Monday, July 31, 2006

My weekend in a nutshell

Books finished: Digging to America by Anne Tyler and Startled by His Furry Shorts by Louise Rennison - enjoyed both, the second made me laugh so hard I snorted diet Coke out of my nose

Salons visited: One. Hair highlighted. Hair trimmed. Eyebrows waxed. Chat with old friend from high school who is my stylist, 2.5 hours long.

Bargain shopping: Amazing finds at department store 80% off sales - 2 swimsuits for husband ($9.80 each), 1 swimsuit for Gabriel ($6.20), three shirts for Gabriel for school (2 @ $4.80 each, 1 @ $3.30), 2 adorable shirts for Lana (amazing price of $2.00 each), 2 pairs winter pajamas for Lana ($4.98 a piece!), 4 pairs winter pajamas for Gabriel ($4.98 a piece! and $7.99 a piece), 1 ladybug purse for Lana ($3.30), 3 Carter's baby blankets (for orphanage gifts for our trip to Vietnam) $1.80 a piece!!! (I bought all three they had, and I wished they had more.) THANK YOU DILLARDS and ELDER BEERMAN. You are my shopping therapy headquarters.

Restaurants visited for dinner Saturday night: Two. We met my dad and step-mom for dinner at a new place called The Elephant Bar. When we arrived at 5:15, there was a 50 minute wait to be seated - not doable with a hungry 6 year old. We switched and went to the Claddagh Irish Pub and Restaurant - immediate seating. I guess most people don't want a pint of Guiness and shepard's pie when it is 95 degrees out, but, it was tasty nonetheless. (The Guiness was not for the hungry six year old, but, rather for his dad and grandpa.)

Trips to church: one - and very thankful our priest has returned from three weeks in Chicago, as replacement priest for past three weeks was v. v. dull. Our priest and his wife (Episcopal, obviously, not Roman Catholic, or he wouldn't have a wife, of course!) wanted to know about any progress made with the adoption, so, I filled them in after service, while the priest's three year old son played with Husband's beard in complete and total fascination for 10 straight minutes.

Trips to hell, er, aka, Chuck E Cheese - one. Our niece celebrated her 5th birthday. Husband nearly had to leave from sensory overload, I nearly had breakdown from sensory overload. I hate that place, too loud, too crowded, too many lights, too many children, yikes!

Any other available minute not spent sleeping: spent in the pool because it is like an oven here!


Friday, July 28, 2006

Small Favors

Miracle of miracles, the documents that the bureaucrats in Lansing told me were "not in their database" and "could not be located" - showed up on my desk this morning in today's mail.*

No, I am not lying.

AND, the document that is on my desk, the employment letter that is notarized and executed the DAY AFTER it was dated, is acceptable to my agency. I just got off the phone with them, I put the document in an overnight envelope, my agency will have it on Monday, so ALL IS WELL.

My agency cannot send my dossier to the Vietnamese embassy until Wednesday anyway, because they need to add some kind of certification from the State of Oregon, which they are requesting today, and expect to receive on Tuesday.

So, that's the news from here.


*can I just add that I hate bureaucrats? ARGH!!


Of luck..........

There is a PROBLEM with one of the documents.

And of course it was one of the documents my poor husband made his mad dash to the Michigan Secretary of State for on Wednesday.

There is a TYPO on the d*&m employment letter.

It is DATED July 5, 2006.

It is NOTARIZED AND SIGNED July 25, 2006.

For the lack of the numeral "2" in the date, we are probably going to have to have this document re-done, because this gap between the date on the letter and date it was executed will likely be "suspicious" to the Vietnamese authorities.

Of course there is always the remote possibility that Lansing will locate the orignal letter and send it to us, but, I checked my copy and it was dated the day BEFORE it was signed and notarized. But, my agency seemed to think that that would be considerably less suspicious to the Vietnamese authorities.

So, cross your fingers that Lansing actually finds it and sends it back in the next two days. Otherwise, my poor husband will have to shanghai his boss and drag him to the bank. Again.



Wednesday, July 26, 2006

My dossier at last is on its merry way

After a week of not returning phone calls, the State of Michigan yesterday finally gave me a straight answer and admitted that they could not find the documents I had sent to them for authentification. It was only TWO documents - my husband's birth certificate and my husband's employment letter. (We live in Ohio, but, he works in Michigan). We have been waiting on these two documents forever!!
Yesterday, after they told us, basically, they weren't ever coming, my husband tracked down his boss, they went to a bank, and got a new, notarized employment letter. Thankfully, we had an extra official copy of his birth certificate, so, he drove today to the Michigan Secretary of State, (two hours there, two hours in line, two hours back, WITH our six year old in tow) (he is a hero!) and I have spent the last hour and half double-checking everything, copying, etc, and have placed the package into the hands of the UPS guy.
I feel like I have actually accomplished something toward bringing our girl home - I just wish it had not taken me 5 whole weeks to get this dossier done.

Now we wait...

If you are curious, the first thing we are waiting for is a call from our agency telling us the dossier is acceptable.

THEN we will wait to be told it has been sent to the Vietnamese embassy in Washington D.C. for authentification and translation.

We'll wait some more after that, but, these are the two things I am concentrating my waiting energy on right now.


Monday, July 24, 2006


When I was in junior high and much of high school, I spent most of the summer at my grandparents house in Detroit. (And by saying “Detroit” I actually mean “Detroit” – not a suburb, not Dearborn, but, Detroit, really. My grandparents lived off of Telegraph between Joy and Warren. It was a neighborhood mostly populated, at that time, by Detroit police officers and fire fighters.) Part of this was because my two youngest brothers went to day camp, and my three other siblings split their time between their mother’s house and their father’s house (which was also my house.) (Step-families are complicated, sorry.)

Anyway, my mother felt more comfortable sending me to my grandparents than leaving me home to my own devices during the day (she was social worker for Jewish Social Services at that time, which is ironic, because today she is United Methodist clergy person.) (No, she was not Jewish before.)

Also, I spent so much time with my grandparents because I have an aunt who is only three years older than I am. My grandmother believed in having children in “pairs”. (Anybody ever heard of this concept?) She had my mother and my Aunt K~ very close together. Five and six years later, she had my Aunt J~ and my Aunt S~A~. Eleven years later, unexpectedly, came my Aunt S~S~. Shortly thereafter, she lost the infant who would have been the other half S~S~’s “pair” (and my grandmother’s only boy). And then, when my mother was expecting me, she lost her last baby, S~S~’s last chance for a sibling pair, too young to know if the child were a boy, or a girl. When I was born a few months later, my grandmother declared me to be the other half of S~S~’s “pair”. S~S~ and I have always shared a bond that is closer than a normal aunt/niece, and my grandparents didn’t seem to mind having me around for weeks or months at a time. (Now that I am a parent myself, and have some empathy for the pain of those two losses they experienced, I wonder if having me around was comforting to them, or a reminder of the child they lost who would have been exactly the same age as me, or if they didn’t think about it.)

