Thursday, June 29, 2006

It appears I have been tagged

I have been tagged. By Duchess at

Here goes:

7 things I'd like to do before I die:
1. Live in a foriegn country again
2. Sew or knit something useful
3. Tell off Charles Henry once and for good (Imagine me saying "Charles Henry" in much the same way Seinfeld used to "Newman")
4. Learn to be content
5. Write a book
6. Travel to every continent
7. See my daughter in person

7 things that I can't do:
1. Math in my head
2. Put together Lego creations
3. Hold my tongue
4. Drive well
5. Let things go
6. Keep from crying when I am angry
7. Hear the eating noises of other people

7 things that attracted me to my husband:
1. He's hot
2. His sense of humor
3. His brain
4. His compassion
5. He makes me feel safe
6. His passion
7. His goals.

7 books (or series of books) that I love:
1. Harry Potter series
2. The Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris
3. The Burglar Who... Series by Lawrence Block
4. The Matthew Scudder Series by Lawrence Block
5. The Keller (Hitman) series by Lawrence Block
6. Anything by Christopher Moore
7. Anything by Meg Cabot

7 movies I'd watch over & over:
1. Say Anything
2. When Harry Met Sally
3. Overboard
4. North by Northwest
5. Grosse Point Blank
6. The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag
7. Big Trouble

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Some days your client gets thrown under the bus

I'm having the kind of day where I want to lock my office door and cry long and hard about the state of a world in which cousins will attack eachother in open court and accuse one another of the most vile and hideous things, all in the quest to get a bigger piece of the pie that is their dead aunt's estate.

It makes me...sick, a little bit. And sad, a lot. And sad and angry for my client, who was, today, unceremoniously, thrown under the bus by her insane family.

Also today, I've lost a deed to a piece of real estate and had a divorce case thrown out because of an obscure new local rule that prevents parties from becoming divorced during a pending pregnancy when there is a question as to paternity...

Some days I wonder if I shouldn't have stayed a statistician, crunching marketing and census numbers in a quiet cubicle...

Also adding to my unhappiness is the fact that the USCIS still has not delivered our I171-H form. We cannot compile the rest of our dossier until we have that *&^% form. So, Lana sits in DaNang longer, waiting on the US government. ARGH! and UGH! and *&^%$%&&*~!!!

That's all for now,

Sunday, June 25, 2006

What's with the not flushing, and other random-ness

I've spent a good deal of time in the last ten days in public restrooms.

This is because

1. I left last Friday (ten days ago) to go to an amusement park on Lake Erie, an enormous amusement park called Cedar Point. If you are a roller coaster enthusiast, and you have not been to Cedar Point, well, let me just say that you SHOULD not be calling yourself a roller coaster enthusiast.

We go to Cedar Point every year, family reunion/mini-vacation. All the family dramas arise - it's a multi-generational event with aunts, uncles, cousins, a deaf and slightly insane grandmother, the makings of very funny kind of stream-of-consciousness/coming-of-age type novel if I ever get around to writing it.

The part of Lake Erie that the Point sits on is truly, one of my favorite beaches in the world. (Yes, I am serious. And yes, I really did live on the French Riveria for five months.) I am going to try to post a picture here so you can see how lovely it is - the sand is like fine sugar, and the water is deep blue.

2..Anyway, after that, we went this last Thursday to Cleveland and back in order to get our fingerprints taken at the USCIS office there, and visiting the Great Lakes Science Center. We all had a really good time exploring at the Science Center, and then had the joy of driving back home across the top of Ohio in the middle of the second storm of the century to move through the area in two days.

(Actually, it wasn’t nearly as bad as the day before, it was just that we were, unfortunately, DRIVING in it, which was scary.)

3. THEN, Saturday and Sunday morning we were “camping”. I use the word camping loosely, because staying at the Jellystone Camp in Angola, Indiana is more like "congregating with many RVs just off the highway", as opposed to actual camping, which I tend to associate with being out in the woods away from people.

Not that I am a big fan of “camping” in either sense, to be honest. I am not good at sleeping in a tent, on the ground, which was our situation Saturday night.

