Monday, May 31, 2010

Radio Silence

So, you will probably not be seeing any blog posts from me this week. Our Big Yard Sale fundraiser is this weekend June 4-5, and I have a house and garage full of other's people's stuff that needs to be organized, categorized, priced and stored or displayed. The whole thing is pretty stressful, actually! But also fun. Although the weather forecast for 7 days of rain? NOT FUN.
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If you live in the area, it's not too late to donate, and definitely, definitely, COME SHOP! Leave a comment if you need the address, or watch on the local craigslist. I'm sure I'll post next week on how it all went!

Friday, May 28, 2010

A little thing that's really a big thing.

My friend Rory sent me an email this morning with a link to this website.
As I scrolled down, my eye caught this picture below, and I was frozen. I recognized the outline of Thailand immediately, and I was glued to the gorgeous fabric and how stunning it looked on the stark black. I felt this wonderful--relatively new--feeling that can best be described as ownership. Kind of like--"Thailand! Yes! That's me! My baby is there!"
Then I saw the words above this picture, written by the artist, which said "This is for Rory in Oregon, who ordered this for a good friend who is adopting from Thailand." You will probably not be surprised to know that I burst into tears. This beautiful image is a symbol of a beautiful gesture that is so not lost on me. Rory and Lee have a huge heart for adoption--having been halfway through the process TWICE, then the Lord keeps surprising them with bio babies! :) Thank you both for this amazing gift. I cherish it already. My baby is there. And you KNOW that I would feel that way, and handpicked this for me. Wow.
I'm thinking that our whole family will soon be sporting similar versions.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Throwin' it out there.

**UPDATE: The flower planter already sold! Seriously! Let's just say a supportive and flower-loving family member happened to see it in person and talked her husband into it. :) But I have to keep this post up to prove that I blogged this week. I'm considering it the first $200 towards our yard sale! HOORAY! Thank you, Mimi and Papa. And thank you, Chuck and Carol!
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OK, I'm just throwing this out there. Remember this awesome flower planter? The one on my front porch?
See this GORGEOUS planter?! My Aunt Carol and Uncle Chuck MADE this! They made the first one for me last year, and this year, they made a whole new one and filled it with new soil and tons of new fresh flowers that will continue to grow and bloom like crazy.

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They have donated it for us to sell to raise money for our adoption fund! Despite my selfish desires to keep it, I'm putting the word out prior to our yard sale to try to increase our chances of selling. The planter is incredibly sturdy, hand-made out of cedar and redwood, treated with linseed oil. It should last a long, long time! The flowers (if watered!) will bloom and cascade throughout the summer and into fall.

Due to the high quality (and value of all the plants!) they have suggested we start with a price (donation) of $200. Speak up if you are interested, because I'm putting it on craigslist tomorrow!
I know you are tempted!
Remember--it's for a really good cause. :)
And I'll deliver anywhere in the Willamette Valley!
(After our yard sale is over.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST talk

If you don't watch LOST, then don't bother reading this post. I really shouldn't do this. I don't really have time, and this is not really the place. But the show LOST has been a big part of our culture over the last 6 years, and Trent and I are huge fans. We were both crazy excited for the first season to come out on DVD in September 2005, and we talked about the show all summer, waiting not-so-patiently to find out WHAT WAS DOWN THAT HATCH? That first season was just STELLAR. Oh, by the way, the season 2 premiere we watched in the hospital, the DAY CARSON WAS BORN! Ha! And we had heard it is fun for the husband to get the wife a little "push present" and give it to her during labor. Mine? Was the Season 1 DVD! Ha! I still remember watching it in the middle of the night as I was nursing Carson. See? We're big fans.

SO. Now it's over, and I'm still a fan. They almost lost me a few times during the 6 years (Paulo and Nikki, anyone?), but knowing they had to wrap things up this month kept me hooked. I knew there was no way they could answer all the questions I had, or that you had, but I think they kept true to the nature of the show, which was about the characters themselves, whom we had gotten to know so well. I loved the themes about good and evil, love, sacrifice and redemption. Awesome! The finale was emotionally satisfying, if not logistically satisfying. Just great storytelling.