Across the street from my grandparent’s house was their house of my grandparents’ best friends, let’s call the Schmidt’s (not their real name) for ease of use. The Schmidts’ had a granddaughter, A~, who was exactly 18 months older than me and 18 months younger than S~S~. The three of us were thick as thieves during those summers. I couldn’t tell you, really, how we filled our days. I remember occasional trips to Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Musuem. Trips to the Belle Isle Zoo. Swimming trips to a beach, the name of which I probably never knew. But, mostly, we stayed at home. We watched General Hospital. We swung on my grandparent’s tire swing. We listened to Luther Vandross. (A lot.) (Which was pretty weird for three sheltered white girls.)

But mostly, we wanted to SPEND THE NIGHT. SLEEPOVERS. Left to our own devices we would have had sleepovers every night. S~S~ and I wanted A~ to spend the night with us, and A~ wanted us to spend the night with her. (I preferred the nights we spent at A~’s grandparents because we had a habit of lying on our backs beneath the gigantic attic exhaust fan that kept their house cool. We could sleep there and it felt like air conditioning. Unfortunately, we also took turns throwing things (mostly grapes) into the fan, to examine their condition when they came back down. Year’s later, the people who bought the Schmidts’ house after they moved away complained to my grandparents that were “raisins or something”, all over the attic. How little they knew…)

About half the time, our grandparents gave in and let us have sleepovers. And the other days, we would pester them. I remember bothering my grandfather with incessant pleas that he “DECIDE if we can HAVE A SLEEPOVER!!” And my grandfather would look up, from being bent over his dulcimer or his steel guitar or his drafting table, and say, “GIRLS! You are driving me PLUM CRAZY. If you make me decide RIGHT NOW, the answer will be NO.”

The reason for this whole long-winded trip down memory lane, is that I heard this exact same thing come out of my mouth the other day. Except it started “BOYS!” instead of “GIRLS!” and I was swimming in the pool and not playing an obscure folk instrument at the time.

Gabe and his little friends in the neighborhood want to have lots of sleepovers. And while I can’t think of any good reason to say “no” every time, it seems ridiculous to say “yes” every time. Hence the need for me to “think about it.” And the response from my son, “What’s there to think about??”

I’m not sure what there is to “think about”. I just know that I am not always comfortable knowing my child is sleeping across the street or next door. (Somedays, it’s great, but, not all the time.) And I am not always comfortable having three six year old boys in my guest room. Some days, I want my family just to myself. Like tonight. My boys (Husband and Gabe) are alone in the Family Room, watching their Tigers play. I’ve said “no” to a sleepover tonight. And it made me miss my childhood, just a little bit.

Playground Incident

Yesterday morning, my family took a bike ride to the park, and then my husband jogged around the park while Gabe and I played at the playground.

(This outing was premised by Husband asking me if I wanted to go on a bike ride to the park, my saying, "no, not really" and him saying, "it would be a good idea to spend the next several months getting in shape so we can deal with all the walking we will have to do in Vietnam" and then me flipping out and accusing him of accusing me of being fat and lazy. Sometimes, I am completely irrational. (Also, I am very very unhappy about my body right now.) And it is true I have been entirely disinterested in any kind of exercise or activity, with the exception of swimming in the backyard - and let's be honest, I'm not actually exercising so much as floating and paddling around. Anyway, after I realized that I was being irrational, and after he promised it would not be a 12 mile ride like last time, we set off for the park. Gabe and I on bikes and Husband in his jogging shoes.)

Gabriel and I were swinging on the swings. (By this I mean, yes, I was swinging on one swing and he was swinging next to me. I like to swing and I know this makes me look like a freak and that only people under 12 are supposed to use up space on the swing set at the park. I KNOW! Forgive me.) So, we were swinging, and suddenly this small Asian girl in a little white dress came running towards us. She was about three or four, and her hair was cut in exactly the same way that Lana's hair is cut in many of our pictures of her, and the shape of her face was so similar to Lana's, that, for a second, she quite literally took my breath away. I was suddenly possessed with a terrific desire to pick her up and swing her around and cuddle her and smell her sweet little girl smell. I looked around for her mother (secretly and weirdly and totally inappropriately hoping that her mother would not be Asian, so that I could approach and talk about adoption), when I saw her VERY PREGNANT and very TINY (and Asian) mother stuggling to get to the playground. She looked like under normal circumstances she weighs about 90 pounds and she looked like she might go into labor any minute. She said something in a language I did not recognize to the little girl, and the child answered her in English. The little girl wanted to swing higher. Swing higher! she said, over and over. The mom was having a hard time and I thought that I should offer to help her, to push her daughter so that she could go sit down on a bench. I should have done this, because it was hot and sticky, and she was tired and uncomfortable, and for some reason I was suddenly shy and I didn't have the nerve, and Gabe wanted, ultimately, to go to the slides. So, I smiled at the woman, and her daughter who reminded me of my own daughter-to-be, and we left the swings, feeling a little bit like I had failed on some level...probably some basic human level that says we should not let hugely pregnant women stand up in the glaring sun pushing their children on the swing without offering to help them...


Sunday, July 23, 2006

On my mind: My nephew, my stretch marks, and Rosemary Triscuits

My nephew reduced a room full of 3-and-4-year-old Episcopalians to tears this morning.

Let me preface this by saying that my nephew, R~, is the youngest of my sister S~'s five children, and has a given and family name so peculiarly and unusually Italian that it is almost a cliche, and is sure to destine the poor guy to years of IRS audits under suspicion of being a mafia enforcer...also, if you ask R~ what he wants to be when he grows up, he will answer, without missing a beat, "a bad guy." He gives my sister no end of worry!

Anyway, recently, R~ asked his mother if she had ever seen Jesus. My sister said "No, you can't see Jesus, we just know he is here."

Evidently, R~ did not care for this response, because this morning he announced to his Sunday school class, "Jesus isn't real. He's not real." The other children objected. R~ vehemently questioned them, "I've NEVER SEEN HIM? Have YOU?" As it dawned on the children that they HAD never seen Jesus, tears ensued. It's my understanding that the teachers sorted things out eventually. I am trying hard not to laugh about this in front of my sister. Evidently, R~'s name should have "Thomas".


Friday night, Gabe and were laying in the guest room bed, and I was reading Fantastic Mr. Fox* to him. I was wearing green pajamas with pink flamingos on them, and the tank top had ridden up so that my belly button area was exposed. (We are not a modest group here at my house, so, it's not like Gabe doesn't see my stomach on occasion. However, this time, it caught his attention.) "Mommy, what are these stingy marks on your tummy?" he asks. "They're stretch marks, " I say. (I have wretched, heinous, awful stretch marks, and I'm not kidding. It looks like someone poured hot boiling oil over the flesh of my stomach. The scars run down my abdomen like angry worms half buried in my flesh. It's NOT pretty. I will never wear a two-piece swimsuit again, even if I do succeed in losing forty pounds.) "What are they from?" Gabe asks. "From the time you spent nine months tap dancing on my bladder." (Um, no, that's not really what I said. I THOUGHT it, but, I didn't SAY it.) "From when I was pregnant with you and you were in my tummy. My skin stretched, and it scarred this way." He touches the unscarred skin of rib cage and asks why there are no scars there. I explain that he wasn't in my rib cage, so, that skin didn't get stretched.

