Thursday, March 30, 2006

More to celebrate

When you are on bedrest, you celebrate different things than other pregnant women do. They get to have showers, decorate nurseries, wear maternity clothes, and you get to pass the time. You have the strange privilege of celebrating the week the baby would likely have normal hearing, normal vision, normal lungs, a healthy suck reflex. And that time is so very precious, and each occassion a painful and joyful one all at once.
Our loved one on bedrest is STILL on bedrest, and she's just passed the 34 week mark. They are past all major milestones and are now just hoping for a little more growth. This little girl is a miracle, and her momma is amazing.
There will still be pain as she someday processes all of this, but right now, this is JOY.


A group of families working with our agency is in Ethiopia right now, and they are able to receive phone calls, so some news is reaching us here.
In most cases, it is not easy to meet with remaining members of our children's first families, as many of our children come from the drop center in the southern region. In one case, this week, a determined dad and an even more determined great aunt crossed an almost-impossible divide to meet one another.
S. is from a very remote area, so when her dad asked to meet her first family he was told it would take eight hours - five by car, three more by foot or on mule. So he set out, and the great aunt set out to meet him (she had made such a journey before, as she had relinquished S.). I wonder what they said to one another, how they said it.
What an amazing gift they are giving to S. and to each other.

Monday, March 27, 2006


Thanks, dear readers, for your well-wishes for my first-round Scrabble match. I lost by about a hundred points to the nicest philosopher I've met yet. He advised me to memorize the 87 (now 93 I believe, in edition 4) Scrabble-approved two-letter words before my second round match later this week (why couldn't it have been single elimination?).

When I took the GRE I put lists of fifty-cent words on my fridge (very few of them are helpful in Scrabble, less are useful for everday living). So now I have to put the two-tile ones up or accept a second defeat. (Four-letter-word).

In other news, it's finally spring here (at least for today).

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Coming to America

We don't talk much to ds about I. right now, but we wait for him to bring her up. We never have to wait long, and we never know what we're going to get.
On the preschool playground, ds decided to pretend that the climber was "the ship from Africa," and his friends, knowing about I., happily obliged. Dh later found himself explaining what ship was bringing which Africans, to an aa dad. (ds doesn't want to fly and thinks I. should come on a ship).

Friday, March 24, 2006

Oh what a tangled web

I have a friend who is a world-traveler and photographer (she uses a "real" camera as opposed to my digital), and a blogger as well. Check out her images of Dallas here.
But the reason that I'm writing about her blog is, well, her links. One of her links is to Merriam Webter. Now I love the dictionary (as anyone who would enter a Scrabble tournament must - my first round match is on Monday, so I'm memorizing seven letter words and learning that Qi is now approved, so don't worry about being left with Q's and no U's . . .) but I thought it an interesting choice. And what I noticed was that there was nowhere on the blogger format that was really appropriate for me to add a comment about links.
My own newest link is to Ethiopia Lives, a collection of photographs by 19 Ethiopian photographers. Check it out. Check out elektricmayhem. And you might as well check out the dictionary.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Time to Lose

DH said we needed to sit down, look at our calendars, and make some plans for vacation, and it was one more reminder of how little control we've had over this process, how little we've been able to plan, how much our plans have been thwarted.

For two years (for almost as long as we've been saving in the two year fund) dh has been saving vacation time. Best Hospital's best residency program has been allowing him to roll over more than the usual number of vacation days, so he would have time to travel to Africa and a lot of leave afterward for bonding. Best Hospital had already changed their policy to give adoptive fathers paternity leave equal to that granted to biofathers after the birth of children (two weeks), a result of dh's plans to adopt. In total, dh would have had eight weeks paid leave, plus four more as of July 1, in order to be home with I. But I. didn't come, and I. probably isn't coming before July 1. And now that dh is Chief Resident, and as he's entering his last year of residency, he can't afford to take 12 weeks off. Now he has to use it or lose it, and so we planned for many more months without I.

In November, when we first applied to the Ethiopia program, we had every reason to believe I. would be home in February, before DS's dentist appointment, a couple months before his birthday, just before spring. Now she won't be here before science center summer camp.

Despite the progress toward parity indicated above, for which we are very grateful to Best Hospital's best residency program, this is just one more way adoption will never be like pregnancy.