I've been on several different message boards, and to be honest, it's a little too overwhelming! I have a dozen or so questions, and don't have time to read through 25,295 posts to see if someone answered it, or if 25,000 of those posts were die-hard fans with bad spelling or angry fans with bad spelling. So, I'm creating my own little forum and invite your input.

My interpretation of the finale was this: that everything that happened on the island was real and actually happened. The crash, the hatch, the bomb, the time travel, Jacob, Smokey, moving the island...all of it. It's a magical, mysterious place and this show is part fantasy and part sci-fi. But the Sideways world was some sort of in-between life, or purgatory, where all the characters met many, many years later, after ALL of them had died at different times. It was a place for them to be reunited before they went on to heaven or hell or whatever the writers or characters think happens next. Here's a list of questions and comments that I can think of right now. I may add more later in a different color font:

*Why did the Others kidnap a select few of the Tailies, including the nice flight attendant and the children? Did Jacob tell them to do that?

*Did we ever learn what was up with Walt's special powers?

*Why couldn't women have babies there?

*What's the deal with Widmore? I'm not exactly sure what he was doing back on the island this season, and his death was SO anticlimactic for such a central part of the plot. Also? Why was his wife Eleanor trying to STOP Desmond in the sideways world? What's her deal?

*Very happy to see Rose, Bernard and Vincent alive and well. That scene was great.

*Not even one moment for a reunion with Desmond and Penny?! COME ON!

*Also? Nadia was Sayid's true love, not SHANNON!

*Why did Kate switch from a black dress to tank and skirt in the church?

* Christian said the characters "created" the Sideways world so they could be reunited with the most important people in their life. Did you interpret that the Sideways world was created by Juliet blowing up the bomb?

*Why weren't Miles & Pilot Frank in the church? They had become main characters that were well liked. Why didn't Ben go in?

*Was there any significance to the shots of the wreckage at the very end, or was that just a final moment of nostalgia and bookending?

*Jack's eye closing was PERFECT in my opinion. When I saw him walking through that bamboo, I called it. Loved it.

*Still a little unclear about how Desmond knew about the Sideways world in real time on the Island, just as he was about to be lowered into the light. He told Jack about a place where they'd all be happy and together. Did he "go" to that place during one of his electro-magnetic shocks? And was his whole purpose that he could withstand the electro, so he could be lowered into the light cave and pull the plug?

What are your unanswered questions? Comments? Answers to my questions? Do share! Please be respectful.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So. Much. Talking.