I continue to read, and he continues to trace the scars across my stomach with his pointer finger. He seems lost in thought and not listening to the book. Then he asks me if "the lady who had Lana in her tummy has scars like this on her belly." Woah. "I don't know Gabe, probably she does." "But Aunt S~ and Aunt A~ had LOTS of babies, and they don't have scars like this," Gabe says. (These are my sisters. They have seven children between them. And no visible stetch marks. Bitches. I love them, but, HOW IS THAT FAIR??? I only gained 26 pounds with Gabe!!! They both gained more than that EVERY TIME!!! I digress.) (I can call them bitches because they are my sisters and I love them dearly. Even if they are both size 4. SO NOT FAIR!!!) I tell Gabe that A~ and S~ are lucky. (My family swims a lot, which is how Gabe knows they don't have stetch marks. Because they both wear tiny bikinis. I will risk being redundant by saying, again, SO NOT FAIR!!!) Gabe ends this conversation by asking me if the marks on my belly hurt. "No, Gabe, they don't." He seems relieved to hear this.


Rosemary triscuits...I had the opportunity to encounter these yesterday, and, um, can I just say, unless you LOVE rosemary, with a deep and true passion that knows no bounds, there is TOO MUCH ROSEMARY in these crackers. Too much. Way too much. Go with the garlic ones. They are so much better.


*I regularly subject my child to hearing me read aloud books that I loved as a child. So far, he actually likes the Roald Dahl books, and Flat Stanley, and The Great Brain, or he pretends to for my sake. He did not, however, appreciate it when I tried to read him Little Lord Fautneroy, which is not, admittedly, the best book Frances Hodges Burnett ever wrote. (That would, of course, be A Little Princess, my favorite book from all of childhood, and I know I will heartbroken if Lana doesn't let me read this to her someday.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

And in non-political adoption news...

I want to strangle somebody at the Statehouse in Lansing, Michigan.

Evidently, they are holding the State Certified Copy of Husband's birth certificate hostage.

They have had it for TWELVE DAYS. TWELVE. DAYS. 12. T-W-E-L-V-E DAYS.

Every day that they keep it is one more day that Lana doesn't come home.

My entire dossier is sitting here, on my desk, ready to go to Eugene, Oregon, with all my Ohio state certified documents and dossier photos and passport photos...



Lawmommy goes all political for a few moments

Warning, this thread discusses politics, adoption, frozen embryos, and the yahoos in Washington.

I am saddened...sickened...disraught. I am deeply deeply disturbed that Bush used his veto power to veto the stem cell research bill.

I realize that 25% of the population is deeply opposed to this research, and I do not disrespect your opinion.

However, 75% of the population supports this legislation. 75%. If the president can argue (okay, argue ridiculously, but, argue nonetheless) that 51% is a mandate, how could he possibly not see that 75% really IS a mandate? (Okay, yes, yes, I know. Just because most people are in favor of something, doesn't make it morally right - look at racial segregation, for example.)

But, here is my problem with the argument that embryos are people - or even that embryos are fetuses (fetii?) - it takes something MORE than the meeting of an egg and a sperm to make a pregnancy. It is probable, even likely, that eggs and sperm meet ALL THE TIME. ("Nice to meet you, how you doin', can I buy you a martini?"). Egg+sperm does not equal pregnancy. Egg + sperm + implantation in appropriately prepared uterus = possible viable pregnancy, possible child. Egg + sperm + no implantation or no appropriately prepared uterus = no possible viable pregnancy, no possible child.

These embryos are created in a dish in a lab, and the purpose of them is to provide the POSSIBILITY that a pregnancy and a child will result. More embryos than are needed are created. If this idea makes one squeamish, fine, I FULLY respect that. Because it is, essentially, the creation of the building blocks of many potential babies, in the hope that one or two or three ACTUAL babies will result. To me, this is precisely the kind of thing the president is objecting to, and frankly I would have MORE RESPECT for his opinion if he simply said, "we shouldn't make embryos for any purpose, including the possibility of making babies." I am not suggesting that he say this, or that I would be behind him if he did, I'm just saying that this is a more logical position than the position he has chosen to take. I'm just saying that infertility treatments necessitate the creation of embryos that will never become human beings, and if you have an ethical issue with that, I can fully and completely understand that. But, what I cannot understand is saying that we can create these embryos for a single purpose, and all other purposes will be disallowed**, and the only acceptable option for dealing with these created embryos is to allow them to be "adopted" or to allow them to be flushed down the drain.

I also object to the idea of "adopting" an embryo.

Clearly, I am gung ho about adoption. I am all fired up and I think adoption is a beautiful option. But, I'm not sure that when one is allowing the fertilized embryo of another couple to be implanted (er, multiple fertilized embryos in most cases) in one's cozy uterus, and one carries that baby to term, and one takes that baby home, that is not adoption. That is pregnancy and childbirth. It's a fertility treatment option. It sounds like a great option for couples who have malfunctioning ovaries or testes or both, or simply for people who cannot get pregnant themselves and are uncomfortable with the idea of creating more of those problematic frozen embryos. But, it's not adoption.

The generally accepted default position of Family Law is that the woman who has the baby COME OUT OF HER is the mother. That's the name that is going on the birth certificate, unless extraordinary measures are taken. (In Ohio, a surrogate who is carrying a baby that was not created with her own egg CAN allow the person's whose egg was used to be listed on the original birth certificate, but, it takes a court order to do that, and you better have that court order with you when you are filling out the paperwork at the hospital. Ohio does not allow this when the infant is genetically the child of the surrogate, a procedure of questionable legality in this state.)

Further, the default position of the Law in Ohio is that the husband is the father of any child born to his wife during the pendancy of their marriage, and, again, extra measures need to be taken in order to overcome that presumption.

Anyway, my point is, adoption requires the waiver of parental rights, and since the birth certificate is going to show that the parents of the child who comes out of the body of the woman in question are 1. the woman and 2. the husband of the woman, how can we call this adoption?

We do not call it adoption when a sperm donor is used to impregnate a woman - if that woman is married, her husband is listed as the father, not the anonymous sperm donor. We do not call it adoption if a (preppy, dean's list Harvard undergrad) egg donor is used - again, the woman out of whose body the baby came is listed as the mother. We call that egg donation and sperm donation. Why can't we call this process embryo donation???

I don't deny that the so-called snowflake children are beautiful and loved and wanted and wonderful. Surely they are all those things - because they are living, breathing, crying, running, whining actual human beings. I don't have hard statistics on the process, but, I would venture a guess that there are at least two formerly frozen embryos implanted for every one of these snowflake babies, (because the nature of FET or frozen embryo transfer is that it doesn't have fabulous odds for success). How do we explain the loss of those embryos, those embryos that don't become Snowflake children in the quest to create Snowflake children? Have we commited "murder" of some in the quest to create some others?

And even more problematically, what should we do with the vast majority of these embryos who will not ever find a snowflake family? Because, more and more couples are undergoing fertility treatment, which means more and more embryos are being created, and there simply aren't 400,000 families with the means or the desire to become impregnated with these embryos, right now. What will we do when we have 1,000,000 embryos in limbo, and only a few thousand families interested in this process?