Easy on the Eyes?

My mom, whom I adore, reads my blog. So for the most part, Mom stories (Hi, Mom!) are off-limits. But I will share this.
I saw my mom very briefly the other night, and in the span of thirty minutes she said both of these things: "When are you going to get that hair cut?" and "Nice bowling shoes." It strikes me that it might be time for a little attention to my appearance.

Instead, I'm giving my blog a makeover. So. There.

In switching the template I lost my links. Before this technologically-incapable woman has to redo it all twice, tell me - would you rather look at this page than the other?
I'll change my template to make you happy, but I'm stickin' with the bowling shoes.
Thanks. (Love you, Mom!)

Monday, March 20, 2006

Peace (and why I'm quiet)

I have a lot to process right now, and work piling up around me as I do that.
Substantive post coming Wednesday.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Life is Beautiful

We are still waiting. We feel like we will be waiting forever, like we're in some cosmic line and everyone else is going around us. And yet, some really joyful things have happened that make me think there's a lot more right than wrong with the world. In the small things category, I had a conversation with my best friend - and I laughed out loud.
In the big things category, recently two wonderful friends have given birth to baby girls, sisters for each of their really wonderful-handsome-smart-great little boys, and I'm privileged to know all of them! And lots of families have received travel dates for their children in Addis Ababa, and some have even received referrals!
Am I hopeful that I. will come home before the fall? Not always. Sometimes hope is too hard.
But am I Hopeful? I suppose I am.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

And sometimes you just need silence - or, a party

"Momma, momma, momma" shouts the boy, in repeated sets of three. The dog does the same, only in dog-language.
"Please, DS, I just need a little quiet to hear my own thoughts!"
One minute of silence.
"What do you hear?" he whispers. Then before I can answer, he offers excitedly:
"People chattering at a party. When I'm quiet, that's what I hear in my head."
These really are the days.

Sometimes you need a good mix-tape (and don't pretend you don't)

Dh burned some songs onto a cd, and included some that make him think of me. (He loves his iTunes). Though in fairness to me, the inclusion of Meet Virginia involves the rewriting of lyrics and some words about trips to McDonalds.
But it includes more obvious and more necessary choices, like Ten Thousand Maniacs' These are the Days, a good candidate for best song in the universe. It also includes Alanis Morissette's That I Would be Good:

That I would be good, even if I did nothing.
That I would be good, even if I got the thumbs down.
That I would be good, even if I got and stayed sick.
That I would be good, even if I gained 10 pounds.

That I would be fine, even if I went bankrupt.
That I would be good, if I lost my hair and my youth.
That I would be great, if I was no longer queen.
That I would be grand, if I was not all-knowing.

That I would be loved, even when I'm not myself.
That I would be loved, even when I am overwhelmed.
That I would be loved, even when I am fuming.
That I would be loved, even when I am clinging.

That I would be good, even if I lost my sanity.
That I would be good, whether with or without you . . .

I wish I could just post the song here, but I don't know how. And if I could, I'd also post dh's cover of Brown Eyed Girl (if you haven't heard it, you should hear it. It rocks).

But I'm not that far post-double-deck-tape-recorders just yet.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Panic a Little Less

I decided to be inconsolable til noon, melancholy for awhile afterward, and reasonable from there on. So far that's working for me (though there are moments when unreason breaks through).

Dh spoke with the coordinator of our program today. She did say that due to changes in the program the only thing she can promise is that our daughter will be home by the end of the calendar year. But she also said that our program's agent in Ethiopia still believes that we will be processed before the court closings. So long as someone remains optimistic, we'll keep just a little quiet hope that we won't have to wait til October.

And if we do have to wait til October, we'll get ready for a sibling set.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


We're not going to make the court closing cutoff and it isn't our fault and I just can't talk about it now but I promise I will soon and at one point we thought we would be preparing to bring our third child home next year and instead we'll still be waiting.