I know I'm biased, but I think my son is pretty smart. He's got the whole firstborn child vibe going--a natural leader, quick learner, etc. (Speaking of leading, today at a playdate with his besties, I overheard him declaring that their name was The Superheroes who Save Animals, and he divided up tasks between the boys, so each had a section of animals they were responsible for saving. *Ahem.* Apple doesn't fall far from the Bossy Tree, does it?) (All my friends giggle politely and inside are saying "NO IT DOES NOT.") ;)
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He is also very, very, VERY. VERBAL.
I mean, if his eyes are open, so is his mouth.
It's like a constant stream of consciousness coming out in comments, questions, exlamations and also sound effects.
MUCH of the time, I enjoy this, am entertained by it and even use it to my advantage. He's become a bit of a translator for Sydney, who seems to be the opposite of Carson: she is lagging behind in her verbal skills and doesn't have many words at all. But she jibberjabbers a lot, and Big Bro has taken it upon himself to tell me what she's said. For instance, if she points at the door and says "HMpakimotshk," Carson tells me she wants cookies for both him and her. And some ice cream. If she shakes her head in the car and says "Bkawbkaw" (one of her commonly used words), he informs me that she doesn't like this music and would rather listen to her kind of music. Which is, of course, HIS kind of music.
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But mostly, lately, I've noticed that I have completely lost the freedom to talk to myself. I honestly did not think of myself as a big self-talker, but that was before I had someone there at every waking moment to not only hear my self-aimed-muttering, but TALK BACK. Let me give you just a few samplings from the last week alone.
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Mommy [quietly to random red car that cut me off]: Ooookay, come on over, I guess.
Carson: Why did you just say "Come on over I guess"?
M: Oh, nothing, I was just talking to myself.
C: I think you were talking to SOMEone.
M: Well, I was just talking to that car.
C: Which car?
M: One up there.
C: WHICH CAR?!
M: The RED ONE, Carson.
C: Why did you tell him to come on over i guess?
M: sigh. Because he was going to come over anyway.
C: Why was he coming over?
M: Carson, I can't even see that car anymore, so can we talk about something else?
C: But why was he coming over?
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Mommy [quietly TO SELF]: Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Carson: Why did you just say "grrr"?
M: Oh, nothing.
C: But why did you say it?
M: It's OK, I was just frustrated.
C: Why are you frustrated?
M: Because I stepped on another crumb and I was frustrated.
C: Well, why didn't you sweep it up?
M: I DID sweep it up 2 hours ago!
C: Why didn't you sweep it up again?
M: I don't need to sweep it up again because it's STUCK TO MY FOOT!
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Mommy [quietly TO SELF]: Oh, that's right.
Carson: Why did you just say "Oh that's right"?
M: Oh, I just remembered something.
C: What did you remember.
M: Oh, it's nothing, honey.
C: No! TELL ME!
M: I just remembered something I forgot to put on the calendar.
C: What? What did you forget to put on the calendar?
M: Just an appointment I have.
C: What appointment?
M: MY APPOINTMENT AT THE GYNOCOLOGIST, OK, CARSON?!?!
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I don't think I have to tell you that in many of these situations, my patience wore thin and pretty soon I was dodging questions about pap smears. Some of you know that I was in the drive through last week and was letting the Chatterbox get my goat again--he was trying to speak OVER me while I ordered--and as I reached behind my seat to get my money and scold him for the rudeness, I heard the most horrible scraping sound EVER. Turns out a certain fastfood place that shall remain nameless (but rhymes with Schmurger Schming) keeps a huge brick wall around their dumpster and it is precariously close to a 90 degree turn in their drivethrough. Also turns out that in an automatic, the car moves forward, even when your foot is off the gas. Hmm. I'm not going to give you the verbatim from that conversation, because it might incriminate me and my hastily hidden curses, but I will say it includes many, MANY questions from Carson, including "Why are you crying?" and "WHY do I have to be quiet so you can think?"
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Also, he and I have often have a miscommunication over pronouns. Here is an example from today. I would like to reiterate that this is fresh in my memory and I swear on my children it is not exaggerated.
Carson [out of the blue in the car]: I think this is the first one of these, Mom.
Me: First one of what?
Carson: I said, I think this is the first one of these.
Me: Of what?
Carson: I SAID. I think this is THE. FIRST. ONE. OF. THESE.
Me: I know, honey, I mean, the FIRST ONE OF WHAT?
Carson: THIS is the first one!
[I know! I should have let it drop, but I'm such a glutton for punishment.]
Me: Carson, I know you are saying that something is the first, but I DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT.
Carson, as exasperated as I am: I'm talking about THIS CD WE'RE LISTENING TO , MOM!!!!!!!
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Oh my gosh, it is just hysterical. Well, in the moment, it's not always hysterical, but usually later in the day I can laugh at it. (Except the questions at the Schmurger Schming. That's still not funny to me.) Although it can drive me crazy, I love that we can have long discussions about whether bushes grow up to be trees, why he can't marry Sydney, why girls sit down to pee, whether bad people will go to heaven, how bees communicate, and what compost is. There are days when parenting a stubborn 4 year old wears me down like nobody's business. But one thing I can say: it is NEVER BORING!
Love this smartypants.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Put a smile on my face.

Quick post.

In the last few months, I've seen some amazing ways that people are supporting us and our adoption. I wanted to give you a few examples.

First, prayer and moral/verbal support. It has been felt! I love when someone is truly interested and excited for us. Friends wrote us letters telling us their heart for adoption, others ask insightful questions, and many answer our specific prayer requests when we share them. Some dear friends have answered long reference questionnaires and some watched our kids while we attended adoption prep classes. I also have loved getting to know the adoptive community, especially fellow Thai-adoptive families. They have been awesome.