Ultimately, I think these embryos, these five and six celled bits of genetic code are...HOPE. They reprensent the HOPE of those who called them into existence. And in those deep icy trays of HOPE, is it so wrong of us to want to peer into them to find more HOPE for humanity, for the paralyzed, for the sick, for the dying, for those who suffer pain and blindness and the horrifying loss of self that is Alzheimer's? Or is it better to thaw them and rinse them down the drain? Or is it better, ultimately, to say, we should not do this at all - that we should not create the building blocks of human beings in petri dishes for any purpose??

Wishing I had all the answers, but stuck here with only more questions,


*(And I'm not even going to get started on the number of possible viable pregnancies that do not result in the creation of a fetus - molar pregnancies, blighted ovums, early miscarriage of undertimed causation. Those hoped for, longed for, prayed for, bargained for, heartbreaking losses of sperm+egg+appropriately prepared uterus...)

**I am not suggesting that we should create embryos solely for the purpose of research, or what is known as "fetal farming" - that is just...icky.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A Question of Intent

I had lunch yesterday with a woman, B~, who adopted two older children from Ecuador last year. She used the same agency that I am using, and we happened to “meet” on our agency’s message board, and it turns out that we work less than five blocks from each other. So, we decided to meet for lunch and discuss adoption type things, and parenting in general, and working motherhood, etc.

We had a very nice lunch, and we were discussing an adoption workshop that B~ and her husband had attended in Cleveland called “Abroad and Back”. She felt it was very helpful information and I am thinking about attending the seminar that will be held in September. B~ expressed some shock and dismay regarding the attitude of a (very) few parents at the seminar, which seemed to be, “the impact of the first 14 to 16 months of my child’s life in an orphanage will be completely ‘wiped out’ within a few days of being in a new family” and “when they get older the child will be so grateful to have been adopted,” and “what lucky lucky children we will have.”

I have not encountered these perceptions among adopted families that I know personally, but, it disturbed me to think this attitude could exist.

I think this goes back to the root question, “why adopt a child from overseas?” Is one adopting to “save” a child, or is one adopting because one WANTS a child. Does it matter? (Because, in the long run, the result is a child coming home to family, a child who, in some cases, wouldn’t have a family.)

Should we expect our adopted children to be any more “grateful” to be a part of our families than our biological children? Is it the child who is lucky to have a family, or the family who is lucky to have a child? And again, does it matter?

Just a thought to chew on,

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My day started with $16,000 and tears

Some days it is weird to be a real estate attorney. Especially one who does a lot of foreclosure work, which is depressing.

My day started with a woman coming into my office with $16,000 in cash and a tearful request that her house not be auctioned at this morning's sheriff's sale auction of foreclosed real estate.

As it happened, it was enough money to reinstate her loan and stop the sale. (Lest anyone think it is easy or usual to stop a foreclosure sale on the morning of the foreclosure sale, I assure you this was an odd situation in which the attorney (me) and the debtor were actually in the same city as the scheduled foreclosure auction.)

To be honest, I don't think I have ever seen quite so much cash in one place in my entire life.

It takes up a lot of space, $16,000 does. (Also, it takes a long time to go over $16,000 with a counterfeit catching pen...oy.)

(Lest anyone think the $16,000 was for ME to KEEP - HAH! It was for the mortgage holding bank. Not for me or my firm.)

Anyway, for me, the result of this was a mad dash to the courthouse to get a judge to sign an order stopping the foreclosure auction. It was a bit down to the wire - the sale was scheduled for 10:00 AM. Judge B~ signed my order at 9:45 AM.

My advice - don't let this happen to you because I highly doubt that there are many foreclosure attorneys who would be willing to run around and go begging for a judge fifteen minutes before you lose your house.

No news on the adoption front today.

Husband and I and Gabe met friends for dinner, which was incredibly pleasant and reminded me that I need to spend more time with my Girlfriends.

Speaking of Girlfriends, my real life friend JDEgirl asks, "What would you do if you knew you would not fail?"

My answers:

1. Lose 40 pounds
2. Write a great American novel
3. Move to Montreal

Finally, I must post this link, because any headline that contains the phrase runaway circus kangaroo must be SHARED.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I have been to Columbus, and back again

Husband and I went to Columbus yesterday in order to "state certify" all our Ohio documents for our adoption dossier.

We had ten Ohio documents, and I just didn't trust the Secretary of State not to lose at least one of them.

For several days, I thought I was going to have to go alone, but, we accomplished some fancy foot work with finding someone to take care of Gabe (which involved picking Gabe up at noon from a day camp he is attending this week from 9:45 to 12:00). So, anyway, I am grateful to my friend B~, who stepped in and took care of Gabe yesterday afternoon so that Husband and I could drive to Columbus together.

I had not been to Columbus since 2003, when I took the Bar Exam, and I think I will forever associate that city with the terror/nausea/mind-boggling stress/insanity of those three days of sitting at a folding table in an enormous room with 350 other recent law school grads, writing frantically, certain that I would fail and never be able to practice law.

We made our way into downtown Columbus (2 hours and 45 minutes after we left home), and, amazingly, found an empty parking spot with a meter RIGHT NEXT TO the building that houses the Secretary of State's Office. Unfortunately, since I had assumed we would need to park in a parking garage, I was armed with lots of $1.00 bills and $5.00 bills, but, almost no coins. We scrounged through the car and my purse, and found .65 - which bought us 33 minutes at the meter.

We quickly made our way to the Secretary of State and back to the car, documents all authenticated, with TWO MINUTES left on the meter. Hurray!

Then, we set off to go shopping and have lunch at a place called Easton Town Center. We had lunch at a California Pizza Kitchen, bought a set of sheets for Lana at Pottery Barn Kids (they were 60% off so they were $19.99!!) (They are white and green with little octopuses on them. Octopii? What's the plural of octopus?)

We shopped some more (mostly window shopping), stopped in at Maggie Moos for a cake batter ice cream cone with cookie down smush in*, and made our way home, where we picked up Gabe by 6:45.

All in all, it felt like a productive day, adoption wise.


*cake batter + cookie dough smush-in is an excellent combination at Maggie Moos, an even BETTER combination, which cannot be done at Maggie Moos, but, which CAN be done at Cold Stone Creamery, is cake batter ice cream + sweet cream ice cream + cookie dough smush-in. I keep telling them they should add this to their board of special combinations. So far, they haven't taken me up on it. I have decided it is dangerous to have a Cold Stone less then five minutes from one's home.

All My Parental Ideals Have Gone Bye-Bye

Sunday night/Monday morning at 2:00 AM my son stumbled into our bedroom, crying. I didn't catch all his words, but, the last thing he wailed was, "Is Daddy still here???"

"Yes, Daddy is still here.* He's sound asleep, but, right here."

"I neeeeeeeeeeeeeeed to sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep in here," he cried.

So, I pulled him up into the bed and plopped him between Husband and I.

Then, I got up and went to the bathroom.

Two minutes later, when I got back, in as much as a forty-two-pound, six-year-old is capable of taking up an entire half of a king-size mattress, he was.

With no room in bed for mom, I headed to the guest room where I curled up in my guestbed, and promptly...laid awake with insomnia for an hour and a half.

