heartbeat, we can't have anethesthesia. But I don't know any of that yet.

I'm foolishly saying, "Too bad he couldn't wait 'til Cinco de Mayo."


Happy Quatro de Mayo. One more solid day of labor to go.

Since I've never done this before, I started to wonder just between the last post and this one if maybe we shouldn't ask for/don't deserve for anyone to go easy on us right now. Afterall, we did ask for all of this, right? Doesn't that void any claim to emotional fragility?
I'm really really tired.

Coming soon - a post honoring 54 hours of labor, five years after the fact.

(Someone's looking out for the delicate butterflies among us.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

"I'm a Delicate Butterfly!"

So says the least delicate member of my family, my dear BIL, and so quotes my maybe someday SIL. In their honor, I present this. (Another photographer chased this butterfly for an hour and never caught it still, with wings spread. How lucky am I?)

In a Delicate Condition

For the most part, I haven't asked to be treated like a pregnant woman. I didn't ask anyone to go easier on me at work when we had our domestic ups and downs, or when international adoption seemed like just too much. I didn't park in expectant/new mom parking spots (an ongoing debate in the adoption world), I didn't announce to people who couldn't see my paper pregnancy that hey, I'm expecting too! I leaned on a few friends (hi, friends) and as always, on my mom and my sister (hey there). But I didn't ask anyone to recognize adoption expectancy as a condition.

Until now.

Recently, we've been dragged into a drama not at all of our doing. We've also been accused of not being committed to our extended family for not wanting to be cast in it. I want to scream: I'm expecting! I'm in a delicate condition! Would you expect a pregnant woman to deal with this?! I want to yell: Of course we aren't as committed to keeping our extended family happy right now as we generally are! We're nesting! We're folding back in on ourselves, quieting our hearts, spending time together as the three of us before we become the four of us!

People say pregnant women "turn inward" just before they deliver. The reality is that this is not just a pregnancy thing, but a necessary emotional development for parents-to-be, maybe even more so in adoption, which is such an invisible way of expecting.

But we are turning inward.
We are preparing.
And it's a very good thing.

P.S. I've been obsessively checking my email for the apology that dh was so sure would be short in coming. It hasn't come. I don't think it's going to. And I don't think I can move on without one.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Back from Break/Off We Go?

Dear readers,
We are back from a small break to celebrate our family-of-three and to take a little rest before the arrival of our daughter to be. While away, we received a message that we may be able to travel as early as May 21. This was wonderful news. However, all flights were booked. After much finagling and wonderful work by a great travel agent, dh and a friend were able to book weird connecting flights to make it there.
But. Now we need paperwork to clear ICPC.
If you are inclined to pray, please pray for us and another family trying to travel that week. On the one hand, we've been trying to bring our second child home for a very long time, so one more week isn't so much. On the other hand, it's ONE MORE WEEK.