Money. Yep. Hate to say it, but it helps. A LOT! We wouldn't be as far as we are already without money and we'll need more. Our first donation online was $10 from a college friend, and it melted my heart. Another family runs a restaurant, and in case you haven't heard, small-businesses aren't exactly in their economic prime. This family has promised to give us the cash they get each month from returning cans and bottles. Others have given more generously than I ever imagined. It's humbling to say the least.

Garage sale. This will be our first official fund-raiser. A garage/yard sale at our house on June 4-5. Some people have been collecting items for weeks to donate for OUR profit. Others find out about the sale and have something to donate within minutes. One couple had the husband take a vacation day so the wife could come help me run the sale. (Since we forgot to have MY husband take a vacation day, and now it's too late.) Some have offered to help me price/organize/work at the sale. I'm still stressed about it (we've never hosted a garage sale!) but the offers of help are a total answer to prayer!

So, here's a quick THANK YOU to everyone who fits into these categories and the other supportive ways I haven't even mentioned. We feel loved and supported, even as we face the fact that we are SO at the beginning of this adventure. God is demonstrating His faithfulness THROUGH you. And...if you're in the area on June 4-5, STOP BY AND SHOP!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Sydlicious

Discovering the iPod.







Sydney chews with her whole face. She also has a frequent tendency to bite of WAY more than she can chew (literally) and realize this mid-chomp, and decide to spew it all out. Where? Oh, anywhere. Her lap, the table, my hand, the floor, if we're lucky: her plate. Fortunately, in this vid, she held it together.






video

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Premature grieving

There is a chore around here (and probably at your house too) that I postpone and dread, but then kind of enjoy a little bit when I finally get into it. It's cleaning out my kids' closets. About twice a year, I have to drag out a new rubbermaid container, label it, and start putting away the clothes C & S have grown out of. This is the first time I've come around to this task and had any inkling of what the future holds for us in the offspring department. I've been clinging tightly to ALL my kids clothes, knowing that Trent and I both were pretty sure we wanted a 3rd kiddo, and a onesie saved is a onesie earned, knowwhatimean? And kiddo #3 could be a boy or girl, so I needed to guard each tub (both blue and pink) with equal protection from the husband who sees the garage being taken over by rubbermaid tubs. I was going to send them all to Hand-me-down Lane.



And it's so bittersweet! As I put away Sydney's little skirts or Carson's button-up plaid shirts like his dad wears, I marvel at how quickly they grow and shed a tear for the teensy-ness that is gone.



Well, this time as I entered the organizing task, I have an idea of what the future holds for us, kid-wise. We ARE having a third child, and it will probably be a boy! So, I'm trying to take extra good care of Carson's clothes, which is not an easy thing to with an insanely active boy. (PS: Osh-Kosh so far has the sturdiest jeans.) But...BUT! There's a small chance it could be a girl, so I'm not ready to get rid of girl clothes either. Sorry, garage. You will be overflowing with rubbermaids indefinitely.



And yesterday as I was toting totes to and fro, I saw on the shelf: "Baby Boy clothes: 0-9 months" And it hit me: I don't need those. Our "baby" will not be an infant at our home. He (or she) will be between the ages of 13-18 months when he comes home with us. And I don't know why this was a sucker punch to me. I've had this info all along! There was one other country we could have chosen that placed children under 12 months, but we felt so strongly led to Thailand. I don't regret that decision one bit. But my heart sunk with grief when I saw those clothes that Carson's little brother will not wear. I'm grieving those months that my baby will be a baby and he will not yet be mine. It's hard for me to know that someone else will be caring for my child for so many days and weeks and months, that somone else will see his first smile, first pass of a toy from one hand to the other. I pray that someone is there to cheer for him when he first triumphs at rolling over or pulls himself up to a stand, that a loving foster parent cuddles and kisses him at night as I long to do. This is so difficult for me now, months and months from even having a name and a face matched to mine. I can't imagine the torture it will be when we finally know the person God has ordained to be ours, and we still have to wait for the red tape to clear before we bring him home.