The reason we were on the excursion is that it is an annual tradition with my brothers and sisters and parents, that we go camping in Indiana for one weekend each summer. The Jellystone Camp has a little waterpark and playground for the kids, and we always get the same campsites, which are right on Lake Barton, and we have developed a tradition of floating in the middle of the lake drinking beer on a bizarre blob of various floatation devices. (Only the adults drink beer. We send the children back and forth to shore in a boat captained by my 9 year old niece. Yes, they all wear life jackets.) (Last year, my nine-year-old niece, who was then my 8 year old niece, saved me, and her four year old sister and four year old cousin, when we got stuck on the other side of the lake in a rowboat. I am a little bit ashamed to say this – although, while she is tiny, niece has some pretty impressive bicep strength. Or something. The girl can move a boat, is all I’m saying.)

But, anyway, the point of all of this is that I have spent A LOT of time in the last ten days in public restrooms, and I want to say, WHAT IS WITH THE NOT FLUSHING??

While at Cedar Point, I actually heard a mother tell the child with her, “don’t flush – I don’t want you to get germs on your hands.”. Great, so, you would rather subject the next patron to your offspring’s excrement than have them FLUSH THE POTTY?

Seriously, the whole thing has started really ooging me out. I would say that fully half of the toilets I encountered in this 10-day-whirlwind-tour-of-public-toilets-from Cleveland Ohio-to-Angola-Indiana were unflushed. I am thinking of starting a public education "Flush the Potty" campaign, perhaps with a demonstration on how to flush most any kind of potty with the bottom of one’s shoe…

So, that’s whats going on in my neck of the woods, mostly…


Friday, June 23, 2006

Storm of the Century and Videos of Lana

Wednesday afternoon my husband called to tell me that a small box had arrived from our agency, containing many pictures of Lana and two videotapes.

I hurried home because I was excited to see the photos and the video, leaving work early at 4:15.

Thank goodness I did, because around 5:00, just after I got home, the Storm of the Century began. It pounded our house for four hours, with booming thunder and lightening strikes. Something tripped our security alarm, the panel of the alarm flashing "FIRE FIRE FIRE". ADT tried to call us to determine if our house was on fire, but, since the alarm overpowers the phone line, each time they would call, the alarm would trip again, flashing "FIRE FIRE FIRE".

I ran around the house smelling for smoke, and worried that our roof was on fire, but, there was so much wind and rain that I couldn't go outside to check. In the midst of this insanity, with the alarm continuing to siren because everytime I tried to shut it off it went off again, a tornado warning was issued for our area, so, we ran to the basement, trying, unsuccessfully, to corral the cats and take them to the basement with us.

THEN, the fire department showed up, because ADT had called them to tell them they thought our house was on fire.

We ran upstairs to talk to the fire fighters, and let them come into the house and look into our attic. They told us they didn't see any sign of a fire, and assured us that our roof was also not on fire. Very very nice, wonderful firemen. HOW EMBARRASSING.

Back down to the basement because the tornado warning was still on. We sat in the basement for a long while, then we were starving. We went back upstairs, the TV was still flashing "Tornado Warning" for our area. We quickly heated up some leftovers and went back to the basement. We grabbed the videos and pictures of Lana.

I wonder if someday I will tell my daughter about the night the fire department came to our house, and our family sat huddled in our basement, eating leftover Mexican food and looking at photos of a little girl on the other side of the world?

We put the videos into our TV/VCR that is set up in front of our treadmill, and watched Lana, at age 16 months and 19 months, playing with her foster mother. It was precious, and a good diversion from the massive storm happening outside.

Eventually, the tornado warning was called off, and we went back upstairs. Our pool was within about 1 inch of overflowing - I am just grateful that it was low when the storm started - ironically, Husband had commented the day before that we needed to add about two inches of water. Thank God he did not get around to doing that, or we would have had a terrible mess in our yard, I think.

In the end, we were very lucky. Our house sits up high, and the neighbors two doors down on either side have their backyards completely underwater and are pumping water out of their basements. There is talk of declaring our county a disaster area, and we are counting our blessings that we weathered the storm okay.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Visit to the County Health Department

I've just returned from a one hour visit to the County Health Department.

