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Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas everyone

That's right - Merry Christmas to all 3 people that read my blog! I was hoping for a Christmas referral miracle this year, but it just wasn't in the cards. That's okay, it gives 2012 a chance to blow 2011 out of the water! Here are some things I want for 2012:

For my family to be healthy (especially my mom, who is having surgery on 12/29 to remove some (hopefully non-cancerous) lumps from her thyroid).

For continued happiness.

To know who my daughter is (finally).

For my kittehs to get along (finally).

I'm not asking for much, I don't think.

Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy, prosperous 2012!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Awesome band names - super teehee edition

This one I got from one of my favourite websites, Go Fug Yourself. It was used in reference to a be-sequinned, be-feathered get up that Fergie Ferg was wearing at some soiree. So, without further ado, I give you Weaponized Emu! The visual itself, of an emu packing heat, makes me laugh out loud. Weaponized Emu is a "rock" band, one of those bands like Nickelback, that aren't really all that good, whose songs all sound the same, and who no one will admit to liking. Hey, I said I loved the name, not the band.....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Let it go, let it go, let it go.....

And by go, I mean "leave". This has been a very difficult Christmas season so far, one of the hardest that I can remember, and that includes the 8 Christmases I've spent apart from my family (thank God for my "adopted" Christmas family in Australia!). I am not in a Christmas mood at all this year, and I'm pretty sure it's all to do with the adoption (or the lack thereof). We were in the mall on Saturday, doing some shopping on behalf of my mom, and the store just happened to be right next to the "get your picture taken with Santa" area. It was all I could do to get past the little ones (dressed up to the nines) & their parents without bursting into tears, and then the store we went to was geared specifically to children, so that didn't help either. I don't remember feeling like this the last 2 Christmases just past. It's not that I'm jealous of everyone who has kids, it's just that I'm really, really bummed that we don't have one of our own yet. I don't feel like putting up any decorations, or any lights, or a tree, or anything like that. I am looking forward to exchanging gifts with my family, though - I think I've done a pretty good job this year with my purchases! It's just that, Christmas is for children, and it's a constant reminder that I don't have one.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

OMG, SRSLY?

Just had to get this off my chest, since I am at work & can't complain about it here. So, here at work my team puts in money every month to play the lottery, in hopes that someday we will all be gazillionaires (heh, like that's ever going to happen!). Anyhoo, in the last 6 months or so we have amassed about $350.00. One of our team is leaving us to go to a new job, so we agreed to pay out everything & start afresh in the new year. We were going to use some of the money to pay for this last month of lottery-playing, then use the rest for something that we all agreed on - a joint lunch, some sort of treat, and I suggested that we use the money to purchase a "gift" from Plan Canada for someone who REALLY needs it this Christmas (a goat, some chickens, some rabbits, something like that). Christmas is about giving, isn't it? Turns out that some of us (okay, one of us) isn't on board with the whole "giving to others" thing. The amount of money left over amounts to $8.00 per person, so I don't see what the big honking deal is! I can't force everyone to come around to my way of thinking, but not wanting to give to those needier than yourself just seems really petty to me. I mean, $8.00 a person won't even pay for a Swi$$ Ch@let lunch for everyone. This just makes me sad. It's not that it was my idea & it got shot down (that happens all the time). I just thought it would be a nice idea & would make us all feel warm & toasty & tingly inside. Boo, team member who never wants to participate in any team activity, boo to you.

Monday, November 28, 2011

This is hard.

Some days, the waiting is okay, it's just there in the background, like a ticking clock - you know it's there, but it doesn't really call attention to itself, it's just part of the background noise. And some days, like today, it's all you can hear. You try to shake it off, try to force it into the background, but it keeps popping up, like an annoying, yappy dog that WILL NOT LEAVE YOU ALONE. The waiting is weighing heavily on me today. I suppose it because our good friends have just arrive home from Ethiopia with their new son. They're in a new phase of adopting, the "no more waiting" phase, the "home" phase, where you get to know each other, get to bond & attach & become a family. We're still in the waiting, waiting, waiting phase, and I feel so alone. I know we're not, I know there are lots of other families with our agency that are still waiting, but that doesn't make it any easier. I don't "know" them, they aren't my good friends, they don't "get" me. Don't get me wrong, I am over-the-moon ecstatic for my friends, for the realization of their dream, but I'm so, so, so jealous. In 4 months we will have been waiting 3 years to be matched with our daughter. How long before that dream comes true? How long? A month, 2 months? 6 months? A year? Right now, it feels so far away.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's been a long time...

since I posted anything of note. In fact, I had to look at my blog to see what the last significant posting was that I made. If that sentence wasn’t grammatically clunky, I don’t know what is. Anyhoo, on to the update.

OF ADOPTION SIGNIFICANCE: Going in chronological order: Andrew went to the agency on October 20 to drop off the updated paperwork we had gathered for our file (see: So Much Angry, So Little Time) & to “chat” to the file manager (not The Idiot) and to the managing director. The visit went well, really well, and it sounds like they are walking on eggshells around our file, which is what should have been happening all along (in a good way, I mean). They bent over backwards to help him, and even showed him where we are on the list (according to the director, we are 4th in line to receive a referral for a baby girl up to 18 months old at placement). They said they would be very surprised if we don’t have a referral in the next 6 months (so, by the end of April). That is great, wonderful news – I’m just having a really, really hard time believing this will actually happen. We’ve been waiting for so long (we started the paperwork 3.5 years ago, been officially waiting for a referral for over 2.5 years), and so much has happened (bankruptcy, Idiot paperwork bungle) that I am terrified of putting all my hope in this, and having my heart smashed into a million pieces. There have been a couple of referrals for infant girls recently, so that is helping me keep the faith.
October 21 – We are advised that The Idiot has decided to leave the agency, for personal reasons. Whether or not that was the only reason, who knows. All I know is – he messed up our file & did NOTHING to fix it. He waited until I went to someone else for help, & they discovered the problem. Apparently, he also bungled other families’ files, to varying degrees. Whatever the reason he left, I am glad he is gone. Yes, it puts more work on those employees still with the agency, but at least the work will be done correctly. Adoption is life-changing, and shouldn’t be taken lightly, or for granted, by any of the parties involved.
Right now – We’re still waiting on our stat dec paperwork, but we’re told that it should come in very soon (heh – we’ve heard that before!). We’ve paid the appropriate amount to the correct people, so everything is in order. And we can still get a referral, even if the stat dec isn’t quite ready yet. We’ve been working a bit more on the baby’s room – we moved the “spare room” dresser from the spare room into the nursery, and moved the tall dresser from the nursery to the spare room. The “spare room” dresser is much lower than the tall dresser, and we can use it as a change table with the addition of a foam changing pad, so that is space-saving! When we went to Buffalo 3 weeks ago we went to the Fisher Price World Headquarters in East Aurora as a side trip (nice little town – you should go!) and bought a high chair (the sort you put on a normal kitchen chair) and a diaper bag (a plain dark brown bag that Andrew will not be ashamed to carry). Slowly we are amassing all the ephemera a baby could ever need (well, except for the essentials – diapers, wipes, food, etc).
Also right now – Our friends are in Ethiopia RIGHT NOW picking up their son. I can’t believe he’ll be home for Christmas!