As I laid there (lay there??), usurped from my bedroom by my progeny, I remembered when I was pregnant and all the parental ideals I had. They were:

1. My child isn't going to sleep with us
2. My child will be breastfed for a year
3. My child will never have a drop of formula
4. I will use only cloth diapers for my child
5. I will not buy babyfood but instead make my own healthy babyfood in my food processor
6. I will not yell at my child
7. I will not spank my child
8. My child will never act "that way" in a restuarant
9. I will never let my child drink out of my cup. He will have his own cup.
10. I will never finish a nasty half-eaten sandwich just because my child has left it behind.


Hey, NUMBER 2!! I did REALLY REALLY GOOD with NUMBER 2. My child WAS breastfed for 11.5 months. And he stopped because he wanted to. (In as much as an 11.5 month old can have an opinion about something. At any rate, nursing was no longer on his daily agenda, and I didn't fight with him about it.)

Obviously number 1 flew the coop very quickly. Because SLEEP is sacred, people. Our son doesn't sleep with us regularly, but, I don't have the energy to drag a crying six year back to his own room when I know he will fall almost immediately back to sleep if I pull him into bed.

Cloth diapers? That lasted about three days. MESSY! MESSY MESSY MESSY! (I know people still use these, and I admire those people, I do. But, I was so damn tired. SO DAMN TIRED. And so tired of being covered in poop. I gave them the boot.)

Homemade babyfood? I was a first year law student by the time my son started eating solids. I basically didn't have time to breathe, let alone steam carrots and puree them. Plus, the art teacher at the school where my husband teaches was forever grateful for all the little glass bottles, so, that was kind of a bonus that assuaged my guilty conscious.

Gabe didn't actually drink much formula, but, he did have it for the last two weeks before his first birthday, and an occasional bottle once in a while, from the time he was eight months or older...often because he refused expressed breast milk in a bottle, but, he would grudgingly accept a bottle of enfamil. (Talk about a slap in the face to his mother!)

Oh, ask me about the time my child ran in middle of a busy street. There was a spanking that day. And the time he got in the pool when no grownups were outside...

Yelling...don't even get me started...

Sharing drinks with my child...yeah, it happens...finishing half eaten sandwiches? Guilty...

I decided I probably need a whole new set of adoptive parenting ideals that I can shoot to hell when Lana arrives, but, before I could decide what those might be...I finally fell back to sleep.


*I thought this was an odd question that must have been brought on by a bad dream. He has hardly been away from his daddy for six weeks straight, since they have been home together all summer - so, I can't figure out why he would ask if his father was "still here".

Saturday, July 15, 2006

This I did not need

Someone used my Visa card to buy $1100 in airline travel with Continental Airlines. And also gasoline at a gas station in Southfield, Michigan (just outside Detroit).

At the same time the nefarious party was using my card to buy $28 of gas, I was using it to buy $11.35 of sesemee oil, soy sauce, timari, panko and chocolate stuffed panda bear shaped cookies at the Asian market 5 minutes from my house.

Evidently this set off a security alert. (Why the purchase of $1100 in airlines tickets in names other than my own did not set off a security alert the day before, I don't understand.)

I've spent an hour and a half on the phone with my credit card company and the credit reporting agencies.

This is a headache I did not need.


Friday, July 14, 2006

What my son asked me this morning

This morning, I had to stop at the gas station before I took my son to Vacation Bible School. (I was driving him because my husband was attending the LPGA tournament that has overtaken our city this week.)

Anyway, I pulled up to the pump, and I noticed that there were three men in a large truck just to the left of us. I noticed them, particularly, because one of them was Asian, and the other two were Hispanic, but, they were all speaking Spanish. Very rapid, fairly loud Spanish. I was noticing them and wondering if the Asian Spanish speaker was Peruvian. (Because of the Japanese population there.) (Yes, I wonder weird things a lot. Weird, totally random crap floods my head, pretty much all day long.)

I got back in the car, and Gabe said, "Mom, did you see those men?" And I said, "Yes." Gabe said, "Those men were speaking Spanish." So, I said, "Yes, they were speaking Spanish." I was expecting him to ask me why the Asian man was speaking Spanish, but, that is not, in fact what he asked.

"They don't look like C~ and C~," he says. (C~ and C~ being our South American next-door neighbors).

"What do you mean?" I ask.

Gabe thinks for a minute. "They were...more brown. They were browner. But, they were speaking Spanish." (I should say that C~ and C~ are very light skinned Hispanics.)

I am not sure what to make of this comment. "Do you think it matters," I say, "how brown they are?"

Sometimes six year olds are very wise. "No," he says. "It shouldn't matter what color anyone is. But, I think, some people, people who are bad people, might think so."

I am quiet for a minute. Then he hits me with this doozy,

"Before Martin Luther King Jr. was alive, where do you think brown people sat on the bus?"

I try not to burst into tears and laughter at the same time.

"I don't know Gabe. What do you think?"

"Well, I think that probably some people made them sit at the back with the people who looked like Martin Luther King Jr. But, that was mean. That was really mean."

Yes, little man of mine, yes, it was.


World Gone Mad

I'm not sure entirely what is wrong with me today.

Perhaps it that I spent 25 minutes arguing with my insurance company. This particular activity generally makes me sad and angry at the same time. In this particular case, insurance company sent us information about our "new" (i.e. MUCH MUCH SUCKIER) prescription drug coverage. Then, the booklet says, "you must use a preferred pharmacy or your co-pay will be significantly higher."

No further information.

Lawmommy calls the insurance company and says, "I need to know WHAT pharmacies are "preferred pharmacies".

Totally unhelpful person named KATIE (yes, KATIE at BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF MICHIGAN I am out OUTING YOU. I only wish I knew your last name...)

Anyway, KATIE unhelpfully says, "99% of pharmacies in Michigan are preferred pharmacies." I explain to Katie that would be great if I actually LIVED in Michigan. But, I don't. I live in Ohio. Can you tell me what pharmacies in Ohio I can use?" Katie says, "no, we don't really have a list for that." I say, "you don't "really" have a list, or you DON'T have a list." Katie says, "we don't have a list. You have to call the pharmacy and ask them if they participate." Me: "If they participate in what?" Katie: "In our preferred pharmacy network."

So, I say, "So, you've sent me a pamphlet that says I have to use a preferred pharmacist, the pamphlet doesn't say what pharmacists that encompasses, and now, you can't tell me, either?" Katie says nothing. I say, "don't you think that UNFAIR, Katie?" Katie says, "you can put your concerns in writing." Lawmommy ends this conversation by saying, "FUCK YOU, KATIE." (The conversation was much longer than this mini transcript, it was just more of the same, and, quite honestly, I feel a little bit bad that I said that to Katie. It's not entirely her fault she works for the devil.)

Lawmommy then calls Kroger pharmacy and (I am embarrassed to admit this) starts to cry to the pharmacy tech. Pharmacy tech commiserates with Lawmommy for several minutes about the wretchedness of health insurance companies. Pharmacy tech puts Pharmacist on the phone, who tells Lawmommy that she is "reasonably certain" that Kroger is a participating pharmacy, but, the only way to know for sure is to come in with the new cards and she will try to put a claim through and then back it out again. Lawmommy tearfully thanks the Pharmacist for being so kind.