My arms are both very sore from the HepA, HepB, Diptheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Typhoid, Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccinations that were on the list of "recommended for travel to Southeast Asia". Fortunately, some of these items were grouped together, so, Husband and I only had four shots each instead of 8 or 9. Then we coughed up $470.00.

So, we are achy and broke...

Fortunately, while we were there, they were offering "free anonymous HIV testing" and there was no one in line waiting. I convinced them to do "free, not-anonymous HIV testing" on Husband and myself, since our doctor still needs an HIV test in his file in order to write our letter for our dossier, stating that we are free from HIV. So, now that is done and I am sending our negative test results to our doctor this afternoon. The guy doing the testing was surprised that we were so adamant that he write our names on the form - but, when we explained about the whole situation, he was very nice and helpful, and I told him that he was helping our adoption along and it was much appreciated. He said we were lucky to be there on a Wednesday because the "STD Clinic" was closed - he said on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday there is usually a 2 hour wait. Thank goodness for Wednesday! The other good thing was that it was a saliva test, so, we didn't have to get poked again after being poked so many times for the shots.

I'm just glad to feel like we accomplished something for our adoption today - something that will help us, eventually, bring Lana home.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Family Making Me Want To Beat Myself Silly With a Stick

I've been gone for three days and when I got home yesterday afternoon I anticipated posting about our mini-vacation/family reunion.

But, instead I came home to a sh*t-storm in the shape of my sister-in-law (my husband's brother's wife) who was mad as hell and hurt and p*ssed and several other things.

You see, on Thursday morning, when I wanted to tell the whole world that we had found our daugther, Husband was hesitant to tell his family.

He didn't want to tell his family until we had something "more" than a verbal approval. Paperwork. A letter of intent to sign. He didn't want to share the news with them and have it fall through. (His family has been the most hesitant about this process, whereas my family is very excited and wanting to know every detail.)

And so, on Thursday morning, I sent an email to everyone, except members of my Husband's immediate family - I removed his brother, his mom, his aunt, and the aforementioned sister-in-law, and sent the email to everyone else. Like, my immigration professor from law school. Sorority sisters I hear from almost weekly (ladies, you know who you are and I am eternally grateful for your support through this crazy time) and sorority sisters I hear from less than once a year. Friends who are important to me, both far and near. In essense, anyone who I thought would be interested in hearing about our news - except my husband's family, because A. he wanted to tell them himself and B. because we only had verbal approval and nothing on paper and Husband just didn't want to tell them without having that paper.

Unfortunately, among those I copied with the email was my ex-sister-in-law. My husband's younger brother's ex-wife.

WHO KNEW? WHO F*CKING KNEW that she will call her ex-husband to congratulate him and say she was happy for us? And who knew that he would call his parents on Father's Day and tell them our news, which he got from his ex-wife.

OY VEY and HOLY CRAP and all that SH*T.

Husband called his parents on Father's Day, from our hotel room, to share our good news, but, the cat was already out of the bag and all hell broke loose.

Among the accusations flying from my sister-in-law is that we think Husband's family is "crap" and we "don't care" about them and how could we "betray" them this way, and how could we share this information with NON-FAMILY before FAMILY and on and on...

I tried to explain to her that Husband didn't want to tell them and get their hopes up and have the whole stupid thing fall through. We didn't have the papers until Friday, and then we left town, and he wanted to tell his parents we were going to have a daugther on Father's Day, and none of this was meant to hurt sister-in-law or make her feel less important to us.

I tried to tell her that Lan's birthday is the same day as J~'s (sister-in-law's daugther) and I thought that was special and important, and she basically said that I was nothing to her and that I have slapped her in the face and shown my "true colors"* and that she sees where Husband's family stands and that our adoption is "no longer in her heart".

That last thing is what sent me almost over the edge. Because none of this is Lan's fault. It's my fault, obviously, for including ex-sister-in-law on the my mass email. But, it's not Lan's fault. So, to hear, basically, that she doesn't think she can care about Lan because of the way she found out about makes me want to cry.

Anyway, I wanted to scream and yell and throw things at her. But, instead, I sat down and swallowed my pride and wrote her a letter apologizing for hurting her feelings. I said it was not my intention to hurt her, but, obviously she was hurt, and I was sorry for the hurt that caused.