OF FAMILY SIGNIFICANCE: My brother is having colon resection surgery tomorrow, to remove part of his colon that has been damaged by his colitis & to fix some related damage. According to the doctor, once he has recovered he will be able to eat normally again, and will feel like he has never had colitis. That, my friends? Is music to my ears. He’s been suffering for the better part of a year with this beast called colitis & I will be SOOOO HAPPY to see him back to his old self. In related news, my niece continues to be TOO STINKIN’ CUTE, and even used the potty willingly for the first time the last time we were at her house (about 2 weeks ago)! Hooray for childhood milestones! She has a brand new cousin, too, born at the end of October. Lucky girl.

OF NO PARTICULAR SIGNIFICANCE: We’ve started our Christmas shopping and are about two-thirds finished. I’m very pleased with the choices we’ve made for our loved ones, though I really do need to get cracking on my brother’s stocking (we pick names out of a hat to see whose stocking we will fill that year – I got my brother). I have been hinting that I’d really, really like something from Tiffanys this year, before become a family of 3 & money is more tight. I’m not sure that Andrew is getting the hint, though. I learned some cool things while we were shopping in Buffalo earlier this month: Pandora charms are significantly cheaper in the States, it is possible to get a Coach bag for less than $120.00 (including taxes!), Black & Blue Steak & Seafood is a REALLY nice place to eat, and, if you’re going to a Sabres hockey game, there will always be a competitively priced parking lot much closer to the arena than the one you parked in. I learned that last one the hard way, but at least I got some exercise!

So, that’s where I’ve been. I’m looking forward to this upcoming holiday season, to seeing friends & family, to kicking back & enjoying good company, holiday movies (Elf 4EVA!) and tasty nibbles (I’ve got this jalapeno popper dip recipe I’m dying to try out). And who knows? Maybe Santa will leave something extra special (a referral!) under my tree…..

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Totally Awesome Band Names - it's been way too long edition

Courtesy of the Mythbusters, the latest Totally Awesome Band Name is Puppetted Dung. It's from the myth they did a bunch of years ago about whether or not elephants are afraid of mice. As it turns out, they are! And that is totally cool. I see Puppetted Dung as a heavy metal group (of course), mostly because I can't see a boy band or a folk group or a pop group with a word like Dung in their name.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The latest Idiot news

We are long overdue for a general update from the agency (they are meant to be bi-weekly, but the last one we got was August 30). Today The Idiot sends out an "update", but instead of attaching the update to the email, he copied & pasted each & every one of the agency's client's email addresses in the body of the email. Seriously? There is now absolutely no doubt in my mind that I DO NOT WANT THIS GUY EVER TOUCHING MY FILE EVER EVER EVER AGAIN. That is all.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Still with the angry * UPDATED

It's kind of fitting that I've open & closed the month of September with an angry post regarding our file. To summarize, it's the same crap, different day. We are no closer to getting our stat dec that we were 30 days ago, and I can't express how much that sucks. Instead of re-hashing the whole thing, here's the email that I sent to the agency this morning. To give you a little background, I stopping dealing with The Idiot about a week ago, and the new guy I've been dealing with, Mr Nice, is very nice & has been helping tremendously. He's the reason we got the email from Helpful Lady, which will hopeful result in the debacle coming to an end. And yes, I copied the director of the agency. All names have been changed to protect the innocent, and The Idiot, and to protect myself from legal action.

"I am very upset at the handling of our file since it transitioned to your agency in April of this year. At that time our file was with the ministry in Ontario, waiting for approval. This approval came through on April 19, as communicated to me by The Idiot. This was the last informative email I received from The Idiot. I have been told numerous times by The Idiot that our file was complete, that nothing was outstanding, that there was nothing missing that would be delaying the statutory declaration. Apparently I have been lied to, and I do not appreciate it. Please see below for a summary of my correspondence with The Idiot (I can provide copies of these emails, if you wish). Before you read this, please note that our original stat dec with the original agency took 3 weeks to be issued.

April 19 – received email from The Idiot that ministry approval had been received.
May 4 – emailed The Idiot to enquire as to the status of our stat dec.
May 10 – received reply from The Idiot indicating that our file had been updated waiting for the stat dec.
May 24 – emailed The Idiot to ask about stat dec, was told that it had been issued & that MoT were awaiting its arrival from the Ethiopian embassy.
June 8 – emailed The Idiot to ask if stat dec had arrived from embassy, was told that our file was sent to be notarized & the stat dec was being processed. I asked why I had been told on May 24 that the stat dec had been issued.
June 14 – received email from The Idiot noting that our file was updated & was getting authenticated. There was no explanation of why I had been told that the stat dec had been issued when it hadn’t.
July 20 – emailed The Idiot to ask about status of stat dec.
July 21 – received reply from The Idiot that stat dec had gone to Ottawa, then to Ethiopian Embassy, that new agency was awaiting its return.
August 26 – emailed The Idiot to ask about stat dec. I asked why it was taking so long, and if there was anything missing from my file. I was told that all documents were in order.
August 31 - At this time, due to a post in an August update, I also asked if there was a fee involved with the stat dec. I was told that yes, there was. Please note that this is the first time I was notified of a fee for the stat dec.
September 1 – emailed The Idiot several times to find out the cost involved & whom to make out the cheque to. I was told by The Idiot that the fee was $131.00 & that the cheque was to be made out to the Ethiopian Embassy. I confirmed this with him several times, as I had heard that other families had been charged $282.50 & that their cheques had to be made out to the original agency. I was assured that the charge was $131.00. My husband sent out the cheque on September 3. At that time he requested a receipt from The Idiot, but we have never received this requested receipt. At this time I do not know if the cheque has been cashed.
September 19 – emailed The Idiot to enquire about status of stat dec.
September 20 – was advised by The Idiot that the stat dec had been issued, that he knew this because he had produced it himself. I asked The Idiot if our updated file was on its way back to Ethiopia now. I did not receive a reply.

This ends my correspondence with The Idiot on the status of our stat dec. I started dealing with Mr Nice after September 20, and I must say that he has been nothing but courteous & helpful. That brings us to today, and your email asking for notarized documents (which we are happy to provide, and would have been happy to do so 5 months ago, had we been asked to have them notarized). I will require confirmation from you (Helpful Lady) that the charge for the stat dec is $282.00, and not $131.00 as we were previously told. If the charge is indeed $282.00, I would ask you to return the cheque for $131.00 that we have already sent to your office, specifically The Idiot.

I would also ask that our file be handled my someone else than The Idiot, as I have found him to be very slow in responding to my emails, and when he does respond, he usually does not answer my questions. When he does answer my questions, I am given wrong information. This is not acceptable, as I am sure you will agree. I look forward to a better relationship with the (new) agency than I have experienced so far (please note that this statement does not include Mr Nice, I have no complaints about him!)."

Seriously? SERIOUSLY?!?!? Today's email was the breaking point, and it's a good thing that I get into work earlier than most of my colleagues, becuase I cried my eyes out this morning, mostly from sheer frustration. With every month that passes, I feel like I'm getting further & further away from being a mom. This sucks.

Update - I received an email from Nice Lady on Friday (after I left work, but whatever, at least she responded same day). I'd sent an email earlier in the day asking her to courier me the paperwork (that needed notarizing) at the agency's expense, because of the LONG delay in getting this issue identified & resolved. She has done so, so hopefully this will all be resolved by the end of the week, so the stat dec can be issued by the end of the month (preferably by the end of next week). My hubby is going to hand-deliver the paperwork to the agency on Thursday, hopefully, and I'm sending him with a list of hard-hitting questions. I had a dream last night that we got our referral, so apparently my subconscious still thinks this will all work out, but we were referred a boy instead of a girl, so even my subconscious thinks the agency isn't done screwing up!