So, I'm choosing to focus on the positive, on my excitement for our kiddo. To be perfectly honest, I'm not that sad to sell my breast-pump. (Sorry for using the word "breast" everyone.) There are some aspects of the newborn stage that I will not miss. This is all part of the loss-gain that is adoption, and right now I'm indulging for a moment in my loss, all the while fully realizing that it is small compared to the losses of my child and his first mother. But I rest confidently in the belief that being together as a forever family will work towards healing those losses, and that God's timing is perfect. Not just in my life, but in the life of my child, my baby. Who he is and when he arrives in my arms is out of my control, and I'm OK with that. Because of who HE is.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Identity Crisis!

I'm not talking about my own identity. I think I have a fairly healthy sense of self. I mean I'm having a BLOG identity crisis! The beauty of blogs is that they each have their own identity and purpose. Some are merely to post cute pictures for posterity and family/friends who don't see the cuteness in person very often. Others are to express political views and rile up the opposition. Others are by mommies for mommies. There are blogs about cooking, gardening, science experiments, travel, video games, scrapbooking--you name it. Lately I've been questioning: what is my blog's purpose and who reads it? What makes someone come back and read it again? Because as much as I always say the blog and the writing is for me (which is still foundationally true) I'm human and I love knowing people are interested in my thoughts.

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I think my blog purpose is mainly to record pictures and stories about this season in my life, especially with 2 small kids who often do funny or infuriating things. But sometimes I need to throw in random posts, such as the anatomy of a perfect dish brush, cuz, you know, it's still my blog and my prerogative to change the course at random. Lately I've gotten really interested in reading adoption blogs and learning about the complicated, uh, let's say process, because I hate the word "journey." I love reading about day-to-day realities with a newly adopted Thai toddler, and also I'm learning and growing by reading posts about God and adoption (and the 126 comments about that post!). Actually, that whole blog is full of food for adoption thought if you are interested.
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And because of this newfound interest, I find myself wanting to write about adoption a lot. But I also love writing daily mommy life. And sometimes I'm just to tired or busy to post at all. So, I guess I'm trying to figure out a)what I feel like posting about more (and how much time and energy I want to invest in the blog) and b)what are people hoping to find when they click here? Feel free to answer if you'd like. But mostly I'm just venting.
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For now, back to my bread and butter: The Monkey and The Bird.

I went out of town a few weeks ago, and Sydney has not let me forget it. She's been super clingy lately. Wanting to be held all day. I try to just take advantage and sit with her and snuggle. But it gets a little dicey when it's time to make dinner or, I don't know, use the restroom.
But she's at what I think is one of the most adorable looking phases of childhood: transitioning from a baby to a girl. I love dressing her and seeing her prance around the house like she owns the place. And, heck yeah, I put her to work!
Until she wants to be held again.
She's VERY into opening and closing doors. This is a poor attempt (hello, armpit!) to catch her gorgeous smile as she was playing peek-a-boo with me using the door. It was even cuter in real life.
This is her cheesy camera smile.
Thank GOODNESS Carson and I are having a better month than last. I've been making a conscious effort to give him my undivided attention at least a few times a day I hope that is helping. He had a "mom's day" at preschool on Tuesday, and he loved showing me around the classroom.
He's such a big boy! I'm not ready for him to turn five next fall.
Man, I love that kid so much! He really is my little man. Even though he looks like he's entering the middle school "mom stop hugging me" embarassment a little early.
WARNING: This video is kind of disturbing. Especially to cautious parents and grandparents. (You know who you are.) Sydney bonks her head at the end and it is loud, but she really was OK. I walked in the other day to Carson and Sydney wrestling, and I fought my instinct to halt the game, because Sydney actually seemed to be enjoying it. Instead I got my camera, like all 21st century mothers would do.
video
Maybe that's my new blog purpose: Preschool Fight Club!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

World, meet efficiency. Now: be friends.

I *heart* efficiency. I value work well done and quickly. I greatly appreciate an employee at any level of status or pay who provides a good service, a quick step and a polite smile. Whether it's my doctor or the man who pumps my gas--equally appreciated. I haven't been feeling a lot of efficiency lately. And, in fairness, I've let the efficiency ball drop myself a couple of times.



As I have mentioned, we are in the paperwork half of our Home Study, which is the first step, the foundation being laid for the rest of the adoption, the information that will be sent to both the US and Thai governments. There are approximately 13 complicated hoops to jump through before we can begin our extensive interviews and home inspections with a social worker. We are on hoop 13.5 and are hitting some serious snags!