I do not know if she will read it.

Husband called his parents and smoothed things over with them, and I emailed the brother who was formerly married to the ex-sister-in-law, and since he is sitting in Seattle and far away from all the sh*t storm in Detroit, he said he was glad he was in Seattle, and sorry that the fact that he mentioned his ex-wife's call to his dad when he called to say Happy Father's Day, and sorry about the sh*t storm, and he said congratulations and was looking forward to meeting Lan.

Anyway, my head hurts and I feel sad, and generally annoyed that I feel sad on a day when I should still be feeling joyful. (Which, I am joyful. But, my sadness at knowing how my sister-in-law feels about this is kind of clouding my day.)

I'm going to try to post pictures from our mini-vacation/family reunion later today...


*I am not sure exactly how she could have failed to see my "true colors" before, in the ten years she has known me

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Our daughter

We are thrilled beyond words and happily surprised to announce the official referral of our daugther, whose given name is N~ Thi Bich Lan, and who is called Lan, who was born in DaNang, Vietnam on November 5, 2002.

We plan to give her the name Lana Sophia ThiBich W~.

We are giddily hoping to have her home this December.

Never forget, not for one minute, that you were born in my heart and not under it.

Sitting on top of the world,

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I have just seen the most disturbing thing...

Why do I watch the Discovery Health Channel?

Because, in addition to being horrified by things like a day in the life of a man who weighs half a ton and children who are born with horribly disfiguring bone diseases, you can now see the documentary:

Multiple Miracles

Multiple Miracles is the story of a couple in Austrailia who gave birth to quadruplets, while they had a toddler.

This, in and of itself, is not freakish enough to warrant a Discovery Health Channel Special, but,

wait - I'm not done.

SEVEN MONTHS after the birth of the quadruplets, the couple decided they needed to get pregnant AGAIN.

AND THEY DID. RIGHT AWAY. (Using donor sperm, for reasons I am not certain about because I missed the first ten minutes of the show because I had to play a round of Mario Cart Double Dash with Gabe.)


No, I am not kidding. Not even a little.

What I don't understand is why the fertility specialist didn't say to this woman, "Hey. Your body has, like, been through, like, A LOT. And maybe getting pregnant again only seven months after giving birth to four babies, might, like, be really, really freaking hard on your body and I suspect that since you cannot possibly be getting any sleep perhaps this desire to become pregnant again is brought about hysterical insanity triggered by sleeplessness?"

But NO. That does not appear to be what he said.

So, four more babies were born. Well, honestly, one of them didn't make it. Which I am sure was very traumatic for them. That is, if they had to think about it, since, truly - when would these people ever sleep? And without sleep, I know, from personal experience, rational thought is really really difficult. So, I suspect that 10 years from now, when this couple is finally getting enough REM sleep, grief is going to smack them in the face like a son-of-a-bitch.

So, now this Austrailian family is raising seven children under the age of 3 and I cannot imagine why they haven't gone round the bend in a bus full of stark raving madness. And they ended the special by saying that they would like to have four more which point I had to turn the TV off because I was afraid that my head would start spinning around and then explode all over my pretty salmon-colored couch. Which would not be an attractive home decor statement.

I sense I am going to have nightmares about this...(seven babies, not my head exploding.)


Just call me Lucy...

I swear sometimes my life is an episode of I Love Lucy...

We had our annual Bar Association Luncheon today. This morning I went to put on my nicest summer suit. Which is cream colored. The only cream colored hose I had in my drawer were losing their elastisity, but, I put them on anyway, figuring they would be okay.

Suffice it to say that they were NOT okay.

Suffice it to say that when I stood up to applaud for the installation of the new Board of Trustees, and while I was standing at a table in the front of the room (because one of the attorneys from my firm was being sworn in as one of the Trustees) my pantyhose FELL DOWN. THEY FELL DOWN. Around my knees. Below the hemline of my beautiful cream colored suit.

I wanted to crawl into a hole.

I had to walk, awkwardly, out the doors of the hotel ballroom and sneak into the bathroom.

And then I left. I couldn't walk back into the luncheon.

Oy vey. Oy vey oy vey oy vey...