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's a sad, sad situation

Since we started our adoption, lo these many (almost 4) years ago, we’ve been part of an online adoption group. This group has been invaluable during the process, and was especially beneficial in rallying the troops after the bankruptcy back in 2009. The women (and men, but it’s mostly) of the group have never been shy in sharing their ideas, their expertise, their opinions, their feelings, their questions, & their answers to your questions, and to me, it’s great to have a group of people that know what you’re going through. They’ve either been through it themselves & can offer knowledge & wisdom, or they are going through it with you & can offer commiserations on delays & other issues, or they are a bit behind you in the process & you’re offering them assistance on things you’ve already experienced. That’s just a lot of words to say that it’s a community of like-minded people, and that can be priceless, when you’re waiting & waiting & waiting for your referral (or your court date, or your visa). You may never meet these people in person, but you feel like you know them, via the interwebs.

We lost one of our group this week. A woman who had waited years (with her husband) to bring home their son, a wee boy who just turned 1 year old this past July. They’d only been home with their son for 4 months when she passed away, weeks after being diagnosed with brain cancer. That’s weeks, not months. This is such a tragedy. Not only has a husband lost his precious wife, someone with whom he’d been through so much, a little, little boy, who has already lost so much in his short life, has just lost his second mommy, someone who waited so long for him, someone who was going to love & nuture him for the rest of his life. I just can’t get this family out of my head. I didn’t know them personally, though I recognize the man from some of the bankruptcy meetings that we attended. Brain cancer has taken far too much from too many people this year, and it has to stop. I don’t know how, but it has to stop. Why does it always seem to take the young (or the relatively young), those who have so much live still left to do. Why does it seem to hide & grow in secret, masking it’s symptoms as things that could be “nothing”, until it’s “something” and it’s too late & it’s inoperable? It’s not right. It’s just not right. For all the money that’s spent on wars & government dithering (see the debt reduction debacle in the US lately), and consumerism (who needs multiple lavishly appointed houses & scores of automobiles, and helicopters & private jets & jewel-encrusted dog collars, etc) (not that I am exempt from consumerism – I have always liked to shop!), we could be pouring that money into cancer research, so families can stop having to say goodbye to their loved ones, can stop having to live through months of chemo & radiation & fatigue & financial issues. What’s it going to take for that to happen? Who do we have to lose for the line to be drawn in the sand – here, no further.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

So much angry, so little time

So, it’s been over 4 months now since we received our approval to adopt (from the provincial ministry of child & youth services), and still, STILL we do not have our statutory declaration, which is needed to complete our file. Sure, they’ve told us that, should a referral come up for our family, that the lack of a stat dec will not affect our ability to accept the referral. It IS needed for court, though. Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re not anywhere close to a referral, let alone a court date, but even so, in this crazy, uncertain world of adoption, when you chase paperwork for weeks & sometimes months, any outstanding paperwork (especially something that is out of your control) will drive you crazy. Considering that our first stat dec took 3 weeks to be processed, I think I’ve been pretty patient in the wait for this second stat dec (for our updated file). I haven’t been emailing daily, or even weekly. I email once a month, on or near the date we got our approval (the 19th). And so far, for the past 3 months, the answer has remained the same. It’s with the embassy, and will be sent back to the agency when it’s completed. Every month, the same answer. Considering that, 2.5 years ago, it was possible to complete a stat dec & send it to the agency within 3 weeks, what in the hell is happening now? This isn’t just slow, it’s glacial. And now? Now they’re telling us we have to pay for this new stat dec! I am positive that, with Imagine, you only had to pay for a new stat dec when you were making changes over & above your standard “it’s been 2 years, you don’t have a kid yet, or even a referral, so it’s time to update your paperwork” update. Turns out, I was WRONG. We do have to pay. Again. Some more. When they were going to decide to tell us is anyone’s guess. This, on top of the upcoming Ethiopia program fundraiser that we really want to attend so we can meet the Ethiopian head of the Imagine Ethiopia program, which costs almost as much as the stat dec will cost. The proceeds will go to sustaining the Ethiopian program, but what? Do they think that families who are trying to adopt are made of money? Don’t get me wrong – I’m not angry at having to pay for the stat dec. What I’m angry about? That I had to ask them if we had to pay. At no point were we informed of this requirement. If you need me to pay money for something, don’t you think you should be letting me know that? I have asked the agency on several occasions if we were missing anything, and each time I was told no, everything is in order. I am so flippin’ frustrated & angry about all of this, you have no idea. We have done everything asked of us, and it seems like we’re just running in circles, chasing our tails, getting nowhere. And I cannot tell you how much that sucks. I’m at one of those points (again, some more) where I feel like this is never going to happen for us. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a childless couple, I just didn’t think it was in the cards for us. Time will tell, I guess.

And yeah, the Great Wisdon Teeth Extraction of 2011 went off without a hitch, just in case you wanted to know.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Extreme Home Makeover

Some of you may have noticed the renovations that have happened on the blog recently (okay, I made the changes about half an hour ago). Since we are not 100% decided on our daughter's name yet, I've made the decision to change the "official" title of the blog from The Wren Chronicles to The (Never-Ending) Adoption Chronicles. I suppose it also reflects my feeling that this adoption will never end, that it will never come to fruition. Yes folks, it's been ages since the last referral (at least, since the last referral that was posted on the Yahoo board), and as you know, that tends to get me down. According to one of the recent updates we received from the agency, they anticipate that referrals will resume in the fall, at a steady, if not accelerated, pace. I sure hope that's true. I also hope that we receive our stat dec soon, it's been almost 4 months now that we've been waiting. I suspect that, once we do receive our referral, the wait for court & visa will seem almost quick (though I've heard the reverse - that the wait for a court date & then the visa - is more difficult, because now you know who you're waiting for). So I guess we sit back & wait, some more. Andrew & I have found a name that we both like, I think (when I mentioned the name to him, he said, "that's really nice"), so here's hoping that the search for a name has ended. I won't tell you what it is, because it's possible we'll still change our minds, but I will say that it is African (but not Ethiopian, that I'm aware of).

Not long now to the Great Wisdom Teeth Removal of 2011 (it is taking place on Saturday, 8am). I am trying to keep it together & be positive, but I am freaking out a little, I won't lie. I think it's the anesthesia that's freaking me out more than anything. I will be fine, though. I'm sure I'll be fine. Send me good vibes, though, okay?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What's in a name?

It would seem that I am entering the “questioning what to name our daughter” period of the year. This seems to come around annually, so let’s hope that our girl is home by the time it comes around again, cuz this is driving me crazy.

Growing up I was sure that I would have a girl, and that I would name her Madeline, after my grandma (I was named after both of my grandmas). Having come up against infertility, that dream seemed to go out the window. That’s not to say that Madeline isn’t a beautiful name – it is, I still love it, but it doesn’t seems appropriate for a girl of African heritage. Then, much more recently, I decided that I loved the name Wren (hence the name of the blog), but for some reason, that name has fallen out of my favour recently. Good thing we didn’t tell everybody that was going to be our daughter’s name. Oh wait, we did. Sigh. Now I’m at a loss again. I don’t want her name to be too weird, or too common, and I want to use her Ethiopian name as her middle name. Depending on what her name is, we may even keep it as her first name. I am drawn to names that start with Z, for zome reason, but some of the ones I like are already “taken”, and I seem to be having a bit of time “selling” Andrew on the other ones I like. Some of the Z names you see on websites are just plain odd – Zephyr? Zeppelin? Seriously? Isn’t calling your daughter Zeppelin just setting her up for a lifetime of weight issues? Zoe, I like, and Zala. Now I just have to get Andrew to like one of those names too. Last time he vetoed one of the names I suggested, I asked him what were the names that he liked. He didn’t really have an answer. I want us to agree on this, and to pick a name that we both like, but it’s tough when one of you doesn’t seem to care too much about it.