Hoop #13: Have your doctor fill out a form saying he has examined you within the last 6 months, and you are healthy, without disease or serious illness, and specifically that you have been tested and are free of HIV and TB. Easy enough, right? Wrong.



-Within days of applying for adoption, we were told to make an appointment with our general practitioner. He must happen to be the most popular doc in town, because neither of us could get in for a physical until mid-April. A little bummer, but OK. We had everything else done and turned in, just waiting for those appointments.

-Called doc's office ahead of time to see if we could get TB and HIV tests prior to appointments, he said no. He'd like to see us, then have a reason to refer test orders.

-I went to my appointment. Doc was great and totally willing to fill out form and additional letter he has to write and sign for the dossier. Told me he would order/refer HIV & TB tests for me. I told doc and nurse that our insurance is better at the hospital (where Trent works) so could I have the work done there? Yes.

-Nurse says "Here's the order for your blood work. Do you want to carry it?" I say, "Sure!" She says "You know, do you just want me to fax it to the hospital lab for you?" "Why not!" I say. Note to reader: Always hand carry the order. ALWAYS!

-Next day, go to the hospital lab with 2 children in tow. Talk to 2 different employees and wait 15 minutes to find they never received a faxed order for my work. Employee calls doc's office. Nurses and docs at doc's office are all very busy and will fax it within an hour. I decide would rather draw my own blood with a straw than wait an hour in a busy waiting room with 2 squirrelly kids and no stroller or form of containment. Agree to come back the next day.

-On my way back the next day, call the lab (with my hands-free device, of COURSE) to make sure they did, in fact, receive the faxed lab order from my doctor. Yes, they did. And I've been fasting for 12 hours, right? WHA?! No, I haven't been fasting! Oh, well, you can't get this blood work done, then. Strike 2.

-The next day, go back a THIRD time, making sure that I've fasted, I have a stroller for at least one child and that my lab order is ready. Check, check and check. Get in, get needle stuck in me, ask who will be doing my TB test. Am told they don't do TB tests in the lab. You have to make an appointment with the skin specialist department. Sorry. Grrrrrrrr....

-Get distracted with life and don't call for 3 days to make an appointment. Call skin department at hospital to make an appointment for a TB test. Am told they only do TB tests for people who almost definitely have TB and will then be treated at hospital. Am I pretty sure I have TB? Uh, seriously consider saying yes, but tell the truth with a kind and pitiful tone in my voice. Employee does take pity and says she'll call employee health (where my husband will be getting his TB test for free, but where they do not offer TB tests for spouses) and she will ask for a favor.

-Get a call several hours later. No, sorry, no TB test available for me at the hospital. At all. Ever. Go back to your general practitioner.

-Call general practitioner, whose office I was sitting in approximately 10 days ago, where I could have had a TB test with zero wait, but went on a wild goose chase around the health care system of S@lem instead. First appointment available with a nurse to give me TB test is in one week. At 8am. Made appointment for 8am.

-Will go to appointment, then truck back to the office 2 days later with the children to have a nurse or someone look at my test site and say that I do not have TB.

-Will wait (patiently? not sure) for information on TB to travel from one side of office to the other side so doc himself can check on the form: no TB. Will also wait for blood results to go from hospital to the doc's office, and then from the mail/computer to the doc himself so he can check: no HIV.

-Will wait for doctor to sign form, give it to assistant to mail to me, because due to patient rights, he must send it to me, not straight to my adoption agency.

-Will get forms in mail, put in a new envelope with a new stamp and mail to my adoption agency, where I will (hopefully) get a call from wonderful agent or assistant that hoop #13 has been completed and we can schedule our interviews with the social worker.

Are you exhausted? Me too a little. And this is all for just one teeny little checkmark on a long list, and the list itself is still only Step #1 in our adoption process! Yikes! But I think it's all good practice for developing the stamina and patience it's going to take to prepare ourselves for our kiddo. And then? We start a whole new level of inefficiency called: the adventures of parenting.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Flashback

Sydney at 4 months
Carson at 14 months