With a face that is about as red as the radishes in her mediocre luncheon salad,

Monday, June 12, 2006

Report from International Adoption Doctor

I spent 45 minutes on the phone with the International Adoption Doctor. This is in addition to the half hour she spent on the phone with me LAST week.

Her assessement? This child is incredibly normal. So, all systems seem to be "GO." This child's needs are going to be dealing the trauma of leaving the foster family she has lived with since she was five months old. She gave me some book recommendations for Husband and I to read, and some practical ideas for what kind of pictures and books we should send Lan, during the six month wait for us to go get her. She talked to me about her own daughter, who came home to her at the age of 4, and what her experience was like with that child. (She (the adoption doctor) has four adopted daughters.)

I called our agency and told them we want to move forward, full speed ahead, to bring Lan home. They are calling our social worker to make sure that nothing has changed and telling her the details about Lan, and we should (knock on wood) have the final official paperwork within the next three days.

I also asked what prospects there were for the sixteen month old child, the child with the same medical condition that Lan may or may not have. They verified that we could only adopt one of the girls, and that it made more sense for us to choose Lan, since we would not have to update our homestudy for her, but, we would have had to get an updated homestudy to adopt the sixteen month old (she is younger than we initially stated in our homestudy interviews, so, our homestudy approves us for a "3 to 5 year old".) I am praying they find a home for her soon. If you are the praying sort, keep her in your thoughts.

Well, it's time for Anthony Bourdain on the travel channel. Must go.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Sixth Child

Earlier this week I mentioned that our agency had informed us about a 3.5 year old girl.

We had asked about this child back in March, but, at that time, two families had her file and we did not want to compete with other families again. For reasons of their own, the two families decided they did not want to pursue her.

Is it because she is 3.5? Is it because they wanted a younger child? We do not know their reasons. But, I suspect it is because, in the end, she is meant to come home to us.

She is the sixth child whose file we have poured over. She is the fourth child whose file I have sent off to be examined by an International Adoption Doctor, and my family doctor, and my uncle's brother-in-law who is a doctor.

The sixth child.

We like to say that the third time is a charm. But, THIS time, we are hopeful, it's the sixth time that is a charm.

Nothing is written in stone today. Our agency still has to talk to our social worker before they give us the final okay.

I am waiting for one more telephone call from the International Adoption Doctor, but, she would have to tell me something shocking about the new information I have given her.

The Sixth Child's name is Lan.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Having lost my wits completely, I take to complaining to corporations...

I think I am seriously losing perspective about what things are really important, or maybe it is the feeling that I have no control over most of this adoption experience...

I sent an email to the American Girl Doll Company.

What the F**K is wrong with me?

I have spent the morning incensed about the fact that there is no Asian American Girl Doll for a daughter I don't even have yet. And may not ever have, because, we all know that Lawmommy has had her heart broken in this process before.

But, I sent an email to them, complaining about the fact that there is no Asian American Historical Girls Doll, and that adoptive mothers, such as myself, would like to see an Asian American Girls Doll for their daughters...[!!what daughter!! I am such a liar. Or a misrepresenter of all relevant facts at a minimum!!]

As if I do not have enough in my life to think about!

What is crazy is...they answered me. They answered me as if I am a totally reasonable human being and not a mother being driven slightly insane by the adoption experience and by the fact that her baby boy graduated from kindergarten last night and she just can't handle it.

Anybody want to know what they said??

Dear Ms. W~,

Thank you for your e-mail expressing your interest in an Asian American doll. We currently offer dolls which are considered Asian American in appearance: BB4B Bitty Baby® and GT4G American Girl Today®. Both have light skin, black hair, and black almond-shaped eyes. Our GT25G American Girl Today® doll has light skin, black hair, and dark brown eyes. In addition, our new Girl of the Year 2006, Jess, has a JapaneseAmerican mother. Jess has dark brown hair and almond eyes. A character with an Asian background would also be a welcome addition toThe American Girls Collection®, as Asian Americans have played a pivotalrole in the growth of the United States. One of the major goals of American Girl® is to portray American girls with honesty, integrity, andhistorical accuracy. We do intend to continue to research new characters in order to include as many of the important eras and backgrounds of our country as possible. While we continue to conduct research into new characters, it is important to remember that this is alengthy process. To ensure that all of our characters possess the integrity and accuracy that has become associated with our products, we need a minimum of three years for our Product Development team to research and develop a new American Girls Collection character. Thank you again for taking the time to write. Please be assured that American Girl intends to continue to develop the Collection to reflect the rich diversity of traditions this country affords. Your comments and requests are important to us, and we thank you for taking the time to share them.