Speaking of things Ethiopian, our close friends (through adoption) are in Ethiopia as we speak, getting ready for their court date tomorrow. I don’t know if they read this blog, but even if they don’t, I want to put this out into the universe. I hope they pass their court date first go, and that the MOWA letter is ready & waiting for them, so they don’t have to wait to be their little boy’s parents “officially”. I’ve been thinking about them all weekend. I also hope that their first meeting with their boy went well. I can’t wait to be in their shoes.

In other speaking-of-things-Ethiopian news, tomorrow also marks 29 months since our dossier first arrived in Ethiopia. I hope that there aren’t too many more months that pass before we know who our daughter is. In the most recent update, the review of orphanages throughout Ethiopia has resulted in some of them being closed. Apparently, this has resulted in an increase of children coming into the orphanages we work with. While it is not good that so many children need to be in orphanages, this might be bringing us closer to our daughter, and to me, that is a good thing. What is not such a good thing? The current state of our dossier, which is STILL not back in Ethiopia. Apparently, it’s still waiting on the statutory declaration (which, seriously?). It’s been over 3 months now that we’ve been waiting, and I’m hoping that’s because the embassy is busy doing other, more important things, and not because there’s something missing from our paperwork. I’ve been assured that there’s nothing missing, but seriously – it took 3 weeks to get the stat dec the first time around. Three weeks! According to the agency, we can still get a referral because our paperwork is up to date, but I would really love to get that updated stat dec in our file & get it back over to Ethiopia. Does it suck when things like this are out of our control? Yes, yes it does.

In baby’s room news, it’s painted, and we bought the crib this past weekend. Not the mattress, just the crib. About a year ago we bought a dresser from Ikea that was tall & white, because we thought it best fit the vision we had of the room at the time (and it was in our price range). We assembled it a couple of weeks ago, and found it no longer fits our vision of the room. We do have a dresser in the spare bedroom that Andrew has had for ages (at least 20 years) that does fit a lot better into the vision – it’s longer & shorter than the other dresser, and almost matches the bookcase that is already in the room. Best of all, we can use it as a change-table, if we add a baby changing cushiony thing (I can’t remember the actual name). I plan to change the drawer handles from the current plastic bar handle to possibly 2 glass-look knobs per drawer (you know what I’m talking about, they are old school), preferably in green, pink & purple, to match the colour scheme of the room. I will post pictures of the completed room, I promise. We have to wait another week to put the decal on the wall (above the “new” low dresser), then we’ll assemble the crib & we’ll be done. Kind of.

Well, that’s all from here. Until next time, I bid you adieu.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Evening Commute - Stinky edition

So, yesterday was Monday. Just an ordinary Monday, with work and all. I shuffled off to my car at the usual time, 3.20pm, in the sweltering heat that has become the new norm here in Southern Ontario (seriously - it's going to be at least 30 degrees Celsius EVERY DAY THIS WEEK). The factory had the day off yesterday, so the usual mad panic to exit the parking lot at that time was non-existant, which was a nice change. It didn't take too long to get onto the highway, and there was the usual amount of traffic. I briefing considered taking the toll road home, but then I thought, just take the highway, you'll save some money. So I stayed on the highway, but I got into the Express lanes, because they are usually faster. Usually. Right around the airport the traffic started to really slow down, which isn't all that unusual. Then it came to a complete stop. One minute turned into 5 minutes, which turned into 10 minutes, which turned into me switching from the CD to the radio to find out exactly what was going on. Turns out there was a fatal accident involving 2 cars & a tractor trailer, and the westbound express lanes of the highway were completely closed. COMPLETELY CLOSED. This was my first highway closure, so I took my lead from the other motorists & turned off my car & opened all the windows. Right about that time I noticed that there was a truck ahead of me, the kind of truck that carries livestock. Stinky, stinky livestock. I wasn't game enough to get close enough to tell exactly what kind of livestock, but I can tell you that it reeked of animal waste. Just what you want to smell when you're stuck on the highway with all your windows open in 36 degree heat. Once in a while there would be a cross breeze that would spirit away the stench, but other than that it was a stink-fest. Turned out we were stopped for 1.5 hours, then it took another hour to get home from there once they started let us by on the shoulder. Normally that part of the trip would take 20 minutes or so, but we all had to gawk at the OTHER fatal accident on the eastbound side of the highway. Seriously. I was drenched in sweat by the time I got home a mere 3 hours after I set out (a trip that usually takes 45 minutes to an hour). And that, dear friends, is why you should always listen to the voice inside you that tells you to take the toll road.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

1,051,200 minutes....

That’s how you measure 2 years. Two years since our world fell apart. Two years since the phone call I received from a fellow prospective adoptive parent, telling me that our agency had gone bankrupt, that the executive director had run off with our money. And it’s been almost 2 years since the families of Imagine Adoption banded together & started the hard work of resurrecting the agency, to bring the phoenix out of the ashes. A lot has happened in these last 2 years, mostly good. About a third of the families that signed back up with the agency back in October of 2009 now have their children home, in their arms, forever, or have been matched with the child that will someday be theirs (including our good friends). The Hayhows, who orchestrated this whole mess, have been charged with fraud & been ordered to appear before the court. Of course she’s hired a high-falutin’ lawyer (way to show that you still have some of our money, devil lady), but the evidence is pretty plain. She took our money, she spent it on herself & her house & her horse & fancy cars that were leased by the agency, and she deprived children, already affected by poverty & the loss of their family, of good, nutritious food. Shame on her. Shame, shame, shame. There is a special place in hell for those such as her.

On a personal level, we’ve started to believe that this will happen for us, that Wren (or whatever we decide to call her) will someday be in our arms, and have started preparing a nest for our little bird. We painted her room last week, a soft green called Spirit Whisper. We assembled her chest of drawers & started loading it with all of the clothes we have for her. All of her teddy bears & her special doll from Uncle Billy & Auntie Jenn are sitting on the bookcase waiting for someone to love them. And soon, her crib will also be waiting for her. Still to be decided – where to put the wall decal we bought for the nursery (it’s in one of my previous posts, it’s a bird-cage with lots of birds flying free out of the cage, I’m too lazy to find the previous post & wouldn’t know how to link it if I did) – on the wall with the dresser or over the crib. Decisions, decisions. And we need to get curtains too. There are already blinds but they don’t block out enough light. And, most importantly, we need to decide on a name. I’m starting to waver on Wren as a first name, maybe it’s too weird & unusual. I’m considering Lily Wren, or Madeline Wren, but the final decision will be made when we know what her Ethiopian name is.

And thanks to Rent for the idea for a fancy name for this post.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Prognosis – Not Good

I’d like to put out an appeal here for some prayers for Andrew’s good friend Georgia. She’s nearing the end of her fight with cancer. I’m praying that the end will be swift & painless, and for peace for her family & friends. I had so hoped that she would be here when we brought Wren home, and that she would school me in the ways of braiding & general hair care, but unfortunately, her illness isn’t going to allow that to happen. Georgia, we’re really going to miss you & your laughter & your funky dancing & your love for Keanu Reeves. Be at peace, my friend.

Edited to add: Georgia passed away last night (6/28). There's a Georgia-shaped hole in the world, and it sucks. A lot.