Lawmommy then calls Husband and cries some more and yells a little bit, because Husband's school district benefits coordinator is totally useless and this is all (in Lawmommy's mind) that person's fault. Husband asks Lawmommy not to yell at him but tells Lawmommy she is totally justified in being angry. Just not a him.

Lawmommy calls insurance company back and demands answers from a new person. This new person's name is MARK. Mark deals with crying Lawmommy very well. Mark tells Lawmommy that if she uses RiteAid or Walgreens or other "large chain that does business in both Ohio and Michigan", she will not have any trouble. This makes Lawmommy stop crying. Lawmommy thanks kind and helpful Mark.

Lawmommy does not believe for one second that she will not actually have "any trouble" (because, honestly, who doesn't have trouble with their insurance coverage) - but, it's nice to have at least a direction to start.

So, anyway, I've been crying and angry on and off all morning - at little things, ridiculously small things.

And maybe it's the news. Maybe waking up to hear that Israel and Lebanon are bombing the crap out of eachother, and Iran is still defiant and the North Korean leader is still crazier than a shit house full of rats, and a big part of California appears to be on's all too much for me to take just now.

So, I think I am going to close my office door and have a good long heaving cry and maybe afterwards I'll feel a little bit more like dealing with the world, or at least my little corner of it, again.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Some Photos From Our Dossier

Paperwork and such

I have a file on my desk of all the pieces of paper that need to go to Columbus now to be state certified. I had them county certified this morning at the courthouse when I went over for a 10:00 hearing. This was the first the ladies in the clerk's office at the courthouse had heard about Lana, so, everyone was very jovial and happy and congratulating me. It was nice. :-)

(As a side note, I notice that there are lots of attorney who are not nice to the ladies who work in the clerk's office at the courthouse. Aside from the fact that I generally prefer to be nice and conversational with people, I think it is short-sighted to fail to be nice to a person who could, very well, LOSE the paperwork that is so important to a lawyer's work. Just two cents off topic from me, lovable, furry old Lawmom...well, maybe not so furry...)

Husband and I went to the mall last night to find some sticker books to send to Lana. (We can send her, quote, "things that are flat." I was boggled by the vast number of sticker books available. (I have never actually purchased sticker books for Gabe, though he has often received them from other people. I don't know why that is. Maybe he had so many from other people that I never looked at them myself.) Anyway, Husband and I settled on one Strawberry Shortcake stickerbook, and one "bears and kittens in tutus" sticker book called, "We Are Ballerinas".

It felt strange and odd to be picking out sticker books for a 3.5 year old girl on the other side of the planet. I wondered if she would like the bears and kittens in tutus, or if she would think the whole thing was stupid. There were a couple of apparently four year old girls looking at the sticker books with us, and the bears and kittens in tutus seemed to be "tops" with them, so, I have to hope that cute furry animals in anthropomorphic poses will be universally appealing to the pre-school female.

So, I am getting ready to send a small packet of things for Lana - a photo album of us, a flat package of hair ribbons thingies, and two sticker books. I hope she likes them...

I guess that's about all the news for today.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

You Don't Have to Be Freud

Last night I dreamt I was sitting on crowded beach full of brightly colored lounge chairs. I was holding a dark haired child on my lap, but, I couldn't see her face because she was staring at the ocean. I was watching a crab scurry along the sand by my chair, and when I looked up an enormous wave was coming at us, and it pulled the child out of my hands, and I couldn't find her. I kept diving under, desperate to pull her from the water, but she could not be found.

At that moment the cat decided to start chewing on my hair and woke me up - I was shaking and my heart was beating fast, and I was glad for the cat's obsessive compulsive hair chewing, because it woke me from such a bad dream.

You don't have to be Freud, I don't think, to read all kinds of things into this...

Update on the Doctor Situation

My doctor did call me back after 8:00 last night, sounding very tired. He was very kind and said he had printed out two copies of the letter and told me to come to his office anytime Tuesday and tell his office staff to come get him from whatever he was doing and he would sign in front of any notary I brought with me. (Evidently, there was some magic in posting about this last night!)

So, after my Husband dropped Gabe off at Vacation Bible School* this morning, he went to my step-dad's office, picked up my step-dad's secretary (a notary), drove her to the doctor's office, whereupon the doctor interrupted seeing his patients in order to come out and quickly sign the letters.

So, while it is kind of frustrating that since my step-dad's secretary/notary is not a lawyer, I will have to have the letters county certified before they can be state certified, the fact remains that it only costs $1.00 to do this, at the county courthouse, where I go almost every day of my life, so, it's not as big a deal as I previously thought. And the good thing is, WE HAVE THE DOCTOR LETTER!

The last thing we need for our dossier is the police station letter (they still don't have that done, even though we went there last Thursday!!) and then we can run the whole thing down to Columbus to get it state certified and get it sent to Oregon!!!


* Vacation Bible School sidenote - my husband is driving our son 25 minutes each morning to go to VBS at our church, and he is being brought most of the way back home after VBS by our friend B~ who is running VBS this year, despite the fact that she is moving to Austrailia for A YEAR in less than THREE WEEKS. Anyway, Husband was looking forward to having some quiet time to himself at home in the mornings this week (and who wouldn't) only to get back to our house yesterday morning to discover that our backyard neighbor** is running a Vacation Bible School OUT OF HIS HOME, with fifty children running around his back yard and crazy traffic and parking issues in our entire neighborhood. Needless to say, it is loud and crazy and difficult to drive in and out of our subdivision, and we are both furious that neighbor is doing this since he A. regularly does rude things like this and doesn't ask us about it in advance and and B. doing so is a violation of both the township code and our home owner's association guidelines. (I would also like to add that he insists on lighting up his backyard like a Christmas tree EVERY FREAKING NIGHT, and ALL NIGHT LONG and that these so-called-safety-lights make our bedroom VERY BRIGHT on any occasion when we try to sleep with the window open, so, to be honest, he is not our favorite person in the first place.) (Also on the fourth of July, he had a party with 100 people (that was WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE FOR HIS BACKYARD) and he did not ask us if the children at his party could play on my son's swingset/fort, and while we would have said "yes" if they had asked, the point is they didn't ask, and they STOLE ALL OF MY SON'S WATER SHOOTING TOYS. (Water guns? What the heck are those things called? They look like pistols and they shoot water?) My little boy had five or six of these water guns in his fort (for his posse of six year old friends) and now they are all gone.) (And while I am philosophically opposed to arming children with fake weapons, the fact is that my kid does have (or rather DID have) five or six water guns (brightly colored and not realistic looking), and now he does not, so I need to go out and find four or five more very fake-looking and brightly colored water guns.)

** backyard neighbor is pastor without a church, but evidently a large number of followers, for reasons I do not understand since it is clear he annoys the crap out of ME and my neighbors on either side of us, but, sometimes there is no making sense of these kind of things

Monday, July 10, 2006

Why won't my doctor call me back?

I need a letter from my doctor for our dossier. I NEED IT NOW. I need to meet with him, and take another attorney with me (since of course I cannot notarize the *^%$ letter myself), and I know this is a pain for everybody, BUT I NEED THIS.

I have emailed the doctor, per his request, the text of the letter I need. I have left two messages with his office. He has not called me back.