Sincerely,American Girl® Customer Service
Phone: 1-800-845-0005 or 608-831-5210
Fax: 608-828-4790Available Monday - Sunday 7 a.m. - 10 p.m. Central Time

Considering that I got this answer within 25 minutes of sending the email, I am going to go out on a limb and suggest that this is NOT THE FIRST TIME they have gotten a letter about this issue...

Somebody send me a mountain of valium...or a huge freaking box of Chamomile tea and one of the relaxation bath balls...


Filling the Silences of Waiting/Hoping/Wishing

We are still awaiting information from Holt regarding the little girl. Further, they have asked us a compelling question - are we interested in an older girl (age 3) with the same medical condition as this 16 month old girl???

Dave and I ask struggle with the question: in a world where one can buy thong underpants for 7 year old girls at Target, are we up for the task of raising a girl? (Ultimately, we have arrived at the answer, "yes." One of us was slower at arriving at this answer than the other.)

I struggle with the overwhelming question: Why doesn't the American Girl Doll company have an Asian historical doll on their roster of Fabulous (And Fabulously Expensive) Dolls for Little Girls?

Guess what Girls on the Go (Toys R Us's cheaper answer to the American Girl phenomenom) does not have? If you guessed "Asian dolls" you would be right.

Admittedly, the American Girls company does make an Asian doll in their "Just Like Me" line - but, this is lacking in the books/story, so, really, what's the point??? :-P

Okay, so, I know there are a number of women reading this who either have or will soon have Asian daughters. I think we should storm the American Girls Doll store in Chicago and demand representation for Asian girls everywhere.

Or, yeah...well, we could just go shopping elsewhere on Michigan Ave in the Windy City...because, in the grand scheme of things, the American Girls Doll is probably not the most important racial issue facing our children...

Here's a thought though: do not do a search on "Asian Dolls" on the Internet without, well, getting some websites you are probably not really interested in looking at...

This is what I have been filling the silences with:

Books I have just finished, am reading, or am planning to start:
1. Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty - the long awaited sequel to Sloppy First and Second Helpings

2. The Two Minute Rule by Robert Crais - excellent murder mystery coupled with a bank heist, from the pen of the master of the mystery-solving-tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold genre

3. Pagan Babies by Elmore Leonard - I haven't started it, but, it looks like Elmore Leonard switches from his usual "mayhem in South Florida" motif to "mayhem in Detroit and parts of subsaharan Africa"

4. Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot - this is one of my favorite authors for generally escaping any seriousness in my life. I started reading her books the day after I finished taking the Ohio Bar Exam. I was standing in line at the library, and I picked up her "Princess Diaries" book which was on display, just because I was bored and waiting in line. She had a quote from Frances Hodges Burnett's book A Little Princess on the front flap. A Little Princess was my alltime favorite book as a little girl, hence, I picked up The Princess Diaries out of sheer curiousity. I felt silly checking out a book aimed at the 11-14-year-old-girl-set, but, as I read it, I laughed hysterically, and quickly devoured books 2, 3 and 4. (They are nothing like the Disney movies.) I enjoyed the books so much, I emailed her and thanked her for making me laugh after such a stressful time. She wrote me back (I have kept the email in my in-box for almost three years) this is what she said,

Thanks for the nice note, Gretchen! It made my day!

And you're not my oldest fan. There is a retirement home in FL that used The Princess Diaries for their reading group...they're all in their 80's-90s!

Good luck on the bar,


Anyway, I have enjoyed reading her books ever since then. This is not one of her young-adult books, but, one of her books for actual grown-up readers... ;-)

5. Coyote Blue by Christopher Moore - I love Chris Moore, and this is his only book that I have not read. I've tried before and given up, but, I am trying again.