Adoption Outlook – Promising

While our referral is still likely to be several months away, there has been movement with referrals (a total of 12 referrals from the beginning of May until today, 4 of those in the last week alone), so the end no longer seems to be quite so far away. There are still approximately 20 families ahead of us with a similar request (that we know about), and about 50 families ahead of us in total. It’s easy to be hopeful right now, when there are referrals, and court dates & visas coming left, right & centre. It’s the rough points, as evidenced by previous posts, that are so hard to handle. It would be so wonderful, so miraculous if I could see my daughter’s face, to know her name, before I turn the big 4-0. I’ve got about 9 months before that happens, so bring it on!

Good times, great taste, less filling

Okay, maybe not less filling. I mean, who am I kidding? This is me we’re talking about. Since the previous bummer of a post, we’ve taken some time to relax & be around friends & family, and I believe it’s done us a world of good. Earlier in the month we spent a Saturday working/playing in a golf tournament. It’s for a charity set up in the name of a friend of my family who was killed in a workplace accident 15 years ago. The funds raised go toward helping handicapped children participate in sports. There’s always fun to be had, seeing everyone again year after year, helping out signing the golfers in & taking the money for the silent auction items people have won, not to mention having a mostly relaxing day looking out over a peaceful golf course out in the countryside. And one of the golfers/contributors, who happens to work at Breyers, always donates a freezer full of ice cream cones, bars & sandwiches, so that doesn’t suck. Heh.

Last weekend we spent the weekend (and part of Monday) visiting my dad’s side of the family in eastern Ontario. It’s always good to see them & reminisce about the good times, and to visit old haunts. We had dinner at my aunt’s (new) house both nights we were there, with most of my dad’s siblings in attendance. The older I get, the more I appreciate my family (and my extended family), it’s great to be able to spend time with them, and it’s really nice to see my dad completely relaxed & at home (he’s pretty tightly wound most of the time). The place that we stay when we go to visit is situated right on the banks of the St Lawrence River, so the view is always amazing. There are gardens & riverside boardwalks everywhere, and the staff now recognize us when we check in (they should – we’ve been staying there once a year for the last 6 or 7 years!). This year we managed to spot a mink fishing for, well, fish. On the way there, Andrew & I always stop at a cheese factory (cheeserie?) just outside of Belleville that makes the best roasted garlic flavoured cheese curds. Like the title says, good times, great taste.

We’re taking some time off after the Canada Day holiday, and we’ll be spending some of it in Niagara Falls (Ontario & NY), so we’re looking forward to that too. Brazilian BBQ, buffalo wings & cross-border shopping are all on the menu (woohoo!). I’d also like to check out the Cheesecake Factory, but we’ll see how that goes. Another item on the agenda is clearing out & painting the baby’s room.

I’ve just thought of something that qualifies as less filling. We completed our veggie garden about 3 weeks ago, adding butternut squash, tomatillos, cilantro & more pak choy to the veggies we’d already planted (spinach, pak choy, purple peppers, eggplant, mint, & red onions, tomatoes & cucumbers). Apparently Basil the garden mouse saw this as a challenge. A mere 3 days after the planting was complete he decimated the tender new pak choy, and the spinach. Sigh, I give up.

Finally, Willow would like to know where her beer is at, yo.

Monday, May 30, 2011

:(

I'll preface this by saying that I know it's a bummer of a post, but it's my blog & I'll post what I want to! So there.

The adoption has been on my mind a lot lately, ever since our friends received their referral (on my birthday no less – how cool is that!). There were 3 referrals (that we know of) earlier this month, and nothing (again – that we know of) since then. We’re halfway down the list now, and every referral gets us closer to our girl, but I can’t help feeling really bummed out about the lack of progress. This past weekend, someone close to me mentioned that they thought that couples without children should receive priority for referrals. Wow – that really spoke to me, and I can’t deny that it’s something I’ve thought about a lot. On one hand, I totally understand the current policy, which is essentially first come, first served (or, the family who has the oldest DTE – dossier to Ethiopia date- who is the best match for the child gets the referral). It’s the fairest, least objectionable method. But on the other hand, as a person (and part of a couple) hurtling toward the age of 40, I can’t deny that I cry a little every time someone who already has kids (bio or adopted) gets a referral, or passes court, or travels to pick up their child. Or rants on the adoptive families message board about how everything is so slow & where are the referrals so “she” can get her referral, when “she” already has 2 kids. “She” already knows the joy of children in her life, why can’t those of us who don’t have kids experience the joys of parenthood before those who already have kids add to their family? I fully acknowledge that this is a petty way to think & feel, that these families have been playing the waiting game longer than we have, and are every bit as deserving of a referral as those of us with no children. But I can’t deny that it’s the way I feel, sometimes. And I can’t deny that the fact that the list has at least 50 other families ahead of us waiting on a similar child placement stretches before me like a road that seems to be never-ending. And on that road you’ll sometimes see a mirage, something that makes you think, wow, we’re getting so close to our dream, so close to the end of the road. And then there’s another turn, another detour, another 100 kms to go. And you think, “I’m never going to get there”. And then traffic starts to move again & you think, “hey, we’re almost there” but no, there’s more delays. You lose sight of the destination. You lose hope. And everywhere are reminders of what it’s like when you get there. Big pregnant bellies, tiny babies snuggled in their mother’s arms, baby showers for pregnant co-workers. And still, your arms are empty. And you’re afraid to hope, afraid to start making a place in your home for a child that may never arrive.

And then you realize – CRAP! I forgot to ask my sister-in-law what she wants for her fast-approaching birthday. And – oh man – where are we going to get the money to allow us to take the “40th birthday Hawaii cruise extravaganza!” that will make it possible to see your best friend again, who you haven’t seen in over 3 years, who has a child now that you’ve never met. Where’s Oprah when you need her? And you’re loving your new vacuum, which is Dyson-esque at a much more affordable price, and cleans the floors so well that the colour of the carpet changes back to its “factory setting” (if you will). Darn cats & their shedding…. And you’re looking forward to going out to dinner on Wednesday, because it means you’ll be seeing your friends for the first time since their referral, and you can’t wait to see if they look different, or act different or something, because that’s a major life experience, and it has to change you somehow.

And you think, “you know what? My life’s not that bad, but it’d be so much better if I were a parent”.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You take the good, you take the bad,

You take ‘em both & there you have the facts of life, the facts of life….. You’re welcome for the ear-worm, I aim to please. So, how have you all been? I’ve been well, thanks for asking. One of the days last week was my birthday, and that’s always fun. Andrew had a out-patient procedure the same day (he had a skin cancer removed from his scalp), so we took the rest of the day off & had a pretty damn good day – lunch at Canyon Creek (which has now surpassed the Keg as my fave steak restaurant) and shopping at Square One was the order of the day. I also received a beautiful lap quilt from my mom a couple of weeks before hand, and a Pandora bracelet from Andrew on the day. I’ve been eye-ing those bracelets for quite a few years now, so it’s nice to finally be able to wear one! Those who know me know of my love for all things sparkly, especially jewelry. It’s always been my “thing”, even when I was a little kid. I think I take after my dad’s mom, who I am named after.