(And how do I tell my four-almost-five year old?)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Nobody Panic

We've decided not to panic.
There is a rumor that Ethiopian courts will close for two months longer this year than last. If this is so, courts would be closed from June-September. If our paperwork (and I.'s) is processed before June, we could still bring her home during that time (though as you know, July travel is near-impossible for us). If it is not processed before then, we will not be bringing our daughter home until October, at the earliest. In that case, we would have to decide whether to receive a referral in that time period, knowing who we cannot bring home, knowing that she's growing without us for four months, or have our agency hold the referral until after that time so our wait remains abstract. But it already isn't very abstract as it is (please see the picture posted below).
We heard of this rumor on dh's 30th birthday.
Thankfully it's only a rumor. So we don't have to panic.

Oh, and it isn't jetlag. It's the flu.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Me and I., a Bird and Some Grass

Dear I.,
Please come home soon.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Please check the number and dial again

A couple of weeks ago, one of my son's classmates was chewing thoughtfully on a plastic letter. "You don't want to eat that!" I said. He responded, "Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again." I laughed, and asked if that's how he responded when his parents said something he didn't want to hear. "No," he said emphatically, and with sparkling eyes, "I ask, 'Why are you concerning yourself with something you know nothing about?!'"

I should have taken a page from his phone book tonight.

The Republican National Committee called to thank me for my loyal support (?!), and to ask for continued (?!) support, since - as "we" know - campaign finance laws prohibit corporate funding of political campaigns. Didn't I want to prevent the loss of the majority we'd worked so hard to gain?! Stifling a giggle, I said he'd have to speak with the man of the house, who would enjoy this call far more than I. He responded nervously, reading from his script: "Ma'am, it sure sounds like you're a loyal Republican, aware that household spending must be a joint decision." Indeed. Pause. "But you wouldn't want us to overspend. That would make us Democrats."

My young telemarketer friend had not read (or understood) the President's budget. Either that, or he's a millionaire. A millionaire who apparently had no idea who he was calling.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

An Other Time

I'm jetlagged. Still. After a quick trip to a destination with just a three hour time difference from home, I don't know when to sleep, when to eat. I do too much of one and not enough of the other. Perhaps it isn't jetlag, but a delayed recovery from a five hour delay, which had unfolded by increments ranging from 1/2 hour to 5 minutes, always keeping us on the edge of our unbelievably uncomfortable seats. At the last, we had a plane, a pilot, and no flight crew. Once we had a crew, we had 18 minutes to board. There was no way I was going to make it back before bedtime, as I had promised.

I've learned several things that I'd like to share with you:

Do not fly through O'Hare. Do not fly on Oscar night with the expectation that you will make it home for any portion of the Oscars. Do not ask the airport staff to change the channel - they are not authorized to allow you to watch the Oscars, or anything other than Headline News. But, if you've TiVoed the Oscars, Headline News will spoil it for you.

Do not ask for valium. I didn't, but apparently "fifteen people" had asked the customer service agent for that particular service, which he regretfully could not provide.

Do not expect your patience to be rewarded. It was still just a beverage flight, after all that.

Nothing is in your control.

Do not fly through O'Hare.

I talked to a couple on their way back from a Carribean cruise. I talked to a family with four(!) of the best behaved boys I've ever seen. I talked on the phone to a loved one on bedrest, many time zones away. She's been on bedrest for five weeks already. Her baby will be born soon (we hope for two more weeks) and that baby will be a miracle. She already is.

I talked to a young serviceman on the way home, and a navy retiree. The latter said she was only ever aware of "real" time between Friday afternoon and 6 am Monday morning. But I am aware, at almost every moment, of the passage of time.

Sometimes it moves too slowly. Five years ago, I was on bedrest, willing the time to move faster, that we could just get closer to term. (Though the first time I was hospitalized I wanted to halt time -stretch it out - so I could have more of it with my little boy still healthy and safe). Recently a judge's vacation in Addis Ababa delayed court processing of children waiting for parents, and parents waiting for referrals. There are about 22 families waiting for their baby girls before we'll be referred ours. It could take three more months.

But most of the time, it moves too fast. We just received a letter welcoming us to kindergarten for the fall.

Please arrive at the airport two hours prior to boarding for check-in procedures. Your short flight will be delayed for five hours. You'll lose time on the trip, and you'll never get it back.

Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board

Est.: Dec 2004
Number of meetings held to date: 0
Staff to date: 0
Funding, according to the new budget: 0
Protecting our civil liberties?: Priceless

(see Isikoff. Newsweek 13 Mar 2006)