Music I am Listening to:

1. Taking the Long Way by the Dixie Chicks - while the purist in me wishes there was more banjo/mandolin/dulcimer/fiddle on the this album, it is, nevertheless, excellent.

2. Recurring Dream: The Very Best of Crowded House by Crowded House - in truth, I am obsessively compulsively listening to "Fall at Your Feet" and "Distant Sun" off this album, over and over again...

3. Keep It Together by Guster - I love the song Amsterdam, what can I say?

4. Wreck of the Day by Anna Nalick - I especially love the line, "life's like an hourglass glued to the table, no one can find the rewind button, girls, so, cradle your head and just breathe"

5. Time of Trains by David Broza - this man is a genius with a guitar

6. Final Straw by Snow Patrol

7. The song Inevitable by Shakira, off her album Donde Estan los Ladrones

8. Make it Through this World by Greg Trooper - I think the title of the album says it all

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Deep Blue Funk - Not Adoption Related

I’ve been feeling really, really sad the last few days, and I haven’t been able to put my finger on exactly why. It’s a pervasive sadness that has pretty much clouded the last few days.

Last night, after work, Husband and I were floating in the pool. (I was just floating, Husband was recovering from 100 laps he had swum before I got home from work.) (Husband has an exercise addiction, have I mentioned this before?)

Anyway, I was floating in the pool, an activity that normally makes me serene/calm/blissful. (Despite my utter gracelessness in all other physical pursuits (for example, I believe I am the only girl in the history of my highschool to ever have been cut from the junior varsity tennis team), I have a bizarre buoyancy that allows me to float effortlessly. Once, when I was on a scuba diving resort course in St. Lucia, and the dive master had to strap an extra 10, and then 15 pounds of weight to my weight belt in order to keep me from floating to the surface, he said, “my lady, my float-y lady, you will nevah evah drown.”)

But, last night I was floating in the pool and instead of feeling blissful, I felt like bursting into tears. I wondered what was wrong with me. When I got out of the pool I felt completely exhausted and I just wanted to fall asleep – it was 7:45 PM…

But, this morning, I put my finger on what has me in the deep blue funk:

Gabriel is “graduating” from his private kindergarten tomorrow night. Gabe has been at this care center since he was 10 weeks old. Almost all of his teachers from each stage of his life are still at the center. These women have cared for my son during the day with amazing love and affection. They have helped us to raise our son and form him, from the drooling 10 week old baby I brought them in May of 2000, to the smart, funny, inquisitive little person that he is today.

Gabe’s first word was “mama” – and his second word was “dada” – but, his third word was “mimi” – his name for his favorite caregiver as an infant. He has long since learned to pronounce “Jami” correctly, and I cannot remember the last time he called her “mimi” – but, she has remained close to him, and Dave and I have become close to her and her husband, and part of me now worries that, without the daily connectivity of the center, we will lose track of these people who have been so important in my son’s life – in my life – honestly, without these women, I would not have been able to finish law school. They gave me support and reassurance and encouragement to keep going. I was secure in knowing that Gabe was on campus with me, and safe with people who cared for him. I feel a debt of gratitude to these women that I cannot entirely express.

On the day that Gabriel moved from the “toddler” area of the center to the “pre-school” area of the school, I physically had to pick him up and take him to the new room, because he had run out of the new pre-school room, straight for his toddler room. As I held him and walked him back to the pre-school room, his arms stretched out and he screamed, hysterically, SIPRA! SIPRA! SIPRA! (This was his toddler caregiver.) Sipra stood in the hallway and cried. I cried, Gabe cried. THAT was just my reaction for Gabe “moving” up from one wing of the center to another. I can’t imagine what tomorrow will be like (for me. I’m sure Gabe will be just fine).

On the morning of September 11, I was sitting in a class on Trusts and Estates that began at 8:00AM. At 9:00 AM the professor needed a cigarette break, and it was at that point we came to know what had happened a few minutes earlier, and we were all watching NBC’s Today Show as the second plane hit the twin towers. Later, while we were still glued to the TV, I don’t know what time, but, after the plane had hit the pentagon, the Dean of Students came to look for me, and another student, K~, whose daughter was also at the campus center. “They are going to close campus, and the center just called looking for you, “ the dean said. “Go get your babies before they make the announcement, so you don’t get caught up in the rush to get off campus.” (I have never understood the University’s reasons for closing down campus – to this day I think someone made a threat that has not been disclosed.)