In other good news, our good “adoption friends” that live in our town received their referral at the end of last week, just in time for Mothers Day! They received a referral for a 2.5 year old boy. While we are insanely jealous, we are also over-the-moon happy for them – they’ve been playing the adoption waiting game about 6 months longer than we have. They were open to a child of either sex, up to 36 months old, I believe, whereas we are waiting for a girl, up to 18 months old, so we’ll still be waiting for a while. Not too long, I hope. According to my calculations, we’re about halfway down the list now from our original number of 111. It’s taken us about 1.5 years to come this far down the list, hopefully it doesn’t take us that much longer to get our referral. With all the changes that happen in international adoption, though, you just never know. Anyway, it’s going to be interesting to “know” someone going through the process ahead of us – court date, waiting for visa, picking up the child – it will be invaluable to have a inside perspective on what will happen to us down the road. According to the agency, our file is now waiting for the statutory declaration. Once that is complete, it will go to Ethiopia, and we will once again be “officially” waiting for a referral.

Since the weather has taken a turn for the better I’ve been pottering around the garden a bit more. I’ve been wanting to clean out the dead leaves & such from last year, and finally got a chance to do that yesterday. I also pulled a fair few dandelions – stupid weeds. Our daffodils are blooming, and our tulips look poised to do the same in the next couple of days. One of the tulips is especially special to me – the year before my grandpa passed away (this is my dad’s dad) he gave me some lamium (a ground cover plant) from his garden. Unbeknownst to any of us, in the bunch of lamium he gave me was 1 tulip bulb. The first year, just the leaves came up, which was a surprise in itself. The next year, though, the tulip bloomed. It’s a red tulip, with yellow around the edge of each petal. The petals are pointed, too, as opposed to rounded like a “normal” tulip. I haven’t figured out what kind of tulip it is yet, but it’s the only red tulip in a sea of pink & purple tulips, so it’s pretty unique. After I cleaned out the garden of a winters worth of detritus, I planted some annuals that I picked up at my favourite nursery – some celosias & snapdragons. It already looks a million times better than it did just a day ago. Now we have to get going on the veggie garden but that can wait a few weeks. We did plant some spearmint yesterday, though – mojitos here we come.

Well, that’s all I have to say for today. I’m a bit down & a bit tired & a lot ready for a vacation. Speaking of vacation, we’ve been invited to a wedding in Jamaica next January, but then we’re meant to be going on a cruise in Hawaii next fall (but I’m not even sure if that’s still happening – Vicki?). What to do? We don’t have enough money for both. Who knows – if we get our referral early next year, we may not have money for either. I just know I need to get away, and recharge my batteries.

Well, that's enough random for today.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The House of Mouses

It’s been quite a while since I last posted, but I haven’t been particularly busy. I just haven’t been in the mood to write, I guess.

So, what’s been happening? In major news, my gorgeous niece Evie turned 2 years old on April 1. She’s a bright little thing, both intellectually & in her personality. Every time we go to visit, she’s at the front door when we pull into the driveway, waving furiously & shouting, “Come in! Come in!”. Then she runs around the house laughing, because she’s so excited that you’ve come to see her. She’s not big on sharing at the moment. Any request for a piece of her food (crackers, strawberries, etc) is met with a “no” and a “shorry!” (sorry). She LOVES her DVDs – the Wiggles is her favourite, closely followed by Bob-pants (Spongebob Squarepants) and SHEEP! (Shaun the Sheep). We were visiting this weekend & watched a couple SHEEP! DVDs, and I must admit, she’s got good taste in that regard. That show is FUNNY. I mean, anthropomorphic claymation sheep, what’s not to like? She’s just got the sweetest temperament, and I love her to bits.

In other news, Andrew has been on a “work” trip for the last week, so it’s just been me & the kittehs, who, contrary to popular belief, are not stunning conversationalists. Expellers of hairballs in the middle of the night? Yes. Champion eaters of kibble? Sure. But conversationally? Not so much. Still, we’ve been having a un-eventful, quiet week, and that’s okay. And tomorrow, one lucky kitteh will join me in watching the royal wedding. Perhaps I could rig up some tiaras for us, to be festive. And some cucumber sandwiches & tea. Hmmmmm. He gets home tomorrow night, though, which is good since I haven’t slept well since he left. The zombification of my brain has been happening for the last 4 days, and it’s not pretty.

In other, grosser, news, we’ve been fighting a war with the mouses in our basement. That’s right – we have/had mouses in our basement. Our first clue was a bag of birdseed with a hole in it, then Pippin’s capture & display of a mouse (it was displayed prominently in our front hall). Our next clue was the mouse poop around the rack where we keep excess foodstuffs & such. Yuck. So we bought some mousetraps – a humane trap, and some snappy ones (not the old-fashioned wood-and-wire snappy one, a la Tom & Jerry – plastic ones with less bite). We have caught 6 mice, including Pippin’s, and there hasn’t been a mouse in the trap in the last 6 days. Hopefully we’re on top of it now, because EWWWWW. One good thing has come of it, though. We’ve made a real start on cleaning the basement, which has been accumulating assorted stuff since we moved in 7 years ago. It’s looking a lot better already.

Hmmmm, what else has been happening? Andrew went on another “work” trip to see a practice round of The Masters golf tournament. He had a great time. I stayed home. Are you starting to see a pattern here? Yeah – guess where I’ve been the last several months? Home. And work. Ooooo, so exciting. Bah humbug.

In adoption news, we received provinicial approval of our dossier last week, so now it gets translated & authenticated or something like that, and sent to Ethiopia. Hopefully it’ll be there soon, and we can get back in line for a referral. There haven’t been any referrals since the “new” agency took over. A lot of people have had quite a problem with the new agency, communication-wise, but it hasn’t been a problem for us, at least not yet. We’ve put off deciding whether to put our file in with CAS for 3 months or so, just to see how things are moving along with the new agency. If April is anything to go by, referrals are not going so great. Oh well, there have been slow months in the past. We just have to be patient, I guess.

And now you’re up to date.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The road less travelled, or, the week that was

Well, last week was a bugger of a week, wasn’t it. Between the earthquake(s)/tsunami in Japan, the announcement of further delays to the Ethiopian adoption program, and finding out that a close friend of Andrew’s was recently diagnosed with advanced brain cancer, last week REALLY took the wind out of our sails, as it were. We’ve always said, in times of strife (such as when we had 2 cars stolen from us in the span of 10 months), if this is the worst thing that’s happened to us, we’re doing well. And really, it was the truth. I wouldn’t necessarily say that we live charmed lives (other than the fact that, despite growing up halfway around the world from each other, we managed to meet & fall in love), we’re not the sort of people who are offered wonderful trips/opportunities/jobs out of the blue, but we’ve made it this far in our lives with a minimum of heartbreak, stress & tragedy. Perhaps that makes all this bad news even harder to deal with, because we don’t have much of a frame of reference. Especially finding out about Andrew’s friend G’s illness. The reality of it is that the form of cancer she has comes with a life expectancy of 14 months from diagnosis, that the location of the tumours makes them inoperable, that this is the same cancer than took her mom. She’s started treatment, which is good, hopefully that will extend her time with us. And we can always hope for a miracle.

I find it hard to process all of the devastation in Japan, from the massive earthquake to the tsunami to the nuclear emergency. I cannot fathom how it must feel to be at the centre of it all. My heart goes out the Japan and its people. Amazing how an act of nature can erase hundreds of years of advances in technology in the blink of an eye. If it can happen to Japan, it can happen to anyone. It scares me sometimes how attached we are to our highly advanced society, how much we depend on it. We’re so eager to rely on computers to do things for us, instead of people. It’s times like these when that comes back around to bite us in the bum. Even on a small scale, with something like a company’s call answering system. They are so automated lately, because it’s “easier” to get a computer to direct a call where it needs to go, regardless of how many times someone has to repeat themselves, or listen to the menu prompts again, than to have an actual person pick up the phone. And the kicker here – it’s a lot cheaper. Personally, I’d rather talk to a real person from the get-go. And when there are technical issues that stop the answering service from functioning properly? Your customers can’t get in touch with you at all. How is that “better”? How much technology is too much technology? Okay, rant over.