Sunday, July 09, 2006

An Open Letter to the Woman Who Tried to Kill Me Today

Hey. Hey YOU. Yes, YOU, in the giant Fordasaurus with the "Jesus Saves" and the "What Would Jesus Do" and the "You Can't Be A Christian and Pro-choice" bumperstickers, who tried to kill me this afternoon on the highway, by cutting into my lane, and forcing me into the next one, where I nearly got way too personal with a pickup truck, and WHO DIDN'T EVEN USE YOUR TURN SIGNAL.

Yes, I am talking to you.

Clearly we have some deeply held differences of opinion regarding faith and it's relationship to the law and politics, which I would be happy to discuss with (er...argue with you) about at a later date.

But, what I really want to say to you, and I think you really should agree with me on is this:

In answer to the question, asked by you (or your car at least), Jesus probably would have checked his mirrors before he changed lanes. AND, JESUS WOULD HAVE USED HIS TURN SIGNAL. And, um, when I beeped my horn to remind you that I was not personally ready to meet the Lord today, I REALLY THINK, that Jesus WOULD NOT have flipped me off.

That is all.

Lawmommy (happy to still be among the living)

Waiting Families Pool Party

Yesterday Husband and I hosted the local "Families with Children from China" waiting families* pool party and potluck.

Now, I know you are thinking, Lawmommy, you are NOT a family with a child from China, nor are you WAITING for a child from China, so, what's up with you hosting an FCC event?

To which I say, hey, come on, I live in smallish city. FCC was kind enough to let me join, because, they have some other families who have adopted from Korea, and one other family who adopted from Vietnam, so, it all makes sense, ultimately. I'm also a member of the Southeast Michigan Families with Children from Vietnam, and since we don't live in Michigan (technically speaking, although I could throw a stone from my backyard and it would land in Michigan) - I guess I am breaking rules of group membership all over the place. :-P

I have to say, overall, the party seems to have been a remarkable success. The food was wonderful (lots of noodles and steamed dumplings). The children were adorable (there were several families who came who are awaiting their second referral, so, Gabe had the opportunity to play nicely with some three year old girls - it was nice to see him being all big-brotherish.) The nicest part of the evening, one of the families had a "home grown" daughter almost exactly Gabe's age, named C~, and a three year old daughter named G~ who has been home from China about 9 months. The three of them played together for almost two hours - it was adorable. Gabe is anxious to play again with his new friend C~. Very cute.)

Anyway, lots of people oohed and aahed over pictures of Lana, and one other mom was there who received her referral about two weeks ago, so, we oohed and aahed over her photo too. Other families were there with a year of waiting in front of them - it's nice to be with other families who know what this peculiar kind of waiting is like.

On the Vietnam families adoption front, I am thrilled for Nicole at the Quest for #2 ( who left for HoChiMinhCity last night, and for Nicki at (, who just got her referral (and who I hope I will run into at a SE Michigan FCV event sometime!). However, my heart is breaking for Mrs. Broccoli Guy at (, so, go over there and give her some support if you haven't already.

(Seriously, someone needs to teach me how to make the nice pretty hyperlinks!!)


* i.e. families who are waiting for a child to come home

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sometimes music moves me to tears and laughter at the same time

I was having a hard day yesterday.

Part of this, perhaps a large part, had to do with the fact that, five years ago yesterday, July 6, 2001, my personal sense of living in a reasonable universe was irrevocably shattered by a senseless accident that stole a husband, a father, a doctor, a friend, a son, a brother, from a wife, a daughter, a community, countless friends, parents, a sister... I felt haunted, part of the day, by the voice of TTT, or more appropriately, by the absence of the voice of TTT. (Rest in peace, friend, rest in peace.)

I was sitting on the floor of my living room, trying to assemble the photographs for our dossier. (This is a collection of photos of our house and our family, that is sent to the Vietnamese government, with all of our paperwork, by our agency. I was troubled by the fact that, in the pictures, our deep eggplant purple dining room appeared to be some kind of Artist-Formerly-and-Currently-Known-As-Prince screaming electric purple den of iniquity. (Ultimately, I left the photo out of the dossier batch, lest the Vietnamese government think we are insane.) (No, there are no pictures of Prince in our dining room. There are framed prints of the Chinese characters for Peace and Happiness. It's just that the walls, if you looked at the photo, were a crazy color of purple that no sane person would have in their home. When, in reality, it's just a slightly eccentric deep eggplant color.)

Anyway, I was listening to Sirius radio, which we get with our satellite tv package, and a song came one, that I have only heard once before, several months ago, and attempts to find the song later, were fruitless. However, THIS time, I lunged for paper and pencil to write down the name of the artist and the song, so that I would be able to find it again.

The artist's name was Richard Shindell, and the song was called Are You Happy Now. Something about the quality of this man's voice made me want to listen to it again and again. The song was about a break-up that occurs on Halloween, and while the lyrics, on paper, are quite sad, in performance, they are merely melancholy, at times almost comical.*

Anyway, this led me to search, this morning, for "Richard Shindell" on the internet, and led me to his website, it also led me to an album by another artist, on which Shindell performs, called "The Red Thread". (The Red Thread is an allegory for adopting parents - based on a Chinese idea that there is an invisible red thread that connects people who are destined to meet. So, of course I had to investigate the album further.) As it turns out, the album is by a woman named Lucy Kaplansky, and the song is a reference to the adoption of her daughter, Molly, from China. I'm not entirely sure what to make of her lyrics about the adoption, but, I'm interested enough to request the album from the library. (Sadly, the library doesn't have any of Shindell's album, but, I was so entranced by his voice that I decided to order it from Amazon.)

I was just touched by the fact that, sitting and missing a friend who loved music, and sitting and listening to a song I found so intriguing, I was led, ultimately, to an album with a song about International Adoption.

I'm not entirely sure where I'm going with this. Feeling hopeful, and yet sad and musically inspired at the same time,


* Because I loved the song so much, here are the lyrics:

Are You Happy Now by Richard Shindell

You took the toaster when you went
You never paid your half the rent
You took the spices from the rack
But you don't have to put them back
Cause in your haste on Halloween
You left your camera on the bed
Where we played roles in black and white
You left a roll of black and white
I set the timer and thought of you
And put the lense up to my head
I took a photograph for you
What comes out gray is really red
Are you happy now?
I smashed your pumpkin on the floor
The candle flickered at my feet
As goblins flew across the room
The children peered into the room
A cowboy shivered on the porch
As Cinderella checked her watch
A hobo waited in the street
An angel whispered, trick-or-treat
But what was I supposed to do
But to sit there in the dark?
I was amazed to think that you
Could take the candy with you too (I especially love that line - LM)
Are you happy now?
I've sat all night and now it's dawn
And I cannot believe my eyes
There's garbage strewn across the lawn
Where we once stared up at the sky
And streams of paper fill the tree
That hovered over you and me
Shaving cream covers the car
That we picked up in Baltimore
Though I know it's hard to tell
I hope that what's-his-name treats you well
I still maintain that he's a bum
But it's your money - have some fun
And are you happy now?
You always asked why I had not
Written you a verse or two
Since that's the one thing I regret
I dedicate this one to you
Are you happy now?
Are you?

The L.A. Times is on my Sh*t List

I realize that some other adopting parent bloggers have blogged about this already, but, it's so appalling, I'm going to add my voice.