I ran across campus to get my son. He was the last child in the room, and Sipra was holding him on her lap, rocking him, singing to him. I looked at her. She looked at me. We both looked at Gabe who had dumped red juice all over his white crawler. We hugged my son between us and we cried. We shared our grief and our mutual love for a little boy in dirty clothes…

I think what I am most afraid of is what public school might do to my child. He is smart and funny, and I don’t know what to attribute these characteristics to – a happy serendipity of genetics and environment? But, above all, my son is kind-hearted, and I think the women at the center are as responsible for that as Husband and I are. I worry that public school will grind down the gentle nature of Gabriel’s soul. And this terrifies me.

And that is, ultimately, this is why I am sad right now. I am scared that I am taking my son from the care of loving lambs and handing him into the care of tigers…I can assure you I will be a complete mess come next September, when I have to put him on a school bus for the first time… :-(


Monday, June 05, 2006

More info

I have just had a conversation with my agency, and with the International Adoption Doctor.

This little girl is located at the Danang Rehabilitation Center for Malnourished and Abandoned Orphans. Husband and I wanted to know more about it, since the little girl is not in foster care. I was afraid that she was with 700 other children or something.

My agency reports that this center is "owned" by the government, as are all orphanages in Vietnam, but, that my agency has been "supporting and working with" this orphanage for decades. I asked how many children were there, and I was told that the number of children was "around 30 at the center, and other children in foster care, who are associated with the center." Evidently my agency provides social workers and physicians to the center. I was then told, "this is not a fancy or luxurious place, but, the children are cared for, the center is clean, the nannies are often employed for many many years, the children are given the food they need, and the medical attention they need. The nannies care very much. Any children coming out of Danang from H~ (our agency) are coming from this center - either they are living at the center, or their foster families have been arranged through this center."

So, I felt better knowing that she is only with 20 to 30 other children, as opposed to hundreds of other children.

The doctor had some reassuring things to say about her medical condition, but, she was deeply distrustful of the two sets of numbers they have provided regarding this child's height and weight. She said, "these simply cannot be correct. These numbers cannot belong to the child in these photos. The first set of numbers describe an incredibly malnourished child, and the second set of numbers describe a child in the 90th percentile for height. These numbers are only four months apart. At least one of them is clearly clearly wrong. The first numbers describe a child who would be near death, and the second describe a child who is incredibly long and fairly thin." Our photos describe a very average looking child for weight - she is not thin, she is not chubby, she just looks "normal".

So, I have asked my agency to provide me with that info, along with the info I requested last Friday...

We wait and wait some more.


Saturday, June 03, 2006

Adoption News Update

Late last week, the waiting child department of our agency contacted us regarding two new "waiting child" files they received. Both files were little girls in DaNang.

The first little girl was a child with bilateral cleft lip and palate, accompanied with language and motor delays. For a variety of reasons, we declined to see her file.

The second little girl - well, the second little girl...where to start, what to say?

She is approximately sixteen months old. She is walking, she is running. She is not talking, but, I'm not sure if that's too much to ask of a sixteen month old in an orphanage in the first place...she is described as having "a gentle way of smiling at visitors". The doctors describe her motor skills as "very good". (This is like an "extra comment" on the side of the medical exam - "child's motor skills are very good".)

She does have a medical problem (hence the reason her file came from "waiting child" and not from the standard Vietnam program. I have done about a mountain of research on this condition in the past six days.

I have requested more information from my agency about a few things in her file - Husband has asked me to get a few more pieces of information. I've sent the file to Dr. Jerri Jenista in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as she appears to be an expert regarding this little girl's condition.

There is a big part of me that feels very attached to this child. Husband does not yet feel the same way - previously we have been on the same page - so, I need to give him time to think about this...

That's all for now,

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The New York Times

As you may recall from my previous post about my cousin Gwen's off-broadway show:

I am pretty proud of her.

However, I just have seen the New York Times for today, and I am so proud I think I might explode.

The NEW YORK TIMES says that my cousin and the rest of her troupe "may be geniuses".


Check it out:


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