We’re coming to terms with the reality that, in all likelihood, we’re not going to receive our referral any time soon, and likely not this year. Don’t get me wrong, we’re not giving up on our Ethiopian adoption, we’ve come too far & fought too hard for that. But it’s time to look at alternatives for starting a family, seeing as we’re both turning 39 this year. So we’re putting in our application with the CAS (Children’s Aid Society). We’re still in the preliminary stages of doing that, we need to fill out some paperwork, and discuss what sort of “issues” we are open to (with respect to our potential child’s background). It feels good to be doing something, to be moving forward again, and our social worker is all for it, which is nice. Maybe I’m imagining things, but I never felt like she 100% supported our international adoption. So we’re hoping that works out for us. As with any adoption, there are no certainties, and we could still have our Ethiopian daughter home before we get a referral through CAS, but it still feels good to be doing SOMETHING, instead of being at the mercy of a foreign government (even one that is acting in the best interests of its most vulnerable children).

In other news, completely unrelated to any of the news above, it would seem like we have mice getting into our basement somehow. I’m not sure how, though I have my suspicions. Anyhoo, the night before last, Pippin went down into the basement when Andrew opened the basement door. This in itself is not unusual, Pippin loves it in the basement. It’s dark & cool & there are heaps of boxes & pieces of furniture to climb over. We were sitting watching TV after dinner & we heard her come upstairs. We didn’t really think anything of it. That is, until Andrew went into the front room on his way to take the garbage out. There was a small, dead mousie on the floor of the front room. There were no obvious signs of injury, but by its placement it was very clear that Pippin was proudly displaying her catch for us. So, bad news is that we have mice (hopefully “had” mice, but I am not so na├»ve), the good news is that we have cats. So congratulations Pippin on your first catch! Now both kittehs have proven to be skilled mousers.

My folks have just returned from 3 weeks of cruising/ travelling to Florida to cruise, and they will be coming to spend the weekend with us, which means they are coming to visit The Grandchild. So we will be doing the same, which is no hardship, as Miss Evie is one of the cutest kids I have ever had the fortune to meet. The way she lights up when you enter the room makes you feel amazing.

Well, that’s about all from here. With any luck, soon I’ll be able to post good news.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Seriously?

I guess the powers that be have been trying to get my mind off worrying about the adoption lately. Sunday night I was getting ready for bed & went to stand in front of the sink to brush my teeth, where I stuck my foot in a lovely, cold puddle of cat piddle. Willow, in her infinite wisdom, backed up too far in the litter box & peed over the edge, where the ridged litter box mat funneled it all to the front of the litter box. Sigh..... So I cleaned that up, took off my socks & washed my foot. They got washed last night & I'm wearing them again today but I could swear that my foot smells like cat pee.

And yesterday. I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get some stuff for dinner. I brought it all inside & was going to start dinner when I thought, wow, I have to go to the bathroom before my bladder explodes. So I made my way to the powder room. Where I stood in the doorway thinking, that mat looks wet. In fact, the whole floor looks wet. Hmm, that's weird. Then I looked at the toilet & saw a thin trickle of water coming down the outside of the bowl. To give you some background, for a while now, a couple of our toilets have been "running" (it's a dripping in the cistern that you can hear when you're on the throne). So what I figure happened is that my lovely husband has plugged the toilet the previous evening with his nightly deposit, and since then, the dripping has been slowly filling up the toilet, and has had nowhere to go. I will say that there was no visible sign of the toilet being blocked, if you know what I mean. So I ran down to the basement for the mop (that's where it lives), threw off my socks (for the second time in 36 hours), rolled up my pants & waded in, literally. The plunger quickly dispatched the clog, though it added a little more water to the floor - the bowl was that full. And then I set to mopping up the mess. It wasn't easy, the floor was fairly slippery, what with all the water. It took me about 30 min to get the bathroom emptied of items (garbage can, litterbox, etc) & water. Needless to say, I've implemented a double flush rule for the powder room. Sure, it'll waste some water, but so does an overflowing toilet.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tired

I’ll warn you now that the following post will likely be a real bummer.

It’s getting more & more difficult to believe that we will ever complete this adoption & bring our daughter home. We joined the world of international adoption knowing that the road ahead would be strewn with bumps & potholes and the odd detour, but we didn’t ever expect it to be this difficult. Though I am a pessimist, I like to think that I’ve kept a pretty level, calm head about me about the bankruptcy and everything associated with that. For some reason, I never really believed in my heart of hearts that the dream was really over. And it wasn’t. And sure, the referrals have been fairly slow, about 5.5 per month for the first year, but that was okay too, at least it was moving at a fairly steady pace. And then it was coming up on 2 years since our dossier hit Ethiopia, so we had to renew a bunch of our paperwork. No problem there, we’d done all that before, so there was nothing difficult about that. So our dossier is now with the government for approval, which there is no reason to believe we won’t get, they approved us before. And there were worries about the long-term stability of the agency, because of the slowdown in referrals. That scared me a bit – would we get our referral before the funds ran out? Then came the new agreement with another local agency, which helped ensure that the agency would stay open. Amazing, considering the position we were in just a year & a half ago. And there have been various other bumps on the Ethiopian side too – requests for more paperwork (birth certificates, death certificates, a new undertaking letter), a hold being put on adoptions of relinquished children is one region, but we weathered it all. Perhaps there wasn’t always a smile on our face, but we were still on the road. But then, a post on an American website, saying that Ethiopia would be cutting the number of inter-country adoptions it processes per day, by up to 90%. In the word of the article, “Ethiopia’s Ministry of Women’s, Children’s and Youth Affairs has issued a directive saying it will process a maximum of five inter-country adoptions a day, effective March 10. Currently, the ministry is processing up to 50 cases a day… the reduction of up to 90 percent in cases will allow closer scrutiny of documents used to verify a child’s orphan status.”
I am all for transparency in adoption, and for making sure that the children up for adoption are legitimately adoptable. I would hate to have any suspicions at all that my adoption was tainted with corruption. But this news (the agency hasn’t verified it yet) has hit me like a ton of bricks. Will it slow the number of adoption from a trickle to a drop? I estimate that we are around #62 on the list for a single referral, if less referrals start coming in, how much longer will we have to wait? Another 2 years? Another 5 years? What would happen to the program in that time? From the sounds of the article, the slowdown would be on the post-referral side. So, would you get a referral & then have to wait months & months & months for a court date? I don’t know what to think. My head is telling me that I need to bide my time, to see how the program progresses in the next few months. But after that, then what? We can’t afford to change programs at this point, and what program would we change to? I’m scared. Scared to start painting & decorating a nursery that may never house my daughter, scared to buy anything at all for her, scared to get my hopes up that this will all work out. I need to keep believing, to keep hoping, to keep the faith, but I don’t know how long I can do that. I’m tired of feeling anxious, I want to feel joyous. I’m just tired, deep down inside, in my soul. Tired.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Awesome band names, it's-been-too-long edition

In the long awaited (by whom, I'm not sure) return of Awesome Band Names, I bring you a band name that is, at once, toothy & sweet. Ladies & gentlemen, give a rousing welcome to BADGER NANNY! I picture Badger Nanny to be a retro style hard rock band in the mold of T-Rex or The Darkness, all long & lanky, with long hair & very tight pants & kimono tops (this is making me think of Robert Plant, for some reason. Anyway, look for Badger Nanny, coming to an arena near you!

