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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.