I am completely cheesed off about this wretched article:,1,4428112.story?page=1&coll=la-entnews-quicktakes

Now, evidently, many others are pretty horked off as well, based on the paper's response, which can be found here:,1,1574592.htmlstory?coll=la-entnews-quicktakes

Now, my thoughts about this are as follows:

1. Go ahead and make fun of Brad and Angelina all you want - they are public figures, and while I do think they are pretty eccentric, I happen to think that it is pretty respectable that Jolie donates something like 30% of her income to charity. However, she is still a woman who wore a vial of Billy Bob Thornton's BLOOD around her neck during much of their marriage, which makes her pretty whacky in my book.

2. Keep your satire off my kid. It is one thing to poke fun at Brad and Angelina. It is another matter entirely to poke fun at millions of orphans. That's just...sick.

If the article annoys you as well, you can answer their poll about the matter, found at the above link.

That's all.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Trip to Police Station

Husband and I and Gabe all got our lazy a**es out of bed early this morning, in order to go to the Police Department for the township in which we live.

I had called the township P.D. yesterday and inquired what I would need to do to obtain two letters from them, notarized, on their letterhead, indicating that Husband and myself are not wanted criminals in these parts.

The woman on the other end of the phone told me to come to the records department between 7:30AM and 4:30PM, and bring $5.00 and our driver's licenses. (I almost asked what one would do if one did not have a driver's license, but, then I remembered that I live in a "bedroom community" in which all the inhabitants are required to own at least two vehicles, if not by law, then by the de facto situation where one would quite literally starve to death without a car, since all stores must be driven to, and since we are not allowed to grow vegetables or raise livestock. (Sadly, I'm serious about that. Although Husband does have some secret, forbidden tomato plants he is cultivating. He is a criminal mastermind, that darling man of mine.)

Anyway, since there is quite literally no way I would be able to come home from work today in time to be at the police station by 4:30, we decided we would go over in the morning. My plan was to take the letters with me to work, so that I could take them to the courthouse for my 1:30 hearing (which may last until 4:30, hence the reason for getting up early) so that wonderful, fabulous, county courthouse employee A~ would "county certify" them for me (thanks so much bureaucratic state of Ohio - NOT.)

My plan was foiled by the fact that, while the PD was happy to do the letters for us, they were not so much willing to do the letters for us TODAY. [Insert big whiny whine here.]

Since I have not had a call back from my doctor (I emailed him the letter I need him to print on his letterhead and then arrange to meet with me to sign) - I guess my foolish thought of having my dossier to my agency by next Friday is just that - a foolish thought. Sigh. (Because after I get all the documents together, and some of them county certified (the ones that have not been notarized by a lawyer), I will have to send them to Columbus to be state certified...) Sigh again.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

I have a closet full of girl clothes

It's very strange to open the closet door in our guest room and find it full of tiny sundresses and little pink and peach colored outfits.

I am forever grateful to my friend B~, who gave me three bins of little girl clothes on Saturday night. This was especially kind of her, considering that her husband's company is relocating their entire family to Austrailia for year, and she has been trying to pack up her whole house for either storage (most of their belongings and furnishings) or shipment to the other side of the planet (small amount of their belongings).

I am kind of concerned about how to figure out what size Lana will wear. By the charts I have found, her weight puts her in 2T or 3T clothes, but, her height puts her solidly in 4T clothes. I guess we will take a variety of sizes and see what fits. (This is somewhat putting the cart before the horse, since we won't travel until December at best, and Lana will surely grow during the next five or six months.)

We had house guests for several days this past long weekend - an aunt and cousin visiting from New York, who were in town for a bridal shower for my cousin, who will be getting married in New Jersey in September. I feel like I have stayed up talking too late one too many nights and had one too many glasses of wine, and I cannot get motivated to do any work, which is just not good. This is my first day in the office since last Thursday and there is a ton of stuff to do. None of which is actually getting done. So, I should probably get on that.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Evidently the USCIS is trying to drive me insane

I was doing a happy dance on Friday because husband sent me a text message during my all-day-long CLE (continuing legal education class) that we had received a "favorable notice" from the USCIS.

(And who wouldn't be doing a happy dance to receive ANY KIND of communication from the outside world, when one is listening to a lecture on the impact of the bankruptcy reform law of 2005 on divorce law in Ohio. I think the fact that I managed to stay awake through that is astonishing in and of itself.)

However, when I got home from my SIX HOUR LECTURE, I found that my I171H form from the USCIS was marked,

1.."Your advance processing application is being retained at this office. You must file form I-824 when you want this petition forwarded to an American consulate abroad."

I was under the impression that it was SUPPOSED TO be marked:

3. "Your advance processing application has been forwarded to the American Consulate or Embassy at HANOI, VIETNAM." WHICH IT WAS NOT. NOT AT ALL.

I freaked out and called my agency because I really thought that this WAS NOT RIGHT AT ALL.

The person at my agency who deals with paperwork questions was out. The person who was there, L~, looked at two other families files, and then asked, "is this your I171H form, or your I171 form?"

"I said, it's the H form, the preapproval form."

"Why are you only just now getting this form? Didn't you submit your application as soon as your homestudy was done?" L~ asks me, politely, but, making me feel like I am falling down in my responsibility to file things quickly.

"Yes, I submitted it April 11, as soon as the homestudy was done, but, we only just got this. They didn't even fingerprint us until last week." I said. L~ makes a sound under her breath like the USCIS is not her favorite entity on the planet, but, maybe she just had a frog in her throat.

L~ asks me to scan the document and email it to her so she can look at it. She calls me back about 10 minutes later and tells me she thinks it is okay, because we will file our I600 form here in the US before we travel, and that form I171 will specify Hanoi, and will specify an approval of Lana specifically. She says she feels "reasonably confident' it is okay, but that she will check with D~ or R~ when they return to the office on the 5th. (I then proceeded to ask her, in a kind of pathetic and pleading voice, if she saw my daughter while she was in Vietnam. She asked me who my daughter was. (Somehow, I found this question painful. Is she dealing with so many families and so many children that she has to be reminded whose child is whose?) So, I said, "N~ T~ Bich Lan in DaNang." She was quiet for a second. And then she said, "Oh, Bich Lan, " in a completely different pronounciation of the word Bich, which, evidently, is not pronounced BITCH in Vietnamese, "no, I didn't see Bich Lan. She lives with a very good foster family. I concentrated on seeing children in the orphanages, I only had so much time in each city, and we needed to concentrate on the institutionalized children." I understood that, but, somehow I was SO DISAPPOINTED. I wanted her to say, "I saw her and she was laughing and happy." I realize I am being unreasonable...but, I wanted to hear the voice of someone who has seen my child recently...yes, I know, I should have some cheese with that whine.)

Anyway, back to the problem at hand with the I171H form, I'm just wondering if our agency is unique in having us file the I600 before travel. I don't know what to think, and if it is a problem or not, and I guess I won't know for sure until D~ or R~ are back in the office...

At any rate, I'm still ticked at th USCIS since my application clearly stated that I wanted the approval sent to Hanoi, and I cannot believe they screwed it hard can it be???

That's all for now.


Free Hit Counter
Get a Free Hit Counter