More ch-ch-ch-changes......

One thing is certain in the world of international adoption - nothing is ever set in stone. There are no guarantees, and if anyone tells you there are, they are lying. The big news this week is that our agency, Imagine, has entered into an agreement to merge with another agency, Mission of Tears. On most levels, I think this is a good thing. Mission of Tears has been in business for almost 20 years, and from what I've read, is a reputable agency. This also puts our agency on a more stable financial footing, which can only be a good thing. A couple of things worry me a bit, though. Taking on the Imagine case files will likely treble the MoT caseload, and we don't know that the current staff can handle this huge increase in cases, which may affect communication & the efficiency thereof. Also, there was a statement in one of the press releases that intimated that MoT has the right to decline to work with any file/request they deem "challenging". Our file is, for all intents & purposes, a "normal" file, we are both still fairly young, financially stable, and in a stable relationship, however there is always the possibility that my weight will become an issue, though I pray that it does not. And finally, the agreement (which takes affect in 3 months) means that the Imagine office will close, putting all the people that worked to bring the agency out of bankruptcy out of a job, as far as we know at the moment. Having said all that, I am happy to have received this email, rather than one saying that, due to the decrease in referrals, the agency was closing due to lack of funds. That would have broken my heart. I've been putting off starting the baby's room until I saw the second status report from the bankruptcy trustee, and now that I've seen that & received the merger email, I am feeling more confident about breaking out the paint & setting up the chest of drawers.

I must admit, I was starting to get really worried about the viability of Imagine in its current form, considering the downturn in referrals. November appears to have been an anomaly, with its 18 referrals. Due to requirement for more paperwork on the Ethiopian side for the children being placed for adoption, there have been only 2 referrals in January & 2 in February so far. All our paperwork is collected & sent to the agency, so we are hoping for an increase in referrals soon. We still need to wait for ministry approval, but hopefully that won't take as long as it did last time. All in all, I remain cautiously optimistic about this adoption. Optimistic enough to purchase an adorable stuffed sheep (about the size of a cocker spaniel) for Wren's room. We've christened him Reg, which is a good solid Aussie name, because what's more Australian than a sheep?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Homesick

Today (1/26) is Australia Day. Ever since we've moved to Canada, Andrew & I have always done something special on Australia Day, whether it's making Aussie meat pies (frustrating due to over-kneading of the dough for the top of the pies) or a dinner of kangaroo loin with a pomegranate balsamic reduction (soooooo delicious....drool....). This year we're meeting up with friends for dinner & some Aussie wine. It's been almost 9 years since we left Sydney (I can't believe it's been that long), and still, almost every day, I miss Australia so much that it physically hurts. Of course, it doesn't help that we've been watching the episodes of Oprah's Aussie Adventure recently. I mean, in the past 6 months, Oprah's been closer to my best friend than I have! Seriously, my best friend was at the taping of one of the Sydney shows.

So, in honour of Australia Day, I'll leave you with some of the words of Peter Allen, from his song, "I still call Australia home". They really ring true for me.

I've been to cities that never close down
From New York, to Rio & old London town
But no matter how far, or how wide I roam
I still call Australia home.

I'm always travelling
And I love being free
And so I keep leaving the sun & the sea,
But my heart lies waiting - over the foam
I still call Australia home.

All the sons & daughters, spinning around the world
Away from their families & friends.
But as the world gets older & colder & colder
It's good to know where your journey ends.

But someday we'll all be together once more
When all of the ships come back to the shore.
I realize something I've always known
I still call Australia home.

But no matter how far or how wide I roam,
I still call Australia, I still call Australia,
I still call Australia home.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's a good day...

Because, at long last, there has been a referral in January! A 4 month old baby girl! Squee!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Long long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

It seems like that long ago that I posted an update on this blog. It’s pretty evident that I am not a writer, blog or otherwise. I can’t seem to motivate myself to blog most of the time, and the fact that I’m consistently busy at work (not super busy, just consistently busy) doesn’t help matters.

So, where did we leave things? November was the awesome-est month for referrals since the agency came out of bankruptcy. December was less so, but there were still 5 referrals that month, and that is better than a slap in the face with a cold, wet fish. January has sucked the big one so far, but there have been more changes (requirements, really)(shocking, I know) on the Ethiopian side so that seems to be the reason for the slow-down. Hopefully it will pick up again soon. The last time there were changes of this nature the referrals slowed down for a month or two, but then they started flowing again. All in all last year there were 68 referrals. Hopefully this year will have just as many, if not more. We continue to update our paperwork for our dossier, since the majority of it has expired in the last 2 + years since we gathered it the first time. We got almost everything we need, except a reference from one of our friends/neighbours, who we asked BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Seriously, it’s just our adoption, no need for speed or anything. Grrrrr. We’ve since asked another friend for a reference. This stuff stresses me out big time. Our social worker is drafting the update to our homestudy, then everything goes to the agency, then to the government ministry responsible for giving us approval to adopt. They approved us last time, so hopefully they will approve us this time. There have been very few changes in the last few years, and most of them were positive changes. Fingers crossed. Prayers wouldn’t hurt either, if you’re that way inclined.

We’re going to an adoption get-together this coming weekend. There will be families there that have adopted from all over the world, and also families still waiting for their children, like us. I’m really looking forward to it – we went a couple of years ago (we were waiting for ministry approval at the time) and it really charged my adoption batteries seeing all those beautiful blended families. I can’t wait to re-charge my adoption batteries again!

In other adoption “news”, we’ve decided which way to go, crib-wise. We were mulling over purchasing a convertible crib, which would convert from a crib to a toddler bed to a day bed to a double bed, but we’ve decided against it. Wren’s room just isn’t big enough to hold a double bed & still have room to move around. Obviously she won’t be in a double bed any time soon, but we have no plans to move any time soon, so it would just be a looming problem. We’ve pretty much decided to go with a very funky green crib from Ikea. It’s low enough that we won’t have any problems getting Wren out of it without standing on our tippy-toes – “normal” cribs can pose that problem, now that drop-side cribs are banned in Canada (or as good as banned). Andrew & I are not exactly tall. When she outgrows the crib we’ll put her in a single bed with removable side rails.

In other “news”, Christmas was a lot of fun. My parents hosted this year, so that was nice (we hosted the last 2 years). Evie (my niece) was old enough to enjoy it this year – she was 20 months at the time. She got a “laptop” that went everywhere with her. She would walk over to you, plop it down beside you & start typing away. Kids really do learn by example. And every time you would sneeze she would say “Bwess you!”. We saw her last week, and at one point my mom offered everyone a chocolate covered cookie. She spotted the tin of cookies, and with a voice just full of awe, said “Ohhhhhhh, look at that!” She is SO DARN CUTE! I can’t wait to have a cutie of my own. Sigh. It’ll be a while……

We’ve finally joined the age of HD TV, just after Christmas, so the last 3 weeks have been spent (mostly by Andrew) flipping back & forth from the HD channel to the “normal” version, going, “Wow, look at the difference!”. It is nice, and the TV weighs less than half as much as the old-style TV we had. We are simple folk. The old TV now resides in the basement, which is slowly getting cleaned up. I keep telling Andrew to not wait for me – I am a horrible pack-rat & will keep anything I think may be useful in the future. It’s better if he just does a slash & burn-type clean up (with no actual burning, of course).

Well, that’s about all from here. I’ll try to update more often, maybe even from my iPod (the spelling mistakes alone will be hilarious!).